Sgt Grit Newsletter - 19 APR 2012

In this issue:
• Chesty for President
• Two Boy Scouts
• The Corps... Now

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I am not a Marine, but my #1 son is. A buddy of mine has raised 2 Marines, a boy and a girl, so when his birthday was approaching, I went to the Sgt. Grit site to find him something appropriate. With the help of your wonderful staff, and since it is an election year, I got him the following custom shirt.(see attached photos) Hope you like the shirt!

The Mattman

In This Issue

I requested stories from more recent times and got a few. Thank you. Please keep them coming. Also got a few Airwing stories, can always use more. Get your fingers moving on the keyboard.

How are you coping with coming home or how did you cope years ago? I have personally put a bit of time in at the Vet Center for a periodic PTSD tune-up. How about you?

Here is a humorous comment from our survey:
"I believe you are all doing a super great job. So good, this is how I know. This is what my wife says when a package from Sgt Grit comes in the mail, 'I see you've been reading Sgt Grit again.'"

Here we go: 'hippity hop, mob stop', all the female companionship, were to use deadly force, He grinned at me, even the Coasties, about proper confrontation, My hero died Sunday, Don't care to, one swell foop, kept his stash, Sermon on the Mount, 'fair' is a place, The spoon platoon.

"Rough seas, headwinds and a bunk in the bilge."
"heart breakers and life takers", who believed we were all John Wayne reincarnated"
Sgt Grit

You Stepped it up!

Sgt Grit customers rallied together and gave over $23,000 in donations to the Semper Fi Fund over the past few months. Thank you Thank you Thank you! This month we're working to help the Fisher Fund - You can help, too. When placing an order select one of the "give" options in your cart!

The Corps. Now

I'm currently enlisted with 1/3 in Hawaii.
It seems to me that the Marine Corps has really changed even since I got in. When I went to boot camp at P.I. I was expecting to be hazed and be little. I wanted to be I guess what the old Corps was. It seems that were getting softer and softer. Now a days senior guys are afraid to yell or do anything in the fleet due to at the hazing. A lot of new Marines cry hazing for things that are a part of training. I'm talking about things such as practicing patrolling and things of that nature. I'm not sure who has their hand in the cookie jar telling these new Marines that everything is hazing I'm not sure what's going on but maybe someone can bring some insight to this.
Semper. FI

Stretch Our Legs

First, I'd like to say you have a great thing going, for all Marines and their families and friends past, present, and future. Keep up the good work.

After reading 'As in Right Now' in the 5 April Newsletter, I remembered a story of taking care of our own that touched me and my family.

Many of us service members tend to rib our brothers and sisters in the other services. Whether this is out of pride, love, or true rivalry is a matter to be debated. But we all know, when it comes right down to it, we are there for each other, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and even the Coasties.

We had finally finished our tour in Afghanistan and the 24th MEU was heading home. We had already spent too much time waiting for a ride from Manas and were eager to see our loved ones. We had a brief (several hours) layover in Shannon, Ireland and were free to roam the airport terminal, but not to leave it (except for the designated smoking area). It was somewhere around 0300 or 0400 local time if I remember correct and the kiosks were closed.

The only places open were the heads and the gift shop. Several of my friends and I decided we would stretch our legs by wandering through the shop. Some of us even tried on the goods. Gift shops always have the strangest clothing articles. I mean, honestly who flies to Ireland to buy a pink cowboy hat?

Anyway, I had found several unique (non-alcoholic) gifts for me and my family that I just knew they would enjoy and were small enough to pack into my already over-packed carry-on bags. I was the last one in line at the register and the call had already gone out to board the aircraft. I told my buddies to go on ahead, I would be right there as soon as I finished paying for my items as I fished out my wallet and readied my credit card. The young lady at the register swiped my card through and I instantly knew something was wrong by the look on her face. "Sir, your transaction has been declined, I'm sorry." She tried twice more to no avail. I figured I had too much and had gone over my limit (after over two weeks in Manas, it was likely). We tried running just one item instead just to check. DECLINED AGAIN! I was upset to say the least, I just had to get that porcelain doll for my wife, and it was perfect for her collection.

Dejected, I apologized to the line forming behind me (it was nearly 0600 and more flights had just arrived) and moved to put the items back when a stranger in civilian clothing said "I got it, ring it up." I tried to explain it was not necessary, they were only souvenirs, my family just wanted me back; but he insisted. I thanked him and asked him for his contact information, assuring him I would pay him back as soon as I could get to my funds. He refused, saying simply that he was heading home for combat leave and had a fat check in his pocket. It was his pleasure to help out, and he would feel bad if I didn't let him show his appreciation to a fellow service member.

I was a little embarrassed, an Army Specialist buying gifts for a Marine Staff Sergeant's family, but I thanked him shook his hand, and hurried to the plane (they had already sent someone to find me). I wish he had given me his info; I would really like to buy him a drink to say thanks. I may rib the Army but have nothing but respect for all our armed forces' brave men and women.

On a side note, always remember to tell your credit card company that you are travelling before you attempt to use the card. My wife got a call that same day saying someone had attempted to use our credit card in Ireland (they thought I was still in Afghanistan).

SSgt Hill, Brandon E.
Ground Safety Officer

"You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
--Abraham Lincoln

Hit The Skids

In '72 I was doing guard duty at the motor pool at camp Pendleton. I remember that there was a proper way to confront and approach anyone who was within the area that was being guarded and I knew all of this at the time. Well I observed a jeep in my area and yelled to halt! Whoever was driving didn't seem to hear me so I yelled again and let a live round slam home in my rifle as I know it was heard for the echo.

He immediately hit the skids! I ran up to the jeep and forgot about the proper way to confront anyone invading my perimeter. I told the two to get out of the vehicle and lay their ID's on the ground. They did as instructed as I think they knew I was locked and loaded! (which was not supposed to happen as the motor pool was considered a "non-restricted" area.) I picked up their ID's and immediately knew it was the officer of the day and gave a rifle salute.

To my surprise he just said good job Marine and drove away. He never said a word about proper confrontation or more important the live round in my rifle guarding a motor pool! There were places where we were to use deadly force if anyone invaded the perimeter we were guarding... but the motor pool was not one of these. I always wonder what this officer was thinking back then.

CPL D Duncan First Marine Division HQ Battalion
Semper Fi

Golf 2/9

I was touched by the story concerning Golf 2/9. It is sad to know that 18 more Marines reported to duty at Heaven's Gate but I know they gave their all in the service to their Country and their Corps. Let us all remember them and their families in our prayers. In fact let us all remember all of those who have given the greatest sacrifice of all for our Country and our Corps.

I served with Golf 2/9 in 1971 when they were station on Okinawa at Camp Schwab. We floated to Nam in mid-summer and to a few other ports of call. I remember fondly our Company Commander who felt that we could prove how tough and hard the grunts of G 2/9 where when he decided that the company could do a force march around the island covering some large number of miles with weapons and packs. It was done all in less than 24 hours setting some kind of record on the rock. In the process we lost a large number of the Company to twisted ankles and knees, blisters, heat exhaustion and some heat stroke.

The Company Commander was upset at the number of Marines on limited duty do to the issues from the march so he had a Company formation and let us all know that anyone with a limited duty chit had their liberty cancelled until they were back on full duty. I have a picture of the Company Commander standing on a small hill with the Company of Marines spread out around the bottom of the hill as he spoke to us. He was standing with both arms outstretched above his head making a point. I called the picture Sermon on the Mount. I will attached it to my next posting as I need to locate it.

Golf 2/9 has a great history of service to our Country and our Corps and I am proud to have served with the unit in 1971. I am also proud to hear they are continuing this great tradition.


Joseph E. Whimple
2/1970 through 12/1976

Operation Hero Trek

Mike Mobley from Operation Hero Trek stopped by our store.

Pizza Dough

All the talk about Marine chow is mostly true, it all depended on the chief cook. If he loved being a cook he tried out new ways to make the chow better tasting. I spent time as a baker in the Corps. That's before all baking products were trucked in. Our chief cook was a staff sgt. named of nonno. He asked me to make a pizza dough, he made the rest of the stuff for the pizza. it went over great at evening chow. the next month it was in the monthly recipe manual out of h.q. Marine Corps. this was at the m.c.a.s in Miami, florida. {opa locka} in 54-55. great place for liberty, miami beach with all the female companionship. unhappy to see it close and the wing sent out west.

SEMPER FI to all who served and are serving.

Saepe Expertis, Fratres Aeterni,
Often Tested, Brothers Forever.
JOE {ROBBY} ROBINSON Sgt. of Marines


This is a picture of a chopper taken in Okinawa around 1960 - 1961. Anyone know anything about it?

LCpl Wilson

Scout Thing

While slogging thru boot camp, one fine and fiery day, we took our Marine transport packs for a nature walk, out past the Confidence Course, to a relatively flat area with trees all around. SSGT Thomas had us 'form for shelter halves', and I was paired with Roberts who I didn't know well.

We set to the task of shelter halve combining and were finished long before anyone else. SSGT Thomas gave a 'hippity hop, mob stop' command and had the entire platoon watch us. "This is how shelter halves should be made", there were no wrinkles, guy ropes taught, etc. extolling our version as the one to emulate.

Thomas asked Roberts how he knew the correct way, he said 'Sir, Eagle Scout sir!' The Sarge uttered a few curse words, turned to me and said, 'And you...' I swallowed my fear and said 'SIR! Explorer Scout Sir!' He looked stunned, starting cursing and rambling as he directed the others to copy our efforts. Phrases like, '.the f----ng Scouts', 'What happened to My Corps...', " of all the @@@#%&**&%###, platoons on this island I have two boy scouts.

SSGT Thomas was so stunned that he forget about Roberts and me, and we stood there, 'at the position of attention, thumbs along the seam of the trousers', for quite a while. After that, when SSGT Thomas wanted an answer on 782 gear, field practices, Marine Corps History or uniforms, he would look at us and ask if anyone knew the answer speak up. And we did, but it didn't stop the drilling, rifle PT, mind-numbing 'bends and mothers until I get tired'.

Just another day in the Corps!

David F. Goodman
Plt 1016 1st Bn
Posted 10/12/67

Short Rounds

May 4, 2012 is Col Walter Walsh's birthday. He will be 105. Col Walsh is a triple distinguished shooter with rifle and pistol as well as international. He was coach for many USMC and Olympic teams. Former FBI agent is included in his resume. Amazing man.
Semper Fi SIR
Rocky Kemp Distinguished Pistol

I enlisted in Sept 1946 and went to Korea in 1950 where I got frostbite and am now 100% disabled. I can appreciate what our Marines are doing in Iraq, Pakistan and wherever duty calls. The VA is starting new programs for these vets which I heartily agree with however the VA seems to forget about us older guys. I have been fighting the VA for 6 years for aide and assistance to no avail. Being 83 years old I figure they are waiting for me to die so I will be out of their hair.

Former Sgt. James Harvey, Universal City Texas.

Sgt. Grit: A couple of questions for the distaff side of the Corps - those who served in Vietnam. What were your jobs? Where'd you serve and what are your lingering impressions of your tours over there? Thanks to all and welcome home.
R. West, Cpl. ('58-'64; MSG, Saigon, '62-'64

My hero died Sunday, retired Captain Anthony Robert Condroski, USMC, 1952 - 1974. A proud Marine, a hero reports for duty at the streets of heaven. Semper Fi, dad.
Victor A. Condroski ACSSD0 Tour 1 Chattanooga P&DC 499-8354

I got to PI in Jan of 66... we were out of there in 8 weeks... plus one for me because of a week in Fat Body... I remember these 2 scores on the range... pre-qual day I shot 232..on Qual Day I went Unc with 189... this was 46 years ago, and I will remember those scores till the day I die. I qualified about 8 months later at Lejeune... no pressure.

I can't understand the scores that Jack Albright posted in this week's newsletter...170 & 122.

L/Cpl Mark Gallant 66-69

In re-reading the story I submitted for the 4/12 newsletter I found two typos. I listed my qualification score as 222. It was actually 212. Also, at my signature I list my Nam start date as 5/66. It should have read 5/67. I know I'll get 'called' on it by some sharp eyed Marines so I'm correcting it beforehand.

Jack Albright
Sgt. of Marines
Nam 5/67- 10/69

Don't Remember

Hi Sgt. Grit. I'm Larry Anderson (2475xxx) MOS 2533 (Radio-Telegraph Operator), 1968-1972 Sgt.

This is my boot camp graduation picture. Even though the sign says "1968" the picture was taken in early 1969. We got to San Diego on December 3, 1968. I'm in the second row from the top, third from the left. The only other recruit's name I can remember is Alan Weese, (Brigham City, Utah), second row from the bottom, second from left.

The drill instructors are:

1st from left--Cpl.?--Don't remember--Don't care to!
Center--Staff Sgt. Aguilar Platoon Commander. Promoted to GySgt. upon our graduation. (Outstanding Man)
Right--Sgt. Dysart (Marine's Marine).

Just Saying

Comment by Jerry D. referred the Women Marine's Association as a reference with some bad information put into your newsletter. I clicked on and they have this picture shown that I submitted for the readers to enjoy a little history. The site has the first Woman Marine that was sworn into the Marine Corps with the last name of Johnson with the date of 13 Aug 1918. You put a lady in touch with me from said web site and I corresponded several times with her and thanks for your help. I submitted to her exactly what is printed on the back of said photo.

The information on the back of this picture shows the picture was taken 17 Aug 18 by a photographer named Paul Thompson. Must have been lots of azs kissing going on in four days for the rank obtained according to the information describing the picture by the association. I don't know who this Jerry D. is, but he should get his facts together, must be a civilian for he didn't attach any rank to his handle. With his saying "Looks as if they are requesting permission to make a HEAD CALL', Bull, for without a doubt they repeated the same oath that I did in 1962, to defend the Constitution and do what they were told to do...In their case, recruited in New York with orders to serve as "Steno's" at the Adjutant's Office, Head Quarters Marine Corps replacing those men to go fight the war in Europe. Just saying!
HMcKinley M/Sgt Retired U.S.M.C.

Lucky To Have

Thanks for the letter and info. I love to read about my brothers. Two names popped up on the this last issue; one is Pat Campagna and Larry Cavet, two different outfits but the same world. I went through in Plt.179 (or 280)?? Getting a bit old and slow so don't argue too much. I went to Camp Elliot to qualify with 249 but I remember the barracks. There were 4 platoons in each.

My mos was 3516 so I got to grease up my uniform every day w/o and coveralls and we always had some lace panties 2nd john with nothing to do except chew our azs out every day. #1 friggen butt hole! Personally I got pretty tired of the Corps with nothing to do except shining mess gear.

I was lucky to have a great C.O that saw my plight and knew about the service cutbacks and this great Marine gave me a choice of getting out. I had extended to 5 years to try out for the 1 recon but then that didn't work out! I love the Corps and all that it stands for, by the time Nam came about I was not in shape to go back in.

God Bless the Brothers, Country and all that we stand for.
Ricardo Gonzales, H&S, Dog, Co's 2/5 1st Div.

Ya Know

Sgt Grit, reading this week's newsletter brought something to mind. Several years after getting out of the Corps and several different jobs later, I became a car hauler (truck driving equivalent of being in the Corps. Another inactive Marine (Bruce Fleming from Cincinnati) and myself happened to be in Park City, Ky. Trucks fully loaded with cars.

It was late afternoon and we were getting ready to check into a motel. In the process of parking the trucks we got one of them high centered on the middle of the road. As any good Marines we improvised, adapted, and overcame. And after entertaining the local citizens, we got the truck out of the road and parked.

Now Bruce was a very serious sort of person with a dry sense of humor. Later on after a shower, something to eat and a couple of beers. We were sitting in the room discussing the day's events. Bruce got kind of serious and I could tell he was in deep thought. He said, "Ya know Coop? Its kinda like when we were in the Marines, we didn't have the best of equipment...But we knew we were the elite."

Doran Cooper
Sgt. Inactive Marines

Wounded Warriors

These are some of the photos taken from last night's Dinner for Wounded Warriors at Balboa Naval Hospital. Raffle prizes you donated were given out to the Wounded Warriors.

Thank you for your support.

Virgil Whitehead


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

As you look at this, you're more them likely wondering "what is this all about??

Well, it's something new that I'd like to introduce to the membership in the form of some "not normally known " MARINE CORPS History. Now, I know most of us know pretty much about our cherished ground history but, how many are up on their MARINE CORPS Aviation History ? True, it hasn't been around as long as our much publicized ground combat exploits have but, needless to say that we have been first in a great number of Aviation's historical event also..

My purpose here is to inform my fellow MARINES of the importance of the Aviation arm of the MARINE CORPS and I intend to do that thru this medium as long as you show the interest to learn. If you prefer not to know about a great part of our lineage then, let me know and I pursue another hobby. Having said that, I'll continue to provide you with any Aviation info that you desire. I can't go any further without telling you that I have been in several ground MOS's and did not join the Aviation Field until almost 10 years into my career. So, I have knowledge and experiences from both sides of the fence. So bear with me as we delve into the past and sprinkle in some future. Also, understand that I'm not a professional writer and have no plans of becoming one, so just don't bug me about a miss-spelled word or two, OK. Let's get this thing off the ground ! I'm going to start with the advent and use of the helicopter because most of us weren't around before that and just about everybody has been transported at one time or another via this type of vehicle.

Beings that this is the 1st edition of the Flight Line I should at least familiarize you with how units are numbered in the Wing. Did you ever wonder what HMM-161 was or meant ? Actually, it's pretty straight forward. The first "H" stands for Helicopter. The first "M" stands for MARINE and, the second "M" stands for Medium. Now, that we got that all figured out, let's go to the numbers. The first two numbers "16" indicate the Aviation Group ( similar to a battalion) and the last number "1" indicates the first squadron (similar to "A" Co.) The reason that I used HMM-161 is because it was the first operational Transport Helicopter Squadron in the CORPS (circa 1951). Originally, the designation was HMR-161 and it was later changed.

I'm going to have to stop her because I used too much space for the introduction.
There's much more to come.


Maggot Of The Moment

Capt Ward mentions S/Sgt Thomas M .Truax, who was my Sr. D.I. with Plt 347, 3rd Bn 3 October 1958. I guess we were the next platoon.

S/Sgt Truax was small in size only... The idea that he might even be thinking about you was enough, and he had the voice... Fifty four years later, I swear I can still hear him... I was told that he passed from Lou Gehrig's disease. All I know is someone is catching h-ll up above.

I write this, smiling, thinking about his quote the first night "I'm here to finish a job no one ever started... "

I plan to return to Parris Island on 3 October, 2012 , as that will make fifty four years.

I'd be real grateful if you could publish my contacts (I live in Mexico) to determine if any other "maggot of the moment" from 347 would like to meet up there.

I look forward to the letters weekly... Thank you.

Bill McDermott 180 6xxx

Marine Air Groups Reunion

I'm writing on behalf of Marine Air Groups veterans to solicit your assistance in promoting our 2012 reunion.
The Marines in this organization served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the current Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Marine Air Groups Reunion
WWII to Present
Branson Missouri
October 17-21, 2012
James Jordan,, 417-535-4945
Bob Miller,, 636-327-5854


Re. Old Corps/New Corps. A couple of yrs. ago we held the Mike 3/7 Viet Nam Reunion at San Diego Ca. The first full day we went to Camp Pendleton and got to look at, pick up and drool over all the new weapons, vehicles etc. After all that we went to chow at one of the Mess Halls... on to the point of this.

While standing in line for chow I was talking to a young SSGT and for whatever reason I remembered and began telling him a story about going on MedCaps and how the young Marines that were there for security always seemed to wind up helping the Corpsmen with sick or injured Vietnamese leaving only one or two for security. He grinned at me and said that they have the same problem today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not good security but not a bad testament to young Marines then and now.

Semper Fidelis

Dave Coup
RVN 68-69

To Speak Out

I've read with great interest the letters you've received from retired and former Marines. I noted with humor that many of those who write you tell of their experiences in the 60's. I thought it's time for an 84 year old Marine to speak out.

I joined the Marine Corps on 8-13-51. Boot Camp at PI, Platoon 361. Demolition School at Lejeune. OCS at Quantico. Basic Officer School at Quantico. I attended the Naval War College and the Army Airborne, Intelligence, and Special Forces Schools.

Most of my 23 years, 11 months, and 18 day career were spent in "Special Operations." My combat experience between 1953 and 1969 is listed alphabetically:

Cambodia... Led Army teams 20 times against the enemy.
Dominican Republic... Led 500 Marines against Cuban invaders.
Laos... Led Army teams 10 times against the enemy.
North Korea... Led Army teams 22 times against the enemy.
North Vietnam... Led Army teams 71 times against the enemy.

I received:
2 Legions of Merit V
2 Bronze Star V
1 Air Medal V
1 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross

LtCol George Goodson, USMC, (ret)

Phony From Last Week's Picture

I have been looking at the picture for a while now and I know the most important thing that is missing, COMMAND PRESENCE ! Look at this guy's face. Have you ever seen that look on a Sgt Major or a Master Gunnery Sgt?

SSgt DJ Huntsinger

Can't stand looking at that phony MGYSGT he's 150 lbs. over weight, and thinks he's cool with that brush over his fat lip, just can't understand why these "Feather Merchants" want to act out their silly little fantasies! there is definitely something missing in their UPBRINGING! SEMPER Fi, John Velar, Former PFC "very old Corps"

Sgt Grit,

I notice that the Phony hero (pictured in the 4/11/12 newsletter) is wearing WWII, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Kosovo and Korea Service medals. A feat only possible (by my count) with at least 70 year's service in the Corps.

But I didn't see anything for Vietnam service. Why not? Perhaps he knows these guys are still around, and will kick his azs if they ever catch up with him.

Plus, it looks like his service hash marks are on the wrong sleeves.

Now, this is a prime example of why firing squads should be brought back into fashion !

Wes Kent
SSgt (1965 - 1973)

OOOHRAH Sgt Grit! and OOOHRAH to all of you hard chargin gung ho DevilDogs out there in cyberland. I have to put my 2 cents in on that unsat robust phony, sportin our dress blues. How in h-ll is it possible to actually make that uniform look like a mungled dog terd?

He should be found and made to spend a few weeks at MCRD meltin off that gut and learning what it takes to earn the right to don that uniform, w/French forage(spell) and learn what each of those ribbons stand for and what sacrifice it takes to earn them. and if by chance he did serve in our beloved Corps. and maybe took a knock to the noggin somewhere along the way, and has a bag of mixed up marbles upstairs, then my apologies are xtended, but then his caretaker should keep a closer eye on him. just my thoughts on that subject

I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of input on this subject. its Thursday that means its field day, I'd best get to makin this hut shine like a diamond in a goats ars before the skipper gets home from work and she secures my libbo.

SEMPER FI. Cpl Radtke T.A 85-89 2/6 H&S

In the newsletter dated 12 April, 2012 there was an item with a photo titled "Phony?" His photo was posted on Facebook asking that same question a couple of days before. He is. His name is Larry E. Gugle. He did serve in the Marine Corps but not so well as to rate any of what he's wearing. See the link (

Here's another poser that was posted on Facebook that needs to be found. Check out the uniform and see how many mistakes you can find. There are enough of them to make the hunt interesting.

I look forward to the newsletter every week, keep up the good work.

E. Thibodaux
Cpl. 5811

Spoon Platoon

To Mike Kunkel. Thanks for the thumbs up. I was one of those cooks at Geiger, while you were there. It was my first duty station out of cooks school. Man did I learn how to "sling hash", there. We all worked wicked hard, to get everyone fed. I'll never forget the "first shirt" (1st. Sargent) hated our guts and called us "the spoon platoon".

I'm still cooking professionally. There have been many days where I wouldn't have made it through, had I not had gone thru the hard work I saw in the Corps. Geiger is where I learned one of my favorite cooking insults, "I've forgotten more about cooking, than you'll ever know" from John Canfeild. I still use that one, to this day.

I'm sure we may even have stumbled through the back gate, at the same time, once or twice. Semper Fi.
Michael Cunningham Cpl. (The spoon platoon)

The Usual Commotion

Names have been changed, possibly, by the ravages of 54 years of hard work and clean living, but the originals were all members of C Company, 1st Anti-Tank Bn, at Camp Horno (Pendleton), circa 1958. Ontos platoons were really not much bigger than an Infantry squad... fifteen crewmen, a PC driver (had a trailer, too!), a Guide, a Plt. Sgt, and a Lt. Nearly all Corporals and below slept in one squad bay... three rows of double racks, separated by double wall lockers back to back, a foot locker at each end under the bottom bunk, Cpls got the bottom bunks... it was home... 'flat top' concrete barracks, showers/heads in the middle, squad bays at each end.

There might be one or two (plug-in) radios in each squad bay, but those only were allowed out after liberty had been sounded, maybe at noon, depending on the mood of the Company SNCOs on any given day. Marching packs were made up and kept on top of the wall lockers, with the handle of the E-tool pointing toward the bunk... which brings us to 'Fiekert'.

He was a Cpl, had the sloping shoulders and cauliflower ears of a semi-pro boxer, which he had reportedly been at one time. He was also overly fond of ETOH, in whatever form he could find it, and a bully, to boot. Around payday, he was in the habit of wobbling back into the barracks in the wee hours, waking up one or more top-bunk sleepers, and trying to start a fight. Nobody wanted to fight him, and most were just a little leery of him anyway.

This all came to an end one midnight, because the guy on the top end rack had bothered to slip his e-tool out of the carrier, and had it lying on top of his pack. We heard the usual commotion... then "BLONG!"... in one swell foop, from the supine position, the problem was solved... Fiekert spent the rest of the night snoring on the deck, had a pretty good goose egg on top of his gourd the next morning, and to my recollection, never again terminated a liberty with anything more than the usual wall-locker opening/closing noises...

Songer was one of those who were not all that unusual in the day... a 'career Private'... from West Virginia, pragmatic to a fault, marched to his own drum... not a bad guy at all, did his job, wasn't afraid to work (think about punching bores... on a 106 RR... then multiply that by six), but he had his own take on some things military, guard duty being one of those.

AT Bn only had three posts at the time, one of those being the USS Horno... a simulated aircraft carrier flight deck and conning tower, built for MCTU-1 when they were developing 'vertical assault' techniques, another around the barracks area, and a third in the 'gun park', where all 45 Ontos were parked... this was an area below a finger at the south side of camp... dirt and gravel, mostly, with homemade benches and boxes (ammo crates) marking each position. (there are three-story barracks in that area today). Songer could sometimes beat the Cpl of the Guard back to the barracks, where it was warm and dry, then be back on post to challenge the approaching next relief.

He was also unusual in that he had a car... a '37 Chevy two- door, at a time when five or six parking spots easily covered the whole company... only Officers and some SNCOs had cars, with few exceptions (maybe a 'rich' NCO who had just come off Embassy Duty, e.g.)...

I posted Songer one rainy cold night in the gun park, and threatened him with a whole list of charges that would be brought if I didn't find his sorry azz on that post when I returned at some un-announced time to get his report.

Came the hour, and hunkered down inside the Jacket, Field, M-65 w/liner, I proceeded to the area of the gun park... to encounter Songer... at the wheel of his Chevy, dim wobbly headlights illuminating the area to his front. He was, at least, on his post... but there was nothing in the General Orders (other than 'walk') that covered this situation, nor in the orders for the post, nor in any of the Bn Guard SOP's, or in the Guidebook For Marines.

I chewed him out anyway... his response was irrefutably logical... 'Hey, I can see better, I cover the post more times, and besides, my rifle's dry"... how you gonna argue with that???? His pragmatism extended to his dress shoes as well... even though this was still the day of brown shoes, boondockers, and boots, new shoes required a coat of Feibing's Dye... which dried to a nauseous green, before brushing and application of Kiwi or Lincoln polish... Songer never bothered with the after part of the greenish shoes... inasmuch as the trops or green trou, being cut at a 7/8ths inch bias, terminating at the back at the line where the heel joined the counter, covered that part... 'they ain't gonna see that part, why bother??".. (come to think of it, it was rumored that our Skipper, Captain McKenna, a Mustang, bought enlisted dress shoes... and did the same thing... )

Carrie Nation was a super-sharp Marine, dark green type, one each. Corporal Nation's shoes were what you aspired to get yours to equal, you could cut yourself on the creases in his herringbones, and he 'knew his stuff'... in every way, a Corporal of Marines... and that is a title not to be bestowed lightly. He also liked the fruit of the grape... maybe not so much for the bouquet, the lingering smoky after-taste, the scent of chocolate and berries, but probably more for the alcohol content per dollar spent...

Anyway, barracks/locker inspections were pretty common events... I think sometimes because the Skipper would ask the 1stSgt to find something for the 2ndLts to do... Carrie kept a gallon of 'D-go Red' (wine) in his locker. In the day, Clorox bleach came in dark brown glass bottles, gallon size... and that's where Carrie kept his stash. Pretty good reasoning, as no inspecting officer in his right mind was going to pick up a gallon bottle of Clorox, unscrew the cap and take a whiff of the contents... others swore by the use of rubbing alcohol for use with cotton, water, and Kiwi for polishing shoes, and the presence of a square quart bottle of "Isopropyl Alcohol" in the tray of the footlocker during inspection was no reason to elicit suspicion. Vodka, besides being 'Russian' (this was during the Cold War, remember... ?) had only recently come into vogue... and bore an amazing resemblance to 'rubbing alcohol.'... just sayin'...

"What's the word? Thunderbird!... what's the price? Thirty- nine, twice"... oft heard in the barracks of yore... nasty, sweet 'fortified' product of Earnest and Julio... concomitant activity would be searching of the pockets of previous season's uniforms for any missed change.

If I have created the impression with these stories that alcohol was consumed in prodigious quantities in the peacetime Corps, and that it might at times have been a problem?... well, it was, and it was...


Ever since ordering a 50 cal pen, I have enjoyed reading your newsletter, even though I am a sixty year-old Marine Corps Brat. My father, Harold L. "Pete" Peterson, Ret., USMCR, passed away in 2002, but was one of the finest men I have known, a great credit to the Corps. The exception might be my best friend, who is one of the finer LDO squids I've ever known. He and my father got along famously, since he was always tickled that Dad had been "Moved ARound In Navy Equipment."

The LT was my father's favorite squid and dad was the LT's favorite grunt. Both were/are mustangs. Dad served in WWII proudly, and spent many years in the Reserve here in Seattle, retiring as a full bird after 30 years in, leading the Helicopter Marine Maintenance Squadron based at Sand Point NAS, Seattle, before the base was decommissioned. He delighted us with many stories of his service. One of my favorite was the night I was born at Cherry Point NAS, and became part of Marine Corps History.

He inspired a son, son-in-law and two grandsons to serve and inspired the rest of the family to emulate the discipline, courage and dignity that personifies the Corps. It was my distinct privilege to speak at his memorial service at Tahoma National Cemetery. I will never forget the major and the captain who represented the Corps that day and the rifle squad. When I need a shot in the arm, I read the journal he left behind from his SPF gunner days. Every time I read your newsletter, I remember what my dad stood for and what all of you grunts out there stood for in so many different theaters. Just thought you might like to hear from another thankful generation.

Glenna Peterson, Retired Brat
Seattle, WA


Once a Marine, Always a Marine
Sgt Pointkouski

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"They're on our right, they're on our left, they're in front of us, they're behind us;
they can't get away from us this time."

--Chesty Puller, USMC, Chosin Reservoir, Korean War

"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
--General James Mattis, USMC

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."
--David Hume

"The terrorist lives for terror, not for the change he tells himself he wants. He masks his desire to kill and destroy behind the curtain of a cause. It is destruction he wants, not creation."
--Louis L'Amour

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
--Thomas Paine

"'fair' is a place where you go to eat cotton candy and step in critter crap... other than that, if you find yourself in a fair fight... your planning sucks... "

"One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results."
--economist Milton Friedman

"I've always been proud of being a Marine. I won't hesitate to defend the Corps."
--Jonathan Winters, comic and Marine

"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."
--Gen. A. M. Gray, USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps

No guts no glory, OOhrah!
Liberty is sounded for NCOs and PFCs with hash marks!

Sgt Grit

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