Clutching An Ammo Can

Comment on Amphibious Landing Problems.

Ken Schweim’s comments on going down the nets for an amphibious landing are pretty much the way I remember it. It looked easy in the movies, but very tricky in rough seas. I am surprised more Marines did not get hurt just getting off the ship. But those who suffered from sea sickness did not care… they just wanted to get off the ship and on dry land. I will also add that going from the landing craft to board ship was just as bad. Grab the net when the landing craft was high… then before you could get your feet in the net you were dangling in the air. Grab the net when it was low… the net is bunched at your feet. Climbing up the net with all your gear was a bit harder than going down.

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U.S. Marines and Sailors with Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji participated in the National Chuo Youth Friendship Center’s third annual English camp Aug. 23 to Aug. 25, 2019 at CATC Camp Fuji, Shizouka, Japan.

The English camp served to provide 30 Japanese schoolchildren in the local community to learn English and experience American culture through a myriad of group activities with U.S. service members. The 30 selectness were chosen out of a pool of approximately 300 applicants.

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Marines and Sailors from the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed an amphibious landing exercise in Djibouti, Aug. 15.

Amphibious assault vehicles from the 11th MEU conducted an amphibious assault after departing the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry during an exercise to seize a fictional enemy objective on Djibouti’s Arta Beach.

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Happy Birthday Ben 1942

I have recently gained a new online friend in the person of Ms. Patricia Reynolds, who lives in Georgia, near Atlanta. Pat saw my reply to an article in a newsletter in which I offered to share the pictures my wife and I took while on a tour of several WWII Pacific war islands, which included the island of Peleliu. Her interest was personal. She said, “My Dad was in that battle with the 1st Bn, 7th Marines, B Company.” I immediately agreed to pass on every relevant picture I had of the tour as well as a copy of the video we took.
As we communicated, I learned that Pat’s Dad, Ben Reynolds, had also served with Chesty Puller, then a Lt. Colonel and Battalion Commander (and well on his way to becoming a Marine Corps legend), on Guadalcanal. She has a natural desire to be able to form a mental picture of what he experienced, and pictures of the jungle terrain brought back memories of conversations she’d had with him. She told me “Most of the stories I learned were from the 1st Marine Division conventions when he would get around his buddies and they would start talking. They usually kept to the lighter stories. I often think about those guys who, like Dad, had so many “firsts” in their lives during that time. First time on a long train ride through states they had only heard about in school. First time on a ship. First time in the islands. First time to see native ceremonies and taste their food. Their first time in battle.”
Ben had told her of the rain and the toll it took. “I grew up hearing about jungle rot, which was a fungus that almost all, if not all, of the guys contracted from having boots filled with water that rotted the socks off their feet.” Our pictures of the narrow trails through the jungle matched his descriptions, “Dad talking about how they had to look up as well as side-to-side because snipers would fasten themselves to the tops of trees. He also talked about how the men at the end of the line had to watch behind them to keep from getting picked off.”
“I can tell you that the story about Chesty having his pipe shot from his mouth is true. Dad was just a few men down the line from him when it happened on Guadalcanal while they were pinned down by a sniper. I would have to check but I believe it was two Marines killed trying to take the sniper from the top of the tree when Chesty called for a rifle for himself. As he rolled out of hiding while firing, he took the sniper but the sniper shot his pipe which was found in the middle of the path.”
Ben’s respect for Puller took on a more personal meaning on the first birthday he “celebrated” in the islands – his 19th – in what is officially called the Second Battle of the Matanikau or, by the Marines who were there, the Battle of Point Cruz. As described by Wikipedia, “The Matanikau River area included a peninsula called Point Cruz, the village of Kokubona, and a series of ridges and ravines stretching inland from the coast. Japanese forces used the area to regroup from attacks against U.S. forces on the island, to launch further attacks on the U.S. defenses that guarded the Allied airfield located at Lunga Point” – Henderson Field. The article continues “…elements of three USMC battalions under the command of …Major General Vandergrift attacked Japanese troop concentrations at several points around the Matanikau River. The Marine attacks were intended to ‘mop-up’ Japanese stragglers retreating towards the Matanikau from the recent Battle of Edson’s Ridge. They were to disrupt Japanese attempts to use the Matanikau area as a base for attacks on the Marine Lunga defenses.
As General Vandergrift explained the events in the book “Once a Marine”, “Finding the river defended in considerable strength he (Puller) marched down its east bank to the coast. Hoping to box in the force uncovered by Puller, I sent Sam Griffith’s raiders south to the upper Matanikau, there to cross and come in behind the enemy while the 2d Battalion, 5thMarines, attacked across the bar at the mouth with Puller’s battalion landing from boats on the other side of Point Cruz. The action, commanded by Merritt Edson, backfired when the raiders ran into severe opposition. Believing the raiders had crossed the river and started to fight toward the coast, Edson sent the 2nd Battalion across the bar of the Mantanikau and simultaneously pushed Puller’s battalion west for the Point Cruz landing. Both attacks ran into enemy concentrations which repulsed them with severe losses to us. When Edson radioed for air support to help the battalion that was all but surrounded at Point Cruz we hastened to comply. But now an air raid…hit us very hard and temporarily knocked out communications.” These Marines had stepped into a hornet’s nest containing most of a Japanese regiment. The following is Ben Reynolds’ account of that birthday as related to me by his daughter.
“September 27, 1942, Dad’s first of three birthdays he would spend in the South Pacific. He became 19.”
“The order came for a landing on Point Cruz, later nicknamed Little Dunkirk.” The Marines were ferried by 24 landing craft operated by Coast Guard personnel with Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro commanding the small flotilla. Major Rogers was in command and Chesty stayed behind on the other side of the island in the command center.”
“Rogers was warned by a Marine named Kaufman not to dress in full officer uniform because he would be a target for the Japanese who had been killing officers, thinking it would cause the Marines to fall apart and run. Rogers did not take his advice.”
“Rogers led the Marines to Point Cruz and had them land in the wrong place. The Marines crossed the beach, two huge logs, and made it to the top of the hill. As they looked back toward the beach they saw two large columns of Japanese Imperial Marines coming down the road. Japanese could be seen in every direction.”
“Mortar and machine guns started hitting the area where the Marines were. Then the Marine artillery started firing and shelling the area. Lt. Meadows called a halt to the shelling, stating they were telling the Japanese where the Marines were. About that time a mortar shell hit Major Rogers between his feet, blowing him to pieces. Dad was sprayed by blood and guts but no metal. Kaufman, the demolition man, was hit in his gut and died within minutes while begging someone to kill him. Warren, another Marine, got a large piece of metal in his leg.”
As explained by General Vandergrift’s book, communications were out. “The Marines took off their T-shirts and spelled ‘Help’ so the SBD pilot, Lt. Leslie, could radio for help.
The call for help galvanized Chesty Puller. “Chesty had realized the Marines, fewer than 300, had landed in the middle of a Japanese stronghold of more than 4000 enemy.” With communication knocked out, Puller quickly boarded a Navy destroyer, the USS Ballard, and steamed to Point Cruz to supply close support and direct the extraction of his battalion by the Coast Guard-manned Higgins boats that had landed them. During the action, Coast Guardsman Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro earned the only Medal of Honor in the history of the Coast Guard. “Dad always felt that Chesty deserved total credit for the rescue of the Marines that day and the official accounts back up his story of how they escaped certain death.”
“A Lieutenant called for the troops to dig in. Gunny Madden reminded him they were on coral and could not dig in and needed to get off the hill. About that time, the destroyer USS Ballard came in sight. The Radio man, Sgt. Raysbrook, stood up to signal the destroyer. George Cooper stood next to him with his BAR shooting Japanese. The ship signaled they were going to shell from the beach to the middle of the hill and the Marines should fight their way to the beach. As the Marines fought their way down (through the Japanese positions) a Marine next to Dad had his head cut off by a sword wielding Japanese officer. Dad dug his bayonet into the officer and kept going.”
Munro started sending his landing craft in to evacuate Marines off the beach under intense fire. “Some of the Coast Guardsmen were too afraid to come all the way in. One gunner got part of his face blown away and the assistant gunner took over. Marines were wading out to the boats and put some wounded on before climbing aboard. Gunny Sgt. Andy Malonowski, from A company grabbed a BAR and stayed behind to cover their escape. His silenced gun told his fate.”
It was quite a birthday for Ben and he credited Puller’s quick thinking for getting the Ballard on station in time to save him to see the next one.
While Chesty’s charmed life continued on to the invasion of Peleliu on September 15, 1944 (The Japanese gunners destroyed 60 landing craft in the first hour of the invasion. Puller’s landing craft was hit by a 40mm shell as it approached the beach but the shell was a dud and didn’t explode), Ben Reynolds luck temporarily took a holiday. Puller’s 1st Marine Regiment was pulled off the line after just 8 days, having suffered 70% casualties. By 15 October the 7th Marines had suffered 46% casualties and were replaced by the 5th Marines. Ben hadn’t lasted that long. Pat related the story.
“Dad was one of those 7th Marines severely wounded. He was hit in the right shoulder and then again in his lower jaw. He made his own way back to the beach (the Japanese were shooting stretcher bearers, knowing the Marines wouldn’t leave the wounded out in the open to die) and was spotted by a Higgins boat driver getting ready to pull away. The driver had him crawl onto the gate, closed it and rolled Dad down into the boat for the trip out to the ship.”
With his luck still on pause, “Once on the ship, the medical team had him moved to the ‘dead’ area, believing he wouldn’t make it” and moving on to those whom they felt had a chance to survive their wounds. “Three days later (the raging battle keeping a steady stream of wounded coming aboard) they realized he was still alive and gave him life-saving medical aid. He was then sent back to California, then to Idaho, and finally to Bethesda. All this time his jaw was still shattered. He was walking down the hospital hallway looking for some help when a doctor spotted him and asked him what was going on. Dad told him and the doctor, a civilian, told him he was a plastic surgeon and if Dad would go with him immediately, he would fix his jaw. So they walked down the hallway to the operating room with the surgeon gathering his team along the way and Dad got the surgery he needed.”
Pat is understandably proud of her late father. She is one of the lucky ones who have had the good fortune to hear his story in his own words. I’m proud that she has given me the chance to share it with whoever might read and appreciate his story. I thank her and all the “Ben Reynolds” who have answered our country’s call.

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U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment are conducting a month-long military exchange program with Marines from the Indonesian Korps Marinir in Eastern Java, Indonesia, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, August 6-29, 2019.

The exchange program, designed to strengthen the partnership between the two militaries, involves each country sending a platoon of Marines to live and train together at the others’ military bases. Working closely though a rigorous training schedule focused around individual, team and squad level tactics, Marines from both nations are able to learn from each other and continue to improve their ability to work together.

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Red Patch Marines

Unfortunately, I had to relinquish my command prior to their “Call to Glory”. Nonetheless, I feel very much a part of this fine group of men and their families and wish to share their past and present with you and your readers.

A Company, 4th LSB, Seattle, WA Desert Storm.
A Company / H&S Company, 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th FSSG, 4th Marine Division, Seattle, Washington,

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Just thought I’d send this one for your album

My name is George Diehl. At the time of this photo, I was a Corporal and a squad leader…Battery I, 14th Marines, 4th Division. The picture was taken in 1982 at the Mountain Warfare School…located at that time in Pickle Meadows, California. I am the Marine standing near the tree with the sh*t eatin’ grin on my face. We had just run our asses off at about 8,000 feet elevation

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H Co, 2/26 Vietnam

H Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment (Vietnam) held a reunion in Arlington, Virginia, August 31st – September 6th, 2015. We held a Memorial Service at the Iwo Jima Memorial for the 74 Marines and Corpsmen we lost during our time in Vietnam. Our guest speaker was Rear Admiral Brent Scott CHC, USN, Chaplain of the Marine Corps. Our Invocation was given by Commander Stephen Coates CHC, USN, Assistant Deputy Chaplain of the Marine Corps.

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Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, rehearsed operations to establish and operate from a cooperative security location in Dakar, Senegal, July 28- Aug. 10, 2019.

Once the CSL was established by the forward logistics element, the air, ground, logistics, and command elements arrived in Dakar and began mission-planning within a complex scenario. The scenario required the U.S. Marines, Sailors, and Airman to exercise quick reaction force and U.S. embassy reinforcement procedures. In addition, the ground combat element participated in bilateral training with the Senegalese Armed Forces to increase proficiency and interoperability while the logistics combat element established a Forward Resuscitative Surgical System within the CSL.

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You might be a jarhead if…

You might be a jarhead

You’ve ever used the term “Oohrah” in any
context other than sarcasm.
Your dream home is base housing.
You’ve ever rolled pennies to buy beer on a week night.
You’ve ever sold blood to buy beer.
You’ve ever financed a tattoo.
You met your wife at a strip joint.
You and your roommate share the same woman.
Your kid has a high & tight.
You still have your full basic issue.
Your boot polish doesn’t come out of a
Your cammies have more starch than your
You refer to McDonald’s food as “chow.”
You’ve ever bought your girlfriend a “bag
You’ve ever read your ‘Battle Skills’ book
for fun.
You still know all your General Orders.
You refer to E-2s as “My PFC,” or “Young
Devil Dog.”
You call your friends “Devil Dog.”
Your #1 credit reference is DPP.
You think your military training is
seriously worth college credit.
Your picture is outside the Career Planner’s office.
You have whitewalls on your head, but not
your car.
You don’t drink on duty section.
You have a star on your good cookie.(OR EVEN
You consider going to the Roadhouse a night
on the town.
You think that officers fly planes because
they are too stupid to work on them.
You still know the words to the “Marine’s
You say things are ‘good to go,’ or
You haven’t been laid in over a year.
Your favorite game is Spades.
You think stuff like this should be done on
your own time.
You still imitate your drill instructors.
You do MCIs to better yourself.
You call cadence to yourself.
You get your haircut at the 7-Day Store.
You’ve ever given a period of instruction.
You’ve ever locked anybody on.
You use CLP as cologne.
You use Aqua Velva aftershave.
You iron your coveralls.
You have a dog named “Chesty.”
You have a blues cover in the back window of
your car.
You’ve ever done anything for love of Corps.
You display your rank on the windshield of
your car.
You press your cammies an hour after you get
them from the cleaners.
You think the Air Force is nasty.
You have a subscription to ‘Leatherneck
You use the term “hard charger” on a subject
other than batteries.
You think your unit doesn’t PT enough.
You think Motrin cures things.
You wear your dogtags to the beach.
You’ve ever worked on a Harrier and truly
wanted to fix it.
You still use any drill instructor cliches.
You’ve ever been on a 3-day work detail
picking up dead fish by hand out of
a rancid lake under the hot August sun in
(You know who you are, stay strong my brothers.)
All your underwear still has your laundry
number on it.
You stencil your name on your jeans.
You refer to regular clothes as ‘civvies.’
You’ve ever ironed your sheets for field
You practice rifle manual with a swab.
You get your hair cut once a week.
You’ve been to Whisper Alley.
You’ve ever worn out an ironing board.
You hang your dirty laundry from the foot of
your bed.
More than half of your wardrobe was
purchased at the PX.
You “quarter-deck” your kids.
You practice line training on your wife.
You argue with people about whether Paris
Island or San Diego was better.
You refer to your SNCOIC as ‘Daddy.’
You’ve ever called someone off leave for an
up gripe.
You use your seabag as luggage when you go
on leave.
You have a picture of the Commandant in your
You wear your wooly pully with Levis.
You wear your all weather coat with regular clothes (or civvies).
The horn on your car plays the ‘Marine
Your picture is outside the PX.
You’ve ever starved until dinner because you
woke up too late to go to the chow hall.
You pick up a woman in a bar and she takes
you to base housing.
You stay there. (refer to #76)
You have the misconception that you can kick
someone’s ass because they’re in the Navy.
If you’ve ever suggested that your unit goes
on a hump.
You’ve ever gone to a bar or dance club in
your blues.
You seriously think that your GI Bill will
pay for your college education.
You’ve ever slept with a WM.
You take your 782 gear camping.
You found CPL School motivating.
You can be found in ‘Shaboom’s’ or ‘Texas
Two Step’ every weekend. OR
You like ‘Tun Tavern’ Beer.
You have a camouflage comforter on your bed.
You keep MREs around just in case you get hungry.
You go to the chow hall to meet women.
You think people should be court-martialed
for running into a building to avoid colors.
You’ve ever had razor burn on your head.
You signed the Chesty Puller stamp petition.
You’ve ever used the term ‘very well’ in
normal conversation.

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