Welcome Home

“Welcome Home”
(Veterans’ Day 2009)

As a nineteen-year-old college drop out, forty years ago on this past August 18th, I was being pushed and shoved off a bus at MCRD, San Diego, California, as we ‘boots’ were trying desperately to move as fast was we could for what we were all sure was a bunch of rabid DI’s. They were after all, foaming at the mouth. With my voluntary three year enlistment, when I placed my feet upon those famous yellow footprints I had willingly entered a world of controlled chaos for the next thirteen weeks. But it was thirteen weeks of an organized, skillfully planned, detailed and time tested mayhem that were necessary to prepare me for the thirteen months of the hell on earth called Vietnam. read more

In Honor of Staff Sgt. Robert “Danny” Rogers

Staff Sgt. Robert Daniel Rogers passed away during the helicopter malfunction & subsequent crash in Aviano, Italy on Nov 8, 2007. An absolutely senseless & preventable death. He was an amazing friend & single father. The type of person you could always rely upon, & would do anything for you. He had a great sense of humor, very intelligent & had a warm, sincere way about him. Just a fantastic person of whom is rare to be blessed to call friend, much less neighbor AND friend. You will Always be remembered & deeply missed, Danny! My heart & prayers go out to his son, Isaiah. <3 Sam read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK: SHOT IN NECK, KEEPS FIGHTING

SHOT IN NECK, KEEPS FIGHTING
Lance Cpl. Cody Goebel
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
Sangin, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010
Award: Silver Star

While in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, Lance Cpl. Goebel was manning a security position in the southern Green Zone of Sangin District when he was struck in the neck by enemy small arms fire. Knocked to the ground and severely wounded at his post, he quickly picked himself up, remounted his machine gun, and engaged the enemy’s firing position with full knowledge that his position was critical to his squad’s defense. For seven minutes, he ignored his life threatening wounds and delivered devastating machine gun fire on the enemy’s position, all while refusing medical attention until he was properly relieved. Finally, but only after a fellow squad member had manned his machine gun, Goebel moved 25 meters under his own power and under heavy fire across the observation post’s roof and down a 20-foot ladder to the casualty collection point. Upon reaching the ground, he collapsed due to the loss of blood and had to be carried to a helicopter landing zone for subsequent medical evacuation. His courage, heroism, and dedication to duty after sustaining a life threatening injury resulted in the successful blocking of an enemy attack and six enemy fighters killed. (U.S. Marines photos by Sgt. Timothy Lenzo) read more

60 years ago this Oct. was the blockade of Cuba, I was there with VMA 225

This October will mark sixty years since as a young Lance Corporal, MOS 6511 (aviation ordnance) attached to the “Vagabonds” VMA 225, MAG 14, 2Nd MAW ,based at MCAS Cherry Point NC we received orders for our squadron to deploy to the USS Enterprise CVAN-65 which was steaming south off the Atlantic coast toward Cuba to take part in the blockade of Cuba due to the Cuban missile crises. We would become the first Marine squadron to serve aboard a nuclear powered carrier. We were deployed from Oct. 20 to Dec. 9 1962
Our pilots flew our A4D-2N Skyhawks onboard & we arrived via COD (carrier onboard delivery) aircraft, I will never forget as we banked to lineup for approach, looking out the window & seeing the Enterprise looking like a postage stamp on the water and the lump coming up in my throat thinking there was no way they could land on a ship that small. As a Kansas farm boy I had never seen a ship or flown over or onto an aircraft carrier.
We spent the first three days configuring our Skyhawks with external stores racks & arming them with 250 pound general purpose bombs on multiple bomb racks, Zuni rockets, Sidewinder, bull pup & Shrike missiles plus 20 mm cannon rounds depending on the mission assignment for each aircraft. If I remember correctly our ordinance crew was operating on pure adrenaline the first three days as we got about three hours sleep total that first three days.
After the crises ended we flew training missions off the carrier & I got to take some photos onboard before steaming home.
Respectfully Submitted
Cpl. Dave Leiber
USMC 1960-1964 read more

IN FLANDERS FIELD

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae – 1872-1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK: Sgt. William W. Rollins

2d Battalion, 7th Marines – HAVOC, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command
Balkh Province, Afghanistan
June 19, 2008
Award: Silver Star

Enemy fighters ambushed Sergeant Rollins’ squad with a high volume of machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from multiple prepared positions. With the majority of his squad pinned down by the accurate enemy fires, Sergeant Rollins rushed to within 30 meters of the enemy positions, in the face of almost certain death, and provided suppressive fire which allowed his men to escape the immediate ambush area. Once his Marines withdrew, Sergeant Rollins courageously maneuvered through enemy fire to rejoin his squad where he continued to attack the enemy while the wounded Marines were extracted. Then, with enemy fire still impacting around him, Sergeant Rollins dragged a Marine casualty to safety. Sergeant Rollins aggressive actions in the face of the enemy drew fire onto his own position and provided his squad the reprieve they needed to maneuver to safety. Sergeant Rollins bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. read more

Plane Captain Of The Month

Found this picture of an F9F-8T Cougar from H&MS 13 that was probably the same one I flew in the back seat in ’63 when I made Plane Captain of the month. Although this pic was taken at Chu Lai, it’s still the same H&MS 13 that my squadron, VMA 212, was a part of at Kaneohe Bay in 1963. They only had one Cougar trainer. That year, my squadron established an award to be designated “Plane Captain of the month” and I happened to be lucky enough to be the first one. Before I could actually fly, however, I had to take pressure chamber and ejection seat training at NAS Barber’s Point. After that initial training I was ready for the flight. The pilot was a Captain from H&MS-13 and the hop was about an hour long. We did all the maneuvers including a loft bombing where he put it in a power dive from around 30,000 ft. and pulled back on the stick at about 6,000 ft. climbing back to altitude and flipping over, simulating special weapons delivery. I was watching the G meter climb to about 7 G’s. I could hear the wings creaking like rusty hinges as my G suit filled up with bleed air. After that maneuver he let me take the stick. “Put your left wing down”, he said, and I eased the stick left. Same thing with the right wing. So now I get a little confident and asked if I could try an aileron roll. “Go ahead if you think you can” says he. Now I’m feeling very confident, even though I wasn’t a pilot (did that years later as a civilian), and I just whipped that stick over in my right lap. I didn’t know that you have to give it a little nose up before entering an aileron roll. Nobody mentioned that part. Anyway, we were up around thirty thousand when I started the maneuver. I was looking straight up at the ocean getting closer and the airplane was not coming out of the roll. It was falling towards the water upside down. I still had the stick all the way over in a death grip, looking up at the ocean, watching the waves turn into whitecaps. The Captain said “Let Go Of The Stick”. “Are You Sure You Got It Sir”, says I. “Let Go Of The Godd-mn Stick” says he with more emphasis. So I let go, and he rolled out to level flight before we got wet. He didn’t say a word to me after that all the way back to Kaneohe and after landing he got away from that plane post haste and left me in the fuel pits. At any rate, there was only one PC of the month after me. They discontinued it after that guy because he puked in his Oxygen mask. Made a h-ll of a mess so I hear. They discontinued the award after that. read more