Parachute Rigger

I've been asked what this WW2 sleeve patch represents. It would seem to designate a Parachute Rigger. There were other such patches worn on the lower sleeve until about 12/31/47 (same time we lost Division Patches). For example, crossed Signal Flags for telephone wireman and 'Lightning' sparks for radioman. Can anyone confirm?

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Three months…12 weeks

29 April, 1983. Thirty years ago today, my life forever changed. I heard the words that I had spent the last three months striving towards. Three months…12 weeks.

I spent that time learning about people I didn’t know had ever existed. Guys like Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, Dan Daley, Carlos Hathcock, and Manila John Basilone who actually bears a great resemblance to Dean Martin.

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Upper Berth

Sgt. Grunt,

When I went on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC, out of Jacksonville, Florida. (All in one day). I could not resist having my picture taken at our USMC Memorial Statue (since I am an IWO JIMA survivor) and paying tribute with a salute. I also have a miniature of said statue on a shelf above my desk at home. Once a Marine, always a Marine. On another subject which has taken up space in your newsletter lately is my being sent to USMCRD San Diego, despite the fact that I enlisted in New York City which of course is definitely east of the Mississippi.

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Iwo Jima


First off, I want to thank you for all you do for all of us Marines. I appreciate every newsletter and catalog I get from you. Even my wife enjoys them!

I received an email from my co-worker whose uncle was at Iwo Jima and took a picture of the famous moment when the flag was raised with his own camera. He attached a copy of the photo and supplied some details to go with it. I attached his email (below) and the photo. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Heroes of Guadalcanal

Sgt. Grit,   In my 86th Year,  I sometimes let my mind wander back to the days when I first met the Heroes of Guadalcanal, they were still heroes then. Every Marine admired those that went first, who were left on the island with not enough food or medical supplies. They were commanded by the best of the best, finally beating an enemy, though the Secretary of War and the Chiefs of Staff had all but written them off. Admiral Turner had withdrawn all his ships regardless of the fact that all supplies had not been off loaded. The Marines landed with less than a 30 day's supply though 90 days was suppose to be the norm. They fought with 1903 rifles and World War I ammunition. There were great Medal of Honor recipients that came out of that battle with names that are still  recognized, but many do not really know who or why. Mitchell, Basilone, Bailey, Bauer, Casamento, Edson, Foss. There were Marine heroes that the names are hardly recognized, like LtCol. Frank Goetige, Barney Ross, Charles Arndt, Frank Few and Joseph Spaulding.   Of course we all remember Chesty Puller whose Commander was Alexander Vandergrift who become the Commandant of the Marine Corps and is maybe one of the reasons the Marine Corps was saved by his, "On bended Knee" speech to Congress.   I remember old Marines talking about Chesty Puller, about him diving in a bomb shelter when a shell landed nearby and nearly burying him, and his cussing when he pulled himself out about how any Marine that violated fire discipline on the Canal, would be put in the listening post which was outside the wire.   Marines write in about Marines they met that fought at Iwo Jima, but none about the first that fought at Guadalcanal. I have a small box that was given to me by a friend who returned to Guadalcanal and scooped a small box of sand from the beach. It is my box of Sacred Soil. I also have a box of sand from Iwo Jima that is sacred too. One of the greatest times in my life was when I went to the 200th Birthday Celebration at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. There on the stage was at least 10 Medal of Honor recipients. The thrill was because each was wearing his Medal. I served under eight Commandants of the Marine Corps, I think that Gen. Thomas Holcomb and Gen. Alex Vandergrift were by far the greatest of them all. I knew PX Kelly when he was a Captain. I fixed the pistol he was going to shoot in the Marine Corps matches. I recently saw a drawing by a Marine Illustrator of a Marine coming out of Fallujah. It reminded me so much of the drawing of a Marine coming  out of Guadalcanal entitled "Too Many, Too Close, Too Long" drawn by Donald L. Dickson. Here's copies of both pictures.   GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,  USMC Retired

Oldest Living Woman Marine

Sgt Grit,   This is a photo of Bernice Roberts of Mt. Dora, FL, in her Service "A" Uniform. She was born on Dec. 4th, 1908. She is the oldest living Woman Marine at the age of 104. I will be visiting her on Easter Sunday and I will take some more pictures to send in to you.   Semper Fi Cpl. '69 -'70 Vietnam

Misconceptions About Boot Camp

In an attempt to clear up some of the misconceptions about boot camp assignments and the Mississippi River, I'm providing a map.   The country is split into two Recruiting Regions, East and West. Each Recruiting Region is split into three Recruiting Districts.   Maggots from the East Recruiting Region go to MCRDPI:   1st Recruiting District 4th Recruiting District 6th Recruiting District (notice the 6th District crosses the Mississippi river to include Louisiana)   Maggots from the West Recruiting Region go to MCRDSD:   8th Recruiting District 9th Recruiting District (notice the 9th District crosses the Mississippi River to include Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and part of Michigan) 12th Recruiting District   While that is the general rule, I've heard rumors of "legacy" recruits. That's a recruit who, because of location, would normally be assigned boot camp at one Recruit Depot, but because of a family member (father, mother, brother, uncle, etc.) will be allowed to go the other Recruit Depot for boot camp. I don't know if that's true or not. Maybe someone who has been or is on recruiting duty can clear that one up for us.   Forged on the anvil of discipline. The Few. The Proud. Jerry D.  "Oderint dum metuant." "Let them hate, so long as they fear." –Caligula

Brain Housing Group

To all you Sea Going Marines the following should be in-bedded in your "brain-housing-group" for life!   "Reveille, Reveille, Reveille, Sweepers, man your brooms, sweep forward and aft, all passageways and ladder-wells.  Empty all GI cans on the fantail.  The smoking lamp is lit."   Semper Fi Marshall Timm Brig Turnkey and Sgt. of The Guard USS America CVA-66  1970-71 Presently still seagoing aboard, M/V Sgt. Jiggs. Homeported at Camp Lejeune.

Blue Blades

Dear Sgt Grit,

As a reader of your outstanding newsletter for the last few years I have read a few articles that reference Gillette blue blade razors, sometimes used dry under a bucket while double timing or other such motivating activity. Being a young devil dog (only seeing those yellow footprints in 1983) I did not have the pleasure of using these razors, just the newfangled disposable ones (shave once down, once up).   While on business in Nanjing, China, recently I ran out of juice on my electric razor and had to go to the local convenience store to buy a razor. Imagine my surprise when I saw a brand new Gillette Blue Blade razor for sale for about $1.50. I bought it, but also bought a Mach 3 and shaving cream as I had no intention of disfiguring myself with the blue blade. It is indeed a small world. (Also went to Shanghai and visited Soochow Creek while there).    Best regards, Mike Winnie Corporal of Marines 1983-1988 USMCR B/1/24