Dear Sgt. Grit,
You can tell Gunny Rousseau that the Marine in the picture with
his article on 'Scrounging in Vietnam' is (was?) Sgt. Lucas, a
team leader with Alpha Co. 1st ReconBn. I don't remember all the
details but he was wounded being extracted from a hot LZ sometime
in late '68. He 'nodded off' when the Doc had to cut out part of
the wound - took him months to live that down.
Fred Vogel - formerly of Alpha Company
WWII Cover Returned To Marine
(Article by Patrick Whitehurst of The Daily Courier)
There are those who believe everything happens for a reason. If
true, U.S. Marine Corps veterans Lee Paul, 88, and Lee Dortsch,
91, were destined to meet. But, while both served in World War II,
both landed on Iwo Jima on the same day, and both had the same
commanding officer, they never met at the time. That changed last
week, however, when the two met at the Prescott campus of Northern
Arizona Veterans Affairs.
And it all happened because of a hat.
Technically, the hat is called a 'cover,' Paul explained, and not
a typical one either. In fact, he said, that style of cover has
not been issued since the 1940s.
Paul and a group of local veterans meet regularly for coffee in
Chino Valley at the Checkered Apron restaurant. Fellow veteran
Jimmy Whited, the former owner of a Chino Valley pawnshop, came
into possession of an old service hat, the cover in question, that
he gave to Paul.
"I had a cover that was given to me years ago. I wanted Lee to
have it," Whited said.
Who originally gave Whited the hat, however, remains a mystery.
"A man, a stranger, brought it in and knew I was an ex-Marine. He
said I would appreciate the cover," Whited said.
"It's an old one, the old herringbone, which they haven't issued
since the 1940s. That one was issued in 1942," Paul said.
After receiving the gift, Paul wore it to the unofficial group's
regular coffee meeting on the following Tuesday. It was there the
group examined the name, "Lee Dortsch, Private, USMC," written
inside. Paul mentioned to the group his plans to go online to see
if he could learn the whereabouts of the original owner.
Veteran Ron Bursch, part of the coffee group, overheard the name
and asked to see the hat in question.
"He said he knew the man," Paul said.
Surprisingly, Bursch explained that Dortsch was in the Prescott
VA's Community Living Center. It was then Paul decided he needed
to meet the owner and assist in returning his cover.
"It was unbelievable," Paul said.
Last week, Paul and Dortsch met for the first time on the Prescott
"It was really difficult to give it up, but after I met Lee I knew
it should go to him," Paul explained. "He was very happy to get it
back. We almost came to tears."
The two got to talking, where they learned that both served in the
Marines at Iwo Jima in Company C, First Battalion, 26th regiment.
Paul himself was attached to the First Battalion, 26th regiment
where he served as a specialist naval gunfire radio operator.
"We went in on the same beach, on the same day, and probably at
about the same time, but I can't verify that," Paul said. "We had
quite a time talking about that."
Dortsch was wounded by a bayonet in Guadalcanal before the Iwo
Jima landing. He also served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War
and the Vietnam War.
Found By The Enemy
I want to chime in on Gunny Rousseau's "Have It All" article. I
was with Lima 3/7 & Kilo 3/5 in '70 operating in the Que Son
mountains & the surrounding area. We would often find C-ration
cans that had been buried unopened with their contents enclosed
that were found by the enemy who then opened & ate their contents.
It was disturbing when you realized somebody unknowingly from our
side was providing meals for somebody on the other side. We made
sure we didn't do the same thing.
Corporal John P. Sitek
Brown Side Out, Green Side Out
This is how you do it. On August 8th, the US Marine Corps Uniform
Board released a survey seeking input about three proposed uniform
changes for active duty and reserve Marines. The three changes
Altering the color of enlisted rank insignia from black to brushed
brass for Woodland MARPAT utilities.
Establishing the Sam Browne belt as a mandatory accessory for
officers wearing the blue dress A/B.
Shifting the annual seasonal uniform synchronization date from
Daylight Savings Time to the First Monday in April for Summer
uniforms and the first Monday in October for Winter uniforms.
Good to see the Corps still has a way to honor "Brown Side Out,
Green Side Out". -Dennis Krause, Sgt, USMC, '62-'68
Any thoughts or opinions on these proposed changes?
Throwing The Grenade Or Not
During the years of November 1974 to November 1976 I was a member
of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines at San Mateo, Camp
Pendleton. During the year of 1976, I believe a member of the 3rd
Battalion, 7th Marines was killed during a training accident while
throwing a live grenade. I am not sure of the name, but I believe
the last name of this Marine who was killed was either PFC or LCPL
McMillian or MacMillian, who hailed from Chicago, Illinois.
It's been almost 39 years ago, and my memory is not so sharp as it
used to be, but I seem to remember that Mac, was very frightened
about throwing the grenade during this exercise, from what I can
remember, he panicked and tossed the grenade back to the
instructor who was in the pit with him after he removed the safety
and the pin for the spool, the instructor jumped over the wall and
yelled "Grenade" however Mac did not jump the wall, he instead
went to the nearest corner and got in a crouching position, when
he finally decided to leave the pit, he tried to step over the
grenade when it went off.
I am asking anyone who might remember this scenario and provide
more details as to the accuracy of the incident.
How We Feel About The Corps
Just finished reading the 21Aug14 news issue AND if the article by
Sgt Sparacino doesn't bring out your Marine Corps pride, maybe you
need a blood transfusion.
In connection with how the other services view themselves, there
was something (I can't remember if it was on your website, or
not), that may explain how we feel about the Corps:
The Army Chief of Staff would never be called soldier;
The Air Force Chief of Staff would never be called airman;
The Chief of Naval Operations would never be called sailor;
The Commandant of the Marine Corps is d-mned proud to be called
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Maj. Lawrence Rulison
Attention on deck.
I am writing on behalf of a colleague who is the son and grandson
of Marines. His father is a Vietnam vet and his grandfather was a
WWII vet. It is the grandfather, now deceased, my friend is most
interested in because he is no longer around to tell his story.
The grandfather's name was Maj. Lawrence Rulison and he served
with 3/26 on Iwo Jima and Saipan. I believe he was wounded in both
engagements and was awarded the Bronze Star. He eventually was
promoted to lieutenant colonel and after the war he was a
distinguished legislator in upstate New York. He was just 47 when
We have scoured the web to find out as much as possible about Maj.
Rulison and his Marine Corps service but not a whole lot turned
up. If anyone out there can help us find out more, we would be
Thanks and Semper Fi,
Sgt. Bill Federman
Get Up Or Sleep
This is my favorite story and a long time since it has been
related... so I hope most of the details are correct. I was
stationed at Camp Pendleton 33 area (Camp Margarita) before being
shipped to Okinawa. This was 1958-'59. A good buddy of mine was a
cowboy named Billie Wilkerson (Wilkinson)? and at that time we had
a rodeo area with bull riding and bronco busting for off duty hour
entertainment. "Colorado Billie", as he was called, was a bull
rider and me being a city slicker who had ridden maybe three trail
ride horses in my life looked up to him as some kind of super
human. He was always trying to get me to climb on one of those
beasts whose only goal in life was to hurt the a-hole on his back
real bad. Fortunately, I was blessed with self-preservation genes
and never gave in. O K I was chicken. But to the point of my
Over the 4th of July weekend one year, they had a huge rodeo that
was well attended. Billie was riding and I was drinking beer.
Being only seventeen I didn't handle beer all that well and after
a couple of hours I climbed one of the hills surrounding the rodeo
grounds and decided I would cr-p out and take a little siesta. I
had just dozed off real good when two MP's came upon me. They
wanted me to get up and I wanted to sleep. Kind of the
irresistible force and the immoveable object scenario. Me being
not of sound mind and that they were silly enough to be below me
on the hill I decided it would be a good idea if the three of us
should go rolling azs over tea-kettle down the hill. Well off we
went and needless to say they weren't as thrilled as I was with
the ride. Coincidentally near the bottom of the hill was a
"corral" they had set up for those of us who might have
over-indulged to rest and recuperate. Guess where I wound up?
After about a half hour in there they brought in another Marine
and this person was really hammered and would speak only French.
When they brought him in they made him stand facing the wall with
his hands stretched above his head. Once he was quiet the MP's
left but he remained standing there. Others of us told him they
were gone and he could sit, but he either couldn't or wouldn't
understand English. I had beginning French in high school and the
teacher would have us stand when she entered the classroom and
then tell us to sit down. In French. Even in my drunken stupor I
remembered that phrase. "assayev vous". I shouted it at him and he
turned and sat down. This was the only time my French studies ever
did any good but it was worth every hour.
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #8, #4)
They were surprised that I knew anything about Richmond, Ind.
I told them that my Dad and I stayed there when we went to the
Indy 500 race. It was just over the Ohio - Indiana border -
exactly 600 miles from our farm; that it was probably the same
distance from Mt. Holly. This made Mary feel pretty good. She
thought that was a 'nice' distance from home to go to college. I
asked if they would consider having me drive her to the school
after she was admitted. Her Dad said "I am sure she would much
rather go with you than to take the Greyhound by herself." Her
mother said "George, I wish you would not say things like that.
You know quite well that she would not have to take a bus by
herself." He was already laughing out loud. All agreed that I
could take her. Her Dad called the Admissions Office. He told the
person that answered that there were 3 other people in the room
that were equally interested in the process; that he was going to
repeat everything he was asked or told before responding. This
went quite well and in a little more than an hour Mary was
enrolled at Earlham University. The only thing undecided at that
point was what courses she would take - and she had until the 9th
to make up her mind on that. He was told what the minimum down
payment would be and he asked for the total for the first year.
He told them he would send a cashier's check for that amount
with Mary. She had to be on campus by Saturday at 6:00 PM.
That meant we would have to leave in a day or two. We looked
at each other and decided to leave tomorrow morning, the 6th.
Mary packed a locker box with the things she wished to take with
her. We hit the sack early and were up early on Wednesday. Mrs.
'B' fixed a light breakfast - enough for Mary - but not enough for
me. We got everything in the car and started out at a little
after 7:00. I asked Mary if she had ever been out west before.
She had not. I said "You will be going through some beautiful
country and our first stop will be at the Midway - the middle of
the Pennsylvania Turnpike." We reached there just after 11:00. I
filled the tank and checked everything else. Then we went into the
restaurant. It was Howard Johnson's masterpiece location. Mary
always ate light. I was able to get enough food to stop the
rumbling in my stomach. We got back on the road by just after
Noon. I told her "If you wish to stop for any reason just let me
know. Otherwise, we will keep going until dinner time." About an
hour into Ohio we stopped for dinner at an Amish style restaurant.
It was a very good choice and we would need nothing more before
morning. Then we drove on to the 500 mile point - and started
looking for a place to sleep. We were lucky again and were soon
getting ready to shower and sleep. We had just under a hundred
miles to go and were on the road by 7:00 AM. We drove a few miles
and stopped at a diner - always a good choice for breakfast - and
got our day off right. Then we were back on the road again with
the next stop in Richmond, Ind. I knew exactly where the college
was, but took Mary on a little ride around Richmond before going
through the gates of Earlham University.
'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
Marine Ink Of The Week
Once A Corporal Of Marines
3rd squad all present and accounted for!
Just thought I'd add my two cents to the discourse. To the Marine
recalling, "praying to the sun god". Yes, I remember it vividly;
we had to "pray" during "qual" week at the rifle range. We had
been doing a whole series of stretching exercises that week so
"praying" actually to me was rather easy and I was quite surprised
I could accomplish that feat having never thought of myself as
While at the rifle range, I ran across a slogan prominently
displayed at an entrance and it read, "Let the enemy bast-rd die
for his country, we'll teach you to live for yours!" I knew then I
had made the right decision when I joined the Corps. Yeah, I
wanted to go in harm's way but I also wanted to come out alive on
the other side, and I knew that good training would help me in
this goal. I knew my safety was not guaranteed but excellent
training would give me an edge.
I shot expert the day after betting my Senior Drill Instructor
(big money!) that I could accomplish that feat. I was down to my
last shot (to make expert) from the prone position at 500 yards
and the SDI growled that if I hit a bull's eye he would kick my
azs! My coach looked at me and said, "Should I tell you to raise
your sight one click" and I grinned and replied, "Should I raise
my sight one click?" He told me I was low on the last shot and to
go ahead and raise my sight one click and I did so, fired and hit
a bull! Won some money and used that to play (and win) high card
that night (with the SDI!) to celebrate our finishing up on the
rifle range. Loved my SDI; taught me to be a man!
Does anyone remember doing the manual of arms with their
footlocker? How 'bout this one - the three things you cannot do?
Ok, I'll tell ya - you can't slam a swinging door, you can't put
used toothpaste back in the tube, and you can't strike a match on
a wet bar of soap!
We really weren't a bad platoon as we acquired some pennants; but
one time we f--ked up so bad that we made our SDI cry. First time
I ever witnessed that in a man. Showed he really cared for us!
Spent a year and a half on the "Big I" (USS Independence CVA 62)
as a sea going bellhop (3rd Marine Detachment) guarding atomic
bombs (technically you were supposed to guard the bomb from the
ammo locker to the plane and then down the runway!) and scaring
the h-ll out of the "squids" when they wound up in the brig.
Sometimes after liberty when the Marines and "swabbies" were
waiting for the bus to return to the ship there would be tense
moments between the two services - ha, ha that was something as us
Marines were always outnumbered (the Marine detachment only had
about 50 or so personnel on board ship and a carrier crew was
about 4000 sailors) but we never "punked out" and stood our ground
as we were trained.
Spent many an hour spit polishing shoes and visors, "Brassoing"
brass and rubbing wooden M1 rifle butts with a mixture of linseed
oil and wood polish (I'm not sure about the wood polish) and
clipping off "Irish pennants". The navy and women wear pants;
Marines wear trousers.
Never made a "Med" cruise as the ship was in dry dock for most of
my stay there. That was something to see when they drained the
water from the dry docks to expose the bottom of the boat; it was
surreal to look down into the dock and view the hull and
propellers and shaft that was exposed, you could almost get
vertigo the dock was so deep.
Did get to go to 'Gitmo for a training cruise and the view from
the fantail when that big 'ole moon was full was a sight I'll
never forget, along with flight ops, especially at night. I did
get a chance to go through a training program (amphibious
reconnaissance course) with the Seals and ended up jumping off the
back of a high-speed motor boat at night several miles from shore.
That was fun!
We pulled into Norfolk one blustery day and as per SOP, us
"jarheads" were in position on the bow of the ship with the
"squids" standing position on port and starboard sides (manning
the rails); the breeze was blowing so hard you had to lean at a
30-degree slant to keep from getting blown off the deck! Whenever
the CO and the guidon walked in front of you during the required
inspection, you almost fell over because they would block the
wind! The wind was blowing so hard the boat captain dismissed the
sailors (all 2 to 3000 of them!) before we got to port! Naturally
as Marines, WE weren't going anywhere! It could have been a
tornado, we weren't going anywhere! Ughow! Hard chargers!
"Sweepers, sweepers man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep
down fore and aft!" "The smoking lamp is lit; light 'em if you
I learned how to break the M1 down all the way to the sights (we
were doing armorer work!). Too bad I couldn't use the M1 or at
least the M14 in combat. I was not a fan of the M16 as any bit of
dirt in the bolt made the "pig" almost useless (had that to happen
to me one rainy night while on an LP) so I always kept a nice
supply of fragmentation hand grenades on me (very good equalizer!)
I spent 13 months with 3/3 "Killer" Kilo as a squad leader and
right guide in '68 and '69, humping the bush around the "Z", Con
Thien, the "Rockpile", Camp Carroll and "Leatherneck Square" and
as per my position as a CPL of Marines I always got the spaghetti
and meatballs and fruit cocktail C-rats... loved the beans and
On my first "op" I had C-rat cans stuffed in socks hanging off the
back of my pack (we had WWII packs and the army had the newer
rucksacks and I wasn't going hungry!); that lasted about 10
minutes after we hopped off the choppers as it was hot and by that
I mean the LZ was "hot" and the weather was hot and it suddenly
dawned on me that I might not live long enough to eat all those
meals so I sh-t canned 'em! (pun intended).
I remember Sgt. Carrillo standing tall, directing traffic as we
hopped off the choppers from about 10 feet off the ground and
mortar rounds dropping all around. I had point and I remember
telling my radio man that if a go-k jumped up in front of me I
wouldn't shoot him, I would run up and beat his azs as he would
have scared the sh-t out of me! Sarge got wrote up for a bronze
star for that action (so I heard).
One time I got a C-rat box that was stamped with my birth year
(1948!), that was a lucky box (in that I could eat it and not die
of food poisoning!).
In '69, we started to get the dried meals in packets where all you
had to do is add hot water; they were a lot easier to carry than
the cans and sometimes they seemed to taste better.
We had been on this hill (out in the middle of nowhere) for about
a month and some kind of way the guys in my squad found out it was
my birthday and they made me a cake of a C-rat box covered in
shaving cream with a half cherry on top; it took all my will power
to keep from taking out my K-bar and cutting into the "cake" it
just looked so good!
We are still on this same hill and I start to notice that in the
morning as we rise one of my brothers is wet in front of his
trousers and as the days pass I realize that he is p-ssing on
himself. Before the month was out he was dead. Did he have a
premonition of his demise?
We were on another hill one time and we didn't get resupplied for
a week because of the inclement weather; we ate grass soup
seasoned with Tabasco (hot) sauce; hot sauce is real good to
relieve hunger pangs. All we talked about was food; hamburgers,
milkshakes and steaks.
Lost my squad because I didn't have a flak jacket on (yeah, I know
we had just been hit but for some reason I just didn't put it on);
then the CO sent me to NCO school for a month in Okinawa. So I'm
in this class of 50 or so other Marines being instructed on the
fine points of the M16 rifle by a Recon Marine with a chest full
of lettuce and his gold jump wings (very impressive), so we get to
the end of the lecture and he asks for questions or suggestions -
none, so I raise my hand and state, "On the bolt there are three
"C" rings that have to be assembled in a staggered order otherwise
the gas will not operate the bolt to a rearward position". He
replied that I should be teaching the class. I took that as a
When I got back to the world a brother told me I had saved his
life because I went to take a sh-t one time while we were out in
the bush. I don't remember the occasion but if he said I saved his
life then I take that as a compliment! Hey sh-t happens!! (another
Yeah I remember Semper Fi Mac! being a derisive term and even
using the term jarhead could get you in a fight, but that was then
and this is now; but to this day I still blouse my shirt and make
sure my front seams are in line and pants are still something
women and "squids" wear (wow! The term is "hat" now - I'm glad the
sarge has stuck with "cover"), and I don't quit; adapt and
overcome! Lessons learned and put to use to this day. Get squared
away Marine! Get your sh-t together Marine! Saddle up Marine!
And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from
the sea! Eat the apple and f--k the Corps!
Once a Marine, always a Marine - very true. My best friends now
are my brothers that I served with and the ones I have met at the
VA. The bond has lasted a lifetime!
So, I'm at the VA in Salem getting treatment for PTSD with a group
(181) of fellow veterans and we're down to the last week of
treatment and each individual has to do or say a parting action
and when it was my turn I said I couldn't think of anything to
give the group because a lot of guys didn't smoke or drink, so the
only thing I could give them that they all would understand and
appreciate was to drop down and give 'em 20 and then I gave 'em 1
for the Marine Corps, and 1 for the 82nd Airborne, and 1 for the
Seabee's, and 1 for the Army, and 1 more because I could do it!
The guys and staff got a kick out of that one!
I never participated in or was subject to having stripes
John Lee Murphy III
Once a Corporal of Marines and now belong to the Brotherhood of
3/3 Kilo 68/69
Lost and Found
My name is Larry Rummans. I am trying to get in touch with a
radio guy in his group, 1/1. The guy's name was Dana Brown.
Would like to get in touch with anyone who was in Plt. 3118, June
1969, MCRD San Diego or Hill 55 Viet-Nam 1970! Maybe Okinawa or
L/CPL. C.E. Corrales
El Paso, Texas
I'm looking for any Marines that were sent in country from the USS
Eldorado, January 1969, during operation Bold Mariner. No matter
how short or how long their time in country. They can contact me
directly. My email address is Zelma1988[at]yahoo.com. Thank you.
USMC 1967 - 1971
The Marine was Cpl lucas, a team leader Texas Pete, 1968. A d-mn
good recon Marine. He saved our behinds March 5, 1968 on hill
In your last newsletter either submitted by you or Lowe there was
a reference of Officers Boot Camp at MCB Quantico. Serving at that
base in '54 and '55, OCS was not an officer's boot camp. It was a
candidate selection process to ascertain if a candidate was
qualified to lead Marines in a ground combat situation. If they
qualified they were sent to TBS for a 6-month program training
them in the job of being a Marine Officer in their specialty
Sgt. J. Davis
Dear Staff and family,
I just received my order for my dad. We are so pleased for him.
My dad helps so many service members, and veterans he hardly has
time for himself. He is so proud to be a Marine. This is all he
talks about. Now when he speaks he can wear his uniform proudly.
Thank You and Your Staff, So Very Much. He always says
Semper Fi, Semper Fi, Semper Fi.
Here's a topic that we all hold dear to our "stomachs". The Chow
Hall. My most memorable chow hall was on an Army ASA spook base in
Eritrea... (think the middle of nowhere)... it was the first time
we had real plates instead of the stamped out metal trays. Where
was your favorite chow hall?
'68 - '72
"When I joined the Marine Corps, I figured I'd be a infantryman,
go on liberty, drink beer, punch sailors, chase wild women, kill
communists, and if I kept my boots clean and qualified with the
rifle every year, I might grow up to be a gunnery sergeant."
--Retired MGySgt R. R. Keene, Leatherneck, April 1996, page 51
"You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
--Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by
men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
--Louis Dembitz Brandeis, Whitney v. California 
"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of
America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than
--James Madison, 1816
"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure
the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are
--Samuel Adams, 1749
"Lest I keep my complacent way, I must remember somewhere out
there a person died for me today. As long as there must be war, I
ask, and I must answer, 'Was I Worth Dying For?'"
"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."
"Marines die; that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps
lives forever. And that means YOU live forever."
--The role of GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee
Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, using his own choice of
words in the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987
"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
"Rise and shine, another day to serve the Corps!"
"You people are too slow, it you were in combat you'd be dead!"
"You people aren't even a mob, a mob has leader. You clowns are a
heard. I'm going to get me a sheep dog."
"Today, you people are no longer maggots! You are Marines!"
Semper Fi, Mac!