Platoon 36 1st Marine Training Bn., MCRD, San Diego 1/50. I owe everything to the Corps. Using the Korean GI Bill completed my education at LSU, learned to fly, and became an airline pilot for 30 years.
In 1950 I met "Chesty" at Hungnam, while I was with the Marine signal detachment on the USS Mt. McKinley, AGC-'7 I had almost begged my CO to let me go ashore and finally he agreed. When I met "Chesty" on the beach he asked me where in h&ll I came from. I had freshly starched dungarees, etc. I told him where I came from and that I wanted to fight with his troops. He asked me why I came ashore, and I said, "because I'm a Marine"
He smiled and told me to keep up with my outfit. I looked at him and said, "don't worry, can you keep up with me?" He looked at me and said that I'd do well. GOD BLESS CHESTY!
Picture says it all.
Only 3 copies ever made, just made this one for you. I spent my time with 12th and 10th, 155 and 105's.
See The World
Thank you for all of the great letters and stories, especially from the "old timers" from WW11. I joined the Corps in 1940 to "see the world"!
I had planned to make a career of it, but after Iwo, with a disability from wounds received, was not able to stay in. I did get in a lot of travel and experience. 1940-43 sea duty on two cruisers in the Pacific and the Battle of the North Atlantic. Nov. 1942 initial landing at Safi, Morocco, N. Africa. 1943 Marine Parachute School Instructor, Camp Lejeune. 1944-45 training the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton for Iwo and Japan. Never made it to Japan.
Your Newsletter is as exciting to me today as it was the first time I found it. I am sure the great young Marines all are enjoying it too.
Keep up the good work.
C. A. Rea, GySgt USMC
Boot Camp 1940, MCRD
Tried To Make It a Career
Dear Sgt Grit,
Have been reading your news letters from Marines and get a kick out of some of the stories. I went thru Parris Island in 1945 and I think the procedures were a little different then.
I returned to Parris Island in 1953 as a Gunnery Sergeant (E-6) and noticed quite a few changes at that time. We just had a dedication ceremony for the Wounded Warriors wing at the Naval Hospital. Since I volunteer there as a Shuttle Driver I was at hand to transport the visitors from the Parking area to the ceremony. One of my passengers was a Lady Marine who had retired recently from Parris Island and she told me how they now pick up Marine Recruits at their barracks and drive them to sick bay, dentist and other places. Must be getting pretty soft.
I tried to make the Marine Corps a career but they threw me out after only thirty years. Have been retired 34 years now and still miss the Corps. Keep the letters coming!
Landed On His Feet
In response to L/Cpl Ed Iraci letter May 7, 2009
At 17 years old I too was in those barracks, in June 79. Platoon 3039 on the second floor, right in front of the chow hall. They were still threatening us with "Tossing out the trash" in 79'.
While they (the new barracks) were well used by the time I got there, I remember one day when the platoon was drilling out back on the road. Not the grinder by the chow hall (we weren't good enough to be seen by others yet), but in the back where no one could see us but the DI's and the swamp.
Our Sr. DI SSgt. Ebron was watching from "his balcony". The stair well on the 2nd floor landing. Believe it or not we couldn't do anything right that day and while we were catching H*ll from the DI's on the ground, SSGT. Ebron was yelling at us sounding like a voice from above.
Our platoon guide tripped. SR. DI SSGT Ebron went NUTS! He jumped from his balcony on the 2nd floor landing hit the ground (still on his feet), ran over to the guide, ripped the platoon colors from him and gave them to another private. No one could believe he jumped... never even lost his Smokey AND landed on his feet!
I went back to PI last year. Stood on those same yellow footprints I hadn't stood on for 29 years, 11 months, and a few days. I was able to get over to 3rd Battalion's area, (still the best training battalion on the island!) and walk on the same grinder and see my old barracks. I walked around to the back and looked at the landing. I remembered SSGT. Ebron jumping that day almost 30 years earlier. I was still impressed.
No Marine will ever forget his days on Parris Island. Each one of us has at least 1 memory that will be with us forever. Wherever SSGT Ebron went or is, God Bless. I'll never forget you or what you did that day.
David M. Vnenchak
1979 - 1981
Hear A Pin Drop
This is the photograph that I took moments before our exchange.....
Back in 1981, I was a Second Lieutenant at The Basic School, at MCCDEC Quantico, Virginia, when then Brigadier General Twomey addressed my class. The base had a history of not turning on the heat until a certain set date. When the class was asked if there were any questions, I raised my hand (but then, that was typical of me when a General addressed an audience that I was a part of). I said, "General, I know that the heat is not turned on until a certain date, but I am freezing my azs off."
You could hear a pin drop in the room, and idiot classmates of mine tried to tell me that I had to address him as "Sir." I reminded them that I was a MUSTANG and that I knew that any Marine that was a Colonel or above, could be addressed by his / her rank, rather than Sir or Ma'am.
General Twomey responded, "Well, Lieutenant, we can't have you freezing you're azs off, now can we?"
The heat was turned on 48 hours later.
May Lieutenant General D. M. Twomey, Rest - In - Peace.
This is for all of us with short memories. In the spring of 1959 I made the journey to Parris Island South Carolina. There were Yellow Footprints at Yemasee!
On The Island;
1st Battalion ----- Wood Barracks
2nd Battalion ---- Brick Barracks
3d Battalion ----- Quonset Huts
I was assigned to Plt 112 Charlie Co. The reason I can visualize this, is because when Plt. 112 went to the rifle range (3d Batt. area), we bunked in those Quonset Huts, and one of 3d Batt. platoon would bunk in ours.
Also after boot camp and ITR at Camp Geiger, I was sent back to Parris Island where I became a member of the United States Marine Corps Band. So you see I lived on The Island for a while.
James Angelo '59-'65
L/Cpl of Marines
So Much Alike
Just wanted to share a picture with you. As you can see one is from the past and one is from the present. When I put them side by side everyone has commented on how we looked so much alike coming out of boot camp. There is 32 years difference between us. My son Justin is a Cpl. just back from Iraq and preparing to go to Afghanistan soon due to the shortage of Marines to rotate back over. Just wanted to share this and say, "SEMPER FI", to all the fellow Marines out there.
When I went through in '62
1st Bn. was Frontierland
2nd Bn. was Adventureland
3rd Bn. was Fantasyland an obvious reference to the popular Walt Disney Presents TV show of the time.
Service # 1973677
Sr. D.I. S/Sgt. Culbertson
I was a choirboy in St. Brigid's R.C. Church in 1956 when Pvt. D. O'Shea was given a Requiem Funeral Mass. He was one of six recruits drowned in Ribbon Creek punishment march at P.I. His flag draped coffin was borne by six Blues clad Marines and this inspired me to enlist upon my high school graduation.
I am looking for any of these guy's that were in the Motar Squad that I was in in Korea in 1950-51 Group is A CO.,1st. BN.,5TH. MAR - See more photos.
I enjoy reading your news letter and read it from end to end, especially anything to do with my era Marines (1959-1963). A few years ago I got in contact with another Marine on the internet that was stationed on Okinawa with me (1960-1961). That Marine is Tim O'Reilly. After we returned from Okinawa I never saw Tim again (48 years). We have had many recent discussions on the internet on clothing of the day, including Ike jackets, herringbone (sp?), etc. I was issued the old herringbone with the copper USMC buttons. I thought I still had some in my seabag still sitting in storage. Since I'm now 68 years old I'm learning, better get 'er done while I still have a heartbeat. So I dumped out the seabag and much to my disappointment I only had ONE standard green utility shirt. So naturally I tried to put it on over my "disproportionately accented" body and it didn't work. This is a picture of my shirt:
Looking closer at the name tag....
The only utility shirt I have belongs to Tim O'Reilly! After contacting Tim we both cannot imagine how his shirt ended up in my seabag 48 years ago....or why I would have kept it there. Now I have more reason than ever for a get-together this summer. We need to re-hash the "battle" for BC street, life with "Binjo" ditches, the many typhoons getting locked into our quonset huts for 5 days at a time with a mountain of C-rations and canned water (anybody remember the "typhoon 5ths") and of course to give Tim his shirt back that I "borrowed" 48 years ago.
Cpl Ken Schweim
1854977 MOS 2771
Platoon 104 1959 (San Diego)
I was sharing some sea stories with another Marine buddy a few days ago and the subject turned to being on liberty back in the old days (mid-50s) and being WAY out-of-bounds trying to get somewhere better than where we were stationed. For example, being stationed at Camp Lejeune and having liberty from Friday at 1600 to Monday at 0600 clearly would not legally allow you to go to Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston or Buffalo, or for that matter, any destination further than Washington and that was a stretch because there were no Interstates in those days. From Quantico, the liberty limit was Baltimore. Back-roads were often dark, narrow and treacherous. Rarely did you have a weekend when you didn't see fatal accidents and sometimes several of them. Those Marines fortunate enough to have a personal car would take riders to share the trip and contribute to the gas and tolls cost.
I can recall coming to a stoplight somewhere and having all four doors fly open and a quick exchange of drivers take place before the light changed, then accelerating away. Getting all of your riders back to a collection point on Sunday at the appointed time was always a challenge because you didn't want to leave someone behind. It was generally accepted that somehow you had to get back in bounds before turning in sick and you better NOT have any trouble when you were 400 miles or so out of bounds. God forbid the wrath of the First Sergeant upon your return. Many stories, many memories!
A related thought is the subject of base tags on cars. In the mid-50s many bases had metal tags mounted above the front and rear license plates. (There were no universal DoD base decals in those days and every base had their own ID). The metal tags became reflective decals applied to the front and rear bumpers with different colors for officers, enlisted civilian workers, etc. At that point in time Camp Lejeune had gold colored decals for officers with red numbers, enlisted tags were red with gold numbers and they could be seen at a distance especially at night when illuminated by oncoming headlights. It was the standard and very common practice to eyeball any car stopped along the roadside on the way back to base and quickly pull over to assist another Marine who had broken down. (Cars weren't all that mechanically reliable in those days after a long haul, nor were the drivers). If you had "boat space" in your car, you took as many stranded riders with you as possible to minimize the potential disciplinary fallout back at base. I'm sure the same circumstances were in play at all bases on both coasts so this should generate some reflections. By the way, the over-riding issue was to get back alive!
Three War Marine
I would like to share this from the book I'm writing "An Untold Story of a Three War Marine".
It's about my father MGySgt Wilfred P. Zeimet, who fought in Guam, and Okinawa, during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam
Republic of VietNam
MGySgt Wilfred P.Zeimet
H&SCo. 1stTank Bn 1stMarDiv
Albert W. Snell
Col USMC Ret.
Rendered A Snappy Salute
While attending Marine Security Guard School at Henderson Hall in 1969 I had the honor of participating in President Nixon's inauguration parade. The whole MSG class was inter-mingled with the Army, Navy and Air Force at double arm intervals along Pennsylvania Ave.
I hadn't been at parade rest for more than 3 minutes when this gunny tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had been given a break yet. I told him that I had not. I was glad to take a break since it was raining. I went back to the bus with a big grin on my face.
I started b.s.ing with a couple of other Marines that had also been given a break. We sat in that bus for over an hour and still didn't hear from the gunny to relieve someone else.
There was a bar near where the bus was parked so we decided we were getting thirsty. After all, we weren't being missed. After several White Russians we staggered back to the bus.
The bus was gone and so was everyone on Pennsylvania Ave. We hailed a cab and went back to Henderson Hall. All the Marines at the MSG School had been given liberty for the remainder of the weekend. Myself and my two new drinking buddies decided the night was young and we proceeded to the NCO club. In route, we approached a female Major. She was the very first field grade female officer I had seen. I and one of my drinking buddies rendered a snappy salute and she returned the salute. And then she addressed the Marine that failed to salute; "Marine! Do you not know how to render the proper salute to an officer? You will show me the proper respect!" Obviously inebriated and with a very slurred speech the Marine replied, "I have no respect for anyone that has to squat to take a p#%&." I couldn't believe what I had just witnessed. The Major grabbed the Marine by the neck and hauled him away. The Marine was never seen again at the MSG School. It was that incident that put an everlasting reminder to never never never refer to a WM as a BAM. Never never never!
GySgt John D. Foster
RVN 67 & 68
MSG Afghanistan 69-70
Corps Is Still The CORPS
Last Thursday, I decided to take a little trip to Camp Pendleton to see if I could pay a visit to 11th Marines. I had been with 11th Marines in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. I guess I was either a tourist or just an old aged Marine looking back. I wondered if the Marine Corps was as I remembered it or had we been the last of the hardliners.
I want to report that our legacy is very much intact.
I had to ask directions to the 11th Marines area from a Corporal. He was very matter of fact but he was very helpful. The word "Sir" was in each sentence. I arrived at the Headquarters and was asked if I needed help. I explained that I was visiting and he introduced himself as MSgt (I forgot his name) and he walked to the headquarters building with me in tow.
I asked to see the Sgt Maj. I explained that I had been a member of 11th Marines some forty years ago and just wanted to visit. The Corporal there was extremely squared away and explained that the Sgt Maj was doing his PT but would be back at 1300. Once again the speech was matter of fact but also very cordial in a strange way and I felt welcome. The word "SIR" was prominent in his speech. I decided to get some food while waiting for the Sgt Maj. As I walked to the PX, I did notice one item that was universal. As I passed each Marine I noticed that each looked directly into my eyes and said "Good Morning Sir" in a strong voice. In my home state, one will pass you and ignore you, look down, avoid, whatever.
Inside the PX I had a young woman Marine say I could go ahead of her because I only had one item. I said thank you and her reply was: "Not a problem sir!". Her voice had that command presence that let me know she was respectful but I knew in the back of my head.......she could hurt me.
I did get a chance to visit with the Sgt Maj for about a half hour. He was cordial, kind, respectful, and very accommodating. He was extremely squared away and one could tell without a doubt that he was in fact....in charge. He even showed me a picture of our Colonel from 1970.
All in all, our Corps is in good hands. The traditions, actions, demeanor of the young Marines, both Male and Female, is exemplary. The Marines of 11th Marines are outstanding and I am proud of them and I know that the Corps is still the CORPS. SSgt DJ Huntsinger. 1968-75
The original BAM. When I enlisted in 1968, my parents got an AKC reg. BULLDOG female puppy. My dad said that the puppy was being named in honor of me. So when I left for P.I. I owned the ORIGINAL BAM and REGISTERED B'H.. She became the mascot for Series 8. 1968. I have been told that her photo still hangs in WM TNG Bat. MCRD PI the caption reads:
The only "BAM" ; in the CORPS! So WM'H and us girls are MARINES just MARINES, WOMAN MARINES.
Mary Hatton Black plt 8B amd plt 9B, 1968.
I Can Now Call Myself
In the Sgt.Grit newsletter, of 7 May 2009, short piece by Paul Martell about the fouled anchor got me to looking in my stuff box from the Corps. Some of the things I remember, Dress Shoes were Ox Blood or Cordovan in color. No boots they were Boon Dockers just to the ankle, then canvas leggings that laced up in side, they were not polished.
In my stuff box have one dark bronze hat device, not black. Have a bronze device that does not have the rope on the anchor, (pix attached) for the Dress Blues. Also the last set of Dog Tags, P-38 can opener, a dark bronze tie bar, several awards, such as expert rifleman, sharpshooter pistol-the old 45 cal. Utilities was light green with a herringbone pattern And a few medals, nothing big just what everyone in that era had. Also the rank of Gunny Sgt. today was Technical Sgt. No Soc Number, had Service Number. PISC boot camp we lived in tents - can't remember if five or six men per tent. SDI then was Sgt. John M Morse, JDI was Ralph L Lorenzo. I guess I can now call myself Old Corps ???
I read with interest Capt. Dick Thompson's story about the 1964 joint Spanish and Marine exercise in Spain and how the Spanish supplied them with cognac at night.
It made me think about a cold winter in 1963 when I was first stationed at Beaufort, S.C. Before I was a assigned to a squadron there, we were bused to Charleston and put up in tents next to the Navy docks. Our assignment was to load the troop ships that Capt. Thompson and his fellow Marines left on for their joint exercise with the Spanish.
That winter it was exceptionally cold and I remember living in those tents during the snow storms that came daily you can't imagine how cold it was at night living in those tents with no heaters. How we didn't all get frostbite, I will never know. We stayed in those tents for 10 days while all of the ships were loaded and pulled guard duty each night as well. I was never so happy to return to Beaufort as I was after pulling that detail.
I just wish someone would have given us poor souls some cognac on those cold nights in our tents.
Sgt. USMC 63-67
Here's some picture from Platoon 395 at PI circa 1964. Thank You Sgt. Morgan, Corporal Viola, and Corporal French. I hope you guys are well and still with us. Also my Dress Blues picture and one at ITR at Camp Geiger.
"Death before Dishonor"
Can't tell you how much fun it is to read the different stories from guys, and women, who served from world war two on up the line. Reading these stories triggers memories. Whether you went through MCRD San Diego or Parris Island the stories have the same commonalities.....pain, ordeal, suffering, pride.
We can laugh at these experiences today but they sure weren't funny then, not when we were living them. Doing push ups on your knuckles on "the grinder" or "marching" on your knuckles, in the push-up position, on "the grinder" while holding your M-14 rifle was just one of many ways to punish a platoon for a perceived failure.
I went through in 1964 with platoon 150, 1st battalion. I can remember our drill instructors telling us that 1st Bn. was the toughest battalion at MCRD, San Diego, that 2nd and 3rd battalions were sissies. Of course the truth was that all three battalions trained the very same way, all suffered equally, and regularly.....there was no difference. I would bet my last dollar that 2nd and 3rd battalions were told the very same thing about the other battalions that we were told. It was done to instill pride. You can be sure that a "fist sandwich" tasted the same in 2nd battalion as it did in 1st or 3rd battalion and I am certain that the PT was just as punishing no matter what battalion you were in.
The same applies to whether you went through MCRD San Diego or "The Island", its all the same. Back in "64" your senior drill instructor was called the "Platoon Commander". Mine was Sgt. Broadhead..... toughest Marine I ever knew. He scared the h&ll out of me. He only hit me one time while I was there, a "gut punch" that all but broke me in half. Jack Dempsey would have been proud of that shot. Sgt. Seinz slapped me so hard I saw stars and my head went numb....Cpl. Hawkins punched me in the face on multiple occasions and beat me with a metal dust pan. These things, along with having to do push ups until guys cried out that they couldn't do anymore, only to have to do even more, are things I would not trade for anything, because they were all part of the process of making me, and all you guys, Marines.
I don't know what happened to my Platoon Commander, or Sgt. Seinz, or Cpl. Hawkins, but I wish to thank them for what they did, for slapping the cheap civilian c**p out of me and making me a Marine. There is an evolution that takes place while you are in boot camp. It seems to take place in phases. 1st you fear, and I mean fear, your Drill Instructors, then you hate them on top of fearing them.....then at some point you come to respect them. You respect them because you realize that they have already been through what you are going through, and they are making you into what they are. It's strange how this respect works. You can curse them, under your breath, while they torture and torment you with various and hideous methods of PT but if an outsider, someone outside of your platoon, were to do the same you would deck the s.o.b. for disrespecting your Drill Instructor. For you former Drill Instructors out there....God bless all of you. By the way, for Sgt. Broadhead, where ever you are......if I were to see you today the 1st and last word out of my garbage trap would still be "Sir!"
Sgt. USMC....Semper Fi.
Oh Holy Night
This issue had a few things to say about our women Marines. We called them "Bam's" but, if asked to explain, the interpretation was "Beautiful American Marines" or whatever interpretation of "A" that was appropriate to the occasion. I was stationed at Cherry Point, NC in "57 & '58 and the BAM's had to pass our barracks to get to their club. The only way to gain access to that club was to be escorted by one of our Beautiful American Marines. Needless to say, we'd be hanging out the door looking for an escort. I can happily say that I enjoyed several good times and good friendships with the good looking female side of our Corps. I'll never forget, amongst other memories, the best rendition of "Oh Holy Night" sung by one of our BAM's that I've ever heard.
Cpl. P Jessup MACS 6, CPNC "55-"58
It was great to see someone that was involved in the 150 mile hike. I was in HQ CO 1st BN 5th Mar flame section, when we arrived at Pendleton we staged behind the naval hospital and put on clean utilities and marched up the hill to our barracks. We had a BN formation, pay call and a 96 hour liberty. I too still have my certificate The Boondocker Supreme..
SGT L.D. GARRETT
For Ken Copes
Perhaps it was the USS Blue Ridge AGG-19, (now designated LCC-19) probably not an LPH (helo & Harrier amphib)
a very good "amphib" and a great control ship!
Mustang Major of Marines
Fallout In Scivvies
I hit Parris Island 2 Jan. '57 also a 17-year-old. We arrived just prior to the fallout from the investigation of the 4 Marine recruits that died from drowning in Nov. '56.
My 53-year recollection of the incident was that a Staff Sergeant McKean after a night of drinking, rousted his platoon out like at 1 a.m. They had to have been at the rifle range which made the recruits deep into training (8-9) weeks, to be at the range. We were told that S/ Sgt. McKean marched them behind Baker Range into the swamp which we were told was about 4-feet deep -- dark night, murkey cold swamp water up to your chest, visions of snakes and other creatures lurking in the water. And, I'm sure, S/Sgt. screaming at them. Four recruits in a group panicked, got cut off from the main body of recruits and ended up drowning.
The news media was informed S/Sgt. was busted to private, three months in the brig and forfeiture of 3 month's pay.
We were Platoon #5 and had a senior DI and 3 junior DIs. One of our junior DIs was a sadistic SOB and our life was short of h&ll, until all four DIs were relieved of duty and we got 4 new ones. Life was a little better.
There were all kinds of Brass and politicians all over the Island putting on a good show over the drowning incident. Part of the fallout was every morning we had to fallout in scivies and some Lt. would give us a "head and knuckle" inspection to see if we were being abused. Duh! He should have checked the calves of our legs for boot prints and our sides for kidney punches.
All aside, it was a great experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Incidentally, when we arrived at Camp Lejeune, (Camp Geiger) for our advanced combat and ITR training, scuttlebutt had it that S./Sgt. McKean was actually busted to buck sergeant and shipped up to Lejeune. The Marines take care of their own.
Ron Stone, Cpl. USMC.
Semper Fi brother.... I was actually an air controller, but attached to the 7th Marines at LZ Baldy Aug-Dec '69. As I recall, the 11th Marines were there then... my mind is mush anymore, so maybe I'm wrong. I asked for and got a high speed low pass by 2 F-4's after y'all fired a 175 mm round over our hooch and forgot to tell us to get out. It was fun watching y'all "hit the deck"....... Coincidently, my son is an artillery Captain now stationed at Camp Lejeune. Anyway, I've shopped with y'all several times and am happy to give support to a fellow leatherneck. Semper Fi.
I Still Have
While reading the Newsletter dated 7 May I came across a name I have not heard of in many a year. It was STEEL PIKE of which I participated in while I was a Steward Cook (3611) with the CG Mess back in 1964 while at 2nd MARDIV. If memory serves me right, it was from Sept to end of Nov and it was in Spain as Capt. Dick Thompson stated in his letter...
Best I can remember, we made the landing and set up the CG Field Mess tent and that was all we did other than sit around and shoot the breeze. We never had any Mess gear to set up nor food to cook and needless to say neither did we see the CG or his staff while in the field. For us it was an overnight stay and then back to the ship the next day. I do remember that we slept in the tent and during the night we were awaken by a blood curdling scream from one of our member cooks. The scream made the hair raise up on the back of my neck. When we got up to investigate, it was Cpl White having a dream that snakes were attacking him. Of course we razzed him rest of night and all next day about his snakes.
Liberty was great as we had 4 days unscheduled in Rota and then on to our scheduled stops in Bilbao, Spain for 4 days and then thru the English Channel, with it's 30 foot swells, into Breast, France for another 4 days liberty.
We were at sea during Thanksgiving and the OFFICER'S MESS had a program printed with the menu and troops names on it. I was a L/Cpl but it was printed in the menu as LCDR. I still have that program in archives. We arrived back at Camp Lejeune a few days after Thanksgiving.
Thanks Capt Thompson for the memories. Keep up the great work Sgt Grit.
MGySgt Ret'd Billy J. Russell
A Few Driving Lessons
It was a real hoot to hear from someone who had been in the 2nd 155 Gun Btry(SP).
I entered the Marines in 52 and had bounced around half the world with a tour of Embassy Duty in Rome and London. I was in Rome during the Trieste Crisis and served under Claire Booth Luce. Some enterprising young man in Albany, Ga. discovered that I had not been in the FMF and off I went to Camp Lejeune. My buddy was at the control center and headed me for the 155 Guns since we could use the Women Marine Club. I was the Supply Chief and nagged my Supply Lt./Btry Commander to take me out on a gun. They gave me a few driving lessons and off we went. First lesson is to keep your head inside the turret.
I was then tapped for the Nuclear Ordnance Supply School as I already had the clearances. Then on to Embarkation School and that Captain Thompson is how all that Equipment and Supplies moved so well. I was on one Honest John Exercise and saw many Broken Arrow exercises before I departed the Corps. There is a photo display of my exploits in the Corps on Display on the Wall of Fame in the Rush Limbaugh Airport in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
William J. Burgener Sgt. E-5 USMC (NO LOAD)
Having done two tours in Nam, I can also vouch for Corpsman. When the screams and hollering are heard of "Corpsman Up" you know sh*t hit the fan. Yet here he comes. Down in our area there is this Navy person that says she was a corpsman in Vietnam. Has anyone heard of any female corpsman in Nam. I sure haven't. And I cannot say anything of today's modern Marine Corps, whether female corpsman are now in combat zones.
Much More Visible
As we age our memories grow a little dim. Although I do not doubt Mr. Ramey underwent boot camp at PI (in 1957 he said), I DO know that it was not "two weeks" after the recruits drowned at Ribbon Creek. That event occurred in April 1956 (see "Court Martial at Parris Island - The Ribbon Creek Incident" by Judge John Stevens). I underwent boot camp with Platoon 86, First Battalion, there between July 22 and October 12, 1955 BEFORE the Ribbon Creek fiasco. Indeed there were some sadistic DI's on post, but they were the exception rather than the rule. I know this because a good friend of mine served as a DI just after SSgt. McKeown's mistake and as a result all DI's were under very tight scrutiny at that time. Maybe Ramey did get "decked", but his DI put his career on the line if he did it. At that time, physical abuse, if caught, would remove you from duty.
Officers were much more visible after Ribbon Creek. While we were there, we never knew who our Company Commander, First Sergeant or Battalion CO was. We found out when we saw their pictures in our Platoon book.
Judge Steven's book will give those interested a factual picture of the events of that awful night on Ribbon Creek as they were introduced in the court martial itself.
PI Plt. 86 - 1955
Five More Minutes
January 1958, "Day One", was complete madness.
I did not know anyone else, as most of the other newbies were from New York. We were all completely lost. One guy, quiet, tall, came to me and told me he didn't know anyone, and asked if we could be friends.
We received various confusing instructions, then held our first field day. The craziness continued.
There was some additional advice prior to lights out. We were warned to be standing tall at the end of our rack, when the light switch went click. Eventually, we were allowed to hit the sack. My new friend took the top bunk.
At exactly O-dark-thirty, a Gawd awful noise erupted. There were the usual profane greetings, which we learned to expect on a daily basis. As instructed, we were all standing tall at the foot of our racks.
All except for my new 'friend'.
Unfortunately, he looked over his shoulder, pulled the covers up and said, "Five more minutes".
SSGT Reggie Embry, the senior DI, let out a roar, "FIVE MORE MINUTES....... I'll Give You FIVE MORE MINUTES."
In half a heartbeat, he had the entire rack tipped over. My 'friend' was trapped in a tangle of sheets, blankets, and rack, under the mattress. SSGT Embry was doing "The DI Shuffle" on top of my friend. I could hear muffled cries for help, and pleas for God from this pile of cloth, and arms and legs.
I was so intent on trying to follow his fancy foot work, I backed my rear end into the radiator, branding myself for life. My wife often asks me how I got those scars.
Eventually, my friend gets up, turns to me and asks, "What the H#ll happened"? He was always the first one up after that morning.
J Cooke, SGT
Plt 211, PISC, Jan 1958
1957 Asian Flu Pandemic
I was one of the casualties of the 1957 Asian Flu pandemic. Now, 52 years later, I can still remember it.
We had completed Boot Camp in SD and were taken up to Pendleton in the "cattle cars". I ended up in Camp San Onofre for ITR.
The flu hit about November....and it hit Camp San Onofre really hard. Being out of the mainstream, we didn't know the extent of the pandemic. All we knew is that we were sick. So what we had were Marines in top physical condition, including myself, that could hardly move. Each day we would go to Sick Bay and get in line to get a shot or some APC's from a Corpsman. Instead of standing, we were so sick that we laid on the ground in a line. When it was our turn to go inside, we would get up and stagger inside. About 60% of the population at our camp was sick. To this day, I don't think whatever they gave us helped. After several days, we started recovering.
As a result of being sick, many of us missed some of the training. For instance, I missed grenade tossing. After that, we had to get annual flu shots. I remember the first one because it was kind of funny. We would go to Sick Bay and line up outside with shirts off. Then we would march into the front door and out the back door. As we walked through, two Corpsman; one on each side standing up on little boxes would toss a syringe into our shoulder blade....hurt like h&ll! Each Corpsman had several assistants who were preparing the syringes and handing them to the tossing Corpsmen.
What I regret most is missing the grenade tossing.
Jim Starkovich; Cpl.; VMO-1; 57-60
Sgt Grit, I'm having a hard time remembering the name of the troop ship that left from San Diego in February 1966. It was a converted ship that ended up going from the USA to Viet Nam. I was in San Diego last month visiting my stepdaughter and she was showing me the waterfront . As we walked down by the restaurants on the water we passed the carrier the Midway. Just before we got there we passed a dock that brought shivers to my spine. I knew at that moment that I was there before. It's been a long time ( 43 ) years but I know for sure that this was the place of disembarkation. We trained for 30 days in Pendleton and then put on a ship for Nam. When your 20 years old, you really don't pay too much attention ship names, dates, etc. This ship took us to Hawaii first to pick up 500 army personal and then to Da Nang. We transferred off the troop ship to a small LST and ended up in Chu Lai.
To get back to the main reason I'm writing is, does any of your readers remember the name of that ship that left San Diego on approx Feb 26ish 1966?
Thanks for your help Semper Fi, Botch Fox Co 2nd Bn 7th Marines
Brad and/or Linda Hutchenrider
Female Marine Enlisted With Three Sisters in WWII
U.S. Marine Corps file photo, 1943 Delphine Biaggi Baeta, left, and her sisters Flora, Muriel and Ida, standing left to right, listen as a platoon sergeant points out the parts of a Browning
Obituary: Female Marine enlisted with three sisters in WWII
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Delphine Biaggi Baeta, a 22-year Marine veteran who caused a patriotic sensation with three of her sisters when they joined the Corps together during World War II, died Friday at age 90.
She died at her Sacramento home after a lengthy illness, said her husband, John.
The Biaggi sisters - Delphine, Flora, Ida and Muriel - made headlines when they enlisted together at a Sacramento Marine recruiting station in 1943. They were believed to be the first group of that many sisters to join a service branch, and a special swearing-in ceremony for them at Memorial Auditorium drew national news coverage.
"Flora went down to join first, but they told her she was too short," John Baeta said.
"Then they said, 'If you can get your sisters to enlist too, we'll accept you.' She talked to her sisters, and they didn't even hesitate. Their mom and dad were so proud of them."
The Biaggi sisters appeared together in promotional ads for the Marine Corps Women's Reserve. They went through basic training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and were stationed at Camp Pendleton until released from service when the war ended in 1945.
An independent woman who enjoyed the camaraderie among Marine women, Delphine Biaggi re-enlisted for active duty in 1948. She served in Marine posts worldwide, including assignments in Washington, San Diego, Santa Ana and with NATO in Paris. She retired as a sergeant first class in 1968.
Delphine "Del" Biaggi was born in 1918 in Gardnerville, Nev., into a family of five girls and two boys. Reared on a dairy farm by Swiss immigrants John and Lena Biaggi, the daughters moved to Sacramento before the war.
The Marine sisters took different paths after the war. Flora Biaggi re-enlisted before dying in an automobile crash in 1945. Ida Biaggi married and reared a family.
Delphine Biaggi served as maid of honor at her sister Muriel's 1948 wedding to John Baeta, a longtime family friend. After retiring from the Marines, Delphine Biaggi moved in with the couple to help care for her sister, who had multiple sclerosis and died in 1973. Delphine Biaggi and John Baeta married in 1975.
"I joked that she was getting a retread," John Baeta said, "but she looked at it as getting a younger husband."
Mrs. Baeta was active with her husband, an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II, in Marine and Air Force reunions. She was treasurer and past president of Women's Marines Association Chapter CA4 and belonged to the Veterans Affiliated Council and Disabled American Veterans.
Although proud of her service, she downplayed her brush with fame from her initial enlistment during war.
"She didn't like the publicity," her husband said. "But it was really something that she went back and served in the Marines for so long."
Started With License Plate Frame
Here are some pics of a bike that I put together over the winter. It started out with a license plate frame. Some Semper Fi emblems and just took off from there. Any who I thought you might like to see it. I am a retired 22 yr Gunny. I still have the chip in the back of my head.
Muchael Munoz, GySgt, Ret.
To Capt. Tom Downey, April 23rd newsletter, I was at Camp Elmore from around May 1, 1969 to July 15, 1969 (my end of active service). I was a motor pool 3531 truck driver stationed there after my tour in Nam. I used to drive convoys to Ft Eustis and other bases. I don't recall the PX, but I do remember the track just outside the gate, pulling overnights as the duty driver and swoops home to Long Island.
C. "Skip" Seyer
Hey Devil Dog,
Just wanted to share a pic of my bike. The paint was finished yesterday. It's a 2006 Suzuki Katana 750. Enjoy!
Note: I know there are a lot of bike riders out there. Send me your pics with special interest in the Marine enhancements you have added.
This is my USMC tattoo. 16 of the best years of my life...Semper Fi to all Marines....
OOH-RAH... GYSGT C. Bibbler Jr
.. Marines on Eniwetok from the Marine Corps archives
As I Watched
As I waited in my truck to enter Barksdale AFB, an Airman 1st Class came out of the building between the entrance and exit lanes. As he was putting his arm through the sling to sling arms, he dropped the M 16 on the concrete pavement. He picked it up repositioned the sling and dropped it again. As I sat waiting I tried to remember the last time I had seen a Marine drop his rifle without being hit or deathly ill.
It would have had to been the last week of May, 1965. My 1st week at Parris Island. A recruit dropped his M 14 and did side straddle hops till he puked. I, to this day don't think he remembered puking. The DI's were all over him.
As I watched this Airman, I realized he didn't have a clue.
Sgt. Walter E. Seneff
Cuba 65-67 Viet Nam 67-69
Having Flown AH-1
Enjoyed your newsletter of 14 May. Noticed toward the end a note from one of your readers about receiving a scale AH-1G model, and a picture of the model. Having flown AH-1 Cobras for a number of years, AH-1G/J/R/S&T, I would opine that the model is an AH-1J. The Corps got G models (single engine) from the Army when enough J models (dual engine) could not be built to fill both Army and Corps needs in roughly 69/70. G's were used in South Viet Nam by the Corps, while the J's floated off the North and were used for water borne logistics interdiction.
Additionally, most all G models had a 7.62 mini gun and a 40mm blooper in the turret, though occasionally they could be configured with two 7.62 or two bloopers. I never saw a 20 mm, the standard on the J, on a Marine Corps G, though there might have been some and the Army played with 20s on the Gs before putting them on later models.
If you look at the rear of the engine compartment and there are two exhaust stacks, you have a J model. Nice looking model and great newsletter.
Keep up the good work,
Lynn L. Boyer III
It Was O' Dark Thirty
A Warm Hello and Greetings from Hobe Sound Florida! It's always good to be home after a great road trip!
It was O' Dark Thirty when I wheeled out my Harley Fat Boy and headed to the Cumberland Farms Store where I was to meet Gunner. Our timing was good and we both headed North on I-95 to the rest area in Port St. Lucie where we hooked up with the rest of our Treasure Coast Chapter of Leatherneck's M/C. Some rode from as far South as Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Boca Raton & West Palm Beach. There was Blue our President, Popeye our Sgt of Arms, Budda, Skip, Houdini, Gunnz, Gunner, some others and myself. Now we were a number of cycles in a safe staggered formation as we hammered our way up the super slab. We made several stops to meet up with other Leatherneck's still further North. From my position near the back of the formation I could see everyone and counted tail lights after each stop to insure we left no man behind. I could not help but notice Blue up front there in the lead with his white pony tail waving in 80 MPH breeze. A good Marine who did far more