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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 11 OCT 2012

In this issue:
• Observed The Courtesies
• Cooks - 1954
• Bit Of A Disadvantage

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I have always thought this was a M-60, but could you let me know if it is actually a M-88? City of Hue, February 1968.

Thank you,
David Ebstein

Observed The Courtesies

Sgt. Grit,

B. Otis's mention of combination locks in this week's (27Sep12) newsletter reminded of an incident I thought I would share.

In July of 1963, as a "Junior PLC" candidate at old Camp Upshur aboard MCB Quantico, I was required to buy a lock with two keys. I turned in one key to the staff, and carried the duplicate in my trouser pocket, until one morning when I was rushing to get outside after showering and changing utilities. I tossed my dirty "utes" inside the wall locker (which also contained my M-14, mentioned in some other posts in the same newsletter), slammed the door shut and then remembered that I had forgotten to remove the key from the "utes" pocket.

Upon being cordially invited to enter the platoon office (after the usual request formalities), the Platoon Commander, 2nd Lt. A. B. Crosby, asked my reason for the visit. "Sir, I locked my key in my wall locker."

After a conversation that ended with some advice about paying attention to details, he allowed me to take his copy of my key, unlock my locker, and then return the spare to him. (Which I did.) He handed me a string, had me run one end through the hole in the key, then tie the two ends of the string together and slip it over my head. (Which I did). Then he suggested that I might need to be somewhere other than in his office, so I left, thanking him on my way out.

The next hectic morning (which ones weren't?), after again closing my wall locker containing my sweaty utes, I experienced a sudden panic, followed by abject dread.

I paid another visit to the Platoon Office. Again I had to observe the courtesies of requesting entrance. When I was allowed in, I was asked the reason for this visit.

"I locked my key in my wall locker again, Sir."

He stood up from his desk and stepped very close to me. Then he reached a finger inside the neck of my white T-shirt and brought out a key on a string that was around my neck.

"Does it look like this one?" he asked.

What fond memories.

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; Always a Marine
1963-76 (for pay purposes) Jr PLC (Jul-Aug63);
Sr PLC (Jul-Aug65) TBS Class 4-66 (Mar-Aug66); US Army Art'y
Officer Basic Class 5-66 (Aug-Oct66)Vietnam, 4Dec66-18Dec67:
"I"3/11 (FO for "L"3/7, 5 and a half months, then FDO);
3rd 8-Inch How (FDC Watch/MTO)
H&S Bn, FMFLant, Norfolk, VA, Jan68-31May69: Asst.
S-4/EmbarkO USMCR unit Corpus Christi, TX, Aug69-Oct75:
XO of "C", CO of "D"4th Recon Bn (combined and re-designated
as "C"1/23-XO & CO)

Short Rounds

Why, I got more time in the chow line, then a lot of you have in the Corps!

PI '57/'60

Semper Fi Sgt. Grit,

I'll be dipped if I can remember either combinations of my two Master locks but I still have intel on my weapon. My M-14 was serial number 1294544 stock number 15. And if my brain housing group is still functional my rifle was manufactured by the TurboHydramatic Division of General Motors.

L/Cpl Dan Buchanan

Marine Jim Grimes has photos of two plts. in this issue. Just below his pictures I have pictures of my short timer's stick, k-bar and Pith helmet.

I would like to advise Marine Grimes that I was in the second plt. 189, second row, 5th from the right. Amazing that these two stories were printed together.

As for CAMP HANSON, the old airstrip where we parked the tanks was built in 1945 by the Seabees. B-29'S flew off it according to a guy I worked with in 1959. I was with the flame plt in '57-'58 at HANSON.

Mike O.

LtCol Burkholder: that shotgun was probably a Stevens 77E... had the same model at Dong Ha and later as a Brig NCO on Okinawa.

Sneaky Pete Dahlstrom

In the VMA-211 Commander's letter to his pilots, there is a line attributed to Roger Staubach... something along the lines of "there are no traffic jams on the extra mile."

(spent his VN time throwing footballs on the pier at NSA Da Nang... or at lunch time, at least...)


I remember only one recruit from LA. The family business was caring for the dead. He joined the Marine Corps so he would not have to learn how to embalm bodies. Can't say that I blame him.

Semper Fidelis

Gene Lang

Does anybody remember the punch bowl?

Sgt D. Dunne
Korea 1953

I believe the Drafting of men into the Marines started late in 1943 and one way of knowing who was drafted was by the serial numbers. As I recall all drafted serial numbers started at 80----'s where as enlisted serial numbers were 40----, 50----'s during this period.

Edw. Hoffman #561153

Dear Sgt Grit,

I don't know if an Army guy is allowed on the site or not! My comment is: Most people don't know about the term "Mustang Officer". I'm glad to see it used again. My son pulled 4 years in your Corps, I was and am proud of him. Thank you all for your service, my wife's father was KIA at Luzon, PI. in 1945.

Jerry Cooke
Mustang Colonel (Ret.)

Make a hole!

Frank Carrano
HDQTRS 10th Marines
CMR Platoon, Camp Lejeune, NC

In boot camp in '63 we were told there are no left handers in the Marine Corps, so I had to shoot right handed (this would be like asking every right hander to shoot left handed). When at first I had a hard time qualifying, I got roughed up by my junior D.I. Thanks to luck I qualified on my final 2 days. After boot camp I switched back to a left shooter, and never had any problem again.

Lou Ferrante

Sgt Grit,

Ya have one heck of a newsletter. In '66 I was reunited with the M-14, come 1968 I was issued the M-16 that was ok but it was taken away and went back to the 14 again I was told that the grunts up north of us in Da Nang needed it more than I did which of course was fine with me because, you guessed it, I got the 14 back. The only thing I have against the 14 is that I could carry more ammo for the 16.

Cpl.VM DeLeon

Cooks - 1954

Reading the articles about cooks also started my process of remembrances.

While on duty at Camp McNair Japan on "Mt. Fuji" attached to K-4-12, I drove a 2 1/2 ton truck and many times we went out to the field on firing missions with the 155's. I recall this one particular time regarding a cook.

My run was to go mainside to the chow hall; pick up a cook, hot food and bring them both back to the field, then help set up the chow line. This would be a day without "C"- rations "Great".

Sounds like a plan, it all started out very simple, however on the way back all I heard was b-tching from the cook about we are not moving fast enough, we will be late and so on. Being a smart azs, teen age Marine, I say to the cook, "do you want me to take a short cut?" He said, "yes let's do it!"

So I turned off the road and went across the field with shell holes and numerous other obstacles, the truck jumped up and down and I did not let up on the gas, figuring this guy will shut up and stop b-tching because he would be busy fearing for his life!

Well he did stop complaining and not much was said, even when we opened the tail gate and coffee was pouring out of the truck bed from one canister that apparently fell over during our adventure across the field.

He was waiting for the right time to say something and it came when the Captain (the 1st in line) looked up and ask the cook, "what kind of cake is this?" The cook answered, "Coffee Cake Sir, the Captain said I never saw coffee cake like this before, how did you make it - seems a little soggy!"

Well Sir, you 1st get a canister of coffee, then a flat pan of cake and put them in a 2 1/2 Ton Truck then (pointing to me standing in the corner of the tent) get that stupid b- stard over there to drive and Sir you will have Coffee Cake!

So that's where I learned how to make COFFEE CAKE!

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Dick Tobin

Mamasans Hated The Geckoes


I don't know about PI. But, in SD we qualified with the M-14 in '72. The next time I qualified was on Oki in '74 and that was with the M-16. I qualified expert with both, but always preferred the 14 and would love to have one to use for deer hunting. I have been to quite a few gun shows looking for one. I see plenty of M-1s, and AR15s, etc. But, never a 14. If anyone knows where I could find one, in good condition at a reasonable price, I would sure like to know. When they first introduced us to the 16's we called them "Swell by Mattel's", because of the plastic stocks.

When I read the "Cockroach" story, I was reminded of one from Okinawa, in '75. We were stationed at Foster/Sukeran, on the south end of the island. One day when we pulled back into the parking lot at the barracks, One of the guys opened the back door of my car to hop out, and there was a big cockroach on the pavement next to the car. This cockroach was about 4 to 5 inches long. This guy sees it and grabs the top of the car to lift himself up in the air as he gets out, so that he can come down on this bug with both boots.

Well, his aim is great, and he figures there will just be a splat when he steps off. But, instead, he steps off and this cockroach just looks up at him and walks away! It must have been a Marine cockroach. We used to keep plenty of geckoes in the barracks to keep the cockroaches out. The geckoes would sleep laying on your throat at night and chase off the cockroaches and eat the mosquitoes. The Momasans hated the geckoes, but we all loved them.

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72-'82

Bit Of A Disadvantage

I hit Parris Island on Sept '61: 3rd Training Battalion. We were issued M-14's and were told we were the first boots to use them. I'm sure they didn't mean my particular training platoon or even the Battalion. I assume all the Battalions forming up platoons at the time. I don't think it was BS either. While they didn't hand them to us covered in grease, they were definitely not to DI standards and no one had cleaned them to that degree before us. We had a lot of extra cleaning to do. If I recall, we were given some solvent or gasoline to use. And the springs were tight as h-ll. Never mind being inexperienced boots, you practically got a hernia trying to slam open the bolt. Especially us short guys. One guy next to me just couldn't get his to work. The DI didn't believe him until he tried. Not being fond of not looking so good in front of us. He put the butt on the deck, and with his foot, stomped the bolt open and repeated it until it had better play.

At the rifle range it was more than instruction... they were all curious as to how the M-14 compared to the M-1, and the coaches were at a bit of a disadvantage as they didn't have the kind of hands-on experience with the M-14 as they had with the M-1.

As with everyone else's comments, at Geiger it was back to decrepit M-1's. And then on to Amtracs early '62 where they'd just gotten theirs and where they'd never qualified with them. In this case, we newbies had the experience and we got a lot of questions about using an M-14. Many in the "Old Corps" before us, swore by the M-1 and didn't like the M-14... perhaps because they got lousy scores on the range?

Don Harkness
Senior Recruiter

"Get A Brick..." X2

My wife and I just returned from a 3 week RV vacation where we were able to visit PI. We stayed at Hunting Island State Park and met a few Brother and Sister Marines there. We were very fortunate to get the $50 Grand PI Tour from SgtMaj Dave Robles USMC Ret. Dave showed us all the historic sites at PI and my wife was left speechless. Finally he took us over to the old 3rd Bn Brick Barracks. They are now empty and ready to be demolished. Dave helped me get a brick as a souvenir from my time spent at PI, beginning on 25 Jun 1968. Thanks to SSgt S. B. Magana and ADIs SSgts Webb and Yeager for grooming us all in Platoon 386 into Marines.

Many special thanks must go to SgtMaj Dave Robles USMC Ret. and all the re-enactors who provide the history lessons, in period uniforms, to the Marines of today as they transition the Crucible. Would have loved to see that. A ghostly image emerging from smoke at O'-Dark-30 teaching the recruits about our fabulous history and traditions. Anyone that is able to go back to PI should try to get a 3rd Bn Brick as a souvenir.

Semper Fi,
Roman "Ski" Milanowicz
Sgt USMC '68-'74
VMFA-4512 Seat Shop & Check Crew

Effective Against People

To J.D. Burkholder [LtCol, USMCR (Ret)]

Saw your entry in the Sept. 27th Sgt. Grit e-newsletter. I too was "given" a 12 gauge shotgun for part of my tour, while with 11th Marines. H.Q. Battery, same as Don Whitton/Sgt. Grit.

It was made by Stevens Company. Issued 00 shot shells. Good balance! Interesting detail: on the muzzle was a device which looked like a flash suppressor. Similar to our three "prongs" on our M-16s, but with only two prongs, one on top and the other on the bottom of the device. I was told that its purpose was to flatten, or spread the double ought buck into a narrow, horizontal pattern so as to be more effective against people.

I don't know of other manufacturers' shotguns that were used. Maybe some reader will add to this. As to the "prongs"... have never heard authoritatively whether they were flash suppressors or "shot spreaders", as I was told.

Doug "Junior" Helmers
11th Marines
25 Aug. '68 to 2 Apr. '70

I Saw Charles With

Sgt. grit,

Have been noticing the shoot the sh-t sessions with amusement. Used to like to bet on when and where something happened. Kept many of the orders on some of this stuff.

1962 thru Mar 1963. Of 2 sets of wool greens issued. One could be a battle jacket dependent on your size. Small skinny guys 28" to 32" could get one on original issue. Battle Jackets could not be worn off base except overseas. P-ss cutters were not worn Off Base except overseas.

Utilities issued thru 1963 were covered pockets similar to new style herringbone, they were sateen. They all had button sleeves and a map pocket on the inside. This was not for grenades. July 1, 1963, we dyed everything black or em- nued the buttons. Barracks covers, shoes, boots all went to black.

Old rank structure was completely eliminated July 1, 1963. If you didn't make it you were reverted, Staff Sgts who were reverted kept their staff privileges. By the end of 63 all staffs who didn't make it were automatically promoted July 1963. Utilities had buttons exposed doggie style, issued Boots were cow hide, rough side out and were spit shined. Utility covers were starched using cottage cheese containers. An aluminum gadget also came out for this purpose. We ironed on the pocket emblem with USMC below.

Jungle utes and green boots showed up in June 1965. When the Army arrived they still had all the patches and rank non subdued. They also carried M-14s. Recon still carried grease guns. Flames disappeared in Nam never saw a single one. Tear gas grenades were taken from us (against Geneva Convention to gas them) and we used smoke instead.

1962 thru 1965 M-14, 7.62x, .54 was the rifle used by the fleet and boot camp. ITR issued M-1s, 30.06, and yes we did take them to the showers. We linseeded the wood and oiled the metal. We trained with Flames, 3.5s, BARs 30.06 air cooled MGs, grenades were the lemon type. ITR also used .30 cal water cooled over the live fire pits .

Most VC carried a hodge podge of weapons. I saw charles with an 1873 Remington Rolling block single shot rifle in 7mm mauser. It still worked. NVA carried AKs and SKS, We had no claymores till Sept of '65.

There were no 60mm mortars in inventory till July 1965. We got our first 60s from Charlie. We used the 81. Arty used the 4.2 "mortar mounted on a 75mm pack howitzer wheels it was called a Howtar (it sucked). 105's did the majority of our shoots. 155s too. Later the 8" SP showed up. Ontos were used as ambush surprise specials.

Mighty mites were the smallest 4x4s, and were great little vehicles Radio jeeps were WWII type. Radios were PRC 6 walkie talkie crystal controlled, PRC 8,9 or 10. Jeep type were MRC 36, 37 and 38. Trac 75 was the big guy. Angr 9 was naval Gun radio with a hand crank.

In 1966, the 8, 9, 10 were replaced by the PRC 25. Angr 9 replaced by PRC 47 New ground to air radio too, I forgot nomenclature but was a 115?

Okinawa 1965 and before could have embroidered name tags on utilities. We had house boys (in 12th Marines Artillery) at a doggie base Camp Sukiran. It had an open gate (no MPs) we paid the Okinawans to do mess duty. The base had slot machines, you could buy beer at lunch in the cave.

On March 8, 1965, 1/3 and A/1/12 flapped out from Oki to DaNang while the float battalion landed on red beach.

Swagger sticks disappeared end of 1963.

Martha Ray and Raymond Burr were the first performers to visit us out in the field. Martha was something else, a real nice lady with great legs. The word on Burr was g-y. But he walked out thru Indian country to see us without a weapon in May of '65. The first movie was shown in May of '65 outdoors at the base of hill 327. The movie was called a yank in VN. A lot of p-ssed off Marines. Later the title was changed to the Green Berets with John Wayne.

Later on Hill 327 became Freedom Hill. R&R started in late July of '65 to Hong Kong.

Pete Roberto,
Sgt 2029557
'63 to '67

The Poor Soul

Dear Sgt Grit,

I remember when I went in the Corps in '63 a story told to me by a wise old staff NCO! He said that if we sold any Marine Corps gear we would go to the brig or worse, major jail time! I filed it away and thought back on this many years later when I digested many stories and outcomes.

The first was when Marines in the Air Wing sold gear to civilians off of the base, a no-no. Some got caught and some skated. Once going home I was asked to lay down in back of a station wagon while we left base for parts, some cars were stopped and driver and passengers were asked to step out for a thorough search of vehicles, randomly. As we pulled off base not being searched, I found out later the driver was transporting stolen gear? Naturally, I never set foot in his car again!

I was told that if we traded or exchanged stuff it was not considered as serious as selling! I learned that trading services was stretching it but we could get away with it. It opened a lot of leeway. I am not public enemy number 1, nor did I steal a jet plane or a truck from the motor pool but I was enlightened.

We had training that was mandatory Marine Corps training once a month on base and it screwed up our weekend plans as we attended on Saturday morning. It killed weekend plans for getaways. I improvised as training people because we had a lousy budget for stationery supplies. I got them supplies and took test during the week in order to avoid weekends of being on base!

Some people got more creative at this game. Old gear was surveyed for new gear and turned in gear was supposed to be destroyed for future issuance of new gear? People responsible for this switch made a fortune!

Some hot items were pilot flying jackets, aviator sunglasses, etc. Our Staff NCO in Air Wing was a d-ck, so for Halloween I gift wrapped a special gift for him. It was presented mysteriously to him at the Muster in the morning. He was delighted to receive anything from us and he opened it. It was a "Pilot relief horn". For those of you who were not wing-wipers, when the pilot has to take a p-ss he urinates in this contraption as he soars in the wild blue yonder!

We even once put a rattrap under a pieve of paper and asked our most favorite sh-tbird to take paper to the OIC. The poor soul almost lost a finger but stepped up to the plate and had an attitude adjustment real fast.

Bruce Bender

America's Idol

America's Idol is Phillip Phillips! Mine is LCpl Jeffrey C. Burgess, KIA, Al-Fallujah, Iraq, March 25, 2004. Never Forgotten.

Semper Fidelis.

Arty Up

I recall Camp Matthews were we went on a working party to do the last clean-up because it was turned over to USC. M-1's in ITR caused an M-1 thumb and loss of a few hours of liberty. VietNam as an artillery FO with 2/3 in 1967 at first carried an M-14, went to Okinawa in March and all grunts were issued M-16's. Attachments had a choice. Engineers and Arty kept M-14's. On more than one occasion I heard "arty up", but not for artillery but rather for the my M-14 to take out a water bo or long distance shot.

Yes, the Corps did draft for Korea and Viet Nam. Stayed in the Corps until 1998. Retired as a CWO-4.

David Schiel
Marine Gunner

Follow Me

I read Cpl. Richard Burdick's article about being drafted in WWII. Marines were also drafted during the Viet Nam war. McNamara insisted on it. I had a draftee in my 1st Platoon, Charlie company, 2nd Engineers in '70. He had a PhD in philosophy and had no business being in the Marines. He begged me not to have him rappel from a tower and I hated to have him do so but couldn't let one man off the hook.

Later, as Battalion Adjutant, I had a draftee named Cpl. Boudreau working for me and he did an excellent job. He told me that when he was drafted, a Marine SSgt asked for volunteers by tapping every third man on the shoulder and saying "Follow me".

Jack Stillwaggon
Capt of Marines

Call The Doorman

Ok ladies, I think you have beaten to death which rifle everyone had. There are more important things to talk about like the best R&R you had and the wonderful virg-ns you wrote home about.

Mine was Kuala Lumpur. Out f-cking standing. Women were so pretty with the mixture of French and Asian I didn't want to leave.

If you were too hung over from the night before, all you had to do was call the doorman and place your order for one of the beauties.

Sound off!

Joe Henderson

Just Goes To Show

In support of Cpl Burdick's experience in WWII, I was at MCRD San Diego between vacations in SEA, in '67-'69, and it was not unusual to get draftee in the Series. In fact I had one platoon that was made up entirely of draftees. As I recall it was one of the best platoons I worked with. They shared similar experiences at the draft board. Someone would advise a group that they were looking for volunteers to go to the Marines, and figured "What the H-ll, I'm going anyway, might as will go with the best."

On another topic, I recall transitioning from the M-1 to the M-14, and later from the M-14 to the M-16. In both cases the Marines involved were unhappy to say the least with having to give up their weapon for that "new piece of Cr-p". In fact I can recall talking to some members of the real "Old Corps" who said the same thing when ordered to turn in the '03 Springfield's for the M-1. Just goes to show that the more things change in the Corps, the more they stay the same.

Semper Fi
Ron Sharetts
'57-'79 1686---


Sgt. Grit, Here are three old pix of myself. #1, ITR at Camp Geiger Pvt. #2, At Camp Magill, Japan wearing the [battle jacket], not the[Ike jacket] as a PFC. #3 On the USS Catamount, LSD 17, inroute to Lebanon, 1958 as a Sgt, E4. That's me waving.


Prisoners Escaped

Upon arriving at my unit, 2nd LAAM Bn at 29 Palms, CA, in November 1962, we were issued M-14's. During the first two years with the unit, we kept our rifles locked in our lockers with the long neck combination lock. Sometime during '64-'65, we had rifle racks placed in each squad bay and then we kept our M-14's secured in them.

During my time with the unit, I remember carrying my M-14 with 5 live rounds while performing duties as a "Prisoner Chaser". I had to escort the Prisoner to the mess hall for meals and escort him back to his quarters! Rumor was that if one of your prisoners escaped from you, you would serve out the prisoner's sentence. One of the guys that I had to escort was from my unit, although I knew him, I told him that he better not even think about running. He was being court martialed for going "Over the Hill", I think it was his 3 or 4th AWOL. I think that I was a "Chaser" 2 or 3 times, before I made Corporal and ended up getting "Duty NCO" at night and weekends.

Freddy R. Gonzales

Last Thing I Want To Hear

Been a long time reader so keep the stories coming. It is great to hear about the more salty side of the Corps as well as the less salty side; as things change after our time has come to an end and the gear gets turned in.

Having graduated Boot Camp back in '88 (Plt. 1098, San Diego) I did not have the pleasure to learn about the 1903, M-1 or the M-14. I now have two of the three and am building the M-14 (or M-1A as it is called today). I have a couple of questions for the Woodstock and Leather Generations, that pertain to the above mentioned rifles.

When they were issued to you, what oil was massaged into the stock. I hear about the BOL (boiled linseed oil), ROL (raw linseed oil), and Gunny Paste all the time; but what was really used when you had to play with the wood? (no pun intended) How was it applied and many times was it applied? Next question; what oil was used on the M-1907 leather sling to keep it conditioned?

Any other information is greatly appreciated as I am trying to get my rifles into "correct" shape. Last thing I want to hear is that I did it wrong from an Army dog!

Semper Fi, Do or Die, Oorah Marine Corps!

Cpl. Christopher (Chris) Steere
Assault Section
Weapons Plt.
Kilo Co. 3/2

Huge Puff Of Feathers


Recent postings have stirred memories in my brain housing mechanism. I reported to Parris Island on September 5th, 1963. We were issued M-14's. At the clothing issue, some recruits were issued the last remaining brown shoes and brown visored covers, as well as I was issued a battle jacket until my DI, Sgt. John J. McGinty pulled me to the side and took me back to the supply person and made them give me a regular green blouse. He never explained why, and I being scared sh-tless did not care to ask!

Since some were issued brown leather gear, we all were required to spend two evenings during Drill Instructors Time dying our leather goods black, then making sure the required high shine was applied. Our utilities were green, some got the jacket with the inside pocket and some did not. I was issued one with the inside pocket and others wore the new style with the square pocket flaps. I still have the jacket with the inside pocket.

When we were sent to ITR at Camp Geiger, we were issued M-1's and used them to train with, along with the BAR and the .30 cal. Machine gun. It was at ITR that I managed to purchase an Old Corps set of herring bone utilities which made me appear to be very salty. The trousers have long disappeared, but I still have the jacket. I never was able to get the herring bone cover.

After two years with E-2-6 at Camp Lejeune, I was sent to Weapons Battalion back at PI. By this time it was January of 1966. I served as a shooting coach and later as the Sgt. In charge of the pit area on firing line B. Never were any of the recruits issued M-1' s during that time, January through October. There was some flap, however, that occurred during the early to mid-summer when recruit qual scores were horrible and DI's from all three training battalions were going ape sh-t because their people were not shooting well. Turns out that there had been some very bad ammo Issued. I can't remember who the supplier of the ammo was, but a lot of people were HIGHLY p-ssed off! The situation was soon fixed and recruits were once again back to shooting as Marines should!

A side note about the rifle range. We would shoot 10 rounds off hand at 220 yards, 10 rounds rapid fire seated at 200 yards, then move back to the 300 yard line and fire 10 rounds kneeling slow fire, then 10 rounds rapid fire prone before moving back to the 500 to fire 10 round slow in the prone position. The mess hall would send sack lunches for the coaches while the recruits ate C-rats issued in Korea. Anyway, the sack lunches consisted of donkey d-ck sandwiches on stale bread and an apple. We supplied water from our canteens. Well, as what can happen with young men who by nature are ornery and trained to be even more by professionals, we would sometimes leave bits of bread on the two hundred yard line to entice the sea gulls from the swamps behind the firing line to come for a snack. While firing was going on they would not show up, but as we moved back to the 500 yard line, they would make their appearance. Once in a while, a coach would tell a Private that he needed to check his weapon to see if it was on target from 500 yards. The gulls would be busy foraging on the two hundred when the "Commence Fire" command would be given.

For general knowledge, when a 7.62 NATO round hits a seagull from 500 yards all you can see is a huge puff of feathers. When this happened, the Line Officer would immediately call "Cease Fire" and proceed to use appropriate Marine lifer language to inform "whoever the smart a-- " who is shooting Marine issue gulls, that terrible things would befall their person if located. No one was ever located. We only did this a couple of times before I was assigned to be the NCOIC of the "B Line" pit. I have often wondered if that may have been why?

Old Dog Sgt.
E-2-6 and Weapons Battalion at PI, 1963-1969.

Great Reminder

Sgt Grit:

Several issues of the newsletter have mentioned swagger sticks. I've enclosed a few shots of the kind that vendors would come aboard the ships and sell while hitting the ports in the Med while deployed for a Med Cruise. This one indicates the ship, USS Rockbridge, APA 228. Note the scrolls denote the ports hit on that cruise and the islands for amphibious exercises and landings. A great reminder of that cruise. Maybe others that have them can send photos.

Semper Fi
Joseph E. Bock
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)


This pic was taken at the DI Reunion at MCRDPI, SC. I believe in '08 or '09. I'm on the far left Chuck Taliano is on my left. I am Al Pasquale, CPL, 7041 Admin, S-2, S-3, Operations & Intel.

Loyal and faithful customer of Sgt Grit!

Up For The Challenge

Sgt Grit I read your newsletter for the first time great to say least. I was at MCRD San Diego Jan '66 drafted into the Corps. Well sort of, I was in a line of draftees & they asked if anyone wanted to go in the Corps like a 20 year old. I was up for a challenge & boy did I get it. Best thing I ever did.

I remember Sgt Stubber as one of our DI's he was from LA before becoming a Marine (he was a great one). Tough to say the least. I went on to be a cook & went to Nam in Oct '66 to a place called Red Beach. I was there for 4 months then went to run a mess hall for the language school in the 3rd Marine Division in Da Nang.

Don Pearce


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #2, #8, (Aug., 2012)

On the 1st of Sept. 1965, MAG-36 arrived off the coast of Chu Lai and was preparing to join the group already ashore. The new group consisted of H&MS (Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron) -36, MABS (Marine Air Base Squadron)-36, HMM-362 (UH-34Ds ), HMM-363 (UH-34Ds) and HMM-364 (UH-34Ds) , plus VMO-6 (UH-1Es). The rumor among MAG -36 MARINES on board the USS Princeton en-route from CONUS had been that they would turn around and head back because of the great success of Operation STARLIGHT, and that the war would soon be over. HA, HA! By the end of September, MAG-36 was established at Ky Ha. This was the name given to the Helicopter base just to the north of Chu Lai. HMM-363 was located at Da Nang. This Squadron lifted the first MARINES in to Hill 55 south of Da Nang which remained a MARINE Command Post (CP) for many years to come.

In mid Sept, 1965 seven helicopters of HMM-161 from the previously deployed Qui Nhon detachment supported the 101st Airborne Brigade in Operation GIBRALTER. All seven were hit numerous times with small arms fire and enemy automatic weapons fire in the landing zone. One helicopter went down near the hostile landing zone. Sgt Dante Romeo the crew chief, evacuated the helicopter and carrying his M-60 machine-gun covered the rest of the crew while they scrambled to safety. Capt Billy Phillips, the pilot of Romeos helo and the other crew members were immediately picked up by their wingman flown by Capt. Manual Martinez who landed in the midst of heavy enemy fire to make the recovery, a total of 58 enemy rounds struck the seven helicopters and many of the Aircraft were able to make it to a nearby village where emergency repairs were made. The aircraft were then flown back to the base at Qui Nhon where permanent repairs began in earnest. Sgt Romeo received the Bronze Star for his actions, and Capt. Martinez the Silver Star for his.

Also in September, the VMO Squadrons were assigned a priority mission of a 24 hour Medieval "standby" with a UH-1E medevac slick, a UH-1E gunship and a crew of 4 pilots two crew chiefs, a door gunner and a corpsman.

HMM-363 deployed to Qui Nhon in Oct., 1965, from Da Nang. Shortly their after arrival. Lt. Col. George KEW, CO., brought back a "one legged" H-34 , having left the other landing gear strut in an ARMY LZ. His co-Pilot remembered this as a truly fascinating event. Later that night at the "O" Club, Lt Col Kew made the following statement: "You all know that the 1820 engines are a critical supply item. Main Landing gear Assemblies are not. So I made the decision not to over-boost that engine, even if I bent the gear. Any Questions?" There were none!

Later in October, on the 27th shortly after midnight, explosions hit MMAF (Marble Mountain Air Facility) and the Chu Lai SATS field. An estimated force of about 90 men from main-force VC units, in four teams, launched a well-planned coordinated attack on MMAF. They attacked the H&MS-16 hanger area; the MAG-16 bunker area; the flight line, and the maintenance and administration tents of the squadrons. Afterwards they began a methodical attack on each helicopter. "VMO-2 was practically wiped out". The sappers destroyed 19 Helicopters and damaged another 35 that evening, killing 3 MARINES and one Navy Corpsman on medevac standby.

Natural Left Handed Eye

I enlisted on August 1, 1961 and went to MCRD San Diego. I believe it was Platoon 153, but am not sure. During Boot Camp Aug-Oct, we were issued and used M-1 Garand Rifles. We also qualified at Camp Elliott (It was in process of being closed) using the M-1. I am a natural left-handed shooter, but my DI insisted I shoot right handed (he could teach me from scratch with no bad habits). Consequently, I qualified Marksman with the M-1, shooting right-handed and was very PO'd because of it. I was sure I would have been at least Sharpshooter shooting with my natural left-handed eye, as I had hunted left-handed all my life.

After a protracted ITR stint (short stay in Naval Hospital for Pneumonia) where we also used the M-1, I reported to 1st Bn, 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton; again we were using M-1 Garands, BAR's and .30 Caliber air-cooled machine guns. We used this equipment through the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In June 1963, we rotated to Camp Hansen, Okinawa as 2nd Bn, 9th Marines, still with the WWII weapons. Sometime in late 1963 we were issued the M-14's and M-60's, and we spent a lot of time up in the NTA in Okinawa trying out the weapons. I know that we had several casualties due to the M-60 Machine Guns double-feeding and causing shrapnel wounds to the operators.

I never cared much for the M-14, as it seemed that the "flash guard" was constantly being knocked out of line, thereby causing our rounds to "go elsewhere", and the armorers spent a lot of time correcting this problem for us. Never used the M-14 in combat as we rotated back to the States in May 1964 where I spend my last 3 years (total of 6) at USMC Recruiting Station, Los Angeles.

I still have a couple of M-1 Garand's, one a "shooter" and one a collectible (it has verifiable USMC Armorer Marks on it). I also have two M-1 Carbines that were manufactured by IBM in WWII (my old employer) - collectibles sure.

Semper Fi - still!

Jim Holden
Weston, FL

Heavy It Was

When I reported to K-Bay in Oct '74 I was issued a M-14. Must have been a "Wing thing" since the grunts all carried M-16s. Carried that M-14 for two more years and then finally got M-16s. During that two year period none of the newbies had any idea what an M-14 was so us "old salts" had to do OJT to show them which end was up. Poor newbies kept complaining about how heavy it was. Yes, I was part of the left over right generation. By the way, anybody see the movie "Battleship"? Lousy movie but interesting to watch K- Bay getting smacked by the Aliens.

Jeff Howards
Sergeant of Marines
Station Operations and Maintenance Squadron, K-Bay


Members of the California Delta Chapter, FMDA gathered with friends, wives and fellow Marines on September 8, 2012 at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery to dedicate a memorial to members of the First Marine Division who gave their lives in battle.

At the April 2011 meeting of the Chapter it was decided that the Chapter would obtain and erect a monument to our fellow Marines who did not come home. After 18 months of planning and paperwork the Monument was installed and the dedication held.

Chapter Representative John Stevens and National Vice President Denny Weisgerber obtained the name of a Stone Mason who was willing to do the job and the staff at the Sacramento National Cemetery assisted in guiding us through the paperwork that is required to place a monument at the cemetery. VP Denny Weisgerber was the Guest Speaker and the Detachment from the Sacramento Reserve Unit provided the Color Guard, Cal Delta President Joe McKeown served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The Stone Mason Ken Kramer a Military vet himself, donated the stone and the labor, and the plaque was obtained from National. The California Delta Chapter is grateful to all who contributed their time and effort and material to help see that the monument was erected.

Joe McKeown,
President, California Delta Chapter FMDA

Pattern 1958

In the 20 Sept issue, J. Womack asked about the utilities with covered buttons.

I was not only issued these utilities in 1961, but as a long-time collector of USMC utilities, still have an unissued set displayed. These were properly called the Pattern 1958. Notably, this was one of the few utility uniform jackets where an embroidered in-country name tape was authorized for Marines in the 3rd MarDiv. These were phased out approx. 1963 [until stocks exhausted] when then, SecDef McNamara ordered all services to adopt the OG-107 uniform with exposed buttons.

Previously, the Marines briefly used a herringbone version of this same jacket (with different emblem style) called the Pattern 1956 which replaced the classic P-1941/1947 herringbones of WWII & Korean War. From 1944 through 1947, the Corps also issued a P-1944 set which had a gas flap, interior chest pockets (many buttons) and the trousers had the infamous butt-pack pocket and thigh pockets.

C. 'Stoney' Brook


Hey Sgt. Grit,

I thought some of your readers would like to see the menu for Christmas 1944 at Cherry Point, NC.

Please notice the last item on the 2nd page of the menu (Cigarettes).

PFC R.O. Berg 1954-1956

Marine Buddies

When a couple of old Marines who served together over 45 years ago get together, what do they do? Have a few beers and talk about other old Marines. So it went when John Pointer from San Diego stopped in to see Bill Rajewski in Harrisburg, MO on a cross country trip.

"Did you hear Mike became a prison psychologist? Must have been the training working with us."

"Think that's bad? Hall got elected to public office... several times. Made me lose faith in democracy!"

"Whatever happened to Mad Dog?"

"The guy with the lip print tattoo on his rear? No idea. I know AJ was KIA in '67 and Harry died a couple of years ago. But I lost track of the rest."

So a few more beers and they call Mike to come over. Then they call me (the recovering politician) long distance. Then they get on the computer, and start putting names to faces in the 1965 class photo from MCRD Radio Relay Repair School at MCRD. (See attached, though we are all better looking today.) And the hunt was on. So far, we have found eleven, we know that two are gone and five are still missing... including Mad Dog. This has resulted in long phone calls and e-mails as we reconnect with friends of our dimly-remembered youth. Reunions and meetings are planned.

If you haven't looked up your old Marine buddies, remember tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Get on the vet sites or something like Net Detective or Switchboard.com and get with it. Or you'll be doing bends and thrusts until I get tired!

Robert A. Hall
USMC 64-68, CPL
USMCR 77-83, SSgt



Thought you might like this. I took it yesterday on Hwy 35 about half an hour south of Superior, Wisconsin. I thought it was a nice back drop to The American Flag.

Herbert McNeely

Adventure Of War

I was a M-60 machine gunner in L Co. 3/26th Marines in Nam from '67 to '68. There were several men in the company who had been drafted, selected at the indoc. center, into the Corps. Most of these men were Mexican-American citizens from SoCal. Most were older guys, 23 to 26 yrs old approx. They thought they were being drafted into the Army but were used to fill quotas. There was one man I remember quite well. He was a recent immigrant from Italy. He told us that he'd come to the USA 6 months previously and found himself drafted into the Corps and sent to Nam. Not a happy camper but a good Marine. There were also several Canadians who came south, and joined the Corps to experience the adventure of War. Regardless of circumstance all served well and I'm proud to call them my brothers.

Semper Fi
Gary Neely, Sgt of Marines, ret.

Send Them To Me

Sgt. Grit,

I was watching a documentary the other day about the fight at the Chosin Reservoir. Some of the Marines in the documentary talked about not going to boot camp, and I have seen some Marines comment on this subject on your newsletter, and I wanted to get my two cents in. According to the documentary, the Corps had been downsized at the end of WWII, and when they needed Marines for Korea, they called up the reserves and sent them over with about two weeks of training.

Here is my take on that. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew the Corps was going to need a lot of Marines real fast in 1950. So while a lot of us had to be made in to Marines, you Marines were born that way so you could go kick azs right off the bat. I am truly in awe of their fortitude during this battle and the rest of the war. So if anyone ever tries to tell any of you anything about not being a Marine, send them to me and I will take care of that crap.

Mark Harris
Former Corporal
Always a Marine

The Lieutenant

The Lieutenant. This TV series ran from 1963-1965, it starred Gary Lockwood as a Marine Lieutenant. I'm sure there are lots of real Marines who were used as extras in this series. Warner Brothers has just released it. I've been looking for it for 50 years.

They used our platoon when they made the episode "The Angry & Proud". That episode also had Rip Torn in it. He acted as a Drill Instructor, and did a very good job. Our real DI's were S/Sgt. Borgious, Sgt. Brophy, and Cpl. Hunter.

I purchased the Series and got to see myself marching with Rip Torn. I guess I am a Hollywood Marine.

Sgt. C. Jones

Wonderful Man

January 1959 in Northwest Indiana, cold as a witches t-t in a brass brassiere. I was in a little bit of a jam with the local gendarme's, nothing really serious.

I had tested at the Navy recruiter in the previous June and passed the written test. However, the recruiter had filled his quota for at least the remainder of the year. Anyway, I drove through the snowstorm to the federal building. The Navy recruiter was sympathetic but still could not get me in. As I walked toward the elevators in the federal building, I saw a sign above an open doorway (hatch). Being a naive 18 year old kid, I thought, "hmm, one service is as good as another, DUH". The sign simply said "MARINES". As I entered I was cordially greeted by a giant in an immaculate blue uniform. I explained my plight, including my taking the entrance test in the Navy recruiter's office.

This wonderful man in this immaculate uniform poured me a cup of coffee, told me to sit down and relax, and that he would be back in a few minutes. As I glanced down the hall (passageway), I noted that he was actually running to the Navy recruiter's office. He returned before I could finish my coffee and my cigarette. He informed me that my test score was higher than average and I could enlist whenever I wanted. I told him the sooner that I left, the better. What a wonderful man, he was so nice, LOL. I know that he was nice, because after I signed his paperwork, he kept smiling until we shook hands and said our good-byes. I even thanked this great man several times.

Long story longer, I was on the 5 am (0500) train to Chicago the next morning. With several hundred others, I ran around naked all day, being subjected to physical exams on parts of my body, that I previously did not know even existed. Flew out of Chicago at midnight, arrived in San Diego at 6 am (0600), bussed immediately to MCRD. As soon as that bus stopped at the receiving area, I knew that my life had changed forever. The forth coming shock treatment did, without a doubt "shock". Oh Good Lord, how it did shock. That first day was the longest and the most educating day of my entire life. (I still have small scars to prove it). The first night in the receiving barracks after lights out, I heard some poor soul several beds (racks) down actually crying. I was too tired and too scared to cry, the only thing that I could think of over and over, as thousands before me and thousands after me had, was "what in the h-ll did I get myself into?" Four years in the Marine Corps indeed was a life changing experience, and it was changed for the better. Thank God for the Marine Corps.

Semper Fi
PFC Floyd White 1860619
1959 to 1963


Sgt. Grit,

Here is a pic from the Ceremony Program where "Q" Battery, 5/11 was activated and the new Unit Insignia for the Battalion was displayed for the first time (3 Oct. 12). The change is basically that two crossed HIMARS rockets were added to the right upper quarter
of the shield.

Lt. Col. Bob Turley,
USMC (Ret.)

Camp Lejeune

Sgt. Grit,

These pictures are from Camp Lejeune in 1944. Thought some old timers would like to see these base pictures

PFC. R.O. Berg

Where's The Air Panels

For Sgt Bisher and others who have made the same comment... it ain't a 'Chinook'... Chinooks are Army, Sea Knights are Marine/Navy... here's yer sign... count the landing gear... if'n it's got four legs like a bedstead, it's a Chinook... if it's got tricycle gear... it's a Sea Knight, CH-46... also known for a while there as a 'Boeing body bag'... that having to do with a distressing propensities to break its back while airborne (Chinook is a CH-47)... check it out with the ole Gunny, who is the go-to guy for wing things in this newsletter... I have gotten to work, on occasion, with Vanderbilt Hospital Life Flite med evacs once in a while, like a motorcycle wreck a couple evenings ago... wonderful helos, great pilots... however, have yet to have one of those bring in either mail, chow, or water... maybe because we don't use smoke grenades to mark the LZ?

Can't forget the LZ first time as a civilian... car wreck, three teen-age girls, all ejected, one with an avulsed eyeball... get on scene with the fire truck, Chief (peacetime squid on a fleet tug, my age... nearly) asks "you know how to set up an LZ?" Pretending not to be insulted, with "Uh, twenty-four years in the Marine Corps? ya think? Do I look like this is my first rodeo? etc." Just said "yeah, Chief... got it... where's the smoke grenades?" Turns out that was a foreign concept to him, as was the next question... "Well, then, where's the air panels?" That earned me a blank stare... final question "Do we have comm with the chopper?" "No?... well, some things never change... you, you, and you... come with me... we're gonna mark the corners of this here LZ." Good outcome... the young lady stopped by later in the week, en route to her prom... hugs all around. We now have some neat-o battery powered flat disc things with strobe LED's to mark LZ's with... pilots say they can spot them quite a way off.

For you adrenaline/do-gooder junkies out there... if you think you're too old to be of any use, you probably are... otherwise, if you check in your community, there just might be a place for you as a volunteer firefighter, or reserve deputy/LEO... no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit... never saw a volunteer civilian outfit that couldn't benefit from an inculcation of esprit de corps... that includes one of my guys out in Murphys, CA.

Got to tour a WWII LST today, and talk to a squid who was a coxswain on a Peter Boat (Pappa boat, LCVP, HIggins... your choice) for both Iwo and Okinawa... on behalf of our forbears, thanked him for 'the ride to the fight'... we had quite a chat about techniques for descending a cargo net when the ship and the boat are rising/falling at different rates... "keep your hands on the verticals, dumbass... somebody's gonna step on your hands." Seems to me that's the way it went in the old Corps.



"A man owes very little to what he is born with. A man is what he makes of himself."
--Alexander Graham Bell

"Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government."
--Milton Friedman

"I never knew many Marines who were only a 'little' dangerous. Most of them seem to be a LOT dangerous. That, I think, is the idea."
--Capt. Toby Houghs, USAF

"Have you something to do tomorrow; do it today."
--Benjamin Franklin

"No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us."
--Ludwig von Mises, [1922]

"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute."
--James Madison, 1816

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

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
--Thomas Jefferson

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state."
--Tacitus, the Annals ca. AD 69

Private how much rent are you collecting from the visitors living in the bore.

Attack! Attack! Attack!

The best part about being a Marine is that all the sissies were weeded out.

Least amphibious of all the Corps' major installations,
Two-Niner Trees.

Sgt Grit

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