Sgt Grit Newsletter - 01 JUN 2016

In this issue:
• A Gamble They Don't Mind Taking
• Life On Deployment Is Different
• Welcome Home To All

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Summer of Love Plt 286 Ken Martin

The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Although hippies also gathered in major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe, San Francisco remained the center of the hippie movement. [1] Like its sister enclave of Greenwich Village, the city became even more of a melting pot of politics, music, drugs, creativity, and the total lack of sexual and social inhibition than it already was. As the hippie counterculture movement came further forward into public awareness, the activities centered thereon became a defining moment of the 1960s, [2] causing numerous 'ordinary citizens' to begin questioning everything and anything about them and their environment as a result... source: WIKIPEDIA.

Ah Yes, I remember the Summer of Love! That's me, 2nd row up, from the left #7 and my Neighbor/buddy is 3rd row up #9 from the left... Gene Woodard ended up with 3/7.

Ken Martin
RVN '68-'69

Old Corps Marine

Guy Timberman Old Corps

Grandfather, Guy Timberman, aka, Rattlesnake O'Grady.

A Lieseke

A Gamble They Don't Mind Taking

Sgt. Grit,

I think I ran into another fake Marine this past weekend, but I was not 100% sure so I tempered my reaction. My future son-in-law and I were in Lowes looking over lawn mowers and weed-whackers when this strange looking guy next to us who was intently studying the weed-whacker line, butted into our conversation over the charging time of the batteries for the weed-whackers. He proceeded to explain to us that you could charge one battery while using the other battery in the tool – really? I was not aware of that dude, but being the nice guy that I am, I thanked him for the info as we picked out the tool we wanted. I was wearing my yellow Sgt. Grit "Tough Old Marine" cover and for the first time this guy made eye contact with me and said "Semper Fi". I turned back around and said, "Semper Fi, brother." Several people over the years who were not themselves a Marine have said "Semper Fi" to me as a form of respect to the Corps and because this chap did not look like a Marine (he just did not past the eye test). I suspected this might be the case and so I asked him if he was a Marine. He replied yes he was and just turned back around. I then asked him what his MOS was and after a slight delay he replied, "oh... I was in the Military Police... I was an MP." He then asked me "what did you do in the Marines," to which I replied that I was an 0331 Machine Gunner, and he looked away and mumbled, "yeah machine gunner, machine gunner." I then asked him where he was stationed and he pretended he did not hear me, so I looked at my future son-in-law and he saw the tension and quickly reminded me that I wanted to get a new extension cord. As we walked away, he said to me, "that guy was a fake, even I could tell." I replied that he sure seemed like it to me and that the guy knew I was on to him when I started asking him questions that he knew he could not correctly answer.

I know these goofballs are out there all over the place and I realize they bullsh-t people all the time, but for the life of me I just can't understand why they continue to lie to real Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen. Don't they realize they are going to get caught? A lot of them study the military and the idiosyncrasies of the different branches of the service and so they know quite a bit about the military, but because they are phonies there are just too many things they don't know and never could know. I guess it's a gamble they don't mind taking. Semper Fi Jarheads!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt

Life On Deployment Is Different

I was on Steel Pike too! General Blachford - had liberty in the Canary Islands - Las Palmas. Good memories - I was on Staff Mess and my buddy Gary was on guard duty. Weather was a real story and we hit a squall in the North Atlantic. Gary was real water logged after walking the deck, and I laughed at him and called him a drowned rat. But, alas - I had to empty G I cans on the fantail - went out with a heavy rope around my waist - and the Mess Sgt. told me if I drop the G I can over the fantail - then he would cut the rope around me with a fire axe! Scary to be out there alone - more scary in the dark at night. We survived and back at Cherry point after it was over we tried to learn from our experiences. The mess Sgt. and I met numerous times while I was at Cherry Point - but the life on a deployment is different from the daily base routine.

Glad to receive the newsletter and we will all have deep thoughts over Memorial Day. The Vietnam War is over and I still have arguments with people that think "Freedom is Free"? I hope one day we all live in peace - but until that day - I will have differences of opinions with the sorry souls that never had the chance to be a United States Marine - and was ready to give his or her all for the United States of America.

Semper Fi!

Bruce Bender
Vietnam Era Marine
Member of the Marine Corps League
Detachment 240

The Flag Pole

Cpl Grosshans U.S. Flag on a pole side view

Semper Fi to my brother and sister United States Marines!

I served from July 1986 – July 1990 and my oldest son served from October 2011 – October 2015. We both went through MCRDSD; at some point I will share some stories! I have received the Sgt. Grit newsletter for several years now but this is the first time I have submitted a letter. I have always meant to write but life has a funny way of keeping me busy and my time is limited. However, in this situation something happened to me and I had to share this very moving story with my fellow Marines. Now I normally have a very low tolerance for people in general! Life has taught me that most people are rude, inconsiderate, selfish and/or self-centered. For example, just look at all of the poser stories that have been submitted over the years in this newsletter! However once in a great while someone comes along and proves my theory wrong and reminds me that there are still decent human beings among us though they are few and far between. So let me tell you a story...

I am extremely proud of my USMC service and the fact my oldest son is also a Marine just increases that pride. I decided to put a Rock & Rose garden in my front yard in commemoration to the Corps. I purchased 10 rose bushes, 5 red Lincolns and 5 gold roses to represent the Marine Corps colors of scarlet and gold. I also decided to put in a flag pole so I can proudly fly the U.S. and USMC flags. Last April my wife and I stopped by the local Home Depot. We were looking for some additional plants to spruce up the outside of the house and while we were there we found a 20' flag pole with a nice US flag included in the kit, but I was a little hesitant on making the purchase as the price was $130 and I know I could probably find one cheaper. (Sorry Sgt. Grit, I went through a competitor but in life things happen for a reason!) However, I wanted to get this project completed so we decided to purchase the flag pole kit. As we got to the counter to pay I asked the cashier if they offer the veterans discount. I had my "Once a Marine Always a Marine" baseball cap on, but I still expect to hear that I will need a picture ID. Before I can respond or say anything the gentleman directly behind us says, "Hold on, I got that!" At first I wasn't sure I heard him correctly but I still said, "no, that's not necessary." He said, "Yes, I want to buy that for you." Again I declined and told him I appreciated the offer but he didn't need to do that. Again he insisted and said, "Are you kidding? I have the honor of buying a U.S. flag for a Marine?!" At this point I feel a daze start to come over me as this has completely caught me off guard! He again said he wanted to do this for me and then he stuck out his hand and thanked me for my service. I am numb and I have chills running all up and down my arms and I am almost to the point of tears! (Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Gather would have PT'd me until he was tired if he'd seen me lose my bearing like that!) My wife is in tears and the cashier is standing there with wide eyes and her jaw on the counter and all she can whisper is, "Holy cow!" I thanked him and shook his hand and told him my name; he gave me his and said he was happy to do this for me.

I'm convinced I looked like a blubbering idiot to anyone who witnessed the incident and had no idea what was going on! I even felt that I looked like a fool as I shook his hand a couple more times and continued to thank him! Honestly, other than being able to thank the gentleman I was totally speechless and I didn't know what else to say! I wished there had been a way I could have told him how much his gesture meant to me as nothing like this has ever happened in my life! I've had beers bought for me to thank me for my service and my wife and I have had breakfast bought for us, but this was a $130 flag pole kit and things like this just don't happen every day! It was just so surreal. I am still amazed it happened, but what an awesome experience! The Pictures don't do it justice; I will send more when the roses bloom...

Grosshans, Michael D
Cpl. Of Marines
"Forged on the anvil of discipline"

Welcome Home To All

Sgt Grit,

In your newsletter of 19 May 2016 a Paul Gill asked if anyone else had checked to see if any of their buddies from Boot had their names on The Wall. You had mentioned that you had researched your own platoon and found several of the Marines were listed on it. A few years ago, I too checked the Virtual Wall against my Platoon Book for Platoon 3014 San Diego in 1968. We started Boot in June and graduated in August 1968. By July of 1969 four of the men I had served with in Boot Camp had been KIA in Vietnam. I think that there might have been a fifth man, but I am unsure as in my book it only lists his last name and a first initial, with no complete name in my book.

When the traveling wall came to my area, I was able to visit it and see where their names are etched on it. I was very moved by seeing The Traveling Wall and would love to one day be able to go to D.C. to see the one there.

Welcome Home to all Vietnam Marines and also Welcome Home to those of us who served somewhere else in the world in support. I myself am of the latter type of Marine. I do thank the Vietnam Veterans of America for honoring all Veterans no matter where they served during the Vietnam War and saying that all could become members in full standing. Thank you also for your wonderful newsletter and online store.

Semper Fi,
Vietnam Era Marine
Sgt Carl Conkling

The John Wayne, P-38

Sgt. Grit,

Got one more post for this week. I was talking to a few guys I work with about C-Rations and the question came of how the cans were opened. Most of the people I was talking with believed that the can had pop-top openings. I replied that the cans were sealed on both ends and that we used a "John Wayne" that most of us just hung on our dog-tag chains. Several of the guys asked what the h-ll a "John Wayne" was and I explained that it was officially called a P-38 can opener, but that we referred to it as a John Wayne. When they asked me why it was so named, I could not explain, because quite frankly I had never even thought much about it. Can any Jarhead expand on this subject? Semper Fi.

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Platoon

Memorial Day

On Monday, May 30, our country honors all who served in our armed forces. Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war. Today, that commemoration includes all American men and women who died while in military service.

For many of us, Memorial Day is the kick off to summer, a day off work. We plant flowers in the yard, host barbeques on the patio, or have picnics in the park. Whatever way you choose to spend your Memorial Day weekend, please don't forget why we observe it.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
--Ronald Reagan

Bruce Bender
Cpl USMC 1963-1967
Vietnam Era Marine

Marine Shooting Badges

Hey Grit,

Just responding to Marine Ron Hoffman's query about his pistol medal. Ron, if you want to find out everything that you qualify for (ribbons, medals & badges) from your service in the Marine Corps, you can request this from the national archives at eVetRecs Homepage or you can write to them.

The address is:
NARA | e-Vetrecs

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138-1002

From the national archives, you can get your DD-214 and request your Service Record Book (SRB). When I got mine a few years back, they sent a cover sheet with your SRB called Transmittal of and/or entitlement to awards (NAVPERS 1650/96). They sent me all of my medals except the Kuwait Liberation Medal (SAUDI) one. They even sent me one that I became eligible for after I got off active duty. However, they do not send you the shooting badges or ribbon only awards (like a sea service deployment ribbon). You can purchase your shooting badges at Rifle Shooting Badges or Pistol Shooting Badges. Looks like most of the shooting badges cost around 12 bucks. As for if you rate the badge, when you get your SRB from vetrecs, you can go to your page entitled Weapons Firing Record, Competitive Marksmanship (NAVMC 118). That will list your dates and scores of shooting. The top section will show dates, course, weapons and final score. Your pistol score should be in there. Hope this helps!

One other thing, Marine Fred Romero shared his story from boot camp and going back to the 500 where he could only drop 2 points and still qualify as an expert. Fred, you indicated that each round was worth 10 points total. When I qual'd in the 80's – 90's each round was worth 5 points. Was the rifle quals at that time different where each round was worth 10 points? If so, could someone from that era share with us what the course of fire was? That would be interesting. Thanks!

Semper Fi,
Shawn E. Kane
'84–'94 (Active Duty)
'94-'97 (Reserves)

You Didn't Qualify

For Ron Hoffman... there is a reason you didn't get a pistol qualification badge in boot camp... simply put, you didn't qualify... that is, you did not fire the course 'for record'... no recruit did, at least not during the four years ('62-'66) that I was a DI at MCRD SD. True, you did train with the weapon, may have fired a whole box (50) through the pistol, but not for record... true whether it was the 12-week or 8-week recruit training cycle. Look at any platoon pictures where the members were wearing either Greens or Trops... if rifle badges are being worn (not all pictures are/were taken in the same uniform), you may count 100%, or nearly so, with rifle marksmanship badges... but there won't be any pistol badges... any exception might be some recruit with prior service (and a liberal plt commander/senior...).

Every Marine a Rifleman... AND if in a billet that carries the pistol as the TE weapon... one who qualifies with BOTH annually... mortarmen, machine gunners, etc. I once defended (as defense counsel... before JAG took over the world) a Marine who had accidentally killed his best bud with a .45., by putting the defendant on the stand and questioning him about the amount (or lack thereof) of training on the 1911 he had received in his 8-week bootcamp. Both were in an artillery unit... 1967, court-martial was held at 1st Tk Bn, near DaNang. I think about the poor SOB, probably a grandfather by now, every now and then...


Short Rounds

I remember when I was much younger and I would see old geezers at one of four veterans organizations I'm a life member of, wearing a hat (cover), jacket, etc. Indicative of their former branch of service. I'd say to myself "come on already, give it a rest". Well, thanks to Sgt. Grit, I've become one of those guys! This morning, Judy and I took two of the grandkids to the Cleveland Zoo. I was wearing a USMC watch, ring, tee shirt, sweat shirt, jacket and ball cap. I was also carrying my NCO sword handle umbrella! About 4000 people thanked me for my service. How could they not, they thought I was Chesty Puller!

A Marine

In the last newsletter, L/Cpl James Angelo stated: "If you raised your right hand, and said; "I Do", and completed boot (recruit training) camp, You Are A Veteran!" That is true, but that does NOT mean you qualify for Veterans Benefits through the VA nor will they issue you an Veterans ID card which is required for discounts from many retailers. That is why Congress passed a law in 2015 that allows you to PAY (Thank you, Congress, for your support of Veterans) for a VA ID Card if you don't qualify... which, like everything else in the VA, is like mating elephants. It is accomplished with a lot of roaring and screaming and takes two years to produce results. According to the VA, if you are NOT eligible, you can now get an ID card... but not until 2017.

S/Sgt Richard T. Holland
USMCR, 1966-1974

Jim Lynch has it wrong. They did not say "with a clip and 10 rounds lock and load" it was in fact "With a clip and 2 rounds lock and load". Then after firing these two rounds you loaded the clip and 8 rounds.

Jim Connor Sgt 1555XXX
Platoon 74, 1955 Depot Honor

AND TWO ROUNDS! Told you I was getting senile.

Jim Lynch

I have no problem with your giving the young lady a Sgt. Grit ball cap. It was not her fault that she couldn't do boot camp. I too think she will wear it to honor the Corps. If she wanted to be one of the lying wannabees, she would have already bought one.

Maybe Sgt. Grit could make caps that say things like Marine Friend/Brother/Sister/Girlfriend/Family/Wife/Aunt/etc.

As to the VA, any vet here in Madison can sign up, get a card and usually get treatment. I had a lung transplant on 12/23/13 for pulmonary fibrosis (not considered Agent Orange or service connected.) I found the care givers to be excellent from the surgeon down to the health techs (CNAs). I'm alive today thanks to the VA - I'd have been dead by April of 2014 without it.

Robert A. Hall
Once a SSgt, still a Marine.

Hold on a second there, Jerry D. You really thought of yourself as a short-timer when you woke up with less than 100 days left in the Nam? Really? I can't think of any 3-month period from either tour without feeling thankful my name isn't engraved on the Wall. But the main thing is, you made it back and for that I say, congratulations, Marine!

Gary Harlan
Sergeant of Marines

While I'm aware of the prestige that accompanies firing Expert, the Sharpshooters Badge was "sexier". That's not just my opinion, but that of many others. It looked like the German Iron Cross. Some said they avoided firing Expert just to get the Sharpshooters Medal. That may be so much bovine scat, I don't know. I struggled to fire Sharpshooter, which is surprising since I grew up hunting pheasants. Maybe that's it, the targets weren't moving. I'm staying with that explanation!

Mark Smith
50 years ago a graduate of MCRDSD

For Ron Hoffman: The only training with the M1911-A1 was for familiarization. There was no pistol range qualification in boot camp. A recruit did not fire a full qualification range for the pistol.

J L Stelling


"To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox, The Underground History of American Education

"I have never been bewildered for long in any fight with our enemies – I was Armed with Insight."
--Gen James Mattis

"The Americans are savages. They kill everything that moves."
--German soldier at Belleau Wood

"You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
--Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943

"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
--Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994

"The best Marine you'll ever be is a submarine! Now drop and give me a 1,000!"

"My DI is hard of hearing, he keeps saying I CAN'T hear you!"

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

Semper Fi,
Sgt Grit

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