I'd like to Echo CWO-3 Brawner's remarks about the caliber of
the young men and women who today serve our Corps and continue
its traditions and values. I have seen these Marines at their
finest hour and at times of their greatest loss as well, always
to be impressed with what I once thought of as just "kids".
The junior Marine of today entered our Corps while their nation
has been at war. Active duty or Reserve they each enlisted with
the full knowledge that they would deploy to foreign lands and
fight during this "Long War". None were drafted (not that it
makes a difference) and all were motivated by our Corps Values
to make sound, timely, ethical decisions behind the trigger.
I never had the honor to serve with Marines of the WWII or
Korean War era's so I take nothing away from these Marines but
simply attest that to see the battlefield courage and tenacity
of today's Marine is an inspiring sight. While it is always
enjoyable to debate the "Old Corps vs. the New Corps" I
encourage everyone to shake the hand and look into the eyes of
today's Marines and you will see the true character that has
always made our Corps the finest fighting organization in the
GySgt John Kroll USMCR
Here is one from the MSG assignment in Quito, Ecuador. 1960-61.
I received an Invitation from the Ambassador to attend a
function and it stated "Smoking".
This country boy Corporal thought, d*mn they are so horseshi!t
here they tell you when you can smoke!
Semper Fi to all of the brothers!
She Ignored His Pleas
RE: Eating letters. Pvt. James E. Gardner and I arrived together
at Parris Island on 14 December 1962. Platoon 191, B Co., 1st
battalion. He had just turned 17, had quit high school and did
not have a clue about the real world. Gardner refused to believe
that the Drill Instructors would hit us, so I bet him fifty
cents. He was the first one in the platoon to be hit.
Gardner had a cute little girlfriend, who kept sending him
letters with heavy perfume. The Drill Instructors gave him
sufficient time to advise her to stop, and warned that after
that date, he would eat he next perfumed letter. Sure enough,
she ignored his pleas, and he ate the letter, perfume and all,
standing at attention. Gardner continued to fail at everything,
including being unable to climb the rope each morning, so he was
sent to Motivation Platoon for a week.
When he returned, he scampered up the rope like a monkey.
Gardner's Father died while he was at PI. The Drill Instructors
outfitted him with a dress green uniform and sent him home for
the funeral. He returned quickly, graduated and returned home to
marry the letter writer.
Marine Corps League
After reading all the stories about DI's I had to relate my
experience. I landed in San Diego in May 1969 and like all other
recruits I was soon standing on the yellow foot prints in the
receiving area at MCRD. After a night of pure h&ll we were
turned over to our three DI's. as Plt. 1089. SSgt Frank Acosta
was the senior drill instructor. SSgt Acosta had record of
producing honor platoons and would take nothing but the best
from everyone or he would kill you getting the best out of you.
(At least we thought he would kill us.)
Our Jr. Drill Instructor was SSgt. Dennis West. SSgt West had a
mean sadistic streak and employed it. We all had fear in our
eyes when he was in charge. However, SSgt West was the finest
instructor in drill that I had ever seen. He made us such a fine
tuned machine that we had the highest drill score in more than
four years on our final drill during boot camp. I remember the
Sgt Major of our battalion coming out of his office to watch us
as we marched by in the evening. He would have each squad going
in different directions and bring us back together in perfect
The Drill Instructor I am writing about is SSgt. Jim Donner. We
were SSgt Donners' first platoon. He had just graduated from
Drill Instructor school after having been hospitalized for
wounds he received taking a machine gun bunker and receiving a
bronze star in Vietnam. SSgt. Donner was a Force Recon Marine
and tough as nails. One afternoon having just eaten chow at the
Mess Hall we had a class in a metal building on the 45 Caliber
pistol. SSgt Donner was in charge of the Platoon that day.
Sitting in the hot class room I let my head nod for a fraction
of a second. SSgt Donner came out of nowhere and whispered in my
ear that he would see me in the duty hut that evening. Later as
everything was winding down, I and another recruit were summoned
to the duty hut. After knocking and announcing our selves we
were given a dressing down about falling asleep in class.
Thinking that just getting our azzes chewed would be the worst
thing that would happen, SSgt Donner told us that we were going
to watch TV. Watching TV requires holding you body up by your
elbows on the top of a wall locker. After a couple of minutes
your arms are ready to fall off. After 15 minutes we were told
to get on our heads. Getting on our heads is a push up position
with your head on the floor, your legs spread and your rear end
up in the air. For me this wasn't a problem because I had a flat
spot on the top of my head. The other guy had a rounded head and
he was in misery the whole time. Did I forget to say that the
floor was concrete?
After 15 minutes of this exercise we were told to get in push up
position. On our knuckles! I had bruised knuckles for more than
a week. Another 15 minutes went by both of us in extreme agony
all the while we are being instructed in the errors of our way
by SSgt. Donner. Finally, we were instructed to stand at
attention with our backs to the wall lockers. We were then
introduced to the "hammer". The hammer is a black leather glove
which fits over the DI's hand and gives love taps to the dog tag
area of your chest while you are being instructed in the proper
Marine Corps procedure of not nodding off in class. All of our
DI's employed the hammer at one time or the other.
Fast forward a few months. I'm with 1/5 in Vietnam. We have been
humping in Arizona for a couple of weeks. Every night we were on
50% alert after running patrols or sweeps during the day. It
seemed like when it was my time to sleep we would get hit or go
to 100% alert. One pitch black night during this time I was on
watch and it was so dark I couldn't see anything in front of my
bunker. I felt myself starting to get sleepy and immediately
thought of SSgt. Donner and was wide awake instantly. Charlie
made a mistake that night by trying to come through my position
as I was the most wide awake Marine on the line. Charlie paid
So thank you SSgt. Jim Donner were ever you are. Not only did
you save my life with your lessons to a young recruit but you
saved the lives of the other guys in my unit. You are one h&ll
of a Marine.
Sgt Daniel J. Connolly
Just this past week-end, Sept 18-20, the website "Halls of
Montezuma" held the first reunion in Branson, Missouri. The
majority of those who attended would of course be Vietnam
Veterans and you can't find any better company to be
around....Of course, that is my opinion...OOOHRAH!
Here are a few cool pics of the attendees in their "Halls of
Grandle Starling Cpl E4
In your email to Sgt Grit published Thur. 24 Sep you stated that
you entered boot camp MCRD in 1956 and there were no yellow foot
prints on the grinder. That is interesting to me because I
arrived MCRD 23 Nov 1953 and the very first thing we did upon
disembarking from the bus was to fall in on the yellow
footprints with the same "warm!" greetings you mentioned.
That leads me to wonder if there was a period of time that the
Marine Corps did away with the yellow footprints because when my
brother arrived MCRD, about 1960, the yellow footprints were
By-the-way, Sat. Sep 26th my Grandson arrives back home from
Iraq-another family Marine.
Cpl of Marines 1416656/5591
Now life member Marine Corps League
To answer your question regarding the yellow foot prints. They
were in place in San Diego July 1959. Thanks for a great
To Be Cute
Why, when communicating issues relating to the Corps, have you
found it necessary to add these stars (*) and related in lieu of
writing the real words? I cannot think of any Marine who has not
heard these words, so stop trying to be cute.
I do this to get the newsletters past the various filters that
are used by aol, Cox, and others. Otherwise a very small number
of emails would get to you.
So don't give me any d*mn sh!t about being cute.
Boot Camp Honor Platoon
Here is a group photo of our bootcamp platoon
MCRDSD started 26August 1968
graduated 24 October 1968
First Battalion co. B platoon 1065
Senior drill instructor Gysgt. R.J. Mederious
drill instructor Ssgt. B.L. Nious
drill instructor Cpl. H. E. Heater
Dear Sgt Grit,
This photo was taken at the Pee Dee Patriotic Parade in Florence
SC on 12 September 2009. A few of us Marines from Intel Support
BN, Charlie Co, All Source Fusion Platoon made the trip down
from Quantico VA to participate in the parade and were honored
to meet WWII Veteran Tech Sgt Bob Mills (center). He told us
his stories from Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima.
It was an extremely great pleasure to get to meet and listen to
his stories! The camaraderie shared between him and us, despite
all the years between his years of service and ours was
something I'll never forget! It was truly an honor to meet such
Marines in the picture from left to right: LCpl Chris Mondloch,
Sgt David Jeffcoat, Tech Sgt Bob Mills, Sgt Kelly Duncan, LCpl
I served from 09-1965 to 05-1969 from Memphis to Yuma and
Iwakuni to Chu Lai and back to Cherry Point Jet engine mechanic
but worked most of my time on flight line with TF-9J/A-4/TA-4F
Line shack VMA-223 Chu Lai RVN 1969 Bill Arey
James E. Morrell
RE: All You "Salts" - James E. Morrell
I enjoyed reading about James in the 10 Sep 2009 Newsletter. I
reviewed the Marine Corps Muster Records. They show that James
enlisted on 10 Jul 1916 at Peoria, Illinois. He was sent to the
Marine Barracks at Port Royal, South Carolina for training,
where he qualified as a marksman on the Army Rifle Course. He
was attached to the Marine Detachment aboard USS Wyoming on 10
Oct 1916, For a time, he had Special Duty aboard the Wyoming as
a Gun Striker.
In August of 1917, he qualified as a sharpshooter at the Marine
Corps Rifle Range at Winthrop, Maryland. On 24 Sep 1918, he was
promoted to Corporal on a Temporary Warrant. The warrant was
extended for the period of the war. On 14 Mar 1919, he qualified
as a sharpshooter at the Marine Corps Rifle Range at Guantanamo,
Cuba, and was awarded $20.00 prize money. So he not only
remembered his rifle's serial number, he knew how to use it as
well. He transferred off the Wyoming on 12 Jul 1919, and was
discharged on 30 Oct 1919 from the Marine Barracks, Naval
Experimental Station, New London, Conn.
For most of James' time aboard the Wyoming, Randolph Coyle
commanded the Marine Detachment. Randolph also served in Cuba,
the Philippine Islands, Haiti and the Marine Barracks at
Pronounce It "Luh-jern"
Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, is leading by
example on the proper pronunciation of Gen. John A. Lejeune's
He is encouraging all Marines to pronounce it "Luh-jern".
Recovering US Marine
Much has been written about being a Ex or Former US Marine, but
after doing 4.5 years in the Corps, I am neither an Ex or Former
For I go by the title of a: Recovering US Marine and I am still
Since I am in Recovery, with some sort of Recovery plan to deal
with my Marine Corps ways, for my family and love ones ... every
day is a struggle for these good kind people. But with hope,
kindest, care, happy thoughts, love, feelings, and other happy
words & kind thoughts ... I will get over being a US Marine,
someday, maybe, if I try hard, I can kick it, I know that I can.
In the mean time I just tell people, when I am asked: are you an
Ex-Marine, I say no, I am Recovery US Marine, I am still in
Recovery. And some day, with time, hard work, doing some sort of
recovery plan, that I will get over being a US Marine. Maybe,
with time, it could take a while, I am working in that
direction, I am trying, but someday I do hope, maybe with time
to get out of recovery and no longer be a Recovering US Marine.
So in the time being; I still ring the ships bell for "all hands
man your drinking stations, this is not a drill", think fat kids
should do rifle PT or throw square bales on a farm, my rifle is
still my piece, if you say K-Bar ... I giggle or grunt, I still
like M543s, still have a house wife, a rubber lady, can rant and
rave on command, I go to the Chow Hall Store, the head is a
head, the shower is the rain room, still sweep and swab, and I
can still find my sea bag, I think. For the sea bag, may have to
field day below decks aka the basement but since winter is soon
to be in MN that could happen.
So, make a Tee shirt out of that! Recovering US Marine. Maybe I
should have copyrighted Recovering US Marine, before I told you.
But h&ll, I am still in Recovery!
Take care, Semper Fi,
73 to 78
We took your advice.. Recovering Marine T-Shirt
Dear Sgt Grit,
I heartily agree with CWO-3 Brenner, the first article in the
last newsletter. We ARE proud--not wimps, but leaders. It
shows. In our PTSD group (yes all combat vets have it). This has
grudgingly been noticed by the other services. One Corpsman
continues to add and correct discussions with, "No we didn't
have that weapon, or that supply, cold beer or support. Marines
still use leftover discarded junk (Ontos, Mule...etc) and are
run by the NAVY. We make the discards work and wear them out."
I noticed that former Marines I can't stand are still the
outgoing, "Gung-Ho" people. They are just charging in the wrong
I asked a retired Lifer why the Marines haven't been
decommissioned, taken over by other services. He said, "Because
the people want them." I don't blame them.
Cpl Larry E Tooley 'Nam Vet, USMC '67-'70
Just as Green, Just as Mean.
A Marine You Should Know
Sgt Chris White 1987-1997 MOS 0131 combat admin. DI H Co 2nd RTBN
Sgt White posts on our Facebook site daily. He always keeps a
DI spin on his comments and responses to other posts. All of
our Facebook friends very much look forward to each of his
posts. He keeps the Marine Corps atmosphere going.
I know that
I have posted on Facebook before, and I misspelled a word, DI
White caught this immediately and sent me to the quarterdeck for
hard PT. He did accept my apologies and told me to carry on. Be
sure to check out our Facebook and follow his daily comments.
It will feel like being in boot camp again. But this time you
might laugh. Just don't get caught.
Dad It Was Boring
As the father of a 'new' Marine (9 months in the Corps) and a
Marine himself (Sgt E5 1965-1969) I wanted to share this with
you (just happened last week).
My son is home on RA (after finishing up basic electronics at 29
Palms) and has a month in MAT Platoon (Marines Awaiting
Training) until his next class. As a motivated young Marine he
applied for and received Recruiter Assistance (vs hanging around
29 Palms and enjoying the serenity of the 100+ deg days of the
upper dessert and PT). Last Monday was his 1st day of RA at the
Recruiters and as the Corps would have it, he gets to man the
phones while the Recruiters are in San Antonio training.
The following is in his own words (or the best I can remember).
Dad it was boring, the phones rang maybe 3 times, but on the 4th
call I get this question from some guy who is deciding between
the Marines and the Navy. He asks is there a difference between
the Marines and the Navy. I tell him that I don't know what the
Navy does, but the Marines are the Men's department of the Navy!
He hears silence and then the caller says ok, thanks and hangs
A few minutes pass and the phone rings once again. Nic answers
it in a crisp military manner and hears a very nasty voice.
"This is Master Chief Soblonsky of the Naval Recruit Station in
Austin, did you just get a call from someone asking the
difference between the Marines and the Navy?" By now Nic has
come off his chair and to parade rest, one hand behind his back
and the other one holding the phone. He answers "yes sir I
did". This 'Master Chief' asks Nic what his chain of command is
and commences to chew him a new orifice. After a minute or two,
the caller on the other line starts busting a gut and says to
Nic, this is SSgt Spree (one of the Marine Corps recruiters in
Austin) and you have just be 'punked'. By now the other
recruiters on the other end are busting a gut and Nic is wiping
the sweat off of his brow.
I asked Nic if he gets into that situation again I bet he knows
how to answer? He says 'h&ll yea Dad, we are the Men's
department of the Navy and the next time I'll probably get
meritorious promotion to LCpl".
ONCE a MARINE, ALWAYS a MARINE
(the old Corps has nothing on the new)!
F. N. Lazzaro
(Sgt, USMC 1965-1969)
Have The Right
Two (2) comments.
In response to;
"Does a wounded FMF GRUNT corpsman (Vietnam era) have the right
to call himself a MARINE?"
As far as I'm concerned you may not be a Marine by virtue of
title but have most certainly earned the gratitude of all
Marines that have ever need a "Doc" in the field and will always
be thought of as a Honorary Marine.
In response to;
"I have a nephew who went to Pendleton for basic he completed it
and was awarded a set of dress blue's made the rank of LCpl. He
was to be deployed but got a tattoo on his neck and was given a
misconduct discharge. He's home now, but my question is, is he a
Marine or is he a reject. I don't think he should be given the
name Marine or anything else he doesn't deserve it in my
opinion. What's your?"
Back in the day when the Corps wasn't so politically correct
this would never had happened.
If he made the grade he will always and forever be a Marine.
Chesty and Others
Just a guess with no sure fact.
The Marine to Chesty's left
This looks like MajGen Alexander Vandegrift on Guadalcanal (he
had a cleft chin) The rest could be the Generals staff at that
time on the canal
The far right, 2nd from the end looks a lot like Lt.Col
Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer in another picture.
Jeff Amerson Cpl.
USMC '68-72 2nd MAW
I found this picture on the internet with some of Vandergrift's
staff and tried to compare faces
MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, CG, 1st Marine Division, confers
with his staff on board the transport USS McCawley (APA-4)
enroute to Guadalcanal. From left: Gen Vandegrift; LtCol Gerald
C. Thomas, operations officer; Lt.Col Randolph McC. Pate,
logistics officer; Lt.Col Frank G. Goettge, intelligence
officer; and Col William Capers James, chief of staff.
The picture was taken at Cape Gloucester, New Britain late
Viet Nam Vet
I think that photo must have been taken either on Guadalcanal
or shortly afterward perhaps on Cape Gloucester.
It wasn't before Guadalcanal because of the helmets; before the
'Canal we had the old WWI "pie plates" .
It couldn't be too long after the 'Canal, as some of them are
still wearing the old issue leggings that just sort of
disappeared in the later campaigns.
Just a guess, but I think it's a good one.
Looks like Guadalcanal and I think the second Marine from the
right is the late Lt. Gen. Ray Davis, who won the Medal of Honor
in Korea and rose to rank of Assistant Commandant. Wasn't as
flamboyant as Chesty but every bit Chesty's equal in heroism. He
was one of Chesty's boys.
Don't recog any of the other officers...appears poss taken
during training on Pavavu prior to Peleliu landing...
The foliage is not jungle...and camo helmet covers issued about
that time or a little prior.
I think the picture is from Guadalcanal. I think they are left
Merritt A. Edson, Lewis B. Puller, Gerald C. Thomas, William C.
James, Evans F. Carlson, Alexander A. Vandergrift.
Nothing concrete, just a guess based on other photos around the
Give Up The Prestige
Dear Doc Garnett,
I can't answer your question, no you were not a Marine but we
all thought of our Doc's in that way. They all endured the same
hardships received the same incoming and firefights as the
Marines around them! Why would you want to give up the Prestige
of being a FMF Doc, you all were our heroes?
I bring to point the last days of operation Dewey Canyon, the
1/9 companies were forming up for extraction, Bravo Co was
carrying KIA'S WIA's when the point squad was hit with captured
claymores. Our Doc's walked up and down the line taking care of
the wounded, we had been without food and good water for days.
All of us were nearing the point of total exhaustion but the
Corpsman walked twice as far trying to save lives. I thank you
and all the others that tended to our sniffles/sucking chest
wounds, I thank you for the Marines alive today and those of you
that paid the ultimate sacrifice trying to save your brothers!
Semper Fi !
William Whitley/ Cpl of Marines
SSgt. A.W. Breen Ambushed
I rise today in response to the accounts of SSGT BREEN and his
valor during an ambush in Afghanistan where the father of this
Marine laments that the SSGT was only awarded a Purple Heart.
As Marines, we hold high honor for those who spill their blood,
especially in examples such as the firefight this father speaks
to us of.
As Marines, such valor and determination are the stuff of more
than legend, they are the essence of the high ideals the Corps
As Marines, we take note of this fathers loss and we bring he
and his closer to our hearts, and set them aside in safety, as
the next in line take up the front line position at the edge of
For now the Purple Heart will suffice to affirm what happened
that day, no citation will ever be enough to give homage worthy
of his memory, but rest firmly assured in the rank and file, of
spit shined shoes, and scarred boots on the ground, ceremonial
cannons, whose thunder echoes over the land, or direct fire
from a turret in the field at this very hour by another Marine
in peril, beyond the quiet of the ground SSGT BREEN lies in, the
men and women of the United States Marine Corps, past present
and future, do hereby confer upon him more, to those who see
these presents greetings, he is ours, of The United States
Marine Corps for ever more.
It is we after all who are the beneficiaries of SSGT BREENS
action,, taking his rightful place among the pantheon of those
who see their duty and do it, not a demi GOD after all striking
fear and awe in the sight of such as he? Only a mortal, rising
to the call and nothing more is the example he set?
Let the word go out, pass it all around, a noble heart has been
stilled, and we recall.
RE: SSgt. A.W. Breen Ambushed,
Silver Star? That's Medal of Honor stuff. It's what valor and
being a Marine are all about.
The story of SSgt Breen was quite moving. This a story of valor
in defense of freedom that is all too often unheard by the
general public. With permission, this story should be passed on
to the media and we should all demand that SSgt Breen be given
strong consideration for a medal of valor - Who is the NCOIC of
It begs the question, "Are heroes made or are they born?". My
congratulations to the father of such a brave Marine - this
outstanding Marine represents us, well.
Good night SSgt Breen, Chesty, and John Wayne.
3/1 India Co., MCAF El Toro, FFSR, Pendleton
I'm not completely discounting the story of SSgt A W Breen, but
I couldn't find anything online regarding a SSgt A W Breen.
Other parts of the story (which I might consider "holes")
SSgt Breen firing an M-60. I have not heard about any Marine
using an M-60 in 2007. I have heard of possible uses by Navy
SEALS, Army SF, etc., using the M-60, but I served with a Marine
Recon battalion in Iraq and there were no M-60's anywhere.
SSgt Breen grabbing "his SAW and started firing it" (emphasis
added). A SAW is normally issued to PFC's and LCpl's who are
the Automatic Riflemen of a fire team. A SSgt would have an M-4
and/or an M-9 issued to him. I know of NO SSgts who would lug a
large and bulky SAW around.
SSgt Breen being hit with an armor piercing round. An "armor
piercing" round is just that. The SAPI plates issued to Marines
now MAY be able to stop a 7.62x39mm AP round, but any 7.62 round
would still probably knock out anyone on the receiving end.
An Afghan troop having an H&K weapon. H&K is a very expensive
brand, and I don't see regular Afghan troops having it issued to
them. I would buy SSgt Breen picking up an Automatic
Kalashnikov (AK) from an Afghan troop, but an H&K? Not so much.
SSgt Breen being a "combat EMT". I have never heard that term
LCpl of Marines
The story about SSGT BREEN is awesome that is what our country
was built on .When people say our country sucks and they would
rather be somewhere else, read this story if this doesn't make
you proud of who you are and what we stand for nothing will SEMPER FI
The sacrifice of your son, and the pain that his (and your)
family have to endure is shared by all Marines. The selfless
act and heroism of your son will be remembered by those he
saved, and by the shocked enemy fighters who couldn't take him
down. It is a pity that no medals were conferred for his
bravery and courage. They would be an excellent reminder to his
family and sons. Please know that in our hearts, we understand
your pain and pray for you. He is legacy to the history, pride,
and legend that makes the Marine Corps what it is. I hope that
you find comfort and know that he will live on forever in our
hearts. I will proudly shake his hand when it's my turn to
report to the Gates of Heaven for duty.
Cpl Joel Cooney
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because
rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell
I understand the father of SSGT Breen as being
confused/upset to the fact that his son had not been recognized
for his actions under fire. First I'd like to say this, the
story of the Naval officer awarded the Bronze Star for
meritorious service does not demean his actions and being
awarded the medal. My father during the Viet Nam war, in the
Army, was awarded a Bronze Star too, for meritorious service.
To my knowledge he was not involved in a fire fight or any other
combat. This award is for both valor and meritorious service, as
is a Navy Commendation or Achievement medal. During a time of
war the Bronze Star can be awarded for service above and beyond
not involving combat. The Silver Star, Navy Cross and Medal of
Honor are strictly for valor.
From the description of SSGT Breen's actions he should have
been, at the very least recommended for some type of award for
valor. Someone in his command dropped the ball on this one. I'm
quite sure he saw what he did as just doing his job, nothing
more. That's what makes us Marines, Marines.
Vern E. Hoke
SSGT USMC/USMCR '76-'92
I served three years in the same combat company. Kilo Co. 3rd.
Batt. 2nd. Marines 2nd. Marine Div. My CO. was a great guy. He
made sure everyone got recognition for what they deserved. I am
sorry that your son was treated as he was. But we know that he
has now received his Honor!
LSU vs. Washington
Last month I traveled to Seattle to attend the LSU vs.
Washington football game. But that was not the main reason I
went. That game was used as a motivational excuse to have a
reunion with 5 other buddies that I served with. I have been in
contact with most of these guys in various ways off and on over
the last 35 years, and we would casually mention getting
together, but nothing would happen.
However being a big LSU fan, and having a few buddies living in
the Seattle area got the ball rolling. I made a suggestion about
going up there for the game to one buddy back in March, then we
started mentioning different names, and it was on. Like I said,
most of us haven't seen one another for 35 years. When we got
together that first weekend in September, it was like that
amount of time had not passed. Of course we all looked like it
Anyway, there was an immediate brotherhood that unless you are a
Marine you cannot understand. It was one of the best weekends I
have ever had in my life. I don't know when I ever laughed so
much in a 5 day period. A few wives who were there, also said
they had never laughed so hard, hearing some of our sea stories.
It was so fantastic to be reunited with these men. We are
planning on doing it again sometime in the future, and I can't
wait. So my advice to all you DevilDogs out there, that if you
are kicking this idea around to have a reunion, do it. It will
be one of the most cherished moments in your life. I guarantee
John Belaire (Cpl) 2721680
USMC 1971 - 1975
LeBleu Settlement, LA.
Yea, yea, yea....reunions are great, buddies, laughs, good
times, sea stories. I get it. Do it, call a buddy today. Get it
BUT, who won the game?
I Told Him Yes
While working out at the gym the other day I was wearing my Sgt.
Grit Marine tee shirt. An old gentleman, about my age, asked if
I had served in the Marines. I told him yes that I had served
from 1954 to 1958. He said he had been to Korea, and "Your
Marines saved my a** at the Chosin Reservoir". He explained that
he had been a member of a tank crew in the Army. He said if it
hadn't been for the Marines he'd still be there.
It's nice to be appreciated.
While doing a tour on Okinawa in 1957 I was assigned to Charlie
Co 3rd Engr. Btln. Sometime during my tour our Company was sent
to the Boonies to clear an area for the Marines that were
leaving Japan . We were to build a tent city. While hacking
away through the bamboo and underbrush one of the work party
came across a shallow indent in the ground. Covered over by many
years of falling vegetation.
As we began to snoop, we soon discovered a neat row of about 6
or 7 mortar shells lying just at the top of the dugout area.
They were all rusted but still intact. When we reported this to
our "Gunny" he immediately ordered us to clear out and mark our
retreat so ordinance could locate the danger. A while later they
were blown in place. We weren't near enough to see the explosion
but certainly heard it. I still to this day think of those
Marines that were manning that Mortar tube, Who they were. Did
they survive the Battle. Are they still with us today.
On "OUR" Birthday I go to my Church and light a candle to them
and say thanks for all you have done for our Country.
Once a Marine Always A Marine
Sgt Frank Rigiero USMC
One Of The Best Right Shoulder Arms Ever
Gentlemen I was reading in your news letter a few weeks back and
I recall reading a Marine who had goofed up during Boot Camp and
it brought back a memory Of my great goof in Boot Camp. I went
through Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1979 the year Hurricane
David hit. Our DI's actually allowed the Smoking lamp to be lit
while all us smokers stood out in the stairwell smoking our
Cigarettes in the middle of a hurricane.
Any way we were preparing for our final drill competition Yes
back then we had Drill competitions in Boot Camp. Two of them My
platoon won the first competition in first phase. We came in
second for the second Competition. If any of you P.I. Marines
remember the Chrome Domes they made us wear during this time in
the Corps you remember the wind blowing and making it all but
impossible to hear what the DI's commands were. Not to mention
the fact that some of the DI's enunciations weren't the most
coherent in the world even on a good day.
Anyway we were going through our drill on the parade deck near
the big Iwo Jima Statue when Our DI SSGT Kliss called for a left
shoulder Arms. Unfortunately Hurricane David was due to make
land fall within a couple of days so to this day I still swear
he called right shoulder arms which I performed with modest
excellence. Which I was told by the DI was one of the best Right
Shoulder Arms he had ever seen, (DI's do have one sick sense of
humor at times.)
Anyway He ordered Sgt. Hart one of our Jr. DI's to PT my rear
end until it fell off or I could learn the difference between
right and left. This was in 3rd phase mind you. So I knew my
right from my left by then. Anyway with the wind screaming under
that chrome dome while the rest of the platoon watched Sgt Hart
PT'd my rear end until I had pulled several groin muscles. And
then asked me if I was ever going to make that mistake again. I
still can't understand why the word that came out of my mouth
did but I answered with a resounding YES SIR! I didn't
understand the question I guess and Sgt. Hart felt I was being
somewhat belligerent and continued to PT me until I could no
I had completely lost all that afternoon chow that day and the
Platoon wound up carrying me back to the squad bay. But anyway
somehow I became a hero in the platoon I always felt as if I was
an idiot but with those Chrome Domes there was no way to hear
anything that the DI's were saying so for the next three days I
nursed pulled groin muscles and wouldn't go to the Sick Bay.
Please understand that while I admit I was no honor man back
then I also was not a member of the 10% and there was no way I
was a sickbay commando. I look back on that experience and now I
still cringe when I think about how I stood up to the DI Sgt
Hart came back to me after boot camp graduation and told me that
was the proudest display of gung ho he could ever remember
seeing during his time as a DI. Even then I didn't have the
heart to tell him it was only a matter of me not being able to
hear him with the sweat running into my ears and the wind
blowing up under that d*mn chrome dome.
Anyway I graduated on time and went on to serve for the next 6
years. Made Sgt. before I got out. Thanks for bringing back some
fond memories even if they do still hurt sometimes.
Sgt J.D. Walters FMR /USMC
Platoon 2049 F Company 2nd Recruit Battalion Parris Island SC June 1979- September 1979
As the Sgt. of the Guard, on duty at the American Embassy in
Paris, France, on a Friday night in May, 1967, a month before
the Paris Air Show was to begin, I had a phone call from a Mr.
Ed Simmons of the Dept. of State. ( It seems that Ed was in
charge of the commercial side of the Air Show, vs. the military
side). Ed was stuck at Orly Airport, with no transportation, no
hotel, no anything. (A screw-up somewhere in the Embassy).
After a lengthy phone conversation, and the inability to reach
my OIC, NCOIC, and Dept. of State Security officer, (after all,
it was a week-end) I over-stepped my authority, and sent my
Assistant SOG, with the Guard vehicle to Orly Airport to pick up
Mr. Simmons, and bring him to the Embassy. I then directed my
assistant to take Mr. Simmons to a hotel that I knew that
catered to newly arrived State Dept. secretaries, and told him
to report to the Embassy on Monday morning.
The out-come of my actions resulted in my receiving, (among
other things), was Carte Blanche access to the Paris Air Show,
including invitations to the chalets of Lockheed, Hughes
Aircraft, TWA, American, etc. etc... My girl friend, (at the
time, my wife now), and I, were able to see the Air Shows, the
luncheons at the chalets, all of the displays, and more....
With the approval of my OIC & NCOIC, I was able to get other
Marines, that were off duty at the times, to drive various VIPs
to, and from Le Bourget Airport, (site of the Paris Air Show).
Some of these VIPs turned out to become famous astronauts,
Generals, etc. (But those are other stories).
We, then, had a reception at our Marine Quarters for
participants in said Air Show.... some of the astronauts, The
Blue Angels, Military and State Dept . Personnel.
To my knowledge, no other Marine Embassy Guard Detachment has
ever been involved with the Paris Air Show, or any other air
Sgt Denny Krause
This news letter is the greatest thing going. I appreciate
every last word, and the Marines who are sending them. I am a
second generation Marine and got my middle name from a Marine
hero who was killed in a foxhole next to my father on Okinawa.
I have some stories and will send them to you later. Keep up the
good work and Semper Fi Marine.
Michael C. Smith SGT USMC 1971-75 And from a Purple heart
recipient WWII Okinawa Cpl Robert E Smith USMC
85 years young and still kicking.
Hey Sgt Grit. In your newsletter, a Marine by the name of Woody
wrote that he couldn't remember who he was attached to. Sinse I
can barely remember myself, I dug out my DD214 and looked. Woody
would of been attached w/2d8"HowBtry,2dFAGFT,FMFLant,Camp
Lejeune. This was also the last outfit I served with in the
Corps. Hope this helps, Woody. Former Sgt, still a Marine, A.J.
I have a picture of Chesty, given to me by a reporter in
Lancaster,Ca, while I was the sole Marine Corps recruiter in
It's in the hallway of my home next to other valued photos. 1
of the best Marines to have walked the earth.
Wm. Rosenberger, SSgt- USMC.
"(Does a wounded FMF GRUNT corpsman (Vietnam era) have the right
to call himself a MARINE?
Decatur, Alabama) "
Absolutely. For example we in the Marine Corps League welcome
all FMF Corpsmen as member Marines. As a matter of fact, they do
not wear anything on their MCL uniform that identifies them as
anything other than Marines.
As a former grunt I want to thank all the MARINES that are
serving. God Bless and SEMPER FI. Thank you all.
Adam Warner 0311 E-4 Franklin, Pa
God Bless you all-- I love getting your emails and your
articles-- Just One Marine-- Cpl. Heisey
The letter from Mr. Hogue in the American Courage #210 of 01 OCT
2009 may give some the impression that all Army and Air Force
records were destroyed in the 1973 fire. While the loss was
significant for those services, the link below will provide more
information to your readers:
The '03 Springfield was NOT a single shot bolt action, it was a
fine, accurate, copy of the equally fine '98 Mauser repeating
rifle. Many thought it was more accurate than the M1 Garand.
The Marines were not under gunned against the Jap Arisaka.
ALL HAND'S on DECK !
RECRUIT PLATOON 150; Jul./Sep. 1962 MCRDPISC.
Formulating a reunion to take place in April in New Orleans.
Any concerned parties are urged to notify contacts they may have
so that this endeavor has a ripple effect so as to reach as many
individual's as possible.
Click me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Service # 1973677
Hey Sgt Grit, just want to say I love your stuff and was
wondering if I can do a little recruiting while I'm here? My
name is Bob DiGaetano, I was in the USMCR 2/25 Wpns Co from 1984
- 1990. After being out a number of years I was able to
reconnect with the camaraderie I had in the Marines with the
Marines MC club. We are a national club who only ride American
made bikes but I'm trying to recruit in the New York City area.
If anyone is interested please contact me at
Bobd@Indybrokers.net and check out our website Marinesmc.com.
Semper Fi and keep up the good work Sgt Grit!
Why are the Marines of today the smartest? Myself and millions
of Marines that have gone before them were not stupid. (
although most swabbies said we were.)
John Bruening, 1stSgt
Iraq Customizable Coin
Vietnam Customizable Coin
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!