Sgt Grit Newsletter - 02 OCT 2014

In this issue:
• Phantoms Forever
• Dangerously Gung Ho Lieutenant
• Dad Was A Grunt

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Great Grandson 1st Class Elijah in blues

Sgt. Grit,

On March 5, 1964, I became One of The Few, One of The Proud, A United States Marine. 50 years later, and with a little help from Sgt. Grit, I would like to Present My Great-Grandson 1st Class Elijah James Yezzo... Semper Fi! Gung Ho...

Robert Sabolchick

Get this awesome set at:

Dress Blues Baby 2 Piece Set

Dress Blues Baby 2 Piece Set

Smiling As I Write

Wake Up Call For The Swabs: This is regarding the submission from Sgt. Grit about the Navy boot camp being next to MCRD in the '60s. Ddick was talking about "triggers" and this was really one for me.

One morning toward the end of 1960 at about 0'dark-thirty we were marched to the fence at the end of the run way separating MCRD from the Navy boot camp and ordered to sing at the top of lungs our most revered hymn. The Swabs were all still nestled in their racks and as we sang the lights started to come on and they began shouting. Our bandy rooster junior DI was marching back and forth in front of the platoon pumping his arm (Full Metal Jacket) and singing along with us his favorite song. The Swabs were totally p-ssed but we were exhilarated for the rest of the day! I'm smiling as I write this!

Cpl. Selders
MCRD '60

Phantoms Forever

I was an ordnanceman on the F4 in 1975. The F-4's that were stationed at MCAS El Toro, CA were F-4 N's and RF-4 B's. None of which were in camouflage. All of them were a shiny gray color with colorful squadron logo's and call letters displayed on their tails. I transferred to Beaufort, SC in 1977 where the F-4 squadrons all flew F-4 J models. Those F-4's were all painted the same way. In 1978, right after the movie "The Great Santini" aka "The Ace" starring Robert Duvall was recorded in Beaufort, I joined the Checkerboards, VMFA-312, the squadron portrait in the movie. We did a West-Pac tour in 1979 and we either started to swap out our F-4 J's to F-4 Super J's after that West-Pac or the following one. The F-4 Super J's and then soon after, F-4 S's were painted a flat gray/blue camouflage. This was the first of my knowledge that the F-4 Phantom was painted in a camouflage scheme and stayed that way until they were retired.

I was fortunate to go on to Yuma, AZ assigned to VMFAT-101 and continue with the F-4's after an instructor assignment at NAS Memphis, TN. While in Yuma, we started to send the F-4's to mothballs prior to the Squadron moving to MCAS El Toro and transition to F-18's. I then transferred to an A-4 squadron VMA-211 to do another West-Pac and assist in the squadron transfer from MCAS El Toro to MCAS Yuma via the West-Pac tour. Soon after we returned from West-Pac, I was reassigned to MWWU-3 for 42 months before I received orders to the last Marine F-4 squadron. In 1991, I was assigned to VMFA-112, known as the Dallas Cowboys at NAS Dallas, TX. It was great to be back with Phantom again.

Unfortunately, the F-4 Phantom was retired from the Marine Corps a year and a half before I was. The F-4 Phantom retired from the Marine Corps in 1993 at NAS Dallas, TX. In 1995, I followed close behind. A lot of my blood and sweat were left on many a F-4 and it was an honor to serve as many years as I did with all of them, but most of all, all of my Marine brothers and sisters that I was also honored to have worked with. IYAOYAS!

Daemon R, "Doc" Butts
GySgt USMC Ret.
VMFA-531, VMFP-3, VMFA-451, VMFA-312, VMFAT-101, VMA-211 and VMFA-112

Old Corps King Diner Mug

Dangerously Gung Ho Lieutenant

I was in my 12th month in Nam, dreaming of that freedom bird. 1970 and Charlie 1/5 was working in the Khe Son mountains. We had been out humping the boonies for about 3/4 days and a chopper drops off the new 1st platoon lieutenant.

He was green as grass and dangerously gung ho. As the platoon sergeant it was up to me to try and educate this guy before he got a bunch of us wounded or worse.

We were scheduled for a patrol through an area that the day before gave up a cache of Chicom weapons, rockets, grenades and a few American M-60s. I would love to know how those guns wound up in that cave. Anyway, we were all a little on edge anyway and now we have to deal with "John Wayne" as our new looey.

We spent the morning snooping and pooping going up and down well used trails. Everyone is on high alert. The point man finds a booby trapped grenade. The new lieutenant grabs the grenade and winds up like Bob Gibson ready to throw a fast ball. I screamed at him to stop. He did. I then tried to explain to him that the VC will take the delay out of a booby trapped grenade so the detonation is almost immediate. He is adamant that he is going to toss that grenade. WTF. I backed the rest of the platoon away from any kill zone. The man tosses out the grenade and it immediately blows tearing a hole in his arm. He lucked out. He should have been killed.

Now for the good part of the story. We called in a medevac. The ground was too steep for the bird to land. The crew chief tossed out a stretcher that was designed to winch into the chopper. We had never seen one of these. It took a while, but we finally got the lieutenant secured into the stretcher. Just as my radio man brought over the ring to secure the stretcher to the chopper, we looked at each other, smiled, and hooked the stretcher up backwards so the rider was riding upside down. We gave the word to the pilot and the CH-46 took off straight up. We never saw that looey again so I could not ask him what the ride was like. I hoped it scared the sh-t out of him. Last we heard he was pushing paper at division.

Sgt Robert Hougher

Dad Was A Grunt

Shopping at BJs in Tilton, NH recently. Guy at Verizon concession in the store - maybe mid-forties - had an EGA polo shirt on so of course I give him a big Semper Fi. No response from the maggot. Maggie's Drawers pop up in my head... let's see who this puke really is. I start talking to him about the Corps and he tells me he was with the 2nd Force Recon. Great outfit I replied. He goes on to tell me he was based in Texas. Really? 2nd Force Recon in Texas? Asked him where and he tells me: "They wouldn't tell us the name of the base due to our upcoming classified mission in Bolivia." Bolivia? By this time I'm just seething. Asked him about his MOS. Said he had two but they were also classified.

That did it. I went off on this puke and proceeded to tell him what I thought of him and his cr-p. Attracted quite a bit of attention. Customer Service manager comes up and asks me to tone it down and wants to know the issue so I lay it out in no uncertain terms. Turns out there's not much she can do because the Verizon folks work for Verizon and not the store. I get the Verizon managers name and number and chat up the dear fellow. Nice guy, tells me his dad was a Grunt in Nam and he completely understood; said he take care of it.

Funny thing. I can't find that lowlife jackazs at the store anymore. Imagine that.

Gerry Zanzalari
Corporal of Marines
1966 - 1970
RVN 1968 - 1969


man posing as a Marine

This is an image that was created sometime back for the Sgt Grit Facebook page. The image is of an actual poser with the added text "I don't always pretend to be a Marines... But when I do, I make it so obvious that I am a poser that every Marine wants to kick my a**".

Check out the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.

God Loves Marines

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Someone asked me one time; "Dave, what is all this OoRah! stuff and fist bumps etc..." I replied and later posted those thoughts on my FB page... I thought you'd be interested in what I said... I believe it with all that is in me.

I wrote: "Truthfully... something happens to us. We find a oneness in purpose and a union of brotherhood in that we are never... never alone and everything done, is a life and death experience, whether or not it is at the moment. It may be or happen, when you least expect it. This serious commitment to a force, larger than the one, is something that never leaves us and we find a truth of the family of Marines in our simple motto; "Semper Fidelis"... ALWAYS Faithful, to our God, Country and Corps, in that order... then comes mom, apple pie and Chevrolet;... it is a way of life. I never expected I would see a need for that, until this decade... and it is simply there... and with all we have (even at my age) I know we will be there to face it. God loves Marines because we are steady, true and faithful to those precepts."

Semper Fi,
Dave Selvy
old Marine (NEVER ex.)

Well-Oiled Green Amphibious Machine

In the 18 Sept 14 edition, Sgt Grit mentions the Navy boot camp located near MCRD San Diego during the 1960's... Yes, it did exist, located about a half mile due west of MCRD. It was visible - when we weren't running or doing push-ups, which was rare - from the road near the old obstacle course at the 'back' of MCRD by the bay. The facility, opened in 1923 and closed around 1993, was the West Coast Naval Training Center [NTC].

During September-December 1961, I was in Platoon 371. At some late point in training, a number of recruit platoons were directed to attend a football game somewhere in San Diego (the fine details are today a blur, as were most boot camp events, so I take literary license for this sea story) and we sat in bleachers opposite a mob of Navy recruits. Of course, the heckling of the swabbies was incessant. That was more fun than any mere football game.

After the game ended, the sailors were being marched off to cattle-cars and crossed the playing field. 'Marched' is too strong a word, as their arms were swinging wildly, they were out of step and, bluntly put, "made Hogan's goat look like a precision instrument" (an oft-cited description used by my Jr DI, Sgt Perry.) The Marine recruits (privates or maggots, you choose) let out a massive roar of scorn certainly heard all the way to Oceanside...

When we marched off, we were 'six to the front, three to the rear', a full 30-inch step, and moved like a well-oiled green amphibious machine, hitting every pivot-point with precision. Upon returning 'home' to our Quonset huts, we received the only praise we'd hear from our Senior DI, SSGT AB Polk, until graduation as Honor Platoon on 7 December 61: "You people made me proud today; you might even make a pimple on a real Marine's arz someday."

First Ever Reunion

mice partaking of alcoholic beverages

This image was created for the Sgt Grit Facebook page. It features some mice partaking of some adult beverages with the added text "Scuttlebutt Breaking News... The 1st Ever Marine Corps House Mouse Reunion... It'll Never Happen".

Check out the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.

Saturday Morning Over Iwo Jima

Bill Knowles, Green Valley News & Sun and The Sahuarita Sun.

Off and on during my adult years I have associated with members of the United States Marine Corps and these short interludes have been worthwhile in all respects; most recently I have shared a mutual volunteer chore with a retired member of the Marines, a local guy by the name of Master Gunny Bob Duerden. Another great member of the "Corps."

For Bob and the rest of our local retired Marines, here is a story about 165 Marines on their way to war!

During the years 1963 to 1971, I had the privilege of managing the flight operation of a 13-plane fleet of Boeing 320C aircraft carrying troops and/or cargo from United States shores to SE Asia and the war known as Vietnam. When carrying Marines, our flights progressed from the USMC base at Pendleton, in Southern California, to Honolulu thence to the Marine base in Okinawa and then to Da Nang in Vietnam, where the Marines would board their own helicopters to proceed to their in-country posts.

It was a typical lovely Sunday that we departed Honolulu bound for Okinawa; there were three cockpit crew members, eight cabin flight attendants and 165 members of the USMC in this gold-tailed Boeing 320C Intercontinental jet capable of flying nonstop some 13 hours and more than 6,000 miles.

Over the Pacific Ocean the skies were clear and the ride was smooth... most of our passengers quickly fell asleep. Some seven hours later, a smidgen of light coming up on our tail suggested the arrival of the morning sunrise; I called the first flight attendant to the cockpit and asked about the well-being of the passengers and when she was planning to awaken them for their breakfast.

"We have a small gift for the Marines coming up in 20 minutes but I need them all to be awake."

She answered that she would awaken them now and serve breakfast when I advised her.

During flight planning, before departure from Honolulu, the en route winds and weather suggested a route that took us directly over the islands of Iwo Jima — these islands were deeply etched in the history of the USMC in World War II — and forecast winds would result in a flight faster than the normal for this route.

I called the first flight attendant on the intercom and advised her that I would be making a PA to the passengers in about 10 minutes and that after that please do not serve any beverages until we had passed Iwo Jima. A short time later our weather radar picked up the Iwo Jima Islands on the nose 40 miles ahead; I made the following PA to the passengers: "Gentlemen, I hope that you have been comfortable... we are ahead of schedule and we have a small gift for you this morning... in about 12 minutes we will pass directly over the islands of Iwo Jima where earlier members of your Marines fought so gallantly in World War II. We will circle the islands two ways so that all of you will have a great view of the islands.

The Pacific Ocean six miles below was glassy smooth and deep blue, it was an outstanding morning.

As we started our circle of the islands below, the first flight attendant came into the cockpit saying, "Captain, look back through the cockpit door at the passengers." She opened wide the cockpit door.

The First Sergeant had every Marine aboard standing up, at attention and these 165 proud warriors were singing the Marines' Hymn as we passed over these Iwo Jima Islands where so many of their brothers had earlier fallen.

The cabin of the aircraft had taken on all those qualities of a land-based church; I really do not think that, including the cockpit, there wasn't a dry eye aboard this flight, on this morning, so far from home. The hymn from 165 Marine voices reached every nook and cranny of this largest of Boeing aircraft on this peaceful morning... never to be forgotten.

Later arriving at Okinawa, where the Marines would spend a week or so before heading for Da Nang to join their fellow Marines, as our crew descended the steps after the passengers had proceeded us, we heard a great "Thank you, crew" from 165 proud Marines. It was a gratifying moment!

Of 157 flights across the Pacific, that particular trip — with 165 of the nation's finest – will live forever in the memory of this flight crew member.

Nothing More

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to respond to the Marine who signed himself as "A Former Hat, GySgt, USMC, (Ret)" (No name).

In the September 10 issue of Sgt. Grit, I had written asking two questions; (1) Why was the sea-going dip in our barracks cover phased out? (2) Why did they change from the split streamer to a single streamer on today's EGA? That's it. Nothing more.

By your leave, Gunny, but I am fully aware that the many changes and revisions in the Corps are for reasons of safety, security, modernization, cost, uniformity, discipline, ease of care and so on. I'm also aware Marines used swords, muskets, Trapdoor Springfield's and muzzle-loading, smooth-bore cannons. I am aware too, that our uniform once consisted of a British Tri-corn, a French kepi, and the British steel "doughboy" helmet. As much as I am partial to the old M-1 Garand, the M-14 or even the '03 Springfield, it would be foolhardy to send Marines into modern warfare with those antiquated weapons. I wouldn't even suggest it as I am now long past my warrior days. So are you. Nor was I seeking a gung-ho, tightening-up lecture, Gunny, I was simply asking if anyone knew why they changed those two things? I am also fully aware that Marines are Marines, no matter what they wear. I was neither condemning nor criticizing the Corps but had just two questions: (1) Why did they phase out the sea-going dip in our barracks cover? (2) Why did they change from the split streamer to a single streamer on today's EGA?

Nothing more.

Semper Fi,
J. Wise

Popular Song

I went through boot camp in 1961 like L/Cpl Edwin O'Keefe who wrote about SWAK and at that time it must have been one of the in acronyms written on the outside of the envelope. I think it was adapted from the line of a song popular at the time with we young set.

The one I remember was as read by the DI "delibber de letter de sooner de better".

The outside envelope addendums happened in early stages because as someone said, you quickly got the word out to the home front... don't put sh-t on the outside of the envelope!

More memorable were the couple of unfortunates who got packages... e.g. cookies or peanuts...

Before I left for PI, I gave everyone instructions... Do Not Send Me Stuff!

I think I got some good advice from a Marine to do so. And was I glad that everyone took my request to heart.

Cpl Don Harkness

Decorated Camo

A Marine with the 3rd Marine Regiment in Vietnam that had decorated both his helmet and flack jacket.

Photo by GySgt Gus Apsitis
Courtesy of the National Archives

Marine in Vietnam with written messages on his helmet and flak jacket

You're a Sadist

Sgt. Grit,

In the 16 Sept. News Letter was a bit about Gene Stoner and the "Black Rifle". As I was the Chief Armorer for the M16 Project at Camp Lejeune I was in contact with Gene Stoner several times. I asked for a "Mad Minute" which is used in testing all types of Machine Guns. They gave me the "Mad Minute", Gene Stoner was there when I did it.

During the Mad Minute I had the loaded magazines in a bucket of Water, pulling the magazines out of the water and firing the mag empty, inserting another mag and keep going until the minute is up. The first minute lasted about 45 seconds as the AR15/M16 barrel was bulged so bad the front sight was leaning forward. So I started the next Mad Minute with a new rifle. Colt had authorized it so getting what I wanted was no problem.

In trying to create the adverse problems we experienced in WWII, firing from a fox hole full of water and all that. I also asked to throw an M1 Garand, an M14 and an AR15/M16 in the surf, pull them out in a few minutes, open the action, dump the magazine out slosh the rifle around in the water to wash as much sand out of the Action as we could. We then loaded a fresh magazine and fired the rifles, the M1 fired and had to have the bolt kicked shut and fired again and again, it worked and continued to work. Same with the M14 and the AR15/M16 was fired but once as the sand jammed into the aircraft aluminum frame by the bolt and the rifle had to be taken apart to clear it.

Now some people might think all this was unnecessary but many landings in the Pacific and in Europe the rifles got dropped into the water and had to be scooped up out of the water, washed out as best you could to fire the rifle and continue the Mission. Gene Stoner thought it was a bit over the hill and called me (in a jest way) "You're a Sadist".

Now I understand it was his baby but we should have been testing the 7.62 mode also, I was proven right in my rough treatment as we went to Vietnam a short time later and the rough treatment did nothing to prevent the rifle from being adopted. The Air Force had adopted it a year before and with the Army and Marine Corps testing it, MacNamara, secretary of Defense said there will be only one weapons system in the United States Defense Department (Vietnam Vets, remember the MacNamara line in Vietnam?). So here we are today with modifications up the ying yang now it's called an M4 and does its job, as I hear no complaints.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC

Greatest Writer Of All Time

As a Marine MSgt, I agree with the sentiment and inspiration of your quote at the end of the 9/17/2014 newsletter with the Fallujah graphics; however, as an English Major, it is unconscionable to omit attribution of one of the most memorable (and inspiring) quotes from one who was arguably the greatest writer of all time, while giving attribution to all your other quotes.

Wm. Shakespeare - The Lives of Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3

- King Henry V -

"What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour As one man more, methinks, would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

At the risk of sounding condescending (might have happened, once or twice in my life), it seems condescending to paraphrase the above passage (even to put on a t-shirt). Without attribution, it is taking credit for someone else's work (Wow, when has that ever happened in the history of the Marine Corps?)

Also, you are giving short shrift to parts of this piece that should resonate with fellow Marines.

"If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

If it works, there's too many to share the honor, and, if it fails, not enough to blame. Further:

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition:

We have all served with Marines whose antecedents may be questionable, but stress and success may bring out the best in all of us.

As they say at the poker table, if you can't tell who the donkey is, it is probably you.

Sorry for the pedantic tone, but we are Marines, and while we may requisition words of inspiration, we should always acknowledge their provenance.

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

Marine Corps Facts

A MARINE and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.

Most MARINES have a grizzly bear carpet in their room. The bear isn't dead; it's just afraid to move.

The MARINES have already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life.

Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell MARINE CORPS stories.

A MARINE can cut through a hot knife with butter.

Death once had a near-MARINE experience.

The MARINES are the reason why Waldo is hiding.

A MARINE can slam a revolving door.

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for US MARINES.

A MARINE once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as Giraffes.

A MARINE once got bit by a rattle snake... After three days of pain and agony... the rattle snake died.

When A MARINE does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

When a MARINE throws you into a bottomless pit, you hit the bottom.

A MARINE does not sleep. He waits.

A MARINE once made a Happy Meal cry.

You NEVER slap a MARINE.

A MARINE called 911 to order Chinese food and got it...

Guns are warned not to play with the MARINES.

A MARINE can give aspirin a headache.


(VOL #10, #2)

I returned to the hotel, got out of the hot Dress Blues and put on a pair of swim trunks to go out to the pool. I swam around for a while and went in to change into something I could wear into the dining room. I went down for something light; had a great turkey club sandwich and an iced tea. I returned to my room, showered and turned in for the night. I planned to leave for home when I arose in the morning. I slept like a log until 0500. I took another shower, got dressed and checked out before 0600. I was on my way home - 600 miles away. I drove a little faster than I did on my way west to Richmond. I planned to make it home by 1800. My first stop, for breakfast, was at the same place Mary and I had stopped the previous Thursday morning. It was quite good. I was back on the road. After I passed Columbus I pulled into a gas station to fill the tank. This would get me to the Midway on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I don't think the car came to a complete stop until I reached that point. It was just after 1300 when I pulled into the Midway. I filled the tank, checked everything else and went into the restaurant for my last meal before I would be home. I started out on the final leg of this trip just before 1400. I had just four hours to cover about 225 miles. I was on schedule.

I arrived at Mary's house where I had been staying while my Mom & Dad were on their extended vacation around the United States at 1755... just 5 minutes ahead of schedule. The 'B's were happy to see me. They had just finished dinner and asked if I was hungry. I was really starving but said "No, I'll pass this time." They wanted to hear all about my trip - and Mary's entrance into Earlham. I told them everything; where we stopped Wednesday evening; about Mary turning the check in at the Admissions Office; and where we stayed Thursday and Friday night. I told them about taking Mary to The Hollyhock Hill restaurant in Indianapolis. Mrs.'B' said "That must be a very special place - to drive 75 miles each way for dinner." Mr.'B' said "They must serve some d-mned good food. I would never drive that far to eat. I'd starve to death first." When I told them about my Sunday surprise for Mary they thought that was great. Mr.'B' said "If we had taken her to the college we would have left on Friday, dumped her off on Saturday and returned home on Sunday." Mrs.'B' said "There you go again - saying stupid things. You know quite well that it would not have been that way." He started laughing his head off again. Then he said "Well Harold, I have some good news for you. Do you by any chance remember picking up the newspaper when we were leaving for the beach?" I said "Yes." He asked "Did you by any chance read any of it?" I said "I glanced at the front page." He asked "Do you remember any of what you read?" I thought about this for a moment and said "Yes, I vaguely remember it said something about The Hemlocks being sold." He said "That's it! One of the girls in my firm had written a contract on that property. And while we were in O.C. it was finalized. The sellers then bought a home in Moorestown - through our firm - and moved into their new home while we were still in O.C.

I am sure you are wondering what this all means to you. Well, I'll tell you. It was an all cash transaction and it was your parents that purchased 'The Hemlocks'. They moved in while you were on your trip to Richmond. What do you think of that?" I was speechless. There had been much in the press about that property during the process to build the New Jersey Turnpike - which had cut straight thru that property - cutting it into 2 separate parcels.

Semper Fi... The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.

Clever NVA Devils

Marines During Operation Hastings

Those of us of certain ages, and who were mostly, somewhat, or just occasionally 'in the rear with the gear and the beer and the Generals in Viet Nam' may recall, along with the Stars and Stripes, and Navy Times, a freebie 'newspaper' entitled 'The Sea Tiger'... didn't think about it at the time, but the 'Sea' may have been some PAO's cutesy idea for 'South East Asia'. (Marine Corps Times, as a separate entity, didn't come along until later... I'm guessing in the 1980's or later...) This publication was of the same size and format as the others, and covered mostly items for and about IIIMAF (Third Marine Amphibious Force). In any field of endeavor, there are those who 'know'... and those who THINK they know... To the point, in July of '66, we (K/3/5) along with a whole bunch of other units, were involved in Operation Hastings. History buffs will recognize the tie to the (English) Battle of Hastings... some 900 years earlier... and either from unintentional irony, or cleverness on some G-3's part, the name was chosen... maybe because the Commanding General of the forces involved was General English...

We had come ashore earlier in Operation Deckhouse II, being from the SLF (Special Landing Force), and segued (great word, that... learned from watching Johnny Carson) into Hastings. A day or so in, without much contact, we were moving through tertiary (3-layer) jungle, and came upon some NVA gear... initially, just some 'chogie poles' and some spun aluminum cooking pans. The word was passed back, and instructions to move on through, then hold up came back up from the CP group, as the Skipper wanted to exam this find. One of the curiouser items in this collection were the hand-made separators between the various size pans, which were made to 'nest' inside the others, and the whole stack enclosed by some lashing... one stack to each end of the chogie pole. These separators were about 3 inches in diameter, woven of rattan in a circle, with what looked like two popsicle sticks in a cross arrangement inside the circle. The way everything fit, it was pretty obvious that this was some ol' country boy's version of an anti-rattle device to keep those pots and pans quiet when on the move. (A bit latter, one of the 1st Platoon's flankers found what turned out to be an entire NVA 320B Division battalion's cache of haversacks... another story for another time on the contents thereof)... which brings us back to the Sea Tiger later on... prominent on the front page was a picture of a Marine with a captured AK-47... holding one of those ring with a cross inside pot separators over the barrel... and the blurb said those clever NVA devils had devised a simple sight device for anti-aircraft fire!... Could be, but I'd think in the middle of the Bn mess kit would be an odd place to tote one's anti-aircraft sights... will admit, the gizmo had some slight similarity to the ring sights on the AA guns on ships, but actually using it by holding it while firing from the shoulder was a bit of a stretch...

The picture was originally shot in B/W with a 'half-frame' camera, which used 35MM film, but took two pictures per frame. The camera looked to be stainless steel, and was small enough to fit in a utlity blouse pocket. It belonged to (then) 2nd Lt Robert Rosenau (on the right of the tree), and the picture was taken during Operation Hastings. One of the Marines in the background I can identify only as 'Ben', and I think he was of Cuban extraction. Rosie and I are using my pocket saw, which was a gnarly sharp piece of wire with teeth on it, and a ring on each end (much like a grenade ring). It could be coiled up and carried quite handily. We are cutting timbers to make a roof over our hole... having gotten into sort of a contest in the platoon to see who could come up with the most elaborate position. The round boonie covers in the picture until a few days earlier, had belonged to some North Vietnamesse Army grunts...



Ott, Charles

Charles Robert Ott was born to Marinus Ott and Edna White on Feb. 15, 1924 in Paterson, N.J. At the age of 4, Charles, his sister Dorthy, brother Daniel and his mother went to live with his grandparents, Daniel and Katie White. Charles lived in his grandparents' home until he graduated from Lodi High and enlisted in the Navy during World War II. Chuck became a fighting Seabee. He ran and maintained bulldozers, turnapoles and other heavy equipment when the equipment was controlled by steering brakes. Chuck was in the 121st Naval Construction Battalion. On May 10, 1943, it was re-designated 3rd Battalion, 20th Regiment, 4th Marine Division. In invasions, Chuck was part of an eight-man BAR Squad that consisted of four gunners who carried and used this heavy gun; and four ammunition carriers that carried two bandoliers. Gunners only carried one. Assigned to the Pacific, Chuck participated in invasions in the Marshall Islands. After securing Roi and Namur, Japanese bombers returned -- and almost all supplies were lost. Chuck lost 30 pounds eating Japanese rice. Large men lost as much as 60 pounds before new supplies arrived.

In the Saipan, Chuck's ammunition carrier took a direct hit from a mortar and was killed. Chuck was wounded. After being rescued by an Army tank crew, Chuck spent three months in a hospital in Honolulu. He asked to be reassigned to his unit and was sent to Tinian. When he got there, he found that his unit had been shipped home. However, while he was on Tinian, he saw a strange-looking B-52, i.e. Enola Gay, take off. The war was over. The Navy offered him the rank of chief to re-enlist. But being lonely and weary of war, Chuck returned to the United States and his grandparents' home. Along with an honorable discharge from the Navy, Chuck was awarded: Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon Two Stars, Presidential Citation One Star, Purple Heart, Letter of Commendation, Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, American Theatre.

Rest In Peace!

Short Rounds

Five of the eight men to be awarded two Medals of Honor are U.S. Marines.

They are:

Smedley D. Butler
Daniel J. Daily
Louis Cukela
Joseph King
John H. Pruitt

I found the story about LtGen. Cheatham to be disrespectful! Since when do you refer to an officer by his first name. Whether his decision right or wrong is in no way for a "Marine" to be disrespectful.

As I am sure Mr. Wear is aware, during intense combat, not all decisions are made correctly or to the satisfaction of everyone concerned.

Joe Henderson
Sgt. USMC.


Marcus Aurelius Quote

"Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one."
--Marcus Aurelius

"We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us."
--Vladimir Lenin

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
--James Madison, 1792

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!"
--Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, US Army

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
--George Orwell

"The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
--Colin Powell

"Flip flop, hippity hop, mob stop!"

"You people are a herd, I would call you a mob, but a mob has a leader."

"Road guards out!"

"House mouse to the duty hut!"

God Bless the American Dream!
Sgt Grit

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