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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 08 AUG 2013

In this issue:
• Absolutely Fearless
• Corporal Stripes Here I Come
• Old Breed And The New Breed

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Sgt. Grit,

Just curious... I never see anything on line or in your catalog dealing with all us Jarheads that served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those that mounted out from Morehead City, North Carolina to board ships for what we all thought was to invade Cuba. As it turned out, we ended up in a blockade type of action. I can't even remember how long we were out there. It was in October 1962 I think. Anyway, later on we learned just how close we came to being involved in what could have been World War III. Thank God Khrushchev blinked first and removed the missiles from Cuba.

I think President Kennedy was h-ll bent on not letting that proceed. I know it wasn't like Vietnam, and I respect these guys tremendously. I just think that we gave 4 years out of our lives to the US Marine Corps from 1959-1962... it's not our fault that nobody decided to start a war on our watch. We were trained, We were ready to go.

Semper Fi
Donald Sofia
Corporal (E-4)
2nd 155 Gun Battery
Force Troops
Camp Lejeune, NC

Get the newly redesigned t-shirt at:

Cuban Missile Crisis T-Shirt

Absolutely Fearless

Sgt. Grit,

I finished reading Dakota Meyer's book; "Into the Fire", which explains how he earned the Medal of Honor. This is the story of a Man who was trying to save his "Brothers" during a terrible battle in Afghanistan. His Bravery was to try and aid his brothers who were caught in an ambush, he pushed his driver to keep going while he operated the machine gun in the turret. His actions show that he was trying to save his brothers by reading how he followed the tracers from his machine gun to get to the enemy gun, his concentration was to get there, not just the battle. Here is a Man who went into the Marine Corps because he wanted to, his Grandfather had been a Marine.

Reading about his Bravery and some considered him Fearless. I thought about another Marine Hero who is seldom written about, but was absolutely Fearless. His name is Col. Peter Ortiz, he was born in New York but went to school in France. At age 19, in 1932, he joined the Foreign Legion, though his father tried to buy his release he stayed in the Legion and fought in Morocco and became the youngest Sergeant in the Legion.

When his enlistment expired he returned to the States, but at the outbreak of World War II in 1939 he enlisted as a Sergeant in the Legion, fighting the Germans in the battle of France. He earned the Croix de Guerre, Medal des Blesses and other medals for his Bravery in that Battle. He was wounded and captured but managed to escape, and return to the U.S. and in 1942 he joined the Marines. At Parris Island he wore his medals as a Private and the CG of Parris Island informed the Commandant that this man should be a Captain of Marines rather than a Private. He was Commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June of 1942 and Captain in December. With his knowledge of the region he was loaned to the Army and sent to North Africa where he formed a group of Arabs and fought behind the German lines. He was wounded and sent back to the States to recover. In 1943, as a Member of the OSS (the fore runner of the CIA) he was dropped by parachute into a German Occupied part of France as part of a three man team; Ortiz, a Brit Captain and a French Colonel. He drove 4 RAF Pilots, that had been shot down over France, to Spain so they could return to Britain. Ortiz was promoted to Major and was parachuted back into France in 1944. One of his exploits was in a French Town (he was known by the Free French for wearing his Marine Uniform to lead them on Missions) in a bar where some Germans were cursing President Roosevelt and the United States Marines. Ortiz excused himself and went to his room, put on his Marine Uniform, put on a rain coat over it and returned to the bar.

He took off his rain coat, pulled out two Colt .45 Automatic pistols and made the Germans drink to the Health of the United States, to President Roosevelt, and to the U. S. Marines. He then left the bar. Major Peter Ortiz was captured later and imprisoned in a POW camp until the War ended, and he was returned to the United States.

His Awards for Bravery are; 2 Navy Cross, 2 Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Order of the British Empire, FIVE Croix d Guerre, Medaille Blesses, Medaille des Evades, Medaille Coloniale and most of all; Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur, which is Considered the French Medal of Honor.

Considered by all that served with him as absolutely Fearless. The worse part of this story is that you can get only part of his story (though he is one of the most Decorated Marines ever) in a book titled; "Herringbone cloak-Gi Dagger, Marines of the OSS".

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Corporal Stripes Here I Come

We were stationed at this very beat up Japanese airbase in 1953 and the roofs on the hangars had pretty much been bombed off when the Sgt. Major told me to find enough lumber to build a mail shack.

Believe me, it was hard to even find a board, but I did see what looked like a little old storage shed. So I took the Colonel's Jeep and a length of pretty sturdy rope and pulled this shed to the hangar, and then right on inside. It was the driest spot on the flight line. Corporal stripes here I come.

Two weeks later I get hauled into the Colonel's office and meet him and the Provost Marshall. They asked me where I got that "shack" from and I told them I found it in a field near the far end of the air strip. The Provost Marshall said "D-mn it private! We've been looking for that building for weeks. It's post number six!"

Corporal stripes here I go!

Sgt. Abe Dadian (1952 – 1958)
(Meredith, NH)

Old Breed And The New Breed

Sgt Grit,

As most readers, I have been reading your letters and found some interesting and some mostly hog wash. However, I would like to address the issues that puzzle me, and that need to be corrected. First is the issue of the EGA. For over twenty-seven years I have looked upon the Marine Corps Emblem as what it is, the Marine Corps Emblem. I assume that due to the new technology of the cell-phones, most younger adults abbreviate words for faster decoding, saving time and money. I stand fast on calling my Marine Corps Emblem for what it is, and will not demean myself, or the honor in the sacrifice of our heroes who have died for its cause. Ask yourself. "What would Chesty Puller call our Marine Corps Emblem?" To better understand the history of our Marine Corps Emblem, Doctor Fred Briuer has finished his first volume on the Marine Corps Emblem, "The United States Marine Corps Emblem, Volume I, 1804 to World War II", to be publish soon, and he is working on "The Marine Corps Emblems, Volume II, WWII to Present".

Second, the last time I wore a hat was in 1959, and one of the first things we learn is that we Marines wear a cover. I don't recall the Navy ever wearing a hat either. The Army and Air Force wear a hat. For those years in the Marine Corps I wore a cover. A barracks cover, garrison cover, p-ss cover, and a soft cover - never a hat. I still wear a cover. If we are going to call our covers a hat, then we should say "We wore a Steel/Kevlar hat on top of my gourd during combat." I completed two tours on the Drill Field at San Diego, and I wore a Field Cover, not a hat. I was both a Drill Instructor and Platoon Commander. For those Drill Instructors, current and former, did you tolerate a Private calling your Field Cover, "A Hat"?

Third, the want-a-be Marines. When I meet a Marine, I make contact, and talk about the subjects that are important to us. When, where, and how long we served in the Marine Corps. Doesn't matter if he was active, reserve, or a draftee - we are all Marines. When it seems they don't have all their ducks in line, I ask when they went through boot camp, where, platoon number, company, and what battalion. Then I ask the ultimate question, "Who were your Drill Instructors?" How many Marines can't remember their Drill Instructors? If they answer most of the questions, taking in the age factor associated with memory loss, I shake their hand and greet them with a hardy Semper Fi. Usually most who fail the test will end the conversation and walk, and I wish them well with - didi mau in Vietnamese, "Go Quickly."

By now most have arrived at the conclusion that I grew up in the Marine Corps between the "Old Breed and the New Breed". Realistically if I had a choice, I would rather stay with the "Old Breed".

Semper Fi, Marines!
Herb Brewer
1stSgt, USMC, RET

Proudest Dad

My son had some troubles in his first semester of college. Nothing terrible, he's was always a great kid for example, at 17 he was an open ocean lifeguard with many saves to his name – yeah – that kind of kid with character a mile wide and a mile deep. As a freshman in college he was only doing the same things that other freshman were doing - he just got caught and because he is an honest kid - "yes, that's my alcohol in the room" - got punished.

When he came home for Thanksgiving break we had a father son talk where he said that he was going to college to please me. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not being pleased by his attendance at college. If he really wanted to please me he'd find his passion and follow it - no matter what that might be. Two weeks later he announced that he had enlisted in the Marine Corps. When I asked him why the Marines, why not the Air Force or the Coast Guard? His response was simple and earnest - dad, if I'm going to join the military I want to join up with the best. Enough said - he found something he was passionate about and did it. I'm one proud dad! But wait, it gets much better.

My wife and I got to PI the day before graduation and were sneaking around trying to get a glimpse. After a while, there he was. One of the many hundreds of recruits in formation. Luckily, he was up in the formation front and easy to see. We had a blast watching them drill for graduation. The next day we attended the graduation – a must for parents that is not to be missed! The Marines know how to put on a good show! After graduation, we toured the barracks and spoke with the DIs and they all had the same thing to say about our son – "we didn't worry about him" which given what my son had said in his letters home about many of the recruits in basic, I took to be a substantial compliment. Additionally, the graduation program noted that our son was meritoriously promoted to PFC and graduated as the squad leader (although he tells me they fired him before rehiring him for that position). Again, I'm one proud dad.

But here comes my proudest moment as a dad – it still brings a tear to my eye as I write this and it's something I think only a dad can really understand. After graduation we were all walking in the hot June sun on our way to the mess for post graduation family lunch. My son is walking besides me and we are just shooting the breeze talking about basic and some of his strategies for getting through it "Dad, all you have to do is yell 'yes sir' the loudest and do what they say" when he casually says "The drill instructors were all telling me the same stuff you were always telling me growing up". I was floored. We kept walking and talking and I did not let on that I was stunned. But I will always remember that moment as my proudest.

Semper Fi
Dr. Douglas Russell
Oakdale, NY

Colonel Day

Sgt Grit,

Unfortunately, We have lost another of our heroic brothers. Colonel George (Bud) Day, USAF, (Ret), born February 24, 1925, died yesterday, July 27, 2013, at the age of 88.

He served as a Marine during WW II and as an Air Force pilot during Korea and Vietnam. He was shot down over North Vietnam in October 1967 and spent 5 and a half years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton. He and John McCain were cell-mates.

Colonel Day was a lawyer, as well as holding several other advanced degrees. For those of us who are retired and above the age of 65, we can thank Colonel Day for our medical plan (Tricare for Life). He challenged Congress in the courts, and as a result Tricare for Life became law.

Most importantly, he was a Medal of Honor winner, in addition to more than 70 other campaign, service, and personal awards.

When asked why he wasn't promoted to the General ranks, he said, "I'm just not politically correct enough."

I'm sure there's a special place for Colonel Day, maybe on General Puller's staff. Now, only 78 MOH winners still alive.

Thanks for allowing me to "Sound Off".

Semper Fi
A Former "Hat"
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)

At the Ripe Age Of 17

I just wanted to say Semper FI to all my Marine Corps brothers and sisters. My cap is off to all services that have served in any of our wars and campaigns since the beginning of this great country of ours, and a special place in my heart for the POWs and the Soldiers that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Twenty-one Gun Salute!

Myself, I'm a M-60 Machine Gunner LCP, served with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 3/5, Lima Co. Being a grunt in the Marine Corps was a life experience, and of course the awkward home coming we all received was very ungrateful. It is what it is, so suck it up and move on.

I'm 61 now. Joined the Marine Corps in 1969 at the ripe age of 17. I held 4 MOS(s) because I just loved all the Marine Corps toys in the toy box. Now I'm a 100 percent disabled Veteran due to Agent Orange. Heart failure (been cracked open twice) diabetes, P.A.D. neuropathy in my feet, and hands now. But hey, I've got nothing to complain about right! Divorced twice, 2 failed engagements, (women, I love 'em) been knock down on my azs about a dozen times with finance's and life in general. But, I always land on my feet and for that I thank the Marine Corps (and God). Hard to explain any of this to a civilian. I thought I would, for the first time in my life, sound off! Semper Fi!

Anybody that served the same time as I did, send me an email back. Would love to hear from you Marines.


Old Man In The Story

This is in response to Cpl. Belaire and his letter he wrote about the humbling you feel when you meet someone from anywhere in WWII or Korea.

I have had this feeling many times because I work in a Casino and I make it a point to talk to every single Veteran that enters this place. I have met many Marines and have heard so much of our history first hand. However, you said that it is fast disappearing and I know exactly what you are talking about, but think about this my friend. It will never disappear because it is indeed our history, and Yes, the day is approaching that these awesome heroes will be gone. That mature gentleman was once a young man and his heroes had to have come before him, and he felt just like you are feeling now. My point is that one day you will be that old man, and there will be young Marines in awe listening to your story. You see it doesn't really disappear it just moves on to another generation. The Viet Nam Vets will be the old man in the story, and the Desert Vets will take over from there. The old man was indeed correct in saying you and him were just brothers that never met, and I hope in the future you walk up to a younger Marine and share the same time with him that you and this fella did.

My wife once asked me how I can just walk up to a stranger and talk to him like I do. I told her that I don't expect her to understand, but to please understand that it is something I need to do. I never am in such a hurry that I don't have the time to say hello to one of my brothers. Now after the years she just knows that I love talking to the old Vets and especially my Marine Brothers, and she has learned to be patient and slow down and enjoy the Heroes among us. Semper Fi Cpl. B. You have so much more to experience. It has happened to me a couple times that the younger vets and want to stop and talk to me now that I am fast becoming the old man in the story.

Gy. Mac

Heard My Granddaddy

Back in '67 everybody knew what "Swooping" was. As I recall there was an area near the Camp Lejeune base gym that was called the swooping circle where Marines would gather to seek rides to various locations, and those who had automobiles would stop by and pick up potential riders to share expenses.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit Camp Lejeune with my son. It brought back a lot of memories. We were entering the base gym where there were two young Marines sitting on the steps. I stopped and asked them if they were waiting to catch a ride for the weekend swoop. They looked at me with a puzzled look on their faces. After a few seconds, one of them looked at me and said "Sir, I've heard my granddaddy mention swooping from Camp Lejeune home, but never knew what he meant." I guess that is one indication that I was a member of the Old Corps. So many Marines have automobiles today that I guess swooping is a thing of the past.

Semper Fi,
Bob Mauney
Former "Swooper"

Talk About An Education

Semper Fi, Don:

As a Marine Corps "brat", that was dragged from one base to another by my Father, I heard quite a bit of "jargon" whenever he and his friends got together at one military housing "party" or another. My Father was a "Mustang" Captain and salty as the day was long. During one of our tours of duty in the beautiful seaside hamlet of Oceanside, CA. (This was in the late '50's/ early '60's) I landed a job selling newspapers on Camp Pendleton. Our "manager" would give us a bundle of local papers and drop us off in one of the many different "areas" that made up the Base. Talk about an education! We were allowed to walk through the barracks at will, post outside the exit hatch at the mess-hall, stroll through Headquarters buildings... anywhere! Imagine being a 9-year old boy wandering around among a bunch of salty, foul-mouthed and hard-as-nails jarheads. Let me say, at no time did I feel the slightest bit afraid or threatened. If anything, these Marines went out of their way to talk to me and give me cast-off gear. Especially if I mentioned that my Dad was a Captain with the 1st Tank Bn. not too far down the road.

Anyway, to get to the point, many times I heard some of the guys in the barracks referring to themselves as "beetle-crushers" and "legs" or "hard-legs". Many, many years later, I found myself stationed at one of the Areas where I used to sell papers. 21 Area; Camp Del Mar, as an instructor for the LVTP5A1. Small world.

Jeff Barnes/ USMC-'64-'68
RVN: 1965-1966/ Da Nang

Hard, But Fair

I spent my last year and a half at Camp Pendleton in Headquarters Battalion in area fifteen. I arrived there in September of 1963. In October I was sent TAD to work at the Brig in Area Fourteen. While at the Brig, the Brig Ward was Major Hardee. (I'm not sure of the spelling). It was an honor to work for him. The Major was a hard, but fair man. He had received the Navy Cross as a Corporal in Korea. He ran out of ammo and picked up his entrenching tool and killed eighteen Chinese. He was a very intimidating figure. I would like to hear from anyone that worked at the Brig from Oct. 1963 to August 1964.

A. H. Johnston
former Corporal USMC

Camp Hague

Sgt. Grit,

You get many letters about Okinawa, and it appears to me that none of your readers have ever been to Camp Hague, whereas you have a bit on Google about Camp Hague. I was stationed at Camp Hague in 1964 (still can't quite get over the spelling, (thought it was Camp Hauge, but must be wrong) while there at the time I worked at the Morning Star Newspaper as a Page reader (proof reader) paid an extra $5.00 an hour which went a long way over there. I also ran the Camp Hague Pistol Range for Special Services for a few bucks a month. I found time to do other things because most of the time overseas is boring, even in Vietnam, when your heart wasn't beating itself through your chest, you were bored as h-ll or trying to get to Freedom Ville and spend your money.

So let's have some stories about Camp Hague, does anyone remember who the Camp was named after?

GySgt/ F.L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

The SgtMaj/MGySgt Rivalry

By Anonymous

MGySgt 1. When you meet a MGySgt in the passageway and say "What's up Master Guns?" He says (smiling) "What's up numb nuts". You both laugh, especially if it's a WM.

SgtMaj 1. When you meet a SgtMaj in the passageway and you say "Good Morning Sgt Major", his response will vary depending on if he is within earshot of the CO. If he is, you will get a loud motivated response, a comment on your appearance, and an inquiry as to your welfare. If the CO is not present you will get only a grunt, with no eye contact at best.

MGySgt 2. When you see a MGySgt on a Saturday morning, he's probably gassing up his $30,000 Custom Harley. He is wearing a ratty biker tee shirt, faded ripped jeans, and riding boots. He's with his 3rd wife (very cute) who is 15 years younger than him, ("met her on recruiting duty, had to DQ her"). You say "What's up Master Guns?" He responds with, "What's up Numb nuts". You all laugh, and you wish you had a bike like that.

SgtMaj 2. When you see a SgtMaj on a Saturday morning. He's wearing a smartly pressed collared shirt, Dockers, boat shoes, and a leather belt. He's sitting by himself in the PX food court wondering what he is going to do with a day off? You walk all the way around to avoid him because you aren't dressed like a g-y Tiger Woods, and don't want to hear his cr-p on a Sat.

MGySgt 3. If you ever find yourself in the MGySgts office for a butt chewing, it's very likely you'll leave shaken, probably crying, but highly motivated to do better.

SgtMaj 3. If you ever find yourself in the SgtMajors office for a butt chewing, it's very likely you'll leave mostly knowing all about how great the Sgt Major was when he was your rank (3 years ago). However you know your Master Gunny will get you back on track, see MGySgt 3.

MGySgt 4. If you run in to the MGySgt at the club, he'll probably be a half a beer away from smacking some new WO, who used to work for him 10 years ago. He is also about three dollars away from being broke, but will borrow a $20 from his Gunny to buy you beer. However you will most likely have to hear stories about how much of a screw up he was as a troop, how much pipe he laid overseas, and how much illegal stuff he did on recruiting duty.

The stories will get better the drunker the Master Guns gets. The Master Guns new wife will show up later to drive him home, but she won't drink as she isn't old enough.

SgtMaj 4. If you run into the SgtMaj at the club, he'll probably be drinking water, and keeping close tabs on how much beer everybody else is drinking. He wouldn't think of inviting you, or anyone for that matter over, because he is afraid of a confrontation with any Marine that is drinking. He will always leave early (before 1800) as he has to field day his room in the barracks.

MGySgt 5. When you see the MGySgt at unit P.T. you'll be surprised how well a fat old guy can run? But more importantly you want to get in better shape so that old prick can't talk sh-t to you about PT anymore.

SgtMaj 5. When you see the SgtMaj at unit P.T. he'll be running back and forth yelling at the road guards, the meat wagon driver, Plt Sgts, run drops, etc. or anything/anybody that will get him attention. After the run he will call all the SNCO's together and counsel them for poor cadence, crappy cover and alignment, and generally how nobody is as good a leader as he is. Oh and by the way, he will remind everyone that he is "The Sgt Major" several times.

MGySgt 6. When you call the MGySgt at 0100 and tell him that you are heading to the hospital because your wife is in labor, he'll probably say "Alright brother, drive safely and I'll see you in a couple of days. Make sure you call me if you need anything."

SgtMaj 6. When you call the SgtMaj at 0100 and tell him that you are heading to the hospital because your wife is in labor, he'll probably say "Why are you calling me?

MGySgt 7. If you happen to see the MGySgt in the barracks after 1630, he's probably just stumbled over from the club half lit, hide the W.M.s.

SgtMaj 7. If you happen to see the SgtMaj in the barracks after 1630, he's probably just passing through coming back from attending the free movie on base. Hide the MGySgt and the W.M. he is currently counseling.

MGySgt 8. If you happen to run into the MGySgt in the field, he's probably sitting on a lawn chair, joking with his Marines. He'll most likely be nursing a hangover from all the warm beer he drank at the card game with his SNCO's the night before.

SgtMaj 8. If you happen to run into the SgtMaj in the field, he'll be bird dogging the CO, rearranging the guard schedule for the 18th time, or in his hooch, wondering how he can get a fourth tour on the drill field.

MGySgt 9. If you happen to see the MGySgt at the Marine Corps Ball, he's probably about half a beer past smacking somebody (rank doesn't matter) and working on getting smacked by somebody (rank doesn't matter). He'll gladly buy you a drink if you could tell him where his medals are? You'll need to help him find his medals, as they fell off when he was trying to break dance.

SgtMaj 9. If you happen to see the SgtMaj at the Marine Corps Ball, he's probably drinking water and telling stories about his three tours on the drill field. His wife's not there because she is a 1st Sgt who is presently on the drill field, and has duty.

MGySgt 10. If you happen to see a MGySgt talking to a SgtMaj he's probably calling the SgtMaj by his 1st name and helping him with a problem he handled when he was acting Sgt Major. (When he was a Gunny 10 years ago).

SgtMaj 10. If you happen to see a SgtMaj talking to a MGySgt, he is calling the Master Guns... "Master Gunnery Sergeant" and trying his best to convince himself that he's the senior Marine.

Jim Mackin
MGySgt USMC (Ret)

Civil Action and Gallantry

I have been a reader of this newsletter for many, many years. This is not to discredit Mr. Blair in any way, but I think you've been given wrong info. The most recent article on whether the ribbons awarded for Civil Action and Gallantry are not legal are not true. The statement from William Hunter HQMC I think was made in haste. Two years ago I contacted the Department of the Navy and requested an update on medals and ribbons that I myself may rate. After about 2 months later I received a package from the Department of the Navy that issues and records all awards and medals with an addendum to my DD214 plus 4 more medals. I found out that a lot of medals and awards are issued after, and sometimes long after a military person has left the military. My point is, for those that have served in places of conflict and have been issued medals, do not remove them because of some scuttlebutt. Not every person in Viet Nam rates some ribbons. There are certain units that do rate them because they fought in certain battles. Not everyone that was in VN rates all the medals. Period. If you want to know what you really rate here is the address to write to:

Navy Personnel Command, (PERs-312-D2)
900 Page Avenue, Room 5409
St. Louis, MO 63132

Give them as much information as you can on where you've served, your service number, and dates. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Be patient, sometimes it takes 4 to 6 months to get a reply. Thanks for letting me add to correct this issue.

Semper Fi,
Sgt Brad Hutchenrider
USMC 1963 to 1969

After reading Larry Blair's post (Nam Is Not True) this evening, I feel that I need to set the record straight on these two foreign awards... It seems that there is a Mr. HUNTER at HQMC who may need a bit of a refresher on this subject. The authorization for these two foreign awards can be found on page 7-5 of SecNavInst 1650.1H dtd 22 Aug 2006... Please read the excerpt paragraph below from the reference, and pay close attention to sub-paragraph (c):

4. Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation a. Authorization. Awarded by the Chief of the Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in two colors: Gallantry Cross Color with Palm and Frame (8 February 1962 to 28 March 1973) and Civil Actions First Class Color with Palm and Frame (1 January 1965 to 28 March 1973). SECNAV has specifically authorized certain units of the Naval service to accept and wear these awards. Such authorization is required in all cases for participation.

b. Eligibility Requirements. The ribbon bar with palm and frame are authorized for wear by personnel who served with certain cited units in Southeast Asia during the approved periods. Lists of eligible units are maintained by CNO and CMC.

c. In addition to those specific ships/units cited, all Navy and Marine Corps personnel who served "in country" Vietnam during the eligibility periods are eligible for both awards.

I hope this clears the air for all concerned.

Jim Mackin
MGySgt - USMC (Ret)
1964 -1987

Vietnam Civil Action Unit Citation Criteria

The Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal was awarded as an individual foreign award to members of the United States Military. The unit citation of the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal was awarded certain units by the Vietnamese government for meritorious service during the period 1 March 1961 to 28 March 1974. Individuals who received the RVN Civil Actions Medal as an individual award are authorized to wear the medal. Personnel assigned to an unit which was awarded the medal are authorized to wear the unit award emblem. The unit award was authorized for all US Military members who served in Vietnam prior to 15 December 1965 and 1st Marine Division Members who served in Vietnam from 3 January 1969 to 30 November 1969 and was authorized by the Secretary of the Navy and backdated on 15 March 1972 http://www.military-certificates.com/Cert_RVN_Civil_Action.htm.

Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation

U.S. Military units were individually cited for award of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross; however, the Vietnamese Government issued the award to all units subordinate to Military Assistance Command (MACV) during the period 8 February 1962 and 28 March 1973 and to U.S. Army Vietnam and its subordinate units for the period 20 July 1965 to 28 March 1973. This permits all personnel who served in Vietnam to wear the RVN Gallantry Cross unit citation.


Advisory 15 March 1962 - 7 March 1965
Defense 8 March 1965 - 24 December 1965
Counteroffensive 25 December 1965 - 30 June 1966
Counteroffensive, Phase II 1 July 1966 - 31 May 1967
Counteroffensive, Phase III 1 June 1967 - 29 January 1968
Tet Counteroffensive 30 January 1968- 1 April 1968
Counteroffensive, Phase IV 2 April 1968 - 30 June 1968
Counteroffensive, Phase V 1 July 1968- 1 November 1968
Counteroffensive, Phase VI 2 November 1968 - 22 February 1969
Tet 69/Counteroffensive 23 February 1969 - 8 June 1969
Summer-Fall 1969 9 June 1969 - 31 October 1969
Winter-Spring 1970 1 November 1969 - 30 April 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1 May 1970 - 30 June 1970
Counteroffensive, Phase VII 1 July 1970 - 30 June 1971
Consolidation I 1 July 1971 - 30 November 1971
Consolidation II 1 December 1971 - 29 March 1972
Cease-Fire 30 March 1972 - 28 January 1973

Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining To Military Records", will get you a copy of your SRB that should include the awards and citations page. On this page you'll be able to see what awards were put into your SRB before discharge.

You can fill out and print a copy of the form and mail along with a copy of your DD214 to the address below:

Where to write for medals:

Navy Personnel Command
Liaison Office Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Where medals are mailed from:
Navy Personnel Command
Liaison Office Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Where to file an appeal or to request more information:
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Military Awards Branch (MMMA)
3280 Russell Road
Quantico VA 22134-5100

Hope this helps, again it generally takes about 4 to 6 months to receive your information. As for individual awards, you'll find those in your SRB or the copy you get from Personnel Records. Sometimes they send them out on microfiche, so you'll need to find a microfiche reader that prints, usually the public library has one.

I disagree with Larry Blair in the 01 Aug Newsletter who stated that the VN Cross of Gallantry is NOT authorized to all US troops who were awarded the VN Service Medal. I don't know who the William Hunter is that he contacted at HQMC, but he is wrong too (often the case with office pogues!). And to Blair's glib "no free ride, if you want them, you have to earn them," I say that we Vietnam vets did "earn" them!

The INDISPUTABLE FACT is this: in 1974 President Thieu and the Vietnamese Congress authorized the VN Cross of Gallantry unit citation to ALL Americans who served in Vietnam as an INDIVIDUAL award (meaning the medal not just the ribbon). If the VN Cross of Gallantry is not on your DD-214 (as is the case with all of us separated before 1974) you don't need to request a DD-215 as long as your DD-214 shows you received the VN Service Medal. It is an "automatic" award that is fully authorized to ALL Veterans who served in Vietnam. Simple, end of case no matter what some office pogue says. Check the many sources on the internet including:

Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and at The Cross

Semper Fi,
Daniel Schafer USMC
L/Cpl. Vietnam 1967

Made The Right Decision

Sgt. Grit,

While reading today's (25Jul13) newsletter, I find that Lt.Col. Goodson and I were in the Norfolk area at around the same time (January '68 - May '69) - I served at old Camp Upshur and took two classes at Little Creek. After so many years, I can't remember the exact date of my EAS, but in 1969, the Corps was pulling out of 'Nam, and was over-strength by about 100,000, as they began transitioning back to a peace-time level. Holding a Reserve commission, I tried to extend on active duty or to augment into the "Regulars," with no success. Consequently, I was supposed to be released from active duty around March or April. Thankfully, my CO, the Colonel in charge of HQ Bn, HQFMFLant, did me the un-requested favor of extending me on active duty until the end of May "for the good of the unit" - I was Asst. S4/Bn EmbarkO. Actually, my wife was pregnant, with a due date of sometime near the end of May. Our first daughter was born in Portsmough Naval Hospital on 23 May, and we left active duty on 31 May.

During my time in Norfolk, the unit received several messages from HQMC requesting officers to fill billets as Casualty Assistance Officers ("No, thanks"), or to be re-trained in the computer field (again, "No, thanks: John Wayne doesn't punch keyboards, he punches enemy soldiers.")

However, I did manage to stay somewhat active in the Corps for six more years, via the Reserves.

Upon becoming a public school teacher (for which I trained in college) I discovered that I should have volunteered for one of those computer slots - not that I don't enjoy teaching. And upon reading Col. Goodson's post, I am very glad that I didn't volunteer for that job. Being the "token" officer for the funeral of a retired Colonel convinced me that, in that choice, I had made the right decision.

Semper Fi!
Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; Always a Marine
1963-76 "for pay purposes"

Platoon Books

I have Platoon books that I have found and have bought. I collect them and give them back to who ever has lost theirs by flood, ex-wife, or fire. So far I have return 6 Platoon books to Marine and still have 138 Books left.

My email for them is marinecorps1955[at]yahoo.com. I have information on our site about how to find there books. I would like to find them a home.

William E. Pilgrim Jr.
U.S.M.C. '72 TO '81

--11th Release--

The Parris Island, S.C. Books I have on hand are:

Platoon 1063 August 2, 1981 to Oct. 15, 1981.

Platoon 1061 July 29, 1982 to Oct. 8, 1982.

Platoon 1057 May 21, 1983 to August 4, 1983 (2) Copies.

Platoons 2A & 2B Nov. 9, 1982 to Jan. 7, 1983 (Women Platoons).

Platoons 9A & 9B Feb. 28, 1984 to April 23, 1984 (Women Platoons).

The San Diego, C.A. books I have on hand are:

Platoons 3021, 3022, 3023, March 2, 1988 to May 13, 1988.

Platoons 3065, 3066, 3067, August 11, 1989 to Oct. 27, 1989.

Platoons 1009, 1010, 1011, Feb. 9, 1990 to April 27, 1990.

Platoons 1057, 1058, 1059, 1060, July 5, 1991 to Sept. 20, 1991.

Platoons 2001, 2002, 2003, Feb. 14, 1992 to May 1, 1992.

Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.

Rules Of Engagement

Sgt. Grit,

In 1944 when I first enlisted, we learned that the Laws for Naval Service was; "Articles for the Government of the Navy", famously named; "Rocks and Shoals". The Army had their; "Articles of War". These Laws were quite stringent and one rule was we were to have the "Rocks and Shoals" read to us twice a year. You don't know boring until you sit in a room with 50 or so other Marines and have a record read out; Article 1, Section 5, Any member of the Naval Service who... There were 70 Articles, AND a Gunnery Sgt. or Officer walking the room keeping you awake.

Then in 1950 the Military dumped the Rocks and Shoals and the Articles of War and brought forth; Universal Code of Military Justice. We went to War in Korea with the UCMJ and also in Vietnam. There were changes made as all Governments like to do, and keeping up with them are Military Lawyers.

I was wondering if the UCMJ still rules our Military, because I hear the rules of Engagement require the enemy to fire first before you can fire back, and if the enemy dodges into a house or home he is free unless you catch him with a rifle or IED or an RPG.

I remember the "No Fire Zones" and "Free Fire Zones" in Vietnam and wondered what idiot brought those rules about. I just read, DoD has gone into making new Laws called; "Law of War Manual", Military Lawyers, DoD Officials, Civilian Military Lawyers, had prepared a 19 Chapter, 1,100 (single spaced) draft pages of New Laws. A draft was sent to members of our Allied Forces and just about anyone else who wanted to read it.

So after fourteen (14) years of Preparation it was sent to the Government Printing Office... BUT... someone had some doubts so printing has been stopped until someone irons out something that wasn't thought about in those Fourteen (14) years.

I'm sure the New "Law of War Manual" won't make it any easier for the Marine or Soldier on the Front Lines!

So they will keep "Blackwater" and another one of the many Civilian Security Groups and tell them what we want them to do, then let them do it with no responsibility or Rules or Laws.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Chesty and the Wall Street Journal

Recently an article was printed in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Why Chesty Still Inspires the Marines". It was in a column called "Historically Speaking: Amanda Foreman". In her article she tells us that General Chesty Puller was in command of the First Marine Division in November of 1950 during the famous Chosin Reservoir battle. I want all you young Marines to know that General Oliver P. Smith was the Commanding General of the First Marine Division at that time and Colonel "Chesty" Puller was in command of the First Marine Regiment serving under him.

It seems some women do not know the difference between a Marine Corps Division and Battalion. Colonel Puller was a brave and gallant Marine deserving of all the accolades that have been placed upon him. However, Colonel Puller was not promoted to General until January of 1951 when he assumed the position of Assistant Commanding General of the First Marine Division. Both Smith and Puller were great Marines, but let's keep the facts straight.

Semper Fi
T. W. Stewart
Sgt (E4) 1952 – 1955


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #6, #1, (JAN., 2016)

I'd like to submit this Issue of the Flight Line to Sgt. Grit in remembrance of those 19 MARINES that lost their lives in a crash of the new (at the time) MARINE CORPS V-22 tilt rotor aircraft at Marana Regional Airport, in Marana, Arizona, during a training exercise in early April, 2000.

It should go with out saying that this is just the type of information that nobody likes to write about or remember, but what happens to our fellow MARINES is part of our history and this particular accident needs to be remembered every year, as do many others.

I'm going to cite from some of what I have read because I was not there. The plane which had taken off from MCAS (MARINE Corps Air Station) Yuma, and was bound for Marana Regional Airport just North of Tucson, Arizona. Flying in tandem with a second Osprey, it's mission was to load passengers in Yuma - a simulation of a rescue from, say, an overseas embassy – and fly them to safety.

The lead Osprey approached the Marana Airport about 2000 ft too high, but rather than circle to shed altitude, the pilot decided to land. He descended dangerously fast, hitting the runway hard. The second Aircraft, with a crew of 4 and 15 fully outfitted MARINES on board, followed the lead Aircraft and came down even faster - more then 2000 feet per minute going just under 45 miles per hour. At 245 feet above the ground, the Osprey lost lift in it's right rotor, stalled, and rolled over before it could issue a mayday. It consequently crashed and exploded, killing everyone on board.

Fourteen of the 19 MARINES lost were from the 3rd Battalion, 5th MARINES, 1st MARINE Division. One MARINE from MARINE WING Communications Squadron 38. Three were from MARINE Helicopter Squadron #1 and One from MARINE Tilt Rotor Training Squadron 204. Every year on the anniversary of this tragedy MARINES, family members and friends, plus first responders gather to remember the lost.

This years Memorial Services will be conducted during the first week of April, 2014. Please disregard the date at the top, as that was the proposed release date of this issue.

God Bless Our MARINES Everywhere!

Infantry, Grunt, 03


We are wanting to know if there are/were any other nicknames used, past or present, for Marine Corps Infantrymen? Some examples we have received from a recent post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page are:

Crunchies, Gravel Cruncher, Mud Marines, beetle-crushers, Amgrunt (nickname given to all who served in the Amtracs), grunt, 03, Gravel Cruncher, bullet catcher, butt plate, bullet sponge, snuffies, grim reapers, lead detector, shock troops, weed wiggler, and tip of the spear... just to name a few.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Short Rounds

I am a retired Marine Corpsman 1980-1995 and Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran, my birth date is 10 November 1961. I had the privilege to serve my country, but I had the HONOR to serve with the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi,
HM1 (FMF) "Doc" Noll
Retired United Stated Navy

Hi Just wanted to mention that I recently attended our two year reunion in San Diego, California. Hotel, 2/3, 3rd platoon, has a reunion every two years and this year we went back to MCRD. I haven't been there in 47 years and wow, has it changed. We were there on a Friday for a recruit graduation and also morning colors. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that I wore the Vietnam t-shirt TS1312 and was noticed by a lot of Marines. I felt proud of that shirt showing that I was there as a Marine. Thank you for a great product.

Semper Fi
Dan S.

Get this awesome t-shirt at:

Marine Corps Black Vietnam Veteran T-Shirt


"All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"
--Winston Churchill

"The right of resisting oppression is a natural right."
--President Andrew Jackson

"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy... These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened."
--Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations


"Semper Fi" Reply "Forever and one day".

"Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever."

"Keep your powder dry."

"Keep kicking at darkness until it bleeds light Popping smoke."

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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