Sgt Grit Newsletter - 29 JUN 2016

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• While I Was At Arlington
• I Am A Marine
• Respect During The National Anthem

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all of our Marines, Corpsmen, and their families a very happy Independence Day! May we never forget the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our most cherished fundamental right... FREEDOM. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Semper Fi Warriors

While I Was At Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery Marines 1

I thought they were just Practicing... because the Marine Corps War Memorial was just a few Hundred Meters away...

John Voracek
Vietnam Marine

Funny Side Bar Story

Mike Kunkel standing guard in Beirut

Sgt. Grit,

Here are two photos from Beirut circa 1982-83. The top photo is of me standing on the perimeter road down by the airport and the Sh-t River in an area we referred to as The Swamp. 2/8 had set up a series of sandbag bunkers along this road before we relieved them and we would man the bunkers and patrol the road, probably as they had before us. My recollection at this point is not always clear and I can't recall now where the Sh-t River (just a nasty-azsed stream that paralleled the airport runway) actually came from direction-wise, but it did parallel the runway at least for several hundred yards toward the sea and separated our area from the airport runway. "Hey Joes" (what we called the locals who were trying to sell us sh-t) would come up to that berm and fence behind me in the photo and were always hawking food, cigarettes, sodas and liquor, but before long the CO, Captain Chuck Johnson, banned the interaction with them. At night sometimes, voices would come from that area making verbal threats toward us and they (we never knew who) would at times slip in between the bunkers and pull on the land lines connecting the hand-crank phones or cut them altogether.

Funny side bar story - when we first relieved 2/8 they built a bunker at the end of the runway just on the other side of the Sh-t River. I am assuming that when 2/8 was there the airport was either not active or at least not that particular runway, however, not long after we relieved them, planes started taking off daily and from that runway at least several times a day. Depending on how big and powerful the plane was, the back blast on take-off would blow the roof off the bunker. After replacing it several times we relocated the entire bunker to another spot. I was personally never in that bunker but I did witness the roof being blown off on two occasions and it was hilarious. The Marines inside the bunker would stand up after the plane took off and start laughing. It would have made for a great hidden-camera comedy show even by todays humor standards.

The second photo is of me on Christmas Eve 1982 up at University. The BLT gave us each a bottle of hooch for Christmas. Most of us not on post or getting ready to go on post showered up and sat around listening to Christmas Carols on someone's cassette tape recorder and drank our wine. Playing cards and reading was about all we had to do in the evening. Also around this time a private girls school in Baltimore sent care packages and a nice letter to each Marine from Maryland. It was a wonderful gesture by the girls and very much appreciated. Each package had candy and snacks, books and toiletry items and a letter thanking us for our service. Not a very happy time, but we made the best of it. We had a Christmas Tree and one Marine had somehow purchased a Monopoly game down in one of the Christian villages not far from our compound. The entire game-board and all of the money was written in French but each of us knew the game well enough to work around it. I knew just enough French (four years of it in grade school and high school) to decipher what we could not visually work through, but it kept us busy and was still fun.

Semper Fi Devil Dogs!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt

The Flag Pageant

To Cpl Greg Pawlik,

Saw your letter in Sgt Grit's online publication. Yes, I was a Sea-Going Marine onboard the USS Forrestal from July '73 to July '75. I was trained at the other Sea School at the time, the one at Marine Barracks, Portsmouth, VA. What caught my attention was your mention of the "Patriotic Flag Pageant" that was put on by the Sea School at MCRD San Diego. After I finished my tour on the Forrestal, I got orders to the San Diego Sea School as an instructor. I was immediately thrust into the classroom environment of what needed to be taught to all these young Marines but we also had secondary duties there, one of them being running the Flag Pageant. I initially started as part of the flag display team during the presentation and would end up as part of the color guard at the end of the show. I eventually ended up becoming the narrator of the pageant. What was very unique about that show, during that particular time, was that I was there when the bicentinenial of the USMC and the bicentinenial of the United States dates came around. What that meant to us was we were VERY busy presenting the pageant in tons of places, including on the stage at the local concert arena in San Diego for the Kiwanis International Convention of 1976 (approx. 10-12 thousand people) and on July 4 of that same year, we presented the pageant for the city of San Diego in the San Diego Padres baseball stadium (some 50-60 thousand people). As the narrator, I was standing on second base while I was reciting the words and the pageant was being shown. During the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the USMC, we were invited to go to Hollywood and present the pageant at a Hollywood philanthropic convention. They were honoring General Louis H. Wilson, then Commandant of the Marine Corps for his handling of the Mayaguez incident. We did the show, ate some USMC birthday cake behind the stage, as was packing up when out of nowhere General Wilson steps back there with us and is raving about how terrific the presentation was. He had never seen anything like that before. We, of course, got our picture taken with him and I have that pic in an album of mine to this day. Yes, it was a very busy tour but lots of fun and lots of memories.

Thanks for remembering!

Semper Fi,
SSgt Bob Tollison USMC

P-38 Can Opener

As a long-time collector of all things USMC, I researched and prepared a C-Ration display. Part of that work included research on the P38 history and here's what I learned:

Officially designated the 'Opener, Can, Hand, Folding, Type I', the P-38 was designed in just 30 days in 1942 by US Army Major Thomas Dennehy at the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago, IL. It has never been officially designated as a 'P-38' by the contracted manufacturers or the US military, Commercial products now use the designation for sales purposes.

The Marines called it a 'John Wayne' based on his movie portrayals of a hard, tough Marine; I've never heard the term used by a Doggie or sailor (unless a Corpsman).

The name "P-38" has varied attributed origins (much like the Jeep), one being it is approx. 38 millimeters long. Don't buy that, as we didn't use MikeMike measurements... except for weapon bores in those days.

The other origin, which I tend to believe, is it was "fast as lightning" [like the P-38 Lightning fighter plane of the WW II era] to use and, most likely, because it takes 38 cuts to open a C-Ration can.

I received my first P-38 (steel, dated 1951, made by Speaker) on the hike to Camp Matthews Range in late 1961. It served as a screwdriver, can opener, nail cleaner and conversation starter. I still have it on my dog-tag chain.

C. Stoney Brook
11th & 12th Marines

Go Home Old Man


The artical by Marine "Wise" in the 16 June 2016 Newsletter caused many emotions to cross my mind. The VietNam war cost us 58,287 men in 10 years but I was not allowed to fight in that one. I was told "Go Home Old Man, We will fight this one for you". I am an 84 year old Korean War Veteran... lucky one. I remember a tough old Marine who fought his last War there. We all remember him Just as "Chesty". We only struggled for 3 years, but in that 3 years we lost over 53,000 men; Marines, Army, Airmen, and Navy. It doesn't matter who they were... they no longer are. All died defending a thing we sing songs about... "America". Strange, isn't it, the same thing those precious men died for in VietNam.

I remember the first thing I did when I stepped back on the soil of "America". I went into the Slop Shute and asked the waitress if she had a giant Glass. She said "Yes We Do" I said fill it with cold Milk and bring it to me. She asked "Korea?" . I said "Yes Ma'am". That was my only greeting after returning. We were not vilified as you were when returning from Viet Nam, but we got no Parades, and very few thanked us.

All the terrible mind boggling things such as winter, that was so cold it numbed the mind and spirit. Mud that was sometimes knee deep. Stinking Kimchi and the smell of rice paddies fertilized with human excriment. Men fell into that excrement, but still those that remained... Marched On. God bless any man who fights for his country, and God bless and keep any Marine any where on the surface of this world. I fear the next one will cost us more than any before.

Semper Fi
Korean War Vet

I Am A Marine

At the Cottage Grove Fireman's Festival on Saturday, after the parade we went into a local cafe for chow. The owner came over and asked if he could read the back of my Sgt. Grit tee shirt. I said sure. He read it and said, "That's a good saying." "You read Arabic?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. "Do you know what it means?" "Yes," I said, "No better friend, no worse enemy." "That's right, you were a Marine?" "I am a Marine." "Thank you for your service," he said. I gave my usual reply, "It was a privilege to wear the uniform." He introduced himself as Abdul from Morocco, and proceeded to tell us how it was a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament, laws, a good economy and happy people that had avoided the turmoil sweeping the Middle East in the last eight years. So you never know when Grit Gear will open new horizons for you.

Semper Fidelis
Robert A. Hall

Respect During The National Anthem

Sgt. Grit,

I am from Baltimore, Maryland and here in Baltimore when the National Anthem is sung at Orioles and Ravens games a vast majority of the stadium screams out "O" during the second to last line that starts out as, "O say can that..." and it absolutely makes my blood boil when people do this. I find it so disrespectful that I stand there in anger while the anthem is being sung anticipating that moment. I can't really recall when it started but my guess is that it was the middle 80's after the Colts left town. It started at Orioles games and then when the Ravens came to town in 1996 it morphed over to their games as well. The Orioles are known locally as the "O's" so that is why the fans scream it out. I think some of the morons from this city who do not know their history probably think that Francis Scott Key wrote the song about Orioles baseball, but it amazes me that people do not find it disrespectful when the subject comes up. I have heard of a few people who are offended, but most do not seem bothered by it.

I grew up in a family that believed that all males should serve in the military. My older brother was Navy and my dad an Army veteran. He used to take me to all the parades when I was a kid and taught me to stand at attention with my hand over my heart and in silence EVERY time the flag passed and EVERY time a patriotic song was sung. To move from the position of attention or speak was sacrilegious in my dad's opinion, and that is how I feel today. To him, it was no different than talking in church. To this day when I go to parades and sporting events I do the same thing and it amazes me that more often than not I am the only one standing at attention (at least at parades), but while everyone stands at sporting events. Too many of them just don't have the common decency and respect to at least stand still and remain silent. My daughter is a third grade teacher in a Catholic school and she teaches her children the same respectful mannerisms and it bothers her as well when she sees people fidgeting during the anthem.

When I got out the Marines I played on a local Semi-Pro football team for several years. I played fullback and during my second season we had this outside linebacker who was a few years younger than me who liked to run his pie-hole quite a bit. I was never the rah-rah, mouthy type of player, but I did have a reputation for playing a bit to the left of the rules and he and I used to go at it in practice every week. I rarely carried the ball (unless it was short yardage) as I was a blocking fullback who enjoyed the smash-mouth contact and I have always disliked mouthy braggarts so I typically exacted my retribution physically on the field as opposed to returning the comments. Talk is cheap – let your play speak for you I always said, but this linebacker was more mouth than performance and we just did not get along and every chance I got to lay a snot-bubbler shot on him I did. Anyway, one particular week we were playing the Tidewater Sharks in this old stadium in Tidewater Virginia and before the game they announced the defensive and offensive starters for each team and they then played a recording of the National Anthem before the start of the game. I was standing behind this particular linebacker and when the recording got to the "O" part he screamed it out as loud as he could (he was the only person who did this) and after the song was over I just blew up. I shoved him in the back and spun him around and threatened to punch him out if he ever did that again. He immediately went over to the defensive coordinator who was himself a Marine veteran and told him what I did. Marvin M. (the defensive coordinator) replied, "Oh he did huh, well... if you ever do that again during the National Anthem and Kunkel does not punch you out, I will punch both of you out. Get out of my face." I just stood there looking at him and laughed. Semper Fi Marines!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt

In My Humble Opinion

Sgt Grit,

In response to MSGT T.H. Smith's question in his article concerning the Marine Corps flag in his cubicle being called "racist" by his Muslim co-worker, IMHO there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING "Racist" about the USMC flag, or the Army or Air Force or Navy flag. Our Marine Corps flag stands for THE finest fighting force on earth - and represents ALL Marines - men & women whose skin color might be black or brown or yellow or red or white, but are ALL Marine Green - PERIOD! Same with our country's flag - the Stars and Stripes - We pledge allegiance to that flag, and to the Republic for which it stands - ONE nation - under GOD - indivisible, WITH LIBERY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! So to ANY muslim or person of ANY RELIGION, Race, Culture or Creed who can not pledge allegiance to that flag, and support the branches of our military and support our country - LEAVE! GET THE HELL OUT! Either become an AMERICAN or go somewhere else - somewhere your sharia law or whatever laws you want to follow instead of United States laws - will be accepted and allowed. In the words of that old country song by Merle Haggard, "When you're runnin' down our country Hoss, you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me!"

Semper Fidelis,
Captain Jinx
Vietnam '68-'69


Marine Corps Mustang Association 31st Annual Muster

Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel, New Orleans, LA
16 - 18 August 2016
Contact: Dick 'Sully' Sullivan (508) 954-2262, sul824[at]verizon[dot]net and for details.

Semper Fi,
Joe Featherston

Short Rounds

It is called a P-38 because it supposedly takes 38 cuts to fully open a can of C-rations. Or so I have ben told. Never counted myself.


All this talk about marksmanship quals. reminds me of one of my close friends. An Army guy,( 101st Air. Mbl. 502nd). He is very proud of his Hand Grenade Expert Award. That's right they give an award for throwing hand grenades! I have a lot of fun with that one.

"Close enough only works with horse shoes and hand grenades" and "you get a foxtrotn' medal".

We caught a lot of fish at Liberty Bridge with grenades and probably consumed a ton of agent orange at the same time.


This one came out after I was released from Active Duty (1969) and before I was enlightened to want to reconnect with my USMC past (1999). I surely do not remember ever seeing it on TV back in the day.

USMC Rose Garden Commercial - 1973

John Wear
Vietnam Tankers Assoc.

"Pink" Fingers

How many Marines know the reason that all recruits graduating from boot camp in 1956 had two pink fingers on their writing hand?

Fischelli, V. E.
Platoon 297, 5th Bn., (1956)
Parris Island, S.C.
U.S. Marines '56-'63
"Once a Marine Always a Marine"
Semper Fi!

(Answer: From spit shining dress shoes with Kiwi's Cordovan shoe polish.)

Looking for Platoon book for Plt 305 mid-late 60's - DI's were SSgt Dickey, SSgt Rittereiser, SSgt Flynn.


I just read the article, "The USMC Flag Is Racist". What bilge! Actually, I have to laugh because fools like that immigrant co-worker aren't worth another wasted breath. They hate America and everything America stands for. It's time for true patriots to stand tall and tell the naysayers to stick it! As one of my DIs, Cpl. JL Stelling, told us at MCRD, San Diego, way back in 1964; "Watch out for the 10 percenters! They don't care!" That guy is a true 10 percenter!

Semper Fi, MSgt TH Smith!

B. Lonn
Once a Marine... Always a Marine!

Well said MSgt Smith! If you don't like us, BE GONE!

Semper Fi
CWO3 Marine Gunner (0306) 1968-1994
George Dumais

I am truly saddened when I read the newsletter and find alleged career Marines whining and wallowing in self-pity. I don't care about your xenophobia, or your political paranoia, or your flagging morale.

A Marine should be above that...

Pete Dahlstrom
Plain old enlisted scum

Amen to the story about racism and the USMC flag!

Robert Worley

Your bubba who commented about SEALs has no idea how lethal they are... over Delta, etc... my brother-in-law is a SEAL, now retired, but was CO of ST-6... and one h-ll of a fine patriot. His physical size before he retired told me legions about who he was, and what he could do... I spent 32 years in the USN, had command of the USS JFK, and had SEAL Teams on board each ship... they are lethal, and when I went with them on a swim into a European port, I was blown away.... the French, Spanish and Italian couldn't compete. Nor could the Greeks and amazingly even the Israeli's. These guys were/are TOUGH! Actually they are THE TOUGHEST IN THE WORLD!


In reply to MSgt Hill's letter in newsletter of 22 June 2016, thought his reply to co-worker who stated the Marine Corps was racist was right on! If he doesn't like it, (Marine Corps flag) leave the US of A. Right on Top!

D. Morton, GySgt


In response to the article by T.H. Smith, Jr., MSGT USMC (Class of 73), I certainly agree with his sentiments. We may have rules, in this country, about who can come in (which are certainly needed). But, we don't stop anyone from leaving to live elsewhere. It is high time that we stopped "tolerating" all of those who come to America, because it is better than where they came from. And then they want to change things to be like they are where they came from!

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt. '72-'82

In reply to MSGT Smith,

After your 24 years in the Marine Corps, I would say you can fly any damn flag you want! I've got your back!

Cpl. "Chip" Morgan
3rd Mar Div,
Northern I Corps,
Ca Lu Vietnam, 1968-69,
TET Offensive survivor

I agree whole heartily with T.H.Smith Jr. on his remark in "the USMC flag is racist".

H.P.Miller USMC
MGYSGT 1951-1972

Mike B - If your drill instructor, Sgt Rine, was Sergeant John Rine, a short, cigar smoking, very squared away Marine? I served with John while working at the Division of Reserves at HQMC in 1964 to 1966. He was a great friend and excellent Marine. He lost both legs in Vietnam and was on the cover of Parade magazine at one time. Bet he was h-ll on wheels as a drill instructor.

D, Morton, GySgt


"Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum."
--Samuel Adams, Speech in Philadelphia [August 1, 1776]

"For the majority of people liberty means only the system and the administrators they are used to."
--Albert Jay Nock, Selected Letters of Albert Jay Nock

"The Army and the Navy are run like traditional military services. The Air Force is run like a corporation. But the Marine Corps is a religion."
--Navy Admiral

"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
--Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994

"The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world."
--Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy, WWII

"If we weren't already crazy we would go insane!"

"Private, you are about as squared away as a soup sandwich!"

"Rise and shine, another day to serve the Corps!"

Happy 4th of July Marines!
Sgt Grit

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