Sgt Grit Newsletter - 27 SEP 2012

In this issue:
• Short Timer's Stick
• See If The Cockroaches
• Re: Operation Utah

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Plt 128 MCRDSD 1944 Plt 189 MCRDPI 1956 Not sure where I found the first photo but I picked the second one up in Monroe, LA. Maybe someone would like to see these.

Jim Grimes
USMC 1969-72 SGT

Short Timer's Stick

Short Timers Stick Here is a short timer's stick from 1957, Camp Hague, Oki. 12th Marines, H&S battery.

Jacobs Lang - 56/62

Birthday Ball Breakfast

See If The Cockroaches

Hello Sgt Grit!

Back again with another true story from the land of milk and honey!

Vietnam - Liberty Bridge - 1969... Well There we were. Fox Company, 1st Plt, 2/5 Security Detail, and it was a beautiful sun-shiny-day! We were just-a-strollin' back and forth across the bridge makin' sure the local Jack-A-Muffins weren't getting into mischief when we spotted a jeep zipping down the road our way with a giant searchlight mounted on it... Is there a U.S.O. show coming to an HOA? We wondered...

Instead of passing us by, the driveer slowed down to a stop in front of me... "Hey Marine! Where is your C.O.? I got orders to stay here and sweep the bridge tonight." We looked at the dog-faced Soldier who was a Spec-4 and about my age and started laughing, and said, " Please give me your full name and serial number Soldier." "Why?" He asked. "So we will know where to send your remains after you turn on that light tonight!" Our Platoon Commander, LT. Newson checked his orders and explained to him that Liberty Bridge was not the place to be flashing his pretty light around at night as it may make the bad boys of the neighborhood curious.

So during the wee hours he would flick the searchlight on to see if the cock-roaches would freeze like they do when you turn on the kitchen light and move his position to the other side of the bridge.

As the sun came up we were shooting the breeze and he asked my name. "Ivie," sas I. "Ivie?" Says he. "You got a brother in the Army?" "Yeah, I say, Robert Ivie...just went home, was up at Camp Carroll near Khe Sanh." All of a sudden his eyes get big and wide and he screams in my face; "You're Hawkeye's brother? (This kid was off his rocker...)

Dinky Dao, too much Army food, look at him jumping up and down. "No, no no! You don't understand, I was with your brother for the last six months! He drove a 10-ton wrecker and he took me under his wing! He told me all about you! I can't believe it! Hawkeye's brother!"

After calming him down with soothing words and a cool drink of bug juice, he told us all about my brother "Hawkeye" and his shotgunning crew of bad-azz retrievers who taught him the ins-and-outs of the Nam to keep him alive... After hearing all the details, I was pretty proud of my brother (The Army Puke). And as he pulled away to return to Hill 35, I told him I would give my brother his regards... That is... after I find out who named him "Hawkeye"!

Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters
Always remember the good stuff as well!

Cpl. "Chip" Ivie
RVN '69-'70

Medal and Ribbon Mounting

Short Rounds

Returned to MCRD after an absence of 47 years to watch a recruit graduation ceremony. Fox company consisting of 5 platoons. Roughly 300 recruits being formally made into Marines, after 13 weeks of intense training and discipline. The Drill was highly impressive. The average age was 19, all but a small few were high school graduates. 10 were college graduates. All were fit and lean. Congratulations to all. After almost 50 years, if called upon I would attempt to do it all again. Semper Fi.

Richard Harvey
Sgt. Artillery Fire Direction Center

I know as of 9 January 1987 (the day I graduated Plt 1007 Parris Island) we did squat thrusts.

Jim Hilton

To MGySgt Mackin:

Had the same weapons in the fall of 1966: M-14 at PI and M-1 at ITR. Got to 'Nam in 1969 and the M-14's were long gone. As a young brown bar my Sgt. Maj. "gave" me a 12 gauge shotgun as I headed out of Dong Ha bound for Vandy. Can't remember the make/model of the shotgun.

J.D. Burkholder
LtCol, USMCR (Ret)

We didn't start using combination locks until ITR. I remember it was a pain in the butt when you came off liberty, after lights out and wanted to get into your locker, and all you had was a book or matches or your Zippo lighter, and hoped it wasn't out of fluid!


I missed the original story about M-1s being used for qualification in 1965 at Parris Island, but I agree with MGySgt Mackin about the M-14. I arrived at P.I. on June 15, 1965 and we used M-14s. The first M-1 that I used was at Camp Geiger during ITR.

CWO-4 M. Weaver

Must have been an East Coast / West Coast thing. I had the honor of attending my introduction to the Marine Corps Brotherhood at MCRDSD. Left over right and still do to this day.

Ret MSgt

This is a reply to MGySgt. Jim Mackin's question about the M-14 and WWII ammo. Not possible since the M-14 didn't come into service until around 1960. Not sure when the Marine Corps got theirs, but I was issued one at PI in July, 1962. I was a member of Plt. 352, SSgt. Ed Flynn was our SDI and was a great man.

We qualified on the M-14 and had to turn it in before graduation day. When we got to ITR at Camp Geiger, we were issued M1's that had seen better days, but they worked just fine. We did use old WWII ammo at Geiger. Probably ate old WWII or Korean War C-Rations as well.

Charlie Ducar
Cpl of Marines

Thanks for sending me this article. I was an Infantry Platoon Commander under Lt Col. Utter 1/7 in Operation Utah. It was a tough day and I was wounded that first day. God Bless the Marine Corps. Semper Fi.


Sgt Bisher and Operation Utah:

The USMC has never owned CH-47 Chinooks. We fly CH-46 Sea Knights as shown in the photo with the very interesting article.

Semper Fidelis, John

Colonel John R. Bates USMC (ret)

Speedy Gonzalez '59-'63, then forgot bad parts '67-'70, and retired out of Nam. Always a Marine.

Semper Fi
Yo, all from texas.

In Sgt. Bisher's article he mentioned that the helos they landed in were Chinooks. The accompanying photo shows a CH-46 Sea Knight, tail code YT, belonging to HMM-164. Army had the "Sh-thooks" as we called them, not the Marines.

Bill Wilson
RVN '66-'67

In the recent newsletter the article has photo of YT-6 (HMM-164) doing a troop insert. At the end of the article it identifies the aircraft as Chinooks. The following corrective information is provided. The proper name for the CH-46 is SeaKnight, the Army's CH-47 is called a Chinook. The other item, YT-6 could not have been used on 4-5 March 1966 because HMM-164 did not arrive in DaNang Harbor until 8 March.

I have provided this information from my cruisebook for HMM-164 for 1966-67 in RVN and Marines and Helicopters, 1962-1973 dated 1978 from the History and Museums Division of Headquarters, Marine Corps.

Michael Parr GySgt. (Ret.) HMM-164 (1966-67)

Re: Operation Utah

I would like to respond to the letter on Operation "Utah". I was an automatic rifleman in Bravo 1/7. On the morning of 5 March 1966, we Sparrowhawked into the LZ at An Tuyet(1) to secure the two disabled helos, which were H34s and not CH46s. The CH46 Sea Knights did not arrive in theater until later in the year. Bravo Co. set up a perimeter around the LZ as Col. Utters and Col. P.X. Kelly's battalions pursued the NVA 21st Regiment northward toward Chau Ngai.

Mid-afternoon on the 5th, at least a battalion of the 21st charged off the hill mass to our south and west, running head long into my platoon. Some of them came within 10 meters of our line. It was the only time in my Vietnam tour that I actually looked enemy soldiers right in the eye. We lost my squad leader, my fire team leader, the other member of my fire team, and the machine gun squad leader on my left flank.

Realizing that our perimeter was stretched too thin, our C.O., Captain Robert Prewitt ordered a tactical fall back into a smaller, more defensible perimeter with the disabled helos inside. The NVA continued to put pressure on us into the hours of darkness utilizing mortars and 12.7 mm anti- aircraft guns.

We pre-registered artillery all around our perimeter, which was about the size of half a football field. Shortly thereafter, the NVA launched the first of their massed assaults on us. It came from the south right toward my platoon. By now we were short on ammo, and had fixed bayonnets an hunkered down. As the wave of about 125 NVA troops got to about 50 meters from our lines, they were completely obliterated by our pre-registered arty. I thank God for our Gunny and our radioman for such coolness under pressure. This happened twice more, from the west and from the north, with the same results. I witnessed the assaults from the south and the north, and can attest to the fact that no fewer than 200 NVA died in those two attacks.

Our last KIA occured sometime after midnight when a squad of NVA slipped to within about 5 meters of the north side of the perimeter. Pfc. Gary Sooter saw them and stood to take them under fire with his automatic rifle. He killed 5 or 6 before being killed by small arms fire. For his action, which broke up the attack, Pfc. Sooter was awarder the Silver Star.

This ran on a little longer than I intended. Just wanted to get Garys' story out there. For a more complete story of that night, Google "Fix Bayonets".
v Semper Fi
Dave Shelton

Sergeant Charles Setzenfand
Sergeant Roy Higgins
Corporal Mario Kitts
Lance Corporal John Henry Bell
Private First Class Gary Sooter

His Wife

There is a lot of scuttlebutt concerning chow circulating through the newsletter of late. My experiences were limited to MCRD San Diego, Mainside Camp Pendleton, MCSSS Camp Johnson, and various chow halls in Okinawa. There was not a great deal of variety from chow hall to chow hall, no matter where you happened to be, and in my book, it was all good. Pretty standard. I have no complaints on the quality or the quantity.

The only exception was MCSSS, where they had a different set up going on. The chow hall was contracted to civilians, so I was surprised to find that the quality was not up to Marine Corps standards. One would think it would be better, but this was not the case. They served catfish with the heads still on for dinner two weeks straight! Uhg. To my way of thinking, there is not a better breakfast than SOS with raw grapefruit juice.

I once attempted to recreate the hamburger gravy out of nostalgia, and had limited success. It was nowhere near the same. The best chow hall was on Camp Foster. LtCol Tallman was the OIC of all the chow halls in Okinawa, and we worked with his wife at the CFAO. I will always remember his admonition to us. "Marines, treat my wife well. As long as she comes home in a good mood, the chow in your hall will be first rate. The first time she comes home in a bad mood with one of your names on her lips, expect dog food from then on." Mrs. Tallman got VIP treatment at all times.

LCpl Raines, Paul D., 3451

We Three Marines

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I joined our beloved Corps 11Jan62, arrived MCRDSD and stood on the 'yellow foot prints'. Lived in Quonset huts, was in Platoon 208 and we graduated Regimental Honor Platoon.

My first trip to TJ, Mex. was with two good friends. When we returned to the good ole USA, we came back the same way we went in, WRONG. We three Marines were arrested for "illegal entrance into the United States". Seems we didn't come back through customs, which was a little old man sitting on a stool, asking if we brought anything back with us.

It took the Navy three days to return us to the 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton. Every person I got a chance to ask, including our Company Commander, was how can we three can be charged with illegal entrance, when we were all born in this country and serving our Corps? No one could answer that question. Capt. Brown saw to it that our records were cleaned. Oohrah!

Dennis A. Williams
Your enlistment in the Corps has a beginning and end.
Your oath as a Marine does not!
Semper Fi

Get A Brick

This is in reference to MGySgt. Jim Mackin's query in the Sept. 20, 2012 issue of Sgt Grit concerning the M-14 Rifle. I went through boot camp in Q Co. Plt 368 from Sept to Nov. 1962 and we had the M-14 at that time. I have no idea how long they had been in use at the time. We qualified in late Oct. and never had any incident with the ammo.

I qualified as Expert, after I finally realized what SIGHT ALIGNMENT and SIGHT PICTURE meant on Pre-qual day, with a 222. Like you, I didn't see an M-1 Garand until I arrived at Camp Geiger in Late Nov. and went to training 1 week before Christmas, and then 2 weeks leave for Christmas, and New Year then finished ITR in late Jan.1963. I don't remember any yellow foot prints at Parris Island at that time either as receiving was at H&S Bn which was down next to the then commissary near Depot Hqtrs.

When I went thru boot camp the shoe laces were Left over Right. We did have combination locks. We had a rifle hook, which was a bent piece of a heavy coat hanger, used to hang the rifle on the end of the bunk and secure it with a combination lock. This was still in effect when I was on the Drill Field from Dec.1970 to March 1973. I believe it was what we taught also at OCS, Quantico from March 1973 to Nov.1975.

FYI... to those that are interested, 3rd Recruit Bn. Barracks as we knew them to be from the 60's to last year is now being torn down. I was happy to get a brick from there this past May at our 25th Drill Instructor Annual Reunion. Third Bn. is now located where the SNCO Club and SNCO Housing was located behind the 2nd Bn Barracks.

Semper Fi
MGySgt Billy J. Russell
Retd. 1985

One Of My Worst Days

Sgt. Grit,

While waiting for the Invasion of Okinawa, we were on MogMog island at Ulithi. I ran into a Sailor that graduated from High School with my Brother. He happened to be with Underwater Demolition Team 6 (I believe 6), he took me swimming with Swim fins and a face plate. The water was clear and bright, I got used to going down 15 feet or more on the reef and collected Cat eyes and cat paws for making stuff that eventually was thrown away. But diving in the clear Pacific Waters was my favorite time during World War II and I dove for years after.

During TET '68, the LZ of 1st Recon was used to offload dead Marines. MedBn was just down the road and every space was covered with Marine Dead so Our LZ was used. The Marines were covered with Ponchos. During the last load, the Helicopter was pulling up when some ponchos flew off and one caught on one of the helicopters blades. The poncho Flew off the blade but the helicopter was vibrating terribly, I thought it would make a landing but he flew off to Monkey Mountain and I assume he made it. This was one of my Worst days in Vietnam.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
USMC Retired

Quality And Selection

3rd Bn Hq Dear Sgt Grit,

About fine chow. For three months after I graduated from MCRD San Diego in 1968 I was assigned to Graduate Casual at 3rd Bn HQ while waiting for orders that would send me up to ITR... (a paperwork snafu... a phone call to HQMC would have handled, but they insisted on it being on paper... and with the war and all, I was a low priority).

The graduate casuals (most only around for a couple of weeks, though two had been there for two years) were not fed in the recruit mess... but rather in the mess underneath the Drill Instructor barracks where the Drill Instructors ate when not with their platoons. The food was the finest that I ever had in the Marine Corps... both quality and selection... The tables were waited upon by recruits during their mess week.

J.F. Owings

The Yellow Footprints - Becoming a Legend

It's fascinating to read all the memories from Recruit Training. The more I read, the more I recall about my own experiences. I remember the yellow footprints well. I knew they were there. My brother-in-law enlisted around 1973 and my brother enlisted in 1976. They'd warned me. So, when I enlisted in 1978, I knew what was coming. At least I thought I did. Boy was I wrong.

I distantly remember the Receiving Barracks Troop Handlers screaming at me to get on "his" yellow footprints. I also remember that he was at least 10'2" tall and weighed about 800 pounds. He was one big, mean, ugly, loud SOB. But, everyone at MCRD San Diego scared me. I was 18 years old, 5'4" tall and weighed 105 pounds. Even the dirt was above my lowly rank. (To Cpl V. DeLeon, MCRD 1965: I think we were greeted by the same "cough" gentlemen).

It's even more fascinating to learn that no one knows exactly when our famous yellow footprints first appeared. In my opinion, it doesn't really matter. In 1916 Marines had never been called "Devil Dogs." And, in 1941 The Corps had never heard of Mount Suribachi. But, both of those have become part of our proud history. So, whether you stood on them or not, or made your own (by having the p-ss scared out of you); we all started in the same place. We all worked to achieve the same goal. Over time, our hallowed yellow footprints have become woven into the fabric of our history. They've become part of our legend. They've become the first step in our journey. They're the symbol that "you've arrived!" Now, stop eye-balling the area!

Our history is a work in progress. We've been building on it since 1775. We're not done yet. We're MARINES!

John Hardin
Sergeant of Marines

Fine Dining

Fine Dining Grit,

In your Sept 19 issue Don Harkness wrote about "fine dining" thru his time in our Corps. A fine item as far as it went, but he didn't address the "fine dining" one experiences between hops or at the end of the day when one returns after dark with all his body parts in the same condition they were when he launched at zero dark thirty that morning.

Chuck Perkins,
VMO-6 Crew Chief
Probably sometime during 1968.

No Telling What Else

Always look forward to your newsletter. Seems like everybody is talking about their fellow recruit from boot camp. Well I can only name a few and one of them found me through the Sgt Grit newsletter. As a PMI Instructor at Edson Range, I remember one Pvt, but not his name. It was jail for him or the Marines. He chose the Marines. Any way the first day at the range he shot the first 5 or 6 rounds right in front of me, and hisrapid fire was not any better. By Wednesday, his D.I. was a little happy 'cause they knew if he didn't get a score of 196 he would have to be sent back a week. On Thursday, he was at 95 points. His D.I. started packing his bags. Then on Friday, the first 10 rounds hit 9 bulls eyes and 1 in the 4 mark.

What the h-ll was going on? In the rapid fire 18 out of 20 in the bull's-eye. The Lt and Capt went down to the target and spotted the target themselves. He finished up at the 300 and was at the 500 yard mark when I asked him about all the sh-t and h-ll he went through all week. The pain and no telling what else seemed funny to him. He had been using a rifle since he was about 5 years old. I could not tell you his name or where he was from. This was in August of 1970. I do remember my D.I.s names and there was one person from THE NAM named roger from Hotel Co, 2/4 that I would like to see more than anybody. And guess where he is from? Yes, he is from Oklahoma City. Always called me w-tb-ck and a few other names of that sort, but it was all in fun. In return, I would call him a few.

One other thing, you posted a reunion about 2/4 back in June. I took my two grandsons to it and it was just awesome. That was the first one and I/we will be at the next one. As they say, we have brothers and sisters all over the world and that weekend was like family coming together, meeting one another like we were never apart. We all had our own story and we all listen.

Thanks Sgt Grit for all that you do.

Sgt Moncebaiz
Vietnam '69

Short Timers Jacket

Bar Man Sgt Grit, I've been reading your great newsletter (and ordering items from you) for quite a few years. I'm putting my two cents in on the Yellow Foot Prints. When I went to MCRDSD in Sept. of 59 (Plt 273) there were definitely no Yellow Foot Prints. I still have my Recruit Book and saw no photos or reference to them.

In response to J. Womack in the newsletter of 9/19/2012 Utilities. If I recall it right, the trousers also had hidden button flaps and the jacket had an inside pocket with a button. I can't remember if it was on the right or left side. I believe they were of a herringbone material. We called them Utes, Dungarees or Utilities. Attached is a photo of me in Utes and of my short timers jacket from Hawaii.

Semper Fi,
Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds
C/1/4 0311, 0331 - F/2/4 0331 1960-1962
B/1st/Tks 1811 1962-1963
B/3rd/Tks 1811 1966-1968 Vietnam
5th MP Bn, H&S 5th Tk Bn, Tracked Vehicle School 1968-1970

We Hope Not

Sgt Grit:

I'm late in reading the newsletter from 9/12 - Somebody please tell me to stop the bend and thrusts already?

Regarding the submission from Sgt Bob Imm about MCAS Yuma: MAG-32 was there in '66 for bombing practice, and of course, we Had to explore San Luis, along with both Gunnies from H&MS-32 Radar. It hadn't yet acquired the name "San Disease." The morning after, Cpl Smitty and I staggered back across the border on our way back to base and the Customs Agent/Border Patrol officer (frankly, I don't remember who it was) asked us if we had anything to declare. As if we'd planned it, we both answered (in unison) "We hope not!"

Also, in response to the submission from 1stLt Peter Dunev about laces being NOT left over right, but outboard over inboard. His PI DIs may have required it as he stated, but in Plt 237 at SD in '65, it was decreed "left over right." I ran into several PI Marines at NATTC Memphis in the Fall of '65 who laced theirs left over right, as well.

Semper Fi - SEMPER!

Mike Gollihur
Sgt of Marines, '65-'69

He Was Meaner

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Crazy what you remember from Boot Camp as a first impression! When we were in a platoon for a week or so, and trying to get into a new routine, ( as hectic as it was!), our Senior Drill Instructor had us around him on a Sunday morning, casual - and a less hectic mood as he tried to lighten up a little and put us at ease.

He said, "I was a recruit once just as you, and I went through h-ll just as you are going thru as well. My Senior Drill Instructor was named Staff Sergeant Brown, and he was meaner and more sadistic then I ever could be." Could you believe that? Thank the Lord no one answered that thought!

He then said that Staff Sergeant Brown told them that, Brown was the color of SH-T, and that if anyone F----D with him, he would SH-T all over them. He also quoted that sh-t rolled down hill, and he was always on the top of the hill, and we were below him.

Seriously, all of the D.I.s did what we did, and we respected that, if not the D.I.s, but what they represented, and how they had such a short time to turn us into something from individuals into a unit of doers.

Aside from expressions as the right way, the wrong way and the Marine Corps Way, a lot of us remember insignificant things. But these inane ways of remembering what to do and how to do it could save your life as well as the lives of others.

I went to Parris Island in 1963, and I am older, wiser, and smarter because of this encounter, ( The Best Kind).

Bruce Bender



Went to boot camp June of '79, graduated that August. I remember the footprints well. I also remember our PMI wearing sateen's still. We were issued the cammies, which the Drill Instructors also wore of course. Also, when we ran PT we always wore our boots, we saw some of the other Platoons wearing tennis shoes, but we never got them. That's my "Old Corps" story.

I went to 2111 small arms school in Aberdeen, Maryland. I remember seeing guys with coveralls on that said M1 Abrams on their backs. We were told by others that this was the new tank that was going to put all others to shame, and they were in the final stages of development. Never did see one though.

Semper Fi,
T. Buse
Sgt of Marines

Usually Enough

Sgt Grit,

As always I read the newsletter front to rear and back to front again to make sure I didn't miss anything. After all it has been 47 years since I arrived at PI, '0-dark-thirty, yellow footprints? And while my aim is still good, I do get an occasional 'Maggie's Drawers'. I want to add my 2-cents on several of the stories in this newsletter.

Sgt Bisher, you beat me to VN by several months, Sept '66 for me, but I'm certain we didn't fly around in Chinooks. The Army did but Marines were in CH-46's or as some called them, "flying coffins".

To MGySgt Mackin, you are correct, my PI Platoon 290, September 1965, qualified with the M-14. I to didn't see the M-1 until ITR at Stone Bay.

Finally, to Larry Fleagle, I wasn't a tanker, but after my tour in VN I thought about it. The M-60 was definitely a Tank not a Retriever. The Tank Retriever was the M-88. The M-60 was the upgrade to the M-48, a bigger gun was the biggest upgrade from a 90mm to a 105mm I believe.

Definitely not as 'lean' but arguably still as 'mean' and that is usually enough.

Rick Leach
CWO-3 Retired

Get Out Of My Sight

Feel like a real old timer as I read the various posts. Joined the Corps in July '45 but had to wait till they called me in early August 1945 (the war ended while I was in boot camp).

I was 5'5 190 pounds 36 inch waist and 44 inch hips. The first day the Senior DI, Sgt P.R. Morris, Platoon 90, had us scrub the deck of our barracks (wooden second deck). As I walked past him carrying 2 buckets of water he called to me and said "chick" as we were called then. "What is your name?" I replied, "McKellar Sir!" His reply, "What, General?" I replied, "No Sir! Private." He told me to turn around and pick up the buckets. As I did he said, "I do not want to see you walk one day during the time you are here!" He kicked me by the side of his foot and said, "Get out of my sight."

Eight weeks later I was wearing 2M Trousers (about 28 inch waist) at that time, we surveyed our worn out clothing, turning in the old for new. I had to get my DI to vouch that I went from a 36 special to 2M.

Many years later, I was a DI myself (following Korea), the toughest post I ever held, but by far the most rewarding. Made Gunny (by far the best rank I ever held), then I was meritoriously selected as a regular line officer and 2nd Lt. Retired after 21 years.

Charles McKellar

203rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball

COVER 10NOV78 Anniversary Msg Sgt Grit,

I found these goodies while rummaging through some boxes stuffed away in a closet. Don't know if you can use them in any of your newsletters. The first is a Dining-In at MAG-39 put on 15Jun79 and the next is a dinner menu from the 203rd Marine Corps Birthday 10Nov78.

I haven't seen anything on Dining-In's in any other newsletters, is this a thing of the past? Keep on with the great newsletter and great products. Semper Fi!

Randy Lehmann
Sgt/MAG-39 (1977-79)


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Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)

If you remember last month I explained or, tried to, the Air Medal and the different devices that you may see affixed to the Ribbon bar. Well, hopefully, I got the info out to you were you could understand it because now I'm confused, not really, Just kidding. A recent trip to Camp Pendleton and the Base Exchange made me realize just how much things had changed. But, I don't want to get into that, I just want to fill you in on Aircrew Wings and how they are achieved and awarded. I will tell you that their not half as confusing as the Air Medal which I covered last month. Again, I'm going back to the same book that we used as reference last month.

The Combat Aircrew Insignia is an oxidized silver-colored winged metal pin, with a gold colored circular shield with a superimposed fouled anchor: the word "AIRCREW" in raised letters on a silver-colored background below the circular shield, above the shield is a silver colored scroll. Gold stars up to a total of three, as merited, are mounted on the scroll. The Combat Aircrew Wings are awarded to air crewmen who have participated in aerial flight during combat, and those enlisted personnel who qualify for non-technical aircrew positions and serve in those positions in aerial flight. The MARINE must be a volunteer and a regularly assigned member of a flight crew on board a MARINE Aircraft participating in Combat operations. The MARINE must also be a graduate of an established course of instruction and or OJT qualifying him for a position in the flight crew of a MARINE Aircraft.

Combat aircrew who have qualified to wear the combat stars may wear the Combat Aircrew Insignia on a permanent basis. A maximum of three combat stars may be awarded for display on the Combat Aircrew Insignia. A MARINE who qualified to wear the Naval Aircrew Insignia and the Combat Aircrew Insignia has the option of wearing the one of his choice. It should also be noted that to maintain an Aircraftmen qualifications he will be tested and trained on a constant basis. He will have what is called a "Check Ride" by a NATOPS Instructor. The Instructor will present different hypothetical problems to the Crew member being qualified or re-qualified, to see if the crew member re-acts in the proper manner and if they take the prescribed action to neutralize the situation presented by the instructor. He at this point will either maintain his qualification or will require additional training.

The abbreviation NATOPS, stands for Naval Aviation Training and Operations Procedures Standardization. This standard is service wide (NAVY and MARINE CORPS) and once a Crew member is qualified in a particular Aircraft type, he or she must maintain that qualification until they take on a different job or decide to drop their flight status. Flight status is extra money providing you get at least 4 hours of flight every month. It was $110 a month when I was flying.

Now, If you think that $110 a month extra was a good deal then I'm going to ask you if you liked canned SPAM. Sure the money went further in those days, (early 60's to early 70's ), but the hours that you had to put in to keep your Aircraft in the air was sometimes excessive. Sure, the end of the normal work day in CONUS was at 1630 ,but we many times didn't get back to "Home Plate" (Santa Ana) until after then and that's when the work started. Greasing, lubing, fixing and cleaning was the next order of business. Getting ready for tomorrow and hoping it would be better than today!

Can Anybody

Marine Tank Can anybody tell me what the inverted "V's" on our tanks represent? I've been trying to find out since the first Iraq war.

Mike Benfield
USMC 1959-1963


Throw Your Weapons Away Surprise Jim Everson's posting reminded me of leaflets that we also encountered from the National Front for Liberation.

I served in RVN from 1967 to '68 with 3rd Amtracs. Our CP was at Marble Mountain.

When on patrol south of Marble Mountain we often encountered propaganda left by the National Front for Liberation. A bamboo stake split at the top and driven in the ground would hold the leaflet. Often, the portion of bamboo driven into the ground would be holding the spoon of a grenade in place. If you pulled the stake out of the ground...BOOM. To my knowledge, nobody got hurt by this particular booby trap because we were familiar with it.

The scans of these leaflets are very good. The poor quality is exactly what their printing press produced.

Larry Conely
Sgt, USMC 1966-70

Return To PI

Plt 150 PI On September 14th, the members of PLT 150, 1962, returned to Parris Island for their 50th reunion. It amazed many of the attendants that were there for a graduation ceremony, that 30 members of a platoon 50 years ago would be able to return to the Island, because this is a very rare and unusual occurence.

In 1962, our troops were going through a war in Vietnam. Not all members of Plt 150 went to Nam, but those who did, served with Pride and Glory. Not one member was lost in the Asian action. Some had been wounded, but all came home.

The reunion was a fantastic rekindling of our partnership and brotherhood. Many were found with the help of Sgt Grit.

D.E. Davidson

Marched To Supply

1. M-1/M-14 issue dates. M-14's were issued to different units at different times, mostly during 1962 on Pendleton. My Red Patchers went to a school in early May of '62 (auditorium setting) where we were introduced to M-14 and M-60 the same day. Just nomenclature and care and cleaning.

I was to get out on the 25th of June 1962. On the 24th, everyone in the company was marched to supply and turned in their M-1's. Then stepped to the next table and drew a M-14. I didn't get one because I only had a "Wake Up".

2. Short timers. Our tradition was for the deck of cards. "52 and a wake up". The lowest boot in the outfit got the first one... the Joker. After you got your discharge papers, the next one to check out got the Ace of Spades. (I received the Ace one day and passed out my own Ace the next.)

Red Patcher 58-62
Semper Fi

Marine Head

Bath 2 Bath 4 Thanks Sgt. Grit. I'm the Marine who's wife is doing the bathroom. I'm sending pictures. Also, I make rifle and pistol targets, I'm making one for you and will be standing by it with my 338 Lapua and my 308 and 716 sniper rifles along on my hip. My 5.7 shoots 246 feet per second. Thank you for all you do. I'm going to try and break the world record held by a Britt 1702. I'm going for 1720 with my Lapua.

Ret. Sgt Thiery Will
1st Recon Bn Charlie Co.
1st Marine Division
Purple Heart Recipient

Fallen Hero's Dream Ride

FHDR Arrival FHDR LCpl Vinnedge On 22 September 2012, The Fallen Hero's Dream Ride was escorted by the Oklahoma Patriot Guard to the Sgt Grit facility in Oklahoma City, OK. Jason and Julie Vinnedge, father and mother of LCpl Phillip Vinnedge, were on an across country tour to help raise funds for the following charities: Toys For Tots, Missouri Military Memorial Fund, Gold Star Mothers, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, just to name a few.

LCpl Vinnedge was KIA while serving in Afghanistan on 13 October 2010. He served with Weapons Company, 3rd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment. The Fallen Hero's Dream Ride is a memorial dedicated to the memory of LCpl Vinnedge and the 24 other Marines that lost their lives during 3/5s deployment.

The Sgt Grit staff and customers really enjoyed the visit and look forward to seeing the Vinnedges and the Dream Ride again at our 2013 Annual Gritogether.

If you would like to read more about the Fallen Hero's Dream Ride, a link to the website is below.

We Salute You

Sgt Pena Visit We are always so excited when customers come from all over the United States, just to stop in and tell us how much we mean to them! Sgt Pena traveled from Fort Worth, Texas, where he serves as a Police Officer. He is still very dedicated to celebrating his Marine Corps heritage. He holds a Marine Corps birthday celebration every year in Fort Worth, where hundreds of Marines join him to celebrate their birthday.

We have always sent a little something to them to make the celebration that much better, and to ride all the way here just to say thank you, well that is quite honorable. We Salute you Sgt Pena for your hard work and dedication making that big event happen for your brothers and sisters. Oorah and Semper Fidelis!

Kristy Fomin

Chocolate Milk

Don Harkness wrote of the 'ambience' of shipboard dining, and I totally agree with him about meals in heavy seas. I 'liberated' a Navy hammock. Which was a sheet of canvas with ropes at each end, while sailing on the LPH Guadalcanal and as long as I didn't open my eyes, the world was perfectly still. In rough seas, I begged saltines from the messman and stayed put with crackers and a canteen. But true 'dining' was available in the Corps on off-duty Sundays, and the brunch schedule that we enjoyed at the messhall off Courthouse Bay, next to 2nd Div. MP barracks.

We would mosey over about 0800, have eggs any way, with ham, grits, (I'm from Kentucky), pancakes, coffee and best of all ice cold chocolate milk, thick and rich. Read the Sunday paper over breakfast and about 1030-1100, start the whole thing all over again. I have never, to this day, had chocolate milk as good the messhalls served.

Semper Fi, Brothers and Sisters.

Spread out, one grenade will get you all!

David Goodman
Cpl 1967-70


Reading the articles about cooks, started my process of remembrances during my active time in the "Corps", 1965 to 1969. Three incidents come to mind: 1. during my "boot camp" at 2nd Battalion in PI, I was assigned mess duty at 1st Battalion (the twilight zone). That week started with scrubbing pots and pans but an allergy to the soaps being used I ended up in the "spud locker" ( the best possible mess duty assignment). That duty provided a high degree of autonomy as we were located outside the main messhall near the bay. As long as the salads and vegetables got into the kitchen on time there was no harassment from the messmen.

2. In 1966, I was aboard the USS Yancey, AKA 93, on a tour of the Mediterranean. Our senior Navy messman was named Heinzpeter and I must confess it was always a pleasure to participate in the offerings provided in his award winning messdecks (in spite of all food stuffs that disappeared into the Marine landing gear during the "hiline" replenishment).

3. By 1967, I was running convoys in the northern "I" Corps area from Dong Ha to Landing Zone Stud (Vandegrift combat base). As we left early and got back late, we depended on the "good" nature of the cooks for fresh warm bread and butter before leaving on the convoy and for whatever could be "scrounged" upon our return.

My appreciation of cooks was later dimmed somewhat because I was beat out for meritorious promotions, once by cooks and once by laundrymen.

Semper Fi,
Sgt JH Jones

Connected With His Head

How well do I remember the footprints at MCRD in February 1966. We arrived In San Diego just before midnight and took a detour to relieve ourselves. All of a sudden in comes Sgt Miller asking who gave you permission to use the head. After that, on the bus, keep your eyes to the front.

A ride on the bus to the yellow footprints at MCRD. We were told not to talk, and not to look to either side. My friend who I joined with turned his head and ask me if I was OK and all of a sudden a flashlight connected with his head. How did the DI see that in the dark. My friend did not say a word to me for three days. My friend got out on a medical discharge and I spent nine great years in the Corps.

Cordell A. Stephens
Plt 350

Generic Section

MCRD Jim Dear Sgt. Grit,

RE: J. Womack's question about "the utilities used in the late 60's to early 70's that had the concealed buttons on the pocket flaps and the front of the jacket..."

They were first issued sometime around the end of the Korean War (the first handful in "herringbone..."). I believe that all stocks had been exhausted sometime around the start of the Vietnam War. Our "yearbooks" in August of 1968 at graduation from MCRD San Diego had two sections... a generic section and a later one specific to our platoon. The first section was assembled years before and the "hidden button" shirts were all that you saw. By our time we had the same contract issue as the Army and the other services with the visible (and much thicker) buttons in the same general fabric as the hidden button variety.

The "Gomer Pyle" shirts, as he refers to them, had a far better appearance and were greatly admired and desired. After graduation I spent 3 months at 3rd Bn HQ in Graduate Casual waiting for orders before being sent up to ITR. While there I discovered that you could buy entire uniforms at the base laundry (that had been abandoned) for the cost of the cleaning (65 cents as I recall...). I purchased several sets of utilities including one set of the "hidden button" type (see photo of my set). For the rest of my enlistment I was offered serious money by lads who lusted after a set.

The large map pouch inside the left side of the shirt made it unsuitable for seriously hot climates. As to the trousers that went with it, after 44 years, I can't remember about the back buttons, but I do remember that there were no pocket flaps on the back.

James F. Owings


'65, MCRD SD, Special Training Branch... STB had several different sections... Casual, Correctional Custody, Motivation, Hand-to Hand Combat, Bayonet, and Pork Chop Platoon, AKA PCP or Physical Conditioning Platoon. One of the DI's in PCP was Sgt Mike (pretty good sized guy, from Mankato, MN)... Tae Kwon Do was relatively new in the US, also called 'Korean Karate' at the time, and we had a MSGT Edwards who was the #1 or #2 rated in this martial art in the US at the time... soft-spoken, sorta califlower ears, almost made you think of a kindly old gent. He had been in Recon Company in Korea, had gone on over 50 consecutive night patrols, had a great story about a kitty-cat jumping on his shoulder from a creek bank during a patrol.

Mike had really, really gotten into this Karate thing... had a rope over an inside roof beam in the PCP DI office for groin stretches, (stood on one foot, had the other in a loop on the rope, kept pulling) would sit for hours punching his open hand into a full bucket, until he could penetrate all the way to the bottom... he started that with something like beans then rice, then pebbles, etc. He was fast... although not as fast as old Top Edwards, who could catch flies in his hand, and could pop his ghee sleeves like a shoe-shine rag. One of the marks of a serious practitioner of the skill in the day was the presence of two round black calluses on the first two knuckles of the striking hand... from memory, also seen as embroidered patches on the ghee. Mike, of course, could be heard all over the area with his "Kee-Aii" when he was working out, punching things, etc.

It was difficult to get orders off the drill field at the time, despite most of us having done well over the usual two years, and Mike was one of the lucky ones... he got orders fairly early on. We were all jealous that he was going to get to go fight the war, while we were stuck in the rear with the gear and the beer, but at his farewell party (I remember some of it... there were these two nurses Mike had been 'seeing', and they found out about each other at the party), but I cautioned him repeatedly that when he 'got over there and got some, not to forget his Kee-Aii.

Orders finally came, and on my way to join K/3/5 at Schwab just before we embarked as the SLF, I happened to run into Mike at the transient center at Hansen... I asked him what he was doing there? Seems he was assigned as a troop handler, while convalescing from wounds... he opened his shirt to show me three wounds... said he had been snooping and pooping up a trail, when this g--k jumped up and shot him... so I asked if he had remembered his "kee-aii!"

He said... "oh, yeah"... I looked down, saw those three streams of blood and went "KEE-AII!"... have seen pictures of him on his second tour as a DI after that... at the museum, along with my bud 'Bro Grubbs', another STB instructor.

My apologies to those who have mastered the discipline... not at all sure that is the correct spelling for either the clothing or the exclamation of extreme concentration... tried it (karate) myself in later years, lacked the flexibility to be any good at it... selected another discipline instead, now have a 7th-degree in 'KADOW!' for self-defense (this involves an M1911A1 with six and one BTHP... should be enough to get the job done, if needed?)



"Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge-hammer!"
--MAJ. Holdredge

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government-lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
--Patrick Henry

"I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you've earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."
--Thomas Sowell, Economist and Marine Veteran

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt."
--John Adams, 1826

"A golf course is a willful and deliberate misuse of a perfectly good rifle range."

"The more MARINES I have around the better I like it!"
--Gen. Mark Clark, U.S. Army

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it!"
--Jonathan Winters, Marine Veteran

"The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it."
--Albert Einstein

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
--Mark Twain

"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"
--Chesty Puller, USMC

"I pulled mess duty at the last supper."

"I was assigned to the Marine Detachment on Noah's Ark."

"I have more flight time jumping out of the back of six-bys, than you have in the Marine Corps."

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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