Photo attached of JFK watching the Pugil Stick training. My memory of this training goes all the way back to January 1957 when the sticks were in their beginning and had no padding whatever, just each end duck taped with a pad. As for we trainees all we had was a football helmet and no face guard also boxing gloves. No other body or groin protection. We just formed a circle and the DI would insert one, two or sometime three against one however his mood at the time.
I served proudly with First RECON Battalion – First Marine Division during the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. I was an young NCO Scout Sniper with RECON Team Rio Grande, Echo Company. We spent time on Hill 200 defending this radio relay station and setting up for patrols into the active valleys below.
One of our toughest missions was locating and destroying incoming mortar and NVA artillery positions surrounding Marine Corps Base Khe Sanh. RECON Marines were Wanted Dead or Alive as the yellow NVA poster reads.
The attached photos depict just a brief moment in a young RECON Marine’s Life…
In the fall of 1976 I was assigned to Bravo Company 1st Battalion 8th Marines. We were on a three month NATO training cruise to Norway, Denmark and Germany. When we made our first landing in Norway the ride to the beach in the amtracs was pretty rough. One of the corporals in our tractor was having a particularly difficult time and began to “lose his lunch”. He did what we were trained to do and removed the helmet liner from the steel pot and threw up in the pot. When we pulled onto the beach the rear ramp was lowered and we ran off. As the corporal, with the helmet full of spew, ran off he proceeded to throw it out. Unfortunately there was a photographer in the “line of fire” and he took a direct hit. We ran around the front of the tractor to the beach head where we hit the deck to await further instructions. Suddenly there was the sound of applause coming from our right. I looked over to see bleachers filled with spectators. I learned later that there were various dignitaries from NATO, Norway (including the Norwegian king) and other European countries present. While we were waiting to move out I saw the “lunchless” corporal nearby. He had placed the liner back inside the helmet and put the helmet on his head. The remaining vomitus was steadily dripping from the edge of the helmet. A NATO official, who was monitoring the landing, walked by, looked at the corporal and walked away shaking his head and smiling.
Several years ago I was asked to render the first salute to a 2nd lieutenant graduating from Army ROTC, University of Dayton, Ohio. As we were waiting the commissioning of other ROTC cadets, I decided to add some life to the ceremony. After my young 2nd lieutenant took the oath of office, I walked onto the stage, hand salute (my best), and in a very loud command voice said “SIR, Gunnery Sergeant Pederson, retired, reporting as ordered, SIR!” After the ceremony, an Army one star general (Ohio National Guard) said to me, “It was the best First Salute he has ever seen.”
In 1968 I was laying in a hospital unit..like a MASH unit..my left arm..leg and right arm were all wrapped in dressings..I had an IV hooked up…that night about 2 am we heard incoming mortar rounds coming in…two of the nurses came rushing in…one was wearing a helmet..flak jacket over a cowboys football jersey..and boots..she was only wearing pink panties and she had a m-16 with a full mag slung over her shoulder…the other nurse was dressed almost the same except she had mens green boxer shorts on…they both loaded me onto a stretcher and took me to a bunker and then stood guard holding their rifles at the ready…the nurses pulled out cigarettes and joked a little..this lasted about 2 hours…then a whistle went off that the coast was clear. The next day I was choppered to another unit…I never knew the names of those two nurses but out of all the memories of Vietnam in 1968…that is what I think about the most…they were both young like me…did they go back home..got married..had children..are they grandmother’s today…wish I could hug them and thank them.
I spent 18 months in the Marshall Islands on a security job, which included six months on Roi-Namur in 2018. I walked the battlefields there many times; it has a tour with signs that describe the invasion. I’ve also studied the Marshalls campaign and I operate a facebook group called “Marshall Islands: 4th Marine Div Roi-Namur & 7th Infantry Div Kwajalein.” This story basically matches my understanding of that incident, although I’d never heard or read that someone tried to warn the Marine who tossed the satchel charge inside. Regardless, it caused the highest casualties of the battle.
We were on the USS Okinawa LPH3 in 69 along with 2/26 (I think) floating up and down from the DMZ to Chu Li looking for trouble. We were using the old UH 34Ds to transport the grunts. After flight quarters were secured and after dark abuddy and myself would go up on the flight deck and swing our legs off the rear of the deck,sit and solve all the worlds problems. Right under us was fan tail and after dark the “dobbie” brothers would congregate there and do a few “Dr Feelgoods” and converse on an intellectual level. Now there was a door to enter/exit so EVERY time the door opened why a person had never seen so many fireflys flying off the fantail.The aroma would float up to us to the point we had to move (second hand “doobie”) …..Skip and I would laugh seeing all that good weed flying away and the cost. Full disclosure: Never smoked it period!…My drug of choise was alcohol.
I was sent to Army Ranger School in the summer of 1980 when I was a Second Lieutenant. While we had about 10 Marine enlisted in the class, I was the only Marine officer. During the 2 1/2 week-long second phase of training, we were in the mountains of north Georgia near Dahlonega and were flown to and from our missions by a squadron of Marine helos. While at Ranger School, it was common for the helo and c-130 crews to give the students some gedunk while in the air as absolutely nothing other than the issued daily c-ration was otherwise allowed.
When not in the field, we ate at the chow hall, and before each meal were required to do pull-ups. Being the only Marine in my squad ( we removed all rank during the training) I, of course, was very loud when counting off my pull-ups – ‘Marine Corps’, ole Dan Daly’, ‘Semper Fi’ and one more for ‘Chesty !’. We had no liberty, ate one c-rat a day while on our multi-day patrols and were always rushed through the chow hall when not in the field.
We lived in hard-sided squad tents, when not in the field, and the pilots and crew chiefs were billeted across a field in another area. After lights out one night, I stayed in the shadows and made my way to the tents where the crew chiefs were staying, told them I was a Marine Lieutenant, and asked them to get me a few 6-packs of beer to share with my squadmates. A Marine Sergeant quickly said sure, made his way to the Camp club, and came back with the 2 six-packs. He didn’t want anything in return- Semper Fi!
A few minutes later, I re-entered our squad tent, held up the 6-packs to 11 wide-eyed Army soldiers. Of course, everyone grabbed for a beer but I told them that first, they had to agree to do pull-ups for the Marine Corps in the morning. After a slight delay, all agreed!
In the morning, before chow, we lined up at the bars while our instructors were milling around. I saw some hesitation and gave them each a look and to my surprise, each of the soldiers from the 75th Rangers, 82nd, and 101st Airborne jumped on the pull-up bars and cranked out pull-ups for the Marine Corps!
I was ecstatic, while the instructors screamed in disbelief at my squadmates! I don’t think anyone gave up the reason for doing pull-ups for the Corps – it’s amazing what beer can do!
I graduated in early June 1966 from MCRD, I believe it was the first week. I am now 74 years old and have wanted to thank my Drill Instructors for fifty years. We were the honor platoon 3006. I know some are not with us, however sitting with Chesty they may forgive me.
Lt/Col. P. H. Simpson, S/Maj. R. C. Brown, Capt. M. Horowitz, 1st/Lt. Vukojevich, G/Sgt. Barbee, who was a hard ass Marine, and I mean hard. S/Sgt. B. W. Rayner, Sgt. J. W. Chase. He was extremely statistical, in mentors way. Last but not least was Sgt. E. F. Saar. He was one proud Marine because this was his first platoon as D/I and we were the Honor Platoon.
One TURD was Pfc. S. S. Wade, M/Gen Sidney S. Wade’s son who came to our graduation. Pfc. was killed in the Nam. I don’t know that to be true though. Major General Bruno Hochmuth, one fine day as we were drilling on Hall field was ditty bopping (Generals do not ditty bop, I just through that in) across and stop Sgt. Chase and Sgt. Saar he ask if he could drill us. The looks on their face’s was astonishing. They were so proud they could hardly contain themselves. He drilled us for about five minutes and complimented us all. “Did you people see that?” one Drill Instructor said. Me, I scared to death. However we had an easy day after that. General Hochmuth was killed in the Nam while I was there. The day I heard that I was heart broken. That night we had our perimeter hit and I was extremely violent. I took my anger out on the NVA that night.
Thank you all for making me a Marine, and the person I am today. Your training and guidance has sustained me through my whole life. I walked among men. Thank you again.
I would also like to thank Lt/Jg. S. Magrath and Lt/Jg. Houdeck two nurses on The U. S. S
also. I can not remember his name though. What character he was.
So again thank you all.
Wm. Roesch Kishpaugh 2216837
Had a recruit who couldn’t/wouldn’t keep his rifle rust free even after several admonishments from the DIs. He was called out during morning formation and while standing at at ease told to strip his M1 down to the 3 main groups. Then take it down to the bare essentials. Instructed to dig a hole 5ft long x 2ft wide x 3 ft deep. He placed 3 or 4 pieces on the bottom covered with sand and water did ths till there was no more parts or sand. Took a fire bucket filled it with water and poured over the area. I mean he put so much water on the area the water was flowing off. The DI told him at 2000 he was going to dig up his rifle find EVERY piece, have it cleaned for morning inspection if one speck of rust is observed he was going to be courts martialed I mean they were up in his face(they were mad!). During the day after everything dried the DIs raked up the whole area so he wouldn’t be able to tell exactly where it was buried.He was up most of the night. His rifle passed inspection and HE NEVER had a dirty/rust rifle again in boot camp