Sgt Grit Newsletter - 18 APR 2013

In this issue:
• Mythological To Me
• Hatch Bodies
• Stamp My Stripes

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Newsletter Archives

In your latest newsletter, Jerry Nealey Sr. asked about Zippo art. Here is the lighter Charlie Battery 1/13 had designed while we were in Vietnam. I believe it was designed by Lt. Eberhardt (Deceased).

I have seen another one like this with a different date on it, but this is the original one. I do not have a picture of the back, but on that side the lid had:

Zippo Art

The only

On the body of the lighter was a big V for the 5th Marine Division and two howitzers. Under that it had 1 July 66. That is when Charlie Battery was formed at Camp Horno, CA. We were attached to the 3/26.

L/Cpl Ron Hoffman
1966 -1968

Mythological To Me

As I stood my post, observing all that transpired before me, I chanced to look upon a Real American Hero.

Though stooped and slowed by age, his eyes were still sharp. He wore a white golf shirt, emblazoned with the crest of the 5th Marine Division. Below the crest were these words, "WWII Iwo Jima Survivor".

Here was one of The Few. The Few who answered the call and ran to the sound of the guns no matter the cost. This man before me was living history. He had stormed the beach at Iwo Jima and stood at the base of Mt. Suribachi, looking up to see his fellow Marines raise one flag, and then another flag, on top of that formidable peak. He was one of a small group of men that walked off that island with no physical injuries. Many men were carried off that island.

This man before me was nearly mythological to me. As a young Marine I was taught Marine Corps history, and Iwo Jima is a big part of that history. The men who fought there were larger than life. Men like "Manila" John Basilone, Chesty Puller, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block & Michael Strank. Admiral Nimitz said of the Marines at the Battle of Iwo Jima that, "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue."

Imagine my awe and admiration as I sat down with this member of the "Greatest Generation" and talked with him of his time in the Corps and on that bloody rock in the Pacific. What an extreme honor! This man... this Hero... this Marine was Warren Musch. Veteran of Iwo Jima and a Real American Hero.

The above event took place August 12th, 2010, at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, NC.

God bless America and Semper Fidelis!

John A. Burkett
USMC 0311

Maybe Next Year

Many years ago, I made my first trip to Washington D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. When I arrived I asked the Park Ranger to look up the name of Wayne Horvath USMC who died on June 30th, 1969. As the Ranger told me the location of Wayne's name I began to tremble. When I found his name I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me. Being able to see and touch his name meant that his death really happened and that realization made me feel guilty and sorry for Wayne at the same time.

Seventeen year old, Private First Class Wayne Horvath from Ohio was my friend. He was also the pen-pal of my future wife's sister. Wayne Horvath was the wounded radio operator I ran out to assist. I didn't run out there because I was any kind of hero, but because a Marine needed help. I didn't go out there fearlessly, I was scared the whole way, but as the platoon's senior radio operator, I knew I was the best qualified to bring in the evacuation helicopter.

Our platoon's Corpsman, who worked on Wayne before the helicopter arrived, was sure Wayne was going to survive. Late that afternoon when we were informed that Wayne Horvath had died in route to the hospital in Da Nang, our Corpsman was inconsolable. He was sure he had done everything possible to save Wayne's life. A couple of days later we discovered that Wayne died because someone in the helicopter had left Wayne on his back and he drowned in his own fluids. Had they rolled him over, he more than likely would be alive today.

It wasn't until I saw Wayne's name on the wall that I felt guilty for thinking of myself as a hero. Wayne Horvath and the other 58,131 service personnel who died in Vietnam are the real heroes. For a long time I had forgotten that fact. Seeing Wayne's name and thinking of the terrible loss his family suffered still makes me feel ashamed for forgetting. I have been back to the wall several times and I still don't have the courage to find his name again and tell him how sorry I am that I forgot... who the real heroes are. Maybe next year...

Jeff Hiers
B Co. 1/26 Marines

He Wants To Be A Marine


Hey Sgt. Grit Team! I ran across this picture and I realized that I never sent it to you. This was taken a few years back when I had my first child. His name is Gavin. All the items came from your store. I can't believe that he's going to be six this year. He says he wants to be a Marine like his Mommy and Granddaddy! LOL.

Your loyal Reader,
Monique M.

Check out our other Infant and Toddler Clothing items.

Hatch Bodies

The Tribute to Hatch Bodies By Jeff Hiers touched me. I never looked at it like that before. I was Hatch Body for Plt. 297 at P.I. in Oct. of '73. I was 17, just outta high school. I loved to run, I was a gazelle. To me, having the freedom to break away from the pack and just run was a feeling few get to feel in basic training/

There is one such trip that stands out way ahead of the others. Our barracks was just around the corner from the chow hall. One day after lunch when we should have gone to our next class, we had no sooner started marching when I hear those words. Hatch Body Out! I was stunned for a moment, we were right around the corner. There is no way they expect me to beat the Plt to the door. I have to go past the door to the center of the building, up the stairs to the second floor thru the squad bay and back to the other end before they make it up the steps. I was told once by the Senior D.I. not to fail in having that hatch open, or there will be a cluster f-ck of bodies on the stairwell that I will be responsible for. I would have rather p-ssed on Satan than feel that wrath. So off I went.

Just before I kicked in the afterburners, I noticed there was no way I was gonna make this if I stayed on the road. I would have to cheat and cut between the buildings. I did not know if that was allowed, but I had no choice. Like the time I blew past a Captain from behind, I gave him a sharp salute and a crisp "By Your Leave, Sir" but at Mach 5. He stopped me with a stern RECRUIT and "kindly" explained the proper way to pass an officer. So I made a high G right bank and kicked her into Fast...

They put clothes lines in between the buildings for some reason. Three inch diameter steel poles anchored to buried tanks, a simple "T" style with four lines strung neatly between. I must have marched by those poles a million times and never saw a sole hanging laundry. No, they were placed there for one reason and one reason only, to stop recruits like me. As I blew passed the first pole I noticed the cable strung from the top of the pole to the ground about five feet out. I guess because I was running faster than the speed of thought, it did not register about the trip hazard a cable like that presents. A second later I found out as my right foot lodged, and I mean lodged under that cable at the other end.

Here is what I remember. My entire body was stretched out prone and rebounding off the ground. My first thought was that I could see an imprint of my face in the ground. It was like a mirror image. I bounced again, and that is when I heard it. Senior Drill Instructor calling cadence. I jerked my foot free and was up and gone. Thank God I was pointed in the right direction because I was on auto pilot. I have no other remembrance other than hitting that bar on that door, it slamming open, and Pvt. Hennline was just turning the corner and taking those last five steps three at a time. Made it with a 32 thousand of a second to go. NO sweat.

No amount of spit shinein could remove that scuff mark off the toe of my boot.

P.S. We were Honor Platoon. I shot Expert, and Made PFC. on Graduation Day, and pulled Lance Cpl. after Weapons repair school at U.S.A.O.C&S. Aberdeen, MD. 2111 MOS.

Sr D.I. SSGT. Wesson, Sgts, Herriot & Grahm... Thank You!

Semper Fi My Brothers
Joe Lombardi

All-State Platoon

Washington State Boot Camp Plt

Washington State, Plt 3041, MCRD San Diego.

Stamp My Stripes

Sgt Grit,

I was reading about the comments regarding promotion ceremonies... Back in 1953-1956, when I was in the Marine Corps (Old Corps) after Boot camp in San Diego, I was stationed on Camp Pendleton, H&S Co, 2nd Inf Trng Regt, MCB, and then transferred to Marine Corps Test Unit #1, in the disbursing section. When I made Corporal, I found out that anyone who had more stripes than I did, had the right to stamp my stripes on my upper arms, and you would always know who got promoted, because when we took a shower you could see the black and blue marks on our arms.

Sometimes, two Marines would stand one on one side and one on the other side of a newly promoted Marine, and they would stamp the stripes on at the same time hitting the arm so hard that it would send shock waves up and down one's body. I made Corporal and then was promoted to Sgt, later on, and had the same thing happen again. My Corporal and Sgt stripes are stamped on permanently, I would say. I'm wondering if they still do that ceremony? I remember when it was my turn to stamp the stripes on the ones who had rank below me... guess I enjoyed that more, and didn't show much mercy either.

Sgt D B Whiting 1427432
USMC 1953-1956

Wheezing Across The Finish Line

Dear Sgt Grit,

I remember that I was in the Air Wing, and we didn't run the Physical Readiness Test, nor go for training classes either?

When I went to HDQTRS Marine Corps in Washington, D. C. - we ran the PRT and had training. If you did not show up for PRT, you went before the First Sergeant and you'd better have a good reason. We ran PRT on Saturdays, which screwed up your week-end plans. One S/SGT assumed command of our lot who showed up... he worked for a General, and said the General felt we at HDQTRS Marine Corps were candy aszes and were not grunts, but we were Marines.

The 20 who showed up besides the S/SGT and myself looked out of shape, and some had guts on them. I worked in a warehouse unloading trucks and humping supplies all day, and worked out with weights. The S/Sgt had weights at his house off base. We literally had to embarrass the staff NCO's who were out of shape to keep up with us.

First - we started with the fireman's carry. I paired off with the S/SGT and we completed it with us carrying each other back and forth - like a training video. Then came the biggest Cluster F-ck you ever wanted to witness.

Next, the rope climb - 2 ropes one with knots and one without. I went up the knotted rope like a monkey looking for bananas. S/Sgt said all had to go up rope or fail, and tell the General why we were out of shape. Thirteen or 20 made this exercise. I asked if I went up 7 times more - would it be acceptable! I was told he was going to turn around, and let a M/SGT report to him.

Next was the 3 mile run - without pack or rifle, I finished first in the required time with S/SGT, and the rest of the mob all Staff NCO'S were strung out back 2 miles barfing, and wheezing across the finish line in unacceptable times of course.

Convinced my buddy to accept us completing this endeavor. He did.

Next week I was called to the General's office, and was thanked for my helping my unfortunate Marine Brothers. Found out the 7 others were told they had to repeat within 3 months or they would get written up.

Training was also held on weekends. Had to get reading literature from training that week - took test on Saturday, and it was reported to our O.I.C.

We are all Marines, but sometimes at different levels I guess.

Bruce Bender
1963- 1967
Now training different I hear!

The Only Number We Had

I recently read that the Marine Corps started using Social Security Numbers January 1st , 1972. I was sworn in at the Cincinnati Induction Center Oct. 8th, 1971. We were picked up from receiving the 1st week of Jan. 1972 after 3 or 4 days waiting on enough recruits to show up to complete a platoon by our DI's. I remember we had been there several weeks when one day the Senior DI had everyone get out their SSN cards, and had us memorize our number. We were told that the system was changing and our SSN would identify us from that point on. At the time, I didn't really understand what was happening, I just did it. Up to that day the only number we had used was the platoon and laundry numbers. Mine was 304 #60, had it wrote on everything.

My question is, exactly when were service numbers issued? When you swore in, checked in at receiving or upon graduation from Boot Camp? I remember I was told some reason why I couldn't start Boot Camp earlier, but I don't recall why anymore. Maybe because of the start of the new SSN system? I seem to remember we were give some type of identifying number after we were sworn in, maybe something used by the local induction center? I'm sure some of the Drill Instructors or Recruiters who were in those billets at the time can shed some light on the subject.

Semper Fi
SSgt L.K. Reed
Marine Air


As a young Marine I served on four different Amphibious Assault Ships in my four years (1958-62). All four started with "Sweepers, sweepers man your broom" and after that it was different on all four and sometimes different on different shifts on the same ship. 1959 Med. Cruise on APA-31, USS Monrovia, 1960, Veaques Cruise on AKA USS Oglethorpe, 1960 Training Reserves at Little Creek, VA, LST USS Talbot County and 1961 Med Cruise LST USS Loraine County. Yes we called them cruises back then not floats. Any Marines remember these ships?

CPL. Chris Manos
2nd Pioneer Bat. 2nd Mar. Div.
MCL, Worcester Detachment #144

USS Gen. J.C. Breckenridge


Shows you how small the Marine Corps version of the world can be; I was transferred from MB, NAB, Coronado, San Diego, in Feb, 1956 to Okinawa, as a Sgt E4, later being assigned to HqBn, 3dMarDiv, at Camp Courtney (Tengan).

After our indoctrination, at Camp Pendleton, our replacement draft was herded aboard the USNS Gen. J.C. Breckenridge to Oki. Had plenty of Air Force personnel and dependents aboard this trip. The "USS" designation is for ships of the line. I guess the old Gen. was just used to ferry troops to Okinawa, and possibly back. We made the tour through Hawaii, dropping off some of the AF people.

Like Cpl Annin, I was fortunate to fly back to CONUS, going into Travis AFB, north of San Francisco, CA, in June 1957. Got shipped to Treasure Island, awaiting orders, then right back to MCRDep, SDiego, for another 2 years, as a SSgt E5 this time, assigned to HqBn.

Semper Fi,
James R. McMahon (MOS 0141/0121)
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Hendersonville, TN

First Ocean Voyage

I just read your latest newsletter and noticed a letter from Cpl. Annin who recalled some memories of going to Okinawa on the USS Breckenridge. I had the "pleasure" of a cruise on the same ship, but at a different time. I was part of a replacement draft headed for Japan in the mid 50's. We left San Diego and headed for Okinawa with all branches of the military and also some dependents. The seas were rougher than h-ll and a lot of the troops were on their first ocean voyage. I couldn't believe that, that many guys could be sick at the same time.

I selected a bottom bunk, but a seasoned guy told me to take the top rack as not to be barfed on. D-mn glad I took his advice. My top bunk, however, had a "squawk box" above it and I kept getting woke up with all that Navy jabber so I plugged it with a pair of my skivvies. The thing I remember most was this speaker spewing," Reveille, reveille, heave out and trice up". They should have said "Heave up" because that was what most of the guys were doing.

As soon as everyone had morning chow, we were shoved out on deck and the compartments were secured for cleaning. This would have been fine except for the fact it was cold, stormy and terribly windy. The ones of us that weren't sick were saddled with chest colds, and I was one of them. I had brought up a "lunger" and had to get rid of it, and I knew better than to spit on the deck so I wound up and released it over the railing. The d-mn thing shot out, caught the wind, took a 90 degree turn and hit a guy down near the fantail. AS was my luck, my "target" was a huge, mean looking Gunny who knew I was the culprit so I made myself as scarce as possible.

I knew I was a hunted man so I began looking for a place to spend time that was dry, warm, and not on deck. I stumbled upon the Boatswain's lounge in the fantail right over the screws. It was warm, clean, plenty of coffee, and I was welcomed as a fellow cribbage player. Another mistake, as these guys made up their own cribbage rules and I got cleaned out before I knew it.

Mistake #3 was the biggest of all. Our compartment's head was in the bow of the ship. The head did not have individual commodes, but instead had a long stainless trough with many seats over it and water, and everything else, running through it. Since most everyone was sick, the need for the head was really great. I had an extreme need so I ran into the head and found every seat taken, except for one. The vacant seat was at the very end closest to the bow. I'm sure that anyone with a good imagination can figure out what came next. Twenty or 30 guys sitting over the trough, water running through it, seas so rough that the screws spent a lot of time out of the water, and I'm sitting at the end where the trough ends. Let's just say that this "crap tsunami" shot up between my legs and nailed me.

We pulled into Okinawa, then headed for Formosa. As we were docking in Formosa a dependent fell down a ladder and seriously hurt her head. There were no facilities in Formosa to handle her injuries so we headed back to Okinawa. We finally pulled into Yokosuka, and I was then sent to Iwakuni. If any of your readers happened to be on that same trip, I'd love to hear from them.

Sid Gerling
Sgt 1406---

Sea Story

Shearer with sniper on hill 460 Bravo 1st Bn 4th Mar CH46 picking up casualties

Hello Sgt. Grit,

For you Old Corps Marines, you may remember, "The Marine Corps has two types of stories, one is a Fairy Tale, the other a Sea Story". The Fairy Tale starts out "Once upon a time" and ends "And they lived Happily ever after". The Sea Story starts out "You're not gonna believe this sh-t", and ends "I told you, you wouldn't believe this sh-t".

A month after I turned 17, I joined the Marine Corps October 4, 1959 at a Reserve unit in Amarillo Texas telling them I wanted to be a regular Marine not a reserve, so they marked through Reserve on the paperwork. I left for boot camp the next day with an hour stop-over in Las Vegas. While walking into the terminal I saw some slot machines which I never knew existed, and so I walked up to a dime machine, reached in my pocket, and took out the only dime I had... actually only money I had. I hit the jackpot and the tray was filled with dimes and about that time someone grabbed me by the neck asking how old I was. I told him 17 sir, he said come with me son, you're under arrest. Shaking in my shoes I pulled out my orders and handed them to the policeman, he looked at them, then me smiled and laughing said "You're going to Marine Boot Camp, h-ll I can't beat that. Now take all that money and give it to the driver in that taxi and he will show you around town." I pocketed a hand full of dimes and went on the tour. When I arrived at MCRD San Diego I was wishing he had put me in jail.

When receiving my uniform issue I got in the line for Regular Marines while the DI read off the Reserve names. When he called out my name I heard the DI yell out "Get over here Maggot! What's this Reserve @#$%&#? You been %$#@&*$ us all this time? I explained everything to him and he grabbed me by the neck and we marched over to Headquarters to call Hq. M.C. to clear it up. When I returned I was the most popular recruit in the Platoon in the eyes of the other recruits, but the DI's they hated me and messed with me until the end.

After 2nd. ITR at San Onofre, I made PFC and lucked out meeting a Marine Photographer in the mess hall. He told me the next day, the Gunny at the Photo Lab wanted to talk to me. When I met the Gunny he handed me a camera and told me to go to the beach area where there would be a practice landing and shoot some pictures. After returning, processing the film and printing a couple pictures with my Photo friends help, I impressed the Gunny enough to become an Official Marine Corps Photographer, and went on from there with my new career getting promoted to Lance Corporal.

After a 3-year tour at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, I was transferred to MCAS El Toro as a Corporal. I was sent to Motion Picture School and a couple months later I was selected for Embassy Duty. After graduating 5th in a class of over 100, I was assigned to the US Embassy at Asuncion, Paraguay for 2 years.

In 2007, as a SSgt. I went to Quantico, VA, to the East Coast Motion Picture Production Unit. Later in 2007, I was assigned to the Camera Repair School at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, and I never broke a camera in my life. LOL.

In February 1968, my orders to the 3rd. Marine Division came, and I was off to good old Vietnam arriving at the main Combat Photo section at Phu Bai. Lt. Heard assigned me to take over the Combat Photo Unit Fwd. at Dong Ha. I hitched a ride in a Green Beret Army CH-47 which became my introduction to combat after landing at a few outpost shooting our way in and out. I was really glad when we landed without shooting. The Spec Forces, all laughing, told me this is my new home and if I ever needed a ride again..., I informed them I would never set foot on one of their choppers again.

My first job was to assign Photographers to the units out to stop the insurgents during TET. I hopped a chopper and landed near DaiDoe joining the 1st. Bn, 9th Marines during their attack on the NVA held up there. This was one h-ll of a battle. The Company was pinned down in a graveyard burial mound, and casualties were adding up fast. Like a new guy, I asked what kind of bugs those were that were attacking me, they sounded like june bugs. Needless to say they got a laugh out of me, and that was the last time I heard a laugh from them. They lost over 50 percent of their unit. I found out they were called "The Walking Dead" and I swore not to join them again. I returned to Dong Ha, mailed my film to Phu Bai for processing and some arsh-le in the lab ruined the film, processing it as color negative and it was color slide. All I received from it was a contact sheet after risking my life to get the pictures. I processed my own after that.

A few weeks later, I heard that I lost a couple of my photographers at Khe Sanh when a C-130 was hit landing. I hitched a chopper, (USMC CH-46 this time) and spent a couple days there looking at the C-130 they died in, enjoyed some incoming compliments of the NVA and shot a few feet of the excitement and caught the first bird out to Dong Ha.

After loosing three more of my photographers, KIA, I and two of my remaining photographers joined B Co., 1-3, at Gio lin who were involved with a NVA Ranger unit. That was on flat ground, no mountains, and was Old Corps bunker to bunker fighting. Some of the pictures I took there earned me the Best Combat Photographer for 1968 and a lot of notoriety were Mutters Ridge, Fox Trot Ridge with I think 3rd Marines. They walked into a NVA Regiment ambush and Fox Co. was almost wiped out, B. Co., 1-4, was involved in a sweep south of Khe Sanh, and set up for the evening on top of a mountain, sent a platoon reinforced with a sniper team, 60 mm mortar team, and 2 photogs., (my friend I taught how to use the camera to take pictures of me) with them to hill 640, one click away. We set up a defensive position and the snipers went to work right away taking out a 4 man NVA patrol, and the Mortar team saw a patrol in a valley just below us and grabbed the tube and some rounds. They set up and using Kentucky windage, fired off a round and it hit right in the middle of the group. That night, just after 2400 I woke up to explosions and green tracers hitting the dirt berm I was using for a pillow and through my tent. I roll over and saw 4 NVA shooting at us. I grabbed my cartridge belt and shrapnel vest, crawled to the entrance of the bunker I was using for a bed while seeing tracers between me and the ground, dove in, put on my vest and belt, loaded my .45, 1911, getting my head and a-s wired together. About then a Platoon Sgt. ran by me like John Wayne with his M-16 blazing away and I jumped up to join him, stepping in a trench, knocking the breath out of me... it was dead silent. I heard the Sgt. moaning and found he was shot through the right chest. I helped the Corpsman take care of the wounded and KIA's, the rest was a nightmare until "Puff" came around and shot up the area around us.

Later we received more small arms incoming which stopped as quickly as it began, I saw that the dead NVA in front of my position had disappeared. That was when I got worried and took out a grenade with my left hand pealled the pin sticking that hand over the berm and the M-16 the dead Marine had in the same hole, and sat there until the sun peaked over the horizon. Later that day when I removed my vest. My friend pointed to a hole in my T-shirt where a bullet entered on my right chest and out through the sleeve.

I will have a full display of pictures of this and some of the other battles I covered at the display and I will set up at the gathering on 1 June 2013 at the Gritogether.

After that excitement, I thought everything else would be boring, NOT! I joined up with, I think 2-3 and we took off in a gaggle of CH-46's, (Well they fly like Geese. LOL) and headed for another mountain. Darn, I wish these guys would stay in the flat area, but no they like mountains. We landed in a place called "Helicopter Valley" after receiving lots of fire from the ground, a helicopter in front of us hit and broke apart, the starboard M-2 gunner gets hit in the chest plate and falls to the floor bleeding from his neck and the pucker factor went off the scale; as soon as our chopper landed, we ran off into a hail of incoming small arms fire. I stopped and looked up to the hills covered muzzle flashes, looked at my Brit. Correspondent with me yelling, "Limy, this looks just like ITR Training at Pendleton!" He yelled some obscenities at me, and I ran over jumping in the ditch with him. The trek up the mountain was really bad and when we finally made it to the top and secured the area it was a blessing.

In 1969, there were a few operations I do not remember. One because when I returned bragging to my troops about the award winning photos I just shot during processing the slides, I missed one of the fixer baths and hit the bleach which slowly reduced my fabulous pictures to clear film as I snuck a look at them. I just about destroyed the darkroom and caused my men to alert the security force thinking a sapper had infiltrated into the lab by the noise and yelling I was doing. I told them I wish one had, so I could take my anger for my screw up out on him.

Some of the more interesting assignments I had in Nam were with General Raymond G. Davis, the Commanding General of the 3rd. Mar. Div. He walked into my Photo Hooch one day and told me he wanted me for his personal Photographer. I told him I was his photographer as is all of my men. He said he wanted me, and to be ready at a moment's notice. A few days later his aide showed up at my door and said the General wants you in his chopper in 10 mikes with 2 cameras loaded. I arrived at the chopper that was running and hopped in, put on the headset and said good morning and asked what he wanted me to photograph. He told me I would know and just sit back and I will let you know when. We were flying about 20-30 feet off the deck, going north up a dirt road. When we crossed the river in the De-Mil Zone. I kind of cringed, then in my ear "start shooting". We arrived at large NVA build-up of tanks weapons and thousands of soldiers covering a few acres of ground. I started taking pictures using both cameras trying to ignore the pop, pop, pop, and seeing green tracers zipping by the chopper. I yelled out "I'm out of film Sir, let's go home!" We turned south and headed home along with a lot of green tracers.

Landing at the General's pad at Dong Ha the General walked up to me, reached out saying; "give me all the film you shot, SSgt. Shearer this didn't happen." My reply was, "Sir, what didn't happen?" This was the first of my assignments like this. I found out later that Congress didn't believe the NVA were massing up in the DMZ while the Peace Talks were going on and the General wanted to prove it, which we did. The year of 1969 was the same, a few Gen. Davis trips and one with Div. G-2 to prove again to Congress that the NVA are using Russian Helicopters. They wanted me to photograph them at night, well to make a long story short, the G-2 Colonel and I flew out to a post just south of the DMZ and waited until we saw and heard an aircraft coming from the north. All American aircraft had been grounded north of Dong Ha so it had to be from North Vietnam. I followed it to get a light pattern and it quickly turned toward us and did a low pass heading back north. It was a Russian Mig. Later a few helicopters headed our way and I took some nice pictures of them and then the G-2 called in our ride and we headed back to Dong Ha. This proved to the idiots in the Senate that they were wrong again.

The last battle I covered was Operation Dewey Canyon joining up with Guess who? Yes... good ole 1-9. I was real paranoid all the time I was there as I was due to go home in a couple weeks. One Nine known as the walking dead, had 93 percemt casualties in that operation. I left the field and caught a CH-46 back to Phu Bai, boarded a big silver plane heading east to the land of the Big PX and Round Eyed Girls. I never relaxed until I was standing on the good ole Tierra Firma of MCB Camp Pendleton. Viet Nam was rough on me, I had bad PTSD because of the hundreds of Marines I befriended, photographed and later saw them killed and having to identify half of my ten man unit KIA after I sent them into combat. Every man had a Purple Heart, some had two or three of them. I came home without a Purple Heart as I had no wound bad enough for one. Why, I don't know. It all has added up to a miserable experience and almost cost me my job and my life more times than I can remember.

In August, the Marine Corps sent me to the University of Southern California to get a degree in Motion Picture Production. In my Record book I was listed as a Stud. for student, and I tried to live up to that name, what a change from Viet Nam.

I was married in 1971 and transferred to Hawaii for 3 years. In 1975, we were notified that a H-53 Squadron, HMH-463 was assigned to go. I figured I had enough and said I would not make it, to make my new bride happy. The next day I went to the Photo Lab and the Captain told me to pack my gear as I am leaving tomorrow. I convinced my better half that it would not be a dangerous trip and left for Subic Bay, PI. I arrived as the Motion Picture and Still Documentation Team, with direct orders from the Commandant. Our first job was to fly into Phnom Penh, Cambodia, land in a soccer field and transport all Americans from the Embassy, Military Bases and any News Photographers that wanted to leave. About the time the choppers returned to pick up me and the security force which as my luck was, were B Co. 1st Bn. 9th Mar. The Communist Forces started hitting the far side of the field with mortars, which relaxed me a bit but scared the ground forces.

As the choppers landed in pairs the ground force ran aboard. Thirty-five on each bird and flew out to the ship. I was busy shooting film and taking pictures of the action all the time keeping an eye on the location of the mortar hits. This went on for a while, I was filming the front 53 as it lifted off then the other. I started to rewind my camera spring and noticed there were no more Marines in the field, I was alone and the last two choppers were quickly disappearing in the distance. I totally forgot about the mortars and everything else except how in the heck will I get out of this city of death. All I had was a .45 cal 1911 and a box of 50 rounds, it was 128 miles to the coast and who knows where the ship would be.

About the time pure panic was about to set in as I thought about the spy photographs of the mass killing of thousands of Cambodians, I noticed a small spot trailing exhaust heading my way. When the 53 landed I ran behind it and as soon as the ramp lowered enough I dove on it, the crew chief grabbed me pulling me on as the ramp began closing I grabbed him and kissed him on the cheek yelling, "Thank You!" I walked up to the pilot Captain Porter and told him if he had shaved today I would kiss him, he just said that's all right, we need you for the Saigon operation.

I found out later that a Navy Photographer on the Carrier we were using took a picture of me filming and he told the Crew Chief I was still in the LZ. I broke one of the rules and almost paid dearly for it. A couple months later we flew into Saigon to do the same job, but it was a lot more stressing. After a couple weeks with little sleep we headed in while the NVA were shelling the city and shooting missiles at our choppers with no hits.

When I retired in 1980, Col. Gill, the head of the Marine Corps Photo Section at the Pentagon told me I was the best Photographer in the Marine Corps and best Marine Combat Photographer in the Viet Nam War, winning many awards. Combat Photographer of the year 1968, the Military News Film Photographer of the Year 1975. While at USC I was a photographer for the Campus Newspaper called the "Daily Trojan". No... it's not about birth control, USC was the Trojans Football Team. I won the California Intercollegiate Press Association's "Gold Press Card Award" for 1970, the first time USC ever received the award.

I retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant after making Master Sergeant June 1980. I could not stay in the Corps any longer, my PTSD was going to ruin my career as the Marines knew nothing about PTSD back then. December 1980, I was hired at the Seal Beach Ordnance Depot to test Weapons and Munitions for the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy at Marine Corps Weapons Depot Fallbrook, CA, until 1985 when I transferred to Naval Weapons Station Point Mugu in Ventura, California, where I worked until 2001 testing Ships Missiles, bombs and CIWS mini guns.

Well I told you, you wouldn't believe this sh-t". LOL!

Donnie Shearer, GySgt USMC Retired
Combat Photographer Vietnam 1968-69 & '75

Hatch Man

In The last issue Jeff Hiers wrote about the fastest and best athlete in the Platoon being designated as the HATCH BODY. When I came thru PI in the spring of 1961 the term used was Hatch Man. In the case of Plt 119, our Hatch Man was Private Willie Cobble and he was probably the best athlete in our platoon and also had a voice that could drown out the other Hatch Men in the series. Although Willie and I lived in the same general area, I never saw him again and didn't know what happened to him. That is until I saw his Obit last year. He had spent his civilian time as a Fireman in Nashville, TN, and retired as a Captain. The message here is to look up your old compadres while they are still kicking.

A few issues back there were several articles with respect to a recruit being known as Pvt Alphabet. I am sure most platoons had one but I will put 119's Pvt Alphabet up against anyone. The last name was Zwolfnkiewicz. I don't think the DI"s ever attempted to call him anything other than Pvt Alphabet. The only reason I can spell his name after all this time is that I still have my Platoon book.

I would also like to suggest that one of our Jr DIs, SSgt (E5) H. E. Umstead could call the best cadence. The other two DIs were good but Sgt Umstead had a voice that made you just dig your heals a little harder into the asphalt and strut.

Semper Fi
John Vaughn (1942842)
1961 to 1965


Sgt. Grit,

So many Marines have overlooked the First Main Battle in the Pacific during World War II. The Battle for Guadalcanal. I have to tell again about how the 1st Marine Division fought with what they had, ate Japanese food and used Japanese machinery. But, the worst was yet to come, Malaria became so bad that in Mid November the 1st Marine Division was "No longer capable of Offensive Operations"! They still fought as long as they could hold their rifle and fire.

Malaria had done what the Japanese couldn't do, in October and November the Malaria cases had come to 3,213. During the time of Fighting at Mantanikau, the 5th Marines loses from Malaria were so great, that in order to maintain Combat efficiency it was necessary to give each Marine twenty grains of Quinine Daily.

The 2nd Marine Division Regiments came to help and relieve the 1st Marine Division, as did some Army Regiments. Command went from General Vandergrift to Army Major General Patch on 9 December 1942. When the 1st Marine Division were embarked, many of them were too weak to climb the Cargo net and had to be helped by the sailors on the ships. Even General Marshal, Army Chief of Staff (no lover of Marines) stated, "The resolute defense of those Marines, and the desperate gallantry of our Naval Forces marked the turning point in the Pacific!"

There were larger battles, some more vicious and brutal, but the Guadalcanal 1st Marine Division was made up of mostly recruits, with Marines who had fought in World War I and in the Banana Wars, leading the young Marines. When the 1st Marine Division left Guadalcanal, some visited the cemetery, (here I quote from the Monograph "THE OLD BREED") "The graves still crudely marked, most of them with a cross on the dead Marines mess gear and his dog tag, the Man's name and inscription written on the mess gear top."

Our Flag has never flown higher, nor was it battered or holed with the Marines under the Flag given as much honor as those that had gone before. But, the war had just started for the "Old Breed".

It still is a signal honor to serve with the 1st Marine Division. Years ago, when I had battalion duty, I would show Marine battle films in one of the barracks with all the young Marines sitting quietly watching their Fathers, Brothers or just friends of friends, fighting the battles of the Pacific, and maybe Iwo Jima was the most watched because it was truly a Marines Film. No other Marine battle film shows as much Glory, Heroism, and Marines as they are in battle.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
USMC Retired

Flight To Remember

Col Justice Chambers

Dear Sgt. Grit,

In early November of 1976, I was on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, by way of Rio on my way to countries farther to the North in Africa. It was supposed to have been a 747, but the passengers found themselves shoe-horned into a 707. At Rio, many of our passengers deplaned, so instead of every seat being filled, more than 1/3rd were empty. We took off on the long flight across the South Atlantic.

I was on the aisle seat... a gentleman in his late 60s had the window seat. I suddenly realized that he was looking at me... more to the point, at the small Eagle, Globe, and anchor pin on the collar of my suit jacket. I was going to say something when I noticed his lapel pin. It was small, round, and had tiny white stars on a field of sky blue. I blurted out, "Excuse me sir, but is your lapel pin for the Medal of Honor?"

He grinned and extended his hand. "Justice Chambers..."

I replied, "Not 'Jumpin' Joe Chambers?" I had read my first history of the Marine Corps when I was nine... and never stopped. He was pleased that this "youngster" (I was 27, but looked 18) would know who he was. Colonel Justice M. Chambers (known to his men in WWII as "Jumpin' Joe") had served with the 1st Raider Battalion on Guadalcanal where he earned both a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Other combat awards awaited him on Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian... and especially Iwo Jima.

Commanding a battalion at Iwo on D-Day, his unit was at the hottest point and took very heavy casualties. His leadership (where leading by example was at a premium) and courage became a legend. His war ended when he was nearly cut in half by a Japanese machine gun. His wounds were so severe that he was retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of full colonel.

At first, awarded a Navy Cross, it was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor. It was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in 1950. Years after I met him, Colonel Chambers actions were the subject of a prize winning essay in a Naval professional journal: "One Battalion At Iwo..."

Colonel Chambers never stopped working... he was appointed by President Kennedy to a special advisory board... and now? He told me that he was on his way to Lesotho (a tiny country surrounded by South Africa). He was the American head of the Lesotho Sugar Board and was returning to break in his replacement... he was at last going to fully retire.

I was introduced to Colonel Chambers' wife... somewhat younger... a lady of intelligence and grace. She had three seats to herself behind us and was working on a project. Except for a brief nap, I spent the very long (and all too short) flight listening to Colonel Chambers talk of his experiences in WWII. He was afraid that he might be boring me... far from it.

When he talked about Iwo, he was especially impressed with the actions of the XO who served under him. Deaf in one ear from an earlier battle he should not have even been in combat... yet there he was, walking along the top of the beach slope in full view of his men (and the enemy...) Nearly suicidal, but necessary to keep the men from being pinned down. Somehow he survived. Colonel Chambers never spoke of his own heroism.

Before we landed I asked the Colonel if he would do me the honor of giving me his autograph. As was only fitting, he placed it on the back of my Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps. (Image attached shows his photo, below his autograph...).

It was definitely a flight to remember.

James F. Owings
0311 1968-70

Lil Rayray

Lil Rayray

This is Lil Rayray. I'm a Marine Vet and I love the Marine Corps Attire you guys have.

Raymond LOPEZ

We Are In Limbo

Another great newsletter with some boot camp stories. Got me to thinking about my Plt in boot. Our start date was in Feb 1970. I remember a few of the names of the recruits, but not many, and it is getting less every year. Getting old and don't remember them so much. I do remember private Wheeler who feel asleep in formation and when we moved out he just fell forward busting his chin open requiring a few stitches. One thing for sure we were a strong Plt. Our Senior D.I. was Gunny Rudoy (don't know the spelling) but anyway, he put us in the pit in 3rd phase. After we did, who knows how many push-ups, bend and mothers, and jumping jacks, he has us stop the PT and he states, "I can keep you out here all day and it won't bother you. This herd has spent so much time in the pit you could do PT from now to forever without breaking a sweat." Gunny was later in base housing at MCAS Yuma, AZ, two doors down from me. This was after my tour overseas and shipping over for 6. Any way, if any of ya'll are from Plt 2033 let's hear from you.

Another question if all you Marines would put your 2-cents worth in on. When we went overseas the biggest part of Marines arriving on the rock stayed there and a few went on to Nam. The ones on the rock did deployments as reinforced Btl Landing Teams off the coast of Nam. For the most part we never stepped in the Nam, but we were there if needed. We were all given the Vietnam Service Ribbon with one bronze cluster. I know we are not combat because we did not go in land. I know we are Nam era Marines because we served during the years of the Nam war to be p.c. the Nam police action. However the question is, are we Nam Veterans? I feel like we are in limbo between being and not being Nam Veterans, and this has kind of bugged me for a lot of years. So I present the question to my fellow Marines. Many of you, whom may have had the same experience and been in limbo as well and would like to know where you fit. It is a little thing, but as like any Marine it is the little things that bug the heck out of you.

Sgt. Grit, thanks for the newsletter and store. I have purchased many items from your store and have been very happy with each and every item. This newsletter is of the upmost importance to the Marines because it's a line to other Marines just like each other. It gives all a place to say hey and what the heck is going on, or tell stories from our time in the crotch. Six years, 10 months, and 22 days then showed the door due to physical injury on duty in service. I really like the stories about boot camp. I loved being on the field. No matter MCRDSD or MCRDPI they did the same thing, turned young mostly stupid men into strong united sharp United States Marines. Keep up the good work Sgt. Grit, it is an important job for all of us.

Semper Fi
SSGT Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-1970 / 12-1976

Let the sun set upon a happy thought always no matter where you be and let the sun raise upon a joyous Marine standing ready to do his duty.

Lighter From 1969

Zippo Art

I got this lighter with 3/9 in 1969.


From My Backyard

I read Sergeant Jacokes' history of the Edson Range Facility at Camp Pendleton in this last issue and enjoyed it a great deal. I entered MCRDSD on 7 July 1964, as a member of Platoon 361. We marched along the beach for our hike to the range (previous platoons apparently hiked to the old Camp Matthews) and I was the fourth recruit to march through the entry to the brand new range facility at Stuart Mesa. The new barracks buildings and messhall were a far cry from the Quonset huts at MCRD. When the wind is blowing in the right direction I can still hear the recruits firing on the range from my backyard.

Michael Hackett
Back Gate Area
Oceanside, California


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #4, #9 (SEPT., 2014)

I don't want to confuse anybody here, but I know that it says September 2014 in the upper right hand corner, but it's actually Veterans Day, 11-11-2011. That's right yesterday was the 236th birthday of the United States MARINE CORPS.

That being the case, I wanted to take a few minutes and reflect some of my feelings and thoughts concerning my service years and about my life after my tour of duty. First I want to reflect on yesterday.

I received an E-mail from a Veteran MARINE and a salesmen at the local FORD dealership here in the town of Casa Grande, in Arizona. That E-mail invited me, as a Veteran MARINE to attend a Cake Cutting Ceremony at the dealership, and that there would also be other MARINES there. Well, I arrived and was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were more Veteran MARINES than I expected. I was also pleased to see that quite a few of them were employees of the dealership. The Veteran MARINE that was the driving force behind this gathering was a young man that is obviously very proud of what he did in the Corps, and I believe he misses that companionship (as we all do) and wants to ensure that the tradition of cutting the cake is carried on, no matter where it's held. Surprisingly, I was the oldest MARINE in the gathering, and was awarded the honor of slicing the first piece of the cake and then presenting that piece to the youngest Veteran MARINE. I have to tell you that I had been witness to many MARINE CORPS cake cutting ceremonies, but I never thought that I would ever be singled out as the oldest. I thought, what an Honor. They trusted me with a knife! After the informal cake cutting we all stood around for a short time and exchanged birthday salutations, and then we all went our merry ways. But, what I wanted to say here is that I'm sure that in many corners of the world, MARINES and Veteran MARINES gathered to celebrate our great heritage and brotherhood. I have never ever heard of another branch of Service doing this. We are indeed the Few and the Proud, and we can prove it. It's an absolute honor to say that I served in the United States Marine Corps.

Today is Veterans Day, Nov. 11th, 2011, and I don't want to go any further with out acknowledging all who have served this great Country. I and our Country wants to "THANK THEM" for their individual and collective sacrifices. I just find that it's unusual that you don't see other act's of patriotism displayed like you do by Veteran MARINES. And, we're the smallest service. In fact, we are the only service that is Manpower limited. And we meet or exceed our recruiting goals every month. The other four branches can have as many troops as they desire. That tells me that we are in fact, an elite unit. With a total of approx. 200,000 and only about 44, 000 Aviation oriented MOSs.

Never Said A Word

Sgt Grit,

Sixty-two years ago [4-20-51], I entered Parris Island... [plt 251, 1st RCT Bn]. I was in the WVNG for three years before entering the Marines and I thought that I would do OK at Parris Island... [Boy did I have an education coming...] After two weeks, the DI told us that when we learned our General Orders the smoking light would be lit... well I thought that I knew my general orders from the WVNG. One Sunday afternoon, I went to the DI's office to recite my general orders... After pounding on the door for about 10 minutes [He couldn't HEAR me], he told me to enter... The DI was writing a letter and he told me to begin... I got those d-mm orders so mixed up that the DI held up his hand for me to stop... I had to stand there at attention for about a half hour while he finished writing... He never said a word... He just got up, opened the door, grab me by my collar & belt, threw me through the door and up against the hallway wall and told me not to come back... [He did me a big favor... I haven't smoked since... The only kind word that he ever said was that he was sorry that my Brother was KIA on Saipan, Island {June 1944, 2nd Marines}]...

Thanks for the memories
Cpl Roy Lively # 1194---

Finished Him Off

Sometime around 1952, General Puller returned from Korea and was given orders to form the Third Regimental Combat Team housed at Tent Camp 3.5 at the very north end of Camp Pendleton.

While I was in and out of Motor Transport, I was able to talk to the General himself quite often. I found out three things about him, number 1... was that he enjoyed a good poker game, number 2... he loved a bottle of Scotch, number 3... he was already to engage in a hot fire fight. I remember one time he told me, "Corporal, if it moves, kill it."

Congress found some more money and the Third Regimental Combat Team became the nuclei for the new Third Marine Division.

Chesty didn't have enough stars on his shoulders, so he eventually lost command of the Division and he was sent off to San Diego where he made the statement about whiskey and women, and that pretty well finished him off.

I don't remember if he was still in command when some of us were sent to Frenchman's Flat to watch an explosion of an Atomic Bomb which was sometime around 1952. This was something new, having troops at the distance of three miles from ground zero.

The government said that we did not go to ground zero after the blast, but we certainly did. I very vividly remember seeing the Sherman tank left at the center of the explosion. It was moved straight back 105 feet and it looked like it would start up and drive off. The thing that I remember most was the skid tracks that it left backwards, they were like they had been dug out with a shovel. There was a 200 foot steel tower and it was gone completely. There were several aircraft parked several miles away and several of them caught on fire. The Division went over to Hawaii sometime in 1953 then after a short stay on to Japan. While in Japan, I contracted a case of Scarlet Fever and was sent back to the states as my time was up in February 1954.

I still consider myself a Marine on inactive duty and if needed I would report for duty in a heartbeat. I didn't know exactly what to say when a much younger Marine referred me as from the "Old Corps". I feel as though I could hold my own in a fire fight. The Marine on my left and the right wouldn't have a thing to worry about.

Frank Howerton

Laughed And Shrieked

My wife asked me to give her a hand changing the sheets on our bed one day... Stripped everything off the bed, and was looking at a bare mattress... I asked her, "Where's the fart sack?" She looked down, sideways, around, then at me and said "What?" I said you gotta have a fart sack... "Out," she said. "I can do this alone." Later on I said we should go buy a Fart Sack... Now, she coughs, spits and turns red whenever I say that.

Walking through a department store and checking mattresses, I said to a clerk, "How come you don't have Fart Sacks on the mattresses?" He did a little pirouette and stumbled off... My wife looked at me, very serious look... Then laughed and shrieked and said she loved it! Now she always says it and starts to laugh! God, I miss the Marine Corps!

I live in Thailand and whenever I see Marines who just finished exercises and given a little R & R in our town, and wait in line at a local Carl's Jr, or other eating hole, I talk to them a little and then treat them to lunch... Great guys who are very very respectful!

Semper Fi,
Gary Steuer, former Sgt E-5 1963 - 1967
2/4, 1/9, DaNang, and all parts North!

Made VERY Clear

Sgt Grit:

I read with interest J. Kanavy's story about attending DLI language school and learning Vietnamese. My story is a bit different. I was stationed at Camp Smith in Hawaii in '68 (and before some of your readers start to think that this was great duty, try and imagine how far a Lance Corporal's paycheck went in Hawaii in '68... not far) when I saw a notice indicating the Marine Corps was looking for volunteers to attend language school. Being the fired-up Marine that I was, I assumed my beloved Corps was looking for people to learn Vietnamese. I mean, what other languages would the Marine Corps be interested in teaching Marines in '68. You'd be surprised.

I envisioned myself learning Vietnamese and going to Viet Nam where most of my boot camp platoon either was already there or on their way. After all, wasn't that why I had enlisted? I filled out the paperwork and waited. Two weeks later I was called into the First Sergeant's office and was told to pack my trash. I was going to Monterey, CA to attend language school to learn... Albanian. "Are you sh-ttin' me?", I thought. This has got to be some sort of joke. It wasn't. There was nothing I could do to change the orders to another language. That was made VERY clear to me by the First Sergeant.

I spent a year in Monterey and graduated with one year left on my four-year enlistment (somebody messed up). Before I left I was asked to ship over. I politely declined. I ended up at Camp Geiger, 2nd Radio Bn, teaching essential subjects lectures until I EAS'd.

Like Kanavy, however, I did benefit by receiving college credit. It shaved a year off my bachelor's degree program. Over 40 years later and I never spoke a word of Albanian to anyone. My wife tells me I'm lucky I didn't end up in Viet Nam. I'm not so sure...

Semper Fi!

Cpl. Tom Mahoney

Just Another Day In Marine Aviation

For Chuck Weemes... who wasn't sure that the planes at Kadena for the 1959 'flap' were Flying Boxcars, or 'C-119's, and thought maybe they were C-141's... the C-141 didn't go into service until 1965. (this string goes back to the tale about the cr-pper barrels and the Ninth Marines... newsletter from two weeks ago). I can most definitely assure one and all that they were Marine Corps 'Flying Boxcars" (have pictures in my 2/1 cruise book of the event... can't quite make out the tail number, looks like it begins with a 'Y' and ends in '6'... above that, much larger are the letters "OO", or possibly "QO"... hope we can find a wing-wiper to help out here. My guess is that they had come down from Iwakuni... don't think we had any fixed wing at Futenma then, except for part of the VMO with their birddogs)... Anyway, to dispel the boredom, it was decreed that we would take turns, a plane-load or two at a time, at a familiarization 'hop'. The C-119 is a wing-over fuselage airplane, which means it tends to come apart when crash-landed, and as such, the preferred method for getting out of Dodge (or Fairchild, in this case) is to parachute... so each of us was given a chute, shown how to strap it on, etc. I think, some 54 years later, that these were seat-pack chutes, and we sat on them... could be wrong, and if so, ten thousand gomenasai.

These things had radial prop engines... which, at start-up sound something like a clothes dryer full of anvils... or the engine in a M51 tank retriever... "Whonka, a blonkata, bloopied, whonka POP!"... and make smoke... just not real confidence-inspiring, if you get the idea. However, we made it off the ground, and since it was a warm day, the crew had left the two doors on either side of the tail open, and we could see out... couldn't hear much, but could tell from that height that Okinawa really isn't all that wide in the middle... we could see both coasts at once. After about twenty minutes of that precision drill known as "making holes in the sky", we seemed to be lining up for one of the Kadena runways, and descending. And then... as the nose came up again, and the engines got louder, the crew chief came boiling down from the front green house, ran back to the starboard sponson area, grabbed a bar of some kind, then went to the front bulkhead, undid a bunch of Dzus fasteners, and half-disappeared into the hole he uncovered. All we could see was asz and elbows, and he was obviously beating on something... the word, mouth to ear, went to the front "what's going on?"... and the word came back: "They can't get the landing gear down... we may have to jump" We didn't... and to the crew, it was probably just another day in Marine Aviation, but dear hearts, that is the closest I ever got to being a Parapooper. And that was close enough...

Re the C-141 (AF... the Corps stayed with the C-130 for cargo purposes)... at the time of my retirement in 1981, I think Detachment, MABS-11 at the EAF at 29 Palms had counted over eleven thousand C-141 operations on the expeditionary field. They gave me a 12" piece of the aluminum plank runway as a memento ("MABS" = Marine Air Base Squadron).

Forgot... Marine/Navy designation for the Fairchild C-119 was "R4Q" (no kidding)... used to hear "Well... R4Q you, too..."


Short Rounds

The command at the end of the Newsletter brought to mind an announcement on the bulletin board - I think at Quantico: "If you have one, draw one. If you have two, turn one in." I never figured out what "one" was.

Ed Tate GySgt Ret'd

To J. F. Owings, from the sounds of your letter, you must be a "Hollywood Marine" and I couldn't of said it any better. But what is this liberty stuff? I came in a few years after, 1977, Plt. 2039 and the only time we saw liberty was after we graduated boot camp. I did attend NCO school in PI and it is an awesome view from the top of that water tower, but that is another story!

Sgt O

In boot camp, I am sitting in a classroom, in the last row. Class is almost over, I try to whisper something to the guy next to me, unknown to me a D.I. Sgt is right behind me. He applies the often used D.I. choke hold and yanks me right off the bench. Forward 3 yrs., standing under a tent structure awaiting flight out of 'Nam, I see this guy and he is now an E-3, and I am a Sgt. E-5. I tell my buddy about this guy, and he goes up to the choker and tells him what I said. The choker now denies any abuse while a D.I. I figure let it slide, he has already been punished, an E-3 with 16 yrs. in the Corps.


To Cpl. Bartrow,

Your letter about the Marine in the wheel chair caused me to tear-up, and I am NOT a girly Marine! Purple Heart from the Tet Offensive - Circa 1968!

SEMPER FI my Brother!
Cpl. Chip Morgan
4th Marines, 3rd Mar.Div.
Northern I Corps, RVN


This week we lost a Marine of WWII. His name was Jonathan Winters. We have all enjoyed his comedy and now should say a final Semper Fi to a good and anguished soul. May he join that elite battalion that protects our gates.



Platoon 3052 (Graduated July 28, 1983) will be having a 30th Reunion on Wednesday, July 3rd, beginning with a visit to Parris Island to watch the graduation of 2013's Platoon 3052. If anyone is interested, or knows the whereabouts of any recruits from Plt. 3052 (other platoons in the Series welcome also), or knows how to contact SDI SSgt. Gearhart, DI Sgt. McKnight, or DI Sgt Paine, please contact for further information:

John Couturier (jcfeltrider[at]
Jim Crotty (jim[at]

Semper Fi Marines,
John Couturier, Sgt., USMC (1983-1990)

Marine Air Groups Reunion 2013

The Marines in this organization served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and the current Afghanistan conflict.

Marine Air Groups Reunion
WWII to Present
Branson Missouri
October 2-5, 2013
James Jordan, james.m.Jordan[at], 417-535-4945
Bob Miller, mbobsue13[at], 636-327-5854

Greetings... I would like to announce the 59th Annual Reunion for the Third Marine Division to be held in Washington, D.C., from August 13 -18 of 2013. Please contact Ray Kelley at (508) 340-0994 or by email at mgkm60[at] Hope to see you there...


"Why is it that the efficient, the knowledgeable, the determined, and the competent have such good luck?"
--Gene Duncan

"Our own Country's Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions - The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."
--George Washington, General Orders, 1776

"You people are lower than whale sh-t... and that's at the bottom of the ocean!"

"Rise and shine, another day to serve the Corps!"

"You people are too slow, it you were in combat you'd be dead!"

"You people aren't even a mob, a mob has leader. You clowns are a heard. I'm going to get me a sheep dog."

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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