I visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps this year. I just stopped and stared for a few minutes... Amazed at this Beautiful sight... the closer I got the more tears I had. I could have turned around right then after these photos and walked out being totally at Peace with the Museum.
I hope that all Marine Nam Grunts and brothers take away at least 1/2 the Memories I experienced that day.
Semper Fi Brother Grunts
The USMC Flag Is Racist
I spent 24 years serving in the Corps learning many things. My MOS was 6391 after spending about 20 years in aviation (worked on A-4's and AV-8B's). During that time, we were taught how to get along with the diversities of our fellow Marines. After Vietnam, race relations were strained. I taught and attended the Human Relations training (the orange books) just like many others. Over time relations got better. One Gunnery Sergeant I looked up to reminded me that everyone in the Marine Corps was green despite skin color.
After my time served, I was looking forward to my next career. I found a job working on computers with the local city government. I fit right in with my fellow workers being that most of them are veterans of all the services. We have our banter back and forth about which branch of the service was the best. Me being from the Marine Corps, obviously they couldn't compete very well in the discussions (Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.). The stories told by everyone were always funny. In other words, no matter what branch you served in, each branch was respected.
The reason I am writing this, came from one specific event. One of my Army (Reserve) coworkers, went to the Cat box overseas and brought back a Marine Corps flag for me. I cherished that flag. One day I asked my boss, if I could hang up my flag in my cubicle. I hung it up and was very proud of it. Everyone saw the flag and said I should put up the Navy flag or Army or whatever. I laughed and said it will stay up.
One of my coworkers, is originally from Morocco and is a Muslim, made a comment to me stating "That flag is Racist" and he was serious. I said, "What do you mean racist?" He said, "It is racist!" I told him, "How can it be racist? We kill everybody. When the bullet is fired, it does not care about what race or religion you are." Other workers started laughing about his remark, some were quite offended. I still have it proudly displayed in my office.
My point to all of this is, IF YOU DO NOT LIKE WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS OR STANDS FOR, OR YOU DON'T LIKE THE FLAGS OF THIS NATION, GET THE H-LL OUT! Who do these people think they are, by coming into our land and telling us how to do things?
Sure would like to hear if this sentiment is shared by others.
T.H. Smith, Jr.
MSGT USMC (Class of 73)
In response to Mike Kunkel's question regarding the SEALS... I don't understand why they get all the press. I suppose it's because they are well known by the general public. The military doesn't want the world to know much about Spec Ops. In my opinion, the best of the best is probably Delta. The SEALS are a Navy unit and as such are tied to the fleet, same with Marine Recon to some extent.
So why send SEAL Team 6 to take out Bin Laden far inland? RUMINT had it that a Navy Admiral was the CO of Joint Spec Ops at the time, so... More RUMINT said Delta was also on board the choppers.
I have no doubt the SEALS are good, very good. But I also have no doubt Marine Recon, Army Special Forces, Delta, Rangers, etc. are very, very good.
Maybe they just don't want us to know.
I have attached a few pictures of an LVT diorama that I made for a WWII Marine vet who went ashore on Tarawa and got hit and spent 11 months in the hospital. By that time the war was over for him. We became good friends and I built this for him and I must tell you it really touched him and his sweet wife. It made me feel pretty good too that he liked it so much. By the way my wife did the sand and wood and stuff and I did the LVT and Marines. It is in 1/32 scale and toughest parts were the camo on the helmets and the eyeballs.
By the way I am a model builder and I need some pictures of one of the landing craft we used on Guadalcanal. It was the one without a drop down door on the front like the Higgins boats I was on when I was in the Marines. Do you know of anyone I could reach out to for pictures?
Cowboys On The Ground
I just finished reading Mike Kunkle's letter in this week's Sgt. Grit Newsletter. Although I can't answer his question about the differences between Marine Recon and Navy SEAL's, I can provide another viewpoint of what really happened on that mountain top in Kunar Province on 28 June 2005.
Operation Red Wings was a Marine operation from the very beginning. Because of the high altitude, 2/3 had requested MH-47 helo support for their operation from SOCOM, but SOCOM would only grant their request if the initial recon mission was carried out by SOCOM personnel. E/ST-10 and A/SDVT-1 were in Afghanistan for a training mission only, and were never supposed to have been operational at that time, but SOCOM gave the recon responsibility to the SEAL's, and sent four inexperienced SEAL's out on the ill-fated recon mission.
If you want to read a verifiable account of what really happened that day, get hold of an article that Ed Darack wrote for the Marine Corps Gazette in Jan. 2011, titled "Operation Red Wings - What Really Happened". The article is an excerpt from his book titled "Victory Point", but only covers the failed recon mission, along with documentation and video captured from the small ACM team that killed the three SEALS on the ground, and shot down one of the two MH-47's carrying the QRF during the rescue attempt.
If you're unable to locate the Gazette article, get hold of me through Sgt. Grit, and I'll be happy to provide you with a PDF copy via e-mail.
As a footnote, my nephew (Lt. Mike McGreevy USN-SEAL) was the platoon leader for Echo Plt/ST-10, and one of the 8 SEAL's in the QRF, and the 8 Army Aviation Special Ops personnel from the "Night Stalkers" (160th SOAR) that were killed when the MH-47 shot down in the rescue attempt of the four inexperienced cowboys on the ground.
MGySgt - USMC (Ret)
Capt John E. Watson
Over the years, since my Marine Corps service, I have questioned my behavior many times, and wonder why I was the one who was able to overcome the desperate poverty in which I was raised. So many times, it would have been so easy to give up on my dreams. Where did I find the inner strength to succeed, when so many people in similar circumstances failed and gave up?
The answer is the moral, physical, and mental code imprinted upon my soul by the USMC. Following Sea School, my first assignment was to the Marine Detachment, aboard the USS Essex, CVA-9. I reported aboard to the Finest Marine, and most Honorable man I have ever met, Captain John E. Watson. As winner of the Navy Cross, for rescuing one of his men while under enemy fire, he automatically had the respect of all who met him. Additionally, his Marine Corps bearing demanded respect. He possessed all of the attributes of our most famous Marine, Chesty Puller.
Throughout my life, when confronted with one of my many challenges, that little voice in my mind would ask "would Captain Watson approve of the way I handled that"?
God bless the USMC, Chesty Puller, and Captain Watson.
I must add that I have another voice to keep me in line; I married a Kansas Girl.
A few years ago I worked at a company that made carpets for automobiles. I worked evening shift in the Engineering Center programming a robot that cuts
samples for different automobile manufacturers.
I changed employers to get closer home and the Friday before Memorial Day was my last day there. There were a couple other veterans employed there. Most were younger men and were veterans of the Gulf War. I was the only Vietnam veteran among the other veterans. On Friday night of my last day I decided to leave a surprise for them to see when they came in to work on the day after Memorial Day. So, after they had all punched out I attached Old Glory to the robot and hoisted it over the work area. Some time after that I heard from one of the men that they were really glad to see our flag when they came in that next work day.
Cpl Bob Mauney
Co. A, 3rd Shore Party Bn
Agent Orange Illnesses
Just finished reading the story about the traveling Wall. Have often wondered if those who are dying because of the large number of agent orange illnesses are RVN casualties too. Or is it like so many vets from so many wars that have passed from lingering complications. I made the mistake of retiring on 20 years 3 months and 22 days (for the right reasons) and I miss it every day of my life. Sure would like to go back and finish my 30.
Served in SEA 2 Sep 65 - 4 Nov 66, Mar '69 - Mar '70 (was part of phase II redeployment) and participated in a direct support roll with III MAF in '75 during the evacuation of Nham Phen (spelling?), then the fall of Saigon, taking of the Miaguese (spelling?), then the taking of the Pueblo. Talk about a group of chomping animals craving to do something. Listening to our fine political machine function cause our moral to drop to three points lower than whale sh-t. Thank You for providing this forum to vent and remember.
MSgt USMC (Ret)
I Missed My War
Every once in a while somebody says exactly what I was either thinking or actually saying. (Sgt.) Wise hit the nail. He expressed what has taken 52 years of my life to begin to understand.
I was a Reservist and never had to go to combat. My father said about 20 years after I got out... "You missed your war".
Now just so you understand, he made the Saipan and Tinian landings and more than likely he was sent to Okinawa (he was attached to Division HQ) during WWII. Then in 1950 he made the landing at Inchon and went on into Seoul. He made the landing at Wonson and went up "the road" as far as Hagaru-ri. He went back down "the road" and embarked from Hungnam. He finished his time in to the Central highlands and waited out his discharge from Korea.
Now, just a couple of notes on his service. First thing is that he was the principle dark room tech for the Iwo Jima campaign. He did most of the printing of the thousands of photos taken prior to that battle. Second thing is that in Korea he was one of a squad of combat photographers and camera men that were attached to Fox Company Seventh Regiment. Yeah, that Fox Company. He was awarded the bronze star. Not for any particular event. Just that he survived 2 or more years in combat.
So when he mentioned that I missed my war I was a bit taken back.
But time after time I have been given the impression that Viet Nam was something that nobody had any idea of what to do. It was a civil war that basically had two groups of political ideologies fighting each other. Colonial left overs and Nationalist. I was there when all of that was discussed, effected and put into action. At the time I felt confused as to why anyone would want to go that far away to defend Democracy. Neither side was democratic. Our side even had the "Dragon Lady". And year after year the draft aged kids were getting crankier and crankier. Me, and my brother were in the Reserve. And we noticed that our crew chiefs were getting younger and younger when we went to summer camp. I'm a Corporal or even a Sergeant and I am being yelled at by PFC's and Lance Corporals. They are on their last couple of months of enlistment and we were looking at another couple of years. That whole situation was really perverse. And the war just ground on. There was never a definite goal. And the kids that I was going to school with were losing their minds while looking at "Uncle Walter Kronkite" day after day.
Like I say, perverse.
I just got to a point that I showed up for drill, did my job and went home. No rah, rah and even worst no need to hang out with any of the other members of the battalion. We kind of lived in a fool's paradise. None of us ever discussed why the Reserve was never committed to combat duty. The why was, we were committed to Europe if and when the Russians lost their minds. I didn't find that out until I was 55+ years old.
The really rotten part of being called up was that we were never going to go in as a Unit. We were going to be integrated into the Regular Units as individuals. So much for rah, rah.
We had the distinct pleasure of being put on alert with the "Pueblo" incident. And that is when we found out that we were no longer being considered a Marine Unit. We were grunts and we were individual grunts. Welcome to the Corps. Grunt. Me, if I could do my time in Viet Nam, that is where I would want to be. I already knew enough to leave Korea alone.
But like Pop said, I missed my war. And it has taken all of this time for me to even appreciate why that happened.
God Bless all that served.
And D-mn the Greedy Bastards that made all of that possible.
4th Amtrac Bn. A/Co. 2nd Pltn.
A Week In The Life Of A SgtMaj
Many Marines feel they have to deal with a lot of stupid stuff. They often think getting up in the morning is a pain in the neck. Having to shave is an inconvenience. Keeping their area squared away is imposing on their right to self-expression. The list goes on. Often I ask a group of Marines who among them thinks they put up with stupidity. Inevitably a forest of hands goes up until I bark, "Well try putting some rockers on and see how stupid it gets!"
Sometimes Marines do dumb things. Sometimes the stupid is radioactive.
For those who think your leadership has it easy, I offer you a snapshot of an actual week of my life.
SgtMaj tours the barracks to discover Marines have spent the weekend in the smoke pit lounging in kiddie pools drinking beer. SgtMaj approves.
Two dipsticks decide to drive to another town to trade/buy a car from an acquaintance. The town is within liberty limits but just barely. The car they purchase is a 1971 truck. Said truck blows a tire at 70-80 miles about 40 miles outside of base around 2300. After rolling over a few times the occupants remain shaken, not stirred, and are treated at a local medical center with stitches and whatnot. One Marine looks like he was worked over with a hatchet, the other is on crutches. Though technically no orders or policies were violated, the SgtMaj still questions the judgment of two numb nuts who decide it's a good idea to purchase a vehicle almost as old as their SgtMaj on a weeknight.
A local car rental company calls the command to complain one of our Marines was supposed to return a car two weeks ago. They warn us they will notify the police soon. This embodiment of Corps values has been on our radar lately as his wife has left him and he's been acting out against his NCOs and SNCOs. He's a 8 year lance corporal if that clears anything up. After questioning the Marine he begins to break down and admit he's involved in local gang activity, been getting high on meth, and basically the gang has taken over his life and have stolen his car. They also stole the rental from him. We beg him to stop talking and call Criminal Investigative Division. They whisk him away and said named Marine sings like a bird. He blabs so much info NCIS gets involved along with various investigators from the local PD who are all interested to know about gangs, drugs, and stolen cars. Basically the gang has taken over the apartment our hero lives in and infiltrated the entire complex. The rental car is now somewhere in Mexico and no one knows where his POV is. They have also threatened him on a number of occasions, go figure. It also turns out his wife is related to known gang members out of a nearby city. The sauce is indeed awesome. The Family Readiness Officer brings his backpack to the SgtMaj's office and remarks: "Boy, that bag is heavy." The SgtMaj's heart begins to sink as he just KNOWS what is causing the bag to be so heavy. Opening the bag he discovers a 1911 pistol and a magazine of rounds. Fortunately the weapon was not loaded. SgtMaj has the weapon locked in the armory and keeps the full mag somewhere else. Gang ninja is released back to the command for the night, who lets him stay in the barracks.
The adventures of Dumb-ss #3. This brain surgeon was pursued throughout the area by authorities after his wife called 911 about a possible suicide ideation, domestic violence, and animal abuse. Numbskull left a suicide note/video on his phone for his wife but not after hurling their small dog against the wall. It is injured so badly it has to be euthanized. It is also reported he is bipolar and is off his meds. Alcohol is assumed to be involved (of course). Short version is the Marine's car is found abandoned with the doors and trunk open. A gas soaked t-shirt is found stuffed into the gas tank and a lighter is found nearby (at this point the SgtMaj is slightly disappointed he didn't successfully light his car on fire). Dumb-ss himself is found four miles away, butt naked with a knife and several self-inflicted lacerations. He is treated at the local medical center and eventually brought to the barracks early Thursday morning.
Dumb-ss #3 is sent into the esoteric depths of mental health. Early reports of euthanized dogs are proved false. The dog made it but has a broken hip and/or leg. Numbskull is brought to the office where the SgtMaj serves him with a military protective order and explains to him about how he will stay well away from his wife and home in the near future. He doesn't understand. The SgtMaj explains it to him. He also claims he wasn't drinking and that the events portrayed on the police report are not quite what happened. Of course, he also can't remember too much from that night. The kid is slightly off and the SgtMaj wonders how in the world Dumb-ss #3 ever got in the Marine Corps to begin with.
NCIS calls the command that they have contrived a plan to get the gang involved Marine out of the apartment without revealing he's been singing to the police. They have contacted the landlord who will evict the Marine requiring a police presence. The command has arranged for movers to show up and pack his cr-p. Police are en route when gang ninja says: "I need to talk to NCIS." When asked why he reveals that though most of the items in the house belong to him, there is a computer and five printers that are not his. He then reveals they are printing counterfeit bills. The NCIS agent's reaction when told this: "HOLY F#&%!" All stop on the eviction plan. Brain surgeon is brought down to local PD where they eventually get a warrant. That evening they kick down his apartment door and arrest three scum bags and find drug paraphernalia and some ammunition. At this point the SgtMaj could care less about the details.
The SgtMaj attends a retirement ceremony for a fellow SNCO who thought it was a great idea to hold a ceremony at 1800 in the blazing desert sun. His parting comments droned on and on as all the guests enduring the misery of the setting sun while all thinking: "Just. Shut. Up. Already."
SgtMaj attends a change of command at 0900. Here only 10 Marines fall out of the formation but at least it wasn't in the evening at the height of blazing heat. Generals in attendance are happy with the ceremony. Jack-ssery has settled to a more manageable level by now. Administrative separation paperwork has begun on a number of idiots of questionable genetic origin.
The SgtMaj notices a U-Haul truck parked right outside the gate entrance to the building. A number of SNCOs are clustered about many of who say to the SgtMaj in passing: "Don't worry, we've got it SgtMaj." The SgtMaj begins to worry. Dreading explaining more malfeasance to the CO, he investigates. Turns out one of the squadron's other serial dumb azses was checking out of the unit on the last day of his 10 day admin separation letter. He rolled up in a U-Haul with all his cr-p to say good bye to his buddies. Unfortunately, the parking lot outside the building is all covered parking which crushed the top of the U-Haul as he pulled in. The SgtMaj noted the worst damage the covered parking structure endured was some scratched paint. The full belly laughter of the SgtMaj filled the desert air as he pointed out to brain surgeon what a complete f-cking idiot he was. Marines in attendance began laughing including the MPs who were writing him a ticket. The SgtMaj continued to point out there was a completely empty lot right across the street but he just HAD to pull up front because he's a lazy dumb azs. In conclusion, the SgtMaj noted that he had done nothing but f-ck things up for the last seven months and that 2015 was likely to be the worst year of his miserable life.
SgtMaj goes to the SNCO club to tell other SgtsMaj how awesome his week was.
SgtMaj tours the barracks before heading home. He is invited by Marines to hang out in kiddie pools with them and drink beer. It is tempting.
To all my ninjas, in the end, poor decision making will lead to a poor outcome. If you don't care about your fate, then please think of your SgtMaj and don't be a jack-ss.
Now hear this! The 3rd 155/175mm Gun Btry. (SP) is holding our 6th reunion on September 15, 16, 17, in Charleston, S.C. We are planning a bus trip to Parris Island for a graduation and other site seeing tours. Contact Ed Kirby for information at ed-kirby[at]comcast[dot]net or call 978-987-1920. Looking forward to seeing you all "3rd Gunners" at the reunion!
Lost And Found
My husband who died in 1981, medically retired from the USMC, and who was a ceremonial bugler in D.C. for most of his career and had a dear friend who also was a bugler there. His name was Bill Wilson. He attended my husband's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. We attempted to stay in contact with each other, but six months later he'd relocated, I assume. Is there a way to find the man? I assume he was career, and at the time of my husband's death he was a Sgt, as was my husband. I don't have any more information than that. How do I go about locating this Marine?
I am seeking any member or Drill instructor of Platoon 305 of 1965, also seeking Lt. J. Cook of 2nd Platoon, Delta Co. 9th Engineer Bn. Chu-Lai, Vietnam and also a FAO at Camp Carrol.
Regarding Mike Gollihur:
I never was a Staff NCO and I qualified with the .45. It even shows on my DD-214. Marines with a certain MOS qualified with it. I was a Radio-Telegraph Operator (MOS 2533) and was told I had to. I knew better than to argue because I was a Sergeant (E-5) at the time. It was in 1972, so maybe things had changed by then.
Larry Anderson (Andy)
Comm Platoon, 1st Shore Party Battalion
Great seeing those "C" Course targets again. A clarification question for 1stSgt Brewer on scoring on the "C" Course (June 8 Newsletter, article
called "Straight Scoop"). I qualified Expert twice on the "C" Course at Camp Lejeune in 1968 and 1969. My recollection is you received 5 points for all
hits inside the silhouettes but you had to put at least one round in all 3 silhouettes for your score to count (i.e. you couldn't put 10 rounds in one
silhouette and get a score of 50). If you only managed to put rounds in two silhouettes your score was Zero. My memory of 45 years ago correct?
MP Hite, S/Sgt
RVN 1966-67, '69-'70
Okay Marines, I am slowly putting together items when I was in, in 1969. I have found various things but one elusive item has not appeared. I would like to buy a Marine Corps Guide Book circa 1969, the one with the green cover. Yes, I do know that makes me older than dirt, but I had mine but stupidity took over and I lent it to a "friend". So if any of you old salt may have one stashed away and have no use for it, please consider my offer. You can reach me at jeantweedy[at]yahoo[dot]com.
Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters.
Funny name used for what the Old Corps Marines ('51-'55) called a C-rations can opener: "a fu—ing can opener", it's what it will always be because it opens the fu—ing can of beanie weenies.
R A Watson, Cpl. '51-'55
OK, we got the "P-38, John Wayne" thing straightened out. Who still has a "Church Key" handy? I found mine in my tackle box.
Cpl. TC Mosher
Well said J. Wise, the best I have read regarding Vietnam although I was not there.
R. Maskill Cpl.
Platoon 105 MCRD Jan. 1963 had Sgt Rine as one of its Drill Instructors. His often stated exhortation was "there is no doubt in my mind, privates; should be none in yours". I have kept this in mind ever since then and has stood the test of time.
Mike B, Sgt 1963-1967
VN 1965, 1966-67
Just finished "The Traveling Wall" in this issue. It is maybe the best story about the Corps and what happened in Vietnam and afterwards I have ever read, and many thanks to our Marine Brother Wise for sharing his story, and you for getting it in your Newsletter. There is not a cloud in the sky today, but it rained a bit as I read the story. Many thanks, and may we never forget.
An old Marine who did his growing up in the Corps and Vietnam many years ago...
To: Mr. J. Wise 204xxxx
Dear Mr. Wise,
God Bless you my Brother, and Welcome Home.
Cpl. "Chip" Morgan 237xxxx
HQ 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
Northern I Corps, Ca Lu Vietnam 1968-69
USMC (Vietnam, 1968, still lost somewhere along the DMZ)
"Fair Winds and Following Seas"
"Man's mobility — his own uninhibited travel and the free movement of his goods and services — is the road to health, education, peace, wealth, that is, to human evolution. Let us exalt, not stifle, man's mobility!"
--Leonard E. Read, Accent on the Right 
"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die... Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions."
--George Washington (1776)
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth--and the amusing thing about it is that they are."
--Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War
"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army
"You can take a man out of the Marine Corps; you will never take the Marine Corps out of the man."
"What is you're major malfunction turd."
"Bends and mothers until you change the rotation of the earth!"
"I'm so short I'm sleeping in a match box using a rifle patch for a blanket."