In 1975, I was a Weapons Platoon Sergeant with Fox 2/7 at San Mateo, Camp Pendelton. All of the Battalion NCOs including myself were attending our monthly NCO meeting. Sgt.Maj. Yanachi was an Eskimo Indian, but to hear him tell it he was born at Tun Tavern. The Sgt.Maj. when answering a question would always start out with “Well I remember in the Old Corps when all you young kids were just a twinkle in your daddies eye” and we would all give a little laugh.
Being the Smart-Ass Comedian Sgt. that I was I raised my hand and Sgt.Maj. pointed at me and said “YES SGT. HAMMER” I stood up and asked him if he had any pictures of himself polishing his sword and shield in the Old Corps? Some NCOs were laughing and most were wide eyed going “OOOOOH!”
He turned around to the podium (I thought he was ignoring me) and picked up the Battalion NCO Duty Roster, turning back to face me he said “No, I’m sorry to say I don’t Sgt. Hamer, but I promise I’ll be here every weekend this month to take your picture at the Battalion Guard Duty Desk.” He then ripped the schedule in half and threw it over his shoulder and looking around the room at all the other NCOs said “Is there any other questions?” “No? Alright, then I want everybody here to thank Sgt. Hammer for volunteering for duty NCO this month so that his fellow NCOs can enjoy their weekends this month, isn’t that right, Sgt. Hammer?” I snapped to attention and yelled “Aye Aye SERGEANT MAJOR.” Everybody snapped to attention and Sgt.Maj. yelled “DISMISSED” everybody was laughing so loud you wouldn’t have heard a grenade go off.
Every NCO patting me on the back saying “Way to go Hammer, Thanks!”. I loved them then and still do, I didn’t mind at all. My wife and kids all lived on Base at 633-A Puller Place a five bedroom 2 1/2 bath NEW home. And I respected the Sgt.Maj. more than any man on the base.
I read Sgt.Maj. Yanachi’s Presidential Citation that on a mountain top in South Vietnam went outside the wire one night with no weapon other than his “Razor Sharp” E-tool to dig a “Cat-Hole” (out of Respect for his fellow Company Marines). On the way back to his position The Marines came under Attack. The Sgt.Maj. surrounded by Combat Armed NVAs, who not wanting to fire their weapons at one “Lone Marine” and alert the Company of Marines inside the wire attempted to bayonet the (then) 1st.Sgt. Yanachi, He just started swinging that E-tool in all Directions. It was later determined (after the battle) that THIRTEEN (13) Enemy Soldiers had been killed by an E-tool. Sergeant Major Yanachi told me he had to dig a second Cat-Hole inside the wire to clean out his shorts. I TREASURE the memories of every day I served in the Corps from 1972 to 1978 even the bad ones.
SEMPER FI Leathernecks,
See you when we regroup.