My personal boot favorite is when I started receiving mail from my uncle (in the Navy) addressed to 'Capt' Stuckmeyer. Being a boot private, needless to say it didn't ride well with the Drill Instructor's. I quickly wrote back and advised him of my present rank and received an immediate response in a similarly addressed letter which stated, "I know, hope your having fun!" I received a lot of letters from my good ol' Uncle those few months. I did a lot of push-up's in boot camp.
GySgt Stuckmeyer USMC Ret.
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These bumper stickers are amazing. I only wish the a*s-end of my car was bigger! :)
I couldn't have said it better myself...see the catalog
FALL IN MARINE
Dear Sgt Grit,
I just wanted to write to you and tell you what happened to me on Christmas of 2001. This past Christmas was my first as a Marine so on Christmas Eve I got dressed in my Blues and decided to go by myself to Midnight Mass. I arrived early to find about only 20 people in the church. I got a few looks (nice ones) and some comments about my great uniform and mirrored shoes. After about a half hour the church swelled to capacity of seating and then lots standing, I'd say about 600 people there. The mass began like any other mass until about half way through when the Priest stopped during one of his speeches and silently walked to the back of the church, I turned around to see him grab a Marine Captain also in blues and proceed to walk down the aisle with him. I was a little surprised to see an officer and wondered what was going on. As they approached me they stopped and the priest said in a low tone "Fall in Marine" so I stood and followed the priest and the Captain to the Alter where at the priest told us to turn around. As myself and the Captain stood at the POA and looked at the people all staring at us the priest said "I think you people know what to do" at which time the entire congregation stood and being to applaud us with admiration in their eyes. I was so overwhelmed with pride for the three minutes of that standing ovation and I know the Captain was also. The priest then spoke about how they all support and commend our brothers over in Afghanistan. When we went to return to our seats the Captain shook my hand and just said that immortal "word"...Oorahh! That will stand out as one of the proudest moments of my life. Makes me damn proud to be a Marine.
-PFC Hill Camp Lejeune, NC
A ROUND OF APPLAUSE
After reading some of the stories of Marines being thanked for their service, I felt compelled to write about my five minutes of fame. It was two summers ago, my family and I were on the Circle Line, which is a ship that sails around Manhattan Island NY. pointing out the historic sites. As we were passing the Intrepid Museum, the tour guide pointed out that it once was an active aircraft carrier. He then proceeded to ask if there were any veterans on board. I was the only person to raise my hand. He asked me to stand and what branch I served in. I proudly said the Marine Corps. He then asked the other patrons of the ship to give me a round of applause for dedicating part of my life to serving and protecting this great nation. When the cruise was over and we were leaving the ship, I made it a point to thank him for thanking me. Needless to say it was kind of hard to speak. As many other Marines, I've never asked to be patted on the back. But it sure as hell felt good.
Bill Biggs USMC 85-89
PS. As for the term ex-Marine vs former Marine, I like Prior Service Marine.
TO THEIR AMAZEMENT
Many many thanks for the great Newsletter. I've been a reader for many months and like everyone, read it totally with tears and smiles. I just received an e-mail from a close friend of mine. We worked together for years, not to mention we are both former Marines. The letter had to be shared. It came from Marcos Matos and he just went to a Recruit graduation at P.I for his son, who graduated Honor Graduate. He will be attending another graduation there when he will have a 2nd son graduating March 8th.. Semper Fi my good freind!
I was in France for two weeks and for the most part it was fun. I have to tell you this story that happened to me while there. Turbomeca took all the Tech reps from all the world wide subsidiaries to dinner in this winery in Spain while there we had cider and many different wines then afterwards the meals and so on and so forth. It is a tradition in this place to sing while you are eating. The French guys started singing their patriotic hymn and national French anthem everybody followed I finally had enough of this I sprung up and sang the Star Spangled Banner to their amazement and to some extent mine also. They were stunned to hear me sing our song. Then I proposed a toast to my fellow marines in the war against terrorism and I sang the Marine Corps Hymn at attention. everybody stood at attention while I sang. Jerry we had guys from the middle east ,China and other socialist countries they stood up at attention and toasted with me. I was very proud and moved by this and I felt so proud to be an American and a United States Marine. Steve Ponticelli the tech rep that goes to see you guys is a retired army soldier he sang the Hymn with me. Jerry it has been a long time since I felt this way. You know something there is so much truth to this saying ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE. Jerry take care my good friend keep in touch. Semper Fi
RODE UP ON HIS BIKE
Please make more. I have put them on my computer at home and work. People ask me if I was a Marine and I have to say no I wasn't but my husband was in service in the late 70's and is still a Marine at heart. He is also a Kidney Transplant patient with a heart condition, cancer survivor, 4 total hip replacements, and various other health problems. He is on a pain patch because pain pills were destroying his liver. He is still in constant pain but the patch takes the edge off. I fully believe the Corps is why he is still here and can make it through all he has had to deal with the last 20 years. He has been overwhelmed with gratitude over the responses he now gets from people. The other day he was driving through a residential area. He has the American flag and Marine Corp stickers on his back window. He passed a group of children playing and stopped at a stop sign. Before he pulled away from the sign, one little boy about 8 years old rode up on his bike. He got off of it, stood at attention and saluted my husband. Mike, of course, saluted back with a tear in his eye. He again had a tear in his eye when he told me about it. He says that had never happened to him before 9-11. (9-11 is also his birthday) Mike is a bit of a computer phobe so I print out the newsletters and he reads them all before his passes them to his friends. The newsletters lifts his spirits.
Thank you, Jan Hardesty wife of Mike Hardesty (Corporal, 2nd Mar Div)
PACKED HIS GEAR; KISSED HIS NEW WIFE
WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE SERVING OUR COUNTRY. TOO MANY TIMES WE HAVE TAKEN OUR FREEDOMS FOR GRANTED, 9-11 CERTAINLY OPENED OUR EYES. MY SON IS A LANCE CPL IN THE MARINES RESERVES OF THE WPNSCO 3RD BN 24TH MARINE DIVISION IN SPRINGFIELD, MO. I HAVE BEEN PROUD OF MY SON FOR MANY THINGS, BUT NOTHING COMES CLOSE TO THE PRIDE I FEEL KNOWING HE IS A MEMBER OF THE FEW - THE PROUD!! THE DAY OF THE ATTACK, HE PROMPTLY LEFT WORK; PACKED HIS GEAR; KISSED HIS NEW WIFE AND WAS GOOD TO GO, IF CALLED. HE IS STILL READY AND WILLING TO ANSWER THE CALL AS ARE SO MANY OTHERS SERVING IN THE RESERVES. I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS FOR ALL THE SACRIFICES THOSE BEFORE AND THOSE TO COME WILL MAKE....GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE USMC!!!
PROUD MOM IN MISSOURI!!
MARINE POEM..for the dinosaurs amongst us
I noticed last November,
at the annual birthday ball,
That things are different in the Corps,
not like they were at all.
The kids seem so much younger than when I was wearing green,
They seemed just barely old enough to hold the name Marine.
I stopped to chat a minute with a brand new PFC,
He didn't wear a hash mark, and his chest was ribbon free.
I tried to make him understand my feelings for the Corps,
It's battle streamer banners and the honors won in war.
He listened to me politely until I stumbled to a halt,
And then he looked me in the eye and told me what he thought...
"Sir", he said, " I know what happened back in the year 1918,
I know the story of Belleau Wood and the Devil Dog Marines,
know the story of Tarawa's blood red sand,
Where Marines fought on bravely locked in combat hand to hand...
Now you look at me and wonder if I can fill the bill,
Well I've never seen a battle and hope I never will...
But if the bugle blows again I'll saddle up and go,
Cause that's the story of the corps, and why I love it so.
Just then by chance I happened to notice the young girl by his side,
Her eyes were filled with love and hope, but most of all with Pride.
Then the two turned to walk away so young, so proud, so tall,
And quite suddenly I realized it hadn't changed at all.
I DO NOT SEE THESE EXPRESSION ANYMORE
Dear Sgt. Grit:
Having been of the 'ol Corps' ... whatever happened to the phrases "Hard Charger;" "Gidunk and Porgy Bait" --- and "FMF"? I don't see these expressions anymore ... what has replaced them? Thank you and Semper Fi Forever ...
Gene Rhodes, G/Sgt (the old Tech Sergeant)
MILITARY RECRUIT TRAINING
In an effort to ensure proper training and readiness among the military services, Congress has approved the following changes to basic principles of recruit training:
Marines: Heads will be shaved.
Army: Stylish flat-top's for all recruits.
Navy: No haircut standard.
Air Force: Complete makeovers as seen on the Jenny Jones show.
Marines: Reveille at 0500, train until 2000.
Army: Reveille at 0600, train until 1900.
Navy: Get out of bed at 0900, train until 1100, lunch until 1300, train until 1600.
Air Force: Awaken at 1000, breakfast in bed, train from 1100 to 1200, lunch at 1200, train from 1300 to 1400, nap at 1400, awaken from nap at 1500, training ceases at 1500.
Marines: Meals, Ready-to-Eat 3 times a day.
Army: One hot meal, 2 MRE's.
Navy: 3 hot meals.
Air Force: Catered meals prepared by the Galloping Gourmet, Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse. All you can eat.
LEAVE and LIBERTY.
Army: 4 hours a week.
Navy: 2 days a week.
Air Force: For every four hours of training, recruits will receive eight hours of leave and liberty.
Marines: Will address all officers as "Sir," and refer to the rank of all enlisted members when speaking to them (i.e., Sgt. Smith).
Army: Will address all officers as "Sir," unless they are friends, and will call all enlisted personnel "Sarge."
Navy: Will address all officers as "Skipper," and all enlisted personnel as "Chief."
Air Force: All Air Force personnel shall be on a first name basis with each other.
DECORATIONS and AWARDS...
Marines: Medals and badges are awarded for acts of gallantry and bravery only.
Army: Medals and badges are awarded for every bullet fired, hand grenade thrown, fitness test passed and bed made.
Navy: Will have ships' engineers make medals for them as desired.
Air Force: Will be issued all medals and badges, as they will most likely be awarded them at some point early in their careers anyway.
Marines: Work uniform, to be worn only during training and in field situations.
Army: Will wear it anytime, anywhere.
Navy: Will not wear camouflage uniforms; they do not camouflage you on a ship. (Ship Captains will make every effort to attempt to explain this to sailors.)
Air Force: Will defeat the purpose of camouflage uniforms by putting blue and silver chevrons and colorful squadron patches all over them.
Marines: All Marines shall be considered riflemen first.
Army: It doesn't matter, all career fields promote to E-8 in first enlistment anyway.
Navy: Nobody knows. The Navy is still trying figure out what sailors in the ABH, SMC, BNC and BSN rates do anyway.
Air Force: Every recruit will be trained in a manner that will allow him or her to leave the service early to go on to higher paying civilian jobs.
"If you enjoy your freedom thank a Vet, but hug a Marine."
"SOME PEOPLE WONDER ALL THEIR LIVES IF THEY'VE MADE A DIFFERENCE. THE MARINES DON'T HAVE THAT PROBLEM" President Ronald Reagan
BIRD DOG NAMED GUNNY
After 35 years of honorable faithful service to God, Corps and Country, the aging Marine Mustanger decided to pursue his life-long dream of buying a bird-hunting estate in Alaska and enjoying retirement. The months passed quickly and soon he found himself living his dream in the serene peaceful Alaskan countryside. Missing the camaraderie of the Corps, which had been his life for so many years, he decided to share his good fortune with some of his buddies. He decided he would begin by inviting an old General buddy to visit for a week of pheasant-shooting. The General accepted the offer and upon arrival congratulated the Mustanger on his good fortune. After a few hours of hunting, the General was in awe of the Mustanger's bird dog named "Gunny". "Gunny" could point, flush and retrieve with the very best, and the General was so impressed that he offered to buy this prize possession at any price. The old Mustanger declined, saying that Gunny was the very best bird dog he had ever owned and that he simply couldn't part with him. The week passed quickly and soon the two were bidding farewell upon which the old Mustanger extended an open invitation to the General to return at his first opportunity. About six months later the General finds a break in his hectic schedule of doing "General Stuff" and off he goes to see his old friend the Mustanger for a relaxing week of bird-hunting. On their first day out, the General was surprised to find the old Mustanger was breaking in a new bird dog. "What happened to Gunny?" he asked. "Had to shoot him," the Mustanger replied. "An old CO friend of mine came by about a month ago and of course we went bird-hunting. During his visit, for the life of him he couldn't remember the dog's name and kept calling him 'Top' ..." "Well after that, all the damn dog would do was sit on his ass and bark."
Submitted by: many of you.
Oh boy. Ten years ago, about this time, I was on a plane to San Diego, California. I was 18 years old, cocky, and thinking the world owed to me the world. I was on my way to a magical mystical place, a place where young boys were tempered into lean, mean fighting machines. I spent 12 weeks in boot camp, learning how to be a Marine. I think often of my time in the service, as it was a good time, many memories are tied to my 4 years in service to my country.
I recall my many times of doing push-ups and saving in the evening, writing letters home, and learning how to do rifle manual (Flipping your M-16 round and carrying it in different fashions). I recall eating full meals in less than 6 minutes, haircuts every week, and much book time. I didn't think that there would be so much time spent in the classroom. I recall getting yelled at for every little thing, and polishing my boots.
And coming home, wearing my uniform, and standing proud. Hugging my mom for the first time in weeks, and seeing the proud look in my fathers' eyes.
I remember getting promoted, firing M-16s, 9mm, 50-cal machine guns, rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers, shot guns, and countless other weapons. Playing with C-4 explosive, TNT, detonation cord, and hand grenades and claymore mines. Learning how to drive Humvees, jeeps, and riding in the back of a 5-ton. Drawing on maps, reading compasses, plotting tactical missions, and leading 12 Marines.
I recall visiting New York in cammies, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, and feeding hungry war-trodden people. I recall armed guard duty when President Bush (Sr.) came to visit us in Somalia, and shaking his hand, and hearing him telling 'Good job Marine!'
I recall visiting Okinawa, Misawa Air Base, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Alaska, and drinking beer in every country I went to. I seen interesting people, ate interesting food, including chocolate-covered chickens feet, kangaroo steak, and barbequed rat.
I recall crying when I left the base. I see the Marines I personally led, trained, and punished. I ran with them, drank with them, and got into bar fights with them, and I would have fought in combat with them. I cried when I left them. The Marines, the Corps, the Loyalty. You will never feel what I feel.
So tonight, I will have a shot of Jack Daniels, alone, without my fellow Marines. But I know they will think of me, and I will toast them.
Semper Fidelis Jeremy Doxey
COMPLETELY OUT OF THE BLUE
In January 1993, my boyfriend decided one day - completely out of the blue - to join the United States Marine Corps. I cried all the way to the recruiting station...sobbing, heaving and begging him not to go. I thought my heart would pop right out of my body and I would die right there in front of these big ,bad, stone faced, shaved head, recruiters. To make a long story short, once the recruiters were able to calm me down and I was able to breath again, they convinced me to join in the "Buddy Program"...meaning that we would be able to go to boot camp together, graduate together and travel the world together. Besides, I didn't think I could survive without him...so I made a decision that would change my life forever. On February 22, 1993 - my boyfriend and I entered Parris Island for the most terrifying and mind blowing experience of our lives. I was 19. Honestly, I was the 1990's version of "Private Benjamin"! I was formerly the Captain of my high school cheerleading squad and NOW all of a sudden, I'm in olive drab, getting screamed at, eating really BAD food, going to sleep in the "Position of Attention" and waking up at the butt crack of dawn to run 3 miles every day! I had NO CLUE what I was getting myself into, but I had the strength of LOVE to keep me going. I mean, I wasn't doing it for my health and I certainly wouldn't have joined under any other circumstances....so love was my reason to endure the in your face screaming, constant cleaning like I was born to be someone's maid, spit shining until your fingers were purple, body aching PT and kill kill kill! Just knowing that my boyfriend was going through the same training kept me sane....that and mail call! We wrote each other every night during square away time and we were definitely something of a soap opera....everyone knew about us, our drill instructors, other recruits...it was almost funny. We even had a secret little code for saying "I love You" if we happened to cross paths....a quick swipe of the eye brow! I lived for Sundays - because it was guaranteed that I'd get to see my true love....across the pews - smiling boldy at me. I would also throw a prayer or two in there to please GOD....help me survive this. At the end of my boot camp experience, I was the graduating Guide for my platoon - Plt. 4015 and my boyfriend was the Honor Grad for his platoon. We graduated on the same day and it was most definitely - surreal. When I retired the Platoon's guideon....the rush of pride broke through my body like never before. My boyfriend was a grunt and got stationed at Camp Lejune NC. I was a "Field Wireman/Construction Wireman" and got stationed in 29 Palms, Texas and Japan. That's where the love story ends and a transformation of the new me was born. I may have joined the Marine Corps for all the wrong reasons, but I am truly grateful for the amazing lessons it has taught me and the amazing people I've met along the way. I am a stronger woman for it and the words SEMPER FI explain it all. I will never forget the "leathernecks" who trained me and gave me this FIERCE attitude - that is Marine Corps. I met my best friend in Boot Camp. We have matching tattoos and stories that are guaranteed to make you laugh until it hurts. The men and women of the United States Marine Corps are top notch and I am forever proud for the experiences and lessons that I have learned. It made me who I am today.
Semper Fi - for Love AND for Country,
Adrienne Mercado, CPL USMC
Just a short note to say thank you for everything you do for our Marine family. My once "devil child" has become instead a "Devil Dog" and I couldn't be prouder. I so enjoy reading the newsletters, both Sgt. Grit and American Courage. So many times I think my opinions are off the wall, until I get on here and read what other "smart" people think about where we as a country have been, and are headed. I have ordered and proudly worn and displayed so many of the great articles of clothing, bumper stickers, flags, etc. that everyone "Non-Marine" thinks I've lost it. But you all understand, and I don't feel so weird about expressing the different emotions that being a Marine Mom has brought to me. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
Peggy/OH Proud MMO PFC Stephens, Jordan
SONS IN SERVICE FLAG
In case you didn't know, I have three children, in which 2 are presently on active duty. I thought I would take a few moments to ask if you are aware of the "American War Mothers Flag" or "Sons in Service Flag". If not, I've provided below a description:
"The "Sons in Service" flag was used during World War I and World War II. Each family was entitled to hang a small Son In Service flag in their window; the blue star in the center of the red-bordered white rectangle signified a family member in active service. The star was replaced (or covered) with a gold star (in practice, yellow or dark yellow) if the family member died in action. (Hence the name of the organization "Gold Star Mothers" of women who had lost sons in the war.) There were other variations to the star for missing in action, injured, captured, etc, etc, but flags of that sort are rarely, if ever, seen.
Sons in Service flags made and used by families usually were no larger than about one foot long. They were always hung vertically, a stick being sewn into the top heading of the flag and a piece of string attached to both ends of the stick - the string suspended at its midpoint from a hook or some other feature of a front window of the home.
If a family had a husband and a son, or multiple family members in the service of their country, then additional blue stars were set into the white rectangle. Organizations and corporations extended this practice to fly flags incorporating stars for each of their members/employees who were off to war and, of course, would change/overlay the blue stars with gold ones when the news came back that one of theirs had died in action. These larger flags (some 50 stars in a circle, a quarter of them in gold, measuring about 8 feet long overall) were sometimes flown outside on a pole, but most often were suspended from the ceiling of the factory / meeting hall indoors."
I have displayed in my house a similar flag to show the involvement of my son and daughter in support of our country at war. I thought I would at least provide this information to you in case you cared to publish it for people's awareness. Keep the good scoop coming! Respectfully and Semper Fidelis, Frederick C. Montney III MSgt, USMC Ret, '74-'96 2591 http://www.montney.com/links.htm
THE CO. GUNNY AND THE RADIO WORM
Its a short story about Fox Co. , 2 Bn, 9th Mar, 3rd Mar Div, Okinawa in 1974.
In 1974, I was a LCpl on my first tour overseas and ended up the BN Radio Operator for Fox Co. 2/9. My CO was Capt Shawn Leach. Toward the end of my tour, we went on a training mission to the Northern Training Area (NTA). We were supposed to be on alert all night long and the radios were to be manned all night. I had taken a redheaded LCpl from the battalion HQ radio platoon. He had never been assigned to a grunt company and didn't know sh*t about us or the way we worked. He was senior to me in rank by a month or so and kept trying to pull it the whole time. I had been with Fox Company through an entire 6 month WESTPAC float. Some where along the way I must have gained the respect of the CO and Company Gunny, because every time ol' Red tried to run me down, they backed me up.
Anyway, the Company Gunny, GySgt Davis, made a point after evening chow that he did not want anyone sleeping on radio watch. If they did, there would be hell to pay. And I knew that if it happened, I would catch it because I was the knucklehead in charge of HQ radios. I set the watches and the 2 Co. Admin pogues got the 10-12 and 12-2 watches and I took the 2-4 knowing that it was the worst watch. I gave Red the 4-6 so he could sleep and be awake for the watch. We put 4 benches in a + sign under the roof of an outdoor classroom and settled in, passing the two radios from bench to bench. All went well and I passed off to the radios to Red. Just at sunrise I woke up and saw the Gunny coming full steam towards the outdoor classroom. I looked over at Red and he was out cold, zipped up to his chin in his mummy bag. Before I could get him up, the Gunny got to him. Reaching down with both hands he picked up Red, the radios and the bench. Stuff went everywhere and Red woke up cursing. Hearing that, the Gunny proceeded to heave the whole squirming mass down a small hill. Red came to rest at the bottom wearing a torn up sleeping bag, 2 PRC 77 radios not to mention a few lumps and bumps. Meanwhile, I was at attention waiting for the storm to turn on me. Shaking in my boots, I watched and listened as the Gunny stormed right by, winked and said something about the radio platoon and their worms. By the time the CO came out we were ready for the days march. Red had earned a place at the back of company line of march carrying a 292 antenna pack, plus his own. Now and again, I am reminded by that incident, that *^%$ really does roll downhill.
Vincent S. Dorsey, SSgt, USMC (Ret.)
Hi Ya Sarge,
I ran into an old Marine Corps friend the other day. We hadn't seen each other in nearly 20 years and while talking over old times over a few cold ones, I was reminded of a rather funny story that I'm passing along. I've changed the names so that there aren't any problems.
While serving as an MP at Cherry Point in the September of 1977, I found myself as the Patrol Supervisor even though I was only a Corporal. It was about 2:30 am and raining when a motion detector went off at the Base Exchange. We (the MP's) did drills for this type of thing and since no drill was scheduled as far as I knew I radioed into the Watch Commander and was told that it was no drill. As we set up our perimeter it was up to me to pick some one to walk the Exchange and "shake the doors". Since we only had one unit that had a rider and driver it was an easy decision and so off Jim goes with the instructions to not enter the building if he should find an open door, but to wait on the Dog unit that I had requested. As I said before, it was raining and dark so as we waited and cleared each part of the odd shaped building we heard the sound of a .45 go off three times. Utter pandemonium broke out as this was the only part of his trip that Jim was not in clear view of any unit and it took me several moments to restore order and back-up Jim on the far side of the Exchange. Laying on the floor with 3 holes in the chest was a male mannequin dressed up in cammies with a rifle in a hunting display. It was an Outstanding grouping and even though the adrenalin was really pumping it was everything we could do to not laugh our asses off. Needless to say as the days went on the story became funnier and funnier. Semper Fi, Marines Joe "Rug" Ruggiero
Thank you for another great NL. I enjoy reading each one and forward them on to several others. It was 49 years ago tomorrow (Jan 27 '53) that I took the oath of allegiance to my country and joined the Corps. What a proud day it was for this country boy from inland Missouri. My wife (married her on boot leave) asked me if I remembered what tomorrow was. There is no forgetting such an important day. We regularly remember our men in service in prayer. My first Christmas after marriage and away from 'home' was while serving with 3-9-3MarDiv in Japan. Chaplain John Schaeffer organized the base--Camp Otsu--for a party for orphans. So many Marines bought gifts for orphans who were brought onto the base for the party. Later several of us went to an orphanage to visit the children. This helped better understand the meaning of Christmas. It's a time of giving, not of exchanging gifts.
Recently I sent the editor of our local paper a letter to the editor and signed it with my name and 'Not as Lean, Not as Mean, but still a MARINE. The purpose of the letter was to inform other Marines where they could receive your NL.
Keep up the good work of encouraging Marines, their families and U.S. citizens to value our freedoms, bought for us at great sacrifice by our forefathers and others wearing the uniforms of the U.S. Armed Forces. Sgt. Robert L. Hawkins 1953-65
P.S. If there are readers who were in Plt 46, UCRD, San Diego, in Jan-May, 1953, I'd be delighted to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the spirit of the Super Bowl, I will include a small commercial in the middle of this newsletter. Consider it half time. Go to my main page at www.grunt.com. Click on a few of the listings on left margin. You may find some things there you were not aware of. There will be a test next week on the left margin. PT for you until I'm tired for any missed questions.
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I wanted to take time to say thanks to all Marines, those who have served and those who continue to serve. I never served in the Marine Corps, but I am very grateful for those who have. In particular, I want to express my gratitude for one Marine I know. I have the privilege and honor of being called a friend by 'Joe'. And it truly is an honor! To me, Joe embodies the values of the Corps and is a true and loyal friend. He represents the finest of his generation, those of the 1960's. Joe volunteered and did his duty, including volunteering for RTO duty (sniper bait). Joe served in the bush near Quang Tri, RVN and came back to an ungrateful country (like so many others). I do not want to see this happen to our military again.
So Sgt. Grit, thanks for letting me post on this newsletter my gratitude for those who have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. We cannot say thanks enough!
Gary A. Keith
A FEW COMMENTS
As a Native (read Indigenous) and a ten-year USMC veteran, I would like to add a few comments. I have made more than a few mistakes since leaving my beloved Corps. That being said, I feel I have paid my dues in mucho beaucoup (sic) ways than I could (or would) admit to. Although I am over, and am rapidly approaching my late-forty years, I am still fit (260 PFT score) and am in an aggressive, lean, mean and green frame of mind. Senior DI. SSGT. Larry W. Stephens, Plt. 3056, Co. I., 3rd RTR, MCRD, San Diego, CA.,1975, instilled a never ending attitude of what is expected of a Marine, what a Marine will always will be, and what a Marine will always do. Since that time of so many years ago, I have tried to live up to those standards he faithfully set and instilled.
Along with SSGT. Stephens' example, his (and our) guiding principle and inactive was CMH Winner Lt.Col Robert J. Modrzejewski, Milwaukee, WI., CO, 3rd Bn., RTR, San Diego, Ca., 1975, (Capt./CO., Kilo Co., 4th Marines, Operation Hastings, DMZ, (The Rock Pile) Cam Lo, Vietnam, July, 1966, Suffice it to say, I later learned that the majority of the boots out of our training battalion had subsequent reenlistments due to the outstanding training and leadership we experienced and observed firsthand on and off the grinder at San Diego.
As I look back on the last ten years of the Marine Corps, I've seen more than our share of mishaps and mistakes. But for every error made, Marines have kept marching ever forward with a full thirty-inch step that speaks louder than any adjective or colorful phrase could ever convey. I am currently trying to keep in contact with another young 81MM Mortar LCPL (soon to be CPL). It seems that some of the pearls of wisdom from this hog trough have dripped from the sideboards and found root into his young mind. My daughter and son-in-law are currently serving out their fifth and sixth year in the USN at Bremerton, WA. My son-in-law has been to Saudi twice and has one more tour to go before he EAS's out, and my daughter will be out later this year (2002). Whenever I look at my old boot camp photos, I can still see my old compadres, forever nineteen years old. My old photo albums reflect the same nostalgia - young, smiling and full of youthful bravado.
I taped the documentary episode of "Black Hawk Down" tonight, knowing that in my household, I'll be the only one that will ever watch it. Again, I see the same faces that I know so many other people have seen and will always remember - again and again, and again . . . Perhaps this missive might seem rambling at certain points to some, maybe others will see this as a tiny bit of catharsis. It really doesn't matter to me. I am very proud of my service, I'm very proud of the people who have elected to serve their country by volunteering and are standing their watch tonight, wherever they are. 0400 and 0500 in the cold pre-dawn hours is a very lonely time of the night to stand watchful and vigilant, whether walking fire watch in the barracks, shivering at Post Number 4, or shaking from fear on the fantail, a windy OP on a frosty hill, or staring at the inky darkness from behind a loaded weapon, hoping and praying that you could see the golden ray of sunshine just once again before you die.
I never go to sleep without thanking the men and women who keep the wolf from our door. They're the ones who hear him howl and go out into the darkness to either run him off or to make sure he doesn't howl at our door again so we all can all sleep peacefully one more night. Bottom line - it doesn't matter who we are or where we're from - we're all Americans and we have people who want to protect the rest of us - and that's all that matters. They set the example; we need to thank them for that.
Dear Sgt Grit,
My name is William A. Hlas and I am a former Marine. I come from a long line of Marines and am very proud of that fact. I am writing this in the hopes that you would be so kind as to print a poem dedicated to the memory of my Uncle, SgtMaj. Charles F. Hlas who passed away on July 14th 2000. The poem is as follows.
A Hero In Heaven
Dedicated to the memory of a great Marine and my Uncle
He dedicated his life
to protect this land.
For him duty, honor and loyalty
walked hand in hand.
He took a stand
and stood his ground.
He battled evil
pound for pound.
He beat the odds
time and time again.
But fate and destiny
found him in the end.
His allotment of time on earth
has come to pass.
Heaven welcomes a new hero
SgtMaj. Charles F. Hlas
By William A. Hlas
If you could put this in your news letter I would be forever grateful. I read your new letter all the time, in fact I print them out and put them in a note book so that I can reread them when ever I want to.
I thank you for your time
William A. Hlas
Lcpl USMC Former
THE SERGEANT MAJOR
Two Sergeant Majors were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?" The second Sergeant Major replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want." The second Sergeant Major nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
Sergeant Major Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the Sergeant Major, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Sergeant Major Take Three
A pastor, a doctor and a Sergeant Major were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The Sergeant Major fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him. Hey, George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?" The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight." The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them." The Sergeant Major said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"
Sergeant Major Take Four "Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sergeants Major believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."
Sergeant Major Take Five
An architect, an artist and a Sergeant Major were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there. The Sergeant Major said, "I like both." "Both?" Sergeant Major, "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the shop and get some work done."
Sergeant Major Take Six
A Sergeant Major was crossing a road one-day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess". He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The Sergeant Major took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want." Again the Sergeant Major took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" The Sergeant Major said, "Look I'm an Sergeant Major. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool." David Ray
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
Semper Fi, Marines,
Thereâ€™s been some debate, or discussion, over the question of just what, or who, one is when not on active duty after having earned the title "Marine". One would think that at the core of the issue would be the declaration that has been around for as long as I can remember, that being, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine!"
Rather than embark on a lengthy discussion of the basis, validity, and merit of that proclamation, might I suggest a simple solution to the question, the one I offer when asked about my military background; one which I hope treats all Marines equally, regardless of duty status.
When asked, "Were you in the military?", or something similar, I simply reply, "Marines, 1967, â€˜68." The inclusion of the dates served readily identifies me as not on active duty. I sometimes add, "Battalion Recon" (which usually requires a definition by comparison to units such as the Rangers, S.E.A.L.s, or Green Berets, all of whom receive a bit more media coverage than do our Recon Marines) and/or "3rd. Marines", if I think the questioner would appreciate or in some way relate to any further distinctions. For any Marine other than one who served until retirement, this simple reply should suffice and hopefully not disparage any who might be currently on active duty status, reserve or otherwise. A retired Marine could simply say, in response to the same question, "Marine, Retired", if he or she wishes to acknowledge the status even fewer of the Few can claim. I probably would, had I achieved that honor. Sometimes the simplest approach to a problem is the best. Sometimes not. Just a suggestion. Once more, Semper Fi!
(Mike) Forrest Reber
Marine, â€˜67, â€˜68
I have been sent a lot of stuff on Dan Rather the last few weeks. He apparently misleads people about his stint in the Corps. He never finished boot camp. But leads some to believe his experience was more. I simply chose not to watch CBS News. He is one of a growing list of people who mislead or out right lie about there military experience.
Semper fi Sgt Grit
BY THE WAY
To Bill Benson's comments on what to call former active duty Marines, the "head shed" has indeed come up with terminology that is more than appropriate: It is simply Marine. No Ex, No Former, just Marine. Like you I sit on the sidelines and watch the new young Marines perform and perform they do. I used to think I was one of the best and in my field of Radio Telegraphy, the best of the best. But today, it is so different that I know without reservation that I could not do what current Marines on active duty do. Like the saying goes however, I am not as lean, not as mean, but by the Gods and the grace of the Commandant, I am still a Marine and proud of it. By the way, for all of you inactive duty Marines, may I suggest that you join your nearest Marine Corps League or if there is not one nearby, then form one. Not only can you derive a great deal of camaraderie from belonging to and contributing to the MCL, you can still serve the Corps and your community and have a hand in helping the youth of your community become young Marines as well. Try it, you will like it and you will not feel so bad being on the sidelines wishing you still had it. In the MCL you still will have it. Semper Fi and "Sarge" keep up the outstanding work. Yes, Sarge was ok in my day and in my book still is. However, I personally choose to refer to Sergeants by their full title: Sergeant. Richard E. Nygaard SSGT USMC 1953-1963
THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS IS OVER 226 YEARS OF ROMPIN', STOMPIN', HELL, DEATH AND DESTRUCTION; THE FINEST FIGHTING FORCE THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN! I AM A UNITED STATES MARINE AND THERE IS NOTHING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH THAT I WOULD RATHER BE. SHEER TERROR AND MOTIVATION, I WAS BORN IN A BOMB CRATER; MY MOTHER WAS AN M16-A2 SERVICE RIFLE AND MY FATHER WAS CHESTY PULLER HIMSELF. EVERYDAY THAT I LIVE IS AN ADDITIONAL THREAT UPON THE LIVES OF MY ENEMIES ALL AROUND THE GLOBE WHEREVER THEY MAY SLITHER AND THEY KNOW IT. I AM A ROGISH-LOOKING, ROVING SOLDIER OF THE SEA; A COCKY, SWAGGERING, DETERMINED SON OF A BITCH AND I KNOW NOT THE MEANING OF THE WORD FEAR FOR I AM FEAR ITSELF. I AM A GREEN AMPHIBIOUS MONSTER MADE OF BLOOD AND GUTS WHO AROSE ONE DARK AND STORMY NIGHT FROM THE DEEP, DARK SWAMPS OUTSIDE A PLACE CALLED PARRIS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA. MY SOLE PURPOSE IN LIFE IS TO PERPETRATE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ON THOSE FESTERING ANTI-AMERICANS ALL AROUND THE GLOBE WHO WOULD SEE MY COUNTRY AND MY WAY OF LIFE PERISH. REST ASSURED THAT ON THAT DAY WHEN AMERICA'S ENEMIES INVADE AND ARE AT HER GATES TRYING TO FORCE THEIR WAY IN, THE LAST ONE STANDING GUARD WILL BE A UNITED STATES MARINE. THEY SHALL NOT PASS. WHEN I DIE I WILL DIE A GLORIOUS DEATH ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE, GIVING MY LIFE FOR BASEBALL, HOT DOGS, MOM'S APPLE PIE, GOD, COUNTRY AND CORPS AND THE AMERICAN FLAG. OOH-RAH!! WE ARE THE MARINES! A BUNCH OF REAL LIVE MUD-ROLLIN', SEA-STORY-TELLIN', SEMPER FIDELIS, SWASHBUCKLING SONS OF BITCHES THAT CAN KILL WITH ONE HAND AND MAKE LOVE WITH THE OTHER AT THE SAME TIME. WE WALK LIKE SOLDIERS, TALK LIKE SAILORS AND WE'LL SLAP THE HELL OUT OF EITHER OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME ANY TIME THEY NEED IT AND THEY KNOW IT. WE ARE FIGHTERS BY DAY, LOVERS BY NIGHT AND MARINES BY THE GRACE OF GOD ALMIGHTY.
In your November 11th newsletter, (or there-abouts) there were two articles written about an interview Tim Russert had with General Myers on "Meet the Press". General Myers, as reported by both Sgt. Paul O'Brien-Kinsey, and Joe Joyce, either by stupidly or just trying to be "funny" made a remark that he was "surprised that a Marine knew the meaning of the word "eviscerated".
That sort of pissed me off, and taking Joe Joyce's advice I wrote my congresswoman, the Honorable Karen L. Thurman, FL., and asked her to look into it. She forwarded my letter to General Myers on December 5, 2001. On January 8, 2001 I received the following letter from the "Office of The Chairman, The Joint Chiefs of Staff," forwarded to me by Congresswoman Thurman. Word for Word:
Dear Ms. Thruman,
This responds to your inquire from Mr. Charles G. Sarges regarding a comment made by General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I am replying for General Myers.
Please assure Mr. Sarges that General Myers has the utmost respect for all Marines and the Marine Corps as an institution. Any comments he made during his interview on "Meet the Press" were not meant to be derogatory. The Marines perform a vital mission in maintaining the security of our nation and we continue to see their outstanding performance on a daily basis as the war on terrorism continues.
Thank you for your interest in this issue.
Randel L. Zeller
Legislative Assistant to the Chairman, JCS
I guess the only one who knows whether or not he really meant to be derogatory or not is General Myers.
Cpl. Chuck Sarges, USMC '54-57
THE ACE OF SPADES
Here's a late, but short, Christmas story from my father. Your newsletter is the best! Semper Fi! -"TD" Sgt. USMCR
THE ACE OF SPADES
Certain members of the long -range patrols fielded by 1st Recon Battalion in Vietnam earned a modicum of publicity by the habit of leaving an Ace of Spades card on the bodies of the enemy they encountered in the bush. It was a psychological ploy by the Marines and a signature way of saying, "Don't mess with Recon." During Christmas of 1967 a huge four foot square package arrived at Battalion Headquarters addressed to the members of 1st Recon Battalion. It was sent by a Woman's Club from a town in Iowa and was carefully wrapped in colorful Christmas paper. The Battalion Special Services officer opened the package. It contained hundreds of decks of cards. Every card in each deck was an Ace of Spades.
-Col. B.C. Stinemetz, 1st Recon Battalion (Reinf), 1st Marine Division -
MARINES DON'T DO THAT
From: Commandant of the Marine Corps To: All General Officers and All Commanding Officers â€“ Active and Reserve Subj: Marines Don't Do That
1. Early this month I received the following note from a distinguished friend:
"Recently I was in an air terminal......(Most people there presented a pretty sloppy appearance) â€“ coats unbuttoned, ties loosened, etc. There was a Marine Corporal (in uniform) who was just the opposite. I spoke to the Marine and pointed out the difference to him. I asked him why it was so? His answer was: 'The Marines don't do that.'"
2. "The Marines don't do that." A simple statement of fact which leaves no question in the mind of the listener.
3. Marines don't â€“ wear a scruffy uniform. Marines don't â€“ slouch around with their hands in their pockets. Marines don't â€“ wear long hair. Marines don't â€“ fail to respond with a "Yes, or No, Sir" when speaking with a senior. Marines don't â€“ render a half-hearted or sloppy salute to the Stars and Stripes or to their seniors. Marines don't â€“ gang up on each other. Marines don't â€“ question lawful orders. Marines don't â€“ lie or cheat or break their word. Marines don't â€“ abandon a fellow Marine in time of need. Marines don't â€“ let down their fellow Marines by succumbing to drug temptation. Marines don't â€“ meet problems with "It can't be done" or questions with the easy answer "No." Marines don't â€“ knock the system without recommending appropriate change. Marines don't â€“ (the list is all but endless).
4. Marines don't do that. But why not? Because they are a breed apart. They are not the run of the mill; they are but a few good men. They are proud members of an elite Corps. They are as well trained asâ€”if not better thanâ€”any military outfit, anywhere. They have led the way, in war and peace, for 196 years. And they know that today they are readyâ€”combat readyâ€”to move out, any time, with the Navy, go anywhere, take on anybody, fight and win.
We must keep our balance, raise our quality, maintain our standards, and be ready to serve our Country. Marines do that!
/s/ L. F. Chapman, Jr.
Submitted by: RICHARD E NYGAARD
Sgt Grit.... I was reading your recent mail today, and noticed a letter written by the sister of James Massey, a Marine who tried several times to be transferred to Vietnam but was given some excuse from HMC about being a guard to President Nixon and his security clearance. Doesn't make much sense...
I also spent two years a 8th&I, had a White House clearance, and guarded President Johnson on occasion a various locations. I had the privilege to work with the then 'Captain' Robb... (Barracks Adjutant at 8th&I)... Of course, he became the President's son-in-law too...
Sure was fun to talk to him when we were both on 'in-country' R&R at China Beach... in the NAM... You see, when Commandant Wallace M. Green retired, he was replaced by the new Commandant, Leonard F. Chapman. Gen Chapman decided that ALL Marines at 8th&I were to wear the VietNam ribbons... so, each of us, at various times starting in the summer of 1967, were shipped out.
Headquarters, Marine Corps must have changed their position on sending troops to VietNam with security clearances, because it certainly didn't stop them then. Keep up the great work!!... Semper Fi!!!... C. M. (Abe) Abrams Sgt... still a Marine, just not on Active Duty...
EASTER ON PI
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I read the note from Recon John Klein regarding Easter in P I. It brought back my own Easter memory. I was there during Easter in 1964. At that time, the Corps had recently changed its uniform requirements from brown dress shoes to black. As we all know, the Army would have just sh*t-canned all of their brown shoes and bought new black ones. Not so our beloved, cash poor, Marine Corps. They issued to all of us new recruits, brand new brown shoes and a bottle of black shoe-dye. On this particular Easter Sunday, our DI bellowed out, good naturedly (I think) as he frequently did, "get me my Jews up here." The three of us came running. He explained that since Easter wasn't our holiday, while he and the rest of Parris Island would be "praying with our Chaplain Charlies," we three would be staying back, alone, and dying all of the shoes for the platoon. As it turned out, that was great news for us . Not only were we able to spend all the time we needed doing a perfect job on our own shoes (mine still gleam black after all these years), we were able to actually sit down and "shoot the sh*t" for the only time ever in twelve weeks of PI and, most importantly to me, it enabled me to write what I thought was my classic letter home: "Dear Mom & Dad, I joined the Marines to learn how to kill, today, I learned how to dye." Semper fi!
Sgt. Rick Feinstein '63-'69
EVERY LITTLE RULE IS THERE FOR A REASON
Marines Train for combat the same way that they fight.
Combat training can be extremely dangerous, especially if there are any individuals who are not taking things seriously. Sometimes, even if one IS taking things seriously, things still go wrong. One of our three officers in Service Platoon (there were three squads--Armory, Supply and Motor Transport) got tagged for range officer duty down at the Infiltration Range at Camp San Onofre, on MCB Camp Pendleton. We had all been through it in Boot Camp, crawling through the mud, under barbed wire, while smoke grenades, machine-gun simulators (they had done away with live MG fire by the time I went through, but you could still see the impact areas in the hills across from the old gun positions) and live TNT or C-4 explosions on top of those simulated bunkers and fortified positions along the way. Nobody really took it seriously, it was noisy and dusty, but not truly dangerous. My ears rang for a couple of days afterwards, but not too badly. Anyway, Lt. Sundance got tagged, and he read the manual and then dutifully took over the detail. He had a working party of experienced Combat Engineers and a CE sergeant who was well-trained in explosives, and who had done this detail several times previously. They ran recruit platoons through the infiltration course several times that day, without any mishaps. At the end of the day, they had to clean up all the leftover explosives. Apparently, standard procedure is to emplace the extra demolition charges separately ( if they are all piled up, some may be thrown into the air by the explosion,) rig them with a simultaneous parallel circuit (so they will all detonate simultaneously,) assemble the entire party at the assembly area, count the men, move all but the OIC and the NCOIC and the blaster to the Rally point, account for the men from a written roster, report the account to the OIC, who then gives the NCOIC the order to fire the charge. The NCOIC double checks the safety, calls the warning "Fire in the Hole" and then gives the order to the blaster (usually a L/Cpl or PFC) to fire the charges. It was late. The men were tired and hungry, and irritated at being stuck on the detail. The party was losing the light. They were wiring the charges. When they finished, the NCOIC counted noses, told them to back off 50 meters, and reported to the OIC, "all present and accounted for." Lt. Sundance asked again (by the book) "Are all the men present?" The NCOIC replied, "Yes sir." Everything was quiet, and seemed ready. Lt. Sundance gave the order, "Fire the charge." The NCOIC shouted out, " Fire in the Hole! Fire in the Hole! Fire in the Hole!" No response. He turned to the blaster, and as he said "Fire the ch..." a private stood up out on the range, squatting behind one of the bunkers, with a pair of wire cutters in his hand and said, "What?" KA-BOOM! They called for an ambulance, and the corpsman kept him alive till the helicopter got there. Lt. Sundance was recounting it to us in the Armory, shaken and white, with Lt. Butch, in my office. Our Armory Marines stood in the doorway and out in the sallyport passageway. "I am responsible, " he said, with anguish in his voice. "I asked the sergeant, if all the men were present and accounted for, but I didn't check personally. I didn't check." "Sir, " I said, "It wasn't your job to check. Nobody can expect an officer to check everything himself--that's why you have subordinates." He looked as though he might start weeping, and I didn't want the men to see that, so I said, "Okay, everybody back to work--get a count, secure the hatches, racks and chests, count ammo, and bring the keys to be secured." The men broke up and moved to the cages. I turned back to the two lieutenants. Lt. Sundance had his back to us. I looked at Lt. Butch. "Can you give us a minute, sergeant?" "Yes sir." I closed the door quietly, and went to check on the progress of the Armory lock-up. Every damned detail, every little insignificant thing, every little rule is there for a reason. Craig Ziegler (from the Sgt Grit Bulletin Board)
Little David comes home from first grade and tells his father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," he asks, "will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?"
David's father thinks a bit, then says "No, I don't think God would get mad.