Sgt Grit Newsletter - 02 JUL 2015

In this issue:
• 60th Reunion On Board PI
• Trained Killers Don't Smile
• Salute Anybody That Moved

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a very Happy Independence Day! July 4th will mark the 239th anniversary of the United States' adoption of the Declaration of Independence declaring independence from Great Britain in 1776.

As we enjoy the festivities and fireworks this weekend let us also celebrate the bravery and grit of our men and women that have served in our Armed Forces over the past 239 years to keep our nation independent!

Semper Fi,
Sgt Grit & Staff

Chesty Puller

LtGen Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller

Date of Birth: 26 June 1898 in West Point, Virginia.

Happy Birthday CHESTY, Wherever You Are!

Steve Robertson

Happy Birthday Chesty

60th Reunion On Board PI

Al sharing a moment with MCRD PI mascot

1955 Marines taking a photo with MCRD PI CG and SgtMaj

Here are some pics of my reunion on board PI... you will notice that I am having a conversation with the mascot... he liked my beard also. The second is with the Depot CG and SgtMaj and the third is in front the Brig & Brew. At one time it was the Brig, the cells are still there but used for storage. It is the "Slop Shoot" now. We celebrated our 60th year as Marines with our respective Ladies!

Semper Fidelis,
Al Pasquale

1948 Began My Transformation

On June 25, 1948, I raised my right hand before a 2nd Lt and was sworn into the Marine Corps. Two seconds later I received my first A-- chewing while at attention. Seems the Lt disliked my chewing gum. As ordered, I got rid of the gum while at attention, wasn't bad, went down easy. Upon arriving at Yemmassee, SC, I learned how to swab a deck, the entire WW2 barracks. When I was transported to Parris Island, a very large Sgt MacMurtry met me, and with a p----- off attitude, gave me my second A-- reaming, go I guess. My Summer at PI was a real eye opener, heat, sand fleas, close order drilling especially when the red flag was hoisted. The proudest day of this 17 year old wisea-- was being handed a handful of Marine emblems by the DI, on Sept 16, 1948, I began my transformation of a 17 year old high school misfit to a Marine. Honor, God and Country became my goals in life, they served me well from Inchon in Sept 1950 thru the Chosin Res ordeal. At the age of 84, I am still a Marine and D-mn proud of it. I fly the Marine Corps flag underneath the Stars and Stripes, still proud to live by my tenets of Honor, God and Country.

Semper Fi,
Ernie Padgette 66 ----
Sgt., 1st Marine Div.

Tough Old Marine Cover/Hat

This Helmet And A Picture

Helmet worn by Hanoi Jane

Today, the wife and I went for our weekly local road trip in beautiful sunny (that sounds better than ungodly hot) Arizona. We went to the Commemorative Air Force Museum. We looked at an F-4 Phantom and other planes of past conflicts. Over in a corner was a little LOCH on display. It did look like the one our AO's flew. On the floor on the right side was this helmet and a picture.

You guys can figure out your own thoughts of the subject.

SSgt D.J. Huntsinger
DaNang '69-'70

Sgt Grit Exclusive USMC 240th Birthday T-shirt Special

Trained Killers Don't Smile

First time grabbed by the stacking swivel.

At sick bay heel-to-toe getting shots with by the injection method. I was bleeding like I was getting tattooed. Me and another turd looked at each other and my "wounds". Then I heard "Stone, see me back at the barn". WOW! Sgt Thomas wants to talk to ME!

So after about three more hours of the h-ll of running all over Parris Island, back at the barn we were.

I cowered behind my bunk pretending I was invisible or dead, hoping the Drill Instructor had forgotten me. HA! I knew better so I ran to The DI Quarters and announced myself. "Stone, what you doing smiling in formation! Trained killers don't smile! Then he pressed his thumb against my stacking swivel and started thumping my trigger housing group. After a few thumps my front sights began to roll back in my head. And a nanosecond before I passed out he let me go. Miraculously I returned to maggot land. F--king Geniuses!

I've got three more Sgt stories I'll tell you ladies later.

LCpl Stone
Plt 305, PISC 1965

Father's Day Gift

LCpl Hildalgo in his new USMC polo

Loving my Father's Day Gift from my wife & kids!

Semper Fi, that is all!

LCpl Hidalgo, David P.

Get this moto performance polo at:

USMC Under Armour Coldblack Performance Embossed Polo

USMC Under Armour Coldblack
Performance Embossed Polo

Salute Anybody That Moved

I was at MCRD San Diego when Pres. Kennedy came to visit his Marines. It was a lot of fun for all of us going to Electronics School. It was the only time we were issued an order to salute anybody that moved about a week before the President's visit. Being the typical smart a--- we were, we saluted dog fire hydrants and anything else we could think of. The reason to salute all personnel was that the front people for the President may deserve the respect. They did empty all barracks and placed snipers on top of every building. The most fun was when the mediclal staff marched (or at least that was what it was supposed to be) not one doc was in step with anyother doc. Their covers were sort of on their heads, that was with Pres. Kennedy on the podium watching.

R.L. Duke

1963 JFK Visit to MCRD

JFK's arrival to MCRD San Diego in 1963

Re: Lee VanTreese's June 18 post and photos of JFK's visit to MCRD... The date of those photos was Wednesday, November 6, 1963. My attached photo of the President was taken that same day.

During that time I was a squad leader in Charlie 1/5, 2nd Platoon. On the morning of the 6th the entire battalion was trucked from Camp Margarita to San Diego. We then formed an honor guard for the Presidents motorcade on both sides of the road all the way from Lindbergh Field to the main gate of MCRD.

A week later, on November 14, the battalion boarded the USS General J.C. Breckinridge AP-176 in San Diego heading for Okinawa with scheduled stops at Pearl Harbor and Yokohama, Japan.

Early on the morning of November 23 (the 22nd in Dallas) the ship began its entrance into the very busy port of Yokohama. Many ships arriving and departing. As we stood on the rail and watched the activity I noticed something unusual. As we passed foreign flagged ships, each would lower their colors as our ship passed. I'd never seen that before and made mention of it to my buddies. "Something's up. This is not normal protocol", I remember saying. Once our ship was secured to the Naval facility pier the ships Captain announced the assassination of JFK five hours ago in Dallas. Needless to say, we, like the rest of the world, were shocked.

But many of us were also thinking not only of JFK's assassination, but also of the over throw and murder of South Vietnam's president, Ngo Dinh Diem, only three weeks earlier in Saigon on November 2. And here we are heading to the Far East for a 13 month tour of duty.

It would be a little over six months before the "Gulf of Tonkin" Resolution was passed by Congress which authorizes President Johnson to use military force in Vietnam. Eight months later (March, 1965) the 9th MEB, consisting of 3/9 and 1/3 begin arriving in Vietnam. The MEB is the first U.S. ground combat unit in country.

Bill Honan
Cpl E-4
Charlie 1/5, Golf 2/3

I've Got Smokes

When a fella needs a cigarette he'll smoke d-mn near anything.

Smoking was a big deal when I was in the Corps. Well over half the guys smoked. In boot camp, when misery was the goal, even then there were smoke breaks. "Smoke'em if you've got'em." "The smoking lamp is lit." To smokers the gratification was intensified, but to non-smokers like me it was at least a break from whatever we'd been doing.

Even our C-rations had cigarettes included, little five packs. Obviously cigarettes were considered a necessity to whoever decided the contents of field rations. Smoking was part of the military culture.

In Vietnam our resupply of rations was sometimes erratic. If somehow our resupply had failed to appear there were always a few cans of eats in the bottom of my pack to appease any real hunger. Date pudding. Geez that stuff was weird. Fruit cake. Same deal. I'd never eat that stuff regularly but I always knew I had a can or two of it saved in the bottom of my pack for emergencies.

In July of '66, after the biggest gun fight we'd ever experienced, after we'd evacuated our wounded and consolidated our position, such an emergency came about. It had been three days since resupply, what with all the shootin' and stuff, and I'd eaten my last date pudding the day before so even pudgy Joe was hungry. So there we were, sitting around our perimeter waiting for the blessed sound of a resupply helo, muttering to one another how hungry we were. One guy popped off with, "Forget the chow, I'd give anything for a smoke right now." A bunch of guys agreed with this. Obviously all the cigarettes in the outfit were gone along with all the remnant cans of C-rats. I thought about it for a moment or two then added, "I'm pretty sure I've got some smokes in my pack."

Instantly all eyes were on me so I reckoned I'd better check and see. I sat down, put my pack in front of me and started unloading its limited contents, almost all bandoleers of ammo. Sure enough, rattlin' around in the bottom, were six or eight small packs of cigarettes. As I pulled a handful out for all to see I became the most popular guy on the hill. I tossed them to whoever got to me first. Felt like Santa Claus.

Now you have to remember these smokes were packed into the C-rats in the 1950s sometime. Certainly not less than a decade old, and they'd been in my pack under all sorts of conditions for weeks at least. The cellophane wrapping didn't do all that much good to keep'em fresh, but nobody seemed to care at that moment.

Imagine the minor frenzy of a guy tearing open that tiny pack of cigarettes, popping one between his lips in a practiced motion as he snapped open his Zippo to light it. Imagine him lighting it and inhaling with glee the glorious taste finally. We've all seen such moments in commercials. This wasn't one of those.

The instant he lit the smoke it caught on fire. The entire tip lit like a candle, which only fazed him for an instant. "Sorta dry", at which time he flicked the fire off the tip of the cigarette with his finger till the nub began to glow rather than burn. When he inhaled the length of the cigarette burned like fuse, to within a half inch of his lips all within seconds. His only reaction was, "Ahhhhhh.", like it was the best tobacco he'd ever tasted. Then he fumbled with the pack for another.

For forty something years I've had that image in my memory bank, him flicking the fire off the end of his smoke, so whenever I hear anyone say they'd like a cigarette I can't help but harken back to that miserable day on the hill.

In a pinch, guys will smoke anything. Little lesson learned.

Joe Holt
India 3/5, 1966

My Ginny And Being In The Corps

I didn't want you to feel alone brother. I have my Ginny next to me always and when the time comes I will join her and the kids then will scatter the ashes of the both of us across the mountain she selected – can't say which one because people take a dim view of such things. I know how you feel and I feel the same way; I say good morning to her and know that I am good to go one more day. This was not the main reason we married but she was born on November 10 – 163 years after our Corps was born - it sure made life easy for me to remember her birthday present. Two things I miss in this world – my Ginny, and being in the Corps, any base, any job, any time. Semper Fi Brothers.

Bill McManigal

Quite A Few Azzholes

Seeing the picture of Colonel Day with JFK this week brought this to mind:... As the Recruit Training Regiment CO, Col Day would hold what he called "Stockholder's Meetings" about every quarter. These would be on a port/starboard basis, so all Drill Instructors could attend, along with recruit company commanders, series officers, etc., and he would hold forth on what he saw as the general status of the Regiment... not really a pep talk, though it had much the same effect.

He had a rather dry sense of humor, and when he got to the part about DI's language, he said: "In walking around the Depot of late, I note that we seem to have quite a few azzholes... of course, my son is in OCS at Quantico now, and he assures me that they have them there, too"...

Just checked HqBn1stMarDiv command chronology... relocated from Okinawa to Chu Lai (sic) VN March of '66, left from Tengan Pier on an APA... the Clymer... etc, etc.

If I recall correctly, at one time you had VN map sheets in the catalog... if grid squares from the command chronologies match up, I'm thinking that with a simple tutorial on finding command chronologies on the net, you might peddle a whole pot-full of maps... yer average snuffy would have had no idea that such a document existed, much less that it would give a unit's location more or less day by day... and the info is there as a matter of public record... h-ll, in some cases, the chronology might even resemble the truth (see, e.g. 'probable' body counts)... with us, it was "if it's dead, it's Red..."


Don't Ask

Sgt Grit,

My last reply to you yesterday got me thinking about when I was a kid and was always interested in war stories. I was always interested in anything military or train-related for as long as I can remember. My mother's best friend's oldest son Billy was an army Viet Nam vet and had gotten wounded over there. I remember one Christmas Eve (must have been '68 or '69) we visited her at her house for a party she and her husband were having and Billy and his wife were there. He had only been home a few months at the time. Before we got out of the car, my dad turned around to me and said, "look Mike, when we get in there, don't ask Billy about the war, Mrs. Vicky says he is having some problems so don't ask him any questions, OK?" Then there was my mom's older brother Leonard who was a WWII vet and was the A-driver in a Sherman. He was one of only two out of the five man crew who survived a hit to the turret from a German tank. I don't know what he did and how badly he was wounded but I do know he had a bronze star and purple heart. Every year Uncle Leonard had a huge 4th of July crab feast and pool party in his yard, and just like our visits to Mrs. Vicky's house, my dad would remind me, "now Mike when we get in here, don't ask Uncle Leonard about the war or about Sherman tanks, ok?" My uncle was a very friendly man and even had a small model of a M4 Sherman in his living room, and would have probably gladly talked to me about the tank and the war, but my dad, an army veteran himself, I guess was probably just trying to guard Uncle Leonard from having to relive bad memories for the sake of some nosy, young kid. My wife says her brother never wanted to talk about Viet Nam so I never asked him anything. He suffered a severe head-wound among other less serious wounds and I guess he just wanted to keep things to himself. Even my father-in-law who was an army vet, said his son never wanted to talk to him about the war. Everyone always seemed to be ultra-quiet about that subject, whereas today's veterans seem to be more talkative and open about their experience.


Requested Permission To Speak

After nearly a year in the USMCR I arrived at Parris Island and began training Platoon on 24 June 1960 as a member of Platoon 364. Our DI's were; SSgt McElvany a Korean Veteran was our Senior and our Juniors were Sgt E5 D. Blue and Sgt E4 B.R. Lusk, Jr. My rack was catercorner from the DI's House where I could see nearly everything going in when their hatch was open. The House Mouse was a great guy from NJ I believe. The first day the DI's had discovered several photo's of his "girl friend" which they seized and posted on their private bulletin board. I recall one of the photo's was of her in a nice two piece bathing suit. After a few weeks I learned that the recruit was married, against regulations at the time and that he had lied on his enlistment papers about it. We all joined together to keep his secret. When visitors were permitted towards the end of training she showed up in a convertible and the DI's would walk out with him to the car and tease her about taking her out on a date as they were sure he wouldn't mind and so forth. After a few times of this he had had it and blew up! He stormed down to the DI's House and requested permission to speak with the Senior DI and the Juniors. He went in and fessed up about being married. Then he was blown away to learn that they had known he was married from day one of training and that photo's were of his wife and his visitor was his wife and not his sister. They had to pull out a foot locker for him to sit down on he was so shocked! He was marched down to the Company Office where our Series Officer and Company Commander listened to his confession. He received an Article 15 Hearing and extra duty from the DI's but was allowed to graduate with us and go to ITR! I'll never forget the torment that poor guy went through while they waited for him to fess up. He learned that had he not confessed he would have done Brig Time before being allowed to continue as a Marine Private!

Semper Fidelis,
DB Wright
'59-'74 GySgt

Attitude Is Everything Day 48

Attitude Is Everything Quote of the Day 48

Here is this week's most popular Marine Corps quote that was posted on Sgt Grit's Facebook Page. The replies are nothing short of what you would expect from our fellow Marine brothers and sister, or Marine family members.

Here are a few of their comments:

Jim Holland - S/F Sir, we wouldn't trade Marines like you for any amount of money.

Dan Garrett - Semper Fi Colonel North! Ooh Rah!

Roger Whitener - SEMPER FI Colonel its to bad you took the bullet for the rest of those ah's!

Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.

5th of Feb 1968

A sea story. On the 5th of Feb 1968, D 1/7 was involved in a sustained firefight with several hundred NVA in the hamlet of La Chau. The NVA had destroyed the M48 tank attached to our Co. early in the fight. The enemy had turned our flanks and I was trying to call in an airstrike to help cover our attempts to save Marine lives. As I moved passed the burning tank I picked up a M1 carbine dropped by the NVA. I shoved the carbine between my belly and my cartridge belt. I move toward a rice paddy dike and stood to throw a yellow smoke grenade to mark our front lines for the air strike. When I stood up a NVA soldier came out of the treeline and shot me. The round struck the M1 and broke it in half and I survived with only a superficial wound. My lucky/blessed day as they say. The buckle off my belt has a bullet hole clean through it and can be found in the Military/Space Museum Frankenmuth, MI.

Dutch Van Fleet
US Marine

EXCITEMENT! Shot At And Missed

Excitement, shot at and missed book cover

Sgt. Grit,

My new book, "EXCITEMENT! Shot At And Missed", has been available for only the past month or so, and the response is very much appreciated! Here's what MSgt Miles Kelly Hill, USMC (Retired) has to say about the book:

"This is one of the best military books I've read! It brought back memories of my time in the Marines. Everyone, whether a Marine or not, will enjoy this riveting, first-hand account of the F-2-5 Marines in Korea. The chapters concerning boot camp, both poignant and funny, brought back many memories of my time at MCRD. This is the real deal!"

This year, 2015, is the 65th Anniversary of the Declaration of War in Korea. I am spreading the word near and far to everyone I come in contact with to please remember those brave troops who fought in that war, the war that too many people refer to as "the forgotten war". Well, it hasn't been forgotten by all those who were there. Here's the tally:

4,262 Marines Killed
26,038 Marines Wounded
Total casualties (all branches) 109,898 (Dead / Wounded)

That's reason enough for every American to step back and remember what those brave men did, and say "Thanks!".

My book tells the story of one group of Marines; through the good, the bad and, well, the miserable times and experiences. Listening to my brother tell the story of the F-2-5 Marines was an eye opener. Anyone who has been in combat knows the reality of war. It's not a glorified 'Rah, Rah, Sis-Boom-Bah book. It's reality. As Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC (two Medals of Honor) stated: "WAR Is A Racket!"

Semper Fi
Bob Lonn

Windward Marine 26 July 1963

Windward Marine 26 July 1963 page 1

Windward Marine 26 July 1963 page 2

A little history from the "Windward Marine" the base newspaper for Kaneohe MCAS. I was stationed there in VMA 212 from 1961 to 1963.

Norm Spilleth
1960 - 1964

Always Momentary Silence

Marine Ron Balske in Blues

Karen Balske wearing memorial shirt for Ron

I have to reply to the Article "Proud of Being A Marine." Yes, I fully understand that Tim Rudd's wife and Sgt. Grit's wife are proud of being married to Marines! I have been retired for 1 year now and frequently get questions regarding what I am most proud of/my greatest accomplishment: my Army service, my 36 years of teaching, being a Legionnaire, etc. Answer--being a Marine wife and being married to my beloved Marine for 38 years. There is always a momentary silence when I give this reply, but it's true!

How I remember Ron Balske - five years next month since he left for Pearly Gates!

Karen Balske

Lost And Found

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Reading all the recent stories about Boot Camp in San Diego or at Parris Island has brought back many memories for myself and has had me pouring over my platoon graduation book. The one that mentioned this September being the 50th anniversary for one Marine really got my attention. I guess that I haven't been counting or maybe didn't want to. However, it made me realize that next September, 2016 will be the 50th anniversary for my time at Parris Island. I have never been to any reunions for my combat unit, 2nd Bn. 4th Marines ('67-'68) and I don't know of any others I may have missed from other units or ships I served on.

With a year to go, I would like to know if there are any other Marines out there reading your newsletter who are from Plt. 1054, 1st Bn. Parris Island, September 1966, and if any might want to get together at Parris Island around Sept. 2 next year for our 50th.

Thomas Moore
0311 '66-'70, 0241 '70-'74

I'm looking for a Marine named Bob Kump. He was with me in boot camp in 1966 San Diego. We went to combat traning at Camp Pendelton and then to Nam. He was from Nevada or Arizona, from Western part of USA. During some liberty we visited another Marine's aunt and uncle close by our base in California. I hope somebody knows of his whereabouts. Bob Kump, if your out there please get in touch with me.

Julio A. Martinez
aka "Marty" Martinez

I have a USMC joined date of 07 Feb 66, went to MCRDSD and cannot remember most specifics of boot camp. My senior DI was SSgt Gorzinski. He made Warrant Officer upon our graduation. We were RTB honor platoon. If any Marine out there was in my boot platoon I would like to hear from you and get some clarification as to platoon number etc.

Contact me at rlmyers5[at]

Semper Fidelis
Sgt. Ron Myers
RVN '67-'68

Short Rounds

Barry... I too was a Sgt E-4 in our "Corps" and finished my 27 yr. total in the Army. It's a long story. My Good Conduct 1961, also had a "bar" and here's one for you... check your "badges" i.e. qualification... check the back-side.

Mine are "sterling silver" where the newer ones are chrome plated.

Once a jarhead...always a jarhead.

MSG. Bob Krieger USA ret.

I have found a copy of Plt 232, 1969 graduation book. If anyone would like it please contact me at jfreas[at]

Sgt Grit,

I recently located my Sr DI from boot camp 1969 and had a great conversation with him. He was actually a human being after all:) Kidding aside I just placed an order for a hat and mug to be sent to his home. I just wanted to thank him in a lasting way.

Semper Fi,

For Platoon photos from PISC their is a phone numer in the July 2015 issue of Leatherneck with the Commandant's photo. You can probably 411 PI and ask for recruit records or platoon archives. Need DI names and dates.

Stone LCpl, one each
Plt 305 Jan-Mar 1965

I just read this weeks newsletter and the "note from mommy" brought a smile to my face. Same thing but different happened to me, but I needed a note from my Dad.

I had just driven 10 hrs. and had only a couple hrs. to report. I found a parking lot down the road, the lot attendant called me a taxi. I made it with a few minutes to spare.

Tanx for the memory.


"Good Conduct Medal"

Still have my first, in original boxing, from 1962.

Top explained that these were special and remained from Korean era through the 50s and apparently into the 60s.

Alumnus/survivor of Platoon 161, 1959 (only 56 years ago)

Semper Fi

"If the Marines wanted you to have a wife they'd of issued you one."

Norm Spilleth
Bachelor Corporal

I could not resist a comment on the Chu-Lai subject. I followed the lead and looked at some maps of Da-Nang. (Viet-nam era topo maps etc...) found no "suburb" named Chu-lai. I did find a La-chu road. Now! Modern day Da-Nang has a Chu-Lai Street also, a Thoung-Duc and An-hoa streets 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.

By the way, the only "suburb" of Da-Nang I recall was nicked named Dodge City.

P.S. It is now 7:20 P.M. & 82 degrees in Da-Nang and probably humid as h-ll.



"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1798

"The revolution in the United States was the result of a mature, reflective preference for liberty and not a vague, indefinite instinct for independence. It did not depend on the passions of disorder. On the contrary, it demonstrated love of order and legality as it went forward."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835-1840]

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
--President Ronald Reagan, 1985

"I have surveyed more Sea Bags than you have socks."

"I have passed more Light Houses than you have Slop-shoots."

"Big green Weenie!"

"A warrior of the Jarhead tribe."

"Heads up, Shoulders back, STRUT, STRUT, STRUT!"

Fair winds and following seas.
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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