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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

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

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

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

PFC D. Brown and his fire team

Me & my fire team 1961 My BAR

PFC D.Brown 60-64


In This Issue
There are "two" outstanding tank stories in this issue, long, but very much worth it.
A Major's major memory while gardening.
And a personal story submitted by my best friend (I think) SSgt Huntsinger.

See my Sgt Grit blog for a list of 31 SD and PI platoon books for sale to those qualified.

While there review the content and consider for your "daily" dose of The Corps... Some of the titles you will find there: USMC Insult, If Marines were at the Olympic biathlon, Car-theft suspect choked to death after being caught by hulking ex- Marine, Golf at Iwo and many more.

Be sure to leave a comment while you're there!

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit Facebook

No One Seemed To Notice
from; William O.(Bill) Alexander CoE-2nd Bn- 26 Reg-5th div pfc 1944-1946 Thanks for printing an email about the 65 anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. I have been looking at emails about everything from Pearl Harbor until now and it seems everyone has forgotten we fought a battle on Iwo Jima. I know there are not very many of us left but there are a few.

I went from boot almost straight overseas and then on to Iwo. I have spent a lot of time and words defending the raising of the flag controversy. Now I have been looking at videos and my memory fails me or there is something wrong. Someone correct me. We were close to the base of the mountain and when the small flag went up we borrowed binoculars and screamed and hollered. We thought the battle was almost over. The ships out from shore blew horns and made every kind of noise. When the big flag went up no one seemed to notice. We knew that someone wanted to replace the small flag. If I am wrong, it is not the first time but please correct me in an email or in the catalog.

Thanks, Bill Alexander

Pacific Marines Non Boot Camp Trained
Sgt. Grit, hate to destroy a useful myth, but Brangham's letter puts all the success at Chosin on boot camp preparedness. I was a regular and ended boot camp 12/48. Was wounded on Hill 1282 at Yudamn-ni 11/28/50. A/1/5. Most of the 7th Marines, many 1st Marines and many 5th Marines were reserves, and the young ones who entered the Corps through the reserves after WW2, never went to boot camp. A number of those in Fox 7 under Capt Barber were from the Nashville, TN C Company reserves and never saw boot camp.

I certainly do not wish to minimize the value of Marine boot camp; it is very valuable to both the Corps and the men who experience it. I suggest the reason The Corps did such a great job at Chosin is due to both the infectious Esprit de Corps that is drilled into us, even in reserve training, but most significantly due to the officer Corps in the 1stMarDiv in 1950. Gen. Oliver P. Smith commanding, Lt.Col Ray Murray, Col. Litzenberg, Col. Lewis B. Puller, as regimental commanders; battalion commanders like Ray Davis, who were some of the best to ever wear the EGA; experienced NCOs. The majority of the officers and NCOs were WW2 veterans. We had many reserve people from WW2. But there were a large number of non boot camp trained 18, 19 and 20 yr old Marines. And they performed as well as anyone there.

I say that anyone who has been inoculated with the Marine Corps Esprit de Corps, given decent leadership, will do themselves and the Corps proud.

Ray L. Walker
Franklin, TN

Yanks assault Iwo Jima
Yanks Assault Iwo Jima

Pilot Sat His Chopper Down
I cannot for the life of me understand why some Marines look down their nose on the USMC "Air Wingers." I served with Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 9th Mar., III MAF (The Walking Dead) in Vietnam from November 13, 1965 to June 13,1966 as a Navy Corpsman. Exactly seven months. I have nothing but the highest praise and admiration for "Air Wingers." They brought us everything we needed to conduct our ground operations against the VC/NVA. Food, ammo, mail, medical supplies, and even beer on occasion. And without them, a lot of Marines and Corpsmen would not be walking this earth today! We were based out of Marble Mountain, and supported by the magnificent pilots and air crewmen of MAG-16.

From my own personal perspective, I would not be alive today if not for their bravery. On June 13, 1965, a platoon of Marines, including attached Third AmTracer's, became trapped in a mine field, and sustained numerous KIA's and WIA's. We were on the Ky Lam campaign at the time. Hearing the explosions, I grabbed another Corpsman (Doc Jim Gordon) and headed out. There were no engineers with us to sweep for mines, so we had to enter the area on our own. Both of us were WIA from separate mines at almost the same exact instance. I have no idea how long we laid there, bleeding out, but just as I was about to lose consciousness, a medevac helicopter magically appeared overhead. I watched in amazement as the pilot sat his chopper down right next to my body, in that mine field! They loaded the most serious of us WIA's aboard, and flew us to Charlie Med, and we were immediately triaged and sent to surgery. Doc Gordon was WIA yet again while laying in his rack at the hospital and the NVA sent B-2 rockets and mortar rounds into it in July, 1966. I had been medevaced to Clark AFB hospital in the Philippines just prior to the attack.

Now flash forward to February 27, 1967, and after 8 1/2 months in various military hospitals, I was medically retired on a 70% disability rating. I have no regrets at all. I loved serving with Bravo 1/9, and if you were to ask me, I would tell you that they were the bravest Marines ever.

As for those MAG-16 pilots, I hope they all received the DSC!

Semper Fi,

Ken "Doc" Brooks, HM3/USN, Ret.
Senior Corpsman, Bravo 1/9

Mother's Day I Spent The Whole Night
after reading the 2/18 edition, the story by lauren yeager about sending her Marine socks reminded me of my experience 41 years ago. my unit 1st bn. 9th Marines was on a joint op with the army. one of their ch-47's got shot down. my squad was selected to provide security while the army spent 2-3 days dismantling it so it could be lifted out.

when we finally rejoined my company (Bravo) we has been resupplied and had some SP boxes. by the time we got there the good stuff was gone. i selected a pair of socks. i spent the whole night on the side of that mountain smelling those socks because they were clean. to someone who wasn't there that's difficult to understand. not so for us grunts.

woody postle
B 1/9

I did this once then no more. You could have your laundry done by the local Vietnamese. During the monsoon the only way they could get your utilities even close to dry, usually very damp, was to heat them. The fuel used for heat....buffalo dung. I my opinion your utilities came back smelling worse than they went out. Yes, fresh smelling clothes were a luxury.
Sgt Grit

Name Change?
There is a growing effort to have Marine Corps add to the official name of the Navy. The legislation, H.R. 24 and S.504, would change the name of the Department of the Navy to the "Department of the Navy and Marine Corps" and the Secretary of the Navy to the "Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps."

What do you think? Stick with the tradition, "Old Corps" or make a change, "New Corps".

Embassy In Saigon
I have a couple of stories that may have some historical significance and at least stir a little Marine Corps history interest. This is a true story drawn from memory, so some of the exact dates may be off a little.

When I got to the drill field in May of 1976, I went to Third Battalion (land of the frogs) because my old C.O. of Charley 1/4 - Capt. J.P. Kiley was C.O. of India CO and being an honor grad out of DI school I got to choose my duty assignment. Capt. Kiley was as squared away as they come. And I knew that his company would be the best and I had this problem of always wanting to be the best, or at least among the best.

Anyway, after three platoons and TDY to jump school at Ft. Benning, I was serving with my fourth pickup and the Senior was SSgt. Garramone. Garramone was a slightly built pizza face that resembled Barry Manilow (at least his nose did). One night the Boss took me off base to his trailer to drink down a couple of cold ones and talk about the "kids" and after a few he began to tell me a story about an American flag he had tacked up on his wall.

He said that he was a platoon Sergeant with 1/9 in February of 1975 when they went in and evacuated the embassy in Saigon when we pulled out of South Viet Nam. He swore that his flag was the flag that flew over the compound and he was the last one on the chopper and that he folded it up and slid it under his flak jacket and kept it as a souvenir. Now, I have ask several sources if the flag was ever recovered and to this day I have not had a definitive answer. Garramone was from the Bronx and probably went back there after his career. Is there anyone that knows or is curious?
Sgt. DR George
Semper Fi

Just spent my tax return in your shop for some great 'ole Marine Corps religion relics. Can't wait to get them. ooohrah!

Gone Too Long
Hey Sgt. Grit,

just wanted to share a few pictures with you from our deployment. I'm stationed at MCAS Miramar, CA. We were wheels down in Iraq on July 29 2009 in support of HMH-462 DET, OIF. After a successful tour of 4 long months at Al Asad Air Base, we packed up and jumped over to OEF at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. After almost three months there, they said we have been gone too long and told us to go home. it was a day we never thought would come. Our flight line had an average readiness of over 90%. I never met a single grunt who didn't thank us for having birds to help them in or out of a hot LZ, or an AH-1W Super Cobra to lay down firepower superiority. In total, we supported over 60 helos. Job well done to all of the Marines at MALS 40.

LCpl Hays

The Patriotic Guy on my chest was done by Zeke's Tattoo Shop in Jacksonville, NC The Eagle was from my uncle's headstone.

The Patriotic Guy on my chest was done by Zeke's Tattoo Shop in Jacksonville, NC. The Eagle was from my uncle's headstone. He passed away shortly before i went to boot camp. i got the eagle right before i deployed to OIF/OEF. There is also a picture of two CH-53E Super Stallions taking off from Bastion Airfield. Another is me in front of the mosque on our base at Al Asad, Iraq. Good Times...

LCpl Hays Marines and Marine air support vehicles

Remember We Stole
I read your newsletters every week and enjoy them to the fullest. Not only because I was your watch partner at 11th Marines and have been your best friend for the last 42 years, but because of the great letters that they contain. I was even reconnected with my Senior Drill Instructor through the newsletter.

I was elated to read in the February 25th newsletter comments that were written by David Creighton. He was with the Army searchlight group that shared our compound. You answered his comments by remembering the neighbors that we had; like 11th motors, 1st recon, division hill and of course Freedom Hill.

I was a little worried that you did not mention that our Major did not have a Jeep to drive in so we stole one from that Army searchlight group. Surely you did not forget that did you? You remember that don't you. You must. Remember we stashed the vehicle and the next day we stole some Marine Corps green paint and used a sort of like a bug sprayer and used it as a paint gun. You remember that don't you. That was a hoot. Remember that you made up some TAC mark numbers and then made up records for it. How long did we use that vehicle? I rotated before you so you must have still be using it. Was that the same vehicle that we used to sneak into DaNang?

Well you have a great company and a great staff, I am sure your memory will be just a great.

SSgt Dan Huntsinger

Note: I do not remember said stolen jeep from the Army search light unit less than 100 feet from our storage building. I do not remember clandestinely painting said jeep. I do not remember fabricating several years of maintenance records for this jeep. I do remember the Major being very impressed with the "new" ride and appreciating it. He also never asked any questions about it. I think he knew that anything you were a part of needed as few questions asked as possible. Semper Fi Sgt Grit

L/CPL Jerry Burden on 50 cal - ambushed during mine swiping operation south of Phu Bia L/CPL Jerry Burden, Alpha Company, 3rd Motors, 3rd Marines Vietnam 1966 -1968. 1st photo L/CPL Jerry Burden on 50 cal - ambushed during mine swiping operation south of Phu Bai, 2nd photo L/CPL Jerry Burden during operation to relocation of Vietnamese at the DMZ, 3rd photo L/CPL Jerry Burden and un- known Marine going on patrol outside of 3rd motors, 3rd tanks and 3rd am tracks Battalion area in Da Nang late 1966 just before Christmas. Area was over run a few days later Anyone that wants to contact me can at
Jerryburden @ msn .com.

L/CPL Jerry Burden during operation to relocation of Vietnamese at the DMZ L/CPL  Jerry Burden and un-known Marine going on patrol outside of 3rd motors, 3rd tanks and 3rd am tracks Battalion area in Da Nang late 1966 just before Christmas

Short Rounds
"The Pacific" begins airing on HBO on March 14.

I have also read the book about the "Chosin" I am an honorary member of the Wm. Barber Chapter of The Chosin Few in Orange County Ca. It is great to get first hand information from the guys who were there at the Chosin. How they survived is beyond me. God bless these guys and God bless The Corps.
Donald Andrews, Cpl. E-3, 1957-1960

Corpsman Items Just to let you know I received my new devil doc t- shirt and decal, as usual they are awesome. Grateful FMF CORPSMAN HM1 DOC MILLER.
You guys are awesome. A lot of my family lives in the OK. We are of Chickasaw Choctaw Indian Tribe. A warrior forever.

Marine refueling over Iraq (video)

If that Korean War book is the same one I read, it should be noted that the casualties amongst the Marine pilots were very high during all that close air support.

Thank you Sgt Grit, tonight is one of those nights that I really needed and enjoyed reading the newsletter. For all you and your people do, God Bless

Sgt 3/68---1/72

In case you have any female readers who might remember her, Captain Patricia Alston died on Valentine's day this year. She was so proud of her time in the Marine Corps, and we honored her at her wake in the traditional manner with female members of the Electric City Detachment of the Marine Corps League present. She was a wonderful person, as a Marine, teacher, and Mother, and she will be missed.
Wanda E. Hunter

Sgt. Grit. With respect, I would point out that the vehicle in Mike Riley's story is not a Jeep. It is a "Mighty Mite" It is a M422 made by American Motors. It had an aluminum body and air cooled V-4 engine which brought the weight down to 1,700 lbs. It had a payload capacity of 850 lbs. Semper Fi
John Myers
Shore Party

-August 1964 PI Platoon 178 46th anniversary reunion Will be held July 23rd - 24th at the Crossroads Inn, Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA Call 800-965-9511 to reserve room at $70/night using reservation group number 1742.
For more info contact:
Corporal James L. "Larry" Stuckey USMC ret

Here something every Marine should try. Stop what you are doing and stand still. Now start walking but start off using your right foot. Try it a couple of times. Feels awkward as h&ll doesn't it. If it doesn't you ain't never been a Marine.
Jim Grimes

Bob Minetto
It was early May in what was to become the bloodiest year of the Viet Nam War, 1968. A Marine Corps operation was underway around the thick vegetation covered sand dunes south of the Gia Lihn firebase in the notorious and deadly area that the Marines called "Leatherneck Square." This particular operation had three 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division tanks supporting Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion of the 9th Marine Infantry Regiment (grunts), 3rd Marine Division plus two platoons of South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers from the ARVN District Headquarters at Gia Linh.

The operation was to be a fairly routine one in that there had not been much enemy activity reported over the past few weeks in this area, therefore no major contact was expected. This sweep was also a little different in that there were two gun tanks plus a flame-thrower tank accompanying the Marine grunts and the ARVN. Gun tanks with their 90-mm cannons were almost always involved with supporting Marine infantry, however flame-thrower tanks usually were only deployed during major operations when well- entrenched enemy troops were holdup in reinforced bunkers and where they had to be burned out. The plans for this particular operation did not include any enemy bunker complexes therefore the flame tank's worth could be questioned.

The two gun tanks were from Alfa Company and the flame tank was from H&S Company. These tankers had worked with one another before and knew the ropes. The three tanks were abreast of each other (on line) and spaced about fifty yards apart as they approached the crest of a wide horseshoe shaped hill. Corporal Bob Minetto (Reno, NV) was the tank commander of the gun tank on the right side of the sweeping force. The middle tank, also a gun tank, was commanded by Corporal John Perry (Florescent, MO). The tank on the left flank was the flame-thrower tank, commanded by Corporal Frank Eaton (Flint, MI). They were on line (with the grunts between and behind them) as they slowly approached the top of the crescent-shaped hill when all h&ll broke loose. Three North Vietnamese Army (NVA) .51-caliber heavy machine guns and an estimated thirty to forty Chicom (Chinese Communist-built) AK-47 automatic rifles opened up on the exposed Marines.

The gun tanks immediately took the enemy machine guns under fire with canister and HE (high explosive) rounds from their main guns. It seemed that they were having little effect on the well dug-in enemy who as it turns out were in reinforced bunkers. The withering heavy machine gun fire kept up its murderous pace. A call came over the radios for Cpl. Eaton to pull his flame- thrower tank forward and to burn the enemy off the hill. Cpl. Eaton pulled his tank forward fairly quickly but then the tank did a quick reverse, backing behind the grunt lines. As it turned out later, when Cpl. Eaton's gunner went to charge the main bottle with compressed air (to enable the tank to shoot its napalm load) the poorly designed safety system blew the safety valve. When the safety valve blew, the tank lost 100% of the compressed air thus making the flame-thrower 100% useless. If this accident had not happened, the enemy soldiers would have been "crispy critters" in short work.

Meanwhile, the two gun tank commanders realized that they were so close to the enemy positions that they could not get a clear shot and had no clear field of fire for their main weapons. The Marine grunts were helplessly pinned down and completely reliant on the tanks to suppress the enemy fire. The tanks were slowly approaching the enemy line but the enemy fire was increasing.

I will use Cpl. Perry's own assessment of the situation. "The go-ks waited until we were practically on top of them before they opened up on us. Our tanks were too close to their position to have effective main gun or machine gun fire. I looked over towards Minetto's tank. I saw that there were NVA troops running toward the rear of the tank and it appeared as if they were trying to throw grenades or satchel charges inside. I saw Bob stick his head out of the cupola, toss out two or three hand grenades and then shoot at least three go-ks with his .45 (pistol). He then ducked down inside the tank. I called over to him on the radio and told him that I would 'scratch his back' with my machine gun (shoot the enemy soldiers off of the tank) but that he'd better 'button up' (close the access hatches of the tank). I got no response from Bob's tank."

Evidently what had taken place was that as Cpl. Minetto realized that there was no clear or effective way to shoot the main 90-mm cannon to stop the enemy's ambush. The tank's gunner was busy shooting the tank's coaxial .30-caliber machine gun so Cpl. Minetto must have decided to use his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol to shoot the attacking enemy soldiers. As Cpl. Perry described, there were NVA soldiers who had actually tried to climb on to the tank and throw satchel charges or hand grenades inside the tank (through the TC's and loader's hatch) to kill the Marine tankers inside.

Cpl. Minetto exposed himself to the intense enemy fire, threw two of his own fragmentation grenades and then emptied his side arm at the enemy soldiers killing at least the three that Cpl. Perry saw him hit. According to the tank's loader, Cpl. Minetto then reached inside and called for the loader to give him his loaded pistol. At that exact same moment, as Cpl. Minetto was bravely saving his tank and crew from being overrun, he was mortally shot through the neck and was instantly killed. As he fell back inside the tank the loader and the gunner panicked. A distress call to Cpl. Perry came over the tank radio from Minetto's driver that said that Cpl. Minetto was shot and that the gunner was unable not take command of the tank. He said that all h&ll was breaking loose!

Cpl. Perry acknowledged the situation and called over for the loader to button up the turret, which he complied quickly. Cpl. Perry had his own tank's gunner "scratch the back" of Minetto's tank by turning his own .30-caliber machine gun on to Minetto's tank thus shooting the attacking NVA soldiers off of the other tank. Since Cpl. Minetto's tank was virtually on top of the NVA machine gun bunkers, Cpl. Perry had Minetto's tank driver pull the tank forward. As the 52-ton tank moved up, Perry had the tank do a "neutral steer" on top of the bunker thus crushing the heavy-machine gun bunker and the enemy soldiers inside. As Perry was having Minetto's tank perform this maneuver, he had his own driver do the same to the bunker in front of his tank.

The trick worked! Two of the enemy's heavy machine guns were silenced. The enemy's automatic weapons fire was suppressed enough to allow the Marine grunts to get up and attack the remaining enemy. In just a few minutes the enemy soldiers had all been either killed or taken prisoner. The result of this brutal ambush was that there were far too many Marine and ARVN casualties. The withering machine gun fire of this ambush had decimated the entire Marine Company, both ARVN platoons and one Marine tank commander. It was so intense that there were not enough unwounded Marines to make a complete infantry platoon (which would normally be 44 men).

Upon inspecting the enemy positions after the firefight, the grunts found many small bags containing a white powder in the backpacks of the NVA soldiers. Was this opium? The enemy soldiers had US military communications wire tied around the joints of their legs and their arms apparently to act as tourniquets (to stanch bleeding) if they were to get hit during the ambush. It was also discovered that the NVA machine gunners were tied to the machineguns so that they could not run away if they were over ran by the Marines.

The United States Marine Corps lost a brave Marine and I lost a close friend with the death of Robert Neil Minetto. I miss him to this very day. I am often in Washington, D.C. on business or for personal reasons. When I am there, I always visit Bob's name on The Wall (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial). I always touch the etching in the black polished marble and I say a prayer for Bob. I always tell him that he did not die in vain. And I tell him that there are many people out here that remember him, who miss him and who wish he was here with us. Semper Fidelis, Marine!

John Wear

I went through Amtrac School in the summer of 1969. Oh boy what a pig the P-5 was. This thing broke down if you looked at it wrong. Wouldn't start half the time, the magneto's had to be changed all of the time. One speed backwards and two speeds forward, and a top speed of about 25MPH, and all of your leg strength to stop it. Anyway, after a tour to the Marine Barracks Philippines, I returned to Camp Pendleton, and got put in a platoon of training NCO's. First assignment was to train a platoon of weekend warriors from Gulf Port, Mississippi. These Marine's came in, long hair, long sideburns and were crazy as h&ll.

Second week into training we were to teach them to entering the ocean for loading on LPD's and LSD's. Well the waves were breaking at 12 to 15 feet high. I said no way I'm going to try this. Well Cpl. Fyke and one of these warriors decided they would try, bad choice, the 2nd wave I saw, this pig stood on end, and the 3rd wave I saw the com helmets flying, that thing sank in a matter of 10 seconds. It took the Navy about a month to float it, they went down and open the ramp, and filled it with medal drums, then pumped them full of air.

Got the P-7, I think it was early 1972,I was in the first class to go through school to learn these, oh what a difference. And I see they are still going strong.

Sgt Hobart L. Murphy
USMC 1969-1975

To S/SGT. BROWN. No, you are not the only AMTRACER. I, too, never hear or see much about us. Maybe that's what they mean by the Few and the Proud. From CPL. R. E. RICE 3rd Marine Division AMTRACS, 1969-1971 was stationed in Okinawa and at Camp Lejeune.

Sgt. Grit,
There was a Sgt. Brown who wondered about "where are the Amtracers" I'm one of many. I was at Courthouse Bay from 1961-64, took the famous Med cruise that was part of the Cuban Blockade & was in a hurricane getting there on the Walworth County LST 1164, known affectionately as the WWWC...Worthless, Waterless, Walworth County..the last of the cold, salt water shower ships. The heads on this ship had the commodes facing each other so, in a crowd, you were guaranteed to be touching knees with a fellow Marine, during a daily sit-down. I never asked & they never told.

Peter J. Stein
4th Plt 'B' Co, 2nd Amtrac Bn

Dear Sgt Grit.
In today's issue was a question: "Am I the only AMTRACER(?) SSGT BROWN 1974-1982 Am I the only AMTRACER that reads Sgt Grit letters? never see anything about them. Brown"

No Sgt Brown, you are not the Only Amtracer - but we are an ignored breed. I seldom see any copy about what we did and when. I do know the "third herd" was at DaNang and other noticeable areas of combat. I lost a few friends from that group.

When I finished ITR, I was transferred to 3rd Armored Amphib FMF/PAC, Co A, in Del Mar, Ca. When I left active duty, I joined 2d Armored Amphib Co. 1st Plt. T.I. (Treasure Island) California part of FMF PAC. USMC(R) (Bn. Strength). We were comprised of 4 platoons of 4 amtracs ea. We had a P-5 and a Wrecker. We were the "Golden Gators". I would kill for a jacket patch from those days. It was a depiction of a boxing Alligator standing on his tracks (body was a How-6)

Ours was a unique breed of cat. We were extremely good at what we did and our equipment was certainly interesting at worst (we always got the rejects) and a lot of fun at best. When we went on cruises and generally exercised our equipment LVTH6's and our skills; we came back a tired bunch but very satisfied in our "readiness". One year, when deployed for training and after 2 days of exercise at sea, we shot for record. I shot a record 9 direct hits and one near miss out of 10 shots with the 105mm gun waterborne direct fire at San Clemente Island. The near miss skipped off a rock and up the mountain and "nailed a bunch of goats near the top" - so I was told. The Company CO declared me being "Top Gun" and our Amtrac as operated by "Best Crew". The plaque sits on my shelf in what my wife calls the "I Love Me Room".

About 20 years ago, I ran into our old C.O. Then Major George Killum (Great name for a Marine-Huh?) anyway we sat at a good watering hole in Walnut Creek and truly celebrated our brotherhood. George looked into my eye at the end of the visit with moisture in his eyes and said; D*mn Dave, We were so good!"

Y'know how to tell yer an "Old Marine"? When you are out fishing near the mothball fleet, look up and there's one of your ships! The "Point Defiance" LSD (I think the hull number was 12)

I still hear from a few of our brothers and now and then get a letter.

What Company(s) were you in and where?

Cpl. Dave Selvy, Crew Chief
1831; 1834 Amtracer...1961-1968
San Ramon, California

Hey SSgt Brown, Sgt Randy Adkins A Co 3rd Tracks 1986-1992 checking in loud and clear. YAT YAS

I was a amtracer in the "50's" I was in from 1953-1957 SGT Roger P. Barton

He wanted to know if he was the only AmTracker that read Sgt Grit. No, you are not. I have been reading Sgt Grit for quite some time, and enjoy reading the many stories printed be our faithful and true Marines. I am an old Amtracker, both an 1833 and 2147.
Henry Tireman, GySgt, 1944-68

Hi Sgt Grit

I read with interest the article written by SSgt Brown in the Feb. 25, 2010 edition, asking if any other Amtracers read Sgt Grit. I was with the 3rd Amtrac Bn between 62' and '67. After finishing tours with both the 5th Marines and then the 3rd Marines, I became an Amtracer. I was first assigned to the LVT H-6 company at Camp Del Mar (Pendleton) then after they were (temporarily) moth-balled I went to LVT E-1's. Went to Vietnam with 3rd Tracs in '66-'67. When I left the unit in 'Nam, I was the platoon sergeant (E-6) for the E-1's. Today, I belong to the 3rd AAV Assn (Amtracs), 1st Mar Div Assn. So yes, there some 'old' Amtracers that read Sgt Grit. We have our own stories about 'Nam and being in Tracs.

Semper Fi
Jim Lynch
SSgt, 3rd Amtrac Bn.

First Marine Division Association Reunion
1st Mar Div Assoc. Reunion in San Antonio

PI vs. SD
Ya know, I flew for a little while as gunner, HMM-263 in 1970, out of Marble Mountain. Picked up quite a few wounded, even helped the onboard DOC save the life of one Marine by doing CPR all the way to the hospital. He was alive when we got him there.

But I have to say, NOT ONE of those wounded Marines asked me where I went to boot camp before they were carried onboard the chopper.

Funny, how it only matters to those TALKING about the war, not fighting it.

Chuck Brewer, Sergeant of Marines Forever. 1967-1973, Nam 69-70, Hollywood Marine and proud to serve alongside those "other" Marines.

In regard to Sonny Hayes, I was a D. I. at RTCD San Diego. I can guarantee you there were no sun glasses or lotion given to any recruit at any time. I went thru P. I. for my boot, and I still feel SD is tougher due to the closeness of the civilian population there.

SSGT of Marines
1956-1967 RVN 64-65

At the Houston, Texas Recruiting Center I was given the choice of Parris Island or San Diego. Having seen the Jack Webb movie "The D.I." several times in my young life I knew I didn't want to deal with finding and burying dead sand fleas that a wayward recruit might have executed. So naturally I said San Diego. I don't know which was worse, burying sand fleas or laying in my rack, night after night watching planes landing and leaving San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field). Bottom line is that we were all forged into Marines and Boot Camp Graduation was one of my proudest days. I think I was even prouder when my son did the same thing 32 years later.

Semper Fi to all Marines, Past, Present and Future

Mike "Bozo" Boudreaux
Cpl. 1971 - 1975

When I wrote about the 1st bivouac a couple of weeks ago I forgot about the tarantulas. D. Womack reminded me of them in the last newsletter. He is right. Every day, right at sundown, they would come out of their borough's, all over the place, and crows would swoop down and carry them off for dinner. Some of those things looked like Volkswagens and they were not bashful. Slept alongside lots of spiders in Vietnam, some of them big like the Camp Pendleton tarantulas. You P.I. guys had the gators, swamps, and heat, and us San Diego guys had the Camp Pendleton heat, hills, tarantulas, and scorpions

..funny how the Corps makes sure that all her children have adequate playmates and fun. Thanks D. Womack. Semper Fi.

John Vater

MCRD San Diego, 1958, Platoon 309. Quonset Huts surrounded by sand and next to the asphalt grinder. The Sand was the Drill instructors "grass" and part of the morning police detail was to rake this sand and clean it up. It would be a long hard day if there was anything green in the Drill instructors "grass".

Today, as I was weeding out my wife's iris garden, the only thought that kept floating through my head was "Lord help me if there is anything green in the Drill Instructors grass."

My sincere thanks to GySgt DeFort, GySgt Olivera, and Sgt. Pritchett for turning this Boy into a Marine. I'll never forget you.

Walter Hudiburg
Major, USMC (Retired)

Fire Base Argonne
March 4,2010 2000 hrs
I'm sitting here in my kitchen thinking about my brother, 2nd Lt. David C. Ferguson 3rd Recon Bn. It will be 41 years that Dave was killed at Fire Base Argonne in NW Quang Tri Prov. He was on a patrol with a re-enforced Recon patrol, 10 Marines,2 Navy Corpsman. The irony of all this is that Dave volunteered for this mission as an extra "gun" according to the patrol leader. Of all the men on this patrol 3 were killed, Dave, Pete DeWilde and Robert Jenkins. Robert was Awarded the MOH for saving the life of Radio Operator Fred Ostrom. Pete was awarded the Silver Star for his actions and Patrol Leader Steve Lowery was awarded The Navy Cross. I can't recall, but I think everyone was wounded.

I want to thank Sgt. Grit for furnishing this space for our extended family," The Marine Corps" to be able to share the stories that only US as Marines will understand.

Cpl Daniel R. Ferguson USMC retired
Whiskey Btty. 1st.bn.13 Marines "67-69"
Khe Sanh vet.
Semper Fi

Coiled Up
Recently read the article about the snake in the field jacket (that wasn't). In '63 my company were the aggressors in an exercise at Pendleton and were hard charging up a hill. I saw a foxhole just ahead and was about to jump in when a voice said "look before you leap".

I did, thank God, because there was a BIG rattler coiled up in the bottom tucked up against the edge. I dispatched him with a full clip from my M1, (blanks of course) but when held against the snakes hide it turned him inside out. Still got the rattles around somewhere, 7 or 8 buttons.

By the by, I'd sure like to get a graduation book for platoon 296, Parris Island Oct '60 to Jan "61. Phone # below.

Phil Parker
Cpl '60-'65 Get Graduation Books: https://www.grunt.com/scuttlebutt/corps-stories/geninfo/photos.asp

Sgt. Grit,

I recently became aware of a British labor union using an image of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising in a "troop" rallying effort for a planned labor strike during the Easter holiday. It has started to cause quite a stir not only in Great Britain, but many fellow Marines here have also seen it and let their displeasure be known.

I am providing you with a copy of the original poster first used by the union along with a link to the union's webpage which has a new version of the picture. www.bassa.co.uk

6,900 US Marines and Navy Corpsmen lost their lives in battle at Iwo Jima. I doubt any member of this union will so much as break a nail in their "battle".

Those who wish to comment directly to the union can do so by clicking on the "contact us" link found on the webpage.

Lee Haines, Sgt.
USMC 1988 - 1996

Mock Turtle Neck Like Christmas
Sgt Grit.,
Just got my order in the mail. Love the long sleeve mock turtle neck. It feels like Christmas - really! It's snowing outside to boot. Ooohrah! Semper Fi.

Handlebar Effect
Re: Handlebar Moustaches
I was a salty short-timer in early '71 assigned as the assistant training NCO of 2nd Radio Battalion at Camp Geiger. I was assigned to a "junk-on-the-bunk" and, with less than a couple of months to do, was definitely not a happy camper. I was letting the corners of my moustache grow out and even went and bought some wax to give it a (sort-of) handlebar effect. During the pre-inspection inspection our company M/Sgt stopped in front of me, locked eyes, paused for a second to let the gravity of the situation sink in and then said one word. "No." Message received....and I was trimmed within regs the next day. Oh to be young and foolish once again!

Tom Mahoney
Cpl, '67-'71

Yo, Sgt. Grit,

I enjoy what you do, and I'm a return customer. I know you have no official ties to the USMC, but maybe you can point me in the right direction. I am an ex-Marine. Don't ask me why, but in Boot Camp at San Diego and in ITR at Pendleton during 1962, the Mess halls had a recipe for Eggplant (baked like breaded fish) that I really liked. I have sent two emails asking for contact information about these recipes through the official USMC website, but they continue to be unanswered. I know that the "Mess Services" has some official recipe that was used, and should be findable. Do you have any suggestions regarding who to contact for this recipe information?

PS: I actually thought this dish was baked fish, but was quickly told "No, Maggot, this ^%$# ain't fish!

Leonard Gary Nielsen
CPL-E4, USMC Alumni

Note: We contacted the USMC Food Service Association and got the original recipe

Eggplant Recipe Sgt Grit,

The recipe, taken from the recipe service in use during Gary's active service is attached. Hope this helps. We are glad to assist in any way possible.

Thanks for your generous supply of Sgt. Grit goodies for our Food Service Association Reunion last August. We appreciate you all very much.

Semper Fi!
Ed Gray
Treasurer/Webmaster, USMCFSA.COM
Major USMC (Retired)

Responses to PATRICK BONANNO GRENADE not going off
Despite what you think about it being your fault about the Corpsman being shot in the back, please don't feel guilty about it, as I know he was doing his job to the best of his ability and probably wanted to get up there before you even called him, God bless him and the other heroes you lost that day.

In response to SSGT Brown looking for AMTRACERS:

I served with First AMTRACS 3rd Mar Div CAU VIET RIVER (Dong Ha) Aug to Oct 67 as a Navy Corpsman
No stories to tell, just a lot of memories (so they call them)

In response to Patrick Bonanno - Grenade not going off:

The second man and third man were KIA. The Point man weapon was out of commission -
Count 3 Marines KIA (one a Corpsman) Navy FMF (Just doing his job)
Count 1 WIA
Count 1 Weapon out of commission

All losses no one's fault, Just not to be forgotten

Semper Fi
A Navy Corpsman. the One they called "DOC"
Frank Morelli FMF Corpsman '67-68

Brother Grunts,
The turbulent decade of the 60's brought together Americans from vastly different backgrounds. Throw in the draft, and we had quite a mix of attitudes, perspectives and consequently, how we remember our time together. Sh-t rolled downhill, people with disagreements were armed to the teeth, and if a Marine f-cked off, he proclaimed, "What are they gonna do? Send me to Vietnam?!"

As we age, memories and Espirit de Corps, become even more precious for we survivors.

Most of us survived Vietnam. Yet many did not survive coming home. Each of us has our own personal recollection and story to tell. Enclosed is a link to mine.

Semper Fi
Brent MacKinnon
Foxtrot 2/5
Jan '67 - Mar '68

Master Gunnery Sergeant Wolf
Submitted by James F. Kanavy, Cpl, USMC, 0311, 0239, RSV 1966-67 And I Quote...
"You're making the wrong assumption that a Marine by himself is outnumbered."
--Gen Peter Pace, 28Jul06

Here is a story about Bill Wolf who was my S-2 Chief at S-2 Section, HQ Co, 1st Marines, RSV from fall 1966 to when I left the end of Sept 1967. He returned to the Marine Military Academy and his ashes are spread under the Iwo Jima Memorial on the Academy grounds. He was alter the city safety officer for Harlingen Texas. We corresponded until his death. A quiet unassuming man and it was a pleasure to work for him. In the link to his story are some pictures of Navy cross awards that are not his but examples. He personifies this quote. He reported to Major John Murtha but it was actually the other way around!


Promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant in 1960, Wolf requested one of the most intriguing and prestigious assignments of any career. As a courier with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wolf was assigned to Battle Staff Team #5 of the Joint Alternate Command Element from 1961-63. During this assignment, Wolf would receive his second Navy Cross on 18 May 1963 in a letter from General Maxwell D. Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.

Wolf wrote that he was to deliver a message to a high-level commander in South Viet-nam. Upon his arrival in Saigon, Wolf was informed that the commander was at an outpost. As messages had to be delivered "to the intended person," the commander's aide "made arrangements for a patrol to accompany me the five miles to the outpost." The patrol consisted of two Army Green Berets and 11 Republic of Vietnam soldiers. Wolf described an uneasy feeling on the patrol as the Vietnamese soldiers kept looking around. Leaving his center position, he went to the rear "as I felt I could keep my eye on the whole crew." Suddenly, one of the Vietnamese soldiers shot the lead Army sergeant in the back. It was an ambush, and Wolf was the target!

In the ensuing fight, Wolf and the other sergeant killed seven of the enemy before the Green Beret was killed. Taking the last rifle, Wolf killed the remaining attackers. Unfortunately, Wolf was alone in the jungle with 13 dead around him. He continued on his mission and delivered the message. In Taylor's letter, Wolf was cited for displaying "extraordinary heroism ... while accompanying a patrol southwest of Saigon." However, "due to the nature of your duties," Taylor continued, "the presentation of the award will be delayed for an indefinite period of time."

Wolf would retire in 1965 and became the first instructor at the Marine Military Academy in Harlington, Texas. Recalled to active duty with service in Vietnam the following year, he would return to the Academy in 1968 for two years. While there, he was an inspiration and a father figure, helping to pass the traditions of the Marines to the young cadets.

By Pete Ritch � 2006 Lt. Pete Ritch - pistol practice and base camp near DMZ - 1969 Memories from Peter J. Ritch, USMC 1967- 1970. Viet Nam, 1968-1969 and a member of the USMCVTA.

In 1967, two days after graduating from college and having just received my draft notice in the mail, I beat the draft and joined the Marines. And just as my Marine Recruiter had promised, seven months later I was headed for "my thirteen months and a wake-up" in Vietnam.

Flame Tank clearing brush covering tunnel complex- 1968 near Con Tien The flight into Da Nang