Sgt Grit and Staff hope that everyone has a safe and humbling Memorial Day weekend. Let us not forget that Memorial Day was not a holiday created to focus on grilling out, going to the lake, or to celebrate having a 3-day weekend. Memorial Day is a day to honor and pay respects to those fallen warriors who paid the ultimate price for the blanket of American freedoms and liberties that we all are blessed to live up under daily. Honor The Memory Of Our Fallen Warriors.
The Corps Wanted Me Elsewhere
Just a little more on top of Jim Wilson's submission on Shufly and Danang. I arrived at Danang off the USS Thetis Bay after the Cuban Crisis was over sometime late 1963 and Shufly was in full swing. My first tour in RVN was with HMM-261, MAG-16, 1st MAW. A lot of flying with UH-34D helicopters and many times took fire mostly in the rotor blades but once in a while in the body of the chopper. During this tour we were considered advisors and had to get permission to return fire and by that time there was nothing to shoot at as VC were fast and efficient at disappearing completely. A lot of things changed when I returned for my second and third tour. When I arrived back in country in '65 and '66 I was assigned to VMO-2, MAG-16, 1st MAW which was a UH-1E (HUEY) squadron. No longer advisors, now we were assigned combat missions and could fire on VC and RVN positions without having to wait on the red tape. This time we were operating primarily out of Marble Mountain with temporary (3-4 weeks) assignments to Dong Ha, Khe Sanh and Phu Bai.
The time went fast by being on flight pay and flying as left door gunner. The 1st tour seemed to go on forever in comparison but on my 3rd tour I was assigned to a fixed wing (F-4) squadron at Chu Lai. That meant no flying and no flight pay and time dragged. I would have loved to have spent all 3 tours in a HUEY squadron but the Corps wanted me elsewhere.
Roger R Everline
XXXX947 SSgt of Marines
2 February 1962 - 7 April 1970
Small Acts Of Rebellion
I was a young Sergeant with Maintenance Company, Electronics Maintenance Plt, 9th MAB, on Okinawa in 1968-69. About all of the platoon had some college and most had a pretty cocky attitude. When the Pay Officer would pay us with checks we would quickly scan the amount, report "My pay is correct, Sir!", then quickly fold the check into quarters and stuff it in our utility pocket, knowing full well that "Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate" was written on the bottom of the check. It was a small act of rebellion. One day one of the guys got called on that practice and got his "azs" handed to him. Afterwards I saw a bunch of the techs gathered around one of the work benches and they looked very busy, way too busy. Since they couldn't fold the checks any more they were all using Exacto knives to cut extra squares in the check to mess with the card readers when the checks made it back to their source after they were cashed. Another small act of rebellion. We had one great group of guys.
Al Karg 2328617
'67 - '71
This is in partial response to Robert Bliss' question on USMC field commissions, and the veracity of the supposed former Marine he met at a home and garden show.
The war in 'Nam:
One day, in 1976, one of my classmates at San Diego State University, explained to me that he was attending college at USMC expense, due to the fact that he had received a field commission in 'Nam, and that those so awarded were given a deadline after the war in which to obtain a four year degree in order to hold on to their commission.
I have also heard second hand of others receiving field commissions in 'Nam.
My father had a friend, who retired from the Marine Corps in the '70s as a Sergeant Major. He was a career tanker, and my father had served with him in Iceland from 1940 thru 1941. One day, the Sergeant Major allowed me to look through his USMC service record. In it, among many other interesting items, I found:
1. A Silver Star citation for a daring exploit on Saipan, when the tank he commanded was disabled by enemy fire.
2. An order awarding him a field commission to the rank of 2nd Lt. for the same action.
3. A promotion order promoting him to the rank of 1st Lt, as a result of further bravery on Iwo Jima.
4. A 1946 letter, reducing him in grade to the rank of Gunny due to the downsizing of the Corps.
5. A letter from him to HQ Marine Corps requesting that he be reduced only to Warrant Officer.
6. A letter from HQ Marine Corps to him, denying his request on the grounds that he did not have a high school diploma.
7. A 1970's letter from the Sergeant Major to HQ Marine Corps requesting that he be retired in the rank of Sergeant Major, as opposed to the rank of 1st Lt.
8. A letter from HQ Marine Corps to the Sergeant Major granting his request. (When I questioned the Sergeant Major on this, he stated that retirement as a Sergeant Major payed $15 a month more than retirement as a 1st Lt).
Cpl July '67-'70
1st Bridge Co, 7th Engineer Bn, 'Nam (Dec '67 - Jan '69)
PS: I'm still looking for anyone from Recruit Platoon 2030, MCRD San Diego, July - September '67.
Where Did All The Money Go
Re: Ddick's comments about recruits being paid during boot camp. I was in boot camp at MCRD San Diego from 28 May 1962 until 18 September 1962 and do not recall ever having any cash during that time. What I remember was receiving a PX chit book and all other pay remaining "on the books" (like in Viet Nam) until we graduated boot camp. I do clearly recall being majorly surprised that we had to pay for our bucket issue and sea bag issue. Got out of ITR and here are all these guys flying home for boot leave. There I was on a Trailways bus for three days, with a one way ticket because Trailways was cheaper than Greyhound. Where did all the money go? I only went on weekend liberty one time during ITR. Did I really spend that much?
I'm wrong about once a day now that I wear an older man's clothes so I could be wrong about that. The older I get, the weaker my memory gets but until someone comes along and says I'm full of sh-t, that's the story I'm going with.
Cpl. Jerry D.
"Oderint dum metuant."
"Let them hate, so long as they fear."
Leaned Into Him
Hard thing to do. We were in Japan, Camp Fuji. I was on duty as a Corporal, and one of our Company Plt Sgts (SSGT) came in about 2 am, all drunk. and started going off on me, that he didn't want to sign in etc. Yelling and cussing and pulling rank... I had no idea what to do. It was a tough decision. So, instead of calling the officer of the day, who happened to be from another company, I quietly called our 1stSgt. He told me over the phone what to say to him and how. It worked! Like butter on a biscuit. I went back to the SSgt, and looked at him, leaned into him, and quietly relayed what the 1stSgt told me to say. His eyes got big. He actually kind of came to attention. Leaned over, signed in the duty book, looked at me, about faced, and headed for his barracks room, half way mumbling an apology. What I said to him was "if you don't shut up, sign in, and get to your bunk, 1stSgt said that he will make sure within a week that you are a Private on mess duty for the duration of our 8 month tour over here." Love our 1stSgt's.
Don Miller, Jr.
Pay, Hong Kong, Swiss Banks
An update for the person Wondering About This Guy and Disbursing.
First - There were a few battlefield commissions made during Vietnam, also just about every SSgt and above, with a high school education, was offered a temporary commission during 1966 when the Corps was building up to 5 divisions. I don't think very many 1stSgts or SgtsMaj accepted. There were also many temporary meritorious commissions made. Most retired as MSgts but received their commissions back at the end of their 30 year finish of transfer to the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve.
Disbursing: I'm not sure if this was true or a very detailed put on joke.
I was wounded in Vietnam in 1966 and after several months in the hospital and limited duty, I was sent to the Base Brig at CamPen as an Asst Brig Warden to finish healing up. While stationed there I read what appeared to be an official record of a court martial of an Asst Disbursing Officer.
The officer's name was blacked out but here's the story:
Sometime during 1956 or '57 a 1stLt was the Asst Disbursing Officer. A Capt that was the Base Disbursing Officer had planned to go on leave, leaving the Asst in charge. I got the impression that the 1stLt was an air winger serving some time as a ground officer which many are required to do.
Pay day was coming up after a 4-day holiday. Wednesday afternoon, the Lt packed up a million dollars (this is what's funny--a million dollars in 20 dollar bills is one heck of a package) boarded a plane for Hong Kong. Deposited the money in Hong Kong and flew to Switzerland using some of his military air plane friends to go across the states. He went to a Swiss Bank and asked that the money be transferred to a Swiss account. This was handled by telephone assuring the Swiss that the money was available. They didn't have all of the computer networks then to transfer the money automatically. He then flew back to Hong Kong and withdrew the same money (same serial numbers) from the safe deposit box in Hong Kong because there was no record of the Swiss phone call. He arrived back at CamPen Monday morning in time to pay the troops. He was arrested a few days later when a phone call came from the Swiss bank wondering where the money from Hong Kong was.
The court martial details were far more detailed than I remember and I know I left several things out.
The Lt was only found guilty of miss use of government air since the exact same money was still available for pay day. He was sentenced to time served and of course, lost his
J L Stelling
Cash, MPC, Pay Day
Being paid while in VN.
Around late '66 or early '67 while in 3rd FSR Truck Co. near Danang, I recall that we were paid once per month (not the usual 1st & 15th ) and while signing the pay roster which indicated how much we had on the books we would write in the amount we wanted to receive the next month (MPC & Piasters). Since I didn't need much, I would leave most of my money on the books and for the time I had built up a nice total (I don't recall much details as memory fades). I was a E2 or 3 at that time and had been in country about 9 months.
After signing for my pay, I noted that my account was at zero even though I should have had a substantial amount on the books. The Pay Master said I would have to take that up with Disbursement.
Upon going to disbursing I was told that my money was put on the books for an E5 in my Co. with the same last name and he signed & received it all. Consequently, I was told to go see him and get it back!
I went to his tent and he admitted that he knew that there was an error but since he was due to go on R&R he needed the cash and figured he would straighten things out when he got back so he asked me to stand fast until he returned.
About 2 weeks later we went to disbursing and they put a hold on his future pays and put my money back on my account. After that I would sign to receive all my pay in MPC, which resulted in another problem later on when I was rotating home and got to the Danang Air strip they would only convert 2 months pay worth of MPC back to Green Backs. I had to find guys rotating who didn't have much MPC to convert and have them cash in some of my funny money for me, and for a few bucks they were happy to do it for me.
Cpl. Wes Hyatt
Extending In Nam
Just a note to respond to Robert Bliss' question in the 14 May Newsletter on extended tours in Vietnam. Someone had told Robert that he had extended his tour in VN for up to two years ('68 to'70) which raised the question whether a Marine could stay that long in the field.
For all it's worth, I drew combat pay for some 41 months in RVN, all but the first six months in direct combat assignments. I arrived in May of '67 and was assigned to the 1st MarDiv G-2 shop on Hill 327 until November of the same year. (My OQR showed I spoke French and somehow Division thought that might come in handy - it didn't.) From there I went to 1st Force Recon Co. until June '68, extended and went to 1st Recon Bn. until January '69, extended again and was seconded to the PRU program until September '69. While on extension leave in Jan. '69, I managed to visit Kabul, Afghanistan and stayed with the MSGs at the Marine House. The Gunny there, the MSG NCOIC, was a great host, showed me all around town, and helped me get a flintlock musket at the bazaar that had been captured from the British army by Afghan guerrillas ca. 1842. It has a stamp on the firing mechanism "VEIC 1807", for 'Venerable East India Company 1807'. I haven't been back to Kabul since - maybe now's not a good time to visit.
After I left the PRU, I returned to CONUS for Lao language school and returned to RVN in January 1971 for a year with the Naval Advisory Detachment (NAD) MACV/SOG, operating out of Danang. If I've done the math right, that works out to 29 months in-country on the first tour ('67 to '69) and 12 on the second ('71 to '72).
A good friend of mine, Col. Andy Finlayson, also had extended tours in Vietnam, a year on his first tour with 1st Force and about 19 months on his second, 6 months again with Force, then 6 months with the 5th Marines, and finally 7 months with the PRU. Andy has written a couple of books covering his extended tours in Vietnam which should be required reading for any military professional or historian. I recommend to you "Killer Kane" and "Rice Paddy Recon", both on Amazon. And, yeah, this is a shameless plug for the books - but they're worth it.
The guy Robert Bliss ran into sounds a little fishy to me. Recon, whether it was Force or Recon Bn., just wasn't "working in small units 'all over Nam'".
At least during my time there, 1st Force was in direct support of either 1st MarDiv at Hill 327 or Task Force Xray out of PhuBai and 1st Recon Bn. was opcon/adcon solely to 1st MarDiv in the Danang TAOR. (I understand that 1st Force was forward deployed elsewhere in I Corps later, but that was after my time.) Even operational units under MACV/SOG tended to focus on specific areas, such as CCN (North) out of PhuBai, CCS (South) out of Kontum, and CCC (Central) out of BanMeThuot. NAD and Monkey Mountain FOB ranged a little more widely and NAD conducted maritime ops literally from the Delta (tho' infrequently) to the DMZ and points north.
Sgt. Grit, I think you can tell Marine Bliss that he's 'outed' another wannabe, otherwise known as a bald-faced liar.
That said, it was possible to stay for extended tours, if you were a bit crazy. But then again, in my case, I was young and indestructible. People to this day ask me why I stayed in RVN so long. I tell them it was the right thing to do. I believed it then and I believe it now.
USMC/USMCR 1960 - 1995
Platoon 321, 1966
I am attaching the Platoon 321, Parris Island Photo taken 10 March 1966. Many of the 0300 mos went direct to ITR. I was in the first group with orders to WesPac scheduled to depart June 1, 1966, but I was sent to DLIWC and did not leave until about Aug 25th. Notice only some have rifle qualification badges.
Jim Kozelouzek, my bunk mate, called me about 4 yrs ago. He suffers from PTSD. We met in Las Vegas about 2 yrs ago and talked and laughed like it was yesterday. I call him on the Marine Corps Birthday and Memorial Day.
I have not been in touch with anyone else in the photo since about 1975.
J Kanavy, CPL, 0311, 0231
Combat Promotions, DD 214, and Ribbons
In response to Robert Bliss, May 14, the letter you posted on your encounter with a Marine sounded like he was full of hog-wash. But I do know of some Marines who continued to extend their tours in Vietnam for up to three years. One I know spent most of his twenty some odd years in the Marine Corps between Okinawa and Vietnam. They are the classic examples of Sergeant Major Dan Daly.
Never heard of a Combat Promotion in Vietnam during that time, but there were promotions to Limited Duty Officers, and the Enlisted Commissioning Promotion. Both created a huge void of Staff NCO leadership, when the Marine Corps needed it the most during the late 1960s. However, a Combat Promotion has that certain status that makes one better than the others.
Like yourself, as a grunt, I humped over the rice paddies, fields, and villages from Da Nang, Phu Bai, and Khe Sanh during "Operation Virginia" in 1966. Know where I was, because most of the time I had a map and compass. What glee, a twelve month tour of Vietnam paid for by the U.S. Government, with room and board. You would be surprised on how may U.S. servicemen are living in Vietnam, including Marines.
To Dale Landon: Your records clerk must have been sniffing coke, blowing smoke, and on the cloud patrol when he typed up your DD 214. Couldn't make any sense out of it at all, including your discharge location. The unit you were discharged from puzzles me. The Ninth Marine regiment was station at Camp Hansen, Okinawa during 1965. Were you discharged overseas? Not unusual, just out of the ordinary.
Ribbons and Combat Action Ribbons: If you rate it, wear them and be proud that you earned them. You can tell most people what they are, what they are for, and how you earned them. Those who don't rate them can only tell you what color they are.
This wonderful customer, Cynthia, sent these pictures in of her Marine Wreath. She took some of our items to make this wreath for a Marine due home soon.
There are two reasons I am writing this to you. I am about to get my Permant Change of Station to guard duty on the streets of Heaven. And second, I have a little ceremony that I have run for fifty years. It can and should be applied when Marines and their Corpsmen meet. My hope is that by your publishing it in your great letters, it won't be forgotten.
The ceremony runs like this: get the permission from the person in charge of the meeting to run the ceremony. Get everyone's attention and let them know you have an OK to run a ceremony honoring Corpsmen and tell them how it will be run. (Details following). Start by calling all Corpsmen Front and Center and they are to face the troops. When they are front and center, command "All Marines stand by" (short pause) "Attention!" When at attention command "Present Arms", All Marines will render a hand salute and look straight in the eyes of the Corpsmen.
You will then say "Marines go out when there may be trouble. That's a Marine thing. You Corpsmen go out with us because you are brave men and know d-mn well we will find trouble. Many of you have died or otherwise had your butt shot off trying to keep us alive. We SALUTE you, we HONOR you and we LOVE you. My God bless you and your families. Order Arms. At Ease."
Trying To Get Used To The Idea
In response to Robert Bliss and his question on Field Commission:
I was a Huey crew chief with VMO-6 1967-69 at Quang Tri. One morning my bird and crew were tasked for early launch to take our CO and a few other "Os" to a meeting at Camp Carroll. We'd flown late the previous night and missed late chow, and were out before the mess hall opened.
At Carroll the officers went to their meeting, we crews had to stay with our birds. I spotted a group of Marines reinforcing their perimeter filling sandbags. I asked where I might get a few C-rat meals, and one to them pointed down the road and directed me to a company CP, and said ask for Capt. "Smith" (don't remember his name). We left the other crew to watch our birds and smartly wandered in the direction indicated. As we approached the tent with a "CP" sign in front, a Marine double timed out the flap, headed to his left. I called out that I was looking for Capt. "Smith." He stuck his head in the tent flap and said something about "a couple of pilots" asking for him. The reply came, "I'll be right out."
Almost immediately out walks a Marine wearing cut off camo trousers, belt undone, top 3-4 buttons of the fly undone, and bare feet stuck into untied boots. He asks what he can do for us, we tell him we're just looking for four C-meals for our crews. He yells over his shoulder, "L/Cpl bring these guys a case of Cs." Then he turns to us and asks "Were you guys flying med-evac last night at (again, I don't remember. Seems to me it was somewhere around the Con Thien TAOR)" I replied "Yes, Sir." He turned his head and yelled over his shoulder, "Bring heat tabs and a six-pack."
He expressed his gratitude for our putting our gear down on his strobes, and said "if we'd have been off a few feet we'd have been landing on his wounded." He went on to add that he'd left Carroll the previous Sunday as a Sgt. and by Wednesday he was senior man in the company. He said that he was still trying to get used to the idea of being a Capt.
Don't know if he was promoted in the field or when he returned, but he earned it in the field.
Attitude Is Everything Day 21
Here is this week's most popular Marine Corps quote that was posted
on Sgt Grit's Facebook Page. The replies are nothing short of what you
would expect from our fellow Marine brothers and sister, or Marine
Here are a few of their comments:
Glenn Edwards - On the eve of the invasion of Tarawa, the Admirals, Generals, Captains, and Colonels were in a conference. The battleship Admirals and Captains were bragging on who's battleship had the most armor. "My armor is so strong I'll be able to get within 1000 yards of the beach without suffering any damage from the enemy guns." "Oh yeah, my armor is thicker than yours and I'll be able to get even closer!" This went back and forth for awhile, until the Marine Commanding General had had enough. He stood up and said, "Gentlemen, when my Marines land on that beach, the only armor they will have is the shirts on their backs." Then he walked out.
Eddie Lindblom - Things might have been a little different if Rear Admiral Keiji Shibazaki and all of his senior officers hadn't been killed in the opening bombardment on the island before the Marines landed. The battle could have lasted longer or failed altogether if the Japanese had any serious leadership left. Thankfully, we took Betio from the Japanese in three days.
Giles Redferne - Big mistake, never underestimate the Marine Corp. Adapt, improvise, overcome!
Joe Pondrom - ISIS and AQ need to pay attention to this Quote!
Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on
the Sgt Grit Facebook page.
A couple of stories recently brought back some memories... The BAR guys in Korea used to tape two magazines together giving them some additional firepower from 20 rounds to 40 rounds. When one was used up, they would just pull the empty one out of the slot and turn it over to the extra one and insert it. Seemed to work good. Like Larry did with his AK-47. Very creative Marines.
The P-51 Parker Pen story reminded me also about Pilot's. When I was in Pilot Training after Korea, some of the Pilots used to fudge on their flying time in their log books by entering a little extra time that wasn't actual flying time. This became known as P-51 time in their log books. The Check Pilots could usually tell what was going on, and a second or third check ride was required along with a motivational speech about actual practice needed to become a proficient Pilot.
Thanks for your newsletters. Look forward to them every week.
Strange how we remember those things.
The smoking lamp is OUT! Field Strip your butts NOW!
All-Too Common Malady
The 'Recon' (forgot to mention 'Force', guy) who was made a battlefield Lt... on the death of his unit leader, suffered from an all-too common malady, that being that his colon is loaded to capacity... despite the fact that he wears a cover. The Corps made a considerable number of SNCO's into Temporary Officers during Viet Nam... nothing too new there, I think it was also common in WWII and Korea. The Corps started the program in 1965... Staff Sergeants and above could apply, and if selected, would be promoted, with the clear understanding that they would be Officers for as long as the Corps needed them to be Officers, and then they could be reverted to Enlisted. One of the features of being so selected was that Enlisted promotion was pretty much automatic any time a Temp's peer group (time in grade, time in service, etc. came up, regardless of MOS... which is why I have framed on the wall a promotion warrant making me a Gunnery Sergeant (Temporary) effective 1 October 1967... and have never worn chevrons with two rockers... and put on the first rocker (SSGT) in the spring of 1966)... There used to be a joke in the mid-seventies which went like this: "Show me a MSgt who used to be a Captain... and I'll show you someone who can work that fact into any conversation"...
Some, through various programs, were able to remain in the Officer ranks, but those who didn't, qualified for retirement pay 'at the highest rank honorably held' at a point thirty years from their Pay Entry Base Date.
Case in point... having been one of the selectees, but not yet promoted, I went 'in-country' as a SSGT... knowing that at some point, I would be temporarily promoted to 2ndLT... along with a fellow platoon sergeant in the same company (K/3/5)... and, upon returning to the Company area on the Chu Lai perimeter from a Rough-Rider, Chu Lai to DaNang and back, the 1st Sgt advised "Dick and Marty... your commissions came in at Bn while you were gone"...
The next day, we mustered in the Bn CO's (Lt.Col Bronars') GP tent, raised our right hands and were sworn in as (Temporary) Officers... and given transfer orders. Some would consider 'battlefield' a fair description of the Chu Lai perimeter at that time... but I sure wouldn't be caught dead telling someone I had received "a Battlefield Commission"... it just didn't work that way. To be fair to the guy, in the fog of forty years or more, he may have been told he was now the Platoon Leader (or Commander)... happened all the time, have a bud who was a Platoon Leader... as the senior PFC left standing/effective, but a big difference... especially on payday. Marty eventually retired as the Division Sergeant Major of the 4th MarDiv... last time I saw him in person was in a very dusty GP tent in an Ammunition Supply Point in the field at 29 Palms... accompanying the Division CG, during a large Reserve exercise... 1980 or so. The legal authority to issue a battlefield commission may have rested with Division commanders or other General Officers in the VN era, but I was never aware of that actually happening.
(some of us temps later became LDO's... technically "Limited Duty Officers", the limitation being that no way in h-ll were any of us ever going to command an Infantry Bn... that's a closed-shop, union position... so I was content to be known as Large, Dumb, and Obnoxious)...
BTW... there's two of you R. Bliss's... the other was one of my recruits... and a wing-wiper... we swap e-mails now and then, for some odd reason are both in volunteer fire departments...
And, FWIW... the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" was written by a Marine Mustang Captain, WWII vintage, name of Bobby Troup... married to Julie London (for a while...)
Okinawa People's Party
During my long and varied career as a United States Marine, I ran into some of the Characters that have blessed the Marine Corps formats beginning. I had a buddy I ran into from time to time, each time he related his latest experience which always seemed to be a Bit dangerous.
Rusty was stationed at The Navy Air Base in Washington when a plane went down with eight (Believe it was 8) Marines and everyone not on duty was put aboard search plane hoping to locate the downed plane (I don't think the plane was ever found). So Rusty decided to get some chow as he was quite hungry from not eating. He was walking down the road to the Gedunk when all of a sudden a plane came down cartwheeling not too far from him. Chow was forgotten, just getting as far away from the place was all that counted.
I think the last time ran into Rusty was at the Morning Star Newspaper in Okinawa, we both had been hired as Proof Readers for the only English Language Newspaper on the Island. This was early on before the Vietnam War, I believe. Five bucks an hour we were paid which was needed to help ones time to go a bit faster and get the h-ll out of country. While working there I went with a Okinawa Reporter as he covered the OKPP (Okinawa Peoples Party) march on Naha. The Police were out in their RIOT Gear. I watched as Rocks and bottles were thrown at the Police and saw some gashed heads. I watched as Formed Police Units advance on the OKPP march. The gashed heads were on the OKPP and the riot quickly disappeared into the dark.
I was at Okinawa when it was wrestled from the Japanese in 1945 when the Okinawan's were completely different, Native costume and all that. Reading Old Leathernecks from the time period gives some Harrowing Experiences not just on the front lines.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC, Retired
Something Must Have Happened
Very ironic that you would publish a blurb from George O'Connell, RM2, about the USS Henrico (APA-45); I was stationed at HqCo, HqBn, 3dMarDiv, from April 1956 to May 1957.
The mention of the Henrico triggered a very small memory cell; as of right now, I can only remember being on the ship, but cannot come up with any details of where, or why, although there are vague recollections of lifting off in a helicopter.
It really is true that the older you get, more of your memory cells get burned out, and it just leaves you with blanks in your life that you know something must have happened.
Anyway... Semper Fi
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Move My Fleet South IMMEDIATELY
I remember this scenario well. I was afloat part of the 9th MEB. Though we were afloat, part of flotilla off Danang, doing nothing, going nowhere, Uncle Sam actually paid you. In US dollars I think, not funny money (military script). The way this was done is a Captain carried the money from ship to ship, with a Sgt packing a .45 in tow for protection. He was ferried around in a small boat, pulled up to the Jacob's ladder (staircase), would come up, sit behind a little table and dole out the cash to we troops, who signed off that they rec'd it. You could opt for it all or part. But he had to have enough cash for all. So he had a LOT of money.
It so happened that one eventful day, A bunch of Marines, including me, were standing on deck (hanging around doing zip) just as he came aboard our ship. They say timing is everything in life and that day it was for the Marine Captain & Sgt., literally a few minutes after the Captain & Sgt set foot on deck, the Admiral himself stuck his head over his perch and shouted the order down to the navy guys that we we're ordered to pull out and head to Saigon. Included in this short order was to "pull up the Jacobs ladder and get under weigh". This, as you can imagine got the Marine Captain/paymaster's attention. He and the Sgt quickly gathered themselves and the Captain, politely and properly asked the Admiral who was still looking down from ahigh, the words just out of his mouth, if the Admiral would hold that ladder a moment so he & the Sgt could get off.
The Admiral said "Captain, my orders are to move my fleet South IMMEDIATELY, and that's exactly what I'm going to do... Welcome aboard!" And stunned he watched the crew hop to, pull up the ladder, and off we went. And that poor Captain and Sgt were with us all the way to Saigon and back (eventually we came back when the coup quieted down Big Minh was overthrowing Little Minh or vice versa). All they had was what they were wearing (uniform of the day, not dungerees) their .45's, and a pile of money. And I suppose a neat story to tell. It had to fall into Ddick's dirty little officer job.
What else comes to mind, is the Admiral had a very high pitched voice, which amused the Marines to no end, but you had to be Very careful of when and where you were amused.
Somewhat related, I think it was the MEB which was almost literally thrown together, but I can't nail down exactly. I don't think it was at sea, it may have been in staging at Camp Hague. It seems our records, including pay record weren't lost... they just didn't happen to catch up to us. But like clockwork we had to be paid. So we lined up, moved to the table and the paymaster asked "How much do you want?" really. I'm sure it had to reason test, but they had no clue if you were underdrawn, overdrawn, pay docked, pay sent home. For a lot of the Marines it had a Christmas Day aura. The Eagle was sh-tting and it had diarrhea.
Combined Action Company (CAC) Oscar Company Mini-Reunion
Members of CAC Oscar (Khe Sanh & Phu Vang, RVN 1967 - 68) have decided to meet in Las Vegas, NV for an informal mini-reunion from Monday, July 27th through Thursday, July 30th, 2015. The Golden Nugget Hotel in downtown Las Vegas has been selected as "base camp." We'd like to see as many men from Oscar Company (all platoons, eras, and ranks) attend if at all possible.
New information will be posted on our site and circulated to the mailing list as it comes up.
Visit our site at USMC CAC Oscar.
Please email Jim "Bagpipes" Taylor if you are planning to attend at fjtUSMC[at]gmail.com.
We ARE the WORLD'S globe trotters, like it or not...
This is a video I made (I being former Cpl. Martin) that I think Marines would find funny. I'm trying to get it airplay. Don't know if it's something you would promote, but hey, it's worth a try.
What Does The Fox Really Say
"I don't care if there is a bee on your eyeball. You will not move!"
"Do You Hear Me MAGGOT?"
"I Can't HEAR YOU!"
"BULL--T, I Still Can't HEAR YOU!"
"Get Down And Give Me Twenty!"
"Aye Aye SIR!"
Plt. 374, August 1960
"[N]o mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other."
--George Washington, draft of first Inaugural Address, 1789
"The MARINES have landed and have the situation well in hand!"
--Richard Harding Davis
"Casualties many; Percentage of dead not known; Combat efficiency - we are winning!"
--Col. David M. Shoup, USMC
"Six to the front, Three to the rear, Dig'm in, dig'm in!"
"Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever."
A salutation: "clicks", "We're only six clicks from our destination!"
Semper Fi, Mac!