Sgt. Grit story on Summer Dress Uniforms, Green Field Scarf and Best Duty Station.
Like many other Marines, I start off my Thursday mornings reading your Sgt. Grit Newsletter. And I want to express my appreciation and thank you for providing such a great service! I know that editing the Sgt. Grit Newsletter takes a tremendous amount of time and a whole bunch of love. Thanks for Loving our Corps and fellow Marines!
The recent letters about the Summer Dress Uniform, Green Wool Shirt, Field Scarf (Forest Green in Color) and Best Duty Station prompted me to jump into the discussion. As with the other Marines who graduated from San Diego Boot Camp, Platoon 338, in September 1962, I was issued three sets of Summer Dress Uniforms. I think that we referred to them as Tropical Worsted or TW's, instead of Khaki Tropical Summer. (They were a Gabardine Worsted Wool material). We were also issued the Green Field Scarfs along with a Green Overcoat, which we called a "Horse Blanket". To my memory, those are the only two Sea Bag issued items that I never used while in the Corps! A couple of months ago I found my Field Scarf and it is still marked with my name in White Ink. While stationed at 29 Palms, from 1962 – 1965, all the men in 2nd LAAM Bn, were issued the Wool Green Shirts. We wore them under our utilities during cold weather. It was a unit issued item and the shirts had to be returned to supply when we left the unit. In the attached picture, I am on the left wearing the green wool shirt and Cpl. Clark is on the right, without the shirt! This picture was taken in February 1964, on the deck of the USS Noble, as we were headed for amphibious training.
The Best Duty Station I ever had was at was Ft. Belvoir, VA, an Army Post! I was sent there for training, from MCB, 29 Palms, CA. I traveled in the Summer Dress Uniform, with tie and Garrison Cover and it was a sharp looking uniform. The 8 weeks that I spent there were the most enjoyable of my 3 year tour! I was one of four Marines that were attending courses in the Army Engineering School located there. All the Marines attending the Enlisted Courses were billeted in the same barracks with the Army students. During the day we wore Utilities and our Marine Corps Cover, which always made us stand out in the group of soldiers. And since we were on an Army post, each one of us made it a point to always look "sharp", act professionally and bring honor to our Corps! The soldiers that were fellow students were always respectful of Marines and in some case they were a little bit awed. Of course we never embellish any of our USMC training!
Upon reporting to Ft. Belvoir, I discovered that Washington, D.C. was very close by. For just a quarter in bus fare, we could be in downtown Washington, DC in just a few minutes. I was really excited as I was looking forward to sightseeing and exploring our nation's capital and absorbing our Country's History! Then in the second week after arriving at Ft. Belvoir, I discovered that the Army would send 2 – 3 buses to the Washington USO on Tuesday nights. The buses would be loaded with single girls who worked in the many offices in DC, and take them to the Ft. Belvoir Enlisted Man's Service Club for dances. At the end of the evening the buses would take them back to DC. And yes, they were watched very closely to insure that all of them got back on the buses!
A fellow Marine and I decided to go to the Service Club and hopefully expand our circle of friends. Wearing our Tropical Worsted Uniforms, we walked into the roomful of soldiers wearing their khakis and black ties, we looked "Sharp"! As we walked in, I was very confident that every lady in the place would be so impressed that the Marines had landed! My first dance partner let the wind out of my sail, when she asked me "How long have you been in the Army?" We stopped right in the middle of the dance floor and I informed her that I was a United States Marine! I then educated her on the uniform differences that would help her identify a U.S. Marine and I am pretty sure she also noticed the Attitude! After a very short 8 weeks, having completed my training the Corps sent me back to 29 Palms, CA. And it was just in the nick of time! I am sure that if I had stayed much longer, I would have had to apply for Junior Enlisted Married Quarters upon return to 29 Palms! As we use to say –If the Corps wanted me to have a wife, the Corps would have issued me one!
Freddy R. Gonzales
Cpl, 1999xxx USMC
1962 – 1965