Private John Drugan and his war dog during the Battle of Okinawa, Japan, May 1945.
In my Marine Corps I almost always had good Chow. Now here’s the facts, There’s Officers Mess, Staff NCO Mess, NCO Mess, and the Mess Hall where we went to eat CHOW, call it what you want, it was Chow. I have to admit I grew up during the Depression and my Mother couldn’t afford great lunches, but going into the Corps didn’t enlightened my life by finally getting better food.
One of the benefits of being old and retired is that you can take trips and see new things anytime you want to. The wife and I took a day trip across the valley to go see the new Harley Davidson dealer in Scottsdale. When we walked in the door, there were five motorcycles on display which were representative of the five branches of U.S. armed services.
MARINE OF THE WEEK:
Sgt. Clifford M. Wooldridge
3rd Battalion, 7th Marines
Helmand, Afghanistan, June 18, 2010
Award: Navy Cross
While deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province, then-Cpl.
Wooldridge’s mounted patrol came under intense enemy fire. Cpl.
Wooldridge and his squad dismounted and maneuvered on the suspected enemy location. Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Cpl. Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and
forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his
fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall.
Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy
fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad
Automatic Weapon. As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he
saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall.
Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun. His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Sarah Anderson)
Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, a critical skills operator from Simi Valley, Calif., and Capt. Moises A. Navas, a special operations officer from Germantown, Md., suffered fatal wounds while accompanying Iraqi Security Forces during a mission to eliminate an ISIS stronghold in a mountainous area of north central Iraq.
Both were 34 years old and assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.
I remember very well the first day at boot camp, zero dark thirty meeting my new sisters. I also remember not being able to pee for hours and everyone being so mad at me and so tired. When I did pee I was up peeing all night. (not my proudest moment). After I got used to being yelled at, making my bed a certain way and showering with my hole barracks, it was ok. I even went on to Officer Candidate School after I graduated from college. The things I remember most was chow time, cleaning my gun and writing home and uniform inspection the good old days I wouldn’t change it for the world, even though I suck at lad nav. semper fi 1st Lt Waller
The piece on Iwo Jima intrigued me for I have an unusual take on it. My father, who was born on February 23rd, 1923, enlisted days after Pearl Harbor in the Air Corps. The middle of three boys he went on to service in the 8th Air Force in one of the first B-17 Groups to arrive in England. An aunt, who had moved to California in the early 1930’s for health reason, married an honest to goodness ‘China Marine,’ who as a young man had served with 2/5 at Belleau Wood. The older brother, who had married early in 1941 enlisted in the Corps and with his mechanical background was assigned to training with the newly organized Amphibious Tractor Command at New Bern, NC. The youngest brother left high school after his third year in 1944 and joined the Navy.
How the ‘Flag Raising’ photo brings these diverse facts together is this. My godfather, the Marine uncle, brought 4th Division Marines ashore at Iwo Jima in the second wave. He witnessed the flag raising on my father’s birthday while on the beach when hundreds of offshore ship whistles brought it to everyones attention. He later told me that that actually overwhelmed the noise of battle. He had helped develop amphibious tactics at Cape Glouchester with the 3rd Division and battled with the 4th Division in the Saipan-Tinian campaign and again at Iwo Jima. He served with the 5th Amphibious Tractor Battalion and survived the war.
The youngest brother had been assigned to a newly commissioned destroyer and was earning its first battle star in the Iwo Jima invasion. His ship was among those who closed with Suribachi sending much needed firepower into its slopes covering the attacking Marines and those on the beaches. The brothers were unaware of their connection to Iwo Jima till after war’s end. Their sister told me years later that they all had a good laugh when they realized the connection. She told me my father asked his brother if he thought of him on my father’s birthday and his reply was, “No, I was kinda busy,”
This uncle remained in the Navy and served for thirty-years retiring as a Warrant Officer. His ship earned its second battle-star off Okinawa and was part of the fleet in Tokyo Bay at the surrender. He sailed off to the Korean War and took part in covering 2/5 at Wo Mi Do island at Inchon. He took part in two fleet ’round the world’ cruises, the Cuban Blockade and Admiral McCain’s 7th Fleet at Yankee Station.
Following my high school graduation and knowing college was out of my reach and the draft looming in my future I decided to enlist in the Corps. I was sent to RVN and assigned to 2/5 covering in the Chu Lai and Chu Mi areas and later with 1st MarDiv Hdqtrs. near Da Nang.
My Marine uncle’s grandson enlisted, too, and served with the 1st Marine Division in Desert Storm taking part in both the feigned beach assault and the famous holding action of the Army’s ‘Swinging Gate’ strategy. At family get-togethers he, our Navy uncle and I swapped stories about battleship gunfire with our experiences of those historic ships, off Pacific Islands, Vietnam and Kuwait.
One photograph and its connecting the Corps over four generations. Carry on…
MOS 0311, 0321,0331,0341 , 0351, 8541 (now o317) Scout Sniper in Viet Nam 1967-69. Member of the Pocahontas County Honor CorpsWe use M-1 Gerands manufactured in 19 ( performing final military rites for Honorably discharged Veterans upon family request ). The Honor Corps was established 28 years ago to provide this service because we are so rural various military units were not available . We use M-1 Gerands made in 1939 for the three volley salute . But we also have two Springfield 03 rifles painted white for ceremonial purposes & they flank the American Flag in all of our formations & functions .
Respectfully Submitted in their Honor,
John S. Lamb
“Gonna run all day ’till the running’s done!”
Comment below your Favorite Cadence or your most heard one.
Marine Corps Trials 2020 began here today with a cheerful opening ceremony.
Honoring each country and team—Canada, Columbia, France, Georgia, Italy, United Kingdom, Wounded Warrior Battalion-East and Wounded Warrior Battalion-West—and their participants as they were introduced to the crowd that gathered at the event.