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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 24 SEP 2015

In this issue:
• LCpl James Fuller Inurnment
• We Were Admin Once, And Young
• Aye Aye Sergeant Major

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Sgt Grit,

This was our group, Plt 342 MCRD PI 1965... no family members.

We had a Drill Instructor (Sgt Smith) assigned to us as our guide.

One of our group retired as a Lt Col (JJ Foyle). I have attached a letter he wrote praising Sgt Smith on a job well done. I am sharing this letter as it was outstanding and hits home especially if you are a Marine.

Chuck Harmon

One Proud Mom

This is my son, Abel Mendoza Jr, along with other poolees, swearing in to the USMC. While this is not what I wanted for him, I've never been more proud of him than I was at that moment, even if I was a hot mess.

His selflessness, willingness to honor and defend this great country, and his determination to succeed swells my heart with pride.

Thank you to every Marine for all you've done and continue to do! It's because of men and women like you that we have our freedom.

Alicia Borchard

Peach Fuzz

Any of you ladies experience this? If you were a young "peach fuzz" t-urd and final inspection was coming up, you could look forward to the Drill Instructors patting down your face with lighter fluid and setting it on FIRE! I sh-t you not. Ask Canzanari, a heavy bearded Italian guy that went screaming out of the squad bay when they came after him. Had to send a search party for him.

LCpl J. Stone 20347xx
PISC Jan-Mar 1965

Replace a Purple Heart

In the June 4 2015 newsletter I posted a request for info how to replace a Purple Heart citation.

A posted reply was this:

In the 4 June issue, Sgt. Ron Myers, a Vietnam veteran, inquired about getting a replacement Purple Heart citation. I contacted Mr. Mosley at Headquarters, Marine Corps. Here is his response:

Mr. Dillon,

Yes, this is a service that MMMA-3 can provide for the veteran, please have him to submit a signed request and we will be able to assist him in getting a replacement certificate.

Have the veteran submit the following items to the address listed below:

1. Signed request to MMMA-3 - Requesting a replacement certificate for the Purple Heart.
2. DD214, service number or social security number so we can order his official records.
3. Have the veteran mail his request to the following address:
QUANTICO VA 22134-5030

Once we receive the signed request MMMA-3 will do the following:
1. Order the veteran official records from Nation Personnel Records Center.
2. Review his records to adjudicate the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the purple heart during his tour in Vietnam.
3. Once adjudicated the certificate will be completed and forwarded to the veteran.
4. The veteran personnel records will be updated to reflect the awarding of the purple heart certificate.
Sir, as soon as we get the request we will order his records, but depending how long it takes to receive the records this adjudication process could take up to six months.

Wayne Dillon
SgtMaj USMC (Ret.)

Following these simple directions I sent off my request. The citation came yesterday 10 Sept 2015, so less than three months start to finish. It is in a nice presentation folder with the date of the wound and is (robo)signed by the CMC. It also includes a list of all awards that I rate. Thanks to your newsletter and SgtMaj (Ret.) Wayne Dillon for your help.

Semper Fidelis
Ron Myers
Sgt '66-'69
RVN '67-'68

LCpl James Fuller Inurnment

Here's the final set of photos from Jim's inurnment ceremony at Arlington National Cemetary.

The onlookers/mourners dressed in yellow shirt, vest, and cavalry hat are from Buffalo Soldiers group. Marilyn informed me that Jim was an honorary member of the special group of folks. One of the other Veterans being inurned that day was being honored by the Buffalo Soldiers group. Jim was also a member of MIAP (Missing In America Project).

Cpl. Doug "Junior" Helmers
HQ Btry, 11th Marines (Comm Plt Tech)
1st Marine Division

Paying It Forward

Sgt Grit,

How awesome! So this is a beer made by Dog Tag Brewing Company and on each beer is info on a fallen servicemember and how they paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country! Even better is that from every beer sold, proceeds from each is donated to charities chosen by the fallen servicemembers families... Think I just found my new favorite brewery!

Dog Tag Brewing

A toast to all Warriors!

Semper Fi
Tom Flynn
RVN 70-71

God Bless Chesty

Remember the yellow footprints? The hot breath of a D.I. shouting at you from an inch away? Getting sand kicked in your face in the "pit". Running until you can't take another step... and then running some more. And how about the first time you are called "Marine"... the pride you felt? It's all here in my book "God Bless Chesty": A first person account of the making of a Marine in the year 1969.

Get this in paperback at:

"God Bless Chesty": A first person account of the making of a Marine in the year 1969

Gary Andrews

Shameless Capitalist Pig Plug

Sgt Grit,

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your quick service when I bought two Utility Covers. One was too large and I had to return it for a smaller size and again your staff was quick to respond. It was a pleasure doing business with you and I will do it again.

Semper Fi,
Wayne Bunt
GySgt, USMC, Ret

We Were Admin Once, And Young

In my very first unit in the fleet, we had a company first sergeant we privately referred to as "Eagle Beak" or "Spoonman". He had all the characteristics a lance corporal expects from a Marine 1stSgt: ill tempered, unapproachable, and best avoided at all costs. He also suffered from the delusion that his Marines considered him some kind of warlord to be admired.

We suspected he joined up in a time just after Vietnam when all his seniors were veterans of that conflict. He had deployed to the first Gulf War but we all knew that "war" had consisted of eight months of waiting around and 100 hours of the Iraqi Army running away, few had seen any real action. There was some talk of him having a background in administration before picking up 1stSgt and coming over to the grunts. The truth of that was never verified but in the minds of infantrymen it's very important for grunts to be grunts and to be grunty, grunt-grunt, and not a pogue. Grunt.

His efforts to impress the company came off as contrived fabrications. During a training event he once drew his side arm (in those days officers and senior SNCOs were not issued rifles) then ordered a machine gun team to displace with a: "Follow me!" We supposed in his mind he was earning a notional Bronze Star with V device for saving the company from being overrun by an enemy armed with MILES gear and blank ammunition.

Before stepping off on a field op he once remarked: "I don't know what it is, maybe all these years going to the field, but just be careful if you have to wake me up." The one time someone actually had to wake him in the middle of the night he burst from his sleeping bag racking his unloaded M9 on an empty chamber. Bad. Ass.

I often compared him to my own father who had executed multiple tours to both Korea and Vietnam leaving mountains of enemy corpses in his wake. He was never boastful of his battle prowess, but the insinuation that it was a bad idea to try him on for size seemed to linger about him. I never recall meeting anyone who really felt the need to. He was someone I woke with some care and deliberation.

Years later I ran across old Eagle Beak at the base PX. For a moment the old lance corporal welled up in me and I brushed it aside as the immature perceptions they were. This time I was a first sergeant and he had long since retired. I approached him and we chatted briefly. Of course, he didn't recognize his old wise ass lance coolie, but was pleased to indulge me. Oddly, he seemed nothing like my younger memories of him and was genuinely proud one of his Marines had advanced so far.

Funny how time had changed us both.

UPDATE: Turns out my old 1stSgt was a mortar man by trade (0341), as well as a military working dog handler, and det commander on embassy guard duty. Kinda proves the point that most of the time LCpls don't know $#&*%.

Semper Fidelis!
America's SgtMaj

Aye Aye Sergeant Major

In 1975, I was a Weapons Platoon Sergeant with Fox 2/7 at San Mateo, Camp Pendelton. All of the Battalion NCO's including myself were attending our monthly NCO meeting. Sgt.Maj. Yanachi was an Eskimo Indian, but to hear him tell it he was Born at Tun Tavern. The Sgt.Maj. when answering a question would always start out with "Well I remember in the Old Corps when all you young kids wer just a twinkle in your daddy's eye," and we would all give a little laugh. Being the Smart-Azs Comedian Sgt. that I was... I raised my hand and Sgt.Maj. pointed at me and said "Yes SGT. HAMMER." I stood up and asked him if he had any pictures of himself polishing his Sword and Shield in the Old Corps? Some NCO's were laughing and most were wide eyed going OOOOOH! He turned around to the podium (I thought he was ignoring me) and picked up the Battalion NCO Duty Roster, turning back to face me he said "NO, I'm sorry to say I don't Sgt. Hammer, but I promise I'll be here every weekend this month to take your picture at the battalion guard duty desk." He then ripped the schedule in half and threw it over his shoulder and looking around the room at all the other NCO's said "Is there any other questions?" "NO. Alright then, I want everybody here to thank Sgt. Hammer for volunteering for duty NCO this month so that his fellow Marine NCO's can enjoy their weekends this month... Isn't that right Sgt. Hammer?" I snapped to attention and yelled "Aye aye Sergeant Major!" Everybody snapped to attention and Sgt.Maj. yelled "DISMISSED" everybody was laughing so loud you wouldn't have heard a grenade go off. Every NCO patting me on the back saying "Way to go Hammer, Thanks!". I Loved the then and still do, I didn't mind at all. My Wife and Kids all lived on Base at 633-A Puller Place a five bedroom 2-1/2 bath NEW home. And I Respected the Sgt.Maj. more than any man on the Base. I read Sgt.Maj. Yanachi's Presidential Citation that on a mountain top in South Vietnam went outside the wire one night with no weapon other than his "Razor Sharp" E-tool to dig a "Cat-Hole" (out of Respect for his fellow Company Marines). On the way back to his position The Marines came under Attack. The Sgt.Maj. surrounded by Combat Armed NVA's who not wanting to fire their weapons at one "Lone Marine" and alert the Company of Marines inside the wire attempted to bayonet the (then) 1st.Sgt. Yanachi, He just started swinging that E-tool in all Directions. It was later determined (after the battle) that THIRTEEN (13) Enemy Soldiers had been killed by an E-tool. Sergeant Major Yanachi told me he had to dig a second Cat-Hole inside the wire to clean out his shorts. I TREASURE the memories of every day I served in the Corps from 1972 to 1978 even the bad ones.

SEMPER FI Leathernecks, See you when we Regroup.


Camp Napunja, Okinawa

In your most recent Newsletter, Barry Farris commented on the blank stares that he receives when he mentions that he was stationed at Camp Napunja, Okinawa in 1956. I also have had the same problem when I say that I was at Camp Napunja in 1956 with the 3rd. Bn. 9th. Marines, after leaving Camp Okabu, Japan, more blank stares. Napunja was still under construction when we hit the beach and was pretty much the way Farris describes it. I'm proud to say that our 3rd. Bn. included Col. Archie VanWinkle, Medal of Honor, then Weapons Company Comander and Col. Joe "Bull" Fisher, "Operation Starlite", then George Company Comander. After 80 years of life it's good to hear from someone else who was there. Semper Fi.

Karl Henry, Cpl.
S2 0231

Short Rounds

Thanks for all your great post... some very interesting stories. Brings back old memories of my time in the Corps. A tough but a very dedicated group of America's finest. How could one ever forget his or her time in the Corps.

Cpl. 1965-1969
Semper Fi

First Squad Report! One Man Dead, Two In The Head, and I would Not Be Here, If I Didn't Have Too Report!

Bob Horton

In Florida you don't need proof of service to get a Marine Corps license plate. And it is the most popular plate. I had one in Georgia. You have to show your DD 214 and there is no renewal fee. The paper work I received had 00.00 for the amount upon renewal after my initial visit to the tag office. I kept the plate but I live in another state now.

Dale Landon

Just returned from celebrating my 50th anniversary Plt. 344, Sept. 9,2015 at Parris Island, SC. What a wonderful experience it was. Watched 8 Platoons graduate and toured the Island. Went back to the old 3rd Battalion Barracks and relieved some old memories...

Gary Fye

Never got a ride to Camp Mathews.
Had to hump it.
Did get a ride back.

Jim Ploger
31 July 1962 to 14 Oct 1966
4yrs. 2mos. 13 days.
But who's counting.

Thanks Marine, I read this week's Newsletter and sure my input helped some fellow Marines out there. Not sure if this has been stated before but maybe you could use as your weekly quote, "Old Marines never die, they just go to heaven and regroup".

Semper Fedelis

Vietnam Veterans cover "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" by The Animals - Rumble

This version of the "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" music video was created by Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum as part of its ongoing effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The men who are featured in the video are all Vietnam Veterans who have helped to build the exhibit.

Reminds me of "mid-rats" that had some faux animal product cold cut. On dry bread, without butter or any sort of mayo or salad dressing. With a dime-sized dollop of yellow mustard (if the night mess was in a generous mood!)

Mmmm, makes my mouth go dry just thinking of it!

Junior H.


"The Army and the Navy are run like traditional military services. The Air Force is run like a corporation. But the Marine Corps is a religion."
--Navy Admiral

"The Americans are savages. They kill everything that moves."
--German soldier at Belleau Wood

"My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military."
--MajGen Smedley D. Butler

"Where they are going isn't the Marines' concern. Their business is to be always ready to go."
--Harper's Weekly, 1912

"Currently mistakenly assigned to the civilian world."

On the phone: "motor pool... two-bys, four-bys, six-bys, and big ones that bend in the middle and go pshew!... if you can't truck it..."

"Close it up, close it up, a--holes to belly button, a--holes to belly button!"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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