Sgt Grit Newsletter - 25 SEP 2016

In this issue:
• Real Rifles At Parris Island
• Inspections That Everyone Hated
• Barracks Tales

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Real Rifles At Parris Island

Diagram of an M-1 Garand

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the "REAL" rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a "teepee". The second was as a motivator as in "All right girls, gettum' out by the stacking swivels", which was used by our Drill Instructors when somebody was out of step in the platoon. On this command we had to hold the 9.5 pound weapon straight out from the body by the stacking swivel between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. On a hot August Parris Island grinder, it wasn't long before the strongest among us was in serious pain trying to stay in an upright position. The stacking swivel was indeed a very important part of Marine Corps lore and the source of sea stories. I hated to see it go.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
'60 - '64

Inspections That Everyone Hated

It was 1962 on a Thursday night and Service Platoon, H&S Company, 2/8 was having one of the inspections that everyone hated. For the younger guys a "Junk on the Bunk" was when you displayed all of YOUR gear on your mattress. Inspection had barely begun and we could tell that the Inspecting Officer was not much more interested in conducting the inspection then we were in being inspected. This meant that we could count on liberty starting Friday at 1600 and everyone could head up to the "circle" and catch a ride to anywhere on the East Coast. Was not to be. The inspector was walking slowly thru the barracks and stopped at one young Private's rack and simply asked if all the gear was his. The private very clearly and in a confident voice said "NO Sir." That was the end of the inspection and we then got the privilege of repeating the whole process at 10:00 on Saturday morning. Don't remember exactly what was said to the young Private but I'm sure that today's society would have found it to be offensive.

In those days your name and Service number were displayed on the foot of your rack. You could look at the number and tell pretty close to when that person had enlisted, and therefore how much time they had left in the Corps. Us younger guys had numbers that were in the 1900s and some of the older guys with numbers in 1500 and 1600 would walk by and make remarks to the effect that if they had much time left they would just kill themselves. We all basically got along OK with each other although a lot of the comments would probably result in a court martial in today's political correct society. The one I remember the clearest was one guy yelled at another and asked if he knew what sound sh-t made when it hit the wall. The answer of course was WHOP. Even the Italian guys got a good laugh and generally had some equally off the wall response.

Semper Fi
John Vaughn ('61/'65)

A Date To The Ball

Stationed at Marine Barracks, Naval Weapons Station, Goose Creek, SC. Had tickets to the Marine Corps Ball Nov 10, 1973. Pulling Duty NCO one night when one of the guard Sgt's from the guard platoons (SSGT W.W. (Woody) Chamberlein Jr.) called the duty desk. He asked if I was still looking for a date to the Ball. I said yes and why. He said his girlfriend had a cousin that would like to go and if I would be interested in taking her. I know what a lot of you are thinking that this isn't going to end well. I asked the young lady out and met her for the first time the night of the ball. Had a great time and I must have made a good impression because 2 months and 12 days later we were married (Jan 22nd '74). We were married for 38 years and 3 weeks when she decided that she would run interference for me with ST Peter. I miss that young lady and think of how she helped this old Marine survive in the world of civilian life.

Well that's my barracks story and if there are any members of Marine Barracks, Naval Weapons Station, Goose Creek from Sep '73 to Feb '74, Cpl Caylor (Rodney) would like to hear from you at rodneycaylor[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Barracks Tales

DI's Relaxation Technique
December of 1967, Edson Range

Platoon 3096 was undergoing rifle qualification week, and I guess we were too uptight in our Senior DI's point of view. The night before qualification day, he introduced a relaxation technique all boys and men are all too familiar with. Yes, that's it!

Now back in that era, MCRDSD still had Quonset huts as our living accommodations, but Edson Range at Camp Pendleton had barracks with open squad bays. After showers the night before the big event, SSgt. Andrews came out of his duty office as we're ready for lights out and announced that the entire platoon will reach into their footlockers and withdraw one dress sock--just one single sock. After lights out we are to have a romantic relationship with a certain body part (each his own body part) that for the last two months has been in mothballs. Yes, we are to awaken that sleeping giant (for some of us) between our legs and persuade that monster to shoot into a Marine black dress sock! After such an awesome event, each spent recruit will pass in front of one of the two on-duty DIs and show a soggy sock as evidence that the mission has been accomplished.

Now here's the funny part. We had been fed saltpeter in our Marine chow for over two months. THERE IS NO WAKING THE MONSTER! But try we did; it was do or die. You shoulda heard the noises in that darkened squad bay: squeaking bedsprings, moans, groans, laughter, a lot of cussing ("come on damn it," "you lazy, no good sonab-tch," "wake the frock up pleeese," etc.). Ahem, I was fortunate that mine could reach the bedsprings of the rack above me, so I ran it back and forth like strumming a guitar till it woke up (I never told the guy above me!). "Oh sh-t, where's my sock?"

Finally, my rickety legs carried me to the Duty Office. Hey, there's already a line! WTF! We had been told how to present the soggy evidence should we "come" up with any: come to attention in front of the DI, extend the soggy evidence no closer than twenty-four inches from the DI's face, upon the DI giving the command "Proceed," continue to the head to wash your now limp and soggy gear.

Not all were successful, but those of us who were had the best sleep since landing on the yellow footsteps! Shooting-wise the next morning, not so much. I was so sore from the "guitar strumming" that I was handicapped when shooting from the prone position! I shot "marksman", just missed "sharpshooter". But hey, it was fun "relaxing" for a change!

Semper Fi, soggy Platoon 3096 MCRDSD 1967
Cpl D. S. Martinez

I Will Remember, 'Til The Day I Die

GySgt Archuleta's letter about radio gear brought back memories. I too was a 2533 CW operator. I remember the knee key and all the other gear he mentioned. The PRC-8, 9, and 10 were identical except for the frequency ranges. The 8 was Tanks, 9 was Artillery, and 10 was Infantry. They all had a feature called Retransmission, in which you could communicate with the other radios by somehow using a common frequency, but it required a lot of steps and adjustments. Ditto (IMI) the MRC-36, 37, 38, which were jeep-mounted radios with the same frequency as the PRC models. He mentioned that the GEN-58 required cranking to transmit, but he forgot to mention that if you didn't have batteries, you had to crank to receive as well. On one occasion, I had the misfortune to forget to load a case of batteries in my jeep, and when my error was discovered, I was was then designated permanent cranker. I never forgot again. I went through radio school in Norfolk, VA, which was very neat and tidy, we sat at a row of tables with typewriters. It in no way prepared us for the FMF field conditions. Antennas were another story. Three men could put up an RC-292 in minutes, 2 men took a little longer, and with just you, it was a real pain, the d-mn thing kept falling over. We had a spool of wire called a donut, and the loose end was hooked to the antenna, and the radio you were carrying hooked to the end pigtail, thus allowing you to be in voice communication the whole time you walked back to the HQ area. I always tried to operate on voice whenever possible, it was much easier than CW. Whenever we went on board ship for any length of time, they usually detailed the CW operators to assist the ships company in the radio shack. The Navy operators used a speed key, and we all wanted to try it, but they usually gave us menial jobs like working the flag bag on the bridge. This was harder than it sounds because you had to know all the different signal flags, and hoist them quickly so that when the flagship unfurled theirs, all ships in the group had to do theirs too so all ships executed the command simultaneously. Sometimes we were put on the blinker lights, talking between ships. I never mastered semaphore. Another thing we were used for was "routing the board". Whenever a message came in, it was put on a clipboard and you carried it around to all the officers concerned, including the ship's Captain. You had to look sharp when you knocked on the Skippers stateroom door. If you had a secret clearance, they might put you on the "Penelope", which was a device used to decode messages that came in encoded. It was boring, but it beat the usual working parties or mess duty that the grunts had to do on board ship. Also, in the field, we used air panels to communicate with aircraft flying over.

When I came back from Okinawa, I went to Comm. Co. HQ BN at Lejeune, and was assigned to a MRC-32 van, which was nice because you were towing a generator and basically living inside, with electicity. All the comforts of home. Comm. Co. was sort of like a labor pool for the division, somebody went TDY for every Med cruise, SOLANT Amity, and Vieques cruise, and anywhere else they were needed. I took my MRC-32 van on one cruise, and a MRC-83 Single-Side band jeep on another. I guess I will remember the morse code and phonetic alphabet 'til the day I die.

Cpl. Paul Lindner

Firewatch At NATTC Memphis

Private Norm Spilleth at NATTC Memphis

The Marine barracks at NATTC Memphis were two story wooden buildings from the WWII era when I went to aviation mechanics school there in 1960. This made it necessary to have a firewatch on duty after lights out for obvious reasons. This duty always fell to the new Privates right out of boot camp, like me. The staff NCO barracks was directly across the street from the MAD headquarters back then. Not only were the barracks dated from the war, but so were the staff NCOs who lived there. These were all old Corps, battle hardened vets who pretty much lived by their own rules. I was unlucky enough to pull the firewatch duty one night for these men. I had learned in Boot camp to keep a low profile in these situations (E-1 vs all ranks above) so my first pass through the barracks before lights out went pretty quiet. When I got to the first deck entryway the Officer of the Day, a young Second Lieutenant, was waiting for me.

"Private", says he, "I was just up on the second deck and there is a Gunnery Sergeant up there smoking a cigar in his bunk". "I want you to go up there and order him to put out that cigar".

"Yes Sir", I said, knowing that I just got a death warrant.

Leaving the Lieutenant standing in the entry way, I went back up to the second deck, and there he was at the end of the squad bay propped up in his rack, in his skivvies, smoking a cigar and reading the latest Playboy. He also had a can of beer that he sipped on from time to time.

I walked up to him, cleared my throat, and said, "Excuse me Gunny, but the OD just gave me orders to tell you to extinguish your cigar."

In retrospect, this guy looked and acted a lot like Lee Ermey with the same vocabulary. He looked at me over his Playboy, took the cigar out of his mouth, and said "What is your major malfunction Private?"

"Just doing my duty sir", I said."

"Now you listen to me boy, and you listen good... You go back down there and tell that pizz-ant Lieutenant to suspend it from his rectal orifice," (or words to that effect). "And dump my ashtray on your way out." At which time he turned back to his reading matter and refreshments.

After dumping his ashtray, I proceeded to the first deck entryway where the OD was waiting. I related, word for word, what the Gunny said. The Lieutenant told me to carry on, did an about face, exited the barracks, and we didn't see him for the rest of the night. The Gunny had another cigar and a couple of beers in peace before lights out. That 1960 Playboy would be a collector's item today I'm sure.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
'60 - '64

When Shadows Danced Under A Fading Red Star

Mikko Carranza In Iraq

When I open my eyes, I wonder if I'm dreaming. This entire operation has seemed unreal from the start.

It is pitch black and silent. I loosen the top of my sleeping bag, and my fingers reach out to feel the icy metallic floor. I move my body and bump into full ammo boxes. I remember now, I fell asleep in a Humvee.

Everyone else wanted to bed down on a floor, not in a vehicle seat. But enemy mortar fire has been constant, and I refused to sleep in the abandoned three-story building we parked next to. I feel safer with four inches of steel over my head.

We have lost four Marines since this assault started on Halloween. Twelve more have been seriously injured. Back home, a civilian might live from paycheck to paycheck; I try to stay alive from holiday to holiday. I'm just trying to make it to Thanksgiving, only one week away.

I have all the gear that makes a warrior. My Humvee is my warhorse. My Kevlar is my helmet, and my flak is the armor that protects my heart. I have boots to march me into battle. My M16 is my "thunder maker," so called for the thunderous cracks it makes when fired. My sole luxury item is an oversized sweater that bears the Marine Corps crescent of an eagle guarding the world. At night, my sweater doubles as my pillow.

Why am I up? The sun hasn't risen. Ohhhhhhh... Nature calls, even when you're in war. I slip on my sweater; the sleeves are baggy and the elastic seams to hug my wrists and hips. I crawl out of my sleeping bag. The cold chills my legs while I fumble around for my boots.

The Humvee's steel doors are heavy, especially for a feather weight. But I know how to use my 120-pound frame. I give a grunt and slowly push.

With my final shove, the door opens and I fall over. I quickly recover and raise my arms before it swings back and crushes me.

I am still not completely awake. I start to walk toward the latrine area, but get only eight or nine steps when the night lights up. My shadow appears before me, three stories high against the building wall. I look behind me and see four Humvees illuminated by bright white flashes. Multiple blasts stun me. It's mortar fire. I know that sound anywhere.

I spin in a circle, looking for cover. I'm smack between the building and my Humvee, and I'm too groggy to decide which direction to run. My ears start ringing, and I realize that the mortar rounds must have been closer than I thought. I'm amazed that I'm not dead yet.

Explosions and more white flashes are coming faster. I don't know if I'm frozen in my boots, or if my brain is processing faster than my body can move.

Marines in full armor rush about. Another series of blasts and flashes, then I come to my senses.

We're not under attack. A Marine mortar team is firing into the city, and I'm underneath the fire arc. They must have set up a fire pit behind the Humvee while I slept.

A mortar flare pops in the distant sky. It's like a red star that floats above the city, lighting up the buildings around us. All turns quiet and movement slows to a crawl.

A soft red glow basks the building next to me. My double shadow dances along the dirt road, stretching farther as the red star sinks behind this ancient city.

As I look at my shadow, I take stock of myself. No thunder maker, no armor, and no helmet. All of it still in the Humvee that I stumbled out of moments before. Instead, I stand frozen in place, wearing nothing but my unlaced boots, baggy sweater, and tighty whities turned pink by the fading flare.

The red star burns out, the city falls back into pitch black and all is silent. There is nothing, as if in a dream.

Mikko Carranza

Fighting The War At Home

Jeremy Profitt during Iraq War

I was once an infantry Marine, and this is my war story.

Spring of 2006, I am holding my rifle straight out with both hands in a half-squatting position yelling, "A hand grenade's kill radius is five meters, Lance Corporal!" My team leader is three inches from my sweaty face when he shouts, "And what is the fragmentation radius?" My knees begin to shake as I shoot back, "15 meters, Lance Corporal!"

Happy with my answer, Lance Corporal gives me permission to go to sleep. It is well past midnight.

I am a "boot" adjusting to my new life in Fox Company, and Lance Corporal has recently returned from a nasty deployment in Iraq. He says that he is my father and that he knows what's best. He slams my head into wall lockers to remind me of my ignorance as he yells, "You are going to war soon, and I won't be there to babysit you!"

Iraq 2008, training is over, and I have treated my Marines just as my leaders treated me. My team leader is now my squad leader, and if I weren't the radio operator I would lead one of his teams. This is the cycle, and my Marines will slam their Marines' heads into wall lockers, too. It's a tradition that has gone on for generations.

This morning we are preparing for a river patrol and a search for weapons caches. Rifles click rounds into place up and down the patrol as we exit the wire. It's like a ritual that we have taken part in hundreds of times. Load a magazine into the well, tap it in, and pull the charging handle to the rear. Release the charging handle and the bolt leaves the buffer spring where it is guided over the magazine well. On its way to the chamber the bolt grabs a 5.56 round and slams it home. It's a moment of mechanical beauty.

We arrive 30 clicks down the Euphrates River and get off the boats near the target house. We enter the farmer's field from the river banks, and spread out into a well-rehearsed squad on line formation. This directs our fields of fire toward the house as a Cobra attack helicopter buzzes in the distance. A UAV drone looms above us, keeping an eye out, ensuring that no one is going to escape. I feel confident. We have trained for this.

During the deployment workups in the States, we spent weeks patrolling, looking for something that we knew wasn't real. Digging into defensive positions and waiting the night out for an enemy we knew would never come. Spending rainy nights in muddy holes, fearing what our leaders might do to us if we fell asleep. Firing machine guns, shooting rifles and launching grenades at little green targets... All of it was just training ops.

Today, there are no firing range safety officers.

Through the sight of my rifle, I see a narrow view of the world. In the distance, I spot the target house. Everything looks normal, but that can be misleading. Advancing through the field I come within 20 meters of the house. I halt and check to see if my squad is still on line with me. Dusting off my ACOG rifle sight with my thumb, I wait for the signal from the squad leader to move forward.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a blur of black-and-white darting out from under a donkey cart. It's like no dog I have ever seen, and it's closing the distance between us faster than I can fathom.

Startled, I react as I've been trained. I pivot in his direction, shoulder my M16 and sight in. Flicking the safety off, I wrap my finger around the trigger. I can see its brown eyes dialed in on me as I follow his body with my rifle. Aim matters little, I have a full mag.

In Iraq, the joke has been that the war's over and we're here to kill dogs. On guard duty, I have spent many lonely nights with my rifle trained at the doorway, waiting for a pack of dogs to storm my post and eat me alive. The insurgents have left us to the strays who roam the night, and until this moment I believe I would have told you that I would kill anything if given the chance.

Waiting for the attack, I can see the dog's stained teeth hanging over his black gums. He looks vicious, and falls well within the rules of engagement.

I don't know why, but I decide that today won't be his last. I lower my rifle and ease off the trigger. As these few seconds come to a close, I realize this is going to end badly.

Within inches of my barrel the dog suddenly stops and, with rehearsed arrogance, he retraces his paw prints back to his donkey cart. He lies down, and I swear I can see him smiling at me.

I break from his gaze to see my squad bursting into fits of laughter. My only kill in Iraq has just slipped through my fingers. Even though the Marines brought me up in a culture of violence, those brown eyes saw right through me.

We search the target house and find only a friendly Iraqi farmer. We walk back to the boats and cut through the calm Euphrates on our way back home. Lighting up cheap Iraqi smokes, we tell jokes and share stories. My squad will kid me forever about the dog I didn't kill in that field of dying crops and ancient farm equipment, but all the same I will miss them when I get out. These moments in Iraq and my time in the Marines will be remembered as a life I once lived but never to be had again. It is over.

A vibration in my pocket wakes me up. It's been almost a year since I signed my discharge papers, and college isn't holding my attention. I find myself missing the vulgarity of the infantry. Through mouths filled with plugs of dipping tobacco, I had learned the finer points of ambushing an unsuspecting enemy. Today, my science professor bores me with recessive traits and genomes.

I look down at my cell phone to see what the vibration is all about. A text message from Allen reads, "Taylor from 4th plt [platoon] was killed. He was the smart kid who went to Citadel... F-ck."

Last November, Fox Company deployed to Afghanistan, where they are in the thick of the fighting. Taylor was a good Marine, sent home early to his family. He will be missed.

It feels so strange that my friends are out fighting a war while I am home trying to get good grades. I joined the infantry in hope of giving meaning to my monotonous suburban life. In war, I thought I'd see the depth of man's soul and witness the extremes of his emotions. I envisioned spending the end of my days like Hemmingway, drunk and writing amazing stories.

Life spared me of war's atrocities and I am thankful for it. As the screen of my cell phone illuminates with grim news, I realize the world has had enough war stories. These stories are written in blood that seeps through the pages, and they speak volumes of our human tragedy.

Jeremy Profitt

Haunted By 40 Months In Iraq

A Marine veteran re-ups 28 years after his discharge and volunteers for four consecutive combat tours. Now he’s at home fighting the war within.

Since Iraq, I might go several days without sleep. It's hard to function like that. When I do sleep, I often wake up after a bad dream and all I want to do is put on my gear, grab my weapon and hurt someone. On nights like that I can never fall back asleep.

I was in Iraq for almost 40 months straight, so long that all of my neighbors at home moved away. I came home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). What follows are some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head since my return. But it's hard to focus. TBI can do that to a person.

I joined the Marines in 1977 and served in the infantry until I got out in 1981. I went to work for a major transportation company, eventually rising to a management position. But as I saw the war in Iraq dragging on, I decided in 2005 to re-enlist. I was too old at 46 to get back into the Marine Corps, but with a waiver I was able to join the Army National Guard.

I volunteered for the next unit deploying to Iraq, and reached the combat zone in late 2005. I knew that I was filling a slot, and I hoped that because I had deployed that a soldier who did not want to go to Iraq was able to stay home with his family. I felt that I was contributing more in Iraq than I had during the previous 24 years as a civilian. I truly enjoyed being in Iraq and doing an important and dangerous job.

I volunteered to stay in Iraq for four consecutive tours. I stayed because I felt that I was doing something worthwhile, regardless of the politics of the war. I felt that the younger soldiers deserved experienced leaders. I knew that they needed someone who would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them by choice, not because he was ordered to. I know that I had a positive impact on the soldiers in all of the units that I served with.

I stayed in Iraq because I knew that I was good at my job. I enjoy the infantry, the core fighting unit of any armed force. Not everyone can handle the conditions we suffer and the environment we operate in. Infantrymen share a brotherhood and pride that excludes other units.

And I stayed in Iraq because I adjusted so well to the environment there that I did not want to come home.

This is part of the sickness of PTSD. We become so proficient at operating in combat that we forget how to function effectively in a normal environment. Therapists and readjustment counselors call some of these symptoms "survival skills," behaviors that keep us safe and alive in a combat environment. Being paranoid and quick to react to movement or sound, and the readiness to use violence are all good things in war. It isn't easy to come home and turn that off, because when we try to do it we don't feel safe.

I don't feel comfortable at home anymore. My threat tolerance and response to perceived threats is so finely tuned that I felt safer in Iraq. Here, every stranger looks like a possible threat. If I am driving near my house and a car pulls in behind me, I will take several extra turns to make sure that I am not being followed. When I am home I feel like I am being watched. At night I leave the lights off in my house and the blinds drawn so no one can see inside. My dog thinks I am an idiot because I am always running into him in the dark.

At least in Iraq I had an armored vehicle and body armor, and I carried and operated several weapon systems. Most importantly, we had skilled soldiers watching each others' backs. At home, I have none of that. I have no protection and I do not have any authority to tell people to get out of my way or to stop moving. If I had a choice, I would still be in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

People don't realize how PTSD affects us. They don't understand why we are hyper-alert and always looking for threats. They don't understand why we are always angry and want to be in a controlled environment. I have had family members tell me that I should just relax and get myself under control. They think it is just a matter of self-control, and that it should be easy to fix. It isn't. Do they think we want to be like this? Don't they understand that if it was that easy we would not need to be in treatment? Then they wonder why we don't want to talk about it.

My family is upset with me, because I do not stay in very good contact. But I don't like them asking questions. I guess I should feel lucky that I have a family who cares about me. None of the feelings I have right now are really rational anyway. One of the biggest frustrations of having PTSD is that you feel differently than your logic tells you to feel.

I had a traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb in Iraq, so my memory is not good at all now. I get lost driving around my hometown. I forget what room I am in at a hotel and I forget appointments and conversations with people. I cannot seem to concentrate and I can no longer read like I used to. I have to re-read the same page over and over, then the next day I have to read it again. This adds to the frustration and anger that I feel every day.

I am now at the Pathway Home, a residential recovery program in Northern California that is helping me with my PTSD. I like Pathway's quiet, calm environment. I feel safe here and I am getting some very good group and individual therapy.

I don't feel bored at Pathway, even though there is lots of free time. Makes me wonder how I will feel when I have to go back to work. This is the first time in my adult life when I am not working full-time. I think I have to pay attention to saving money for retirement. How much money I save will determine how long I should live, because after I retire I don't want to live longer than my savings last.

It is hard to picture myself in the future. I cannot see far enough ahead to plan. I have no interest in any long-term goals. For 40 months in Iraq all I thought about was the mission we were on or our next one. We made plans to take care of our affairs if we died in combat, but other than that there was no planning. Now I am home and I don't know what I want to do or why I have no interest in the future. I can't explain why I made it home in one piece or what my purpose in life is now. I feel like I accomplished a lot in Iraq, and I don't understand what is left in life for me to achieve. Part of me feels like I should have died in Iraq.

I want everyone to know that I appreciate all the support our country has given the troops. I received packages in Iraq from schools, Boy and Girl Scout troops, Rotary Clubs and other volunteer groups. I really appreciated all the effort and time that went into trying to make our lives there a little bit better. So for all the problems I have, feeling supported is not one of them and I want to thank you all for your support.

I also want you to know that we did a lot of good over there. We performed professionally and we completed our missions well. When I first got to Iraq in late 2005, the country was a mess. The insurgency was gaining momentum and attacks on U.S. troops continued to increase until they peaked in 2007. By the time I came home in April of 2009 many schools and markets had re-opened. Displaced people were moving back into their homes. The government was holding elections and the Iraqi army and police were in much better shape to provide security.

We got the country back on its feet after we bombed it back into the Stone Age. We did a lot of good, and our efforts were not all wasted.

Just understand that none of us came back the same as when we left.

Anonymous Marine

Short Rounds

On Sgt Dale R. Rudner's story... You mentioned your drill instructor's name was S/Sgt Herring. One of my junior drill instructors at Parris Island in Jan 1962 - Apr 1962, PLT 104, was none other than Sgt G.O. Herring. He was an excellent drill instructor that could run like an antelope! Wonder if it is the same person.

Cpl J.W. Riner - MOS 2575

I was the one who cut his teeth on the hand cranked generator. The ‘Angry-9' generator was a very welcome replacement for what we had before. If I recall correctly, it was the generator for the TBX. That really had resistance and it was noisy, had a loud grinding whine. Often while sending long transmissions, you had to be relieved. Many times we would switch while cranking.

U.S.S Clymer (PA-27) – better known as ‘Greasy George'. That's what we called her back in ‘47-‘48. That ship always seemed to be dirtier than the other APAs such as Bayfield (PA-33) and Cavalier (PA-37). I remember one operation. There was a partially empty coffee cup near the fantail when we went aboard in San Diego. It was still there when we went over the side a week later.

GySgt P. Santiago

Our 22 area barracks in early 60's at Camp Pendleton was right on the end and next to a parking lot. You could see the headlights shine inside the lower deck usually around our shower time. It was common practice for the BAM's (who's barracks were just over the hill from us) to occasionally come by and park just to watch the guys stroll back and forth to the rain room in their skivvies or just a towel for cover.

Many times I was awakened after lights out hearing sh-ts an giggles coming from the other end of the squad bay from females being sneaked in by some inebriated or less than sober Marines.

Those were the days.

Dave McKee

While stationed in Camp Pendleton in 1965, I purchased two small reel-to-reel tape recorders. I sent one to my girlfriend. We would record our messages and send them to each other by mail. One day I got a "Dear John Letter" by audio recording. All my buddies had a good laugh about my "Dear Reel" that I received.

Sgt. C. Jones '63-'67
RVN 1966

SOP for fire watch was to rouse out the troops in our 2 Quonset Huts with:

"Fall out on the road with Rifles, Cartridge belts and Bayonets."

Last morning of Boot Camp: "Fall out on the road with Guns, Gunbelts and Knives."

Can't remember who was fire watch that morning but he had balls.

If the DI's heard it they ignored it.

WRNicoll 155XXX... '55-'59

DI: "Private, What's your purpose in my Marine Corps?!"
Private: "Sir! My purpose is not to reason why, mine is to do or die for God, Country, and Corps! Ooh Rah! Sir!"
DI: "And don't you forget it you maggot!"
DI:" Bull P-ssy! Get back!"

Roger Macias

Thank you so much for the newsletter. Now my life is complete once again.

E.L. Dodd, 1st Lt USMC forever.

Semper Fi


"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute."
--James Madison (1816)

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."
--Thomas Jefferson

"A man becomes a creature of his uniform."
--Napoleon Bonaparte

"They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live."
--Lt Gen. John Kelly

"If you were not there, you could not understand. If you were there, it is impossible to explain."

"I love working for Uncle Sam! Lets me know just who I am!"

"If it weren't for flashbacks, I'd have no memories at all."

"If you want to fight, join the Marines!"

Get Some,
Sgt Grit

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