Sgt Grit Newsletter - 6 AUG 2015

In this issue:
• Buckle Up Boys
• Maggot Would Never
• 50 Years Ago Walks In Your Door

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I live on the Big Island of Hawaii and have met a truly Tough Old Marine. I am a retired CW4 (ARMY), please do not hold this against me. I have enjoyed helping this Veteran and Patriot (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.) I am forwarding a picture of him in his uniform. He writes for numerous Marine periodicals and is truly remarkable. He is 90 years young and the first time I met him he was doing crunches and leg lifts on a weight bench. Enjoy his picture. GySgt Paul Moore had a remarkable career.

My Dream

I have a little story that I have sent out over the last few years. The E-Mail starts with a picture of me as a recruit, then a picture of a veteran leaning against the wall which is called Wait For Me.

The story goes:

There is a dream I have from time to time. I am walking over a small hill and there are shadows all around me. I see The Wall where all my friends are. There are lots of tears on this day. I turn and walk away. Then another day I walk over the small hill, and I can see all my friends in The Wall: Randy, Spanky, Jim, John, Jeff, Willie, Gunny Acton, Ski, and Doc. They all say, "C'mon Turk, the plt. is waiting, Saddle up and move out!" As I move into The Wall to join them there are no tears on this Day.

Wears. M.S. Sgt. USMC
Mike 3/5 Oct 1967 to March 1968.
Call sign "Terrible Turk"

Ba Na 1968

Sgt Grit, ref Jim Mackin's letter on the old French resort at Ba Na west of Danang, here are a couple of pictures taken in 1968. 1st Recon Bn used Ba Na as a radio relay site for teams operating in the western mountains. It was a beautiful site that gave a commanding view of the mountains and the coastal plains. It was a fairly secure site (tho' it was hit periodically, mostly after my time) and was a sort of in-country R&R for the recon teams, after humping all those vertical hills where we usually operated. It was also a lot cooler and more pleasant than the lowlands or the elephant grass. In the years since 1975, Ba Na has been rebuilt and is now a major resort and tourist attraction - you can google it for pictures and info. It looks great now, but there was something about the 'old' Ba Na that had more character. I guess you had to be there.

Fred Vogel
1st Recon Bn.
6/68 - 2/69

Chesty's Home

Was working in the little town of Saluda, Va yesterday. General Puller's home is for sale for $395,000... are any groups looking to purchase his home for a museum?

E. Hudson

Buckle Up Boys

After reading so many stories of NCO's piloting aircraft I felt it was time for one of my stories. Returning from Japan to VN in March 1967 by civilian air we landed at DaNang by circling over the airport with the wings vertical to the ground and when the approval to land came a straight swoop down and quick landing, best roller coaster ride ever (was sweating the whole time, could look straight down at DaNang throught the opposite window!). But the real fun began when leaving for Chu Lai from DaNang. We, about 7 or 8 or us, boarded an airplane with two engines, can't tell which one it was looked like WWII to me, painted OD Green. First a Captain boards after we all were strapped into the webbed seats. He starts the engines, talks to the tower, then turns off the engines and leaves. Next a Major, these are all Marine pilots, gets on and goes through the same procedure and leaves. We are all looking at each other questioning what was going on, when a 5' 2" one star General gets on says "buckle up boys, we're leaving! The others were too Chicken S**t to leave because there are snipers at the end of the runway! We all were appropriately shook up at the news, but he turned on the engines, flipped the plane around and without talking to the tower, just took off. The flight itself was pretty uneventful after that.

Also reminds me of the cessna being flown by a spotter who would always play Snoopy and the Red Baron on his loud speaker before landing to keep us from shooting at his plane. Just some memories of that time.

Forever and a Day,
Patrick Lally, Cpl E-4
RVN 1966 & 67

4th Marine Regiment

I stand corrected on the 4th Marines, and thank you Sgt Doran Cooper for setting me straight. The 4th Marines were reactivated in November 1952, at Camp Pendleton and shipped to Camp Nara, Japan in August 1953. One of my greatest pleasures was serving with the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines in 1976, under the command of Lt Colonial F. F. Powel. One of the best Battalion Commanders I have worked with during my career in the Corps.

My thanks go out to GySgt Hattox for the immense embarkation job of loading out the division for transportation to Vietnam. If it were not for the support personnel of the division; embarkation, supply, admin, and others the grunts would be stranded afloat at sea with no place to go. Most credit should go to the Corpsman and Naval medical staff who saved so many lives that could have been lost, the preparation and shipment of the remains of those killed, and to the Marine Reservist who had the unpleasant task of notification, and casualty assistance to the families of the Marines wounded and killed in the Vietnam War.

Also to MGySgt Mackin and the rest of the 1st Marine Division who participated in Operation Silver Lance who endured the cold wet nights that engulfed the division during those ten days. Oh what memories we have of chasing each other over the boonies at Camp Pendleton, California.

Herb Brewer
1st Sgt, (RET)

DIs Expected


I would like to clear up some of the "doubt" in the mind of Gerry Zanzalari, about a recruit calling cadence during boot camp. I also got my initial Marine Corps training in San Diego. And part of that training was learning to march a platoon. Those of us who were selected as squad leaders and platoon guide, were expected to be proficient at marching the platoon. Our DIs expected every one of us to, at some point in our careers, become DIs. And they wanted us to make them proud when we did. Even though I never did join in that proud group, I was often, during my 10 years of active duty, called upon to march a platoon in a parade or IG inspection. And, I did my DIs proud in every one of those instances! If Gerry did not get that training at PI, then I think that he may be over rating the "reputation" of that esteemed institution. Or, maybe he just slept through that part of his training!

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82

Young Enough To Be Dazzled

Sgt. Grit,

In my 88th year I have lots to look back on. A movie came out while I was still young enough to be dazzled by the Glory of it; “GUADALCANAL DIARY”, starring William Bendix, Lloyd Nolan, Preston Foster. All old guys most of you don’t know about. William Bendix always played the cool, not so smart, good guy, Lloyd Nolan played hard tough guys, Preston Foster play cool upper class guy with all the smarts needed to get you though the worst. From the book by Richard Tregaskis, it was the first war movie to come out about the Pacific War, in 1943. I saw it when it came out and it determined where I wanted to go the next year when I turned 17 years of age. I was so worried (and you heard and read this a lot) the war would end before I got in, trained and over there. The war waited for me and my memory is still sharp about my service in Guam and Okinawa and my twenty years service that included Korea and Vietnam.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired.

Thoughts And Prayers

Sgt. Grit

Once again my heart is broken with the recent deaths of those four young Marines, and the Navy Petty Officer, at the hands of an Islamic terrorist! This time however it was on our own soil, and they were helpless to defend themselves. When are we going to say enough is enough? I was so proud to see many armed civilian volunteers showing up to help guard the recruiting offices!

During my many years as a Reserve Marine with both 1/25 and HQCO 25th Mar, I'm sure I worked with that Reserve Artillery Bn 3/14, and they were always professional, and on target!

My thoughts and prayers are with them, and their families!

Semper Fi
MSGT Paul Culliton

Enlisted Pilot

I was a jet mech at El Toro in 1967, VMA 214. While on the Check Crew, working on one of our A4C's, a bunch of the guys in the hangar went outside for some unknown reason at the time. I continued working in one of the 'hell holes' until I finished what I was working on. When I got out, somebody said that there was an enlisted pilot on the flight line. I had never heard of such a thing!

When I went out to look, he was leaving so I never got close to see him or hear anything he said. There were many of the Officers and Staff NCO's as well as some of us boots watching him leave. That is the closest I ever came to seeing one of the Enlisted Pilots, and shame on me for not going out earlier...but I had a job to do and that took me away from some history of the Marine Corps.

Still wish I knew more about him! Anyone out there remember this? I am certain it was early 1967 as 214 had just returned from WesPac and most of us were just out of school from Memphis.

I was with 214 for a couple of years doing a stint in the Squadron Office as well, finally as the Admin Chief as a Cpl when the Gunny retired. Then up to MAG 33 Hq as the Legal Chief until 1970 when I got off active duty. Good times and many memories.

Semper Fi
Erv Paulson
1966-70 active
1970-76 active reserve, SSgt finally

Maggot Would Never

I have to agree that a maggot would never be LEADING a run while calling cadence. (His DIs would be somewhere around the formation. BUT, a maggot calling cadence could, and did happen.)

In 1962 while returning from the rifle range, I could make up stuff as we ran, and I had a loud voice, so my DIs said: “Pvt. Krause, take “em home”. And I did, more than once.

BUT, this WAS NOT on the Grinder; just on the way back to the tents.

Denny Krause
Sgt. '62-'68
RVN '65

Regain His Weapon

This came from making up a running cadence on the fly at MCSSS in 1989:

No junk food, just earthly goods
I lost my rifle in the woods
The First Sergeant, he is burning me
Leavenworth Kansas is where I'll be

Take in on the left foot... you know the rest.

In MCT, an inspecting Colonel walked up to a Marine in my platoon who happened to be sleeping. The Colonel gingerly reached down and worked his M-16A2 out of his arms without waking him. It was like watching a horror movie, hoping he woke in time, but knowing he wouldn't. The Colonel presented the rifle to our platoon Sgt. and pointed out where he got it. What came next? Fog of war, what else? The private could regain his weapon and avoid charges, but he had to low crawl in front of the entire platoon aligned on interval. He made it and took possession of his rifle, but he paid for it in spades. After that? The rest of the platoon had no choice but to acknowledge that he was the toughest of us all. The Colonel, of course, ordered our platoon sergeant to write him up, but he gave him a chance in time honored tradition. I don't remember his name, but know that I would be happy to have him at my back to this very day.

Raines, Paul D., LCpl, one each

Respected Reputation

Dear Mr. Zanzalari, I did read your contribution to the Sgt Grit Newsletter which was dated 29 July 2015. I read, and paid special attention to, your comment: "Far more respected reputation as a recruit depot" referring to PI as opposed to MCRD San Diego.

I have come to the conclusion that you are dumber than a box of pop flares and are obviously talking out your a-s because your mouth knows better. Our Marines from MCRD San Diego did not do anything different than the Marines who graduated from PI. We are excellent shots, we are great with a Ka-bar, we are proud, and we are members of the Corps having earned the title. So bite me.

P.S. I was worried Sgt Grit would not print this but he went to MCRD San Diego too.

Best Regards

SSgt D J Huntsinger
Very proud graduate of MCRD San Diego

50 Years Ago Walks In Your Door

George Erl and I (on left in both photos) were inseparable in Marine Corps radio school at MCRD San Diego in 1965. We went to different units in Vietnam right after this picture taken in Danang in 1966. We didn't see each other again for 50 years until he walked into our restaurant last Thursday with an old photograph in his hand and asked the hostess, "Where's Hite?" I guarantee that we won't lose touch with each other again!

S/Sgt M. Hite
RVN 66-67, 69-70

Lost And Found

Charlie Company. 3rd Marines Quang Tri 1968

I'm not a Marine grunt, but an Army grunt finishing up 20 years, but bumped into Marine Infantrymen in Iraq off and on doing the same door to door operations in Baghdad as we were doing.

I've searched the internet and left messages at respective web sites trying to find out more information about my 4th cousin, whom I never knew. He was killed by fratricide in the Quang Tri Province, Vietnam December 8th, 1968. Jerry Lynn Owens. Born May 1st, 1948.

Most of the family never knew that he was killed by friendly fire until the internet came out and I was searching for info. "Misadventure" as they called it. Just another bull sh-t word. But one of his battle buddies left the attached photo on one of the sites. Most of the family that knew Jerry do not remember which one in the photo he is. The other family members are dead or do not reply. In 2002, I spoke with Jerry's brother's wife. Our family is so spread out, no one had photos to share. Just trying to track down some photo to put a name to a face, so no one in the family will forget. Some of whom have already forgotten. Thanks.

Civilian email: david.hickman53[at]


SFC Hickman, David
G3 Training, Exercise Branch
1 Rock Island Arsenal
Rock Island, IL 61299-8100

Office: 309-782-9933
Cell: 309-297-1847

In 1960 Richard W. Henderson from Hammond, IN and I joined the Marine Corp together. After boot camp we went in different directions. I believe he went into communications or sea duty. I have tried everything I can think of and cannot locate him, I even checked the Vietnam Wall on the computer and could not find him listed there, thank goodness.

This year we are having our 55th High School Class Reunion the end of August, probably our last, and still no one can locate him.

Thank you,
L/CPL Marvin L. Gillim, Jr
1908xxx, 1960 thru 1963 active duty

Short Rounds

On one of our last runs on P.I., the heavy asked if anyone could call cadence and one or two recruits jumped out. Sgt. Bob Cavanaugh
Plt. 2057 summer of 1987

I remember the Ribbon Creek Incident. I was a recruit platoon 27 4th Bn when the incident happen. I graduated recruit training on 14 April 1956. If I can remember correctly our drill instructors had us in formation counting bodies. The Commandant at the time was General Randolph McCall Pate.

MSgt Bill Dugan USMC Retired
Semper Fi
God Bless America

Chatanooga Marine Funeral
Footage of Lance Cpl. Skip Wells' funeral procession.

I did not read the article from 1stSgt Herb Brewer but I do know that the 4th Marines did not set foot on US soil in 1965. A battalion of 4th Marines was surrendered at Wake Island during WWII by a naval officer and was not permitted to be on US soil for a long time. In 1965 the 4th Marines were among the first to land in Vietnam. Before that, their Regt was based on Okinawa. They acquitted themselves during the Vietnam War and eventually their Colors were allowed to come back to California.

The Magnificent Bastards.
Jim Stelling 1stSgt of Marines-Retired.

Army Officer Sums Up What Makes Marines Different

ENLISTED PILOTS: 1962, I think, 1st Amtracs, Kaneohe, Hawaii. First Sgt. Winters became our new First. He had been a pilot and became too old to fly. I’m not sure if he was a jet jockey but I am sure he drove F4U’s because he had a model of one on his desk. He was the best Top I ever had, a true gentleman. A couple of months later an article in Leatherneck Magazine told about him and the other enlisted pilots that time that now had to fly a desk. The end of a legend.

CPL. Selders


"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
--George Washington (1796)

"A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country."
--Tex Guinan

"So long as our Corps fields such Marines, America has nothing to fear from tyrants, be they Fascists, Communists or Tyrants with Medieval Ideology. For we serve in a Corps with no institutional confusion about our purpose: To fight! To fight well!"
--General James 'Maddog' Mattis

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival."

"There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
--Winston Churchill

"Now this award can never be mine – And because we are members of the same tribe, every one of you knows what I will say next... For I am grateful & humbled to be singled out with you tonight."
--General James 'Maddog' Mattis

Standing by to stand by

Let no man's ghost say if they had only done their job

"Lean Green Fighting Machine"

God Bless the American Dream!
Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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