Thought you may be interested in these items; Ka-bar from 1950s, Korean
era; Springfield Armory 1911A1 w/USMC grips; lower pistol Remington
1911R1 (actually a CO2 powered BB automatic, fires full magazine of 18
BBs as fast as you can pull the trigger).
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Dramatically Different Lifestyle
I have just finished reading your latest newsletter. As usual, it was
exceptional. Your newsletters continues to stimulate my memories.
In this latest newsletter, Jack W. wrote, "Oh, dear God, what have I
done." when the receiving Drill Instructor yelled, "Get off My F'ing
As a former Drill Instructor, I can testify that every recruit I ever
trained asked himself that same question at some point during training.
Most recruits ask themselves that question sometime the first week or
so. I have had some recruits who didn't ask themselves that question
until second phase or early third phase. Asking yourself that question
is, in fact, a transition that takes you from the scuzzy civilian life
to accepting where you are now and doing your best to meet the
requirements to graduate recruit training.
Most recruits get past that transition on their own without much help.
On the other hand, some need encouragement such as incentive PT. The
recruits who don't get through the transition are the recruits who don't
successfully complete recruit training. And there is almost nothing a
Drill Instructor can do to help recruits who can't or won't make that
transition. The answer to that question is absolutely unimportant, if
there truly is an answer. What's actually important is getting past the
question and accepting the dramatically different lifestyle. Those men
A Former Hat
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)
I read your latest newsletter containing quite a few quotes attributed
to General Mattis. I had the pleasure of meeting the General a few
years ago at a Rotary Club luncheon in Richland, Washington. I have a
friend, Phil Lemlely, who not only volunteers with me at the food bank,
but is a veteran Marine and a Richland city councilman. Phil was the
Rotary Club program chairman with responsibility for arranging guest
speakers at these luncheons. Phil knew that General Mattis had family
in the Richland area, but no idea who or where. Phil tried contacting
the General thru the Yakima Reserve Unit and Marine headquarters in
Washington, D.C. He received no response in either case. One day Phil
was going door to door campaigning for re-election to the Richland city
council and came upon a home with a Marine Corps logo on the door. He
was greeted by an elderly lady and when he asked about the logo, she
replied that her son was in the Marine Corps. Phil told her that he had
been in the Marine Corps 40 years ago. She said her son has been in the
Marine Corps for almost 40 years. Phil asked the lady for the name of
her son. She said Mattis. So you are the General's mother and she
replied yes. After a few minutes, Phil explained how he had made many
attempts to contact the General to have him speak at a Rotary Club
luncheon. Phil thanked Mrs. Mattis and thought that was the end of
He left his city business card with her. Several weeks later Phil
received an email from the General indicating when he would be visiting
Richland and would gladly speak to the Rotary club. I attended the
speech and was amazed how much information he imparted to the attendees
about events in Iraq. The speech took around 45 minutes to an hour
without a teleprompter and sans any "ers" or "ahs". The General also
returned a second time to speak at the Rotary Club annual district 5080
conference. Phil had an opportunity to sit and talk to the General at
his mom's home. He said, for an old non-com, it was an amazing
experience. The memory of the General standing in front of him in his
dress uniform with the stars and ribbons still sends a chill up Phil's
spine. Phil still communicates with the General by email. I have urged
Phil to get signed up for your newsletter and he promised to do so.
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention
In reading some of the past articles concerning Marines making various
modifications to equipment to suit their needs, I recalled a couple of
small things my Dad told me when I was a teen-ager. Dad was a Pfc. with
the 3rd Special Weapons Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
Growing up in Wyoming, big game hunting was an accepted way of life,
especially in small towns. My first deer-hunting rifle was an old
military surplus M1903 Springfield still packed in cosmoline. I think
I paid a whopping $20 for it back in 1958. Dad and I sat outside his
shop next to the house with a cleaning kit, rags, brushes and a large
pan of gasoline (anyone who has ever gotten a rifle packed in cosmoline
knows that gasoline is about the only sure way of getting all that heavy
grease out). He showed me how to strip the '03 all the way down and
thoroughly clean each part. This chore must have triggered some memories
for as we were sitting there cleaning, he began reminiscing.
He said that on Guadalcanal in 1943, several of the Marines had removed
the Springfield's floor plate and spot-soldered a BAR magazine where the
floor plate was, giving them 25 rounds instead of the usual five-round
On Guam in 1944, he said, many of the Japanese were drunk during their
banzai attacks as the Japanese military had a vast store of liquor on
Guam. With the lethal combination of extreme Japanese fanaticism as well
as a belly full of liquor, they were harder to stop during an attack
even after being hit. Many of the Marines took wire cutters and clipped
the tips off the full metal jacket cartridges making them into "dum-dum"
rounds. He said that beyond a hundred yards or so they weren't very
accurate but God help anything within that range. Modifying rifle
cartridges into dum-dum rounds was forbidden by the Rules of the Geneva
Convention. However, the Marines agreed that none of the officials in
the Geneva Convention were on Guam facing banzai attacks of screaming
hordes of drunken Japanese soldiers.
Today's Marines probably wouldn't be all that interested in what our
fellow Marines did 70 years ago, but it's a small part of our heritage.
The Marine Corps Also Changed
When I enlisted we wore Leather Belts on our Greens (I think I still
have mine somewhere) and after the War was over, sometime in the late
1940's they started issuing the cloth belts. I went home on leave about
1949 and a guy, a WWII Marine Vet, asked me why I was wearing an
Officers belt on my Greens. I told him the sorry facts that with the
changing world the Marine Corps also changed.
What was neat however, the Blues now had pockets on them but like my
Greens Pockets I had them sewed up, (there were no rear pockets on the
greens). Now I had a slim figure of a Marine, no bulges. We carried our
cigarettes in one sock and our billfold in the other sock.
Funny thing after the War, don't remember exactly when but only the
Corporal of the Guard and Sgt. of the Guard carried pistols, the rest of
us carried cigarettes in our beautifully polished holsters. Night
Sticks were carried on Guard Duty and usually they had to be in their
carrier on the pistol belt.
I was doing Sentry Duty at SF Naval Shipyards at the time, a Prisoner
took a Shotgun from his Marine Guard, knocked him down aimed the shotgun
at his face, worked the slide and pulled the trigger with only a click
coming from the shotgun.
We were then armed with pistols and shotguns and went to YBI to help
chase down the armed prisoner. We found the reason the shotgun didn't go
off was because of the Brass shotgun shells that are unloaded and
reloaded with every changing of the Guard, the Brass shotgun shells were
so bent they wouldn't function in the pump shotgun. The Prisoner was
locked in Solitary Cell at Yerba Buena Naval Brig, Treasure Island,
California, later sent to a Prison closest to his home.
So many prisoners were in Naval Prisons, they closed some Naval Prisons
and shipped Prisoners to State Prisons near their home of record. Some
interesting stories are to be had from transporting Prisoners cross
country on Trains with leg irons and handcuffs, being waltzed to the
Mess Car for their meals through cars with Moms and Dads holding their
children away from the center aisle.
To get these prisoners transferred, Marines were sent from duty stations
such as Naval Base's, places where they could adjust the Guard Roster.
These were the days when our old Friend Harry Truman showed what he
thought about the Marines and tried to get Congress to have only the
U.S. Armed Forces which would effectively get rid of his Despised
Marines. But the Commandant, a Guadalcanal Marine, made a speech that
cut that cr-p off. BUT they did get the Marine Corps set at only 75,000
men could serve in our Corps at that time.
Then the North Korean's worked Old Harry over when they charged across
the 38th Parallel and General MacArthur asked for a Brigade of Marines.
Again the Naval Bases were stripped of Marine Guards and sent to Camp
Pendleton to form the 1st Marine Brigade. Interesting also was the fact
that the AWOL rate went up all over the East Coast with AWOL Marines
turning themselves in at Camp Pendleton for duty with the 1st Marine
All this happened in a space of a few years, Marines did as they have
always done. Come forward to help dim the Chaos.
Is it any wonder we are admired by the World!
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
About disrespect; I was in Nam in '68 , got out of the Corps in Jan '69,
started college in 1970 at Broward Community in Ft Lauderdale. I
attempted to get into a study group when some guy asked about my
history. As soon as I told them, I was told NOT to get near their tables
in the student union again. They said I could hang with my own kind at a
table of veterans, of which there was about 5 guys at the Vets table.
The other students would not talk or even acknowledge us. It got to the
point where we got a kick out of saying hello to them, and having them
report us to some kind of student hierarchy... screw 'em!
About 6 months later I started at The Forest Ranger School in Lake City,
Florida. There were only 6 Vets in the Forestry school, we didn't fare
any better there with the Community College kids. But we stuck together
and held our heads high... Army, Navy and Marines. The rest of the guys
in the forestry program, held us in high esteem.
Chu Lai '68
VA Army Nat Guard '76-'79
US Army Medical Retired '80-'82
Rated 100% with the VA.
My mother was in a shopping Mall in Oklahoma City about 1969. She was
approached by a young girl to sign an anti-war petition. My mother said
she would not do it, her son was in Vietnam right now. The girl spit in
her face. A man, a stranger, saw what happened and offered his
handkerchief to help my Mom clean up.
I was in college on the GI Bill. This was early 1971. It was some kind
of required social studies class. The professor asked us to fill out a
personal info sheet. Military etc. was asked. I was picked to be on a 5
person panel about some non-military topic. I was set up! When the
professor got to me she immediately went to Vietnam, Marine Corps etc.
Interesting times, my poor mother did not deserve to be treated like
My Wife Quit Going
I joined the Corps in Sept 1958. I had been something of a "Smart Azs"
during the 3 years I spent in High School and was "Encouraged" to
consider joining the Marines, which I had the good sense to do. It's
all a long story that I won't get into here. I was sworn in on 5 Sept
1958 for a 4-Year stint. I have three vivid memories of that day: The
first was being one of five guys standing in front of a Marine Captain
desk holding up my right arm and swearing to be a Good Marine or some
such. The second was of eating my last civilian meal in a Waffle House
in Macon, Georgia, where I was sworn in. The third was when our bus
pulled into Parris Island around midnight that night. Three screaming
guys wearing Smokey the Bear hats climbed onto the bus and started
screaming their heads off at us to get off the bus QUICK! They beat the
backs of the seats with their night sticks to encourage us to move
rapidly. I recall that as I was stumbling off the bus I multiplied 365
times 4 and wondered what I had gotten into.
Fast forward to 2014: I go to the local Waffle House every Sept 5 or as
close to that date as I can and reminisce about that fateful day in
1958. My wife quit going with me a long time ago but that's OK. She
wouldn't have had anything much to do with me back in my Marine days
Sgt E-5, USMC
Sept 1958 to March 1963
The X-1 and X-2 tests were questions about everything recruits had
learned so far in their training. The X-1 was given at the end of the
third week and the X-2 was given near the end of either the 8th week of
training or 12th week of training.(Depending on the length of boot camp
at the time). The questions were about the M-14, M-16, History and
Traditions, First Aid, etc., etc. I don't believe the tests have the
same name any more.
Almost every DI, including myself, would have each Private memorize a
question when they were finished with the test because the questions
were changed or re-worded all the time.
When you are finished with the test PRIVATE A--you will memorize
question number one--PRIVATE B you will memorize question number 2 and
so on before raising your hand to say you are finished with the test.
The DI would then make copies of the new questions, provide the correct
answers and give a copy to the secretary or Guide to read to the platoon
All recruits were supposed to be up-dated on current events and were
given the time to read a Sunday newspaper during Free Time. During my
second tour in 1967. The Company Commander held the first formal (third
week) inspection. The C.O. stepped in front of Pvt numbnuts and asked a
question about current events. Pvt numbnuts answered correctly. The C.O.
then stepped in front of Pvt S---Bird and asked him who was Presley
O'Bannon. The answer: Sir, I dunno, I only read the funny papers.
Yes, DI's have to become superb actors to keep from laughing.
J L Stelling
You are correct, the X-1 and X-2 are no longer the name of the test
given at boot camp. I am not for sure if it has changed since I went
through MCRD San Diego in 2000, but during my training it was called
PracApp (Practical Application).
It covered Marine Corps history and traditions, first aid, Marine Corps
marksmanship history, Marine Corps and Navy ranks, General Orders, etc.
The recruits that scored well on the intial PracApp test became know as
our Knowledge recruits. They help everyone else in the platoon learn and
memorize the material covered.
During our inspections (Company Commander, Battalion Commander) we
normally we asked General Order, Marine Corps history, and Chain of
Command questions. I don't recall current events being a read about or
If a recruit failed to pass the PracApp on the second go round then they
would basically be tutored by the highest scoring recruits for a day or
so, and then they would go back and test for a third time. I am not for
sure what happened if they failed a third time... but the ever present
threat from the Drill Instructors was that if you didn't pass then you
would be recycled one week to another platoon. In my platoon, 2070
(Hotel Co), we all passed by the second test... no one wanted to stay
any longer than they had to.
R&R Times Three Plus One
During Vietnam you got one R&R per tour. If you extended for 6 months
you could come home for a month then return to do your next 6 months in
country. I got 3 plus 1. I took my first R&R to Sydney, Australia. I
extended, but instead of going home I asked if I could take another R&R,
so I went back to Sydney. For my extension I got my third R&R, I went to
Bangkok, Thailand. The plus one came in Okinawa. A Gunny from 11th
Marines put a working party together to go to Okinawa and stage all the
gear for the return of the 1stMarDiv sometime in '71. The gear was the
seabags we each left there before getting on the bird to DaNang. So the
Gunny, me a Sgt, and a working party of about 8 others was formed. We
got on a C130 to Okinawa. We landed and the Gunny goes off to do what
Gunny's do. He returns and says the work has been done. We can get back
on the C130 we just got off of and return to DaNang, OR we can spend the
allotted week in Okinawa with one stipulation. That I call him every
morning at 8am with a head count that all is well. I look at my 8 Marine
working party, they look like bobble head dolls nodding yes. So off we
went for a free week in Okinawa.
HMR-161 and VMO-6
To GySgt. Jim McCallum:
I have been reading all your Posts on Sgt. Grit for the last two years.
I thought you should get the correct info on the Marine Helicopter
Squadrons such as HMR-161 and VMO-6. Due to the fact that I was in
HMR-161 in Korea 1952 to 1953. VMO-6 was just down the road from
HMR-161. HMR-161 was T.A.D. to the First Marine Division at that time.
The fact was that we were trying to experiment with Vertical Envelopment
at that time. We flew HRS-1&2 at that time. Now Helicopters are Organic
to every Marine Division. HMR-161 is now HMM-161, I also was in HMM-261
at Cherry Point.
If you have any questions please contact me thru Sgt. Grit. Oh, by the
way we did fly wounded to the Hospital, Repose around the clock with no
GPS. at that time & flew replacements to the MLR. We supplied out Posts
Vegas, Carson, & Reno also!
S/SGT. George S. Archie
Marine Tattoo Of The Week
Eagle Globe and Anchor tattoo by artist David Mushaney.
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #7, #5)
In the last paragraph of my letter of July 10th, 4th and 5th line, I
said "We had a very nice conversation all the way." What I failed to
tell you was that during that session she told me "My husband and I were
separated in mid-June 1949 'military style'. I asked "What do you mean
when you say 'military style'?" She was surprised that I did not know
of this term. She said "If I had taken my son and departed, all of our
friends and neighbors would have known of the split and it might have
had a detrimental effect on his career. We moved into separate
bedrooms, and this way nobody was the wiser. My husband will report in
at his next duty station as a bachelor. My attorney filed a divorce
action on the 1st of August. Now it's a countdown for two years."
Now back to my returning to the hotel. I asked the desk clerk if he had
a room close to #912. He replied "Next door in 910 or 914 or across the
hall?" I said "914 is okay." He said "The military rate is $10."
(Kitty was quoted $20.) I told him that Mrs. C______ had a military
I.D. He pulled her chart and made a notation on it. He said she will
get a credit when she checks out. I went up to #914. It was more than
an hour since I left her and I knew she may have gone to sleep. But I
wanted to talk with her. I dialed '912'. Her line was busy. I waited
about 5 minutes and tried again. Her line was still busy. I waited
another 5 minutes. Her line was still busy. I called the desk and said
"Mrs. C______ line has been busy since I got into my room. Can you cut
in and tell her that she has an incoming call? He said "I can" - and he
did. My phone rang and I picked it up. I said "Sgt Freas speaking."
She asked "Where are you?" I told her what had happened and asked if
she would care to continue our conversation. There was a long pause
and then "I - don't - think - so!" I told her "Tell S_____ I will come
by some weekend to take him to the zoo." She said "Oh, he will love
that!" And as for you, Beautiful, you take good care of yourself." I
told her "I am going to take a shower and do my teeth and hit the rack -
that I would be dead to the world in an instant. I will leave my door
unlocked. Should you change your mind you are welcome to come on over.
You will have to shake me to get me awake. Good night." Within about 5
minutes I was under the covers and sawing wood.
I did not hear her open the door - or close it. I did not hear her get
on the bed. But I felt something on my ear and started to open my eyes.
I smelled that lovely Shalimar perfume. I looked up into those
beautiful eyes. She was diagonally across the bed and kissed me on
my ear. She was still wearing that white golf outfit. I got awake.
'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #9, #12 (Dec. 2019)
Part #5: (VMO-6, cont.)
The Monument in the SEMPER FIDELIS Park is shaped like an airfoils cross
section and has the sixty-six (66) names on the squadron mates lost
during conflicts and figures of the seven (7) different types of
aircraft used by VMO-6 etched into it. The design is the work of Wayne
Wright who incorporated the airfoil because it is essential to flight
and it represents the core and the vitality of the squadron. The wing
has been severed at it's tip and rests on edge rising from the ground.
This is meant to depict the disruption of flight, the loss of life, and
our eventual fall back to a place of rest, on earth. While the base of
the wing is earthbound, it's tip is projected skyward suggesting the
desire to rise again to the heavens. And so, through this structure we
honor those squadron members who have fallen to rest on earth, but in
memory and spirit still soar above the earth. A blessing was given by
Chaplain Hannigan, and a wreath was laid next to the monument. A MARINE
Buglar played Taps from afar, followed by a Bag Piped version of the
MARINE CORPS hymn. Shortly after this a formation of three helicopters
flew over the assembly, low and loud. The familiar "wop,wop,wop" of
huey rotor blades brought back memories, some with smiles and some with
The striking black VMO-6 monument that was dedicated during May's
ceremony stands in the SEMPER FIDELIS Park at Quantico, Virginia, near
the birthplace of the squadron more then 90 years prior. It represents
a small but, very important part of VMO-6's history. The squadron
soldiers were at the forefront of many MARINE Aviation firsts, from
supplying ground forces during the Nicaraguan Campaign in the 1920's to
Med-e-Vac operations in World War II. Squadron members employed MARINE
helicopters tactically for the time during the Korean War, and then
their armed helicopter escort operations in Vietnam paved the way for
today's tactics. Although the VMO-6 squadron is inactive today, the
people and their deeds haven't been forgotten.
PLEASE remember, that I didn't write this article, I just submitted it
because I thought there should be some recognition given. That credit
should go to Gy/Sgt Paul Moore. Now, having said that, I might add that
he gave his blessings for me to submit this to Sgt. Grit. Again, I'd
like to take a minute to THANK HIM and all the members of VMO type
units, plus anyone who served in one for making my job easier when I was
fixing, and flying. Sometimes, we just don't get the opportunity to say
In The Military
Happened to be at a wrap-up dinner for a state conference of Fire Chiefs
(room, other than for the ladies, looked like a South American General's
convention... one thing you can say about uniforms is that they
aren't...) The usual hotel meeting room set up... head table on the
dais, lectern for the speaker(s), and round tables of ten seats for the
attendees... convivial group, and as usual, self-introductions to others
at the table. The Chief seated to my right, sharp-looking young guy (at
my age, most of the world looks 'young' to me...) gave his name, allowed
that he had come into the Fire Service after a 21-year career "in the
military" without mentioning branch. I smiled at him and said "you know
that's a dead giveaway, don't you?... Air Force, right?" He had done
that 21 years in AF crash crews (the guys who put on the Reynolds Wrap
suits and walk into pools of burning jet fuel...). He admitted that
indeed he had been a blue-suiter... have never seen it fail. If you
were in the Army, you would say "well, I was in the Army for..." or,
likewise, "when I was in the Navy" (no need to discuss Marines... if
there's one in the room, he'll tell... if it's not obvious to begin
with)... but AF vets invariably start out with "I was in the
military"... bears truth to the saying "there's only two branches of the
military... the Army and the Navy... the Air Force is a corporation, and
the Marine Corps is a cult"... works for me...
On Sunday, 21 September 2014, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of
Northern California holds its annual YOUNTVILLE "ALL MARINE DAY" BBQ AND
PICNIC. It is a free event to all Marines, Marine Veterans, FMF
Corpsmen, their Families and Guests in camaraderie and brotherhood.
Please see our PDF of the event and map.
The Veterans Home of California, founded in 1884, is located in the
heart of scenic wine country of Napa Valley; famous for its many
wineries and vineyards. (Napa Sonoma Mendocino Wineries).
If you plan on attending all we ask is to let us know you will be coming
and the number in your party for sufficient food supplies.
- BBQ Tri Tip/Chicken Meal & Drinks Awards and Prizes!
- 14-Piece Live Swing Band – 40's Music
- USMC Vehicle & Weapons Display
Please contact: Using Subject Line: YOUNTVILLE "ALL MARINE DAY" BBQ AND
Point of Contact emails:
Jack W. responded to the question by a young man "What kinda guys get to
go in the Marines?" with the truth, "Son, they were the best of the very
best." Jack took me on a journey back to August,1968 where my adventure
into the unknown began, MCRD, Parris Island. By pondering the question,
Jack gave a well-reasoned response for an impressionable young man, and
future Marine, to consider.
Thank you, Jack, for the truth. Former LCpl, Forever Marine, Vietnam
Veteran, David B. MCClellan. Frater Infinitas.
Mike Rummel, 2377xx, Platoon 363, MCRD San Diego, SGT - USMC - 2881.
I read your story and looked up some information for you. Try looking
up Battle of Chapultepec they have two pages of the battle this may help
"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created
"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the
filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group
of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine
--Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945.
"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your
liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as
they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy,
chicanery and cowardice."
--John Adams (1765)
"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines
come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're
aggressive on the attack and tenacious on the defense. They've got
really short hair and they always go for the throat."
--RAdm. Jay R. Stark, U.S. Navy
"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to
live at the expense of everybody else."
--Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)
"I have been made victorious through terror."
"If I were King, I'd close Army entry training and send all future
Infantry grunts to the Marines. The Corps still produces trained and
disciplined soldiers who still know how to fight and make it on a
--Col. David Hackworth, USA Army (Ret), one of America's most highly
"The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression,
is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of
--New Hampshire Constitution
"This food isn't fit for human consumption, but it is fit for United
"If we weren't already crazy we would go insane!"
"May God Bless All Marines. Those That Were, Those That Are And Those
That Will Be."
Fair Winds and Following Seas!