"Did you hear what the Marine officer in Haiti who--when asked on Sunday what he knew about the Haitian gunman who was part of the shooting into the crowd on Saturday--said, 'I only know two things about him; he shot at my Marines...and he is dead.' "
LtGen. Robert M. Shea, USMC
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WHO'S IT FROM NUMB NUTS?
Only a Marine can identify with boot camp stories. I tried to tell my 4 daughters when they were old enough some of the stories and they looked at me like I was nuts. I'm sure they thought I was embellishing the stories. Little did they know. I only told them of the funnier ones. There was no way to convey how scared we were and they were not funny at the time. They did enjoy these two stories: About the third or fourth day of boot camp, we sent our parents a card that contained our address only. No letter. My girlfriend got the address from my parents. She commenced to write one or two letters a day. On the back flap of the envelope she kissed with lipstick and wrote SWAK. (sealed with a kiss).I received about 15 of these letters before we were allowed to write home. I begged her stop as I had to eat all of those envelope flaps. Not to mention the attention I was drawing from the D.I.s. At every mail call I heard "Hey lover boy, get your ass up here. Start chewing." At Camp Matthews for rifle qualification the D.I. called me into the duty tent and told me I had a package. I thought to myself, "Oh Christ, who was dumb enough to send me a package?" I could picture myself eating a pound of chocolates and washing it down with a canteen of hot water while standing at attention. The D.I. handed me the package and asked "Who is it from NUMB NUTS? Open it up." "Sir, its from my brother, Sir." Inside was a cigarette lighter. The D.I.s reply, "I never lit the smoking lamp, you little s--t. Why would he send you a lighter?" I replied "Sir, its my birthday, Sir." "How old are you?" the D.I. demanded. "Sir, 18, Sir." I answered. He looked at me long and hard. It was an eternity. He finally said "I don't know if I should give you 18 push-ups or shove this lighter up your ass." He wanted an answer. "Sir, I'll take the pushups ,Sir." He looked at me for a good minute and said "Get out of my sight." On my way out he shouted at me, "By the way, Voeller, Happy Birthday."
Don Voeller, Sgt. 1406156
GET THE TRAIN MOVING
Dear Sgt Grit
Some time in mid year (1954) two drunk Marines Cpl Brewer and his partner in mischief whose name I can't recall were staggering down main street in Gotemba Japan.
It was around 8 in the evening they were heading to the train station for the ride back to South Camp Fuji at Fujioka. This was about 8 to 10 miles.
As they approached the Locomotive Cpl Brewer gets this brilliant idea, " Hey lets ride up in the cab with the engineer".
So they climb up in the cab. Well the engineer was in the station leaving the cab unguarded. So they wait for him (about 2 seconds).
Cpl Brewer decided, Well he ain't coming back so its up to us to get the train moving.
Driving a train must not be too complicated because after releasing a big lever and moving the throttle the engine began to move and it wasn't long until the train was moving smartly down the track. During the trip they are hanging out the cab windows yelling and having a good time.
It wasn't long until Fujioka hove into view so they closed the throttle pulled on the big brake lever and stopped the train.
No one saw are probably to be more accurate really cared much that two drunk Marines jumped down from the cab and staggered arm in arm giggling and laughing up the street (about a block) to the main gate.
Once inside the they hung around a few minutes to see what would happen. Sure enough a few minutes later a black 49 Dodge 4 door taxi came roaring up ( I know this cause it was the only taxi in Gotemba). Four Japanese guys jump out and start looking for the culprits. They look suspiciously at the main gate but they know if they ask no one saw are heard anything.
After a few minutes the engineer got back in the cab and the train left.
When the two returned to the barracks they were still giggling and laughing. From that day on when a train went by someone would comment " Hey there goes the Brewer express".
Cpl Brewer in case you happen to read this I didn't mean to squeal on you but of all the crazy things that happened at South Camp this topped them all and even after all these years you guys live in my memory like it was yesterday.
S/Sgt Norm Barnes 1953-1957
WOW, Bronze stars for OIF II as of Nov. Army-13,949 Air Force-1,842 Marine Corps- 268. However Bronze Stars for valor, Army-311 Marines-126. Silver Stars Army-111 Marines-0.
Recap Army 13,949 Bronze stars with 311 for valor or roughly 2.2%, Marines 268 with 126 for valor or roughly 47%
Of total forces. Army 5.7%, Air Force 2.8%, USMC .3% received a Bronze Star.
Gents all I have to say is we are who we are.
GySgt Michael W. Davis
7100 SW 44th St.
Okc. Ok. 73179
Phone: (866) 776-2607
Fax: (866) 776-2610
LETTER TO ALL HANDS FROM MAJGEN. J.N. Mattis
First Marine Division Returns to IraqLetter to All Hands,
We are going back in to the brawl. We will be relieving the magnificent Soldiers fighting under the 82nd Airborne Division, whose hard won successes in the Sunni Triangle have opened opportunities for us to exploit. For the last year, the 82nd Airborne has been operating against the heart of the enemy's resistance. It's appropriate that we relieve them: When it's time to move a piano, Marines don't pick up the piano bench - we move the piano. So this is the right place for Marines in this fight, where we can carry on the legacy of Chesty Puller in the Banana Wars in the same sort of complex environment that he knew in his early years. Shoulder to shoulder with our comrades in the Army, Coalition Forces and maturing Iraqi Security Forces, we are going to destroy the enemy with precise firepower while diminishing the conditions that create adversarial relationships between us and the Iraqi people.
This is going to be hard, dangerous work. It is going to require patient, persistent presence. Using our individual initiative, courage, moral judgment and battle skills, we will build on the 82nd Airborne's victories. Our country is counting on us even as our enemies watch and calculate, hoping that America does not have warriors strong enough to withstand discomfort and danger. You, my fine young men, are going to prove the enemy wrong - dead wrong. You will demonstrate the same uncompromising spirit that has always caused the enemy to fear America's Marines.
The enemy will try to manipulate you into hating all Iraqis. Do not allow the enemy that victory. With strong discipline, solid faith, unwavering alertness, and undiminished chivalry to the innocent, we will carry out this mission. Remember, I have added, "First, do no harm" to our passwordsof "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." Keep your honor clean as we gain information about the enemy from the Iraqi people. Then, armed with that information and working in conjunction with fledgling Iraqi Security Forces, we will move precisely against the enemy elements and crush them without harming the innocent.
This is our test-our Guadalcanal, our Chosin Reservoir, our Hue City. Fight with a happy heart and keep faith in your comrades and your unit. We must be under no illusions about the nature of the enemy and the dangers that lie ahead. Stay alert, take it all in stride, remain sturdy, and share your courage with each other and the world. You are going to write history, my fine young Sailors and Marines, so write it well.
Major General, U. S. Marines
>From Kuwait, this friend will soon be going north into Iraq. He's one of my former students and a VERY PROUD MARINE!!! He e-mailed me this morning with a little story he thought I'd enjoy, and I thought you guys would to.
He said that earlier today, a convoy of army trucks came into their area. The doggies were all smiles, and painted on the side of their trucks in white paint were the letters...USMC! They said they had not been fired upon during their entire trek south into Kuwait. The Marines who saw it just laughed their butts off. Army dogs impersonating Marines to avoid enemy contact! Hey, if it works, more power to 'em!
Submitted by David Bounds
TO LINGER AROUND
This might be a bit "random" (my 14 yr old daughter's word), but can any Parris Island Marine tell me what the hell that smell was that seemed to permeate around the receiving barracks area?
I have not had the grand opportunity to go back since that glorious time in October 1981, so I'm not even sure those old white buildings with those old overhead "steam lines" out front still exist. But every time I try to describe the island to a non-Marine type, I always include that musty smell. I don't know why, but its imbedded in my fond memory of the place! I was in second battalion (platoon 2063) and our brick barracks were just across from the receiving barracks, but that odor always seemed to linger around the entire area. Just wondering what it was.
Mike Kunkel, Cpl 0331, 81-85
Hi Sgt Grit, Have something to share with you and all the Marines (that includes FMF Corpsmen) out there. I was a Doc with 2/9 in the early 80's, My Dad was a Doc with the 11th Marines in Korea and he still has a Christmas card that I'd like to share with you, it goes something like this: Christmas greetings from Korea
Land of lice and diarrhea
From foreign shores, that we have mastered
Merry Christmas, you lucky Bast*rds
Yours, Doc Lunsford
SPIT SHINE OUR CADILLAC'S
Sgt. Grit, I'm enjoying the newsletter, it definitely brings back memories of my time serving. Cpl. Roseborough - Delta Co. Plt#1081 MCRD (1994-2000)
I have a twin sister who also served, Sgt. Roseborough. She was a CADRE instructor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba instructing the Navy on weapons (MP5, Shotgun, 9mm, M16A2) One of our past times in the Corps was a little competition we had. We were some squared away Marines proud to wear the Jungle suit...proud to wear the razor sharp creases in our khaki's ....Every time we got together we would have a competition on who could spit shine our Cadillac's the best....Honestly, we were both glass makers...he had our Cadillac's and Jungle Boots looking like black glass....we could never choose a winner...we took pride in our appearance because we knew we were representing a way of life. We weren't just representing the Marine Corps, but we were representing those who came before us...and those who would follow...The Corps didn't get that elite esteem for lack thereof....to this day...I still spit shine my shoes...still make sure my blouse and trousers are pressed...I still blouse my shirt if I'm wearing a shirt & tie...and I still use Sir and Ma'am....some things will never change! Oohrah!
I went through boot camp from March to June 1964, Plt. 329. While I was there, there was a story circulating about recruits staying loyal to their DI regarding thumping. Allegedly there were officers who circulated around the base checking for instances of recruit abuse, although I never saw one. Anyway, the story goes, they were always Captains and were recognizable because they were carrying clipboards. One day a young recruit was crossing the Grinder when a Captain with a clipboard stopped him. The Captain asked him a number of questions from a list on the clipboard and marked down his answers. At last, the Captain asked the question, "Does your Drill Instructor ever beat you?" Looking perplexed for a moment (probably torn between the truth and a lie), the recruit looked the Captain in the eye and says, "Sir. Only when I need it, Sir."
John Friedrich, Sgt.
IN DESERT STORM I FIGURED OUT ONE THING
Hello to all the fellow Marines out there, During the time I was in Desert Storm I figured out one thing a Marine should never do while in combat. Read the story to find out what it is.
During the first day we went into Kuwait, we came to a point where our forward progress became bogged down, so we had to sit and wait for all the elements to get a lined so as to continue forward. During this time a lone Iraqi was able to send about 6 or 7 mortar rounds on top of us and our vehicles. ( I was in a Cut-v, or pick-up truck in the civilian world), which had lost it's four wheel drive do to a failed manual locking hub. The hub we was able to fix by duck tape and a hose clamp to keep the sand out. (farm boy way) Since the truck did not have 4x4 it was very hard to get moving and at the time the mortars were hitting of course the truck just spun in place. I motioned a 5 ton who was behind us to come and push us out, so we could get the @ell out of there. He pushed us rather hard which did some demolition derby style damage to the tail gate. After we were in a safe location I took spray paint and painted "Push my #ss" on the tail gate so if we were in the situation again it was easily translated by any one behind us. NOW WE ARE TO THE POINT OF WHAT YOU DON'T DO IN COMBAT. Well any way we came to a oil pipeline which again bottle necked us. The Sgt. who was in the Cut-v with me was saying we should get moving so they can't hit us again. I responded by saying, "you know they don't use forward observers like we do that guy was just lucky hitting us with the mortars, the chances of them hitting us again has got to be like a million -to -one or so" (do not play Vegas in combat), because just as I finished this statement about ten rounds of arty hit us, once again the 5 ton pushed us as we tried to scramble the Sgt. (can't remember his last name) was yelling at me to never put odds on anything again. After the fact we did have a good laugh from it all. Moral of the story is keep all the odds making for the folks in Vegas.
Mike Topping, Cpl. USMC, 87-93, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejuene, N.C.
With so much discussion on "senior" enlisted ranks lately I want to share an experience I had upon reporting to Viet Nam. I was with 7th Marines Headquarters as a 2847 (2841 with KY8 training). After 2 weeks in country I considered myself a "salty" veteran. I was instructed to report to the 7th Marines Sgt. Major to repair a speaker on his radio. I walked to his quarters, hooch, threw open the door and said something like "Hey Sgt. Major I understand you are having radio problems"! He promptly stood up, threw me through his screen door and sat down at his desk! I ran back to my repair shop and arrived just as the Sgt. Major was screaming to all involved about what kind of idiots they had reporting to them! I commenced to receive a recruit training type a** chewing that lasted for many minutes. Then I was told to report to the Sgt. Major's quarters to check on his radio problems. My second visit was much different. I knocked on what was left of his screen and entered when instructed. After that incident the Sgt. Major would always call me by name when we crossed paths and those not in the know where impressed I knew the Sgt. Major that well. May be a coincidence, I was transferred to 3/7 later and took part in OPERATION DE SOTO.
THEN HE TOLD ME
I went to San Diego MCRD in Jun of 52 and was assigned to Platoon 447. I had some prior military experience having attended a 8wk Naval Reserve Camp at NAS Wold Chamberlain Field Minneapolis, MN. When that was discovered by the DI my name became "Anchor Clanker". For a period of time I became "right guide" and was replaced by a taller Marine and I became the lst Squad Leader. One of the things that was hard to explain was how we had to rake our grass in front of our Quonset hut, because it was all dirt! But, the rake line had to be in perfect alignment and that was each prior to inspection. Each Sunday we were allowed to attend our respective churches. Mine was Catholic. I was detailed to march all of the Catholic Marines main side to the Chapel. We were in our best utilities and bright shinny clean standing in front of the chapel waiting for every one to enter for we were going to be the last. An older fellow approached my detail and I called attention and he started to talking to each and every one of my detail and introduced us to his son and wife. He wished us good luck and took his family in to the chapel. Immediately I was set upon by a Marine TSgt in tropicals and questioned my very vigorously about the man who was speaking to us. He said don't you know who you were speaking to? I said no I didn't. Then he told me the man I and my detail was speaking to was none other that "Chesty Puller" and his son. I supposed the Marine really thought I was pretty stupid, but I didn't know but, never will forget the meeting.
Dave, Master Sergeant USMC(Ret)
SO I ASKED WHY
KILL KILL Sgt,
I am a Cpl stationed in Maryland and I have to share an experience that I never thought that would ever happen in any Military organization. I am stationed on an Army base and 2 weeks ago, I received a phone call at about 1600 from my Company GySgt. I was sitting down and eating dinner with my wife and her family. He asked me if it was possible if I could do a Honor Guard Funeral for a WWII vet, and of course I said hell yeah I would do it. He said that it was a brother of a ret. SgtMaj. So of course I went home pulled out the Alphas and began to "square them away" I showed up on Monday ready to go and met up with the SSgt and LCpl that were going to do the detail with me. After getting ready to go and getting a brief from the Company GySgt we found out that it was an Army Vet. So I asked him why the Army was not doing it, and he informed me that ret SgtMaj called many times to the Army and was never called back or anything. That made us mad, so of course we went ahead and did it. And we did the best d@mn honor guard that we could, just to show the family that just because he was Army and we were Marines...that we have respect and we honor all Military veterans. We received many crying hugs to our shoulders and it made me sad and p!ssed off at the same time that this family needed us and then it made me proud. I just wanted to share with all Vets out there no matter what branch....THE MARINES ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU...DON'T BE AFRAID TO CALL ON US.
IT'S OK KID
Dear Sgt Grit
I'm surprised no one who went through MCRD back in 50's at San Diego has mentioned the 40 ft tower at Camp Mathews. It was called abandon ship drill. The day we jumped we had our swim trunks and climbed the tower. There was an instructor there who told us the correct procedure which was cross your legs and place your right hand over the family jewels and keep your left hand at your side and step off.
When you are at the top of the tower it looks like you are standing on top of the Empire State Building, it seems like you can see forever.
The kid in front of me froze he was terrified so the instructor said " It's ok kid just stand here for a minute". So the kid was standing there when the instructor gave him a little nudge and over he went. Instead of going down in the recommended method he screamed with his arms and legs flailing and when he hit the water it knocked him out. Two instructors quickly grabbed him and pulled him out. Then it was my turn. When the instructor said go I didn't think twice. It was a long way down and despite my best efforts my left arm went straight out and when I hit the water it really stung.
While we were there and the Senior Drill Instructor ( Sgt Kerly) wasn't around Cpl. Williams would be in charge ( I'm not sure but I don't think Cpl Williams cared much for Sgt Kerly) but anyway Cpl Williams dreamed up what he called the Kerly cadence and while we were marching he would call out" Kerly cadence" and the platoon would sing out in a high pitched voice one, two, three, four I love the Marine Corps. That was our little secret.
And no I haven't forgotten the Drill instructors for platoon 353: Sgt. Kerly Sr. DI Cpl. Williams Cpl. Medina Pfc. Sibley ( who use to use the word onlyest a lot)
You guys will live in my memory forever.
S/Sgt Norm Barnes
HAD TO STEAL SUMPIN
It was Jan. '46 while our ship was in Taku Harbor, China. The 90th replacement draft was getting ready to disembark for our glorious tour of the Orient. Our platoon was waiting in a hold for our turn to leave and I realized I was standing on a hatch. Knowing we would probably be standing there for an hour or so, I decided to explore. Went down the hatch, found a light, saw all kinds of food, and got to thinking. I know a mind is a terrible thing to waste and my mind was telling me I had to steal sumpin. It was to be a 10 lb can of Spam.
I carried that thing for three weeks under my parka until we were settled in Peiping. Then, after having so much of the stupid stuff in the mess hall, gave it to our house boy. He smiled at me with that hockey goalies face and fed his family for a month. We later found out he was using our toothbrushes.
Anyone else out there who served his time in China? Write me at email@example.com.
Sgt of Marines Jim Gehring. '45 to '49
WATCHING THEIR TOILET HABITS
As a junior Drill Instructor on the field in 1965-66, while assigned to the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, we used liquid Wisk as a cure for Constipation. When we picked up our new recruits we started watching their toilet habits. After about a week we always had at least 5 recruits that were constipated. After lining them up, on their knees, we broke out the bottle of Wisk and proceeded to pour one cap full down each recruits throat.To my knowledge this procedure never caused any problems, and always relieved the malady.
Sometimes the simple remedies are the best.
Wayne K. Gray, USMC1957-71
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL
How would you feel about someone who was condemning today's soldiers, sailors, Air Force and Marines as baby-killers? When I was in Vietnam, my hometown's Vietnam Veteran Memorial got attacked twice by paint and tar by anti-war protestors. Someone sent me the news clippings with no return address. In a jungle tree line just outside my village, a 5th Marines company of grunts and my CAP Team found medical supplies and money (greenbacks) donated for rifles to the VC from Berkley University students. We found the stuff right after a 5th Marine grunt lost his legs to a booby trap.
WOKE ME UP FIRST
Saw the bed-wetter memory and had to throw my story into the hat. I was fourth squad leader of Platoon 1133 at San Diego MCRD January through March 1972. A dark green recruit from New Orleans started p!ssing in his rack nightly about the third week of T-Days. I figured he just wanted a way out. When my DI caught wind of it, literally, you can imagine the scene ... racks tossed all over the Quonset hut (that was before the dorms) ... language that would make the devil blush ... all ending with an edict to me to get the squad bay back in order "NOW!" and cure that "rack-p!sser today!" My solution? I had another dark green recruit in my squad that was about twice the mass of the rack-p!sser literally. His name was Private Poke. I think he was from Mississippi. He was about 6-foot, three-inches tall and a lean muscular 260 pounds. One glace at him, and nobody wanted to mess with Poke. I put the bed-wetter on the top rack with nothing but his fart sack across the wire mesh. I put Pope in the bottom rack. And I asked Pope to make sure he woke me up first if he got rained on in the middle of the night so I could watch the show. Needless to say, the bed-wetting never occurred again. A week later, the bed wetter got his mattress back.
Bruce C. Fisher
Cpl-MCTSSA-Santa Anna LTA & Red Beach at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, 72-73
IT SOUNDED LIKE A WATER MELLON
ON THE SUBJECT OF PEOPLE DRINKING THE LAUNDRY SOAP, THERE WERE PEOPLE IN MY PLT DRINKING BRASSO,SLICING THEIR WRISTS then we had crazy watch with these boots.AND ONE PERSON WHO P!SSED IN HIS FOOTLOCKER AND WHEN INSPECTION CAME AROUND HE WAS IN DEEP S@#T AND PAID THE PRICE. ON ONE DAY IN THE RIFLE RANGE WE FINISHED NORMAL AND WERE READY TO HEAD BACK TO THE H SHAPED BARRACKS IN SAN ONOFRY BUT WE STOPPED NEAR THE ENTRANCE OF THE RIFLE RANGE AND OUR DI ORDERED US TO PREPARE FOR INSPECTION OPEN RANKS AND EMPTY EVERY THING OUT OF OUR POCKETS AND PANTS, THEN THE SGT CORTEZ INSPECTED OUR UNIFORM UTILITIES FOR AMMO AND WAS ASKING IF ANY BODY WANTED TO DIE OR KILL THEMSELVES . IT TURNS OUT THAT A FELLOW BOOT BLEW HIS BRAINS WITH HIS M-14 RIFLE IN THE SHOWERS FROM OUR 3RD BATTALION. HE WAS INTIMIDATING EVERY ONE HE INSPECTED ASKING "You want to kill your self" WITH A STAREING ANGRY FACE TO ALL HE INSPECTED AND ALSO ASKED IF WE DID NOT HAVE A ROUND HE WOULD GIVE YOU ONE. JUST TALKING BS. THERE WAS AND OTHER INCIDENT WHICH WAS A STRANGE ONE ONE SUNDAY IN WHICH WE HAD ONE HOUR TO WRITE HOME AND CLEAN WEAPONS IN SIDE THE TWO FLOORED BARRACKS I WAS LOOKING OUT SIDE AND SUDDENLY I SAW SOMEONE FALLING DOWN FROM THE SECOND FLOOR AND EVERY BODY WAS GETTING READY TO GO LOOK TO WHAT JUST HAPPENED, BUT OUR DIs ORDERED US TO STOP AND NOT WATCH WHAT HAPPENED. THEN LATER AND AMBULANCE CAME AND TOOK WHO EVER FELL AWAY AND WE DID NOT FIND OUT WHO WAS IT OR HOW IT HAPPENED. TO ME IT SOUNDED LIKE A WATER MELON FALLING ON THE PAVEMENT. "CRUNCH" I WAS IN PLT 3072 IN 1972 GRD ON SEPT-21-72 WE HAD ONE STG,THREE STAFF STGS,ONE GYSGT AND ALL VEITNAMCOMBAT MARINES SO WE WERE INSTRUCTED THE CORRECT WAYS BECAUSE VIETNAM WAS NOT OVER AND THESE DIs TOOK EVERY THING THEY LEARNED AND EXPERIENCED TO KEEP US ALIVE EVEN IF THEY HAD TO GET OUR ATTENTION THE HARD WAY,EVEN IN THE RIFLE RANGE LIKE I SCREWED UP A SHOT THE DI FROM THE GUN RANGE TOOK ME TO THE TUNNEL YOU KNOW THE TUNNEL TO THE TARGET BUTTS WELL HE WACKED ME ON THE NUGGON WITH THE M-14 LOADING BOARD (A 2 BY 4 with holes for the rounds when qual fireing) HE GOT MY ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND I QUALED SHARP SHOOTER WITH THE M-14 WE WERE STILL QUALIFYING WITH THE M-14 RIFLE AND UNTIL I CAME BACK FROM IWAKUNI TO CAMP LEJUENE THEN I QUALED WITH THE M- 16 ANY WAY TO ALL MARINE BROS SEMPER FI. JUST A PIECE OF WHAT HAPPENED AND IF ANY OF YOU PEOPLE FROM 3072,3071,3070 3069 KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GUY WHO FELL OR PUSHED OUT OF THE BARRACKS IN 1972 FROM JUNE-19 TO SEPT-21-72 SEND ME INFO
ARTURO E GARZA
WELL THE TROOPER HIT HIS LIGHTS
First thanks for the consolidation of all these great stories. With almost six years in the Corps I am beginning to develop a bit of salt on my shoulders, but still not enough for the rim of a Margarita, but I digress...
The story about getting out of tickets "March 4 Newsletter" jogged my memory about a similar experience I had. I was on my way to Camp Lejeune to join my first FMF unit, 3rd Battalion 10th Marines. I had just graduated from the Field Artillery Basic Officers Course in Ft Sill. My hometown in Florida was on the way so I decided to take a couple of days en route to see the family. I made the entire trip in two days in my Chevy S-10, needless to say I broke several posted speed limits during my trip. Now, my little town was about 5 miles off I-10 and at that point I had not been stopped by any kind of law enforcement. I got off at my exit and gunned it, I was so excited to be home (it had been about 7 months), I crested the hill and looked down on some off the most beautiful country God ever created, and at the bottom of the hill was a State Trooper. I couldn't believe my luck! Well the trooper hit his lights and I dutifully pulled over about 25 meters in front of him. I looked over to my passenger seat, where my Alphas were hung, brand new shiny 2nd Lt. bars pinned to the shoulders, and thought to myself "OK, back in the South, hopefully this guy will give me a break." So he get out and asks me the standard questions and with yes sir's and total professionalism I explained to him that I hadn't been home in months and got excited getting off the interstate "That's why I was speeding, sir". He nodded and began asking me all kinds of questions about the Corps, my MOS and training up to that point. He looked me square in the eye and told me he appreciated my service....and then the SOB handed me a 200 dollar ticket!
Keep up the great work!
Captain C.J. Blume
Hey Sgt. Grit!
With all of the stories that Marines have written, I have seen none (in the last two+ years) regarding swoop circle at Camp Lejeune. I can remember we'd have a 72 or a 96 and we'd all be talking about what our plans were for the weekend. For those that had cars and lived fairly close they were swooping home. For those that didn't have cars but lived fairly close, they were headed for swoop circle. Swoop circle was located by the field house at Camp Lejeune close to main side. If you had a car and wanted to either offer a ride or get help with the gas money, you also went to swoop circle. You'd get there and there would be jar heads lolly gaggin around with signs stating where they desired to go, Atlanta, D.C., Philly, etc. So this is how Marines would help each other out with a situation that both would benefit from. It could've been a grunt, a re-con Marine, a canon cocker, a doc, or an office pogue (nothing malicious intended there). We all helped each other out at libo time. And when you got dropped off you made sure you had phone numbers and arrangement for your ride back. I only remember once someone not making it back after a 96, two devil dogs that decided they hadn't had enough fun yet and went past the exit off of 95 to head over to Camp Lejeune and kept going straight through to South Carolina for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately they had too much fun and the 1stSgt had to go pick them up after being thrown in jail for drunk and disorderly and they had no money. That was almost a day that will live in infamy!
Love those memories!
Michelle R. (Keim) Christman
CPL of Marines 87 - 91
I spent my last 6 months in the Corps at Cherry Point. I swooped 600 miles one way to Pittsburgh, PA. I met a Nam buddy Cpl. Larry Schamus there and I went home with him almost every weekend. We could do the 600 miles in 9 hours straight. We had it down to science. One stop about half way to refuel, p!ss, and food. It was the spring of '71, I had a '69 Plymouth Roadrunner. Most weekends I had the same 5 passengers, all would contribute to the gas. And of course pick them up on the way back, again precision timing. Outstanding memories and a great way to unwind after 18 months in Nam.
I WANTED TO DO THE SAME THING
To all the retired Marines who served our country, I would like to say thank you. I read what you had to said and it touch my heart that once your a Marine you'll always be a Marine.
I joined the Marine Corps to find my place in this country. Some of the Navajo Code Talkers were my elders who joined to served and protect this country during WWII. They were an inspiration to me for joining. I thought what they did was a courageous thing. I wanted to do the same thing, but I got my chance to go over seas during the Operation Enduring Freedom. When I arrived I was separated from my unit, because they were surprised to see a female come off the plane. I spent 35 days at Shaubia Port in Kuwait, helping unload the ships, it was my job to separate the vehicles into convoys and to which units they belong to. There were times when I had take a bus to different camps to pick up Marines to get their trucks at port and send them on their way. When all this was done I was sent back to the rear, Camp Lejeune.
When I came home, I was kind of mad and happy. I was mad cause I trained myself for the worse, to fight and to protect my country. And I was happy when I made it home safe. What I still don't get is why would they train us females the same way they do the guys and they only let take the guys into combat. I mean there is a reason why most females join the military. Most people don't understand why I love the Marine Corps and why I want to go back. I could have gone this time around, but my commanding officer said it wasn't a good idea, since I just had surgery. But they will need me in the future. And I will be there.
My name is LC pl Cly, Deidra from the Navajo Tribe. I'm 20 years old and still loving the United States Marine Corps. I've placed my history at the yellow footprints at Parris Island on January 29, 2002 to the platoon of 4013 November Company. Semper Fi.
IT TEE WAH
When I arrived in Korea in 1952 I was introduced to a spoon that was called a "IT TEE WAH" It was a spoon from your mess kit. They would flatten and sharpen one side so that it served as a spoon and knife. If someone one wanted to borrow your" It Tee Wah" spoon you would lick it clean and hand it to him. And when he was finished with it he did the same.
Jack Nolan 1131869 1950-1957
HE KNEW WHAT WAS MEANT
One of my best friends is a retired Navy journalist. We were talking one day, about the high and low points while serving our country. As old salts, we kept our "one-upmanship" going for a couple of beers when he told me his top of the list which I had to admit was truly in a category of its own.
While working at one of the military television uplink sites, one of his co-workers was a Woman Marine Staff Sergeant. As they had worked together for a few months and during a grab-ass with verbal barbs, he used the word BAM." Being a navy man, he knew what was meant by being keel hauled. After a few moments with the WM in his face and not having a very unfriendly, one-sided conversation he learned what happens when a Woman Marine that out-ranked and out-weighed him, took exception to a spoken word. I will give him credit as he did not use the phrase again and has not to this day.
L/Cpl Coleman 61-65
THE IMAGE THAT JOHN WAYNE
I've always been bothered by the image that John Wayne has among some Marines. The reality is that Wayne never served in the military. He was 4F in WWII. So was Jimmy Stewart. Stewart, however, contacted a friend, Elliot Roosevelt, who contacted his father-who happened to be President of the US-and Stewart was permitted to join. He flew 25 missions over Germany as a B-17 pilot.
In 1967, I took one of my young officers to Saigon to receive a Silver Star from the Chief, Special Operations Group. After the ceremony, before we went back to the field, Dave and I were walking on the Street of Flowers, when we saw John Wayne and his four body guards.
Dave went ape. "Oh, oh. Look that's John Wayne." I said, "Dave, you asshole. Who cares. He's never been in the military. You've just received the third highest medal for valor the country has. Wayne spent WWII making movies and money. Screw him.
But Dave was adamant. "No. I want to meet him." I say, "Fine. Introduce yourself."
I stopped and waited. I had no desire to meet the SOB. Dave walked up, stuck out his hand and said, "How to you do, Mr. Mitchum."
I laughed my ass off. Wayne and his entourage looked straight ahead and walked away without comment. George Goodson, LtCol, USMC, Ret.
WHAT A RELIEF
While reading some of your past Newsletters, I was reminded of a Thanksgiving in 1950 when I was with HQ Batt 2ndMarDiv. As usual we had turkey and all the trimmings at noon. The Mess Cook then made turkey salad for the evening meal and it was pretty good. About 0100 I awake with my gut hearting like h*ll, made a mad dash to the head, all stalls were filled, ran up topside, all stalls filled,went to the head at the other side, all filled back down below and again all stalls filled, needless to say I was in a heap of trouble so I returned to my squad bays head and beat another guy to a just vacated stall, what a relief! Boy, was the Skipper mad as the whole battalion was laid up for two or three days. The cook had left the salad out in the galley instead of putting in the refrig. We got a new mess cook.
If anyone remembers this give me a shout.
Enjoy your newsletter very much.
Larry Werber Aem3/c USN 1944-47
SSgt USMC 1947-57
PHOENIX VETERAN'S DAY
Phoenix, Az is having a parade for Veteran's Day as is most American Cities. This year the parade is dedicated to the Vietnam Veteran. We will have 2 Medal Of Honor Recipients as Grand Marshalls this year. However prior to this parade and events on October 22, 23 and 24 The Arizona LULAC Veterans Organization will be having an event that is well worth letting all Veterans Know about. They will be having a 3 day gathering of all vets to present and give information and let them know what services are out here for them. Information about the VA and how to navigate thru the paper work, work shops and other service providers with information. On Saturday October the 23, there will be a rally with the THEME OF WELCOME HOME THE VIETNAM VET ONCE AND FOR ALL, this will be at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix 1700 W Washington St located just east of the State capitol. There will be speakers, and music and laying of the wreaths. ALL VETS ARE WELCOME. The information fair and work shops will be held in the atrium of the City Building on 2 ave Mayor Phil Gordon, who is very pro veteran and other dignitaries will be there. I will provide more info and I know they will be posting a website real soon.
I am not a Vet but a mother of a Marine who served in the gulf, was married to an Air Force Vet (he couldn't be a Marine) and am dating a Marine. I am involved with the veteran's issues and our LULAC Chapter is the 1st Veterans Chapter of LULAC in the NATION.
Thanks and keep up the good work Maria Valdez Phz, Az
IN VIETNAM 3 BANDSMEN
The majority of the people in a Marine Div. think that the guys blowing the horns, and beating the drums are REMF's, but if you check your Marine Corps history you will find that the First Mar Div Band has been every conflict/war since Guadalcanal. They have served as stretcher bearers, ambulance drivers, ammo truck drivers,and since Vietnam have served as the Div CG's Security Platoon. They have also served on the line with 782 gear and M-16 rifles in Desert Storm,and in Iraq. In Vietnam 3 Bandsmen lost their lives in 1968 defending the Bands sector of the fence line at Danang when they were overran by the VC. I am happy to say that I was in the First Mar Div Band at Danang in 1965-66 we did as good a job as the GRUNTS.
RECYCLED THROUGH BOOT CAMP
Just a few thoughts about all this anti- USMC reserve crap.
First, I just finished reading a book about the 1st Marine Division breaking out from the Chosin Reservoir 50 some years ago. That is one of the most glorious moments in the history of our beloved Corps as those Marines demonstrated the true meaning of "brotherhood" and "loyalty". Reservists were well represented and acquitted themselves very well.
Second, who is this critic that he has to take off on somebody who is serving his country in a part of the USMC? I think he needs to be recycled through boot camp and learn why we wear only the EGA, no unit patches, no MOS patch or other sub-insignias. A person is either a Marine or not a Marine - active, reserve, inactive, retired or deceased.
Third, our Corps has survived internal and external enemies and kicked more crap out of more external enemies than any other service because we are a band of brothers, loyal to one another. One overly motored mouth, or key board in this case, yammering about regulars vs. reservists will lead to MOS vs. MOS; officer vs. nco vs. troops, etc. which can only hurt the Marine Corps.
So, my recommendation to any "Marine" who needs to feel superior to his brothers is to quit the Corps and join the Air Force as a pilot, or command a ship in the Navy or be an Army officer where your snobbery will be tolerated. Marines have no time, tolerance or patience for such counter productive foolishness.
RVN, '67 - '68
WHY HE NEVER MENTIONED
In the last issue of your weekly news letter the question was raised. The medals that Marines receive did they win them or where they awarded for duty above and beyond the call.
First let me say the only medal I have is the Good Conduct Medal. I don't claim to be an expert on this subject. Several year ago when I lived in the greater Chicago Area. One of the local television stations was interviewing a candidate for political office. If my memory is correct the candidate name was George Dunn. The reporter asked Mr. Dunn, why he never mentioned in his campaign that he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, during World War 2. Mr. Dunn, replied in a somewhat gruff voice, I did not win the medal. The medal was awarded to me by the President of the United States, when you make reference to the medal use the it's correct name, it is the MEDAL OF HONOR. Not the congressional medal of honor. And I refuse to us the medal for personal gain.
Someone once told me that MOTHER'S of MARINES, are God's right hand and arm. The older I get the more I believe it. Sgt. Grit keep up the great work of getting the word out. Let not forget the Men and Women MARINES, that are protect our freedom around the globe 24/7. God bless them and guide them.
Cpl. 61 - 62
LANCE CORPORAL THOMAS A. BLAIR
Marine Lance Corporal Thomas A. Blair Posthumously Awarded Medal for Heroism During Operation Iraqi Freedom Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Broken Arrow Lance Corporal Thomas A. Blair was posthumously awarded a Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device. His mother, Nancy Blair, will be presented the medal in a ceremony to be held at 12 o'clock at Broken Arrow's Veteran Park, located on Main Street, on 19 March 2004. Lance Corporal Thomas Blair was a native of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and graduated from Broken Arrow High School in May 1997. After graduation, LCpl Blair enlisted in the Marine Corps as an Anti-Air Defense Gunner. LCpl Blair deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina to Kuwait in 2003. While in Kuwait, his unit was attached to the First Marine Expeditionary Force, the headquarters for all Marine Forces in the region. During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, as a member of 2d Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, LCpl Blair volunteered to serve with 1st Battalion, 2d Marines (Task Force Tarawa) for their attack on 23 March 2003, to seize the bridges in An Nasiriyah, Iraq. While in the attack to seize the bridges, LCpl Blair directly exposed himself to an intense barrage of indirect and direct fire from enemy machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to move nine wounded Marines to an armored vehicle for evacuation. After loading the vehicle, LCpl Blair volunteered to provide security for the armored vehicle as it ran a gauntlet of direct and indirect enemy fire. During the movement south to the battalion aid station, the armored vehicle was destroyed, mortally wounding Lance Corporal Blair.
I AM ALIVE TODAY
Let's knock off this grab-ass about reserve vs regular Marines! I served with draftees/reserves/regulars, and I can assure you that when they wear the globe & anchor ... they are Marines! I spent two miserable winters in Korea ... and I am alive today because of those draftee/reserve/regular Marines to my left and my right. End of story!
Sgt JJ Kramer 1299852
I WAS HOPING I HAD TB
Camp Matthew's was the firing range and we spent three weeks because we also pulled mess duty there. We lived in tents and the head was quite a way away from the tents and if we had to p!ss at night we would go out behind the tents which was a big drop off and pee over the side. It was colder than blue blazes at night and we didn't want to get dressed to go all the way to the head. The DI's knew this and let us get away with it for one night and then after that we had p!Flcnrart@aol.com ss watch for one hour at a time and we needed our sleep as you get up at 4;30 AM when you are on the range. So, if you had to pee at night you didn't have any choice but to double time about a quarter of a mile to relieve yourself. They seemed to get their jollies out of making it hard for us boots. One finds out later that they were just teaching us to adapt. When I first got to boot camp and we got another physical they found some spots on my lungs. I was hoping I had TB so I could get out. But they were just scar tissue. After a few weeks and a lot of running I was getting in pretty good shape then I wanted to stay. About half our platoon were draftees and they looked like old men to a 17 year old. I was five foot six and 192 pounds. When I finished, I was five foot nine and weighed 156 pounds. Quite a change in thirteen weeks. I ate everything the mess hall had to offer and still lost all that weight. That just goes to show what exercise and no pogy bait can do for you.
That was the greatest 13 weeks in my life.
Dan Powell, 1330210
I love reading the loyalty, courage and determination of all the Sgt Grit contributors. Last summer I lost my former Marine husband to cancer and complied with his wishes that he be laid to rest in one of our country's National Cemeteries. He served proudly in Korea and never forgot his Marine roots. The Marines formed his honor guard to lay a "brother" to rest. He would have felt blessed and honored by their presence. When I went to see his final resting place I cried because they had honored his request to be placed next to my Uncle (Air Force, WWII, Korea and Nam) and his wife and on the other side was a Marine who died in Iraq. What wonderful company he is in. It gives me great comfort to know he is where he would want to be.
Our grandchildren are very proud of their grandfather and one Grandson (10)is in the Young Marines just waiting for the day when he can join.
Marine Wife for 43 years
A GROUP OF FRIENDS
A note to tell you a great MARINE friend of mine that went to Parris Island with me passed away on March 8,2004. He served from 2/54 to 2/57. A group of friends restored a 1952 MARINE CORPS Jeep and we carried the flag covered casket to the cemetery with the casket loaded sideways with honorary pallbearers walking behind the Jeep. This friends name Is Sgt. Richard(Dick) Layman. Information sent by Dale Ferrell. Cpl.
THEIR UTILITIES WERE IN DISARRAY
I would like to add my two cents to the reservist question. I was in the 13th Marines in 1969 and we were sent to Twenty-nine Palms for a month long artillery shoot. After a couple of weeks, we all thought we were pretty salty. About that time, a Reserve unit moved into the Stumps for their two weeks active duty training. Well, a couple of our guys were self-assessed "bad asses" and announced that they were going over to the Reserve unit and show them what "real" Marines are like. Most of us thought they were just blowing smoke but and wouldn't go through with it, but they did. They came back a couple of hours later. Their utilities were in disarray, one of them had a split lip, the other had a black eye. The rest of us couldn't resist the temptation of giving the "bad-asses" a hard time. Somebody said "Hey, I thought you were going to show the Reserves what real Marines are like". The "bad-asses" kind of hung their heads as they made their way out of the tent and, as they were leaving, one of them answered "Reserves are Marines, too."
So there you have it. From someone who had to find out the hard way. Semper Fi!
Geoff Nicholson Sgt 1968-1970
DANG I GOTTA GO
Hey Sgt. Grit
Just dropping a line. After reading all the boot camp stories, thought I'd add one of my own. Went to MCRD San Diego in April 1991. One day, during third phase, our platoon was washing gear on the cement wash racks behind the barracks. Our DI was Sgt Charamie. A thin rail of a man with a rather pointed nose. He hailed from Louisiana and had the accent to match. Thankfully he also had a sense of humor, which our other DI's seemed to be lacking. Well, he was watching over us as we cleaned our gear. I was standing next to our guide, Recruit Chojnacki. He was from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Apparently, Chojnacki had to go to the head and appeared a bit distressed. He whispered to me "Dang I gotta go." So, he left the wash racks and went up to Sgt. Charamie and assumed the p.o.a. "Sir! Recruit Chojnacki requests permission to make a sit-down head call, sir." Sgt. Charamie glares down at Chojnacki.
"Chojnacki, do you really have to go?"
Sgt Charamie asks again "Real bad?"
"How bad do you have to go Chojnacki?"
"It's playing peek-a-boo sir!"
Sgt Charamie laughs and tries to hides it. "Go Chojnacki, get out of my face. You have two minutes."
Chojnacki turns and in a rather troubled gate, double-times it to the head. Everyone at the wash racks were keeping there laughs as quiet as possible.
Sgt K. DeSpain, HqBn, 1stMarDiv
I'D BE LYING IF I SAID
Concerning the thoughts about the Reserves not pulling their share of the load. I was a member of "C" company 2nd Tracs for 4 1/2 years and was left on "Oki" to "defend the Pacific rim against communist aggression" in "90-91". Charlie was an active unit that was selected to where it was for the duration of Gulf 1. I'd be lying if I said that whole Company wasn't miffed about going to the Gulf and being replaced by the Reserves on the Battle line. Lets face it we spent four years training for this and then we were told to be the bat boy. When we returned to the states after our twelve month "six month deployment (yes we where already there), the Corps was doing as congress always does, down size. Therefore there were no boat spaces on active duty. I'm from Portsmouth, Va and I knew there was a reserve unit in Norfolk, so to keep my foot in the door I joined up with them. For 2 years 7 months 28 days and about 14 hours "A(-) 4th Tracs" helped me keep my sanity in a world of sillyvilians. I was called back to active duty and was sad to leave the men with "A(-)", but was happy to return to the FMF. I found out when I reach Richmond Mepps that was would not be returning to 2nd Tracs, but I was on my way to 3rd Tracs, Hello West Pac. Now here's the Kicker for anyone who doubts the Reserves. In fiscal year 1994, between Oct 1 1993 and Oct 1 1994, (yes the whole year) "A(-)" 4th Tracs pulled more field time training and more ship Ops than 3rd Assault Amphib Bn (Rein). Now if the reserves are such a bunch of servers how in Chesty's name did the Reserves Pull that off? "A(-)" has 2 1/2 Platoons, 3rd Tracs has 7 Companys. If anyone has doubts about Reservist tell them to get their head out of their water jets and look around. On another note look back to Dec.7 1941 the crew of number 2 mount on the tin can that fired the first shot sinking a "JAP" mini sub was a group of 19 year old farm boys from the Midwest doing their 2 weeks of active duty. Nice shooting Navy.
Semper Fi !
Peter J. (cabbie) Cabanillas
WELL, JAKE THE SNAKE
A little story about boot camp at MCRD. June 1952, plt 435. I just turned 17 and had never been farther away from home than 25 miles. They put us on a train at Cincinnati and sent us to Chicago. There they put us on a troop train and started us west for Dan Diego. It took us four nights and four days to get there as they kept making our engineer go to a siding so the fast trains could go on. When we got to the desert we had to open the windows to get some air. No A/C back then on troop trains. We washed out our underwear and socks and held them out the window for a few minutes and they were dry. I was a smoker and had no cigarettes or money. The other guys would give me a cigarette now and then. Jake was older and street smart and took advantage of a couple of us. When we got to boot camp and was assigned a DI, the first thing he wanted to know was who could type. Well, Jake the snake could so he got a few breaks. Our DI, S/SGT Ralph English would call out from the DI hut. "Jacob's get up here." He would respond by saying "coming Ralph" but just loud enough so he couldn't hear him. We all figured that one of these days another DI would hear him and tell our senior Di and there would be hell to pay. He got away with it all through boot camp. Being a young green kid he started to pick on me and boss me around. He started his s--t one night just before lights out and I went after him with my bayonet. He ran for the door and I threw it at him and it stuck in the door. Needless to say, he never messed with me again.
D Powell 1330210
JACK--READ WITH MUCH LAUGHTER YOURS ON THE P-38, OR JOHN WAYNE, OR CHURCH KEY, AND YOU HAD IT ALL RIGHT EXCEPT THE TERMINOLOGY ON THE THINGS IN THE LITTLE GREEN CANS--OVER IN E-2-9-3, OUR TERMINOLOGY WAS NOT "HAM & LIMAS" , BUT "HAM and MUVVAS"
1592874 SEMPER FI !
I read about PFC Binske and the $10,000 yen story. I was in Japan at Camp McGill with 3rd Shore Party Bn., and I think S/Sgt Norm Barnes had a senior moment. The rate was 360 per dollar so his poor soul gave almost $30.00 dollars not $10.00. I was there from 1954-1956. Thanks for your newsletter it's neat to go back and see some of the things from my time in the Corps.
Sgt. Peter Wojciechowski, 1430847
this year marks the 50th year i would have been in the marines corp.
I joined sept 2 1954. George L
Ever heard the term "BINOT'' ? Don't know if this is a acronym or what, supposedly it refers to a boot or new guy.
It's over too soon, the news letter. The news letter is one of the best parts of the week and it makes Fridays special. I'm proud of my Marine Corps and glad there are people who share the same views as I do about our county and military in general. Gotta go, its getting warm in here, my eye are sweating. Bo
SEMPER FI, MAC
SINCE 1940 I'VE ASKED EVERY MARINE AND ORGANIZATION