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Camp Mathews

By: Robert Coghill

I joined in 1964 and received rifle training at Camp Mathews. I still remember hearing our PMI saying “Aw Ha (upward tone), Ah Ha (downward tone), Caught you M….. F…er” when we were doing something wrong. I think Camp Mathews in now part of UC San Diego – Third College (may have a better name now). I remember the nice hills we got to run in. I was in Platoon 128, known as the running platoon. One of our PMIs took us out with the intent to run us into the ground. This worked out just the opposite. I also remember Viet Nam being two words, not one. CPL Robert Coghill – Viet Nam 65-66

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Dave Means 0331 - March 28, 2020

In august of 1964 I was in platoon 359 at camp Matthews.A rifle range instructor gathered us around and related the recent news concerning the gulf of tonkin incident.He advised all of us in no uncertain terms of the need to become proficient in the use of the m-14 rifle because we just might be in a place called Vietnam within a year.His words were prophetic because our battalion,c-1-9, landed at Danang in june of 1965.We were told that the rifle range closed the day we departed in late august 0f 1964.I was proud and slightly surprised that I qualified expert with room to spare. SEMPERFI

HM3 David Stahmer, Viet Nam Nov. 69 to Oct. 70 - March 28, 2020

According to Wikipedia: “In English, the two syllables are usually combined into one word, “Vietnam.” However, “Viet Nam” was once common usage and is still used by the United Nations and by the Vietnamese government.” (bet we use the shortened form so we don’t have to type the space on our phones) LOL

Henry Young - March 28, 2020

I also arrived in Vietnam from Okinawa in 1965(September). Set up the ammo dump(asp 1) Da Nang. Flew in from Camp Butler. 2nd tour An Hoa, 1969. (Med Evac.) Plane ride from Conus straight to RVN. H.Young L/cpl. 0311/2311.

Dale Sutton - March 28, 2020

I too was in Vietnam in 1965-66 1/9 the walking dead we landed by LST on the beach at DaNang on June 16th 1965. We came to there from Okinawa. My unit was on Oki for about 6 months before going to Vietnam I came home in July of 1966. I transferred to the USAF in 1968 and Maintained C-130 Aircraft for many years. In April 1973 I was part of Operation Homecoming when we brought the first POW’s out of North Vietnam. It was at this time I was able to talk and remember all the time in VN without any stigmas. I was very proud to be a part of the POW release, I retired from the Air Force in 1985 never forgetting my time in the Marines it is the proudest time of my Military Career.
Once a Marine always a Marine. Semper Fi my brothers.

‘Stoney’ Brook - March 28, 2020

I’ve been asked how the name of the camp is spelled. It was Camp Calvin B. Matthews (two ‘T’s).

General Vandegrift isn’t spelled VanDERgrift, Camp Lejeune isn’t (properly but is traditionally) pronounced ‘Lee (or Lay)-June’

Henry Young - March 28, 2020

I too was a Camp Mathews Marine(Feb.64/Sept69). My 3 memories,1. Meeting a high school mate, and being accused of giving away platoon secrets (punishment arse kicking literal). 2. Qualifying with my last round. I also went back for mess duty, caught pneumonia and got set back. Can tell stories about the agony hills, but takes too much time. H Young,L/cpl 0311/2311.

Marlon Helton - March 28, 2020

I had the pleasure of camping out at Mathews in “59”. what I remember the most was the hike back to MCRD. EVERONE had blisters.

Nick - March 28, 2020

This clears it up. I’m impressed!

Jim Barber - March 28, 2020

Like Stoney Brook, I also remember the tents, Big and Little Agony, cleaning the old M-1 and pulling butts. I remember being in the trenches below the targets, getting showered by dirt as a low round caught the lip above us or splinters flying as an off center round hit the wood frames. I don’t know about later, but in 1958, when you finished firing each day at the 500 yard line, you moved back to a bunch of 55gal drums full of hot, soapy water and thoroughly washed all the metal parts clean of powder. After returning to the tents after evening chow we would then re-clean using solvent and oil. One of my most memorable experiences of boot camp occurred during and following a duck-walk up Big Agony on our return one day. I have had many a good laugh about it over the years but it was a real bitch that day.

Cpl Bob Korea Era - March 28, 2020

Went to Camp Matthew’s in November 1950 and was there on Thanksgiving day. They fed us a nice Thanksgiving meal at the Mess hall. Then our DI’s had the bright idea to double time us back to our tent’s. Some of the guy’s couldn’t hold their chow down and spread it around the base. A couple of the guy’s had to make a trip up agony hill and bring a cross down for their sins. Then the next sinners had to take it back to the top of the hill. Funny the stuff you remember from the old Boot Camp day’s. I think all that got me thru Korea. Well worth it!

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