I remember Camp Hague, I was there when we built it in 1958, 1959. All I remember was the rain and snakes. I was in the 2nd pioneer battalion. I operated a TD 18 dozer, lived in a 8 man tent in the middle of nowhere, gave the residents all of the C- Rations we did not like for bottles of LUCKY WINE and other comforts of home. What a joyous time, They would chopper us back to NAHA for I&I every 2 weeks. Loved it especially bathing in the local streams while we had a look out for the old habu snake.
Semper Fi, l/cpl George Derr 55/59
In This Issue
A Marine called in the other day talking about his helmet art and sayings. What did you put on your helmet? Do they even allow it today? I know in Vietnam some guys took it to an art form.
Here we go: Drill Instructor tribute, O-Dark hundred hours, 3/26 1969, no bad lookers, busy finding holes, SeaBees, kept me alive, 1942, duck for dinner, flight attendants were laughing, 10th Service Stripe, singing family, and mess hall and Recon Marines.
I luv the Crotch,
Welcome to the Suck.
1953-1956 Charlie Co 1st Tank Bn
March 17, 1955 - 1st stage to bring division home San Diego, 5th Regiment and supporting units after Danny Boy was sang to us as we marched to Balboa Park, Then on trucks to Las Pulgas tent camps. Will try to meet you June 11
Thanks, Johnny Speake
*8th Annual GriTogether*
June 11, 2011 10am-2pm
Free Food, Music, and Fun for Marines, Family and Friends!
Get GriTogether Details
Dear Sgt. Grit,
In response to Cpl. Kiser's letter in the May 26 newsletter encouraging reconnection with our Drill Instructors, I would like to say that through the modern wonder of social websites, I have been able to reconnect with my Senior Drill Instructor and can now call her my friend. I am glad I have the opportunity now to thank her for the months of sacrifice and dedication she gave to us raw recruits to form us into tough United States Marines.
She is a strong and tenacious woman who showed us every day what it means to be a Marine. She trained us hard, working to ensure we would be successful when called to it. She never let us give up, even if it sometimes took extra sweat and/or sand-filled "encouragement" to make us understand. Somewhere early in the training, I could see that while she put up a tough front, she was passionate about forming recruits into Marines. I later learned she loved being a Drill Instructor and that she remembered me.
When I was in boot camp in 1998, The Crucible had just recently been established as part of boot camp training. For the Crucible, we were divided up into groups with each of our platoon's Drill Instructors taking charge of one of the groups. I was selected to be in my SDI's group and was able to see the more personal side of her; she wanted us to succeed, wanted us to use the tools she had given us to make it through the challenges, fight through the fatigue and find that intestinal fortitude she knew we had, even if we sometimes were not sure of it ourselves.
During the last hours of the Crucible, in the hump towards the Iwo Jima Monument at Parris Island, when we were weary, worn out, tired and at moments just wanted it to stop, our SDI and other drill instructors would yell out encouraging cadences and tell us to fight on. When we made it through to the end of that hump, we were elated to realize what all we had just accomplished. To top off the moment, when we were in formation at the monument, we were each handed an Eagle, Globe and Anchor, and I received mine from my Senior Drill Instructor. When she called me a Marine, I was overwhelmed by the power of those words and elated tears streamed down my face. I knew that through her dedication, her leadership, I had become part of an elite fighting force, known and feared the world over. She helped to make me and my fellow recruits United States Marines.
These women and men who become Marine Corps Drill Instructors sacrifice so much of their own lives and time for others and I for one am forever thankful.
S. D. Parrott
I served with Mike Company 3/1 and prior to deploying to the Persian Gulf we spent a month training at a Army base north of L.A. One evening we were set up in a tree line for the night and found out that on the other side of a clearing was a Army unit also in a tree line. Word was passed that the Army unit requested our help to do some training. They wanted us to ambush them while they were on a patrol so that they could practice retreating. I can't tell how amusing that was to a company of hard charging Marines.
So instead of ambushing the Army unit in a place that they picked out (go figure) our SNCO's decided to attack their base camp. Later that night we moved quietly into their area and was shocked to see every single soldier asleep in a sleeping bag, no guards and weapons laying everywhere. We quietly proceeded to tie up a few prisoners that we thought where officers before we unleashed h-ll on them. I never will forget when the weapons platoon laid into them with the 60's.
Since everyone was wearing MILES gear there was such a huge panic amongst the Army unit that when the rest of the company assaulted their camp they were running around and bumping into each other and struggling to get out of their sleeping bags. As a memento we captured their Guide on and returned to our area.
The sound of the chirping MILES gear was deafening. The next day our C.O. returned their guide on and the look on his face when he returned was priceless. I think if he was any prouder he would have cried. It was at that moment that I was sure I made the right decision to join the Marines and not the Army. The next night the Army tried to return the favor but was met with a nice welcome. Needless to say they finally got their chance to retreat.
M Co. 3/1
O-Dark Hundred Hours
I would like to add one of my experiences to the stories of the base security at Danang in the early years. My first tour was in 1963; we were just a small group of loose knit Marines, with a few Seabees there to help us. I was a new L/Cpl in the communications center. I wore my .45 low on my leg, quick-draw style - like that would ever be possible with the military holster!
One day I was delivering messages when this bus pulls up and a bunch of spit and polish gun-ho Marines come running off of it shouting and quickly falling into formation. I soon discovered that they were sent down from Okinawa to provide security for us. Up to that time we had no security but that would soon change!
I worked 12 on and 12 off, seven days a week, and went to town any time I wanted to. One night a buddy and I went to town around 1900 hours to do some shopping, as I wanted to buy one of those Vietnamese pointed hats for my sister. At that time they were not shooting Americans yet, and we did not carry weapons (Except for when we delivered messages.). It was o-dark hundred hours when we were walking across a big open space heading back to base.
However, I did not know one very important fact: The LT in charge of the security Marines had issued a regulation that no one could leave the base after dark. We are walking across this field heading to our "barracks" when we hear, "Halt, who goes there?" It was pitch black and we could not see anyone, and we just kept on walking. We hear it again, this time a little louder, "Halt, who goes there?" We just kept walking until we ran into this security Marine with his rifle loaded and ready. (Actually, with me wearing that pointed hat, and when we did not stop, he should have shot us!) He took us to the guard shack and they called for the LT. We had a long wait, as they had to go get him and he had to get dressed, and perhaps shave and stuff first!
After a while this spit shined grunt Lieutenant comes in, sits down, looks us over, and starts chewing us out. Nothing he says bothers us, and this gets him more upset at us. Finally he says to me, pointing at my chevrons, "Did you just get those BB guns?" I simply said, "Yes sir." He looked at me for awhile and then asked, "Do you want to keep them?" I looked down at them, looked at him and said, "I don't care." He said, "Get out of here!" We left, and that was the end of it!
Now, I tell this story as an air-winger, and I must add that I have a great and extreme respect for the Marine grunt. They do the work, and my job is to support them in any way I can. Back in '63 we were just a small group of advisors or whatever we were, stuck in Vietnam by ourselves and we became very loose. On my second tour in '67-68 things were different. We had the grunts there, and they provided fantastic security. During TET, if they were not there and we air-wingers were protecting ourselves, I would most likely be dead today!
Gunny Walters, Sr.
Vietnam 1963 & 67-68
VMA (aw) 533
Dear Sgt. Grit.
On May 21, in Las Vegas, NV, 24 warrior brothers of VMA (aw) 533 (69-70, Chu Lai-Iwakuni) reunited.
Jay F. Grams, Cpl.
Like The Saying Goes
In response to M. Kunkel, Cpl 0331, Weapons Platoon, Lima 3/8, 1981-1985 about the term "BAM", it is not derogatory. I married one and I am proud to be the hubby of a "Beautiful American Marine"! You see, stuff said to the face of one is different than what a lot of folks where mumbling behind their backs. Try being a mother, a Marine, and a spouse of a Marine all at the same time.
Like the saying goes "The Fewer, The Prouder, Women Marines"!
Cpl Greg Ciesielski,
Husband of Sgt Lisa Ciesielski
I was looking through you magazine that I just received and found a patch for 3/26, since I was with BLT 3/26 when it was formed in Dec 1968 at the Rock Crusher on the backside of Danang the reverse side of the hill that the 3RD MARDIV Headquarters was located and then we went afloat until July or Aug 1969 I am not sure of the month. One of the GySgt from the battalion rotated to Okie and had this shield made up for those of us that wanted one. He told me he took it from the old 5th Marine Div logo. I have attached some pictures of the shield that he had made I got from him when I went through Okie on my back to the states.
The attachment was the shield that was embossed on a memorial pamphlet that was handed out to BLT 3/26 MARINES that attended the ceremony for our fallen Marines from when the Bn was formed to go afloat in 1968 until that date of the Memorial services. It listed all of our Marines names inside. I do not have a copy anymore, but my close buddy Sgt Chuck Bean who worked for me at that time has a copy. I asked him to send it to you and to me that way you can publish it in your magazine. I am also attaching some pictures of that ceremony when Chuck sends you the brochure you will have the complete package. Thanks for your patience and Semper Fi.
Joe Blaile USMC MGYSGT (Always)
P.S. I am also attaching a picture of myself taken while I was on operation Oklahoma Hills in 1969, just thought I would through it in after seeing the picture in this copy of your magazine. I am sitting in a chair that I made from tree branches and wire from C rations boxes. There are two of them 1-15-2011-004 and 1-15-011 006, number 004 I am sitting in the chair drinking C ration coffee and 006 is just the chair, hope you get a kick out of them, I have thinking back on what we use to do just to feel normal.
Per your emails with MGYSGT Joe Blaile regarding BLT 3/26, our shield and a memorial service. I am attaching the complete pamphlet given us at the memorial service on Hill 55 in April of 1969 for operations conducted 13 Jan 1969 thru 23 March 1969 for the operations listed. I am sorry I have underlined three of the names. I did so on the day of the ceremony not knowing I would be forwarding this for public consumption forty-one years later. All the names on the listing are my brothers but the ones underlined were my buddies.
SGT Chuck Bean,
No Bad Lookers
Well - Young Sgt.
It was a treat to read a letter from somebody that goes back to Brown Shoe days. I was beginning to think they were all dead - h-ll, probably half of them are. Went through MCRD in 1953, Plt 207, Charlie Co., 1st Bn. Went to Delmar for Admin School and then to Treasure Island for duty. While there made it to The Naval School of Justice, Newport , Rhode Island.
Back at TI, we were part of the Dept. of Pacific, 1st or 3rd Division - whomever was at Pendleton. Was on the west coast Honor Guard (8th & I) stated we could not wear the rocker on our uniform - typical. I moved from the JAG office to Operations and Training and had a ball. Had nominal charge of the motor pool and that was about as wild as it could get. Ended up vetted to 1stSgt while the real was TAD for an extended period. I was working basically as what is now referred to as Master Gunnery Sgt as well as 1st Sgt. It was an education that I've never forgotten. Went to Mare Island with the old M-1 and that was a week of pure fun.
Do you remember the WM's that were assigned to Harrison street? No bad lookers in that bunch. Remember the Marine Corps Club. The doorman was an old Sgt that had one ribbon that meant more to us then the Medal of Honor, In the middle was a silver "W". If you don't remember - he was a Wake Island Defender.
Finally, just before I reported back to civilian and reserve status, I got word that we had achieved a 99.99% efficiency rating. Left the island and DOP in July 1956. You bandsman weren't assigned to the island yet. Our quarters were on the North side of the island east of the Fire Fighting School. Barracks on the south side of the island were used to process the drafts from Korea. Remember YBI had the top security prison on it.
That was the Old Corps -gone but never forgotten. Keep your leggings loose, Gung Ho, Semper Fi and OOhRah.
Ed Dodge, Sgt, 1273732
During all my 7 years in the Corps 1942 - 49 I was never issued a Liberty Card. Don't remember any of my fellow enlisted Marines receiving such a card.
SGT. Marion B. Stults, USMC Ser. No. 450010
Thanks for printing an accurate representation of the first flag raising at Iwo Jima. I have always felt the photo op picture that we see on paper and in bronze did a great disservice to those first Marines who made it to the top of Mount Suribachi. I guess if it isn't PR, it doesn't exist.
Henry R. Rupp, USMC (45-48), USMCR (48-51)
did 4yrs and d-mn proud of every second. served 68-72 out E-4 got that the hard way (office hours) but i got it Semper Fi to all you Marines old and new be proud you earned it.
First In Last Out Thank you
I fell in love with your store on my couch, waiting for something to happen with my life. When I ended up here and found out this is the only store in the world. I knew it was true. People do like us, why else make all of this stuff. I learned it is good to be proud.
Sorry, I never managed to keep a Liberty card. I'd like to submit an Armed forces "Geneva Conventions Identification Card" Cannot post picture ! Its tattered and badly worm from my wallet but I've carried it every day since I left Korea in February 1954
Fisher, Philip D 1320243 '52-'54 E/2/11 h/3/5
Sure liked the A4's when I was in GCA 38 M at Cherry Point in 1959. Got hired by FAA and went to MSP where they were just going from AD to F4D's and since I had worked with them before I became the "one to go to" ! As a GS-6 being asked by the GS-12's that was quite some deal.
Today 5/11/2011, is 44yrs to the day that Plt. 141 graduated from boot camp at MCRD San Diego, we were full of p-ss and vinegar, and here we are all these years later, still Marines.
God D-mn right!
PFC Gene Darrow
Sgt. Grit, I just finished reading this week's newsletter and wanted to respond to M. Kunkel's letter regarding the 'imposter' woman Marine. I graduated from Parris Island in July of 1990 and believe me, we did not have male drill instructors! I am now in my mid forties so I am quite certain this 'imposter' did not have male instructors either.
Always a Marine
Dear Sgt Grit!
Everyone "Wants" to be a " United States Marine" However, very few have what it takes to actually persevere and become one of God's greatest creations.
May God Bless His Marines! After all... who else would he trust to guard his streets?
SEMPER FI to ALL my BROTHERS and SISTERS !
CPL Charles (Chip) Morgan
3rd Mar.Div.1968-69 Northern I Corps, RVN
In reference to the comments from Cpl Kunkel about a co-worker of his claiming to be a WM. I arrived at Parris Island August 8, 1989 and all three of my drill instructors (Sgt Gavin, Sgt Collins and Sgt Shepard) were female, not male. During my 4 years of active duty, which ended in 1993, I never encountered a WM that had male drill instructors.
I, too, am fiercely protective of my Marine Corps.
Cpl of Marines,
Michelle (Wright) Weaver
Busy Finding Holes
I have read where a couple of Marines wrote about the CAR. A couple of years ago I inquired about the Car for my list of medals (ribbons). Well I was told that I would not get the ribbon, because I did not qualify. Even though I was in a combat zone in Viet Nam. I was informed that because I did not fire my weapon at the enemy. This kept me from obtaining the ribbon.
I was with the First Marine Air Wing in 66 only spent maybe a month or longer at that time. And in 68 I was with the 1st FSR Truck Co. somewhere north of Da Nang close to Red Beach.
In 66 I was not under any Fire. Did ride shot gun in trucks at night loading and unloading building material.
1968 was a different story. I was assigned to 1st FSR Truck Co. drove a wrecker. went on convoys. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the camp I was at. I do remember that to the north of the camp there were two tall radio towers. And at night one could see the red lights blink on them to warn air craft. One of the guys there told me that those towers were the VC aiming stakes. Shortly thereafter I received my first Rocket Attack. Later I learned that the rockets were 122mm Russian or Chinese. The other weapons on the camp used were 82 mm mortars. I was going to keep count of the attacks but after a few I gave up. I was too busy finding holes to jump into or bunkers. Those d-mn things were scary.
Well after learning that I did not qualify for the car I said to myself why was I assigned to a unit in a combat zone.
Thank you for your time
Cpl. Victor M. DeLeon
P.S. Wish I could tell someone where they can stick it (ribbon)
In regards to other people wearing the "Eagle Globe & Anchor. In my opinion, other than Corpsmen, the unit I feel that "may" have been able to rate the "Eagle Globe & Anchor" are the Seabee battalions assigned "directly" to Marine Corps Engineer regiments (17th,18th,19th & 20th) during WW2.
After Navy boot, these men were issued Marine uniforms, trained with Marines, and subject to Marine Corps rules and regulations, being directly absorbed into the Engineer Regiments. They were integral parts of the Marine assault shore-party landing and fighting operations in the Pacific. As one WW2 Marine told me.
"I fought side by side with the Seabees on Iwo Jima. I was with the 4th Eng. Bn. as a Demolition Marine. The CBs were always there when you needed them They were not like Marines, "(THEY WERE MARINES)"
Unfortunately, this is a moot point, as most of them are long gone now.
Son of a deceased WW2 Seabee.
Kept Me Alive
It was summer 1960 in Parris Island SC day one and we were herded like cattle to our first mess hall experience. We were young kids living a new experience with crazy people always yelling and questioning my mother and father's marriage. I've never been in a place like this ever before, they can't be all crazy can they?
We were being pushed a-shole to belly button with our eyes fixed on the head of the maggot in front of us. I'm thinking that when we get our food we can relax, just then the maggot in front of me takes the last sectioned tray. I said to the individual behind the chow line "are there any trays or plates" is was abruptly told "you like mashed potatoes kid - put out your hands". OK now I get it we're being hazed it won't bother me I'll play their silly little games.
After receiving my entire meal in my hands I proceeded to the GI can at the end of the mess hall, where coincidentally my senior Drill Instructor was stationed. He stared at me with THAT look and said "don't you like my Marine Corps chow son? Starting to understand this game I quickly replied "I'm sure that it is quite tasty and I would love it, however, the private is very hungry" to which and even quicker reply came "good, freak-ng good, then you just put that in your pocket in case you get hungry later". There I stood stuffing that sh-t it my pocket, Crazy you better believe it but that discipline kept me alive.
Dick Murphy former Sgt of Marines
In about my 3rd or 4th week of Boot Camp 1962... Plt 218 2nd Battalion... MCRD when my platoon finished chow and was going out the back door of the chow hall, washing, rinsing and stacking our "metal" trays we were prodded and poked with broom handles by the recruits doing mess duty... yelling at us "move it private, move it!
One morning my squad, tired of the harassment by the other recruits, did what Marines do and got in a little battle with the mess hall bullies and kicked some a-s... Instead of forming up and marching back to our area my whole platoon ran in formation (without out DIs) back to our platoon area and stood at attention waiting for the wrath of our DIs. When the DIs showed up they were hot, demanding those involved in the fight step forward... our whole Platoon to the man stepped forward... Our DIS were p-ssed but deep down inside they were proud of our actions (I was told later). And guess what? those mess hall guys never bothered us again. D-mn, those were some great days...
John Dugan, 1989553 USMC 62-68 SEMPER FI
This is in reply to the person asking about the 'Brewster device" on the ranges.
It was a sub-caliber device firing, IIRC, a .22 caliber round; we used them with the tanks' main guns. You attached the device to the barrel of the tank and could fire it from inside. The commander would lay the gun on target for the gunner, the loader would load a practice round and the gunner could fire the device. If memory serves, they told us the .22 caliber round had similar ballistic characteristics to the 105mm round of the M-60A1RISE tank, which was what we used in the Marine tank battalions at that time. It was a way to practice the skills necessary to fire the main gun, without incurring the expense of firing actual rounds.
I recall using them going through tanker training at Ft. Knox (all Marine tankers were trained there at that time)in the late 70's. I seem to remember they had a special range set up with the turrets on frames, and scale models of Soviet armored vehicles for us to shoot at. Been a long time ago.
former Marine tank commander
The Little Boxes
Some time ago was a story about being "carded" in "slop chute" and another about Camp Pendleton not having a "chute" I was there in 1953 at tent camp #2, Las Pulgas and we definitely had a chute... Was in an old Quonset hut and devoid of all amenities... BUT, beer (Brew 101) was 15 cents and a marvelous ham and cheese sandwich was also 15 cents.
Hunger was a constant companion, I was just short of 18 years old and after running the hills all day there wasn't enough food in the world for me... I weighed a staggering 135 lbs when I went in and when I left Pendleton a rousing 175... The ham and cheese were so thin you marveled at how they cut it like that... No mas... after 6 or so of each and 6 hours bed rest the next day was welcome... Was nothing to eat 6 or more of the little boxes of dry cereal for breakfast plus whatever they were serving for "main course"" Truly the "Glory Days"
Sgt D.Wackerly. 53-56
Thought these from the 40's might qualify. ID card dated 11 April 1942, along with a Motor Operators license dated Aug. 1944. Have seen nothing earlier than 1954. The ID Card was what I was issued when I joined in Birmingham AL.
Stanley Walters Corporal
To J. E. Smith, Your Grandfather was a Master Technical Sergeant, (like Radar Operator, which was new at the time). Note the picture.
All the Technical grades and ground pounder grades were removed from the rank structure about 1947. Platoon Sergeants became Staff Sergeants, Tech grades like Master Technical Sergeant and the others were changed to just plain Master Sergeant.
A lot of other changes came in at the same time, like the Leather Belt was discontinued for the Green uniform. Several people have mentioned the "Ike" Jacket that was issued to Marines from about 1948 to just before the Korean War. It was like the Army "Ike" jacket only because it came to the waist, it bloused at the waist and was a great looking Jacket and more comfortable than the regular blouse. They, also, issued a similar blouse for the Khaki uniform, it looked like s--- when starched and was rapidly done away with.
Master Technical Sergeant
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Ret.
See The Pride
Gung Ho Sarge; This is a photo of a bunch of future Marine officers just completing their second training tour of Platoon Leaders Class at Quantico, in August of 1954.
Take a look at our faces and you can see the pride instilled in us by Senior Drill Instructor Wakefield and his henchmen. The emotions we shared were those of brotherhood, trust and ready for the challenge. I wonder if any of my fellow candidates will see this photo and get in touch with me. If so I am Bob Morris, second on left, front row and am at poppi66 @ live .com or 860-546-6146. Maybe we can recollect the identities of these former skinheads.
Thanks for all you do for the Corps and God Bless our brothers in harm's way.
Bob Morris, SSGT, '53-'57 1375727
Boot Camp Forever
I know it sounds strange, but believe me it happened! I joined the Corps on Sept. the 3rd 1957 and went through boot camp at Parris Island. After graduation we were sent to Camp Geiger for ITR. Being my MOS was 5500, after ITR I was sent back to Parris Island for Field Music School for 11 months. From there I had orders to report to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Yep! Another boot camp! My duty was a guard at the center brig for one year, and my last 8 months was mail order for Marine Barracks on main side. So you see what I mean when I said I never made it out of boot camp!
Duck For Dinner
While a recruit at Parris Island it seems we were always hungry. Our Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Reems came on deck one night and told us we were heading to chow. He then informed us that we were going to have "duck" for dinner! I had never tasted duck before so needless to say I was excited (and naive). We reached the chow hall and lined up a-shole to bellybutton with our silver trays ready for the feast. Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Reems then instructed as follows; "I told you we were going to have duck for dinner, we are going to duck in and we are going to duck out, you have ten minutes." So there you have it, another great memory from Parris Island.
Incidentally, my daughter graduated from Parris Island last October 7th, exactly 34 years to the day that I arrived on Parris Island, what a proud day that was for me. Not only to be back at where it all started, but to see your daughter earn the Eagle Globe and Anchor, WOW! LCpl Shelby Simmons is currently serving our beloved Corps in Okinawa Japan. Semper Fi Marines.
Sgt. Simmons 1976-1980
Various Seabee Bases
I am a big fan of the Marines' stories and your products. In 1968 I was a Sgt. assigned to Camp Geiger, as a Weapons Instructor.
This was called ITR back then, and where the boots from Parris Island were sent after graduation for Infantry or Combat Training. I am not sure what it is called now. I was assigned to various courses such as the Infiltration course (M-60), Flame Thrower course, Jungle Village/EOD course, Hand Grenade course, etc. I eventually was assigned as the NCO in charge of the Hand Grenade course. (Too many stories to tell here!)
This TAD assignment was one of my best tour of duties in the Marine Corps. I am sure things have changed over the last forty years.
A year later I was TAD to an assignment with a handful of other Marine Corps Instructors chosen from Camp Lejeune. Our mission was to travel to various (Seabees) Bases and instruct them in Weapons and Jungle Warfare.
Our first duty station was Davisville, R.I, near Providence, R.I. I remember getting off the plane and it was two foot of snow on the ground. Most of the female population was glad to see that the Marines had landed!
I know we all had a different MOS, and most of us has at least one tour of duty in Vietnam, but I am curious to know if these instructors were ever recognized or were they given a different MOS?
Flight Attendants Were Laughing
Dear Sgt Grit,
I've written in the past what happened to me when I returned home from Viet Nam but not many people or friends know how I got out of that place after my tour in 65-66.
I was assigned to 1st Mar Div Embarkation Section. It was late October 1966 and all of the other guys in the section that arrived with me had already rotated back to the states and I was the only one left. The NCOIC was a very ineffective gunnery Sergeant who was famous from leading from the rear. I believe the date was October 28 or 29. I had just returned from Dong Ha. The 1st Mar Div was in the final days of moving there from Chu Lai.
When I walked into the section office, still located in Chu Lai. The afore mentioned Gunny told me I had to go back to Dong Ha the next day. My reply was that I wasn't going to Dong Ha as I had my orders to rotate in 2 days and I had to check out tomorrow. This caused some heated discussion and in the end his reply was that no matter I was going to Dong Ha the next day or else.
I went over to my hooch to think things over and decided on a course of action that was against everything I had ever learned in the Marine Corps. I already had my orders so I went to the division Adjutant and asked if he would endorse them 'today'. No problem as he was with us when we departed Camp Pendleton in September of 65. Then I went back to my hooch and sorted out my belongings. things to keep and things to trash.
In the bottom of my foot locker I had a regular set of starched utilities and my last pair of spit shined boots. I showered and dressed and went over to the Embark to 'check out'. The gunny was pre occupied and no mention of our previous discussion was brought up. I requested the use of a vehicle and driver to run an 'errand". This he granted.
The new OIC who had only been in country a few months remarked "SSgt Hattox, I see you've polished your brass and shined boots too." When he joined the unit it became an ongoing jib from him about my unshined brass and unpolished boots. When I went in country I quit polishing brass and shining boots. I had vowed that I would not polish my brass or shine my boots till the day I left Viet Nam. it was my own personal silent protest.
I replied "Captain, remember what I said about polished brass and shined boots? He said "I certainly do, see you around." I gave him a cocky salute and walked out the door. I instructed the driver to take me to the air strip and checked into air freight at Chu Lai. I had a close working relationship with the manifest NCO and asked him if he could get me out of there. He put me on a Marine C130 getting ready to fly back to Okinawa.
It was late evening when I got to processing back at Oki and I was told that they weren't expecting me for a couple of days and it would probably be 4 or 5 days before I could get out. Ok by me, at least I was out of Viet Nam. The next day I picked up my stored bags, sorted my gear, repacked and completed my checkout. Since I was a Staff Sergeant it went fairly smoothly and quickly. I put on civilian clothes and went to town for a nice dinner and a massage.
I got back to my squad bay around midnight and was getting undressed when one of the processing clerks rushed into the squad bay and asked if I was SSgt Hattox. When I answered in the affirmative, he said "There's a flight leaving for the states at Kadena and if you can make it we've processed your orders and there's a jeep and driver waiting outside" It took me about that long to get my bags, grab my orders and get in the jeep. When we got to Kadena the plane was waiting and two female flight attendants were waiting in the door. A Lieutenant was at the bottom of the stair and told me I couldn't travel in civilian clothes. I said "no problem" and opened my bag and had a set of kakis which I changed into at the bottom of the stairs before a baggage handler took my bags. I made it home in 2 1/2 days from Chu Lai
The flight attendants were laughing and the guys were cheering when I boarded the flight.
A few months later, I ran into the Gunny again. We had a short conversation and he asked me where I went after I left the office in Chu Lai. I told him I had gone home and asked him who went to Dong Ha the next day to which he replied, "I had to go, there was no one else to send." Thankfully I never saw him again while I was in the Marine Corps.
GySgt Jerry R Hattox
USMC Ret 1954-1978
I had a submission posted here on 4-11-11, about how things were on Okinawa in 1960-1961. Judging from the responses to it here, and the many e-mails I received on my personal e-mail from guys who were there at the same time and wanted to reminisce, I guess it is time for more Okinawa nostalgia. I'm sure anyone who went to the local movie theaters in BC to watch a Samurai movie remembers that you could drink beer in the theater, and sometimes the crowd got rather rowdy when the hero was mowing down the bad guys one by one with his samurai sword. In those days, if you had $5, you could pull a great liberty on a Friday or Saturday night. Actually, $2 was all you needed for a "not bad" liberty, if you get my drift. The local pawn shops did a brisk business just before each payday.
I see where many guys have written about their old liberty cards and such. I have a few things in my memorabilia, including a wallet-size card that proclaims the bearer to be a citizen of Okinawa, and is subject to carry honey buckets, wade in rice paddies, get drunk on sake, and sleep in the street. I have a cigarette ration card from 1960, good at the Camp Fuji gedunk, for two cartons a week, at 90 cents a carton. It always paid to be friends with a non-smoker, because then you could get his ration card and smuggle the cigarettes in town to sell at about 300% profit. If you couldn't afford the good American brands, you could buy a pack of the local stuff, like Pink or Lon, for about a nickel, but you had to be pretty desperate to smoke them.
I also have a USMC official Govt. driver's license, rated up to 5 ton. In those days, when you had to get a govt. license, you were licensed for the maximum tonnage vehicle in whatever outfit you were in at the time. When I got mine, I was in the 2nd Pioneer Bn. at Lejeune, one of the few outfits that had 5-ton vehicles. I took my driving test in a 5-ton dump truck, a glorified garbage truck, and somehow passed the road test. Little did I know that this would sentence me to bad driving assignments for my entire enlistment. Most guys had a 1/4 or 3/4 ton license, good for a jeep or an APC. Others had 2 1/2 ton, "deuce and a half" or "6-by" license. I got stuck driving a big truck every time we went in the field, always towing something, a 105 howitzer, or water buffalo, or radar scope, or generator, but always something.
On the newer LST's there is a turntable that allows you to drive on board frontwards, and then the turntable turns your vehicle around to face out for debarkation. The older LST's did not, and you had to back your vehicle on board, quite a feat in a 5-ton truck with trailer behind it, and even worse if you were not on the well deck, but were on the main deck. Backing up that ramp was murder. Every morning on board ship, right after the loudspeaker announced "sweepers man your brooms" etc etc, came "now all drivers go to your vehicle and tighten down chains".
Our first Sgt. in HQ-4-12 was Big Red Ebert, who was written about in an earlier posting here. One of his pet projects was an orphanage on Mt. Fuji, the Beautiful Star orphanage, that was sponsored by the 12th Marines. When we were in Camp Fuji for live-fire exercises, he would send working parties to the orphanage to do maintenance, and I usually drove the truck, loaded with construction material. The orphanage was in the 5 Lakes area around Yamanaka, beautiful country. The Nuns who ran the place always fed us well when we worked there.
Another good gig at Fuji was liberty driver for the officers. You drove them in a jeep to wherever they were going, usually some fancy-shmancy place that was off limits to enlisted men, and they would tell you when they wanted to be picked up. It allowed the opportunity for the driver and his shotgun rider to go joyriding and goof off for a while.
In the Army on Okinawa, and everywhere, they got paid once a month, where the Marines were paid twice-monthly. We soon learned to avoid the town right after the Army got paid, because they ran the price of everything up for the first week. By the end of the second week, things were pretty much back to normal.
One other thing, non-Okinawa, but anyone who spent time in Vieques and pulled liberty in San Juan will remember the by-word of the ladies of the evening. "Five and two". More reminiscing on another posting.
Paul Lindner, Cpl. 1959-1963
re: your closing salutation "Standing by to stand by!"
Being raised as a Navy "lifer" dependent (brat), and sailing on a few of Uncle Sam's Grey Yachts during my 14 years (med discharge), I've come to believe it's actually "Stand bye to stand bye to stand bye, and that word is subject to change."
GySgt R. James Martin (1964-1980)
RVN 10 March 1966 - 15 August 1968
I used to have a bumper sticker that said "We don't care how you do it in the Navy".
U. S. Embassy in Saigon
Sgt. Grit - With the recent publication of "Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam" (Copyright © 2011 by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin) I was browsing through some old files and ran across the orders we received following the evacuation of the embassy in Saigon (Operation Frequent Wind).
Marines know that you must have orders for every transfer and movement so attached is the text from the ones received by members of the Marine Security Guard Detachment formerly assigned at the U. S. Embassy in Saigon - who says the Marine Corps has no humor?
Here we were bouncing around the South China Sea fresh off of a CH-46 from the roof of the embassy and receive a set of orders (see attached). I especially like Items 2 and 4.: "2. You are authorized per diem and travel chargeable to appropriation 19501113- allot 4320" and "4. No delay enroute is authorized in the execution of these orders."
Delay enroute? Like where the heck would we go?
Good thing we didn't get the orders during the evacuation operation, otherwise Major Kean would have some upset Marines since sub-paragraph 3 "... authorized personal baggage allowance of 66 pounds."
Marine Corps humor.
Semper Fi, Ken Crouse
Marine Detachment, USS Coral Sea CVB
Marine Detachment, USS Coral Sea CVB, CVA, CV-43
Sept. 29 th Oct. 2 nd 2011 in Stuart, Florida
All Years-1947-1989 POC William R. Moore 2309 SW
Olympic Club Terrace, Palm City, Fl. 34990 E-Mail
jarhead49 @ bellsouth .net
Home # 772-287-8730 Cell # 772-486-4799
HMH-465 Warhorse Reunion 2011
Warhorse, 2011 reunion will be in Las Vegas, Nevada 10/13-10/16. Spread the word to all the 465 alumni you have kept in contact with over the years. Room and Venue info to follow as it comes available. Keep up with the latest info @ http://www.hmh-465.com/ hosted by our brother Gabe Camargo. Details to follow,
Sergeant of Marines
See these and more reunions at the Sgt Grit Reunion Page
10th Service Stripe
This is from an answer to a blogged story. The blog has a different kind of story and pictures. Take a look.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Gaines B. "Dude" Gilbert was a Marine Aviation Ordnanceman. Tough as nails, but as compassionate as a child. Stories about the Dude are many. My last memory was sitting beside his death bed in 1985-86, he was lying there looking at his Dress Blues hanging in his closet. With all his strength, he uttered to me as he nodded toward his blues "I'm gonna get that 10th one". Dude passed away just weeks shy of getting his 10th service stripe. Actually, he was set to retire at the 38-year mark... but was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer at his retirement physical. The doctor asked Dude what he wanted, and dude replied "I want to serve 40 years". The doc said "Top, you're on medical hold"! He almost made it!
Dude Gilbert had a room named after him in the SNCO Club at MCAS Beaufort, S.C. Not sure if it's still there, I haven't been back since 1989.
MSGT Jolley Watson, USMC Retired, gave the Eulogy at the Dude's funeral service at MCAS Beaufort. He told of a time when the Dude drove past a little league ball field one afternoon and noticed one of the teams didn't have uniforms. Dude asked one of the boys "where's your uniform son"? The boy replied, "we can't afford uniforms sir". The very next day, Top Gilbert showed up with uniforms and equipment for every boy on that team.
One time, Dude and Jolley Watson decided to go halves on some pigs. Jolley had a farm in Yemassee, S.C., and Dude said "I'll buy the pigs, you raise and feed them, and we'll split the profits". Jolley agreed and told Dude "we'll have to build a pen". So one weekend, the two of them were at Jolley's farm... Dude was holding a fence pole and Jolley was swinging the sledge hammer. Wouldn't you know it, one swing missed the pole and caught the Dude right square in the jaw. Dude didn't even say "ouch"... he just grabbed the sledge hammer and said "here, you hold the pole Jolley".
Dude Gilbert was the guy the troops could always go to between paydays when money was short. I remember asking to borrow a $20 until payday from the Dude. He opened his wallet and it was stuffed full of nothing but hundreds. He handed me a hundred and say pay me back when you can.
Well, payday rolled around and I asked Dude if I can give him $50 this payday and $50 next payday. He said "naw... you just pay me when you can... but I want it as a hundred... I don't want none of them fifty's cluttering up my wallet!
In 1972 I ran the Pistol Range at MCAS Beaufort as a Sergeant. One morning, as I was giving the infamous "Safety Lecture". There was one salty Staff Sergeant who didn't feel he needed to hear the safety lecture and wandered off while I was still talking. I called Top Gilbert and he said "I'll be right over". About 5 minutes later, that sky blue Cadillac convertible pulled up... top down. Top Gilbert walks up to me and asks me to point out the offender... I did and was waiting to hear Dude rip him a new one. Just then, Top says "go over on my car seat and bring me my Redman". I did and when I returned, the Staff Sergeant was leaving the range. Top said "you won't have any more trouble with him". Top was a true professional... he wouldn't chew out a senior man in front of me. God I miss him.
We were never told this in boot camp, but singing cadence on the march serves three purposes. The first is to keep the breathing steady. The second is to keep your mind off the pain in your feet. And the third is to bond with the rest of the Marines singing with you. A singing family is a motivated family.
At Camp Johnson, my platoon learned to whistle the Colonel Bogey March from one of our privates, which was made famous by the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. Other platoon leaders commented on it, saying it was as motivational as all get out. They got goose bumps as we marched by.
Keeping it (mostly and as far as possible) family friendly, let's hear some of the cadences from when you were a young Marine. Marching cadences are the poetry of motivation and a sound that I will never forget.
A yellow bird / With a yellow bill / Sitting on / My window sill
LCpl Raines, Paul D.
Mess Hall And Marine Recon?
Some great write ups on MCRD San Diego in your last newsletter.
One thing that always sticks in my mind was when we were nearly finished, in the last few weeks of training, we had to stand guard. We had an empty M-14 a web belt with a first aid pouch on it and a helmet. I guess we were going to give an intruder a vertical butt stroke and then bandage them up.
Around the mess hall areas there were these large insulated steam pipes way up in the air going from mess hall to mess hall. We were told not to stand under them as a Recon Marine would be hiding up there. If they could, they would jump down on you and take away your rifle. They would get a 72 hour pass if they could.
I never heard if this ever happened but I never stood under one of those pipes.
Has anyone ever heard of this before?
Glen Griswold, Sgt. 2168507 '65 - '69
Here is Liberty Card for Parris Island my last duty before Honorable Discharge. Bernie Caldwell 9/9/54 to 9/8/57
"I am convinced there is no smarter, handier or more adaptable body of troops in the world." [Winston Churchill writing about US Marines, 1917]
"Before the Marines are through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in H-ll." [Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, US Navy, 1943]
Eat the Apple F--k the Corps.
Big green Weenie