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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 13 JUN 2013

In this issue:
• Old Grey-Haired Guy
• Gongye Hezhoushe
• Seven Digit Serial Numbers

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My dad, brother, and husband all served in the Marine Corps. My oldest son plans on joining, and by the looks of this so does our 18-month old son Lex. Here he is at our computer desk with the Sgt. Grit catalog deciding what he wants us to buy! Everyone in our family loves your catalog!

Stephanie Hunt-Boynton

Old Grey-Haired Guy

Several weeks ago, I drove down to the auto-parts store to buy some badly needed wiper blades before my old ones began etching a rainbow in my windshield. That day, I had grabbed my old T-Shirt out of the closet, the black one with the huge, colorful Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on the front and "First To Fight" written beneath it. I hoped some street punk couldn't read it as I didn't really feel like trying to kick azs at 70 years old. I was using my cane that day as sometimes it just kinda helps me keep my balance and some pressure off my hip.

In any case, I finally found the wiper blades I needed and went up and waited while the two guys behind the counter finished with the other customers. Finally one of the cashiers caught my attention and waved me up. When he rung up my purchase he said, "We give a ten-percent discount for all you guys who are Veterans." I thought he was saying this because he saw my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor shirt and my cane, and naturally assumed I was some kind of war hero suffering from an old wound.

"Whoa! Hold on a minute!" I said, "I am not a combat Veteran. I use a cane because of arthritis. I enlisted in the Marine Corps and I served, but I never saw combat. At least not until I got married, anyway." The guy grinned and said, "Yeah, but you went willingly and enlisted didn't you? Nobody had to drag you down to the recruiting office, did they?" "No, I went on my own when I was 17, but I just didn't want to give you the impression that I am a combat Vet. Those guys are the real heroes."

"Hey, you served our country. You get a discount. Period. I couldn't get into the military because I was born with curvature of the spine and this is my way of saying 'thank you' to all you guys who did serve. Thanks Marine!"

It has been a long, long time since anyone called me "Marine". For an old grey-haired guy with arthritis, that was a d-mned nice thing to hear, and it just made my day.

Wise, JP
1st Marine Brigade

Gongye Hezhoushe

In the "Old Corps" in '64 our DI Sgt. Greenleaf said the only reply to "Semper Fi" from another Marine (once we graduated from the H-ll Hole of Boot Camp) will be "Gung Ho!" Until I was mustered out in '70 with a combat related disability, I never heard the now rendered OORAH! I still reply Gung Ho to any Semper Fi and receive a bit of a quizzical look from the younger Marines. Several have asked what I mean, and I have given them a short lesson in history of the origin and the use of Gung Ho.

It is an Americanization of "Gongye Hezhoushe", which is Mandarin Chinese for loosely translated "work together". Since most people couldn't pronounce it, it was "Americanized" to Gung Ho. Carlson's Raiders in WWII used it as their unit motto and it spread from there.

Another witticism that has become popular due to a movie of some Marines that "save students of a medical school in the Caribbean" of "Adapt and overcome" has been prettied up for the wide screen. As taught to us by our other DI Sgt. Richardson it was the "Dinosaur Rule"... "Adapt or Die!" "You will adapt, or you will answer to me. Do you understand you bunch of low-life roots?" Oh, the little missives that we received in Boot Camp, and still remember and rule our lives with 50 years later...

Semper Fi!
Gung Ho! Ding Hua!
Bill Wilson
Plt. 360 MCRD SD
1964 - 1970

About Face

In response to Cpl. McKee's last posting, in 1984 I was assigned to Beach & Port Co. 1st Landing Support Battalion. We had a Marine, Clarke was his last name. He received either a BCD or Dishonorable. Anyway, most of our staff NCO's were all Vietnam Veterans. I remember our First Sergeant, First Sgt Fox. He called a company formation one day. He called the company to attention and then asked PFC Clarke to come front and center. Two MP's then emerged from the company office. The First Sergeant gave Clarke the command "About Face." The MP's then handcuffed him. The 1st Sgt. then proceeded to tell the company what Clarke had done and what a complete disgrace he was to the Corps. The 1st Sgt. then ordered the company to "About Face." Once the company was turned around, the 1st Sgt. told the MP's to get this piece of sh-t out of here. We never saw Clarke again.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. DeVoe 0481/Shore Party

I don't really know when the drumming out of undesired Marines happened, but when I was an instructor at Marine Corps Engineer School at Courthouse Bay Lejeune in the 80's, we had a Sgt. that was caught borrowing money from the students. He was the Police Sgt. for the Barracks and during the investigation they found out he was also charging every single student in the Bks. for doing their linen. I think he was charging every student $5.00 a week to do their linen and they all paid it because of the inspection that would be happening the next morning of the Bks. He would also charge students for some of the cleaning gear they needed during Field Day which was every Thursday Night. After his Court Martial he was brought out in front of the formation where they read the charges and the results of the Court Martial. We then were all ordered to about face and he was loaded into the Jeep and driven to the main gate which was a considerable distance and dropped off outside the gate.

If that's not called drumming out I don't know what is. It may have happened differently than it did in the years before me but it sure enough did happen. I know this letter will probably draw a few remarks about all the differences, but as far as I'm concerned and all those young Marines are concerned that's as close to being drummed out as you can get.

GySgt Mac

Seven Digit Serial Numbers

Sgt. Grit:

Each week I am always on the lookout for the letters, each brings back fond moments and remembrances of Men I had the pleasure of serving with. But, when I look at the seven digit serial numbers I wonder, am I the only old fart still out there? My serial number prior of course to them using SS numbers was 2737xx. I celebrated my 92nd, two days ago. Still going, but not as strong.

M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller, USMCR
Was a regular from '40/'46, then reserve.
Placed on the retired list in 1957.

Discipline And Leadership


In last week's newsletter, SGT Dave Charbonneau left a remembrance to his Senior Drill Instructor, GYSGT C.D. Mortis. A real tribute to a Marine's Marine. But, if I could be so bold, since I did not know the GYSGT, but I do know the Marine to his left in the Platoon photo, Assistant Drill Instructor SGT J.C. Pleasants. Platoon 353 was Pleasants last at MCRD PI. Joe Pleasants passed on to me the 7 platoon books that he helped train at PI, to research the names of the new Marines for possible KIA's in Viet Nam. For the research I do, trying to find photos of Marine KIA's, this was a 'gold mine'.

In my research of Platoon 353 what was more compelling to me was that there was only 1 KIA, a true testament to the training, discipline and leadership of GYSGT Mortis. This platoon was trained and sent to serve in Viet Nam in what would be the most deadliest time during the Viet Nam war, the Tet Offensive.

Attached is a cropped photo from the Platoon 353 red graduation book. On the left, new Marine Charbonneau, on the right beside him, Vincent S. Coles, Newark, NJ, KIA in Viet Nam on 16MAY68 a member of I/3/27.

A link to the work I did:
The Wall.

Semper Fidelis!
Jim McIlhenney
USMC '68-'70
RVN '69-'70


Sgt. Grit,

With the Death of Senator Frank Lautenberg, the last WWII Veteran serving in the Senate and only two left serving in the Congress, and the so-called data that WWII Vets are dying at an average of 2,000 a day, I figured this old Hat is pushing calculations. When I retired in 1969 with 26 years, I figured the best days were ahead and they were until I turned 65 years of age... then I went on Medicare. I had to choose a Doctor and found one who immediately demanded I have a bunch of tests and shots. So I told him for too many years I had to put up with some of the most humiliating, undignified, and embarrassing medical examinations.

(The picture here shows a Marine at Guadalcanal with Jungle rot having the Corpsman putting Permanganate on it, by the way this picture is in the 1st MarDiv Book) If he didn't want to test my blood and urine, and decide about my physical status I would find another Doctor. His examinations came twice a year and lasted 5 minutes and I saw him for the next 12 years, then found another who did as I required.

In my years, I served at bases long closed, Treasure Island Naval Base, Yerba Buena Island Naval Brig, San Pedro Naval Prison, Mare Island Rifle Range, Hunters Point Naval Base, and a couple places in Oahu with Hawaiian names I still can't pronounce.

So my time will come one day, and when it does I'll go either to St. Peter and lie to him, or go to the River Styx and wait for the Ferryman Charon and see what he has lined up.

It's been a blast, and I ain't ready to give up the ghost yet. We'll let Grit know from time to time what happened when and why.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
USMC Retired

Dad's Shadow Box

I want to thank everyone at Sgt. Grit for all your help. I placed an order last week for some Ribbons to complete my dad's shadow box. He fought proudly with the First Marine Division during WWII in the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa. He never spoke at all with us about the h-ll he must have gone through. He only shared the good times, like getting an extra scoop of ice cream at the Brown Derby from Ma Kettle because she thought he "was cute". It was after he passed away that I started researching and reading up on these battles as a way to honor his memory. I've even had the privilege of talking to several high school history classes about Peleliu and even found some footage of him as an 18 year old on old documentary while learning about it.

The case that holds my father's American flag has two corners for the placement of his medals and ribbons. We were not able to locate all of his ribbons, but I was able to speak to a kind woman at Sgt. Grit's who helped me so much, and was able to order the missing ribbons. I recently received my order #141xxxx with the ribbons in it, beautifully mounted and ready to be placed in his box. I had to smile with tears in my eyes as it arrived yesterday. Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of his passing.

Thank you again for all your help. I am the proud daughter of a real warrior! If I may be so bold to say, Semper Fi, from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you again and God bless you!

Jo Wannemuehler
(daughter of USMC SSGT William G. Cornelli)

Big Stink

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Your comment about Canadians serving in Vietnam:

"I know we have a lot of customers in Canada. This is just my own guess, but I imagine more Canadians crossed the border and enlisted in the Marine Corps during Vietnam, than cowardly Americans who escaped across the border the other way."

Sgt Grit

Yes, a great many Canadians served in the American military during the Vietnam War. I knew a number of them... dating from my enlistment physical in the Marine Corps in early 1968 to fellow instructor in the Young Marine Program in my later years. (He came down from Canada in 1967 to enlist in the Corps and served for 30 years...)

Some joined the Marine Corps because they had anti-communist sentiments... some because they were looking for adventure rather than "square bashing..." others because they simply wanted to be Marines.

Those who served were in for many years of grief from their own government. For decades measures both major and petty were inflicted upon them after their return to Canada. It was not until the late 1990s that the Canadian government eased up.

There was a big stink in early 1968 when Canadian press got hold of a photo of a bunker at Khe Sanh inhabited by a Marine from Canada... Canadian flag flew over the bunker. Political pressure caused it to be taken down. I have attached a photo of my Canadian Vietnam Supporter's patch. Any of your readers who are interested in more information about Canadian Viet Vets can Google the info re: their organization...

Still on the subject of Canada... Re: the item about the Johnson Light Machine Gun... The Marines traded many of theirs to the 1st Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade), a joint force of Americans and Canadians... for explosives. The Johnson LMG was used by this proud outfit during their campaigns in WWII and became one of their trademarks.

James F. Owings
USMC 0311

Worst Marine Ever

This kid was in no way going to make it through Boot Camp. He was six foot three and one hundred and fifty pounds of rattling uncoordinated bones. He had no upper body strength, and he could not walk straight or stay upright. He could not see more than ten yards without his glasses, and his face was covered in acne. He was dumb as a rock and so naïve that you just couldn't help but shake your head. In other words, he was the DI's number one target. What was bad was I was the same height as he was and always seemed to be placed next to him, and that always seemed to make me target number two. He was trouble, plus there are only so many knuckle push-ups you can do without building a resentment for this knucklehead. I was as good as I had to be with him, was no more helpful than I had to be, and tried to keep my distance from him. The only admirable thing about him was he would never give up. No matter how much abuse he took from the DI's, he always got up. Toward the end the DI's had a grudging respect for him.

I thought I was done with this guy, but no. There he was lined up next to me all through ITR and Advanced Infantry Training. We even ended up on the same plane bound for Vietnam. We had a stopover in Okinawa first though. Because he thought that I was his best buddy, he followed me, along with a group of us, into the shanty town outside the base on liberty. He apparently never had a drink in his life, and after just a few beers he was passed out on the table. The rest of us had no intention of slowing down for him now, because, well, you were talking fifty cent beers and ten dollar women, and this is our last night before heading for Da Nang. Well, we left him there and sure enough the MP's found him penniless and brought him back to base. He was back before we were, safe and sound, sleeping away, while we got reported and chewed out. No harm really, after all what could they do to us; that plane outside was waiting to take us to Vietnam.

Thankfully, even though we both got assigned to the same Regiment and Company he was placed in another platoon. I was finally rid of him. We still had contact of course and got together when possible, and it soon became apparent that he was in trouble. This guy was so timid and naïve and stupid that he was easy pickings for the hard Corps battle tested Veterans of his platoon. He just was not able to stand up for himself. Everything he did was considered a screw-up. When we got together he would confide in me how he was given all the sh-t details that nobody wanted to do and the short timers felt above doing. He was burning more sh-tters, walking more point, placing more claymores, handed more belts of machine gun ammo, and was stuck on listening posts way more than anyone else. He was considered a joke, and he was getting worn down and I knew it. He still had that attitude of never giving up though.

During the last week of May 1969 we were on some meaningless operation when all was stopped so some engineers could dispose of a mine up ahead. When the three of them had finished and was walking away they tripped another booby trap. It was terrible. Nobody could go up to help them because we were instructed, and were well aware that the enemy placed mines in clusters to catch any rescuers. But, up ahead I could see dumb azs, against instructions, running up to help these very badly hurt Marines. From my position I could see him take his belt off to apply a tourniquet to one, then turn to help the second, I heard him yell down that the third man was dead. After a few minutes the Lieutenant and our Corpsman finally made it and started toward him. As he got up to leave he detonated a bobby trap that had to be just underneath him all along. He died of course. The other two engineers, he went up to try and help, survived and the Lieutenant and the Corpsman knew that he took the blast that would have been waiting there for them.

This man's picture is included with the 242 others in the June 1969 Life magazine issue that shows the pictures of all the men that were killed in just one week of that war. I keep a copy saved on my computer. Now I'm very proud of my service and of being a Marine. I saw a lot, did a lot, and have nothing to be ashamed of, except on Memorial day. On this holiday I always remember this man and feel that I let him down, didn't do my best to help him and didn't come to defend him. He considered me a friend. I was for him, the worst Marine ever.

Pvt PT

Got A Surprise

Got a surprise in yesterday's mail. A fellow Marine, fellow member of AAPK and a knife mechanic put this together for me. It was originally a Camillus electrician's knife. New blades were swapped around along with Culpepper's amber staged bone handles, some file work on the back springs and an inlet Marine Corps emblem makes this a real beauty. I am tickled pink with it.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Dr. Seuss Had It Right

Sgt. Grit,

I always look forward to receiving your newsletters... great job!

My story begins in San Onefre, Camp Pendleton, CA, 1970. They were getting us ready for Nam. We were getting ready for a long "hump" and were given three meals of "C-rats." We would be gone overnight and would be back in the company area for supper the next day. (Flashback just 6 months... I worked on an egg farm as a kid, until I enlisted. Always did like "ham & eggs.") Back to San Onefre... they threw a couple cases of "C"s into the tent and we divided them up... (no clue yet on what we were doing.) Like I said, I like Ham & eggs. Well I got them... all three meals. I thought, "I got this." Well, that night when it was time to eat I looked at all the neat little things they gave us... cigarettes (I quit smoking on the first day of Boot) and never smoked another. A little pack of toilet paper (about enough to wrap around a finger). A pound cake... really? A few other things, but I was hungry so I looked for the "ham & eggs"... I found the can... but I was looking at the bottom of the can. Those eggs & ham were canned before I was born! Dr. Seuss had it right! "Green Eggs & Ham". I looked at that sh-t and well... I was hungry so I tried it... it tasted just like it looked! I thought, "Wow, I'm gonna be hungry by the time we get back "home". You know... by the time we got back to San Onefre they weren't too bad. Or I was hungry? Not sure about that! Anyhow, I ate them. Then I went into the Air Wing and never had to eat them again.

Sgt Srepette

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.

Please let tell your readers that read your Sgt.Grit newsletter online.

My email for them is marinecorps1955@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

--3rd Release--

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

Platoon 114 Between 1960 to 1962.

Platoon 394 Sometime in 1962.

Platoon 314 Sometime in 1962.

Platoon 274 Sometime in 1963.

Platoon 353 Sometime in 1963.

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

Platoon 116, Feb. 22, 1960 to May 3, 1960.

Platoon 2012, Oct. 28, 1965 to Dec. 28, 1965.

Platoon 217, Jan. 20, 1966 to March 18, 1966.

Platoon 256, Feb. 23, 1966 to April 23, 1966.

Platoon 394, June 21,1967 to Aug.15, 1967.

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

Memorial Day

Semper Fi, Sgt.

My wife and I celebrated Memorial Day the right way; we attended the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, NV. There was a dedication of a Vietnam Memorial and the cemetery received a commendation as one of the top ten Veterans Cemeteries in the country (judged on beauty, style and cleanliness).

It was a grand affair with the Fernley H.S. band, bag pipers, an Honor Guard, buglers and a 21 gun salute. The keynote speaker was Dr. Ty Cobb, Army Lt. Col./ Ret. who served in Nam. Nevada's Governor Sandoval and Sen. Harry Reid both spoke as well as a young LCpl. in his blues who was a recent graduate of Fernley H.S. The Mayors of Reno, Sparks and Fernley were also in attendance. All vets received a memento from the Fernley H. S. Leadership Council. It was a moving and memorable way to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Bill Reed
Nam '68-'69

Nice Piece

I was at the factory this past week and this tractor was there. Very nice piece.

SSgt DJ Huntsinger,
1968-76, Vietnam '69-'70,
11th Marines, Comm Plt.

The Woman From Yesterday

Sgt. you and I were in the same area about the same time, I was with 2/11 in An Hoa.

I thought I would tell a little story that happened a few months back, it has stayed with me awhile and I still smile when I remember it. So here goes.

I have had issues with my heart for a number of years, an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. My doctors have, until the time of this story, put me thru 3 Cardio Conversions by applying a goodly amount of electrical voltage to the front of my chest and back of my, well, back. The 1st one lasted 4 days, I felt much better for those days then it reverted back to AFib. I am told some can live almost a normal life with a fib. Two more Conversions had a lot less success. Four minutes on one and never got rhythm after the third.

So, I went home not expecting much from them, I was taking a large amount of coumadin, so I worried a bit less about stroking out. Two days later the Dr. in charge (Obel) called me personally and told me he wanted me to try a very powerful drug that had to be monitored in the hospital for 4 days. Told me it would change my heart rate, but at times, it could change for the worse and I would need to be close to immediate help if it went south. I told him I would think about it. Two days later a package came from the VA that had a box of 10 LOVNOX prefilled injectors. They are a very fast blood thinner and I was to take (self-inject) one in the morning and one in the evening. I deduced I was going to have some truly thin blood.

Five days later I called him and agreed to the Cardio version and ablation to the heart, and to try this new (to me) super pill. So I packed up for a four day stay in the cardiac monitoring wing, YAY!

I checked in and had an IV inserted with a bag of Heperin (sp?) another blood thinner plus the saline solution going in me. Not much happened for two days, they would give me the mystery pill, wait an hour then bring in the EKG machine and hook it up and wait for my heart to do an about face or something. Never did.

The third day there I was beyond bored so I decided to shave. At least try and look a little squared away. Only problem was, I forgot to pack my razor. In my ignorance I asked the nurse if they had one I could use. She came back with a little blue plastic double edge razor. Now to all Vets who may go to the VA, NEVER use a little blue double edge... She even brought me a bit of shaving cream, she was a fine nurse and very thoughtful.

I had one of those IV poles that you can unplug so I went to the mirror, lathered up and started. Now I was chocked full of blood thinners, but in my blissfully unaware state, never worried about that, not even when I felt a few scratches here and there. Never worried until I tried the swipe from lower lip to chin. I felt it cut hard the first time and got me a second time on the ricochet and there was plenty of blood now. D-mn.

I washed my face and I looked like I had been hit in the face with barbed wire with lots of freely flowing blood. I wet a face cloth and tried to put pressure on the cuts, there were a h-ll of a lot of small and medium dings, but two were flowing pretty good. I decided this was a good time to go downstairs to the smoking area and just hope the air would dry the blood. Facecloth was nice shade of pink now.

Now I was wearing VA pajamas, had my monitor with all its wires attached to my chest plus the wires from the EKG machine and dragging my IV machine and those silly socks they make you wear. Plus my all pink cloth. Chesty would have disowned me.

I stuck on my Semper Fi cap I got from Sgt Grit and headed down the hall towards the back elevators, away from the crowds I hoped. As soon as the elevator door opened I noticed there were two Fellows, Drs. who look twelve and never make eye contact unless forced, cool. We went down one floor and when the door opened a truly lovely young woman in civilian clothes got in. I didn't even bother sucking in my gut, I had 16 wires coming out my pajama shirt, a bloody cloth held to my jaw so I know that in my wildest dream this woman would sure as h-ll ignore me. I did notice she gave me a sidelong glance, probably appraising her safety being in the same elevator.

As we stopped at the next floor I heard a very soft voice say "Semper Fi, Sir". I looked up and it was the lovely woman. She had a sort of forced smile and quietly asked if I was okay. I was not actually going to admit I simply cut myself shaving, so I just told her "Semper Fi" and I was fine and left it at that. She didn't respond, just looked at my sorry self.

I walked out to the open air smoking section and when I stopped she stopped. She asked me a few questions about the VA, told me she was a Marine, not too long back from Afghanistan. I asked her if she was visiting someone and she told me she had been there trying get some help with a couple of issues she was having and the clerks there had stonewalled her. I told her about the Patient Advocates who will actually help and to see the charge nurse of the unit she wanted to visit.

We talked for about thirty minutes, she had the nerve to laugh at me when I did tell her I cut myself shaving and she told me a few of the things she needed help with. Important things to her and she was blown off. Through all of my talking to her there was a toughness about her, she wasn't going to let the bast-rds win. She had done four in the Corps and had gotten out as a Sgt E-5 and was proud to be a Marine. When she walked off going to her car I couldn't help but think "D-mn, if I was 30 years younger".

The next morning a Fellow came in and told they were going to shock me a max of three times to get me in rhythm then do the ablation. Not much I minded, but wasn't keen on having a part of my heart cauterized and have the device inserted thru my groin. Told me I would be sore for a few days. They shocked me 7 times and never got it into rhythm, so they did not do the ablation, just wheeled me back to my room.

The nurses had just hooked up all my wiring when I heard someone giggling at my door. I was ready to use a bit of language when I realized it was the woman from yesterday. I was laying there with my pajama top open, wires and patches all over, and still sort of under the effects of the anesthesia. I calmly asked her how the h-ll she found me? Seems she remembered my monitor and came to the ward and asked where the Marine with his face cut up was. She said all four nurses pointed toward my room. She came in and told me she had talked to the Patient Advocate who got her in to see someone a lot higher up than a lazy clerk.

I write this note for no other reason but to speak of the persistence of a Marine (her) and that I admire her gumption.

I talk to her on the phone once or twice a month and she is doing well.

To all Marines past and present... Semper Fi and take care!

Sign me
RW 23487XX
RVN 12/67-11/69

Legion Of Merit

Does anyone have the words to a poem that appeared in Stars and Stripes or Navy Times some time back in the mid-60's, about Marine Corps wives and the Legion of Merit?

If memory serves me, it starts out with the words "Who says that variety is spice of life, no doubt was first said by a Marine Corps wife. For she packs up to move to the plains of Nebraska, then orders are modified and they go to Alaska".

It ends with the words "There's one fancy medal and many Marines wear it, but it's their wives who should have it, the Legion of Merit".

Wes Kent
Staff Sergeant, USMC

Root Canal

I was wondering what experiences my fellow Marines had with Dental.

After ITR I returned to MCRD San Diego for Electronics School and had to avail myself of the dentist when I developed a slight, and I emphasize slight, toothache. My only other experience with Navy Dentists was in boot camp with the red tooth paste. Fortunately for me, my mother always insisted we go to the dentist and I had no cavities. Many of my fellow boots as I recall had never seen a dentist before in their life. The standard practice seemed to be to just yank out the offending tooth or in many cases teeth. I heard once that you had to have at least half of your teeth to remain in the Marine Corps, so many guys were down to just fourteen.

You can understand why I was a little reluctant to visit the boot camp dentist. After a short examination and x-ray the dentist, a young Navy Officer, told me I needed a ROOT CANAL. Not knowing what that was and being young and naive I readily consented.

I guess he was new to the Dental Corps and wanted to practice his skills, so rather than yank the tooth he decided it was time to practice his root canal skills.

He began by giving me a shot of Novocain. Five minutes later he returned and began drilling before the pain killer kicked in. I had a death grip on the chair and was flopping around like a chicken with my head cut off. Finally he asked "can you feel that" as if my contortions were normal. With a mouth full of tools, dental dams and other various items I answered "uh, uh, uh" which he took to mean yes. I then got another larger dose of Novocain. He came back in five and started again before the pain killer set in. More flopping in the chair and another round of "can you still feel that" and my replies of "uh, uh,uh. More Novocain and finally he waited for what seemed an hour. By then my entire body was numb.

He sent me back to my barracks, but unbeknownst to me he only packed the huge hole in my tooth with cotton which came out the first time I ate something. I weathered the large hole in my tooth for about a week and on my return appointment he finished the job. Oh and need I mention that for about two days the left side of my face drooped as if I had, had a stroke. It took that long for the Novocain to wear off.

That was my first and last trip to the Navy dentist. That said, the filling lasted for almost 20 years until I had to have it crowned.

I would love to hear other's experiences.

Sgt. Jim Grimes 1969-72

Issued Blanks

For the Marines who participated in OP STRONGBACK, MARCH - APRIL 1958; There's only one large and 55-year old hang up. Some of the units that were there reportedly exchanged fire with the Rebels. As an example, if you happened to have been issued blanks or not even that, you may have instead been lucky enough to have been assigned with a Filipino combat Platoon. And they were fully loaded with ammo. And, using weapons identical to ours. This was an EXERCISE - for the Corps. But, a 24/7, year round, deadly serious proposition for the Filipino's.

Still it galls me that the Corps knew very well that armed Rebels were all over most of those areas that we would be training in. Any concentrated attack on any size Marine unit without ammo (and no ammo - humping Filipinos in sight), could have been devastating.

The "55 year old Hang-up" : For three years I have had FOIA and other Official paperwork in to our National Archives and Records Administration asking that they de-classify certain Daily Diaries and/or After Action Reports. They have acknowledged that the Classified material does exist. Three years seems a reasonable waiting period.

To give NARA the benefit of the doubt, I have been in three VA Hospitals (Cancer) in the past Three Years. It is possible they may have tried contacting me.


One Of Six

Sgt. Grit,

I am currently reading this week's (6Jun13) newsletter and found that I needed to comment on an article that I just read. Under the title, "Don't Bunch Up," Kirk Hogan reviews a newly-published book by a Captain William Van Zanten, who tells of his experiences at "Camp Usher."

As I have mentioned a few times in your newsletter, the first six weeks of my Marine Corps experience (which is nowhere near as extensive as others who post here) was spent aboard that little area of MCB Quantico. And the name of that camp is not "Usher." It was named in honor of Major General William P. Upshur, who, according to an article I found on www.wikipedia.com, "...was one of six men, including Smedley Butler to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the occupation of Haiti."

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

P.S. Upon doing a quick search, I found evidence that Camp Upshur is still in use. Does anyone care to comment?

Sent On His Way

Sgt Grit,

1st: The article "ShinolA Shoe Polish"

During the early 1960's the Sea School was located on Midway Ave. across from the Depot Band Barracks. Sea School and the Band Barracks were located at the North West corner of the Grinder. I returned to MCRD after ITR to the Field Music School. The Marines attending FMS were billeted on the 2nd floor of the Band Barracks. The FMS classrooms were located west on Russell Ave. in some of the old Quonset Huts. Needless to say these Quonset Huts and the Sea School building are now part of History!

2nd: The article "Booted"

From the letter "Booted" what I've been told all reads correct. But, all "persons" leaving our Corps are not treated to such a "Ceremony" if one cares to call it that. While I was stationed with the 1st Marine Division Drum and Bugle Corps at Camp Pendleton in 1962/63 our D & B had a "person" receive a BCD. The morning this took place the person was escorted to Battalion Headquarters presented with his BCD escorted by 2 MP's back to the D & B Barracks, taken inside by the MP's, changed from his uniform into civvies, and escorted to the rear gate and sent on his way...

Semper Fi,


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #5, (MAY., 2015)

Some of you may remember when you were in Country that there was always somebody in the Platoon, or the Squadron that had a pet, or Mascot of some sorts. Well, that was also the case with HMM-161. One of our young MARINES (PFC John Gordon) that flew with me as one of my gunners, was the keeper of the squadron Pet, and believe it or not, but her name was "Pineapple". If I had to describe her I would have to say that she was small like a terrier and kind of a gold color, almost like the inside of a "Pineapple, hence her name. She also represented the color of the Unit's Logo the "Pineapple". Now, I can't recall where he acquired her, but all of a sudden he appeared out on the Flight Line at the Chopper one day, with this dog in tow. Naturally, I asked him what were his plans, and he responded jokingly that he wanted to get her qualified as an Aircrew member. I, in turn answered "we'll, what are her qualifications", and he went on to tell me that she could be a prisoner guard when we were transporting VC prisoners. I guess I had this "What the H-ll?" look on my face, but that was enough to ask the Pilot if "Pineapple" could ride along with us, at least on this mission, and that didn't seem to present any problems for anybody that was going on the flight.

We climbed aboard and I was particularly interested to see how our new Crew Member was going to react to the noise and the movement, but was amazed to find out that she didn't seem to mind all the Micky-Motion that was going on, and she settled right in. Johnny kept a real close eye on her and we went out to the zone for our mission which was... You Guessed it... to pick up some prisoners. Now, for some reason I didn't know where we were going that day, but I was surprised that no one other then the Pilot and the Co-pilot knew and they didn't say anything to Johnny or I.

We flew to the pick-up point, landed, and out came several MARINES guarding and walking their prisoners for loading. Well, they got the VC to the door of the Chopper and "Pineapple" immediately became aggressive and didn't want us to load the VC. In fact, she didn't even want them near the door of the Aircraft. Johnny got up from his Gunners position and got a hold of "Pineapples" makeshift collar to restrain her, and once that was accomplished we got the prisoners loaded. We sat them on the floor and had to hold on to our newly found "Prisoner Chaser" to keep her in abeyance. I can't remember how many times she bared her teeth to show our prisoners who was in charge, but this flight certainly qualified her to fly with us, on any type of mission.

Female Involved

Sea-going... can advise Marine Hada that in April of '62, Sea School might well have been at the SW corner of the SD grinder... and the NW corner was DI School. The Chief Instructor was a MSGT Red Barbour, (or Barber?)... old school, for sure... h-ll, the Gy's in the class were scared of him... never mind the few Corporals in the class. The school Duty NCO post was the Chief Instructor's desk... and early on, one of the Cpls (me) had the duty, and had gone topside to declare evening sweepdown, or whatever, and upon returning, found that MSGT Barbour had for some reason, come back to the school in the evening... only to find a Gunny, out of uniform, wearing shower shoes (that's what we called them, before 'Flip Flops' or John Kerry had been heard of), with his feet on the Top's desk, kicked back in Top's chair, and worse yet, talking with his girlfriend on the one telephone in the building. The Duty NCO, of course, was responsible for everything in that building... and somehow survived the incident... from memory, the offending Gy didn't finish DI school... the Top was absent one Monday, and we heard through the grapevine that it had something to do with three .38 caliber fenestrations of his person... when he did return to duty a few days later, one of the bolder, older SNCO's asked about that... his reply was "was cleaning my pistol... 'accidental discharge'... no more was said about it... but at the time .38 cal pretty much meant revolver... we guessed maybe there was a female involved... anyway, when we went to the range at Camp Matthews, to both go through the PMI course, and re-qual, the school moved to one of the H-shaped buildings over by 1st and 3rd Bns, and Sea School moved into that building at the NW corner... in my memory, the SW corner was, and always had been, Disbursing.

Spent some time embarked on Princeton, LPH-5, in fact, a couple times, and never knew there was a MarDet aboard... but that was circa '59 and '60, later in '66 with the SLF... she was home for a week when we pulled libo in Hong Kong... spent a May Day riding around her in a whale boat with an un-loaded M1. Sea School used to get the honor of handling the Holiday Flag (huge... really huge)... for special events... sharp stuff, double-soled shoes, sea-going dips in the cover, and the stack of coins in the M1 butt well (adds sounds to manual of arms... cool stuff, especially at "order arms!"

Re: "Lucky Strike Green", and it having 'gone to war'... it was something about the green dye being needed in the war production effort... and in the C-rations prior to Viet Nam, and after Korea, the accessory pack held an entire pack of cigarettes... not the little 3 or 4 pack... and they were never green... luck of the draw would usually be Chesterfields in the small pack (never was a cigarette smoker... cigars and chew are a different story...). In our platoon, we would usually wind up with a few 'extra' Meals, Combat, Individual... and as the Platoon Sergeant, with all the wisdom of Solomon, would invert those extras, and the Squad Leaders would get to pick an extra for bartering / sharing within their squads... then some dumb SOB civilian, back in the land of the Big PX, thought it would be a good idea to print the contents label on both flaps of the box... ruined my totally fair, luck of the draw, blank side up, 1966 system... and Plt Hq, being the Lt, the two Docs, and the Lt's RO (and me)... didn't get included in the draw. Saw Lucky Strike Green exactly once in two VN tours... Capt (Mustang) Bobby Thompson managed to come up with one case of salt-water soap (FLSG-B at Quang Tri... '69)... that had Lucky Strike Green... on the eight corners of a cardboard case of soap bars, dated 1944 or thereabouts... also had the outhouse half-moon QM mark... but not in green... (and he did it to jerk the XO's chain, who had made a really big deal of the erstwhile PX being out of bar soap... for two days... if you've never showered with salt water soap... you're a boot! (baby wipes? GMAFB!)

Re: 'Drumming out"... saw one of those at Horno (Pendleton) about 1958... 1st ATBn, 1stReconBn, both in formation on the easternmost quad... discharge/orders read off, both units about faced, buttons, etc. cut off the maggot's uniform, and he was marched off with a drummer standing in the back of a Base Motors '50 Ford pickup... word was they marched him all the way out to the San Onofre gate... which has to be 7-8 miles. Impressed me... don't recall the offense, may have been that stuff called MaryJaWhanna...

Oh, yeah... rifle range for Slater... Elliot is way inland, across the highway (used to be US 395) from Miramar... you went to the range at Camp Matthews... which is just east of the Torrey Pines/LaJolla area and next to the then classic "Highway 101"... Elliot used to be used for recruit 'bivouac', in some ways similar, but easier than, 'the Crucible'... in your day, it was a 'retraining command' (brig... one of my DI's spent two years there for financial dealing... 'circa '58).

Spring of '67... never did know the hill number, but at one time had been the 9th Marines' Regimental HQ compound, and it was now home to H&S Co and the Bn CP for 1st Tank Bn... to the NE was DaNang Air Base/DogPatch, etc., to the south was the Song Ca Dau river, etc. Earlier, while in BLT 3/5 we (Kilo Co) had been on an op where one of the last LSMR (Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket) had fired in our support. May have been the White River... the things seemed mostly to be named after rivers, and were LST's with automatic launchers on deck, and a belly full of ammo... they could rain an amazing amount of shells in an area in a very short time, and the rockets going overhead had a characteristic sound. So, lying in the rack, three quarters asleep, I heard that sound, and thought to myself... "Wow... the White River must be firing from inside DaNang Bay!"... and drifted back off a bit. CC Carl, our adjutant, and hooch mate came back in the door from using the pizztube, and said "Well... look at that!"... stuff was busting down on the airfield. We didn't know what was going on, and after a minute or so of debate, decided that the two things were connected, and that the airfield was under attack... we were at some distance, and weren't taking any fire, so the question was "should we use the hand-held siren?"... this would mean rolling everybody out to man the perimeter bunkers... and CC and I said: "Might as well"... so we did. I think that was the first time that DaNang had experienced incoming rockets... either 122 or 140 MM... Russian or Chicom manufacture. Mortars had been not uncommon, but these things were something new...


Lost and Found

My brothers and sisters, I need your help to find a Marine named Walt Brownell. Years ago, my brother-in-law came into possession of a U.S. flag that was labeled; This flag flown from the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Donated by: MSgt Walt D. Brownell, U.S.M.C. It was found in Florida about 15 years ago. When he showed it to me, I knew just who to ask.

Does anybody know of a MSgt by that name? I know there can't be too many, and after that many in the Corps, he served with some of you. The flag has been flown, there is weather damage on it.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

David Goodman
H Co. 2/4 1968

I would like to get a reunion put together for Plt 1026 from 1967, Parris Island. If any Marines from this platoon are out there you can contact me at:

Email: ATC1927[at]earthlink.net
Cell: 434-609-7277

Look forward to hearing from you Marines!

Semper Fi,
Charles E. Adams

Short Rounds


In answer to Jerry Nealy's question about the M-1 Garand and filing off the sear. Yes, filing off the sear in the M-1 Trigger Housing Group will cause the rifle to fire fully automatic. However, the problem is that due to the recoil of the M-1, the first round may hit your target, but the other seven are going into the clouds. As to whether the story you heard, is true or not – only those who were there would know.

S/Sgt Ralph L. Malone 1651942

To whom it may concern; thanks for correcting my spelling of Marine Corps words. i.e. Garand, as punishment I will stand in the rain today and sing all the verses of the MARINES' Hymn. Somewhere on the info hwy. are all the words. The senior citizen's in the complex here will say that crazy azs Marine in 905 is at it again. You did good.

Another day in paradise to serve the Corps!

Nealey, Jerry c.

Sgt Grit,

I could use a little help from your readers. In 1956 I was at NAD Guam. At our Tun Traven they sold Cig. lighters that had a little key in the back. That would play the Marine Hymn.

Does anyone have one or remember them?

Thank You,
Richard Wandler
USMC Retired

Cpl Pena,

Great story about the C-rations. I too started at M48 gas tanks at Pendleton, Camp Las Pulgas as I recall. By the way I don't if you remember, but I was one of your tank crewman on your Flame Tank Fox Trot 13, at least for a while, before I was shipped to Okinawa back in 1964. Most of the C-rations were ok except ham and lima beans. As I recall even heating them did not help much. Oh well, that was a long time ago.

Cpl. Steve Andre
1963-1964 Flame Platoon, 1st Tank Battalion,
1st Marine Division F-13
1964-1965 Flame Platoon, 3rd Tank Battalion,
3rd Marine Division F-13
1965-1966 Flame Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion,
2nd Marine Division F-13

Reports on biological testing in May of 1963 involving A4s from MAG-13, MCAS Kaneohe. The squadrons were VMA-212 and VMA-214 at the time. Many of us who worked on or flew those planes may be feeling the effects of this testing.

View these links:

Semper Fi,
Norm Spilleth
Plane Captain, VMA 212 1961-1963

In the Sgt.Grit Newsletter dated 30 May, 2013, L/CPL Louis F. LaPointe asked for clarification, stating "I served after the Vietnam war, and before the Gulf war... what does that make me and the others I served with during that time?"

My response is that it should make him proud, and that if I ever have the honor of standing next to him or others who served at ANY time they better Stand Proud. They are, first and always, United States Marines.

Semper Fi,
L/CPL David B.McClellan
RVN 1969-1970

Sitting in the VA hemonc waiting room as I write this. I just had the honor of spending 15 minutes with a Guadalcanal Marine. We spoke about everything but the war. He is 88 years old and has 14 great grandchildren and 1 great great, and has been married 66 years this year. Got out of the Corps and went to college then Med school. Was a GP for years and retired 20 years ago. His wife who was helping Him get around was very doting and helpful to him when he was trying to remember things.

Fuller, Cpl,
11th Marine, Comm,
Vietnam '69-'70


"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."
--Gen. A. M. Gray, USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps

"It is... [the citizens] choice, and depends upon their conduct, whether they will be respectable and prosperous, or contemptible and miserable as a Nation. This is the time of their political probation; this is the moment when the eyes of the World are turned upon them."
--George Washington, 1783

"If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war."
--General of the Armies Douglas McArthur in Korea, overheard and reported by Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Houghton, Weapons/2/5

"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it."
--John F. Kennedy, Speech (April 27, 1961)

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
--James Madison

"A Ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons."
--Adm. David Dixon Porter, USN in a letter to Colonel Commandant John Harris, USMC, 1863

"The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand."
--Attributed to Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

"When I give you an EYES RIGHT I want to hear those eyeballs click!"

"DO NOT MOVE! I don't care if there's a bee on your eyeball maggot!"

"DIG'EM IN, DIG'EM IN! Six to the front three to the rear!"

"Don't bunch up... one azz-chewing will get you all!"

"Dress right dress. Cover down!"

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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