A Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) man in the bow of the rubber landing craft provides covering fire as a 10-man boat crew of the US Marine 3rd Raider Battalion reaches the undefended beach of Pavuvu in the Russell Islands during 'Operation Cleanslate'. February 1943.
(Source - USMC ID #: 54765. Colorized by Royston Leonard UK)
He Wanted To Call Cadence
The greatest honor of my life! Marines, I would like to share something very private, very personal, and very sentimental. By virtue of the bonds created and shared among Marines, I tell you a yarn sure to bring tears to your eyes. My father Sgt Gerald S. Hodder fought the battles of the cities in Korea, he was with the First Mar Div. The first time I remember him singing cadences I was 4, each brother and sister had a custom set of yellow footprints to stand on... Senior Drill instructor DAD would ever so lowly growl the command FALL IN! Then the fun would begin... on Saturdays we LOOKED FORWARD to close order drill... we lived near an ARMY reserve center... we did not know at the time, my dad was showing his squad off to the Army... I know that cadence how much is that Doggie in the window by heart... My dad was Sgt Saunders of Combat and Sgt Stryker Sand's of Iwo Jima all rolled into one... Best Marine I ever knew! Dad developed Lung cancer at age 70... he had his right lung removed... that MAN fought... and fought hard... by God. He recovered! He took the approach that Marines needed Orders to Die... and since the CMC did not know his current whereabouts in relationship to the MLR... he would continue to hold his position... until new orders arrived! About 6 months into his recovery... he called me... early morning... Asked if I could join him for a pastrami on rye... For my dad, I would drop what I was doing anytime, anyplace and head to the rally point for link up... I drove 160 miles to his home... when I arrived He was in the drive way shooting baskets... I yelled OOhraaaaa... he passes the ball I shoot... he jumps and fouls the shot... without hesitation but with many taunts and catcalls a game of PIG ensues... just laughing shooting in and generally having a great time... well, mom calls and says "time for chow"... even Senior Drill Instructor Sgt Hodder Dare not Quickly react to HER command... lunch was served... mom had errands to run so it was just dad and I present... the pastrami was great... however Pops was too quiet... as if reading my mind... he says I have something to show you... he reached into his utility pocket and hands me a memo... I read it... once, twice, three times... Stunned I simply fold it back up and hand it back... dad says 90 days prognosis... I had just read his death warrant... The cancer was back...left lung... heart... brain... kidneys... Two grown men sat eating their lunch... silent... I would be an outright liar if I told you I did not have tears rolling down both cheeks... I most certainly did! When I could speak... I asked what he wanted of me. He simply asked if I would enjoy some close order drill and he wanted to call cadences. My heart at that moment went from being heavy and broken, to feeling just like a kid again! I said OOHraaaa, grabbed my AR15 and waited for that familiar growl... the command FALL IN! Dad passed away exactly 90 days later... That afternoon of drill was the BEST day of this Marines life! I honor HIS memory by sharing this story. Thank you for reading.
Sgt Hodder USMC
Affectionately Known As Canaries
Reported to MCRD San Diego 12 Aug. 1964. Issued the Yellow sweatshirt and wore the same with unbloused trousers and white tennis shoes. This lasted for a couple of weeks and during this stage of our indoctrination we were affectionately known as "Canaries". We viewed in awe those around us with boots and bloused trousers as "Old Corps"!
MP Hite, S/Sgt
RVN 1966-67, '69-'70
Never Got The Squirts
Most Vietnam Vets already know this, but C-rations contained anti-diarrhea medicine - tins of peanut butter. I usually consumed 1 can a day with a spoon. It worked. Summer 1967, while on an operation west of Hoi-An, we set in for the night, and found a couple of banana trees. We had been out for several days, and fresh fruit looked good. Some bananas were green on the outside but fairly ripe inside. As I was chowing down on them a FNG butter bar came by and started reading me the riot act about getting the "Hershey Squirts" from eating un-ripe bananas. He was going to see me court-martialed (as I was a 2531), he was concerned I would have to be evac'd. I just smiled at him and pulled out a tin of C-ration peanut butter and started eating it. He shook his head and walked away. Next day, he walked by me again as we were saddling up to move out, again shook his head and walked away.
Never got the squirts during my tour till I got evac'd to 1st Med and ate "Real Food" for 10 days, but that's a story for another time.
1/1 MORTARS FO/RO
Had We Ever Heard An Oooorah
I was sworn into the Corps in Milwaukee on 8 July 1952. On 8 August 1953, I graduated from Radio Repair School at MCRD San Diego with a MOS of 2611 Radio Mechanic. Spent a year in Korea with the 1st Marine Air Wing. I believe we were the first "replacement draft" after the truce. On 1 May 1955, I was promoted to Sergeant (pay grade E4) with an MOS of 2771. Until that time I was unaware of a MOS change. I have tried my best to find a MOS listing for that time frame with no success. Does anyone know what a 2771 was titled?
In those days ('52 to '55) there were no Lance Corporals, nor Gunnery Sergeants (only 7 enlisted pay grades) and had we ever heard an Oooorah we would have thought someone was having s-x in the other room.
Does that qualify as "Old Corps"?
Stewart, Terrance W. Sergeant
USMC 131XXXX, Sir!
After doing some research, it looks like the MOS 2771 was Ground Radio Repair Technician.
Hope this helps.
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff
1st Guard Co Sentry Dog Platoon 1970
Pictured L to R: Cpl Orr/Marko, Cpl Keller/Prinz, L/Cpl Mitchell/Kuno, Sgt Toyzan/Astor, L/Cpl Malnarick/Edu, L/Cpl Fitch/Shep, L/Cpl Stevens/Axle, L/Cpl Powers/Moritz, Cpl Mcdonald/Guido, and L/Cpl Zimmerman/Cito. Picture was taken at Marine Barracks Sidi Yahia, Morocco, Oct 1970. 1st Guard Co, Sentry Dog Platoon.
Not shown is Sgt Smith/Donald, Cpl Walker/Quick, Cpl Walker/Rolf, Cpl David/Cralo, and Cpl Clements/Tonto. Sgt Glore was the Kennelmaster.
Charles Malnarick, L/Cpl
I was in G/2/4 in 1963-'65. We received a ribbon which most called a "bug-out-badge". It was a ribbon that 2/4 was given because Wainwright ordered the Marines to surrender on Corregidor I believe. Does anyone recollect what the ribbon was actually called, and was it given by the US Government or the Philippine Gov't?
I am making a shadow box and can't find that ribbon. I think that is the only thing missing. Any help would be appreciated!
No Complaints, We Had Tents
In early 1951, we were shipped out to Korea on two APA boatloads from San Diego. The Navy fed us good. We had baked beans for breakfast frequently. Must have been a reason for that. I had been trained to be in a weapons company (flamethrowers/rocket launchers). We went to Kobe, Japan first. On arrival at Kobe, we were told to put all of our sea bags with dress uniforms in a warehouse. We just kept rifles, dungarees, back/butt packs and boondockers and stuff like that. Shipped out to Korea and landed at Pusan. We were loaded on trucks at night and moved up to our positions. On the way up the truck, I was on stopped, and several of us were ordered to get off and report in. It looked like a big supply dump and that's what it turned out to be. (What happened to my Weapons Co.?) No complaints, we had tents, hot chow, and showers. All the comforts of a Pacific Cruise. Our job each day was to load trucks with C-rats and deliver them to the grunts. After loading the trucks, the loaders would ride shotgun for the drivers. Snipers would try to hit the lead and aft truck and jam up the convoy. They were not very good at their jobs so we didn't have a whole lot of trouble with that. A couple of times, guerrillas would try to sneak in our dump locations at night, but our guards kept us alerted on this, and we didn't have too much trouble with that either.
The C-rats were in cardboard boxes and contained 3-meals. The boxes were 4"x 8"x 12" and had 1940's dates on them. Delivered directly to your CP positions. I guess we might have been considered a Meals-on-Wheels service.
Hope everyone enjoyed their gourmet meals. We heard some scuttle butt that one unit (can't remember which one, I have trouble remembering what I did 5-minutes ago at 85) had to go around 90-days without hot meals. But, you people know how stories get enlarged each time they are told. It was supposed to be some kind of record.
1st Service Battalion,-Korea 1951
I Have A Marine Family
I want to thank you for this newsletter and all that it brings the Marines who read it. The stories, the warm sentiment, and the proud feelings that it gives to all of us as we open and scroll through it cannot truly be measured. For myself, reading the letters give me the joy of laughter when, at times, I'm feeling grumpy about a bad day. They give me support at times when some memories, that I don't want, invade my mind no matter how much I try to push them back. But most of all, they constantly remind me that I have a Marine family that is all around me wherever I go, and that I will never be alone as long as there is an Eagle, Globe and Anchor on my vehicle, hat, or jacket.
I wrote some words down a long time ago which I have kept memorized in my mind. I typed them out once and have that copy stuck into a folder with my Marine paperwork. I have shown them to a few people over the years and their comments were usually about urging me to have them copyrighted or at least sent to a magazine. I never did any of that.
Today it hit me that the best thing I could do with these lines would be to send them to this newsletter so that they can be shared with those whom I would want to have them the most.
What Was It Like?
Years ago when I was a lad, there was a question I'd ask my Dad.
"Please Daddy. Please tell me more." What was it like when you were at war?
But he wouldn't answer, and I never knew why, he'd just turn away with a tear in his eye.
Years have passed, and now I can see, just what it was Dad was keeping from me.
For he knew that war was a terrible sight. It's a sickening thing when men have to fight.
But the horrors of combat I've already seen. I'm fighting in Viet Nam. You see, I'm a Marine.
Many times I have witnessed the fury of H-ll in a bursting bomb or a screaming shell.
I've heard the guns fire, seen the air filled with lead. And, on frequent occasions, I've helped carry the dead.
I know some men must die to keep others free. But each night I pray, "God, don't let them kill me."
This war is a nightmare, which I hope will end fast. Then perhaps we'll have peace, the kind that will last.
If people would end war we could forget about this one.
Then I won't have that question being asked by my son.
"Please Daddy. Please tell me more. What was it like when you were at war?"
Written in a foxhole somewhere near the DMZ (I don't remember exactly where) during Tet '68.
1st Sq, 1st Plt, G Co, 2nd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment
Iwo Jima Marine Gear
I went to an estate auction in Savanah, Missouri a few years back and purchased several items including a sea bag from the J. B. Rhoades estate. He was a Marine at Iwo Jima according to the family. He lived in a mobile home and the sea bag along with its contents which included pretty much all of his 782 gear and sweat shirt, and they all were in great shape. The attached photos show his sweat shirt from Platoon 927 circa 1943 as well as the gear he had at Iwo. The unit patch seems to indicate he was with the Amtracs. Note the cartridge belt marked USMC.
None the less, they must have been wearing the gray sweat shirts at boot camp in WWII.
50 Cents A Bottle
I was first introduced to C-rations in late April of '63, Plt 312 had completed a 3-mile forced march from mainside to Elliot's Beach with fully packed Field Marching Packs. At chow time we were each issued one meal. I can't remember much about it. The food wasn't worth remembering, but I do remember the little pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. It had the Lucky logo, except in this case the logo was green and not the usual red logo I was used to seeing. I have no idea how old they were, and never did get the chance to have one. The smoking-lamp was never lit. I tried making a cup of coffee, but when I opened the package the coffee was so old it had crystallized. Needless to say it wasn't like Starbucks.
As for the sweatshirt, in February 1963 we were issued yellow sweatshirts complemented by red PT shorts. Not very stylish. In February of '65, 3/8 and regimental HQ Co went to play in the snow and the cold (20 below zero) up near the Canadian border for a month at Camp Drum, NY. Upon returning to CLNC in March I requested and received orders to 3rd MAR DIV. which at that time had just landed the first contingent of the 9th MEB in DaNang. From minus 20 to positive 115 took some getting used to. Adjust, Modify, and Adapt. I took part in an amphibious landing (unopposed) in June of '65. At the time I felt like I was in the "Sands of Iwo Jima", and didn't know what lay ahead. When the ramps from the LCVP dropped, we were greeted by 2 young ladies selling p-ss warm Coca Colas for 50 cents a bottle. At that time they only cost a dime in the states. Welcome to Viet Nam.
Cpl John DeStefano
2531 Field Radio OP
USMC '63-'69 VN '65-'66
WESTPAC But Not Vietnam
All I can say is, Dude, get over it. I came in in 1974 and was too young to go to Vietnam. If something had changed and I had been ordered to go I would've. I was with 2/1 when the Vietnam War came to a conclusion and all the refugees came flooding into Camp Pendleton in May 1975. This was as close as I got to Vietnam. I served where I was told, when I was told and I'm just as much a Marine as any who served. All the Vietnam vets I served with at 2/1 said I was lucky. When I voiced the same concerns they quickly enlightened me that my duty was to serve where the Corps wanted me. I did, nuff said...
The Rest Of My Gear
I was at PI in June and July, 1966. We were never issued sweatshirts, yellow or any other color. In fact we never wore anything but utility trousers and white T-shirts. In 100 degree weather sweatshirts would have given us all heat stroke! As someone mentioned earlier, we also were not issued a full set of uniforms. We were told we would get them at our permanent duty station. Of course after ITR, Comm school, then VietNam, I finally got the rest of my gear at Marine Barracks, Norfolk, VA. Reference C-rations, I remember eating them in Nam and some were dated 1945. I remember thinking that my Dad probably ate some of these same rations in WWII patrol (1st Recon) we carried Long Range rations.
Gypsies Of The Marine Corps
Yellow sweat shirts: As far as I know our series was the first to be issued yellow sweatshirts at MCRD San Diego, Aug. 1960, Platoon 181. We were instantly seen as the "boots" of the boots on the grinder and that lasted until our last week when everyone was finally in yellow.
K-rats & C-rats: We spent 2 of our weeks in ITR in the rain on the hills of San Onofre Nov. 1960. We were fed WWII K-rats, the cigs came in 3 packs as I remember and were so dry you were lucky (no pun intended) to get three drags off them before they burnt your lips. There were Luckys, Camels and Chesterfields and the Luckys were in green packs with Lucky Strike in a red circle. The round chocolate bars were coated white with age and hard as a rock, the Chiclets (two) could break your teeth.
C-rats: Being in Amtracs we sometimes carried field kitchens and their supplies. They were B-rats (I think) that came in #10 cans (about a gal.) and contained the same rations as the C's with a couple of exceptions we found out to our delight, M&M's and large cans of juice were included. We would stow cans away in our storage compartments for our later use. We truly were the Gypsies of the Marine Corps.
MRE'S: Never had them while I was in but have 5 or 6 cases tucked away in my garage, just in case.
M-1 & M14: Was handed an M-1 in Boot Camp (5790423) then given an M-14 in Kaneohe about 1962. I can't remember that number because I wasn't motivated enough I guess. We took them to the rifle range a couple of weeks later to "Fam" fire. The ammunition we were given was from Belgium and was so bad it was almost dangerous, Maggie's Drawers everywhere and holes in the trash cans and benches!
Best time in the Marine Corps, rifle range by far even making and pulling targets.
Wow, Lt. Hockaday Walker
My first meeting with Lt. Walker was in 1958 at Quantico. I was walking down Barnet Ave and saw a 1stLt. walking towards me. I noticed a Swagger Stick held at 90 degrees from the body, a Sam Brown Belt, Double Soles and Heels with cleats on the heels walking at 120 per. Of course saluted and then closed my mouth.
Lt. Walker would go to the town barbers and see a Troop getting out of the chair and say that is not regulation and have him return to the chair and tell the barber to continue!
He sent a letter to the Commandant dedicating his life to the Corps. The answer was, 20 years of dedicated services was all that was required.
He went to the Provost Marshals office and requested that the base sticker for his car be changed. I was on duty and when he told me why, I referred him to the P.M.. His reason was that he wanted a sticker with the number 1775 as that was the year of founding of our Corps. The Provost Marshal took the Lt. into his office to continue the discussion and it seemed that he was not too happy!
To be fair, as to completion/dedication to his duties, told that it was Outstanding! That he was a very demanding but fair Officer to serve with.
Pass In Review
Have been re-reading MARINE! (by Burke Davis... copyright 1962)... in the book are several references to a Captain Regan Fuller... one of Chesty's rifle company commanders on Guadalcanal... had no idea at the time (1967) that then Brigadier General Regan Fuller, the CG of both Force Troops (big SP artillery, mostly) and Marine Corps Base 29 Palms, had served in combat under Chesty Puller. Among other things, the General was known as "Red Finger"... from his initials, and the fact that only one officer on the base was permitted to use a red pen... ink, marker, grease pencil... nobody but the CG! Reports, messages, etc. would cross his desk, and those that he initialed in red... "RF" would generate a 'snowflake'. These came in three varieties, depending on the urgency or relative importance of the subject matter. The hottest 'snowflake', and one that no staff officer ever wanted to see, was the one that required a fully researched response within four hours. Next came the eight hour (by the end of the day... whenever that was... not necessarily evening colors...) and the easy ones... which allowed a leisurely twenty-four hours to get typed, proofread, and 'chopped' by any other section or staff that was involved... This being 1967, about the only computer on the base was the FADAC used by artillery FDC types... still in the days when an IBM Selectric typewriter was hot stuff. (you can smile here if you have ever removed the font ball and hidden it when done for the day...)
Key to all of this story, was the fact that the General had no middle name... and no middle intial... just the first and last. (had a boss at the time, Lt.Col Tom Kalus who was in the same boat)... (communicator, had walked out of the Reservoir as a SSGT)... His version was that he was born a poor Great Depression farm boy in Oklahoma, and the cost at baptism was $0.05 per name, and his folks couldn't afford but one...)
The General really like parades... and we had a lot of them, including a Tattoo in town at Luckie Park, with two Canadian bands, (Princess Pat's and the Naden Band). Sunset parades were also held a couple times in the summer.
There is a point in most parades when the Commander of Troops tells the Parade Adjutant "Publish the Orders!"... at which, said agitator will hold up some prop and bellow out the name of the Staff Duty Officer and the Officer of the Day... followed by: "By the order of... etc.
I onry make one rittle mistake... it came out as "By Order of Regan F. Fuller, Brigadier General, Commanding"... Caught some cr-p about that from peers in the LPS (Lieutenant's Protective Society)... but kept getting the Agitator's assignment (probably due to my loud mouth...)
For those who have only participated in parades as one of the marching bodies, you may have thought when the command "Pass in Review!" was issued, that what you heard was "P-ss in your shoes Sir"... coulda been, who knows...
Considering the date, the 'bigger than a jeep, smaller than a duece and a half" truck that found its way to his position on the big island was either a M880... in theory a ton and quarter carrier, in reality a 4X4 Dodge pickup, probably with an automatic tranny... (EOD guys at the stumps used them on range sweeps for a while... common problem was a pucker bush would snatch the neutral switch wire loose... they soon learned how to fix that in the field... it was literally 'rough duty'... guys would get bounced around so much for so long they might p-ss blood when they came back in) The other guess for Grimes would have been a Gama Goat... 5/4, four wheel steer, six tires, could swim... M561 from memory... wasn't around in DOD very long, maybe less than ten years... took one swimming in the Rock River at Moline, IL... didn't have the cojones to try the Mississippi. "Hello, Col? you remember that Gama Goat we USED to have up here?... well, there are these things on the Mississippi known as 'roller dams', and..." You get the idea... the Col was in KC...
So Many Silver Stars
In looking through the latest newsletter, I see some cryptic messages about C-Rats in Vietnam. If we did not have a mess hall, we ate C-rats. I never tried the fish heads and rice that the VC ate. There was no other standard issue chow available. C-rats were it. Once, we had 10-in-one rations. It was the only time I saw them. It included a whole canned chicken, and a canned loaf of white bread!
Regarding the Marine that wrote about him being ashamed because he did not serve in Vietnam, I am sorry that he received a cold shoulder from other Marines who were Nam vets. He certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. We serve as Marines – that's enough. No need to have served in a war to be part of the brotherhood. I was upset because I was too young for Korea. I did serve in Vietnam, but my service was not heroic. I am proud I did serve with heroes, though. I was upset that I didn't go to Beirut, Grenada or Panama, and I retired shortly before Desert Storm, and I was p-ssed about that too. But I am a Marine, and that is far more important than Serving in a war zone. There were a fair number of career Marines who tried and tried, and never did get orders for Vietnam – I knew a few.
There is a Vietnam reunion in Kokomo, Indiana, the third weekend of every September. There are a few thousand vets who pass thru there on that weekend. I have never seen so many silver stars in my life. The wannabes Flock to reunions. That Marine has nothing to be ashamed about.
1956 to 1981
Veterans ID Card
About six months ago a buddy of mine who I served with in 3/8 told me he got a Veterans ID card and used it to obtain the Veteran's discount when and where available. He is from Ohio and told me he obtained his ID from his county courthouse. He just walked in and showed them his DD214 and they issued him a Veterans ID card. I live in Maryland and when I called my county courthouse they did not know what I was talking about. I was able to get "Veteran" added to my license when I got it renewed by showing my DD214, but as yet no one in Maryland seems to know what a Veterans ID card is. I would not have worried much about it except that several years ago when I was in a Home Depot store the checkout clerk saw my USMC tattoo on my forearm and thanked me for my service. She then asked if I had a Veterans ID and if so she could give me a 10% discount. I asked her if she meant my DD214, but she did not know what that was, but replied, "if you have a Veteran's photo ID card I can give you the discount." I did not think any more about it until my buddy Tim told me about his ID card this past summer and I decided to look into it again.
The next time I went to Home Depot after getting my license renewed this past October I displayed my license with the "W" to indicate Veteran (makes sense huh, capitol W to indicate a word that begins with the letter V) and I got the 10% discount. However, the next time I went to Home Depot a different cashier told me that I needed a "proper veteran's ID" and that even if I did have it she was only able to give me a discount on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. I went home and got my red photo ID card that was issued to me when I was discharged and started to carry that and the next time I went to Home Depot I showed it to that same cashier and she said that this card was not proof that I served and my wife nearly exploded so we just left the store. Before leaving I tried to explain to her that the green ID was for active military and the red card was for reserve status after having served my active duty time, but she did not want to hear any of it. Because of my hobby (wood-working) I go to Home Depot and Lowes fairly often unless I need a higher grade of wood that is offered at these stores and depending on who is working the register at Home Depot they will honor my red ID card. Most of the cashiers in the store that I frequent most recognize me because I am in there so often and some of the cashiers approve the discount when I show them the red card. Lowes on the other hand has never given me a problem when I show my red ID card and in fact, the cashiers always thank me for my service in addition to happily applying the discount.
Conversely, when the Home Depot cashiers do allow the discount, they act like you are bothering them by asking for the discount or are trying to pull one over on them. I don't know for sure, but being the conspiracy theorist kind of guy I can't help but wonder if Lowes has more respect for Veterans than Home Depot does as a whole. If not, it sure does appear that way just by the mere difference in how you are treated by cashiers at each store. Just wanted to know if any of my brother and sister jarheads have experienced similar issues with the Veteran discount at these or any other stores? As a sidebar, I went into ACE Hardware yesterday looking for more melting salt and the wife noticed that they have a sign posted stating that they offer the Veterans discount with photo ID. My wife saw the sign but we had already paid, however, the young lady behind the register said, "no it's not a problem at all, please let me cancel the sale and re-run it so you can get the discount." I showed her my red ID card and she added the discount to the sale. I don't know for sure, but it sure seems like Home Depot is instructing their employees to view this issue very differently than Lowes and ACE Hardware.
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt
This should fix the issues that you keep running into at Home Depot and any other place as well. Last, year Congress approved H.R. 91 Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 on 20 July 2015. You can obtain yours by visiting your local VA Hospital's Administration Department. You should receive your card in about 3-4 weeks following your initial visit. The card will have your photo ID, your name, and an Eagle, Globe and Anchor (For Marines, I guess the other veterans of other services get their seal or emblem),and it is valid for 20 years. You will have to request a new one after the expiration date.
You can read more about it at Veterans Identification Card Act 2015.
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff
All the talk of B&C rats have brought back another memory. While assigned to the Song-Tu-Bon ferry crossing at Liberty Bridge our diet was, for the most part, C-Rats. A couple times a month we would get a supply of B-Rats which consisted of cans of juice, canned ground meat, canned chili (no beans) various canned veggies, bread (dead flies included). We would also get some, so called, fresh vegetables including onions with the help of a cooking pot, a contribution made by the locals at Dai-Loc via the laundry boy from the ville.
As a side story; it turns out the laundry boy was a VC. In March '69, his body was found with other dead VC and NVA the morning after the attack on Liberty Bridge & Phu-Loc 6.
Anyhow, we concocted a recipe of Sloppy Joe using the ingredients sent to us with the B-rats. MMMM good! Sloppy Joe is still one of my favorite dishes. I think I'll make some today!
Letter From Home
It was the middle of February 1964 and I was in the United States Marine Corps, at the rifle range at Camp Matthews. I was living in an eightman canvas "squad tent" and I had a temperature of 103. The Navy Corpsman said it might be "walking pneumonia". My junior drill instructor seemed to be inspired as he attempted to wean us from our "pogey bait" civilian life. One of the sad truths of "boot camp" is that as time and space separate the recruit from civilian life and he evolves into a Marine, personal relationships will and do fall by the wayside. Almost from the first day "Letters from home" seemed to arrive with clocklike regularity. A normal recruit would be catapulted into depths of clinical depression by simply receiving a letter from home. The effect could be as devastating as a death in the family. My letter came in the form of a simple note from my mother. "Hi Bobby, Dad sold your new car and bought me a new diamond ring. Do you remember that girl Sandy? She is married and pregnant and Not in that order! Aren't you glad you weren't going out with her? I hope you are having a good time, Love Mom" My new car gone! My best girl married, pregnant and not in that order! But the last part was the real killer. "I hope you are having a good time" I was in the 6th week of Marine Corps boot camp in the infirmary at the Rifle Range with a 103 degree fever! My sad story was probably experienced by a countless number of other Marine recruits. But things have a way of working out. The fever broke and I returned to my platoon. I left the Rifle Range with a well deserved "Sharp Shooters Medal". Time, space, and the loving care and personal attention of my junior Drill Instructor (Corp. Stelling) brought reality into proper focus. "If ya need a girlfriend and a new car, the Marine Corp will issue them to ya. Boot!" There was little time to think about what was happening far away and in my past life. The future was completely out of my hands. The only thing to do was go along with the training program and let fate and the U.S.M.C. decide my brilliant career. My sad story is not different from many other poor, heart broken recruits. The only difference is how the winds and the tides would guide me to my own very happy ending, but that is another story for another day. Please keep up your efforts.
Robert L. Graziano
Platoon 294, MCRD San Diego
A Stelling Star
The true beauty of this sad tale is that within the next 3 short months, my life would completely change. Because of a hidden clause in my enlistment papers, the U.S.M.C. could not open the school that I was assigned to attend. My special 3 year enlistment was history, On June 14, 1964 I returned home (179 day after I enlisted.) I would be henceforth be known as a Reservist, "a weekend warrior" "a junior Jarhead". As the taxi cab turned the corner, in the driveway of my family's palatial home there sat a brand new Mustang. My father in an act of gratuitous generosity had taken it upon himself to replace the car that he had sold. It even had my own personalized licence plates on it. In less time than it takes to tell the tale, I was behind the wheel of this road rocket on my way to the country club. Dressed in my forest green uniform with my California sun tan I was the vision that a Madison Ave. add man dreamed about. I drove into the country club drive way and pulled up under the portacoll. The young attendant stood up from the bench and prepared to take the car. His face brightened when he realized that it was a new mustang. Then he saw me swing out of the drivers seat. He almost came to attention. "Please leave it near the front. I might be leaving soon." This was a simple request but it seemed to take on the air of an order. "Yes, sir!" I walked up the stairs and entered the massive, colonial club house the lobby was empty but as I turned toward the lounge the Maitre D' stepped up to greet me, "May I hel... Why Mr. Bob err Mister" I interrupted him to help him, as he tried to give me a title. "Good afternoon, George, might you know where my Father might be?". "Yes sir, he should be in the lounge by now. I believe he finished the course earlier." "Thank you..." I turned and headed toward the distant door. "Welcome home, Sir." The lounge aka bar was a large room with a great windowed wall. This wall looked out on the first tee of the beautifully manicured golf course. The rest of the room was oak. The finest ancient trees of a magnificent forest had been sacrificed to line the walls, build the long, curved bar and then make the chairs and tables. When someone entered the room, he was forced to walk down 8 steps to the main floor. The floor was rugged and the room was divided to form two separate rooms. The one closer to the bar was traditionally men only, the other was populated by the wives and the female guests of the members. As I entered I saw my father was standing with a group of his friends. His back was toward me. He did not realize that I was there. It was obvious that he was in his element. I walked up and stood directly behind him "Can a guy get a drink in this place?" The hair on his head stood on end . He turned and the expression on his face I will treasure for the rest of my life! There is a certain kind of smile that is so broad that it's said "your face hurts". We both stood at the bar shoulder to shoulder grinning at each other. Both enduring the lovely pain. "What are you doing home?" "They said, they don't need me. It is a long story. I'll tell you later I want to take a few days off. Then I'll be ready to go back to work. OK?" "Sure! Take the summer!" "What a uniform! You look great! I hope you will have dinner here with mother and I this evening." "I can't think that there is a place I'd rather be and with such wonderful company." Later when dad and I were out of earshot, he put his head next to mine in a low voice he said, "It is a shame what happened to that girl. Bob that's life. You can't control everything. Sadly some people have lives that are like a car wreck on the other side of the road. Just thank God it wasn't you!" (This was a special moment, 50 years later I still remember my father, his look and demeanor. To stand at the bar with your father at his private club in my Marine Corps uniform, a freshly minted civilian/reservist is priceless.) (to be continued)
The Badge Of Honor
I fondly recall the dreaded yellow sweatshirt which we wore during my time at MCRD San Diego in 1963. It was indeed a sign of our "boot" status for the first few days until we received our basic clothing issue. Our morale was greatly improved after we had a complete utility uniform and could look around and see the new "canaries" with their unbloused trousers, overly long web belts, yellow sweatshirts, and shapeless utility covers pulled low over their ears. It was only a matter of days before, when we had also looked so forlorn in that state of dress. Those were happy days indeed! I just had to get a new one from Sgt Grit when they became available. I now wear it proudly on cool days and have an extra spring to my walk when others look at that shirt, but do not understand the badge of honor that it is. Semper Fi to all my brothers who have worn it with me.
Sergeant of Marines
Korea And Me
In my 88th year, I was looking back on my times in WWII, Korean War and Vietnam. Korea had the most Interesting things the Marine Corps found to do for us. They formed the 1st Fumagation and Bath Platoon who came behind the lines and set up. A Platoon would come off the lines and go into a tent, take your clothes off, put your valuables in a small ditty bag, then go into a tent connected where several shower heads poured out hot water. You scraped the dirt off, washed and shaved with hot soap and water. Then go back into the first tent and you were issued clean skivvys and dungarees. There was even an article in the Leatherneck about going into the shower as a PFC and come out a Master Sergeant, because at that time we marked our rank on the sleeves of the dungarees, when they went to the laundry you got clean clothes not your own.
When you got dressed, you went into a tent near by and got Hot Chow. Sometimes you got paid and sometimes not. Once I got paid and went to the PX Truck and bought a case (24 bars) of candy and 3 cartoons of cigarettes. I bought Phillip Morris because the PX Truck went to the Officers first and the Luckys and Camels were all gone. The rest of the time you washed in your helmet with cold water. The joke then was you poured water in your helmet, you washed and shaved, then washed your dungarees, then your blankets, all in the same water. Leaving Korea was a pleasure for more than the usual.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Lots of talk about being issued yellow sweat shirts at Recruit Depots. I was at Parris Island July – October 1962, Plt. 352 and we were issued yellow T shirts. Guess it was considered too hot for sweat shirts back then.
Cpl. of Marines
Jan. 28, 1966
Today is the day that the 1stMarDiv landed in Vietnam. We of 3/1 certainly remember that day and grieve each day for those who did not return.
Mike 6, 3/1
You were in the "Old Corps" if you enlisted before anyone in the group you're with.
Jim Leonard SSgt (ret)
In regard to the yellow sweatshirt issue at Parris Island over the years, I think it must have been different depending on when you reported in. I stood on those yellow footprints on May 18, 1969 and never received a sweatshirt issue of any kind, yellow or otherwise. I don't know if a sweatshirt was not issued because we would be there during the summer months and not need one, or if it was because the quartermaster couldn't keep up with the large quantities required.
Sgt Ron Morse
Went to boot camp the summer of 67'. Issued a gray sweatshirt. I used to wear it all the time (minus sleeves) after discharge, do not recall what happened to it though.
I was in boot camp Jan. 1955 at P.I. and can't remember being issued a sweatshirt of any color, and it was cold in those old uninsulated barracks especially while duckwalking in your skivvies with a bucket on your head. Anyone still around from Platoon 15? Give me a yell at email@example.com.
H&S and A-1-3
April 9, 1961, I enlisted in the USMC reserves in Sacramento, CA. For lunch they issued C-rats dated 1942. Beanies and weiners. They were good.
I sure envy these people who can remember every minute of Boot. I have 50% recall of the first 12 hours... 50% on the range... 75% of the last 10 days. Other than that, it's all fog.
Most of it only came back when I went to my daughters graduation 30 years after mine. I'm kinda glad I can't remember the rest.
I have a Graduation book for Platoon 384, MCRD San Diego. Commenced training 9 January 1963 and graduated on 21 March 1963. Identify yourself and I will ship it to you.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"
--General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur; Korea, 21 September 1950
"The ultimate authority... resides in the people alone... [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any..."
--James Madison, 1788
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."
--Thomas Paine, 1776
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
--President Ronald Reagan
"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error."
--Robert Houghwout Jackson
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years."
--James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; 23 February 1945 (the flag-raising on Iwo Jima had been immortalized in a photograph by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal)
"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country."
--George Washington, 1783
"If yer gonna be stupid, ya gotta be tough!"
"Why you worthless maggots, I will PT you until you die. You will curse the day your daddies climbed on top o'your mommas and f---ed you into existence!"
Semper Fi, Mac!