Thought I would send you the Company Sign that we had at Kaneohe Hi. in late 1953 or early 54. The WW-2 guys were the 1st to use Sub's and rubber Boats and did beach surveys and scouting, while UDT did the underwater mine deactivation up to the, I believe, one fathom mark?
1952/55 1315941 Marine
In This Issue
We have had many bucket stories the last few weeks. Does anyone know if they still issue a bucket today?
Here we go: draw the opposite s-x, underwater mine deactivation, on the firing range too long, Wrongo, Johnny!, I was there when, genius and stupidity, words to sink in, it was all hard, quite friendly with one, showed more ignorance again, head bounced off, you are staying in college, what's your excuse swe' pea?.
It keeps getting better and better folks! Read to the end, you won't regret it.
VMA or VMG
ddick must have been on the firing range too long without his hearing protectors on. The older Marine didn't tell him he was in VMA-214, he told him he was in VMF-214. To my knowledge, the Black Sheep didn't change to an attack squadron until they flew A4D's. While they were flying the U-bird in WWII and Korea, they were VMF-214.
I was in 214 from July 1950 until Sep.1951. We were aboard the carrier Sicily off the Korean coast from Aug 1950 off and on until we went ashore at Wonsan in October.
W F Mitchell
4 Eggs At A Time
RE: "But NOT Cooked," by L/Cpl Mark Gallant
I really enjoyed reading your letter, Mark. I was a grunt, and I too would have been unhappy had I graduated from P.I. only to be informed I would be a cook. That said, let me tell you about my second Vietnam tour. It began a couple of weeks after the Tet Offensive of '68. I was a squad leader with India Company, 3/27. When they assembled the unit there was a severe shortage of available 0311 Marines, so they sent us guys with various MOSs. My squad included a mechanic, a water pump engineer, and yes, a cook. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the Marine Corps made good on the saying, Every Marine is, first and foremost, a basic rifleman.
It wasn't until reading your letter that I actually thought about the contribution made by the cooks, and for the first time acknowledged my own debt of gratitude for your efforts. Being the chowhound I am, this strikes me as a bit odd, now that I think about it. Living on C-rats for weeks at a time, and getting back to the battalion area for some hot chow--you'd think I would have felt this sense of gratitude 46 years ago during my first tour with Lima 3/1. But the truth is, anyone who was not in the field was either scorned or simply taken for granted. So thanks for opening my eyes to the whole picture.
Finally, thanks for documenting something I've told my wife and many others before her about--namely, the way you guys cracked and laid out 4 eggs at a time without breaking a single yoke. Very impressive!
Sergeant of Marines
August 1966. Parris Island. Freak** HOT! Platoon 1015 on the rifle range. We screwed up so bad on the range (shot so poorly) that all three of our DI's were apoplectic. Gunny Mounce (SR DI), Sgt. Babb - we were convinced he was crazy - and Sgt. Jones (juniors). In formation, double-timing back to the barracks. The most heinous crime one could commit was dropping out of a formation. While heading back to the barracks with our shooting jackets over our shoulders, I accidently dropped mine.
So here I am faced with a life and death, or should I say death or death situation. Do I drop out of the formation to retrieve my shooting jacket, or do I leave it where it fell? Well, being the smart guy that I was, I figured that if I left the jacket, I'd be charged with some kind of ridiculous "purposeful loss of equipment" or some such thing. And I thought that if I had a good reason for dropping out of the formation - picking up the jacket - and instantly returning to my original position in the formation, I would somehow be forgiven by my benevolent drill instructors. Wrongo, Johnny!
Returned to barracks with no mention of incident from the DI's. Sgt. Babb started with the recruit on my left and Sgt. Jones started with the recruit on my right. They went all around the squad bay stopping in front of every swinging d*** and meted out various levels of reprimand - sometimes not bad, sometimes not so good. Well these two DI's had this figured out so that they both ended up right in front of me at the same time. Somehow I thought this was going to be somewhat unpleasant. Seems my assessment was far more accurate than I expected.
One DI jumped all over me for dropping out of the formation. Simultaneously the other one jumped all over me about the shooting jacket. No explanation was allowed. This went on for maybe five minutes when they started asking me questions about my faux pas. After every answer, the DI who was not talking punched me right in the stomach. Well I was an old salt by this time at PI and I saw each shot coming so I tightened up each time and wasn't too worried about this. I was a tough guy. Or so I thought. Another question came at me and being unconcerned as I was, I started to answer.
Halfway through my response, both of these lunatics, at the same time, nailed me in the solar plexus. Their timing was impeccable. I went down on my knees and immediately received another love pat directly to my throat. OOFAH! So much for the old salt tough guy. Never again did I drop out of any formation nor did I ever drop any piece of equipment. Lesson learned but it was some time before I could laugh about it. Funny as h*ll now.
1966 - 1970
Dong Ha, Rockpile - 68 - 69
A few years ago I was in 9th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Hansen Okinawa. We had a MGYSGT named Ron Griffin who was not much older than I was. (Meaning he should still be around) He rotated back to the states and he left his Warriors Book in his desk. I found it and decided I would send it to him but I rotated soon after and just never did.
Now I have been retired for 17 years and I am organizing my footlocker so that it will have all of my old military uniforms and photos and everything I have from when I was in and I came across this book of the MGYSGT's. If anyone knows this Marine or how I might get a hold of him I would truly like the opportunity to return it to him.
I have enclosed three pictures. The first is the MGYSGT when he was a SGT on the Drill Field. The Next picture is of the book. The third is from inside the book of a young Marine going through Motivation. I have seen some things in your newsletter lately about that wonderful place.
Semper Fi GySgt Mac
Explain To Mamma
Back around 1978 I reported to the Crash Crew at Camp Pendleton. The airfield there wasn't an MCAS yet. We were an MCALF (Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field). We had this one Sergeant who would come into the section leader's office after cashing his check, hold his money out and say, "I don't need this s-it." Then he would throw it in the trash can, and leave the office.
Everyone knew he'd come back in a few minutes later and retrieve the money. Luck would have it that on one payday we had a new man who witnessed the same scenario play out. As the sergeant walked out the new guy said, "H-ll, he may not need it but I do." He then proceeded to remove the funds from the trash can.
The sergeant came back in and being surprised asked where his money was. One of the crewmen said the new guy had it and off he went to try to get it back. The new guys listened to him and abruptly said no way.
To make a long story a little shorter, this went up to the OIC of Sub Unit One. He asked the sergeant if he could account for the denomination in bills. He was told that he couldn't. So the OIC says, "So you can't tell me what denominations you had and you threw unmarked bills into a trash can and walked out?" The sergeant sheepishly said yes. The OIC said, "Well, it looks like you'll have to explain to mamma why you have no money this payday. SgtMaj, assist this Marine with getting a loan from Navy Relief." The sergeant never threw away money again.
Was on line the first part of September 1951. Saw a Marine helicopter with what looked like a cargo-net on a hook below it. Carrying drums of fuel up to another sector of the lines. This was much faster than the previous methods, using trucks, 'yobo's' that were assigned to each line companies. Later, I heard, and then read, that was supposedly the first time that type operation had been undertaken. And much later, (years) I came across the rest of the story.
A Major had just been rotated from the states and put in charge of same. He was asked about supplying the lines as related. Certainly he responded in the affirmative, AND along with others devised a plan, that within two weeks of the above they moved a Company (200 men) in reserve to the lines. And within another couple weeks, a whole battalion (1000 men) to the lines. Remember this was with the type copters available then, and I don't think they would carry more than 6 men, fully loaded, at that time.
Chesty's last regimental command
I've been a customer and reader of your newsletter for several years and have enjoyed seeing your business and communications tool succeed. Only the Marines could have a special newsletter to swap stories about our time in the Corps.
It would be interesting to see how many "old salts" out there had SSN rather than MOS. They are truly Old Corps. When I was in (1948-1952) my SSN was 274 (combat correspondent). Changed later to 4312, I think, but I always preferred to be a 274, a special breed. I never ever (even to this day) considered myself "old Corps." We gave that distinction to the China Marines.
My Senior DI was a China Marine. He rarely visited our platoon during boot camp. The word was he had been a POW and he had a scar on his face that would scare the h-ll out of Frankenstein. He gave me the EGA on graduation day and shook my hand. I would've followed him into the jaws of Moby Dick. I think all of us know that feeling. To be accepted by this kind of warrior was special, then and now.
I had the special honor of being introduced into the Corps by Gunny St. Elmo Haney, hero of Guadalcanal and Peleliu (spelling?). He was featured on one of the "Pacific" TV shows as the oldest man in combat (he was 51) there. He won the Silver Star there. When I met him (the day before I left for MCRD San Diego), he was living with his sister in Kansas City. He washed his face and hands with a fingernail scrub brush before eating; there are stories that he showered using a scrub brush. He was a little guy but one you would want to share a hole in the sand with. He told me he once gave himself hours of police duty for tossing a cigarette butt on the ground at Pendleton. He was a Gunny Sgt. then.
I was there when Colonel James P. Deveriux (Wake Island commander, POW, and the commander who said, "Send us more J-ps" when he was told help was not coming) and his exec retired on same day. Chesty was there. I was there when a reporter for the San Diego Union posed as a Russian artillery colonel to get admission to war games being staged at Pendleton. I was there when Harry Truman stopped at Oceanside on his railroad campaign tour. "The Big E," Major General Erskine, was CG of the First Division then. Brigadier "Harry the Horse" Liversedge was ACG.
I ended up at Parris Island where I met then Captain John Yancey, a decorated hero of WWII and Korea. He was wounded at the Chosin (5 times he was shot in the mouth and head). He was ready to go again in Viet Nam when asked to join a command staff but was medically rejected because of poor teeth. His response was "I'm not going to bite the sonsab-tches." He was a Marine's Marine. In Korea he asked one of his men why he had volunteered for a dangerous mission and the man replied, "My Momma dint raise no cowards." There were no cowards at the Chosin or under the command of John Yancey.
I write all of this not because I think it makes me special but to share in the memories you, Sgt. Grit, make possible for all of us "old Corps" guys (and gals) who were just kids (I was 17) when we were part of the greatest fighting unit ever assembled and didn't even know it then. Now we do. Where else could a young kid experience life-molding events and personalities like this?
And that brings me to why I decided to write all of this in the first place. Your newsletter gives the VN vets a way to stay in touch and to feel proud of their service. I always try to go out of my way to "Semper Fi" one when I see him at the VA. They ain't hard to spot.
Although I was a Hollywood Marine, I ended my four years at PI. The biggest difference between the two is summed up in the sermon of a Catholic chaplain at Mass one hot and muggy Sunday morning. The church was packed, of course, and the priest was wearing heavy vestments. He looked out over the congregation of skinheads and DIs and said, "Remember, men, there's one place hotter than Parris Island." That was all he said. Best sermon I ever heard.
Dick Stites, Sergeant of Marines, 1948-52.
663517, SSN 274
Duty Was Very Awesome
Was stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall, Arlington Va.
One day while walking up the front of the Naval Annex, The Commandant was exiting out of the Naval Annex, and issued a crisp salute first to a Major entering. Much to my surprise I was informed later on that the Major was a Medal of Honor recipient!
This duty was very awesome due to the fact you had an immense table of organization in the Va. - D.C. area and an amazing number of diverse compliment of Marines, (male and female), plus civilian populace as well -all working together. Some offices had civilian ( GS 13 to 18 in command, and some military heads from Lt. to Staff NCO's in charge. We also had a lot of high ranking officers as well.
Maybe I will tell you later on the first duty station I was at - and the change from being told what to do in Parris Island, and Camp Geiger to 100% freedom of you being responsible for yourself after all that controlled environment the past few months?
1963 to 1967
P. S. We had Staff NCO's without crossed rifles in their chevrons- and some had the old herringbone utilities!
In honor and memory
I personally wear these two Memorial Bracelets in Honor and Memory of some great men who were never able to return home again to their families... I urge all Marines to find a MIA / KIA out of the thousands who are still missing or were killed defending our country and wear a bracelet to keep these men's memories alive...
The first bracelet I've worn for years is to remember MIA Capt. John W. (Jack) Consolvo... While on a mission over Vietnam on May 07, 1972 his plane was hit from ground fire... He told his RIO to eject and he would try to navigate away from a friendly village... His RIO was rescued and said later he saw the plane crash, but never saw the Captains chute open... He said it was possible it did open since it was quite a long distance where the plane went down... So I wear his bracelet in hopes of hearing one day he is still alive and to remember his sacrifice for us all...
The other bracelet I wear is for 2nd Lt. Dorris E (Tommy) Patton... S/Sgt.Patton was my Senior Drill Instructor at MCRD San Diego in 1956... After his tour as DI he was in E Co. 2nd Bn. 4th Marines, 3rd Marines Div. Where in July 1966 he received a Battlefield Commission to 2nd Lt... Two weeks after receiving his Commission he was KIA by small arms fire in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam on July 22, 1966... I proudly and with great honor wear his bracelet not only for his great sacrifice to our country, but also to the man who had the responsibility of turning a snot nosed know it all 17 years old kid into a Marine... For almost 55 years now I've lived my life based on the things Lt. Patton taught me in boot camp... I will always wear his bracelet to Honor and remember him...
To every Marine out there who was able to return home to their families... I encourage you to find one of these Marines either MIA/ KIA and wear their bracelet so they will never be forgotten... Each time someone ask you what's that bracelet you're wearing ?, You'll have another chance to tell the story of these true American Hero's and keep their memories alive...
Howard W. Kennedy USMC 1956 / 1962
Get a bracelet pre-engraved with the name of a POW, MIA, or KIA Marine
Or customize a Bracelet with the name of a POW, MIA, or KIA Marine that is special to you.
Attention on deck! To all Marines and Navy corpsman, Thank You for your service. You can continue serving your communities and all fellow veterans by joining and serving in your local Marine Corps Auxiliary, VFW, or Leatherneck MC, motorcycle club. International. I urge you to get a bike, and give em lookin at.
Awesome organization! Just a reminder, any veteran organization can be Awesome.
Thanks, Semper Fi
Cpl/Keck MT 1141mos
Journeyman Lineman presently, Leatherneck forever
Sgt Grit, thank you for the e mail. I found it very interesting and the comments from every one good as well. The story about the two di's with the same name, the di on the left looks like one of my di's I had when I was going thru basic training MCRD San Diego in 1963. Yes he looked young was tough and made me the Marine I turned out to be.
Sgt John Zink. 1963- 1969.
I wished I could do it all over again.
P S. I enjoy your product line.
Sgt John J Zink.
My father was on Guam as a MSgt in that time frame and we were to join him. Not sure what his position was there. We were living in Warren Housing in SDiego across the street from MCRD and excited about going to Guam. Didn't like all the shots we had to take and it hurt like h-ll for the three of us. Sad fact is we didn't go after all that and he came home to go to recruiting school and we ended up in a small town in Utah in one of the worst winters in history in 48.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I had the best MOS in the Marine Corps during a War... I was the Mail man! In combat the only thing a Marine wants more than mail is ammo !
SEMPER FI !
Cpl. "Chip" Morgan, 3rd Marine Div. Northern I Corps, CaLu, Vietnam 1968
(Still lost somewhere along the DMZ)
Read this portion of Sgt. Grit with some question. Could this really happen in Marine boot camp? Can't imagine this ever happening. The author didn't sign it so I wonder if it was someone passing themselves off as a Marine when it was really another service branch. Just a suspicion.
CPL. Dan Corum
I have just read the newsletter and you did a great job, it was one of the best. I had asked the question about how much blood had been spilled utilizing the Gillette blue blade. One response was: "do you remember the Lava soap?" I certainly do remember the Lava. It was like using sandpaper on certain parts of your body.
Also in the newsletter was the pale or bucket. I used it for washing laundry, a pillow, a storage area, and also a tool for my Drill instructor to use as a football. The newsletter is such a great way to remember the fun that we had.
Here are other questions for your readers to ponder. Was I the only one in recruit training to get Lubriplate all over everything? Did Barbasol have a fragrance? Which was harder, a helmet or a starched cover?
SSgt DJ Huntsinger 68-74
You're Staying In College
I enjoyed reading the MOS stories in your last issue and felt I had something to add. You see my family has an Army background, Spanish/American war, World War II, etc.. My cousin enlisted in the Corps a couple years ahead of me and not much was said about his foolish choice. I, on the other hand was going to college at the time via my parents request that I get the 'old sheep skin' and live on easy street the rest of my life. I hated college. I had no interest in getting the 'old sheep skin', studying nuclear physics or any other illusion that occupied my parents thoughts for me. Consequently my grades showed this and was called for my draft physical in 1966.
'Tell them your diabetic, you have bad knees, sole surviving male family member, etc.' my mom said. 'You're staying in college and getting 'the old sheep skin' my dad warned! So with all this going thru my mind I took my physical, passed with flying colors, got off the train from Chicago and went directly to the Marine Corps recruiter. The recruiter was pretty straight forward with what he told me about the Corps and getting a 'for sure' trip to Viet Nam. 'Maybe I should consider staying in college' he suggested. 'No sir! I said, I want to enlist. 'OK' he said, 'I can guarantee you an aviation MOS' and with that I signed on the dotted line.
That night at the dinner table the conversation came up about my physical. I explained to my folks I had no problem passing it. 'So' my father said 'you are staying in college?' 'No' I said ' I have had enough of this pursuing the 'old sheep skin' and am enlisting. 'Aaah, maybe the Army will make a man out of you!' said my father. 'Oh my god, he'll get killed in Viet Nam' my mother cried. 'I'm not enlisting or getting drafted into the Army' I told them both. 'So, it's the Air Force then and maybe some schooling'? 'No' I said, 'not the Air Force'. 'What then, the Navy??? Coast Guard???? What???? my father asked?
'I've enlisted in the Marine Corps. I have been guaranteed an aviation field' I tried to explain. 'You stupid SOB, the Marine Corps doesn't have air planes. They have boats! Boats that run up on the beach, they drop the ramp and everyone gets killed you stupid SOB, don't you know anything?' my father shot back. No matter how hard I tried I could not convince either of them that the Corps had air planes. So, I went back to the recruiter and explained the situation. Both recruiters offered to come and meet my parents and assure them the Marine Corps has air craft of many types.
This meeting did not go over well. I give the recruiters a lot of credit because they did not have to do this and the looks and glares my father gave them would make a full frontal beach assault look like building sand castles. My father spoke to me very little after that. I went in on a delayed entry program and up until the day I left for boot camp my father (and mother) were convinced the Marine Corps had hood winked another fool into enlisting. 'The Marine Corps does not have air planes' I was repeatedly reminded.
Now fast forward a couple years; I ended up in Aviation as promised. I was sent to the Navy's Avionics school at NAS Memphis. As promised I also went to Viet Nam (twice) working on everything that flew that didn't have feathers. My MOS was 6213 and at the end of my last tour overseas became critical. Instead of being discharged as expected, I was sent to NAS Dallas for six additional months at the Marine Corps convenience. While there my parents came to visit.
While they were visiting I took them on a base tour. My high light of this tour was to take them down to the flight line. I showed them around and introduced them to the com/nav duty personnel as well as explaining what an ASQ-17 (radio pac) was and what it was used for. We then went out on the flight line, we had no hops that day. I took my dad up to the first air craft in line. We had F-8s at the time. Cracked open the cockpit, got a boarding ladder and sat my father in the cockpit. My father being a private pilot was quite impressed. It was at that time I pointed to all the planes on the flight line and asked if he saw what was printed on the side of each and every air craft; MARINES.
From that day forth I never heard another peep from my father about the Marine Corps air craft or it's enlistment guarantees. My only regret was I wish my two recruiters had been there to see and hear my father finally admit that 'yes, the Marine Corps has air planes'.
Ed Heyward Sgt. of Marines 67-71
Return The Favor
First, Grit - Your support to the newsletter is above and beyond, and anxiously awaited by everyone! Keep up the great work!
To this day I remember every single moment of the train ride in July 1958 from Louisville, KY, the bus from Yemassee, SC to PI, and then the shock, at about midnight, as a 18 year old, of my first meeting with our SDI SSgt Richard Truaxx. BTW, There is nothing like Parris Island in July-October, especially living in the Quonset huts, or even ITR in November
He was a tough Korean vet, and believed in the appropriate expletives of the day, many which cannot be mentioned here, but" maggot", "scum of the earth", etc. do come to mind... he once marched us around to see a WM recruit platoon so we could "eat our hearts out"... and by the way, if you were not assigned as an 0300, you were a lost cause, and many expletives followed!
The recent stories related to the buckets and their uses remind me of my days at PI,"782" gear, doing "bucket drill", clothes washing with brown soap (and of course, sand, always) at the outdoor "sinks" and rifle cleaning and" stock improvements" (M-1), shoe polishing, arm lifts with buckets filled with sand, even the "smoking lamp" under the bucket! BTW, we were allowed to carry one cigarette and a one match in a cut off toothbrush holder; when we heard "the smoking lamp is lit", it was immediately followed by "not for you t_rds, just for me" (the DI);
My younger brother, who joined a year later, was given insight into how to address letters ("sealed with a kiss" SWAK etc.) and to send various types of "pogey bait" - big mistake to receive that gift! BUT the following year I had the marvelous opportunity to return the favor!
I will cherish my 13 years as the most momentous time of my life, and will forever be a MARINE"!
Tony Ward, GySgt/Captain (1958-1971)
In a recent newsletter T Stewart talked about USMC Weapons Carriers or Personnel Carriers as they were later called. He said when he tried to Google the term all he got was pictures of late model vehicles. I would suggest he Google M37 Dodge and he will find the vehicle he is looking for. I am in the process of doing a frame up restoration on one built in 1953 which I hope to complete by the fall of this year. I have also enclosed a couple of pictures of my project.
Larry LaBahn S/Sgt K Battery 4/14 1970 / 78
Good Ol' Days
Circa 1969, hotel barracks. We got the call after chow, "smokers on the road." We got in "smokers formation", two rows facing each other, and two privates with buckets, walking back and forth, between us. The word came down from the 2nd story, "the smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette and one cigarette only." After we echoed, another command, "ignite the mother fcker". We echoed, and proceeded to enjoy a smoke.
Well, since it was a graduation day, civilians were on board. Apparently, somebody was offended. The duty DI was chewed out pretty well and we smokers spent most of the afternoon on our faces.
Ahhhh, the good ol' days.
(didn't know how to abbreviate f----r.)
Try It All Over Again
Sgt Grit & my fellow Marines,
March 1962 - Being the son of a WWII Marine and not sure of what I wanted my future to be (mother was sure I was going to med school) I enlisted under the delayed entry program. (Father proudly signed permission). I was sure the Corps would hand me a weapon, hoped for BAR, and allow me to play amongst the trees of Camp Lejeune for 4 years. Left for MCRD PISC in July as part of the John Basilone Honor Platoon 251.
October 1962 - Sitting in the squad bay as JDI Johnson read our orders for our future in the Corps. He read out my name and 4 others and said "And you f__kups didn't do well enough here at Parris Island so you're going to MCRD San Diego where you can try it all over again". He allowed those words to sink in while he continued to read the rest of the orders and MOS assignments giving we 5 to think of any and all ways of getting off the island that night without going over the bridge. When he was done reading the orders he said "by the way you 5 smart sh_ts are going to electronics school, not boot camp at San Diego".
While going through Boot Camp we were only allowed to purchase cigarettes after the rifle range and then the only brand allowed was Pall Mall because that was the brand Sgt Johnson smoked. He always carried his smokes in the first aid pouch hanging on the rear of his cartridge (duty) belt.
Was only disciplined twice while going through Boot Camp. The first while on the grinder and pushed my glasses back up on my nose during COD. Rifle butt to the side of my silver helmet liner. The second while walking fire watch on the second deck of the old wooden 2nd Bn barracks at 0 dark thirty in the morning. Guess I was skylarking while passing the DI hut when a bayonet came flying past my head and embedded itself in the bulkhead with (again) Sgt Johnson screaming in my ear to wake the f__kup and pay attention to my duties.
Pulled mess duty after the rifle range at the range messhall which also served the WM RTR. At night we were locked in a "squad bay" behind a barred door, just like a jail cell. Those working the chow line were ordered to never, ever speak to any of the WM recruits and if they were to find any written notes they were to turn the notes over to our Drill Instructor immediately if not sooner. (some were actually found, although I still believe it was done by/through the WM Drill Instructors and ours as a test)
September 1965 - Our MACS outfit was stationed at Camp Schwab where we were enjoying ourselves as we were the only unit there except for a platoon of Recon (but that's another story). We had the entire ville of Henoko to enjoy during the evening and relatively good duty during the day. One morning during morning formation the CO announced that we needed to send replacements to Vietnam for our sister MACS outfit.
He proceeded to read a list of names, who by virtue of the ranks and MOS's HAD to go. Having a few more openings he asked for volunteers to join the previously read names. Being a relatively intelligent "twigget", having learned never to volunteer and realizing the fewer squadron mates on liberty in the ville - the more for me, I kept my mouth shut. Lastly the CO announced that there were some people who the Corps had decided should go in country for "career enhancement" - NEUMANN pack your seabag, turn in your rifle and 782 gear and get your will updated.
Still have 22 years of sea stories to pass along at another time. Grit and crew - keep up the good work - WELL DONE!
"Top" Neumann (5959)
1962 - 1984
Serial # 197XXXX
Toshio Taro ran the combination snackbar/boot repair shop in a Quonset hut across the street from Port Section barracks (also a Quonset hut) at Marine Barracks, Naha... he also did some part- time interpreting for NIS, and was a pretty good all-around guy... maybe in his late twenties.
Okinawans have a major holiday, known as "OBON", which is the big event of the year... lasts 2-3 days, much feasting and celebrating. One of the older customs connected with OBON is the visit and maintenance of the family tomb. The traditional tomb had a small courtyard in the front, a small (secured) opening, and a domed top... set into a hillside. It was said that the shape was symbolic of a pregnant woman. Besides the maintenance/upkeep during the visit, special foods and delicacies would be prepared, and left in the courtyard, for the enjoyment of the ancestors.
One of our less culturally-sensitive Marines ("PC" hadn't been invented yet in 1960) was ragging on Tosh about this (in his eyes) foolish waste, and asked Tosh "hey, Tosh... when's your granpa gonna come out and eat that rice??) Tosh didn't bat an eye... looked this numbnuts right in the eye and said "bout the same time YOUR grandpa comes up and smells those flowers".... Set, game, match...
You youngsters think music videos didn't come along until computers, right?... Wrong, pablum breath!... as far back as 1963, the NCO room of the E-club at MCRD San Diego had a tall machine, with about a 24" TV screen at the top... and something like a jukebox underneath... plunk in your coin, pick a song, and there would be a short movie of the song/singer on the TV... limited number of songs, and pretty expensive... $0.25 a song... at a time when you might get six records played for a quarter. It didn't last long, probably due to the cost and limited selections.
Anyway... was single at the time... and was introduced to a WM Corporal there with some of her WM GF's... nice Italian girl from South Omaha... we dated for several months, did Disneyland, etc., but her enlistment expired, and off she went home. We wrote some for a while, and that eventually fell off. In the meantime... had met another, even gotten engaged... PBX switchboard operator career girl at the main PX. Total fish that I was... a form of bass... a dum bass, had mentioned this previous GF to the PBX gal, then thought no more of it. Then came the evening I was bound to the club for a cold one (Coca Cola, of course) when one of my buds sees me coming up the steps, and sez "hey, Dick... Nora's back... and she's looking for you" That in itself was enough to quench my thirst, and I returned to quarters. Nora didn't pursue the issue, and chance encounters on the Depot were not likely. Life went on...
Got married to the PBX gal, (who now has something like 48 years in grade)... and we went to her hometown to visit her family... the father-in-law had a jewelry store downtown... Omaha!... we were down that way, when I decided we should stop by the Federal building where the recruiters' offices were, as a bud was now recruiting in Omaha... bopping down the 4th floor hall, we encountered the WM recruiter... who was... well you can guess... and to this day, I am not allowed to sojourn alone in downtown Omaha... although, I heard Nora later married another Gunny from the I-I staff at Fort Omaha... not sure which one had seniority.? In nautical terms... "permission to lay alongside... maa'm?"
I stay out of trouble (mostly... ) by bragging about 'the best thing I ever got out of a Marine Corps PX'... candy/flowers occasionally help (even $6 worth from Sam's Club counts... some... )
Favorite DI liberty spot used to be 'The Anchor'... couple blocks up from Washington St. gate, sort of overlooked the depot... Thursdays, for those not on duty, were the most popular nights... that was when the barkeep fed the fish in the big aquarium behind the bar... piranha... fed live mice, amidst lots of betting...
Rebuttal to J.S. Elloit
Summary: When asked by my son, What was the worst thing about boot camp?"
My response was, "Waking up every morning and realizing where you were."
Mr. Elliot's response was that (to paraphrase) I should have adapted and faced each day with dedication, and an unbridled joy for the opportunity to do my best, to do my duty for God and country. Well, I don't think those exact thoughts were on my mind at every wake up call. I think it was more like, "Oh Cr*p, here we go again."
I was in the Officer Candidate - PLC Program. So I got to go to "Boot Camp" twice. (PLC Junior and PLC Senior)'. If at any time you even hinted that you did not want to be there... you were gone.
I regard my time in the Marine Corps as the most defining experience of my life. My Dad used to say, "Anything worthwhile demands sacrifice." By the way he was a Pharmacist's Mate (Hospital Corpsman) with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, and lost an arm there.
So, with all due respect Mr. Elliot, I think I realized what I was signing up for. I just wanted my son to realize the decision he was pondering was not going to be a Boy Scout camp out and a sleep over. There wasn't any one thing that was hard... it was all hard. (At least for me it was.)
Side bar: When the recruiters go to the schools for a career day. The Marines always go last. And they always wear their Blues. Their standard pitch is; "We offer everything the other branches have told you that they have to offer you... But are you good enough to wear this uniform?"
The anticipation of a journey and the memories of a journey, are always a lot better than the actual journey itself.
I can't believe I had to explain all this.
Good night Chesty & SSgt R S Winston were ever you are.
J P Cawthon
That Was Really Stupid
Sorry, the 4x4 vehicle pictured in the note from Jim Harris, former Lance Corporal, is what we always referred to as a Weapons Carrier. We had a ton of them in Korea but all were painted with Army paint jobs. I had never seen one in Marine green before. I now suspect the vehicle I saw at Camp Pendleton was a Dodge WC-64 which was basically a 1.5 ton 6x6 (verses a 2.5 ton 6x6). Not many were built and some were used for medical assignments.
On 8 July 1952, I was sworn in at the recruiting station in Milwaukee, WI along with three others. Just a week after Gerald Brookman was sworn in at Chicago. We too were put on an evening train to San Diego but it was in a Pullman car along with civilians.
Like Brookman we saw no yellow footprints and heard no Oorahs. We first were billeted on the upper deck of the Spanish looking building across the street from the theatre at the east end of the grinder. We later went to Camp Mathews for rifle training. I am told that is now the location of University of California - San Diego. Upon return from Camp Mathews we were billeted in a building that was immediately behind the base theatre. Later we moved to some Quonset huts over closer to the airfield and Convair who was re-habbing the Air Force B-36 bombers. Toward the end of our basic training we were in formation at ease on the grinder and were getting our dog tags and ID cards. While there, we saw one of the B-36s on a test flight wing over and drop out of the sky just off Point Loma.
Upon completion of boot camp we got a ten day delay enroute leave to report to Camp Pendleton for ICT. Upon completion of ICT training four of us were sent to Treasure Island Naval Base for basic electronics and arrived there late in the day of the Marine Corps Birthday. While at TI we had no 782 gear nor rifles and very little "troop and stomp". One mess hall fed the whole base. The food was the worst I've ever had.
Upon completion of basic electronics we were sent to MCRD San Diego for Radio Repair School. We left San Francisco wearing winter greens and when we hit the gate at MCRD were chewed out because the "official" uniform there was the summer Khakis. We were billeted above the chow hall about half way down the grinder and in the Spanish looking buildings. Radio repair school was conducted across the street from the Administration Building which was on the west end of the grinder opposite the theatre which was on the east end.
One weekend toward the end of our training we were told there would be no liberty as there was going to be a Battalion Picnic on Sunday. On Sunday they loaded us all on the cattle buses (converted semi-trucks) and took us to what we were told was San Diego County Park. They told us that the PX was a non-profit operation so periodically any profits were turned back to the units on the base. Signal Battalion had all the ping pong equipment and basketballs, etc. we could use so it was decided to have a Battalion Picnic. Our CO was a Colonel C. R. Nelson who wore pilot wings.
At the picnic we had food and beer and had a competition to see who could drink a bottle of beer the fastest. Mind you this was a group of mostly under ages Marines. The catch was they put baby bottle nipples on the beer bottles and the rules were you could not remove the nipples nor bite through them etc. It soon became obvious that by shaking the beer it would squirt out faster and easier. The problem was too much shaking caused the nipple to pop off the bottle.
Later a bunch of us had pulled a couple of picnic tables together and were sitting around drinking more beer. Suddenly we noticed another had joined us and it was the Colonel. Probably because of the influence of the beer one guy had the guts to ask Colonel Nelson about his wings. He admitted being a pilot and said he and a buddy had been grounded a couple of times for flying their Corsairs under a bridge in Long Beach but had always gotten back into the air. He said the last time he got grounded it was for flying a Corsair through one of the Blimp hangars at LTA outside Tustin. Said he had not flown (on duty) since.
When we graduated from Radio Repair School with a 2611 MOS the top five in the class were promoted to Cpl and sent back to Treasure Island as instructors. Chris Milton and I were sent to Korea as replacements with the FMAW.
We sailed from San Diego on 19 Oct 1953 aboard he USNS Gen. Nelson Walker and landed at Kobe, Japan. We were trucked to Itami Air Force base and from there we were flown to Korea. On 12 Nov 1954 we boarded the USNS Gen. A. W. Brewster in Inchon Bay and arrived at Fort Mason in San Francisco on 11 Dec 1954. The Brewster had been delayed in picking us up because it had been diverted to Viet Nam to rescue the French nurses and refugees. The Brewster dropped us Marines and Navy off at Fort Mason and then took the Army and Air Force "home". The ship was then moth balled according to the records posted on the internet.
My last six months of duty was with Station Electronics at El Toro MCAS where I was NCOIC of the Mobile Section. The barracks we were in was at one corner of a short block and closest to the chow hall. At the other end of the block was the WM barracks. Several times a day we had a parade of WMs going to and from the chow hall.
Shortly after reporting in to Station Electronics and being assigned NCOIC of the Mobile Section, T.Sgt. Sabatini must have gotten upset with me. We had 9 WMs in our little unit and he decided to replace all 4 of my guys with WMs. I was glad I only had a few months left to serve. For what it's worth I did date a couple of the WMs on a few occasions. Got quite friendly with one.
I was separated out on 7 July 1955 from El Toro with the rank of Sergeant (E4). At that time there were no Lance Corporals nor Gunnery Sergeants. A rank of pay grade E-8 had recently been created but it did not allow Master Sergeants with technical MOSes to advance to that level. A number of them whose enlistments were coming up got pizzed and opted for the promotion to Convair or one of the other companies looking for electronic techs. The Marine Corps lost a lot of valuable investment with that move. I can't believe that when you count my basic training, ICT, etc. I spent close to 14 of my 36 months in training. And I never even got a "re-up" speech. It's like they didn't care. I can't believe I was that bad.
I won't mention the silly new way of marching and doing drill. That was really stupid.
Terrance Stewart 1318421/2611
Marine Corps Bulk Fuel Association
"Marine Corps Bulk Fuel Association" is having a reunion May 4,5,6 in Beaufort, S.C.
Contact Howard at HHust61 @ aol .com (no spaces) for information.
Didn't Have To Push
When I returned from Korea, still in one piece, I was assigned to DI School at San Diego. So after 13 months in Korea I am going on 24 months of Training Recruits. So as DI School progressed and we were getting ready for Graduation and all Korean Vets were to report to Sick Bay. We were given a poison to kill the internal bugs common to Korea. I took the Poison as directed (who is going to tell the people that kept you alive in War...NO!) so On Graduation day, I passed out as did a couple others. We were hauled to Sick Bay then to Balboa Naval Hospital, we were dying of the Poison given us to keep us from getting sick. In the Hospital I was given my DI Diploma and later lost it! Fortunately my Enlistment was up and so I asked for Recruiters School, what could be easier. (by the way in those days you were paid $360 for 6 year Enlistment, You had to WANT to be a MARINE).
So I went to Parris Island for Recruiters School and just before Graduation Day, Parris Island notified all Ex-DI's they were needed due to an over flow of recruits. So here I go again, back to school, but first the Psychiatrist. You were handed a sheet of Paper and told to draw a human, when that was done you were told to turn the paper over and draw the opposite s-x. Then you went for your visit with the MAN! So I was accepted again and issued this lousy, put together by some office clown, Diploma, notice it is signed, sealed and delivered.
As I was getting reader for a platoon, most of us johnny-come- latelys were told we didn't have to push recruits and could go to our Recruiting Station.
Mine was in Detroit, a friend from Korea was going there with me. When we were introduced to the Commanding Officer, my friend turned white, I didn't recognize the Major but later my friend told me he was the Major Relieved of his command in Korea and we were in his regiment. After 3 months on Recruiting duty the Major called us in his Office and told us we were unfit for Recruiting duty. It took 5 years and four Inspector Generals to rid my Record Book of that. BUT I made Staff Sergeant the month following, Two years later, made Staff Sergeant (Acting). In twixt and tween I served at Camp Lejeune and Bermuda where I serve three Delightful years.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Something I Should Do
About 22 years ago I attended the Celebration of the Commissioning of The Marine Air Base at Cherry Point. The first Squadron to be Commissioned there was VMF(n) 531. I became a member of that noted Squadron in 1949 and had not been back since leaving in September of 1950. All members of the Squadron were Honored with a Parade and other Goodies like meals in the "O" Club and "mess halls". Rounds of Golf on the Base Course and opportunities to visit any area of the base an active Marine never had the chance to visit till the Reunion.
I was with a "Mustang" Colonel named Schwab. He was in the Squadron at the same time as I. Both were Pfc.'s. Chuck was well known it seemed, and introduced me to a very tall man that told me that he was a pilot. He flew F16's and any others he wanted to check out and fly, came out in our conversation. I asked how tall he was. I think his answer was that he was Six Feet Seven and a Half. 6' 7 1/2" that is. Anyone with Parachute Rigger and Flight Equipment training knows that certain aircraft were tight fits for anyone over 6' 3" or 6'4" and dumb old me asked how he managed that. "General Big was my knick name. I used my rank to fly anything I felt a need to be familiar with as the Base C.O." was the answer he laughingly gave me.
Colonel Schwab then walked me to another group of men and introduced me to each using first names. Dumb me showed more ignorance again. One members of this group had a familiar name and I did not realize I was talking with General Carl. A holder of the Medal of Honor.
We had a farewell dinner and a social hour. Most people were there early and were chatting around and getting to know more about one another. I happened to be just inside the entry door to the room, talking with a lady that played golf in one of the outings. I sensed someone walk up behind me and so turned to see who it was. I seldom am without speaking capability with any one. First I saw a smiling young man in Uniform. Then I saw the Three Stars on his shoulders and collar. After a long period of shock I blurted out to the General that His 3 Stars took my mind to blank. I also told him that I know there is something I should do but don't know what it is. His response was a smile and a loud few words, "General On Deck"! He shook my hand though.
I replied to Cpl Thompson (WM) a week or so ago about not having much contact with WM's in the fleet, that was the honest to Gods truth, but, while in schools battalion motor t Delmar camp Pen we did have a salty Latino Cpl WM. I believe her name was Rodriguez, she was our NCOIC every 3rd day or so, very military, very snap n pop kinda Marine. nuf said bout her, on with the tale...
Anyone who ever spent time at Delmar in motor t school in the 80s will remember the old wood barracks we housed in and how far of a march it was to the chow hall, e-club or any other after school establishment on base, otherwise it was out the gate into oceanslime (oceanside) to face the civilian scum that preyed on us boot Jarheads.
While humping back from the e club one evening 3 of us decided to try and hitch a ride and as it turns out a convertible stops and picks us up. 3 young ladies, the driver says get in, we pile in, and my idiot mouth kicks in gear, I ask if the ladies are WMs and they give us an affirmative. well ooohfnrah we are MnMs melt in your mouth not in your hand... shortest hitchhike ever.
SEMPER FI to all Marines and OOOOOHrah Sgt Grit on an outstanding newsletter.
Cpl Radtke 85-89
Enlisted With No Idea
1960. Platoon 213 MCRD SD. MOSs
I just enlisted with no idea that there were Marines who weren't Grunts. At MCRD one day we took a written test & I was informed that I was assigned Aviation. But, I protested I wanted to be a machine gunner. No, I don't recall how many times my head bounced off the desk.
Sent to NAS Memphis for reassignment & given a dream sheet. So while the head squid said "...where it says first name..." I was scanning the options and put down 1) Parachute rigger...gets to jump. 2) Aerial Photographer 3) Weather... I had no idea of what this was. Then the head Squid says "Don't no one select Air Traffic Control cause nobody gets it..."
Of course I put down 1) ATC 2) ATC 3) ATC...whatever that was. And got it. Kaneohe, Yuma, Wake Island, Hilo, Honolulu, Kona, Karshi-Khanabad. Did get nominated for DI with 3 stripes if I'd reenlist and often wondered how that would have turned out.
Cpl of Marines
Coast To Coast Ride
We are welcoming U.S. Marine Jeremy Staat and Soldier Wesley Barrientos to Oklahoma City as they ride from coast to coast to bring awareness about Veterans suicide, a more efficient VA system, educational informational centers on all college campuses and childhood obesity. Please come by Sgt Grit, Saturday March 31st between 1400 and 1500 to meet these heroes and feel free to support their cause by helping with a donation.
My name is Jeremy Staat, I am a retired NFL Player, a United States Marine, friend and former teammate of Pat Tillman's and an Iraqi War Veteran. Here is my story...
CID or NIS Might Be Interested
Most Marines think it can be difficult to get 'stuff' out of the supply system... only those in the supply and maintenance fields truly understand how difficult it can be to get 'stuff' back into the system.
At Dong Ha/Quang Tri in the fall of '69, units were beginning to be pulled out, some moving back to Okinawa and points further east. FLSG-B had been in that area for three or four years, and having all sorts of tools, improvisers, and overcomers, had some equipment that had ceased to officially exist some time before... not economically repairable, a low priority to get moved to the rear to the Defense Property Disposal Depot (there was one in the vicinity of Marble Mountain... run by civilians)...and some of it might be put to good use.
A prime example of this was the truck used to spray diesel fuel on the roads around Quang Tri... a five-ton with a 3,000 gallon tank on the back, and an item unique to the Air Wing... homemade spray bar on the back, worked great (a Maintenance platoon with over 100 mechanics can do amazing things). As time went on, and the unit shrank as people were moved back to Camp Books at DaNang, things like this truck got to be a problem... the solution was to park it at the LCU ramp at Cua Viet... and let the Navy or Sea Bees worry about it (no paperwork... no way there could have been). That took care of that!
A few weeks later, the Maintenance Operations Officer got a call from the gate sentry at the FLSG-B compound (inside Camp Books... on the west side, south of Maintenance Battalion)... seems a SeaBee wrecker had just driven up, dropped off this truck inside the gate, and left... and seems we had forgotten to paint over the tac mark on the doors... a white hexagon... that be us. He called in the MT maintenance Gy, and the Engineer maintenance Gy, found out we had plenty of oxygen and acetylene... they knew what to do...
Somewhere at An Hoa are two 4.2 cubic foot mount-out boxes... both are full of 1/4" drive speed wrenches... how/why they got there is one of those mysteries that will remain unsolved... those were once transported up to DaNang, then returned... seems they couldn't be turned in until each had a tag with NSN and condition code on it...
The M151 truck, 4x4, 1/4ton, also known as a jeep, was designed to wash out at fourth echelon maintenance... i.e. was never intended to return to a Depot for overhaul. Parts from two or three might be used to make one serviceable unit, which would keep its number, and the others would be dropped from the rolls... more or less officially reported as destroyed by cannibalization...
Well, with 100+ mechanics... and years in place... most of the SNCOs in MT Maintenance platoon had vehicles... these might have brass T-handles on the shifter, a wooden console box between the seats, gauges trimmed in aluminum paint, seat covers made from camo plastic tarps, etc... after all, as they used to say in the '40s... there was a war on.
As the unit rolled back from the northern part of I Corps, the 'owners' of these vehicles would get orders to places like Maintenance Battalion... where they had asphalt, shined their boots, starched their covers and marched to chow and work... these 'rides' would be too conspicuous by far, so the 'owners' as they dropped in to say good bye, would drop off the keys to the padlocks, after parking the vehicles behind the MaintOps building.
The recipient of these realized one morning that there were no fewer than five of these 'non-existent' vehicles parked out there, and that it was entirely possible that CID or NIS might be interested in them... two went to Baldy, and two to AnHoa, never to return, but a taker couldn't be found for the fifth... sooooo...with a chase vehicle and driver, it was driven over to Freedom Hill PX, parked, and left un-locked. When the chase vehicle, having made the loop around DogPatch and the Div CP came by the parking lot again... etc. violins!... it was gone!
I'll Try You Out
Concerning selection of a field for duty stations after boot camp, Our DI asked us on a Saturday afternoon lull period. One recruit, a thin guy from Penna. when asked what he wanted to do, said he was an expert in the automotive field. DI Braddock pointed to his car in front of the barracks. The recruit explained he did repairs on that very model car back home. DI Braddock said there's a hose behind the barracks. "I'll try you out. Wash my car." He left for the car while the rest of us had a softball game in the rec area of the 1st RCT training Bn. Parris Island, May 1950.
George Lipponer, USMC 1950-54. 11168978
Parris Island, late September, there's a war on and sixty some- odd recruits are packed on a bus heading from Beaufort to the main gate. The scent of the low country's Sea Islands pervades the senses while the bus grinds its way down the causeway to where it stops and Richard Boone-looking character wearing perfectly a pressed and shined service dress charlie uniform under a service campaign cover enters through the open door.
He eyes the assembled mass with venom usually associated with viewing the flotsam regurgitated from the mess hall grease traps. His eyes resemble the tiger's; ours, his prey. "you got sixty seconds to get off this bus and you've just wasted thirty; now move it!"
Three helpers: similarly dressed, harass the mob into some semblance of order in the street by shouting us onto a precisely aligned set of yellow footprints. The area is surrounded by wooden barracks resembling those in most WW2 movies. This is Second Battalion.
Still in civilian clothes, unwashed and un-showered, we move in a nightmare of shouting and shoving through various stages of initial receiving. Finally, we are shown to a squadbay and allowed to lie down for a bit. I memorize my service number 2745413.
At length, the sounds of recruit training, muffled little by the intervening windows, build like the start of some symphony. The recurrent themes include numberless recurrences of "hurry up", "your other left, crazy", and a litany of "Baritone: Platoon, Halt. (Slap, boom as sixty sets of heels pound together.) Column of twos from the right. Two tenors in unison: stand fast, Another two tenors in unison: forward. Baritone: march." Later: "second two tenors in unison: Column half right march; column half left march."
The background music is a capella: Some is rather atonal "yo lef, yo lef..." Some is lyrical "Gimme ya lo righta lo..." Through the chorus comes a new phrase: "form for chow, march"; precision snap and pop rises above the general din.
Suddenly a new character, a raving lunatic in the guise of a recruiting poster-perfect Marine, switches on the lights, picks up a trash can and beats on its ribbed innards with a swagger stick: "Get up, get up get out of the racks, reville, reville, reville, hurry up, hurry up. Grandma's slow, but she's old; what's your excuse swe' pea? Get out in the street. Close it up: a: to belly button; make the man in front of you smile! Walk, mob. Hippity hop, mob stop."
There is bucket issue, a battery of tests, the ritual remanding all our civilian contraband to the US Mail, and finally haircuts. Once back out on the street, an amazing transformation occurs: faces appear under the newfound chrome-dome looks: some are scared, some are angry, some are quite confident. All have suddenly developed personalities which were invisible under the long hair, beards etc., we thought set us apart from each other. Finally, back at the barracks, come showers and uniforms. It shocks us that when we are all dressed the same, individuality finally appears. We're starting to look like what we're trying to be.
Recruit training lasts about nine weeks: first phase, mess and maintenance week, second phase: rifle range, and finally third phase. That's all before us; right now, all we're trying to do is survive.
Years later, in OCS, Frenchie, the Recon veteran, who was no-end impressed with my gift for memorizing cadences and responsive readings at route column, asked me if I ever thought of writing them down. We both had majored in English: me at South Carolina, and him at Cornell. Truthfully, I had thought about it. But at length it occurred to me that the litanies of Parris Island were composed in the sacred tradition of oral literature, and not to be profaned with freezing them onto a piece of paper. He agreed. Now all that remains of that time is the smells, the melodies, and their lyrics. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with the smell of the swamp fresh in my nose and the sounds of those days fresh in my ears. It seems like only yesterday.
"Ah! The good old time--the good old time. Youth and the sea. Glamour and the sea! The good, strong sea, the salt, bitter sea, that could whisper to you and roar at you and knock your breath out of you." Joseph Conrad, "Youth".
Guam Cave Soldiers
A Night Stroll in Guam
Back in early summer of 1966 I had been medivac to Guam Naval Hospital to get a screwed up wrist fixed. After about 5 weeks they said back to duty Marine after the pins came out. I reported into the transit barracks for a week of light duty and some R&R.
Our flight out was Sunday morning so a party was in order. We were invited to a beer party at a private home in the hills above Agana Saturday night. Three of us matched up and after several beers we went out to catch a cool breeze and get ready for round two. After about 2 more beers and several stories we just kicked back for a few before going back in.
Any grunt that sat in the bush will tell you how aware of your surroundings you become. At about the same moment we looked at each other knowing something was out of place all of a sudden. All night noises ceased and we just looked at each other wondering "what the F__k over". Then we knew we were being watched but it sure wasn't a party goer.
With hand signals we worked out a plan of attack. Now do remember we had a beer or 12 in each of us. I and scooter went low and silently right and left while Bob back away and said "more beer?" He turned the corner of the house then started back around and out with us in the jungle. After about a life time we saw movement and started to close in. We knew we had one surrounded and we pounced.
It was like stepping into a herd of pheasants. Bodies went every which way, well at least 3 plus us. When we singled out one, we went in hot pursuit. Two hours later we were spent and thought more beer and organize a hunting party.
Upon tell our local host he said don't worry about. They've never hurt a soul and just looking for food. They knew then there were quite a few still out in the jungle hiding. We wanted to stay over, check out rifles, gear and hunt them down. The OD looked at us like we were crazy and said "go back to your nice safe war".
All three of us got Purple Hearts to get there and wondered where he had been for the past 4 years.
Semper Fi, do and die or just get another beer.
Cpl. Prohaski back then
Sgt Grit: Recently Cpl Kat Adams posed the question if there had really been a sailor recruit who accidently went to MCRDSD or if this was a legend. Given the location of both training facilities I suspect that this has probably happened several times over the years. With that said I have a fairly new "squid" friend by the name of Terry Thomas who this actually happened to.
Terry joined the navy on Aug 8 1961 and along with another recruit flew out of Memphis Tn and ultimately arrived at San Diego around 2030. Not certain as to where they should go Terry asked a cop and he told them where to stand and that a Bus would be along shortly. Sure enough in a short time a Bus arrived and a Marine MP (he thinks) got off and started shouting at them.
He tried to say something but the Marine told him to shut up, quit talking to him, and get on the ### Bus. He saw the sign saying MCRD as they entered the base but he still wasn't clear as to what was happening. Was told to get off the bus and stand on the Red stones (asked him if this could have been footprints) but he didn't think so. One of the guys in the group was a big 250# plus guy and a DI came up and hit him in the gut and told him he would soon lose the gut.
Remembers going up some stairs and doing a lot of calisthenics. Around 0200 they lined them up and started giving everyone the ultimate haircut. His sailor friend was in front of him and actually got his head shaved. I need to add at this point that the other recruit had a bad stutter and since he was probably scared to death he couldn't get any words out.
Terry was finally able to find his voice (my words not his) and yelled out that they were in the Navy. One of the DIs came over and after looking at their orders and saying something to the effect that only a dumb Swabbie would make a mistake like that he called the SP. After an hour or two of standing at attention and facing the Bulkhead the SP arrived and escorted them to the proper Depot. He did talk about being able to see the Marine Recruits running in the sand while they the Sailors were running on concrete.
Unlike the incident Cpl Adams talked about Terry's involvement with the Corps didn't stop there. He went on to become a Corpsman and was attached to the Marine Detachment at Gitmo from Feb 62 till Feb 63 and was at Gitmo again in 64 but was at the Hospital then. After his Navy tour was up he went to College, got a nursing degree and was commissioned into the Army and ultimately retired as Lt Colonel. We will never know but if he had stayed in the Corps for a day or two rather than a few hours he might have made it to General.
Thanks for a great Newsletter
John P Vaughn
1942842 (61 to 65)
"The time is now near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves."
--George Washington 1776
"The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits."
Dana Perrino (Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL. After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to learn several languages?
"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."
"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"
"Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others to persecute those who do reason."
"A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."
"We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity."
"It is equally dangerous giving a madman a knife and a villain power."
"This is my rifle. There are many other, but this one is mine."
"I pulled mess duty at the last supper"
"I was assigned to the Marine Detachment on Noah's Ark"