Sgt Grit Newsletter - 25 APR 2013

In this issue:
• Tip O' The Cover
• Rocking and Rolling
• Our Navy Brothers

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Sgt. Grit,

Here is a 1959 Zippo with the VMF-451 logo. The C-119 (Air Force designation) flying box car's proper nomenclature in the Marine Corps was R4Q when we used them in Korea, and later hauling supplies to Taiwan when we were stationed there. They were powered by those huge four row P&W 4360 engines.

Semper Fi!
W F Mitchell

Zippo 1959

Expeditionary Forces, 1958

I've read of all the middle eastern deployments, all the Korea stories, WWII, etc. etc., but I've never seen anything mentioned in anyone's writings about the Expeditionary Force deployed to Lebanon in 1958.

The 6th Marines from Camp Lejeune, were just beginning a routine Med cruise when, after resupplying in Gibraltar, orders were sent by Pres. Eisenhower to go to Lebanon in support of the current government there. What I recall was that their neighbor, Syria, was attempting to overthrow the Lebanese government.

There was a good old fashioned amphibious landing of the entire force. Because no one knew what to expect, we were all issued full supply of ammunition, grenades etc. Lots of grunts suddenly got religion also. We spent three months in Lebanon, before the Army finally arrived to maintain the peace that the Marines had insured by their landing.

Anyone else remember that operation?

Joel McHoul

Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Utility Shorts Special

Cool Tank Image

Cool Tank

Keyboard character tank image.

John Wear, Sgt, Vietnam Tanker

Tip O' The Cover

Note to SSgt. Hunts: nice note to the 3-13 Sgt. Grit newsletter, re: "Hippity, hop, Mob stop!" I'd bet my life that every platoon's D.I.s had a "tell" of some sort, vocal, facial, or body language, with which we Little Green Pukes knew that extra P.T. was a mere expletive away!

Tip o' the Cover to my Senior Drill/Platoon Commander, SSgt. Jones: He must have been truly excellent at his craft. While stationed in the barracks on the west end of MCRD for electronics/repair school, I was drawn one day to the inspiring cadence calls of a group which was approaching our area. Voice / melody / "song" was familiar. So, I quickly stepped out to catch a glimpse. To my surprise and delight it was SSgt. Jones leading a group of Drill Instructor trainees on a training run!

Doug Helmers

Islands Of The D-mned

Sgt. Grit,

My thanks to John Burkett for his letter honoring the heroes of Iwo Jima (April 18). However, I would, for the record, like to correct one inaccuracy contained in Mr. Burkett's letter.

During World War II, Marine legend Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller served with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, at Cape Gloucester on New Britain, and on the h-llish island known as Peleliu. He did not, however, serve on Iwo Jima.

While I have referred to Peleliu, above, as a "h-llish" island, I would note that each of the island campaigns fought by Marines in the Pacific during World War II could be so described. We know their names so well: Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa. They have also been called "Islands of the D-mned," by R.V. Burgin in his memoir of the same name. I would also recommend for further reading, "With the Old Breed", by Eugene Sledge, and "Helmet For My Pillow", by Robert Leckie.

Leckie's book also contains one of the outstanding examples of war poetry, "The Battle of the Tenaru."

Semper Fi,
Robert Shirley
USMC, 1973-1979

Rocking and Rolling

In the summer of 1961, I was one of about 600 Marines on the APA USS George Clymer sailing from San Diego to points West. My group was being dropped off in Hawaii after 9 days and the rest (poor suckers) were destined to be on the ship for many more days on the way to Okinawa.

About day number three out of Daygo we hit some rough weather. Most of the Marines got seasick, especially the guys who grew up where there weren't any oceans, like Iowa. I was fortunate to have grown up in New Jersey where they have an ocean and we become immune to rocking and rolling. It also is why we are good dancers. Anyway, on this particular day somewhere between Hawaii and the land of the big PX, we were rocking and rolling, and the troops were puking over the side when they could make it. When they couldn't get to the railing, they just "let'er rip", and it wasn't long before the deck became slick with the morning's breakfast.

I was standing near one of the hatches when it opened and out stepped the Chief Cook with a Messman in tow. He took a look around at all the sick Marines and then said in a commanding voice to the Messman, while pointing at the deck, "All right kid, start picking up the big pieces for dinner tonight." That is when I went to the railing and lost my breakfast along with my seasick immunity. I can still dance though.

Norm Spilleth
Cpl. '60 - '64

Let's Go Home

In response to Jeff Heir, newsletter 4/18. I too can relate my first experience to visit the "Wall".

In the distance, the sun shined brightly on the granite. It was early morning and no one was in sight. As I approached the Wall a park Ranger was nearby. He must have sensed my anxiety and directed me to follow him. He opened a directory which had a listing of all the names and panels in order of dates. I gave him March 30, 1967. I slowly read from my list, 10 names I said. He found them easily as I fought back the tears. "17E", he said, "all 10."

I turned and faced the Wall, took a deep breath as I scanned the names. So many I said. I stopped in front of Panel 17E and ran my finger down the names beginning nearing the top which were out of my reach. There I said. I read the names as my finger touched the letters and the memories returned, the sight and the sounds, the faces. The cry of "Corpsman Up" I see myself running and running, and there they were suddenly. We were just going on a routine patrol that bright and sunny morning to guard the villagers while they harvested their rice crop.

"Honey?" I heard a voice from behind me. Startled, I turned and looked in the face of a blue eyed girl. The tears then flowed uncontrollably and my body slumped in her arms. "Let's go home", she said. I turned and looked back gave a quick salute.

I will never forget the faces, names and the place of those young men nor the others that followed. I honor all the "Heroes". Those who survived and those who did not. I make a point of visiting the Wall in DC and the Moving Wall when in town. And yes, I cry tears.

I have contributed my story along with (pictures) Faces on The Wall to be Honored and Remembered for future Generations to be placed in the New Vietnam Wall Education Center in DC.

Semper Fidelis to my brothers. We shall never forget.

Frank "Doc" Morelli

His Face Lit Up

After my son returned from Afghanistan, he and his fiance decided to go ahead and get married. Of course, there was a strong Marine Corps atmosphere. Being the Mother of the Groom, I was in charge of the rehearsal dinner. I didn't want to have a traditional cake with the Eagle, Globe & Anchor on it, since that was going to be the groom's cake. I purchased ONE Marine Corps Emblem Candy Mold from Sgt. Grit.

Over the course of quite a few days, I made over 200 candies - six at a time! My son saw the chocolates, and his face lit up. He told me he had to function test them, and gave his approval for them to be served at the rehearsal dinner. Quite a few people made comments on the "Marine Corps chocolates" and asked where I got them. Needless to say, they were quite surprised to discover I made them. Thank you for making my son's wedding a little extra special!

Margaret LeClair
VPMM LCpl Jackson

Our Navy Brothers

Sgt. Grit,

When I told the story of the Marines on Guadalcanal, I was remiss in not mentioning the Naval Battle in the waters off Guadalcanal. This battle was being fought by Naval Recruits led by Veteran Sailors of all Ranks, some on new ships but most on old naval ships. One New ship was the Light Cruiser "Juneau" which had a crew of nearly a thousand men.

On it were the five Sullivan Brothers that enlisted in the Navy and asked to be stationed together. There was also the Rogers Brothers, four who asked to serve together but before the battle they asked that two of them be transferred to other ships. The Juneau was sunk and only 10 Men survived, the Sullivan brothers were lost as were the two Rogers brothers.

In this battle we sank 14 Japanese ships, 2 Battleships, 1 Cruiser, 3 Destroyers, and four Transports. The Japanese sank 31 American and Allied ships, 6 Cruisers, 13 Destroyers, 6 Transports and 6 PT Boats.

Where that Battle happened is now called "Iron Bottom" Sound, and is a sacred area for the Navy of which the Navy sends a ship there annually on the Anniversary of the Battle to leave Wreaths. When American ships enter that area strict silence is to commemorate the loss of so many lives.

The Battle of Savo Island lasted from 9 August 1942 to 30 November 1942.

By not telling about those that fought alongside of us and protected our flank at sea, was not remembering there were others that fought at Guadalcanal with bravery and some terrible consequences... a loss of at least 31 ships and more than a thousand lives.

Our Navy Brothers deserve much more credit than we give them.

GySgt. F.L. Rousseau USMC Retired

Mr. Sikrosky

This is in response to last week's email titled Flight Line. While attending The Logistic Executive Development Course at Ft. Lee, VA, in the fall of 1985, one of the guest speakers was Sergei Sikorsky, one of Igor Sikorsky's sons. Igor was the inventor of the helicopter as we know it today and his company manufactured the first production helicopter in 1942 and later the CH-53.

The class members got to put their names in the hat to have dinner with Mr. Sikrosky, an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. The class totaled about 80 students divided approximately as 47 US Army officers, 10 DoD civilians, 20 foreign military officers, and 3 Marines... all three of us were Captains. When two of us had our names pulled for ten slots we felt we had beaten the odds. At dinner that night, I parked myself next to Mr. Sikorsky as I wanted to ask "The Question", and get the answer from as close to the horse's mouth as possible. Why does the pilot of a helicopter sit on the right?

During the course of the evening I got to ask that question and the answer was, "When my father learned to fly they made him sit in the right seat as the pilot sat on the left. He always sat there as that was where he learned to fly so when he invented the helicopter it was his choice to put the pilot on the right. I don't know if he was pulling my leg, but that was the answer that I got. We discussed several other things like the Marine pilot that first looped a CH-53, the difference in flying a tail rotor (CH-53) versus two large blades (CH-46)... so I have no reason to doubt the answer. He was a very interesting and charming dinner companion.

Dale Williams
Pvt-Maj '68-'95

Suribachi Gave Me Goose Bumps

Served on several ships. I saw a post from Chris Manos on the ships he served on in the early 60's. I served on both the USS Monrovia APA31 (Med Cruise '65-'66) and the USS Lorain County (LST 1177, Caribbean Cruise '65). Also, I went to Vietnam with 1/26 onboard the USS Iwo Jima LPH-2 in July, 1966. I still remember being off the coast of the island of Iwo Jima on the way over to Nam. Seeing Suribachi gave me goose bumps and the memory still does today.

Joe Brown

Let's Hear Them All

Dear Sgt Grit:

When I got out in August 1967, it was a hectic separation for me. I was at HDQRS MC in Washington, D.C., and was accepted at Western Electric for a job, but went back to New York City at the last minute. I lost touch with Marines who I served with over 4 years, probably my own fault?

One day after I married and raised a family - maybe about 20 years later - I was in the shower, and my daughter knocks on the door and says I have a phone call? I ask her to take a message and I returned the call. A Marine who was stationed with me at two duty stations tracked me down after 20 years! I was thrilled, and we spoke and e-mailed back and forth and went to Atlantic City to meet. It was great and for many years I have e-mailed him. He was also in contact with our old Gunny from Cherry Point, and I have e-mailed the Gunny for many years and kept in touch.

The part I am getting at is... I got active in the "Knights of Pythias", (a fraternal order which helps less fortunate people through charitable work) - and is also a place to meet a group of good dedicated people. One Brother was in the Marines during WWII and wanted me to join the Marine Corps League. Finally, I joined and eventually found Sgt Grit's, where I purchased t-shirts and other items. Also, I wrote an article and found someone 47 years later because of you and your newsletter! I cannot thank you enough for the work you are doing to give us a place to go to be with a group of our Brothers who have adapted to a new role in society.

I was at Club Med in Turks and Caicos and wore my Marine Corps shirt from Sgt. Grit, and found a few Old Salts. We hung out for a week and I had a ball hearing and telling our stories of yester-year. One Marine from Korea was in supply and ordered springs for a tank, and filled out paperwork wrong and got 50 springs when they wanted a few. The supply Sergeant said, "We have enough springs for another 10 years. What did you do Private? You really f-cked up big time!" Reminds all of us about doing the wrong thing at least once in our enlistment! All of us have funny stories! Let's hear them all... we need to relate our happy times as well as rough times that we encountered in our time in the Corps.

Bruce Bender
1963-1967 CPL.

I even gave a Marine ideas and direction in helping him to put a book together that he is writing at this time. We give from the heart for each other.

Navy Cross

Mr. Billie Crumpton was 16 when he won his Navy Cross as a member of John Basilone's squad on Guadalcanal. He passed away a couple years ago. His son Brian is a retired MSgt who worked with me in the EOD Field. My father, who has also passed, was with the 1st Pioneers rebuilding Henderson Field at the time Brian's father won his award.

Read Private Billie Crumpton's Navy Cross Citation

Capt W.L. Jackson USMC Retired 1965-1991

Stamped On Stripes

There is another tradition similar to "stamping the stripes". If you were a jumper, when you made your tenth jump and got your gold wings, everyone who jumped with you that day pinned your wings on you. They did not use the little clips that go over the points, but pinned them directly to your chest. You looked like you lost a fight with a porcupine and had to soak the blood out of your shirt. You don't have to be crazy to be a Marine jumper, but it helps.

My service number came on my commission. I had to dig it out and look at it to be sure.

J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.

Sgt. D. Whiting asked if they still stamped on stripes? I served from 1968 to 1978 and the tradition was still going on when I made Cpl. However, toward the end of my enlistment you didn't see it done as often. I'm thinking it's because a lot of the older guys (Old Corps) were retired and the tradition didn't carry over to the New Corps. I guess.

Semper Fi (however, is still said)
Robert H. Bliss,
Service number 2488---

In response to Sgt. Whiting's letter about having your stripes stamped on. I picked up Corporal in 1987. No sooner had the formation been dismissed when the NCO's were looking for me. I was in the squadbay in Kaneohe Bay, HI. I remember standing there, being punched on both arms. One Marine, Sgt. Martinkus, was huge. When he punched my arm it felt as if I were hit with a sledgehammer. Other NCO's from that day, that stamped my stripes were Sgt. Santiago, Cpl. Larson, and GySgt. Kent. GySgt. Kent later became the Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps. At that time it still went on.

Fast forward nine years later. I went into the Marine Reserves. I picked up Sgt. Nobody touched me other than to shake my hand. So, somewhere between 1987 and 1998, I guess getting your stripes stamped was phased out.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. DeVoe 0481
Shore Party

I was with HMLA-367 (Snakes and Slugs) at Camp Pendleton from '88-'92 and when I made E-4 my stripes were "pined" on me and my "blood stripes" were also added at the same time! I had to walk thru a gauntlet of Corporals and Sergeants who would pin and stripe me at the same time. That night my buddies and I went out to celebrate my promotion and as young Marines tend to do we partied late into the night and drank like fish. The next morning when I came to, I discovered someone had shaved a blood stripe down the side of both my legs after I passed out!

Corporal "Fish"

The Act of pinning on or stamping on the stripes of the newly promoted was eliminated as were the acts of getting your blood stripe and pinning on jump wings or other devices. All these events were deemed hazing and you will be punished under UCMJ - Article 93 - Cruelty and maltreatment - along with a few other articles, if caught participating in it. There is plenty of video, some making national news, and quite a few medical reports of the injuries that have occurred due to these 'ceremonies'. I have had friends relate stories of being put on light duty and one sent to medical due to a blood clot forming when they were pinned. I can remember having a hard time pushing in the clutch driving home after getting my blood stripe.

In 2005, we had a 2-Star provide his feelings on the matter; he had been meritoriously promoted to Cpl while fighting in Hue City; in so many words he said the practice of beating a fellow Marine was BS and that anyone who was caught doing it would stand before him to explain why they were not following orders.

It is one thing to congratulate a fellow Marine for their hard work and dedication, but unfortunately some have gone overboard and inflicted permanent damage that is uncalled for.

Semper Fi, and thank you for your service brother.

1stSgt Langedyk

When I was in ('77-'90) we called it "pinning" on the stripes. When someone picked up Corporal, not only were his sleeve stripes "pinned" on by every Marine present, but his blood stripes, for the NCO Dress Blues were pinned on by said Marines using a quick shot to the thigh with the "pinner's" knee. I suppose it was a tradition for NCOs, and I was told by some Vietnam vets I worked with it had been a tradition for as long as they could remember. All I know was I could hardly walk the day I picked up Corporal. Of course after evening chow the beer was on me at my wet-down. Again, I could hardly walk.

I wonder if it is different in different parts of the Corps (I was an Air Winger), or if it just changed over time. Maybe someone with more expertise will let us know. On a side note, the story by Jeff Hiers in the same issue titled "Maybe Next Year" was extremely touching. Speaking for this Jarhead, he IS a hero.

Swing With the Wing, Bro's, Swing With the Wing!

J. A. Howerton II
SSgt USMC (Ret)

When I earned my gold Recon Wings we all called it "pinning" each other. Made the national news somehow and raised quite a stink. I believe the Corps officially banned the practice shortly thereafter.

Sgt. Mix
2nd Force Reconnaissance Co.

Sgt Whiting,

I don't know about now, but from 1972 to 1982, the "Pinning on the Stripes" tradition was alive and well! In all of those "Ceremonies" that I witnessed / took part in, the one doing the "pinning" had the option of the shoulder stripes or the collar chevrons (if you were wearing utilities). When they chose the collar chevrons, they would always remove the backing first, so that the two pins would be sunk into the shoulder of the newly promoted. This was not too bad (I had the pleasure of receiving this more than once) if the pins just went into skin. But, it was very painful if the pins went into the collar bone. It was also painful to remove them from the bone after the ceremony was over. But, you never removed them before everyone in the "pinning" line was done, because it hurt more going in than it did when they were already embedded and just got struck again.

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82

Sgt. Whiting,

I was in the Corps from 2-70 to 12-76, and every time I was promoted I had my new stripes pinned on by everyone who was higher in rank. When I made E-4 all of the NOC's also took the chance to pin on the red blood stripe. The worst pinning on of my stripes came when I made SSgt (E-6) while on the grinder. The Blt. XO and the Blt SgtMaj pinned on my stripes on both arms. One on one side one on the other... two major smashes into my arms at the same time. I could not lift up my arm to salute if my new stripes depended on it. I had very large black and blue areas on both arms covering almost my entire upper arm. I believe that their fists met inside the center of my chest. Like they were doing a knuckle thump in my chest. I guess we all can remember those special times when we put on new stripes and had black and blue areas for a while.

Semper Fi
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76

I picked up Corporal on 1 Oct 2002. I will always remember this day because that is also 21st my birthday. I always enjoyed my birthday in the Corps because it was always pay day, and since it was always the beginning of the new fiscal year, it also meant that the new pay raises went into effect.

Since I was an 0151, 'Admin' 'POG' 'Pogue', I was sure that I would not have to endure the horror stories of getting pinned on since I work for the 2nd Marine Division Commanding General in the G-1 shop. Man, was I wrong. Just so happened that when there was a Grunt that been hurt or injured that was just needing to be placed somewhere to finish out their enlistment, they would work out of our office until their EAS. (At this time we had two Corporals, one Sergeant, and one Staff Sergeant).

The CO asked me who I wanted to be pinned on by and trying to avoid the pinning party, who at this time looked like rabid dogs looking at fresh meat, I chose my Gunny (DI, just off the drill field) and the battalion Sergeant Major (DI, Salty, and a grunt). Let's just say that my strategic selection was the dumbest choice I could have made. Four puncture holes in my collar bone and two fist prints in my arms! I recovered and managed to stroll back to my office, that is until the grunt SSgt called me to his office for what I thought was an important task.

As I approached his desk I saw the door close out of my peripheral. One SSgt, one Sgt, and two Corporals welcomed me into the NCO ranks. Later that night they took me to a local establishment full of fine spirits and even better looking ladies!

When I got to work the next morning the Gunny just laughed as did the other Marines. I was soon to find out that those nice ladies I had the pleasure of meeting the night before had gotten a little carried away with a black permanent marker... Let's just say I was sent back to the barracks for the remainder of the day to fully recover from the previous day's events :) Good times! Would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Semper Fi
J. Williams
Sgt 2000-2007
Sgt Grit Staff

Lucky Charm

Thank you for providing a place for those of us who need to tell our stories and memories to others who will understand what we are talking about. It's a wonderful thing you do for us.

Last week an Army Chaplain was given the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War. This called to mind another chaplain I meet while in Viet Nam and I would like to share this story with y'all.

My unit, Golf Co., 2nd Bn. 5th. Marine Regiment, 1st. Marine Division was station on Liberty Bridge in the spring of 1970. A Chaplain showed up at our unit and explained that he had some news to share with us: One, he was there to get the battle flag from the NVA 191st. Zapper Unit that was going to be attacking us any day. The second good news was that he thought of himself as a good charm because the last Marine unit he was with had been shipped home (this was during the drawdown of combat units in V.N.). He didn't explain why he was left behind. Nevertheless, we were happy to have him with us and thanked him for telling us about being hit with Zappers. None of us in the ranks knew about this intelligence before he got there.

His information was very good. We got hit and hard! My platoon (3rd.) was on the right side of the compound/road and we had 7 men wounded during the fight. The C.P. and 1st. platoon were covering the left side of the compound and suffered some heavy casualties from rockets and from the Zappers who manage to get through their line. We all learned the next morning that the chaplain was hit while giving "Last Rites" to a fallen Marine. We never learned if he made it or not. The Corpsman who treated him felt that the chaplain's luck had run out and he most likely didn't. To this day, when I hear the word "chaplain" used I wonder about this Marine Officer who came to G Co. 2/5 on that spring morning in 1970 with such high hopes for us. These very brave men who come to the front lines without a weapon and bring us the things we need the most... faith and hope. Any person who has ever been in combat will tell you that these are very important things to have.

Semper Fi to all you (brave) Chaplains. (You did more for us then you will ever know).

Robert H. Bliss, Sgt.
0341/0311/2535 - because someone had to hump that thing.
V.N. 1970

P.S. We learned later that we caused enough casualties/losses to the 191st. Zapper Unit that they became ineffective as a combat unit. So I guess in a way, the chaplain was a lucky charm for us.

Joe Civilian

My deceased father-in-law was a Marine. I have several friends, from their 20's to their 80's who are Marines. I am not a Marine, but there is no single group of people in the world for whom I have more respect and appreciation. I read every issue of the newsletter and I carry a Sgt. Grit challenge coin in my pocket to remember all that you folks have sacrificed for our country and our freedom. But, I keep thinking that if a REAL Marine caught me with it they would beat the tar out of me for pretending to be something I'm not. Just kidding about that... at least I think I'm just kidding... But, I do want to know from you Marines if someone like myself, NOT a Marine, is showing support, if I wear a Marine Corps hat or shirt or something like that, or if those outward identifications with the Corps should rightly be reserved for those who have actually served.

I'd love your opinions because I want to do all I can to be encouraging and supportive, but I do not want to be disrespectful. Any thoughts? What can Joe Civilian do to publicly show his support for the men and women of the Marine Corps?

Peter Wierenga
Eugene, OR


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #4, #10, (OCT, 2014)

I don't know how you would know it, but I just took a short break from all this writing and refreshed my brain with a cool drink (just kidding) of Aviation Fuel, 115/145 to be exact. That's the octane rating that we used to use in the helicopters and it was potent stuff. If I remember correctly, the highest octane rating that was normal on most civilian airstrips was 100/130. Now, all the lower rating did was not allow all the power that you would have if you used 115/145... makes sense, doesn't it?

The reason that I'm telling you this is because every once in awhile one of the troops would get caught unlawfully acquiring some 115/145 for his "Race Car", it would help make a small block really come alive, but you could smell the fact that it was in the tank and the end result was that it burned valves. This would happen if allowed to be used continuously. I have a confession to make. A long time ago, when I was just a young "Whipper Snapper", I used to put some in my car and every once in awhile I would engage in Drag Racing. Now, that only happened on the weekends, and only when it wasn't raining. I'll bet you never did that, Huh! Well, it kept us out of the Bars!

OK, you've had enough time to think about the question that I asked in the last para. in Vol. #4, #8. I guess that it's time for the surprise quiz, HUH?

The answer to the first question is that a pilot fly's a helicopter from the right side and in a fixed wing aircraft they fly from the left side. Now, you're gonna ask me Why? Well, to tell you the truth I can't remember right now, but I'll tell you as soon as it surfaces in this old brain.

Somebody's going to read this and then ask the question about some of the smaller helicopters with their lack of skin. The ones that just look like they have a frame work looking fuselage. The Military H-13 comes to mind. That's the small helicopter with the round bubble on the front and the stick looking aft-fuselage. I have to answer that it's all determined by balance, torque, and let's not forget the power source. There are a lot of more modern variations to this very early design that are in use today. The Engstrom and the Bell come to mind.

Here's another unknown fact about helicopters, and that is that they land left side first and not on both wheels or skids at the same time. I know that it looks like they land with both wheels at the same time, but there is a split second that occurs before the right gear touches down. Next time your watching a helicopter land watch it happen. I can remember several times being glad to land on what ever side, as long as the top side was up. A helicopter is best described as "a close formation of loosely flying parts".

The bottom line is, without this fabulous machine, many of us would not be here to talk about it.

Spanish For Eggs

I think that might be Spanish for eggs, large... more commonly referred to as 'cojones'. There was a very large Reserve exercise (5,000 troops +) going on at the Stumps... forget the exact year, but sometime between '77 and '81. The Reservists were there for two weeks, all billeted in a mongo tent camp at Camp Wilson... today, it's rows of K-Span buildings, which kinda look like Quonsets, but anyway, they got two days liberty at the end of the first week... not that there is a lot to do in the bustling city of 29 Palms, but it is within striking distance of both LA and Las Vegas, if you can handle a couple hours on a chartered Greyhound. However, in order to get to the Greyhound, they had to ride a 'cattle car' from Camp Wilson, now known mostly as 'the ESB' (Exercise Support Base) to Mainside. Said cattle car transport was provided by Base Motors, which had civilian-type equipment, including the cattle cars (modified dry cargo semi-vans, with bench seats on both sides and down the middle, including up over the fifth wheel, some school bus type windows, and pulled by a medium-duty semi-tractor... usually a two-axle International Harvester, AKA 'a Binder' (look-it-up for the reference). On this particular Saturday morning, the duty driver for this run was a Woman Marine Lance Corporal... a genuwine double-clutchin', gear-jammin' proud possessor of a license to operate this largish piece of machinery (she was also somewhat attractive... aren' they all?).

As the driver, she was responsible for the safety of her passengers... including those who might be senior to her... and she took that responsibility seriously (see: "Marine, comma, ... responsibility"... Google, Wikipedia, whatever...). Part of her responsibility was to advise her passengers, that not only was there to be no smoking in the vehicle, but that all parts of their bodies must remain inside the vehicle at all times whilst the vehicle was in motion. These troops were dressed in Greens... P-cutters, but otherwise the whole deal... ribbons, badges, dress shoes)... and as the vehicle began to proceed via the about 12 miles of what passed for asphalt road between Wilson and Mainside, she noted in her rear-view mirrors, violations of the smoking, and body parts outside the windows in the van rules... so she stopped the vehicle, walked back to the doors on the starboard side, and remonstrated with her passengers, re-stating the requirements for safety, etc. Having done her duty, she again mounted to the port side of this green & white machine, and started again to do it to it, like Sonny Pruit used to do it to it ('70's TV program about a pair of truckers... Claude Aiken played Sonny Pruitt... "Movin' On")... she had not gone far, and checking her mirrors, again found that most egregious violations of all that was holy for riding in a cattle car were again occurring... so she stopped, went back to the door, and again re-stated the official position... quite possibly receiving some gratuitous commentary about 'just getting them to Mainside'.

She again started to drive... and checking her mirrors, found that her requests, nay, demands, for compliance with those rules she was charged to enforce, were, once again, being brazenly flouted... so she again stopped. This time, however, instead of going to the entrance door on the starboard side of the trailer, she went to the port side... cranked down the landing gear, pulled the latch on the fifth wheel, disconnected the air brake lines (locking the trailer brakes), and drove off with just the tractor, leaving the trailer... back to the motor pool, and reported to my gombah, CWO-3 Valentine Patsy Amico, what had transpired, and what she had done. That's a long way to walk in dress shoes... in greens... in the desert. I don't recall the details of whether that load of numbnuts made it to liberty or not, but I think the WM got real good Pro and Con marks for the period...

Wonder how much mail my little screw-up will generate? Noted tonight that I had used "assignation" for "assassination" in reference to a recruit out posting in 1963... I recall noticing it in proofreading before sending, and had intended to go back and correct it... but didn't. Spell checker would be fine with either word... but the two words have quite different meanings!

Legend has it that JFK was in favor of the occasional assignation... just didn't get the topical coverage that WJC did for his assignations...

My bad... but will be interesting to see how many sharp-eyed English Majors are in the reading audience...



Gunny Shearer, I suspect the Colonel Gill referenced in your 4/18/2013 newsletter submission was LtCol Jerry Gill. LtCol Gill passed a little more than a year ago at age 79. In addition to his very successful Marine career (Pvt to LtCol), Jerry Gill served as a city councilman in Canon City, Colorado, and was a driving force in founding Royal Gorge Detachment #1318 of the Marine Corps League.

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

Short Rounds

Sgt. Grit,

To all the readers of Sgt. Grit newsletter, regarding the submission from GySgt. Donnie Shearer. When he labels it a Sea Story, that is exactly what it is, and no Donnie, we don’t believe that sh-t!

MSgt. H.L. Shaw
MOS 4691 USMC Ret.

Sgt TJ Williams, USMC, 3rd Am-Tracs, I Corps, South of Da Nang. My Zippo never made it back to me after I was Medivaced out? It had Snoopy dancing on his dog house yelling "S&X S&X S&X". The other side said, "To Really Live is to Nearly Die" NAM-'68. It would be nice to see that and My PURPLE HEART again!

About the young Marine that met Warren Musch. I'm proud to say he belongs to the detachment here in Jacksonville, IL. West Central Illinois Leathernecks #1177. He's quite a guy. We have another also, Jerry Lowe.

Connie Bryant, Aux. Chaplain of #462,
West Central IL Leathernecks, Jacksonville, IL

It occurs to me that they should call themselves "Iwo Jima Victors" not "Iwo Jima survivors".

Robert A. Hall
Former SSgt

Sgt. Grit,

I was overwhelmed with the responses I received on the DIARY of the Bat Eye Squadron 1944. My question is if there are any of the brave Marines that participated in the Night Hawk activity on the Island of Peleliu?

I can be contacted at ( I thank all the people that have helped me spread this great info. of our Marines. They shall not be forgotten.

Cpl. Ted Hetland
Plt 23, 1957. Newport, RI


"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
--Benjamin Franklin

"And the "certain" arrival of your Sgt Grit Newsletter every Thursday morning. Or for you tech savvy types like my good buddy SSgt Huntsinger who likes to think he outsmarts the system, you can go the newsletter archives and read the newsletter Thursday evening. Yes Hunts, that was a shot."
--Sgt Grit

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands or people who pay no price for being wrong."
--Thomas Sowell, Economist, Korea USMC

"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all."
--Gen. James Mattis

"Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they're so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact."
--Gen. James Mattis

"Currently Unassigned".

"2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger and Gag".

"Lean back... dig 'em in... heels, heels, heels!"

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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