Sgt. Grit Community
Submit Your Story

Short Stories From Heterich

Short Stories from Heterich

Herterich’s Autobiography

Joined A-Tks in 1952. After a short tour at ‘8th & V Joined 2nd Tks in late ’53’ just as they were receiving the new ‘M-48’. Over the next three years served in ‘A’ & ‘B’ ending with ‘Flames’. On my fitness report I asked for ‘Panama’, everyone said ‘You will never get it’, I did the next three years at Mar.Bks. 15th Naval District [Panama]. While in ‘Panama’ I put ‘1st Mar.Div.’ on my fitness report, againyou will never get it. ‘Everyone goes to camp lejeune’, when the orders came ——1st Tank Bn.. Three yearsthe first half with ‘Flames’, the second half with ‘H&S Co. Property [Supply]’ in the ‘Butler Bldg.’ above the ‘C.P.’. A year with ‘3rd Tanks’Flames. Back to ‘Camp Pendleton’ with ‘School Bn.’ on the ‘Ramp’ in the ‘Tool Room’. Against my wishesThree years Recruiting in Philadelphia. The next set of orders put me in ‘VN’SIXTY-SEVEN DAYS OVER AND BACK. The left eye ended up in the South China Sea, the Navy was kind enough to replace it with one with a beautiful MARINE CORPS EMBLEM. The new eye on occasion has raised some eyebrows. After the Hospital, back to School Bn.Tank School #407 & Machine Ranges. On one occasion during a ‘IG’ a Colonel inspecting [troops in ranks], stopped in front of me. Took one look at the ‘eye’, and that was the end of his inspecting the troops. Why he left I do not know! Retired ‘Not Fit for Duty in My Rank with 40% disability.

read more

Winning with the Picture from Iraq

Sgt Grit,

Hello from the holy land in the desert. Man it sucks here but we are making the best of a bad situation. Food is good and water is plentiful. No booze though unless you really have a hankering for some near beer.

Just wanted to send you some pictures of a couple of dedicated Marine along with a story. We had just taken over for the preceding MALS and the preceding unit had been flying the Marine Corps colors everyday. Well to say the least, one of our gunny’s noticed they were not out there. So being the inquisitive one he asked where they were. Well these old colors were well worn from all the wind and dust in this place.

read more

Marine Corps DI’s Never Die

Drill Instructors Never Die!
Brian L. Hipwell
Twin State Detachment (#1010)
Marine Corps League
P.O.Box 1058
Lebanon, NH 03766

I enlisted in the Marine Corps April 23, 1965 under the 120 day delay program while in the senior year at Stevens High School, Claremont, New Hampshire. Shortly after graduation I shipped out for P.I. My father was a retired Marine M/SGT and I had been a service ‘brat’ so I knew what I was in line for. There were no surprizes at Boot Camp.

read more

I needed to tell you this

I needed to tell you this

Dear Sgt Grit Well it was that time again when I said goodbye to my son, of the few, of the proud. Strangely it was harder this time than the last time. Last time I watched a boy go off to war and this time I saw a man climb onto that bus. The reality of it is that the 3/2 lost 14 brave, courageous men at the last deployment. I started a scholarship here in Tampa, Florida for Lance Corporal Eric W. Herzberg, 20 years old killed by a sniper in Al Anbar Province and a friend of my son’s.

read more

Korea 1953

Korea 1953


This is a photo that was taken with my Argus, C-3 camera, some time before July 16th 1953, and the last time I was on line. We were on hill 229; our MLR, our combat Outpost was Kate, hill 128= 2000 yards north, of the trench line at Able Gate. And Our Dog Company 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment Commander was Lt Col. Andrew Geer. Our Company Commanding Officer was Captain Woods, I had been a BAR man in the 3rd squad 2nd platoon 1st fire team for nine months, but had transferred to a 3.5 rocket launcher platoon in May 1953 when the 33rd draft arrived, My good buddy Cliff Kroeber encouraged me to do it. It was an easy transfer handled by Lt. Evans; he knew I had a wife and child waiting for me in Con.US. Before we went on the two MarLEXes = Marine landing EXersizes in May and June 1953 that I have recorded in my diary, and written about in another reflection, I trained on the weapon and became a gunner. Since I had survived a lot of line time for past nine months, and was getting close to being a short timer. Early in the morning after my night watch, I left Able Gate where I was stationed and passed through on my way to the supply point that was on south behind a hill where I would get a 5 gallon can of water; I stopped to say hi to these guys, and took this photo, the five Marines with mud on their bloused pants had been out on one of the patrols that were carried out each night, they probably hadn’t had a lot of sleep, [no we didn’t weekends off, our base pay was $122, $45 combat, $12 overseas; $10 was deducted for insurance each month there wasn’t much need for money since the Marine Corps gave us cloths ammo food, and a place to sleep, so I sent most of my pay home to my wife, Parthene. Keeping enough to buy film and pogy bate from the PX truck when we were off line.

read more

Marine Corps Humor: USMC vs. USN

Gunfights USMC V. USN
Recommended by: MSgt J. R. Cook, Ret.

USMC Rules for Gun fighting:

  1. Bring a gun. Preferably two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
  2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
  3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
  4. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
  5. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
  6. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
  7. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
  8. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.”
  9. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
  10. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
  11. Have a plan.
  12. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.
  13. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
  14. Flank your adversary when possible and always protect yours.
  15. Never drop your guard.
  16. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
  17. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust…everyone else keep your hands where I can see them).
  18. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH…hesitation kills.
  19. The faster you finish the fight, the less injured you will get.
  20. Be polite. Be professional. And have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
  21. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
  22. Your number one option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
  23. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun the caliber of which does not start with a “4.”

read more

Marine War Dog in Iraq

Send in the doggone Marines
By: P.T. Brent of

CChyna, bred by the corps and tattooed Delta-043, is the pride of the expanding Marine Corps dog tracker and security units. She’s an MWD, Marine War Dog. Perhaps named after the legendary Fourth Marines of Shanghai fame, she is the close working pal of Marine Sgt. Dan Wheeler. A Belgian Malau born Sept. 12, 1999, CChyna is trained to go ahead of Marines and sniff out explosives and hidden snipers or terrorists.

read more

“In Retrospect” of the Vietnam War

Mr. McNamara’s Other War
Published in the Washington Post, Sunday, April 30, 1995

The bitter controversy unleashed by the publication of former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara’s Vietnam memoir, “In Retrospect,” gives new meaning to the words “McNamara’s war.” Having now slogged our way through the book itself, the outpouring of criticism with which it was met at the moment of publication and some of the relevant history of the time, we conclude the following: In a strange way both Mr. McNamara and those who belabor him for not having either resigned or spoken out at at time when he might have hastened the end of the war are saying the same thing. The critics say he should have done one or the other or both. The author provides a devastating case study of a governmental process, which he did much to create and keep running, that all but guaranteed he wouldn’t. He and the others would instead just keep on improvising, trying one more thing, taking one more step, finding one more reason not to do what both he and his critics now wish he had.

read more

Marine Corps Anecdotes You Should Never Forget

Never Forget…
Submitted by: Glen F. “Smoke” Burgess, Col. USMC (Ret)

  1. Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea.
  2. Helicopters are cool!
  3. It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented. It’s just what they do.
  4. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.
  5. The engine RPM, and the rotor RPM, must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew.
  6. A billfold in your hip pocket can numb your leg and be a real pain in the ass.
  7. Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover you.
  8. Letters from home are not always great.
  9. The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please have exact change.
  10. Share everything. Even the Pound Cake.
  11. Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom be in your best interest.
  12. The terms “Protective Armor” and “Helicopter” are mutually exclusive.
  13. The further away you are from your friends, the less likely it is that they can help you when you really need them the most.
  14. Sometimes, being good and lucky still was not enough. There is always payback.
  15. “Chicken Plates” are not something you order in a restaurant.
  16. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you’re about to be surprised.
  17. The BSR (Bang Stare Read) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges.
  18. The longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it takes them to move from green to red.
  19. It does too get cold in Vietnam.
  20. No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So too can the ones addressed “To Whom It May Concern”.
  21. Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law.
  22. If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.
  23. If you are wearing body armor, the incoming will probably miss that part.
  24. It hurts less to die with a uniform on than to die in a hospital bed.
  25. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.
  26. If something hasn’t broken on your helicopter, it’s about to.
  27. Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Visit the head when you can. The next opportunity may not come around for a long time. If ever.
  28. Combat pay is a flawed concept.
  29. Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.
  30. Air superiority is NOT a luxury.
  31. If you are allergic to lead it is best to avoid a war zone.
  32. It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.
  33. Nothing is as useless as altitude above you and runway behind you.
  34. While the rest of the crew may be in the same predicament, it’s almost always the pilot’s job to arrive at the crash site first.
  35. When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance you get.
  36. Loud sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.
  37. Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations, which, in turn is better than cold C-rations, which is better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold rice balls (given to you by guards) even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them.
  38. WHAT is often more important than WHY.
  39. Boxes of cookies from home must be shared.
  40. Girlfriends are fair game. Wives are not.
  41. Everybody’s a hero on the ground in the club after the fourth drink.
  42. There is no such thing as a small firefight.
  43. A free-fire zone has nothing to do with economics.
  44. The farther you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become.
  45. Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.
  46. The only medal you really want to be awarded is the Longevity Medal.
  47. Being shot hurts.
  48. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
  49. Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.
  50. Nomex is NOT fire proof.
  51. There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get to make up the Rules.
  52. Living and dying can both hurt a lot.
  53. While a Super Bomb could be considered one of the four essential building blocks of life, powdered eggs cannot.
  54. C-4 can make a dull day fun.
  55. Cocoa Powder is neither.
  56. There is no such thing as a fair fight, only ones where you win or lose.
  57. If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don’t care.
  58. Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you are doing NOW to solve our problem.
  59. If you have extra, share it quickly.
  60. Always make sure someone has a P-38.
  61. A sucking chest wound may be God’s way of telling you it’s time to go home.
  62. Prayer may not help . . . but it can’t hurt.
  63. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac, even if this is technically a form of flying.
  64. If everyone does not come home none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either.
  65. Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.
  66. A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is unfortunate that many helicopters never had the opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in life simply because someone forgot this fact.
  67. “You have the right to remain silent” is always EXCELLENT advice.

read more

Marine Corps 11 General Orders

11 General Orders

General Order 1

To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

General Order 2

To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

General Order 3

To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

read more