SSgt

By: Tom Furry

I joined the Corp right after my 17th Birthday in August of 57. I went through processing in Cleveland Ohio and then our group went by train to PI. We got off the train at Yemassee and a Greyhound Bus was waiting. Piled on for the ride to PI. When we arrived we went to Receiving and that’s when the fun started. We all remember Receiving and getting off the bus and there were no yellow foot prints. I remember when the bus stopped and the door opened this screaming tornado wearing a Campaign Hat instructed us to get off HIS bus in no uncertain terms which we did rapidly. We formed into 3 rows of tall corn on HIS deck. Our group leader had our paper work which one of the DI’s took and as it was about 3AM we were put to work doing menial jobs as our DI’s wouldn’t set upon us till later. I was wearing a sport coat which my Mother insisted I wear when I left home and one of the DI’s spotted me and said “Here, you look like a college man” and where upon he gave me a push broom and told me to sweep down. I think we were given breakfast at some time but I’m not sure of exactly when.
We started out as Plt 256 which I was not with very long as I was a “fat body” at 198! Ha! I wish I weighed 198 now but that’s another story. Anyway, I got sent to the “Strength Platoon” which was a FUBAR as I should have gone to the “Fat Body Platoon” but it was full up so I ended up in Strength. The only difference as far as I could tell was the fat guys were on a diet whereas strength could eat all we wanted. Didn’t take me long to figure out that I should be on a diet too.
We did PT all day long. In those days fat and strength were in a barracks out by the rifle ranges
and we did our PT behind that barracks. There was an oval asphalt track behind the barracks with a grassy center. We would do PT and then take a lap, PT and take a lap all morning long, break for noon chow then back at PT and laps till supper time. We took showers and got ready for supper. That was the day at that time. Have no idea what goes now!
Anyway, after 20 days I passed the PFT and transferred out to Plt 276. In those days the Corp was forming a Plt a day.
So, I arrive at Plt 276 which as in what was called the 3rd Bn area, I think. May have been the old 4th Bn area. After 63 years some memories fade.
Anyway I was dropped off in front of a Quonset Hut and told to wait. As I waited I could hear cadence being called and the sound of double timing feet. They were weaving in and out of the rows of Quonset Huts and after about 10 minutes or so they came around to the front of the hut where I was waiting and the DI looked at me and said “Who the fuck are you”? I squeaked out “Pvt Furry, Sir reporting as ordered”. He said fall in at the rear. As I did he yelled “Double Time” and off we went. That was my introduction to then SSgt Robert Rubachko! The finest Marine I ever knew. He retired as a Major but that’s another story.
To be continued if I can find this place again.
One thing I would like to say is being a Marine is a state of mind! I imagine Soldiers, Sailors, Air Men and Coast Guards all feel the same way about their Services. Could be wrong.

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

14 comments


  • Bob 1381

    I’m with you Murrey…..I wasn’t a 1371 , I was a 1381, Shore Party. First cousin to a 1371. You’re correct, 1345’s were heavy equipment operators. In schools company at Camp Lejeune in 1966, half of our Shore Party training was with the Engineers. We learned demolitions to clear LZs, along with using Bangalore Torpedoes, satchel charges, mine detectors, probing for land mines, how to lay out mine fields, etc. An HST (Helicopter Support Team) wasn’t with the grunts every time they went outside the wire. But when the sh*t hit the fan, we were on the resupply LZ working our a**es off providing bullets, beans, bandages and water for as long as long as they were needed. Some called us “Redpatchers” because we wore a red 1×3 inch stripe at the break of our knees and a 1×1 patch on our cover. Most didn’t wear the 1×1 patch on helmets because when we did go out with the grunts it would have made us look different and might create a target for a sniper. Our resupply LZ’s created a prime target for enemy mortar teams and artillery crews who loved to keep us awake at night. At the time, Shore Party was the only unit in the Marine Corps that you could identify the unit a Marine belonged to when wearing their utilities with the red patches…Don’t get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for 0300’s. Like every other MOS, we 1300’s just did our jobs like we were trained and expected to do.…. SEMPER FI MARINES…Bob 1381..Vietnam ‘66/’67–Hue, Thuan An, Camp Evens (Operation Chinook), Dong Ha, etc.


  • Richard F Barnes

    I became a Marine in 1958.. plt 225 nows here one for you..myself and fellow Marine..were awol
    before we reached P.I. we left Albany ny..on a train arrived nyc..bus depot..and the bus we were to
    take on next trip to P.I. was no longer running…so we went to the MP.. station at terminal..and they sent us to the Brooklyn navel yard Marine barracks…well they had there fun with us.. told us first time that they seen two recruits headed to the brig before getting to boot camp..lol./but not then/..anyway they had there fun..we swep washed and cleaned all they told us to do…and next day were put on a train for our next trip to P.I. sure did scare the hell out of us for day and a half…


  • Harry 1371

    “FIRE IN THE HOLE MURRAY,FIRE IN THE HOLE”!! Harry 1371


  • Bill 0331

    We called the Engineers “Super Grunts”. Could always depend on them for about anything. Bill 0331 Golf 2/1 69′


  • Murray Hermanson

    G. Willard, It’s another 1371 here. I know you are knowledgeable about everything Marine Corps, with your Blanket opinion, one size fits all reasoning. Just to let you Know about the UA thing, I talked to my friend it was some 60 went over the hill. Enough on that. Being you asked why grunts like 1371’s, I tell you. We gave them C-4 to heat their C-rats. We stood watch in a hole in the ground with them. When on the move if they hit booby trap, it was Eng. up and that was usually before it was Corpsman up, and after that we walked point with them. Really we were just o311’s that did demolitions. I am not sure but I think 1345’s were dozer operators. I just know, what I know and that’s all I need to know. Just to tell you G. Willard, I was an E-1 when I got out. Really my rank was just E, and they called me Mister P, I lost the v and t. The First Shirt even would call me Mister P. I sometimes think some of you were in a different Marine Corps than I was. I was there to do a job, not see who could piss the farthest. Murray 1371 Vietnam Dec66 to Aug68 back May69 to Aug69 went with 1/9, 2/9, 3/9, 2/26 and others many operations.


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