This blog is for Communication among Marines and people interested in the Marines. The 10 is for Communications. The Photo above is Marble Mountain, Danang, Vietnam.

Jan 10, 2015

C-119 Flying Boxcar

Members of our squadron took a trip on a C-119 Flying Boxcar like the one above in 1972.  The purpose was to fly from Glenview Naval Air Station near Chicago to Norfolk Virginia where we would practice getting on and off a model of a ship - run up and down nets strung from a mock up of the side of a ship - with all our combat gear on.

Our trip was in February. It was supposed to be warm in Norfolk.

The crew gave us our brief before we boarded the plane. They told us it was a safe Korean vintage airplane but was also the only twin engine aircraft in the military that could not continue to fly if it lost an engine and we would have to bail out. 

They showed us how to put on our parachutes and instructed that on their command we would run off the plane and wait 5 seconds before pulling the rip cord.  We were not happy.

Off we went. The aircraft accelerated down the runway, slowly increasing speed.  At the end of the runway they slammed on the breaks and went back to the hanger. They explained that this aircraft did not have enough power to get off the ground so they would get another one.  So we took off our parachutes and waited for an hour for the better C-119.

We went through the brief again, putting our parachutes back on. We wondered how old these chutes were and who had packed them and did they still work?

Both times they shut the door by wrapping a long leather strap to hold the door in. Thought that was interesting.

Off we went.  After a very long run this aircraft finally managed to get airborne.  After we got up in the air they took out a very long metal rod, stuck it out of a hole in the plane, and cranked up the front wheel.

It was a very long trip to Norfolk. They were having a several snow squawl in Norfolk and the plane swung way out on approach. We could not see anything of course since there were no windows but things were falling down and we were swinging out from our side mounted seats. Our CO was riding in the front and said that we almost crashed. Fortunately our Reserve pilot was an experienced test pilot instead of an accountant on his reserve duty. 

The snow and wind was so bad they suspended the dry net training.  So the next day we flew back. Same parachute drill, tie up the door with a leather strap, and crank up the wheel with a long steel rod.

Last time I have ever seen a C-119.

Jan 5, 2015



This is quite long but well worth the time to view it all and read the stories that follow. Knew it was extremely tough for those guys, but never imagined it as bad as the pictures show. 
Click to View

US Vs. Japan.  Terrible ending but it had to be done. 
These photographs were classified during WWll. Many of us have not seen photography like this before. Beautiful, stark black and white pictures, about 110 of them, of historical significance in this collection. At the end of the pics there are some interesting comments. For many of us, our fathers and/or grandfathers participated in this action... 
World War II: The Pacific and Adjacent Theaters. 
Click below: 

Jan 3, 2015

My Heart on the Line By Frank Schaeffer The Washington Post

Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.

It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, "So where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

"But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong."

When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.

We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him."

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.

Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future "greatest generation. “As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.