Sgt. Grit Community


MARINE OF THE WEEK // INSIDE THE HELL HOUSE: “We had to get them out. That became the mission – the only mission.”

Cpl. Robert J. Mitchell, Jr
Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines – Home of the Thundering Third, RCT-1, 1st Marine DivisionI Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)
Operation Phantom Fury
Fallujah, Iraq
November 13, 2004
Award: Navy Cross

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A Veteran’s Poem

The following is by my friend, a fellow Marine, Rick Waller. He wrote this for the Veterans program at his church.

Who I Am
by Richard Waller

I venture far from home, family, and friends;
I go to places I’ve never been;
I encounter people I’ve never known;
I see and hear things I’ve never imagined;
My days do not end with the setting sun.
Where I walk I do want it to be known.
When I speak I do not want to be overheard!

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29 Palms Bast Training tank

I was TAD at the 29 Palms Base Training Tank in the summers of ’64 and ’65. I visited the base two years ago and the same training tank including the lifeguard office was still there, however, they had civilians working the facility. I worked as an instructor and lifeguard the first year and the second year I was in charge of all three pools (tank, officer’s pool and dependent’s pool for enlisted personnel). The reason for the name and strange size of the pool, we were told, was that an earlier base general had sought funds for an Olympic-size pool for the men but the funds were refused. So, he resubmitted a request for a base training tank and that was approved. However, when the plans were submitted and the pool was 50 meters (Olympic size) he was questioned again. So they added three meters to the plans so that the pool ended up being 53 meters long. I swam on the base swim team and when we had meets, the fifty-meter swims were always stopped short by a rope across the pool at the fifty meter mark. To make some of the reservist marines mad, when we ran overboard drills where the men had to practice jumping from the tower, we only made the reservists jump from 40 feet. This was because many of them would boast (at the EM club) of their great jobs and careers when they were off active duty and they thought we were dumb for being full-time Marines. Sometimes I would tell one of them, “You will see me again before you leave here.” However, Vietnam changed my duty in swim trunks to humping with 2-9 as an artillery Scout/F.O.

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That reminds me of a story—I swear to God this is true….

We had set up a position so that we could get badly needed resupplies. I was
just standing around wondering, if I started yelling “short” would the CO
believe me and send me back to An Hoa so I could get orders for the states. The
Platoon Sgt. decided that I needed to do some work in order to get such
foolishness out of my head. I volunteered to “off load” the supply choppers. I
have no doubt that every Marine who reads this knows what it’s like to stand in
the open as the chopper is landing in a dirt clearing. After the first one came
in and we managed to push and pull the large crate out of the back of the
chopper; three of us took the plastic sheet and held it up in front of ourselves
for protection. Man, you would have thought we invented the light bulb. We
stood there laughing at the fact that the plastic kept us from being belted.

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U.S. Marine Corps pilots are trained to operate advanced aircraft in often dangerous situations. These pilots are the only aviators in the U.S. military who are taught the basics of infantry tactics prior to flight school. This ensures every Marine is a rifleman. Though the chances of an aviator leading a platoon of infantry Marines are slim to none, there are cases where pilots are embedded in infantry units.

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Sharp and Sober

Iwakuni, Japan in the mid 1950’s, My good buddy Nick Dubovick and I returned to base after a pretty wild night on the town. The next morning I found a crumpled piece of paper in my pocket, entirely written in Japanese. Didn’t ring any bells with me so I asked Nick if he had a clue. He said that he found the same paper in his pocket so we showed them to our Japanese houseboy. He said that they were from a tailor shop and that we had bought a couple of sport coats.

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Believed Everything I Heard

We had landing nets at 29 Palms. That’s right, landing nets right out there in the middle of the desert. They were at the enlisted swimming pool. The enlisted pool was huge and I remember hearing it said the pool was larger than Olympic size.

At the deep end it had a diving tower (at least that’s what we used it for) with platforms at 20, 30, and 40 feet in addition to the one meter and three meter spring boards on the side. Twenty feet was fun and you could almost do a belly flop from it with no damage. Thirty feet was where you had to start watching what you were doing and from forty feet, you could do some serious damage if you were not careful.

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“They were so close you could see their hands throwing grenades”

Lance Cpl. Thomas Adametz
Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines – The Professionals, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)
Operation Iraqi Freedom
April 26, 2004
Award: Silver Star

Following the seizure of two key buildings along a vital avenue of approach into the company’s sector, Lance Corporal Adametz and his squad moved into the northern most building and provided security for his platoon’s position. The enemy’s fierce attack of rocket-propelled and hand-thrown grenades onto his platoon’s position resulted in four serious and numerous minor casualties. With disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Adametz exposed himself to grenade and small arms fire in order to provide suppressive fire facilitating the evacuation of the wounded Marines. Picking up a squad automatic weapon from a wounded Marine, he delivered withering fire on enemy forces 25 meters away. Lance Corporal Adametz’ aggressive actions and devastating fire were critical in repelling the enemy’s attack. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Lance Corporal Adametz reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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It’s interesting to read the stories about how different wanna- be’s suggest or pretend to desire the name Marine. When I was a young 2nd Lt in flight training in Pensacola in the 70’s, I still remember several Navy Ensigns (even one or two Annapolis Grads) quietly murmuring how they wish they were Marines. It was evident to them that with only a few months of military service under our belts and not much experience at anything, Marines are something different and special.

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