Sgt Grit Newsletter - 05 JUL 2012

In this issue:
• Chili In His Helmet
• Marine Corps Man Cave
• A Big Silent OoRah

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Haven't written in a long time but Happy July 4th! I remember Color Guards and Parades on the hottest days. Wouldn't Change a thing!

Remember everyone; Shake the hand of the person who wrote a blank check to secure our freedoms. Say thank you to those that served and are serving.

God Bless the Armed Forces and God Bless AMERICA!
Semper Fidelis
Jeff Wolven
Sgt 1981-1984

In This Issue

The Sgt Grit Buddy Search now has over 4000 members... Find the buddies you served with and help them to find you! It's free to sign up and free to use. Check it out!

Here we go: contingent of Mexican Marines, You gotta be Marines, helmet cooking, can't allow the Marine, still had 15 rounds, the bomb-bay door opens, "Sea Bag" transportation,"nukie poo", who just didn't belong there, gritting my teeth, little small dots moving, dead bug in the middle of the runway, That was our mission,

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Chili In His Helmet

Sgt. Grit,

I had to send you these pictures. Others have talked about cooking in their helmet but I thought you would like to see what we made. Here is LCpl Jim Berry fixing what we called chili in his helmet. We would ask our folks to send us chili powder and tomato sauce. Then we would empty out all the meat products from a case of C rations mix heat and serve. We were on the go a lot and made the best of any situation.

My dad sent me a care package every week, these consisted of cigarettes, a local newspaper, salami, pepperoni, cookies and a small jar of manhattans, a family drink. Jim was my best friend in Vietnam we shared everything. Sadly Jim was killed in a motor cycle accident a few years after getting home.

Cpl David Franz, 3rd Motors Charlie Co. 2nd Plt

Marine Corps Man Cave

Dear Sgt. Grit staff,

I took a picture of mine and my son's cave. It's still a work in progress, but we thought you might enjoy! My son was thinking that you should have a Marine Corps Man Cave contest!

Cpl Jonathan D. Wright & Tyler Wright
United States Marine Corps
Semper Fidelis

The Bugs

I was recently reminded of a situation a few years ago, I was visiting a friend in Virginia. Staying there for a few days we decided to build a horseshoe pit to pass the time. They had recently removed an above ground pool so we had more than enough sand for the pits. It was what the Corps called a black flag day, 96 degrees and humidity you could cut through with a knife.

We set poles at 40 feet and dug out 3 inches of dirt at each pole, set timber, and proceeded to dig sand to fill the pits. I immediately noticed the sand having little small dots moving about. I knew them well, so after the pits were filled we decided to relax a moment and have a few (soda pops). The three guys on the deck were attacked with hundreds of these critters, yet for some reason I was left alone. The host of the house noticed that I didn't have these bugs in my ears eyes and nose, he said to me a little angry, "Why aren't you being bothered by the bugs?" I could only think back to boot camp an chuckle. I calmly looked at him and said, "We Are Old Friends."

Semper Fi Brothers
Great news letters Sgt Grit
Faithful to the End
LCpl K Turkington

Can't Allow


"Army scraps eye-catching pixel camo uniforms"

After eight years and a reported $5 billion in development, the U.S. Army is ditching its pixelated-looking uniform in favor of something that doesn't look like it was borrowed from the "Contra" Nintendo game. The design, known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), has failed at doing what camo should do: Hide our soldiers. "If we can see our own guys across a distance because of it, then so can our enemy," one Army specialist said. According to insiders, the design was selected after the Marines had switched to an eye-catching pixel-driven pattern. "That's what this really comes down to," the editor of Soldier Systems Daily said. "We can't allow the Marine Corps to look more cool than the Army."

In my humble opinion the Army could buy our uniforms, get high- and-tights, and wear our EGA. But they STILL would not be a cool as us. A Marine is not just a uniform. Being a Marine is a way of life. It's a commitment that last beyond the grave. It's not about looking cool. It's about service, traditions, and honor.

John Hardin
'78 - '84


Sgt Grit,

I remembered the first day of my Marine Corps life as I reported to the processing station in Seattle were I was sworn in to defend the Constitution of the United States of America foreign and domestic. We received the ubiquitous Red Cross package of toiletries and waited to be transported to the airport. Amazingly, from Seattle to San Diego, it took us the whole day to make it, stopping at every village, town and city along the way that had airports so that we can arrived at O dark 30 at MCRD. Amazing!

The blue/grey bus picked us up at San Diego airport and delivered us new recruits on a dark rainy foreboding night at the processing barrack. The Gunny steps into the bus and began yelling something about 10 seconds to get off and five seconds being wasted having had to explain it all. "Get off the bus you slimy maggots," he instructed us.

Another one of those smokey bear hat DIs (yes, I can say DI) showed us politely were the yellow foot prints, sixty pairs in all, should meet the bottom of our shoes. "No eyeballing around and read the sign in front of you girls!" So now I've learned that we are slimy maggots and there are girls in the group which I've never discovered during processing. Amazing!

The rain began to pound hard on us new recruits. The DI (yes, I can say DI), being a nice fellow that he is, asked us politely, "Whoever needs a rain jacket, get over here!" Of course I raise my sorry wet arm and proceeded to meet the human loud speaker.

"Where are you from boy? Why, Seattle sir," says I. "Get back in line you Eskimo!" retorted the handler. "I'm not an Eskimo," I thought to myself. But I never let on to the handler knowing that the verbal instructions will continue if I allowed it. It was then I had an epiphany and realized that I should make myself small disappearing among the rain baptized mentally challenged recruits for the rest of my sorry ass time at MCRD San Diego. And that was my first day for the rest of my life in the Marines.

Cpl Batayola of the Marines

I Was Stopped

Dear Sgt Grit,

I wear my Grit T-shirt, "My Dad My Marine My Hero" quite often and get stopped, but nothing comes close to wearing it on Father's Day watching my son Nick play at DreamsPark in Cooperstown, NY.

I was stopped by many Marines and Navy veterans young and old that day, many of them were umpires from many different states working the tournament. The stories, pride, and the tears we shared about their Marine experience will last forever.

Please keep providing the great products for all family members to show OUR Marines how proud we are of their service.

Ken LeGates Roswell, GA
Proud son of J.M. LeGates Sr. VMFA-232 ('46-'51)

Enlisted as a 15 Year Old

The letter from Peter P. RITZO, SSgt 1962-1972 on boot leave and enroute to Wayno, PA, rang a memory bell for me. I was in Headquarters Co., 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C. in the spring of 1961, during the Cuban crisis.

Our SgtMaj was John BLASKO, of Wayno, PA. He enlisted as a 15 year old and fought in the battle of Belleau Woods in France in 1918. He was a giant of a man, well over 6 feet tall and a well- respected and fair NCO.

I am a member of the Marine Corps League Northeastern Detachment and Museum of Scranton, PA. We have dioramas depicting scenes from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam along with other battle scenes. I take great pride and pleasure relating my association with SgtMaj BLASKO when I relate what the Belleau Woods diorama represents and his involvement in this epic Marine Corps battle.

Richard J. "Finner" KANE
LCpl 1958-1961

Until I Get Tired

I joined in November of '65 and must admit I don't remember the yellow footprints. I do remember the sea bag drag to the old wooden barracks, up to the third floor. DI screaming to get inside, stand in front of a rack and of course the first thing we did was put the sea bag down. Followed by well ladies who told you to put them down. Then up over your head and you better hold it there until I get tired.

I remember the 3 mile run followed by the shower one hot one cold, a march through, getting dressed, and then off to the mess hall... but I don't remember the yellow foot prints of course after the devil got on the bus and said alright you f-in maggots get off my bus followed by the most insane screaming to hurry up it was an instant state of shock.

Vincent Talese

Big Silent Oohrah

Sgt Grit,

I was reading today's issues of stories by fellow Marines and it hit me that I owe homage to a fallen friend.

You see, I lost a friend in Korea back when I was still wet behind the ears green in the Corps and it was not a pleasant passing. But... there is a problem with this and that is we were in Yeachon(sp) Korea in 1988 to participate in Team Spirit but we were not ground pounders or grunts as we called the 03XX's. We were part of MWSS 171 Engineers Battalion, Iwakuni, Japan and stationed in Yeachon for 6 months to practice our electrical skills and generator operator expertise.

I am going to step back a little bit and give some pre-story information. After graduating from MCES BE-4A Camp Lejeune, NC, which is short for Marine Corps Electrician School and class number, what I can remember there was seven or eight of us that received PCS orders to Iwakuni. Most of us got along but most of us talked behind each other's backs because secretly there was a couple in the group that were habitual hecklers. D.L. Jones, R.L. Deering, L. Goodrich, J. Koke and because it has been so many years I unfortunately do not remember the other's names.

Just so happens that Deering and myself got on the plane together in San Jose, CA, to go to boot camp at MCRD SD and pretty much stayed in the same platoon until I left Iwakuni in 1990. Jones, Goodrich and Deering hit it off in school and well, the rest of us just stayed out of their way. Jones and Goodrich were the hecklers and after the story I am about to tell I think it changed all of our lives.

Deering was mischievous but not harmfully so and nothing like Jones and Goodrich when they were together. The way I remember myself, I was a dumb blond kid just trying to figure out my role on this planet but I liked everyone for the most part. Koke (pronounced coke ee) or John as I got to know him was a bit like Charlie Chaplin in his walk and Gilbert Godfried in his talk. Literally John had that toes pointing out like Charlie walk and he was teased mercilessly by Goodrich and Jones for that and the fact that he talked even when you just wanted him to be quiet. I got to know him as the guy that just like to know things and good natured.

Back to the real story now...
We were all in Yeachon together as Jones, Koke, Deering, Goodrich and almost our whole platoon was present this time around. This was the second time that those guys were there but the first time I was there because I was on TAD for Hazmat and S-1.

From what I can really remember of my time there, only because we tore down and moved to Po Huong, all the strong backs were in a circular pattern around the twin generators in the center. All of the non-NCO Marines were required to stand guard duty on a rotating basis that really messed with our only available free time to go out in town and have a couple of beers. It seemed to me that anytime I was not on guard duty one of my fellow Marines got in trouble and all of us had to stay in camp.

If I remember correctly, I was only allowed one "Long time" liberty pass which was just permission to stay out for 24 hours because otherwise we had to be back in camp by 11pm on the count of having to catch the only bus that would travel us from town to camp.

I did a lot of drawing and writing letters home and listening to Jones, Goodrich, Deering, and I think others tease and taunt Koke continuously. They would even try with me but I would not give them the satisfaction of responding to anything they would say my way. I was in trouble a lot in high school because I would not stand for bullies but I was not about to try to take on 3+ fellow Marines.

So, guard duty was for morning shifts, day shifts and night shifts if memory serves me right and I always got stuck with the night shift and day jobs on the generators because one of my SSgt's hated me and the other one Sgt Burris was kind of my friend but dealt the punishment to try and teach dumb ole me. Koke got stuck with the day shift but I do not recall if he had that more than once...

Par for the course, we had 15 rounds in the magazine but were not allowed to lock-n-load for any reason. The Sgt of the guard made that perfectly clear every single time we started duty. So, Koke pulled the day shift and I cannot remember where I was but somewhere just outside of the circle of strong backed hooches. It was a dreary day just like any other day in Korea...cold, wet and I was tired from pulling guard duty and being relieved only a couple of hours before having to start the day. Man, I hated getting in trouble but had no idea why I was always in trouble! Jones, Deering, and Goodrich were on top of our hooch repairing the power connection from the power pole and Koke happened to have stopped to tie his boot at the generator center point...

I just remember Deering and Goodrich screaming in panic as Jones seemed to have fallen off the roof of the hooch backwards and landed on the frozen ground between our hooch and the one next to it. No one really had any idea what just happened and we all just ran for the hooch to see what the commotion was all about. When I got there, not too long after Jones hit the ground, Deering had him in his clutches but blood was everywhere and seemed to be endlessly appearing. Not something that a simple head wound from a slide and hit would produce in my judgment. It dawned on me once Deering moved his hand and blood sprayed from a hole in the side of Jones' neck that Jones had been shot! It seemed like hours but in reality I think that Jones was gone from us in about 10 minutes or so. It was all in slow motion and I believe that Goodrich was white and Deering just sat there staring at his buddy and his blood all over him.

Koke was detained because he was the only Marine with a weapon and soon it became wide spread news back to the shop in Iwakuni. I got to know Koke pretty well from that day forward, well until his trial and then I never saw him again. There are still a few things that I do not understand because John said that it was an accident but never answered me when I asked him where the spare round came from. He still had 15 rounds in the clip when they removed the rifle from him and he said he finished tying his boot and accidentally put his finger in the trigger well to grab his M-16 off of the top of the generator. Another thing that did not make sense was that John was a pizza box on the rifle range and could just barely make that. He was a terrible shot and never understood how to sight and compensate with sight adjustments. The jury still found him guilty of premeditated murder, or at least that is what our OIC told us. No one ever talked about Jones or Koke again.

I have no idea where Koke is today or if he is even out of prison but I know that David L. Jones, LCpl, was and probably is still missed by his family and closest friends. For me that was not the beginning of my eyes seeing death but that is a whole other story.

If anyone out there knows anything about the Jones' or the Koke's I am interested in just knowing that they have gone on with their lives ok. Goodrich was never really the same person and I do not remember when he left the island but I never saw him again. I am friends with Deering but do not talk much and all the rest have become blips of memory in my head.

I just felt it fitting to remember a kid that lost his life during peace time and with all of the well deserving veterans of today getting a lot of Oorahs that we could give David L. Jones a great big silent Oorah in remembrance. Even 24 years later he is remembered!

Semper Fi to all
Carey Clark
Former Sgt Of Marines
'87 - '95

Short Rounds

Sgt Grit, Ddick's Aqua Velve story brings back memories of how "not to contact" VD. However, you don't wait until it's too late to apply said remedy. The proper method is to apply the Aqua Velva, Old Spice, rubbing alcohol, ETC. Immediately after un- protected contact with a "SUSPECT" femail oriface. Waiting is only asking for trouble. Or so I'm told.

1966 - 1969

I would like to tell of Floyd Reece Jr. SSgt who served in WWII. He was at Guadalcanal and Okinawa and later was the chaplains assistant while stationed at Imperial Valley, Ca. He reported to St. Peter on the morning of June 27th. He was also my father.

Floyd R Reece, Sgt USMC

I knew Sgt Grit when he was a PFC.

SSgt Huntsinger :)

Just think, 62 years ago the Korean War began. The Marines came to the rescue landing in Pusan August 3, 1950 and immediately moved into Army positions and went North. Many of our friends died and few are left that survived. Much like the WWII vets, we are slowly fading away.

Semper Fi, till we die!
E. A. Andy Anderson
Sgt. USMC 1948-52
Carthage, Texas

On July 4 1983 I landed in San Diego Got my hair cut and started a new life. Still remember it was plt 3066, K co, SSGT Estraddia. Mean but fair.


Heard "Chesty" one night while he was inspecting(?) our unit. After listening to some b-tchin (if you ain't b-tchen - check to see if you are alive) "You are entitled to two meals a day and four hours of sleep. This is not guaranteed.

WWII, Korea almost Beirut, almost Vn.
Ed Tate GySgt Ret
1944 - 1965.

In the June 28th newsletter there was a letter about servicemen who have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice. The writer of the letter repeatedly used the phrase "won/win the Medal of Honor". I realize what the writer meant, but I wanted to clarify that you cannot "win" a Medal of Honor, it is not a competition. The MOH is "awarded" or "received", but never "won".

Thanks for the history lesson on the Medal of Honor, I also did not know 19 men had received this honor twice. It says so much about the caliber of America's servicemen.

Michelle (Wright) Weaver
Cpl, 1989 - 1993

As Long As You Want

Dear Sgt Grit,

Remember a funny story - I was stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall. The EM Club was a dungeon! One day I was told of Navy EM Club at Quarters K, across at Columbia Pike. I was told not to wear utilities or Marine uniform. So, I went in Civvies with a buddy for dinner Friday night as they served steak and I had been told that the Club was a lot nicer than ours.

We showed our I.D. and were seated. We ordered a steak and french fries, then had a few cold beers. When we paid the check we left a generous tip for the waitress. She said, "You gotta be Marines, because these guys here are cheap." I Told her to be quiet about it as I did not want any trouble that night. She said, "Stay as long as you want." Then she told us her name and gave me her phone number later on when we left.

Before we left the sh-t hit the fan

A big Navy Wave comes in and walks up to a table of seamen, next to us and asks, "Who at that table wants to buy her a drink!" One seaman recruit - says, "Go Away Hog!" The guy laughs, and she cold cocks him with a round house telegraphed punch with so much momentum that he goes sailing off the chair and flies about 6 feet and lands on his back and is out like a light, looks like a baby sleeping (unconscious).

Then one of the other guys at the table jumps up and asks her, "Can I get you dinner too." We never had this at our EM club or on our base as Marines we respected each other and since we all worked together we always had each other's back! Especially male and female Marines. We were able to sometimes switch duty with each other and did not want to cause a strain in relationships.

It was always the enlisted vs. officers or the military vs. civilians in the Capitol area. Had a civilian guy who wanted overtime and a former Master Sergeant who was a GS-13 in charge of the unit who made us enlisted guys work late or come in earlier as we did not get overtime.

Respectfully Submitted,
Bruce Bender

P. S. Fort Myers had a nice enlisted club for the Army, only we had the bottom of the barrel?
Finally as I made Cpl we had a great club, served steak, hard liquor, and was also reasonable in prices.


Sgt Grit,

Marine week in Cleveland finished up Saturday. What a terrific way to showcase our best and brightest in an area that might be looked upon as this counties worst and darkest.

I mean no disrespect by the above statements. It is true that this part of our country has suffered more than most during the recent recession and a lot of people have no hope and are very depressed.

For one week this area saw what determination, training and discipline can achieve. We were truly impressed with these young men and women as they demonstrated once again that we can sleep sound in our beds because they are "on the wall".

As a retired 1stSgt with 24 yrs of service, I believed I had seen just about all the Corps had to offer. These young and enthusiastic Marines made me proud to be associated with the greatest fighting force this world has ever known.

Keep up the good work
Semper Fi
David Galant
1stSgt USMC (Ret)

Bomb-bay Door

Sgt Grit,

Just finished reading the latest newsletter and LCPL Vaughn's submission regarding chow halls. I replied a few months back about the food at the Geiger chow hall of the early 1980's stating that I thought it was pretty decent food, but I also recall frequenting the Geiger E-Club and the NCO Club (after I made Corporal) and seem to recall that the food offered at those two joints was not all that bad either, but of course back then I was well known to have a cast-iron pit.

Today at the ripe ole age of 50, I only have a twenty-minute window of time before the bomb-bay door opens if I eat anything greasy that is not cooked by my wife! But anyway, I seem to recall that the food served in the E-Club and NCO Club was decent, but I can't recall if it was cooked by civilians, by the Marines working the club or was pre-packaged food.

This I do recall - most of us who frequented those places were there to down a few beers and tell bullsh-t stories and not so interested in the chow, but nevertheless, I don't recall ever turning my nose up at the food.

I can't recall for certain where the NCO club was located, but I believe it was one street over from the Geiger Chow Hall. The E-Club was located not far from the Highway 17 gate on a street in between the brick barracks and the older one-story cinder block barracks. Can any of you fellow jarheads provide more detail? Also, can any of you out there remember the names of the bars along highway 17 and are any of them still in existence today? What does that area of the Geiger gate look like today?

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt
Camp Geiger, 1981 - 1985

Turn To Your Right

Reading your newsletter today I saw a story on reporting to MCRD. When I enlisted we flew to San Diego and we had a chit for dinner at the airport. After we eat we went wandering around the airport looking for someone who could give us directions on where we should be. It was not long before we ran into a D.I. with a group of young men who had also enlisted. Once the D.I. had everyone on his list accounted for, he took us out to a waiting bus and we all boarded for the ride to MCRD. Up until this time no yelling no negative words no cussing. It kind of made me feel a bit scared since my dad was a Marine and gave me some things to expect and none of them had happened yet!

Then we arrived at the receiving barracks and man it was like all h-ll had broke loose and the sh-t hit the fan. The D.I. turned into some monster like a person with a split personality. Then when we hit the yellow foot prints more D.I.'s more yelling. It did not matter if you had hair down to your butt or a buzz cut every swinging butt hit the chair for a haircut. Then out of our issued uniforms were utility trousers and sweatshirts with tennis shoes. We had to group shower first of course. The famous scripted call home and packing up of all of our belongings to be sent home.

Then outside in this mass formation of buttheads that did not know the first thing about the military. The D.I. stood on front of us and said turn to your right your other right #$%#$%. Then the D.I. said we are going to walk over to your barracks. You do not know how to march so just walk and do what I tell you. Now pick up your gear and walk, try to stay in four straight lines one behind the other and walk at the same pace. This was the beginning of our first night at MCRD.

I graduated with the Plt I started with Plt 2033. Any of you Marines out there from Plt 2033 in Feb 1970 MCRD San Diego? It was cold in San Diego by their standards that night we arrived there. Living next to the airport it was so tempting to go for the fence jump it and head for a plane. Oops no cash no CC no regular clothing and people waiting for a runner so they could say they would help them and they would right into the M.P.'s for $25.00 bucks a head.

I never thought I would ever return to MCRD San Diego. This was in Feb. 1970. In July 1975 I returned with orders to D.I. school. My turn to turn buttheads into basic qualified Marines. At first I thought no way I am not going to be able to do this. As D.I. school started I thought I can and will do this.

Semper FI

SSgt Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2/70 - 12/76

Crossed The Line


After reading your letter regarding the recipients that were awarded the Medal of Honor twice, I felt it needed a response. As an FMF Corpsman and the son of a Marine SgtMaj I appreciate and have participated in plenty inner-service rivalry. It was usually in good fun and I must admit my Marine shipmates most of the times came out on top, but you seem to have crossed the line when making light of the citation for Seaman Lafferty.

The citations are brief, but you fail to mention that these actions took place during the Civil War. The Medal was not awarded for his actions alone, but for his willingness to volunteer himself for a hazardous mission. His second award was for again placing himself in harm's way to fight the fires beneath his ships boilers, preventing an explosion and the loss of life of his shipmates. Since its inception the Medal has been "awarded" to persons who have given of themselves without regard to their own personal safety. It is given out of recognition by a service members peers for their selfless act. Hauling two Torpedoes across a swamp and being stranded for 24 hours may not be impressive to you, but it sure seemed to have quite an impression on Seaman Lafferty's shipmates. Yes the mission was foiled and ultimately unsuccessful but that is not the point.

The point is this man like many others was willing to risk his life for the mission. I would recommend you read the account, I did and it was obvious the difficulty of the mission and the risk involved. If you read the Medal of Honor citations from the period, most are very brief and lacking in detail. Once again I recommend reading the entire story before using this excerpt as the butt of your joke. It is saddening that anyone would show such disrespect for this nation's highest military honor and one of its recipients. I hope none of his descendants reads your remarks or the article you referenced. The Medal of Honor is not won, it is awarded and the recipients of this award deserve our reverence and respect regardless of service branch or the circumstances for which they are awarded.

Michael E Wahoff, RN
Former HM3 (FMF), 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines
First Marine Brigade

Just Sat There

Sgt Grit

I was a PFC at Cherry Point in 1954. One summer day me and a buddy went to the main PX. Many active duty squadrons had left for other locales as the reserves were coming in for their two week training. The PX was really crowded. Obviously the reserves were there checking it out.

As we left and were on the front steps, we saw a 2-Star General approaching. My buddy and I immediately stopped, came to attention and held our salutes. Meanwhile two reserve privates were sitting on the steps. The General came abreast of them, they looked at him, and just sat there. He stopped, looked down at them with a red face, and yelled something which contained 'Salute Me!'. I was thinking 'oh s--t!, amongst other things.

Finally the reserves, who obviously had not been to boot camp yet, etc. stood. The General continued to have more words with them. His aide suddenly appeared. He looked at us, saluted us, and we high tailed it out of there. In about 30 minutes the MP's hit the px, and took every ones name and unit that was inside, etc. The 'word' was stay away from the px during the day.

In those days reservists could join a unit w/o boot. My cousin, a WWII gunny was activated for Korea. He told me he had to instruct pvts on the way over how to handle their weapons and shoot. I don't know when the Corps changed their policy on reserves, but looking back that sure was funny.

Semper Fi
Bill M. 1392831 USMC


Dear Sgt Grit,

I want to thank you for the Newsletter. The articles in there a time or two, have made me cry like a baby and some, and yes I admit this, have caused me to stand and shout OORAH, much to the chagrin of my office mates.

You see, Sir, I am the sister, cousin, aunt, great aunt and niece of one Marine in my family or another. There was once a Marine that I was engaged to until a war took him away from me also. He's pulling guard duty in Glory now.

I have a deep seated feeling that my first word may just have been Oorah and my first sentence, "SIR, yes, SIR!" I also believe that this is why I have the tendency to check perimeters, bushes, trees and dark places before I move to quickly into unfamiliar territory. When a car backfires on the tarmac of a small rinky-dink rural airport and your Marine brother hits the deck and without thinking so do you, you know you're in need of some serious psychological intervention. Right? Tell me I am not wrong but there has to be many others out there that can identify with this. I like to call it suffering from MCFMS(Marine Corps Family Member Syndrome).

Yes, Sir, I grew up, warped or not, around Marines. In spite of the obvious insanity they left me with I wouldn't change it for the world. Some of the best Marines I have met have even served with Chesty in Korea. Matter of Fact I personally know one of his Gunnys. I am honored beyond words and I would trust my life to a Marine over any other in any situation with complete confidence that I'll make it through alive.

All that to say, here's to those who served the Corps by being the family members waiting at home, growing up with or marrying it's Marines. God Bless US EVERYONE! We need it!

Anne Mlynar
a.k.a Louie (to her brothers).

PS: Anyone out there serve with Edward P. Mlynar during VietNam?

Plank With Holes

A follow up about some life at PI prior the "Yellow Steps"!

Platoon 133 lived in PB Huts (wood shacks). It was called the 4th Battalion area. Huge "Road Graters" were in the process of plowing a drill field but that did not keep us from our daily marching agenda. We wore Pith Helmets which were thrown into a trash heap after completing boot camp. (most of the helmets were dented and torn because of the DI's using their helmets to bang on the errant recruits head.)

There was a separate wood building which was the 4th Battalion "Head". Our toilet consisted of a plank with holes in it and a steady stream of water running underneath. Beside a "Fire watch", we had a "Close Line Watch" to prevent "Midnight Surveys". These were two hour tours. Our DI's favorite comment was, "Rifle & Cartridge Belts...Get Outside!" Field days consisted of moving "Everything" outside the barracks. Racks and all! Then part of the cleanup was scrubbing the deck with bricks, sand, and our issued scrub brushes. What I cannot recall is what did we do with the buckets we were issued at the start of recruit training?

Prior to our transfer to the Rifle Range, our platoon did something I don't recall but it teed off our DI Sgt Melia so bad that when the truck came by to pick up our sea bags and mattresses, he canceled the "Sea Bag" transportation. We made up our "Field Transport Packs", which the top and bottom part of our packs weighed (about 80 lbs).

On the day we moved out, each wore the Transport Pack, toted our rifles, covers, ponchos, etc. and our Sea Bags over our shoulders. It was about a 3 or 4 mile trek with many smoke breaks. No one sat either leaned against a tree or bent down leaning on you Sea Bag.

During our "Rifle Range" tour, we "Snapped In" for a week, followed by a week of firing, zeroing in our M-1s. At the end of each day at the Range and our evening meal, we spent a few hours marching in the "Sand Pits" located in the rear of the barracks area. Prior going to the Range, the firing pin was removed. Prior to the firing part of our range tour we lined up in front of a shed where the firing pin was installed.

During this firing phase, at bedtime, our M-1s were chained in the center of the barracks and unlocked at the start of the next day. After firing for record, we reported back to that shed and had the firing pin removed.

When I retired from my job in 1986, to stay busy I decided to write a book about one of the most interesting activities of my life... I did and it was about my summer of 1948 Boot Camp and my platoon 133. We did not make Honor Platoon. During one of our "Summer of 48" reunions in the year 2000, I donated the book to the PI Museum and wonder if they still have it since I never received an acknowledgement from them.

An expression that fits these stories is my favorite;

"Yesterday's Memories Are Today's Treasures"

SSgt Joe Brancati USMC (1948-52)
Plainview, NY

Nukie Poo

I was selected for the Naval Enlisted Scientific (officers) Educational Program in 1960 after a tour in Okinawa, to be sent to a college that had a Navy ROTC.

The prep school was located at Bainbridge, MD; after which we were sent to NROTC colleges across the nation. As an almost salty PFC with over 2 yrs. college behind me, I was embraced by E-5 and E-6 Navy AT and ETs as the algebraic lessons tested these saltier salts and I was helping tutor them after work in math.

Bainbridge is (was?) the location of the WAVE boot camp. These submarine sailors from "nukie poo", aka nuclear power fleet, were delighted to find a "comrade-arms" to join forces in recon of young lovelies. WAVE recruits are required to salute Chief Petty Officers. In my Marine barracks cover we would venture out to make new friends.

I've lost contact with all but Carl Levi Ludwig who retired after a career as a LTCMDR and worked for the V.A. My only reward was a number of innocent friendships and my respect for the guys who could bite the bubbles before they hit the surface.

former Staff Sergeant of Marines,
Denny Poole

Silent Staring

I never served a day in combat, and never had the honor of being in the "Old Corps" with some of the great men and women who's stories I have read, but I served my Corps and my country proudly for 8 years in the Marine Reserve (signed contract 10 Nov 86, basic during summer of 87-honorable discharge 10 Nov 94).

I was in MCRD San Diego during basic training in the summer of 1987. I was attached to platoon 2076, Hotel Company, 2nd Btn. We had a recruit that just would amaze you at every turn. You know the one. The man who just didn't belong there. He reminded me of a Harvard graduate that always talked between his teeth and acted superior to God himself.

We had completed 2nd phase, so most of the screaming and yelling had ended, and our senior drill instructor (SSgt Vreeland) was sitting down with us after mail call, and was asking us if we had any questions about our training so far. Lots of questions came up about the field training and rifle training, and what we were to expect in 3rd phase. Some good ones, some that made us think we shouldn't have asked! When out of the blue this Harvard Marine raises his hand and then starts asking this hardened drill instructor (who mind you, told us that when he graduated boot he was assigned an admin clerk, and went straight into special forces until DI school) if he should invest the money earned in basic directly into some retirement program or "diversify" and spread it around.

We all looked at him like he was a total idiot. After about 10 seconds of silent staring, our SDI stood up, put his campaign cover back on, and proceeded to thrash the h-ll out of us! I don't think Mr. Harvard ever asked a question like that again for the rest of his life! As memory recalls, he never completed 3rd phase, and was sent back. After that, I have no idea where he went.

I hope it does not serve bad of me, but I can't remember a single name of any of the men I went to basic with, but I will NEVER forget the names of my DIs. It was an honor to be trained by them all. I hope at least one of them receives this newsletter and reads my story. I will forever remember their words:

SSGT Vreeland "Are you stupid or what? AHHHH!"
Sgt Wiloughby(sic) "Crooked man in a crooked world"

CPL W. Tomerlin
prior attachment to:
4th Maint Btn
4th FSSG
Waco, TX

Down A Few Levels

In 1968 I became one of Americas Best and very proud to do so. I went to the Island and on to Nam. I loved my tour in the Corps. Now to my story 18 years ago we had a son, "Jack." From the time he could talk he has wanted to be a Marine. He worked hard to put his body in shape, 4 years ago he had a minor surgery on his left shoulder the doctor took out a little tag of skin that had lodged under the bone. The operation took about 1 hr. and he was back to school on Monday.

During the next years he played football became STATE WEIGHT LIFTING CHAMPION in his weight class and also became a 2nd degree black belt. We went down all proud because this is what my son wants to do be a UNITED STATES MARINE, after 8 months of going to P.T. with the recruiter and the rest of the recruits, they tell him he is not good enough for the Corps because he had a little surgery on his shoulder. This has made both of us very mad. All this young man ever wanted was to be a Marine - his TRUCK, ROOM and CLOTHES all have something to do with a MARINE. This has brought my joy as being a Marine down a few levels.

Knowing Jack can never fulfill his dream because of a little 1 hour surgery makes me sick, especially after I see some of the young men they are taking in. What's even sadder is this 4th of July he still wants to wear his Marine Polo I just bought for him from you Sgt Grit. God protect My Son, my Corps and the United States.

Sgt, Brown K.O.
Ken Brown
Semper Fi

Navy vs. Marines

and the rivalry continues.

A Marine and a sailor were in the bar arguing over which was the superior service.

After a swig of beer, the Marine said, "We had Iwo Jima."

Arching his eyebrows, the sailor said, "We had the Battle of Midway."

"Not entirely true," the Marine said. "Some of those pilots were Marines. Henderson Field on Guadalcanal was named after a Marine pilot killed at the Battle of Midway."

Taken back, the sailor said, "Point taken."

Then the Marine added, "We were born at Tun Tavern."

The sailor replied, "We had John Paul Jones."

The argument continued until the sailor came up with what he thought was the topper: "The Navy invented s-x."

The Marine didn't blink.

"Well, that may be true," he said, "but the Marines introduced it to women."

Coast Guard

This is for @Jim, about Medal of Honor Recipients. During WWll, in the Pacific, landing craft were manned and driven by Members of The United States Coast Guard, which in time of war becomes part of The United States Navy. If anyone has the chance to go to Cape May, N.J. (C.G. Basic Training), they will see A Statue of The Only Member of The United States Coast Guard to be Awarded The Medal of Honor. (This period is from The Coast Guard's beginning to this day). I believe The Medal of Honor was Awarded because the Cxn (sp.) took his landing craft back into the landing zone, under fire, to rescue what was left of the men he had just discharged.

Semper Fi
jim angelo
LCpl '59 - 65

NVA Soldier Standing

Dear Sgt Grit, It has been a while since I felt compelled to post an answer to a few subjects mentioned in your latest newsletter.

Re: He was nuts, reminded me of an incident that happened soon after I was assigned to 1/26 in Nam in July 1968. I had occasion to be in the command post late one night when a Marine in a lP called in and asked to fire a jack o-. My Co asked why and was told that the Marine heard something in front of him. The Co denied the request stating that to fire the flare would give his position away.

After about 10 minutes of discussion, the Co relented and the Marine fired the flare. The Marine immediately came back and stated that he had a NVA soldier standing at the wire with a pack on his back and a rifle in his hands and asked for permission to shoot him. The Co came back and said no as the soldier had not initiated any offensive action. Needless to say my mind reeled as I thought, boy is this going to be a long war. A true story!

Re: Shore leave, I would kindly remind this Marine, to read all of the CMH citations and he would discover that the Navy man he was referring to was in a far different war when the criteria was different for the award. Secondly, He would find that the greatest number of CMH awards went to NAVY Corpsman taking care of their Marines with their lives usually. (Boy was I gritting my teeth as I wrote that nice response.)

Re: We get older, I am amazed to find out how many of us past Corpsman went into Law Enforcement. I served for 16 years as an Assault / Homicide Detective with the Denver Police Dept., and yes there were many Vietnam vets hired in the years 1969/1970.

Keep up the good work Sgt Grit.
HM2 B. Stevens

No Sugar Coated Training

Submitted on the Sgt Grit Facebook page. Check it out!

No Time

Dear Sgt Grit,

I am sorry, I do not know how and at the moment have no time to figure out how to post this, but, I thought Marines & their families would appreciate the story of the Father of a fallen Marine here in Colorado Springs.

We are in the middle of an awful fire and this gentleman had maybe 30 minutes to scramble home from work and get items before being evacuated from his house.

The police were demanding him to leave and he was caught by CBS news retrieving his sons picture and our nations flag. This is a short CBS news video of it

And this segment is longer, but the story is within the first (4) minutes.

I do not know Scott A Deeds, but he had a son Marine Lance Cpl. Roger W. Deeds who died 11/16/2005 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I looked it up and found this.

Thanks so much for what you do and provide,
Natalie A. Reiss

Low Level And Slow

Sgt Grit:

I have read a lot of your postings over the years and had my share of laughs. Sometimes the laughs bring back the good times I enjoyed in my 20+ years in the Marine Corps 1969-1990. Sometimes we seem to dwell on the hard times and forget the good times.

What came to mind was when I was at my first command at MARTD NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. It was a great time to be in a great place. It was about as colorful as you could ever think of. Sometimes it was so funny it seemed like a movie script. Our Commanding Officer was retiring from the Corps and it seemed like he thought the Corps should enjoy his retirement as well.

Since it was an MARTD, discipline was a little lax. It was a time when the reserves were allowed to wear wigs of short hair to cover up their long hair that they enjoyed in the civilian world. And of course everyone knows that the reserves will get away with as much as you let them. Some reserves had hair so long the wig sat up so high that the cover wouldn't stay on their heads. It was a joke.

The CO had an old VW that didn't run very well and looked as though it was on its last leg. So for his retirement the regular side of the house painted and repaired the old bug until it was Marine Corps approved. It was painted gray just like the aircraft and had all the markings of the aircraft, marking the exists, hot exhaust, and such.

The big finale for the end of the retirement change of command was on the flight line the aircrews had permission to do a low fly over to make a cargo drop out of the back of the old Flying Boxcar C-119, of the VW. When the big moment arrived the aircraft flew over at low level and slow speed to make the drop. And when the parachute came out of the back the VW was pulled from the aircraft and made its landing right behind the formation. I think it was a little too hard of a landing for the VW.

All four wheels pitched outwards like a giant had stepped on the bug and it was so funny the entire command cracked up. But when the flag was past to the new commanding officer the laughter ended. The new CO was a full bird from the Pentagon and an old Corps Marine. As the retiring CO left the area and before dismissing the command the new CO said a few words. And they were very memorable. All reserves were to report to the barber shop and get regulation hair cut before leaving the base for the end of the drill weekend.

So now, every time I see a VW I remember the dead bug in the middle of the runway. My great duty station ended very shortly thereafter with my orders to Viet Nam that same year. My 3 year duty station lasted six months.

Semper Fi my brothers and sisters. There are good times that make the bad time not so bad.

GySgt H. E. Newell Jr.
USMC ret 1969-1990

Very Dark Day

Major Sanders wrote of C Co. 3d Bn's experiences at Chu Lai in 1965. The helicopter accident he wrote of was most probably the June 6, 1965 accident involving two HMM-161 helicopters flying off LPH-2, the USS Iwo Jima.

HMM-161 departed MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on March 15th aboard LPH-8, the USS Valley Forge, enroute to Okinawa. The squadron operated out of MCAF Futema, Okinawa for one month until April 27th, at which time it departed Okinawa aboard LPH-5, the USS Princeton. On May 6th, '161 lifted elements of the 4th Marine Regiment ashore at Chu Lai. The squadron remained on station aboard the Princeton until May 15th, at which time it moved to LPH-2, the USS Iwo Jima Because '161 had been based in Hawaii, we painted a pineapple on the nose of each helicopter and became known as the "Pineapples."

On June 5th, I was the schedules officer in squadron operations. I had joined '161 in April/May of 1964, right out of flight training in Pensacola, Florida. After one year in the squadron, I was still one of the more junior pilots. As the schedules officer, I prepared the flight schedule for the next day, including the early morning recon flight. That flight of two H-34 helicopters launched at 0510 hours for a pre-dawn search and rescue (SAR) mission.

Somehow, as the two helicopters were lifting off and climbing out, they collided. All eight crewmen aboard were lost. Killed in that crash were pilots Capt Paul McNally, 1stLt Gerry McKay, 1stLt Nick Doeden, 1stLt Allen Hertz, and crew members Cpl Dale Tracy, Cpl Frank Wilson, LCpl Carl McBee and PFC Curtis Foster.

Major Sanders referred to this as "the total unnecessary loss of two helicopters and crews . . .(because) they were FRAG to pick up my Corporal whose wound was not serious and could have waited." Needless to say, when a squadron or flight of helicopters received a call for assistance, especially a medevac mission, we went, without delay. That's why we were there. That was our mission . . .to assist the grunts.

June 6, 1965 was a very dark day for HMM-161.
Phil Johnson Col. USMCR (Ret.)

Showing The Doggies

Sgt Grit,

In response to ddick's comments about whether or not east coast Marines took hikes. In April of 1965, I was a M-60 gunner in E-2-6's Weapons Platoon. We had gone on a Med Cruise from May to November of 1964 in which we walked all over Greece, Turkey, Sardinia and Spain.

After returning to Lejeune we walked weekly 15 mile "conditioning" route step marches as part of our regular training. Leave the Btn. Area Monday, walk out to our training area where we would set up a base of operations and do various training exercises until Thursday, when we would walk back to the Btn. Area for the opportunity to clean our weapons, check our 782 gear and stand inspection on Friday in hopes of getting liberty for the weekend. Our Btn. commander was LtCol Charles Redmon.

He was a veteran of Inchon and the Korean experience. He was also a firm believer in the notion that 0311's, 0331's, 0351's and such meant infantry which meant that we walked everywhere. As I stated at the start of this tale, in April of '65, elements of 3-6 were sent to the Dominican Republic to squash some numb nut who thought he was a bad dude. We, 2-6, were set to go to the Caribbean with E Company going to Gitmo for the whole time. May to November.

Col Redmon set up a training march for 2-6 wherein we would walk the 125 miles from Camp Lejeune to Fort Bragg to show the doggies how bad Marine infantry was. We route stepped 25 miles a day with full gear for five days arriving at Fort Bragg on a Friday. We then proceeded to have a week in the boonies of Fort Bragg showing the doggies how things are supposed to be done.

We rotated the order of march every day. The first company to leave had a 20 minute lead on the next and so on. The food service people were trucked ahead and had full field kitchens set up with hot food waiting for us when we arrived at the end of the day. We dined on C-Rats for noon meal. We walked 50 minutes every hour and had a 10 minute break.

When we heard "Saddle Up", the moans could be heard up and down the column! This little walk in the sun took place up and down the highways and byways of sunny North Carolina in the last two weeks of April of 1965. We were upset not because of the march but because of the fact that while we were doing this, 3-6 was actually fighting bad guys in the Dominican Republic. Regardless, we did it and walked tall when we got back to Lejeune.

No one else had done a training exercise like that! An interesting note was that as we were in the Lejeune area, not many seemed to notice or pay attention to 1,100 Marines in full gear trudging along the highway. As we got closer to Fort Bragg, the difference in gear and utilities was apparent, and some of the locals became concerned.

One old farmer, about the age I am now(67), mustered up the courage to come over from his field as we were taking a break and asked "Who are you people and where are you from?". I guess the doggies never walked around as much as we did. Anyway, our Gunny, whose last name was Flores, said we're are a contingent of Mexican Marines and we are here to take over Fort Bragg. That poor old man almost s__t his pants until he heard and saw all of us busting a gut laughing. Good times a long time ago. Semper Fi til I die!

Old dog Sgt E-2-6-0331.

Have To Back Up

Hey Sgt Grit,

Have to back up Cpl Robert Bliss in reference to "Mr. Anon, or "Anonymous Always". Since I read most all of the newsletters and write to scuttlebutt, I was also elected by several other Marines, unit Brothers and more, to Sound Off. This little p- ssin' contest that Anon keeps up just makes him look more and more like a wannabe. If he was a Marine, at least in my Company, we would have f-rted in a red balloon and told him to un-azs the AO and amuse himself.

Mr. Anonymous, this newsletter is part of "scuttlebutt". Marines know that it is much more than just stories. We write in to share common experiences, and we enjoy it. But scuttlebutt is also a language. We are Marines, young and old, and The Newsletter is probably the only site we can Sound Off like Marines and not have to fear what we say... to a reasonable standard of course, but still as MARINES. If you are a Marine you should know this. You should also know that Marines bust each other's b-lls 24/7. It is what it is. Marine Thing. Alpha- Male conduct. Don't mean nothin'. Understand?

In your response to Cpl Bliss, (which was disrespectful considering he is a 'Nam vet, and rates bustin' your b-lls... taking it personal is not Marine conduct.), you missed some key points he made. But mostly you talked about "embarrassing" someone and "you are not about that". HORSES--T! If that DI did what you said he should be embarrassed. As far as mental illness or alcoholism, HORSES--T again. I think Cpl Bliss and Sgt Hardin had it right. He would not have made it through DI school.

We all know that school makes Ranger School, among others, look easy, and I know Marines who went to both. H-ll, my "Heavy Hat" would come in drunk and PT us in the racks at zero-dark-thirty. Laughing his a-- off the whole time. That didn't make him an alcoholic. He is a Marine Corps DI! He will not be embarrassed,(on the contrary...proud), if I tell you his name- Sergeant Gibbs, Plt 1085, 1981, A Co., 1st Battalion, 1st RTR, MCRD PISC. Get real man.

Also, you put great emphasis on the possibility your "sack" and "nuts"(As I remember Cpl Bliss said nothing about nuts) work fine 'cause you have 8 kids. That's great, but what the Corporal was saying is you won't give your name because YOU probably are the embarrassed one. We read between the lines fella. Example; you will notice in scuttlebutt almost everyone gives their name, time period of active duty if not a career Marine, and usually their unit at the Company level. By doing that you are backing up what you say, open to scrutiny.

All Marines know there are 9 active grunt Regiments. Even numbers in 2nd Mar Div., odd numbers at 1st Mar. Div. Both Divisions do west-pacs to the 3rd on The Rock, with exception of the 9th Marines and 3rd Marines at Brigade or on Oki., as this is their Home base. If I am mistaken about that I hope a Fellow Marine will call me on it.(that is why my name and unit is at the bottom of this letter). It's simple "A--nonymous",you smell like a wannabe. Sorry. (actually not sorry).

You put your unit as 3/3/3. OK. Going by the last as 3rd Division, this would mean you were in 3/3. But why not give your Company. Marines usually give Division in scuttlebutt when writing about things like Chosin or other Division level Ops.,Etc. The rest just do it out of Pride. Marine tells me he was in "Fox", 2nd Marines, I know automatically he was in 2nd Battalion. 2nd RCT is 2nd Mar Div. unless OPCON or Deployed to 3rd Mar Div. It was that way 30 years ago. I don't think much has changed.

The unit thing is no big deal in itself, but as a Retired Sergeant of Police, I know a "little bit" about psychology and plain old bulls--t. Every Marine has bumped in to the guy at the Mall, when he sees your Cap or Tattoo, he says 'I was a Marine'. Ask him what unit and you get the same old s--t. "Oh... I was in the 51st special seal forces beret recon platoon back in 'nam... we were in wham bam out of mi sucki u... we were TOP SECRET... yada, yada. Same old crap each time. Whatever. What I'm saying is Marines know about Regiments and Battalions other than their own.

We learn about our "Sister Battalions" out of Honor and Respect and above all, Pride in The Corps and our History. Try this, write something we all can relate to that happened in your unit. It's not about embarrassment fella. Marines kick each other in the a--. Physically AND verbally, out of love, If you can't hang with that or it "hurts your little 'ol feelin's" then just Ring Out. Shakespeare and a friend might say "We thinks thou protesteth too much". Let it go Anon.

Semper Fi
Cpl "D.T." Jones
Weapons Platoon-Gun Section
Alpha 1/6, 1981-1985

Purple Hearts?

Hey Sgt Grit: A few years ago I decided to sell a few hundred comic books. I get a call from this guy who says he will be coming by w/his grandson, to look at my books. As he entered my home he said, "Marine, huh?" I said, "that's right. my brother George and I both served in the 'crotch'!" He told me that he was a Captain in the Army. He said he was stationed in Saigon during the war and he just received a purple heart 40 years late from the Army. I asked where he was hit? He said, "Oh, I did not get shot. I got ptomaine poisoning from a restaurant!" You've got to be kidding me.

He did go on to say that he did not deserve the 'heart' but it will read well in his obituary. My friend Chuck, Army, said he was going to put in for a 'heart' and a POW claim. He was held up by 2 chu hoi's that became Kit Carson scouts, coming out of a whore house in Phu Bai. I called my brother to tell him this story. George said H-ll, that's nothing. I heard an Army general went thru a hospital in Saigon and he pinned 'Hearts' on everyone there including troops there for gonorrhea. I said to George, "In that case, where do I put in for a 'heart'!" My brother thought I was serious and started to give me a verbal beating over the phone. I told him I was kidding. At any rate, I deserve a 'heart' if only I had been in the Army.

Semper Fi, Marines.
Sgt A.J. Manos (inactive reserve)

11th Marines Bar

It's the 11th Marines bar sometime in 67 or early 68. I was with G Btry 29th Arty. Searchlight and We shared the Bar and Chow Hall.
Bill McLean


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #1, #9, (SEP. 2011)

It should be pretty evident by now to all you guy's, that all I have written and, what you have read in "the Flight Line" has come from other sources and, it did not all come from this "ole gord" that sits on my shoulders but, from many different sources and other articles on USMC Aviation history. My goal here is to familiarize our members with "how we got to where we are". I sincerely hope you don't mind me borrowing some of what others have researched and written in order to bring you guy's up to speed. Having said that, I'll continue to get the word out !

About half way through 1956 the Squadron based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (HMR-161) received three new HOK-1 helicopters as augmentation to the HRS transport Helicopters already in the squadron. The HOK-1 ( Helicopter, Observation Kamen) was a four (4) seat liaison helicopter built by Kamen Aircraft Corp. The intended use of the HOK was for observation. This aircraft used the contra-rotating and inter-meshing twin-rotor system---two rotors turned in opposite directions. This was called a sync- copter. This rotor system ensured aircraft stability without the need for a tail rotor such as that employed on the Sikorsky type helicopters.

In mid-1956, HMR-161 (my Alma-mater) also received three OE-1 fixed wing aircraft built by Cessna and they were designated the L-19 Bird-dog. This was a 2 seat light observation and reconnaissance aircraft. The OE-1 had been used extensively during the Korean War for reconnaissance and artillery spotting. With the addition of these aircraft and the three HOK-1 helicopters, the squadron was becoming more versatile in both type of aircraft and type of mission it could perform.

Over the next few years the MARINE Corps continued to perfect the use and deployment of the Helicopter and participated in such operation as AirEx, and Tradewnds, Clear Ridge plus flight operations aboard carriers were also being perfected. Pilots were being qualified, as were the ship's crews were also becoming familiarized with working with Helicopters on deck. Different Helo units across the country were used in flood rescues efforts, remote location transformer placement, and even game surveys.

The transformer powered the observation lights that marked a remote mountain top, in Hawaii. RAL's (Rough Area Landings) were practiced in some of the most remote hazardous terrain that I had ever seen. This was part of almost every day's flying agenda for all aircrews.

On April 15, 1962, LtCol Archie Clapp' s MARINE Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM-362), known as Archies Angles, deployed to Soc Trang in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam as part of Operation SHUFLY. This was the MARINE Corps effort to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops against the Viet Cong. Six MARINE Corps Helicopter squadrons joined the operation later. During late 1962, the SHUFLY H-34s traded places with an ARMY squadron and moved to Da Nang because the H-34 was more capable in the mountainous terrain than the Piasecki H-21. Operation SHUFLY ended early in 1965 as MARINE and Army units landed in Vietnam, following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and took the lead against the insurgent Viet Cong. (cont. in #10).

"How many???"

LSU 1 at An Hoa (1970) had a laundry unit...actually, two. Trailer-mounted machines, big washer unit capable of a couple hundred pounds at a time, nd a dryer unit on each, and four Marines with the official "Skivvy-dipper" MOS. (I think it came under an Engineer field utilities MOS (as in water/electric/sewer public utility kind of 'utilities").

The units could run off cantonment electrical power, or the on- board generators, and used diesel fuel to heat the driers... in our case, the SeaBees provided water, piped from a water point. The laundry was located in between the main part of An Hoa and what at the time was 2/5's 'rear area'... An Hoa was more or less isolated, as everything came/went through the gate to Liberty Road, or by air. Dirty laundry would be delivered to our four worthies in orange nylon mail bags (clear violation of any rule ever written concerning postal equipment)... wash, dried, re-bagged, and set in the front courtyard area of the laundry... area sorta fenced off with pallets on edge, etc.

Usual procedure for infantry companies was to send the company driver with jeep and trailer. They would drop off several bags, come back later, and pick them up. The only control was a green log book... unit ID, signature of the driver, count of number of sets of utilities... so far, so good... We were providing laundry support to somewhere around 5,000 troops... some inside the wire, some out along Liberty Road, and in other garden spots

Somewhere, in some unit, inside the wire, resided a Super- Scrounger... who had observed that this whole thing was pretty routine, casual, no ID required, etc... just "it's them bags over there, sign here"... the LCPLIC (that's Lance Corporal In Charge) called the Gunny one day, said there was a problem... so the Gunny and I went down there... seems that one of the companies from 2/5 had come to pick up their laundry... only they had already been there once before that day... and had picked up their laundry... at least, according to the log book.

The driver swore that the company had not got their laundry, and a trip to their area pretty much confirmed that there was no stash of bright orange mail bags with many, many, sets of clean utes there. There was no reasonable way that a jeep with a trailer load of orange bags had wandered back up Liberty Road by itself (pretty good way to acquire a final health record entry... "Closed")

This necessitated a phone call back up to the boss (Capt John Woodhead, S-3) in DaNang... "John, this is Dick... we had some utilities lost at the laundry, and will need you to send some down on tomorrow's convoy"

"No problem... how many?"

"400 sets"

"How many???"

"400 sets... 2 sets per man, 200 in the company"...

"We've got a bad line here... I thought you said FOUR HUNDRED SETS!????"

"Yup... just use the matrix for sizes"

There was more to the above quoted conversation, but on the off- chance that this tale might be perused by an impressionable youngster, will omit the question/response sequences...

Despite the word going out throughout the entire cantonment, via the Regimental CO and the S-4, nobody ever fessed up to an excess of clean utilities in their unit... and the matrix, (besides being a weird movie) is a table that says in a unit of X Marines, quantity Y will be 'Medium, Regular", quantity Z will be "Large, Short", etc... You never really appreciate clean, dry clothes... until you haven't had any for a while... ForkLift Command delivered 400 sets of brand new cammies on the next convoy... along with the beans, bullets, bandages, fuel... and laundry soap...



Sgt Grit,

Read your fine intro to the newsletter the other day, and totally agree with you. The "Question of the Week" in my local paper was, "Which holiday is more important to you: 4th of July or Memorial Day?" My response is below. Due to the similarity between your thoughts and mine, I thought I'd send it on for your review. Keep the good work coming...

Which is the more meaningful holiday? Lately it depends upon whether you want to buy a new car, a new bed, a new washer/dryer, or other goodies the stores can put on sale. They surround their "good deals" with flags, bunting, animated fireworks, and anything else to bring attention to their merchandising rather than the holiday and its history and meaning. As a Veteran I find it disrespectful and insulting that our holidays, especially these two which are so meaningful to our country, have been marginalized and reduced to a means to make money, while everyone else gets another day off from work. Lately there has been much talk about the 'entitlements' of Veterans. Next time you drive by the Water Park pool and notice the giant flag across the street at half-mast, remember that this, too, is an 'entitlement' for a Veteran.

Green Side Out,
Pete Formaz
GySgt of Marines
Helena, MT

Gut Check Moment

I have noticed a few stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis in this newsletter. Let me tell you mine. I was with MAG-26 at MCAS New River in October 1962 when my buddy N. R. Miller and I were sent TAD to an infantry Bn. at Camp Lejeune that was leaving for a Caribbean cruise. (5th Marines I think, but it's been 50 years) We were embarked onboard the USS Okinawa, a brand new LPH. Miller and I were there to provide air/ground communications with a portable radio called am M.A.Y.

At sea we listened to President Kennedy's announcement about the missiles. Then the Captain informed us we were now headed for Cuba. During the next 48 hours were spent in her holds, changing them at sea to a combat load arrangement. Finally came the day when we were called up to the flight deck, issued live ammunition, and loaded on Sykorsky HUS's. Miller and I were on the lead chopper, because we were charged with guiding in the rest of the assault wave via air/ground radio. We had most of an infantry squad with us for protection.

When the chopper fired up its engine and the rotor head began turning, we all took a deep breath, wondering what it would be like. It was a gut check moment, but after a few minutes, the engine was shut down, the rotor head came to a stop, and we were all off loaded and turned in our combat load outs. The rest was anti-climactic until we docked at Mayport Florida for a little R&R. But that is another story.

SSgt Joseph W. Frazier
U.S.M.C. (Ret.)

WWII Dogs And Cats

At the end of World War II, Navy and Marine Corps Families were going home and moving out of Navy Housing all across the United States. With the Family's leaving there suddenly was no room for a dog or cat that had been the family pet for days, weeks or months, so the pet was left to forage for itself.

Because of this there were lots of feral dogs and cats that usually hung out at the dumps where food scraps, empty food cans, and rats or other small animals that could be food. The Military bases had to find a way to rid the base of the feral animals which had become a serious Health problem for Navy Family's that were living there.

Naval Base, Hunters Point, San Francisco was one such place, and finally the Marine Guard was given the problem of removing the animals. Trying to capture an animal in the dump area was dangerous because of the amount of trash and the potential of injury climbing around and over the trash. So shooting the animals was looked at as a solution. However because Oakland was across the bay only low velocity weapons such as 12 Gauge shotguns, .45 Colt Automatic Pistols and .22 rifles were considered.

The Pistols and shotguns tended to wound the animals and that was obviously no solution. Finally the .22 rifles were found to kill quickly and efficiently if the bullet hit a vital spot, so expert riflemen were sent to destroy as many of these animals with as little pain to the animals as possible. Fortunately there was an Animal Glue Factory outside the back gate of Hunters Point Naval Station.

Hunters Point was only one of hundreds of Military bases in the country that had this problem. For years Wild dog packs around Quantico, Virginia were a problem, people living off base were warned to keep small children close to the house and burning trash and garbage was done as required to keep foods away from the wild dogs. Several of the Army Bases in the South had the same problems. Suggestions and solutions were offered, most had no effect on the amount of feral animals.

Many were shot, some were trapped and put down by Vets. It took years for the problem of wild dogs and cats to be eased somewhat.

In later years the problem would arise from time to time as most Servicemen enjoy dogs and would get a dog from a friend, or the Dog Pound and when transferred would just pack up and leave without regard for the dog, sometimes the dog couldn't be found and the family had to leave without it. So the problem became feral cats and wild dogs again.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired.


"I can't say enough about the two Marine divisions. If I use words like 'brilliant,' it would really be an under description of the absolutely superb job that they did in breaching the so- called 'impenetrable barrier.' It was a classic- absolutely classic- military breaching of a veryvery tough minefield, barbed wire, fire trenches-type barrier."
--Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, U. S. Army Commander, Operation Desert Storm, February 1991

"Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
--Milton Friedman

"Ask not what your government can do for you. Ask what your government can do to you."
--Doug Newman

"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; ... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
--Frederick Douglass 1857

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."

"War is simple, direct, and ruthless."

--General George Patton

"Men live their lives within a framework of customary relations and patterns for achieving their ends and solving their problems. In the absence of positive force, they have worked out and accepted these patterns voluntarily, or they submit to them willingly. Any alteration of these by government involves the use or threat of force, for that is how governments operate. The old order must be replaced by a new order for the reform to be achieved. The result of the forceful effort to do this is disorder."
-- Clarence B. Carson

"I still need Marines who can shoot and salute. But I need Marines who can fix jet engines and man sophisticated radar sets, as well."
--General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps, 17 May 1974

"A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it ... gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
--economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."

"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat"

"a country that armed Stalin to defeat Hitler can certainly work alongside enemies of al-Qaida to defeat al-Qaida."

--General Mattis, USMC

"Arrogance, My Asz, It's Pride, USMC!"

"maggot... if you don't get outta my sight NOW!... we will need a 5-man funeral detail... two handles on the sh-tcan, two for road guards, one to count cadence... "

"Make a hole and make it wide, part like the red f--------n sea!"

Happy Independence Day
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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