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This story is sent from a friend of mine.
A while back I was having the usual debate between a friend on the Parris Island Vs. The Hollywood Marine and which was better. After a little bit my friend noticed a picture nearby of the flag raising on Iwo Jima and said, "You see that there? Those guys were ALL Hollywood Marines!"
Without missing a beat I replied "Of course they are, only Hollywood Marines would stop to pose for a picture in the middle of a battle!"
Big Bob Kirby
In This Issue:
I am always surprised how a seemingly simple question or story will spark a massive stream of stories. M-1 to M-14 is one of those questions.
Cpl Jack Dufour asked the simple question when did the M-14 get introduced at Parris Island. What follows is an outstanding array of answers with great secondary stories. Soooo....this newsletter is longer than usual, but it is very interesting reading.
A reminder of the Sgt Grit Facebook football score contest we have weekly.
And the two pictures of the day on the Sgt Grit Blog are gaining a lot of interest. They come from pictures you have sent in over the years for various contests or request we have made. Great photos of Marines doing their thing.
Fair winds and following seas.
Hey Sgt Grit, Found this picture of me as a radio-telegraph operator (MOS2533) in Korea in 1953-54. I was stationed at K-3 airbase with the 1st MAW at Pohang Dong which was about 40 miles north of Pusan . Note the painted on stripes...that's how we did it in those days way before the collar pin-ons today.
Happy 235th and Semper Fi!
Jack Strumpf 1366077
Platoon 2020, San Diego...summer 1967...2-morrow is "Qual" day with the M-14. The DI, Sgt. Parrish, says to the assembled platoon "All of you Maggots WILL qualify 2-morrow & to make sure you "squeeze" the trigger and not "jerk" it...
I got a little somethin' for ya!" He put us "At Ease" and as he positioned himself in front of each and every recruit we were to snap to attention and extend our hand/trigger finger...He then took the razorblade he held and made a diagonal slash on the extended digit...He was right (but of course all drill instructors are always right) we all qualified and we all remembered to squeeze the trigger!
Marine Corps boot camp should be mandatory for all 19 year olds... If everyone in our country had the discipline and respect that is acquired during that intense training period our whole nation would benefit..."Semper Fi"
Sgt. Bob Malone
Tipped Me Over
During my tour at Camp Mathews in 1956 I looked forward to the rifle range. We had been issued brand new M1's. I had grown up hunting with a 03 Winchester autoloader 22 and knew how to shoot. My big problem was that I could not get into the positions that the range instructor required. My left shoulder would not go under the rifle and stuck out to the side.
I think it was from a old college wrestling injury. One day the range officer came by and said "Get that arm in the correct position! Then he stuck his duty stick in and tried to twist me into position, which just tipped me over. Perhaps he gave up on me. Well during the pre-qualification, I was able to score in the high 230's which put me at the top of our company.
We had put money into a pool to win an electric iron. On qualification day I started out with standing at 100 yds and had 9 out of 10 bulls. Moving back, for some reason I forgot to adjust my sights and started missing. I had to use "Kentucky windage" instead. My rifle instructor was really teed off, since I was by far his best student.
Well, going back to the 500 the pressure was really on, as I needed a lot of bulls. I shot 8 out of 10 ending up with a 224 score which qualified as expert and winning the electric iron. Nether of our three DI's was a expert. Moving on to Camp Pendleton, they took away my MI and issued me a BAR.
Richard Green Cpl USMC 1619850
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am proud of my Marine! My Husband is a Sgt. in the Marine Corps that has been in for 7 years. Last year he was selected for the MECEP (Marine enlisted commissioning education program) Currently he is attending school at the University of Notre Dame to earn his degree and become a prior enlisted officer of the Corps.
Here are a few pictures from this year's Birthday ball. a couple of him carrying in the cake with some other ROTC personnel that will also eventually be officers of the Corps. Along with a picture of us as well! Enjoy! Also, Happy Birthday Devil! and Semper Fi!
Sgt. Grit thought you might like to see just how it really was for the so called "Hollywood" Marines at MCRD San Diego, CA back in the "olden days" of the Old Corps. This photo was shot by a Leatherneck Photographer, "Red" Carpenter I believe, in June of 1953. SD Marines on parade after sunset. Take a real close look.
What you "think" are "blurred cars" are in fact the result of a double exposure that was made to produce the Photo. The parade was shot in the afternoon and later, the camera was not moved, the shot of the street lights and the lights of San Diego was made on the same piece of film. Neat?, for the time anyway.
GySgt William "Bill" Beasley USMC Ret.
Outstanding Music and Photo Video
This is from a Facebook friend. Tribute Video Thank you.
Marine Afghanistan Graffiti and Sgt Grit
A Compliment To Be Copied...
Sgt Grit t-shirt design
Marine Graffiti in Afghanistan
The NEW Marines Hymn
I've had this for over 30 years. You "Hollywood" Marines just wouldn't understand!
OOOHHH-RRRAAAHH! Semper Fi!
Sgt. Blake Boyles USMC (1981-1989)
With His Fist
Sgt. Grit, I was in Platoon 199 PI in 1968. It was in July and we were a-s-hole to belly button in the noon chow line. Of course it was hot and we had T shirts on.
Mosquitoes were a constant annoyance and we were not allowed to swat them of course, because they were Marine mosquitoes and they had to eat too. Anyway, a large horsefly lit on my left shoulder, and I knew what was coming. He bit right through the sleeve and it made me sweat even more.
There was a DI from another platoon standing a few feet away and I could see him watching the horse fly out of my peripheral vision. He was also watching to see if I moved or looked at him. Eyes straight ahead, I didn't. He walked over to me and said, "Is that horse fly bothering you private?" I answered "No sir." He said, "Would you like me to get him?" YES SIR! He hit that horse fly with his fist and mashed him into the sleeve.
I said, "Thank you sir!" His reply was, "Don't thank me private, it's my job."
Mark Ryalls 2481395
NOV 1950, 1st recruit trng bn, MCRD PI, DI Sgt Hudson. Second floor "Condo" at bitter end of Bn overlooking the sands bordering natures preserve, i.e. sand fleas, snakes and occasional raccoon plus who knows what else. Squashed one of the lovely little critters while attempting removal from a very private body part. Ordered to report to DI's room after evening chow for discussion as to benefits derived from said little critters.
Well, during the discourse, DI promised that should another of the little critters go to the great beyond as a result of my actions, I would be required to demonstrate the proper way to square the grinder at quick step while carrying my rifle at port arms. With brain disengaged and foot in mouth I replied, SIR, I can do the deed as long as you call cadence for me, SIR. Whew, I tell you, that Sgt could call cadence like no other I've ever heard.
Capt Fred M Lewis, Ret
Favorite For Snipers
Some interesting stories here about weapons. I enlisted in 1942 and was issued the Springfield 03 bolt action for my first time qualification Sharp Shooter. The 03 bolt action was too slow for rapid fire.
Later qualified Expert with the M1 rifle. It was much faster than the 03 bolt action and had a couple more rounds. Oh what a field day the first time we used it against the enemy. They would count the 1st five rounds and then step out in front of us when we had 2 rounds left. Finally they caught on and it became a whole new event. The ones who served during that time will know from where I come.
However, the 03 was the favorite for snipers at longer distances. Those old WW2 Vets will know what I mean with this comment. That all happened so long ago. Looking for comments from those old WW2 Vets from my days in the Corps. I'm certain the weapons later improved, but I enjoy reminiscing back to those earlier days.
Sgt. Marion B. Stults, USMC, SN 450010, WW2 Vet.
M-1 to M-14
For Cpl. Jack Dufour, who asked which PI platoon was first issued the M-14. The series 381-384, 3rd Bn. was formed October 9-11, 1961. We were issued the brand new M-14 rifles.
B. R. Whipple, Sgt. 1961-66
Cpl Jack Dufour 2003491 1962 - 1965, I was in plt 183, we got to PI Oct. 17th 1961 & we were one of the first plt's to get the M-14. Our DI'S were Cpl Snogles, Sgt Henry & our Sr. DI was SSGT Patton. We Graduated Jan. 2nd 1962. I am now looking to buy one because I still think it was one of the best rifles we had.
Cpl G.D. Sprenkle 1967292 1961 - 1966
It was interesting to read about the first platoon to receive and use the M14 in boot camp. I entered the Corps in January 1957, and, naturally I was issued an M1. I kept that same rifle for most of the three years I was in the Corps. It followed me from San Diego, to Camp Pendleton, and then to Okinawa. When I rotated back to the states in December 1959, I turned in my old friend before I left the "Rock".
I was surprised to read that those new Marines didn't keep their M14s when they left boot camp. I was also surprised to read that someone who went through boot camp two years after I did had a "saltier" serial number.
A couple of years ago while visiting a friend in Manistee, Michigan, I met the widow of the man who invented the M16. She was a very nice lady albeit quite wealthy. During the Fourth of July parade there, she became misty eyed when she saw a soldier carrying an M16.
It is good to read the stories of the guys who served in all the various eras, but my favorites are the stories of the pre- Iraq/Afghanistan Marines. Those young guys are doing a terrific job over there, but I have trouble relating to all the smart weapons they have at their disposal.
God Bless all who served.
James V. Merl
Many more M-1 to M-14 stories
Having just read this in the latest mail from Sgt Grit, I've always spelled it "Shute", but there are those that use "Shoot"...I explained that the museum at Parris Island has a photo on the wall and it clearly states "Slop Shute"...
Grandle Starling Cpl E4
Platoon 207 "K" Company
April 24, 1959, Parris Island
A Marine commented about elbows and toes. At the Island we called that "watching TV" The recruit had a four pt stance. Elbows on the deck and toes on the deck the rest of the body suspended in air. If the DI wished we also allowed them to change channels, you got it, they reached out with one hand and changed the channel remaining in a three pt stance until the DI got tired of watching. BTW what is the statute of limitations?
Read Malones story about elbows and toes. We had a DI that came from Recon (SGT Glen) who used this all the time as mass punishment. He called it watching TV. He would walk into the squad bay and yell OK girls we are going to watch TV. We all hated it.
PI 1961 Plt 209 2nd Bn C Com.
Cpl M.R. Miller
1st MAW 62, 2nd MAW 63-65
I always enjoy reading your email. I especially liked your reference to Corpsmen. I enjoy paying for their lunches on Marine Corps Birthday. Others might like to do that, too.
Senior drill instructor SSGT. C C Bryant. Other DI included SSGT Alvin Veasy and SSGT "foul mouth" Baker. We never knew his first name. Also had a psycho DI named Hanschumaker who thankfully got re-assigned.
Cpl John J Rooney 1990868 1962 - 1966.
It is my sad duty to report the passing of one of our brothers and Iwo Jima survivor. Sgt Robert Day Transferred to the Pearly Gate detail on 10/24/2010, with his loving wife Joan by his side. Farewell Marine, job well done! May you rest in peace with all Marines that have gone before. You have set the example for the rest of us to follow. "Semper Fidelis".
Colorado River Chapter
1st Marine Division Assoc.
Hey Sgt Grit
In respond to l/cpl Jenkins I also joined the Corps at a young age, also I didn't have anyone to tell me what to expect. I joined to keep up the tradition of the Corps my uncle did 2 tours in nam he is an 0311. So anyway all this happened in 1968 Oct. Plt 1110. Training was hard and those drill instructors showed no mercy. I was king rat and also spent time atop wall lockers in and out. Anyway to make a long story short l/cpl Jenkins don't feel bad been there done that.
Sgt R. Reyes 2469308
The way it was told to us was bends & thrusts till the ambulance comes. Parris Island Class of ' 71
On the back page of the first section of the Salt Lake Tribune, November 11th 2010 is a full page color ad from Korea. It is page A16.
I cannot remember any other country ever thanking the United States of America for saving their a-s.
WHAT a GREAT FEELING that ONE COUNTRY CARES! Korea!
I realize this is a bit too late for the letter, but in 1962 I earned my first 'Meritorious Commendation' (for which there was no medal then) for the Marine Ball banner I made for the C&E Battalion, MCRD San Diego, Cal. celebration of the 187th birthday ball. I turned 19 five days later.
On November 9, 1965 I was drafted in Marines and on that day was the major East coast blackout. We were stranded in Hartford Ct until the next day when we arrived in Parris Island and found out it was the Birthday of the Marine Corps and again we stayed in the barracks and did nothing. 2 days in the Marines and did nothing but sit around. We were all joking and laughing and said this is a piece of cake. Well Nov 11th came around and how wrong we all were.
Peter Sfreddo 2186475
Hello again Sgt. Grit, in your last post #239, Criss Morgan - 67-71 claimed that the nick-names of the battalions at PI were Blood Alley for the 1st, Twilight Zone for the 2nd, and Disneyland for the third.
In 1965, when I went through PI the 1st was known as The Blood and Guts Battalion and the other two as Criss stated. I just wonder had it changed since 65?
Semper Fi, Cpl. of Marines, Paul A. McNally - 2121897
It's amazing what kind of poem will make an old Nam Vet shed a tear...Thanks Grit
I am writing to express my deepest gratitude of what you do and what you have made possible to you and all the brothers and sisters of the Corps, only we can know what I mean by that. I am currently at the Emergency room because I got so pumped up that I tried to do squat thrusts!--- Just Kidding I do appreciate your web site and have begun to read the stories and will add some of my own.
Forever Semper Fi
LCPL Mike St. Martin
To all of the Marines that graduated from platoon 3017, May 29 1981, our 30 year anniversary is next year. I wonder how many of us there are left to meet back at PISC? Contact me and let's see if we can all meet up with our wives or girlfriends for a graduation ceremony. I also plan on visiting Drill Instructor School if I make it back there next summer. I graduated from that elite school in Sept 1989.
barnesrobert94 @ yahoo .com
Robert R. Barnes
Dirtiest, Unkempt, Undisciplined
It was 2004 Oct. and the new 22d MEU was reforming for build ups. Our first Assignment was CAX In 29 palms California 6 months out there to support the training of everyone From Lejeune heading to Iraq. SO here we are the Marines none of the other units wanted whether it was because of inexperience or just unliked (usually because we didn't take sh-t from ANYONE). So the bottom of the barrel, so to speak.
Needless to say we had plenty of problems and plenty of fights but as time grew on we became friends by the time our stent was done in California. Then the build ups started for our unit to train for our deployment. Everywhere we went we were the dirtiest most unkempt and seemingly the most undisciplined of the entire Marine Corps. The misguided of the Misguided.
Surprisingly enough though we were proud of that fact because we knew we were Marines. That being said though We were the Best at what we did! If it was motor T We could put Nascar drivers to shame. When it was MPs no one could execute any security op. better. Engineers Could out work any laborer here or abroad, in their own trade! Supply always had what we needed and we never went without and if you were on a convoy, with one of them on the turret, it was as safe as the most well trained 0351 having your back.
I may exaggerate but very a little. As for ammo techs they were the misfits of the misfits but there was none better to have in any kind of fight anywhere and with anyone. Our leaders were the best in the Corps, although there were times when we would have said different, but to put up with us and still keep their heads on the mission was outstanding.
So here we were fighting for our country with a smile on our faces never a dull moment. By the time we were done with our deployment we were Brothers and fought and did our job with Flying colors. We are friends. We are Brothers. We are Marines!
Semper Fi 22d MEU
I just wanted to write you tell you how much I enjoy your news letter, I joined the Corps in 1989. I was in 3/5 Kilo Co Weapons Plt, while i was in it was the greatest time of my life I didn't know it then but it really was. I made friends that I will have forever.
Each year we take some kind of trip to catch up with each other this year we went the White River in Ark, the things we remember when we are together lol. Well anyway here is a pic of the Greatest Marines I know. Once again thanks for the news letter and keep up the good work.
Semper Fi Greg DeMara
Old Iron Mike
The Gunner Nile White here. I read every word of your column. Today's had a special. A sender referred to a Sgt Maj 'Iron Mike Mervoich'. I had the extreme pleasure of serving with him at Headquarters FMFPAC in 1963 at HQFMFPAC same time. The best of the best took over the old soldiers home to almost running the Viet Nam franchise, yes lt Gen Victor Krulak. Iron Mike was the H and S Battalion Sgt Maj, and being a ground pounder all his life had trouble coping with some of the young enlisted, both male and female, that were near and dear to the onslaught of some 200 new hand picked personnel by Gen Krulak.
They were all good men in their own right and knew of many, including some who worked for me, who worked 24 on and 24 on due to the situation of the transition and all. Yes old Iron Mike never was without a stogar in his jaw, and tough as he was he was, there to make sure that the prima danna stayed squared away. To remember when a young lad male or female works directly they can become near and dear to the CG.
Also at that time the FMFPAC Sgt Major was equal to Iron Mike - Of much different demeanor but also one of the finest men and a Marine I had ever served with under or whatever. He was Sergeant Major Bud Legrande. Iron Mike was sorta short of stature and bud was taller then I and I am/was 6 feet 4. These men and many other hand picked Colonels, LtCols and yes, even Majors and Capts had all been hand picked by Gen Brute; and he knew what he was doing.
I am eternally thankful to him, for he stopped me one day in a hallway and said, "you do not have enough rank he called HQMC" and a few days later I was a 'WO' As I was in daily contact with him due to the nature of my duties, he once asked me how I kept up? Replied, I had a Buck Sgt who had two years college and had dropped out to just pull his two years and out. He called him in and yes he was promoted on the spot Nelson.
I really admired Gen Krulak and had he ran the Viet Nam war versus the army stud it would have all been a lot different, for his tactics were to hit and run etc. I worked directly for some of the best men ever: Majors Carl Johannsen, Rocky Moroccdo, and had contact with 'G' officers all bird Colonels, who knew their stuff. and of course are all gone now.
I am 78 and have had blood cancer for over 10 years but have been retired 40 years as of 30 April this year. So am eternally grateful that I was permitted to have done my 20 and to have served with some of the finest men who ever put on a Marine Corps Uniform. If a 'Bob Schultz' picks up on this, yes you were special. Yep April Fools day and I departed for West Pack a few day.
To all Marines everywhere remember we are 235 years old and so God Bless the us and our united states marine corps. You too Sgt Grit, for without a doubt your 'blog' whatever is the best of the best.
Semper Fi Nile White CWO 2, USMC 1139517/099529
Apr 50 to Apr 70 and a 100 percent full medical.
MCRD SD 1950 Platoon 213
We never heard anything but numbers while on drill... well, they were supposed to be numbers, left or right and that's it, I never noticed when it happened but even those cadence call stopped and our boots (we wore boots only after the rifle range) were the cadence. We never needed reinforcement even on column or squads oblique, just out boot thuds.
That revelation came to me as out platoon was marched for final shots. We just completed a Column Right on a tree lined street with the hospital stairs cluttered with a gaggle of boots about 100 feet ahead. The DI with the boots said some like "Well t-rds, this is what Marines look like" as he pointed us out to those green tag spotted utes rabble.
We fell apart. US! Look like Marines! Holy Sh-t! Then came the sound we hadn't heard in weeks "leff, rite, leff..." And we came back to earth. Marines.
We never sang. Never. And I think that's the way it should be. I cringe when I hear that babble, it just doesn't seem right. It's something the army would do.
Cpl of Marines
Say Sgt Grit, Have to say your site is great and look forward to it every month! I was a young L/Cpl serving in the 3rd.155mm gun btry.(SP) just north of DaNang at the N.A.C... It was Xmas day 1968 and we had a special formation and all the troops got "goodie bags" and Christmas cards from school kids back home.
After formation we all had a nice dinner from soup to nuts! The picture is me and the guys from M.T. section with our gifts. also a copy of the menu for the meal. Keep up the great work and SEMPER FI.
L/Cpl. Ed Kirby
3rd 155/175 gun btry (SP)
Dry Would Have Been Nice
I enjoyed Doc Ware's story about Thanksgiving in the Que Son/ Chu Lai area. I agree with his sentiments exactly but could not have expressed them so well.
I arrived in Nam in October, 1967 and my first recon patrol was in the Que Son mountains. I had gotten out of shape working at Camp Pendleton Navy Hospital and was a total disaster on a hot, up and down patrol. My stateside smooth bottom boots didn't help and my new team members had me over pack on everything. Sort of standard FNG orientation. Thank God SSgt Fryman, later meritorious gunny and Navy Cross, gave me another chance and got me started on the running that had me marathoning into my 40's. Finally got jungle boots when a Sgt with small feet was wounded and rotated home.
I digress. My Thanksgiving patrol was sort of a moving OP on the ridge paralleling Antenna Valley. A very unpopular Sgt stepped on a box mine but it had deteriorated and only partially exploded. Got his attention.
When I was sent with this Sgt and another Marine to check out an LZ for extraction, he first sent me into the open area. I played dumb and began checking out the edges. He then sent the PFC, who followed my example and checked out the other edge of the zone. Reassured, he then walked boldly into the middle. You guessed it; a second box mine that sent all three of us airborne and mud splattered. Again partial ignition and only a minor shrapnel wound and a sprained ankle for the Sgt. The Sgt decided he had deeply personal and family reasons to cut short his tour, and I never saw him after that week.
My memorable dinner involved some orange juice concentrate my parents sent. Several of us opened a turkey loaf C, heated it with C-4, and drizzled the juice over the top. With B-4 crackers it was actually quite tasty. Dry would have been nice, but... Sat and watched the VC moving ahead of a Marine sweep of the valley. Got a few with arty and air, and called the grunts to warn about some potential ambushes. Also triggered a booby trapped M79 shotgun shell. Only blew up the end of the rock down from the part I stepped on. We were glad to leave that ridge.
Hope that wasn't too rambling. My job as a Corpsman of Marines, and my time and training with Force Recon, constituted one of the finest and most instructive parts of my life. I went on to work 30 years in EMS, and get several college degrees, but it never compared with my time with y'all. Now I am a disabled vet and gentleman goat farmer in Missouri and always have a USMC flag flying. Still have three teenagers at home (definitely another story), but if you get by West Plains, drop in for dinner and a beer.
Michael Doc Robertson, formerly HM2(DV)
Viet Nam Oct '67 to Oct '68
Shed Some Light
I entered boot camp (MCRD) 05/July/65 Plt 150. At some point during boot camp the Corps changed the training schedule from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. The plts that started on the 12 week schedule had to finish on that schedule. I can't remember if there was a 8 week plt that started after us graduated ahead of us or not but it had to happen to some.
Anyone out there that can shed some light on this? On the new Corps old Corps idea all I can add is my two older brothers who were in the Corps 1958-1962 wanted to know when I came home on leave the first time is why I was wearing officer's greens. I'm afraid as long as they are alive I'll be new Corps.
We Don't Need
Sgt Grit, My name is Sgt JE FROST. Went thru Parris Island 1961 Plt 269 2BN. Graduated Dec 7, 1961. From there ITR Camp Geiger NC. Because my family owned a rest. in NYS where I'm from Buffalo, they made me 3371 cook. Later after 12 weeks Advanced Food Service School I went to Sea School, Portsmouth, VA. Then was assigned to USS Boxer LPH 4.
That yr while getting ready to go on liberty, President Kennedy was assassinated. I was just L/Cpl then. We were re-called and headed for Cuba. Later on I got orders to Naval Air Station 4th Marine Air Wing, Marine Detachment Grosse Isle Mich. I then made Cpl. Shortly thereafter I shipped over in 1965 for 6 years then got orders to 3rd Marine Air Wing MAG 37 El Toro Calif. Now closed due to PCB and Poison Etc.
There I got orders to Okinawa 1968. After 3 days there, orders to 1st Marine Div. FMF PAC West. When I arrived in DaNang. This is good part... First Sgt said what the h-ll is 3371 or ?? Now I was Sgt. I said Mess Sgt Top. He laughed and said, we don't need mess Sgt, we need NCOs. You're going to Phu Bai. Well off I went. They assigned me to Base Defense Line Co 5th Marines An Hoa. Now I'm a real 0311. Thank God I survived a head wound, but got AO while operating in the Ashu Valley. Agent Orange. Now I'm 68 and have many problems rated 100% due to herbicide poison in combat zone - no mention of AO. Amazing.
Well later Dec 12 1968 I was reassigned to 11 Marines Transport Bn Danang. I was the mess Sgt there from Dec 1968 thru April 1969. I will send you picture of the mess hall. Maybe you ate chow there? Don't know you were with 11 Marines Sgt Grit??
Semper Fi God Bless Marine Corps and our Country. I would go back in Marines today if they would have me.
S/Sgt JE Frost USMC Ret, Indianapolis IN.
Old and New
Hi Sgt. Grit,
Just received my first newsletter, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Also enjoyed the stories, and thought I would submit one for a future newsletter.
I enlisted in The Corps, in July of 1962. Began training August 1, 1962 at MCRD San Diego, and graduated October 11, 1962 in Honor Platoon 350. Having fired High Expert in our platoon at the range (Camp Matthews) I figured I would be "troopin' and stompin' the hills" for sure, but when I was assigned my MOS, imagine my surprise when I was informed it was 3371...Food Service Specialist !
After, ITR I was stationed at Las Pulgas (Camp Pendleton) in H&S 3/7. Next was 13 months with the FMF in H&S 1/9, based in Okinawa at Camp Hansen. My last duty station was H&S 3/5 at Margarita (Camp Pendleton) and was honorably discharged in July 1965.
As a proud former Marine, I was very excited to learn that my nephew had enlisted in the Marines, and was going to go through boot camp at MCRD San Diego, as I had. So, almost exactly 48 years after I had graduated, I attended his graduation on October 22, 2010. Boy, being back at MCRD after all these years was really an experience, and it brought back a lot of memories. It just strengthened my feeling of being one of The Few, and The Proud.
I have attached a photo of my nephew and I on his graduation day. I may not be as lean as I was in 1962, but I am, as all present and former Marines are, very proud to be part of the brotherhood known as The United States Marines.
Cpl. Patrick Verd
3-20-89 Originated/Written by: L.D. Williams "Jarhead"
I am very proud to say that I am a Marine! I have had the opportunity to see places in the world that I had not even imagined. Throughout my journey I have not been a tourist, but an American kamikaze! In each place that I have rested my head, I realized that it was all about how much money that I had spent. There were periods of excitation, periods of boredom, periods of pleasure, and periods of pain. I have felt at times like a prisoner, and at times as if I had wings. I have conversated, cohabitated, fornicated, with people in different tongues. When my hair turns gray I will realize the wisdom that I have acquired due to my travels far and beyond our borders.
When my athletic career ended and life was a bore...I needed to challenge myself, so i joined the Marine Corps!
We trained at Parris Island with weapons and bombs... when I finished Boot Camp, I headed for Twentynine Palms!
I completed my training and followed all commands... I hopped on a plane and flew into the desert sands!
The desert temperatures were very extreme... I had prayed that my body could take it... but when my flight landed in Palm Springs... I saw beautiful women on the street half-naked!
Two decades before our war in Iraq... I swore to never put Uncle Sam's pack on my back!
Mama cooked cornbread and collard greens for dinner... I was getting ready for action... at the Marine Corps-Air Ground- Combat Center!
On holidays mama would bake cookies, pies, and cakes... when I was sleeping with the rats, spiders, and snakes!
My plane took off at the midnight hour... we landed on "the rock"...a island called "Okinawa"!
When I received my exit orders from the desert sand... I was very excited to visit Korea, Philippines, and Japan!
I enjoyed my worldwide tour, I chose to bypass china... my last tour of duty was Camp Lejeune North Carolina!
With only six months left, I obeyed every military law... because i knew my final destination would be "Arkansas".
I've jumped from speeding airplanes... flying up in the heavenly skies... but if you are ever in "man to man" combat... don't ever look the "enemy" in his eyes!
We learned defensive tactics, and a killer choke hold... maybe it's a rumor, but I've always been told...that the "eyes" were the windows to one's "soul"!
I was born to be a marine! Lean mean fighting machine! We are a special breed, just give us the mission, without a doubt we will succeed!
It doesn't matter whether you are a black, white, or latino Marine, it's only one color for us...and that color my brother is "green"!
We are moving right on time... putting it on the line... We are making it sound so divine...we are keeping it all in rhyme... while I define this Jarhead life of mine!
Pushing...pulling...shoving...and grabbing...at the same time trying to avoid the backstabbing! My heart is jumping... but I have got to keep my legs pumping!
We are skinning...grinning...losing...and winning... I'm so tired my jar head is spinning! We are locking... And cocking... when you really feel like socking!
Yes sir!...no sir!...and how are you today sir! It's time to be on my way sir!
It's about chess playing, if you know what I'm saying. If you are not good at this game, you will end up paying!
Hup...two...three...four... We've marched a hundred miles, so give me ten more!
We've got tired feet and world war two sea rats to eat! While we try to avoid getting a charge sheet!
We will be guilty until proven innocent... when our defense will be of no consequence! Uuu-rahhhhhhh! Semper fi! And apple pie! Until we die!
Long live the Corps! Where life is never a bore! Why do I love the Corps? Because I am just like a wh-re! We've got mysterious and foreign lands to explore!
Please sir! Give me six more! "God Bless the Marine Corps"!
Larry "Goose" Williams
Parris Island "Hollywood" DI
Plt 253-1956-Aug.-Oct. Whenever Junior DI Cpl. John Brown had the overnight duty he would take us out before evening chow and teach us the drill called "To the winds" where the first squad continues ahead, last squad does "to the rear", second does "squad left", third does "squad right, etc. Once we perfected it we entered a drill competition. Senior DI J.D. Camp put us through our paces, then whispered "OK listen up ---To the winds---march" (he had never seen us do it). We nailed it with an emphatic left heal for a finishing touch and of course we won.
When Cpl. Brown had the weekend duty he would gather us sitting near the middle of the squad bay with him sitting on a bunk and read to us on Sunday afternoon. One book was about Tarawa, another was about medal of honor recipients. I would describe Cpl. Brown as colorful and very tough, scary but kind of entertaining at the same time.
Six months later I went to see a just-released movie "The DI" starring Jack Webb. As the opening credits rolled I was not shocked to see the name John Brown. Cpl. Brown (he was a Sgt. In the film) played a significant roll as a fellow DI and did a pretty good acting job.
He wasn't acting when he busted me from squad leader, but that's another story.
Cpl. P.C. "Whitey" Johnson
On Saturday 27 November and Sunday, 28 November the Wild West Detachment, Marine Corps League Tombstone will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Tombstone Wild Days, (A Salute to the men & women in the Armed Forces) in Historic Tombstone, AZ
The event will featuring Gunfights, Music, Dancing & Ongoing entertainment and a static display by "B" Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) from Fort Huachuca, AZ
We will be having a guest appearance by Captain Dale Dye, USMC (Ret), Actor, Director, Writer & Film/TV Consultant. Captain Dye starred or was involved in such feature films and TV miniseries as Platoon, Rules of Engagement, Wag the Dog, The Great Raid, Forrest Gump, Rough Riders, Band of Brothers and the Pacific just to name a few...
On Saturday, there will be a USO Canteen Dance at the American Legion Post 24, and on Sunday, there will be a "Salute to the Troops" Parade down Historic Allen Street.
The event is free and all proceeds from the event will be going to the USO. For any info. contact Gunny W.F. "Bill" Pakinkis at (520)457-3411 or via e-mail at Broncobill @ PowerC .net
Probably Too Late
I know that it's probably too late to enter this story, but I would like to try anyway. If for no other reason, than to find a few of the guys that were with me that week.
My story goes back to Vietnam in Feb. of 1968. It was my second tour of duty there. I first arrived in Chu Lai in July of 66 and ended up in DaNang until I was blessed to be able to go home alive in Feb. of 68.
It was during the Tet offensive and things were pretty bad. I was with 7th Comm. Bn. of 1st Mar. Div. Our platoon was sent out from there to a tower somewhere on highway one. I never found out just what the name of that location was, but I did find out through seeing an article in the Leatherneck Magazine that the NVA came through there on their way to Hill 10.
When we got to the tower, a firefight immediately broke out. Two squads of 14 men hopped onto two tanks which took us out to the rice paddy where the action seemed to be. The other 7 men stayed back at the tower to help protect it. We encountered heavy firing right away. Our platoon leader got hit in the back and in the butt when an RPG round hit the turret of one of the tanks he was near and he was carted off for medical attention right away. We were in the corner of the rice paddy at this point, facing a concrete hut. When I finally got there, I noticed a couple of our guys had already been hit by a sniper and killed. Our squad leader had also gotten a minor hit but was still active. I was able to dodge myself into part of the jungle scene to get a better look at what we were up against and saw a sniper up one of the trees and got him before he got anymore of our guys.
I ran back to the rice paddy to make plans on what we should do next. I was only a L/Cpl at the time but I knew that we needed to do something. All the shooting that we were hearing was not coming from us. Tall Elephant grass was on our left, so we couldn't see anything. A guy from the Motor Pool and I decided we were going to go back into the village and circle around the concrete hut. To the right of it was a pile of branches and we were going to go between that and the hut and circle around to the left to get near the Elephant grass area to see what was going on. We were about (guessing) about half way to the position when a satchel charge came flying out at us. I ran back and dove into the rice paddy and my buddy followed and did the same just as the satchel charge went off and missed both of us. I never got to find out what my friends' name was, but I knew that he was from an orphan home. I think about him all the time.
We were again pinned down and it was just about dusk when I knew that we were in trouble for sure if whoever was firing at us was going to come out and just shoot us up. We couldn't see anyone, so we just looked and fired into the Elephant grass. Just then, someone tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to Highway 1 behind us. There stood Mike Company 3/7 holding fire for us and the few that was remaining of 14 guys got out of there.
The next day, back at the command, we got a letter from the Commanding General of 1st Mar. Div. who just happened to be Gen. Charles Krulak. I'll never forget it because I had a special connection with him. In his letter, we were told that we held off two regiments of hardcore NVA. Also, we were to receive a commendation and I thought, a promotion. That very day, my orders to go home came in and I left for the air strip to wait on my plane trip to Okinawa. When I got back to the states, I inquired about that letter and commendation but I was told that they could not find any such thing. It made me angry that I lost this honor to serve my country. For years, I tried to contact someone who might have this letter but to no avail, I only got closed doors in my face. I was told at some point that our Battalion got half wiped out and the letter might have gotten lost or destroyed.
If anyone knows about this event, I would sure like to correspond with you and to find out more details.
L/Cpl Ben Babij
7th Comm. Bn.
Marine Needs Your Vote
Don, hope you can post this in one of the newsletters and/or on your blog so that we this Marine is recognized for his present and prior service.
Bob Rader #1405534
Marine Jake Coffman, a veteran of two deployments to Iraq and a defensive lineman for Northern Illinois University, needs your vote in Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Read about him and vote for him. You can vote every day. Presently, he is one of the top vote getters.
Jake leads the NIU Huskies onto the field in every game carrying the U.S. flag. Tuesday, in his last home game, he carried the flag that him mom flew at home while he was in Iraq.
Ten NCAA football student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as finalists today for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the Football Bowl Subdivision. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of finalists follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Vote for Jake Coffman
New Chapters in the Second Marine Division Association
Greetings Fellow Second Marine Division Association Members, I am writing to you and eleven other members who had served on active duty with the 2dMarine Division sometime in the 1970s up to the present and who had provided me with an email address. You are one of several exclusive groups who I firmly believe are the future of our association. I need your help to ensure that future. Let me explain why and how.
Most of the established chapters of our association were formed after WW II and organized by state or group of states, such as the Texas Chapter or the New England Chapter. Recruitment by the geographical chapters varied but was generally passive in nature. With improved transportation and communications, times have changed.
For a variety of reasons, most Marines identify more with their former active-duty unit than with the state they came from. I know that from both personal experience and interacting with Marines here at Lejeune on a daily basis. That's why last year we initiated chartering new chapters associated with division organizations, i.e. regiments and battalions.
Today we have two recently-chartered chapters, who directly support their former battalion. They are the "First Wave Chapter" (2d AA Bn) and "The Destroyers" Chapter" (2dLAR). The First Wave chapter is assisting the 2d AA Bn with invitations to the battalion's Gator Ball, held in May in Morehead City. The Destroyers Chapter is raising money to expand the battalion's war memorial in front of the battalion headquarters. The chapter officers, most of who served in the 1990s, are having a great time getting to help their old outfit and interacting with the Marines assigned there today.
For those of you who read Follow Me, you are no doubt aware that I visit one or two battalions a month to tell them about our fine association. My objective is to make sure they know we exist so that in the future-perhaps after they leave active service-they can join up or, possibly, join at that time.
Here's my request. I need three or four of you to help found and serve as officers of a chapter comprised of men from your former battalion of the 2d Marine Division. What I learned with the first two chapters is that you will have many men-already SMDA members-eager to join. I can assure you that the duties for founding the chapter are not time consuming. I have drafted a set of by laws that can be used for when you first get going more or less as a club and another set for when you want to incorporate. The biggest job will be contacting vets and asking them to join the association and then the chapter. SMDA has over 60 1/8 members who would be interested. Also, I have been authorized to give $500 to assist you with mailings and other start-up costs. You will have my total.
If you are interested, please contact me by phone or email. Semper Fidelis,
LtCol David B. Brown, USMC (Ret.)
Second Marine Division Association
I joined the Marine Corps in June/64 and "attended" MCRD/SD, that beige academy of "higher learning". Due to medical problems, I was dropped from my original platoon (Plt. 156 - "The L.A. Dodger Platoon". We were sworn in on the third-base line of Dodger Stadium before a game, watched the game and then boarded the bus to the First Gate of H&ll).
Anyway, after that I became a "Fu--ing pick-up". After being dropped from my next platoon, I was shipped off to PTU.(The 2nd Gate of H&ll). PTU was located in a hidden little corner or MCRD/SD, right next to Motivation Company and Correctional Custody.
Hidden away from "prying eyes", we were gently "instructed" in the finer points of P.T. such as "run all 3 obstacle courses until you drop" or Grass Drill-P.T. on the driving range and then a gentle jog out to the fence-line by the Naval Training Facility and then back to our luxurious quarters in the "Devil's Triangle".
After passing my T-12, I was "picked-up"(a wonderful experience in itself) by another platoon and off to the Rifle Range (Edson Range) where I further distinguished myself by becoming a "non- qual". More "hands-on" training followed in the head of an empty barracks. Honor-Man, here I come! I'll skip over the 9 months in the Naval Hospital after contracting spinal meningitis back at MCRD.
What I'm trying to say is: Was I hit by a D.I.? You bet! Did I squeal? Not a peep! I was determined that I was getting this into club of Bad-Asses, come H&ll or high-water. Back then we had a saying: "If you can't take it, why'd you join?" I finally graduated in an Honor Platoon and served in the Crotch for 4 years.
Jeff"Buffalo"Barnes/ 2108389/ LCpl
RVN: 1965-1966/1833(AmTracks-"Water-Borne"! ARRRGH!)
Thanks for your great site and store Sgt. Grit. Here is one more story about boot camp and the DI's handling of recruits. Our Platoon - 123 was just five days from graduation on June 7, 1965 and was out on the grinder polishing up our "To the Winds March" drill we were going to execute on graduation day. We had it nailed and all of us were feeling real good about it.
When we returned back to our barracks that good feeling vanished when we saw five foot-lockers strewn all over the squad bay decks. One of the foot-lockers was mine. Then the insidious game started. All five of our combination locks were lock together. All we had to do was find which one was ours, unlock it and put up our gear; sounded simple enough to accomplish until we were told to move around in a circle while doing this.
As we passed this one DI we got a whack in the back from a swagger-stick. Well, as I was passing him for the fifth time, he gave me a very hard shot and I lost it. I spun around with my arm cocked to hit this DI but never got the chance to do so because another DI hit me on the side of my head with an open hand, breaking my ear drum. I fell to the ground screaming bloody murder. The DI's were in a quandary as what to do about this.
What the DI's didn't know was that this had happened to me before when I was in high school when a priest hit me on the same ear and also broke it. The first time this happened, my ear drum healed over about a month later and I figured it would heal again, but I kept this information to myself. I knew that if I went to sick bay and reported this, the DI who did it could have been relieved of his job or worst. I decided to let him sweat it out since this DI also dropped me to the deck at the rifle range with his third gut shot to me.
A few days after the incident, our platoon was out back of the barracks shining our dress shoes for graduation. The smoking lamp was lit and I decided to see if I still could blow smoke out of my ear as I had done the first time this happened to me. It was easy to do; all I had to do was pinch off my nose and force the smoke out of my nose. With my nose pinched off, the only place it could go was out of my ear. I was doing this to the delight of my fellow recruits when one of our DI's saw me doing this. "McNally, get your a-s up here double time."
I did and when I got into the squad bay this DI started telling me "Do you have any idea of how much money you could make by doing what I just saw you doing, well, do you?" I replied "Yes sir, ah, no sir, I mean, I never thought about that sir." "Well, just think about how much money you could make betting someone in a bar that you can blow smoke out of your ear. Think about it, you could get rich." "Yes sir, I guess I could at that." "McNally, I think you are alright. Tell you what, since you are the first Marine I ever knew who can blow smoke out of his ear, I'm going to give you a cigar and you can smoke it right here in the squad bay, how would you like that?" "Would I like to, hell sir, I'd be proud to smoke your cigar here in the squad bay." "Here's your cigar, now call the rest of the platoon up here." "As you say sir, thank you sir." "All right, now let's light up that cigar Marine." He did his job well; there was no way now I was going to report to sick bay.
A final note: I graduated with my platoon and the DI that hit me pulled me aside and we made amends and I thanked him for turning me into a Marine and my ear did heal up a few weeks later and I never made a penny by blowing smoke out of my ear.
If interested, I have written a book about my life before the Marines, my life in the Corps before, during and after Vietnam, my life since. It is called "The Best of the Best - The Fighting 5th Marines - Vietnam." It is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Semper Fi, 2121___, Cpl. of Marines, Delta 1/5, 1st Marine Div.
10-66 - 6-67, Paul A. McNally
Two years ago I was reunited with my Senior Drill Instructor after forty years through the Sgt Grit Newsletter. I went to Texas to go to the Marine Corps Ball with him. I want to say a few things about him and what my boot camp was like.
Then SSgt, now and forever 1st Sgt, Sonny Lackey never laid a hand on us. His job was to train basically "cannon fodder" for the Viet Nam Conflict. He had just enough time to teach us how to blouse our trousers and that was it. Fortunately for me, he took his job very very seriously.
The first few weeks I responded out of fear. I was scared to death of him. He had the "look" which later I learned was called command presence. Then a transition started. For the next few weeks I started to respond because I did not want to disappoint myself. For a couple of weeks I did everything for me. Then, the next few weeks I responded because I did not want to disappoint my platoon members. Then near the end of the recruit training, I would do anything because I would not disappoint the Corps.
Can you imagine the burden on his soul? He had to train us to stay alive. He had the responsibility to make sure that he trained us to be Marines. To be survivors. I cannot, and will not, speak for him but surely there is a special place in heaven for him due to all the lives he had touched.
PLT 191, PI, 12/62-3/63. M-14's in Boot Camp. M-1's in ITR. Some so old that they fired full auto til most jammed. We all wanted the fully auto ones. Out in 6 mos to a reserve unit, where we had M-1's in better condition. The M-1 was a superior single shot weapon to the M-14. I once fired 245/250 with one. Reserve units later got M-14's. Those who had them in boot Camp had to teach the others.
Drill Instructors beat us continually. but we preferred that to their favorite exercise bend and thrust. You could only do a finite amt of pushups until your arms collapsed, but you could do bend and thrusts forever. Beating necessary? effective? worse than exercise punishment? individual preference I guess. Most feared punishment was being set back and kept on PI longer. Beating definitely preferable to being set back.
Commisky-Wheaat Detachment MCL
M1 To M-14 Continued
I arrived at PISC in Jan 1962. I really don't know if my series was the first to be issued the M14 (Series 104-107) or not but it was the first platoon that the drill instructors had with the M14. I was in Plt 104. Our drill instructors had to learn the M14 along with us.
Upon leaving Parris Island, I went to ITR at Camp Geiger, N.C., and was issued a M1 for infantry training. I preferred the M14. After ITR, I was off to Pensacola, Fla to the Naval Communications Training Center where no rifle was issued. Every oth