This is what a Sgt Grit customer looks like... POW bracelet, watch, t-shirt, cover and a cane. Outstanding Marine! The pictured Marine is Marine Vietnam Veteran Gary Pogue, Sgt. '72-'78, Motor T.
Get the USMC Cover and POW Bracelet that Sgt Pogue is wearing at:
USMC Leather Bill Hat/Cover
Felt Pretty Good
Hi Sgt. Grit,
Chris Vail's story about receiving a shot of whiskey for donating blood reminded me of the time I tried to give blood at Camp Schwab, Okinawa in the summer of '71. I was one of the drivers for Electronic Maint. Platoon, 7th Comm Bn. and drove a jeep full of us to, I believe, the base gymnasium to donate blood. Everywhere else I donated blood during my active duty, it was handled by Navy Corpsmen, but for some reason, they had Army medics handling this one. After filling out the paperwork, and waiting for my turn on the table, another member of our battalion was watching a bag filling with blood and passed out. He was white as a sheet, and was totally limp when they picked him up and laid him out on a table to revive him. Needless to say, he did not donate that day. When it was my turn, they assigned me to a young medic, apparently straight out of school, and I was his first victim -er, donor. He put the tourniquet on my arm so tight, I lost all feeling in my arm, and the blood flow was completely cut off. After puncturing my arm several times, he said he couldn't find a good vein, and taped my arm up. A few minutes later, another medic came by and asked if I wanted to try the other arm. I declined, stating I still needed my right arm to drive the jeep (sure enjoyed driving those M151A1's). One of my buddies, Arnie Ripoff (Repoff, actually), successfully donated blood through a more experienced medic, and went over to the table, where they had several bottles of, as I recall, 4 Roses Whisky, and those small, medicinal paper cups. After one shot, Arnie started to walk away, then said, "Hey, that felt pretty good going down!" and downed another shot. He enjoyed that so much, he helped himself to one or two more shots. Needless to say, by the time I dropped him off at the barracks, he was feeling fine.
Regarding Sgt. Jim Grimes' list of uniform issue items, mine was a little different: no cotton khaki field scarves, just the 2 wool ones, both narrow (I later bought the wider ones at the PX), 1 green wool garrison cover, no cotton Khaki barracks cover. We were also issued 1 pair of black leather gloves, and 2 pairs of long underwear (in August- "We don't want you pukes to freeze to death!"). I never wore the cotton khakis during my 4 years in the Regulars or 3 in Reserves, but got a lot of use out of the Tropical Wool Khakis. That was a very comfortable uniform. It was a shame the Corps phased them out in the mid-late 70's. The officers and senior staff NCO's really looked sharp wearing them with the blouse.
Back For A Visit
I had to chuckle when I read Gunny Rouseau's comments about going back to Vietnam... I spent several tours in-country, as well as a tour with TF Delta in Nam Phong, Thailand at the tail end of the war... I've been back to Vietnam almost a dozen times over the past 7 years or so, landing the first time at Noi Bai Airport on the north side of the Red River outside of Hanoi... The Gunny mentioned BaNa and 1st Recon Bn, so I'm wondering if he may remember a friend of mine who was a platoon/patrol leader with 1st Force Recon Company back about that same time -- Ric Miller... Ric was a mustang and a former Vietnamese interpreter on his first tour.
Back in the earlier days, BaNa was part of 2/3's old TAOR until Operation Hastings kicked off in the summer of '66, when all of us from 3rd MarDiv moved up to the DMZ, and 1st MarDiv moved up from Chu Lai to Da Nang to take over the southern part of I Corps TAOR... 1st Recon used the hills up in BaNa for their radio relay site during the late 60's... BaNa is up in the Truong Son mountain range, about 25 clix WSW of Da Nang, and just north of the old Happy Valley... Up at about 4500 feet, you can see all the way to the beach, and it gave a clear VHF radio shot down into Hoi An, the An Hoa basin, and the old Arizona Territory... Back in the old French Indo-China days, BaNa had been a French resort that was established in the early 1900's... Like Dalat to the south, and Sapa up on the northern border, it sits high in the western mountains, up out of the heat and humidity that we remember all too well.
The Vietnamese have begun to re-build the BaNa area into another resort, with several resort style hotels up and running already, and a tram that will take you up to the top of Chua Mountain... They're even building an amusement theme park for the kids... In addition, there will also be a 36-hole mountain golf resort in the near future... A good friend of mine from San Diego, Tom Addis is the site supvr and golf course sculptor for IMG, which is the company contracted to build this one... Tom also did the Montgomery Links course at China Beach a few years ago (just south of Marble Mtn - about where the old ROK Marines CP used to be located).
If any of you ever get the chance to go back for a visit, I highly encourage you to make the trip... Might even help to put a few of those old ghosts to rest finally... When you arrive, there is a brand new, modern pax terminal at Da Nang (DAD)... You'll be amazed to see what has happened over the last 40+ years, and for the most part, you'll find that the Vietnamese people love American tourists, especially if they discover that you were a veteran of the "American War".
MGySgt. - USMC (Ret)
Dropped The "F" Bomb
While on leave after boot camp I did what most new Marines do. Drink, tell stories, and chase women. But during a family get together I showed off a skill that I hadn't realized I'd acquired, I dropped the "F" bomb in front of everyone. After realizing what I'd done, I looked up to see everyone staring at me and my sweet old granny about to pass out. Later my dad told me "don't worry son, I did the same thing when I got home from boot camp".
To J Wise, If you can't find a suitable home for the Bougainville knife I would be proud to own it. Just putting that out there.
USMC Tattoo Saved A Marine's Arm
Here's a story for you as to how a USMC Tattoo saved a severely wounded Marine's arm and most likely his life.
Having been severely injured by an IED while on patrol, this young U.S. Marine was transported to a field hospital where Doctors amputated his leg. Turning to his badly mangled arm which was also being prepped for amputation, the surgeon noticed the USMC tattoo on his injured arm. I am told that the surgeon, having been a former Navy Corpsmen serving Marines in combat, the Doctor announced "This man is a Marine and by God we are going to do everything possible to save this man's arm." The Marine survived his wounds, mastered his disability, overcame alcoholism and depression, became a competitive runner, actor and model. He has spoken at many Veteran groups and has become an inspiration for many wounded veterans.
Several years later the Devil Dogs of The Marine Corps League Detachment 906 in Prescott, AZ, with the donations and contributions of material and labor by local individuals and businesses, constructed a $250,000 Multi-Sports Court at the V.A. Hospital in Prescott for the use by all veterans. Based on the generosity of the citizens a few bucks were left in the budget which allowed the funding of a life-size bronze sculpture showing a winning handicapped runner victoriously crossing the finish line. Needing a model, the aforementioned Marine's name came up, and when asked, the Marine amputee dropped his busy schedule of public appearances and flew in from L.A. to Prescott to pose for the sculpture; which as matter of fact, the Sculptor is another Marine veteran who, once again, dropped all of his other projects, worked around the clock, and turned out the larger than life-size sculpture in a matter of weeks rather than months in order to meet the ribbon cutting date for the Sports Court. (Ergo, if you have a problem, call for the U.S. Marines) The sculptor included the USMC on the sculptures' arm.
The story gets better. Miniatures of this sculpture were auctioned off for several thousands of dollars by veterans groups to benefit Marines Helping Marines. On several occasions the winning bidder has donated the sculpture back to the veterans group to be again auctioned. I am told in one case the miniature is in its fourth auction and to date has raised many thousands of dollars for wounded Marines.
Sgt 3/7/1 FMF '56-'59
High Standards Of Marine Corps Officers
As a further comment to "Do The Math" in this issue, I went through the same experience as a PLC (two six week plus summers) and almost six months at the Basic School at Quantico after being commissioned. It was explained to me that I and my colleagues needed that much training before we were sent to command troops so that we would not embarrass ourselves when sent to the troops. And, we would know enough to stay out of the way of staff NCOs and perform credibly to the high standards of Marine Officers. I may be prejudiced, but from what I saw during my two years of Active Duty (with maybe one exception) the Marine Corps did an excellent job of producing officers. I am proud to have served and found the experience to be of great benefit in my life after the Marine Corps. If nothing else, as an executive, I knew how to best request people to do things so that they understood what they were being asked to do.
Filming Of The Alamo
I never met John Wayne and this story has nothing to do with his being with Marines, but it does show the character of the man. A friend of mine was visiting his son in Texas when he met a women who told him of her interaction with John Wayne. Her parent's ranch was the site of the filming of his movie The Alamo. She was six at the time and got to meet all of the cast of the movie. They all were great and treated her nicely, but John Wayne took a real liking to her and invited her on to the set to be with him anytime she could. She said even at six she thought it was funny that he would be in his personal trailer playing classical music, which he enjoyed, and they would call for Mr. Wayne on set and out he would come with his coonskin cap on. While they were filming she was involved in a car accident and broke her leg, you must remember in 1959 cars didn't have seatbelts. The film location is outside of the Ft Worth / Dallas area and she spent several days in the hospital. This is where the side of John Wayne that was never reported by the press shows his true character. Each day at the end of the filming he had his helicopter take him to the hospital to visit with her. Of course her room was filled with stuffed animals. When she was able to come home the final battle scene was to be filmed. John Wayne knew that she wanted to see this and had members of his crew bring her to the set in a wheelchair and move her around to be at the best vantage points to see the action.
A final note, John Wayne did tell her that he didn't really like horses even though he loved making westerns. He didn't enjoy having to deal with riding horses.
Driver of the A-6 Intruder
My Off Duty Hours
I read John Wilson's missive concerning the Jacona Power Ship and his camp with much interest. I was stationed on Okinawa from September '58 to December '59. There was another small camp used by the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines called Awase Meadows. I think it too only held one company, but I could be wrong. When I was stationed on Okinawa, the Marines were strung out over 22 different camps there. Camp Schwab was being built on the north end of the island to billet all of the 3rd Marines I believe. I was in the Disbursing office at Camp Hague. We serviced the 3rd and 12th Marines.
I remember seeing that power ship on the way to Naha and the Teahouse of the August Moon. I didn't realize it at the time, but Naha was were the Marine officers hung out since they were all bachelors too. At the time, Marines could not have dependents with them, even General Shoup. I bumped into the Division Disbursing Officer once coming out of one of the clubs in the capital city. I think we were both a little embarrassed!
I considered myself lucky that I was never stationed at either Camps Schwab or Sukiran which billeted most of the 9th Marines. Quonset huts were pretty primitive at Hague, but it was better to live in them than to field day the modern barracks. Hague had a football team called the Royals. Across the street was Camp Kinser whose team was called the Streaks. A 1955 All American football player from Navy, Ron Beagle, played for the Streaks.
The highlight of my off duty hours on The Rock came at the Airman's Club at Kadena AFB on Friday nights. On that particular night everything in the club was two for the price of one. You ordered a steak, you got two of them. You ordered a shrimp cocktail, you got two of them, and so on. They had a dance floor with a very good Filipino orchestra, slot machines, Keno, etc. Our EM clubs while serviceable paled in comparison. I guess the Air Force just had a much bigger budget!
James V. Merl
A Veterans Service Dog
First of all, Oorah. Now, just a quick bit about me. My name is Shawn Smith. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001, and EAS'd in 2005, and made it to Corporal. I was in Iraq in 2003. Some of me now. Like most of us, I have the usual symptoms, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and plenty of physical issues. After finally admitting there was something wrong, in 2008 I was prescribed meds through the VA for the PTSD. To these, I had a bad reaction, one of those very rare but serious side effects. Since then I am unable to take SSRI's or the like, which is the typical med for depression. So for the last several years, my wife had been looking for other alternatives. She came across an article about the use of service animals for veterans. Initially, I wasn't interested. This was mostly due to ignorance on my part. I thought, well, unless the dog is always with me, it won't help much. Enter the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990. Service dogs being handled by someone with a disability are guaranteed access to any place the general public is allowed. This means hotels, restaurants, stores, etc. They cannot deny access, nor can they charge for it. This changed everything. This is where I started doing more research on the use of service dogs for veterans with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and even mobility support. It took me awhile to narrow down the organization I wanted to go with. There are a lot of them out there. I picked Shepherds for Lost Sheep, Inc. This group provides trained service dogs for veterans, is completely non-profit, has little to no expense for the veteran, and is completely veteran owned and operated. Their mission statement is simply "To help veterans help themselves heal through the use of service K-9's".
It was a relatively simple process. I was on the waiting list for the better part of a year. My time came to a close in February. I flew to Spokane, Washington to finally train and get my new friend. Her name is Sadie and she is a brindle bull mastiff. I spent a week with the great folks at SFLS, training and meeting new people. Prior to getting my dog, I used diazepam to help with the anxiety, usually taking several of them a day. During the week I was with SFLS, I only had two, and that was on the flight up. Since returning home, only a few here and there, a few in a month. I didn't think that the difference would be so noticeable, but it was. I really cannot express how much this has helped me. I am less upset, I am able to get out into the public more often, and able to do some of the things I used to do.
So this is what it is all about. I am trying to raise awareness to veterans of all eras in the use of service animals to mitigate symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and mobility. Even if the difference is minimal, it cannot be trivialized. I encourage you to research this. While I would recommend Shepherds for Lost Sheep, I think it worth looking into as many programs as you can to find the one that's right for you. There are plenty of organizations that provide this service. Even if only one of you decides to pursue this, it will be worth it to you, and me. If you are nervous or unsure, shoot me an email (SmithSM71[at]msn.com) and I will do everything I can to help. Semper Fidelis, Carry on.
Starched Sateens Over The Woodland Cammies
Now, with regard to my platoon's sleeves being rolled up, the short answer is we were in summer wear. That's the same reason our DIs were in short sleeves. Winter wear would have our sleeves down and our DIs in long-sleeve shirts and ties. But there's a deeper meaning, at least for me, for rolling up our sleeves.
In first phase we looked like a bag of rags. Our uniforms were clean, but un-pressed. Our covers were un-starched. Our boots were un-bloused. Our blouses (shirts) were buttoned at the collar, and our sleeves were down and buttoned. It wasn't until second phase we were allowed to start looking like Marines with our crisp uniforms, starched covers, bloused boots, and ROLLED SLEEVES. I know, for me personally, it's when I started to think and act like a Marine. I looked the part (even though I'm a runt), so I began to act the part.
Some other facts I can recall. My brother-in-law joined the Corps in 1973. I remember him wearing the tropical uniform (short-sleeve shirt and trousers), when he came home from boot. My brother joined the Corps in 1976 and was never issued the tropical uniform, but he did have the green barracks cover (just like the cover for the blues, only in green). When I joined the Corps in 1978, the barracks cover was ONLY authorized for wear with the dress blues. The green version had been made obsolete. And finally, I was in one of the last platoons to be issued the sateen utility uniform (solid olive drab). However, those were phased out three months after I completed boot. I've always preferred a set of starched sateens over the woodland cammies... unless, of course, you get caught in the rain.
J. H. Hardin
'78 â€“ '84
Major Times Three
I was commissioned thru the Regular NROTC program at the U. of Minnesota in 1963 and, of course, joined the Marines. (I decided to be a Marine when I was 8 years old.) I was the SupO for the 2d Radio Bn, then served 2 "wonderful" years of sea duty aboard the USS Wright, CC-2 (C.O. of the Marine Detachment). Then my wife "convinced" me to leave the regulars, and so I went right into the active reserves (Supply Management Officer for the 4th Marine Division; and finally as a Major, Company Commander, India Co, 3d Bn., 24th Marines. (Never went to Vietnam - 2 sets of orders to WestPac (Viet Nam); both cancelled.) I had an NSG top secret clearance, and the Navy NSG did not want to risk Marine junior officers getting captured... which did happen in 1965 ...bummer). And LBJ would not call up the Reserve 4th Marine Division. (15 years).
My son (SupO), a Colonel, just retired in August at Camp Lejeune after his final tour in lovely Afghanistan. What I did not do, he did several times over. Among his other tours: (2) tours in Iraq, Africa, Bahrain, CO of the Supply School at CLNC; C.O. of all the schools at Camp Johnson, CLNC, Med and Carib deployments, and others tours and deployments I have forgotten. (26.5 years).
His wife (SupO) was also a Major in the Marines, toured lovely Iraq (1st Gulf War), and then got pregnant. Elected to resign and raise my grandson. Was a great support for my son's career... but his overseas deployments scared her a bunch. (9 years).
So at different times in the distant past, we were 3 SupOs, 3 Majors, and we accumulated 50.5 years of "active" duty in our beloved Corps.
Stay in touch.
Check out our collection of Marine Corps Auto Accessories.
My Unused Uniforms
In 1957 when I was commissioned I had to buy all my uniforms as follows:
1 set greens for winter
1 set Dress Whites
1 set Dress Blues
3 tropical worsted shirts and trousers
3 khaki shirts and trousers
2 Field Scarfs
1 pair each black dress shoes, white dress shoes
1 Officer's Sword with attachments
1 pair leather gloves and one pair dress white gloves.
The full price for all of this was approximately $690.00. My pay, with four years longevity, was approximately $520.00.
As a note of interest, I wore the whites twice at my commissioning, and again at my wedding. The blues were worn once at the Commandant's Reception at Quantico while in Basic School. The rest of the time it was all packed away and I lived mainly in utilities in the FMF. I wore the Tropical Worsteds when off base at Lejeune. Rules then were no khakis after 17:00 hours off base, and no utilities except when on official duty.
As a note, It was about 1959 that Force Troops at Lejeune received a new CG, MajGen. Chapman. He was fresh from 8th and I and was all spit and polish. He said we had to have a set of inspection utilities, boots, etc. At this time the Marine Corps' utilities were of 5 different shades of green, with 5 different materials. I spent 4-1/2 hours at Base Supply trying to find a cover, shirt and trousers that matched. Then I could only wear them when the General was in the area. Each three Marines had to take an extra wooden footlocker with our inspection utilities and boots when we were deployed. One time we were on Vieques, PR when word came down that the Gen was coming. We had to have our tanks all spotless, the only problem was that the only water available was salt water. (Regulations said no Salt Water above the Sprocket boxes, ECER) Thus we had to adapt, and thus painted the tanks completely. Then we stood at attention in our inspection utilities as the Gen drove by with the CG of the 2nd Div. What a waste in my opinion.
When I left active duty, I took all my unused uniforms to a local shop at Quantico, and donated them in hopes they might help some new officer to save some money. I kept my sword and have it hanging on the bulk head if front of me.
Edward Dodd, 1st Lt, USMC (forever).
No Business Being On Board
I had signed up for the Marine Corps in January 1969 with a 90 day delay and reported to the induction center in April. We were taken aboard a train and headed south to Beaufort, South Carolina where we boarded a bus heading to MCRD Parris Island. When we arrived a gentleman got on the bus and with a voice almost as loud as a fire siren explained to us that it was his bus and that we had no business being on board. He then demanded we remove ourselves from said bus and position ourselves on the yellow footprints outside. Although we complied as fast as we could it did not seem fast enough for the Drill Instructor. We were herded into a building where are bags were taken from us and then went to the barber, (I have no idea what he was doing up this late) where we were given a rather close clipping, everyone the same. We were then escorted to different locations where we received our uniforms and bedding. Then it was on to our wooden barracks top deck and made our bed and finally got to sleep. About 3 hrs. later we were awakened by shouts and banging on metal trash cans. So began our days at boot camp. Get up, sh-t, shower and, shave, run, chow instruction, chow, marching and exercise chow, run and bed. After doing the same for most of the days in boot camp you would think we'd get it right, but there was always some azshole who would f-ck up. My vocabulary was expanding.
We were given our "war" belts with a bayonet on one side and a canteen on the other and instructed how to hang it on our rack. I was questioning to myself if I had properly completed the instruction. Unfortunately I was questioning out loud. I turned to face the squad bay and found the junior drill instructor in my face. He grabbed me by the throat and lifted me into my rack and pushed both me and the rack back against the wall all the time reminding me that I should only speak when instructed to. Again at a very disturbing decibel. Hazing issue #1.
The next hazing took place as we were all doing pushups for one boot's mistake. My friend was questioning the parentage of the junior drill instructor and his capability of beating the f-ck out of him. Again the said individual was standing right behind us and lifted the boot up about two feet by a well-placed size 12 boot. He then escorted my friend into the shower room. I know my friend was sweaty after doing pushups for so long but I had no idea why the drill instructor accompanied him. We completed our exercises and had a little free time when we were called to attention. The missing recruit and the junior drill instructor stood in the middle of the squad bay. My friends face looked swollen and bloody. The drill instructor asked the recruit to explain his condition. My friend explained that he had fallen in the shower multiple times while discussing his comments about the junior drill instructor. We were all happy to know the reason for his condition. Hazing issue #2.
On graduation day I was proceeding back to the barracks with my parents to get my wallet and ID card. I slipped up stairs opened my foot locker and removed my wallet and ID card, closed and locked my foot locker and turned to descend back to my folks when I met my senior drill instructor. He asked if I intended to leave without receiving my present. Present, I thought? He then thrust his palm into my solar plexuses. I retreated several feet bending over at the waist trying to catch my breath while thanking the instructor for my present. I returned to my folks a little out of breath but explained I was winded from running. Last hazing issue.
Many other hazing moments occurred, just not to me. (I had learned from my mistakes)
Sgt Marine Corps 1969-1973
Proud Vietnam Vet 1970-1971
Senior To My DI
Sunday, 30 March 2014, will mark my 65th anniversary, when a 17 year old, snotty-nosed kid first held up his hand and was sworn into the USMCR at the local unit: "C" Company, 14th Infantry Battalion, Nashville, TN and was assigned to the 60mm mortar section.
By 1 July 1950, most, if not all, Marine Corps Reserve units had been activated, as a result of the North Korean invasion and on 21 August, the company was on a train heading for Camp Pendleton. Most of the company was integrated into units of the 1st Marine Division, and on troop ships heading toward Inchon Harbor. Except for me; I sat at Pendleton, working for Tech Sergeant Jesse, processing other reserve units as they continued to straggle in. By October, things had slowed down enough and I was transferred to Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, CA. I had been promoted to PFC in September, 1949, and was assigned to the barracks office, as a Clerk Typist, MOS 0143. I stayed there until April 1951, when I was transferred to MCRDep, for boot camp.
Ironically, I was senior in rank than one of my DIs. The senior DI was Sergeant John Medas, WWII veteran, Corporal William Ockert, WIA Korea, and a PFC Bipes. After graduation in June, I spent 1 day at Sea School, then brought back to the 3d Recruit Training Battalion to work in the office there.
On 31 July 1951, I had completed one year on active duty, so I (re)enlisted in the regular Marine Corps for a 6 year period. I was promoted to Corporal some weeks later and continued to serve at MCRDep, at various Battalions, until October 1953. I was promoted to Sergeant during this time.
Transferred to MB, LFTU, NAB, Coronado; then to 3dMarDiv, Okinawa; back to MCRDep for 2 years; then to I-I Staff, 35th Rifle Co., USMCR, Santa Rosa, CA; then to MACS-4, MCAF, Santa Ana; to MCAS, Iwakuni, Japan; then to MCAS, Yuma, AZ; finally to HQMC, retiring as a Gunnery Sergeant, 31 January 1970.
Married the love of my life on 26 June 1957 and had over 56 fantastic years with her. Now, it's just a miserable existence. But, given the opportunity to do it all over again... Do It In A Heartbeat!
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Spoken A Truth
I was at one of our clients buildings doing some additional work when in walked an older gentleman wearing a Korean Veteran baseball cap. This is only the second Korean veteran I have run into over the years, and I was chomping at the bit to speak to him. On his hat were several badges/buttons with unit designations and other personal designations as well. Having my Marine Veteran baseball cap on I made my way toward the older gentleman. He was in a conversation with one of our clients salesman and I waited patiently to thank him for my freedom and his service to our country. When he finally turned toward me he smiled and beat me to the punch! He extended his hand and thanked me for my service to our country. I quickly recovered and thanked him as well. Despite his age this Army vet was still a quick wit. We exchanged some pleasantries and were ready to go our own ways when he said the following to me, "Don't hold it against me that I was in the Army jarhead, however, I am no longer in the Army but you are still a Marine."
As I walked away I realized that this old Army veteran had spoken a truth that all Marines know, once a Marine, always a Marine, the change is for a lifetime. Blessings to all of my brother and sister Marines out there, especially to one particular Marine now serving our beloved Corps; Corporal Shelby Haskins James, my daughter now stationed in Okinawa. Semper Fi Marines.
Sgt. Kevin Simmons
He's Not A Marine
Thanks for the continuing weekly newsletter. The number of letters included each week more than demonstrates its popularity.
Thumping in boot camp - Sgt Mirabile
Of all the letters I read, and "war stories" I've heard from fellow Marines going thru boot camp, this letter summed up my thinking, re: thumping, much better than I've ever been able to put into words.
I went to P.I. on 3 October 1958. As the Sgt indicated so well, It "ain't no day at the beach". In my opinion, thumping resulted in: Immediate discipline. Not making the same mistake twice. In my experience, I never saw any thumping, including my own, that wasn't caused by me fouling up. I think those who didn't "get with the program", and continued to screw up (intentionally) got no pity from us, as we others had been through the same thumping, and had "got with the program". At the same time, those who couldn't, but tried, got as much help we could get to them, as they were "trying to get with the program". A great life lesson...
Like 99.9% of those who went through boot camp, I learned lessons from thumping that have stuck with me for over fifty years, too bad it has been prohibited.
Letter from Gerald Greenwood USMC E-5 re: John Wayne
I was born in 1937, when war broke out, I had a total of three uncles in the Marines, three in the Army, plus my Dad, all enlisted, not drafted. With a wife and two children, my Dad was one year older than John Wayne. My dad being born in 1906, Wayne 1907.
As there was no money we all moved into my grandmother's home. My "job" after school was to sit on the front steps and watch for the Western Union guy on the bicycle, who delivered the telegrams reporting either dead or wounded, as my mother and aunts feared my grandmother would have a heart attack with receipt of a telegram. Obviously, my Dad and uncles became, and still are, my heroes. The John Wayne / USMC thing always p-ssed me off, as when he had the chance to "step up and be counted", he didn't.
I've read all the stuff about the bad back, etc., but with the "bad back" he continued to make movies for another thirty plus years.
To this day I've got more respect for the maggot of the moment than I do John Wayne. This will probably p-ss some folks off, no matter, in the end, as Sgt Greenwood said, "He's not a Marine".
Literally Crawl Off The Display
Several contributors have asked or commented about the green 'silk' field scarf issued circa 1950's-60's. As bona fides, I have been researching, collecting and displaying USMC uniforms, weapons and 782 gear for about 30 years.
The proper description of said item is 'Scarf, Neckwear; rayon-acetate, tissue'; it is not a field scarf or ascot. This item was a pain in the wazoo during a Junk on the Bunk inspection because it tended to literally crawl off the display. A few discrete straight pins helped.
Like others, I never recall using the scarf, leather gloves or the heavy wool overcoat. In the 1960's we were issued the double-breasted unlined, no belt, raincoat (no chevrons) which got considerable use in the 3rd MarDiv.
A green wool felt version of the scarf was issued during WWII / Korea (I have both types in my collection) and replaced by the rayon type around mid-late 50's. Keep in mind the Corps never, ever, threw stuff away, so these wool scarves - like battle jackets and herringbones - were still issued well into the 1960's "until stocks are exhausted"...
As near as I can determine through research, the scarf was discontinued about 1966-68 as the uniforms changed from the green heavy kersey wool to a lighter year-round weight blend. The tan 'Trops' had become obsolete by 1976.
For correct terms, the actual Marine 'field scarf' was traditionally what we now call a 'necktie', always done four-in-hand. During pre-WWII, these had square bottoms, going 'pointed' around 1942. These were originally cotton khaki material worn with both khaki and wool flannel shirts. With the advent of 'Tropicals', the tie material changed to match the shirt.
A bit more uniform history: The so-called Vandegrift or 'battledress (battle) jacket' - never called an "Ike Jacket"; Ike's a D-mn Doggie! - began with use in the Pacific during WWII circa 1940, officially adopted in 1944 and abolished in 1968. The battle jacket style was also used for the Enlisted Summer Service (khaki cotton) uniform from 1946 to '52 (officers had a similar uniform until 1948). This jacket was salty-looking but we were never allowed to wear it off-base at CamPen and then only for guard duty. It caused nothing but grief during locker inspections... no Gunny believed it was actually still issued to Boot maggots like us.
For CPT Tom Downey, who recently wrote several newsletter entries:
Sir, I note you served as an FO for L/3/7 (with I/3/11). Did you have occasion to serve with LT Thomas (Tom) E. Bickford? LT Bickford was a Mustang (battlefield commission) with 3/11 in late 1966. As an FO - and acting as XO - with G/2/7, he was awarded the Silver Star for action during Operation Prairie (18-25 Sept 66). I'd enjoy hearing from you or any other readers who served with him. LT (then GYSGT) Bickford is my personal hero.
C. 'Stoney' Brook
11th & 12th Marines
My Trouble (or Stupidity)
On the subject of "First Leave from Boot Camp"... It was my first time to fly and I wasn't very familiar with the drill. Two buddies and I were sitting in the airport waiting for our flights home. We met three very nice young ladies and were having a great time in the bar when our flight time arrived. It was pouring down rain and in those days there were no concourses, you walked out to the plane. Now we all know that no Marine carries an umbrella, so the young ladies offered to let us share theirs. An offer we gladly accepted to prevent getting our brand new uniforms soaked. When I got to the top of the ramp and handed my ticket to the stewardess, she pointed down the flight line and said, "Marine, that's your plane taking off there..."
She ran to the cockpit and the pilot called my plane; which believe it or not they turned around, pulled out a ramp and let me board. I bet that would never happen today. I guess the pilot informed the passengers of my trouble (or stupidity), because as I boarded everyone applauded and I even got a free drink.
Sgt. Of Marines
This picture came from a barber shop in Garmisch, Germany. Go figure, we are everywhere!
Request your free copy of the Sgt Grit Catalog.
Lance Corporal Stripes
Just saw the on-going conversations regarding "thumping" in Boot Camp. I was a member of Plt 2079 graduating from MCRD on 1 Nov 1973. Through most of our cycle we had a short stocky Drill Instructor who specialized in hitting Recruits in the solar plexus and knocking the wind out of them.
Experienced it quite a few times myself (slow learner I guess). Around Phase III he was made a Senior Drill Instructor and given his own Platoon in our Series where apparently he continued "thumping". Story had it that on Visitors Day a Recruit's family snuck in a camera that took instant pictures and they took pictures of the bruised Recruits directly to the Battalion Commander. On Graduation Day while marching down the road we passed that same Drill Instructor sitting in his car and wearing Lance Corporal stripes.
Semper Fi, Mac!
Jeffrey M. Howards
Sergeant of Marines
Hi Ho, Hi Ho
"Hi ho, hi ho,
It's off to the pits we go,
We'll bend and thrust, and bust our nuts,
Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho..."
Hi ho, hi ho,
It's off to war we go,
With a rifle and a brick and a dynamite stick,
Hi ho, hi ho!"
Good Guy Bad Guy
I was on the field '58-'59 with Fox 2nd Bn. I worked with a SSGT Durazo for much of that time. It seemed each time we'd pick up a platoon at receiving barracks, we started with him as SDI of course, and me and one other Sgt as JDI's. And, each time, somewhere about half way thru the cycle, it would be down to SSgt Durazo and me, with the other junior going to a different platoon. Always seemed to be shorthanded. Anyway, it was a known or given that the senior would be "The Daddy", and one of the juniors would be the "good guy" and one would be the "bad guy". I kept getting the "bad guy" and I finally asked Durazo why I couldn't I be the good guy for once. He just said because you make a good bad guy. And when we got shorthanded, he was the good guy so I had to be the bad guy. Simple enough! That was some tough duty with just 2 of us. A Sgt in the company was a DI I had known when I was going through recruit training, but back then he was a PFC, and he was on his 2nd tour. Sgt Acuna by name, and a good Marine.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #6 (JUN, 2018)
I'll begin by saying that the scenery up to this point has been "out of this world " and it's easy to see why someone would want to live in a place like this. I have to expound on the solitude that I felt when I stood looking out over the beauty that surrounded this area and then looking down you could see the river some 800 to a thousand feet below. It was like flying without the sound of the aircraft.
This was our introduction to the area and the work was to follow at several different locations, but I'll get into those later. On this particular trip we were going to look at what the spare parts situation was, and also get one of the Aircraft flying that was parked at the Bonner's Ferry Airport (Ha, Ha, Field). To get to the Field we had to drive back down off the mountain, cross the Kootnai River Bridge in town and then head North on Route #95 to the intersection of Rt#2 which headed towards Moyie Springs, Idaho. Places I never even thought ever existed. The only way that I could find this place the second time was because there was a small restaurant on the main highway and then you had to turn on the next logging road to get back to "the Field". Beyond that, I was lost.
We worked all day and got the Aircraft to the point that we needed a Test Flight and our host, who was also a pilot, said that he would pick it up into a hover and give us his thoughts at that point. Now, I have to add here that he was not qualified in this model aircraft, but that he did have enough experience in other helicopters to know what he was doing so, it was his call, not mine! The stage was set, so he climbed in and picked it up and then did some low ground turns and some other maneuvers without any problems, set it back down and we discussed the results and concluded that the Aircraft was ready for a Qualified "Test Pilot". And, that concluded our day and now it was back into town and "up the hill" to the house for a much needed rest and a "Cold Beer". Once there it was decided that we could bunk up in the trailer that was sitting out by the corral across from the house. This all sounded real good to the wife and I, so we went out to make up the bed which ran sideways in the front of the trailer in typical trailer fashion. I couldn't help but notice that the tongue was supported by a log in the front, and it also had some wheel chocks wedged in front of the wheels and it was sitting right next to the side rails at the horse feeding trough...
Well, we fixed our bed and climbed in for what we thought would be a "good nights" rest. Well, sometime during the night the weather changed and we experienced a down pour that you wouldn't believe. It rained so hard that it washed the Log holding the trailer tongue out from under the hitch and in doing so the trailer tongue came crashing down causing the trailer to drop down in the front thereby scaring the horses up the hill and away from the feeding trough. Inside the trailer, I rolled over and was jammed against the front bulkhead on top of my wife. What a mess! It scared the hell out of the horses and us!
Stateside Regs In A Combat Zone
Many, many are the Lieutenants who have drawn the duty as Investigating Officer for missing or damaged equipment or property... It is a rather formal procedure, with an opening statement of what, followed by statements of fact, concluded with an opinion or opinions (which have to be supported by the facts), and if merited, a charge sheet or sheets is or are appended. It is one of those additional duties that befall whoever is on the current LDJO roster (Little Dirty Jobs Officer... and there are lots of those jobs). Before the days of computers, word processing programs, spell-checkers, and the like, this usually meant the Investigating Officer had to gather statements, and along with his findings of fact, etc. had to get the entire fershluginer mess typed up... probably in 'an original and three'. These would then commonly be submitted to the Executive Officer... who would review them with the eagle eye of an English professor seeking tenure... and send them back... or recite the many oversights and errors in person to the poor college PE major Lt who had submitted them, and was currently, dancing on the (metaphorical) rug in front of the XO's desk. The reports, after all, were to be part of The PERMANENT RECORD. I recall one investigation in particular that involved the loss of half a dozen nozzles, fuel, flexible, (1) ea (each) that had gone missing from the motor pool. The LCpl who last had seen the nozzles, fuel, flexible, 1 ea, was tasked to write an official statement as to time, place, etc. where last he had seen them... said LCpl did so, using the only nomenclature known to him... and, indeed, in the spoken language, the most common and enduring description of these accessories for the ubiquitous 5-gallon can, fuel, expeditionary, (or sometimes) 'jerry can'. The things are an inch and a half or so in diameter, maybe 16 inches long, stiffly flexible, and have a rubber stopper with a locking lever that fits snugly in the opening of the can. They have been known since the days of the first internal combustion engines in the Corps, as 'donkey d-cks'... for reasons obvious to any farm boy, and within the realm of imagination of city types, and/or aficionados of Tijuana p-rn flicks. The IO, having cornered an office pinkie with reasonable typing skills, had the LCpl's laboriously printed (in pencil... on lined paper) statement typed up, signed, and attached as exhibit A to the investigation report. Suffice it to say, that the XO (who was, BTW, the holder of a MA in English)... was not pleased... which reminds me of my civilian boss... great guy, very successful in sales/marketing... despite the fact that he stuttered severely. I had scr-wed something up, and he (rightfully) got his pound of flesh... and when he was done, I told him... "Bob... as you know, I spent 24 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and I have had my azz chewed by world-class experts... and I gotta hand it to you... you ain't half bad at it... but I really hate to have you chew me out". When he enquired as to why, I told him... "well, it takes three times as long, and I'm kinda busy"... (kept the job... spent 24 years there, too...)
There was a Butler building, pretty good size, at Dong Ha that was hit by 152MM NVA artillery, and burned... completely. Some logistical type in Fork Lift Command (FLC) later calculated that the volume of missing/lost/stolen property that was found to have been destroyed in the conflagration (per the investigation reports) was sufficient to have filled four such buildings to the rafters... what you get when you have Stateside regs in a combat zone...
My Dad, First Sgt. CE Taylor passed away in December. Thought I would pass it around in the Newsletter for anyone that might have knew Dad. Dad served 20 years,1955-1975. 3 Combat Tours in Vietnam (beginning, middle and end). Almost 37 months at Parris Island. I Have a lot of Stories he passed along of his 20 yrs. But his best duty (satisfying) he would always say was his time at Parris Island being a Drill Instructor. You could see what a change in the Young Men you started with and what a difference at the end. I know he has on his Achievement citation that he Helped train over 4000 Marines at Parris Island. Thought someone out there might like to know about him Passing. He was always, Right down to the end, a Marine.
Tommy Taylor, Proud Son Of a Marine.
Lost And Found
I would like to talk to any who knew the late GYSGT Scipio Williams (KIA) Marine Barracks Beirut October 1983. This family would be pleased.
Trying To Look Old Corps
In reference to Mr. Curt Reus question about which battle? The 3rd amphibious was involved in the re-take of Guam and the date for that unit was July 21, 1944. My father was also there in the same unit and as luck would have it, it was also his birthday.
Gene Champneys, Cpl
Class of 1967 #2166xxx
It was with great interest that I read about MSgt Harrington in his article. I believe that this was two different Marines. My GySgt Harrington was a tanker out of Korea. I left 2nd Tanks in 1960 transferring to 3rd Tanks on Okinawa. At that time GySgt Harrington was still at Lejeune in 2nd Tanks.
If there were a way to do this over, I would first go to Marine Corps Boot camp and earn my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. I would do my four years and then go Navy and become a Corpsman and finish out my 30 years as a Doc. The Marines gave me my sense of purpose in life by sharing with me their purpose in life... Duty, Honor, Courage.
Semper Fi Sgt. Grit!
I was in 2/9 and 3/9 in Vietnam from July '65 to May '66. There is a slide show about my tour there with a lot of photos you might recognize if you were in the Da Nang area.
"A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with sailors."
--Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
"Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship's fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops."
--Gen. Colin Powell, U. S. Army Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff During Operation Desert Storm
"This was the first time that the Marines of the two nations had fought side by side since the defense of the Peking Legations in 1900. Let it be said that the admiration of all ranks of 41 Commando for their brothers in arms was and is unbounded. They fought like tigers and their morale and esprit de corps is second to none."
--Lt Col. D.B. Drysdale, Commanding 41 Commando, Chosen Reservoir, on the 1st Marine Division
"Our enlistment has a start and finish date. The 'Oath' does not."
"You're Bouncin' Girls, You're Bouncin'!"
"Keep Your Powder Dry!"
"Gimme a huss!"
"Don't you quit on me Maggot!"
God Bless Marines