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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 04 DEC 2014

In this issue:
• The Only Japanese American
• Battle For Okinawa
• Proper Honors For A Marine

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I wore this jacket at a Veteran's Day function in Amherst, Ohio, and received many compliments and requests for the vendor's address. I could hardly refuse, and gladly gave it to them. I hope many responded. It seems that everywhere I go, I get many compliments about it. Thank You very much.

Semper Fi,
George Seitz
Cpl, 1962-1967

Get the highlighted jacket at:

USMC Black/Digital Desert Twill Jacket

The Only Japanese American

Sgt Grit,

When I joined the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Sept 1959, I did not know what I was in for. Being the only Japanese American in the entire 1stMarDiv., it was scary. Then I met the Old Corps Marines. The Battalion 1st SGT was a Marine Raider, many of the senior Staff NCO's and Officers were veterans of many of the major battles of the Pacific and Korea. For some reason, these Marines took a liking to me and told me stories of the Pacific war/Korea they participated in. To this day, I still remember their stories as if it was yesterday. I am proud to have met these Old Corps Marines. They and my Battalion Commander, LtCol K. J. Houghton, made me the effective leader that I would become in the Marines and later in civilian life. Many of these Marines have are gone now, but what they taught me, I taught other Marines and people that worked for me for 27 years in civilian life. You never forget those that came before and after you. So Marines, teach and train your Marines and continue the legacy. Semper Fi.

Sgt Ted K. Shimono

Battle For Okinawa

Sgt. Grit,

During the Battle for Okinawa most Marines are aware that the Japanese used Suicide (Hari Kari) planes against us. But there was more, they used Suicide Boats against us also. Inclosed is a picture of the suicide boats. Some boats had Ford and Chevrolet engines in them. They were not effective for lots of reasons, we had PT Boats and other types of patrol craft that kept them from being very effective, as soon as they began their run the PT boats were on them. There were problems with this idea on stopping the Hari Kari Boats also, some were armed with two depth charges, which went off at shallow depths which could cause damage to nearby ships and serious injury and death to American and Allied Personel.

Among other exciting things they intended to us​e against the Invasion Forces were Swimmers, that had explosives attached to themselves and could damage a ship, their purpose was to put explosives on the ships screw which would prevent the ship from moving but I saw ships screws turning from time to time which would make it difficult for a swimmer to attach anything to the screw.

And when we Arrived in Japan after they surrendered there were hundreds of tunnels dug into the hills with tracks coming from them where suicide boats could be launched (we could still see the tunnels when we went to Korea, stopping at Japan). The Invasion of Japan according to Naval Intelligence at the time, would cause nearly a million casualties (both American, Allied and Japanese).

Many of us that were preparing for the invasion of Japan, expected it to be our last day on Earth. Even a friend who was a Gunner on a B25, expected he wouldn't live through the invasion of Japan. All this information will be in books about our preparation of the Invasion of Japan but little thought will be given to the thousands of ships and thousands of men that were there, the thoughts and the letters that were not mailed because the writer lived through the Invasion.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Nothing Bad Happened To Me That Day

I was at 'Hollywood' boot camp in 1964. About a week before Thanksgiving my girlfriend sent a letter and enclosed a piece of Juicy Fruit gum. The DI felt it during mail call and made me open the letter. (a few weeks before a stick of Clark's Teaberry gum got through detected) I had to go outside and do squat thrusts in the sand pit until the flavor was gone. Although I chewed like mad the flavor remained when he appeared after about 5 minutes. I relied "Sir, Yes sir," when I was asked if the flavor was gone. He replied "Bulls---, maggot. Keep going." The second time he came out he told me to get my bayonet and give the gum a proper burial among the Ice Plant. The next time he was on duty was the day before Thanksgiving. My youngest sister had sent a birthday card that was embossed. The DI felt it and remembering the gum made me open it. When he saw what it was he asked me how old I was going to be and when? With all the proper 'Sir's' in place I revealed I was going to be 18 on Thanksgiving.

The next day was a holiday for most people, but in boot camp everyone knows, it was just another day in training. Lined up before the evening meal I heard the Senior DI calling out for me to report to the front where he stood. I got my b-tt up there as fast as I could, not knowing what the heck was going on. He told me to get in the front of the line. As we entered the mess hall for our Thanksgiving feast he walked along side of me and told the kp recruits to give me more turkey, mashed potatoes, and an extra dessert. My mind kept racing over and over as to what calamity was going to happen later. After the meal and in formation to march back to our area the DI walked up to me and wished me a Happy Birthday. That evening was just an easy evening of spit polishing our dress shoes for graduation that was quickly approaching and polishing our brass. Nothing bad happened to me that day.

Phil Bennink, Sgt '64-'68

Life Was Good Then

I remember those who got PFC out of boot camp and it was one, who was the honor guide whose name was Hill. 1958, plt 231, 2nd bn., MCRD. I spent two years in the Corps before I was promoted to PFC. Then the next 7 years I had 7 promotion warrants, up and down. Would not have changed it for the world. Life was good then, I call it my p-ss and vinegar days.

Robert D Gordon
Sergeant of Marines

Bea Arthur & Hollywood Tie -Ties

In the 26 November 2014 news letter, Rusty Norman presented a very convincing argument for Bea Arthur having served in the Marine Corps. I would just like to pass along the evidence which led me to believe that she did not serve in the Corps. She appears to have been a strange lady. It makes me wonder why she would say she had not served in the Corps if she had. The rest of us are proud of our service, why would she not be proud too? I guess we'll never know but note how she changes the subject away from WWII after giving her answer and both she and the interviewer share a little titter.

I knew I had seen this and wasn't crazy.

Bea Arthur On Her Rumored Stint In The Marines.

One of the guys I went through boot camp with still has one of the clothes pins we used at MCRD San Diego in the Summer of 1962. He calls it a "Hollywood Tie-Tie" and attached is a picture of it he sent to me. He says he also has his name stamp with which we stamped our name on our clothing issue. I never used the name stamp after boot camp. If I bought any replacement clothing items I marked them with a black magic marker. I was never chastised for that.

Cpl. Jerry D.
USMC 1962-1966

Gladly Enjoy A Beer

Support vs Combat; I just had to reply to this:

On my first tour, I was in north I Corps. "DMZ Marines" yea, been there, done that. On my second tour, FLC in Da Nang. I tried like h-ll to get back into the 3rd MarDiv. My old TAOR, but no way. I wound up "in the rear with the beer" as a P.O.W. Guard, etc. it's true life is better not on the line, - what I learned - that does not mean anyone who was not in the direct line of fire got away with something or should somehow feel he didn't do what others did. If you are a Viet Nam veteran, I will gladly enjoy a beer with you and swap sea stories.

CoB 1st Bn. 8thMar 2dMarDiv
CoK 3rd Bn. 4thMar 3rdMarDiv
MPCo., HqBn, 1stMarDiv

As The Bus Was About To Close Its Doors

Back in '53, when I first arrived at the 3d MAW at the MCAS located at Opa-Locka, Dade County, Florida, segregation was in full bloom in South Florida. Marines who were on liberty in downtown Miami had to return to base and turn in their liberty cards by midnite. To achieve this there was a city of Miami bus scheduled to for this last run about 10:30 PM. None of the major roads like NW 27th Ave., or Interstate 95 had been built yet, so the bus had to travel side streets to get to the Opa-Locka Gate on time.

By the time the bus was ready to return the vehicle was packed with Marines. As the bus was about to close its doors an aged black woman quickly climbed on board and tiredly sat down in a front seat, which was a No-No as well as being prohibited by way of a city ordinance which stated that "Colored Had To Sit Rear To Front".

The driver insisted he couldn't move the bus until she sat in the back. Unfortunately, the bus was so packed she couldn't go anywhere. The Marines insisted the driver drive on or they would all be late, which he insisted he couldn't. After several moments of back and forth arguing and shouting, a Staff Sergeant from the Wing motor pool pushed his way to the front and gently escorted the driver off the bus. Then the SSgt sat down and proceeded to drive the bus to the Air Station allowing the woman to get off on Opa-Locka Blvd, then continued on to the gate. As soon as we reached the gate and he opened the doors again everyone rushed out of the bus scattering to the four winds.

Unbeknownst to the Marines we had been followed by several police cars from the City of Miami and the Sheriff's Department.

In the morning the entire Wing was called to report to the admin bldg. where we were confronted by the Wing Commander who demanded that the perpertrators report anyone who had helped "hijack" the bus. No one spoke up. In retaliation the CO called for the elimination of the city bus for use by the Marines. Instead, a military bus was assigned to pick us up to be driven by the SSgt almost as a permanent assignment.

Arnold Pakula

Proper Honors For A Marine

U.S. Colors Presented in a small private ceremony for Sgt. Dale Stirling, USMC / VIETNAM / deceased.

I have had a bit of difficulty organizing a time for getting together with Mrs. Stirling and presenting her with the United States Colors on behalf of grateful Nation and the Office of the President of the United States.

At Sgt. Stirling's funeral, Mrs. Stirling did not want any fanfare, however she did want me to Thank Cpl. Mike Steer for representing the United States Marine Corps (via the 49th Marines, Mission, B.C.) at the funeral. Cpl. Steer was there in his Dress Blues to pay respects to a Fallen Marine and to ensure that the Funeral would not be lacking a USMC presence. Elaine tells me that everyone that attended the service was very impressed with the handsome Marine attending. Thank you so very much Mike.

Terry and I (my Camera Person) went over to her home in Langley, British Columbia this morning. Prior to the colors being presented, Terry and I sat with Elaine and had a good yak. Mrs. Stirling is doing fine and enjoying life.

When the time came, I asked if it would be okay if I formally present her with the Colors. She said that would be fine and we made it happen.

So, on behalf of the "Theodore H. Snow" Post of the American Legion, Vancouver, B.C., Canada and the Vietnam Veterans in Canada, est. 1986, The flag was presented, the appropriate words were spoken and a smart, 3 second Hand Salute was rendered on behalf of all of us.

If you look closely, I got a huge haircut for this.

Gerry Flowers


(Vol #12, #1)

I had told Kitty that my parents had sold the farm and were on an extended vacation; that I was staying at the Cedar Lodge in Moorestown, N.J., when I went north on weekends. I do not recall having given her the address of the Cedar Lodge and I had been invited by Mr.'B' to stay with them - to avoid travel and expense - while my parents were on vacation. It is my best guess that Kitty may have called the Cedar Lodge to find out the address - and discovered that my parents had been there but had just moved to The Hemlocks - and got that address. I can think of no other way that she could have had the address. I said "I know what you were paid for the farm - $464,088 - but I am curious about what you paid for The Hemlocks. I was told it was an all cash transaction by Mr.'B'. Did you know that he was the realtor that handled the transaction?" My Mom and Dad looked at each other. Dad said "I had no idea until you just told us." Mom said "Our dealings were with a woman. She must have worked for him." I said "I am sure she did." Mom said "She was a lovely lady and it was a very quick sale. She never asked us exactly what it was we were looking for. I suppose a professional realtor always leads you to their most expensive offering first. She picked us up at the lodge and we went down to Mt. Laurel Road. She asked where we were from. I told her we had lived most of our lives in New York City - but the last 10 years in Medford. She was a little surprised to hear that." She asked "Then you know just where you are right now?" Mom replied "Oh, yes, we have been on this road thousands of times." They were slowing down. Mom was shocked when they pulled into The Hemlocks. They stopped in front of the house. Dad asked "I guess they want a pretty penny for this place?" The realtor said "It has just been reduced from $100,000 to $80,000 for a quick sale." Dad, the businessman that he was, asked "I wonder if they would take $75,000 CASH?" The realtor said "You shall know in just a few minutes." They went to the door. Mrs. Cecil welcomed them in. My mother said "Oh, Arnold, I love this place. I want to see the kitchen." While my parents were back in the kitchen the realtor asked Mrs. Cecil if she would accept $75,000 CASH. She said "I will split the difference - $77,500 CASH." My Dad was told this and was asked how long it would take for him to get the cash. He looked at his watch and said "My bank is in Mt. Holly. I can have a cashier's check before 2:00 PM. And when can we expect to move in?" Mrs. Cecil asked the realtor about a couple of homes in Moorestown that they had talked about. They were vacant and were available immediately. Mrs. Cecil said "As soon as I have your check I will move into one of these homes - and you can move into The Hemlocks."

It was a very, very fast transaction - from start to finish - an amazing deal. My parents had admired The Hemlocks for years and were quite familiar with what happened to the farm when the Turnpike went through the property. But I never heard either of them say that they would like to someday own The Hemlocks. This may well have been the culmination of their dreams. I would have thought The Hemlocks would have sold for two or three times what my parents paid. And we later found out that the original asking price - just after Mr. Cecil passed away and Mrs. Cecil decided to move into something smaller - was $250,000. The close proximity to the very busy N.J. Turnpike must have been a deterrent - but it certainly worked in favor of my parents. (The Cecils weren't hurting. The state had taken only 7 acres of 'undeveloped farmland' - for which they received about $70,000, but they were required to pay an additional $300,000 for destroying this dairy farm.)

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

Harold T. Freas, Sr.

The Tank Wasn't Hurt

For a number of years in the 60's and 70's, there existed in the two military branches (Army and Navy... Air Force is a corporation, sells 'flight hours'... and the Corps is a cult...) anyway, they both owned and operated a family of more or less amphibious vehicles known as "LARC"(s) and "BARC"(s). These were primarily intended for lighterage use... as in moving materiel from ship to shore rather than as assault vehicles. (if they had, had pistol grips and magazines, and fire selector switches... the media would've gotten that wrong more often than not, also...) the LARC, commonly pronounced 'Lark" like the bird, was the acronym for 'Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo"... BARC was similar, only the 'B' was for 'barge' (It was a big honker... could carry a tank, etc)... these things had aluminum hulls, boat-shaped in the case of the LARC, and humongous rubber tires, which doubled as the only suspension system. The LARC had a 3-man cabin in the front, and a rear engine, with a flat deck between the two. The thing would come alongside break-bulk shipping vessels, usually civilian, and receive cargo pallets by crane. Once loaded, they could return to shore, transit most beaches, and hit the road. Since they could travel on roads at reasonable speeds, they could go directly to a supply or ammo dump for direct unloading. Besides probably the SeaBees, Navy Shoremaster units also used them. In the mid-70's, 'floats' would periodically leave the 3rdMarDiv on Okinawa for something like a Pacific side MedCruise for landings in exotic places, including Australia. The Tracked Vehicle Bn (later re-named) at Camp Schwab (two companies each of LVTP-7 and M-48 tanks) would be tagged to send a platoon (+) of Amtracks (YATYAS) and a platoon of tanks along... don't recall if we had invented MEU or MAU yet, or were still using BLT, but the float in question was headed for Australia, among other places. At the time, there were some moderately salty types who had endured a Viet-Nam R&R in Australia, and there was considerable finagaling to get assigned to one of the units going...

They went... and they came back... with the sickest, sorriest running bunch of P-7's imaginable... the platoon all made it ashore, but just barely... seems that the LSD they were riding had re-fueled them with DFM (Diesel Fuel, Marine) instead of DF-2... DFM is a lower grade distalate, on top of which it was suspected that there was water contamination in the ship's tanks. The field expedient fix for that was to pump two 55-gallon drums full and set those aside before refueling the tractors... not a good idea.

The ship, which shall be nameless, mostly because I don't remember her name or number, was swinging at anchor in OraWan Bay at Schwab... ballasted down, stern gate open, etc. After watching 'our' platoon of tracks make it back to the beach, a couple of us from the Battalion Maintence shop caught a ride out to the ship in an LCU. LCUs come in several configurations, some with one ramp, some with two, etc. and all are big enough to carry three tanks or so... not real fast, maybe 10 knots flank speed, but a big hunk of steel at any rate.

There was a chop running in the bay... which, inside the well deck of the LSD meant there were 3-4 foot waves sloshing about... and the LCU was sloshing with them. Up on the wing walls were able-bodied Sailors handling the lines to get our LCU secured... ordinarily, I would snarkily have referred to these worthys as 'squids'... but since they were dancing a dangerous ballet amidst all the noise and fumes with only whistle instructions from a salty old Chief, I had to take off my cover to them... 300 tons of floating steel on the end of inch and a half line... moving at the whim of semi-captive saltwater... is something that could take off about anything caught between the line and anything hard. They got us secured... enough that a rough terrain forklift carrying a CONEX box could come down the ramp from the mezzanine deck to the ramp of the LCU... forward... and when the driver hit the brakes, the CONEX (which had inside it a fair share of the portable comm assets of a Bn of the Ninth Marines) slid off... into the salt water between the LCU ramp and the ship's ramp. The COMMO present was not Happy... more like Grumpy...

And... getting back to the LARC/BARC tale?... lashed securely to the forward part of the starboard wing wall was the BeachMaster's LARC... which had been somewhat modified by a LCU on a previous trip... best estimates were that it was now, width-wise, in the range of three, maybe four, feet wide... probably enough recyclable aluminum there to build a couple 2015 model year F-150's...

Reminded me of a ship that came into Naha harbor 1960 or so... Navy ship, civilian crew... had quite a mixed load, including most of the year's replacement vehicles for the 3rd Division Replace and Evacuate program. One of the items in the manifest was some M-48 tanks. On the way over, the ship had encountered some really rough seas... and one of the tanks came loose... Tis' said that the Division MTO broke into tears every time the winches brought up what was left of a thoroughly smashed motor transport asset... and the tank had wound up in the middle of a temporary refrigerated space... along with two or three tons of what had been butter. The tank wasn't hurt...


Lost And Found

Sgt Grit,

I would like to hear from anyone that was at the MCAA Mojave Air Base. I'm 78 and don't have much time left to hear from them.

Sgt Jack Micheletti
1955 - 1962

Short Rounds

RE: Mike Cruden, Honoring My Dad.

You are a part of a "Marine Family," your father was part of "The Marine Family." You have every right to wear USMC items, the "Gold Star" you wear gives you that right, your dad paid for you to have that right. Get a shirt or hat that says, "Proud Son Of A U.S Marine Who Gave His All."

Brian Stack
"Once And Always"

I don't know when the Corps started calling Dungarees, Utilities?

Clarence Milster

I received a request for a story about WWII Doberman Pincers. He mentioned 11 or 13 were killed on Guam. Anyone work with them?

Sgt Grit

For Mike Cruden:

As far as I'm concerned, Marines relatives can wear the emblem to honor their Marines. My wife does. Lots of kids wear Grit Gear.

Semper Fi.

Robert A. Hall
Former SSgt
USMC 1964-68
USMCR, 1977-83



"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
--George Orwell, 1984

"Oderint dum metuant."
"Let them hate, so long as they fear."

"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat"
--General James "Mad Dog" Mattis

"Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
--General James "Mad Dog" Mattis

"We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the h-ll is going on?"
--Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the assault on Grenada, 1983

"And what's your excuse numb nuts!"

"Excuse me Scrotum Head, but you must think you're in Caveman Platoon. Straighten your back before I break it!"

"We've done so much with so little for so long, we can do almost anything with nothing! The difficult we do immediately... the Impossible takes a little longer..."

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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