This happened in Korea, as we were going up to the Chosin Reservoir, we went to the side of the road to take a break, we took off the lower half of our pack and put them in a stack to be pick up later by Motor Transport, I happen to be close to the Motor Transport Chief when we got some incoming mortar fire, we scrambled to get what ever cover we could and after it was over we were getting everything back in order and I noticed the Motor Transport Chief limping.
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I ask him what happen and he said he didn't know and noticed a tear in his parka about thigh high and after looking in his parka pocket, he pull out his wallet, where a big chunk of shrapnel was imbedded in it, and all he got was a big red sore spot for a day or two, real lucky for that chunk could done a lot of damage to his leg. The man upstairs was with him.
John W. Grindel
H&S Co, 2nd Bn 7th Mar. 1stMarDiv
MOS My A$S
It has been a while since I have submitted anything to GRIT news. I have grown weary of the bickering and whining about who's a real MARINE and who's not. You survived Boot Camp, ITR and one to twenty- some years wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor You are a real MARINE. I recently had the golden opportunity to sit next to an IWO JIMA MARINE at our MCL DETACHMENT 336, Redmond, Wa., When I was inducted as a member two weeks ago.
If you think for a minute that your some kind of hot shot MARINE, Think again Brother. I sat staring at a row ribbons with V's on them and a Navy Cross. 87 years old with declining sight and a 67 year old cigarette cough when he asks me join him while he has a smoke.. Would he talk about his exploits on IWO, h&ll no. "I was just another Marine doing my job and helping out where help was needed." That, my Brother and Sister Marines is Hard CORPS. What was your MOS I asked. "MOS MY A$S, I was MARINE with a job to do like every else and with their help by God we did it." In this little enclave of MARINES were two of THE CHOSIN FEW who stood there in awe of this old MARINE. I was the boot in this group and they made me feel like I was something special. That Brothers and Sisters IS the real BROTHERHOOD of the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS. This is my two cents into this discussion about real MARINES.
L/Cpl G.D, Vallejos 1900576 0811/0141 USMC 1960-1966.
Photo 1--just to eyeball
Photo 2--last photo in uniform 1966
Photo 3--No comment necessary
Photo 4--MarBrks. Pearl Harbor 1953
Photo 5--Seal Beach Ca. 1961
MSgt Pat Burris
Join In A Few
I was in the 11th Mtr Bn in 69, we made ammo runs south to 5th Marines Regt supply dump. On many occasions I manned the M-2 .50 gal, on the wrecker (M543A2), several times on we would have to drag a battle damaged 5 ton truck back to the motor pool, sometime we did not make it back before dark, usually got stuck at hill 37 area, we witnessed many nasty firefights with the grunts, and were invited to join in a few. (danger at night, command detonated mines on the road). I will never forget that road from DA NANG to AN HOI.
Didn't Want Any Confusion
I got this tattoo because of the war that we are fighting. I thought about getting it as an American Flag but instead the standard black was selected. Infidel is what we are called, and the meaning of my tattoo in Arabic. I didn't want any confusion on which side I was on.
You Silly Bloke
I just finished reading your Newsletter #169 and it brought back fond memories of finding Kilroy everywhere during World War II. I was discharged from the Corps in September, 1945 and I moved to Pueblo, Colorado. We made a trip to the Garden of The Gods near Colorado Springs in the spring of 1946. I had to visit the Port-a-Potty and on the wall was written, "At last my heart is filled with joy; I was here before Kilroy!" Immediately underneath was written, "You weren't here first, you silly bloke, I was here but my pencil broke!"
At 82 years of age I forget lots of things, but after 62 years I still remember that. It's funny the things you remember. Frank Gericke 1943 to 1945
My son-in-law is just back from his second deployment to the middle east. His first tour was at Camp Fallujah in Iraq. He sent many interesting photos, but one in particular stood out. He said he came across these two cars broken down by the side of the highway one day as they were out on patrol - he said it was the way some of the Iraqi's transported food from the market. I have enclosed it, and also a picture of Brent Brumfield in back of his trak. To all the Marines who are serving our country, I want to say thank you. You and your families are in our prayers daily.
Maureen Innis, Kalispell, Montana
On Marine Corps Birthday November 10th 1967 the 11th Engineer Bn had its newly built Bn Chapel dedicated to all members of the Battalion. In attendance were (24) Marine Engineers who were awarded Purple Hearts. One Bronze Star was also issued along with the Battalion's unit award - the Meritorious Commendation. Also they had a cake cutting ceremony and all Marines in attendance were allowed 2 beers or sodas.
Source: 11th Engineer Bn command chronologies
Semper Fi Marines
Sd Ldr -11th Engineers - Charlie Co 2/28 -2/69
08' Reunion Committee
watchcmdr1 @ sbcglobal.net
And Relived Some
Sgt Grit: I would like to thank you and your staff for going above and beyond for a brother Marine. Several weeks ago I read a letter in your e-mail and recognized the name of a Marine I had served with from 1977-1978 in Iwakuni. I asked if you could forward my e-mail to him. Well about a week after I wrote you I received an e-mail from my old friend. We have since reached out over the phone and relived some interesting times. We are now locating other formerly young 5811 Marines. Thank You so much.
Listen Up MAGGOTS
Listen Up MAGGOTS! I'm going to the PX and buying a truck load of belly button cleaner. Now all you Cry Babies fall in. Use it until you get your head out of you're a$S! We all earn EVERYTHING we wear on our uniform, unlike other services, I don't remember a mos symbol on any MARINES uniform. I'm a retired, combat Vietnam vet, 1965-66 and 69-70, lots of air metals. My point ?
NEVER fall in for belly button cleaner. We all wear the same globe and anchor. THAT'S ALL it TAKES for a simple 'SEMPER FI BROTHER'! Gunny p a russell 1802033
Heard A Pin Drop
I remember only a few of the things that happened in and around the Viet Nam era. This particular one stands out, why there is such a difference in the armed forces of the United States.
I was flying back to the world from my first tour in Viet Nam. We got stuck at Okinawa for 5 plus days to clean up and look like real Marines again, haircuts, clean the dusty tropical uniforms, etc,etc. When we finally got the orders to fly out of Kadina air base. They brought us via the buses from our transient barracks. We were amongst all four branches of the military. The other branches loaded onto the commercial airlines first and the Marines were kept waiting on a covered walkway. The other branches looked like crap, unbuttoned blouses, ties pulled down, caps on crooked, wrinkled uniforms and unpolished shoes.
I don't exactly who up front, officer or senior non-com, called about a 100 Marines to attention, lined us up into two columns and then proceeded to march us out to the stairs to board the aircraft. The civilian flight crew was standing at the top of the stairs and had the look of shock on their faces, when 100 Marines started marching and singing the Marines' Hymn as we boarded the plane. This was not a group of Marines who had ever trained together, but you wouldn't have thought so that day. They were standing tall and singing proudly.
We did this all the way to our seats, you could have heard a pin drop from the other branches when we were all seated and quiet. The stewardess's all came by and thanked all the Marines on board for their service to country and what a difference there was in the military branches. I even think the pilot of the commercial airline (might have been an old Marine) made a statement to the effect, "Thank you Marines".
Do you think we are a cut above?
All services do a great job, we just do it with a bit more pride.
Sgt Fritz McDowell
I am the proud mother of an active duty Marine and also a part of a great organization here in Ohio - Marine Corps Family Support Community. It is due to something that came to our attention at MCFSC that I am writing. It seems that some of our Marines are now receiving photographs of their family homes - many times with the family present in the photo - marked with Arabic words. This apparently is the newest form of terrorism against our military, and most of it is coming from terrorist "hackers" getting the Marine's personal info and that of his family from things innocently put on the Internet.
Our group formerly had photos of our Marines in an honor gallery. Most of these photos had info about the Marine and his/her family. We have now deleted this information from our site, but I wonder how many others there might be out there. I thought that your newsletter might be a good way to inform a vast number of Marines and their families. I would even go so far as to advise that any Marine or his/her family member consider changing their e-mail addresses if their address includes an "identifying" factor within the address. (ie: last names, city of origin, etc.) Many of the families within our group have already considered this threat to some extent and are very careful to not include last names, stations, etc in their e-mails to or about their Marine; but many of these same families had not considered the fact that their last name is very evident within their e-mail address!
It is unfortunate that we PROUD families have to consider these things and must to some extent "curb our enthusiasm" for our Marine, but their safety is (as it should be) our first priority! If our Marines are distracted by their concern for their families, this could mean the difference between life and death for them. I believe there was a quote from a Marine Wife recently in one of your newsletters about "loose lips sinking ships", well we as the extended family of a Marine must make this our mantra too!
Marines regardless of their "security" potential, should consider deleting any and all specific identification information on web sites such as MySpace or Facebook, etc. The info that MCFSC received indicated that these type of sites are where these terrorists are getting a lot of their information.
Again, use this letter only if you feel it appropriate. I'd appreciate it, if you use it, if you would edit any reference to my full name from the "byline". You can sign me,
A Concerned Marine Mom
Three In A Hole
I just finished reading this week's newsletter (28 Feb.) and the 'you make the call' article about Gen. Mattis brought home what a leader he is. Last year I had the distinction of meeting former Captain Nathaniel Fick, USMC, (author of 'One Bullet Away') who gave a lecture at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. He gave an incredible talk before what I had inferred would be an anti-military audience, such was not the case. Captain Fick holds an undergrad degree from Dartmouth and two graduate degrees from Harvard. In any event, he told the story of how he was a platoon commander in Afghanistan not long after 9/11 and at 0 dark thirty hours in the cold of those formidable mountains he went to check on his lads in their posts and saw three in a hole where there should have been two, so he jumped in with both feet expecting to catch someone where he wasn't supposed to be and in the full moonlight one turned around and he saw two silver stars on the collars of the '3rd' man, it was General Mattis out for a 'stroll' to see how his Marines were doing. Now that, in my opinion, is a Marine general. Should anyone have the opportunity to go to a lecture by Captain Fick, it's a must.
Sgt., USMC, 1967-forever
Three In All
In August 1943, An LST was running fuel and ammo up to the sawmill on Vella Lavella. To give the ship additional firepower against air attack, three men from the 25th NCB,(3/19 Marines) on temporary assignment with the Provisional "Motor Transport" Company of the 3rd Marine Division, placed truck mounted 50-cal machine guns on the weather deck of the LST. They had the honor of shooting down the first enemy planes, three in all, in the ultimately colorful history of the 3rd Marine Division. A week later, the same three made another round trip to Vella, and again drove their truckloads of ammo from beach to front line dumps.
Pop That Smoke
I was HST to Hotel 2 Battalion 3 Marines on float in which we were dropped into action. Lets lay to rest the air wing question. THEY are all Marine. I was always amazed as to how these fly boys performed. We have had them set into locations as to I believe the rotors were clipping the leaves on the trees. Impressive then and now in memory. There are count less lives saved as to there action. No question as to how hot the landing zone was, pop that smoke and direct me in. My only question is where they put there balls, they had one h&ll of a set in my memories of there action.
Remembering Khe Sanh, cold & raining. Sitting in this hole water coming down the back. Looking out I see a small plane. Believe it is called a spotter. Short time later in comes this jet. Dam thing came in so close I could feel the heat off the exhaust. I would like to thank that unknown pilot for air support and I greatly appreciated the heat. Only time that day that I was warm.
Carl Waters ( What )
Cpl 65 / 69
Tom & Sherard Semper Fi , where ever you are HST Hotel 2/3
A Few Days Later
Sgt Grit, this isn't exactly a "motor pool" story. But, here goes. It was the summer of 1962 in Udorn, Thailand I was an airdale (jet mechanic and proud of it). Because of an accident, being hit in the heel with a truck, I was assigned to drive a truck to transport my fellow Marines from our living area (tents) to the flight line and back. I drove the truck for about four weeks, a new International Harvester. About the fourth week I took the truck in for its normal preventive maintenance.
When I went back to pick up the truck the sergeant in charge of the motor pool chewed me out for ruining the brakes and drums on the truck. He said he was going to have to truck it out because it would be to dangerous to drive it out. He also said he was going to get me busted and I would never drive one of his trucks as long as he was the sergeant in charge of this motor pool, and finally he was going to contact my Sergeant Major. As I was leaving the motor pool area a corporal, who was out of ear shot of his sergeant, mouthed he was an a$s#%$&.
When I got back, I went straight to my Sergeant Major and reported what the sergeant had said to me, he said not to worry, he would talk to the C O about the problem. He didn't think there would be a problem, after all the truck should have had sealed drums. He said if there was going to be a problem he would contact me, if not forget about it. I checked with him a few days later to see what if anything was happening. He said the C O had looked into it and just to forget about it. So I forgot about it. At the time my C O was the highest ranking officer in the area.
We were told we were surrounded by a battalion of Marines, but we never saw any.
I am extremely disappointed that you did not print the corrected version of my letter in your newsletter since it was your error. As you see, people now think that my letter was totally erroneous because you changed "Commander in Chief" to Commandant. I was referring to the President of the United States not the Commandant of the Marine Corps. I wrote and asked you to please reprint it with my words instead of your's, but to no avail. I am fully aware that there have been many Vietnam veterans as Commandant, but this is probably the only time we will ever have the chance to see one serve as Commander in Chief. I'm asking again that you please correct your error.
Thanks so much, Cathie Chevalier
Been reading the news letter lately, can not believe I am seeing debates over who is a real Marine, let me tell you one D*mn thing, I served from 1982-86 0341 81mm mortars 1st Blt 2nd Marines, I did two NATOs, froze my a$s off in Norway twice and also did Two Westpacs, all in four years, we prayed for war but never saw it and it does not matter, what I did in those four years mattered a lot to my Country, Corps and Family! I get asked a lot if I was in combat,( have a few battle scars from bar fights) and I proudly say no the closest I ever came was I caught the clap in the Philippines (true) I get some good laughs from the civilians and that's the end, be proud of what you did in the Corps and stop b!tching.
Semper Fi Mac
You have nothing to be ashamed of, I served out of Marble Mountain during the time that you were on the bridge, dam man, I still remember the Tet offensive of 68. I was flying for HMM-364 at the time and also working at the base communications center at Marble. There is nothing, and I mean nothing to be ashamed of. You did what you were told, when you were told and how you were told. I don't feel that I could have worked the bridge on a good day.
The Tet offensive was not, and I repeat NOT a good day. My squadron hauled some of the wounded out of that, and other places to numerous to mention. My cousin was with 1/9, they got the crap kicked out of them so often that they did not know any better than to take a beating, he came back, feeling and acting like you described.
The bad thing is that he did not get help and in the early 80's he hung himself. He just never got over what he saw and did. He drank, and did just about everything that was harmful that you could think of. There are some times that I wonder what I did to be the one that survived, but then I look around and see my children, grandchildren and the students that I now teach and realize there was a reason. I still have some of the problems that you described, but with help from the VA and understanding from my family it is not as bad as it was.
Remember, you did your job, you survived and now you can help the younger Marines and service men and women that are coming back with the same problem we experienced. I have already done that, mainly just listened and let them know that you care and will not forget. Contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marine Active 1965 - 1978
Marine for Life
Looks At Me To Answer
Devil Dogs, Sgt Grit was asking for some Motor T stories, OK here is one of mine. Now when I joined up, the MOS that I wanted wasn't open, so I went open contract. For those not in the know, Open Contract means simply that the Marine Corps will determine the job (or MOS) that you will best serve in, or more likely, what will be best for the Marine Corps Mission.
Now being from Detroit, someone somewhere must have just assumed that I was good with cars, and made me a Motor T 3521 truck mechanic. Well to be honest, I was not that great of a wrencher, but I managed to get through it. Anyway, here it is 1991, I was stationed in Saudi Arabia in the Bn Motor T, and the Gulf war was in full swing. I, along with a friend of mine, (he was an ACE Mechanic - he could fix anything), were tasked with going into the field to replace some shocks & springs on one of our Hummers.
So we finally get the Hummer fixed, and being good Marines, we had to test our work to ensure combat readiness. So I was a big off roading fan to begin with, so here we are in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around but sand, hills and more sand. So I was driving at first, and of course I was just going normal speed to test the equipment. Then we started to get some speed up, then more speed, then we were hitting the hills, catching air with two wheels off the ground. So I told Brian that maybe he should give it a try, you know to ensure combat readiness. So here we are flying across the sand, pushing the truck to its limits, when all of sudden over the hill comes another Hummer, and they drive right up to us.
OH CRAP, its the 1st Sgt, and the Sgt Major. The 1st Sgt belts out, "Hey Marines, what ya doin' there?" Instantly Brian who was in the drivers seat, looks at me to answer because I was the senior Marine. "Well First Sergeant", I said with an obvious busted look on my face, "We just replaced the shocks & springs, and had to road test them."
1st Sgt replied, "You Marines are the mechanics that keeps these trucks and hummers running, so we can kick Saddam's Azz right!" Speechless, all I could do was nod my head. "You of all people know not to beat up the equipment, so just take it easy on em OK" Yes First Sergeant. Then off they drove.
I couldn't believe what just happened, I thought for sure that we were going to be standing in-front of the MAN for a long butt chewing, and a loss of rank. Nope nothing! So as Brian and I realized that we were just handed a gift, by not being burned too badly. As fast as we could, we loaded up our equipment to head back to base. I felt like we were a couple of dogs who just pooped on the rug, going back to the inevitable hollering.
Just then the 1st Sgt's Hummer appears on the ridgeline, here it comes I thought, here comes our whooping. "Hey Marines", the 1st Sgt said (who was now without the Sgt Major), "I know that you men do a d*mn good job out here, and I know, as well as you know that you were doing far more than a road test. But hey I had to bark at ya because the old man was riding with me. Now if you go up the way, you'll see one h*ll of a hill, and if you hit it right at the right speed, you can catch some serious air...Don't ask." And that is why that 1st Sgt was a great Marine.
Semper Fi Brothers & Sister Marines, and God Speed to all who stand up to protect our Great Country.
The Sgt Grit Newsletters are wonderful. I am a Marine stationed on the Quantico Base, HMX-1 Virginia. It is awesome here. I am a PFC. 17 years old and loving the Marine Corps. I am a 6112 Helicopter Mech for the 46's. I work for the President and love every moment. I look forward to the newsletters for motivation and some history. Thank you for ending them and please continue.
Thanks For The Kind Words
As a WWII vet who never saw combat, I appreciate the words of those who know that choices were not given after my enlistment on my 17th birthday. After boot camp I spent almost a year in radio/radar school, was assigned to an SB2C dive bomber squadron. But just before heading overseas I was sent to school again, for a new radar to be used in the invasion of Japan. While in school they dropped the bomb. (Can you imagine the party on the Cherry Point base?) I have felt survivor's guilt ever since, especially as I spent my working life as an electronics engineer resulting from that schooling.. So thanks for the kind words. John Hill, Sgt. USMC '43-'46
See Chesty Puller
I earned the title and still consider myself a Marine. I was infantry and I work today as a Mechanic in a Salt factory- a co- worker and friend of mine is a Marine also [Sgt. Guy Hadley] , an F-18 mechanic wingman- do I think he is not a 'real' Marine because he was a wingman- not on your life- he is just as much a Marine as myself, and every other Marine who graduated from Boot training. This 'wingman' is a MARINE- and I trust him with my life. I believe that if you were to look up "Real Marine' in the dictionary, it would only say three words - "see Chesty Puller".- the rest of us are.... Marines.
To the infantrymen who think they are the only real Marines- I [an infantryman] would probably not even qualify in their book. In 1970 I was given the MOS of 0351 and trained in the 106 recoilless rifle, rocket launcher [bazooka], the flame thrower, and demolitions- yet when I was sent to Vietnam I was given an M-16 and a Prick 25 radio and sent out to a Combined Action Platoon.
There were only 13 of us plus a Corpsman along with the dozen or so misfit South Vietnamese militiamen [PF's].-although most days and nights, only 4-5 would show up for a patrol. Our patrols lasted 600-1000 meters, so we didn't have to hump 3,000 meters or miles on a patrol. BUT, we worked around the same ville and hamlets, not in them or in a compound- We were all alone, except for the air support and artillery.
Our only protection being the graveyard mound or slight depression in the soil. We slept in the dirt and ate c-rat's for months. We were friends with the villagers and would not intrude on them, or their lifestyle, so we would not be in their humble huts. Every single night we would go out and set up ambushes and run 4-man Killer Teams. Once in a great great while we'd make it back to CAG HQ only long enough to grab a quick hot shower and eat in a mess hall.
We drank water from the village well's -not from a water buffalo [battalion water trailer] During the NVA's preparations and movements prior to Tet, many of these small CAP's were overrun and wiped out by battalion size enemy units. Now, was I any less of a Marine than a regular grunt who was in a grunt outfit?????
After Nam, I went down to GITMO as part of the Ground Defense Force [2/8]and in a 106 Recoilless Rifle Platoon. Now, was I any less of a Marine because I had an old big M-38 jeep to ride in with our 106 mounted in it- as compared to the regular grunt units that had to walk up the hill overlooking the mine fields and tank traps on the fenceline-in their book, my riding in that M-38 jeep as a PFC squad leader makes me less than a real Marine?
Now, here's the part that will really upset the so-called REAL Marines out there- after 6 months in Cuba running 3 miles a day in combat boots on hot pavement in 110 degree heat, and doing regular PT after that, I decided to skate my remaining time down there, and being as I happened to know how to type- I went into the Company Office and became an SRB Clerk [not as much PT and a few other bennies]- now- am I any less of a Marine or not a Real Marine?????
When it comes down to it, we are all just MARINES - men and women who have gone through the H&ll of Recruit Training and who were transformed by it- transformed into someone who is unique- someone who is faithful to the Corps, to our Country, and to ourselves-our fellow Marines. Yes, sorry Chesty, but we who have stood on the yellow footprints are ALL real MARINES. - for Marines, there are no sub-levels or subservient grades and we need to be strong in our brotherhood- we are equals under God, and all will be granted a place guarding the streets of heaven when it is time to leave this earth, regardless of our MOS.- oh, by the way, while there are some who might not consider me a Real Marine, I was nominated twice for meritorious promotion to Lance Corporal [turned it down both times as I felt there were men more qualified than me] and nominated once for meritorious promotion to Corporal [turned that one down too].
Along the way I also was awarded a Meritorious Mast - not bad for just a common Marine, eh?? No one is better than another, or more real- we are all Marines.-PERIOD! ! ! In closing, be
Always Faithful to each other and remember that we are all member's of the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen- the United States Marine Corps.
Ed Thueme- Corporal 70-72
[RVN] 2nd CAG-CAP 246
Old Corps vs New Corps
I've been following the opinions that you've received about "When did the old Corps end and the new Corps begin. Some have said it was the change from assigned serial numbers. Others say it was the change to "crossed rifles' for enlisted ranks. Still others said it was "herring bones" utilities and so on...
I've been reading "Semper Fidelis, The History of the Marine Corps" by Allen R. Millett and have found it to be very informative.
Chapter 2 is entitled "The New Corps" and covers a period from 1798 to 1815.
Chapter 3 (1815 to 1859) covers the accomplishments of Commandant Archibald Henderson.
When Charles G. McCawley becomes Commandant in 1876, he's described as being "Old Corps," because he wanted to carry on Henderson's plan to make the Corps an "elite military organization."
So, gentlemen (and ladies) based upon this historical information, I'd say "there ain't none of us alive that can claim to be Old Corps,"...But, your opinions do make interesting reading.
"Green side up, Y'all."
JJ Haight 1960-64
Off The Paved Road
I was in country, 1970, a Butter Bar 2502, took over the Radio Relay Platoon from MGySgt. Lang, he retired in country. Top you're a great man.
Our Platoon was spread out all over I Corps, shots out from DaNang to places like Hill 37, FSB Ross, FSB Baldy, and the likes. I had Comm Gear all over the place, and to check on the men and equipment, beer runs and the such, there was a driver assigned to me, to take me in one of "my" 3/4 ton trucks. In those days, they were hardly more than a shell, with Canvas on the tops only during the monsoon season, but the rest of the year, it was just a sand bagged floor, a bench front seat, an open bed in the back, and the wind blowing through your hair.
The LCpl that drove me around was great, but a waste of man power, so I went down to motor pool and told the Gunny that I wanted to drive myself around. Motor Pool was situated off the road, the other direction from 1st Recon, north of 1st Mar Div Headquarters, down a dirt road, and I do mean "down". The hill off the paved road was pocked with major holes in the transition from asphalt to dirt that the six tons' and deuce and a halves created year round, that seemingly never got smoothed over.
The Gunny politely informed me that "Officers" didn't drive themselves in trucks, (especially 2nd LT's) due to road risks, (like water buffaloes) insurance and of course, and the drivers (in)ability, were some of the reasons he cited for declining my request. I reminded him that it was my equipment, (I think we had one 2.5 ton, and a few 3/4's as part of our equipment to haul around the MRC 62's and 63's along with the TRC 97's and tow our generators) and that I was signed out for all of it, so by Go(sh) I was going to take a truck out whenever I wanted.
Not an impasse, the Gunny figured I was really wet behind the ears, so he would "check" me out, knowing that I would fail miserably at the road test, and that would be the end of that. I hail from AZ, and had been driving Int. Scouts and old rails out in the desert since HS, and was quit adept at getting in and out of washes, very skilled at clutching, braking and accelerating simultaneously with a three speed, on the floor and Warn Hubs. A winch on the front bumper came in handy too.
The test was a simple one, fire up the rig, go up the hill, and turn right onto the road. Of course, you had to come to a complete stop at the top of the hill, and then ease into traffic. Got to the top of the hill, stopped, had three wheels in various sized pot holes, with varying degrees of moisture in them, eased out the clutch while braking and accelerating with the right foot, pulled smoothly out onto the road, and the test was over, the Gunny simply said,
"Turn around Lieutenant, you got your license".
Best thing I ever did while in Nam, getting the license. I was on the road constantly 'til we stood down in '71, checking on my guys at our various "shots". Got to see a lot of country, the Citadel at and the bombed out Catholic Church in Hue, China Beach, Marble Mountain, the Leper Colony of Hwy 1, and all our support bases. I even ate in chow halls with the 101st Airborne when the opportunity came along. Carried a M79 with a flechette round in the chamber and a M16, both hanging off the front windshield. Never got on the road before 10 am though. Always let the "G" Buses do the sweeping of the roads (if you follow my drift). And I never wore my cover while I was driving.
Picked up troops that were humping along the road. Shot the sh*t with them till we pulled up to the gate. As we pulled up, I would reach in the glove box, pull out my starched cover with my single bar on it (made 1st Lt in country), the guard would salute, I would return it, and the troops would bail out the back very quickly once inside the compound.
A good tour of duty.
Constantly Proud of all you jarheads, and of my 2 sons, one a Naval Aviator, and the other a Phoenix Cop.
Paul L. Blanc
Captain of Marines
Slipped Into The Background
Those of us who stood behind the Grunts, who feed them, moved them, repaired their wounds or found them beds, were, and ARE still Marines, who, for one reason or another, slipped into the background, to serve other Marines, and we did our jobs as best we could, because we knew, the "Mission" depended on us, as much as it did those who carried those rifles.
Sometimes, but not often, it took a lot more courage to do our jobs, than it did to carry a rifle. Ask my husband who was a First Mech on C130's that were responsible for getting bodies and injured back from wherever... ask me what it was like, carrying a load of loaded coffins down a road in North Carolina, after Beirut, or ask the Chaplin's assistant, who stayed with the injured or the newly widowed wives, and bore the brunt of all that pain.
Its our training that made us capable of shouldering the mission, whatever that might be, and it wasn't in our hands, how we served, so the next time someone says we aren't real Marines, please excuse me, while I back-hand them, hard enough to knock some sense into their minds!
Glynis USMC Motor T, and proud of it
The Old Saying Goes
I have been reading both newsletters for some time now and am HAPPY to say that the MARINE CORPS is healthy and HAPPY because as the old saying goes " a b!tching Marine is a HAPPY Marine. This of course is in reference to all the complaints as to whom is or isn't a Marine according to their MOS. I have held several MOS' from grunt to cook to D.I. to Reproduction (Printing) and although I may not have actually been on the front lines in NAM or other conflicts I still consider myself just as much a MARINE as those that have. It was not my choice as to where I served or what MOS I held but the desires of higher authority and I just followed the orders that were given to me from them.
Semper Fi and GOD BLESS all MARINES PAST and PRESENT
as well as FUTURE
MGYSGT of Marines Retd Billy Russell
My Fathers Memory
Just wanted to thank you for helping keep my fathers memory alive.
Attached is a photo, Sgt Grit provided the display, pins, and Ka-bar. SSgt Jerry Hailey provided the purple heart.
Sgt Jerry Hailey (USAF) son of SSgt Jerry Hailey (USMC KIA July 24th 1966 Operation Hastings)
PS: Thanks for the newsletter, it helps me trying to establish faith in people, and this country.
My reason for going into the Marine Corps in the first place was to serve my country, whether our country was at war or not. I offered six years of my life to be available for whatever cause that might arise. I truly believe I would have performed as well as was expected of me, hopefully more. At the very least I would be ready if needed and hopefully react accordingly. When I entered the Corps, I had no idea where I would end up. In those days, they put you where they needed you, line company, air wing or office pogue, you had no choice. But you were there and they could grab you at any time and you knew that from the git-go. Luck of the draw!
This Marine is proud of his six-year tenure in our Corps. I'm happy I'm still alive and these 72 year old bones would answer the call again if it came as I'm sure all those old non-combat Marines would!
1953 - 1959
1st Platoon, A Co.,9th Motors. Landed in July 65 along with H&S and 2/9,I believe, at Red Beach near Monkey Mountain, Da Nang. I was on the LSD Cabildo with amtracs, tanks and our trucks. The grunts were on a couple other ships that had left Okinawa with us in convoy. Spent my first night curled up in the dirt on the airbase with my M14 locked and loaded because the base had just been hit a few nights earlier. Our first camp was on the southwest slope of Hill 327 facing the Da Nang River next to Highway 1. The old iron bridge crossing the river was just a few klicks down the road. One of our first convoys across the bridge was to drop the 9th Marine grunts off just south on an op and I believe it was the one where Morley Safer did his infamous story about the "Zippo incident".
Spent the rest of our time running convoys up and down Highway One, supporting ops like Harvest Moon, Rough Rider. Always tired, driving like a zombie.. but had it a lot better than the grunts for sure! My memories of them were up to their knees in mud in a rice paddy, humping about a 100 lbs each in plus 100 degree weather. Or spending nights with them in a flooded rice paddy in the monsoon, no place to lay down at all with mortars firing illumination all night. God bless em! Our last base camp was on the south side of the Da Nang ammo dump. Flew home in April 66. God, it seems like yesterday but it's been 42 years! Guess you never forget the good times! Semper Fi!
1st Plt, A Co., 9th Motors
Illuminate The Concertina
I was assigned to 11th Motor Transport Battalion in Feb '70. Originally assigned to Bravo Company, I was later moved to Transport Company where I took over as Shop Chief.
While assigned to Bravo Company, I really had no billet so I was assigned as Sergeant of the Guard most of the time. Our section of the perimeter faced north west of the compound and ran along for about 250 yards. One night, while on my rounds checking the bunkers, I received word that there was someone in front of our lines who was trying to hide.
We had lighting set up in position to illuminate the concertina wire and then continue on in front of our lines. After going to the bunker in question, I indeed saw someone trying to move about 50 yards in front of the line. I called it in to the Officer of the Day and was told to be very watchful as we had sappers come through a couple of nights before and take out a hootch and part of the chow hall.
After watching this guy for five minutes, I decided it was time to end this little scenario and picked up an M-79 that was in the bunker. I figured it would be safer to use it as it would not give away the bunker's position (just in case the guy wasn't the laundry man or something that gave him full access to our compound during the day). After taking aim and firing, much to my chagrin, I managed to hit and cut the single electric wire for the lighting in our sector.
Go figure - the wire was twenty feet high and less than a 1/4" thick. I could not have tried to hit it with any success! Funny how the stupid things stick in your mind and you can't remember names of those around you. I spent two tours in Nam and can only remember the names of a few places I visited. Guess they do not figure in the grand scheme of things.
To all those who will never grow old - you are not forgotten...
SSgt USMC 65-77
Proud Marine dad of Cpl. Charles, Sgt. Jennifer and SSgt. Craig
If you can read this, thank a Teacher,
If you are reading it in English, thank a VETERAN!
May our families enjoy the gifts given by God and never have a Chaplain appear on our door step.
I've Never Heard
I was in the wing from 1978-1983. During that time, my squadron, VMA(AW)-121, The Green Knights, we had a saying. It went like this:
I've heard grunts call for air strikes, but I've never heard an airwinger call for a grunt strike.
Got out of the Corps in '83. 3 month's later, saw the light, shipped over. The Corps in it's infinite wisdom, made me a Grunt(0351/0352),. Went on to do a 20 year tour. Ended up as a 0369. Best MOS there ever was.
Ronald G. Cramer
GySgt USMC(Ret) '78-'99
The Other Side
Here's a little of what I get from the other side. This is how I start some days reading my emails. After my anger passes, I feel sorry for these people and what they think. His grammar is lacking a bit, it should be you're. But some ignorance is well....just that.
Your nothing more than ....a ignorant government robot that was programmed by the USMC. you think your so great but really your not! your just programmed to think that bullsh!t!
Some Pvt. Telling His
Hey Sgt.Grit' as always I enjoy your articles every week. Really brings back some old memories, good and bad. But I gotta tell 'ya, this past two weeks was kinda hard to digest. I have never in my life heard such whining and complaining from a few supposedly grown men, so I thought since the smoke had cleared and all is calm again I would put my two cents worth in.
"In my opinion" I would say to those Marines that successfully completed Boot Camp at either P.I. or San Diego you are as much a Marine as any Man or Woman that has ever worn the uniform. Your MOS is irrelevant. Once you are bestowed the honor of wearing the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor the MOS that you are assigned is totally and completely up to HQMC.(I can imagine some Pvt. telling his Drill Instructor "Sir, I don't think I like that MOS, may I have another?")
So get off the so called guilt trip about not being a Grunt, Recon, etc. And as for that Sniper that made that comment about whatever,---he best thank his higher power that he wasn't trained by me. I would gladly have re-introduced him to old fashioned humility. There used to be an old adage that it takes seven Marines to support one infantryman. That doesn't mean a grunt is any better or worse than anyone else. We as enlisted men don't make the rules, we enforce them and carry out orders. Gentlemen, we are Marines and we are at War.(America is at the Mall) We need to get our priorities in order and be concerned about things that matter. Combat! Seek out, close with and destroy by fire and maneuver, THE ENEMY!
Focus on supporting our young men and women that are putting it all on the line instead of how your feelings got hurt over a comment that some idiot may or may not have said. I hope that none of those little articles I read get back to any of our troops that are over there now. Of course it wouldn't matter because they are busy doing their job regardless of their MOS. And finally for everyone that was insulted or your feelings were hurt, Get Over It. If that was the first insult you received since recruit training was over I don't know what Marine Corps you were a part of but it couldn't possibly have had a U.S. in front of it. Thank You very much for your time.
Larry D. Hatfield 1stSgt USMC (ret.)
There Is No Such Thing
To those Marines who think that just because they were in combat, those who weren't are "lesser" Marines. You have the right to say that if once you walked out the gate at MCRD SD/PI, you bought your own cammies, boots and other items of clothing, 782 gear, weapon/ammo, and you found your own way to the combat zone. You have the right to say that if while in combat, you lived off the land, improvised when you ran out of ammo, and walked to wherever you had to go. If you got wounded, forget about medevac. In your world, there is no such thing. When it was all over, you found your own way home. And by the way, you have to maintain your own SRB, and forget about getting paid. A "lesser" Marine would be responsible for that. Sounds ridiculous? Wise up, boy!
T. Y. Kano
CWO-4 USMCR (ret)
We Decided To Try
Three of us Marines in Korea were very good friends as radio operators in Regimental Tactical Air Control, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. I got out at the end of my enlistment, became a teacher, principal and County Commissioner of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. My friend, Walt (Melvin Walton), became a minister and my other friend, Pablo, stayed in the Corps to serve three tours in Vietnam. Walt and I heard Pablo had been killed in Vietnam. One day when Walt and I were talking on the phone we decided to try to verify that Pablo had been killed and, if not, to try to find him. I subscribed to a computer program called People Finders. I knew that Pablo came from either Texas or Oklahoma. I searched Texas first (very easily done) and didn't find him. I searched Oklahoma and found a Pablo Trujillo who matched in age, etc. I called and it was he. After 55 years I had reached him on the first telephone call I made! I'm sending a picture of our reunion. I'm the one in the blue cap, Pablo is next to me and Walt is on my far right.
Thank you to all my brothers, sisters, and family. For many years I felt I had not done my job as a Marine. I served from 86-90 getting out right before the Gulf War. I served at NSB Bangor guarding subs and their "loads" against nothing it seemed. Then I was transferred to the FMF- Echo 2/5.
"Finally!", I thought, "I'll get some trigger time". I was not eager to get hurt / killed or particularly lusting to kill another person, but would have done my duties as ordered simply for the guys next to me. I wanted what my Uncle had told me of Marines. He was a corpsman on almost all of the pacific landings except Iwo and Oki.
At the time of my enlistment, joining the service was seen as something only people who couldn't afford college, ordered by a judge, or stupid would do. The military was not popular then.
I felt unworthy of the title due to my non-combat status even thought I was an 0311/8151. Now that I'm older and have seen the support from my Marine family, It doesn't feel so bad. My father in-law who was recon in Vietnam for 2 yrs said it best. "You have all of the golden memories of your brothers but don't have the ghosts of war".
Growing up after the Vietnam war and seeing the men coming back w/ the terror still in their eyes, the nightmares, and scars, I am thankful for that. I would have shoulder them the same as they if it was to be so though.
Thank you all for some relief to a guilty conscience. Thank You to ALL that have served no matter what you did...YOU did do it.
Cpl. Loukakis J.A. FMR (Spanky)
500 Rounds A Day
I was an 0311 at the siege of Khe Sanh in 1968. We were taking in 500 rounds a day and pushing out almost a 1000. Thank God for the ontos-6-106 recoilless. They were on target. Thank god for the 50 caliber spotter round to put them on target. Everything was underground-bunkers except for airstrip. Two c130's were shot down, so they started bringing in supplies by parachute. We stood our ground and we repelled 2 NVA divisions that Westmoreland told us to hold it at all costs. We lost a lot of brother Marines, but they have never been forgotten. Then we went to Hue City down by the Perfume River with 2-5 and 3-5 3rd Marine Division. I was in 3-4 3rd Marine Division. We were awarded the PUC for the outstanding job.
Semper Fi Mack/good sailing
L/CPL Mike Bandy 67-69 carry on!
It Was A Good Thing
I was a Marine from 1969 to 1972, after which I had a few more years as an active reservist. I never made it to Nam, only stateside duty. As such, while Sitting on my footlocker, I heard the war stories, along with the, "I should've been there to see it" funny stories. I witness the madness of a drunken Marine fighting the trouble within him, trying hard to forget what he had been a witness to, as a combat Marine. Having never fired a shot in anger, I will never understand the anguish that young drunken Marine was going through. During burial details, I helped carry the caskets of fallen Marines. I was and I am proud of my service as a Marine.
A few days ago, while in the checkout line at a store, I started talking to this guy. It turns out we were both in the Corps at about the same time. We swapped Marine stories, as if it just happened the day before. We talked about wearing the Eagle, Globe & Anchor. Heck, I told him I still carry it with me. I showed him my key chain with my globe and anchor, and he showed me the one around his neck. After which he said, "well, I guess that proves it". I asked, what? He said "Its true, once a Marine, always a Marine". All I could say was "Semper fi, to that", we shook hands and moved on. Afterwards, a lady that was listening in, told me, "Wow, you guys must have been good friends, and after all these years meeting in a store. What a good thing!" I said, "Lady, I never met him before, and yes, you're right, it was good thing".
There are two things I miss about being in the Corps: my buddies, and being called "Marine". We all had different last names, but our first name was always, Marine! Your guys are correct. It doesn't matter what our MOS was, it doesn't matter if we were Stateside, or Overseas. It made no difference. We all stood up, held the line and earned the title of Marine.
Semper fi, Marine!
PLT 3168, MCRD SD 1969
Cpl USMC 1972
SSgt USMCR 1979
Donated By The University Of
It's been almost 40 years ago that I had experienced something rather perplexing to me at the time, but now has come full circle. As they say, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Between mid-April and early May of 1968 I was attached to 11th Engineer Bn. at Dong Ha, RVN.
Less than two miles north of the base a unit from the 3rd Marine Regt. and South Vietnamese 7th Cav. were butting heads with remnants of the NVA 320th Division since 30 April 1968. Bitter fighting ensued and eventually the South Vietnamese called in jet dive bombers, artillery and naval gunfire on the enemy positions.
We got front row seats sitting on top of our hooches, cheering on the Skyraiders and F-4's as they dropped their ordnance on Charles. After quite some time of bombs and napalm drops on an enemy caught on an open plateau, I stopped cheering and reality finally set in. I thought to myself, "Who was going to clean this mess up"? The infantry in the beaten zone were usually diverted from the carnage for moral purposes.
About 40 of us were volunteered as a C&C Platoon (Collecting & Clearing). It's always surprised me that no one knows what becomes of the bodies or I should say remains of dead enemy soldiers. Anyway, I throw my grappling hook on this one soldier hanging over the remnants of an uprooted tree and tug away. This guy seemed kind of big to be a Vietnamese and was wearing a full pack. I went through his pack and low and behold out falls a carton of L&M cigarettes.
Inserted on the carton was a card, DONATED by the UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA at BERKELEY. I showed this to the Navy SNCOIC (hospitalman) and was told never to speak of this, as was the others. It doesn't matter now after all this time, but right then I thought it was some sick joke. Don't ask what became of the cigarettes.
He Didn't Look Happy
I have a funny story. A few years ago, my eldest son was attending UC Davis and we attended a UC Davis vs Annapolis collegiate wrestling match. After the match the UC Davis team had just edged out the Midshipmen wrestlers from Annapolis and won the dual meet. The stands had emptied out quite a bit and I was just standing on the second row of the bleachers. Just then a squared away Marine Major, who I had seen on the sidelines of the Navy team, walked in front of the stands. He didn't look happy as his team had just lost. Just before he passed in front of me, I gave him an "oorah." Without losing a step, he glanced up at me with his serious look, put his head and eyes back down and gave me back a good "oorah" while continuing to march straight ahead. Only two Marines who speak the same language could have done that.