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Gig Line

This isn’t a story, really. It’s an observation, and I guess a gripe. In September 1967 I arrived in country on the day that my recruit Platoon Commander (MCRD San Diego, Platoon 356, April 1966 ) GySgt Robert C. Roper was killed on Con Thien while serving as company gunny of H/2/9. Gunny Roper was the inspiration for the current DI Statue on the edge of the grinder at MCRD. Then SSgt Roper was the poster quintessential image of a Marine, an infantry veteran of Korea who enlisted in the Corps at 17, and the first Marine I saw at 2100 hours when I stood on the yellow footprints and began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I write this to draw attention to a situation that to my eye, is all to prevalent in the way Marines of today present themselves in any uniform other than utilities. Call it bitchy if you wish, but here it is: we learned, well, we were forced to learn, that pride in the uniform we were about to earn the honor of wearing was paramount in how we viewed and would present ourselves as Marines. We shined our brass every day, and spit shined our boots every day, and, when we were given them before graduation, spit shined our dress shoes, and the visor of our barracks cover frame. Our gig lines, when first standing final inspection in, for me, the tropical uniform, was perfect, from the platen of the tropical shirt, through the belt buckle, and through the fly. I recently attended a “welcome home Vietnam veterans” ceremony at the DLI in Monterey where I observed two Marine sergeants, recruiters, both of whom had gig lines that made me cringe. Then, in the recent edition of Leatherneck, the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps appears on the cover with his belt buckle completely off the gig line. GySgt Roper is spinning in his casket, and I, for one, long for the day when the one thing, in garrison, that caused us to stand out from all the other services was the absolute perfection in the appearance of our uniforms. we had no anodized anything, including decorations. It was a difficult mindset to reacquire, after returning from Vietnam where we shined and polished nothing, and wore no rank insignia except on our soft utility covers, and of course never bathed, but reacquire it we did. I guess the old Corps is gone forever. Why? Stateside Marines are supposed to be perfect in uniform, from the Commandant on down. That is apparently not the case any longer. Do current Marines find that acceptable, or am I just an old fart learning for another era?

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Spit shined boots and boondockers

Yes I remember those days. Boot camp MCRDSD 1959. Being the only Japanese American recruit in boot camp, you can imagine what it was like. Yes I did got thumped by a Jr DI, because his older brother was KIA on Iwo Jima. The senior DI took care of him prior to graduation. My boot and boondockers , dress shoes were always shining When I joined my battalion after bootcamp and ITR, my boots and boondockers were the brightest you ever saw. My platoon sargeant and platoon commander always asked me how I did it. Just told them, spit/polish and a good polish rag. Was like that for 10 years.

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Cruise books

Semper fi brothers , if there is any marine out there who has a cruise book from 1bn3rd marines west PAC and one from 2nd bn 3rd mar that they have to sell that they found , I need them to complete my career in the corps. Or if you know someone that has them . Mine were thrown away by mistake. And you don’t know how much I miss , the memories. The time would be 77-78 and alpha co 1/3 and headquarters plt 2/3 were the cruise times. To Philippines , Thailand Cebu , Singapore , Pusan Korea tawain .the ships were the uss. Cleveland , the uss tarawa .Stationed in Hawaii marine corps air station . Both under the command of Col. Bommer. Please if any one out there can help. The 1/3 book cover was cammo and the2/3 book cover was white with red writing on the front . And also trying to find a graduation book from Paris island platoon 140 1st recruit Bn. MCRD Parris Island S.C. Graduated July 27th 1976. Drill instructors ssgt Turnner. SSGT Saunier. SSGT Pitcher, and a Sgt Bell. Have a terminal illness and I have about 7 months left , and would just like to leave my son some awesome memories. He is in the army and is EOD, a sapper . Deals with explosives did two tours in Afghanistan and one in Kuwait . And there are know words I can say how proud of him for all he had done, and I just want to leave him with my memories . Has 9 years in and making a career of it. God bless him I wish and hope that the lord in some way will let me be around to see it. But we have a huge collection of or time served. But it’s those three books I would love for him to have. If anyone can help in any way to locate the books please contact me by email. Milomiles89@yahoo.com. God bless to all our troops past present and future, for all they gave , have given , and will give. Hope to hear for someone soon . Thank you to Sgt. Grit for having a way to reach out to all my brothers out there. Semper fi do or die! Respectably CPL R.J,miles. I will pray every chance I get the this will happen. And I don’t expect anything for free. What ever it takes, believe it or not the boot camp is the most important, but would love to locate all three.??

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vietnam veteran of Fox2/5

Corrections to story about the youngest Marine KIA,June 7,1969. Dan Bullock was killed in a bunker along with Larry Eglindorfer,,Bunn,and Hunnicutt by a sachel charge thrown in the bunker by a VC/NVA soldier. That explosion was the first sound of battle that lasted until almost daylite when the remaining enemy withdrew toward Duc Duc. Montgomery was killed some distance away by mortars.I was with Bullock most of the afternoon when our squad was ordered to stand bunker duty as we had for several days. He said nothing about his weapon being turned in,,his age,,or anything else. I was in the bunker just beside Bullock,,,your story is scuttlebutt,,H&S was not there. I saw the idiot fat-ass with the tommy gun. He also shot one of the dead NVA with his 45,,to which I replied( Ain’t he dead enough for you you dumb ass,and told him to get the hell away from my dead people,,he was a Major and not a LT. (See Fox2/5 Assoc Spring news letter for the facts). Dan Bullock was no hero,,he was dead before the battle started as was all four in that bunker. The idiot Major I hope is still living and he reads about just how close he came to really pissing me and several others off.He also told me I could not have the belt and other items I took off a dead NVA,so I asked him If He thought him and his toy gun were bad enough to stop me,and that if I were him,I wouldn’t step in the blood with his shiny boots. He left.I stayed until my buddies were bagged and gone.

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Bob Hope – Operation Big Cheer

We were all looking forward to Bob Hopes show. A WW2 icon. My buddy and I just came off shift and were wandering around complete with M14’s over shoulder. We wandered into the theater area. We saw some rows of chairs set up. No one was around. I saw a Utility shirt hanging on one of the chairs. On closer inspection I saw Lt. Bars on the collars. What caught my attention was an Operation Big Cheer attached to the front pocket with a pin. Being a resourceful L/Cpl, I removed the tag and put it on my shirt. My buddy had a fit but it didn’t faze me. We wandered into a tent area looking around. A guy came out of a tent. I knew immediately that it was Jerry Collina by his mustache and eyes. He smiled and talked to us. My buddy told him what I did.

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Best Memories of Parris Island

I grew up as a Marine. My late grandpa, a retired MSgt, always shared with me and my siblings the places, stories and lore of the Corps throughout his service in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. He was a bad-ass, not-so-lean, but green and mean 5’6″ Marine. He was as old school as they get. He went to PI back when they ferried recruits in. My father, a retired Gunny, served twice in Viet Nam in 1st Marine Division. While he did go to boot camp at San Diego, he served two tours as a DI and Senior DI at Parris Island. My family bounced around the country quite a bit over his 20+ years in the Corps, but our time at PI constituted some of my most formative years. It was kind of strange now that I look back at it, knowing dad as the loving, kind and wise soul of a father but also witnessing him as the hard-as-nails, in your face, barking bad ass DI that humbles everyone. All of those memories served me well when I went through PI at the tender young age of 17. When I got my ass chewed, I knew it wasn’t personal. That DI in my face was yelling at a tree like he did in DI school (yes, I’ve seen that too). But I knew that DI still instilled the fear of God and Chesty Puller into my soul. He was doing his job to make me a Marine. My brother and I both proudly made it through Parris Island. I even came out with a meritorious PFC. I almost made it through without any of my DI’s knowing of my family history, but was found out the week before graduation. One of my DI’s saw a plaque in A Company HQ with my father’s name. It’s an unusual name so he connected the dots, and that was all it took to make my last week there a living hell. Well, on grad day after the ceremony, it was the coolest thing in life to see my DI’s and Senior DI lock it up and present themselves to my father and grandpa, who both came in their dress blues, adorned with their chests full of medal. That was my second-best memory at Parris Island back in ‘81. But my absolute best memory of Parris Island came years later, when my oldest son graduated in ’09. Seeing him out front as a PFC squad leader on the parade deck, knowing that he was carrying on the family tradition (the family business, as he refers to it) was absolutely awesome. He went on to serve in Afghanistan. He returned a hero and is now retired. Every time I go back to PI, I walk away with an even keener sense of what my family’s history is and what I hope it continues to be. We are Marines.

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Radio repair in combat

My time was 1959-1963. I was a 2771 (Ground Radio repair) and always worked “In the rear with the gear”. I’m really curious if any other 2771 people ever got into a combat situation. If so, were you expected to fix radios or just fit in with the grunts? Did you spend time out in the bush? If you were expected to fix radios, what kind of repair gear did you have with you? One of the reasons I ask is during the Cuban crisis we were shown a photo of the beach where would land and I remember I was assigned the 4th wave in. At the time I think I was temporarily assigned to 2/8. Ever since I have always wondered what my duties would have been once we hit the beach.

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Charms

Does anyone really know why we weren’t aloud to eat the charms from what seemed like decades old MRE’s in boot camp? I vividly remember a night in boot camp on Camp Pendleton. We had just given our nightly report and were in our shelter halves. My good friend and I started enjoying our evening ritual of crCking open a few pieces of charms candy when to our surprise the shelter half was ripped open by the meanest drill instructor to roam the earth. We got yelled at for about 15 minutes straight then he left. We innocently thought that was the end of it but as soon as day-light cracked over the mountains the whole platoon was marching up and down Mt. Mother until we couldn’t stand. I didn’t eat another charm in boot camp and had real reservation when I got to the fleet.

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Iwo Jima and Beyond

I have not written a story to be posted here before, but after reading the latest post about Iwo Jima, I feel compelled to I also have a couple of Marine related questions I can’t find answers to. I am gladly attaching my e-mail, so if anyone can help me-Please Do. I served in The United States Marine Corps from 1966-1970. There is no such thing as a former Marine-I am temporarily unassigned. I was in Vietnam from September of 1967 to October of 1968. I was stationed on Hill 55, a radio man with the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marie Division. Our regimental Colonel was Col. Reverdy Hall, our regimental Sgt. Major was “Iron” Mike Mervosh.. Right before I retired, I was a bartender at The Marine’s Memorial Club and Hotel, San Francisco, California.

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