Sgt Grit Newsletter - 04 FEB 2016

In this issue:
• He Wanted To Call Cadence
• Affectionately Known As Canaries
• I Have A Marine Family

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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)

3rd Marine Raider Battalion reaching the Russell Islands 1943


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


Heavy Cast Resin Chesty Bulldog Statue


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.

Bill Guntor
RVN '67-'68
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!


Sgt Stewart,

After doing some research, it looks like the MOS 2771 was Ground Radio Repair Technician.

Hope this helps.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff


USMC Natural Ash Cane with Chrome Derby Handle


1st Guard Co Sentry Dog Platoon 1970

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


Bug-Out-Badge

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!

Thanks,
Jim


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.

Semper Fi
Cpl Bob
1st Service Battalion,-Korea 1951


I Have A Marine Family

Thomas Moore Vietnam 1968

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Thomas Moore
1st Sq, 1st Plt, G Co, 2nd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment


Iwo Jima Marine Gear

J B Rhoades WWII boot camp sweatshirt and piss cover

J B Rhoades WWII Seabag

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Jim Grimes
SGT 1969


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...

Julian Etheridge


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.

Steve Beaman


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.

CPL. Selders
1833/5711


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.

Clifford Jobes
1956-1965


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...

DDick


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.

Semper Fi,
Dan Flynn
1956 to 1981


Veterans ID Card

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt


Cpl Kunkel,

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.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff


Sloppy Joe

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!

HGW
(Snakefighter)


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
'63­'64


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.

Frank Everett
Sergeant of Marines
1963-1967, 6511


Korea And Me

Sgt. Grit,

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


Short Rounds

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.

Charlie Ducar
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.

Semper Fi,
Chuck Latting
Mike 6, 3/1


You were in the "Old Corps" if you enlisted before anyone in the group you're with.

Semper Fi
Jim Leonard SSgt (ret)


Sgt Grit,

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.

HGW


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 greenhills8@gmail.com.

Bill Lutz
H&S and A-1-3


Sgt Grit,

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.

Johnnie Markley


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.

Pete Dahlstrom
'68-'74


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.

Bill Domby
USMC '67-'71
bdomby49[at]lentel.com


Quotes

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead


"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!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 04 FEB 2016
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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 04 FEB 2016

In this issue:
• He Wanted To Call Cadence
• Affectionately Known As Canaries
• I Have A Marine Family

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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.

Bill Guntor
RVN '67-'68
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!


Sgt Stewart,

After doing some research, it looks like the MOS 2771 was Ground Radio Repair Technician.

Hope this helps.

J. Williams
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


Bug-Out-Badge

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!

Thanks,
Jim


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.

Semper Fi
Cpl Bob
1st Service Battalion,-Korea 1951


I Have A Marine Family

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Thomas Moore
1st Sq, 1st Plt, G Co, 2nd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment


Iwo Jima Marine Gear

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Jim Grimes
SGT 1969


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...

Julian Etheridge


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.

Steve Beaman


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.

CPL. Selders
1833/5711


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.

Clifford Jobes
1956-1965


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...

DDick


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.

Semper Fi,
Dan Flynn
1956 to 1981


Veterans ID Card

Sgt. Grit,

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.

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt


Cpl Kunkel,

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.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff


Sloppy Joe

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!

HGW
(Snakefighter)


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
'63­'64


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.

Frank Everett
Sergeant of Marines
1963-1967, 6511


Korea And Me

Sgt. Grit,

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


Short Rounds

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.

Charlie Ducar
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.

Semper Fi,
Chuck Latting
Mike 6, 3/1


You were in the "Old Corps" if you enlisted before anyone in the group you're with.

Semper Fi
Jim Leonard SSgt (ret)


Sgt Grit,

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.

HGW


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 greenhills8@gmail.com.

Bill Lutz
H&S and A-1-3


Sgt Grit,

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.

Johnnie Markley


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.

Pete Dahlstrom
'68-'74


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.

Bill Domby
USMC '67-'71
bdomby49[at]lentel.com


Quotes

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead


"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!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 28 JAN 2016

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 28 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• C-Rats In Vietnam Confirmed
• I Was In Artillery, I Drove A Tank
• Ladies, You Are Bouncing

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Marine Pfc. Douglas Lightheart (right) cradles his .30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun in his lap, while he and Marine Pfc. Gerald Thursby Sr. take a cigarette break, during mopping up operations on Peleliu on 14th September 1944.

(Colorized by Paul Reynolds. Historic Military Photo Colourisations)

PFC Hursby and PFC Lightheart Peleliu 1944


William Manchester

Sgt. Grit,

The quotes you use at the end of your newsletters are a delight. In case you haven't seen it, here's one attributed to Marine veteran/author William Manchester (from his book "Goodbye Darkness"; a memoir which includes his experiences and wounds during the battle for Okinawa) "Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. (Emphasis added). And when you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity." James Brady asks in the title of his book "Why Marines Fight?" This seems about as good a reason as could be articulated. Best regards and keep up the good work.

Bob West, Cpl., '58-'64


A Badger During Menopause

I married a WM and let me tell you... Someone said something about me wearing a USMC t-shirt at a function at our clubhouse one time beyond my hearing (hey, I was a rifle and pistol coach for two years and with the cannon-cockers for three months, alright?) so my hearing isn't too good anymore. Next thing I know, my WM was right up in his face ripping him a new one! D-mned if she wasn't going to coldcock him... Put him right down. Mean as a Badger during menopause. Hey, I live with this woman and I don't mess with her!

However, nobody is as loyal as a Marine Wife. Only a Marine Husband can call his wife a BAM, providing she has a sense of humor and he's willing to buy her dinner. That doesn't mean he's going to get lucky that night tho'...

Cpl. George M Engel
1954-1957, Plt 470, P.I. Depot Honor Platoon


USMC Freedom Isn't Free T-shirt


C-Rats In Vietnam Confirmed

C-rats being used in Vietnam for Church Service

Church Service, Fire Support Base Razor, 1969

Moment of Peace: Infantrymen of the 9th Marines and artillerymen of the 12th Marines take time to attend church services at Fire Support Base Razor. The Marines are engaged in a search and clear operation (official USMC photo by Private First Class C. E. Sickler).

I found this photo online and it is part of the Marine Corps Archives. If I'm not blind, those are C-ration boxes and ammo crates that the Chaplain is using for a make shift pulpit/alter and they are also being used as the church pews.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff


Japanese Americans

I didn't know 1958 was the Old Corps. Since I was in 1959-1968, I guess I am an Old Timer per C. Felton's notes. Plt 142, MCRD San Diego. Was on Okinawa 1959-1960. Funniest thing happened while there, when three of us Japanese Americans (1) USMC, (1) US Army, and (1) USAF went to the NCO club at Camp Schwab. There was fighting among the Battalions as usual. We just looked out the NCO club and watched these Marines beating each other up. Later, we walked out to the NCO club toward the main gate to leave. The Marines fighting each other looked at us in confusion, wondering what these 3 orientals were doing walking toward the gate. Two Marines came over to us trying to figure us out. We told them we were just friends and to leave us to ourselves. One Marine tried start an argument with us, to which I told him to back off. The next morning during the Battalion muster, the Marines that were fighting each other and wondering what 3 orientals were doing at the NCO club, in civilian clothes, started looking at me. That's when they all realized that I was a Sergeant, they being privates and PFC's. Talk about weird look from them. I started laughing at them and said, "Next time, know who you are trying to start an argument with." We all started laughing and they said "Yes Sergeant." Talk about clearing a bar out, I walked into the different bars on Okinawa and Japan, in civilian clothes, and the bar patrons and owners scattered. All I heard was "CID". These were the days.

Ted Shimono


USMC Koozies


I Was In Artillery, I Drove A Tank

STOLEN VALOR?

Last summer I was sitting in the waiting room of my local VA Clinic awaiting my scheduled appointment when a middle aged lady sat down beside me. I didn't notice if she came alone or was with someone. I was wearing my usual red 3rd MARINE DIVISION – VIETNAM VETERAN cap. After a few minutes she turned to me and said "I was in the Marines". I politely said "that's good, Semper Fi", or something like that. A few minutes later she turned to me again and said "I was in Vietnam too". I replied "you were?" She said, "yes, I was in artillery, I drove a tank". I'll leave it to the readers to decide. As for me, I was just thankful that, at that point, my Primary Care Provider opened the door and called me back.

Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines


Had Other Concerns

Of all the letters about C-rations, I haven't seen any 'bout the rations prior to the mid/late 1950's. There are still some of us that ate C-rations in Korea when there was no time or way to heat them. Try sausage patties with the white grease frozen. I never looked at the dates on the boxes, had other concerns.

Bob
1952-1981


WESTPAC But Not Vietnam

I served in the USMC and got my orders to WESTPAC right out of boot and ITR. I was assigned to 3rd Mar Air Wing. The problem I got is that the time I spent in the USMC, which none of it was spent in Viet Nam over the waters in support. Which means I am not a Vietnam veteran. For 45 years I have gotten the "cold shoulder" by those that wore the Vietnam Campaign or Vietnam Service ribbons. I really got a ration of sh-t from guys that just served off shore. As if my time was sh-t. When I was in the service I saw thousands of Marines with Vietnam support. I quit going to the Vietnam reunions because I was not part of the war just part of the land of the big PX. These Marines were no more than a part of the support. And if you ask them about it they get all bent out of shape. I keep getting asked why I did not serve and honestly I am so embarrassed that it hurts when I think of the Marines that did go to Vietnam and never came home. I volunteered for 1 year in Vietnam. Then in the reserve during Desert Storm, but was never activated. I know d-mn well that all the Marines I saw wearing the VCM and VSM never served a day overseas. I feel ashamed that I did not go to Vietnam. My dad said he was going to sh-t and p-ss on my grave when I came home in a box. I was even turned down by the Marines because I had no place to go. I can belong to the Vietnam Veterans of America, but cannot wear the ribbon because I did not serve off shore or in Country.

All I know is that I would NEVER wear an award not due to me. I came home with the National Defense Service Medal. It was especially embarrassing when a Marine came home forever. I never felt part of the war even though I enlisted for 4 years and again in the reserve. I was scared to death. Finally I learned to go through the various stages and accepted it. I know there it nothing you can do. But I was not part of the Vietnam War and not part of the Vietnam Campaign. As one veteran put it, if you wanted to go bad enough, you could have found a way to go. So I am embarrassed and I catch h-ll from the in-country veterans and ashamed by civilians who expected me to have fought. So, I don't even feel like, of those whome served, I am nothing, I guess I am a fool too because I did not have to go and was even turned down. I know there has to be thousands who wear the ribbons that are not entitled to them. I was 18 and volunteered and I feel like sh-t for getting ready for the prom and not going. I am not a Vietnam Veteran, I guess I am and never will be nothing. I guess my dad was right, I made the biggest mistake my life. I did get a gift from the Corps, I'm 100% PTSD. But that is another story and another time. That, lasted all four years.

Thomas Cannon


Captain Hiram Walker and/or Hockaday Walker

When I was going thru ITR training in Camp Lejeune in 1961, the Force Recon barracks were just down the street from mine. As they would not give us liberty, several friends and I would run to break the boredom. One day a Marine came running up to us and started talking about Force Recon and how impressed he was that we were running and did we want to join Force Recon. He invited us to his "hootch" as he called it. A room with two beds, two lockers, and two chairs, a head, and down each wall a set of shelves with about ten pairs of spit-shined boots on each side of the room. He introduced himself as Capt. Walker, commander of the Force Recon company. We found out from the Recons guys:

One, he did not own civilian clothes.
Two, he was invited to an Officers party but opted to go to a Recon beer bust.
Three, that the Col. was so p-ssed for him going to the beer bust and missing the Officers party that he ordered him to buy a set of civilian clothes for the next party.
Four, he owned about six or seven sets of Dress Blues besides the same number of greens and no he never wore civilian clothes.

I was able to look inside of his car, a rather old Buick that was indeed upholstered with Camo. He has studied in Germany and had taken classes on the Organ. Sundays he would collect people from the barracks to go to church services and sing so that he could play the organ. His room mate was a Mustang Captain not quite so eccentric, but different never the less.

Jon Crawford
Cpl. 1961 to 1966


8 Weeks To Do This

YELLOW BOOT CAMP SWEATSHIRT

I entered recruit training at Parris Island January 13, 1966 and was assigned to 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Platoon 215.

Regarding our basic issue. I have found out over the years in conversations with other Marines going through boot camp during that time period that some other items normally issued during basic training were not issued during that time period.

We were not issued the yellow boot camp sweatshirts mentioned in the previous newsletter. After 50 years, I don't recall if we were even issued a sweatshirt of any kind. Also, there was a "notebook" filled with facts about the Marine Corps and training, that would be carried in a pocket of our utilities, that the recruits were required to read while waiting in formation for chow, after chow, etc. Also, we were not issued a Marine Corps Handbook. These are only items that I recall not being issued and I'm sure there may have been more.

I do know that during that time period that the United States was deeply and rapidly getting involved in Vietnam. I have read that 1966 was a banner year for getting troops ready for service in Vietnam. Recruit training was cut from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. To do this, we were told that competition between platoons in a company normally held on Saturdays was replaced by training and various classes. Also, Sunday afternoons were devoted to close order drill as I recall. We ran everywhere we went to keep on schedule. We did march short distances to the chow hall or classes held near the barracks. Our drill instructors told us that the Marine Corps had packed 12 weeks of training in the 8 weeks we were there and that we didn't miss any actual training.

Also, during that time, the Marine Corps was utilizing the draft along with a 2 year active duty reserve program that greatly increased the number of recruits that had to be trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depots.

Taking all in consideration, it is my opinion that the Marine Corps was flooded with so many recruits that there were certain items that just could not be acquired fast enough to meet the demand. It would have been nice to have had the extra issue items, but the way I see it, those items weren't what made Marines out of us. We received the basic equipment and the Drill Instructors to make Marines out of us and prepare us for what was ahead. For most of us it was WESTPAC, namely Vietnam and I thank my D.I's for preparing me for it.

Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines
Vietnam 1966/1967


Even Called Me Doc

Between Korea and Viet Nam I was in college and in the Air Force ROTC. My draft number came up and I couldn't get a deferment. After passing my physical at Ft. Omaha, an Army installation, I thought I was in the Army, but was told the Navy was short on enlistment, so I was put in the Navy. During boot camp I was asked what I wanted to do. Told them I want to go to some school. I was told that the only school open to draftees was Hospital Corps School and since I was a part-time EMT during college I was sent to the Hospital Corps School, San Diego and was transferred to the Fleet Marines. I went thru Marine orientation and indoctrination at Camp Pendleton and then was stationed at MCAS El Toro for the duration of my two year.

Hi-lites. I flew in helicopters with flight-line crash crews, went aboard a CV-12 Hornet aircraft carrier with the Marine Corps reserve pilots, and the biggie... early Easter Sunday morning 1957 a Marine's wife, ready to deliver a baby, was brought in to the El Toro dispensary to be transferred to Corona Naval Hospital. As I passed by the emergency room door, she screamed, "someone help me!". I jerked open the door, she was on the table with legs and feet in the stirrups. Since the baby's head was emerging, I went ahead and delivered the baby boy. By that time a doctor showed up, and told me to clamp and cut the cord so I could get full credit for the delivery. Not a regular Marine Corps Corpsman activity.

I wore the Air Force and Navy blue... but with out a doubt the Marine green was best. Thanks to you Marines, you treated me and made me feel like one of you. You even called me Doc.

Thanks again.

Semper Fi
HM2 1955-1957
Richard D. Yost


C-Rats and MRE's

Over the last couple of months the subject of C-Rations has received a lot of notoriety over their existence, when they were produced, and the date when they were consumed. The first time I had the privilege of chowing down on C-Rations was in 1962, when I was with the First Battalion, Fifth Marines. The quality and quantity would not change up to my tour in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. But, like the movie in Heart Break Ridge starring Clint Eastwood, we grunts learned to adapt and improvise our quality of life in the field.

The first few months we would mix certain rations together like; ham and lima beans with cheese; fruit cocktail with pound cake; cracker sandwiches with ham slices or beef slices with cheese, and the imagination of the individual Marine. Tabasco sauce and instant white rice also became a basic staple for all meals which could be mixed together and improve the meals.

In February 1966, my company participated in Operation Taut Bow when we went on a patrol with Third Recon Battalion. Recon was issued a meal called "Long Range Rations," which were dehydrated meals and required a lot of water to prepare them. Even though they were light and consumed less space, I missed the basic commodities of cookies, coco powder, peanut butter, and jam the C-Rations had. But changes for field rations were in the fix to replace the "C-Rations."

During July 1966, the Second Marine Division tested a new meal in Vera Cruz, Mexico called the "M" pack. Which consisted of six menus: frankfurter; (2) kinds of chicken loaf; beef steak; beef slices with BBQ sauce; and beef stew. Unlike the C-Rations which came in a can, the "M" Pack came in a foil package to prevent spoilage. Eventually resulting in the MRE's, Meal Ready to Eat that are used today. Reference: "M" Pack, Leather Neck, July 1966, p 35.

The best rations I received was in Australia when we participated in a joint exercise with the Aussies in 1976. Took some adjustment to work through the preparations, but it was kind of like a cross between C-Rats and MRE's. But as in all meals, adequate water supply is needed in both the MRE's and Australian rations. Our beloved C-Rats only needed to be opened, heated in some cases, and chowed down: Water was needed for coco, and coffee to help wash it down.

I have ordered C-Rats through ebay, and use them for display when selling my book, also to keep on hand to bring back fond memories of life in the field.

HERB BREWER


MOS 3041

Cpl Smith is right. Except I always thought I was a real Marine. MOS 3041, nuff said. I didn't want that MOS, but you can't fight HMC. Ninety percent of my platoon went to Nam in '69, while I went to LeJeune to learn how to shuffle papers without getting a paper cut.

Had my fair share of C-RAT's and MRE's. Personal preference.... C-RAT's! That's all I have to say about that! Now on to you Sgt. Grit! How about see more stuff for the supply guys in your catalog? What, without us the bullet's don't fly and the beans don't flow! OORAH!

John Miller
SSGT.
'68-'70, '84-'92
Retired

Note: We have several options to customize shirts. Supply, Mortarmen, Admin, Grunt, etc... Just call in or see the web.

Sgt Grit


C-Rats From The Korean War

I proudly served in the Marines in the MOS field 3522 (Mechanic) for 4 years from 1977 to 1981. I was in 1st, 2nd and 3rd FSSG. It was the best time of my life and I'll never forget it, and if I had my way I would make it a national requirement for every student right out of High school.

Anyway everytime we were in the field we ate C-rats from the Korean War. They weren't too bad if you knew how to cook them up. Add a little hot sauce and cheese to the spaghetti and you were good to go.

I'll never forget one of the several times we were in the field at Fort Bragg in support for the artillery units to practice long range artillery. As I was walking from battalion I notice stacks and stacks of C-rats cases unattended in this clearing. The routine was every chow time you went to the C-rats tent and waited in line for a single meal box which was never enough so we were always hungry. So, I made a short detour and picked up a case and took it back to the mechanics tent. The mechanics went crazy. So that night we went on a night mision for more and the eight of us grabbed 2 Cases each. Man did we pig out all night. A side note is the next night it was ringed with barbed wire, flood lights, and a guard. Ahhh... the good times and brotherhood. I miss it. Anyway to answer the C-rats mystery. We ate Korean War C-rats until 1981.

Corporal Dickens
1977 to 1981
MTM Company
1st, 2nd and 3rd FSSG


I Sh-t You Not

Sgt. Grit,

These are true stories "I sh-t you not", we had not gotten re-supplied for a few days due to having firefights with the VC/NVA. The choppers couldn't find a safe place to land and using the cargo nets was out - for reasons no one felt I needed to know. This situation didn't mean we could just walk away from our A.O. and getting hungry is "mind over matter" (my Sr. Drill Instructor's saying). Anyways, the company came to where we wanted to be and everyone was in the process of setting positions for the night. The third squad leader, Red, called his people together and got a can of sardines from his pack (a gift from home) and shared them with the squad. The point to this story - I had never had a sardine before but, I'm here to tell ya, I ate my share that day - mind over matter. We were still hungry but a little less so.

The company (Golf 2/5) had been set in the same area for several days (not a good idea). The re-supply choppers was bring in water and C-Rats for the next couple days. The first chopper came in and three other guys and myself were able to off load the big cage like thing. Those of us who have had the experience of being in the open when one of those things land know how much sh-t they can kick-up and how fast they expect you to get those things off. Being a Marine, we knew how to deal with this problem; we got a sheet of plastic from the first chopper in order to use it to protect ourselves. The second chopper came in and as we moved toward it they took off. Well! We used words that would break our mother's hearts. As we stood there - in the open - with a sheet of plastic in front of us - a V.C. sniper was getting closer to us. We hear the shot and everyone calling out to us just as the second shot went too high over our heads. "Flash" (I think that's his name) would have been proud of us that day. We lived to chase after him the next day. By the way, this is why you never stay too long in one area.

Golf Co. 2/5 out of An Hoa took turns doing road security and check for box mines up to Da Nang; then ride the trucks back to wherever our Platoon C.P. was located along the road. I'm not sure why it took us so long to realize what kind of stuff would be shipped to our rear area. However, once we found the can meat (water required), the sodas, ice cream and some other goodies there was no stopping us from taking what we thought was our share; except for the ice cream which we could not help because they were in 5 lb. boxes. Use your minds eye and picture this - the people who were assigned to protect the supplies were throwing boxes off the trucks as we rode by one of our O.P.s along the road.

MMmm! C-Rations! I like to take the can of chicken noodle soup pour the broth out - then take the meatballs I got from the beans and meatballs, then I would put ketchup in to all of this - I'm not a cook! After being in the brush for a few months, I started eating the fruit and some of the other stuff and throwing away the main cans of meat or using them to get information about the VC/NVA in the area. Besides, some of those meals were too heavy to carry - I didn't need the extra weight. The other Grunts know what I'm talking about. By the way, I do recall opening up boxes of C-Rations from the 40's and 50's. I drank a whole can of Pineapple juice - I was still sitting there (in the brush) when the order came to move out. I hate pineapple to this day.

My last short story, a couple of us would save up our packs of sugar, dry cream, water, and cocoa. On Sunday evenings, if it was possible, we would pool everything and share a cup of cocoa together. This would help us to remember what day of the week it was. Other Grunts will tell you that it was very easy to lose track of what day it was and/or what month it was. Everything seemed to flow together when you're in the brush for awhile. And this would help.

Semper Fi - until I die
Robert Bliss
MOS 0341/0311 (of course)


These Goobers Are Sick

Sgt. Grit,

Just wanted to weigh in on the boot camp sweatshirt post. I went to Parris Island in July of 1981 and graduated in October, so we did not wear sweats all that much, but when we did, we took them from a pile dumped on the squad-bay floor and they were gray and stenciled in black with our platoon number 2063, but we always had to turn them back in. We were definitely not issued a sweatshirt. A buddy of mine who was in third battalion and graduated a few weeks after me was able to keep his sweatshirt, and his also had his 3000 series platoon number stenciled on it. I don't ever recall seeing yellow sweatshirts except in photos over the years.

The other day I was in a restaurant eating lunch with two co-workers and we were seated at a booth directly across from the bar. Sitting at the bar about three stools apart were two guys chatting which each other. As we walked in initially, the one guy looked at me and eye-balled my yellow Tough Old Marine cover that my daughter got for me for Christmas from Sgt. Grit. He quickly turned away as we passed and sat down almost across from them. The guy he was talking to looked to be about my age (54) and was adorned with biker attire and claiming to be a Viet Nam vet. As we sat there waiting for our meal the two chaps at the bar resumed their conversation which amounted to each of them trying to out-bullsh-t the other one. I tried not to listen and I could not hear every word, but the Harley dude told the younger guy who looked to be about 30, something about "zero trajectory at any distance with any weapon and round" and my ears perked up. They easily switched from weapons to helicopter-assault and having experience in that area I tried to train my half-deaf ears more intently on his every word when I heard him say that his unit used to jump out of the "choppers" each holding a 105mm round for extra weight to speed up their decent. I have a fair amount of experience repelling from CH 46 and 53 helos, but I am not jump qualified so I do not know the details, but this sounded so absurd that I turned around and looked at the biker dude. My co-worker quietly told me to ignore them and turn around. Being that we were working, I did just that. The younger guy sitting at the bar made some comment as to how his unit jumped, but shortly after that the Harley guy paid his tab and left. I was agitated to say the least, but they did not claim to be Marines, so I had little to complain about. I stay tuned to all the Stolen Valor sh-t going around, but I just can't help but to be amazed at the amount of people who will sit in a bar or restaurant and bullsh-t about this stuff and think they are not going to be confronted at some point by active duty military or a veteran and risk exposing themselves. I know these goobers are sick individuals and to some degree their stories are amusing, but nonetheless it is still very sad.

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt
'81-'85


Ladies, You Are Bouncing

Sgt Grit,

Besides hearing "Die Devil Hunden" at Belleau; and "Marine you die" on those idyllic Pacific Islands; or fighting off on 10 PRC divisions while taking a winter vacation at The Chosin; or maybe being bait to the NVA and ducking mortars at "oh gee what was the name of that nice place?"; maybe having to duck IED's and remodeling and re-tenanting houses at Fallujah; now you lucky SOB's get to share bunk space at MCRD Diego and that other chigger infested east coast recruit depot (now to be renamed "The Paris Hilton") with... guess what?... Ladies! (not the rubber lady we all came to know and... hate.)

Brings back the good ol' days. I wish I could once again hear Sgt. Merrick on the Grinder say "Settle down ladies... you are bouncing... settle down... up twup trewp forp... settle down... up twup terp forp... "Halt... you ladies are definitely trying to F/U my beloved Marine Corps. Fall in ladies... Rifles at high port! I am now going to run your worthless pu--y's into the asphalt". Sounds timely and to the point.

Maybe we should repaint the yellow footprints at receiving barracks pink and blue; also re-design the EGA insignia to include hearts and flowers just to keep the chief squid happy and make new recruits feel just... all warm and fuzzy... and it's time get rid of that awful Marine Corps Green; how gauche'... Force Recon will love it. Ladies in the bush. Such a deal. Come to think of it, C-Rats of ham and M/F's may take on real meaning. Gee, I wonder if SecNav will co-ed the Navy Seals too?

Anyhow to be totally PC, those at SecNav feel that the USMC needs to be part of the "Be all you can be Army"... dontcha' know? After all, we all should know our limits.

Bob Galloway
Sgt USMC 1956-59


Shooting C-Rat Crackers

Home in volcanic crater in Hawaii

I was with Comm. Support Company stationed at Kaneohe in 1972. One training operation had us at the Army Training Center on the Big Island, Hawaii. I think it was called Pokaloa. We were there for over 30 days working a TSC 15 van with Trac 75 radios for the 1st Marine Brigades communications. The site was inside a small volcanic crater. I remember they issued us long underwear before we left and we were all wondering what for. None of us knew it snowed on the Big Island and that the temperature would be in the 40s which may not seem cold but when you are used to 85 degree weather is most definitely is.

Our illustrious Butter Bar Lt. did not bring an insulated sleeping bag like the rest of us were issued because he thought he would be staying in the non-existent BOQ. They brought cots but someone forgot to pack tents. We jerry-rigged the tarps used to cover the gear and our ponchos in to a tent and managed to get by.

We had no way to get to the mess hall so they dropped in cases of C-rats every few days. With little to do in the evening we would have a camp fire and play chicken. The unused cans of C-rats got thrown into the fire and when heated enough they would explode showering anyone nearby with hot cheese, Ham and MFkrs, and whatever. The game was to see who could stay the longest and not chicken out before the cans exploded.

After a couple of weeks they got a small truck up the trail to where we were living. Not sure the nomenclature but it was larger than a jeep but smaller than a Deuce and a Half, kind of like a pickup. They only let one Marine ride back to go to the small base PX. I gave him $10 and told him to get whatever food he could get. When he returned I received a can of Spaghettios, a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn, and a jar of pickled pigs feet. We all ate the popcorn and then cooked the speghettios in the pan. I do not believe any of us ate the pigs feet and I know I have never ate them since.

My only other memory was about a fight and a BB gun. Someone brought a BB Pistol that looked like a .45 pistol. We began by shooting C-rat crackers which would not break when hit and often the bb would not penetrate the cracker. Finally we had a few BBs left and we would shoot each other (we were dumb but not dumb enough to shoot each other in the head). Once shot you would try to find the BB you were shot with and then it was your turn to shoot someone else. I got shot but the guy with the pistol would not give me the pistol so I could shoot him back. (yeah none of us were very smart in those days) It turned into a fight. We ended up rolling down a hill and the other guy was on top. He hit me on top of my head so hard I darn near blacked out. After one more hit in the head I conceded the fight. Friends again. I was bleeding from the head like a stuck pig so they drove me down the training center sickbay.

I ended up with 6 stiches on top of my head, after that it turned in to a Three Stooges bit. When rolling down the hill I ran a small stick thought the hard part of my ear just about the ear lobe. Every time the two Corpsmen tried to pulled it out I came up from the table and threatened them with great bodily harm due to the pain. It was embedded like a fish hook. Larry and Moe decided that they would use a scalpel to cut a much longer hole in Curly's ear. Being a nitwit like them it sounded like a great idea. They were just about to do so when the Navy Doctor came in and asked them what the h-ll they were doing. After giving them holy h-ll, he shot my ear up with Novocain and just pulled it out.

They finally decided to move us back to the main part of the base so we set up our makeshift tent on the edge of the runway. We had running water in the tent. When it rained the water would flow through the tent. The Regimental Surgeon finally decided our tent was not healthy and after 30 plus days they moved us to a Quonset hut.

I am not sure how long we were there but I go paid right before we came over, once when we were there, and once right before we left so it was over 40 days. We received a 96 hour pass when we got back and I remember leaving the base with over $400 and coming back 4 days later with only 18 cents. I had one heck of a time in Honolulu but that's another story.

Jim Grimes


Knew They Were Walking Dead

'House mice', 'house mouses', etc. were extant for many years, despite their official prohibition (fell under the offense of 'personal servitude')...

Cleaning the duty hut, quarterdeck, office, etc. could be considered a proper utilization of a recruit's labors... shining shoes (if they still get 'polished' in these days of Corfam...?) IMHO, would constitute 'personal servitude'... linen change on the Duty rack... eh?... borderline. Enquiring minds want to know... have they existed at either MCRD in recent years? Respondents may maintain anonymity... personal experience is now not quite fifty years old. The same question might be asked about 'Smedley'....mess attendant who was responsible for the Drill Instructor area in the mess hall...

Had a 7th week inspection from the Series Officer... a Mustang Lieutenant, who asked every Private in the first rank "Who are the house mice in this platoon?"... every last one of the fourteen in that rank feigned ignorance of the term... "Sir!... the Private does not understand the question, sir"... this included the two feather merchants at the end of the rank, who, by the way, just happened to be the House Mice...

When the inspection was complete, and ranks had been closed, the Lieutenant made his observation/comments to the Platoon Commander (me) about the strengths and weaknesses he had observed. That done, in parting, he said "Oh, by the way... I've got a couple of footlockers in my vehicle that need to go into the company office... let me have the house mice out here..." They knew they were walking dead when they reflexively came to attention and started to step forward... Platoon 365, MCRD SD... outposted to 2nd ITR on the day of President Kennedy's assasination. (the other DI's were Sgt Swancut and Corporal James)... We did not hear the news until the cattle cars dropped us off behind the L Company office...

Had nearly forgotten this one... readers may recall from grade school, or have kids/grandkids who did a similar project with a piece of coal and laundry blueing (for you non-domestic boots in life, 'blueing' was some liquid chemical stuff in a bottle that was added to laundry to make 'whites whiter')... anyway, this project involved growing mineral crystals from the coal and the blueing. If you happen to add a heat tab (Trioxane) to a can of Sterno, and extinguish it by putting the sterno can lid on tightly... the next time you take the lid off, you may find the prettiest spikey crystals grown in the can... heat tabs are sometimes advertised for sale in gun/ammo/prepper magazines...

Heating with chunks of C-4 is OK... IF... (big IF) you don't step on top of an otherwise un-ventilated can with a boot... confining the process increases the rate of conflagration... and the only basic difference between a fire and an explosion... is the rate of conflagration... Not going to be a big BOOM (depending on how much C-4 you're using), but it will definitely get your attention...

The coal recipe may be printed on the bottle... or just Google it... calls for some salt, some ammonia... charcoal can be used ILO coal. The brand I recall is Mrs. Stewarts... there are others...

Marines being Marines, some of you will have to try this... for your continued safety, be sure to check with your local domestic goddess before messing up the cooking space... (who do you think first came up with "Do Not try this at home"... Schmuckatelli?) Report results...

DDick


Taps

On the heels of reporting last week, the death of a recruit from Platoon 145, MCRD San Diego, 1962, I just learned last night that on 26 November 2015, due to a traffic accident, Michael V Vann of Platoon 145 is no longer with us. Mike lived in North Dakota and spent his winters with his daughter in Florida. Mike was in Viet Nam (I believe) 1965-1966 with 1st Recon. He was 72 years old. Rest in peace Marine.

Semper Fi,
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.

Jerry D.


Reunions

PLT. 1013, grad date July 11th, 1966. Anyone on here there at that time? I will be going there in July to watch a graduation God willing.

Garry Summers


Short Rounds

"Sir, the smoking formation for platoon__, Highly Motivated, Truly Dedicated, D-mn near Graduated, Azs Kicking, United States Marine Corps recruits is now Formed! Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that Cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health. We don't give a F—k, so is Combat!"

Rusty H.


Talked to a guy yesterday (Wednesday) who went in, in 1969 and he said their sweatshirts were gray.

Once a Corporal. Forever a Marine.

Jerry D.


Under the TAPS section there is a mention about Jim, I belong to the same fishing club as Jim, which is where I met him and found that he was in 2/9, the same time I was in 1/9. We caught a lot of fish together and tole a lot of stories.

Thank the person that made the announcement.

Mike Vincent
HQ, Comp, Comm Platoon
1/9 1965-1966 RVN


Sgt. Grit,

In your 21 Jan. 2016 Newsletter, Jerry D. was trying to nail down the era of the yellow sweatshirt. I arrived at MCRD San Diego in August 1967, and was issued a yellow sweatshirt.

Semper Fi


I joined the Corps in 1960 and we were issued the yellow sweat shirt. I believe they started to issue them at the start of 1960, as folks who had joined in 1959 had a red sweat shirt. This was in MCRD S'Diego. I became a DI in 1963 and they were still issuing the yellow sweat shirt. After a trip to Vietnam, I became a DI once again in 1967, they were still issued the yellow sweat shirt until I left in March of 1970 for another trip to Vietnam. I have no idea what Parris Island was issuing.

J L Stelling


Quotes

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997


"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1774


"Man must have the right of choice, even to choose wrong, if he shall ever learn to choose right."
--Josiah C. Wedgwood


"[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
--Benjamin Rush, 1788


"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing freeness of speech."
--Benjamin Franklin


"It's not the stars or bars you have, not what you wear on your sleeve or shoulder, that determines what you are. It's what you wear on you collar - The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor - that puts you in the brotherhood of the Marines."
--Brigadier General Carl Mundy, USMC


"The smoking lamp is lit, for one cigarette, and one cigarette only... and I'll smoke it."

"EWE, EWE, You demented pervert - Are you calling me a female sheep?"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 28 JAN 2016
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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 28 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• C-Rats In Vietnam Confirmed
• I Was In Artillery, I Drove A Tank
• Ladies, You Are Bouncing

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Marine Pfc. Douglas Lightheart (right) cradles his .30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun in his lap, while he and Marine Pfc. Gerald Thursby Sr. take a cigarette break, during mopping up operations on Peleliu on 14th September 1944.

(Colorized by Paul Reynolds. Historic Military Photo Colourisations)


William Manchester

Sgt. Grit,

The quotes you use at the end of your newsletters are a delight. In case you haven't seen it, here's one attributed to Marine veteran/author William Manchester (from his book "Goodbye Darkness"; a memoir which includes his experiences and wounds during the battle for Okinawa) "Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. (Emphasis added). And when you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity." James Brady asks in the title of his book "Why Marines Fight?" This seems about as good a reason as could be articulated. Best regards and keep up the good work.

Bob West, Cpl., '58-'64


A Badger During Menopause

I married a WM and let me tell you... Someone said something about me wearing a USMC t-shirt at a function at our clubhouse one time beyond my hearing (hey, I was a rifle and pistol coach for two years and with the cannon-cockers for three months, alright?) so my hearing isn't too good anymore. Next thing I know, my WM was right up in his face ripping him a new one! D-mned if she wasn't going to coldcock him... Put him right down. Mean as a Badger during menopause. Hey, I live with this woman and I don't mess with her!

However, nobody is as loyal as a Marine Wife. Only a Marine Husband can call his wife a BAM, providing she has a sense of humor and he's willing to buy her dinner. That doesn't mean he's going to get lucky that night tho'...

Cpl. George M Engel
1954-1957, Plt 470, P.I. Depot Honor Platoon


C-Rats In Vietnam Confirmed

Church Service, Fire Support Base Razor, 1969

Moment of Peace: Infantrymen of the 9th Marines and artillerymen of the 12th Marines take time to attend church services at Fire Support Base Razor. The Marines are engaged in a search and clear operation (official USMC photo by Private First Class C. E. Sickler).

I found this photo online and it is part of the Marine Corps Archives. If I'm not blind, those are C-ration boxes and ammo crates that the Chaplain is using for a make shift pulpit/alter and they are also being used as the church pews.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07
Sgt Grit Staff


Japanese Americans

I didn't know 1958 was the Old Corps. Since I was in 1959-1968, I guess I am an Old Timer per C. Felton's notes. Plt 142, MCRD San Diego. Was on Okinawa 1959-1960. Funniest thing happened while there, when three of us Japanese Americans (1) USMC, (1) US Army, and (1) USAF went to the NCO club at Camp Schwab. There was fighting among the Battalions as usual. We just looked out the NCO club and watched these Marines beating each other up. Later, we walked out to the NCO club toward the main gate to leave. The Marines fighting each other looked at us in confusion, wondering what these 3 orientals were doing walking toward the gate. Two Marines came over to us trying to figure us out. We told them we were just friends and to leave us to ourselves. One Marine tried start an argument with us, to which I told him to back off. The next morning during the Battalion muster, the Marines that were fighting each other and wondering what 3 orientals were doing at the NCO club, in civilian clothes, started looking at me. That's when they all realized that I was a Sergeant, they being privates and PFC's. Talk about weird look from them. I started laughing at them and said, "Next time, know who you are trying to start an argument with." We all started laughing and they said "Yes Sergeant." Talk about clearing a bar out, I walked into the different bars on Okinawa and Japan, in civilian clothes, and the bar patrons and owners scattered. All I heard was "CID". These were the days.

Ted Shimono


I Was In Artillery, I Drove A Tank

STOLEN VALOR?

Last summer I was sitting in the waiting room of my local VA Clinic awaiting my scheduled appointment when a middle aged lady sat down beside me. I didn't notice if she came alone or was with someone. I was wearing my usual red 3rd MARINE DIVISION – VIETNAM VETERAN cap. After a few minutes she turned to me and said "I was in the Marines". I politely said "that's good, Semper Fi", or something like that. A few minutes later she turned to me again and said "I was in Vietnam too". I replied "you were?" She said, "yes, I was in artillery, I drove a tank". I'll leave it to the readers to decide. As for me, I was just thankful that, at that point, my Primary Care Provider opened the door and called me back.

Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines


Had Other Concerns

Of all the letters about C-rations, I haven't seen any 'bout the rations prior to the mid/late 1950's. There are still some of us that ate C-rations in Korea when there was no time or way to heat them. Try sausage patties with the white grease frozen. I never looked at the dates on the boxes, had other concerns.

Bob
1952-1981


WESTPAC But Not Vietnam

I served in the USMC and got my orders to WESTPAC right out of boot and ITR. I was assigned to 3rd Mar Air Wing. The problem I got is that the time I spent in the USMC, which none of it was spent in Viet Nam over the waters in support. Which means I am not a Vietnam veteran. For 45 years I have gotten the "cold shoulder" by those that wore the Vietnam Campaign or Vietnam Service ribbons. I really got a ration of sh-t from guys that just served off shore. As if my time was sh-t. When I was in the service I saw thousands of Marines with Vietnam support. I quit going to the Vietnam reunions because I was not part of the war just part of the land of the big PX. These Marines were no more than a part of the support. And if you ask them about it they get all bent out of shape. I keep getting asked why I did not serve and honestly I am so embarrassed that it hurts when I think of the Marines that did go to Vietnam and never came home. I volunteered for 1 year in Vietnam. Then in the reserve during Desert Storm, but was never activated. I know d-mn well that all the Marines I saw wearing the VCM and VSM never served a day overseas. I feel ashamed that I did not go to Vietnam. My dad said he was going to sh-t and p-ss on my grave when I came home in a box. I was even turned down by the Marines because I had no place to go. I can belong to the Vietnam Veterans of America, but cannot wear the ribbon because I did not serve off shore or in Country.

All I know is that I would NEVER wear an award not due to me. I came home with the National Defense Service Medal. It was especially embarrassing when a Marine came home forever. I never felt part of the war even though I enlisted for 4 years and again in the reserve. I was scared to death. Finally I learned to go through the various stages and accepted it. I know there it nothing you can do. But I was not part of the Vietnam War and not part of the Vietnam Campaign. As one veteran put it, if you wanted to go bad enough, you could have found a way to go. So I am embarrassed and I catch h-ll from the in-country veterans and ashamed by civilians who expected me to have fought. So, I don't even feel like, of those whome served, I am nothing, I guess I am a fool too because I did not have to go and was even turned down. I know there has to be thousands who wear the ribbons that are not entitled to them. I was 18 and volunteered and I feel like sh-t for getting ready for the prom and not going. I am not a Vietnam Veteran, I guess I am and never will be nothing. I guess my dad was right, I made the biggest mistake my life. I did get a gift from the Corps, I'm 100% PTSD. But that is another story and another time. That, lasted all four years.

Thomas Cannon


Captain Hiram Walker and/or Hockaday Walker

When I was going thru ITR training in Camp Lejeune in 1961, the Force Recon barracks were just down the street from mine. As they would not give us liberty, several friends and I would run to break the boredom. One day a Marine came running up to us and started talking about Force Recon and how impressed he was that we were running and did we want to join Force Recon. He invited us to his "hootch" as he called it. A room with two beds, two lockers, and two chairs, a head, and down each wall a set of shelves with about ten pairs of spit-shined boots on each side of the room. He introduced himself as Capt. Walker, commander of the Force Recon company. We found out from the Recons guys:

One, he did not own civilian clothes.
Two, he was invited to an Officers party but opted to go to a Recon beer bust.
Three, that the Col. was so p-ssed for him going to the beer bust and missing the Officers party that he ordered him to buy a set of civilian clothes for the next party.
Four, he owned about six or seven sets of Dress Blues besides the same number of greens and no he never wore civilian clothes.

I was able to look inside of his car, a rather old Buick that was indeed upholstered with Camo. He has studied in Germany and had taken classes on the Organ. Sundays he would collect people from the barracks to go to church services and sing so that he could play the organ. His room mate was a Mustang Captain not quite so eccentric, but different never the less.

Jon Crawford
Cpl. 1961 to 1966


8 Weeks To Do This

YELLOW BOOT CAMP SWEATSHIRT

I entered recruit training at Parris Island January 13, 1966 and was assigned to 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Platoon 215.

Regarding our basic issue. I have found out over the years in conversations with other Marines going through boot camp during that time period that some other items normally issued during basic training were not issued during that time period.

We were not issued the yellow boot camp sweatshirts mentioned in the previous newsletter. After 50 years, I don't recall if we were even issued a sweatshirt of any kind. Also, there was a "notebook" filled with facts about the Marine Corps and training, that would be carried in a pocket of our utilities, that the recruits were required to read while waiting in formation for chow, after chow, etc. Also, we were not issued a Marine Corps Handbook. These are only items that I recall not being issued and I'm sure there may have been more.

I do know that during that time period that the United States was deeply and rapidly getting involved in Vietnam. I have read that 1966 was a banner year for getting troops ready for service in Vietnam. Recruit training was cut from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. To do this, we were told that competition between platoons in a company normally held on Saturdays was replaced by training and various classes. Also, Sunday afternoons were devoted to close order drill as I recall. We ran everywhere we went to keep on schedule. We did march short distances to the chow hall or classes held near the barracks. Our drill instructors told us that the Marine Corps had packed 12 weeks of training in the 8 weeks we were there and that we didn't miss any actual training.

Also, during that time, the Marine Corps was utilizing the draft along with a 2 year active duty reserve program that greatly increased the number of recruits that had to be trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depots.

Taking all in consideration, it is my opinion that the Marine Corps was flooded with so many recruits that there were certain items that just could not be acquired fast enough to meet the demand. It would have been nice to have had the extra issue items, but the way I see it, those items weren't what made Marines out of us. We received the basic equipment and the Drill Instructors to make Marines out of us and prepare us for what was ahead. For most of us it was WESTPAC, namely Vietnam and I thank my D.I's for preparing me for it.

Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines
Vietnam 1966/1967


Even Called Me Doc

Between Korea and Viet Nam I was in college and in the Air Force ROTC. My draft number came up and I couldn't get a deferment. After passing my physical at Ft. Omaha, an Army installation, I thought I was in the Army, but was told the Navy was short on enlistment, so I was put in the Navy. During boot camp I was asked what I wanted to do. Told them I want to go to some school. I was told that the only school open to draftees was Hospital Corps School and since I was a part-time EMT during college I was sent to the Hospital Corps School, San Diego and was transferred to the Fleet Marines. I went thru Marine orientation and indoctrination at Camp Pendleton and then was stationed at MCAS El Toro for the duration of my two year.

Hi-lites. I flew in helicopters with flight-line crash crews, went aboard a CV-12 Hornet aircraft carrier with the Marine Corps reserve pilots, and the biggie... early Easter Sunday morning 1957 a Marine's wife, ready to deliver a baby, was brought in to the El Toro dispensary to be transferred to Corona Naval Hospital. As I passed by the emergency room door, she screamed, "someone help me!". I jerked open the door, she was on the table with legs and feet in the stirrups. Since the baby's head was emerging, I went ahead and delivered the baby boy. By that time a doctor showed up, and told me to clamp and cut the cord so I could get full credit for the delivery. Not a regular Marine Corps Corpsman activity.

I wore the Air Force and Navy blue... but with out a doubt the Marine green was best. Thanks to you Marines, you treated me and made me feel like one of you. You even called me Doc.

Thanks again.

Semper Fi
HM2 1955-1957
Richard D. Yost


C-Rats and MRE's

Over the last couple of months the subject of C-Rations has received a lot of notoriety over their existence, when they were produced, and the date when they were consumed. The first time I had the privilege of chowing down on C-Rations was in 1962, when I was with the First Battalion, Fifth Marines. The quality and quantity would not change up to my tour in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. But, like the movie in Heart Break Ridge starring Clint Eastwood, we grunts learned to adapt and improvise our quality of life in the field.

The first few months we would mix certain rations together like; ham and lima beans with cheese; fruit cocktail with pound cake; cracker sandwiches with ham slices or beef slices with cheese, and the imagination of the individual Marine. Tabasco sauce and instant white rice also became a basic staple for all meals which could be mixed together and improve the meals.

In February 1966, my company participated in Operation Taut Bow when we went on a patrol with Third Recon Battalion. Recon was issued a meal called "Long Range Rations," which were dehydrated meals and required a lot of water to prepare them. Even though they were light and consumed less space, I missed the basic commodities of cookies, coco powder, peanut butter, and jam the C-Rations had. But changes for field rations were in the fix to replace the "C-Rations."

During July 1966, the Second Marine Division tested a new meal in Vera Cruz, Mexico called the "M" pack. Which consisted of six menus: frankfurter; (2) kinds of chicken loaf; beef steak; beef slices with BBQ sauce; and beef stew. Unlike the C-Rations which came in a can, the "M" Pack came in a foil package to prevent spoilage. Eventually resulting in the MRE's, Meal Ready to Eat that are used today. Reference: "M" Pack, Leather Neck, July 1966, p 35.

The best rations I received was in Australia when we participated in a joint exercise with the Aussies in 1976. Took some adjustment to work through the preparations, but it was kind of like a cross between C-Rats and MRE's. But as in all meals, adequate water supply is needed in both the MRE's and Australian rations. Our beloved C-Rats only needed to be opened, heated in some cases, and chowed down: Water was needed for coco, and coffee to help wash it down.

I have ordered C-Rats through ebay, and use them for display when selling my book, also to keep on hand to bring back fond memories of life in the field.

HERB BREWER


MOS 3041

Cpl Smith is right. Except I always thought I was a real Marine. MOS 3041, nuff said. I didn't want that MOS, but you can't fight HMC. Ninety percent of my platoon went to Nam in '69, while I went to LeJeune to learn how to shuffle papers without getting a paper cut.

Had my fair share of C-RAT's and MRE's. Personal preference.... C-RAT's! That's all I have to say about that! Now on to you Sgt. Grit! How about see more stuff for the supply guys in your catalog? What, without us the bullet's don't fly and the beans don't flow! OORAH!

John Miller
SSGT.
'68-'70, '84-'92
Retired

Note: We have several options to customize shirts. Supply, Mortarmen, Admin, Grunt, etc... Just call in or see the web.

Sgt Grit


C-Rats From The Korean War

I proudly served in the Marines in the MOS field 3522 (Mechanic) for 4 years from 1977 to 1981. I was in 1st, 2nd and 3rd FSSG. It was the best time of my life and I'll never forget it, and if I had my way I would make it a national requirement for every student right out of High school.

Anyway everytime we were in the field we ate C-rats from the Korean War. They weren't too bad if you knew how to cook them up. Add a little hot sauce and cheese to the spaghetti and you were good to go.

I'll never forget one of the several times we were in the field at Fort Bragg in support for the artillery units to practice long range artillery. As I was walking from battalion I notice stacks and stacks of C-rats cases unattended in this clearing. The routine was every chow time you went to the C-rats tent and waited in line for a single meal box which was never enough so we were always hungry. So, I made a short detour and picked up a case and took it back to the mechanics tent. The mechanics went crazy. So that night we went on a night mision for more and the eight of us grabbed 2 Cases each. Man did we pig out all night. A side note is the next night it was ringed with barbed wire, flood lights, and a guard. Ahhh... the good times and brotherhood. I miss it. Anyway to answer the C-rats mystery. We ate Korean War C-rats until 1981.

Corporal Dickens
1977 to 1981
MTM Company
1st, 2nd and 3rd FSSG


I Sh-t You Not

Sgt. Grit,

These are true stories "I sh-t you not", we had not gotten re-supplied for a few days due to having firefights with the VC/NVA. The choppers couldn't find a safe place to land and using the cargo nets was out - for reasons no one felt I needed to know. This situation didn't mean we could just walk away from our A.O. and getting hungry is "mind over matter" (my Sr. Drill Instructor's saying). Anyways, the company came to where we wanted to be and everyone was in the process of setting positions for the night. The third squad leader, Red, called his people together and got a can of sardines from his pack (a gift from home) and shared them with the squad. The point to this story - I had never had a sardine before but, I'm here to tell ya, I ate my share that day - mind over matter. We were still hungry but a little less so.

The company (Golf 2/5) had been set in the same area for several days (not a good idea). The re-supply choppers was bring in water and C-Rats for the next couple days. The first chopper came in and three other guys and myself were able to off load the big cage like thing. Those of us who have had the experience of being in the open when one of those things land know how much sh-t they can kick-up and how fast they expect you to get those things off. Being a Marine, we knew how to deal with this problem; we got a sheet of plastic from the first chopper in order to use it to protect ourselves. The second chopper came in and as we moved toward it they took off. Well! We used words that would break our mother's hearts. As we stood there - in the open - with a sheet of plastic in front of us - a V.C. sniper was getting closer to us. We hear the shot and everyone calling out to us just as the second shot went too high over our heads. "Flash" (I think that's his name) would have been proud of us that day. We lived to chase after him the next day. By the way, this is why you never stay too long in one area.

Golf Co. 2/5 out of An Hoa took turns doing road security and check for box mines up to Da Nang; then ride the trucks back to wherever our Platoon C.P. was located along the road. I'm not sure why it took us so long to realize what kind of stuff would be shipped to our rear area. However, once we found the can meat (water required), the sodas, ice cream and some other goodies there was no stopping us from taking what we thought was our share; except for the ice cream which we could not help because they were in 5 lb. boxes. Use your minds eye and picture this - the people who were assigned to protect the supplies were throwing boxes off the trucks as we rode by one of our O.P.s along the road.

MMmm! C-Rations! I like to take the can of chicken noodle soup pour the broth out - then take the meatballs I got from the beans and meatballs, then I would put ketchup in to all of this - I'm not a cook! After being in the brush for a few months, I started eating the fruit and some of the other stuff and throwing away the main cans of meat or using them to get information about the VC/NVA in the area. Besides, some of those meals were too heavy to carry - I didn't need the extra weight. The other Grunts know what I'm talking about. By the way, I do recall opening up boxes of C-Rations from the 40's and 50's. I drank a whole can of Pineapple juice - I was still sitting there (in the brush) when the order came to move out. I hate pineapple to this day.

My last short story, a couple of us would save up our packs of sugar, dry cream, water, and cocoa. On Sunday evenings, if it was possible, we would pool everything and share a cup of cocoa together. This would help us to remember what day of the week it was. Other Grunts will tell you that it was very easy to lose track of what day it was and/or what month it was. Everything seemed to flow together when you're in the brush for awhile. And this would help.

Semper Fi - until I die
Robert Bliss
MOS 0341/0311 (of course)


These Goobers Are Sick

Sgt. Grit,

Just wanted to weigh in on the boot camp sweatshirt post. I went to Parris Island in July of 1981 and graduated in October, so we did not wear sweats all that much, but when we did, we took them from a pile dumped on the squad-bay floor and they were gray and stenciled in black with our platoon number 2063, but we always had to turn them back in. We were definitely not issued a sweatshirt. A buddy of mine who was in third battalion and graduated a few weeks after me was able to keep his sweatshirt, and his also had his 3000 series platoon number stenciled on it. I don't ever recall seeing yellow sweatshirts except in photos over the years.

The other day I was in a restaurant eating lunch with two co-workers and we were seated at a booth directly across from the bar. Sitting at the bar about three stools apart were two guys chatting which each other. As we walked in initially, the one guy looked at me and eye-balled my yellow Tough Old Marine cover that my daughter got for me for Christmas from Sgt. Grit. He quickly turned away as we passed and sat down almost across from them. The guy he was talking to looked to be about my age (54) and was adorned with biker attire and claiming to be a Viet Nam vet. As we sat there waiting for our meal the two chaps at the bar resumed their conversation which amounted to each of them trying to out-bullsh-t the other one. I tried not to listen and I could not hear every word, but the Harley dude told the younger guy who looked to be about 30, something about "zero trajectory at any distance with any weapon and round" and my ears perked up. They easily switched from weapons to helicopter-assault and having experience in that area I tried to train my half-deaf ears more intently on his every word when I heard him say that his unit used to jump out of the "choppers" each holding a 105mm round for extra weight to speed up their decent. I have a fair amount of experience repelling from CH 46 and 53 helos, but I am not jump qualified so I do not know the details, but this sounded so absurd that I turned around and looked at the biker dude. My co-worker quietly told me to ignore them and turn around. Being that we were working, I did just that. The younger guy sitting at the bar made some comment as to how his unit jumped, but shortly after that the Harley guy paid his tab and left. I was agitated to say the least, but they did not claim to be Marines, so I had little to complain about. I stay tuned to all the Stolen Valor sh-t going around, but I just can't help but to be amazed at the amount of people who will sit in a bar or restaurant and bullsh-t about this stuff and think they are not going to be confronted at some point by active duty military or a veteran and risk exposing themselves. I know these goobers are sick individuals and to some degree their stories are amusing, but nonetheless it is still very sad.

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt
'81-'85


Ladies, You Are Bouncing

Sgt Grit,

Besides hearing "Die Devil Hunden" at Belleau; and "Marine you die" on those idyllic Pacific Islands; or fighting off on 10 PRC divisions while taking a winter vacation at The Chosin; or maybe being bait to the NVA and ducking mortars at "oh gee what was the name of that nice place?"; maybe having to duck IED's and remodeling and re-tenanting houses at Fallujah; now you lucky SOB's get to share bunk space at MCRD Diego and that other chigger infested east coast recruit depot (now to be renamed "The Paris Hilton") with... guess what?... Ladies! (not the rubber lady we all came to know and... hate.)

Brings back the good ol' days. I wish I could once again hear Sgt. Merrick on the Grinder say "Settle down ladies... you are bouncing... settle down... up twup trewp forp... settle down... up twup terp forp... "Halt... you ladies are definitely trying to F/U my beloved Marine Corps. Fall in ladies... Rifles at high port! I am now going to run your worthless pu--y's into the asphalt". Sounds timely and to the point.

Maybe we should repaint the yellow footprints at receiving barracks pink and blue; also re-design the EGA insignia to include hearts and flowers just to keep the chief squid happy and make new recruits feel just... all warm and fuzzy... and it's time get rid of that awful Marine Corps Green; how gauche'... Force Recon will love it. Ladies in the bush. Such a deal. Come to think of it, C-Rats of ham and M/F's may take on real meaning. Gee, I wonder if SecNav will co-ed the Navy Seals too?

Anyhow to be totally PC, those at SecNav feel that the USMC needs to be part of the "Be all you can be Army"... dontcha' know? After all, we all should know our limits.

Bob Galloway
Sgt USMC 1956-59


Shooting C-Rat Crackers

I was with Comm. Support Company stationed at Kaneohe in 1972. One training operation had us at the Army Training Center on the Big Island, Hawaii. I think it was called Pokaloa. We were there for over 30 days working a TSC 15 van with Trac 75 radios for the 1st Marine Brigades communications. The site was inside a small volcanic crater. I remember they issued us long underwear before we left and we were all wondering what for. None of us knew it snowed on the Big Island and that the temperature would be in the 40s which may not seem cold but when you are used to 85 degree weather is most definitely is.

Our illustrious Butter Bar Lt. did not bring an insulated sleeping bag like the rest of us were issued because he thought he would be staying in the non-existent BOQ. They brought cots but someone forgot to pack tents. We jerry-rigged the tarps used to cover the gear and our ponchos in to a tent and managed to get by.

We had no way to get to the mess hall so they dropped in cases of C-rats every few days. With little to do in the evening we would have a camp fire and play chicken. The unused cans of C-rats got thrown into the fire and when heated enough they would explode showering anyone nearby with hot cheese, Ham and MFkrs, and whatever. The game was to see who could stay the longest and not chicken out before the cans exploded.

After a couple of weeks they got a small truck up the trail to where we were living. Not sure the nomenclature but it was larger than a jeep but smaller than a Deuce and a Half, kind of like a pickup. They only let one Marine ride back to go to the small base PX. I gave him $10 and told him to get whatever food he could get. When he returned I received a can of Spaghettios, a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn, and a jar of pickled pigs feet. We all ate the popcorn and then cooked the speghettios in the pan. I do not believe any of us ate the pigs feet and I know I have never ate them since.

My only other memory was about a fight and a BB gun. Someone brought a BB Pistol that looked like a .45 pistol. We began by shooting C-rat crackers which would not break when hit and often the bb would not penetrate the cracker. Finally we had a few BBs left and we would shoot each other (we were dumb but not dumb enough to shoot each other in the head). Once shot you would try to find the BB you were shot with and then it was your turn to shoot someone else. I got shot but the guy with the pistol would not give me the pistol so I could shoot him back. (yeah none of us were very smart in those days) It turned into a fight. We ended up rolling down a hill and the other guy was on top. He hit me on top of my head so hard I darn near blacked out. After one more hit in the head I conceded the fight. Friends again. I was bleeding from the head like a stuck pig so they drove me down the training center sickbay.

I ended up with 6 stiches on top of my head, after that it turned in to a Three Stooges bit. When rolling down the hill I ran a small stick thought the hard part of my ear just about the ear lobe. Every time the two Corpsmen tried to pulled it out I came up from the table and threatened them with great bodily harm due to the pain. It was embedded like a fish hook. Larry and Moe decided that they would use a scalpel to cut a much longer hole in Curly's ear. Being a nitwit like them it sounded like a great idea. They were just about to do so when the Navy Doctor came in and asked them what the h-ll they were doing. After giving them holy h-ll, he shot my ear up with Novocain and just pulled it out.

They finally decided to move us back to the main part of the base so we set up our makeshift tent on the edge of the runway. We had running water in the tent. When it rained the water would flow through the tent. The Regimental Surgeon finally decided our tent was not healthy and after 30 plus days they moved us to a Quonset hut.

I am not sure how long we were there but I go paid right before we came over, once when we were there, and once right before we left so it was over 40 days. We received a 96 hour pass when we got back and I remember leaving the base with over $400 and coming back 4 days later with only 18 cents. I had one heck of a time in Honolulu but that's another story.

Jim Grimes


Knew They Were Walking Dead

'House mice', 'house mouses', etc. were extant for many years, despite their official prohibition (fell under the offense of 'personal servitude')...

Cleaning the duty hut, quarterdeck, office, etc. could be considered a proper utilization of a recruit's labors... shining shoes (if they still get 'polished' in these days of Corfam...?) IMHO, would constitute 'personal servitude'... linen change on the Duty rack... eh?... borderline. Enquiring minds want to know... have they existed at either MCRD in recent years? Respondents may maintain anonymity... personal experience is now not quite fifty years old. The same question might be asked about 'Smedley'....mess attendant who was responsible for the Drill Instructor area in the mess hall...

Had a 7th week inspection from the Series Officer... a Mustang Lieutenant, who asked every Private in the first rank "Who are the house mice in this platoon?"... every last one of the fourteen in that rank feigned ignorance of the term... "Sir!... the Private does not understand the question, sir"... this included the two feather merchants at the end of the rank, who, by the way, just happened to be the House Mice...

When the inspection was complete, and ranks had been closed, the Lieutenant made his observation/comments to the Platoon Commander (me) about the strengths and weaknesses he had observed. That done, in parting, he said "Oh, by the way... I've got a couple of footlockers in my vehicle that need to go into the company office... let me have the house mice out here..." They knew they were walking dead when they reflexively came to attention and started to step forward... Platoon 365, MCRD SD... outposted to 2nd ITR on the day of President Kennedy's assasination. (the other DI's were Sgt Swancut and Corporal James)... We did not hear the news until the cattle cars dropped us off behind the L Company office...

Had nearly forgotten this one... readers may recall from grade school, or have kids/grandkids who did a similar project with a piece of coal and laundry blueing (for you non-domestic boots in life, 'blueing' was some liquid chemical stuff in a bottle that was added to laundry to make 'whites whiter')... anyway, this project involved growing mineral crystals from the coal and the blueing. If you happen to add a heat tab (Trioxane) to a can of Sterno, and extinguish it by putting the sterno can lid on tightly... the next time you take the lid off, you may find the prettiest spikey crystals grown in the can... heat tabs are sometimes advertised for sale in gun/ammo/prepper magazines...

Heating with chunks of C-4 is OK... IF... (big IF) you don't step on top of an otherwise un-ventilated can with a boot... confining the process increases the rate of conflagration... and the only basic difference between a fire and an explosion... is the rate of conflagration... Not going to be a big BOOM (depending on how much C-4 you're using), but it will definitely get your attention...

The coal recipe may be printed on the bottle... or just Google it... calls for some salt, some ammonia... charcoal can be used ILO coal. The brand I recall is Mrs. Stewarts... there are others...

Marines being Marines, some of you will have to try this... for your continued safety, be sure to check with your local domestic goddess before messing up the cooking space... (who do you think first came up with "Do Not try this at home"... Schmuckatelli?) Report results...

DDick


Taps

On the heels of reporting last week, the death of a recruit from Platoon 145, MCRD San Diego, 1962, I just learned last night that on 26 November 2015, due to a traffic accident, Michael V Vann of Platoon 145 is no longer with us. Mike lived in North Dakota and spent his winters with his daughter in Florida. Mike was in Viet Nam (I believe) 1965-1966 with 1st Recon. He was 72 years old. Rest in peace Marine.

Semper Fi,
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.

Jerry D.


Reunions

PLT. 1013, grad date July 11th, 1966. Anyone on here there at that time? I will be going there in July to watch a graduation God willing.

Garry Summers


Short Rounds

"Sir, the smoking formation for platoon__, Highly Motivated, Truly Dedicated, D-mn near Graduated, Azs Kicking, United States Marine Corps recruits is now Formed! Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that Cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health. We don't give a F—k, so is Combat!"

Rusty H.


Talked to a guy yesterday (Wednesday) who went in, in 1969 and he said their sweatshirts were gray.

Once a Corporal. Forever a Marine.

Jerry D.


Under the TAPS section there is a mention about Jim, I belong to the same fishing club as Jim, which is where I met him and found that he was in 2/9, the same time I was in 1/9. We caught a lot of fish together and tole a lot of stories.

Thank the person that made the announcement.

Mike Vincent
HQ, Comp, Comm Platoon
1/9 1965-1966 RVN


Sgt. Grit,

In your 21 Jan. 2016 Newsletter, Jerry D. was trying to nail down the era of the yellow sweatshirt. I arrived at MCRD San Diego in August 1967, and was issued a yellow sweatshirt.

Semper Fi


I joined the Corps in 1960 and we were issued the yellow sweat shirt. I believe they started to issue them at the start of 1960, as folks who had joined in 1959 had a red sweat shirt. This was in MCRD S'Diego. I became a DI in 1963 and they were still issuing the yellow sweat shirt. After a trip to Vietnam, I became a DI once again in 1967, they were still issued the yellow sweat shirt until I left in March of 1970 for another trip to Vietnam. I have no idea what Parris Island was issuing.

J L Stelling


Quotes

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997


"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1774


"Man must have the right of choice, even to choose wrong, if he shall ever learn to choose right."
--Josiah C. Wedgwood


"[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
--Benjamin Rush, 1788


"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing freeness of speech."
--Benjamin Franklin


"It's not the stars or bars you have, not what you wear on your sleeve or shoulder, that determines what you are. It's what you wear on you collar - The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor - that puts you in the brotherhood of the Marines."
--Brigadier General Carl Mundy, USMC


"The smoking lamp is lit, for one cigarette, and one cigarette only... and I'll smoke it."

"EWE, EWE, You demented pervert - Are you calling me a female sheep?"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 21 JAN 2016

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 21 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Grunts, Artillery & Air Wing
• A Distinguished MOS
• Spam And Mash Potatoes

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The strain and fatigue of 23 days on the line is shown by Marines of Combat Team 'C', 2/7th U.S. Marines, 1st Marine Division seen here displaying Japanese battle flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester, 14-15th January 1944.

(Source USMC 71602. Colorized by Doug)

2nd Battalion 7th Marines Cape Gloucester 1944


Grunts, Artillery & Air Wing

This was taken on November 10, 2015 at Gulf Shores Alabama State Park Campground. Myself and another Marine do this each year we are here. The group includes grunts, artillery & air wing. We have some different Marines each year, Korea & Vietnam make up the most of us. I would like to thank you for the items you sent us to give out.

Richard Olesen
Vietnam '67-'68-'69

Korea and Vietnam Veterans celebrate the USMC Birthday


A Distinguished MOS

I suppose the C-rations debate may never subside since anyone who has ever consumed them considers themselves an expert. Well, I am expert.

I was a 3051, General Supply. How does one acquire such a distinguished MOS? Bad luck. Two weeks of OJT (on the job training) at San Onofre after completion of ITR: forklifts, stacking boxes, marking boxes with ink stampers makes one a 3051. Grueling work, I know.

Next stop Viet Nam, Sept. 1966. Assigned to Rations Plt, FLSG-A. First tents by the airport followed by a move to Red Beach. Ah yes, Red Beach! We had warehouses and hooches. Life was good. So why did I hate it? Guilt. Guilt because I wasn't an 0311, a real Marine. Not to mention all the chicken sh-t that took place, and there was lots of it!

But I digress. I was assigned to Rations Platoon. C-rations, B-rations for the mess halls. I managed to escape by volunteering for the LSU (logistics support team) at An Hoa supporting 2-5. But still assigned to Rations. We got them by convoy. We had tents set up for B-rats for the mess hall and stacks upon stacks of C-rats for distribution to the grunts. We also had a reefer bunker by the airstrip for fresh/frozen rats. And we had rats. Just plain rats! that were drawn by the rations. They'd chew right through the cans. Bastards were so big they could barely squeeze through the pallets that served as the floor for our tent.

As to the dated C-rations... did some get old Rations that were pre- and post- Korean War? Probably, at least at first. Do you think DOD would discard dated Rations or give them to the Navy to give to the Marines?

Mark Smith
Cpl, 3051, LSU An Hoa 1967

Note: I think every MOS is distinguished. If you hadn't delivered those delicacies called C-Rats we wouldn't be having these wonderful stories and conversations about them. And we would have been much hungrier then.

Sgt Grit


USMC Enlisted Rank Hitch Cover


Field Training Portion Of Boot Camp

Cpl Thompson on Flight Deck

A Marine wrote that the first time he thinks MRE's were used was around 1983. Close but I think I can get it a bit closer. I can't give an exact date but I know when I was in the "field training" portion of boot camp at MCRD San Diego, we used MRE's. I went into boot camp Oct. 6, 1982 (waited all summer to get my last "free summer" in and besides, didn't turn 18 till the end of August) so I was in the field some time late Nov. of '82. So they were around at least by then, maybe sooner in the year.

Maybe someone else can give us an if not exact date, an earlier account of when they first got them.

Joe Thompson
Crew Chief
CPL 6114
HMLA 269 Gun Runners
1982-1986


The Chesty Puller House

The Chesty Puller House Logo

The Chesty Puller House is a charity dedicated to serving veterans in their times of need - before they resort to suicide as a result of homelessness or destitution - while keeping a spotlight on the legacy of legendary Marine Corps LtGen Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.

Chesty Puller's Saluda, VA, home will serve as the headquarters of The Chesty Puller House. The physical house will be available to both active duty military and veterans to host events such as meetings, reunions, weddings, and retirement ceremonies. The Puller house, as well as the neighboring six-bedroom house, serves as a spiritual beacon to the military, especially Marines worldwide. In this way, we will continue the legacy of Chesty Puller and his wife, Virginia, who opened their home to Marines of all ranks - seating privates and generals at the same table. Proceeds generated through these events will help continue funding the mission of the organization - to never leave a brother or sister behind.

Find out more about The Chesty Puller House


Pin Money For R&R

Sgt Grit,

C-rats - my first encounter with them was when I was around 13 years old in 1962. While my friends and I were walking through a local apple orchard, we found a landfill that the orchard was dumping stuff into. We noticed boxes with what looked like military markings. They were rations marked with 1945, 1946, and 1947. We took some apart and lit a couple of cigs up, then quickly threw them away. Too old and dry to smoke.

Who knew 5 years later I would be eating these same type of rations daily to stay alive. Fast forward to Nov. 1967. Our unit was sent to the fortress of Con Thien. As an 81's FO/RO (2531), I was assigned to a 6-hour radio watch in the underground battalion command bunker when I was not on patrol. I took the mid-watch, 12AM to 6AM. On the comm bench next to me was an 11th Marines E-5 standing radio watch for arty. And he liked to eay! C-rats were all we had for food at this time. After observing me cook up a masterpiece of C-rats, he finally asked where I got my recipes from. I told him that I bought a C-ration cookbook thru the mail. He asked if I would put together a mean for him. I told him for $5 bucks and he would have to supply the C-rats. He agreed, so every few days I would cook him a meal. He loved it and I made some pin money for R&R.

BILL GUNTOR
RVN 5/67 - 6/68
1/1


Vietnam Veteran License Plate Frame


Spam And Mashed Potatoes

I, too, have a story about C-Rations. I was on active duty from 1961 - 1964. My MOS is 2533/0849 (Radio-Telegraph Operator/ Forward Observer for Naval Gun Fire) and was assigned to HQ-3-11 (105mm artillery), 1st MarDiv, Camp Pendleton, CA.

Once, while we we on maneuvers in the desert at 29 Palms, the mess served us Spam and reconstituted mashed potatoes. Not too bad, but that is what we got for over 10-days. Three meals a day for ten plus days -- Spam and mashed potatoes. Then one day the Mess Sergeant came out and apologized because the food truck had not arrived so he had to issue us C-Rations. The Sergeant received a standing ovation with applause and cheers. That was, perhaps, the only time I looked forward to eating C-Rats. Since I left active duty, (4 September 1964), to this day I have not eaten Spam.

As a side note, there was one person in my outfit that loved the Ham and Lima. He was from deep in the bayou of Louisiana so maybe to him the Ham & Lima's were like eating a in 5-Star restaurant. He was happy to trade anything for them.

Semper Fi
Jim Brower, 1977XXX


The Yellow Sweatshirt

Yellow Boot Camp Sweatshirt

While involved in a current project, I got to wondering about the history of the boot camp Yellow Sweatshirt. When did they start issuing it and when did they stop? Was it just issued at MCRD San Diego or was it issued at MCRD Parris Island as well? Why was this iconic marker of raw recruits jerked from the clothing issue? I usually say Google is your friend in these kinds of situations but this time Google let me down. A search revealed that other than sweatshirts for sale, there was one mention. It was a guy that went through boot camp in 1963 blogging about his boot camp experience and he mentioned the shirt.

I recall it being one of the first pieces of clothing issued to us in the summer of 1962 when we formed as Platoon 145 at MCRD San Diego. If memory serves (and sometimes it doesn't these days), it was uniform of the day for at least a week (maybe two) after we were picked up from receiving by our Drill Instructors.

I asked a Cyber friend who joined the Corps in about 1990 or 1991 (he was in Somalia) if it was still being issued then. He said no, at San Diego their sweat shirts were gray with the Marine Corps Emblem on the front. So I called my old neighbor Cousin Roy who enlisted in 1974 and he said they didn't even get a sweatshirt. He said at San Diego they were issued a red t-shirt w/Marine Corps Emblem (he was in 2nd Battalion if that has anything to do with the price of tea in China).

There are others of my acquaintance that came between 1963 and 1974 I guess I could call on but surely the Sgt Grit community can narrow down the end year, plus figure out what year the Yellow Sweatshirt was first issued.

It would have been nice if from the beginning, they had created a position for a Corps Historian to keep track of everything, like uniform changes, regulation changes and traditions among other things. Ah, too much to ask for. I wish I had kept a journal recording details about duty stations, the large chunks of daily life and the individuals I was stationed with and where they were from.

Once a Corporal, Always a Marine.

Jerry D.

Get this sweatshirt today at:

Marine Boot Camp Comfort Fleece Crew

Marine Boot Camp Comfort Fleece Crew


Three Wheeled Mite

The Mighty Mite was a very unique vehicle, it was light weight, quite fast by jeep standards in its day and designed to run on three wheels if needed. In 1964 I was driving our battalion commander, along with two other Marines in a Mighty Mite from Pickle Meadows back to Camp Pendleton. We were the lead vehicle in the battalion convoy. The battalion commander would have me drive to the front of the convoy and fall back to the rear several times, allowing him to make sure that all vehicles were keeping the convoy tight.

The highways around Pickle Meadows have some very steep downgrades, on a particularly steep downgrade we were heading to the front of the convoy, which was spread out for a good distance. We were moving at a good clip, the mighty mite speedometer was pegged, I saw something to my left front shooting across the highway. Our left front axle spindle had broken, the tire and rim, with half of the axle spindle still attached was what I had seen shooting across the highway, leaving the four of us in a three wheeled mite at full speed going down a long and very steep highway. The Mighty Mite, true to its design, remained level, I was able to stop it safely and able to steer it to the side of the highway where one of the wreckers in the convoy took control of it. The Lt Colonel commandeered another Mighty Mite out of the convoy and we were quickly back on our way. The Mighty Mite performed as advertised, the shiny side (actually the olive drab side) stayed up and 4 Marines were left with memories instead of injuries or worse! The mite remains one of my favorite vehicles of my youth.

TC Taulbee L/Cpl of Marines '62 - '65


K-rats And C-Rats

K-rats were originally Army and had Breakfast, Dinner and Supper. They did not have enough calories for combat troops. C-rats were the improved more calories substitutes that were introduced in WWII to replace K-rats.

Some of the Marines have described K-rats. The Original C-rats were first field tested in 1940 and then issued. In 1958 the Meal Combat Individual replaced the C-rats keeping many of the meals. Because they were similar Marines still called them C-rats. I had 1956 C-rats in 1967 at Cherry Point during NCO School.

Cpl Pete Gratton
MASS 2, Dong Ha '68-'69
'65-'69 USMC


Old Corps

Sgt Grit,

I was in the Marines back when it was called the "Old Corps". I have yet to see any stories of the Marines around the years of 1958-1960, that were in platoon 361 or 360, Nov. 1958 - May 1969 and Marines that served in Okinawa 1959-1960. Also Camp LeJeune, 3rd FSR MS$M Battalion, 3rd Marine Division 1960-1962.

Clarence Felton

Note: I can only print what I am sent. Sooooo send me a story about your time, your MOS, your duty station, your whatever.

Sgt Grit


Dragging My Seabag Through The Woods

I entered the Marine Corps 50 years ago this Wednesday, January 13, 1966... it was a Thursday. I left Scranton to Wilkes-Barre by bus and then myself, Hack, Stevens and Volinsky went by bus to Philadelphia, train to South Carolina and finally bus to Parris Island. We arrived Friday night. It was raining heavily and I remember coming across the causeway and onto the base. I saw some recruits on a type of confidence course in the torrential rain and thought to myself, "They must be the recon guys."

I don't remember any yellow footprints, but I remember the bus driver going inside and then coming out with him was a receiving DI who was screaming at us "scuzzy civilian maggots" not "eye f#@$k his area" and get off the bus running. Once inside we lined up each at a type of table and emptied our pockets and ditty bags for examination. The DI found after shave or cologne in one guys belongings and immediately called him a p-ssy because he wanted to smell like one. The DI took the items. On another he found a condom and accused the guy of wanting to f#@k him. One had a picture of a girl and the DI asked "Who is this hog?" The guy said "my girlfriend" and the DI replied, "You won't be needing this, she will be f$#king some squid by the time you get home".

Welcome to PI. We processed all night, took GCT tests, got our issue, haircuts and assembled in a large room. The Sgt Major then spoke to us in a civil voice and noted it would be the last time anyone would speak to us that way for 8 weeks. He told us we would want to quit or give up but to think of someone we knew who had made it through when times got bad. The four screaming DI's showed up to march us as a herd to 3rd battalion. I was dragging my seabag through the woods while Sgt. Devane was kicking it and yelling at me. I thought to myself, "I can't wait to get to the barracks so I can go to sleep." Surprise! sleep would not come until night.

I cannot thank the Marine Corps enough for instilling in me confidence, dedication to duty, honor (always do the right thing even when it hurts) and camaraderie. It has stayed with me my entire life. I recently spoke with a Marine who served in the early 2000's about how it is to live with a Marine. It takes a special woman, because, as I told him "we are not easy to live with," but we don't let you down.

Semper Fi,
J Kanavy, Cpl.


Well Ma'am, If You Speak Both

In 1954, my ship (USS Wisconsin BB64) anchored in the harbor of Brest France. We were there for over 2 weeks so with port and starboard liberty I got to go over several times. We would have been better served if the people in charge had told us about the history of the city and its people in WW2. In the mid 1930s the German navy built a very large submarine base in Brest. From there they did their dirty work in the North Atlantic and basically wherever they wanted to go. (I learned this later from a girl I met in Brest) The Germans intermarried and lived with the French for many years and as the fortunes of war changed the allies bombed them unmercifully... I'm sure if some bombs fell outside the naval base the attitude was "So what?" Unlike today when such things make the front pages.

About 8-10 Marines off the ship were lined up at a very large bar with 6 or so bartenders and many male waiters serving a big big crowd. First hint of a problem was when one of the Marines dragged a barkeep onto the bar and said "I speak French and if you bunch of SOB's don't want big problems, knock off the bad mouthing of the United States and if you breathe one more bad word about U.S. Marines be prepared to lose your F--king teeth." The bar got really, really quiet and then some little old lady walked up and said, "Young man some of us speaks French and English and we do not appreciate your language." Perpetrator replied, "Well ma'am, if you speak both as I do why did you not take offense at what these pukes were saying? I do apologize for my language but not for what I said." She thought for a minute then said, "Apology accepted and you are perfectly right." Please remember this was only 12 or so years after the war. Several of us made it a point of going back to the bar on occasion... barkeeps now spoke broken but understandable English with no hint of animosity. As I said, I would not have known this had I not met a local girl who explained it to me. The younger ones understood it had been war, but I guess the older ones wondered why we just didn't send a note to the Germans to stop their sinking of commercial and military ships. If this makes it to print I want to write one more article at a later date about how we treated the locals in all the countries we visited and how they responded.

Sgt Don Wackerly '53-'56


Rather Fitting

Just received the 4 shirts I ordered (3 are mine and 1 for the wife). I ordered her the "Wife of a Grumpy Old Marine". She thought it was rather fitting, her being prior Navy.

Outstanding shirts and even better service. I ordered them last week and I have them today. Thank you for your prompt service and outstanding merchandise.

Respectfully,
Gary L. COON
"Top C"
SEMPER FI


No Problem With The Wind

Labeling on C-RAT boxes: Meal, Combat, Individual, 1 Each, FSN XXX-XXX-XXX (FSN = Federal Stock Number). I was in the CORPS from 1967-71. I do remember at least once having a C-RAT dated from the 1940's. I also remember when I was in RVN in 1970, at times we would get what we called "Long Rats". They were freeze dried food. The packages of food were about the size of a medium bag of potato chips. Just add water, hot or cold. The ones I remember were made by Albany Freeze Dried Foods, Albany, Oregon (printed on package). Albany is not far from where I grew up. Nice to have something from "home". Regarding the blue colored heat tabs used to heat food/water, I did not like them. The slightest bit of wind would blow them out. Took forever to get something hot. I preferred using a small piece of C-4. Light that stuff on fire and it would burn like h-ll. No problem with wind, and would heat something hot and fast.

Also in RVN, we use to get SP Packs (Supplement Sundries Pack) at times. Among other things, they contained full cartons of cigarettes.

Semper Fi


When The Waitress Came

IHOP Receipt with message

On January 09, 2016, Janet and I had lunch at our local IHOP. When the waitress came I thought she was giving me our check. Instead, she explained that our lunch was already paid for by someone who was having their lunch at their restaurant.

I was wearing my red Marine Corps cap that tells that I was a member of the 2nd Marine Division.

When you download the receipt, down below you'll notice that it says: "Thank you for your service. Semper Fi"

This person said more than most say, thank you for your service, he showed it with his generosity.

It is good to know that there are still people that really care about other people.

Rudy


Integrity And Honesty

Sgt Grit,

Almost a year ago, I ordered a cremation box for my burial because doctors had diagnosed me with advanced small cell lung cancer caused by exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. My oncologist advised me to get my affairs in order. I have done exactly that, so my letter has a two fold purpose.

First, I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase. It helps seeing and knowing where I will spend eternity. Originally, I wanted to advise my brother Marines concerning problems they could possibly face if they were diagnosed with this or a similar type cancer. I haven't been able to do that. The side effects of the chemo as well as other difficulties just wouldn't allow that. I now realize that that may have been wishful thinking. You chose not to publish that letter which is fine because you are the editor / owner and that's your prerogative. Thus far I have had ten (10) three-day chemo-therapy treatments for a total of thirty (30) treatments. Although I'm feeling somewhat better, this disease will eventually kill me. Only six or seven (6/7)% of patient diagnosed with this type cancer live past five years. Don't think for one minute that I'm looking for sympathy, far from it. I'm seventy (70) years old, and I've had a great life. I had the professional pleasure and honor to serve this great nation for almost twenty two (22) years as an active duty Marine. I have been blessed with a loving wife and a talented son who is also a Marine. They have been by my side through this entire ordeal. Thanking them would be impossible. I therefore simply say I love them both deeply.

About the same time as my diagnosis, I wrote about my experiences as an infantry Marine with India Company, 3rd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment. Some of the readers questioned my honesty and integrity concerning what I had written. I DO NOT and WILL NOT get into a p-ssing contest with any of the readers - period. I stand by my comments - period. I'm a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Only my family is more important to me than my integrity and honesty. My experiences are exactly as I wrote - period. I encourage readers to compare what I wrote to what is written about the operation on Wikpedia.

My sincere thanks for the cremation box. It is exactly as I hoped and expected.

Semper Fi,
"A Former Hat"
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)


Reunions

Is platoon 1069, MCRD San Diego going to have a 50 year reunion?

Private Thompson
(could not march)


Taps

Sgt Grit

It is with a heavy heart that I report, Jim Brauch of Platoon 145, MCRD San Diego 1962 has been assigned permanent leave as of Feb. 2015. He was 70 years old. Didn't find out until just a few days ago. It was a rare but virulent form of cancer that laid our Jim low. A Joker and a fisherman of the highest order, we're going to miss you Jim.

On a "lighter" (?) note; I do recall the gamma globulin shots received just before mounting out for Viet Nam in the late summer of 1965. Five cc's in each cheek. Ouch!

Once a Corporal. Always a Marine.
Jerry D.

"One Thing Led to Another and Before We Knew it, We Were Dead."
--Michael O'Donoghue - Founder of National Lampoon magazine & Saturday Night Live


Short Rounds

Machine gun links. I remember using links on a sterno can to hold cans while they heated.

E.L. Collins Cpl. '59-'63


Sgt. Grit,

I would like to respond to Sgt. R.S. Brayton's email concerning WMD's comments never being able to see the likes of Dan Daley or Smedley Butler ever again!

All you have to do is search "The Last Six Seconds" on the internet, read General Kelly's speech and watch the video and you will know that the spirit of Dan Daley and Smedley Butler are still alive in The Marine Corps! "SEMPER FI!"

Cpl. L.P. Jemiola
1/3 Weapons Co. Dragon Plt.
'78-'82


I spent seven years active in the Corps and have never referred to a WM as a "BAM" for the following reasons:
I am not stupid.
I am not incredibly brave.
I am not suicidal.

SSgt DH


Gunny W,

52 holes in the J.W. cracker. Add water, it turns into a slice of bread.

HGW


There were 52 holes in a C-ration cracker. I know because I was fighting the war of boredom one day.

SSgt. Tom Therrell


For 'Doc' Miller (last issue)... nice try, Doc... but if you look it up, you will find the package was green, and the meatball was red... on the WWII Lucky Strike packages... Too much terpin elixir hydrate? (may not be the correct spelling, but had a bit of citrus flavor... sometimes issued for URI)...

DDick


Quotes

"I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as preeminent specimens of logic, taste and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to spare, leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the vice of modern oratory."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1824


"Why in h-ll can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
--Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918


"We do not have to create a conscience for ourselves. We are born with one, and no matter how much we may ignore it, we cannot silence its insistent demand that we do good and avoid evil. No matter how much we may deny our freedom and our moral responsibility, our intellectual soul cries out for a morality and a spiritual freedom without which it knows it cannot be happy. The first duty of every man is to seek the enlightenment and discipline without which his conscience cannot solve the problems of life. And one of the first duties of society to the men who compose it is to enable them to live by the light of a prudent and mature conscience. I say "spiritual" and not merely "religious," for religious formation is sometimes no more than outward formality, and therefore is not really religious, nor is it a "formation" of the soul."
--Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Note: I think SSgt Newman said something along those lines about June '68 MCRD San Diego.

Sgt Grit


"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!"
--MGen. Frank E. Lowe, USA; Korea, 26 January 1952


"Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights."
--Navy Times; November 1994


"Eat the apple and f--- the Corps!"

"You're more f....d up than a soup sandwich!"

"What is your major malfunction turd?"

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 21 JAN 2016
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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 21 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Grunts, Artillery & Air Wing
• A Distinguished MOS
• Spam And Mash Potatoes

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

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The strain and fatigue of 23 days on the line is shown by Marines of Combat Team 'C', 2/7th U.S. Marines, 1st Marine Division seen here displaying Japanese battle flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester, 14-15th January 1944.

(Source USMC 71602. Colorized by Doug)


Grunts, Artillery & Air Wing

This was taken on November 10, 2015 at Gulf Shores Alabama State Park Campground. Myself and another Marine do this each year we are here. The group includes grunts, artillery & air wing. We have some different Marines each year, Korea & Vietnam make up the most of us. I would like to thank you for the items you sent us to give out.

Richard Olesen
Vietnam '67-'68-'69


A Distinguished MOS

I suppose the C-rations debate may never subside since anyone who has ever consumed them considers themselves an expert. Well, I am expert.

I was a 3051, General Supply. How does one acquire such a distinguished MOS? Bad luck. Two weeks of OJT (on the job training) at San Onofre after completion of ITR: forklifts, stacking boxes, marking boxes with ink stampers makes one a 3051. Grueling work, I know.

Next stop Viet Nam, Sept. 1966. Assigned to Rations Plt, FLSG-A. First tents by the airport followed by a move to Red Beach. Ah yes, Red Beach! We had warehouses and hooches. Life was good. So why did I hate it? Guilt. Guilt because I wasn't an 0311, a real Marine. Not to mention all the chicken sh-t that took place, and there was lots of it!

But I digress. I was assigned to Rations Platoon. C-rations, B-rations for the mess halls. I managed to escape by volunteering for the LSU (logistics support team) at An Hoa supporting 2-5. But still assigned to Rations. We got them by convoy. We had tents set up for B-rats for the mess hall and stacks upon stacks of C-rats for distribution to the grunts. We also had a reefer bunker by the airstrip for fresh/frozen rats. And we had rats. Just plain rats! that were drawn by the rations. They'd chew right through the cans. Bastards were so big they could barely squeeze through the pallets that served as the floor for our tent.

As to the dated C-rations... did some get old Rations that were pre- and post- Korean War? Probably, at least at first. Do you think DOD would discard dated Rations or give them to the Navy to give to the Marines?

Mark Smith
Cpl, 3051, LSU An Hoa 1967

Note: I think every MOS is distinguished. If you hadn't delivered those delicacies called C-Rats we wouldn't be having these wonderful stories and conversations about them. And we would have been much hungrier then.

Sgt Grit


Field Training Portion Of Boot Camp

A Marine wrote that the first time he thinks MRE's were used was around 1983. Close but I think I can get it a bit closer. I can't give an exact date but I know when I was in the "field training" portion of boot camp at MCRD San Diego, we used MRE's. I went into boot camp Oct. 6, 1982 (waited all summer to get my last "free summer" in and besides, didn't turn 18 till the end of August) so I was in the field some time late Nov. of '82. So they were around at least by then, maybe sooner in the year.

Maybe someone else can give us an if not exact date, an earlier account of when they first got them.

Joe Thompson
Crew Chief
CPL 6114
HMLA 269 Gun Runners
1982-1986


The Chesty Puller House

The Chesty Puller House is a charity dedicated to serving veterans in their times of need - before they resort to suicide as a result of homelessness or destitution - while keeping a spotlight on the legacy of legendary Marine Corps LtGen Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.

Chesty Puller's Saluda, VA, home will serve as the headquarters of The Chesty Puller House. The physical house will be available to both active duty military and veterans to host events such as meetings, reunions, weddings, and retirement ceremonies. The Puller house, as well as the neighboring six-bedroom house, serves as a spiritual beacon to the military, especially Marines worldwide. In this way, we will continue the legacy of Chesty Puller and his wife, Virginia, who opened their home to Marines of all ranks - seating privates and generals at the same table. Proceeds generated through these events will help continue funding the mission of the organization - to never leave a brother or sister behind.

Find out more about The Chesty Puller House


Pin Money For R&R

Sgt Grit,

C-rats - my first encounter with them was when I was around 13 years old in 1962. While my friends and I were walking through a local apple orchard, we found a landfill that the orchard was dumping stuff into. We noticed boxes with what looked like military markings. They were rations marked with 1945, 1946, and 1947. We took some apart and lit a couple of cigs up, then quickly threw them away. Too old and dry to smoke.

Who knew 5 years later I would be eating these same type of rations daily to stay alive. Fast forward to Nov. 1967. Our unit was sent to the fortress of Con Thien. As an 81's FO/RO (2531), I was assigned to a 6-hour radio watch in the underground battalion command bunker when I was not on patrol. I took the mid-watch, 12AM to 6AM. On the comm bench next to me was an 11th Marines E-5 standing radio watch for arty. And he liked to eay! C-rats were all we had for food at this time. After observing me cook up a masterpiece of C-rats, he finally asked where I got my recipes from. I told him that I bought a C-ration cookbook thru the mail. He asked if I would put together a mean for him. I told him for $5 bucks and he would have to supply the C-rats. He agreed, so every few days I would cook him a meal. He loved it and I made some pin money for R&R.

BILL GUNTOR
RVN 5/67 - 6/68
1/1


Spam And Mashed Potatoes

I, too, have a story about C-Rations. I was on active duty from 1961 - 1964. My MOS is 2533/0849 (Radio-Telegraph Operator/ Forward Observer for Naval Gun Fire) and was assigned to HQ-3-11 (105mm artillery), 1st MarDiv, Camp Pendleton, CA.

Once, while we we on maneuvers in the desert at 29 Palms, the mess served us Spam and reconstituted mashed potatoes. Not too bad, but that is what we got for over 10-days. Three meals a day for ten plus days -- Spam and mashed potatoes. Then one day the Mess Sergeant came out and apologized because the food truck had not arrived so he had to issue us C-Rations. The Sergeant received a standing ovation with applause and cheers. That was, perhaps, the only time I looked forward to eating C-Rats. Since I left active duty, (4 September 1964), to this day I have not eaten Spam.

As a side note, there was one person in my outfit that loved the Ham and Lima. He was from deep in the bayou of Louisiana so maybe to him the Ham & Lima's were like eating a in 5-Star restaurant. He was happy to trade anything for them.

Semper Fi
Jim Brower, 1977XXX


The Yellow Sweatshirt

While involved in a current project, I got to wondering about the history of the boot camp Yellow Sweatshirt. When did they start issuing it and when did they stop? Was it just issued at MCRD San Diego or was it issued at MCRD Parris Island as well? Why was this iconic marker of raw recruits jerked from the clothing issue? I usually say Google is your friend in these kinds of situations but this time Google let me down. A search revealed that other than sweatshirts for sale, there was one mention. It was a guy that went through boot camp in 1963 blogging about his boot camp experience and he mentioned the shirt.

I recall it being one of the first pieces of clothing issued to us in the summer of 1962 when we formed as Platoon 145 at MCRD San Diego. If memory serves (and sometimes it doesn't these days), it was uniform of the day for at least a week (maybe two) after we were picked up from receiving by our Drill Instructors.

I asked a Cyber friend who joined the Corps in about 1990 or 1991 (he was in Somalia) if it was still being issued then. He said no, at San Diego their sweat shirts were gray with the Marine Corps Emblem on the front. So I called my old neighbor Cousin Roy who enlisted in 1974 and he said they didn't even get a sweatshirt. He said at San Diego they were issued a red t-shirt w/Marine Corps Emblem (he was in 2nd Battalion if that has anything to do with the price of tea in China).

There are others of my acquaintance that came between 1963 and 1974 I guess I could call on but surely the Sgt Grit community can narrow down the end year, plus figure out what year the Yellow Sweatshirt was first issued.

It would have been nice if from the beginning, they had created a position for a Corps Historian to keep track of everything, like uniform changes, regulation changes and traditions among other things. Ah, too much to ask for. I wish I had kept a journal recording details about duty stations, the large chunks of daily life and the individuals I was stationed with and where they were from.

Once a Corporal, Always a Marine.

Jerry D.

Get this sweatshirt today at:

Marine Boot Camp Comfort Fleece Crew


Three Wheeled Mite

The Mighty Mite was a very unique vehicle, it was light weight, quite fast by jeep standards in its day and designed to run on three wheels if needed. In 1964 I was driving our battalion commander, along with two other Marines in a Mighty Mite from Pickle Meadows back to Camp Pendleton. We were the lead vehicle in the battalion convoy. The battalion commander would have me drive to the front of the convoy and fall back to the rear several times, allowing him to make sure that all vehicles were keeping the convoy tight.

The highways around Pickle Meadows have some very steep downgrades, on a particularly steep downgrade we were heading to the front of the convoy, which was spread out for a good distance. We were moving at a good clip, the mighty mite speedometer was pegged, I saw something to my left front shooting across the highway. Our left front axle spindle had broken, the tire and rim, with half of the axle spindle still attached was what I had seen shooting across the highway, leaving the four of us in a three wheeled mite at full speed going down a long and very steep highway. The Mighty Mite, true to its design, remained level, I was able to stop it safely and able to steer it to the side of the highway where one of the wreckers in the convoy took control of it. The Lt Colonel commandeered another Mighty Mite out of the convoy and we were quickly back on our way. The Mighty Mite performed as advertised, the shiny side (actually the olive drab side) stayed up and 4 Marines were left with memories instead of injuries or worse! The mite remains one of my favorite vehicles of my youth.

TC Taulbee L/Cpl of Marines '62 - '65


K-rats And C-Rats

K-rats were originally Army and had Breakfast, Dinner and Supper. They did not have enough calories for combat troops. C-rats were the improved more calories substitutes that were introduced in WWII to replace K-rats.

Some of the Marines have described K-rats. The Original C-rats were first field tested in 1940 and then issued. In 1958 the Meal Combat Individual replaced the C-rats keeping many of the meals. Because they were similar Marines still called them C-rats. I had 1956 C-rats in 1967 at Cherry Point during NCO School.

Cpl Pete Gratton
MASS 2, Dong Ha '68-'69
'65-'69 USMC


Old Corps

Sgt Grit,

I was in the Marines back when it was called the "Old Corps". I have yet to see any stories of the Marines around the years of 1958-1960, that were in platoon 361 or 360, Nov. 1958 - May 1969 and Marines that served in Okinawa 1959-1960. Also Camp LeJeune, 3rd FSR MS$M Battalion, 3rd Marine Division 1960-1962.

Clarence Felton

Note: I can only print what I am sent. Sooooo send me a story about your time, your MOS, your duty station, your whatever.

Sgt Grit


Dragging My Seabag Through The Woods

I entered the Marine Corps 50 years ago this Wednesday, January 13, 1966... it was a Thursday. I left Scranton to Wilkes-Barre by bus and then myself, Hack, Stevens and Volinsky went by bus to Philadelphia, train to South Carolina and finally bus to Parris Island. We arrived Friday night. It was raining heavily and I remember coming across the causeway and onto the base. I saw some recruits on a type of confidence course in the torrential rain and thought to myself, "They must be the recon guys."

I don't remember any yellow footprints, but I remember the bus driver going inside and then coming out with him was a receiving DI who was screaming at us "scuzzy civilian maggots" not "eye f#@$k his area" and get off the bus running. Once inside we lined up each at a type of table and emptied our pockets and ditty bags for examination. The DI found after shave or cologne in one guys belongings and immediately called him a p-ssy because he wanted to smell like one. The DI took the items. On another he found a condom and accused the guy of wanting to f#@k him. One had a picture of a girl and the DI asked "Who is this hog?" The guy said "my girlfriend" and the DI replied, "You won't be needing this, she will be f$#king some squid by the time you get home".

Welcome to PI. We processed all night, took GCT tests, got our issue, haircuts and assembled in a large room. The Sgt Major then spoke to us in a civil voice and noted it would be the last time anyone would speak to us that way for 8 weeks. He told us we would want to quit or give up but to think of someone we knew who had made it through when times got bad. The four screaming DI's showed up to march us as a herd to 3rd battalion. I was dragging my seabag through the woods while Sgt. Devane was kicking it and yelling at me. I thought to myself, "I can't wait to get to the barracks so I can go to sleep." Surprise! sleep would not come until night.

I cannot thank the Marine Corps enough for instilling in me confidence, dedication to duty, honor (always do the right thing even when it hurts) and camaraderie. It has stayed with me my entire life. I recently spoke with a Marine who served in the early 2000's about how it is to live with a Marine. It takes a special woman, because, as I told him "we are not easy to live with," but we don't let you down.

Semper Fi,
J Kanavy, Cpl.


Well Ma'am, If You Speak Both

In 1954, my ship (USS Wisconsin BB64) anchored in the harbor of Brest France. We were there for over 2 weeks so with port and starboard liberty I got to go over several times. We would have been better served if the people in charge had told us about the history of the city and its people in WW2. In the mid 1930s the German navy built a very large submarine base in Brest. From there they did their dirty work in the North Atlantic and basically wherever they wanted to go. (I learned this later from a girl I met in Brest) The Germans intermarried and lived with the French for many years and as the fortunes of war changed the allies bombed them unmercifully... I'm sure if some bombs fell outside the naval base the attitude was "So what?" Unlike today when such things make the front pages.

About 8-10 Marines off the ship were lined up at a very large bar with 6 or so bartenders and many male waiters serving a big big crowd. First hint of a problem was when one of the Marines dragged a barkeep onto the bar and said "I speak French and if you bunch of SOB's don't want big problems, knock off the bad mouthing of the United States and if you breathe one more bad word about U.S. Marines be prepared to lose your F--king teeth." The bar got really, really quiet and then some little old lady walked up and said, "Young man some of us speaks French and English and we do not appreciate your language." Perpetrator replied, "Well ma'am, if you speak both as I do why did you not take offense at what these pukes were saying? I do apologize for my language but not for what I said." She thought for a minute then said, "Apology accepted and you are perfectly right." Please remember this was only 12 or so years after the war. Several of us made it a point of going back to the bar on occasion... barkeeps now spoke broken but understandable English with no hint of animosity. As I said, I would not have known this had I not met a local girl who explained it to me. The younger ones understood it had been war, but I guess the older ones wondered why we just didn't send a note to the Germans to stop their sinking of commercial and military ships. If this makes it to print I want to write one more article at a later date about how we treated the locals in all the countries we visited and how they responded.

Sgt Don Wackerly '53-'56


Rather Fitting

Just received the 4 shirts I ordered (3 are mine and 1 for the wife). I ordered her the "Wife of a Grumpy Old Marine". She thought it was rather fitting, her being prior Navy.

Outstanding shirts and even better service. I ordered them last week and I have them today. Thank you for your prompt service and outstanding merchandise.

Respectfully,
Gary L. COON
"Top C"
SEMPER FI


No Problem With The Wind

Labeling on C-RAT boxes: Meal, Combat, Individual, 1 Each, FSN XXX-XXX-XXX (FSN = Federal Stock Number). I was in the CORPS from 1967-71. I do remember at least once having a C-RAT dated from the 1940's. I also remember when I was in RVN in 1970, at times we would get what we called "Long Rats". They were freeze dried food. The packages of food were about the size of a medium bag of potato chips. Just add water, hot or cold. The ones I remember were made by Albany Freeze Dried Foods, Albany, Oregon (printed on package). Albany is not far from where I grew up. Nice to have something from "home". Regarding the blue colored heat tabs used to heat food/water, I did not like them. The slightest bit of wind would blow them out. Took forever to get something hot. I preferred using a small piece of C-4. Light that stuff on fire and it would burn like h-ll. No problem with wind, and would heat something hot and fast.

Also in RVN, we use to get SP Packs (Supplement Sundries Pack) at times. Among other things, they contained full cartons of cigarettes.

Semper Fi


When The Waitress Came

On January 09, 2016, Janet and I had lunch at our local IHOP. When the waitress came I thought she was giving me our check. Instead, she explained that our lunch was already paid for by someone who was having their lunch at their restaurant.

I was wearing my red Marine Corps cap that tells that I was a member of the 2nd Marine Division.

When you download the receipt, down below you'll notice that it says: "Thank you for your service. Semper Fi"

This person said more than most say, thank you for your service, he showed it with his generosity.

It is good to know that there are still people that really care about other people.

Rudy


Integrity And Honesty

Sgt Grit,

Almost a year ago, I ordered a cremation box for my burial because doctors had diagnosed me with advanced small cell lung cancer caused by exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. My oncologist advised me to get my affairs in order. I have done exactly that, so my letter has a two fold purpose.

First, I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase. It helps seeing and knowing where I will spend eternity. Originally, I wanted to advise my brother Marines concerning problems they could possibly face if they were diagnosed with this or a similar type cancer. I haven't been able to do that. The side effects of the chemo as well as other difficulties just wouldn't allow that. I now realize that that may have been wishful thinking. You chose not to publish that letter which is fine because you are the editor / owner and that's your prerogative. Thus far I have had ten (10) three-day chemo-therapy treatments for a total of thirty (30) treatments. Although I'm feeling somewhat better, this disease will eventually kill me. Only six or seven (6/7)% of patient diagnosed with this type cancer live past five years. Don't think for one minute that I'm looking for sympathy, far from it. I'm seventy (70) years old, and I've had a great life. I had the professional pleasure and honor to serve this great nation for almost twenty two (22) years as an active duty Marine. I have been blessed with a loving wife and a talented son who is also a Marine. They have been by my side through this entire ordeal. Thanking them would be impossible. I therefore simply say I love them both deeply.

About the same time as my diagnosis, I wrote about my experiences as an infantry Marine with India Company, 3rd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment. Some of the readers questioned my honesty and integrity concerning what I had written. I DO NOT and WILL NOT get into a p-ssing contest with any of the readers - period. I stand by my comments - period. I'm a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Only my family is more important to me than my integrity and honesty. My experiences are exactly as I wrote - period. I encourage readers to compare what I wrote to what is written about the operation on Wikpedia.

My sincere thanks for the cremation box. It is exactly as I hoped and expected.

Semper Fi,
"A Former Hat"
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)


Reunions

Is platoon 1069, MCRD San Diego going to have a 50 year reunion?

Private Thompson
(could not march)


Taps

Sgt Grit

It is with a heavy heart that I report, Jim Brauch of Platoon 145, MCRD San Diego 1962 has been assigned permanent leave as of Feb. 2015. He was 70 years old. Didn't find out until just a few days ago. It was a rare but virulent form of cancer that laid our Jim low. A Joker and a fisherman of the highest order, we're going to miss you Jim.

On a "lighter" (?) note; I do recall the gamma globulin shots received just before mounting out for Viet Nam in the late summer of 1965. Five cc's in each cheek. Ouch!

Once a Corporal. Always a Marine.
Jerry D.

"One Thing Led to Another and Before We Knew it, We Were Dead."
--Michael O'Donoghue - Founder of National Lampoon magazine & Saturday Night Live


Short Rounds

Machine gun links. I remember using links on a sterno can to hold cans while they heated.

E.L. Collins Cpl. '59-'63


Sgt. Grit,

I would like to respond to Sgt. R.S. Brayton's email concerning WMD's comments never being able to see the likes of Dan Daley or Smedley Butler ever again!

All you have to do is search "The Last Six Seconds" on the internet, read General Kelly's speech and watch the video and you will know that the spirit of Dan Daley and Smedley Butler are still alive in The Marine Corps! "SEMPER FI!"

Cpl. L.P. Jemiola
1/3 Weapons Co. Dragon Plt.
'78-'82


I spent seven years active in the Corps and have never referred to a WM as a "BAM" for the following reasons:
I am not stupid.
I am not incredibly brave.
I am not suicidal.

SSgt DH


Gunny W,

52 holes in the J.W. cracker. Add water, it turns into a slice of bread.

HGW


There were 52 holes in a C-ration cracker. I know because I was fighting the war of boredom one day.

SSgt. Tom Therrell


For 'Doc' Miller (last issue)... nice try, Doc... but if you look it up, you will find the package was green, and the meatball was red... on the WWII Lucky Strike packages... Too much terpin elixir hydrate? (may not be the correct spelling, but had a bit of citrus flavor... sometimes issued for URI)...

DDick


Quotes

"I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as preeminent specimens of logic, taste and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to spare, leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the vice of modern oratory."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1824


"Why in h-ll can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
--Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918


"We do not have to create a conscience for ourselves. We are born with one, and no matter how much we may ignore it, we cannot silence its insistent demand that we do good and avoid evil. No matter how much we may deny our freedom and our moral responsibility, our intellectual soul cries out for a morality and a spiritual freedom without which it knows it cannot be happy. The first duty of every man is to seek the enlightenment and discipline without which his conscience cannot solve the problems of life. And one of the first duties of society to the men who compose it is to enable them to live by the light of a prudent and mature conscience. I say "spiritual" and not merely "religious," for religious formation is sometimes no more than outward formality, and therefore is not really religious, nor is it a "formation" of the soul."
--Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Note: I think SSgt Newman said something along those lines about June '68 MCRD San Diego.

Sgt Grit


"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!"
--MGen. Frank E. Lowe, USA; Korea, 26 January 1952


"Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights."
--Navy Times; November 1994


"Eat the apple and f--- the Corps!"

"You're more f....d up than a soup sandwich!"

"What is your major malfunction turd?"

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 14 JAN 2016

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 14 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Moved To Heaven's Gates
• C-rats Then MREs
• Standing Inspections Sir

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An American Marine aiming his M1 Garand rifle, whilst perched on Japanese ammunition crates on the Island of Iwo Jima, circa February/March 1945.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

Marine aiming his M1 Garand on Iwo Jima


John Wayne Cracker

All this noise about C's. How many of you experts know how many holes there are in a John Wayne cracker?

Gunny W.


Moved To Heaven's Gates

Cpl Dowdy with Vietnam Veterans Conkling, Sevren, and Alley

Cpl Dowdy in Veterans Day Parade in 2012

Sgt. Grit,

I am sorry for the lateness of this obit for WW2 Marine Robert Dowdy. I only found out about his passing recently myself when I had attempted to call him for New Years Day.

Cpl. Dowdy and I had met each other during a Veterans Day Parade back in 2012. The parade was hosted by American Legion Post 238 of Teague, Texas of which I was a member. I say that I was a member as now the post has disbanded recently.

When Cpl. Dowdy told me that he had been on Guadalcanal in 1942 along with Col. Chesty Puller, I was thrilled beyond belief to meet a Marine that actually knew Col. Puller and had fought along side him. One day I asked him if he would autograph my 1st Edition copy of Guadalcanal Diary by Robert Tregaskis. He said that he didn't write that book. I explained that I knew that he didn't but I would be honored if, as a Marine who had lived through that battle, to have him autograph it for me.

I've attached a copy of the picture I took. I'm also attaching a picture of him riding his motoroized chair in the parade with his sign showing that he had joined the Marine Corps on December 9th of 1941. The third picture is Cpl. Dowdy with myself on the left and two Vietnam Veterans in 2013. All four men in the picture are Marines. The other two Marines are Steve Sevren and Dan Alley who are members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 991 of Palestine, Texas.

Cpl. Dowdy was born 12 October 1923 and moved to Heaven's Gates on 5 December 2015.

Rest in Peace, Marine.

Semper Fi,
Carl Conkling


Woodland Camo Propper Softshell Jacket


C-rats Then MREs

Sgt. Grit,

Just had to weigh in on the MRE/C-rat dialogue. Reading MSgt Sullivan's post reminded me of the time period when the changeover was made as he and I went into the Corps the same year. Being a grunt, we ate C-Rats fairly often, but I don't recall when exactly that the MREs where first issued (I'm guessing around 1983), however, I do know that at least in 3/8 we never saw the C-rats again after we were first issued the MREs. Personally, the biggest change for me was not being able to use my John Wayne. I thought the meals, for the most part did taste better, although I did enjoy the ham and eggs in the C-Rats and did miss them. I seem to recall a somewhat tasty fruitcake slab, but the main course of the meals themselves did not impress me. I also liked the freeze-dried peaches and used to eat them in their solid state. It sounds crazy and grosses my wife out when I say it, but my absolute favorite food was the powdered eggs we were fed when we were served hot chow in the bush. I could not eat enough of them. I had to load them up with salt and sometimes a bit of hot sauce, but I loved them!

My daughter has my dogs tags along with my original John Wayne and it's a bit tarnished and rusted at the hinge so when she first saw it she said, "so you actually opened your food containers with this thing after if hung around your neck and absorbed all that dirt and nasty sweat on your body?" "Yup", was the best I could offer her! Semper Fi!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt
1981-1985


Now Reveille

As I read your quoting the sound of Reveille, I immediately thought about what a Marine heard over the squawk box every morning aboard an APA, or troop transport, USS Sandoval APA 194. It has never left my memory. First came the shrill of the Boatswain's Pipe, then...

"Now Reveille! All hands heave out and trice up. The smoking lamp is lit in all berthing compartments. Now Reveille!"

That was drummed into my head as an 0311 with D/1/6 on a Med Cruise in the Spring of '67. That lovely trip was followed by orders to 'Nam the following October.

Tom Moore
D/1/6, G/2/4


1st Recon Battalion Unit Gear


Used And Abused

Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit!

I don't know why it's so hard to believe we ate WWII/Korea C-Rats in Nam; I distinctly remember some dated 1947, the year I was born and some even earlier. The whole Marine Corps mission in Nam was, "Do More With Less". Most of our vehicles and equipment had been used and abused by the Navy and Army first. Thankfully, our support Marines made them like new.

Remember when you went through the line for your shots before shipping out to Nam? At the end of the line, you had to drop trou. to receive 10 cc. of GG in the rear. GG was a cure-all left over from WWII/Korea and was about as thick as petroleum jelly; it felt like a softball in your rear. There was a thinner, newer cure-all but that went to the other branches. Also, there was a newer, lighter flak jacket avail. in Nam but they went to the Army, Navy and Air Force; we wore the old surplus bulky, heavy ones.

Cpl. Bill Reed
RVN '68-'69


They Are Out There Right Now

Sgt. Grit,

I have to answer WMD on his comments about the breed that will never be duplicated. I strongly object. They are out there right now. They will answer the call in the same way the gentlemen WMD holds up as examples. Please, don't sell our brethren in our beloved Corps or those who will be in the future short. Who thought they would ever see the likes of Dan Daly or Smedley Butler ever again. I won't argue that all these men are a breed apart, but they never broke that mold that I know of. They really are out there. Waiting. Waiting for their chance. Their chance to answer the call of those who went before. "You plan to live forever?"

Oorah!
Sgt. R. S. Brayton '71-'75


Helluva Meal

At Khe Sanh in Jan. '68, our mess hall got blown away. C-Rats were issued. The first round we got was dated 1942! My Lucky's had a GREEN bullseye on it. About the only meal I didn't like was the Ham and Muthers! A little garlic powder (wife sent it to me), hot sauce, and anything was edible.

Loved the Beans and Franks, and Spaghetti. Trey and Tad would make a raid on the dry stores and bring back spaghetti noodles and other stuff. I could make a helluva meal out of beef with spiced sauce and the stuff they brought back.

Addison "Tex" Miller
HMC/FMF/USN Ret
Nam '67-'68


One Smell I Can Still Smell Today

Sgt. Grit,

In ITR in Sept '69 the C-rats we got to eat were dated either 1954 or '55. We were told to eat the chocolate disks if we were plugged up and the peanut butter if we had the runs. Cigarettes were all non-filtered and you could get 3 drags on them before they were all coal. Ham & mothers were the worst. Our troop handlers would turn the cases over so we got to pick a random meal. Also we were told that if we were issued M-16's in 'Nam like the ones we were issued in ITR, don't use the open flash suppressor to twist the wires holding the cases together. The open prongs of the flash suppressor could get bent and make your bullets go places you don't want them to go.

When I graduated from C&E Bn in Dec. '69 I reported aboard Camp Pendleton to Hq. Co. (Nucleus), 4th Marine Division. It was located at 24 Area and they were responsible for 64 Area on the northern border of Camp Pendleton. We had about 100 or so Quonset Huts and some supply warehouses. We had Navy SeaBee's use them when they would get training at the firing ranges before deployment to Vietnam. We also supported the Reserves by testing a lot of their comm gear before their 2-week summer training. When I was assigned to Camp Talega (64 Area) I found out if I wanted a hot meal I would have to get on a deuce and a half truck and be driven to a mess hall the grunts in 62 Area had. The other choice was to eat C-rats that the reserves had left in one of our warehouses from the previous summer. These C-rats were new, dated in early '69. Still had 4-pack cigarettes but all of them were of the filter variety. Ham and mothers were still in the mix. I liked the ham & eggs cold. Not many guys did. Also I had a room in a quonset hut by myself (big deal since I was a PFC). And I would just take a whole case of C-rats with me to my room. Didn't use heat tabs since we had a oil fired stove in the quonset hut. As the junior Marine I was always detailed to get the heating oil in 5 gal cans. That's one smell I can still smell today. Yuck.

I ate C-rats overseas but cannot remember what dates were on them. Still had ham and mothers though. And I got all of the ham & eggs I wanted. ;o)

Semper Fi,
Tom Tilque
Cpl, USMC, 1969-73

Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"


My Father Would Say

WWII Marine Cpl Annette Howards gravestone with brass F4U marker

Reference Mr. Paul Jones' BAM story, my Mother was also a WWII "BAM", stationed with my Father at MCAS El Toro with Air Base Group 2 performing depot level maintenance on F4Us. She made it quite clear to us as we grew up that BAM stood for Beautiful American Marine while my Father would take us on the side and say it stood for Broad Axled Marines. It wasn't until I entered Boot Camp that I learned that "axled" wasn't quite the correct word. Take note that hanging on the Brass WWII marker next to her gravestone is a F4U in all its glory.

Semper Fi.

Jeff Howards
Sgt, 1973-1977


Mitey Mite

Probably originally developed to be internally carried in the big bug-eyed helo (H-37?) or under the H-34... from memory, thing was balanced so that with proper passenger distribution, it could be operated on only three wheels... also recall a period when they were all deadlined due to some repeating problem with wheels separating from the vehicle. A number of them made it into civilian hands, and they were somewhat popular with desert racer types... Battery Maintenance Chief for one of the 155MM Self-propelled batteries (M109's), maybe M/4/11 had one, used to drive it in to work at 29 Palms... painted gloss Marine Corps Green, had the yellow lettering on the hood, etc. 'USMC 007'... all kosher... this was maybe circa 1977 or so? Command museum at MCRD SD had one in the stairwell on the lower deck for several years... owner may have recovered it, wasn't there my last visit in 2015.

DDick


STANDING INSPECTIONS SIR

When I came home from Vietnam in 1967 and after a few weeks leave I reported to 2nd Shore Party Bn at Camp Lejeune, NC and was assigned to C Company. It was more or less a unit for us Shore Party short-timers. Almost everyone in C Company was a Vietnam Veteran with not enough time left to go on a cruise or be assigned to other duty stations that would require longer periods of time than we had left to serve on active duty. Oh, we trained just like we were going to war the next day. However, we were utilized a lot as a "force" for the grunts to practice, among other things, ambushing us and defending their perimeters from attacks by us.

Now, rewind to when I first got to C Company. There had been plans made for a group from the War College to come down and review an entire BLT. A battalion of grunts with all their supporting units and equipment was to line up single file along a stretch of highway out toward Onslow Beach and the reviewers would ride by sitting in bleachers bolted on flatbed trailers. All Marines know the drill. The entire BLT had to line up for the Battalions Commanders inspection first. Then, a few days later we went out and lined up again for the Base Commander and his staff to inspect. Then, after a couple of days of getting our gear all cleaned, our boots shined (again) and fresh starched utilities we went out and lined up for the War College to review.

The high command thought it went so well that they invited some other group, whose name I do not remember, to come and review us. You guessed it, we started the same routine all over again. Battalion Commander's inspection, Base Commander and his staff inspection and finally the second group that was invited to see what a BLT consisted of. With all the inspections and getting ready for them it kept us busy for at the least a couple weeks.

The story doesn't end here. Low and behold, after a few days we were informed that we were scheduled for an IG inspection... Junk on the bunk! So, we put all of our gear out for our Company Commander along with the 1st Sgt, and the Gunny to inspect. Then our Battalion Commander inspected us a day or two before the final inspection by the IG.

On the day the IG came we had our greens all cleaned and pressed, our shoes spit shined, our brass polished and all of our required gear laid out on our bunks in the correct order ready for the IG to inspect. As you probably well know, the IG was actually a full bird Colonel. As usually he would stop periodically and ask one of us a question. It might be our name, where we were from, etc. When he came to me I was totally not expecting what he asked me. "What is your job in this unit Cpl?" Not knowing anything else to tell him but the truth I said "STANDING INSPECTIONS SIR". A frown came on his face as he turned to our C.O. who, turned to the 1st Sgt, who then turned to the Gunny. The Gunny explained about the other inspections we had gone through and told them that I was right and that all I had done since I had been with C Company was stand inspections. The IG looked back at me, got a slight grin on his face and hurriedly went on with the inspection of the rest of the company.

I have often wondered what went on in the Company office after that day's inspection was completed. One can only imagine.

ONCE A MARINE
ALWAYS A MARINE
Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines
Vietnam 1966/1967


The Old Ratio Story

Let us first define what correspondents mean, (or think they mean...) by using the term "C-rats". Generally accepted as meaning "Combat Ration(s), for most of the cohort reading the Grit newsletter, that is the "Meal, Combat, Individual". The MCI, or one meal in a (small) box did not come into being until 1958... so if you had a MCI (C-ration) issued to you with a printed date of, oh, say, 1945, then you are probably in need of Ex-lax, as your colon is at capacity. The 'old ration' story is as old as the end of a VFW bar story... told thousands of times over, but still BS...

If your personal manhood is challenged, you are invited to explore, via the internet, the history of field rations... Wikipedia is a starting place, queries into Natick Labs, the Army Quartermaster site, etc. may prove instructive, if a bit painful. To quote an old MLB umpire... "I calls them as I sees them" And BS is BS... you got something better, let's see a reference or a link...

DDick


WWII Dated C-rats

I write to confirm what Brad Hutchenrider wrote about WWII dated C-rats being issued during ops conducted by 7th Marines. I served about 5 months with the Army Advisors (running the District Operations and Intelligence Coordinating Center) at the foot of Hill 37, from July 1967 until about January or February 1968, then moved up to the 3/7 CP on Hill 37 and worked in direct support of 3/7. I believe I made every operation except Operation Allen Brook during my year long support of 3/7.

I would say to Mr. DDick that he should realize that while his men and he may not have been subjected to WWII dated C-Rats, many others were. Unless you sampled the food stock in every battalion, you should not be insulting other Marines by suggesting that they take a course in reading comprehension. BTW, I am an attorney and my reading comprehension is just fine, thank you, as it was in 1967 and 1968.

DDick, your experience was yours and yours alone. You should be man enough to admit it. Now that you have gotten my Irish up, I'll bid all a happy and healthy New Year.

Semper Fi,
Steve Shea
Sgt USMC


Chow Hound

Sgt Harlan eat C-rats on an ammo can in Vietnam

All the talk about C-rations made me drag out this old photo from my first tour--a L/Cpl sitting on an ammo can in some ville enjoying my C's. Except for maybe the Ham and Slimers, I never complained about the C-Rats.

Semper Fidelis,
Gary Harlan
Sergeant of Marines/Chow Hound

Note:

Can you believe how young we were then?!?!

Sgt Grit


The Squids Screwed Us

After my 14-week vacation at MCRD San Diego earning my GEA in Platoon 293; thence another 6 weeks at 2nd ITR carrying a BAR in a Fire Team (mostly uphill); thence a 30-day boot leave to my home town to reacquaint myself with the "Rosie RC" of D.I. fame, putting up with my friends who had become immature azsholes; I was assigned as a Private to 81MM Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Bn, 7th MarDiv at Camp Las Pulgas at Pendleton about early November 1956. Thereafter for several months I enjoyed the usual drill humping "Sheep Sh-t" hill carrying the outer ring and digging mortar pits then moving out as soon as the pit was dug.

At that time many of the NCO's were Korean War vets and there were some just not to be f---ed with (ala Corporal Golden "don't call me Goldie you useless piece of s--t" who was the squad leader). Conversely Sergeant Marquez was a good guy as was S/Sgt Anderson who was the "Gunny". We spent a great deal of time in the field or aboard ship, and then in the field, making several landings at San Onofre and Santa Margarita and then humping inland for a week or more into the Pendleton hills.

Base chow as not bad but WWII C-Rats were field for chow for breakfast, lunch, and supper. These were issued in about 4" x 8" x 12" cardboard box containing what was purported to be 3 meals. The different boxes included cans of Lima Beans/Ham (consumption of MFRS was only justified to stave off starvation); or Pork/Noodles (dizzzzgusting and usually discarded) however the Beans/Weanies were very good (trade goods); Hamburgers (premium trade goods); Peaches or Pears (top of the market trade goods); Pound Cake (the gold standard for trade goods) and I also seem to recall a can of hardtack crackers (hard enough to be used for body armor and they must have been left over from the Civil War); also peanut butter and jelly packed separately in small round tins (these made excellent explosives when pitched into a campfire to scare the FNG's ); toilet paper that was totally insufficient in thickness, quality and quantity; also packets of powdered coffee and cocoa, salt, pepper, and sugar. The cigarettes were 5-packs of Camels, Chesterfields, or Lucky Strike (some still had the green logo). All were dried brown and prone to flaring up and guaranteed to singe eyebrows and sear lungs... but we smoked 'em. I don't remember any matches to light them with but most of us carried Zippo's. On one occasion we were issued K-Rats.

Later issues include 3 heat tabs to be lit by your Zippo (lighting these heat tabs in an enclosed space would cause immediate asphyxiation); also there were several small 2" x 2" aluminum foil packets of what was questionably called chicken soup paste (often discarded); and an opener we called an "eat-e-wah" or "John Wayne". These were usually carried on your dog tag chain. The trick was to take the cracker can, dispose of crackers, punch holes along the bottom with the "eat-e-wah", drop in the heat tabs; light them off, stand down wind (so your eyes did not boil out of your head from the heat tab fumes), cook your coffee, cocoa, or chicken soup in another can (but not in your canteen cup as doing so would burn the cr-p out of your lips), then savor with much gusto.

Here's a story: Later on, maybe the winter of 1958, H&S 3/7 was off the west coast aboard ship quartered in the back of 6x6 trucks for a week or so on the deck of an LST. On landing day, as a Sergeant, I was assigned with Sgt Charlie Bell who was the H&S supply NCO by H&S C.O. (Captain Smith?) to do a final check of quarters and be the last Marines off the ship; down a Jacobs ladder with packs and gear, and into a landing craft with our jeep and trailer with the C-Rats and ammo being pre-loaded by the squids. It was stormy and the LCP was overloaded and the jeep and trailer was not latched down properly. The boat broached and broad-sided when we hit the surf dumping jeep, trailer, C-Rats and ammo; along with me and Charlie into the surf. Charlie and I grabbed our packs and rifles from the wreck and waded ashore. Another LCP recovery craft came along side and pulled the LCP, jeep and trailer out of the surf. He hollered to us that he would send another boat to pick us up. Never did.

Charlie and I sat on the cold, rainy beach until it started to get dark and finally decided the squids screwed us. We weren't smart enough to earlier grab some of those C-Rats floating in the surf before they sank. However we did find the beach fairly littered with C-Rats discarded by earlier landing parties. Cold wet and hungry, at that point even cold those little packets of chicken soup paste with cold pork and noodles tasted just great. As it got darker Charlie and humped about 15 miles and got back to the company bivouac about midnight and, as I recall, Capt. Smith (he was a mustang) gave both of us absolute h-ll for letting the squids get away with our C-Rats and ammo.

Robert G.


Short Rounds

To My Brothers of 1st Btn, Pltn 132 Honor Pltn, Graduated 31 March 1966 -- MCRD, SD, 26 June '66 - 25 June '68.

Bless Us All & the Marine Corps -- Rest Well My Friends.

John Blair Raftree
Cpl, 2232--- USMC


All I want to do was tell Paul Jones who wrote the letter about his sister being a BAM that all Women Marines are still Beautiful American Marines. I saw a lot of them during my 4 years active and to me they were all Beautiful American Marines.

Jim Connor '55/'59
HQ FMFLant G-4 Secion


The chocolate which you thought was candy was not candy it was Ex-lax to keep you from having constipation and the only way to over come the Sh-ts was to eat Cheese. To stop you from getting the sh-ts. I still do that to my grands and they are in their mid 20"s and still haven't figured it out. And, when they come down with a cold it's Chicken Noodle Soup with hot sauce. Works Every time.

BY


Sgt. Grit,

It's been a while but I think it was "Reveille, reveille, all hands on deck. Hold a clean sweep down, fore and aft. Dump all trash over the fantail." (over, not off). Might be... could be... can't say for sure.

Cpl Rich Robbins


To answer SSgt's DH's question about liquid to wash down pound cake, save the pound cake until you get either a can of peaches or apricots, break the pound cake up in your canteen cup, add the fruit with the juices and enjoy!

USMC Ret.


Reunions

The Marine Embassy Guard Association, (MEGA), will be having it's annual Reunion in San Antonio, TX, from 6 to 10 April, 2016.

It will be held at the:

Holiday Inn River Walk
217 N St. Mary's Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

Semper Fi,
Denny Krause
dkrause40[at]gmail.com


Quotes

General James Mattis Quote

"When I was a young officer in 1979, I toured what was known as "The Killing Fields" in Cambodia. This is the area where the Khmer Rouge killed off nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population, something like 1.9 million people in just a few years. My guide told me that they started by rounding up all of the teachers. They wanted to extinguish free thought, and the spark of questioning and dissent. Because, to a Totalitarian dictator, an open and inquisitive mind is more dangerous even than a Marine with a rifle."
--General James Mattis


"I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character and who has energy enough to give them effect must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1808


"When Gen. Abrial arrived to relieve me as the supreme commander, only don't ask, don't tell kept me from hugging and kissing him."
--Gen. James 'Maddog' Mattis


"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."
--Gen. James 'Maddog' Mattis


"It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government."
--Mercy Warren, 1805


"The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

"And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

Fair winds and following seas.
God Bless the American Dream!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 14 JAN 2016
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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 14 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Moved To Heaven's Gates
• C-rats Then MREs
• Standing Inspections Sir

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An American Marine aiming his M1 Garand rifle, whilst perched on Japanese ammunition crates on the Island of Iwo Jima, circa February/March 1945.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)


John Wayne Cracker

All this noise about C's. How many of you experts know how many holes there are in a John Wayne cracker?

Gunny W.


Moved To Heaven's Gates

Sgt. Grit,

I am sorry for the lateness of this obit for WW2 Marine Robert Dowdy. I only found out about his passing recently myself when I had attempted to call him for New Years Day.

Cpl. Dowdy and I had met each other during a Veterans Day Parade back in 2012. The parade was hosted by American Legion Post 238 of Teague, Texas of which I was a member. I say that I was a member as now the post has disbanded recently.

When Cpl. Dowdy told me that he had been on Guadalcanal in 1942 along with Col. Chesty Puller, I was thrilled beyond belief to meet a Marine that actually knew Col. Puller and had fought along side him. One day I asked him if he would autograph my 1st Edition copy of Guadalcanal Diary by Robert Tregaskis. He said that he didn't write that book. I explained that I knew that he didn't but I would be honored if, as a Marine who had lived through that battle, to have him autograph it for me.

I've attached a copy of the picture I took. I'm also attaching a picture of him riding his motoroized chair in the parade with his sign showing that he had joined the Marine Corps on December 9th of 1941. The third picture is Cpl. Dowdy with myself on the left and two Vietnam Veterans in 2013. All four men in the picture are Marines. The other two Marines are Steve Sevren and Dan Alley who are members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 991 of Palestine, Texas.

Cpl. Dowdy was born 12 October 1923 and moved to Heaven's Gates on 5 December 2015.

Rest in Peace, Marine.

Semper Fi,
Carl Conkling


C-rats Then MREs

Sgt. Grit,

Just had to weigh in on the MRE/C-rat dialogue. Reading MSgt Sullivan's post reminded me of the time period when the changeover was made as he and I went into the Corps the same year. Being a grunt, we ate C-Rats fairly often, but I don't recall when exactly that the MREs where first issued (I'm guessing around 1983), however, I do know that at least in 3/8 we never saw the C-rats again after we were first issued the MREs. Personally, the biggest change for me was not being able to use my John Wayne. I thought the meals, for the most part did taste better, although I did enjoy the ham and eggs in the C-Rats and did miss them. I seem to recall a somewhat tasty fruitcake slab, but the main course of the meals themselves did not impress me. I also liked the freeze-dried peaches and used to eat them in their solid state. It sounds crazy and grosses my wife out when I say it, but my absolute favorite food was the powdered eggs we were fed when we were served hot chow in the bush. I could not eat enough of them. I had to load them up with salt and sometimes a bit of hot sauce, but I loved them!

My daughter has my dogs tags along with my original John Wayne and it's a bit tarnished and rusted at the hinge so when she first saw it she said, "so you actually opened your food containers with this thing after if hung around your neck and absorbed all that dirt and nasty sweat on your body?" "Yup", was the best I could offer her! Semper Fi!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt
1981-1985


Now Reveille

As I read your quoting the sound of Reveille, I immediately thought about what a Marine heard over the squawk box every morning aboard an APA, or troop transport, USS Sandoval APA 194. It has never left my memory. First came the shrill of the Boatswain's Pipe, then...

"Now Reveille! All hands heave out and trice up. The smoking lamp is lit in all berthing compartments. Now Reveille!"

That was drummed into my head as an 0311 with D/1/6 on a Med Cruise in the Spring of '67. That lovely trip was followed by orders to 'Nam the following October.

Tom Moore
D/1/6, G/2/4


Used And Abused

Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit!

I don't know why it's so hard to believe we ate WWII/Korea C-Rats in Nam; I distinctly remember some dated 1947, the year I was born and some even earlier. The whole Marine Corps mission in Nam was, "Do More With Less". Most of our vehicles and equipment had been used and abused by the Navy and Army first. Thankfully, our support Marines made them like new.

Remember when you went through the line for your shots before shipping out to Nam? At the end of the line, you had to drop trou. to receive 10 cc. of GG in the rear. GG was a cure-all left over from WWII/Korea and was about as thick as petroleum jelly; it felt like a softball in your rear. There was a thinner, newer cure-all but that went to the other branches. Also, there was a newer, lighter flak jacket avail. in Nam but they went to the Army, Navy and Air Force; we wore the old surplus bulky, heavy ones.

Cpl. Bill Reed
RVN '68-'69


They Are Out There Right Now

Sgt. Grit,

I have to answer WMD on his comments about the breed that will never be duplicated. I strongly object. They are out there right now. They will answer the call in the same way the gentlemen WMD holds up as examples. Please, don't sell our brethren in our beloved Corps or those who will be in the future short. Who thought they would ever see the likes of Dan Daly or Smedley Butler ever again. I won't argue that all these men are a breed apart, but they never broke that mold that I know of. They really are out there. Waiting. Waiting for their chance. Their chance to answer the call of those who went before. "You plan to live forever?"

Oorah!
Sgt. R. S. Brayton '71-'75


Helluva Meal

At Khe Sanh in Jan. '68, our mess hall got blown away. C-Rats were issued. The first round we got was dated 1942! My Lucky's had a GREEN bullseye on it. About the only meal I didn't like was the Ham and Muthers! A little garlic powder (wife sent it to me), hot sauce, and anything was edible.

Loved the Beans and Franks, and Spaghetti. Trey and Tad would make a raid on the dry stores and bring back spaghetti noodles and other stuff. I could make a helluva meal out of beef with spiced sauce and the stuff they brought back.

Addison "Tex" Miller
HMC/FMF/USN Ret
Nam '67-'68


One Smell I Can Still Smell Today

Sgt. Grit,

In ITR in Sept '69 the C-rats we got to eat were dated either 1954 or '55. We were told to eat the chocolate disks if we were plugged up and the peanut butter if we had the runs. Cigarettes were all non-filtered and you could get 3 drags on them before they were all coal. Ham & mothers were the worst. Our troop handlers would turn the cases over so we got to pick a random meal. Also we were told that if we were issued M-16's in 'Nam like the ones we were issued in ITR, don't use the open flash suppressor to twist the wires holding the cases together. The open prongs of the flash suppressor could get bent and make your bullets go places you don't want them to go.

When I graduated from C&E Bn in Dec. '69 I reported aboard Camp Pendleton to Hq. Co. (Nucleus), 4th Marine Division. It was located at 24 Area and they were responsible for 64 Area on the northern border of Camp Pendleton. We had about 100 or so Quonset Huts and some supply warehouses. We had Navy SeaBee's use them when they would get training at the firing ranges before deployment to Vietnam. We also supported the Reserves by testing a lot of their comm gear before their 2-week summer training. When I was assigned to Camp Talega (64 Area) I found out if I wanted a hot meal I would have to get on a deuce and a half truck and be driven to a mess hall the grunts in 62 Area had. The other choice was to eat C-rats that the reserves had left in one of our warehouses from the previous summer. These C-rats were new, dated in early '69. Still had 4-pack cigarettes but all of them were of the filter variety. Ham and mothers were still in the mix. I liked the ham & eggs cold. Not many guys did. Also I had a room in a quonset hut by myself (big deal since I was a PFC). And I would just take a whole case of C-rats with me to my room. Didn't use heat tabs since we had a oil fired stove in the quonset hut. As the junior Marine I was always detailed to get the heating oil in 5 gal cans. That's one smell I can still smell today. Yuck.

I ate C-rats overseas but cannot remember what dates were on them. Still had ham and mothers though. And I got all of the ham & eggs I wanted. ;o)

Semper Fi,
Tom Tilque
Cpl, USMC, 1969-73

Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"


My Father Would Say

Reference Mr. Paul Jones' BAM story, my Mother was also a WWII "BAM", stationed with my Father at MCAS El Toro with Air Base Group 2 performing depot level maintenance on F4Us. She made it quite clear to us as we grew up that BAM stood for Beautiful American Marine while my Father would take us on the side and say it stood for Broad Axled Marines. It wasn't until I entered Boot Camp that I learned that "axled" wasn't quite the correct word. Take note that hanging on the Brass WWII marker next to her gravestone is a F4U in all its glory.

Semper Fi.

Jeff Howards
Sgt, 1973-1977


Mitey Mite

Probably originally developed to be internally carried in the big bug-eyed helo (H-37?) or under the H-34... from memory, thing was balanced so that with proper passenger distribution, it could be operated on only three wheels... also recall a period when they were all deadlined due to some repeating problem with wheels separating from the vehicle. A number of them made it into civilian hands, and they were somewhat popular with desert racer types... Battery Maintenance Chief for one of the 155MM Self-propelled batteries (M109's), maybe M/4/11 had one, used to drive it in to work at 29 Palms... painted gloss Marine Corps Green, had the yellow lettering on the hood, etc. 'USMC 007'... all kosher... this was maybe circa 1977 or so? Command museum at MCRD SD had one in the stairwell on the lower deck for several years... owner may have recovered it, wasn't there my last visit in 2015.

DDick


STANDING INSPECTIONS SIR

When I came home from Vietnam in 1967 and after a few weeks leave I reported to 2nd Shore Party Bn at Camp Lejeune, NC and was assigned to C Company. It was more or less a unit for us Shore Party short-timers. Almost everyone in C Company was a Vietnam Veteran with not enough time left to go on a cruise or be assigned to other duty stations that would require longer periods of time than we had left to serve on active duty. Oh, we trained just like we were going to war the next day. However, we were utilized a lot as a "force" for the grunts to practice, among other things, ambushing us and defending their perimeters from attacks by us.

Now, rewind to when I first got to C Company. There had been plans made for a group from the War College to come down and review an entire BLT. A battalion of grunts with all their supporting units and equipment was to line up single file along a stretch of highway out toward Onslow Beach and the reviewers would ride by sitting in bleachers bolted on flatbed trailers. All Marines know the drill. The entire BLT had to line up for the Battalions Commanders inspection first. Then, a few days later we went out and lined up again for the Base Commander and his staff to inspect. Then, after a couple of days of getting our gear all cleaned, our boots shined (again) and fresh starched utilities we went out and lined up for the War College to review.

The high command thought it went so well that they invited some other group, whose name I do not remember, to come and review us. You guessed it, we started the same routine all over again. Battalion Commander's inspection, Base Commander and his staff inspection and finally the second group that was invited to see what a BLT consisted of. With all the inspections and getting ready for them it kept us busy for at the least a couple weeks.

The story doesn't end here. Low and behold, after a few days we were informed that we were scheduled for an IG inspection... Junk on the bunk! So, we put all of our gear out for our Company Commander along with the 1st Sgt, and the Gunny to inspect. Then our Battalion Commander inspected us a day or two before the final inspection by the IG.

On the day the IG came we had our greens all cleaned and pressed, our shoes spit shined, our brass polished and all of our required gear laid out on our bunks in the correct order ready for the IG to inspect. As you probably well know, the IG was actually a full bird Colonel. As usually he would stop periodically and ask one of us a question. It might be our name, where we were from, etc. When he came to me I was totally not expecting what he asked me. "What is your job in this unit Cpl?" Not knowing anything else to tell him but the truth I said "STANDING INSPECTIONS SIR". A frown came on his face as he turned to our C.O. who, turned to the 1st Sgt, who then turned to the Gunny. The Gunny explained about the other inspections we had gone through and told them that I was right and that all I had done since I had been with C Company was stand inspections. The IG looked back at me, got a slight grin on his face and hurriedly went on with the inspection of the rest of the company.

I have often wondered what went on in the Company office after that day's inspection was completed. One can only imagine.

ONCE A MARINE
ALWAYS A MARINE
Bob Mauney
Cpl of Marines
Vietnam 1966/1967


The Old Ratio Story

Let us first define what correspondents mean, (or think they mean...) by using the term "C-rats". Generally accepted as meaning "Combat Ration(s), for most of the cohort reading the Grit newsletter, that is the "Meal, Combat, Individual". The MCI, or one meal in a (small) box did not come into being until 1958... so if you had a MCI (C-ration) issued to you with a printed date of, oh, say, 1945, then you are probably in need of Ex-lax, as your colon is at capacity. The 'old ration' story is as old as the end of a VFW bar story... told thousands of times over, but still BS...

If your personal manhood is challenged, you are invited to explore, via the internet, the history of field rations... Wikipedia is a starting place, queries into Natick Labs, the Army Quartermaster site, etc. may prove instructive, if a bit painful. To quote an old MLB umpire... "I calls them as I sees them" And BS is BS... you got something better, let's see a reference or a link...

DDick


WWII Dated C-rats

I write to confirm what Brad Hutchenrider wrote about WWII dated C-rats being issued during ops conducted by 7th Marines. I served about 5 months with the Army Advisors (running the District Operations and Intelligence Coordinating Center) at the foot of Hill 37, from July 1967 until about January or February 1968, then moved up to the 3/7 CP on Hill 37 and worked in direct support of 3/7. I believe I made every operation except Operation Allen Brook during my year long support of 3/7.

I would say to Mr. DDick that he should realize that while his men and he may not have been subjected to WWII dated C-Rats, many others were. Unless you sampled the food stock in every battalion, you should not be insulting other Marines by suggesting that they take a course in reading comprehension. BTW, I am an attorney and my reading comprehension is just fine, thank you, as it was in 1967 and 1968.

DDick, your experience was yours and yours alone. You should be man enough to admit it. Now that you have gotten my Irish up, I'll bid all a happy and healthy New Year.

Semper Fi,
Steve Shea
Sgt USMC


Chow Hound

All the talk about C-rations made me drag out this old photo from my first tour--a L/Cpl sitting on an ammo can in some ville enjoying my C's. Except for maybe the Ham and Slimers, I never complained about the C-Rats.

Semper Fidelis,
Gary Harlan
Sergeant of Marines/Chow Hound

Note:

Can you believe how young we were then?!?!

Sgt Grit


The Squids Screwed Us

After my 14-week vacation at MCRD San Diego earning my GEA in Platoon 293; thence another 6 weeks at 2nd ITR carrying a BAR in a Fire Team (mostly uphill); thence a 30-day boot leave to my home town to reacquaint myself with the "Rosie RC" of D.I. fame, putting up with my friends who had become immature azsholes; I was assigned as a Private to 81MM Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Bn, 7th MarDiv at Camp Las Pulgas at Pendleton about early November 1956. Thereafter for several months I enjoyed the usual drill humping "Sheep Sh-t" hill carrying the outer ring and digging mortar pits then moving out as soon as the pit was dug.

At that time many of the NCO's were Korean War vets and there were some just not to be f---ed with (ala Corporal Golden "don't call me Goldie you useless piece of s--t" who was the squad leader). Conversely Sergeant Marquez was a good guy as was S/Sgt Anderson who was the "Gunny". We spent a great deal of time in the field or aboard ship, and then in the field, making several landings at San Onofre and Santa Margarita and then humping inland for a week or more into the Pendleton hills.

Base chow as not bad but WWII C-Rats were field for chow for breakfast, lunch, and supper. These were issued in about 4" x 8" x 12" cardboard box containing what was purported to be 3 meals. The different boxes included cans of Lima Beans/Ham (consumption of MFRS was only justified to stave off starvation); or Pork/Noodles (dizzzzgusting and usually discarded) however the Beans/Weanies were very good (trade goods); Hamburgers (premium trade goods); Peaches or Pears (top of the market trade goods); Pound Cake (the gold standard for trade goods) and I also seem to recall a can of hardtack crackers (hard enough to be used for body armor and they must have been left over from the Civil War); also peanut butter and jelly packed separately in small round tins (these made excellent explosives when pitched into a campfire to scare the FNG's ); toilet paper that was totally insufficient in thickness, quality and quantity; also packets of powdered coffee and cocoa, salt, pepper, and sugar. The cigarettes were 5-packs of Camels, Chesterfields, or Lucky Strike (some still had the green logo). All were dried brown and prone to flaring up and guaranteed to singe eyebrows and sear lungs... but we smoked 'em. I don't remember any matches to light them with but most of us carried Zippo's. On one occasion we were issued K-Rats.

Later issues include 3 heat tabs to be lit by your Zippo (lighting these heat tabs in an enclosed space would cause immediate asphyxiation); also there were several small 2" x 2" aluminum foil packets of what was questionably called chicken soup paste (often discarded); and an opener we called an "eat-e-wah" or "John Wayne". These were usually carried on your dog tag chain. The trick was to take the cracker can, dispose of crackers, punch holes along the bottom with the "eat-e-wah", drop in the heat tabs; light them off, stand down wind (so your eyes did not boil out of your head from the heat tab fumes), cook your coffee, cocoa, or chicken soup in another can (but not in your canteen cup as doing so would burn the cr-p out of your lips), then savor with much gusto.

Here's a story: Later on, maybe the winter of 1958, H&S 3/7 was off the west coast aboard ship quartered in the back of 6x6 trucks for a week or so on the deck of an LST. On landing day, as a Sergeant, I was assigned with Sgt Charlie Bell who was the H&S supply NCO by H&S C.O. (Captain Smith?) to do a final check of quarters and be the last Marines off the ship; down a Jacobs ladder with packs and gear, and into a landing craft with our jeep and trailer with the C-Rats and ammo being pre-loaded by the squids. It was stormy and the LCP was overloaded and the jeep and trailer was not latched down properly. The boat broached and broad-sided when we hit the surf dumping jeep, trailer, C-Rats and ammo; along with me and Charlie into the surf. Charlie and I grabbed our packs and rifles from the wreck and waded ashore. Another LCP recovery craft came along side and pulled the LCP, jeep and trailer out of the surf. He hollered to us that he would send another boat to pick us up. Never did.

Charlie and I sat on the cold, rainy beach until it started to get dark and finally decided the squids screwed us. We weren't smart enough to earlier grab some of those C-Rats floating in the surf before they sank. However we did find the beach fairly littered with C-Rats discarded by earlier landing parties. Cold wet and hungry, at that point even cold those little packets of chicken soup paste with cold pork and noodles tasted just great. As it got darker Charlie and humped about 15 miles and got back to the company bivouac about midnight and, as I recall, Capt. Smith (he was a mustang) gave both of us absolute h-ll for letting the squids get away with our C-Rats and ammo.

Robert G.


Short Rounds

To My Brothers of 1st Btn, Pltn 132 Honor Pltn, Graduated 31 March 1966 -- MCRD, SD, 26 June '66 - 25 June '68.

Bless Us All & the Marine Corps -- Rest Well My Friends.

John Blair Raftree
Cpl, 2232--- USMC


All I want to do was tell Paul Jones who wrote the letter about his sister being a BAM that all Women Marines are still Beautiful American Marines. I saw a lot of them during my 4 years active and to me they were all Beautiful American Marines.

Jim Connor '55/'59
HQ FMFLant G-4 Secion


The chocolate which you thought was candy was not candy it was Ex-lax to keep you from having constipation and the only way to over come the Sh-ts was to eat Cheese. To stop you from getting the sh-ts. I still do that to my grands and they are in their mid 20"s and still haven't figured it out. And, when they come down with a cold it's Chicken Noodle Soup with hot sauce. Works Every time.

BY


Sgt. Grit,

It's been a while but I think it was "Reveille, reveille, all hands on deck. Hold a clean sweep down, fore and aft. Dump all trash over the fantail." (over, not off). Might be... could be... can't say for sure.

Cpl Rich Robbins


To answer SSgt's DH's question about liquid to wash down pound cake, save the pound cake until you get either a can of peaches or apricots, break the pound cake up in your canteen cup, add the fruit with the juices and enjoy!

USMC Ret.


Reunions

The Marine Embassy Guard Association, (MEGA), will be having it's annual Reunion in San Antonio, TX, from 6 to 10 April, 2016.

It will be held at the:

Holiday Inn River Walk
217 N St. Mary's Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

Semper Fi,
Denny Krause
dkrause40[at]gmail.com


Quotes

"When I was a young officer in 1979, I toured what was known as "The Killing Fields" in Cambodia. This is the area where the Khmer Rouge killed off nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population, something like 1.9 million people in just a few years. My guide told me that they started by rounding up all of the teachers. They wanted to extinguish free thought, and the spark of questioning and dissent. Because, to a Totalitarian dictator, an open and inquisitive mind is more dangerous even than a Marine with a rifle."
--General James Mattis


"I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character and who has energy enough to give them effect must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1808


"When Gen. Abrial arrived to relieve me as the supreme commander, only don't ask, don't tell kept me from hugging and kissing him."
--Gen. James 'Maddog' Mattis


"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."
--Gen. James 'Maddog' Mattis


"It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government."
--Mercy Warren, 1805


"The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

"And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

Fair winds and following seas.
God Bless the American Dream!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 07 JAN 2016

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 07 JAN 2016

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• Beautiful American Marine
• Old Corps Cannon Cockers
• Longevity Of The C-ration

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Marines climbing down the net from a landing craft in 1944

United States Marines climbing down the nets into landing craft during the Battle of Peleliu, September-November 1944.

(Photographer: Griffin Image courtesy of the United States Marine Corps History Division, Peleliu 117058. Colorized and researched by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)


Forty-Seven Years Ago

Forty-seven years ago on 31 December 1968, Platoon 1115 graduated from recruit training. On New Year's Day, they shipped out to 2nd ITR, Camp Pendleton, California. The few, the proud, the MARINES. Proud of them all.

Herb Brewer


That Poem

That poem, "The Night They Gunned Down Santa Claus" came down from 1stMarDiv, FMF in Chu Lai in 1966. I have one of the copies which were passed around. We joked that somebody at Division had way too much time on his hands, but we enjoyed it. At the time, India, 3/5 was on "Red Hill", roughly southwest of Tam Ky providing security for the Battalion and the village of Long Phu (Two).

Semper Fi,
Ski


Navy Corpsman Devil Doc Coin


Beautiful American Marine

In 1944, my sister joined the Marine Corps. She was 21 and I was nine. My brother was in the 82nd Airborne, but the Corps was what turned me on. After boot camp and training, she was stationed at MCAS Goleta, near Santa Barbara, Ca. My mother and I lived in Santa Monica, so we were able to see her a few times until she was discharged in 1946. I was a Cub Scout and remember a picture of us with her in her summer uniform, (I vaguely remember it as white with green stripes, with a green cover, but after 71 years, I can't swear to it) and me in my Cub Scout uniform. I came up about to her waist. My pride was immense! From that day, I wanted to be a Marine. She later married an old China Marine who served with the 4th Marines in the 30's, and he became my father figure when I went to live with them. Even from all those years ago, I was brain-washed by her to believe that "BAM" meant "Beautiful American Marine". Who was I to argue? Move ahead in time to 1956 when I went to visit her after I graduated from The Basic School, (it wasn't called "TBS" then) and we reprised the picture with me in my greens and her in civvies. At 6'1" and 200 plus, the difference was almost as striking as the 1946 picture. As some smart azs little brother, I chided her that BAM really meant "Broad Azzed Marine", and she had led me astray as a little boy. While my brother-in-law of course agreed, we didn't make a big fuss about it, because she WAS a Beautiful American Marine! Her pride in being a Marine was strong until the day ALS took her down after a tremendous fight and I delivered her to the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. For me, she will always be a Beautiful American Marine and I still miss her. God bless our Corps.

Paul Jones
1956-1963


Marine Corps Vietnam Ring

Marine Corps Vietnam ring front

Marine Corps Vietnam ring inside engraving

I am the Store Manager of Walmart in Flowood, MS and one of cart pushers found this on the parking lot trying to find the owner of this ring! I am sure it is important to them!

Allen Patterson


Old Corps Cannon Cockers

In the recent 31 Dec 15 Newsletter, the stalwart contributor DDick observed 'Things Change' and described the new Growler vehicle. Many of us old lanyard snapper Marines recall the M422 Mighty Mite [1,700 lbs, 850 lbs load] from 1959-65. This American Motors vehicle was exclusive to the Corps and, apparently, the precursor to the 'new' M1163 Prime Mover 'Growler' (aka the Clown Car) which tows the M327 Towed Rifled Mortar [120mm / 4.7 inch]. In the early '60s we had the M98 Howtar, an M30 4.2" /107mm mortar (the Four Deuce) mounted on the 75 Pack Howitzer frame from WWII.

The M422 Mighty Mite was 61" wide X 107" long (the 422A1 was 113"). The new M1163 is 59" X 163" but weighs 4,500+ lbs with a one-ton carry capacity.

The choke-factor is the cost: The M1163 runs about $1,078,000.; yeah, over One Million bucks... try explaining that to the Skipper if you 'lose' it! The M422 cost $5,000 in 1960 (big bucks in those days) which is about $40,000 in 2015 dollars.

As DDick observes, "things change" but, as the Old Corps cannon cockers know, nothing really does... After all, we're still loading the d-mned things from the muzzle.

C. Stoney Brook
A-1-11 / D-2-12
1961-65 0811/0844
Military Vehicle Collectors of California


Patriot Flag Case with Concealment


That Breed Will Never Be Duplicated

Sgt Grit,

Comm. Chief when I got to 11th Marines in Aug. '68 was a salty MSgt., "Top" Mitchell.

Top had enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor at age 16. Boot camp and then on to jump school and made it through the sifting & winnowing to become one of the vaunted Para-Marines. Age 16 went ashore at Tulagi on Aug. 7th 1941 with Edson's Raiders (while the 1st Div. landed on The Canal).

Nasty fighting on Tulagi. After securing that island, Top went with others to join 1st Mar. Div. on the big island. He was part of the valiant contingent that fought off major Jap. assault on Edson's Ridge fight. Awarded the Silver Star for his actions. Reiterate, age 16.

Top Mitchell, Gen. Hoffman and that breed will never be duplicated, will they!

Semper Fi!
WMD


A Good Pick

While I was at Gio Linh we were lucky to have Sgt. DL King in charge. We would get 12 cases of C-rats every month and we had to dash to the LZ to get the cases and bring them to our bunker because of mortars coming in to hit the chopper. DL went up EVERY time to help carry the cases back. One time DL was right behind me and got hit. The guys in the chopper jumped out and took him to Dong Ha. We were lucky because he was back in a month.

He would ALWAYS turn the case over and everyone, Private to Sgt., had the same chance to get a good pick. I will never forget DL King. His family owned the King ranch in Texas.

Sgt. RL Sisson, 12th Marines
July '68 - July '71
SEMPER FI


Only Real Old Rats

Seems like a lot of different experiences with our favorite meals. Only real old rats I remember were in ITR. In Nam we had mostly rats from the 50's at first then early 60's. Usually could tell by the brand of cigarettes inside. No filters meant early, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Chesterfield, most common. Later I remember Winston's, Salem, and later Marlboros. Maybe that older stuff was for the guys in the rear?

About the only meal I could not do something with to make it fit to eat was the scrambled eggs. With two or three Marines in a fox hole some edible combinations could be made as well. You made do or you got weak. While with 3/3 during '66-'67 monsoon at "old Payable" C's were all we had and that was iffy at times because of the weather.

I do remember getting some C-Rats dated 1965. We figured we were being confused with an Army unit, mud Marines never got new stuff.

Cpl. T.C. Mosher
I 3/3, CAP Hotel 8


Band Of Brothers

Clip from Band Of Brothers mini-series. I KNOW, I know it is army, but the message is universal and well done.

Watch the German General's Speech


Partial To The Spaghetti

To SSgt DH,

In 1981 we ate c-rats during the field training portion of boot camp. I don't remember anyone ever mentioning the date stamps so I don't know how old they were. The round chocolate candy items were called sh-t disk by our Drill Instructors. That was because they supposedly gave you the sh-t's and so were confiscated along with the cigs. We had no Tabasco to add to the food so it was all pretty bad, but yes ham and limas were the worst. Our Drill Instructors called them ham and motherf-ckers too. And yes the pork slices were way too salty. We never got a chance to try any of the meals warmed during boot camp, the heat tabs were also confiscated. Later during my first few years in the FMF I did become partial to the spaghetti and the beef, if there was cheese to add. I never did try the chocolate candy item. Don't remember ever seeing the turkey loaf. Eventually we switched to MREs and during the transition we'd occasionally have a trip or two to the field when c-rats would show up. Probably someone found them in a warehouse somewhere or they came out of the pre-positioned ship's stores or something. The MREs were supposed to be an improvement on c-rats, but weren't really much better. At least I didn't think so.

MSgt Kevin J. Sullivan


Longevity Of The C-ration

Hey Grit,

Any Marines who doubted the longevity of the C-ration (MCI) please read the following clip from Wikipedia concerning same.

In 1973, Army Colonel Henry Moak was issued a MCI ration during his stay in Vietnam. Included in the MCI ration was a can of pound cake, manufactured in 1969. He kept the unopened can and vowed to eat the pound cake when he retired from the Army. On July 24, 2009, with news media and dignitaries in attendance, Moak opened the forty-year-old can and ate the contents. He noted that the pound cake still looked and smelled like fresh pound cake.

An Hoa Combat base circa 1969... let the units eat at the field mess one time a day. My unit, 3rd 8in How Batt (SP) chose mid-day mess. All other eating was done out of the little green cans.

Deck, AC 2504732
USMC NCOAD (not currently on active duty)


Odd-Ball Questions

You might run some odd-ball questions... I keep seeing these things on FB, e.g. a picture of a P-38, or a claymore firing device, that say "forward if you know what this is... or have used one" etc.

First one that came to mind was do you know what a 'four-deuce box' is, or what it was used for? (no direct connection to 4.2 (107MM) mortars, BTW).

4.2 boxes were the standard size box used to move supplies, (sometimes known as "Mount-out boxes"). Wooden, had to be painted, would have unit tactical marks stenciled on it, always marked '4.2 cube' or 4.2 cubic feet. Came from somewhere in KD ('Knocked-down') form, had to be assembled, lined with special paper for water-proofing, etc... fodder for many a working party at company or battalion supply... usually found banded six to a pallet, with lids removed (stacked so 'lids' were on the outboard side)... instant shelving/warehousing... sort of. ('KD' had fallen out of vouge... today it is "RTA"... for 'Ready To Assemble'... e.g., most anything that comes from Ikea... also known as 'flat shipped').

Things gradually were replaced with Conex boxes, then 'sea-land containers' (a trademark name... Sea Land was one of the early shipping companies to use what are today ubiqitious shipping containers. Bar code and RFID gizmos have taken over.

Conex boxes would occasionally be the subject of twixes (messages...) bearing thinly veiled threats if units did not 'turn in' Conex boxes that had wound up in their area... many uses, including a ready made form for a sand-bagged bunker...

Other suggestions, if pictures can be found, might be a carbide lamp (used for years on the range to blacken iron sights with soot)... or one of those weird combination tools for an M1...

DDick


Camp Pendleton Staging Process During Vietnam

Those of us who were involved early in the war, we missed this evolution... many of us went straight from our CONUS command via Travis AFB Port-of-call, directly to Okinawa for processing and after about 3-days, right to our unit in Vietnam... those were the good old days, as they say.

Watch Camp Pendleton Staging Battalion During the Vietnam War


Haul A Cattle Car

I think Mr. Hutchenrider has his dates screwed up about the Cuban missile crisis. I was on active duty at Camp LeJeune during that time in Oct. 1962. (Google it) I worked 12 hrs. a day hauling troops from CLNC to Cherry Point and Morehead City so that they could get to Gitmo. I was a 4th & 5th echelon mechanic with MT Maint. Co., 2nd FSR, CLNC but had a tractor trailer license so I got to haul a cattle car.

The first time I had C-rations was in 1959 at Parris Island on the overnight to Elliot's Beach. They were 1940's vintage and had a pack of 5 cigarettes. Some of the later ones I had in the 1960's didn't have cigarettes.

Keep up the good work!

D.M.Logan LCpl. USMC


Most Of The Meal Made It

Have read a few of your articles about old C-Rations. When I was stationed at Cubic Point in Subic Bay, P.I. in 1963 as a sub unit from our base in Okinawa. When we were out in the field we always had a few cases of c-rats. I remember the date on the boxes because it was packaged the same year I was born... 1943! Wow, I was 20 years old and so was the food we were eating. Best meals were beans & franks, spaghetti & meat balls. Cans of fruit were good. We were instructed to throw away the beefsteak & potatoes... I guess somebody had gotten sick. The round chocolate bar was as hard as a brick & I don't think it would melt in the 106 degree daily temps we lived in with very little shade. I remember a small tin of "fruit" cake was pretty tasty. And the small pack of 4 or 5 cigarettes was nice since I did smoke back then. Hey, we were young guys and hungry. Once we traded the used battery from our PRC-10 backpack radio for some lobster & fish one of the native philippines had caught in the sea that same day. I cooked the lobster tail in the steel pot of my helmet and the fish by the fire. That was a real good meal that evening.

One other time while out in the field over Thanksgiving day, one of our officers flew us out our dinner. Special delivery by chopper... really no place to land so he dropped it down to us. Most of the meal made it in one piece, what a surprise. Had a lot of fun in the Philippines... Subic Bay.

Semper Fi Marines,
G. Bradshaw
Cpl. 1961 - 1965


I Carried And Qualified

Sgt Grit,

This Marine served from 1958 till 1962. Through MCRD until my discharge, I carried and qualified with the M-1 Garand rifle. I love this weapon and own one now.

During my time in the USMC, close-order-drill (COD) was a forever constant. The M-1 rifle lent itself to COD. Since this Marine never carried the AR-10, M-16 or M-4 or any other variant, he is ignorant of this rifle's manual-of-arms (MOA). How well does Eugene Stoner's rifle adapt to the MOA during COD?

Respectfully yours,
Thomas Gray
Corporal of Marines


Came From My Hometown

I worked as a plumber's helper in Wilmington, De, one summer before leaving for Parris Island in late 1968.

Now at boot camp things were going fast and furious. First official squad bay head call, our half of the platoon rushed into the head and quickly sat our butts on the available toilets, elbow to elbow, knee to knee, straining to finish, while the other half of the platoon counted off our short time to accomplish this anxiety laden excretory mission. Okay, done, wiped, utilities up... I turn to flush and see the shiny chrome flush valve component on every toilet is made in Wilmington, DE, at the Speakman Company. As a plumber's helper we were in that plumbing supply store almost every morning. For the rest of my head calls at Parris Island I had less anxiety knowing these toilets came from my hometown.

Also, I have a nephew at Parris Island, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 17th day of training as this is written.

Garent Gunther
USMC '68-'70


A Lot Of Good Memories

I had c-rats all four years from 1960-1964 in Hawaii, Philippines, and Camp LeJeune where ever we went and all of them were older than me. I was born in 1943 so think of that way. Some not so bad but on the whole I didn't like them unless you cut up some onions and mixed it up. My outfits I/3/4 K-Bay Hawaii, June 1961 to June 1963 and C/1/8 at LeJeune for the rest or my four years. Went on Med for 6 months in 1964 Jan. to June.

I read the newsletter every Thursday morning and it brings back a lot of good memories. Thank you!

Cpl. Moe LeBlanc 1937250


Parris Island

Okay, so I am just a little prejudiced... just a little.

Truth is that I was a "Hollywood Marine", trained at San Diego so I never got to know the true beauty of P.I. And, I never had to bury a sand flea either.

Watch Parris Island: Cradle of the Corps


Taps

Maj Risner, SSgt Cong, 1stSgt Dick Petterson, MSgt Hays in Chu Lai Vietnam

Civic Action book cover

Sgt Grit,

Taps were held on Saturday, Dec. 19th for 1stSgt Dick Petterson, USMC Retired. Attached picture: (L-R) Maj Rich Risner, SSgt P.T. Cong, 1stSgt Dick Petterson and me. We served together in Chu Lai in 1968 where he earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and a Purple Heart. You can read about him in my book, "Civic Action". His career spanned over 20 years beginning in 1955 as a machine gunner then retiring as a 1stSgt in 1978. He joins our former boss, Maj Rich Risner who passed in 2005 – "then there was one." Semper Fidelis Rich and Dick.

MSgt Gene Hays, USMC Retired

Get a copy of "Civic Action"


Former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers passed away on 1 January 2016.

RIP Sgt. D.L. Bumpers, USMC, WWII


Short Rounds

I had four rows of fruit salad, some battle stars and scars, and some hash marks. I swaggered up to the firing line and my first shot on record day was a ricochet deuce on the wrong target.

C.R. Milster, SSgt '45-'56


During ITR at Camp Pendleton in the summer of 1957, we were issued K-Rats during our field exercises. I remember the brown packages of Phillip Morris cigarettes, four cigs in each pack. For some reason, those in my Quonset hut who didn't smoke always threw their packs on my rack. Much appreciated, by the way.

1657XXX


A very Merry belated Christmas and a most joyful New Year to Sgt Grit and his staff!

SEMPER-FI!

Cpl C.E. Morgan (still lost somewhere in Northern I Corps along the DMZ)
Blessed be The Corps!


Sgt Grit,

As a proud eater of C-rats dated March 1945 in November 1962 during ITR at Camp Geiger, I wish to report that I'm now missing my appendix, my gall bladder and a piece of my pancreas. Anything to do with eating out of a can 'tinned' with lead solder?

L/CPL Rich


Quotes

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead..."
--Thomas Paine


"If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, "The Pretence of Knowledge" [December 11, 1974]


"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk."
--Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanastan, 20 September 2001, as reported on page 1 of the New York Times


"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can. I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done."
--Dean Alfange


"It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men."
--Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery


"H-ll, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--Marine Major General John F. Kelly


"Reveille, reveille, all hands reveille.
Clean sweep down fore and aft.
Empty all trash off the fantail."

"Get squared away Marine!
Get your sh-t together Marine!
Saddle up Marine!
Gun's up!"

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 07 JAN 2016
If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:
http://www.grunt.com/corps/newsletter/10947/

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 07 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Beautiful American Marine
• Old Corps Cannon Cockers
• Longevity Of The C-ration

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

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United States Marines climbing down the nets into landing craft during the Battle of Peleliu, September-November 1944.

(Photographer: Griffin Image courtesy of the United States Marine Corps History Division, Peleliu 117058. Colorized and researched by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)


Forty-Seven Years Ago

Forty-seven years ago on 31 December 1968, Platoon 1115 graduated from recruit training. On New Year's Day, they shipped out to 2nd ITR, Camp Pendleton, California. The few, the proud, the MARINES. Proud of them all.

Herb Brewer


That Poem

That poem, "The Night They Gunned Down Santa Claus" came down from 1stMarDiv, FMF in Chu Lai in 1966. I have one of the copies which were passed around. We joked that somebody at Division had way too much time on his hands, but we enjoyed it. At the time, India, 3/5 was on "Red Hill", roughly southwest of Tam Ky providing security for the Battalion and the village of Long Phu (Two).

Semper Fi,
Ski


Beautiful American Marine

In 1944, my sister joined the Marine Corps. She was 21 and I was nine. My brother was in the 82nd Airborne, but the Corps was what turned me on. After boot camp and training, she was stationed at MCAS Goleta, near Santa Barbara, Ca. My mother and I lived in Santa Monica, so we were able to see her a few times until she was discharged in 1946. I was a Cub Scout and remember a picture of us with her in her summer uniform, (I vaguely remember it as white with green stripes, with a green cover, but after 71 years, I can't swear to it) and me in my Cub Scout uniform. I came up about to her waist. My pride was immense! From that day, I wanted to be a Marine. She later married an old China Marine who served with the 4th Marines in the 30's, and he became my father figure when I went to live with them. Even from all those years ago, I was brain-washed by her to believe that "BAM" meant "Beautiful American Marine". Who was I to argue? Move ahead in time to 1956 when I went to visit her after I graduated from The Basic School, (it wasn't called "TBS" then) and we reprised the picture with me in my greens and her in civvies. At 6'1" and 200 plus, the difference was almost as striking as the 1946 picture. As some smart azs little brother, I chided her that BAM really meant "Broad Azzed Marine", and she had led me astray as a little boy. While my brother-in-law of course agreed, we didn't make a big fuss about it, because she WAS a Beautiful American Marine! Her pride in being a Marine was strong until the day ALS took her down after a tremendous fight and I delivered her to the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. For me, she will always be a Beautiful American Marine and I still miss her. God bless our Corps.

Paul Jones
1956-1963


Marine Corps Vietnam Ring

I am the Store Manager of Walmart in Flowood, MS and one of cart pushers found this on the parking lot trying to find the owner of this ring! I am sure it is important to them!

Allen Patterson


Old Corps Cannon Cockers

In the recent 31 Dec 15 Newsletter, the stalwart contributor DDick observed 'Things Change' and described the new Growler vehicle. Many of us old lanyard snapper Marines recall the M422 Mighty Mite [1,700 lbs, 850 lbs load] from 1959-65. This American Motors vehicle was exclusive to the Corps and, apparently, the precursor to the 'new' M1163 Prime Mover 'Growler' (aka the Clown Car) which tows the M327 Towed Rifled Mortar [120mm / 4.7 inch]. In the early '60s we had the M98 Howtar, an M30 4.2" /107mm mortar (the Four Deuce) mounted on the 75 Pack Howitzer frame from WWII.

The M422 Mighty Mite was 61" wide X 107" long (the 422A1 was 113"). The new M1163 is 59" X 163" but weighs 4,500+ lbs with a one-ton carry capacity.

The choke-factor is the cost: The M1163 runs about $1,078,000.; yeah, over One Million bucks... try explaining that to the Skipper if you 'lose' it! The M422 cost $5,000 in 1960 (big bucks in those days) which is about $40,000 in 2015 dollars.

As DDick observes, "things change" but, as the Old Corps cannon cockers know, nothing really does... After all, we're still loading the d-mned things from the muzzle.

C. Stoney Brook
A-1-11 / D-2-12
1961-65 0811/0844
Military Vehicle Collectors of California


That Breed Will Never Be Duplicated

Sgt Grit,

Comm. Chief when I got to 11th Marines in Aug. '68 was a salty MSgt., "Top" Mitchell.

Top had enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor at age 16. Boot camp and then on to jump school and made it through the sifting & winnowing to become one of the vaunted Para-Marines. Age 16 went ashore at Tulagi on Aug. 7th 1941 with Edson's Raiders (while the 1st Div. landed on The Canal).

Nasty fighting on Tulagi. After securing that island, Top went with others to join 1st Mar. Div. on the big island. He was part of the valiant contingent that fought off major Jap. assault on Edson's Ridge fight. Awarded the Silver Star for his actions. Reiterate, age 16.

Top Mitchell, Gen. Hoffman and that breed will never be duplicated, will they!

Semper Fi!
WMD


A Good Pick

While I was at Gio Linh we were lucky to have Sgt. DL King in charge. We would get 12 cases of C-rats every month and we had to dash to the LZ to get the cases and bring them to our bunker because of mortars coming in to hit the chopper. DL went up EVERY time to help carry the cases back. One time DL was right behind me and got hit. The guys in the chopper jumped out and took him to Dong Ha. We were lucky because he was back in a month.

He would ALWAYS turn the case over and everyone, Private to Sgt., had the same chance to get a good pick. I will never forget DL King. His family owned the King ranch in Texas.

Sgt. RL Sisson, 12th Marines
July '68 - July '71
SEMPER FI


Only Real Old Rats

Seems like a lot of different experiences with our favorite meals. Only real old rats I remember were in ITR. In Nam we had mostly rats from the 50's at first then early 60's. Usually could tell by the brand of cigarettes inside. No filters meant early, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Chesterfield, most common. Later I remember Winston's, Salem, and later Marlboros. Maybe that older stuff was for the guys in the rear?

About the only meal I could not do something with to make it fit to eat was the scrambled eggs. With two or three Marines in a fox hole some edible combinations could be made as well. You made do or you got weak. While with 3/3 during '66-'67 monsoon at "old Payable" C's were all we had and that was iffy at times because of the weather.

I do remember getting some C-Rats dated 1965. We figured we were being confused with an Army unit, mud Marines never got new stuff.

Cpl. T.C. Mosher
I 3/3, CAP Hotel 8


Band Of Brothers

Clip from Band Of Brothers mini-series. I KNOW, I know it is army, but the message is universal and well done.

Watch the German General's Speech


Partial To The Spaghetti

To SSgt DH,

In 1981 we ate c-rats during the field training portion of boot camp. I don't remember anyone ever mentioning the date stamps so I don't know how old they were. The round chocolate candy items were called sh-t disk by our Drill Instructors. That was because they supposedly gave you the sh-t's and so were confiscated along with the cigs. We had no Tabasco to add to the food so it was all pretty bad, but yes ham and limas were the worst. Our Drill Instructors called them ham and motherf-ckers too. And yes the pork slices were way too salty. We never got a chance to try any of the meals warmed during boot camp, the heat tabs were also confiscated. Later during my first few years in the FMF I did become partial to the spaghetti and the beef, if there was cheese to add. I never did try the chocolate candy item. Don't remember ever seeing the turkey loaf. Eventually we switched to MREs and during the transition we'd occasionally have a trip or two to the field when c-rats would show up. Probably someone found them in a warehouse somewhere or they came out of the pre-positioned ship's stores or something. The MREs were supposed to be an improvement on c-rats, but weren't really much better. At least I didn't think so.

MSgt Kevin J. Sullivan


Longevity Of The C-ration

Hey Grit,

Any Marines who doubted the longevity of the C-ration (MCI) please read the following clip from Wikipedia concerning same.

In 1973, Army Colonel Henry Moak was issued a MCI ration during his stay in Vietnam. Included in the MCI ration was a can of pound cake, manufactured in 1969. He kept the unopened can and vowed to eat the pound cake when he retired from the Army. On July 24, 2009, with news media and dignitaries in attendance, Moak opened the forty-year-old can and ate the contents. He noted that the pound cake still looked and smelled like fresh pound cake.

An Hoa Combat base circa 1969... let the units eat at the field mess one time a day. My unit, 3rd 8in How Batt (SP) chose mid-day mess. All other eating was done out of the little green cans.

Deck, AC 2504732
USMC NCOAD (not currently on active duty)


Odd-Ball Questions

You might run some odd-ball questions... I keep seeing these things on FB, e.g. a picture of a P-38, or a claymore firing device, that say "forward if you know what this is... or have used one" etc.

First one that came to mind was do you know what a 'four-deuce box' is, or what it was used for? (no direct connection to 4.2 (107MM) mortars, BTW).

4.2 boxes were the standard size box used to move supplies, (sometimes known as "Mount-out boxes"). Wooden, had to be painted, would have unit tactical marks stenciled on it, always marked '4.2 cube' or 4.2 cubic feet. Came from somewhere in KD ('Knocked-down') form, had to be assembled, lined with special paper for water-proofing, etc... fodder for many a working party at company or battalion supply... usually found banded six to a pallet, with lids removed (stacked so 'lids' were on the outboard side)... instant shelving/warehousing... sort of. ('KD' had fallen out of vouge... today it is "RTA"... for 'Ready To Assemble'... e.g., most anything that comes from Ikea... also known as 'flat shipped').

Things gradually were replaced with Conex boxes, then 'sea-land containers' (a trademark name... Sea Land was one of the early shipping companies to use what are today ubiqitious shipping containers. Bar code and RFID gizmos have taken over.

Conex boxes would occasionally be the subject of twixes (messages...) bearing thinly veiled threats if units did not 'turn in' Conex boxes that had wound up in their area... many uses, including a ready made form for a sand-bagged bunker...

Other suggestions, if pictures can be found, might be a carbide lamp (used for years on the range to blacken iron sights with soot)... or one of those weird combination tools for an M1...

DDick


Camp Pendleton Staging Process During Vietnam

Those of us who were involved early in the war, we missed this evolution... many of us went straight from our CONUS command via Travis AFB Port-of-call, directly to Okinawa for processing and after about 3-days, right to our unit in Vietnam... those were the good old days, as they say.

Watch Camp Pendleton Staging Battalion During the Vietnam War


Haul A Cattle Car

I think Mr. Hutchenrider has his dates screwed up about the Cuban missile crisis. I was on active duty at Camp LeJeune during that time in Oct. 1962. (Google it) I worked 12 hrs. a day hauling troops from CLNC to Cherry Point and Morehead City so that they could get to Gitmo. I was a 4th & 5th echelon mechanic with MT Maint. Co., 2nd FSR, CLNC but had a tractor trailer license so I got to haul a cattle car.

The first time I had C-rations was in 1959 at Parris Island on the overnight to Elliot's Beach. They were 1940's vintage and had a pack of 5 cigarettes. Some of the later ones I had in the 1960's didn't have cigarettes.

Keep up the good work!

D.M.Logan LCpl. USMC


Most Of The Meal Made It

Have read a few of your articles about old C-Rations. When I was stationed at Cubic Point in Subic Bay, P.I. in 1963 as a sub unit from our base in Okinawa. When we were out in the field we always had a few cases of c-rats. I remember the date on the boxes because it was packaged the same year I was born... 1943! Wow, I was 20 years old and so was the food we were eating. Best meals were beans & franks, spaghetti & meat balls. Cans of fruit were good. We were instructed to throw away the beefsteak & potatoes... I guess somebody had gotten sick. The round chocolate bar was as hard as a brick & I don't think it would melt in the 106 degree daily temps we lived in with very little shade. I remember a small tin of "fruit" cake was pretty tasty. And the small pack of 4 or 5 cigarettes was nice since I did smoke back then. Hey, we were young guys and hungry. Once we traded the used battery from our PRC-10 backpack radio for some lobster & fish one of the native philippines had caught in the sea that same day. I cooked the lobster tail in the steel pot of my helmet and the fish by the fire. That was a real good meal that evening.

One other time while out in the field over Thanksgiving day, one of our officers flew us out our dinner. Special delivery by chopper... really no place to land so he dropped it down to us. Most of the meal made it in one piece, what a surprise. Had a lot of fun in the Philippines... Subic Bay.

Semper Fi Marines,
G. Bradshaw
Cpl. 1961 - 1965


I Carried And Qualified

Sgt Grit,

This Marine served from 1958 till 1962. Through MCRD until my discharge, I carried and qualified with the M-1 Garand rifle. I love this weapon and own one now.

During my time in the USMC, close-order-drill (COD) was a forever constant. The M-1 rifle lent itself to COD. Since this Marine never carried the AR-10, M-16 or M-4 or any other variant, he is ignorant of this rifle's manual-of-arms (MOA). How well does Eugene Stoner's rifle adapt to the MOA during COD?

Respectfully yours,
Thomas Gray
Corporal of Marines


Came From My Hometown

I worked as a plumber's helper in Wilmington, De, one summer before leaving for Parris Island in late 1968.

Now at boot camp things were going fast and furious. First official squad bay head call, our half of the platoon rushed into the head and quickly sat our butts on the available toilets, elbow to elbow, knee to knee, straining to finish, while the other half of the platoon counted off our short time to accomplish this anxiety laden excretory mission. Okay, done, wiped, utilities up... I turn to flush and see the shiny chrome flush valve component on every toilet is made in Wilmington, DE, at the Speakman Company. As a plumber's helper we were in that plumbing supply store almost every morning. For the rest of my head calls at Parris Island I had less anxiety knowing these toilets came from my hometown.

Also, I have a nephew at Parris Island, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 17th day of training as this is written.

Garent Gunther
USMC '68-'70


A Lot Of Good Memories

I had c-rats all four years from 1960-1964 in Hawaii, Philippines, and Camp LeJeune where ever we went and all of them were older than me. I was born in 1943 so think of that way. Some not so bad but on the whole I didn't like them unless you cut up some onions and mixed it up. My outfits I/3/4 K-Bay Hawaii, June 1961 to June 1963 and C/1/8 at LeJeune for the rest or my four years. Went on Med for 6 months in 1964 Jan. to June.

I read the newsletter every Thursday morning and it brings back a lot of good memories. Thank you!

Cpl. Moe LeBlanc 1937250


Parris Island

Okay, so I am just a little prejudiced... just a little.

Truth is that I was a "Hollywood Marine", trained at San Diego so I never got to know the true beauty of P.I. And, I never had to bury a sand flea either.

Watch Parris Island: Cradle of the Corps


Taps

Sgt Grit,

Taps were held on Saturday, Dec. 19th for 1stSgt Dick Petterson, USMC Retired. Attached picture: (L-R) Maj Rich Risner, SSgt P.T. Cong, 1stSgt Dick Petterson and me. We served together in Chu Lai in 1968 where he earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and a Purple Heart. You can read about him in my book, "Civic Action". His career spanned over 20 years beginning in 1955 as a machine gunner then retiring as a 1stSgt in 1978. He joins our former boss, Maj Rich Risner who passed in 2005 – "then there was one." Semper Fidelis Rich and Dick.

MSgt Gene Hays, USMC Retired

Get a copy of "Civic Action"


Former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers passed away on 1 January 2016.

RIP Sgt. D.L. Bumpers, USMC, WWII


Short Rounds

I had four rows of fruit salad, some battle stars and scars, and some hash marks. I swaggered up to the firing line and my first shot on record day was a ricochet deuce on the wrong target.

C.R. Milster, SSgt '45-'56


During ITR at Camp Pendleton in the summer of 1957, we were issued K-Rats during our field exercises. I remember the brown packages of Phillip Morris cigarettes, four cigs in each pack. For some reason, those in my Quonset hut who didn't smoke always threw their packs on my rack. Much appreciated, by the way.

1657XXX


A very Merry belated Christmas and a most joyful New Year to Sgt Grit and his staff!

SEMPER-FI!

Cpl C.E. Morgan (still lost somewhere in Northern I Corps along the DMZ)
Blessed be The Corps!


Sgt Grit,

As a proud eater of C-rats dated March 1945 in November 1962 during ITR at Camp Geiger, I wish to report that I'm now missing my appendix, my gall bladder and a piece of my pancreas. Anything to do with eating out of a can 'tinned' with lead solder?

L/CPL Rich


Quotes

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead..."
--Thomas Paine


"If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, "The Pretence of Knowledge" [December 11, 1974]


"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk."
--Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanastan, 20 September 2001, as reported on page 1 of the New York Times


"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can. I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done."
--Dean Alfange


"It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men."
--Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery


"H-ll, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--Marine Major General John F. Kelly


"Reveille, reveille, all hands reveille.
Clean sweep down fore and aft.
Empty all trash off the fantail."

"Get squared away Marine!
Get your sh-t together Marine!
Saddle up Marine!
Gun's up!"

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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All rights reserved
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888-NOV-1775
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Sgt Grit Newsletter 31 DEC 2015

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 31 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats
• Honoring An Old Corps Warrior
• Brand New M-14s

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

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Marching Forward Into 2016

Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Be safe and let's all march forward into 2016 with confidence, honor, and pride!

Semper Fi


Enlisted Rank Display

Liquid metal usmc enlisted rank signs with the light on

Liquid metal usmc enlisted rank signs with the light off

These photos were sent in by MGySgt Isaiah Price from Easley, SC. His display of his Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Signs is simply outstanding!

Get your very own today at:

Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Sign

Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Sign


Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats

I entered the Corps in Oct. 1963 and was discharged from active duty Oct. 1967. I served with the 2nd Marines for two inputs which included sitting off the coast of Cuba on a LST 1174 (Grant County) waiting for the word to load onto the landing craft. That day was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear war. A lot of people don't know this. Point is, in my pack were 3 boxes of C-Rats with a 1945 date. Not thinking too much about it, we were glad to have anything to keep from going without. True, some of the boxes (B-2 = B-3 units) were disgusting, but adding the can of jam made it palatable. Barely! In 1966, I was sent to Viet Nam as one of the first replacements for the initial landing party that first put troops on the ground in mass. The 7th Marines were my new brothers. Our base was around the airstrip at Chu Lai for the most part, excluding the 32 operations, sweeps and 30 plus days at the DMZ. Back to the main point, the only food we ever saw was C-Rats (1945) when we were in the field and B-rats if we were in the Battalion area, which was very few times. I served 13 months with the 7th Marines and yes, we were winning when I left. I'd like to thank DDick for the short paragraph this month. Some of his stories should be bound and sold as a book. I left the 'Nam in March 1967 and finished my tour at Quantico with Forced Demonstration Troops. The six months that I was there I only saw C-Rats if we were in the field, so yes C-Rats were present during that period. I hope everybody has a great Holiday and God Bless the Marine Corps.

Brad Hutchenrider
Sgt of Marines


G10 Handled KA-BARS


The Old Breed

Kenn and the Old Breed MCL det at the start of the parade

Kenn and the Old Breed MCL det behind his El Camino

These are pictures of my El Camino in our local parade. Got the emblems from you. Last week I had a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the front fender. At a gun show last week a Marine from Calif. had to have it, so I sold it to him. Wish he could have waited l week. I am in the lst MAR AIRWING and the Old Breed.

Semper Fi
Kenn Kemper


The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Having succeeded in stirring up a sh-tstorm with my commentary on antique rations, will comment on something that changed in the labeling of the Meal, Combat, Individual in early '66... we usually got four full cases (4X12 = 48) up to the platoon position (1stPlt, K/3/5)... we usually had, counting our two corpsmen, a strength of 45. This meant that there were (usually) three "extra" rations. Although distribution was ordinarily the guide's job, the 'extras' were another issue (pun intended)... as the Plt Sgt, I arbitrarily decreed that the Plt Hq folks, including the Lt and myself were not in the competition. The remaining meals were left in an otherwise empty case, shuffled about, with the lable side down. Each squad leader got to pick one... and how it was shared within his squad was up to him. This worked fine for a few weeks, until some sillyvillian back in the land of the big PX got the bright idea to improve things by labeling both the top and bottom flaps of the box... wiped out what I thought was a fair and just system... the law of unintended consequences in action!

For SSGT Carl Turner... yo, hoss... it didn't all happen in '67-'68... DDICK was there '66-'67 (K/3/5 and H&S 1st TKs), and '69-'70 (FLSG B, Dong Ha/Quang Tri/Red Beach, last six months as OIC of LSU-1 at AnHoa... guess what we issued beaucoup tons of? (besides ammo?)... and I still say BS. Suggest you find a retired food services officer (mostly mustangs... while a mustang, my MOS's are mostly ordnance)... and tell him to his face that he was negligent in his duties... also suggest you find a remedial course in reading/comprehension...

DDick


USMC Golf Shirts


Infantry Unit Leaders

Sgt. Grit,

Great article by Ms. Karen Peden and we 0369 (Infantry Unit Leaders) can attest to her story. We didn't sleep cause we just couldn't, we were responsible to our troops, you can't wake up to a situation and be able to make a quick decision, sure you have your OP and LPs out, but what if they fell asleep. Most of us former 'Nam 0369's are in our late 60's to early 70's and I will bet we only sleep five hours a night now, yet we are the lucky ones or was it that we never slept!

Semper Fi
RamTwo
0311,0369
Nam 03/67 - 10/68


1st LAAM Bn Around DaNang

If any of your readers could assist me in finding the following book, I would really appreciate it: "Heart of the Third Sector Hill 55" by George Hill. Even Amazon said they did not think they could obtain the book. Stan Buliszyn from HAWK Association told me about it. It is about 1st LAAM Bn around DaNang. I know Ron was at DaNang and I remember him mentioning Hill 55--I really want that book!

On a different note, I talked to a Marine last night at the American Legion/ VFW Christmas party. She had also been stationed at Ron's last duty unit in Fresno (which has since moved to Lemoore Naval Air Station). She is now a member of Marine Detachment 14 in Fresno. She knew I had been a WAC Lt. and was the Historian in my American Legion post and informed me that I could join the detachment as a Marine spouse associate. I had no clue I could have any type of membership in that Marine organization and am seriously considering joining since I am very partial to Marines!

Karen Balske


I Know... What I Don't Know

I know that I liked the beans and franks, hot or cold. I know that I liked boned chicken, hot or cold (if you could scoop off the fat with something). I know that ham and eggs were great if you used a good amount of Tabasco. I know that, no matter how much Tabasco you added, ham and lima beans were a medical disaster and were the reason that toilet paper was added to the box. I know that turkey loaf was one step above ham and moth... sorry lima beans. I know spaghetti with sauce was outstanding hot or cold. I know that as a non-smoker, four little cigarettes were traded for whatever you wanted. I know that warming anything with mortar increments was a bad idea.

What I don't know or remember was how much liquid you have to have available to wash down pound cake. I remember the word "dense" when I think of pound cake. What I don't know or remember is was it the chocolate discs that plugged you up or the cheese, or the other way around. What I don't know or remember was if you got ham and lima beans AND the cheese in the same box, was there enough toilet paper. What I don't know or remember is why in the world would a person actually think of adding salt to the pork slices.

SSgt DH
'Nam '69-'70


Honoring An Old Corps Warrior

Colonel and GySgt honoring WWII Veteran PFC Hamilton Jr.

Cake cutting honoring WWII Veteran PFC Hamilton Jr.

Col. Mark Roy of Denton County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Hanson, Collin County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, honoring Pfc. Hanse Hamilton, Jr. Iwo Jima Purple Heart, 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment. Radio Operator.

Paul Hamilton


Just Three Ribbons

Sgt. Grit,

In a movie some years ago one of the actors said: "I'VE BEEN AROUND, YOU KNOW" and I've thinking of that while sitting here at my computer. I wish I had a computer back in 1944 when I was Young and Dumb. There was a War going on and I just had to be in it. So I enlisted and served at Guam some months after the Invasion, I served at Okinawa during the Invasion. I don't want people to think I landed there, but I was aboard ship watching the Battle going on through a telescope a Sailor had mounted (most of the time Officers were at the scope but if you waited you could find a spot late at night) usually shells bursting and all the rifle and Machine Gun fire you could see a bit of what was going on. After the War and I came home, my Record Book said I rated the Asiatic and Pacific Battle Ribbon with two Battle Stars.

Now in those days you didn't get ribbons for much so when I came home I had but three ribbons with two stars in the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon and the World War II Victory Ribbon. Only Heroeos (as I remember it) came home covered in Ribbons and Medals. BUT, I did have my Rifle Experts Badge and my Pistol Experts Badge (which was the ladder kind) where an Audie Murphy Type could string all kinds of award ladders like Machine Gun, Carbine, Rocket Launcher). But, you had to Qualify for these weapons to get the ladder pieces. But my poor Brother who had went in to the Navy in 1942 and was on the U.S.S. Sperry, a Submarine Tender which went all over the Pacific Ocean and Serviced Submarines, dodged Japanese Torpedoes and such, came home with just three ribbons, no stars, no nothing but three Ribbons.

I read and heard later the Department of the Navy was going to do something about that, but never did. So many men that Served in Battles didn't Quality for a Battle Star. 'Tis a Bit different Now, ribbons for nearly everything which is only Fair because they Served Their country in some capacity.

GySgt. F. L. ROUSSEAU, USMC Retired


No Apparent Reason

Joined Aug. 6th 1953, six of us from Miami, OK, were sent to SD boot and there were 3 yahoos from New Jersey who had joined together and really thought they were BAD dudes... joint beat downs of individuals... sucker punching etc... Never bothered the Okies too much for no apparent reason. We were coming back from mess duty at the rifle range at Camp Matthews... we're at route step so gabbing all the way. They chose that time to grab and spread eagle me and offer me severe punishment for no apparent reason. One of the other Okies stepped up and said this has gone on long enough... if you don't want to get hurt it ends here. They laughed which was big big mistake... he punched one in the face... kicked another in his family jewels and turned to the third and said if this goes on you will be badly hurt. End of scene. I never understood why the DI hadn't intervened, but guess he just wanted to see how it worked out. Of course one of the Jr. DI's heard about it and started riding Thom... said could you take me etc. etc... never when Sr. was present, but always when he wasn't. We were qualifying and living in the tents and one day he pushed too hard so Thom took him in an empty tend and kicked his butt...left marks and scars, so Sr. DI found out... asked him what happened then asked Thom why and was told he will not leave it alone. After telling him, the offending DI, how dumb he was... he was transferred and we never heard about him again. Incidentally the 3 hoods became excellent Marines and found no reason to cause trouble thereafter...

Sgt Don Wackerly
'53-'56


Merry Christmas And Happy New Year

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year to all of you. May GOD continue to bless and keep you in HIS hands. Much love from our home to yours. GOD Bless, Semper Fidelis!

Jerry

Merry Christmas from Jerry and his wife


Brand New M-14s

Cpl Spilleth with a brand new M-14

Picture of me in front of a banyan tree across the street from my barracks at Kaneohe Bay around the end of 1962 or early '63. I had just returned from the first PRT that was required by the Commandant for all Marines. My squadron, VMA 212 were issued the brand new M-14s to run the course. You can see that it still had a plastic protector over the bore. I recall a rumor going around at the time that the new 7.62 ammo for the M-14 was not powerful enough to even make a hole in the targets at 200 yards. I had a problem with my 14 on qualification day when the flash suppressor set screws came loose. My rounds were all over the target before the armorer figured it out by pointing to the brass streaks the rounds made as they left the barrel. Never had that problem with my M-1. With a clip and two rounds, watch your target, TARGET! BAM,BAM, clink; re-load with a full eight rounds and put all ten in the black at 500 yards. Nothing to worry about coming loose and the .30 caliber always made a hole.

Norm (Spoof) Spilleth
Cpl. E-4, '60-'64


Tired, Cold, Hungry

Yes, he is out there.
Tired, cold, hungry, p-ssed off, filthy, aches all over that extra strength Tylenol can barely dent.
Humping a ruck that is way too heavy laden with cr-p that some Fobbit who has never been outside the wire thinks is necessary.
His gear is worn but serviceable, his weapons pristine.
He's sitting on the top of some worthless mountain in the middle of some worthless piece of real estate that nobody except politicians care for.

And while he is on that mountain top he is telling the world, "Come push me off, if you can, you son of a b-tch!"

And grinning while he does so.

So here's a Merry Christmas to you, my hero.
A Teenaged American Infantryman and all his mates.

They humble me.

TS


They Are Still Being Used

A recruit of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, listens as his range coach reviews his shots and advises him at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Nov. 27. Recruits learn and apply shooting fundamentals during grass week and firing week. They will qualify on the last day of firing week.

Photo by Cpl Liz Gleason

A recruit at the rifle range with his coach wearing a pith helmet


K-Rats

I read all this about C-rats this and that... doesn't anyone remember K-rats? Seems to me we also had K-rats, which had the cig's included. In my 27 yrs, I've had C's, K's, and MRE's. The K's were the only ones with cigarettes. I'm 80 yrs old but still remember them.

God bless the Corps and have a happy New Year!

MSgt. B. Krieger


Things Change

Things change... supported M/4/11 for a while at An Hoa (1970), knew they were at 29 Palms in the mid late '70's... at the time, the batteries were operating M109A (something... kept changing with modifications to the tube, rammer, etc, for example A1, A2, A3)... also had some 8" and 175MM batteries there at the time. As of today, I don't think the Corps has any self-propelled arty most having gone away after Desert Storm... any 105's are strictly for saluting purposes, and some of the 155 batteries can be dual-purpose, having also some towed 4.2 mortars (used to usually be a 'Whiskey' battery... these are towed with a special small vehicle, called a 'growler', which can be carried internally in an Osprey... think it's a M1116, but don't quote me.) Had the opportunity to visit 11th Marines gun park at Las Pulgas (Pendleton) in August as part of 1stMarDiv Reunion... they ran a gun drill for us... pretty impressive, and the first time in my life saw a curved rammer staff used. I believe one battalion, probably 3/11 is more or less permanently at 29 Palms... and using a newer 155 (M777??)...

My bad... Growler is a M1161... cute lil' sucker... besides fitting inside an Osprey, read that it also can be 'stacked' (one on top of another... aboard ship, maybe?)... I can hear it now (from the Company Gunny...) "Platoon Sergeants... I want four men from each platoon to re-stack Growlers!"

DDick


Taps

Last month I found out Sgt. H. Ermish, Ret. Capt. (after 27 years) has died.

John A.


Short Rounds

Probably the worst thing found in C-rations was "white bread". It was dry and tasteless. The most embarrassing part was that it was made in my hometown of Kansas City.

Sgt. C. Jones
RVN '65-'66


Sgt. Grit,

The lady that wrote "The One That Slept The Least" has her sh-t together. Her article was written with great perception and accuracy for someone that wasn't there. She listens well and did a great job of explaining the job of a Marine infantry squad leader. A tough and demanding job.

B/1/9


Don't quite remember seeing a date on the c-rat box, probably cause I wasn't looking for it, however I did notice the pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes was green, not red and white, kind of gave it away.

Dick Watson
K-6 Korea, 1953
Semper Fi


I got a yellow boot camp sweatshirt for Christmas. I will wear it proudly just like I did in San Diego in June of 1968!

DJ Retired Gentleman, Golfer, and Man of Leisure


You Salty Marines please forgive this boot for the question that I must ask, but does anyone know how long a c-ration was designed to keep for? I have read the newsletter every week trying to determine what the outcome would be as to whether or not WWII C-rations were consumed by Vietnam War Marines. There is a span of about 20 plus years between the end of WWII and the widely recognized beginning year of the Vietnam War. Was the technology or the science that d-mn good back then that they could make a ration that would keep for 20 plus years?

I was in from '00-'07, deployed in '02 in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (GWOT). During my time I only had to endure consuming MRE's. Depending on the temperature that they were stored at, most MRE's had a shelf life between 1 month to 5 years. That's a long way off from the 20 year plus span of time of the C-ration... if accurate.

For you Vietnam War Marines, if you did have to endure the WWII C-rations... I'm just glad that you guys had some strong or should I say seasoned digestive systems and didn't fall victim to food poisoning.

Here's a link I found about the different types of rations issued since 1907.

C-Ration

Semper Fi,
J. Williams
Sgt of Marines
'00-'07


Quotes

"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
--George Washington, 1790


"I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means."
--John Adams, 1776


"A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine."
--General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps


"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders


"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!"

"The navy and women wear pants; Marines wear trousers."

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 31 DEC 2015
If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:
http://www.grunt.com/corps/newsletter/10933/

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 31 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats
• Honoring An Old Corps Warrior
• Brand New M-14s

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Be safe and let's all march forward into 2016 with confidence, honor, and pride!

Semper Fi


Enlisted Rank Display

These photos were sent in by MGySgt Isaiah Price from Easley, SC. His display of his Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Signs is simply outstanding!

Get your very own today at:

Marine Corps Liquid Metal Enlisted Rank Sign


Cuba, Viet Nam, C-rats

I entered the Corps in Oct. 1963 and was discharged from active duty Oct. 1967. I served with the 2nd Marines for two inputs which included sitting off the coast of Cuba on a LST 1174 (Grant County) waiting for the word to load onto the landing craft. That day was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear war. A lot of people don't know this. Point is, in my pack were 3 boxes of C-Rats with a 1945 date. Not thinking too much about it, we were glad to have anything to keep from going without. True, some of the boxes (B-2 = B-3 units) were disgusting, but adding the can of jam made it palatable. Barely! In 1966, I was sent to Viet Nam as one of the first replacements for the initial landing party that first put troops on the ground in mass. The 7th Marines were my new brothers. Our base was around the airstrip at Chu Lai for the most part, excluding the 32 operations, sweeps and 30 plus days at the DMZ. Back to the main point, the only food we ever saw was C-Rats (1945) when we were in the field and B-rats if we were in the Battalion area, which was very few times. I served 13 months with the 7th Marines and yes, we were winning when I left. I'd like to thank DDick for the short paragraph this month. Some of his stories should be bound and sold as a book. I left the 'Nam in March 1967 and finished my tour at Quantico with Forced Demonstration Troops. The six months that I was there I only saw C-Rats if we were in the field, so yes C-Rats were present during that period. I hope everybody has a great Holiday and God Bless the Marine Corps.

Brad Hutchenrider
Sgt of Marines


The Old Breed

These are pictures of my El Camino in our local parade. Got the emblems from you. Last week I had a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the front fender. At a gun show last week a Marine from Calif. had to have it, so I sold it to him. Wish he could have waited l week. I am in the lst MAR AIRWING and the Old Breed.

Semper Fi
Kenn Kemper


The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Having succeeded in stirring up a sh-tstorm with my commentary on antique rations, will comment on something that changed in the labeling of the Meal, Combat, Individual in early '66... we usually got four full cases (4X12 = 48) up to the platoon position (1stPlt, K/3/5)... we usually had, counting our two corpsmen, a strength of 45. This meant that there were (usually) three "extra" rations. Although distribution was ordinarily the guide's job, the 'extras' were another issue (pun intended)... as the Plt Sgt, I arbitrarily decreed that the Plt Hq folks, including the Lt and myself were not in the competition. The remaining meals were left in an otherwise empty case, shuffled about, with the lable side down. Each squad leader got to pick one... and how it was shared within his squad was up to him. This worked fine for a few weeks, until some sillyvillian back in the land of the big PX got the bright idea to improve things by labeling both the top and bottom flaps of the box... wiped out what I thought was a fair and just system... the law of unintended consequences in action!

For SSGT Carl Turner... yo, hoss... it didn't all happen in '67-'68... DDICK was there '66-'67 (K/3/5 and H&S 1st TKs), and '69-'70 (FLSG B, Dong Ha/Quang Tri/Red Beach, last six months as OIC of LSU-1 at AnHoa... guess what we issued beaucoup tons of? (besides ammo?)... and I still say BS. Suggest you find a retired food services officer (mostly mustangs... while a mustang, my MOS's are mostly ordnance)... and tell him to his face that he was negligent in his duties... also suggest you find a remedial course in reading/comprehension...

DDick


Infantry Unit Leaders

Sgt. Grit,

Great article by Ms. Karen Peden and we 0369 (Infantry Unit Leaders) can attest to her story. We didn't sleep cause we just couldn't, we were responsible to our troops, you can't wake up to a situation and be able to make a quick decision, sure you have your OP and LPs out, but what if they fell asleep. Most of us former 'Nam 0369's are in our late 60's to early 70's and I will bet we only sleep five hours a night now, yet we are the lucky ones or was it that we never slept!

Semper Fi
RamTwo
0311,0369
Nam 03/67 - 10/68


1st LAAM Bn Around DaNang

If any of your readers could assist me in finding the following book, I would really appreciate it: "Heart of the Third Sector Hill 55" by George Hill. Even Amazon said they did not think they could obtain the book. Stan Buliszyn from HAWK Association told me about it. It is about 1st LAAM Bn around DaNang. I know Ron was at DaNang and I remember him mentioning Hill 55--I really want that book!

On a different note, I talked to a Marine last night at the American Legion/ VFW Christmas party. She had also been stationed at Ron's last duty unit in Fresno (which has since moved to Lemoore Naval Air Station). She is now a member of Marine Detachment 14 in Fresno. She knew I had been a WAC Lt. and was the Historian in my American Legion post and informed me that I could join the detachment as a Marine spouse associate. I had no clue I could have any type of membership in that Marine organization and am seriously considering joining since I am very partial to Marines!

Karen Balske


I Know... What I Don't Know

I know that I liked the beans and franks, hot or cold. I know that I liked boned chicken, hot or cold (if you could scoop off the fat with something). I know that ham and eggs were great if you used a good amount of Tabasco. I know that, no matter how much Tabasco you added, ham and lima beans were a medical disaster and were the reason that toilet paper was added to the box. I know that turkey loaf was one step above ham and moth... sorry lima beans. I know spaghetti with sauce was outstanding hot or cold. I know that as a non-smoker, four little cigarettes were traded for whatever you wanted. I know that warming anything with mortar increments was a bad idea.

What I don't know or remember was how much liquid you have to have available to wash down pound cake. I remember the word "dense" when I think of pound cake. What I don't know or remember is was it the chocolate discs that plugged you up or the cheese, or the other way around. What I don't know or remember was if you got ham and lima beans AND the cheese in the same box, was there enough toilet paper. What I don't know or remember is why in the world would a person actually think of adding salt to the pork slices.

SSgt DH
'Nam '69-'70


Honoring An Old Corps Warrior

Col. Mark Roy of Denton County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Hanson, Collin County Texas Detachment Marine Corps League, honoring Pfc. Hanse Hamilton, Jr. Iwo Jima Purple Heart, 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment. Radio Operator.

Paul Hamilton


Just Three Ribbons

Sgt. Grit,

In a movie some years ago one of the actors said: "I'VE BEEN AROUND, YOU KNOW" and I've thinking of that while sitting here at my computer. I wish I had a computer back in 1944 when I was Young and Dumb. There was a War going on and I just had to be in it. So I enlisted and served at Guam some months after the Invasion, I served at Okinawa during the Invasion. I don't want people to think I landed there, but I was aboard ship watching the Battle going on through a telescope a Sailor had mounted (most of the time Officers were at the scope but if you waited you could find a spot late at night) usually shells bursting and all the rifle and Machine Gun fire you could see a bit of what was going on. After the War and I came home, my Record Book said I rated the Asiatic and Pacific Battle Ribbon with two Battle Stars.

Now in those days you didn't get ribbons for much so when I came home I had but three ribbons with two stars in the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon and the World War II Victory Ribbon. Only Heroeos (as I remember it) came home covered in Ribbons and Medals. BUT, I did have my Rifle Experts Badge and my Pistol Experts Badge (which was the ladder kind) where an Audie Murphy Type could string all kinds of award ladders like Machine Gun, Carbine, Rocket Launcher). But, you had to Qualify for these weapons to get the ladder pieces. But my poor Brother who had went in to the Navy in 1942 and was on the U.S.S. Sperry, a Submarine Tender which went all over the Pacific Ocean and Serviced Submarines, dodged Japanese Torpedoes and such, came home with just three ribbons, no stars, no nothing but three Ribbons.

I read and heard later the Department of the Navy was going to do something about that, but never did. So many men that Served in Battles didn't Quality for a Battle Star. 'Tis a Bit different Now, ribbons for nearly everything which is only Fair because they Served Their country in some capacity.

GySgt. F. L. ROUSSEAU, USMC Retired


No Apparent Reason

Joined Aug. 6th 1953, six of us from Miami, OK, were sent to SD boot and there were 3 yahoos from New Jersey who had joined together and really thought they were BAD dudes... joint beat downs of individuals... sucker punching etc... Never bothered the Okies too much for no apparent reason. We were coming back from mess duty at the rifle range at Camp Matthews... we're at route step so gabbing all the way. They chose that time to grab and spread eagle me and offer me severe punishment for no apparent reason. One of the other Okies stepped up and said this has gone on long enough... if you don't want to get hurt it ends here. They laughed which was big big mistake... he punched one in the face... kicked another in his family jewels and turned to the third and said if this goes on you will be badly hurt. End of scene. I never understood why the DI hadn't intervened, but guess he just wanted to see how it worked out. Of course one of the Jr. DI's heard about it and started riding Thom... said could you take me etc. etc... never when Sr. was present, but always when he wasn't. We were qualifying and living in the tents and one day he pushed too hard so Thom took him in an empty tend and kicked his butt...left marks and scars, so Sr. DI found out... asked him what happened then asked Thom why and was told he will not leave it alone. After telling him, the offending DI, how dumb he was... he was transferred and we never heard about him again. Incidentally the 3 hoods became excellent Marines and found no reason to cause trouble thereafter...

Sgt Don Wackerly
'53-'56


Brand New M-14s

Picture of me in front of a banyan tree across the street from my barracks at Kaneohe Bay around the end of 1962 or early '63. I had just returned from the first PRT that was required by the Commandant for all Marines. My squadron, VMA 212 were issued the brand new M-14s to run the course. You can see that it still had a plastic protector over the bore. I recall a rumor going around at the time that the new 7.62 ammo for the M-14 was not powerful enough to even make a hole in the targets at 200 yards. I had a problem with my 14 on qualification day when the flash suppressor set screws came loose. My rounds were all over the target before the armorer figured it out by pointing to the brass streaks the rounds made as they left the barrel. Never had that problem with my M-1. With a clip and two rounds, watch your target, TARGET! BAM,BAM, clink; re-load with a full eight rounds and put all ten in the black at 500 yards. Nothing to worry about coming loose and the .30 caliber always made a hole.

Norm (Spoof) Spilleth
Cpl. E-4, '60-'64


Tired, Cold, Hungry

Yes, he is out there.
Tired, cold, hungry, p-ssed off, filthy, aches all over that extra strength Tylenol can barely dent.
Humping a ruck that is way too heavy laden with cr-p that some Fobbit who has never been outside the wire thinks is necessary.
His gear is worn but serviceable, his weapons pristine.
He's sitting on the top of some worthless mountain in the middle of some worthless piece of real estate that nobody except politicians care for.

And while he is on that mountain top he is telling the world, "Come push me off, if you can, you son of a b-tch!"

And grinning while he does so.

So here's a Merry Christmas to you, my hero.
A Teenaged American Infantryman and all his mates.

They humble me.

TS


They Are Still Being Used

A recruit of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, listens as his range coach reviews his shots and advises him at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Nov. 27. Recruits learn and apply shooting fundamentals during grass week and firing week. They will qualify on the last day of firing week.

Photo by Cpl Liz Gleason


K-Rats

I read all this about C-rats this and that... doesn't anyone remember K-rats? Seems to me we also had K-rats, which had the cig's included. In my 27 yrs, I've had C's, K's, and MRE's. The K's were the only ones with cigarettes. I'm 80 yrs old but still remember them.

God bless the Corps and have a happy New Year!

MSgt. B. Krieger


Things Change

Things change... supported M/4/11 for a while at An Hoa (1970), knew they were at 29 Palms in the mid late '70's... at the time, the batteries were operating M109A (something... kept changing with modifications to the tube, rammer, etc, for example A1, A2, A3)... also had some 8" and 175MM batteries there at the time. As of today, I don't think the Corps has any self-propelled arty most having gone away after Desert Storm... any 105's are strictly for saluting purposes, and some of the 155 batteries can be dual-purpose, having also some towed 4.2 mortars (used to usually be a 'Whiskey' battery... these are towed with a special small vehicle, called a 'growler', which can be carried internally in an Osprey... think it's a M1116, but don't quote me.) Had the opportunity to visit 11th Marines gun park at Las Pulgas (Pendleton) in August as part of 1stMarDiv Reunion... they ran a gun drill for us... pretty impressive, and the first time in my life saw a curved rammer staff used. I believe one battalion, probably 3/11 is more or less permanently at 29 Palms... and using a newer 155 (M777??)...

My bad... Growler is a M1161... cute lil' sucker... besides fitting inside an Osprey, read that it also can be 'stacked' (one on top of another... aboard ship, maybe?)... I can hear it now (from the Company Gunny...) "Platoon Sergeants... I want four men from each platoon to re-stack Growlers!"

DDick


Taps

Last month I found out Sgt. H. Ermish, Ret. Capt. (after 27 years) has died.

John A.


Short Rounds

Probably the worst thing found in C-rations was "white bread". It was dry and tasteless. The most embarrassing part was that it was made in my hometown of Kansas City.

Sgt. C. Jones
RVN '65-'66


Sgt. Grit,

The lady that wrote "The One That Slept The Least" has her sh-t together. Her article was written with great perception and accuracy for someone that wasn't there. She listens well and did a great job of explaining the job of a Marine infantry squad leader. A tough and demanding job.

B/1/9


Don't quite remember seeing a date on the c-rat box, probably cause I wasn't looking for it, however I did notice the pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes was green, not red and white, kind of gave it away.

Dick Watson
K-6 Korea, 1953
Semper Fi


I got a yellow boot camp sweatshirt for Christmas. I will wear it proudly just like I did in San Diego in June of 1968!

DJ Retired Gentleman, Golfer, and Man of Leisure


You Salty Marines please forgive this boot for the question that I must ask, but does anyone know how long a c-ration was designed to keep for? I have read the newsletter every week trying to determine what the outcome would be as to whether or not WWII C-rations were consumed by Vietnam War Marines. There is a span of about 20 plus years between the end of WWII and the widely recognized beginning year of the Vietnam War. Was the technology or the science that d-mn good back then that they could make a ration that would keep for 20 plus years?

I was in from '00-'07, deployed in '02 in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (GWOT). During my time I only had to endure consuming MRE's. Depending on the temperature that they were stored at, most MRE's had a shelf life between 1 month to 5 years. That's a long way off from the 20 year plus span of time of the C-ration... if accurate.

For you Vietnam War Marines, if you did have to endure the WWII C-rations... I'm just glad that you guys had some strong or should I say seasoned digestive systems and didn't fall victim to food poisoning.

Here's a link I found about the different types of rations issued since 1907.

C-Ration

Semper Fi,
J. Williams
Sgt of Marines
'00-'07


Quotes

"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
--George Washington, 1790


"I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means."
--John Adams, 1776


"A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine."
--General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps


"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders


"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!"

"The navy and women wear pants; Marines wear trousers."

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 24 DEC 2015

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 24 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• Marine Corps Christmas Carol
• Santa Is A Retired SgtMaj
• A Story Of Marines In Vietnam

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Sgt Grit Christmas 2015

Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all of our Marines and customers a very Merry Christmas! May we all embody the spirit of giving during this holiday, and may we also remember those that are stationed overseas or forward deployed far from home, as well as the families that have to celebrate Christmas without them.

Sgt Grit & Staff


Marine Corps Christmas Carol

Christmas USMC style from Full Metal Jacket

USMC boot camp, circa 1968, celebrating Christmas USMC style.

"Full Metal Jacket" video found on military.com.


1stSgt Claus

1stSgt Santa on a 9 mile hump

Marines and sailors from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, enter the Boondocker training area at Marine Corps Base Hawaii after a 9-mile hike Dec. 19. More than 500 people attended the Island Warrior Combat Competition III and Toys for Tots drive, which included a hike, toy collection and a series of physical competitions. This was the first time the unit included a Toys for Tots drive in their combat competition. The Marines and sailors hiked carrying toys and wearing festive decorations with their combat gear. The five companies in 2/3 also competed in four different events including tug-of-war, an obstacle course, pugil sticks and a sandbag relay. Weapons Company won the wooden-battleaxe trophy for the overall competition.

Write up by Blair Tomlinson
Photo by Kristen Wong/USMC


Santa Claus Boot Camp

Santa Claus Boot Camp

Earning the title of Santa just got real!


Is This Familiar

USMC score book 30 caliber M1

Sgt Grit,

Check with the newsletter readers and ask if this is familiar to any of the old timers. This is from 1948 when I was in boot camp at Parris Island. Platoon 148, 2nd Battalion.

Semper Fi!
Wallace Pfeifer


Vietnam Cover/Hat with National Defense Ribbon


Santa Is A Retired SgtMaj

Sgt Grit,

As you know, Santa is a retired SgtMaj who starts every morning with a cigar, one of Cuba's finest, and a shot of Crown Royal, with a Death Before Dishonor Tattoo. He has spit shined boots, belt, and he has military creases in his Santa suit. He has upgraded his reindeer to Harrier jet engines that allow his sleigh to take off land vertically.

With the days and times we live in, he has armed his sleigh with AIM-9 Sidewinders, air-to-air missiles in case he gets jumped by a MIG, and he has added counter measures with a chaff dispenser with flares and Christmas presents that will be delivered by CBU (cluster bombs) instead of going through the chimney.

So, Ho, Ho, Ho... Merry Christmas!

Semper Fi!

Mike King


Sgt Grit Family Christmas Photos

Tajh and his family in Sgt Grit Christmas t-shirts

Tajh and his brothers in Sgt Grit Christmas t-shirts

The Barber family decided to make their family Christmas photos extra special. Their oldest son Tajh enlisted in the delayed entry program this year, and is scheduled to depart for Boot Camp in the Summer of 2016. For their family photos they chose to wear Sgt Grit's 2015 Ugly Christmas Long Sleeve T-shirts. The family is wearing red shirts and Tajh is wearing the white shirt.

Merry Christmas young man, by this time next year you will have earned the coveted title of U.S. Marine!

Semper Fi


USMC Honor Plaques


I Miss The Shenanigans

What do I miss about The Corps? I miss the camaraderie that was everywhere, no matter what duty station you pulled. I miss the shenanigans we were always playing on each other. I loved hanging out with best buds at the 5-6 club. I liked the recognition of a job well done, sometimes via kind words from the Gunny or Top or from the Old Man himself at formation. I miss the fact that everyone had a job to do and we all did it to the best of our ability. You always knew where you stood in the Corps, there was very little politics (at least at my level, E-5) going on. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish that I had shipped over.

Ron Morse


Pith Helmets And Khakis

I recall the incident (1962, Okinawa) at the Butler Brig. At the time I was assigned to Marine Barracks, Naha (where we wore pith helmets and khakis much of the year)... by the time the story got to us, it involved three prisoners attempting a breakout... one was shot and was hanging over the wire, one frozen part way up the chain link fence, and the third on the ground with a change of heart. We also heard that the tower sentry received a telegram the next day from the Commandant, General Shoup (MOH, Tarawa). The telegram congratulated the sentry on his attention to duty and excellent marksmanship, and also advised that he had been meritoriously promoted to Corporal... worked for me...

Ddick


To The Rear... March

I can't speak for any other former Marines but when I went through Parris Island in 1946 we were all issued pith helmets. We only wore them once when our DI ordered us to don them prior to doing some close order drill. During that exercise we went from right shoulder arms to left shoulder arms (with M-1's) and back again several times. Needless to say, most of the pith helmets were knocked to the ground whereupon the DI ordered "To the rear – march!" The helmets on the ground were promptly crumpled to shreds and we were never ordered to wear them again.

The few helmets that survived were consigned to the owners' sea bags and never seen again either.

Rufus Peckham
Former Sgt., USMC


Boot Camp Pith Helmet

I turned 17 in July '45 and took the bus to Pittsburgh, PA, with my friend Jiggs Cornell to join the Marines. Then my parents would not sign for me unless I swore that I would go and finish school if I should return. We were sworn in on Aug. 2nd and were off to PI.

At our first clothing issue the only cover we were given was a pith helmet. We wore them throughout our time at PI. We didn't get any other cover until graduation and then we could wear our "C" cover with our greens.

You don't have to guess what those pith helmet's looked like after having those three DI's with their swagger sticks at the ready. The only way we found out that the war had ended was we fell out, and were told it was over but the training would continue as usual.

There was no celebration on our part and we were advised that the original orders were that we were to finish training and be on the invasion of Japan.

Our DI's told us this when we first got off the truck inside the gate... Marines never die, they just go to H-ll & regroup!

Bill Dixon
Plt. 498
China Marine '45 - '46


Life Is Great

Plt 239 MCRD San Diego 1942 in pith helmets

Seeing an article about a pith helmet brought back memories of my Platoon days - the loudest noise in the world was the DI hitting on your helmet with his swagger stick - Great days! I am a WWII & Korea Veteran MSGT. I now hold two records oldest living ever sky diver in Louisiana at 95 plus and oldest living sky diver in the U.S. Life is great!

Semper Fi,
MSgt Ray U. Urban
Bossier City, LA


The Finest Military Assualt Weapon

All the recent traffic concerning the replacement of the M-1 with the M-14 (M-14 in boot camp, M-1 in ITR, etc.) has piqued my interest. When did the M-14 officially replace the M-1 as basic issue and when exactly did the M-16 replace the M-14 as issue? I had the M-14 in boot camp and ITR in the Fall of 1964 and the M-16 issued in Vietnam in 1969. I still feel the M-14 is the finest military assault weapon ever issued but I've no experience with the newer weapons.

MP Hite, S/Sgt
RVN 1966-67, '69-'70


Came Up With Chicken Guts

I joined in 1960, became a flamethrower operator and carried the tanks up and down hills with my battalion 3/7 until I made Corporal. I don't remember how many C-Rats I ate during these peace time operations at night, but one day at Case Springs I opened a can of chicken and noodles during a lunch break. Dipped my little plastic spoon in and came up with chicken guts. Checked the date on the case that the 12 rations came in and it was dated 1941. When I first got to Vietnam (Jan. 1966) some of our C-Rats were dated between 1947 and 1949. I was a plt guide at the time and issued the C-Rats. When I went back to Vietnam in March of 1970 (boot company GySgt), we were still getting C-Rats dated in the mid 1950's. When I retired in 1980 we were finally getting C-Rats dated in the early 60's. In between times we got something like Long Rats, freeze dried stuff that had to soak in water for an hour before you could eat it. I remember Ham and Limas, beans and weenies, ham and eggs chopped among others, but I do not remember anything with cherries except the fruit cake that came in the same size can as pound cake.

J L Stelling


1945 C-Rats

Sgt. Grit,

Ddick is wrong. Quote, "For all of you who will now claim you ate WWII dated C-rations in VN, I have one short comment... BS... didn't happen." I served in Chu Lai from Nov. '67 to Nov. '68 and I ate many C-RATS that had a date stamp on the box "1945". I also saw food boxes in our mess tent that were dated 1945. Since Ddick was not in Vietnam in '67 and '68 he should be careful declaring BS about something he was not a part of.

SSgt Carl Turner


Riders In The Sky

Sgt Grit,

Reading about a "Riders In The Sky" song in the last Newsletter, jogged my memory bank. Here's a song Platoon 218 sang at MCRD, San Diego in 1964...

You can have your Army Khaki, you can have your Navy blue.
But here's another uniform I'll introduce to you.
This uniform is different, the color forest green;
The Germans called it Devil Dog... the name is just Marine! Marine! Marine!

They trained him down in 'Dego, the land that God forgot;
The mountains high, the desert dry; the sun is blazing hot.
He peels a million onions, and twice as many spuds.
And when he gets a little time... he washes out his duds...
Marine! Martine! Marine!

Now girls, here's a little tip I'm passing on to you;
Just get yourself a good Marine... there's nothing he can't do.
And when he get's to Heaven, to St. Peter he will tell,
"Another Marine reporting, Sir! I've served my time in H-ll!"
Marine! Marine! Marine!

We learned this song at Camp Matthews; sang it a lot while going up and down "Big Agony" and "Little Agony". This song was burned into my mind so deeply that when my band performs, I usually sing it for any Marines in attendance.

Semper Fi!
Bob Lonn
USMCR, 1963-69


To Save Money

Concerning the letter from Ddick (Didn't Happen) and his comment that those claiming to have eaten WWII dated C-rations in Vietnam are wrong, I would generally agree. I served with H&S Co. 3/5, late 1959 to 1961. The bean counters in D.C. were still thinking the Corps might be expendable, so every possible dime we spent was watched. As 3/5 was gearing up to move to the 3rd MarDiv on Okinawa, being in Supply, I watched our Cooks unload a meat shipment one day. As they unloaded beef quarters we laughed because some had already been stamped "Rejected" by the Navy. We assumed that the Corps must have been given a pretty hefty discount to accept the shipment.

Near the end of our gig on Okinawa we were suddenly swamped with tons of C-rations and, indeed, some of them were quite dated. Not being a smoker, I enjoyed watching my buddies light up the cigarettes that came with the rations. They were so old and dry that they practically flamed when lit, giving the guys only a couple of drags before they burned up. The reason for the sudden bounty was that the C-ration was obsolete and due to be replaced. We were told that the Corps had earlier bought up the Army's older rations to save money. We were told to issue as many rations as any of our companies asked for and to pad the order. We were not to take back unexpended rations and to consider them off the inventory. Stacks of rations were in each barracks and Marines were told to eat all they wanted. Okinawa civilians delivering to our warehouse frequently left with many free meals for their families. We were able to get rid of most but, what was left before we shipped out went to the dump – where I'm sure they were scavenged by other civilians.

So I agree with Ddick. The only way I can imagine anyone in Vietnam eating those old rations would be if they were there as advisers, before our first combat units arrived, and I doubt that happened.

Jim Barber
1958-1962


The Night They Gunned Down Santa Claus

There's strange things done 'neath the Vietnamese sun,
but the thing that locked my jaws,
Was the night 'neath the moon, the third platoon,
gunned down Santa Claus.

It started off right just another night,
you had to spend in the dirt,
Security was out, 360 about,
with fifty percent alert.

We had 81s and naval guns our tanks were track to track,
an ontos or so an arty FO with barrages back to back.

I froze where I stood 'cause out of the wood,
eight horses came charging along,
This may sound scary those mustangs were hairy,
"Oh no," I moaned, "mounted Viet Cong."

They were coming our way pulling what looked like a sleigh,
you never knew what they'd use,
Our flares were tripped our SIDs had flipped,
our tipsy blew a fuse.

We let them close then we yelled "who goes",
like they do in the movie show,
The answer we got, believe it or not,
was a hearty, "Ho Ho Ho."

Now these troops of mine have seen some time,
they've done some things back-azsward,
They may be thick but I'll tell you a trick,
they knew that wasn't the password.

The nineties roared the 81's soared,
the naval guns raised h-ll,
A bright red flare flew through the air,
as we fired our FPL.

I'll grant him guts but that man was nuts,
or I'm a no good liar,
He dropped like a stone in our killing zone,
I passed the word, "cease fire".

I went out and took a real good look,
my memory started to race,
My mind plays games when it comes to names,
but I never forget a face.

He was dressed in red and he looked well-fed,
older than most I'd seen,
He looked right weird with that long white beard,
and stumps where his legs had been.

He hadn't quite died when I reached his side,
but the end was clearly in sight,
I knelt down low and he said real slow,
"Merry Christmas... and to all a good night."

Now we should have known our cools were blown,
when that light in the East we seen,
I thought it was flares and it had to be theirs,
or the d-mned things would have been green.

I picked up the hook with a voice that shook
said "gimme the Six and quick Colonel."
I said, "hang on to your head,
we just greased old St. Nick".

Now the old man's cool. He's nobody's fool,
right off he knew the word,
If this got out, there'd be no doubt,
he wouldn't be making his bird.

"Just get him up here and we'll play it by ear,
make sure he's got a tag,
Dismantle the sleigh, drive those reindeer away,
and bury that God d-mned bag."

Now by and by the kiddies may cry,
'cause nothings under the tree,
But the word came back from FMFPac,
that Santa had gone VC.

There's strange things done 'neath the Vietnamese sun,
but the time that locked my jaws,
Was the night 'neath the moon, when the third platoon,
gunned down Santa Claus.

By Chet Lynn


Few And Far In Between

Sgt Grit,

Summer of 1970

NAS Glenview and MARTD, that summer the National Airplane Model meets were held at the base. Regular Marines, both volunteer and chosen, were issued pith helmets to distinguish them as judges and assistants to other officials at the meets. These helmets did not come with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor attached, and I don't recall if any Navy personnel were issued these or not. I still have mine.

If there were, at the time, any "radio controlled" models, they were few and far in between.

"Are you people trying to p-ss me off?"
"SIR, NO SIR!"
"Well You're Doing It!"

SSgt. Benevides, PLT 2019, 1968.

Semper Fi,
C Thomas
'68-'72


Economy Pack Of Devil Dogs

Devil dog Snacks

The only snacks that are fit for a Marine!


A Story Of Marines In Vietnam

I interview Vietnam Veterans, specifically Marines. I've been doing it a while, and have met a lot of them who've brought a lot of light into my life. Unfortunately, I've lost some, and I wrote this story, based on one that my Marine Corps League detachment lost in 2012. He was a H-ll of a Marine.

As I wrote the story on him, it turned into a story about the strength, dedication, spirit, and love our Marines displayed during the Vietnam War. I have kept his identity anonymous, so that it encompasses not only him, but others who gave as much as he did.

Thank you!

Karen Peden


The One Who Slept The Least: A Story of the Love Amongst Marines

I've been interviewing combat veterans for fourteen years; specifically, Marines. I'm 31, and I'm a woman. I'm not who you'd expect to be interviewing Infantrymen, but here I am, and it's what I love to do. I listen intently to what is said, but I've always felt an overwhelming undercurrent of what wasn't being said. I walk away with a lot of heavy emotions from interviews. I tend to take them on, myself, if that makes sense... But if I don't feel it, I can't write it.

This will be my first article written to include that undercurrent, which is just as important, as anything else I could write about with such an experience. We focus on dates, places, and other details, but we overlook what goes on inside, as someone goes to war. But, why don't we focus on the impact on a person? If we did, I think there'd be more empathy, more compassion...

In this story, I'm focusing mainly on one particular group of Marines, but as I read it over, I can see a lot of familiar faces. This story is fictional, but heavily woven together with pieces taken from the Marines I've met, and based on real events. In attempting to express what is underneath the surface, I hope I've come somewhat close, and that this resonates.

This is dedicated to those who've lived it, to the fallen, and especially, to The One Who Slept The Least. Semper Fidelis.

The rain is coming in sideways, again. It's monsoon season in Vietnam. They're all cold, soaked to the marrow. You'd think that they'd be used to it, by now, but you don't really ever get used to any of what this place has to offer. Especially the smells.

'Black as Night' takes on a literal meaning, here. You can't see your hand in front of your face, and this night is no different. You stare into the darkness, and pretty soon, the eyes start playing tricks on you. Or are they? Shadows begin to move... But are they really there?

They're all beyond tired; no one can fathom what that means... to be that ragged, that exhausted... To know that you're so tired that you very well could fall asleep while standing up, if you allowed yourself. Yet, even when you have the chance to sleep... Doesn't mean that it's going to happen. With the mortar's nightly, random H&I missions, where the 81s, the 105s, or even the 155mm howitzers are firing sometimes just 10 yards behind your fighting hole, your head is left pounding, your ears ringing. You're scared sh-tless each time one fires. So much for some kind of rest. You have to accept that you're going a whole year without sleep, and you'll be dragging.

... And it's not just physical; it's in every possible way imaginable. Their very souls are tired. Nobody but them... nobody but those who are living this experience along with them will understand what that means. The weight of it. You'd also think that during yet another pitch-black night watch that drags on forever, that many of these men would have trouble staying awake between random mortars being fired off. Well, you'd be right.

... But that isn't allowed here, sleep. Falling asleep gets you killed. Gets your buddies killed. They figure out ways around it. Ways to remedy the problem. Turns out, the one who sleeps even less than they all do, has a solution. It may be a little unorthodox, but that doesn't matter... it works, and that's what counts. So, while on watch, continuously fighting the drooping of his eyelids, breath slowing... He sits with his K-bar balanced upright on his thigh. His elbow balancing on top of the razor-sharp blade. All it takes is one time for him to nod off, and that blade cuts clean into his arm. Problem solved. He will pass this trick onto his men. As time passes, he'll not only share what he knows; he'll lead with an iron fist, and care with an selfless heart. He'll be the first into the worst of situations, and the last to stand in line for chow. Even more, he'll never ask more of his men than he demands of himself. In fact, he's often hesitant to delegate in the hairiest of situations... And he has an uncanny sense for those; he can always tell when sh-t's about to hit the fan. The weight of ordering your men to do things that can kill them isn't something any human being can bear, but he has no choice but to... So he is extremely careful to pick and choose. Often times, this is why he decides to check things out, himself. Better him, than them. He's trying his best to get as many of them through this tour, and back home to their families. While his expertise and experience prove invaluable, there's still so much in war that he knows he can't control, and he'll feel the pang of utter helplessness in this endeavor throughout his extended tour.

The One Who Sleeps The Least has a heart so big -- that even in this place, where men learn quickly build a wall around it to survive -- he leaves a few bricks in his wall out of place, so he can feel as much as he can for those he is responsible for. That heart serves him well, in his position. He's their teacher, their father, their brother, a shoulder to lean on, a set of ears to listen, an occasional reliable azs-chewing... He's their lifeline. He's everything, and anything they need him to be, and he fulfills those roles with pride, with genuine care. He is helpful, friendly, light-hearted, interested in who each and every one of them is, and he wants to know their concerns, their fears... They are his top priority. He is a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and on his shoulders, here in Vietnam, sits the responsibility of caring for these fine young Marines that he's dedicated himself to protecting. This is why he is The One Who Sleeps The Least.

Yet with that big heart, comes the desire for performance; he takes no excuses, and his standards are very high. He sees what his Marines can do, and he demands the best from them. It has to be this way. Some may wonder how his harsh methods of training, and his evident love for them balances out; it just does. He somehow strikes that balance, and his men soon see that this high bar he's set comes from the deep respect he has for them. Maintain your weapon, follow orders to the letter, pay attention during briefings. He'll help you perfect your topography skills so you can call in supporting fire, should you need to, and it's now your task to prove your proficiency by teaching the Marine next to you to do the same. Take care of your personal gear; grenades, trip flares, ammo, mags, food, water, and keep that rifle clean. Make the mistake of violating any of this, and you'll learn why many only make the mistake of doing that once. They're mortal men, but he sees what they are capable of. He can demand the best from them, and he knows they'll come through. And they do.

But so does he; the standards he sets for himself are even higher. He's beyond disciplined. He's going without, so that you can have that last C-Rat. He chooses to hump the extra ammo, mortar rounds, and grenades... He's desperately in need of sleep, but sees one of his men could use a friend, so he talks to that 18 year-old who just arrived in-country, and is left reeling from the chaos and terror of his first firefight. He's harder on himself, than he is on them. Here, he can't afford not to be.

There are no USO shows here; no Bob Hope, no Raquel Welch, dancing around in go-go boots. They're always working, and it's too dangerous for anyone else to be out here... They're either in the bush, setting up ambushes, clearing fields of fire with C4, setting up LPs (for the truly unlucky three who will have that particular detail this night), or on nightly watch. Then there's sh-t-burning detail, the daily digging and filling in of fighting holes, followed by digging more of them, after already having been humping outside the wire all day. They're beat, and they're about to get even more so. But even though they're worked like dogs, it's not that there's never going to be a possibility of seeing a USO show -- they'll get to go see one in Cua Viet, during Christmas -- it's just not happening, here. Nobody in their right mind would come out here, where they are. The killing fields.

Very rarely is there the opportunity for hot chow, unless in the forward rear, at LZ Stud. Also, an opportunity for a much-appreciated, much-needed shower, a little bit of rest, and a change in utilities. One of the trade-offs of this bit of down-time, is one of the companies having to be on Sparrow Hawk -- a quick reactionary force -- where ten to fifteen minutes notice is all you have before you hop a bird, and head into a firefight in progress. If the chopper isn't shot down, and if you can hit the ground fighting without being wounded, you may just get back to the rare luxury of not having to live like an animal for a bit. This leaves you the rest of the time, obviously without those amenities, dining on C-rats; that is, if you've actually got them. There are times where the AO is too hot to land in, taking heavy fire, and resupply with the much-needed C-Rats and ammo are delayed. But when those boxes of C-rats hit the ground, you'd think it was Christmas morning.

Peaches and pound cake are a delicacy. You can trade a pack of Lucky Strikes or Marlboros for them. Ham and Motherf-ckers are an acquired taste; but you'll take them, if you're starving. Most will, anyway. Those who return home, will do so with an ample amount of weight to regain, after this experience. Family and friends will remark how thin they've become. They know hunger as they know fear and loss. Well.

They haven't bathed in several weeks, at this point. They're as filthy as they can be. They spend most of their tour outside the wire. Sweat, clay, beyond - offensive body odor, all clinging to them, as if for dear life. They can barely stand themselves, being this dirty. Should one take off his trousers, they could stand straight up, stiff as a board, from the sweat and salt having repeatedly permeated the fibers. A very uncomfortable and disgusting feeling. You're always soaked, in the humidity. They long ago started to chafe, and have developed various rashes in their armpits, and other areas where sweat and dirt become trapped. Stinging, burning. Jungle rot sets in. Their feet are just about worn beyond recognition. Open sores plague their steps. Powder only does so much. It's a dire existence, from day to day, with just the predictable challenges, such as these... And it only gets harder. But, Grunts can handle it. And they do.

This day, in Quang Tri Province, one of the longer firefights has just ended, and they've lost ten Marines... Twenty-nine more have been wounded. There's not a whole lot being said. A heaviness hangs over them; a deep sorrow and grief that is sharply palpable, but can't ever be measured. They will shove it down, and they will continue on. There are no other options.

You learn not to get to close to the replacements; they're coming in all the time, but you set yourself up for more hurt, if you make friends with the FNGs. It's not a cold-hearted, 'I don't care about you' stance. Rather, it is an 'I care too much'. A protection of the heart. After a while, you begin to hate to feel. And as time passes, they become more proficient at this... Shoving it down, while trying to protect the heart. Another day, here.

To see them - though you won't find many over the age of twenty - to walk with them, is to walk with men who are far older than their young, yet worn faces let on... And their eyes tell much more than they, themselves will ever tell you. The oldest of them all, The One Who Sleeps The Least, just extended his tour by another six months. There are more to be led, to be cared for, and protected. He feels he belongs more here, in this sh-thole country, than he does back home. He doesn't want to leave them.

By nightfall, he makes his rounds, checking on his men in their fighting holes. Everyone is hanging in there. He will check on them several more times, throughout the night. He'll ask if they need anything. They wonder when he sleeps, if he sleeps... And you know, it doesn't matter how tired, how long he's gone without a meal, he's there to offer a joke, a broad, ear-to-ear grin; something to lift them up, inspire them to keep going another day, another night. They wonder how he does it; he can smile through times that tear men apart. He uses his crazy sense of humor to drive them on, and it works. That smile tells them that it's okay; reassurance that they can keep going. And they do. They look to him, and trust him with everything they have in them. They can't afford not to.

This night, when he finally settles into his own fighting hole, he will provide much-needed warmth for those two other Grunts next to him; his Radioman, and the one he just put on the M-79 a few weeks ago. The latter will joke years later, that The One Who Sleeps The Least was the only man he ever slept with. Only his fellow Marines will ever get that joke, and laugh. Others will wonder what the H-ll he's talking about, and or mistakenly find his humor to be off-color. They will not understand just how much the warmth of your brother's body meant, on a night where the cold reached your very core, and the dampness only helped to sharpen the bite. They'd do anything for each other, and in this fighting hole, an inseparable bond is built out of mutually-understood misery, and a promise: I am your brother, and I am your keeper.

When their boots hit the ground in-country, they walked in with having had the best training available to them. They didn't walk in blindly, as you hear some of what goes on from the others who have already been, or you're lined up before your tour, and told that the odds aren't good that you'll return... But there's no way to truly prepare for this; it's impossible... and once you're in it, it's nothing like you could have imagined. You rely on your training, your discipline, on each other, and most of all, The One Who Sleeps The Least. He is the one who says, 'I won't put my Marines into this situation... I'll Walk Point, I'll go first, check things out'. He's the one who waits until he's made sure that everyone has had some water, before he thinks of getting water for himself. He's just as beaten down as they are, but he knows that they need to come first; their working relationship, the trust he's built, relies on being consistent with them. They have to know that he cares about what they're all going through, and that he's willing to suffer it all alongside them.

When you're lonely, missing home, your family, or you've just received a letter from your wife or girlfriend, telling you that life has moved on without you... He's there, and he listens, intently. He wants to know. He wants to know about you, your interests, what you want to do when you get home -- if you've thought of any of that -- he remembers, too. He not only cares about each of them; he takes the time to show it, so that they make no mistake about it. In a time where you don't get too close, protecting your heart, enabling you to be efficient, face impossible odds and situations not meant for man to see, or experience... Here he is, opening his heart up to get to *really* know his men... Because that makes the difference between just another NCO, and the Squad Leader who will put you ahead of himself, every time. And he knows this. Each and every one of them, is worth opening his heart to them in this way. For him, they would move mountains. And they do.

On this day, he'll have to ask them to move yet another mountain. In fact, he's going to have to ask them to take one. They've just gone several days, low on water, low on ammo, waiting for resupply. It's been a h-ll of a week, and you can feel the misery in the air. They're in desperate need of some hot chow, fresh water, a chance to wash up -- even if it means bathing in a creek -- they need some kind of recuperation. He knows they beyond-deserve it. His heart is again, quite heavy, this day. He walks toward them, rubbing his forehead. That's not good. Seeing this, they know they're not being extracted just yet. The other shoe is about to drop. Anxiety starts to settle in amongst the young Marines. What now?

At dawn's light, they're taking Hill 400. An estimated 900 NVA are encamped toward the top. Thankfully, the choppers are able to make it in by early evening, bringing in more C-Rats and ammo. They'll at least get some kind of meal, and hopefully some sleep before the morning. Dead-tired as they are, there is no complaining amongst the squad; it's not the first time that they've taken on so much, and it won't be the last. Along with the Marines in the adjoining companies, they'll prepare as best they can, and when light begins to show across the sky, they'll set out together to do the impossible. By the time the day ends, more will have been lost, and those who survive will be extracted back to the forward firebase. Once again, that heavy silence will hang amongst them, and their hearts will ache with grief. The One Who Sleeps The Least will watch over them, check in on them, and do what he can for them. They know they can call upon him. Right now, he's not even dealing with his own hurt. He makes sure if they need anything, that he's here for them. Another day, here.

At this time, six months have passed, and his time has come. He long ago decided that he wasn't going to be one to return, and there is a strange ambivalence at the realization that he has survived. He's going home; but he is unsure of what he's coming home to. A new war will be fought, where he will learn to figure out how to fit into the world, after such an experience. The world to which he returns will treat him, and the others with a harsh, misplaced apathy. As if they ought to be ashamed to simply be. They won't stop to wonder what these brave souls have been through, or if how they are treating them is right. This makes the struggle of coming home even harder, and makes the wall around the heart stronger, more impenetrable. Many will choose to quickly fade into the background, and walk many years, alone. They'll shove it down, just like they learned to do over there. Those around him, around the others, won't realize the magnitude of the men they stand next to. The ignorant will not know their value, or recognize the extraordinary feats they've managed to pull off. Only those who have walked the same path, or the rare who know to stop and notice them, and are moved by their presence.

Yet, in this coming home, for The One Who Sleeps The Least... Part of him will be left here, left with his Marines. They have a piece of him, and he carries a part of each of them with him. It will linger for as long as they all live, regardless of the passing of time, regardless of the distance between them, regardless of what happens... But for now, his Marines watch him go, knowing that in his absence, his are impossible boots to fill.

These Marines -- as much as it may confuse or even offend their loved ones around them -- will never know this kind of love again, except with each other. It is a love that is forged only in raging fire. Where mortal men are tried to the very depths of their being. In times of desperation, where you are frightened, worn ragged, unsure of tomorrow. Where sorrow hangs on the heart like a heavy cloak that once put on, can never be taken off. It is a love that somehow ascends beyond the despair, and is reserved only for those who've walked this road together.

This Marine, who led his men by example... Who put his Marines before himself each, and every time. Who cared so little for himself, so that others might make it home, is treasured beyond what words could convey. Words will always fall terribly short. But if you were to ask his Marines, you'd see and feel the impact he left, without question... And if you open your heart to them, and listen closely, you'll walk away with an imprint on your heart, as well.

In the years that pass, they'll grow older, and work to make a life. Not a day or night will pass when the faces, the names, the memories won't make an appearance. This experience will affect their decision making, how they see life, and people around them. How they love, and every aspect of how they make their way in the world. It's hard, the separation from one another, after going through all of this together. That bond is just as strong as it was all those years ago. As if they just saw each other yesterday.

Those faces are no longer young, and though in many ways they have grown, and changed... There is much that stays the same. Their spirit. That love. For each other, they'd do it all, again. Therein lies their beauty.

Not a single one of them doesn't remember and treasure the One Who Slept The Least, and all that he gave for them; what they all gave for each other. Theirs is a selfless heart that is worth more than all one could ever acquire in the world... And for the Grunts who walked beside him through the land from which many never returned, he is etched into the hearts of those who walked that long road with him.


USMC Monstrous New Assault vehicle

UHAC - Ultra Heavy Lift Amphibious Connector

America's Assault Vehicle. UHAC (Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector).


The Friendship Of The Marines

I miss the friendship of the Marines that I met and remember. I kinda like going to different locations of the world. Except the nam. Didn't care too much for certain Sgts that would abuse their rank. And that went to Second Lts who thought they were Generals. There was more good than there was bad. And the worst place I did not approve of was Montford Point, Camp LeJeune. Now here is where I met some Marines I wouldn't trust crossing a mine field with. Just a handful. These guys were mostly from the east coast. The others I would follow or trust.

The food wasn't too bad but having the Navy and AF or Army around at DaNang the food there was better. Well I could go on and on and on but I won't bore you all with what some of ya's will say it's all BS. I am proud to claim the title of U.S. Marine!

Cpl DeLeon
The Sgts. I refer to are SSgts.


Gently Wanted Your Attention

June 1948, Parris Island, arrived late in the day, greeted by my D I, Sgt MacMurtry, Plt 110. The following morning, was issued the pith helmet as was 71 other boots. Came in handy on our totally bald heads, they also cushioned the good Sgt's swagger stick when he gently wanted your attention, need I say more...

Semper Fi Marines!

Sgt Ernie Padgette
1st Mar Div.

Also a very proud member of the Chosin Few. 84 years old and still proud of the Corps.


Mike Btry, 4th Bn, 11th Mar, 1st Mar Div

Where are you! I left you June 14th, 1969 and you have disappeared. I tried to get information on what happen when I went home. One h-ll of greeting I got and to this day I still have bad feelings about the people who gave a warm wet greeting. (I think they call it spit.) Enough of that, still bitter. Getting back to Mike Battery, I know the 11th Marines are based out at 29 stumps, and one day I went to a funeral for Marine that passed on and while standing and holding an American flag at the gravesite, a Marine Major introduced himself that he was the CO of 11th Marines. We got to talking and I asked about the Battery and for some reason I never got a straight answer to the question where the h-ll are you. So I'm looking for help! I need to clear my head and any help would be great.

Ed Petravicz, E-5
Motor pool and you name it.


Marine Book Recommendations

I enjoy all the newsletters and also like to see reader recommendations re books. I recently purchased "One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War" mentioned by a reader of your newsletter. Stacey Churchill from MCA told me she was at a dinner about 18 months ago, and Bing West was there. I also learned about the "Sergeant Reckless" book from MCA. I do frequently check Amazon for Marine DVDs and books and am just finishing Level Zero Heroes by Michael Golembesky (really like this book except for language). Thank you.

Karen Balske


Short Rounds

I enlisted and went to San Diego. I later went to Vietnam, served in the drill field as a Drill Instructor and a troop handler at Camp Geiger! Thank God, I got out after my enlistment was up! I'm still a Marine at heart and always will be!

Mike


At Khe Sanh in '67: "Jingle Bells, Mortar Shells, VC in the grass.
You can take your Merry Christmas
And stick it up your azs!"

Semper Fidelis,
Robert A. Hall


I was stationed at Marine brackets Las Vegas, Nev. from '57 to '60. At one time we were issued pith helmets, they only lasted a short time as they became like rags. If there is anyone out there who was there at that time would like to hear from them. I was in "A" Company, Retired MSgt M.K. Hill, Email: artie0800@hotmail.com. I enjoy this site and have purchased items thru them including hard to find items.


C-Rats... Think you better back up a little, You stated that you did not have C-rats from '60-'66. Well let me enlighten you cause you got your head up your ringer. We landed in RVN in '65 and our C-Rats was stamped 1947.

Ben Y.


In re to "Pith Helmets". While enjoying my summer vacation at MCRD San Diego in 2000, once we went to Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, CA, for rifle qualification, our range coaches wore pith helmets. Once I made it to the FMF, I don't recall seeing anyone wearing the pith helmets. Things may have changed since my time though.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07


Quotes

"Put fear out of your heart. This nation will survive, this state will prosper, the orderly business of life will go forward if only men can speak in whatever way given them to utter what their hearts hold -- by voice, by posted card, by letter, or by press. Reason never has failed men. Only force and oppression have made the wrecks in the world."
--William Allen White


"To have striven, to have made an effort, to have been true to certain ideals -- this alone is worth the struggle."
--Sir William Osler


"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon - if I can. I seek opportunity not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, "This I have done."
--Dean Alfange


"The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle... If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."
--Frederick Douglass


"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army


"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
--Ned Dolan


"You people are lower than whale sh-t... and that's at the bottom of the ocean!"

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

"You people are too slow, if you were in combat you'd be dead!

Merry Christmas and Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 24 DEC 2015
If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:
http://www.grunt.com/corps/newsletter/10922/

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 24 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• Marine Corps Christmas Carol
• Santa Is A Retired SgtMaj
• A Story Of Marines In Vietnam

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all of our Marines and customers a very Merry Christmas! May we all embody the spirit of giving during this holiday, and may we also remember those that are stationed overseas or forward deployed far from home, as well as the families that have to celebrate Christmas without them.

Sgt Grit & Staff


Marine Corps Christmas Carol

USMC boot camp, circa 1968, celebrating Christmas USMC style.

"Full Metal Jacket" video found on military.com.


1stSgt Claus

Marines and sailors from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, enter the Boondocker training area at Marine Corps Base Hawaii after a 9-mile hike Dec. 19. More than 500 people attended the Island Warrior Combat Competition III and Toys for Tots drive, which included a hike, toy collection and a series of physical competitions. This was the first time the unit included a Toys for Tots drive in their combat competition. The Marines and sailors hiked carrying toys and wearing festive decorations with their combat gear. The five companies in 2/3 also competed in four different events including tug-of-war, an obstacle course, pugil sticks and a sandbag relay. Weapons Company won the wooden-battleaxe trophy for the overall competition.

Write up by Blair Tomlinson
Photo by Kristen Wong/USMC


Santa Claus Boot Camp

Earning the title of Santa just got real!


Is This Familiar

Sgt Grit,

Check with the newsletter readers and ask if this is familiar to any of the old timers. This is from 1948 when I was in boot camp at Parris Island. Platoon 148, 2nd Battalion.

Semper Fi!
Wallace Pfeifer


Santa Is A Retired SgtMaj

Sgt Grit,

As you know, Santa is a retired SgtMaj who starts every morning with a cigar, one of Cuba's finest, and a shot of Crown Royal, with a Death Before Dishonor Tattoo. He has spit shined boots, belt, and he has military creases in his Santa suit. He has upgraded his reindeer to Harrier jet engines that allow his sleigh to take off land vertically.

With the days and times we live in, he has armed his sleigh with AIM-9 Sidewinders, air-to-air missiles in case he gets jumped by a MIG, and he has added counter measures with a chaff dispenser with flares and Christmas presents that will be delivered by CBU (cluster bombs) instead of going through the chimney.

So, Ho, Ho, Ho... Merry Christmas!

Semper Fi!

Mike King


Sgt Grit Family Christmas Photos

The Barber family decided to make their family Christmas photos extra special. Their oldest son Tajh enlisted in the delayed entry program this year, and is scheduled to depart for Boot Camp in the Summer of 2016. For their family photos they chose to wear Sgt Grit's 2015 Ugly Christmas Long Sleeve T-shirts. The family is wearing red shirts and Tajh is wearing the white shirt.

Merry Christmas young man, by this time next year you will have earned the coveted title of U.S. Marine!

Semper Fi


I Miss The Shenanigans

What do I miss about The Corps? I miss the camaraderie that was everywhere, no matter what duty station you pulled. I miss the shenanigans we were always playing on each other. I loved hanging out with best buds at the 5-6 club. I liked the recognition of a job well done, sometimes via kind words from the Gunny or Top or from the Old Man himself at formation. I miss the fact that everyone had a job to do and we all did it to the best of our ability. You always knew where you stood in the Corps, there was very little politics (at least at my level, E-5) going on. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish that I had shipped over.

Ron Morse


Pith Helmets And Khakis

I recall the incident (1962, Okinawa) at the Butler Brig. At the time I was assigned to Marine Barracks, Naha (where we wore pith helmets and khakis much of the year)... by the time the story got to us, it involved three prisoners attempting a breakout... one was shot and was hanging over the wire, one frozen part way up the chain link fence, and the third on the ground with a change of heart. We also heard that the tower sentry received a telegram the next day from the Commandant, General Shoup (MOH, Tarawa). The telegram congratulated the sentry on his attention to duty and excellent marksmanship, and also advised that he had been meritoriously promoted to Corporal... worked for me...

Ddick


To The Rear... March

I can't speak for any other former Marines but when I went through Parris Island in 1946 we were all issued pith helmets. We only wore them once when our DI ordered us to don them prior to doing some close order drill. During that exercise we went from right shoulder arms to left shoulder arms (with M-1's) and back again several times. Needless to say, most of the pith helmets were knocked to the ground whereupon the DI ordered "To the rear – march!" The helmets on the ground were promptly crumpled to shreds and we were never ordered to wear them again.

The few helmets that survived were consigned to the owners' sea bags and never seen again either.

Rufus Peckham
Former Sgt., USMC


Boot Camp Pith Helmet

I turned 17 in July '45 and took the bus to Pittsburgh, PA, with my friend Jiggs Cornell to join the Marines. Then my parents would not sign for me unless I swore that I would go and finish school if I should return. We were sworn in on Aug. 2nd and were off to PI.

At our first clothing issue the only cover we were given was a pith helmet. We wore them throughout our time at PI. We didn't get any other cover until graduation and then we could wear our "C" cover with our greens.

You don't have to guess what those pith helmet's looked like after having those three DI's with their swagger sticks at the ready. The only way we found out that the war had ended was we fell out, and were told it was over but the training would continue as usual.

There was no celebration on our part and we were advised that the original orders were that we were to finish training and be on the invasion of Japan.

Our DI's told us this when we first got off the truck inside the gate... Marines never die, they just go to H-ll & regroup!

Bill Dixon
Plt. 498
China Marine '45 - '46


Life Is Great

Seeing an article about a pith helmet brought back memories of my Platoon days - the loudest noise in the world was the DI hitting on your helmet with his swagger stick - Great days! I am a WWII & Korea Veteran MSGT. I now hold two records oldest living ever sky diver in Louisiana at 95 plus and oldest living sky diver in the U.S. Life is great!

Semper Fi,
MSgt Ray U. Urban
Bossier City, LA


The Finest Military Assualt Weapon

All the recent traffic concerning the replacement of the M-1 with the M-14 (M-14 in boot camp, M-1 in ITR, etc.) has piqued my interest. When did the M-14 officially replace the M-1 as basic issue and when exactly did the M-16 replace the M-14 as issue? I had the M-14 in boot camp and ITR in the Fall of 1964 and the M-16 issued in Vietnam in 1969. I still feel the M-14 is the finest military assault weapon ever issued but I've no experience with the newer weapons.

MP Hite, S/Sgt
RVN 1966-67, '69-'70


Came Up With Chicken Guts

I joined in 1960, became a flamethrower operator and carried the tanks up and down hills with my battalion 3/7 until I made Corporal. I don't remember how many C-Rats I ate during these peace time operations at night, but one day at Case Springs I opened a can of chicken and noodles during a lunch break. Dipped my little plastic spoon in and came up with chicken guts. Checked the date on the case that the 12 rations came in and it was dated 1941. When I first got to Vietnam (Jan. 1966) some of our C-Rats were dated between 1947 and 1949. I was a plt guide at the time and issued the C-Rats. When I went back to Vietnam in March of 1970 (boot company GySgt), we were still getting C-Rats dated in the mid 1950's. When I retired in 1980 we were finally getting C-Rats dated in the early 60's. In between times we got something like Long Rats, freeze dried stuff that had to soak in water for an hour before you could eat it. I remember Ham and Limas, beans and weenies, ham and eggs chopped among others, but I do not remember anything with cherries except the fruit cake that came in the same size can as pound cake.

J L Stelling


1945 C-Rats

Sgt. Grit,

Ddick is wrong. Quote, "For all of you who will now claim you ate WWII dated C-rations in VN, I have one short comment... BS... didn't happen." I served in Chu Lai from Nov. '67 to Nov. '68 and I ate many C-RATS that had a date stamp on the box "1945". I also saw food boxes in our mess tent that were dated 1945. Since Ddick was not in Vietnam in '67 and '68 he should be careful declaring BS about something he was not a part of.

SSgt Carl Turner


Riders In The Sky

Sgt Grit,

Reading about a "Riders In The Sky" song in the last Newsletter, jogged my memory bank. Here's a song Platoon 218 sang at MCRD, San Diego in 1964...

You can have your Army Khaki, you can have your Navy blue.
But here's another uniform I'll introduce to you.
This uniform is different, the color forest green;
The Germans called it Devil Dog... the name is just Marine! Marine! Marine!

They trained him down in 'Dego, the land that God forgot;
The mountains high, the desert dry; the sun is blazing hot.
He peels a million onions, and twice as many spuds.
And when he gets a little time... he washes out his duds...
Marine! Martine! Marine!

Now girls, here's a little tip I'm passing on to you;
Just get yourself a good Marine... there's nothing he can't do.
And when he get's to Heaven, to St. Peter he will tell,
"Another Marine reporting, Sir! I've served my time in H-ll!"
Marine! Marine! Marine!

We learned this song at Camp Matthews; sang it a lot while going up and down "Big Agony" and "Little Agony". This song was burned into my mind so deeply that when my band performs, I usually sing it for any Marines in attendance.

Semper Fi!
Bob Lonn
USMCR, 1963-69


To Save Money

Concerning the letter from Ddick (Didn't Happen) and his comment that those claiming to have eaten WWII dated C-rations in Vietnam are wrong, I would generally agree. I served with H&S Co. 3/5, late 1959 to 1961. The bean counters in D.C. were still thinking the Corps might be expendable, so every possible dime we spent was watched. As 3/5 was gearing up to move to the 3rd MarDiv on Okinawa, being in Supply, I watched our Cooks unload a meat shipment one day. As they unloaded beef quarters we laughed because some had already been stamped "Rejected" by the Navy. We assumed that the Corps must have been given a pretty hefty discount to accept the shipment.

Near the end of our gig on Okinawa we were suddenly swamped with tons of C-rations and, indeed, some of them were quite dated. Not being a smoker, I enjoyed watching my buddies light up the cigarettes that came with the rations. They were so old and dry that they practically flamed when lit, giving the guys only a couple of drags before they burned up. The reason for the sudden bounty was that the C-ration was obsolete and due to be replaced. We were told that the Corps had earlier bought up the Army's older rations to save money. We were told to issue as many rations as any of our companies asked for and to pad the order. We were not to take back unexpended rations and to consider them off the inventory. Stacks of rations were in each barracks and Marines were told to eat all they wanted. Okinawa civilians delivering to our warehouse frequently left with many free meals for their families. We were able to get rid of most but, what was left before we shipped out went to the dump – where I'm sure they were scavenged by other civilians.

So I agree with Ddick. The only way I can imagine anyone in Vietnam eating those old rations would be if they were there as advisers, before our first combat units arrived, and I doubt that happened.

Jim Barber
1958-1962


The Night They Gunned Down Santa Claus

There's strange things done 'neath the Vietnamese sun,
but the thing that locked my jaws,
Was the night 'neath the moon, the third platoon,
gunned down Santa Claus.

It started off right just another night,
you had to spend in the dirt,
Security was out, 360 about,
with fifty percent alert.

We had 81s and naval guns our tanks were track to track,
an ontos or so an arty FO with barrages back to back.

I froze where I stood 'cause out of the wood,
eight horses came charging along,
This may sound scary those mustangs were hairy,
"Oh no," I moaned, "mounted Viet Cong."

They were coming our way pulling what looked like a sleigh,
you never knew what they'd use,
Our flares were tripped our SIDs had flipped,
our tipsy blew a fuse.

We let them close then we yelled "who goes",
like they do in the movie show,
The answer we got, believe it or not,
was a hearty, "Ho Ho Ho."

Now these troops of mine have seen some time,
they've done some things back-azsward,
They may be thick but I'll tell you a trick,
they knew that wasn't the password.

The nineties roared the 81's soared,
the naval guns raised h-ll,
A bright red flare flew through the air,
as we fired our FPL.

I'll grant him guts but that man was nuts,
or I'm a no good liar,
He dropped like a stone in our killing zone,
I passed the word, "cease fire".

I went out and took a real good look,
my memory started to race,
My mind plays games when it comes to names,
but I never forget a face.

He was dressed in red and he looked well-fed,
older than most I'd seen,
He looked right weird with that long white beard,
and stumps where his legs had been.

He hadn't quite died when I reached his side,
but the end was clearly in sight,
I knelt down low and he said real slow,
"Merry Christmas... and to all a good night."

Now we should have known our cools were blown,
when that light in the East we seen,
I thought it was flares and it had to be theirs,
or the d-mned things would have been green.

I picked up the hook with a voice that shook
said "gimme the Six and quick Colonel."
I said, "hang on to your head,
we just greased old St. Nick".

Now the old man's cool. He's nobody's fool,
right off he knew the word,
If this got out, there'd be no doubt,
he wouldn't be making his bird.

"Just get him up here and we'll play it by ear,
make sure he's got a tag,
Dismantle the sleigh, drive those reindeer away,
and bury that God d-mned bag."

Now by and by the kiddies may cry,
'cause nothings under the tree,
But the word came back from FMFPac,
that Santa had gone VC.

There's strange things done 'neath the Vietnamese sun,
but the time that locked my jaws,
Was the night 'neath the moon, when the third platoon,
gunned down Santa Claus.

By Chet Lynn


Few And Far In Between

Sgt Grit,

Summer of 1970

NAS Glenview and MARTD, that summer the National Airplane Model meets were held at the base. Regular Marines, both volunteer and chosen, were issued pith helmets to distinguish them as judges and assistants to other officials at the meets. These helmets did not come with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor attached, and I don't recall if any Navy personnel were issued these or not. I still have mine.

If there were, at the time, any "radio controlled" models, they were few and far in between.

"Are you people trying to p-ss me off?"
"SIR, NO SIR!"
"Well You're Doing It!"

SSgt. Benevides, PLT 2019, 1968.

Semper Fi,
C Thomas
'68-'72


A Story Of Marines In Vietnam

I interview Vietnam Veterans, specifically Marines. I've been doing it a while, and have met a lot of them who've brought a lot of light into my life. Unfortunately, I've lost some, and I wrote this story, based on one that my Marine Corps League detachment lost in 2012. He was a H-ll of a Marine.

As I wrote the story on him, it turned into a story about the strength, dedication, spirit, and love our Marines displayed during the Vietnam War. I have kept his identity anonymous, so that it encompasses not only him, but others who gave as much as he did.

Thank you!

Karen Peden


The One Who Slept The Least: A Story of the Love Amongst Marines

I've been interviewing combat veterans for fourteen years; specifically, Marines. I'm 31, and I'm a woman. I'm not who you'd expect to be interviewing Infantrymen, but here I am, and it's what I love to do. I listen intently to what is said, but I've always felt an overwhelming undercurrent of what wasn't being said. I walk away with a lot of heavy emotions from interviews. I tend to take them on, myself, if that makes sense... But if I don't feel it, I can't write it.

This will be my first article written to include that undercurrent, which is just as important, as anything else I could write about with such an experience. We focus on dates, places, and other details, but we overlook what goes on inside, as someone goes to war. But, why don't we focus on the impact on a person? If we did, I think there'd be more empathy, more compassion...

In this story, I'm focusing mainly on one particular group of Marines, but as I read it over, I can see a lot of familiar faces. This story is fictional, but heavily woven together with pieces taken from the Marines I've met, and based on real events. In attempting to express what is underneath the surface, I hope I've come somewhat close, and that this resonates.

This is dedicated to those who've lived it, to the fallen, and especially, to The One Who Slept The Least. Semper Fidelis.

The rain is coming in sideways, again. It's monsoon season in Vietnam. They're all cold, soaked to the marrow. You'd think that they'd be used to it, by now, but you don't really ever get used to any of what this place has to offer. Especially the smells.

'Black as Night' takes on a literal meaning, here. You can't see your hand in front of your face, and this night is no different. You stare into the darkness, and pretty soon, the eyes start playing tricks on you. Or are they? Shadows begin to move... But are they really there?

They're all beyond tired; no one can fathom what that means... to be that ragged, that exhausted... To know that you're so tired that you very well could fall asleep while standing up, if you allowed yourself. Yet, even when you have the chance to sleep... Doesn't mean that it's going to happen. With the mortar's nightly, random H&I missions, where the 81s, the 105s, or even the 155mm howitzers are firing sometimes just 10 yards behind your fighting hole, your head is left pounding, your ears ringing. You're scared sh-tless each time one fires. So much for some kind of rest. You have to accept that you're going a whole year without sleep, and you'll be dragging.

... And it's not just physical; it's in every possible way imaginable. Their very souls are tired. Nobody but them... nobody but those who are living this experience along with them will understand what that means. The weight of it. You'd also think that during yet another pitch-black night watch that drags on forever, that many of these men would have trouble staying awake between random mortars being fired off. Well, you'd be right.

... But that isn't allowed here, sleep. Falling asleep gets you killed. Gets your buddies killed. They figure out ways around it. Ways to remedy the problem. Turns out, the one who sleeps even less than they all do, has a solution. It may be a little unorthodox, but that doesn't matter... it works, and that's what counts. So, while on watch, continuously fighting the drooping of his eyelids, breath slowing... He sits with his K-bar balanced upright on his thigh. His elbow balancing on top of the razor-sharp blade. All it takes is one time for him to nod off, and that blade cuts clean into his arm. Problem solved. He will pass this trick onto his men. As time passes, he'll not only share what he knows; he'll lead with an iron fist, and care with an selfless heart. He'll be the first into the worst of situations, and the last to stand in line for chow. Even more, he'll never ask more of his men than he demands of himself. In fact, he's often hesitant to delegate in the hairiest of situations... And he has an uncanny sense for those; he can always tell when sh-t's about to hit the fan. The weight of ordering your men to do things that can kill them isn't something any human being can bear, but he has no choice but to... So he is extremely careful to pick and choose. Often times, this is why he decides to check things out, himself. Better him, than them. He's trying his best to get as many of them through this tour, and back home to their families. While his expertise and experience prove invaluable, there's still so much in war that he knows he can't control, and he'll feel the pang of utter helplessness in this endeavor throughout his extended tour.

The One Who Sleeps The Least has a heart so big -- that even in this place, where men learn quickly build a wall around it to survive -- he leaves a few bricks in his wall out of place, so he can feel as much as he can for those he is responsible for. That heart serves him well, in his position. He's their teacher, their father, their brother, a shoulder to lean on, a set of ears to listen, an occasional reliable azs-chewing... He's their lifeline. He's everything, and anything they need him to be, and he fulfills those roles with pride, with genuine care. He is helpful, friendly, light-hearted, interested in who each and every one of them is, and he wants to know their concerns, their fears... They are his top priority. He is a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and on his shoulders, here in Vietnam, sits the responsibility of caring for these fine young Marines that he's dedicated himself to protecting. This is why he is The One Who Sleeps The Least.

Yet with that big heart, comes the desire for performance; he takes no excuses, and his standards are very high. He sees what his Marines can do, and he demands the best from them. It has to be this way. Some may wonder how his harsh methods of training, and his evident love for them balances out; it just does. He somehow strikes that balance, and his men soon see that this high bar he's set comes from the deep respect he has for them. Maintain your weapon, follow orders to the letter, pay attention during briefings. He'll help you perfect your topography skills so you can call in supporting fire, should you need to, and it's now your task to prove your proficiency by teaching the Marine next to you to do the same. Take care of your personal gear; grenades, trip flares, ammo, mags, food, water, and keep that rifle clean. Make the mistake of violating any of this, and you'll learn why many only make the mistake of doing that once. They're mortal men, but he sees what they are capable of. He can demand the best from them, and he knows they'll come through. And they do.

But so does he; the standards he sets for himself are even higher. He's beyond disciplined. He's going without, so that you can have that last C-Rat. He chooses to hump the extra ammo, mortar rounds, and grenades... He's desperately in need of sleep, but sees one of his men could use a friend, so he talks to that 18 year-old who just arrived in-country, and is left reeling from the chaos and terror of his first firefight. He's harder on himself, than he is on them. Here, he can't afford not to be.

There are no USO shows here; no Bob Hope, no Raquel Welch, dancing around in go-go boots. They're always working, and it's too dangerous for anyone else to be out here... They're either in the bush, setting up ambushes, clearing fields of fire with C4, setting up LPs (for the truly unlucky three who will have that particular detail this night), or on nightly watch. Then there's sh-t-burning detail, the daily digging and filling in of fighting holes, followed by digging more of them, after already having been humping outside the wire all day. They're beat, and they're about to get even more so. But even though they're worked like dogs, it's not that there's never going to be a possibility of seeing a USO show -- they'll get to go see one in Cua Viet, during Christmas -- it's just not happening, here. Nobody in their right mind would come out here, where they are. The killing fields.

Very rarely is there the opportunity for hot chow, unless in the forward rear, at LZ Stud. Also, an opportunity for a much-appreciated, much-needed shower, a little bit of rest, and a change in utilities. One of the trade-offs of this bit of down-time, is one of the companies having to be on Sparrow Hawk -- a quick reactionary force -- where ten to fifteen minutes notice is all you have before you hop a bird, and head into a firefight in progress. If the chopper isn't shot down, and if you can hit the ground fighting without being wounded, you may just get back to the rare luxury of not having to live like an animal for a bit. This leaves you the rest of the time, obviously without those amenities, dining on C-rats; that is, if you've actually got them. There are times where the AO is too hot to land in, taking heavy fire, and resupply with the much-needed C-Rats and ammo are delayed. But when those boxes of C-rats hit the ground, you'd think it was Christmas morning.

Peaches and pound cake are a delicacy. You can trade a pack of Lucky Strikes or Marlboros for them. Ham and Motherf-ckers are an acquired taste; but you'll take them, if you're starving. Most will, anyway. Those who return home, will do so with an ample amount of weight to regain, after this experience. Family and friends will remark how thin they've become. They know hunger as they know fear and loss. Well.

They haven't bathed in several weeks, at this point. They're as filthy as they can be. They spend most of their tour outside the wire. Sweat, clay, beyond - offensive body odor, all clinging to them, as if for dear life. They can barely stand themselves, being this dirty. Should one take off his trousers, they could stand straight up, stiff as a board, from the sweat and salt having repeatedly permeated the fibers. A very uncomfortable and disgusting feeling. You're always soaked, in the humidity. They long ago started to chafe, and have developed various rashes in their armpits, and other areas where sweat and dirt become trapped. Stinging, burning. Jungle rot sets in. Their feet are just about worn beyond recognition. Open sores plague their steps. Powder only does so much. It's a dire existence, from day to day, with just the predictable challenges, such as these... And it only gets harder. But, Grunts can handle it. And they do.

This day, in Quang Tri Province, one of the longer firefights has just ended, and they've lost ten Marines... Twenty-nine more have been wounded. There's not a whole lot being said. A heaviness hangs over them; a deep sorrow and grief that is sharply palpable, but can't ever be measured. They will shove it down, and they will continue on. There are no other options.

You learn not to get to close to the replacements; they're coming in all the time, but you set yourself up for more hurt, if you make friends with the FNGs. It's not a cold-hearted, 'I don't care about you' stance. Rather, it is an 'I care too much'. A protection of the heart. After a while, you begin to hate to feel. And as time passes, they become more proficient at this... Shoving it down, while trying to protect the heart. Another day, here.

To see them - though you won't find many over the age of twenty - to walk with them, is to walk with men who are far older than their young, yet worn faces let on... And their eyes tell much more than they, themselves will ever tell you. The oldest of them all, The One Who Sleeps The Least, just extended his tour by another six months. There are more to be led, to be cared for, and protected. He feels he belongs more here, in this sh-thole country, than he does back home. He doesn't want to leave them.

By nightfall, he makes his rounds, checking on his men in their fighting holes. Everyone is hanging in there. He will check on them several more times, throughout the night. He'll ask if they need anything. They wonder when he sleeps, if he sleeps... And you know, it doesn't matter how tired, how long he's gone without a meal, he's there to offer a joke, a broad, ear-to-ear grin; something to lift them up, inspire them to keep going another day, another night. They wonder how he does it; he can smile through times that tear men apart. He uses his crazy sense of humor to drive them on, and it works. That smile tells them that it's okay; reassurance that they can keep going. And they do. They look to him, and trust him with everything they have in them. They can't afford not to.

This night, when he finally settles into his own fighting hole, he will provide much-needed warmth for those two other Grunts next to him; his Radioman, and the one he just put on the M-79 a few weeks ago. The latter will joke years later, that The One Who Sleeps The Least was the only man he ever slept with. Only his fellow Marines will ever get that joke, and laugh. Others will wonder what the H-ll he's talking about, and or mistakenly find his humor to be off-color. They will not understand just how much the warmth of your brother's body meant, on a night where the cold reached your very core, and the dampness only helped to sharpen the bite. They'd do anything for each other, and in this fighting hole, an inseparable bond is built out of mutually-understood misery, and a promise: I am your brother, and I am your keeper.

When their boots hit the ground in-country, they walked in with having had the best training available to them. They didn't walk in blindly, as you hear some of what goes on from the others who have already been, or you're lined up before your tour, and told that the odds aren't good that you'll return... But there's no way to truly prepare for this; it's impossible... and once you're in it, it's nothing like you could have imagined. You rely on your training, your discipline, on each other, and most of all, The One Who Sleeps The Least. He is the one who says, 'I won't put my Marines into this situation... I'll Walk Point, I'll go first, check things out'. He's the one who waits until he's made sure that everyone has had some water, before he thinks of getting water for himself. He's just as beaten down as they are, but he knows that they need to come first; their working relationship, the trust he's built, relies on being consistent with them. They have to know that he cares about what they're all going through, and that he's willing to suffer it all alongside them.

When you're lonely, missing home, your family, or you've just received a letter from your wife or girlfriend, telling you that life has moved on without you... He's there, and he listens, intently. He wants to know. He wants to know about you, your interests, what you want to do when you get home -- if you've thought of any of that -- he remembers, too. He not only cares about each of them; he takes the time to show it, so that they make no mistake about it. In a time where you don't get too close, protecting your heart, enabling you to be efficient, face impossible odds and situations not meant for man to see, or experience... Here he is, opening his heart up to get to *really* know his men... Because that makes the difference between just another NCO, and the Squad Leader who will put you ahead of himself, every time. And he knows this. Each and every one of them, is worth opening his heart to them in this way. For him, they would move mountains. And they do.

On this day, he'll have to ask them to move yet another mountain. In fact, he's going to have to ask them to take one. They've just gone several days, low on water, low on ammo, waiting for resupply. It's been a h-ll of a week, and you can feel the misery in the air. They're in desperate need of some hot chow, fresh water, a chance to wash up -- even if it means bathing in a creek -- they need some kind of recuperation. He knows they beyond-deserve it. His heart is again, quite heavy, this day. He walks toward them, rubbing his forehead. That's not good. Seeing this, they know they're not being extracted just yet. The other shoe is about to drop. Anxiety starts to settle in amongst the young Marines. What now?

At dawn's light, they're taking Hill 400. An estimated 900 NVA are encamped toward the top. Thankfully, the choppers are able to make it in by early evening, bringing in more C-Rats and ammo. They'll at least get some kind of meal, and hopefully some sleep before the morning. Dead-tired as they are, there is no complaining amongst the squad; it's not the first time that they've taken on so much, and it won't be the last. Along with the Marines in the adjoining companies, they'll prepare as best they can, and when light begins to show across the sky, they'll set out together to do the impossible. By the time the day ends, more will have been lost, and those who survive will be extracted back to the forward firebase. Once again, that heavy silence will hang amongst them, and their hearts will ache with grief. The One Who Sleeps The Least will watch over them, check in on them, and do what he can for them. They know they can call upon him. Right now, he's not even dealing with his own hurt. He makes sure if they need anything, that he's here for them. Another day, here.

At this time, six months have passed, and his time has come. He long ago decided that he wasn't going to be one to return, and there is a strange ambivalence at the realization that he has survived. He's going home; but he is unsure of what he's coming home to. A new war will be fought, where he will learn to figure out how to fit into the world, after such an experience. The world to which he returns will treat him, and the others with a harsh, misplaced apathy. As if they ought to be ashamed to simply be. They won't stop to wonder what these brave souls have been through, or if how they are treating them is right. This makes the struggle of coming home even harder, and makes the wall around the heart stronger, more impenetrable. Many will choose to quickly fade into the background, and walk many years, alone. They'll shove it down, just like they learned to do over there. Those around him, around the others, won't realize the magnitude of the men they stand next to. The ignorant will not know their value, or recognize the extraordinary feats they've managed to pull off. Only those who have walked the same path, or the rare who know to stop and notice them, and are moved by their presence.

Yet, in this coming home, for The One Who Sleeps The Least... Part of him will be left here, left with his Marines. They have a piece of him, and he carries a part of each of them with him. It will linger for as long as they all live, regardless of the passing of time, regardless of the distance between them, regardless of what happens... But for now, his Marines watch him go, knowing that in his absence, his are impossible boots to fill.

These Marines -- as much as it may confuse or even offend their loved ones around them -- will never know this kind of love again, except with each other. It is a love that is forged only in raging fire. Where mortal men are tried to the very depths of their being. In times of desperation, where you are frightened, worn ragged, unsure of tomorrow. Where sorrow hangs on the heart like a heavy cloak that once put on, can never be taken off. It is a love that somehow ascends beyond the despair, and is reserved only for those who've walked this road together.

This Marine, who led his men by example... Who put his Marines before himself each, and every time. Who cared so little for himself, so that others might make it home, is treasured beyond what words could convey. Words will always fall terribly short. But if you were to ask his Marines, you'd see and feel the impact he left, without question... And if you open your heart to them, and listen closely, you'll walk away with an imprint on your heart, as well.

In the years that pass, they'll grow older, and work to make a life. Not a day or night will pass when the faces, the names, the memories won't make an appearance. This experience will affect their decision making, how they see life, and people around them. How they love, and every aspect of how they make their way in the world. It's hard, the separation from one another, after going through all of this together. That bond is just as strong as it was all those years ago. As if they just saw each other yesterday.

Those faces are no longer young, and though in many ways they have grown, and changed... There is much that stays the same. Their spirit. That love. For each other, they'd do it all, again. Therein lies their beauty.

Not a single one of them doesn't remember and treasure the One Who Slept The Least, and all that he gave for them; what they all gave for each other. Theirs is a selfless heart that is worth more than all one could ever acquire in the world... And for the Grunts who walked beside him through the land from which many never returned, he is etched into the hearts of those who walked that long road with him.


The Friendship Of The Marines

I miss the friendship of the Marines that I met and remember. I kinda like going to different locations of the world. Except the nam. Didn't care too much for certain Sgts that would abuse their rank. And that went to Second Lts who thought they were Generals. There was more good than there was bad. And the worst place I did not approve of was Montford Point, Camp LeJeune. Now here is where I met some Marines I wouldn't trust crossing a mine field with. Just a handful. These guys were mostly from the east coast. The others I would follow or trust.

The food wasn't too bad but having the Navy and AF or Army around at DaNang the food there was better. Well I could go on and on and on but I won't bore you all with what some of ya's will say it's all BS. I am proud to claim the title of U.S. Marine!

Cpl DeLeon
The Sgts. I refer to are SSgts.


Gently Wanted Your Attention

June 1948, Parris Island, arrived late in the day, greeted by my D I, Sgt MacMurtry, Plt 110. The following morning, was issued the pith helmet as was 71 other boots. Came in handy on our totally bald heads, they also cushioned the good Sgt's swagger stick when he gently wanted your attention, need I say more...

Semper Fi Marines!

Sgt Ernie Padgette
1st Mar Div.

Also a very proud member of the Chosin Few. 84 years old and still proud of the Corps.


Mike Btry, 4th Bn, 11th Mar, 1st Mar Div

Where are you! I left you June 14th, 1969 and you have disappeared. I tried to get information on what happen when I went home. One h-ll of greeting I got and to this day I still have bad feelings about the people who gave a warm wet greeting. (I think they call it spit.) Enough of that, still bitter. Getting back to Mike Battery, I know the 11th Marines are based out at 29 stumps, and one day I went to a funeral for Marine that passed on and while standing and holding an American flag at the gravesite, a Marine Major introduced himself that he was the CO of 11th Marines. We got to talking and I asked about the Battery and for some reason I never got a straight answer to the question where the h-ll are you. So I'm looking for help! I need to clear my head and any help would be great.

Ed Petravicz, E-5
Motor pool and you name it.


Marine Book Recommendations

I enjoy all the newsletters and also like to see reader recommendations re books. I recently purchased "One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War" mentioned by a reader of your newsletter. Stacey Churchill from MCA told me she was at a dinner about 18 months ago, and Bing West was there. I also learned about the "Sergeant Reckless" book from MCA. I do frequently check Amazon for Marine DVDs and books and am just finishing Level Zero Heroes by Michael Golembesky (really like this book except for language). Thank you.

Karen Balske


Short Rounds

I enlisted and went to San Diego. I later went to Vietnam, served in the drill field as a Drill Instructor and a troop handler at Camp Geiger! Thank God, I got out after my enlistment was up! I'm still a Marine at heart and always will be!

Mike


At Khe Sanh in '67: "Jingle Bells, Mortar Shells, VC in the grass.
You can take your Merry Christmas
And stick it up your azs!"

Semper Fidelis,
Robert A. Hall


I was stationed at Marine brackets Las Vegas, Nev. from '57 to '60. At one time we were issued pith helmets, they only lasted a short time as they became like rags. If there is anyone out there who was there at that time would like to hear from them. I was in "A" Company, Retired MSgt M.K. Hill, Email: artie0800@hotmail.com. I enjoy this site and have purchased items thru them including hard to find items.


C-Rats... Think you better back up a little, You stated that you did not have C-rats from '60-'66. Well let me enlighten you cause you got your head up your ringer. We landed in RVN in '65 and our C-Rats was stamped 1947.

Ben Y.


In re to "Pith Helmets". While enjoying my summer vacation at MCRD San Diego in 2000, once we went to Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, CA, for rifle qualification, our range coaches wore pith helmets. Once I made it to the FMF, I don't recall seeing anyone wearing the pith helmets. Things may have changed since my time though.

J. Williams
Sgt USMC '00-'07


Quotes

"Put fear out of your heart. This nation will survive, this state will prosper, the orderly business of life will go forward if only men can speak in whatever way given them to utter what their hearts hold -- by voice, by posted card, by letter, or by press. Reason never has failed men. Only force and oppression have made the wrecks in the world."
--William Allen White


"To have striven, to have made an effort, to have been true to certain ideals -- this alone is worth the struggle."
--Sir William Osler


"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon - if I can. I seek opportunity not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, "This I have done."
--Dean Alfange


"The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle... If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."
--Frederick Douglass


"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army


"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
--Ned Dolan


This isn't the end of the newsletter... to improve delivery we've shortened the version that is sent to your inbox, so read the rest at our website! Next story: Pith Helmets And Khakis...

Read more at Grunt.com


"You people are lower than whale sh-t... and that's at the bottom of the ocean!"

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

"You people are too slow, if you were in combat you'd be dead!

Merry Christmas and Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter 17 DEC 2015

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 17 DEC 2015

In this issue:
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• Were You Drafted
• Freedom Bird

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Tattered USMC flag from a distance

Tattered USMC flag up close

Thought I would share this. Was elk hunting in the Cascade Mountain range, southwest of Ellensburg, WA, when I spotted a flag atop a large rock outcropping. It was eerily representative of Iwo Jima. To my surprise when I got a closer look and it was the Marine Corps flag, tattered but flying strong. Lat/Lon N47'04.607', W120'50.844', Elevation: 3754'.

Kit Wennersten
GySgt USMC


Clearly Wearing A Pith Helmet

Cpl Tim Wheeler wearing a pith helmet on Camp LeJeune range

Sgt. Grit,

Regarding Marines wearing pith helmets, I can't say for sure that I remember our PMIs or the guys that ran the range towers at Parris Island wearing them, but below is a picture of my buddy Cpl. Tim Wheeler wearing one as he was running "A" tower at the LeJeune range. This would have been around 1984. Tim was too short to go back on the second MED with us so he got assigned to the rifle range to finish out his enlistment. Not sure if he was a PMI but he did work the towers and he is clearly wearing a pith helmet in this photo. I told him I thought the pith helmets looked stupid, but he said they were required.

Semper Fi
Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331
Weapons Plt Lima 3/8


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Never Alone

Last month I transferred from the main VA hospital to a clinic nearer to my home. I had an appointment at the new clinic (my first) at 9:00 in the morning. As I am retired I was wearing my usual shorts with the Marine emblem embossed on the leg and a tee shirt. I don't dress up anymore.

I checked in and went to the waiting room. There were about twenty five vets waiting quietly reading and just staying quiet. There were guys wearing hats (We wear Covers) from the other branches with all sorts of logos on them. Stuff like First brigade, 101st Airborne, Ranger, and other such stuff. No one was talking.

I got up to get a magazine and heard a loud (really loud) "Semper Fi Mac!" I turned and there was a man and wife sitting near me. I did smile and went to shake his hand. He asked me my MOS and who I was with. I proudly answered 11th Marines. He responded that I looked like I was old enough to be a Viet Nam Vet. I asked if he was a Marine and he answered that he had been a Corpsman. After we had asked enough questions so we were completely vetted, we started to talk as if we had been buds for a while. His wife just rolled her eyes a few times as if she had heard the same stories over and over. Freedom Hill, Dogpatch, Marble Mountain, and other places dear to our hearts.

He was called in for his appointment and then it dawned on me that we had talked for about fifteen minutes but none of the others had said a word to each other.

I guess the moral of this is that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are never alone. There will always be another Marine or Corpsman ready, willing, and able, to shake your hand and retell war stories.

Ain't that cool.

No name, Just an old Marine.


Blitzen 5 off 30 offer


Tower Sentry Shot Him

As a newly crafted Corporal E-4 on Okinawa, I returned from a "Float" with 1st Amtracs to the Philippines, Hong Kong etc., in 1962 and was sent TAD to the 3rd Mar Div Brig at Camp Smedley D. Butler. I was immediately issued a Pith helmet and told that was the only cover we wore.

It was to distinguish us from other Marines on the base in controlling prisoners. If the escape alarm ever went off, both the port and starboard sections were to immediately report to the armory (off duty or not), where we were given Model 97 Winchesters shotguns and told what sector we were to control. (pre-designated posts by number that surrounded the base). We went wearing whatever we had when the alarm went off, as long as we had the pith helmet. (that way, when we went over the fence to the post, the Ryukan guards would not challenge us). most times it was a drill, but I remember going over the fence in my skivvies with a loaded shotgun, pith helmet and not much else. The prisoner never made it past the double barbed wire fence, as the tower sentry shot him on the second fence as he tried going over the barbed wire with his mattress, as we would frequently have them air out the mattresses in the compound (Who knew). The Pith helmets also made quite an impression on the prisoners when we would "save" them from mosquitos by smashing the bug to death while on their head. Very few repeat prisoners in that brig. Yellow and red lines and "double time" every where.

Bob Doherty 1959-1965


The Word Myrhh

A-myrhh-ica statement between teach and student

Tonight while teaching 5th & 6th graders...

Me - "Gold, frankinsence, & myrhh. What do you think about when you hear the word myrhh?"

Christian - "I think of... A-myrhh-ica."

Keith


One Service Stripe

Sgt. Grit,

I recently met this Marine, for the second time in the past few years, and it has got me to wondering if this has happened to anyone else. The actual first time I ran across him was in 1949/50, when both of us were PFCs. The Reserve Company, in which we served, was called to active duty in July, 1950, and shipped to Camp Pendleton, in August.

He, along with most of the Company, went to Korea, and I went a different direction. Fast forward 30 or 40 years and the next time I see anything about him is as the front page story in the local paper, where he is awarded the Silver Star for action in Korea, as a Corporal. BUT, the picture of him in his Dress Blue Uniform, shows him as a Staff Sergeant, with one service stripe.

The last time I saw him was on 11 November, when one of the local churches sponsored a breakfast for military personnel. This time he is wearing Gunnery Sergeant chevrons, still with one service stripe. Evidently, he just decides to promote himself every few years. Should be interesting to see what his next rank will be.

Semper Fi, y'all!

JimMc, GySgt


BAM

Sgt. Grit,

Even though I only did my one year, you will be hard pressed to find a prouder Marine. To top that off, I am a retread. There is no shame in that, h-ll; I went through PI twice! At the time I was 4'11-3/4" tall, 100 pounds soaking wet and when I was at PI my last name was (brace yourself), SWEET! I have a promotional products company also and since I live in Fayetteville, NC; I deal with the Army. We have a great relationship kidding back and forth, but yet there is a mutual respect.

I am not a Combat Marine. That always makes one wonder about their performance should the time have ever come to be "called to duty". I consider I was called to duty because I at least did a small part to contribute to the protection of our country. I was a 2542, Comm Center Operator. My Army clients say that with my attitude, they would not hesitate to have me in the foxhole next to them (of course they may just be saying that to be polite). I love going over there because when that door closes, we leave our "Politically Correct" attitude outside.

I read you use the term BAM and even though it makes my blood curdle sometimes when I hear it, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I did want to share a story with you about that.

One day I was coming out of the Law Enforcement Center which is located next to the County Courthouse. I saw a young female coming out of the courthouse wearing a tee shirt with the inscription "PROUD TO BE A BAM!" I was being escorted by a Captain with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department. He just looked at me and said "Katie, let it go, don't scare that poor little girl to death". You see, I am quite outspoken when it comes to my patriotism and the Corps. I caught up with the girl, stood directly in her path to her car and asked her where in the h-ll did she get a tee shirt and I did not EVER want to see her in it again! She said she got it from her recruiter. She was one of those persons that always start a sentence with "Like you know?" I asked her if she any iota what a BAM is. She replied (get this!) "Like you know, it stands for BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN MARINE!"

I felt the breath of Captain Brown on my neck trying to keep me from committing assault. I live with the phrase just like others live with the term Jarhead. At least I am being recognized as a United Sates Marine! That is what counts.

! I'll save for another time, the story of the two recruits coming out of the courthouse uncovered, playing pocket pool in of all places, Fayetteville, NC!

I apologize for this post being so long but it is the first time I have written. It is nice to have a place to read and express stories, feelings, and ideas. You don't find many active Marines living in Fayetteville, You would be surprised at the high number of inactive ones living here. Thank you for giving us a place to vent and share feelings.

Sincerely,
Katie Piercy
USMC


Not Just Civilians

I have been reading the stories about imposters and it brought to mind two incidents. The first incident occurred when I went to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. I spent 5 days there listening to recorded conversations in the bowels of the institution. When myself and another Special Agent went inside, we were accompanied by a guard. The doors were double locked so you entered or left, were secured between two doors, and then proceeded. The guard had spent 8 or 10 years in the Army. This was in the late 1980's. One of the days we were locked between the doors with a Navy doctor, about 28 to 30 years old. I looked at his ribbons and he had Vietnam service and campaign ribbons along with his firewatch ribbon (national defense). He was too young to have been in Vietnam. I asked him when he got the ribbons and he replied "prior service". I came unglued and told him a lot of guys earned those ribbons and he was not one of them. I said to take them or I would do it for him. The guard didn't know what was next. Needless to say he took them off before the doors opened. I still get mad thinking about it.

The other incident involved a Marine my sister-in-law was dating. When we were invited to meet him for the first time she told my wife to caution me not to say anything about the Marine Corps of Vietnam because he had been a POW and had terrible nightmares and flashbacks. My wife, having lived through some of my nightmares after someone brought up the war, understood. When we got there he was wearing a bush hat with the EGA on the front. I thought this guy doesn't want anything mentioned. This is total BS! They need some refreshments and I told him he and I would go for them. When we got in the car I began to question him about his MOS, duty stations, units, and dates of service. It became clear he was not a Vietnam vet and definitely was never a POW. I told him, when we get back I want that hat off of you and if you want to blow smoke up some girls azs to get sympathy s-x, do it with someone other than my sister-in-law. My brother was stationed in the state police in the county where he resided and I called him to check this guys DD214. He pulled it and found he was a Marine and served 2 years with all of his service after boot camp and ITR in supply at Camp LeJeune. All he had to do was be up-front. He served and the Corps decided he should stay stateside. No explanation needed. I promptly informed my sister-in-law of his deception. So it is just not civilians stealing valor.

Semper Fi,
J. Kanavy, Cpl


Were You Drafted

The Marine Corps resorted to the draft in late 1965. How any drafted individual would put up with such nonsense was a mystery to me. I volunteered for goodness sakes, and there wasn't a week go by when I didn't ask myself why.

Being a Marine made bellyaching about it permissible. We all complained. Looking back now, I can see we were somehow proud to be mistreated to a certain extent. Marines dealt with adversity rather well. We had to.

I had been assigned to Sea School, San Diego, in preparation for being sent to a ship's detachment. I was a Corporal. I felt confident, not nearly as intimidated by MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) as I was the first time I'd been there as Private Holt. I reported in, and within a day we'd all received instructions on what uniforms would be required for the various duties involved. We, as ship's Marines, had to be exceptionally squared away, much more so than normal.

We had to buy many more items, but with the assignment we were issued a set of dress blues. Marine dress blue uniforms weren't part of the basic issue back in '67. We had to buy them ourselves unless we'd been sent to a duty station which required them. There is nothing like a Marine dress blue uniform. It dazzles. Just sayin'. (I've still got my blue's blouse stored in the basement somewhere. Of course I can't fit my arm in the leg of my blues these days, but it's nice to remember what shape I used to have.)

All except for the blues, we had to buy these items ourselves. We also had to have each item tailored for perfect fit, primarily our shirts. We all needed some extra money for this. So there we were, Corporals Holt, Gilbert and Johnson walking over to dispersing (Sort of like a bank) one afternoon to apply for an allotment (A loan) for the purchase of these extra items of uniforms. It was a standard situation for the clerks, but when we were handed the form to fill out we all stood there for a second and gawked at it. The old lady clerk (She musta been at least forty) smiled and took the form from Johnson and started to fill it out for him.

What a kind lady she was. Just like somebody's Mama, tending to her confused flock. She'd obviously filled out a potful of these forms in her day. I imagined she got some sort of motherly satisfaction in making life easier for befuddled Corporals.

While she asked questions of Johnson, we all stood there and b-tched about stuff. The fact that we had to buy the uniforms. Our instructor, Sergeant Tate, being such a tight azs. What a bunch of candy azses all these MCRD base personnel were. There was no end to stuff we could complain about when the mood struck us, and the mood had certainly struck Johnson, all the while turning every few seconds to the sweet lady and answering her simple questions.

"Name?" He'd answer then turn away toward us and continue to b-tch. "Service number", only pausing to keep our conversation going. "Date of birth?" Again. The nice lady didn't seem to be bothered by Johnson's lack of attention, but then she asked, "Were you drafted?" Johnson instantly stopped talking and turned toward her. "Absolutely not!" The kind lady then leaned forward just a bit and looked Johnson straight in the eye, then said, "Then shut the f-ck up?"

She was right. We'd signed up for this, so we really didn't have a right to complain, but like I said, it's what Marines did back in 1967.

Joe Holt


Freedom Bird

I still remember my last night at An Hoa. I felt like I was running out on my 3 best friends Cpl. Weiss, Cpl. Ski. and Sgt Crabtree. My last day I could not face any of them so we said our good byes the night before. Crab had been in Vietnam 2 years and Ski 1-1/2 years. Weiss came back to the states and we hooked up at 29 Palms but after 4 months he went back to Vietnam. Crabtree and Ski both extended again right before I came home.

The only thing I could think of when I was on the Freedom bird coming home from Vietnam was that I was running out on my friends.

I was with 12th Marines 8 months then 2nd Bat/11th Marines, 10 Months.

I wanted to go and I wanted to stay. I still remember the feeling I had getting on the chopper at An Hoa to fly to Da Nang. In Da Nang I still wanted to change my mind and go back. But, I had not been home in 18 Months and my wife said enough was enough and we had a son I had never seen.

So the freedom bird was a bad experience for me.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Robert L. Sisson
July '68-July '71


Ditty That I Remember

In reference to Jim Leonard's post, this is the ditty that I remember:

Mine eyes have seen the devil on the shores of Tripoli,
He wears the globe and anchor just the same as you and me.
With a rifle in his shoulder and a woman in his arms,
And "A" company marches on.

Glory, glory what a h-ll of a way to die,
Glory , glory what a h-ll of a way to die,
Glory, glory what a hell of a way to die.
And "A" company marches on.

2nd verse:

Mine eyes have seen Marines on the shores of Viet Nam,
They are tramping out the jungle where the Viet Cong are found.
They loosed the mighty power of a swift and mighty Corps,
And "A" company marches on.

(Repeat of chorus)

3rd verse:

Mine eyes have seen Marines at the gates of heaven,
They're reporting to St Peter and they're saying to that good man,
"One more marine reporting sir, I've served my time in h-ll."
And"A" company marched on.

New chorus

Glory, glory it's the only way to die,
Glory, glory, it's the only way to die,
Glory, glory, it's the only way to die,
A Marine serving his country!

Tom Allen
Sgt of Marines
Vietnam '68- '69


Didn't Happen

For Ron Morse... yup, you did miss something... that being the version(s) of C-rations between WWII and oh, around 1964... '64 or so was when the "Meal, Combat, Individual" came along... one meal, in one box, twelve to a case. Before that, we had C-rations that came packed one day's rations for one man in one box. The box was maybe 8"X4"X 3" or so deep, and it contained "three heavies, two lights, one (something I've forgotten), and an accessory pack. Said accessory pack contained EDBD (say it out loud... I'm from Tennessee now...) packets of salt, pepper, instant tea, instant coffee ("ascorbic acid added")... (that's vitamin C), toilet paper, an olive-drab book of matches (21), a FULL Pack of cigarettes, some bouillon, either chicken or beef, and candy... typically either a Tootsie Roll (full size), or Chuckles, which were sugar coated gelatin... five flavors, including licorice (extra points to anybody who can name the other four flavors, and better yet, the order in which they were packed in the shallow U-shaped tray.) The 'heavies' might be some assortment of three from something like 32 possible main 'dishes'... there were spaghetti/meatballs, beef & peas, beef & potatoes, stew, sausage patties, pork chunks, chicken & ??... and lots of others... some fairly palatable, if you had the means to heat them... heat tabs, maybe, or for those of us in units like Ontos or Tanks, a small gasoline stove. The sausage patties, of which there were several packed in the can, were tasty and filling... if heated. If they had to be consumed cold, it would take most of the rest of the day to scrape the congealed grease off one's teeth.

The major problem with this one day for one man distribution came when it was a day in the field when only lunch would be individual rations... this meant dividing up one box between three men... somebody was going to get screwed on the 'light' units... these had crackers, PB... and only one of the three was going to get the canned fruit... which included pears, peaches, fruit cocktail... and... cherries...

What we had in Korea, I dunno... little before my time... and was away from the FMF '60 to '66, so didn't have a lot of occasion to consume field rations during the period.

For all of you who will now claim you ate WWII dated C-rations in VN, I have one short comment... BS... didn't happen.

Field food pretty much has always come under the Army Quartermaster Corps for development, etc, also Nattick Laboratories... Google away!

Think it was when 2/1 was training up at Pendleton to be the second transplacement Bn ('59)... word came down that the next Marine caught burying a ration can on Camp Pendleton was going to recieve a General Court Martial... (still doing 'drumming out at the time... this was serious stuff)... we had a 1stLt. Platoon Leader... Buck Rogers... who had a tailgate meeting on the subject... ordinarily, three cases of rations could generate at least one jeep trailer full of trash. The Lt. said: "we're going to put the empty cans back in the little boxes, and the little boxes back into the big boxes"... problem solved! Been over 55 years, but remember it well...

Ddick


Short Rounds

We like it here,
We like it here,
You're f-cking A, we like it here.
We shine our boots,
We shine our brass,
We even kiss the Gunny's azs
We like it here, we like it here, your f-cking A, we like it here.


SGT. Grit,

Has it ever been noticed by all our brothers that all our sister branches seem to run on SpecOps only? I only met one man, a Korean Vet, who actually said he was a cook in the army. It seems EVERYONE else I've met is either a SeAL, Ranger, Green Beret, or ParaRescue...

Semper Fi
Chaney, Paul (one each)
'85-'97


Can't help Marine Joe Leonard with his songs (re. his questions in recent newsletter), but I can remember singing the Hymn to the tune of "Riders in the Sky" when I was in boot camp 62 some years ago at MCRDSD. Now, I can't get it out of my mind.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader Sgt 140XXXX
God Bless America and the U.S. Marine Corps


What do you miss or not miss about the Marine Corps?

Sgt Grit


Quotes

Thomas Jefferson quote

"Most bad government has grown out of too much government."
--Thomas Jefferson


"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts."
--James Madison, 1792


"Has sturdy Americanism decayed, died? Have we, descendants of doughty, self-reliant pioneers, become a race of backboneless leaners, of suppliant dependants? When the 'most famous baby in the world' is kidnaaped, to whom do the stricken parents turn to find and return their child? To racketeers, denizens of the underworld!...Sound tocsin call to America's manhood, America's old-time fearlessness, arressiveness, all-conquering courage!"
--The Apr. 15, 1932 Issue of Forbes Magazine


"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a h-ll of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a h-ll of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling."
--Gen. James Mattis


"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all"
--Gen. James Mattis


"The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

"Zero dark thirty - rise and shine, hit the deck leatherneck grab your boots 'n socks get in your trousers bail out of that rack make your mark for the day."

"I eat concertina wire and p-ss napalm, and I can shoot a round through a flea's azs at 300 yards."

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

©2015 Sgt Grit Inc
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888-NOV-1775
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Sgt Grit Newsletter 17 DEC 2015
If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:
http://www.grunt.com/corps/newsletter/10914/

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 17 DEC 2015

In this issue:
• One Service Stripe
• Were You Drafted
• Freedom Bird

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Thought I would share this. Was elk hunting in the Cascade Mountain range, southwest of Ellensburg, WA, when I spotted a flag atop a large rock outcropping. It was eerily representative of Iwo Jima. To my surprise when I got a closer look and it was the Marine Corps flag, tattered but flying strong. Lat/Lon N47'04.607', W120'50.844', Elevation: 3754'.

Kit Wennersten
GySgt USMC


Clearly Wearing A Pith Helmet

Sgt. Grit,

Regarding Marines wearing pith helmets, I can't say for sure that I remember our PMIs or the guys that ran the range towers at Parris Island wearing them, but below is a picture of my buddy Cpl. Tim Wheeler wearing one as he was running "A" tower at the LeJeune range. This would have been around 1984. Tim was too short to go back on the second MED with us so he got assigned to the rifle range to finish out his enlistment. Not sure if he was a PMI but he did work the towers and he is clearly wearing a pith helmet in this photo. I told him I thought the pith helmets looked stupid, but he said they were required.

Semper Fi
Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331
Weapons Plt Lima 3/8


Never Alone

Last month I transferred from the main VA hospital to a clinic nearer to my home. I had an appointment at the new clinic (my first) at 9:00 in the morning. As I am retired I was wearing my usual shorts with the Marine emblem embossed on the leg and a tee shirt. I don't dress up anymore.

I checked in and went to the waiting room. There were about twenty five vets waiting quietly reading and just staying quiet. There were guys wearing hats (We wear Covers) from the other branches with all sorts of logos on them. Stuff like First brigade, 101st Airborne, Ranger, and other such stuff. No one was talking.

I got up to get a magazine and heard a loud (really loud) "Semper Fi Mac!" I turned and there was a man and wife sitting near me. I did smile and went to shake his hand. He asked me my MOS and who I was with. I proudly answered 11th Marines. He responded that I looked like I was old enough to be a Viet Nam Vet. I asked if he was a Marine and he answered that he had been a Corpsman. After we had asked enough questions so we were completely vetted, we started to talk as if we had been buds for a while. His wife just rolled her eyes a few times as if she had heard the same stories over and over. Freedom Hill, Dogpatch, Marble Mountain, and other places dear to our hearts.

He was called in for his appointment and then it dawned on me that we had talked for about fifteen minutes but none of the others had said a word to each other.

I guess the moral of this is that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are never alone. There will always be another Marine or Corpsman ready, willing, and able, to shake your hand and retell war stories.

Ain't that cool.

No name, Just an old Marine.


Tower Sentry Shot Him

As a newly crafted Corporal E-4 on Okinawa, I returned from a "Float" with 1st Amtracs to the Philippines, Hong Kong etc., in 1962 and was sent TAD to the 3rd Mar Div Brig at Camp Smedley D. Butler. I was immediately issued a Pith helmet and told that was the only cover we wore.

It was to distinguish us from other Marines on the base in controlling prisoners. If the escape alarm ever went off, both the port and starboard sections were to immediately report to the armory (off duty or not), where we were given Model 97 Winchesters shotguns and told what sector we were to control. (pre-designated posts by number that surrounded the base). We went wearing whatever we had when the alarm went off, as long as we had the pith helmet. (that way, when we went over the fence to the post, the Ryukan guards would not challenge us). most times it was a drill, but I remember going over the fence in my skivvies with a loaded shotgun, pith helmet and not much else. The prisoner never made it past the double barbed wire fence, as the tower sentry shot him on the second fence as he tried going over the barbed wire with his mattress, as we would frequently have them air out the mattresses in the compound (Who knew). The Pith helmets also made quite an impression on the prisoners when we would "save" them from mosquitos by smashing the bug to death while on their head. Very few repeat prisoners in that brig. Yellow and red lines and "double time" every where.

Bob Doherty 1959-1965


One Service Stripe

Sgt. Grit,

I recently met this Marine, for the second time in the past few years, and it has got me to wondering if this has happened to anyone else. The actual first time I ran across him was in 1949/50, when both of us were PFCs. The Reserve Company, in which we served, was called to active duty in July, 1950, and shipped to Camp Pendleton, in August.

He, along with most of the Company, went to Korea, and I went a different direction. Fast forward 30 or 40 years and the next time I see anything about him is as the front page story in the local paper, where he is awarded the Silver Star for action in Korea, as a Corporal. BUT, the picture of him in his Dress Blue Uniform, shows him as a Staff Sergeant, with one service stripe.

The last time I saw him was on 11 November, when one of the local churches sponsored a breakfast for military personnel. This time he is wearing Gunnery Sergeant chevrons, still with one service stripe. Evidently, he just decides to promote himself every few years. Should be interesting to see what his next rank will be.

Semper Fi, y'all!

JimMc, GySgt


BAM

Sgt. Grit,

Even though I only did my one year, you will be hard pressed to find a prouder Marine. To top that off, I am a retread. There is no shame in that, h-ll; I went through PI twice! At the time I was 4'11-3/4" tall, 100 pounds soaking wet and when I was at PI my last name was (brace yourself), SWEET! I have a promotional products company also and since I live in Fayetteville, NC; I deal with the Army. We have a great relationship kidding back and forth, but yet there is a mutual respect.

I am not a Combat Marine. That always makes one wonder about their performance should the time have ever come to be "called to duty". I consider I was called to duty because I at least did a small part to contribute to the protection of our country. I was a 2542, Comm Center Operator. My Army clients say that with my attitude, they would not hesitate to have me in the foxhole next to them (of course they may just be saying that to be polite). I love going over there because when that door closes, we leave our "Politically Correct" attitude outside.

I read you use the term BAM and even though it makes my blood curdle sometimes when I hear it, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I did want to share a story with you about that.

One day I was coming out of the Law Enforcement Center which is located next to the County Courthouse. I saw a young female coming out of the courthouse wearing a tee shirt with the inscription "PROUD TO BE A BAM!" I was being escorted by a Captain with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department. He just looked at me and said "Katie, let it go, don't scare that poor little girl to death". You see, I am quite outspoken when it comes to my patriotism and the Corps. I caught up with the girl, stood directly in her path to her car and asked her where in the h-ll did she get a tee shirt and I did not EVER want to see her in it again! She said she got it from her recruiter. She was one of those persons that always start a sentence with "Like you know?" I asked her if she any iota what a BAM is. She replied (get this!) "Like you know, it stands for BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN MARINE!"

I felt the breath of Captain Brown on my neck trying to keep me from committing assault. I live with the phrase just like others live with the term Jarhead. At least I am being recognized as a United Sates Marine! That is what counts.

! I'll save for another time, the story of the two recruits coming out of the courthouse uncovered, playing pocket pool in of all places, Fayetteville, NC!

I apologize for this post being so long but it is the first time I have written. It is nice to have a place to read and express stories, feelings, and ideas. You don't find many active Marines living in Fayetteville, You would be surprised at the high number of inactive ones living here. Thank you for giving us a place to vent and share feelings.

Sincerely,
Katie Piercy
USMC


Not Just Civilians

I have been reading the stories about imposters and it brought to mind two incidents. The first incident occurred when I went to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. I spent 5 days there listening to recorded conversations in the bowels of the institution. When myself and another Special Agent went inside, we were accompanied by a guard. The doors were double locked so you entered or left, were secured between two doors, and then proceeded. The guard had spent 8 or 10 years in the Army. This was in the late 1980's. One of the days we were locked between the doors with a Navy doctor, about 28 to 30 years old. I looked at his ribbons and he had Vietnam service and campaign ribbons along with his firewatch ribbon (national defense). He was too young to have been in Vietnam. I asked him when he got the ribbons and he replied "prior service". I came unglued and told him a lot of guys earned those ribbons and he was not one of them. I said to take them or I would do it for him. The guard didn't know what was next. Needless to say he took them off before the doors opened. I still get mad thinking about it.

The other incident involved a Marine my sister-in-law was dating. When we were invited to meet him for the first time she told my wife to caution me not to say anything about the Marine Corps of Vietnam because he had been a POW and had terrible nightmares and flashbacks. My wife, having lived through some of my nightmares after someone brought up the war, understood. When we got there he was wearing a bush hat with the EGA on the front. I thought this guy doesn't want anything mentioned. This is total BS! They need some refreshments and I told him he and I would go for them. When we got in the car I began to question him about his MOS, duty stations, units, and dates of service. It became clear he was not a Vietnam vet and definitely was never a POW. I told him, when we get back I want that hat off of you and if you want to blow smoke up some girls azs to get sympathy s-x, do it with someone other than my sister-in-law. My brother was stationed in the state police in the county where he resided and I called him to check this guys DD214. He pulled it and found he was a Marine and served 2 years with all of his service after boot camp and ITR in supply at Camp LeJeune. All he had to do was be up-front. He served and the Corps decided he should stay stateside. No explanation needed. I promptly informed my sister-in-law of his deception. So it is just not civilians stealing valor.

Semper Fi,
J. Kanavy, Cpl


Were You Drafted

The Marine Corps resorted to the draft in late 1965. How any drafted individual would put up with such nonsense was a mystery to me. I volunteered for goodness sakes, and there wasn't a week go by when I didn't ask myself why.

Being a Marine made bellyaching about it permissible. We all complained. Looking back now, I can see we were somehow proud to be mistreated to a certain extent. Marines dealt with adversity rather well. We had to.

I had been assigned to Sea School, San Diego, in preparation for being sent to a ship's detachment. I was a Corporal. I felt confident, not nearly as intimidated by MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) as I was the first time I'd been there as Private Holt. I reported in, and within a day we'd all received instructions on what uniforms would be required for the various duties involved. We, as ship's Marines, had to be exceptionally squared away, much more so than normal.

We had to buy many more items, but with the assignment we were issued a set of dress blues. Marine dress blue uniforms weren't part of the basic issue back in '67. We had to buy them ourselves unless we'd been sent to a duty station which required them. There is nothing like a Marine dress blue uniform. It dazzles. Just sayin'. (I've still got my blue's blouse stored in the basement somewhere. Of course I can't fit my arm in the leg of my blues these days, but it's nice to remember what shape I used to have.)

All except for the blues, we had to buy these items ourselves. We also had to have each item tailored for perfect fit, primarily our shirts. We all needed some extra money for this. So there we were, Corporals Holt, Gilbert and Johnson walking over to dispersing (Sort of like a bank) one afternoon to apply for an allotment (A loan) for the purchase of these extra items of uniforms. It was a standard situation for the clerks, but when we were handed the form to fill out we all stood there for a second and gawked at it. The old lady clerk (She musta been at least forty) smiled and took the form from Johnson and started to fill it out for him.

What a kind lady she was. Just like somebody's Mama, tending to her confused flock. She'd obviously filled out a potful of these forms in her day. I imagined she got some sort of motherly satisfaction in making life easier for befuddled Corporals.

While she asked questions of Johnson, we all stood there and b-tched about stuff. The fact that we had to buy the uniforms. Our instructor, Sergeant Tate, being such a tight azs. What a bunch of candy azses all these MCRD base personnel were. There was no end to stuff we could complain about when the mood struck us, and the mood had certainly struck Johnson, all the while turning every few seconds to the sweet lady and answering her simple questions.

"Name?" He'd answer then turn away toward us and continue to b-tch. "Service number", only pausing to keep our conversation going. "Date of birth?" Again. The nice lady didn't seem to be bothered by Johnson's lack of attention, but then she asked, "Were you drafted?" Johnson instantly stopped talking and turned toward her. "Absolutely not!" The kind lady then leaned forward just a bit and looked Johnson straight in the eye, then said, "Then shut the f-ck up?"

She was right. We'd signed up for this, so we really didn't have a right to complain, but like I said, it's what Marines did back in 1967.

Joe Holt


Freedom Bird

I still remember my last night at An Hoa. I felt like I was running out on my 3 best friends Cpl. Weiss, Cpl. Ski. and Sgt Crabtree. My last day I could not face any of them so we said our good byes the night before. Crab had been in Vietnam 2 years and Ski 1-1/2 years. Weiss came back to the states and we hooked up at 29 Palms but after 4 months he went back to Vietnam. Crabtree and Ski both extended again right before I came home.

The only thing I could think of when I was on the Freedom bird coming home from Vietnam was that I was running out on my friends.

I was with 12th Marines 8 months then 2nd Bat/11th Marines, 10 Months.

I wanted to go and I wanted to stay. I still remember the feeling I had getting on the chopper at An Hoa to fly to Da Nang. In Da Nang I still wanted to change my mind and go back. But, I had not been home in 18 Months and my wife said enough was enough and we had a son I had never seen.

So the freedom bird was a bad experience for me.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Robert L. Sisson
July '68-July '71


Ditty That I Remember

In reference to Jim Leonard's post, this is the ditty that I remember:

Mine eyes have seen the devil on the shores of Tripoli,
He wears the globe and anchor just the same as you and me.
With a rifle in his shoulder and a woman in his arms,
And "A" company marches on.

Glory, glory what a h-ll of a way to die,
Glory , glory what a h-ll of a way to die,
Glory, glory what a hell of a way to die.
And "A" company marches on.

2nd verse:

Mine eyes have seen Marines on the shores of Viet Nam,
They are tramping out the jungle where the Viet Cong are found.
They loosed the mighty power of a swift and mighty Corps,
And "A" company marches on.

(Repeat of chorus)

3rd verse:

Mine eyes have seen Marines at the gates of heaven,
They're reporting to St Peter and they're saying to that good man,
"One more marine reporting sir, I've served my time in h-ll."
And"A" company marched on.

New chorus

Glory, glory it's the only way to die,
Glory, glory, it's the only way to die,
Glory,