Always enjoy the monthly messages from Sgt Grit! Today made me remember back to the Fall of 1942 and my days at Parris Island. One of the things I remembered was falling out at 2 AM with our locker boxes during close order drill with no clothes and holding rocker boxes on our left and then right shoulders to the order "Right shoulder locker boxes"
Tarawa and then after the war to Eniwetok for the Bikini Atoll A-bomb tests.
Harry Nadin 451485 1942 to 1946

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

You receive both (alternating weeks) what's the difference?

In short...The AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give supporters of the Marine Corps and American patriots a voice.

The Sgt Grit Newsletter is HARD CORPS Marine! If you are interested in topics that delve into Marine Corps history, Corps Stories, Boot Camp and other things that "only a Marine might understand" - then be sure to read the Sgt Grit Newsletter (every other week) - More about the newsletter

0430 Hours

I had the 4-8 AM fire watch and it was my duty to awake the Drill Instructor. Promptly at 0430 hours I tapped on the hatch and said, "Sir, the time on deck is oh for thirty"! The Drill Instructor ( Sgt. Bolden-The Thumper) stormed out of the rack, bounced me off the bulk-head and said, "Center the hatch turd (I did and he bounced me off the bulk-head again) center the hatch numbnuts ( I did) and he screamed in my face with his hog breath..."ohs are for little girls you little piece of s#$% the time on deck is zero four thirty hours". That is just one I'll always remember because, it was my first pouncing from 'The Thumper'. There are hundreds just from the four Drill Instructors training us at Parris Island and tens of 1,000's throughout the history of the Corps.

Semper Fi,
First Sergeant of Marines

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Scraping The Bottom

As we were getting on the civilian airplane, (June '66) to take us to Okinawa from Da Nang, Who do I see coming down the walkway but my SDI Gunny Dambeck. I will never forget the look on his face when I told him my orders were for D. I. School San Diego. His words to me were " my God, the Corps is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Congrats, I think you'll do fine". Two years later, All three of us were meritoriously promoted for four Battalion Honor Platoons.

Thanks, Gunny Dambeck, you made me the Marine I am.

SSGT of Marines

Sheltered Kids

Sgt. Grit : i am sure more sheltered kids than myself have got off the train at Yemassee and soon wondered just what the h&ll they thought they had done. Well, i was a Preacher's kid who had gone to the Lynchburg, Virginia Post Office to join the Navy and ended up with a four-year obligation to the Marine Corps. Navy Recruiter was at lunch and that Marine in those Dress Blues ....d*mn ! he looked sharp. That was in 1954. My folks weren't too happy with me, but i was nineteen and was just completing my first semester at Lynchburg College and didn't need anyone to sign. My Dad was a Minister, out of coal country of Southwest Virginia and Mother was the closest individual towards being a Saint i ever saw in my seventy-one years.

The day they drove me to Roanoke to get the bus to Richmond to be sworn in was the first day in my nineteen years that i remember seeing tears in Dad's eyes. I expected to see the emotion from my dear Mother....she said to me "Ash, please don't get a tattoo". Don't know if i responded to her, but i do know that she had never told me that i could absolutely NOT do something. It was a request, not a demand and i never got a tattoo...not even when stationed at NAS JAX where everybody got at least one.

Saw lots of tattoos that really appealed. Never considered having one....appreciated many of those the other guys had .....just not for me.

Now ! thank goodness my Dear Mother didn't outline a series of other sins for me to not indulge or my time might have really passed in slow motion.

Hey ! the tattoo thing is something about which we can easily see both sides.....i very likely would have at least one if Mama had not softly asked me not is not so much what is on the skin as it is what's under it, in the heart....and yeah, the attitude and the pride.....i can both appreciate the desire for a crispy clean military appearance, and more importantly we should appreciate and respect the individuality that goes with the discipline of a Marine willing to put his tattooed a$$ on the line for the kids in the mall.

We can worry more about this later.....there could be other priorities ! SEMPER FI

Sgt A.V. Lilly '55-59

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The Parris Island Blues

I was settled comfortably at Randolph Macon College trying to get off academic probation and with the help from frat brothers big improvements had been made. Then it happened. The letter informed me to report to Virginia Union University for draft classification and a physical. All this was new to this southern Baptist boy. Standing in long lines and wondering who had my clothes, being ask questions, such as my dating preferences, and a nurse at each station handling the paperwork. It was all over when the doctor said, "Cough." I did and he said, "You are 1-A, don't leave town." This put off college days for a few years. "The Marines are looking for a few good men," the add said, and just look at that dress blue uniform." My father had served in the Marines and as I grew older I found out that he was a wise man and gave good advice. So- A Marine I would be. !

I left Main Street Station in Richmond Va. on a straight through trip to Parris Island, full of recruits from the North. Somehow those boys brought their booze, and fights were common for the short run.

We arrived at Parris Island about midnight and were put in barracks that would hold about fifty men. I thought, boy this is going to be a snap. When do I get that dress blue uniform.

4:00A.M. a Marine with a bully stick started banging the steal bunks. "Fall out side on the double," the short Marine shouted in the dark barracks. We lined up in single file, once again taking my clothes away giving me a box to put my watch and money in, making a record of each item. Next to the showers, no this was a de-lousing room. We received our fatigue uniforms and boots, much larger than I wanted and got a haircut –still standing up!

"Put on the fatigues and boots and be outside in one minute, was the order. It was 5:00A.M.

The short Corporal Marine with a Boy Scout barracks hat showed us how to line up and stand at attention. After fifteen minutes standing at attention he broke the silence and said in a very loud voice. "My name is Corporal Dietz and my junior instructor is Corporal Oldynski. Nothing more was said for the next fifteen minutes standing at attention. Then Corporal Dietz walked down the line. "Why me! How could they send me such a sad lousy group of recruits on my last tour of Parris Island", I swear I saw tears in his eyes. Some snickering came from the line just behind me and his tirade came to a halt. No more tears in this Drill Instructors eyes –I saw fire ! Corporal Oldynski walked up to an inch of my nose and said. "You may have been Jesus Christ in your home town but the next twelve weeks you're a$$ belongs to me."! Corporal Dietz continued his tirade another hour. This southern church going lad was getting his induction into Parris Island the hard way and now it was a rude awaking that I was a long way from receiving my dress blues. We marched to chow and given ten minutes to eat and return to the line. This time Corporal Oldynski said, "This was easy, I found our trouble maker early –Its Private Shotwell, and he thinks you are funny."

The next few weeks were about normal from what a friend had told me to expect. It was early exercise at 4:00 A.M. every day, learning close order drill and eighteen hours of training. Night marches and inspections were common which gave us no time to think of home, but I did, and wondered what would be in store for me the next few years. As we were turning in one evening I ask permission to talk to Corporal Dietz. My intention was to write a letter to my parents and to tell them how much I was enjoying Boot Camp. Again, standing at attention for fifteen minutes out side his door he opened it and I informed him about wanting my parents to know my address. This was a big mistake on my part and I still don't see why I did not see a problem coming. "I will tell you when I think you should write a letter and to who it will be written, now do thirty push ups for brothering me. Four weeks and you are still a trouble maker. I think I will transfer you to the flunky platoon. This is the worst thing that can happen at Boot Camp. They say don't make friends, but you do over a short period of time. Corporal Diets did not mention the transfer again.

4th Annual GriTogether

Saturday, May 12, 2007
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4th GriTogether

Join us for some MARINE QUALITY TIME!
Talk with fellow Marines and enjoy the days activities!
Tattoo Contest - USMC Vehicles - History Displays!
And we have free food!
Gather up the clan and come on down - it's fun for the whole family!

We were allowed to write one letter each week, which was scanned by the drill instructor before mailing. Only incoming emergency calls were accepted. On the fifth week at mail call I received a large package that the drill instructor determined was full of an assortment of cookies. At his instructions the package was opened and passed down the line. It was my lot to receive one peanut butter cookie. Later Corporal Dietz told me to write a polite thank you note and ask for another shipment.

Now to digress: My father, a Parris Island graduate, and I had an arrangement to leave space at the bottom of each letter for a secret message using milk as ink. When the letter is held close to a flame it will relieve the message. I wrote, "Do not send Cookies." Each day at mail call Corporal Dietz said "Shotwell, your mother must not love you cause we ain't got no box of cookies for the regiment. "Write another letter tonight." Later, while in North China with the First Marine Air Wing, a box of cookies arrived each month and I wanted to tell Corporal Dietz that my mother did in fact love me.

Time went fast with eighteen hour days learning to drill, handling arms and ten mile marches. Most hated of all were the inspections. By the eighth week we were slated to go to the rifle range for a week. Corporal Oldynski and Corporal Dietz had been off my back for some time and the rifle range was right down my alley. The dress blues are in sight for sure.

At the range we are given three bullets to as they say "sight in." I missed the target all three times. (A left handler fires from the left shoulder.) The rifle instructor makes all Marines fire from the right shoulder, which I had never done. The drill instructors had a $50.00 bet with another regiment and when they found out my name was Shotwell and I had missed the target –well you get the drift. They did turn their back and guess what –I received and expert ribbon and Corporal Dietz and Oldynski got their $50.00.

The last week of training was a snap. Other than night marches we were used to clean up the shells at the rifle range. One day Corporal Oldynski put me in charge of the clean up of spent shells. One of the men, Private Matuski, thought this would be a good time to hide and take a nap. I got on him for not doing his part. The others in the platoon were doing a good job so we moved on. That evening fifteen minutes after lights out one of my friends from Richmond Va. taped the bunk and said "Shot, Matuski is out side and wants to see you." I lit a cigarette and walked up to him and said "what's wrong Mmatuski.? He said "I am going to whip you're a$$, that's what."! The only way I was to control this situation was to get in the first lick and do it right. With the cigarette still in my hand I hit him as hard as I could in the stomach and down he went. I turned and walked back to the barracks, never looking at my hand but sparks did fly that night. I moved my gear to the end of the barracks and took the top bunk. No sleep for me that night.

The next morning Corporal Dietz and Corporal Oldynski called me to their room. No more standing at attention for fifteen minutes this time. "What was the problem in the barracks last night Shotwell ?" "No problem at all Sir." and we all had a laugh.

Graduation; received my emblems and expert marksmanship ribbon. Now to the slop shoot and souse some suds.

One evening I saw Corporal Dietz walk in the slop shoot and he was alone. We had a few beers and I ask him about his rank. He was in his blues and was going into town to see his girl friend but had time to chat. He had five rows of ribbons and six battle stars. He said his back looked like the road map of Georgia from combat. He was a Master Sgt but broke rank to save five of his men that the Corpsman said they could not reach. Then he took the officer to task. Corporal Oldynski was busted too but he wasn't talking. "I like you Shot, you are a good listener and will do good in the Corps. I hope you get good duty and stay in the Corps. My job is to teach you how to stay alive in this world and in combat if needed". That's the last time I saw my drill instructors and the next morning, with one hour notice, we boarded a train for San Diego California. I never did receive a set of dress blues.

* Matuski and I turned out to be the best of friends but at role call one morning we were not paying attention and were split up. On the count off his was an odd number, mine an even. Even numbers were sent to China and I think odds sent to Guam.

* It should be noted at this time of my Graduation from Parris Island gas rationing was in full force. My parents applied for an additional supplement of gas to drive to P I and see the exercises. The application was turned down. I was however granted a five day pass and on return spent only three days at P I before shipping out. Upon meeting my parents at the train station my mother broke into tears—"They cut off all your hair and you no longer have that wave you had when you left home."

Corporal Stewart Shotwell
P I Platoon 38
China Marine

MY Commandant


Greetings, Sgt. Wanted to write and tell you about the stuff my Commandant (wife) got me (from your site) semi-recently.

Hot Sauce Hot Sauce I opened the package and found hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and other items of prime importance to me. "Okay," I said to myself, "I hope this stuff is okay, because I'll be eating it and pretending I love it until it's time to throw the empty containers."

Holy Moley, what sauces. They are the best I've ever had and I've had tons of them, from Blair's stuff, including the super super hot Habanero sauce, Frank's Hot Sauce, found in any retail store, and others I've forgotten about, they were that bad.

Yours, however, ROCKs! (can a 'nam vet use "rocks" in correspondence?)!

I'm a chili head from waaaay back before I was in Country ('Nam Vet USMC Chu Lai 1967-68).

Thanks, Sarge. I hope you have enough on hand, cuz Watch Out! The Vapor needs his mouth feelin like a bouncing betty just said HEY!

Semper Fi,
P. A. Ferraiuolo


Sgt. Grit,
In response to John Doherty's position as S-1, President Reagan said something t the effect of " Administration is the Backbone of the Corps." I learned this first hand when I first enlisted in '87. I took the ASVAB just hoping to be able to be a grunt. Imagine my shock when I qualified to be Personnel Administration (0131). I reported to Camp Johnson, NC three months before my class started so they had to find something for me to do. After going through my SRB, it was discovered that I had qualified Expert on the range. So they did the only natural thing, they shipped me off to Camp Geiger where I learned how to be "The Deadliest Student" (as my instructor called me). Afterwards I got stationed at MCAS Tustin with a rotary wing squadron in S-1. Soon I got moved into NATOPS because I could type, use a computer AND, because of my "Grunt Status" (that's what the pilot's I worked with called it) I was taken on many flights in the CH-53E Super Stallion. WHAT A RUSH! It felt good to be accepted by the Aircrew and Pilot's alike, but I got resented in the S-1 office that I came from. I even got "pinned" one night. It wasn't as brutal as it might seem, especially when your just a kid from a small farming town who worked on a horse ranch from the age of eight and you've got "nothing to do, no place to go". I look back on the Marines that I served with, especially the Pilot's who took me under there wing and showed me that I was more than just a Clerk to them, I can't help but remember the thrill of knowing that even though you're a "Remington Raider" YOU'RE STILL A MARINE. Regretfully I was admined out because of some of the resentments of others, but my uncle Ret. GySgt. (Vietnam), brother Cpl (3dMarDiv.-Vietnam), brother-in-law Cpl (3dMarDiv.-Vietnam), and Ret. MGySgt (1MarDiv-Vietnam) brother Sgt. (Us Army-Vietnam) even my brother SSgt.(USAF-Vietnam), all told me "Once A Marine, Always A Marine". Master Gunnery Sergeant (who is an old and dear friend of my family's) said that the title is something that NO ONE can take from you, and God tries, make sure he remembers that fight. Take Care and thanks for doing such a great job. To all of my brethren....SEMPER FI, you are in my prayers and I make sure to light a candle at church for those who are now and those who have passed.
"The NATOPS guy"

Yellow Footprints

Sgt. Grit,
I'm sure some former Drill Instructors can determine when the Yellow Footprint was first used. As a Drill Instructor at MCRD, San Diego, 1952-1953, they were not in use then.
Aquila non capit muscas..... An Eagle does not catch flies

Semper Fi
M.R.Norton, 1950-1954


Sgt. Grit,

I went to boot camp at MCRD San Diego, 4Aug64. I can tell you that the YELLOW FOOTPRINTS were there when they unloaded us from the back of the truck that picked us up in front of the air port. As a matter fact, I can still see the MP at the Main Gate watching us go through and him with his little finger in the corner of his mouth, like a fish hook and saying, "FISH - FISH - FISH!" It was at that time I said to myself, "what did I just do?" Now, almost 43 years later, I'm glad I did! I am still proud of my service in the Marine Corps and always will be.

Semper Fi!
Gary E. Truman
SSgt of Marines

1/5 Vietnam Reunion

Marines and Navy Corpsmen who served in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment during the Vietnam War (1965-71) are holding their 10th annual reunion at the Marriott Hotel, 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 29-September 2, 2007. With 1500 veterans located, we expect a large turnout again. Our 1/5 reunion will be held in conjunction with the annual reunion of the 1st Marine Division Association which is open to all who served in the 1st Marine Division or in a unit attached to the Division, at any time, in peace or war. For more information about the reunion, see and or contact Gerry Regan at 215-491-9079 or regan100 @ aol .com

S/F Gerry Regan, President, 1/5 Vietnam Veterans Unit Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association

Thundering Third Reunion

Third Bn Fourth Marines Reunion August 2007 Savannah Ga See web page for details

Thank you
3/4 Webmaster

Only Missing The U

Sgt. Grit,
Really love the news letters. I want to send you a "OUTSTANDING-JOB WELL DONE" on your shipping my order. Ordered on Sunday, received on Thursday. And regular shipping to boot-no extra cost for something the other guys charge more for and you wait 3 weeks.

Boot camp and tattoos. I was Platoon 2129 guide and had tats before boot camp-civie stuff. One on my left shoulder is "FCK". Well standing board stiff in my skivvies at SD MCRD for the initial IG we had I was first up since my bunk was at the Hatch. The IG looked me over and then as I was getting ready for the comment about my hair color(Born with basketball orange colored hair) he instead asks me if I can spell? "Sir Yes Sir" was the answer. He proceeds to ask what "FCK" was all about. Being scared $hitless my normal response popped outta my mouth. "The only thing missing is U , Sir" I did not intend for that to pop out--BELIEVE ME, I'd rather have been known as the Boot that couldn't spell. As they moved on, He came back and asked me about the ring of bruises around my stomach area. Moment of truth-VS-Loyalty. Without more than a second I lied my a$$ off and said it was from lifting garbage cans at the chow hall. He looked me straight in the eye for over a minute as if I was going to take my words back. Didn't know me as well as his own children. I would of and still would take a grenade for anyone of my drill instructors. Later in the day I was sent to the duty hut in the most unusual way, the Mouse came and got me. I entered in the traditional way and locked up at attention. Sgt Gonzales walked around me a few times and the asked me to spell "fvc){" for him and I did. He claimed that He knew I could really spell and that we passed at some ridiculous high # on the IG. With that he pushed his index finger ever so lightly on my stomach and dismissed me with no nothing for embarrassing every body with my answer. I miss Boot Camp.

Keep up the great work and thanks for your service, then and now.
Rusty Comstock
USMC '74-'77

Captain Midnight

Dear Sgt Grit
Does anyone remember the story about Captain Midnight. We were doing guard duty after boot camp in 1957 when the story goes that one of our men says " Halt who goes there?" and the reply was "Captain Midnight" The guard says " Well no Sh!t I'm D!ck Tracy". Was it true, did it happen? I have remembered it since boot camp so it must have.
Dale Hartley 1607484

A Piece Of 2X4

I've been reading the Newsletter for a while now and have never said much of my time in the Marines. I went in at 17 years old in July of 1966 (MCRD) and served 4 years. I was with 1st Marines, 1st Engineers as a radio operator on a mine sweep team most of my time in country. I will never forget one of my DI's. A short skinny Staff Sgt. that wore these big ROUND glasses. He said he was into marshal arts and carried a 10" two by four all day long, and as he walked around the formation he would pound his knuckle on the piece of wood. I guess he told everyone it was to help break wood in one of the arts. But what he really used it for was to correct any sorry a&% that got out of line. If you messed up and did something wrong. he would walk up to you and lick his finger and make a X on your forehead and with the knuckle that he had made hard as a hammer hit you on the place marked with the X. Let me tell you it only happened once to me, but you would have a headache for days afterwards. I told myself if I every found the man I would kill him. I guess I have softened after all these years now I would just like to take a 2X4 and give him a headache that would last for a month.

Semper Fi
Glen Southerland, Corporal

Parris Island/Beirut

I teach HS in NYC at one of the most stressful schools in Brooklyn. I needed a vacation and decided on going down to Orlando to work on the condo that my wife and I own. We took our four year old daughter with us. After we drove past South of the Border, we decided to look for motel rooms to spend the night. It turns out that all of the religious holidays came at the same time this year. There were no rooms available anywhere. People were in a panic. We got off every exit all the way to the one for Beaufort. When I saw that sign, I laughed. This exit had no motels available either. The clerks were strange people. They would allow you to stand in a line of seven people and refuse to answer a quick question regarding vacancies. After you stood there, the first person without a reservation that asked if there was a vacancy would get the no answer and we would all start to head for the door at once. I asked a few times why the clerks kept saying that they were helping someone and that we had to wait until our turn. One gentleman mumbled that that were stupid civilians. I laughed and my wife asked me why that was so funny. I told her that it was and old Marine saying. I then drove down a dark country road looking for a motel further down. I finally gave into my wife and started a U turn. There was suddenly a huge billboard in my headlights as I turned. It said, "Days Inn Beaufort. The closest Hotel to Parris Island". I laughed and quickly pulled into the lot next to it. I called information on the cell phone to get the number. I called the number. The answering machine had a male voice on it that said to hit the extension that you wanted. When I did, the same voice answered. I laughed at that fact for some reason. He was a great guy. He said that they were unusually booked for some reason but that they had one double room left that was no smoking. It was about 23 miles away. I reserved it with the promise to get there fast. I had a smile on my face as we drove there. When we got there, the smell gave me goose bumps. We checked in. My wife was delighted. We awoke the next day. As we went to the car, I told her that I just had to see the Island for a few minutes. I bumped into an older gentleman who was leaving a room downstairs. After he said good morning, I asked him if he was visiting a family member that was graduating. He said he was a Gunny that retired in the early nineties. He told me that he was stationed at Parris Island for years and raised his children mostly in Beaufort. We spoke and laughed about old times. I told him that I went through in October of 81. He laughed and said that he was a troop handler in the receiving barracks during that time. He just may have processed me through that first day. He was a Viet Nam vet who lost a few stripes by getting out a few times to try out the civilian world but got sick of "stupid civilians" and came back in each time. We spoke about his family, raising kids in the area, the sound of the jets out of Beaufort air station and how the "stupid civilians" that looked at his home that he was finally selling balked at that sound. My wife chuckled as she heard us say that phrase a few times. He finally told me that he had to tell them that that sound was the sound of freedom and if they did not like it, they can look elsewhere. His house finally sold. He further added that he bought a home in North Carolina and was coming back to say good bye to his wife that had passed away and was buried near bye. All three of us paused for a second. He seemed to almost get emotional as I got goose bumps. I just told him that I hope that she is resting in peace. He gave me advice on visiting Parris Island. We said good bye like old friends. As we drove to the main gate, my wife asked me if wives were stupid civilians. I smiled and said that they were exempt but could lose that privilege if they lost their discipline. She gave me a punch in the arm. We approached the main gate. The MP there told me that Sunday saw P.I. closed to visitors. He said he could not just let me drive around. I asked him if there was anything open that I could say I am visiting. He said that I had to tell him where I wanted to go. I asked about the museum. He finally smiled as if I said the magic words that he was not allowed to tell me but that I must know. Sort of like the game show the $100,000 Pyramid. Anyway, the place gave me many emotions. I drove to the Third Battalion area. I wanted some of the sand from the pit that my best buddy Charlie May and I sweated in with platoon 3091. The D.I.'s were out there drilling their platoons. To my shock, one recruit came out with a motorized weed trimmer. I laughed real hard. What ever happened to the swing blades we used on the week of maintenance? I walked towards the pit near the chow hall. I suddenly saw a bright red and shinny apple in the grass. I instantly thought of the scene from Full Metal Jacket involving the jelly donut. I picked it up and walked over to the pit and scooped up some sand. My Marine hair cut that I still keep must have kept the D.I.'s guessing who I was so they just gave me a few glances. I walked back to my car in the lot eating the juiciest apple I have had in years. My wife finished it as I laughed about how some recruit must have got spooked and threw it away after chow instead of risking it in the Squad Bay. She then asked me why I was walking so strangely. I then realized that I was walking with my shoulders back and was walking with the smooth step of a D.I. as I walked around the area. I told her that I must have subconsciously did that to look like I belonged there. We drove out near the rifle range after that. More memories. I then drove to First Battalion to take some digital pictures for my little brother who graduated from that area in 91. I then went to the PX and bought a few items. My wife asked me why all of the recruits kept getting rigid and saying "Good afternoon sir!" to me. I told her that they will do that to anyone who could remotely be an off duty Marine. when she got a sharp "Good afternoon Mam!" she looked embarrassed. I laughed at her reaction because it scared her at first. We then went to the museum. While in the gift shop, we saw patches and shirts from all of the conflicts that Marines served in. I knew it was a slim chance that I would see one from my campaign and I was correct. Even the Marine gift shop had nothing for the Beirut vets. I asked the female clerk why that was. She said her husband was in Beirut as well and she also wondered why there was nothing for the Beirut veterans. I told her that I was used to it and that although the official Navy museum web site lists all the wars that America has fought in, it too fails to mention Beirut. They do list the KIA of Navy pilot Lt. Mark Lange who I coincidentally helped carry after we retrieved him from the Syrians who shot him down on December 4th of 83. They returned him to us on December 7th, 1983. Myself and five other Marines carried him from a helo to the medical department of the Carrier John F. Kennedy. The official Navy museum list does not mention the eight Marines who died that same day in December or the rest of the over 250 Marines who perished in that conflict. The conversation was broken up with a roar of laughter as two recruits on base liberty asked her the time. Her computer said that it was an hour later than it actually was. By her time, they were absent without leave from their platoon. You should have seen the faces of these two recruits until I yelled after them that it was really an hour earlier. They stopped sprinting away and begged me to tell them which time was actually correct. I showed them my cell phone and explained that cell phone time comes straight from the provider over the air. They just slumped their shoulders down in relief as we all laughed. I drove past the flag raising statue as I departed Parris Island. I felt a strange feeling as we drove down the long road to the main gate. I wondered if I would ever be back again. I just returned from Florida and will go see my old platoon 3091 buddy Charles K. May after work tomorrow. He is on Staten Island here where I live. We served together in the Beirut Items FMF after Parris Island and were best buddies for many years afterwards. I'll pour the sand from the third battalion pit on his grave in Saint Peter's cemetery and take the time to tell him about my trip back to the place that forged our friendship for eternity. Semper Fi to Chuck and all of the rest who served in our Corps and gave their all. God bless.

Mike Sinclair
Former 0341, 81-85

Beirut Patches, Pins and Books

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association Reunion

The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our fifth biennial REUNION
On Sunday, August 19 to Thursday, August 23, 2007
It will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Sahara Hotel and Casino.
Toll Free Room Reservation number is 1-888-696-2121.
Be sure to mention "2007 Vietnam Marine Tankers" for our special $58 per night deluxe room rate.
Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions in any capacity is welcome!
Contact: John Wear
Phone: 215-794-9052
Email: usmcvta @ comcast .net

Sergeant Stripes

Sgt Stripes Tattoo Sgt. Grit,
I could not think of a more fitting tattoo than the Sergeant stripes that I so proudly earned.

Tom Hance
Sgt. of Marines
1972 - 1976

Inchon Landing

I am writing these few words about a great Marine (warrior) of the Korea era. Any one of the 237 warriors that served with him would have written this. Gilbert V. Romero enlisted in the USMCR in Tucson, Arizona, on June 23, 1949, and was activated on July 31, 1950. He served in Able Co. 1 Battalion 1st Marines under the command of Capt. Barrow, who later became the 27th Commandant of USMC. He was discharged on December 4, 1952. He has served 42 months in active duty and some 50 years on inactive duty.

Marine Romero participated in the Inchon Landing on September 15, 1950. There they fought their way to Sosa, Yongdung-Po and on to Seoul. While in Sosa, he captured a North Korean, who he turned into interrogation. Outside of Seoul, on hill 79, Able Company raised the first U.S. colors. They traveled back to Inchon from Seoul, then onto Wonson, Kojo. They then went onto the Chosin Reservoir and from there they went to Masan and Central Korea.

This is where he was first wounded. On March 22, 1951, he was hit behind his legs and buttocks. He was taken to a field hospital, where they patched him up and sent him back to his unit.

The following month, on April 24, he was hit in the chin. As he was going down, he was hit in the chest. His jaw was broken and his teeth were knocked out. He was placed in a helicopter, only to be shot down by enemy fire. He was placed in a vehicle to be taken to the hospital. On the way there, the truck was mbushed. He was shot one time in one leg and twice in the other. "We had given him up for dead," said Jimmy Fisher, the Corpsman that worked on Romero. "The doctor had said he was too far gone." He was given a religious scapular to hold in his hand. That piece is still crumpled by his clenched fist. "I think it's what saved my life", says Romero.

He was wounded seven times and only got two purple hearts. Someone's by-laws say one Purple Heart per 24 hours. He jokes that somebody should have explained the rules before they sent him there. He says since then he has read the Rules of Engagement.

After getting to Tucson, he wasn't accepted in the Veteran's Hospital. He was told he wasn't a veteran because he was a policeman. President Truman said it was a police action.

After all he's been through, he holds no ill feeling towards the experience. He is one of the proudest Marines I've ever met. He has had 26 surgeries due to all his wounds, all at the Veteran's Hospital. He can still jitterbug at our gatherings. He claims it's all in the attitude of the person living it.

We were going to have a sea story session at one of our FAVORITE watering holes! He was the last one there so he had to order the beer. He walked up to the bar and ordered, when out of nowhere this nut jumps up and puts a gun to his head pulls the trigger. "Niggie" moved just in time, the bullet grazed his head. "Niggie" was madder than you know what. Not because of the shot to his head, but because his favorite hat had blown up. So now we make him sit on the other side of the room.

We had 12 warriors of our Reserve Unit, 13th Infantry Battalion Easy Company, that made the supreme sacrifice. Our supreme commandant called them up for duty. We have a memorial with all their pictures on display across the street from Tucson Electric Park called The Korean Memorial.

The Unit received one Navy Cross Medal, seven Silver Stars, six Bronze Stars, and two Letters of Accommodation. They also received 43 Purple Hearts. Though some members never received theirs.

When we went to see our Reserve Unit leave for active duty in 2005, he turned to me and said, "Your going to think I'm crazy, but I feel that I should be going with this kid." I said, " No, Niggie, you're not crazy. You're just a magnet for lead."

May the supreme commandant keep guiding him and protecting him. God Bless "Niggie Romero," from all of us in Easy Company - Tucson, AZ.

Only Him

When it rains it pours. Last week seemed to be the week for some extra Marine pride.

I am a Police Officer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. One day, while on patrol, I stopped by one of the valet stands to BS with a friend there. His son is a Marine and we like to tell jokes and lie to each other. A gentleman came out of the building with his father and presented his ticket to the valet. My friend took off to get the vehicle. After the two men got in their vehicle and drove away my friend came over to me with a big grin on his face. I asked him what he had been up to this time. He told me the younger gentleman noticed I was armed and said he did not know UT Police carrying weapons. He said he told him, "Only him. He's a Marine".

The next day, before my shift stared, I met one of our new guards. Her trainer told her that if she needed any help at any time with anyone, " for Ofc. Halpin. You can depend on him and he can handle anything or anybody. He's a Marine. A Parris Island Marine at that".

Two days later I was at a local gun range, practicing with my newly issued duty Sig Sauer 229 DAK. I finished practicing and left the range. As I entered my vehicle, an older gentleman was walking to the entrance when he spotted my Sgt. Grit, silver with black EGA, license plate on the front of my H3. He stopped, looked at me, squared himself away and gave me a snappy salute, all the while displaying a big smile.

I am still a Marine and always will be. A week like the last one renews my belief in something I once had on a Zippo I carried while in Nam, before it was stolen.

"I did it.
Not because I had to.
Because I wanted to.
I am a better person
For having done so".

Simper Fi - Fratres Aeterni.

John Halpin, Sgt.
2/9 Viet-Nam 66/67

Arizona Hosts Memorial for the Fallen

Memorial for the Fallen March 23 is four years from the date that those serving in United States Army 507th Maintenance Company, Army Forward Support Battalion 3d Infantry Division, North Carolina Marines of Task Force Tarawa and Air Force 347th Rescue Wing 41st and 38th Rescue Squadrons gave their lives in the name of freedom. The lives of eleven Soldiers, eighteen Marines and six Airmen ended on March 23, 2003. Thirty-five families are grieving to this day for their American heroes.
Read More and See More Photos

I Did Not Then

If my Commandant, General Leonard Chapman in 1968, had wanted me to have a tattoo when I arrived at MCRD, arrangements would have been made for someone to be at MCRD San Diego when I arrived to issue me a tattoo in receiving barracks. I did not then and do not now need a tattoo to demonstrate who I am as a Marine.
Rev. Fr. John L. Hodson, USMC Combat Engineer, DaNang, RVN, 1971

Boot Camp Database Enhancements

Although we have a new membership database coming on-line soon that has one of the most robust search engines on the net, we feel it would help if we added some new features to our boot camp historical database to enhance its abilities.

In the past our database (boot camp) offered platoon info available for viewing without individual recruit information. Today we now offer personal sections for each recruit within each platoon.
As an example, Platoon 2097 that graduated in January of 2007 from San Diego now has not only a platoon section, but a personal section that was created for recruit Ryan Browne.

These personal sections will contain such information as graduation pictures, and personal email addresses for ease of contact, and what ever information each recruit decides he/she wants added to these personal section. We will however refrain from adding information that would be considered defamatory in nature.

Our goal here at Yellow Footprints is to offer the most comprehensive boot camp database found anywhere on the Internet today. Not only for historical purposes, but as a unique Marine locator tool that is free to all that want to use it.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support in building this historical web site database.

Cpl Miller – USMC 1964 – 1970 Veteran

Naked Girl

When Buba came into our outfit in 1958 out of 2nd ITR, everyone wonder how he slipped though boot camp, This guy was his own shade of Marine Corps green. He still had his manners, talk hound dawg, played spoons, slap his leg in rhythm, took time everyday to read his bible, but he was one squared away Marine. When someone went with him into Oceanside he took everything in with amazement. And after observing all of the ink art of the personal in our battery he had to have a tattoo, so he got a USMC Bulldog on his right shoulder, but one was not enough he got a naked girl on the forearm. Fine. When he had accrued enough time to go on leave, his conscience started to bother him, His parents and fiancé from the Baptist South could probably deal with the Bulldog, but not the naked girl. So he goes into town and has shorts and halter top tattooed on the girl, As soon as he gets back from leave he has the whole thing covered with a rose vine.

My tat is a girls name on the forearm, [Frankie] who I was going steady with since high school. But things did not work out; and my wife's name is Sam [female],so when anyone ask me about the name, I told them I had it put there so I would know who I was, if I woke up in some strange place. The tattoo has gotten faded, scarred over the years. The last time I went in for my physical the doctor, ask what is that thing on my arm, he thought I had a growth or something.

Corporal HQ-1-11
Semper Fi

Msg From The Commandant

UNCLAS 111320Z APR 07
CMC Washington DC

To al ALMAR(UCALMAR 020/07

SUBJ/To Those Who Have Gone Before//

1. To be a Marine is to be a part of something that represents the best of our nation. It is to accept a way of life that embodies selfless service - to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to thrive in the hardship and sacrifice expected of an elite warrior class, to march to the sound of the guns, and to ably shoulder the heritage created by those who have gone before us.

2. Only a few Americans choose the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our nation's enemies. As a consequence of that choice, some have paid the ultimate price, joining the honor roll of heroes who built the noble legacy of our corps. For those of us who carry on that legacy, it is our obligation to honor those fallen Marines. As Marines gather in celebration of our history, we gather in the shadows of greatness - though our fallen can no longer participate in our traditions, they will always be a part of us and who we are.

3. Therefore, I am directing that all unit mess nights and Marine Corps Birthday Ball celebrations include worthy and appropriate tributes to our fallen comrades. Subsequent changes to the Drill and Ceremonies Manual will reflect this requirement. Through meaningful remembrance, the sacrifices of "those who have gone before" will not become distant memories, but will live always in our warrior culture.

4. Semper Fidelis, James T. Conway, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps

Noticed My Towel

Sgt. Grit,

I have been reading Sgt. Grit for quit some time now and have been wanting to tell things that happened while I was serving from 1953 to 1956. I went thru MCRD and while at Camp Matthews Rifle Range) I got strep throat and had to go to sick bay. I didn't want to be a sick bay commando so I held back and keep trying but I ended up passing out in the tent one evening. The SDI came and got me and carried me down to sick bay. He took me to the head of the line and told the Corpsman to take care of me. I didn't want to be set back so I shook off the thermometer just before the Corpsman came back to read it. He told me to get dressed and report back to my outfit. I did and all went well. This same DI that I thought so much of came into the chicken hut back at MCRD while we were setting around cleaning our weapons when I heard standby. I jumped to attention but noticed my towel at the end of my rack was not straight so I moved my left hand over to straighten it and SDI Buck Sgt Rungy from Texas. came up to me. He was about 6'6" tall and about 200 lbs. He grabbed me by the neck and forced me backwards with his knuckles deep into my throat and started banging my head down against the concrete floor until I was very dizzy. He stopped and told me to get up and take my clothes off. I did so down to my skivies. He then told me to turn around and bend over. I did so and he began to beat me across my a$$ with his saber until I was black and blue. He told us all that before we would leave boot camp that everyone of us would hate him. Boot Camp was not over yet and I had learned to hate him but new there was a reason for everything. I remembered I had joined this outfit and I was going to make it come h&ll or high water. Another incident was while out on the parade field my rifle was not straight and the Jr. DI Cpl. Foss came up to the back of me from behind and smacked the side of my rifle and the operating rod jammed into the side of my right ear. It knocked me down. I came to and my platoon was down to the end of the parade field. I got up and ran back to my outfit and fell back into ranks. Shortly after that Cpl. Foss was gone and nobody knew why.

While at sea about 6 months after boot came I was on the flight deck of the USS Prinston wiping down the side of the helicopter that I was the 1st mech. on and a north Korean Mig came across the flight deck just above me not more than 100 ft. He came back around while we were firing at him he dove into the side of one of the troop carriers of to the right side of the carrier. Later launches came alongside and brought aboard a number of boxes and several wounded sailors that we flew back to the states. I talked to one of the sailors as he was sitting on a chair in the hanger deck. He said he didn't know what hit him as he was below deck and all of a sudden boom. He had a big bandage on his head where he was hit with schrapnal (flying steel). We flew several missions onto South Korea soil to assist on evacuation of our troops after the Korean Conflict was supposedly over (Bull S--t). I never forgot Sgt.Rungy . He did tell us that he had lost his older brother in Korea. I realized later that he was teaching us discipline that 17 year old kids really needed. If this letter gets printed I would like to thank Sgt.Rungy for being my SDI and setting a great example of a Marine. Semper Fi.

Cpl. Duane C.Williams 1468037/ 1953-1956
Third Marine FMF Airwing Division
El Toro, CA
USS Prinston-Korean Waters

Father And Son

Sgt. Grit,
My father was a Sgt. Major. He retired in 1970. He served seven combat tours. Two in WW II, Three in Korea and Two in Viet Nam. He was on Iwo as a teenager. I still hear a horrific storey now and again. I joined the Marine Corps in 1971, one year after he got out. I spent two proud years in the Corps and got out in 1973 as a Corporal. I spent six months in Viet Nam before being shipped back to the states as President Nixon ended the ground war. I remember sending my father off to war and he remembers doing the same for me. I then went to college, graduated and became a fighter pilot and retired with twenty three years of service.
God bless you and God bless the United States Marine Corps.
Semper Fi.......Frank Martin

Hey Sgt Grit,

I have in my stash a W2 from 1971 that I received upon leaving active duty at Camp Pendleton. That year, as an E-3 with almost six months combat pay, I earned $2155.34. With some difficulty, I calculated that I made about $1.12 per hour that year. According to the new 2007 military pay chart, an E-3 under two years earns $1534.20 base pay. I think that is not nearly enough but it sure looks good to this old Marine!

Semper Fi,
Dan Buchanan

From My Heavy

Sgt Grit,
I recently read your newsletter dated April 18,2007; and as always, a sense of pride swells in my being. I earned my EGA in '73 at PI; and to this day, can remember every syllable of every word ever yelled from my "heavy"... Sgt. Hunter. He set an example for all to follow; even though I believed at times that the man was psychotic...LOL. To this day, I live my life following what was "instilled" by Sgt. Hunter. If you are out there Sgt. Hunter; SEMPER FI. If you have gone before me; wait till I get there and we'll take over H&ll together!

Heaven won't take us...and H&ll's afraid we'll take over.

C. Lambert Formed into a Marine in '73...and proudly still one today in 2007

*forever a Devil Dog*


The bumper sticker at the end of the e mail about an opinionated retired Marine reminded me of a discussion prior to Retired Opinionated Marine the last presidential election. I'm conservative and not at all bashful about it. I attribute that attitude to being a Marine (1966-1970, served in Nam), my elderly status, my well earned gray hair, a son who was one of the first Marines into Afghanistan after 9/11. I was voicing my beliefs and my wife commented (she was concerned others~strangers~in the room might not see things the way I do), "David! You're opinionated!" to which I replied (of course, she was across the room), "Honey, I'm NOT opinionated....opinionated is when you're wrong!"

Seems like that might make a good bumper sticker. I'd buy one!

Semper Fi!
Dave Demel
Sgt. of Marines (1966-1970)

Bugles Across America

Sgt. Grit
On ARMED FORCES DAY, MAY 19. Bugles Across America are looking for bugle and trumpet players to volunteer to play taps on the eleventh hour in all National Cemeteries, State Veterans Cemeteries a cross our great nation. And also American Battle Monuments Cemeteries overseas. To Honor America's Veterans and their Families. If you are interested in volunteering, email

USMC 57 - 60

Good Morning Sgt. Grit

In the many years I've been doing business with you I have never been disappointed in the service or quality of the products. On that note I must also tell you that I have never been disappointed with the news letters and find my self anxiously waiting for the next one. This last newsletter dated April 19, 2007 was especially touching to me.

I remember the media, and future traitorous Presidential Candidates condemning our efforts and winning the war for the enemy and still to this day remain bitter, angry and hurt. I read with tears flowing as this young boot fresh out of boot camp met by his proud parents and going home to Boston was treated with respect and honor. If only we would have been treated with a little kindness and gratitude perhaps our trauma would have been easier to deal with. We did not have the privilege to ride First Class, but had tomatoes, eggs