The horror stories you hear about come from the grunts and groans of these boots as unused muscles become like steel, lazy brains become quick as snake fangs and pride of accomplishment takes over. Your son is in good hands. Take it from one who has been there 64 years ago, and remembers most of it as if it all happened yesterday.
James D. Broome

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Horror Stories

I read with great interest the letter from the "Marine Mom" who was concerned for the safety of her son, because she had heard all those "horror stories" about boot camp.

We WWII Marines are dying off at the rate of 1,000 per day, so I figured I best tell her what was on my mind. I may not be here tomorrow. Nice lady, I guess my Mom was very concerned for my safety, when, at the tender age of 17, plus one month, I enlisted here in Atlanta. Went to P.I. right? Nope. Went to San Diego MCRD. What ! ? The Sgt. told our draft of 6 guys that Parris Island was full up, and so we headed west. Arrived there about middle of Sept. 1943. The Marine Corps has its own special way of getting your complete, un-divided attention from the moment you step onto those "yellow footprints". There was a war going on, and The Corps was taking its share (and more) of casualties in the Pacific Theatre; our boot camp was 7 weeks. We had no Crucible then. The Corps needed grunts, who knew what to do with an M-1 rifle. Fortunately, I fired "high expert", which got me about $60.00 as winner of the platoon "pot"; a $5.00 per month salary increase for one year, and got me my PFC stripe.

I survived Okinawa and 6 months of re-patriating Japanese troops from North China back to their homeland. Ma'm, I hope you will read this from an 80 year old, former Marine, who loves his Corps and his country so much that were it possible, he would be in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. I don't know what sort of "horror stories" you are being fed, as coming from boot camp. I say to people like you, every time the occasion arises. "I want you to notice in detail everything about your son as he is leaving for boot camp; I want you then to notice everything about your "Marine" when you attend his Graduation, and when he receives his Eagle, Globe and Anchor. He will NOT be the same person you sent off to boot camp.

Horror stories? I learned, during boot camp, that my father (he and mother were divorced) had tried to use his political influence to get me out of The Corps. (All three of his sons were now in the military - I was the youngest.) Now, if you want to hear horror stories, I have a few to share with you. The Corps (especially my D.I.) did not take kindly to "wimping out"; I found out there were guys who enlisted, then when the going got a little tough in boot camp, they would yell "I want out". That was not me; I wanted "in". Took me forever to convince the United States Marine Corps that I really intended making them a good Marine; after calling home and telling my Dad to "knock it off"; he had made my life miserable, life settled down to making a Marine out of a Georgia "redneck". Ma'm, the purpose of all this boring history is to hopefully convince you that the Marine Corps has told your son, and his entire platoon, that they will never make it through boot camp; they will never become Marines; they told me the same thing. Marine Corps "boot camp" is many things to many men, and now women. The Marine Corps has the finest discipline training, responsibility training, obedience training, respect training, self-discipline training, integrity training, honor training, Corps history training and educational training of any branch of service, with due respect to each branch. The horror stories you may have heard are coming from young men, such as your son, whose mettle is being tested and challenged at every turn, and who are being transformed, by the world's finest and most competent Drill Instructors, from likely self-centered individuals who could jump into their cars and head for McDonald's whenever they wanted to, into one of the world's most respected and admired "soldiers" - a United States Marine!.

The horror stories you hear about come from the grunts and groans of these boots as unused muscles become like steel, lazy brains become quick as snake fangs and pride of accomplishment takes over. Your son is in good hands. Take it from one who has been there 64 years ago, and remembers most of it as if it all happened yesterday. Forget the horror stories. Just take a good look at the transformation in your son on Graduation Day. Semper Fidelis, Ma'm.

James D. Broome
Corporal of Marines

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Is That OK With You Captain

My sister, a Carmelite Nun in Danvers, MA, sent me, her big brother US Marine, a valentine. Among the comments about me being the best big brother in the world, she shared the following: (by the way, my sister and the other nuns, pray all day)
Within the last week, in Massachusetts, there were two deaths of remark: Antonio Piero, at 110 years of age, passed away. He was the oldest living WW1 vet, That same week, funeral services were held for US Marine Captain, Jennifer Harris. This 28 year old, Marine helicopter pilot, was the first woman from Massachusetts, killed in Iraq.
I still cry when a Marine dies.
Semper Fi to the Sgt. Grit family.
God Bless America and keep our troops safe.

I met Chesty when his son and John Kerrey (spelling-not the one who ran for President) were in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. Young Lou had both legs gone.
Kerrey was a bit luckier. When General Puller was talking to Kerrey and heard his story, he asked, "Did you kill the fvckers, son?"
His words, not mine. No profanities intended. Kerrey answered, "Yes Sir." There were tears in the General's eyes as he looked at his son and Navy Lt. Kerrey. The General looked at me and said, "Captain, how do you know these men?" I told him that I did not know them personally, but that they were brothers-in- arms. I lived in Philly and wanted to be with my brothers. Chesty asked me to have a drink with him. We did. We went to Bookbinders Restaurant in Philly. We both had a beer and followed it with a shot. General Puller's aide, a Marine Colonel who was bigger than the North half of Nebraska, suggested that the General had another appointment. Chesty looked at me, then at his aide and said, "It'll wait Colonel. Captain Williams and I are having another beer. Is that ok with you, Captain."
Of course I replied, "Yes Sir."
Of the four of us who were in that room that day, two are dead: Chesty and his son. Mr. Kerrey is now the president of some university, and I am still a US Marine; no longer on active duty.
I hope you enjoyed the story.
Tom Williams

A Marine Would Be Right Beside Me

Sgt Grit,
I was looking at your page and noticed the section you had about Afghanistan, and seen that MgySgt Holy had sent in some photos of him and some of the Marines there at Bagram. I had the pleasure of meeting MgySgt Holy and from the minute I meet him I knew he was one of those old war dogs that led from the front. purple heart He came out to our FOB in Asadabad to visit and meet the Marines out there. While he was there he wanted to go out on one of our missions with our unit. When we were conducting the convoy brief and letting everyone know what vehicle and where they were going to be during the mission. The Master Gunny had a complaint about just ridding in the humvee, he told us "he was sure he could shoot better then anyone there and that he would be better off manning the 50cal instead of just riding in the damn humvee." I was there in 2005 and was injured by a ied blast. After I got hurt he made sure that while I was in Afghanistan that a Marine would be right beside me at all times incase I woke up that way I wouldnt be alone. He even kept my family up to date as to when I would be getting back state side, and has kept in contact with me ever since. I attached a picture of me receiving my Purple Heart from General Hagee and a couple other ones.

Semper Fi
Cpl Epperson

In Your Breast Pocket

Sgt. Grit,
I am responding to Sgt. Schrader's vignette in your last Newsletter regarding "idiwa" (sp.) spoons used by us in Korea '52. I was in Horrible How -3-5 then and we used them all of the time. It was a long spoon with a shaft about six inches. When finished you placed them in the front pocket of your utilities with the shaft of the spoon in the "pencil" portion of the pocket and the functional part facing outboard.. I don't remember anyone that didn't have one although it was not standard 782 gear.
As stated by Sgt. Schrader, they were made by the Korean workers from shell casings. I think I obtained mine from a Marine being rotated home. I know Emily Post would never condone that transaction but they sure came in handy.
My buddy was Sgt. Dave Hopp and I believe he was in George, G-3-5 and wondered if the good Sgt Schrader knew him. Dave and I were in the 2nd Division in the states before going to Korea and were reunited in the hospital in Yokouska, Japan after the two of us had been wounded for the second time. We kept up the relationship for years 'till Dave died about thirty tears ago in Detroit.
George Maling Sgt. Korea '52


Dear Sgt. Grit,

Reading letters about boot camp experiences reminded me of something which happened a few days after Platoon 148 was organized on 08 July 1955 at MCRD San Diego. I was eighteen years of age, fleeing one miserable year of college, and clueless about the world beyond West Texas and Hollywood musicals!
Fifty-one years ago none of us had a shadow of a hint about computers, so we filled out reams of mimeographed papers by hand. Somewhere on one of those endless forms, I noted that I was a "preacher."
At one point in the first week, while our platoon was religiously scouring silver buckets with steel wool, the newly appointed Left Guide came racing down the company street (which was cleverly camouflaged as a sidewalk) yelling, "Preacher to the Duty Hut!" I threw my bucket so high that I was at the door of the Duty Hut screaming, "Sir, Private Hamby reporting, Sir," before it hit the ground! It didn't occur to me that someone else might be a preacher, too.

From within came the soft voice of the best Drill Instructor the Marine Corps ever had: Sgt. W. R. SPRADLIN!
Upon entering, standing at rigid attention, he told me--softly--to stand at ease. Sgt. Spradlin was sitting on a bunk putting on socks and boots. The conversation proceeded along these lines. (OK! Listen up! Be prepared for declarations from a teenager who believed every word he spoke. Marines are about the only ones who will understand.)
Sgt. Spradlin: "Are you a preacher."
Pvt. Hamby: "Sir, yes sir."
Sgt. S: "Why are you in the Marine Corps?"
Pvt. H: "Sir, because I've wanted to be a Marine since I was six years of age, sir."
Sgt. S: "Why don't you become a Chaplain?"
Pvt. H: "Sir, I do not want to be a Chaplain. I want to be a Marine, Sir."
Sgt. S: "Why?"
Pvt. H" "Sir, I am an American and I have the right to serve my country as much as any other American, Sir.
Sir, I love my country, sir."

Sgt. Spradlin paused and stared at me. Then, I made a big mistake. I said, "Sir, I do not ask for, nor do I expect any special treatment just because I am a preacher." To this very moment, I see clearly his blue eyes turn ICE COLD, and he said softly, "And, you won't get any either. Get out!" I was gone before he completed those two words! As far as I know, at no time in Boot Camp or in my eight years of service did I ever receive any special treatment. Of that, I am proud. I have often thought of Sgt. Spradlin and Cpl. D. A. McShan, the Junior DI. Though I've never heard about them since leaving MCRD in September 1955, I have prayed for them, their families, and hope they have been successful in their Marine Corps careers.
Sgt. Grit, THANK YOU for all you do for Marines serving today and for all of us who preceded them.
You and your staff can never know how much your work means to all of us. God bless you -- especially Lindsay who has been incredibly helpful.

Frank H. Hamby
Sgt. 1955-1963

Arizona Platoon

Dear Sgt. Grit:

When I read the article entitled "All His Sons" by LCpl Tommy Hicks, on Feb 15, 2007, it brought back memories of when I went to Boot Camp.
We were the Arizona Pltn #354. We were the "Honor Platoon" at MCRD, Sad Diego. We arrived in the, close quarters, of the Cattle Car, from San Diego Air Port. We were mustard thru in the late evening of June 24, 1964. By the got to our Metal Hut, it was about 2:00am. We did a lot of push ups before we were allowed to turn in. Then @ 5:00am it started, all h&ll broke loose.
I am a 2nd generation Marine. My Dad had told me that Boot Camp was rough, and that I could expect just about anything.
LCpl Hicks talked about being hit. Well, I was hit once in the jaw by Sgt. Cohn (who looked like Charles Atlas) for talking in the chow line. He was kind enough to take off his, bigger than life, Marine Corps ring. The 2nd time was by SSgt Radmall. He got me in the six pack. I have no regrets. I would do it and experience it all over again. Boot Camp weeded out the men from the boys. I am proud to say those 2 DI's made me a better person.
In the early 1990's my oldest son went thru Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego. One of the differences between my time in Boot Camp and his, is that we were housed on the metal huts & he was housed in a nice, heated (hotel) barracks. The other difference was that we got hit, and sucked it up, while the DI's didn't dare raise a hand against anyone, for fear of being Court Marshaled. I went down to my son's graduation from Boot Camp. It brought a tear to my eye. It also brought back good memories. I often kid my son that I went thru the Real Marine Corps Boot Camp and he went the thru the PANSY side of Marine Corps Boot Camp. My 8 years in the Corps was great and I would not trade it for anything.

Semper Fi,
Robert D. Adams
Sgt USMC June 1964 to June 1972

5th Marine Division Research

I am wondering if you can help me with a bit of 5th Marine Division research
I bought a Japanese flag remnant on Ebay the seller says it is from Iwo. It is signed by a Sgt Andrew Estenes USMC 5th Marine division. A small caption in the frame claims his platoon assaulted a Japanese cave position on Suribachi and took this off a KIA Japanese soldier. the seller claims to have purchased this at an estate auction.
I am trying to find a roll call of 5th Marine division personnel on Iwo Feb 1945 can you help? or direct me somewhere

An Honorable Emblem

Sgt. Grit,
Carved Emblem Four year ago I had a tree cut down in my back yard, the moment I saw that piece of wood I new what it was going to be, it measures 4"x12"x14", it sat next to my wood stove for 4 years drying out.
I been a amateur wood carver for about 35 year, I have a few pieces that are among my favorites, but this one is on the top of the list. I retired about a year ago and got into my carving big time, I finally got the confidence to try to carve it.
I hope I've done it PROUD.

SEMPER FI. Scooter

Pretty Little Church

Hey Sgt Grit,
With regard to the letter from the Vietnam Marine "geo" who wrote about the Marine gun tank shooting at the "pretty little" church in Hue City during the fighting of Tet '68. The tank was either "Y-51" or "Y-52" from H&S Co, 3rd Tank Battalion. The Marine tankers were firing at North Vietnamese snipers who were in the steeple shooting down at the Marines below. Unbeknown to the grunts and tankers outside of the church, there were dozens of South Vietnamese refugees inside of the main church who hade taken refuge from the fierce gun battle that was raging just outside. I was not there to witness that particular part of the battle but the church was pretty badly damaged the first time when I saw it a few days later. I believe that none of the civilian refugees were injured during that particular fire fight. The female reporter who tried to keep the Marines from firing into the church was a famous French photo journalist... but I have forgotten her name (old timer's disease)...but she was KIA much later during the Vietnam War. I have see some fairly recent photos of that same church...thankfully it was rebuilt and is absolutely stunning today.
Semper Fidelis,
John Wear
Sgt 3rd Tank Battalion
Vietnam '68 - '69

The Remaining Weeks

Sgt Grit

Following with some amusement and chagrin the flap that SSgt Hall started. Some seem astonished that a DI would strike a recruit, while others (myself included) were astonished that they didn't.

It appears that a number of Marines think this might be a MCRDSD/MCRDPI division. I don't think the division is geographical but historical and I and many others observed it firsthand.

Those of us who formed recruit platoons in the summer of 1956 lived through the transition. The RDSD we left for Camp Matthews in the fall of 1956 was not the same one we returned to after qualification. What happened in the interim? The Ribbon Creek incident.

Many know the sad story, but for those who don't or have forgotten, six recruits under SSgt McKeon drowned at Parris Island on April 8, 1956. Commandant Pate shortly thereafter initiated reforms including more supervision of DIs and revised training standards in general.

The remaining weeks we experienced were the same as before, with our DIs in Platoon 197 continuing to provide plenty of physical "guidance." But we saw changes in more newly formed platoons, along with the presence of many more officers.

I haven't for a moment regretted, much less resented, any "correction" I received. Those DIs took a sorry excuse of a boy and changed him not just into a man, but into a MARINE!

Don't think for a moment I believe that training has slipped and the elimination (?) of physical punishment has been detrimental. When I see the Marines they're graduating today I am most impressed. I must be honest and admit that I have doubts that I could survive boot camp in 2007 as I did in 1956.

Semper FI!
Mumford, Kenneth J.
USMCR 1552091


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Their Own Particular Group

I just read the insert form Sgt Williams about his appreciation for Corpsman etc. I am a former Corpsman of Marines myself, having served during Desert Storm. I appreciate all the Marines for the outstanding job that they have been doing on a daily basis for the past 200 plus years. Some days I feel like, the Corpsman, that the Sgt was answering, too, I served 4 years active duty, & 2 years active-reserve. When I talk to fellow veterans and they ask what branch I served in, and I tell them the Navy, & they ask what ship, so I tell them that I was a Navy Corpsman and that the only thing I floated on was an LCU (and that was with the Marines). Some days I feel like I don't belong to a branch; because each branch is dedicated to their own particular group, but being a Corpsman has taught me that I belong to a branch that even U.S. Marines respect. Well Marines, continue the outstanding job that you're doing, because as long as people are protesting, then you're doing your job to keep them free and exercising their rights.

God bless you all & and All you Doc's take care of your Marines.

Alejandro "DOC GONZ" Gonzalez
HM3 12/87-12/91 & 4/99-4/01

Better With Women

Sgt. Grit,
Just a quick response to Cpl. F.T. Lenihan regarding how P.I. Marines would always rate higher than San Diego Marines. Maybe in their own minds, but San Diego Marines were prettier, better with women, and smarter. That's why there's more of us around! Semper Fi to all my P.I. Marine buddies.
A.W. Hademan
Platoon 2025
MCRD 1969
Da Nang 1969-70
Still breathing!

Salute Everything

I went through MCRD San Diego from Apr - July 1964....Plt 230. We were billeted in the quonset huts right across the obstacle course, and the airport ran parallel to our area where we had PT and ran the PFT.

We heard the commotion when the series "Gomer Pyle" was being filmed on the obstacle course during night time hours, and saw Andy Griffith in a Limo around the area. So you might say I went through boot camp with Gomer Pyle...

One morning while running our morning run across from the Naval Recruit Depot, we encountered a guy wearing a blue uniform with a blue cap...He was trying to get over to our side of the fence to make a run for the airport. Well needless to say, he screwed up big time. Our DI Sgt Gandara made him finish the run with us and turned him over to the MPs. We later heard he had to go through Marine boot camp, and then was sent back to finish his boot camp with the Navy....

I was just wondering if anybody remembers that incident...Also if anybody went through boot camp at the same time with Plt 230. Would like to hear from any former members from that Plt. Our Plt Sgt was S/Sgt Gabbart, Our DI's were Sgt Volner, and Sgt Gandara

After boot camp I was assigned to 3rd Engineers in Okinawa, and in 65 went to Nam with 9thMEB. Ended up doing three tours and one heart. Built a lot of LZs

I can also attest to the fact that we did get "hit" in boot camp when we screwed up! I speak from experience...I screwed up and failed to salute a Lt. when we got back from the rifle range at Matthews.

We had just got back from dress clothing uniform issue, about the 9th week, and while the platoon went into the messhall for chow, I was assigned to man the guide on and watch our clothing outside the messhall.... A Lt. came by, and just as if it was anybody, I just said "hey". That was the worst day of my life.

I got hit twice when we got back to the platoon area. I even missed out on "the burning lamp is lit"

That night after showers I was called to the duty hut and while everyone was writing letters and reading letters before we hit the rack, I spent that time "on your face! on your belly! on your back! push ups, jumping jacks, and I didn't even get a shower afterwards....

From that time for the rest of the boot camp I saluted everything that walked by me..I didn't care if it was official or not...I was not going to take the chance on screwing up again.

I did get my PFC stripe out of boot camp...Sgt Gandara, the one who hit me, even said on graduation day that he was proud of me, and that I would make a good Marine....I think I proved him right!

In my 7+ years in the Corps, I had many great experiences, and I am better off for it today...

This numbskull that I worked with in my civilian job once told me, "you think you are better than me because you went to Vietnam". I proudly answered him, "no I am not better than you, I am better off than you, because I saw things and did things you only wish you could do". I think I put him in his place very well.

Incidentally, this guy was the "Jody" we always referred to in Nam....She ended up leaving him for someone else....So in that sense, I was also better off for it.......Semper Fi

Manuel Gonzales
fmr SGT USMC 1371
Combat Engineer

Lew Diamond

Dear Sgt Grit,

As a former Marine 81MM mortarman I am aggrieved that you do not consider that the most celebrated Marine mortarman who ever lived is not a Legend of the Corps. I am, of course, referring to Lew Diamond. Yes, ladies, Lew Diamond Philips is named after him. Obviously Mr. Philips' father was also a Marine mortarman.

It has been said that Lew Diamond could operate the plotting board better than a brain surgeon could wield a scalpel. Among the legends that surround the man was the story of him recreating Old Glory, in red, white and blue, with illumination rounds.

I can only recall seeing one photo of this legend. He was a small man but sported a very distinctive mustache and Van Dyke beard! This while still on active duty, so apparently no one messed with the best.

If possible, I would like to see photos and stories about this Legend of the Corps. Do any of your readers have any idea where he served, his rank, awards and decorations? I'd buy a sweatshirt with his likeness on it.

Cpl. Kirk J. James, '59-'63 81MM mortar platoon, 2/8 & 1/22

Helped Me Return

Sgt. Grit
My favorite Marine/VietNam movie would have to be Full Metal Jacket. It took you from boot camp all the way to duty in VietNam. Also, my DI, Cpl R.L. Ermey stared in the movie. I know that what he taught me in boot camp helped me to return from VietNam safe and not in a body bag.
Dan Heck
Sgt of Marines
Semper Fi

Corpsman and the Doc

Sgt Grit,

In reference to the question of whether or not Navy Corpsmen earned respect from Marines, I would submit the following. During my twenty-one years of active duty I noticed a distinction between a Corpsman and the Doc. The Corpsman was the sailor who held sick call and never strayed too far from the ship or the Naval Hospital. Doc was the sailor who hiked with us, sweated with us, bled with us, cried with us, and died with us. The Corpsman is a fine, professional technician who prefers to remain in the rear areas. Doc is the Marine at heart who chooses to live with "his" Marines. After a while the only real difference between the Doc and the Marines is that Doc dresses funny in Class A's. There is a real difference between a Corpsman and the Doc.

Steve McGraw
MSgt, USMC(Ret)
1971 - 2002

Significant Event

Sgt Grit,

I was reading the letters sent to you concerning being struck by Drill Instructors during Boot Camp and thought I should chip in my two cents.

My tale may be familiar to Marines who went through MCRD Parris Island in 1965. Yes, I learned many words and phrases that I never dreamt existed and witnessed feats of strength I never thought were possible thanks to my Drill Instructors. I won't go into them right now, but I must pass on one story.

The evening before we had our official Boot Camp pictures taken we were drilling on the manual of arms for what seemed like an eternity. I'm sorry, and I apologize to all Marines of all times, but I was exhausted.

The call was: Inspection Arms! And I smacked my beloved M-14 smartly at each step. Just a half second behind everyone else. OOPS! One of our Drill Instructors walked up behind me and said: "see me when we get back to the barn!" I can hear it like it was 5 seconds ago! When I got back to the barn and everyone else had hit the rack, my team of Drill Instructors took the time to help me improve my personal commitment to my fellow Marines.

When I was asked by our LT the next morning what happened to my face, I said I had been clumsy and fell out of my rack. Attached is my picture from my Boot Camp book. Take a look at my lower lip!

I have always said that becoming a Marine was the most significant event of my life. I tried to pass on the importance of service to my children and I am very proud of them. My son is a CPT in the 101st Airborne and an OH-58 pilot with two one year tours in Iraq behind him. My daughter was an Air Traffic Controller in the Navy and served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. She married a Marine who is currently a SSGT and earns his Commission to 2LT in May. In my opinion, all thanks to three Drill Instructors giving me a wake up call when I needed it. Semper Fi.

Chuck Hajdu, SGT
Platoon 314, MCRD Parris Island

Waiting For Us

Dear Sgt Grit,

I have recently returned from Iraq. I have to say from all the negativity that we were hearing over there about how we shouldn't be there and we had 'lost' compared to the homecoming we received were at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Once we left March AFB headed to 29 Palms, almost 300 motorcycles, of the Patriot Guard, proceeded our convoy to the base. The California Highway Patrol blocked every intersection and byway as not to impede the progress of the buses. Once we hit the grade into Yucca Valley the highway was lined with people waving and just stopping their cars and letting us pass, all either shouting their support or showing handmade signs welcoming us home.

Once our weapons were turned in and accounted for, we marched to Victory Field, all 300 of us, again proceeded by the Patriot Guard. The 29 Palms Band was playing the theme from 'The Magnificent 7' to honor the Magnificent 7th Marine Regiment Headquarters Company as we marched onto the field. There waiting for us was all of the beloved that really made coming home worthwhile.

Though it was more than wonderful to see our families again it swelled our hearts to know that there were those out there that support us and realize what we do for a living. I thank those of them that came out to show their support for us. It has touched me and those that served deeply.

SSgt JA Mosher
29 Palms, CA

Having More Fun

Platoon 174 on PI in the summer of 58 had a Jr. DI (E4 Sgt) and he was tall and thin. I swear he had fingers a foot long. He had a habit, when he saw a sand flea on your Adam's Apple, of flicking it with his fingers. Oh, that did smart. But he never hit anyone. And does anyone remember a game called "monkey" where you hung by your fingertips from the top bunk springs? Excellent conditioning exercise. And we were never harassed either.

At bayonet training, while fighting with another boot, he hit my face protection bar so had it broke and cut my nose. Blood was running down my face and the DI's stopped the fight. One took me by the arm and I thought, Oh s..t, I wasn't aggressive enough and would have to fight two or three guys. Then he pointed at my face and said, "what's this?" Everyone started shouting, Blood! Blood! I looked down at the bar and saw blood all over it. I didn't even know I had been cut. Well they sent me over to the Corpsman who was there and he bandaged it and said don't fight anymore today. When I got back to the DI, he asked what the Corpsman said. I told him and he said, "Do you want to fight?" I said, "YES SIR!" He made me go sit down. That evening the on- duty DI took me around to the other DI's in our series so they could laugh at my swollen nose. Just having more fun at PI!

From Sgt. Philip Drugge, USMCR 1957 - 1968

I Remember Seeing

Sgt. Grit,
I really enjoyed the first story about the recruit and the DI camouflaged as a tree. The second story about PI Marines being rated above San Diego Marines came like a knife in the back. I remember seeing a lot of both PI and SD Marines fighting and dying in the rice paddies of Viet Nam. I'm sure L/Cpl John P. Vaughn didn't mean to be insulting but he needs to remember that we are ALL United States Marines, the key word being "united".

Robert I. Treitler
2nd Batt., 1st Mar Div

Gathering Of Eagles

I read your newsletter every time it hits my email box and I then forward to my mother so that she can read them to my Dad, Frank J. Buongiorno, USMCR (1954-1960). My worst disappointment in life was and still is the fact that I was too short (5' 0") to follow his footsteps. Women in 1975 had to be 5' 7" I was told by the recruiters after I passed all my tests with flying colors.

Including my father, my family has a rich history of military service. My great Uncle fought with at the Battle of Tarawa and was wounded, my Uncle Robert is a 2 tour RVN vet, all of my cousins have served in their chosen branches (Army, Navy) and currently my cousin Joey is pulling a tour in Iraq at Balad AFB.

I give you this bit of history so that you will understand how important it is to me to get the word out about A Gathering of Eagles. I've pasted the link below for your convenience although I have a vague feeling that you are already very aware of it. I will be attending this event to represent my family and other patriots who are unable to make the trip. Please, if you would, help us get the word out to as many vets as possible so that we can have the most unexpected turnout the Li6eral Left has ever seen. Perhaps that will discourage them from ever attempting to use such a sacred place as a staging ground for anti-Americanism ever again.

Thank you for your time and courtesy,
Elyse A. Buongiorno

Website: gathering of eagles .org/ (no spaces)


Sgt. Grit:

During our first days of Parris Island in July, 1967, Platoon 3015 was advised by our SDI, SSGT Butler, that it was against the UCMJ for any DI to strike, or otherwise harm, a recruit. He explained that hitting us would be wrong and could be harmful to us. He then proceeded to further explain to us that, while we would never be hit, we might occasionally be "thumped" as a form of corrective action by one or more of our DIs. It seemed to make sense at the time. Having been on the receiving end of said "corrective action" more than once, the subtle nuances of the difference between the two still, somehow, seems to elude me. They did, however, snap me out of my civilian sh*t and square my sorry a** away.

God bless the Marine Corps!

Cpl. Tom Mahoney
'67 - '71

Sniper Conference

Gastonia PD is hosting A Sniper Conference for Law Enforcement and Military Personnel In April, I have included the site for your website. Would like to see some USMC teams entered,

Jeff Clemmer
Training Specialist
Catawba Nuclear Station

Being Told How Wonderful

I enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego on 30Oct73. I had nearly 5 years as a real Marine and was a Sergeant before I was busted for conduct unbecoming an NCO and busted in rank to 2nd Lieutenant in 1978. During the summer of 1979 I was assigned to the Midshipman Company at MCDEC Quantico. There were six of us 2nd Lieutenants and one Captain, Steve Rittacco in the Company. During the summer we hosted nine groups of Midshipmen from the Naval Academy, introducing them to the Marine Corps. Besides the week each group spent with us, they also spent a week aboard a Naval Air Station, and a week aboard a Submarine Base. The Midshipmen were there during the summer between their 2nd and 3rd years at the Annapolis.

In 1986 I was serving in Okinawa when another Marine Captain called me by name. I did not recognize him but he knew me. He was one of the Midshipmen from that summer in Quantico. He told me that he had never considered joining the Marine Corps until that summer, he had been Navy all of the way. But after spending a week with Navy Air (being told how wonderful his life would be), then a week with the Submariners (being told how wonderful his life would be), and then a week with the Marines (being told this is the Corps and if you do not like it, too bad), he knew we were being honest, and was commissioned in the Marine Corps.

I was just like him. The Army recruiter kept promising me pay raises, easy duty, and fun schools, but the Marine Recruiter in Boise, Idaho offered me a chance to prove I was good enough to be a Marine. On Boot Leave I made a point to thank him for that opportunity. When asked if I wanted an extension on Boot Leave I said, "No thank you, Master Sergeant. But can I go back early?" I come off leave early, headed off for my MOS training, and never regretted a day of the best 20 years of my life.

S.H. Bishop Capt USMC Retired 2811/0302/5803


Sgt. Grit:

Thanks for doing all that you do -- the Newsletter makes a big difference to all of us.

A response to George from 1st FLC/FSR Motor T about split- shifting, and anyone else who might care. Being the rule- abiding driver that I was, it was a necessary thing to experiment with the transfer case lever to get a little more "poop" out of those M-54's, especially with 40 tons of fence stakes on it and the trailer-converter behind.

So, how about 1L-2L-3L-2H-4L-3H-5L-4H-5H, with right hand on the transfer, left hand through the wheel, and steering with your knees. (you couldn't use 1H because of no 1st gear synchros)

Large Al
FLSG-A / FLC 66-67
11th Motors 68-69

Quack-Quack (Duck Walk)

In response to Sam (Bugs) Bishop letter, The "quack-quack-DUCK WALK, sure brings back memories. I was In boot from July 59 to Dec 59. Remember the M-1 in bed with me, rusty or not, you slept with it..Camp Mathews was a horror story in its self.. The DI's paid you back there. Oh well we all survived, and we are all better persons because of it, once a Marine always a Marine. I retired in February of 1980, February 29th to be exact, Leap Year, my CO said not to do it, my pay and records would be screwed up forever, well that never happened. Also any Marines from platoon 355 at MCRD San Diego, July to Dec 1959 contact me.

proud former Marine
M/Sgt Dennis King (Ret)
Plt # 355 MCRD San Diego

I Have Had Enough

Okay, I have had enough of people who have not earned the title Marine or our Corpsman using the term "Semper Fi." Semper Fi is a vow made between Marines to each other or our Docs.

If you are a spouse, wife, boyfriend, airmen, sailor, soldier, etc unless you have EARNED the TITLE Marine, you will NEVER understand the significance and importance behind it. Stop saying it and using it, it is not yours because you have not earned it. You earn it at either Quantico, Parris Island, San Diego or field medical school for the docs. That is it period. The airman that stated that he figured that he could use it because he had been there done that obviously doesn't get it.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a future Marine, you are either a poolee or a recruit, once you complete the training then you are a Marine until you do, you don't rate.

To the family members, supporters and anyone else who respects the Corps, thank you for your support we appreciate it, please keep up the support.

Semper Fidelis is not a casual phrase to be used by anyone because that takes away from the meaning behind it, which you don't understand or appreciate unless you earn it and you take away from the meaning because you don't fully what it truly means. Please respect the fact that only those who have earned the title should use it.

Thank you,
Cpl. Samuel Fernley
USMC 1993 - Forever.

70-year-old Marine

February 23, 2007 -- A retired 70-year-old Marine killed a mugger with his bare hands after a tour bus of U.S. senior citizens was held up in the Costa Rican city of Limon, authorities said yesterday.
The retiree squeezed the 20-year-old mugger in a headlock, broke his clavicle and choked him, police said.
The thief's two accomplices, who were armed, fled as other retirees on the bus started defending themselves. The group then drove the unconscious mugger to a local Red Cross clinic, where he was declared dead.
Local police named the former Marine as Allan Clady, but could not say where in the United States he resides.
The 12 tourists involved in the incident on Wednesday were on a stopover from the Carnival Cruise ship Liberty.
Local Police Chief Luis Hernandez said no one would be charged in the incident.
"They were in their right to defend themselves," he said.

Dave Hollenbeck

Battle Dressing

Dear Sgt. Grit,
While serving as a Corpsman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines in Vietnam (1969) we got into an altercation near Hill 1154 near LZ Argonne. Some time during that period I souvienered a NVA/Chinese battle dressing. I told my Marines that I carried around 50 battle dressings in my gear for them, this one was for me if I needed it. I wore it on my helmet the rest of my tour and never needed it.
battle dressings Thirty-six years later I have a Marine step-son who is about to deploy with his air group to Afghanistan. I pulled out the NVA battle dressing, autographed it as to when and where and who carried it and gave it to him to carry "for luck". He returned safely and autographed the battle dressing and it went back on the display shelf. In 2006 his group deployed to Iraq. The attached is a photo of "Sgt. Mike" (he is still on active duty) returning the battle dressing after it's third tour of duty.
I pray it doesn't make a 4th tour.
Jack (doc) Broz
Alpha 1/4 1969

Heck, I Know That!

I usually wear a ball cap cover identifying me as a U. S. Marine veteran of Viet Nam. This past week end I attended a boating expo (cabin fever) and naturally wore that cover.

As I was leaving, I was approached by a young man who was probably in his early twenties. He asked if I had served with the Marines in Viet Nam. I replied "Yes Sir, I did". That young man then shook my hand, thanked me for my service and told me I had served with the best. (Heck, I know that!)

His recognition of my service and compliment to the Corps made my spine ramrod straight. The pride I felt was terrific - he sure made this old man's day! He made all that blood, sweat and tears from forty years ago worthwhile.

Semper Fi and Oo-Rah!

Wayne Luznicky, Corporal USMC 1964-1968,
Viet Nam 1966, 1967, 1968

Run His Dumpster

Just wanted to say thank you to you and your staff for the bang up job you all do. I was a Sgt with Bravo battery 1/12. Now I am a Correctional Officer in Ct. A quick story for you. As you can imagine we are getting a lot of Vets as new CO's. There is one fellow who loves to run his "dumpster" as one of my Plt Sgt's use to say. This guy is prior Army. One night at work we were all talking and he says "you know I don't get it about ground pounders, anyone can shoot a gun". At the time he did not know my military history, I just looked at him square and said "Yup, but it takes a MARINE to hit the "target" with his weapon. Poor kid looked like a deer in head lights. Thanks again.

Sgt. J.S. Paine
B 1/12 97-01

Words Speak Volumes

Sgt Grit

I am an extremely proud father of 2 Marines. Our eldest son is a Sgt stationed in Indian Head, MD. He has seen duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Our youngest son is in Iraq with the 2/3 from K-Bay, Hawaii at this time. Ken, the youngest Marine, recently sent us a photograph from Iraq. It is an excellent shot of him. I forwarded a printed copy of that photo to his grandmother in Las Cruces, NM. She sent me an e-mail when she received the picture. I think her words speak volumes. Below are her EXACT words....

"The photos came today. He doesn't look like a "boy" anymore, except his eyes are just as pretty. I know he wouldn't like "pretty" but that's what they are. Thanks. Love, Mom"

She is quite right. He is not a "boy" any more. He is a US Marine!

May God bless and protect ALL our military personnel. Thank you all for your service to our country.

S. Gronsky
Castle Rock, CO

Stoic In Puller

As a Marine NCO many times I would find myself in conflict with certain attitudes or situations during these times I would pick up the book MARINE and find what I needed to get through a tough time whether deployed or in Garrison. That book carried me through a lot and when the Bubble went up and we were sent to the Persian Gulf every page of that book rang true for me. At times I still pick it up and it still inspires me to do my very best and never settle for anything less. Even under fire I stood stoic in Puller fashion trying to keep our cool. I'll never forget my time in the Corps
D. Nevarez Sgt USMC 82-92 5TH MARINES SEMPER FI.

Marine!  The Life of Chesty Puller
Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller

Chesty - The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC
Chesty - The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC

2/7 Fox Company

I just wanted to share this photo with everyone, this is a picture of my son and some of the men in Fox Company the morning they were getting deployed to Iraq. Fox Marines He has been gone for about a month and we all miss him so much. It is going to be a long road ahead of us and for everyone that has someone gone. Please keep all the prayers and blessings going out to all that are serving our country so well. There is not a day or moment that goes by that I don't think of these Men and hope they are all safe. Thank you,
Mother of a Marine in the 2/7 Fox Company 3rd Platoon

3rd 8inch How Btry (SP) FMF Pac Reunion

3rd REUNION of the USMC 3rd 8inch How Btry (SP) FMF Pac

September 14th - 15th - 16th , 2007 at Arlington Heights, IL

( Any FMF Pac Artillery personnel are invited to come and join in. )


Contact - Paul D. Smigowski (Sgt Ski) (906) 296-0204

Doing Things Because It's Right

Ooh Rah Devil Dogs....!

Spring of 1990 and then 1991, saw six Esperanza H.S. Aztec graduates, all close friends, some on the buddy system, all wet behind the ears of living in the "Land of Gracious Living' from Yorba Linda, California; Bob, Kris, Drew, Torrey, Jason and Alki, depart for boot camp in beautiful MCRD San Diego.... All of us from solid, healthy, supportive families leave to discover ourselves and become something more than most ever will.

Aaahhh... the drive down from M.E.P.S. on the I5, the sunny coast, the last real meal for 3 months at the Denny's in San Clemente... and then the reality of stepping on those yellow footprints in the dead of a warm humid night and being transformed into a U.S. Marine over the next 13 weeks. To this day my best friend is still Kris. His youngest daughter is my God Daughter. We have a bond that only another Marine knows. We still sit around and talk, reminisce about our service to our country, to our Corps! The memories the stories. Oh yeah and Lawton, OK - Ft. Sill. The saddest place to be stationed at in the Armed Forces, Yuck! The 1st Desert Storm, then Somalia, then moving on and starting families, careers, our lives. Now we step back and need to be there to support those that are doing what we did 17 years ago. To remembering our core value of 'Doing things because it's right, even if no one is watching!'

We as proud Americans need to stop and thank each and every member of our armed forces we come across. All of them for the service that they have and will provide for our safety. We are all still banded together for our country. Remember those that have fallen, praise those that have risen to the challenge of serving our country and preserving democracy to the future generations. May it be safer for our children to grow up. We pray for peace, yet train for war!

To my brother-in-law Jeremy, who continues to serve (USMC - USN) Kuwait. Keep your head down your eyes open and your aperture clear, to coming home soon to your baby son!

Semper Fi (Always Faithful)
CPL Alki Hase (USMC '90-96)
0811 Artillery Cannoneer

Swatted His Hand

To Cpl Barnes

If you liked how the Marines faced up to "waffling political weenies" in the Wind and the Lion, go get 55 Days at Peking with Charleton Heston. With hordes of Chinese Boxers charging the wall, a few Marines, kicked some serious butt. The movie is a bit of a soap opera, but it shows how politicians can screw things up and the military then has to clean up.

I met Heston once. At the premier of Ben Hur in Washington DC. He was coming down a side ramp while my Mom and aunt and I were going up it. Just the four of us. He shook my Moms hand and I thought she would faint. He was a tall guy and patted me on the head. Wrong thing to do. Who did he think he was patting me on the head like I was a little kid.

I was 11 for crying out loud. I swatted his hand away and he smiled and walked away. I did not like that son of a gun until I saw 55 Days on TV a few years later. He played a Marine in the movie and I decided he was not so bad after all. Mr. Heston if you read this, sorry I swatted your hand away.

Steve Eslin
Pvt to 1stLt USMC.

You Connect The Dots

You know, the Marine Corps has been part of my life since before we even knew what the Marine Corps was.

My Father, a Navy yeoman serving in the Pacific, woke up one morning after an evening of celebration to discover that he and his buddies had "volunteered" to serve with the Marines. All these guys in green were around in the morning. Well, he spent time with the Corps transcribing interrogations of Japanese POWs. Surprise! Later, my Dad became a warrant officer in the USCG. We were stationed in New Orleans in the late '50s and early '60s. We lived at the base pool. My brother, all of 9 years old, got on to the swimming team which was coached by Capt. Jim Burke, USMC. We learned real fast that the only thing acceptable, even at that young age was perfection. I can still hear his demands of the team. I have memories of Dad and the Marines in their whites with swords. The women considered them so "Gallant". Years later my older brother enlisted in the Corps in '67 and served several tours in VN and Gitmo. I finished school and was right behind him. I served in the III Wing and at Marine Barracks.

My brother and I were always "oil and water". We fought like h&ll all our lives. He told me if I ever joined the Corps he would kick my %^&&. A couple of years after I was in the Corps it happened that I was home on leave and my Brother was in from VM. I told him to take his best shot. He said, "Never mind, Brother." We were finally BROTHERS

As we got older, Dad moved to DC and was active in the Naval Museum and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Naturally he met some interesting characters. On one visit my brother and I were in Virginia. meeting Dad. We went to a donut shop that he frequented with his friends. One of the guys was a retired Marine Major.

This guy started as a Private and moved on. God, I wish I had video camera with me. He spoke to my brother of some of the "issues" he had with killing in VN. The Major spoke in detail of some his experiences in Iwo Jima and other islands. There were incidents that he recalled the haunted him every day of his life. Having heard them, I recall them also. The excitement of war, the horror of the instantaneous loss of friends. Many of you understand this. Many are lucky that we haven't been there. The major spoke with such clarity and understanding of what sacrifices are made from minute to minute without regard to personal outcomes. Everything is about your team, your shipmate, your subordinate, never about you. Why didn't I record this history?

How many others, like the Major, are forgotten for the day to day heroism they performed as Marines? I suggest thousands. How I wish I had a camera to record the miracle of a Saturday morning

I recently bought new car. First stop is the Marine Recruiter. I told the Gunny that I just bought a new car. "Ah, yeah, the decals are on the table over there"

Come on, we all get decals when we get new cars, right?

There was a group of 5 or 6 young people in the office. I took my decals (the other stuff I had to get from SGT Grit) and told the youngsters to come to the window. I said, "You see that BIG Me