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I have found an organization that unites veterans and their families and provides support for those in need. Members receive great benefits.
Check them out and become a member, I did.
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Red Friday Shirt

I served in the Marine Corps from 1958-1961. My platoon at Parris Island, 2011 graduated in December and attended ITR at Lejeune. I remained at Lejeune in K-3-8, 2nd Division. Until a year ago I lost contact with all the platoon members.

I have had contact now with a few and recently got an email from one member whom I had not seen since 1959. He stayed in the Corps in Recon. In Viet Nam he was wounded and ended up in a wheelchair for life.

When I read his email I felt sorry for him but immediately he informed me that he had a good life, a business and a family. I sent him a reply stating that he is a hero to me. I recall how these men and women were treated when they came home. I hope to got to see him and shake his hand after fifty years.

Semper Fi Jim McCuen Dublin, CA

In This Issue
There is an outstanding patriotic song posted on my blog, the name is 'I Fought For You'. It really is inspiring. There is also a glossary of terms used in Vietnam on the blog.

A very nice story about "One of Sgt. Taliano's Marines". Towards the end a couple goodies "little green men' and 'told to squat'. And of course the always popular 'Green Grabastic Amphibian Sh-t'. Korean Marines always make for a good story. I am accused of being too Marine.

Don't forget to visit the Sgt Grit Facebook page fun and going strong.

Far winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit Blog  Sgt Grit Facebook

Started Getting Tattoos
Four Marine tattoos A few months ago some of the Marines of the Marine Corps League, River Cities Det. in Southern Indiana start getting tattoos. None of them did this while on active duty. These 4 guys range from 43 to 66.

Semper Fi
Paula Landers
Marine Wife and Mother

"We live in the land of the free, only because of the brave. God Bless American and All Those Who Served.

One Of My Favorites
Sgt Lamb's upper arm tattoo Hi,
I just wanted to drop you guys a line and send you a pic of my moto tattoo. I got this almost eight years ago, right after I graduated boot camp in 2003. After more than a dozen other tattoos since then, this is still one of my favorites.

Sgt. Douglas A Lamb

My daughter has been in Cairo, Egypt (not to far from Bum__ck, Egypt) for about 6 months. She sent me this story.
Sgt Grit



I thought you should know. JD and I went to a local expat pub to watch USA compete against Algeria in world cup soccer. It was a really exciting match that we won with seconds to spare. While there, we spotted a very austere*, older gentleman with one of your t-shirts on. It was one of the quote shirts. Anyway, I thought you should know, you're keeping Marine spirits up, even in Cairo!

Love and see you soon,

-- Meg

* I had to look it up too. I guess her college education is working. Here is the short dictionary version: harsh, severe, stern and forbidding in appearance and manner

My Marine My Hero Shirt

Fire for Effect: ROK Marines - Back to top

Korean Marines
I am a Chosin Marine and had the honor to fight alongside the Korean Marines in 1950-1951. They were terrors and the Chinese didn't like to see them coming. While we were mostly put side by side on the MLR, we American Marines had lights out, smoking lamp off. The Korean Marines sat around camp fires singing audi-dong. Every once in a while one of the would get up and fire a 30 caliber machine gun towards the Chinese. I guess for effect.

One other thing our superiors learned was to not tell the Korean Marines when we were jumping off. If we told them 5 AM, they would jump off at 4:30 AM to beat us. Of course they woke the Chinese up and the element of surprise was gone. It made it hairy for the U.S. Marines. So we kept our jump off time secret or told them 5:30 and we jumped off at 5 AM. But in all, the Korean Marines I served with were h&ll on wheels.

Bill Sherwood Machine Gunner Wpns. Co. 1st Batt. 7th Marines. 1st Mar. Div

Note: I never served with them, but some of my buddies did in Vietnam. 11th Marines supplied a liaison radio operator. Everyone that went wanted to go back for more. I know they did not have to abide by the Geneva Convention rules and the AO was a moonscape. They cleared everything, nowhere for Charlie to hide.

I was on a remote mountain OP helping out with some comm problems. One side of the mountain was USA Marines the other side Korean Marines. One side jungle/forest with pock marks from air and artillery; the other side looked like a desert.
Sgt Grit

Nobody Knew What To Do
Favorite stories. Arrived PI 14 Dec 62. All MARINES are mentally ill by definition, as no sane person would volunteer to put himself through all this, but PLT 191 was obviously full of nut cases. Who would volunteer to go to PI 11 days before Christmas?

PI food was very good then. Outstanding meal Christmas Day. We all stuffed ourselves with pies, cakes, etc. About half the platoon violated the cardinal rule, i.e., You Will Be outside when I get outside! Back to squad bay. The late ones did 227 side straddle hops, while those who were on time watched. All that delicious food was thrown up all over the deck. The formerly stuffed full recruits spent several hours cleaning up the vomit.

Then the JDI, Sgt. C.L. Bryant, the only unmarried Drill Instructor, who had taken the duty on Christmas Day, marched us over to watch a movie as a Christmas treat. As we stood in line, he gave the command Rest! Nobody knew what to do. He said It is a Christmas present, move around, scratch you're a-s, etc. By the way, I see people using the term "DI" all the time on this site. We would have been severely punished for using ANY term other than "Drill Instructor."


Proudest Day and The Ball
Erickson's platoon Been looking for this for a long time, finally found it. To you have any older than this? My proudest day was when I was handed my Eagle, Globe and Anchor. Now for the Old Corps we used to say, there's the old Corps, the new Corps, and this S.O.B. A Marine isn't happy if he ain't BI$#%&N. Hope some one out there is still alive and sees themselves in the photo...

Erickson and fellow Marines at a birthday ball These are photos of the Marine ball 1952 at the EM club in Sasebo Japan, then known as Navy 3912 Fleet landing.


More 1952 Birthday Ball Photos

Fire for Effect: Drill Instructor Archives - Back to top

Old Marine Recruiting PamphletRecruiting Poster
Sgt Grit

My drill instructor from 1962, Al Loreth sent this old Marine Recruiting Pamphlet to me.

Dale Landon 2008036

What's Yours?
I shipped out for M.C.R.D.,San Diego from Indianapolis Indiana, November 1969. I jumped off of the bus and stood on the yellow footprints for what seemed like a week.

Then a D.I. about 5 feet tall walked up to the guy next to me and said "My name is Sgt Stone and I'm tougher than my name. What's yours sweetheart?"
The young recruit answered "Billings, Sir"
"Well Billings, I've got my eyes on you", screamed the D.I.

He then walked 2 rows behind me and looked straight into the navel of a huge recruit and screamed "My name is Sgt Stone and I'm tougher than my name. What's yours maggot?"
"Mullrooney, Sir" answered the recruit.
"Mullrooney don't think your size is gonna help you...I'll break you in half if you p-ss me off!"

Then suddenly the D.I. ran at full speed and stopped facing the last guy in my row. He was a scrawny kid 4'5'' tall and 100 pounds. The D.I. pulled his Smokey bear hat back exposing his full angry face ""My name is Sgt Stone and I'm tougher than my name. What's yours weezel?
The young recruit trembled and spoke not a word...
"Maybe you didn't hear me worm"... I SAID "My name is Sgt Stone and I'm tougher than my name. What's yours?"
The recruit began to twitch, sweat popped out on his brow, his face was a bright red. "My name is Sgt Stone and I'm tougher than my name. What's yours?"
Finally the recruit squeaked "Stonebreaker...SIR..."

Aye Aye, Sir
Sgt Grit,

I have a funny story from my time at PI in response to Daniel Womack's suggestion in the 17 Jun 10 newsletter that we share our funniest experiences in the Corps. I was in Co F, 2nd Bn and our DI's, though they "encouraged" recruits to respond quickly, sharply, and loudly, absolutely HATED when "nasties" would shorten "Aye Aye, sir!" down to "Aye'ss!" (sounds like "ice").

We were on grass week in July 2001 and had just gotten back in the squad bay from a nice day of sun 'n' sand. After a while of being on line, our DI "asked" one of the recruits to do something, to which the recruit responded, "Aye'ss!" Here is a transcript of the dialogue that occurred next:

DI: "ICE? What the h*ll is ICE?"
Recruit: "Uhh, something cold, sir?"
Platoon: [insert muffled laughter]

Of course, we were then "invited" back out to the sand pit for another hour or so of fun and games! After that, ice was no longer just "something cold," it was something we all had on our if only list.

Semper Fi,

A. T. Sexton, LCpl USMC
Plt 2069, Co F, 2nd Bn, MCRD PI

One of Sgt. Taliano's Marines
Beyond his celebrity as the "Rose Garden Marine" it should be known Chuck Taliano was also what every drill instructor should be. I had the privilege of being one of his Marines. It was obvious when graduating Boot Camp his instruction was what got us where we were. It carried me through the Nam and has stayed with me my entire life.

I had the good fortune of being reunited with him Jan 04 while visiting PI for the first time since 1967. In the following years we had been in contact up to his death. During my last visit we talked about the platoon but I don't think he really could put a face on me until I related this story:

We were on the Confidence Course and just as I left the platform for the "Slide for Life" I noticed Navy and Marine Corps brass (Chuck later told me it was a visit by the Secretary of the Navy). A 1st Sgt. stepped forward and ordered me to attention. Since it was a sizeable fall into the swamp water (this is before there were nets) I tried to straddle the line. He then bellowed "You know what I want!". I gave them their photo-op and hit the muck like a rocket, still at attention. It felt like a minute until I could free myself, in mud up to my knees and head underwater. As I was double-timing to the next obstacle Sgt. Taliano spied me in my sorry state and commenced to tear me a new one.

An officer from the visiting party called him aside and explained the reason for my appearance. He rigidly saluted the officer and when out of earshot, re-commenced to tear me a new one while demanding to know why I was on that obstacle precisely at the time they wanted a picture. After I finished my story he clearly remembered me.

To my mentor and friend - Semper Fidelis

Rod Bieber
Platoon 2052

Fire for Effect: Short Rounds - Back to top

Short Rounds
Mike West, DI PISC 3rd Bat. SSGT USMC.
Wanted to see if any of my Marines still remember me? The years were 1972-74. I did my best to make things bad...
SSGT M. West, Tampa Florida

Sgt. Grit:

Pls pass this to Syngdong Hahn, Lt ROKMC 1980-83, who wrote below. I am surprised he did not mention the ROK Marines and Black Horse in Vietnam. It was said by Viets I knew that a virg-n could walk carrying a bag of gold at midnight from one end of their TAOR to the other unharmed. That was a true tribute the ROK Marines in Vietnam.



Alive by Jeffrey Rosener:

I want to thank you for this poem on this week's news letter. I look forward each week for these emails and forever appreciate them.

Cpl M Lake USMC 1970 - 1972.

Good stories, as well as great gear, Sgt. Grit.
Thank You.

Bemoan The Fact
Why the USMC has a special place in my heart of hearts...

In Oct 1956, on my 17th Birthday I quit Herbert Hoover High School, Glendale Cal and went to the main recruiting office in LA with my mind being set on becoming a United States Marine. Not 'scared off' by Sgt McKeon and Ribbon Creek, my mind was made up.

Upon arriving at the office the Marine Recruiter was not in and this kind, grandfatherly Navy Chief offered me a cup of coffee, chatted with me, learned my intentions and decided he was going to help me enlist in the USMC. "Here, son, why don't you take this test, it is the standard recruitment test and we will get it out of the way", well it seems I did well enough on the exam that he offered me CT (Communications Technician) School if I signed with him. Seeing as I probably would have signed with the French Foreign Legion at that point, and reassured the Marine wouldn't be back and this was a 'one shot deal', I signed on the dotted line.

Well, on Armistice (Veterans) Day Sunday, at halftime of the LA Ram/SF 49er game, in front of thousands of screaming fans at the LA Coliseum, I and 100 or so of my closest 'new' friends were sworn into the US NAVY.

As a consolation for my MC efforts, my OFFICIAL signing day was 10NOV56, which anyone reading this column knows is the birthday of the USMC....and I did get to look over the fence at NTC San Diego and bemoan the fact that I could have been over 'there' with a gunny breathing down my skinny neck....

George R. O'Connell
RM2 USN 1956-64 an 'old GATOR' sailor and proud of it.
USS Henrico (APA-45) 1957-60
USS Terrell County (LST-1157) 1960-62

Fire for Effect: General Krulak - Back to top

Green Grabastic Amphibian Sh-t
Just got my "Herring Bone Utilities" in the mail from this outfit in Ca.(heaven bless them).
Never thought it could happen; I'd like to be buried in them.

I truly feel like "a piece of green grabastic amphibian sh-t" to quote R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket).

"Dah dah dit di dah di dah di di dit... Good evening Mister and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea; this is Walter Winchell; let's go to press : Hollywood; Val Kilmer takes center stage among all those third column traitorous scumbag's in La La land who referred to our beautiful American Fighting personnel as "murderers".

May he fall through his as-hole and break his f--king neck.

U.S.M.C. ret'd serv.# 1973677

P.S. I recall that Marines (unlike Army) never go covered or salute indoors, unless under arms, however, I stood the I.G. with 4th Marines in K Bay in' 63 or' 64 by Lieut. Gen. Victor (Brute) Krulak.
We were grilled by N.C.O.'s to not dare glance down at the General as he stood before you ; so my running light's were locked in forward position; but I swear I can remember seeing those three silver stars on his p-sscutter. Am I falling prey to senility or is my memory clear ?


Getting Wounded Marines
Sgt. Grit,

I read the account of Elbert L. Gatlin, Sgt. U.S. Marines. I know what he was feeling by not getting the Marine Commendation he thought he would receive.

I was a Corpsman with the 2nd Bn 4th Marines - Golf Company in VietNam from August 1965 to August 1966. I was wounded twice while getting to and/or getting the wounded Marines out of fire and refusing evac for myself. I got the Purple Hearts.

One General Krulak presented to me in DaNang - the other presented to me by the base commander at my next duty station after coming home. I was also recommended for a Silver Star and Bronze Star. Never received them. Unlike Elbert Gatlin's story, mine never caught up to me. I had my Congressman try to locate them and basically the consensus is that whoever the officer was that was going to do the paperwork was killed before he could submit it.

Carl Dunaway

Circa 1864
notice, not one stinking circa 1864 sgt grit t-shirt to be had
Cpl Spenard 2496763

Here is one of the Unit photographs taken at Port Gamble June, 2010.

Unit photo from Port Gamble 2010

And here is the group photograph of the Cannoneers

Group photograph of the Cannoneers

Lou Diamond Movie
In 1952 The Cavalcade of America broadcast a story titled The Marine Who Lived 100 Years. It starred Ward Bond as Lou Diamond. The gist of the story was how Lou went AWOL from a hospital and his efforts to get back to his unit. The one line from the movie I remember was "give me a case of beer and I can go anywhere." I think I may have seen this while in boot camp or shortly thereafter when stationed a San Diego.

Jim Grimes

Fire for Effect: Reader Requests - Back to top

China Marines
Sgt Grit,
I recently visited the MC Museum at Quantico and what a thrill ! One of our guys was a China Marine and he was a bit saddened that there were only a couple of lines acknowledging them. I wonder. are there any stories out there about the guys during the Banana wars and about the China Marines both before and after WWII ?
Jim Martin

Not The Usual Gruff
It's twue, Chesty, It's Twue!
There's Mawines evywhere!

Just returned from a quick trip to New Mexico, met up with a friend at 1/2 way point. We were walking historic old town, stopped at a park to visit and have a liquid refreshment.

This elderly couple walked towards us. Hey we are 60 this year, they were 70's. Woman turns and sees our Marine insignias we always wear. She exclaimed in exasperation to her husband. "Dam* it we can't go anywhere without running into one of your family!" She had him turn around said, "Look dear, more Marines!" We visited for a while, he was a Korean era Marine.

My friend and I parted ways next day for home. He had to be to work Tuesday morning. I work for the government, so I could stay one more! I went into a small mom and pop next morning for breakfast before hitting the road. Sitting there facing the door as I always do, minding my own business drinking coffee and eating this HUGE breakfast burrito with hash browns and all.

This slightly older guy, long grey braided ponytail,, cowboy hat, Hispanic decent, slid in on opposite side of me.

Barely had time to think to myself, "who the Sam Hel8, does he think he is." Then he said Semper Fi Marine! Turns out he is also a Marine, just no longer active duty. He insisted on buying my breakfast.

Next I headed about 40 or 50 miles north to a historic Fort Union. Walking around the place (huge) Another person yelled out to me from behind "Marine"! But not the usual gruff voice you'd expect. She was a woman Marine! Out here in the middle of nowhere two Marines, nope make it three, as her daughter was also a Marine!

So yep it's TWUE Chesty, it's Twue. Mawines are evywhere!

Semper Fi all and hope you all enjoy a good Summer!

On a side note. Last ten days of July we have Cheyenne Frontier days here in Cheyenne, Wy.
The Fleet Reserve Association always has the Toys For Tots float in 2 or 3 of the weekly parades.
We can always use more Marines to join with us. So if you are going to be in the area just let me know if you'd care to attend or participate. You can ride the float or walk with us.
choo_choo @ millect .com (no spaces)

choo choo
Sgt of Marine (nla)
1968 - 1974
RVN 70-71

Outstanding Vet
side view of front hood of car with large Emblem Hey Grit,
Thanks for getting the emblem. Not enough room for the Semper Fidelis. I put it on with the Dawn dish soap and H2O, works great. Wanted it centered, so I have to cover the head light. I don't drive it at night anyway. The license plate my son thought of Marines 1st 2GO. Anyone else may think its "off the line".
Don Nisius

See more photos of the Vehicle

Fire for Effect: APCs - Back to top

Sgt Grit. You may get a lot of notes like this. Capt. Tom Downey said the Marine Corps did not have APCs when he mentioned the story about rat bites. During WWII they were the standard treatment for whatever ailed you. APC stands for the combination pill consisting of Aspirin, Phenacetin and Caffeine. Needless to say, the Corps got plenty of them.

You forwarded my address to the grandson of Col. Henry Christian Bock. He contacted me and I sent him a photo of his grandfather standing with those of us who served with him in the office of the Paymaster, Island Command, Guam. Photo was taken about early 1945. Thank you.
StfSgt Bob Gaston


When we were in Korea, 1950, an APC (All Purpose Capsule) was aspirin. No matter what ache, pain, or concussion you had, the corpsman issued one or two APC's. Not familiar with any other APC than aspirin.

I graduated from MCRD December 1948, Platoon 96, in case any reader happens to have been there. Served with A/1/5 in the 1st Prov. Brigade, Pusan, and then in the 1st MarDiv, Inchon, Seoul and Chosin.

Ray L. Walker

Subject: Member has unsubscribed from newsletter
The following member has unsubscribed: from all lists.
They were logged on the unsubscribe List for all lists.
Date: 6/21/2010

Reason: too "Marine"

First Name: Richard
Last Name: xxxxxxx

"Too" Marine. Well, I'm not sure what to say. So I will take it as a compliment. OOORAh!!
Sgt Grit

Fire for Effect: Camp Matthews - Back to top

Ghost Riders at Camp Matthews
Sgt John Stevenson's letter in the 17 June issue of Sgt. Grit brought back memories of my time at Camp Matthews in Spring of 1964. Platoon 218 sang that tune as we ran around the range. The version we sang is:

"You can have your Army khaki, you can have your Navy blue. But here's another uniform I'll introduce to you. This uniform is different, the color forest green. The German's called it Devil Dog. The name if just Marine. Marine! Marine"

They trained him down in 'D-go, the land that God forgot. The mountains high, the rivers dry, the sun is blazing hot. He peels a million onions, and twice as many spuds. And when he gets a little time -- he washes out his duds. Marine! Marine!

Now girls, here's a little tip I'm passing on to you. Just get yourself a good Marine. There's nothing he can't do. And when he gets to Heaven, to St. Peter he will tell: 'Another Marine reporting, Sir! I've served my time in H&ll!' Marine! Marine! Marine!"

In fact, I have a band, and I sing that song to fellow Marines. I'm 67 years old and still remember running up and down Big Agony and Little Agony and singing that song. That song and those 'attitude adjustment days' at MCRD and Camp Matthews bring back memories as if it was just yesterday. And to SSgt Bridges, Cpl Stelling and Cpl Wright, wherever you are, "Thank You!" for building another Marine!

Bob Lonn
Platoon 218, MCRD - 1964

Memories of Camp Mathews
The evening of boot camp graduation in April of 1959, our Senior Drill Instructor had us fall out on the platoon street. He had a list of names of Marines (we were no longer recruits) that were not going on to Camp Pendleton, 2nd ITR for awhile, instead, we were going TAD back to Camp Mathews for six weeks as buttpullers, target makers, scorekeepers, etc., for the Western Division and then the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Matches.

Next day, we got on a different "cattle car" from the rest of our series for the short ride back to Camp Mathews. On arrival, we were met by a grizzled looking Gunny wearing a "Campaign Cover" (range personnel also wore the "hat" back then) who had us fall into a formation. Then, he announced that we were Marines now and as Marines, we rated liberty. He said once we got settled in, liberty would be granted from 1600 until 0400 the next morning.

We all assumed he was just screwing with us (he had also told us to stop calling him "sir") but he wasn't. We were assigned to the old "pram" tents where we had been while recruits on the rifle range a month earlier but only four men to a tent, vice six to a tent for recruits. We were told to stay away from the recruits in the area but other than that, we had the run of the place....and San Diego, Tijuana, LA and so on.

Catch the bus to San Diego at La Jolla Junction about 200 yards from the main gate, $.25 to the Union Bus Station, another $.25 for the bus to the border. In those days, you needed nothing to get into Mexico and only your ID card to get back into the USA.

We were in hog heaven for six weeks. We were up and out long before dawn and on to the ranges but the working day was normally over around 1300, 1400 at the latest, check out your liberty card with the Duty NCO and have fun and games until 0400 the next morning. We worked hard and we played hard, lots of beach time.

Six weeks later we had a jolt of reality when we arrived at Camp San Onofre and the start of ITR. Ol' Smokey made Big Agony look like an ant hill.

L. H. Marshall. SgtMaj USMC Ret.

Peach Cobbler
Sgt Grit:

reference the comments of Sgt John Stevenson 6-17-2010

Does anyone who was at the rifle range at Camp Mathews in the summer of 1963 remember which platoon sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" as they marched to morning chow? It really sounded good coming out of the early morning mist we had every morning. You could hear them coming for about 500 yards. Sgt John Stevenson 1963-1967

Platoon 248 2nd BT, was on range detail after completing our time qualifying at the range. By that time (I was 2nd squad leader) we were into running so much we ask to get up early to get a long run in each morning and were doing so and sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" on our way back from the run in cadence.

Another funny experience of that week was we didn't seem to get chow assignments in the normal manner and one evening we were assigned a set of tables with peach cobbler cooling on the tables. can anyone guess how quickly that cobbler can disappear with 88 Marine recruits "cleaning up the area"

Cpl Christopher C. Padberg
2063558 RVN Aug 21, 1965 Apr 1, 1967

Told To Squat
I was reading the story of Camp Matthews and memories came flooding back. I was there in 1956 and I will never forget it.

First our PMI must have studied under the inquisition. As we were being taught the different firing positions, those of us with long legs were having difficulty getting in a good sitting position. I was struggling and suddenly I felt this weight on my back. The PMI was sitting on me pressing me down. I thought my back would break. I had no thought of thinking I would be able to fire the rifle in this position. All the time he was sitting and bouncing on my back, he kept yelling that Marines kill from being in good firing positions, whether standing, or kneeling, or sitting. I was finally able to get into a good sitting position; I thought, but only satisfaction to him.

Next came a disagreement between my platoon and our DI. But only the DI knew what the disagreement was. The next thing we knew as we marched towards Easy range, we were halted at the base of the hill and told to squat. The given the command forward march. We ducked-walk up that hill. My knees today cry when I think of that.

The most memorable was the time I was on mess duty in charge of pots and pans. A Marine PFC came up from mainside (MCRD) to get the bowl for making mash potatoes. Since a Marine not in boot camp was senior to me, I let him have it. A while later the mess sergeant came and asked me where was the large bowl. When I told him, you'd thought I slapped Jesus in his presence. A long story short, after the evening meal I was instructed to clean 135 large sheet pans that the liver had been cooked on. The pans were larger than the deep sink so it was a task, which I finally finish around 0100. With reveille for messmen to go at 0430 I was not in the best of spirits later. By the way I don't eat liver anymore.

Semper Fi
Albert Dixon
GySgt, USMC, ret.

My Turn To Laugh
Captain Downey wasn't the last Marine out of Duc Pho at the end of Operation Desoto, I was. There was a small detachment that stayed behind as we turned the Op over to the 1st Air Cav. We were about a dozen or so to start with and dwindled down as choppers would filter in over the days to pick up the last of the Marine "stuff". We had some interesting times.

Found the old French garrison with our Spec Ops guys there and finally found a bar, of sorts. You see we didn't have a lot to do but wait. Got to know a young villager in the small village, Nui Dang, no doubt working both sides as he kept asking "when Marines leave?". Saved our butts one afternoon when in the very middle of a sentence without missing a beat he inserted "you go VC come now". Charlie ambushed an army patrol about 30 minutes later near where we were.

We didn't get along with the 1st Cav people. When we tried to explain that we thought a VC unit was trying to find out when all the Marines were gone (I guess they hadn't learned to tell the difference, yet) the Air Cav officers laughed at us. When their intelligence came up with a NVA officer that told them a NVA battalion had come specifically to try out the 1st Cav those same officers came to me and wanted my little rag tag bunch to be the reaction team, my turn to laugh. I heard Charlie came about 10 days after we were gone.

After hanging around for a couple of weeks, the last of us boarded a chopper back to Chu Lai.

Wayne Beverly
Sgt of the Marines
Vietnam 1966/67
USMC 1964/67 active - once a Marine, always a Marine

"To save your world you asked this man to die; Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?"
W.H. Auden "Epitaph for an Unknown Soldier"

Little Green Men
Sgt. Grit,

Now that the high school where I teach is out for the summer, I've had a chance to catch up completely on reading past issues of your fine newsletter.

In one issue, a DI reportedly put a live cockroach in his mouth and spat it in the face of an African-American recruit. This sparked an outcry of racism, and it reminded me of some very good advice I received one day from my staff platoon commander, when I was a new second lieutenant at The Basic School (Class 4-66: March - August 1966). Capt. Meyers (not sure of the spelling of his last name) told us one day, "Remember this: in the Corps there are no White Marines, no Brown Marines, no Black Marines. We are all just 'little green men.'"

(Incidentally, I have learned--as I suspected--that one of the staff platoon commanders for my class, a 1st lieutenant at the time, later became Commandant of the Marine Corps--Gen. Krulak)

"I wasn't involved on the ground with this incident. But it and others cemented my opinion of helicopter pilots.

"At Khe Sanh ( before the big push by the NVA) I was Battery Liaison Officer when the infantry battalion had a majority of a company walking on top of a ridge line, walked between two columns of an NVA battalion going the opposite direction. The NVA discovered them and all h&ll broke out.

"I lost all my FO's and Arty radios immediately. I proceeded to box the platoon in with artillery and had company commander doing the adjustment to bring it in tight. I was in Battalion Headquarters.

"Everyone was coordinating via the company commander. Medivac helicopters headed that way. The NVA had been moving their mortar by echelons so the company was under mortar attack as well as ground attack. One helicopter reported to the company commander that he had a landing gear blown off by a mortar round and didn't think he had hydraulic problems, so he would hover as close down as he could so throw all casualties they could aboard. The helicopter pilot requested a quick pile of sandbags at the airfield. He landed on those and shut down. Probably saving a few lives.

"Other experiences with Medivacs convinced me that he was a normal Medivac pilot. Definitely Angels in the Sky.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
Vietnam: 11th Marines 4Dec66-18Dec67
(India 3/11 & 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers)

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Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit