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You know you spent too much time in the field when . . . . You use your John Wayne to open a can of Ravioli and eat it cold for breakfast . . . .

Pete Hoeft
GySgt (retired) 79 - 99

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Family Member Shirts

Support your Marine with one of these Limited Offer Family Member shirts! The shirts are available as a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, and a hooded sweatshirt.
Available ONLY through June 18th.

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GriTogether 06 was a Huge Success!

GriTogether was a Huge Success! The 3rd Annual GriTogether was an incredible time. We had the YL-37 drop in, an excellent DJ, free food, and an enormous crowd. See pictures here.

Remember My Son

I commute down Route 93 from New Hampshire into Massachusetts everyday for work. It is a long drive and Thursday, May 25th was no different. Shortly after crossing into Massachusetts, I changed lanes and found myself following one of those big, king cab, heavy duty pick up trucks with several stickers on the bumper. The bright, cleanliness of one sticker in particular caught my eye. It was approximately 4” X 6”, with the narrow side at the top. It was glistening white in color and had a small, gold border around the outside. In the center was a single, two inch, 5 point, gold star.

Directly beneath that, was the Eagle, Globe and Anchor of the United States Marine Corps. I had to stare at this sticker for a moment before I realized what I was looking at.

It is a tradition in many households dating back to World War I. A family who had someone serving in the military during a time of war, would hang a cloth banner in their window. It was snow white in color with a small red border around the outside. A blue, 5 point star would be sewn in the middle of the banner for each member of the family serving in harm’s way. If that person were killed in battle, their blue star was exchanged for a gold one.

The mothers of these men and women, were known as “Gold Star Mothers”.

The man driving this truck was a “Gold Star Father”. And his son was a United States Marine who had died serving our Country. Judging by the “newness” of the decal, he had died recently, probably in Iraq. A lump formed in my throat. I suddenly needed to cry as memories flooded over me. I remembered how my hands shook as I placed a folded American Flag into the hands of Corporal Bean’s mother. He was one of my Marines. And I remembered how dry my throat was and how my voice cracked, as I uttered those useless words, “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation….. Useless, because they will never bring her boy back.

I remembered participating in a memorial service for the Servicemen from New Hampshire who were killed during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There were 12 sets of parents there and I was asked to give a red rose to each mother. I would take a single rose from a bouquet in the front of the room and walk to where that mother sat and hand it to her, saying “My respects, Ma’am”, or “Thank you for your sacrifice”. Each trip back to the bouquet became harder and harder. It felt like their eyes watched my every movement and asked accusingly, why I had survived and their child had not. Survivor’s guilt, I guess.

These images and feelings flashed by in an instant and the “Gold Star Father” exited the highway moments after I first saw him. That’s when I realized that man did not want my tears. He did not want my sympathy. By displaying that decal, he wants everyone who sees it, to remember his son’s sacrifice. He wants us to remember that his son died for our freedom. He died protecting us. The decal, without saying a thing, screamed “Remember my son! He died for you! Whether you deserve it or not!”

Just like Jesus did.

Bradford M. Fields
Staff Sergeant of Marines, Retired
1982 - 2004
Thank you & Semper Fidelis

Happier For A Day

As many of you know, I served with Sgt. Grit in Viet Nam. This year a bunch of us "hootch mates" decided to crash the Gritogether. I came from California, Fuller came from Arizona, Gugliotta and his mob came from Maryland and Delaware, Morehouse came from Nebraska, Knavel came from New York, and Richter came from somewhere.

At the Gritogether I saw old Marines, semi old Marines, young Marines, and wanna be Marines, in all sizes, shapes, and physical conditions. It was like an old home week. I struck up conversations with people I had no idea who they were. All were happy and proud. I talked to a young Lance Corporal who was with a huge truck with some sort of rocket launcher on it. He was so professional and knowledgeable of the equipment. He listened courteously as I explained how we could walk in artillery during a fire mission. He then explained that he could put one of his rounds in some guys back pocket and set it off during the bad guys dinner break. I noticed an elderly gentleman who was walking very slow and slightly hunched over but when our Hymn was played he stood so straight and tall. All of the "hootch mates" told the same stories but with different, and more eloquent, outcomes.

The purpose of this is not to be some sort of advertisement for the Gritogether but more of an invitation to make your life a little happier for a day. Call and find that old friend from when you served active duty, come and see if they are there. Meet older Marines that have stories like yours. Meet Marines there who were from the same area or battalion or whatever. Meet the young Marines who are entrusted with our legacy. I guarantee that you will not regret it. Someone that is there will be glad to hear your voice, as you are glad to hear theirs.

SSGT Huntsinger

Couldn't Attend

For the young couple that couldn't attend her high school prom because of his age. Just wait until your first Marine Corps Ball. Especially if it is an airwing ball. It is awesome to see the results when they convert a hangar into a ballroom. You will realize a prom is special but it can't touch the pomp and circumstance of the Marine Corps Ball. The ceremony no matter how many times you attend touches your heart. One of my friends put it best. She was a naturalized citizen (from Norway I think), and after they finished the ceremony part of the night she leaned over to me and asked "Is it just me because I wasn't born an American or is it everyone? I get goose bumps when I hear the National Anthem, the Marine Corps Hymn and watch them perform the cake cutting." I quickly assured her while it may affect her like that she was NOT alone. If there was anyone there that night that didn't feel the heartstrings sing then they didn't need to be there. So let them enjoy their little prom, you have more important ceremonies to attend.

Mrs. Gunny (Retired)

Legendary Marines

I had the privilege of serving under the command of General Hockmuth at MCRD San Diego prior to his assignment to Viet Nam. I was a Drill Instructor with 3rd Bn. During one trip to the Rifle Range at Camp Pendleton, I had the honor of General Hockmuth join me and one of my junior Drill Instructors for a very early breakfast at the mess hall. Not only did I get to meet this Great man, he introduced me to another Great Marine General officer. This was General H. M. (Howling Mad) Smith. As a young Marine Sergeant this was an occasion I will never forget and to have been in the presence of these two legendary Marines was a real thrill.


1st Sgt Paul Lennen, (Ret)

Loudly Berated Me

I was stationed at Onslow Beach with 2nd Recon Battalion at Camp Lejeune in the late sixties. We had just secured from a three day field exercise somewhere in the vast area of Lejeune. Six- bys finally came to retrieve my team of six Marines and we were resting well as the truck in convoy sped down a North Carolina highway back to Onslow Beach. We were alerted to a convertible alongside of us with two very attractive young women dressed skimpily because of the heat. We waved, etcetera, and noticed that they were drinking cold beverages and had a cooler full of them in the back seat. Two of my buddies held me firmly by the legs as I leaned out of the back of the six-by towards the moving convertible. The girls maintained the same speed as our truck and as I leaned way out to the convertible I was rewarded not only by receiving two cold beverages but also with an outstanding view of two beautiful young ladies in very fashionable halter tops and short shorts. My guys savored the cold & delicious 'beverages' during the our ride home. When we were offloaded in front of the barracks at Onslow my smug grin quickly disappeared when I heard my platoon commander shouting my name furiously. I came to attention as he loudly berated me for doing something so d*mn foolish. In his anger he commanded me to do 100 pushups which I began immediately. In those days I could actually do 100 pushups even if my form began to suffer after fifty or sixty. I cranked them out with an audience of quiet but smiling Recon Marines. When finally finished the lieutenant told me to get the h&ll out of there and never do anything that stupid again and I was lucky that I wasn't getting an article 15. As I began to make a hasty exit from the area the Lieutenant called my name again. In front of the rest of the Marines he then requested a specific verbal report of my observation and description of the cute girls in the car. After I finished with the intimate sitrep he then dismissed me and I swear there was a slight smile on his face.

Garent Gunther
2517489 USMC

Keeper Forever

Dear Sgt. Grit
I have forgotten more addresses and phone numbers through the years than I want to admit to but my USMC serial number is a keeper forever. A note in the latest newsletter from Dave Englert (410936) shows that we weren't to far apart in numbers. Mine was 492093. My guess is that Dave's tags had his fingerprints on them also. Always proud to be a Marine.

Sgt, Jack Watson

And For Desert

I celebrated my 19th birthday in a makeshift field hospital at AN Hoa in 1966, I was given a case of "C rats" to eat for that week and on my birthday I moistened a loaf of "canned bread", flattened it, kneaded it, topped it with "Beef Spiced With Sauce", the "Processed Cheese Spread" that came with the "Cheese and Crackers", and of coarse "Tabasco Sauce". I then cooked my "C RAT PIZZA" over a "K-Bar punctured can stove" and for desert I frosted a canned "Pound Cake" with "Cocoa beverage Powder" lightly mixed with water. I then washed it down with my one rare daily ration of hot beer and smoked a "Lucky Strike" furnished of coarse with my meal. Ahhh what memories.

Semper Fi;
Rodger Ely,
Lucky LIMA 3/9, 0331, USMC

A First

Sgt Grit,
Regarding Cpl H.H.H.- Recon - 61-65..... He has got to be the Very First Marine that I have ever heard of or met that Loves..?? that Loves..?? Ham + Limas, C-rats..... or as I Always hear them mentioned, Ham+ M. Fs....! This has got to be a first...? in Corps History, Guinness Book of World Records. Wonder what this Marines stomach looks like..?

Shalom + Semper Fi

I'll Bet That Really Hurts

In re-reading your 15 March newsletter (I was interrupted before I could finish and just got back to it), the question from Sgt. Bruce Harrison as to whether anything replaced the "M-1 thumb" reminded of one day during my first week as a PLC candidate at Camp Upshur, OCS, MCB Quantico, in July of '63. After almost 43 years, some of the details are a little foggy, but as I remember it:

We were having our first instruction in disassembling the M-14. I don't remember if the instructor was our platoon sergeant, SSgt. Sevene (Korean vet), or our sergeant-instructor, Sgt. Rubedo (WWII and Korea). I do remember his telling us to be careful in removing the operating rod spring...at which point we heard a "poing" from one candidate's rifle (thankfully not mine) followed by a projectile impacting the bulkhead of our Quonset hut squad bay, which was in turn followed immediately by some loud obscenities from the instructor.

Then as we were removing the trigger housing from the rifle, the sergeant was just telling us not to squeeze the trigger with the housing group opened, when we heard a loud groan. Another candidate presented himself to the instructor with his trigger housing group attached to his right hand.

The sergeant calmly commented, "I'll bet that really hurts, now, don't it?"

The candidate only mumbled something through clenched teeth.

"Do you want me to take it off?" asked the sergeant.

"Yes sir," came feebly from the candidate's lips.

We didn't have M-1 thumbs, but there were other hazards connected with the M-14.

Then there was a question which I've also wondered about: When did "Foxtrot" become "Fox" again in the phonetic alphabet?

In the 29 March issue, Maj. Himmelheber attempted to set the record straight, but didn't succeed, since his time in the Corps ended in 1960, and his alphabet contained some inaccuracies (the major has "Metro, Nectar, Oboe," and "Victory, William"). In 1966 at the Basic School and then artillery school at Ft. Sill, OK, we were taught the phonetic alphabet as follows: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu."

I still wonder when "Foxtrot" reverted back to "Fox", which, as the Major pointed out, was used by the "old timers" of WWII and Korea (among whom both he and I are now numbered by the "New Breed").

Semper Fi,
Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-'76; Vietnam '66-'67

I Would Like

Sgt Grit, Just a quick question for your readers. Why do I always get a strange look from every former male Marine whom I happen to say Semper Fi to? Did I mention that he is obviously wearing something that identifies him? Just once I would like someone to respond with Semper Fi. For those that inquire they are surprised that I am a former Marine. My favorite comment so far is, "They didn't look like you in my day". Is it not obvious with my Semper Fi comment that I must be a Marine or at least a proud daughter or wife? Hmmm maybe they just think I'm a history buff? Just wondering......

(Former) Sgt. Jean Kammler

P.S. - The looks are even stranger when I did more years and out rank them too!

Genuinely Interested

I was a Drill Instructor at MCRD 64-66, 3rd Batt. At that time Gen. Hochmuth was the Commanding General. In those days your platoon usually went on mess duty right after you got back from the Rifle Range. We had to have our platoons to the chow hall very early in the am so they could help with food prep and clean up. The mornings that I took my platoon to work, it was not unusual to see Gen Hochmuth sitting at a table having coffee. He would be the only permanent personnel from the Base other than DI’s and chow hall personnel. The first time that this occurred needless to say I was quite surprised. Also I was surprised when the Gen asked to join him for coffee. I did of course, and found Gen Hochmuth to be a very interesting man to visit with. He was genuinely interested in the care of the recruits. I was privileged to have this happen on several occasions. Not only did I interact with the General at the chow hall, but would see him in many places you would not expect to see the CG of MCRD. He never forgot my name. I am in agreement with you, he was one of the finest that I ever served under.

I was still at MCRD when the General was killed.

Semper Fi
L. Shell 57-66

Turkey Loaf

I did not get to play with C-4 so we came up with another way to heat our C-Rats(when we could). We would take a heat tab and drop in into a can of peanut butter. There was so much oil in the peanut butter that it would make that little heat tab last long enough to heat your main meal (my favorites, turkey loaf and beans and franks) and one more can. Also if you got to go the exchange, a couple of cans of cheese whiz (they were light and not bulky) could do wonders for any meal.


If you looked hard enough and checked every lead out, you could always find a set of herringbones someplace. My tour was from 1964 to 1968 and did I not only find a set of the herringtonbones, but I was able to acquire a set of the old dress greens with black belt and BATTLE JACKET (like the Army had), really sorry I sold the greens, they were in my estimation the warmest dress gear any military service ever designed and approved. The Battle Jacket was especially "spiffy", made the Army ones look like rags, sorry about that all you dogfaces.

J.Engman 7-15-64/7-15-68,Vietnam'66-'67

To My Surprise

Sgt Grit

I read with great interest the entertaining stories of Marines traveling to and from their commands. I have one that I still believe will top them all. In 1968 I was a Lance Corporal driving back, to my base, from leave in my home town. My car’s engine blew up on the way and in order to get back in time I had to leave it and fly the rest of the way.

When I got on the plane, to my surprise, on board were 10 to 12 beauty queens that were touring around Florida as part of a state tourism promotion. One of them, Miss Lion Country Safari, was a girl I knew from Ft Lauderdale and was representing her company as part of the tour. I found myself sitting next to her and, to my astonishment, after the plane took off she reached down and pulled out of her bag an African lion cub that she was using as part of the promotion and handed it to me. For the rest of the flight I enjoyed talking with, and looking at, the beauty queens seating around me and playing with the lion.

As soon as I got back to my company I could not wait to tell my fellow Marines how I flew back surrounded by a dozen beauty queens holding a lion on my lap. Needless to say, not one of them believed me. My argument that no one, not even a Marine, could make this up was unconvincing.

Ken O’Leary
Sgt 67 -70

H&HS-28/MTACS-28 Marines Reunion

Hi Sgt Grit

H&HS-28/MTACS-28 Marines from 1986-1993 and Lonesome Dove: Reunion, 7-8 July in St Louis. POC is 1stSgt Stephen M Pitman USMC (Ret), smpitman@charter.net for more information.

Thanks and keep charging!
First Sergeant Stephen M Pitman IV, U. S. Marines (Ret)
POBox 143
Lyndonville VT 05851

Grabbed The Chaplain

Listen Up. (remember that phrase)
Reading one of your readers comments about ordering superior Marines around brought back the time I was a boat team commander on a ship to shore exercise during amphibious training off the coast from Coronado Island back in 1963. I was a Lance Corporal but as boat team commander I was fully in charge of personnel from the time we started climbing down the cargo nets to the time we hit the beach. As fate would have it, we had some VIPs with us. A full bird colonel, (who hadn't been away from his desk in awhile, Ed McMahon, the TV announcer and a chaplain. I got to yell at them to use the right grip on the net and watch their feet. I even grabbed the chaplain by his shirt collar to keep him from falling. Power, however, did not last long but as soon as we were trudging through the sand the chaplain and McMahon came up and told me "well done". I was 22 years old.

Lock and Load
Ed Hobdy, G/S E-6

We want to share our Grit with your Grit

Everything in our home revolves are the United States Marine Corps. My husband is a former Marine (69 to 71 - 8 th Engineer Batalion).

Due to my husband deep rooted sense of patriotism and love for the Corps our 17 year old son's goal for the last 5 years has been to join the Marines. He has one more year of high school left but intends to enter the delayed entry program next week once he has senior status. For some odd reason even our animals have joined in the fun. We have a cat named Parris and our newest addition proudly carries the name Grit. His full name his SGT Grit Fearless Warrior and he is a 8 week old brindle Boxer. Enjoy the picture!


Herbert and Yvonne Bates

"If the Army or the Navy ever look on heaven's scene, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines".

Points Well Taken

Okay, Elizabeth Tribelli, points well taken. Thought you were shooting at the rest of us, so I returned fire before knowing all the details. (Come to think of it, that's what I was TRAINED to do! Giggle)

I'll take the heat for firing from the hip. Now I feel like Heidi Tanada's definition of HAM. (Half-A$$ed Marine) But, anything that still comes out Marine in the end is good enough for me.

As for your not appreciating that "female" is a sufficient skill, I believe that God Almighty had a very high regard for women because only they are capable of reproducing Marines! Of course, they still do need a 'few good men' to sire those future devil dogs, but the respect is there for the women. When you couple that with the fact that she was good enough to become a Marine too, that's MORE than enough reason to give special dispensation, and entitle her to her own colorful epithet. Wish we had more WM's and fewer Cindy Sheehan's........

Gotta tell you one sea story about WM's.

When a buddy and I were on liberty in Beaufort, we happened to wind up following a WM who was very comely in appearance, heightened in my mind by being in a Marine uniform. How more desirable can a lady dress? Anyway, my buddy decided he wanted to get to know this lady better and grabbed her by the shoulder to spin her around! I cringed at the thought, just before she broke his ARM! When she looked at me with the look of a panther about to spring on the next victim I smiled sheepishly and said, "Looks like he got what he deserved!" She almost grinned, then went on her way.

Spent the rest of that liberty with my buddy at the infirmary, trying to help him come up with a plausible excuse for his broken arm!

I appreciate your regards to the "big boots to fill" I too joined up to repay the great debt owed to vets before me. But I've been around long enough to know that we have great follow- on forces being trained daily at The Island and Hollywood. Thank YOU for being part of that, and thanks to all who continue to follow. There are still many trails to blaze in this world before the last shot is fired. Every good Marine will continue to train in order to be up to that task. The task of firing the last shot fired in anger. If it comes from a Marine, at least I know it will hit it's mark!

Finally, to Cpl Lipe; I know exactly how you feel and the shrinks even have a term for it: Survivors remorse. Before it eats you up, understand that Marines die. Always have, always will. But the Corps lives on forever. You probably kept your friend alive and performing at top level until God needed him more than we did.

Be proud, not down, that you had the chance to train this young man and others like him, in your contribution time to the Corps. It's always hard to lose buddies, but I've been told that as long as one person remembers us, we live on. Semper Fi!

SSgt H. E. Brown II, retired
Note to the Commandant: I'm still ready if you need me.

Georgia Boy

Sgt. Grit.

In the summer of 1967, I was up near the DMZ (a click or two west of Con Thien) as a grunt with India Company, 3/4. We had been out on an operation for about two weeks and were headed back in. We had just exited a tree line and were crossing a very large open area when we started receiving some NVA sniper rounds from the tree line about 300 yards to our left. The company "wheeled" in that direction and our "delta formation" turned into two parallel lines as we "charged" in that direction (probably not the best tactical move but..........). In any case, I heard some yelling (rebel yells) from our side and as I looked to my left someone in the second wave had run up the Confederate Battle Flag on a bamboo pole ! I wonder if I was in the "last Confederate charge" and what the NVA must have thought ?? A great experience for a Georgia boy ............

L/Cpl. James D. Cool
India Company
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
Vietnam - 1967

Hot Sauce From Home

I remember the first time I used c4 to cook with and a new "in country" rookie to Viet Nam saw me cut off a chunk and put it in a can and light it. He tried crawling all over a group of us trying to get away from the expected explosion. Just like jarhead Luke, my favorites were beans and franks and pound cake and peaches. The ham and eggs we'd doctor up with hot sauce from home as well as the ham and limas. Memories...

To all of you who in the past and currently carry the torch,

Semper Fi
Gunny Gat USMC 66-86

I'd Been Away

Dear Sgt. Grit,

After serving as the CO of Bravo Company, 7th Engineers in 66/67, I returned to the states for a short tour in Philadelphia and then went on to the Army Engineer School for a year. From there, it was off to a second tour in Vietnam on Joint Staff tour with few Marines around. . . Then it was back to the states for a tour as Marine Liaison Officer at a Navy Lab in Port Hueneme and then a two year tour with the MAAG in Indonesia.

From '69 to 1980, I'd been away from my beloved Marine Corps so when I returned to Pendleton to retire, I hauled out my best uniform to report in at Base Headquarters forgetting that a Marine LtCol. was still a bit of a big wheel at an FMF base. Anyway, as I walked down this long passageway a group of Marines up ahead of me shouted "Gangway!" and snapped to attention up against the bulkhead! This old Mustang joined them by jumping up against the wall also looking behind me to see who was coming. . .only to find out that I had caused all that commotion!

Once a trooper always a trooper. . .I guess.

Dick Phaneuf
LtCol. USMC (Ret.)

VA Data Base Compromised

FYI - the Department of Veterans Affairs recently had an analyst who took home a laptop computer that contained personal information on over 26 million veterans. This laptop was stolen from the individual's home. The VA has established a web page that explains what happened, what to expect and what to do about this compromise.

Clean And Smooth

Sgt. Grit – recently you ask for some Airdale stories so here is one. I, along with five close friends, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 6, 1946 and completed Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego in mid October of that year. We were immediately shipped to MCAS El Toro where I was assigned to Photographic Squadron VMP-254. The squadron, initially, was equipped with F6F Hellcats, F4U Corsairs and F7F-3 Tigercats. Shortly after joining the squadron the Hellcats were decommissioned. I was given an MOS- 0747 as an aviation mechanic and worked on Corsairs until January of 1947 when I was sent to NAS Miramar for a two week F7F-3 Cutaway Course. Upon returning to VMP-254 I was promoted to Corporal and assigned as a plan captain on F7F-3 N-2 (coding in another article in the future). It was one of two Tigercats in the squadron that had a rear tandem seat. There was no equipment back there, only seat and shoulder harness and an intercom connection. There was no visual contact with the pilot due to a bulkhead between the two cockpits. The rear canopy swung up and over to the port side of the aircraft. In flight it was secured only by a lever on the starboard side – push forward to unlock, pull back to lock.

I maintained a clean and smooth running aircraft. The pilots liked to fly it for those reasons and I was often ask if would like to fly routine navigation or photo hops with them which I occasionally did. We had three Master Sergeant Aviation Pilots in the squadron. One was a laid back, fun loving guy that went by the name of “Tennessee” On one particular day he was to make a navigation hop from El Toro to San Francisco, to San Diego, and back to El Toro. I was invited to go and accepted. Knowing that it was going to be long flight I took a paperback novel to read in order to break the boredom. However, along the way I became very sleepy and decided to loosen the restraints. I couldn’t get comfortable enough so I ended up releasing my shoulder harness and legs straps attached to my chute. I promptly went to sleep.

Suddenly, I was flailing around in the cockpit and looking down at San Diego Bay, three times all together. The pilot was rolling the aircraft (perhaps showing off since we were almost directly over NAS North Island) and I was doing everything that I could to stay away from the cockpit release knowing that if I were to release it I would have not only fallen from the aircraft but from my chute as well. We were too high to make a good clean dive into the bay. When the pilot returned to level flight and I had re-secured myself I picked up the intercom and told the pilot what had happened. I got a b**t chewing not unlike one or two that I had received in Boot Camp. I remember a rather graphic reference to my intelligence, or lack of it, and an order to keep silent about the incident. He didn’t want anyone to know that he came close to dumping a passenger into San Diego Bay. Although I continued to fly with other pilots I was never invited to do so with “Tennessee” again.

Feather Merchants

Regarding Cpl. Tom Piercy and his comments on the old Corps and herringbone clothing. I enlisted as a regular Marine, December 30, 1941. Due to the shortage of clothing, our boot camp training was done in the regular green wool trousers of what we called "the winter uniform"., and khaki shirts. Another platoon was issued coveralls (one size fit all), so the feather merchants pulled theirs up and secured them with a web belt. Another platoon had the herringbone utilities. The first time I had the latter was after I arrived overseas and this type of uniform was worn when on work details. We sometimes considered ourselves to be "old Corps" because our training routine in boot camp was the same as was being done prior to December 7, which was just three weeks before our enlistment.

Plt. Sgt. John T. Carter,
Platoon 7.

It Is Delivered

As a proud graduate of Platoon 199, Parris Island, SC (Dec 1971) I was assigned to ITR in Camp Geiger, NC. The Marine Recon units always did their runs through the area. The Recon units had the distinctive grunt/bark that translated to "Oorah!" by Hollywood. It is delivered as a cross between a grunt and a blood thirsty bark (sharp, short, guttural and scary). It is very stirring when a hardened Recon platoon gives the chant. I have personally seen it repel two large dogs from nipping at the heels of a platoon in running formation!

Needless to say, everyone started using "Oorah!" as a greeting or as a chant of encouragement. Soon, Recon's staff bitterly complained that their unit yell was not unique any more and demand that no one else should be allowed to use it. Any non- Recon Marine was forbidden from using of the greeting. Unfortunately it is hard to tell a bunch of young, hard charging, newly minted Marines not to do something that brings out the upwelling of the warrior spirit so well. As a result, the Marine Recon chant has welled up through the ranks to represent the very personal spiritual salute that one Marine will greet another with.

Graduated by S/Sgt Denny and Sgt. Haskell (RIP: Lebanon Barracks) Platoon 199 Parris Island, SC Oct-Dec 1971

Combat Action Ribbon

After recognizing the impact of the new forms of warfare the Marine Corps has authorized the Combat Action Ribbon for those who have come under attack by roadside bombs(IEDs). Many Marines were previously denied but applications are being reviewed and reconsidered. Change retroactive to Oct 2001.

Agent Orange

Semper Fi Sgt Grit.
I am an avid reader of both Sgt Grit and American Courage letters. I am writing about a subject that many Vietnam Veterans and others may not know about. I am a recipient of what is known as the order of the Silver Rose medal and certificate. This award is presented to those of us that have suffered agent orange wounds if you will. I myself now have chronic lymphocytic leukemia from exposure to agent orange. I would just like to add a mission statement which could help a veteran. The mission of the Order of the Silver Rose (SilverRose.org) is to recognize the courage, heroism, and contributions of American service personnel found to have been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in a combat zone and whose exposure resulted in internal invisible wounds revealed through the passage of time.

22 million gallons of Agent Orange dioxins have caused more than 43 VA approved disabilities, cancers and illnesses including diabetes 11. Is that enough reason for you to get an annual physical and cat scan This is a fine organization staffed by American volunteers who recognize our problems. I strongly recommend visiting the above mentioned site or E-mail me for more information at navajodrive@yahoo.com. Semper Fi and God bless all of our Armed Forces wherever they may be Ron Hurwitz
Sgt USMC 1954-1962 Msg E-8
U.S. Army Retired

If I Ever See

Dear Sgt Grit,

Thank you again for your terrific organization, outstanding personnel, and excellent newsletter. No week is successful or complete without it.

The letter by Master GySgt-1stLt Gerald F. (Jerry) Merna was interesting. When he wrote about the meaning of "Leatherneck" being "to keep Marines from slouching in uniform by forcing them to keep their heads up," an ancient memory arose in my mind like the Phoenix.

Early in 1956, stationed at Sukiran on Okinawa, a couple of buddies and I attended a now long-forgotten movie. After it ended, I stood down front with a bunch of other Marines.

The following day, our Abel Company Gunny Sgt. grabbed me--a slick-sleeved private--and put a fear into me that I carry to this day. He said, "If I ever see you with your hands in your pockets again, I'm gonna kill you with my bare hands! True Marines don't slouch." He had seen me with my hands in my pockets in the movie theater the previous night.

I'm almost 70 years of age, and I still can't stick my hands into my pockets except to put something in or get something out! It doesn't matter how cold the weather is, even without gloves, my hands remain OUT of my trousers. (And, yes, that's trousers, not pants!) So, GySgt-1st Lt. Merna, THANK YOU for reviving a wonderful memory for me.

God bless all of you who serve,

Frank Hamby

Their Sacrifice

When I helped load those six men's bodies onto that helicopter, I cried. Then, as if that was enough, I let it go.

That was thirty eight years ago. Those men died keeping me and the 13th Signal Bn. team I was with alive.

They gave up their lives in a firefight with the NVA making sure our hilltop relay station kept those who were involved in Operation Pegasus in the A Shau valley in contact with 1st Cav Division Headquarters in Camp Eagle. Because of their sacrifice, the Operation was a resounding success and I don't know if they, or their families, ever knew how really important their actions and those of their fellow grunts and engineers were that day.

I don't know why it's become so important to me after all this time and it's probably too late but I wish there was some way to let their folks know that their loved one did not die in vain.

Michael Price

To Finally Meet

My husband Charles & I would once again like to thank you for a wonderful day. It was well worth the trip all the way from Pennsylvania. Everyone we encountered at the Gritogether was exceptional. I personally would like to commend you on your employee Crystal – I understand she is new to your organization for someone who as I understand it was only with you for about 2 weeks she was knowledgeable, pleasant as was all of your staff and a pleasure to deal with. It was nice to finally meet the people who I have spoken to on the phone for the last several years in person.

Both of us would also once again like to thank you for all of the help you have given us for the All Divisions Detachment of the Marine Corps League and appreciated the opportunity to tell you in person.

We look forward to attending another grit together in the future.

Semper Fi
Charles & Linda Chamberlain

I Was Gonna join

Semper Fi my fellow Bellou Woodsmans! I have really nothing specific to talk about.... just wanted to tell you all that I am proud to have served and wore the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. I work with 192 retired Army Soldiers' and I get crap for being a Marine from just about each and every one of them. What's funny is that when no one is around to hear a wise crack about the Corps, I occasionally get a "I was gonna join the Corps, but my folks wouldn't let me", or some other excuse. I'm sure all of you reading this has heard a similar story at one time or another . I did however want to say hello to Adrian Mercado (I hope I spelled that right), a WM that I met in Okinawa in 1994. We had a few laughs together towards the end of my tour. Semper Fidelis my Brothers and Sisters!

Garry Olson Jr.
USMC 93-01

Served With

Enjoy finding the names of people I have served with. Recently read of Lt. Col. Amor Leroy Sims and MG Bruno Hochmuth.Served as a Sgt. with Lt. Col.Amor Leroy Sims. Our CO was a Colonel named David M. Shoup, later Commandant.. As a Lt. Col, I served with the son of Lt. Col. Sims, a Colonel. Lt. Col. Sims served as

Police Chief of Police of Norfolk, VA. upon retirement and was highly respected.

Served as a Captain with Colonel Bruno Hochmuth, along with another Captain named Paul X. Kelly, later Commandant. As our boss, Colonel Hochmuth was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met. Was deeply grieved when I learned of his death. Enjoyed Lt. Merna's web page dedicated to him.

Henry T. (Tom)Cook.
Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.)

Asked The Stewardess

On a flight back from a conference in San Diego last Sunday, a young Marine in dress blues, who clearly had just graduated from boot camp, was a couple of rows in front of me.

I asked the stewardess—excuse me, flight attendant—if I wanted to buy him a beer, would she feel the need to check his ID? “I don’t believe I would,” she said, and went and asked him.

“No thank you Ma’am,” he said, “I’m not old enough to drink!” But he’ll probably be in Iraq getting shot at before he is old enough.

Robert A. Hall

Milk Bottles

Sgt. Grit,

When I went through MCRD, one of the platoon DI's said the term "Jarhead" came from the shape of the utility cover. The side panels are wider at the top than at the bottom and resemble the folded paper caps that were used on milk bottles before WWII.

Semper Fi!
Jim Bartoli
Sgt Of Marines

Time For Ourselves

Dear Sgt. Grit

I have read so many letters from Marines and others that received a less than appreciative greeting when they returned from a Viet Nam tour. I would like to relay a happy story with my return from Viet Nam in 1966.

When I arrived at El Toro on Halloween 1966, I called my wife and she came from Fallbrook, Ca to pick me up around midnight. She had left our three children with a friend because of the late hour.

We decided we needed a little time for ourselves before we went home so we stopped at a local motel in Dana Point. When I registered the clerk asked me if I had just returned from Viet Nam and I answered in the affirmative. He pushed my credit card back to me and handed me the room key and said , "Welcome home Marine".

GySgt Jerry R. Hattox
Viet Nam 65-66, 68

Range At Miramar

So this 'new' range at Miramar is pretty sweet. I'm sure most people are used to firing from the 200 then moving back to the 300 and finally the 500....and working the pits as well. This new range has eliminated all of that, so there is no question as to where your shot landed but there is also no 'help' from your buddy in the pits either. You stay at one firing line and the targets all pop up at the different ranges per the stage of firing you're in. All your shots are recorded by this computer system, and there's a visual display unit at each firing block that gives you instant results for shot plotting. Its pretty darned sweet. And for the combat marksmanship(the new part at the end that is required to qualify) the moving targets are actually automated, instead of a target on a stick held up above the berm..moved around by a pit body. I thought it was pretty neat, definitely much nicer than say edson range over at CP. We got kinda screwed this time around too though because we had one day practice fire and the very next morning was qual. I'm not really complaining though, as I shot expert. Oh and the moving targets have sensors in 'em to go down if they're shot twice center mass...or just once in the head. Pretty cool stuff.

Brian (From the Bulletin Board)
A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions

Outstanding Tribute to Carlos Hathcock


Rest Of Your Life

Yesterday, May 26, 2006, I had the honor of being in the presence of the graduation ceremonies at the MCRD Parris Island, SC, where my nephew Jason became one of the few and the proud. It was forty one years ago that I too earned the title Marine, as I sat in the reviewing stand taking it all in, so many thoughts and memories crossed my mind.

My nephew was in the 3rd rcrt trng BN and so was I forty one years ago, as I stood with him after graduation, next to his barracks, I realizes my barracks, bldg 422 was right next to his. I can not even begin to tell you how very proud I was of him, and all the other men and women Marines in that graduating class.

Immediately after the platoons were dismissed, I walked out onto the parade deck to find him, and when I did, I shook his hand and said, well done Marine, you made it, you are now a Marine and will be for the rest of your life. After that formality, I hugged him, and tears came to my eyes as I did, I saw a mirror image of myself in him so many years ago, but it felt like only yesterday. He will report to Camp Pendleton after his 15 day leave, his MOS will be in the 03 category, and no doubt that he will be sent to Iraq to fight for our freedom.

As a 0331 with C/Co 1/3 in Vietnam, the only thing I could think to tell him if he is deployed to Iraq was this, if you are on patrol, or any other combat situation, if your 6th sense or gut feeling tells you something is wrong, it probably is, and to always look out for your fellow Marines and never leave anyone behind ever.

God Bless the Marine Corps
and God Bless you Chesty, wherever you are,
Semper Fi
Jack O'Brien
USMC 65-69 3rd Mar Div

Commandant to reinforce standards, core values

Submitted by:

Story Identification #: 20065251435
Story by - Headquarters Marine Corps

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2006) -- General Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will address Marine officers and enlisted men and women in a series of events inside and outside the U.S. over the next several weeks.

The purpose of his visits will be to reinforce the ideals, values and standards for which Marines have been known for more than 200 years. Reflecting his personal concern over recent serious allegations about actions of Marines in combat, the Commandant’s remarks will focus on the value and meaning of honor, courage, and commitment and how these core values are epitomized by most Marines in their day-to-day actions – both in and out of combat.

A full biography and high resolution image of General Michael W. Hagee can be found at:

“On Marine Virtue”

By Gen. M. W. Hagee

Recent serious allegations concerning actions of Marines in combat have caused me concern. They should cause you to be concerned as well. To ensure we continue to live up to General Lejeune’s description of a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” I would like to review the importance of our core values.

As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days in the Corps about our core values of honor, courage and commitment. These values are part of and belong to all Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, in garrison, or on leave or liberty.

To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it means having uncompromising personal integrity and being accountable for all actions. To most Marines, the most difficult part of courage is not the raw physical courage that we have seen so often on today’s battlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the “right thing” in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus on caring for one another and upholding the great ideals of our Corps and Country.

The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, and its complex and dangerous battlefield will continue to challenge us in the commitment to our core values. We must be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief in the rule of law.

We have all been educated in the Law of Armed Conflict. We continue to reinforce that training, even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws and regulations, Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement. This is the American way of war. We must regulate force and violence, we only damage property that must be damaged, and we protect the non-combatants we find on the battlefield.

When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continually that Marines care for one another and do what is right.

The large majority of Marines today perform magnificently on and off the battlefield. I am very proud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage and commitment you clearly display every day. And America is proud as well. Americans, indeed most people around the world, recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber – physically, mentally, and morally.

Each one of you contributes in your own unique way to our important mission; I am proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I still stand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me. Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that means something to all of you as well. As Marines we have an obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, future Marines and ourselves to do our very best to live up to these words.

As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry on our proud legacy by demonstrating our values in everything you do – on duty and off; in combat or in garrison. Semper Fidelis.

Roseburg High School

Today at Roseburg High School while in the process of doing his duty as a Roseburg Recruiter, L/Cpl James Ellis was spit on by a high school student. When James went to the office to complain about it, they told him the student was expressing his 1st Amendment Rights. This was a case of Assault and the Marine Corps League in Roseburg and the State of Oregon is not going to let this go. James was told by Jim Hewitt to file a complaint with the Sheriff's Office.

The Mayor and news media have been contacted; what you can do is pass the word that this Combat Marine who served Honorably in Iraq was spit on in a public school in the commission of his lawful duty as a Recruiter and no one at the school would do anything to discipline the kid that did this.

Let every Marine on your e mail list know and have them send letters to the editor of the News Review here in Roseburg, Oregon. Thanks and remember this is one of our own.

Semper Fi,

Wasn't Too Impressed

Hello Sgt. Grit,

The story by the Birdcage Marine (John Tonkin, Birdcager 1956 – 58, A Co. 1st Plt.) reminded me of a story my Dad like to tell me after I told him I wanted to be a Marine (many years ago). Perhaps to inform me of the boots I would have to fill.

My Dad had just graduated from college and had gotten a job with the AEC working at the birdcage so this must have 1964 or 1965. Apparently there was an Army general who wasn’t too impressed by the Marine guard. He felt his top notch elite unit (I’m guessing Airborne but maybe Rangers or Green Beret since I think they all had units there) who could more than handle the Marine guard unit and he and his men were going to show the Marines a things or two about air assault. So they flew in on their helicopters (in broad daylight!) and almost got blown out of the sky. From what Dad said, the general got into a bit of trouble and that exercise was never attempted again.

Semper Fi,
Barnes, R.A., Cpl.
India 3/24 '89-'94
Delta 4th CEB '94-'95

Called Home

Sgt Grit: Thank you for your Newsletter as I do look forward to receiving it. You are doing a GREAT service to many. Will never forget when I called my Mom (a young lady during WW2) after speaking to a Marine OSO on my college campus early in 1971. I was 18 at the time and called home to say I was joining the Marine Corps. Her response, "Oh my, aren't they kind of tough?" Figured that if I was going to Vietnam, I wanted to be with the best! Graduated from the Basic School in March 1975 and headed out to Fort Sill for FAOBC and then to MCB, 29 Palms, CA. Best time of my life! My unit, 1st 155mm Howitzer Battery, 1st Field Artillery Group participated in the first 14 CAXs held in the Marine Corps at the "Stumps". Lastly, I want to give credit to the Marines who made me the way I am today, First Sergeant Maurice Campbell, GySgt "Terrible Terry" Cuszak, GySgt "Cowboy" Bob Johnson, SSgt "Indian" Charlie Bemo, "The Animal" who was my first First Sergeant when I commanded L 2/12 on Oki in 1978 as a First Lieutenant (never will forget the results of that liberty run to Wejonbu), GySgt (later WO) "Stud" Grezlik and MGySgt Genuaro Hernandez (godfather to my oldest boy), Additionally, Major Robert O. Wills and Captain Robert F. Itnyre, my first two COs. I stand straight up, proud and salute you all. Especially Bob Wills who took the time to drive up to MCB, Quantico to view my retirement ceremony in 1994. To all those serving our Country and their families, I wish you "Fair Winds and Following Seas". To those who have lost loved ones, my heartfelt thoughts are with you as they are now in God's hands. To you in the DEP, hang in there.
Semper Fidelis,
Joseph P. Hylan
Major, USMC (Ret)

"America' Battalion" in Hadithah, Iraq

As a Veteran and the Father of a Marine in Iraq I would request that everyone make this toll-free call and listen to the message from LtCol Norm Cooling, Commanding Officer. 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines - "America' Battalion" in Hadithah, Iraq. It certainly clarifies and amplifies what Memorial Day is all about.

Terry Sweeney
SMSgt, USAF, Ret.

To hear an informative digital recording while 3/3 is deployed please dial 1.866.775.1706 and press number 2 when directed.


I attended a military reunion recently. It was accompanied by all the ceremonial pomp that goes with these occasions… the spit-shined shoes, the formal dress, everyone’s medals displayed.

I had not worn my Dress Blue uniform with all my medals in nearly 30 years. I can’t remember standing that straight since I left the Marine Corps in 1968. Even after all these years, my salute was crisp with military precision.

There were 32 others attending the reunion. We had served together as U. S. Marines during the VietNam War. Some had been fixed wing aviators, but most of us were helicopter pilots or aircrewmen who volunteered to be part of America’s most unpopular war. I had flown with most or had gone through flight school with them. Several had been flight instructors, roommates or close friends.

We had a ceremony in which I approached each one of them and hung a Purple Heart and a medal for bravery on his chest. I looked at each with pride, and remembered what he had done to earn his medals.

They were all heroes without a doubt, but most people would never know of their heroism. They were just young men at the time, some teenagers, who were serving their country out of a sense of duty. Some were scared, but all served with bravery.

They were from California, New Mexico, Missouri, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Virginia and other places I can no longer recall. They returned my salute and graciously accepted their medals. Then they seemed to disappear, having left without speaking.

You see, the one thing these men had in common was that they received their medals posthumously… all 32 had died in Viet Nam. Squadron mates Don Reilly, John Schmid, and Glenn Mann died from bullet wounds received while Dick Heister, “Lucky” Lutz and “Wimpy” Norton remained with their shot up flying machines when they crashed. “Gus” Xavier flew into a cloud after a bomb run and never came out… today his body remains in Viet Nam, the land for whose freedom he fought.

I don’t know when I’ll see them again, but if there is a place in heaven for Marines killed in action, that is where they will be.

My salutes turn out to be nothing more than me wiping my eyes and my audience are fellow workers in my place of business.

This reunion takes place entirely in my mind. I come close to making a spectacle of myself and I quickly seek the privacy of the men’s room where I break down and cry. It is one of those uncontrollable cries where your whole body shakes.

I don’t know why it took me nearly three decades to cry for these guys, as hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of them. Maybe I’ve seen too much since we were last together. Maybe I wasn’t crying for them alone. Maybe I was crying for myself, or for what’s become of the America they gave their lives to defend.

Thankfully, they would not return home to the taunts and glares that greeted so many of us.

Every Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day and Marine Corps Birthday commemoration, I will salute them when I see the flag that they served.

The revisionists of that war would like to minimize or otherwise distort the contributions of those brave heroes to the freedoms we now enjoy. I will work hard to keep that from happening.

When the time comes for history… and finally God Himself… to judge our actions, I will choose to stand with the courageous men in my dream. I am proud of them and I am proud of what we did and what we stood for. We are proud to claim the title of United States Marines!

Semper Fidelis
Norm Mahalich

He Kicked The Shotgun

ATLANTA (AP) -- A former Marine used a