Sgt Grit Newsletter - 06 JUL 2016

In this issue:
• The Day We Were Born
• Iwo Jima Flag Raiser Misidentified
• How To Make A Rack

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The Day We Were Born

Boot Camp Cattle Car

How many of us can remember the day we were born? The actual day I mean. I can with crystal clarity. Tomorrow, 30 June 2016, is my 50th birthday and I remember every detail of the occasion. I was born into the loving arms of my new family members and the legendary yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. Oh how well I remember the day. My new father/mother/girlfriend greeted me with love in his eyes, open arms and comforting platitudes. It was a soft, albeit hot summer southern evening with a gentle breeze carrying the gentle aroma of swamp. Ah the memories of all the wonderful things that my new life was going to bring to me. The anticipation was delicious. My favorite and most unforgettable memory of that evening long ago was the screaming inside my head that said repeatedly: "What the **** have I done?" I'm sure we all remember the terror as a new and wonderful awakening occurred. FIFTY years? How the heck did that happen... I was 19 just yesterday.

Anyone remember this picture of our comfortable and welcoming mode of mass transit?

Semper Fi my brothers, sisters and friends and happy birthday to me... I think.

Gerry Zanzalari
1966 – 1970
RVN 1968 - 1969

Iwo Flag Raiser Misidentified

Iwo Jima Flag Raising WWII

Article By
Luis Martinez
Good Morning America

The Marine Corps has determined that a Marine in the iconic World War II photo of the flag raising on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi was misidentified.

A review prompted by evidence gathered by two amateur historians determined that Pfc. Harold Schultz, who died in 1995, was actually the individual previously believed to be Navy Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class John Bradley, whose story was told in the bestselling book "Flags of Our Fathers."

The Marines have concluded that Bradley was involved in the first flag raising on Mount Suribachi, but the famous photo taken by Associated Press photographer Joseph Rosenthal captured the second flag raising of a larger U.S. flag on the mountain during the battle for the strategic island where 6,500 U.S. service members died.

Several months ago, Marine Commandant General Robert Neller formed a review panel "to consider all available images, film, statements and previous investigations."

The panel was headed by retired Marine Gen. Jan Huly and was made up of both active and retired Marines and two military historians.

Neller ordered the review after researchers working with a Smithsonian Channel documentary on the flag raising had asked the Marine Corps to consider their theory that one of the Marine flag raisers had been misidentified shortly after the photo became popular. The image captured in the photo has since become synonymous with the Marine Corps and is portrayed in the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, that overlooks Washington, D.C.

The work of amateur historians Eric Krelle of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland, was profiled in 2014 by the Omaha World-Herald. Their analysis of photos taken on Mount Suribachi the day of the flag raisings suggested that the man identified as Bradley was actually Schultz.

The panel began reviewing available materials in early April and recently presented their findings and recommendations to Neller.

The Marine statement said Neller and the review panel came to the same conclusion "that one of the six men in the Rosenthal photograph was misidentified."

"The Marine Corps now believes Navy Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class John Bradley was not in the Rosenthal image, but was involved in the initial flag raising hours before the famous photo was taken," the statement said. "Based upon the evidence reviewed, another Marine, Private First Class Harold Schultz, from Detroit, Mich. was the sixth man caught in the frame of what is considered the most famous war photograph.

Neller said, "Our history is important to us, and we have a responsibility to ensure it's right."

"Although the Rosenthal image is iconic and significant, to Marines it's not about the individuals and never has been," Neller added. "Simply stated, our fighting spirit is captured in that frame, and it remains a symbol of the tremendous accomplishments of our Corps -- what they did together and what they represent remains most important. That doesn't change."

The six flag raisers in the famous photo will now be identified as Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Pfc. Harold Schultz, Pfc. Franklin Sousley and Sgt. Michael Strank.

The lives of the six men identified as the flag raisers was the focus of the bestselling book "Flags of Our Fathers," written by Bradley's son, James Bradley, in 2000. The book was later adapted into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.

James Bradley told ABC News in early-May that he was convinced his father had raised the first U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi and not the other one captured in the photo of the second flag-raising.

Bradley said he only recently concluded his father was not involved in the second flag-raising after seeing the work of the two amateur historians.

"I focused on it and realized that it's true, my father raised the first flag, not the second flag on Iwo Jima," he said.

He said his father not only raised the first flag on Mount Suribachi, but he was also present for the second flag-raising. He was later injured and received the Navy Cross for his heroism.

"He did his duty," the son said. "The point is that the book is called 'Flags of Our Fathers' plural. I didn't write a book 'Flags of My Father.' I wrote it about all the heroes of Iwo Jima."

Bradley said that until he died in 1994, his father never spoke about his experiences on Iwo Jima, always changing the subject when he would ask him about what he went through.

"My father never independently said he was in that photo," Bradley said. "He was lying in a hospital bed with post-traumatic stress after one of the worst battles in the history of the United States and the Marines approached him and said here you are in a photo, we've determined you're in a photo. Then he finds himself in the Oval Office and the President is telling him he's in a photo."

Shed A Tear Of Joy

Semper Fi! Sgt. Grit, and all of the Marine Brothers and Sisters who have worn our uniform in the past, or present happy 4th of July. And to every American whether natural born, or naturalized happy 4th also. There has never been a finer nation in the world, and there has never been a better Fighting Force than the United States Marine Corps. Marines do not need to boast about being great, our history presents all the evidence we need to show our pride. Every American who has worn the uniform of any of America's military Service can also hold their heads up high because, they have also been an integral part of our will to live in a peaceful world.

America has endured for more than 240 years come July 4, 2016. Our Marine Corps will be celebrating our 241st Birthday in November, so we all can be proud that not only has our country stood the test of time but, we as Marines have as well.

Happy Birthday America, and Semper Fi Marines, as we all stand proud on July 4th and proclaim our allegiance, celebrate, and even shed a tear of joy for our great Country, and all Americans.

Semper Fi Marines and God Bless America!

Benjamin E. Branson
MSGT, United States Marine/Ret.

Born On The 4th Of July

Thirty-three years ago on the 3rd my mom and dad took me to Peoria, Illinois to get on a bus to St. Louis. I spent the night there in a big hotel. Being a country boy, little did I know that this was the first step to becoming a Marine. The next morning the 4th of July, I got into a van and headed to the airport. Sat there for more than 8 hrs and got on my first airplane and started to MCRD San Diego. Flying there at night, I remember seeing fireworks from the top down and we landed with a DI waiting there at the Terminal.

My new life was born on the 4th of July.

Keith Dodge

My Take On The Iwo Flag Raising

In discussing the recent revelations about the mis-identifications of the Iwo Jima flag raisers with my long-time friend Ray "Moose" Murray, he offered up, what I believe to be a very well thought-out and plausible narrative that may indeed explain how some of these events occured. Although the Moose was in the U.S. Army, he grew up in close proximity to MCAS Beaufort and is quite familiar with the history of the Corps.

Here is my take, not fact, just a scenario that could have happened.

Navy pharmacist mate 2nd class, John Bradley, the Corpsman after being assigned to the bond tour, told his superiors that it wasn't him in that group that raised the flag but couldn't ID the Marine who actually did the job. The Brass told him to keep his mouth shut and just do the war bond tour that was directed by FDR. Pfc. Harold Shultz who was one of the Marines thought to be Bradley, kept his mouth shut because he didn't want to do the bond tour. Later, after the war, Shultz didn't want to bring it up and cause a controversy and be questioned why he didn't come forward. He probably thought a lot of folks wouldn't believe him anyway.

Sgt. Harry Hansen was initially ID'ed as the Marine that 18 months later was in fact Marine Cpl. Harlon Block. Harry told his superiors that he wasn't in the group that raised the flag but couldn't ID that it was Block. Marine Brass in fact did tell Harry to shut up and do the tour which he did. You should know how Marines are trained to follow orders. After the war, Harlon Block's mother with help from her congressman proved it was Block and not Hansen. She said she changed enough of his diapers to know what his butt looked like.

In his book, "Flags of our Fathers" John Bradley's son James wrote that his father was reticent to talk about the flag raising and wouldn't allow the photo to be displayed in their home. He tried to maintain a low profile about it the rest of his life. He had followed orders, kept his mouth shut and did the bond tour. He now wanted to be done with it. James also wrote that no one in his family including his Mom knew that John had been awarded the Navy Cross until James found it in his father's office desk after he died. I think that could have been survivors guilt.

John Bradley was a Navy Corpsman and was in the line of fire constantly on Iwo, attending to wounded Marines and probably having many die in his arms. He had their blood on his hands and his uniform. He had their deaths and screams in his nightmares. In his mind, that Navy Cross was not his alone and it was nothing he wanted to share or display to others. He earned it but he returned and many of the Marines of the 5th Division were left, buried in the volcanic sands of Iwo Jima.

It really doesn't matter who raised that ceremonial flag, other than to keep history accurate. I suppose if there was a way for all of our history to be revisited and corrected we would be in for a lot of surprises. Of course most folks South of 40 don't know the difference between Iwo Jima and the Chosin Reservoir or Valley Forge from Normandy Beach.

I am perplexed how there were so many mistakes on who raised the flag. I suppose at the time it was no big deal until Rosenthal's photo hit the wires and especially when FDR got involved.

I wonder what the son, James Bradley is thinking? If you haven't read his book, "Flags of our Fathers" I recommend it, it is one of my favorite reads. He interviewed everyone he thought was involved. Too bad he wasn't aware of Harold Shultz. He would have never written the book if he knew his father wasn't involved. I wonder if his dad was alive when he wrote the book, if that would have encouraged him to be truthful to his son? John died in 1994, the book was published in 2006.

I have a lot of respect for John Bradley. He constantly risked his life administering medical assistance to wounded, dying Marines with Japs trying to shoot him. Unlike the Germans, the Japs actually trained their troops to recognize Corpsmen and ordered to kill them. However, if in fact he was misidentified as raising the flag, I feel sorry that he had to live the rest of his life knowing that he wasn't in that photo, knowing it wasn't him on that statute while his family and friends honored him for that.

Gerald Sington 1672XXX
I-3-11, HQ CO Ist Mar Div, I-3-1

Sound Off

Who Amongst you served with Col William Dabney?

1st Marines, 1st Marine Regt, 1st Mar Div 1977 to 1981, Camp Horno aboard Camp Pendleton Ca. A great Example of a what a Marine Officer should be, William H. Dabney. I was his radio operator for 3 years and learned everything I know about being a good Marine from working with him. He was the fairest and most honest man besides my own father I had the privilege of knowing. A Mustang who stood at the end of the chow line behind the last man to make sure they ate first. He never raised his voice in anger and called a L/cpl Sir, played a great game of soccer, and treated every Marine as an equal. I would have followed that Marine in and out of H-ll and laughed because it seemed so easy to do when the Colonel did anything. I carried his radios sometimes 75 lbs of equipment over miles of terrain during training exercises (but never deployed for combat operations). I passed out from heat stroke and this man carried me to the evac chopper by himself. Presented me with my first good conduct medal and promotion to L/cpl, but when in my last active year of service I was injured on an exercise and broke my left arm and my right ankle, I could not walk with out crutches for 3 months he did not play favorites with me. But encouraged to get off my butt and fight back. I went to night school and graduated High School. Worked in the tech shop OJT on ground radio systems and because of that I am a self employed Telecommunications Engineer today. I have survived 41 years of good and bad because of what I learned in the Corps. All great experiences I would like to thank Col Dabney and his family for what this good man taught me and all the Marines under his care.

His Wife was LTGEN Lewis B (Chesty) Puller's daughter whom I met several times. Of her father she said he could tell some real good stories... most were true... all were good to listen too. Happy 241st Marine Corps Birthday Col Dabney and Happy 118th Chesty!

Semper Fi Marines
Joe Garcia 1/1/1
Regt Comm Plt
MOS 2531

Paying It Forward

Some years ago I was working in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. We worked 6 weeks & came home for a week. I arrived in Tulsa, my home for my week at home and my wife was picking me up at the airport. I had a Marine Corps baseball cap on. As I was loading my luggage into the car a very squared away young man in civvies walked over & said "let me help you with that, sir". At first I refused his help but he insisted. Then I noticed he had a Marine Corps seabag leaning against the wall. Turns out he had just finished boot camp & was coming home on leave before his first school. We visited for a few minutes & I offered him $20 so he could buy himself & maybe his girlfriend dinner. Of course he refused but I told him to take it and pay it forward.

Perhaps he would some day see a Marine & buy a meal for him.

I have often wondered about that fine example of a Marine.

Steve Murtha

I Was Too Old

Sgt Grit,

The story that was titled Go Home Old Man brought an experience to mind. When Desert Storm was ramping up I was in the Navy Reserve. A prior service veteran and a Fleet Marine 8404 Corpsman. I had just come off of active duty with 1st Marines in California. I went to see the Command Master Chief of the Reserve Center where I was stationed as a weekend warrior... lol. I specifically told the CMChief that I would reenlist for however long was required IF he would guarantee that I would go to the 1st Division as a Corpsman. When asked why I simply told him nobody screws with my Marines but me and Saddam was screwing with them shortly... it was personal to me. Long story short Command Master Chief called his counterpart at Naval Hq. My answer was short and blunt at 42 I was too old for active duty in a combat zone and that included the BAS as a senior Corpsman. I finished my duty tour and retired 4 years after Desert Storm.

Retired proud veteran of 26 years

How To Make A Rack

In 1960 I was at MCRD San Diego. I was in Plt.359. Sgt. Brown was showing us how to make our rack. He said turn to and lets see if you clowns can make one. When he returned to inspect us most racks were not up to his standards, except one. He stopped in front of Private Frazier A. George, I swear his rack was better than the Drill Instructors. The DI asked him if he had any prior Military experience. He said yes sir I was in the Army. The DI said they sure as h-ll never taught you how to make a rack... That's the worst piece of f*****g sh-t I ever saw and tore it up and threw it on the deck along with everybody elses. He made us do it about four times and every time he would go to Pvt. George first and tear it up and throw it on the deck along with all of ours. Frazier A. George retired as a Gunnery Sgt. I am sorry to report that he passed away a few years ago. He was an outstanding Marine.

Cpl. Howard Buckle 1960-1963

Vintage 1970's USMC Commercial

1970's USMC Reserve Recruiting Commercial

A vintage commercial encouraging young men to join the Marine Corps Reserves in the 1970's is making the rounds, and it's awesome.

I've been out for a little over a year, and every few months, I get a call from a prior-service recruiter trying to lure me into the Marine Corps reserves. Their offers of getting paid for only working one weekend a month just weren't enough to woo me back into a military regulation haircut.

Well, their pitch was way wrong, because if they had used this, I might be training for my Physical Fitness Test right now.

The video shows a man in Marine Corps swim trunks — the old-school tan ones — running up the beach to a beautiful young woman.

"Sure the United States Marine Reserve teaches you a lot," the video says as the man approaches the beautiful blonde, "like how to take a beach head..."

The woman playfully pushes the young Marine when he lays down next to her.

"... how to defend yourself," the video says.

The man and woman then climb into a golden Corvette.

"And did you know, some Marines even get to drive tanks," the narrator says.

Naturally, the Corps has changed a lot in the past 40 years, and it's hard to believe such an advertisement would fly today, but how many people do you think did join the modern Marine Corps to try to attract girls?

And as one of the commenters on Terminal Lance's Facebook page noted, a Corporal with a car he can't afford? That sounds about right.

Watch the commercial at:
1970's USMC Reserves Recruiting Commercial

Brian Adam Jones

What Now Lieutenant

What now, Lieutenant!

I had just completed the Basic Field Artillery Officer Course at Fort Sill and was ordered to B-1/10 at GTMO. I reported aboard just before Christmas 1973, and was assigned as the 105mm howitzer platoon commander. We were a composite 105mm and 155mm howitzer battery down there, part of the Special Mission Force.

My first FIREX was going smoothly. When we were completed, I gave the command, "MARCH ORDER." I was stunned. NO ONE MOVED. Then my platoon sergeant gave me a nod and yelled "CSMO." As any Marine 08 knows, the platoon was a flurry blur as we departed the firing position.

Lesson learned (many more to follow).

Once a Lieutenant Colonel, Always a Marine!

Semper Fidelis,
Joe Kerke


Sgt George Peto Jr and his wife

Sgt George Peto Jr., 9/18/22 - 7/4/16

Last evening Dad passed away peacefully at home after attending 4th of july fireworks and a party with his friends. A funeral is being planned for early next week.

See his biography at:
Sgt George Peto Jr., 3/1/1, Pacific Theater, WWII

Sgt. Grit,

A great Marine, Sgt. Major Ed Billups reported for duty to his Supreme Commander. Sgt. Major Billups entered the Marine Corps in the year 1950. He was one of two chosen to assist the Commandant but chose to retire after 32 years. He entered in the fall of 1950 and was in the 9th replacement draft for duty in Korea. He was assigned as a Heavy Machine gunner. He was decorated with the Bronze star for his bravery. He exposing himself to heavy small arms fire to save his Ammo. man who was hit on an open hillside while retrieving more ammo. He had two tours in Viet Nam. One in the Artillery and one in Force Recon. He was one of the men who stand above most Marines with his honor and attention to his duty. I entered the Marines with this man and never knew him to be anything but Honorable. God has received a great American that all Marines can be Proud of.

Sgt. Vern Hughes

Harvey Rau

This country lost one of the finest Marines that I know. On 14 June 2016, he lost his battle with Parkinson disease from Agent Orange. He served 30 years in the Corps from Pvt. to Major and served in Korea to Viet Nam. He was given a Marines send off to the gates of heaven. This Marine was my brother. RIP

Jim Rau

Lost And Found

Sgt. Grit,

I am Cpl. E-4 Alfredo Portillo, USMC. Plt 139 MCRD San Diego, April 1957; Radio Telegraph Operators Course 155 (MOS 1336), June 1958; 2nd. Force Reconnaissance Company, Camp Geiger, NC, 6/58 - 1/60. Instructor, Comm School, 2nd. Mar Div., Camp Kinser, Okinawa. Anybody out there remember me?

Alfredo Portillo

Short Rounds

Gunny D. Morton

Thanks for sharing your experience with Sgt Rine. Your description of him fits my recollection as a drill instructor of Plt 105, Jan 1963 MCRDSD.

Mike Beehler

I enlisted when the Corps was 174 years old and I'm starting to feel it. Ha.

Clinton Hall

OoooRah! and thanks.


1st Radio Co. First Marine unit with boots on the ground in VN, 1961

Reponse to Jim Mackin, MGySgt - USMC (Ret)
"Cowboys On The Ground"

Coincidentally, my nephew, then LTJG David Ryan Williams, was a member of Seal Team 10 sitting directly above the MH-47 destroyed on the ground in dash-2. The SEALs on that aircraft were his. The angst of losing that aircraft and the occupants lingers with him to this day.

Semper Fi
Joe Featherston
Mustang Major of Marines, Retired

I got to say this to the MSgt Smith, USMC Ret... I agree with this sentiment, so keep the flag up. Tell naysayers to pound salt. We Marines all say ooh-rah.

Resp t/ SEALs article: Many of us can relate to spec-ops units of one type or another. One of the things we try to do is stay below the horizon... doing otherwise may eventually make you a handy target, and they won't make a movie about you.

RFK, GySgt, USMC Ret. 1965-1990

Swagger Sticks

The Brits still carry them, as do some other 'Salty' foreign military establishments? During WW II, the Senior German Staff Officers carried an ornate baton... Which REALLY made a profound statement. Back in 1952, when I was at MCRD, the senior DI would crack the side of his trousers... in such a way that 'EVERYONE' knew: Who was in charge here? EVERYONE.


Hey Y'all!

I got my John Wayne/P-38 at Camp Pendleton in 1967. It now resides on my key chain and has done so for nearly fifty years. I have even managed to use it occasionally as a can opener. Blows non-military folks away! Mostly it is a really good fingernail cleaner, though.

Semper Fi,

"Maggot, you look like a seabag full of doorknobs!"

Read the article by EJ on the SEALS.

I served from 1960-1964 with L/3/5, L/3/9 and 3rd MEB in Laotian Crisis. 1970-1976 with D Co, 4th Recon Bn, Albuquerque NM. Then I went to work for a federal agency as a Federal Officer. We used to train with teams from various State Police and local police agencies. We trained with Delta, Special Forces, FBI HRT and SEAL Team 1. The best were SEAL Team 1 and the worst HRT. SEAL Team was tough and very well trained. They earned everyone's respect.

Frank Briceno

Just read that the Marine Corps is dropping the name "man" from 19 different MOS's. Basic rifleman aka Grunt, will be known as Basic infantry Marine and so on...

SSgt Huntsinger

I very much enjoy your emails. Reading some of your articles brings back a lot of memories of when I was in the Corps. It was 1968 when I went in and I got out in 1972. I was going to make a career in the Corps. But that ended in 1972. About all I get to do now is lay around the house. I am disabled. I just wanted to thank you showing all the articles and all the things you can buy. It reminds me of walking into the px.

Thanks again,
Randall Ellison, USMC.

When in the world did the Marine Corps change the Drill Instructor MOS fro 8511 to 0911? Was there another MOS code of 5400 in the 1960s? I know I'm telling my age and that I'm part of the Old Corps now, but would love to know this answer.

SSgt. Morgan Akin


"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time."
--Thomas Jefferson, Summary View of the Rights of British America [1774]

"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
--Ned Dolan

"H-ll, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--MajGen John F. Kelly

"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure."
--Thomas Jefferson (1823)

"You're more f....d up than a soup sandwich!"

"What is you're major malfunction turd."

If yer gonna be stupid, ya gotta be tough!

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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