Added some of your stickers (decals?) to my Jimmy... I was in Gitmo Bay October - December 1962...
Life At War
One of the best times of being a Ordnance Man is when you take ordnance material back from the front lines to a rear Area where it will be repaired. In Korea, at the Punch Bowl, we took some tanks back to Masan, Korea where 1st Combat Service Group was. I was appointed one of the Train Guards and got to ride the train all the way back. Now as there were Guerrillas about we sometimes rode inside the tanks (mostly just for something to do) but when the train stopped to refuel coal and water we had the luxury of using the steam let off pipe to warm our "C's". We put them in an empty water expeditionary can and pulled the can up over the steam let off pipe. Then the engineer turned on the steam and heated our rations so hot we had to wait to open them. I took advantage of being a Train Guard by having my picture taken with the engineer (of course, he didn't want anything to do with it and sat on top). Korea was the first time, as I recall, it was legal to carry a camera, you weren't supposed to in WWII but guys did any way. I can still remember the bullets zinging off after hitting the Tank. How easy it was to enjoy the little things in life at War!
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
In The Best Military Decorum
Having made many amphibious landings via the dreaded cargo net descent, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, in late 1959, all of 1960 and part of 1961, the one landing that stands out in my memory, is the landing on Kodiak Island in operation Totem Pole, November 1959.
As a member of the weapons platoon, I was a gunner on the 3.5 rocket launcher and was attached to the 1st platoon. We had been instructed by our platoon leader Lt. Robert Crabtree, a Marine's Marine,(Mustang) that we were to carry our launchers at sling arms down the cargo nets at the disembarkation station. The machine gunners were to send the .30 cals down via a line.
At zero-30 dark as h-ll hours we were in the first wave, therefore the first at the disembarkation station. The Navy Ensign at the station told me to lay my launcher on the deck. The Navy would tie it to the line and it would be lowered to the landing craft. I informed him that my orders were to carry the launcher down the net. His response was typical of an Ensign on his first maneuver, "I am ordering you to have it lowered with the machine guns."
A few minutes later as I was about half way down the net, I heard people yelling "heads up". A second later, even though it was dark outside I saw a 3.5 rocket launcher falling into the Bering Sea. I turned to a squad leader of first platoon, who happen to be to my right and I said, "Corporal I will give you 3 guesses whose launcher that was." Of course I was correct.
Returning to Camp Pendleton later that year, my squad leader and I were ordered to Battalion Headquarters for an inquiry on what had happened to my launcher. The Captain holding the inquiry insinuated because it was my launcher that was missing, I could possibly be responsible to pay for it. In the best military decorum that I could muster, I told the Captain that I followed orders of the Ensign and with all due respect the Ensign's pay was bigger than mine and the Marine Corps would get their money for the launcher faster from his pay. Never heard another word about the incident. I might add that in all subsequent landings we carried our launchers at sling arms down the nets.
Floyd White 1860xxx
I Remember Never Being So Happy
In response to Billy Myers letter in the last newsletter of 6-25 and Junior Helmers from the Newsletter of 6-18-14: The entire year, save December of 1969, I had the distinct honor of serving with HQ 11th Marines. In addition to 'The Grit', I count Junior Helmers among the friends I made in 1968 and 1969. Another dozen or so are also weekly readers of the Newsletter. Many of us, especially those who stood watch in the FDC, knew Lt. Brophy. I had the distinct HONOR of seeing him fly over my forward position on Band Hill the morning of 23 Feb 69. He and his Army WO Pilot and Army Gunner flew over our POS, quickly followed by a Gunship, and they gently rocked their rotors to let us know they saw us and were there to take care of the 6 of us.
The night before was the very first time I saw combat and it was the most frightening night, no make that the event of my life. I remember never being so happy as I was the morning of the 23rd. The first color I saw that day was a yellow flower. I picked it, put it in my helmet band, and I still have that flower to this day.
A month later I met Grit (I think Junior was already busy playing basketball with me) and some other dear dear friends who remain in constant contact over all the years.
Lt. Brophy was a real cut-up. Quick with a smile and quip. As mentioned, quite a few of us saw him almost daily in the FDC.
I just am still searching for the truth as to how, on or about 28Sept69 WO-1, Rennie (USA) 'lost' his LOH. Smile! It just vanished, but returned a day or so later. I seem to remember that there was a Mr. Butz involved in that disappearance as well.
OH, the good old days. I bet we all have some funny 'war' stories.
Independence Day Special
Stop by our showroom in Oklahoma City through Saturday, July 5th and receive a $10 gift certificate towards a future purchase when you spend $40 or more on your order. The gift certificate has no expiration date, but will not be valid until Monday, July 7, 2014.
This Mustang... Somewhat A Maverick
I recently was informed that Richard O. Culver has passed away at age 77. He was a career Marine and rose up through the ranks to become an officer. This "Mustang" was a colorful and outspoken character whose views often got him into trouble. I got to know him as he graciously agreed to let me interview him as I was putting together my latest book, "Marines, Medals and Vietnam". Major Culver served three consecutive tours in Vietnam that included the years 1966 to 1968. He was featured in the late Keith William Nolan's great book about Operation Buffalo which occurred in July of 1967. Culver was the commanding officer of H/2/3 during this action and earned the Silver Star.
Culver was somewhat a "Maverick" and he frequently expressed his disdain for the M-16 rifle that was forced upon the Marines in the early spring of 1967. The early ones simply did not function well in combat and cost many Marines their lives. My book contains a chapter about the problems of the M-16 in which Dick Culver is the major contributor. He hated that rifle and finally came to the conclusion that even the much improved current ones are nothing more than a "varmint rifle".
Major Culver spent his final years roughing it on a small ranch near Couer d'Alene, Idaho.
Rest in peace Marine for you surely earned it.
William L. "Billy" Myers
Easiest Job On Mess Duty
Enlisted ranks from E-1 to E-3 were subject to 90 days of extra duty detail a year in 30 day segments. These extra details were mess duty, guard duty, and barracks detail. Thirty days of guard duty at Kaneohe meant you would be assigned to the guard barracks and issued a .45 or riot gun to walk patrol around certain facilities such as the hangars at night or the special weapons depot. On barracks detail you would be assigned janitorial duty in your barracks for thirty days. The most odious of these extra duties was thirty days of mess duty... my number came up for thirty days mess duty.
As a mess man, morning muster was at 0400 which meant reveille was at 0300, and the work day went until 2000, seven days a week under the supervision of a mess sergeant. We were not allowed to quit for the day until the mess sergeant inspected the final clean up. This could stretch quitting time to much later. The work was dirty and unrelenting with hardly a break.
Our duties consisted of food preparation and clean up of three meals a day for the troops on the air wing side of the base. My first assignment was to the pot shack. As the name implies, this was where the pots and pans got scrubbed. One night, after the last meal and we were cleaning up, a late arriving group showed up for chow, the base basketball team just back from a local tournament. The mess sergeant had to open the doors for them, but we had already cleared the food from the serving carts. Most of the left-over food had been dumped into garbage cans and moved to the loading docks for trash disposal. The mess sergeant ordered us to open the garbage cans, sort through the slop, and spoon it back onto the serving trays for the late arrivals. They never knew what they were eating. This incident actually was very fortunate for me as it led to an easiest job on mess duty.
The absolute worst job in the pot shack was cleaning the large, flat pans used when they served fried chicken. It took major elbow grease to clean off the baked and hardened pieces of chicken and batter that stuck to the pans and utensils. One day after one of these meals, I had finally finished the cleaning job and called the mess sergeant over for inspection. This was the same sergeant who ordered slop to be fed to the late arrivals. He went over each pan and utensil before he found a microscopic piece of fried chicken stuck to a pair of tongs. He ranted and raged as if I were trying to poison the troops and told me to start all over cleaning every pan and utensil in the building. By now I was pretty salty and determined that I was not going to be intimidated by this guy, so I reminded him of his serving of slop from the garbage and strongly suggested that he reconsider his orders to me as the officer of the day would be very interested in the story. He stepped back a bit and told me to secure and go back to the barracks without doing what he had ordered. Next day he reassigned me to be the outside man, the best job in the mess hall, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges in the fresh air and sunshine. I was lucky enough to never get another extra detail duty after that!
Cpl. Norm Spilleth
1960 - 1964
Holier Than Thou
In reply to "A Sad Story" about a draftee tricked into the Marine Corps. Remember, it doesn't matter how you got sent to boot camp, we all had to EARN the title MARINE. I served with enlisted, fellow draftees and court ordered MARINES. They are all MARINES. Many a draftee, due to only 2 years of service were grunts and did much of the fighting in Viet Nam. I know at least 5 who served with me who are on the wall and a fellow draftee, Walt Stevens, Sgt, 1/9, who earned the Silver Star. I was 0311 and earned the Combat Action Ribbon among others. The Viet Cong and NVA didn't really care how I got there. The recruiter, who I knew from the same neighborhood and knew I was being drafted picked four of us, two volunteered and only one of the volunteers was chosen. I was picked because I had talked to him about enlisting but didn't like the 3 or 4 year stint.
We have a little too much "Holier than Thou" attitude going around from time to time. We are all Marines who served where the Marine Corps thought we were needed. It doesn't matter if you were a grunt, air wing, sea going, headquarters, clerk or recon. Let's stick together and save our criticism for the others.
J Kanavy, Cpl. USMC
Marine Ink Of The Week
1 Oorah! My tribute to my time in Iraq.
Submitted by Bart Kirchner
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Noise And Hearing
Seen some articles about hearing loss. These stories are true.
I was in 4.2 mortars for three years and most of it was as a gunner. Two of use would be only about a foot away from the blast. No hearing protection in 1953. Needless to say, hearing gone, a roaring sound all the time. But it just came with the job. I just wish we had today's type of hearing protection...
Sgt. Bob Holmes 1953-1956
In your last newsletter, Sgt. Gill wrote about being at Rifle Range, Camp Lejeune, where I spent quite a bit of my Time as 2nd MarDivRifle/Pistol Team Armorer. He said he had a hearing loss from shooting and some suspect he failed to use hearing protection the Marine Corps demanded of shooters at the time. However as a Rifle Team Armorer for many years I, also, have hearing problems... did I use Hearing Protection all those years... H-ll! I don't know!
I, too, have high Frequency hearing loss (with or without Tinnitus, as you will) and I have hearing aids which are about as useless as other things I have had to buy and use... BUT... they are great when you say, "WHAT?" because the people see the Hearing Aid and they automatically assume you are deaf and need further information. I'm not knocking hearing aids, H-ll I have to wear them and keep my ears clean and put drops in them because you are putting something into your ear and it automatically doesn't like anything shoved into them.
Most of the time they are a hindrance rather than an asset, as an example, watching TV, there are more clicks coming out of TV than you can imagine unless you are wearing hearing aids.
So what do you do? You wear the d-mn things and pretend you are happy with them and soon someone will invent a Hearing Aid that will help us, then we'll be happy as clams at a party.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Regarding the comments about Tinnitus: my first MOS was 0811... mine is so bad it wakes my WIFE up at night!
Pete Dahlstrom (currently mistakenly assigned to the civilian world)
Re rifle coach. Coach? Campaign hat?
I was a "Rifle Instructor" at Camp Lejeune most of 1953, never saw a campaign hat, had no hearing problems, then or now. Fired in "NRA High Power Rifle Regional Championship", 1953. 1st place 200 yd. rapid fire, 1st place 300 yd. rapid fire, tied for 1st place 300 yd. slow fire. All in my classification. Still no hearing problems, or cotton. Sorry for your problem.
Sgt. Conner, '51 to '54, 1161
SSgt Gill's submission about hearing loss brings back some "painful" memories for me, as with many other Marines, I'm sure.
I participated with the MCAS, Yuma, AZ rifle team during 1965 and '66, using a match-conditioned M1.
Got to travel all over Arizona and into Colorado for a lot of matches, usually sponsored by civilian rifle clubs. A couple of times we made the match at Black Canyon, outside of Phoenix. Received some "dust collector" awards there from the 1,000 yard line for "iron sights". Needless to say, I also have some hearing losses. Stuff some cotton in your ears and listen to the crack of the firing on each side of you.
Paul, if we could have come with the idea of the electronic ear protection used today, we would be millionaires by now!
James R. McMahon
Staff Sergeant Gill asked about other Marines suffering from High Frequency Sound Hearing Loss, similar to his experience. This Marine served during the same time frame as Gill. He also suffers from the same hearing losses, although DOD has never declared it a disability.
As did Gill, I too took advantage of the G I Bill benefits. During the enrollment process, in college, I was given a hearing test, which I failed, due to high frequency deafness. I was referred to a doctor of Otorhinolaryngology. This medical doctor asked me: "Did you serve the Marine Corps?" Answer: "Yes sir!" His response: "Your PMI instructed you to stuff cotton in your ears, right." "Yes sir!" "Well that, so called protection, did you absolutely no good at all." "Your hearing was not afforded any safeguard against the lifelong hearing damage and high frequency loss, which you now suffer from; it is irreversible."
So, the good doctor conveyed the following wisdom: "From now on, protect your hearing, whenever you are to be exposed to any noise levels, above 90 dB (A), wear industrial ear plugs and also wear, isolation around the ear, earmuff protection whenever you are around firearms anytime... protect what little high frequency hearing you have left."
Corporal of Marines
1958 â€“ 1962
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #7, #1)
This produced a very broad smile as she looked into my eyes and tried to think up an answer to my question. There were no words spoken for 3 to 4 minutes while we looked into each others eyes. I clearly had the advantage during this period. She was looking into a pair of fairly common, hazel colored eyes of a farm raised, Parris Island trained, Marine Sgt. But I was looking into a pair of large, medium blue eyes of a gorgeous blonde with attributes of which would make Venus jealous. Finally, she spoke. She said "When we were growing up nobody could tell us apart - not even our mother. After our father died we moved to Washington and bought the house on Garfield St. My mother re-married and had two more girls about 6 years apart. Neither my step-dad or these girls could tell us apart. We usually wore identical clothes when we went to school. Our classmates and teachers were confused. We were not allowed to date until we were 16 and we had many suitors. We usually double-dated and sometimes were known to switch between dates without them being the wiser. When the Junior-Senior Proms came around Bette and I were the finalists when it came time to choose a Prom Queen. The judges could not make a final decision between the two of us so we ended up with 2 Prom Queens each year, Bette and myself. In 1943 we were Cherry Blossom Princesses in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. And again the same thing was about to happen but the judges said there could not be 2 Queens. We voluntarily agreed to withdraw from the pageant - to let the next in line become the Queen. After we did this we were told that if only one of us had withdrawn the other would have been chosen Queen - but it was too late at that point. Does that answer your highly complimentary question?" I replied "I think it does."
Our escorts in the Pageant were seniors at the Naval Academy and we married them in a dual ceremony on graduation day. My husband had decided to become a U. S. Marine and Bette's husband, who had studied dentistry at the Academy, decided he was not interested in a military life. He was discharged and opened a dental practice in Arlandria, VA. "Do you know where that is?" I told her that I did. I told her "I did not see a picture of your husband in your wallet. She took out her wallet again and produced a picture from inside. When she showed it to me I could hardly believe my eyes. I asked "Why didn't you go down to see him off when he left?" She replied "How do you know I didn't?" I told her about my experience with the Troop Train Commander on Train #17. She was not surprised and said "That's Tommy!"
'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #9, #8 (Aug 2019)
Well, in my continuing efforts to keep everyone informed as they can be on MARINE Aviation and especially the Helicopter portion of the family, and some of it's beginnings. I was sent, what I thought was a very good article either posted or written by a gunny by the name of Gy/Sgt. Paul Moore, or, a gentleman by the name of Ken Kula which was posted by him for an online publication by the name of Photo recon. Now, I know that a lot of the readers of this Newsletter will never read what was posted on that site because it doesn't pertain to them. Nor, will they read what may appear on another helicopter orientated site entitled Pop-A-Smoke so, I thought that I'd send this offering off to Sgt. Grit for those oriented towards the ground forces to read. I might add that it's a little lengthy to read, so it may take several issues to get the entire story. I also want it clearly known that I deserve "no credit" for this article and it's contents. I've made contact with its author Gunny Moore, but not Ken Kula. And, I did receive Gunny Moore's blessings to go forward with my project. So, with that said, "Let's get this baby off the ground."
Historic Marine VMO-6 Flying Unit Gone, Not Forgotten
Marine Observations Squadron Six (VMO-6) can trace its origins back to it's formative years of MARINE Aviation. Active for less than half a century of MARINE CORPS aviation the squadron served during the 1920's Nicaraqua Campaign, World War II, the Korean War and finally through the 1960's in Vietnam. Thirty five years after it ceased operations, and in celebration of MARINE CORPS aviation's 100th anniversary, a monument to VMO-6 was dedicated in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va. It Honors 66 men from VMO-6 who died as a result of hostile actions during the four aforementioned conflicts. Not only was the ceremony a tribute to those who had given their lives to their Country, but it was reunion of many Veterans who help make VMO-6 more then just a page in a history book. The direct lineage of VMO-6 begins in 1920 when 39 MARINES and a mixed bag of (6) six biplanes of Flight 'E', 3rd Air Squadron of the U.S. Marine Corps was activated at Quantico Barracks, VA. Their primary duties consisted of observation and providing training for MARINE Aviators. In July 1927, the unit was renamed MARINE Observation Squadron 6 (VO-6M) and early the following year, the unit was shipped to Nicaragua to assist in fighting the Sandinista rebels. During it's Nicaragua operations, VO-6M's duties grew to include visual and photographic reconnaissance, infantry liaison and message delivery, and emergency resupply of troops. Newly developed attack and dive bombing tactics were honed in support of MARINES on the ground.
To be continued in next week...
Operation Colorado, August, 1966, 1/5 and 3/5, and don't recall who all else. I had left MCRD SD with orders to Staging Bn, etc. earlier in the year... and a couple of other DI's that I knew got orders to the I-I staff with the Reserve Engineer company that was based at Fort Omaha... smallish installation, mostly brick buildings, probably has some interesting history. My pregnant wife and toddler daughter were to be well cared for, as her parents had plenty of room at their house in Omaha, basically just a mile or two up 30th from the Fort. So far, so good... then, on the 9th of August, somewhere northwest of Tam Ky, in the wee hours, we took mortar and recoilless rifle fire. Long story short, I managed to make an up close and personal connection with a few mortar fragments... not a BFD (although Joe B might have thought so), and it was what used to be recorded as "WIANE" or "Wounded In Action, Not Evacuated". (have hurt myself worse when shaving with a hangover... and a 'safety razor') However... I had neglected to check the "Do Not Notify NOK in case of... whatever... box on the old RED. (Record of Emergency Data) form... so... that meant the finely functioning bureaucratic chain would swing into action, because our Doc filled out a medical tag, generating a TWIX (Naval Message) to the Casualty Assistance folks nearest my NOK (Next Of Kin)... that being, of course, the I-I staff at Fort Omaha. These guys are Marines... and we take care of our own... goes without saying. Soooooo... when the TWX is on the message board first thing in the morning, the guys read it... and since it happens to be someone they know, they swing into action immediately!... by calling the house, identifying themselves, and asking my wife if she is going to be home later in the morning because they need to come talk to her... at about 06:30 in the morning... as she is standing there with my daughter hanging on to her nightgown, holding my by then six-day old son in her arms. They showed up in a sedan promptly at 0800. Wife has always referred to that period as the longest hour and a half in her life... had the name on the TWX been unfamiliar, I am sure that they (the CACO team) would have handled the situation in routine professional fashion... but when it's somebody you know... it's a little different. At the time, I could have gone full Gy Ermey on them... later, as an I-I, having to make injury/death notifications, gained a new understanding of one of the hardest assignments (IMHO) that the Corps can assign.
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One of the Marines in these pictures was awarded the MOH for his actions on Tarawa (hint... the older one)... the younger one has proved that cameras do lie, as I would never, ever, have had my thumb sticking up like that when returning an M-1 to order arms. (General Shoup, Commandant, inspecting Marine Barracks, Naha... circa 1961.)
Can also assure you that the bore of that rifle in the other picture was clean...
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I found out last night that Chuck Tatum passed away at the age of 87.
As you may know already, Chuck wrote his account of the Iwo Jima campaign in the book 'Red Blood, Black Sand' which was made into a documentary on the History Channel, and was used as a reference in 'The Pacific' mini-series. In fact, Chuck was portrayed in 'The Pacific' by the red haired Marine trained by John Basilone in the fine art of machine guns! Chuck survived all that and lived a life many of us envied, as a sports car racer, designer and builder. It was through road racing that I met Chuck (his son is still racing) and he will be missed greatly. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions on Iwo Jima. He was also the past president of the Marine Corps Club in Stockton, CA.
Rest in Peace, Marine.
Sgt., MARPAC '56-'62
Lost And Found
Graduating class Platoon 256 Parris Island, SC. I am second row, third from right. If any Marine classmates would be interested in contacting me I can be reached at kat.gunny[at]comcast.net. I would really like to hear from you and catch up on old times.
Herbert P. Davis Jr. (GySgt USMC)
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I just finished reading this week's (25/26 June) newsletter, and in response to "MARINE Jim McCallum's (the ole gunny)" post concerning corpsmen, I thought I'd share a photo of "Doc" Hall. He was the ranking corpsman assigned to Lima 3/7 during the approximately six months (late December '66 to early June '67) that I had the privilege of serving as that company's Artillery Forward Observer from India 3/11. With a little luck, maybe one of your readers also served with him, and can give me an update on him.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-75 "for pay purposes:"
PLC candidate, summers of '63 & '65, while in college
Officer Basic School Class 4/66; USA Artillery School (Ft Sill, Ok) Class 5/66
Vietnam 4Dec66-18Dec67-- I/3/11: FO/FDO; 3d 8" How Btry HQ Unit: FDC WatchO
HQ Bn, FMFLant, Norfolk Va., ?Jan.1968-31May'69: Asst. Bn S4/EmbarcO Reserves Aug69-Oct75: C & D 4th Recon Bn (later combined and redesignated "C," 1/23), NAS Corpus Christi, TX (ExO of C Recon, CO of D Recon, second CO of C/1/23
Thank you for providing the selection of options you have gave me. I just got the Chesty Puller book and so far it's one of the best books I've ever read.
Was good reading in the morning and now, it is great reading at the end of a rough day.
Thanks for a great letter.
I was with Golf 2/26 and we went "down" the nets in 1966! Nice start to my first tour!
Clyde Salley, USMC (Ret.)
"My Rifle is my Weapon, My Rifle is my Life, and when I go to sleep at night my Rifle is my Wife!"
"For God and Country"
United States Marine Corps
Previous issue you had the question "what do you miss most about the Corps?"... I think (Lt.Col) Ollie North nailed that one a while back, when he said he didn't miss the Corps, but he sure missed the Marines... works for me...
"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of MARINES. LORD, how they could fight!"
--Maj.Gen. Frank Loww, U.S. Army
"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others."
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, 1788
"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
--Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776
"[A] mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands."
"Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines."
--Captured North Korean Major
On the phone: "motor pool... two-bys, four-bys, six-bys, and big ones that bend in the middle and go pshew!... if you can't truck it..."
"Hey diddle-diddle, straight up the middle."
"Close it up, close it up, azsholes to belly button, azsholes to belly button".