Sgt Grit Newsletter - 12 JAN 2012

In this issue:
• Rockpile
• Private Timex
• Right is Might

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We can all use a bit of motivation from time to time.

Good night Chesty wherever you are!

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

In This Issue

Here we go: AFRICAN WARRIOR, Private Timex, right is might, Mom, Dad's grunting, spiffy, only two MOS's, just the way it was, backup singers, Ah-roo-gah Pouge, he further told me, Still, erect and straight, they are few and the rest are.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit


The most remarkable part of all this Bragging about being a Marine, we still have people trying to think up nom de plumes about USMC. There have been many a fight when a sailor of soldier called a Marine "Uncle Sam's Misguided Children".

I am proud of being a Marine and heard through my 26 years (and three Wars) some Marines thinking up ways of changing the STATUS of our name. It means UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS to those of us who served and came home to Honor the Dead and help the Trying. I remember dis-quieting thoughts about we Marines at places like Korea when things got tough and the good word from the Tongue wagers was that after winter was over the majority of us would be working in the salt mines in Siberia.

I remember too many Marines (the last time at MedBnDanang) a wounded Marine was lugged into surgery apologizing for being wounded. After the Reno, Vagas, and Carson Battle in Korea, three Marines that swore to pizs on the grave of any who died, stood at the foot of the grave of their fallen buddie and cried great tears.

I've heard it said there are no Atheists in a Fox Hole but I can count some that were there and cursed the air blue during battle. It is said some Recon Marines that would holler out; Jesus was a Communist" before jumping with their parachute and one who called out this once, his chute didn't open and he had to pull the emergency chute out of the case and thrown into the air to catch the wind and let him settle to ground safely, shaking his fist in the air while gathering up his parachute and his dignity only to holler out this bit of sarcasm on the next jump. If you don't know it, jumping from a helicopter doesn't give you lots of time to think and do what needs to be done before Mother Earth reaches up and grabs you hard.

In one great story from Grits column of Great stories, a Marine told of meeting a 92 year old Marine who still had the Marine Corps Tempered Spring Steel and bragged about it. We are above it all, we may have seen the worst of us, BUT, they are few and the rest are PROUD to CLAIM THE TITLE of UNITED STATES MARINE. NUF SAID!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Sgt Grit,
I was on the Rockpile as 2531 mos radio operator with 3rd Recon in '67 I remember some of the Marines in this photo they were from an infantry unit stationed on Highway 9 the CO was a major with a Polish last name I can't remember. In the photo on the right the guy with arms raised is Alvarez, the three guys are Wheeler, Renard, and I can't remember the last guy's name? I maybe unloading water in the photo on the left. Doc Soul is not in the photo. (See all photos)

Neither are Pete Pizutt from Brooklyn, NY or, Joe Murphy from Pawtucket, RI, or Roger Brown from Bayou Le Battre, AL of 3rd Recon. Pete and Joe made it home but have since passed away, I don't know about Brown?

Thomas Curran

Private Timex

Sgt. Grit,

When I went to Parris Island in 1965 in our bucket issue was a sewing kit and it was called a "housewife". We had blousing garters for our utility trousers and all p.t. was done in combat boots. We also had a "house mouse", a "Private Timex", the only recruit with a watch that was to report the time on deck when asked by the Drill Instructor, a "pyromaniac" that had a cigarette lighter to light the Drill Instructor's cigarette and it BETTER light on the first try. Candy was pogey bait (forbidden) and the overweight recruits were put on the "fat body list." Our response was "Gung Ho" not OOORAH!

Later at Camp Lejeune the place to go was the "slop chute" , we would go to the circle at Lejeune and catch a ride to "swoop" home, we had liberty cards and there was Cinderella liberty that expired at midnight. When returning from a night in Jacksonville the bus would stop at the Main Gate and all passengers were required to get off. The M P's would check each man for his state of inebriation and those that were too far gone to stand up or know basic answers to their questions were taken to the Brig. We had junk-on-the-bunk inspections on a regular basis and if you didn't get out of the barracks on the weekend you could be grabbed for last minute guard duty.

Some things stay with you forever. Semper Fi 'til I die,

R. A. Kiser

Jayne Mansfield

I was stationed at Camp Courtney on Okinawa with the Third Service Regiment. It was Christmas time and we were in for an unexpected treat...

Bob Hope landed and put on a nice show for us - He brought Jayne Mansfield, Jerry Colonna and a few other young round eyed girls that we all whistled hoot and hollered to see more of. Maybe this will bring back some memories for you.

I have a scrap book full of pictures, pawn tickets, liberty passes and other items saved for all these years - I will share here from time to time ...Semper Fi

Cpl. Bob MacGillivray USMCR
(Parris Island - Platoon 63 -"C" Company Third Battalion Feb 1956 )


Hey Sarge,
Unlimited SH-T, More COMING... the MEAN, GREEN, FIGHTIN' Machine... Uncle Sams MickeyMouse Club...!

Also I was told by some black Marines (67-69) that 'SPLIB' or 'SPLIB LIP' was a slang they used for 'SPLIT LIP' the mark of a Zulu or other Black African Warrior who had their lips pierced... Thus: A split lip was a black African warrior and was considered a complimentary term...

p.s. Never heard OORRAAHH until years after I got out... I always thought it was from the "TIGER GROWL" "AARRGGHHH"... that the D.I's made us yell... and yes those insane Force Recon guys did pull-ups off the water tower at Geiger and woke us up every morning before reveille YELLING CADENCE and RUNNING by our barracks with those D-MN PONTOON BOATS...

63-69 (3 years active reserve + 3 yrs active duty..
oki/nam 68/69)


Sgt. Grit,

All the recent holiday stories regarding Bob Hope reminded me of a funny Marine Corps Christmas story I have. Forgive me if I sent it in a few years back, but here goes;

I was in Beirut for Christmas of 83 and the Rams Cheerleaders were coming to put on a show for us. Anyway, were up at the American University way up on the hill and were trucked by six- bys down to the area (I recall large circus-like tents?). The truck I was riding in was tail-end Charlie and the senior NCO in the truck was an old Viet Nam vet SSGT who hailed from Tennessee and who was hilarious as I recall.

Anyway the good SSGT had to take a pee and could not wait, so as any good Marine would do, he improvised. He handed one of us his weapon and sidled up to the tail-gate of the six-by, knelt down and proceeded to relieve himself through the small opening between the tail-gate and the truck's deck.

Riding behind us and oblivious to what was going to hit him was a Lebanese civilian driving a white Mercedes. Within seconds he turned on his wind-shield wipers even though it was not raining! Not much to laugh about back then, but we all got a hearty laugh out of that one!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all and God bless all who serve, who have served and who will serve in the future. Semper Fi,

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima, 3/8 Weapons Plt

Right Is Might

Having been a victim of three attacks while serving as a U.S. Marine - didn't sway me whatsoever. After being raised in the streets of Chicago - one understands that at times the enemy will take advantage when your back is turned and when you give them the opportunity.

I remember a kid who took a crack from his DI and the recruit told him - " my old man hit me harder ". One tough azs hillbilly.

Such was the case while in Vietnam when a punk who believed he was supported by the platoon commander - jumped me in an unprovoked incident. I stood my ground - yet transferred out to another platoon for my personal safety after reporting the incident to my captain.

Then there was the personal attack on my car where the tires were slashed, antenna broken off and the phrase "wire job" was sprayed on the hood. This all took place on a Naval insulation - yet I stood my ground, had the car fixed, and left for my 2rd tour to Vietnam [as preplanned before the incident].

Then just before completing my five year career - a wall locker was pushed over on my single bunk - but as fate would have it - the door swung open and held the metal military wall locker in place and on end.

We had dopers within our own company and we began a well coordinated effort to rid my platoon of these scumbags after a meeting with my C.O. They were gone after the Marine CID came through with the dogs. Shortly thereafter, we completed a well thought out field day plan where all wall lockers and bunks were carried out side - then a complete hose down and rinse out of all wall lockers was completed. They all complained - yet from that point - the dogs found nothing during the next few sweeps. Mission completed.

The word was let's get rid of Sgt. Spanos so we can continue to smoke, sell and push their grass. In the end and after two meritorious promotions to Cpl and Sgt they wanted me to stay in.

I left the Marines and began my career as a Police Officer where I served for twenty three years, earned the rank of First Lieutenant, completed U.S. Secret Service POB school, helped guard four U.S. presidents, rank a shift on both the Police and Fire side.

Yes - being raised in Chicago does toughen one up. Vietnam was not that bad after all, people were chasing you, shooting at us. Just like the 3rd Dist and more...

Stay tough - and don't allow anyone serving with you to bully your fellow Marines.

You owe it to them as a Marine NCO and the oath that you took.

Right is might!

Semper Fi Marines!
Have a safe and healthy new year!

Thank you.
Gene Spanos

SgtMaj Linehan

Mike Shaw's story about serving under Sgt. Maj. Linehan when he was a Gunny, got me to thinking there may be more who read this newsletter, that served with or under the Sgt. Maj. Mike is correct. There is a Marine Corps League detachment in Lewiston Idaho named after the Sgt. Maj.

Marine Corps League Detachment 1034
The attached newspaper article tells the story of his early career better than I could. While serving under him in 1965, I had no idea he had served in Korea and received a Bronze Star. All I knew was, (then) 1st Sgt Linehan saved my bacon and through Rocks & Shoals type innovative and imaginative punishment instead of UCMJ type NJP, he saved this young Marine from losing a rank and maybe more just because I was a dumb a$$ kid. It was years before I realized what a great thing he had done for me and in spite of his faults, what a great man and Marine he was. Rest in peace Sgt. Maj. Linehan. You're my hero.

BTW - No Oohrah that I ever heard from 1962-1966. I wasn't a Grunt so I couldn't say it was not used. In boot camp, we were taught Gung Ho.

See attached Google Earth picture for current location of Receiving w/Yellow Footprints and location of remaining 15 Quonset Huts at MCRD San Diego.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Sgt Grit,

Enjoy your E-mails & your store. Reading this week's E-mails in regards to Mike Shaw's letter about SgtMaj Linehan. Never knew the man personally but I do know his widow quite well. She's a member of our Detachment for which the Detachment is named. I'm a 4th. term Commandant for the SgtMaj Linehan Detachment #1034 here in Lewiston, Idaho. His wife is a Marine also, that's how they met.

One other item I would like to pass on is a picture of a friends dog-tags from WW II. Wonder if anyone else has ones like this. He would be interested in hearing from them.

"Semper-Fi / Do or Die" was what I was taught.

Ron Gray

Quonset Huts

Sgt Grit,

I was assigned to C & E Bn D Co; Basics Electronics School at San Diego MCRD May 1967; these are the remnants of the Quonset huts that remain in that area now.

This picture was taken almost 40 years to the day later from when I was transferred to San Diego for school. The huts are currently used as training huts for weapons trainings. The second one is my old living quarters for 6 months until we were transferred to 29 Palms MCB in December 1967.

Be Good, Be Blessed, Semper Fi
Karl Karl


In the last issue of the Sgt Grit's Newsletter someone wrote incorrectly about the quantity of Quonset Huts at MCRD San Diego.

When the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association held our last reunion (Aug 2011) in San Diego, we attended a recruit graduation and afterward we toured the base.

One of our members (Glenn Hutchinson) had the photo taken at the "Memorial to the Old Corps"...


You Will Go Far

The story on Unlimited Authority by Big Joe Out reminded me of when I reported in as a 2nd. Lt. to Twenty-Nine Palms in May 1969 Fresh out of Artillery School at Fort Sill, OK. The Marine Corps did not have its own artillery school so we attended the Army Artillery School at Fort sill. Our instructors, however, were Marines.

I reported in to the 5th Field Artillery Group (5th FAG) and reported in to the battery commander, Major Sefranski. He asked me how much I knew about the M-110 8 inch self-propelled Howitzer. I told him, not much.

He proceeded to tell me that an 8 inch battery consisted of three platoons of two howitzers each. Each platoon could operate fully independently as it had its own supply, communications and Motor T sections.

He further told me that the battery currently had one platoon detached to Vietnam. He said each platoon was supposed to be commanded by a Captain with a lieutenant as an assistant platoon commander. He said since he had neither, he was assigning me as platoon commander of the second Platoon with SSgt. Terry Cusack as my platoon Sergeant. He then called in SSgt. Cusack and after a short introduction and conversation, he dismissed SSgt. Cusack.

He then turned his attention to me and asked, "Well, Lieutenant; do you know what you are going to do as the platoon commander even though you are only a 2nd. Lieutenant?"

I said, "Yes, Sir. Whatever SSgt Cusack tells me to do."

He nodded his head, smiled and said, "You will go far in this Marine Corps if you keep that approach."

He was right. SSgt. Cusack and I developed a close bond and ran a top notch 8 inch platoon.

Jeff Cunningham
1st Lt. USMC

Mom, Dad's Grunting

Sgt. Grit,

I was reading some of the "Ahooooorah" stories today and it reminded me of an incident that occurred back in 2007, when my family and I were at the USMC Museum, at Quantico, for my eldest son's (TJ) commissioning ceremony.

We arrived about a half hour early and walked into the main room, where the ceremony would take place, just getting our bearings. There was a male USMC choir singing in the room. Well, I gravitated over closer to the group and was engrossed in the music. These guys were really good. (I was having chills and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up.)

After a few more minutes of music the choir was done. There was a light applause and a few cheers throughout the room. Well, I let out an "Ahooooorah" that would have made my DI's proud. I then walked back towards where my family was standing, when I heard one of my younger sons (20 yrs old) tell my wife, "Mom, Dad's grunting". She was just standing there with a look on her face like I had just committed a mass murder. I looked at her at with a little smile said, "Hey, it's a Marine thing. Ask TJ, maybe he can explain it."

Tommy Ruyle
Cpl. of the Marines, '76-'79
MARDET, '77-'79
I 3/6, '79

And proud father of Capt. TJ Ruyle, 2nd Tanks

p.s.: I love your newsletters and website.
Keep up the great work.


For Howard Kennedy and the M1 stock question... yup, walnut... production run stocks are usually machined from blanks by what I would call a 'repeater' lathe, at least for the outside shape, and his may have been one where the tool cutting edges were getting worn... the inside cut-outs are done by different machines... mortiser, routers, etc.

Using the edge of broken glass is very similar to a tool used by woodworkers for several centuries... goes by the snazzy name of 'scraper'... most common is a 3"X4" or so piece of steel, maybe a sixteenth or so thick... probably as many versions of sharpening one of these as Marines used to have for shining shoes.

Woodworkng purists dislike sandpaper, will tell you that a scraper or a finely tuned plane is the ONLY way to get an acceptable finish... re the linseed oil... there are two kinds... "raw" and "boiled" (which has not been heated, but has had compressed air bubbled through it... it appears to be 'boiling'... has something to do with polymerization or some such... and I forget which is best for stocks)...

Had a stud in the platoon (1st, K/3/5) acquire a NVA 320B Division weapon oiler kit during operation Hastings (July.'66)... nice little roundish/greenish metal thingy on a sling, with two separate compartments and screw-off caps for each... one side was empty, the other had a viscous oily substance in it... he guessed it was oil, used it on his M-14... turned out, after it got sticky, that Mr. Charles also carried linseed oil for the stock on his AK or SK... and had used up all the lubricating oil...

IF, and that was a big IF, one could acquire a spare M1 stock, and, if one had connections at the mess hall, linseed oil baked into the stock in a stack oven would produce a really spiffy "inspection" stock...

Do not, repeat, do not, go from standing to prone with the hand on the grip of the stock (also known as the 'wrist' of the stock)... hand goes to the butt... otherwise, you could wind up with a two-piece stock, which does not do a lot for your group at 300 yard rabbit fire...


Only Two MOS's

I loved the quote in the 29 December 2011 newsletter from the Sergeant responding to the female reporter about possibly going into "harm's way". "Ma'am, we're United States Marines. We ARE harm's way".

If I was the Commandant I would locate that Sergeant and go to where he is currently stationed and promote him on the spot! He understands that Marines are the baddest a-ses on the planet, to be feared by our enemies.

My MOS, back in the day was 7511, A-6 Intruder Pilot, however, I along with every other Marine knows that there are really only 2 MOS designations: 03 and all the others. That's because every other MOS is used to support the 03 grunts, to ensure that he gets the beans, bullets, band aids and firepower that he needs to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.

The 19 year old PFC grunt has at his disposal snipers that will put a large caliber bullet between the running lights of the bad guy and blow his head clean off. He has support from machine guns, mortars, tanks, artillery, and overhead aircraft that are trained and able to put HE, WP, Napalm, and enough other assorted ordnance on the bad guy that he won't know whether to sh-t or go blind.

That amounts to "harm's way" in a large can of whoopass that United States Marines can unleash on the bad guys. I don't know if we are currently using napalm or any other type of fire ordnance in the war zones, but we should. The fear of fire is instilled into each and every one of us from a very young age. Men willingly charge against the enemy firing at them with small arms including automatic weapons, but nobody charges a flame thrower!

Reports from Japanese survivors from the battles in the Pacific repeatedly say that to die for the Emperor was not feared, but to die by burning to death was.

Semper Fidelis,

Dale Giordano
A-6 Intruder Pilot

Short Rounds

Was this in '67? I also saw Spooky rain down rounds on the Razorback.
Tommy Curran

I never was issued an M1 with a stock that rough but remember very well doing night fire demo's and firing nothing but tracer rounds until all that boiled linseed oil came pouring out. Being in the reserves, after ITR and leave, went back to 2nd ITR at Camp Pendleton and we were called upon(ordered) to put on these demo's for visiting VIP'S.
Mitch Young
1637142 59-66

In regard to Howard Kennedys question about unfinished rifle stocks, in the mid-fifties at P.I. we spent a lot of time rubbing linseed oil on the stocks until they shined like glass.

Girls in the barracks? While at NAS Memphis one rainy night the MPs smuggled a girl into the barracks. She was there for three days. fed her food from the mess hall. Those were the days.
Sgt. Perry

Okinawa was also referred to as "The Rock"...(back in the day... as they say now) Haven't heard that term mentioned so far... also "Gyrene" I think was begun as a WWII slang for G.I + Marine... Thus Girene or Gyrene... Semper Fi Mac! Just some additional skinny from the scuttlebutt...
SGT. USMC 2067671

I cannot say for sure where or when OOH-RAH became the word of the day, as it certainly was not while I was active from 1965 to 1974, but I do remember the D.I.'s making a similar roaring/grunting sound during our runs while I was in boot. We would do a cadence, then sound off with "Lift Your Head and Hold it High, 3007 is passing by! KILL, KILL, KILL! Aaoorgh! Something like that could very well have become today's OOH-RAH.

Ron Perkins
1965-1974 Viet Nam 1968-1970

Sgt Grit,
One more about Oorah. The first time I heard it was when I reported in to 3rd Recon Bn. in December of 1959 at Camp Schwab, Okinawa. A Gunny was talking to a group of Marines and every time he said something they would respond with a oorah except that it sounded like they were clearing their throats. I later learned that it was a motivational response to something said.

USMC--Ur S--ting Me Charlie. Heard this one at the SNCO Club, 29 Palms circa 1968.

GySgt G.R. Archuleta, USMC
Never retired, always a Marine

We stayed in quonset huts 1970 san diego 1st bn. plt 1149 there were still lots of them r rivera 2697737 cpl. 70-72

Sgt. Grit,

So why do sailors and airmen wear camouflage anyway?? It's not a lead-up to a joke, I'm just curious.


When we got commissioned in Quantico in the early 70's, I recall the Company Gunny reviewing all the candidates' uniforms, shoes etc. so we looked presentable at the commissioning/graduation in an hour or two. After some comments about meeting the women who had come to see the graduation out in town the prior evening, he commented on our future.

I remember his speech was something like: In a couple of hours y'all gonna be Marine Corps Officers. Some of yuz'r gonna make fine officers and some of ya are gonna be all f...d up!

After 7 years of active service, I learned he was exactly right.

Bob Foley

Started boot camp April 1951 at MCRD and our platoon was quartered in tents until we got back from rifle range at Camp Mathews. Our platoon was then quartered in barracks in an area below the theater. They may have been building the Quonset huts at that time. Also does anyone remember arriving at MCRD on a train which backed into MCRD at the back gate area??? Hope someone else can confirm that this actually happened because I remember getting off the train car and getting on a cattle car for the trip to receiving barracks....tell me I am not losing it... Semper Fi
Robert Bailey
Capt USMC(ret)
Nam 67-68

Sgt Grit... According to my uncle who survived the eastern front with the Wermacht... OOHHRAA was the chant of the attacking Russkis. Anytime a "new age" Marine uses "OOHHRAA" I hit him back with a "Semper Fi is the correct Marine greeting" so let's keep traditionalive and stop acting like Rag Tag Doggies...

WALT V 52-60 ROK 53-54, Gifu, Japan '55

In reply to Cpl. Dale Strawn's inquiry regarding the "call sign" for Amtracks (WATERBORNE!-ARRRR!), it was indeed "Slaveborn"(e)?. I was with 3rd 'Tracks as a fully-accredited "tractor-rat" from '65 to '66. We were, to the best of my knowledge, some of the first to arrive out at An Hoa and began winning over hearts and minds.

I always wondered where and who came up with some of the call signs we were told to use. I was eventually med-evac'ed out of An Hoa after being shot with a .30 cal. Browning machine gun. Our T/O weapon for the LVTP5-A1. An FNG had not cleared the round from the chamber of a "gun" used on guard duty the night before. Semper Fi, "Mo-Fo's"!

Pfc.(then) Jeff Barnes
USMC: '64-'68/ RVN: '65-'66

Sgt. Grit...

I learned recently that President Gerald Ford had served with the Marines. I had never heard that...what's the story?

Roger Brooks


These are some pictures my daughter took on our visit to Korea, in September/October 2010.

The first is the vacant city in N. Korea, unoccupied and supposedly built for propaganda.

The second & third & fourth is a marker relating to the massacre of officers when they were there to trim a tree in the DMZ and the location of the tree.

The next one is the bridge of no return, utilized in the transfer of prisoner in 1953.

Norm Callahan
C-1-1, Korea
Chesty's last regimental command

He Stayed A While

Hey Sgt, been reading some of the ramblings and some bring back fond memories and some bring back not so fond memories like the Bob Hope show we missed in '68 because VMA 223 had hot pads that day. But we did see him pass over the flight line on way to the show.

I remember the time the army trooper set off the CS canister on their flight line and the wind brought the gas down our flight line with birds coming back from a mission.

Then there are some really great memories like while waiting flight out of Travis AFB at the base movie when the National Anthem was played only the Marines stood at attention.

1968-69 the focus was getting the Corps out of RVN. We were downsizing again, Marine can count on one of two courses, you are either building up for the big push of downsizing for saving Uncle Sam some needed cash. After returning from RVN in '69 was assigned to Cherry Point for last 9 months of my enlistment, when in walks one of the dumbest mechanics our old squadron had, but he had reenlisted and received his E-4 stripes and after saying hello to me said "hey I'm on my way to chow, sweep the office and clean the area before you go to chow."

After clean up went upstairs to HQ admin and asked if there was any early outs. I was informed that my old MOS was being offered an early out. I took the early discharge and before the Sarge returned from chow (he stayed a while) I had my paper work to begin checking out. He was the first on the list!

In less than three day I was gone. Did any of you reading this ever run into a selection that just defied defending. (I had a chef in RVN that we had to read his letters to him and a SSgt that spent time in Medical for detox (he did get to go to the Bob Hope show and sit in front)

Everyday a holiday, every meal a banquet
Loved almost every day, Semper Fi

Bill Carey, once a Cpl of Marines, always a Marine

Sgt Grit Facebook Page

Photos shared from John Kevin Wood.

Join us on facebook.

He Knew Both

Sgt Grit,

I had an appointment at the Dallas VA and while waiting for my appointment with my cardiologist I was talking to "a member of the great generation WWII Marine Veteran"! I mention that both my parents were WWII Veterans [dad Navy, mom WACS]. He then asked me their names prior to them getting married and I told him. His jaw dropped open. It seems he knew them. I told him that my dad passed away 27 Nov '00 4 before his 76 birthday and my mom passed away 15 Jan '11 at 86. Both passed away in OH and we [my 2nd wife and stepson -from her previous marriage] made the trip from Tyler TX to Youngstown, OH for military funerals.

This brother Marine joined the Marines 2 yrs before Pearl Harbor and was stationed in the area. I told him that I am also a Marine and glad to have met someone who knew my parents. Small world, huh?

Semper Fi
Ron Kasek

Backup Singers

Sgt. Grit

For submission to your newsletter.

When I went through boot camp in 1982, the word "ooo-rah" was in common usage. The fine drill instructors of Plt. 3112 taught us that the proper way to pronounce this word is to take a deep breath, and project, in your loudest command voice, OOORAH! The rah part is shortened to the point that it almost doesn't count as a syllable. The emphasis is on the 'OOOR' part, and when done correctly, should sound like the warning bark of a DEVIL DOG! To pronounce it in any other way was lazy and slimy and would draw comparisons to excrement of certain amphibian creatures.

Sometimes I still do it if something motivates me. Like the last note of the "Star Spangled Banner" or our "Marines Hymn". My wife just shakes her head. Guess you gotta be a jar-head to understand.

As far as oo-ah that the army uses, I always thought that was what backup singers were saying between verses.

Got a gripe to air too. When you trade or sell your car, please remove the Marine stickers and other items that identify it as belonging to a Marine. I've greeted drivers of some such vehicles that had no clue why someone would just roll down a window and shout, "Semper Fi". Taking a moment to de-commission your vehicle before getting rid of it would save me some personal embarrassment.


LCpl. Walsh, Kevin P.
E 2/3


"Leatherneck" to describe Marines
Where does the term Leatherneck come from?

From 1798 until 1872 Marines wore a uniform that contained a neck piece made of leather. This stiff leather collar, called "The Stock", was about 3 1/2 inches high and served two purposes.

1) It served as protection to the neck and critical veins during battle (though in most battle situations this uniform accessory was not practical for wear because it prevented free movement of the neck).

2) It held a Marine's neck erect while on parade, giving him a great military bearing by forcing the wearer to hold his chin high. Major General George F. Elliot, a Marine of the Spanish American War era, is quoted as saying the wearers looked "like geese looking for rain".

Most likely origin of the term Leathernecks stems from the Marines participation in the Barbary Wars. When boarding the ships of hostile pirates, Marines were given added protection against cutlass slashes from the heavy collar. These actions also coincide with when the leather collar started to be worn "to the shores of Tripoli!"

Regardless of its origin, the name has stuck, and it is an accepted term for Marines today. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it simply as a noun meaning "a member of the United States Marine Corps"

There is some debate that Leatherneck is derogatory when used by civilians. There is also some debate on the exact origin of the term.

What do you think? Get your comments in

Ah-roo-gah Pouge

In late 1968 after finishing 0141 Admin school I was volunteered to go to 5th Force Recon Co, 5th Mar Div. On a late Friday afternoon about 15:30 my seabag and I are picked-up by Sgt Scanlon who looked like a poster Marine. His hair was high and tight with a Recon cut, it looked like he just broke starch about 2 seconds ago in his green utilities, boots polished and a set of gold jump wings over his left breast pocket.

On the jeep ride back to the San Onofre barracks I was given a full indoctrination as to what was expected on me as an 0141 Recon Pouge. I was also informed that at 0800 Monday I would be taking a full day Recon PT test to see if I met the high standard of the company. If I failed I would be banished back to were ever it was that I came from (d-mn I thought boot camp only happen once, boy was I wrong).

As we approached the old 2 story world war two style barracks I heard my first ahroogah. I was told by Sgt Scanlon (my new Admin Chief...who was an 0311) that only true recon Marines used that call. It was used by both officers and enlisted alike as a means of ID, celebration or accomplishment, even the Recon Doc's used it.

Well, to make a long story short; 0800 Monday cane along and my 6 hour Recon PT test made me glad that I did well in PT at boot camp and that I continued to PT hard at pouge school.

Gold Wings
Recon Pouge


Written By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)

No account of the war in Vietnam would be complete without at least documenting some of the lighter episodes that transpired during that period of time. One that I remember specifically happened before we off loaded from the USS Iwo Jima while in support of Battalion Landing Team 3/ 4.

Coming from Hawaii, HMM-161 soon came to be known as the "Pineapples" and, in recognition of that distinction, painted a large yellow pineapple insignia on the Clam shell (Front) doors of each of their helicopters.

But, the pineapple insignia was not limited to just HMM-161 aircraft. When the squadron left the USS Iwo Jima, they also left their Navy friends a reminder of their visit in the form of yellow pineapples stenciled inside the crew's hard hats, inside the bread box and on the Barber Shop door. As a matter of fact, it was reported that similar mementos of their presence were painted on aircraft of other squadrons whenever the opportunity arose.

The idea of painting squadron insignia on another squadrons aircraft spread like wildfire, and it soon became necessary to guard helicopters in friendly areas against the threat of phantom painters. Every crew chief had a "Pineapple" stencil and a can of yellow spray paint. Some Aircrews were also known to catch an unaware passenger as he went out the door. When their buddies saw the "Pineapple" insignia painted on the back of their Flak Jackets they knew they'd been had. We also marked cases of Rations and 5 gal water cans. Anything to let the folks on the ground know who they had just had the pleasure of flying with... It helped take the pressure off and make the guy's smile a little.

The living conditions for Pilots and Crews at Phu Bai developed much like those of Maj. Alfred A. Cunningham's did in the First World War when quarters for flight crews was developed in three stages; tents with dirt floors, tents with wooden frames and floors and finally portable wooden buildings and the familiar Quonset hut appeared later at some installations.

HMM-365 returned to Da Nang from Okinawa. in early May. That brought the total of MARINE squadrons in country to (5). HMM-161 (H-34's), at Phu Bai, HMM-162 (H-34's) and HMM-163 (H-34's ) at Da Nang plus HMM-365 (H-34's) there also, plus VMO-2 with Uh-1E's and O-1B's. It should be noted that HMM-162 had a Detachment at Phu Bai which returned to Da Nang when HMM-161 moved in.

I had to go back to the books and research when this shuffle happened and figure it all out. It seems that we were in a big checker game. But, we were not settled yet because, on the 8th of July a 10 Aircraft Detachment was requested within 24 Hours for duty 200 miles South at the Army base at Qui Nhon to support BLT (2nd Batt., Seventh MARINES ). This Detachment was known as Det. Alpha, and was scheduled to remain there until the end of Sept. when the aircraft and crews were to return to Phu Bai.

This 10 aircraft detachment of HMM-161 received the necessary maintenance materials and spare parts needed to operate on a day to day basis, but any large maintenance checks were to be done back at Phu Bai. Periodic liaison flights between Det. Alpha and its parent unit were made and, any helicopter with high time components were flown to Phu Bai and the helicopter was replaced with an aircraft which had just received a major check. This kept the large maintenance equipment needed at Qui Nhon to a minimum.

67th Anniversary of the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima - 25 February, 2012

If you have not done so, it is time to mark your calendar for the 67th Anniversary of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising. Veterans from across the Nation merge onto Sacaton, Arizona, for a yearly commemoration of one of the hallmark events of WWII. A truly inspiring weekend for any veteran or patriot of this great country!

Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 and Auxiliary Unit 84 located on the Gila River Indian Community, Arizona, is once again hosting the commemoration of the anniversary of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising and includes a dinner, parade, ceremonies on February 24 and 25, 2012.

Contacts by phone -
Post number - 520-562-8484
Tony McDaniel, Post 84 Adjutant - 520-610-0777
Josie Kakar-Delsi
Adjutant, Marine Corps League Casa Grande Detachment 901
Secretary/Treasurer, Ira H. Hayes
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 84

Still Remember

Sgt Grit:
I graduated Senior PLC Aug 1972. I did not accept my commission when I graduated college in May 1973. One year ago while attending a church function, a woman, slightly older than I, sat down next to me. Before I could strike up a conversation, she asked me if I was ever a Marine! I told her of my very short time, but was curious as to how she knew. She told me that her husband is a Marine and they usually sit on the other side of the church from where I sit (my wife is the director of music, so I usually sit near the choir), and she could just tell by my bearing and squared-away appearance.

I relate this story in response to Sgt Don Wakerly's (53-56) note saying that "ALL Marines in public should be labeled so the population knows WHO they are dealing with and to be recognized by other Jarheads." I don't think it's necessary, Sarge - they already know!

PS. Even though I never served beyond training, and never pretend to have, I still remember my training, and will always be proud I got even that far!

Nick Del Bueno

It Didn't Matter

In my experience, this was one of those fads that didn't last long... don't recall hearing it much after 1966, nor before... do recall, however, hearing the term used by a Brigadier General.

One of the standard expectations of those in leadership positions at the platoon and lower levels is that those so privileged is that they will know everything about those Marines in their charge, down to each Marine's Mother's maiden name, and her boot size... The CG of the forces involved in operation Hastings was General English, and the operation's name was most likely chosen because it was to occur on the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in England... the original having been in 1066 (you can look it up...)

It was during a calm period when the CG came by chopper to what may have been 3/5's Bn CP location... at any rate, the word came down for Plt Leader and Plt Sgts of Kilo to 'up'... or in other words, get our butts to the Company CP area (also sometimes known as 'the antenna forest'... you may recall those gizmos known as RC two-niner-twos).

So, 2nd Lt Robert. C Rosenau and his more or less trusty side- kick, known in these parts as DDick, hide themselves forthwith from the 1st Plt CP (that being our holes) up to Kilo Six's area. Once there, along with our peers from the other platoons, we were introduced to General English. Along with the usual pleasantries, the General asked "how many Splibs do you have in your platoon??"...

We knew what he meant... we also had no idea of that particular inventory, and I am sure we both had that 'deer in the headlights' look... Rosie looked at me, and I looked at him, and we began... 'Uh, well, sir, there's Cherokee, and Scattermouth, and Sprinks, (counting on our fingers as we went down the roster), and..." At that point the General said 'If you don't know, that's fine... glad to hear it!"

We hadn't given it a thought... didn't have any reason to... and it didn't matter. To this day, even though I have a fairly complete roster, I would have to stop and think about which of those Marines were white, brown, or black... could probably tell you which squad they were in, maybe a little more... and could recognize them from behind, in the dark, by the way they walked... just the way it was...


Still Erect

Yesterday my Wife and I were shopping at Costco. I was wearing my USMC baseball cover. As we turned one aisle I noticed an old timer hunched over and pushing his cart. As he approached, he was staring at me. When he got close enough to me he straightened up and in a loud but raspy voice said "Semper Fi, Marine" and gave me a two finger salute to his forehead.

I stopped and shook his hand and returned the greeting. His wife smiled at me warmly. We went on our way. I turned after a few steps and watched as he turned to the next aisle, Still, erect and straight as he pushed the cart. I thought I heard a cadence, but it was all in my head.

Once a Marine Always a Marine
Frank Rigiero 56-59

Joke - The Marine Way

As a crowded airliner is about to take off, the peace is shattered by a five-year-old boy who picks that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother does to try to calm him down, the boy continues to scream furiously and kick the seats around him.

Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, a man in a U.S. Marine Corps uniform is seen slowly walking forward up the aisle. Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the courtly, soft-spoken Marine leans down and motioning toward his chest, whispers something into the boy's ear. Instantly, the boy calms down, gently takes his mother's hand, and quietly fastens his seat belt.

All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause.

As the Marine slowly makes his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touches his sleeve. "Excuse me, sir," she ask quietly, "but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?"

The Marine smiles serenely and gently confides, "I showed him my pilot's wings, service stars, and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door, on any flight I choose, and that I was just about to make my selection for this flight."

Tribute Bike

In reading this current newsletter you can understand my shock as to whom LCDR Dave Dennihy MC honored in the 5K.

The first photo attached, on a Tribute bike built for him and my son, is Tyler O. Griffin, who lost his life in front of my son. Effectively saving my son's life.

I would assume that LCDR Dennihy may have worked on my son as both he and Tyler were medevaced together.

I and my son would be honored if you could post the photos of the motorcycle.

Proud Dad of Cpl Richard M. Castagna


"I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land."
--President Ronald Reagan

"This I hope will be the age of experiments in government, and that their basis will be founded in principles of honesty, not of mere force."
--Thomas Jefferson

"The freedom and happiness of man ... [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven't courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others."
--English author Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody."
--President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"I gave you a--holes at ease, not base liberty."

Courage is endurance for one moment more...

Sgt Grit

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