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 - March 4, 2003

Sgt. Grit, My son was in Iraq in Jan and did not come home till July. He also has volunteered to go back. May god bless all our Marines and troops. Like the other moms I'm proud but still scared.

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1st Annual GriTogether

O.K. it's official! We are having the First Annual GriTogether at Sgt Grit's on May 22 from 11-3 PM. More information will appear on the Forum Page, Website and Newsletter in the near future.

As it stands, we plan to have FREE hotdogs and hamburgers. Door prizes will be given away and there will be a moon walk for the kids. Our local Marine Recruiter will be here with the pull-up bar, so you can find out if you still got it. So Old Corps, New Corps, and Future Marines, mark it on your calendar. The First Annual Sgt Grit " Grit Together"

Bring you family and friends and come and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Marines.

Here are a few hotels in the immediate area that are working with us on providing discounts and transportation to and from the hotel. Try AMERISUITES first. They have given us a hospitality room and other considerations.

AmeriSuites - $67.00 + Tax - free cont. breakfast - free shuttle to us
1818 S Meridian Ave
OKC, OK 73108

Biltmore Hotel - $59.00 - $64.00 w/ breakfast for two (continental I think)
401 S Meridian Ave
OKC, OK 73108

When you make reservations at the AmeriSuites, you need to say that you are with the Sgt GriTogether to get this rate and so we will be notified.


Leatherneck Square Rocker Patch

FDC Rocker Patch

Montford Point Rocker Patch

MCAS Iwakuni Rocker Patch

Series Honorman Rocker Patch

Pickle Meadows Rocker Patch

Semper Fidelis Rocker Patch

Dong Ha Rocker Patch

WWII Rocker Patch

2nd Battalion 1st Marines


HMM 161

HMM 266

1st Battalion 4th Marines

3rd Marine Brigade

3rd Battalion 6th Marines

12th Marines

Desert Storm Task Force Ripper

Operation Restore Hope


2nd Reconnaissance Battalion

Desert Storm Task Force Grizzly

1st Marine Division Band

Recon Detach 1

1st MEF

7th Comm BN

3rd FSSG


I apologize. I did not review the list of Marines in the last newsletter closely enough and there are errors in it. Mr. Bob Keeshan and Mr. Lee Marvin did not win the Navy Cross. Dan Rather did not finish boot camp. Sorry for the wrong info. Sgt Grit


Sgt. Grit:
Just a memory of my father. My father was a WWII Marine, I just recently found pics of him in uniform with my mom that must be circa 1940. Both my parents have passed. My dad sat down with me before I shipped out to Nam and told me, Keep your head clear, and listen to your Sgt's, because they run the Corps.

Well I recently opened an old "Steamer Trunk" that I've had in my attic for decades. Inside I found a Marine Corps Green Blouse, with Gunnery Sergeant Stripes and two "hash marks". It was mostly heavy cotton material. I found my old sea bag from 1970 and my "Old" Marine Corps blouse with Sergeants Strips on it, Both today reside in my closet, protected from the elements. My Father never spoke of his WWII experiences, the newspaper article I found said Cpl. William Davis at "Pearl Harbor" Dec. 7, 1941. From there he went through the Pacific Island campaigns. When he got home his son (my oldest brother) was over 5 yrs old. No wonder he used to beat the crap out of me, when I screwed up, but he showed up at my graduation at Parris Island on 4/67 Plt. 149, than I knew he was proud of me and respected me.

Semper Fi Jim Davis Sgt/USMC (ret)


Things never change, the just get recycled. After reading Al Careaga, former Gy/Sgt.'s tale of "bed wetting". I recall that during my 2nd tour, I pulled duty as a D.I. One of my "boots" was prone to the problem. I had each boot on "fire watch" (boots stood one hour watches through the night) wake the problem child at the start of his watch. The problem child was directed to pee in his canteen cup, take it to the head, scrub it out with his tooth brush and return to his rack. He was cured of his "problem" in less than a week.

Sgt. Walter Dodd '43-46 & '49-'52. P-38?

I always look forward to reading your newsletter every Friday morning. Many fond memories are rekindled after reading the letters from Marines who served and continue to serve our beloved Corps. The letter in today's issue about the "P-38" or "John Wayne" triggered another memory for me. I served as a Vietnam Grunt (0311) in the "Flaming I" 3/9/3 from July '66 through August '67. I learned quickly that the trusty C-Rat opener in my company was nicknamed the "ITEWAH", pronounced It-tee-wah." Supposedly an American Indian word for can opener and as for as I know, 3/9 was the only outfit that used this terminology for something every Grunt wore on his tog-tag chain. A "Church Key" was also a prized possession for without a Church Key it was almost impossible to make a decent "Stove" to melt the grease on those delicious Ham and Limas. Hot chow was almost unheard of for those of us in line companies which meant your Itewah was your key to fine cuisine in little green cans!

Semper Fidelis
Jack Riley USMC Grunt


I have used the words "Top" "Sarge" and others for the past 62 years and never had any complaints. Dodd serial # 831403, 1943. Even though he may of volunteered for the Corps he was old enough to be registered with Selective Service, so when he came in he was either USMC-SS or USMC-SS-V. Collier # 566248 came in 1945. In all probability was 17 years old and that is why he had the lower number. When I came in I was assigned # 333648 in 12/41 at RS Cincinnati. It was quite easy in those days to tell about when a person came in. Women had a separate block of numbers. I still have a oval brass dog tag that I was given in 42. It shows my Tetanus shot was given in 2-42. Traffic Tickets: Last summer I drove to Alaska. I was stopped in Tok, AK at night for 52 in 35MPH zone. I was wearing my seat belt, clean, sober, have my Purple Heart License plates on the car, a Marine Corps sticker in rear window. The State Police officer chewed on me a bit and gave me a verbal warning. He was a Gulf 1 Vet who came to AK to work. On I-5 south of Olympia WA in late July I was still on my trip. I was stopped for 77/70. Officer came up took my ID asked me what battles I was in as I was also wearing my "22d Marines WWII" hat. I told him. He went back to his car checked me out. He came back as said " No, I am not going to give you a break, you earned it." He was a former Marine Sgt and currently an officer in USAR. No I do not make it habit of speeding. I have been stopped a few times in my long life but have never paid a moving violation. Parking tickets? Ah that is another story, I've had hundred or more. Most were on my unmarked Govt cars with confidential plates. I have even paid a few of them that I recd on my personal car.

Frank Wetzel 41-63


It seems every platoon had a "pisser" trying to get a section 310 discharge. Ours was a private Warchuk from somewhere back East. Every morning he could be seen with his mattress draped over his head heading out to the wash rack and clothesline area. It seemed to work, for he was gone in a matter of a few weeks. Our platoon was #214. We were in SD from January to April, 1956. Our DI's were Sgt Mach and Corporal Ellsworth. I was fortunate enough to be chosen Right Guide, Dale Shockey was our Left Guide. We won the honor platoon designation and set a Battalion record grade of 91.9 to that date. I still have my dog tags, which I had chromed and are on my wife's and my key chains. I also had a short jacket that I really liked. The Army called them Ike jackets. It was issued to me in the reserves in Chicago in 55. None of the guys I went through boot with were issued this jacket. I also have a lot of fond memories about my boot camp and Camp Mathews days and remember many of the hilarious things that happened to us while in training. They never dim or go away.

Mark C. Klein Sgt of Marines 1480816 1955/58


Semper Fi Sgt Grit
Well I have been reading the letters on what is appropriate to call MSGT, 1st Sgt, Mgysgt and Sgt Majors. During boot camp we all learned the proper names from E-1 to O-10. My first experience with something other than that was when I was in ITR at Camp Pendleton. I was in the company office along with our Co and 1st Sgt. The CO called the 1st Sgt "Top". As I enter the FMF there were other names. 1st Sgt became 1st Shirt, Sgt Major was always Sgt Major when addressing him and in private the nickname was Smaj. MSGT were called Top along with Mgysgt. Mgysgt were also referred to as Master Guns. I did have the privilege of working with a true Gunner. He wore the Mgysgt rank on one collar and the bursting bomb on the other collar and we called him Gunner. All those I have worked with and others, these names were not disrespectful and we all looked up to them as our leaders. On another note I never called any Marine Sergeant Sarge either as a junior or as their senior. I won't even call An Army sergeant Sarge.

Semper Fi
GYSGT Jim Stokes
USMC ret
Aug. 1970 to Feb. 91


I am posting this story for my fellow jar-heads to read. I graduated from Parris Island in the fall of 1967. I was assigned to platoon 1025 under the watchful eyes of Drill Sgt. Gysgt. Haraway and S/Sgt. Ciotti. After finishing motor-T school at Montford Point, NC., I was sent to Nam. This is the account of my crazy first week.

A few hours after arriving in Danang, I was told that they could not fly me up to my unit (H&S Co., 1/26) because they were on the move to a new location in a place called Quang Tri. I was booked for a ride on the back of a water truck that was northbound to Quang Tri. I had no weapon at this point.

While waiting for the truck to leave, I went to use the outdoor latrine. As I sat there, in walks an elderly Vietnamese woman and she began to use the seat beside me. She looked at me and smiled. I got my first look at the results of beatle-nut. In shock, I finished and we soon departed on the truck. We made it to Quang Tri safe and un-harmed. A couple of days later had to visit sick bay. I was told I had a case of sun burn. I know you must be saying "so what!", well, you see, this was hard to take for a young 18 year old black kid from Albany, Georgia. I didn't know my body would do that. (Smile).

After a couple more days, I was getting ready to make a trash run in a vehicle called a mule. I think it was an M-274-A1 flat bed type truck. Anyway, as I started to pull the cord and crank this thing, I failed to notice it was in 3rd gear. I pulled it anyway and this mean green machine started, ran over me, and crashed into another mule before it stopped. Ashamed and unhurt, I looked around to see if anyone saw it. I did not see anyone. I looked at my t-shirt and saw the tire track. I looked at the tire and saw my face and lip print. I fell out laughing. Well, I didn't get mad, but by day seven of my first week in Nam, I figured I had been pre- disaster so I relaxed and got on with the war.

PFC. James C. Williams, (H&S Co., 1/26)
Opelika, Alabama
Disabled Vet.


Dear Sgt. Grunt
Enough time has elapsed and the statutes of limitations has expired so I can confess to being part of the great Candy Bar heist.

It happened like this I was on the troop ship USS Okinokan APA 220 we had just completed a 30 day voyage from San Diego to Yokuska Japan and was anchored in the harbor.

We had been told by the Old Salts to make sure we had put enough money aside to buy pogy bait (candy) because 30 days at sea is a long time and naturally most of us were broke the whole trip. I was a brand new PFC at the time

A bunch of us were in the second compartment down in the bow of the ship when some of our guys were volunteered for a work party ( you remember you, you and you are on a work party). They were resupplying the ships store.

Soon cases of cigarettes and candy are passing by. The Navy had posted one of their own at each landing to make sure none of us nar do wells and scoff laws tried to steal anything. Just as one of our guys walked passed the sailor on duty turned around and was looking up the ships ladder at that instant our guy sat a case of Oh Henry candy bars down. Instantly a blanket was thrown over the case and an instant card game materialized.

Later when it was all clear we helped our selves to the candy. That night on guard duty I ate Oh Henry candy bars until I got sick.

I have not eaten an Oh Henry candy bar since. (Feb 1954).
S/Sgt Norm Barnes


Dear Sgt Grit.
I joined the Corps in June, 1950, my memory for many things has slipped these past few years quite a lot, and names, places just can't seem to come back to me as before. P.I. in the next three months with the knats, the heat and all were especially hard on us boys from above the Mason-Dixon line. I do recall some incidents that I thought were worth mentioning.

One of my fellow recruits received a food package from home and the Sgt made him open it in front of everyone and eat all he could of it, then threw the rest in the trash. I wrote to my sister and said, please do not send any packages of food to me. Me and about four other recruits were assigned to assist in food preparation for a week in one of the training areas. The Sgt told me to get in my khaki's and go see the Chaplain. It was quite a hot walk back into the main base area. The Chaplain asked me if I was happy, if I were treated well, etc. I said absolutely. He said he had received a letter from my sister. He sent me on back to my duties. I immediately wrote my sister again and told, please don't write to the Chaplain or anyone else from now on. Boy was I mad. Had to walk all that way for nothing.

The other thing that I thought you would find interesting, was when our Platoon 56 went to the firing range. I had never fired a rifle or weapon of any kind before then. After our usual training period the day of qualifying came around. On that day, I will remember forever what might have been. Going into the third round of firing, I had a score perfect bulls eyes and had a score of 100. The third round was interesting as I fired my rounds so fast that the instructor began hitting me in the head with his cap and cursing at me for doing that. But, when it was signaled that I hit all bulls eyes, his eyes popped open wide and he stayed close to me on the next round and that too was all bulls eyes. I had shot a perfect 200 at that point. At the final round, the prone 500 yard range, the Sgt, a Captain and a bunch of others stood in back of me, as they were waiting for me to do something wonderful, a perfect 250.

Well, I was still in good form, and confident. I squeezed it off and it should have been a bulls eye. It was a three. The Sgt encouraged me to aim well. I did and it was in the two ring. What the heck. He gently asked me if I was aiming properly, etc., and I said yes. He then took the rifle from me and went into the prone position and fired it himself. A three. He tried again. A two. He cursed and gave the rifle back to me saying nothing more. I finished off the course that day with a 226. When we were cleaning our rifles after qualifying, I found out why the shots were not hitting where they were placed. The gas cylinder port screw which should have been screwed in tightly had come loose somehow and was the reason for the bad shots.

I never forgot that, and years later when I was assigned to help Marines assigned to office duties to prepare for requalification at the range at the base outside of Norfolk, I reminded them to tighten that darn gas cylinder port screw before the next ten rounds. Some did not appreciate the physical training and mental training that I put them through, but they all would requalify. One had told me that he had not qualified in several years and was thankful for the drills, and the forcing them to know the target sizes, ring widths, etc.

I served 8 years and my brother served 4 during this time. My younger brother, 4 years my junior is 68 now and we had never gotten along as kids. But since both having served in the Corps, that common bond made all the difference in the world. I feel it yet today for all the former and current men and women in the Corps. I love you all, and salute you all. God Bless each and everyone of you. Semper Fi. (I was shocked when a neighbor here, a former Army guy, said that he thought Semper Fi was a phrase of disdain. Never was back then, and still isn't in my book.)

SSgt J.R. Himden, USMC 1950-1958.


I grieve tonight for a close friend and a fellow Marine. His name was John Sia! When I was in the Nam you made a bond with certain people. It was people you loved and trusted your life to. They felt the same way about you. Nobody can ever understand the bonding unless they experienced it for themselves. My journey through life has brought me in contact with many people and nothing can compare to the love Marines share for each other. I shared this love with John and I will truly miss him!


MCRDPI, spring of 83. On line in the squad bay, first thing in the morning. Counted off to make sure no one strayed off the reservation, then the DI had to do something in the "house". A dark green recruit was standing there bouncing and squirming, the sure-enough universal sign that his bladder had reached maximum density (my son did this when he was 3, also.)

After reaching the point of no return, he quickly turned about, and promptly dumped his two canteens full of water onto the deck, much to our horror, for we felt that we would all have to pay. So as he is whizzing in one canteen, he's emptying the other. He almost filled BOTH canteens, and quickly returned them to their pouches. Once his side of the squad bay went to the head, he took some dirty cammies and mopped up the water. No chance to empty the canteens of their vile contents. Still, the DI said or noticed nothing.

Or so we thought. We ate chow, then returned to change over to PT gear. We had to carry our canteens, and the DI warned us that NOT ONE DROP OF WATER was to hit the deck for any reason! He must have seen what this idiot had done! We finished our PT, and walking in circles, had to pour one canteen of water over our heads to cool off, and drink the other until it was empty. Doing everything not to laugh, we had to watch this recruit deal with his self-induced corner of hell. He dumped the canteen on his head, but refused to drink the other canteen. He was made into a "sugar cookie" with his urine soaked t-shirt covered in sand, but still refused to drink. The DI's eventually got him to confess to his sins and walked him away from the platoon and out of sight and earshot. He came back to the platoon with a sour look on his face and two empty canteens...........


10,000 YEN

Dear Sgt Grit
It is with great pride and amusement that I read all the great letters my fellow Marines past and present (and no there is no such thing as an ex marine either you were or you weren't).

In 1954 in Weapons Co, 1st Bat, 3rd Marine Div.South Camp Fuji Japan A new kid arrived in the 81 Mortar platoon. When I first saw him he was Wearing a field jacket with his cover pulled down against his head, he resembled a little old man with his hands stuffed in his pockets. It did not take long until the pranksters took notice of this innocent, gullible kid. He believed everything they told him. One evening someone came back from liberty and said" Hey I just saw Binske in the Golden Gate Bar with a bargirl". This got everyone's attention. A short time later Binske returns from liberty and was immediately confronted by Cpl.Owens. " Where you been Binske? he demanded.

Grinning Binske said " I was out in town having a beer".

"Were you with a woman?" And he acknowledged he was. " How much did you give her to keep you company" Cpl Owens demanded.

Binske is not smiling now, said " $10,000 yen" ( about $10 bucks). Upon hearing this Cpl Owens lets out a loud yell " You what, $10,000 yen don't you know that is a court martial offence"?

From here the whole thing took on a life of its on. Cpl Owens stacked a foot locker on his and threw a blanket over it and announced a court Martial was now in session. Cpl Kennedy a part time chaser at the camp brig Appears wearing and MP arm band ( remember now we are all sitting around in Our skivvys) and takes charge of the prisoner.

"PFC Binske you are charged with over payment to a bargirl, how do you plead guilty or not guilty"?

Just then Cpl Walsh steps forward and says "Just a minute your honor this man does not have legal representation". "Well in that case you are here by his court appointed legal advisor". For the next several minutes the court battle raged with dialog such as " This man has just arrived in Japan and has no knowledge of the law". Which was followed by " Ignorance of the law is no excuse." In the mean time poor Binske is standing there with this hang dog look on his face.

Finally it was the decision of the court that Binske be given 30 days in the brig. So they make the poor guy pack his sea bag and they are taking him to company office to the duty NCO. The duty NCO in the mean time has been listening to all the dialog so when they get to the office he demands to know what's going on. They explain that PFC Binske has been found guilty of over paying a bargirl. So the duty NCO demands to hear the whole thing over again. By now half the guys in the squad bay are trying to cram into the company office. After hearing the whole thing over again the duty NCO drops all Charges and orders the tormenters to help Binske put everything back in his locker. From that day on Binske didn't smile again and he warned his tormentors to stay away. There were several of us that felt bad about it. Someone made the comment" You tease a dog enough and they get mean".

S/Sgt Norm Barnes 1435350


they just keep coming, memories that is. Two points: In Korea 1950, the 5th Marines were mostly regulars. Puller organized the 1st Marines from the under strength 2d MarDiv and reserves. The 7th Marines were mostly reserves and got most of the MOHs. Inchon was the 1st and 5th Marines on 9/15/50; the 7th Marines didn't get there until the 21st.

At Chosin the 7th Inf. was on the east side of the Reservoir and damn near got wiped out. There were only 2 way under strength btns. The 5th & 7th Marines were on the west side at Yudam-ni; the 1st at Koto-ri. Fox Co 7th kept the Toktong pass open at great cost, otherwise no one would've gotten out. Fox was mostly reserves, many of whom are here in Nashville. 3d Btn 5th did a heroic job at rear guard in the evacuation. We didn't see the 3d army div. until we got near Hamhung, and they provided artillery cover to dissuade the few Chinese who were left to pursue us. The Breakout was entirely a Marine operation with logistic support from the USAF dropping food and ammo and Navy and Marine Corsairs doing the close air support. The "lost" 17th Regt of the 7th Inf had gotten to the Yalu River and I think the Chinese never found them and I hear they were evac'd out by the Navy.

At Hamhung the Navy took out almost 100,000 Korean civilians along with the Marines and army units. If ordered, the Marines could've held that corner of Korea. No question the 3rd Div army would've been great help but they were not responsible for the breakout. And thank God for the Marine reserves. I was a regular, A/1/5. Brigade and Division.

Ray L. Walker
Nashville, TN


During my four years, 42-46, I only recall serving with one Marine who would be classed today as a weekend warrior and never went to boot camp.

During WWII the Corps had a category wherein enlistments were for "duration of war plus six months". Marines in that category were USMCR and went to boot camp along with those who enlisted for four years and were USMC. Most enlistees at that time were USMCR which accounts for so many having that classification. These Marines planned to return to civilian life and their old jobs after the war was over. Needless to say many became weekend warriors who later served in Korea when their units were activated. This is in reply to the note submitted by StfSgt P.B. Modesti, B Co, 8th Tanks, 4th Div., who mentioned many grave markers bear USMCR. I received my record number of 384564 on 20Apr42. StfSgt Gaston, USMCR Sgt Grit, I wanted to add my two cents to the Mustang Major's comments about reservists. Unfortunately we have a lot of uneducated people out there who love to stir up sh%t about the reserves. To those who have no clue, look at all those Marines that served on Iwo Jima, when you look at their graves you will see USMCR--- note the R. For Reserves. Either way, the active duty force will always need the reserves.. get over it.

Semper Fi.
PB Modesti SSGT- Desert Storm


Here's one more about the old stuff that we kept. When I got my orders for Nam and was leaving the folks in August of 66, my Grandfather took me aside and gave me his dog tags from WW I. He was an army engineer and had been at Chateau Tierry. I wrapped them in black tape and wore them from the time I got in country in Oct of 66 to the time I left Nam in Jan of 69. I made an awards frame later and put all my stuff, including my own original dog tags, my Grandfathers and my Fathers medals from WW II, on it. I keep my original Nam John Wayne on my key chain and the first two pair of boots and my field jacket with liner I got when I became a 2nd Lt in 73. In Jan of 67 I was attached to the 2nd ROK Brigade and they gave me a pair of the Korean cammies. I still have the cover but gave the jacket to one of my daughters. (My head hasn't gotten any bigger but the rest of me is not quite the same. My daughter will get the field jacket as soon as she comes back from college.) When I was leaving Nam, we were processed out in Oki and I bought a short timer bottle of bourbon. It was a ceramic camo helmet on top of a pair of boots. Unfortunately the cats broke it a few years ago and spilled all the booze, but I put it back together with super glue. (Actually the place smelled great for a week. The girlfriend didn't like it much but heck, she was never in the Corps. Kept the cats, got rid of the girlfriend.)

Steve Eslin
Pvt to 1st Lt


Hey MARINES, we are ALL Marines, it does not matter if you are male or female,'old Corps'. or been in and out since Viet Nam. This BS about calling us anything but Marines is just that. In my time (68-80), we did not have very many women in my MOS(2531/2537). Those few were derogatorily referred to as BAM's. (Broad Assed Marines). This has changed since the draft ended in the 70's. That was my time in the Corps; this is yours.

This crap about what past Marines should be referred to has made me quite confused. I come from a 3rd generation ranching family that has fought in most of the major conflicts this country has been in since WW1. My uncle, WW2 Navy and sunk twice, my grandfather, WW 1, gassed but no wounds, my Dad, wounded on Pelieu WW2, myself 2 tours Nam,3/7, Agent Oranged but no heart. So be it........

The point is, if you have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor ------ YOU are a MARINE!! Be proud of that fact. You're not ex-, former, or ???, etc. Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine!!

Semper Fi Marines,
Michael D. Shults (Sarge, and damn proud of being SARGE!!)


Hi Sgt. Grit
I happened to run across this web site today and glad I did. I don't have many material things from the old days. My sea bag has a worn ring on the bottom from when I put my bucket inside as we packed our bag and box for our trip from MCRD to Camp Matthews for rifle training. I recall when we returned our new Quonset Huts location was closer to the mess hall because the new recruits which included the Phil and Don Everly, were occupying our old ones. I still have my combo lock and it performed security for close to 30 years for my lockers with the California Highway Patrol and it has also been retired. But the memories, those I have many. But onr I remember was from my Dad, also former Marine 1943 to 1945. He said when you get to boot camp , keep your mouth shut, don't volunteer and obey your D.I.'s, they're only trying to keep you alive. If you hold a grudge later on you may see them on the street and you can settle it then. The advice was good, but I never met them on the street but if I do it will be a salute.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Chapman 1962837
8/61 - 8/65


Sgt. Grit:
Truly enjoy your newsletters and brings up some wonderful memories of my days in the Marine Corps.

I graduated from MCRD in May, 1956. I spent a couple of weeks at Camp Mathews in April, 1956 for rifle training. No hot water, no heat while we lived in tents with the sides rolled up. I was in Recruit Platoon 127. We had a weirdo from Kansas, who didn't belong in the Marines. He wanted to go home and one night a bunch of us talked him into leaving. We encouraged him to walk to Highway 101 and hitch hike north to L.A. and then hitch hike east to Kansas. This was before the freeways.

I don't remember the name, but he took off and went over the hill and we never saw him again. We did hear from our DI, Sgt. T J Johnson, one mean s.o.b., that the poor bastard was picked up and thrown in brig. We never saw him again, which was fine for the rest of the platoon.

Cpl. James E. Sullivan, USMCR
1956 - 1963


Parris Island Platoon 313 1966 As tough as boot camp was there are a lot of funny memories. Two that stand out in my mind are these. We had this one recruit who I think really had a problem holding it when he had to pee. The DI must have saw something one day as he ordered everyone to get their buckets and fall out in front their bunks. The next order was to "put your bucket over your head" It was pretty funny when this recruit dumped a bucket of piss over his head. It was a long time ago so I forgot what this recruit did but the DI made him wrap a sheet around himself, put his bucket over his head, carry a mop and march up and down the squad bay all night saying " have no fear Gunga Din is here".

Ron Szwec USMC


Boot Camp.....PI.....July, 1967.....Plt 3015 Our Senior DI, SSgt Butler, had informed us that (1) an occasional "thumping" was meant to square us away and make us Marines and (2) recruits did NOT rat on their DI when they were thumped. It was an Unwritten Code of Loyalty, etc. This pronouncement came from the mouth of God so, of course, we believed it. About halfway through we "picked up" a New Pvt from another platoon who had recovered from an injury. He was a nice guy but not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you get my meaning. Anyway, SSgt Butler had him standing tall in the squad bay when he arrived and asked him, "Did your other DI's ever thump you?" The New Pvt paused a moment and then said, "Sir, No Sir!" in a clear and loud voice. SSgt Butler then turned to us and started to say, "You see what I mean? That's loyalty. Even if his other Drill Instructors did hit him..." but he was quickly interrupted by the New Pvt who suddenly realized what he had been asked and said, " mean hit me? Yes sir, he hit me all right"? The entire platoon couldn't control the laughter and we did a lot of PT afterwards for doing so. The New Pvt was instantly a member of our platoon.

Cpl. Tom Mahoney '67-'71


Sgt. Grit:
I have a story about boot camp that you might find humorous. The recent stories about boot camp included in your newsletter brings the memories rushing back as though they happened yesterday.

I was at MCRD San Diego in 1985, Charlie Co., Platoon 1037, Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Bradley, Drill Instructor Sgt Partridge, and Drill Instructor Sgt. Steinbecker.

We were probably half way through the 13 weeks of training and I had bunk mate named Chesterton that was very slow. I soon realized that I had to do something to avoid the daily trip to the pit because of Chesterton, so I trained myself to wake up each morning around 3:00 for a head call. After this head call I would put my trousers and socks on and blouse my trousers, so I could have a head start on reveille and take up my bunk mate's slack. This plan worked pretty well for about a week or two, but then our guide made the drill instructors aware of what I was doing. I am sure you can imagine what happened next.

One morning reveille was sounded and we were told to get online immediately (in front of our footlockers). Well there I was, trousers on, socks on, and trousers bloused. Everyone else was standing there in there skivvies. Drill Instructor Sgt Steinbecker came and faced me and asked me what I was doing already dressed. I answered as only a dumb kid could, Sir the private does not know Sir.

Every morning from that day forward, the guide, who was on firewatch from 4:30 to 5:30, came to my bunk 5 minutes before reveille and made me pull back my covers and show him that was not dressed. I suppose Chesterton got his stuff together, because I don't remember too many more trips to the Pit. I enjoy your newsletter so much and also all your products. Keep up the good work and Semper Fi!!!!!
Joseph M. Irby


Sgt Grit,
This is in reply to Sgt Matt Kirk's boot camp stories. Apparently, drinking WIsk was a common way to get out of boot camp! Here is a story to go along with his, but I am not sure how this one ended for this particular recruit. I graduated from PI in October of 1981, platoon 2063 and we too had a "Wisk drinker". My story goes as follows: One day while on laundry detail (I believe it was a Saturday or Sunday) I was working in the head as part of a 3-man detail. I was working as the "dryer turd" taking all of the freshly washed mesh laundry bags of PT clothing and throwing them into the dryer. I remember the dryers being fitted with a half-rim or clip that supported the DI's covers so they could be dried after cleaning (without anything else in the dryer of course) and in between drying recruits PT clothes, the "house Mouse" was ordered to dry the duty DI's (Sgt Ishmail) cover after it had been lighted cleaned, I suppose. Anyway, it was dry and we pulled it out and placed on top of the dryer. Just then a newly recycled recruit, (I never did find out his name as he was only with us for a few days before he left permanently), came in and right in front of the 3 of us, grabbed a bottle of Wisk from the top of the washing machine, that the "washer turd" had placed there. We watched in astonishment as he open the cap and guzzled the remainder of the blue liquid. He immediately dropped to the floor on all fours and started "dry heaving". As he fell however, he fell towards the dryer and his one outstretched hand caved in the DI's cover sitting on top of the dryer. The "washer turd" ran to the DI hut to get Sgt Ishmail and he came in running and screaming at this poor chap to "get up off the floor and stand at attention with his feet at a 45 degree angle and his thumbs at the trouser seams!" Sgt Ishmail screamed at us and asked us how this happened, and ordered the house mouse to call the corpsman. Then he saw his cover all caved in! We backed away in shock and fear, as Sgt Ismail got down on all fours next to this guy who was trying to puke as his body seemed to convulse all over the place. Sgt Ishmail kept screaming at him and yelling for him to "blow bubbles" and "die, before he beats him to death". Before we knew what was happening the rest of the platoon was trying to come into the head to see what was going on as the corpsman where there taking him out on a strecher. Ismail was running right beside the stretcher yelling and screaming at this guy! We never saw that guy again, but the rest of the day was fairly quiet and the DI's layed off of us for the rest of the day. Not a pleasant story, but one that I will never forget.
Mike Kunkel, Cpl 0331


A boot camp story for you guys. I am sure that everyone out there had a guy in boot that could not walk and chew chewing gum at the same time. We had one of these clowns and whoever would be marching close to him would get singled out just like him. The DI's called them the laugh squad. Whenever we would be marching, no matter how good we were doing when that DI would say "WHOA, stop mob, we knew that hell was on the way. The DI would say "Laugh Squad Out", he would line these guys up and then like a choir director, he would say "Ready Begin" they would sing HA HA HA HA HA HA HA and the rest of us would get the command "Push ups, ready begin". Now in August at Parris Island on the Parade Deck and you doing pushups with a bunch of clowns laughing, well you can imagine what happened that night. I believe that the guy in question probably is teaching the Silent Drill Team now.

Don't forget our little Brothers and Sisters in the Big Sand Pit. Let's don't let people here turn their backs on them like they did us. Semper Fi Bros

Ron Shouse
KheSanh School of Warfare Class of 67/68


Sgt.Grit here is another keepsake story. I still have my Platoon picture from Boot Camp and a still photo of myself. These two picture were taken in 1952. I also have a Green P#ss Cutter from that era. I was in Platoon 34 MCRD San Diego Ca. I was sworn in the Marine Corp on my 17th.birthday. 1-11-52 in San Francisco Ca.
Ira Joseph 1224347 USMC 52 to 56


Sgt. Grit.
My last news letter from you some guys were writing about the rats in Nam and I do have to agree, they were the biggest rat creatures I ever laid eyes on and thought you might like to hear my tale of woe with one of them.

As you remember the heat over there was horrid, lay there and watch the flies drown in the sweat in your belly button, and those of us in Chu Lai were always looking at ways to keep our sleeping quarters as cool as we could.

On one of my missions into the boondocks for some good old Marine Corps Quality Time, I found a parachute that had been attached to one of those huge flares they use to drop out of the C-130's, well I gathered it up and brought it back to base camp with me, thinking I'd nail it up over my rack area, might keep some of the heat off me while I had the time to catch some Z's, and this I did. Now at this same time, the Corps was really going after them rats, an all out campaign to rid the area of the critters as some of the guys had been bit by them and we were using poison on the vermin. One day I woke up in my cot after a sleep only to find some weird looking slimy things laying in my rack in the general area of where my *ss was. I went into total meltdown, horrid thoughts that by eating all that gook chow I'd come down with some kind of Viet Nam worm that was eating my guts out. I ran to the aid station and reported this matter to a corpsman, He was real calm and told me to bring him a sample the next time this happened. Sure enough, the next day.....There they were, Gawd horrid looking things, I sawed the top off a beer can with my sticker, scooped some up and hauled ass to the aid station, giving same to the friendly corpsman.

He looked at them and went into peals of laughter, and I got real tense, he then told me they were maggots, and at that I went nuts, like Sweet Baby Jesus, this lousy country has given me something where I'm dead and rotting from the inside out, I just ain't laid down yet, man I'm cooking off now. The kindly corpsman tells me to go back to my area and do a thorough inspection and sure enough, one of them big rats that got a belly full of that poison had crawled up into my parachute and died, just infested with maggots he was and they were dropping on me, man first and only time I was happy to see a dead maggot infested rat, I was saved.

D.E.Backus 2208306 Sgt. of Marines
Chu Lai 67-69


Down the street from me is a small bar that is a Marine bar. You walk in and immediately you see Marine pictures, unit patches and other memorabilia. Last year on Nov. 10th I took my wife and my son and his girlfriend as well as one of my daughters and her husband. both of them had served in the Air Force and my son is in the Michigan Air Guard. It was their first experience at seeing the Marine corps birthday. Their were old past their prime Marines like me that have added a few pounds, some that could still wear their uniform (they make me sick!)(joke yall!) and current Marines male and female. But it was the brotherhood. MY wife and kids came away impressed. one of my stepsons is in the Army reserve, he will be commissioned this summer. My Wife accuses me of being somewhat arrogant when it comes to comparing branches of the service. As I told her when you are the best its hard to be humble! I have a nephew who is a baby marine. He enlisted last summer he left 29 stumps palms)on the 15th of February to go to Iraq. TO Private Daniel Mathenia I say Semper Fi son and come back in one piece! He is continuing the family tradition. Last but not least I forward this letter to a friend of mine her son is in the army, airborne I believe, he has been in Afghanistan and is now is in Iraq. This news letter has helped her understand at least a little bit. about military life. And by the way I was a air winger, I feel a little naked sometimes in reading your letter. surely their have to be more wingers reading this!

Semper FI Yall!


Sgt. Grit and to all my Brother Marines! We have a new Marine joining our ranks. My youngest son, Samuel Adam Beltram or should I say PFC. Samuel Adam Beltram will be graduating from MCRD on 3/12/2004. His older brother will be making Corporal on 3/1/2004.

Thanks to all of you for writing to Samuel while he was in Boot Camp. He said that really helped out a lot. In fact you guys wrote to both of my sons.

I can never thank you enough, Bros!. Sh*t, my eyes are watering up. Must be my sinus. Thanks again and Welcome home!

Charles A. Beltram
Sgt. USMC 1968 - 1972
Viet Nam Vet 1970 - 1971


Sgt. Grit
Very good newsletter, brings back a lot of old memories. In response to Albe Munson, I was also stationed at Camp Talega. I was there just a short time , Oct.64 to Feb. 65. I was a 1371 in "A" Co. I got there right after boot camp in San Deigo. Plt 350 June 15 to Sept 8, 64. I remember my first Christmas away from home. Walking a post in the cold rain, midnight to 4am and we had some joker that was running around throwing stones at the sentries and singing Xmas carols in the rain. They finally chased him into one of the huts, caught him and shipped him off to gog knows where. Did you qualify with a hatchet? I did, blindfolded, over at "C" Co. and then had to make my way back to our area with a shredded cover on my head. It was the target! I also had to go to supply for a board stretcher and ended up going allover camp to try and locate it. I finally caught on. At 17 who knew!! Unfortunately they shipped me out to Hawaii in February so I missed the deployment across the pond. Talega was used as a staging area for the boat people in the lat 60's early 70's. It was also used in the movie Heartbreak Ridge, you'll note the hutch numbers are 64000. Its still used today but I believe its a reserve detachment that maintains it. I stopped up there a couple of years back and it had not changed Much since I left in 65. I started at 1st Engineers and got out in June 68 from 8th Engineers, Camp Lejeune. Did you by chance know a guy named Jay Kosek? He was with "C" Co 1st Engineers when they shipped out to Nam in April / May 65. We went in together from high school and ended up getting out together in 68 from 8th Engines, "A" Co. If you have any other info let me know.
Semper Fi
Marshall DeYoung 2087665


Dear Sgt Grit,
I served as a Marine for six years before being discharged for a hip injury in Aug 2003. I hated having to get out. I hated having to go back to being a civilian! When my old 1stSgt found out I had been discharged his response was: "I thought she was going to stay in forever!" I was so disappointed at not being able to be around the Corps anymore until my husband and I got married. We had met while we were both stationed at Camp Lejeune and got married January 23, 2004. Three weeks later he was on a plane to Iraq. Since I had moved to South Carolina and already had a job here before we got married, we decided that I should just stay here at least while he was away in Iraq. Since I already knew what the Marine Corps way of life was like, I figured him being deployed wouldn't be as hard. Boy was I wrong....especially since I don't have other Marines around for support, etc. But getting your newsletter brings back that feeling of camaraderie and support and makes my husband being in Iraq a little bit easier to bear. Thanks for being a constant source of support and esprit de corps.

Semper Fidelis-
Sgt Susan "Storm" Saldana
2nd Marine Division
Aug 97 - Aug 03


I am a retired MSgt "52 - 72". Two tours in RVN "66 & 69" both at Chu Lai "by the sea" and Chu Lai "in land". MOS 7041. There was a "fist fight" I attended @ Santo Domingo and was exposed to my very first deceased Marine.

I love the Corps and when I married I explained to my bride that the Corps came first and she second. We experienced and enjoyed our "tour" and to all those that have come and gone "God Bless the Marine Corps. I still have my Dress Blue uniform and I'll be buried in that beautiful suit. I wish to thank and praise our young Marines of today, Semper Fi! Top


Sgt. Grit. A few words on Gunny Levesque. He was my DI ( Plt 254) at PI in Feb. of 67. He rode us and , of course , never let us quit. To this day when things get tough, I still dig down, think of Levesque kicking my butt, and somehow I manage to get through it. He has displayed this in his own life as well. At the time I hated him. Now, 37 years later, I realize what a remarkable Marine and person he is. I am now filled with respect for this courageous Marine. Semper Fi. Ron Rosenthal

GySgt Levesque Poster


This former Marine (1963-1967) was in Las Vegas last November and one night, which just happed to be November 10, while walking back to the hotel I was staying at I saw three young Marine privates in their full Dress Blues walking across the street. I yelled to them " THE MARINES HAVE LANDED" and they all yelled back "OORAH"!! I then yelled back to them 63 to 67. Those three young Marines then ran through the traffic to come over to me and as each one of them shook my hand they each said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINE"

That old proud feeling came back to me because it makes no difference young or old to be a United States Marine. We are all brothers!
Carl R. Anderson 2022507


Sgt. Grit,
Forgive me Sgt., for I have sinned: It has been 8 years since my last confession to a Sgt.....

During the last Christmas season, while working at the airport, me and another Jarhead I work with noticed all types of army green dress uniforms coming through the airport. However, the wearers apparently did not rate much, because they may have had a ribbon on them, but no badge or rank. I assumed that they were all privates, but they were actually still in boot camp, and were allowed to go home for Christmas. So I waited. And waited. And wondered when these souls would return to their own land of the lost. A few days after Christmas, they began to slowly regroup and come through security to board their planes. And I told several of them army pukes "I know why you joined the army." They would look at me in wonderment, wondering if I really knew..... I replied "It's because you couldn't join the Marine Corps...." Justifiably I received many looks of severe ingratitude. I hope I didn't sour the image of the Marine Corps too much. Perhaps I shouldn't have told you, know that we will have about 30 or so army doggies running around in their green uniforms, seriously contemplating either their decision to become a dogface, or contemplating the sanity of the idiot at the airport.....

Jeremy Doxey
Cpl 1992-96 3/26


Sgt Grit,
Please pass the WORD to all former 3/26 Marines that a reunion will take place June 16-20, 2004, at the Lake Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. (800) 245-8667 or
Also, if anyone served with the 26th Marine Regiment, including attached units and corpsmen on Iwo Jima or Vietnam, please contact me about a book that is presently being written about the Regiment. Contact me @ Gary A. Gruenwald, Former Sergeant of Marines, P.O. Box 656, New Market, Maryland 21774 or Thank you and Semper Fi,


I was very glad to hear that the old Rocks and Shoals form of discipline was no longer being practiced (except perhaps behind the barracks or out back somewhere). In January 1953, in Platoon 7 MCRD, our D.I.s were two three stripe buck Sergeants with three or four rows of ribbons from their duty in Korea who frequently resorted to minor slapping or minimal punching of the recruits that had a problem understanding their commands. And when the going got really tough and they had had a belly full of our stupidity, one frequently heard them mutter something to the effect they did not know why they tried so hard, most of the idiots would be dead this time next year anyway, meaning Korea was the next stop for us.....Usually upon hearing something like that we perked up immediately. But yes there was some corporal punishment occasionally. I made it almost all the way through and almost never got touched but one day (reminiscent of one story in this last newsletter) I too made a right face when the D.I. called for a left face. Only it was not on the day of competition, it was the last day of training before the competition drill. Unfortunately, I was facing the drill instructors and both were watching me with looks of absolute disbelief that we could have come this far and one S.....tBird did something stupid like that. When I saw that finger curl up motioning me to immediately report, I ran at a trail and reported dutifully. The senior took my utility shirt by the front and twisted it so his knuckles were in my adams apple and as he jerked me back and forth his knuckles bashing my adam's apple, he asked don't you know your left from your right by now boy????? I haltingly responded between bashings of my adams apple that sir yes sir. With a short quick jab to my solar plexis (which did not hurt a bit) and a spin of my shoulders and a swift kick in the Butt which by now I knew I fully deserved, he said get back in ranks. That was it. That was the only mistake I made in Boot Camp (in MCRD) Now Camp Mathews, that is another story...better left for another time. I will say this about the current crop of Marines. They are the best and it is done without laying a hand on them and more power to current D.I.s that can do it. However, I can truly say, no D. I. ever had to or ever did scream at me like they do today. Maybe I was too shook while going through boot came to notice. But I remember some very tough strong D. I.s who took on the toughest in the platoon and made them shake with fear and never raised their voices above a mild shout. Technique is what it is all about and I am not about to get into a debate about that never having been a D. I.

Finally, I do notice that many of those that wrote in to this latest issue agree that their Marine experience dominated the whole of their remaining lives. I sincerely agree, but then is it not what it is all about? Duty, Honor, Integrity, Commitment? God, Country, Corps,
Semper Fi Richard E. Nygaard SSGT 1953-1963


Sgt. Grit. I have written to you only once before to share my thoughts with you and all of our brothers and sister but I had to write again. MSgt. Steve Bruce (Ret.) hit the nail right on the head with his letter in the last newsletter. Our phrase, "Once a Marine. Always a Marine" is something that will forever be true and does not change with age. I recently was going into a local home improvement store here in Savannah, Ga. where I live and as I was walking across the parking lot I saw an older Marine and his wife (both had to be in their 80's) coming out of the store. It was evident that this man was a Marine by the red cover he was wearing with our emblem emblazoned across the front. They were headed in a slightly different direction than I was but as he was looking around for traffic, he changed his course when he spotted me crossing the parking lot and they both walked straight toward me. He obviously spotted the t-shirt I was wearing that had the chest-sized emblem on the front. As we got close to one another, we both shook hands and greeted one another with a hearty "Semper Fi, Marine!" and kept on walking. This Marine's age had no bearing on his handshake because when he shook my hand, my knuckles cracked. He was as strong as ever. Before I went into the store, I had to turn around and see where this Marine and his wife were parked. I watched as they walked 2 rows back in the direction that they were originally headed as they were coming out of the store. This Marine went out of his way just to shake hands with a brother that he didn't know. Is there any other branch of any military anywhere in the world that where all of it's members share this kind of bond? I think not. Will there ever be? I think not. My heart was warmed on that cold dreary day by a brother Marine with a warmth that can't be described. It can only be felt after earning the title, UNITED STATES MARINE. Semper Fi. Carry on.

Danny E. Russell,
U.S.M.C. 1984-eternity.


Sgt. Grit, RE: Walter Dodd's note :" Telling a Boot"- His se