Sgt Grit Newsletter - 28 AUG 2014

In this issue:
• WWII Cover Returned To Marine
• Throwing The Grenade Or Not
• Once A Corporal Of Marines

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Sgt Lucas in the bush in Vietnam

Sgt Lucas being patched up in helo in Vietnam

Dear Sgt. Grit,

You can tell Gunny Rousseau that the Marine in the picture with his article on 'Scrounging in Vietnam' is (was?) Sgt. Lucas, a team leader with Alpha Co. 1st ReconBn. I don't remember all the details but he was wounded being extracted from a hot LZ sometime in late '68. He 'nodded off' when the Doc had to cut out part of the wound - took him months to live that down.

Fred Vogel - formerly of Alpha Company

WWII Cover Returned To Marine

WWII Marines Lee Paul and Lee Dortsch Conversating

Marines Dortsch, Paul, Whited, and Bursch Photo Op

(Article by Patrick Whitehurst of The Daily Courier)

There are those who believe everything happens for a reason. If true, U.S. Marine Corps veterans Lee Paul, 88, and Lee Dortsch, 91, were destined to meet. But, while both served in World War II, both landed on Iwo Jima on the same day, and both had the same commanding officer, they never met at the time. That changed last week, however, when the two met at the Prescott campus of Northern Arizona Veterans Affairs.

And it all happened because of a hat.

Technically, the hat is called a 'cover,' Paul explained, and not a typical one either. In fact, he said, that style of cover has not been issued since the 1940s.

Paul and a group of local veterans meet regularly for coffee in Chino Valley at the Checkered Apron restaurant. Fellow veteran Jimmy Whited, the former owner of a Chino Valley pawnshop, came into possession of an old service hat, the cover in question, that he gave to Paul.

"I had a cover that was given to me years ago. I wanted Lee to have it," Whited said.

Who originally gave Whited the hat, however, remains a mystery.

"A man, a stranger, brought it in and knew I was an ex-Marine. He said I would appreciate the cover," Whited said.

"It's an old one, the old herringbone, which they haven't issued since the 1940s. That one was issued in 1942," Paul said.

After receiving the gift, Paul wore it to the unofficial group's regular coffee meeting on the following Tuesday. It was there the group examined the name, "Lee Dortsch, Private, USMC," written inside. Paul mentioned to the group his plans to go online to see if he could learn the whereabouts of the original owner.

Veteran Ron Bursch, part of the coffee group, overheard the name and asked to see the hat in question.

"He said he knew the man," Paul said.

Surprisingly, Bursch explained that Dortsch was in the Prescott VA's Community Living Center. It was then Paul decided he needed to meet the owner and assist in returning his cover.

"It was unbelievable," Paul said.

Last week, Paul and Dortsch met for the first time on the Prescott VA campus.

"It was really difficult to give it up, but after I met Lee I knew it should go to him," Paul explained. "He was very happy to get it back. We almost came to tears."

The two got to talking, where they learned that both served in the Marines at Iwo Jima in Company C, First Battalion, 26th regiment. Paul himself was attached to the First Battalion, 26th regiment where he served as a specialist naval gunfire radio operator.

"We went in on the same beach, on the same day, and probably at about the same time, but I can't verify that," Paul said. "We had quite a time talking about that."

Dortsch was wounded by a bayonet in Guadalcanal before the Iwo Jima landing. He also served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

239th USMC Birthday Items

Found By The Enemy

I want to chime in on Gunny Rousseau's "Have It All" article. I was with Lima 3/7 & Kilo 3/5 in '70 operating in the Que Son mountains & the surrounding area. We would often find C-ration cans that had been buried unopened with their contents enclosed that were found by the enemy who then opened & ate their contents. It was disturbing when you realized somebody unknowingly from our side was providing meals for somebody on the other side. We made sure we didn't do the same thing.

Corporal John P. Sitek

Brown Side Out, Green Side Out

New Marine Corps Uniform Survey

This is how you do it. On August 8th, the US Marine Corps Uniform Board released a survey seeking input about three proposed uniform changes for active duty and reserve Marines. The three changes are:

Altering the color of enlisted rank insignia from black to brushed brass for Woodland MARPAT utilities.

Establishing the Sam Browne belt as a mandatory accessory for officers wearing the blue dress A/B.

Shifting the annual seasonal uniform synchronization date from Daylight Savings Time to the First Monday in April for Summer uniforms and the first Monday in October for Winter uniforms.

Good to see the Corps still has a way to honor "Brown Side Out, Green Side Out". -Dennis Krause, Sgt, USMC, '62-'68

Any thoughts or opinions on these proposed changes?

Throwing The Grenade Or Not

During the years of November 1974 to November 1976 I was a member of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines at San Mateo, Camp Pendleton. During the year of 1976, I believe a member of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was killed during a training accident while throwing a live grenade. I am not sure of the name, but I believe the last name of this Marine who was killed was either PFC or LCPL McMillian or MacMillian, who hailed from Chicago, Illinois.

It's been almost 39 years ago, and my memory is not so sharp as it used to be, but I seem to remember that Mac, was very frightened about throwing the grenade during this exercise, from what I can remember, he panicked and tossed the grenade back to the instructor who was in the pit with him after he removed the safety and the pin for the spool, the instructor jumped over the wall and yelled "Grenade" however Mac did not jump the wall, he instead went to the nearest corner and got in a crouching position, when he finally decided to leave the pit, he tried to step over the grenade when it went off.

I am asking anyone who might remember this scenario and provide more details as to the accuracy of the incident.

Thank you,
Mike Angelo

How We Feel About The Corps

Sgt Grit,

Just finished reading the 21Aug14 news issue AND if the article by Sgt Sparacino doesn't bring out your Marine Corps pride, maybe you need a blood transfusion.

In connection with how the other services view themselves, there was something (I can't remember if it was on your website, or not), that may explain how we feel about the Corps:

The Army Chief of Staff would never be called soldier;
The Air Force Chief of Staff would never be called airman;
The Chief of Naval Operations would never be called sailor;
The Commandant of the Marine Corps is d-mned proud to be called

Semper Fi,
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)

Maj. Lawrence Rulison

Sgt. Grit:

Attention on deck.

I am writing on behalf of a colleague who is the son and grandson of Marines. His father is a Vietnam vet and his grandfather was a WWII vet. It is the grandfather, now deceased, my friend is most interested in because he is no longer around to tell his story.

The grandfather's name was Maj. Lawrence Rulison and he served with 3/26 on Iwo Jima and Saipan. I believe he was wounded in both engagements and was awarded the Bronze Star. He eventually was promoted to lieutenant colonel and after the war he was a distinguished legislator in upstate New York. He was just 47 when he died.

We have scoured the web to find out as much as possible about Maj. Rulison and his Marine Corps service but not a whole lot turned up. If anyone out there can help us find out more, we would be very grateful.

Thanks and Semper Fi,
Sgt. Bill Federman
USMC 1968-71
RVN 1970-71

Get Up Or Sleep

This is my favorite story and a long time since it has been related... so I hope most of the details are correct. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton 33 area (Camp Margarita) before being shipped to Okinawa. This was 1958-'59. A good buddy of mine was a cowboy named Billie Wilkerson (Wilkinson)? and at that time we had a rodeo area with bull riding and bronco busting for off duty hour entertainment. "Colorado Billie", as he was called, was a bull rider and me being a city slicker who had ridden maybe three trail ride horses in my life looked up to him as some kind of super human. He was always trying to get me to climb on one of those beasts whose only goal in life was to hurt the a-hole on his back real bad. Fortunately, I was blessed with self-preservation genes and never gave in. O K I was chicken. But to the point of my story.

Over the 4th of July weekend one year, they had a huge rodeo that was well attended. Billie was riding and I was drinking beer. Being only seventeen I didn't handle beer all that well and after a couple of hours I climbed one of the hills surrounding the rodeo grounds and decided I would cr-p out and take a little siesta. I had just dozed off real good when two MP's came upon me. They wanted me to get up and I wanted to sleep. Kind of the irresistible force and the immoveable object scenario. Me being not of sound mind and that they were silly enough to be below me on the hill I decided it would be a good idea if the three of us should go rolling azs over tea-kettle down the hill. Well off we went and needless to say they weren't as thrilled as I was with the ride. Coincidentally near the bottom of the hill was a "corral" they had set up for those of us who might have over-indulged to rest and recuperate. Guess where I wound up?

After about a half hour in there they brought in another Marine and this person was really hammered and would speak only French. When they brought him in they made him stand facing the wall with his hands stretched above his head. Once he was quiet the MP's left but he remained standing there. Others of us told him they were gone and he could sit, but he either couldn't or wouldn't understand English. I had beginning French in high school and the teacher would have us stand when she entered the classroom and then tell us to sit down. In French. Even in my drunken stupor I remembered that phrase. "assayev vous". I shouted it at him and he turned and sat down. This was the only time my French studies ever did any good but it was worth every hour.


(Vol #8, #4)

They were surprised that I knew anything about Richmond, Ind. I told them that my Dad and I stayed there when we went to the Indy 500 race. It was just over the Ohio - Indiana border - exactly 600 miles from our farm; that it was probably the same distance from Mt. Holly. This made Mary feel pretty good. She thought that was a 'nice' distance from home to go to college. I asked if they would consider having me drive her to the school after she was admitted. Her Dad said "I am sure she would much rather go with you than to take the Greyhound by herself." Her mother said "George, I wish you would not say things like that. You know quite well that she would not have to take a bus by herself." He was already laughing out loud. All agreed that I could take her. Her Dad called the Admissions Office. He told the person that answered that there were 3 other people in the room that were equally interested in the process; that he was going to repeat everything he was asked or told before responding. This went quite well and in a little more than an hour Mary was enrolled at Earlham University. The only thing undecided at that point was what courses she would take - and she had until the 9th to make up her mind on that. He was told what the minimum down payment would be and he asked for the total for the first year. He told them he would send a cashier's check for that amount with Mary. She had to be on campus by Saturday at 6:00 PM. That meant we would have to leave in a day or two. We looked at each other and decided to leave tomorrow morning, the 6th.

Mary packed a locker box with the things she wished to take with her. We hit the sack early and were up early on Wednesday. Mrs. 'B' fixed a light breakfast - enough for Mary - but not enough for me. We got everything in the car and started out at a little after 7:00. I asked Mary if she had ever been out west before. She had not. I said "You will be going through some beautiful country and our first stop will be at the Midway - the middle of the Pennsylvania Turnpike." We reached there just after 11:00. I filled the tank and checked everything else. Then we went into the restaurant. It was Howard Johnson's masterpiece location. Mary always ate light. I was able to get enough food to stop the rumbling in my stomach. We got back on the road by just after Noon. I told her "If you wish to stop for any reason just let me know. Otherwise, we will keep going until dinner time." About an hour into Ohio we stopped for dinner at an Amish style restaurant. It was a very good choice and we would need nothing more before morning. Then we drove on to the 500 mile point - and started looking for a place to sleep. We were lucky again and were soon getting ready to shower and sleep. We had just under a hundred miles to go and were on the road by 7:00 AM. We drove a few miles and stopped at a diner - always a good choice for breakfast - and got our day off right. Then we were back on the road again with the next stop in Richmond, Ind. I knew exactly where the college was, but took Mary on a little ride around Richmond before going through the gates of Earlham University.

'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.

Marine Ink Of The Week

Submitted by Submitted by John Grainger

My Eagle, Globe, and Anchor 0311 tattoo done by Labouges Fort Worth, Texas.

Eagle, Globe, and Anchor 0311

Once A Corporal Of Marines

John Murphy in Vietnam

John Murphy and Marines Photo Op in Vietnam

Sgt. Grit,

3rd squad all present and accounted for!

Just thought I'd add my two cents to the discourse. To the Marine recalling, "praying to the sun god". Yes, I remember it vividly; we had to "pray" during "qual" week at the rifle range. We had been doing a whole series of stretching exercises that week so "praying" actually to me was rather easy and I was quite surprised I could accomplish that feat having never thought of myself as flexible.

While at the rifle range, I ran across a slogan prominently displayed at an entrance and it read, "Let the enemy bast-rd die for his country, we'll teach you to live for yours!" I knew then I had made the right decision when I joined the Corps. Yeah, I wanted to go in harm's way but I also wanted to come out alive on the other side, and I knew that good training would help me in this goal. I knew my safety was not guaranteed but excellent training would give me an edge.

I shot expert the day after betting my Senior Drill Instructor (big money!) that I could accomplish that feat. I was down to my last shot (to make expert) from the prone position at 500 yards and the SDI growled that if I hit a bull's eye he would kick my azs! My coach looked at me and said, "Should I tell you to raise your sight one click" and I grinned and replied, "Should I raise my sight one click?" He told me I was low on the last shot and to go ahead and raise my sight one click and I did so, fired and hit a bull! Won some money and used that to play (and win) high card that night (with the SDI!) to celebrate our finishing up on the rifle range. Loved my SDI; taught me to be a man!

Does anyone remember doing the manual of arms with their footlocker? How 'bout this one - the three things you cannot do? Ok, I'll tell ya - you can't slam a swinging door, you can't put used toothpaste back in the tube, and you can't strike a match on a wet bar of soap!

We really weren't a bad platoon as we acquired some pennants; but one time we f--ked up so bad that we made our SDI cry. First time I ever witnessed that in a man. Showed he really cared for us!

Spent a year and a half on the "Big I" (USS Independence CVA 62) as a sea going bellhop (3rd Marine Detachment) guarding atomic bombs (technically you were supposed to guard the bomb from the ammo locker to the plane and then down the runway!) and scaring the h-ll out of the "squids" when they wound up in the brig. Sometimes after liberty when the Marines and "swabbies" were waiting for the bus to return to the ship there would be tense moments between the two services - ha, ha that was something as us Marines were always outnumbered (the Marine detachment only had about 50 or so personnel on board ship and a carrier crew was about 4000 sailors) but we never "punked out" and stood our ground as we were trained.

Spent many an hour spit polishing shoes and visors, "Brassoing" brass and rubbing wooden M1 rifle butts with a mixture of linseed oil and wood polish (I'm not sure about the wood polish) and clipping off "Irish pennants". The navy and women wear pants; Marines wear trousers.

Never made a "Med" cruise as the ship was in dry dock for most of my stay there. That was something to see when they drained the water from the dry docks to expose the bottom of the boat; it was surreal to look down into the dock and view the hull and propellers and shaft that was exposed, you could almost get vertigo the dock was so deep.

Did get to go to 'Gitmo for a training cruise and the view from the fantail when that big 'ole moon was full was a sight I'll never forget, along with flight ops, especially at night. I did get a chance to go through a training program (amphibious reconnaissance course) with the Seals and ended up jumping off the back of a high-speed motor boat at night several miles from shore. That was fun!

We pulled into Norfolk one blustery day and as per SOP, us "jarheads" were in position on the bow of the ship with the "squids" standing position on port and starboard sides (manning the rails); the breeze was blowing so hard you had to lean at a 30-degree slant to keep from getting blown off the deck! Whenever the CO and the guidon walked in front of you during the required inspection, you almost fell over because they would block the wind! The wind was blowing so hard the boat captain dismissed the sailors (all 2 to 3000 of them!) before we got to port! Naturally as Marines, WE weren't going anywhere! It could have been a tornado, we weren't going anywhere! Ughow! Hard chargers! "Sweepers, sweepers man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft!" "The smoking lamp is lit; light 'em if you got'em!"

I learned how to break the M1 down all the way to the sights (we were doing armorer work!). Too bad I couldn't use the M1 or at least the M14 in combat. I was not a fan of the M16 as any bit of dirt in the bolt made the "pig" almost useless (had that to happen to me one rainy night while on an LP) so I always kept a nice supply of fragmentation hand grenades on me (very good equalizer!) I spent 13 months with 3/3 "Killer" Kilo as a squad leader and right guide in '68 and '69, humping the bush around the "Z", Con Thien, the "Rockpile", Camp Carroll and "Leatherneck Square" and as per my position as a CPL of Marines I always got the spaghetti and meatballs and fruit cocktail C-rats... loved the beans and weenies too.

On my first "op" I had C-rat cans stuffed in socks hanging off the back of my pack (we had WWII packs and the army had the newer rucksacks and I wasn't going hungry!); that lasted about 10 minutes after we hopped off the choppers as it was hot and by that I mean the LZ was "hot" and the weather was hot and it suddenly dawned on me that I might not live long enough to eat all those meals so I sh-t canned 'em! (pun intended).

I remember Sgt. Carrillo standing tall, directing traffic as we hopped off the choppers from about 10 feet off the ground and mortar rounds dropping all around. I had point and I remember telling my radio man that if a go-k jumped up in front of me I wouldn't shoot him, I would run up and beat his azs as he would have scared the sh-t out of me! Sarge got wrote up for a bronze star for that action (so I heard).

One time I got a C-rat box that was stamped with my birth year (1948!), that was a lucky box (in that I could eat it and not die of food poisoning!).

In '69, we started to get the dried meals in packets where all you had to do is add hot water; they were a lot easier to carry than the cans and sometimes they seemed to taste better.

We had been on this hill (out in the middle of nowhere) for about a month and some kind of way the guys in my squad found out it was my birthday and they made me a cake of a C-rat box covered in shaving cream with a half cherry on top; it took all my will power to keep from taking out my K-bar and cutting into the "cake" it just looked so good!

We are still on this same hill and I start to notice that in the morning as we rise one of my brothers is wet in front of his trousers and as the days pass I realize that he is p-ssing on himself. Before the month was out he was dead. Did he have a premonition of his demise?

We were on another hill one time and we didn't get resupplied for a week because of the inclement weather; we ate grass soup seasoned with Tabasco (hot) sauce; hot sauce is real good to relieve hunger pangs. All we talked about was food; hamburgers, milkshakes and steaks.

Lost my squad because I didn't have a flak jacket on (yeah, I know we had just been hit but for some reason I just didn't put it on); then the CO sent me to NCO school for a month in Okinawa. So I'm in this class of 50 or so other Marines being instructed on the fine points of the M16 rifle by a Recon Marine with a chest full of lettuce and his gold jump wings (very impressive), so we get to the end of the lecture and he asks for questions or suggestions - none, so I raise my hand and state, "On the bolt there are three "C" rings that have to be assembled in a staggered order otherwise the gas will not operate the bolt to a rearward position". He replied that I should be teaching the class. I took that as a compliment.

When I got back to the world a brother told me I had saved his life because I went to take a sh-t one time while we were out in the bush. I don't remember the occasion but if he said I saved his life then I take that as a compliment! Hey sh-t happens!! (another pun intended)

Yeah I remember Semper Fi Mac! being a derisive term and even using the term jarhead could get you in a fight, but that was then and this is now; but to this day I still blouse my shirt and make sure my front seams are in line and pants are still something women and "squids" wear (wow! The term is "hat" now - I'm glad the sarge has stuck with "cover"), and I don't quit; adapt and overcome! Lessons learned and put to use to this day. Get squared away Marine! Get your sh-t together Marine! Saddle up Marine! "Gun's up!"

And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea! Eat the apple and f--k the Corps!

Once a Marine, always a Marine - very true. My best friends now are my brothers that I served with and the ones I have met at the VA. The bond has lasted a lifetime!

So, I'm at the VA in Salem getting treatment for PTSD with a group (181) of fellow veterans and we're down to the last week of treatment and each individual has to do or say a parting action and when it was my turn I said I couldn't think of anything to give the group because a lot of guys didn't smoke or drink, so the only thing I could give them that they all would understand and appreciate was to drop down and give 'em 20 and then I gave 'em 1 for the Marine Corps, and 1 for the 82nd Airborne, and 1 for the Seabee's, and 1 for the Army, and 1 more because I could do it! The guys and staff got a kick out of that one!

I never participated in or was subject to having stripes "pinned".

Semper Fi!
John Lee Murphy III
Once a Corporal of Marines and now belong to the Brotherhood of Warriors!
3/3 Kilo 68/69

Lost and Found

My name is Larry Rummans. I am trying to get in touch with a radio guy in his group, 1/1. The guy's name was Dana Brown.

Email: Lawrence1938[at]
Tel: (406)366-4900

Would like to get in touch with anyone who was in Plt. 3118, June 1969, MCRD San Diego or Hill 55 Viet-Nam 1970! Maybe Okinawa or Camp Lejeune?

L/CPL. C.E. Corrales
El Paso, Texas
Email: cecorrales49[at]

I'm looking for any Marines that were sent in country from the USS Eldorado, January 1969, during operation Bold Mariner. No matter how short or how long their time in country. They can contact me directly. My email address is Zelma1988[at] Thank you.

Bob Crosby
Shreveport, LA
USMC 1967 - 1971

Short Rounds

The Marine was Cpl lucas, a team leader Texas Pete, 1968. A d-mn good recon Marine. He saved our behinds March 5, 1968 on hill 146.

Semper Fi
Alex Colvin

In your last newsletter either submitted by you or Lowe there was a reference of Officers Boot Camp at MCB Quantico. Serving at that base in '54 and '55, OCS was not an officer's boot camp. It was a candidate selection process to ascertain if a candidate was qualified to lead Marines in a ground combat situation. If they qualified they were sent to TBS for a 6-month program training them in the job of being a Marine Officer in their specialty field.

Semper Fi
Sgt. J. Davis

Dear Staff and family,

I just received my order for my dad. We are so pleased for him. My dad helps so many service members, and veterans he hardly has time for himself. He is so proud to be a Marine. This is all he talks about. Now when he speaks he can wear his uniform proudly. Thank You and Your Staff, So Very Much. He always says Semper-Fi!

Dave Brailey

Sgt. Sparacino,

Semper Fi, Semper Fi, Semper Fi.

Chuck Michalski
Cpl. 1962-1966

Here's a topic that we all hold dear to our "stomachs". The Chow Hall. My most memorable chow hall was on an Army ASA spook base in Eritrea... (think the middle of nowhere)... it was the first time we had real plates instead of the stamped out metal trays. Where was your favorite chow hall?

Sgt. Fuzzy
'68 - '72


"When I joined the Marine Corps, I figured I'd be a infantryman, go on liberty, drink beer, punch sailors, chase wild women, kill communists, and if I kept my boots clean and qualified with the rifle every year, I might grow up to be a gunnery sergeant."
--Retired MGySgt R. R. Keene, Leatherneck, April 1996, page 51

"You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
--Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
--Louis Dembitz Brandeis, Whitney v. California [1927]

"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute."
--James Madison, 1816

"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
--Samuel Adams, 1749

"Lest I keep my complacent way, I must remember somewhere out there a person died for me today. As long as there must be war, I ask, and I must answer, 'Was I Worth Dying For?'"
--Eleanor Roosevelt

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Marines die; that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever."
--The role of GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, using his own choice of words in the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987

"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
--Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994

"Rise and shine, another day to serve the Corps!"

"You people are too slow, it you were in combat you'd be dead!"

"You people aren't even a mob, a mob has leader. You clowns are a heard. I'm going to get me a sheep dog."

"Today, you people are no longer maggots! You are Marines!"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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