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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 05 MAR 2015

In this issue:
• Mistakenly Listed As A Deserter
• Sorry About That
• The Senior Junior NCO

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This is our little guy, Henry. He is 2 months old and the sweetest baby! His dad served as a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps from '90-'99. Our 14 year old is also currently a recruit with Young Marines. I also attached a picture of my 5 year old in her sister's Marines shirt. Our kids like "playing Marines" and we strive to instill in them the values of the Corps. Ooorah!

Danielle Vincent

Get your infant Devil Pup squared away at:

Semper Fi Little Guy Black / Red Body Suit

Mistakenly Listed As A Deserter

Sgt. Grit,

I can more than understand GySgt McMahon's frustration over not getting promoted. I made Sgt. in '69 while still attached to hospital following being med-evaced in Feb. '68. Due to doctor evaluations, I was told to either change MOS from 0311 to desk job or be forced out because the doctor told me he would not fudge my "fit for full duty" unless I did. I went over to 02 and found out that promotions came pretty slow in the intelligence MOS. Still I stuck it out, extending, then re-uping, and always hoping for promotion to staff each year following. It never happened and I was never given a real reason as to why. Finally, after 8 years in, 5 years a Sergeant, and with a family, I reluctantly figured I should leave the Corps. Still, I wanted to know why I had always been passed over. So, I made the trip to DC to see just what was in my book and what their main complaint was at HQ. I found out that I had been mistakenly listed as a deserter in '68 and that the paperwork was flagged at every promotion board - red ink all over that book. I went in to see the Sergeant Major of the Corps with the book. He looked it over, apologized, tore out the bad papers, and assured me I would make staff on the next go around. I had to inform him that I was getting out in a week and that I had a new house and civilian job waiting for me. And so, I left the Corps. Well, my life has worked out fine, really, with two college degrees and a good career. However, I have always regretted the way things worked out, and like so many others my age now, I wish my fate had been to finish my Marine Corps career to retirement.

Thomas Moore
Sergeant - 1/6, 2/4, then 0241 Intel​

Camp Fuji, 1960


In previous newsletters, Camp Fuji has been discussed. I came across some photos taken there in 1960. My time in HQ-4-12, Camp Hague, Okinawa, included two trips to Fuji, one in August and one in Dec. 4-12 did live-fire exercises there with the 105's. The top 2 photos are in Aug., note no snow on Mt. Fuji. Also note the Japanese meatball flying alongside Old Glory. The next picture is of yours truly, sleeping off a hard night of liberty in Tomaho and Gotemba. We lived in 8 or 10-man tents, can't remember which, and our sleeping arrangements consisted of a fold-up cot, rubber air mattress, and sleeping bag. There was no need of brooms for housekeeping, just a rake, as the floor of the tents was volcanic ash and sand. Very easy to keep tidy. The next picture was taken the day we arrived in Dec. Note the snow on Fuji. We were issued (2) green wool long-sleeved shirts, and a parka hood that fastened onto our field jackets. They had some kind of fur around the edges, and were quite warm.

The first few days in camp were a frenzy of putting up tents, stringing wire, establishing the comm. center and fire control center, etc. After that things calmed down and were fairly routine. The last picture is of the LST Tom Green Cty., loading us up for the return trip to Okinawa. The Tom Green was based out of Yokusuka, and was the local taxi, shuttling troops all over westpac. Overall, living was good at Camp Fuji, but it was always good to get back home to our humble Quonset huts at Camp Hague.

Paul Lindner
Cpl. 1959-1963​

Marine CID In DaNang


MARINE CID (crimnal investigation division) BILLET, Danang RVN-DocLop Street. Jan-Feb 1969...Bombed out French Villa...

Home Sweet Home...

Sgt. Raymond L. Mirabile

Images Of DaNang Part 3

Provided by Marine Corps Veteran Doug Hancock.

BAR Qualification

BAR Qualification: Sometime between '60-'62 while serving in Weapons Platoon (0351 Rockets) all Battalion Marines went to a firing range at Pendleton and qualified with a BAR even though only the Squad Barman in the Company carried a BAR. They did score us on different range distances and loading/firing of extra magazines. I qualified Sharpshooter with the BAR. However, the BAR Sharpshooter qualification was never officially recognized in my records nor were we authorized to wear any badges or a BAR ladder on our Rifle badges. I don't remember if we were ever given any rationale as to why all the Battalion Marines had to qualify with a BAR other than familiarization with the automatic rifle. Soon thereafter the BAR was replaced with a fully automatic M-14.

L/Cpl DL Rupper '60-'64
1/5, 1/9, 2/1, 1st Recon Bn

Sorry About That

I have no idea how the majority of combat vets feel about people thanking them for their service, but personally, I find it annoying at best and absurd at worst. I read an article in the New York Times a few days ago titled "Please Don't Thank me For My Service" that gave me a better understanding of my reaction. The article began with an experience of a veteran of Afghanistan:

HUNTER GARTH was in a gunfight for his life — and about to lose. He and seven other Marines were huddled in a mud hut, their only refuge after they walked into an ambush in Trek Nawa, a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Down to his last 15 bullets, one buddy already terribly wounded, Mr. Garth pulled off his helmet, smoked a cheap Afghan cigarette, and "came to terms with what was happening."

"I'm going to die here with my best friends," he recalled thinking.

The author of the article knew nothing of Mr. Garth's background when they met, but after learning he had served in Afghanistan thanked him for his service. When Mr. Garth replied, "No problem," he could see that there was a problem and asked him about it. This is what he learned:

Mr. Garth, 26, said that when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don't think about it at all.

"I pulled the trigger," he said. "You didn't. Don't take that away from me."

Like I said, it really strikes me as absurd when someone learns I'm a Vietnam vet and thanks me for my service. I'd just as soon they be honest and say, "Oh, you served in Vietnam? Sorry about that."

Of course, there are exceptions--namely, when those words are uttered by fellow vets. For instance, back in 1979, after reading Jim Webb's great novel, "Fields of Fire", I wrote to Mr. Webb and thanked him profusely for writing a novel that mirrored my own experience--even down to the same TAOR. I received a reply which I will always treasure. It ended with these words, which pretty much explain why I regard "Thank you for your service" from non-veterans annoying and absurd:

"And thanks for your time in the Nam--it was such a f-cking intellectual gig for 99% of this country, and it's nice to bump into people who put their azs on the line instead of their ego. Best, Jim Webb"

Semper Fidelis,
Gary Harlan
Sergeant of Marines

So Am I

I spent 1965 in school at MCRD to be a Radio Relay tech, then the Corps sent me to the 10th Marines--with no RR gear. I was with Golf Battery, which was scheduled for a six-month deployment to the Caribbean. I ducked that; I volunteered for Vietnam. When they told me they had no orders, I requested mast with the Regimental Colonel to ask for orders, a right every Marine has. In theory, you could request mast with the President, though it might take a while, and it better be important! So I got orders for Vietnam. My parents were not too pleased. Neither was the battery--so they sent me on mess duty to Little Creek for the Reserves. Not too bad--good liberty in Virginia Beach. Back at Lejeune, I discovered I'd been promoted to Corporal. I think the CO must have thought if I was nuts enough to volunteer for Nam, I deserved a stripe. I was suddenly an NCO, which meant something in those days. There was a huge difference in the way you were treated, and Corporals and Sergeants still had authority. I went on leave. My buddy Charlie, whose Dad fought in Europe in WWII as a Sergeant, was impressed—or maybe amazed. "You're a frigging non-com," he said. Not a term we Marines use, but I was proud. So I am a Vietnam vet, though I had a LOT easier tour than most grunts. (My highest personal decoration is a richly-undeserved Good Conduct Medal.) A few rockets and mortars, but no firefights. (Let me tell you how I won the National Defense Medal! Ha!)...

In 2008 I was managing a doctors' association. At a reception, one of the docs was inveighing against a politician. "I'm a Vietnam Vet, you know," he said to validate his opinions about defense policy. "So am I," I said, "Where in Vietnam were you?" His face got red, "Well, I was at Great Lakes as a Navy doctor; I'm a Vietnam Era Veteran." He suddenly found he had business elsewhere. And we have a US Senator who made much of being a "Vietnam Vet" until called out and he had to add the "era" to his resume.

I can't tell folks what to do. But I don't think if I had spent 2001-2005 handing out rubber ladies in supply at Lejeune I'd tell people that I was an Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran, though I'd be proud of my service.

Robert A. Hall,
Once a SSgt, Still a Marine

The Senior Junior NCO

E-5 for nine years! Hell! You're a newbie, Gunny.

Got back from Nam and was assigned to Charlie Company, 13th Motor Transport Battalion, 5th MarDiv, Pendleton. Charlie Company was nothing more than a transition point for 17 year-old Marines to turn 18 and be given their orders to Nam as a "Birthday Present".

The entire strength of the Company at its highest was 67 Marines. That included the CO and the First Sergeant, an old "China Marine" (who, by the way, saved me from a "fate worser'n death" when I got engaged to a local babe and he had me transferred out).

Anyway, let me tell you about Corporal Grant. Grant had almost 19 years in the Corps. When I met him, he had made Sergeant four times and Corporal five. He once told me he hated the idea of the responsibilities of being a Sergeant.

Well, once again, because of time in grade and length of service, Grant went before the Promotion Board. An exemplary Marine, he was once again promoted to Sergeant. That evening, Sergeant Grant invited me and a few other junior NCO's out to celebrate in Oceanside.

When I left him at about 2200, Grant was already almost at full sail. The next morning he wasn't present at formation. Top contacted some Staff NCO's buddies of his and they went out into town and brought Grant back.

Long story made short, that afternoon I became the senior junior NCO to Corporal Grant.

Jerry "Ski" Czarnowski
Sgt '65-'69

Never Say Never

In the 28 Feb 2015 Newsletter, there were comments about what are (allegedly) my errors related to uniforms and qualification badges. Permit me to clarify:

James Merl reports the use of stenciled chevrons on utilities stopped "... long before 1959 ..." citing his enlistment in 1957 and recalls seeing the metal collar chevrons being worn simultaneously with jackets bearing stenciled chevrons.

My reference to the M1953 HBT utility uniform illustrated this was the final uniform to use the stenciled sleeve chevron and, after 1 Jan 1959, the stencils were no longer authorized by HQMC. The Transitional/Acting NCO ranks - using the 1-1/8" wide black metal screw-back chevrons without crossed rifles - were phased starting late 1956 and officially in place by 1 Jan 59, ending in mid-1962. I have seen numerous dated photos throughout these periods, showing Marines with either the metal or stenciled ranks and with both displayed together.

In theory, until 31 December 1958, Marines could still "officially" stencil chevrons on the jacket sleeves. However, it was foolish to do so on new uniforms because the item would be declared obsolete on 1 Jan 1959 and a new jacket must then be purchased. I believe this explains the observations of Marine Merl in 1957.

Mr. Ddick believes I mistakenly confused USMC qualification badges with "some Army badges", commenting there was "no BAR course" (that he recalls) and thus no BAR ladder device. I accept my error because I used the terms BAR and Browning Automatic Rifle; I should have used 'Auto-Rifle' to be proper although, in USMC lexicon of the day, these are synonymous.

The USMC Uniform Regulations of 1937 (when the Basic Badge was first authorized) displays the following weapons qualifications, each with Expert and Sharpshooter classifications:

Pistol (at that time, there was no separate badge as for the service rifle), Auto-Rifle (that's the BAR, folks), Mach. Gun (the light/heavy .30 caliber machine gun), Howitzer, T.S.M.G. (Thompson Submachine Gun), Bayonet (gasp!), Rifle-D (Reserves; also has a MM class), and Small Bore (.22 caliber).

By 1942-43 (WWII), there were additional bars for D-Arty and L-Arty (artillery). There are rumors of a qual bar - I've never seen one or documentation - for the 2.36" rocket launcher (aka 'bazooka') later in the war. Prior to 1937 the Marines used Army-style shooting badges, often at the same time as the USMC badges, and I have viewed many photos to confirm this, some dating to late 1941.

The actual qualification courses of fire for the above weapons have been problematic to locate but some WWII vets can probably enlighten us. I'd love to know how one scored 'Expert' with a bayonet... I'd hate to 'pull b-tts' on that range (or for the flamethrower or grenade, either).

For the Expert Rifle badge with crossed M1903 rifles (and, later, the M1 Garand), there was a suspended Requalification bar with engraved dates. The latest date I've seen engraved is 1959-60 but no documentation as to when HQMC declared these bars obsolete. Ddick is correct that the old style Marksman badge was a single silver bar, not with a suspended 'target' (pizza box) as the one used today.

With all due respect, just because we didn't fire a certain qualification course, wear a badge, chevron or device, or see anyone else do it, that doesn't mean it never happened in another clime, time or place, or even simultaneous to our own time of service. Never say never, especially where the Marines are involved.

Semper Fi,
C. Stoney Brook

Did They Stand Out

I enjoyed your last newsletter and found several topics that I would like to respond to.

Regarding rank structure. The change in rank structure went into effect on January 1, 1959. A Marine had until January 1, 1963 to attain the next rank or revert back to the lower one. I was well versed on this subject by a Sergeant E-4 that I served with at NAS Atsugi, Japan in 1961 and 1962. This Sergeant was a Korean War veteran and was concerned that he would not make E-5 and would no longer be a Sergeant. At that time he was the most muscular man I had ever seen. He spoke with a stutter that became really pronounced when he was excited. This guy was a good man, but not very bright and it was evident that he was not going to make E-5 and would probably be discharged. His physical appearance was excellent. The Sergeant was one squared away Marine in his starched herringbone twill utilities including the cover. I really liked the old HBT cover and I really wanted one.

I joined the Corps just a few weeks after I turned seventeen. It was the summer of 1960 and we traveled by train from New Orleans to San Diego. We were a large group and had almost enough people to form a platoon with most of the recruits coming from Louisiana and east Texas. The trip took three days.

I had been at MCRD San Diego less than a week when I, too, suffered a stress fracture in one of my legs. It was so severe that I could not lift that leg. I was sent to the hospital at Balboa and the leg was placed in a full length cast. From there I was sent to the casual company, which was anything but. I was there for 8 weeks or more before I was returned to training. This time with Platoon 363 which was starting the boot camp cycle that day. Most of these recruits hailed from the midwest with many being from Michigan and Iowa. I was the only southerner in the platoon.

In regard to the capture of the Russian made 122mm artillery pieces mentioned by S.R. Van Tyle. These weapons were seized by a platoon from Charlie 1/9 led by Lieutenant Archie Biggers who earned the Silver Star that day. This incident is covered in my recent book, Marines, Medals and Vietnam.

I agree with James Merl that Greens are a much better looking uniform than Blues. During my time in the Corps I never knew another Marine who owned a set of Blues. I certainly never saw anyone that I knew wearing them. I had the privilege of attending the Sunset Parade at 8th & I a few years back and sitting near me in the stands was a platoon of Marines dressed in Greens and all wearing P-sscutters. Man! Did they stand out. I still have my Greens which consists of a blouse, Ike jacket and an overcoat. All are made of wool.

The article about Daniel Brophy does not mention that he earned the Silver Star for bravery on February 29, 1969. His name also appears on a listing of Marines who earned this medal in the previously mentioned book.

Semper Fidelis!
Billy Myers

Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock

Sgt. Grit,

Here is some facts compiled from several articles on the Intenet.

This is a gentleman who just watched a video of Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock:

I just finished watching this video about 20 minutes ago and was totally enthralled with Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock as he talked about some of his more notable exploits during the Vietnam War and his skills as arguably the single greatest sniper in American military history with 93 confirmed kills and over 300 probable kills and a bounty of over $30,000.00 on his head. Sure there are other snipers with more confirmed kills, but none, and I mean NONE have had the exploits that Carlos Hathcock has, in his (3) years in Vietnam, nor have they done some of the truly remarkable things that he has done. In one of the articles, Gy/Sgt. Hathcock stated that the reason he had a low number of kills was because he preferred to go on missions by himself - if anything went wrong no one else would be killed. The longest sniper kill shot of 2500 yards (almost 1.5 miles), one kill shot through the enemies sniper's scope. With quite possibly the notable exception of U.S. Army Sniper Chuck Mawhinney with a record of 103 confirmed kills. Even the current record holder of 160 confirmed kills, Chris Kyle (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History) admits that he doesn't hold a candle to the legend himself, Marine Corps Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock. When Kyle was asked who was the man who he thinks is the greatest sniper of all-time. If you're wondering who that person is, it's Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock, the U.S. Marine sniper who tallied 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War (It was also reported, for the record, that Hathcock had a total of about 300 kills - 207 unconfirmed). Kyle, a very humble man according to those who knew him, tells Conan that he believes Hathcock was the best sniper ever.

Gy/Sgt. Carlos Hathcock trained Navy Seals Team 6 Snipers... "I have more confirmed kills than [Hathcock] does, that doesn't mean I'm better than he is," said Kyle. "I was just put in a position where I had more opportunities." For the record, Kyle accumulated 160 confirmed kills during his career, which included deployments to such hotbeds as Ramadi and Fallujah.

There were (3) movies made with Tom Berenger: Sniper - Sniper II & Sniper 3, supposedly telling the exploits of GySgt. Hathcock before and after the Nam.

Respectfully Submitted - for your next News Letter,

Gy/Sgt. Lew Souder, USMC/Ret.

Did Away With The Complexities

Fellow Marine Klein,

The manual you want to view can be accessed at:

The Landing Party Manual 1950

Only Chapter 2 regards drill. The LPM was written to give some guidance to US Navy personnel aboard ships to cover the situations when they would have to go ashore in a possible combatant situation and there were no Marines on the ship. It covers basic military maneuvers ashore.

You (and I) started with the Eight Man Squad Drill, where every man had a different movement, depending upon which position in the 8-man squad he had - Two ranks of 4 men each. Each movement required a different combination of steps and each position had to memorize each one and that of the others in case you had to move to another position. I used to have a mimeographed copy of the Eight Man, but no longer can find it (probably a good thing). I remember that the number 1 or number 4 man, depending upon which way a turning movement was made, was the "pivot man", and everyone else had to make a movement around the pivot.

I think when Shoup came in as CMC in 1960, he did away with the complexities of the Eight Man Squad Drill and implemented the LPM (doing away with the Eight Man and other accessories like the swagger stick and gloves, etc. - by the way, I still have my swagger stick as I had to buy one just before Shoup became CMC). The LPM, with three squads of variable numbers of men/women was more adaptable and much, much easier to teach and learn, leaving more time to teach important things like marksmanship, etc.

One of the important things of the LPM drill was that it allowed (finally) three squads of 13 (or less, depending upon manning level) to march as a unit. With the 8-man, a thirteen man squad was split and the Squad Leader did not even have an intact squad. The LPM also allowed units that did not have a 13-man squad, like many support units, to be able to look like Marines without going through the repetitive practice that the 8-man required. Plus, Corpsmen and other Navy personnel attached to Marine units could easily fit into the units for parades, etc.

Good to hear from someone who is in my era and still alive and kicking!

Semper Fi,
Hal Gosnell​

Sold Out

Attn fans of Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy! You don't want to miss the break-out, Marine Sniper Thriller written by Stan R. Mitchell.

Get this book at "Sold Out".

Stan R. Mitchell, Author
Website: http://stanrmitchell.com

Images From Gazette

I am trying to obtain some info on pictures from WWII Illustrators John Clymer & Tom Lovell who worked for the Marine Corps Gazette Magazine. They had done covers for the magazine in 1944-45 that were in turn available as prints to the magazine readers as a set of 8. (I have 6 of them) The set cost $1 at the time and were available "until the supply is exhausted". They included -- the Korean incident, the Florida war, the Boxer Rebellion, apprehending seal poachers, the flag goes up on Mt. Suribachi. I am wondering if you are familiar with these. I have inquired to the Gazette Editorial Office, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and neither have any info as to what these might be worth as collectible items. I have no idea how many remain or how rare they are or are not. I have attached some scans of them.

These were my fathers, who is a WWII Marine Corps veteran and 95 yrs old! Can anyone provide me with more info or possibly tell me what they might be worth as collectible items?

Thank you for any help you can give.

Doreen Apgar

Lost and Found

I graduated from PI in 4 December 1956 with platoon 293 from NYC and I served on the USS Randolph (CVA15) from March 1957 to August 1958 in the Marine Detachment. Anyone from those two duty stations still around? I would like to hear from them. (esp. Tom Cooper and Mike Camp.)

Tony Beyer 1626XXX
Email: Abeyer65[at]optonline.net
Thanks for the space Sgt. Grit.


USS Wasp Marine Detachment CVS-18

Where: Quantico, VA
When: Aug.20 – 23, 2015
Hotel: Ramada Inn, Triangle, VA. Rt.95 exit 150A

Contact info: Joe Looker
E-mail: jsphlooker[at]aol.com

Semper Fi,
Sgt. J.P.Looker '65-'69

Short Rounds

I served with 1/5 aboard the USS Princeton LPH-5 Mar66-May66. HMM-163 was the squadron aboard ship to take us to all those hot vacation spots.

Cpl Bill Allen
RVN '66


Be advised, you have an outstanding employee that works in your customs dept whose name is Cherish Mahaffey... She took the time to write a personal note thanking me for my service and she hoped I liked the shirt that I purchased. I am well satisfied with the shirt and In answer to her "Thank you for your service" I would like to reply that "you were well worth it".Please pass that on to her for me... She made an "old jarhead" happy...

On a side note... If it was 46 years ago (1969) I would jump on a chopper over at 1st MarDiv and if memory serves me correctly, in less than 30 minutes we could have been having a beer at the Marble mountain or Monkey mountain slop chute...

Semper Fi Grit,
Tom Kelly
GySgt USMC Ret​


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

"Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one's conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one's own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom [1944]​

​"The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps."
--General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, 5 May 1946

"Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson

"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."
--Major General Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket [1935]

"You peoople, think we are gonna ease up on you? Well, you all are in for a big surprise!"

"Good Night Ladies... Good Morning Girls!"

"The most ferocious fighting force the world has ever seen is a 19-year-old p-ssed-off Marine."

"Stand by to stand by!"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit​

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