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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 11 APR 2013

In this issue:
• Semper Fi Marine
• Hatch Body Out
• French Fried Shrimp

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If you can't read the text around the image, it reads:

(Above) Sgt Grit, See you just keep it simple stupid works every time. (Below) See maggots it's easy to figure out if you just try. Don't ask why just do or die.

L/Cpl. Jake 0311, 2531, 5591.

Semper Fi Marine

Yesterday I was in the local WalMart picking up a few things and was reminded of the value of offering an encouraging word to fellow Marines. I passed one in the isle who was riding a wheel chair, and was being pushed by a woman behind him. He passed by me before I noticed the USMC hat he was wearing. It occurred to me that he looked kinda down in the dumps, so I turned around and caught up with him. I reached out my hand to shake his and just said, "Semper Fi Marine!" His face lit up and he returned the acknowledgement with a smile.

I wish you could have seen the difference an encouraging word made in his day. His better days might have been behind him, but it was obvious that he could remember the better times when he wore the uniform of a United States Marine, and served his country with honor and dignity.

It's a small thing to do, but coming from another Marine, it has a greater impact. Whenever you have the opportunity and wherever you may be, don't pass a fellow Marine without giving him or her the time honored greeting of the US Marine Corps, "Semper Fi" to one and all.

Corporal W. A. Bartrow
1963-1966, 2541

Sgt Grit's 10th Annual Gritogether

Come join us for a day full of fun, free food, laughter, and memories on 1 June 2013, from 1000-1400. The After Party will kickoff at 2000 at the Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn & Conference Center in Oklahoma City.

Reserve a room at a discounted rate of $89.95! Call (405) 947-7000 by April 15th, 2013, and mention that you are with Sgt Grit.

For more info, visit our Gritogether page.

Comic Strip

Semper Fi 'Til I Die!

Hatch Body Out

The word "hatch" used by members the Navy or Marine Corps refers to a doorway, or an opening.

During their boot camp training, Marine recruits are assigned to eighty member platoons. After a grueling process of elimination one recruit from each platoon is designated as the platoon's "Hatch Body". When a platoon neared the end of an exhausting five-mile run with a quarter mile left to go to reach their barracks, the Drill Instructor's command of, "Hatch Body out", was repeated by the platoon members followed by "Aye, Aye, Sir." At that command the Hatch Body left the formation to sprint ahead; to have the doors of the barracks open by the time the platoon arrived.

The Hatch Body was the fastest member of the platoon, an athlete among athletes. Quit was not in his vocabulary, he ran with a certain joy of knowing that he was respected by the rest of the platoon because his can-do attitude had no bottom, he was simply doing the best he could. This Memorial day we will remember the "Hatch Bodies" of our nation. Men and women who sprinted ahead to keep the doors of freedom open for the rest of us. No matter the circumstances, they did their very best with the responsibility given to them by their country. However, for many, that mission of keeping the door open came at the cost of their life. My mission today is to, in some small way, convey to you, who these Veterans are and the can-do spirits that have kept our freedoms door open since our countries early beginners.

Jeff Hiers
B Co. 1/26 Marines
1969 -1970

French Fried Shrimp

I was aboard the USS General J.C. Breckenridge for 18 days on the way to Okinawa in 1963. We stopped in Hawaii and Yokohama, Japan. Every morning aboard ship, we awoke to, "Reveille, Reveille, Reveille. Up all hands. Clean sweep down fore and aft. Sweepers, Sweepers, man your brooms. Dump all trash over the fantail." 1800 Marines and 600 Crew on board.

I served on Mess Duty every other day aboard ship. We had fresh French fried shrimp many times during the journey. Really good food. On one of my days off, I met one of my D.I.'s sitting on deck, leaning against a bulkhead, reading a book titled "How To Become A Millionaire". He had been reduced in rank because he impregnated the daughter of a local civilian politician who had the influence to get that done. (what he said, I don't really know). He wasn't very happy or talkative and I never saw him again. He was a great D.I. Squared away, tough, and sharp in every detail... The stop-over in Hawaii wasn't too exciting, but Yokohama was an eye-opener for a 19-year old from the mid-west.

Thanks for re-generating all of those good memories. After 13 months on the rock, I was lucky enough to fly back to the states on board a C-130. I look forward to your newsletter every week and forward it to my five daughters. SEMPER FI!

Annin, G.B Cpl (E-4)
Flame Tank Platoon (F-31)
1st & 3rd Tank Battalion
Oct '61 - Jan '65

Rounded Up

In late May 1966, I was undergoing escape and evasion training at Camp Pendleton before our replacement company was to ship out to Viet Nam on June 1st. Around the last week, a few days before our departure, all of the Marines, I believe most of the base, were given a language aptitude test. I was one of the 66 top scorers. We were rounded up and told we were going to DLIWC for language school. We were not too happy being pulled from deployment, since we were all psyched. After a long bus ride on about May 29, 1966, we arrived in Monterey, CA, at the school. We were assigned the third floor of a "U" shaped barracks on top of the hill. We were, I believe, the first group of a pilot program. The other half of the floor consisted of Army staff NCO's who were also in Vietnamese Southern Language School. This was heaven to us. We lived 2 to a room, had a dining room where you could choose how your eggs were cooked the way you ordered them, and you had a permanent liberty card! Once we discovered Carmel Beach and the young girls our disappointment in not being deployed vanished!

Our teachers were all Vietnamese, dedicated to helping us free their country. On about Aug 16, 1966, we graduated and were sent to Okinawa and then on to DaNang. I was sent to Chu Lai, where the transit Sgt, who was in our replacement co at Pendleton, told me I was to go back to DaNang. After spending the night at the club on the beach at Chu Lai, I was back on a plane to DaNang. I was picked up and taken to the 1st Marine Regt. It was a canvas tent outpost about 10 miles southwest of DaNang. The S-1 Sgt came into the receiving tent and began to assign troops. I asked him, where are the language school guys going? He responded, "What language school guys?". That's how new the program was. I filled him in and he took me to the S-2 Major and I was assigned as an interpreter/scout with Regimental Intelligence, joining Tom Malinowski, a classmate from Salamanca, NY. Three of our class died in Viet Nam, Jarrel, Parmalee, and Saunders. Others, like Al Kaider of Chicago, were wounded and medevaced out. I met a few guys at Okinawa on the way home approx. 29 Sept '67. I recall Bill Laurenson from Texas and my DLIWC roommate, Sal Tickli from NY. I have often wondered about the rest. By the way, I transferred 10 college credits from the 12-week school, and Vietnamese is my college language requirement. Nice to see the program continued through SSGT Bruce E. Brown.

The presence of 66 Marines in a group was new to the school. Most of the Marines attending were sent one at a time. After the first Friday night that they were there, they had a rude awakening as to how hard we party!

Semper Fi, J Kanavy, 0311/0231

Guadalcanal Heroes

Sgt Grit,

I read with interest Gunny Rousseau's letter on "Guadalcanal Heroes". Not everyone has forgotten about Guadalcanal. Not many of them (all heroes in my opinion) are left. Had the Marines failed there, the results of WWII would have been significantly different. Guadalcanal does not get the attention of campaigns like Iwo, but it was a victory of greater historical significance.

My Dad, Plt. Sgt. Richard T. Holland, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Weapons Company) served as a .30 caliber machine gunner on Guadalcanal. I have a number of items that he saved over the years, including a Japanese canteen, a "tally band", his mess gear, etc. In his effects was a bare aluminum canteen with "E.C. Fowler" scratched on it. I wondered why he would keep that until I learned that initially they did not have crosses for grave markers on Guadalcanal. They didn't have much of anything... so they scratched names on the mess gear of the casualties and used them for grave markers. Ed Fowler was his close friend. I have attached a few pictures you might find of interest. There is a picture of me and my Dad in our Blues just before I took him to his first Birthday Ball. In the close up of the machine gun crew, my Dad is in the background holding the pipe. I believe this was a publicity news shot. It was thumb tacked to the inside of his foot locker, which I still have. Image 8490 is of me and Curtis "Speedy" Spach.

A couple of years back, Cpl. Curtis "Speedy" Spach posted on the newsletter. Speedy served with the 5th Marines and was one of the first riflemen to set foot on the beaches of Guadalcanal. I tracked Speedy down and visited him on a number of occasions. He has an incredible amount of memorabilia. His entire basement is a memorial to the Corps. At the time, he was 92, but his mind was sharp. I made a movie of the pictures and video I took during my visits and set it to the Marines' Hymn for him. I would be happy to share the video with Gunny Rousseau. I captured some of the stories of his service there. He fought at the Japanese tank attack across the Matanikau River and served with President Kennedy's friend and neighbor Lt. Meade. (Meade was Speedy's Company Commander, KIA).

As for me, I served in the Marine Reserve from 1966-1974. (PI Platoon 3020, Serial 2159303). I will be 71 this year, but I continue to serve my country and my community with around 200 hours of volunteer service every year. I am an Amateur Radio Operator (HAM), photographer, videographer, and equestrian rider/trainer. There are no limits to what a dedicated Marine can do! (grin).

I look forward to reading the stories in each issue. Semper Fi!

Staff Sergeant Richard T. Holland Jr
USMCR Retired

All-Marine Company

In regards to the letter written by Ong Bao about DLI, Monterey, CA. I too am a graduate of Vietnamese Language Training, on 22 Aug 1967. My all-Marine company was assigned to one floor of a barracks ran by the Army not the Air Force. My diploma is signed by Col Richard Long, USA, Artillery Commandant. Our SRBs were held by Marine Barracks, Naval Station Treasure Island while we were at the Presidio. Monterey is the only assignment during my 21 year career where the winter uniform was worn year round. When I graduated, I received a meritorious promotion to Cpl, and was given a secondary MOS of 9940. As Ong Bao has stated it was an outstanding school with outstanding Vietnamese instructors. After I arrived in Chu Lai, I served only a short time in my Avionics MOS because a member of the MAG-12 Civic Action Team, also a DLI graduate, overheard me speaking to a Vietnamese worker. I have since written two books about our team, most notably "Year of the Monkey" available at Amazon.com.

Years later after I was assigned as a monitor to HQMC for the 63/64 OCC Flds, I also received another secondary MOS of 8441, Civil Affairs NCO. By the time I retired in 1986, they did away with the 9940 MOS and made 8441 a war-time only MOS. (It was reactivated for Afghanistan and Iraq). Few know that 10 percent of all Marines were sent through DLI, regardless of MOS, before arriving in Vietnam; this was the brainchild of Generals Krulak and Walt, both legendary Marines and founders of the Combined Action Platoons and Civic Action Teams. These teams were so successful that after General Creighton Abrams relieved General William Westmoreland, he began to implement the Pacification Program (what Marines had been doing in I Corps from 1965 on...) throughout all four Corps areas.

For those interested, Lewis Sorley has written two outstanding books, "Westmoreland, The General Who Lost Vietnam" and "A Better War". For all my Vietnam brothers, you should read these books as you will find out as I did, that we (the military) did NOT lose the war.

Semper Fidelis,
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired
2 County Road 370
Oxford, MS 38655
Gene Hays Author Page

Intended To Be Funny

Sgt. Grit,

I enlisted in the Marine Corps for four years the week I turned 18, in 1965. I served in Okinawa, Phu Bai, 29 Palms, and at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Seattle, Washington, where I was part of an Officer Selection Office (OSO) team. I was honorably discharged as a Sergeant, went to college, was a computer programmer, went to law school, and have practiced law for 32 years. The Marine Corps gave me discipline and determination, and I am proud to be a Marine.

I appreciate the Sgt. Grit newsletter and the thoughts and ideas expressed. But, I object to part of the quote at the bottom of this newsletter. A Marine is speaking, and he says, "Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down." That's not funny and it is wrong and unacceptable. COIN does not work by burning down the huts of indigenous people because we think they don't like us. I'm sure this kind of statement is intended to be funny and to show how tough Marines are, but it brings shame and dishonor on the Corps. The Marine Corps way to be tough is to do the right thing, and burning down civilian homes is not the right thing.

Best regards,
Douglas Batey

Doesn't Exist

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I was stationed at HQMC in the '60s. A lot of high ranking officers tried to mingle and talk as friends to us lowly NCO's. One day a Major who was a real nerdy type took a few of out for drinks to the NCO Club and regaled us with the funniest stories, that he swore were true!

There is one I remember the most - (because I was familiar with the subject matter, so it had to be true... but wild).

A Marine who has been drinking at a bar wants peace and quiet, but a college professor comes into the bar and tries to engage him in conversation. The Marine wants to be left alone. The professor becomes pushy and tells the Marine he has a Doctorate in Philosophy and proceeds to explain the "Classics" to the Marine. The Marine now is warlike and the Prof. tells him about Plato and "The Real World and The Invisible World". Basically two areas can exist at the same time in the same space... it is an interesting theory (we have seen this in Science fiction), consider the Marine now... and all he wants is peace and quiet. The prof. says, "you see that bar stool you are sitting on? It really doesn't exist... it is a figment of your imagination!"

The Marine gets off the stool and brings down the stool on the Professor's head, then everyone at the bar is silent. The bartender goes nuts screaming at the Marine, "What have you done!" The drunken Marine says quietly, I could not have hit this man with a bar stool as you imply... if it doesn't exist?"

The Major takes the Marine back to the base after this classic story, and only an Officer can spirit away the enlisted Marine without a really big brouhaha!

The Major was a real gentlemen and fought for all of us - never knew what happened to him as we all got rotated to different bases during our service.

This note - I hope to convey my feelings for a few officers who really were good to us, and let these few over-ride the bad ones we had to take orders from in other circumstances.

A friend told me that his Drill Instructor was named Staff Sgt. Brown, and he told them, "Brown is the color of sh-t, and if they wanted to f-ck with him, he would sh-t all over them."

One of our platoon mates was having trouble disassembling and reassembling a rifle, so the D.I. tells him, "If brains were metal, he would not have enough to make a helmet liner for a sand flea."

One recruit was always caught talking at the wrong time... so the D.I. tells him, "Hey Num-n-ts, if bullsh-t was concrete, you would be the New Jersey Turnpike."

On recruit was injured due to his own fault. The D.I. had to bust his b-lls... so the D.I. says to him, "Private if common sense were cotton, you would not have enough to make a sanitary napkin for a mosquito."

Bruce Bender
Cpl 1963-1967

Guarding the Gates of Heaven

For my son, Marine SSgt Joseph Fankhauser
(EOD tech)
KIA 4-22-2012

By Mary Wyscarver

She remembers as a boy, tanks and guns were his toys, In her mind she always knew, he'd be among the chosen few.

Joined the Marines right out of school, tried to live by the golden rule, Four times in Iraq on foreign land, two more tours in Afghanistan.

Answering his country's call, all gave some but some gave all, It's been twelve years since nine eleven, now he's guarding the gates of heaven.

His mother prayed every day, that evil would not come his way, Not just for him but others too, for those who serve red, white, & blue.

Boxes packed for all the troops, yellow ribbons tied up in loops, Bumper stickers on the car, flew the flag in her front yard.

Reminded others: Don't forget, POWs aren't found yet, It's been twelve years since nine eleven, now he's guarding the gates of heaven.

After church one day in spring, she would hear the doorbell ring, Uniformed men that numbered three, that's when her heart fell to her knees.

She cries softly by the stone, God is near - she's not alone, She sees blank walls awaiting names, knows other fates will be the same.

It's not over for you see, Freedom is NOT free, It's been twelve years since nine eleven, now they're ALL guarding the gates of heaven.

Looking Skyward

Around the 2nd or 3rd day in Platoon 304 MCRDPI, January '72, the DI's ask everyone who had any college to take one pace forward. Several did and one became Platoon Scribe. They then picked the smallest recruit to be Platoon Rat. They asked everyone who grew up on a farm to step forward. I had, so I stepped forward with several others. Sgt. Wynn stepped in front of me and said, "farmers are good at predicting the weather, you're the Platoon Weatherman." The next morning I hear "Platoon Weatherman front and center!" I complied "Sir, Yes Sir". I was informed of my duties, to go out every morning and survey the weather and report back to the Duty DI what the proper dress will be: Field jackets, Ponchos or neither of the two. I was informed that if I got it wrong all would suffer including the Drill Instructors. With "DO IT" I ran outside, into the darkness. As I spin around trying to figure out what the h-ll I was doing, I noticed several other privates doing the same thing. Seeing them gave me some comfort in knowing I wasn't the only Bonehead on the island. At first I was just plan lucky! After a few days, I developed a method to the madness. The smell of the air, direction and velocity of the wind and if I could see clouds in the moonlight, which actually helped. The mornings that it was already extra cold or raining sure did help. I remember only messing up twice, one day we froze and another we got wet. Even now, 41 years later, sometimes when I walk outside in the chilly, damp morning darkness I get that same feeling and remember the Privates in front of the barracks looking skyward. I look skyward, smell the air and smile!

Semper Fi
SSgt L.K. Reed
Marine Air

Talking Trash

While I yield to no one in my admiration for my brother Marines, I must respond to those who cast aspersions on the quality of training afforded to those of us who attended basic training at Parris Island. It is true that the Marine Corps, in its infinite wisdom, trains Women Marines (more properly known as Marines) at Parris Island, SC. However, as I have told many Hollywood Marines, including my WWII Marine father who referred to me as a "pogey-bait Marine", "WM's are trained in Parris Island - in San Diego, they're all p-ssies!" Please edit this as you see fit.

(I do love you all, but talking trash is talking trash)

Semper Fi,
George M. Button MSgt USMC (Ret)

Edson Range

In reply to Cpl Allen's letter in the 28 March newsletter. Yes, Stuart Mesa Rifle Range is Edson Range. I was stationed there for 6 years. Here is some Historical Information.

In the late 1950's and early 1960 it became apparent that the continued use of Camp Matthews as the MCRD Weapons Training and Small Arms facility could no longer be safely accomplished due to rapid growth of the City of San Diego and it's adjacent areas. So it was determined, after an area study, that a new recruit rifle range would be built atCamp Pendleton. A site known as Stuart Mesa was chosen. The Area, named after Mr. E.B. Stuart, a former agent for the Santa Fe Railroad in 1938,was originally a wheat farm worker for a Mr. Newton (a canyon located to the east of Stuart Mesa bears his name). Construction of the new recruit weapons training facility was completed in the summer of 1964. The Weapons Training Battalion moved from the old Camp Matthews location to their new home on Camp Pendleton. The first Commanding Officer was LtCol T. B. Ettenborough, (11 July 1964 - 30 June 1965). The first recruits arrived from San Diego on 8 August 1964 and fired their first practice rounds on 17 August 1964. After establishment of the range, then known as Stuart Mesa Range, a study for an appropriate Marine oriented name was conducted. Those considered were sufficiently prominent in small arms marksmanship in both training and supervisory capacity, and or for other services rendered to the Corps. Three Marines names were considered:

SSgt Magnis D. Schone
General Thomas Holcomb
MajGen Merrit A. Edson

SSgt Magnis D. Schone, was one of the most distinguished rifle and pistol shots in the Marine Corps (KIA in Korea, 26 Sept 1950). General Thomas Holcomb, 17th Commandant (1 Dec 1936 to 31 Dec 1950) and the Commandant during WWII, was also one of the choices. MajGen Merrit A."RED MIKE" Edson, was a firing member of the 1921 Marine Corps National Rifle Team that won the matches at Camp Perry, Ohio that year. He was actively involved in the Marine Corps National and Regional Teams as a coach and as team captain from 1927-1936. At the outbreak of WWII, as a LtCol, he was with the 1st Marine Raider Battalion (known as Edson's Raiders) and was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions against the Japanese on the Solomon Islands during 13-14 Sept 1942.

Due to General Edsons close association with the art of small arms marksmanship and military record that would serve as an inspiration for any Marine, it was decided that the new rifle range facility would be named in his honor, and on 25 Jan 1965 it was so named. When the range area was originally built, there were 12 streets, they were named in honor of 11 Marines and one Hospital Corpsman who received the Medal of Honor and died in action.

Sgt B.H. Jacokes '83-'93

Don't Fail To Mention

A while back, a friend (Army) was wearing a shirt with button down collars that were not buttoned. I asked him why he didn't button the collars and he replied that he just did not like them buttoned. He then asked, "why does it bother you?" And I replied, "no." He laughed and said, "Yes it does, it's the Marine in you".

Well, that got me thinking and he is right! The Corps instilled certain things in me that dictate how I act and dress. My hair and mustache and/or beard get a trim regularly, my shirt is tucked in and my trousers are clean and pressed, my belt buckle is aligned with my trousers, and my shoes are polished. Even in casual dress, I am "squared away".

I have a flagpole in my front yard with the American flag, and the Marine Corps flag (courtesy of Sgt. Grit) lighted and flying 24/7. Am I proud of our USA and the United States Marine Corps? D-mn Straight. I just wish that military service was mandatory for our youth. Maybe then I would feel more comfortable about the future of our country. I know that if they had to sacrifice like so many of our Veterans have, then they would have a different attitude about freedom and what it takes to remain free. Sadly, we have entered a period of entitlement where many think that they are owed something for which they have done nothing to merit it. From the first second that our feet hit the yellow footprints, we scumbags learned that we had to get our act together to attain success. The Marine Corps taught us that we could realize gain from excelling, and that has carried over to endeavors in civilian life for many.

If you have the opportunity to recommend military service to anyone, don't fail to mention the USMC. I want future generations to be led the best, and how else will they know unless we tell them.

Semper Fi Marines,
Sgt. C.

Be Heard Mumbling

In 1962 we were sitting on the fantail of the USS Breckinridge on our way to Okinawa playing liars poker. Two Marines carrying dirty swabs asked the Sergeant in charge what to do with them. The Sergeant never looked up from his cards and told them, "Throw 'em over the side." A few minutes after they left the fantail, a Chief Petty Officer showed up and asked who was the ranking Marine? The Sergeant said he was, and confessed he had told the two Marines to throw the swabs over the side. The Chief Petty Officer became red in the face and asked the Sergeant if he had bothered to tell the Marines to "Tie a line to the swabs before they threw them over the side?" He didn't wait for an answer. As he walked away, he could be heard mumbling on what he thought about us poker players and the Marine Corps in general.

Cleo Bresett, Jr. (Sgt.)
Semper Fi

Together Again

Greetings, Here's something that I recently wrote about my parents ashes. I come from a seafaring family, but I'm the odd ball and became a Marine. Dad landed hundreds of Marines on enemy held beaches in the Pacific as a coxswain on an LCVP. There may be some who find this interesting.

Gunny T sends
Chuck Truitt
RVN '69-'70

My Parent's Ashes

12 Nov 12

My father (a Sea Captain all of his adult life, and an exceptionally meek and mild mannered man) passed away on 10 November 1995, which was also dad and mom's 49th wedding anniversary. I flew home to Haines City, Florida from Okinawa to be with my mother, and to take care of all the necessary things that needed to be done at times like that.

My brother, Gordon, who was a commercial swordfish fisherman on a long-liner out of Pompano was way out in the mid-Atlantic ocean, and unable to make it back for a while. Dad had prearranged to be cremated and then interned into the Veterans Cemetery at Bushnell, Florida. Gordon finally made it home after the cremation just before the internment, and it was his desire to use the option to keep some of the ashes in a soapstone container on a mantel in the house.

Now let's jump forward to early August 2012. Mom had just passed away the 24th of July, and my brother and I were together again. Mom had also been cremated according to prearranged plans, and once again Gordon wanted to keep some of the ashes, though most of the ashes were interned with dad there at the Veterans' cemetery. I suggested to him that we put both sets of ashes (about a cup full in total) into one suitable urn. After the small amount of mom arrived from the burn unit, Gordon and I took both sets out into his work shed to put the two sets - each in small plastic baggies - into the chosen urn. Mom was no problem because her bag of ashes was in a small cardboard box that had just arrived in the mail, but dad's ashes were sealed in the soapstone container; we had to cut it open with a masonry saw. It was a very somber occasion even for me, but Gordon was nearly a basket case.

Gordon had tears running down his face as I held the container which he cut with the masonry saw. All of a sudden it fell open there on the work bench, and the heavy grade plastic bag of ashes had been perforated during the cutting process. Some of the extremely fine, and light powdery gray ashes spilled out onto the workbench. Gordon looked down at the spill, and I looked up at him, all the while thinking "uh oh, this just isn't going to be good at all," and our eyes caught. Gordon's face erupted into a smile, and he said, "wow, he really was a meek and mild fellow wasn't he?" The two of us got a really good laugh out of that. Sheeew, that sure took the bite out of a difficult situation. Shortly thereafter I said to Gordon, "okay let's get dad bagged up again, then we'll put him and mom into then new urn, and seal it. We can then take them back into the house.

Linda and I left Florida on the 11th of October to return to our ministry where I am the pastor of a church that ministers primarily to American servicemen and their families in Naples, Italy. As I left the house, I looked over there at dad and mom in the urn, still together since 10 November 1946. They were married on the Marines Birthday, not long after dad had returned from the battle of Okinawa, and several other Pacific beach invasions, where as a coxswain, he piloted landing craft loaded with Marines onto the shore. Semper Fidelis dad and mom!


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #4, #8 (Aug., 2014)

Well, if you thought I was at the end of the Rocket Pod story last month, you were wrong. Sometimes the really dumb stuff never goes away easy. This had all the ear marks of being one of those cases. Think about this, we had no really dependable siting method, plus, if one was arrived at by some clever pilot then it could be removed by some diligent Crew Member. Plus, if the Pilot wanted to fire a rocket or two he would have to remember to notify the Crew Chief and then the Crew Member would have to close the Cargo Door, or get blown out of the Aircraft. Or, the aircraft and the cargo door could achieve separate flight patterns. Also remember that there was only one pod and it was on the Pilot's side. If one had been put on the co-pilot's side the crew could not get to it in flight if there was a problem. At least, on the Crew Chief's side, it could be kicked free if there was a glitch.

All these problems rolled into one kept us from really getting excited about continuing to try and perfect a Rocket Pod system for installation on the H-34. Initially, these birds were called "Stingers" and there were only a couple retrofitted, and they were later returned to their original configuration. Just a "big ole dependable DOG". I don't remember anybody really missing that nightmare addition, or its demise.

Now, I know that a lot of you guys don't know that the H-34 was made mostly from two different metals: (the Skin) was Magnesium and Aluminum. One side of the Airframe was covered with magnesium and the other was aluminum, (or AL-clad). That's aluminum, coated with a protective coating of paint to protect the surface. The magnesium side is also coated with a protective coating called alodine, and if the protective surface is disrupted (scratched) then it will cause the substrate (base metal) to want to turn back into its original form. In the case of magnesium, that would be sea water. That process is seen as a white powdery build-up on the surface and it must be treated with a chemical (normally an acid, followed by water neutralization) to stop the continuing process of metal degradation. If this deterioration process is allowed to continue, the metal will lose its strength and eventually fail. In fact, it will even cause holes to appear in the metal.

Well there you have it, Metal Shop 101. Don't ask for a passing grade because I'm all out of those since I retired a long time ago. I got this far and no one asked me why the H-34 was made from these two metals... well, it seems that the thicker skin of the aircraft on the one side played a big role in keeping the A/C from folding in half on a longitudinal basis because of the torque of the Main rotor system and the counter rotation of the tail rotor. Now, you're right if you said that the thicker skin is on the left side of the aircraft. That's the Co-pilot's side. Here's a quick question for you. Which side of the aircraft does the pilot fly from in a helicopter? Ok, then what side does a pilot fly from in a fixed wing aircraft? Think about it?

Time Sponge

Why I never get anything done on Wednesday evenings... (full disclosure... I cheat... I go to Grit's website right after supper on Wednesday... I'm in the south, and off a farm... it's "supper"... "dinner" is noonish)... and there are always items in the newsletter that trigger the BS'ing reflex, this week being no exception.

Coffman... you with the red hair... red on the noodle like the p-cker on a poodle... one more time with "basic" for BOOT CAMP, and you will be in the Chinese thinking position until you cease with the doggie lingo. For those who missed out on the Okinawa experience, "Akabu", pronounced Akabu, is Okinawan for 'Red", or "Red Head"... mo' betta you be Akabu than 'Watabu" eh, Boy-san? (Watabu = plump, corpulent, porky, fat, etc...).

Noted someone reporting he said "yes, suh"... once had a recruit name of Guidry, from Louisiana (Andrew J, platoon 348, July-Sept '62)... not sure if the correct appellation would have been Creole, but he fo sho was not Cajun, and his natural speaking voice tended to the soft side... and he could not, no way, nohow come up with a crisp "sir!". He started out in BOOT CAMP with a head start on his peers in the realm of physical fitness... mostly because I thought he was being a smartazs, or worse yet, mocking me... and he got plenty of PT practice in between attempts at "Yes Sir!"... a somewhat drawn out "Yauess Suh!" was, it turned out, the best he could do. Have felt guilty (well... a little bit... real little) all these years that it took so long to recognize that it was what it was... (Gy Wozniak, Sgts Delgado, Henderson, and Watosh).

For Lt.Col Tanner, re Schwab... yup, we would have over-lapped there... but sir... shirley you jest? drinking beer in the Schwab O'club?... when "Running Bob" was the Camp Commander?... (BTW... bumped into the Col in the lobby of the Ramada Inn next to Henderson Hall a couple years ago when there for a 1MD reunion... he hadn't changed a bit)... we of the tenant unit persuasion were convinced that although not in our direct chain of command, that Col T knew who had more than two beers at any one time in the club, and we practiced abstinence in moderation. I am sure that you know that a combined Officer Corps of Tankers and Bilge Rats ('scuze me... Amtrackers...) would make an excellent behavior model for any boys' choir, and to that end, we would at times have 'Choir Practice' in the Chaplain's (Fr. Claire Hendricks) BOQ room. We all pretty much stuck to the gospels of Paul (Masson)... both the red and the white... in the milk-bottle shape, with the twist/flip cap. For further understanding of this gathering, you might delve into a novel by one Joseph Wambaugh, entitled "The Choir Boys"... a tale of the LAPD. At the time, I had more time in grade than most Captains at Schwab had in the Corps, and if you recall a Captain at the O'Club who looked a bit like a combination of John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and Lee Marvin?... well, that wasn't me... was more often described as resembling an ambulatory fire plug...

For Don Harkness... who got 'set back' from one platoon to another... it happened, and probably more frequently than not. No DI whose platoon was more than a few days into training wanted to see 'a pick-up' standing outside his duty hut. They seemed to find their way there in the afternoons while the platoon was out at drill or in class or at the obstacle course. It was usually anything but a warm welcome, depending somewhat on where the recruit had come from... if from casual platoon, that meant that for openers, his physical ability (PT score) was compromised... just not a cause for celebration. I recall one pickup standing in front of my duty hut with his seabag... the platoon was elsewhere with the other DI's, so as was the usual welcome, I put him on our step-up bench... that was OK... the SI card in my cover said it was... for, oh, maybe 20 reps. It didn't mention his seabag, and not wanting that to go adrift, directed that he would keep it on his shoulder... whilst doing step-ups... and counting out loud. I then discovered that my personal caffeine level was low. So, grabbing my cup, wandered (in a military fashion, of course) up to the DI's 'lounge'... a Quonset hut with coffee (from the messhall... important duty for the Company Runner of the day) and... a pool table... after running a rack... or two... and refreshing the coffee cup, I headed back to the duty hut. Coming around the corner, I heard a recruit, obviously in some stress, counting: "two hundred and twenty, sir, two hundred and... "get down from there!"... "Pvt, have you seen anybody with a funny hat? (that would have been an Officer... either a frame cap or a p-ss-cutter..." other DI's would have had a normal cover... normal to him, anyway).

I had forgotten him!... the seabag was one count for my court-martial, the SI (Supplementary Instruction) violation would have been another... got the Private inside for his who shot John interview... turns out he was a 'six-months (active duty) Reservist... had just finished a Master's Degree in Nuclear Physics... and had a job waiting for him at General Dynamics... just across the road from the gate at Camp Matthews (rifle range) when he finished his active duty... so I made him the Platoon Scribe (secretary... keeper of dental appointments... important stuff, as any DI who missed a second dental appointment would lose his Proficiency Pay... and when you're a married man with one kid, drawing $325/mo... that extra $30 went a long way. I really wish I could remember his name... I think this was the platoon we out-posted the day of JFK's assignation...

Oh, yeah... "Chinese Thinking Postition"... kneel... inside of ankles flat on the deck... lean back... waaaaay back... until the back of the head and the shoulders are on the deck... probably as damaging as duck-walking... have done both, never subjected any of my recruits to those... there also used to be what were known as 'squat jumps'... major cardio-vascular item... hands laced behind the neck, one foot forward of the other, squat, jump, then reverse position of feet before landing back in a squat... if you remember these and want to demonstrate, be sure your significant other knows that there is no 'eleven' on a cell phone... it's "nine.one.one"... be safe...

And... "time sponge"... not original, but lifted from a fellow Marine who worked at the same (civilian) company... had a tough, busy job, and we both had a boss who could make a whole day project out of "good morning"... and when I got to retire first, he snuck up on us with a retirement party in the wardroom of the Hornet... which I bet they still talk about... and he will forgive me the bilge rat bit (it's only true...)


Lost And Found

Hey Sgt Grit,

The difference between a Hollywood Marine and a P.I. Marine, as explained by my Drill Instructor, Sgt J.I. Justice, is that P.I. has the 'Slide for life', swamps, creepy crawlers, and all 4 seasons while Marines in San Diego, don't. I ran into my D.I. on Okinawa. I went to shake his hand and he punched me hard in the chest. Nothing had changed from Boot Camp.

As for D.I.s 'letting up' as we approached graduation? That was not the case in our Platoon. Even when I went to get on the bus to go to Geiger, I got a kick up my six from Sgt Pornavetts that pained me through ITR. Did I like my D.I.s? Not No, But H-ll NO. Did I respect them? I don't think a day has gone by that I don't think of them.

Sgt A.J. Manos
Inactive Reserve

PS: If there is any of the original PLT 307, graduated P.I. on March 17, 1969, I would love to hear from them and they can call me at (818) 345-5393, Tarzana, CA. Would also like to hear from anyone who served w/ me. I remember all of you.

Sgt. Grit:

I would like to know if there are any other Marines from Platoon 1229 who might be interested in a reunion. The roster photo lists each member and what state they were from or what state I think they were. I would appreciate it if everyone could take a gander at the photo and roster to see if they recognize anyone. If you do and know there whereabouts please let me know.

Jim Grimes
Sgt 1969-72

This photo is of Plt. 3040, 3rd RTBn, MCRD PI.

My name is Mike Lawson, and I too enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1964, Plt. 223 at MCRD. Does anyone have the names of the AZ Plt? And if so, could you supply them to me at timike[at]cox.net?

Sgt. Grit:

I was a 2533 radio/telegraph operator who went through C&E Btl. at MCRD September to December, 1964. I went to VN by troop transport with 1/1/1 in August 1965 and landed in DaNang Harbor three weeks later. I later transferred to 1/9/3 the "Walking Dead", where I was shot in May, 1965, and spent the next nine months at Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, CA.

Semper Fi,
Mike Lawson, USMC Ret. (Medically)
(480) 838-2980 home phone


Dear Sir:

Would you please announce the 15th Annual, 7th Engineer Battalion, Vietnam Veterans Association Reunion in your publication? (website and/or newsletter).

"Be an honored guest of the 7th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Pendleton" San Diego, CA / Camp Pendleton – September 19 – 22, 2013.

The United States Marine Corps 7th Engineer Battalion, Vietnam Veterans Association will be holding its 15th annual reunion at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center located in San Diego, CA. For room reservations, call the Hotel at (800) 772-8527. Group code is 7thEng. Group rate is $99 + tax per night for single/double. Complimentary parking. Reservations should be made by August 29th for this rate. For info on the Hotel, visit www.towncountry.com.

For registration information, visit www.usmc.org/7th/ and look under REUNIONS on Home Page or contact Norm Johnson at 989-635-6653, delta1[at]centurytel.net, Doug McMackin at 623-466-0545, gunnymac[at]hotmail.com; or Jim Taranto at 518-567-4267, tarantoj[at]gmail.com.

Thank you,
Harry Dill, Secretary
7th Engineer Battalion Vietnam Veterans Association
704-708-9865 or hdill[at]carolina.rr.com

Short Rounds

I'm certainly impressed by all the glory stories that appear here. Fact is that all that a lot of us did was serve and try to do a good job of that. I have to admit that I was one of those who "Just Served".

Vearl W. Brown (CWO-2 Ret.)
29 June 53 - 1 July 76

Your newsletter never fails to bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Semper Fi!

Denise Wisbrock

"At ease, not base liberty."

Sergeant Jack Carmody

Barry Fixler Echo 2/26 store robbery of his store, YouTube video. I know Barry. He served at Khe Sanh in Echo 2/26 and he is a member of my Rockland Co. Marine Corps Detachment. This is the security camera footage from his store, you can also check out his book Semper Cool.


Tommy Curran

We ate a lot of Russian duck - Rush in duck out the back!

Mr. grit,

As an old Marine, I like to look at Zippo lighter art. Maybe if you ask, the Marines (the family) would share the pictures of their Zippo art. If it's posted here, I will know it's from Marines. Any time in Marine Corps history. Thanks.

Another day in paradise.

Jerry C. Nealey Sr.

Reference - (Who would I shoot First) 28/ Mar/2013. I served with a couple KMCs (Korean Marine Corps) Korea early '50s. I found they were one of the toughest outfits in the UN. Maybe you served with the ROKs (Republic of Korean Army) big difference. The KMCs took no quarter and gave none. The one fellow I was close to told me USMC KMC same-same.

S/Sgt. M.L. Gregor 1180172

At the end of one of your newsletters I seen this note. Was this your zippo? What are the odds.

Another day in paradise.

Jerry C. Nealey Sr.


"When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1805

"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."
--James Madison, Federalist No. 62

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
--Ambrose Redman

"I don't lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word."
--Gen. James Mattis, known to his Marines as "Mad Dog Mattis"

Microphone clearing sound. Weird whistle. Then...
"Now hear this! Now hear this!
All Marines topside go below.
All Marines below go topside.
All Marines forward go aft.
All Marines aft go forward.
All Marines in the middle stand by to direct traffic!
That is all!"

"God bless the American Dream!"

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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