One of the best quotes I've seen in awhile:
"You're making the wrong assumption that a Marine by himself is outnumbered"
Gen Peter Pace, 28Jul06
V/r, Cpl Lenderman
Sgt. Grit, I enjoy receiving your newsletters and have especially checking out pix of tats and rides. I have enclosed three pix of my 1987 El Camino, De license DRSSBLU. Semper Fi and Out.
Chris Buck DI BO CHET 1/9 67-68
But What Did He Know
I was in Platoon 214, MCRD-PISC from Feb to Apr of '68. I remember one story from early in boot camp. Our DI's were Gunny Cook, Sgt Keech, and S/Sgt Williams. We had just been assembled as a platoon, when I made the cardinal sin. Gunny Cook asked the platoon if any recruit had gone to college, and I had gone for a year before enlisting so I raised my hand like a fool. Gunny made me the DI's "coffee body". I remember many a night outside the squad bay by myself doing "bends & thrusts" because Sgt Keech didn't like his coffee or because I had forgot to bring milk back from the mess hall for the DI's house. I had been warned by my father to never volunteer for anything, but what did he know. Needless to say I never volunteered for anything the rest of my tour. Chip "Malibu" Beers
The John Basilone Platoon
Subj: Newsletter of 23 Oct 2008, Ltr from Joe Broderick
1. The John Basilone Platoon referenced in Joe Broderick's letter was in fact Platoon 251, 2nd Bn, RTR, MCRD, Parris Island, SC. The all New Jersey platoon left for Parris Island (by way of Charleston and Yemassee) from Newark airport, with full military honors and began training in July 1962 and graduated in October 1962. 2. The Senior Drill Instructor was GySgt W. Kreiling. Junior Drill Instructors were Sgt H. R. Johnson and Sgt F. G. Leone. 3. One of the members of the platoon was the nephew of GySgt John Basilone and was entrusted with the platoon's orders en route to Parris Island. 4. I was a member of this platoon from start to finish after enlisting in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Still have my graduation book, although it's a little worse for wear after 46 years. 5. FYI - We were issued and qualified with the M-14.
R. M. Neumann
1962 - 1984
Get Up Here
Platoon 233 San Diego 1953 one of the worst things happened to me (Pvt. John Daly) during mail call. Our DI Sgt. R. D. Harrington called my name with the dreaded words "get up here". I had to stand on two locker boxes stacked on each other while Sgt. Harrington read the words on the flap of a letter from my girlfriend. "Postman, postman, due your duty, rush this letter to my cutie". From that day on I became Pvt. Cutie at roll call and every other event where my name was used. I wrote my girlfriend and told her NEVER put anything on the outside of her envelopes again. I have scanned a picture of Platoon 233 and attached it to this e-mail. We are all in our 70s now and I would like to hear from any members of the platoon.
God Bless the Marine Corps.
John Daly, 1412090 proud to be a MARINE
Every day a holiday.
Every meal a feast.
Every paycheck a fortune.
Every formation a parade.
Every ride a...
I read you site all the time and am pleased in what I read and am proud to be called an ex Marine from the old days. I joined the Corps in 11/55 as a reservist and went active in 6/56. I was part of a new program that was sponsored by a radio program called "The Magic Lady", it sounded like a great idea as the whole platoon was from Philadelphia, PA. We didn't realize how joyous it was all being from the same city until we arrived at PI. All of our DI's were from the deep south, oh what joyous times we had. I have not regretted it even now, it made me a better man because of the things and times we had together. I remember the SAND FLEA burials and laugh about it now and realize it was what we needed to operate as a team, that training was rough but needed.
I have had a decal made up for the back of my truck and hope you enjoy it. I showed it to our local recruiter and he thinks it is great and I enjoy going down the road with others giving me the thumbs up sign or stopping at a light and some one yelling Semper Fi. It gives chills and makes me proud of being a Marine.
Keep up the good work.
Snipers And Monsoon Rains
On Jan 6, 1969 the Song Ba Ren River Bridge was completed by the 9th Engineer Battalion. It was 29 miles south of DaNang and was 722 feet in length. It is believed to be the longest bridge built in the history of the Marine Corps.
The bridge was completed by 3rd platoon "D" Company, 9th Engineer Battalion. In all two were killed and four were wounded seriously during the completion of the bridge. Enemy snipers and monsoon rains could not stop the bridge. It contained 380,000 two-by-sixes and 20,000 four-by-eights. The river raised 12 feet higher during the rains. The Viet Cong and the NVA repeatedly tried to damage the new bridge and at one point floated 20 sampans of NVA soldiers in a suicidal attempt to destroy the span. Snipers also shot repeatedly at the men from a nearby abandoned church. The bridge was dedicated in the name of Arlon Glen Schaffer Loveland, Colorado who was killed in action on 24 September 1968.
Sgt. Grit, I joined the Marine Corps in Sept. 1960 on the 6 months active duty, 4 1/2 years active reserves and 1 year inactive reserves program. Went elk hunting in Idaho in Oct., then on to MCRDSD on Thanksgiving day. My Series Gunny was GySgt. Mc Dowell, Platoon Commander S/Sgt. Plannette, JDIs Larry Day and J.C. Lopez, Platoon 3006. We had rifle qualification at Camp Matthews and ITR at San Onofre. When I went through training we had M1 s, B.A.R. s, and Browning machine guns, also Marine Corps brown shoes and boots. Does anyone remember when we changed to M60s, and black shoes and boots? I think it was in the early 60s. The M14s seemed to be a good rifle but I didn't have much confidence in the M60s. I was a Cpl. in our reserve unit in Marin Co., Calif. but I was Weapons Platoon Sgt.. During our 2 week training at Camp Pendleton when we first got the M60s, I did an amphibious landing exercise with my platoon. Of the 8 M60s, 6 wouldn't fire, 1 would only fire semi-auto, and only 1 would fire full auto. I wonder what our chances would have been under actual combat conditions. I think they must have made improvements after the first ones. I have an old Marine friend, Donal Cronin who was in Carlson's Raiders and trained at Camp Matthews, landed at Makin Island, He's in the Veterans Hospital in San Francisco and told me a lot of stories about WW2. Again, I'd like to know if some of my fellow Marines can fill me in on when they stopped using Camp Matthews rifle range, brown shoes to black, M1s, B.A.R.s and Browning machine guns to M14s and M60s? Keep up the good work! Semper Fi Marines!
Cpl. Al Crivelli USMCR- 1901886
Hit You On The Back
Attached while working at bridge 9/11 by enemy artillery: We as members of the 11th engineers were assigned that day (winter of 68') to repair the bridge at 9/11 along route nine. It was while we were working with air tools that we would get hit from the NVA's artillery. Please keep in mind that while working as a combat engineer in a combat zone with air tools and being targeted - you needed the buddy system. This worked OK - so when the bad guys targeted to at the bridge that day - it took an Marine to hit you on the back - then you hit the deck for cover. Keep in mind that this was the main route from dong ha combat base out to Khe Sanh fire support base that was manned be our Marines back then. The bridges kept being hit at night so squads of Marines were assigned to security at each of these bridges.
Gene Spanos Lieut. Ret. RPD 72/95 Fmr
Sgt.USMC 66/71 Chief of Staff - MCL Lake County Marine Det # 801
I Kept Mine
Sorry Gunny Rodriguez. It's been 46 years and with all due respect, you must have your dates mixed up. I was with Platoon 145 at MCRD San Diego, which started training the first week in July of 1962 and graduated September 18, 1962. We were issued M-14s, which we carried all through boot camp. We qualified with M-14s, at Camp Matthews, on Friday August 17, 1962. The only time I carried an M-1 was at Camp Pendleton, during ITR. I would be pleased, upon request, to provide pictures from our platoon book.
The Few. The Proud.
I Kept Mine
Are You Kidding
Sgt Grit, A little true story that I thought you would get a kick out of. I served in the U.S.M.C. from 1956 to 1959 which was of course peace time. Later on in life I settled down, got married and had two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. When my son would be bragging to his buddies about his Dad being a Marine he was often asked what war was your Dad in. His reply was always are you kidding, no one would mess with us when he was in the Marine Corps.
Semper Fi, Lance Corporal, Thomas E. Isbell
Pulled Up My Utilities
I was assigned RVN duty in early 1965 with Co.,'C', 7th Eng Bn, 3rd Mar Dive (FWD) and later (July 1965) was reassigned to Supt. Co., 3rd Eng Bn, 3rd Mar Div (FMF) as a 1345 (Heavy Equip Oper). Guess about the funniest story I can muster from that time is when I was assigned to use the bull dozer, w/blade & bucket, to clear a stream bed at the base of a hill so steel piping could be laid and the stream covered afterward.
A 'new guy' named Johnson was there with me and was starting to learn how to operate the dozer for the first time. I told him how and what to do but I couldn't stay and watch. I have to run to a bush and take a dump BADLY. Just finishing my business I hear Johnson scream "help, help". I pulled up my utilities and ran down to see what was up.
Johnson had the entire dozer face down in the stream, the a$s end of the dozer was almost in a vertical position with Johnson having a death grip on the controls, white as ghost, standing straight up and facing the stream asking "what do I do?"
After I stopped laughing and almost sh!tting myself I told him what he had done wrong and what he needed to do to get himself out of the mess he had gotten into. I would bet that to this day he remembers that one day in the hills outside DaNang.
RVN 4/65 - 11/65
Slammed Three Hard Open Handed
One of my fondest memories on duty at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station form 1975-1978, the wing was given a grunt Sgt Major McGuirk. He was spit and polish, hard as nails and was sent to us to shape up a lot of the wingers who were parting their hair in the middle and looked a lot like the slobs from Baa Baa Black Sheep TV series. Well he hit the ground running and had us PTing and close order drill like we were back on Parris Island. One fine hot Hawaiian morn he had the entire Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron fall out for inspection and he took his sweet a$s time.
Well myself being a Sergeant with 5 years under my belt made a rookie mistake of locking my knees while at attention for over an hour. You guessed it, the next thing I know I am passed out and headed for the dispensary. When I came too and was fit to leave I told myself there is no way I am giving Sgt Maj McGuirk (McJerk) the satisfaction of ever telling me I fell out of his inspection. I marched my sorry a$s up to his office and slammed three hard open handed slaps on his door and requested permission to enter. He said Enter! I did and smartly snapped to attention in front of his desk and shouted "Sgt Bowden reporting for inspection SGT Major!" He remembered me and seeing me escorted off the parade deck. He snapped too and shouted "OUTF&^%ING Standing, Marine." I cannot believe you came up to my office to be inspected when you could have just gone about your day." I shouted 'NO Sgt Major, I am ready for inspection." He then gave me the quick over and asked what happened and I told him the rookie mistake. Come to find out we were both from Lynn, Mass. Later that same year while spending my final weekend on Waikiki Beach getting ready to go to my next duty station. A young waitress brought me a beer and said compliments of that gentleman over there. Sure enough Sgt Maj McGuirk was sipping one too on his way out to his next duty station. He told me thanks for showing up for inspection even if I was late. Told him better late than never. He said Semper Fi and we exchanged half hearted salutes. He whipped us all into the Marines we should have been all along. Semper Fi Sgt Major McGuirk!
Sgt Ken Bowden
Mounted The Massive Machine
An ENGINEER, and proud of it! Anything needed building, we built; anything needed destroying, we destroyed. We Improvise, Adapt, Overcome better than most. I was a Platoon Commander in Bridge Co./ 8th Engr Bn. Our mission was to breach obstacles so others could advance. We never stopped until the first tank was across. BUT, the tankers were not always as confident in our ability as we were in our selves. I remember well this point being reinforced one day back in ' 70 when my platoon put a Bailey bridge over a wide water filled ravine. We busted our butts to get it across in record time, but never fast enough for the tankers, and never with much trust. In the early morning after working all night the first tank approached. The tank commander was anxious to get his tanks across but questioned if this "old" bridge would hold the weight. I assured him that we knew what we were doing and have accomplished our mission ahead of schedule. To "prove" it I ordered my largest dozer to take the led. My young operator mounted the massive machine, it roared to life, and proceeded to show the skittish tankers what we ENGINEERS can do. About half way across the bridge began to tilt to one side when the support leg we had installed for "extra" support sunk into the mud far below. I've never seen a bulldozer back up so quickly. After some "additional" time, we humble ENGINEERS again got our dozer across; the bridge held. Needless to say the led tank commander demanded I ride across with him. Engineers are not the only bright unit in the Corps.
Capt. Larry Chapman, USMC
After being out for four years I felt this tattoo was needed before I rejoin.
Seemed Like Years
Sgt Grit. I enjoy reading the stories from Brother Marines young and old and from all walks of life. When one looks at where they are after boot camp be it day one or 50+ years later, the realization is that no matter what or where, those weeks and months (seemed like years back then) shaped all aspects of your life from that day on. I still walk proud and am a Marine at 68 years, 51 years after that first day in PI.
Here is my submission.
Alpha Co. 3-A-1
My First Birthday
I'll never forget my first birthday. On a night ambush somewhere on Go Noi island shortly after midnight on Nov. 10 1968, Dale our radioman crawled over to my position to wish me a Happy 193rd Birthday.
It was from that point on I knew I was accepted into the "BROTHERHOOD".
Sometime back in your newsletter, MSgt Wayne 'Mac' McNeir USMC Ret. wrote a reply to Doc Thompkins article, in which he asked how the Navy determines which of its medical corps will be assigned to Marine units.
The answer is: the LUCKY ONES! Although FMF is not for everyone. It's not hard to tell if they ( the Corpsmen ) are suitable for Fleet Marine Force duty just by the way they speak...It's as simple as their reference to either "the" Marines or "MY" Marines!
Gentlemen, it's been an honor and a privilege to serve with you and wear your uniform.
And by the way some of us feel more comfortable wearing GREEN anyway.
Happy Birthday Semper-Fi
"Doc" John Connally
Echo 2/5 68-69
I would like to pass on a story of boot camp that was a major event in my life long after I had received my EGA and was Honorably Discharged.
My brother whom is 6 years younger due to our Dad having served 4 years in WW2 shortly after my birth, was drafted in to the Army. Now I had arrived at PI on May 1,1958 and served 4 years mustering out in 62 at age 21. Brother of course being 15 and thought his older brother was his personal hero. In 66 at age 19 and graduated from High School young brother received his draft notice and shortly there after arrived in Syracuse NY for induction into the Army and the inevitable trip to Nam. The next day after arriving at the center in Syracuse NY he called me with a joy you could feel over the phone and hear load and clear in his voice.
"GUESS WHAT" he about yelled. "What the heck is up" I replied. His reply "I'm in THE MARINE CORPS!" "No way your in the Army brother, you gone nuts or something?" "No they asked for volunteers and I enlisted in the Marine Corps right here and don't have to go into the Army, ain't that great!"
I was stunned at the least and had to compose myself to digest this info and the consequences he would have because of his decision. "What in the h&^% were you thinking? You know what this means!" His reply was "you did it and I want to too". Don't it make you proud and humble to have one of your own tribe want to be like you.
Now the boot camp part is that in Platoon 141 my upper rack mate was J. Lewis from Natural Bride, Virginia and he had a bit of trouble keeping squared away and when he showed me a picture of his sister at mail call one day we both had to suffer the wrath of one p!ssed DI, AKA "PT" no matter what the offence squat jumps was the assigned retribution to be paid. At final inspection after 16 weeks (that was the duration at that time) I was told I had a spot of rust in the chamber of my M1! No f-in way! No matter I was called front and center immediately after falling out and arriving back in the barracks. To shorten the story, in the door way of the DI hut I had to do 100 squat jumps. Yeah the duty DI was PT his self. 100 done - 100 more - 200 done - 100 more - 300 done. This process until 1000 squat jumps later I could not walk nor move up and down more than an inch maybe two if I bit my tongue real hard. Pain can be over come it is a state of mind.
Bullsh!t this hurts! I never talked about this as having "rust?" in my rifle was a cardinal sin not to be easily forgiven. If not for the fact that I graduated first in the platoon and lost the PFC rank that went with it I probably would have suffered substantially more.
You can imagine my surprise when 8 years after this my brother wrote home with the question "did you ever do 1000 squat jumps?"
How the heck did you know that I wrote back!
His Reply; my drill instructor is J.Lewis.
He came home from Nam with a bond as blood brothers and brothers of the CORPS. I am one proud Marine and brag of my brother the Marine all the time.
Semper Fi to all my Brothers. God and the Marine Corps has blessed us all.
Al Hugaboom 58-62
PI Platoon 141
U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M-1, Garand and the Lefty
My first USMC enlistment began in February 1953 at Parris Island and it was there that I first encountered the M-1 rifle. We were taught how to care for it, how to disassemble it, how to clean it and, often, how to sleep with it. Its length, balance and nine and one-half pound weight made it an excellent weapon for close-order drill and, in my opinion, there is nothing finer looking than a platoon of Marines marching with it on the drill-field while executing the manual-of-arms. There is a certain 'snap' and 'pop' as the rifles simultaneously slam into fifty shoulders and that sharp 'crack' as hands slap taut leather slings. Add to that the magic of a drill instructor's own individual cadence calling... pure music! There is nothing like it in any branch of any military - anywhere.
That being said - then there is the rifle range. On our march out to the range we passed another platoon marching back to mainside. Our D.I., SSgt. Segura, called us to a halt, gave us 'At Ease' and pointed out two recruits who were running circles around their platoon and were wearing their (herring-bone) utility caps, blouses and trousers backwards. We were told that they had failed to qualify with the M-1 rifle and that if any of us didn't qualify our punishment would be much worse.
I'm right-handed but have a dominant left eye and that makes me a left-handed shooter. The U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M-1, Garand hates left-handed shooters.
No lefty shooting jackets. Solution: Turn a righty inside out and fasten with two monster safety pins.
Sling positions. Solution: Reverse or invert all instructor directions for all shooting positions.
Shooting positions. Solution: Same as for Sling positions.
With a clip and two loose rounds, Lock and Load! Yeah, right... Solution: Reach left hand across receiver, try to hold back the operating rod handle with top of thumb while depressing the follower with middle finger. Repeat the loading operation with a full 8-round clip. Try doing that at rapid fire, sitting or kneeling, from 300 yards!
I was lucky to fire 190.
Do this two more times for annual re-qualification (always in the 190's)... and add T.O. weapon, U.S. Pistol, Caliber .45, Model 1911A1.
In 1967 in Camp Schwab, I passed a Wall Locker inspection by our CO, and he never looked at my display....I was a L/Cpl and he smelled booze when I opened the wall locker. My aunt had just sent my Xmas care package with a tin of Rum Balls, I gave the CO a rum ball...he smiled, I gave him 3 more, he said YOU PASSED, and he left and both me and my roommate passed inspection.
In 1981 at Ft. Bliss in the Army, I had 2 wall lockers; 1 military, 1 civilian. The civilian wall locker had to be unlocked in case the CO wanted to take a glance during his inspection, which he rarely did...this time he did, taped on the inside of the civilian door, which he opened first, were pics of my intended...sans clothing...I think someone told him about the pics...he was transfixed and I had to take the door out of his hand and close it for him...he never opened my military locker, he just smiled and said YOU PASSED...New Years eve will make 25 years that Beautiful woman has been married to me.
In Nov of 1980 she visited me in Basic at Ft Knox, and the CO gave me a special 24hr pass. As we were leaving the company area, one of the DIs brought his platoon to a halt as we walked by, gave them an About Face, and commanded them to do a platoon Wolf Whistle...and the whole Battalion took notice.
A Lot Of Slack
I too was in El Toro in 1969 being processed out of the Corps from Vietnam. Most of my fellow Marines were indeed from the 3rd Division specifically the 9th Marines. The brass cut us a lot of slack due to the fact that we were all basically crazy. I will never forget putting on my dress greens for the last time, in the middle of the night, (none of us were able to sleep when it was dark out) and waiting for the sun to rise on what would be my first day off active duty. 5Nov.69. So long ago, but it seems like only yesterday. God bless all those who served before, with and after me. Semper Fi!
T. Rieger USMC 16Mar66 - 5Nov.69.
Bigger Than Chipmunks
I hit Parris Island in the summer of 64' (as in 19 not 18) assigned to 2nd. RTB along with 80 of my closest friends we attempted to learn and stay the h&ll out of the way of our DI's. As always the DI's had names for some of the recruits. One was a long legged gangly kid (looked like Gomer Pyle) from West Virginia. He name was Wm. Hill. When he reported to the DI, it was Sir, Wm. Hill reporting as ordered, SIR! Well that changed when the DI started calling him.. you guessed it "Hillbilly". Pvt. Hillbilly get you're a$s front and center he'd bellow and Pvt. Hill would arrive in a tangle of arms and legs stuttering Pvt Hill reporting as ordered SIR! This went on for a few days until Pvt. Hill decided to go along with the program and reported front and center.. Sir!, Pvt. Hillbilly reporting as ordered SIR! Didn't matter what the DI said after that The DI couldn't keep a straight face and neither could the rest of us for about 13 seconds!
PS: Out on the rifle range old Pvt. Hillbilly shot expert. Said the targets were bigger than chipmunks and squirrels and weren't near as fast!
Commandant-Greater Atlanta Detachment #647
Marine Corps League
While reading a couple of back issues of the newsletter this weekend, I came across several mentions of the heavier machine guns. That reminded me of what I like to remember as "The Night of the Luckiest VC on the Planet."
In early April of '67, after Operation Desoto ended in the Duc Pho District south of Quang Ngai, 3/7 returned to the Dai Loc area south of DaNang to essentially the same positions we had occupied before our little two-month-plus "excursion" down south. Lima Company went from calling themselves "Lucky Lima" to "Leaping Lima" (first in on Desoto, last out) to "Limping Lima" (for the casualties we took there). Shortly after our return, with me still tagging along as artillery FO, they were sent out to set up a new company-size position on Hill 52, south of "Charlie Ridge" between Dai Loc and the Thuong Duc Special Forces base.
We had a couple of tanks with us, and one night I happened to be standing near them when they picked up movement down in the rice paddy north of the hill. They had been searching with infra-red and suddenly turned on the spotlight. Caught in the beam was a VC. Immediately, one of the tankers jumped behind the machine gun mounted on the tank and prepared to fire. Meanwhile, "Charlie" decided it was time to make his "di-di," and set off running, followed by the spotlight. I could see rounds kicking up the dirt behind him. It seemed as if his bad luck was about to get worse when he ran right into barbed wire and was snagged. He was frantically trying to free himself, as the rounds got closer. Just as it seemed he would join his ancestors, the machine gun jammed. While the gunner cursed the gun and tried to clear it, "Charles" managed to tear himself loose and got away. I sometimes wonder if he's still around to tell his story, or if he died of a heart attack that night.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
'63-'76 "for pay purposes": PLC candidate--'63 & '65; The Basic School & Ft Sill--'66; Vietnam--4Dec66-18Dec67; HQ Bn, HQ FMFLant, Norfolk, VA--'68-'69; "C" & "D" 4th Recon Bn (combined and redesignated as "C" 1/23 during my tour) USMCR, Corpus Christi, TX--'69-'75.
Just Crammed Full
Reading some of these letters I am reminded of my return "back to the world" April 18, 1968. We landed on Okinawa; I believe there were three yellow Continental "Proud Bird with the Golden Tail" MATS airplanes. We were made to stand in one gigantic formation, while somebody started pulling work details off of one end. Just about the time I started feeling pretty smug about being in the rest of the group that was about to be let go on 24-hour pass, some clown came along and detailed a bunch of us including me to go down to the wharf and unload a ship alleged to be full of army sea bags. We were put in several of those "cattle cars" which had no seats; just crammed full of Marines standing up. We got down to the wharf, and could see the ship at anchor. I believe my Boot Camp Buddies Jerry M. "Stretch" Martin and Larry Kuslowski were with us, but I am not certain. I do know that I spent some time with them in that time frame. In any event, there we were sitting on the quay, waiting for the ship to come in so we could unload it. By about two o'clock we were rebellious at the fact that we had no lunch and precious little water. The ship was supposed to have fed us, and the ship was still at anchor. Somebody did something and we got something to eat but we were still required to wait on the quay until all hope was gone that the ship might possibly dock. Long about dark we were trucked back to our barracks with no hope of liberty. Scuttlebutt has it that the tug which was supposed to position our ship had been grounded with hydraulic problems. If anybody else remembers this exercise in futility I'd be happy to hear from them.
CAC Hotel 1, IIIMAF
just South of Phu Bai
on the An Nong River
7/10/67 -- 4/16/68
My Black Gloves
I was tasked with a couple of squads for an inspection as we were to be attached to a BLT. Every Marine under my charge had spent a good amount of time preparing for this. Our gear was marked and functional. We wanted to make sure we stepped off on the right foot with everyone as we would most likely get deployed with them and didn't want them to think we were a bunch of sh!tbirds. We had a few minutes before the inspection began so I checked everyone's gear, gave them some breath freshener, made sure we were aligned and so forth.
The Colonel finally makes it down to our end and really starts inspecting these guys being attached to his BLT. Every Marine passed with flying colors that day, Except me Cpl. Anderson. While I was doing my one last look around and making sure we were all squared away somebody had folded all of the fingers of my black gloves down except the middle fingers. I was oblivious to this fact until he asked me what was wrong with my gear. I looked and looked. It took me about 30 seconds to figure it out. I popped to attention pretty quick. He asked if it was my doing, or did I have a mutiny on my hands. To this day I don't know who did it. I think it may have been LCpl Rodriguez from Fresno.
Cpl Shane Anderson 93-98
I am disappointed that you missed a golden opportunity to remind Dave USMCR 1991-1999 that SGT GRIT has an unlimited supply of UTILITY COVERS that can be purchased. Buy one Wear it at all functions that play our NATIONAL ANTHEM. Stand up and snap a smart and regulation salute. Dave purchase a cover from Sgt Grit and wear it as proud as the rest of us NO LOAD MARINES do. Sgt Grit, remind your staff to be alert, business is business. Your Welcome.
L/Cpl G.D. Vallejos USMC 1960-1966
An important anniversary is coming up for all Marines to reflect on, especially the Marines who served with HMM-263, MAG-16, 1stMAW and the 1st Recon Bn, 1st MarDiv in 1970. It was a tragic day for all of us. On November 18, 1970, 15 Marines perished in the single crash of a CH-46D. During an emergency extraction of the recon team (Rush Act), the helicopter flew into a mountain after leaving the pick-up site. Take a minute to say a little prayer for the crew and passengers. They were (CREW) 1stLt Orville C. Rogers Jr., 1stLt James E. Stolz Jr., Sgt. Robert A. Donnell II, Cpl Enver Bajin, LCpl Richard R. Buttry, (PASSENGERS) LtCol William G. Leftwich Jr., 1stLt Cleveland R. Harvey, HM2 Russell G. Daniels, Cpl Randall P. Manela, Cpl John F. Stockman, Cpl Fernando Villasana, LCpl David V. Delozier, LCpl Gary D. Hudson, LCpl Charles A, Pope Jr., and LCpl Robert E. Tucker. I will remember them forever.
Something To Upset Our CO
As part of the many, many inspections I stood while a Sergeant with MCTSSA, Camp Pendleton 1975-78, another Marine Sergeant from Kentucky, T. Beasley, aka 'The Scuzbucket', would share my cube to display his uniforms and equipment. He was married (a 'brownbagger') and lived with his wife and son off-base in Vista, CA. He would set up in the empty wall locker and on the vacant rack next to mine. We both took inspections seriously and spent numerous hours going over each other's gear. When we thought we had our own equipment squared away, we'd go check and assist the other Marines in the barracks.
We did pick up a few tricks along the way. One involved our 'inspection underwear'. Ours was always perfect, and I mean always! Our four pairs of skivvy drawers and T-shirts on display (one set on, one set dirty and in the 'laundry bag' and four sets on the wall locker shelf = six sets total) were neatly folded, ironed and wrapped in plastic between inspections. Every few months we would take them out of the plastic, gently wash, iron, refold and rewrap them to keep them from turning yellow or get dusty.
Sergeant Beasley and I did outstanding on every inspection we stood. Most times we had absolutely no discrepancies at all. However, during one of the last inspections we stood together, our First Sergeant (First Sgt. Sentenilla) just had to find something to gig us on. He looked over everything the two of us Sergeants had and couldn't find a thing wrong or out of place. That is until he got to my sea bag. He pulled up the shoulder strap and found a 1/2 inch long 'Irish Pennant' underneath the upper end of the shoulder strap! Talk about going over my gear! The First Sergeant then proceeded to inspect Beasley, going over his equipment and uniforms with the same thoroughness as he had gone over mine. When the First Sergeant got to Beasley's sea bag he didn't find any Irish Pennants or loose threads under the seabag's strap. But when the First Sergeant opened the ID pocket on his seabag he found one under the flap of that pocket! Those two gigs were the only ones either of us had ever received during our many inspections we stood while at MCTSSA.
Well, there was one other one for me. Apparently I had done something to upset our CO, a LtCol. that was about to retire. During one inspection I stood in my Class As, he said my right chevron was out of place by a half inch and needed to be removed and sewn back on in the correct location at 4 inches down from the shoulder seam. I had worn this same uniform during countless previous inspections, including several from him, and had never been gigged for that chevron.
After the inspection, my chevrons were measured by several other Marines and all agreed that my chevrons were a perfect 4" down from the shoulder seam and in correct position. I did not have the chevron resewn on and wore the same uniform during my next inspection, also performed by this LtCol.
He d*mn near went ballistic when he inspected me! He went on, over and over again, about how my right chevron was still at 4 1/2 inches and that I 'had the very urgent need' to have my right chevron redone or risk loosing them on both sleeves. After the inspection, several more Marines, including most of the staff NCOs and a Captain in my unit, remeasured my wayward chevron. All agreed that my chevron was perfectly in place and sewn on correctly.
The next thing I did to get the LtColonel off of my back was to go over to Base Laundry. I told the lady there about my right chevron and how my CO kept saying it was out of place. That got her curiosity up. She measured my chevrons and told me that they were in the correct position. I listened to her and did not have my right chevron messed with.
Big mistake! The LtColonel inspected me again, this time in his office. He used his own yardstick to measure my chevron. He almost exploded when he said my chevron was still out of place! He wanted to know the SNCO in charge of me and who all had measured my chevron. He was very insistent (I really thought he was going to have me shot!) so I told him. After he ordered me out of his office, he went back to the unit and proceeded to chew out several Staff and Gunnery Sergeants that had looked at my blouse. They all began to question this LtColonel's sanity.
I didn't want to risk making the LtColonel any madder so I went back to base laundry and had the lady there go ahead take the chevron off my blouse before I left. I told her to have the chevron sewn back on in its proper position. The people with base laundry did as instructed. When I went back to pick up my blouse, she told me they had sewn the chevron back on in the exact same place it was originally. I decided to chance it.
I stood another inspection before this LtColonel. He once again broke out his yardstick. This time, after he measured, he said I was 'an outstanding Marine' and that my uniform was perfect! It was like I was standing before a totally different officer and had done no wrong!
The SNCOs the LtColonel had blasted did get even though. During the 'going away' ceremony for this retiring LtColonel a few weeks later, he was presented a yardstick. As he looked at it, he noticed that all of the numbers had been sanded off and all of them had been replaced with the number 'four'. With this yardstick, everything he measured would be four inches! He didn't appreciate the joke and let his feelings be known to all, but the SNCOs all got quite a laugh from his response.
Concerning hot sauce, it seems that Marines the world over really appreciate that stuff. I grow my own peppers and make my own hot sauces. Usually they're 'killer'. One can ask 'Hareball', 'Lurchenstein' and my 'Cousin Squid' about how lethal my hot sauce concoctions are.
I do list a warning and the side effects on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that I include with each bottle! I also provide instructions that it is better, and safer, to use a toothpick or a fork, instead of a spoon, to dispense it. My hot sauce has made it from California to Iraq, where Marines there were thinking of using some of my Habanero sauce as a bioweapon! It's quite bit hotter than the 'Ooh Rah Habanero Hot Sauce' Sgt. Grit sells and I've seen it make grown men cry. I call the Habanero sauce 'Esophagial Napalm' and my mixed pepper hot sauce 'Gastrointestinal Suicide'. The names ought to give you an idea of how hot they are.
I lost track of Sgt. Beasley a long time ago but will never forget all of the inspections we stood together during our time at MCTSSA. And I will never forget LtColonel McVey and his dreaded yardstick!
I Was Summoned
I was assigned to Plt 153 Parris island 70'. While at the rifle range I forgot to adjust my sights when changing distance. I was firing rounds into the sand. The DI came over and asked what the F*** my problem was. I told him I thought I had running sites. He sent me over to have my rifle inspected for defects. A spec of rust was found on my rifle and the senior DI was immediately notified. He asked me why I didn't clean my rifle the night before. I stated that I didn't have time. (I was writing letters home ) .That night I had to spend the entire night in the head cleaning my rifle , with the fire watch making sure I stayed awake .When reveille was sounded I was summoned to the head of the squad bay , and the DI asked, Private did you have enough time to clean your rifle last night? Semper Fi
VERY VERY VERY Bad Day
I know my grandson will be po'd at me if finds out that I forwarded this to my friends and relatives, but I feel this is an interesting letter. Misspellings due to speed to get the message to his Mom, frustration at another typical day in the Corps - yes! But this is a typical letter from a grunt in the field, doing his job, frustrated, but a d*mn good Marine. Proud to be serving his country - you better believe it. When you go to bed tonight, thank God that there are a lot of good men, doing their job to protect our Nation. He is doing what he has been trained to do. Am I proud of my grandson who just got there last month, and my grandson-in-law who will be heading back to the real world in a couple of months? You better believe it! Chris Madsen Red, White and Blue (Redneck, White Hair, Blue Collar)
Okay the day started at 0330. I had to sh!t, shower and shave. Then I had to prep my truck for the mission. I had everything done when it started to rain cats and dogs. i went back to my room to get my rain coat. The door was locked and we had to go right then so i said f*ck it. I went and got into the gunners hatch. There i began to spin in the biggest p!ssed off i think i have ever been in. even though it was raining my boot a$s LT thought let's get out of the trucks and give a brief in the f*cking rain. i thought things could not get any worst; I was so wrong. we start the mission pushing 45 mph. so I'm wet and now the cold a$s wind is hitting me. at about 0700 we drive past the storm. THANK GOD. we drive for about 30 mins out side of the rain and what happens now. WE find a IED. 120mm round and a 2lt bottle of homemade bomb sh!t. we the call ARMY EOD. they live 45 mins outside where we have located the IED it takes them 2 hrs to get there. Thank god for the army. since we were waiting for the army the storm came back right on top of us. i was dry, not anymore. so we start to push after the army left 45 mph we head for the worst city in Iraq right now. KARMA. 24 hrs ago there was a 155mm round that blew up at the IP Station. and they took heavy fire from a window. it was some 75 rounds fired. so we were going a little crazy. we get there and nothing happens. then the f*cking storm came back. we then pushed 45 mph back to Ramadi. on the way there we got p!ssed on again. we get there and the chow hall is closed so no chow then we get back to are rooms and the power is out and we can't take showers until 2marrow. after all this it had seemed that my gear went threw a couple of Marines hands then something came up missing. a $1500 armory gear. so i look for this sh!t until about 0000 the 26th. i found nothing. so they said the next day i was going to get njp for it and be a PFC again! cutting short the story one of the Marines threw it in there room and did not think about it when i asked him. so am still a lcpl and am not getting NJP. but this was a VERY VERY VERY Very Bad Day.
LCpl in Iraq
Our Training Was Harder
I'm not too sure how much of a Marine Corps slogan this one is, but none the less, it does represent our Corps.
Every meal's a feast.
Every paycheck's a fortune.
Every formation a parade.
Oorah, I love the Corps!
One of my personal favorite...
"Once you're out, you wish were in."
I don't think there is a reader out there who would argue this, and has not felt this way at some point since their separation.
There is a training question I'd like to pose to my fellow east coast brothers that I'd like to put to rest. At what point in boot camp were you all able / allowed to refer to yourselves as Privates? I had always heard mixed stories that you all got to use the rank from day one, or earlier in training then us. That never sat too well with us west coast Marines, and we'd turn it around, keeping the coastal clash going saying, "Must have been nice to be able to refer yourself as something. Private is at least a rank, a Recruit is nothing. Our training was harder. We had the mountain. Well, we had the sand fleas." etc, etc....
In my platoon, we were Recruits up until the week of our Battalion Commander's inspection. Then we were told to refer to ourselves as our respective rank (Pvt or PFC). Brother - that was a tongue twisting transition. HA!HA!
Hope I have not ruffled too many feathers with my inquiry.
Subject: Passing Of Our 27TH Commandant
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 19:46:38 +0000
Generals, Admirals, and Senior Executives,
It is with deep regret that I announce the death this afternoon, 30 October 2008, of General Robert H. Barrow, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired, our 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps and a highly decorated veteran of three wars.
In a accordance with Article 1288 of Navy Regulations, when a former Commandant passes, all Marine Corps installations will half-mast the national ensign from the time of General Barrow's death through sunset on the day of interment.
Funeral plans are not complete. Once available, this headquarters will announce details of funeral plans via All-Marine message.
Per MCO 5360.10A, the Officer in Charge of the funeral staff is Brigadier General Michael Brogan. He is responsible for planning, coordinating, and ensuring proper execution of the funeral and burial ceremony.
General Barrow was born on 5 February 1922 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He graduated high school in 1939 and enrolled at Louisiana State University. In March 1942, he enlisted in the Platoon Leader's Class Program. He left school in the fall of 1942 and went to boot camp in San Diego, staying on after graduation as a drill instructor. Selected for Officer Candidate School, he left San Diego for Quantico in March 1943; and on 19 May 1943, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Marines.
Following officer training, he was assigned to Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, New Orleans. He was reassigned in February 1944 to the 51st Replacement Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During the last seven months of World War II, he led an American team serving with Chinese guerrilla forces in Japanese occupied Central China. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
After World War II, he served as Aide de Camp to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. He completed Amphibious Warfare School, Junior Course in June 1949, and was transferred to the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune. He was given command of Company A, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines. At the beginning of the Korean War, his company was transferred to Camp Pendleton and redesignated Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. He led Able Company ashore at Inchon in September 1950. For his leadership in the fighting on the outskirts of Seoul, he received the Silver Star. During the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, he was awarded the Navy Cross for the seizure and defense of Hill 1081 from 9-10 December 1950.
After the Korean War, he was reassigned as Officer-in-Charge, Infantry Desk, Enlisted Assignments, Headquarters Marine Corps. From there he was detailed out and sent on a classified assignment to the Far East, north of Taiwan. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps, this time to the G-3. In February 1956, he returned to Camp Lejeune, where he served first as operations officer and then executive officer of 2d Battalion, 6th Marines. He joined the NROTC unit at Tulane University in 1957, and served as Marine Officer Instructor for three years. Returning to Quantico, he completed a tour with the Landing Force Development Center and attended the Officer's Senior Course in 1963. He left for another tour in the Pacific, where he served as G-3, III Marine Expeditionary Force, then G-3 Plans Officer at Fleet Marine Force Pacific in Hawaii. Attendance at the National War College followed, and upon graduation in 1968, he arrived in South Vietnam to take command of 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. The regiment conducted a series of highly successful operations south of the western part of the Demilitarized Zone and in the Khe Sanh and Ba Long Valley areas. For his valor during Operation Dewey Canyon from 22 January to 18 March 1969, he received the Distinguished Service Cross.
He was promoted to brigadier general in August 1969 by General Leonard F. Chapman, 24th Commandant of the Marine Corps. General Barrow's first tour as a general officer was Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Butler, Okinawa, where he served for three years . He then served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina for 32 months. In July 1975, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Headquarters Marine Corps. The following year, he became Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia. He was Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 1978, until a year later when he assumed the office as Commandant. Befitting his reputation and stature, when General Barrow stepped down as 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps on 26 June 1983, President Ronald Reagan presided over the ceremony at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. General Barrow returned to Louisiana, where he lived in retirement.
General Barrow was a three-war Marine with unparalleled experience in conventional and irregular conflict. He commanded at every level. His deep sense of purpose and abiding love of the Corps propelled him from the rank o f private to general and the Office of the Commandant. He was the first Marine to serve a regular four-year tour as a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was a leader in personnel reform and was instrumental in the decision to make the commanding generals of the recruit depots the two chief regional recruiters. He believed a better quality of recruit led to an increase in performance and retention. As such, he advocated an increase in the percentage of high school graduates and screening programs for recruiters and drill instructors. As Commandant, he addressed substance abuse and alcoholism by ending the tolerance of drug abusers and problem drinkers. Under his steady hand, the Marine C