Sgt. Grit, After reading your recent newsletter, and after re- reading older ones, I quickly realized that any US Marines that was capable to have earned the title; also had a unique Boot Camp or Fleet story to tell. Reading all of the stories flashed me back to 1st phase at MCRD San Diego where as young recruits we were learning the finer custodial arts of "Field Day."
SSGT Satomayer, (a man whose very voice could wring the heart from a mans chest), was screaming about how a candy bar had disappeared from his desk inside the duty hut during field day. Only duty hut recruits and the DI's were allowed inside the hut. As SSgt Satomayer, (I even dislike typing his name), commenced to yell for Pvt. Brown and Pvt. Bravnik, the whole squad bay would repeat his bellowed orders of "Brown and Bravnik get up here! AYE AYE SIR!" Pvt. Bravnik ran to the 1/4 deck and bellowing out, "SIR, Pvt, Brown is at BAS, SIR." SSGT Satomayer then ripped off a quick, "Well get up here sh!thead!" As Bravnik came to an abrupt halt, without missing a beat, he yelled out, "SIR, get up here sh!thead, AYE AYE SIR!" Seventy-four recruits and one well trained DI lost all composure, and for 10 seconds of the 12 weeks in Boot camp we felt normal. Just thought that I would share my story. We all have one.
Aka SGT Chevvy
Semper Fi Marines! This is my devil dog "SGTMAJ" observing things in the neighborhood from his OP.
1STSGT Scott A. Leigh (RETIRED)
Friend Of The Family
Reading about Yaz and "Chesty" in the Norfolk Hospital reminded me of my encounter with General Puller. I was a sergeant at Camp LeJeune in the mid fifties while General Puller was Deputy Base Commander. My Dad and he had been good friends while growing up in West Point, VA. Frequently Dad would tell me to go by and say hello to Lewis. Each time I would tell him that a Sergeant does not go by to visit a General and each time Dad would say "Lewis would be glad to talk with you". Well, one day I went to Bldg. #1 and after going to the Bank I stopped at a water fountain in the hallway for a drink. When I turned around there was General Puller waiting to get a drink. I decided to take a chance and requested permission to speak. He said "permission granted Sergeant, what's on your mind". I told him that my Dad wanted me to extend his regards. He asked who he was and when I told him he immediately said "Sergeant, follow me upstairs to my office". After some questions about Mom and Dad and other members of the family I said "Sir, I probably should get back to my duty station and he then told his Aide to call my C.O. and tell him I would be back shortly". He then invited me to join he and his wife for dinner the next week which was both a momentous and pleasant experience. When I returned to the office my C.O. was waiting for me and wanted to know what I was doing in General Puller's office. I told him he was a friend of the family and from then on I was almost famous. "Chesty" was definitely a Marine that helped make the Corps what it is.
September the 8th, 1967
Mark drove 3 1/2 hours to visit me when I returned on a visit from Australia to visit my daughters in Indiana this past month...I was with Mark when he was wounded in Vietnam, and I myself was Medevaced out an hour latter the same day... September the 8th, 1967..we both spend approximately 6 months in various hospitals recovering from wounds sustained on that day...we haven't seen each other in 41 years..our reunion began a year ago by email when I saw Marks's picture on the Sgt. Grit web site...words can not describe how happy we were to see each other, and how proud we both are to have served together in Suicide Charley, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division...Republic of Vietnam! No one on this planet can appreciate the camaraderie, brotherhood, and the bonds of war that Mark and I will share together for the rest of our lives on that special day! thanks to Sgt.Grit, and sucidecharley.com for sharing our story.
Dean Douglas Smith
Definitely A Different Language
I remember one JOB in particular. It was in the wooden Barracks at MCAS El Toro Santa Ana. This was in 1969, it seems as though you were either coming from, or going to RVN. There were many old salts waiting to go home. Some of which had only a pair of utilities, and a new set of greens, receiving early outs to go home for Christmas. The majority were coming from 3rd Marine Division. PFC Kenneth Rexford Brown, formerly Sgt. Brown showed me how to pull your blankets tighter from underneath the rack, by using the springs. Of course we learned that in recruit training but KR had a trick that made the blanket tighter still and even remained that way. I believe KR got out and went to WalaWala Washington. I remember that many of the Marines were "cut a huss" for not having the proper uniforms. I can remember the inspecting Colonel coming closer and approaching a Marine that was obviously not prepared for inspection. He would ask where are coming from Marine? The Marine would reply something almost incoherent, and definitely a different language. The Colonel only said "well done Marine" and continued his inspection. That was definitely one of those days when I knew I had been in the presence of heroes. That evening we celebrated by putting a poncho liner inside a footlocker filling that with ice and beer, and listening to Johnny Cash and Luther played the boogy woogy. The party was great until the OD made us take our shindig outside the barracks. After paying for the beer, ice, and a battery operated record player the only record we could afford was albums on sale in the PX. Johnny sold for .99 and a pack of Camels for .27 cents. I remember Friday morning formation, when Captain Wade, Mustanger and one of the greatest Marines to put on a uniform would read off the names of Marines shipping out WESPAK. I remember Sgt Joe Dunlap our Platoon Sgt. in El Toro. I saw him again in Hawaii as GySgt Dunlap and I was a SSGT. We were mounting up for Operation Frequent Wind. I remember being "gigged" while on embassy duty in Chile for having dust on my wall locker display. Even with that "gig" we won the detachment of the year award. 3 Years Running. I mean RUNNING our NCOIC SSGT Turnbow had been a Physical Fitness Instructor prior to coming on MSG. That guy made us run like Forrest Gump. Like Forrest, my running days are over. Our memories and Junk on the Bunk are what make us ALWAYS A MARINE. Semper Fi D. Womack
The Stuff Smelled
It has been forty years since I was at DaNang MAG-11, VMAAW-242. The day I will always remember is the day a ton of sh!t flowed thru the compound. Some rocket scientist decided to empty three years worth of sh!t from the latrine. A detail was selected to efficiently get the job done. Arrangements were made to load the stuff on a truck and dump it in the dump. When the container containing the excrement was lifted up to the truck, it tipped over; and like lava from a volcano, the sh!t poured into the compound. I was about 50 feet from the area. I saw it swiftly flowing toward me. I jumped on top of a bunker just in time to avoid getting slimed. The stuff claimed casualties when a couple of jarheads on the detail got a ton of sh!t dumped on them when it fell off the truck. They earned their reputation that day of being real sh!t-heads. Ha Ha..The stuff smelled up the compound and the smell traveled about a mile down wind. Senior officers came to find out what happened. I don't know if a report was filed, but I know they were p!ssed. I had to wear my gas mask for a week the smell was so putrid. NO SH!T!! If anyone from MAG-11 recalls this incident, please reply to SgtGrit with your comments. Thank You and I love you all, No Sh!t.
During 61 and 62, I was assigned to 2nd Amtracks, Camp Lejeune, Force Troops, FMF Atlantic at Courthouse Bay. Due to the cold war, we were constantly on 24 hour alerts. There were constant drills. At one time, we were given a "Mount-Out" order. The whole battalion had to immediately ship out, (this means everything, spare parts, engines track, etc for the whole battalion). We had just about everything packed already and we just had to take our extra seabag w/ civilian items and cloths to supply, where a next of kin tag was affixed and stored. We then proceeded to Onslow Beach to prepare to onload to LSTs and LSDs, In the boonies of Onslow Beach we were subjected to a surprise Junk on the Bunk. Having no bunk, we displayed it on the ground on a shelter half. The 2nd Division Commanding general was Gen Cushman. His edict was that every Marine in the division have 2 pairs of "Cushmanized" utilities at all times. "Cushmanized" meant brand new starched and pressed - never worn. God help the Marine that didn't have them. We had our J.O.B. and shortly thereafter the "Mount-Out" was called off and we returned to Courthouse Bay. Not to long after that, Dictator Trujillo was assassinated in the Dominican Republic. We "Mounted-Out" for real and were aboard ships in 24 hrs. We sailed to the coast of Cuba for a "Show of Force" which consisted of a parade of ships that went as far as the eye could see, and returned to Lejeune in about a month without ever landing.
Bob Doherty USMC 1959-1965
River edge NJ Dohertyr [at] optonline.net
Fresh out of boot camp, I got this done in Atlanta
"Lead, follow, or get the h&ll out of the way." Respectfully sent, SEMPER FI
Parris Island Pt. 1086. C. Company Dec.67-Feb.68 Our D.I. comes around and asks each recruit why he joined the Corps. All the answers were wrong and we each received a chop to the throat or a quick left to the gut. When he asked Pvt. Aultman, his answer was "Because the county Judge thought I was having my way with his daughter, Sir!" The D.I. then asked," Were you?" Pvt. Aultman answered,"No,Sir!" The D.I. then asked," Why didn't you tell him?" Pvt.Aultman answered," Because I was afraid he would find out that I was doing his wife." Pvt. Aultman never did get hit. God I miss those guys. Semper Fi till I die.. Pvt.Barber
How about some stories from you.
Time And Space Preclude
A fond memory of my USMC adventures was being responsible for us receiving a telegram directly from General David M. Shoup, Commandant, shortly before his retirement. I was an office clerk in G Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. I was on base restriction a couple of weeks before Christmas for overstaying my Cinderella liberty one night, and for a week I had to walk up to the company office and sign a log sheet every hour after the evening mail until Taps. One night, chatting with the guys on duty in the office, bored and mischievous, I noticed a newspaper article about General Shoup's approaching retirement date which was a day after his birthday in 1963. I got the bright idea to invite him to Okinawa to celebrate both events with us. I typed a letter to that effect, mailed it off, and got a prompt, friendly reply thanking us (my letter was signed as coming from 2nd Platoon, the barracks area where I slept) and saying, "...but time and space preclude my acceptance", followed by a gracious closing salutation. The message came down through channels beginning at the 3rd Division Headquarters. When it got to Regimental Headquarters, our CO got an urgent call asking, "What the h&ll is this all about?". The Captain retrieved the message from Regiment and after calming down to some degree, assembled 2nd Platoon on the road in front of the company office and read them the riot act. Most of them had no idea what the deal was, but those who did were only too glad to turn me in as the culprit. I got a stern lecture from the CO on the importance of chain of command, but in the end, we had our treasured telegram sent to us personally by a Tarawa Medal of Honor winner and our Commandant. The message was framed and hung in the 2nd Platoon area.
p.s. I found this site while searching for a reference to the John Basilone Platoon, a regularly honored platoon at Parris Island made up of kids from New Jersey (like me). I just missed out on that platoon when I enlisted in August 1962. Platoon 156 was assigned the John Basilone Platoon honor and I ended up in Platoon161, in the very next Series.
Joe Broderick '62-'65 C/1/1, G/2/9, C/1/7 (Suicide Charlie, and Basilone's company on Guadalcanal)
So The DI Says
Here's my story: While going through Boot Camp at MCRD in January '56 I was in Plt. 203 (Honor Platoon) and our Senior DI was S/Sgt Paul Stout. About our third week in training our DI had us assembled for mail call around 8:00PM. While standing at attention in our skivvies waiting to hear our name called our DI yells out, "Does anyone have a relation in San Diego?" One of the recruits answers back, "Sir, private Posey has an Uncle Ted in San Diego." The DI replies, "Well boy how would you like to spend the weekend with Uncle Ted?" The recruit answers, "Sir Pvt. Posey would love to spend the week-end with his Uncle Ted." So the DI says, "Well then go call him boy..." To his dismay Pvt Posey says "Sir"? The DI repeats "I said go call him boy" With a sharp, joyous reply "Sir, yes sir" the recruit immediately breaks ranks and starts running across the Grinder to the phones near the visitors center. When the recruit gets about half way across the grinder the DI yells "Whoa, boy. Where do you think you're going?" The recruit yells back... "Sir Pvt. Posey is going to the phones to call his Uncle Ted." The DI yells back.... "You call him from there...." So as we finished mail call and was put to bed by our DI we could hear the voice of Pvt. Posey for the next few hours yelling for.... Uncle Ted! Sgt. E.J Maglietto USMC "56-60"
Seeing the J.O.B. articles brought back some flashbacks for sure. Can't remember what year it was that I got stuck on a CG inspection, but it was either late summer 1972 or early 1973 that it happened. Back then it was a 3 part inspection. Some guys got hit with the J.O.B, others had to stand a personal inspection, while other guys had to do a pft for their part. I had the personal inspection to do. Being in ammo section and low man on the pole guess who got stuck at zero dark thirty to go the pistol range, then to A,B, and C ranges to issue out the ammo for the shooters. And it was always C range the farthest one away that had the most problems.. We need more ammo, we want to return some ammo etc. No bicycle to ride or any kind of powered vehicle around, I had to double time back to the barracks, do a quick S.S.&S somewhat and put whatever uniform on we were supposed to fall out in. Not sure if they have it any longer but it was the tan shirt, tan trousers and tan p!sscutter. I know that I was gonna get bagged on the shaving part. Had so many knicks and tp stuck to my face I looked like a school kid on his first date.. We all fell out on the road in front of the barracks and what do we get but a WM Lt to inspect us..Oh great I'm dead now..She's walking thru inspecting guys, asking questions as they usually do, then she gets in front of McConnell. Think that was his name, from Clearwater, Florida area. He has a large bandage on his forearm. Conversation went something like the following: "Did you injure your arm Marine?" "Um no ma'am" "Then why is there a bandage on it then?" "Um, I got a tattoo ma'am and it needs to be covered" "Is it a Marine Corps bulldog or a EGA Marine?" "No ma'am it's not" "Is it anything Marine Corps?" "No ma'am" "Let me see it Marine" the Lt says "Um ma'am that wouldn't really be a good idea" "Pvt I am asking you to remove that bandage now" "Um ma'am you really don't want to see this ok" "That is an order Pvt remove that bandage NOW!" Well he does and it's a tat of a bloodied middle finger, walking away on 2 legs and said if I remember it right "got another one" underneath it.. The Lt goes bonkers, not sure if she wants to faint or go postal on his butt. Ranting and raving lunatic screaming she's going to bust him to Pvt or lower, screams at the rest of us to just get the he** out of her sight. End of the inspection for the rest of us and he's laughing saying he's already a Pvt how low can she bust him. First and last CG inspection at the range for me. McConnell if your still alive brother thanks for the laughs and the memories of that day.
In February 1956 I was a 18 year old maggot in Platoon 63 "C" Company Third Battalion on Parris Island. There were no yellow footprints. We wore our dungarees complete with all sharp staples and issue tags, duck walked in the rain while getting ears twisted and thumped with the swagger stick. We lived in the Quonset huts. We often performed locker box drill in the company street at midnight. We ran in shower shoes and shorts with the full boxes over our heads until someone fell and of course we all ran over that mess. We did Chinese fire drills removing everything from the huts, scrubbed the decks with sand soap and when spotless stood at attention while our drill instructors inspected the huts. The huts were never - ever clean enough and they threw fire buckets full of sand over the decks and we repeated the process all over again and again into the wee hours...Then finally, at lights out there was "in the rack and out of the rack drill" and you better be standing by the rack at attention when the lights came on...
The metal wall of Drill Instructors hut had deep dents from fists pounding to be heard. The reply was always "I Can't hear you". As weeks went by we began to look like a sharp unit marching on the grinder instead of a herd. We were at last permitted to take out the sharp cutting staples and sometimes the smoking lamp was lit.
Platoon 63 went on mess duty. The Ribbon Creek Incident occurred and we heard that some recruits in that platoon had drowned in the swamps. There were newspaper articles about it enclosed in mail from relatives.
Platoon 63 Get Outside! We stood at attention and were told that if we thought that things were about to become easier that we were wrong. Our three drill instructors never let up to the day we received the EGA.
On the Rifle Range we received the finest of instruction both class room and in the field on the M-1 rifle. I believe Chris Lumley Burns of Tennessee who wrote in the last newsletter was our coach. I was one of two in our platoon that fired Expert.
Today at 72 I am still in reasonably good shape. I have a weight room and ride my ten speed bicycle for exercise. I still do things that our senior Drill Instructor (Tech Sgt. Muldrew taught us) Like running my sock between my toes to dry them so as not to get foot fungus. I have never had athletes foot in my life.
Gunny - thanks for all you taught and for helping me become a Marine.
My Buddy Decides
Was "lucky" enough to stand a IG at Aberdeen, MD while at tanker school. And a CG and then IG at Camp Lejeune. At Lejeune I spent 4 hours making certain every item was perfect on my rack, then just prior to the inspector with the clipboard walking into my room, the Commandant comes in asks me one question and picks up two pieces of my 782 gear and leaves. In walks the inspecting officer and all I can think is "D*mmit! those two pieces of gear are out of alignment!". At Aberdeen we were fresh out of boot camp, our first IG inspection, we're at an Army base, and we think our crap don't stink. And then 30 minutes before the IG walks into the barracks, my buddy decides his tie needs a fresh press with the iron. All of a sudden I hear him cussing up the devil in his thick Georgia accent and holding a khaki tie with a very dark brown PERFECT burn impression of the iron (complete with steam holes), diagonally across the tie. As desperate as the situation was I LMAO until I cried. I suggested he put the good tie on the rack, and wear the burned one. With any luck the inspector would just walk by and not open his blouse. He made it through without issue, and I found the tie lying in the sh*tcan after the inspection. I decided I would keep it until it quit making me laugh. I still have it in a drawer today. Every time I look at it, I can still hear his voice "D*mmit...mutha***... Looka this He-uh taa...SHHEE-IT!" "Th' inspectuh ull be in he-uh any minute!"
The Same Question
I was a young recruit at San Diego (MCRD). Our first morning our senior D.I. was moving up and down the ranks asking questions from each recruit. He asked one recruit where he was from? His reply, Possum Valley Kentucky. A few moments later he asked the same question of another recruit. The reply, Possum Valley Heights Kentucky. The senior D.I. asked, what's the difference from you and the other recruit (he used a different word). The recruit responded, sir Possum Valley Heights has indoor plumbing! Of course everyone laughed! We spent the next half our doing knuckle pushups on the grinder. Semper Fi my brothers, Mike Kelly, Sgt. Plt 373 San Diego 1968
I Spent 44 Days
In response to a letter by Mark Tercek, I went to boot camp in June 05 1975, and after being dropped from my first Plt, I was assigned to PCP over in the Special training Branch of MCRD San Diego. I spent 44 days there, and 88 of us privates were taken from this area and put into training, as an experiment, I later found out from our Plt Commander who I saw while I was attending Sea School there. we were not supposed to graduate, but thru determination and not a few sessions in the sand pits, by the Quonset huts 53 of us graduated, I lost my recruit graduation book when Katrina came ashore. I didn't know this program continued. its good to know that the Corps, continued to do this. thanks for reviving my memories, Robert Hogue Sgt USMC/Arng ret
PFT Day Came
During my four years of active duty with VMA 513 we only had one IG inspection. When they were handing out assignments I quickly volunteered to do the PFT. Heck I was a PT hound back then and Airwingers are mostly members of the "six mile a year club." PFT day came and I maxed out on the pull-ups and sit ups and had two hundred points before the run began. When I returned to the barracks I passed by the guys who were still preparing for the JOB inspection. I was done in less than an hour and they spent weeks for their part. Needless to say I gave them a hard time. Semper Fidelis Mark W.Matthews Former Corporal of Marines VMA-513, MAG13, 3RD MAW,MCAS YUMA,AZ.
This last newsletter made me think of this old line:
Q: What's the difference between a "Sea Story" and a "Fairy Tale"?
A: Fairy Tale starts off "Once upon a time...", Sea Story starts out "Now, This is no sh*t..."
Thanks for everything you do for us. Semper Fi,
Lima 2/11 & Hotel 3/12
I Don't Remember
In Apr07 I visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps and on the wall of the WWII area was the sign bearing the quote. I've attached a pix. In mid Jun45 I was rotated to CONUSA, along w/ other Marines from, what was known as MAGS ZAMBOANGA, based at Moret Airstrip on Mindinao, PI We arrived at Camp Miramar, San Diego on 24Jul45 and left on 28Jul45 for our 30 day leaves. before boarding the train. we painted the windows, w/ Bon Ami (anyone remember Bon Ami?), w/ a quote, "With the help of God and these few Marines MacArthur retook the Philippines". I don't remember who came up w/ this version, which I like better, but we were cheered mightily at every stop we made between San Diego and Chicago where we split up and went our separate ways. Last month I had the pleasure to revisit the Museum and the sign is still there, of course. After my visit in '07 I called the Museum and was connected with the Curator of Uniforms and Heraldry and questioned the accuracy of the quote and he advised me that the history of the Corps has the quote as it is on the sign. Below the sign is a Jeep with MAG-24 markings. I was in MAG-32 the other Group in MAGSZAM. Former Sgt. Dan Anslinger, Jr., WW II & Korean Conflict Woodbridge CA
Dirty Wet Clothing
In reading the stories about these inspections, I remember back when I was in Boot camp 1975, I was assigned to Plt 2088, SSgt John Leonardi, was our Plt Commander, Sgt Matthews, and Sgt Huerta, were our DI's. We were at Camp Pendleton for the Infantry Training portion of Boot Camp at San Onofre, well we had one of the JOB's and our Series Commander 1st Lt Thompson Bowers was our inspecting Officer. Well he came to my Bunk, and looked everything over with a fine tooth comb, and finding nothing, he seemed to walk away in disgust. Well the private across from me was not as prepared, his display was jerked onto the floor, then with the customary "counseling" was told to open his footlocker. Well I was across from him and had a full view of the inspection, this private had a laundry bag full of dirty wet clothing, next clothing was flying in every which way. Then foot powder was sent flying into the air. I really felt bad for this private, and soon because he seemed to not be able to make it, he was dropped from our Plt. But in defense of Lt Bowers, he was a sharp Officer, as was our Plt Commander, and drill instructors, who to this day have taught me to be prepared for whatever comes my way. Thank you Lt Bowers, SSgt John Leonardi, Sgt Matthews, and Sgt Huerta. Robert Hogue Sgt USMC/TX Arng
Any good quotes you'd like to share? Send them in.
No One Laughed
Plt.370, The 3rd Btl. was known as Disneyland because it had the newest barracks, Red brick, new & spacious. I saw it all, we had one recruit Dishonorably Discharged. he was issued a pink suit & escorted to the main gate w/ enough money for a bus home. It started with the 1st day, the senior DI asked if anyone felt they made a mistake and wanted to go home...well, this guy went to the DI and said he wanted to go home..Need I say more. he eventually faked a fainting spell during morning PT, right in front of the BTL. Commander. We marched up to this warehouse, stood in ranks while the CO. commander read the discharge info, then we were called to attention & did an about face to avoid looking on this dishonored recruit. I'll never forget the feeling and committed to never have anything like that happen to me. On a light note, we were standing in a tight chow line for lunch while we were at the rifle range. M1's were still the rifle issued. It was an extremely hot day, and we were so close together, my nose was about 3 inches away from the back of the head of the recruit in front of me. The DI's were everywhere making sure we did not budge. Well, I got to watch this sand flea climb up the neck of that Marines neck & go right into his ear. You knew this thing was now burrowing deep into the ear canal. He stood it as long as he could...he snapped his finger into his ear as quick as a flash and probably jammed the little flea into pulp...well, since his move was the only thing going on, it was like a flare exploding at the DI's feet. 2 of them came at him, from the NE & SE direction, spitting as they came and one asked the boot if he was "trying to give himself a h--d on?" Then if he was "trying to kill one of their pets?" I remember it like it was yesterday, not 47 years ago. While funny, no one laughed as we all were biting the insides of our mouths hard enough to draw blood. My DI's were Gy/Sgt. Delkowski, S/Sgt. Timmerman. & S/Sgt. Smith. Maybe on another occasion, I'll relate the trial of the Marine who left his footlocker unlocked.
Peter J. Stein- Cpl. 1961-1964 AmTracs, Courthouse Bay, NC
We Had All Morning
It's been 51 years! But I can remember it like it was yesterday! It was about three weeks into our training. And Platoon 266 first "Things On The Springs" or better know as "Junk On The Bunk". We had all morning to get squared away. We took string to line up everything on our bunks from one end of the squad bay to the other. We were so proud of it! We all knew we would pass with flying colors! Them came "ATTENTION ON DECK!" I still can remember the red headed 2nd Lieutenant who came into the squad bay slowly walking up one side and down the other inspecting each bunk. Saying nothing. He took all of 10 minutes. When he got back to the center of the squad bay, put his hands on his hips, and slowly shook his head back and forth. Then with a loud voice, yelled, words we thought we would never hear, "This is THE WORST INSPECTION I have ever seen!" With that he walked out. Well we just stood their, at attention, thinking, this can't be! We worked so hard! It just can't be! Just then our DI came crashing through the squad bay doors yelling "Get that mess OFF YOUR BUNKS now!" "You want a mess I'll show you a mess, pull those blankets off NOW"! So off came the blankets! Canteens, mess kits, 782 gear, all equipment we threw everything in the center of the squad bay! Then our DI yelled "You people got 15 minutes to get this mess picked up and squared away!" Well, we got it picked up all right! But it took weeks before each of us got our own gear back. I never did get all My tent pins! To this day, I think our DI asked the Lieutenant not to pass that inspection. No way were we going to pass a inspection that early in training. We never passed a rifle inspection nether!
B OTIS / PI / 57/60
My DD214 Form
In 1968, I was a young Marine assigned to 3rd CAG/CAP unit (PAPA 1) located on the outskirts of Cam Lo Vietnam. A CAP unit is made up of a Marine rifle squad and a Navy corpsman, which operate a pacification program by running patrols and ambushes with their Vietnamese counterparts (PF's). The compound we lived in was small, and on each corner there was a prefab bunker with a 5-foot high sandbagged wall that ran along the perimeter connecting the bunkers. In front of the walls were rows of concertina and barbed wire for security. There was also a wooden structure located just outside the wall that function as our head, referred to by many Marines as a "Sh!tter."
In the early morning hours of February 2nd, 1968 (PAPA 1 and PAPA Headquarters') was attacked by a numerically superior NVA force. My job, along with another fellow Marine (Pete), was to stop the NVA from breaching one of our two gates, and overrunning the compound. During those terrifying hours the battle escalated and ebbed. When the battle was at a low, which allowed the NVA to regroup for another assault, Pete said, "I have to take a crap bad." My reply, "You got to be kidding." Pete said, "No I'm not." I told Pete that our "sh!tter" had been all shot up during the initial NVA assault. Pete responded, "I'm not joking. I have to take a crap bad." I could tell by the urgency in Pete's voice that he wasn't joking. By this time in the battle, which had been going on for about an hour plus, there were a number of empty cloth ammo bandoliers lying on the ground. I suggested to Pete that if he really had to take a crap bad to do it on the empty bandoliers, and when he was done to throw the soiled bandoliers into the wire. Pete said, "Sounds like a good idea." As Pete took care of his business, I continued to fire my rifle. When Pete was finished, I bent down to reload some of my empty magazines, and at that moment the NVA threw in a grenade. Both Pete and I yelled, "incoming," and hit the deck, waiting for the explosion. Earlier in the battle a grenade killed a Marine fighting next to us, and another was wounded. To our relief, the grenade was a dud. However, as I lay on the ground, I started to smell an offensive odor. I turned to Pete and said, "You threw that crap over the wall into the wire, didn't you?" Pete replied, "No I didn't." The night sky looked like a Fourth of July celebration changing the battlefield from dark to light. At that moment, I glanced at my right forearm and saw what the stench had been, smeared human excrement down my forearm. When I hit the deck, I had inadvertently landed in that pile of Pete's crap on the bandoliers. I immediately became enraged and jumped up yelling every foul expletive in my vocabulary at Pete. As this tirade of mine was transpiring I became oblivious to what was happening around me. Before I knew it, Pete and the corpsman grabbed me and pulled me down, and said, "If you stand up like that again you're gonna get your head blown off." Paying no attention to what was just said to me, I stood back up, and walked over to where a canvas water bag was hanging from a tree inside our compound. As I stood at one of the water spigots washing the crap off my arm, and finally gaining my composure, that's when I realized there were a number of bullets zinging by. I immediately hit the deck, and with a clean right arm, I crawled back to rejoin Pete in defending our section of the compound. We also had been reinforced with a rifle squad from the 4th Marines, since intelligence reports had indicated the NVA were going to attempt to overrun PAPA 1 and PAPA Headquarters'. All the Marines that evening in PAPA 1 fought bravely to stop the NVA from overrunning the compound.
Fast forwarding, some 35 years plus, while at a CAG/CAP reunion held in New Orleans. I was finally presented with a belated award for my actions on February 2nd, 1968, by former PAPA 1 Marines (Mark Rashel, Ron Atwell and Trust Israel aka Christie). The award was called "The Brown Badge of Courage." The award was a wooden plaque with an affixed pile of artificial fecal matter. Now my question is, how do I get this award placed on my DD 214 form.
CAP Papa 1 Viet Nam 1967 - 1969
CAP Papa 1, Ret. USMC Mark Rashel & Robert Ridley (Ret. RSO Deputy)
Probably one of the most overlooked Marine MOS's of the Vietnam War was that of the 0161, designated, Assistant Marine Corps Postal Clerk. Every piece of mail that was sent to Vietnam for delivery to Marines and Navy personnel attached to the Marine Corps had to FIRST pass through the 0161's hands. All mail forwarded to CONUS, attached units, RLT's, BLT's, KIA's, WIA's, Naval Hospitals & ships, well you get the picture. Wasn't it great to receive mail on the average delivery time of three days. This even included the siege at Khe Sanh. Those who were there, can you remember where the PO was? Even when the Postmaster at San Francisco informed the 3rd Marine Division Postal Officer that mail addressed to units at Khe Sanh be stopped because of excessive claims submitted to the FPO San Francisco 96602, guess what? The 0161's still affected delivery to the 26th Marines and all it's supporting units despite incoming whenever a pallet of mail was dropped on the tarmac. Marines will go hungry and fix bayonets when out of ammo, but without contact with the outside world, morale goes right down the sh!tter. The AMCPC's knew this and unhesitant put their lives on the line to get delivery to the mail orderlies of each unit. Do you remember that single Marine, who on payday exchanged your funny money (Military Payment Certificates-MPC), for Postal Money Orders so you could send money home? Think real hard now, how much were you limited to send home? If you think running around all over I Corps with hundreds of thousands of dollars of blank money orders wasn't stressful, well think again. For that Khe Sanh Marine who arrogantly stated that anyone not an 03 was support, that may be true, but every Marine who served at Khe Sanh was an 03, nearly 6,000 of them. There's much more that can be said about this unsung MOS, but that's enough for now. Semper Fi! to all my Marine brothers and sisters past and present.
JA, Sgt. USMC
Headed For Oceanside
Sgt Grit. In 1962 while serving with 1st Plt.A company, 3rd MTBn at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, we were standing pre blt inspections all of the time. Pre IG, Commanding General and Battalion Inspections most of the time. I served on BLT 1/3 and 3/3 in Subic Bay, PI.
An old WW2 Sgt told me always were regulation skivies while standing junk on the bunks, that officers some times check the troops standing inspection. A young first Lt. checked my uniform, haircut etc.
He asked to see if my name was stamped on my tee shirt. I removed my tie, unbuttoned my shirt and he read my name stamped on the shirt, he told me I was okay so far. He then directed me to drop my trousers to see if I had on regulation skivie shorts with my name on them. I was shocked to say the least. I dropped my trousers and he read my name stamped on the front of my drawers. The guy was tough. He asked me if my Pfc chevron was sowed on my great overcoat? I took the overcoat unfolded the coat and showed him that my Pfc chevrons were sewed on. He gave me a hard look and told me that I was one of the few Marines who passed his inspections.
The day I checked in off leave and reported to Base Motors MCB Camp Pendleton was pre IG inspection. The First Sgt. apologized for me having to stand the junk on the bunk. They hardly ever held one at base motors. I laid my gear out on my rack shaved and got into the uniform of the day.
I was told to step in front on my platoon commander to be inspected. He looked me over from head to foot. He asked me if I were coming off Embassy Duty, I replied no sir. He then asked if I were sea duty, again I answered no sir. He asked me my last duty station. I told him 3rd mt bn Okinawa. He told me outstanding and informed the First Sgt. to give me my liberty card.
I returned to my rack and at least twenty people were copying my clothing lay out. I put my gear away and headed for Oceanside on liberty. Sgt Johnnie Markley 1823715 Marine For Ever!
I am from the Old Corps too-53-63. And I must agree that there doesn't seem to be a lot of stories from this era. My drill instructors must've had a much different idea of what the Marine Corps was intended to be as a military unit. These wild goose chases and other physical endeavors were explained to us (by our drill instructors) as training aids or learning tools. When a recruit made a mental mistake and was ordered to do 20 push-ups; run around to platoon area or because of a more serious mistake, the whole platoon had to do up and on shoulders with foot lockers-these Marine actions were meant to teach recruits the seriousness of boot camp; how Marines must train and suffer together as a cohesive unit-no matter the task or mission. Plus, push-ups; lifting locker boxes and running around the company area does wonders for the upper body strength and cardio system of the recruits. I think that Marines of the Old Corps living in the extremely hot and stuffy Quonset huts and training without the present comforts of life (air conditioning/barracks). And yes, there were tents at the old Camp Matthews Rifle Range, with dirt floors and field conditions throughout the camp. Like G.E. Zabel, Sgt. Grit and other Old Corps Marines, there could be hundreds of interesting Marine boot camp stories that haven't been sent to the awesome Sgt. Grit Office. For those Old Corps Marines who have been reluctant in sending in a short story, explaining a Marine boot camp experience-feel free to share them with all of us.
Semper Fi Sgt. Rock 59-63
Mailed to us by:
I Kept Mine
On your letter of 24 Sept 08, a former Marine by the name of Joe wrote asking when Camp Matthew closed? I was assigned to Camp Matthew as Rifle Marksmanship Instructor 7 Sept 1962, and we still had the M-1. We did Fam-fire the M-14 in late Aug 1962, and soon there after the Recruits were coached on that rifle. I reenlisted in the USMC and went to Aviation School to Millington (Memphis) Tenn. on 11 Apr 1964. There were humors that Camp Matthew was going to close, I think that happen in late 1964? For me that the best job in the Marine Corps, all instructors wore the Smoky Bear hats. I kept mine when I left. Hope I helped Joe, I might even been his coach when the was there on the firing line?
GySgt. C. Rodriguez
To all those who responded to my razing Pete Berg for being a "Boot" for carrying an M-16, I bow my head in recognition of your earlier service! HOWEVER, my Daddy (MCRDSD June '44) carried a BAR and my Momma (Camp Lejeune August '44) carried a .45. Both served in Air Base Group-2 at El Toro. Now THEY wuz "Old Corps"! Semper Fi to Old and New Corps alike.
When I was in P.I. in 1956, one platoon had anyone who did not qualify on the range skip at the rear of formation dressed in women's panties and bra carrying a bow and arrow. That was a great motivator for the platoons that came after. Sgt Perry Platoon 67
I'm surprised that nobody mentioned that inevitable moment--which always occurred just seconds before the inspecting party made its appearance--when some sweaty, wild-eyed Staff NCO ran through the squad bay screaming, "No! No! Brown side out! Brown side out! Not green! Change 'em right the **** now!!"
Bill Grace, Portland, Oregon
Sergeant, USMC, 1967-1971, 1979-1981
Our Marines..............extended version.
I remember eating SOS almost every morning in boot camp and this was in the summer of 2006! (Yea I'm New Corps) I always had it the same way on my tray, I'd have white rice and SOS dumped on top of the rice with Texas Pete hot sauce mixed in. Then ate as quickly as possible. Texas Pete hot sauce is something I will never forget as long as I live, I always say my best friend on the island was Texas Pete cause he always made the food taste good.
Thanks for the newsletter love hearing the stories,
Another outstanding newsletter as always. To former Sgt Hugh Casey do not be ashamed to put the A in the name MAGNIFICENT BVSTARDS I was once in FOX 2/4 when it was formed again in 1953. The Battalion earned that name doing what it was supposed to do. I was in 2/9 EASY CO. in 1956-1957 ECHO CO 1967-1968 again 1969 I will always put the E in our motto H&LL IN A HELMET. Best of luck to you SGT Casey where ever you go SEMPER FI to every body Ruben B Scott 1138959/0331
Is there anyone reading who was at the 50th anniversary of the Inchon landing? It was around 2001 at the soccer stadium in Seoul. I was just a Lance Corporal then. Got to work with the ROK Marines for a short couple weeks. Joe F., Sgt. 99-03
To Catch Us, You Have To Be Fast
To Find Us, You Have To Be Smart
To Beat Us, You HAVE TO BE KIDDING!
Well, I'm part of this Old Corps now, and I still can't keep my mouth shut. I just have to tell you how impressed I am at what a remarkable entrepreneur you are. New products, new services, additional improvements and conveniences for your customers; you continue to amaze and please me!
I know all this hasn't happened without very hard work, intelligence and, yes, excellent intuition. Thank you for providing what I believe is the most sophisticated company supplying Marines and former Marines today.
I salute you X 2!
Sgt. Mike Leap USMC
Cross with Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Hatpin
Not As Lean, Twice As Mean Bumper Sticker
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!