Sgt Grit Newsletter 10 Aug 2016

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 10 AUG 2016

In this issue:
• Roberto Clemente Hometown
• Respect For My Drill Instructors
• Bataan Death March Survivor

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PFC Bolowskie And His Fellow Marines

PFC Bolowskie and Marines at MCT

I wanted to share that my son graduated and has now joined the ranks of the Marine Corps. His mother and I are both Marines and in '92 we were issued 1 OD green child. PFC Bolowskie graduated last month on Good Friday and it was the best Friday I have ever had, I cannot remember a day I was more proud. It had been 23 years, 2 months and 17 days since I had graduated on that same parade deck in San Diego. I noticed some things had changed, a couple more buildings, trees are a lot taller but the Marines that graduated are still as lean and mean and Gung Ho as any that have before him. He now stands a lot taller and has that great cocky attitude we all get from knowing we are serving in the greatest branch in the world. He's currently at MCT and sent me a pic with his new brothers that I wanted to share.

Semper Fi and God Bless!

Bolowskie Family

Roberto Clemente Hometown

The post regarding Clemente brought back another memory. The spring of 1970 I was stationed at Camp Garcia, Vieques Island,P.R. and while on a 72 hour liberty a buddy and I took the ferry to the main island. We rented a couple mo-peds and headed to San Juan. We stopped at a few drinking establishments on the way. Stopped at one just out side of San Juan, and it just happened to be Roberto's hometown, Carolina I think. We went in ordered a couple beers and I noticed a lot of photos and other Clemente stuff.

Being from the Pittsburgh area I spoke up and said "I am a huge fan". We did not pay for any drinks after that. Needless to say, we became heavily sedated. A patron in the bar had loaded our bikes in the back of his pickup and offered to drive us in to San Juan, we accepted. On a side note, my buddy was born in USA but raised in Canada, and came back to enlist in Marines!

Kind of ironic considering the amount of draft dodgers going to Canada to get out of serving.


USMC 1967-1970

Respect For My Drill Instructors

I finally had a chance to read the last newsletter, and saw the photo on Sgt. R.J. Ferland's letter. It's a photo of my Senior Drill Instructor, Dick Birdsall, MSgt., Ret. This photo is displayed in the Museum of the Marine Corps, in the section about Boot Camp. Then SSgt Birdsall, along with ADI's SSgt J.E. Smith and Sgt. C.I. Partridge trained us hard but well, molding us from raw recruits to Marines (Plt 3018, PI, Sept-Nov 1968). They were under a lot of pressure and stress. I understand the SDI's were working with 2 platoons at a time (1 day with one platoon, the next day with the other one, and back & forth). For the rest of my life, I will have the greatest admiration and respect for my Drill Instructors.

PFC Jerry Ralston - you have every right to be called a Marine - not all of us served in combat, but we were trained and prepared for it. You were in when I consider the Corps to have been at it's pre-Viet Nam peak. You wore the HBT utilities (until McNamera did away with them in the early 60's), duck hunter camo helmet covers, brown leather, Battle Jacket, and M-1's and BAR's, etc. Be proud about your service, and the period you served!

Semper Fi!

Sgt. Ron Goodrich,
USMC '68-'72, USMCR '74-'77

He Was Among Marines

BV Schultz's recollection of filming the "Tribe" (Aug 3 newsletter) at MCRD, SD reminded me of my brush with Hollywood. Not sure if it was '94 or '95, but for sure we were stationed in MCAS El Toro. I was an F/A-18 airframes mechanic with VMFA-314, MAG-11, 3rd MAW. One day, what looks like the base PR officer comes to our squadron stating that some Hollywood types are visiting to familiarize themselves with F/A-18 and its operation, to be used in a film they are working on. What was also mentioned discreetly was that Will Smith was coming to visit. Soon the word spread like wildfire within the squadron and all of us were kinda half-excited and half-worried. At the time Will Smith was only known for Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a few type-cast movies, and as a rap singer. While most of the younger Marines were excited that Will Smith is coming, I think most old salts were worried what kind of a Marine this rapper-turned-actor will portray. When he did finally show up, his looks didn't disappoint; he showed up in a track suit and chimney stack haircut! However, he seemed awfully nervous as I think he also knew he was among Marines, and that he better act proper in their presence. He didn't get to ride on the plane, but he did climb aboard to see the aircraft turn on its power on the ground. After getting some briefing on the ground, he took a couple of pictures with the ground crew, then left. A few weeks later, we had some Hollywood set artists come to take pictures and get color samples to use when making the replica of the aircraft. They also took a bunch of squadron patches to use on the movie costumes. At the time, our squadron had the oldest jets, and we were the only ones (other than the training or reserve squadrons) that were flying the A model before transitioning to C model.

Naturally our jets were dirty and worn, in fact we always had a hangar queen that the Hollywood guys were taking pictures of. Therefore, I always wondered why the film makers chose our squadron. Maybe our squadron name "Black Knights" have anything to do with it? It worked well during the movie and you can clearly see our squadron patch on the flight suits and markings on the plane.

BTW, never got to see or meet Harry Connick Jr. although he played a Black Knights pilot in the movie too.

Philip S. Lee

Why I Fight

Painting of Marines paying respect to a fallen Marine

One day as I was coming home to visit my family after my last deployment, I decided to stop at a local restaurant to eat. When I walked into the restaurant I was still in my Marine dress uniform. The hostess looked at me. She was going to move me in front of the line of waiting people, so I said to her "No Ma'am, I can wait. No need for me to go first." As the line went down I finally got to sit and order my food. When I was waiting for my food to come out the people that were leaving came up to me and said, "Thank you." So, after an hour I finish my food and paid and was walking back to my rental car when this young mother with four kids came up to me and asked, "Son why do you fight?" I then looked at her and said, "Well Ma'am, I am a U.S. Marine. I have stormed beaches and freed countries. I have defended the weak and defeated the strong. I have been courageous and have shown compassion. I have raised our flag and raised our hope. Some call me Leatherneck, My Enemy's call me Devil Dog. But you can call me a Marine. It's not the money, the glory, the women or to kill that I fight, but it's for my brothers and sisters in arms and for you. I fight for you and I'll do it again too. To protect you is my honor so that's why I fight. But now may I ask you... What can you do to help? Please support our military!"

The End. Semper Fi carry on to all those who are serving and have served, especially to those who have fallen in the line of duty. Thank you for your sacrifice, and God Bless.

Bataan Death March Survivor

Donald Clay Gibson

My dad, Donald Clay Gibson – USMC 1935-1948, Platoon Sgt, Lima Co (75 men), 3rd Bn, 4th Marines. As a Platoon Sgt, he was wounded on 23 April 1942 on the Island of Corregidor. When the island fell to the Japanese on April 27, 1942, Sgt Gibson was captured and endured the Bataan Death March. He was later imprisoned as a POW at Cabanatuan, Palawan in the Philippine Ialands. At a later date he was move to Hastachi and Ashio on the Japanese Mainland, and forced to serve as a laborer in the coal mines. Sgt Gibson served as a POW for 40 months. Only 13 men for Lima Co. came back. He was awarded the Purple Heart with star as he was wounded twice. (Gunnery Sgt). Bronze Star and POW medal and other medals. He came up through the ranks. He was promoted to Master Gunnery Sgt, January 1946. He Retired as a WO2 on November 1st, 1948. He was proud of me when I joined the Marines. He was a good Man, Marine and Father. I sure miss him.

Semper Fi


North Carolina Visit

Vietnam and Beirut Veteran Memorial in Jacksonville, NC

A few weeks ago my wife and I vacationed at Emerald Isle, NC. While there I was given the opportunity to visit both Camp Lejeune and the Beirut/Vietnam Memorial in Jacksonville. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune back in the 70's and this was the first time since I left to visit the base. I couldn't believe how much it changed.

I'm attaching pictures of the Memorials so everyone can see what a beautiful job that was done for our Vet's. The Vietnam Memorial is made of Glass and the names are embossed on the glass. As the sun shines through the glass it puts the names on the ground. It's really something to see. The Beirut Memorial is well made and also something to see. I was in the Marines in 1983 and was very interested as I knew some of the Marines on that wall.

There is also a steel beam from the World trade center located there. What made that really stand out was the newspaper I saw posted on that steel beam. It's also a must see. So here's my pictures, enjoy...

Thanks to all who made those and all the Memorials possible.

Semper Fi to all my Marine Brother's and Sister's out their past and present.

Michael P. England
SSGT USMC 0369/8412/5811
G 2/3, I 3/3, B 1/2, G 2/2, C 1/1,
MP Co MCB Camp Lejeune,
RSS Gastonia, NC.
HQ 9th Mar. &
H&HS Station MCAS Cherry Point, NC

50 Years Later

Pete Kristall with MACS-2 Marines

I was looking for a patch (MACS-2) for my Marine Corps League jacket for an outfit that I served with from '59-'61 at Kaneohe Bay and wasn't having much luck. I searched the internet and found out that the Squadron was at Cherry Pt. NC, another base I had been stationed at twice. Thinking that they might know where I could purchase one, I wrote them. Not only did they know where, but they sent me the patch and a challenge coin along with an invitation to attend their Change of Command Ceremony on 16 June 2011. This was something I could not resist.

I am honored and privileged to say not only did I attend, but was treated like a celebrity. I was assigned an escort, 1st Lt. Chandler, for the entire day. We toured the MACS-2 site as well as the base itself, attended the ceremony and participated in the social event following. This was all arranged by the Squadron Adjutant, 1st Lt. Keramidas. My visit also including spending a short time with outgoing and incoming CO's, Lt. Col. Chris Richie and Lt. Col Darry Grossnickle.

At the end of the day, I was privileged to meet with about 20 of my fellow "enlisted" in a conference room and just have a general bull session about life now and how it was 50 years ago. To say that things have changed is a "sticker shock". However, one thing I did learn, is that the Marines of today are just as proud and just as dedicated as we were. Sure, we old salts always believe we had it harder, but that doesn't matter, because the one's that came before me can say the same thing.

The one thing that I stressed to them which they will learn later on, no matter if you serve 4 or 30 years, ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE...

Pete Kristall
USMC 1957-1961
Seminole, Florida


On July 26th, 2016, Marine and Iwo Jima veteran, John E Cahill, reported to his final duty station. John served as a combat engineer/ demolition man with the 26th Marines on Iwo, where he received the Purple Heart for wounds in action. He was one of several Marines from this small town of Hopkinton, MA, who all served on Iwo, that inspired the local artist to create the painting titled "The Spirit", that is in the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico.

As a fellow Marine, who also served with the 26th Marines, although I served in VietNam, we always shared stories and experiences whenever we ran into each other in town, usually at the local coffee shop. He was well known and greatly loved and respected around town! He will be greatly missed!

Semper Fi,John! I hope we meet again some day!

Paul Culliton
HqCo 26thMar
VietNam '68-'69

Short Rounds

I was wondering if someone could give me the correct protocol when it comes to saluting in civilian attire. I've been to several funerals where they have asked Veterans to stand and salute. I have always been under the impression that you do not salute without a cover on your grape. I assumed you just covered your heart with your right hand.

Help me out please.

Cpl.Fire, E.R
2nd M.P. Co.
BSSG 2 Camp LeJeune

I WAS AT Marble Mountain at Sea Anchor when I got WIA 1967. Would like to know what happened to the compound as I left Nam on June 10 1967.

John Wissinger

Seeking platoon book for platoon 3005, May 1968, MCRD San Diego! Will pay premium price for original or copy!

SGT John S. Fellows
May 1968 – May 1974

For Sgt. Wackerly

Tubes of Barbasol were still being issued in '57. To this day, when I smell it, I have flashbacks to all of my boot camp experiences. It's like I'm actually there! My own version of PTSD, I guess.

WWW, Plt. 123, MCRD-SD, Feb. '57


"It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf."
--Thomas Paine (1776)

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."
--George Washington (1795)

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."
--Thomas Sowell, USMC Korean War Veteran

"The thoughts never completely go away. There's always something that will remind you of something and it will bring back a flash memory."
--Hershel "Woody" Williams, USMC, Last living MOH recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima

"Without discipline, there is no Marine Corps."
--R. Lee Ermey

"In the Marine Corps, your buddy is not only your classmate or fellow officer, but he is also the Marine under your command. If you don't prepare yourself to properly train him, lead him, and support him on the battlefield, then you're going to let him down. That is unforgivable in the Marine Corps."
--Chesty Puller

"A Marine on duty has no friends."

"Being a Marine is not simply a job. It is a calling."

"Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are!"

Semper Fidelis Marines,
Sgt Grit

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