While reading your most recent newsletter (3/4 August), I was pleasantly surprised to see that you now stock a shirt representing 1st Bn, 23rd Marines. I'm also pleased because, for the many years that I have been reading your newsletters (going back to the first edition) this is the first time that I've seen a shirt for reservists, especially since it is my old unit.
When I joined the Corpus Christi, Texas, unit back in August of 1969, after coming off active duty, it was two recon companies: C and D, 4th Recon Bn. (I'm proud to have been the CO of Delta Company.) After a couple of years we were re-designated as C/1/23, and I was the second CO to serve the unit under that designation. (The first was Jack Fraim, who was senior to me, so I was XO/1st Platoon Commander. He later moved to Florida, and I lost contact with him.) Thanks for recognizing the efforts of the Corps' reservists.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.
Get the mentioned unit t-shirt at:
1st Battalion 23rd Marines T-shirt
Sealed With A Kiss
Just read a posting by Sgt. Rigiero on his experience with YUK, and would like to extend a similar laugh.
When in boot, Parris Island, my girlfriend kept sending me letters with S.W.A.K. on the back [sealed with a kiss]. One of the junior D.I.'s, who by the way took an instant dislike of me, would lay the letter on the deck, and make me do 20-30 push-ups, depending on his irritability with me at the time,[LOL] and direct me to kiss the letter each time, and say "I open this with a kiss darlin'..." needless to say I advised my girlfriend to stop putting it on the letters, I had enough on my plate without opening new doors of torment from an overzealous D.I.
L/Cpl Edwin O'Keefe
Accept And Embrace Change
I would like to reply to J. Wise's letter published in the September 10, 2014 newsletter.
I never had the professional honor of wearing anything but GySgt chevrons, but I'm well aware that the officer ranks are deeply embedded in political correctness. No Marine officer is appointed Commandant unless he adheres to a particular political theory. Accordingly, I believe that every Commandant our illustrious "Corps" has had has tried to "make his mark" on the Marine Corps. Many of the "changes" the Marine Corps has experienced has been for that very reason. Any Marine officer who reaches that pinnacle has the right to "make his mark". Live with it.
On the other hand, many of the "changes" have been for a variety of other reasons - safety, security, modernization, cost, uniformity, discipline, ease of care, and many other reasons too numerous to mention. Marines once used muzzle-loaded weapons. Marines once used swords. Our beloved "Corps" has, by the grace of God, adopted battle techniques and weapons that reflect what has become necessary to defeat the enemies of this great nation. Time and again, Marines have risen to the occasion, distinguished themselves, and defeated those enemies or at least given them pause to reflect on who exactly they were fighting. The discipline, dedication, and esprit-de-corps as well as the heroism and love of country is alive and well in today's Marines.
Recently, I had the opportunity to "upgrade" my cell phone. My carrier offered me a wide variety of choices. Although, being retired, I really didn't need a "smart phone", that's exactly what I chose. Several weeks of trial and error were necessary before I fully understood the technology to be able to use the "smart phone" effectively. I'm glad I made the choice. I'm enjoying my new-found connection with the world. And, No, I'm not addicted to a machine.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is - Who cares why these "changes" have come about. What's important is that our beloved Marine Corps' ethos, mission, and brotherhood haven't changed, and never will. We must either accept and embrace "change" or go the way of all extinct species. Most of the time, "change" is for the better. OH - nostalgia - it's not broke, don't fix it. History and studying history is important, but let's not get so tied up with history and nostalgia that we forget that we must do what we have to do to insure the continuation of this great nation.
Present day Marines are well equipped both mentally, physically to do exactly that. Young people accept "change". So should us older folks.
A Former "Hat"
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)
The Black Rifle
Several stories have been posted recently about the Stoner rifles. Here's a little more info:
Eugene Stoner developed this rifle, and it had several variations. Most notably, the M16. He was the father of the M16. To fully understand the development and Vietnam problems with the M16, read the book "The Black Rifle", it's very informative. I met him once while working for Colt Firearms in the early 90's. He was also a WWII USMC Veteran.
USMC '66 - '69
RVN '67 - '69
Get a hardcover copy at "The Black Rifle".
Gung Ho And Lichtenstein Marines
Two comments please:
"Gung Ho", I read the book.
"Carlson's Raid, The Daring Marine Assault on Makin" by George W. Smith.
The book reports that Major Carlson visited with the Chinese Communist troops in the late 1930's in order to update the US Military. They were at that time, basically a guerrilla outfit. The book says (not me saying) that the battle cry of the Chicoms was GUNG HO, which translated into "All together".
Making bets, playing cards with the S.D.I... Possibly in the Lichtenstein Marines...
Bill Mc Dermott
Shaking My Head
Don't know why, but in the past month I've met two that claimed to be Marines, but just left me shaking my head.
The first was at the local rifle range. Don't remember how the conversation went that way, but he claimed to have gone to boot camp at "Camp Pendleton", had no idea what MCRD is, and claimed to have had a female drill instructor... at Camp Pendleton. Claimed to have gone to boot camp around 1994. I just packed up and left, and as I was pulling away, he was saying, "I know you don't believe me, but that's the honest truth." Odd experience, to say the least.
The second was down around Roswell, New Mexico. Saw a car with Marine stickers and asked who owned it. Guy spoke up, I asked when he was in the Marines and he answered, "a long time ago". I guess he had a guilty conscience, because it wasn't five minutes before he admitted he had never been in the Corps, he was an associate member of a Marine Corps motorcycle club. At least he was honest.
Maybe it was just my turn.
Clovis, New Mexico USA
BTW, I was shooting a Winchester Model 70 in 7mm STW.
Betting With DI
After reading the post by Cpl Murphy regarding betting his S/DI at the range on Qual. day and playing card's while in Boot Camp, watching his D.I. crying after the Platoon screwed up sounds like a little B.S. thrown in... just saying.
Jim Scott Cpl.
I don't believe that a recruit made a bet with a drill instructor, I don't believe the recruit played poker with him either. I also don't believe a Marine unit went without food for 5 weeks. I call bulls--t...
I re-read the post again and I am now convinced the guy is a fake. He called himself a Sea going bellhop. What Marine refers to himself by that moniker? Non-Marines and army and civilians call us that, but when is the last time you ever heard a Marine call himself that? I never have. Then he uses a lot of our phrases or buzzwords but used them with quotation marks to indicate that he knows the difference between several of them like hat and cover and pants and trousers. We all know those terms, he does not have to use quotation marks to prove to qualify them, we all know what he means to say. Personally I think he is an on-line lurker and studies our history and is just bullsh-tting us by stealing other Marines stories.
Don Shipley, the Navy SEAL who outs phony seals calls them lurkers. They troll the military websites and study the different branch's history and then cultivate their own image. I think that's what this guy did. I would have believed him though until he mentioned the bet with his DI and then playing cards with him? Naaaa Ain't no DI that ever walked this earth would allow that and if this guy was really a Marine he would know that! Thanks for letting me ramble Don!
Gary Zanzalari has the same problem I have with a story in a previous Newsletter by a "marine" (lower case on purpose) claiming far too many liberties with his Drill Instructors. The overuse of recognized slang and nicknames made it glaringly obvious to this Marine that we were reading "The Life and Times of a Wanna-be". At first I questioned Sgt.Grit for including this story in the Newsletter, but then it dawned on me that it may have been for the purposes of giving real Marines a shot at this imposter by calling him out. Let it be said. Let it be done. He IS a Poser and NOT a Marine.
David B. McClellan
Viet Nam Combat Veteran
Former LCpl, Forever Marine.
Sorry I am making a big deal about this, but if this clown is a poser it p-sses me off to no end! And then he talks about being a Corporal of Marines but being on point with "his radioman" and then his "sarge" this and sarge that. Was he in the Marines or the army? I don't know for sure, but his story just sounds like he read the stories of several Marines on this newsletter over the years and cultivated his own "history", and thought he could buffalo us into thinking he is one of us, but all he did was insult our intelligence.
Semper Fi Sgt Grit, this will be my last gripe on this issue!
A real Corporal of Marines
3/8 Lima company, Weapons Platoon
1981 to 1985
Bare Azs Minimum
Regarding the seabags that we left behind in Okinawa... I was with "F" Co 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines... we were leaving Camp Schwab aboard ships that took us to the P.I. for some jungle training. A brief sojourn in Thailand and in April 1965 we landed at DaNang. I left RVN in December 1965 and returned to Okinawa where someone was to bring us our left behind gear. I remember this very clearly I was handed my almost empty seabag it only contained one pair of dress shoes, no other article of clothing, a few days later we boarded a C-130 that touched down in Guam and again in Hawaii, where I was able to buy a pair of jeans and tennis shoes. Finally we arrived at El Toro about 8 am on 24 December. I was still wearing VN mud on my boots and clothing and had lost my cover as we boarded the aircraft in DaNang. We went thru the process getting paid etc. As I and a few others were on our way to the mess hall a young butter bar came rolling along in vehicle and commenced to give me a hassle regarding my lost cover. I left El Toro wearing the jeans tennis shoes and a liberated field jacket... One month later I reported back to Camp Pendleton wearing a business suit that I had sent home from Hong Kong and my dress shoes. I still had my VN jungle utilities that had been washed and patched. I was issued a bare asz minimum clothing, being that I only had one year left to do... but I wonder who got my stuff!
Call sign: Double R
Marine Ink Of The Week
Submitted by V. Juarez
It is almost done, just needs to be touched up.
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'73-'74 TAD out of 1st Radio Bn FMF, KMCAS, HI to Shu Lin Kuo AB, Taiwan for six heavenly months. Houseboys to clean rooms (boots left outside your two man room - shined), one dollar for a haircut, shampoo, and shoulder massage (OH, YEAH - best groomed Marines in the Corps), and the best small chow hall in the Air Force (at least every two years, which is how often they would let them win it.) Three entrees every night, fresh salads, surf and turf (steak and lobster) once a week. I know that the grammar is lacking (no verbs), but I'm still drooling thinking about it (and that doesn't count the hammers downtown (sorry, brothers, if you haven't already told your wife about them, but 40 years oughta' buy you some forgiveness).
'74-'75 Worst chow hall - Homestead AFB - Food out of vacuum cans and roaches coming out of the tea dispensers (how did they get them in those same plastic bags that milk was dispensed from?)
George M. Button
MSgt USMC (ret)
Beautiful Bridges Where Marines Once Fought
The Banpo Bridge Moonlight Fountain, Seoul, South Korea.
The Dragon Bridge, DaNang, Vietnam.
Head Up Azz
To Sgt. J. Davis in regards to Uoo Garr... I have heard many variations to the story of where OOO-RAH came from including that it was from the Marine Raiders from WWII and their rides on subs. But I must say that the ARMY (Ain't Ready to be Marines Yet) is famous for their acronyms and they say WHO-AH which is the pronunciation of H-U-A another acronym for Head Up Azz (though some would say it means heard understood and acknowledged)...
Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters
I admired the subject cover during all of WWII, as discussed in your 11 September News Letter.
After graduation from MCRD, PI, in December 1953, I strived to achieve the same look for my cover. This was finally accomplished by utilizing the proper head size frame, w/brim, adding a cover one size smaller, then a grommet one size larger.
The appearance of the result was occasionally referred to as a saddle. I remember after serving in the 2nd Division, reporting in to the CO of the Marine Detachment at Great Lakes for Electronics School, his comment was "Did you wear that cover in, or did you ride it?"
I would like to submit an additional comment... If your chevrons had crossed rifles, you were not in the Old Corps...
Hi Sergeant Russel
I read Sgt Frank Rigiero's story about his girlfriend writing "YNK" (for "You'll Never Know" by Sinatra) on the outside of his letters while in Boot camp.
This reminded me of my own ordeal at the hands of Drill Instructor Sgt. Russell, Parris Island, circa 1980. I was/still am, an Irish Jersey boy with a ton of Jersey attitude. I quickly learned to despise Sgt. Russell and he had no great love for me either! I would write letters to my girlfriend back home in "Joisey" complaining about, cursing and praying for the occurrence of violent events that would rid my life of Sgt. Russell.
One evening, mail call was sounded by Sgt. Russell, and my name was called, I jumped up, ran to the quarter deck and just as I was about to clap the letter in my hands, Sgt. Russell looks at the back of the envelope where my dear sweet misguided girlfriend had written across the flap "Hi Sergeant Russel" in flowery print complete with hearts and smiley faces... to this day, I don't know what was worse, the PT I had to endure, or the lecture from that 6'5" red headed Alabama, backwoods redneck Sergeant about writing home about him and her misspelling of his name!
Needless to say, after I recovered from the verbal and physical assault, I Immediately scratched out a short, terse note to my girlfriend explaining what happened to me... and what would happen to her if she EVER wrote ANYTHING on the outside of the envelopes other than my name, address and the return address!
L/Cpl. Matt Penny
PLT 2047 - 1980
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #9, #4)
He scribbled something on a 3x5 card. He asked Mary "Do you have a car?" She replied "No, but my fiance does." (That was the very first time she had called me her fiance. It was quite appropriate, I guess, because we had been talking of marriage.) He called for a volunteer to show Mary to her housing unit and gave the girl the card. We went out to my car and proceeded as directed by this young lady. She commented "This is a really nice car." It was the 1950 Buick that I had purchased in April. We got to the building where Mary was to reside while at Earlham. I got her lockerbox from the trunk and the two girls carried all of her other items. We went into the lounge and over to a desk where a woman was sitting. She was the House Mother and welcomed Mary to the house. The girl that had led us over there gave the H.M. the 3x5 card. She glanced at it and said loudly "Is there anyone here from Room #8?" One girl jumped up and came over to the desk. The H.M. said "Carolee, this is Mary. She will be your roommate." Carolee asked Mary "Where are you from?" Mary replied "I am from New Jersey." Carolee said "No kidding - where abouts in New Jersey?" Mary replied "Mt. Holly." And Carolee came back with "I don't believe it. I'm from Moorestown." Mary was thrilled and said "Well, I guess we shall renew the old football rivalry?" (For more than 25 years the teams from these two towns - only 8 miles apart - had battled on Thanksgiving Day.) Carolee got a rubber tired cart and I lifted Mary's lockerbox onto it. She said "I'll take you down to our room." Mary looked a bit puzzled and asked "Will this take long?" There was only a few minutes before I would have to be out of there. Carolee replied "Only 5 or 10." When Mary and I first entered the lounge there were about 10 to 12 girls there but all of a sudden there must have been 40 or more. I was told that the word had spread in the dining hall that there was a Marine in the lounge.
Mary returned and we had less than 10 minutes to go. We were holding hands and soon she wrapped her arms around my neck. I pulled her up close and wrapped my arms around her. We kissed - and kissed - and kissed some more - and when I thought it was time to quit - she put one hand behind my head - and pulled me closer for more. There was dead silence in the lounge. This must have been the longest kiss of all time. When it was over someone in the crowd said "You shouldn't be going to college; you should be heading for the altar!" We looked at each other. We each said to the other "I love you." And I left. When I reached the car I looked back. Mary was standing on the front stoop. We waved to each other. I headed for the gate with a little moisture in my eyes. The guard just waved me on through. I returned to the hotel. I planned to get a good night's sleep, get up early, and drive the whole way home on Sunday. I had thought I would be home before dark. But I had an idea. I called Earlham and asked what the visiting hours were on Sunday. They told me "After 10:00 for family members and then 1:00 to 5:00 for others."
I hatched a plan that I would put in place tomorrow.
'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
Nah... not those things you gently squeeze, nor more than one of Roy Roger's horse, but the things that stir the memory... (or, in the case of Marines, that might be more like stirring a cesspool?). I was mowing our yard yesterday... about half an acre, mostly Fescue (the Lawn Ranger takes care of fertilizer and 'pre-emergent' stuff for me... more about the Ranger further on...) Not being the sharpest knife in the box of light bulbs, I had elected (with some prodding from She Who Must Be Obeyed... but no batteries in the prod... this time...) to start this project around 10:30. This being Tennessee... and August... it was a tad on the warmish side. Also, being fiscally conservative (cheap), and bull-headed (according to SWMBO), I have carried out this domestic policing of the area for going on ten years with a twenty-one inch Toro rotary mower... although self-propelled, in these parts, it is type-identified as "a push mower". (go figure). Being reluctant to give up the garage space for a riding mower, so long as I can walk, and being too slow to control a 'zero-turn' mower, it works for me (at seventy-five...)
There is a "uniform of the day" for mowing... that being bilious green grass-stained tennie runners, black swim trunks, a white skivvie shirt (v-neck... they're hard to find...) and the official "Mowing Cover"... the latter looking much like an OD boonie hat, trimmed in white NACL2 until SWMBO captures it for enhanced interrogation techniques in her secret room (I sometimes hear liquid sounds and Thumpa-Thumpa-Thumpa noises coming from in there... and I don't go in there if there are any clean skivvies in my dresser drawer)... Thus properly attired, the mowing commenced, and as might be expected, the sweat began to roll... and I was soon soggy. Having been an early participant in the SEA war games, in the day, we had yet to adopt the later ubiquitous green towel around the neck, and as my mission reached the half-way point, I decided to take a break ('take ten... expect five... get three... offa yer azs and on yer feet... saddle up... move out") and went into the garage, which, while not air-conditioned, is about half buried, and remains cool... and grabbed one of those modern miracles, a plastic bottle of chilled water, out of the man cave refrigerator. At that point, the sweat saturated tee-shirt coolly clung to my back... feeling EXACTLY like a sweat-soaked nylon rip-stop medium regular utility jacket!... A mixed perception... blessed coolness, but slippery, almost slimy, clinging... for an instant there, I could have been somewhere outside of Tam Ky... or just arrived at The Rockpile... or?... Tis' said that smell is the strongest of memory triggers... could be... but that wet fabric was a contendah for a close second.
In re the Lawn Ranger... built the retirement home while commuting from CA (developer/contractor was a Huey crew chief in the Air Cav for TET), had seen the Lawn Ranger's trucks around the area, liked the sense of humor, wrote the phone number down. When I moved the wife and mother-in-law into the house, I gave her the phone number, told her to call the guy and get the skinny on the lawn service deal. When back in CA, called the wife, asked if she had contacted the Lawn Ranger... she said she had called the number, but got a voice mail saying they'd be gone for a week, as he had gone to Camp Pendleton to meet their two sons returning from Iraq... (2004)... told her to call back and leave the message that he had the job... Wally's company has been coming up this hill for ten years now... one of the sons works for the company, the other went on to Emory, and was commissioned as a Lt. a couple years back... got some of the better looking grass on our hill... (of course... all I do is mow it...)
Good Morning, just want to say 'Thank You'. I understand Sgt Grit has provided a shipment of surprises to one of my Platoon 331 recruits from 1959 -- a retired Marine MGySgt Bob Daniels. I was their DI at PI 55 years ago & we are having a reunion at MCB Quantico -- Sept. 24-27, 2014. So, thanks again Marine & Semper Fi.
Frank C. Foster
Capt USMC Ret.
Just wanted you to know that I re-upped, renewed my subscription to your OUTSTANDING magazine, the gear is great, I also pass along a suggested Addition to your USMC book selection, I just finished "Red Blood Black Sand" by Chuck Tatum, The true story of from boot camp to Iwo Jima. Well worth reading and adding to your book list.
Schrader, Gerard C
Sgt 2003XXX USMC
Note: Chuck was a great guy and Marine. When I would call him he would answer the phone "Pvt Tatum speaking". He also was a consultant on the movie Flags Of Our Fathers. He was in the machine gun team when Basilone was killed. Chuck passed this year. God Bless you Chuck, Semper Fi.
Drop your C--k and grab your socks it's another glorious day in the Marine Corps.
Charles (SGT) Hightower '64-'67
LtCol Bull Fisher was CO of 2/4 when it left Hawaii to go to VN in 1965 and remained CO for some time in VN.
I was talking to a Marine customer the other day. He mentioned at MCRD San Diego in the 60's the navy had a boot camp across the fence. They got a lot of time off and would sit on the porch steps and wave, yell, and just harass Marine platoons as we did our thing.
"Whoever does not have the stomach for this fight, let him depart. Give him money to speed his departure, since we wish not to die in that man's company. Whoever lives past today and comes home safely will rouse himself every year on this day, show his neighbor his scars, and tell embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories he will teach his son and from this day until the end of the world we shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for whoever has shed blood with me shall be my brother. And those men afraid to go will think themselves lesser men as they hear of how we fought and died together."
"All that is really great and inspiring, is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe?
Expediency asks the question: is it politic?
Vanity asks the question: is it popular?
But conscience asks the question: is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right."
"We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal'."
--Martin Luther King
"Marines have a cynical approach to war. They believe in three things; liberty, payday and that when two Marines are together in a fight, one is being wasted. Being a minority group militarily, they are proud and sensitive in their dealings with other military organizations. A Marine's concept of a perfect battle is to have other Marines on the right and left flanks, Marine aircraft overhead and Marine artillery and naval gunfire backing them up."
--War correspondent Ernie Pyle, killed on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Archipelago, 1945
"We're not accustomed to occupying defensive positions. It's destructive to morale."
--LtGen H. M. "Howlin' Mad" Smith, Iwo Jima, 1945, quoted to Walter Karig
"Liberty is meaningless if it is only the liberty to agree with those in power."
--Ludwig von Mises
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
"George Washington was one of the few men in all of human history who was not carried away by power."
--Robert Frost, Poet
"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."
--George Washington, Fifth Annual Message, 1793
"Dress right... wait for it... DRESS! Too SLOW! Get back!"
"I've never heard a funnier phrase than "2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger and Gag."
"Lean back... dig 'em in... heels, heels, heels!"
God Bless the Marine Corps,