Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - January 8, 2004

Possible thought for a bumper sticker Sgt.,
"Former USMC Sniper, Will Work for Food"
H. Coleman L/Cpl, '61 - '65

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I would like your suggestions for the cover of the spring catalog. The suggestion used will get a $50 Gift Certificate. So get the creative juices flowing and send me your idea at:

You requested an anatomically correct bulldog t-shirt. So we adjusted the art work on #TS216. This adds new meaning to the old saying "get a pair".


I have to first say, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the USS Enterprise. I'm a Sgt of Marines in the World Famous Checkerboards (VMFA 312). Things are dreary being away from friends and family, but they are even drearier when the holidays come around (even if you hit port and your able to relax a little). I'm writing to thank you for providing that little bit of motivation your newsletter provides. Your messages and stories provide my Marines and I a little bit of a reminder of that feeling that a lot of New Marines felt when they hit the top of the Reaper in San Diego or Visitors Thursday in Parris Island.

I'd also like to say thank you to my family for remaining strong and keeping me in their prayers.

Jacob Louwerse


As the wife of a Marine (served 1976-1981) and an Army brat from birth, my mother an I are always ribbing each other about what branch of military is the best. I've got her beat. On December 31, 2003, my parents and I made a long voyage home from Raleigh-Durham airport to Phoenix. My father who has had extensive surgery on his ankle was boarded on the plane first and he was seated looking at all the passengers as they passed him to take their seats.

He wore the cap that is never far from his side-It says that he was a veteran of Vietnam and he fought with the 1st Cav. As some young marines passed him, they saw his hat, and each of them shook his hand and said HOW ARE YOU DOING, SIR. My father replied SEMPER FI, GUYS, and turned to smile at my mother. I told my mother-that's why the Corps is the best (and for once she didn't have a reply). My father has had it pretty hard lately, suffering from PTSD-he has had a real hard time with how he was received by this country when he got home from the war. When those Marines showed him that half-second of respect-that makes the sacrifice military men & women somewhat bearable-especially to an old warrior. Thanks guys.

P.S. My daughters were relieved to hear you were flying with us prior to boarding. To them the Marine Corps means Security, and they knew I was going to arrive at my destination safely.

Nancy Rios
Marine Wife & Army Brat


Dear fellas,
I would like to thank those of you responded to my recent letter. You are obviously more knowledgably about the subject than I am. Staff Sergeant Modesti, You're right. I really have no idea what I would do until I'm in the hot seat. Hopefully, I'll respond with all the courage displayed to me by all the combat veterans in Marine Corps history. As far as me being psycho, do you not think that there is a bit of twisted humor in my statements? I may joke about twisting someone's ribcage apart with a pitchfork, only because I think that the idea is so absurd as to be down right ridiculous. Half of me wants to go to combat just to see how I will perform, while the other half would probably be sickened upon seeing a dismembered corpse up close. The rumor mill has that my unit might soon be sent over there, and I will go with a sense of duty and purpose. About my defense of my other Marines: I wasn't joking about that. If, in any situation, combat or not, would you not vigorously defend you friends? If any enemy tried to hurt my friends, I would defend them with motivation and gusto. Yes, it's true, I have never seen combat, but having thoughtfully reviewed my past dangerous situations, I can say that I will respond appropriately to any threats encountered. To those whom my letter offended- I apologize, I didn't mean to upset anyone. I should have worded my thoughts differently. To those Nam veterans and others who offered advice- Many thanks and I will certainly take your words to heart. I realize that I must be viewed as an awfully young pup, and any further words you have for me would certainly be appreciated. And finally to my brothers and sisters in Iraq right now- stay motivated, for your country loves you.
Semper Fi, Corporal Jon Humbolt


Sgt Grit,
This is just a request to our brothers to send in some more of the funny boot camp stories. I really enjoy reading them as much as the rest of the stories, if not more. Every time I think about that period in my life at Parris Island (July 1981-Oct 1981) I chuckle, then quickly recall that while the incidents are hilarious now, most were not funny then! Here is one of my favorites that was funny though:

We had a recruit in our platoon (our DI's called us recruits because they said private was a respectable rank in their corps and we had not yet earned the right to be called private)...anyway, we had this one recruit who was about 6'5 or taller and was from the West Indies. He tried hard enough and even graduated with us on time, but because of his height and the culture shock of only being in this country a short time and then having to experience PI, he always seemed to have a hard time and as a result he stuck out like a sore thumb. The DI's busted on him pretty hard, but I think they realized he was intelligent, but was just having trouble fitting in over here. Anyway, one day after a daily PT session on a particularly hot day (what black flag?) we were marching back to the barracks when one of my fellow recruits broke a cardinal rule and raised his hand while in formation. The DI halted the formation, had us face left and go into "parade rest" and said, "speak freak and it had better be a life or death situation". The recruit spoke up and said, "Drill Instructor Sgt. Mazenko, recruit Smith" (I'll call him) is marching with platoon 2062"!

And sure enough, there was recruit "Smith", all 6'5 of him marching tail-end Charlie at the end of platoon 2062. Sgt. Mazenko, started to bellow a command to recruit "Smith", then said to us, "awe, the h*ll with him, let them deal with him", then turned his face away from us as he could no longer restrain from laughing himself! Recruit "Smith" marched all the way to the barracks and we didn't see him until the noon chow. Mazenko, by the way was a young, tough DI who was very fair. He was tough as they come, but he also had a sense of humor that he tried to hide from us, but we must have done some really stupid stuff, because there were several times when he had to turn away from us so we did not see him smile! He was a great drill instructor dispute the fact that we were his first platoon. I will never forget him and the lessons he taught us.
Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331, 81-85


This is in reply to T/Sgt D. W. Meyer's query re "Technical" designations during W.W.2. I no longer have the recruiting brochure but can still see it quite vividly. E-1, E-2, E-3 and E-4 were Private, Private First Class, Corporal and Sergeant (0,1,2 and 3 stripes respectively - no distinction between them - and no crossed rifles), whether "line (rifleman, machine gunner, artilleryman, etc.)" or "technical specialist (radioman, telephone lineman, cook, aircraft mechanic,etc.)". E-5 thru E-7 for "line" were distinguished by 1, 2 and 3 "rockers" below the Sgt's 3 stripes and were respectively, Platoon, Gunnery and Master Gunnery Sergeants. First Sgts were E-6 with a diamond in the space between the 3 chevrons and the 2 rockers. Sgts Major were E-7 with a diamond between the 3 chevrons and the 3 rockers. "Technical Specialists" were E-5 thru E-7 pay grades and the "line" rockers were replaced with straight horizontal stripes below the 3 chevrons of the "buck" sergeant, and were respectively, Staff, Technical and Master Technical Sergeants. Those "technical" ranks were roughly equivalent to the Army's "specialist" structure. Theoretically, the "technical" ranks did not have the equivalent training in leading men in combat that the "line" ranks did. As an aside, when I attended Field Radio Operator School at Quantico, VA in 1942, "ham" radio operators were being enlisted as staff sgts (E-5), were issued shirts with rank affixed, and had their "boot" training at Quantico in deference to their expertise in radio operating and maintenance - being destined for high speed morse code operation and/or radio equipment maintenance and repair positions. Much like the SeaBees when they enlisted men with building trades, etc. I hope this rather lengthy dissertation helps explain the enlisted rank structure as it existed at that time.
Sincerely, Dave Engler - 410936 - USMC - 1942-1946.


The article that Jim Freas wrote in the last news letter about the movie "Heartbreak Ridge" embarrassed me also. Never have I seen in the Marine Corps such disrespect for any Staff NCOs especially in a recon unit. I realize it was Hollywood; but, nevertheless I was upset. I had just come off the drill field at Parris Island as a Staff Sgt in 1963 and was assigned to Force Troops at Camp Lejeune. I requested a transfer to 2nd Force Recon Company and an old admin Warrant Officer informed me that no one requests a transfer to the unit. An appointment must be scheduled for an interview and if they think you are Recon material, they will request you be transferred to them.

I requested an interview and several days later I was scheduled for the interview at the company headquarters at Camp Geiger. When I opened the quanset hut door, a Cpl was at his desk typing. He turned around and saw me and immediately stood up and said " may I help you, sir?" I glanced behind me thinking an officer was behind me. His question was directed at me. I informed him that I had an interview with the Company Commander at 1300 hours. He said "one moment sir".

When he returned he stated the 1st Sgt would see me now. When I entered the 1st Sgt office, I centered myself in front of the 1st Sgt desk at the position of attention and said "Staff Sgt Hemlepp reporting as ordered Sir". The 1st Sgt acknowledged and I was taken into the CO's office where I duplicated my reporting as ordered. After the interview, the CO told the 1st Sgt to give me the PT test. Upon completing the test and reentering the CO's office, the 1st Sgt told the Major I was in good shape except my upper arm strength could be improved. One week later I was off to Jump school at Fort Benning, GA. where I came out second in the class of 650 students (11 Marines). I might mention the first place honors when to a Marine from 1st Force Recon.

When I was with Force Recon, there was nothing but a high degree of respect shown to all NCOs and Staff NCOs and naturally all Officers. This is the type of respect that I remember when I was on active duty in the Corps. Even though the movie was Hollywoodized, I still get upset when someone mentions the Marine movie "Heartbreak Ridge".
Mike Hemlepp
Major USMC (Ret)
Before SSN 1542808 & 089204


Gunny B wrote:
found these pamphlets that the Soviets had printed for the Cubans, we had a few guys that could read that stuff and it was funny what they had to say about us, specifically about the Marine Corps, stuff like in order to be a Marine, you had to be a convicted killer, a rapist or a violent felon.

This is really true around the world. I worked with a Congolese national that when I told him that I was a Marine, he actually got a little pale in the face and asked "Was it as hard as I heard it is to become a Marine?" I asked him what did he mean? I stating that it was hard, but nothing that a lot of mental discipline, hard work and fortitude would not overcome.

He stated that the stories in Africa are that the Marine Corps takes a recruit out a hundred miles away from civilization and gives them a knife and makes them hump back to base (having to hunt and kill their food along the way). If they don't make it, then they aren't Marines. My response to that was "What the F...?"

He said that the Congolese Army "emulates" us by doing something like that and anyone who makes it back to base is in the Army. So much for Boot Camp.

From the little experience that I have had, the world does look on the USMC with Fear and Awe.
Mark Sasak


I worked at Norden Systems a UTC company in Norwalk, CT during the 80's and 90's. I was hired to work on a new Marine Corps project because of my Marine Corps and military contracting background. We held an annual Marine Corps Birthday party which I was proud to organize for a few of those years. One year we were holding our luncheon at a nearby Italian restaurant. Somehow there was a screw-up and we didn't get our usual private dining room and we had to use the public dinning area. As you might guess the conversation got quite graphic and the colorful language could be heard for some distance beyond our large table. Closest to us was a table of older ladies who seemed to be glued to the conversation at our table. I reminded everyone that these ladies were in close proximity and that we should watch our language. I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned to see who it was a lady with a broad smile told me to mind my own business and she said that she and her friends hadn't had such a good time in many years. That was it for me. When we were about to leave after singing our hymn the ladies applauded and loudly proclaimed their pleasure at having shared our birthday with us. They wanted to know if we'd be back next year so they could sit as close to us as possible.

Semper Fi Marines
Sgt Fred Finch 1523792 (1955-1959) 2nd Marine Air
Wing, MAG-35, H&MS-35, VMR-153 & 252.


To all the moms out there who might have doubts about letting their sons join the Corps: I had a typical problem child. He stayed in trouble at school, got in trouble as a juvenile, and was heading for trouble as a teen. He got caught smoking weed among other things. He had said when he became a teenager that he wanted to join the Corp. I thought not my child. He would never make it. I am a former Air Force and my husband a former Army, my dad medically discharged from the Navy after 15 years, so I thought he would never make it. I ended up taking my son out of public schools and home schooling him to help keep him out of trouble. At the age of 17 we visited a Marine recruiting station where we were greeted by a female Marine recruiter who impressed my son very much. She was only about 4 years older than he was. He did join the Corps with signed permission at the age of 17 . Boot camp did wonders for him. He is now a man and getting married. He is 2 and 1/2 years into his first term and has decided to make a career out the Corps. The Corps has done for him what I thought nothing could do, It has turned his life around. Thanks!
Mother of a Marine


I have a true story to tell ya.
Eleven years ago, my youngest son was 10 years old. Our family we to our middle son's career night at the local high school. While we were looking at schools for our middle boy, our youngest was walking around talking to people. Of course, he made stops at the different military Recruiter that were there. He was only 10 , so they really weren't interested in him. Except one Marine Recruiter there! He took the time to talk to my son. This recruiter made such an impression on my son, that the next night I had to write a letter to the Marines asking when he could join. Of course I knew, but he still wanted me to write the letter. I'm not sure now where I sent the letter, but then my 10 year old son got a real nice letter from some Marine Officer. From that day on my son was going to be a U.S. Marine. In 2000, my son graduated from High School, and a few months later became a Marine. I am very proud of my son, but fearful, as he soon will be heading for Iraq.
"God Bless our Marines"
Ed Behnke
USN Veteran


SEMPER FI, "OD" DOSTER, SEA MARINE & K/3/7 '55'-'59'


Sgt Grit,
A personal true story. When I joined the Corps in 1948 in Pittsburgh one of my best buddies joined the Navy around the same time (I couldn't convince him to join the Corps). As it worked out, we had leave at the same time after finishing our respective Boot Camps. The first night on leave together we visited a Yugoslavian (Croatian) club we always frequented (at the time "private" clubs could stay open after hours due to the Pennsylvania Blue Law.) We went to the head together and after we finished our "business" I started to walk out of the men's room and he went to the sink to wash his hands. He said to me, "Didn't the Marine Corps teach you to wash you hands after you use the bathroom?" Without hesitation I immediately replied, "No. They taught me not to p*ss on my fingers!"
Thought some might enjoy this.
R. Labas Major, USMC, Retired


Join and attend reunions normally held in September.

Marine Corps Engineer Assoc. (MCEA)
POB 566
Jacksonville, NC 28541

Submitted by: Milton Drummond, Jr.


3/8 Beirut Veterans, Christmas Wishes
Merry Christmas to all Geiger Tigers from the 80's and those who floated to Beirut, Lebanon. Look forward to seeing you at the next reunion-Quantico-June 2004!!!
C. Eric Tischler
Stay Hard!
USMC 3/8 83-87' USS Saginaw LST 1188


I am very proud of being a Marine. My dad's side of the family was Army, and my mother's Navy. I had a cousin who broke those traditions and joined the Marines in 1965. He was a lance corporal when he was killed in Viet Nam in March 1966. To date, he and I are the only Marines. I used to say that I was a "former" marine, but no more. I started Marine life at Parris Island on June 26, 1972. My MOS was 3516 and 3521. I will never forget my training or the camaraderie. We had 95 mostly young men in our platoon (2067). After boot camo, I became a member of HMS38, 3rd MAW at ElToro, CA. Then on to Marine Barracks Lualualei, Oahu, HI. I was discharged honorably in 1978. My drill instructors in boot camp took a 98lb. boy and made me a man. Thanks to GySgt Guidrey, SSgt Mendoza, an all concerned. I appreciate this newsletter and look forward to it each time.
Sgt. David Sanford USMC '72-78


Sergeant Grit,
Parris Island, 1951, Platoon 361. Demo School, Lejeune. Scheduled for Mess Duty. Hated Mess Duty. MSgt Charles McCann said, "You can get out of Mess Duty if you take the OCS exam." Did, passed, went to OCSS 11, Commissioned 18 Oct52. Attended 18th Special Basic Course.

Platoon Leader, Korea 1953. North Vietnam, 1954. Jump School, Ranger School, Special Forces School 1955-1956. Guard Company Commander, PI 1956-1959. HQMC 1960-61. White House 1961-63. MACV SOG 1964. ExO LogSupportGrp, Dom Rep, 1965, MACV SOG 1966-1968, Casuality Notification Officer, 1968-70, Naval War College 1971-72. Chief of Staff, 9th MAB, 1973-74. Retired.

GOD! How I would love to do it all over again!!
George Goodson, LtCol, USMC, Ret


Sgt Grit:
In 1969, I was a 2542 humping a radio as a member of a Helicopter Support Team in the Communications Platoon of a unit that went from being H&S, 5th Shore Party Bn., 5th Marine Division to Bravo Company, 5th Shore Party Bn., 5th Marine Division, to Charlie Company, 3rd Shore Party Bn., 5th Marine Division.

Anyhoot, I was suddenly transferred to MWCS-3, MWHG-3, 3rd MAW at El Toro. Everyone said it would be like being in Heaven after being in the mud. They were right, because I got promoted to Lance Corporal the day I checked into the Squadron!! The only problem I had adjusting was that my Lieutenant kept getting after me to remove the red patches from my utilities. I resisted, because when I got them, I was told it was because we were a suicide unit. I figured I earned them, and should be able to keep them. I finally took them off as a Christmas present to the boss.

On another note, in regard the movie "The Wind and the Lion", I was told years ago by Sgt. Dexter Anliker that the Marines in the movie looked so good because the were real Marines, assigned to Marine Barracks, Rota Spain. He also claimed the fight scenes were so realistic because the bad guys were played by Spanish Marines. He claimed the fight scenes were more actual fighting between the two groups than play acting. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I would prefer to believe the above version.
Semper Fi,

Note: I asked the Gunny to clarify a few things I did not understand. I got this outstanding and informative reply. Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit:
2542 is Communications Center Man. The joke during that time was we could do 2,542 things, non of them well. We were informed in school that it was a waste of time, because we would end up humping radios or being door gunners. I have a buddy that was a 2542. He did one tour humping radio with 3rd Recon., and one as a door gunner. He has many ribbons, none for serving in his MOS.

When 1st MarDiv deployed to Nam in '66, the entire 5th Marine Division was reformed behind it. The first regiment reformed, the 26th Marines, was immediately deployed to Nam and stayed there, serving with both the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions. 27th Marines deployed for Tet '68, being in Nam from Feb 68 to Sep 68, then returned to Pendleton. 1/13 and 2/13 (Arty) also went to Nam and stayed there. My Battalion, 5th Shore Party Battalion, only had H&S at Pendleton. I was told the letter companies were in Okinawa and Vietnam. Can't confirm this, because "Vietnam Order of Battle" by Shelton only covers units down to the battalion level.

I still have my Drown proofing Card from the 5th Marine Division. Our mailing address was "5th Marine Division (-) Rein., FMFPAC". Obviously, the "(-)" reflected 26th Marines and the two battalions of 13th Marines deployed. What I don't remember and can't seem to find out is what the "Rein." refers to. We were obviously reinforced by someone, but I don't know who.

When the redeployments started, the 5th Marine Division became the 5th MEB, then that was disbanded. The dates are recorded in "USMC-A Complete History", published by the MCA.

Semper Fi,
Gunny Art


What's up Sgt. Grit,
Just wanted to send a few thoughts to you and all my brothers and sisters around the globe. I've been out since '98 and just yesterday I decided that I've been out long enough. I'm headed back to our beloved Marine Corps. A lot of reasons went into my decision to do so and one of them is what my last Btn SgtMajor at 2/6 told us. He said that the reason he stayed in was when he was a lance coolly on MSG duty he didn't like some of the stuff he had to endure and if he stayed long enough he would have the rank to change those things to the way he wanted them. Well, as a Btn SgtMajor I believe he was able to do just that. I've been reading your newsletter for about three months and I must say some of the stuff I read just chaps my a** big time. So what I'm gonna do is exactly what SgtMajor Glassford said, go back so I can tell some of these pansy a** crybabies that write you sometimes just what I think and I'm gonna be in uniform when I do it. Another reason I need to get back in cammies is to be with my brothers that I miss so much in the field. I thought I'd never go back but after reading all these newsletters my pride for our Corps is just overwhelming so I gotta get back in and be with my family again. I want to thank each and every one of you that write for giving me what I've been missing for so long and never really realized it, the pride of being a United States Marine. Not that I ever lost any of my pride, I fly our colors at my house and I got about 11 stickers all over my truck, but I feel its time to really show my pride and love for our Corps by slipping back in the uniform. To all the families, all the Marines, and all the Devil Dogs standing post on Heavens streets,

Semper Fi and God bless each and every one of you!
Former Cpl Joshua S. Shelley Echo Co 2/6 '94-'98. 0311/8531


Dear Sgt Grit:
Although I never served in the Corps, I now have my son, a LCpl currently deployed to Afghanistan. OOOHRAHH!! Anyway, while he was at boot camp, I wrote the following and showed it to the recruiters at the Recruiting Station here in Richmond. They liked it so much it has now showed up all over the area. I wrote this thinking how would a used-car salesman sound if he were a recruiter and this is what came out.

Could I interest you in a thirteen week, all-expenses paid vacation in a beautiful southern or California seaside location? This site provides an indoor heated swimming pool, mud baths and even nature and hiking trails. You will get a personal trainer, able to give you all the "quality time" you need and a workout program second to none. We provide a dietary program created by a certified dietitian. All the clothing that you ever need will be provided to you during this vacation and you will be able to take it home with you. And let me tell you, these clothes are not off the rack, they are stylish and smart. Still not interested? Because I like you, I tell you what I'm going to do, we will even pay you during this vacation and for four years after you take it.

R. Harrelson Proud Father of LCpl Scott (deployed to Afghanistan)


Sgt. Grit
I have many family members that are Marines. Some who are still raising cane on Earth, Some who are not. My mother has always said I was born singing the Marine Corps hymn. My grandfather has recently been assigned to pull shift in heaven, he had Alzheimer's for years now, it finally got the best of him. I was at the V.A. hospital the day I was to go up to MEPs (Military Entrance Processing), I called my recruiter, to cancel, from his room and he asked to explain what I had done, and why? After he figured out what I had done. He asked me to leave his side and go take care of my life and quit worry about his. The last words I ever heard my grandfather say were "Semper Fidelis." that is the true meaning of the motto, An old man who couldn't even remember his own name, was so deeply engrained with the Marine Corps spirit he remembered our motto. If that's not being Faithful I don't know what is.
Semper Fi,
Poolee Cobb (waiting to go to boot)


What in the h*ll is this "Sarge" crap ??? I consider myself to have been in the "New Corps",but in no way would I call a Sgt , "Sarge",period. Let's knock it off, we're not in the army, "notice no capital letter there",although I appreciate their service,too, the Corps is the Corps. I had a heck of a Sgt, Sgt Nyland was his name, and if I called him "Sarge", I'd have been smoked. Oh, hooah is an army thing ,too.
Russ Klingler, Cpl, 89-93


Five year old grand-daughter here at Christmas. She asked why the MARINE CORPS "fired" me. She wanted to know if I had done something bad. I assured her that I hadn't done anything wrong to get "fired". She thought that over for a few moments and then informed me that the MARINES got rid of me so that I could marry grandma ....She was right of course It just took me from 1955 to 1965 to find Grandma.....
VMA 211 ( 53 - 55 )


Sgt. Grit,
I wanted to drop a short note and invite everyone up to the bar for my son's wet down. Sgt M. J. Allen was promoted to S/Sgt(meritoriously) on 2 Jan. 2004. 5 years and 6 months after enlisting! His mother and I are very proud of him, and would like to pass on an "OUTSTANDING JOB MARINE" to him and also to remind him he may think he out ranks us but he's still a BOOT. Way to go Mike!
Semper Fi Sgt J. L. Allen 76-80 Sgt J. K. Allen 77-84


Sgt Grit,
About a month ago while filling my truck with gas, I spoke to a Staff Sergeant in Dress Blues, who was filling his car, During our conversation he referred to me as a former Marine.

I did not like that one little bit and have trying to figure out why ever since. I know the sergeant did not intend any disrespect, far from it, he was pleased to meet a Marine who had served before he was born.

I believe a Marine is measured by HIS HEART: his will to over come and his desire to succeed, not by his age, physical stature or length of service. I like all other Marines EARNED the title UNITED STATES MARINE, it's MINE, no one can ever take that away or diminish it.

I am a Cold War Marine (1958 to 1961) I did not duck bullets on any foreign soil, but in my chest the heart of a Marine is beating. My body may be falling apart, but in my heart I am a Marine, and will be till I die. My father-in-law is an eighty-four year old Iwo Jima Marine, and in that Old Dog's chest still beats the heart of a Marine, and will till the day he dies.

The word FORMER indicates one has lost something or is no longer as good as he once was. THAT IS NOT TRUE WHEN IT COMES TO THE HEART OF A MARINE!

EX MARINE - is a misnomer as it is impossible for me to ever divorce the Corps!

RETIRED MARINE - I believe this should be reserved for those who stayed in the Corps long enough to receive a retirement Benefit or were medically discharged.

So I think we need another word to describe those of us who returned to civilian life, prior to staying long enough to receive a retirement check.

I suggest the acronym NOAD, (pronounced knowd), NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY

Semper Fi
NOAD Marine L/Cpl Larson


Every outfit seems to have that one guy who screws up no matter what. In ours in Korea, it was Cpl. H. He was the guy who had the brilliant idea of stenciling MSgt chevrons on his long john sleeves. Naturally, he got caught. Loan him brand new electric razor, he dropped it. Cpl. H. was a good guy. He was just like that cartoon character in L'il Abner that bad luck followed. We were in Ascom City ready to rotate home in a week or so. Cpl. H. was designated to make the booze run into Seoul and took all our orders. When he came back, he had this big $#it-eating grin on his face and informed us that the had had a tryst with a professional jo-san. He lorded it over the rest of us until....he came down with the drip. In those days, if you didn't pass the "short arm" inspection, you didn't ship. (Probably holds true today.) Luckily for H., he got his last shot in the a$$ the day we also got dusted with DDT and boarded 6 X 6s for Inchon.
Semper Fi,
Bob Rader #1405534


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I wanted to take some time to thank you for the wonderful website and products that you offer. Simply going to your website allows me to feel more at home in this crazy world that we live in. Everyday I miss my brothers that I proudly served with in Panama, Kuwait, and Somalia. The Corps was my first true family where I learned everything about honor and commitment and I thank God everyday that I chose the path that I did at 17. Now I am a teacher of Special Education students, and from time to time I get frustrated with the politics that govern the nature of my work, but I take a breath, smile, and say to myself "at least tonight I will be safe in my home that I know is being defended by my little Marine brothers that have continued our legacy, not to mention that the sky won't be p!ssing on me this evening". Thanks again for helping us all feel connected to our Corps, and may God bless you and your family this new year.
Semper Fi,
Jason Barbosa


Sgt. Grit -
I would like to add my two cents worth to the Marine movie scenario. I must admit, I get put-off by some of these so-called authentic combat movies, you know the ones that supposedly have expert consultants. While I have seen some good movies mentioned in your prior newsletters, I feel I must inform my brothers of one movie in particular they should avoid at all costs. By the way, my cost was $9.95 (wasted). The movie is "The Walking Dead" (1995). It stars(?) Allen Payne, Eddie Griffin and Joe Morton. I know, that's the samething I said - who?!!! Anyway, the Philadelphia Inquirer says it's "Powerful", while USA Today says it's "A Step Ahead of the Crowd". I think they are referring to the crowd running, screaming, from the theater. I assumed it would be about the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. WRONG!!! It is about five undisciplined misfits who attempt to free POW's. The costume designer is a woman who has our "grunts", in the jungle, wearing solid green utility covers and green or brown T-shirts. You remember wearing utility covers in Nam, don't you guys? And underwear - my God - I can feel the rash even now. Please, do yourself a favor and "pass" on this movie by Savoy Pictures, an HBO Home Video.
Ed Moore - Cpl. - Charlie 1/5 - '68/'69


Hello Sgt. Grit,
I've been reading about the various memories of the Everly Brothers which triggered my memories of being at MCRD San Diego in late 1961, where I was educated in the process of becoming a Marine. Couple streets over from my platoon area, Ricky Nelson was often heard singing the Marines Hymn. Not with the soft voice he normally used but with the gusto the Hymn deserves. I've not found many that even knew that he was a Marine. Elvis was drafted, Ricky Nelson became a Marine.

Possible thought four a bumper sticker Sgt., "Former USMC Sniper, Will Work for Food"

H. Coleman L/Cpl, '61 - '65


Sgt Grit,
In response to the Old Marine who had so much difficulty trying to help Marine families over the holidays, suggest next time he contact the Navy-Marine Relief Society at the nearest Base. Also, for those far from a Marine Base but near and Army Training Post, there is often a forgotten Marine Detachment there that can always use a helping hand. Those Marines are usually 18-19 years old and right out of Boot Camp and a little shot of "Old Corps" can go a long way to help their perspective on the Marines along. I did that for many years with the Marine Detachment at Fort Bliss, Texas. When everyone else was "Adopting a Soldier" for the holidays, I'd grab an arm load of Marines, feed them, watch a few football games, few John Wayne videos, then let my daughter take them to the movies to see the latest flick. Of course, before they left with her I always showed them my beautiful Stainless Steel M-1911 and then read them my regulations regarding proprieties with my 19 year old daughter before they left. Never had any problems and they always had a great time getting out of the barracks.

Jeff Howards, Sgt, USMC 1973-1977
Retired Captain, US Army Reserve, 1993 (sorry 'bout that, Chief)
Father, Pfc, Air Base Group -2, MCAS El Toro,
1944-1946 Mother, Cpl, Air Base Group -2, MCAS El Toro, 1944-1946


What makes a Marine A MARINE!!

Ask a Marine what's so special about the Marines and the answer would be "esprit de corps", an unhelpful French phrase that means exactly what it looks like - the spirit of the Corps, but what is that spirit, and where does it come from?

The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight. The Army emphasizes personal development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey begin), the Air Force offers security (its a great way of life). Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a soldier's lot to suffer and perhaps to die for his people, and take lives at the risk of his/her own.

Even the thematic music of the services reflects this evasion. The Army's Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing. over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh, the Navy's celebration of the joys of sailing, could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet. The Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust. All is joyful and invigorating, and safe.

There are no land mines in the dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten the ocean jaunt, no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder.

The Marines Hymn, by contrast, is all combat. We fight are Country's battles, First to fight for right and freedom, We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun, in many a strife we have fought for life and never lost our nerve.

The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training, or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer school. You join the Marine Corps to go to War!

But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps. The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that "your in the Army now",soldier. The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon as they get off bus at the training center.The new arrival at

Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse, (alot worse), but never a MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of UNITED STATES MARINE, and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation or ceremony.

Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968. In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week, and the major rainy season operation Meade river, had not even begun, yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating eighty one.

Note that this was post - enlistment attrition; every one of those who were dropped had been passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp, not necessarily for physical reasons at least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom the calisthenics and running were child's play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but -in the spirit. They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain, so they would not be Marines. Heavy commitments and high casualties not withstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.

History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One. Pick a sailor at random to describe the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard. Everyone has heard of McGuire Air Force Base. So ask any Air Man who Major Thomes McGuire was, and why he is so commemorated. I am not carping, and there is no sheer in this criticism.

All of the services have glorious traditions, but no one teaches the young soldier ,sailor or air man what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it. But - ask a Marine about World War One, and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade, fifth and sixth regiments. Faced with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth, the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill - advised. It was insane.

Artillery support was absent and air support hadn't been invented yet, so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only bayonets, grenades, and indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy- legged little barrel of a gunnery sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, "Come on you sons a b!tches, do you want to live forever"? He took out three machine guns himself, and they would give him the Medal of Honor except for a technicality, he already had two of them.

French liaison- officers, hardened though they were by four years of trench bound slaughter, were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth - century battlefield that they might as well have been swinging cutlasses, but - the enemy was only human; they could not stand up to this. So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans called them "DOGS FROM THE DEVIL"

Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum. Every Marine will always be taught them! You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane enroute to the war zone, but before you can wear the E.G.& A and claim the title you must know about the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps can you take your place in line.

And that line is unified spirit as in purpose. A soldier wears branch of service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit. Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy. Marines wear only the Eagle, Gobe, and Anchor, together with personal ribbons and their CHERISHED marksmanship badges.

There is nothing on a Marine's uniform to indicate what he or she does, nor (except for the 5th & 6th. regiments of the second Marine Division who wear the French forager for Belleau Wood) what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer programmer, or a machine gunner.

The Corps explains this as a security measure to conceal the identity and location of units, but the Marines penchant for publicity makes that the least likely of explanations. No, the Marine is amorphous, even anonymous (we finally agreed to wear nametags only in 1992), by conscious design.

Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and always! You may serve a four year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action, but if the word is given you'll charge across that Wheatfield!

Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply, or automotive mechanics, or aviation electronics, is immaterial. Those things are secondary - the Corps does them because it must. The modern battle requires the technical appliances, and since the enemy has them, so do we, but no Marine boasts mastery of them. Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline, and our membership in a fraternity of courage and sacrifice.

"For the honor of the fallen,for the glory of the dead", Edar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood, "the living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead". They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer's little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring of Marine Corps legends. Many of them did not survive the day, and eight long decades have claimed the rest. But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did, and so they live forever. Dan Daly's shouted challenge takes on its true meaning - if you die in the trenches you may survive for now, but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes, but you will be one of the immortals.

All Marines die in the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die, but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive your own mortality that gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing.

Passed on to a Marine from another Marine!

Former Sgt. Nick Sparacino 2/9 Viet Nam 1966
D. Chief of Police Oak Forest Il.


Little Seen Movie
Try finding "Firebase Gloria" which stars Gunny Ermmy (the guy from "Mail Call"). It is about a Marine Recon team in Vietnam that finds itself in an Army firebase that is out of control and the Marines take charge. It is everything I thought the Army was in Vietnam.
Robert Peavey
5th & 3rd Tanks 1968-'69 Vietnam


To GySgt. Rockswold, In regards to Marine Movies, The Wind & the Lion with Sean Connery was set in 1900 Morocco. The C/O of the Marine Detachment from the Naval Vessels did carry a Marmaluke sword, but was not Lt. O'Bannon. That part was played by John Payne in a movie called Tripoli. Tp

Gung HO!!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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