I recently spoke to a few young men and women who are about to leave for boot camp at Parris Island. I thanked them and wished them well. They humored the old man and listened to a few stories about boot camp. As I was leaving I told one young man, aged 24, that I hoped Iraq would be over by the time he completed boot camp and ITR. He looked a little surprised and said " Gee, I hope not! "
Comm 1/7 RVN '68/'69
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I'm writing to Honor my younger brother, CPL. Jarrod Bowers 2MARDIV-3/8-Weapons Co. He is currently behind a belt-fed weapon aiming center-mass, on someone in Iraq. The CPL has been deployed now for three months and is a newly wed. Two weeks ago his wife, Leah, had their first son (Hunter) yep little Hunter pulled out his Kabar, cut the cord, jumped down, and began to low crawl across the floor. I am honored to be the uncle of little Hunter, and I hope that prayers go out to Jarrod, and help him make a safe return in August, to see Hunter take his first steps. Thank You and Semper Fi
In today's newsletter a Marine thanked his former Drill Instructors for forging him into a Marine. It reminded me of something that brings back some memories. In the summer of 1979 at Parris Island, my SDI (Plt. 2037) was S/Sgt Banks. The SDI of one of our brother platoons was a Gunny who had been one of S/Sgt Banks' drill instructors in 1969, so they were tight. S/Sgt. Banks told us that the Gunny was like "his Daddy" and that one day we would look at him as "our Daddy". I thought, "Yeah, right."
One day we were in the barracks, on our footlockers, cleaning rifles. I was a squad leader or the guide (of the week or day as it usually ended up during 1st phase) and for whatever reason I was on the quarterdeck. S/Sgt Banks got me started on my bends and thrusts (at least I think that's what the official name of that particular physical training is called) and then "his Daddy" walked in to shoot the breeze with him. They walked into The House and shut The Hatch. I continued doing bends and thrusts for the next 3 years and began to slow down a bit because I was getting pretty exhausted. I was sweating like a pig and the highly waxed concrete was getting slippery under my hands every time I hit the deck. A couple of other privates were whispering to me from their footlockers that S/Sgt Banks had forgotten about me and that I should just go back to my footlocker. I didn't stop, but I could hear the two SDI's talking and laughing inside The House and I thought, "He really has forgotten me!" I wasn't brave enough (or stupid enough) to just sneak back to my footlocker because I just knew it was a set-up and they were probably watching me through a pinhole or something. As we all knew, Drill Instructors all have attended the Advanced Spook Surveillance course from the CIA because they see and know everything. I kept on bending and thrusting for a while longer. I was getting tired and sort of frustrated because by now I believed I had really been forgotten. The Drill Instructors never PT'd us that long without being in our faces or standing over us with encouragement and great enthusiasm.
I stopped in a haggard position of attention and stared at the platoon, wondering what would be the less stupid thing to do. Then I really screwed up. I marched (dragged myself) over to The Hatch, stood at attention, and slapped the red square three times, yelling, "SIR! Private Damigo requests permission to speak to the Senior Drill Instructor, SIR!" He screamed back, "WHAT!" I responded, "Sir, the private wants to know if the Senior Drill Instructor wants the private to keep bending and thrusting!" It got quiet for a few seconds and I could hear him say quietly to the Gunny, "What the ----?" The hatch flew open and he stared at me like "What are you talking about?" I suppose he DID forget, because about three seconds later that confused stare turned into a really effective war face and he started screaming, "What the hell are you doing standing there you undisciplined sack of - - - - - - - GET DOWN!" Well, you know how it went from there. I felt a new zeal to bend and thrust with great motivation. After several more minutes of corrective action, I was sent back to my footlocker. Then The Hatch closed and I could hear the two SDI's laughing at it all.
Nine years later I was up at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, walking from the PX with a buddy of mine. I could see a 1st Sergeant walking toward me. He looked familiar and as we got closer, we began to stare at each other. Our gazes locked as we both stopped next to each other. My buddy, S/Sgt John Dean (no, not the one from Watergate) stopped, too, and was about to ask, "What the heck are you doing?" I stared in awe at 1st Sgt. Banks in this unexpected reunion and said, "Platoon 2037, Parris Island, summer of '79." I turned to John and said, "This is my Daddy!" We talked a bit and then went on our ways. I did not re-enlist the next year due to an unfortunate family incident, but it was good to see "Daddy" one more time.
To Cpl. Clark, Sgt. Avila, Sgt. Riopel, and 1st Sgt. Banks: Thank you for forging into me into a Marine. Your work was not wasted. I have passed the torch to my son, PFC Nathan Damigo, 0313/1311, 1st LAR.
SF, Sgt. Mike Damigo
M60A1 (RISE/Passive) Tank Commander
And Wore My
In your most recent newsletter that I received today, a contributor happened to mention the fact that he was facing open heart surgery, and that he would wear his Marine Corps shirt when heading for the operating room. I absolutely encourage him to do so. I have gone through two heart attacks, two open heart surgeries that included two triple bypasses and a mitral valve repair, and wore my Marine Corps shirt when entering the hospital. Unfortunately, the valve repair didn't work and I am now facing a third open heart surgery where the risks have highly escalated. Be that as it may, you can rest assured, that when I undergo the knife, I will be wearing my Marine Corps shirt with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor proudly displayed for all to see. I would not think of doing it any other way.
Once A Marine, Always A Marine.
Sgt Paul O'Brien-Kinsey
Dear Family, friends and prayer partners for Pat Moore and the 2/24 Marines,
The day we have been waiting and praying for is coming. And what a day it will be! You will not believe the Homecoming Celebration that is being planned for the Mad Ghosts.
Originally, the Allstate Arena people were asked if we could use their parking lot as a meeting place for our heroes. They said, "Why use the parking lot? Why not come inside and use the building? And, by the way, we'll buy the food for the battalion and their immediate family." All this will be free - FREE!
Now, this is going to be a party. And every good party has to have music. So, why not get one of the few rock and roll legends who just happens to be an unabashed supporter of the military and a defender of liberty? What about Ted Nugent? Yeah, I'd call that a party!
Free food and free Ted. Maybe not an equal trade for almost a year away from family and the deprivation of the sandbox, but not a bad attempt at helping these guys feel welcome and appreciated!
As you can imagine the logistics of moving over 1100 men and all their combat equipment makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact date for all this to happen. Therefore, we have been given a 4 day window of April 7-11 for this celebration. We will all have to wait till we get much closer to the DATE before we can nail it down any closer than that.
So, that's the news as we have it. The Arena holds 15000 so most friends and family should be able to attend if interested. We'll no doubt have our share of politicians competing for camera time, and because this is Chicago that means certain politicians, but the rest of the time will be a total celebration that you won't want to miss!
The rest of this email will be a report from Maj. Caponi that briefly summarizes what these guys have accomplished and some of the reasons we can be proud of them.
Thanks again for all of you, for your prayers, your letters and packages, and standing with our Marine and his mates. God bless you. God bless America. God bless the Marine Corps and the Mad Ghosts of 2/24.
Father, LCpl Patrick Moore
Here is a few stats so you know what you've helped us accomplish. There are approximately 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The Mad Ghosts of 2d Battalion 24th Marines are about 1,100 strong. There are about 8,900 detainees in Abu Grayib prison. 2/24 sent over 1,200 terrorist, thugs, and murderers to Abu G. That is 1/150th of the strength doing 1/8th of the work. Our Area of Operations had a voter turn out of 71% for the elections, that is nearly twice as high as any other Sunni area in the country. We discovered and destroyed more weapons caches than any other unit in theater. And unfortunately we lost 12 great Marines, and had another 130 or so wounded in action. We did an outstanding job, and we couldn't have done it without your support. Thanks you are the greatest!
See you soon,
Major C.M Caponi
2nd Battalion, 24th Marines
FOB Mahmudiyah, Iraq
I teach Criminal Justice at a Community College in California, after retiring from law enforcement. Most of my colleagues know I was a cop but not as many may know I'm a Marine (unless they go to the gym and read my t-shirts). Every so often I see one of these anti-war, tree-hugging professors do a double-take when they see me get in my car and read my bumper sticker and license plate frame (ALUMNI - Parris Island MCRD). The look on their face is usually priceless!
Keep those bumper stickers on! Anything that can make most people swell with pride while, at the same time, thoroughly pi** off the anti-war whiners is worth its weight in gold.
Contact Your Buddies (Now)
Do you have a website or anywhere where old Marines can find their old buddies? I have lost track of several ...I know their names, years they were in the corps, etc...any help?
Lawrence Wall. Sgt.
1954-1958, 3rd Marines
( from Alabama )
Hi. My name is Kenny McCauley, former Sgt. in the marines. 1963 to 1967. I was in okinawa for a 13 month tour when we "flapped" for Vietnam. 1st batl/ 12th marines. (arty) It`s a long story about coming back late, on a c-130 ,going to the watts riots in LA then back to nam with 2/5 and after getting in country transferred to 3/7 etc. etc.But when I saw Tom Hopkins pictures on your bs page I called him and it was the first time we heard from each other in over 30 years. We were together at 1/12 and regt. Thanks for this reunion we are going to have now someday.
Semper Fi MAC
Note: Those of you who have read this letter for years know it is my personal crusade to get every Marine to call/contact your buddies. Stories like the above only prove my point. Do it now. Today. Do not hesitate. You aint getting any younger Marine. And neither is your buddy. Buddy Search Page
The Swimming Thing
Dear Sgt Grit
Reading about the recruit that drown at P I. In July 1957 at MCRD San Diego we were doing the swimming thing when I got in trouble and they hauled me out onto the side of the pool. I could only dog paddle and the water was so rough from every one jumping in I must have drawn attention because I didn't drown. Just saying it would be very possible to lose a person as much confusion as there is at that time.
R D Hartley Plt 356 June- Sept 1957
Reunion 2/26 RVN 66-70
H Co. 2nd Battalion 26th. Marine Reg. RVN 66-70. June 19th to 26th, 2005. Courtyard by Marriott Riverfront - Cincinnati/Covington. 500 W. 3rd. Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011. Call for Reservations at 1-800-321-2211 or contact Bill Hancock at 1-513-738-5446.
GySgt Julius Canns
On 20 February, on his 82nd birthday, my friend GySgt Julius Canns of St. Johnsbury, Vermont died after a long battle with cancer. Julius was shipboard heading for Japanese waters when the A-bomb was dropped in 1945. "A lot of us were pretty happy with that news", he once remarked to me. After the War he moved to Vermont and in 1993 succeeded me in the state Senate, where he served for 12 years until his death. Julius was part Cherokee and a champion of the rights of our unrecognized Vermont Indians, the Abenaki. He was also the Senate's leading defender of the US Flag, and served as Department Commander of the VFW. At age 81 he proudly marched in the Memorial Day parade, wearing his 1947 issue dress blues. Semper fi.
John McClaughry MAJ USMCR Ret, Kirby Vermont
Responding to Former Marine Andlero/Fernandini:
Like you, I too served in Lebanon during the '58 camp-out. We were down on the beach, keeping the airport safe. We spent our time taking "tours" of some choice hotels downtown and getting thrown out of them by MPs with no sense of humor. Once in awhile (read: lots of the time) we would do some midnight requisitioning at the "Army Supply store" for gear, food and vehicles . It was a great time to be a young Marine CPL in a historical theater of operations. Oddly enough, 25 years later, other Marines landed on nearly the same beach we had in 1958 .....but their tour had a horrendous twist. Our prayers went to them then, and still go to any Marine in the sand box today. Semper Fi says it all !
Randy Heaton "55 - "59. Once a SGT, still a Marine.
Greetings, Sarge. This is in response to Luis Anglero-Fernandini's question about Lebanon in '58. The answer is, "not much". I was attached to the forward CP element for the "landing" and have a few good memories of the time.
The one incident that stands out among the others - perimeter patrols around the Beirut airport, Druze tribesmen trying to incite us into firefights, etc. - was the initial landing.
We had our "night-before" briefing, didn't sleep too well, went through endless gear checks, and let our nerves get a little more hyped than was necessary. We had been told that we may or may not meet hostile reactions to our landing. No one really knew (at least not down at the "snuffy" level) what the situation was on the beach.
After a quick breakfast (no steak and eggs on my ship) and sitting at our debark stations for over an hour, most of us loaded over the side into LCVPs. There were a few LCMs, two LCUs and a small contingent of LVTP-5s. The -7s didn't come along until sometime in the '60s.
Anyway, circled in our rendezvous circles until "military dawn" - you could just begin to separate sea from sky - when the engine cranked up and we crossed the LOD. At one point, the boat team commander passed the word, "lock and load".
Our collective imaginations were all running wild. "What are we going to run into on the beach?", etc. After what seemed like an hour (probably more like 20 minutes), our LCVP ground it's way up on the sand, the bow ramp dropped and we charged off, hopefully ready for anything. What greeted us was really a scene of comic relief.
Standing in the middle of the beach was a young Lebanese entrepreneur with two cases of Coca-Cola sitting next to him hollering, "Coke-Cola, fifty cent!". It seems our "surprise" landing had had a few holes in it's security.
After moving up to the highway at the top of the beach, we all milled about smartly "in a military manner" until the rolling stock came ashore and took some of us up to the airport where we set up a loose perimeter that changed about every hour and "rules of engagement" were very loosely drawn.
Sorry it's foggy for you, Luis. I have some pleasant memories of our first "tactical" visit to Lebanon.
Another Old Grunt
Amongst Old Corpsmen
Regarding the item last week about the Corpsman, Johnny Lipes, getting a medal for saving the life of a man on his submarine, I would guess that was when he performed an appendectomy on a man aboard the submarine. That story about Johnny Lipes is one of those legendary stories known amongst old Corpsmen.
Doc Griffin, HMCM (Ret)
My father Savaltore A. Mangiameli TSgt, USMCR WWII (participated in the battles of Saipan and Okinawa)
My father in law, Cpl Martin Kalin, Korea
My Wife Donna, GySgt USMCR (ret)
My Son, Stephen A. Mangiameli Jr, Sgt, USMC 1992-1997
My Son in Law's Father Capt German Zuniga, Huey Pilot RVN
My Son in Law, Edward Zuniga USN (can't win them all), but d*mn proud of ED
he is a really good man!
Stephen A. Mangiameli Sr
Master Sergeant of Marines (ret)
He Was Writing A Ticket
Here's a true story that happened to me a couple of years back. While driving down the road one day, I happened to be going slightly over the speed limit. I think I was doing about 50 in a 35 zone. Another car was right in front of me and I felt I was simply " keeping up with traffic". Anyway, A State Trooper pulled both of us over. Of course, I had a 'Semper Fi' bumper sticker on the rear bumper which the Trooper couldn't miss as he approached my vehicle. He lectured me about the perils of speeding and let me off with a warning. As I was pulling away, he gave me a quick salute and said "Semper Fi ". I saw him approach the other car through my rear view mirror and he was writing a ticket! Another testimonial to the power of bumper stickers!
Cpl. Clint Bernard-Phillips' post in the last newsletter emphasizes an interesting phenomenon -- the number of Marines who have joined our brotherhood from north of the border.
I've been impressed the past few years when I have learned of the those Canucks who have made the decision to become Marines. Interesting isn't it that at a time when some denigrate military service that young Canadians make the choice to serve. Rather than going north, as some U.S. "citizens" did and are doing, they have made the conscious decision to come south and serve. To me it says something about their character. I'm proud to call them brother.
Bob Rader -- former Sgt
But There Was Also
Dear Sgt Grit,
Have been waiting a long time to relate my story of returning to the world after summer camp in RVN.
In April of 1969, I found myself in the middle of San Francisco airport with a lot hare Krishna types running around singing their songs and handing out their propaganda. Upon arriving in the states, we had been warned to be careful in San Francisco. As a young Corporal, I think I was making $240 a month, I depended on flying military stand-by, which meant I had to wear my uniform.
Fortunately, I made it through the airport unscathed. After getting on the plane, I took off my blouse and began getting settled for the flight to Denver. After the door was closed and we were taxiing, one of the cabin attendants came up to me and asked where I was going and where I was coming from. When I said I was returning home on leave from a tour in RVN, the stewardess told me: "Welcome home, and all your drinks are on me".
When we became airborne, the head steward came up to me, and invited me up to the first class cabin. After drinks and dinner were served throughout the airplane, the entire cabin crew came and sat down in the seats around me, to talk with me and ask questions about my time in country. To say the least this caught me off guard, and helped the flight to go a little faster.
However, when we landed at Denver, and everyone was getting ready to deplane, the head steward approached me and said the whole crew was grateful for my having gone to RVN, and thankful for being able to spend a little time visiting with me. As a special gift and remembrance, I was given a pillowcase containing the signatures from the entire crew. Inside the pillowcase was a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses.
Yes, there was nastiness, but there were also some who truly cared about the boys going and returning.
Gy Pink 2058386, 1963-1979
Since You're A Baby
I was coming from the store. The blue lights came on. I tried to hand the officer my d/l and stuff. she in her 20's and just back from Iraq 2nd tour Just wanted to give me a hug and a welcome home. It was my "SEMPER FI" bumper sticker that caught her attention.
On a different note, a maybe 16 year old punk on a skate board rolls up and as I'm helping my 86 year old Dad, Marine from the south pacific theater(was at Iwo) into the car, has the idiot question to ask. "Are you the baby and old lady killer??" Dad looks at me then says "No son but we made it so you could ask that question. and we could since you're a baby, help with your attitude problem" The guy in the truck next to us (same bumper sticker I have) started laughing. The kids face turned red and I thought he was starting cry.
SEMPER FI to all my brothers and sisters Mom's and Dads and our cousins Army Navy and Air force. We pray for safe return and when you get home, "welcome home!"
Krusty the door gunner
Release My Emotions
Anyone who says negatives about my Marines stickers, T-shirts, tattoo, etc. gets a smile from me. I also have a (some would say perverted) habit of grinning at the offender and stating that, "I am trained to fight the Marine Corps way (no-holds-barred and dirty), and that because I have not been in a real good fight in over a week or so, that I am itching to pound some punks scrawny a$$, and bub, you seem to be a prime candidate to help release my emotions." At this point in the conversation, the offending jerk is usually wide eyed and looking for a quick exit strategy.
Keep doing what you're doing!
Mr. Vallejos must have been breaking more 'wind' then bread. My original post was based on my experience with Don and Phil in boot camp at MCRD (still in touch with many of our tight knit group) and I (we) don't recall ever seeing or meeting Mr. Vallejos at all. I stand by my story.
The only 'perk' Don and Phil got was when Don married Venetia Stevenson on Feb 13th, 1962 and they both got to take a week off (it was also a good promo for the Marines). Don and Phil served their six months active reserve from December 1961 to May 24th 1962. As Mr. Vallegos states in his 'mystery story' that he was in boot camp with them in 1964. Nope. And the B.S. that Don and Phil sold tickets to see them rehearse is pure baloney. I think Mr. Vallegos is the one who is doing the smoking.
Don and Phil were good Marines. It must be the Las Vegas air.
Buy The Beer
Enjoyed the story from Fred Brown about his first confrontation with a General. Had a similar situation, while just out of ITS and the newest boot to Wpns 3/8 Camp Geiger / J-Ville (2nd MarDiv). So I'm the newbie and they send me out to buy the beer. Couple of buddies are waiting outside the Piggly Wiggly and I come out hands full w/ 2 cases of beer and who happens to pass and offer to assist me but CMC General P.X. Kelley. Well, I just about dropped all of the beer, having NO idea what to do (I almost saluted in civvies). But he was forgiving and said " Stay out of trouble and Don't do anything I wouldn't do, Marine!" And that stuck w/ me through out my entire time. Also had the honor of meeting CMC Gen. Al Gray, (when he was Atlantic Fleet) and thought how can it get any better , but it did under Commandant Gray, just happened after my discharge. Met Gen. Gray again just a few years ago when he was the keynote speaker in J-Ville for the 20th remembrance of the Beirut bombing. Still Gung-Ho as ever....a real Marine's Marine, if you know what I mean!
Oohrah, Grit...keep up the great work that you do!
Wpns. Co, .50 cals 3rd Bn./8th Marines
Suggested Fitness Report Comments
For the Leadership-Challenged
1. "Since my last report, this Marine has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."
2. "His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity."
3. "I would not allow this employee to breed."
4. "This Marine is really not so much of a 'has been,' but more of a definite 'won't be.'"
5. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."
6. "When he opens his mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."
7. "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
8. "This young Marine has delusions of adequacy."
9. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
10. "This Marine is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."
11. "This Marine should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better."
12. "Got a full six-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together."
13."A gross ignoramus--144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
14. "He certainly takes a long time to make his pointless."
15. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."
16."I would like to go hunting with him sometime."
17. "He's been working with glue too much."
18. "He would argue with a signpost."
19. "He has a knack for making strangers immediately."
20. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."
21. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
22. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."
23."A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
24."A prime candidate for natural de-selection."
25. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
26. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming."
27. "Has two brains: one is lost and the other is out looking for it."
28. If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."
29. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
30. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."
31. "It's hard to believe that he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."
32. "One neuron short of a synapse."
33. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."
34. "Takes him two hours to watch '60 Minutes'."
35. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."
36. "Has not seen his belt buckle since the 70s."
37. "A Gunnery Sergeant filling a Private's billet and failing miserably."
38. "If stupidity were a brick, he would be the projects."
39. "Creates a crisis management atmosphere and works well in it"
40. "Assign him to the most efficient organization in the Marine Corps; he will fix it"
41. "With a beer belly like his, we should select him for Chief"
42 "Enthusiastically participated in all funeral details"
43. "Once a task has been thoroughly and carefully explained, he can carry it out with minimal supervision"
44. "This SNCO is so big we had to estimate his body fat percentage"
45. "If he lets his breath out, his belly will hit his socks"
46. "Couldn't lead a drunk to happy hour"
47. "In time of combat, I desire this Marine as a parapet"
48. "Next to useless, he is talentless"
49. "Could be satisfactorily replaced by a brick"
50. "Looks like a bruised pear in a wrinkled set of Charlies"
51. "His picture looks like a bag tied in the middle"
52. "Hasn't seen his belt since 1978"
53. "Hampered by his inability to read, write, and speak"
54. "Fails to live up to the low standards he sets for himself"
55. "I hope they took that picture fast; he could have passed out from sucking it in"
56. "The GySgt is fat; he was fat years ago, and is still fat today"
Submitted by: Gunny Davis
I Did Explain
Hey Sgt. Grit
I thought you'd appreciate this one...
My daughter made the spelling bee at school and it's this Friday night. So last night we were reviewing the words and I came to MAGGOT. She said, "'isn't that a Marine? " I couldn't stop laughing.
PS.....I did explain that Marines are NOT Maggots....only the recruits are called that....(and sometimes daughters of Marines as they are growing up).
Just possibly some of you Gyrenes, know you don't like this reference...... Might be from 5th Regt . Or 11th Artillery and remember the seven mile long valley near Kajon-Ni North Korea , just North East of punchbowl.... Might have called in fire mission to Nod Charley... We put many HE on Lukes Castle... God Bless George one and two and all Mudhens... From George Ellis 780ty fab.. Charley Btry....
In response to former Capt. Van Tyle, with whose remarks I wholeheartedly agree, I am afraid that I must correct one statement. Some Marines were in fact drafted during the late 60's, interestingly about the time you were in. I had a cousin who was drafted and served a year, or maybe it was still thirteen months, in VietNam. Last saw him at his Father's funeral. Was wearing my EGA on my suit lapel. The next day, at the actual service, he wore his EGA also!
I did not see the previous controversy about the bumper stickers. I proudly display mine and always wave or honk at others I see. I also fly my Marine Corps flag every day and have done so since they went back into Iraq.
Commiskey-Wheat Detachment MCL
Women Marines Association
Dear Sgt Grit:
This is in response to the several recent emails from "the fewer, the prouder" -- current and veteran female Marines. The Women Marines Association is looking for you! WMA was formed in 1960, and it's the only association of women Marines. It is a non-profit, non-political veterans association, and membership is open to women who serve or have served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve from 1918 to present. Chapters are located throughout the country, with members in almost every state. For more information, visit the WMA website at www.womenmarines.org. (Be sure to tell them Maj Potter sent you!)
Semper Fi, Lady Leathernecks!
PWST OIC, Wpns Co 3/25, Akron OH
(330) 376-9722 ext 1001
When I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1968, before getting orders for Nam there was a song that was played in the bars there, it was the Marines' answer to Sgt. Barry Sadler's Green Beret song. I don't know what the name was but it answered every verse in the Green Beret song with one of our own. it was great. Do you know what it was or do you have any way of finding out what it was? There was a part in it that said "one hundred men we saved today, and every one was a Green beret" to the tune of the Green Beret. I was telling a friend of mine about it ( he was in the Green Berets) We'd sure like to be able to get a copy of it.
The H/2/7 reunion is June 10-12 at the Radisson Hotel in Alexandria, VA. Interested parties can contact me at 301-873-3435 or Skipper Holm at 360.871.3593. Our website, www.hotel27vietnam.com has a reunion page with all the specifics.
Semper fidelis and Welcome Home,
So On That Date
On March 19, 1969, I was ordered to report for induction at Youngstown OH. I had received my notice in February having lost my 2-S student deferment upon graduation from Kent State University, Kent OH. My career plans did not initially include military service even though I had many friends that either enlisted in various armed services branches or were drafted. I also knew that my reclassification of status to 1-A meant almost certain induction given the numbers of men required monthly from Draft Board No. 80 to fulfill the nations demand. I could have enlisted and probably secured a safe spot somewhere, but I took my chance with the draft as I had a good job waiting for me if I only spent 2 years in the military versus a 4 year obligation.
So on that date, I said goodbye to my new wife of 10 weeks and departed to Cleveland OH for final processing. The room was filled with new inductees, but I was called out to take some additional tests that apparently were not included in the physical taken in February. When I returned all the inductees had received their final notification to report to an Army base. I asked an acquaintance if he heard my name called and he had not. Minutes later, my name was mentioned along with six (6) others out of approximately 80 men from my region and we were taken to a smaller room where we learned we had been selected to report to Parris Island that evening. Needless to say we were all shocked as no one ever mentioned that the USMC was fulfilling staffing requirements by participating in the draft. It was an interesting observation when 4 of the 7 total were college graduates selected for the USMC.
The first thing that happened was failing the initial PFT so I was removed from my unit and sent to conditioning. Then a case of pneumonia delayed my training further, but I recovered and went on to receive my Eagle, Globe and Anchor on July 12. I was assigned a 3000MOS(Supply management) and served my active duty time in 3rd LAAM Battalion- Cherry Point NC. During that time, I made E-4 within 18 months and was recommended for reenlistment and the opportunity to go to OCS- Quantico VA. I will always wonder what a career would have been like in the USMC. I also met several other draftees during my tour duty and all were exemplary Marines.
The pride I feel as a United States Marine is indescribable. I display my Honorable Discharge proudly on my office wall and wear a lapel pin on my suit at all times. That pin has found others who likewise served and we are truly a brotherhood. The training I received as a US Marine has permitted me the strength and courage to forge ahead in my career. Years ago, the USMC had a recruiting motto," The Marine Corps Builds Men". I feel particularly close to this motto and I live my life according to the principles I learned from my training. In the publication Making Marines and Winning Battles, there is the following:
United States Marine Corps-Values:
The USMC is a force rich in history and traditions and ingrained with the highest values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These three core values are at the very soul of our institution. They pave the way that Marines live and act. As a result, Marines are men and women of character widely recognized for their moral excellence, selfless courage, committed principles, and sound judgments. Strict adherence to these simple yet meaningful core values provides Marines with a common "moral compass "that helps them make right decisions even in the shifting minds of adversity. For United States Marines, there are no "shades of gray" when it comes to Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Beautiful Young Woman
While in Marine Corps Boot Camp, the recruits were taught to keep their heads if taken prisoner by the enemy. After all, methods used to extract information, they learned, might not be the ones they were expecting. "Imagine that the door to your cell opens and in walks a beautiful young woman in a revealing outfit," said the instructor. "The best thing to do is not to touch her."
From the back if the room came the question, "Sir, what's the second best thing?"
The Truth Hurts
I thought I would weight in on your bumper stickers. Everyone has the right to free speech as long as it is truthful and does not harm anyone, i.e. you can't scream fire in a crowded building. My wife who did not know me during my tour loves your bumper stickers as so do I. She has cut them out and made small magnets of them, that now cover our fridge, my locker at work, and her computer at work. I think everyone in America, political correctness aside, needs to lighten up. The problem that people have with your bumper stickers is that there is truth in everyone of them. Sometimes the truth hurts, but what did the comic Flip Wilson use to say? "The truth shall set you free" A while back you had a piece in one of your newsletters about non 03 officers in line companies, and how you didn't think that happened anymore. Well in 1980 I got a new Battalion Commander, non 03 who once made the whole battalion sit on the deck and change the laces in our boots because they weren't the way he wanted them. He never made it thru the year, they shipped him back to supply or wherever the hell he came from. He was replaced by then Lt.Col. Walter Boomer later Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. I also lover your catalog, but one item really stands out for me. The door mat with the yellow foot prints, I have got to have one of them, I love it. To all Marines past and present, Thank you, God Bless you and Semper FI.
J. T. Marvel
Wpns. Co 2/3 78-82
I have called in two orders in the last couple of weeks and I have to thank you for the great service. I have received both of them here in N.J. the second day after I called them in. You are almost as fast as we were doing in the Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir when I was a high speed cw radio operator with 2nd Bn 7th Marines. former Sgt. Ron Haines. Wonder if Sgt. Grit knows what a cw operator is.. Thanks again.....
Note: No I do not know what a cw operator is?
"The Story of Taps"
I think the, "Taps," were on the beer kegs in the various pubs and brothels (God bless them). Someone, somewhere (this is where I run out of Info) at someone's HQ decided to make it law that the taps on these barrels had to be shut at 22:00 or some other too early time! The reason being was so that they could get their guys back to camp and sobered-up before dawn! :-)
Have the HIGHEST regard for the USMC.
Old-Phart Limey airdale
His First Babysitters
i read many e-mails from people that are seeing negative support for our troops in this newsletter. i live in the middle of the midwest. here there is nothing but support for our men and women in the military. local and state tv news, newspapers, magnets on cars, and of course my sgt. grit bumper sticker. i am routinely asked where i got that sticker. (president reagans quote) i am also routinely thanked by strangers when they see my stickers. here in iowa we have always been patriotic, not just as an aftermath of 9-11.
my son recently enlisted in the corps as a grunt. as a father and marine grunt myself, i cannot be prouder of him. i dont know how many people i can bring to his graduation in san diego but all of my immediate and extended family want to go, as well as all of my friends. i wonder if i can charter a jet? my sons first years were spent as my dependent at 29 stumps. his first babysitters, taxi drivers, and friends were marines, always caring for him, watching over him, and protecting him, even when his mother and i were not there. his life has come full circle in 17 yrs, back to where it started. i know now that he will again have active duty marines caring for him and looking out for him, not just his dads marine buddies.
cpl mac 1/4 wpns co 7th meb 85-89
George O'Brien, Korean War MOH
It is my sad duty to report that George O'Brien, Korean War MOH recipient died today (3/11) in his hometown of Midland Texas of a massive heart attack. Mr. O'Brien was an exemplary Marine, a warrior and gentleman to the end. George spoke at a rally for the troops in Midland soon after the invasion of Iraq and I introduced my 7 year old grandson to him after the ceremony. A typical, rowdy 7 year old all boy, he was totally awed and respectful as he knew he was in the presence of a true American hero. I'm not a collector of autographs, but Mr. O'Brien's autograph on his personal biography in "Heros-U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor Winners" is one of my proudest possessions.
Jim Ellison 1829714
Just a week ago, I e-mailed you for help in locating Raymond C. Jones, a Marine my husband had been trying to locate for three years. Wednesday evening, R. Jones called my husband, Frank Cooper, from Virg!nia-first time they had talked to each other in 38 years!
The search was a long, winding road with many disappointments. For over thirty years, Frank believed that Ray Jones had been KIA serving with Kilo 3/9 in Viet Nam. Found out two years ago that his name didn't appear on The Wall. I started searching harder with the new information.
If it hadn't been for the help of many, many Marines and Marine organizations that devote themselves to reuniting Marines with their "miss-placed" comrades, we would have never found Ray Jones. I have e-mailed, called and written to everyone that I can remember that gave us search tips, web sites, and ((last week) information on the city and state that Raymond lived in, to thank them. In case I missed anyone, would you kindly print this.
I don't know if men and women that are civilians understand the deep "brotherhood" ties that these men have with each other-not just Viet Nam, but all veterans from any war. Listening to Frank talking to Raymond that evening made me thank God I didn't give up the search. (Try to imagine what it was like searching for someone whose last name is Jones!) This means so much to Frank.
So, thanks to any and all that provide reunion sites and search sites for our veterans. Thanks to everyone that took the time to e-mail us with information, or a search tip. If I missed contacting you personally, I am very sorry-but I received a lot of help!
And, thank you, Sgt. Grit, for providing a forum that makes it possible for me to pass this message on!
God bless you, and God bless all of our service men and women, past & present!
Barb and Frank Cooper
I appreciate being informed about happenings like what Lt. Pantano is going through. I can't believe this stuff. I trust and pray that he will be treated fairly and that his accuser receives the same treatment. I enjoyed my order last week and will order again as soon as my allowance builds up. My Brother in Law, Rafe Rafalko, Who played with Blanchard and Davis at West Point ('45 ), a Major General, in the Air Force, ( Ret. ) quipped to me last week that the Marines are very fast to move from one crisis to another, called us SEMPER GUMBY ( always flexible).
Semper Fidelis, Joe Tirrell
A team from 3rd Force Recon was conducting a reconnaissance patrol west of the Khe Sanh combat base on 10 May 1967 when they encountered a substantial element of enemy soldiers. In the engagement that followed, four team members were killed. Unfortunately, due to the continuing heavy fire and overwhelming size of the enemy unit, the survivors were unable to recover the bodies. About a week later, another recon team visited the same area but could not locate the remains.
Fast forward some 36 years
During a Joint Recovery Operation to that area on 27 May 2003, the remains of four men were found and brought back to the Central Identification Lab in Hawaii. After almost two years of painstaking work, positive identification was made on all four.
Less that two weeks ago (Feb 2005), identification information was presented to the families of each man and each family was satisfied and accepted the identification (the final step in an official identification). I now proudly announce the completion of the combat tour and return to CONUS of the following Recon Marines and Corpsman:
2LT Heinz Ahlmeyer, USMC
SGT James A. Tycz, USMC
HM-3 Malcolm T. Miller, USN
LCPL Samuel A. Sharpe, USMC
Welcome home and job well done!
Good Bye Kiss
Thanks to all of you the Marine wives. I will give you my prospective on being a Marine and leaving your love ones. Marines love to fight and we can't stand it if our fellow Marines are in the fight and we are not. The Marine wife is a very special person, we hate to leave love ones, we hate to miss the special dates and times with our love ones. We do all we can to ensure the home front is taken care of, we teach you how to check the oil and change the tire and the list go's on. We think about getting on the plane or the boat to ship out, we think about the good bye kiss and hug and the tears, we think about our kids, missing important events we can never get back. On our good byes, none of us shed tears in front of you and our love ones, we can't, we cry later and think about our families in silence. We think about when we will return to our love ones. A former Marine told me in 1976 this when he learned I was going in to the Marines, his words I quote, well you are joining the Marines at least you will know how to fight.II MEF left behind a lot of families in the Lejuene area, and I can see the wives with kids in tow shopping in the commissary or the px, at the naval hospital taking care of the family. This we thank you for because without you handling business on the home front we wouldn't be able to focus on kicking the bad guys butts. No one loves to fight but someone has to is a old saying, General Mathis said it right (no more needs to be said).In the back of our mind, we want tell our love ones this but we can't wait to get after the bad guys and get in our first battle and fight beside one another, something only a Marine knows. Marines on your left flank, Marines on your right flank, can't think of situation to engage the bad guys. Thanks to all the wives not just Lejuene but across the Corps stay strong and keep us in prayers, sooner or later we are going to end this thing.
Still Alive And Doin Fine
Gentlemen, uniform of the day will be jock strap, and tennis shoes. Sunglasses at your discretion. Fall in. Hi brother grunts and Grit, just wanted to let the brothers know that the deranged "Viet Nam Vets" are still alive and doin fine.
If I understood right Mr Redfern took a fresh roll of GRIT paper to the head the other day. Brings back memory of the Sears Catalogue and those little brown bags in the C RATS.
Every time I see something about LT Pantano, I can not help but think of the Movie "A Few Good Men". I know the subject matter is different but I can see some similarities. Maybe I do not understand the big picture, but I thought our officers were there to size up the situation and react quickly enough not to get us PFC's and LCpl's whacked. I thought he was doing his job but I never was a rocket scientist.
In 1968 I was privileged to be with a group of Men at a place called Khe Sanh. We had an officer, a Capt Bill Dabney, CO of India 3/26, who was up on 881 South. The National Museum of the Marine Corps being built now at Quantico will have an exhibit for the VietNam War with the primary focus on Hill 881 South and the Men that were there. The Commandant of the Marine Corps recently called Colonel Dabney USMC Retired and informed him that he would receive the Navy Cross for his leadership during the Tet Offensive. Not bad, only took 37 years to be recognized. That's okay because the ones of us that were with him are still just as proud.
Semper Fi Gang and don't forget our little brothers and sisters in the SANDBOX.
Nope, Don't Look Like It
I am a Police Officer at a large medical school in the Dallas area. The other day a Sgt. asked me how long I had my maroon Ford F-150 Heritage pickup truck. I told him I had it slightly over a year. He ask how long I had the EGA license plate. I told him about a year as well. He asked if I knew it as illegal in Texas not to have a front license plate. I told him I was well aware of the State law. He asked when I was going to comply with it since I was in violation of a State law. I told him what I had on the front of my truck was good enough. He was ticked off, however, nothing has been said about my truck since.
The Sgt. Grit front plate will stay until I decide otherwise. Nope, don't look like it will be removed anytime soon. Once a Marine..Always..... Semper Fi
As I Ran The Race
I just ran my first LA Marathon (3/6/05). I trained hard for it, running many miles daily with my boonie cover and flack jacket. The Marine Corps way! The day of the race, I ran with my lucky boonie with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem and "Semper Fi" written on my arm easily identifying myself as a Marine. As I ran the race, I received many patriotic comments. But, the biggest comment received throughout the entire race from runners and the crowd alike was, "He can do it. He's a Marine." I just wanted to say that that is not something that you commonly hear about members of the other branches. It is definitely apparent that you carry the title Marine your whole life, wherever you go, in any situation, and at any age. Marines are considered to be the toughest. Attacking a challenge as Marine, means to most, that victory and success are virtually guaranteed. It is true that, "If everyone could be a Marine, we wouldn't be the Marines."
Semper Fi, Gents!
Sgt. Pardo, RM
3rd A.N.G.L.I.C.O. ('95 - '01)
Gad, how I love your Newsletters. My service was 1939 to 1950. Never a dull moment. These current Marines are great! God Bless them all! I really appreciate the time you spend on your newsletters. Faint heart never won fair lady, nor did faint heart put the drive into our Splendid Marines. John H. Quick would be proud. Semper Fi ! Marine.
Love the news letters: Buut how in sam h&ll !!.. dose one get thru them without his eye's springing a leak, Is far beyond me....
Mike G. C 1/7 - B 1/5 Wpns Plt.
To S. R. Van Tyle Captain USMCR 66-70 I have to correct you on the point of Marines being drafted. I was drafted in 51, and I had a friend that said he was drafted but I don't remember when he went in. But God Bless all Marines everywhere and I Pray for there safety every day. Semper Fi and Thanks to Sgt. Grit for this site. R. Moyers
Mr. Dunn may I suggest an answer to those who do not understand your willingness to serve your country. Simply say, "Nearly 5000 U.S. citizens have died at the hands of these people. I do not want you to be number 5001." Semper Fi.
Stephen Fox, Cpl 69-72.
24 MEU (SOC) O'Grady TRAP Team reunion. 18 June 2005, Norfolk, Va. POC Odie Ogden, 757-462-3066, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have heard that Jane Fonda is having hip replacement surgery next week so I went to the Hallmark card store for a card. I could not find one that said "suffer B!tch" or "here's hoping for complications". Can you help ?
always feel proud of my Marine Corps service, was the best tire changer in Motor Transport,adak bill 1947
I had a Viet Nam ribbon sticker on the rear bumper of my car when we went into the restaurant and only a few small remnants remained when we came out. Somebody didn't like the Fact that I was advertising the fact that I was a Nam Vet. Of course the perpetrators didn't have the guts to face me.
Phil Hengels Sgt. USMC '65-'70.
I applaud the patriotism and ideals of the young Mr. Brandon Dunn, but for God's sake (and his own) tell him NEVER call a Sergeant a "SARGE"!!
Old (Very Old) SSgt.
I don't know about that Melissa, I'm almost 60 years old now and have been out of our beloved Corps for more then 35 years now; I still can't get through one of these newsletters without a tear or two, but to do that would mean that I had lost my heart and my Corps values!
USMC (Active duty 63-68) Still a Marine!