In the Sgt Grit Newsletter - 26 JUL 2012 there was an article about "Push Ball" fun and games. While at K-Bay in the early 60's the sport was played in the large field behind 3/4. As I remember it was about platoon size teams that played, but that is a little fuzzy after 50 years. I do have a picture of the event though it's hard to really get a good feel for the size of the ball. I seem to remember that it was about 7 to 8 feet tall, something like a huge soccer ball. As the article indicated, there were few rules short of murder and 1st aid was generally really close by.
'60 - '65
In This Issue
If you like the quote section you will like this week's, I got a bit carried away with the number.
Here we go: no one violates any Law, called mom, wasn't wearing his full pack, short of murder, to play cowboys and Marines, probably so relieved, island after island, World Cockroach Record, like meeting new relatives, tell the barbers.
Fair winds and following seas.
This is a picture of Sgt "Dirty Dick" Leyden (yes he got the name for the reason you're thinking) and me eating a very good spicy noodle dish at a road side stand not far from the gate of 11th Marines.
Dick got to know some of the villagers near 11th Marines and would take me with him to socialize and eat. The first time he invited me to go, he told me to NOT ask what was in the meal. Especially if there was protein/meat in it. He said these people might get protein a couple a times a week in a meal. If they put it in a meal for us, it is a sign of respect, a high compliment. We will not disrespect them by asking what it is.
As Americans knowing what it is might bring a startled look. He went on to say it might be monkey, snake, dog, cat, pig, fish, etc... I never asked, it was always delicious, especially after a few cups of rice wine. Dirty Dick is the reason I made Sgt.
Great picture of a radio operator in the bush in Nam. Sent to me some time ago.
Good One, Bad Ones
I Got a message from my friend, Paul Lindner, who has graced these pages from time to time. He told me a story about a poser he knew, (I call them "Wannabe's") and I know how frustrating it is to see someone who has mocked your Corps by posing as one of the "Elite". The Supreme Court has said it is alright for people to act as posers (like the Senator from some back east State, to say he served in Vietnam when he didn't) and no one violates any law by being a wannabe.
Through some trick of nature he hasn't, wasn't, or even tried, which means he isn't worth the time of day or a broken knuckle to square him away. I told Paul I remember ones like the kid wounded in Vietnam and saying he was sorry he got wounded, the guy I sat up with all night for several nights when his dreams of hand to hand combat with the Koreans kept him from wanting to sleep, the Gunnery Sergeant kicking a Pfc's butt for going on Patrol when he was leaving in less than 30 days and I remember the Pfc and always with a grin.
I remember Corpsman risking life and limb to save the life of a man he never knew, just another Marine. I remember the good ones, the bad ones will always be there and corrode their minds and dirty our caps. I used to tell people the Marine Corps retired me to straighten out all these dumb civilians... BUT... there's just too d-mn many of them.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
Dear Sgt Grit, I just wanted to share a gift from my father Jim Daneker for my retirement from the Marines last summer. He purchased all the patches he could find from Sgt Grit and had the plaque made in our hometown. It displays patches representing my 30-year career and a wonderful display it is! I have it proudly displayed in the "patriotic room" in our home here in Swansboro, North Carolina just up the road from Camp Lejeune. Thank you for your wonderful products and your never-ending support for our beloved Corps! Semper Fidelis! Brian Daneker MGySgt USMC Retired
This is my third Post, and I really enjoy reading the News Letter every Thursday AM in my Home Office. From 07:00 until about 08:00 Hrs., it's private time and Coffee.
I guess this happened around early Sept. of 62 when I reported back to Camp Geiger after boot leave. We were in a staging battalion waiting for enough men to go to another staging battalion in Pendleton when this happened. We were mostly just a large working party with liberty every evening and weekend.
As I lived in Charlotte, NC, I and another man from my company would always hitchhike there every Friday evening. This went on for three weekends, with me telling my folks I would see them in a week. Well the next Friday rolled around and we were told that there would be no off base liberty that weekend as we would soon be leaving for a two year tour to the Pacific, and they didn't intend to leave any stragglers (deserters?) behind.
So, I called my Mom at work and gave her the news, No Liberty! At the noon chow muster, we were told there was a change in the weekend liberty call. The Company Gunny got up in front of us and announced that, "Thanks to Pvt. Hanline's Mommy, off base liberty call will commence at 1300 Hrs." Unbeknown to me, my Mom had called the Commanding General at Camp Lejeune and told him, "It's a shame that boys going away for two years had to spend there last weekend restricted to Base Liberty." That got a lot of laughs and pats on the back, and more than a little embarrassment for me. True Story!
Thanks again Sgt. Grit, and keep it going.
Hanline, Ralph J. 20035xx
Feb. 20, 1962 - Aug. 20, 1966
In the last newsletter on a post by Ddick he mentioned the LST Terrell County 1157... I'm sending some pictures taken in 1961 of 1157 and 1167 which I was aboard during SEATO Joint exercise in and around the Taiwan Straits called Operation Blue Star. I was serving with the 12th Marines (M-4-12). The flat bottom tubs where not fun to be on in rough water.
The Navy always got a kick when the ramp was dropped coming into the beach it scoured out a hole, it seems the ship always backed off a bit and the vehicles dropped in the hole...so you better have fording gear in place, because you were going to get wet... fond memories.
Thanks for a great news letter
This is a picture I took in Vietnam and the following is a dicussion with a Marine I crossed paths with.
If you recognize this photo I would love to hear from you.
Former Sgt. L. M. Hinton
Hq. Btry., 11th Marines, RVN
NCOIC, IOD Team, Hill 250, RVN
Wow... blast from the past. I was only on one hill that used it. Don't remember the name. It was not as sophisticated as the one in the picture. But my first and only fire mission with it, 2 rounds 8" on target, 5 NVA gone in an instant on a river bank. No running into bunkers, running into the jungle, adjusting fire, etc... just 5 dead in an instant.
As we used to say, "Tis a thing or raw and savage beauty". At our peak (mid-1970) we had five operational and deployed IOD units. I remember LZ Ross, LZ Baldy, Hill 65 and Recon Outpost Hill 250 (my location). For the life of me I can't remember the 5th placement. From January through October 1970 my team was credited with 108 confirmed (Recon patrols w/pictures and recovered documents) KIAs. Nothing moved in the Arizona between Hill 65 and Hill 250 that we couldn't observe and hit.
Interestingly, I've never heard any chatter from the 25 or 30 of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of the first ever, ground combat deployment of laser technology. To say it was a "game changer" is a gross understatement.
GySgt R.L. Ermey
General James Mattis
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Sgt. Grit -- Just fast shout-out to a great bunch of guys who attended Supply School with me at Camp Lejeune in 1949. Are any of you still alive, and do you remember Capt. King, our instructor? If so, email me and we'll compare sea stories. Semper Fi !
It seems that the penalty for forgetting ANYTHING about our Marine Corps service will brand you a liar, poser, or both. Of the 76 souls in my Boot Camp platoon, only two or three were people I remember. Tommy Gassman, we enlisted together, Roberts, no first name, and Donny Givens, notable for bashing some racist redneck with his M-14 front sight blade.
It happened during one of SSGT Thomas's favorite things, forced march with full packs. This zero said something to Donny during the run, he took offense,( I think the 'N' word was used). Anyhow when Foltz, yes that was his name I remember now, was smacked, he was out cold. The guys around closed ranks, Foltz was held up by the guys on either side, I grabbed the M-14, and two other guys split his transport pack into manageable pieces, all while running to Elliott's Beach.
The only comment from SSGT Thomas was an inquiry into why Foltz wasn't wearing his full pack, and how he got that sweet gash from his temple to his nose. We simply said, "Sir, the recruit fell down sir!" Thomas said nothing, but knew Foltz was a racist. Hope he invented a good story to go along with that scar. I believe he was a reservist, so it must be a good one.
On a different note, the decorated office that Steve Weathersby shared was outstanding.
Cowboys and Marines
Here's a couple stories about a place all Marines who served at MCAS, Yuma would know about. Winterhaven, California.
Winterhaven sits on the border with Arizona and on the banks of the Colorado River. In the late sixties and early seventies, it was a wild-west liberty port for those stationed at YMCAS and at the Yuma Proving Grounds. 'Downtown' Winterhaven had a variety of bars, including the Cactus Club, the Okie Spot, White Dot, Johnny's, and Red's.
During the summer months the bars in California stayed open an hour longer than those in Arizona so there was always a stream of cars coming across the bridge into town for a few more cold ones. I had just gotten out of the Corps in 1969 and went to work for the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, working in Winterhaven. Since I spoke fluent Marine, it was a particularly good assignment for me and it came in handy more than once.
One evening I was working by myself and a big fight broke out in Johnny's. As I drove slowly past, the front door exploded outwards and a cluster of drunken Marines boiled out into the street. It reminded me of one of those cartoons where the characters were all in a big ball and you could see the occasional fist flying outside the brawl.
As I recall, there were nine or ten young Marines involved. I sat on the hood of my car for a moment, wondering how I could break this mess up - then it dawned on me! In my loudest NCO voice I called them to attention and they instantly obeyed. I formed them up into two ranks and then marched them the block over the Sheriff's Station while calling cadence. Once there I was able to identify a reasonably sober corporal and had him call YMCAS to arrange rides home with some sober buddies. Two or three cars showed up and they all went back to the base with a few nicks and bruises, but no records and no office hours.
A couple of years before my time there, we had a deputy who was a mustang Major from the Frozen Chosin. 'Gunny' Nelson Garrison was a Camp Perry medalist and probably the most profane human being I ever met. At the time YMCAS sent Marines to Winterhaven to work as Shore Patrol. Gunny Garrison was breaking up a fight between two young Marines and one swung on him. Gunny simply knocked him out and stuffed him in the patrol car, along with his buddy. A lieutenant approached and attempted to take the two Marines from Gunny's custody and he ended up stuffed in the backseat too. Finally a shore patrolman arrived on-scene and demanded to take charge of all the prisoners. Gunny refused and the Marine actually loosened the flap on his holster. You guessed it - disarmed and in the back of the car. All four were detained in holding cells for the night.
The next morning the CO of YMCAS called Gunny at home and asked him if he would drop the charges against the lieutenant. Gunny agreed instantly if the Colonel would promise him that the enlisted Marines wouldn't be disciplined back at the base. No civil charges were filed against any of them and I'm confident the Colonel kept his promise.
I worked there for two years, and while there was tragedy, there were many more times when it was simply fun to play cowboys and Marines. To those who visited Winterhaven back in the old days, and those who will, Semper Fi.
I've been wondering about this for some time now: Last Veterans Day, the driver of another vehicle on the freeway pulled up next to me, honked, saluted and drove off - he must've noted the USMC and Vietnam Service stickers on my rear window. Since there were no identifying marks on his vehicle, I couldn't tell if he was simply recognizing my service or was a fellow Marine.
So, here's the rub: Has anyone come up with a hand signal that means "Semper Fi" or some such that can be used when verbal communication isn't possible?
Much appreciate the newsletter every week. I look for guys I served with, too.
former Sgt of Marines, '65 - '69
DDick and I were swapping stories related to the Hai Van Pass north of DaNang, and I decided to share one of mine with you and your readers.
I'm a high school English teacher. At the beginning of each school year, I assign my students to write a personal narrative. I give them five different types of stories to choose from, including a "scary moment." I always share with them my "scariest moment" related to the Pass.
Around the middle of January, 1967, Lima 3/7 was moved from their positions on Hills 41 and 10 southwest of Da Nang in Dai Loc District, up to the base of Hai Van Mountain, to provide security for the oil storage compound owned by the Esso Oil Company (whose name was later changed to Exxon, because "Esso" supposedly was a "bad word" in Japanese, according to what I heard). We were only there for about a week, as I remember, until we were to move down to Duc Pho, South of Quang Ngai to begin Operation Desoto. We were told that about a year earlier, the compound had been guarded by ARVN troops. According to the story, the VC sneaked through the railroad tunnel one night and slit the ARVN-s' throats.
The positions we occupied were in a horseshoe shape from the road south of the compound, westwardly and up the hill to the north, then back downhill, eastwardly, beyond the compound, to the road leading up to the pass. We replaced another company (Golf 2/4?--don't remember exactly), and I found a box of paperback novels, mostly mystery stories, that had been left behind.
The Marines were generally in two-man positions, but as a lieutenant, and being the artillery forward observer, I somehow found myself in a sandbagged bunker with a single cot inside, and a poncho covering the doorway opening. Around midnight that first night, by candlelight, I was lying on my cot with my .45 under my pillow, reading Agatha Christie's novel, And Then There Were None (made into a movie titled Ten Little Indians). I was up to about the sixth murder victim when in the distance I could hear occasional "H&I" rounds exploding, sometimes a rifle shot or two and maybe a machine gun firing.
Suddenly the poncho began to rustle! Somebody was coming in! (There was supposed to be no movement after dark.) Immediately, my .45 was out and aimed. I was ready to fight for my life!... when a large rat came waddling in... Needless to say, it was a little hard to get to sleep that night. (I don't remember if I did anything to chase the rat out. I was probably so relieved that I just let him have the run of the place.)
The next morning, I told my story to the head corpsman, "Doc" Hall, and he told me of his similar experience: He had found his place for the night in a sandbagged bunker where extra rations were being stored. His sleeping arrangement was basically the same as mine, as to the location of his sidearm. His bunker had a door, and somebody was opening it! His reaction was the same as mine, except that, just before he cranked off a round, a Marine (who was out scrounging a midnight snack) said: "Doc?"
You can imagine how that corpsman felt when he realized that he almost blew away a buddy.
Hello Sgt Grit,
You never forget. It has been over 47 years since I joined the Marine Corps. I remember that day vividly. I was living with my parents in Hollywood, CA. I attended Hollywood High School. I got up that Saturday morning and went down to the Marine Recruiter, on Hollywood Blvd. (late Dec.1964), to enlist in the Corps.
I had heard, on the news, that the country needed men to help fight Communism in South East Asia (Vietnam). Where is that exactly? I wasn't sure. I was 16 years old at the time. I would turn 17 years old in just a little over a month. (just old enough with my parent's consent). The Recruiter had me take all the tests mental and physical. I passed them all with flying colors. All I had to do now was wait a few weeks to start my adventure in the Marine Corps.
Four days after my 17th Birthday I was in Boot Camp at San Diego, CA. I graduated on the 4 of May 1965, "C" Company. Platoon 114, that day I officially became a Marine. (A "Hollywood Marine" that is and proud of it.) I was a bona fide Hollywood Marine with papers to prove it. You can imagine the ribbing I took in Boot Camp from my D.I.'s. But it made me the man I am today.
I was a very patriotic kid. How could I not be when I grew up in the house of a Marine hero from WWII. My Dad Scott Slaughter Smith (USMC 1942-1945). He joined the Corps at sixteen also. His father signed the papers and said he was 17 years old. The country need men and he was ready. He fought at some of the most fiercest battles in the Pacific. "Easy" Company 2/2 at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa. He received many medals, a Bronze Star for his bravery and a Purple Heart for his wounds, among others. What a man and what a Marine. He just recently passed on 31 March 2012. I really do miss him.
We all joke around and talk about the "Old Corps." I know that sometimes I say that I was in the "Old Corps" when talking to some new young Marines that I might run across. I know we all tell our stories about how tough we had it when we were in. But, now that I am a little older, wiser and have had plenty of time to think about. I now realized that the true "Old Corps" was my dad and his generation, during WWII in the Pacific.
Most of them spent their entire time in either a foxhole of a tent never really seeing the inside of a building. They endured unbelievable hardships with the topical heat, the thick humidity, the monsoonal rains, the never ending bugs and mud everywhere. Imagine hitting those beaches, island after island, with no cover, bodies and blood everywhere 24/7. They did not rotate out back home every 13 months to see their loved ones. No they stuck it out till the end of the war. My dad was wounded very badly, they just patch him up and sent him back to his unit. He could only use one arm. That was just the way it was in those days. They endured things we cannot even imagine in today's politically correct world. PTSD what the H-LL is that? We are losing these WWII Veterans at alarming rate. Nationally, 270,200 World War II veterans are projected to die this year, It won't be long till they are no more. In my humble opinion these Marines are the true "Old Corps". Semper Fi.
Sgt. Michael James Smith USMC (Ret.)
I'm so short, that this morning I jumped out of the rack and d-mn near strangled myself in my boot laces!
Cpl E. T. Champneys
'67 ~ '73
I'm so short, I could drown in a puddle of spit. I'm so short, I could jump off a dime and break my leg. I'm so short, I could play handball up against a curb.
'74' - '77
A short timer saying which was popular in 3/26 in RVN October 1969. "I'm so short I need a stepladder to climb up on the edge of a razor blade!"
Sgt Chuck Bean
I'm so short I almost cut my head off on a razor blade laying on the floor this morning while headed to the head.
I'm so short I need a parachute to get off my rack in the mornings.
I'm so short I help the ants carry poogie bait into their ant holes.
What great memories.
To Cpl. Fred Lowery,
I have heard and used that term while I was in the Corps; don't know how widespread it's used, but I bet we are not the only Marines to hear it! I never saw any huge fish hooks with dog tags on it, but my thought was the "hook" was like the big hook that was used to drag people off stage in the movies or cartoons! So, after X number of days, the big hook would snatch your butt off stage and out of the Corps!
ITR Mess Hall Nov-Dec 1964 was the worst by far in my service. Lived on PB and J, fresh fruit when could appropriate same. To this day don't know or understand how it was allowed to exist.
Parris Island, Plt 379 Sgt. Wells and Sgt. Ricker
Court House Bay, Heavy Junk School
Viet Nam HQ. Company 3rd S.P.
Camp Lejeune HQ. Company 2/10 Arty.
Sea Duty School
U.S.S Essex CVS-9
Marine Barracks, Quonset Point, R.I.
Sgt. of Marines
1964 - 1968
I'm so short, I could skydive off the edge of a razor blade and free fall for five minutes before needing to pull my ripcord.
Sergeant of Marines
About the pad locks, I still have mine and they work. 37-24-5
M.Mackey, Cpl. 63-71.
To Cpl. Fred Lowery talking about X number of days and a hook. I remember hearing that term around the same time 74-77 at Cherry Point. Here is another thing us Air Wingers used to do. I believe it was Seagram VO bottle that had a small ribbon on it. We would buy, and of course drink the contents and then remove the ribbon and put it through the outlets in the sateen cover tied on the inside. It was our short timer's ribbon. I don't recall anyone ever getting in trouble, thou some were asked to remove them.
Gunny of Marines
Parris Island Plt 111 Jan 22, 1973 - Apr 23, 1973
VMAT 203 Cherry Pt 74-77
3rd LAAM BN Cherry Pt 80-82
2nd LAAM BN Yuma 84-85
MCLB Albany GA 87-92
Regarding short timers days left plus hook. Starting around day twenty or so I bought some white shoe polish and every morning would write the number of days left plus hook on the rear window of my VW for everyone to see
Just read the story entitled Can't Fool Me and felt I needed to comment. This story brought back some memories for me since at the time I was the Platoon Sgt for the firing battery of those M109's. At the time I was serving with K Battery, 4th Battalion, 14th Marines.
Capt Alex Powell was the I & I and OIC as mentioned in the story. Sure appreciated those guys getting us to Fort McCoy so we could conduct our Fire Ex. Need to mention Major Byron Hill, Battery CO, Capt Jack Graham ,XO , and Gunny Dick McQuen. All some of the finest Marines I had the honor to know and serve with.
Larry LaBahn, S/Sgt
We used that expression in Viet Nam when our time was getting close to going back to the World also. I have a photo of myself and a self-made paper hook when I was about to leave, back in 1966 from Chu Lai.
Sgt. Alphonso Grayson 1381
1st Shore Party Batt.
Cpl. Hall mentioned lack of chow at Camp Geiger in November 1964. I will back him on this. I was at Geiger in November 1961 and had the same problem. For breakfast many a day we had cold cereal and no milk or just milk and no cereal.
Also read on Short Rounds about Master padlock combinations. Mine was issued at PI in July of 1961 and it was (and still is) 24-2-20. I still use it on my shed.
Long shank lock for the rifle rack: Combination: 2-28-2. Pair of locks for the foot locker and wall locker. Both the same combination. Combination: 6-12-38. After 50 years, I still have both long shank locks.
All units were either school or LAAM Battalions
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
(a short commentary from my grandson) Semper Fidelis Joe Featherston
So, I have determined that enlisting in the Marine Corps is like drinking heavily. Some people do it, some people never do it. Some people do it once for the experience and then never do it again. Some people do it again and again, and of those people, sometimes it affects their appearance and behavior in a negative way, while it helps others to be productive. I love analogies.
LCpl Jeremy Mazur,
VMFA-232 Electrical Shop
I'm with you Sgt Grit, I marched behind the same Pvt. during my entire training at Parris Island (Platoon 215 January/March 1966). I cannot remember his name without going to my Platoon Book. However, to this day I can close my eyes and see that dime-size growth right in the middle of the back of his head that would get cut every time we had our haircut. They told us to hold a finger on any warts, bumps, or etc., but I don't think they told the barbers.
Bob Mauney, CPL
Born 1946 Joined USMC 1964 Back to the World 1966 Today-Birthday 66 years old, 46 years later.
I don't know if it's "just coincidence", maybe someone who follows the meaning of numbers could explain it. But for me, I'm still on the right side of the green, not quite as lean, just as mean... and always a Marine.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I remember getting to boot camp at South Carolina's forgotten coast- The 3 D.I.'s were all different, but complimented each other. After a few days of H-ll we established a routine. One drill instructor had us take, ( remember ready seat!), if all butts didn't hit the deck together, someone caught the short end of the stick. We were given a lecture, like a father explaining to a slow learning child, as to the drill instructors problem how to address us. He couldn't call us men, because we had not relegated to that level yet.
We were not classified as recruits, because we were not that level in HIS eyes. We were not Marines, because we were unproven yet. The junior D.I. decided to call us girls! It would be something like, "Hey girls do you think you can obey my commands without having one of your sisters screwing it up?" Could be marching, P.T., usually they had this silly notion that in the beginning we could act as one, in a fluid motion together. As we progressed we got more efficient, and could march in a column, thought and acted like a unit, but it took time and a lot of punishment dealt to us to make it work with precision.
Naturally we did everything right at the end, as all of us know from experience. On graduation day we were addressed by all 3 D.I.'s. The senior spoke to all us later on, before we went on to our new assignments, as he called us into the D.I. quarters and told us to stand at ease, and made all of us proud to be finally Marines. The 2 juniors marched us to an out of the way area after graduation festivities, and he told us what we wanted to hear all during our h-ll at P.I., South Carolina! They said they were proud of us, and he calls us to attention and says, LADIES DISMISSED!
It may sound corny, or some may have been p-ssed, but yours truly, remembers the moment, and respects those 3 bastions of strength who got us to think as well as act on instinct during a stressful situation. You must realize they have a short time to weed out the ones that can't do the job. It could mean lives in combat, as we rely on one another.
I had Marines who I worked with, that I never trusted, and would re-check some of the things they did. While other Marines that had my back I was confident when I was with them.
This happened in 1963 and it is now 2012. I am older and I hope wiser, but U.S. Marines have a built-in BULLS--T DETECTOR, and even today the meter can still read liars as well as it did back in the good old days.
Thank you for your support of us all in the real world and for
providing us a place to go now
World Cockroach Record
I have always heard that the World Cockroach Record, from the Guinness Book, was a big white b--t--d about 9 inches long... came out of the Geiger chow hall, legend says in the late 1950's. I checked the record and the present one was caught in Panama... well, yeah, obviously... we used to make 'deadfall' traps for those monsters out of rocks, coconuts, whatever when at JOTC Ft. Sherman just for s--t's and giggles, when they closed the 'Jungle Inn'. (Army's name for the slop chute there). What I guess I'm asking is, does anybody know about this? Just a good ol' red blooded American kookaracha?... The story goes that the OD shot it with his 1911-Oh bull cr-p!... We all know the Field Grade OD would have had him hung on the spot. I saw a few brand new herky-jerky 2nd Lt's make a few mistakes as an NCO, but I don't buy that...
Needled--k was still around in the early 1980's. I think he got busted to PFC though. Being Old Corps he had a preference for C-rat's over LLRP's or MRE's when they hit the FMF in '85 or so... Never could catch him in the act of 'ratf---n' the fruit out of C-rations...
Also during that time... In boot camp I was issued 2 sets of Marine 'slant pockets', RVN era camouflage ute's and 2 sets of poplin straight pocket cammie's. Had 2 cammie covers and 2 OD 'sateen' covers... now it gets confusing. We hit the FMF and sateen covers are out. So we buy 2 more poplin covers and keep the ODs for patrolling, the field, etc. In '83 the order comes down and no more slant pockets, except in the field. (raggedy azs Marine term comes to mind; it caused a large fight with "C" co., 504th PIR at Pickett- another story). Then in '84 the new 'woodland' pattern comes out... eventually everybody gets squared away at some point but I remember during about a 2 year period there, Gunny Peake would say "Y'all look like s--t!" (After 3 RVN tours and 2 on the Drill Field at PI). "How many times do I have to tell you azzzzzzholes about 'fallin out in different cammies? It's unsat and you know it, and y'all keep pzzzn' me off, see what happens!"
Somebody once said to him in formation, "Hey Gunny, if they put 'garanamals tags'(from the children's clothing line at the time) on them would it help, or just don't make us fall out before dawn!" Can't recall what happened to that fool but it wasn't good.
Cpl. Kunkel, you guys in the 8th always had the best 'Float Jackets' during that time. By far. We did a lot of Deployments (Wes-Pacs, Caribs, Central America, Korea, Pacific Islands, schools in CONUS, etc.), and over four years went many places, but I never built a Jacket. I'm working on one now though thanks to Sgt. Grit's store.
Accuracy by volume Gunner, accuracy by volume! Up 2, right 6, sustained!
"DT" Jones, CPL
Served In The 30's
More something else. Things I remember after reading the articles your "news sheet" has printed. Boot Camp P.I. 1944, had a platoon member, Amos Anspaugh, who had served in the 30s in Nicaragua America fighting the Sandinistas. At the time I couldn't understand why he was in Boot Camp for seconds. He never complained. The D.I. Sgt. Ellison called on him from time to time to relate some of his experiences, usually during break time, interesting.
Also, had a Pvt. Pantano, a V-12, washout who could sing cadence like no one else I ever heard. He was directed to move the platoon at various times and on some of the 'hikes' we made.
Thanks for the memories and "Semper Fi".
Edwin Tate GySgt USMC Ret'd
The Father Grasped My Hand
Sgt. Grit: For a lot of years I've believed that what goes around surely comes around. The small displays of pride I've worn honoring my service to our country and to our Corps (in the way of t-shirts, sweatshirts, covers, and jackets) has returned to me many times.
I've had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people and have shared some amazing stories. Without exception, at each encounter with a Marine or other service veteran or family member, we may not have known each other, but we are instantly not a stranger.
A few weeks back I came out of our local Safeway store and spotted a car with a rear-window sticker with our Eagle, Globe, and Anchor that proclaimed "My son is a United States Marine." So I leaned against the rear fender and waited for the driver to return. After about ten minutes a couple came toward me rolling their cart. For a moment they looked a bit concerned, so I adjusted my USMC baseball cap and held out my hand. I nodded to the window and sticker and a wave of understanding swept their faces. "Yes," they said, grinning from ear-to-ear. "Our son is currently serving with such-and-such outfit at Camp Pendleton." I told them (and I didn't know either of them) that I always get a surge of thrill when I see a USMC decal and that I just wanted to shake their hand and welcome them to The Family. The father grasped my hand and said, "And I'm just now beginning to understand how big that family really is." It was like meeting new relatives, and about as cool as it can get.
I was standing in line at my pharmacy a while back, patiently as any well-taught Marine would, waiting my turn when a group of youngsters (late teens-early 20s) walked by to the end of the line (four or five folks behind me). Again I was wearing my USMC baseball cap. After a couple of moments I heard someone behind me say, in a voice just barely above a whisper, "Semper Fi." I spun around, stepped to the end of the line and stuck my hand out looking for the Marine. A young black man sported the most wonderful smile and as he reached to grab my hand with both of his, turned to his friends and said, "See! I told you we were family!" I beamed with him. Truly a special moment.
Occasionally that bond of instantaneous friendship will extend beyond the borders of The Corps. Twice in recent months, with wearing either my USMC cap or jacket at our local Wal-Mart I've been approached by men wearing "Retired Navy" caps. Each time, without preliminaries, my hand was grabbed and after much pumping I was told that the Navy man had been a Corpsman and had served with Marines in Vietnam. One had come ashore with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade on May 7, 1965, at Da Nang and the other had been with the 4th Marines at Khe Sanh. Neither of these men knew me from Adam, but because I wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, we were simply brothers. I was, and still am, overwhelmed by the experience. Both had served with the Marines long after I left Vietnam in August of 1964.
And one last anecdote: I was at the same Wal-Mart wearing the same USMC cap. I was standing in line at the check-out stand when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Behind me was a man, probably a dozen years older than my 70+ years wearing a "Retired Navy" cap. I expected to meet another Corpsman, but this gentleman wanted to know what ships I'd sailed on when I was on active duty. After I told him about sailing aboard the USS George Clymer, the USS Bexar, the USS Princeton, and the USNS E.D. Patrick, he got this faraway look in his eyes and told me he'd been on the flight deck of the USS Hornet on the day that General Doolittle and his Raiders took off on their little raid of Tokyo. I grabbed his hand and it was like shaking hands with history itself.
If I may offer a recommendation, strut your stuff! Wear your colors with pride. When you spot someone doing the same, regardless of branch, thank them for their service and welcome them home. You could end up amazed at how and how often the favor is returned.
Be well and Semper Fi.
1958 - 1964
The Flight Line
Written By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny) Vol. #1, #10, (OCT. 2011)
Pilots of H-34's flying in Vietnam soon discovered in the combat zone that some of the design's innovative features carried penalties. The high Cockpit made it an obvious target and the drive shaft created a partition that made it difficult for Crew Chiefs to come to the aid of an injured Pilot or Co-pilot. The H-34's magnesium skin resulted in very intense fires and contributed to significant corrosion problems when exposed to salt water. The airframe was also too weak to support most of the weapons systems that allowed the UH-1 (Huey) to become an effective ad-hoc gunship. Nonetheless, the H-34 demonstrated an ability to sustain a substantial amount of combat damage and still return home.
I'd like to interject something here and that is about the "Cuban Crisis" fiasco. This was not a war, nor did it involve a landing or, any other such type of action, or operation. It was more of a "show of strength" and never much more. Helicopters were deployed as were troops aboard carriers and APA's but again, non were committed. My personal experience was that I was assigned TAD to HMM-265, an H-34 Squadron , and went with them to Vieques, P.R. where I rejoined my Detachment and we picked up an H-37, or (HR2S) which was a twin engine heavy lift helicopter.
The aircraft had been sitting on the Tarmac while it was being repaired for a fire that it had while flying in the area some months earlier. The repairs were completed at NAS Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico and we flew it aboard the Carrier (USS Okinawa, LPH-3) and stayed on station for several more weeks while the "Suits" worked out the problem and then it was a stop in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands for "Booze" and then back to MCAS, New River, N.C. where we flew ashore. This all happened in Sept. of 1963 prior to dis-embarking from the USS Okinawa LPH-3. off the coast of North Carolina..
While all this was happening on the East Coast, The situation in Vietnam was starting to pick-up and in Oct of 1963 two MARINE H-34 Squadrons, HMM-361 (reinf). and HMM-261 plus a Detachment from VMO -6 (Observation Aircraft) were starting operations in country. It would not be until Oct 1964, after several unit rotations, that Operation SHUFLY would end and MARINE Helicopter units would be rotated on a regular basis. But, The handwriting was on the wall and what was now happening in Vietnam was not going to be a short haul, so, the training intensified all across the Country. Systems and personnel were being fine-tuned for the eventuality of what was to come. I was also the units Embarkation NCOIC and I spent many hours taking inventory and making sure everything worked before the actual "Time for Need and Use", came.
Shortly after returning from our adventure in the South, I re-enlisted and requested duty in Hawaii with HMM-161 at Kaneohe Bay. This was in Dec..1963 and I arrived there in Feb . of 1964. It should be noted that this was the only MARINE Helicopter unit in the Islands. The unit was an H-34'd Squadron and I had just came from a H-37'c unit which meant that I had a lot to learn about my new assignment. My newly assigned unit was in direct support of The 1st Marine Brigade (4th MARINES) and we were involved in many different training exercises plus many actual SAR (Sea Air Rescue) calls.. We maintained several aircraft in a standby status because of the number of calls that would come in for assistance, from boaters in trouble somewhere in the Island Chain and we would respond).
Responding to Cpl Fred Lowery's letter in the Aug. 2 newsletter. I was stationed at MCAF New River, Jacksonville, NC, from 1969 to June of 1972. Was assigned to H&MS 26 and later transferred to HML-167 when they came back from Nam. We also used the term X and a hook. Many cars could be seen with the number and fishhook painted on the back and side glass as they drove around town. If I remember correctly we started this when we reached the 30 day mark. Each day the number was changed to reflect the time left. This was also a practice at Camp Lejeune. Many fond memories of J'ville and the old Court St.
Dear Sgt Grit,
We all know that Marine Corps Expressions are priceless! We heard from Marines certain comments, (that may not be Marine expressions, but spoken in a troubled moment from a Marine). After 41 years of marriage, I asked my wife, "what are you doing later?" "I'm going over to see "NUMNUTS"." (A neighbor who is, 'not wrapped too tight'. I almost dropped my cell when she said this. I asked her why she said it and her answer was, "The Marine Corps can express her the best."
Bruce Bender Cpl
P.S. Have not heard reference to 'Joe sh-t the ragman' in over 40 years form Cherry Point N. C. As we got together in squad bay after work, a bunch of Marines with free time always argued about everything. One would make an a crazy statement and one would say, "who said that?" An argument would ensue which sometimes developed into almost blows. Invariable one guy would credit 'Joe Sh-t the Ragman' with the statement and we would laugh and be calm again.
We have to have a lot more Marine-isms out there!
Big Red was one of those Moto Marines that always got us in trouble. We got left behind in 29 Palms for various reasons, new joins to 1/23 broke dicks, etc. Red could not help himself. When we got to Ammunition Supply Wolf (ASP Wolf) in Nov 04 we figured we would have some fun with him. We would hide the bolt of his M-16 A4 before going out of the wire and his rifle would go Kachunk!!! We would laugh our azs off in the back of those Jerry rigged Hummers!
The best prank I played on him was the time I switched sleeping systems and I was in his rack wearing nothing but a Jadjii beret and a nudy mag. He assumed I was in his sleep system and almost poured a bottle of water on his own sleeping system! Someone had handed me some lube for ex-tra authenticity! Red is now a Marine officer. I wish the best of luck to him and to all Marines!
Sgt Jose T. Vazquez De Rodriguez
I landed in Nam on my 18th birthday. They kept me in Okinawa for 3 extra days until I turned 18. My first 2 months were in H&S, 1st Laam Bn, right next to Dogpatch. After 2 months, off to A Btry on Hill 724. About 2 weeks after getting to Alpha, some new arrivals from stateside showed up. Kubes was from Jersey City, me, from NYC. We got along great.
After the monsoon, which was wet, and muggy, sometime about May, which was dry and muggy, we got a new CO who made some changes we did not particularly agree on. The first was we would all wear t-shirts at all times, except in the hooch. This caused us to go from sweaty to sweatier. Kubes and I slit all our t's down the middle from neck to waist and we put them on like a short sleeve shirt. The next change was to always wear helmet, flak jacket, and cartridge belt everywhere on the hill.
Prior to this we were permitted to go to the NCO club, mess hall, and shower house without them. Now we wore them everywhere but in the hooch. When this new order was issued everyone got PO'ed. Now, we had to go to the shower house fully dressed and armed instead of with a towel around our waist, wearing boots, and carrying a ditty bag.
Well, on that first day Kubes and I decided to take a shower. We walked to the shower house, about 600 yards wearing just a helmet, flak jacket, cartridge belt, and boots, carrying a rifle and a ditty bag with a towel thrown over our shoulder. To this day I wish someone had taken a picture of two bare butt Marines strolling to the shower house and then strolling back to the hooch. Kind of gives a new meaning to "Present Arms". Marines always follow orders.
I Say Again
I just would like to know why us "airwingers" get no love? We are MARINES, just like all MARINES...
J Kelly Jr
Note: I say again as I have said many times before. I can only print what I am sent. So, if you don't see a story about your unit the 3rd Force Mess Spoon Plt, Reinforced, then send me a story about how you single handedly fought and destroyed 47 well armed J-ps, go-ks, Haj-s, etc... with only your bent mess spoon, a broken leg, blinded in one eye and couldn't see outta the other.
Here's to happy inspired writing. Some of my Nam buddies will recognize their inspired phrases plagiarized above.
Seems almost everyone has a "poser" story, here is my contribution. While attending school (GI Bill) in the late sixties after getting out of the Corps, the campus was swarming with young men "working hard" on their draft deferments. One such group occupied a corner of the Quad just off the parking lot. I would pass them every day but never had any contact with them.
One day I noticed one of them was wearing a green uniform coat with L/Cpl chevrons. I went up to him and asked where he had obtained the uniform coat. He told me that it had belonged to the brother of a friend of his and that friend had given it to him to wear. I told him to stand up, take it off and hand it over to me. I'm very sure he knew I wasn't kidding because he took it off without a word and handed it over. No one in the group said anything and they never made eye contact with me for the rest of the semester.
The next incident happened about a month later. I was getting myself a cup of coffee when one of my classmates invited me to sit with some others at a table. When I sat down I was introduced to a guy that I hadn't seen around campus. The person doing the introduction mentioned that I had been in the Marines and he said that he too had been a Marine. He told me that he had been a "crack shot" and since I had never seen anyone wearing a "crack shot" badge I was more than a little suspicious so I probed a little deeper. I asked him what he had shot in Boot Camp, he smirked, and said to everyone at the table, "well I shot a rifle of course." I then asked him what score he had shot and he got that 'deer in the headlights' look, checked his watch, said he was late for something and promptly left. I never saw him again. The young lady that introduced us said in a serious voice "I don't think he was really in the Marines!" Do Ya Think!
I kept that green coat in my garage in my sea bag until it was destroyed in the late eighties I wish I had been able to send it back to T.A. Highte, but if he's reading this you now know the story and that it's not in the hands of some punk.
Cpl E4 Selders
You Notice Sh-t
Inspector-Instructor staff are Regular Marines, ('regular' having nothing to do with their trips to the head), assigned to a Reserve unit/location to not only inspect/instruct, but also to deal with all the mundane routine matters of a relatively small military outpost in a sea of civilians... often without reasonable access to the sort of infrastructure found on bases, air stations, or other larger assemblages of things military... dispensaries, exchanges, commissaries, gyms, hobby shops, ad infinitum... it is sometimes known as 'living on the economy'... and has its' challenges.
On the other hand, it is officially known as 'Independent Duty', or 'being a long way from the flag pole'. Being on independent duty allows for much latitude in daily functioning... and carries with it the sobering (one hopes) reminder that we few, we happy few, in our undress Blue, represent the entire Corps to our local fellow Americans. Considering the general public attitude toward the military as Viet Nam was winding down in the seventies, this 'representin' took some work.
A lot of that work was "PR"... Public Relations, and favorable publicity was always an objective... and to that end, I must confess, these nearly forty years later, I abused our staff of NCO's and SNCO's to accomplish missions that are not to be found in any manual, much less a down- loadable PDF file. One of these was the 'Bicycle Safety Program'...
Sergeant Don Hinson, one of only two Sgts on the staff of eleven (rest were SNCO's, and one Lt.) was one of our Remington Raiders... a Corona Commando... an Admin type, no bayonet stud on his T/O weapon (IBM Selectric... kinda like a really big/heavy laptop, that could produce a printed page, and some copies of that page, simultaneously, without a single cable, driver, or dumb questions from the machine about do you want to save the change you (didn't!) make).
He was also an AJ-Squared Away Marine, sharp, shiny, had most of his Bachelor's degree behind him... and a high, thin voice. Locals would call the Reserve Center, and Hinson would answer the phone: "Marine Reserve Center, Ordnance Maintenance Platoon, Sgt Hinson speaking sir!"... to hear some light bulb salesman say, "Ah, yeah, Hon... is your boss in?"
The bicycle safety program came about after my spouse mentioned at evening chow that she and some other PTA Moms had spent part of the day helping Sgt Fisher of the Moline PD conduct bicycle safety testing at the grade school whence our two candy bandits reported five days a week... the PD furnished the traffic cones, chalk, and ice cream bars... the PTA folks were the judges on the half-dozen riding events. She Who Must Be Obeyed (apologies to Rumpole of the Bailey, PBS) also mentioned that Fisher was having some problems getting enough help.
Ta-Da! This could be a coup... dashing, yet genteel, daring, yet compassionate, steely-eyed, bull-necked, Blues-clad Marines to the playground! (and probably in the papers, and on TV, and...) Sgt Fisher was ever so happy to take my phone call, and our, (my) offer to assist.
There are good reasons why we are taught to gather as much intelligence as possible when formulating an op plan... and I failed to do so... just assumed that a city the size of Moline would have 4-5 grade schools... no biggie... 4-5 half-day evolutions, PR, ice cream bars, no biggie. As it turned out there were around twenty or so schools... and we did all of them over a period of several spring weeks.
Moline is the home of the world headquarters of the John Deere Corporation, and there was an upscale neighborhood populated entirely by senior JD executives and their families... who tended to be transferred in and out, much like military families. We were working the K-6 school in that neighborhood, Hinson having drawn the 'straight line, slow speed' event... where wobbling off line was grounds for failure. Down the line came a fifth-grader on a multi-speed skinny tire bike that undoubtedly cost more than Hinson was drawing a month... the kid got to the end, and Hinson says to the kid, "sorry, son... I'm gonna have to fail you on that for getting so far off the line." The kid throws his expensive bike on the ground, using language that would embarrass a DI suffering with an impacted wisdom tooth and a hangover... then Hinson notices the kid's fly is undone, and politely points that out in his thin voice... the kid replies "Oh, you notice sh!t like that, huh?"
To his everlasting credit, Hinson didn't smack the kid... but I'm sure the thought crossed his mind... as it did mine.
For another time and another bicycle bit, will save the tale of Mayor Buck Wendt and the tons of bike-safe storm drain grates...
"They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or we'll blow you away. And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, Igaralli ahow, which means 'Excuse me', I didn't mean it, my mistake."
--[Karen Aquilar, U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991]
"In principle, there are only two fundamental political viewpoints. That is, two contradictory ends of the 'political spectrum.' Those two principles are freedom and slavery."
--Mark Da Cunha
"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
"No finer military organization than the Marine Corps exists in the world."
--[Admiral George Dewey, US Navy, 1898]
"This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God had given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins."
"There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away."
--Winston S. Churchill
"Never trouble another for what you can do yourself."
"I am convinced there is no smarter, handier or more adaptable body of troops in the world."
--[Winston Churchill writing about US Marines, 1917]
"A man may, if he know not how to save, keep his nose to the grindstone, and die not wirth a groat at last."
"The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth."
"There's no free lunch."
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand."
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."
"In 150 years they have never been beaten. They will hold."
--[Col. Preston Brown, US Army speaking of the Marines replacing routed French units in a desperate last-ditch effort to stop the German advance on Paris during WWI, June 1918. The Marines stopped the Germans]
God Bless the American Dream!
God Bless the Marine Corps!