The 12th General Order

By Ken Zebal

In the early 1960s, 2nd Tank Bn had a well-established fire watch program at the tank park. Generally speaking, two lower-ranking Marines from the flames platoon and each gun company were posted at the tank park inside their respective tool sheds from about 1800 to 0600. I was a PFC at the time and was assigned fire watch for Charlie Company along with Pat Rogers. Pat and I went to boot camp at Parris Island together (Aug-Nov ’63) and then to ITR at Camp Geiger (Nov-Dec ’63) before reporting into Co “C”, 2TkBn (Dec ’63) and then going on boot leave. This was my first fire watch and may also have been Pat’s. We were nominated by our Platoon Sergeant, S/Sgt “Gunny” Jandrozits, and then hand-selected by the Company Gunny, GySgt Sam Fullerton whose sea bag read like a WWII war novel. After everyone else went on liberty call Pat and I were briefed by the Company Gunny, went to Mess Hall 207 across the street and were issued mid-rats. In those days it was a brown paper sack filled with a sandwich, hard-boiled egg, apple, container of milk and a napkin all lovingly prepared by one of the cooks. read more

Monkey Buddy

This photo was taken in 1958 while serving with Kilo Btry. 4th Bn. 12th Marines during  Operation Strongback in the Philippines….This little Rhesus Monkey showed up at my tent one evening and stayed with me until I left for Okinawa…I called him Monkey Buddy….He got to swiping anything he could carry from the other guys, he would steal Cigarettes, Zippos, Mess gear and bring it to me to my tent….The guys finally learned when something came up missing Monkey Buddy had paid them a visit…I never figured out if he was stealing for himself or for me….He liked to sleep curled up beside me at night and would wake up screaming mad if someone got to close to me….He loved to pick through my hair like he was searching for bugs, and at that time he probably found some, but he kept my hair clean….He came to be a good little Buddy and I hated to leave him behind when it came time to leave for Okinawa…I wanted to take him with me but it wasn’t possible….I enjoyed his company what time he was with me and think about him often….He was a good little Marine …Semper Fi   Little Buddy read more

Operation Strongback

Greetings Sgt. Grit

While serving with the 12th marines in 1958 during ” Operation Strongback ”  there were Pygmy’s living in the jungles of the Philippines…They were a tiny people called Nigaritos who lived a very simple and secretive life style….I remember the first time I saw one of them several of us guys were bathing in this small fast flowing river, all of a sudden we look up and here comes this tiny dark skinned little man straddling a log and riding it down the rapids with only a loin cloth covering him….He didn’t acknowledge us or even glance our way as he passed by….In our C Rations we had small bars of soap and anytime we’d find a river or stream we’d strip off and jump in for a good bath, it was much better than bathing out of our helmets….When we finished we’d just leave the small pieces of soap lying on the bank….We soon realized the Pygmy’s were slipping down out of the jungle at night and gathering up all the small pieces we left….We always felt like they were watching us, but they were very seldom seen…..I just found out recently some of them were working underground with the Military forces helping to defend their country…..Being an 18 year old kid from Indiana it was quite a culture shock to see these things……It was a great education. read more


Dear Sgt. Grit

I was a between the wars Marine and served from 10/55 to 10/58 with 5 years inactive reserve. My first and best duty station,  following P.I. (Platoon 164) and I.T.R. at Pendleton, was at  Camp McGill Japan. Camp McGill was a former Japanese naval base and my draft wound up in the 1st Amphibian Truck Co., 2nd AMTRAC Batt. 3rd Marines. The company was soon downsized to platoon strength and became the 3rd D.U.K.W. Platoon with Capt. Dave Dichter commanding. read more

Good bye Grandpa

This picture is a true Marine’s grandson. He is having a few words with his Marine picture. Everyone loved Grandpa, Daniel Patterson. Lucas Patterson shaved his head to be like Grandpa the day before the service. Lucas chose the most amazing man to model himself after. Daniel Patterson had 3 purple hearts and later became a fireman after coming home from Vietnam. He received several awards for saving lives with the Omaha Fire Department. He is without a doubt, a fabulous leader in heaven, all thanks to USMC training. read more


As #WomensHistoryMonth ends, we honor retired Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Mayo. Mayo enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986 and served in engineer, administration and public affairs roles. During her career, which spanned both active duty and the Marine Corps Reserve, she twice deployed on combat tours to Iraq. “One of the things that was constant in every job I’d ever done was taking care of Marines,” said Mayo, reflecting on her service in 2019. “I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve loved serving with the Marines I’ve served with.” Today, Mayo continues her dedication to the Corps through a leadership role with MCCS. Additionally, Mayo volunteers her time with charitable organizations such as Combat Female Veterans & Families United, and organizations that provide assistance to homeless veterans. In 2019, Mayo was recognized as North Carolina Female Combat Vet of the Year, a further demonstration of how she serves as an inspiration for future generations of Marines, and across her community. Submit your own Story>>


The saying goes, “Once a Marine, always a Marine”. For Christina Johnson, project manager for the National Museum of the Marine Corps, every day reminds her of the faithful service that both she and others have dedicated to the Corps.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson, a former sergeant, stood in the museum overlook while observing the traditional cake cutting ceremony for the Marine Corps Birthday. As the Marines march in with the cake and pass the piece of cake from the oldest Marine to the youngest, Johnson notices a woman next to her crying. read more


Maj. Robb T. McDonald
Marine Attack Squadron 211
Camp Bastion, Afghanistan
Sept. 14, 2012
Award: Silver Star

On Sept. 14, 2012, heavily armed enemy fighters infiltrated the Camp Bastion airfield, attacking coalition forces and destroying aircraft. Maj. McDonald and two other officers, armed only with pistols, immediately left the security of the billeting area, and maneuvered on foot more than a mile through an area dangerously exposed to enemy fire. When he reached the squadron maintenance building and learned his Commanding Officer had been mortally wounded, McDonald assumed command and began directing the tactical situation. Realizing the aluminum skinned building was indefensible, he fearlessly exposed himself by leading multiple groups of his Marines across 75 meters of open ground to get them to the more protected squadron headquarters. Leading a small team out to reconnoiter the flight line, he killed one enemy with a rifle he had borrowed, and then expertly coordinated two helicopter strikes to destroy all remaining enemy. McDonald’s decisive leadership and tactical expertise inspired his Marines to vigorously repel the enemy, thereby preventing additional friendly casualties and further destruction of aircraft and facilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Orrin Farmer) read more

Today in History

#OTD in 1967, 2nd Lt. John Bobo, 24, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as a weapons platoon commander with 3rd Marine Division in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. While establishing night ambush sites, his company was attacked by North Vietnamese soldiers with heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire. Outnumbered, Bobo organized his Marines into a hasty defense and moved from position to position, encouraging his Marines. When Bobo’s right leg was severed below the knee by enemy mortar round, he refused to be evacuated. Instead, he insisted on being propped up in a firing position so he could cover the rest of the Marines as they maneuvered to safety. With a web belt for a tourniquet around his severed leg, Bobo was eventually struck and killed, but his courage and leadership enabled the Marines to maneuver and repel the enemy assault. Bobo’s body was returned home and buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in New York. On Aug. 27, 1968, his parents accepted the Medal of Honor on his behalf. Submit your own Story>>