A Marine Recruit, during the War to end all Wars, World War I, wrote home and made this comment; "The first day I was at Boot Camp, I was afraid I was going to Die! The next two weeks, my sole fear was that I wasn't going to die! After that I knew I'd never die because I'd become so hard that nothing could kill me".
F.L. Rousseau, GySgt USMC Ret. WWII, Korea, Vietnam. Marine Corps History buff.
Marines of World War II
Sgt Grit WWII Photo Video Montage (You Tube)
Does anyone else out there get tired of hearing about how bad assed the boots from P.I. were/are? What's so glorious about getting you're azs bit off by a bunch of sand fleas?
James M. Henry
Hammered One Marine
Dear Sgt Grit,
Had read your last 2 issues with the ASP 1 stories and figured I would add my 2 cents. I was stationed on Hill 34 with Hq Co - 7th Comm when the dump blew up. It was the d*mndest show I ever saw and went on for two days and nites. We were in the bunkers and manning the trench lines 24 hrs a day for about 5 days if I remember right. Everyone was warned NOT to waste ammo because what we had on hand was all there was if we got hit by Charlie.
A piece of the chow hall roof came off during an explosion and hammered one Marine in the chow line, hurt him pretty badly as I recall. The thing I remember most about the explosions was being able to watch the shock wave rings coming thru the sky before the noise reached you ! Some of these must have been entire bunkers of bombs or arty shells going up all at once. I swear the ground under your feet moved some times. These are the only pictures I've got from that time, hope you enjoy them !
Jim Herbst Sgt 7th Comm Bn/A Co 1st AT's 1st Tank Bn--COP Three Fingers/5th Comm Bn -- 9-68--4-70
Ready For Duty Sir
Being eaten alive by deck recruits (didn't know Drill Instructors wore white. HA!HA!)
Morning Count - "Sir! The count on deck is, 69 highly motivated. Truly dedicated. Rompn. Stompn. United States Marine Corps recruits ready for duty sir!"
Hygiene Inspection - "Sir! This recruit has no personal or medical problems to report at this time." Flip!
Fans in the squad bay - What purpose did they serve? Those things never worked, and the few times that they did they made more noise than anything and never moved any AIR. Most of the time they were congregated in front of some hatch or passageway waiting for some unsuspecting recruit to tump over. Boom! Were all dead!
Squad bay east - Squad bay west - Drill in the squad bay (mostly conducted Sunday evenings). These instructional sessions were always heavily seasoned with a lot of rifle pumping. I must say that all that hard work paid off as 1055 took first phase drill for entire series. Oorah!
MRP - What to say....I became invisible to function of the platoon. Was told by Drill Instructor Sgt Jones that I could do pretty much what I wanted, without having to ask permission, just as long as my crutching did not get in the way. This lasted about a day and a half before the van picked me up and took me back down south.
While in MRP, I would have to crutch my azs upstairs to PCP for firewatch. This never sat too well with me.
The canteen games the DI's would play with us always made me mad, as my rack was on the far end of the squad bay. No sooner then hitting that rack, then I was up, crutching my azs as fast as I could to the head. This process was repeated four to five times an evening within a thirty minute timeframe.
Mr. Charlie Horse - This jackazz would visit me nightly during first phase. I would lie as still as I could in my rack, trying not to move. But good ole chuck would never let me alone...he'd either started out in my calf and work his way up my thigh, or vise versa. No sooner would I get him under control with one leg, then he'd jump to the other.
Hitting the rack - The Marine Corps hymn was sung every evening. "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli......Oorah!"
Third Generation Marine
I was a third generation Marine. My Grandfather in WWI, my Dad in WWII Cpl (1943-1947) and me SSgt (1968-1978)
I have no info where my Grandfather served.
Dad served in the South Pacific (43-45) 3rd MarDiv Saipan and Guam and Tenstin, China (45-47) A/1/11 1st MarDiv.
I served in Vietnam A/1/11 1st MarDiv (69-70)...An Hoa and just south of Hill55, where you were at Sgt Grit.
PMI Edson Range Camp Pendleton (70-71)
Marine Security Detachment (Marine Barracks San Diego) at NAS Miramar (71-73)
L/4/12 Camp Butler and North Camp Fuji Japan (73-74)
3rd 175mm Gun Btry 1st FSSG Twenty-nine Palms (74-76)
Hq 4th MarDiv (G-4 Section Prepositioned War Reserves Chief), Camp Pendleton (76)
Hq 4th MarDiv New Orleans, La (76-78)
As you can see I served in the same battery that my Dad served with in China (how scary is that?) A couple of things that happened to Dad also happened to me (quite scary why I think about it).
As you can see I still proudly fly our flag, even though I am surrounded Army doggies here in Lacey, Washington. It lets them know not to "Mess with the Best".
My heart goes out to all who served and currently serves in our beloved Corps.
Doug Barron SSgt 68-78
Inside the pillbox there are four dead japs and two dead Marines. Enough of those men in the first wave got ashore, jumped in with the japs and killed them. Thus they knocked out enough machine guns so that others in later waves might live and win. Looking down on these two Marines, I can say, These Men gave their lives for me. I can understand it, because this machine gun covered the part of the water I had to wade through. They also gave their lives for one hundred and thirty million other Americans who realize it, I fear, only dimly.
The United States Marine Corps in World War ll (Vol. Two)
Compiled and edited by S.E. Smith My how things change, Marines still bleed and die and other Americans only dimly care.
T48 57 mm
Enclosed is a picture of 1 of 6 vehicles I restored in USMC. The one pictured is a version of the T48 with a licensed 57 m/m A.T. gun. The day we shoot this will be a 1st since WWII in the U.S.
My Greatest Marine
My Greatest Marine; SSgt. R.J. Spencer.
Without SSgt. R.J. Spencer, the list of people that returned from VietNam would be a lot fewer. I met SSgt Spencer, - 10 November 1969. Camp Pendleton. The day we commenced Training and every day and night after that until Graduation, 8 January 1970.
From day One SSgt Spencer was up and working. He started early and worked late. The harder he worked, the harder we worked. We knew early that he expected the best and only the best. The challenges kept getting harder and more challenging. Win one and head for more PT. Win the second test and it all doubled more PT. Never relaxing, he pushed harder and harder with every test. "If you think its hard now". How can you be ready for the unknown? How can you be strong enough for the next test? Can you reach deep down inside your gut to make it happen? Can you do it? Can we you count on you to do it? You are our only chance. If you don't think you can do it, tell me now.
We only get one chance. Can you do it? Can you do it? Sir, Yes Sir. The private will complete the mission! And though it all, he was the one man that sixty four new Marines would have followed to "H&LL and BACK". His results - Honor Platoon 2200 -Leather Neck Magazine - First place winners on every event.
After Graduation I shook his hand and thanked him for teaching me how strong I needed, to be a MARINE, and the challenges that lay ahead.
After completing my training and heading for Viet Nam I joined a small group of men that said, Third Marine Amphibious Force. Better known as C.A,P.Marines - Combined Action Platoons. A Mobile unit of thirteen Marines and a Navy Corpsman .
From September 13 -1970 to May first 1971 We had more than five hundred and fifty, Patrols and Ambushes. We helped build one school and ten Civilian homes. ....and none of this could have been done without the help and guidance of .....SSgt. R.J. SPENCER
Thank you SSgt R.J. Spencer, where ever you are!
me in Vietnam, I was with CAP Platoons-2-7-6 & 2-7-8.wounded and retired out of the Corps. 1 sept.1971.
L/Cpl guy melton(ret)
Greetings Sgt Grit
Somehow my wife became involved, and my Sgt Grit Book got thrown in the leaf burn barrel. I go to check on my fire, and there is Sgt Grit blazin' away. I had to dive in to save him, burned all the hair off my arms.
I thought to myself I get mixed up with the Marines again and look at me.
I found out about you from a Marine I met and complimented him. He asked me where I lived. The next day he brought me one of your books and I am in business now. I give them to my friends and they thank me much.
When I was a boot I didn't believe in Once Always, but I see it every day now. Keep it up. OOHRAH
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Seeing pictures and reading about the DaNang Ammo Dump, really brought back memories.
I was serving as a forklift driver at an ammo dump near DaNang in 1969. A fire broke out during a slow afternoon and we were instructed to leave the dump site.
Well, in no time at all the fireworks started and lasted most the afternoon, evening and that night. We three forklift drivers spent the night on a hill with an artillery battery. We watched and heard many explosions. I swear I saw a truck raise into the air.
I admit I cannot remember the date, but it had to be mid to late 1969, because I was still a day driver where later switched to night mechanic. I do remember being upset about losing a James Brown album.
Camp Books, DaNang, Vietnam
Dear Sgt. Grit,
What I'm about to tell you is an unusual but a true tale. When I received your catalog and turned to page 135, I was shocked beyond belief!
I did not know of the star symbol for the Chosin Few. I had never heard of it. I've been in Aerospace Business in California and Florida since 61.
I joined the Corps on 18 April 48 and got out in 21 Jan 61. I served two tours in Korea, landed at Inchon, and went through the first tour including the Reservoir with Recon Co., HQBN, 1st MarDiv (I was the only non-volunteer).
What shocked me on page 135 was the star symbol and I'll explain: Recon Co. was the last to leave Kotori (except 5 or so tanks) at the top of the Funchilin Pass going down past the Threadway Bridge in the pass. That night I was ordered to drive a jeep and trailer with 5 or 6 wounded guys, with two in the jeep (in sleeping bags). None spoke the whole night. After midnight the bridge was blown or damaged so our column was halted.
- Here's the Kicker-
I sat in the running jeep @ -40F, fearing to turn it off. I watched to the east, above me, the face of a tall cliff, knowing the Chinese liked to throw down charges or grenades. But they didn't. Maybe they froze. I looked at the clear beautiful quiet peaceful sky, filled with beautiful stars. I never before or since saw such a beautiful starry-starry night. Then all of a sudden I realized I wasn't cold anymore and it was so beautiful, so beautiful. D*mn, I'm freezing to death! I jumped out of the jeep and stumbled and ran around the jeep and trailer until I was cold and miserable again. J
We made it down the pass that night and I met up with Recon Co. next morning. They tried to tell me I was a hero that night because I was clubbing 4 or 5 Chinese with my empty gun. It took me all morning to convince them that I was driving a jeep load of wounded and I wasn't the hero they were so proud of. Besides, I carried a bar and plenty of ammo.
I was a guy sitting in a freezing jeep while my angels were showing me the beautiful starry-starry night.
God Bless You and Thank You God.
Sgt. Herbert Hoover White
SN 667502 USMC
Recon Co. HQBN, 1st MarDiv.
Sarge, In you last letter Paul Tackes wrote "Remember the Rockpile"? He then wrote about the NVA holding up in the caves of the Razorback and having B-52's drive them out into the open. Yes Paul, I remember the Rockpile, and I have to tell you that I had a little better view of the B-52 raid than you did. Not only a better view, but a much safer view, (As long as the B-52's stayed on Target) and I have it all on film.
There were two teams on top of the Rockpile in those days totaling 8-12 men on any given day. One from 1st Radio BN and one from Recon with an occasional Artillery Observer or an Army "A" Team coming in or out pulling recon missions on the Razorback and the surrounding hills. No one told us that the B-52's were coming and as you know we were right next to the Razorback keeping an eye on the "Little People" with the ships binoculars we had up there on the LZ.
There were two passes by the B-52's and when watched on film you can see the initial blast and then the concussion waves raising up in circles of dirt and rock, (And I'm sure body parts) especially on the second run. I had the 8mm film put on DVD a few years back, and the quality of the film had deteriorated over the years, but it is still a sight to behold. For those of us who were there and had "Front Row Seats", it will always be in our memories. I'm sure you would like to see it again from a higher vantage point. I'm going to look into pulling just that part of the DVD and having it available to those Marines I have heard from over the years who remember it. Sgt. Grit can give you my e-mail and I will look into making it available for you.
S/Sgt T.B. Dudley
I have been reading and enjoying the Boot Camp stories, so I thought I would include one. We all know Marines are smart and that some are smarter than others. Well we had a guy in our platoon at P. I. that was really smart. I think he had said we had been the valedictorian of his high school graduating class. Anyway we are drilling on the grinder one day and this kid has two left feet, doesn't know his right from his left, a real Gomer Pyle.
One of the Drill Instructors has him doing push up's and is offering "encouragement", well the kid goes down and can not return to the ready position and D. I. is really giving it to him and the kid say "I can't do anymore, don't YOU understand" You can guess the Drill Instructors reaction to that, He tells the kid, do you love me! do know what a EWE is? The kid replied "A PRONOUN SIR! The platoon looses it, the Drill Instructor is speechless, he looks at us, he looks at the kid and realizes he's losing control, finally he just tells the kid to get back in formation. But from then on we had a new member of the platoon, Pvt. Pronoun.
Met My Beautiful Wife
I graduated High School in June of 1975, then reported to MCRD San Diego on 30 June 1975 for basic, platoon 2076. Too late for Vietnam. From there went to cook school at MCAS El Toro. After two years there, reenlisted for promotion to sergeant and choice of duty station. I spent the next four years at Marine Barracks Rota, Spain. The time I spent in the Corps were the best years of my life! Many times I have thought about where I would be now if I would have stayed in.
I met my beautiful wife while stationed in Rota, and we got married in Gibraltar; it'll be 30 years this coming August!
Thank you for the newsletters. Reading them really brings back the memories of people that I've served with.
Ken Miller, Staff Sergeant of Marines 1975 - 1981
Was in 1962 at Camp Matthews. Big agony and Little Agony. Doing a duck walk with your seabag on your shoulders. Down the hill "to the rear march" back up the hill. On and on it went.
Add also "lick'um and stick'um taste'um and paste'um" "Get a hold of 'um (targets) palms up. STAND BY TARGETS."
My senior DI was Sgt. Robert Cleary he later became the 10th SgtMaj of the Marine Corps.
If He reads your news letter Thank You for what you did for me. I don't know what I would have turned out to be if it wasn't for you
SgtMaj Jim Ploger
Mar. Det. U.S.S. Oklahoma City CLG-5
M-3-6 Camp Lejeune 62-66
To the WM who asked if there were any others out there, yes we are. I'm Anna (Ramirez) Grabill 86-93, and I'm still in touch with old friends from the Corps, Melissa (Whitney) Busby, Kim Supik, and Robin Lacombe. I know that female Marines don't like to be called WM's anymore, but I earned that title, and we Lady Leathernecks were fewer, prouder and considered ourselves special. Anyway it doesn't matter what we call ourselves, male Marines still refer to us as WM's. And it stuck.
Do or Do Not,
There is NO Try.
Behind the photos and motion picture of Marines in the Pacific and Iwo Jima, it is with sadness to report the passing of Colonel Herbert Schlossberg.
Colonel Schlossberg was the photo officer of the 4th Marine Division in the landing on Iwo Jima. The colonel was a key co- founder of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Assn., Los Angeles Chapter and founder of the Toys for Tots Celebrity Golf Tournament with celebrity host Kelsey Grammar.
The colonel and Joe Rosenthal (Iwo Jima flag raising) were close personal friends for many years following WWII.
Frank Lee (RVN, '67)
Vice President & Editor
U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Assn.
Los Angeles Chapter
To learn more about or to join the Marine Corps Combat
Correspondents Assn, please contact Frank Lee @
fl1946 @earthlink .net. or go to USMCCC.org.
DI Got Finished
GySgt Eastmade said he heard a story about a sailor going over the fence into MCRD.
Two years ago at a 3/4 reunion in GA I was talking to a Marine who was in the platoon that found the sailor. The sailor hid under some wash racks after going over the fence, and my friends platoon went over and were using them. Someone looked under the wash rack and found this poor misguided, misdirected boot hiding.
My friend said by the time their DI got finished with him his pants were wet without using the wash racks. My friend thought the sailor just went the WRONG way.
Monty Edson Cpl. '61-'64
I Salute All
I served from Jan 61 to Jan 69 and the WM'S were called BAM'S. Their barracks were referred to as The Bam Barracks. I know most of the older Marines know what that meant. Is the phrase still in use? It's been 40 years since I got outta the Corps and a lot of things have changed, but a BAM is probably is probably still a B---d A-- M----e. No disrespect intended. I salute all our women Marines. Old Corps and the Newbies. Hand Salute!
Bond. James Bond
I was a young PFC studying basic electronics and later telephonics ( that is, the principles of sound as it applies to telephone, teletype and switchboards) at MCRD, in San Diego, California.
Since leaving boot camp, my assignment had been to become a TTRS, Telephone, teletype and switchboard repairman, and I struggled with a bunch of other guys from all areas of America to serve God, Country and Corps ... AND put up with the nickname 'Clark' !
Well, one sunny afternoon, I was off-duty and downtown at the bus depot that like the USO was kind of an active hive for us when Charlie Weir's burlesque theater wasn't open. Well lo, and behold, but what should I feast my eyes on but a real live Superman T shirt! And apparently, it wasn't selling, because it was cheap. Now, I took a big chance, cause the Marine Corps is very specific about uniform priorities, but I went in the bathroom and put it on.
Upon return to the barracks, I strutted into the 'coagulation' area where all the wannabees hung out and true to form about half of them began with 'Hey Clark!' KNOWING they were immediately under my skin.
Well, I put on my war face. I flipped my cover (hat) onto the nearest rack and pulled off my tie and many of them began backing off to watch the fight, but when I ripped open my shirt and that bright red and blue 'S' on the famous symbol popped out. EVERYONE in the barracks lost it. I lost it and in the end, I yelled "My NAME is KENT !"
I would like to be able to tell you that this brought and end to my problem with the guys calling me 'Clark' but it really didn't. It ended when I got to Japan, but then another problem began. It was 1964 and James Bond mvies were all the rage, and someone in the office let it out that the last three digits in my SocSec no. are 007. "Bond. James Bond."
Kent. Kent Yates.
Sgt. United States Marine Corps
I have been reading the newsletter for some months now, and have not heard very much regarding Camp Matthews.
That was the rifle range we went to in late 63, we lived in tents, and were told by the DI's that this was where they got the most work done, cuz there were no reporters allowed in and the camp area was surrounded by big trees.
As I recall, at night when we were ready to turn in the DI would give the weather forecast for the night, and would inform us whether to roll the tent flaps up or down.
As scuttlebutt had it, there was a DI who would go out drinking, and come in in the wee hours of the morning, and yell for everyone to get up and roll the flaps down, cuz it looked like rain. Then after the flaps were down, and everyone was back in the rack. He would yell better get the flaps rolled up ain't no rain coming.
This would usually go on for three or four times, and then he would let us get back to sleep.
Ah, that too brings back another memory.
I remember one DI who would put us in bed, and then have us do facing movements while in the prone position.
And would not let us go to sleep until everyone was in sync.
"Get it together!"
That's right, the other thing I wanted to mention had to do with completing squad drill as a requirement for promotion to Corporal.
Your left, your left, your other left s/head!
most skosh green side out!
The Other Runner
I love reading the "Sea Stories" that my fellow Marines send in. I have a few myself, but thought I would mention this one. I was in Platoon 366 at MCRD San Diego and we were at Camp Matthews Rifle Range. Each day some of us were assigned duty at the Company Office as "Runners". I don't know why they specifically called us "Runners", because all recruits ran everywhere unless you were marching in formation.
I and another fellow from one of the other Platoons in our Series were sitting on the Runners Bench outside the Company office waiting for a message to deliver and just passing the time of day. I was glad to get a break from the harassment at the Range. The other Runner began griping about the Corps. I just sat there and listened as he vehemently dumped on the Corps in general and his Platoon and Drill Instructors specifically.
This went on for about five minutes. Suddenly the screen door or the office flew open and the company Commander, a Captain, stood there glaring at the hapless private. He ordered him to go back to the company area, pack up his Seabag and return in 5 minutes. The Captain went back inside and five minutes later the private returned. The Captain ordered me to hoist the Seabag up on my shoulder and he marched us over to the fence along the highway back to San Diego. He ordered me to throw the Seabag over the fence, and then he ordered the private to follow it. He said that he didn't want that ****bird in his Marine Corps. The Captain used a lot more colorful language to describe what he thought about the now AWOL Recruit. The last I saw of him he was walking over to the highway to hitch a ride back to San Diego. I was wondering what his chances were of getting there with so many current and retired Marines and other Service members driving along that stretch of road.
Needless to say I was a very impressed young Marine, and if I had any negative thoughts at all about the Marine Corps...I kept them to myself!
Ron Hoak Sgt. Air Detachment, V-1 Division, USS Princeton, 1961-63, HMM 770, "A" Co., Tank Bn. Camp Elliot
OooRah In The '60s
I just read an observation posted in the last Grit Newsletter in which two Marines had discussed the use or non-use - of OohRah, specifically in the '60s. I guess it depended on the unit you were in.
When I and three other Marines, Payne, Shleman, and Foy, went to Airborne training at Bennington before joining 3rd Recon in CA in October of '67, we used it frequently. As a matter of fact, the day we received our "blood wings", the ranking Army Officer at the drop of our final jump mentioned that we were the least vocal of any team he had had the pleasure of awarding wings to. Most had "oohrahed" so loudly no one could hear him as he addressed the graduates of the class.
While on base at Pendleton, many non-recon's would sound of an OohRah when meeting me. That all units weren't accustomed to the term and its sentiments is understandable. I am a bit saddened that today use of that term as well as Semper Fi are being discouraged by young officers and senior nco staff, as told to me by a member of 1st Recon just returning from his second tour in Iraq.
That display of esprit de Corps is just one more thing that sets the Marine apart from other service members. To me those expressions were and yet still are an outward show of our closeness and pride in who we are and for what we stand as an ongoing family of like-minded warriors, elite, selective, and few who will forever stand in front of the flag and those who stand behind it.
I will always greet other Marines with an OohRah or Semper Fi!
1967 - 1968
The 12 March newsletter I saw the heading ONTOS from Capt. Robert Bailey, Ret '67 that caught my eye. When I was on I&I staff of 1st Depot Supply Bn., USMCR in Norfolk, VA. The CO LtCol. John R Fields had me and another member go the Naval Base where a flatbed trailer truck and a driver met us at the rail yard to transport a vehicle to our MT garage.
When we found the rail car, which was parked next to a warehouse, inside the car was an ONTOS we had never heard of this vehicle. The only way to unload it was through the side door of the boxcar, the car was loaded through the end that had a door also.
The naval rail yard could not move the car so we had to unload from the side and drive through the warehouse to the flatbed. The two of us looked over the manual for about an hour then after much; much maneuvering we got it out and on the flatbed. First time I ever operated anything like that.
We used it one day for recruiting display at a football game at Norfolk State University. A few days later it disappeared I think Headquarters FMF Atlantic in Norfolk used it to evaluate its use for the Marine Corps. This was in 1954 - 55 or 56 not sure when.
1950 to 1959
The Spot On The Wall
Oh boy do I remember. They say that the Marine before you had it rougher than you and that's way we respect each other and our Officer's. They too went to Boot Camp just like all Marines .
I joined the Marine Corps January of 1953 in Fresno California And at that time we were promised one Day in San Francisco. We were put up in a hotel. The night before we left to San Francisco we went by train up the coast 180 miles first class sleeper and all we spent just like they promised us one whole day in San Francisco stuffing recruiting envelopes at the recruiting office one hour lunch. All we ever saw of San Francisco was around the block from the recruiting office. Those San Francisco blocks are long. Seems like it takes an hour to go around them. That evening we were put on the train gain first class sleeper and all and down the coast about 500 miles we arrived in San Diego about 8.00.
Then these funny looking Bus's came to pick us up they were included semi trailers with seats inside hooked up to a semi truck later I learn they were called "Cattle Trucks" we were treated real nice by the drivers we enjoyed the view the Bay and all the big Ships in the Harbor for some of us it was the first time we ever seen the ocean. We were only 17 and 18 years olds
They took us pass the gate and up to the front of this building, told us to get the h&ll of their bus's and inside this Building. AND ALL h&ll broke loose and MY WHOLE WORLD came apart. Inside there where drill instructors, one at each door, made us line up and look at the spot on the wall. And you guessed it, some one behind me asked "what spot?" and all I heard was some one being bang from wall to wall and some slapping. And guess what, all of sudden I started to see that spot on the wall.
Then it happen again about the spot on the wall. A drill instructor walked up to a recruit and asked him was he looking right at spot on the wall...Then the drill instructor said What spot? I don't see a spot. Are you lying to me? He said no sir. Then I start to hear someone being bang from wall to wall and being punch around. Then some one takes his eyes of that spot on the wall and looks to see what's happing and I start to hear some one being bang from wall to wall. Again some slapping and being punched after all the cussing nd being told about your mother not being your mother and about your new mother. They told us to fall out the back door and they were right there kicking everybody in the azs trying to find the back door.
We didn't know which was the back door We came in the front door and there were four doors and up to today I still will not tell any body that I did not see a spot on the Wall.
ERNIE GARCIA (Barnie Bare)
My View Point
I think I've got a good idea about Boot Camp. I went to San Diego (Hollywood) in the late summer of 67, platoon 1053. Three of the toughest DI's in the world, S/Sgt. Avillanoza, S/Sgt. Garcia and Sgt. Short. They were always tough and pushed us to the limit. I don't think I've ever been hit as hard as S/Sgt. Garcia hit me one day. He was shorter than me and I looked down at him, never did that again.
Did my 19 months in country and was looking forward to getting out. Our beloved Corps had a different idea though, DI school Parris Island. Graduated and spent from April of 70 to July of 71 with 3rd Recruit Battalion.
Now from my view point PI is where real Marines are made. San Diego has wonderful weather, very little sand and NO Sand Fleas. There is no nice weather, it's all sand and the island is covered with the fleas. I don't think there is a place on the island, except the grinder, that there is no fleas.
But a Marine is a Marine, the finest fighting machine the world has ever seen and it all starts at boot camp, either San Diego or Parris Island.
Sgt.67 to 71
1st Anti-Tank Battalion (Ontos)
1st Marine Division
I Pulled One
Korea dec 50 to dec 51 while on patrol, I think mar or April 51. we came upon an army unit that had been hit with napalm or ? friendly or enemy ? it was a convoy of about 1/2 doz trucks with guys still on the trucks and still burning a small creek maybe 25 ft away was full of bodies.(army us) I pulled one of the guys out of the stream bed, and as I did his dog tag came into my view, I don't remember the name but he was from Ogden, Utah me being from salt lake city Utah really got to me I have always wondered about what happened and unit it was never told anything.
Would like to hear from anyone knowing or being there at the time.
Bob Langford s/sgt USMC 50 to 54 semper fi
There were 2 different chow halls at mcrd,sand diego, one where all the recruits ate, and a separate one on east side of grinder where regular active duties ate. The naval training center is also located there, and while I was there in '78 the were re- modeling our primary chow hall, so mon-saturday we got hauled to chow in cattle cars, Sundays, we spent half our day just marching to and from the navy chow-hall, and you could get a western omelet there. But oh the fun we had sounding off on Sundays, usually a whole series at once, as we marched right thru the navy training barracks while they were all out enjoying their "day off". So maybe right picture, wrong mess hall. Thanks to the men today who keep our tradition alive. God Bless the United States and her Marine Corps.
Over the years I've often wondered if I dreamt ASP 1 going up. To read about it from other hands confirms I still have a few marbles left. I was with 1st MAW MWHG1 MWCS1 next to the fleet post office working out of the comm center. I had the day off when the sound of what I thought was small arms. I was wondering why we hadn't gone into condition 2 when either a thousand or 2 thousand pounder went off. It ripped my netting and a small fan away from my rack, dust was every where, I was scrambling to get dressed. Everyone was scrambling it looked like organized chaos everywhere.
In the comm center equipment was bouncing off shelves, the ceiling was falling down and everyone had on flak jackets and helmets. I watched a spotter plane above the fray circling over the explosions until another large bomb went off completely enveloping it in a cloud, it finally emerged climbing for all the altitude it could get. The shock waves would hit buildings the Seabees built causing the leading side to blow in and the far side to blow out. I watched a jeep bounce off the ground, later when I measured what I thought was a landmark that indicated how high the jeep went it measured 22 inches.
Pat Corrie, SGT, 67-71
In response to Cpl. Hlava question about the FSSG.
I was with the 1st FSSG from 1984-1985 and then with BSSG from 85 to 87.
Also did some reserve time with the Wing. The FSSG (Force Service Support Group) And BSSG (Brigade Service Support Group) are just that, support for the grunts. 1st FSSG is not part of the 1st Mar Div, but it supports it.
Anyway, every Marine has a job, but every Marine is a rifleman first. I hope this clarifies your question. Semper Fi,
Sgt. Ed DeVoe
1st Landing Support Battalion
Brigade Service Support Group-1
As most former Marines who grew to love the Corps after Boot Camp I was very interested in the message from MSgt. Herbert L. Shaw in the newsletter dated 3/11/2009.
Our group from Chicago arrived at Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego, 31 Oct. 1958 Halloween Night, (trick or treat) and from Receiving Barracks were formed into Plt.1108. We were picked up by three Drill Instructors, one of which I will NEVER forget, His name was SSgt. Pope, and before the night was over, I would owe him 1OOO pushups, with the promise that I would never graduate if he did not get them.
This all began when after falling asleep on an empty bunk in the middle of the night, I was rudely awakened, rushed out to the street, and found my platoon members filling out tags to send home their Civilian Clothes. I approached D.I. Pope stating "Sir, I didn't get a tag for my bag Sir." This was immediately followed by a palm to my right eye with the repeated question if this was the eye to which I was referring.
Then in a nose to nose conversation at octave level 20 The Private was informed that the proper way to speak to the Drill Instructor was to first ask permission to speak the following phrase."Sir, Private whatever your name is requests permission to speak""NOW SAY IT". well, Private Streske responded, "Sir Private Whatever your name is requests permission to speak Sir" Ergo the 1OOO pushups. With the promise that I had better remember the count, because he would.
As it turned out, SSgt.Pope was not our regular Drill Instructor but was assigned to another platoon in our series, and every time we met, the Private had to drop and crank out those pushups all the while remembering the count.
On shining those brown boots and boondockers, we found that the small bottle of "EmNew", used to color the Marine Corps Emblems, had flat edges on the bottle bottom which worked very nicely.
In closing, the MSgt. must have had an amazing 12 weeks at MCRD in 1958 if he never witnessed any encouragement because it was due to the fact that I knew that having been raised without a Father Figure it was the Discipline and rigorous Training that made me the Marine and ultimately the Police Officer that I became.
Sgt. Marvin S. Streske 1839403
Russian Bear Bombers
Dear Sgt Grit
In 1983 I was TAD'd from H&MS16 Avionics to HMM-163 for deployment on the USS Peleliu. We conducted the first amphibious operation in the Aleutian Islands since WWII at Amchitku Island . While we were up there, Russian Bear bombers came over and circled us for awhile. We had no way of escorting them away, so they just kept circling, We were taking pictures of them, and we could see the crews of the Bear's taking pictures of us.
Finally, we started to get p!ssed about it. Next thing you know, there's several hundred Marines and sailors standing on the flight deck of the Peleliu giving the Russians the finger and hollering expletives at them.
They finally flew away, I guess they got the message.
Never Be Totally Erased
I've been a long time reader of this "outstanding" newsletter. Normally I just read and can only remember once where I replied but there are several letters in the 12 Mar 2009 edition that caused me to send my second email.
To R.J. Boyle: I don't know exactly how or what you meant by your statement, "but would never put up with their sh-t again" in reference to your DI's but it didn't sit well with me. If you choose to reply let us know how long you served and your rank when you left. My thought is you didn't particularly like your tour in our Corps.
To Gary L. White: You said that there was a "dumpster near the latrine". In September 1965 I was at PI and we didn't have a "latrine" and I'm sure if anyone in my platoon (290) called the 'head' a "latrine", SSGT Lanthier, SGT Starrett or SGT Kehoe would have immediately and strongly instructed the recruit as to its correct name.
To Earl McDowell: I did two tours at Camp Elmore, Norfolk, VA, 1971-72 and again 1981-85 where I retired. I don't know if it qualifies as the "smallest base" but I do remember that the front and back gates faced each other and if you stood half way in-between you could hit each 'guard shack' with a baseball. My 2 tours at Elmore rank right at the top of my favorite duty stations, just behind FMFPAC Camp Smith, HI and MCB Quantico, VA. In 1995 while traveling I stopped to see what Camp Elmore looked like. Sadly to my surprise I found only the Marine Corps PX. FMFLANT had moved to Camp Lejeune and all of the buildings, Supply, MT, Mess Hall and my old section, FMFLANT Repro, had been leveled. I did find the asphalt parking spaces in from of what used to be FMFLANT Repro building and could faintly read the faded yellow letters, "OIC Repro". Something's can never be totally erased!
That's all I have to say and for some it's probably too much!
CWO-3 USMC - Retired
And Don't Plan On
A posting on your last newsletter titled "old ralphie" brought back a memory from 1961. Our battalion boarded the APA "Pickaway" in San Diego and headed for Okinawa. My MOS was 2533, radio telegraph operator. So on the way to Okinawa, we Marines were assigned to sit in the ship's radio room and listen to and write down morse code messages. There were two sailors in the room with me. Well, the radio room was extremely confined and hot from all the radio equipment. This was bad enough, but the ship was rolling and I met old ralphie. The sailors laughed as I filled the waste baskets with whatever I had eaten at chow. Have never been on a civilian cruise ship and don't plan on being on one anytime soon.
Go Down To The Butts
There's an anecdotal story back in the mid-50s that the then Commandant of the Marine Corps made a 'state visit' to MCRD Parris Island and wanted to go down to the butts to observe recruits pulling targets. During a reasonably quiet period of slow fire he supposedly asked a recruit "How are you doing son, licking and sticking?" "No sir," the recruit immediately replied, "tasting and pasting."
A companion story of the time was that the son of a 'famous' network newscaster while at the range and pulling targets, got too curious about what it looked like back on the firing line. He sorta did a chin-up to peek over the berm and took a round between the running lights. They say the sh1t really did hit the rotating blades!
'56 to '78 (which I hear that current day Marines now believe to
be the old Corps)
Last Thing Standing
In two short years from 1968 through 1970, I had the privilege of serving with every U.S. Marine Division except the 4th Division (which I understood at that time was reserved for Reservists). I was a field radio operator with the 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune (2nd Division); then the 11th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam (3rd Division Reinforced); then Delta 1/26 detached from Alpha Battery 1/13 (5th Division); then Mike 3/7 detached from Golf Battery 3/11 (1st Division). After Vietnam I was assigned to 2nd Recon Battalion back at Camp Lejeune where I was honorably discharged as an E-4 in 1970.
I believe my AN/PRC-25 radio & long-range antenna was the last thing standing at Camp Carroll near the Rockpile in September - October, 1969 when the 11th Engineers destroyed LZ Stud and Charlie Med and other icons of USMC presence in Northern I Corps.
Grunts from Golf 2/3 provided security for us as we blew up and dismantled our former bases and pulled back along Route 9 to Dong Ha. This was the beginning of the "Vietnamization" process initiated by President Nixon (which as we now know did not work out so well).
I hope to go back some day and re-visit the area with other former Marines.
I had some close calls but returned unscathed for which I am most grateful.
I will always be proud of my service with the US Marines - both Stateside and in the 'Nam. I believe we all served with honor and the best intentions.
Ken Ulrich #2464584
Range Lingo, Again
In response to Cpl Peter Stein's inquiry about range lingo, one that comes to mind is "Keep bolts open behind the firing line". And, God help the recruit that violated this order! Another was, "hold 'em and squeeze 'em!"
I went through boot camp at P.I., October 22, 1954-January 18, 1955. Platoon 437. We had 2 section leaders. I haven't heard any mention of section leaders in anybody recollections of boot camp. The DI's chose two recruits for section leader. And, we asked our DI's if we bought dress blues, could we graduate in them.
They were impressed by this and allowed us to graduate in them. General E.A. Pollock was the CG at P.I. then and he came out and congratulated us and told us he was glad we had wanted dress blues as our graduation uniform.
We were a "gungy" bunch!
When we qualified with the M-1, we shot 200 yards, off hand, 300 yard, sitting and kneeling, 300 yards, rapid fire, prone and 500 yards, slow fire, prone. Is this correct? I wish somebody would tell me. Anybody out there remember?
I had a range coach, a corporal whose name I can't remember, who called me "Rebel". When we were firing prior to qualification, he walk up and down the line when we started firing "sitting and kneeling at 300 yards" and say, "I got $5 on the Rebel" Anybody want some? I always won for him.
Our DI's were S/Sgt. Plevyak, SDI, S/Sgt. Conklin, JDI, S/Sgt. Kaczynski, JDI, and Sgt. Chism, JDI.
I sure would like to get in contact with any of my old platoon members and my Drill Instructors.
David E. Tyre...Jesup, GA...Sgt of Marines...Semper Fi!
In your 12 Mar 2009 Newsletter Cpl. Peter Stein asks if anyone can remember any words or phrases to add to his list about Range Lingo.
How about these:
and, what I believe was my introduction to military acronyms:
BASS- Breathe, Aim, Slack, Squeeze
Cpl. Kirk James, Plt 317, Mar-Jun '59 PISC MOS 0341, 2/8 & 1/22, 81MM Mortars, 2dMARDIV, Camp Lejeune, NC
As The Ship
I enjoyed a one day cruise on a carrier out of Long Beach in about 1960, as a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers).
As the ship came into port a young Marine marched out, took down the crew flag and hoisted the US flag. When it unfurled, it was upside down! There were about a hundred of us civilians on the flight deck watching as the youngster stood there, frozen. Soon, from the Island, came marching a sergeant. Years later, I still feel sorry for that kid.
John Hill, Sgt. 1942-1946
P.S. why don't we hear more from WWII guys? We are not all gone.
December 1966 I was a replacement for a recruit that had broke his leg. I arrived at P.I. around 2 a.m. and got off the bus at the front gate. Yhe MP's put me in a pickup truck and transported me to receiving. There I am sitting in the back of the truck, when I hear, "Get you're azs out of there NOW and on these footprints!" I looked around and saw the Receiving D.I. standing there, hands on hips, smoky on head. I jumped down and ran to the footprints. The D.I. said to no one in particular, something about "They got me up for this piece of sh-t?" The D.I. then had me enter the building and go to box ???(can't remember the number). The box is where we emptied our pockets. I was running up and down the rows, looking for the correct box. I couldn't find it and the D.I. was standing next to it. And in his "special" way, he directed me to him. It seemed like hours before he finally put me in a squad bay and told me to lay down, keep my mouth shut and go to sleep (which I did.) It felt like my eyes has just closed, when the lights came on, and another day in the Corps began.
Sgt. Chuck Spencer
RVN 1968 -1970
It Was Mayhem
I was on PI in July 18th of 1958. I can assure you there were no yellow footprints. But we sat in Recruit Receiving and our Senior DI Technical Sergeant Laymance, came and signed for us. Then he came in to where we were sitting and eyeballed every one of us individually. Scary. Then he said, When I give the word, I want you out the door behind me on the double and then he said move out. Well, 72 scared a...holes stormed out the door only to be met by a buck sergeant, Sgt Roberts, saying "where the h&ll do you think you're going" and then he made us move to the street where Laymance had materialized and they got us in formation. It was mayhem. And then we marched off to the barber and showers, uniforms, etc. A h&ll of a day!
At first we had just two DI's and then we picked up Staff Sgt. DeAngelo. He was a OK, but could be heavy handed. I may have seen him smack a certain Pvt around when we were waiting to go to the PX at the range. Of course, I could be wrong, but seem to recall that the Pvt got the s... kicked out of him and never a mark on his body. He (Sgt D) was with us for most of our tour there, but then he got his own platoon. Later some Pvt told the chaplain that Sgt D. had hit him. An officer came to our barracks and asked if Sgt D had ever hit us. One by one he asked us. Our Sr. D.I said to tell the truth before the officer asked us. No one including a certain private said that we had ever been struck by Sgt D. It must have been a dream!
It was summer of 1958 and only regulars got battle jackets. I was a reservist and didn't get one. I always wished I had one. They were great.
And finally, I could be wrong, but I think yo