Independence Day, 4th of July, is coming up. Look up from the grill, set your beer down, take a few minutes and contemplate what independence means to you. It is what we all defended.
Is it today what you think it should be? Think about what it meant 236 years ago. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the others, what did it mean to them? WE are/were the tip of the spear, we should have the most keen sense of what it means. What it means makes all the other days of the year possible.
OK, enough BS from me. Pick up your beer, hope your burgers didn't burn while I rambled. H-ll pop open another cold one for me.
"Our flag's unfurled to every breeze From dawn to setting sun"
"Let freedom never perish in your hands."
In This Issue
Here we go: He was nuts, platoon commanders were wounded, red- faced and sweating, he said no, Torpedo Tickler, "boystown", hard time making E6, booking wasn't anticipated.
'Fall in, alphabetically, by rank"
Chesty: Leading from the front.
(Get the print)
Old Corps, New Corps, Marine Corps
At the Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial park on Hwy 87 in Port Arthur, Texas on Monday May 28th (Memorial Day) 2012. My wife and I arrived at 2pm as the band began to play and the service started at 2:30pm. When we got there the pavilion was full but we were able to squeeze into the back left hand corner under the roof in the shade.
While the program was going on I was listening to a friend of mine, retired Colonel Chris Lamson, with 25 years active duty in the Marines and I looked over my right shoulder and noticed the old veteran setting on the wall. His wife had been holding the umbrella over his head and laid it down to stand up where she could see the speaker and hear what was being said.
When I turned to look the second time I noticed this Marine had stepped forward, picked up the umbrella and was holding it over the older gentleman. You can tell by the shadow that only the left shoulder and arm of the Marine was in the shade. Notice his right hand behind his back standing at parade rest in full dress blues. Not once did he flinch.
The temperature forecast that day was predicted to be 90 degrees or more in the shade. In Southeast Texas the humidity can also match the temperature. If you have ever worn a set of dress blues you would understand how hot they are.
He stood there until the service was over. When it was over I walked up to him and said "Thank you for such a kind act for the old veteran" He just looked at me and nodded as if to say, "it was my duty". As I walked away with a tear in my eye and my heart swelling it made me proud to know that the old traditions are still carried on. It was 57 years ago this summer that I joined the Marines.
Cpl. Bill Feidler
Port Arthur, TX
If this story doesn't make you proud and bring a bit of moisture to your eye, you have no soul.
C Company 3rd Tank Bn, Chu Lai, Early 1965
Dear Sgt Grit,
My three platoons were attached to Battalions and my Headquarters was located inside the Regimental Headquarters perimeter less than a mile from the beach.
The one of the Company CP was taken after we had been there a week or so and only shortly before some VC's slipped in between two outpost and shot up our water point with French 22cal submachine guns and threw hand grenades at our cooks' tents. One of my two cooks, a Corporal, was wounded by a grenade fragment in his elbow. He was the only Marine to return fire at the VCs.
My other cook was very lucky. He had a dud grenade land under the head of his cot. He never woke up during the excitement. The next morning, there was the grenade next to his duffle bag with his name clearly stenciled on the bag. That was quite a picture.
The only other casualties from this was the total unnecessary loss of two helicopters and crews that collided on takeoff from the carrier before dawn. They were FRAG to pick up my Corporal whose wound was not serious and could have waited.
The picture of the tanks in formation was later and on the hill we had moved to. We had received some promotions and had a formation for that. This was prior to Starlite.
The picture with the Retriever was taken about the same time. I had two platoons attached to Battalions involved in Starlite. Both platoon commanders were wounded and evacuated. I had one tank commander killed. We lost one tank, C-24. I really hated to see it left behind, but it was badly damaged and the 1st Tank Bn company commander who was in charge felt that it was too dangerous to try to extract the tank and get it back to the beach. Considering the circumstances, I am sure that was the correct call.
I returned to CONUS shortly after Starlite, as I was on the tail end of a 13 month tour when I took C Company to Vietnam.
Major USMC (ret.)
Show your support by sending a package to a Wounded Marine. Did you know that there are hundreds of Marine Amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan? Please think of them in their time of recovery.
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Gotta Love The Corps
Just like Kim in the 6/14 newsletter, I had my seabag lost. I was wounded 2 May 68, and medevaced to USS Repose, 249th Camp Drake, Tachikawa AFB, to Portsmouth Naval Hospital, by June 14.
When it was time to wear uniforms and not pjs, my seabag was designated, 'Lost in Transit', which rated me a whole new issue, so I started dressing like a Marine. Went home on leave July 4th on standby.
Napping in the lounge at Dulles, when someone kicked me in the same leg, in the same spot(s) , that just a month before were shrapnel wounds. I shot up out of my chair to find a boot Marine, fresh out of boot camp, and wearing dress blues with Pfc chevrons. He said,'square away that uniform Private, or I call the MPs'. It seems that I neglected to sew my rank on my winter wool shirt, so I looked like a Private.
As I stood up to put on my blouse, the pfc caught sight of ribbons, badges, and my LCpl stripes, and locked himself to attention,'Sir the private apologizes for the mistake', and stood there, red-faced and sweating. "Get out of my space, maggot!. and he took off. That really felt good.
My lost seabag caught up with me at NNSY, so I had one issue always cleaned and pressed, ready for inspection. This time ALL my chevrons were correct. Never had to sweat inspections ever again! Gotta love the Corps.
Viet Nam 67-68
My son in law has never seen his daughter. He is stationed in Okinawa at Futema Air Station. I do know he reads your weekly post because we talk about the stories sometimes and he sees the stuff I order. If you want to put the picture in the post then by all means you may but I just thought you would get a kick out of it.
My Great Grand Daughter already knows to hang on to a Marine. In the picture my Great Grand Daughter is 17 days old. My Grand Daughter is wearing her husband's T- Shirt. It's just a picture that was taken of the baby and no one thought about what the back ground was. But me being a 23 year Marine caught it in an instant. Semper Fi!
Thursday the 28th of June 2012 (also on Thursday in 1962) marks 50 years since my best buddy Fred and I landed at Lindbergh Field, San Diego International Airport. Next stop MCRD San Diego, the infamous yellow foot prints and a whole new direction in my life through training that would serve me well for the next 50 years, and more if that be God's will.
It was dark when we landed, which seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Like everyone else over the years, we were put on a bus for the short ride to MCRD. Through the gates, stop in front of receiving and in a heartbeat, life changed in a manner that does not have to be explained to any Marine.
Yellow foot prints and they yelled at us. Haircuts and they yelled at us. Bucket issue and they yelled at us. Shower and get dressed in the yellow sweatshirt, utility trousers with web belt and tennis shoes and they yelled at us. Initial paperwork and picture for our SRB and they yelled at us. Make a head call? I can't because I'm scared sh--less. 0200. Hit the rack and they yelled at us.
Fifty years. It seems like just yesterday until I say it out loud and then it seems like a ghost of history. Fifty years and my Marine Corps pride continues to increase every day. Fifty years and I would do it all over again but I get to be 17 years old again.
Semper Fi to the 76 swinging Richards that shared that experience.
Semper Fi to our Drill Instructors - Sgt Maj Pacheco surviving. Gunny Way, Gunny Clark, Gunny Broadhead deceased.
Semper Fi to all the Marines I served with over the next four years, two months and twelve days.
Semper Fi to all the Marines at Sgt. Grits.
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Best Father's Day
Had the pleasure of spending father's day in Cleveland, Ohio with 3 other Marines from American Legion Post 537, Oregon Ohio. Our service time spanned from Korea thru Vietnam. The Marines from Quantico had displays of all the modern weapons, vehicles, clothing, etc. used by the modern day Marines. What an awesome display.
Most of the displays were set up around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 3 .8 miles down the shore line of Lake Erie the Marines had demos of Martial Arts, bomb sniffing dogs, the Marine Band from Quantico, and the world famous Silent Drill Platoon. I served with a drill team in Millington, Tenn. in 1959 so this was really special to watch.
After their performance there was an amphibious assault landing from the lake, and the air. Troops were drooped from Helos and Ospreys. Also had F18s and Harriers. I could go on forever about the fantastic show they put on.
I know the young Marines of today are carrying on the traditions of The Corps that would make any old Marine proud. It sure impressed this old Marine. (59-63) The estimated crowd was over one hundred thousand Jarheads and their families.. Best Father's day in many years.
C.E. Walters 1867+++ 6441 Air Winger VMA-332
Couple of comments:
on THE FLIGHT LINE,
I got to see history made by the Helicopters, when in the first part of September I saw a copter taking gasoline supplies, in drums, slung below in a cargo net to the Marines on line. And something I didn't physically see, but within a week or so after that the FIRST transport of a Marine Company to the front lines. AND, within a month after that a Battalion of same was put on line from a rear area. So to my knowledge in September & October 1951, the Marines, AGAIN made history.
on NO BOOT CAMP:
When we were activated in July '51, a unit of 155's in Dallas, TX., many had not been to a boot camp, and there were strict guidelines in place as to who COULD go, who HAD to go, etc., onward to Korea. This was defined by several things, as to how long you had been in the unit, prior service etc. etc. One instance, I remember distinctly, was if you had attended 15 meetings, you qualified to go on to Korea. This friend of mine told the Sargent he thought he had 13, & was that enough??? The Sgt., looked at him and asked, do you want to go to Korea?? He said NO, Sgt., told him to get back in line & stop asking dumb questions.
Chesty's last regimental command
Crusty Ol'Top Sgt
Had been waiting about 20 minutes for the Camp Lejeune main PX to open one morning. About 15 Marines in a semi-circle around the doors, standing, watching and waiting.
When all eyes fall on this clueless private who breaks rank on our silent formation. Walks front and center and tries the doors - LOCKED - turns and addresses no one in particular and asks "Oh, are they not open yet?"
We are all looking at him like "No S_ _ t Sherlock"
But leave it to this crusty ol' Top Sgt who replies "Yeah, We're just all standing here waiting on a bus"
Laughed so hard that more than 30 years later my side still aches... oh well, I guess you had to have been there...
He Was Nuts
I was the RO one night in Feb '69 up on the ridge line above 1st MarDiv HQ. Went up on a react patrol, where we normally slept and stood various watches. Well that night, I was lucky enough to be selected to go out on a 5 man LP. We were out on a point up above the react guys. Long about 1130pm one of our guys let loose with a grenade. When queried why, he said he heard a noise/movement in front of him.
He was told he was nuts, it was just the 5 of us out there, and to take it easy for the rest of the night. 10 minutes later we were in a firefight with the right flank of a herd of bad guys coming over the ridge line. What I can remember of the night was that we were alone out there, bad guys were in front of and between us and the road we took out there, and no one was coming to get us until daylight.
Lots of ammo later, the sun started to rise and the Huey's were up. We had 2 fly over our LP, They rocked left and right signifying that they saw us, and then they went to work on the north and east side
Of the ridge line. About 10 am we were greeted by a 6 by loaded with Marines, we were invited onboard, and away we went. I still have the flower, now dried and pressed, that I picked up that morning. It was the first thing I saw as the sun rose and it had a yellow color.
Submitted to our Facebook Page.
Join us there to see more
Swab Jockey, Deck Ape, Snipe, Hull Scraper, Cable Greaser, Plankton Picker, Dixie Cup, Duck, Salt Licker, Rail Polisher, Torpedo Tickler, wave watchers and potbellied coffee mugs (CPO's), some I don't recall at the moment, lots of good memories of floats.
Thanks Robert Bliss for elevating my remembrances of factual situations to a sort of cartoon "Fantastic Stories". I assure you that the DI incident did actually happen however. A good reason for not including names, including my own, is that I am not about embarrassing anyone. If I don't put the names in or identify the unit I can give a more well-rounded coverage of what it is I am reporting.
How that DI ever got through DI school, if he ever went, remains a mystery to me. As a recruit in boot camp back I couldn't possibly know that DI's circumstance. Mental illness? Alcoholism? Who knows? Still what I say happened did happen just as I said it did. Now, about my "sack". I have eight kids. My "sack" and the "nuts" that reside therein are just fine. Semper Fi.
As always, Anonymous 3/3/3
On June 12, 2012, Sgt Wendell "Griff" Griffith reported to Post 1 at heaven's gate. Griff had served a tour as a MSG at the U.S. Consulate in Leningrad, USSR. We met when he reported to the embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. He was one of a long line of Marines in his family to serve - uncles, brother, and son. As he said in his self-authored obituary - "I served, proudly, in the United States Marine Corps. I am still a Marine." He was so much more. He was a husband, father, educator and friend. At Northwest Florida State College he taught American History and the Constitution. He felt very deeply about our country and how young people should understand why we are as great as we are. We were friends and brothers for 37 years he will be missed.
E. F. Lavelle
1972 - 1976
my guess is that it's a typo error. since he was a grunt, if he ever carried a PRC-25, (or for that matter, ever stood near a Marine carrying one) his secondary MOS coulda been 2531, field radio operator.
concerning the story titled 1948 I went in in Sept 50 we were issued tit-ties and a 2 1/2 gallon bucket had to return the bucket after graduation also our herring bone twill were called dungarees remember the cosmoline was hard to get off of your rifle the receiving barracks for Parris Island was out in the swamp at Yammasee we were issued uniforms at the building where Iron Mike is and was in the plt that afternoon no yellow footprints the old hbts were more comfortable than what is worn today and some of DIS were PFCs and CPLs they were the meanest keep up the good work
SEMPER FI rbs
Referring to MCAS Yuma. Went there numerous times TDY from El Toro and Santa Ana. Between 1972 and 74. I was with HMH 361 and HMHT 301 back then. Have to dig out papers to make sure designation are correct Remember the air conditioned barracks well, and sitting around after sundown, hoping it would cool off. Never did while we were there.
Did get some 4x4 time in with my personal Jeep. Someone Mentioned San Luis, Mexico. Don't remember the name of the town South of the border. But at the time there was an entertainment center out there. The building were arranged in a somewhat horseshoe shape. About 20 or 30 of the buildings. about 1 or 2 city blocks I would guess from the end of one leg over to the end of the opposite.
Just a wide dirt park anywhere open lot in between. First time there we went down in my open top CJ5 jeep. If I remember right we had about 8 Marines crammed in it and just hanging on sitting on the edges. Suffice it to say you could obtain just about anything you wanted, beer, wine, whiskey, drugs. Entertainment was normally on the more raunchy side and we heard the stories of some of the more "talented" females. Yep they were true, saw something never saw before or since...
Food, You could get, beef, sheep, horse, dog, cat, monkey. Just had to ask for it. And then there was some I couldn't guess what it was, and don't want to. As long as you behaved yourself, the federales could care less what was happening. We called the area "boystown" Yep those were the days, before everything became politically correct!
Sgt Marines (NLA)
1968 -74 and RVN 70-71
A lot gets said about medal inflation and how some branches of the military seem to get more than their fair share of shiny things and ribbons, for less work. I found an interesting bit of internet research on the topic and thought your readers might enjoy it. The author gives you permission to reprint the article so long as you provide a link back to the original piece here.
I was wasting time on the net today and clicked a link to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. I stumbled across a section of the site dedicated to men who won the Medal twice. Considering how difficult it is to win it once, and the fact that most of those who win it die in the process, it seems to me that a second award would be unheard of. Not so. 19 men have won it twice. I noticed that of the 19 double winners, 7 were Marines, 4 were in the army and the rest were in the Navy. I expected the Marines would be well represented. I was a little surprised the army would have so few. What really blew me away was the navy. 8 double CMOH awards for the Navy, Wow! I thought it even more interesting that all of the awards were pre-WWII. These Navy guys weren't SEALs they were just regular deck monkeys.
I clicked on one. It reads: "Lafferty participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp and then served as sentry to keep guard of clothes and arms left by other members of the party. After being rejoined by others of the party who had been discovered before the plan could be completed, Lafferty succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp."
I guess you get a MOH for each torpedo you transfer.
Compare that to one of the Marines: "Hoffman was attempting to organize a position on the north slope of the hill when he saw 12 of the enemy, armed with 5 light machineguns, crawling toward his group. Giving the alarm, he rushed the hostile detachment, bayoneted the 2 leaders, and forced the others to flee, abandoning their guns. His quick action, initiative, and courage drove the enemy from a position from which they could have swept the hill with machinegun fire and forced the withdrawal of our troops."
Let's check another Marine. "Pvt. Kelly ran through our own barrage 100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machinegun nest, killing the gunner with a grenade, shooting another member of the crew with his pistol, and returning through the barrage with 8 prisoners."
Marines are awarded medals for acts of bravery in battle. In the Navy you can get the MOH for, "returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp." Incidentally they didn't accomplish the mission. Apparently you get the first MOH for being off the ship 24 hours and the second for being in the rain. The Marines have a special term for being off the ship for 24 hours, shore leave.
Hope you enjoyed the story and thanks for all your good work.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #1, #8, (AUG. 2011)
The Helicopter was starting to play a very important part in the day to day operations of all branches of the service and the MARINE Corps was in fast forward to develop as many uses as possible for this newly acquired versatile piece of equipment.
The Navy initially designated the aircraft the HSS-1 Seabat (Helicopter, Submarine, Sikorsky) , the MARINES preferred to call it the HUS-1 Seahorse (Helicopter, Utility, Sikorsky) and the Army adopted is as the Choctaw. In around 1962 the Dept. of Defense changed all the designations to a standard UH-34 and the model designation followed. The "D" model became the most versatile and common. Sikorsky built about 15-1800 of the aircraft and somewhere build by Sud-Est of France and Westland in the United Kingdom built several hundred. The Westland Corp. built a turbine powered model that was very successful using 2 T-53 turbine engines.
The Navy Seabat relied on sonar dipping gear and an autopilot that permitted low-altitude hover at night or in poor visibility to perform its anti-submarine mission. The UH-34 served in many roles under the Designation as a "D" or Dog model. It could very easily be internally re-configured to perform a VIP (Very Important Person) or a SAR (Search And Rescue) mission in a very short time. The low altitude and airspeed required for this type of operation made successful auto-rotations unlikely in case of an engine failure and mandated a particularity trusting and courageous aircrew to fly these high-risk missions. The Navy continued to use the H-34 from about 1954 to sometime in 1962 when the SH-3 (Twin Turbine Powered) Sea King was brought into service for that specific role. In addition to the anti- submarine role the H-34 served in the Navy as the H-34 (J) for VIP and SAR Duties. The Coast Guard acquired about 6 for SAR Duties.
The Army employed the H-34 principally for general utility purposes, as well as VIP transport flights and SAR flights. One of the most challenging missions flown by Army H-34s was the evacuation of the Congo in 1964, but Army H-34s did not participate in Vietnam and did not fly in the assault helicopter role.
Beginning in about 1956, the H-34 saw its introduction into combat during intensive operations with the French in Algeria. In 1955, The U.S. MARINE Corps received its first HUS-1 as an interim type, ostensibly until the HR2S (later H-37) entered service However, the HUS lasted far longer in USMC service , and in much greater numbers than, than the HR2S ever did. Ultimately the MARINE Corps took delivery of 515 UH-34D's. From the late 50's until the CH-46 entered service in 1965, the UH-34 operated as the mainstay of MARINE Corps helicopter units.
Also, in early 1956 back in Hawaii, HMR-161 was loading aboard the USS Princeton (CVS-37, and later designated as LPH-5) to take part in Operation Firm Link which was to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in mid Feb. This exercise was in actuality a "Show of Force" by member nations of the SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Org.). HMR-161 was the only helicopter unit to participate and the Squadron returned to Hawaii in March of 1956.
In response to "Cpl Dave Popper's" article regarding his talk w/ MOH Hector Cafferata. I am a proud member of the "Chosin Few". I served w/ "C/1/5, 1stMarDiv at the Chosin as a Company Runner. On the night of Nov.27, 1950 at approximately 2300 hrs. I happened to be in our Captains tent warming up. The temp outside was around minus 40degF. with wind chill factors lowering the temp to minus 70degF. Suddenly we heard over our SER300 radio that the Chinese had broken thru the defense position of 2nd Battalion and they needed support.
We all rushed out of the tent and routed our other platoon Leaders to head for the 2nd Battalions area.
This was a night I will remember for the rest of my life. Our outfit fought until daybreak. Scuttlebutt got back to us that in the Chinese break thru of the 2ndBat's defense line, there was one "Marine" that was found standing in a small dugout w/ his Cpt. lying wounded, and this Marine was standing there, wounded, w/out his boots on. It was reported that there were at least 20 or more dead Chinese lying around and near the dugout. We later found out that this Marine was "Pfc. Hector Caferata".
Many years after my discharge from the USMC in 1952, I had been visiting my brother-in-law, also a former Marine, and his wife and family in Toms River, N.J. We had gone down to Atlantic City for a day and while walking along the boardwalk, my brother-in-law told me he wanted me to see this memorial that was along the boardwalk for the Korean War Veterans.
When I entered the memorial and was reading all the plaques w/ names of "Fallen Heroes" of the Korean war, plus living Veterans that were highly decorated for their actions in Korea during the Chosin campaign. There was the plaque w/ Pfc. Hector Cafferata and the citation award of the MOH.
I just had to put my hands on the plaque and thank God for Hector's survival.
Richard J. Feuerherm (former Sgt. USMC - 1948-1952)
We Get Older
An open barracks classic-post Nam era maybe? To the tune of "auld lang syne"
To all the Lifers in The Corps
Leave me the f--k alone,
I signed for four, I've done my tour
And now I'm gettin' short,
No more PT, no more CG's
To this I raise my glass,
So take your Eagle- Globe- and -Anchor
And shove it up your a--.
I don't think many of us would disagree that as we get older, the reality is that most Marines,(non-career in particular) might say we were having some of the best times of our lives. I still have a few "Lifer" buddies who agree. Lucky to have unit Brothers living close by. We all know it. Exciting and sometimes very dangerous. Living what most "non-alpha dogs" fear to do. That's why we write on our site Sgt. Grit has provided for us. Thank You Sergeant. Marines ARE different. "Roger That" to a previous letter. People don't understand us. Not a bad thing. It is what it is. The Marine Corps Ethos.
As for the best times, of course I'm not talking about the meat grinder contacts of WWII and Korea. From The Khe Sanh Hill Fights in Quang Tri Province to the rice paddy fire fights in The Delta, and all points in between, beginning to end. We had the Honor of being trained and led by those Marines in my Rifle Company, they had been there, from Lance Corporal "re-treads" to Corporals and Sergeants, Staff NCO's and Officer's.6th RCT Marines that had been in the "Dominican" as far back as '65.Marine Corps History in the flesh. Teaching us what they knew. Passing it down. Our Skipper was a Mustang, came to us from 2nd Force Recon. Captain Chuck Diesher. HARD. Our CO was none other than Col. Wesley Fox, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Got it while in command of Alpha 1/9 on Dewey Canyon,1969,Vietnam, Republic of. Humped us around Korea, his first time there was as a private in 1951... not enough thanks can be given to all present on "those days"... but to my point.
My worst day in The Corps was 23 October '83. While at Barnum Hall at Little Creek, we listened to the reports coming out of Beirut, literally sick to our stomachs, knowing we would not get any payback for 1/8. Somebody call me on it if I am wrong, but I'm sure 2/6 got the REACT mission. Meanwhile, we picked up the continuing Big Pines advisory/military assistance ops in Honduras. 2/8 was busy taking names on Grenada with the Airborne. Later ran the tower on Charlie range at RR Det.- Lejeune. NCO clubbed there with a Sergeant from Fox 2/8 who had recovered the Cobra crew that was shot down on the beach. He said the Cubans had "executed" them. B-stards. I'm still p-ssed off about Beirut, and could give a s--t who knows it. As a Third Generation Cop, I owe my success in that career to The Corps. The strength I gained allowed me to survive the next 18 years. Mentally and Physically, that conditioning literally saved me from death my last day on duty.
To all the young Gyrenes "Downrange" as they say today, however many tours you may have done or will do, consider a career in Law Enforcement. America needs you now as much as ever. Maybe more than ever. From where I sit I see the best young hard chargers we have ever had. Better Trained. Better equipped... "Emergency" Law Enforcement, High Risk Patrol Jurisdictions, SWAT, whatever the "AO", ain't no walk in the park. Like war, it's no movie or TV show. It's mean, dark and dirty. I took my last hit a few years ago, the "Forced Retirement" hit. All rehab in my future, but the cycle continues. I am not some sort of "recruiter". Just an American Warrior, still proud like you... my days on watch are over. I do not enjoy it yeti would rather be "downrange " with you,
It's no big secret that the Cop Ranks are full of Marines. As a Marine you already have the basic skills. Just like in The Corps you will be cross-trained to be mission specific. It IS basically just a change of AO. I had to think long and hard about whether or not to submit this letter. Some may not like it. I don't care. I know that most Marines out there, cop or not, will back me up.
If you want to continue to serve after active duty at least look into it. Use that GI Bill for your Criminal Justice Degree like those of us before you. Thank you for your service Marines, and again, America needs you... Stay in the fight.
Go "From Green to Blue"
Cpl. "D.T." Jones
Patrol Supervisor; DT-Weapons Instructor; SWAT
Spartanburg County, S.C. (Retired)
Sgt. Grit /staff, we lost a great one this week.
Major Marbaugh has gone to his final duty station and heavens streets will be a little better guarded as of 6/19/12. Major Marbaugh served from 1938 to 1954. He served in Panama with the Banana Fleet, Korea at the Chosin reservoir , Samoa, Bougainville, and others . He personified Marine. More information about him and his time in the Corps can be found at:
Marbaugh Videos (WitnessToWar)
Corporal of Marines 90-95
Stop Hanging Out
Recently there have been several stories about the best and worse Mess Halls. Back in the early 60s the Mess Halls at Geiger and later 2/8 at Lejeune were large undecorated areas; chow was served into slotted metal trays and you were seated at large tables with a bench on either side that would seat 8 to 10 Marines.
In Oct 62 I transferred to MB Naples Italy. We were part of the naval support facility and ate in the Navy Mess. It was totally and completely different from Lejeune. We did go down a serving line but it was manned by Italian civilians and we ate at 4 person tables just like in a nice restaurant. The food was delicious and you could even go back for seconds.
Sometime later, in either 63 or early 64, several of us were selected to go to Tripoli Libya and spend some time with the British Army. After all these years I have forgotten why but it was related to commemorating some joint action the Corps had with the British Army Green Howards regiment. Anyway we were housed with them and also ate with them. After a year or so of eating Navy chow it was a shock to be issued a mess kit prior to our first visit to their Mess Hall. I don't think any of us could eat more than a bite or two of the British chow and then we washed our kits using the 3 barrel system that we had used in the field with 2/8. I always thought if this was their main side chow what the heck would it be like to eat there field rations. A couple days in we were taken over to Wheelus Air Force base for an afternoon off. Needless to say the first thing we did was find a good old American snack bar so we could eat some real food.
My last Mess Hall memory has nothing to do with the food. My final duty station was back at PI and since I was attached to food service we had the option to eat at any Mess Hall. Went to early evening chow one afternoon at the Second Bn recruit Mess Hall with 2 Sgts. We were seated in the permanent personnel section when who should walk in but the Commanding General and his staff which included the Base Sgt Major. As we were the only ones there the General made a "bee line" over to us.
Of course we all jumped to attention but the General told us to carry on. Asked us how chow was and if we had anything we wanted to tell him. Well one of the Sgts decided he was tired of having fish every Friday and preceded to let the General know about it. The other Sgt went back to eating but I was too nervous to eat around that much rank and simply set there. The General thanked the Sgt for his input and then proceeded to finish his inspection. The Sgt Major however took one or two steps and then did a nice about face and no uncertain terms let the one Sgt know that in the future he had better come to him before saying anything to the General.
The other one he chewed out for continuing to eat. He never said anything to me but gave me a stare that seemed to say you better stop hanging out with these guys. I was discharged a short time later so I don't know what ever happened to these two guys but I suspect they had a hard time making E6 as long as that Sgt Major was there.
John P Vaughn
Reading about the numerous Cuban missile crisis stories and about how returning Vietnam vets were treated reminded me of my time in service. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1968 with the 10th Marines, we were mobilized and trucked out into the nearby woods for riot training in response the anti-war protests going on in Washington D.C. Sure am glad we never had to follow thru on that training.
Also, I was flying home for annual leave on standby (remember how much fun that was), when time came for dinner to be served a nice young stewardess came by to tell me they had no meal for me since my booking wasn't anticipated. I told her that was fine but several people nearby volunteered their meals and thanked me for my service, pretty cool I thought.
Cpl B.J. Moses, USMC 1967-69
"Take ten... expect five... get three... on your feet, outta the shade and into the heat... saddle up, move out!" (before running became all the rage, Marines hiked... grunts more than other units, but that was seen as the way to toughen troops... some of the more memorable/longer ones are still talked about today by those old enough to have participated... 'around the horn' (pretty much the perimeter of Camp Pendleton)... to, or from, 29 Palms for Pendleton units... spent only 23 days in Lejeune in 24 years, but suspect there will similar long hikes on that side of the country as well. Gen Graham, as CG at 29 Palms, would take HqCo Force troops out for 25-milers... with deep squats at the turn-around point, no sitting... and he did it with Port and Starboard halves of the company, so that work went on...
"Reveille, Reveille... heave out and trice up, clean sweepdown fore and aft, carry all trash to the fan tail, the smoking lamp is lit in all authorized smoking spaces, stand clear of the mess decks until pipe-down" (never did figure out, or hear, any bosun's call that piped us down to chow... and only a squid would put tomatoes in SOS)
On the phone: "motor pool... two-bys, four-bys, six-bys, and big ones that bend in the middle and go pshew!... if you can't truck it...
"Hey diddle-diddle, straight up the middle"
On longevity: 'I've surveyed more sea bags than you've surveyed socks" (to 'survey' , in the day, meant to turn in a worn-out item for a (hopefully. new) like item)
'my first office hours was for buffalo sh-t on my spear'... 'is that your service (or serial) number... or the national debt?.
'When the Lord said let there be light, I was the firewatch '(who turned them on) "
"I've used more ink signing payrolls than you've drunk coffee in the mess hall'
Morning formation: " two dead, one in the head, and I wouldn't be here if I could get special liberty... all present and accounted for... "
'Fall in, alphabetically, by rank"
"Smmeeedly! " (DI's cry for the recruit messman who waited on DI's at recruit messhalls... tough job... )
Maybe some of these will generate more... and stories to go with them... have sort of realized that for many of the VN generation, the time may have been boot camp, ITR, VN, maybe barracks duty and an early out, with no time riding around with the gator navy... and then there are those sayings that belong to the aviation side.
Marines leaving Pendleton for a tour with the Wing up at El Toro would be advised that wing-wiper 782 gear consisted of a pair of boots with elastic sides (supposedly a safety item for those working around liquid oxygen). a long rubber comb (carried sticking out of the right hip pocket) and a pair of earmuffs (noise attenuation)... covers, especially utility, were considered optional... (having a cover sucked into the intake of a jet engine was not considered career-enhancing?)
Early June, 1963, MCRD SD... word came down that DI's who were not on duty with their platoons that day would muster at the flag pole at 0600. Uniform to be summer service Charlie, raincoat, pizz cutter, plan on being gone all day. We had been tagged to simulate the press party that would be in trace of President Kennedy for his visit to a Carrier Task Force the following day. We were counted off into heli-teams, and staged on the grinder. Soon enough, a formation (if it'd been UH-1's, coulda said a 'herd of Hueys'... but these weren't) of Marine H-34s settled onto the grinder like locusts headed for Pharoh's bean fields. (probably the only time in four years I was ever on the grinder uncovered... rotary wing types tend to get excited sometimes about things flying around in their rotor wash...and besides that, even DI's would have to buy the replacement for a lost cover... not to mention looking like an absolute idiot for the rest of the day)
We were loaded soon enough, and flew off, around the end of Point Loma, and out to sea about 30 clicks... to set down on the flight deck of USS Kitty Hawk. From memory, the birds left, and headed back toward land... probably to NAS North Island, or Miramar, to wait. Rows of chairs had been set up on the starboard side of the flight deck, forward of the tower. The fancier chairs were in the front, and may all have been on the forward elevator (if there is one on that side... some sea-going Marine who served in her can set us straight on that, maybe?)... This being a Navy show, we were loose to mill drill about, and pick whatever chair appealed. I lacked the nerve to plant my Sgt butt in THE chair... but a super-duper Master Chief from the ship's company decided it would fit him just fine. I estimated I was about where some under-secretary of the Navy would sit on the 'real' day.
We got to see the entire live-fire rehearsal for the following day... everything the Navy had in their trick bag!... submarines broaching, destroyers running depth charge patterns, F-4's knocking drones out of the sky with Sidewinders, Anti-Submarine Warfare helos dipping radiosondes, all kinds of 'fly-bys' cruiser and destroyer maneuvers, etc.. Probably the most impressive of these was when we were advised over the 1MC to watch forward of the port bow... there was an A3J Vigilante headed our way, oblate spheroid reproductive glands to the bulkhead, and below flight deck level... by the time we saw it, it had come and gone... silently... and then the shock wave got to us...
Long day by the time we got back to MCRD (helos came back and got us), but memorable, for sure. I think the President's actual visit was on the 6th of June... and that may have been the day he stood on the yellow footprints at Receiving Barracks... there is one set missing at the right front, or 4th squad leader position... would guess those are in a museum somewhere today. (I tend to avoid museums, out of fear that the curator will nail my feet to the deck and make me an exhibit...) and to save Grit the trouble, will hint for those that need it, that 'oblate spheroid' is sort of a football shape, and a bulkhead is a wall, and... messing with effete PC censors can be fun...
There was a PAO short film made of the whole dog and pony show, with the title "United States Arriving"... have not been able to track it down. For them as has not been around the haze gray and underway types, when an Important Person, e.g the Commander of the 7th Fleet, is about to come aboard ship, the Bos'un of the Watch will make like a mockingbird with his withhle, and the announcement will be " Seventh Fleet,... Arriving"... the CIC, of course, is "United States"...
Self portrait of bulldog smoking a cigar
Posted by Fredd Thrasher
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08-02 Marine Warrent Officer Class 1966(7th WOCSC)
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"Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights."
--Navy Times; November 1994
"For those looking for security, be forewarned that there's nothing more insecure than a political promise."
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated."
"Why in hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
--Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918
"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired."
"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism."
"[I]f the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them."
"Oderint dum metuant"
Let them hate, so long as they fear.
"Most bad government has grown out of too much government."
"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997
God Bless the American Dream!