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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 07 JAN 2016

In this issue:
• Beautiful American Marine
• Old Corps Cannon Cockers
• Longevity Of The C-ration

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United States Marines climbing down the nets into landing craft during the Battle of Peleliu, September-November 1944.

(Photographer: Griffin Image courtesy of the United States Marine Corps History Division, Peleliu 117058. Colorized and researched by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

Forty-Seven Years Ago

Forty-seven years ago on 31 December 1968, Platoon 1115 graduated from recruit training. On New Year's Day, they shipped out to 2nd ITR, Camp Pendleton, California. The few, the proud, the MARINES. Proud of them all.

Herb Brewer

That Poem

That poem, "The Night They Gunned Down Santa Claus" came down from 1stMarDiv, FMF in Chu Lai in 1966. I have one of the copies which were passed around. We joked that somebody at Division had way too much time on his hands, but we enjoyed it. At the time, India, 3/5 was on "Red Hill", roughly southwest of Tam Ky providing security for the Battalion and the village of Long Phu (Two).

Semper Fi,

Beautiful American Marine

In 1944, my sister joined the Marine Corps. She was 21 and I was nine. My brother was in the 82nd Airborne, but the Corps was what turned me on. After boot camp and training, she was stationed at MCAS Goleta, near Santa Barbara, Ca. My mother and I lived in Santa Monica, so we were able to see her a few times until she was discharged in 1946. I was a Cub Scout and remember a picture of us with her in her summer uniform, (I vaguely remember it as white with green stripes, with a green cover, but after 71 years, I can't swear to it) and me in my Cub Scout uniform. I came up about to her waist. My pride was immense! From that day, I wanted to be a Marine. She later married an old China Marine who served with the 4th Marines in the 30's, and he became my father figure when I went to live with them. Even from all those years ago, I was brain-washed by her to believe that "BAM" meant "Beautiful American Marine". Who was I to argue? Move ahead in time to 1956 when I went to visit her after I graduated from The Basic School, (it wasn't called "TBS" then) and we reprised the picture with me in my greens and her in civvies. At 6'1" and 200 plus, the difference was almost as striking as the 1946 picture. As some smart azs little brother, I chided her that BAM really meant "Broad Azzed Marine", and she had led me astray as a little boy. While my brother-in-law of course agreed, we didn't make a big fuss about it, because she WAS a Beautiful American Marine! Her pride in being a Marine was strong until the day ALS took her down after a tremendous fight and I delivered her to the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. For me, she will always be a Beautiful American Marine and I still miss her. God bless our Corps.

Paul Jones

Marine Corps Vietnam Ring

I am the Store Manager of Walmart in Flowood, MS and one of cart pushers found this on the parking lot trying to find the owner of this ring! I am sure it is important to them!

Allen Patterson

Old Corps Cannon Cockers

In the recent 31 Dec 15 Newsletter, the stalwart contributor DDick observed 'Things Change' and described the new Growler vehicle. Many of us old lanyard snapper Marines recall the M422 Mighty Mite [1,700 lbs, 850 lbs load] from 1959-65. This American Motors vehicle was exclusive to the Corps and, apparently, the precursor to the 'new' M1163 Prime Mover 'Growler' (aka the Clown Car) which tows the M327 Towed Rifled Mortar [120mm / 4.7 inch]. In the early '60s we had the M98 Howtar, an M30 4.2" /107mm mortar (the Four Deuce) mounted on the 75 Pack Howitzer frame from WWII.

The M422 Mighty Mite was 61" wide X 107" long (the 422A1 was 113"). The new M1163 is 59" X 163" but weighs 4,500+ lbs with a one-ton carry capacity.

The choke-factor is the cost: The M1163 runs about $1,078,000.; yeah, over One Million bucks... try explaining that to the Skipper if you 'lose' it! The M422 cost $5,000 in 1960 (big bucks in those days) which is about $40,000 in 2015 dollars.

As DDick observes, "things change" but, as the Old Corps cannon cockers know, nothing really does... After all, we're still loading the d-mned things from the muzzle.

C. Stoney Brook
A-1-11 / D-2-12
1961-65 0811/0844
Military Vehicle Collectors of California

That Breed Will Never Be Duplicated

Sgt Grit,

Comm. Chief when I got to 11th Marines in Aug. '68 was a salty MSgt., "Top" Mitchell.

Top had enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor at age 16. Boot camp and then on to jump school and made it through the sifting & winnowing to become one of the vaunted Para-Marines. Age 16 went ashore at Tulagi on Aug. 7th 1941 with Edson's Raiders (while the 1st Div. landed on The Canal).

Nasty fighting on Tulagi. After securing that island, Top went with others to join 1st Mar. Div. on the big island. He was part of the valiant contingent that fought off major Jap. assault on Edson's Ridge fight. Awarded the Silver Star for his actions. Reiterate, age 16.

Top Mitchell, Gen. Hoffman and that breed will never be duplicated, will they!

Semper Fi!

A Good Pick

While I was at Gio Linh we were lucky to have Sgt. DL King in charge. We would get 12 cases of C-rats every month and we had to dash to the LZ to get the cases and bring them to our bunker because of mortars coming in to hit the chopper. DL went up EVERY time to help carry the cases back. One time DL was right behind me and got hit. The guys in the chopper jumped out and took him to Dong Ha. We were lucky because he was back in a month.

He would ALWAYS turn the case over and everyone, Private to Sgt., had the same chance to get a good pick. I will never forget DL King. His family owned the King ranch in Texas.

Sgt. RL Sisson, 12th Marines
July '68 - July '71

Only Real Old Rats

Seems like a lot of different experiences with our favorite meals. Only real old rats I remember were in ITR. In Nam we had mostly rats from the 50's at first then early 60's. Usually could tell by the brand of cigarettes inside. No filters meant early, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Chesterfield, most common. Later I remember Winston's, Salem, and later Marlboros. Maybe that older stuff was for the guys in the rear?

About the only meal I could not do something with to make it fit to eat was the scrambled eggs. With two or three Marines in a fox hole some edible combinations could be made as well. You made do or you got weak. While with 3/3 during '66-'67 monsoon at "old Payable" C's were all we had and that was iffy at times because of the weather.

I do remember getting some C-Rats dated 1965. We figured we were being confused with an Army unit, mud Marines never got new stuff.

Cpl. T.C. Mosher
I 3/3, CAP Hotel 8

Band Of Brothers

Clip from Band Of Brothers mini-series. I KNOW, I know it is army, but the message is universal and well done.

Watch the German General's Speech

Partial To The Spaghetti

To SSgt DH,

In 1981 we ate c-rats during the field training portion of boot camp. I don't remember anyone ever mentioning the date stamps so I don't know how old they were. The round chocolate candy items were called sh-t disk by our Drill Instructors. That was because they supposedly gave you the sh-t's and so were confiscated along with the cigs. We had no Tabasco to add to the food so it was all pretty bad, but yes ham and limas were the worst. Our Drill Instructors called them ham and motherf-ckers too. And yes the pork slices were way too salty. We never got a chance to try any of the meals warmed during boot camp, the heat tabs were also confiscated. Later during my first few years in the FMF I did become partial to the spaghetti and the beef, if there was cheese to add. I never did try the chocolate candy item. Don't remember ever seeing the turkey loaf. Eventually we switched to MREs and during the transition we'd occasionally have a trip or two to the field when c-rats would show up. Probably someone found them in a warehouse somewhere or they came out of the pre-positioned ship's stores or something. The MREs were supposed to be an improvement on c-rats, but weren't really much better. At least I didn't think so.

MSgt Kevin J. Sullivan

Longevity Of The C-ration

Hey Grit,

Any Marines who doubted the longevity of the C-ration (MCI) please read the following clip from Wikipedia concerning same.

In 1973, Army Colonel Henry Moak was issued a MCI ration during his stay in Vietnam. Included in the MCI ration was a can of pound cake, manufactured in 1969. He kept the unopened can and vowed to eat the pound cake when he retired from the Army. On July 24, 2009, with news media and dignitaries in attendance, Moak opened the forty-year-old can and ate the contents. He noted that the pound cake still looked and smelled like fresh pound cake.

An Hoa Combat base circa 1969... let the units eat at the field mess one time a day. My unit, 3rd 8in How Batt (SP) chose mid-day mess. All other eating was done out of the little green cans.

Deck, AC 2504732
USMC NCOAD (not currently on active duty)

Odd-Ball Questions

You might run some odd-ball questions... I keep seeing these things on FB, e.g. a picture of a P-38, or a claymore firing device, that say "forward if you know what this is... or have used one" etc.

First one that came to mind was do you know what a 'four-deuce box' is, or what it was used for? (no direct connection to 4.2 (107MM) mortars, BTW).

4.2 boxes were the standard size box used to move supplies, (sometimes known as "Mount-out boxes"). Wooden, had to be painted, would have unit tactical marks stenciled on it, always marked '4.2 cube' or 4.2 cubic feet. Came from somewhere in KD ('Knocked-down') form, had to be assembled, lined with special paper for water-proofing, etc... fodder for many a working party at company or battalion supply... usually found banded six to a pallet, with lids removed (stacked so 'lids' were on the outboard side)... instant shelving/warehousing... sort of. ('KD' had fallen out of vouge... today it is "RTA"... for 'Ready To Assemble'... e.g., most anything that comes from Ikea... also known as 'flat shipped').

Things gradually were replaced with Conex boxes, then 'sea-land containers' (a trademark name... Sea Land was one of the early shipping companies to use what are today ubiqitious shipping containers. Bar code and RFID gizmos have taken over.

Conex boxes would occasionally be the subject of twixes (messages...) bearing thinly veiled threats if units did not 'turn in' Conex boxes that had wound up in their area... many uses, including a ready made form for a sand-bagged bunker...

Other suggestions, if pictures can be found, might be a carbide lamp (used for years on the range to blacken iron sights with soot)... or one of those weird combination tools for an M1...


Camp Pendleton Staging Process During Vietnam

Those of us who were involved early in the war, we missed this evolution... many of us went straight from our CONUS command via Travis AFB Port-of-call, directly to Okinawa for processing and after about 3-days, right to our unit in Vietnam... those were the good old days, as they say.

Watch Camp Pendleton Staging Battalion During the Vietnam War

Haul A Cattle Car

I think Mr. Hutchenrider has his dates screwed up about the Cuban missile crisis. I was on active duty at Camp LeJeune during that time in Oct. 1962. (Google it) I worked 12 hrs. a day hauling troops from CLNC to Cherry Point and Morehead City so that they could get to Gitmo. I was a 4th & 5th echelon mechanic with MT Maint. Co., 2nd FSR, CLNC but had a tractor trailer license so I got to haul a cattle car.

The first time I had C-rations was in 1959 at Parris Island on the overnight to Elliot's Beach. They were 1940's vintage and had a pack of 5 cigarettes. Some of the later ones I had in the 1960's didn't have cigarettes.

Keep up the good work!

D.M.Logan LCpl. USMC

Most Of The Meal Made It

Have read a few of your articles about old C-Rations. When I was stationed at Cubic Point in Subic Bay, P.I. in 1963 as a sub unit from our base in Okinawa. When we were out in the field we always had a few cases of c-rats. I remember the date on the boxes because it was packaged the same year I was born... 1943! Wow, I was 20 years old and so was the food we were eating. Best meals were beans & franks, spaghetti & meat balls. Cans of fruit were good. We were instructed to throw away the beefsteak & potatoes... I guess somebody had gotten sick. The round chocolate bar was as hard as a brick & I don't think it would melt in the 106 degree daily temps we lived in with very little shade. I remember a small tin of "fruit" cake was pretty tasty. And the small pack of 4 or 5 cigarettes was nice since I did smoke back then. Hey, we were young guys and hungry. Once we traded the used battery from our PRC-10 backpack radio for some lobster & fish one of the native philippines had caught in the sea that same day. I cooked the lobster tail in the steel pot of my helmet and the fish by the fire. That was a real good meal that evening.

One other time while out in the field over Thanksgiving day, one of our officers flew us out our dinner. Special delivery by chopper... really no place to land so he dropped it down to us. Most of the meal made it in one piece, what a surprise. Had a lot of fun in the Philippines... Subic Bay.

Semper Fi Marines,
G. Bradshaw
Cpl. 1961 - 1965

I Carried And Qualified

Sgt Grit,

This Marine served from 1958 till 1962. Through MCRD until my discharge, I carried and qualified with the M-1 Garand rifle. I love this weapon and own one now.

During my time in the USMC, close-order-drill (COD) was a forever constant. The M-1 rifle lent itself to COD. Since this Marine never carried the AR-10, M-16 or M-4 or any other variant, he is ignorant of this rifle's manual-of-arms (MOA). How well does Eugene Stoner's rifle adapt to the MOA during COD?

Respectfully yours,
Thomas Gray
Corporal of Marines

Came From My Hometown

I worked as a plumber's helper in Wilmington, De, one summer before leaving for Parris Island in late 1968.

Now at boot camp things were going fast and furious. First official squad bay head call, our half of the platoon rushed into the head and quickly sat our butts on the available toilets, elbow to elbow, knee to knee, straining to finish, while the other half of the platoon counted off our short time to accomplish this anxiety laden excretory mission. Okay, done, wiped, utilities up... I turn to flush and see the shiny chrome flush valve component on every toilet is made in Wilmington, DE, at the Speakman Company. As a plumber's helper we were in that plumbing supply store almost every morning. For the rest of my head calls at Parris Island I had less anxiety knowing these toilets came from my hometown.

Also, I have a nephew at Parris Island, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 17th day of training as this is written.

Garent Gunther
USMC '68-'70

A Lot Of Good Memories

I had c-rats all four years from 1960-1964 in Hawaii, Philippines, and Camp LeJeune where ever we went and all of them were older than me. I was born in 1943 so think of that way. Some not so bad but on the whole I didn't like them unless you cut up some onions and mixed it up. My outfits I/3/4 K-Bay Hawaii, June 1961 to June 1963 and C/1/8 at LeJeune for the rest or my four years. Went on Med for 6 months in 1964 Jan. to June.

I read the newsletter every Thursday morning and it brings back a lot of good memories. Thank you!

Cpl. Moe LeBlanc 1937250

Parris Island

Okay, so I am just a little prejudiced... just a little.

Truth is that I was a "Hollywood Marine", trained at San Diego so I never got to know the true beauty of P.I. And, I never had to bury a sand flea either.

Watch Parris Island: Cradle of the Corps


Sgt Grit,

Taps were held on Saturday, Dec. 19th for 1stSgt Dick Petterson, USMC Retired. Attached picture: (L-R) Maj Rich Risner, SSgt P.T. Cong, 1stSgt Dick Petterson and me. We served together in Chu Lai in 1968 where he earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and a Purple Heart. You can read about him in my book, "Civic Action". His career spanned over 20 years beginning in 1955 as a machine gunner then retiring as a 1stSgt in 1978. He joins our former boss, Maj Rich Risner who passed in 2005 – "then there was one." Semper Fidelis Rich and Dick.

MSgt Gene Hays, USMC Retired

Get a copy of "Civic Action"

Former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers passed away on 1 January 2016.

RIP Sgt. D.L. Bumpers, USMC, WWII

Short Rounds

I had four rows of fruit salad, some battle stars and scars, and some hash marks. I swaggered up to the firing line and my first shot on record day was a ricochet deuce on the wrong target.

C.R. Milster, SSgt '45-'56

During ITR at Camp Pendleton in the summer of 1957, we were issued K-Rats during our field exercises. I remember the brown packages of Phillip Morris cigarettes, four cigs in each pack. For some reason, those in my Quonset hut who didn't smoke always threw their packs on my rack. Much appreciated, by the way.


A very Merry belated Christmas and a most joyful New Year to Sgt Grit and his staff!


Cpl C.E. Morgan (still lost somewhere in Northern I Corps along the DMZ)
Blessed be The Corps!

Sgt Grit,

As a proud eater of C-rats dated March 1945 in November 1962 during ITR at Camp Geiger, I wish to report that I'm now missing my appendix, my gall bladder and a piece of my pancreas. Anything to do with eating out of a can 'tinned' with lead solder?

L/CPL Rich


"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead..."
--Thomas Paine

"If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, "The Pretence of Knowledge" [December 11, 1974]

"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk."
--Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanastan, 20 September 2001, as reported on page 1 of the New York Times

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can. I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done."
--Dean Alfange

"It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men."
--Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery

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

"Reveille, reveille, all hands reveille.
Clean sweep down fore and aft.
Empty all trash off the fantail."

"Get squared away Marine!
Get your sh-t together Marine!
Saddle up Marine!
Gun's up!"

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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