DEC 4, 1950 Hagaru-Ri, KOREA
As the remainder of Fox Company, frost bitten, ragged and wounded crossed the checkpoint, a Navy corpsman stationed at the road block gate shook his head. He turned to a guard. "Will you look at those magnificent bast-rds," he said.
In This Issue
Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air dropable, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down.
Here we go: a little bird pecking, what type of aircraft, "Get out of my house, Maggot!", middle of the huts, his razor and bucket, cut up the forearm, beans with a slingshot, so sick of me, needed it or not, ended up getting demoted, will have to reenlist, 10 kiloton atomic bomb, we found caves, proceeded to "pin" me.
Fair winds and following seas.
In answer to Kenneth Coffey's message in this week's edition of your news publication, regarding the 19 Japanese soldiers that were found on Guam in 1951, in the process of being returned to Japan.
I was also on Guam in the later part of 1950, and evidently in the same Guard Detachment as Sgt. Coffey, prior to my assignment in Korea, and in fact, was sent out on several patrols in attempt to locate these holdouts. We knew they were there, as we found caves with evidence of the survivors, and suspected them to be sniping us, on various guard positions throughout the island.
I have attached an article posted in the Guam News from Sept. of 1951. This article was given to me in later years from another personal friend (1st Sgt. Richard Wilhelm) who was my Top Sergeant during that period of duty. I read in the Stars and Stripes, while in Korea ('51), that they had found these 5 known survivors, but felt there were more. And as Sgt. Coffey has indicated, there were several more.
Unfortunately, I do not remember Sgt. Coffey, but certainly am glad to hear from other members of the Guam Guard Unit.
Staff Sgt. Charles "Chuck" Tucker USMCR 1109343
'49 - '60
Humming On Wax
In the February 09 issue of Sgt. Grit News, Cpl. M. Winnie asked if there were any other uses for the issued buckets. In platoon 237 MCRD San Diego, early fall of 1951; at the rifle range, our DI gave us (one time) close order drill with the buckets over our heads. Was chaos, but hilarious.
Our DI's Cpl's J.R Smith and J.R. Baughman, did have a sense of humor; as witnessed during formation waiting for chow, they would call out the musical section of our platoon to perform. The musical section was 2 recruits humming on wax paper covered combs.
Enclosed is a copy of an unofficial patch for VMR-152. At that time VMR-152 was an air transport squadron stationed at El Toro; Barbers Point Naval Air Station, Oahu, Hawaii; and at Itami Air Force Base, Itami, Japan. I do not know who designed the patch, but think it probably represents some of the local Japanese ladies feelings about VMR-152 personnel.
Don Weber 1199xxx
USMC Sgt 1951-1954
Do You Have A Camera
I enlisted in 1958 at the recruiting station in the Bronx NYC. I was told to pick from a list what I wanted to do after PI. I choose Aerial Photography. The day before PI was over we were told our MOS. Sgt Eckel yelled Krakower and I answered with the dutiful "Here Sir" the reply came "Marine Corps Barracks, Portsmouth Virginia" He then said 0300 but you'll stand "Gates". I told him that there must be a mistake, I was to be an Aerial Photographer. He asked in an unusually civil tone." Krakower do you have a camera? Of course my answer was "No Sir" in which he replied, "Portsmouth Maggot."
Aug. 58 to Dec 65
This was sent to me by Sgt. Jack Thompson VMA(AW)533. We flew the "beautiful" A-6s. VMA(AW)533 was in Chu Lai from April of '67 through Oct'69.
Semper Fi! Sgt. Jerry Callaway '67-'71.
No Facial Hair
I have a story regarding the bucket that was issued to us at the beginning of Boot Camp. I arrived at MCRDSD July 1st 1959 First Battalion Company C Platoon 152 SDI Act. S/Sgt L. Lacy, JDI Act. Sgt M. J. Shefveland and JDI Act. Sgt G. A. Wheeler were our Drill Instructors.
After being there for a few weeks one evening after our S,S & S one of our recruits was asked by one of the Drill Instructors whether he had shaved that night (this guy had no facial hair at all maybe a little fuzz) the answer was Sir no Sir. Well he was told to get his foot locker and bring it out to the Company Street then go back and get his razor and bucket and come back outside and step upon his foot locker. Then he was told to put the bucket on his head and while doing stationary double time to shave his face while singing the Marines Hymn. When he was finished it was not pretty but he shaved every night the rest of Boot Camp.
In keeping with the vehicle stories in your recent newsletters, attached find a photo of the PC we used at 9th Engineer Battalion to haul our survey gear during the work week and our bodies to the beach in Chu Lai on Sundays. S-3 Section building is behind the PC (passenger carrier).
I drove and serviced this vehicle many times during 1967.
Jim Harris, former Lance Corporal, always a Marine Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country and Corps
Hi Sgt Grit,
Sure is fun reading the stories from my fellow Marines. Thanks so much.
Regarding the guaranteed MOS, my recruiter said, "Well, your scores are high enough that you qualify for any job in the Marine Corps. What do you want to do?"
The honest truth now: I pictured John Wayne with two machine guns in his hands in all of our favorite movie and said "Infantry." He said, "No, son, you don't understand. You can have any job in the Marine Corps." I said, "I understand; I want to be in the infantry."
In my mind, why be a Marine and NOT be in the infantry? He said, "well, ok." Near the end of boot camp, when they passed out our assignments, I was the only one who got 0311 who had actually requested it. All other 0311's in my platoon (3124, MCRD SD) came in either as open contract, or scored low in their tests.
My buddies, who went into avionics and law enforcement had a great laugh. But, I never regretted it.
Two DI's With
Dear Sgt Grit; There were apparently two DI's with the name D. Dick. My Platoon was led by GySgt J. J. Johnson and SSgt D. L. Dick and Sgt McIsaac at MCRD San Diego, CA 1st RT Bn B Co. Platoon 1009 January-March 1969.
Ron Wilson Sgt USMC 1968-'74 & 1982-'85 Hillsboro, Wisconsin.
Little Bird Pecking
During the winter of 1970 / 71, I was a Drill Instructor in 3rd. Bn. K Co. at MCRD San Diego. One day while the platoons were out of the area training, I was back in the Duty Hut at the field desk for my platoon working on some paper work, while at the other end of the Quonset Hut, S/Sgt Proctor who was the Platoon Commander of one of the other platoons in the Series was seated at his field desk as well.
Each Series had 17 Quonset Huts (when available) four Quonset Huts for each of the four platoons (one per squad) and a 17th. to serve as the Duty Hut for the Drill Instructors the Series Gunnery Sergeant and the Series Commander. Each of the Sixteen Quonset Huts used to billet the Recruits had 10 sets of racks (as I recall) with a large oil burning heater standing directly in the center of the hut.
S/Sgt Proctor was a short, very stocky, very black Marine with very white teeth. He was a humorous person and when he grinned, his face and teeth lit up the area. One of his Recruits was still in the area for some reason, and eventually there came that three little taps at the duty hut hatch on S/Sgt Proctor's end of the Duty Hut.
Everyone knows the drill. S/Sgt Proctor says "is that a little bird pecking on my hatch?" The pecking becomes a knock and S/Sgt Proctor elevates his voice and says "I CAN'T HEAR YOU." Eventually the Recruit just about removes the door from the hatch with three enormous blows and is told to ENTER after screaming the appropriate request to enter the duty hut. From here the drill is for the Recruit to take two paces into the Duty Hut while removing his cover, come to a halt, execute a left face to face the field desk, take one small step forward to center himself on the field desk and say "SIR, PRIVATE :_ Requests Permission to speak to the Platoon Commander."
You can all remember how many times the Private would make a mistake and be forced to begin the drill again.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the Private stumbled through the entire drill and S/SGT Proctor said SPEAK.
The Recruits response was "SIR, The Quonset Hut is ON FIRE."
Platoon Commander Proctor went straight up in the air and almost came down on the Recruit and I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Proctor said "WHY DIDN'T you tell me" and through my laughter, I had to say "because you wouldn't let him".
S/SGT Proctor and I both exited the Duty Hut through the hatch on his end of the Quonset Hut and saw black smoke billowing from one of his platoon Quonset Huts. We got to the hatch of the subject Quonset Hut to find the oil burning heater and the floor surrounding it engulfed in flames.
I remember thinking I survived Vietnam and the headlines in the Chevron News Paper would read "Two Drill Instructors Killed in Heater Explosion". Buckets of sand were staged throughout the company area for just such an occasion, so Proctor and I began to relay one bucket after another into the Hut and onto the fire.
I remember wondering if the next time a Recruit tapped on the Platoon Commander's hatch if he would eyeball the platoon area before asking "is that a little bird pecking on my hatch?"
Simper Fidelis to Platoon Commander Proctor, Platoon Commander Skull, Gunnery Sergeant Garcia, Drill Instructor Cobb and all Marines.
S/SGT C. N. Hayes (Nick) 2340319
08 May 1967 - 09 July 1971
This is a picture of Four World War II Marines, it is obvious they just got out of Boot Camp and they could be anywhere because Quonset huts were everywhere at that time. I say it is obvious they are boots because they have no ribbons, They have the leather belts and two have the Sharpshooters medal and two have the Marksman medal.
Sharpshooters got $3.00 a month BUT Experts got $5.00 a month. Don't sound like much today but when you were getting $50.00 a month and they took out $5.35 National Service Life Insurance, it added to the Beer fund.
In San Francisco on 3rd Street was a Bar where you got a glass of beer for a dime at that time. If you were broke you could go to the Pepsi Cola Center on Market Street and get a free glass of Pepsi, a free Record of your voice to send home and you could even take a shower and press your clothes free.
Around the corner and up the road a piece was the Stage Door Canteen a USO set up that Movie Stars and others came there, I saw the Three Stooges there (When I would have rather seen Alice Faye or Linda Darnell) But that was then and this is now.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
They Could Not
Sgt. Grit, I actually had a pretty good MOS story. When I went to the recruiters office, and talked with him, well, I said you can skip the Presentations, I asked if there was anything like a guaranteed MOS. He said well, kinda sorta. I said good, I want to work on aircraft. He said, well, that is a really hard field to get a guarantee, you have to be really smart first off, and second, they rarely will guarantee an aviation mos.
v I grew up in Santa Ana, and back in the then, any of the guys who were there know, you could see the hangars at Tustin from half of Orange county, and El Toro was just a stone's throw away. What once was out in the boonies, and I really wanted to work on F-4's Phantom. At the time, it was the baddest thing in the air!
He looks at me and says ok, well, if you want to work on Airplanes, maybe you should go talk to the Air Force Recruiter, and I said No, I want to be a Marine. I love Aircraft, but I have always had trouble running, especially with my hulking 129 lb. frame! He said ok, let me give you this here test, takes about a half hour or so, and if you score above 80% we will talk. I finished is little test in about 10 minutes and had a perfect score. Now this is back in February, 1978, Just before they came down on the justice system using the Marine Corps as it's place for people to serve their probation!
Before I knew it, he was on the phone, talking to someone. When he hung up the phone, he looked at me and asked "What do you want to do in the Marine Corps" I said once again, I want to work on Aircraft, preferably Phantoms. He explained the Marine Corps would guarantee me an MOS within the Aviation Maintenance Field, but as to where I would be stationed, or what type of aircraft, they could not.
Well, took the ASVAB, scored in the top 5%, took my physical, I was borderline flat feet, and they were going to reject me, but after a few phone calls by the recruiter, The gave me a waiver since I was Going in aviation, as long as I could pass my PFT's.
I went delayed entry, less fog in San Diego in the spring, and had paper in hand, from HQMQ, Guaranteeing an MOS in the 6000 field, as long as I did not screw up in basic. They almost medicaled me out of basic, my knees kept swelling up, and I was told I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I signed another waver, Scored first class on all my pft's.
Wound up being an Aviation Structural Mechanic at first on the UH1N's, with HML-267. After a tour on the rock with HML-267 Det "C", we returned to find everything changed. The detachments to Okinawa were composite, Hueys and Cobras together, and when we returned, All the squadrons were converted to composite Squadrons. When the last Detachment returned DET "D". there was going to be 3 composite squadrons, and we would rotate to the rock for 6 months, come home for a year, then go back to the rock. In a funny sense, other than going to Okinawa, I served in HML-267, HMLA-267, and HMLA-367, all the while working in the same hangar! Semper Fi!
Duty Hut After Chow
Platoon 218, MCRD, San Diego. While standing in the chow line one fine day in the Spring of 1964, I inadvertently coughed. This was during week three and I had come down with a cold. (Remember those great formations, where everyone is pushed up against the guy in front of him and the farther back the line went, the more bent over backwards the recruits were? Ah, what great memories!)
Anyway, I coughed while at the position of attention. Before the sound had barely left my lips, one of our Junior DIs had a firm grip on my left ear lobe, lifting me onto my toes, the pressure was so great.
"Why did your lips move at the position of attention, Maggot?" he asked in that special voice that DIs have.
Before I could answer, he ordered me to report to the Duty Hut after chow.
After banging out three knocks several times (the last ones almost breaking my knuckles), and hearing the puzzled response to knock louder, I was finally given the command, "ENTER!"
I marched briskly in, did a perfect right face and centered myself the proper distance from his desk, where he sat glaring at me. My eyes locked onto the picture of two eyeballs taped on the bulkhead above his head, and awaited my doom!
To get right to the topic of buckets, and leaving out the gruesome details of the encounter to all Marine's vivid imaginations and memories, I will move ahead.
After receiving the 'attitude adjustment' from the Corporal, he returned to his chair behind his desk, and I returned to my position of attention, centered on his desk. He said, "Get out of my house, Maggot!"
I took one step back and began my about face, but halfway through the movement, I heard the scraping of his bucket on the concrete floor. Realizing that I was in mortal danger, I broke from the about face movement and sprinted toward the hatch. As I lunged through the opening, crouched as low as possible, the bucket flew over my head, banging against the front of my Quonset hut across the platoon street.
I fell into my position in Platoon formation and exhaled. Buckets, I learned, are for more than just sitting on and carrying water or sand. Whew! The Few! The Proud!
In response to Sgt. E. K. Pennington's question (in your 15 Feb. issue) about "Was it common practice" for Recruits to donate money to the Drill Instructor for various reasons, the answer is not just no, but H-LL NO.
When the Recruits drew their first pay, (It was $20.00 as I recall in 1970) we gave them a list of things to purchase at their first PX call which would be scheduled for the next day. Everyone in the entire platoon purchased the exact same list of things which was dictated by the Platoon Commander. The one exception was that the smokers after receiving a lecture about the perfect opportunity to quit smoking and make unescorted head calls instead were told to purchase two packs of cigarettes of their choice.
Other than telling them exactly what to spend their money on right up until base liberty on graduation afternoon, the Drill Instructor should never have anything to do with the Recruits money. I would never touch it, and if a Recruit ever tried to present me with money for any reason, the next noise he would have heard would be his backside hitting the deck with my knee on his chest as I lectured him about not ever trying to bribe a Drill Instructor. Everyone in the entire K Co. area and many beyond would have heard that a Recruit for some stupid reason had tried to get a Drill Instructor to touch his money.
I always tell Marines that most went through Boot Camp once. I went through it six times. It was both the hardest and the most rewarding job I have ever had. The Drill Instructors I served with (almost without exception) were among the best people I have ever worked with and I truly admire them.
I hope all Recruits have the admiration for their Drill Instructors that I did for both mine and the ones I served with, but if your Drill Instructor ever took (or accepted) money or belongings from you, he does not deserve your respect and I regret that your first extended exposure to a Marine was wasted on a thief.
S/Sgt C. N. Hayes (Nick)
8 May 67 - 9 July 71
The Fun Part
The use of bucket. Our D I used our bucket for a number of reasons. In pl 3345 Dec 1968 SSgt Sloan had us fill them up with sand. We stayed in the Q huts - any way one Sunday, SSgt was having a bad day. Inspection was not up to par, so the D I had us place sheet, pillow cases, blanket in the middle of the huts. and yes we had a sand fight in the hut. Just think about it, 30 full gallon of sand being chunk at the other guy across from you. We had sand all over the d-mn place. Then came the fun part Inspection in 30 min. Dam those buckets were well used by the time we left in May of 1970. Those are the GOOD old day I still remember them as if was yesterday.
P.S it was also very cold that nite with wet blanket.
Sgt l moncebaiz 68,70
I don't know about the Hollywood Marines, but at Parris Island in 1967, our bucket issue was our field gear, or '782' gear which consisted of canteen, canteen cup and cover, shelter half w/poles, web belt, two packs, and assorted straps, tent pegs, rope, and bayonet. We were issued this on the same day that we got our rifles.
The assorted soaps, polish, shave cream razor w/Blue blades, shower shoes were all received after signing my name on a 'chit'. The cost was deducted from my pay. This was the same day as initial uniform issue, which occurred during the whole yellow footprints, haircuts, physical exam and seabag drag 36 hour bad dream of receiving. Rifles and '782' gear was issued on day three. I know it was day three, because we all had web belts and canteens with bayonets.
That same night I got Firewatch on the 00:00 to 04:00 shift. I heard some guy crying, don't remember his name, and I told him to be quiet, it would get better. I slipped in something on the deck, and my flashlight showed a big puddle of blood on the floor. The moron had used his newly issued bayonet to cut his wrists.
I then had the happy duty to awaken the D.I. from his sleep at 02:45, and report the incident. Not my favorite moment of boot camp, I assure you. I was told to mop up the mess while the D.I. told the recruit what a coward he was in fluent and colorful profanity. The entire squadbay was up and standing by their racks, (except me), and paying wide-eyed attention to this recruit crying, standing at attention, and bleeding from both wrists.
The next morning our senior D.I. told us that the p---y couldn't even kill himself correctly, and said the correct method would have been to cut up the forearm from the wrist, so you would bleed out quicker. I have never forgotten that incident, and this may be only the second time I have shared it. All the guys from Plt.1016 on the island, from 29 July to 12 October 1967 should remember this. Sorry this is so lengthy, but it all came out in a rush.
Semper Fi to all of us who didn't quit and became Marines.
Real Screw Up
When I entered P.I. In June 1943 we were shown another use for the buckets. Or DI in order to impress us on Staying out of trouble took us to the local brig.
Each cell had bucket to relive yourself of bodily functions. These were emptied everyday Unless you were a real screw up. Then the buckets wouldn't be empty for at least a week. The odor was unbearable. Normally in those days your meals would be placed on your cell door. That's how the expression "Feeding you beans with a slingshot" came about.
It made quite an impression on us Boots.
Gunny Mazzie 539252
2nd Mar. Div.
They Could Only
I have several fond memories in boot camp. I grew up watching old jarhead movies as a kid... Full Metal Jacket, The DI, and Heartbreak Ridge. So when I finally arrived at MCRD SD in December 1996, I expected the same treatment I saw the Marines in those movies received. But much to my dismay the Senior DI SSGT stated welcome to the new kindler, and gentler Marine Corps. He proceeded to state that the DI's were not allowed physically abuse you or yell explicits at you.
So throughout my bootcamp experience I proceeded to push every envelope to the edge by pulling practical jokes on my platoon mates but especially my squad leaders. Because what the H-LL, they couldn't touch me, they could only yell at me with a lot of spittle of saliva and whatever they had their mouths flying at me.
One evening while it was raining, our DI called a formation out in front of the squad bay which I remember to be 3 decks tall. We were all told to grab our ponchos and form it up outside. While we formed up outside under the darkness of the night and rain, I single handedly proceeded to snake up to the front behind our squad leaders. I could see that all 4 squad leaders had not buttoned up their ponchos at the sides, knowing that our DI was going to wave his hand and banish us back to the squad bay... I proceeded to button up all the squad leaders standing side by side to each other.
As the period of instruction ended I knew the big moment was coming... I snaked back to my position in line. Our DI SSGT was a ginormous dark green Marine that was just menacing, he raised his hand and waved us off making us disappear while uttering Swoosh and we were gone, I turned around to look at our squad leaders to see them trying to run in different directions while stuck to one another. They got killed on the quarter deck for not moving swift, silent and deadly. Very Classic.
Another time I was on the quarter deck for missing a facing movement during drill. My DI's got so sick of me being there that every time they called me to get some intensive training (IT) that they would have me call some other bodies to the quarter deck. So with that, I took it upon myself to summon my 4 squad leaders to participate in IT, I remember yelling at the squad leaders to pick their feet up while doing scissor kicks on our back and calling them a few choice names from when I was back in the block. I looked at them and remember 2 of them crying saying it wasn't fair. Good times... life's not fair... The Marine Corps taught me that first.
My other memory of bootcamp was during the smokers match ups. I remember putting on our headgear and SSGT DI giving me his pep talk telling me to rip my opponents head off his shoulders. I remember looking at my opponent thinking to myself this kid is only a baby, while I was a 26 year old man ready to give this kid a beating he would never forget. He was just barely out of high school, baby faced, still a little rotund from his mother's good ol home cooking.
When the bell rang I charged at him, he put his gloves up to touch mine and when we dropped them the fight was on. He dodged my right hook but failed to see my left coming from the other way which caught him on the right side of his grape, I followed with a right upper cut and his head gear came off and then all I heard was my DI finish him, in the heat of the moment I charged again determine to have them imprison me for his manslaughter I caught his with another left and as he began to fall backwards there was my DI along with 3 other PMO's slamming me to the ground yelling like a pack of wild animals saying "what the H-ll are you doing?" before I could respond my DI whispered good job.
When we were nearing completion of our 3 month summer camp program, we were heading out to for a 10 mile forced march I remember scrambling looking for a canteen cover that was missing from my canteen. I remember running up a flight of stairs and stating to my DI that I had lost my canteen cover, he said "What!" and before I could react sent me head over heels tumbling down a flight of stairs all of this in full 782 gear, when I looked up I was on my back he reached out and stated are you ok Marine. As far as I was concerned, it was at that time that I knew I was a Marine... The next week was graduation. What took them so long to give me what I wanted. Now I know the Marines before me got beatings but it served a purpose, I just wanted the same treatment nothing more nothing less.
The Corps is not about the hazing or the mind games you have to put up with... it's about being a Marine, what it takes to be a Marine and a sense of belonging to the greatest fighting force in the world with a whole bunch of brothers and sister.
PS.. the names of my DI's have been withdrawn to protect the innocent. ME! SEMPER FIDELIS
A Few good Chews
I remember being out in town in Las Vegas, NV with a mouth full of chew and the wind was blowing really bad, dust everywhere. Me and a buddy were waiting for a taxi to take us to our hotel when a Naval captain in his nice white uniform parked his luggage next to us and didn't even look up to acknowledge two Marines in service Charlies, who had rendered the proper greeting, a snap to attention while saluting the captain.
I remember my friend smirking to me that the captain didn't even bat an eye, just then a gust of wind kicked sand into our faces and my allergies responding by blowing my wad of Copenhagen all over the captain's bright white pant legs. I picked up my bag and stated Semper Fidelis and left the area without my friend there while he explained my rudeness.
Up Ended Bucket
Subject matter buckets: Plt 306, 5th rct bn, 6/54... the buckets were filled with sand, dumped on the floor of the nisan hut until a good two inches of sand covered the entire deck... then everyone filled their bucket with water and dumped it on the sand filled deck... the deck was hand scrubbed with your scrub brush. Then the whole mess was cleaned up in less than 30 minutes... talk about keeping recruits busy for the weekend...
Another use of buckets... punishment for smoking without benefit of the lamp being lite... all cigarettes were placed in the mouth of the transgressor, lite and the bucket was put over his head while he smoked! Punishment for not shaving, whether u needed it or not... stand on your up ended bucked and double time while dry shaving! Guess what no one broke the rules again after bucket discipline was exercised...
God bless S/Sgt Anderson and Cpl Murphy, great DIs...
Follow up on use of buckets in boot camp for Cpl. Winnie and also to Cpl. Dillinger's response. I was at PI in 1958 and my ID number also starts with a 1 and has 7 digits. However, I was in the 3rd Battalion (Plt 315) which did not have the luxury of wooden barracks with tile floors. We stayed in Neson huts (smaller version of Quonset hut) with concrete floors.
We did move to the wooden units after winning rifle competition, but that was cut short following the injury of a cook who laughed at us while practicing for drill competition. We also beat out 1st and 2nd Battalions for drill competition and were headed to San Diego for top recruit Plt. when the practice was ended for austerity reasons. The 3rd Battalion kind of looked upon 1st and 2nd battalions like the Hollywood Marines of San Diego.
Getting back to use of buckets. We carried sand and water in them to resurface our concrete decks. We used our stiff- bristled brushes upside down to grind in the sand and water mix. Finished deck looked great but we had problems using brushes with worn down backs to do laundry on the outside scrub tables.
I also used my bucket to smuggle in an illegal substance at DI's orders to clean the thick level of cosmoline off the M1's we were issued. The smoking lamp was out (not that we were permitted to smoke anyway). And of course the buckets were used to discipline errant smokers. I saw them used in a way that was much more beneficial than that of Cpl. Dellinger's story. I am 73 now and have never smoked since boot camp. Yes, the buckets were used in many unique ways depending upon the creativity of one's DI.
As an Old Salt I really enjoy reading Sgt. Grit newsletters. They help bring back some wonderful memories. Like the old story goes, at my age, if it wasn't for nostalgia I wouldn't have a memory at all. I turned down Sgt. and didn't reenlist because of a beautiful young woman who had a REAL fear of military life. In May we will celebrate 50 years of marriage with 3 children (oldest son was a Marine officer in Naval Intelligence) and 13 grandchildren. It has been a great life but still sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I'd chosen differently.
Since the subject of recruiter "promises" has been brought up I thought I'd share.
Started talking to recruiters in 1996 prior to graduating HS in 1997. My first recruiter was a straight shooting "been there done that got the medal" SSgt of something like 14 years. Wanted to be a UH-1N Huey door gunner and he said we'd try and told me there were limited slots for it. I believed every word he said because it was the truth.
Unfortunately he rotated back to the fleet half way through my senior year and a young Sergeant took his place. Later in life I've come to associate his personality type with pushy car salesmen. He talked a good game though.
Two weeks before my ship date he called me up and informed me that FINALLY a slot for that MOS had opened up. I happily signed the small phone book worth of paperwork.
Five months later in MCT at Camp Pendleton I was told I was a 7011 Aircraft Recovery Specialist and no, not aircrew. I was stunned. After much confusion I was basically informed I had joined the Marines as "Open, Airfield". Any job in the airwing was what I was considered for, not a specific one. Somehow the paperwork I had signed for the specific MOS had vanished...
By this time I was in, proud to be a Marine (despite being a total boot noob Private), and when asked hesitantly by a SNCO about my thoughts on the deception I just accepted my fate and went off to school to be a 7011. Four years later I got out proud of my time but still slightly rankled by the whole experience thanks to one slimy recruiting Sergeant.
I did get the last laugh though. Said sleazeball never met his numbers, was always having trouble recruiting, and ended up getting demoted and kicked out of the Marines due to dalliances with an underage female poolie. Personally I don't feel the Marine Corps lost much.
Tnx, Grit !
I read your story this week about the club waitresses at 11th Marines while you were in Da Nang, and you mentioned the Da Son ville... Funny, because 11th Marine Regt took over the CP from 12th Marines when we all departed Da Nang to move up north to the DMZ areas in the summer of '66... I had been a Corporal with 3rd Marine Regt - Comm back then, and our CP was just down the road, after you made the left at "3 Corners" on the back way out to Red Beach... When we re-deployed up to Artillery Plateau (re- named Camp Carroll later that year on the Marine Corps birthday) there was an Army infantry unit that had moved into our CP, but when I went back again in '69, 11th MT Bn was there...
There used to be a multi booth road stand there at Da Son's 3 Corners, where you could buy lukewarm Cokes and Tiger 33 beer (tiger pisz), and a lot of the young girls from there wound up going to work in the various Marines clubs in the area as time went on... There was one of my 'favorites' from that road stand, named Ho Thi Bong, who I ran into several years later, at the 1st Shore Party SNCO club... She was working as a cocktail waitress, and it was like old home week chatting with her that night, and catching up on old mutual acquaintances.
I rented a car and driver on one of my early trips back to Vietnam in '07, and had him drive me around to some of the various places I'd been during my tours in the 60's and early 70's... I'll enclose a couple of pix of the Da Son ville of today... Note the blue house with a brick house under construction next to it at 3 Corners...Those houses sit on the same location as the old Seven Graves boom-boom house from back in the mid-60's... The road through Dog Patch, past the old 327 PX, and up around the old Division headquarters area is not much more than an old washed our trail nowadays, and the mountains behind that area have all been turned into a huge rock quarry... You can even see it from the airport today.
RE: 12 1/2" Final Duty Marine Honor Guard Statue Item # ST10
I saw it on the newsletter. Cannot even remember how many times I have stood in that exact position, getting ready to give the flag to a loved one who's Marine has just passed away. The statue brought back a flood of bitter sweet memories.
Michael W Davis
I lived in Guam as a kid in '64-66. Don't remember the exact year but I clearly remember a couple of J-ps came out of the hill there, too. They also still thought the war was on. Amazing.
In reference to SSGT. Huntsinger's inquiry about loss of blood from using the Gillette double edge razor in boot camp... I was in Platoon 356 at MCRD in 1963. Every morning, the D.I. would give us a very few minutes to S---, Shower, Shave, and Shampoo. "Speed Shaving" (by necessity, not choice) with cold water using the double edge razor was both dangerous and bloody. Nearly every one of us walked away from the sink with a large quantity of toilet paper stuck to our faces to stop the bleeding. I don't know how much blood we lost, but we sure used a lot of toilet paper.
Sgt. USMC 1963-1967
In reference to the ddick boot camp inspection photo and John Wear's comments. I agree with his observation and I think that the photo was printed backward or reverse because that is my platoon, 317. That photo shows us facing the wrong way for our p'toon street and the two recruits in the photo were not s--t birds. The one being inspected is Pvt. Gambino from New Orleans, if I remember correctly. The recruit behind him is Pvt. Henry It's a good shot of our Drill Instructor, though. Just like I remember him.
Robert Bliss Cpl (eventually) 1963-1967
I'll asker Dan Sute question about the em clubs on okinawa the army club was named edd tide club and the 503rd airborne didn't like Marines to drink in it so we had a lot of fights in there when one broke out you yelled semper fi if you didn't stand up you got punched. after a while we were only allowed so many Marines in at a time eng. maint. was allowed 4 cause we finished most of the fights. The Marine em club was named the habu pit and like the ebb tide we had our share of fights but all in fun. jim eng maint. 61 to 63 1931501 semper fi
Ditto on the "KMC" story. On the wire one cold Korean winter I heard a chorus of grunting and snow boot crunching. Alerted the sentries and on the roadway 50 yards south of us a "KMC" platoon was double timing it as the Platoon Sgt. ran up and down banging heads with his carbine... brutal but efficient. Does me ole Marine heart proud for all the "Semper Fi" signoffs including you! WALTV KOREA '53
these bars were not only for navy I ran into a lot of Marines when drinking beer in these bars all over the world SIMPER FI Marvin gunners mate us navy 1942-l964
I have been reading a lot of stories about what Marines do when battle stations are called aboard ships. What I would like to hear is stories about security drills aboard ships. Can anyone remember 'GANGWAY', and the terror it brought to the squids when caught in the way of a charging Marine? I believe these security drills were a morale booster and revenge for maltreatment by squids aboard a naval ship.
L/CPL, stripped to PFC Wiser
2531 HdQtrs Battery 10th Marines, FMF ATL
A question for SSgt Huntsinger: As mentioned in the 09 Feb 2012 Newsletter: Gillette blades? How many out there remember being issued Lava soap as your shower soap?
That was the roughest soap I had ever seen, but it got you clean. Especially under those fingernails. Our DI's were fanatics about our fingernails!
It is a wonderful thing you do for us Marines, and Cor-pse-men ( Our esteemed Commander in Chief. Yeah, right) Sgt. Grit. It is like being in the midst of a crowd of wonderful Brothers and Sisters every time I open up the newsletter.
I enjoy Sgt Grit even though I am an Army grunt of 27 years. My Dad served in 48-49 which makes me half Marine. Semper Fi! Grandma could peel spuds that you could read a newspaper through she peeled them so thin. When dad got home from boot he helped "Square the spuds". Grandma about filled her drawers when Dad helped. I stiill chuckle everytime I make hashbrowns.
SFC(RET) Rian D. Johnson
I Filled A Quota
Auw, the boot camp bucket! I remember all the tales already told except smoking under the bucket. Maybe it's because I was not a smoker or maybe it did not happen in our platoon at PI. BUT, does anyone still have their bucket? Among a few other trinkets from I-I, Okinawa, Viet Nam and HQMC, I have my bucket. For years, I used it from many tasks but now it is retired, as I am!
Series Senior DI was MSgt Vander???? (maybe Vanderburg), he reportedly had an artificial leg and when he ran PT with us, his motivation was enough to keep us going. We also had SSgt Quiller and Sgt Vaughn. We had four Davises (two brothers) in the platoon. If it was not one of the Davises screwing up, it was our cousin Armstrong. We were often told to report to the head of thump call. I saw Sgt Vaughn in Kadena in 1960. When I introduced myself, he stepped back in case I had anger issues. Or maybe he was just surprised to see me. They molded my character and what other attributes I may have just as my step- father did when I was under his roof. Thank you one and all.
I also have a MOS tale! While in boot camp, I apparently scored high on one of the AA tests and was told I would go to Electronics School in Great Lakes after boot. When we received our orders, after ITR I was headed to Cherry Point as an 01. I had also taken the typing test since I took typing in high school (it was either that or home economics). I asked about the Electronics School and was told the class did not start for months and I could be sent there from Cherry Point. Not so!
When I got to Cherry Point the response was, "no way, this is a three year tour. You will have to reenlist for the school." Less than a year later, I filled a quota and was on my way to Okinawa. So much for the three year tour. I later reenlisted for I-I duty for good reason. While on I-I, I met my wife and we will be married for 48 years in September. I retired as a MSgt and later advanced to 1stLt, a rank I held as a temporary officer during Viet Nam.
Thank you for all the grunt news and fine merchandise.
Hi Sgt. Grit,
In September, 1954, upon completion of boot camp at MCRD San Diego and combat training at Camp Pendleton, I was assigned, along with many of my boot camp class, to the newly formed Marine Corps Test Unit #1 at Camp Horno in Camp Pendleton. A few weeks later we were joined by a large group of people coming from the division that had been in Japan. Most of these guys had a year or two left to serve.
MCTU#1 was formed to practice and test combat tactics with the use of helicopters and various ABC warfare situations. Most notable was on March 22, 1955 when we all sat in trenches 3500 yards from ground zero for Shot Bee, a 10 kiloton atomic bomb. This was at the Nevada atomic testing site. I believe the work we did with helicopters was the forerunner of the tactics used in Viet Nam.
I was in Dog Company, Third Rifle Platoon. I am wondering how many other MCTU #1 vets left out there.
Ron Sundell PFC 1954 to 1956
Going to Crash
Was in Plt 254, Golf Co. MCRD, in 1958. Lived in Quonset huts and six man tents with wood slat floors at rifle range.
Back at MCRD, another thing buckets were used for, during hut inspection our DI used a ladder to climb to top of hut and found dust. Each one of us had to take buckets to a field and get a bucket of dirt and dust and pour it on the floor of the hut, then we each had to go to wash rack and get a bucket of water and pour it on the floor. He then made us double time around inside the hut, then gave us a half hour to get it ready for inspection.
Another thing we used our buckets for, he would wake us in the middle of the night, grab our buckets and in our skivvies he would make us run around the grinder with our buckets over our heads so when a plane took off from San Diego Airport if it was going to crash we were supposed to catch it. My serial number starts with 1, old Corps and I loved it.
L/Cpl Cary Proffitt
Arms Straight Out
While reading the newsletter today I saw a couple of stories that reminded me of my time in the Corps.
The buckets were great tools that served us well to wash our clothes. They also carried sand very well with arms straight out and the bucket full to the top with the sand packed in tight. Take a short run around the "pit" and it sure made you remember what not to do!
When I was selected for SSgt. with about five years and 8 months in the Corps, I was at MCAS Yuma in a nice office job taking care of blue and green money for MCCRTG-10 and the three squadrons on the base.
Right after being selected, orders arrived for D.I. School MCRD San Diego. Got through that and was pushing a herd through when I was told to report to Blt C.O. office. I got over there like right now and upon arrival was told to see the XO. I went in and he had my promotion in hand and now with just over six years in the Corps I was being promoted to Staff.
He then read it, promoted me, and he and the Blt. Sgt. Major proceeded to "pin" me high and low. I was wondering one, if I would actually be able to walk out of the office and two, if an officer came along if I could raise my arm to salute. The X.O. and Sgt. Major were both old salts that were what most people picture when they think of what a Marine is big bad and looks like a stone. I had four massive black and blue areas.
To the Marines of Plt. 2033 February 1970 I hope you are all doing well. To the Marines of Golf 2/9 Camp Schwab on the rock, floating tour to Nam and many beautiful ports of call in S.E. Asia I hope you are all doing well. Many great memories from boot to the rock and back to MCRD Diego.
Thanks for all you do Sgt. Grit and for this great newsletter that helps us to connect on a weekly basis with the Corps and the memories.
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
Feel Much Safer
Sorry to hear of the passing of Master Sergeant Bowman. I was in what I believe was one of his first platoons,(2196), that formed 28 Oct.69. At 19 years old, he had done his time in the "bush", with a Purple Heart and a lot of pride. He was the Jr. DI. and promoted to Sergeant during that series.
I can say I actually had a conversation with him. A day of base liberty after graduation and before IRT at Pendleton, I was walking back from the bowling alley to the barracks and I heard him call my name. My response was of course to snap to attention. He came up behind me and chuckled and addressed me as a fellow Marine then asked me how the bowling was.
He then asked a few questions and he acted surprised to hear that I was a Firefighter and had been drafted into the Corps. I'm sure he must have known since they had all the info. in my records, but he did ask how I felt about being there. I told him "I'm d-mn glad I'm here than in the Army. I feel much safer knowing we are serious about our business just as I am very serious when I am supervising in a fire situation". I know we both then sensed the respect for each other's knowledge. I went on and retired from the fire service and I always wondered where he was. God bless him and the CORPS.
Just wanted to tell a little story about our DI. And my condolences to the family
Zack Snyder, 2619574
Dumb Enough To Ask
Grit, being a 2531 you'll love this. I asked to be a radio operator when I enlisted and actually got it.
When in high school 3 of us decided we would join the Corps and fight the war. I was in the middle of my senior year. The other 2 dropped out and waited (partied) for me to graduate. We were all 17 years old. The last 2 months of school I started reading "Battle Cry" by Leon Uris - WWII Radio operators in the Pacific.
In Oct, 2 of us headed to P.I. the 3rd had to got to P.I. 2 weeks early due to some "Problem" with the local police. Long story short - after boot, I got my wish - MOS 2531. The other got 0311. In radio school they scared the h-ll out of everyone with stories from the Nam about the life expectancy of a radio operator. I ended up a 2531 88MM FO/RO. Sometimes they do give you what you want if you're dumb enough to ask for it.
RVN '67 - '68
I know too much has already been said about the Bucket Issue, but the 782 gear was issued, I was charged for the bucket, and everything in it, therefore I would not call it an issue. Also in '57 the quickie haircut cost .25 cents. I am not sure I should call it a haircut.
We had 8 man squads, that were changed to 12 men half way thru Boot Camp. Doing a 12 man squads right or left was like watching a Max Sennet comedy. We never did get it right, or even close. It was so bad that our Senior D I would not let us march to chow on Graduation day. He said no lines, no ranks, just a gaggle going to chow. When I look back I think being the worst Platoon out of three kept him away a lot. Of course we might have been the worst because he was never there. I would not trade it for anything...
Okel plt 141.1957
Really Meant It
Plt. 236 April 1967. Senior Drill Instructor SSGT J C Fish had us maggots use the bucket as an ash tray. He would have us fill the bucket half full at the wash rack and go across the street, form the smokers circle and after our smokes were lit hold the buckets at arm's length straight out, if ANY bucket sagged toward the deck THE SMOKING LAMP is OUT! Naturally this procedure had to be done in a matter of seconds, from the time He yelled, SMOKERS GET ONE, up on the second floor squad bay, until the smokers circle was formed.
We didn't do a lot of smoking the first several weeks as we MAGGOTS still were not fast enough and still had some slimy civilian habits. After six or seven weeks we could perform this with our eyes shut. He once said, YOU turds didn't do half bad that time! But! You will NEVER smok on my Island again! Pvt. so and so didn't field strip his butt in a military manner.
SSGT. Fish if you're reading this I still have a two inch scar under my chin from your dress shoe, Sir. When you said look straight ahead, you really meant it!
CPL Z RVN 68-69
"What just happened?!?!?!"
In response to my own question about a "Surprise MOS", I failed to mention that I have a story of my own to mention. However I was not surprised at PI, but at MEPPS.
My main reason for joining The Corps was to be a Marine. That being said, I probably would have taken any MOS available, however I decided that seeing I wanted to be a Police Officer later in life, I should go the route of Military Police for an MOS. I joined The Reserves and my Recruiter informed me that my Military Police MOS slot was "Good to Go" and off to Boston MEPPS I went.
When we got there we had several different stations to go thru and complete to secure our enlistment in the military. One of those stations involved sitting down with an Admin Marine and going through/signing your contract. I sat down with a Gunnery Sergeant Clarke. I remember him opening my folder and saying "Alright... Infantry...". I said to him "oh no sir... there must be some sort of horrible mistake, my Recruiter told me that I was to have an MP MOS". He said "Son, You are signing a Reserve Contract... There are no MP's in The Reserves". Suddenly that made all the sense in the world... DUH!
He went on to ask me what I wanted to do for a career. When I told him that I wanted to be a Police Officer he said "Infantry is the way to go. You will get the discipline you need and you will learn of all different type of weapons systems." I ended up walking out of that office asking myself "What just happened?!?!?!"
I signed up for the Infantry and my Marine Corps experience began. I don't even think I ever asked my Recruiter why he lied to me. I just reported to Boot Camp and SOI and met some of the best friends I have ever made. I remember during fun times while in The Corps, I was grateful for this "mix up".
Talking about WM's; I pulled guard duty one night at Parris Island protecting the WM's barracks while going through Boot Camp with Platoon 1138 back in 1977. I rarely saw the recruit WM's while I was there. However later while I was stationed at Courthouse Bay with the 2nd Amtracs; (there were not very many WM's at Courthouse Bay, once in a while one would come through the Engineers School that was there), I had to go to main side for something I don't remember. When I was walking through the parking lot, I came across one of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was a First Lieutenant WM, that was one of the snappiest salutes I ever gave an officer. I may not have seen a lot of the Marine Corps finest, but I definitely saw one of the prettiest.
Timothy M. O'Shea
CPL 2nd Amtracs 77-82
As everyone knows, boot camp built strength and increased endurance but it was not a gift, we had to work hard for it. One of the exercises I hated most was 'bucket drill'. In the middle of the morning or afternoon, when we were given the order to fall out on the street with our buckets, it was plain that we wouldn't be sitting around polishing brass, shoes, boots or cleaning rifles and rubbing linseed oil into the stocks. We were headed for the sand pits where we would load our buckets with the prescribed amount of sand before holding them straight out to the front or side for what seemed to be hours. Those buckets had many other uses and there were other drills using those blasted buckets but the extended arm endurance exercises are what I remember best.
Do they still have bucket issue and if not, when did it become a footnote in the history books?
When I enlisted in 1962, I was a babe in arms. Totally clueless with absolutely no idea what I was getting into or how the program worked, so enlisting for an MOS was totally foreign to me. H-ll, I didn't even know what an MOS was. So after graduation, the last night of boot camp, when we were standing around the Platoon Commander (Senior Drill Instructor for the benefit of the younger Marines) as he called our name and MOS, I was praying. "Please God, not 0311. Please God, not 0311. Please God, not 0311." When S/Sgt Way announced, "Private Downen. 1141 - Port Hueneme", my first thought was, "what the h-ll is an 1141 and where the h-ll is Port Hueneme". I never thought to thank God for answering my prayers.
For those who don't know, Port Hueneme is the Seabee base up by Oxnard CA where we went to school to become an 1141 Electrician. Anyone know when Marines stopped training at Port Hueneme?
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
But NOT Cooked
I was a cook... 3371... 66-69... I didn't want to be a cook, but I soon figured out my wants were not the same as the Corps wants. My 1st mess hall was at 3/2 Lejeune; cooks got to sleep at the mess hall. I only stood formation twice... 1st when I got PFC, and the 2nd time was when I got L/Cpl. Us new cooks learned from cooks that all wore Herringbone utes, our Mess Sgt was Top Turpin... WW ll and Korea Vet. Rough when he had to be but mostly a really nice guy. The 1st time I made coffee was in one of those big vats around 30 gallons... I burned the coffee, it's weird how sometimes you can do the impossible... it never happened again.
We did cold weather training at Camp Picket, Va. where I cooked for the Staff NCOs and Officers...the SgtMajor liked his bacon 1/4" thick and grilled hot, but NOT cooked.
At Lejeune we cooked eggs to order off of 3 grills, I learned to hold 2 eggs in each hand, cracked em, spread them and laid them on the grill, without breaking the yokes, and threw the shells in a GI can. 36 sets of eggs per grill, by the time I set the last pair it was time to start flippin them, and serving them when they were all flipped. 3-5 minutes each full grill. 2 cases each grill every morning. One Sgt I remember waited in line to get 2 eggs cracked in a glass of milk. We sometimes would scramble a couple eggs for some of the men but there were also full grills of scrambled eggs.
Each shift consisted of an E-5, 6-7 PFCs and L/Cpls, the baker was a Cpl Call and he did ALL the baking for both shifts, and kept his own hours... he could roll 3 biscuits in each hand, and never use a recipe for anything he baked... what I learned from him made the men in my battery in Chu Lai very happy. I believe him and Sgt Orsacki were from Chicago, L/Cpl Phluger was from Boston, I was from Boca Raton, L/Cpl Bongavino was from Queens, PFC Buccarell was from Philly, I don't know where L/Cpl Fry was from, and I have forgotten the name of our African American L/Cpl... but he was one Strack Marine, L/Cpl Bob "Flea" Coleman from Atlanta, 75 miles south from where I live now.
After 3/2 I went to Camp Schwab for 8 months, then Chu Lai for 5 months then Embassy School at Henderson Hall. D.C., where I passed the course but got dropped in Dec 68 because of a few hours in a Straight Jacket at camp Schwab.(that's a Loooong story) And while in DC met some wonderful WMs at the Slop Chute next door to Arlington Cemetery. At Lejeune the WM barracks was behind the PX... always a nice walk at night just before lights out.
L/Cpl Mark Gallant
Walloped With Brooms
I went thru MCRD in Sept. 1959 and will never forget the night we were called onto the "street" between the Quonset huts. We (plt. 271) were all either shining boots, shoes, or squaring something away for the next day. Once we were in formation, the DI's entered all the huts and came out with locks that had not been snapped on footlockers. We were told to go back inside and see if our locks were missing, and if so, report back out onto the street. Yours truly had a missing lock and reported back out onto the street with a key to face the music.
The DI's had snapped all the locks (maybe 20 or so) together like a bunch of grapes and had us report out to the grinder and form a circle. After we did, the locks were thrown in the center and we had to dive in with keys to find our locks. All the time we tried to get our key to find our lock we were being walloped with brooms and broom handles by the DIs until we could make our escape with our lock in hand....I got one good crack to the head and found my lock and got the h-ll out of there... It was a learning experience, and I never ever forgot to secure USMC property.
Cpl. D. McKee
Base Material Bn., FMF, Camp Pendleton
There is a lot of talk about the phrase OOORAH. Well, I'm a Hollywood Marine from 1972. I was in platoon 1014, lived in one of the hotels looking out over the obstacle course. And yes, we too used OOORAH, and it better have been louder then the next platoon or we weren't looking out over the obstacle course, we were running it!
And to SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple, I remember Mt. M---er F---er VERY well! I remember the first day we got there. We had to double time it up, and half way up, SSgt. Dawson, made us stop, do an about face, and started us doing Bends and Thrusts facing downhill. I can't tell you how many of us ended up with dirt filled mouths. By the time we got back to our barracks, we thought we were going to die. Day 2 was a repeat, except with full gear, helmet, pack, utility belt, and M-14.
Since my day, I've talked to many younger Marines as well as many younger and older guys from other branches. What gets me, is that now, after so long in boot camp, many if not all get some form of liberty. When I was in, the thought of any kind of liberty was out of the question. In fact, I think it was about week 10 before we ever saw a woman unless you went to sick bay. I remember the first woman I saw, was while we were field striping our weapons and a 2nd Lt. came waking by.
Without knowing me, most if not all won't understand. But the Corps, our Corps, let me out long before I wanted out. Now that I'm older, I understand why they discharged me. But I'm just as proud now being a member of the Marine Corps League and Military Order of Devil Dogs, as I was when I was active in the Corps.
I don't know your names or your stories, but I do know I'm proud to call you all Brothers and Sister.
L/Cpl. Dan Willits
Set Of Weights
Several days after we arrived at MCRD San Diego we were informed that we were getting our issue that day. We fell in and were marched over to a building where they lined us up and marched us through at "side step" with a 14 quart galvanized bucket held out in both hands outstretched in front of us.
As we came in front of one of the bins we got one of whatever happened to be in that particular one, for instance, a bar of soap, a soap dish, a shoe brush, tin of shoe polish , etc. After we had gone through the building we fell in again and marched back to our Quonset huts where we placed all our new gear in the foot lockers.
Plenty of opportunity for the DIs to do a bit of screaming and hollering. I can't remember how many times we heard "If God wants you to have it, MY Marine Corps will issue it in your bucket!" but it was pretty regularly screamed at us.
We used the buckets as a place to sit and polish boots, clean rifles, write letters and a myriad of other duties. One day this DI told us that in our interest HIS Marine Corps had bought each of us maggots a set of weights. We fell in with our buckets and were marched over to a sand pit where we scooped sand into the buckets and started working out in pairs so we'd have a bucket in each hand then when one guy was done the other would have his turn. These buckets were one of the most used articles in our possession.
Semper Fi! Jwinks
Tutus And Tears
Hello Sgt Grit,
It sounds like a horror story that would have been told to the FNG's as they arrived to the front lines. My father served from 66-72, and he doesn't talk about it much. One of the few things I know about his time served is that at some point, he suffered the "loss of a spherical reproductive organ" while under mortar fire. He took cover in a foxhole with a buddy and landed on top of his buddy and his rifle... and bayonet.
He lost a lot of blood and part of his bladder as well. His recovery and return to his unit took half the time the doctors estimated. Just goes to show, Marines are some of the toughest people out there. He blames the subsequent loss of said organ for having four daughters. This Marine then had to deal with ballet and pink tutus and tears. But he taught me the phrase "the only easy day was yesterday", and with the four of us, never was there a truer phrase! I do believe this incident resulted in one of his Purple Hearts.
A Grunt and a Squid
I am blessed with two daughters. My penance was tutus and harp strings. That has given way to son-in-laws... nice guys, but I miss the harp and tutu days.
On One Occasion
In response to the Woman Marine claiming no recognition, I submit the following:
I was a JR/SR Drill Instructor at MCRD Parris Island, SC from 1963-'65, assigned to Q Co, 3rd RTB. We were somewhat separated from 1st & 2nd RTBn and were not aware of the Parades, Graduations, etc. that occurred "Mainside." On one occasion, I was marching my platoon past the "Grinder" and noticed a Graduation Ceremony of Women Marines. I moved my platoon off the roadway and we watched as they Passed In Review with a much disciple and precision as any other Platoon of Marines.
After the Graduation was dismissed, I spoke with the Sr Drill instructor of the Women Marines who informed me that there was indeed a Woman Marine Basic Training at PISC, designated as 4th RTB. This was the only Basic Training program for WM's as MCRDSD did not have such a program. I saw this Drill Instructor at a later time at the NCO Club, drinking a cool one with other Drill Instructors where she was fully accepted by all. I later went to 4th RTB and observed the training and discipline there to be no different from the men's.
Yes, Ma'am, there are, in fact, Women Marines.
Gy Sgt of Marines
Sports Car Seats
What in the world is the world coming to?... no buckets?... "we didn't have buckets in boot camp"?... Marine recruits have always had buckets... a very useful item, multi-multi-purpose... seats... "Awright, girls, getcher sports car seats (bucket seats... get it?) and get on the street"...
This could be for anything from rifle cleaning to shoe shining to question drills... guide reads the question, those working on whatever answer in unison, laundry, (of course), watering the ice plant (best done when raining), and exclusive to MCRD, SD. wearing while smoking, wearing while duck-walking (lemme hear them quacks echo, girls"), for really old-timers, carrying sand from the beach at San Diego Bay, for 'bucket drill'... filled with sand, used as weights for PT... that lasted a year or more at SD... nothing gets re-invented more in the Corps than methods of achieving physical fitness...
Can think of a bunch of "new, improved, more realistic' programs over the years since 1957... and just smile... "Do not, repeat, do not, pack your bucket in the bottom of your sea bag"... this usually for the move from the Depot to the Range (Matthews or Edson) and back... 10%ers easily identified by the embossed white ring on the bottom of the sea bag, made by the bottom rim when the loaded sea bag got tossed onto something hard... undeniable fckup... and those sea bags only had one strap... whoever thought up the pack-strap version deserves a Meritorious Mast.
Buckets also used as receptacles for Navy Relief and/or United Way drives in the day when the last boot payday was in cash... Gy Rocky Tafolla, with only one lung, would have a whole series with moist eyes and no singles and no jingles in the buckets when he would lay out the tale of the widows and orphans... bucket would go up to BnHq. Watering ice plant in the rain? taught 'unquestioning and immediate compliance with orders'... even if it didn't make sense (also helped with the program to convince recruits early on that some DI's are absolutely, completely wacko, and... probably dangerous.
Huntsinger wanted to know how much recruit blood was spilled by use of the Gillette Blue Blade razor?... quite a bit, many moles removed, too... SOP in most of the series I worked was that the blood-stained towel from the first shave would be washed, turned in, torn in halves or quarters, and stacked neatly in one corner of the platoon 'classroom' (if there were enough empty huts to have such) This stack became the platoon rag supply for the first several weeks... improvise, adapt, overcome... or, the typical Corps confusion between the words "economical" and 'cheap'... as stewards of the taxpayer's money, we were obligated, etc. etc. etc...
Not too unusual to spot a recruit in the mob on the second morning who lacked eyebrows... a result of simple, clear, and loud instructions for the first shower session the evening before : "THERE WILL be NO HAIR visible from teh top of the ear to the collarbone!" Some of those recruits who somewhat resembled a Chevy two-door on a hilltop with both doors open might have had such an alignment of ear tops and eyebrows... and weren't about to ask for clarification.
Now... re the volume of stories... hope that 1. some stories will prompt others along the same vein, and 2. Lead, Follow, or Get Out of The Way... and, if y'all were paying attention, y'all got some stories too... nobody cares if it's your first... 'she' probably didn't either... get'em in there... and tell others about Grit's scuttlebutt, etc. An excellent cure for those who have been on independent duty in CivPac or CivLant with no contact for too long...
Don't want to commit a HIPPA violation here, so will not further identify person, time, or place, but happened to make a VFD First Responder call on an older gent with a minor health issue... had been there before, knew the gent was a WWII Marine, just didn't have time to do the 'who were you with, when, where, routine. Ambulance was coming from out of zone on this occasion, so took a bit longer, and I got the chance.
When he said 'two fourteen', being pretty much a Mud Marine (reference there to a line in 'Flying Leathernecks concerning a J-p sniper and a comment by Jay C Flippen's character... "the Mud Marines'll get him), I immediately assumed that was Second Battalion, Fourteenth Marines, an Artillery Battalion... part of the 4th Division,... so, raising the volume a bit, I said... "so... you're a cannon-cocker, then?" (have found over the years that it helps to speak loudly... and slowly... to Artillerymen)...
He looked at me as if I were more than just a bit damp behind the ears (at 72 years of age), and said 'no... VMA 214... Boyington's outfit'. I had just encountered one of the famed Black Sheep squadron... he'll be OK, suspect he was back home in just a couple of hours... will get the rest of the story next chance.
In this last week's newsletters there were some pics of Vietnamese Bar girls. well holding to that theme Here's a couple more from my time over there. these were from the e club at DaNang 1970 or 71
Loved the short skirts of the time period!
Sgt Of Marines (nla)
1968 - 74, Rvn 70-71
2, 3, 4
To S/F, regarding recruiter stories, I've told this story beau- coup times at "jarhead" get togethers. Being from the Boston area (Dorchester) I can recall the Marine recruiter being located at #300 Columbia Rd. Dorchester, one GySgt. Melansen.
On or around February, 1967 a group of us, "gung ho" high school seniors, got together for a trip to join "the Corps" as we had previously agreed upon. Truth be told, I can't remember if I witnessed the event or was told the story. In any event, a friend from Dorchester, Paul McChesney, learning we had signed up went over to see the GySgt., our recruiter. We had been told all the two year enlistments had been filled and only the three and four year slots were available. I know I "bit" at the three years as my older brother, just shortly released from the "Corps" said he'd kill me if I signed for four.
Well, Paul was no "dummy", however he let the "gunny" know he was interested in becoming a "door gunner" on a helicopter. The response was something to the effect of "that's the Air Wing" and that will require a four year enlistment. Well, McChesney "bit", signed for four years and his contract was even stamped "Air Guarantee". What a deal!. The closest McChesney got to the Air Wing was being a machine gunner with the 1st M.P. Battalion outside Danang. Haven't seen Paul in quite a while.
To make the story more comical was the fact my mother had called over to the recruiting office earlier in the week to ask if they would be open for our "visit". What a "dunce"!
Terry Kelly, Cpl
1St Field Artillery Group
Hq 3/11 '67-'70
USS J. C. Breckenridge
Read Mike Winnie's article about the "Bucket Issue" and wanting to know about its uses. I arrived at MCRD, San Diego in January 1958. We were issued a large steel bucket as we entered "Receiving" that contained a scrub brush and large bar of yellow soap which would be used for washing our utilities. As we went around this large room with bins we would place all the issued items, such as toothbrush, tooth paste, shaving gear, shoe polish, and dozens of other items in our bucket. When this was completed, we were herded into a large room, told to sit on the floor and dump the contents of the bucket on the floor in front of us. An NCO stood on a raised platform in the front of the room and would hold up an item and explain its use. We in turn, were to hold up the same item to show we had same and put it back in our bucket. A sharp slap up-side the head by a Drill Instructor awaited anyone who held up the wrong item or worse, didn't have the item. This continued until all issue was back in the buckets. This was our "Bucket Issue."
Buckets were used for other things throughout boot camp. They were used at the wash rack while washing our utilities. Sitting on one's rack was a real no-no, so your footlocker or the upturned bucket was used to sit on in the billets. They were used as a seat in the platoon street while cleaning weapons, polishing boots or whatever else we were doing. They were also used for punishment. Your ears would ring for hours after running around with a bucket over your head and a DI beating on it with his swagger stick. And of course, when filled with sand and held out an arm's length while singing the Marine Corps Hymn until the DI was happy with your rendition. God help you if you lowered that bucket until given permission. It's been over fifty years and I can still feel the burning in my arms from doing this. I'm sure there were other things we used the buckets for, but my memory is not as sharp as it once was.
Frank Briceno's article where he mentions being transported on the USS J. C. Breckenridge to Okinawa in 1961 brought back memories. I also was transported to Okinawa on the Breckenridge in August 1958. I had long since learned you didn't volunteer for anything, but a few who did volunteer for a "special assignment" got Mess Duty (the pits in my book) while the rest were assigned other duties while aboard ship. I got lucky and was assigned as a "sweeper" topside. About 6 or 8 times a day the PA would announce "Sweepers man your brooms, sweep fore and aft, dump all trash over the fantail." Dumping trash or anything else over the fantail is probably not allowed in this day and age.
I was in platoon 303 in boot camp (Jan - March 1958) MCRD. My Drill Instructors were T/Sgt. M. Lewis, S/Sgt. D. Schmitz and Sgt. P. R. Mackey. In Okinawa I was assigned to B Co, 1st Bn, 3rd Mar, based at Camp Isahama, located about a mile or so from Camp Sukeran. Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me or served with me.
John F. Wilson
Cpl USMC 1958-1962
SLAVINSKY, THE BUCKET!
In answer to the request by Mike Winnie in the 09 Feb 2012 Newsletter about the uses of our buckets in bootcamp, here are two of my favorites.
I hit the yellow footprints on 25 Oct 1967. Was in Platoon 3302. When we eventually "WALKED" to Marine Corps Property to get our Webbed Gear, and shelter half, and such, (we did not know how to march yet), we were issued a 2 1/2 gallon galvanized bucket. In addition to using it every morning to water the "Grass" in front of our Quonset Huts, (it was the kind of grass that looked and felt just like sand) we were marched down to the cement wash racks to do our socks and our skivvies every weekend. Ah, Mr. Winnie, this is where the story gets creative.
Now guys, you have to believe me when I say you just can't make this stuff up. So, our Senior Drill Instructor was GySgt Gallehue. A man of average height. Maybe six feet tall. A strict but very fair Marine. Oh, he got physical sometimes. And it hurt! He was a fairly muscular man.
Then, there was SSgt Hopkinson. A very tall Marine. A Very, Very physical Drill Instructor. When he got physical, it hurt like H-ll, and then some.
Then there was Sgt Fijac. Shall we just say that he was altitude challenged. He had to look up to just about every Marine in our Platoon. But he was Tough!
Now, on the bus from the San Diego Airport you were given your first chance to stand out from the crowd. And then in came Slavinsky. He was very, very tall and skinny, and what's more he fit every description of a Hippie. He had hair down to his shoulders. He was wearing a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off all the way to his armpits. He was wearing cut-off jeans. And to top it all off, he was wearing JC sandles. Talk about stand out! He STOOD OUT!
Now, our Senior DI, Gunny Gallehue had no problem dealing with Mr. Slavinsky. Slavinsky just had to remember to never look DOWN at GySgt Gallehue. And SSgt Hopkinson was almost the same height. But I'm afraid Sgt Fijac had a serious problem going eye-to-eye with Slavinsky. But he had a solution!
Every, and I mean EVERY place we went when Sgt Fijac had the duty, Slavinsky had to bring his big bucket. Fijac would march us out to the grinder or wherever else he took us, he would halt the platoon, he would give us Right Face, and then he would shout very loudly, "SLAVINSKY!" Mr Slavinsky would step out of ranks, walk out a few paces and he would set his bucket on the ground and then he would get back into formation.
We would continue our "instruction" with Sgt Fijac in the lead until it was Slavinsky's turn to be the screw up. Whether he needed it or not. You guys know how that goes. When it's time for you to be the screw up you were in trouble.
So, when it was his turn to be "corrected" for his "mistake", Sgt Fijac would HALT the platoon, give us Right Face, and he would shout
"SLAVINSKY, THE BUCKET!"
Pvt Slavinsky would step out of ranks, go and retrieve his bucket, bring it back to Sgt Fijac, turn it upside down, and stand there behind his bucket. At this point, Sgt Fijac would step up ON the bucket and proceed to use his hands to Correct whatever mistake it was Slavinsky's turn to have made.
Hardest part of it all? We COULD NOT LAUGH! We had to maintain a straight face. We were still at attention doncha know.
So, there Mike Winnie. There are two of the many uses we had for that big galvanized bucket. True story guys. I was there!
Semper Fi Marines
Charles (Chuck) Brewer, 1967-1973, Sergeant of Marines FOREVER! Nam 1969-1970. I served in Nam with some of the finest Marines to ever wear the uniform. God help me, but I would live that year in Nam over again as long as no one got hurt and I got to serve with the same crew of Marines. How I GOT to Nam is another story I will submit another time
Even Marines Have Heroes
Yesterday, 10 Feb 2012, while driving on highway 183 in the Dallas, Texas area, a white pickup passed me. He was going pretty fast, and I thought he was just another young kid, although he did look pretty clean-cut. Then, when he was ahead of me, I saw his license plate -- "27USMC" it said! And the license plate frame said "Combat Veteran, United States Marine Corps".
I worked as hard as I could to catch him, but the 18-wheeler just doesn't go like a car does! After several miles, though, we came to a bit of a traffic jam -- and when I got even with him, I blew the air horn and screamed for him to stop!
And when we were both stopped there, for a scant 5 or 6 seconds, on the freeway, I yelled for him to come to my window -- and I gave him a Tora no cigar -- it was either a Reserva Selecta, or a Reserva Decadencia -- and not simply a cheap one.
You see, I'm a Marine, but things were pretty quiet when I was on active duty in the Corps -- and even Marines have heroes. Combat veterans comprise a large part of my personal heroes.
"27USMC" -- if you by chance happen to see this -- Semper Fi! And God Bless!
Comment was posted in a recent newsletter re. lack of mention about WMs. One post referred to the possibility that we, as Marines, may not have met any. How true. Back nearly 60 years when I served, there were obviously none in the FMF's lstMarDiv or 3rdMarDiv, in Korea and Japan, respectively. About the only round-eyed females we saw were Red Cross workers at Ascom City, Korea, or Army dependents at Camp Gifu, Japan.
Stateside with the 1stMarDiv upon its return, the only places we might have bumped into a Woman Marine would have been at a movie theater, pool, or PX on the main side. In HqCoHqBn we were at, I believe 11 area. The WMs were miles away and usually base personnel.
Bob Rader Sgt #140####
I've been reading with interest some of the stories on boot camp, etc. in your Thursday postings. I was sworn in in Chicago on July 1st, 1952; with (I believe) 25 others, and several Navy Seamen who had recently completed their boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station, were put on a troop train for San Diego that evening.
We arrived early in the morning of July 4th and were assigned to Platoon 445. No yellow footprints, no "Oorahs". One of your writers sent a photograph of an album that shows the layout of MCRD San Diego very well. If memory serves me correctly, the building at the top end of this photograph, at the edge of the "Grinder", was the base theater. We were assigned to Quonset huts to the right of this building, probably 1/4 or so of a mile from it.
When we went to "fire the range" for three weeks (Was it camp Matthews? I'm not sure) 10 or 15 miles from MCRD (my guess), we were housed in pyramid tents. As nearly I can recall, reville was at 0500 - pitch black dark. A few days after we got there our DI suspected that some of us weren't completely stripping our bunks every morning, just making it up by pulling the sheets and blanket tight, so we were required to fall out with a sheet in each hand immediately after reville!
When we returned to MCRD, I believe we were housed in Quonset huts in the area to the right of the Grinder in the photograph I refer to. (Not sure of directions.) Right after boot camp we got 10 days of "Boot leave", then reported to Camp Pendleton for four weeks of "Individual Combat Training".
After that I was assigned to 20 weeks of Navy Electronics Technician School at Treasure Island, California, then back to MCRD for 12 weeks of Radar Repairman's school (when I enlisted I didn't know the Marine Corps had Radar). That was Signal School Battalion, and to the best of my memory, "C" Company. Then another 10 day leave, then to Camp Pendleton to casual company, then firing the range to qualify with the M-1 rifle, then to Pickel Meadows, California, for Cold Weather training.
If memory serves me correctly, it was t5 days; while we were there we celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday in the field. Then to Korea, on the APA "Howze"; debarked at Pusan in early December '53 and was assigned to "D" Btry, 1st 90 mm. AAA Bn., FMFPac. Finished my tour of duty there in Jan. '55 and returning to the states on the TAP "Walker".
After a 30 day leave, reported to the Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field at Edenton, N.C.; I believe I was assigned to MABS-13, but not exactly sure of the number; I was in the control tower there. Released from active duty June 30, '55 as a Sgt. (E-4; there were only seven enlisted grades then). That pretty much sums it up, although I left out a lot of details, of course!
-- Gerald Brookman, 133XXXX/2711
'Strong as an ox... dang near as smart'
'Your application for transfer has been forwarded... enthusiastically recommending approval'
'Two good duty stations in the Marine Corps... the one you came from, and the one you're going to"
"I'm a 5.0 Marine in a 4.0 Corps" (in reference to the old Proficiency and Conduct marks... all ranks below Sgt... 5.0 could walk on water... any ripples would be in step, 36" apart)
From the Company Supply Sgt: "you don't rate it, I ain't got it, and besides that, I got'em counted... get your butt back to work"
'Always wanted to get my medals the way the brass got theirs... (mimic holding a pair of binoculars, waving an arm in general direction of the beach)... 'send in another wave"
Korea era vets might recall this one... "how many hordes in a Chinese platoon?"
Any wireman sporting a holster with a pair of TL's, a waffle- stomped shiny issue pocket knife and a roll of electrical tape on a toggle chain... "I'm a communications technician"
'a Marine on duty has no friends'... often found on the front of a Duty NCO log book... numbered pages prevented careful removal with a single edge razor blade, and re-writing without entries leading to office hours... not that I would know anything about that...
"You're gonna get locked up so far back they'll have to pump pisz out and sunshine in"...
Comm repair section in Bldg 2000 at 29 Palms had a little bit of classified stuff, so it was a secure area... also lots of oscilloscopes, things with pixie screens, plenty of flashing lights, wave forms, etc... all set for inspection, every last piece of it lit up (they mostly spent a lot of time repairing gear trains on the top of PRC25's... )... General stepped inside the secure area door, saw all the high tech gizmos consuming electrons, said "Very impressive... how much of this stuff is turned on when I'm not here?" (never forget... all Generals were once 2nd Lts, and all Gunnies were once PFC's... don't BS a BS'er!)
What I Found
I just wanted to mention the transfer of Staff Sergeant Bradford L. Bean to his permanent duty station, who is currently guarding the golden gates of heaven. Effective date of the transfer was January 19, 2010.
I am posting this notification two years after SS Bean's transfer because Brad and I lost track of each other after he was medevac'd out of Viet Nam. SS Bean and I were in the Second Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton in early 1968, where we became very close friends. SS Bean was from Michigan, I from Missouri. He shared visits with me to my Sister and family in Garden Grove California.
Upon completion of ITR, we both went our separate ways for "graduate" training, he in air traffic control and I in aircraft mechanics. After learning all I could about the CH-34, I was transferred to HMM-163 in Santa Anna, California to play with CH-46s. Unknown to me, Corporal Bean had already arrived from his training to the same permanent duty station, hooked up with my sister and her family, borrowed money from them to buy a 1958 Corvette, and gotten married to Elsie.
We served (and played) together until April, 1969 at which time I took a trip to Da Nang and then Phu Bia with HMM 265-MAG 36-1st MAW. While moving from various LPHs (USS Iowa Jima, etc.) Corporal Bean was transferred to the Da Nang area as a forward observer. We touched base periodically until he was injured and medevac'd out of country. Despite a few letters to Sergeant Bean, we generally lost track of each other... until January of 2012.
After several years in the Marine Corps, active and reserve, and as a civilian advisor with Boeing in country, I graduated from college, got married, had a family and entered into a career in healthcare management. This career eventually brought me to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2000, and then to Sturgis, Michigan in March, 2012.
All during my time since last communicating with Brad, I searched for him in several different ways. The ultimate search was web searches, but apparently Bradford Bean was maintaining a fairly low profile. Then in January of 2012, I did another web search and Bradford L. Bean was revealed to me. Unfortunately, what I found was his obituary from the Sturgis, Michigan newspaper.
After forty years of searching, it is so very ironic that he had been living in the very city in Michigan that I currently worked in and visited over the past ten years.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to find his wife Elsie, nor his children or god-children. I have visited where his ashes are entombed and the place he received full military rites were conferred
Please join me in a salute to our comrade, Staff Sergeant Bradford L. Bean, whom we have "Lost, but not Forgotten"!
David B. Miller
A number of notes in this issue brought to mind some dots that connect to one of my experiences. Kudos were noted for Navy Chaplains and your staff. They were expressed somewhat differently, an Out F....ing Standing for your staff, but for some reason withheld from the Chaplains.
These bring to mind one of my Chaplain stories... Back in the early 60's I was stationed with 2nd Amtracs in Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune. I worked in Battalion HQ in S2 (the oxymoron, military intelligence).
Also housed in Amtracs HQ was the Chaplain. His office and duties weren't in my radar screen very much. I don't know how many personnel Chaplains normally cover, but I'm assuming that although he was attached to & hung out in Amtracs, he covered all the units in Courthouse Bay which would be Amtracs, Anglico and the Engineering School. His assistant was from H&S Amtracs, in my platoon so we had some sense of his office.
The LCPL exemplified that the Commandant and from the Chaplain's viewpoint God, works in mysterious ways. The casual observer, Marine or otherwise likely would assume that the Marine assigned to assist the Chaplain, would himself be Chaplain-like. Probably culled from a search that produced a robust list of the virtuous among us. Suffice to say, I don't think so.
Actually it would appear that someone in authority was having some fun with the Chaplain. The Odd Couple comes to mind, one the official and real symbol of virtue, and the other sent to test his faith. One a proud country boy from the VA mountains who did a great imitation of Gomer Pyle, except he wasn't doing an imitation, and his assistant who hailed from the bowels of NYC and sounded like he stepped out of West Side Story. But it's a dirty job and someone had to do it. The LCPL did a fine job of acting like he gave a sh-t, but made a point of going to his home town of NYC every weekend where he could to purge himself with healthy doses of wine, women and song. But I digress.
The Chaplain as noted was a good man, working in the trenches with the heathen. We were all good men (I don't recall any Woman Marines out in the Bay), but we did a good job of acting like heathen. As you all know there is there is a perception that we Marines swear and converse enriched by very foul language. Thus the saying "swears like a Marine". That of course is a myth as it's well known that we are pure in mind, body and spirit.
But back then, the Chaplin, housed right by one of the entrances to HQ, and in the course of his job walking around thought he heard from time to time, salty language. Well perhaps... This he did not like.
His angst built up to the degree that he prevailed on the Commanding Officer to let him call all hands to a lecture, not a service but a lecture. I don't recall if it included the Anglico and Engineering School people, but it did cover Amtracs. As you can imagine it's non- trivial to pull all hands, except for a skeleton crew, off line midday for a lecture. But it's possible that all of us didn't go to church where he'd catch us on a Sunday morning, not to mention the differing religions that may not wish to drop in. And as I said, in his view this wasn't a religious issue & sermon, this was about decency and no matter what affiliation... or not... you subscribed to... it provided no excuse to miss it. It was an order.
We had a theater out there, but I don't think we used that. I think we were jammed into the mess hall, but I may not have that right. We assembled, and he began.
He put about an hour of his best evangelical fervor into his distress about our language. Particularly one word. "That word!" The F bomb, the F word, F..k. I think it's fair to say he went on what we call nowadays a rant about it. "You use it as a verb!, you use it as a noun, adjective, prefix, suffix and even make foul other innocent words by sticking it in the middle e.g. ab-so-f....king-lutely!. " (or as some noted in the newsletter "Out fuc...g standing" You don't even follow the rules of English or grammar, you throw it in any old way. And he reserved particular ire for the incestuous linkage to motherhood.
Well he had us there, as we did so cherish "that word" and all it variations. I think the general feeling was that it was unprofessional to ignore it, we owed it our love and affection and used it generously. I mean, if we couldn't say that, what the H-ll could we say?
After he vented for about an hour we were released back to our duties and follow-up discussion amongst ourselves.
I think the Chaplin's popularity went up after this, as all hands felt and said, it was one of the best F..king speeches we ever heard.
Veins On His Neck
My recruiter was as squared-away a Marine as I ever saw in the Corps. SSgt Higenbotham also tried to look out for my interests, believe it or not. On the day I walked into his office, I already knew I would become a Marine... or nothing.
The Sands of Iwo Jima was, and is, my favorite movie. Earning the same uniform worn by the men who stormed places like Iwo, Guadalcanal and Peleliu was my goal in life. When he asked what MOS I was interested in, I told him flat out, "0311". Later, after I had taken the ASVAB, he said to me, "Why don't you consider an MOS on the aviation side of the Corps. You can get a job like Avionics or Airframes and you would have no problem finding a job when you finish your tour. I've been a grunt for 12 years and it is a hard-azs job." I thought long and hard about it for the next few days, researching aviation and civilian careers in the field. Taking his advice, I listed my 3 MOS choices as follows:
1. Air Traffic Control
2. Fire, Crash and Rescue
3. Aviation Operations
When I joined Uncle Sam's Misfortunate Children the Corps was a totally voluntary force (as it is today) and, since this was right after Viet Nam the Suck offered "guarantees" on MOS selections. At that time there were many openings in Air traffic Control, so the Staff Sergeant was comfortable when he stated, "You'll be an Air Traffic Controller and have a job that saves lives." The impact of that statement to me was one of great inspiration. Through the h-ll of the First Two Phases of Recruit Training the thought of having a job that would be interesting and exciting, and provided my opportunity to earn the title United States Marine kept me motivated.
Toward the end of Boot Camp when MOS's and their school location were posted, my MOS was listed as 7041, Aviation Operations Specialist, with the service school located at Meridian, MS. Confused, I screwed-up my courage and pounded on the DI's door and yelled, "Sir, the Private has a question for the Senior Drill Instructor, Sir!" The reason for the nervousness was that my Senior D.I. was a large, imposing Marine at 6'7" and probably around 250 lbs.
After the usual "Speak maggot and don't f--k it up!" I explained to him that I had been guaranteed Air Traffic Control as my MOS. I thought the man was literally going to explode. With the veins on his neck bulging out so far I expected them to pop at any second. Getting himself as composed as only a Marine Corps D.I. can be when he wants to choke the life out of the sh- tbird standing in front of him, he carefully explained that the Corps sends you where, what and when it needs you, not vice- versa.
The ATC field had filled up during boot (at least that's what I was told) and so had the Crash&Rescue. I would be a 7041, Aviation Operations Specialist. Turned out to be a friggin' secretary-type position, not at all how I pictured my hitch in the Corps. After my 4 year tour, I got out and once again became "one of them", a civilian.
I met a woman and got married. Since she also had a son I figured bartending and security guard work wasn't going to cut it, so I decided to look into going back into the service, but this time on my own terms. I went and saw the Air Force recruiter to check into becoming an ATC. I figured 4 years, then I'd get out for the last time but this time I would have the training for a good paying civilian job. The AF recruiter had me take some tests and when I went back the next day said, "Congratulations! You passed the test and are qualified to go to ATC school!"
I was ecstatic for about 60 seconds and then she said, "You can become an ATC for the Air Force but you will have to drop one rank (back down to E-3)." But the next words out of her mouth changed my life forever. "There's a 6 month waiting list to get in." Naturally, I was totally stunned. She waited to the very last to let me know I wouldn't be back on active duty for half a year. "Hold that thought," I replied and walked out the door and two doors down to the Marine Recruiting Station.
I walked in, and asked the Sgt on duty how long it would take to get back on active duty with the Corps. After looking over my info, he replied, "I'll have you on the bus tonight." And he was true to his word. I kept Cpl and made Sgt about a year later, but best of all, that AF Recruiter did me a huge favor and prevented me from making a giant mistake.
Semper Fi Marines
SSgt of Marines
Whacking Me Across The Nose
In reply to S/Sgt. Huntsinger 1968/1975... question about blood spilling in the first weeks of boot camp from the old Gillette double edge razors...
My name is Howard W. Kennedy... 1956/1962... went through MCRD San Diego in Sept /Dec. 1956 Plt. 3065 with S/Sgt Dorris E. Patton as Senior DI and Cpl Ernest Cockrell as Jr. DI... I do remember the old razors very well...
One morning our Jr. DI was giving us all the once over and ask me if I had shaved that morning... I said yes sir but he must not have thought it was close enough... I had just turned 17 and had nothing but a little fuzz to begin with... He said report to the DIs duty hut... Once inside and standing at attention in front of the Senior DI s desk he preceded to tell me how every Marine must shave every morning whether you need it or not... Then he said after you leave my hut you'll remember that...
Then he ordered me into stationary double time, after a few minutes he handed me one of the Gillette double edge razors and said now shave... After into it a couple minutes my Jr. DI stepped up and with a pencil and started whacking me across the nose and forehead at the same time... I know a pencil don't sound like much but he knew how to use it for the best effect... I knew I was cutting myself up pretty good but once I was able to look in a mirror I looked like a cat had got hold of me...
So yes Sir I do remember the blood spilling from the old Gillette double edge razors... In fact like my DI said after today you'll remember that, he was right... most times even now 55 years later I make sure I'm getting a close, clean shave... There's nothing like dry shaving doing stationary double time, while getting whacked across the nose to help you remember... BUT... I would dry shave everyday just to have the chance to be a young Marine one more time... Some great old memories...
"The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world."
--Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy
"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."
--American statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
"Genius ... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way."
--William James, American psychologist and philosopher
So by that rationale, every Marine is a genius due to his ability to improvise, adapt and overcome.
"By their victory, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and other units of the Fifth Amphibious Corps have made an accounting to their country which only history will be able to value fully. Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
--Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U.S. Navy
"We will always remember. We will always be proud, We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
--President Ronald Reagan
"Any clever person can make plans for winning a war if he has no responsibility for carrying them out."
"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat."
--RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995