Regarding November 10th: Sometime in mid to late November 1967 Hotel Company returned to base at Quang Tri. We were advised an MC birthday party/thanksgiving feast was in the offing, choppers arrived overhead and supplied us with vats ham, eggs, turkey, gravy, potatoes and fresh bread. Coffee and 3 cans Falstaff bear was made available for each Marine present. Armed forces radio was piped throughout the perimeter. Ms. Noel the dj for the Armed Forces radio could say “Hi, Love” like no other female on earth. Ms. Noel had a female voice to die for. In the aftermath of the birthday feast disaster struck. Marines were up-chucking and suffering a severe case of the s****! The scene became something of a full scale “Barf-A-Rama.” We wished we had never eaten the hot food or drank the coffee provided to us. And, the Falstaff beer was far less than top shelf. To top it off the beer was luke warm. The Marine Corp birthday during 1967 in Vietnam was a total disaster.
When I received orders to Okinawa (Camp Foster) in 85 I was married at the time and had my wife with me off base at Cherry Pt. N.C. I guess I was somewhat spoiled with having someone to come home to at the end of each work day, have a meal ready, and I took “clean clothes” for granted as my wife did our laundry. Once I got to Foster I tried doing my own laundry for a couple months but soon found out that with the long work days of being deployed it left me little time to keep a decent looking uniform for each day. Gunny would, and did tell you, that a lack of time was not an excuse to look like a “dirtbag”. I soon found out about MaMaSon and my days of TRYING to keep my laundry clean and uniforms pressed were over. For a small price (I believe at the time it cost me $10 a week) I could leave my dirty laundry hanging in a laundry bag on my rack in the morning and when I would come back to the barracks each day my VERY CLEAN AND PRESSED clothes would be waiting for me on my rack!! MaMaSon made life much easier for a bunch of kids 10,000 miles away from home and kept Gunny off our back. Best $40 a month I have EVER spent!
My dad’s second tour of Vietnam was from May 1968 until June 1969. He related a few stories about his time in country when he thought about them. One story had to do with celebrating Marine Corps Birthday in 1968. He told me his unit was out in the field and he was acting field first sergeant. He got a call on the radio letting him know that bad weather was expected later that week and that they might not be able to fly out hot meals and beer for the troops in the field to celebrate. He was told they could fly out the next day (not MC Bday) with the supplies. My dad says he replied that if they were to do that, then it would just be another beer party. He said mid day on November 10th the weather broke just enough and they heard the helos inbound loaded up with hot chow and beer for a proper celebration
This past month of October 2020, was the first time in 46 years, I have set foot on Camp Lejeune since I was first assigned there in November 1974. Not only has the Main Gate changed a little but also getting on base was easier, they scanned my Retired Military ID card and waved me on! Hell I remember a time when even in uniform with ID card and Official orders, you were practically interrogated and strip searched before being allowed on base!!! And that loooong pleasant drive to Main Side, still the same, but Main Side, Good Lord! I thought I was at the Saks Fifth Ave of shopping malls! And the PX!! Top of the line merchandise but only with prices to match. I remember back in my days when everything in the PX was a good 40% less than civilian prices, but former Pres Jimmy Carter changed that! The best part, the barracks that were there when I checked in WERE THE SAME ONES!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! LOL!!! I surely those would have been torn down and replaced! Nope! I was told they were refurbished inside with private rooms, but outside, nothing changed! And those barracks were “old” in 1974!
In closing I would like to say that all the Marines I saw were the same as in my day, but I have to say, I think they are better! They all looked strac, just as sharp in uniform and carried themselves with a lot of pride and on average everyone looked fit beyond what we were!!! I usually say that the only people who say “change is good” are those who are not affected by the change, but the Marines I saw were changed for the better! Semper Fi!!!
I worked for 51 1/2 years after leaving active duty in the Marine Corps. First I worked in private industry and then in publics service. In the latter I had a boss for 7 years that wanted me to go to bed with her and I refused and she refused to give me a raise. I wound up filing a federal law suit and won after 4 1/2 years. Yes, it was a great moral victory. She was a Black lady and the reason I won was because I had two black ladies willing to testify on my behalf against her. I had a reputation for treating all my colleagues he same, with respect. The case was settled and never went to trial and for me it was a great moral victory. At one point she told me she wanted employees to tremble when I walked by and I said I didn’t want that. I told her as a sergeant in the Marine Corps I never raised my voice to my men, but led by example and always pitched in when there was work to be done. I was there on the spot for my Marines and always available to them. When there was a occasional problem with some of our guys my colonel sent me in and I never failed him. It was my honor to serve my country and nothing gave me more personal pride in my life than my enlisting in the Marine Corps. I am 82 now and I still do push-ups and sit-ups, etc and still feel the ‘Band of Brothers’ mentality today as I felt then. I carry around some American flag/Marine Corps flag lapel pins and whenever I meet a Marine, I give him one. I never saw combat and I’m no hero, but the Marine Corps did more for me than I could ever do for the Corps. God Bless all of you and our Corps. America is a stronger nation because of the Marine Corps. I also include our brothers and sisters in the other services in that thought. The picture I attached is from graduation day at Parris Island in 1960. That day is alive in my mind at given moment.
While stationed in Iwakuni Japan 84-85 I was deployed to Yetchon Korea for Team Spirit 85. I thought I had got my financials in order as I was to be gone over 2 months. In my haste I had my checks direct deposited into the wrong account. Upon returning to Japan my NCOIC informed me of said mistake and let me know how much I owed him. This great marine had put his own money into my checking account when it was brought to his attention that I had started bouncing checks. I was in a wildcat or work center made up of avionics techs and GSE techs. I cannot even remember the name it was given but we put together the vans/ pods that made up the work shops the avoinics operated out of. I know this Gunny was married to a Japanese lady and had several children. Unit might have been called van support. I worked with Tom Glenetzski, Darby, Beaker from P3 and Chris Mckee. The Gunny’s mos was 6412. Anybody with information to share would be greatly appreciated. Gunny also put me up for meritorious E4, which I made. Great Leader. Thank you. Gary Erwin Sgt 83-88
I am a retired homicide detective and now a widower at age 70. I lost my wife, the other half of my life, last year when her Mini Cooper exploded in fire killing her just down the road to our home. She was returning from a dental appointment and I was at an appointment at the VA. She was a critical care RN of 43 years. We were married for 48 years and net at age 17 just prior to my joining the Marine Corps and she beginning nursing school. I served in combat with the First Force Recon Company as a scout Sniper and overcame many a harrowing mission. I saw things as a homicide detective that no human should ever experience and my wife Jane did as well in CCU as an RN. Nothing could prepare me for my losing her in a horrible car fire but, my faith in God has seen me through each day of indescribable grief. I shall always be honored to be forever called a Marine and to have served with my brothers in arms more than 51 years ago. Keep your faith in our Lord my brothers and we shall be rewarded in the end. My wife Jane awaits me.
I enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1977, and after completing my boot camp I was promoted to Lance Corporal because I had completed my R.O.T.C training of 3 years in High School. While enlisted in the Marine Corps, What a wake up call, DI’s hitting the trash cans to wake Us up, that will make your day, then run for 5 miles before breakfast, People say how was your breakfast, I’d reply, I don’t know, I just ate it really fast, and we’re outside running again, crazy stuff, but a lot has changed in the Marine Corps, I’m now viewed as a old Marine, Time Flies, I viewed my life in a whole new way, it was do as You’re told, wearing dark green satines uniforms, the first thing, that I had to do, after I graduated was to purchase the newer version Camouflage Uniforms out of my own money. My path through the Marine Corps changed my outlook on Life, and how to properly address Someone. People think 🤔 of Me as strange, but I treat all people the same way that I would like to be treated, and it has a tremendous impact on people that I meet and become friends with. They always say, no one has ever spoken to Me like that, and I reply, if You show Respect, it will be honored by those people and They will Respect You too. I’m older, but still a Marine, little greyer & thicker, but still as mean. I believe in the value of a person not the color of their skin. Which is why, so many Marines are such a tight knit group, that Respect, goes a long way , Semper Fidelis Marines OooRah!!
Last week, Harry mentioned that he would rather talk about burning shitters than politics, and you really have to agree that it is a better subject for discussion. It reminded me of a very funny story from my first tour in Vietnam. To avoid the problem of having to contend with the daily destruction of the contents of our necessary habitat, the engineers built the shitter slightly out over the side of hill. Not far, but just enough so that things would gently roll to the bottom of the valley and be of no further concern.
No one who has served in the Corp should feel guilty for not doing enough. First YOU were accepted so you are the few, the proud and among the best of the best. You’ve been tested and you passed. You are prepared to be challenged to many employment situations that require lesser skills in which you can exceed against those who haven’t been tested. After the Corp I returned to the classroom, accepted various jobs, got experience and eventually became a Stock broker and the Investment Banker. Straight commission jobs but I exceeded and was able to retire early and wealthy. Now I write books, give seminars and accept new challenges. I am now 80 and perfectly healthy and working full time at new jobs I enjoy. I must keep working in order to stay healthy. I will always be a L/Cpl 2511 as my base. From there I discovered I could do anything I wanted and make millions, have 5 wonderful educated children and always put a Marine decal on the back windows of my cars. Semper Fi / Chuck Salisbury E-3 evolved