Fire For Effect
Korean Era
Marine Gets Creative
Admiral Squid
Short Rounds
Air Raid and Flood
Response: 8 Marine
Vietnam Era

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Sgt Grit,

I was part of a three man crew installing a new intercom in 1968 in HMMS-37 hanger offices El Toro California. We were running the com wire above the CO and XO's offices stepping from beam to beam when PFC. Tom Thompson caught his foot and fell through the CO's ceiling sheet rock sending all the crap down all over him and his desk. He was holding Office Hours at the time.

Tom was hanging there so I pulled him up and we both looked back through the hole. Col. Rice was looking back straight faced and comely ask us to get some gear and clean up the mess. In the background the SgtMaj. was already yelling for our heads!

We took off for the catwalk to get down and ran headlong into Col. Rice on his way to flight Opps. His dusty coffee cup in hand. We both snapped two - he started to laugh at us and said as he turned to walked away with sheet rock all over his head and shoulders, that was the funniest thing he had seen. NOW THE SGTMAJ, was ANOTHER MATTER!

One year later Col. Rice was my CO. In Vietnam at VMGR-152 Danang.

Sgt. Larry Dent
VN 1969-1970
VMGR 152

In This Issue
Remember your boot camp bucket so does Pvt Slavinski. Interesting topics this week; Sh-tbird hall of fame, several Korea stories, Twice my size, OB beer, The good life, Pond scum and many more.

Check out the Blog, new and interesting post with comments, particularly the Solita saga and "The Warrior Song- Hard Corps". Our Facebook page continues to grow and become more fun every day.

USMC Light Gray T-Shirt And for crying out loud buy something...I've got to pay the light bill this month. Everyone could use another T-shirt. I know I'm right on this because my wife tells me "your side of the closet is getting full." and I say, "so what, your side can handle the overflow right"?

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit Blog  Sgt Grit Facebook

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up!
One more story. I flew out of Chicago in October 1967 on my way to MCRD San Diego. I did not notice it until we got to the airport in San Diego, but we had ourselves a real live HIPPY in our bunch. When we were herded onto the bus for OUR one way trip to H&ll, this HIPPY, Slavinski was his name, stood out like a sore thumb. His hair was down to his shoulders, he was wearing a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder, and jeans cut off at about mid-thigh. And sandals. HE STOOD OUT!

We made it thru receiving, and when we finally got picked up and formed a platoon, we had a Force Recon Gunny for a senior DI, don't get me started on him. He was Gunny Donahue, then there was Staff Sgt Hopkinson, he was very tall, then there was little bitty SHORT Sgt Fijak. Did I mention that Slavinski was really tall? We all know about looking DOWN at a DI, don't we?

Some of you will remember when checking into Marine Corps Property, that one of the things we were issued, at least at MCRD San Diego, was a large galvanized water pail. We used that every morning to water the "grass", which was just sand. And on the weekends we were marched down to the concrete washracks to do our laundry.

Well, with Sgt Fijak being so short, and Slavinski being so tall, it made it hard for Sgt Fijak to correct Slavinski's mistakes. So, everywhere we went when Sgt. Fijak was on duty, Slavinski had to bring is bucket with him. When we would get to where we were going, Sgt. Fijak would give the command, PLATOON, HALT! We would stop, and Sgt Fijak would shout SLAVINSKI! And then Slavinski would step out of ranks, and set his bucket down out of the way.

Now, whenever it was Slavinski's turn to be the one that screwed up, Sgt Fijak would shout PLATOON, HALT!! And then we would hear, "SLAVINSKI, THE BUCKET!" Slavinski would step out of ranks, go over and pick up his bucket, bring it back to Sgt Fijak, turn it upside down, step behind it, Sgt Fijak would step up onto the bucket and commence to giving Slavinski all the correcting he could handle.

You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Sgt Fijak, if you are out there, I say a little prayer for Chesty, AND you most every night.

Sgt Chuck Brewer, 1967-1973

Fire for Effect: Korean Era - Back to top

Jessie Perry article clip w/photo Wasn't My Time
Here is a picture of my father in law in during the Korean war. After this he was called the canteen kid. I sent this to my son a third generation Marine, a year ago while he was in boot camp for motivation. and his DI's enjoyed it.

Semper Fi Paul Garrison 79-91

Korea Remembered
Steve in his WW2/Korea uniform Below is a photo I would like to share. Over Memorial Day, I performed a historical tribute to the USMC in the Korean War at our local Missouri Veterans Home. The uniform and gear dates from WW2/Korea and represents a Marine during the Inchon landing. I also have a pretty complete set of winter uniforms as worn by the Marines in their fight out of the Chosin Reservoir.

Steve Cox

Heart Punch
In the mid 70's my A-6 squadron was deployed to the ROK AFB at Kwang Ju. We were hosted by one of the ROK Air Force squadrons which proved interesting. They invited us to a "party" at a bar in town. Needless to say their idea of a party was endless toasting to everybody or anything related to the USMC or ROK military.

All of the pilots in the ROK squadron spoke excellent English and talking with them was relatively easy. We learned that to be a ROK pilot not only did they require a college degree, the same as us, but they also needed to have a black belt in a martial arts discipline. Upon hearing this we asked the young ROK Lt pilot we were talking to if he could do the "heart punch"?

He wasn't sure what we were talking about and we jokingly told him it meant punch your hand into your opponent's chest and rip out his heart so that you can squeeze it in front of his face before he realizes he's dead. Without missing a beat and in total seriousness he said no that he can't but he thought that his friend, pointing to him across the room, could!

We were pretty happy that they are on our side.

A-6 Pilot
71 - 91

Red Friday Shirts

He Did Not Tell
The stories about the Korean Marines (KMCs) were fun to read as I had the honor of serving with them in the Korean war as am adviser. I don't know who was advising who as I learned a lot more from them than they learned from me.. They were tough and you had to be careful what you told them to do.

I had the good luck to have been to Korean language school before I went to Korea, so I could understand Korean. The only problem was I was instructed to not tell them I could understand them and that way I could learn what was really going on.

One day I was very mad with my interpreter and was having him tell the Colonel what a sorry job he was doing. Of course he did not tell the Col. that, he told him I was saying what a good job he was doing. Well I lost my temper and started giving the interpreter h&ll and telling the Col. he should have his azs kicked, all in Korean of course. Without batting an eye the Col. ordered the interpreter to bend over and he proceeded to kick him in the azs.

Needless to say after that the KMCs were careful what they said in front of me but it made my life a lot easier to be able to speak Korean. I will always remember them, as the bravest men I have ever served with in my 23 years of service.

Fred St. Clair, Lt Col USMC (Ret)
3 years enlisted 20 commissioned. The two greatest ranks I ever held were Sgt. and Capt.

June 27,1950 thru July 27, 1953 1153 Days


KIA 177,593 of which 54,200 were Americans
WIA 550,362 of which 92,134 were Americans
MIA 32,242 of which 8,176 were Americans
POW 17,461 of which 7,245 were Americans

Total 777,658

Some call this either a "Police Action" or a War, except there was never a Declaration of War by the Congress. We operated under the UNSC Resolutions 82, 83, 84 and 85.

Sgt C. W. Robertson

Fire for Effect: Short Rounds - Back to top

Short Rounds
Thank you, Cpl. Christopher Padberg, Platoon 248. I was on range maintenance at the time with Platoon 249. We had won the range pennant and got the "cushy" range maintenance assignment. I guess it was better than range mess duty.

Sgt John Stevenson RVN AUG 1965 - SEPT 1966

WWII and Korea ID Tags?
Can anyone tell me if the "notch" in these dog tags were ever used, by being pushed between the teeth of a fallen serviceman for I.D. purposes?
Bernie Landrum

HMM-265 hauled ROKs to the beach from the USS Iwo Jima during the summer of 1969. They would give anything for a Playboy magazine.

Wayne Stafford
USMC 66-70
RVN 68-69

On July 6, 2010 @ 4:35pm Former Sgt. of Marines Daniel Swarts received orders to Marine Barracks "Pearly Gates". Sgt Swarts served with the 2nd Marine Division in WW Twice and shed his blood on Tarawa. He is sorely missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Dr. Richard Murphy (Former Sgt. of Marines)

I joined the Marines because when I went down to join the Coast Guard, they told me I was too short. You had to be over six feet tall so you could wade to shore in case your boat sank. Norm Spilleth
Cpl. "60-64"

Fire for Effect: Marine Gets Creative - Back to top

Twice My Size
Sgt. Grit
Just wanted to say thanks for your great site and service to our Corps. I saw your post to send in letters, so here it is...

In the fall of 1980 I was a confused young man of 18yrs, no prospects and nowhere to turn. I decided the best way I could get the biggest reaction from my parents was to do something drastic. I signed up for the MARINES. I remember taking home the signed papers and giving them to my Dad for Christmas! The look on his face I will never forget, a slight smile on his lips and twinkle in his eyes, and he said, and I quote "You will never make it". Not exactly what I was looking for but it set my tone.

Jan. 1981 Co. G Platoon 2002 was our boot camp platoon and somehow I must have seemed determined, because the Sr. Drill Instructor picked me as the Guide. As all you Guides know, when anyone Fs up the Guide pays the price too. Now I didn't mind that because still, being Guide had its rewards.

My first squad leader's name was Banks. "Big" boy, twice my size, no kidding, an animal. When we would drill he was deliberately stepping on the backs of my heels and I would trip, looking like an idiot. After asking and pleading with him to stop, to no avail, I decided enough!

Now in boot camp when we eat it is a very important part of the day because you are always hungry, always! Also, when you are the Guide you eat last because your men always go first. But---- when the guide is done eating, everyone's done eating! Sooo, For about 3 or 4 meals as soon as I set my tray down, I would pick it back up without touching a bite and we would all stand as one and leave the chow hall.

Now I am certain the D.I.s knew something was amiss but they never said a word, they just let it play out. Everybody's on my azs to quit the BS cause they're hungry, and I said "You all stop Banks, You all get to eat". Needless to say they must have got together and talked to Banks cause I was never tripped again, and Banks became my buddy after all.

What a great experience in a kids journey to becoming a man. Thank You U.S.M.C. , definitely saved my life. Now people ask me to explain about the Marines and like your shirt says, "From the outside you wouldn't understand it & from the Inside I can't explain it!" No quote was ever more true!

Just a short note to say to our brothers and sisters, keep your chins up and heads down, it'll all be as it is gonna be!

Edward L. Brown
CPL. U.S.M.C. 1981-1984

I Then Handed Him
I was in platoon 1002, Oct to Dec 1965. We were out at the rifle range and broke from snapping in to head over to the Mess hall for lunch. We were brushing up on our close order drill on the way over. I was 4th squad leader and the recruit carrying the Guidon was in front of me.

I don't remember what he did but the DI fired him and sent him to the back of the 4th squad and moved everyone up a spot, making me the new Guidon. Which I wasn't happy about. We continued drilling and the DI gave a left oblique command. I thought he said right, since the mess hall was to the right, and I turned that way and the platoon the other. It took me a minute or so to realize my mistake so I double timed over to the platoon. There were more than a few laughs and snickers until the DI told everyone to shut the F--K up, or something to that effect.

Custom Marine Corps Guidons We finally arrived at the mess hall and fell out and got in line. I took the spear point off the Guidon and got at the rear of the line, right behind the old guidon. I don't remember what my thought process was but I told him that the DI didn't like my performance and wanted him back as Guidon. He questioned me on it, but I told him the DI told me to tell you. I then handed him the spear point and we continued through the line.

When we fell out in formation after chow, I went back as 4th squad leader, and he as Guidon and the DI never said a word. I still smile when I think of it.

Sgt Bill Michell

The Good Life
Ron's photo of his dad's Platoon. About 25 years ago, I saw a painting that touched a place in me that I thought I had sufficiently protected. It was at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. I don't remember the name of the artist, but I will always remember his work. The painting was a depiction of a cowboy, rough cut, sunburned, grizzled, a man with the bark still on him, clad in a yellow rain poncho and an old dirty cowboy hat. The rain poured down as he sat to eat a hard-earned meal. As he bent his head down to take the first bite, the rain water which had pooled on the brim of his hat funneled down into his tin plate of beans. The work was titled "The Good Life".

I knew what the artist meant as soon as I saw the title. I identified with the old cowboy, and knew him immediately. I didn't have to know his name, or where he was from, or his politics, or anything else about him to know that he understands about The Good Life.

I have met the spirit of this cowboy many times, many places. The circumstances were different, the clothes were different, the names were different, but the eyes... The eyes were the same. The guys who understand The Good Life come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. But their eyes... Their eyes tell the story.

Their eyes reflect the cold miserable rain and the fetid, sticky mud. They tell about the oppressive heat and the dust that sticks to their sweat. Their eyes speak about the flies and mosquitoes and leeches and hookworms and malaria. They describe the taste of dirty well water and iodine tablets and green Kool- Aid.

Their eyes tell about cold C-rations and hot Carling's Black Label beer. They tell about the nights - the nights when it was so dark. The nights when their imaginations tried to sneak up on them. The nights when reality exploded all around them. The nights when they were the Hunter and the Hunted.

But their eyes also reflect the other side of The Good Life. Their eyes prove that they have been tested and that they passed the test. They have a confidence, a self-assuredness, and a knowledge that they can handle anything that comes up. They have been through the fire and came out with a sharp edge.

And these men also have the ability to recognize other men who know The Good Life. They have the same sense of humor that other people just don't get. They share the memory of a maniac in a Smokey Bear who taught them the basics of The Good Life. They share the memory of Brothers lost, and of Brothers found. They share the nightmares and the laughter. They share the tears of crippling sorrow, and the tears of utter joy, and the tears of spine-tingling pride.

There is no greater honor than to sit in the rain and share a plate of beans with a group of men who understand The Good Life.

Mike Smith 1969-1972.

Alpha Co, 1/7 Marines, Vietnam, 9-12 Jun 2011, Isle Casino Hotel
Biloxi, Mississippi.
More info contact, Randy Cook, 256-679-2318,
email: rcook1 @ mindspring .com

Old Corps
Ron's photo of his dad's Platoon. Attached is a picture of my Dad's boot camp picture. Maybe there are some salty Marines out there that were in this same platoon. My Dad died a week after I completed my boot training in 1963, platoon 366 at MCRD.

Semper Fi Marines, past and present, keep up the good work.


In Memory
Gold EGA and Red Cross Tattoo In memory of my Dad another fallen but not forgotten Marine Sgt in the 1/2. Cross with EGA and dog tags with the date he passed. He made me want to be a Marine.


Fire for Effect: Admiral Squid - Back to top

By The Way
Dear Sgt. Grit,
This is no sea story! In the fall of 1968, I was assigned to duty at the University of Colorado under the Navel Enlisted Scientific Education Program (NESEP). Being an active duty Marine, and a couple of years older than most incoming freshmen, I was exempt from the campus requirement that all freshmen live in a dorm on campus during their first year at school.

Like most students at CU, one of my first tasks was to buy season tickets for all the football home games. Purely by chance I made friends with the freshman couple setting next to me at the games. After a few weeks the girl sitting next to me at the games fixed me up on a blind date with one of her friends in the dorm, and that is where this story gets very interesting.

On my blind date with Carolyn, we went out to dinner and ended up back at my apartment later that evening. As we talked, had some wine, and got to know each other some more, she asked me why the Navy and Marine Corps were always fighting with each other. I asked her why she would ask something like that, and then she told me that her Uncle David was in the Navy and he was always putting down the Marines.

My immediate response was to say, "You mean, you have a SQUID for an uncle"? She asked me what I meant by that, and I responded by telling her that a Squid is merely a term of endearment that Marines use when talking about sailors. That was all I said, and the topic was changed.

Well, the dorms on campus had a midnight curfew, so I dutifully returned Carolyn to her dorm just in time for curfew, kissed her goodnight, and drove back to my apartment. About an hour and a half later, just as I am falling to sleep, the phone rings. It is Carolyn, and she is obviously upset, and crying, "What did I say; what did I say"?

So I asked her, "what do you mean, what DID you say"?

She told me that she had just called her Uncle David back on the East Coast, and woke him up by saying, "Hi, ya Squid"! His response was "Who's the G%$ D%$n Marine, and why are you waking me up at 4:00 o'clock in the morning"? Apparently she never heard her Uncle David speak like that to her before.

I tried to reassure her that Squid is merely a term of endearment that Marines have for sailors, adding, "You know, I would be upset, too, if you woke me up from a sound sleep like that. By the way, where is your uncle stationed" I asked?
"Washington, DC" she responded.
"Oh, he must be an officer," I said. "What is he, a Captain," I asked?
"No, he's an Admiral," she said.
"Which ONE," I asked?
"David McDonald" was her reply.

I immediately knew that I was going to pay dearly for this little indiscretion. You see, Admiral David McDonald was the Chief of Naval Operations at the time, and I had just called the number one sailor in the Navy, a SQUID! And pay, I most surely did.

A few months later, Admiral McDonald was in Colorado visiting family and friends. Carolyn told me that Uncle David specifically asked to meet me. Have you ever seen a Marine Sergeant dressed in civies, standing at attention, while being introduced to the CNO?

Fortunately, Uncle David had time to reflect on the whole incident, and had a pretty good laugh about it at my expense. He then invited Carolyn and me to join him for lunch with an old Navy buddy of his, who lived a few miles from me in Boulder.

The buddy turned out to be Admiral Arleigh Burke, a Boulder native, a hero of World War II and the Korean conflict, who later in his Navy career would serve an unprecedented three terms as the Chief of Naval Operations. I was glad some Admirals have a sense of humor.

Wesley A. Kent, SSgt, USMC (1965-1973)

Fire for Effect: Air Raid and Flood - Back to top

Sh-tbird Hall Of Fame
1953 San Diego Plt 81 (All Oklahoma) Junior DI Cpl P***** had a Squad Bay (Quonset Hut) game he called Air Raid and Flood.

Two blasts on his whistle meant an air raid and the two recruits assigned to a double bunk were required to put both foot lockers on the top bunk, then both get under the bottom bunk.( not possible?)

Flood was foot lockers on the bottom bunk both recruits on the top bunk with buckets in hand for bailing.

After becoming a DI myself in 1956 I copied a lot of the stuff from my recruit days but that was one I passed on. Little agony at Mathews ? Guilty . Marching in High Heels (tip Toes) maybe once or twice.. Are you trying for the sh-tbird hall of fame, Maggot?

Merle Fountain
Sgt 1953 1961

Pond Scum
Sgt Grit,

Just wanted to reply to Lamar's posting in the 1 July newsletter. Lamar mentioned that we all loosely toss around the term "DI" while it was never allowed by the Drill Instructors. He is correct, as I too recall our Drill Instructors flipping out in the early days of boot camp if a recruit mistakenly referred to them as DI.

But, to add to Lamar's statement, when many other Marines talk about their boot camp experiences I often hear or read that they were referred to as privates. This puzzles me, as our Drill Instructors (SSgt Krause and Sgts Ishmail and Mazenko - Parris Island Platoon 2063, Oct to Nov 1983), referred to us as recruits (among other names not to be mentioned here - lol) because, they kindly explained__"the rank of private E1 is a respectable rank in my Marine Corps and you pieces of pond scum are not going to make it in my beloved Corps, now or ever, so you sure as sh-t do not rate the right to be called private__scumbags!"

God bless our troops and our country!

Semper Fi

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Weapons Plt, Lima 3/8

Unique Vocal
MCRD San Diego, November of 1963, Platoon 285. We fell out after morning chow and policing the platoon area which included our portion of the grinder. Private S*** for brains thought it would be amusing to call cadence for another platoon passing by and enjoy the confusion that would follow.

No sooner than he had uttered a melodious imitation of our platoon commander's unique vocal signature, did the imitated staff sergeant magically materialize out of nothing behind the private. With one "gentle thump" the mimicking Marine-to-be, found himself lying on the deck with the grinning platoon commander standing over him.

"THAT"S RIGHT PRIVATE, Everyone wants to be a ****ing Drill Instructor!" became a phrase we would never forget.

Be Ready
This story is about the day I joined the Marine Corps, 27 June 1968. I call it "Recruiting Day".

As a 1967 graduate of Peru High School, in Peru, Indiana, I was sure that I was headed on to 4 years of college at Ball State University. As fate would have it, I had several classes with a USMCR Sgt who was attending Ball State with the goal of becoming a 2nd Lt after his graduation. He told me several stories of his summer training. Be that as it may, during my freshman year, I became disenchanted with higher education. After that eventful school year, I headed home for my summer vacation.

One morning I decided to go to the local recruiting center in the Post Office. I arrived that day at about 1100 hrs. I stopped at the Air Force recruiting office first, no one home. Next was the Navy. Again, no one home. I was starting to get discouraged when I tried the Marine Corps door. There sat one lone SSgt. After introducing myself, I stated that I wasn't returning to school in the fall, and that I wanted to enlist. After filling out some paperwork, he asked me when I wanted to ship out. I told him as soon as possible. He made a couple of phone calls and told me that he would pick me up at 0530 on 27 June 1968. His last words to me was "Be Ready!'.

0530 came bright and early, but I was showered & shaved and ready to go when he knocked on my door. I went with him to AFEES Indianapolis, took the tests and physical. After lunch, all the recruits and draftees were herded into a conference room where we were lined up by branch of service and were administered the Oath Of Enlistment. Then it was upstairs to get bus tickets to the airport and a late evening flight to LAX. Cattle cars awaited us, along with a ramrod straight Sgt, for the trip to MCRD San Diego. Then it was yellow footprints, haircuts, etc.

The 15 or so of us from Indiana were moved (herded) to one facility after another until we had finished our initial in processing. We finally ended up at a 1/2 sewer pipe for about 3 hours badly needed sleep.

Next day we were shocked awake by a gravel voiced Drill Instructor who informed us that he was the replacement for our father, mother, preacher, or whatever we left at home, and he would be kicking our collective butts until he made us worthy of the title of Marine. What an eventful 12 weeks. I graduated on my father's birthday, 3 Sep 1968. Platoon was 3029.

So, you see, I wasn't actually looking to become a Marine. It was only because one lone SSgt gave up his lunch hour to man his post. Thank God for that. He put me on the road to becoming a Marine, and, as a result, the man I am today.

Jim Gerard
Sgt of Marines 27 Jun 1968 - 9 Jun 1978
RVN 70/71 - Hq Btry 1/11 - Comm Section MOS 2841 (Radio Tech)
Semper Fi & OOORAH!

Fire for Effect: Inspections - Back to top

On The Front Site
1963 I was attached to Headquarters squadron at MCAS El Toro. David Shoup was Commandant and was scheduled to arrive at the base the next day. Quickly, they assembled an honor guard to receive Gen Shoup on the Tar Mac when he deplaned.

Only one problem, we had been issued the new M-14 that week and no one was totally familiar with the manual of arms. The Gunny had little time to work with us and just prior to the Commandant's arrival it was decided to march us all to the armory and issue us M-1 rifles to use for the ceremony. We had about two hours before the plane arrived and we all hustled back to the barracks to get into a hot shower to melt the cosmoline from the stored rifles.

Well, here comes the plane, honor guard at attention and of course, General Shoup has the honor to review the guard. Guess who was privileged enough to have his weapon taken and inspected? Guess who also spotted a blot of cosmoline on the front sight blade? The General certainly could have raised h&ll, but only smiled, asked me where I was from and returned the rifle. I KNOW he saw the grease, but I suspect he might have known the history behind the quick weapon reissue.

I do remember him standing in front of me, all 5' 6 or 7 inches looking up at me at 6' 4". Quite a memory!

Bob Schooks
Sgt. 1962-1966
H&S-3, MASS-3, MACS-4

See His Lips
Someone asked about the best day we had in the Corps. I don't know if this qualifies as the best but it was, for me, the most memorable.

It was the last week in May 1959 and we of Plt. 220, MCRD San Diego were ready to become Marines. The weeks of boot camp had gone by in a flash, or so it seemed, but the last day and night dragged beyond belief. The final morning followed a late afternoon field day of our hut (we were in the huts then - the fancy barrack buildings came later) and an even later whirlwind rifle cleaning, spit shinning, and knife edged crease pressing. We were ready.

You have to understand how a field day went in those huts. Everything was taken out - racks (bunk beds) included - and buckets full of soapy water were sloshed across the concrete floor followed by multiple buckets of clear water to clean away the soap. When we were done the floor sparkled - giving rise to a man's rational for picking food of the floor and eating it without thought - it was that clean. It was also somewhat damp but it aired out.

Our rifles were stacked in wooden racks along the center line. They had already been cleaned almost to the point of removing the bluing. I had spent hours on the stock alone with a heavy hand and linseed oil - you could use it for a mirror.

The morning came and time that had dragged now flew. We barely had time to put on our Class A uniforms, grab our rifles and hit the street - that is what we called the narrow alleyway fronting the huts and framed by the Drill Instructors' ice plant garden. We stood at ease while the huts were inspected, and reviewed each other for signs of stupidity - dangling threads and the like. I also took time for one last look at my rifle. The bore was clean, there was no sign of lint caught on any projecting metal or wooden snag, and then I flipped it over and decided it was time for me to die.

I wondered what the symptoms were for a heart attack and if I could fake one and if I did would that be enough to get me out of this parade. The butt plate on my M1 was a beautiful shade of pink. The damp air inside had attacked it during the night and now - you know no one had oil, or solvent. The best I came up with was a wire brush and that just moved some of the pink around a bit. I spat on it and brushed. Nothing. I put sand on it and brushed. Nothing. Well, to be honest, it was a little less pink, but I did not think the Colonel would judge me by degrees and I was almost positive that the Senior DI would not waste time in judging - he was more of a direct to punishment kind of guy.

My only hope was that the Colonel, in his review, would not select me for a rifle inspection. I kept repeating that hope as if it was a mantra and he moved down the line until he faced me. I have to brag here as I did execute a beautiful inspection arms but my manta didn't work - he snatched that rifle from me almost before my eyes were facing front again. He flipped it over to test the sling, and it passed his concept of tautness. He spun it around so he could look down the bore then flipped it again to look into the bore from the receiver. That final flip presented the butt plate directly into the eye level of the most even tempered of all staff sergeants in the Corps. He was in a constant rage. The butt plate was pink, his face drained to a sickly white and I swear his lips pulled back over three sets of teeth.

He was prepared to sink all of them into my backside when the Colonel made a final spin of the rifle, slammed it back into my waiting hands, and said: "Outstanding, Private" as he pivoted and stepped over to the next man in line.

I slammed the bolt home, returned to order arms, and watched some semblance of color return to the SDI's face. He stood directly in front of me making certain I could see his lips and the words he mouthed: "Lucky"

I would like to say that day formed my life but I can't quite make the claim. I do firmly believe that in any contest between lucky and good - I will choose lucky every time.

Bill McMangial
Much older, every bit as mean

Water Running Off
Sgt Grit,

Just wanted to drop a line to say how much I enjoy your newsletter. The stories are just great and bring back a lot of memories. I went in the day after Thanksgiving, 1