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

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • L/cpl henry young

    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

    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

    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

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

  • Robert Watts


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