Sgt Grit Newsletter - 30 APR 2015

In this issue:
• Protest In Baghdadi
• Tet 1968
• Kangaroo Court

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Little Grunt Oliver at modified attention

Little Grunt Oliver ready to play

My son Oliver recently received a "dress blues" outfit from Sgt Grit. I must admit, I think he is the cutest little Marine I have ever seen! Thankfully I have a few years before I have to see him off to boot camp if he decides to follow in his grandfather and great-grandfather's foot steps. Oliver's grandfather, Paul Lucien Cote served in the 1980's and was stationed in Okinawa. Oliver's great-grandfather, Paul Louis Cote served in the 6th Marine Division during WWII. I am very proud of my Marines. Semper Fi!

My father has been a faithful reader of your newsletter for many years. I thought he would love to see his grandson in the newsletter too!

God Bless,
​April-Lynn Cote Killoran

Get your Devil Pup squared away
with a dress blue set at:

Dress Blues Baby 2 Piece Set

Dress Blues Baby 2 Piece Set

Protest In Baghdadi

Banner found in Al Baghdadi Iraq 2004

Stirring the pot in Iraq 2004

I wanted to submit two pictures for you from my time in Iraq. The first is a banner that we found between two houses in Al Baghdadi in early April 2004. At this time we were guarding a former Iraqi ASP between Al Asad and the train station. There was a protest in Baghdadi over the cordon being set up around Fallujah for the first operation to clear the city. This was just a few days after the contractors were burned and hung from the bridge. On the day of this picture some civilian contractors were in the wrong place at the wrong time and drove into the protest. One of the vehicles got stuck in the crowd and we left ASP Flea to try and rescue the contractors. When we arrived one of the contractors had been executed and was lying in the road. We cleared the immediate area, loaded the body, and began to clear some nearby houses we believed the insurgents had gone into. During the house clearing we found the banner. It roughly says they are protesting the surrounding of Fallujah, the city of "heroes and martyrs". From left to right is LCpl Bishop, Cpl Turner, LCpl Street, and me.

The second picture is also at ASP Flea where the QRF stayed. I put this in to let the Viet Nam guys know some things never change. That is Pvt Hill stirring the pot. Waste burning was something that wasn't very common as most FOB's had portajohns, but for some reason we had to burn our waste there.

To Mike Kunkel: the term broked-ck must have lived on because we used the term for un-anodized brass you had to polish, and for the sick, lame, and lazy. This was in the 90's.

To Joe Holt of India 3/5: I like your style, I have to admit that some of "a former hat" stories don't pass the smell test.

Also the supposed after action report for Cpl Blackburn sounded odd to me. Why would a recon team in 1968 be using a BAR? And as rough and gruff as the Viet Nam Marines are, I don't think their official statements would be laced with profanity and slang terms.

Semper Fi,

The Gun 12oz Mug

Well Son Of A Gun

Corporal, 1981. Had received a Navy Achievement Medal for performance as a member of 6th Marines Rifle Squad. Did not have a Good Conduct Medal yet. 1982, Did a lat move to 0231 Intelligence Specialist, got assigned to 1/6. Spent a year busting my b-tt for that Bn under the direction of LtCol Fox. When I got my orders to go to Oki, the S-2 wrote me up for another NAM. Deploy to 1st MAW HQ on Okinawa. Working in the G-2 as the daily briefer for the CG, MGen Peterson. I get called out one day to go receive my award. Well son of a gun if it was for a Navy Commendation Medal. He pinned it on proudly, and I was just as proud that it was him doing it.

For the next several years I got the strangest looks from Officers and SNCOs for being a Sergeant wearing a NCM, NAM, and GCM. Semper Fi.

GySgt Bob Berg​

Spit First

Hey Grit,

In your closing statements regarding Ship's orders when at sea, you forgot one:


While aboard the USS Waukegan County, LST 1162​ in 1961 as a young PFC, I was the one whose task it was to follow this order. It was quite windy that afternoon, and as I approached the rail from the mess deck, an old Bo'sun Mate (is there any other kind?) said to me, "Spit first!" I did so, and my spit got blown right back in my face. He then said, "Dump with the wind, not into it." Lucky for me, or I would have been wearing all that garbage.

Speaking of rifle numbers, "U.S. Rifle, Cal .30 M1, #1458206" Plt 244, PISC, 1960.

Keep it coming.

P. Formaz, 1867xxx
GySgt of Marines​

Attitude Is Everything Day 6

Sgt Grit Quote of the Day number 5

A week ago we started posting random Marine Corps quotes and saying on the Sgt Grit Facebook page. The replies have been 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:

Max Salazar - I raise my beer can. Marines don't normally drink from glasses. Semper Fi, Marines

Alicia Macias - I always wanted to be with a Marine :-)

Kira Turner - U and me both! My dad is a Marine, but I always wanted one of my own!

Ron Coombs - Even though we were founded in a bar, some of us don't drink!

Allen Dettmer - I'll drink for you Ron!

Marie Green - I am raising my glass right now...Semper Fi...

Denise Gunnels - If you aren't with a Marine, raise your glass for a Marine(s).

Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.

Nike Special

Vietnam, New Jersey, 1969

I was a Radio-Crypto Tech, 2847, with HQ Co. 26th Marines about 10 miles west of DaNang. One night in February, 1969, a few of us communicators were sitting outside the Comm Shack when we noticed a bright orange flash in the distance. At first we thought the airstrip was being hit, then we heard what sounded like a freight train going overhead! The ground shook when this thing passed! We watched this for probably 10 minutes or so, and still didn't know what it was, until another Marine came down from the COC, and told us that what we were watching was the Battleship New Jersey out over the horizon, firing her 16 inch guns, over our heads. We never did hear the impact of those shells! Just prayed that there was never a short round!

Paul Culliton

Honest Man

The story I'm going to tell reaches back to before I joined the Corps. (28 Sept 1965). One Saturday in '62 or '63, I was sitting around watching TV, and they were showing "The DI" with Jack Webb. I would have been a sophmore or a junior in High school at the time.

While I was watching the show my sister Charlotte came wandering through the house with the guy she was dateing at the time. His name was Wendell Smith, and he had just gotten out of the Marine Corps, and was looking for a job, and settling back into civilian life. They came through the room and I said, "Hey Wendell, is the Marine Corps really anything like that." Wendell was kind of a quiet guy, and he stopped and kind of watched a few minutes of the show. Then he looked at me and shook his head, and as serious as a heart attack said, "Jim the Marine Corps is never that nice." As they walked off I thought, "Man, this I've got to see." In 1965, I found out that Wendell was an honest man.

James A. Cowles (Sgt)
Plt 193 MCRD San Diego Cal. 1965​

A Tattoo That Creates 1000 Questions

Is the guy a Marine or just confused?

Tattoo with Eagle, Globe, and Anchor and Army

Tet 1968

5 Feb 1968, the start of the infamous Tet Offensive, 88 Marines of Delta 1/7 engaged an NVA force est. at over 1200 men south of the hamlet of La Chau II SW of DaNang. The fight actually started early in morning of the 5th of Feb as our ambush patrols began to have contact with the point elements of the NVA force. The small arms fire was intense and the NVA used RPGs and .50 cal MGs against the Marines. The rice in the paddies was high and as we maneuvered I was hit while calling in an air strike. As I moved toward a more secure LZ I saw another wounded Marine who had been a shot through the legs and could not walk. As I was in bad shape as well, we agreed to help each other crawl to the LZ for a Med Evac. It was a long day as the NVA had turned our flanks and the senior Marine in the field was a Corporal. Most of the 88 Marines were dead or wounded. F-4s, artillery, 106s, mortars et al pounded the enemy all day with devastating effect. Finally we reached the LZ and were safely Med Evac to the rear. I never saw my wounded companion again or so I thought.

In 1970, I was coming off leave and flying commercial standby out of the San Francisco metro airport. I was in uniform and was a proud Marine Sergeant. A civilian about my age came up to me and asked if I remembered him. I said no sir and he then identified himself as my wounded Marine comrade from the Battle of La Chau II in 1968. We embraced chatted for a few seconds and he was gone. As they say, small world.

For your news letter and fellow Marines.

Duane "Dutch" Van Fleet
LtCol USMC (Ret)​

1944 Parker 51

I believe it was in late l944, ballpoint pens were not invented yet, that Parker pen company developed a pen that did not leak when exposed to changes in atmospheric pressure. It was called Parker 51. Many Marines wanted one. I asked the Sergeant in our PX if he had any. He replied that only twelve had been received and the PX officer had sold all but three of them and those three were locked in his safe and there was no way I could get one.

Some time later the PX officer was walking past the Island Paymaster's Office where I was working. It just happened that we had received a promotion list and the PX officer's name said he had been promoted to Captain. I called to him to see if he was aware of his promotion. It was news to him and he asked me how soon he could start drawing his pay as a Captain. I told him I could prepare his pay voucher as soon as I had a Parker 51 pen to prepare it with. The rest is history as it only took him about five minutes for him to unlock his safe and present me with a new Parker 51 pen. I still had to pay the purchase price though.

Bob Gaston, StfSgt

A Marine Is A Marine

Sgt. Grit,

Shame on Tom Gillispie for wearing his cover indoors, even if it was a McDonalds. My senior DI, Buck Sergeant John Medas, WWII survivor would pound his pith helmet on top of my balding head, if I was caught with my cover on inside a building.

I have, long ago, gotten in the habit of removing my cover when I step inside a building; a previous mention, though, says that "WallyWorld" doesn't count. I have often wondered about individuals eating in a restaurant, if their wife permits them to wear their cover at the dinner table at home. How about it Tom, does you wife let you wear yours?

A Marine is a Marine is a Marine, but maybe some distinction between "old" and "new" could be herringbone utilities, starched cotton khakis, or an EGA with two banners, inscribed with "Semper" "Fidelis" on them, instead of the single banner now used.

I just returned from San Diego, and while there stayed at the Navy Lodge, Naval Base. It's very odd to see Sailors in camo utilities, instead of the blues or whites, like in the old days. In October, 1950 I was transferred to the same Naval Station, Marine Barracks. At that time, the Station Brig was under the "management" of Marines stationed there. Gunny Rousseau, we also had plenty of prisoners moving in and out of the Brig, going to other Brigs across the country.

Semper Fi,
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Hendersonville, TN​

Posing To The Max

I didn't serve in combat, but I still served.

Guy posing in Marine uniform with multiple errors

Attitude Is Everything Day 4

Sgt Grit quote of the day number 4

Here is another random Marine Corps quotes and saying post on the Sgt Grit 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:

David Boudreaux - Make no mistakes, we are not soldiers. Anybody can be a soldier, certain people earn the title and become Marines! Semper Fi.

Carl A Paulino - The FEW, the PROUD isn't just a slogan... it's the reality. It's a process called ATTRITION. As Old Blue eyes used to sing... IF YOU CAN MAKE IT THERE, you 'll make it anywhere.

Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.

Evacuation Of DaNang


As always thanks for a great newsletter. I have a question you, or some of the other Marines might be able to help me with. I met a young Marine this past week in Jasper Texas, while at a fishing tournament down there, that told me that he had been involved in the evacuation of DaNang in 1976. I told him I had been involved in the Viet Nam evacuations in 1975, but had never heard of any other evacuation operation, in 1975, or 1976.

Was anyone else involved in this operation, or was he mistaken, or a Marine wanna be?

David Creighton
Hq Brty, 11th Marines '68-'69
Marine Barracks Iceland '70-'72​

62nd Seabee Norman Baker on Iwo Jima​

Seabee Norman Baker at 18 on Iwo Jima 1945

February 1945, photo courtesy of Norman Baker. Baker, who was then an 18-year-old Seabee with the 4th Marine Division, sits with a machine gun on Motoyama No. 2 airfield, Iwo Jima. Assigned to a security detachment protecting units clearing the two airfields.

​ John Ratomski

Proud To Have Known Him

In the newsletter of 23 April you printed some of my experiences as orderly to Vice Admiral Andrews. I decided to write a separate item about his driver of fifteen years Chief Water Tender Donald A. Gary. Several months after I had been transferred to a new duty station, I was standing in a real estate office where I had worked prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps when in walked a U.S. Navy officer who looked at me and said,"Hi Bob." I asked him what had happened and he said the Admiral had been called to Washington and no longer rated a driver. The Admiral had obtained a commission for his driver who was sent as an inspector to a factory which made boilers for the Navy. I helped him find a rental.

I heard no more of Lt. Gary until the battle for Okinawa. My sister mailed me an article from Collier's magazine telling about an officer aboard the USS Franklin who had saved the lives of more than a hundred sailors by leading them through a ventilating system from the mess deck where they were trapped to the flight deck of the ship. The officer then managed to direct members of the crew to get an engine started so the ship was no longer dead in the water.

If you go on the internet and enter the name Donald A. Gary you can read the citation describing his efforts and his receipt of the Medal of Honor. I am proud to have known him.

StfSgt Bob Gaston

Special Breed

Sgt. Grit,

This is my comment regarding Grandpa Bud, the WWII Marine.

I am a Vietnam Vet, 1965-1966, 1st and 3rd Tank Battalions.

To my way of thinking there has been no fiercer warrior, no bigger heroes than the Marines that fought in WWII. All Marines are great, don't get me wrong, but the men that came out of the Greatest Generation, were a special breed, and I salute them all.

Semper Fi
John M. Hunter
Cpl. USMC 1964-68

P.S. I would also like to salute the others too, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, from WWII. All a special breed.


I was shopping in Costco when one of the ladies that passed out samples said thank you for your service and asked if she could ask me a question I said sure and she showed me her father's dog tags they were the ones that had two holes on each side and was round she said these were the original ones and that she had a question about how they got his fingerprints on the backside so if anyone knows can you please reply I believe they were from World War 2 or the Korean War.

SSgt Ferguson (1971-1978)

Kangaroo Court

OK, I gotta' tell this one. In the first 3 months of '58 us poor friggin' civilians (so far) had the pleasure of sharing a steam iron for a utilities inspection. It was our turn, filled the contrivance from someone's canteen, and began to smell the aroma of boiled urine. Our heroes were summoned (by the boot holding the short straw, I'm sure) and here they came "busting heads along the way (they were probably enjoying a cold one)". Anyway, the third of the platoon I enjoyed company with was subjected to a brutal "Kangaroo Court" and the peepeeer confessed and was sent back with his offending member between his legs, a terrifying punishment, as we all suspected.

Semper Fi all you immortal fellow Marines...

Sgt. Ed Belfy,
USMC A proud graduate
Platoon 204, MCRD San Diego

Who Came Up With The Idea

In early February, 1956, I had the pleasure of learning "squads right" drill at MCRD, San Diego. I often wondered who came up with the idea and what was the purpose of learning all those different steps.

Some years later, long after my honorable discharge, I was watching an old John Wayne cavalry movie. Probably "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", and a light bulb lit up. The troops were lined up in a long line facing John Wayne. A command was shouted and the line swung around into 4 columns and rode out of the fort while the band was playing. The point is: you can't get a 4-legged horse to do a left face, or right face, or about face. They would get their legs tied in knots. So they had to go through all those gyrations to go from a facing line into 4 columns. Maybe the folks at MCRD thought we were a bunch of jackaszes.

Also, I was one of the few to go from a Sergeant to a Corporal without doing anything to be demoted. My DD214, at the end of January, 1959, after three years of active duty says "Sergeant, E-4". My discharge at the end of January, 1962, after 3 years of very inactive reserve says "Corporal, E-4". I know it's the same pay grade, but it d-mn sure isn't the same rank. I believe there were provisions to give some time for a person to advance to the next rank before being set back a stripe. But that was impossible to do in the inactive reserve.

Joe Shaw 158----

None Of The Kids Want It

Sgt. Grit,

World War II brought about ARMED FORCES RADIO SERVICE and they got popular and unknown singers and others to perform songs, record them and play them for us in the far corners of the earth, wherever we were, Armed Forces Radio was there blaring out music and all kinds of entertainment for us. Singers like The Andrews Sisters, Count Basie, Glen Miller, Jo Stafford and a host of others sang songs like; "Its been a Long, Long Time", "Atchison Topeka and Sante Fe", "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "That Old Black Magic" and they even stole songs from the Germans like; "Aud Weidersehn, Sweetheart". Many of us came back with a song meaning more Just Because!

Then Korea came along with smaller radios and other songs like; "Candy", "G.I. Jive" but also some Japanese performers were sending out their songs to enliven our days, like; "Yokohoma Momma", "Con Con Mousimai", "Tokyo Boogie Woogie", "Gomenasai" played by that king of Japanese Swing; "Harry Kari and His Six Saki Sippers".

Shortly after Korea Rock and Roll Came into being and we blasted the Jungles of Vietnam with it. I remember guys carrying guitars with them (like we didn't carry enough stuff) during WWII, Korea and Vietnam and it goes on today.

The funny part of this is that Music was always a big part of our fighting Wars and it would seem that the museums of today would have a place where you could hear that music that was played during the Battle for Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the Battle for Seoul and Frozen Chosin, even going into Vietnam and the Tet Offensive with all the Helicopters and Planes even blasting music during their going into battle.

Now today the new Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have new songs and music they burn the ears of the enemy with, who believe the Music is the Music of the Devil.

If you're asking how do I remember this minuscule parts of War? Well my Wife said, "You have to get rid of some of that junk, none of the kids want it." I find records of Hari Kari and his Six Saki Sippers, Glen Miller, Betty Hutton and others. Most haven't been played in over 40 or 50 years, but reading the title of the records bring back the memories.

I gave most of my War Souvenirs and Marine Collection to a Museum - this was stuff they didn't want so I sat in the garage, listened to old music with some Cold Beer.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired​

Lost And Found

Sgt. Grit,

One of my DIs from platoon 2063 at Parris Island back in the summer of 1981 was Sgt. Juseff Mohamed Ishmail. I read somewhere recently that he passed away in a non-combat related incident back in the 1990's I believe and had been promoted to Staff Sergeant before the time of his death. I was wondering if any fellow jarheads had served with Staff Sergeant Ishmail and knows how he died?

Semper Fi
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 weapons platoon

I'm looking for a lost buddy. His name is Jose Luiz Quinones. We were both in 7th Engineers at Camp Pendleton, 1978, 79, and 80. He was in Bulk Fuel and I was in the construction shop. His birthday is March 7th, 1957-58. Thank you.

Maria Colmenres

This in regard to DB Wright and his BLANK CHECK story. I too was a member of HMM-261 when we left New River NC aboard the USS Thetis Bay and joined the Cuban blockade and then to DaNang where we disembarked as a Squadron for my first of 3 tours in Vietnam. That was my last tour as a unit. After that I returned to Vietnam on individual orders to Marble Mountain and was assigned to VMO-2 where I went on flight pay as a door gunner on UH-1E helicopters to receive 4 Air Medals and Combat Air Crewmans Wings. After 13 months I returned to CONUS and an 11 month tour of duty in Hawaii and then back to Nam and Chu Lai to round out my 8 years and 2 months as a SSgt of Marines. While with VMO-2 I spent some time at Dong Ha, Phu Bai and Khe Sanh. Would like to hear from anyone connected to any of those outfits and duty stations. Reply at Roger R Everline, 13 Jefferson Ct, Millville, NJ or by e-mail: datroll59[at]

Look forward to hearing from any Marines that knew me or even some that didn't know me but were in those units.

Roger Everline
SSgt of Marines
Semper Fi


7th Engineer Battalion Vietnam Veterans' 2015 Reunion

2015 Marks the 50th Anniversary of the 7th Engineer Battalion's Deployment to Vietnam.

Reunion – Branson, MO – September 17 – 20, 2015

The United States Marine Corps 7th Engineer Battalion Vietnam Veterans Association will be holding its 17th annual reunion at the Radisson Hotel Branson located on the strip in Branson, MO. For Room reservations, call the Hotel at 417-335-5767 or 888-566-5290. Group code is 7th Engineer Battalion. Group rate is $93 + tax per night for single/double traditional room or $139 + tax per night for a Leisure Suite. Complimentary parking. More info:

For registration information, visit and look under REUNIONS on Home Page or contact Norm Johnson at 989-635-6653, Doug McMackin at 623-466-0545, or Jim Taranto at 518-567-4267.


A good friend and a hell of a Marine passed away Friday... Saint Peter and Col. Chesty open the gates and call out the guard; a hard fighting, beer drinking, Christian Man has come to reside with you.

First Sergeant Robert Lacourse joined the Navy at the start of WW II and had his destroyer sunk at Guadalcanal by a Japanese sub. Making it ashore he was cared for by Marines. When he left he told his new found friends that when the war was over he was joining the "Corps". When Bob left the canal he volunteered for submarine duty and returned to the war in the Pacific.

True to his word he joined the Marine Corps and served two tours in Korea, one of which was at the "Chosin Reservoir".

Fair winds and following seas "Sarge".

Capt. T. L. Johnson, Jr.
United States Marine Corps (Ret.)

Short Rounds

Got a thrill in the last newsletter when I saw my Platoon from Boot - San Diego, Platoon #1149. But I went through in 1966; Sr. D.I. SSgt. Norton, D.I. Sgt. Jester., D.I. Sgt. Armor.

Cpl. Wm. Reed
'66 - '69

Sgt Grit,

Here is a quote for you:

We have done so much, with so little, for so long that now they expect us to do everything, with nothing, forever!

Mike Thornton
Captain of Marines
'70 - '78​


I would like to take a small space of this publication to welcome the newly graduated Marines from MCRD San Diego. Third Bn Mike Co. They graduated 24 April. Well done Marines! Welcome Aboard!

PFC Kevin Whalen we are proud of you.

Sgt. Jeff Wolven
USMC (currently un-assigned)

My M-1... 2428103.

Bill McDermott


"Still one thing more, fellow citizens — a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circles of our felicities."
--Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address [March 4, 1801]

"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"
--LtGen Chesty Puller, USMC

"Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one's conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one's own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom [1944]​

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
--Samuel Adams (1776)

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
--Thomas Paine, Common Sense [1776]

"The more MARINES I have around the better I like it!"
--Gen Mark Clark, U.S. Army

"Do all of the squat loopies in the known universe plus another for the Corps, the Commandant, and Chesty."

"​Have an outstanding Marine Corps day!"

"STAY OFF THE SKYLINE!" (with the appropriate emphasis of the day)

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

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