Sgt Grit Newsletter - 15 SEP 2011

In this issue:
• Presidential Visit
• Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa, Korea
• Motivation Platoon

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Both of my daughters will tell you what it's like to have a Marine for your Dad. After not getting along for weeks they were awakened at 04:30 and told to 'get into your sweat gear'! Outside we went.

Gave them each an entrenching tool and had them dig a hole to bury a log I had selected. They had to do it together to accomplish their mission, Gung Ho! Yes, once buried they had to dig it up because they buried the wrong log. They have been getting along ever since then and that was 1986.

Semper Fi, Gung Ho, God Bless the US Marine Corps
Cpl. Zikaras Lima 3/9 RVN 68-69

In This Issue

Here we go: Flashback, kill the SOB, too embarrassed, motivation platoon, unimposing PFC, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa, Korea, can't race, tough tiger, Ontos empty tubes, kicked both Marines, Candy Tough, Marine Dad, too much fun, good morning Sir, face down and spread eagle, woke up dead, not stand up, Ontos and more.

Sgt Grit

Kill The SOB

Sgt. Grit, I keep reading of H.S. Truman's dislike of our Corps. I think he had some respect that should be noted. I was a recruit at PI from Oct 5, to Dec 28th, 1958. As I recall our platoon #347 was at bayonet training with pugil sticks and our DI's had been told to expect a dignitary to visit our site. The DI's selected two sets of two recruits to have the protective gear on and to do their best to display their abilities and were admonished to beat their opponent. A big long black Cadillac with 2 star flags on the front fenders pulled up.

The rear door opened and out stepped a general and Harry Truman. The two biggest recruits went at it. Almost immediately Pres. Truman was yelling kill the SOB. About that time his daughter was in the back seat with the window down yelling Daddy stop them -- that's horrible. Pres. Truman said shut up and roll that window back up. After the two recruits finished Truman and the general got back in the limo and drove off. I got the feeling Pres. Truman enjoyed the battle and the Marine spirit.

Cpl David A. LeVine 1690001 2531

Old Amtrac patch: H-6?

Old Amtrac Patch?

My 3 Year Old

I was referred to your site by a buddy who served in 2nd Tracks out of Camp Lejeune. Glad I found it. My 3 year old wants to be a Marine when he gets older. Recently I ordered a utility cover for him. As you can see in the picture, he loves it. I'm sure we will be ordering plenty more items. Thanks.

Dan Minninger

Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa, Korea

Enjoyed the letters involving the ones who served later in the Corps. My wars involved WW2 and the Korean conflict. I am definitely proud of being a small part of both. I remember that the person you didn't know was called Mac and that is the sum total of the words that I remember. Now I wish someone would explain what a house mouse is to me. Also any later strange short cuts in the words used.

Enlisted at 17 in June of 42. Spent the fall of the year on an island called Guadalcanal as a member of the 2nd Marine Division. Exciting time. Got a good birthday present by leaving to go to New Zealand. We stayed there for about 6 months and went to a small island called Tarawa. Every Marine knew what we went thru there. Wading in was rough but if you were lucky you made it and the fun had just begun. Took almost 4 days to whip the J-ps and leave for Hawaii. Had a nice camp there but it was no New Zealand.

Came back to the USA in the spring and moved out in the fall for the replacement depot at Pearl Harbor. Was reassigned to the 6th Marine Division and went to Okinawa shortly. Was finished with the J-ps about 3 or 4 months later and began to get ready for invading the homeland. God bless Harry Truman cause he saved many Marines and no telling how many other branches of service when he made the decision to drop the bomb.

Sent back to the states to finish my tour. I was regular and had to serve my 4 years. Got my discharge and came home. Started thinking about the Corps and what a life we led and went to the recruiters and joined the reserve. Then came Korea and my reserve became regular. Luckily I spent the year of service in the states trying to pass the info on to boots about how it would be when they were the ones in combat.

I am real proud of my service and have met a number of Marines in the nearly 70 years that has flown by. God Bless ALL of you who have served in all of the wars. SEMPER FI

Joe Jordan USMC 1942-1946 USMCR 1947-1952


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just arrived at Camp Schwab, Okinawa in January 1970. The first thing my Platoon Sergeant said to me was to double time down to supply, stand in front of the supply Sgt. and yell as loud as I could that Kilo Co. 3/9 needs 1 bucket of BACKBLAST... and of course this PFC did just as ordered. That was over 41 years ago... I can still hear all of them laughing.

I got to clean the squad bay floor and pretty soon, I was laughing about it too... embarrassed but still laughing about it.

Barry McNeely
United States Marine Corps

Motivation Platoon

Sgt Grit,
I was just wondering if anyone else out there went through Boot Camp in San Diego during the first part of January 1970. I was drafted into the Marines as a result of the first draft lottery (my number was #2). Upon arriving at the Recruit Depot I went through the normal indoctrination as everyone else.

After being assigned to a Troop my Drill Instructor thought I was too skinny to complete the physical fitness portion of Boot Camp and had me assigned to the "Fat Squad" or Motivation Platoon. During my stay at the motivation platoon I certainly got motivated and I gained a lot of weight due to the "double rations" I was required to eat at every meal and the intense physical training we all endured.

The "Fat Squad" was named that for the guys who were very over weight and their rations consisted of mostly cottage cheese and lettuce. Upon leaving the Motivation Platoon and rejoining a new Troop I definitely had the upper hand at almost everything that was physical; I gained over 55 pounds in the Fat Squad and had the endurance to outperform most of the guys in my new Troop. I even went on to be one of the 10% who were promoted in boot camp for outstanding abilities in one of their predetermined categories.

Curtis J. Sieck

Especially Proud

We were a home school family and home on 9-11-2001.

-My sons and I watched as the first tower burned. The news commentators speculated about the "accident". Then we watched as the second plane hit the second tower. That morning we watched the both World Trade Center Towers collapse.

-The boys were getting very excited, calling their scout friends, then the news switched to Washington, D.C. I, frankly, could not believe this, then word of a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. It would be some time before we learned the full story Pennsylvania.

-My oldest son, then 13, joined the Marine Corps as soon as he could, 5 years later.

-His brother, my youngest, joined the Navy @ 19.

-This is the result of an attack on our country, a spontaneous patriotic outpouring from all over this country.

-As you can see my boys had to wait to serve, but the intensity of their resolve did not wane.

-I am grateful this country still produces young men that love this country so much that they are willing to lay down their lives, put themselves in harm's way for us. I am especially proud that my sons choose to serve.

-Last year I ordered this sign - see picture. I will never forget!

Carole Handley
PMM Sgt Matthew (in-active reserves)
Eagle Scouts, both!

Sgt Grit Blog Responses

As the daughter of a Marine, this makes me cry with laughter.

My daddy, Sgt. James E. Adkins (1962 - 1966), taught my sister and me, how to play poker with light brights on rainy Saturday afternoons, how to close our eyes and remember where everything is in the room (especially somewhere new), just in case the lights went out or there was a fire, how to use our toes if we could not use our hands, how to use chop sticks and drill a hole with a knife in our toe nail (if we dropped some thing on it) to release the pressure of blood forming. One doc thought it was very impressive I did that myself.

These life lessons from daddy have served me very well over the years. Thank you so much for sharing. With much love and respect,

Semper Fi

Jamie Adkins and my dog Gunny

Loved this list ! I'm a (Woman) Marine vet married to a Navy guy (now retired). We acquired a cockatiel that whistled "Bridge On the River Kwai" when we got him. Shortly thereafter he was also whistling "The Marine Hymn" and "Anchors Aweigh!" :)

Read the Sgt Grit Blog

Which Way

February 1969, we were in a flight of two UH-34Ds having finished refueling at Quang Tri when a call came in for an ambush in progress on Highway 9. We were on our way to Vandegrift anyway so we "raced to the scene". Ok, so you can't "race" anywhere in an H-34. We arrived to see an Ontos near the river on the right side of Highway 9, facing toward the ridge on our left with signs of a fight in between. Another was running around seeming to say "Which way did they go, which way did they go?" Apparently, the bad guys exited up the ridge so we were asked to VR the ridge low and slow to draw fire so the Ontos could do his job. Nothing came of it so it appears Charlie didn't want to hang around when the little scooters were loose.

Wayne Stafford
RVN 68-69

Unimposing PFC

Just my quick contribution to the drawing on officers story.

In February 1998 when I arrived at Camp Pendleton I was selected for guard duty before I went to MCT. We guarded the barracks' armories and did roving patrols of the area where the MCT and Infantry training barracks were.

Had a couple Sgts and Cpls who were either trying very hard to impress us with how hard core (Hard Corps perhaps?) they were or were just on the career track to nowhere and knew it. Made for an interesting "Lord of the Flies" experience those several weeks.

However we also had a LCpl of the Guard who was squared away, took his job seriously, and knew he was punching above his weight and being watched because of it. He was working a billet in the Guard just like the Cpls and Sgts. Being that he wasn't a NCO it was a bit odd but we were told specifically to treat him as we would any Cpl or Sgt of the Guard. Turned out he had never been "to the fleet" and only had 6 or so months more time in service than the rest of us in the Guard platoon.

Couple weeks went by and we finally heard the story of how he got there. He himself had been selected for Guard Duty and one night was walking his post at the training area armory. A very drunk and very large LT walked up and demanded access so he could get his M9 and go find his wife. The then PFC refused him and told him he could not allow him in. The officer made a move to grab at his keys and he deflected him and again, insisted he couldn't and told the officer to go away.

The officer now decided he'd just attack this rather small, Hispanic, unimposing PFC and take the keys. The PFC easily got the better of the officer, knocked him to the ground, and detained him while contacting the Cpl of the Guard and the MP's. The incident was investigated, his actions were found correct, and he ended up meritoriously being promoted to LCpl and receiving commendations for his handling of the situation.

I wish I could remember names but I was more eager to get to MCT and MOS training.

Cpl Mathias
7011 97-01

Pretty Light

while in recon school at camp Pendleton our platoon was doing night exercises on old smoky. i and pfc bell were on op and we fell asleep. the whole platoon was set to move out but couldn't find us. after about an hour we were located. for punishment we were made to double time around the platoon as they forced marched back to camp horno. pretty light considering what would happen if we were in combat.

we were also told to repeat all the way back " i f-cked up i killed the 2nd platoon" you know i never fell asleep an watch in viet nam. as for the 2 Marines in question, maybe they should have been put on graves registration detail and see what could have been the results of some Marine falling asleep on watch.


Tough Tiger

Last year in June my wife took me to the emergency room to find out why I kept throwing up. A scope was put down my throat. The doctor called me while I was in recovery and advised me, "We got the biopsy back. You have cancer. I'll call your wife". What a h-ll of a way to find out. I was transported to another hospital where a team, that specialized in "The Whipple" surgery, would do the operation. The four to eight hour surgery was done in 90 minutes. The cancer was in stage 4 and to close to major arteries so they closed me up. Chemo was the next treatment when I got my strength back.

H-ll is nothing like what your own mind can do to you. When they gave me the anesthesia no one knew that I had pneumonia as well. The combination of the two took me to places where I had to survive if I wanted to live. For three days I fought to stay alive. Marines never give up. Viet-nam was not good during my trips in my mind. I even asked God to send my son to find me. He was a SSgt. in the Marines at that time. One the fourth day I was coming back and I asked where did they find me. I was told I had been right there in the hospital. I told them, "No, I was not". I could not tell them what I had been through of where I had gone. I would not wish that living H-LL on anyone.

Needless to say I was pretty down until a friend at my department called me a few day later. He told me he could tell by my voice that I was not sure if I would make it. He said he knew I was one tough Marine who would recover and get back to work. He called the next day and told me he had something for me to hear. What I heard brought the fight back to me. It was the Marines Hymn sung by Marines. He said he could hear the change in my voice. He also informed me that most at my department figured I would never be back to work, even if I made a recovery. I was back in the fight of my life with God's help. I had a nurse suggest that I get a tattoo saying, "One Tough Bast- rd". Another nurse translated it into Vietnamese for me. She would not use the "B" word and changed it to Tiger.

I made it home and slowly got some strength back. After two months I told my wife I had to get back to work. So many people were surprised when I walked in. They all finely understood that I was One Tough Tiger and I would never quit fighting for my life and my family. I went back to full time police patrol duty and on the third day I arrested someone for 2nd degree charges for Aggravated S-xual Assault. I was back and 45 pounds lighter.

I ended up with 12 Chemo treatments and in March this year they checked to find things shrank enough for them to go back in. They got it all. I was home in a week and back to work in May. I lost a total of 95 pounds, all the way to 160 pounds and I am now 170 pounds. No one at my department doubts that Marines are tough and we do make a strong comeback. Besides, at 70 I am not ready to retire. I never want to think what the outcome would have been if I were not a Marine. Thanks to God and the words of wisdom, the DI's at Parris Island and surviving Vietnam. They all helped put a fire in me that will never burn out. Semper Fi!

John Halpin
2/9 Viet-Nam

Kicked Both Marines

Hi Don,
Just read the new Sgt Grit News and was taken back nearly 42 years by the sad story of the Marine in Afghanistan to when I was a l/cpl in Viet Nam. I truly mourn this young Marines tragic death.

As for my own story, one night late in my tour, as was too often the case, I happened to stand guard/bunker duty. As I recall, a normal watch was to have four Marines per bunker with 50% up at any one time unless there was a higher threat level.

On this given night I was teamed with three new guys. They had all been in country less than a week. I reviewed the standard procedures and made a point that there was to be no lollygagging, daydreaming about Sally rotten crotch back home and no sleeping. Next morning when sunlight came up I was shocked to see that the first two strands of concertina, directly in front of our bunker, had been cut. The two Marines who had been on watch before me were sound asleep.

Now understand, I had less than 60 days left in country. To say I was p!ssed is an understatement. I kicked both Marines awake and pointed out the cut in the wire. They both admitted they may have fallen asleep. I lost it and proceeded to lock and load my M16 on both of these young Marines. Then in no uncertain terms made it clear if they did it again then if the VC didn't send them home I would. Looking back, from the vantage point of time and being 61, most likely I was too harsh on these two young Marines. But back then and being a salty veteran at 19, well I simply had no tolerance for this lack of discipline.

Sgt Grit, as I recall I told you this story 42 years ago as you and I were serving at the same time and in the same d-mn place.

Semper Fi

Assist In Understanding

Thanks for all of the compliments regarding my new finished tattoo! Some might not understand why I would get a tattoo. To assist them in understanding I would love to point out a few small details about my tattoo.

Why a "Screaming/Yelling Skull?" One might say it represents death... they would be correct, I have had 12 Marines that I consider my brothers die for my country, this is for them... and thousands of others...

The "Combat Vehicle Crewman Helmet (CVC)," is a helmet all Trackers wear while operating an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), which I used for ten years.

The "Sun Dust Wind Goggles," were issued to Trackers to protect our eyes from debris while operating our 26 ton AAVs,.. in the reflection of the goggles is a skyline that is meant to represent Bagdad, Iraq... hopefully this is self explanatory,..

Next is the M-16A2 Service Rifle, this was my issued weapon, I was very fluent with it and "She" was there with me through thick and thin, it also represents how Marines are warriors, qualifying at 200, 300, and 500 yards with iron sights, not to mention the conflicts this weapon has been successfully engaged in,..

Next, The Marine Corps 1858 Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) Calvary Sword is the only sword still carried by enlisted personnel to this very day (Marine Corps Only), even though this is a weapon, today it is mainly used in formal Ceremonies like the Marine Corps Balls and Funerals, it was originally authorized to NCOs in recognition of leadership in combat, their virtue and tradition...once again honoring the fallen, it is also part of the most recognized uniform in the world the Marine Corps Dress Blue Uniform...

The lettering USMC, is an acronym that needs no explanation,...

The side lettering "YAT-YAS" is every Trackers motto, it's an acronym for "You Ain't Tracks-You Ain't Sh-t,"...and yes "AIN'T" is a real word look it up in Webster's Dictionary...

next is "1833," this is the AAV crewman Military Occupational Specialty designation number, 1833 is an Amphibious Assault Crewman, this is a combat MOS, so sorry ladies it's a no go for you...

Next why is the lettering so tattered and cracked? I did this to show Marines have been fighting for my country for over 236 years, we might be battered and bruised but we have stood the test of time,...

Permanent, so our the things, people and morals it represents... If you understand what I've been through you would understand the significance and the importance of this tattoo.

Short Rounds

On 24 July 2011, U.S MARINE CORPS Vietnam Veteran Dexter Stevens, a purple heart recipient, was called to his final duty station. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. SEMPER FI,
Reggie and Patti Wegner

In the Heavy Equipment field of the Corps a mighty mite was a small sledge hammer that was used in hard to get places when doing maintenance. they were very useful to say the least. that's all.
Daniel P.

I'd like to get that "ONTOS", but I can't fit it in my garage. Maybe I'll consider enlarging the garage; we'll give that some consideration.
Paul Langford

WOW! I know I'm dating myself, however, I DO remember the 171st Anniversary of our Corps! Semper Fi JOHN V.

Sgt Grit, please check out Gratitude Campaign Movie i pray that you will share this others on your web site?

I remember the M422 Mighty Mite well. While serving in Okinawa in 1961-62, I was assigned as Company Commander's driver. My daily-driver was a Mighty Mite, and I loved it. As a lifelong "car-guy", it was like a military issue sports car - perfect for me!
Semper Fi,
D. T. Krom

In 1957, when first introduced, we had suspicions about some of ONTOS shortcomings. Unfortunately, the suspicions were confirmed.
All best,
Martin Richard Asher
1st Lieutenant USMCR

Sgt Grit: if possible, would you insert a blurb in the "sgt. grit news" requesting a small donation to the summer camp program at the:

Marine military academy 320 iwo jima blvd. harlingen,tx.78550 phone # 956-423-6006

this program takes disadvantaged youths, who can't afford the fee, and puts them thru a "mini" boot camp during the summer. it's a really fine "extend yourself to the utmost" program for these young men.
thank you, john stevenson,sgt.usmc,1963-1967.


"The liberty of going wrong is the seamy side of the priceless privilege of going right by free choice rather than by compulsion."
--William Ernest Hocking

"A universal peace ... is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts."
--James Madison

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
--Patrick Henry

"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty."
--President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
--George Washington


When I read this in the last "Sgt. Grit News", I had a flashback.

Found this to be interesting.

Officers in the Army are not Soldiers
Officers in the Navy are not Sailors
Officers in the Air Force are not Airmen
But- Officers in the Marine Corps are Marines

Cpl. Page & Sgt Drea, RVN, 65 /66

Long after I served in the Corps, I was a civilian at the Defense Communications Agency (DCA) HQ (about 1985) near Washington. I heard a Naval Officer correct someone who called him a sailor. The next day I saw a sign on a door to a Marine's office and immediately understood what he was saying:

The Chief of Staff of the Army is NEVER called "Soldier", The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is NEVER called "Airman", The Chief of Naval Operations is NEVER called "Sailor", But the Commandant of the Marine Corps is D-MN PROUD to be called "MARINE".

Mike C. Shaw 1683214
Cpl. of Marines 1958 - 1962

1st Anti Tanks (Ontos) Action 7 Feb 68

I was on Convoy Duty 7 Feb 68 during the Battle of Hue. After re -supplying Bravo 1/11 (Rock Crusher) we headed back to Phu Bai. 2 Ontos were added security for our return trip. A-11 commanded By Cpl. Dace Smith and A-13 by a Sgt. Prather. A-11 took the lead and A-13 was at the rear. It was 23 vehicles with around 50 Marines and the 2 Ontos. crews. The standing orders were that Ontos on Convoys were to ride with the 6- Recoilless Rifles with empty tubes.

As luck was we ran straight into 2 Battalions (804, 818) NVA and a sapper Company of Viet Cong. We were outnumbered 8 to 1. The Ontos crews tried to go out and load the 106s but it was deadly. The Driver of A-13 PFC Bierle was wounded severely as he headed to reload. (He lay there wounded and was executed when the NVA overran the rear of the Convoy... The top brass had cost us the day.

Our 2 Ontos were knocked out and the crews became casualties. CPL Dace Smith in A-13 managed to get a Round off before being severely wounded. It was a terrible day... Marines were casualties right and left. We barely held on in a graveyard that provided us the best defense. Most of us ended up wounded.

We were spared the same fate as PFC Bierele when reaction forces from Phu Bai (led by Lt. Stewart Brown) and the 2nd React force from the Rock Crusher with Charlie 1/1 Marines were able to assist with 2 Quad Fifties from the Army's D Battery1st Bn 44th Artillery led by 1LT Robert Coates. He also was killed that day. Total casualties including the reaction teams; 63 Purple Hears (21 KIAs), 2 Silver Stars and a Bronze Star. We inflicted the 2 Battalions of NVA and Viet Cong with over 200 casualties that day. (That was 200 less to fight in the City of Hue)

I still want to know, during one of the deadliest months of the Vietnam War, who was responsible for the order given to the Ontos crews to convoy with empty Tubes? It was a deadly order; and it came from the top brass. You can see a detail story of the actions that day on This little known action during TET is now in the chronicles of the History of the Marine Corps at Quantico VA. It is written by those that served the Corps proudly that one backed down...They looked death squarely in the eye and never flinched.

For over 40 years I lived with the stigma of not being given the honor and privilege of dying with my fellow Marines. But I have finally learned that I survived to be a part of the telling of this story of utmost courage. I now speak to groups about Vietnam and the brave Marines and the 2 little Ontos of 7 February 68. I am no longer just a survivor. These Marines now live again through me and the Marines that have finally told the story of the "Convoy to the Graveyard".

I want to thank the following Marines for making it all possible: LT. Butch Plunkett our sponsor, Cpls: Chuck Gilbert, Ned Clark Authors, Howard Melton, Ron Taylor, Tim Campbell, Leonard Lindquist contributing to the facts of this story. Plus there were many others that have contributed later...thank you all. There should have been many more awards issued for valor that day. They were all Heroes.

Joe Tiscia, Cpl of Marines, 2/5 Marines


The following member has unsubscribed: from all lists.
They were logged on the Remove List for all lists.

Date: 9/2/2011
Reason: the marines rejected my son....buttheads!
First Name: xxxxxx
Last Name: xxxxxxx

Move Away From

Sgt Grit,
Could we possibly move away from the term 'former Marine', or worse yet 'ex-Marine'? I find it impossible to fathom the removal of the title of Marine from an individual that worked and struggled so hard to win the title. During discharge, I have never seen any Marine that was out processed and all of the qualities of a Marine are removed and left a worthless shell of a person that is now called a 'civilian'.

We are shaped, molded, crafted and honed into Marines at Parris Island or San Diego. Over the years we are constantly tempered, hardened and cast into the image of a fighting warrior that has the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome all issues and situations that confront us.

So why don't we move to the term 'Marine Vet' (only one more typeset for the precious newspapers that hate us, unless their a-s is in a sling and we are the ones that must save them)? I always hate to see the 'former Marine' as a criminal, however the Marine Vet that puts their life in harm's way to help another person must have put on their Superman cape to go back in time and retrieve their 'Marine' title from where they were discharged and returned just in time to save the day!

Thank you for your time,
Thomas McDonald
MSgt (Ret) USMC


You made the Iwo/USMC shirt in black for me. Had to wait until after his b-day to tell you how much he liked it. Everywhere he goes in all his Grit clothes he gets lot of compliments and other Marines are always introducing themselves. Thanks a lot for your great company and keep up the good work!
Sally M.

Semper Fi bro, you guys do a great job, I placed an order today and your inside sales person was very helpful and friendly as usual, I'm a peddler all my life, good biz to make me/customers feel glad to do biz with you, thank you OLY

Note: Yes, those are blatant capitalist plugs. But hey, it's what keeps you green machine maggot infested raggedy aszed trained killers dressed in this country's finest apparel. I don't think my DI could have written that line much better.
Sgt Grit

Candy Tough

I was an artillery forward observer in Vietnam in 1968 attached to A/1/3. Shortly after joining A/1/3 the call sign was changed to candytufft. Since it was passed down to us by word of mouth we mistakenly thought it was candy tough. How embarrassing. So my call sign for the duration was candytufft 61. It wasn't until a couple years back that I found out that candytufft is the name of a southern shrub. Still embarrassing. Hope this gives you a laugh.
Semper Fi
Don "Smokey" Stover
former L/Cpl and 1st Lt of Marines
1965 to 1971

The Real Honor

Sgt. Grit:
Saw a comment on Funeral Details. When I was stationed at MCAS El Toro (1983-1985) as an MP, we were tasked with the details for Color Guard and Funeral Details. (an honor to do both) We did many details due to the population of retired Marines in the area.

One particular detail comes to mind while at Riverside National Cemetery sometime in 1984. We had just finished the second detail of the day and were marching off when I as the NCOIC was approached by one of the Cemetery Directors. Seems that had received remains of a solider that had served in WW II and the family did not have the time or information to get an honor guard. I was asked if we would be able to help out. All of my Marines said without hesitation YES. We had no time to prepare but my Marines were pros and did it perfectly. The real Honor came when the family greeted us, thanked us and told each of us how much it would have meant to their loved one to be honored by the United States Marine Corps.

The Marines are always at the right place at the right time for somebody. Glad I was part of it.

Semper Fidelis
Sgt. Jeff Wolven

Too Much Fun

In response to Jim Barr's note on the Mighty Mite. While stationed at Camp Pendleton as a PFC with the Headquarters Company, I was the driver for the Communications Officer. On one training exercise while driving the mountain roads I kept trying to run over tarantulas. The Major did not like that and suggested I stop. I was a young 17 year old farm boy from Illinois, and since he did not order me to stop, I kept doing it... until he firmly said they had lost a six-by off that mountain road last month, and ordered me to stop, which, of course, I did!

The funniest part of the exercise, at least for me, and the one that lost me the position of being the Major's driver, was when he told me to take himself, some SgtMaj, and some big-shot officer to the radio outpost on the top of the mountain where we had made camp. We had to drive about a mile down the road to get to the road that went up the mountain. As we were driving along I looked up the side of the mountain and asked, "Sir, is that where we are going?" He replied, "Yes." I immediately make a hard left and headed up the side of the mountain. He was ordering me to stop, and the SgtMaj was screaming for me to stop, but I did not really hear them, as I was having too much fun trying to get up the side of that mountain.

All went well until we had almost reached near the top where there was a little sharp incline. The Mighty mite died. When it did, all three of my passengers immediately jumped out! The Major said "We will walk, take the jeep back down the hill." So, being a young, thrill seeking kid, I took my foot off the break and let'er go backward, full speed down the hill!

I was relieved of duty! No more Mighty Mite driving for me!

Gunny Walters
Vietnam 1963 & 67-68

While We Ate Chow

Dear Sergeant Grit:

Have a "follow on" to Corporal Edgar Hemmelman's story; "'Came 'God' Himself"' about an USMC Colonel. While attending Sea School, in 1958, at MCRD, in San Diego, CA, we all took chow at the Drill Instructors Mess. We were marched in formation to the covered passageway, outside the Mess' hatch; where we stood "at ease," prior to entry.

One morning, we (the Marines in our formation) spied a young recruit, running, with a M-1 rifle (at port arms) around the periphery of the Grinder, located to our direct front. Simultaneously, a "Brown Bar Lieutenant" walked through the Mess' hatchway, and proceeded to intercept the "green recruit."

The young recruit obviously had yet to learn how to render a proper, regulation salute, using his rifle. The 2nd. Lieutenant ordered the recruit to halt. After "chewing-out" the recruit, this officer then taught (instructed) the recruit to salute, using Present Arms, with the rifle.

Meanwhile, a full bird Colonel appeared in the hatchway. The Lieutenant, having not seen the Colonel, proceeded to order the recruit to salute him 100 times, with the obligatory: "Good morning sir!"

The Colonel watched this one sided spectacle proceed through ~20 repetitions, and then he interrupted this curiosity. After returning the startled Lieutenant's hand salute and greeting, the Colonel complemented the junior officer, for assisting in the training of the young recruit.

Whereupon, the Colonel told the Lieutenant that officer's always return salutes. After this instruction, the Colonel ordered the Lieutenant and the recruit to "carry on," starting at "1." We were then marched into the Mess Hall. While we ate chow, with a chuckle, we could hear "Good morning sir! "Good morning recruit!" echoing in the passageway, outside the Mess Hall.

Respectfully yours,
Thomas Gray

Secret Service Called

In response to Sgt. Grimes: I was a Cpl. on guard duty one night at El Toro in 1970 when there was a commotion near my assigned area. I might add that this was when President Nixon was on base and we were under control of that Secret Service. The young L/Cpl on duty next to me yelled for the Sgt. of the Guard and I hot-footed it over to assist. There was an older man face down and spread-eagled in a water puddle with an M-14 (locked and loaded) pointed at his head.

The Secret Service man immediately showed up and took charge. As the older man rose to his feet and produced his ID, you could tell he was in an almost apoplectic state. The Secret Service called in to confirm that we had "captured", MGeneral Leslie Brown, CO of 3rd MAW. He said he was out for a walk and wanted to see Air Force One up close. As the General calmed down, it was explained to him that being a General did not excuse him from being in a strictly "off limits" area. We were later commended for our diligence. Later, the L/Cpl later got out, I was promoted to Sgt. and asked personally to drive for the General until I left for Nam.

SSgt. Moore, J.C. 2389599/2861

Platoon 354, MCRD San Diego in 1965

Front row, L to R, myself, Cpl. T. H. Logan, Senior DI Sgt. E. C. Villanueva, Sgt. J. W. Jones and Guide On R. Kimble. The unique thing about this Platoon (354 San Diego 1965) was that we had the Capps brothers who were identical twins. Top row, center, on each side of the recruit with glasses. I served all 4 years with Ronnie and Denny. They have both passed away now but were Marines through and through.

Also, friend of ours is a retired film editor and has asked to cull through my 4,000 slides taken during my 26 months in Viet Nam. The attached link is just a start. Many of you ( my Marine brothers ) will recognize a lot of these places and in the finished product, many of you will be featured.

This is just part one of many to come.

Enjoy and feel free to comment.


Cat Naps

Dear Sgt Grit,

In response to the story on sleeping on Guard duty. When I was in (1967-1969) This might happen on Fire watch in Boot camp, but I NEVER saw this in combat in Vietnam! Almost everyone I knew took cat naps in the daytime when we could, and no one ever slept at night! We had guys that woke up DEAD for doing that. (Done by the North Vietnamese, not our guys).

To this day, 43 years later, I still only sleep 3 hours a night. And yes, I have very bad PTSD that I am being treated for at the Local VA. I was stationed at CaLu, north of Khe Sanh in Northern I Corps on the DMZ. The Tet Offensive was a BAD time.

Submitted with respect,
Cpl. Charles (Chip) Morgan 2371997, 3rd Mar. Div. RVN
(Still lost somewhere along the DMZ)

No Write Up

Sgt. Grit,

I was just reading the 8 September Newsletter and decided to comment on a couple of items.

Your discussion on the Marines sleeping on guard duty brought back a memory. I was on Fire watch duty after working mess duty. I was working 0400 to 2000 on mess duty and they assigned me fire watch from 0200 to 0400. Our unit was being emptied out and being sent to Nam from K-Bay and most of the Marines had been shipped out.

I was walking through the squad bay and the next thing I recalled was my squad leader waking me up. I feel asleep while walking. Later that morning I was sent to see my squad leader and I knew why. He said that instead of writing me up and sending me to see the skipper he would have me do pushups as informal punishment. I said no I would not do pushups for him because it was not right to have me on mess duty and fire watch. He said I could do them or he could make me do them. He was a Marine that was somewhat big from working out on a regular basis and I was 5' 11" and 115 lbs soaking wet. Well there was a little bit of a scuffle of which I came out on the short end of the stick. That was the last that was said about it and there was no write up. I have seen others who were written up for sleeping on guard duty and most of the time they lost a stripe, were restricted to base and had a loss of pay. If they had a bad SRB then they received worse and if not they would have the punishment suspended for six months.

The issue of being a combat Marine is something that sticks in my mind as well. I went to Okinawa in Jan. 1971 with orders for Nam. When we went through the orders check in line they re- stamped my orders Okinawa. I was upset because I really wanted to go. Later on our battalion was sent out as a ref blt landing team to the beautiful south Asia area. I received the Viet Nam fire watch ribbon as we called them. The yellow, green and red campaign ribbon. We went and float around the coast of Nam several times and we went to several other ports of call for liberty. We never were off load in Country. I am a Nam era veteran and others call me a Nam veteran. I used to call myself that but not an more because it does not feel right I guess. I love the Corps. I served for 6 years 10 months and 22 days. I was set to be a lifer but I was sent packing when a medical board put me out from an injury I received as a D.I. in M.C.R.D. San Diego.

I know this may not be important to some but the use of the initials of EGA bugs me. I did not earn an EGA. I earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I know this may sound a little bit nitpicky but it is important because a lot of sweat, blood and tears went into making it through boot for every Marine there is and every Marine that ever will be and the symbol of accomplishment for making it through boot camp is being called a Marine (generally a basic qualified Marine not a real Marine yet by D.I.'s) and being able to know that you earned the Eagle, Goble and Anchor. Let me know if I am being too harsh on this issue or what you think. Maybe it is because of a different time and a different mindset.

Thank you for your Newsletter to give us all a place to speak out about our beloved Corps. Thank for your store as well. I and my sons have purchased a few items from the store and find them all to be of excellent quality and priced well.

Semper Fi

SSGT Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2/70 to 12/76

Not Stand Up

I served under Colonel Walter "MuMu" Moore from 1965-1967 and during his Command of the 1st Anti-Tank Battalion prior to our Battalion leaving for Vietnam he told me he was sent to evaluate the Ontos once it was completed by Allis Chalmers and he recommended to the Corps that they not employ the "The Thing" because the armor plates were too thin and it would not stand up to mines or being confronted with tanks.

Obviously political considerations overruled his assessment of the Ontos.

Joe Henderson

Onto And More

nah... the Army didn't 'dump' the Ontos onto the Corps... we chose it. The Army went on in development for an air-dropable AT weapon, known as the "SPAT"... one 90MM gun, open (no armor) on a very similar tracked vehicle platform... re the '105' RR mounted on a jeep... earlier on, in the Army... by the time the Corps went that way, it was a 106MM, mounted on a 'wheelbarrow mount', that would either clamp into a M38A1C Truck, 1/4 ton, 4X4, better known as a jeep... or could be used as a ground mount.

The .50 caliber rifles (M-8) that mounted on the top of the RR were special... did not use the same ammo as the M2 .50, but a spotter-tracer round that had essentially the same ballistics as the 106 out to about 1,800 meters... if properly bore-sighted, the big round would hit where the smaller round did... since the back-blast from the 106 absolutely marked your position, the idea was to shoot and scoot... adjusting fires from observing the main round really was not the best of ideas against tanks, hence the 'spotting rifle'...

box magazine held 8 rounds, and the top two inboard guns on an Ontos usually carried an M8 each...serviced by the OC...the bottom (elevate/traverse and firing mechanism) from the wheelbarrow mount was adapted to mount on the Mechanical Mule...think it probably had 360' traverse, but would be fired to one side or the other of the Mule....Mule engines were two versions, neither made by Briggs/Stratton...early ones had four opposed cylinder, later versions went to a two-cylinder....pull- start, either battery, no lights...Mule had two ranges, four speeds forward, and either two or four-wheel steer... if necessary, could be operated by someone crawling behind it while operated in low range and reverse... no suspension whatsoever, save the fairly soft tires... things would tip/flip over fairly easy, could also be coupled in a train with tow bars and used like warehouse trailers...from memory, Infantry Bn Motor T operated 8 or so, with maybe 8 more for the H&S Co 106RR Platoon... (BT, DT...)

BTW...the second pix of a 'Mighty Mite'... ain't. That is a M151, generally known to the doggies as a "MUTT"... A1, A2, and A3 versions, rare to find in civilian land, since they largely did not get sold as surplus from the depots, but were cut up and de-milled... too dangerous for civilians to drive... everything before the A3 had a nasty habit of 'tucking under' a rear swing arm... which is how Ralph Nader was able to kill the Chevy Corvair of the early sixties... (99% of this info is available on the net for those willing to get off their dead butts and research before running off at the keyboard)


Now hear this! Now hear this!
All Marines topside go below.
All Marines below go topside.
All Marines forward go aft.
All Marines aft go forward.
All Marines in the middle stand by to direct traffic!
That is all!

Semper Fi
God Bless America!
Sgt Grit

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