Last year I was visiting my stepmother in a rest home. While there I noticed an old man wearing a Marine cap. He was so old and frail looking. He told me of joining the Marines at the age of fourteen when WWII broke out. He knew that he had to lie, but it made no difference to him... well, last month I was at the rest home and saw him again. This time the hat was really worn and he didn't really remember meeting me last year... It didn't matter to me if he remembered me or not, what mattered was the old torn worn out hat he had on... I came straight home and called Sgt. Grit and ordered him a new cap with his name, rank, and WWII veteran on it with the Eagle Ball and Anchor... I also ordered him one of the pins with the American flag, Marine emblem, and WWII vet on it...
Last week my wife and I went to see him to deliver his new hat and pin... This old vet had tears streaming down his face... It was my honor to do this for a Marine friend. Too often these vets just sit and stare out of the window just thinking of the old days... of the things that have happened to them that most people cannot even fathom. He made the statement that my wife and I should not have spent the money... I informed him that he had deserved to have it... And that we were Marines always and forever... Before we left there he was crying again and asked my wife for a hug, which she proudly and happily gave him. We cannot wait to see him again... His name was Sgt. John Bateman.
I am respectfully
Cpl. C.G. Morgan 1962-1965.
1st Plt. M Co 3-5
1st Plt D Co 1-9
P.S. This picture is phenominal. If you can get it in the newsletter it would be great.
In This Issue
I just got off the phone with a Marine. One of many I talk to daily. I have a great job. He is a Vietnam vet trying to do some good new spiritual things with PTSD. Soft spoken, polite, easy going demeanor. Just trying to do some good for current returning Marines and sailors based on his personal experience with PTSD and what has helped him. He casually mentions the Navy Cross. I always check the online listing. Sure enough there he is. I have linked to his citation on the Sgt Grit Blog. Take a look at a hero from Vietnam and a quiet hero today. Navy Cross-- Kenneth Korkow.
Here we go: want a terrible thought?, salty herringbones, push my Seabag, my ego or the Mite, I was naughty, it's customary, polish the brass, timing was off, quad fifties, recruit yelled back, QUACK-QUACK, unarmed and uncertain, hit a little bump, the wife said, learning centers, one last try, look stupid,
Fair winds and following seas.
Here are Three pictures of The Ontos. The first two are from Camp Horno at Christmas 1963. The third was taken Sept.28 2011.
I Was Naughty
I recently returned to Parris Island for a little personal visit.
Upon entering the Museum on PI, a very sexy and interested DI looked me over. So I sang him a few of my old Corps songs... "My Marine Corps has a first name, it's K-I-L-L-L..." He LIKED it. I cannot tell you exactly what happened next (I was NAUGHTY with the DI) but I assure you, Parris Island is where it is at! What happens there stays there.
I trained there in 1995 as a nasty recruit. Seeing this special place again made me so happy. I came back to Chicago all motivated and charged up. I wanna go back to Parris Island!
The Drill Instructors are my favorite people in the entire Marine Corps. They are SEXY. FOREVER. Semper FI!
Amtrac And 105's
Couple weeks ago someone said they had seen the Amtracs in a museum in San Diego and didn't know if the Amtrac with the 105 howitzer, ever been used in combat? Well let me tell him it has, they had 5 of them set up at Cua Viet and the men that used them were good, they hit what the set their sight on, I tried to see if I had any pictures of them but I don't, [sorry]. But I did come across an old Sea Tiger newspaper dated May 3 1968 that I keep. here is a picture that was in it, feel free to print it, maybe someone will see themselves.
Sgt. Larry Walker
The first photo was me as the Senior Drill Instructor (center w/black belt around my waist) as I was picking up my very last platoon of new recruits in early 1992. I have a video of this as well I'd be happy to show you when we meet. Being a Drill Instructor was very taxing in that you were with the recruits for 16 hours every day and 24 hours every 3rd day for the 13 week duration they were in Recruit Training.
The second photo is my retired Drill Instructor Campaign cover. It's customary for outgoing Drill Instructors to have their last cover preserved with a plaque at the bottom reflecting their roles & accomplishments while on the Drill Field. I did 3 Platoons as an Assist Drill Instructor and 2 as the Sr. Drill Instructor until I took a Operations Chief role and then subsequently the 3RD Battalion Drill Master position for my final 6 months wearing the campaign cover.
The Drill Instructor tour was tough and very long hours (a decent % of marriages do not survive, including my very own) Hence an unofficial Marine saying, "it's about GOD, COUNTRY & CORPS, if they wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one... BUT... this was the most rewarding job I have ever had or will have... I thank God to have had this opportunity in my life and will never forget what my contribution meant to so many young men that "earned" the Eagle, Globe & Anchor...
Kept Clean And Ready
My husband, GySgt Ernest H. Collette retired from the Corps in September, 1973 and passed away last October. He had served in both Korea and Vietnam... it seems that from the time we were married he always informed me prior to deployment or any other absence exactly what I was to do if he didn't make it back. He had a page from a Marine Corps publication that listed the steps to take when a Marine died... complete with phone numbers, e mail addresses and fax numbers. He made sure I knew exactly where this information was.
Over the years his uniform was always kept cleaned and ready in the event it was needed for his funeral... and he let me know that he definitely wanted a Marine Corps Honor Guard. These were not things that I cared to discuss however I went along with it. When it became necessary for him to have open heart surgery last year once again we went through the routine of checking out the uniform and making sure it was clean and the medals and ribbons were placed properly... oh yes, one thing was always mentioned "be sure to polish the brass".
He didn't make it after the surgery and when my son and I went to make the arrangements, it was already done for us... he had let me know who he wanted for the service, the song he wanted and all the particulars so we wouldn't have to wonder. He wanted Amazing Grace and we asked if the funeral home had a CD of this song played on the bagpipes... they went better they had a piper in this area... it was very impressive and I know he was pleased, he got his honor guard from the Marine Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood, and yes... the brass was definitely polished.
This prior preparation was the greatest gift I could have received at the time, we knew exactly what he wanted and planning was so much easier on us. Although this isn't the easiest thing to do, it's a wonderful gift to give to your loved ones that are left to take care of arrangements...
Thank you, Betty Collette, Lebanon, Missouri.
For Cpl WW McFarland, USMCR. A pic' of 'my' M-42 at 29 Palms in late '58. I also joined the reserves at age 17 in '54. Made Pfc before I went to boot camp. Doesn't seem fair does it? (Had a buddy that stayed in the reserves and never went to boot camp). I left when the Corps decided to use rockets instead of these (WWII?) tracks.
Also had experience with quad fifties. If you think one fifty is fun... No stories except that I never hit much firing this rig. We also practiced at using the M-42 in a ground support role.
Bob Sturdevant Sgt USMC 1469231
Hello Sgt. Grit!
Just had a hysterical fit of laughter reading the infamous "Duck Walk" stories and have a good one to add.
Parris Island: Feb. 1967 and we were on the parade deck practicing for "Drill Comp". The most important and prestigious ribbon to add to our platoon guidon... Well, we just couldn't get it together that day and our Senior Drill Instructor had had enough...
"All right ladies! Just drag your weapons on the deck and sashay on back to the barracks! We're gonna have a party!
The fear rippled through our spines. All the way back to the barracks we were bombarded with choice insults and we all knew that the sh-t was gonna hit the fan real soon.
When we entered the barracks, we were told to put on our field jackets and our rain ponchos. The Senior Drill Instructor then closed the windows and turned on the heat. We did hand-stand push-ups with our feet on the walls... We then had to empty all of our foot lockers on the deck, take apart our racks and place them on the deck as well... The Assistant Drill Instructor turned on all the showers and the Senior D.I. said "OK Girls! Here we go! Get down in the crouch position with your weapons over your heads and walk like a duck and scream this phrase: "QUACK-QUACK! I am a sh-t bird!"
Round and round we went! Through the showers and around the squad bay for over an hour. "QUACK-Quack, QUACK-Quack!
We were given one hour to square away the barracks and as the Senior Drill Instructor entered the squad bay, we snapped to attention in front of our racks... "All right sweet peas, let us go back to the parade deck and see what happens!"
A week later we placed the drill comp, ribbon on our guidon...
Never let it be said that you can't learn anything from a little walk in the rain!
Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters!
Clifford "Chip" Ivie - Cpl of Marines. RVN 69-70
It could only be "divine intervention" that brought SSgt Nathaniel Watrous to our store on October 5th. SSgt Watrous and his wife along with their dog Penelope were passing through Oklahoma City on their way to California to report for Recruiting school when they got lost and turned around, then lo and behold! Awwwwwww, the clouds parted and the light was bright when SSgt looks up and sees the Sgt Grit sign. He couldn't believe it, right in front of him is his favorite store to shop for Marine Corps items. He had no intention of coming here, he didn't even know it was located in OKC; immediately he says to his wife "we are stopping!"
They came in and we had a wonderful conversation about his life in the Corps, his 6 or 7 tours overseas and his love for the Corps. SSgt Watrous is an Intel Chief with MWSG-37. He still has one more trip to make back east before settling in California and he plans on one more stop here so he can meet Sgt Grit in person. He commented how his dog is usually a really slow, lazy dog, but she too was overcome with emotion when coming into the store and ran quickly throughout the store as if she were home then she came to a rest right in front of our new sidewalk decals; this dog knows good product when she sees it.
On a serious note, we really enjoyed our visit with SSgt and his wife and look forward to seeing them again.
By Kristy Fomin, Sgt Grit Staff
That Liked Marines
I have many memories of Court Street... Speedos, Eight Ball, The Rathskellar. 3 or 4 of us used to pitch in $5 each and go every Saturday and get Sh-t faced on 3.2 beer then eat Lasagna and fresh hot bread at an Italian Joint down there. The girls at the Restaurant like us and just kept the bread coming. One of not that many places that had people that liked Marines in those days. That would have been 1970 after I got back from RVN.
Old Quonset Days
Sgt Grit... Just a short funny story about life in the Corps in the 50s... In 1956 I was going through MCRD at San Diego, and at that time our Billets were the old Quonset huts... If a recruit had reason to speak to the Drill Instructor he had to approach the DI's quarters where he would find a 2x4 nailed in the upright position, with another short piece of 2x4 on a rope hanging there... In order to speak to the DI you would have to take the short piece and slam it as hard as you could on the upright piece and holler at the top of your lungs "Sir private... request permission to speak to the Drill Instructor Sir "
One day a recruit approached the DI s hut and proceeded to slam the 2x4 down and yell out... "Sir private Jones request permission the speak to Drill Instructor Sir... " The DI said I can't hear you... Again the recruit yell even louder "Sir private Jones request permission to speak to Drill Instructor Sir"... The DI yelled back at him again "I still can't hear you idiot... So again the recruit determined to be heard this time screamed it out again "Sir private Jones request permission to speak to the Drill Instructor Sir" Again the DI came back with "I still can't hear you idiot " Fed up by now the recruit yelled back at him saying... Well how in the h-ll do you know I'm out here?... The next thing we heard was the DI saying "GET IN HERE" and then what sounded like the recruit bouncing off the walls of the DIs hut...
Just some fond memories of the old Quonset days at San Diego...
Howard W. Kennedy
Unarmed and Uncertain
Greetings from a Proud Marine Mom,
I read with interest the continuing cat story from Pendleton. The cat lives on! My son was stationed there awaiting orders in the Fall/Winter of 2006/2007. He was on guard duty one night and as he and his buddy were walking the trails they noticed some really big, luminous eyes looking over a sand dune. They stopped in their tracks as a huge cougar appeared over the top of the dune and began approaching them. He still swears the paws were as big as his face.
Unarmed and uncertain what to do these PFC's radioed in for instructions. By this time they were backing away and the cat was continuing to follow them. "A cougar following you?" they heard, "Well, just get the license plate number and we'll send the MP's!" We all still get a laugh out of this. Our son is now a Sgt. and has two deployments to Iraq under his belt.
Semper Fi, boys!
One of the brothers came thru with a good photo of everyone at our 363 reunion.
Front row left to right: John Horton, Ken Slye, Jeff Davis, Alan VanMaastrict, Tom Dietz, Mike Fund
Back Row left to right : Jerry Moots, Jim Collier, Jeff Sommers, Jesse Patterson, Richard Burke and me, Carson Gibson.
Thank you again!
Without Damaging Myself
My "end-of-obligated-active-service" date came in 1969, inconveniently corresponding with the need to down-size the Corps from 300,000 to the authorized manning level of 200,000, since we were pulling out of Vietnam. My requests to augment into the Regulars or to extend on active duty were denied, so I went home to Texas and joined the nearest Reserve unit (Companies C and D, 4th Recon Bn located aboard NAS Corpus Christi, TX--later combined and re-designated as "Charlie" 1/23--of which I got to be their second CO after re-designation. And here's a hearty "Welcome home from deployment, Charlie!" to my old unit.
In 1971, after completing my own unit's summer training, I had the opportunity to make a little extra money (which was especially welcome to this South Texas school teacher) by serving as a Reserve Liaison Officer aboard MCB 29 Palms for six weeks. My job was to insure that drilling reserve units had the proper facilities, transportation and equipment while undergoing their two-week ATD (Annual Training Duty) aboard the base. To travel around the base in performing my duties, I was assigned a Mighty Mite, which I had never driven before. My previous experience with that vehicle had been as a passenger.
When one of the units (I can't remember which, but one was from Eugene Oregon), was conducting a field exercise, the CO came to me and ordered me to take him up to the top of a nearby hill, so that he could get a better view of the terrain.
My reaction was to think, "Are you kidding me!?" But I responded with an "Aye, aye, Sir" that I hoped sounded more confident than I felt.
The Mite made the climb, which surprised me, and the colonel was satisfied. He dismissed me, and I was left to --carefully-- back down off that slope without damaging myself, my ego, or the Mite.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-'76 (for pay purposes--PLC candidate to company commander) Basic School Class 4-66
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67--the only time I served in my artillery MOS after training at Ft Sill
Emblem in Foreign Places
My wife and I took our whole family on a trip to Hungary this past summer. We visited relatives that I had not seen for sixty-three years. While at my cousin's house, his son arranged a trip to the fire station in Szentes. He thought it would be interesting because my son is a volunteer firefighter and my grandson is a junior firefighter in the town we live in.
When we returned to Connecticut, I saw the video my granddaughter took at the fire station and noticed a Marine Corps emblem decal on the wall in the station. Unfortunately, at this point the film ran out and I was unable to hear why the decal was there. Luckily, my son was able to get the e-mail address of the person who conducted the tour.
Through a series of e-mails I learned the following information. Ornagy Rajmund Kalman of the Szentes fire department wrote that every year on September 11, the Kiskunfelegyhazi, Kecskemet and Szentes firefighters organize a remembrance marathon. This is done in memory of and to honor the New York firefighters. They always invite firefighters from United States to join them.
Two years ago several war-disabled Marines were also invited. The emblem decal came from these Marines and Ornagy Rajmund Kalman said they guard it to this day. Following pictures attached.
Endre O Farkas
MSgt USMC Ret
Timing Was Off
You will be sad to learn that my brother, Robert A Connly, passed away in 2006. He would be pleased to know that lessons taught at Parris Island in 1957 had such a positive effect on your life.
Bob joined the Marine Corps in July 1951 and celebrated his 18th birthday November 9, yes 9th, Mom's timing was off by a day, in Korea. He was awarded 2 Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star w/V.
He became a DI in 1956 after S/Sgt McKeon ran his troops into the creek. I went through "Boot Camp" in Sept-Nov. 1956.
Soon after your platoon graduated Bob became an instructor at the D I School at Parris Island and after that he was the Company Gunny, Force Recon at Kaneohe Bay. He was selected for Warrant Officer in 1962 and finally retired as a Major in 1978. Bob was at Gitmo during the Cuban Missile Crisis and took part in the Dom Rep Operation. He did 2 tours in Viet Nam and was an instructor at a Counter Intelligence School in Virginia when he retired.
I have been in touch with some folks who served with Bob throughout his career and he was held in high regard by men who served with him.
It is nice to know that Bob had a positive effect on your life, D.A. he did in my life too.
You might recall that he could put on that DI's face and scare the living crap right out of you, but that was just an act. Wasn't it?
Dave Connly Cpl E4
Hope you are doing well and the weekend. See the attached for a couple quick shots I just took for you. I will try to get few more shots for you next week at the United Air Show at San Francisco. Talk to you alter and God bless you. Thank you again for the decal.
Per Cherea (Sgt Grit showroom sales rep):
I actually had to cut the Sidewalk decal (#GR4) out for the customer so that it would fit under the HOOD so when he displays the car with the hood popped up then you see the Marine Corps Emblem! This car really is something else! Maybe we could put it in the Newsletter?
Marine Corps Sidewalk Decals / Ground Graphics
Courts-Martial/Short Timer Platoon
Sgt Grit; I love the boot camp stories, But one of my fondest memories came after all the training was over and it was time to go to my first duty station.
After Infantry school at Camp Geiger (Oct 1979). I got orders to Lima co. 3/2 main side Lejeune. I checked in late in the day, glad to be done with the rigors of training and hoping for some kind of normalcy. I was met by a sad-eyed Sgt who began to apologize to me for having to come here. He said that Lima was the A**H*** of the battalion and was full of Men awaiting courts-martial or short timers. He kept saying how sorry he was and telling me not to judge the whole Corps by his unit.
As I followed him to my new platoon I was somewhat stunned that a Sgt would talk like that to a wet behind the ears private, It couldn't be that bad, could it? When we entered the squadbay, It was like entering something like a prison yard/zoo. Scarred bodies, tattooed arms and not a smile to be seen. As the Sgt tried to find me a bunk and wall-locker. He looked around and said. Here we go, you can have this one. Pvt so and so stabbed someone and deserted, he won't be coming back.
He then sent someone to get bolt cutters from supply to inventory the gear. While I'm standing there wondering if I'll survive the night if the deserter comes back, I notice a crazy looking Marine eyeing me up from the sidelines like a hyena checks out a 3 legged gazelle. He kept circling about keeping an eye on me waiting for the Sgt to finish.
Sure enough, as soon as the Sgt left, I turned around and there he was, right in my face with cold black eyes. The kind of eyes that said I've killed a dozen men and I'm looking for thirteen. Without even a hint of a smile, He looked me dead in the eye and said "Where you from". I wasn't sure what he "wanted" to hear, But figured honesty is best, so I just looked right back into those black eyes and said "I'm from Pittsburgh" It was if I had just jack slapped him. He staggered back a step and his eyes got big, "Pittsburgh!" He said, "Your from Pittsburgh?, Well Gowd D**M" he said, "I'm from Pittsburgh." Next thing I know he's running up and down the squadbay telling everyone."NOONE MESSES with the new guy, HE'S MY HOMEBOY." All I could do is look up and silently say - Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you thank you thank you...
Sgt Gary Mckruit 79-83
I was one of those members of the 3rd Engineer Bn 3rd Mar Div that landed on Naha, Okinawa in January 1955 to rehab Camp Trengan. Times were tough but we were rough and tough Marines just out of ITR at Camp Pendleton. Although times were tough we loved every day of it. I was there from January 1955 to March 1956 and returned to the states MCAS El Toro. Ooh Rah and Semper Fi for the Rock!
Tom Shipe Mesquite, Nevada
I have either been told to go get, or have told someone to get:
a tube of frequency grease
100 yards of flightline
a bucket of slack
an ID 10 T (put them together)
a radio net
a quart of back blast
SSgt DJ Huntsinger
I liked the "Running with the cat" story. Ever wondered what if you had just stopped and tried to commune with the cat. I don't know what I would have done, but those experiences don't come along often.
Pvt. Murphy 67/69
Michael Hanley asked if in 1967, there were ITR Companies X- Ray, Yankee and Zulu, located at a place called Stone Bay. Rick Leach said that he was there in December, 1965. I went through ITR at Stone Bay in August of 1969. I too remember the walk to chow through the woods, over to mainside (Geiger) and the constant watch for copperheads. So I guess X,Y & Z must have been there in '67.
Ron Morse 0311
Anyone make it over to the Pink Diamond while on Oki of an ole' Tug while on LIBBOOOOOOO???? Those were the days...
You wrote in your newsletter that you were trying to think up new closing statements. Try one of the old favorites. "Spread it out. One Career Adviser could get you all!"
You got it right Gunner. I went thru ITR @ Camp Grab--s in '65 and it was exactly that.
Lt. Col. B (Ret.)
out of boot camp at mcrd I was sent to okinawa to 3rd Marines 3rd fsr eng. mat. my ncoic sent me for a left-handed monkey wrench and told me not to come back till I found, so as a brand new Marine I did as I was told and went back to the barracks and reported to the 1 st. sgt and explained why I was back at the barracks and the 1 st sgt told me in to get back to work and sent that ***** sgt to get in here in his office right away I didn't make friends with that sgt that day, for six months I got every **** job he could find
jim lindquist 60-64
Ours was the search for "chem light batteries" or for the dangerous "prck E8 hand adapters".
Semper Fi Landis 0311 92-02
Push My Seabag
Sgt. Grit Cpl. Murch and Mr. Howard Kennedy brought back a lot of memories for this old man. I remember fondly Camp Matthews Rifle Range in February 1952 when I got to push my Seabag up one of the Agony hills I don't remember which in fact didn't know there were two.
While my Platoon was there they were putting in new sewer lines and they had put saw horses across the ditch with a plank over the saw horses so you can imagine the surprise when you were running for the head in the middle of the night and fell in one.
Ira Platoon 34 1224347
Dunno about X, Y, and Z companies, but can assure you that at 2ndITR (San Onofre, Pendleton) in the fall of 1957, there was a Papa (for P) company... Sgt Gaines, and one other 'troop handler'... (pretty apt title) Gaines was tall... really tall, and mostly legs. He led the Company on hikes... the other Sgt, whose name escapes me at this far remove, was a little guy of Puerto Rican ancestry, who brought up the rear, and was one mean little SOB. Both were Korea vets, and Gaines had really salty herringbones (we all had herringbones... just not salty ones... )... wore leggings, and a brass NCO whistle. The standard cover for troop handlers was a helmet liner, painted with high-gloss paint (blue... from memory... which ain't the only thing around here that ain't what it uster be...)
The Marine Corps Birthday fell in the middle of our training cycle, and the first day after found most of us still experiencing the after effects... which, if anything prompted Gaines to stretch out the pace even more than his usual gazelle- like bounds up the hills. We had heard that he had been arrested in San Clemente on the 10th... for tap-dancing on a bar, with a bottle of beer tucked in the front of his blue blouse... and we all wanted to be just like him someday.
Only problem with being Papa company, was all the alliterative opportunities afford Gaines and his evil garden-gnome sidekick... lots of words beginning with 'P'... and none of them were what you would call salutary...
Quebec Company was a row of Quonset huts over... busy times at ITR...
Some background for the Marine with the tragic report about Ontos running convoy escort with the tubes unloaded... as what was to some extent an ambush (i.e. stationary position when fired) weapon, the firing mechanism was not especially resistant to vibration or shock. I am pretty sure that there was an earlier incident in RVN, maybe two, where the weapon had fired on its own, and at the worst possible time. Consider that the 106RR is pretty devastating at both ends, having one (or more) fire inadvertently either at the front, or at the rear, of a column of trucks, presented a real risk... without going into a lengthy power-point, the firing pin was cocked when the breech was closed... blocking the firing pin was the sear... a stainless steel rod, maybe 8" long, that had a half-diameter notch in alignment with the firing pin... when/if the sear rotated 90 degrees, the firing pin was released... don't recall even the year, but vaguely recall getting the word (after one of the mishaps), that the 106's would remain unloaded until needed... the 'brass' was dammed if they did, dammed if they didn't...
Stale Air Out
My Trip to Okinawa aboard a WW II Liberty Ship
March 1961, we were once more loaded aboard buses with all our equipment and transported to the Naval Base in San Diego where we loaded aboard the USS Bainbridge (a Naval Personnel Transport Ship) and was assigned to a compartment. This was one of the Liberty Ships built during WWII. No comforts like Air Conditioning just fans trying to blow some outside air in and forcing the stale air out.
This was a big change from Barracks living. Here the compartment was about twenty-feet wide and thirty-feet long with bunks made of three-quarter inch round metal pipe frames about seven feet long and thirty inches wide with a canvas stretched between them. The beds started six-inches off the deck (floor) and twenty inches apart to the overhead (ceiling) fifteen-feet up.
The bunks where separated by a four-inch post to the left or right and only six-inches from the head or foot of the next bunk we slept head to head, foot to foot. I was told that I wanted a bunk as close to the top as I could get. Shortly after sailing I found the wisdom in this advice.
A lot of Marines got seasick the first few days at sea and some would hang their head over the side of the bunk and well you get the picture the higher up you where in the stack the less rain you could receive.
The Head (bathroom) was a feat of modern engineering, marveling up there with screen doors for Submarines, in a space of approximately 10-feet by 20-feet with five shower-heads mounted along each wall of the small area allowed for showering. Fresh water was rationed because with 1200 Marines showering twice a day they use more water than can be distilled. So the way it worked was from midnight to noon the shower was fresh water and from noon to mid night the water was seawater (saltwater).
The toilets where an experience that's worth additional description, they were troughs that ran from one side of the ship to the other with water running thorough them and numerous toilet seats attached from one side of the trough to the other side. So, as the ship rolled from side to side the water would slosh back and forth, yes timing was very important to anyone sitting on one of the seats.
Eating was an experience for all hands. To feed the 1200 Marines three times a day required that it be done by sections. Everyone was issued a meal pass and they were all different colors with every two hundred Marines receiving the same color pass. First they would call a color like Red, Green, or Tan so on and so forth, we would line up at the door to the Mess Deck (dining compartment) and wait for someone to finish so you can get in and have a place to eat. This was a compartment approximately 15 feet by 15 feet with several eight-man dining tables (that's a table that four men can eat on each side) and to save space we ate standing.
They used no glass plates, or drinking glasses just metal trays and metal cups. That way if anything was dropped or fell to the floor nothing got broke and no one got cut if by chance they fell. The tables all had a raised edge around them. This lip was designed to help keep the trays from sliding off the table and on to the floor as the ship rolled. (It did not work well keeping the tray on the table but it did insure that the tray would flip upside down before it hit the floor).
The first time we got into rough weather we quickly discovered why they called the eating compartment the "MESS" Deck. I think there was more food on the floor then anyone was able to eat that passed through the Mess Hall. Now of course the Navy will never miss an opportunity to play games with a Marine. So every time the weather was bad and the ship rolled a lot they served spaghetti or something just as greasy. On days like that the Mess Deck was like trying to walk on ice. We would stand holding on to the table with one hand and your thumb hooked into the tray so it would remain in front of you while eating with the other hand. You never let your tray slide down the table because when it returned someone would have added something to it and of course it seemed to always be after some processing.
Yes ever day is a holiday and every meals a banquet. We sure traveled first class.
After two weeks we finely arrived and docked at Yokohama, Japan and they allowed us liberty for two nights. For the first time I walked on a foreign soil. The Japan I saw was much like the Japan in the movie Sayonara.
You must remember that this was just fifteen years after WWII and not much had changed at this time. The currency exchange then was 360 Yen for one US Green Back (one Dollar bill). For ten dollars you received 3600 Yen and that was like having one hundred dollars in the US. So for ten dollars I had a great time, I went to town and did what all good Marines are required to do. I got drunk and tried Japanese food for the first time.
J C Strauss
GySgt USMC Ret.
1960 - 1978 (Medical Retirement)
They retired me I have not retired the CORPS
Hit A Little Bump
I have read with interest the stories about the Ontos and the Mighty Mites. From 1960-61 I was the Maintenance /MT Officer for the 3rd AT Battalion at Camp Schwaub on Okinawa. One day the CO called me into his office to inform me we were to be a test unit for something called the "Mighty Mite." That afternoon 6, shinny, brand new Mighty Mites arrived at my front door.
We had no trouble inventorying them since there was nothing there except the vehicles themselves, plus a little supply paper work. All went well at first, until one broke down, and I had to send one of my 5 ton wreckers to retrieve it. The wrecker arrived back with the vehicle on the "hook" and the wrecker driver telling me that he only hit a little bump. The lifting eyes, on each end of the bumper, were now standing tall at a 90 degree angle to the frame.
The next problem came when I needed a spare tire and requisitioned one from supply, only to be informed that there were no tires that size in the entire Division. I told the mechanics to take one from the unit with the bent bumpers. It was then I learned that every nut and bolt on this vehicle was in the new, to us, International, European sizes "mm." Needless to say there was not one tool in the Division that would fit. This also proved to be the case with spark plugs, oil filters, etc.
We had a rock break a windshield, and you guessed it, no glass in supply anywhere. About this time the rains started and we realized there was no frame or canvas top. This we corrected by constructing our own frames and modifying the JEEP tops.
It was about this time we learned the spare parts, tools, spare tire, and top were in what American Motors called "The Trailer" package, which the Marine Corps did not see any reason to purchase since we still had plenty of the old M100 Jeep trailers. The last straw was when we hooked the M100 up to the Mighty Mite it was a sight to behold. The M100 was nearly the size of the Mighty Mite and sat with its bed at about a 30 degree angle to the sky, even with the windshield. It really ruined the gas mileage.
Finally, my tour was over and as I left, I saw six broken down Mighty Mites sitting in a row at the back of the maintenance lot, looking much the worse for wear.
In Field Artillery, (King of Battle), we would send the boots from gun #1 down to gun #6 for a roll of gun-line. But of course gun #6 did not have it anymore and would send the boot to gun #2. Then to gun #5 from there, and so one until the boot traveled the whole gun-line.
My favorite was sending the boot to the Battery Gunny's vehicle and asking for a "PRCK-E8" radio. Or sending them back to FDC to ask for a "ID10T" form. Also on their first night in the field somehow they would be attached to the underside of the cannon tube, sleeping bag and all, with "100 mph" tape, and have the tube elevated for all to see in the morning. However no one was ever sure how this happened, wink-wink. Personally I don't think that the "Espirit de Corps", would be the same without boot games. When it happened to you, you felt connected to your unit for the first time.
The Wife Said
I just read Short Rounds.. oh the memories.. While stationed at 8th and I (81-84) we had a few things we did to the boots.. We would send them out for a ST 1 which is a st-one.. We would also pick 1 or 2 new Marines that we sent to the commandants house for breakfast on Sunday morning.. Good thing that the MSgt there had a since of humor..
Another thing that comes to mind is we use to wrestle down the FNG's and strip them down to their skivvies. We would use scabbard tape and tape them up.. and mark on them with markers.. then haul them down to the WM floor of the barracks and place them in the hall and run away banging on all the doors as we ran.. (yes I was on the receiving end of this joke)
Then I lat moved to the Wing.. the wife said that the Marines needed to teach me something more than the skills a Grunt knows.. (I wish I would of never left the Grunts.. The back bone of the Marine Corps) Anyway we sent the new guys to go get flight line.. And wouldn't you know it.. One day they showed up with some.. ? So we stopped that one as we got in a little trouble over it.. We sent them out for grid squares also..
Thanks for bringing back some old memories of the Corps..! Semper Fi from the heart.
Dan J Fisher
I still remember you my Brothers!
BA 1100 November
Semper Fi Sgt. Grit
First let me say how much I admire your catalog and the news letter.
Getting to the subject's I wish to cover. While station with A.T. Tow co.1st tank Bn.tow being a new weapon for the Corps at this time, we were over t/o with I.T.S. grads and OCS grad alike. Some of these boy I remember fondly but no new man was ever spared the hunt for a BA1100n also known as the B.A.1100 November.
As the tow was at that time mounted on the M-151 jeep, we would catch a new man in the motor pool and begin his mission for this item that was needed to repair this vehicle or weapons system. We would send them to supply to start or the armory. on occasion we have been known to send a new lewie to the Sgt.Maj for the proper paper work required to get such an item.
One day I sent T2 new men to the armory to get a B.A.1100 november. When one of them looked at me and said he would to go to the Px, to get me my balloon. Recommended him for promotion to L/Cpl the same day. Plt Cmdr and CO both agreed and he was promoted two days later. The officers however were promptly told in no uncertain terms to get out of the SgtMaj office and his face. Everyone in HQ got a good hard laugh. The Marines name was James Matsuda who was promoted for his alertness to the balloon scam.
Thank you for your time and for taking the time from your busy day to read and print my letter. Semper Fi and keep up the good work.
Dean P. Monington
Sgt. of Marines.(ret) 75-96
I read in the newsletter about Nam Vets and bad homecomings. My second homecoming wasn't pleasant, but that was another time and water under the bridge. I hope that those who treated us badly think about what they did, and feel bad about what they did
I have had more strangers come up to me and thank me for my service in the past five years than ever before. I even had a woman pay for my weekly lottery tickets, and a young Navy corpsman paid for my few groceries one day.
The most memorable incident occurred outside my local market. I was putting my purchases in my car, when I noticed three scruffy teenage boys walking my way. I think my DI would have called them soup sandwiches. I heard one of them say "Vietnam vet huh?"(bpr sticker and cap). I turned around and said "yes I am". I was shocked at his comment, he said "you guys never received half the credit you deserved". I told him that coming from someone who wasn't even born yet it meant a lot to me. He just waved to me and kept walking, but I will never forget what he said. It kind of restored my faith in Americas youth.
So brothers keep in mind "Not everyone hated us"
WELCOME HOME BROTHERS
Joe Boitnott USMV 64-74
Want A Terrible Thought
Enjoyed the newsletter as always.
When I was at PI August to November, 1964, there was a Motivation Plt. DIs threatened us with it. We were told one day a week (Tuesday?) was H-ll Day, when they ran the island with packs full of bricks. Didn't want to go there and never did.
In Comm, we used to send guys for frequency grease and zero beats.
My second time at Lejeune, used to go to a bar downtown called the Double Eagle for the 3.2 beer. Introduced me to the Clancy Brothers on the juke box.
Want a terrible thought, Marines? Imagine what your life would have been like if you had not made it through boot camp.
Once a SSgt, always a Marine.
I never was stationed at Lejeune, so I never did get to visit Court Street. But, on Okinawa we had B.C. Street and Gate2 Street in Koza (otherwise known as Okinawa City) that were exactly the same. I am sure that you could find the equivalent outside of any major base back then. I don't know if base commanders and the civilian population are as tolerant these days. So, those great "learning centers" may have all gone the same way as those of us who once kept them lively.
Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82
Not A Tank
Mr McFarland's request for info on the M42 Duster has arrived. The M42 was a hybrid, or mutant, of the M19 Gun Carriage, which mounted twin Bofors 40mm AA, with the drive unit and hull of the M41 Walker "Bullgog", and was designated the M42. But it was NOT a tank, light of otherwise. All tanks or fighting vehicles are named for past generals, so 'Duster' says it's not a tank. Good luck and Semper Fi.
I'm not sure you can use this for the newsletter but, I thought I would share it. I am a civilian but, not by choice. I have used a wheelchair all my life. My first year at a special summer camp (age 6) one of the counselors, Bill had taken to telling all the kids that there were mutant alligators that lived in the mountains and came out at night to eat kids. He had a realistic alligator costume he used to make foot prints, and add realism to the story. I didn't sleep for days.
One of my counselors tried to talk to Bill about easing up but, that only made it worse and he began singling me out to mess with. He would ask me to come hunting the alligators, show me parts of the costume saying he had just caught one and they must be getting braver etc.
Well one of the other guy counselors was a Marine, who had recently been honorably discharged. I have Marines in my family; so we started talking when I saw his high and tight. He asked me why I looked tired and I explained what Bill said about the alligators. He assured me there weren't any and said that if Bill started messing with me again I should call him.
Later, we were all on a nature walk around the camp. Something happened with someone's wheelchair; so the walk had stopped momentarily. We happened to be on a bridge built between two hills that were too steep for wheelchairs (it was built for accessibility). We must have been at least 10 feet off the ground and there were sharp boulders just below. Bill took the break as an opportunity to mess with me more: asking me whether I thought a rustling nearby could be an alligator.
As instructed, I called the Marine. A second later, it seemed, the Marine had Bill in one hand by his shirt over the side of the bridge. He asked me if he should drop Bill and of course I said yes. But then he asked if he really needed to, in order to solve the problem and pointed out the sharp rocks. In the end, I said "well just make him promise to leave me alone". At that moment, I think Bill would have promised anything just to be put back safely on the ground. So, he did promise and the rest of the summer was great.
Looking back, I know the Marine was never going to drop Bill but, it was great to be given the power to make the call after being teased for a week.
Physical Conditioning Platoon
I just finished reading another of your great newsletters. I wanted to chime in about some of the alternate training platoons during the early 80's and some other memories from that time.
I was at MCRD S.D. in the summer of 1983 and spent time in 3rd battalion, 1st battalion, and the Physical Conditioning Platoon (PCP). I ended up at PCP after failure to complete the 1st PFT, just before going to the rifle range. During the 80's there was no longer a motivational platoon, some changes as a result of the Ribbon Creek incident and other "abuses", but the PCP was alive and well. I recall being marched over to the PCP with another recruit, that would later be discharged as unfit. It was a rather humiliating trek across the grinder.
Upon arrival we conducted a sea bag inventory and had a reception that rivaled our first night at MCRD. I was certainly motivated not to stay there any longer than I had to. Our schedule consisted of PT sessions three times a day - morning, afternoon, and evening - with training in the late afternoons. We ran quite a bit and had our own weight room across the street, which we also used on a regular basis. PFT's were conducted every Friday morning and if you passed you would be rotated back to a regular training platoon, if not you fell out for the afternoon PT session and trained for another week. Weekends had a bit of a lighter schedule from a PT perspective, but more training and drill practice.
We also provided the firewatch for the Correctional Custody Platoon, which was on the first deck. Those guys really had it rough, as their days were spent sanding huge wooden desks with a piece of sandpaper about the size of a 3 X 5 card and generally being yelled at for anything short of breathing and sanding. They even had to hang their belts on a nail before going into use the head. We were told at night, if one of the recruits attempted to escape we were authorized to use deadly force; although, not sure how as we didn't carry a weapon or if it was even true. Most nights were quiet.
I spent nearly 4 weeks there before I was able to lose enough and complete the required pull-ups to pass the PFT. The DI's there were some of the best I had the experience to be mentored by as they truly wanted us to be successful and were great at providing true motivation.
As a side note we had two individuals who were there when I arrived and they were hoping for the "unfit" discharge, did just enough to get by but not pass. There were there when I arrived at the PCP and still there when I rotated back to a regular platoon; I happened to see them being marched over to Casual Company (discharge platoon) around the same week I was graduating. I thought, those poor guys spent more time waiting to be discharged than if they would have just completed the training and could claim the title of U.S. Marine. Not good Marine material anyway, I guess.
Reported to Camp Pendleton and some of the FNG's got sent for the typical stuff, box of grid squares, roll of flight line, and a couple I've not seen mentioned; a can of backblast, a can of striped spray paint, and even a brass magnet. Great memories!
C. E. "dvldog" Harris
September this year attend 50th HS reunion... July was 50th year/month since I joined the Corps.
Semper Fi still strong.- Irv
To Pull A Trigger
Dear Sgt Grit,
I was a little before your time, but in April or May, 1961 my friend and I were scheduled to Graduate from Edmond High School. We decided we would go down to OKC before graduation and enlist in the famous "Thunderbird" 45th Division from WWII fame, which was then the Oklahoma National Guard. We figured 6 months active duty and then we could return to Edmond and get into Central State College (then).
Well, there were no slots available in the 45th, and as we walked by the USMC recruiting station, we were engaged by the Recruiting Sgt, and ended up enlisting in the USMC for 4 years, but with a deferred enlistment of July 31, 1961. So on 7/31/1961 we flew (first time in a plane) to Los Angeles and then to San Diego, where we were put on the bus and received the "usual welcome" on the Yellow Footprints. At the time I was 6'1" and 148 pounds, and suffering from a wasted summer, or a summer where I was wasted. Boot Camp was a shock to my system, being from a small OK town (Edmond was about 5,000 people back then), but I was able to get the mental stress under control.
Of course, right at the first the "wide body" recruits were given reflective vests and double-timed everywhere, including forward of the platoon to be "street guards". The ones who weren't able to improve were sent to the Physical Training Unit, but they weren't the only ones. Some of the scrawny kids, like myself, were also sent to improve muscle strength. I had no real problem with any of the Physical Qualifications in those days, except for doing pull-ups, and no matter how many personal training sessions with the DI's or how much I tried individually, I was stuck at about 4 pull-ups. So I lived in fear of the PTU my entire time at Boot Camp in the fall of 1961!
As we neared Graduation Time, we took the Physical Qualification course for the last time and I was a superstar in situp's, pushups, the 3 mile run in full combat gear, the rope climb, etc., but I just couldn't get the pull-up's. That evening my two DI's, whose names I forget, took me back out to the pull up bars for one last try. It was a defining moment for my USMC career, but nevertheless I couldn't do more than 4 pull-ups. My DI's looked at each other, and then the Senior DI looked at me and said, "well it only takes 1 pound of finger pressure to pull a trigger, son, you've passed". I was never so relieved in my life!
Former Sgt. Jim Holden USMC
1/1 and 2/9, 1961-1967
Thank you for helping to make the Delta Co, 2nd Plt (1965 - 1966) reunion a success. All of us were so thankful for the "Good Gear" you supplied.
When I came to Mike 3/1 at San Mateo area in Oct of 1964 we had a couple of weeks where there wasn't any intensive training taking place and the "Salts" worked real hard at making us "Boots" look stupid.
LCpl Richard White (Louisiana) and Cpl Burhop sent me to battalion supply to pick up a TR-Double E. The supply Sgt. kinda grinned and told me that my fire team leader made a mistake (Not the words he used) and that I had to go to H & S Co. Comm. Section for that... Then was sent to a couple more places before going back to the company and reporting that there were none to be found.
PFC Ron Hicks said, "Hey Strawn, how do you spell that"?... In a second or two it hit me that I had been had...
Semper Fidelis Brother,
Cpl Dale Strawn
1964-1967 and again 1973-1976
"If the government gets into business on any large scale, we soon find that the beneficiaries attempt to play a large part in the control. While in theory it is to serve the public, in practice it will be very largely serving private interests."
--President Calvin Coolidge
"In case of doubt, attack."
--Gen. George Patton
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."
--Harold Wilson (1916 - 1995)
Have an outstanding Marine Corps day!