Old Corps Pictures
I have really enjoyed some of the photos in the news letter so I started digging. I found this one and had to send it out. Some may recognize this as the old MP station at the now closed MCAS El Toro circa 1983.
The two Marines in the center are me CPL later SGT on the left behind the car door and then LCPL later Sgt. Dave Sawyer.
The Marine in the white cover is LCPL Nickerson and the other I regretfully cannot remember his name. Dave and I still stay in touch and both of us work for the Orange County Ca. Sheriff's Dept. Finding the pictures brought back many fond memories. I will send more when I have gone through them as some Marines will recognize places they also served.
Thanks for all you do to keep morale up.
Sgt. Jeff Wolven
Funny Story As A D.I.
As a Drill Instructor, our platoon had returned to the barracks from chow and they suddenly started requesting permission to make a head call. Not knowing the situation, (someone at the mess hall had put dirty socks in the soup and the recruits got the sh-ts) I refused them. After they all started moaning I started to let them go but it was too late. They were sh-tting everywhere. They were in the back of their bunks using their wash buckets if they were lucky enough to make it in time. Most of them messed themselves. Needless to say, I felt bad for them afterwards, but now when I think of it, I can't help but laugh! Those poor bastard's must have really hated me then...
Another time was when the recruits were downstairs at the "Wash Rack". It was on a Sunday, around the 2nd phase, and while they were washing their clothes, I would walk around quitely. I would always cut them slack on Sunday, so they were more relaxed. As I was behind one recruit, he whispered to another, "I hope we don't have "f-ckin Ferland" for duty tonight". I made a soft moan and he turned around. When he saw that I was staring straight at him, he turned real pale... I didn't know if he was going to eat his skivies or put them on backwards. I stood behind him awhile longer, letting him grasp this situation. He thoutht he'd caught h-ll, but I simply walked away, letting him wonder when and if it would come back to haunt him. I did let it slide... just watching his reaction was priceless to me!
Sgt R.J. Ferland
Remembering That I'm A Marine
I am truly amazed at the memory some of the contributors have. I am thankful though as sometimes my memories are jarred and, most of the time, I get a smile on my face or sometimes a little misty.
I enjoy the letters from Marines who say their uniforms still fit and include a picture. After seeing those I decided to try my luck. I pulled my winter green blouse out of the closet and I am proud to say that I was able to get my arm into the sleeve all the way up to my mid bicep. I guess the material shrinks a little after 42 years.
I have some memories that are clear as a bell and some that are fuzzy, and some are gone.
I remember being on the bus in the middle of the night, half asleep, comming up tp Receiving Barracks. I remember a Marine names SSGT Arzate coming on board and saying welcome to MCRD San Diego. He must have had a cold as he had a very deep grumbly voice. He also informed us that we were to use only three words; Yes, No, and Sir.They were to be used in a certain sequence. Sir, yes sir. Sir, no sir. I think he was slightly hard of hearing as we had to scream when we said the words. Later I discovered he had great hearing and was not recovering from a cold.
Thirty seconds after arriving and greeting us, he went berzerk. All of us had 30 seconds to get off a full bus. I had never hurdled a bus seat before. I was no longer half asleep. I discovered many more Marines waiting for us. I did indeed stand on yellow footprints and I wondered what I had done by enlisting.
I remember standing in line while I was given tennis shoes, utility trousers, and other items. I could not for the life of me understand why I was given a steel bucket. Later I found out it was a chair, laundry wash basin, sometimes a helmet, and also it was used to move dirt from one place to another.
I remember a steel tray that was full of food which I learned to really enjoy (or else). Who actually thought of the phrase sh-t on a shingle?
I remember that a gillette Blue Blade can remove most of your whiskers along with most of your flesh in less than a minute.
I remember the entire platoon getting on a cattle car to go to the range and reading a sign saying: "Maximum Capacity 45 people".
Later I remember in RVN getting the letter that said "I love you but He is here." I was so thankful as that letter won the 11th Marines Comm "Dear John of the month" award.
I remember enough to proudly say I am a Marine and thats the price I paid and thats all I need to remember.
SSgt D Huntsinger
Our Legend Lives On
A couple of years ago, I was a Security Officer at GSR, a Casino & Hotel here in Reno. One night (Swing Shift), I had a trainee who had just gotten out of the Corps and had recently returned from Iraq. We got a call for an eviction on the 23rd Floor. It turned out to be a Birthday Party for a biker gang.
The little hotel manager and my supervisor were both around a corner and down the hall afraid to confront the bikers directly and my supervisor looked like George Foreman and was nearly as big. Anyway, my trainee and I went right on in the Suite where there were about 50 bikers in their leather and gang vests and two strippers and the birthday boy all buck naked. We gave them the news that they were being evicted and stayed in the room until they were all dressed, got their stuff and were on their way out.
We had to go down with them to make sure they left the building so my trainee and me got on the elevator with the first batch of eight bikers riding down. As soon as the doors closed, a big bald and bearded biker turned to me and said, "Aren't you nervous? There's 8 of us and only 2 of you."
I looked directly at him with a big grin and said, "If I were you, I'd be nervous. There's only 8 of you against 2 Marines." He got a surprised look on his face and turned away. There was not a sound the rest of the way down and out to the Harleys. Even among big, tough bikers, the Marine Corps legend lives on!
Cpl. Bill Reed
Marines Song On Guadalcanal
From the book "The Conquering Tide"... might use it if you changed some of the wording. Ha!
Marine Fire Base In Iraq
By Way Of Introduction
Whenever I meet new people I like to tell them the story of how I met my buddy Roger's wife Wanda.
There are a number of reasons for this. Mostly, it's a stinkin' funny story. But it also gets a few things about me out there which saves time as well as lets people know that I'm not hung up on a lot of things.
At the time Roger and I were stationed together with 3rd Recon Battalion in Okinawa. Roger and I had struck up a friendship that we still maintain today.
One day, during martial arts training, Roger and I were trading hip throws when he suggested that we all go out to dinner that night so he could introduce me to Wanda. She and I both grew up in Hawaii so he was sure we would hit it off.
Since Wanda had heard there was a local boy around she was naturally excited to meet someone from home. The usual battery of questions ensued. Since we had the islands in common these questions went something like this:
"Do your parents still live in Hawaii?" Wanda asked animatedly.
"No, not anymore."
Her enthusiasm as yet undiminished, she pressed on, "Oh, what does your father do now?"
"Well he passed away a few years ago so he's not doing a whole lot." This was true. It's not something that keeps me up at night. He had led a good, adventurous life with no regrets. Works for me.
"Oh Michael! I'm so sorry to hear that." Wanda turned in the passenger seat in the front of the van and gave me a sympathetic look. At the time I was not yet America's 1stSgt, so this was forgivable.
Unbowed, Wanda immediately brightened up moving on to a subject less depressing as death.
"So where does your mother live then?"
"She has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home in California." This was also true. Alzheimer's sucks and wishing death on someone is less cruel than wishing them this disease. But once again, it was a fact of my life and not something I spent a lot of time bemoaning.
"Oh my gosh! Michael that's so sad. I'm sorry." Wanda was no quitter though. Gamely she moved on to better and brighter topics.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" She beamed hopefully.
It is a well known fact by friends of mine that I am an only child. Some would even venture that this fact alone could explain any number of things about my character. People closer to me would say those friends don't have much of an imagination. Me? I have plenty of imagination.
"My brother was killed last year in a drunk driving accident." Sighing, I slumped my shoulders in artificial melancholy.
"OH MY GOD MICHAEL, I AM SOOOOOOOOOO SORRY!"
At that point, poor Wanda was truly grieving on my behalf. She also felt utterly sick that she had dredged up what were no doubt feelings of great loss from the inky black mire of my broken heart.
Roger, who knew my true sibling status, valiantly tried to keep the the van in between the lines on the road as he endured what can only be described as a grand mal seizure attempting to stifle his laughter.
Dispirited and sorrowful, Wanda caught her husband's full body spasms on the edge of her field of vision. Realization crept into her eyes as she turned to face my crooked smile.
"YOU ARE SUCH A JERK!"
Wanda totally digs me.
Now America's SgtMaj
Suck It Up, Buttercup
I have thought a while about joining the VA as we have a nice one here in Viera, Florida, and a lot of my friends talk about going there for treatments. Last month I filled out the form and submitted it for approval, hoping I could at last get "something" for my service in the Corps from '59 to '65. Well, I got my letter of rejection because they said I had too much income or something I had put on the application was wrong. I call BS, because the figures were right off of my last IRS report and my investment figures taken right off of my last statements.
I have heard that your DD214 is the driving force as to whether you get accepted or not, and mine would have indicated that I was never in a combat zone.
I think if you serve and put your life on the line, become honorably discharged, you should automatically become a member of the VA with special rates at the hospital of your choice, or be treated at the VA Hospitals if suffering PTSD, combat injuries etc.
Needless to say, I am quite disappointed in my rejection, but it is what it is, "suck it up, buttercup".
Lost And Found
Looking for an old Marine friend from back in 1969, James S. Young. I have his SS# if needed. Thanks for helping.
Sgt. Paul B. Cole 261XXXX
Kudos To The Grit Team
I wanted to drop a line thanking you for the gift card, I'll explain.
I ordered an MOS t-shirt and I knew the price online was displaying incorrectly but I wanted the shirt and knew someone would contact me about the pricing. The young lady I spoke with couldn't have been nicer, and I told her I'd give you a scolding for having her work on Memorial Day. Consider yourself scolded.
Anyway, I received my shirt, it's very nice, but I was totally surprised to receive a gift card for the price of the t-shirt! That was very kind and I'll be using that card when ordering another item very soon.
This is not the first time you have shown your kindness through the ordering process. I appreciate the way you and your staff treat your customers and your service to our country.
I wanted to send a large thank you to the Sgt Grit family. My father Butch Linn, has recently been fighting liver cancer. This morning at 0411 hours he received his final orders and was deployed to the heavenly gates to guard Heavens gates. Your catalog and grunt stories kept him going. He was just shy of 70 yrs old. He served proudly in Vietnam. His passing is a tough one for me. I will always live the Marine Corps values he tought all of us three kids. I will continue to recieve your catalog and read about all of our brave Marines past and present.
Semper Fi and Oorah!
Lick 'em, stick 'em, paste 'em, don't waste 'em, PRIVE! Ballard of pulling Butts.
Maggot, drop that weapon, and you better be under it before it hits the deck!
MCRD PARRIS ISLAND 10/57-12/57
I myself am still waiting for the "free beer"...
Beirut, Lebanon, I was there as a MSgt for 1982 thru 1984 as the Maintenance Chief. Terrible blast. Lost some fine Marines.
George I. Jenkins
I look forward to your emails, you are selling your products but bringing back the glory! I turned 18 on PI in the 3rd Battalion, Platoon 329. We embarked in March, 1964. It was disturbing to see "Disney Land" being destroyed in one of your last postings. When we were there, 1st Battalion was in Quonset Huts and 2nd Battalion were in wooden barracks!
Sgt. Tom Flattery
Color Guard, Marine Barracks, Washington, DC ('64 - '68)
Here is one for you. "You like me turd? You had better not like me, for liking leads to loving and loving leads to F--king and you sure as hell are not going to F--k ME!
This should be said at about 1/2 inch from the turds ear so he will be sure to understand!
Thanks for the good work!
1961-1981 and 1991
I went in April 20., 1965. PLT 124. 3 year hitch. I was also in 2nd floor of the wooden barracks. SGT Gunther was the enforcer! Some things you don't forget! They had promised me aviation, but did not happen. Got out a SGT and finished college. An Army guy asked me if I wanted to be a pilot. H-ll Yes. I spent 23 years flying helicopters as a warent officer. It was a good deal. My son was a sniper.
I love reading your newsletter. Wouldn't take anything for it. I am a former Marine, but no hero. Sometimes I feel unworthy to bear the name because I never fired my weapon at an enemy. You see, I didn't serve during an official war. I served between Korea and Vietnam. 1954-1957. They called it the "Cold War." I love my fellow Marines, but some of us saw no action. We just stood on the wall and watched and prepared.
"Useless laws weaken the necessary laws."
--Montesquieu, De l'Esprit des Lois 
"We are trained fighting machines. Peace is not an option for us. We're jarheads. What the h-ll do we know about peace?"
--Jason Medina, No Hope for the Hopeless at Kings Park
"I became amazed at how much my men would tolerate if someone just took the time to explain the why of it all to them."
--Donovan Campbell, Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood
"I should deem a man-of-war incomplete without a body of Marines... imbued with that esprit that has so long characterized the Old Corps."
--Commodore Joshua R. Sands, USN in a letter to Brevet BGen Archibald Henderson, (5th CMC) 1852
"We will embrace you in uniform today, we will embrace you without uniform tomorrow."
--Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, 1919 who forgot he was talking to women Marines
"I'm here to finish a job no one ever started."
"If the bullets don't get you, life will."
"Once a Marine, always a Marine."
Semper Fi - Do Or Die!