Sgt Grit Newsletter - 27 JUL 2016

In this issue:
• Proud To Claim The TITLE
• Our Ranks Of Old Timers
• Hire A Veteran

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2016 Vice Presidential Candidates Have Marine Sons

1stLt Nathaniel Kaine

2ndLt Michael Pence

Both VP candidates - Pence and Kaine - have a son who is a Marine. First Lieutenant Nathaniel Kaine, an infantry officer with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, and 2nd Lieutenant Michael Pence, who is currently in flight school at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.

Must be a new requirement to be considered for VP.

Sgt Grit

Too Old To Roll Bones

Got to share this experience with you. I went to Walmart on Friday, 7-22-2016, and as I walk in, in front of me I see this guy walking toward me and he's wearing cammie shorts, cammie tee shirt and cammie cover and my 1st thought is that this guy is a jar-head. I'm gonna get some beer and it so happens that this guy turns into the same aisle, when I get there he has his back to me and on his shirt this is printed: God created all men equal... and then they became soldiers. My 1st thought was to say... because they couldn't be Marines, but common sense came into play and I didn't say it.

I laughed after I left the store and thought that if I had done what I wanted to say, I may have made the Walmart Gallery. Two old farts rolling around in the middle of the beer aisle asking to help us to get up so we can kick each other's azs. Once a Marine Always A Marine... just too old to roll bones, after thought, not too old to roll bones, but putting them back together might be the problem. :)

David Almendarez

Proud To Claim The TITLE

Bernie Ruchin in boot camp 1943

Bernie Ruchin in 2016

Sgt Grit,

Always enjoy reading your newsletters and often read letters from Marines exhibiting "Old Corps" photos of themselves or relatives who served God, Country and Corps from the past.

Most of these "Old Corps" photos are dated from the 70's 80's. I suppose they are old Corps as decades have truly passed. I am going to submit my "Old Corps" photo by taking you all back three quarters of a century. I have attached two photos, the first being my boot camp photo from 1943. The second photo was taken 10 June 2016. I am the Marine on both photos, in the same "greens" issued to me back in 1943. During World War II, shoulder patches were commonly worn, denoting the units in which we served. My shoulder patch is of the Second Marine Division.

I am just as proud today and I was those many years ago to claim the title, United States Marine!

Semper Fi
Bernie Ruchin

Never Forgotten Sacrifice

Kailey Demarsico Sookey pays tribute to her brother Michael Demarsico before her wedding July 16,2016. Michael was KIA in Afghanistan 2012.

Cpl. Wilfred Parmenter
USMC 1973 - 77

Sister of Marine Tribute

Proud To Have Been In The Corps

Back in 2002, I had the opportunity through the job I had to go on a business trip to South Korea. The company I was working for was in the process of doing a deal with a steel company there, and I was part of the team evaluating the steel company. Our South Korean hosts escorted us from the time we got off the plane, and were fluent in English. One afternoon at a rest stop on the highway to Seoul, I brought up military service. My hosts replied that they all had served in the ROK army, then asked me if I had served. I replied that I had been a Marine, and their reply was "OH, THE TOUGH GUYS!" They might have come across Marines in the past, but I took it that our reputation was well known in South Korea. It made me reflect on what I had been a part of.

Greg Pawlik
Cpl 1969-1972

A Marine Through And Through

I did 20 years in the Marine Corps, and I am a Desert Storm Veteran. I consider myself lucky as I never heard a shot fired in anger. During Desert Storm, I was with 3rd AA BN in the rear (Saudi Arabia ) with our BN XO who wouldn't let me go forward unless the Battalion rear was moving forward. Those of you who served during peace time consider yourself lucky as you and myself never had to see the terrible things we humans do to each other during war. You are still a MARINE through and through, don't ever feel you are any less. SEMPER FI!

Doug Warren, Gysgt (Ret.)

A Great Moment In My Memory

In 1958, I was on liberty in San Juan, PR and as I came around a corner I ran into two of my troops. I was surprised that one of them was wearing Sgt. (E4) stripes when he was only a PFC that morning on board the ship. He looked like he was about to die, or that he couldn't quite make it. I looked him up and down and then merely said, "I'll see you back aboard."

For the next four days I said nothing to him, but made sure I was looking at him every time he looked. Then I called him in and I asked for a reason for his "promotion?" He replied that he had borrowed his buddies uniform to impress some girls. I explained, in fairly strong terms, that the girls would not be interested when he was in the brig awaiting a BCD. He was duly impressed, and I dismissed him with a warning.

Several years went by and I was with the 3rd Tank Bn on Okinawa. A 6x6 came up with a load of ammunition and the driver came up to me. "Sir, do you remember me?" I looked at him, and suddenly remembered our conversation several years before. I nodded, and he went on, touching the three stripes on his utility sleeve. "These are for real Sir, thank to you."

It was a great moment in my memory.

E. Dodd, 1st Lt USMC
"A Marine forever."
Semper Fi

The Best Years Of My Life

I found my original draft card where I registered in July 1955 in Cochise county Arizona. Almost exactly to the day in July of 1956 I enlisted in the Corps in Los Angeles. I arrived by Bus at MCRD San Diego dark at night. The nightmare began. It was like the "twilight zone" everything was surreal! We were short of people to make up a Company, so treaded water for about a month. Never shined my shoes so much in a lifetime. Did the twenty mile march to Camp Matthews and spent 2 more weeks in a different kind of h-ll. Actually thought it was very cool. Got to finally fire my M-1 Garand. Back to MCRD & graduation. I was one of two recruits to be promoted to PFC out of 75 in platoon 2015. DI names were Sgt. Tinney, Smith & Pelekai. Then on to Camp Pendelton for more serious stuff. Got to break things & blow stuff up. Really cool! Due to my honor man promotion at MCRD, I had the opportunity to choose my MOS. I requested combat photography, but due to a snafu my MOS number sent me to U.S. Marine band barracks on Treasure Island in San Francisco. I played trombone and marched about a million miles. My bunk mate was John Bourgeois who was later promoted to Commandant of The Marine band at 8th & I in DC. I was a young 19 year old greenhorn, but am still proud to be a Marine. Now at 79 years old, I consider my time to be the best years of my life.

Semper Fidelis!

J.L. Haire Cpl. USMC

The Recruit That Wanted To Be Different

Sgt. Grit,

I probably submitted this one a few years back. My wife tells me I repeat myself way too much here lately and I know she is growing tired of hearing my Marine stories over and over again, so I only have you guys and gals to babble to anymore, but here goes. LOL!

Before telling the story I must preface the situation and the players involved. I was in platoon 2063 (Parris Island) in the summer of 1981 (July to October) and my DI's were SDI SSgt. Krause, Sgt. Ishmail and Sgt. Mazenko. All three were, in my opinion super squared away, poster-boy Marines and DI's and as was a part of their persona, frightening forms. Mazenko though, just cut a slightly different figure than the other two. He was tall and lean and just had a naturally menacing looking face below his blond high and tight. While not as sadistic as Sgt. Ishmail, he was easily the meanest of the three. He was the youngest of the three as well and probably was not too much older than the knuckleheads he was trying to indoctrinate. For as mean (and mean looking) as he was, early on we found out that he had a sense of humor and probably because of how collectively stupid we were at times, he sometimes had a hard time hiding it. I can recall at least five times, where we did something colossally stupid to the point where he had to turn his head away from us so that we would not see him laugh and see that he had a human side. He was known for getting millimeters away from your face and with spittle flying around and splashing you, scare the living sh-t of you and will you into completing the task his way.

We must have been in First Phase still because we were on the third deck of the brick barracks when this particular story took place. Earlier in the day Mazenko had reminded us of the fire drill rules and that we were to take both sheets and the blanket and wrap it around us in the event of a fire and make our way down the ladder-well and form up into platoon formation. Anyone with a half a brain could have deduced that a fire drill was on the horizon, but, not all of us had half a brain. At around 0300 the fire alarm sounded and we all wrapped two sheets and blanket around us and stumbled down the ladder-well and into platoon formation. Mazenko appeared in front of us and without warning dropped to his knees screaming like a banshee while covering his head with his raised arms and hands. We had never seen this reaction before, so it really scared us. He jumped up and broke into one of his profanity-laced tirades screaming about how we can't follow simple orders and then without warning was in the face of the offending turd. Seems that one of us did not want to mess up his rack and therefore decided it would be OK to just leave his two sheets and blanket back on his rack. So, I guess he figured that he would not stand out as the only turd out of 72 turds NOT to have his two sheets and blanket wrapped around him as per Mazenko's very clear instructions earlier that day. After Mazenko "composed" himself, he ordered us back to the position of attention and then we noticed he turned his face away from us in an attempt to hide his smile. I guess we were just too stupid looking at that moment. He then ordered us back up to our racks with instructions to make our racks and get back outside in platoon formation. We all knew we were about to be punished for the lone recruits indiscretion, but we had no idea just how creative Mazenko would get with his punishment.

When we returned to platoon formation, Mazenko ordered us back up the deck and instructed us to return with a pillowcase. His next command was to head back up the ladder-well and he instructed us to retrieve our pillow. He did this until we had the entire rack dismantled of bed linen and piled in front of us, to include the fart-sack. Two sheets, blanket, pillow, pillowcase and fart-sack, but then the grand finale... he made us retrieve the mattress. 72 dumb-azses stumbling down the ladder-well with those mattresses. When that was completed he then ordered us back up the ladder-well starting with the mattress and returning each time to platoon formation and to the position of attention before scampering up the ladder-well to the third deck with only one piece of bed-linen at a time. Finally our racks were made and we were standing back outside in platoon formation, soaking wet with sweat in our skivvies in that muggy South Carolina morning heat. We broke formation just as reveille was sounded and the squad-bay lights were coming on around the island. It was a well-learned lesson that would follow us throughout our three phases of training as a reminder to follow instructions as given and to not deviate from them just because you don't feel like doing so. It was not even remotely funny at the time and all of us were extremely p-ssed at the recruit who "wanted to be different" to quote Mazenko, but today, every time I think of that story I nearly p-ss myself laughing. I was so fortunate to locate Sgt. Mazenko (later Captain Mazenko) and talk with him over the phone just a few years ago, but I did not mention that particular incident. We talked for about 30 minutes and I must have thanked him for what seemed like at least that many times. I am 54 today and have had a successful working career and in my opinion, I owe much of what I have become to the training that the Marines provided me and to those three DI's. My parents of course were my greatest mentors and role models, but my three DI's rank right behind them. I revere these men to this day and I will never forget them. God bless the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fi Jarheads!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331
Lima, 3/8 Weapons Plt

Bless 'Em All

Saw the pic of the Navy verse from 'F--k 'em All' in this week's email, and it reminded me of the version a Gunny of my acquaintance (who, at the time, probably had more 'air time' jumping out of Six-by's than most of the pilots I flew with) swore were the words he learned in Australia between islands in WW Deuce. He also emphasized the word 'bless' was only used in 'polite company', otherwise a more... earthy... verb was the norm:

Bless 'em all, bless 'em all
Bless the long and the short and the tall
There'll be no promotion this side of the ocean
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all

We sent for the Army to come to Tulagi
But Douglas MacArthur said no
He gave as the reason this just ain't the season
Besides, you got no USO


We sent for the Navy to come to Tulagi
The dear little Navy agreed
In ten thousand sections from eighteen directions
My G-d what a screwed up stampede


We sent for the Air Corps to come to Tulagi
The dear little Air Corps agreed
They bombed out two donkeys, three horse carts, five monkeys
And seven platoons of Gyrenes


We sent for the Coast Guard to come to Tulagi
And waited for them to appear
They sent back a letter - we like it here better
But maybe we'll make it next year

Duke (MCRDPISC Graduate, July '66)

Our Ranks Of Old Timers

Sgt. Grit,

Remember in Cherry Point before Holidays - that we were told to see mandatory films of people being in accidents and gruesome footage of what accidents could result in on holiday weekends. Most Marines said it would never happen to me? Sad to say we lost some Marines to accidents to and from their destinations.

Drinking socially at the local base club - stacking beer cans on the table - and having the NCO Club Staff Sergeant (who was named Jim Brown and big as a football player) - playfully tell us that if the beer cans do not disappear into a G I Can we would be thrown out of the Club and/or get cut off?

Having a Marine who was an Indian from Oklahoma named Phil - a great guy and real funny when he got to having too many beers - one night he started to sing Indian chants while ripped out of his gourd - and S/Sgt Brown threw him out of the Club and told him to go sleep it off - Phil said I didn't finish my chant or get to do a respectful dance afterward. Phil - who we called affectionately "The Chief", while on his way weaving back to the squad-bay did his dance and let out a few war whoops - wound up barefooted and lost his shoes along the way - and finished his dance on some broken glass - we took him to sick bay and had his feet treated and bandaged, and had the Corpsman on duty state he cut his feet going to his car barefoot. The Corpsmen were really great and we drank with them sometimes too.

In boot camp at Parris Island the last recruit out of the head had to say - Sir, the head is clear - or we were all punished. The last guy out was easily intimidated by the head D I - took one look at his serious face and panicked - and came to attention and started to stutter - and said "Sir, my head is clear." The D I wanted to laugh but held it in and made us do 50 bends and thrusts while he went into his house and we heard him laughing.

Remember at Cherry Point in the Barracks - we had 4 wings - one had the T V Room and a Rec Room - and storage area at the other end. One Squad bay had NCO's usually Sgt's and Staff Sgt's and some Senior Cpl's. One full squad bay was Pvt - PFC - and L/CPL's.

We had 3 or 4 private rooms for higher ranking Staff NCO's - usually Gunny Sgt's - one gunny was in the barracks while I was in the squad bay - he was quiet and we never saw him - but one Gunny was very friendly and even showed up when we cleaned the squad bay and the head - he was friendly and even came into our squad bay to help some Marines out with problems. He was in our barracks until his wife and family joined him at Cherry Point - he was with us for 2 months - and invited some of us to his quarters and was a great Marine - while the other Gunny was a loner and ignored us.

The third was half below Cpl - and single racks for Cpl's. We all got along - and on Friday and Saturday night when the Marines that went to the Club came back it was loud and noisy for a while - the Duty Barracks NCO would have a lot of patience - but sometimes they approached the inebriated Brothers and told them to pipe down - if they did not - usually some disgruntled fed up Marines would dump them in the shower and turn on the cold water. Perfect cure - and we had some Big Brothers who did this chore. Even little old me came back loud - but my buddies made sure I hit the rack and was quiet.

Washington, DC - or really Arlington, Virginia - which was Henderson Hall - was also unique working with the upper ranked officers of the Corps. One day I was walking into the Navy Annex and the Commandant was walking to his limo - and as I saluted the Commandant - he stopped and saluted a Major - before the Major saluted him - found out the Major was a MOH holder - and tradition was that the Major should be recognized as a courtesy by all officers and enlisted men.

Cpl. Bruce Bender
Vietnam Era Marine

P.S. Look forward to seeing "Our Newsletter". Keep up the good work! Sad to say as we get older our ranks of Old Timers thin out.

Hire A Veteran

A while back I was asked to speak at the opening of the Cleveland 2012 Hiring Our Heroes job fair which took place yesterday. At first I thought to myself: "Why in the world do they want me to speak at a job fair? I haven't looked for a new job in over 20 years!" Then I read an article about why companies do or do not hire veterans. It discussed some of the barriers employers perceive in hiring vets and I was surprised at some of the misconceptions and concerns employers might have. After talking to the folks running the fair I decided I would address some of these and describe to potential employers the type of person they are likely to get when they hire a veteran. You know how I like to dispel myths.

The biggest problem according to the article I link to above: It's difficult to figure out how to translate military skills into applicable work experience in civilian life – such as responsibility for a big project or management of a team of workers.

Really? When I read this I laughed out loud. A Lieutenant has probably managed up to 40 or so troops in his platoon. A Captain is likely to have been a company commander managing from 150-200 personnel. That's like managing a small business!

On the enlisted side we have troops who came in as teenagers and by the time they are 20 years old have lead up to 15 or so troops in combat as a squad leader. By the time they are 26 or so they are platoon sergeants training and leading 40 man platoons. It's kind of funny, on one hand we have a 20 year old leading 15 other guys in combat, making life and death decisions. Yet employers wonder if this same kid can handle 8 other guys working on a civilian job or deal with the stress of a deadline.

But many veterans don't know how to present their military skills to accentuate those talents.

Here's a quick translation from military to civilian lingo: you say management, we say leadership. In the military we teach that leadership is the art of influencing people to do things they may not normally want to do: "Like show up to work on time?" I said that and the crowd chuckled as most people are somewhat familiar with the consequences of being late in the military. But leadership, as I said, is about influence not simply barking like a Drill Instructor. The bellicose Sgt glaring and yelling at everyone within sight and hearing is another misconception employers may have. Military leadership is not all done at the top of our lungs. If it were I think I would have burst a blood vessel by now. Positive influence, mentoring, and setting the example are all part of leading others.

All in all I'd say many veterans don't always successfully translate military lingo and experience into something civilians can understand. It's one of the reasons why they need to attend transition classes before they ship out. If you're in the military reading this I advise you attend these classes a year before you PCS. Sign up now.

More than half of the employers also expressed concerns about post-traumatic stress and instability after deployments.

There are a lot of popular misconceptions floating around about your service members. One is that every veteran must have some kind of latent PTSD and is a ticking time bomb waiting to shoot up the joint. Frankly, I've heard more about school shootings and post office gun battles than vets going on a rampage. Contrary to the popular media, PTSD does not make you unable to distinguish between right and wrong. It does not make you crazy or turn you into a monster. It's not something I think employers need to worry about. As a matter of fact, I'll wager veterans come to work with less emotional baggage than your average civilian of the same age. They've developed the emotional and psychological armor to deal with the real world. The big girls and big boys are the ones coming home. The idea we all come back unstable is an outright lie.

Employers also said another problem was a mismatch between the skills veterans have and the ones they need for civilian jobs.

Yes, they are pretty much all overqualified. Again, I feel the biggest setback is translating military lingo to something employers understand. If, for instance, they understood seeing prospective employees have attended NCO School meant graduation from a leadership/personnel management course, they might look at vets in a different light. Companies usually pay thousands of dollars for their people to attend similar courses in the civilian world.

Another misconception about vets claims people only join the military because they have no other choice. It is contended they are less educated and live in poverty to begin with. The truth is military members are better educated and have more money than their civilian counterparts. Don't believe me? Ask the Heritage Foundation.

There are many intangible benefits to hiring vets. They understand concepts like teamwork, it's no longer just about them. They show up on time and understand commitment having shown it with their service. They are trainable, our military is capable of doing anything you tell them to. They are not a one trick pony. We can blow up bridges and we can build them. Not only are they capable of defeating their enemies on the battlefield, but they have rendered aid to strangers in Japan, Haiti, Pakistan, built schools and infrastructure all over the world. They'll do what is expected of them and are willing to work.

One of my Reserve Staff Sergeants came back from Afghanistan last year and went looking for a job. He walked into some kind of counselor's office whose job it was to help folks find work. The counselor immediately advised the Marine he should just go on unemployment and not worry about a job for the time being. The SSgt stated he wasn't interested in unemployment, he wanted to work. The counselor continued to push the unemployment route until the SSgt thanked him for nothing and walked. The SSgt is currently in Officer Candidate School becoming a Marine officer.

The kind of people coming home from the service want to work for a living. They are not looking for employers to give them something for nothing. They understand values like fidelity, commitment, and integrity. In the Marines we like the say the Corps does three things: make Marines, win battles, and return citizens back their communities better than when we got them. There are some great citizens coming back to your community. Put them to work.

Semper Fidelis!
America's SgtMaj

Short Rounds

Tell us about some of your favorite memories from Boot Camp. Like learning drill, going to the rifle range, working in the chow hall, going to medical or dental, spending time on the quarterdeck or at the wash racks, doing PT, field day, or tell us about that one or more recruits that just couldn't get things right and your whole platoon paid for their failure to adapt and overcome.

Sgt Grit

Hey Sgt. Grit,

It came as a surprise to me to learn that the late baseball star Roberto Clemente was a brother Marine. He did P.I. in 1958, did some Lejeune time and D.C. as a reservist. Died Dec. 31st, 1972 in a plane crash while bringing relief supplies to the Honduras people after a earth quake. Semper Fi to him...

Marine green machine
'63-'67, Nam '65-'66

I read "Suck It Up Buttercup" and felt obligated to respond. I know that there is some disappointment in being "rejected", but what is on the DD214 does not play into that decision. It does not matter the type of duty assignments or combat deployments. The VA Clinic and Hospital group have a large amount of Patients. The Income or Assets do not play into acceptance. What does play in the acceptance into VA care is an individuals current Health Care Coverage. With the current so called Affordable Health Care Act the VA knows that you are able to obtain Health Care. Regardless of your service you are not discriminated by the VA. It is purely a question of do you have current coverage and can you pay for it.

Sgt T. E. Kinsey


"Defense with a handgun is THE American martial art."
--LtCol Dave Grossman

"The ultimate authority... resides in the people alone. [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any..."
--James Madison (1788)

"The Marine Corps is the military arm of the Navy."
--Archibald Henderson, 1834

"They say 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.' In the Marine Corps, you make that horse wish to h-ll he had."
--USMC Drill Instructor

"To observe a Marine, is inspirational. To be a Marine, is exceptional."
--GySgt Charles F. Wolf, Jr.

"What is you're major malfunction turd."

"Bends and mothers until you change the rotation of the earth!"

"Lean back... dig 'em in... heels, heels, heels!"

Carry On Marines,
Sgt Grit

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