"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
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DIRECT FROM IRAQ
Things are going good here, I'll try to send a SITREP when I get more time, I'm constantly going, a lot of work to be done here. Been motored and rocketed multiple times, only one close call, passed a LIVE IED by 5 feet. It was a 155mm wired to a remote-detonator, only God knows why it didn't go off. We were rolling w/ EOD on that mission, they had their Warlock system running so I'm pretty sure it jammed the RF signal, no way to tell for sure. Got a REAL good look at the device....
We roll at least 1-3 missions everyday, haven't gotten the chance to shoot/kill anyone just yet, I'm still waiting.... I've got more than just an itchy trigger finger right now, we're all very frustrated, we want to shoot some badguys. I decided at the beginning that one of my fist kills will be dedicated to my motivating Plt. Sgt., Gunny Davis. I'll keep you advised....
We're doing a lot of good work here, very dangerous area, no worries, we have a better team than the active guys, we're VERY high-speed.
Gotta go, talk to you later.
Sgt. Grit one more Boot Camp story about Platoon 3195. I live in Alexandria, Louisiana. Egland Air Force Base was in my town. Fifty miles from Alexandria is Fort Polk. Many of the Army personnel that went to Vietnam went through there. Vietnamese pilots were trained at Egland Air Force Base, but I joined the Marines and got sent to MCRD. Well at mail call, in about the 3rd week of Boot Camp I got my 'Draft Notice'. You know by order of the President of The United States "You are hereby ordered to report for induction in to the United States Army." You can imagine my surprise at seeing that I was drafted. I requested to speak to the Drill Instructor. His response was speak puke. I showed him my draft notice. He roared with laughter at first and that scared the sh@t out of me. He then read my draft notice to the entire Platoon. As I was the 3rd squad leader, me and my squad had to do push ups as a unit, 50 count and shout 1, 2, 3, 4, I love the Marine Corps. Upon completion of this I was called back to the front of the squad where I proclaimed my eternal desire to be in the Marine Corps. At this point the Drill Instructor allowed me the honor of eating my draft notice.
SGT of Marines 69-72
SOME AF PUKES ACTUALLY USED
I joined the Marine Corps in 87 after serving four years in the Air Force. One thing that I remember from AF basic was shining the boots with nylons. They would make a boot shine nicely (for AF standards) and when I joined the Marine Corps, I though I new a few tricks. My father, who was classified as 4F during WWII (Polio) taught me how to do a spit shine and I learned some other ways also. Some AF pukes actually used Mop and Glow on their boots. Talk about ugly! Anyway, I was at PI plt 3047, Hotel Co. when a brain fart really took a hold. I was trying to get my boots to shine so I wrote home to my wife (spent my 1st wedding anniversary in boot camp digging in the pits) and asked me to send her one of her old nylons. Yeah, like I said, brain fart! Well the fateful day came and I got a letter that was about two inches thick! Just so happens, this was the first letter that the Platoon received that was larger than a normal letter. Our Senior Drill Instructor had the duty that night and he called me up and had me open it in front of everyone. Yeah, you can guess what happened. But she not only sent me the nylons, but the pair she sent had cotton panties attached. Needless to say, those were never brought out in the squad bay and I started using my pea brain after that. I did try them later when I was at home with my wife, and they did a number on the shine I had built up. Damn near sanded the shine off, but those cotton panties didn't do to bad a number. I never told anyone else what I used. I would just say its my secret. One that I don't think anyone will want to use in boot camp. :)
Sgt in Air Farce - Some fun playing soldier
Sgt in Marine Corps! - The best 8 years I ever served my country.
POINT OF ARROGANCE
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are...You should see the group about me as I write- dirty, bearded, their clothing food-spattered and filthy- they look like the castoffs of creation. Yet they have a sense of loyalty, generosity, even piety greater than any men I have ever known. These rugged men have the simple piety of children. You can't help loving them, in spite of their language and their loose sense of private property. Don't ever feel sorry for a priest in the Marines. The last eight weeks have been the happiest and most contented in my life." - Father Kevin Keaney, a Navy Chaplain assigned to the First Marine Division during the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
DOUBLE TO THE REAR FREEZE
Dear Sgt Grit.
I don't know about you guys but it seemed like every where I was stationed if they couldn't think of anything for us to do the Plt Sgt. would take us out on the parade field and we would have an hour or two trooping and stomping and after a while it got kinda boring and I always thought if I ever get to march the troops I'm going to do my best to make it a challenge and interesting.
Well right after I made Corporal I got the opportunity to do it my way. Ever hear of "double to the rear freeze" well we had that down to science. We counted cadence in Japanese, German and Spanish and if someone knew a different way of marching we tried it. We did the Queen Ann salute, we spun our rifles twice before coming to inspection arms if it could be done we did it. I remember once having the platoon in this huge circle marching, I wonder if the CO ever looked out the window and thought "What the h*ll are those clowns doing now".
One evening at chow time two of our guys had brought their dress blues from the states and they decided to wear them to chow.It may not sound like a big deal but those guys really looked sharp so we decided they just couldn't march to chow they had to have an Honor guard so we formed a squad around them put them at the head of the formation and went to chow. It looked like a parade coming down the street. When we arrived at the mess hall the guys in dress blues went to the head of the line followed by the honor guard.
It is amazing how much fun you can have with a little imagination.
S/Sgt. Norm Barnes South Camp Fuji Japan (1954)
THE RESULTS WERE THE SAME
The response in your newsletter of 10-24-92 by Cpl. McCourt-0311, was well stated and to the point.(just reservist). In l950, there were 70 thousand Marines, world-wide, and 150 thousand reservist. There would have been no Inchon invasion by the Marines if the latter hadn't existed. General O. P. Smith was released from command in April '51, and his words were ;I think the division is better now than when we landed at Inchon As an aside, not once do I remember when the other side was shooting at us with any weapon, did I hear them ask if you were a regular or reserve. I do know for certain that the results were the same if you were hit by a bullet or shrapnel.
Cpl. A.H. Styles 1056282, H and S 1st Bn. 11th Marines,
1st Marine Brigade/1st Marine Division, A Reservist that
served in Korea from 4 Sept '50 to 10 Aug 51, SEMPER FI
SO I MOSSIE OVER TO TALK
Donald Harrison is so right about how members of the band have served. I posted this somewhere but forget where so will post it again. About a year ago, I'm in a convenience store in Sierra Vista, AZ with my youngest son, a former winger. He nudges me as a guy somewhere around my age enters. Marc says to me, "Check out his cover." I do. It has a lstMarDiv patch on it so I mossie over to talk to him. We exchange "Semper Fis" and I ask him what outfit he was with in Korea. He tells me he was in the lst Divvie band. I ask him if he was a stretcher bearer. He tells me no that he was lucky (Stretcher bearers were a prime target). "I was a machine gunner at the Chosin Reservoir" With that, my son and I thanked him for his service. Bob Rader #14055234
OUR LOCKER BOX
Dear Sgt Grit
I have been reading about the reserves vs regulars question. I know one thing us reserves in boot camp had all our clothes in our locker box and the regulars only had the ones that were issued as they needed. so our box for locker box drill always weighed a lot more than the new recruits. I don't remember being singled out as a reservist though the DIs knew who we were. our senior DI was S/Sgt Joe Curley one of the CHOSIN FEW.
SEMPER FI Dale Hartley 1607484 USMCR 1956-1962
ABOUT HALF WAY
Concerning the question asked in your last Newsletter about a secondary meaning of "Semper Fi, Mac."
When I was the junior drill instructor with Platoon 205, C Company, 1st Battalion, MCRD San Diego in 1953, I explained the traditional meaning of "Semper Fi" to my recruits, as well as my own personal secondary translation, which was: "You play ball with me, or I will jam the bat in your ___(or "ear"...take your choice).
Several days into recruit training, a Marine mustang major who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor gave an orientation talk to Platoon 205 and our two competition platoons at the boxing ring behind the Theatre Building. About half way through his straightforward, no-nonsense talk, the major surprised and shocked me when he said: "And now I am going to tell you about maltreatment."
During the major's short pause that followed, my thoughts were racing: "What is he going to say? We don't need this kind of problem right now." Then the major continued, saying only: "Your drill instructor cannot brand you." And then he immediately changed the subject to something unrelated like personal hygiene.
Platoon 205 became one of the most squared-away recruit platoons that I have ever seen.
Dave Ferman, Cpl.
Mike Kunkel, Cpl 0331, 81-85
Mike, that odor you might have smelled, if my memory isn't totally shot, was the mess hall AND the steam from the pipes. I seem to recall the same odor when I had Mess and Maint. , it was the GI house outside the mess hall.
The "aroma" at Parris Island----------That was the "Swamp" smell !!! If you really wanted a good dose of it; you should have been in 1st Recruit Battalion---it was at our rear hatch at high tide; 1st Btl. C Co. Platoon 125 Summer 1957.
Marine Veteran (twice) Huey M. Travis 1676306-------- SEMPER FI !!!
Corporal Kunkel, I also remember the smell at recruit receiving. It was there in 1966. I was told by a former Drill Instructor(now you know that I am lying) the smell of which you speak, is none other than the thousands, no millions of sand fleas that gorged themselves on fresh meat and died of overeating. That smell is their rotting little bodies. I could be wrong but I doubt it, but then there is probably some lucky guy that got off of the Island without ever having the pleasure of standing at attention under the watchful eye of his Drill Instructor and not being eaten alive by those bloodthirsty little creatures from h*ll. I hope this valuable information is of some help.
Been There Done That Class of 66
Re: Mike Kunkel, Cpl 0331, 81-85 comment about musty smell and current state of 2nd Battalion Barracks.
The smell is not peculiar to just Parris Island. I go to NC/SC annually for vacation and that same smell permeates the air near the wetland areas.
As far as the barracks go...I visited the Island in late December, 2003 and took the pictures I've attached. The old wooden barracks were being dismantled back in 80's when I visited then. The brick barracks shown in the picture were of 2nd Battalion.
During the visit I met a wonderful young women who asked if I needed help finding anything. I explained I trained in 2nd Battalion and possibly with a bit of over zealous unit pride proclaimed the 2nd "the best damn Battalion on the Island" (no disrespect to the 1st and 3rd). She broke out in a huge smile...she explained she was the wife of a Drill Instruction in 2nd Battalion.....they were due back any time from the crucible.
Although I can't explain the origin of the smell I hope the pictures will bring back some memories.
NOTE: View the Pictures
To add my two cents worth on "Making the Weekend" a/k/a "Swooping", my first duty station after the Island was Cherry Point (Swing with the wing, PRTs and everything). When Friday 1600 hrs rolled around guys were stuffing their ditty bags into trunks "And We'd Hat Up" for the weekend 48 hr liberty. Almost everyone went beyond the 300 mile limit for a 48 hr Liberty and rides could be had to almost anywhere that was within 750 miles or so. My five swooping buddies and I would load into my '57 Olds and we'd get into the wind. These were the days before I95 so the going was slower---non-the-less we'd make NYC (Port Authority, Terminal Bar) just before sun rise Saturday morning. We'd all go our separate ways and meet up at the Terminal Bar on Sunday evening 1800. As I recall we seldom actually departed on time and usually hung out till 2000-2100 hrs then buried our foot in the carburetor in order to make it back in time for 0600. During my swooping days I blow three cars ('56 Chevy/'57 Dodge and '59 Plymouth) trying to make those miles fly bye.
Boy do I remember the days at the swoop circle at Lejuine, always on Fri. about 3:30. Hooking up with a ride to Toledo, Oh. A 12 hour trip, but well worth it, was dating my wife of 33 years now back then. We would get back to base just in time mon am, to change from our civies. Needless to say, we were in sack very early on monday nite. Just had to comment about after I seen last week someone wrote about it.At 19 you can anything. I had just returned from Vietnam, and was ready for the real world. Great job you are doing Sgt Grit, also, I love your catalog!!!! Semper Fi to all you Marines out there, and Welcome Home to the Nam vets!!!!
Dave Evans USMC(ret)
My brother was stationed Main side while I was a Geiger Tiger off and on in 69 and 70. We dropped off buddies at Washington D.C., Breezewood PA, Pittsburgh PA and the Dayton Exit on 70 South on our swoop home to Ames, Iowa. We called from Indianapolis to time the hook-up at the Dayton Exit on the way home and continued to call each buddy with a progress report and pickup time. We wore out a 1963 and a 1966 Pontiac Catalina but had a ball. We figured our swoop was 1520 miles one way and our best time was 21 hours. It lasted until I was shipped out again and my brother swooped to see a girl in Pittsburg that he later married. I'm still fooling around with old cars!
Cpl K.C. Sills
YOU PEOPLE ASKED FOR US
I went through Parris Island in 1962 and remember an unfamiliar odor that permeated the air and at the time I thought that it was the vegetation which was quite different from my home back in Pennsylvania. My wife and I visited Parris Island in 1981 and I inquired about the smell and was told that it came from a paper pulp mill that was not too far away. To find out for sure I'll go see my Senior Drill Instructor who only lives 12 miles from me or his brother who was also a D.I. at Parris Island and for two years ran the D.I. school there. We are all members of the local Marine Corps League detachment and shoot on the detachment's rifle and pistol team. We have two tournaments a year at the Ft. Indiantown Gap military base near Harrisburg, PA. but a few of us also attend a couple of the tournaments each year at Quantico. When we qualified on the range at Parris Island my Senior Drill Instructor bet another D.I. a case of beer that I would outshoot his top shooter. I fired a 241 out a possible 250 and became the high recruit shooter of the year for the Marine Corps. I was awarded a Winchester rifle, medals, PFC stripe, and $40.00. It was only by a strange coincidence that in 1977 I ended up living in the same town as my Senior Drill Instructor. I had thought that Boot Camp for me had ended long ago, little did I know that over 40 years later I would still be taking orders and catching h*ll from SSgt. Banaszek (retired in 1970 as a Capt.) In addition to competitive shooting we've also done a little hunting together and my wife and I attended his 50th wedding anniversary. Other Marines wonder why I haven't shot him by now but the fact is we're great friends despite what he put us through at Parris Island and I always remember what they told us there, " You People asked For Us, We Didn't Ask For You". Since we shoot together, a couple years ago I asked him if by mistake I would refer to my rifle as a gun would I still have to undergo the standard punishment. He said that since I am now past the age of 50 I could probably be excused from that. I told him that I wanted it in writing so I made up a "release" form and got him to sign it. I'm probably the only Marine that has such a document.
Rich Peterson, Wilkes-Barre, PA
To those of you who served in the United States Army, I am certainly not taking anything away from that great organization. Merely setting this straight. I can recall an incident prior to December 7th., I was returning home for a weeks furlough, was walking from the Michigan Central Railroad Station in Detroit to catch a street car, had to pass through what we termed China Town. As I approached what must have been an apartment house, there was an elderly Chinaman sitting on the steps. A youngster probably five, whom I assumed was his Grandson was playing on the sidewalk. As I approached the young boy said, "Grandpa a Soldier" and the man said, " No a Marine" not sure if the buttons pooped off my coat or not, but I was proud of The Eagle, Globe and Anchor. Howard
One day, three O-6s were hiking and unexpectedly came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.
The Air Force Colonel called out to God, praying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river." POOF!" God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river. It did, however, take him about two hours, and he almost drowned a couple of times.
Seeing this, the Army Colonel prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river." POOF!" God gave him a rowboat. He was able to row across the river in about an hour, but it was rough, and he almost capsized the boat a couple of times.
The Navy Captain had seen how things worked out for the other two, so when he prayed to God, he said, "Please God, give me the strength, the tools, AND the intelligence to cross this river." POOF! God turned him into a Marine Staff Sgt. He looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, and walked across the bridge.
Semper Fi !
Ski (Sarge 2 U Dick)
end of mission
I'm shocked, completely shocked and disillusioned. I, along with five close friends from high school, enlisted in the Marine Corps in Houston in August of 1946 and went through boot camp at MCRD San Diego. I always assumed that everyone in the Corps knew, right up to the Commandant, that "thumping" and beatings were standard procedures during boot camp, part of the training. Now I'm reading that officers were out interrogating the recruits to see if they were being "mistreated". So that's what it was called.
Two quick boot camp experiences. We rode the "milk train" from Houston to San Diego. Our orders read that we were to report to the base by 1630 hours on the day of arrival. However, the train was due to arrive in San Diego around 1400 hours so we figured that we had at least two hours to see a little of San Diego before going to the base. Anyone that ever arrived by train in those days no doubt remembers the red haired gunnery sergeant with what seemed like a couple of dozen hash marks on his left sleeve. The train hadn't even stopped moving (or so it seemed) before he was yelling at us to get on "his" bus. So much for liberty in San Diego.
For those who went through rifle training at Camp Matthews you will remember that we filed into the mess hall, stood at attention between a bench and a long table, waited for the last person to enter, and the whistle to blow to signal that we could dive for the chow that was already on the table. One of my friends stood directly in front of me across our table. After about two days having to get up to "survey" the entree' we worked out an eye signal plan that enabled us to get first choice on certain foods. Explaining the complicated plan would take too much space so suffice it to say that our senior D.I., a Corporal Grey, who was standing at the end of the second table down, wasn't too impressed with all the eye movement. Without realizing it he slid down behind me and with the open palm of his hand hit me so hard that it sent me flying into the middle of the table and into the food that was on it. Naturally, and rightfully so, I , along with my friend, had to immediately replace all the food that I had fallen into. Obviously, the other guys at the table weren't too impressed either. The rest of the day I wore fatigues that still had mashed potatoes and gravy clinging to them.
And this was against regulations? I'm shocked.
Platoon 154, 1946, MCRD San Diego
Cpl., VMP-254, MCAS El Toro 1946-1948
SEMPER FI GEORGE
One of my heroes and a dear friend was transferred to Heaven last Sunday to take up his guard position with other Marines who went before him. His name is George Eblen from Belgrade, Montana. He was a little man in size only but he was a poster Marine. I had the honor of knowing him for the past 14 years and loved him dearly. George was a WW2 Marine who island hopped with the 1st MARDIV from the canal on. He wouldn't talk much about his tour to anyone but with fellow Marines. He would open up some and his eyes would moisten up as he did. George was a modest man and one that was fiercely proud of his country and Corps. I'll miss him and will look forward to take up my post and walk guard duty with him one day. George is lying at rest between his wife Evelyn who died in 1992 and my late wife who passed on in 1993. There is a Viet vet Marine Sgt. on the other side of her and a Marine Cpl at her head and another Marine Sgt. at her feet. This Marine will join them all one day in my Marine urn when my taps sound. Semper Fi George.
Sgt of Marines 1950-53
The story of my tattoo!
In 1952 I was stationed at the Marine Corps Supply Depot at Camp Lejeune, NC. Jacksonville had nothing but Pawn Shops and tattoo Palo's, it didn't even have a stop light, much less a caution light. Max Green and I were sitting in the barracks bored to death, Max said, "Lets go and get tattooed. Sounded like a good idea so of we went to Ace Harlins Tattoo pallor. We flipped a coin to see who would go first, I won. I was going to get an emblem but Max said "you get the duck that says "Who! Me?. He would get the Skunk that had Hey You!
When I was finished Max said that it looked to painful and bloody and would I be mad if he didn't get one. I said I didn't care. We then went to the slop chute and got drunk! Russ Evans S/Sgt. USMC (RET)
I figure that if the Active Marine are "the tip of the spear", the Reserve Marines are "the next round in the chamber."
Also, big question for you commo types...WHERE THE H%LL DOES THE OTHER END OF THE POWER CABLE COMING OFF OF THE RADIO MOUNT OF AN M151A2 CONNECT UP TO?
DO WE EAT HIM HEAR
Caught the bed wetting story, here's one for you, not quite the same, but funnier. Bill Stovall, my room mate in Texas, had a single bunk, I was on the Bottom, and James Poe from KY was on top. James like to Drink a little (For medicinal Purposes only, EVERY WEEK END) well, when he had to go take a Pee in the middle of the night, he was get off his bunk,. and in his sleep, more or less, go to Stovalls Bunk and Pull it out, and Pee away, Stovall was wake immediately and Yell and we'd hustle him into the latrine, that happened a few time, then someone gave him a "wire brush shower" one night. Didn't happen again.
We had a Tall lanky guy from Arkansas, forget his name, woke up screaming one night. They asked him what happened, he replied, I dreamed that these TWO ROACHES, were about to EAT ME, and One said, DO WE EAT HIM HERE OR TAKE HIM OUTSIDE, the Other One Replied, NO WE BETTER EAT HIM HERE, IF WE TAKE HIM OUTSIDE, THE "BIG ONES" WILL GET HIM! We had a Chuckle over that for awhile.
BOB GWIN SR.
I MUTTERED FINE SIR
"Musing while" reading the last newsletter.
"And then he told me"
I saw Chesty, one time. We were on a forced march to get to a hill before the gooks. At the third hour, we rounded a curve in the trail. I was humping a machine gun, sweating, cussing and not paying attention until I heard, "How you doing ole man", I looked up and who was talking to me other than HIM. A General talking to the PFC, and it scared the literal h*ll out of me. (But it wasn't uncommon for him to look after his own troops, as he was our regimental commander before he was ranked up). As my feet raised about two feet off the ground and I ran about 50 feet, never touching the ground, I muttered "fine SIR", and never looked back. And here he was, out in front of the lines with only Jones, his driver, with his Ml and Chesty had his usual side arm. Also, about jumping off the tower, we did it with full gear, including rifle, and that made it just that much more pleasant as we had to field strip and clean it before anything else. As to the army painting USMC on there vehicles, in 1951, orders came down to remove our leggings and turn them in. Don't know how long the Corps had been wearing them by that time and all of us were b!tching about taking them off. Later, we learned, that G-2 had found out that both the N. Koreans and the Chinese had been told, NOT to fight with the "yellow legs". In fact they ascertained, that when we went on line, the gooks would leave only a minimal amount of troops in front of us and move the remainder to another area to attack either the army or S. Koreans. We, certainly didn't like it, but from then on we didn't put them back on while I was there.
C-1-1, 50 - 52
HE QUICKLY SNAPS AWAKE
Dear Sgt Grit,
My father John 'Jack' Hussey (Sgt, 50-53, Korea,1st Mar.div. 'Tanks') is in bad shape in the hospital. He at times, is barely conscience and slips in and out of a deep sleep. On a recent visit to him in the ICU, he was there with all the tubes, i.v.s`, scanners and oxygen mask on him when the nurse came over and said " hi John, your doctor told us that you were in the Air Force.." she was going to go on but my father would have no part of it. He quickly snapped awake, turned his head, ripped his oxygen mask off and turned to the nurse and said. "Honey, I served in the Marine Corps". then turned to me and said, "remind me to slap that damn doctor.. Air Force...holy mackeral!!!" he then turned his head back, chuckling a little bit and drifted off back into sleep...the nurse, by now a little flustered said, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make him mad" ..I said.."ya didn't, he just wanted to make sure you got it right"
Sean Hussey, "Jack`s Boy"
EXCUSE ME SAILOR
In 1952, between trips to Korea, a few of us went to Seattle for a couple weeks R and R. One afternoon, a couple of us went to the Liberty Theater on 1st Ave. down town (not in uniform). One young VERY Gung Ho Marine, Wendell Thompson, was among the group. Walking up the ramp to the balcony, he accidentally stepped on the toe of a Navy Commander, in uniform. He immediately looked at the Commander and said, "Excuse me, Sailor" The tirade out of that Commander could be heard for blocks. Who would dare call him "Sailor". He was a Commander in the United States Navy.Etc, Etc.
Think about it, this would garnish the same results if you referred to an Army Lieutenant, Major, Colonel or General as "Soldier." To say nothing for calling any Officer in the Air Force, "Airman". But you call any Marine Officer, regardless of rank, MARINE, and he'll take it as a compliment. We all share this same title. It makes us all part of the same family, with the family name MARINE!
MSgt Roger Palmer (ret)
SURE GOT A KICK
Sure got a kick out of Lt. Col.Gordon's story about his buddy mistaking John Wayne for Robert Mitchum. Baseball great Reggie Jackson used to call Ted Williams the "Duke". When asked why, Reggie would always answer, "because Ted was the REAL DUKE and that John Wayne spent his life trying to imitate Ted.In William Manchester's epic "Goodbye Darkness", he tells of his WWII, USMC experiences in the So. Pacific. Badly wounded, he was evacuated to Hawaii, and while in the US Naval hospital, John Wayne made a guest appearance in the auditorium. He was promptly booooo'd off the stage. Guess the Marines and sailors wanted to see a REAL HERO, not a reel hero!
Sgt. Don Stewart 1363894 1952-1960
TO MY CHAGRIN
One more ticket story except this one should have put us in the brig! 1967 after boot camp and the next four weeks training we able to go home for Christmas for a week. I was afraid to be late so I came back to L.A, a couple of days early. I met a friend from North Dakota and we stayed with his uncle a couple of days. On a Saturday night he let us take his corvette out for the night. We were in heaven. After a long night of drinking my friend was in no condition to drive so I drove home. I was going down Sunset Strip from the Wiskey-A-GoGo when a stop light changed to yellow and the car in front of me stopped. I sped up into the bus lane and went around him through the light at about 50 miles an hour. To my chagrin there were two motorcycle cops at the cross street watching the whole thing. I knew we were dead so I pulled over about a block away and waited for them. I knew drunk driving was going to not only get me a ticket but the brig. The cop came over and saw my drivers license was from Wisconsin and went back to talk to his partner. He came back and asked me if I was a Marine to which I replied "Yes sir" knowing his next call would be to the MP's. He went back and talked to his partner again and came back and said " Son my kid is a Marine. My district ends two blocks down the street. Get out of it before you kill yourself. Semper Fi". I never heard anything more about it.
Cpl Jeroem E. Vogel
IT TOOK AWHILE
To LCpl Cly, Deidra, proud representative of the Navajo Nation. I'm from the Nez Perce Nation and joined the Corps in June of '90. I was in during Big Sand Box I, and got out in early '93. My unit, "D" Co. 3rd Assault Amphibian Bn (rein.) straight out of The Stumps, was there, but I got to it too late, and stayed stateside. Much to my resentment. It took a while after I got out to realize that all things happen for a reason. Of all the things I have done in life since, serving on my tribal council as a leader of my people among them, graduating MCRD San Diego on Oct. 19, 1990 was, and is, the greatest thing I have ever done. As native people, we are inherently a band of brothers, as our nations live and die as one voice. We are honorable, and strong of heart and spirit. I commend you for your views on combat, and understand the warrior spirit you carry with dignity. To a much lesser degree, I carry to this day, the shame of giving way to alcohol while I was in. It caused me to leave early. Alcohol is a plague for our Indian people, and it followed me into the Corps. I have learned from my mistakes, and that has given me all the more pride in understanding the significance of my service to this great nation, and My Beloved Corps. Now I look back on those days with my chin held high, that I have called Marines, "Brother/Sister". Only that I could look 1st. Sgt. Hatcher (that was his rank at the time I got out) in the eye, and shake his hand for trying to help this Marine out. I have carried things he has told me always. So know that all things happen for a reason, and Grandfather Above, is working His Medicine for us too. Remember, you are a rifleman first and foremost, someday you may need those skills. As a strong Navajo woman, and a Marine, you are right where you are supposed to be. Doing what was meant for you to do. In the future, it will all become clear to you. It's good to see you rejoice in your love for the Corps, as all in this newsletter do. When I enter the sacred sweat lodge, I will pray for you, as I always pray for all my Marine brethren, past and present. Especially those in Harm's Way. Indeed, I pray for all members of the armed services. We are all warriors for the same cause. To All My Brothers and Sisters, Semper Fi!
James Holt, Forever A Marine At Heart
HOW TO GET OFF THE ISLAND
This is in response to the letter from Mike Kunkel, Cpl. 81-85. I was in the same barracks that you were in, in 1971.I was in 1st batt.plt.147,as when you went thru,1st batt. was in the newest barracks across the parade deck. I don't know what the smell was, but I can remember even now. I think it was the combination of the swamps, salt water, and the humidity. I know when we went to the rifle range it wasn't present or not as bad. Even when we had mess hall duty at 3rd batt., it wasn't that bad. I have a few good memories of boot camp. No I'm not sorry that I went thru it, cause it made me change, and grow up. How about Elliot's Beach? Or the P.T. field near the parade deck that when it was low tide seeing the fresh waterline from the mainland. I can recall our Senior D.I. telling us how to get off the island. One was to graduate, medical discharge, or undesirable discharge helicopter (lots of luck there), but the way he said was to walk down the road in the day to you got to the only main gate then go down into the bushes and out the gate. He said that the locals would be happy to see you to turn you in for I think he said twenty-five dollars. I hope this refreshes some of your memories of good old Parris Island, oorah.
John Annis Cpl 5811 71-74
Evening, Sgt. Just received the Newsletter this evening. Always look forward to getting it. The story is not of boot camp but of one of my misadventures in Hong Kong. My buddy, Mike Tafoya, and I were in Hong Kong on liberty and had done way toooo much drinkin'. I'm still not sure how we made it back to the S.P. station to catch the water taxi back to our ship (U.S.S. NEW ORLEANS) but we made it. While I was talking to the military personnel at the S.P. desk, they all started looking past me and asked me "Is that little Mexican guy your friend?" I said "He's my 'P'" (Those of you jarheads that were in during the mid '70's know what a "P" is). They told me to turn around and make him stop "p'ing" in the scuttlebutt. I turned around and low and behold there was Mike peeing in the drinking fountain and singing some Mexican folk song at the top of his lungs. I 'bout died! I ran over to him and told to stop peeing in the drinking fountain. He yelled "Let me alone d@mmit!" I did my best to get him to the head so he could finish the job in the proper manner. Needless to say, the S.P.'s on duty (One Brit, One American, and I think one or two Hong Kong cops) were just a bit upset with us two drunk Marines. Then to make matters worse, while on the water taxi another member of my platoon fell into Hong Kong harbor while standing on the aft end of the taxi singing God bless America or something to that effect. I was laughing sooo hard on the trip back to the ship, that I had to crawl up the gangway to get aboard. That really upset the swabbies that were on duty at the Quarter deck. Poor John (The gut that fell into the drink) had to undergo a series of rather painful shots because he fell into the harbor. Boy, I miss those days. Uuuuhhhrrrraahhhhhh!
L/cpl Daniel Miller United States Marine Corps '74-'76 India Co. 3/4
TRAINEE UNDERGOING REMEDIAL TRAINING
I arrived on the Island in June, 1965 and was there for the customary 13 weeks, assigned to Plt 138, Bravo Co, 1st Bn. My Senior Drill Instructor was S/SGT Androwlowitz (Sp?) and 3 Junior Drill Instructors, their names escape this old brain housing group.
Anyway, we were all (at that time) volunteers, so we couldn't b---h about the way things were done on the Island, we asked for it!
S/SGT Androwlowitz was a BIG, MEAN, recruit eating machine and didn't hesitate to use a "laying on of the hands" to correct an errant recruit. Every time he came into the squad bay, I wanted to disappear into the deck, bulkhead, any where but where I was. No one wanted to be noticed by him at any time. He was intimidating and trained his Junior Drill Instructors to be the same.
At any rate, some poor pvt with more guts than brains got caught with some pogey bait in his foot locker and was singled out for some Trainee Undergoing Remedial Training (TURD Tng). During which the unlucky lad was grabbed by the back of the neck and gently induced to consume all of the pogey bait by himself since he didn't have enough to share with his plt mates.
As luck would have it, we were sent for hair cuts the next day and the barber noticed some bruising on the back of the neck of the poor pvt and asked the pvt where he got those bruises and he replied "from my Drill Instructor" (we paid dearly for that comment).
Even though S/SGT Androwlowitz was not on duty the night of the incident, he and 2 of the Juniors were relieved of duty and replaced by S/SGT H.Z. Plummer and SGT Lane. Nothing changed about the way TURD training was conducted and no one was worse off for it, but the above account shows how closely mal-treatment was monitored by the command.
I never did find out what happened to the Drill Instructors or the pvt (we never saw him again), but we managed to graduate with almost all of the people we started with and managed to win the honor plt streamer.
There were several incidents involving "thumping", but that was just part of it. We knew what we getting into when we joined and figured that if we couldn't take it there, we couldn't take the stress of combat.
Jones, S.E. 2063342, 0311
TALK TO EACH OTHER
During my times throughout my career, no matter where you rest or sleep, everyone has a few stories about Marines that snore. I have experience many of our brothers in this situation. I think the most memorable was in Korea back in the early 80's. We had the old pot belly stoves to keep the hooch warm. Well we had three Marine sleeping about four cots between them on each side. The thing that was so funny was these Marines appear to talk to each other when they snored going back and forth. And I know there have to be stories of Marines that talk in their sleep. I had one Marine a few year back who would talk in his sleep and you could carry on a conversation with him and he would answer your questions and not remember a single word of the conversation the next day.Like to hear different stories about this. Some Marine say the only time they snore is when they get drunk, but I must tell you some of these guys must have gotten drunk every night.
S/F MGSGT Miller
HIT THE FIRST NOTE
Good morning Sgt.!!!
Thank you for your newsletter every Friday, it gets me day started off on the right foot!!!!!!! Just a side note --- in our bagpipe band there are 20 pipers and 10 drummers, of this close knit group there are 5 Marines, and we are just a little closer knit than the others! Several weeks ago our band did a performance and we played the "Military Set" ---- Army, Navy, Air Force and "Marines"------------------ we have had this happen before also ------ when we play that other branches of the service not ONE person stood up to attention, HOWEVER when we hit the first note of "Marines Hymn" there was an elderly gentlemen that sprang to attention, as I said we have had this happen many times before. So after the performance I got a friend of mine who served with the 5th Mar. Div. in Nam and we went to meet this Marine, I introduced myself and told him I had served with the 3rd Mar. Div. in Nam and told him Bill had served with the 5th and he told us he had served with the 1st Mar. Div. in the islands in WW2. Jokingly I told him we had noticed he stood to attention and asked him why the other branches didn't do the same and he replied " they don't have enough sense" we all got a chuckle from that, this gentlemen was in his mid 80"s and was as sharp as a tack!! Keep up the great work Sgt.
Semper Fi!!! Dale
In February 1943 I arrived at Oceanside, CA, for further Amphibious Warfare Training prior to my eventual 29-month service in the Pacific. On one weekend liberty, I crossed the border to Tijuana, Mexico. The streets there were lined on both sides with outdoor curio stands. I purchased a souvenir to send home to my parents back in Pennsylvania, having been told by the salesperson that it had been handmade by a local Mexican artisan. When I arrived back at my barracks, I proudly showed off my rare gift for my parents. My closest Marine buddy looked it over. Suddenly, he broke out into a fit of laughter, looked at me and said, "YOU STUPID IDIOT! READ WHAT IT SAYS ON THE BOTTOM!" I read it. There it was, plain as day...made in U.S.A....in print so small that it could hardly be seen! I never went back to Mexico, period.
Orville B. King, Cpl, WW2.
MORE JOHN WAYNE
I would like to comment on the story submitted to you about John Wayne from on of our Corps LtCol's. The Colonel was a bit derogatory about John Wayne's failure to serve during WWII. And when he and a friend encountered John Wayne in Nam called him a "posterior orifice." While the Colonel is certainly entitled to his opinion, those opinions should be based on facts and not Sea Stories. The facts are these: When the war started John Wayne was denied enlistment because he was disqualified on three counts. 1) He was married with four children. 2) He was over thirty five. 3) He had an old severe shoulder injury. He tried many times and various avenues to enlist including the good contacts of LtCmdr John Ford an other Hollywood notables. These efforts are documented not only in Wayne's Bios but in those of Ford, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart. Any one of the disqualifying issues may well have been overlooked. Three was too many to ignore. He then spent much of his time with USO venues. Colonel, 4f is not a point to be derided. Our President, Franklin Roosevelt was also 4f...don't you agree? He too served well in a civilian capacity. And he made more money than John Wayne.
Sgt USMC RVN
FOR A TRANSGRESSION
Those Marine Officer inspectors (Sneaky Petes) at the recruit depots served a purpose, especially after Platoon 70's walk behind the rifle pits at PI. One of those served a greater purpose however during Vietnam when on Easter Sunday, 1972 then Capt. John W. Ripley defended the bridge at Dong Ha. A less valiant effort but one which was greatly appreciated, was made at MCRD , San Diego, 1960's, when then Lt. Ripley admonished this DI for a transgression rather than see me marched to the crossbar hotel. Still owe you one Col.
Speaking of the tightness of recruit platoons. Then Capt Peter M. Busch destroyed that myth when, as 3rd Bn. S-3 he questioned a private about his experience during recruit training. When asked what the private thought could improve training the recruit replied "I don't understand what elbows and toes does to improve the recruit." No prompting, just straight from the mouth of the innocent and another transgression was identified.
I should include the truth about the Head (shined to a gloss) canteen cup but that might be a tad too strong for some.
SD-1952, PI-1955-1958, SD-1961-1964
TOOK OFF LAUGHING
Hi Sgt. Grit, I really enjoy the newsletter. I drop whatever I'm doing, and read it from start to finish like any good Marine would do. I graduated from P.I. in 1983, came home for liberty, and then had to report to infantry school at Camp Geiger. I was lucky enough to catch a ride, at least at the time I thought I was lucky. The 2 Marines I caught a ride with thought it would be funny to do exactly as my orders said, and have me report to the Commanding General, 2nd Marine Division for infantry school. Instead of dropping me off at Camp Geiger, they pulled up in front of the CG's Building at 0300, threw me and my sea bag out, told me to report to the officer of the day, and wished me good luck, and took off laughing their butts off. The officer of the day was young 2nd Lt. Not knowing what to do with me he called the 2nd Marine division Sgt.Major for guidance. After being woke up, the Sgt. Major had to come down to see who this idiot boot was, who would actually report to the CG's building. To make a long story short, I got the worst a## chewing of my Marine Corps career.
After infantry school, I was stationed at Marine Barracks Iceland for a year, and after that I came back to Camp Geiger to be with 3rd Bn. 8th Marines. All great memories. Does anyone remember going out the back gate at Geiger to that whole row of bars on highway 17? I would love to here some funny liberty stories from everyone. I know we all have some about the best ports or bars we were ever in. Also would like to hear from anyone who served at Marine Barracks Iceland, India Co. 3rd Bn. 8th Marines in the mid 80's. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Semper Fi, Lcpl. Ward, D.M. 0311
I SAW THINGS
Dear Sgt Grit
After spending time with the (1953-1955) 3rd Marines in Japan I was shipped to Korea to the 5th Marines. It was like joining another branch of the service. I saw things I couldn't believe.
The first thing they did was issue us an M1 with ammo and every time we left the compound we had ammo and were told if fired on shoot back. One day I was sitting on a hillside and from where I was sitting I could see the main gate. I noticed an Army Jeep driven by an ROK solider (Republic of Korea). The Marine stopped him and told him he had to leave the Jeep outside the compound. He hopped out with his briefcase and disappeared into Battalion Headquarters.
A few minutes later I see a Marine leave the compound he spots the Jeep gets in starts it up and drives away. After awhile the ROK returns sees the Jeep is gone and with a lot of hopping up and down and gesturing asked where his Jeep was. I see Marine the Marine shrug his shoulders as if to say "Hey fella its not my week to watch your Jeep".
A few days later myself and a group of guys left the compound to walk down to Regiment to the PX. It was a coupla miles down the road. As we were walking along we see this Army Jeep pulling a trailer being driven by a Marine speeding down the road.
We didn't give it much thought and proceeded on our trip to the PX. After spending some time in the PX we started back and guess what we saw? The Marines at Regiment had made a spray booth out of a 20 man tent and sitting beside the tent was a new Jeep and trailer drying in the sun. We wondered was that the same jeep we had seen earlier? We discussed it and determined it probably was.
S/Sgt Norm Barnes
I DO NOT REMEMBER WHICH ONE.
Dan Powell took a cruise on the Ohio and met a man who claimed to be an Army Veteran of the Frozen Chosin and the 24th Infantry Division. Dan opined that since the man could not remember the ship he went over on and the ship he returned on the man could not have been there. Dan, I have to say that unfortunately, there are some things that people just do not pay too much attention to. I went to Korea on a ship. I do not remember which one. I flew home from Korea in a C-54 an old four motored prop job that shook rattled and rolled the whole way to Travis AFB in California. I do not remember even checking in to a Marine station when I arrived I was just too happy to be back in the USA. I actually went aboard at least three troop ships while stationed in Korea, and I also served a tour of duty in Japan and went aboard a troop ship to go there also. That was lets see now, fifty one years ago? Yes, I can remember going aboard, I can remember those incredible storms and waves crashing over the bow and being lined up four or more deep on the rails waiting my turn to upchuck from seasickness. I remember that as the only time I ever was seasick in rough weather. I do remember the card games when we were allowed below deck on the fourteen day trip to Korea. I remember the salt water showers when we ran low on fresh. I remember standing in line for hours to get chow. But I do not remember the name of the ship. I know the kind of plane I flew home on just as I did when I flew home from my second cruise to Japan. But the ships? Nope cannot recall. I can recall every hill I ever climbed in Korea, every rice paddy I walked through or around, I can even remember the names of the towns. But the ships? Inconsequential to me. I do remember one thing about them, they all seemed to be named after Generals. USS General Black, does that sound familiar? It does to me but then I can honestly say with all the training and assaulting of beaches and climbing down the rope netting to get on the P-boats, there were quite a few and I just do not remember them.
Now the USS Boxer, LPH-4, I do remember because I was one of 300 hand picked Marines ordered on board to be part of the crew in order for the Navy to fully man the ship for the Marines to test the Vertical Assault concept. It must have worked because the Commandant told everyone of us that it would work Period. It did and they built a slew of them only they are now called LHD's. So my friend, Korea was a long time ago, and if that man was in the frozen Chosin, he has a right to forget which ships he came and went on. If memory serves, the Army suffered more losses than the Marines because of their poor training, poorer leadership and non-existent support. Believe it or not they even came to the Marines and asked our General for cold weather gear because the Army had not supplied them with it. Do not be too hard on him if you do not know for sure he was a wanna be. I could think of more pertinent questions to ask of him if he was in the Frozen Chosin. But not being able to remember his ships, I have to say, I do not think that is a reliable indicator at all.
Richard E. Nygaard SSGT USMC 1953-1963 SR. NR. 1344......
BEFORE I WOULD ACCUSE
I'm also a Korean Vet. I don't belong to the VFW or any military organization. I'm in my 70's and spent 7 years in the Marine Corp (1950-1957) I was a 17 year old Marine called into active duty. If someone asked me what ship I sailed to Korea on or what ship I sailed home in my answer would be the same as most veterans. I don't know and I really don't care. Before I would accuse someone of being a phony I think I would need more than what ship I sailed on unless I was an anchor clanker.
Jack Nolan 1131869 1950-1957
I WAS IN TROUBLE
Hello Sarg Grit, The story of the tiger skin, pissing episode, brings to mind. Korean War started, We Marines left Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, We loaded vehicles on train. Off to California Marine base. Transporting said vehicles down the main highway to San Diego. On the second trip my Jeep temperature gage started to rise, next thing it was steaming, pulled over. Other drivers seeing I was in trouble stopped and as we stood around someone spoke up and said let it cool off, get the cap off and we all can (p!ss in it) and give it enough water until we get to the dock in San Diego. It worked we made, It was extremely funny, everyone taking their turn standing on the bumper to pee in the radiator.
Hope you get as big a kick out of this as I did remembering it. Funny what will trigger your memory.
James C. Gerg, 2nd Marines, 1st Div. Korea
662705 1948- 1952
Read about W.K. Gray's use of Wisk for curing constipation in your fine newsletter. Being bound was the least of my troubles back in "46 in Peiping, China.
Somehow I ran across a bag of powdered lemonade and five pounds of sugar. Being as how the water in the Lister bag was too warm, I used the water straight from the tap to make my heavenly elixir. Of course I had Mao's revenge for a couple of weeks until I went to sick-bay. Was cured by large doses of bismuth-paregoric and it got me out of guard duty for a time.
Any more China Marines out there?
Write me at email@example.com.
Sgt of Marines Jim Gehring '45 to '49
HE WAS A MARINE
To inform you my husband who belonged to Sgt. Grit has passed away. His name was Charles Lee Lindsey. He was a marine, a double purple heart vet. from Nam. He passed away 6 days after his 57 birthday. ON my , his wife's birthday March 29, 2003. He served in Nam, and was also at HMX1, out of Anticostia, a Presidential Helicopter Squad Honor Guard until his release from duty in 1970. I do not know a lot of info about his time or where he was in Nam, I didn't talk much about it. But I do now how much he was proud of being a Marine. We were married for almost 35 years. So to whom he served with and lost as friends there , he is with them now.
IT WAS COLD AND BARREN
Dear Sgt Grit
Sometime during early part of 1955 we got the word we were going home in 2 days ( that was the good news), the bad news was we had to go to Korea first and Join the 1st Marine Division, 5th Marines to help load up all their equipment.
A few days later we were on a train heading for the DMZ. About the best analogy I can think of regarding Japan and Korea at that time was like moving from the suburbs to the city dump.
It was cold and barren, it was probably a 4 hr trip. The train cars were so old they looked like they belonged in a museum. Looking out the windows you see off in the distance little bunches white crosses. This was a sobering sight.
Finally the train arrived at the end of the track ( you could tell because there was a huge pile of dirt on the tracks). This was a place called Moonsoni.
We got off the train and were told to wait there would be trucks to come and pick us up.
Some guy from the 5th Marines with a big mouth climbs up on top of the train and starts bad mouthing us, calling us pogy bait Marines and several other choice names, it wasn't long before one of our guys responded by inviting him to come down and take him on. Well he climbed down ( big mistake ) we all gathered around to watch the fight (what little bit there was of it).
They squared off