Rocking and Rolling, My Transit to Kaneohe

Rocking and Rolling, My Transit to Kaneohe Admin |

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!


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.

Joe Webb(Jack),

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

Cpl Doug Herrmann,

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.

Terrence (Terry) E. Carbonara,

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,

Sgt. James Norton, 2811, 1967-1971,

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

Alan Burleson,

The puke stories seem to be a common denominator of all the deployments to the 3rd Mar Div and Hawaii prior to the days of jet transport. I was on the USNS General Daniel Sultan (civilian crew) with Marines and dependents. The very first day out of San Diego (approx late April of early May 1965) we were all initiated to the conditions of the Pacific. At least 2/3 of the ship were violently sick the rest were all just turning green and feeling like death was imminent. I was in this group. While trying to get up on desk to get some fresh air (the smell below deck was unbearable) some guy comes pushing behind me trying to get to the hatch before he loses it. He didn’t make it. He puked all over the Marine if front of him which set off a chain reaction. I was fortunate and avoided the “puke dousing”. At that point all I could do was turn around and head back to my rack to wait out the carnage. I crawled on the rack, sure that I would not survive the night. The next morning I felt a lot better and went down to the mess deck. No Lines, but the whole ship stunk from the prior days debacle. Arriving at Pearl we had one day of liberty before we were to continue to Yokohama. I was only 19 at the time so I couldn’t have any Men’s beverages. I walked to the Army base. I think it was Fort Durocher?? so I could have a Man’s beverage. I was old enough to go to Nam but not to have a beer. That was f—ed. Somewhere between Pearl and Yokohama we hit a typhoon. We all pretty much had our sea legs by then. I was one of the unlucky that caught a 4 hour watch ON DECK for any men overboard. I felt that was total bull$hit. If anyone did go overboard there would be no way to recover him. And besides who was going to watch for me? I tied my self to a beam and survived the watch. I was pissed. Well anyway that’s my 2 cents on the Good Ol Days.

Cpl John W. DeStefano (aka duffle bag),

In 1961 I was in Okinawa and our usual 12 month rotation was prolonged two additional months because of Laos getting hostile. The Corps had already sent all our sea bags by air and it was decided we would return by AKA (forgot the name). We sailed out of Naha in mid-August and you all know what that means. The ship then headed WNW. We were carrying twice the number the ship was built for, and only the clothing on our backs. The ship went nearly to Alaska and, as the air cooled, the ship’s heating system went AWOL. Soon everyone was walking around the decks with a blanket wrapped around them, looking like the POWs in the movies. Finally, the crew got the heaters working, but by then we were in the waters of Northern California. Once started, for some reason they could not get the heaters to stop. Finally, by the grace of the Commandant we reached San Diego. Then came the final last straw. The Navy allowed all their dependents to come aboard while we were trying to disembark. It was utter chaos-is. The CO of embarked troops came up on the speakers saying ,”All Marines disembark any way you can, good luck.” It was the end of a memorable cruise.

Edward Dodd, 1st Lt USMC, forever,

Sailed with H-2-5 on the USS Bexar (pronounced Bear if I remember correctly) Jan ’66 from Long Beach to the Rock with a short 3 day stay in Hawaii. Nasty being just a PFC on the bottom bunk stacked 6 high down in the bowels of the Bexar. Most of us were sea sick second day out of LB. Bad enough that even most of our Navy hosts were likewise hugging the rail. Thank goodness for some savvy corpsmen who packed us with saltines!!! Saved the day or at least made the crossing more tolerable!! After training on the Rock, we boarded the George Clymer and headed south to Chu Lai. Fine old ship with wooden decks and for me a much more comfortable bunk!!!

Pete C.,

Jan 1963 I sailed on the uss Mitchel from treasure island to kanehoe bay.If you think that the Clymer was bad the Mitchell was a bucket.and the in jan of 1965 we left Hawaii on the uss parrot on the return to treasure island.every body was sea sick both ways.

john burke,

I too sailed from San Diego to Honolulu in June of 61 for my two year duty with H&S 3/4. Don’t remember seasickness until another 23 day cruise to the Phillipines and Japan. Even the sailors got sick! After two years we sailed back to San Fransico. I will never forget going under the Golden Gate Bridge. When the ship touched the dock the Marine Band began playing California Here I Come! Great memories! Semper Fi!

J. D. Hallford,

USS Okinawa LPH 3 April 1972, outbound from Long Beach NS. Luckily I was Ships Company Marine assigned to the Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program Mobile Lab set up on the aft end of the Hangar Bay. Not too bad going from LBNS got sick just a day out took the advice of some old Salts on the Carrier. Ate Crackers just so I would have something to upchuck.. Glad I did cause when we got to South Vietnam and trolled up and down the coast pulling missions in support of ARVN we had to out run a Typhoon to make safe harbor in Hong Kong.. By that time we had already picked up the Marine Squadrons from Futenama MCAS to make the run up and down the coast. Also picked up the grunts and had a ship full of Sick Marines the first few days while they got their Sealegs. My MOS for the Soap Lab was a secondary MOS as my first was T58GE-10 Mechanic and eligible for flight pay with the Carrier’s CH 46 pulling SARS and Flying ship to ship going incountry to get the mail and supplies. Vertreps etc. Went to MCAS Iwakuni to finsh the tour out

RD Cook, Sgt 70-77,

HAWAII Bound Puke Story …The Group of us left San Diego bond for 1st Marine Brigade..[at least me ] . Bravo 1/4 beginning of 1964. Kaneohe 2 yr Duty Station at the time. 1-2 days out of S.D. we ALL “Marines” got Sick . The Swabbies hated us….Below Deck, Bunks, Floors , Head…covered with ” Chunkies”. You could not take a piss because the in front of the long Pissers..? were us Jarheads on Bending, Standing Kneeling Barff, Barff, Barff..! The only Safe rack was the top one …but the smell was…UGH…!!! Slipping , Sledding up the Puke covered stairs.? carrying your Mattresses so you could sleep on Deck was a sight to see. 2 days of Emptying everything you had in your stomach was a Event never to be forgotten. Thinking back I Think Nam 65-66 was more fun…??




I made a Landing on Iwo Jima in 1955 while we were on the George Clymer APA 27, I was with the 9th Marines 2nd Battalion Delta company 60mm Motors. We departed Okinawa in time to make the Landing on the same day of the real landing. Did you have Air conditiong? We didn’t land on the Peter Boats. they put us on Mike boats. Later that night we we put on Amtracs. there was a Typhoon bearing down on Iwo, being in those tracks were nice but I felt sorry for the LST’s Some were washed a shore one split in Half.

Robert Greenburg Retired Master Gunnery Seargent 30 yrs.,

Rocking & rolling, too! Summer of 61, I also sailed from San Diego to Kaneohe for about 9 days. I don’t recall the name of the ship or excessive hurling (misplaced a lot of brain cells since then), but I do remember that several of us were musicians and I have some photos of us playing guitars on deck. I was assigned to D 1-4 @ MCAS. Good duty!

Joe Webb,

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