Comm Equipment Used In The Corps
Today, this 79 year old Marine was reminiscing about the old days and wondering what type of communication equipment the Marine Corps uses now days, its got to be high tech. In the mid-fifties we used field radio equipment like the AN/PRC-8, 9's and 10's and the AN/GRC-9 which used a hand cranked generator for power to transmit. Cranking that thing was fun, not. We even had the AN/PRC-6 (walkie-talkie) in our inventory but don't remember using it. For mobile comm we had the MRC-6, the MRC-38 and other vehicles depending if you ere infantry, artillery or armor. For the old timers I stand to be corrected.
As a CW radio operator I remember using what was called a knee key (J-45), to tap out messages in Morse code while in the field. To me it was fun but sometimes on the other end of the radio net you would run into a operator who we called a "s--t fist" (A person who needed a lot more training in the use of a telegraph key).
It was a little difficult trying to decipher what the radio operator was trying to send but if you got part of the word you could figure it out. The attached picture shows me, a Pfc, using a knee key at Camp Lejeune in 1956. The other picture shows Marines using the AN/GRC-9 in the Philippines on a NFG (Naval Gun Fire) training and shoot in the early sixties. If you look closely you can see a Marine with the generator and I'm sure some of the old timers have tales to tell about cranking that thing.
In 1965 and '66, when I was with 2/9 in Vietnam we were still communicating with the P---k 10 and don't remember when the Marines started receiving the AN/PRC-25. And I wasn't the wireman MOS 2511 who worked along side of us and were an important part of Marine Communications. That's all. I'm just an old fart thinking about the good times in the U.S. Marine Corps.
GySgt G.R. Archuleta
Never Retired, Always A Marine
Fear Of Marines
A squadron of these babies appeared on our C-130 flight line in Cherry Point the day after Kennedy was killed. Ready for war with Cuba or Russia. Every Air Force crew chief had a full, brand new tool box whereas us poor Marines were lucky to steal (or rather com-shaw) a screw driver here or there. Needless to say the fly boys had a 24 hour guard on their planes for fear of Marines, not commies.
Boot Camp: At The Rifle Range
My boot camp experience began in May 1980 with Senior Drill Instructor GySGT Charles S.S. Davis, assistant Drill Instructors SSGT Hosea, SGT David Naegle, SGT Santos and CPL C. Lawson. I was with Platoon 2032 in Parris Island and we started with 88 recruits.
At the Rifle Range, my SDI was talking to his counterparts on the line. I heard him boasting that his Scribe could answer any question that any of the other SDIs posed, "the bet was on". I was summoned and as I arrived, I quickly glanced at the watch of one of the SDIs and committed the time to memory. Luckily, I was asked the Time of Day (TOD). I looked at the Sun, looked at the horizon, looked back at the Sun and then one last time at the horizon. I responded, "Sir, the TOD is XXXX, I added two minutes to the time that I had obtained from the watch. The losing SDI was very upset and could not readily determine how I accomplished that feat with such accuracy. My SDI asked and I responded that I had positioned the sun against the horizon and calculated the angle of the sun to the horizon and therefore calculated the Time of Day. It was not until the day of graduation that I actually shared with my SDI how I accomplished that feat. He thanked me for the twenty dollar bill he won that day.
Robert M. Blake Jr
Parris Island, May 1980
Boot Camp Sayings
What is your major malfunction, dipsh-t?
You’re bouncin’ girls, you’re bouncin’.
If that happens again Private (xxxxxx) (insert appropriate name there), I am going to unscrew your head and sh-t down your neck.
Private (xxxxx), you best unf-ck yourself mo’ ricky tic.
I gave you at ease girls, not base liberty.
Are you eyeballin’ me Private (xxxxx)?
Don’t take all day girls.
Private (xxxxx)! Are you trying to single-handley f-ck up my Corps?
Get in step Private (xxxxx).
Move it up girls. Azshole to belly button. Make the lady in front of you smile.
Private (xxxxx), the best part of you ran down the crack of your momma’s azs and became a stain on the mattress.
Your other left dumbazs.
Get out of my pickle palms (ice plant for the boots and Pleasure Island ladies).
You? You? Do I look like a female sheep to you?
Private (xxxxx) did your mother have any children who lived?
Oderint dum metuant
"Let them hate, so long as they fear."
You Can Learn A Lot In The Corps
San Diego, fall of 1965. We had pulled all the ice plants in front of our Quonset huts and that area became the sand pit. All of our punishment exercises were done in the sand pit. One day we did not fall into formation "on the road" quickly enough so we were ordered into the sand pits by platoon commander S/Sgt. Herring. After some exercise we were ordered back on the road. Still not quick enough. In the sand pits! On the road! In the sand pits! On the road. Over and over it happened, throwing ourselves face down into the sand pit and then scrambling to our feet to get into formation on the road. This seemingly went on forever. Then one private gave up. He lay, face down, on the road saying, "I want to die! I want to die!" The platoon commander grabbed his shoulder, turned him over, and knelt on the private, both knees on the private’s chest. He yelled, "Stop breathing! I order you to stop breathing!" Of course the private could not do this. The platoon commander got up, looked at us, and said, "When you think you are all done, that you have nothing more to give, you still have 25% left." He then marched us away, leaving the private on the road. He was gone when we got back, and he was never mentioned and we never saw him again. There have been times in my life when I have needed that 25% and it has always been there. You can learn a lot in the Marine Corps!
Dale R. Rueber
Sgt. of Marines
Requesting Permission At P.I.
Parris Island, Platoon 374, the private needs to make a head call, but first he has to request permission to speak to the Drill Instructor for the privilege.
SIR, THE PRIVATE REQUESTS PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR SIR!
"I can't hear you boy!"
SIR! THE PRIVATE REQUESTS PERMISION TO SPEAK TO THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR SIR!
"I still can't hear you maggot," (as he grabs a hand full of my stomach), "Sound off like you got a pair."
"You want to beat the Drill Instructor?"
"Yeah you do. You want to beat the Drill Instructor", (while twisting my stomach). "You and me, we gonna go round and round for hours. We gonna tear up trees, shrubbery and flowers. We goin' to Greensville."
And so I learned that Greensville was in the third battalion area of Parris Island, South Carolina where they grow trees, shrubbery, and flowers.
Just Trust Me On That
Actually, of all the names (I spent four straight years on the drill field at SD, hence have heard a few...) the absolute best I ever heard came from a former dependent. (what we used to call those that are 'family members' today)... I had been retired from the Corps for several years, and found myself working in industry... as a sales manager, one of my duties was scheduling customer orders for the production line. The department supervisor for 'my' line (diesel motor home chassis) was (well, still is...) a female... former service brat, who had been to her first Marine Corps Ball as a teenager, at some overseas embassy... (forget what branch her Dad was, but not a Marine...). The production line was linear, with about eight stations or stages. Changing the order of production once an order had begun could be done, but it was a major effort, and affected production goals, etc. I had gone out to the line with the second change that week... she knew when she saw me coming that I was about to screw up her day with a change order... looked at me, and said: "Dickerson... you sorry sack of slimy Siberian sheep sh-t, what are you doing to me now?" I cracked up... always did appreciate originality, especially when alliteration was involved. (We remain good friends to this day...).
We had a NCOIC at Motivation Platoon... ('64-'66) who was vertically challenged (more on that anon...), and SSGT Jim Scott, in addressing a maggot, had a routine that could go on for a couple of minutes, without any repetition, and typically like this: "Boy... I have been to two World's Fairs, half a dozen night baseball games, two cockfights, a hog-nuttin' (castration, for you city types), a windmill greasin', at least one Mexican revolution, a watermelon pluggin', an Army parade, and... (here he would continue...) ending up with, "and I have never seen ANYTHING as f-cked up as you are!"
Jim was maybe 5'4", or as he would put it, 4'16". He moonlighted as a bartender in a fancy joint by a marina in San Diego Bay, and after the Boy Scout meeting (I was the Depot Scout Master for a while...) I would go over there, sit quietly at one end of Jim's bar, and have an adult beverage. We might talk a little sh-t if he wasn't busy, but on the night in question, in came a grand dame, a coifed cougar, wearing some fur thingy around her neck, dripping pearls and diamonds, and orders a Martini... which she promptly knocks back. Placing the empty glass back on the bar, she sez to Jim... "I'll have another of these, boy."
At this point, having heard the 'boy', I knew it was going to get interesting...
Jim gets up on his tippy-toes, puts both hands on the bar top, leans forward and sez: "lady... a yard of c-ck and a slop jar full of balls, and YOU"RE going to call me boy??? How big do they grow men where you come from???"
JD burns when it comes out your nose... just trust me on that. Oddly enough, he didn't get fired. I owe him big time for having oak leaves on my collar when I retired fifteen years later... long story for another time.
Tales From The FMF
While stationed in Camp Lejeune in mid-2001, a fellow Marine from my barracks had came to my room to let me and five other Marines know that he had met a girl from Havelock, NC, that had a lot of girlfriends and that she wanted us all to come there to meet them. Well of course, the mission sounded simple and being Marines, we did not want to let the ladies down - so we loaded up in three cars and set out for Havelock.
After we arrived in town we decided to stop at the closest convenience store. Upon walking in most of us noticed the cashier and about four other locals chit chattin'. They of course noticed that we were Marines by our haircuts, demeanor, and probably the language we used when talking to one another. The cashier asked, "Are y'all Marines?" To which we gave confirming nod. Then he asked, "Are yall from Cherry Point or Lejeune?" We answered in unison, "Lejeune." So then he asked, "So what did you guys drive all the way up here for?" My buddy says, "We came up here to meet this girl and her friends." Smiling, the cashier asked, "What is her name?" (I don't remember her name now, let's just say it is Amber). My buddy says, "Amber." The cashier and the other four guys that were in the store all said, "Eeeeeeewwwww... Ouch." and then let out a semi-strained laugh. Instantly I knew that this evening's mission was not going to go as planned. H-ll, the guys in the store even told us where she lived and how to get there... (so much for LANDNAV, she lived right behind the store).
So we all drove to the girl's house and collectively made the decision to have our main buddy, who started us on this mission, go up and knock on her door while the rest of us stayed back an observed. He knocks on the door, and as soon as we catch sight of Amber and her entourage, two car's engines ignited. We took off and went back to the store. Of course as soon as we parked we got out of the cars and just died laughing. We were laughing because we had drove all of the way up there and the ladies ended up being a group of girls that weren't attractive at all... and that is putting it nicely... very nicely. About 15 minutes into our laughter here comes Cpl Trent, the Marine that set us up on this mission, came running around the building saying, "Man, I thought that you guys left and went back to base without me." This of course made us laugh even more. I told him that we never leave a Marine behind, but that doesn't mean that we won't teach a Marine a lesson. He never made that mistake again. At least not when he invited us to go along. This is just one of many stories that I have from my time in the FMF. I would enjoy hearing about other saltier tales as well.
Sgt of Marines
2000 - 2007
10 Miles From Ground Zero
I live about 10 miles as the crow flies from Ground Zero. That day, as it did for everyone, started as any other. My then 15 year old son was a sophomore in high school, but home sick that day. I was driving through Teaneck, NJ on my way to my job in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, just above the George Washington Bridge, when I heard the terrible, terrifying news of the attacks on the World Trade Center, which, by the way, I had seen built as I began my working career in downtown Manhattan in the 1970's, and which I had passed through every day on my commute from New Jersey. Five years later, almost to the day, our son, our only child, graduated in the Honor Platoon from Parris Island boot camp. It was the proudest day in our lives, watching our child become a United States Marine. A year later, he was serving in Al Anbar, Iraq as an MP on convoys to Ramadi and Fallujah. He earned his "Good Cookie" and other citations, including a Meritorius Mast. He also received a (thankfully) slight head wound when, as a turret gunner, his vehicle was rocked by some kind of incident and his helmeted head literally broke off the butt of the mounted weapon. He was on light duty for the next several months and in the summer of 2010, just after his wedding (and the death of my brother, his godfather), he was headed to Marjah, Afghanistan. Three weeks after he left, he, fortunately, was still with internet access when he found out he would be a father! It was a rough 7 months for his new bride, but happily, he returned in early 2011 to be with his wife when they welcomed their son 2 months later. His EAS was a couple of months after that, but times were tough and it took him almost 5 months til he finally got a job as a police officer. Six years later, he is a proud Marine veteran, having earned the rank of Sgt, and police officer, with an impressive "rack" of decorations, a lovely wife, two beautiful children and a lovely house which his veterans' benefits helped purchase.
Our son has made us proud from birth to this very day, but what we did not know until after he returned from his Iraq deployment is that his decision to become a Marine was made on this date 15 years ago. As he was home that day that America was attacked, and acting as "information central" as many of our friends and relatives were unable to contact each other and us, he was glued to the TV, to the horrific history unfolding less than 10 miles away. As our town filled with the smell of burning, the sound of sirens, and the fear and sadness that would pervade in the days, weeks, months and years after that attack, our 15 year old son was determined to become a Marine. And, he did. Yes, we are proud, and we are also thankful to God every day that he came home to us and his young family. And, we also pray every day, for the many members of his graduating class who did not return, for the Marine son around the corner from us who was mortally wounded in Al Anbar a year before our son's arrival there, for all who have served and sacrificed, for the Benghazi Four, and for the over 3000 innocent victims of the terrorism we are still fighting to this day. Thank you for your kind attention.
Mrs. Helen M. Vopasek
Toughest Time In My Life
The toughest time in my life was after getting out of the Corps as an E-5 with a disability. An ongoing battle fighting to get the right help from the VA. I loved the time I was in the Corps and brotherhood is like no other. Between the contaminated LST's and the tainted water at Camp Lejeune, years later I faced an enemy hard to defeat. I am currently fighting Lung Cancer for the 3rd time. All of these are new cancers not repeats. Both kinds of lung caner Small Cell and Non-Small Cell. One of each in the right lung and Small cell in the left lung. I quit smoking along time ago, this is NOT from smoking 20 years ago. There is no other case like mine. For me to get treatment through the VA I would have to travel 130 miles to a VA center capable of treating me. But the VA clinic that is 20 miles away disqualifies me from getting Non-VA local healthcare. Even though they can not treat me, it counts under the 40 mile clause. Imagine traveling 130 miles while sick as a dog 4 times a month for 4 months. The only saving grace was/is private health care insurance and now just Medicare. I have battling this now for 9 years.
Let's hear some "Dear John" stories. How did Jodie get you or how did you pay Jodie back? Or how about some good barrack's tales, like the day you met your first barracks date, or the craziest/funniest thing you witnessed while on duty at the barracks. Make it good.
This isn't a story, but in reading Norm Spilleth's bio the familiar name of the USS George Clymer came up. God that ship was ancient then and when shortly after I spent time on it in the 9th MEB.
I wonder how many Marines who read the newsletter have done likewise.
Don Harkness 1961-1965
Question: Do they still "pull butts" at the rifle range or is everything now pop up, automatic targets? You have to admit, there is something mysterious and intriguing about "pulling butts"! Butt refers to arse so maybe it's spelled buts, who knows. But for the uninitiated, hearing that phrase raises eyebrows and piques the imagination.
How about "Maggie's drawers?" Do female Marines have another expression as a replacement?
I'm proud to say I've pulled butts and waived Maggie's drawers!
Cpl MG Smith
Dress blues, tennis shoes, and a light coat of oil...
Plt 347, 3rd Bn, P.I.
3 Oct. 1958
I joined the Marine Corps on 9/11/1956. Went to P.I. for Boot Camp. I was 5 ft. 6 in. tall and weighed 110 lbs. When I left P.I. I was 5 ft. 9 in. tall and weighed 145 lbs. I was just 17 years old. I sent this because everytime 9/11 comes around I think of my time in the U.S.M.C. Great Memories.
"The Donald" seems (to me) to be very much like one (or all) of these profane, profound and professional men.
"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil 
"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."
"One more dance along the razor's edge finished. Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today."
--Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos
"Marines, none of us almost joined."
"Freedom isn't free."
"Uncommon Valor... You know The Rest."