In the first few days of April, 2003, Task Force Tarawa was pushing through An Nasiriyah. I was scheduled to board a supply chopper which would drop me off with Headquarters Co., so me and a few other Marines loaded up into a helicopter crewed and piloted by British Marines. We tried to enjoy the ride over the sands of Kuwait, but I know our thoughts were of what was to come once we landed. We passed over a huge berm laced with tank and humvee tracks. Shortly afterwards, the gunner passed a note around and I almost p!ssed myself when I read it. It said, "Welcome to Iraq, the local time is 0930. Thank you for flying British Air." It helped lighten the mood, and I've never forgotten that even internationally, humor is not forgotten in war.
Sgt. Shawn Rhodes
2d Mardiv '01-'05
STATE MARINE Bumper Stickers
United States Marines - show pride in your home state with these STATE Marine bumper stickers. All 50 States available, plus Puerto Rico, and Guam.
Avaliable to order until Oct 8!
Adapt, Improvise, Overcome
Due to a lightning strike our phones and internet service were down for a time this past Sunday and Monday.
We apologize for the inconvenience this caused, but we're back up and running now - OOHRAH!
If you have any questions call us 888-NOV-1775 (888-668-1775) or email email@example.com.
Suddenly I Felt
Yesterday my wife and I went shopping at our local Wal-Mart. As usual I wore my "Marine Corps Veteran" ball cap. I was feeling tired and low and was sitting on one of the benches they have in the aisles, as my wife finished her shopping. Over the years I have had a myriad of serious health problems that have really slowed me down.
Suddenly I felt a strong hand on my shoulder and a firm greeting of "How's it going Marine" ! I looked up to see a very vibrant young man about one third my age with an Eagle Globe and Anchor emblem on his Tee shirt. He didn't stop to talk and kept on his way.
I know nothing about this young other than his appearance leads me to believe that he was in fact a Marine himself who took the initiative to greet a brother from another era. He will never know how much that brief encounter meant to me. I left the store walking a little straighter and taller and I'm sure my chest stuck out a little farther. Yes I'm still a Marine!!
Sgt. Bob Stanley, RVN 68-69
Only Through Sept. 24
My "Family Member" Is A Marine License Plate Special Fill in the blank with My "Son, Sons, Son-In-Law, Daughter, Daughters, Daughter-In-Law, Brother, Sister, Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Grandpa, Grandma, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Friend, Husband, Wife, Granddaughter, Grandson, Nephew, Niece, Cousin" is a Marine on this OUTSTANDING license plate.
Order this unique item now - its only avaliable until Sept. 24!
Sgt. Weidmayer was the Platoon Commander of Platoon 360 "Regimental Honor Platoon" at MCRD in 1965-??. Civilians would never understand this, or even come close to understanding that I want to personally thank this man for who I have become and am today. Through his training and never quit attitude, I survived Vietnam, 28 years as a law enforcement officer and further survived a minor stroke sustained in November 2005. While lying in the hospital on the Marine Corps Birthday, I thought about boot camp, my training as a Marine and how I wasn't about to quit now. Since then, I have fully recovered, suffered no permanent damage, started working out again (as only a 59 year old can) continue my sailing, went to the 2006 Gritogether and am getting ready to get my private pilot license. I truly believe that none of that would be possible without the training I received as a United States Marine.
So, thank you US Marine Corps and especially you Sgt. E. Weidmayer for molding me into the man I am today.
John H. Allen, (E-5) USMC
Sgt. Grit. I saw in your last new letter a letter and comment from a R.D. Hartley of Plt. 356 49yrs ago. I had SSgt. Curley as my D.I. in 1958 at MCRD in Plt. 348. We also had a Sgt. Matte and a Sgt. Wells. Sgt. Wells had the most beautiful voice for calling cadence of anyone I had ever heard. You could march to his voice all day and never miss a step.
I would like to post the following notice in your excellent newsletter:
LISTEN UP Marine Recruiters!
The Marine Corps RECRUITERS ASSOCIATION, (Formerly the Marine Corps Recruiting Association) is looking for a "Few Good Recruiters" to increase our membership. To be eligible, you must have served successfully in an "A" or "B" billet. Active duty, retired and former Marines are eligible. Check our website for more details about the Association: www.marinerecruitersassoc.com, or contact Jim SIMMONS, Secretary/Treasurer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 417 549-6391, 1705 N. Main St, Nevada, MO 64772-1137 or Jerry SCOGGINS, President, Gr8habujerry@aol.com, 515 2942941. Our 3rd Conference/reunion is scheduled for June 2007 in the Quantico, Va area. More info to follow. Looking forward to hearing from you.
S/T Marine Corps Recruiters Association
THANKS, I enjoy the newsletters, "Keep ER COMIN'"
30% off Movies and Music
30% off select Marine Corps Merchandise for a short time - including some great DVDs and Cassettes.
Stores Those Things
I just finished reading a letter penned by Sgt. Rock (Omaha, Neb.) about the Grinder at MCRD San Diego. Like him, I too revisited the Grinder, only mine was at MCRD Parris Island. It had been roughly 50 yrs since I was last there and the memories came rushing back to me as if it was only yesterday. I guess the blacktop stores those things until a familiar foot steps upon it and releases them.
I was on vacation and heading back home and decided to go by way of Parris Island. It was a 100 mile detour but curiosity about it drew me like a magnet. My wife and I drove our motorhome onto the base after a thorough check was made at the gate by MP's (Post 9-11 was in effect at the time.) We parked the motorhome on the "Grinder" and walked around the base. I was amazed at the changes over the years both in the buildings and the personnel. There are many more WM's now than when I went through. ( PLT 214, 1954 ) I vividly remember my D.I.'s (S/Sgt Hunnicutt, and PFC Wassam). As I stood upon the Grinder, I recalled the many hours spent there and while watching a couple Platoons marching nearby I was filled with pride that I also had the privilege of being a part of one of them. I truly felt as if I had returned home, per se. Hearing the cadence and the thumps of boots striking the hardtop sent chills up and down my spine. Looking at my wife beside me, I knew she felt it too because of the tears in her eyes. What a humbling experience!
We stayed the better part of the day and toured the Museum which was not in existence when I was there as a recruit. If at all possible, I would highly recommend everyone who has passed through P.I. to return someday and visit as I did and maybe relive a part of their history. Also, make sure you stand upon the Grinder which as Sgt Rock stated is SACRED GROUND.
I guarantee, the memories will come and the time spent there will be rewarding......
Cpl. Joseph P. Miller
My brother (RVN 1969 - I Corps) and I were discussing Marine things the other day and wondered; Is there an recognized Marine "Wave"? When meeting / passing another Marine on the highway, as an example, it there a hand and / or arm signal that is used to acknowledge the presence of another Marine? It seems to us that if there is not there should be.
Can you shed any light on this subject?
Bill de Kryger
3rd Div. Comm. Co.
Marine Detachment USS Lexington CVA16 Will hold there annual reunion at Cripple Creek, Co . Sept 17 to 20 At the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino.
Carrier Detachment Marines from 1955 to DeCommision are welcome.
More Information contact Sgt L.J. Waikart
USMCRET at email@example.com. Semper Fi
Just Cranking Up
You gave me a micro-bio in your catalog so I'll give you one of me since we share something Oklahoma and 'Nam. I was a reservist before Korea. Transferred in 1948 from the 1st 155mm Howitzer Battalion, USMCR at the Naval Base, Philadelphia, Pa., then my home, to Company "B", 20th Infantry Battalion, Tulsa, Oklahoma while I attended "the other school" at Stillwater. In those days the Organized Reserve was just cranking up from the war so there was no organization above the battalion level. We drilled every Wednesday evening so I hitch- hiked to Tulsa and rode the Trailways bus home. The Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, across the street from the Oilers ball park was still under construction when I got there so we stored our gear in the "Fairgrounds Stadium and drilled in the fairgrounds streets with old beat-up Navy '03's.
We received our mobilization warning order the first week of July 1950 and departed Tulsa on 18 July for Pendleton. The rest is history. H&S Company and one Rifle Company were at Oklahoma City. You may know some of them.
In 'Nam in 1968-69 I was S-4 of Special Landing Force Bravo aboard USS Tripoli, LPH-10 for 4-1/2 months then went ashore to command 5th 175mm gun Battery at Dong Ha and points west.
Arthur B. Thompson Jr.
Major USMC ( RET. )
Reunited after 52 Years
Dear Sgt. Grit
This letter is to let every one know how lucky I have been. It all started in November of 1951 when I became a Drill Instructor at Parris Island. I had completed Drill Instructors school and was assigned to the 6th Battalion. At this time there was Eight Battalions for Male Recruits plus One Battalion for Females. Recruits were coming into Parris Island by the hundreds and there was a shortage of Drill Instructors. From time to time a Drill Instructor would get transferred to another Battalion. It was around August or September 1952 that I was transferred to the 2nd Battalion
I worked with Platoons for the remainder of 1952 and into 1953. It was mid 1953 when I became one of the Drill Instructors of Platoon 179 in the 2nd Battalion. It is with Three members of Platoon 179 where my story gets very interesting. I guess in most cases, when a Platoon graduates, the Drill Instructors never expect to hear from or ever see any of them again. That Is what I thought about Platoon 179, but that was not the case. Platoon 179 graduated in August 1953 and all members went on their way to various bases in the Marine Corps. I continued on as a Drill Instructor until September 1954.
Time passed and I retired in February of 1968, never thinking any more about Platoon 179. But, in April 2005 I was surfing the "Korean War Project" Web Site on the Internet and saw a Thread looking for members of Platoon 179 at Parris Island 1953, posted by Mr. Harold Lutz that was a member of Platoon 179. Mr. Lutz indicated that the only Drill Instructor's name that he could remember was Sgt. Richard M. Hall. That got my attention right away, as that is my name, and I went looking for my Platoon pictures and books. I found the book, but the picture must have been lost over the years. I replied to the thread and ask Mr. Lutz to give me some identifying features of myself, which he did.
At this point in time, Mr. Lutz informed me that two more members of Platoon 179 lived in the same town as he did in Woodstock, Virginia, (Population 2000) Mr. Jim Kibler and Mr. Donald Clem. Since then we have communicated by E-mail and phone calls.
The most interesting thing is, I attended the Drill Instructors Reunion at Parris Island in April 2006, and at the completion of the Reunion I drove up to Virginia to visit with the three members of Platoon 179. That was very touching, to see some one that you haven't seen in 52 years and knowing that you were one of their Drill Instructors. I spent four most enjoyable days at Woodstock visiting with the three members of Platoon 179.
I thought it was very unusual that three members of the same Platoon, living in the same small town could get in touch with one of their Drill Instructors after 52 years.
Gy. Sgt. Richard M. Hall
Marine Stamp Info
Thank you very much for your prompt and informative reply.
I will provide a copy of your explanation to the Editors of the SgtGrit Newsletter (where the concern initially surfaced) and Leatherneck, the Magazine of the Marines, for their information and also so they can not only provide it to those who are writing asking about these stamps, but also for the information of the thousands of Marines and their family members who receive either or both of those publications.
It is especially appreciated that you have also provided additional avenues for those who, for a variety of reasons, can't or don't use the Internet. Being able to order these stamps telephonically using an 800 number, or by mail from the Philatelic catalog should be of immense help.
Reaffirming the last availability date for obtaining these stamps at their stated value until mid-November is also useful information; after that date those desiring to purchase these stamps would have to do so from commercial sources outside the U.S. Postal Service at higher rates.
Your assistance is very much appreciated.
Gerald F. Merna
1stLt USMC (Retired)
PS: My appreciation is also extended to Mr. McCaffrey and Mr. Bridges for their assistance in this matter.
Dear Mr. Merna:
This is in response to your email to the United States Postal Service regarding the availability of our Distinguished Marine Stamps.
Traditionally, when a new rate takes effect, many of the current stamps with the old denominations are withdrawn and returned. However, some Post Offices choose to retain these stamps in their inventory because of requests for specific subjects, as is the case with Distinguished Marines. The 37 cent denomination, while not the current rate of 39 cents, is still valid postage. We anticipate that the Distinguished Marines stamps will remain on sale through these outlets until mid-November, the one year anniversary of the dedication of the stamps.
We are unable to identify which stamps are currently available at any particular Post Office, but the Distinguished Marines stamps are available through the Postal Store on usps.com. Please click on "Buy Stamps and Shop" then enter "Marines" into the "search" field and it will take you right to the Distinguished Marines stamps. They are also available through our USA Philatelic catalog. Customers can also order these stamps - call 800 STAMP 24 (1 800 782-6724).
Thank you for contacting us and please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Consumer Research Analyst
United States Postal Service
His Fighting Chance
I have read your newsletters for years now and have been rocked by every emotion under the sun while reading the different letters from Jarheads, Corpsmen, and loved ones. I have never written in myself though. However, after reading the letter from "Doc" Joseph Brown about his actions with the 5th Marines on Hill 812 in Korea, I knew it was one of those times I just had to speak up.
"Doc", don't let the pompous comments of some rear echelon surgeon type ever make you doubt you did your duty and did it well. What I, and any other Marine reading this can clearly see is that you, while wounded yourself, were the first to rush to the aid of an injured brother. You cared for him, plugged the holes, and got him to help. You got him there alive. You did your job and, I think I can speak for every Marine past and present, you did it well. You gave him his fighting chance. No matter what you do, there will always be someone there, standing in the rear, chomping at the bit to criticize and demean any act to make themselves feel superior. To h&ll with their BS. You are the reason this Marine had any chance at all to live.
I hope you find this Marine and he has the opportunity to tell you all this himself. But in case you don't, allow me the honor of thanking you for him, and for all the other Marines you helped live to come home.
Sergeant, USMC '85-'94
Currently in Afghanistan
Boot Camp - The First Day
"Get off the bus, you scumbags, you maggots," bellowed the mouth with the bulging eyes shaded by the Smokey Bear hat. Emerging from the bus, I noticed odd little yellow footprints painted on the asphalt parking lot in rows and columns. "Plant your feet on a pair of yellow footprints ladies!" It was another Smokey Bear hat growling and cursing as we scrambled to do his bidding. He had a gnarled, tanned face, but no visible neck, just a head attached to shoulders. As I stood on the yellow footprints, I knew my journey was over. I had arrived. This was Parris Island!
One of the Smokey Bear hats welcomed us to the Marine Corps and to Parris Island. It wasn't "we're glad you're here," but more "you will do what you are told and you will do it when you are told!" "Is that clear?" "Yes sir!" "I can't heaaaaar you!" YES SIR!" We stood at attention and listened. It was as if God was speaking, and we hung on his every word. I guess we were a captive audience, and he certainly was in charge of our lives. Finally, we left our yellow footprints and were herded towards a long, two-story building they called a barracks. The barracks looked like something left over from another time or a movie set. "You're too slow!" "Get it in gear!" "Move, move, move!" The Smokey Bear hats were every where, yelling and screaming, sometimes at the herd and sometimes at an unfortunate new "boot" who just happened to be in the Smokey Bear hat's way. We scrambled to get in line and we waited to enter the door to the barracks, not knowing what was inside. As my turn came to wait at the door, I looked inside and saw a row of barbers and piles of hair strewn about the floor. Soon, my hair also fell to the floor. I was no longer a civilian!
All through the night we ran, never fast enough, from one place to another. After being fingerprinted, photographed, poked, prodded, and stuck with an assortment of needles, we scrambled into a long building with tables set up like a flea market. Here we received all of our military paraphernalia. As we marched (staggered) through what seemed like an assembly line, we were thrown shoes, boots, shirts, pants, underwear, and other assorted military gear. "Put on the fatigues, maggots!" "Come on ladies, move it!" We stripped away the last remembrances of civilian life and jumped into our new uniforms. We asked no questions, and everything fit. If we didn't wear it, we stowed it. We crammed all of our new possessions into the military equivalent of luggage - "sea bags." After receiving everything we would need for our military careers, we again ran to another building.
We moved like a snake up the stairs and onto the second floor of the barracks. There were bunks everywhere. We knew this wasn't our final destination, just a temporary stop, while the Smokey Bear hats thought up more torture. We knew it might not last, so we took advantage of our refuge. We finally had a moment to breathe, to think, to talk, and to relax. "Fall out!" "Get outside, maggots!" The reprieve didn't last long. The Smokey Bear hats were back. We snatched up our new luggage and ran for our lives.
It was early in the morning, just before sunrise. We had been "processing" all night. (Processing is the military term for taking stupid civilians, running them around like crazy, cutting their hair, filling out paperwork, and dressing them up to look like little kids playing GI Joe.) We ran onto another parking lot with yellow footprints. We knew the drill by now, but just in case we didn't, the Smokey Bear hats weren't going to let us forget. "Fall in on the footprints, maggots!" "Eyes front! Stand at attention!" "All right ladies, pick up your gear!" Sounds coming out of the darkness and screaming voices were everywhere. "All right, maggots, double time, march!" "Keep it tight, keep it moving, scumbags!" We lurched into the darkness, laden with all our new worldly possessions. We stumbled and ran for our lives, engulfed with fear. The nightmare was just beginning.
We ran for miles. Falling, running, running, falling. We couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us, so when one "boot" fell, he took several others down with him. "Get up you worms!" We ran for what seemed hours, weeks, months, a lifetime. In reality, it was probably several miles, but being surrounding by darkness, and consumed by fear, we had no concept of reality. We were just trying to follow the green shadow in front of us, and trying to stay away from the verbal attack of the Smokey Bear hat. I don't know how we made it, but finally we arrived at our new home - a brand-new brick building with air conditioning in 3rd battalion. (Just a short aside - the air conditioning was never turned on.) We moved into the second floor suite. "Pick a bunk and stow your gear ladies!" "Fall in outside, on the double!" Moving day sure didn't last long.
Once outside, we tramped across the parade deck to the mess hall. We hadn't eaten since early yesterday, before we arrived. I hadn't even thought about food. I thought to myself, "My first breakfast in boot camp, what a treat." We lined up at the door to the mess hall (I didn't know how often this approach to doing things would be repeated in the military until much later on). I had heard stories about military food, much maligned like airplane and hospital food, but it smelled great. I picked up a metal tray with compartments for various delicacies, and I made my way through the breakfast buffet. I was impressed. After making my last selection, I followed the line to find a seat. We made our way through the tables, and I kept waiting for the line to stop. What? We were heading towards the exit past the garbage cans and the tray drop-off area. The "boots" in front of me were hastily shoving food in their mouths before they were required to toss the remainder of the food into the garbage. Metal trays were placed on the return shelf, and out the back door we went. "Move it, move it, move it!" "Fall in outside, maggots!" So much for our first breakfast in boot camp.
"Fall in!" "Get in line, ladies!" "Move it, move it, move it!" "Come on you maggots, get with the program!" We were "processed" all that day. We marched from building to building. Every where we went, we marched. If we weren't marching, we were running. All I wanted to do was stay alive and stay out of the eyesight of the Smokey Bear hats. The Smokey Bear hats had there own special way of displaying their displeasure when one of the boots "screwed up," didn't move fast enough, turned the wrong way, or just happened to be in front of the Smokey Bear hat. I had never heard so much screaming, seen so many pushups or known in how many ways and with such expletives that someone could explain their distaste, dislike or total disregard for someone else, their immediate family or where they were from.
That day, we enjoyed lunch and dinner much the same way we enjoyed breakfast. But, we did become more proficient at eating while walking to the exit and while cleaning off our trays. At least we were learning how to play the game.
At the end of the day, the Smokey Bear hats gave us time to unpack all of our gear. We each had a footlocker at the end of our bunks. But, with each new phase in our training, there were new rules. There was specific placement of our possessions in the footlocker. There were specific ways to fold our uniforms and to make our bed. But, it was late and who could expect a lot from maggots on their first day.
What? What the h&ll is going on? Trash cans flying and bunks being tossed over. Smokey Bear hats screaming. "Get up and get on line you maggots!" "Stand at attention, you scumbags!" "I want you on line, now!" Bunks were lying on their sides. Trash was strewn everywhere. I was standing in a line of 44 guys, and there were 44 guys standing at attention across from us. We were all dressed the same - white underwear. What was I doing standing at attention in my underwear? At 5:00 AM! In the morning! I didn't remember falling asleep the night before. Then it came to me. I was asleep and having a nightmare. I would wake up soon and be at home in bed. I wasn't really in boot camp. I couldn't be at Parris Island. No, it had to be a nightmare. Yes, that was it. It was just a dream.
"All right ladies, get down and give me twenty pushups!"
Richard L. "Larry" Stout
April, 1969 - December, 1971
You Are Lifesavers
The letter written by Joseph Brown touched me. After 50 plus years he is still tortured by the ill thought rant of an doctor. I think that had that doctor known the depth his comment would be taken by medic Brown he would have chose his words more carefully.
Mr. Brown; your concern that you may have not done enough or may have failed this man is not warranted. My father was a combat veteran of that war and I know it was quite savage. I was a peacetime veteran but as a 20 year police officer I can tell you from my own sometimes painful experiences that under stress that many cannot even fathom, routinely making decisions with far reaching implications, all people will occasionally make a mistake or, at the least, look back upon a task and in hindsight, know that it could have been done better. You were a godsend to that wounded man and you don't owe anyone. I cannot imagine anyone feeling ill towards you. Medics and Corpsman are held in high esteem because all us grunts know you are lifesavers. You saved people! You were bearing an unbelievably difficult burden and did it the best you could. The fact that this bothers you yet tells me you are extremely conscientious and I am confident you did your duty. Thank You!
Cpl Robert Wollwert
To Corpsman Joseph Brown of the Korean War,
Doc - you did just fine. You did way more than any Marine could've done under those same circumstances. You helped a fellow Marine under terrible and dangerous conditions. The fact that you did, or didn't, tear more of his uniform away had nothing to do with you saving his life. (Notice that I said "saving his life", not causing his death.) Your training, your instincts, and your caring manner took over and you succeeded. You were there, you were the man on the spot, the person under pressure, doing what you thought was best. He lived, and believe me - he's most grateful to you and all the other Doc's, as are the rest of us Marines.
You are one us Doc. And the guy in the operating room who told you what he did? From my experiences, forget about him - he was just another navy puke who didn't have a clue as what Marines are all about.
Semper fi Doc,
Stephen M. Blank
USMCR, 1963 - 1969
Hope This Helps
This is in reply to Doc Brown and his pain and hurt when some A#$%ole told him he had failed in his duties. I was the BN Chief Corpsman when my unit hit the beach in Somalia in Operation Restore Hope. While we in Baidoa, in the deep desert, we got a call to assist some UN Aid workers that had hit a land mine with their Landrover. The driver was killed when the explosion took 3/4 of his head off and spread it all over the roof of the car. When my Corpsmen delivered the wounded and the dead man to the LPH off shore the doctor there gave him h&ll for not bringing the mans head along with the rest of his body. My Corpsman gave him the best answer that any of us could have thought of. . . He told the doctor "I didn't bring my f#$king squeegee with me." I know that it seriously ticks me off when people that haven't been under fire criticize those who have. Until they have been in that situation where someone is trying very hard to kill them they won't ever understand what field medical Corpsmen, who have been under fire, do. Don't ever doubt yourself and your abilities. The fact that the men that you worked on survived tells me you did everything that you could and was necessary. I hope this helps in some way.
S. T. Higgins
HMC(SW/FMF) USN retired.
Wetter And Wetter
This past week I was in the grocery store checking out and looked up to see in the next lane a younger man than myself sporting a leather motorcycle jacket with a huge EGA. Of course I could not but blurt out "Semper Fi Marine". He turned around and asked "when". It seems that is the common response when one old Jarhead spots another. We finished checking out and clogging up the lanes and regrouped in the parking lot with Smokey Mountain drizzle dampening the area. Of course we had found a brother and the rain nor the traffic bothered us on iota. A short conversation turned into at least an hour, both of us getting wetter and wetter, but h&ll, it was as if we were back in our respective "theatres" and the weather made no difference. At least a few persons had to go around us and I heard one remark something about "old Marines". It seems this young man (probably about 40) had served in the 1st gulf in 91 and been discharged when he came down with kidney problems and had to have a transplant. Now most persons with such a problem would be driving an automobile with a disabled sticker prominently displayed. This young Marine Cpl. was on his Harley. Not only was he riding in the rain around his home, he was getting ready to go to Beaufort- Parris Island- to see and old friend and his family, especially their sons whom he considered his own. Something about Marines and kids. They seem to relate, not on a basis of equality, but a mutual respect. Maybe each of old Jarheads are recruiters without know it, looking for future "few" to replace ourselves.
Two things keep that meeting in mind. One of course is the instant camaraderie of two Marines knowing nothing about each other except that fact that they are "brothers" in the Corps. The other was a statement he made. He asked me why are there so many of us (former Jarheads) running around this country when we comprised so little in numbers of the Armed Forces and did I notice such. I immediately remembered the day I enlisted,
16 April 1964, and the conversation when I went by my parents home to let them know I had joined the Corps. My mother almost died on the spot. No one in her family had ever been in the Corps, and her remembrances of WWII were that the Marines were always the first to die. My Dad was an old Army Air Corps enlisted fighter pilot in No. Africa and Italy. His response was "why the Marine Corps? what is wrong with the Air Force, your family on my side has always been predominately Navy and I was Army?" I thought for a moment and replied that the Navy no one was sure about, the Army had changed since he was in (42-45) and the Air Force was a society group. "What" in a definitely coarse tone, he said. My response was that it had to be since the Air Force had at least 2 golf courses for each air strip and the Army was too large to take care of its own, but the Corps' basic order was to protect its own from enemy action and the other services. I was the first Marine in my family and, to be honest, I wanted to see if I had what it took to be one of "The Few". The real reason there are so many of us (old Jarheads) around, is that we really care about the safety of each other, even after we have left active duty. As you will see in my address, I have acquired a nickname from some younger Marines over the years, it is a matter of respect and joviality, and I use it with pride. The camaraderie is a life time benefit and responsibility that we all enjoy. It is a life style, not just a period of our life. Very few fellow former Marines I have meet over the past 40 years have ever not been there to help a "brother", or anyone else for that matter. I had one cousin join while I was in Nam and he was medicaled out shortly after ITR and will not talk about the Corps in any fashion. Now I have 5 grandsons (+ 4 granddaughters) of whom 2 have already stated they want to be Marines because they have been with me in some very out of the places when another Marine hailed me out of the blue and engaged in conversation. One is now 14 and quite a ball player. His hero is none other than a Marine of 2 wars, Ted Williams. The other is 12 and his Dad was Navy. His Mom, my daughter, used to keep her "Super Squid" in line with the retort "if you don't shape up, I'll go to the enlisted club and find a Marine that will".
Plus he likes the way his Jarhead Grampa keeps him in line, yet gets in the dirt with him, when we are together. I had planned to be burned in my blues and scattered between P.I. and San Francisco at Main Highlands, now my grandsons have requested I do it in a suit and leave the old Blues from 1960 for them to use. That, my friends, is a connection I will honor, for they honor me just by the request.
The Corps is the only entity in my life that never lied to me. The Corps taught me that I can do a lot more than I thought. The Corps provides this old bachelor with a group of support in those times of loneliness. The Corps has provided me with pride in myself and the determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The Corps has made me a part of a family that extends around the World. My only problem with the Corps is that I was blinded by a beautiful pregnant now ex, and made the WRONG decision for the RIGHT reason, and left as a SGT., 16 months in grade, at the end of 4 years, and when she walked, I was too old to return to the best, most rewarding job I have ever had in my life.
Remember young ones. The Corps is a family that truly cares about its own. That protects its own, not only on active duty but beyond. And when you hear of a Marine dying in combat, remember, there are many more that honor his service and live to carry on in his absence. Look around, you will find at least one Old Marine in EVERY neighborhood, and he usually has the respect of everyone in that neighborhood, no matter his color, creed, party, or social status, He Is A Marine.
Please excuse the "toom". One gets little wordy as the "dirt bath" approaches.
Deane Halsey Gilmour, Jr.
Still Inhaling Oxygen
If you are still inhaling oxygen, you are still a Marine and, on appropriate occasions, still authorized to wear your uniform. That is how I understand the Corp's uniform regs. I am in somewhat of the same dilemma. My son has been in the Corps for 2-1/2 years now and will be getting married prior to his next deployment to Iraq. He wants a military wedding with me in my blues. His future father-in-law was a grunt/radioman in Nam and he needs to put together a set of blues too. I am a member of Marine Corps League #1122 in Santa Clara, CA, and there are members who frequently need uniform articles for special occasions or to just retain a set as a memory. We have a recently retired "butter bar" - oops, Lt. - with lots of years enlisted time who knows of ways for Marines who are no longer on active/reserve duty to purchase uniforms. You might check with your local League and see if they have such a contact.
Also if you are not a member of the Marine Corps League, check it out. I joined this year and found myself humbled in the presence of Marines who fought on Iwo Jima, trudged through the high tide at Tarawa, froze at the Chosin with Chesty, patrolled in the jungles of Vietnam, and saw much combat in Iraq. It's good to be around Brothers of all ages. They will not always be the one to tell you that they were awarded the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, or some other significant decoration for actions above and beyond. They are just proud to be Marines and to be part of a unit that helps those in VA hospitals, those who are deployed, participates in parades and community events, and, unfortunately at times, funerals. It is a very active organization, and like the Corps, it doesn't just sit around.
Guy Gabaldon, American Hero of the 20th Century
Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever
All Men are Created Equal, Then Some Become MARINES.
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Through the Generations Calendar
2007 Calendar with unique photos submitted by Sgt. Grit Customers. Photos from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and much more. Plus over 100 smaller photos throughout the calendar.
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