There have been many comments about the Green Shirts in the
last few newsletters. I thought you might like some pictures of
same, taken at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, either 1957 or 1958.
LCpl Phil Urquhart, 56-59
In This Issue
Let's do something fun. We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc... What other days might we coin between now and Christmas with a Marine theme.
Here we go: I've got one of you at home, a tradition failed,
Plymouth Belvedere sedan, green shirts, 4.2MM, Pastor read the
letter, Beatnik coffee house, became a Buddhist Zen Master,
ironed in wrinkles and all.
Fair winds and following seas.
The last two newsletters have had a few articles about the
How-6's and if they were used in Viet-Nam. I was in the first
HOW-6 Platoon that was formed in November of 1965 and was part
of 3rd Amtrac's outside of Danang and transferred to 1st Marine
div in late 66. There is not much history of us being there
because we were always attached to and in support of other
outfits during Operations and river patrols. They were worn out
by the time we were replaced by a company of How-6s in December
of 1966 and that appears to be the start of the history of the
HOW-6s in Viet Nam.
I was a field radio operator (2531). I don't remember many
names but myself, Mike Lentini, who I still have contact with,
and Don Brown, who was killed when the track he was on hit a
land mine (DOW-11 nov 1966) arrived together and met Tim Gott
(I believe He received 2 Purple Hearts) there. We were all from
2/8 at Camp Lejeune.
Sgt. Grimes (Nov. 24th Newsletter)
The yellow footprints are still on MCRD San Diego. They are now
down at the new Receiving Barracks, a block south of the theatre
at the east end of the Grinder, right across the street, north
of the remaining Quonset Huts...
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
It has been a long time since I have written you concerning a
few items of history and each time you gave me full respect and
posted my comments. Each time it was of Lt.Gen. Lewis B.
Puller; as you and many Marines know as "Chesty". I wish to
convey that on 13 November, 2011 a small Detachment of Marines
held a ceremony at Christ Church in Saluda, Virginia because a
tradition failed and a handful of "Puller Hall" Marines (2nd
F.A.S.T.) of Yorktown, Virginia and Detachment 1317 of the
Marine Corps League in the Middle Peninsula of Gloucester,
Virginia stepped in to visit the General and pay respects.
In years past, a Detachment of Marines ran from Northern
Virginia to Saluda, Virginia to celebrate 10 November at the
"General's" grave. But for the first time, this was canceled
this year. Detachment 1317 decided to hold a service on 13
November at Christ Church. I spoke of the General and his
devotion to his Marines at his grave site. We shared a beer
with the General.
I was asked to speak of my time with "Chesty" and his comments
to me of many situations and life accomplishments of him in the
Corps and his thoughts, actions and feelings of his Marines. I
informed the group that I would use actual comments and words of
the General... as he was a bit colorful in his thoughts, actions
and deeds. I was not watching but a small crowd gathered at the
brick wall surrounding the cemetery and I was being filmed.
An older woman spoke to me and she was the sister of Ms.
Virginia Puller, "Chesty's" wife. We chatted for a while and
she gave me a hug. She was most disappointed that for the first
time there was no Marine Corps Ceremony honoring the General on
10 November and that she was most glad we had showed up to
perform. The others whom gathered were children whose fathers
served with the General.
Sgt. Grit. I have been with "Chesty" in both my home and his so
many times. I am most proud of this Marine but last Sunday, I
guess my pride of being a friend of this Marine took a blind
side of getting a bit emotional and a few tears started rolling
on my new Marine Corps League shirt. We had four Marines in
Dress Blues, A Captain, a Sergeant, a LCPL and Private... after
everything was over the three Enlisted each went to the foot of
"Chesty's" grave, came to attention and saluted. Yet... not the
Officer. Today I was at "Puller Hall". Met with the SgtMajor
and 1stSgt. and starting next year we will return the tradition
of Marines running in formation to visit "Chesty" on 10 November
with the full support of the Marine Corps League, Detachment
1317 of Gloucester, Virginia.
You had an article on "Chesty's" house. Yes, it was bought and
now is un-occupied but it is maintained very well. The owner
keeps it in good shape. I pass it most often.
Sgt. Grit. Thank you. You show and demonstrate constantly your
love of "Chesty" and your "Corps". When I address Marines in a
"PME" and at "Chesty's" Grave, I ask them why they respect the
General. Never get a good answer, so then I explain why they
are taught to love, care and respect not just "Chesty" but their
"Corps" you ought to see them stand most erect. Also Sgt Grit.
you help connect me with a few of the remaining who served with
"Chesty" and we stay in touch. Thank you Sir.
Belated Happy Birthday Sgt. Grit and to your Marines. Sir, keep
advancing, America needs her Marines moving forward; all her
Marines both young and old.
God Bless the "Corps"
Patted Me On The Shoulder
Saw the submittal from ddick about a prostrate biopsy a week or
two back and wanted to share one of my experiences.
It was about 8 years ago and was my first biopsy so I really
didn't know what to expect. One of the office nurses directed
me towards the procedure room and once we were inside she began
to take my vitals. When asked my weight I said 200 pounds. She
looked at me like she didn't believe me and with an attitude
said, "are you sure?" I told her that I don't lie and there was
no reason to. I told her that I am a man of honor.
She asked, "what do you mean by that?" I then told her that I
am a Marine. She looked at me and said, "I've got one of you at
home" and walked out of the room. A few minutes later she
returned with a gown and told me to undress, put the gown on and
wait for the doctor to come in. Since it was winter time and
the room was cold I asked if I could keep my socks on. She
looked at me and said, "honey, what we're going to do to you has
nothing to do with your feet so feel free to keep your socks
Minutes later she returned to tell me to lay down on my side
assume the fetal position and face the wall. Just before the
doctor came in the room she patted me on the shoulder and said,
"now we're going to find out how tough of a Marine you really
are." That made me laugh and made the procedure somewhat
easier. I've had two others since but that one is the most
vivid. Guess you always remember your first.
2484603, Cpl., 2531/8662
USMC. 9/6/ - 7/71
4.2 MM Mortars
In today's newsletter a Marine Sgt B. Pierce (Okinawa, 1955)
asked if these weapons were in service. We had an encounter
with a 4-duce battery in Vietnam in 1967, somewhere in the area
of Que Son. Very successful. I've attached a story that has a
paragraph or two about it if you scroll down to Pg 43. Use what
you want and delete the rest. I've bought several K-Bars from
you, inscribed for presentation to my kids buddies, both Marines
and Soldiers (let them explain it). Keep up the good work. Thx
Cpl., USMC 1966-67
I Remember Commenting
I've contemplated writing you about this for several months
after I had received some genealogy information from my cousin.
I served in the Corps from 1976-1996, my first duty station was
at 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. I was a
Field Radio Operator 2531 with H&S Company then. I was assigned
to Fox Company and Golf Company as their Battalion Radio
Operator. I also worked in the Battalion S-3 for a short time
after I picked up Corporal.
While I was working in the S-3 at that time myself and a fellow
Marine were looking at pictures of our past Regimental
Commanders. When I spied Col. Puller's picture. I remember
commenting to my fellow Marine and said to him "Man Col. Puller
is one ugly man, I would not want to be related to him".
Something I learned after many years of service to now, be
careful for what you say or wish it may come true. Man did it
As I mentioned earlier my cousin sent me some information about
our family genealogy. She has been researching our family
history for several years. The girl is very thorough but she
missed something that only a Marine would know. It turned out
that I have several famous relatives and one of them turned out
to be Lt. General Patton who is a distant cousin. I remembered
looking up some information on Lt. General Puller and it was
noted that he and Patton were cousins also. I mentioned that
tidbit of information to my cousin I'm quite sure she will be
researching to see how we're related but never the less as far
as I'm concerned all Marines are related to Chesty. Some more
SSgt USMC Ret.
I was at MCRD P.I. Plt 289 in 1975. We graduated on November
10th 1975. The 200th birthday of our beloved Corps. It was one
of the proudest days of my life first to become a US Marine and
then to graduate on its 200th birthday. To see the pride in the
eyes and to feel it was breath taking.
There was so many Marines around in Dress Blues and all the
Officers I remember walking around with what I thought was a
permanent salute. To march to the parade deck as Drill
Instructor Sgt Nothan calling cadence to the Marines Hymn made
the stubble on the back of my neck stand up. I can still
remember that day even though it was 36 yrs. ago and the hair
still stands on end when I hear the Marines Hymn.
Sgt T.H. Courtney
The Marine Corps Mud Run in Columbia, SC honors Marines and
their families, with generated funds going to the Marine Corps
Foundation. This was my 3rd year doing the course, this year in
a limited way due to recent knee surgery (no obstacles), but we
were all committed to doing it in honor and memory of Navy SCPO
While we've done the course in Sgt. Grit purchased Marine Corps
t-shirts, we ran it this year with shirts made to commemorate
Blake. Next year we'll be back with your t-shirts!
An older, but not old, Marine
Finding Your Buddies
I would like to share the following story in regards to finding
those we served with .
In 2001, I posted a Memorial on the VietnamVirtual Wall Website.
I found various names of members from my Company Hotel 2/4 who
had sacrificed their young lives unexpectedly on Mar.30,1967. I
was not the first to do so. Another man A Cpl, had posted a
Memorial, signed his name and left an e-mail contact. His
address was south of where I lived and I had hopes of making
A few months later I received a strange call and yes it was the
Cpl he had tracked my phone number down. We talked in length
which he indicated he knew me as I was a Corpsman and new In-
Country at the time and assigned to H&S Company. Our
conversation led to Mar.30 a subject I tried to avoid. After
hanging up the phone tears flowed from my eyes.
A few minutes later I received another call. The new caller was
a friend of the Cpl. They had remained in contact thru the years
The Cpl called his buddy and gave him my number. He too had been
a Cpl and then advised me that he lived within 10 miles of me. I
suggested to meet for lunch.
Upon our first meeting we did not remember each other, but we
both laughed at how much older we looked. After lunch we drove
to his home. He had a "war room" with pictures, misc. items etc.
I opened his scrapbook and thumbed through each page. Some
places looked familiar, but I did not recognize any faces.
Suddenly there was a picture I was familiar with, a young man
dressed in jungle utes, sitting on a sandbagged bunker,
cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth which had a
slight cocky grin. He was holding a weapon, A Thompson Sub
It was him, he said not recognizing him he exclaimed. He had
retrieved the weapon. after an ambush the night before. I
remembered this event distinctly as it was my first combat
experience. I have the same exact picture I told him. sitting on
the same bunker holding the weapon (although I looked like I had
been in the field forever unshaven, shirtless and no grin).I
couldn't wait to show him.
The Sunday after Veterans Day my friend invited me to attend his
church as they were having a special Veterans Tribute prior to
the regular service. He then stated the reason for the invite.
He had given the young Pastor a letter he had wrote to his
father the day after March 30. (note he and the Cpl had been in
first platoon that day and were not only wounded but witnessed
their fellow Marines in the squad, who lost their lives that
day.) I had that morning changed platoons to be with a Corpsman
in 3rd platoon which followed behind first platoon. A move that
would save my life that day.
The Pastor read the letter as though it was sent from his son,
strong, vibrant and with love .The written words described how
he had been wounded but was okay and described in detail what
happened from the beginning to the end. This was highly
emotional and I trying with all I had, to hold back the tears
and be there for my buddy. We both stood proudly as the Pastor
after reading the last sentence introduced the member of the
Congregation who had wrote the letter and then introduced his
friend who sat to his right and was there with him on the 30 of
March 1967."SEMPER FIDELIS"
FRANK MORELLI Corpsman FMF
Beatnik Coffee House
Seems like the most memorable portions of my tour in the Corps
involve crazy things and slight troubles. While I was a Plane
Captain in VMA-121 in Iwakuni I was sent to NCO Leadership
School. We got a brief introduction to ABC Warfare and I fell
in love with it. When I re-enlisted I requested another tour in
Japan and to be trained in ABC Warfare. This request was
honored and I obtained a 5711 mos.
After returning to the States I joined a squadron at MCAS El
Toro and became the squadron training NCO. Part of the duties
was to run the squadron through the gas chamber. I'm sure
everyone remembers going in the chamber, removing your gas mask
and singing the Marines Hymn before being allowed to exit.
Naturally, my mask remained on since this was MY party.
In the corner of the chamber there was a small hot plate and I
would enter with a large can of CS or CN tear gas pellets and
place several on the hot plate and turn it on. An idea ran
through my brain housing group... hey, I could have some real
fun with these so I filled my pocket with capsules. It took
very little heat to melt these capsules and convert them to gas.
At that time, there was a Beatnik coffee house on 1st and Main
Street in Santa Ana, California. As far as the Marines were
concerned, these people were far too weird for us so I
formulated a plan to "share" some of my tear gas with them. I
got hold of some of my buddies, issued a capsule to each of
them, and instructed everyone to walk into the shop and take
different seats in order to get good coverage. We would all
light up a cigarette and, when I gave the sign, would press an
indentation in their cigarettes, fill the indentation with gas
crystals and place it in the ash tray then get up and leave. We
then ran like h___ to the corner of the block and waited. The
front door almost came off the hinges and a sea of bearded
crying hippies came flowing out on the sidewalk.
To celebrate our "victory" we went to the 302 Bar which was on
3rd and Main. The bartender there was a retired Master Sgt from
field music. As I proceeded to get "hammered" I must have told
the bartender about our mission. A bit later, I had to make an
urgent Head Call so I went to the back of the bar to take care
of business. While in there I got the bright idea of getting
rid of all the extra gas capsules that were in my pocket. I
grabbed a handful of toilet paper, placed it in a urinal, put
all the capsules in it and lit it.
Now I'm back sitting at the bar when a customer went in the
Head. Seconds later we hear him yelling and bouncing off the
walls. He later came out on his hands and knees with tears
flowing like a river. When Sarge, the bartender, saw what
happened he ran up to me, grabbed my neck and my belt and threw
me out in the street. He said, "You dumb S.O.B. you just got
through telling me about the hippies, you're 86'd out of here
for life." He finally let me come back in after about 4 or 5
Sid Gerling 1406162
Sgt of Marines
In this week's newsletter, I read that Col Roberts was at one
time the longest TIG L/Cpl.; that must have been a real long
time... when I got out in Jan of '69... I had 26 months in grade
as a L/Cpl... and got a Good Conduct Ribbon when I got out. Of
course, at the time, rank as a cook was frozen... unless you
were a draftee.
L/Cpl. Mark Gallant ... Chu Lai '68
D. Wright's "Ribbons Galore" brought back memories from the
I was working with a British Royal Marine unit for a couple
weeks for a "ceremonial" event. The salty BRM Colour sergeant
flipped out over both the "were there" ribbons and the Purple
Heart, which some of our NCOs had, as well as the shortness of
our good conduct and enlistment periods.
Dave H, 1855647
Thankful for all Marines even the Brig Wardens...
A few days before Thanksgiving Day in 1950 we had our
Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings...a good hot
meal... before jumping off to move north to the chosen reservoir
with the fifth Marines.
bob hetherington, combat correspondent
A most wonderful Thanksgiving To you and yours! And SEMPER FI to
all my Brothers and Sisters in the Glorious Marine Corps! Every
meal is a feast, Every day is an adventure!
Cpl. "Chip" Morgan, 1968 Vietnam (still lost somewhere on the
About the 4.2 (inch) Mortar, Golf Battery 3rd Batt. 11th Marines
had the 4.2 until early 1958 when they turned them in for the
jim Harvey (57'-59)
GySgt C.A.Rea you are the one I look up to. Anyone on Iwo Jima
is my Hero. My father Pfc Harley Jenkins(Retires as MSgt) at the
time was wounded on that Island in March 1945. Semper Fi Brother
The Gunny Sandwich
I was thinking of this question earlier in the week, and then I
saw the write up on Montford Point.
After boot camp, first part of 1974, I went to school at
Montford Point for my MOS, Motor T mechanic.
At the e-club, they had a sandwich called "The Gunny" and I wish
I could remember what was in the sandwich, but it was good.
I think it was a hamburger, and I remember a fried egg, but that
is all the farther my brain goes.
Maybe they still make the same sandwich at what is now Camp
Johnson, the club, was on a street corner, just across from the
outdoor movie screen.
What was in this sandwich?
Plymouth Belvedere Sedan
For Choo-Choo, re: the undocumented ambulatory transients
motivating through Camp Pendleton... still happens.
Over on the other side, out past Fallbrook, is another
Interstate Highway, mostly built over what used to be '395'.
At the top of a grade, just south of what is now the booming
city of Temecula, is a Border Patrol checkpoint.
In the late 70's, early 80's, it was not uncommon to have to run
down to Pendleton from 29 Palms ('bout 125 miles or so, using
the Winchester Road/Beaumont cut-off), and the usual mode of
transport was a Plymouth Belvedere sedan from Base Motors...
green, with a white top. Senior guy gets to pick the driver,
and since I had started driving on an International H tractor at
about 10 years of age, and figured that if I was going to get
killed in a Marine Corps vehicle, it would be from something
other than a Lance Corporal's mistake, the Major drove...
From time to time, also in the vehicle would be a couple of my
Marines, and sometimes those would be of Hispanic extraction...
as we would slow down to get into one of the northbound
inspection lanes (eyeballs through the windshield at 5MPH), my
instruction to the passengers would be "Let me do all the
talking, and try to look Irish 'till we get through here"... it
Barry Corbin enlisted in 1961. Spent two years training South
Vietnamese officers at Camp Pendleton. Finished his enlistment
with reserve unit in Texas.
Don Cornelius, Soul Train. Enlisted in 1954, served in Korea.
Brian Dennehy, movies and TV. Enlisted, 1959-1963.
Bradford Dillman, movies and TV. 1951-1953 Korea.
David Eigenberg, Sex in the City. Marine reserves 1982-86, Lance
Became a Buddhist Zen Master
Dear Sgt. Grit:
This 1958 era Marine Recruit became a Buddhist Zen Master, in an
ancient Japanese art form: Karesansui gardening. Karesansui is
the art of maintaining a dry sand garden. Some attentive Marine
discovered Karesansui, during the post WW2 occupation of Japan.
As a consequence, each evening, just before sunset, the whole
Recruit Platoon, used buckets to "water the grass."
Now, there was no grass, within a mile of our Platoon's area.
There was nothing but dry, brown, sandy soil, which enveloped
our huts. Hence we had the perfect media for a Karesansui
Garden. Right after we returned from morning chow, the
Karesansui Masters, within our midst, would rake, the still damp
"grass" and produce a masterpiece garden, which rivaled Ryoan-
ji, in Kyoto, Japan, during the Muromachi period.
This picture is the '05 that Joe Featherstone mentioned in his
piece that you published in the last two issues of your catalog.
In response to Mr. Featherstones comment on wanting to put the
12th Marine Shield on the tube has ruffled my feathers a bit...
The honor if bestowed to any outfit should be the one of the
guns owners and members of the crew that survived that day... As
a member of the crew on that that fateful I let it go the first
time but the second time you published it I felt it was almost
insulting to the crew.
Myself, Thomas Keaton and our dear and beloved friend we just
lost in 2009 the late Philip Mineer were wounded that day and in
the photo not the "GUN" depicts the seriousness of the damage
done but with the "Great Work" of our armor the gun was only out
of action that day with tires repaired the armor at the bottom
of the gun (Splash Guard) was replaced it absorbed most of the
blast or I as the loader would have had both legs and the
possibility of Tom and Phil also loosing one or both.
The Gun was from Battery "B" 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, 5ht
Marine Division, 3rd MarDiv (Rein)... At the time we were
attached to Battery "C" 13th Marines as replacements for one of
the guns that was sent to the Hill's (881N or 881S). Further
note yes the 5th Marine Division was represented in Viet Nam and
spent most of the time in the Northern I corps... Battery "B"
was also at Khe Sanh and Con Thien in spring of 67'. We were in
Both battles that rate among the top 5in length of Marine Corps
"Semper Fi" It isn't a saying "It's a way of 'Life'"
Note: Battery "B" also had one or Two guns that were on Iwo Jima
in WWII that were also at Khe Sanh
Cpl Allen Osborn
Don, if/when you have the time, please forward to M Christman,
who wrote in the 11/24 edition about being a tank mechanic in
Ontos at Horno... I can't put a face to the name, and he was
most likely in H&S Company, working at Bn Maintenance (every
vehicle came in there once a quarter, had the engine/tranny
pulled for a "Quarterly Service"... pretty much just a LOF
change, might've had plugs & timing checked, etc... nasty job
for the owning crew to clean spilled oil, mud, etc. out while
the power pack was out... engine compartment was white on the
inside, and the job was done with sponges, mechanic's solvent,
putty knives, bare hands, etc... (I got to be the C Co mech
after going to school at Del Mar in '58)
He will likely remember MSGT "Archie" Brown, the Bn Maintenance
Chief, who had been around forever, rumored to have been at the
Boxer Rebellion, etc... at the time, it was possible to have
laundry done for free at mainside... (boot repair, too)... if
you had enough utilities to not need the ones you turned in to
Company Supply... for a week... or more. These would come back
in paper-wrapped bundles, with sufficient starch to deflect one
of those sissy European 9mm 'Parabelum' rounds and pressed
flat... with flat wrinkles, too... Archie would take a clean,
smooshed flat utility cover out of the package, pry the headband
apart enough to get it on his head, and wear it like that...
usually with a jaunty flat side at an angle, ironed in wrinkles
and all. (the wrinkles matched his face... his wrinkles had
wrinkles) The Bn Maintenance Officer was a Gunner, known as
"Gunner A to Z"... longish name, something like Anaschuweitz...
began with an A, ended with a Z... feel free to send my e-mail
to Christman, etc...
"Jingle bells, mortar shells, VC in the grass...
Take this Merry Christmas and
Hang it in your asz!"
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
--John F. Kennedy
"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock
and the door will be opened to you"
"Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs
alone. Strike the American Army."
--Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly
afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki
"Teufelhunde!" (Devil Dogs)
--German Soldiers, WW1 at Belleau Wood
"Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the AMERICAN MARINES."
--Captured North Korean Major
"Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you
favor are a major source of the evils you deplore"
"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,
and humbly to implore his protection and favors."
Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind,
U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air droppable, beer
fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler,
freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers
tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated.
Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut
God Bless The Marine Corps