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Managed To Smuggle

RE: Operation STEEL PIKE – shipped out of Charleston, SC on board the APA Geiger with MACS-6 in 1963. First day out we hit one h&ll of a storm. First lesson learned – always be the 1st person along the rail and never downwind when launching your guts. Below decks we were gathered around a GI can looking like a bunch of toy birds bobbing up and down into a water glass except we were filling the can, not emptying it.

Working on the beach watching as a transport dropped a pallet of seabags and a water buffalo into the water instead of into a mike boat. Thought it was funny until they dropped a pallet into the drink which contained part of our radar system.

Watched some idiot try to push a broached mike boat off the beach with a rough terrain forklift. Was absolutely sure the beachmaster was going to have a heart attack after the driver punched his forks through the side of the boat.

After eating C rats for the first two days, finally had to take a crap – naturally it happened while walking perimeter guard at night. Found what I thought was a secluded area, squatted, strained, relieved and looked up to see a couple of the Spanish police staring and laughing at me.

Pulled liberty in Barcelona enjoying the “night life”. We had one guy with us who spoke Spanish and several of us kept interrupting his conversation with a young lady with our requests to translate what our companions were saying.

Too late I found out what a Zippo lighter with the Marine Corps emblem was worth (use your imagination). Somehow we managed to smuggle an extraordinary amount of rum aboard ship. A couple of days out of port the ship store ran out of coke and we were “forced” to drink the rum straight. To this day cannot drink rum!

RE: Base AUTO DECALS – In 1967, the automobile base decals at MCAS(H) New River were red background for enlisted and yellow background for officer (or the reverse, don’t remember for sure). In any event, was sent to MCAS Beaufort as part of a CG inspection team along with my maintenance officer.

We drove from New River to Beaufort in my officers car and I was driving when we hit the gate at Beaufort. The gate sentry saluted us and asked to see my ID. When he saw that I was enlisted, he asked for the written permission for me to be driving an officer’s vehicle. I told him that I didn’t have such written authorization and didn’t really think I needed it.

Needless to say his attitude became slightly heavy handed until my boss (CWO Katch, who had been sitting quietly in the passenger seat) intervened. Seems the base decal color scheme for Beaufort was the opposite of New River. Guess that was one of the reasons why (in addition to fiscal) they eventually switched to standard DOD base decals.

RE: PISC BARRACKS – in 1962, 2nd RTR was wooden barracks and 3rd RTR was brick. Rifle range was also wooden barracks. Don’t know what 1st RTR was (and didn’t really care)

MGYSGT Retired
1962 – 1984

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L/cpl henry young - April 23, 2020

Hey, all you guys stole my thunder. I was with “H” 2/8 aboard the USS Guadal Canal for operation Steel Pike, 1964. Hollywood Marine, first duty station Camp Lejeune… USMC 64/69. RVN 65/66/69. Semper Fi brothers

G Willard 0311, 8651, 8511, 0142 - April 23, 2020

Enjoyed the posts. Just one note: There was no 1st, 2nd, 3rd RTR. It was 1st, 2nd, 3rd Bn. RTR stands for Recruit Training Regiment and there is only two: MCRD San Diego and MCRD Parris Island. When we (DI’s) post, we like to say “Good Times, Good Times”. Inevitably some Marine (NO SUCH THING AS FORMER!) will say, “How do you figure it was “Good Times?” “Simple, you were the recruits, we were the DI’s. We partied and went to Savannah in our off time while you were sleeping on steel racks”. Good Times, Good Times!

G. Bradshaw Cpl. E-4 - April 23, 2020

I went through PISC in 1961 in 3rd Bn. lived in the brick barracks. Hey MGYSGT Operation Steel Pike was in “1964”. I was in a MASS-1 outfit stationed at Cherry Pt. I worked in a Radar section. I was really pissed that Franco would not allow any Radar in Spain. So everybody in our outfit went to Spain & my section stayed at Cherry Pt. SEMPER FI !!!

Tom Sanford - April 23, 2020

Hey Jack, yes you did. Great to hear from you. My e-mail is Let’s get in touch.

Robert Watts - April 23, 2020


Mike Walter, Sgt, 4th MAW TACC, 1971-1977 - April 23, 2020

I came aboard USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC for recruit training by civilian bus late night 6 May 1971. At that time Receiving barracks and 2nd Battalion were the “temporary wooden WWII barracks”, 3rd Battalion and rifle range were red brick. Don’t recall what 1st battalion had, but woman recruits were also in wooden barracks. I recall that because one evening I was assigned guard dury with my post being the perimeter sidewalk around the women’s barracks. With the lights on in the barracks, out the corner of my eye I could see several women recruits looking out at me through an open window as I walked my post. Just then one of their female Drill Instructors caught them, and in voice just as loud as a male Drill Instructor screamed (as best I can remember): Get your eyes back inside, there are hundreds of pounds of swinging cock on this island and you’re not getting an ounce!! It took all my well-drilled self control to not burst out laughing, or even crack a smile. I feared that my own Drill Instructors might be testing me, waiting for me to laugh aloud on duty.

John Vaughn (61 to 65) - April 23, 2020

In 61 the pride of the Island, that’s the 1st Bn, was in wooden barracks and I BELIEVE that the Rifle Range had Brick Barracks. As a side note our DIs told us, so it must be correct, that as our time in the Corps went on and we were up for promotion that those of us went thru PI would rate over those Hollywood guys and that we who were in the Ist Bn would be rated over the other 2 Bns.

Jack Wing CWO-3 USMC (Retired) - April 23, 2020

Tom Sanford: Did I go to OCS and the basic School with you in 1973?? Please reply!

Jack Wing CWO-3 USMC (Retired) - April 23, 2020

I went through PI in 1958. 1st Bn. The barracks I was in was the one next to the mess hall. The wooden barracks was the last one taken down. The movie screen was at the end of the first Battalion. I remember the auto decals. At PI the officers had red decals and enlisted had blue. My first duty station was at Camp LeJeune, and the decals were reversed. I thought that LeJeune had more Officers than enlisted! (Always wondered why my right arm was sore) ????

P.A.Pannelle 1960-1965 - April 23, 2020

In 1960 the 1st RTR had wooden barracks as did the 2nd and 3rd RTR. When we were at the range we stayed in wooden barracks as the 3rd RTR were getting new brick barracks. When I revisited PI about eight years ago everyone had new brick barracks except one building at the 1st RTR was still standing made of wood. It was my barracks while going through boot camp in Aug. of 1960. It was the temp home of the HQ Co. 1st RTR. They even made the parade deck smaller in dia. and did away with the movie screen that was at one corner of the parade field.

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