Today we remember the 2977 lives that were lost, over 6000 injured, and the numerous lives impacted globally by the heinous act of terror carried out on American soil 15 years ago. We further remember the men and women who went forth and located, closed with and destroyed the enemy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in other foreign lands. Since 9/11/01, many have served, fought, and gave their lives to ensure that such acts of cowardice remain a distant threat to the people and the country that they love so dear.
For the families, friends, and loved ones of the 9/11 fallen... YOU ARE STILL IN OUR PRAYERS... We've got your six. For everyone who has taken the OATH, signed a blank check made payable to the "United States of America", and selflessly served... THANK YOU! For our brothers and sisters that we lost on the battlefield or once they returned home... we will continue to cherish your memories, continue to march onward and never take any day above ground for granted.
It Was The Marines For Me
Plt 3008, MCRD SD
28 JUN - 26 AUG 1967
Growing up, I always knew I wanted a career in military service. From age 14 on I knew it was the Marines for me. "You're a scrawny, short, skinny kid. The Marines would eat you up and spit you out." I'd heard that from folks my age and older whenever I would tell them I wanted to be a Marine. My closest friends shared the same desire and we had The Guidebook for Marines, knew our general orders and so forth.
Fast forward to MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1967. (I'd made it! At least as far as a "maggot" in our platoon.) Our drill instructors taught us race relations long before it became mandatory in the 70's. GySgt Moreno made life H-ll on any Hispanic recruit who dared speak Spanish, Sgt Dimry made life h-ll on the black recruits and SSgt Brown made sure us white kids were not left out. Clever me, I'd managed to become mostly invisible, or at least not noticed. We were at Edson Range and we lucked out and got maintenance duty. The mess hall was outstanding. We were told we could go back for seconds if we wanted them. I decided a second glass of milk would just about make my day.
We got in formation outside the mess hall. A small PX was next door. We could see this corporal in "Charlies" wearing his 'Nam ribbons coming out with a large Coca-Cola. (All of $.20 then.) The house mouse who stood in formation next to me nudged me in the ribs and whispered "That Coke looks great doesn't it?" I whispered a quick "Ya" out of the side of my mouth. My anonymity had just ended. SSgt Brown grabs me by my stacking swivel (aka my neck) and yanks me out of formation. "Oh, Private Hansen wants a Coca-Cola, does he?!" "Sir, NO SIR!!!" "Hance, I think maybe you should have one!" "Sir, the Private can wait until he graduates, SIR!!" "Naw Hance, you and me are buddies. How much money do you have on you?" (Think fast!) "Sir, the Private has $.40 Sir!" "Good, take out a dollar!" My newfound best friend and I went into the PX and bought FIVE $.20 Cokes. (They even bagged them nicely for me.) Then the two of us proceeded back to our two story recruit barracks.) On the "stroll" back there (I think I kind of felt a kinship with anyone on death row) SSgt Brown asks "Hance, what do you think I'm going to make you do for these Cokes?" "Sir, PT forever, Sir!" "Oh no, Hance, I'd never do that." We proceeded to the second deck and entered our squadbay.
He sat in his folding chair behind the field desk and "invited" me to take a seat on the deck in front of him. I was told to line up the five large cokes in one rank. When he gave the order I was to chug down all five as fast as humanly possible. (Cr-p, full belly and an extra milk!!! Cr-p!) Lids off. I downed the first three and puked my guts out. "Hance, what are you stopping for!?!?! You have two more to go!" Two more Cokes chugged and they produced similar results – barf #2. (My one bit of satisfaction was I saw that I managed a bit of barf on his spit shined shoe. Still, total humiliation!!!) "Sir, does the Drill Instructor want me to get a swab and clean this mess up?" "Well, you silly little S--t, you don't think I'm going to clean up your mess, do you?" I quickly got a bucket full of water and a swab and I carefully cleaned around his affected shoe. After swabbing I returned the cleaning gear to the locker. I then reported back to SSgt Brown. "Hance, I think you need a bit of exercise after all that, GET IN THE PIT!" I started out with side straddle hops (until he got tired of watching) and then bends and thrusts followed by push-ups. (Ya, I'll just PT myself to death and then HE WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE!) Finally, after an eternity (probably 15 or 20 minutes in all reality) he told me to report back to him in the squadbay. He puts an arm around my shoulder and tells me he is going to give me a treat. He is going to allow me in the drill instructors quarters and listen to Wolf Man Jack with him. (Oh cr-p, double cr-p!) He then instructs me to sit in the Chinese thinking chair. (Back against the bulkhead, legs bent as if really on a chair and arms forward parallel to the deck.) He then placed a pair of bolt cutters across the tops of my hands, palms down, fingers extended and told me if I dropped them I was dead. I remained in that shaky position for what seemed like hours but was probably only about 15 minutes or so. SSgt Brown had left and Sgt Dimry came in and told me to stand up, put down the bolt cutters and go study my X1 (knowledge) for the rest of the afternoon. That was the first time Sgt Dimry saved my butt. The second time was when we were taking our final PRT (Physical Readiness Test). Part of it consisted of zig-zagging out, picking up a "fallen" buddy and fireman's carrying him back. I zigged and one of the other recruits (the king rat of the house mice) zagged and we collided and knocked each other down. We got up and finished our drill. Then he came over and slugs me in the mouth for making him look bad. I figured "What the H-ll" and lit back into him. We were tussling all over the place and Sgt Dimry tells us to stand at attention. He knocks Mr. King Rat on his azs and says "That was an accident." I'm waiting for my punch when he tells me to get back in the ranks. Needless to say, I would have gone through H-ll for Sgt Dimry after that.
We qualified 100% at the rifle range and were the honor platoon.
MGySgt USMC Ret.
Jun 1967 – Aug 1993
Where Has It All Gone
A few days ago I was thumbing through the Grunt catalog, and came upon some items for the 241st Marine Corps birthday. I looked at the number "TWO-HUNDRED-FORTY-ONE," and it got me to reminiscing. 58 years ago I stepped off a bus at MCRD San Diego. A 17 year old knot head, as dumb as a box of rocks. And my life changed for ever. The Corps was 183 years old, Commandant of the Marine Corps was Gen. Randolph Pate. I remember this like it was yesterday. "Where has it all gone?" I've been married 45 years, the father of 5, the grandfather of 16, the great-grandfather of 7. It was 17, but my oldest grandson was killed in a car accident 2 mo. Ago., and he was a Marine. "Where's it' all gone?" One of my grandsons and I were walking around a big box store the other day. I saw a gentleman walking towards us, he was wearing a cover with USMC on it, as was I. We greeted each other with Semper Fi and visited for a few minutes and went our separate ways. My grandson asked, "granddad, why do Marines always greet each other the same way, with Semper Fi, what does it mean?"
I explained, always faithful. He looked at me for few seconds and asked, "faithful to what?" I said, "faithful to God, our Country, and our Corps." He looked at me for a minute, smiled and said, "Semper Fi, granddad."
"That's where it's all gone."
For over 40 years on November 10th, I held reveille on my family and some of my neighbors. So, last November I rolled out of the rack early, got a cup of coffee and turned on the stereo, and let'er rip. After couple of seconds... and I mean seconds. I felt someone behind me. I turned around to find this little woman, hair all frizzed and the look on her face that would make a 1st Sgt. run. She says, "if you wake me up one more time at this ungodly hour "playing that song", I'll crack your skull with a skillet.
I still play the hymn, but around 12:00 noon. "And thats where it's all gone." Semper Fi.
Platoon 1019, MCRD San Diego
HN Henke Needs Hanky
I was part of a large wave of recruits that entered the Navy on delayed entry right at the height of Desert Storm, so when I graduated high school in June 1991, I was in Boot Camp at RTC Great Lakes three days later. Corps School was across the train tracks from my old RTC Division. When I graduated from Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes, Illinois, I was a lowly E-2 Hospitalman Apprentice. Because of the large numbers of Corpsman that were recruited at the time, many of us were assigned together like batches, and followed each other - even being roommates, for years through training and into the fleet. You got to know your shipmates well.
Upon graduation of Corps School, I felt I lived a charmed life - I managed to get through some the hardest academic courses I've ever encountered (even to this day at Age 44) and I got the orders I really wanted: Field Medical Service School, Camp Johnson, North Carolina: I was going to the Marines.
I got to NC, and within the first week, I knew life was going to really get interesting. There are two things that stand out the most that I remember about that school, and they both involve a beat-faced, agitated Marine named Sgt Meeker. He was our division Sgt.
It was our first muster as a completely assembled and properly uniformed (Cammies) platoon when Sgt Meeker (who had woke us up with throwing the half-filled trash can down the middle of the squad bay that morning) barked "WHO IS THE MOST JUNIOR DOC IN THIS SH-T PLATOON?" I was, so I raised my hand and said "SGT! I AM SGT!" He then came up to me and said "Great! You're the new Master-at-Arms. If any one in this platoon gives you any sh-t, tell me and I will deal with them. You will oversee that the squad bay and heads are inspection ready every morning and that the platoon is mustered and ready for the same. If you don't, YOUR FIRED!"
I was never fired. We had Corpsmen from all walks of life in the group, and a couple of them were even Navy Chiefs, one of which was in our platoon. I had a pretty good relationship with them, and they made sure that everyone fell into line - I was lucky that I was in a good group of men and women that looked out for each other.
One morning, everyone was standing around in their towels and shower shoes at the door leading to the head. They were all staring at something on the door and muttering. I said, "what the h-ll? What are y'all standing around for, we are going to be late!"
One of the big burly guys in the platoon looked at me, white in the face (something this white boy never seen happen in a very dark black man before) and said in a shaky voice "Look at the size of that thing!" and pointed at the doorknob: A big, nasty cockroach! Perched on the doorknob and saying "NA NA NU NA NA."
"O Christ, just knock him off with a towel and stomp the sh-t out of him, we're burning up valuable time!" I said.
Everyone just looked at me horrified. "Fine!" So I just brushed it off with the back of my hand and stomped him into the next existence in a single and swift movement. "There! Let's go!"
I was the 19-year-old hero for the morning. Funny how a bug can hold up a group of twenty men! Granted, it was a Jacksonville-Cockroach, but still...
Sgt Meeker heard about this later, and commended me on my handling of the situation in typical Marine Corps Melodrama...
Our Marine DI's were given specific classes to teach according to their own MOS, in the case of Sgt Meeker that was NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare Specialist). So he was in-charge of the Gas Chamber, and was very diabolical too.
And he had it in with Hospitalman Recruit Henke, this little dude I'd known since Boot Camp at RTC (as he was in my company and then in my class in Corps School). Henke was part of our sister platoon (thank God) and had already created trouble for himself at FMSS much like he did at our previous training commands.
Henke was one of these fellas that you wanted to smack upside the head - he was one of those people whose very existence irritated the leadership because he was short, fat, pizza-faced, nazzle-voiced, and always fell behind and added to the training of others in a vast number of ways.
He also had a hard time with following directions. So when you were told to "Don and Clear" your M17A2 Gas Mask, you were sure to follow the DI's exact instructions lest you were to be a victim of your own failure to understand the procedure. I was lucky to be blessed with the common sense to never get on the bad-side of the Marines in charge of the platoon, and I even forged friendships with most everyone in our class, but this guy - I just felt sorry for him - from the beginning. It's not because he was a "sorry" guy, he just could not get a break, and he was making it so hard for himself. When you think about it, socially he already had all those "strikes against him" from how I described him. When you couple all those together with his not having common sense or street smarts... well, you get the picture.
So the "hard luck cases" were always the last to leave the Gas Chamber and Henke was the VERY last sailor to come out. Everyone remembers the snot bubbles of the Gas Chamber. He was crying, blubbering, choking and losing his mind as Meeker just laid into him. Henke had, yet again, lived up to his reputation for failing to follow directions. He had the biggest snot-bubble hanging off of his face that any of us had ever seen! This man, the very same one who in the middle of the night halfway through boot camp stood in his skivvies in the middle of the squad bay and squeaked "WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?" was in the worst shape of his then-short military career.
Meeker had this poor guy doing 8-count-body builders. Henke's eyes were swollen completely shut, his lips were blubbering and his snot-bubble finally had popped and was then just a long noodle hanging off his beat-redder-than-Meeker's face. Meanwhile, Meeker just continued to lay into him in new and twisted ways. We just quietly and very discreetly laughed and chuckled at poor Henke's expense - hoping not to attract attention to ourselves and be told to do the entire evolution again without the masks (as was threatened by Marines training us that day). We couldn't help ourselves, but fortunately he was really focused on poor Henke and took no notice of us.
It really amazed me that this man managed to graduate FMSS. I suppose that it was due to the fact that despite his shortcomings, he had a big heart and really wanted to make it through.
Years later, I saw Henke at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. He wasn't ever assigned to the Marine Corps units, but he managed to find his footing and get his sh-t together and do well for himself: I'm sure that Sgt Meeker had a lot to do with that.
HN Brian D. Hess, USN (FMF)
1st Force Service Support Group
Camp Pendleton, CA 1992-1995
Operation Restore Hope, Mogadishu, Somalia
He Called Us Ladies
Remember when the DI's tried to march us in the beginning and we were out of step - and constantly changing our line-ups? As well as screaming at us for being so stupid and out of step with each other! They told us to stop and spoke among themselves and made some changes - one Southerner with a drawl and a lazy type mannerism was approached and the Senior DI kicked him hard in his left shin (the guy went down in pain) and while lying on the ground the DI said to him - "Maggot, the next time I call cadence and tell you clowns to march, step off with the foot that hurts" - as he told the other DI's that this t-rd did not know his left from his right.
Some recruits were petrified of the DI's and when spoken to - started shaking and sweating - I thought some were on the verge of tears a few times. I learned early - do not make yourself a target - or the whole platoon caught h-ll for it.
Some clown were always mimics and made us chuckle in ranks - and they were never caught - just us fools who were caught - and we were all punished as well. One night after lights were out one clown was paid a visit by one or two of the bigger recruits - who told him - either shut up - or you will be messed up - he got the message.
In reality it was comical and we were normal and laughed - big mistake - we were experts at a host of punishing exercises - which in reality made us stronger as we progressed in training. I could do a few hundred push-ups, and could do over 50 pull-ups - upper and lower body strength improved on us all.
Rifle exercises up and over shoulders? Holding rifle outstretched with arms locked was a b-tch as well. Standing with eyes closed and the DI prowling for the fool that opened his eyes at the wrong time.
These were not tests of torture or of hateful DI's - but you were tested for strength - stamina - and your ability to follow orders - no matter how silly it seemed. Also, you learned to work together as a team. When you were told to assemble for different reasons - we were a unit as one - thinking as one - and they had just a short time to get you to inter-mesh and work together.
I was manhandled and smacked around - and realize it was for a reason - and it saved lives and separated the Recruits from the wanna-bees. The DI's were G-d and we were mere mortals who aspired to be MARINES - the road was not easy - and nobody was exempt from proper molding into a better human - some were molded with little prodding and some had their butts kicked - no one was maliciously picked on - but when we marched as a proud unit as the end of boot camp neared - and they called cadence with - right step - left step - double to the rear march - and we were a drill team and together - the DI's were proud of us - they took pride in having a unruly mob turned into a good trained unit.
On the day we passed in review and became Marines we were complimented by the Senior Drill Instructor - all during recruit training he called us girls and f-ggots - but when we dismissed after we passed in review - He called us Ladies - and we were so proud, Crazy what you remember after 50 years.
Vietnam Era Marine
P.S. I only hope after Vietnam and Afghanistan and other hot spots - that before I visit the Pearly Gates we see peace in our world - we as Marines will always be ready for the call to put out the fires anywhere - but a World of Peace would be nice as well!?
Memories Of A Kaneohe Marine
Foreword by Dave Trojan, Aviation Historian
These stories were collected, compiled and edited over several years. Some of them have appeared in the Sgt. Grit newsletters at grunt.com, however this is the first time they have been gathered together to give readers a firsthand account of what life was like at MCAS Kaneohe during the early 1960s. Norm Spilleth was a Marine Corps Corporal and Plane Captain from 1960 to 1964 who served in VMA-212, the Devil Cats. Norm said that his time in VMA-212 was the most significant years of his life. When he checked into VMA-212, they were still flying the F4J-B Fury jets, but soon transited to A4D Skyhawks. He remembers losing four airplanes, two pilots and two enlisted men to accidents during that time. He had a whole lot of memories to share about his experiences with VMA-212 and insights into several of the accidents. Norm also recounts his adventures in the Marine Corps beginning from his basic training at Parris Island. Most of the stories were written by Norm Spilleth, except otherwise noted by other Kaneohe Marines. All the stories happened during the early 1960s. Be forewarned, some of the stories and language are colorful to say the least. Only minor editing was done to make it easier to read. Pictures were added from Norm’s personal photo collection as well as a few others to illustrate the stories.
Norm Spilleth Marine Biography
I went to Parris Island on August 4, 1960, platoon 374, 3rd. battalion. Graduated 12 weeks later and went to ITR (Infantry Training Regiment), Company B, Camp Geiger, Lejeune, NC for 1 month. Then 20 days leave back home to Jersey. After Leave, took a train to Memphis and NATTC at Millington for aircraft mechanic school. After completion of the ADJ, jet engine mechanic course, I was assigned to 1st Marine Brigade, MAG13, MCAS Kaneohe. Completed another twenty days leave back in Jersey before leaving for a staging battalion in Camp Pendleton and was there a month or so waiting for a full complement of troops to board a ship in San Diego. In the mean time the Corps sent us air wingers down to El Toro for A4D school for (I think a week or two). After the A4D School, we rejoined the staging battalion and boarded the USS George Clymer in San Diego harbor and sailed to Hawaii in a convoy with several other ships. The voyage to Hawaii took nine days. I have a lot of memories of those days, but not the exact dates. As we approached Pearl Harbor, we were all ordered below until the ship docked. It was very close and hot in the hold and they kept us there for a few hours until the officers cars were off loaded from the compartment above us. It was an education in the difference between officers and enlisted that stayed with me when I had my "shipping over lecture". So began my two years on the rock. I think it was May of 1961 to May of 1963. Returned to the mainland on a converted liner, spent a week or 10 days on Treasure Island waiting for orders, but also got some memorable liberty, then flew back east for a thirty day leave in Jersey. After the shore leave, I went to my last duty station, VMGR-252, at C-130 squadron at Cherry Point, NC. I got discharged on August 5th, 1964, the same day as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the official start of the Vietnam War.
To Be Continued...
The Good Ship Lollipop
I don't like to swim in the ocean. Sand gets in places it was never meant to be. That may be ironic since I wound up in the Marines. I had never been on any water craft bigger than a 15-foot fishing boat when I joined the Corps in 1958, so I had never experienced sailing on the deep blue. By the time I shipped over to Okinawa I had only flown commercial a couple times on Bonanza Airlines between San Diego and Phoenix – the first time on a DC-3, the second on a small turbo-prop. I hadn't experienced air sickness either time so I was unprepared for what was ahead.
In late 1959, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, under command of then Lt. Col. Kenneth J. Houghton, departed California on the good ship USS Breckenridge, a WWII single screw troop ship. We immediately hit heavy seas which lasted the entire journey to Japan. We even took our brig-rats. They were simply transferred from the Camp Pendleton brig to the Breckenridge brig to the Okinawa brig to finish their sentences before returning to the battalion. By the second day out we were told that the brig was in ankle deep water, something about a split seam due to heavy weather was how the swabbies explained it. As miserable as I was, I couldn't help feeling a little pity for those guys.
It wasn't just the disconcerting feeling of having to look up to see the tops of the 40 foot swells we wallowed through for the entire journey that was bothersome. As the old tub would crest a swell and dive into the next trough, the single prop would come part way out of the water, slapping at it and sending a shudder through the ship. Very few of us weren't seasick from the start. Even old salt sailors were getting sick. I lived on cr-p from the geedunk for most of the first week because I couldn't stand in a chow line below decks without throwing up. The routine in chow line, as it stretched out of the mess hall was to stay alert for anyone making a mad dash from their table in an ill-fated attempt to make it topside before giving up whatever food they had managed to swallow. At the cry of "SICK MAN COMING THROUGH" everyone would flatten themselves against the bulkhead and hope the unfortunate soul made it past them before ejection. I was seasick to some degree the entire trip. One of my buddies commented that I really had a weak stomach. "Not so," I replied. "I can chuck it out there as far as anyone on board."
Adding to our grief was that the front half of the ship was off limits due to the foul sea conditions for fear of a man being washed over the side. That meant the entire battalion had just half the deck space to attempt to stay out of the stinking below-decks. It didn't help to see senior staff NCO's, officers and military family members promenading around an upper deck.
One particular E-4 Sergeant was obnoxious to all us greenies. He was on his second tour and bragged about being a Sea-Marine, having a Med cruise under his belt. He wouldn't admit that he wasn't all that unaffected by the rough voyage, but one evening he got his comeuppance. It happened in the heads, which were located under the fantail. He was leaning forward, one hand on the sink, combing his hair when the kid next to him suddenly threw up all over ol' Salt's hand. He took one look at his hand, dashed to the closest GI can and puked. Unfortunately for him – and hilarious to all of us who had suffered his taunts – he wore false teeth. Out they popped with dinner, into the can along with the former contents of other stomachs. We heard no more old-salt-talk from him for the rest of the voyage.
What was truly perplexing about the Breckenridge was the design of the toilet system. There were urinals on the wall, yes. But for taking care of the bowels there were long troughs with dual boards spaced down their length for sitting to take care of business. Being a WWII troop ship, I assumed she had been designed by the enemy. Instead of the troughs running port to starboard, they ran fore and aft. The constant flow of sea water used to flush the trough rushed in a wave from one end to the other as the old ship climbed and dived over the sea swells. On the worst days an unthinking Marine who took position on an end seat was most likely to get his butt drenched by the dung-filled sea water as it splashed against the end of the trough. On the best days some wise yahoo might float a ball of toilet paper in the rushing water and set it afire, causing mayhem as it floated down the line of bare butts, causing guys to jump up while still in the process of relieving themselves. Pretty funny – if you didn't happen to be on one of the seats.
As a note of interest, 3/5 settled in at the brand new base, Camp Schwab, on arrival at Okinawa. Schwab may now become the new home of MCAS Futenma and the shanty village outside the base has apparently become a thriving city.
The old Breckenridge was commissioned in 1945, too late to participate in WWII but was in the mix for both Korean and Vietnam wars. She was decommissioned and sold to a Japanese firm for scrap in 1987. During 3/5's voyage, I wasn't sure which of us would be decommissioned first, her or me.
Mar. 1958-Mar 1962
9-11-01, Where Were You?
I know with most important dates, many of us can remember what we were doing and where we were on that date... The good occurrences are always great, but the bad ones seem to burn deeper into our brain housing groups... whether it be a natural disaster, a death of a loved one, or a war or conflict. This memory comes from 9/11/01.
This day started out like any other in the Corps. PT before the sun came up, back to the barracks to sh-t, shower, and shave, grabbed a bag nasty (bag of chow from the messhall) for breakfast, then I reported to my assigned place of duty which was at building H-1, 2nd Marine Division, G-1 Files and Separations Office, MCB Camp Lejeune. Stopped and had a quick morning chat with GySgt Zutell, the Admin Chief (still adjusting back to the FMF since coming off the Drill Field, MCRD PI), then I continued on to my desk. A few hours into the work day a fellow Marine gets a call from his mother in Kentucky telling him that an airplane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. At first none of us believed it and work continued as usual. Then the Marine went into the conference room and switched on the TV and confirmed that it was not a hoax. All of the Marines in our wing made their way into the conference room in time to see the 2nd airliner crash into the second tower. We all stood in stood in silence and anger.
At some point, we all got back to work. All married and off-base dwelling personnel were sent home early. The day ended and of course the entire base was a buzz. Back at the barracks, around 23:30 we were all awaken by the barracks duty. His message was to form up in platoon formation between the barracks and await orders. After forming up, we received orders to march to the company offices where we would be addressed by the battalion CO, Col Lake. After arriving Col Lake spoke about the events that had occurred earlier in the day and informed us that the base was going to Threat Con Delta. There would be patrolling duties at each building and barracks on the base starting at 0100. He stated that they would ask that we volunteer for a time slot, but the Marines and Sailors that volunteered for the first duty would have the work day off once their duty ended at 0700. You would have thought that we were at first come, first serve lottery with the hands that went up. I ended up with the first duty along with my fellow Marine roommate. We posted at our barracks HP301 at 0100. Of course a few hours ago we had been asleep in our racks, and after an hour or two on post that missed sleep started to catch up with both of us. So a bit disgruntled, walking post with kevlar helmets, M-16s, 2 full magazines with live rounds, one PRC-125 radio, and orders to stop anyone that we deemed suspicious... we were ready for someone to give us a reason. The lucky person was a Sgt from another unit walking from one barracks to another. We gave the command "Halt, Who Goes There?" The Sgt ignored us and just kept one walking. We gave the command again... this time louder with weapons at the ready... this time he stopped... as we approached him we has him get on his knees and show us some identification. After looking at his ID card I asked him, "Sgt, did you hear us tell you to halt the first time?" He replied, "Yes, LCpl." "Well Sgt, why didn't you stop?" He said, "Because, I am tired and I wanted to get to my rack and go to sleep." I then politely told him, "Sgt, we are not out here playing guard duty, we have live rounds, and your failure to respond could have caused you, me, and the other duty a lot of problems. I am not trying to be a d-ck, but with everything going on you should know that things are sensitive around base. Please don't ignore the other Marines on duty if they are addressing you." He then looks up at me and says, "Roger that, LCpl." So I called-in over the radio and let the Sergeant of the Guard know what had occurred and he came to our position to make record of the incident. (Until this time, the SOG for the night and I hadn't really liked one another.) After I informed him as to what happened, he took the Sgt to the side and had a few words and sent him on his way. He then came over to me and said, "Good job Marine, keep at it." Talk about boosting the morale of a little LCpl.
At 0700, the SOG arrived to our POS and relieved me and the other duty. We headed back to our room and hit the rack. Shortly thereafter, a knock came at our hatch. It was a young PFC from our unit stating that our SSgt wanted to know why we weren't in formation for Battalion PT. We told him to let the SSgt know that Col Lake said if we stood duty last night then we didn't have to report to work the next day. So the PFC did exactly as we instructed him to do. Ten minutes later he was knocking at our hatch again. A little p-ssed from being awaken again, I snatched the hatch open and said, "What now, d-amn?" With a grin on his face he said, "SSgt said, if you two don't get to Battalion PT in the next 15-minutes, she is going counsel you both." More p-ssed off than a bull in a china shop, we both go into our silkies, t-shirt, and put on our go-fasters and reflective belt and ran to the field where BN PT was being held. Upon arriving we were greeted by the SSgt. After telling her the same thing we had the PFC tell her, she says, "Well, Col Lake said that you wouldn't have to report to work, but he didn't say anything about PT." We couldn't even be mad after that. As LCpls, you only hear what you want to hear... at that rank we haven't mastered reading between the lines yet.
Lesson Learned That Day.
I tend to think that it was karma coming back on us for messing with the Sgt the night before. Needless to say, we didn't halt anyone else on duty after that.
R.I.P. to all of the people we lost that day, and the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen we lost in OEF and OIF in the years following.
Sgt. Hugh Charles Krampe
19 APR 1925 - 5 SEP 2016
You know Sgt. Krampe better as Hugh O'Brian "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" 1955-1961.
Please forward this message to the following Sgt Grit Newsletter contributors:
Cpl. D McKee (Entrance marked Fire Water)
MSgt. Gene Hays (We did P.T. until Taps)
J. Williams (Not playing with a full deck)
William Hughes (Short Rounds)
You guys all sound like the type that found the humor in our situation - even if much later - in boot camp. Please consider contributing to my book. Send stories to email@example.com.
As per your request, several still stand out and have been known to escape my lips as recently as last week.
Girls & Ladies
Douche Bag (-s)
I'm sure none of these are "new" to Sgt.Grit readers. Some of my fellow recruits had no idea what a douche bag was and I delighted in their confusion and discomfort.
Happily for me, just prior to leaving home for Boot Camp two high school friends had just returned home on leave after completing their Boot Camp and ITR at Camp Pendleton. Both of the new Marines advised that there would be lots of PT and name-calling as part of the process of stripping away the Civilian Me and turning me into a new Marine. Thus, a week out of high school (June 1967) when the Drill Instructors were slinging their verbal taunts at the newly formed Platoon 295, my ears and mind were not shocked.
During my tour with 11th Marines, lads in our Comm. Section served under a fine 1st Lieutenant by the name of Maddox. End of his tour came and he assembled a bunch of us Techs and Radio Operators to say farewell. Most memorable among his words was a great compliment that I cherish to this day:
"You are a helluva fine bunch of Turds!"
Puts a lump in my throat. Semper Fi, Lieutenant Maddox, where ever you are!
Good topic! Thanks for the grins, Sgt. Grit!
I was reading about this Marine who was at Cherry Point in H&MS 24 MAG 24. I was there in 1956 before that after I was sent to Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FLA. After Boot Camp and after school I was sent to Cherry Point and I was assigned to the motor pool. I was put in the motor pool because they have didn't have any place to put me because the Korean war Vets were returning, so they were placing them first. So, they put me in the motor pool. My motor pool Officer was a Warrant Officer 4, one of the last enlisted pilots from the 2nd World War. I was working on a Jeep next to his office when the CG. of Cherry Point called him on the phone. Next thing I knew he told the CG. that he knew where his Office was and that he wanted to talk to him. Next thing I knew here came the CG. He went to the office... I thought all h-ll was going to break loose. All The CG said was "all I wanted to know was if you wanted to go flying."
Bill Ashworth, CPL E3
While serving with I & I duty at Fort Schuyler, the Bronx, we had a reservist who we nick-named "Sergeant F-ck." He had the ability to use that very expressive word "F-CK" in all things. Examples included: Abso-F-cking-lutely, Un-F-cking-believe-able, F-cking Magic, Wonder-F-cking-full, and many, many more. I have never met another person who could use that expressive word more often and in so many different ways.
He put in for and was accepted for one of the many officer training programs and I lost track of him. I always wondered if he successfully changed from Sergeant F-CK to Lieutenant F-CK...
"The revolution in the United States was the result of a mature, reflective preference for liberty and not a vague, indefinite instinct for independence. It did not depend on the passions of disorder. On the contrary, it demonstrated love of order and legality as it went forward."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 
"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."
--Thomas Jefferson (1802)
"Come on you sons of b-tches, do you want to live forever?"
--1stSgt Dan Daly
"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army
"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"
--General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur; Korea, 21 September 1950
"H-ll, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--Marine Major General John F. Kelly
"No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote."
--Gen. James N. Mattis
"A Marine on duty has no friends."
"Sweat dries, blood clots, bones heal.. Suck it up!"
"No better friend - No worse enemy."