Scrounging In Vietnam

During my Tour in Vietnam there were many things that we modified to help us with our missions. I wish I could remember this Marines name, he was with Alpha Company 1st Recon. Top Barker ran “A” Co. and the sign painted was one of his works of Art. 1st Recon’s motto was “Swift, Silent, Deadly”, Top Barker added Surrounded to the motto as you can see.

read more

3rd Recon FMF Corpsman, Job Done December 1967-1968.

My Tour of Duty in part … Up to Sandbox getting shot out of the bush.
December 1967—Reconnaissance Duty 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Recon Bn. —1968.

My transformation from stateside FMF Corpsman to field ready Recon Corpsman was about to get its finishing touches.
On any Vietnam era war Map, locate Da Nang, just below the 17th parallel line, half way up the map schematic. That was my first ‘In-Country’ experience, flying into and waiting for transportation to a processing center.
14 December ’67 – “My first Cartoon effort is shown, as I apply Uncle Sam’s postage to my letter from Okinawa, Japan! Darling, today is a wet one. I am barracks bound for the total morning—not much doing. No liberty off base, so the Base Exchange, movie house and club are open to me, while waiting to be packaged up and flown to Da Nang.”
“Yes, I’m still in Okinawa and probably will be for the rest of this week. Incidentally, I am writing this letter Monday, it would be delivered in the states, which is a day later or Tuesday over here! I am scouting around the exchange for some good buys for when I return here, next year, I can make some purchases then. Please send me a cost list of items that I write in this letter. 357 magnum pistol, a 45 caliber pistol, China dishes, and crystal, price them. I will try to pick some of these items up, as well as, everyday dishes, while I’m here.” (Peanuts cartoon come to mind as I practice drawing some cartoon character.)
“Well, the whole lot of us have gotten our shots, and clothing issues. Now we are waiting to be notified of further orders—maybe three or four more days yet. Friday, December 15, 1967, I was given a loading number 90, with which I get on the plane and go “south” to (RVN). I am sending this money order from this month’s check.”
“Hm3 Smith and I have become pretty tight, while we wandered about the base. He drew an earlier flight out for ‘Nam. I will be going later, at 1800 hrs this afternoon. By Sunday, I should have an address for you sometime after my arrival and assignment. So, in the meantime ….”
The plane made some maneuvers over the sea as it made its landing pass over the airstrip. At this point, I was wondering, ‘so, when do we get issued flack jackets, helmets, and rifles?’ As the plane taxied near the terminal, I was still asking myself this question.

read more

Amtracs

About the recent event that took the the lives of Marines and Corpsman aboard the amtrac that sunk. I didn’t know who to write to with my idea so I decided to post it on Sgt. Grit because many people read the stories. I’ll make this short and sweet. I was assigned to 3rd Amtracs in Nam. I remember being on many river patrols. Anyway I also remember launching off LSTs and LSDs. The crewchief always, always made sure that a crewman was down below with the troops on board to make damn sure no one touched the escape hatches and there was always a new guy that thought about it. I know nothing about the new tracs, nothing about the training the Corps gives new amtrac crews or the grunts etc. who may have to ride inside the cargo hatch. If I was the Commandant, I would sink an Amtrac somewhere, pool, surf, etc etc and train everyone on how best to escape one of them. I’m sure there is one somewhere that is deadlined that the Corps could use for such a purpose.

read more

Boot Camp Buddies

In March of 2012 I submitted a story about my foolish act at MCRDPI rifle range back in 1958, which appeared in Sgt Grit newsletter of April 5, 2012. Surprisingly, another member of my boot camp Platoon 281 happened to see it and requested my contact info. After receiving notice from Sgt Grit I promptly and eagerly replied and days later I received an email from that Parris Island “boot camp buddy” Richard “Rich” Robbins on the west coast. We both thought it a little amazing, that after 56 years, we once youthful, 17 year old Marine recruits, now 73 and 74 year old senior (Marine) citizens, were suddenly re-connected by an electronic device called email. Needless to say, this mutually unexpected reunion has been enjoyable for both of us, engaging in nostalgic boot camp recollections and typical USMC scuttlebutt. Comparing notes we find our civilian lives and interests have many similarities, plus we both still adhere to certain Marine Corps habits, such as grabbing our shirt-sides, pulling them tightly-in backward then stuffing them into the backside of our trousers and also, aligning the edges of our shirt-front, belt buckle and zipper flap of our trousers. And don’t even think of stepping on our shined (for the most part) shoes.

read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK // UP AGAINST AN ENEMY PLATOON

Staff Sgt. Nathan Hervey
Scout sniper section leader, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines
Helmand Province, Afghanistan
May 21, 2011
Award: Bronze Star w/ Combat “V”
After establishing an overwatch position in support of an interdiction of enemy forces in the area, then-Sergeant Hervey directed his Marines to engage with precision and machine gun fires as insurgents attempted to occupy a position to ambush a Marine squad. As the engagement continued, the enemy reinforced with heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles and rocket propelled grenades. Seeing the adjacent Marines’ situation deteriorating, Sergeant Hervey began moving his snipers north, personally sweeping for explosive devices, and attempting to establish an attack by fire position as Marine reinforcements arrived. As he continued to move, enemy forces began engaging with automatic grenade launcher fire while he discovered an explosive device in his path. With the insurgents now in platoon strength, the sniper section began prosecuting multiple targets despite intense enemy fire in order to protect an isolated and exposed adjacent unit that had struck an improvised explosive device. As the enemy began reinforcing, Sergeant Hervey coordinated with his company headquarters to provide the critical guidance for multiple aerial and indirect fire strikes that destroyed the enemy’s heavy weapons and forced the insurgents’ withdrawal.

read more

Poking communist in the eye since 1971

Serving in this timeline I caught the DC military movement by hellivacopter in 1971 from LeJeune Marine Base to surround white house for about a week and went back to go to Camp Hanson Okinawa then on Pacific Fleet movement to Vietnam for Marine removal by Tricky Dicky Nixon. The commies piled up on the South Vietnamese with North Nam and in 1972 nay 140,000 to 165,000 uniform regular Chinese moved to get to Da Nang along the coast were 2nd Pacific fleet came in. In a meeting on ship we all decided to move the Navy boats into Da Nang river and clobber these communist with the big guns when they come through elephant valley, which was a communist blood bath… We used to hit the radio man and piped out his radio to the communist “We are the Marines, We are devil dogs, we are coming for you, we carry this flag so you know whom will kill you, and we bring you a helmet full of hell”. Their ranks lost 50% for their runaways… and marines made them run, run, and run… hahahaha…. and since we had a kill ratio 10 to 20 times higher than the army, they believed us…

read more

The passing of an Old Marine and the Heroism of a young one.

My Brother-in Law Edward Davis and his granddaughter died in a house fire on Saturday May 29th. Ed was an old corps Marine having served as a tanker in Vietnam. Ed never talked much about his service in Vietnam but my sister Kathy told me he had some pretty horrific dreams about it. Ed was living with his daughter Patty Ann and her Husband Fred Fredricks (also a Marine having served in Iraq and Afghanistan and currently working for the Gatlinburg TN Police Department). Ed had been living with his daughter after his wife (my sister) passed away about 5 years ago. Patty Anne and Fred had two children, Shauna (bean) their 18 year old daughter, and Joey their pre-teen son. Shauna died with her Grandfather in the fire. Fred suffered burned lungs and is currently in the intensive care unit at the burn center in Nashville TN. Fred received those injuries because after realizing his Father-In-Law and his daughter did not make it out of the burning home he went back into a house that was fully engulfed in flames to attempt to get them out. Eddie is now with Kathy in heaven. Unfortunately Patty Ann and Freddy now have to mourn their daughter who was scheduled to start college in the fall. Patty Ann also lost her younger brother to a blood infection just moths ago. Pray for Patty and Fred? They really need it.

read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK // TOOK THE GRENADE BLAST AND KEPT FIGHTING:

MARINE OF THE WEEK // TOOK THE GRENADE BLAST AND KEPT FIGHTING:

Cpl. Richard Weinmaster
2d Battalion, 7th Marines, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (Forward)
Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
July 8, 2008
Award: Navy Cross

Then-Private First Class Weinmaster’s squad was conducting a dismounted patrol down a narrow side street when enemy forces ambushed the squad with machine gun fire and hand grenades. Upon contact, Private First Class Weinmaster immediately began engaging the enemy positions with his squad automatic weapon. As he delivered suppressive fire and assaulted the enemy, encountering a withering volume of fire that passed within meters of his position, Private First Class Weinmaster saw two hand grenades tossed over a wall land in the middle of his patrol. Noting where one of the grenades landed, he quickly placed himself between the grenade and his fire team leader, using his body to shield both his team leader and several other Marines from the blast, which occurred immediately. Private first Class Weinmaster was seriously injured when the grenade detonated, but his valorous actions prevented his fire team leader from receiving any shrapnel. Although he was critically wounded, Private First Class Weinmaster continued to carry on the attack, engaging enemy forces with accurate automatic weapons fire and forcing them to break contact, until he collapsed from the gravity of his wounds. By his outstanding display of decisive action, unlimited courage in the face of extreme danger, and total dedication to duty, Private First Class Weinmaster reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

read more

Retired Marine

I served in the USMC from April 1976 through June 1997. I attended Officer Candidates School (PLC Combined) the summer of 1976. I was assigned to Delta Company, 4th Platoon and my senior drill instructor was GYSGT Wells. I remember reading the list of casualties from the Beirut bombing which killed many outstanding Americans, and unfortunately there was 1st Sergeant Wells name. I was very saddened about his death because he was a great Marine who shared many of his life experiences from Viet Nam to our platoon of officer candidates. He went above and beyond traditional Marine Corps training requirements, he shared a piece of himself with us. God Bless you 1st Sergeant Wells and Semper Fi.
Stephen Hill
Major USMC (Ret.)

read more