Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all Marines, both past and present, a very Happy 239th Birthday! Continue to carry on the Marine Corps legacy of honor, courage, and commitment for another 239 years! Semper Fidelis and Gung Ho!
I Informed The Commandant
"A Marine is a Marine... There's no such thing as a former Marine."
--General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Hagee, visited his Marines in Iraq for some photo ops at the Al Faw Palace in Baghdad. Marines stood in line to have their picture taken with the Commandant. At the end of the line stood an Army CW04 (me). I informed the Commandant that I served in the Marine Corps in Viet Nam with 2/5 at An Hoa in 1967. I then asked if a former Marine could have his picture taken with the Marine Commandant.
He replied, "Stand next to me, there are no former Marines!"
CW05 US Army, Retired
WWII, Med School, Nam
Capt. D Krause on Lt, Capt. Jim Lea, middle and yours truly on left. Capt. Lea was a Navy Pharm. mate with the Marines in WWII, got out, went to Med school and went back in serving in Nam. That is a total of 33 ribbons on his shirt!
Capt. Lea is 93!
1095 Days Left
I still have my Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Ca, Sixth Battalion, Platoon 295, Red Book, from 1953... it's getting a bit old as I am. Brings back so many memories, and I'm wondering if anyone else was in Platoon 295, from August 12th, 1953. Some great pictures, it is like a year book from high school. Shows pictures of Bayonet training, Gas Chamber, Mess Duty, Weapons demo, and various other phases of boot camp training. The DI's were Sgt J. Williams, SDI, PFC G. Quayle JDI, T/Sgt C.W. McCoy CDI. We all had pictures taken and there were 3 platoons, 294, 295 & 296 in the book.
I've read various reports of entering boot camp, and guess the first couple days we all wondered what and the heck did we do when we signed up for 3 years. I remember thinking I've got over 1,095 days left to serve. I still treasure the old book, and fondly remember those days living in the Quonset Huts, hauling sand from the beach and raking the sand, around the Quonset hut so that it looked beautiful. We couldn't wait to get our covers and clothing to bleach out so we didn't look like raw recruits. We even washed them with salt to get them to fade out. We looked pretty good on the parade field. Three months of boot camp and one month of advanced combat training at Camp Pendleton made every one of us a mean, lean, fighting machine. That experience had an effect on my life and at 79 years old I still cherish the experience and am glad to have served the 1095 days. Semper Fi!
Sgt D B Whiting
Finger, Knuckles, Hands
I remember what James M Robinson was talking about with the racetrack. The DI who did that to us Plt. 119, '65 told all of us to go into the huts and get our foot lockers and to standby. When he called for each hut to form on the street, there was three huts if I remember right, my plt. was the first to be called out and anyone who was in the Corps knows what happened next. There was or were screaming, yelling, the use of words nobody ever heard of, fingers, knuckles, hands being crushed. I was lucky.
My bunk along with some other recruits were to the rear of the hut and we watched as the others tried to get through the door. From the position I was at I saw this and could not help but laugh. I know it was wrong but I think anyone who had been there would have done the same thing. This kept up for some time, it seemed like forever. Well it took some time before the guys up front figured out how to get out of that small door and out into the street.
Well there are many stories that I have read in the newsletter that bring it all back. It's a part of our lives that a person will be proud of and never, never forget.
DI's Make Us Feel Better
I just finished reading the story about "tie-ties". I had forgotten about using tie-ties to hang our clothes on the line after washing them behind the barracks. I went thru MCRD Parris Island starting in July 1961. I also remember they used green, yellow, red and black flags to fly to indicate the change in daily temperature. On one day our whole platoon lined up and got our medical shots... about three in each shoulder. A few of the shots (like yellow fever) made your arm a little sore or tender. Well our DI's wanted to help us out... so with the black flag flying (temperature at 100+ degrees) he got us out behind the barracks to do some extra push-ups. Then maybe some rifle exercises with our M1's... just to make us feel better.
Semper Fi Marines,
Cpl G. Bradshaw
During my last couple of months in the Corps in 1971, while stationed at MCB 29 Palms (the stumps), some of us in our engineering company were sent to Big Bear Lake to construct a recreation area for Base Special Services. Just wondering if any of your readers have ever been there, or perhaps were involved in its construction. I was discharged before it was completed, so I never saw how it turned out.
Those couple of months were probably the best I served in the Corps. We lived in tents, had cooks who made our chow, and we ate at a couple of picnic tables set up under the trees. This was in the spring time, and it could get cold at night. At first we had one of those oil heaters in the tent, but it began leaking fuel. So we took a 55 gallon drum, made a door in it (to load wood), hooked up the smoke stack, and we then had a wood heater.
We only had one officer up there with us, I think he was a 1st luey. He was a good guy. As long as we did our job, that was all he really cared about. No inspections, P.T., marching, etc. The popular bar that we went to was called Chad's Place. One of the guy's in our unit moon lighted there as the bouncer. The band they had there (seems like it was the same one every week) would always play the song by Three Dog Night "Joy To The World".
Those were good times.
Active duty Marine, 1967-71
Boot Camp Lance Corporal
I'd like to wish a happy birthday to Tom Arvoy (1963-1967), my closest friend during my enlistment and a good friend during these past 48 years of civilian life. Born 10 November 1943, Tom is lucky enough to have two birthdays on the same day. Happy 71st and Happy 239th, Tom.
Re: Lance Corporal out of boot camp. I did some research and it appears there are some recruits who make L/Cpl out of boot camp. From what I read, the best way to do it is participate in the JROTC program during high school. Be credited with talking two (or more) other numbskulls into joining the Corps (gets you PFC). According to what I read the first two are not necessarily mandatory but they do help. Apparently the thing that will get you L/Cpl out of boot camp is to be selected as the company honor man. We need a current duty Drill Instructor for this one.
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Look At That Pretty Lady
My material grandfather (Stanley Moore) served in the Marines during the early 1900's. (For those of you with a historical bent: I have a photo of him dated 1914, in which he is leaning upon his 1903 .30 Cal, bolt action Springfield rifle in front of his tent, wearing a campaign cover, with a Globe and Anchor emblem in front, a canvas cartridge belt, with bayonet, and a canteen with cover hanging from it stenciled USMC in large black letters. He is dressed in khaki trousers, canvas leggings, and a dark blue shirt).
By the time I returned from 'Nam in early 1969, my grandfather was on his death bed in a facility, and my mother took me to visit him. She warned me before entering his room that he no longer recognized her, or had any memory of his past. I waited at the door to his room until my mother had entered first, at which time I heard him say, "Why look at this pretty lady come to visit me!" As I stepped through the door a couple of seconds later, my grandfather suddenly raised himself up, pointed, and exclaimed, "Why, there's a Marine wearing his expert marksman badge!".
Certain memories never die. Once a Marine, always a Marine!
CPL Ronald H. Mandell
Plt 2030, MCRD San Diego, Oct '67
1st Bridge Co, 7th Eng Battalion, 'Nam '67-'69
Retired Major, US Army
Bars He Was Wearing
My brother, John L. Sanders, a WWII (Guam & Iwo Jima) Marine was recalled to active duty for Korea. Since he now had a degree from OU, he was selected for OCS and then Basic School. In the summer of 1951 my Mother and I visited him and his family in Alexander, VA. Since I would be a senior in the fall when school started he asked what my plans were. During WWII when ever we played war, I was always a Marine, so I told him I guess I would enlist in the Marine Corps after graduating from High School.
My brother had recognized Jim Weatherall at Quantico and had asked him what he was doing there. He told my brother that he was there on the NROTC program and explained the program to him. He also provided my brother with the address of NROTC MOI at OU. My brother asked me if I would like to go in as and officer. Of course I was looking at the bars he was wearing and I said: "Sure!"
I took the address he gave me and wrote a letter to the NROTC MOI at OU. The rest is history. It's great to have a Marine looking out for his baby brother.
Joe Sanders, Major USMC (ret.)
He Then Said "Go home"
Went to MCRD on March 6, 1961 and was assigned to Platoon 220. We left MCRD 3 times before graduation. 1. Going to Camp Matthews for the rifle range. 2. Going to Balboa Naval Hospital to give blood and the Navy fed us steak dinners with all the fixings. Have had many great steaks since, many a lot better, but I still remember that great meal. 3. We went to a San Diego Chargers game. They were brand new and were in the AFL playing Spring/Summer games. I don't remember who they played but it also was the most remembered football game I ever attended. For a few brief hours I felt free even though we were under the constant watch of our 3 DI's and other authority figures.
Likewise the mob from across the bay "Navy Recruits" were there. Must have been the same bunch that every one else has commented on. They couldn't march in step or anything else.
I also only did one tour and got out. Vietnam came and I thought about getting in the fight. I had volunteered to go to Vietnam in the summer of 1963. Was with B Company 3rd Amtracs and we had a company of amphibian trucks that were going to Vietnam. They were taking one Radio Tech. I wasn't chosen. Any way in 1965 I went to see the Marine Recruiter about Vietnam. He asked if I was nuts or what. I was in the Individual Ready Reserve. He told me the Corps had my address and phone number and if they needed me they would call. He then said "Go home". I went home. Always wondered about that choice. Anyway I am a Marine and Always will Be.
Cpl of Marines
500 Holiday Boxes For The Troops
The Women Marines Association (WMA), The Romeo Masonic Temple, the Romeo Post Office and the surrounding community comes together to pack 500 boxes to ship to our service members deployed in harm's way. On 15 November the women Marines of the Women Marines Association will once again work with the Romeo Masonic Temple and the Romeo Post office to pack up 500 holiday boxes for the troops.
The packing will be at the Romeo Masonic Temple located at 231 N. Main, Romeo, MI from 10am to 2:30pm.
The Motor City Chapter of WMA has been sending boxes to our troops since 2004. Marines taking care of our military. This support of course could never happen without the dedicated support of the community. During the holidays we always ship keeping in mind that our military service members are away from those they love. Each package, with card and letter lets them know that they are not alone. They are in the hearts of each and every American and that each box is From Romeo with Love.
As we wind down military operations they also are winding down the supplies that are sent. Most meals consist of MRE's and little more. Our troops are asking for protein items, personal hygiene items and beverage mixes. Hot chocolate and the powered instant cappuccino mixes have been requested.
Join us as we help our fellow service members. Bring your items, help us pack and share the camaraderie and Esprit. WMA ships to all branches of the military. If you can't attend you can still sponsor a box. Each box costs $15.90. Help us make a difference one box at a time. Monetary donations go 100% for postage. Donations can be brought the day of the event or sent to WMA Motor City, PO Box 590, Romeo, MI 48065. We thank you for your support.
Mary Ann Merritt
WMA National PRO
WMA MI2 Motor City
189th Marine Corps Birthday
Marine Corps Birthday 1964. I celebrated the 189th USMC Birthday with Headquarters 4th Battalion, 12th Marines on Okinawa in 1964.
It doesn't seem like its been 50 years.
2d HvyArtyRktBtry, 2d FAG
Hq Btry, 10th Marines
Hq Btry, 4th Bn, 12th Marines
I've had my truck for a few years and have proudly displayed USMC products I've purchased from Sgt. Grit on it. I got my RV this year and as you can see I've already started with EGA's over the tail lights as well as the USMC memorial. It looks good but it would look great with a larger one of the memorial on the back though.
Get the highlighted tail light decals at:
Eagle, Globe and Anchor 4" Tail Light Decal
Recently there was a lot of press on the Anniversary of WWI. We all know about Belleau Wood. This is what it looks like today courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine.
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Fun Loving Jokers
Loved reading about the 'smoking lamp' in boot camp. I remember one memorable day in boot camp, 1964. One of our DIs, it may have been SSgt Bridges, not sure, but he announced that, "The smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette!" As the smokers frantically readied themselves, the DI added, "And I'm smoking it!" Ah, it was at moments like that when I was glad I didn't smoke. Yep, sometimes those DIs were just fun-loving jokers, weren't they!
MCRD San Diego, Spring, 1964
Practice Falling Down
Remember at Cherry Point Air Station - Staff NCO Witticisms - and other humorous incidents arounf the Corps!
We had an old black and white TV in the Rec Room - someone got a few old stuffed chairs and some old wooden chairs in rows before the TV. Naturally the TV shows were not like they have now - and no cable or internet then either. Remember we had shows like Halabaloo - and ShinDig - girls in tight skirts and tight sweaters dancing - and remember Joey Heatherton in a shirt skirt driving us lonely Marines with envy once a week. Marines knew how to express themselves in the way we understood each other -- One dancer had a superb backside - and Lo and Behold one S/Sgt returning from the Staff Club looked in on us lowly Marines - and took one look at the girl on the TV and commented, "Look at the Sh-tter on her." We laughed so hard we were crying and he in a one beer too many gesture - said - "Carry On Men."
We had a Gunny who held muster at the Warehouse where we worked - and he would hold mail call after he read us our daily schedules. He was harsh about being there on time and standing tall in formation - before he called us to "At Ease". One day some Corporal heads the formation and holds mail call first - then a few sh-tbirds leave formation from the rear - and the Gunny shows up and sees some have split - so he calls us to Attention and Holds another Roll Call. The Captain (Group Supply Officer, with the Master Sergeant show up to say a few words after muster.) The Corporal calls out the names - and naturally the biggest screw-up is not in formation - his name is called three times - the Gunny is p-ssed - and tells me find his sorry asz and bring Pvt. Sh-tbird to him. The moron is sitting in a stall in the head reading his mail -- I bring him back to the Formation - and the Gunny goes off on him. The Private gets written up - and I was on telephone watch during lunch time outside the Captain's Office when the Gunny is inside and overhear conversation between them - as the Captain says to the Gunny that he cannot write on Office Hours that "Private Thomaselli was in the sh-thouse reading his mail for missing a muster?"
P.S. The Private got a strong reprimand from the First Sgt. who was a great Marine and friendly with us Marines in the Squadron. The Private eventually made PFC and when the Gunny announced that Pvt. Thomaselli was now a PFC the PFC asked the tall Gunny to bend down as the new PFC wanted to tell him a secret - The Gunny bent down and crazy Tomasellli kissed him on the cheek. The Gunny went Ape Sh-t yelling and the whole formation laughed.
At the enlisted club one night - in the head - we had a urinal like a trough and about 4 Marines could shoulder with about 5 or six deep to release the beer from the pitchers we put away - One clown taps the guy in front of him to hurry him along - but the guy in front turns around sh-t-faced and urinates on 3 other Marines in line waiting.
In Washington, DC in a bar - they had a lot of servicemen as bouncers - in one bar two guys get into a shoving match and a bouncer with the Marine Corps Bulldog Tattoo - grabs them both and tells them to behave or take it outside. One guy wants the bouncer to exit with them - I took one look at the massive forearms and wide shoulders on Mr. Bulldog - and told both guys - "Why don't you two go outside and practice falling down a few times." The Marine laughs and throws them out - and asks me if I want a job there!
Vietnam Era Marine
It is a foot ferry that runs between Port Orchard and Bremerton Wa. There is also an Admiral Jack. My son-in-law is a Marine. Going on ten years.
While reading an article in the most recent Sgt. Grit news I came across an article which supposedly listed all the various MOS's that were in use by the Marine Corps in Vietnam. This article was written by a Tom Tilque and gave the address of the listings. After checking to see if my mos was listed I found that the list did not list the MOS of 6741 Radar Operator. I enlisted the Marine Corps in Feb. 1958 under the "delayed entry program" and upon graduation from High School in June 1958 I was sent to MCRD San Diego where I was a part of Recruit Training Plt. 151. Upon graduation from boot camp I was sent to "aviation Prep School at NAS JAX, Fl. Upon completion of that school I was sent back out to MCRD where I was trained as a Radar Operator MOS 6741. Upon completion of Radar Operator school I was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron - 7 at MCAF New River, NC. MACS-7 as a unit was deployed to NAS Atsugi, Japan in 1961 and upon completion of my tour in Japan I was assigned to MACS-1 at MCAF Yuma, Az. In 1964 I was sent to the FAAWTC command at Pt' Loma, San Diego where as a Cpl I was assigned (TAD) to the Ground Control Intercept Course which was a course taught my the Navy to train young Officers and Senior Petty Officers in the MOS 6709. I was the only Marine in the class and the lowest (E-4) ranking student in the class. Upon completion I was assigned a secondary MOS of 6709 and I believe at the time I was the only Cpl (E-4) in the Marines to have gone though this course. I returned to MACS-1 in Yuma where I was a Ground Controlled Intercept controller. During the next 18 months I was assigned as a Controller and on a daily bases controlled both Navy and Marine Corps pilots in the training of air intercepts, amassing approx. 2,000 intercepts while training Marine and Navy pilots flying the latest (F-4's and F-8U) type attack/fighter aircraft. In May 1966, I was transferred to MACS-7 which had now been re-deployed from NAS Atsugi, Japan to Chu-lai Vietnam and from there I was sent as the SNCO to the early warning detachment from MACS-7 at Phu-Bai Vietnam and on Feb. 26th, 1967, I was wounded during a mortar attack on the Hue/Phu-Bai airport, and due to my wounds sent back to my parent unit MACS-7 in Chu-Lai and returned home in June 1967.
After the completion of my then current enlistment in Aug 1967 I chose another line of service to our country, that of a Law Enforcement Officer and became a California Highway Patrolman and retired from the Patrol after 29 years in 1996... If there are any other members of either MACS-1 or MACS-7 out there that read these letters from Sgt. Grit, I'd like to hear from them.
Gerald A. Caughman
S/Sgt of Marines 1820xxx/6741/6709
From The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #11, #1)
Mom interrupted. She said "I presume you are on leave. When do you have to go back?" I replied "Really, I do not have to be back until midnight on the 17th, but I think I will go back late tomorrow night and save as much leave as possible. She said "Oh, I wish you would stay longer. We haven't seen you for more than a year." I said "I'm not driving to N.Y.C. anymore. I'll be back on Friday night - between midnight and 1:00 AM - and I will be here until about 7:00 PM on Sunday." She said "Okay. That sounds good." I told her "I had not told you but I extended my enlistment for another six years on August 4th." Now back to the demise of the Hudson. I was returning to the base from N.Y.C. and had just passed Emporia, Va. when I felt too tired to continue. This had never happened before. I said "I am going to have to stop and rest for an hour - unless there is someone that would care to do the driving." There was no response. All were asleep. I pulled over to rest. When I came to a stop all got awake. I was asked why we had stopped. I said "I am too tired to drive and stopped to rest for an hour or so - unless someone would like to do the driving. The fellow on the far right, who worked in the disbursing office, said "I'll drive." He was from Brooklyn and had been sleeping since we left N.Y.C. I thought nothing of it. We changed seats. He started out and I went to sleep. We had gone only about 15 miles - had not reached Weldon, N.C. - when there was one helluva crash. All got out of the car. The Hudson was almost turned onto its right side. The left side had been ripped from the car. No one was injured. The driver of a tractor-trailer ran over to see if there was anyone hurt. Then he ran down the road to see if anyone was hurt in the other car. There was not. But the driver of that car, a 1950 Buick Roadmaster convertible, said "I don't want any police report. The semi driver said "Why not? The other driver was at fault!" He replied "The lady I am with is my boss's wife and if there is a police report I'll lose my job." The semi driver said "Tell her to get up in the cab of my truck as though she was my passenger." He called for 2 tow trucks but did not notify police. Cars headed for the base started to stop. They were shocked to see the Hudson in a ditch. He said he could take one. I told the fellow that had been driving "You get the H-ll out of here - just in case the police show up."
He was not around if there was a police response. Another car stopped. He took two more. And a third car took two more. The tow trucks arrived. The tow truck operators agreed "These two cars are a "total loss" and hauled them away. They had given me a couple of their business cards. There never was any police response. I was the last to get on my way to Camp Lejeune. I am sure you are wondering what happened. The Hudson had made a foolish attempt to pass the semi on an upgrade. The semi driver saw a car coming from the opposite direction and applied the brakes as he pulled to the right. My driver moved to the right as did the approaching car. They hit left hand headlight to left hand headlight at an estimated combined speed of about 130 M.P.H. The entire left sides of both cars were ripped off - stem to stern.
Happy Birthday and Semper Fi to 'You All'!
The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
Happy 350th Birthday Royal Marines!
View the Royal Marines 350th Anniversary video.
I just finished reading this week's (29/30Oct14) issue of your fine newsletter and was pleased to see one of my TBS (class 4-66) and FtSill (class 5-66) classmates contributing. Welcome aboard, "Hoogie!"
(once a captain, USMCR - always a Marine)
I was at Parris Island from July to October in 1962. Plt. 352. We used tie ties.
Cpl. of Marines
A crash fire and rescue man has an MOS of 7051. Someone in your newsletters was asking what the designation was. In war time like Vietnam they are still crash crew men by day and guard duty at night. I am MSgt (E8) Frank Peace a former crash crew man.
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders.
"All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. Work is not a curse; it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization."
--President Calvin Coolidge
"Hell, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--Marine Major General John F. Kelly
"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk."
--Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanastan, 20 September 2001 As reported on page 1 of the New York Times
"[It is an] essential, unalterable right in nature, engrafted into the British constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that what a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent."
--Samuel Adams, 
"Private, how much rent are you collecting from the visitors living in the bore."
"Attack! Attack! Attack!"
"The best part about being a Marine is that all the sissies were weeded out."
Semper Fi, Mac!