Short Stories From Heterich

Short Stories from Heterich

Herterich’s Autobiography

Joined A-Tks in 1952. After a short tour at ‘8th & V Joined 2nd Tks in late ’53’ just as they were receiving the new ‘M-48’. Over the next three years served in ‘A’ & ‘B’ ending with ‘Flames’. On my fitness report I asked for ‘Panama’, everyone said ‘You will never get it’, I did the next three years at Mar.Bks. 15th Naval District [Panama]. While in ‘Panama’ I put ‘1st Mar.Div.’ on my fitness report, againyou will never get it. ‘Everyone goes to camp lejeune’, when the orders came ——1st Tank Bn.. Three yearsthe first half with ‘Flames’, the second half with ‘H&S Co. Property [Supply]’ in the ‘Butler Bldg.’ above the ‘C.P.’. A year with ‘3rd Tanks’Flames. Back to ‘Camp Pendleton’ with ‘School Bn.’ on the ‘Ramp’ in the ‘Tool Room’. Against my wishesThree years Recruiting in Philadelphia. The next set of orders put me in ‘VN’SIXTY-SEVEN DAYS OVER AND BACK. The left eye ended up in the South China Sea, the Navy was kind enough to replace it with one with a beautiful MARINE CORPS EMBLEM. The new eye on occasion has raised some eyebrows. After the Hospital, back to School Bn.Tank School #407 & Machine Ranges. On one occasion during a ‘IG’ a Colonel inspecting [troops in ranks], stopped in front of me. Took one look at the ‘eye’, and that was the end of his inspecting the troops. Why he left I do not know! Retired ‘Not Fit for Duty in My Rank with 40% disability.

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Marine Corps Humor: USMC vs. USN

Gunfights USMC V. USN
Recommended by: MSgt J. R. Cook, Ret.

USMC Rules for Gun fighting:

  1. Bring a gun. Preferably two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
  2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
  3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
  4. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
  5. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
  6. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
  7. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
  8. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.”
  9. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
  10. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
  11. Have a plan.
  12. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.
  13. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
  14. Flank your adversary when possible and always protect yours.
  15. Never drop your guard.
  16. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
  17. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust…everyone else keep your hands where I can see them).
  18. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH…hesitation kills.
  19. The faster you finish the fight, the less injured you will get.
  20. Be polite. Be professional. And have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
  21. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
  22. Your number one option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
  23. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun the caliber of which does not start with a “4.”

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Marine Corps Anecdotes You Should Never Forget

Never Forget…
Submitted by: Glen F. “Smoke” Burgess, Col. USMC (Ret)

  1. Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea.
  2. Helicopters are cool!
  3. It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented. It’s just what they do.
  4. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.
  5. The engine RPM, and the rotor RPM, must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew.
  6. A billfold in your hip pocket can numb your leg and be a real pain in the ass.
  7. Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover you.
  8. Letters from home are not always great.
  9. The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please have exact change.
  10. Share everything. Even the Pound Cake.
  11. Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom be in your best interest.
  12. The terms “Protective Armor” and “Helicopter” are mutually exclusive.
  13. The further away you are from your friends, the less likely it is that they can help you when you really need them the most.
  14. Sometimes, being good and lucky still was not enough. There is always payback.
  15. “Chicken Plates” are not something you order in a restaurant.
  16. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you’re about to be surprised.
  17. The BSR (Bang Stare Read) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges.
  18. The longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it takes them to move from green to red.
  19. It does too get cold in Vietnam.
  20. No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So too can the ones addressed “To Whom It May Concern”.
  21. Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law.
  22. If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.
  23. If you are wearing body armor, the incoming will probably miss that part.
  24. It hurts less to die with a uniform on than to die in a hospital bed.
  25. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.
  26. If something hasn’t broken on your helicopter, it’s about to.
  27. Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Visit the head when you can. The next opportunity may not come around for a long time. If ever.
  28. Combat pay is a flawed concept.
  29. Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.
  30. Air superiority is NOT a luxury.
  31. If you are allergic to lead it is best to avoid a war zone.
  32. It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.
  33. Nothing is as useless as altitude above you and runway behind you.
  34. While the rest of the crew may be in the same predicament, it’s almost always the pilot’s job to arrive at the crash site first.
  35. When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance you get.
  36. Loud sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.
  37. Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations, which, in turn is better than cold C-rations, which is better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold rice balls (given to you by guards) even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them.
  38. WHAT is often more important than WHY.
  39. Boxes of cookies from home must be shared.
  40. Girlfriends are fair game. Wives are not.
  41. Everybody’s a hero on the ground in the club after the fourth drink.
  42. There is no such thing as a small firefight.
  43. A free-fire zone has nothing to do with economics.
  44. The farther you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become.
  45. Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.
  46. The only medal you really want to be awarded is the Longevity Medal.
  47. Being shot hurts.
  48. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
  49. Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.
  50. Nomex is NOT fire proof.
  51. There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get to make up the Rules.
  52. Living and dying can both hurt a lot.
  53. While a Super Bomb could be considered one of the four essential building blocks of life, powdered eggs cannot.
  54. C-4 can make a dull day fun.
  55. Cocoa Powder is neither.
  56. There is no such thing as a fair fight, only ones where you win or lose.
  57. If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don’t care.
  58. Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you are doing NOW to solve our problem.
  59. If you have extra, share it quickly.
  60. Always make sure someone has a P-38.
  61. A sucking chest wound may be God’s way of telling you it’s time to go home.
  62. Prayer may not help . . . but it can’t hurt.
  63. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac, even if this is technically a form of flying.
  64. If everyone does not come home none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either.
  65. Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.
  66. A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is unfortunate that many helicopters never had the opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in life simply because someone forgot this fact.
  67. “You have the right to remain silent” is always EXCELLENT advice.

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Marine Fishing on Guard Duty?

Submitted by Cpl. Bill Hart, USMC.
ANGLICO, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Mar. Div., 1953-56

This does not begin with ‘This is no shit…’ so it’s not a sea-story, it happened.

In late February 1954 I was a young Marine on my first deployment and aboard USS Olmsted, APA 188. We’d tied up for 4 days in San Juan, PR, before continuing to Vieques for a couple of months of living in squad tents, field problems, live-fire exercises and liberty in picturesque Isabela Segunda. On our first day in port I caught guard duty. It was my 18th birthday and my 365th day in the Corps. The post that I was assigned to, from 2000 to 2400, was the fantail of the ship and I was wearing typical guard uniform; utilities, steel helmet, cartridge belt with attached bayonet and my M-1 rifle. Most of the Marines and ship’s company, except for watch-standers, had gone ashore on liberty, so it was a quiet night on deck. The only other person I’d seen aboard was a guy fishing about 20 feet or so away. I’d been on watch for a little over an hour when the guy walked over to me.

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Murphy’s Laws of Combat

Murphy’s Laws of Combat
Recommended by: Jim Cook

  • Recoiless rifles…aren’t.
  • Suppressive fire…..won’t.
  • Friendly fire…..isn’t.
  • Automatic weapons….aren’t.
  • Incoming fire has right-of-way.
  • If the enemy is in range, so are you.
  • When in doubt, empty the magazine.
  • A sucking chest wound is nature’s way of telling you it’s time to slow down.
  • Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you.
  • Anything you do can get you shot…including doing nothing.
  • Make it tough enough for the enemy to get in and you won’t be able to get out.
  • Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  • Professionals are predictable, amateurs are dangerous.
  • The easy way is always mined.
  • Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.
  • No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
  • If you’re short of everything but the enemy, you’re in a combat zone.
  • If your attack is going really well, it’s an ambush.
  • No combat-ready unit ever passed inspection.
  • No inspection-ready unit ever passed combat.
  • Communications will always fail the moment you need air or artillery support.
  • If it’s stupid but works, it isn’t stupid.
  • You are not Superman. (Freshly graduated recruits from Marine boot camp and all fighter pilots, especially, take note.)
  • Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  • When both sides are convinced that they are about to lose; they are both right.
  • Don’t look conspicuous, it draws fire (This is why aircraft carriers are called bomb magnets.
  • All five-second grenade fuses will brun down in three seconds.
  • If you are forward of your position, the artillery will fall short
  • The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
  • The important things are always simple
  • The simple things are always hard
  • When you have secured an area, don’t forget to tell the enemy.
  • If the enemy are in range, SO ARE YOU.
  • Beer math is: Two beers times 37 men equal 49 cases.
  • Body count math is: Two guerrillas plus one portable plus two pigs equal 37 enemy KIA
  • Things that must be together to work, usually can’t be shipped together.
  • Tracers work BOTH ways.
  • The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  • If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share of objectives to take
  • Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs
  • Murphy was a grunt.

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