Sgt Grit Newsletter - 31 OCT 2013

In this issue:
• I Will Always Be A Marine
• Off The Record
• Calm And Quite

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Tom Flynn and Grandson MCRD PI

Good morning Grit,

Here I am again, shamelessly hustling myself out with a t-shirt, and embroidered cover from Grit. AND, with the new Marine. Parris Island somehow has changed in the last 44 years. But, they are STILL turning out a FINE product.

Tom Flynn

I Will Always Be A Marine

50 years ago I proudly took on the title of Unite States Marine. 30 years ago this month I retired from the Corps, which has placed me out of the Corps for more years than I was in. The thing is you don't leave the Corps; you take it with you in your heart. My experiences were not so different than others who served. I went to a lot of exciting places and just as many mundane. I was promoted through the ranks from Private (E-1) through Master Sergeant (E-7). Since retirement I have done many things: finished college, worked as a computer programmer, ran a book store, and been district manager for a convenience store chain. While I have stories about my other careers, most of my stories are about my experiences in the Corps. Some of them true and others a little embellished. To get to the point... I am 70 years old and my life is mostly defined by 20 years as an active duty Marine. Being a Marine has given me my values, strengthen my moral course, and directed my convictions. I am a Marine. I will always be a Marine, and my soul will ever abide as a Marine.

Semper Fidelis
MSgt William (Bill) Birge
USMC Retrd.

Halloweeen Facebook Cover

Oki To Guam

Marine Times
October 8th, 2013
Posted by Gina Harkins

The Japanese government has agreed to pay for more than a third of the costs involved in moving about 5,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. The State Department announced Thursday that Japan will pay $3.1 billion to fund facilities and infrastructure in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The U.S. has projected that final bill to move 5,000 Marines from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam to cost $8.6 billion. That means Japan will fund about 36 percent of the costs.

The timeline to move all those Marines to Guam is still being worked out. Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, said figuring out how best to do that takes planning and time, he said. "Continuing progress on Guam is contingent on the results of the Guam Relocation Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement," Robling said. "This Record of Decision for Guam is expected in February 2015." The Marine Corps is slated to start construction of a Battle Staff Training Facility on Guam by 2019.

Robling said his command is excited about developments on Guam because they will provide MARFORPAC with a place to host multilateral training on U.S. soil, which is important to further build relationships with other countries. The Corps is also assessing how best to move Marines from Okinawa to Hawaii, he said. Moving an additional 2,700 Marines there will bring the number up to 8,800.

Stocking Caps

No Bayonet For The Carbine

Iwo Jima Memorial

Dear Sgt.,

I would like to point out a flaw in our beloved Iwo Jima Monument, the Marine with the shouldered M1 Carbine clearly shows the Carbine with a bayonet attachment, The WWII issued carbine did not have a provision to attach a bayonet to the barrel; no bayonet for the carbine existed during WWII. The bayonet attachment device at the barrel was an improvement as well as an adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, there was also a modification to the stock and a new magazine release button to hold the heavier 30 round magazine from falling out of the trigger housing and a bayonet was designed for the Carbine.

I suspect that the sculptor of the monument was given a Korean War vintage M1 carbine as a model copy. Maybe you are aware of this fact? See attached picture.

Semper Fi
V.M. Mejias 1497518

Off The Record

"Ready on the right, ready on the left, already on the firing line! With 2 or 5 (M-14) rounds load! Place the clip loosely in the receiver of the M-1, slide the 2 rounds under the lips of the clip on top of the follower. With the heel of your right hand move the bolt to the rear about 1/2", press the clip and rounds down with the thumb of your right hand until you can release the bolt over the top of the rounds. Cycle the bolt one time to load the first round and "Stand By" for targets."

Another way SSGT Nielsen showed us (off the record) is to take the clip in the left hand, holding the 2 rounds together in the right hand. Insert the 2 rounds into the clip and twist them 90 degrees clockwise. They will wedge into the clip and form an X in the clip and not fall out. When commanded to "Load", put the clip in and push down and let the bolt go. Pushing down would straighten out the 2 rounds as they engaged the follower as if they had been laid in as above. The M-1, next best thing to a Ma Deuce!

Bill Wilson
3rd MAW Rifle and Pistol Team

Preparatory to the Range Officer's command: "With a clip and two rounds, lock and load!" Insert two rounds in a standard Garand M-1 Rifle clip. Manipulate the ammunition such that a "X-Pattern" is formed. Push the two cartridges into the clip, so that they spring load into the clip, against each other (allowing the clip's spring tension to maintain the two rounds locked into the X-Pattern). The clip, with the spring loaded rounds are now inserted into the rifle, engaging the rifle's follower, using the right thumb to push the clip and the two rounds into the rifle, while preloading the operating rod to the rear and allow the rifle's bolt to slide into battery.

Respectfully yours,
Thomas Gray

Calm And Quiet

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Got an honorable Discharge and went home (like thousands of other Brothers after my enlistment was over), got a job - and joined a new way of life, (tougher in some ways dealing with a lot of people), and we all survived the new challenges!

Found a local pub on the way home from work, (served draft beer on tap - cold as can be) and made a friend with a quiet guy named Marc, (who was always there). Found out Marc had a metal plate in his head from Vietnam? He was a great guy, and over 6'4", big dude but calm and quiet. Never bothered anyone either, just drank then walked out and went home.

The bartender was afraid he would explode one day - so I was given free beers when he was there to keep him in check. One day around 7 P. M. I got a frantic call at home from the Pub that 3 guys were pushing Marc around and threatened him. I ran to the bar and Marc was sitting drinking ignoring them, (but beet red and ready to explode). I Told these gents that I was not happy and it would be a pleasure to go outside with them and settle this matter - naturally they backed off like wimps when faced with a situation where it would be in their best interests to back away. The bartender now threatened to call cops?

While I was arguing with them, the bartender went to the phone. Marc calmly picked up a bar stool and clocked 2 of them with one swing, and the third fell and hit his head on my boot tip. All three were lying on the floor. I told Marc it is time to go home, and existed the bar. Took him home to his Mom and sister.

I am not a fighter and not an aggressive person, but sometime you have to do the right thing. Sorry to say that when I started in the business world after the Corps, a lot of wimps were in control as bosses! (Usually they couldn't find their azses with both hands. Hard to conceive that these candy azses controlled my life.) Most of them were never in the Armed Forces?

Marines were never thanked for the Vietnam Conflict (not war sorry to say.)

Above happened in 1968.

Bruce Bender
1963-1967 Cpl.

Changed His Mind

Sgt. Grit,

Dan Bisher's story of joining the Corps reminded me of mine. Laid off from the steel mill in Youngstown, OH and unable to find a job I decided to join the Navy (My Dad was a Sea Bee in WWII and Korea). When I got to the recruiters office there was a sign on the door saying that he was at lunch and would return in 1 hour. The Marine Corps recruiter was across the hall and when he saw me standing around he said, "come in here and let's talk." An hour later I had signed up for four years. The scary part was when I got home and had to tell my Dad that I had enlisted in the Marine. He always said, "Marines are only good for shining shoes and blocking passage ways." When I graduated from PI, I could tell by the look on his face that he had changed his mind.

Semper Fi,

Sgt Chuck Wanamaker 1960 - 1966

The Good And The Bad

Kanavy and Kozelouzek Photo

Sgt Grit,

About two years ago I received a phone call from Jim Kozelouzek, my bunk mate at Parris Island. We were in platoon 321, January 13, 1966. We had neither met nor spoken since graduation. I had orders for FMF WestPac, ground forces and he went to weather school in NJ. After ITR and language school I went to HQ Co, 1st Marines in August 1966. Jim arrived later and deployed from DaNang to Dong Ha.

On October 8th we met in Las Vegas. When we went to McDonald's for coffee astoundingly the bill came to $3.21. How weird is that. We talked for hours about how Vietnam has shaped our lives, the good and the bad. Fortunately, I do not suffer (at least I don't think I do, my wife might differ) from PTSD, but Jim has struggled with it. We are planning a mission to the Vietnam Wall, possibly next Spring. I attached two photos.

Semper Fi,
J Kanavy 0311/0231


Delta 1st BN 2nd Mar

Sgt. Grit:

Thought I'd try and submit a pic of D/1/2, 1960 vintage. My dad (Charles E. Carter Sr.) was the company 1st. Sgt. The CO was Capt. Modjeski. Maybe some old timer out there will see the picture and remember my dad. My family had just spent 2 years in Gitmo and was then transferred to Lejeune where dad was assigned to D/1/2.

The pic is a jpeg, but if anyone would like a copy in tiff format, which is more detailed I can send them one.

Dad joined the Corps in 1939 and retired in 1963. He spent his last 4+ years stationed at Lejeune and contracted cancer a few years after retirement. He passed away in 1982 from cancer.

C.E. Carter, Jr. (Marine brat and Marine Veteran)
RVN 1966-1967

Earned The Rank Of Sergeant

Sgt. Grit,

The last newsletter was dated 17 October 2013. On 17 October 1983 I arrived at Parris Island for three months of insanity. It's hard to believe thirty years have gone by. The Corps prepared me for life. At 18, I was a wise azs, who knew everything. The Marine Corps instilled in me self-discipline and a good work ethic. I completed four years active duty and did a few years in the reserves. I earned the rank of Sergeant, which I am proud of.

For the past twenty-five years I have worked in law enforcement and have had a successful career thanks to my Marine training. Thankfully, I have maintained my physical fitness and weigh the same as I did when I got off active duty. That's another Marine trait that I follow, physical fitness. I don't know how life would've turned out had I not enlisted in the Corps. I was certainly headed in the wrong direction. To my drill instructors, SSgt. Acres, Sgt. Bowden, and Sgt. Patterson, Thank you. Semper Fi.

Sgt. Ed DeVoe
0481/ Shore Party

Try The Marine Corps

Sgt. Grit,

I was in the U.S.N. during WWII in the Pacific area aboard an L.S.M. at Guam, Saipan & Okinawa, where I got my first Purple Heart. After the war I went into the U.S. Army, and was in the 11th Airborne Div. Shortly after I got out of the Army, Korea broke out, and I told my brother (who was in the Corps for Saipan and Iwo Jima) that I was going back in. He told me, "You were in the Navy and the Army and didn't like them. Try the Marine Corps." So I did, and stayed in until I got married. "My new wife could not hack the Military life so I retired after a total of 24 years as a S/Sgt E6. During my Corps tour, I was in Korea (where I got my second Purple Heart. During Nam I was in a rear area (Da Nang). I retired July 1st, 1968.


He Was A Two-Star

It was my first Marine Corps Birthday as a New Marine. I was in Camp Geiger, NC. We were in the field on Nov. 10, 1968. We had a Marine General visit us, (I do not remember his name, and probably never knew it since I was so surprised to be spoken to by a general), but he came around to each of us, said Happy Birthday Marine and shook our hands. We were served lobster for our meal. It was the first time I had ever eaten lobster. It was the most incredible experience to be spoken to by a general. I think he was a two star. I have never and will never forget it.


Cloth Ripped


You did it again. You got the juices going. You wanted a Birthday story.

'78 or '79 at the Las Pulgas SNCO club, CG of the 5th MarDiv (or we were The 5th Mar Brigade) BGen. Ross Dwyer was to cut the cake. I was on the front of the cake cart, as we brought the cake to the Gen. the tablecloth wrapped around the cart got caught on the wheel on my corner, the cart wouldn't move, I reached down and gave a yank and the cloth ripped. As we moved the cart the board that the cake was on shifted and the 2X4 slipped off the side of the cart, everyone gave a loud gasp, the cake did not hit the deck. As we got to the Gen he had a grin.

BGen Dwyer, as a LtCol in '62 was CO of 2/6 during the Missile Crisis. Every year I usually tell that story. This year my wife, Lynda, and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, on the 10th.

Happy Birthday to all!

Semper Fi
Jim Leonard, SSgt Retired

The Size Of Church Bells

Sgt Grit,

Well, I am now convinced that Marines have a tendency to do the same things over and over again under similar circumstances. I am referring to the letter from MSgt Gene Hays concerning the young snuffy who wrote a letter to the CMC about how he was a p-ssy for not going in and bombing Iran during or after the Iranian hostage crisis. In early 1975 I was in the Marine Detachment of the USS Forrestal when Vietnam was coming to the anti-climactic end that it did. All of a sudden we had a formation of the detachment in our meeting area and were read the riot act about using the chain of command, and under NO circumstances could you circumvent that chain. After the very stern warning from our CO and 1st Sgt, we all just went back to our work with a big "what was THAT all about?" look on all of our faces... except for one Marine.

Eventually, after some grilling of this young L/Cpl we had found out that he had written a direct letter to the CMC basically stating that he thought our getting out of Vietnam was wrong and that if he would authorize his detachment to go into Vietnam we would "kick all of their communists azses right back to Hanoi". I also seem to remember that he was not shy about signing his name to the letter and naming what unit he was in. Fortunately, for him in this case, his letter was intercepted at CMC by a 1st Sgt who happened to be friends with our 1st Sgt, opened and read the letter (I believe part of his job was to screen the mail going to CMC) and simply sent the letter directly to our 1st Sgt with an explanation. Our guy didn't get demoted or instant orders to 2nd Marine Division or anything like that, but as far as we were concerned, he earned his spurs that day and had cohones the size of church bells.

I hope he is reading this and recognizes who I am talking about in your newsletter and will try and contact me. If you do, call me at 903-818-8108. Would be good to hear from you again.

Semper Fi,
SSgt Bob "Tex" Tollison


Alumni FB Photo

Here's another Facebook post that received a lot of attention. Here is what our Brothers and Sisters had to say about it.

Jim Hosking - My dorm room was a Quonset Hut Platoon 145, 1962, MCRD SD. Racks are a lot nicer than I had.

Robert Gootz - 1966 MCRD San Diego, E Company, Platoon 2095, hey did they issue you guys sun tan lotion and sun chairs at Parris Island like they did us Hollywood Marines?

Randy Waters - H-ll my last "dorm" room looked a lot like that... no "Holiday Inn's" for this "Old Corps" (lol) Marine!

Tony Russo Sr - I was in 3rd Recruit Trng. Bn. at P. I. in a Quonset hut. Plt. 454, Nov. 19, 1954 to about the end of Feb. 1955. One wood burning stove in the middle of the hut for heat. About twenty racks per hut. We were told that was the original area of the women recruits during the WWII days.

Debra Daggett - Lol! Years ago someone asked me if I was sad I missed living in a dorm when I went to college. I thought it was a joke. We had respect, honor, & never the complaints I heard from dormies. No one stole our stuff, & we helped each other. A kinship never found in a college dorm.

Marlon Naidas - If you woke up in the middle of the night screaming, "AYE SIR!" Then we went to the same school.

Read more of the comments posted on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.

One Of The Wives

I never attended a Marine Corps Ball, never had Dress Blues. But, several years ago while I was working as a Security Officer at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino here in Reno, I had a MCB incident. The Ball was always held at GSR each year and, one time, I passed the Escalator Bar where two Gunnys were standing with their wives. Both Marines were in their Blues with their high and tight haircuts and one asked me a question. I didn't know, but I said I would find out for him.

I went to the Security Office, the front desk and finally the Hotel Manager before I got the requested information. When I returned to the Escalator Bar, the two wives were still there but only one of the Gunnys. I began to inform him of the info "he" had requested, when he told me he hadn't asked for it. I guess I started to turn red with embarrassment when one of the wives laughed and said, "Don't sweat it. They all look exactly alike."

Semper Fi
Wm. Reed
Cpl. '66-'69

No Firearms

In 1952, as Sgt. of the Guard at Great Lakes Brig, I wore the Modified Blues Uniform on base only. The MP's wore them on duty off base but the .45 holster and white belt were added. In the Brig office no firearms were permitted, but an empty holster and belt were worn. Inside the pen only the stick or billie were allowed. The White cover was always in place as a sign of Duty section of the day. Blue trousers were dropped when Dress Blues were no longer issued. This all was being changed and ended at the end of my enlistment in December of 1952. Being that I was a short timer I was selling every part of my duplicate uniform items which included the complete Blues Uniform. This part of that period is still very clear to me as I really hated parting with them. I sold the Blues because I had grown 3 inches taller and added 35 pounds in the 3-1/2 years I served.

Semper Fi
Russ McCrimmon, Sgt.

By Your Leave, Sir

I just read Mr. Gary Neely's letter and I'm pretty sure that I was in that formation. I served with Fox Co. 2/2 from Dec. 1968 to Oct. 1969 and we were ordered to put on the uniform of the day and marched down to Regimental HQ. We were never told why until the names were called out for their promotions.

When Col. Barber was coming in to the area; everyone from the Company C.O. down looked for somewhere else to be. Col. Barber struck fear in the hearts of all those who served under him. I kid you not! One morning, several of us were called out of morning formation. Apparently, I was not the only one who failed the water survival course at P.I. We were marched down to the swimming pool at 2nd. Mar Div. and dressed out in shorts. Col. Barber ordered us to swim the length of the pool and back. He made it clear that he would not accept failing to carry out his order (I'm sure y'all know what I mean). I was the lucky one because I failed the course due to touching the side of the pool not because I couldn't swim. However, there were a lot of non-swimmers in the group (of about 20). "My hand-to-God"! Those Marines were more afraid of Col. Barber then of drowning. Each and every one of those Marines jumped in and swam the length of that pool for the first time in their lives. I don't know if it was respect or fear that made them swimmers that day, but when Col. Barber gave us a "good job Marines" that was all that was needed to save our self-esteem and change our personnel files.

Last story - I was ordered to take some files to Regimental HQ. As I was enjoying my walk and the day, I happen to see Col. Barber bending over the ditch for reasons I didn't need to know. I thought it was a better idea to try to avoid any connect with him out of fear that he would remember me at some later date or incident. I thought I was being pretty clever in getting by him with his back to me and all. I forgot that he had been in combat in Korea (a MOH recipient) and developed this special skill of seeing behind him at all times. He even knew my rank before he turned around and ask me why I failed to say "BY your leave, sir". I said something about not wanting to brother him while he was looking in to the ditch at something important. Col. Barber knew B.S. when he heard it. I gave him a salute and a proper "by your leave, sir". As I recall, he smiled, returned my salute and let me go about my business. I still got called in to "Top's" office for an azs chewing, but that was all that happened and it was deserved because I knew better then to do that. Others might wonder how it is that I would be able to recall something as trivial as this is. Ask Mr. Gary Neely. I bet he'll tell you that you will never forget talking to a Marine like Col Barber under any circumstances. Truly, he was a great Marine and commander to have.

P.S. Colonel Barber, who received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. He died from bone morrow cancer in 2002.

Semper Fi (until we die),
Robert H. Bliss, USMC

Steak Dinner

I was at Parris Island for the MC Birthday in 1966. Plt, 3106 was nearing completion of our training and Nov. 10 was the day for our force march in full gear. We marched to an area near the beach and had our Birthday celebration with probably the best meal I had during my 4 years in the Corps. We ate a complete steak dinner followed by all the birthday cake we wanted. There was only one problem. We had to march back. I had an iron stomach and survived the return trip. Many of my fellow Marines didn't fare as well. I'm sure over half of those great meals were left along the side of the road during that return march.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Eric Tipton '66-'70

MCAS El Toro (kinda sorta)

Old Gate MCAS El Toro

F-4 Pedelstal at MCAS El Toro

Hello Sgt. Grit,

It is with great sadness I send these photos. Some will recognize some things, but all of the barracks are gone. All of the housing along Tabuco/Irvine Blvd are gone. The first pic would be of the old gate #2 where the F-4 was on the pedestal. I have a story about that for another time... one pic is the old commissary gate and some from where the Main Gate used to be. I am trying to document as much as I can.

I do hope it brings some fond memories to those who were stationed there throughout our Corps history. Just a little trip down memory lane.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. Jeff Wolven

Skull Back Tattoo

Skull Back Tattoo

13 years later, but I finally got it.

Travis Rodgers

I Am So Tired

I am so tired of all the stories about Marines who served during a combat zone, like everyone else you don't care or give credit to those who served during peace time even though we could have been called on at any time to give our life for our country. I will never know how I would have done in combat, I will never be able to tell other Marines or people how it was on the line, and there are hundreds of Marines and citizens out their including the so called VA that don't look at me as a service member. I am so ashamed I never served in a combat zone I don't even tell people I was a Marine anymore nor do I wear my dress blues on the Marine birthday any more.

To me and others like me we have been injured in another way, the way Marines and people in general call us want-a-bees.

Sgt. James Spoon

Leather Carving

Leather Carving of Marine Corps emblem

Partially Colored Leather Carving of Marine Corps emblem


I served with 3/4 in Nam in '65-'66. For a long time I have wanted to create a leather carving of our Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. I began this project in early September of this year.

Thank You,
Vann, M.L. Sgt.

One Of The Greatest Honors

40 years ago today I Graduated Marine Corps Boot Camp with Allen Redbird. Many years later I was a Recruiter in Enid, Oklahoma and enlisted John C. Redbird. When I was looking for him to ship out I called his home and a guy answered the phone, and laughed. He said, "you don't remember me? I am John's older brother Allen, you and I went to boot camp together in 1973." I had been to several dances with John before he shipped out, and after he came back, they had a dance in his honor. While I was dancing, one Gourd dance, John's Mother came out and placed a blanket over my shoulders and said, "I adopt this Marine to the Redbird Clan." ONE of the greatest Honors I had as A Marine. I tell this story to my Grand Kids!

Semper fi to you both this day!

Marine Corps Ball 1967

John and Sally MC Ball in Malta

Dear Sgt. Grit,

My first and only Marine Corps Ball was in Malta, during a 1967 Mediterranean Sea Cruise aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42. Due to the FDR being almost 1000 Ft. long we had to anchor out at every port of call. At one point we were anchored out in Malta, and a big storm came up causing the FDR to depart, stranding the lucky people on liberty. I was one of the two Marines on liberty that day, myself and Sgt. David McAnall. It was like a vacation, we stayed in a hotel for five days while the ship was gone. We were lucky to meet an American girl whose father was an oil worker in North Africa. She had two friends that were Maltese. I still have the cuff links one of them gave me, I don't remember his name. The other one was a beautiful young school teacher named Sally Moreno. She was 23, I was 20 at the time. The Maltese people are Italian by ancestry, so they speak Italian, and English. Malta was a former British Colony.

During our time on the island the people on the ship were smart enough to figure we would need some money, so it was flown in by helicopter. We were paid at the USO, I don't know why we were lucky enough to be there when the money arrived, but we were. Malta is a beautiful place, and we saw a lot of it, we spent most of the money going to night clubs. Another thing I remember about Malta, was that the taxi cabs were all black Mercedes. The taxis cost almost nothing to ride, and that hotel we stayed in was $5.50 per night. After the storm died down the FDR came back to get us and the 200 Sailors that were stranded.

In November the FDR made another call to Malta, and that was when I attended the Marine Corps Ball. As you know, time changes everything, but I do believe that Sally was the best looking woman I ever dated, and it was the Marine Corps Ball 1967. I will attach a photo, which is terrible because it is over exposed, but take my word, she was nice!

Semper Fi
John M. Hunter
Cpl. 1811, 0311

Battle Jackets


Long years ago, more than I care to remember, I was issued a khaki Battle Jacket, when I joined the local Marine Corps Reserve company, "C" Company, 14th Infantry Battalion, USMCR, in Nashville, TN. Right now, I don't have a clue what ever became of it.

Later on, I was issued another Battle Jacket, this one in Marine Green wool, which I still have in my closet, with Sergeant E5 chevrons, and 3 service stripes. At one time, it had Staff Sergeant E5 stripes on it.

The only neat thing about having to revert to the new rank system, was that I could still go to the Staff NCO clubs, where I was stationed, even as a Sergeant E5. Spent 9 years as an E5, thanks to a hard-nosed mustang Captain, which very few could please, and I wasn't one of them.

Semper Fi (and all that good stuff)
James R. McMahon
Hendersonville, TN
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)

Khaki Battle Jacket

Here is the khaki version worn by a Marine instructor standing inspection at Pre-Flight School, NAS Pensacola in 1952.

Spike Berner
Sergeant of Marines

Pretty Rocky Start

All issues of Sgt. Grit's newsletter (which is relished reading material every week) frequently contains many articles that remind me of my days in the Corps. This latest issue had some stories about Marines losing their stripes for whatever reason(s). I thought I would share some of my happy memories with my fellow Marines of today and yesteryear.

I got out of the Corps the first time in Sept. 1955 as a Buck Sergeant. My three years took me across the country then to the Far East, providing me with experiences way, way beyond what my future held for me when I returned to homestead in Vermont. But, as the dutiful son who was to take over the small dairy farm I had been raised on, I found life in that small, rural town quite boring at the least. So, eight months after I left the Corps as a Buck Sergeant, I went back in as a PFC with a lot of reassurance that I would soon be back at Sgt., assuming, of course, that I kept a clean record.

I got my orders to report to Camp Geiger at Swamp Lagoon for ITR in April 1956. Checking in to the PMO to get a base pass, I had a Corporal tell me I wasn't qualified to get a base pass as I was a trainee. With some patience and diplomacy on my part, I kindly informed the Corporal that my orders clearly stated that I travel POV and if he didn't know what POV stood for, (privately owned vehicle), he was in the wrong job, because this former Sergeant of Marines (and I pointed out where there used to be three stripes whereas he only saw one on each sleeve), sure as h-ll knew what POV meant. Therefore, I was qualified to possess a base pass. Incidentally, a Buck Sergeant in those days was kind of like mini gods. A good one was highly respected by his/her men and senior NCOs and officers not only respected a good Sergeant, but they would leave them alone to do their job.

Fast forwarding to Sept. 1956, and following a stint as an MP on town patrol in J'ville, NC, I was transferred to the Marine Corps Supply Center in Albany, GA where I was again assigned to the MPs. The morning after my arrival, I was called into the security office to meet with a 2nd Lt. Johnny Walker (uh, huh, this one might be the same officer I've read about in recent newsletters with stories about jumping out of helicopters in dress blues, driving a Marine Corps color Cadillac, etc., etc.) Anyway, he smugly sat behind his desk while I was at attention in front of him. He said, and I quote verbatim, "Vail, you used to be a Sergeant in the Marines Corps, weren't you?" I said, "Yes, Sir" to which he replied, (again, verbatim): "well that don't cut sh-t with me." Needless to say, our relationship got off to a pretty rocky start.

It didn't take long for him to come to appreciate a fairly good man when he saw one. Again, I was assigned to town patrol and he left me and the other members of the town patrol alone. I last spoke with him in 1962 when I was on my honeymoon in Atlanta, GA and he was on the I&I staff as a Captain. Despite our initial meeting, we got along very well over the years and I even came to respect the man. I heard he retired as a LtCol and is living in North Carolina. Does anyone remember the same man, possibly, as I would love to go visit him as I did my former senior drill instructor recently?

Chris Vail
Sgt., 1952 - 1958

Sicker Than A Dog

I've been receiving your catalog and newsletter for many years now and I absolutely love them. I had no idea that you have been doing this for 25 years. Congratulations!

Every year I look for a different venue for attending a Marine Corps Birthday Ball. This year I received an invitation to attend the Naval Postgraduate School's Birthday Ball in Monterey, California. I am looking forward to rubbing elbows with a few highly educated Marines. Perhaps some of my gritty grunt will rub off on them.

My first Birthday Ball took place in San Francisco in 1968 while serving with Marine Barracks, Hunter's Point. The guest speaker was none other than the legendary Pappy Boyington. I was one of the flag bearers in the color guard for the ceremony. I was also sicker than a dog. I apparently caught the flu bug. The Hong Kong Flu was going around at the time and was very bad, fatal in some cases. I was having a helluva time holding the flag. I almost dropped it and Mr. Boyington straightened it up for me. He then told our CO, "This Marine doesn't look well, can you get another Marine to replace him?" Another Marine took my place and I found a seat at the rear of the theater and observed the Ball from a distance. And today, I am still sick for not having pictures from that memorable Birthday Ball.

GySgt John D. FOSTER
Vietnam 1967 aand 68


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #6, #12 (DEC., 2016)

Thinking back over the past years I can think of many stories, but some are just normal daily occurrences on uncommon events and not worth keeping track of. Well, looking back through my records I found an entry that I had forgotten about from back in 1967 that authorized me to "turn up" the engines on the H-34's, for ground test purposes. This was while I was in HMMT-301 at Santa Ana. I guess I should explain this a little more in depth and then it'll make more sense, hopefully.

The H-34 had a 9 cylinder engine with the pistons placed in a circle or radial design. This circular design configuration caused several of the pistons to not be in a position to retain lubrication when the engine was not running. It was estimated that the engine oil would have a tendency to drain down and off the cylinder wall if the engine was not run in a 72 hour period. That meant that if the engine was not started within that period that it would be necessary to pump warm engine oil (preferred) into the cylinder areas to prevent metal to metal contact and possible premature failure of that particular engine, once it was started and run.

Now, what this all means is that the engines all had to be started at least once if they were to be static over a 72 hour period. Now, it also made sense that we really didn't need a Pilot to sit at home on a long weekend just for the sake of running into the Flight line to start up all those birds when you already had others with the experience and expertise to get the job done, and they were in the Duty Section anyway. As I remember, we had one man per Duty Section so, that was myself and one other Staff NCO in the squadron. If we had a three day weekend I'd set it up for a Sunday turn-up. I'd go in and get a crew and start at one end of the line and start one, lock down the controls and climb out, and move on to the next one. I would normally have three running at the same time and then go back to the first one and check temperatures, and shut that one down and Hop Scotch down the Flight Line until we got them all within the limits that were acceptable. As you can expect, we didn't have to do this very often, but there were occasions that we put everything into play. You also have to understand here that we were not allowed to engage the rotor system. This "turn -up" license was not applicable to Jet engines, once we got Helicopters with them for power.

He'd Have Liked That

For the Ol' Gunny... it's called "marketing"... brought to mind the classic example of the grocery supply company that got stuck with several carloads (train car... box car... etc. to us older types) of canned white salmon... grocers kept shipping it back, said it wouldn't sell... so the boss man had all the cans re-labeled "White Salmon... guaranteed not to turn pink in the can!" (coulda sold a couple more train loads if he'd had it...) (For those who think salmon is a piece of pricey fish found in restaurants... there was a time when 'pink salmon' was about $0.10 a #303 can... and a can and one tube of saltines became 'salmon croquettes'... not what you wanted to hear when you asked Mom 'What's for supper?'

For Bishel of Plt 379, MCRD SD '63... will be willing to bet you that Sgt Grubbs had the front handle of Larry, not Johnny, and you were most likely in India Company. At the time, I was on the other side of the row of heads and showers that separated I and K companies... and Sgt Grubbs and I both were transferred to Special Training Branch when it stood up in early '64. "Bro" Grubbs (more on that later) went to be a plank-holder in Correctional Custody, and I wound up at Motivation Platoon. We sort of took turns being the RTR HQ Co candidates for Meritorious Staff Sgt for about a year and a half. His lovely bride Belle, (there is nothing a married woman hates more than the concept of a happy bachelor) introduced me to the current wife (keeps 'em on their toes when you introduce them as 'the current')... which is why we have referred to Belle as 'our former friend'... for the around fifty years we've been married.

Grubbs got orders to VN before me... and I never did know his unit, although he was an 03. After his tour in VN, he returned to the grinder and STB, taught bayonet and hand-to-hand. He was injured from a fall from the bayonet instructor platform, and ultimately medically retired. Despite near-constant back pain, he raised four kids, ran a poker game in his garage (one of his regulars was a vice-squad cop... cop said he got a job ticket in his in-basket one day to check out a poker game at an address in San Diego... when he realized where the address was, he lost the ticket) The "Bro" came from a habit he picked up somewhere along the line... even called Belle "Honey Bro".

Sadly enough, cancer got him over ten years ago... I was the sole pallbearer for his cremains at the church service... Blues, medals, Sam Browne belt... as I picked up the urn in the anteroom to carry it to the altar area, it was surprisingly heavy... and I said, to no one in particular... "Bro... you've lost some weight... but you didn't lose much!"... I think he'd have liked that...


Lost and Found

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am hoping you can help me locate individuals from my service in the Marine Corps. I am searching for any members of Platoon 157 A Company, 1st Battalion, MCRD, San Diego, California, for the year 1960, months of July, August, and September.

Also, trying to get in touch with Senior Drill Instructor SSgt. Hunsinger (I think that is the correct spelling) from the same group.

Cell number for contact? It is: (818) 915-0818.

I truly appreciate your assistance.

Semper Fi
Doug Walker
1960 – 1966
U.S. Marine Corps

Short Rounds

Sgt Grit,

For Sgt Spike Berner; I was also a sea going Marine aboard the USS Forrestal Marine Detachment from July '73 to July '75. During my tour, Mod Blues (dress blue trousers with either long sleeve w/ field scarf or short sleeve tropical/khaki shirts depending on the orders of the day or the time of the year) was worn while we were in port. Utilities were the UD while we were at sea. Sorry to say, I believe, (at least the last that I had heard) that sea duty no longer exists. It was a great duty. Still keep in touch with those Marines including the commanding officer.

SSgt Bob Tollison

I recently found a dog tag of a Marine in the King of Prussia Mall area parking lot. Which is in King of Prussia, PA. It reads:

McMenamin, J
Mike 3/1

I can be reached at 484-802-2516 or pasquale[at]

Al Pasquale

To the person who did not remember what he did with the "Clip & two rounds". You fired the two rounds and quickly loaded a full clip of eight rounds to fill out the ten rounds fired at your target.

Ron S. '54-'56.

In 1957 at the 300 yards position using the M1 Grand rifle to qualify, a Marine was told to lock and load using a clip and two rounds. The two rounds were fired standing upright and using a sling and then followed by falling to the prone position and emptying the clip of eight rounds in rapid fire.

Marvin HaverKamp
Corporal of Marines
Semper Fi

Sgt. Grit,

Marine Corps birthday 1953 Camp Delmar 3rd Marine Amph, someone at the mess hall washed some of the turkeys with dish soap in our barracks. We all got the GI Sh-ts, Happy Birthday Marines.

Sgt. W.J. Pittman
'53 -'56

The Corps discontinued double-soled, heeled and steel taps on low quartered shoes in 1952 when my Gunny saw me with them.

USMC '52-'60

My most memorable Marine Corps Birthday was the one I missed. 10 November 1963, the day I got married, in Avon, Massachusetts. Except for duty overseas or a deployment, we haven't missed a one. This year we will be in Hawaii.

Happy Birthday to all and if you're as lucky as I am, Happy Anniversary.

Semper Fi
Jim Leonard

One birthday celebration that sticks in my mind was 1949 in Pittsburgh. The Marine Reserve Bn training there invited me to join them at the Pittsburgher Hotel along with the Recruiting Detachment. The ceremony proceeded by the book and all went well. But, within months the Battalion was on its' way to Korea where it lost most of its personnel in the Chosin campaign. Nine months later I was flying night missions out of K-1 Pusan as a part of VMF(N) 513.

WO 1 Robert Woodworth

Veteran's Day is just around the corner and I am hoping that I could get a plug on my book, Heroes From the Wall in your fine newsletter. The book includes 22 chapter-size biographies on some of the men that died in Vietnam. It is not about how they died, rather how they lived. Profits from sales are equally donated to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund and the Make a Wish Foundation. I am proud to say that Amazon and Barnes & Noble gave me a 5 star rating.

Semper Fi
John Douglas Foster
Echo 2/9
1967 & 1968


"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
--Frederic Bastiat

"To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war."
--Ludwig von Mises, [1949]

"Some people live their entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference to the world, But Marines don't have that problem"
--President Ronald Reagan

"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."
--Kurt Vonnegut

Note: Kinda like being a Marine I would say.
Sgt Grit

Dwight Eisenhower Quote

"I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem and that yard stick is: Is it good for America."
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower

"When I give you an EYES RIGHT I want to hear those eyeballs click! Do Not Move! I don't care if there's a bee on your eyeball maggot! Dig'em In, Dig'em In! Six to the front three to the rear!"

"Road Guards Out!"

"Didn't I tell you people you had your last laugh the first time you laid eyes on me?"

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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