I was visiting with an old uncle, named Owen Cain. He was an 18 year old PFC, assigned to guard the recently captured air strip, on Iwo Jima. While standing his assigned post, he began swatting at what he thought was Bees.
His Captain yelled at him, "Private, what the h&ll are you doing", He replied "Swatting at Bees or Wasps, Sir !" ....The CO yelled "There are no insects buzzing you, those are Japanese rifle bullets".. That seemed to be his favorite story..
The Sgt Grit Blog
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Eight Man Squad Drill
Yes, it was discontinued about 1960-61. I believe it was under Gen. Shoup that the drill was removed. He made many changes, such as eliminating Swagger Sticks for Officers and SNCOs. That was the drill used up to World War 2 when the 13-man squad was developed. It had been re-introduced in 1954 but not as a replacement for the 13-member squad drill. It was meant to be used in Boot Camp and Non-FMF units. Gen. Shepherd was CMC when it was re-introduced. It was very complicated, but when properly executed by large units, it was beautiful. For example, 2 or more battalions on parade. I still have the instruction manual I received at Quantico in 1955.
6th Annual GriTogether
When: May 16, 2009 - 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Sgt Grit - Oklahoma City
What: Some Good Ole' Marine Corps Fun
- Free Hamburgers, hotdogs, chips & drinks
- Door Prizes
- Military Vehicles
- Silent Auction
- Youngest/Oldest Marine Contest
- Fun for the entire family
Get more info on the 2009 GriTogether
Photos From Last Year (top to bottom):
Robertson Pipers / Native American Marine Association Dancer / Bravo 1/11 (Vietnam) Reunion
Sgt. Grit, I was reading your news letter about deer hunting around Camlo. I was with Kilo 3/3 at the fish bowl in 1967. while one of our snipers was working the perimeter with a starlight scope he shot a deer, the next morning a team went outside the wire to retrieve the carcass. The cooks prepared him for lunch that day. Your letters bring back a lot of memories.
Cpl. Dave Hunter 1965-1969 Vietnam 1967-1968
Warden Was Not Happy
Hello Sgt. Grit!
I served in The Corps from '87 to '91 as a corrections specialist or brig guard. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune and spent my last year working at the Joint Forces Brig on Camp Hanson, Okinawa. One morning at Camp Lejeune during our briefing, our Gunny informed us that the warden was not happy. Top had told Gunny that one shift was too hard on the prisoners and another shift was to soft, then another shift was sometimes too hard and sometimes too soft. That shift was us. I spoke up and said, " Come on Gunny, you know how it is.....sometimes ya feel like a nut.....sometimes ya don't!" Gunny did not find it as amusing as everybody else.....I got tower duty! People always ask me if I liked my time in....I tell them sometimes you woke up and loved it, sometimes ya didn't. I would do it again and will never forget the friends and memories I have of my active service!
Jon Slayton Cpl '87 - '91
Capt Alan "AMERICA" Jones
Maj Dick Dickerson, Ret, you have a pretty good memory. The individual that swam the Mississippi was Capt Alan "AMERICA" Jones, who at the time was stationed at MCB Quantico, Va. I met the man while I was a Recruiter in Dubuque, Iowa from late 74 to Jul 77 and still have his business card. According to the newspaper clipping that I still have he also did 27,003 sit-ups non-stop, swam 100 miles down the Columbia River in Oregon, pressed a 70 pound weight 1,602 time nonstop, and once swam three miles with his hands bound and feet shackled while pulling a 3,200 pound barge.
Ralph G. Schwartz
SSgt of Marines, 67-77
Dirty Tricks Dept
Senior SNCO dirty tricks dept: 2/1 was the second of the 'transplacment battalions'...filled to TO at Camp Pendleton (San Mateo was the home of 1st Marines in those days, 1959), 'locked on' (no transfers, no nuttin','just training from then on for 13 months). The Bn displaced to Camp Sukeran (as she was spelled at the time) on Okinawa to become 2/1/9, 3rdMarDiv.
H&S Company had a pair of salts as the 1st Sgt ('Frenchy' DuCharme), and the Co Gunny (Walter...I think....Sleazak) The gunny was fond of referring to some of the company as fornicating Bolsheviks.(well, close to that, anyway....the Bolshevik part is verbatim). H&S was split between two barracks.....most of the Company lived/ate in a three-story building, while 106's, Flames, and Comm Plts . along with BAS, were a couple blocks away in building 520, (had to march over to the three-story for chow, and the mess arrangements had something to do with the Gunny's assessment of some of us resembling landless Russian peasants....story for another time...)
I had been appointed "Police Sgt" for building 520, was usually left behind with a couple of troops to maintain the building when the rest were off afield. Not bad duty for a Cpl (E-3), especially since there was a civilian laundry pickup/delivery office in the main passageway (If memory serves, the clerk's name was Yoshiko.....a demure miss of about 19, but I digress).
Was about my business as usual one morning when the Gunny hove into sight, blood stains on his protruding fangs and knuckles barely clearing the deck. He told me "Get in your khakis and get over to the Company office.......now!". I wasn't about to ask what for, nor why, but complied with extreme alacrity....Hit the front of the 1stSgt's desk, who immediately inquired if I was aware of my rights under Article 31? and, was simultaneously practicing his stare used to penetrate 1/4" armor plate at 30 paces. The 1stSgt then instructed me to march in and report to the Company Commander. I did, while racking my brain for what I might have done, or not done, to merit office hours.
The Skipper asked me if I knew why I was there, and in my best basso-profundo squeak, managed a quavering 'No, Sir'. At this point, he rose, picked up a piece of paper from his desk, and proceed to read off a Meritorious Mast involving the condition of Building 520. The Gunny and the 1stSgt were about to wet themselves over this, and even though there was no promotion involved, they decided that my chevrons needed nailing on again.
Will confess to pulling similar stunts on young Marines in years to come. The Company Commander at the time was 1stLt Lee Preble, (of the VA. Prebles....at least one destroyer named the Preble), and the Bn Commander was Lt.Col Ike Fenton......classic photo of Capt Fenton in Korea in David Douglas Duncan's photo essay, "This Is War". We who have earned the emblem have frequently walked unawares among giants of our kind...I count it a real privilege!
First They Were Dragging
After graduating from Parris Island (platoon 247) with the rank of PFC, I headed for San Diego and radio school. From there to the 5th Marines and then to Camp Sukiran, Okinawa.
I read the recent comments from PFC Ray H. Phipps and it reminded me that I too was part of the 9th Marines. I was assigned to the 2nd battalion, H&S company. My MOS was 2533, radio telegraph operator. Our company commander was Ernest E. Evans, or triple E as we called him.
Although I don't remember the desert to sea hike, I sent the Phipps article to several of my fellow Marines one of whom said the following: he can remember standing in formation on a road, welcoming them home as they came up the hill. First they were dragging a__, then began route step and then you could see them straighten up and pretty soon they were marching tall and proud. I remember wishing that I was part of that desert to the sea hike.
Also, I remember that guy getting drummed out of the Corps. Was very sobering. Great story, and as Bob Hope used to say "thanks for the memory". S/F, Ken
While at Sukiran, one of our guys, swiped the guide on flag from one of the Army units attending a class in a building near our barracks. He hung it out over our third floor balcony until our leaders decided we needed to return it to the Army.
I thoroughly enjoy reading your newsletter. It brings back memories as well being able to impart stories to fellow veteran Marines or comment on whatever subject is hot at the time.
Dan Suter 1960-1964
Then Execute RIGHT ABOUT
L/Cpl Joseph's recall of COD really brought back memories. Plt 197 at San Diego in the summer of '56 used "Squads Drill", which for a short while replaced the LPM (Landing Party Manual) used during the war era. Each squad of 8 Marines formed in 2 ranks would complete a completely different set of steps in 6 counts.
It was incredibly difficult to master. For example, I was usually the first man on the right in the second rank. On the command "Squads Right" I would take two paces LEFT OBLIQUE, then execute RIGHT ABOUT, and then march in place through the count of six. Then for squads left I had a completely different set of steps to execute.
However, when mastered, Joseph was exactly right.
It was a thing of beauty! In our twelfth week on the grinder, we all believed we were the sharpest F@%*@*s on the planet.
It only lasted a short time. They dropped it for the same reason they did before WWII, the pressures of war. The LPM was quicker and easier to learn, freeing up time for more pressing training. But I wish to God I could see it one more time.
Mumford, Kenneth J., USMCR 1955/1963
Iwo Medal Of Honor
I enjoyed SGT J. Cooke's article on WWII Marine Al Cialfi in the 29 Jan e-issue of the Sgt Grit Newsletter.
The author may be interested to know that there is a USMC Medal of Honor still living (and quite robust) in Barboursville WV named Herchel "Woody" Williams. Mr. Williams, a flame thrower operator, won his Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima.
I don't know how many other...if any...Iwo Jima Medal of Honor winners are still living.
H. John Idema, Age 88
This was in a local newspaper. H. John Idema age 88 of the town of Poughkeepsie New York died November 24, 2008. He enlisted in USMC shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He saw combat action in the Pacific and participated in the assaults on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, and Guam where they saw fierce fighting between US Marines and the Imperial Japanese Army. He was among the first Marine contingent to land in Japan after their surrender. At the age of 23, he became one of, if not the, youngest Marine to attain the ranks of Master Sergeant, Master Gunnery Sergeant, then First Sergeant, and finally Marine Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted pay grades in the USMC during WWII. He was on Iwo Jima as the Marines raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on Feb 23, 1945.
I recently reenlisted back into the Marine Corps! I wanted to get a moto tattoo that was different from others I have seen. So I found this design of the EGA & I loved it! I also decided to include hanging dogtags with my kids names & birthdays. This is to show my love for the Corps & to my kids!
I was assigned to MP Company, Security Battalion, MCB Camp Pendleton and I played offensive center and Middle Linebacker for H&S Battalion at Camp Pendleton
We Are All Marines
I, too, am a Marine who served during Vietnam, but saw no combat. I do not consider myself less of a Marine, as I have lived my entire life by the standards the Corps instilled in me. I enlisted in early 1970 and served until 1973 and then did some time in the Reserves. At that time, the Marine Corps was changing all administration and payroll records from manual to computer. For some reason, I was destined to be an Admin/Disbursing clerk and nothing was going to change that. I spent my entire tour assigned to the 2nd MAW at MCAS(H) New River. I asked to be reassigned to another duty station, go on a float, go anywhere, but no deal. It was not that bad, as I made E-4 in 1 year and E-5 in 2 years. I was only doing the job they asked me to, to the best of my ability.
I went through boot camp with a guy, from Tennessee, Jones, D. A., who wanted no part of Disbursing at Lejeune and said one way or another he was going to Vietnam. After 2 years of numerous UA's, it was decided he could go to Vietnam IF he went through boot camp again! The last time I heard from him many years ago, he was on his way to Vietnam!
The 3 years I spent on active duty molded my entire life. I was a successful businessman, I was a reserve Deputy Sheriff. I have had many achievements over the years, but the most valuable was being a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I have a great deal of respect for my many Marine Corps buddies who served in Vietnam, and thank them all for their service, but I feel doing the job the Marine Corps asks and expects you to do, whatever it is, is just as important. We are all Marines.
Sgt. R.B.Jennings 2637356
Boynton Beach, Fl
How many grunts out there were in Beirut in 1958, that are still alive & kicking, from the 1st Bn., 8th Marines, 50+ years later? This was originally, a common, "Med Cruise", that actually lasted from January to October! When we landed on the beach, dozens of civilians were waiting for us & cheering us on, like at a football game! Most of us were encamped above Antellyas in a terraced peach orchard with water tower at top. How many remember the following; Flares at night, (one burned up a Hdq. co., tent & that squashed any more flares!. The song, "Volare", which we brought back to the U.S., & it became a hit; the Army coming down from Turkey with more gear than any brigade should have & we stole them blind & put our white diamond & 1/8 on everything-we went home with more gear than we came with! Maj. Chappitti, Capt. Anderson, Lts. Smith & Moran; The two helicopters that went down-one with an Army Genl., who had to walk ashore; Dysentery everywhere, the "Basta"; Our 3 ships, Olmsted, Fremont & Spiegel Grove; Chief Lentz; Gunny Holzinger, SSgt. Ortega. Prior to this-our 3 times in Gibralter, Camp Darby, Italy; Olmsted blowing a boiler & going to Majorca & everyone else to France; audience with the Pope, the Almeria fiasco with Genl. Franco watching us go down the nets & his candy-a$s Marines refusing to go; the 23 mile hike after the hurricane; , etc. The booklet that USMC put out in the 60's on the Beirut landing/occupation is about 75%, correct-I know, I was there!
Tom Mac Donald, ex-HM3, B-1-8, FMF.
Today, January 29, fifty years ago, "K" Company, 2nd Bn., platoons 206, 207, 208 and 209 was formed and our Marine Corps experienced started at Parris Island known as the "Rock".
This April, we as a company will again meet for our reunion as we did on our 45th. Those who read this and were among the Few, the Proud of "K" Company, please contact:
Marine1 @ stardevil .com
This is a response to Andy De Cusati' letter on being a Cold War Marine. I too am a Non-Combat Cold War Marine, having served from '76 to '80. This was a tough time to be a Marine. On reflection it seems as if some of the stuffing had been knocked out of the Marine Corps. I carry the same feelings of being a little bit "less than".
I earned the title the same as any other Marine. I was trained by some of the finest. All were Vietnam veterans that knew that at any moment we could be placed in harm's way and they took that responsibility very seriously. My Senior Drill Instructor, Staff Sergeant Colasanti, had 5 purple hearts and could outrun any one of us 17-18 year olds. I will never forget the pride I felt the last night in boot camp, after we got in out rack (at attention, of course), when his final words to us were "Good Night, Marines".
My MOS was 2531, I was a radio operator. I served with the grunts at 2/7 at Camp San Mateo on Camp Pendleton for 1 1/2 years and humped all over Pendleton with the 81 mm Mortar weapons team and also followed around a 106 recoilless rifle (Remember them?). I volunteered for and served 71 days at sea on the USS Tarawa during her sea trials and was part of her first amphibious landing. I volunteered to go to Okinawa and served with Artillery on an 8" gun with 3/12 at Camp Zukeran. We spent a large part of our time in Korea because we could not fire the gun on Okinawa.
One evening we were taking a mamasan back to her village after curfew (It's a whole other story) and got held at Gunpoint by some ROK Marines at a checkpoint. I finished my tour at Camp Lejeune with a Multi-channel Radio platoon at 2nd FSSG. It was the closest I came to combat. We were sent to Turkey to hold an exercise that I believe was a diversion in case Marines had to go get the Shah out of Iran. Later when we were returning from the Med, the hostages were taken in Tehran. I thought (hoped, wished, prayed) that we would be sent back to get them out. When I got out in '80, my Marine Corps was in a dark place.
I proudly served. I had a great tour that did not include combat. Frankly, I blame my Commander in Chief, Jimmy Carter. In fact, I blame him as being the starting point for the terrorist attacks on our country, because by not responding in Iran, we were perceived as weak, but that is also another story. The million dollar question is, was I fortunate or unfortunate to not see combat? I would venture to say that there are a few Marines who would say that it was fortunate that I did not. But in my heart there are many more that would say I missed out.
I am proud to be a Marine. My truck carries the emblems proudly, but when I am asked if I saw combat, I am embarrassed and sad to say no. It is as if I missed out on the final Stamp that makes me a real Marine. I believe that my Marine Corps experience has made me successful in business. The leadership that I was taught and witnessed has served me well and is sorely lacking in our world today. But even today, when I hear of these young Marines doing their 2nd and 3rd tours in Iraq, I literally ache with envy.
I feel your pain, Cusati. Would I have performed well under fire? I'll never know. It almost feels like I am carrying a weight, that I cannot shed. Luckily I have my Eagle, Globe and Anchor, which I earned, to support me.
Bruce M. Taylor
2/7, 3/12, 2nd FSSG
The Way Chesty Would
I have been proud to call myself a Marine now for almost 16 years. After my first enlistment I left active duty for family reasons and moved back to my home state. I soon missed the Corps so I joined a local reserve unit. The reserves just wasn't the same so after almost 4 years with that I put more into my law enforcement career and left the reserves. After 9/11 I always mentioned going back to active duty to do my part and get into the action but never followed through. Early last year I did just that and after a 10 year break in active service I swore back in as an active duty Marine. Once more my heart swelled with Marine Corps Pride. Shortly thereafter I was sent out West and was kind of upset that I did not end up with a deployable unit as I had requested, defeating my purpose of coming back in.
I don't know what happened to my Corps but what I have experienced this past year of being back has made me ashamed. No longer do Marines take care of each other, No longer do the NCO's look after their junior Marines. They are more worried about making themselves look good then setting a good example and instilling leadership qualities in the younger Marines. The morale is extremely low and all my Marines can't wait until that infamous EAS date to come. With a nation at war and the Corps trying to up the numbers I would think that the goal would be to retain good Marines. But more and more I see good Marines leaving because of bad leadership. I myself have questioned my intentions for returning and wondered if it was a mistake. During my break in service I have always had T-shirts representing the Marine Corps that I have purchased from Sgt Grit. Now I don't even take them out of the closet.
I guess the Marine moto is no longer Semper FI and has now been replaced with Semper I. Please tell me this is not how it is with the rest of my beloved Corps. Marines, please look out for each other. Hold onto the Marine Corps values and lead your Marines the way Chesty would, with honor.
Things May Have Changed
In reference to the young and trusting Marine who cashed what turned out to be an NSF ("Non-sufficient Funds") check as a favor to a wolf*:
The offense committed by the wolf is (at minimum) "Uttering and Publishing" and can be, depending upon the amount of the check, a Felony offense.
It would seem to me that the young and trusting Grunt could have gone to the Post Military Police and filed a formal complaint, which would have (should have?) been pursued by the Military Police, likely ending up with charges being filed against the wolf.
That likely would not have gotten back the money stolen from the young and trusting Marine, but would have prevented the wolf from pulling there same stunt again, since he would have (likely) been given Brig Time and a BCD.
Only those strong enough to pursue legal means can help prevent crime.
Of course, what do I know: (A.) I wasn't there, and (B.) things may have changed since the days I humped rice paddies on behalf of Our Beloved Marine Corps.
*"wolf:" one who preys on sheep
Sgt/USMC/RVN - '66 - '68
Feel The Same Way
I just finished reading the 22 January issue of your wonderful newsletter. I may not read it on the day I get it in my email box but I do read it every week and I thank you very much for your site and newsletter.
Anyway, a Cpl David Gaytan had mentioned about his being a Viet Nam Era Marine. He mentioned that at a Christmas ceremony at his church, they had asked for veterans from Korean War, Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and currently serving in Iraqi Freedom to stand up. He did not stand up to be recognized as he had not served in Viet Nam. He felt that it wasn't the same thing to have served stateside and not in Nam. I too feel the same way. I served stateside between June 1968 and April 1975 and did not go to Nam. I have noticed over the years that there is very little gear that I could wear to show my pride of having served my country in the Marine Corps. I like Cpl Gaytan received an Honorable Discharge and would love to see more recognition with items saying something like, "Viet Nam Era Marine" or "Viet Nam Era Veteran".
Many times over the years I have been told by other Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen that I am still their brother. This I appreciate very much indeed.
Thank you again for your wonderful site and for the weekly newsletter. Long may it continue in the years to come.
Sgt of Marines
1968 - 1975
A couple of recent newsletters have remembered 1st Sgt Red Ebert of the 10th Marines. I served in his outfit from '57 to '59 and boy did he set the bar high for the rest of us jarheads. We called him Big Red but not to his face (one newcomer did greet him with "good morning Big Red" and many of us heard the chewing out). Sgt Ebert walked with a limp which seemed to enhance his swagger.
One morning after my radio mid watch I decided to sleep under the stars instead of my tent. When I awoke I was airborne. Big Red had hold of the foot of my sleeping bag and was swinging me around like a bag of spuds. When he let go I landed like bag of something else. A good laugh was had by all. I never knew his service record but just the way he carried himself commanded the utmost respect. Great fond memories of a Marine's Marine.
And Went Home
Sgt. Grit, You asked for Cold War stories. How about this... When we landed in Gitmo Oct 62 during the missile crisis we were handed Flak Jackets and Ammo as we exited the plane. It was then that Khrushchev packed up his Missiles and his Russian troops and went home!
Cpl Patrick Scannell 1923064
I Say All Of This
Dear Sgt Grit,
From time to time, I peruse the different classmate-type sites looking for old friends. Recently, I was searching ALMARs on USMC.mil and I ran across a familiar name, Douglas E Berry.
I served from 1991-1995, all of it state-side and all of my Fleet time at Camp Lejeune. For almost a year an a half, I served in the 2d FSSG Commanding General's Office where I worked in the Headquarters Building on the computers, network and software that ran the Group. I also had the honor of driving the General and acted as the personal 'Scribe' and driver of the Group Sergeant Major, Douglas E Berry. He was a man of LARGE stature and epitomized the word Marine. He was hard as nails and gentle as a lamb.
During the time that I served with him, I was meritoriously promoted to Corporal. SgtMaj Berry pinned on my chevrons. As painful as it was, that moment is something that I hold very dear in my heart.
Well, when I came across the name again while searching ALMARs, I looked deeper to track this man down. Knowing that he retired just before I ended my active duty and that he had a son that was a Sgt when I served, I tried to contact the Junior Berry. Now a 1stSgt, the Junior Berry was deployed and wasn't able to respond to me immediately. About a week later, I got an e-mail from the SgtMaj. This was shocking as the SgtMaj that I knew hated computers and I could have never imagined that he would willingly be sending e-mails.
We shot a few e-mails back and forth, catching up. He mentioned that he was coming to Illinois in June. Although three hours away from my home, we're going to meet up for a cup-o-joe.
I say all of this for a reason. I've had lots of friends and close colleagues in my career since the Corps. Few of them, if any I hold in such high regard as those with whom I have served, that serve NOW and that have given their ALL. What a Band of Brothers!
God Bless old friends, God Bless the Marines, God Bless the United States of America
It Sure Felt Good
HEY SGT. I would like to respond to L/Cpl. Joseph's about other Marines having close order drill while in Boot Camp. I was at PI From September 57 till December Friday the 13th. A lucky day for me! And yes we did close order drill .and lot of it! Morning, afternoon, and night! As soon as we stop having to march with our right hand on the shoulder of the guy in front of us. We started close order drill. It wasn't easy! Guys were stumbling over each other .walking on each other. I know cause I was one of them. We were doing it in our sleep! I was a number 2 man. I can remember the steps like it was yesterday! After evening chow, our DI would march us in back of the barracks where there was enough lighting. And he would stand on the top deck of the fire escape looking down so he could watch every ones mistakes. We drill until just before Mail Call and Taps. They were playing Taps as we were running up and down the squad bay trying to slap your mail out of the DI's hands. Then lights out and lay at attention in our racks. I was one of the lucky ones, I Had a top rack next to a window with light coming in, so I was able to read my mail. And as for the close order drill, our Platoon took 1st. In company and Battalion! It sure felt good after all those hours wetting and drilling!
I Am A Firm Believer
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I joined the Corps in Nov. 1957, sent to Yemassee, SC until we had enough recruits [not the word the Sgt used} to form a platoon, then over to Parris Island, of which he informed us, there are two ways to leave this Island, one is to graduate, the other is in a pine box, I chose the first choice!
Some of my memories from over 50 years ago, My Platoon # was 303, two of my DI's that I remember were SSgt. Kahle and Sgt McFarlane, there were no yellow footprints as I remember, but, there were Women Marines that we could see drill and the DI reminded us, there is miles and miles of that stuff and we weren't going to get an inch of it. We did get to see what was claimed to be the first ever snow fall in SC, but it didn't get rid of the sandfleas, I still remember my serial # 1682617 and after I graduated, the older Marines wanted to know if that was the national debt. haha, I am a firm believer of the motto "Once a Marine, Always A Marine", the Corps teaches you principles and values, that you will never forget!
I was in the Corps for 4 years active, and 2 years inactive. My closest encounter with being in a war, was, while stationed at Marine Barracks, Newport, RI, we all had to pack our seabags and go on stand-by to board a ship, but that didn't happen, One other highlight was, in making a Mediterranean cruise in 1960 aboard the USS Vermillion AKA 107 with the 1st Bn. 8th Marines, I loved this cruise, even though we did landings on every island we came to. the liberty made up for this!
I want to commend you and your newsletter for bringing these memories to life, although, some of the articles bring a tear to my eyes occasionally.
Thanks to each and every Marine, for keeping and maintaining our Freedom, they sure have my respect and admiration!
Semper Fi and God Bless
L/Cpl. Stanley A. Shepherd 1682617
The Vietcong Fired
Dear Sgt Grit,
So many stories that these Marines write about and cause some reflection on some events of one's own like with the Marine Corps. The USMC is a band of brothers and as such is smaller than one can imagine. I was serving as a corpsman with 1st Platoon, Hotel Company, 2nd Bn 5th Marines on the early morning of 6 February 1967 near Phu Loc 6 (Liberty Bridge) op area. My platoon was on My Loc 2 and the other two platoons were about 5 miles away at Phu Loc 6. A squad from Hotel had set up a blocking force about 7 miles away beside the Son Thu Bon River and were trying to ambush some local Vietcong who were coming up the river in sampans near a village and getting rice and other supplies. About 2 AM, several boat loads of Vietcong were moving into the area on the river where the squad was set up.
The Vietcong fired into the squad and threw some grenades toward the Marines. One of the grenades blew up near LCpl Larry Cross and he was severely wounded. There was no corpsman with this squad and Cross needed medical help. Luther Hamilton ran all the way back to Phu Loc 6 for help and the Vietcong chasing him while firing and trying to capture him. He made it. In the meantime, one of the wounded Marines got to a radio and called back to Hotel and my platoon from My Loc 2 was scrambled to go help since we were closer than the rest of the company. We sent a reinforced squad to the area. By the time we got there, Cross had died. I wrapped him up in a poncho and stayed with him all night. The next morning we carried him out and eventually a helo came and picked him up. About four years ago, I got in touch with Larry Cross's sister, Melinda Bell who wrote an email on the 2nd Bn 5th Mar website asking if anyone know her brother. I wrote back and we had several emails to share. She sent a picture of him with another Marine from RTC days on the internet and another Marine friend of mine, Sgt Charlie Eddy, who served with Hotel in Vietnam happened to come to my house the day the picture came across. He had served a tour with Hotel and arrived in country in late February 67 and was the Platoon Sgt for Weapons Platoon in Hotel. He was wounded on April 22, 1967 in Vietnam and was searching for me to document his wound so he could get his Purple Heart and VA benefits. He had looked for 35 years and finally found me via the internet. We started getting together since he lived about 120 miles from my home in WV. He never knew my name as I was just called "Doc" in Vietnam. When that picture of Larry Cross came on the net, I asked him to come and look at it. He said, "Hey, that's Larry Cross". I said how do you know him. He said that Larry used to baby sit his son while they were both stationed at Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Va. He did not know Larry was killed in Vietnam. This is just a little story of how Marines connect and our lives inter-twine in many ways. February 6 is a couple days away and Larry will always be remembered by me and so many other Marines. Sad thing about him is that he only had a short time to go in Vietnam and he would have rotated home. He is with God, protecting the Gates of Heaven, where all Marines will eventually serve.
Roger "Doc" Ware
Hotel 2/5 66/67 Vietnam
HAL (3) Mekong Delta 71/72
I have wondered for a number of years now if other Marines had been through the same situation I did when mustering out from active duty. At disbursing, we received any monies owed to us before we were released. It seemed to take forever, as there were a lot of Marines getting out Dec. 10, 1971. After waiting at least two eternities, we were paid. THEN, we were all notified that someone (ONE PERSON) was overpaid. We were duly notified that no one would leave the area until the overly rich peon coughed up the extra dinero. B!tching and moaning, we tried to wait out the shakedown but to no avail. With no recourse, we all pitched in a couple of bucks until the ransom (over payment) was reached. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but it seems to me if someone was indeed overpaid, the disbursing crew should have known whom it was, after all the overpayment was recognized. I'm thinking that we all contributed to the Xmas fund that day. Anyone else have a thought?
L/Cpl Dan Buchanan
America's heroes need your help. Today's technology mercifully moves an injured soldier from battlefield to fully-equipped hospital in less than an hour.
What's this mean? It means the number of amputees we bring home from war has skyrocketed over previous conflicts. It means 1 in 4 injured soldiers now come home with a traumatic injury of some kind.
And the hospitals they come home to, while better equipped to handle them, are often ill-equipped to provide for their families.
What can we do? Here's what we can do.
There's this thing called the Honor Run, Saturday, September 5th. A coast-to-coast ride that ends right here in Southern California.
The donations we raise will help a number of organizations take care of the men and women who took care of us. As well as their families.
Dave Barr, a double-amputee, will take off from the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28th. As he and his buddies pick up steam and riders crossing the country, they'll roll through a bunch of states. Ending up at Oakley headquarters in Orange County, California for a monumental celebration.
Word is, this thing could be up to 10,000 strong as it thunders on home.
Law Enforcement's onboard. So's the 1st Marine Division Association. So's the Vietnam Veterans of America. So's CSI New York's Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band, scheduled to get it on at the giant celebration at Oakley on the 5th.
All we need are you and your brothers to ride with this very simple message.
America, the time has come to pay back our heroes.
With pennies. Dollars. Jobs. Education. Care. Whatever we've got.
There are no politics in these efforts. No Republicans. No Democrats.
We need your help out there on the road. To ride. To support the ride. To spread the word on the ride. We need all of America, but the message starts with you.
These are our heroes. They fought for all of us. Now's our chance to fight for them
For more information see www.thehonorrun.org and sponsor a flag at www.firstgiving.org/gratefulpatriot1
Sgt Grit you can use part of all of this statement anything you can do would be greatly appreciated.
The Grateful Patriot
The Honor Run
1st Marine Division Association
This is in response to Andy De Cusat's ltr about felling "less than a Veteran."
Not all are called to front line or support Combat positions.
That does not make you less of a Marine.
Remember that there are the four (4) B's, being;
Beans, Bullets, Bandages and Bad Guys.
If you have never had a round coming or going, count your blessings.
There is no "I" in "Team" and always know that your service, especially in our beloved Corps was an important part of any given mission.
Fly your colors proud, and know that you are one of "The Few, The Proud, The Marines."
GySgt "Ranger" McCain
This is just to let you know, the first combat Marines in Vietnam was April 1963 it was a 47 3rd Recon Bn "C" Co. GySgt "Ranger" McCain trained this 47 Marine recon unit, he was out of 1st recon, 2nd force recon, and 3rd recon he passed in 1981.
We took over security of the DaNang Air Base and did some special job's for the Corps out in the bush. Worked with MABS-16 Shufly Sub Unit 2
John Gariano USMC 1962/66
3rd Recon Bn
Neil Grissom and Wade Hudson
3rd Recon Marines 1963
One Of The Best
Just a short note to Doc Higgins who served with Golf 2/5 at Hue. I have the honor of knowing the greatest Corpsman who ever served with Marines. Chief Warren "Lou" LeGarie served with the Marines of 2/5 while they made the City of Hue free of the NVA and Viet Cong. Lou has told me many stories of the brave Marines and Corpsman who fought with distinction and honor. Lou served for 30 years as a Corpsman of Marines, first in WWII, China, Korea and then in Vietnam with that same distinction and Honor. In his 30 years of service to out Country and Corps he never wore the uniform of a sailor. He was a Marine first and foremost. Nothing was to good for his Marines and he did his best to insure that they got the best treatment that could be given at his Medical Station. At An Hoa he was known to put his Corpsmen on their butts when they did not produce the quality of medical care that Lou thought they should. So Doc if you were with Lou at Hue you are one of the best. Thank you for your service.
Gunnery Sergeant (Ret)
From SHANGHAI To CORREGIDOR:
Marines in the Defense of the Philippines by J. Michael Miller
S/Sgt. Marshall's Ordeal
Gentlemen (and Marines):
Here is a true story of a prank I and another Sgt. pulled on a hard-nosed lifer who constantly busted our balls despite the hardship of being constantly in combat situations. He really deserved this one. It is true and accurate and has been verified by the other participant in the story. Also, an abridged account has been published in the fantastic book Battlelines by Lt. Col. Dave Brown who was the company commander at the time of this incident. I highly recommend that book to your readers; it is the history of the seven years' deployment of Fox Co. 2/5 in Viet Nam and expertly combines the historical record with continual use of first hand accounts.
Sgt. Marc (Sandbag Ski) Waszkiewicz USMC Ret.
Viet Nam 1967-68-69
Artillery Forward Observer
S/Sgt. Marshall's Ordeal
It was early into Operation Mead River; early into December 1968, and much later than S/Sgt Marshall realized. Now I am not saying anything against Marshall. Not at all. No way. To the contrary, I was right beside him when second platoon cleared out dead NVA from over-run bunkers on September 29th less than three months before. I remember him going head first, alone, into a freshly taken bunker, only to come right back out after emptying his M-16 only to ask for a .45 so he could go back in! There were eight enemy soldiers inside, and one of them turned his head to look at Marshall as he came around the corner! I remember him as a leader in battle; a hero. I also remember him as a lifer and as a prick. Of course, those are admirable qualities to older Marines.... But to us kids, it was reason to be placed on the radar screen of our "payback machine"... and that is exactly what was about to happen to Marshall.
Fox Company was set up along some serpentine riverbank as a blocking force. The noose was tightening around a large bunch of VC and NVA and they were worried. And trapped. And moving our way. We were the blocking force while other Marine units drove the enemy right towards us, just as our ancestors must have driven cattle to the railhead.
The only difference was we were in the jungle. Those on watch along the river bank manned a trench line that no one quite fully could account for. Some said it was a former NVA trench, proving the enemy was thick here! Others said maybe the ARVN had dug it at some point along the way....or even Americans from recent operations. The more romantic among us suggested it had to be the French, long ago... echoing the sound of some distant trumpet of universal brotherhood among warriors and heroes throughout the passage of time.... (Yeah, pretty juvenile eh? But true none the less....)
During my first night there, among the Company CP, I was repeatedly awakened during that half-sleep/ half-awake time lying in my two man hooch of plastic ponchos to the ever-so- gentle finger-prodding sensation to the portion of my torso that was in contact with the ground. With sleep being a rare commodity, I repeatedly tried to ignore the nearly imperceptible "finger-poking" which I half-dreamt that I felt.... Finally, in a thrashing, spinning, muttering motion I rose up, rolled back the ground-cover poncho to reveal the earth beneath, and shone my red lens-covered flashlight. It looked like an asparagus farm! Huge earthworms, having feasted for years on the corpses below us, (did I mention we were sleeping in a cemetery?), were sensing our... MY body heat and seeking entry to the warmth they knew lay only micro-inches away! I was disgusted, yet fatigued. So, I slept. Don't ask what I dreamt!
In the morning, it was sunny, pleasant, and we were "set in." Nothing to do but "wait and watch." Resupply was unusually bountiful and spirits were high. H&ll, we only took an occasional sniper round and infrequent AK-47 bursts from the opposite river bank, so we played cards, wrote letters, visited, and... had time to think! Ha! The very bane of every lifer! NEVER let the troops have time to think! Well, maybe they were weary too. We all were. After all, Fox Company never was one to play backseat to anyone, anywhere, anytime!
As the day, and the card games, and the visiting wore on so did the boredom. Ha! Bane number two to all lifers! NEVER EVER under ANY Circumstances do you let the troops become bored! Too late....
Sgt. Donny Serowik (second platoon) and I were hanging out, having finished a card game, and we were getting goofy, silly, and worst of all... creative! (Don't worry, the "bane thing" stops here....) Don and I noticed S/Sgt. Marshall sleeping in his hammock about 20 feet away. He, like many of us, had acquired an NVA hammock and used it for sleeping in, to keep off the ground. (Refer to the worm story if you don't get this part.) Anyway, he was sound asleep in his olive green canvas hammock, strung between two small, tipping banana trees. He almost looked like a fellow banana in his hammock... How peaceful.... How vulnerable... How tempting... How irresistible!
There are two items I should mention here. First, S/Sgt. Marshall was totally obsessed with a phobic fear of creepy- crawly things, especially slithery snake-like ones. (Refer to the worm story if you don't see this one coming.) Second, S/Sgt Marshall had ingeniously created the means of his own demise by stringing a sort of clothesline directly over his head and to his feet, from which was stretched (A-Frame style) a second poncho, pegged down at the spread out corners, to make a shade covering over his hammock.
Don and I "got it" at the same moment. We burst (nearly) out loud with impish laugher. Donny dug up a bunch of foot-long worms, thick as your index finger, while I carefully and quietly untied the pegged-down ends of the overhead shade poncho above S/Sgt. Marshall. Then, with the same nylon rope that once had tied the corners of the outstretched A-Frame poncho to the pegs in the ground, I tied the grommet eyes of that poncho together, underneath Marshall's hammock. He looked like a sausage! Or a tamale, wrapped in corn husks! Or a hot dog in a bun, in the wrapper! ....Or a lifer, right where we wanted him!
Ha! It was great! Donny and I poured literally dozens of the hideous, flesh-seeking giant earth worm body hunters into both of the tiny, restricted openings at the head and foot of Marshall's hammock taco! Then, Donny and I walked back to our "area" about 20 feet away and pretended to be busy doing "nothing in particular, Sir" after motioning to all the surrounding troops to "hush" and say nothing.
Time passed. Occasional chuckles from numerous Marines threatened to blow the surprise, but no, Marshall slept on. Quietly. Peacefully. Until...
Then, through the plastic over covering and canvass hammock, we observed what must have been an elbow poking... prodding.... Moving. Then more quiet. But we all knew what was about to happen! Rustling.... Tossing..... slowly at first, building a momentum and intensity that shortly gave way to screams and curses! Wailing! Flailing! Ripping apart the entire banana taco tamale hot dog in a final heroic thrash! Like a mix between Homer Simpson and the "Married With Children" guy, amid the torn remnants of his hammock and poncho, S/Sgt. Marshall drew himself up to full height and "command rank" stature and screamed, "Who the fck did this!"
Everyone was "busy doing nothing, Sir" and ignored his rage. It was beautiful. It was nearly epic in payback proportion. The occasional chortlings and choking sounds of stifled laughter only heightened Marshall's commitment to delivering justice... but it isn't until now that he can know ......
...... the rest of the story!
Sgt. Marc (Ski) Waszkiewicz, Arty Forward Observer
A Little Reminder
I was on a convoy outside of Hue City we were supplying Bravo 1/11 Artillery base along side a tributary of the Perfume River. A Wall of an emperors tomb from a past dynasty was used for a perimeter of the base. A Captain Ron Brown was the CO in charge of the mission. We joked earlier when I told him I attended Memphis State University. He laughed and said he played on the Quantico football team that beat our Tigers in the mid 60's. That was a big upset! A small Quantico Team facing a mid major University. On the way back to our home base at Phu Bai, on our approach to HWY 1 from Route 547 h&ll broke out. The Convoy was ambushed by a Regimental force of NVA. We were only 50 Marines trying to fight off a force of 400 plus NVA Regulars. Capt. Ron Brown, his driver and our only Senior NCO were killed in the initial onslaught. That was the 1st time I met Capt. Brown. He was a very jovial and friendly that day...
I wish we could have done more; but it was not to be. We were hit by our own artillery and staffed by a South Vietnamese Skyraider. We were saved after 8 hours of close end fighting. I was firing at NVA on one side of a vehicle while they were on the other side. I hit them in their feet and ankles. Don't believe I killed anyone; but I bet they had a long painful walk back to North Vietnam. A quick reaction force both from Phu Bai and 1/1 Marines from the Bravo Battery 1/11 was sent out to get us out of this mess. Of the 50 Marines 19 were KIA and over 20 were wounded, some died later of their wounds. The Phu Bai Marines had commandeered an Army Quad Fifty that saved the day. I was hit by some concrete that was shattered by the 50 cal. rounds...I have a little reminder across my forehead of the friendly fire...I was also wounded by an NVA hand grenade to my legs. I go to sleep each night with the memory of that day and wake up with the thoughts of Capt. Brown and the brave Marines of the lost convoy of Hue. That area was so infiltrated by NVA that the wrecked vehicles with 2 destroyed Ontos were left until the end of TET before being retrieved for salvage.
God Bless the Marines that fought at Hue, 41 years ago today. They will be forever part of Marine Corps History.
Joe Tiscia Cpl. of Marines, 2/5 Hue Vietnam
Two A Days Practice
Well the most unique story is that they always talk about Texas A&M's "Junction Boys", Bear Bryant and the two weeks of two a days practice they went through out in the middle of nowhere! Well 256 Marines and Corpsman drew gear and after 6 Weeks of two-a-days there was only 29 of us left....we practiced from 8 to ll and 2 to 5 six days a week for six weeks Aug 2 to Sept 15th 1961...humidity was always 100 percent (AFRS radio said so) and the temperature would hit 100! They didn't make a movie about us and I guess those of