Sgt Grit Newsletter - 02 FEB 2012

In this issue:
• The Biggest Rock
• Tattoos: Shore Party, Civil War
• One of the Family

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My son was engaging with the local recruiters his senior year of high school. He asked me in all seriousness, "Dad, what is the worst thing about boot camp?"
Without hesitation, and with dead sincerity I answered, "Waking up and realizing where you are." Any debate?
Keep your interval
J P Cawthon
Big Joe...Out.

In This Issue

After all these years of putting this newsletter together I am continually impressed by the different stories and experiences, and the creative ways you write them. Thank you!

PTSD; we all know the problems it causes. How about some stories of how you positively deal with it.

Here we go: Gunny, "biggest" rock up there, Christmas 65, shore party, he didn't cheat, "trigger side" seat, Gator Freighters, got this Tattoo instead, wasn't very intelligent, one of the family, falling off to the right side, hand delivered mid rats, thank the Army, Jihadist Martyrs, eating duck, Order of the Golden Dragon, it was a trap, Priceless.

Sgt Grit

Military Cuts

When I got out of the Corps in 1982, I had an idea to build a table with the Marine Corps Emblem in the centre, surrounded by a Bandolier of 7.62 rounds. You know... Something that would stand tall in my living room and say I was a Marine.

30 years later my idea has turned into a chance for me to make these tables for you, something that will honour your Military commitment and reflect the pride you have for your Corps.

My name is Ralph Curtis and Military Cuts is my company. My Specialty is designing commemorative furniture for the Home, Den, and Office for present day and former Military personnel.

Now About The

Sgt Grit : I went through Boot camp in 1966 Plt 138 MCRD then off to Vietnam with M. co 3/26 and later 1/9. Now about the ?? as to the location of the Huts here is a photo from my boot camp album it may help.
Ray Ybarra
Los Angeles Ca.

Run Of The Ship

Sgt Grit
I think you should publish the letters from your Newsletter into book form. I will probably be several volumes but put me down for the first five.

Enclosed is why maybe sometimes you should volunteer. The accommodations about a troop ship were somewhat crowded. So when the Bosn asked for Marines to volunteer for brig guard duty I was up front. We moved to the brig below the forward anchor chain locker, were given armbands and had priority on the ship. That means we ate half a dozen of the skimpy meals instead of 2 skimpy meals plus hand delivered mid rats of fresh baked ships bread, horsecock & ice cream.

We kept one prisoner to use to get to the head of the hour long wait chow line and to return for extra meals. We had the run of topside for fresh air & sun. The below decks Christmas ruin as the storm hit and scattered ornaments & Marines all over wasn't our fate. Saw the Koolaus at day break, The band at the Harbor below Aloha Tower. It was just grand,

Lee 1960 to 1964
Cpl of Marines

There Is No Party

Sgt. Grit,

Finally got my Marine Corps Tattoo on Father's Day 2011. I got off active duty in 1987. My last unit was Landing Support Co. 1st Marine Brigade K-Bay. Thanks for putting it in the tattoo files.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Ed DeVoe
"There's no party like shore party."

Ships Company


To answer the question by Short Rounds, When the General Quarters Alarm is sounded on Naval Ships "where do the Marines Go?"

There are Marines on all Navy ships in the U.S. Fleet that are assigned to duty on that ship. From Military Police Guarding the ships, Captain and Brigg (jail) to Communications and Air, these people are called "Ships Company" they report to their combat assigned area, all other Marines are called "Embarked Troops" they report to their assigned berthing quarters or equipment bay.

Semper Fi...

CPL. D.E. PETERSON 2532 USMC 31st Marine Amphibious Unit/7th Comm. Bn. Det. 1974 USS Cleveland LPD-7

This is a lost tradition. There is no longer a Marine Detachment on Navy ships.
Sgt Grit

Best Part

In the back window of my 2001 Mustang GT!

Semper Fi
"DOC" STARK 58-64

Christmas 65

I read all the newsletters and enjoy them all. Lots of good stories. I spent my 20 years in Aviation, HMM-165 Sept 65 to Oct 66 in R.V.N. at Ky Ha.

I remember Christmas 65, they were looking for a gunner for a mission, so we were off on a very cloudy day. We picked up a squad of Marines and headed out. We were supposed to drop them on a hill, around and around we went. The pilot was unable to locate the landing spot due to the fog. We dropped the Marines off and headed home. On that day nobody got shot at or killed. Merry Christmas all.

Keep up the good work, "Semper Fi".
MSgt John Kuheim.

The Biggest Rock


I just read this week's newsletter and was reminded of a story after reading the one that mentioned Mount Mother F. I arrived at MCRD San Diego on Sept 27, 1972. Yes, the yellow footprints were there. And, yes, we stayed in the Quonset huts at first, and again when we went to Pendleton for ITR. When we came back to MCRD for third phase, we were in the new "Hotels". And we were taught to yell "OOhrah" as well as "Semper Fi", depending on the circumstances. But, back to the story of Mount Mother.

This was a favorite of our DIs for any number of reasons. One, I am sure, was pure entertainment! Since I had a habit of not knowing when to shut my mouth, or sometimes putting my mouth into gear before my brain, I was a favorite target for some of their "Learning sessions". One of these was to send me running up to the top of Mount Mother to "bring me the biggest rock you can find there".

Well, I humped all the way up there, and picked up the biggest rock that I could carry. And then humped that rock all the way back down and "presented" that rock to my DI. He then looked at that rock, which probably weighed around 50 lbs., and then told me "I know that there are bigger rocks than that up there. Now quit slacking off and go and get me the biggest one!".

So, I humped all the way back up to the top again. At that point, he yells up to me, that I "forgot" my "little" rock. And tells me to come back down and get it and return it to where I had gotten it from. So, I again hump all the way down, pick up this rock, and hump it all the way back up there. This, of course, is much more difficult than bringing it down the hill.

Then I look around, trying to rest a bit, while looking for the "biggest" rock up there. I spot a fairly large boulder, near the edge of the hill. I try to move it with my hands and shoulder, but can't get it to budge. So, I decide to lay down on my back and move it with my feet and legs, since they are obviously much stronger. I get down behind the boulder and start pushing with my legs and get the thing to rock a bit. So, I continue to rock it more and more until it finally starts to roll down the hill on its own. As I get up and look down to see the rock heading for the bottom, I suddenly realize that I am in deep Kimchee!

There, at the bottom, and directly in the path of this rolling boulder, are my three DIs, admiring the brand new, custom van, that another DI has brought directly from the dealer, to show them. I yell a warning to them. They look up in time to get out of the way themselves. And the boulder crashes right into the side of the van with enough force to cave in the sliding door and embed itself completely into the van.

At this point, I realize that this other DI is the biggest, meanest looking, individual that I have ever seen in my life! And he is now growling like a grizzly bear, and running up Mount Mother towards me faster than I thought anyone could possibly ascend that hill. I, despite my sheer exhaustion from going up and down that hill so many times already, turn and run for my life! Needless to say, this did me no good at all! It just meant that he had more distance to kick my butt all the way back to the van, which he did.

I am completely convinced that the only reason that he did not beat me to death was that my DIs did not want to have to do the paperwork that would have been involved, so they stopped him. And, the only reason that he did not charge me with something official is because then he would have had to explain my physical condition at that point which was, to put it mildly, not good! In fact, I was one beat up and bloody mess, that my DIs had to hide from "official" view for a couple of weeks. But, that is, as they say, "a whole nuther story".

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82

Never Seen in Uniform

Sgt Grit. I went through Parris Island Boot Camp (C Co. 2nd Bn) in 1957. I served 22 years in the Corps and retired as a Gunnery Sgt (E-7), I entered the civilian law enforcement immediately after retirement. I am now retired from the P G County Park Police after 22 years of service as a Sgt.

While I was on the police department I was joining the Credit Union, while talking to one of the elderly female employees she asked "are you known as Gunny because you were in the Marine Corps?" I answered "yes maam". She then related that her deceased ex-husband was a D.I. at Parris Island in the 2nd Bn in 1957. I told her I was in Plt 12, 2nd Bn in 1957. I asked her what her husband's name was and she said the same as hers "Woodyard". I told her that HE was one of my Drill Instructors. She asked if I had a boot camp photo of him because her grown children had never seen him in uniform. So I had a copy of my boot camp graduation photo made showing her deceased ex-husband standing out front of the Platoon. Yes the Corps is small.

So Off He Went

I was stationed at MCAS Beaufort back in the 60's when this occurred. A know-it-all SSgt was called in by the Gunny in charge of Squadron Avionics (Electric, electronic, and fire control shops) the gunny asked if he would look up a tube for him, the Staff said ok, the gunny said look up tube 16X15. The Staff said I have never heard of that before.

So off he went he look at our tech manuals- nada. He went to Base tech Library spent a tremendous amount time studying tech manuals results-nada. He went to the library in town -nada. After a week he told the gunny I'm sorry but I can't find a thing on that particular tube. The gunny said ok forget it. The gunny didn't have the guts to tell him it was an inner tube!

God bless America and God bless the Marine Corps
Louie Banuelos (Pancho) USMC "46 - '76

He Wore These

I have been reading the letters from other Marines that have attached WWII dog tags. Just thought that I would send my dad's. I carry his along with mine on my key chain. He wore these in WWII and Korea. I lost my dad back in 2003, and know that there are fewer and fewer of the WWII Marines around, but I would like to hear from anyone that may have known my Dad. My Dad, Don L. Hampton, was from Sweetwater, Texas.

Semper Fi
Rannie P. Hampton
Sgt 1969 - 1973
Don L. Hampton
Cpl 1943 - 1945, 1950 - 1951

One of the Family

Sgt. Grit,

I was reading the story about the family taking in Marines for the holidays. Made me remember, August 1967, I was heading for Camp Pendleton for staging for Vietnam. I met a fellow Marine at the Atlanta airport and we sat together on the flight to LAX. His parents were waiting for him when we got off the plane.

My plan was to catch a bus to Pendleton, I had three days before I had to report. His parents wouldn't hear of it and insisted that I spend those three days at their home in Huntington Beach. They treated me like one of the family for that three days even though I had just met their Marine waiting for the flight. Then they drove me to Pendleton to report.

Being young and dumb (I was a 19 year old Corporal) I neglected to get their address or phone number and forgot their name. I've thought of that family often over the last 45 years and wished I had stayed in touch. It was another example of "Marines take care of their own"!

Bob Adcock
Sgt. USMC 1965-1969

Short Rounds

My Daddy served in the Marine Corps in the Korean Era. His name is Fred Cartee, he was very red headed with lots of freckles and young. He flew under Capt Pee Wee in (I believe #314?). He crashed twice in Korea and when they returned back in the states in San Francisco, my Daddy and Capt Pee Wee flew under the Golden Gate Bridge. Needless to say, they both lost their wings. My Daddy left the Corps but the Capt got his wings back and I believe stayed in the Corps.
Thank you,
Jo Cartee

2nd Bn 5th Mar

The letter from the Marine who spent the Holidays with a host family brought to mind about Mother's day, May of 1966. We also left Camp Pendleton on a base bus (Dressed in "Trops"). After a short ride we stopped in front of a retirement home. As we filed off of the bus we were handed a corsage and told to go inside and find a Mother. After a short visit with our new found Mother we left. We couldn't spend that special day with our Mother's but we made Mother's day special for someone.

Semper Fidelis,
RVN 1967-68

Hello. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed the story of the Marine vet - teacher who celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday with his students. That's nothing less than outstanding! The pictures of the students in cammies are adorable!

I think all schools should teach classes on all the branches of service, and celebrate the Marine Corps birthday. Teachers need to teach the children who's got their backs.

Unfortunately, I know of a school whose principal does not have any respect for the armed forces, and falsely advertises a "Vets Day Parade" Hopefully she gets a sense of respect or gets fired.

USMC Veteran
Kimberly Baker

Hi Sgt Grit

While on duty in China (1940) I served under MajGeneral Puller when his rank was Captain and he was one Great Marine. General Puller left just prior to us being transferred to the Philippines. You know what happened then. WW11.
SgtMaj Rice USMC (Ret)

More Old Corps/New Corps

"I've passed more Ships Masts than you have Telephone Poles."

Semper Fidelis
Dave Coup

I just wanted to write and say that I enjoy the stories in the newsletter. I am a great admirer of the job the Marine Corps does and has done in the past. I was not lucky enough to serve in the Marines. I was just a draftee in the Army, but I have a great respect for the Corps since I was a kid. So keep up the good work on the newsletter and if I may be allowed to say Semper Fi to all the Marines past and present. Bob

I was assigned 0811 MOS out of boot camp in Feb.1962. Arriving on Okinawa I was assigned to L-4-12. It was there that I was trained in my MOS. All OJT. On my first live fire I was in the ammo pit learning how to set fuses. All the training during my enlistment was OJT. I did take a correspondence course once.

J.D. Williams Cpl.
0811 1961-1966

In response to Jack M., former Captain of Marines 1965-8, in the last news letter concerning Sailors wearing the EGA. While I attended seminary the registrar was a former Navy officer. He wore a polo shirt with the EGA and I questioned him about his service in the Corps. He told me he was in the Navy and served as a Naval intelligence officer. I told him it wasn't very intelligent to wear an EGA he did not earn. He was gone before I graduated.

Sgt. Rev. Mike, 78-84

Sgt. Grit:
USMC= United States Men's College

D. Goodwin
CPL 1960-1964

To all you younger MARINES, I wore out more SEA-BAGS than you have socks! SEMPER FI not OOoooooRAH
Bobby Pierce

56 to 61//1649003 never heard the word or shout OOORAH!, we did all the way, gung ho, semper fi, Kill. also was 2 yrs. on USS BonHomme Richard CVA 31, we manned the 3" and 5" guns./ and had fire stations to man if a fire happened. Our regular Post were manned. L/Cpl Leigh-Kendall

In the Marine Communications Detachment aboard the USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) in the '80's, we manned the troop communications spaces during GQ, secured the hatches, and all the while maintaining the very highest levels of alertness, turned off the lights and racked out on the desks until "Secure from General Quarters" was passed over the 1MC!

"The Link" Cpl at the time, USMC

Referring to 'Shaving mug' for 9th Engineers...63 and 64 I was a 2533 stationed out of Camp Hanson, Okinawa and points south with 9th Eng, Charlie Co. and our call sign at that time was Axe handle numbers because we were the only engineer platoon attached to 1/9.

Bob Yount Sgt 62-66

I was at MCRD in the hot summer of 1954 and was a squad leader of platoon 354. One hot July day we were on the grinder and the platoon made a column right and being the first squad leader I did not hear the command for the column right and "A SLEEP ON MY FEET" I kept right on going. And then off in the distance I heard a faint Pvt. Lovett and Pvt. Lovett only - to the rear march - and with that I woke up and got my butt chewed for sleeping while on duty...

PFC Larry G. Lovett - 1954-1956

Sgt. Grit,
I was in the Corps during WW II, and I still have my original dog tags. They have my thumb print on the back and are shaped exactly like the ones Mario Muniz, Vietnam vet, wrote that he has. The ID No. was 955090, mine is 423---, my brother's 423---. Every other enlistee was a reserve, the next a regular, my brother, reserve, me, a regular. We had 35 months overseas, one battle star, I had a year to serve after the war, Great Lakes Naval Training Station, great liberty while putting in my time.
Billy E. Fox, Sgt. USMC '42-'46

I Second the motion to not have that MARINE serve any time for the loss of life in IRAQ war is H-LL and you never know what is behind DOOR #1 or #2.Sorry for the cost of life but we should not be subject to any rules if they want us there...
Sgt. B Pierce 3/5 Wpns. Co.5th MARINES - 0341 4.2 MORTARS

I served in The Corps from July 1952 to July 1955. Everywhere we went there were four wheeled vehicles called Weapons Carriers. They were almost as common as jeeps. When we were going through training at Camp Pendleton the FMF Corpsman used to drive a real neat six wheeled vehicle when we went out into the field. We called it a Personnel Carrier. One might say it was like a miniature deuce and a half 6x6. I seldom ever saw any more of those vehicles. When I Google USMC PERSONNEL CARRIER it returns a more modern and amphibious vehicle. Does anyone remember the proper name or nomenclature for the vehicle I'm referring to?

T. Stewart, Sgt (E-4) USMC 1952-55

Felling A Tree

While stationed at Camp Lejeune, 10 Marine regiment and brand new second lieutenant joined us in the field. Since I was battery gunny the skipper brought him to me to familiarized him with our operation.

After observing a couple of fire missions and during a smoke break, I told the lieutenant that since he is now a member of the finest battery in the tenth he had to qualify with the axe.

The procedure was simple. He would be blindfolded and had to hit a piece of wood ten times. To ensure he didn't cheat and peek, the platoon sergeant would hold his cover. The lieutenant was eager to fit in and agreed.

Members of the battery gathered around and I saw the skipper and XO standing the rear. When the LT was ready I told him to commence He swung that axe like he was felling a tree. After the tenth strike I told him to remove the blindfold and that he was truly qualified. Smiling he took the cover from his eyes and the grin quickly left his face. There on the piece of wood was his cover with ten nice slices.

Everyone broke out laughing; even the CO and XO. After examining the chopped up cap the LT began to laugh as well. He wore that cover all the time we were in the field and he wore it with pride because he knew that he was accepted. Any new Lieutenant that didn't join in found distant from the men. Marines are a tight unit and those new needed to be accepted.

Semper Fi
Albert Dixon
GySgt, USMC, ret.


Recently a civilian type saw my bumper sticker advising against calling my Marine. He asked who my Marine was and I smiled and told him, "Sgt. Grit."

Thanks to your marvelous catalog I am moving forward quickly on a series of articles I am writing concerning Wayne County, TN's NamVets. The Moving wall will be here in Wayne County the end of May and the first few days of May so I want the series to be meaningful and timely. One part of the series will address our Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star winners and your center page has all of the medals in order of their precedent so I did not have to search to make sure I had them in the right order. That saved me several hours at least of searching and taking notes. Sgt. Grit is my Marine.

Sunny, USMC 60-62

You're welcome. Glad to be of service. What a great job I have. I get to make a nice living, meet Marines from every era, every day in the office. A Marine came in Friday with his huge RV. He bought a dozen or more decals and the large custom decal to 'MarineCorps-ize' his RV. We had a nice long talk. Airwing, Nam vet, Sgt, etc.... His RV looked outstanding when he left.

Earlier in the week, an Iraq vet, Beirut, and Korea. Cold War Marine talking about the multiple deployments and semi- deployments due to the Cuban missile crisis.

There was a Navy Nam vet, brown water Mekong Delta. Said he was trained for this duty by Marines and identified more with the Corps than Navy.

Sgt Grit

Below The Gun Mount

Sgt Grit,

I don't know what the Marines on Aircraft carriers did during "General Quarters" but I do know that those of us on Battleships would man one of the six 5" gun mounts.

I was stationed aboard the USS IOWA (BB-61) from March 1985 - June 1987 and we manned gun mount 55 (Starboard Side aft most 5" gun) and we were always the first gun mount manned and ready to rock. We manned the gun, the magazine below the gun mount and the magazine down inside the ship itself. I spent many an hour looking out thru the gun sight from the "trigger side" seat. We had a Navy gunners mate as the gun captain and that was the only sailor allowed in the Marines gun mount. We even painted the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in between the guns on the outside of our gun mount. Man what fun those days were...

Tom Tarr (2nd Generation Marine)
Son of a Marine (Roy E Tarr, USMC 1955-1959)
Sgt of Marines 1984-1993
Father of a Marine (Joshua P Tarr, USMC 2011-????)

Gator Freighters

Where do Marines go during General Quarters aboard ship? In 30 years, I rode a lot of Gator Freighters and heard the call to GQ many times over the 1MC, it was always:

"General Quarters, General Quarters, All hands man your battle stations, All Marines lay to your berthing areas."

As mentioned before, this was done for personnel accounting purposes and to get out of the Navy's way as they prepared to fight the ship. Unless you were given a specific assignment prior to GQ you went to your compartment. Of course, seagoing Marines on cruisers, battleships and carriers had assigned duties, they were part of the ships compliment, the vast majority of Marines were aboard amphibs for transportation purposes only.

L. H. Marshall USMC Ret 59-89

Civil War Tat

This is a tattoo from Sgt Howard McKinnis. He served in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and started with CAP in Khe Sanh village then, when it got hot, they moved them to the Khe Sanh base to help with the Aborigines from 67-68 and 69-70 with 3/4. When asked about his tattoo, he said, "My wife sent me to the store to get something. I couldn't find it, so I got this Tattoo instead!"

The tattoo is Civil War era art. Howard is a re-enactor. He dropped by the store to make a purchase and show me his tat. We took the picture before he left and now I share it with you.

Requests Permission

Parris Island 1960, Platoon 374. The private needs to make a head call, but first he has to request permission to speak to the Drill Instructor for the privilege.


"I can't hear you boy"


"I still can't hear you maggot" (as he grabs a handfull of my stomach). "Sound off like you got a pair".


"You want to beat the Drill Instructor"??


"Yeah you do". "You want to beat the Drill Instructor". (while twisting my stomach). "You and me, we gonna go round and round for hours. We gonna tear up trees, shrubbery and flowers." We goin' to Greensville"

And so I learned that Greensville was in the third platoon area of Parris Island, South Carolina where they grow trees, shrubbery, and flowers.

Norm Spilleth/Cpl.


Sgt. Grit,
In boot camp you would face the anger of the D.I. when you said or did any number of things that just flat p-ssed him off. Like a thumb flying during the manual of arms and then it somehow was placed in the received and the bolt was closed while it was there. Just a reminder not to let your thumb fly. There were also those who insisted on calling the M-14 rifle a gun. Most would spend a long period of time running around the plt. or running in place letting everyone know this simple phrase I believe most all Marines Know-"This is my rifle this is my gun. This is for shooting and this is for fun." Of course all done with the appropriate hand signals pointing to the correct body area to re-enforce which was for which.

My father is a Marine now serving on the streets of heaven but while here was in WWII. My son is a Marine went across the pond to serve in the sandbox. He is now serving on the civilian side. My uncle was a sailor during WWII. My daughter is now serving in the U.S. Army and has been across the pond to the sandbox as well. My older brother was in the Army and served during Nam. My youngest brother was in the Army and went across the pond to the sandbox. I am a Marine and served during Nam. I am now on the civilian side.

You may wonder why I listed this little family history, well I did because with a lot of Marine families you will find a long family history of serving this great Country when needed or during peace. In most cases you will find more than one Marine in the long line of those who put Country before self, family and all else in life. I am never surprised to see many members of one family have served and throughout their life they continue to serve. The Marines just seem to serve more serve longer and do it with more pride of who they are. Just a thought.

Rick Whimple

Next Question

Probably an apocryphal (sp?... AOL spell checker don't know either...) story... wasn't there. When Lt.Gen Gray was CG FMFLant, was holding an officer's call at the O club at Paradise Point, got to the point where he threw the floor open for comments. Recruiting poster young Captain, 6'2", eyes of blue, high and tight, flat on top, starched skivvies OCD type gets the floor, goes on about how the new butter bars coming out of the Basic School all seemed to have acquired this disgusting habit of chewing/spitting, something hardly fit for the lowest of the low, a stain on the officer corps, etc. and 'something should be done about it, Sir"...

Gray reportedly reached into his hip pocket, unfolded a wrinkled pouch of RedMan, scooped out a good-sized wad, tucked it into his cheek, and said "Wal, Skipper... I think maybe we've got more important things to worry about... next question??"

Never was a cigarette smoker... cigars/chewed for years... had a gunny ask me one time if I knew if my chewing tobacco was on fire on one end? (cigar)... 1stPlatoon troops were real good about saving me any chew that happened to show up in the SP packs... (if and when those showed up... never saw many besides the ones we had locked up at the LSU... took a note from the Commandant's grandma to issue those... )

We had humped back to the Rockpile at the end of Hastings... I had been out of chew since I gave what I had left to Sam Williams of India when we got to their LZ)... the Guide had saved me a plug of MuleShoe... cut off a big chunk of that just as the helos got there (we were the SLF at the time)... airborne, headed for Princeton. (I always rode sitting on the floor at the door, with my right leg hanging out... figured if a round managed to break a leg bone, I was good to go for a trip to at least the Philippines.)... couple minutes into the flight, things were getting a little juicy, and I leaned forward to spit. The crew chief/door gunner motioned to me that that was a no-no, pantomiming that it would somehow have a deleterious effect on the chopper following (in retrospect, decided he was more concerned that he would have to wash his bird....)

Since he had a loaded M-60, was averse to arguing with him. We got 'feet wet', whopped on out to vicinity of Princeton. By now, was beginning to resemble a chipmunk in a peanut packing plant... and we had to circle the ship a couple of times before finally settling down port side forward. We had been out in the bushes a couple weeks, looked like goats, smelled worse... this fuzzy-faced squid, who had been charged with the most important duty of ensuring that we not get hurt on his flight deck, is on the centerline, and holds up both hands signaling that we should not just yet get off the helo... when he finally decides it is safe, he motions that we should follow him while he walks backwards down the yellow brick road (centerline). Would you believe I had the unmitigated gall, the brazen temerity,... to finally spit... on his centerline?

His expression would have made one of those MasterCard commercials... 'Priceless'... h-ll, they let sea gulls crap on the deck, right?

Kinda-Sorta Medically Retired

Sgt Grit

Saturday the 28th of January I have the pleasure in participating in the promotion of a young SSgt to GySgt, below is his story, thought a few of you may enjoy the read.

Staff Sergeant William D. Weisgerber served on active duty from February 1949 to May 1953 when he was medically retired due to wounds received in action against enemy forces in Korea. Those actions occurred during an offensive operation on the night of 2 October 1952 that took his leg and part of his hand. His actions on that night earned him the Purple Heart as well as the nation's second highest award for valor, the Navy Cross.

According to his service record book which lists his promotions as well as his record of examination for promotion, he received a waiver for his examination for Technical Sergeant in January 1953 and should have been eligible for promotion later that year. Unfortunately, he was medically retired on 1 May 1953 and never got the opportunity to be considered for that promotion. Upon his retirement, Staff Sergeant Weisgerber spent the next 58 years in selfless service to the Marine Corps as a combat instructor, coordinator for Toys for Tots, and mentor to generations of Marines and Sailors serving from Boise, Idaho to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Immediately following his medical retirement, Staff Sergeant Weisgerber moved back to his home town of Boise, Idaho where he worked closely with the local reserve unit and served as a coordinator for the local Toys for Tots program. He volunteered countless hours of time during his short tenure in Idaho before he decided to move his family to the San Francisco Bay area. It was in San Jose, California in 1955 that Staff Sergeant Weisgerber first offered his services as a combat instructor.

Colonel Clifford Shannon, the commander of the 5th 75mm AAA Battery in San Jose, jumped at the chance to have a seasoned veteran of the Korean War serve as an instructor, trainer, and mentor to his Marines. Staff Sergeant Weisgerber gladly volunteered and spent the next 17 years attending weekly and monthly drills, teaching thousands of classes, and educating the Marines in the areas of tactics, close-order drill, small arms, scouting, patrolling, and ceremonial honors. He never received a dime for any of this work.

During this same 17-year period, he served three separate terms as the Mayor of Milpitas, California, yet he continued to attend every drill. His motivation to serve his Corps stemmed only from his desire to mentor and educate another generation of Marines.

Staff Sergeant Weisgerber's post-retirement work as a combat instructor is only trumped by his truly selfless efforts in support of the Marine Corps Reserve and the annual Toys for Tots program. Since his arrival in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1955, he has consistently volunteered his time to local Marine units during the holiday season. There are no concrete statistics for the local Toys for Tots programs in the earlier years, but in just the past fifteen years, Staff Sergeant Weisgerber's efforts in the collection and distribution of toys, the collections of funds, and the coordination of Toys for Tots events have resulted in the collection of millions of dollars for local programs. His work has benefitted generations of children and inspired generations of Marines.

With all of that said, his most important work has involved mentoring and counseling wounded Marines. Due to his own wounds from Korea, he has a special ability to relate to Marines who have suffered amputations. For years, he has worked, and still works tirelessly with the physical therapists at the local VA Hospitals counseling and encouraging the service members who are adjusting to living with prosthetics. He has also worked countless hours with a group called Soldiers' Angels, counseling and encouraging patients dealing with combat stress and post- traumatic stress disorder at the Palo Alto VA Hospital Menlo Park Annex.

Staff Sergeant Weisgerber turned 81 years old this summer. Since his medical retirement 58 years ago, he has served as an instructor, trainer, Toys for Tots coordinator, Mayor, Vice President of the First Marine Division Association, Vice President of the Marine Corps League. Most of all, he has never stopped serving as a Marine Staff Sergeant.

Today, after 60 years of wearing the rank of Staff Sergeant, Denny Weisgerber will finally assume the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.

Truly exemplifying the phrase Once a Marine Always a Marine.

Semper Fi

'YOU' Told Us

Whenever I'm depressed, like a lot of ol jarheads, I think of the airport in San Diego where I had to stand at attention facing the wall for about an hour waiting for other recruits and the bus to arrive. I carried the envelope for all us from Mpls recruits. The footprints, 3 days no sleep, Quonset huts, sand pits and my DI's, SSGTM.D. Deichert, SGT T.R. Samples and SGT J.W. Herndon, Plt 2097 in 1970. I remember the range instructor at Edson was SSGT Ken Norton, the future Heavy Wgt. champ of the world.

I also think of the club on the beach, first beer in 3 months, San Clemente, Oceanside and the greatest and best t-giving meal from the parking lot. Also went to Disneyland and a club in L.A. where we stood out because of our haircuts amongst the long hairs. Leave, then the action started, if the D.I.'s see their names, I would like to contact them. I'll even forget when the D.I. said "Why did you do that, I said you told us... then the sh-t, you called me a ewe, a sheep, then a 2 handed slap on my ears which rang for a couple days. After 42 yrs, I still think of what they taught me and kind of chuckle to myself.

Harvey R.


In Jan of '51 at P.I. it seems to me that there may have been some discussion about the DI's having someone to take care of their quarters and that it was illegal. Nevertheless, one of the platoon was assigned that duty. Then one day, perhaps an evening, I cannot recall for sure, it was announced that we were having an I.G. inspection, and a colonel or two came by.

Some of us were chosen to be interviewed. It seems that when asked what his mission in the Corps was, the "orderly" (we never heard the term "house mouse"), replied, "to make Sgt Brown's bunk". Wrong answer! Somehow word got around and a recruit who was older and had been in the Navy previously, sort of suggested to the rest of us, that if we were to be questioned further, it would be best if we denied any knowledge of any one being an orderly, otherwise we may lose our DI. I think the "orderly" was gone the next day. Again, I don't know whether he moved to another platoon or sent home COG. We also did not sing cadence or shout any ooohrahs. Just plain "lean back and dig'em in". After about two weeks we were instructed to cut an octagonal shape out of the cardboard in our shirts just back from the laundry, to be place in our utility covers.

At the museum in Quantico I saw a "bucket issue" display. Laundry detergent, aspirin, bug repellent, Bandaids, etc. We got a bucket, tube of Barbasol cream, Schick razor and a towel. Oh yes, a bunch of strings, "tie-ties", which were to be used to hang out our utilities after were scrubbed them, using cold water on a concrete table, outside, in Jan and Feb.

Jim Black

Left Nut

Sgt Grit

I could use it, Had mine blown off just outside hill 10, Sept. 6, 1970. Fathered 2 boys without it. And 1 boy when I had 2 before the war. Man does he razz the "one ball boys".

So I guess you really don't need a left testicle. The only problem I have is that I keep falling off to the right side of my bicycle.

Cpl. for life, Donnie Richter H&S Comm. 3/7

Eating Duck

Stepped onto the yellow footprints the night of 16 of June of 69, we roomed in what was basically a tarp over 2x4 s and a cord that held a light bulb with a wattage of about .5. 3rd bn, plt 3113, 3114, 3115, 3116 all honor platoons.

Do not remember what day in July it was but we were called out just after dark and told to get on our knees and bow to the moon, The US had landed a man on the moon.

Had some fool eat his dura glit and washed it down with the lighter fluid. Remember that some others had a judge give them a choice between jail or the Marines, after 2 weeks they wished they were in jail.

Woke up the 4th or 5th day and some yahoo had slashed his wrists, corpsman came in with stretcher DI kicked them out and instilled life into the boot and he walked out of the hut, kind of like Jesus and Lazarus.

What a great life full of memories, still laugh about eating duck at the messhall... duck the f k in and duck the f k out... 94 seconds... did not break the record of 90 seconds...


In Response: But The New Breed

Last summer my employer wanted to honor our Veteran's for the 4th of July. The asked for a summary of our military service. My current employer is "New Breed": Logistics.

The following was my submission:

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller once said, "Old breed. New Breed. There's not a bit of difference as long as it's the Marine breed!"

Mom, 1959 - 1961
Dad, 1956 - 1980
Me, 1980 - 1990
Brother, Currently Serving, USA PA Nat. Guard, Bronze Star Recipient

My son is currently in A school with our brothers in the Air Force.

Semper Fi,
Sgt Van
Wpns Co 1/8 2nd Mar Div 10/1980 - 3/1984
VMA(AW)-242 IMA AVI 10/1984 - 12/1992

Patrol The Persian Gulf

Dear Sgt Grit:

The "Horns of Hormuz" are in the news again. It appears that the Iranian government are once again threatening to close this critical waterway to shipping. However, also according to the latest news reports, there are two carrier strike groups currently assigned to patrol the Persian Gulf. One of their missions, and the Unites States Navy's mission, is to keep the sea lanes open in defense of freedom of the seas. Another of their tasks is to support ground operations in the southwest Asia theater of operations. That means he'll be supporting the Marines.

This will be my son's second deployment to SWA aboard ship. Some of his friends from high school and college have already served or are currently serving tours in-country; you can be sure that many of the crew also have friends and relatives on the ground in Afghanistan. They're all there to support each other. It seems to me that we have as fine a fighting force as can be assembled out there protecting the rights and freedoms of the Afghan people. It is an honor to know more than a few of them.

Sometimes news editorials make us wonder what business our sons and daughters have more than six time zones away, performing tasks that seem to have little or nothing to do with the average American's personal liberties. This may be so, but it seems to me that preventing terrorism and oppressive political ideologies from denying such things as universal suffrage and education for women and minorities is a worthwhile endeavor.

It's probably true that people in the Persian Gulf region have known little peace or freedom lately, but the Code of Hammurabi from antiquity, and the story of Esther from the Bible, illustrate that regardless of recent History, the people there have been trying to get it right for thousands of years. Just maybe, with our help, they can get it right this time. I believe our Marines have what it takes to help make it happen.

K. Brown

"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".

Thank The Army

Another Christmas story. As a tank crewman, tank B11 Bravo Co 3rd Tank Bn 3rd Mar Div RVN we along with another tank B12 and a platoon of grunts spent the holiday guarding a bridge over the Cam Lo River. Christmas Eve was spent singing Christmas Carols around a bush (the Christmas Tree) decorated with empty c-rat cans. Even in this Spartan setting the spirit of the holiday was there.

About mid- day on Christmas a doggy convoy returning from Con Thien dropped off some hot chow, left- overs from the Christmas meal they brought to their troops. After several weeks of only c-rats the turkey dinner felt like the best Christmas present any of us ever had. We never thought we would thank the Army for anything, but they really made for a memorable Christmas for our guard position in the bush.

LCPL Charlie Richard
Loader B11

My Filmmaking Dream

Garrett Harrington is an aspiring filmmaker and son of a United States Marine. He is currently working on a film about the effects of PTSD on Vietnam Veterans.

While he has never seen the likes of war, he has seen the first hand plight of survivors through his father. "My whole life, I've wanted to make movies, but not just any movies; I wanted to shape a generation and benefit mankind."

Any and all money made from this documentary, will be donated to the VVA, but he needs help to see it completed.
See the campaign "Always Looking Back" at IndieGoGo

Above is a picture of him and is father Cpl Douglas Harrington 1967-1970 1st Marine Division, 3rd AmTrac Battalion

Order of the Golden Dragon

Reply to R. G. West on GQ
In regards to general quarters. I was on a cruiser the U.S.S. Oklahoma City CLG-5. We had only a 6 inch turret(Navy) and a 5 inch 38 twin mount forward on board. The Marines manned the 5 inch 38 mount. Left and right gun Capt. 2 projectile loaders (Bullet tip) and 2 power case loaders. People in the upper and lower handling rooms to send up the ammo. There could be more in the mount itself but after 50 years well it has been a long long time ago.

Shellback ( crossed the Equator)
Blue Nose (inside the Arctic Circle)
Order of the Golden Dragon (crossed the International Date Line)
Sea Going Bell Hop
One day the Lord will pipe me aboard.

Jim Ploger

Being a Marine isn't something we were.
It's something we are.

Shellback Certificates and More

Jihadist Martyrs

Re: SSgt R.S. Winston

Reply to Thomas S.W. Siegfried's reply (19 JAN 2012 Newsletter) to several antidotal stories I wrote regarding the most intimidating human being on the planet... i.e. SSgt. R(ah). S. Winston.

This Candidate's Senior Drill Instructor 1966 (Quantico Va. Camp Upshur {sic})

Very sorry to hear that he is no longer with us.

No other man, other than Jesus Christ and my Father, has had such a profound influence on my life. An "Irish Pennant" still requires my immediate attention.

I hope God has given him a platoon of Jihadist Martyrs.

Keep your interval.
J. P. Cawthon
Big Joe...Out

Massive Jaws Open

To the matter at hand... Ooohrah and SgtMajor John Massaro, for both Bob Rader and Howard Kennedy... I still have to consider it more legend than fact, due to the fact that for much of my tour as a DI in HqCo, Recruit Training Regiment at MCRD San Diego, 1964-1966, then 1st Sergeant Massaro was 'my' First Sergeant. I have run countless miles behind the (then) 1st Sgt, and the Company Commander... I recall two Skippers in that period, one being Capt Elgard, and the other Captain Wunderlich.

Runs were usually at lunchtime, boots and PT shorts... left from the formation area between the south side of the theatre and the Regt'l Hq building, south to the obstacle course area, right to the end of that street, back down the dirt (sand) road along the airport fence, etc. Never a big formation, as other than the Hq. Remington Raiders and Corona Commandos (for you boots... both a' them companies used to make manual typewriters) the Police Sgt, etc. it was all off-duty Drill Instructors... from PCP, CC, Motivation, Hand-to-Hand, Bayonet course, etc.)... not once in all that time, did we hear anything like 'Oohrah" or 'Augaah",etc.

The 1st Sgt was known, respectfully, but not to his face, as "Gentleman John"... or, as we said "The 1st Sgt don't smoke, drink, or chew, nor go out with girls that do" I think this was partially just his nature, and the other part reflected his LDS faith... and that he was a happily married man. I went through DI School in early '62, which at the time was at the NW corner of the grinder... we moved to the wooden H building when we came back from the range. He was not a DI school instructor at that time... the head instructor was one Red Barbour... more about whom at another time...

There was a fenced pen in the corner of the archway from the theatre and the Regt'l Hq building... which was where the mascot, 'Jiggs", (I think), lived. The dog handlers took good care of him... except that for corporal punishment when he did something untoward, they didn't use a rolled up newspaper... but used a rolled up 'Dixie Cup" (Sailor's 'white hat"). There would, from time to time, be a Sailor or two in blues or whites who would walk by... ol' Jiggs would stand there at the fence quietly, and sorta drop his head... which would prompt the Sailor(s) to reach over the fence, with a "nice doggy"... it was a trap! Jiggs would lunge, massive jaws open, and snap at them... lots of fun to watch for those in the know. Don't think he ever actually bit one, but am sure he caused some extra-ordinary laundry efforts on the part of his victims... The other bulldog in the day, lived on the front step of the guard shack, across from the mess hall at Camp Matthews... he ate well... very well... tooo well... and there was always a blue cloud hanging above him (am told that is a common feature of the breed... )

See the 8" guys ("most accurate piece in the inventory") being heard from... if any of them happen to recall a problem with the obturator gas check pad swelling to the point the breech wouldn't close, would like to hear from them... Most artillery propellant had (has??) what is called 'double-base' propellant... think it was even so stenciled on the 105MM ammo boxes. When the 175MM gun came along, it had 'triple-base' propellant... and the smoke from the guns smelled 'different'... usual explanation was that 105, 155, etc. propellant's two bases were nitrocellulose ('gun cotton" ) and tri-nitro-toluene, while 175's had the third 'base'... that being nitro-guanidine... (guano... a natural substance, typically mined from caves that have been inhabited by bats for century upon century)... or, in other words, bat crap...

From Sgt Grit Stories Page

1966 / 67, Hill 55 south of DaNang in the background. We were starting our morning mine sweep. I was a combat engineer with c/1/26. This 1.5 mile stretch this side of the river (Song Thu Bon River in background) was called Liberty Road. We swept it every morning to open it up for resupply traffic out to An Hoa. We had a squad of engineers and a squad of grunts split on each flank and also a tank.

That day I was driving the mule. We rotated the jobs so you only had to sweep about every third day or so. On the lower left corner on the mule you can see the mine detector. The sea bag had our explosives, det cord supplies. Our platoon HQ was on top of Hill 55 which can be seen in the background. We would routinely find mines one way or another and also receive sniper fire during the sweep. I have more photos if anyone is interested. This is my first posting and am trying to contact some of the guys in my unit during that time. I can't remember names.

Posted by David Weiner

From Sgt Grit Tattoo Page

I drew this up after my last tour in the Corps finally had it put on

Posted by richard grayson


"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." --James Madison

"The first day I was at Camp, I was afraid I was going to Die! The next two weeks, my sole fear was that I wasn't going to Die! After that I knew I'd never die because I became so hard that nothing could Kill Me!"
--(World War I Recruits Bootcamp Comment)

"The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it."
-- John Stuart Mill

"The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom"
--Justice William O Douglas

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
--President Reagan

You're Bouncin' Girls, You're Bouncin'

Keep your interval!

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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