Sgt Grit Newsletter - 20 MAR 2014

In this issue:
• Blue And White Dress
• Stared Down The Barrel
• Prior To Joining The Marines

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KA-BAR in sheath

KA-BAR with stamped sheath

I'm a little late on this story but I just wanted to put my two cents in about KA-Bars. If memory sets me right I got mine graduation day Oct-31-1966 platoon 2207 MCRDSD for making thru boot camp as a House Mouse (a whole other story). As a house mouse we saw and endured a lot of other things from our beloved DI's that the regular boots did not.

Pictures attached you can barely see my name stamped with the old rubber stamp kit issued to us.

R. Franco Torres

P.S. As for whiskey, we got a shot of it after giving blood in Okinawa on our way to Nam (3/66).

Spring Break 2014 USMC Gulf War Veteran T-shirt Spring Break 2014 USMC 11 Years And A Wake Up T-shirt

What A Rookie

I joined the Corps in Aug. 1966 at the age of 17. Boot Camp at PI at the time was 8 weeks. I was in Plt. 2076 and went to ITR at Camp Geiger. Most, if not all, of us had orders for WestPac. After ITR we received leave before reporting to Camp Pendleton for Staging. As most other guys in my position I headed home for leave which coincided with Christmas, the last one for many of us. My father was a railroad conductor on the B&O RR and was going to be in DC at that time. I arranged to meet him in DC and rode there by Grey Hound from Geiger. It was dark and snowing when I arrived in DC. Before I went to the hotel to meet my father I took a taxi to the Iwo Jima Memorial. The Monument was lit and with the falling snow was an incredibly beautiful and moving sight. Looking at the Memorial I realized that I was a member of the greatest fighting force in history and what a rookie I really was. Realizing what big boots I had to fill, the Memorial filled me with both pride and humility.

Gary Neely
Sgt. of Marines
1966 to 1972

Bad/Hombre, Rodeo/Cowboy

During the Korean War base telephone operators call signs changed periodically and passwords every 24 hours. I can remember the call sign for ASCOM City in December of 1952 was Calvin and K-3 was Curtis and(I think) 1st. Mar. Div. Headquarters was Cleo. Passwords (so we were told) came out of some command headquarters in Japan and were the same for all U.S. units on the Korean Peninsula. During that December whoever was the person in charge of creating the nightly password must have been a fan of western novels and/or cowboy movies because those of us who pulled perimeter watch duty received the following passwords:

Bad/Hombre, Rodeo/Cowboy, Sheriffs/Posse, and the last one I can remember was Necktie/Party.

Semper Fi!
Jim Quam
Sgt. of Marines 1952-55

Blue And White Dress

Maj James Murphy in dress whites with mother

The last word re: Blue and white dress blue covers - The white is/was summer, the blue was winter. A number of uniforms are no longer available: (Officer) Dress whites, mess dress are two. Now in place of the dress whites (see attached for my wedding picture with my mother) the dress blue blouse is worn with white trousers for summer.

James Murphy
Major USMC (Ret)

Stared Down The Barrel

Sgt. Grit,

I attended OCS in the late 1960's. One of my fellow "Candidates" was performing at a less than satisfactory level in the physical challenges - PT, Obstacle Course, Conditioning marches up the hill trail, the power line trail etc. and he was doing an unsatisfactory job of cleaning his M-14. He couldn't clean his rifle, and by week five, he had yet to pass a rifle inspection. This bothered him so much that he snuck his rifle out of the squad bay on Friday night and took it to the mess hall where he paid a PFC on mess duty to steam clean the barrel in preparation for the Saturday morning rifle inspection. The PFC steam cleaned it, and it was immaculate! The candidate figured he was sure to pass the inspection the next morning and told us so.

Unfortunately, our Senior Sgt. Instructor knew what the candidate had done, and he informed the other Sgt Instructor and the Captain in charge of our platoon, and boy were they ready for him on Saturday morning.

During the inspection formation, the junior Sgt Instructor took the rifle from the candidate and began to check it. He viewed it long and hard, twisted and turned it - then held it in a horizontal position and stared down the barrel for maybe 60 seconds. The junior Sgt instructor then called to the senior Sgt instructor and said, "Staff Sgt, you HAVE to see this." The Staff Sgt took the weapon, and also stared down the barrel for perhaps 45 seconds, after which he called to the Captain, "Sir, I think you need to see this." By now the candidate has a grin on his face and figures he has passed the inspection. The Captain looks down the barrel then asks the Staff Sgt, "What is that in the barrel of this rifle?" To which the Staff Sgt replies, "Sir, I believe it's a pubic hair." The Captain looks down the barrel again and says, "I think you are correct Staff Sgt." The Staff Sgt then accuses the candidate of having had intercourse with the rifle barrel, turns abruptly, and throws the rifle into a shallow area of the creek which ran beside the grinder. The candidate went all to pieces, began sobbing hysterically, ran to the creek and jumped in to retrieve his rifle.

The Captain then dismissed the platoon, and he and the two Sgt instructors retrieved the emotionally crushed candidate and his rifle. By Monday morning, that candidate was no longer a member of the platoon.

Once a Captain, Always a Marine

Do The Math

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to reply to "Tony Packowski, (SKI)'s" post in this week's (6Mar14) newsletter. He refers to a "90-day wonder Lieutenant." From experience, I can assure you that there is no such "animal". A new Second Lieutenant in a unit is not exactly new to the Corps. He doesn't just go from OCS, straight to his first assignment.

Granted, much has changed since I first put on the utility uniform as a "Jr" PLC (Platoon Leaders Class) candidate out at old Camp Upshur, aboard MCB Quantico, while still in college. I doubt that the PLC program has been shortened from a total of twelve weeks (Jr and Sr sessions) before a candidate is commissioned. I don't remember how many weeks a college graduate's OCS program lasts, but I would guess that it is either ten or twelve weeks. In any case, a new Lieutenant is not sent straight to a command billet from either of those two programs. There is another course (at least one) that he must complete, first, and that is The Basic School, which was five months (March to August) when I went through it in 1966. (Earlier classes lasted six months, before the build-up for 'Nam.)

My TBS classmates (Class 4-66) who had 0302 MOS's went straight to 'Nam after a short leave. As an 0802 (artillery officer), I spent a couple of months at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma's Field Artillery Officer Basic Course before my leave and "Southeast Asian Vacation".

Do the math: at least 10-12 weeks (70-84 days) as a "candidate", followed by at least five months at TBS (minimum 150 days). That's a total of at least 220 days. And I understand that now the 0302's go for additional training before being given their first leadership assignment in their MOS.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a Captain, USMCR (Active Duty & Reserve); Always a Marine
1963-1976 "For Pay Purposes"
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67

Follow Me

Arriving at Parris Island in July 1959, I was sent to Third Battalion, Plt. 348. There was this one guy in our squad that did not like me and was always pulling some cr-p. Just before we graduated, I was shining my shoes on my foot locker when he comes along and stomps on them. I grabbed him and we went through the door of the hut out into the street. As we were rolling around on the ground fighting, we saw a really nice pair of shined shoes attached to feet of our D.I. (SSgt. E.R. Harris). We immediately came to attention and waited for his response. FOLLOW ME, he yelled and walked down the street to the Plt. dumpster. When we got there, he threw open the doors and told us to get our azz in. We did! He told us that since we liked to fight so much that we could continue in private but only one could come out and slammed the door shut. I looked at the guy for a second and told him that as far as I was concerned the fight was over and if he wanted we could just yell and kick the dumpster for a few minutes and then he could get out. He thought about it and liked the idea that he would win. After a minute or two of banging and yelling, I laid out and he banged on the side for the D.I. Sgt. Harris opened the door, looked in, smiled and they left. 10 minutes later I got out and went back to the hut. Nothing was ever mentioned about the situation. I think all three of us felt like winners.

Tom Pemberton
L/Cpl. 1959-1963

Prior To Joining The Marines

Before I tell you what happened on my return from the island in 1961, this is what happened prior to joining the MARINES. Hot Saturday afternoon, I was told by my girlfriend that she was with child. Not for me. I need to get out of Miami for a while. Packed up, headed for California to find me some hippie chick, with some good drugs or bad don't matter. While I was getting my oil changed for the trip across the way was the MARINE CORPS reserve going thru close order drills. I go over and asked if I could watch. Sgt said sure maybe you would like to be a part of the few. One weekend a month. Two weeks a year for 6 yrs. H-ll yeah sign me up. Give me some of those starched utilities. Not so fast. First you need to go to an island to see if you are CORPS material. So, away I went. SURPRISE. There with the help of you know who, I got my head right. While there, only letters from my mama. No letters from Sue. When I get back there on leave, I'll find her and make things right. No such luck. Her mama said she married a Sailor and moved away. By the way, you have twin sons. All these years I've looked for them. My time on leave was not a happy one. You can never go home. My time in the CORPS was all good. I don't whine because it's over, I smile because it happened.

Another day in paradise to serve the Corps...

Nealey, Jerry C.

A Blanket Party Was In Order

First let me set up this story. All my life I followed in my older brothers footsteps, I was the second son. He was the jock 6'2", 200 lbs of solid muscle, and used to kick my azs once a week whether I wanted it or not.

I arrived home after boot camp in 1971, of course being a typical Marine I got roaring drunk with my older and younger brother. It was fun, but not the same.

The next morning while I was sleeping off the hangover, my two brothers decided a blanket party was in order. (Neither had been in the military, but had heard of this). They tried! I don't recall what happened, but I woke up and my younger brother was on the other side of the room on the floor where I threw him and I had my older brother against the wall with my hand holding him up by the throat.

They never did that again.


Interacting With Us Normal People

Please let Mr. Ralph Hanline know that he was correct on the name of the movie Flying Leathernecks, my second mistake was Mr. Wayne drove a two door green Cadillac coupe not a convertible, it was Clark Gable who drove the convertible! Also in the movie when the destroyer was steaming out of the harbor, was the ship one of my neighbor friend, he was a Navy Chief. He told my wife and I that after the shooting was over the cast and crew of the movie company had their usual after shooting party. Some of the military personnel that were part of the filming were invited and that it wasn't always the officers only that were invited. Many of the enlisted members were invited. As for Kurt Douglas, I never met him so I cannot comment one way or the other on his observation, but I do know that not all of the stars are as gracious and friendly as Mr. Wayne and others. You can learn a great deal about people when you see them in person and interacting with us normal people. This is fun going down memory lane.

Semper Fi

In My Head

I have just learned of Sgt. Owens death, to my great sorrow. I was a boot Marine-to-be in Plt. 273 at Parris Island. The DIs were Sgt. W. Harris, Sgt. M. Martin and Sgt. E. Owens. Because of the self-discipline they instilled in this undisciplined kid then, I have had a great life. After my fours yours in the Corps, including Vietnam, I decided to go to college and get into politics.

On December 23, I received a lung transplant at the VA, so have been out of things a bit. In fact, I'm writing this from the Madison VA Hospital, where I'm back in working on a problem with the new lung, but it seems to be going well. I knew my Christmas newsletter to him was returned, but not why. The lung was not the hardest thing I've ever done—that was Boot Camp with Sgt. Owens and the other DIs.

As soon as I was discharged on January 4, they put me in PT Rehab three times a week. Every time I'm on the treadmill, for 30 minutes Sgt. Owens is in my head, chanting "Give me that old Marine Corps Spirit..." to keep me going. And I respond, "It was good for Sgt. Owens, it was good for..." So my debt to him continues to grow, and while the new lung is pumping, he will live on too.

Robert A. Hall
Cpl, USMC, 1964-68
Massachusetts Senate, 1972-82
SSgt, USMCR, 1977-83
Executive, 1982-2013
Owens-trained Marine, 1964

Colorful Character

In response to the article in the 6 March Newsletter titled "Feed It In Backwards" submitted by Ed Dodd, I'm curious about GySgt. Harrington (the Platoon Sergeant in his story). From his story, it appears as though he served with GySgt Harrington in about 1967 – 1968. I suspect Lt. Dodd's GySgt Harrington of '67-'68 was our MSgt. J. J. Harrington (the Maintenance Chief of VMA(aw)225 in 1969-70. MSgt Harrington was one of those people who is referred to as a Colorful Character. Being a mere Cpl./Sgt. at the time, I didn't spend a lot of time trading war stories with the Maintenance Chief, but there were many stories floating around about his time in the Marine Corps. One of those stories that I feel was very probably true was that he had been the Crew Chief on Marine I during the Eisenhower administration and about how he and V. P. Nixon did not see eye to eye. Of course at the time I served with him, it was President Nixon.

S/Sgt. C. N. (Nick) Hayes
8 May 1967 – 9 July 1971
RVN – Jan '69 – Jan '70

Receiving The Congressional Gold Medal

Sgt Grit,

I found my Senior Drill Instructor today after 56 years. I just happened to look at my boot camp picture and under his name was WM McDowell Staff Sgt. I went on the computer and entered his name and sure enough it brought up WM "Jack" McDowell First Sergeant USMC. Come to find out he was receiving the Gold Congressional Medal. He gave his personal interview from when he joined in 1945 to when he retired in 1968.

He was my Drill Instructor for Platoon 305, Jan. 1958, and he stated he was on the Drill Field at MCRD of which I was one of his recruits.

I was sorry to hear he lost his leg in Vietnam and he was also wounded in Korea. He fought at the Frozen Chosen. He also said he would not make us do anything he wouldn't do unlike one of his Jr. Staff, Sgt. Hensarling. I still to this day do not think he had parents for he was sh-t out of the sky.

Mike Conners, 1804xxx

Look At Those Arms

Sgt. Grit,

I should have read the whole issue this week (6Mar14) before submitting my comments on articles, because I just read your request for stories about return from Boot Camp, etc.

I didn't go through boot camp, but I went through a total of twelve weeks (two six-week sessions, with a year in between them--summer of 1963 and summer of 1965) at OCS, Quantico, where we started with a platoon of about 40 candidates both sessions. We had several college football players among us, who had an arrangement to be allowed early release to get back in time for practice at their schools, but we also had a number of candidates who "DOR-ed" (Dropped On Request) from the program, during both the Junior and the Senior courses. During both sessions, only about 20 of us participated in the graduation ceremonies. One candidate DOR-ed the second day, during the Junior summer.

My dad had once asked me why I wanted to go into the Marine Corps. I told him that I wanted to serve my country and as I was, "I couldn't fight my grandmother" (my exact words--although a bit of exaggeration, and my grandmothers were both dead by then) and I wanted to serve among the best.

A classmate of mine in my algebra class during my freshman year in college had recently come off active duty in the Corps, and he had impressed me. The next year I found a Leatherneck Magazine containing articles about various eras in the Corps' history, which I used for a research report about the Corps for my American history class.

When my parents met me at the airport after I had completed the Junior Program in '63, Mom said, "Look at that hair!" (Note: She meant the lack there-of).

Dad said, "Hair, nothing--look at those arms!"

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a Captain, USMCR; Always a Marine

Rolled Sleeves In Boot Camp

I was looking at Sgt. J. H. Hardin's website where one can get information about the book he wrote. The website also has a link to his official boot camp platoon photo. I noticed that the drill instructors all wore short sleeved shirts and the recruits had the sleeves of their utility jackets rolled-up. When did all that change? When I was in boot camp in June 1963 the drill instructors all wore long sleeves, and we never rolled up the sleeves on our utility jackets. The first time we got to do that was when we were issued jungle utilities in Vietnam. Also a Marine could not have a tattoo that would be visible while in uniform.

Sgt. C. Jones

Little Or No Repeat Prisoners

In the last newsletter, Rusty Norman asked when were Pith Helmets worn? In 1962-63, On Okinawa after coming back from a "Float" as an Amtrac Crew Chief, I was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division Brig at Camp Smedley D. Butler as permanent personnel. The cover we wore at all times was a Khaki Pith helmet. Uniform of the day was always starched pressed Khakis. It was a sharp uniform and set us apart from all other Marines. It was also very cool in the hot sun in the brig compound. When we would have escape drills, or in one case, the real thing, once the alarm rang, all off duty Marines would rush to the armory, draw a weapon (model 97 shotgun usually), and be given a number. This number would correspond to a predetermined position on the outside of the Camp Butler fence. We had to climb the fence and conceal ourselves to capture the escapee (If we beat him to the fence). We had to respond as quickly as we could wearing whatever we were wearing when the alarm went off. The only thing we absolutely had to wear was our pith helmet, so the base personnel would know who we were and not interfere. The pith helmet came in handy when we wanted a prisoner's attention, as it was quite hard. The brig was a yellow/red line brig, and prisoners had to double time wherever they went.

For our safety, prisoners could not be within 6 paces of any brig guards without asking permission. Infractions of the many regulations were dealt with segregation cells with diminished rations (Bread and water is only allowed at sea). This would be corn flakes with water for breakfast, and a steamed (not baked) potato for dinner. During the day, the prisoners were kept busy weaving camouflage nets which were strung about 1 foot over their heads in the hot sun. We had little or no repeat prisoners.

Bob Doherty
Cpl E-4 1959-1963

Thumping In Boot Camp

I didn't follow the thread, but apparently I missed a conversation regarding "Thumping" in boot camp. Apparently, someone thinks that is brutality? That's a joke right? I was at P.I. in '63... we had the cr-p knocked out of us daily from the get go. At one point during "H-ll Week" we had a puke run to the Chaplain. There wa a big investigation and our Senior D.I. was temporarily suspended. We, as a platoon, received a pep talk about "Thumping" from a D.I. from another platoon who knew our Senior from Korea (Frozen Chosin) and that we were his last platoon as a D.I. He told us that our D.I. would not risk the penalties (this was after Ribbon Creek) if he didn't think we were worth it.

To the man we denied that any "Thumping" occured. Our Senior was returned and we continued to catch h-ll. One temporary Jr. went overboard and really went off on a guy one night before TAPS. (I won't detail the B.S. reason, as I don't wish to give up anyone even now 51 years later). But, our Senior got wind of it and came in the night this particular temp replacement Jr. had the duty and read him the riot act, threatened to kick his azs and ordered him off the Drill Field, and that he was only to return for the platoon photo. (We were in the Rack and heard every word coming from the D.I. Hut). Our Senior and our regular Jr. took over without this moron and we did fine. (The moron was never turned in... our D.I. was no stoolie either... what went on in our platoon stayed in our platoon). We took the Drill Comps and had the most rifle experts in the series, although we didn't take "High Shooter". We were a "Non-Smoking Platoon" and when the rest of the series was allowed to smoke on the rifle range we were not. There was some grumblings about "Loyalty" as we had stood up for our Senior when we were mere "Skinheads". He got wind of it and we had a "School Circle". He explained that he wanted us to be the best at the range and he felt that allowing us to smoke after such a long abstinence would give us the "Nicotine Shakes". He told us "Loyalty" is a two way street and his loyalty was to make us the best Marines he could. So, we continued to drink "WISK Cocktails"... did locker-box drills and got regular thumpings when we scr-wed up. No slack for doing what were suppose to do and no special gooey "Feelings" for not being "Stoolies" early on.

And, although we were a reserve outfit (I eventually volunteered for extended active duty and did another 2 and 1/2 years with a 13 MONTH West-Pac and a cup of coffee in 'Nam), he would not send anyone to "The Fat Platoon" or drop some of our weak links and set them back. He said he was going to finish with the people he started with, and we would learn to compensate and always remember that we were only as fast as our slowest man and as strong as our weakest link. That you had to help the Marine next to keep up, we all pulled together and finished together. (A lesson that has stayed with me all of my life). So, I must say that anyone that thinks thumping is/was brutal, I leave you with a quote attributed to Chesty... "A kick in the azs in boot camp goes a long way in combat."

P.S. On my way back from 'Nam I was checking out an Lo N' Behold "The Moron" had made Gunny and was doing his first trip to 'Nam. I disliked this azshole as we all did, and I light-heartedly remarked that he was "Goin' South Eh?"... He grumbled something and then I asked him if he remembered Plt ---, he said no. I reminded him that he was a temporary Jr. D.I. He denied it. But I spotted his name on his gear... and recognized him right off... it was him alright... I was very pleased to see the "Lifer", 'Nam dodging, brutal, moron finally going to 'Nam and earning his pay for a change... I smiled all the way to the terminal...

R.L. Mirabile
SGT. USMC 2067xxx

Grew Up At MCRD San Diego

I literally grew up at MCRD San Diego in the 40's and sold newspapers on base when I was 7 or 8 years old? The Marines at Sea School made me a mascot and I spent a lot of time with them. Was early 40's. Got to polish brass with the best of them, and they taught me to field strip an M-1, took me to chow with them and let me count cadence. Years later when I went back to MCRD as a DI, the school was in the old Sea School barracks. I remember seeing recruits being "thumped" pretty good by the DI's and the most remembered thing was when a recruit would get their pith helmet smacked down by a DI, and the screw of the emblem would leave a scratch on their forehead and blood flowing down off their nose. I asked about it and was told that was part of being a Marine. Seemed normal to me.

When I was a DI in '58-'59, we were under close scrutiny after the unfortunate accident at PI, and many thought it was a punishment posting to be sent to the "field". Even so, there were a lot of recruits who got a good "thump" from an elbow to the chest as an exclamation point. I do not ever recall seeing any recruits being slapped in the face, or hit in the face or otherwise being physically abused by any DI. Certainly there were other ways of extracting some form of punishment like squat thrusts until you could not stand, or duck walking trying to carry a bucket of sand or a seabag, or taking a similar walk on "Little Agony" at Camp Matthews. I do recall from time to time, moving a rifle placement to one side or other and bumping a recruits ear but they never complained. Things have changed a great deal but Marines are still Marines.

And, it is interesting to note, in my travels around the world, Marines from EVERY nation are regarded as the elite and have the same esprit de corps. I was at an airport in Europe when a man came up to me, saluted and said Semper Fi.

I had a small gold USMC emblem on my jacket buttonhole. I returned his salute and he was a Dutch Marine! When he ID'd himself, I gave him my tie tack emblem, and he gave me his regimental tie. Turned out he was a LtCol with the Royal Dutch Marines. Small world.

Rocky Kemp
USMC Active Duty 1953-61

Authorized To Wear A Mustache

Jim Holden in Khakis with a mustache

Jim Holden as part of the MCRS Color Guard

Graduating Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego in 1961 we were issued Khaki's, Summer Tropical and the Winter Green uniforms. Summer Tropicals were the favorites back then, but we often wore the Khaki's. Floating around the South China Sea in the Spring of 1964 in 2/9, we had to make ourselves presentable for Liberty, in the Khaki Uniform. Keeping them presentable with only a sea bag to stow our gear was a problem, but we did survive. We got into Hong Kong on several occasions and one of our destinations was the top of Victoria Peak for lunch and drinks. I had made Corporal the previous fall, just after JFK was killed, and was now "authorized" to wear a mustache... haven't shaved it in the intervening 50 years.

In the background of the picture, you can see the original LPH-2, USS Iwo Jima the first ship designed as a Helicopter Assault Ship - it was practically brand new having been commissioned in 1961. Compared to all the old WW2 APA Troop Assault Ships we had been on, we felt this was almost a "cruise ship" experience for us.

After completing this tour in Mid-1964 I reported into the US Marine Corps Recruiting Station Los Angeles, CA, for 3 years. The first thing we did was take a drive out to MCB Barstow where I was fitted for several sets of Dress Blue Uniforms. In those days our Uniform of the Day was the White Barracks Cap, Summer Tropical Shirt and Dress Blue trousers. As we often had "special duty" we utilized the complete Dress Blue Uniforms at all sorts of events - there were a group of us who were the "official" Color Guard for the Los Angeles Rams Football team from 1964-1967, and also at the First Super Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Those Dress Blues came in mighty handy! We even let the Navy in some of the time.

Jim Holden
Sgt 1961-1967 USMC

DoD Air Force Brat

After having endured 17 years as a DoD Air Force brat, there was no question that I was not going to go into the Air Force! After graduating Boot Camp and ITR in 1964, I managed to get a military hop back home enroute to NAS Jacksonville for school. It was a 5 hour flight on a C-47 Gooney Bird, along with several Air Force officers. Needless to say, I felt like the proverbial t*** in the punch bowl being the only Marine on the plane. When we landed at Fairchild Air Force base, my Dad was there on the flight line waiting for me.

I waited for the Air Force officers to exit before I did, and at the bottom of the ramp several were milling around talking amongst themselves. My Dad walked up and said "Welcome home". I was at a loss of what to do, or say, so I just snapped to attention, gave him my best salute (he was a Lt. General at the time) and replied "Hi, Dad!" Brain-fart not knowing what else to say, it just blurted out. Received the "normal" Air Force wave of the hand-type salute I had seen for 17 years as an Air Force dependent, when all of a sudden a Captain nearest to me hollered "Is that how the Marines taught you to talk to your superior?" Before I could reply, my Dad jumped down the Captain's throat asking him if that was the way he acknowledged a General? The Captain sputtered something back, and my Dad told him to "get off my flight line!" To this day, I have never seen so much blue move so fast!

That day made me proud to be a Marine, and lunch at the "O" club with a Lt. General was pretty cool, too!

Bill Wilson
Ex-Air Force dependent
Forever a Marine!
Semper Fi!

Comparative Military Terms

Comparative Military Terms List

Here is a list of terms used by the the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and the Air Force to describe locations, items, ranks and such.

One Of My Favorite Duty Stations

Pith Helmets were issued and worn regularly by Marine Corps Security Detachment NAS Sangley Point, Philippines. That also was one of the my favorite duty stations. Sangley Point, Now Closed, was a Naval Air Station with a 98 man Marine Detachment on a base of over 5,000 Sailors and the home of ComNavPhil. It was the primary recruiting station for Philippine males to join the U.S. Navy and was home to a large group of retired, U.S. Armed Forces, Philippine males. It was directly across the Bay from Manila.

In reference to Drill Instructors serving at both Parris Island and San Diego, while not a common occurrence, I know of several who did. As a matter of fact during 1967 a contingent of Drill Instructors from Parris Island were sent to San Diego to fill in until the next DI School graduation. Seems there were quite a few Drill Instructors that were relieved at San Diego, undeservedly I would imagine, and they had a shortage. MCRD San Diego was never the same again. Most were back on the Island within 6 weeks. LOL.

Jack Pomeroy

Cool Kids And Salty

Jerrys Green Field Scarf

The green field scarf was part of our uniform issue at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1962. We were never instructed on what to wear it with, how to wear it or when to wear it. I remember it being kind of silky. Is that my Alzheimer's starting to kick in? Still had it until several years ago or maybe I still do. I recall being shocked that we were required to pay for our sea bag issue and our bucket issue. Sure put a hole in my meager paycheck.

Like everyone else, I lusted after those Battle Jackets (Vandergrift Jackets) but I also badly wanted a green wool shirt that was worn under the utility jacket. I finally got one while at MCAS Cherry Point, but only got to wear it a couple of times. Wearing one of those made you one of the cool kids and salty.

We were also issued khakis, Summer Tropicals and Winter Greens. Because of the khakis, I was on the wrong end of the worst azs chewing of my enlistment, during CW Radar school, by the Gunny at Fort Bliss. Even though they made you look like Joe Sh-t the Rag Man ten seconds after you put them on, they were comfortable, so this salty young PFC decided to wear them. Wrong decision. Got called down to the Gunny's office and we didn't even make it out of the hall before he lit into me, informing me in no uncertain terms that I had better square my young azs away or it would turn to grass and he was the lawnmower. I stood at boot camp attention and sir'ed him like he was a Drill Instructor and I was back in boot camp. You can bet I got squared away mo' riki tik and stayed squared away for the remainder of my time there.

L/Cpl Lacey asked about favorite duty stations. Mine was Ft. Bliss Texas. It was like living in the lap of luxury. The chow was great, they ate off real plates and the civilian staff picked up your tray when you finished a meal. There were no fences, no gates and no liberty cards. There was no marching to class in formation and quite frankly, one tended to get a little lax. We had an inspection once a month on Saturday morning by the Gunny and some troop and stomp. Gunny tried (and succeeded) to make it interesting by teaching some silent drill to us. I remembered that Gunny's name a few years ago, but didn't write it down so now it's gone again.

Does anyone remember this Rube Goldberg way of marking the brown socks. (picture attached) I don't recall for sure, but I think we marked the tape and then ironed it on the socks. The crazy part is, it worked and the tape stayed stuck even after several washings.

Gunny K – I think our shooting badges were handed out at Camp Matthews after we qualified and before we moved back to San Diego. Your mileage may vary. I could be wrong, it's been known to happen. All Marine Corps emblems were issued along with the uniforms and a card with the emblems outlined so you could mount them on it for the "Things on the Springs" inspection.

The only "brutalization" I remember from boot camp was Sgt Pacheco pinching the cr-p out of me (deserved) for some infraction while practicing for the final inspection. Others from my platoon tell a different story but those are their memories, not mine. I don't know if you would call this brutalization or not, but our Platoon Commander (Sr. Drill Instructor for you boots) made Pvt. Paulussen do a bunch of step-ups before he would let him go to sick bay. Turns out Pvt. Paulussen had a fractured foot, got set back and didn't graduate with the platoon.

Rusty Norman – Re: Pith Helmets. Did some research some months back on the Pith Helmet/Campaign Cover issue. It looks like 1952 or maybe 1953 was the last year Drill Instructors wore Pith Helmets. From then until 1957 when they started wearing Campaign Covers, they wore Barracks Covers.

As a side note, every time I run into a Marine out and about and we start jaw jackin' (usually much to the chagrin of his spouse or my lady friend) I almost always ask if he gets Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter. Thank you Don. No Marine should be without it.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.

The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Do You Mind

That's how Marines handle it!

After getting out of the Corps in 2002, I started to work for Riverside County Probation in California as a juvenile corrections officer/counselor. We left for vacation to good old New Mexico to see my sister-in-law and spend a couple nights in Albuquerque. We drove for 13 hours straight, stopping only to use the facilities and gas up, so I was in no mood to messed with. We finally got to the hotel and checked in then left for dinner. Upon completing dinner my oldest daughter at the time was 10 years old and decided to go stay at my sister-in-laws house. We got back to the hotel while the rest of the family waited in the lobby. My daughter and I took the elevator to our room to grab her overnight bag. As we got in the elevator, 2 men in their late 20's along with their girlfriends (all of them inebriated) got on the elevator and start cussing up a storm. I looked at them and stated do you mind? I've got my 10 year old daughter with me pointing to her by my side, one of the men says my bad and continued the ride up the elevator as they were getting off one of them says have a good F-cking night I peeked out the elevator and one of 'em comes rushing back and grabs the collar of my shirt. Right away my elbows pop up breaking his hold on my shirt collar and land 'em on his snot box, as he's bent down holding his nose that looks like a busted tomato I give him one last knee to the face. His other buddy comes rushing around to see what's happening and when he rounds the corner I land a right from nowhere across the bridge of his beak. I'm hearing my lil' girl cry and she's being consoled by one of the girlfriends of the guys I just laid out, I'm missing a shoe and I'm listening to my lil' girl cry. I round the other corner where I'm hearing the cry come from and I tell my girl lets go, just then 5 guys come out of one room seeing two guys laid out holding their noses from gushing out more blood and they got me surrounded. They look at me and one of comes up and grabs me from behind and puts me in a sleeper hold, and I'm almost out and I take a knee when I hear my lil' girl say you're killing him let him go. He lets me go and I say let's go muther F-ckers one on one. They all split and leave the scene, I called my brother-in-law and his sons from the lobby to meet me at my room when they come up they say what's that blood on your pants I tell 'em it's not my blood I just got in a fight with two idiots. They go to the room where the 5 guys came out of and nothing... they already left their rooms. We called the manager of the hotel to say I've been assaulted and to finish up what they started, he meets me and the boys at the room where the 5 guys came out and opens the door to the hotel room where they are staying and it's empty and says he will be locking out the room (meaning they won't be able to get in without coming to the front desk and picking up another key). The manager comes and speaks with my wife who is a director of another sister hotel and takes statements from all of us... at the end of our conversation my wife yells Semper Fidelis that's how Marines handle SH-T.

Cpl DeGuzman 1996-2002
Admin Killer 0121, 8611

First Choice

To: R. Maskill

Yes there are Marines who have served on both drill fields. I'm one of them. I had the distinct professional opportunity to be a Drill Instructor the first time from 1972 until 1976 at MCRD, San Diego. I designated the duty as my first choice on my fitness reports. I was assigned based on that request. The second time, I reenlisted to be assigned to Parris Island - from 1980 until 1983. I retired in 1985 from the same duty station. I never had a more rewarding duty than being a Drill Instructor.

To: Captain T.L. Johnson, Jr.

It's definitely late, but thanks for the great "fire support" from you and your battery of guns. I don't ever remember a time that the rounds were off target. I'll take the liberty of speaking for all the Marines who served in my CAP. Thank you for pulling us out of the sh-t on more than one occasion. The Marines of Carnival Time Bravo are eternally thankful to the Marines of Beechnut Alpha.

Semper Fi, Skipper!

Semper Fi,
A Former Hat
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)

29 Palms

I was discharged from the Marine Corps on July 3, 1958. At this time, I was stationed at Marine Corps Base 29 Palms, California. I left the base about 10:30 AM and it was 113 degrees. I was driving a 1951 Ford Victoria with no air, power or any of the modern equipment on cars today. (I still have the '51 Ford Vic). I had not returned to 29 Palms since that day. However, this past summer I decided I wanted to visit the Marine Base at 29 Palms. I knew there would be procedures for getting on base. After several phones calls to the base and getting several different answers such as: all you have to do is just drive to the gate and you can get on base; to there is no way you will get on base unless you retired from the Marine Corps. Finally someone told me you can get on base if you have a sponsor.

Having been discharged 55 years ago, I did not know anyone at the base. I told my wife that we might as well give up going to 29 Palms. I teach at a local college and on the way to work one morning I happened to think about the local Marine Corps recruiter. I went to his office and told him what I wanted to do. He looked at me kind of strange and said I just left 29 Palms after two years and cannot understand why anyone would want to visit 29 Palms. But if you want to go, I can get you on base. He picked up the phone and called a Sergeant with the Provost Marshal's office at the base. The Sergeant said, "Sure come on out." He gave me his cell phone number and said to call him when I got to 29 Palms.

He met me and my wife at the gate on July 3, 2013, 55 years since I had left the base. He gave us a great tour of the base. On July 3, 1958 when I left the base it was 113 degrees; this year when I left the base at about 10:30 it was only 111 degrees. This time I had AC and all the modern creature comforts.

Lynn Reese
USMC 1955-58

Not Always The Brightest Apples

I'm on Spring Break from the high school where I teach (my 24th year there, in addition to ten years as training manager for the local John Deere heavy equipment dealership after eight years at my first school, and one year each at two other districts when I came back into the public schools). I started teaching in '69, after being released from active duty. I stopped in the summer of '78, when a summer job led to the offer I couldn't refuse as training manager for the dealership (construction, oil field, etc. customer base). I kept that job for ten years until I was laid off the same day my boss had to let his salesman brother-in-law go. (That company no longer exists.)

During school months, I usually don't have time to respond immediately to things that I've read in your fine newsletter, but tonight I actually managed to read the latest issue the night it came out. In it, Marine Palmer Brown ("both PFC and 2nd Lt--Think I like PFC better") said, "The difference between a 2nd Lt and a PFC is that a PFC has been promoted at least once."

I have to offer a "but" to that comment: During my first summer (1963) at old Camp Upshur (Quonset Huts) aboard MCB Quantico, although we were "candy-dates" (candidates) in the Junior PLC Program, we were paid as Lance Corporals. During the Senior Program in '65 (brick buildings near the mainside airstrip at Quantico), we were still "candy-dates," but several of us flew home in khakis, with Corporal stripes on our sleeves--we skipped private and PFC, all together.

I concede that Second Lieutenants are not always the brightest apples on the tree. One of my classmates at the Basic School, whom I believe was given a "Motor T" MOS when we graduated, once asked a question related to the engine of a "6-by" that showed that he thought the engine was mounted from side to side under the hood, with a shaft directly turning both front wheels, like on a toy car.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; Always a Marine
1963-76 "for pay purposes"
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67 (almost six months as FO for Lima 3/7
from India 3/11)
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #5 (MAY, 2018)

I'm going to go back to the first time that I worked for this gentlemen and add some of the background to this segment of my career which is a little unique to say the least... Let's start with driving up to Bonner's Ferry, Idaho the first time. We, of course did not know anything about that part of the Country simply because we (the wife and I) had never been even closer then Deer Park, Wash. And that was close, but not the same. We were told where to stay when we got there and our customer would make contact the next day at the place we were told to stay. We did that, and the next morning we were met by our customer and his wife. After introductions they invited us to follow them to their home to spend the next night, rather then stay in town. I told them that I needed fuel so, we all headed to the local gas station. While the truck was fueling I asked him about how far away did they live and he pointed to a small "dot" away up on the side of a very abrupt cliff about 10 or 20 miles away. I gasp and said "how in the h-ll are we gonna get up there", to which he said that there was a road, but it was very narrow and he was the only person that lived on that particular mountain because he owned a section of land. Understand that a section of land is one (1 Square Mile of 640 acres.) I was "awe struck". This was going to be quite the adventure. So, let's get going.

We fueled and followed thru the small town of Bonner's Ferry and then out of town by the Kootenai River and into the wilderness heading East and of course up till we reached the top of the mountain that the house was built on. We pulled into a small compound of sorts and parked next to a small "cinder block" building. I got out and looked around to figure out the layout. There was a couple of horses in a coral and a small camping trailer, a tractor and several trucks and other then that it looked like almost any farm yard with things sitting around awaiting use. Our host came over to us and started to explain the "block" building. I guess I had asked him what's with this building and I was told that it was the "Battery Room". He told and showed me that he had purchased a surplus "Micro-wave Station" from the Telephone Company and it provided the "back up power" for the inside of his home. This meant that he had AC and DC power in the house. But, that wasn't the only thing that was different about this place. The whole front of the house was glass and it was two stories high and outside that was a "Rock Walk" and then an 800 ft. drop off to the river. Standing in the room allowed you to look North to Canada, East to Montana and West to Wash, and you were in Idaho. I have to admit that I'm not gifted enough to explain in writing the beauty that this place possessed and offered. The view was absolutely spectacular and well worth the travel up the hill. You could stand in the lower living area and watch Eagle's soaring just outside the window. The fire place was on two levels and there were large rocks in the living area that were not blasted because they wanted them to be a part of the house. I'm still in "awe" every time I think of this place. Beautiful!

Defended A Kid

The arresting MP's indignant statement at a court-martial at 1st Tks, early '67... involved a miscreant who had been apprehended at 'Big Red's... combination bordello/truck wash up by Red Beach... off limits, and he had left his rifle in his truck... MP was an innocent fuzz-faced Georgia boy (where, at the time, certain practices were illegal...) Trial Counsel (prosecution) had the MP on the witness stand, was quizzing the MP as to the whereabouts of the accused, and the accused's activity, in the moments immediately preceding the arrest. It had already been determined that there was osculatory action involved, but counsel was having to drag out the information as to locus. The kid, tiring of being evasive, jumped up and said "SIR! he was a kissin' her right on the gentiles!" I fell over in my chair as the board lost all decorum (it was a Special... with five members)... we had to recess court for half an hour. Kinda doubt the kid new the difference between gentiles and goys... (that last bit in my best Henny Youngman voice...)

Once defended a kid in that same courtroom on a manslaughter charge (and won... by putting the defendant on the stand... generally an absolute no-no)... Accused had been in country 3 days... the boot camp bud he shot with a .45 at six inches died the day he arrived. It was the classic rack the slide before dropping the magazine screw up... kid saw one fly, thought the chamber was empty... hammer was back, and when he popped the magazine back in, the hammer fell... Having been off the drill field less than a year at the time, I knew just how little training with the 1911A1 was involved in the new 8-week syllabus, so I put him on the stand and had him testify to that... turned to the court with the flat statement: "Gentlemen... he didn't kill his buddy... we did (meaning the Corps, collectively... they got that)... by giving him that weapon with not enough training". He was found guilty on a lesser included offense, that being that contrary to posted SOP, he had attempted to clear his weapon inside the wire, not outside. Reduction in Rank (from LCPL) and $85 fine, both suspended for six months. (This had happened at 11th Marines' Regt'l CP.) I had had every ordnance expert I could find try to replicate the fault with the pistol, with no luck, but most of the court were old salts, mustangs, or temp officers who, being tankers to begin with, were more than familiar with armory box pistols and the general reliability thereof... it helped. Thought that story was a bit grim, and with the chance that someone who was there reading it 47 years later would not be a good memory, decided against submitting it. Nowadays, it's all JAG... am told that lawyers can be requested, and had, for Office Hours... OTOH, consider being defended for a capital crime by a 2nd Lt (former SSGT... for all of six months...) with all the legal training to be found in the Officer's Basic Course... from MCI. I think today it's called 'Distance Learning'... then, a digital computer was somebody who counted on his fingers...



Sgt. Grit and "Old Marines",

I would like to appraise you of the passing of my close friend and "Brother". Hinton Boggan, Is Passing In Review at Heaven's Gate. He left to join his "Brothers" on 13 March 14. He joined The Corps in 1939 and was one of a few Marines who could wear the White Polar Bear on Black Patch for serving in Iceland as a Protector of that Island at the opening of WW2. He was also a Guadalcanal Marine and served with the Marine Artillery during the Pacific Campaign. He was as good a man as ever was, and my friend for over 40 years. God has Blessed Him and God Bless the Corps.

Semper Fi
JJ ('49-'61) USN, USA, USAF

Short Rounds

Col. Lewis Rogers, what you did for the dying Marine was truly "above and beyond". I saluted many an officer during my time on active duty but none deserved a hand salute more than you. Truly and honor to have served with men of such high character.

Semper Fi,
Joe B. '64 - '70
Joe Brown

I was with 3rd Amtracs outside DaNang. ('65-'66). I recall that after a lot of different call signs, we were given the rather odd "Slave Born(e) Bravo" call sign. It was a real mouthful when carrying on any longer than usual radio transmission. Semper Fi, Devil Dogs!

Jeff Barnes (Lance Cool) USMC: '64-'68/ RVN: '65-'66

The only problem with the picture of John Wayne to the Kemp Kids is that John Wayne never served a day in the military because he had some kind of deferment. He only served in the Marines in the movies he made. I loved them all and watched them all as a kid and an adult, but he was not a Marine in real life!

Semper Fi,
Gerald Woodward
USMC, Sgt. E-5

I was in the Marine Corps from 2-62 until 1968. I was issued a Green Field Scarf in boot camp and after coming back from Okinawa Feb. 1964, to the world, after doing a B.L.T with 3/3 and 3/9, the only time I wore it was when I came back to St. Louis where it was colder than H-ll, with 4" of snow. I had the green over coat on and the scarf, which was ugly, but it kept you warm. Never wore the over coat or scarf again. It never got that cold at El Toro Air Station, Calif. the next 2 1/2 years.

Robert (Bob) Jost
Cpl. 20134xx, 3531/6413

Categories of monikers included play on your name, ethnicity, region, national heritage or my favorite - stupid blunders. 1956 MCRDSD at Camp Mathews for qualification, we had a genius who had a nosebleed and packed both nostrils with cotton. Then he used his Zippo to light a cigarette and set fire to his nose. The rest of his career in the Corps he was known as "Flame Beak".

Semper Fi
KJ Mumford, 155xxxx, 1953-63

The story of the exploding armadillo brought to mind an incident at the Kaneohe Bay rifle range.

I was doing a stint of duty as range safety officer during a re-qual. About mid-week when we were back at the 300 yard line a mongoose ran across the berm at which point everyone on the line let fly at him/her. I never saw so many Maggie's Drawers in my life. The mongoose got off without a scratch.

J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.

I was in Base Maint. right across the blacktop from your Co. office at Camp Smith during the movie filming in Pearl. Walking back from a job on the Base street I saw the Gen's (Lt. Gen. Krulak) car w/flags flying coming through the gate. As a good Marine I dropped my tool kit and gave a salute as it went by. I then saw John Wayne with the Gen., in MC dress whites and Col. insignia (presumably on their way to the "O" club). John returned my salute. The more I thought about it the more PO'd I got. I guess a PR Colonel has its privileges!

Semper Fi
Terminal Lance Steve

"Once a Marine, Always a Marine"!

This phrase is credited to MSgt Paul Woyshner... Allegedly he shouted this during a bar room argument.

Semper Fidelis
Kristy Fomin (Marine Wife)

"What did you call your rifle?"
"Betsy, Sir."
And then the fight started...

Earl N.

For J. Wise

If you really want to find a place for this knife you can send it to the Marine Museum at Quantico. I had gotten two photos from my Aunt a few years ago about the Marines landing in Nicaragua back in between WWI and WWII and their campsite. These were taken by her father that was in the Navy back then. Send them a letter asking if they would like to have your father's knife.

Bob Otto
GySgt Retired
1957 – 1980

In response to L/Cpl J.T. Lacey question. I would say my favorite tour of duty was at K-Bay Hawaii for 2 years. Caught 2 West Pacs. This is after catching a Med and NATO out of Lejeune. Four years of which 19 months and 25 days were sea time, 16 countries, above the arctic circle, below the equator, thru the Suez canal and around the world point A to point B. All on uncle Sam's dime. Semper Fi!

This message is in response to J. Wise concerning his father's Bouganville knife. J. Wise may consider donating it to the Veteran's Memorial Museum Foundation in Germantown, OH. This is a museum (one man's vision-David Shortt) to do something for veterans. David Shortt is the curator and energy of the museum. The museum is supported on donations only. The museum displays (Civil War through today's military actions) are entirely donated by veterans and veterans families. The equipment under the care of this museum is well cared for and cherished.

If interested contact:

David Shortt
Tel: (937)855-4763
Email: ddshortt[at]

Mailing Address:

Veterans Memorial Museum Foundation
123 S. Main Street
Germantown, OH 45327

Semper Fi,
Sgt Stephen (BECK) Becker, 2533 Viet Nam '69-'70

Answer to Rusty Norman's question about the pith helmet:

I was issued a pith helmet when I arrived at San Miguel, Philippine Islands in 1964. I was with the Marine Support Bn. Naval Security Group from May of 1964 to May of 1966 - "C" Company. We were authorized to wear the helmet with utilities, and khaki uniform.

J.W. Riner - 1982640/2575
Cpl - still waiting for a promotion.


"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
--Herbert Spencer, Essays [1891]

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold."
--1stLt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918

"Courage is endurance for one moment more..."
--Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam

"My only answer as to why the Marines get the toughest jobs is because the average Leatherneck is a much better fighter. He has far more guts, courage, and better officers... These boys out here have a pride in the Marine Corps and will fight to the end no matter what the cost."
--2nd Lt. Richard C. Kennard, Peleliu, World War II

"You just finished chow... let my sand fleas have theirs!"

"Hi ho, hi ho
It's off to the pits we go,
We'll bend and thrust, and bust our nuts,
Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho..."

"I gave you azsholes at ease, not base liberty!"

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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