Rocking and Rolling, My Transit to Kaneohe

Rocking and Rolling, My Transit to Kaneohe

In the summer of 1961, I was one of about 600 Marines on the USS George Clymer sailing from San Diego to points west. My group was being dropped off in Hawaii after 9 days and the rest (poor suckers) were destined to be on the ship for many more days on the way to Okinawa. About day number three out of San Diego, we hit some rough weather. Most of the Marines got seasick, especially the guys who grew up where there weren’t any oceans, like Iowa. I was fortunate to have grown up in New Jersey where they have an ocean and we become immune to rocking and rolling. It is also why we are good dancers. Anyway, on this particular day somewhere between Hawaii and the land of the big PX, we were rocking and rolling, and the troops were puking over the side when they could make it. When they couldn’t get to the railing, they just “let’er rip” and it wasn’t long before the deck became slick with the morning’s breakfast.

I was standing near one of the hatches when it opened and out stepped the Chief Cook with a Mess man in tow. He took a look around at all the sick Marines and then said in a commanding voice to the Mess man, while pointing at the deck, “All right kid, start picking up the big pieces for dinner tonight.” That is when I went to the railing and lost my breakfast along with my seasick immunity.

-Story by Norm Spilleth

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

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

15 comments


  • Joe Webb(Jack)

    Spent a fair amount of liberty time at Fort DeRussy during ’61-’63.There was a large room near the back by the breezeway that several of us musicians would gather to play music, I have a photo taken in there. I seem to remember playing a graduation party for an island high school summer of ’62 in the auditorium there. Went by while on vacation in ’08, hardly recognized the area.


  • Cpl Doug Herrmann

    The Point Defiance was LSD-31, spent a lot of time on that flat bottom rolling and rocking bucket


  • Terrence (Terry) E. Carbonara

    From one Cpl to another, the name of the fort on Oahu was and may still be, Fort Derussy (phonetically correct…spelling not sure!). Stationed at K-Bay Jan.’61-Jan.’63, H & S Bn. MOS 2111. Note: also traveled below deck via USS Point Defiance-LSD (I believe its number was 47.


  • Sgt. James Norton, 2811, 1967-1971

    Left Camp Books and headed for Da Nang Harbour. This was April 1971. Tours were being cut short. Mine lasted 10 months instead of the usual 12. Boarded the USS Juneau, LPD 8. The harbour was quiet and departure was smooth as glass. Had a big ole breakfast to celebrate that famed Navy cooking. Had some of everything. Bad mistake!! When we hit the open water the ship starting going up and down from bow to stern and then back again. After awhile the side to side motion came into the equation. My wonderfully tasty and abundant breakfast didn’t taste the same coming up as going down. We had a boatload of Marines, and I had been proud of myself, up to the point that I lost it. I lasted longer then most of the grunts, but mother nature made pay for my smugness. I was sick for days. The swabbies did not appreciate our decorating their ship in multicolored, multi chunky, and ordorforus liquid. It took us over ten days to cross the Pacific to get to Long Beach. We did have a/c, hot (short) showers, movies. After getting over being sea sick, it was a boring ride. Semper Fidelis brothers,


  • Alan Burleson

    left San Diego on some kinda boat 1963 don’t remember the name was off too Hawaii never been off the farm except boot camp so if the story is about puke then making a beach landing in a flat bottome boat with 6 and 7 foot sweels makes me laugh now but brings back memories wih my time with G-2/4


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