The Sergeant

I was stationed at Camp Geiger in a unit made from Marines trained at Pensacola in SIGINT specialties. We trained for a year there and were sent to LeJeune and Geiger for lack of duty billets.

The stations promised were Edsel, Scotland, Bremerhaven, Germany, Angorra, Turkey, Key West, FL and others. But we got the privilege of going to LeJeune and being under grunt NCO's and officers. read more

Tiger Spirit

I was in a special unit created from SIGINT personnel at Camp Geiger, 1964-66. The Navy trained many of us at Pensacola, but did not have billets at duty stations. So we were sent to Geiger across the street from recon.

Since there were no NCO's or officers in our MOS, we inherited some from infantry. They did not know what we did and did their best o manage us, I am sure. read more

Confirmed kill

Sgt. Grit,

I have always been very satisfied with your products, and today, that feeling has just been reinforced. While sitting at my computer, I was buzzed by THE biggest house fly that has ever advanced on my location. Knowing that blood makes the grass grow, I began looking for my fly swatter. Aparently, someone in my house didn't want to replace it in it's assigned spot, so I began looking for a weapon of opportunity. After looking for the right tool to despatch this enemy, I found the only thing that would be appropriate. I reached into my shelf on top of my computer desk, grabbed my Sgt Grit catalog, quickly put it into condition 1, and WHACK! 1 swing, 1 kill. They say "The deadliest weapon in this world is a Marine and his rifle". To the house fly, possibly the MOST annoying creature in the world,  it is now "a Marine and his Sgt Grit catalog". read more

The Twins Ronnie and Denny From Thier Nephew


Thank you for your story about my uncles and the experience you shared about Nam it was like reading a piece of life that i was too young to understand but now that i am older it is a part of my family history that was never really talked about.  I wasn't aware that they stayed for 2 more tours until after they passed.  I found a letter of accomadation to my Uncle Denny from a General about his service as a radioman.  I don't know what happend to it after my grandfather passed (his father) but i just know that i read it so it is recorded somewhere in the USMC .  I did come a cross a  picture that just made me laugh and cry because i was once told if i didn't straighten up that I would be taken to Uncle Denny's and enlisted in to the Devil Pup program… after a visit to Uncle Denny's with Uncle Ronnie and a little tour of the barracks there was very little trouble from me, lol! read more

Sgt Grit Staff visits MSgt Alfonzo Burris

We recently had the pleasure of visiting one of our loyal customer and friend, MSgt Alfonzo Burris, WWII Navy Veteran, and Korea Marine Corps Veteran.   MSgt Burris has been a long time walk in customer of Sgt Grit’s. He always comes in with a smile, stops at every station to say hi, and leaves us with some chocolates that he gets only from Hawaii. Burris, as we call him, met his lovely bride while stationed in Hawaii. The two of them came into the store from time to time and we left our seats to greet them every time. MSgt is a joker, he loves to stir up fun and put a little Marine Corps spin on things while doing it. (Language).   Recently he and his wife moved into an assisted living center and on July 4th, he lost his lovely wife of 66 years to a fall. That was when we knew, we needed to pay him a visit. It was 1000 hours. We approached his doorway and knocked, there was no answer. We knocked again, (he was expecting us), no answer. We decided to take a chance and turn the handle to peek in, we called his name, no answer. We could see across the room that his back door was cracked open slightly; he must be on the patio. So we walked in and went straight to the patio, opened the door and there he sat, enjoying the sunshine and a cup of sake. Yep that is a daily nutritional essential for Burris. Just a small cup a day keeps the doctor away. He offered us some sake, which we had never tasted, and then tried to give us refills; well one of us did partake of that refill. No names please. He was so happy to see us. We came bearing gifts from Sgt Grit which he quickly sat out for display among the other Marine Corps swag. We sat down and enjoyed about a 2 hour conversation with him. The sky was the limit. We talked about service, his wife, his children and grandchildren and we talked about the good stuff. Marine Stories and assisted living center stories. Would you believe he has to fight those women off with a stick and he isn’t afraid to use an actual stick, he is Marine; tell it like it is, all the way. He says the larger women in particular fight for his attention in the mess hall. He just waves his hand at them as to tell them, go away, leave me alone; I am a Marine, I have standards you know. One lady down the hall asks him, “will you walk with me”, he said, “Hell No I won’t walk with you, find someone else.” The truth is, none of these women could ever stack up to his lovely bride Janet. As much as we wanted to stay and drink sake, and hear stories, the party was soon crashed by a knock at the door. It was the Chaplain coming for a visit. We decided it was a good time to leave and let him enjoy his visitor. Burris was the perfect Marine gentleman. He offered to walk us all the way to the car, but not before telling the Priest, “Padre, I will be right back, stay and enjoy some sake, but don’t drink the whole bottle.” He walked us out and tears filled all of our eyes. He waved until we drove out of site.   Forever in our thoughts, The Sgt Grit Staff. 

Hang ’em High

From the tans it is easy to tell who is the FNG. Most of us were a bit in awe, scared, naive, tentative when we first got in-country. Being the 18-21 year old, battle hardened, E-5 and below , Snuffy Country warriors we were we had some fun with the FNG’s. After a few beers at what we called our club. Warm beer and soda at $0.15 each no choice of brand, just what was there. We would return to our hootch area and begin the trial of the offending FNG. We would grab him and tie him up. We would each take a place as Judge, jury, defender, prosecutor, spectators. The judge would bring the trial to order and ramble off a list random FNG offenses. Most revolved around just existing. The prosecutor would follow with his list of offences many the same and add his own twist. Then the defense attorney would stand and address the Judge, prosecutor, jury, spectators and without any rebuttal and with great fanfare………………..THE DEFENCE RESTS!!!! Of course the FNG has been getting increasingly concerned as all this plays out from hardened Nam Marines, eyes big, pulse up, skin flush, trying to get untied. The Judge stands again without any discussion looks to the jury for a verdict……………HANG’EM!!!! Judge, jury, prosector, defense, and spectors drag the FNG out to a spot with a overhang, through a rope over it and fake a hangin’. Great fun. Some FNG’s figured it out and played along, some really thought a bunch of drunk, hardened warriors were going to hang them.
Sgt “hang’em high” Grit  read more

Dirty Dick

This is a picture of Sgt “Dirty Dick” Leyden (yes he got the name for the reason you’re thinking) and me eating a very good spicy noodle dish at a road side stand not far from the gate of 11th Marines.

Dick got to know some of the villagers near 11th Marines and would take me with him to socialize and eat. The first time he invited me to go he told me to NOT ask what was in the meal. Especially if there was protein/meat in it. He said these people might get protein a couple a times a week in a meal. If they put it in a meal for us, it is a sign of respect. We will not disrespect them by asking what it is. read more

A moment in a war zone and the danger of rice paddies

This is Doug Norman from New York City. We were on one of our perimeter patrols. Also known as a “skivvy run patrol”. Not a whole lot happened on these patrols. This is one of my favorite photos. Something about the American Marine and small Vietnamese girl in a war zone having a moment. I had been there awhile when this pic was taken. But on my first such patrol was all but boring. I had not been in country more than a week or so. They need a radio operator so the Comm Sgt picks me. A Sgt E-5 usually lead the patrol, so I am following him with my PRC-25 proudly on my back. Being my first time most likely making numerous radio checks to appear as if I know what I’m doing, which I didn’t. We come to an area where we have to walk the rice paddy dikes. They’re wet or damp, but we are making our way. Now when you see the villagers working the rice paddies the water comes up to about their knees, so a rational person would conclude that is the depth. Well, let me tell ya that aint so. Each field has a water reservoir in one corner that is 8-10 feet deep. I am walking the slippery dike and this dumb-asz FNG Okie slips off the dike. Yep into the 8-10 foot area. Now as I slip off I’m thinking I will hit bottom soon, but before I know it I’m under water with a rifle, radio, ammo etc… After I get past WTF, I think of what they will tell my Mother. Your son drowned in a rice paddy. My mother being kinda of no non-since would have thought something like how did my dumb-azs son die in 6 inches of water? With all the gear I was not able to get out on my own so I stick my arm straight up and the Sgt grabs me and pulls me out. In true Marine Corps Sgt form he looks me over quickly then asks if the radio is still working. I do my 47th radio check of the day and off we go.  read more