Scrounging In Vietnam

During my Tour in Vietnam there were many things that we modified to help us with our missions. I wish I could remember this Marines name, he was with Alpha Company 1st Recon. Top Barker ran “A” Co. and the sign painted was one of his works of Art. 1st Recon’s motto was “Swift, Silent, Deadly”, Top Barker added Surrounded to the motto as you can see.

One of the things we found handy was the Pilots Emergency Kit and as any Good Marine is handy at scrounging, we scrounged these Pilots Emergency Kits and used the wrist compasses as you can see on this Marines wrist alongside his watch. There were a lot of other things in the Pilots Emergency Kit, Food, Vitamins and other useful items, but they also caused some problems because some Marines came home addicted to Amphetamines. But patrolling around boulders as big as cars and houses, you had to keep alert.

The Camos he is wearing were just being issued, the Korean Camos were neat as were the Korean dry rat’s, some of their spicy ones were better than Mexican food. Open it, pour some water in it, close it and put it inside your utilities next to the skivvy shirt. Eat at the next break.

Ah Well those were the days.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

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10 thoughts on “Scrounging In Vietnam”

  1. Gunny Rousseau, I remember you from that time long ago and am glad to hear that you are doing well. I was CO of Alpha Company at the time and Top Barker was the First Sergeant. Top Barker was a Marine Corps legend and I was privileged to work with him. On the Marine in the picture, I believe that is Sgt. (John?) Lucas, one of our best patrol leaders. Semper Fi Gunny

    1. Capt. Vogel. I’m Michael McManus. I was the Alpha Co. Radio Chief in early 1968. Later I moved to H&S as the Bn Radio Chief. Good to hear the you’re still north of dirt. As always, “watch your six!”

  2. While I did not serve in Vietnam, (Graduated MCRD Sam Deigo 83) my story does reflect a Marines adaptability and resourcefullnes. I would imagine that we Marines were forced to improvise and make due with what we had due to the fact that when it comes to military funds being budgeted the Marine Corps is always last in line for those funds. When I was stationed at Cherry Point N.C. in 83 (MWCS 28) we had a sign posted on our Motor-T shop that read “WE HAVE DONE SO MUCH WITH SO LITTLE FOR SO LONG THAT WE CAN NOW DO ANYTHING EITH NOTHING”. Those words ring true to any Marine that has EVER served or ever will serve. Semper-Fi!

  3. While I did not serve in Vietnam, (Graduated MCRD San Diego 83) my story does reflect a Marines adaptability and resourcefullnes. I would imagine that we Marines were forced to improvise and make due with what we had due to the fact that when it comes to military funds being budgeted the Marine Corps is always last in line for those funds. When I was stationed at Cherry Point N.C. in 83 (MWCS 28) we had a sign posted in our Motor-T shop that read “WE HAVE DONE SO MUCH WITH SO LITTLE FOR SO LONG THAT WE CAN NOW DO ANYTHING WITH NOTHING”. Those words ring true to any Marine that has EVER served or ever will serve. Semper-Fi!

    1. Don. That’s what Matters. Not When, but that you Became A Marine. We’ve been doing this for a Long time . Everything with Nothing. When you went to basic, your Drill Instructor Formed from nothing To A Marine. That’s what we do. So, continue to press on. We are the Best At what We Do… B.Spruell
      SSGT USMC
      Beirut 1983

  4. I have scrounged and “cumshawed” with vigor and compassion with the best of them. A note of caution for those Marines still on active duty: be absolutely aware of what units’ mission that you might compromise if you wrongfully misappropriate whatever it is that you are looking for; be cautious and be careful. Be right.

  5. Scrounge, cumshaw (sp. anyone?),or outright st..l; all of U who were there & weren’t assigned some plush assignment in the ‘rear’ found we had to obtain worn utilities, web gear ( which more often than not had to modify if for no other reason than to make it comfortable enough to where it became part of us. As a Doc I became a Marine ( 42 months, 26 days in-country ) as much as any of U & am damn proud of it. …Now as to scrounging, I can here some 54 years later unable to resupply myself with enough of the medical gear I favored to carry. An example of my scrounging: when near a large medical facility ( it didn’t matter to me if it was Army, Marine,or Navy ) I would approach a nurse & ask if she could get me as many tampons as possible for which I would gladly pay her. Never had to as soon as I explained why I wanted them. Well my fellow grunts & & ‘ossifers’, I often used said tampons to plug thru’-&-thru’ bullet wounds while, of course, leaving the string hanging outside to enable a nurse, corpsman, Dr. to pull out the now very swollen “blood stopper’. & now nearing 80 yrs, if I wasn’t feeling my age ( if U haven’t heard this before: old age sucks!! But it’s better than the alternative! ) I’d do it all over again. TheOldCombatDoc

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