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 - April 28, 2005

Why is it you have Army Brats, Navy Brats Airfares Brats but Marine Corps Family members?
A brotherhood, A family, A Corps...
CPI.Massey Vet Nam 2/68-10/69
[AKA] Sparkey the welder.
Aco. 3rd Amtrac.

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I Can't Say I Was Chesty Puller

To All who shall see these presents, Greetings:
All good war stories can, must & will begin the same....... Say it with me, my Brothers...."Now This Ain't No Sh!t!"

I am a Viet Vet and like many others was treated badly upon return to "The World."

On the streets of Baltimore walking with a cane, I was spit on by a young "LADY" who called me a baby killer. ( I have always wondered if that came from a movie or was it S. O. P. for civilians? ) Her boyfriend & others soon had me on the pavement turtled up to protect myself. I went down swinging. I can't say I was "Chesty Puller" but those long hairs knew they had been in it. When I had done my best, I was forced to turtle up.

Now we come to it. The SEMPER FIDELIS of our story......
The two sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

1. A shotgun blast

2. The firm voice of my older Marine brother:
"The next son-of-a B!tch that lays hand, foot or drop of spit upon my little Marine brother dies in his tracks."

I was taken inside, he & his wife tended wounds to body & soul. When the cops showed up, denials of the incident & firearm were accepted by a young cop, whom the lady of the house said had a "HIGH & TIGHT." They gave me a beer & a ten-spot. I was also given a promise of help, comfort & friendship at their home for as long as they lived.

"Young Marine, this is all you need to know, THIS Old Marine loves you." They were my friends for about 2 years until I came back to my hometown. Like I was told at MCRD San Diego: "Wherever you go in this world & life you will find other Marines who will help you on your way. They are your brothers, comrades in arms, life & death. They will care for & keep you as you will also do for them & others. This is our sacred bond & duty to our brothers." Do they still give this speech? Those events happened in 1969 Today I live in Flint Michigan. Still walking with a cane, I will always & ever remember the kindness of my older Marine brother.

I hold doors for others and remind them that "GOOD MANNERS YET LIVE." (I got that from my Senior Drill Instructor, in his talk on setting a Marine example.)

I always buy a Marine whatever he is drinking at the bar. I have on a number of occasions given $10 bills to young Marines in need of gas or groceries. On those occasion when I repay that good Marine deed of 1969; I always get choked up when I quote those good words.

"Young Marine, this is all you need to know, THIS Old Marine loves you."

I would like to hear of other personal traditions.
Whatever traditions you have pass them on.
We are Unique.
The few, the proud, the Marines.

Don Ryan

Lcpl Zygielbaum

I was in the reserve in 1950 had two summer tours under my belt when the Korean war broke out. General Douglas McArthur wanted a division on Marines and the Marine Corps said we don't have a division. The reserve made up the 1st 5th and 7th marines. I did not go to booth camp I joined the 7th and went to Korea. went into Soul Korea and north to the Chosin Reservoir. My advise to you is carry a lot of ammo. Grab as many hand grenades as you can hold, and use them. If you have to go into a building don't use the door but blow a hole in the wall, If you have the money buy yourself a pistol, a Knife. keep separated and don't bunch up and most of all don't trust the enemy.
semper fi long live the Marine Corps God Bless America

God bless you. I served in Desert Storm with 2/4 and I can tell you there is nothing more scary and exciting than combat. You'll never be the same person later. America needs courageous and brave young men like you at this time in our history.

Keep your head down, God speed and Semper Fi,
LtCol Stack, USMCR

our prayers will be with you and we hope your tour of duty will be short and safe Widow of a world war 2 marine Berniece

You are quite welcome young man. Take some advice from a Viet Nam Vet; Listen to your NCO's, Learn from experience and remember you are a member of the finest fighting force this country has.

Semper Fi and God Speed,
R.A. "Rick" Armstrong
1st MarDiv '65-'68

Ducking is okay, really.

That fact that you are serving and wearing the uniform brings honor to you and the Corps, it also shows what being a US citizen is all about. Keep your powder dry, believe in God and all those that have passed before you as they will watch over you. Trust your gut instinct and feelings always, they normally are correct!!!

LCpl Zygielbaum,
On November 25, 1969 I was promoted to LCpl, handed my orders to Viet Nam, and told "good luck." At the time I was rarin' to go and see what it was all about and to this day don't regret the decision to volunteer for any of it.

At the time I was departing Camp Lejeune to go to Viet Nam, a very salty old CWO that had served in Korea said to me, "Arnold, the best advice I can give you is to keep your head lower than your ass, and your ass as low as you can get it!" That advice served me well for the next 18 months and has for a total of 32 years of regular and reserve duty. I retire in 71 days and a wake-up, but like so many of us, will always be a Marine.

Semper Fi, MSgt Randall Arnold 0369/2533/8411
MCB Quantico
"Professionals are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs..."
--Murphy's Laws of Combat #5

WWII Gyrene

Semper Fi all you ''Jar Heads''
I was just wondering if there any old ''Jar Heads'' left out there on the computer. I just turned 84. April 5th. 05 Once in a great while I take the time to read the Sarges letters and I haven't seen one letter from a WWII Gyrene. I served with Co B #3rd. Tank Battalion,1st. Platoon, 3rd. Mar Div. We served on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam and Iwo. I was a mechanic and waded ashore with the mud Marines. We lost most of our tanks on Iwo. I was one of the survivors and have kept in touch with a number of guys that are left. There are still just a handful of our guys left and we communicate at Christmas time. I'd like to hear from any Marine who served during WWII. Any Marine!!!!
Semper Fi----------- Former Sgt. J A Smith Jr.

I Was A Fat Kid

I was a fat kid. Came from a family of genetic "large bone" (denial) people. I fit right in, personal ridicule and all. I needed to change my life. Had to get out of the rock around the clock 1950's NYC hoodlum/drug/crime scene; I was eighteen. I went to the USMC recruiter who told me to do three chin-ups on this pull-up bar he had in the corner. It was the hardest thing in my life but I made the three - 30lbs overweight and all! He said "outstanding" and I felt good.

Parris Island was for me a place right out of Dante's Inferno, they worked the lard off my sorry arse and the daily threat of "FBP" (Fat Boy Platoon) was constantly looming over my head. They made me watch as a platoon of obviously overweight recruits were doing their best to qualify as Marines. They wore pink shorts and had a whale pennant as their guideon. I worked harder than I have ever worked in my life to keep from being transferred to that platoon so the fat fell off me and the muscles firmed up. Near the end of recruit training our platoon was taken to the obstacle course. We sat in some bleachers to see a demonstration of how the course was to be run. Out comes this E-5 who was built like a brick s**t house; he ran the course in like two minutes non-stop. We knew then that this was our time to qualify.

Silence in the ranks as our DI came over and looked at us squarely. His first words would forever live in my heart. He said: "Doherty, (me) show us how it is done." I got up with the usual shouted "YES SIR!" and ran that course with my heart in my mouth, lungs screaming for air and my brain telling me that this is impossible. I persevered well until I looked at that d*mn wall that you are supposed to get over. I think it is only eight feet high but as I approached it at full run it looked like the great wall of China. God must have given me springs in my feet even though I was thinking "ya gotta be kidding me." I stretched my hands as high as I could and grabbed the ledge. With helmet, packs, rifle and belts I pulled my ex-fat butt over that thing and completed the course. Yeah, it was one of my proudest moments. That DI instilled in me a confidence that I never knew I could have. When I was done and sat down again (gasping haha) the DI showed me a human side that I did not know he had. He said to me "will your parents recognize you when you get home?) I gave a weak smile and said, "NO SIR," I aint that kid anymore. A moment of laughter here as we looked back to the course, one of the recruits was traversing the high-wire and the Lieutenant called his name. The private (with both hands on the rope) said "Yes sir?" The officer said; "don't you salute when an officer speaks to you?" The poor recruit did it and of course, he fell right into the swamp...too funny!

Anyway, back to the subject. I am really responding to the letter from Captain Dick Hulslander who wrote about discipline and the signing off and buck passing on fitness reports. When we got to ITR we had this obviously overweight private in our platoon. Training as fire-teams we were supposed to attack the enemy (an old boiler well downgrade). Supposedly we were to attack as fire teams, blow it up and run like h&ll back up the hill. He couldn't make it. They had to go halfway down the hill and help him back to the top. Later in the barracks, our OIC came in with the staff NCO. Now this may not be too politically correct or maybe even approaching inhuman treatment but this is what happened. They called this guy up to a table in the center of the barracks. Made him strip naked - he was crying. We all felt great sympathy for him but there was nothing anyone could do. The CO looked at all of us and said the following. This too would forever be burned into who I am today. "A fat man is no good in war, he can neither fight or run away." We never saw that private again and I imagine that he was given some sort of chance to get into shape. Today I think that the CO saved that kids life and the lives of others that could someday have to depend on him to be the man that Marines are.

So, here it is, 2005 and I am long-in-the-tooth (64 yrs old) and yes, I am still "big boned" but only weigh 170lbs. As they say, once a Marine Always a Marine.

Semper Fi Joe Doherty Corporal of Marines (61 - 66)

Looks On Their Faces

Sgt. Grit
While reading your news letter it makes me miss the corps more and more, i am writing this to tell you a story about veterans day 2 yrs ago. I have two children a boy who is 10 and a girl who is 8, they both know that i was a marine but it finally set in on this day. My sons principal asked if i would come and talk to the children at school on nov.10th ,being as the school closes for veterans day. Well i was more then happy to do it ,being it was the marine corps birthday and all, then she hits me with could you wear your uniform, not mind you i have been out for over 11 yrs ,so me not wanting to disappoint says ''yes''.

So i come home from the school and try my Dress Blues on and the jacket is a little tight so my wife manages to let it out so that i can wear them. Well the faithful day comes along and i walk into the school, and we go into each of my children's classes and they both have looks on their faces that will stay with me forever, and they had tears in their eyes ,which made this old jarhead have his eyes sweat also.

And when they got home they told me how proud they were to have a dad then was in the marines, and for the next 2 weeks the were the coolest kids in school, so too all the marines out their Semper Fi and thanks for listening.

Cpl.Shwedo, 87-92

Farm boys.

To Capt. Hulslander: We don't know all the circumstances about that Marine needing to lose weight so you shouldn't go off half-cocked. I too was placed on weight control several times and threatened with discharge if I couldn't lose weight. You see, according to Navy regulations (what the Marines use to judge weight vs. height) I was overweight. What wasn't taken into account was my size though. In Nam, I carried 6 canteens, 30 magazines, extra machine gun rounds in addition to various other personal equipment, food, extra radio batteries and such. I didn't mind. Most everybody carried extra everything since that was the only way to survive. I WAS 6'5" and 275lbs. of mean mofo. I could do the 3 miles in 17 minutes, 200 sit-ups in the allotted time, max pull-ups and all that jazz but according to Navy, I was overweight. I guess the Navy just didn't factor in all us Midwest farm boys that just come in naturally big.
SSgt. Moore, J.C. 2389599
'67/'77 Semper Fi

Under 21 Year Old Pilot

I have just finished another issue of your outstanding newsletter. I have to say that I, a soon to be 70 year old Marine (1953-1957) am very impressed with today's crop of Jarheads. As others have said, they are as good ,if not better Marines than we were.

I wanted to tell you a story about an under 21 year old pilot- My dad served with VMF-312, the Checkboard Squadron during WWII- My dad joined right after Pearl Harbor in 1942 when I was still in grade school. He was 32 and they called him "Pop". He was a radio repair man for the squadron's F4U Corsair's. VMF-312 was the "Checkerboard Squadron" and played a big role in that infamous h&ll hole- Okinawa. The squadron went ashore after they had secured Kadena Field and went to work. I wanted to tell you about this young Marine pilot my dad told me about- I think his name was Klingerman or Kleinman. Anyway, the Japs were hitting everyone hard with kamikaze attack and a lone Jap observation plane was up at the limit of propeller planes at 40000 feet or so over Okinawa. 60% of the island was still in Jap hands and the real blood hadn't yet been spilled as the Shuri line hadn't yet been broached. (if you want to read an eye-popping, horror ridden account of war- read -"Tennozan-The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb". It will make you think as we lost more Marines on Okinawa than at Iwo and it was a slow grinding kind of war of attrition replete with one horror after another. Getting back to the observation plane- this young pilot managed to just get his Corsair up to that altitude and went after the Jap- The Jap was a two seater and had a gunner in the rear seat.( a zeke??) The Marine fired his guns but nothing happened.,They were frozen from the cold. While in position he could see the rear gunner aiming at him but nothing happened there either. Same reason-frozen. He could see the Jap hammering on his machine gun with his gloved hands. Since it was imperative that they stop this Nip because he was likely calling in the kamikazes to juicy targets, the Marine cinched up his seat belt and tucked away his extra large cojones and proceeded to cut the tail off the Jap plane with his propeller. He knew that his chances of getting back weren't that hot but he did it and the Jap went down. But he did limp back with half a prop on one side (bumpy I'm sure) and landed at Kadena. He was awarded the Navy Cross that day. Had he gone down in Nip land, he would have been instantly executed yet he went for the Jap and succeeded- It's guys like that who make the Corps what it is- Semper Fi!

A Little Man

Back in 1966 I was drafted into the Marine Corps. Boy was my Dad proud when he saw me in my dress blues at my Parris Island graduation. Three months later I received orders to go to Viet Nam. While I was in training at Camp Pendleton I got word my Dad had passed away. I returned home for the funeral. After the funeral a close friend of the family, a "full bird" in the Air Force asked if I wanted to get out of the service, because I was the only living male in the family. I told him I would give anything not to go to Viet Nam, however, there was something I could not explain to him or even to myself. For some strong unknown reason, I felt it was something I had to do. I left for Nam a week later.

While I was at Da Nang waiting for the "Freedom Bird" to return to "the world". I spotted a little man with an engraving machine. I figured I could get something for my Zippo. I found it, "I did not have to do it. I did it 'cause I wanted to. I am better for doing so." That finely explained it all to me.

I finished my tour and returned to college a few months later. Some low-life stole my Zippo and my rock, of all things. My rock was from a time in Nam when we had no food or water for five days. You find a flat stone and place it under your tongue and suck on it for moisture. The Zippo is what I miss most of all, because it was a tie with my Dad and gave answers to a lot of my "Why?s".

John Halpin

When Korea Began

Grit, the boot camp numbers at MCRD San Diego, 1948 were 2 digit. I was in plt 96, Oct/Dec. Guess they changed when Korea started. In '48 the Marine recruiters advertised "Only 70,000 allowed to serve." That was the Truman/Louis Johnson "trimming" our military after WW2. When Korea began we had to get everyone we could, reactivated reserves, pulled guard companies down to nothing, switched MOS's from 5800 to 0300 and 0311 when they were put into the FMFPAC, most of the 2dMarDiv went to Pendleton and 6th Marines became 1st Marines and reserves mostly to the 7th Marines. My Pearl Harbor base commander, Col L.B. "Chesty" Puller went to Pendleton, organized the 1st Marines, and most of us in guard companies went to Korea in mid August and joined the 1stProvBrig., made up of the 5th Marines. 11th Marines and 1stMar Air Wing. Then the 1st joined us for Inchon and the 7th arrived 6 days later for the assault on Seoul. And as u well know we won the war, beat the h&ll out of the Chinese until Truman got worried and pulled us out.

For anyone interested in Korean War personal histories u can log onto, a really 1st class piece of work.

Ray Walker 48-53

We Were Expected

To the communicator youngsters who wrote at the tail end of the last newsletter: you were severely deficient in your training. In the 9th Defense Battalion in WW2(Cuba,Guadalcanal, Rendova/New Georgia, Guam), many of us were called upon to do much more than dit-dah. My own MOS were rifleman, field radio op., high-speed op., telephone lineman, telephone op. Aboard ship transporting us from Cuba, we replaced sailors on the signal bridge (between General Quarters). We were expected to be able to Morse signal with issue flashlights (ashore) or use semaphore flags and shipboard lanterns. Coming Stateside from Guam, those of us on the signal bridge also were expected to operate hoist flags. Also, when we rested on Banika in '44, we manned watches in the Navy station there. Try those on for size!
Dave Slater (highest rank, Cpl. '42-'46)

Would You Believe

It has been 42 years since I was in the Corps, but I still can remember Boot Camp. My Drill Instructor made a lasting impression on me(1962 Parris Island, PLT 237). I went to Nam in '66 and survived due to Parris Island and my lessons that my Drill instructors taught me, I later became a Louisiana State Trooper and would you believe the Trooper Academy was run by MARINES! God Bless the Corps and all who serve.

G. Lupo

Tootsie Roll

To Ed Melco, 2nd Bn. 11th Marines, I remember the Tootsie Roll drop very well as I recall we were running low on ammo and in not too good a situation as the enemy was almost all around us, we called for small arms ammo and got Tootsie Rolls and a bunch of artillery shells, useless but the supply realized their mistake and quickly dropped us the right stuff. .PS The tootsie rolls were so hard you had to carry them in you pocket for a while before you could eat them. I can't remember what Company I was with as

I was with all the Companies in the 2nd Bn. 7th Mar. at one time or another..
John W. Grindel, GySgt, Ret
H&S Co. 2nd Bn.7th Mar.

to Ed Melco, Tootsie Rolls, still love 'em. Every time I find one and chew it I can see again those lovely mountains and recall the beautiful snowy vistas and feel refreshed by the brisk air and wind. I'm still enthralled by the smell of cordite in the evening hours and the bright but dulling light of a flare as it gracefully floats to earth, creating shadows of the long lines of chanting Chinese playing their flutes and horns. What a wonderful holiday season we had, and Tootsie Rolls too. If u haven't read it yet, check out SSgt Martin Russ's book, BREAKOUT, best story of our Reservoir days; my pic is at the end pages. Lordy, did I look good way back then. Mother nature's plastic surgery sure changed that. (G)

Ray Walker A/1/5


Sgt Grit, I've been thinking about the "Old Corps vs New Corps" lately and it reminded me of the conversations in the early to mid 80's about whether our Marines were prepared for war given the gap of time since Vietnam.

Before I go on, I want to share an expression that I heard early in my enlistment. I had just joined Dragons Platoon, Weapons Company, 2/6, and one of the Corporals asked about my EAS (end of active service). When I told him, he responded with "Shoot! Rocks don't live that long!" He was considered extremely "salty." I'll give you my enlistment timeframes at the end.

Anyhow, I had pondered the expression towards the end of my career and recent postings have me pondering it again. And what surprises me is that I am now considered "Old Corps." In the latter years of my career I heard a lot of peer Staff NCOs making comments about how the younger guys had it so easy . . . that the Corps had changed and that we were being "soft." I started thinking about their comments, my early experiences and memories, and what the "young guys" were actually doing and came to the conclusion that my peers were "out to lunch."

My thoughts are that to every Marine, their first tour is the most significant. The Marine is exposed to radical changes in lifestyle, beliefs, etc. Additionally, they are at the bottom of the Totem Pole and "s**t rolls downhill." While some things have changed (e.g., no mess duty in garrison to allow for more training), the troops still have to deal with working parties, hurry up and wait, and ten layers of NCO/SCNOs over them. At the time I was listening to my peers, I thought about how much they had adapted to their environment -- which eases things psychologically -- and were closer to the top of the Totem Pole, thereby skewing their perception of what the troops were actually experiencing.

Long story short -- I think there is absolutely no difference between "Old Corps" and "New Corps" Marines. It's a matter of perspective. We harvest our Marines from the places we traditionally have -- and at the same time have upped the standards, operational tempo, and continue to squeeze maximum efficiency from a highly motivated and dedicated crop of young people. By God, these Marines are as good as any at any time in our History. 20 years from now we'll ALL be "Old Corps!"

Semper Fi and God Bless the "New Corps!"
Pete Hoeft,
GySgt, Retired
"Old Corps" (Ha! Ha!) 1979 - 1999.
(Original EAS: 29 Aug 83)

Great Advice

Hi Sergeant Grit,
Anyway....I actually got some great advice from my recruiter before I signed up. He said to me "If I was smart, I should join up so that I could be in Parris Island in the months of Jan, Feb and March or Feb, March and April". When I asked why, he said "Boot camp is tough but the sand flies are tougher, especially in the summer". And so I joined up and got to Parris Island on January 14, 1959. January was colder than H&ll and I ended up with pneumonia, fortunately it was the week that we were on mess hall duty and I didn't lose any training time. So, I ended up in the west end infirmary with a temp of 1040, but wasn't bothered by any sand flies. I have to thank that recruiter for being honest with me.

Don Sofia
Corporal of Marines

Anybody Out There

Anybody out there want to join the best? That is what my recruiter told me my senior year in High School. Of course it was sugar coated. Would anybody have signed if we had known what was in store for us. MSgt Beauchamp told me if I signed on the dotted line that I would not have to worry about going to Viet Nam. Now those guys that are drafted, you can bet your a## they are going to Nam. You will not have to worry about it. He was right, six months out of boot camp I was at Leatherneck Square up by Con Thien, but I did not have to worry about going to Nam.

I went to Parris Island recently to kind of stroll around and see how "lax" the Corps has become. The Drill Instructors are still nice and friendly. The bugs do not bite too much. All in all it is about the same. I had the privilege of attending a Graduation Ceremony and it is grand. There was a young man graduating who has a twin brother who had just lost a foot and part of his arm in Iraq. If there were any 2 prouder men on that Island than those 2 brothers it had to be the Drill Instructor. He had trained both of them.

Colonel Dabney's Navy Cross Ceremony at Virginia Military Institute went very well. The Colonel did his men proud with his remarks. None of us could look the audience in the face because of the tears but when the Colonel told the Audience that he promised us a parade and said "Follow me Men" there was not a dry eye in the place. Maybe being a Nam Vet wasn't so bad after all.

Say a prayer for our little brothers and sisters in the Sand, and a silent "TAPS" for the ones that are no longer with us.

Semper Fi
Ron Shouse

Marine Corps Legacy Museum

Hey Sgt. Grit:
Want to let you and the other brother Marines know that we have a Marine Corps Legacy Museum here in Harrison Arkansas. It is located on the NW corner of the town square. The museum is the only comprehensive USMC museum in central USA.It features over 25 displays which showcase uniforms, equipment, weapons and personalities of over 200 year old history of the USMC's service to this nation beginning in 1775.

Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10AM to 5 PM CST. They have no paid staff so any donations made go towards operating cost. They are a 501(c) 3 organization. They have plans of opening a larger place as soon as the funds allow. The MCLM maintains a web site at the following: and for information on the museum contact :
D.A.Millis II USMC (ret) Curator MCLM
P.O. Box 2654
Harrison, AR. 72602
e-mail :

We need to do what we can to keep this museum going as its only one of a few in the USA. Lets see if the old saying: Once A Marine Always A Marine is true. On the web site they have a membership application to join. If you could print this in your newsletter maybe we could get them more help so they can grow.

Thanks again Sgt. Grit and I hope you check this out .

Once A Marine, Always A Marine
Bill Terry
Vietnam 1968, H. Co. 2/4

Sharing The Good Things

Sgt Grit: Your last newsletter was the most enlightening and thoroughly uplifting Newsletter that you have published in the last 2 years. I am forwarding it to a local talk show host so that He can read excerpts to his listening audience. He loves sharing the good things about our fighting men and women because it irritates the H&LL out of me here in Seattle, Wa. This is the most AWESOME Sgt Grit Newsletter ever. Thank you and all my brother and sister Marines. Respectfully submitted, L/Cpl G.D. Vallejos USMC 1960-1966.

Noticed Something

Yo Grit:

Something really blessed me this week and I just had to share it with my Marine brothers and sisters. I work at a federal facility with a boatload of retired military personnel on board. I bumped into a retired Master Gunnery Sgt while I was out and about. He noticed my Marines.Com lanyard for my ID badge and asked me how many years I put in before I had retired from the Corps. That really shocked me since I had only served two years as a FMF corpsman. He said he had noticed something about the way I carried myself that just shouted career Marine to him. How cool was that? Made old "Doc" just swell up with pride, let me tell you. That just goes to show that "the change is forever" even rubs off on the corpsmen who are lucky enough to be selected for duty with the FMF. Ya dance around the edge of the pond long enough, you're gonna fall in.

Semper Fi and God bless our beloved Corps!

"Doc" Wells

"Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war and my fingers to fight". Ps 144:1

Even At 17

Sgt. Grit.

I have been reading the letters regarding Marine Corp Recruiters. It brought me back to my senior year in high School. It was time for me to decide what was next in my life. I always wanted to be the best, and for me that meant being a Marine. Having said that I thought it was right to look at all my options. Once I decided on the Military I felt that I should at least speak to each military service. I then found out that I was being offered or promised questionable things from the other branches. The Army advised me that I was to young to be an MP, but then offered to let me fly helicopters? Even at the age of 17 I knew something was up.

I then met with Marine recruiters Gunny Amos and Sgt. Osario In Lorain Ohio (January 1986), They did not have that "used car salesman" look in their eyes. When we began talking about guarantees they told me flat out "The Only Thing The Marine Corps Will Guarantee You Is A Hair Cut and A Hard Time." That was a bold statement and perfectly fine with me. It put me on notice that I was the one who had to prove myself to them. They then laid out the fact that Marines are the first to go to war and each and every Marine is a rifleman. I was given no grand illusions of not being on the front line for any and all skirmishes. In fact I was advised that if the country was to have a conflict I would almost certainly be involved in same.

While in boot camp it was drilled into our platoon that Marines don't Lie, Cheat, Steel, use illegal drugs or compromise. Sound familiar? I'm sure my recruiters had heard this before. ( I could go on forever about our outstanding Drill Instructors)

In closing I know that it is a combination of Recruiter/Drill Instructor that work together as a team to sniff out the young men that and women that will become our next generation of Marines. From looks of the Iraq theater it is obvious that all is well in the Marine Corps.

And for the record, the Corps assigned me to every detail I requested upon enlistment.


Who's Hindquarters Do I Have To Kiss

Good day fellow Marines,

long time reader, first time reader....blah blah.... ANYHOW, I'm currently a Marine SNCO Reservist. Due to circumstances beyond whatever control that I can fathom, I've been unable to get activated for the current mess in Southwest Asia. My old unit in California has been activated or sent personnel on active duty for what appears to be a continuous basis since 9/11. When I was there, our unit couldn't get activated to save our life during Desert Storm yet, it should have been one of the first to the ports and facilities of Saudi Arabia. The unit I was in prior to that (now currently serving in) is one of the few, it seems, units that has not been activated but, during Desert Storm played a VERY active part in combat operations. My point is this, who's hindquarters do I have to kiss to get activated? I'm a non-obligor and if moving to the IRR would help, I'm seriously considering it. Here we have THOUSANDS of Army Reservists and Nat'l Guardsmen that are whining and b****ing about being sent and I and many like me, are practically begging to no avail. I'd like to think that, in the twilight of my years in the Corps, I would like to give back something to the Corps that has seen fit to bless me with all the training, travel, and sheer fun I've had. Does anyone have a "source" for pipelining requests like mine? Is there a person(s) that one can contact at RDOL that might have the scoop? I'd like to think that my civilian job skills would be in demand for the 'peace-keeping' nature of the current conflict (i.e. law enforcement, logistics, and weapon repair). God forbid but, I could wave my hat at the Army and probably be on the plane to Iraq by fiscal year's end but, I'd rather not. Any thoughts? Ideas? Hints?

Anonymous Marine/Cop, Texas


A crusty old retired Marine walks into a bank and says to the woman at the window, "I want to open up a d*mn checking account". The astonished woman replies, " I beg your pardon sir, I must have misunderstood you, what did you say?" "Listen up, d*mn it, I said I want to open up a d*mn checking account, now". "I'm very sorry sir, but that kind of language is not tolerated in this bank" The teller then goes over and reports the incident to the bank manager. The manager agrees that the teller does not have to listen to that foul language. They both return to the window and the manager asks the old Marine, "Sir, what seems to be the problem here?" "There is no problem, the Marine says, I just one $200 million bucks in the d*mn lottery and want to put my d*mn money in your d*mn bank." "I see, says the manager, and is this d*mn b!tch giving you a hard time?"

Cpl. Jerry Tiernan
Viet Vet

A Miracle In Itself

I have written to Sgt. Grit several times before and appreciate you adding a couple of them to the newsletter. I would like to add somewhat of a post script to one of my previous submissions. I wrote about Peter Kakadelis, who served with the 4th Division in WW2 and saw action on Roi Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. He was a grunt in the first three campaigns but was transferred to the 14th Marines for Iwo. That transfer probably spared him from being killed or wounded on Iwo as the grunts took the brunt of the casualties. And while his 155 was hit and killed several of his buddies, he walked off unscathed.....that was quite a miracle in itself, walking off Iwo without a scratch. You may recall that in my previous story, Peter was the one who made doughnuts on Iwo and the CO had to post guards around him......Peter was a wonderful man, a stand up Marine, and an inspiration to me and many others. Peter passed away last year and we all miss him terribly.

I made my third trip to Iwo Jima this past March and with the blessing of Peter's wife and two sons, I buried some of his ashes on the beach where he came in that chaotic morning of February 19,1945. I felt his spirit with me on the beach that day and as I looked up at Mt. Suribachi, I also felt the spirit of all the Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice during that pivotal battle. Peter came as close to death that day as he rushed to the terraces on the beach as the fifth wave rumbled in. In the heat of the moment, Peter left his pack on a jeep that was also in the landing craft. He took two steps to retrieve the pack when a Japanese round hit the boat and completely destroyed it, killing a number of Marines and sailors. As I stepped back from the memorial I had left on the beach for Peter, I found five .30 caliber rounds setting in the sand......hard to believe that after 60 years, they were still there. I wondered.....were these Peter's......each relic has it's own story and I couldn't help but wonder what had caused those rounds to be dropped or lost. I was honored to bring back Peter to Iwo to be with many of his buddies and am grateful to his wonderful family for allowing me that honor.
See picture
We are forever indebted to the Marines of the past......particularly the Marines who served during WW2 and set the standard so high for us that followed. I am proud to call Peter my friend, my role model, but best of all, a Marine brother. I don't know if you can also include pictures in the newsletter, but I am attaching a picture of Peter's memorial on the beach with Suribachi in the background.

Semper Fi,
Bruce Carter

Today Is

Sgt. Grit,
Today is the 42nd anniversary of the day that I first raised my right arm and swore "True faith and allegiance ..."

I served for 9 years (active & reserve). I am a retired firefighter and paramedic - have saved lives and delivered 6 babies. I now work in the banking industry and have more than 75 people working for me. However, of all the accomplishments in my life, I am proudest of my service in the Corps. Like many others whom time has passed by, I would relish the opportunity to once again lace up my boots and go to the "sandbox" to serve again.

I love your newsletter and look forward to its arrival each week. Keep up the good work.

Semper fi -
Jim Phillabaum

Apricots In Any Form

Hey Grit,

I was in from '79-'88 as a tanker, 1811. My son, PFC Nathan Damigo, is down at Camp Pendleton in 1st LAR. A few weeks ago he called me up and asked me what was up with "you tankers and apricots". See, for those who don't know it, apricots in any form were always bad medicine for tankers. I guess there is a certain candy in the new MRE's that is bad luck for LAV Marines. When I was assigned to my first hog (M60A1 RISE/Passive), we went out to the field for a couple of days to practice tactical formations. My box of C-rats had a can of halved apricots. My TC told me to dump them and I looked at him like he was stupid, truly believing he was just joking. Well, I ate 'em anyway. Within an hour we broke a torsion bar and threw track in some really ugly mud. Then my driver snitched me off to my TC and I got the full story of apricots and bad luck for tankers that included a lot of words you can't put in your newsletter. That was the last apricot I ate. When my company went to Korea for Bearhunt "86, I was a light section leader. My gunner, L/Cpl Shelton, got a care package from home that unfortunately included a very delicious-looking 5-lb. bag of dried apricots. We all stared at each other and the apricots, knowing what had to be done. We walked away from the tanks, dug a hole in the hard, snowy ground with e-tools and a pick, and buried them. That amount of apricots was enough to deadline the whole company's tanks for a month or cause the commies to indiscriminately launch ICBM's at us. Either way it would have been ugly and it would have been our fault, so the apricots ended up two feet under. I explained this all to Nathan in hopes that neither he nor any of his LAV brothers would scoff at this and take it as a serious matter.

I have a couple of questions for any present-day M1A1 tankers out there:
1.) Is it still traditional to avoid apricots?
2.) Is it true that your FCS and gunner's controls are made by Nintendo?

For you old 1811's:
I've been out for 17 years now, but, of course, I'm still a Marine and I will grow old and die a Marine. Is it safe for me now to eat apricots or should I just stay the course as I have for the last 26 years?

To all my Brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan: Be safe, watch each other's back, do what you gotta do to come back home to all of us who love you, and watch out for the lawyers and cameramen. Oh yeah, GET SOME!

Mike Damigo

Short Rounds

Rifle numbers? Yep! how about 3090452! They do indeed grill it into you! Semper Fi
Sgt John Cleveland

please let former 8th and I MARINES know that, there is a reunion coming up in August. Contact for further information. Semper-Fi, Stephen Lippman, Nam, 68-69

GySgt Shamy,

When I read what you told the young Marine about the reasons for being in the sand pile it made me stand about 3 inches taller too. You could not have expressed it better and it made me think about why the same things could be said about Vietnam and other challenges Marines have faced over the years.

God speed GySgt and keep safe.

Dennis Kennedy
Vietnam '65-'66
1st Amtrac Bn.

Thank you u.s.m.c.pathfinders. Sgt. weaver plt. 129 p.i. 1957

Regarding Hanoi jane's new book. It seems like a lot to pay for toilet paper.
e.b.groves. 1/3, 1964-65

The Korean War Veterans of South West Michigan participate in 5/6 Parades each year. We now ride on a float with flags flying. In the parades that allow us, we give out "tootsie rolls" to the kids. In fact, we just received 60 lbs. To use this Summer. They love us.

Semper fi
The "tootsie roll" Marine
Recon Co. 1st Marine Div. 1950--51

I'm 58 years old. USMC 1966-68.I was in Operation Hastings 1 and Operation Hastings 2 I was a 2511/2531 Got drafted. Myself and F---ing Woods Built every Bunker in Vietnam. TOP THAT.

I was a cw radio operator 2533 in the Marines from 1947-1951. 2nd Bn 7th Marines from Inchon and Chosin. Res. Now 75 yrs (not old) and still know my dit dah and I believe J.K. March has a .-.. which is an L and it should be a ..-.F for FI .
Sgt.Ron Haines

Just wanted to respond to SSgt D.J. Huntsinger in newsletter # 95 re: Jane Fonda:

That was not a soapbox you were on, Marine.
You Just Said What We All Feel!

God Bless and SEMPER FI !

Louis A. Gilman
USMC 1973-76

Through this hatch will pass the finest
most repected fighting man in the world.
A United States Marine

Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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