The first day, It was November 18 1982 M C R D San Diego, Platoon 1114 Delta Company. I remember it very well. One minute the drill Sargent was a nice fellow the next he was mad and we were not getting off the bus fast enough. I thought what have I gotten myself in to, 13 weeks with this guy ?. Simpher Fi!.
What I remember there were 5 of us coming from Pittsburgh Pa. We stopped somewhere waiting for the bus to take us to PI and got drunk on our asses. The guy that was in charge of us was going crazy about us drinking. But we all paid for it for 2 days when we got to PI. At least I know I did. We were not ready for the reception we go. It was like going into the TWILIGHT ZONE.
I will never forget the first words I heard when I first arrived at MCRD. We arrived from the airport about 10:00 p.m. (military time was not the standard for a few more minutes). It was dark, we had tinted windows, and the building stood out like a brightly lit island in the void. We pulled to a stop, and a Marine stepped on. We had all lost the power of speech when we passed the gate, so it was complete silence for a heartbeat. Then came The Word.
A recent news story regarding a Fake Army Nurse( Vietnam and Iraq Wars) that stole a seat on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. gave some one the idea to start a Dishonor Flight but there are certain criteria :
1) Must possess a forged or blurred ,in the proper spaces, DD-214 or claim that your records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at the NPRC. Note: a certified copy will not be accepted .
2)Must wear a leather vest with as many pins and,or patches that you can fit.
3)If you are wearing a ribbon stack or any medals they must be arranged out of order and any combat medals can not be DOD engraved.
4) Must have the proper Combat Veterans hat with the war of choice,even if you were to young or old at the time of conflict.
5) Must be able to tell at least one war story that can not be verified or that you were the lone survivor. Better if you were captured and escaped
6) If you require a service animal you must have the proper fake papers to be seated in first class
You can contact Juan A Bee at the dishonor flight HQ.
Back in 1973 I was just 17 years old and talked my mother into letting me sign up. Bus ride to St. Louis, 707 to San Diego. Truck ride to MCRD. Yellow foot prints.
The Corps gave me nothing, I was issued the essentials. I think they charged for replacements.
About two weeks into Boot Camp I was cleaning my M14 on the Company street when an Officer stopped and asked me a question.
Coming to attention I answered his question. An hour later I was shipped to te north side Depot Casual because he didn’t like my answer.
His question? “How do you like it here, Private?”
My answer, “Sir: I could take it or leave it, Sir!”
Spent too much time watching John Wayne. I didn’t know our Platoon 286, Company F was way over recruits.
A talk with an officer and then they said “Sign here,
I was there when JFK was shoot. The Sgt, said “A Marine did it.” Then he said it took him three shots.
A few days later I was on a train home.
Found out a year or two later I could have refused to sign and just gone to another Platoon.
Several years later I was in a match at Camp Lincoln at Springfield, IL. There was a Marine Sgt, at the line next to me. He was shooting an accurized M14 and I had my Remington 40XB 7.62×51 bolt gun. [ Very similar to the issue USMC sniper rifle. Very similar to the M40 ]
I have a left master eye so I was shooting left handed, Standing there we were facing each other. I fired my 10 rounds, including a reload faster than the Sgt.. He was so interested in watching me reach over the rear sight and work the bolt with from the left shoulder he forgot to fire his tenth shot. I beat him on time, and score.
I shouldn’t have signed
While surfing Marine sites on the web I came across this picture of Marines from Co. C, 3rd Shore Party Bn. taken in Okinawa in 1971. I served with Co. A, 3rd Shore Party at Dong Ha, among other locations in Vietnam 1966/1967. When I left Okinawa in August, 1967, Co. C and Co. A were side by side in the same area.
Note the rolls of beach matting on top of a 5-ton truck. They appear to be made of a type of composite fiberglass material. Before the fiberglass matting was used Shore Party used a “chain link” type matting that folded and fit into the back of a 5-ton truck accordion style. The truck was equipped with a frame that came over the cab and down in front of the front bumper. When landing on a sandy beach enough of the matting was pulled down over the frame to allow the front wheel to roll onto the matting. When the truck was driven across the beach it laid down the matting to create a makeshift roadway for other vehicles to drive across without making ruts or getting bogged down in the sand.
Now for my interest in the picture. When I came back from Vietnam in the summer of 1967, I was assigned to Co. C, 2nd Shore Party Bn at Camp Lejeune, NC. One morning I was called to the Company Office and told that we had a section of a fiberglass type beach matting that the Marine Corps wanted to test because they were considering replacing the older close woven chain link type matting. Another Marine and I hauled the test section, approximately 20 to 30 feet long and a little wider than a 6X, out to Onslow Beach. We were directed to lay the beach matting on the sandy beach and drive over it for the rest of the day and record how many passed we made. For an entire day, I drove the 6X back and forth over the matting while the other Marine recorded each pass we made. I treated it pretty ruff, slamming on the brake several times while on the matting. I would drive across it, make a tight circle and drive back across it. I don’t remember how many passes we made but we were out there all day running back and forth over the beach matting.
At the end of the day we took the matting back to the 2nd Shore Party Bn office along with the report of how many passes were made across it. I never did know what the results of the test were or what the decision was made until I ran across this picture. So, I take it from the picture that the fiberglass beach matting was procured to replace the heavy cumbersome metal matting.
Cpl Bob Mauney (1381)
The members of the military community volunteered for the cleanup hosted by the Camp Foster Single Marine Program on Aug. 31.
“Anybody who wants to volunteer can, so we can give back to the community,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael Sautter, an SMP Representative for Marine Wing Communication Squadron 18.
I remember one JOB in particular. It was in the wooden Barracks at MCAS El Toro Santa Ana. This was in 1969, it seems as though you were either coming from, or going to RVN. There were many old salts waiting to go home. Some of which had only a pair of utilities, and a new set of greens, receiving early outs to go home for Christmas. The majority were coming from 3rd Marine Division. PFC Kenneth Rexford Brown, formerly Sgt. Brown showed me how to pull your blankets tighter from underneath the rack, by using the springs. Of course we learned that in recruit training but KR had a trick that made the blanket tighter still and even remained that way. I believe KR got out and went to WalaWala Washington. I remember that many of the Marines were “cut a huss” for not having the proper uniforms. I can remember the inspecting Colonel coming closer and approaching a Marine that was obviously not prepared for inspection. He would ask where are coming from Marine? The Marine would reply something almost incoherent, and definitely a different language. The Colonel only said “well done Marine” and continued his inspection. That was definitely one of those days when I knew I had been in the presence of heroes. That evening we celebrated by putting a poncho liner inside a footlocker filling that with ice and beer, and listening to Johnny Cash and Luther played the boogy woogy. The party was great until the OD made us take our shindig outside the barracks. After paying for the beer, ice, and a battery operated record player the only record we could afford was albums on sale in the PX. Johnny sold for .99 and a pack of Camels for .27 cents. I remember Friday morning formation, when Captain Wade, Mustanger and one of the greatest Marines to put on a uniform would read off the names of Marines shipping out WESPAK. I remember Sgt Joe Dunlap our Platoon Sgt. in El Toro. I saw him again in Hawaii as GySgt Dunlap and I was a SSGT. We were mounting up for Operation Frequent Wind. I remember being “gigged” while on embassy duty in Chile for having dust on my wall locker display. Even with that “gig” we won the detachment of the year award. 3 Years Running. I mean RUNNING our NCOIC SSGT Turnbow had been a Physical Fitness Instructor prior to coming on MSG. That guy made us run like Forrest Gump. Like Forrest, my running days are over. Our memories and Junk on the Bunk are what make us ALWAYS A MARINE. Semper Fi D. Womack
We called it “The Rock” and counted the days when we would rotate back to the land of the big PX. Hawaii wasn’t exactly the paradise we expected. The Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe is on a peninsula that forms Kaneohe Bay, with the Pali mountains as a backdrop. The Air Wing enlisted barracks was a group of two story, flat-roofed, stucco buildings with open squad bays that were connected by breezeways. The 212 barracks had the MPs on one side and the helo boys from HMM-161 on the other. Next to the 161 barracks was the mess hall. I arrived with a group of replacements for the guys whose two year tour was over. The barracks had an upper and lower open squadbay arranged in cubicles marked off by green metal wall lockers, and a central corridor. Each cubicle had six single bunks (or racks), as I recall. Each rack had a mosquito net which was a necessity on that side of the island, called the “Windward Side”. The mosquito nets were needed because of the mosquitos that were bred in the swamps between the base and the mainland. Those bugs were huge. One night, I forgot to put my net down. About 0300 I felt a thump on my chest. Looking down, I saw a Kaneohe mosquito turning over my dog tag to check my blood type. Not only were they huge, they were picky eaters.
Comment on Amphibious Landing Problems.
Ken Schweim’s comments on going down the nets for an amphibious landing are pretty much the way I remember it. It looked easy in the movies, but very tricky in rough seas. I am surprised more Marines did not get hurt just getting off the ship. But those who suffered from sea sickness did not care… they just wanted to get off the ship and on dry land. I will also add that going from the landing craft to board ship was just as bad. Grab the net when the landing craft was high… then before you could get your feet in the net you were dangling in the air. Grab the net when it was low… the net is bunched at your feet. Climbing up the net with all your gear was a bit harder than going down.