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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 31 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats
• Honoring An Old Corps Warrior
• Brand New M-14s

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Be safe and let's all march forward into 2016 with confidence, honor, and pride!

Semper Fi

Enlisted Rank Display

These photos were sent in by MGySgt Isaiah Price from Easley, SC. His display of his Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Signs is simply outstanding!

Get your very own today at:

Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Sign

Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats

I entered the Corps in Oct. 1963 and was discharged from active duty Oct. 1967. I served with the 2nd Marines for two inputs which included sitting off the coast of Cuba on a LST 1174 (Grant County) waiting for the word to load onto the landing craft. That day was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear war. A lot of people don't know this. Point is, in my pack were 3 boxes of C-Rats with a 1945 date. Not thinking too much about it, we were glad to have anything to keep from going without. True, some of the boxes (B-2 = B-3 units) were disgusting, but adding the can of jam made it palatable. Barely! In 1966, I was sent to Viet Nam as one of the first replacements for the initial landing party that first put troops on the ground in mass. The 7th Marines were my new brothers. Our base was around the airstrip at Chu Lai for the most part, excluding the 32 operations, sweeps and 30 plus days at the DMZ. Back to the main point, the only food we ever saw was C-Rats (1945) when we were in the field and B-rats if we were in the Battalion area, which was very few times. I served 13 months with the 7th Marines and yes, we were winning when I left. I'd like to thank DDick for the short paragraph this month. Some of his stories should be bound and sold as a book. I left the 'Nam in March 1967 and finished my tour at Quantico with Forced Demonstration Troops. The six months that I was there I only saw C-Rats if we were in the field, so yes C-Rats were present during that period. I hope everybody has a great Holiday and God Bless the Marine Corps.

Brad Hutchenrider
Sgt of Marines

The Old Breed

These are pictures of my El Camino in our local parade. Got the emblems from you. Last week I had a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the front fender. At a gun show last week a Marine from Calif. had to have it, so I sold it to him. Wish he could have waited l week. I am in the lst MAR AIRWING and the Old Breed.

Semper Fi
Kenn Kemper

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Having succeeded in stirring up a sh-tstorm with my commentary on antique rations, will comment on something that changed in the labeling of the Meal, Combat, Individual in early '66... we usually got four full cases (4X12 = 48) up to the platoon position (1stPlt, K/3/5)... we usually had, counting our two corpsmen, a strength of 45. This meant that there were (usually) three "extra" rations. Although distribution was ordinarily the guide's job, the 'extras' were another issue (pun intended)... as the Plt Sgt, I arbitrarily decreed that the Plt Hq folks, including the Lt and myself were not in the competition. The remaining meals were left in an otherwise empty case, shuffled about, with the lable side down. Each squad leader got to pick one... and how it was shared within his squad was up to him. This worked fine for a few weeks, until some sillyvillian back in the land of the big PX got the bright idea to improve things by labeling both the top and bottom flaps of the box... wiped out what I thought was a fair and just system... the law of unintended consequences in action!

For SSGT Carl Turner... yo, hoss... it didn't all happen in '67-'68... DDICK was there '66-'67 (K/3/5 and H&S 1st TKs), and '69-'70 (FLSG B, Dong Ha/Quang Tri/Red Beach, last six months as OIC of LSU-1 at AnHoa... guess what we issued beaucoup tons of? (besides ammo?)... and I still say BS. Suggest you find a retired food services officer (mostly mustangs... while a mustang, my MOS's are mostly ordnance)... and tell him to his face that he was negligent in his duties... also suggest you find a remedial course in reading/comprehension...


Infantry Unit Leaders

Sgt. Grit,

Great article by Ms. Karen Peden and we 0369 (Infantry Unit Leaders) can attest to her story. We didn't sleep cause we just couldn't, we were responsible to our troops, you can't wake up to a situation and be able to make a quick decision, sure you have your OP and LPs out, but what if they fell asleep. Most of us former 'Nam 0369's are in our late 60's to early 70's and I will bet we only sleep five hours a night now, yet we are the lucky ones or was it that we never slept!

Semper Fi
Nam 03/67 - 10/68

1st LAAM Bn Around DaNang

If any of your readers could assist me in finding the following book, I would really appreciate it: "Heart of the Third Sector Hill 55" by George Hill. Even Amazon said they did not think they could obtain the book. Stan Buliszyn from HAWK Association told me about it. It is about 1st LAAM Bn around DaNang. I know Ron was at DaNang and I remember him mentioning Hill 55--I really want that book!

On a different note, I talked to a Marine last night at the American Legion/ VFW Christmas party. She had also been stationed at Ron's last duty unit in Fresno (which has since moved to Lemoore Naval Air Station). She is now a member of Marine Detachment 14 in Fresno. She knew I had been a WAC Lt. and was the Historian in my American Legion post and informed me that I could join the detachment as a Marine spouse associate. I had no clue I could have any type of membership in that Marine organization and am seriously considering joining since I am very partial to Marines!

Karen Balske

I Know... What I Don't Know

I know that I liked the beans and franks, hot or cold. I know that I liked boned chicken, hot or cold (if you could scoop off the fat with something). I know that ham and eggs were great if you used a good amount of Tabasco. I know that, no matter how much Tabasco you added, ham and lima beans were a medical disaster and were the reason that toilet paper was added to the box. I know that turkey loaf was one step above ham and moth... sorry lima beans. I know spaghetti with sauce was outstanding hot or cold. I know that as a non-smoker, four little cigarettes were traded for whatever you wanted. I know that warming anything with mortar increments was a bad idea.

What I don't know or remember was how much liquid you have to have available to wash down pound cake. I remember the word "dense" when I think of pound cake. What I don't know or remember is was it the chocolate discs that plugged you up or the cheese, or the other way around. What I don't know or remember was if you got ham and lima beans AND the cheese in the same box, was there enough toilet paper. What I don't know or remember is why in the world would a person actually think of adding salt to the pork slices.

'Nam '69-'70

Honoring An Old Corps Warrior

Col. Mark Roy of Denton County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Hanson, Collin County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, honoring Pfc. Hanse Hamilton, Jr. Iwo Jima Purple Heart, 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment. Radio Operator.

Paul Hamilton

Just Three Ribbons

Sgt. Grit,

In a movie some years ago one of the actors said: "I'VE BEEN AROUND, YOU KNOW" and I've thinking of that while sitting here at my computer. I wish I had a computer back in 1944 when I was Young and Dumb. There was a War going on and I just had to be in it. So I enlisted and served at Guam some months after the Invasion, I served at Okinawa during the Invasion. I don't want people to think I landed there, but I was aboard ship watching the Battle going on through a telescope a Sailor had mounted (most of the time Officers were at the scope but if you waited you could find a spot late at night) usually shells bursting and all the rifle and Machine Gun fire you could see a bit of what was going on. After the War and I came home, my Record Book said I rated the Asiatic and Pacific Battle Ribbon with two Battle Stars.

Now in those days you didn't get ribbons for much so when I came home I had but three ribbons with two stars in the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon and the World War II Victory Ribbon. Only Heroeos (as I remember it) came home covered in Ribbons and Medals. BUT, I did have my Rifle Experts Badge and my Pistol Experts Badge (which was the ladder kind) where an Audie Murphy Type could string all kinds of award ladders like Machine Gun, Carbine, Rocket Launcher). But, you had to Qualify for these weapons to get the ladder pieces. But my poor Brother who had went in to the Navy in 1942 and was on the U.S.S. Sperry, a Submarine Tender which went all over the Pacific Ocean and Serviced Submarines, dodged Japanese Torpedoes and such, came home with just three ribbons, no stars, no nothing but three Ribbons.

I read and heard later the Department of the Navy was going to do something about that, but never did. So many men that Served in Battles didn't Quality for a Battle Star. 'Tis a Bit different Now, ribbons for nearly everything which is only Fair because they Served Their country in some capacity.

GySgt. F. L. ROUSSEAU, USMC Retired

No Apparent Reason

Joined Aug. 6th 1953, six of us from Miami, OK, were sent to SD boot and there were 3 yahoos from New Jersey who had joined together and really thought they were BAD dudes... joint beat downs of individuals... sucker punching etc... Never bothered the Okies too much for no apparent reason. We were coming back from mess duty at the rifle range at Camp Matthews... we're at route step so gabbing all the way. They chose that time to grab and spread eagle me and offer me severe punishment for no apparent reason. One of the other Okies stepped up and said this has gone on long enough... if you don't want to get hurt it ends here. They laughed which was big big mistake... he punched one in the face... kicked another in his family jewels and turned to the third and said if this goes on you will be badly hurt. End of scene. I never understood why the DI hadn't intervened, but guess he just wanted to see how it worked out. Of course one of the Jr. DI's heard about it and started riding Thom... said could you take me etc. etc... never when Sr. was present, but always when he wasn't. We were qualifying and living in the tents and one day he pushed too hard so Thom took him in an empty tend and kicked his butt...left marks and scars, so Sr. DI found out... asked him what happened then asked Thom why and was told he will not leave it alone. After telling him, the offending DI, how dumb he was... he was transferred and we never heard about him again. Incidentally the 3 hoods became excellent Marines and found no reason to cause trouble thereafter...

Sgt Don Wackerly

Brand New M-14s

Picture of me in front of a banyan tree across the street from my barracks at Kaneohe Bay around the end of 1962 or early '63. I had just returned from the first PRT that was required by the Commandant for all Marines. My squadron, VMA 212 were issued the brand new M-14s to run the course. You can see that it still had a plastic protector over the bore. I recall a rumor going around at the time that the new 7.62 ammo for the M-14 was not powerful enough to even make a hole in the targets at 200 yards. I had a problem with my 14 on qualification day when the flash suppressor set screws came loose. My rounds were all over the target before the armorer figured it out by pointing to the brass streaks the rounds made as they left the barrel. Never had that problem with my M-1. With a clip and two rounds, watch your target, TARGET! BAM,BAM, clink; re-load with a full eight rounds and put all ten in the black at 500 yards. Nothing to worry about coming loose and the .30 caliber always made a hole.

Norm (Spoof) Spilleth
Cpl. E-4, '60-'64

Tired, Cold, Hungry

Yes, he is out there.
Tired, cold, hungry, p-ssed off, filthy, aches all over that extra strength Tylenol can barely dent.
Humping a ruck that is way too heavy laden with cr-p that some Fobbit who has never been outside the wire thinks is necessary.
His gear is worn but serviceable, his weapons pristine.
He's sitting on the top of some worthless mountain in the middle of some worthless piece of real estate that nobody except politicians care for.

And while he is on that mountain top he is telling the world, "Come push me off, if you can, you son of a b-tch!"

And grinning while he does so.

So here's a Merry Christmas to you, my hero.
A Teenaged American Infantryman and all his mates.

They humble me.


They Are Still Being Used

A recruit of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, listens as his range coach reviews his shots and advises him at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Nov. 27. Recruits learn and apply shooting fundamentals during grass week and firing week. They will qualify on the last day of firing week.

Photo by Cpl Liz Gleason


I read all this about C-rats this and that... doesn't anyone remember K-rats? Seems to me we also had K-rats, which had the cig's included. In my 27 yrs, I've had C's, K's, and MRE's. The K's were the only ones with cigarettes. I'm 80 yrs old but still remember them.

God bless the Corps and have a happy New Year!

MSgt. B. Krieger

Things Change

Things change... supported M/4/11 for a while at An Hoa (1970), knew they were at 29 Palms in the mid late '70's... at the time, the batteries were operating M109A (something... kept changing with modifications to the tube, rammer, etc, for example A1, A2, A3)... also had some 8" and 175MM batteries there at the time. As of today, I don't think the Corps has any self-propelled arty most having gone away after Desert Storm... any 105's are strictly for saluting purposes, and some of the 155 batteries can be dual-purpose, having also some towed 4.2 mortars (used to usually be a 'Whiskey' battery... these are towed with a special small vehicle, called a 'growler', which can be carried internally in an Osprey... think it's a M1116, but don't quote me.) Had the opportunity to visit 11th Marines gun park at Las Pulgas (Pendleton) in August as part of 1stMarDiv Reunion... they ran a gun drill for us... pretty impressive, and the first time in my life saw a curved rammer staff used. I believe one battalion, probably 3/11 is more or less permanently at 29 Palms... and using a newer 155 (M777??)...

My bad... Growler is a M1161... cute lil' sucker... besides fitting inside an Osprey, read that it also can be 'stacked' (one on top of another... aboard ship, maybe?)... I can hear it now (from the Company Gunny...) "Platoon Sergeants... I want four men from each platoon to re-stack Growlers!"



Last month I found out Sgt. H. Ermish, Ret. Capt. (after 27 years) has died.

John A.

Short Rounds

Probably the worst thing found in C-rations was "white bread". It was dry and tasteless. The most embarrassing part was that it was made in my hometown of Kansas City.

Sgt. C. Jones
RVN '65-'66

Sgt. Grit,

The lady that wrote "The One That Slept The Least" has her sh-t together. Her article was written with great perception and accuracy for someone that wasn't there. She listens well and did a great job of explaining the job of a Marine infantry squad leader. A tough and demanding job.


Don't quite remember seeing a date on the c-rat box, probably cause I wasn't looking for it, however I did notice the pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes was green, not red and white, kind of gave it away.

Dick Watson
K-6 Korea, 1953
Semper Fi

I got a yellow boot camp sweatshirt for Christmas. I will wear it proudly just like I did in San Diego in June of 1968!

DJ Retired Gentleman, Golfer, and Man of Leisure

You Salty Marines please forgive this boot for the question that I must ask, but does anyone know how long a c-ration was designed to keep for? I have read the newsletter every week trying to determine what the outcome would be as to whether or not WWII C-rations were consumed by Vietnam War Marines. There is a span of about 20 plus years between the end of WWII and the widely recognized beginning year of the Vietnam War. Was the technology or the science that d-mn good back then that they could make a ration that would keep for 20 plus years?

I was in from '00-'07, deployed in '02 in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (GWOT). During my time I only had to endure consuming MRE's. Depending on the temperature that they were stored at, most MRE's had a shelf life between 1 month to 5 years. That's a long way off from the 20 year plus span of time of the C-ration... if accurate.

For you Vietnam War Marines, if you did have to endure the WWII C-rations... I'm just glad that you guys had some strong or should I say seasoned digestive systems and didn't fall victim to food poisoning.

Here's a link I found about the different types of rations issued since 1907.


Semper Fi,
J. Williams
Sgt of Marines


"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
--George Washington, 1790

"I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means."
--John Adams, 1776

"A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine."
--General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

"You people aren't even a mob, a mob has leader. You clowns are a heard. I'm going to get me a sheep dog."

"Today, you people are no longer maggots! You are Marines!"

"The navy and women wear pants; Marines wear trousers."

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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