Sgt Grit Newsletter - 05 FEB 2015

In this issue:
• The Navy's Police Force
• In Any Clime And Place
• Wishing I Was Still In Afghanistan

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

Request a catalog
Facebook Twitter Sgt Grit Blog Sgt Grit's RSS Feeds
Sgt Grit Unit T-shirts
Featured Item

Men's USMC Short Sleeve Button Down Dress ShirtMen's USMC Short Sleeve Button Down Dress Shirt

Vietnam War Era

Vietnam Veteran License PlateVietnam Veteran License Plate

See More Vietnam War Era Items

Unit Cold Wear

Make Peace or Die 1/5 Unit Crew SweatshirtMake Peace or Die 1/5 Unit Crew Sweatshirt

Make Peace or Die 1/5 Long Sleeve T-ShirtMake Peace or Die 1/5 Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Make Peace or Die 1/5 Dry Blend Performance SweatpantsMake Peace or Die 1/5 Dry Blend Performance Sweatpants

3rd Tank Bn Crew Sweatshirt3rd Tank Bn Crew Sweatshirt

3rd Tank Battalion Unit Long Sleeve T-Shirt3rd Tank Battalion Unit Long Sleeve T-Shirt

3rd Tank Bn Dry Blend Performance Sweatpants3rd Tank Bn Dry Blend Performance Sweatpants

See All Unit Apparel

Heavy Metal Signs

Marine MOS M-16 Steel SignMarine MOS M-16 Steel Sign

Marine MOS M4 Steel SignMarine MOS M4 Steel Sign

See All Wall Decor


Distressed Vietnam Service Ribbon iPad/Tablet SleeveDistressed Vietnam Service Ribbon iPad/Tablet Sleeve

USMC Steel Eagle iPad/Tablet SleeveUSMC Steel Eagle iPad/Tablet Sleeve

See All iPad/Tablet Cases

New Items

Marines Under Armour Hoodie with Hi-Vis DesignMarines Under Armour Hoodie with Hi-Vis Design

USMC Life Is Tough iPhone 5 Bamboo CaseUSMC Life Is Tough iPhone 5 Bamboo Case

See All New Items

Sgt Grit's Catalog

Browse our digital catalog.Take a look inside our digital catalog.

Request A Catalog


Print this newsletter
Newsletter Archives

Throwback Thursday Photo

US Marine Corps officers Col. Pedro del Valle (11th Marines CO), Gen.Thomas Holcomb (Commandant of the Marine Corps), and Gen. Alexander Vandegrift (CG 1st Marine Division) inspecting 11th Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina, United States, 1942.

(Photo is part of the USMC Henry Siderman Collection)

3rd Bn, 5th Marines, Vietnam​

3rd Bn, 5th Marines Vietnam buddies at reunion

3rd Bn, 5th Marines buddies in Vietnam

I have been attending the 3rd Bn, 5th Marines, Vietnam reunion for 11 years. For the first 9 years, I was the only one attending from the 81 mm mortar section in which I served. I had not been contact with any member of the section since I rotated back to the states in Aug., 1967. I started a computer search for the section members in 2012. Out of about 25 Marines that I served with, I have located 17. This past year there were 9 of us attending with a promise of 4 others attending in 2015. One of them had died of leukemia and one of those attending had leukemia but was in remission.

I have included some pictures. One picture is Joe Maplethrope, Sonny Scheffler, and myself in August 1966, and another of us 48 years later in May, 2014. The other picture is of the 9 of us that were in attending. It was amazing how the years just faded away and we were "19-year-old kids" again... I would like to encourage any Marine that is reading this... If you have the opportunity to attend a reunion, please do so. It is very therapeutic!

I am also including an article from a May 1967 issue of "The Sea Tiger" about my mortar squad during Operation Union II.

Semper Fi,
Carl Gregory, Sgt. USMC

The Navy's Police Force

Sgt Grit,

I applaud you on the handling of the New Marines' Hymn in your last newsletter. You had it tied in beautifully with your newsletter. For what it is worth, I researched the source of this hymn and have forwarded an address which is depicted above. If you move to "Defense budget reductions" you will see in the seventh paragraph reference to President Truman's dislike of the Marine Corps stating "The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's." He and the Secretary of Defense, Louis A. Johnson, wanted to eliminate the Marine Corps altogether. And interestingly about this same time in 1950 they were planning an amphibious invasion of Inchon, Korea.

SecDef Louis A. Johnson

Marvin Haverkamp

All That Matters

As the conversation of Vietnam Era vs Vietnam Combat Veteran continues, I would submit one possible difference between the two that may help draw a distinction. Many Vietnam Combat Veterans received a "special welcome" home by anti-war protesters. Those of us that experienced that reception know exactly what I'm talking about. Even if you did not serve "in-country" you may have had to endure the same treatment simply because you wore the uniform. That said, I would refer to a comment by Pete Dahlstrom in the 28 January Newsletter who said it best in response to Era Marines vs Combat Marines during the Vietnam War... "Can you honestly say 'I am a Marine'?" If you can, no other questions need be asked. Don't be so d-mned sure that you missed out by not slopping through the jungles and rice paddies. That may sound glorious to some, but trust me, it's not all that you may think it is. I have no regrets, nor should you! I am a Marine... you are too. And that is all that matters.


Vietnam Ribbon Cover/Hat

John J. McNamara

The excerpt below appeared at the end of the January newsletter. Could this be a reference to John J. McNamara, who was a U.S. Marine, lecturer, and author of several books, the last being "Millville's Mac - The Life Story Of A World War II Combat Marine", published in 2014 shortly before his death? If not, who does this refer to?

Thanks so much,
Linda Roy

"Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air drop-able, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your damn hut down!"

In Any Clime And Place

I have been reading submissions from other Marine regarding their lack of combat service and would like to submit my own feelings on this subject.

While I yield to no one in my admiration of those who served in harm's way, I have yet to hear one of those folks tell me that I "missed" anything. Some have told me that the experience of combat made them stronger, others bear wounds that have yet to heal. None of them have ever said "I wish you had been there!" Most of them were proud of the wounds, (physical, or otherwise), borne in the service of their country but had no desire to see them inflicted on anyone else. Interestingly enough, most of the hard feelings that I have witnessed were focused on those who were "in country" but not in combat. (I have no documentation or statistics to quote, just my own opinion, perhaps others with more experience would care to comment.) Nonetheless, the vast majority of Marines that I have encountered seem to believe it is our "commonality" as Marines that is most important. And, for that, I agree, and am grateful for all the service of my fellow Marines, the glory we share from those who have gone before us, and the brotherhood that is extended. It was my pleasure and privilege to serve from 10/72 - 7/93, in any clime and place my superiors were pleased to send me. From my very humble beginnings and the examples of those Marines with whom I served, I learned and became a better Marine. I can only hope that my own example inspired and made others want to be better Marines also.

On another note, I have been culling my library and found that I have two copies of my recruit training book, MCRD, Parris Island, Platoon 2018, graduating January 1973. If you are a fellow alumnus of this platoon, I would be pleased to forward my spare copy. I would also be pleased to hear a synopsis of your Marine career, how you remember our days at Parris Island, and how you are doing now.

Finally, in submission for the bold print at the end of your newsletter. I wish I had attribution, but I'm sure I heard it first when I reported to 1st Radio Bn, FMF, KMCAS, Hawaii, - "You stupid boot, I've worn out more seabags than you have socks!" (I confess I used it later in my career.)

George M. Button
MSgt USMC (ret)

God, Country, and Corps

I purchased the Wool/Poly Reversible Jacket. Wear it all the time and always getting complements on the jacket from Marines and civilians. When I say Marine I mean active, retired and all who have served as Marines. You can take the Marine out of the Corps but not the Corps out of the Marine.

Semper Fi, Always faithful to God, Country and Corps.

MSgt Bill Dugan '56-'77
Nam '69-'70, Recruiter '70-'74
Swing with the Wing!

Marines Wool and Poly Reversible Jacket

Hollywood Marines

LCpl DL Rupper,

I joined 2/1 in August '63. We really were Hollywood Marines for sometime in '64, the Battalion went to CBS in Hollywood. We were in some kind of show which featured Vicki Carr. Never saw the show but they fed us some good chow. Our bus broke down on the way to Pendleton and we sat there most of the night until a new bus came. This battalion went to Okinawa in January '65 to become 3/3. Then to Chu Lai in May '65. I served again in 3/3 '67-'68 up on the Z.

V. Randall 2511

All Service Should Be Honored

Sgt. Grit,

A reply to J Kanavy, Cpl, USMC

I emphatically agree with you that, "All service should be honored." However, that's as far as my agreement goes. I'm strongly opposed to different markers or headstones for different types of service or service in a war zone.

If I have my history correct, Marines of the WW II time frame and possibly into Korea wore patches on their uniforms to designate the unit, division, or wing to which they were assigned. I believe the practice was discontinued because many thought it divided Marines in very wrong ways. I agree with that premise.

A Marine is a Marine, is a Marine - period. I'll write again - What your duty assignments were while you were on active duty is absolutely the "Luck of the Draw". When you completed recruit training, marched across the parade deck at one of the depots, you became a U.S. Marine. We are brothers. We have a kinship that no other organization can claim. To identify one Marine's duty assignment as being special is, I believe, disingenuous to all Marines who served. Just let it be said that we, as Marines, did our duty and will continue to do exactly that until we are finally called to guard the gates. All of us are identified as being special - WE ARE MARINES.

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

We All Have Dreams

Make sure that you follow your dreams!

Brothers following their dreams

USS George Clymer​

Bud Davis' story about his fun on the USS George Clymer stirs the gray matter. One can grumble about government waste, but it doesn't seem to apply to ships.

I read William Manchester's book "Goodbye Darkness" which included his short tour in Okinawa via the Okinawa invasion. It caught my eye when I found he was transported to Okinawa in the USS George Clymer. This was in 1945.

I was in the 1st Stage of the 9th MEB in August 1964 and ended up on the USS George Clymer, fondly known as "Greasy George". Scuttlebutt at the time said it was a convert luxury boat and as such rode the waves easier. We didn't think so. Scuttlebutt also said that Greasy George had a confrontation with some dock in the Philippines; I think that was career limiting for whoever was at the helm.

Every now & then the name pops. In this Newsletter & other places. To me Clymer = the 9th MEB.

Corporal Don Harkness

A Little Off Key

I got quite a chuckle out of the "Juke Box" story published this week. I had a similar experience at MCRD in 1964. I won't mention names or platoon numbers for fear of embarrassing others, but will share the tale.

One of my platoon mates was the son of a Marine Colonel and apparently played in a rock band in high school. Somehow our drill instructors learned of that and made him the Platoon Musician. They would call for him to report to the Duty Hut and he would use coat hangers to beat on an upturned waste basket. Eventually they made him the Platoon Juke Box and would place him in one of the wall lockers that separated the office from the bunk area of the drill instructors. When a drill instructor tapped on the wall locker, he would start singing The Marines' Hymn. That soon became an every evening event.

One evening the Field Officer of the Day came through the platoon area and of course was wearing his sword as a symbol of his duty assignment. He entered the Duty Hut to inspect the happenings and I am completely confident that our Platoon Juke Box could hear every word being said and knew exactly what was happening. As the Major finished speaking with the drill instructor, he turned and accidently banged the wall locker with the scabbard of his sword. Immediately from within began "The Marine's Hymn" at a high volume. The drill instructor froze in his tracks and probably was envisioning Portsmouth Naval Prison. The Major remarked something to the effect of "That sounds a little off-key, but pretty good," and departed the area.

The wall locker was taken (with all internal components) out to the platoon street where it was upended and turned over and over several times. As I recall, that was the last time the Platoon Juke Box was ever turned on.

Michael Hackett

When The Marine Took The Stage

The story of the service hymns reminded me of something I saw on the Jay Leno show several years ago. It was Fleet Week or something, but Jay had members of all of the services in the audience. At one point, he invited a member of each branch to come on stage and sing their "anthem." One by one, a soldier, airman, and sailor came down and did their best. Throughout this the camera was showing the audience's reaction. When the Marine took the stage (a young Corporal in Dress Blues as memory serves), I looked at my wife and said, "Watch this." The Marine began to sing and the camera turned towards the audience as 8-10 Marines in dress blues popped to attention. Damn, I was proud. And the kid did a fair job singing the Hymn, too.

Semper Fi!

Tom Mahoney

Welcome Home Brother

Having served 4 years in the Corps, I will forever be defined as a Marine, regardless of whatever accomplishments my life work has attained. Like you I wear that title with pride. Having said that, I firmly believe my destiny was never attained. You see I never served in combat. My outfit came within hours of invading Cuba, but in the waining hours of the night, we were told to stand down. We were all anxious, and scared but all were prepared to do our duty. Even though my DD214 does not reflect a combat tour, my heart knows I would have stood with my brothers and done my duty.

I am also a proud "Warrior Watch Rider" which is a motorcycle group that honors those who served their military duties for the greatest country on the planet. I participated in many rides to honor those veterans and overwhelmingly the most dedicated riders are the Vietnam Nam Vets. I am humbled to be in their company and look forward to hearing their stories and share in their heart felt greeting to all veterans, young and old. Last year we traveled from Pennsylvania to California on our bikes and encountered many Vietnam vets along the way who were anxious to share their battle stories with us. At first I made a point of stating I was not a combat vet. After hearing that statement my riding buddies quietly pulled me aside and firmly told me to desist and accept the greeting of "Welcome Home Brother" because they said you are a "Marine". That title was qualification enough for them.

So in closing, accept a humble and heartfelt "Welcome Home Brothers" to all veterans. Guys keep the stories of your Vietnam experience coming they are appreciated.

Standing proud former Corporal and retired Philly PD
Tom Spoltore --0311 --1959 to 1963​

Third Bn Jukebox

Hope this doesn't burst Secret Squirrel's bubble, but being a jukebox at MCRD in 1968 was hardly a first... his platoon number indicates that he was in Second Bn, which was on the south side of the grinder at MCRD SD... may still be, AFIK, but earlier in the century, say, around 1962 or 1963, in Lima Company, Third Bn, down by the "little grinder' and the airport, we had a Series Gunnery Sergeant, Amtracker by MOS, who had this scary affect involving his eyes... I swear the man could look a hole through a 3/4" mild steel plate... and if you were a Drill Instructor of lessor rank, it was not a death-ray beam you wanted aimed your way. At the time, I had been a Sergeant all month... or nearly so... maybe a few days short... and I had the duty.

A Quonset hut "Duty Hut" of the era, accommodated the four platoons of a series... two platoons at each end, each platoon's DI's having the same sparse furniture ('furniture' for lack of a better term) there would be for each quarter of a hut, two double wall lockers, a field desk and folding stool, a waste can, and probably a board with six or seven spring clothespins labeled with days of the week on the wall behind the desk. The latter was the repository for dental or, rarely, medical appointment cards, and one of the primary duties of the 'secretary' or 'house mouses'. There would frequently be a curtain of sorts suspended between the two lockers on each side, and behind that would be one oil stove in the middle of the hut (never, ever saw one lit...) and in each quarter, one tightly made rack, for the duty DI.

The wall lockers, for whatever reason, were usually arranged so that the double locker closest to the wall had the doors to the center of the hut, and was used by the Duty to hang changes of uniform... the other double locker was set so the doors faced the hatch, and was rarely used.

I had created a jukebox, by stuffing a maggot into the locker closest to the center line of the hut, and for my listening pleasure, had established a brevity code of musical selections... no crass exchange of money here, just simple 'taps'... one rap on the locker would produce the occupant's best efforts at our beloved Hymn, two raps would produce "Into the air, junior birdmen" (to the AF tune), and so on. Four taps, as I recall, some way too many years later, would produce a barracks ballad of Korea vintage, that went something like "Fifth Marines, oh, Fifth Marines, those dirty sons of b-itches... the line their azs with broken glass and wonder why it itches... etc. etc. etc." (have to wonder if that Pvt is still alive... and remembers learning the song?)

For some reason, the rest of the platoon was in quarters, and the jukebox, for the moment, was silent. And then Gy Wentworth... he of the death ray eyes, walked in... the usual pleasantries and military courtesies ensued... "Afternoon, Gunny"... Afternoon, Sgt Dickerson, how's it going?"... "got everything squared away, Gunny, going good" ("good to go" had not been invented yet... and may be obsolete by now?) With a quick scan of the area, the Gy decided to pass through the curtain, and proceed to the two 'duty huts' on the other end of the Quonset... as he did so, for absolutely no good reason, he reached out and tapped the nearest locker... and from out of the vents at the top and bottom of that locker door, came: "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the"... well, you probably know the rest of the words... And I got 'the look"... with no further action... thankfully...

So yes... in Third Bn, we made Marines... but "Mary Had A Little Lamb"?... GMAFB! (full disclosure... in 1957, DDick was a squad leader (most of the time...LOL) in Platoon 281... that'd be 2nd Bn... about where the parade bleacher restrooms are now...


A Brief History

From time to time, I note that folks inquire or comment about USMC dungarees or utilities. As a long-time (30 years) collector of USMC uniforms and 782 gear, permit me to offer a brief history of the utility uniform from Pre-WWII to Vietnam (attached). In the future, I'll offer a history from post-Vietnam to Present.

C. 'Stoney' Brook
Corporal of Marines


(Pre-WW II through Vietnam)

Prior to 1941, the US Marine 'combat uniform' was either the green wool uniform or the khaki cotton uniform, with web gear [belt, pack, canteen, etc.] added to carry ammo, rations and the bayonet. Marines wore a campaign cover (later called the Smokey Bear) or the flat WWI style Brodie helmet.

The Marines used a blue denim two piece suit as a "dungaree" or work uniform, as well as a coverall of the same material. This was a simple design, based on the clothing used by railroad crews, had one breast and two waist pockets. It was from this two piece design the classic M1941 utility uniform was created.

For clarification, the term 'dungarees' was used prior to WW II and the term 'utilities' adopted after WW II had begun; at least through WW II, both terms were seen used as synonyms.


The two piece sage green herringbone twill utility uniform was worn throughout WWII, from Guadalcanal and on through the Korean War, with some still being issued in the early 1960s ("until supplies are exhausted").

Full-cut, with three pockets, the material was very durable but prone to fading ('salty') in sun and water. The single breast pocket had USMC and an EGA stenciled. The pockets were square-shaped, with some made more 'rounded' on the bottoms. The four front close buttons, of steel or bronze, were uncovered and marked 'US Marine Corps'; the buttons were attached with rivets.

Although the material was quite sturdy, the craftsmanship could be spotty. Many uniforms are seen with mismatched color lots used to make a single garment. It is notable that USMC herringbone is not the same pattern as that used by the US Army.

Until very late in WW II, these coats weren't commonly marked with rank (chevrons).


Towards the end of WW II, the uniform was modified to make it capable of carrying a combat load in lieu of the haversack, The sage green herringbone twill coat had a single flapped breast pocket, with USMC and the EGA, and no waist pockets as with the M1941 pattern. Instead, two externally accessed map/grenade/flotation pockets were placed on either side of the front closure. The coat also incorporated an internal gas flap. The trousers for this pattern incorporated a unique 'ass-pocket' with two buttons, reportedly designed to carry a folded poncho. This was the first USMC combat uniform to have thigh pockets, to carry ammo, grenades or ration boxes.

Due to its late arrival, the M1944 saw little use in WW II but was used in Korea and still issued well into the 1960s. Regardless, it never enjoyed the popularity of the M1941 style.


After WW II, the M1941 was slightly modified by making the torso trimmer, the sleeves shorter and pockets a different shape. The herringbone twill was a darker shade of green. With the left-over M1941 and the M1944 patterns, this was the combat uniform used in Korea and into the 1960s. It was then being phased out by the M1953 uniform.


Made of gray-green (sage) herringbone cloth, the M- 1953 utilities were designed to be worn tucked in the trousers. The design featured button cuffs, two breast pockets and a single inner 'map/grenade' pocket on the left. Except for the cuffs, all buttons were covered to prevent snagging.

Coats made from 1953 to 1955 have the 'old style' 1936 eagle-globe-anchor with two 'ribands' (ribbons) on the left pocket. Those made from 1956 through 1968 have the 1954 single riband emblem.

This uniform commonly had the wear's rank stenciled on the upper sleeves until 1959 when the wide metal pin-on insignia (sans crossed rifles) was adopted during the transitional rank period.


This cotton sateen uniform was issued from 1958 until approximately 1963 or "until supplies were exhausted." This design incorporated all features from the M1953 utilities such as covered buttons and an inside map/grenade pocket.

Marines assigned to the Third Marine Division (Okinawa) commonly attached an in-country embroidered nametape (usually of herringbone twill) above the left pocket. On returning to stateside, they often retained the nametape as a sign of being 'salty'.

This utility uniform used the current pin-on collar rank insignia with crossed rifles, which was adopted in 1959-62 as the rank structure was modified.


About 1963, the P1957 was replaced by the OG107 sateen uniform, an all-services (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) fatigue/utility uniform of olive green cotton sateen with exposed buttons. Marines and Corpsmen used an iron-on transfer to apply an EGA and USMC lettering to the left breast pocket.

The P1957 and OG107 uniforms were the type worn by the first Marines to land in Vietnam in March, 1965. The cotton sateen material quickly proved unsuitable for tropical climates, tending to hold body heat and to rot from humidity.


The two previous patterns had exposed buttons, side adjustments tabs and shoulder epaulets and were used from about 1963 through 1967. These designs were derived from paratrooper suits used in WW2, with slanted upper pockets and large lower pockets allowing access to rations or grenades below the web combat belt.

The 3rd Pattern simplified the design by covering the buttons, eliminating the epaulets and tabs, and used a lighter 'rip-stop' material to better handle the tropical heat.

This uniform was used throughout the Vietnam War by all US services.


Based on the Third Pattern Coat, this coat (with matching trousers and boonie hat/cover) was adopted in 1969 using the ERDL [Engineer Research & Development Laboratory] camouflage design. The camo pattern was made in different dominant colors (browns or shades of greens), depending on the terrain.

Although issued to many Marine units, like Recon or Infantry, is was not the primary combat uniform in Vietnam. As with all camo patterns, it was most effective when the wearer remained motionless as movement drew visual attention to the disruptive design.

This camouflage pattern and the coat style became the basis for the post-war Woodland pattern utilities.​

Wishing I Was Still In Afghanistan

Corporal Stump

(This is not a suicide letter)

Tonight, as a United States Marine with 3 combat tours to Afghanistan, a Bronze Star w/ "V" for valor (heroism), Purple Heart, and 2 Navy Achievement Medals for actions in Afghanistan... I thought about SUICIDE. I didn't think about it because I thought life was too hard. I didn't think about it because I didn't think I could conquer whatever obstacle lies ahead. After all, what can stop a Marine... Nothing.

I thought about it because after all my years of service, training to fight and fighting on our nations behalf of freedom and safety I found myself not in service to my true calling, my obligation, my oath to protect this nation. I found myself laying on my barracks room floor, wishing I was still in Afghanistan. Remembering the harsh nights of rain, hail, and snow over our heads as our mud hut that we fought so hard to get, caved in on us... I truly missed those nights. For in that misery, among the cursing and laughter I felt my soul [if one could say we have one], at peace. I was serving my purpose. I was doing what needed to be done, not because it was easy, but because it was hard. All the talking and chest bumping couldn't put a man in my shoes that night. It was OUR night, the night of gladiators. But those days and nights have passed and as I go from one medical appointment to the next, not training Marines about things I've learned through blood and sweat, dealing with all the people who tell me what they would have done in war, getting all the advice from people who have never been on the receiving end of enemy fire on how to deal with my nightmares and of course being belittled by your local 1st Sgt, I think what is my purpose now? To wait around and be forgotten? To have my experience and expertise washed away in my mistakes?

As a Marine, as a defender of nations and preserver of freedom I feel misplaced with idol hands. I feel left behind by a country who promised me peace after war... As I laid on my floor thinking about it, I decided not to be one of the 22 (who committed suicide everyday). I decided that if the nation and Corps have forgotten about me then so be it. But they are not the world, or my end aspirations in life. And I want everyone of you veterans out there of every service to remember. Your life doesn't stop when your initial purpose is completed. You simply need to re-orientate and attack a new objective. Take the peace you have earned and go after your dreams that you have fought so hard to preserve.

If I help one veteran from giving the pricks the satisfaction then my courage in writing this message will have served its purpose.

Semper Fi,
Cpl Eric Stump

Seabees Joing Marines

Seabees Join Marines at Elliot To Aid in Road Sweeping Operations - August 1969

A four mile hike before breakfast is said to be very healthful. However, the Marines and Seabees at Elliot Combat Base don't necessarily agree. It is their job to sweep almost four miles of Route #9 between Elliot and Bridge 912 for mines, booby traps and ambushes each morning.

The Marines are members of "A" Company of the 11th Marine Engineers. The Seabees are MCB 62 men who walk the road with the Marines to point out places where Battalion men will be working and in progress construction which may be booby trapped. From 20 to 30 Marines make up the major part of the sweep team. Of these, about 18 provide point (forward), flank (side) and rear security.

Three two-man teams perform the actual sweep. One man on each team operates the detection gear as his partner probes for hidden demolition. A Sergeant in charge, a Hospital Corpsman, a radioman and, often, a Marine sentry dog and his handler comprise the rest of the team. A five-ton truck follows behind to carry the men to the starting point after the sweep. Many times tanks and other heavy armored vehicles come along to provide greater fire support. Engineering Aid Constructionman Danny Hawes is one of the Seabees who walks the route with the Marine group each morning. It is his job to point out new working areas which must be swept. Certain places off the road such as those where equipment operators pick up fill dirt with their scrapers are also checked.

At the end of each hike Hawes reports to the operations officer on all mines and traps found. Presently, two men from the First Platoon of 62's Charlie Company also travel with the team. The men, who are assigned the mission on a rotation basis, are taking the place Builder Third Class Frank Ryncarz who previously worked with the sweepers. The Charlie Company men are responsible for making sure that the sites where the company is building culverts are swept. Each morning the sweep team and the Seabees clamber aboard a truck which takes them to the main gate of Elliot Combat Base. There the Marines don the headsets of their detection devices. They assemble the main component of their detectors, a long collapsible pole with a flat metal plate attached. As the gate guards remove the road barriers, the team forms into three columns, one in the middle of the road and one on each road shoulder. At a signal from the Sergeant the columns move out, each man keeping well away from the men around him. Moving slowly as they sweep the detectors back and forth before them, the Marines try to cover every inch of roadway and shoulder. If they detect something the spot is marked. The next man in line then probes the ground with a bayonet to discover what caused the reading on the detector.

The team has discovered relatively little enemy activity along the route lately. Since mid-July, however, the sweep teams have discovered two Claymore anti-personnel mines, two 60-pound anti-tank mines and several grenades, dud mortars and artillery rounds. Any demolition found is destroyed by the Marines with c-4 plastic explosive. Although the four mile walk each morning is more than a mere constitutional for the three Seabees, it means a much more healthful place to work for 62's other Bees on Route #9.

Short Rounds

"Ribbons don't tell where you're going; they tell where you been." You are a Marine - That's all that matters.

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

Would you believe that they had a mighty Mite jeep on Pawn Stars about three months ago for sale. I was surprised to see one in Nam like the story shows.



"[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1787​

"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

"There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial."
--Ayn Rand

"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

"The Navy was our mother,
The Marine Corps was our father,
They were never married,
I am one proud bastard."

"OHHHHH!... Daddy's gone now... were gonna play!"

​Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

©2015 Sgt Grit Inc
All rights reserved
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
You are reading Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter.

To Submit a story - Email
Subscribe to this newsletter.

Unsubscribe from the Sgt Grit Newsletter and Special Offers email list.