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This Month In USMC History
1 October 1997:
The first African-American female colonel in the Marine Corps was promoted to that rank during a ceremony at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. Colonel Gilda A. Jackson, a native of Columbus, Ohio, made Marine Corps history when she achieved the rank of colonel. She was serving as Special Projects Officer, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at the time of her promotion.

5 October 1775:
Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the 2d Continental Congress used the word "Marines" on one of the earliest known occasions, when it directed General George Washington to secure two vessels on "Continental risque and pay", and to give orders for the "proper encouragement to the Marines and seamen" to serve on the two armed ships.

6 October 1945:
Major General Keller E. Rockey, Commanding General, III Amphibious Corps, accepted the surrender of 50,000 Japanese troops in North China on behalf of the Chinese Nationalist government.

8 October 1889:
A force of 375 Marines under command of future Commandant George F. Elliott, attacked and captured the insurgent town of Novaleta, Luzon, Philippine Islands, and linked up with U.S. Army troops. There were 11 Marine casualties.

9 October 1917:
The 8th Marines was activated at Quantico, Virginia. Although the regiment would not see combat in Europe during World War I, the officers and enlisted men of the 8th Marines participated in operations against dissidents in Haiti for over five years during the 1920s. During World War II, the regiment was assigned to the 2d Marine Division and participated in combat operations on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa, and earned three Presidential Unit Citations.

11 October 1951:
A Marine battalion was flown by transport helicopters to a frontline combat position for the first time, when HMR-161 lifted the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and its equipment, during Operation Bumblebee, northeast of Yanggu, Korea.

19 October 1968:
Operation Maui Peak, a combined regimental-sized operation which began on 6 October, ended 11 miles northwest of An Hoa, Vietnam. More than 300 enemy were killed in the 13-day operation.

23 October 1983:
At 0622 an explosive-laden truck slammed into the BLT headquarters building in Beirut, Lebanon, where more than 300 men were billeted. The massive explosion collapsed the building in seconds, and took the lives of 241 Americans--including 220 Marines. This was the highest loss of life in a single day for Marines since D-Day on Iwo Jima in 1945.

28 October 1962:
An 11,000-man 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade left Camp Pendleton by sea for the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. One week earlier, the entire 189,000-man Marine Corps had been put on alert and elements of the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions were sent to Guantanamo Bay to reinforce the defenders of the U.S. Naval Base. Other 2d Division units and squadrons from five Marine Aircraft Groups were deployed at Key West, Florida, or in Caribbean waters during the Cuban crisis.

31 October 1919:
A patrol of Marines and gendarmes, led by Sergeant Herman H. Hanneken, disguised themselves as Cacos and entered the headquarters of the Haitian Caco Leader, Charlemagne Peralte, killing the bandit chief, and dispersing his followers. Sergeant Hanneken and Corporal William R. Button were each awarded the Medal of Honor.

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The Unfortunate Period of Incarceration
The Unfortunate Period of Incarceration I arrived at the Naval Brig, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii at about five in the evening. I believe that they do this on purpose so you aren’t exposed to any of the other inmates the first day that you are there. By the time I got deloused, strip searched, and all markings on my body catalogued, it was about ten o’clock and lights out had already happened. I was placed in a cell and stared at the ceiling all night. For the first week, they kept us on a block and in the cells at all times. A guard made a stroll through the cell block at least every half an hour. They were all firm but understanding and were trying to build as much rapport with us as they could. We weren’t the only ones that were at the mercy of a violent inmate. They could get hurt too so they wanted to get along with us as much as possible. The only time that we left the cells the first week was for head calls and showers. They brought us chow, magazines, or whatever we needed. After the first week, we were pretty much deemed to not be a danger to ourselves or others and the put us out in the general population. During the second week, we attended anger management classes, drug and alcohol classes, and how to do our time and get out classes. After successfully completing the required classes, we were qualified to go on work details. This may not sound good but the day passed much more quickly if you were working rather than sitting around a cell all day.

There were somewhere around a hundred inmates in this particular brig. It was not designed for long term confinement. Pretty much everyone there was in for one year or less or waiting on a spot in another facility. The most common was Camp Pendleton brig. That brig was designed for convicts with more than a year to serve. There were a few that were waiting on a place at Fort Leavenworth. That prison was for convicts with a very long or a death sentence. The biggest problem with all that from my perspective was that a lot of these guys had been at Pearl for five or six years and were still waiting for a spot in another higher level brig. That meant that even though you may be in there for missing a ship’s movement and got a whopping thirty days you may be eating chow next to a sailor that killed his girlfriend with his bare hands. I never really felt intimidated or in fear for my life at the Pearl Harbor brig but there was always a feeling of unease. I came in contact with a number of interesting characters over the time I was in the brig.

The guards were from all branches of the service. This was the only confinement facility on the island. Probably the biggest dick heads were the Marines. They definitely didn’t give the other jarheads any slack. When I first got there, there was a corporal and a PFC. The PFC got promoted not two weeks after I came on board. This kid was still crapping boot camp chow and he was full of piss and vinegar. He was tough to deal with. The corporal was finishing up his tour with the brig so he wasn’t quite as bad. Most of the guards were navy because they had the most brig rats. I heard one time that every year they assigned guards from the branches based on population from the prior year. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it made sense. Most of the navy guys were pretty cool as long as you didn’t challenge them.

Once we got out of the lockdown and orientation, the days were very routine. I looked forward to anything that was different. Sunday’s were the best because in the afternoon, we had visitors and could pretty much do what we wanted within the scope of being a prisoner. Our basic day started at five. We formed up in the exercise yard and did calisthenics. This wasn’t all that bad since we were used to it already. The air force guys had a little trouble at first. I don’t think that they ever had physical training after boot camp. The worst part about physical training was running in place. We would run in place for ten to fifteen minutes. It may not sound like a long time until you try it for a month or two. It was absolutely boring. After physical training, we got head privileges by cell block. It rotated daily. Being first or last really didn’t matter. There was plenty of hot water. After head time was morning chow. Servers were brig rats. That duty rotated and you would pull it for a week at a time. It wasn’t bad duty. You basically served up the chow, wiped down the tables afterwards, swabbed the deck, and counted the silverware. They were very ticky tack about the silverware count. No one went anywhere until it was all accounted for. If you were caught taking something out of the chow hall, it was considered attempted escape and you would be court martialed and probably get another five years added to your sentence. There was never any missing silverware the time that I was in. After morning chow, we would sit in the recreation area and await the work detail assignments for the day. Most of the details were pretty low impact. We would cut brush, sweep streets, or rake up leaves. Every once in a while you would be put on a special detail that would last days or weeks. One such detail that I drew was working on the USS Cimmaron. At that particular time, she was the largest ship in Pearl Harbor. She was an oiler. Basically, an oiler is a floating gas tank. She carried somewhere in the neighborhood of seven million gallons of diesel fuel. The Navy had decided to dry dock her and perform a total refit. My fellow brig rats and I had the pleasure of chipping all of the paint off of her and repainting. It really wasn’t that bad of a detail. They only bad thing was hanging off the side of the ship by a rope while using a pneumatic needle gun to chip the paint off. It was loud and dirty work but the days passed pretty quickly and I slept well at the end of the day. The primer that was used in those days, and more than likely today, was called red lead. I assume that it had a very high lead content and ironically, it was red. All of the exposure to the lead could explain a few things about my personality. All in all, the work details were just that, a day of work. But, I would have rather done that than sit around and count the blocks in the wall all day.

There were some very interesting people that were not only incarcerated but also guarding the incarcerated. The vast majority of us were not long term inmates. Most were only sentenced to thirty to sixty days. Probably only about ten percent or so had serious hard time to do. One of the more interesting guys was a Jewish kid from New York City. If you were assigned the task of putting a picture beside a dictionary definition, he would be your choice for New York City Jewish kid. I suppose that is to say that he would have been everyone else in the country’s choice. Probably the influence of television on my perception, at least. He was about five foot five and weighed somewhere around one twenty five. He had a decidedly nasal tone to his speaking voice. This guy was perhaps the whineiest sounding person I had come into contact with up until that point in my life. I have met a few others since but he was at the top of the heap then. This sailor had been incarcerated for cursing at his officer in charge. Normally, that wouldn’t be an offence which would lead to thirty days in the brig but he was definitely a special case. Having known him for a while, I am sure that his lieutenant probably couldn’t stand the sight of him in his area anymore and sent him to the brig. One of the more humorous incidents involving this sailor was after lights out. There was a very strict code regarding behavior in the brig. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since it was a prison and a military one to boot. We were strictly not allowed to make any noise or cause a disruption unless there was a problem. Well, one night not long after he arrived, we hear this echoing chorus of “Guard, guard, I’m dying here!!” Written words make it difficult to describe the sound but try to imagine in your minds eye, or ear in this case, this nasal voice shouting this out over and over. The more that they tried to shut him up, the louder he got. After a few minutes, laughter was so loud that the lights came on and he was physically extricated from his cell. They took him to Alpha block, which was the maximum security block. I am sure that the trip over there was fun for him. When we saw him three days later he didn’t look too bad for the wear. I don’t recall him making anymore late night vocal performances.

One of the more brilliant individuals was a soldier that had purchased drugs from a NIS agent and sold them to a CID agent. NIS was the Navy’s investigative branch and CID was the Army’s investigative branch. They truly had him coming and going. The funniest part was that neither agency realized that they were setting up the same genius. This guy was a scam artist from day one. He had been sentenced twenty-five years to life. From the first day he arrived, he was looking for an angle. We were often entertained at his tales of how he and his girlfriend had pulled a slip and fall on someone then lived off of the lawsuit settlement for a year or so. It really surprises me that he managed to stay out of prison as long as he did. Another MENSA candidate had gotten a year for adultery. Most people don’t know that committing adultery is a criminal offense while you are a member of the armed forces. What made this guy special is that he was having an affair with his base housing neighbor and his wife’s best friend. The two couples had both been in the Navy for ten or more years. The two of them had been fooling around for about half of those years and he had fathered one of her children. The wife finally put two and two together and figured it all out. Needless to say, she wasn’t all that happy and pressed charges. It was kind of funny that on visiting day, she would show up with their kids and the one that he had fathered out of wedlock. There were two submariners that got to the brig about the same time that I did. One was a cook and the other was a nuclear power technician. They got a little too drunk in town the day before their boat was to pull out. That in itself is a hard way to spend your first day at sea. Unfortunately, they didn’t get back to Pearl in time to catch the boat. Missing your ship’s movement is a pretty serious offense. Typically, if you were just late because you overslept, had a car wreck, or something else that will make you late for work you didn’t get big time brig time. The reason it was a big deal is that if you are not on the ship, you could be selling secrets to the Russians and decided to boogie. These two were stationed aboard a nuclear ballistic missile submarine. The top secret nature of these boats made missing your ship’s movement a really big deal. These two got sixty days each for their indiscretion. To refer them to knuckleheads would be a little bit of an understatement. I suppose, in retrospect, they were just kids that were put in a pressure cooker of a situation and their behavior was just how they dealt with it. It took me a long time to realize just how young we were. I don’t see many servicemen or women where I have lived since getting out. At about age thirty-eight, I visited my brother when he was on active duty with the Navy. It struck me then how young I was back then. At thirty-eight most of the sailors were beginning to think about retirement. Anyway, the two bubble-heads had a saying and or a policy for everything. One example was their wash clothes. Our laundry was done every day by one of the brig rats. So, we had clean towels and wash clothes every day. We were in the shower one day and one of the knuckleheads had two clothes. He washed his balls with one of the clothes and hung it over the shower head. I, like a dumb ass, asked him what in the wide world of sports was he doing. He informed me that he had a nut cloth and a cloth for the rest of his body. According to him, you had to have a pristine cloth for nut washing.

Most of the inmates weren’t all that colorful. A few were a bit scary and a few were quite sick. One common theme was that they were all innocent of any charges in which they were convicted and were somehow set up in their court martial. Only one guy that I knew of probably deserved clemency. He had carried on a relationship with a twenty year old young lady who happened to be a dependant. She was the dependant daughter of his captain. That was probably where he screwed up the most. They had met at a ship’s party after returning from deployment. These parties were somewhat common during that time period and actually a lot of fun. Anyway, they met and started dating. As far as he knew, it was perfectly legal for him to date a girl her age. She was, after all, old enough to vote, drink, and serve in the military. What he didn’t know was that unmarried personnel on board any military installation could not legally consent to sexual relations until they were twenty-one years old. So, after she turned up pregnant, her father proffered charges for statutory rape. He was convicted at court martial and was sentenced to fifteen years. He was applying for clemency and although he hadn’t gotten it yet when I got out, I believed that he would get it.

One pervert was in there for sexually molesting two eight year old boys. He was a senior NCO in the Air Force. For most of his enlistment, he had been a Cub Scout leader. It was in this capacity that he had gained the opportunity to commit his crime. The bizarre thing was you never really knew how many others he had raped over the years. This guy was truly sick. To the best of my knowledge, he never showed any remorse for any of this. He had been sentenced to two ninety-nine year sentences to run consecutively. Two sentences that long running consecutively effectively meant that he would be in prison for somewhere around one hundred fifty or so years. He had the potential to earn more good days than most would serve. This scum bag was universally hated and had to be within eyesight of a guard at all times. It would not be surprised to find out that he was killed pretty quickly. All you really needed was someone that didn’t have anything else to lose. Convicts pretty much can’t stand child molesters. No matter why you were incarcerated, you weren’t at bad as a child molester.

Another Air Force sergeant was in for rape. He had been a guard at the correctional custody unit at Hickam Air Force base. The claim was that he had consensual sex with an inmate. She had apparently testified at his court martial that it was in fact consensual. This, of course, didn’t matter. He was, and still is, guilty of force able rape due to the fact that he was in a position of power. Aside from the fact that he was a convicted rapist, he was a pretty okay guy. Another guy that kind of creeped me out was a sailor that he also been convicted of rape. He claimed that he hadn’t had sex with the girl at all. Physical evidence doesn’t lie though and he found himself incarcerated for thirty or so years. He was very gay acting. I tried to stay as far away from him as I could.

One of the more humorous groups of folks was a gaggle of former security policemen from the Air Force base. The first one came in at the same time that I did. He was a junior Airman that hadn’t been in the service more than a year. The rest started to trickle in every week. The next was a sergeant, then a staff sergeant, and finally a lieutenant. This group of mental midgets had a theft ring going at the local Post Exchange. I doubt that anyone really knows how long that this had been going on. The funny part was how they got caught. For some reason, there was an inspection in the enlisted barracks. This was odd because, the Air Force rarely performed this kind of military based activity. During the inspection, the inspector noticed quite a lot of expensive audio visual gear in the airman’s room. This was rather unusual due to the fact that pay grade E-2 is pretty minimal. A little investigative work uncovered the ring. The sentences started with one year and went up from there. This entire ring was funny because the next one was more of a scam artist than the last.

There was one guy that was funny at the time but as the years went along, I really feel kind of bad for him. In retrospect, I fully believe that he was mentally retarded. I still to this day don’t know why he was being detained. He hadn’t yet had a court martial, nor was there one on the schedule. He had been locked in the recreation room at his barracks for several weeks prior to his arrival at the brig. Someone in his unit finally complained about how they were treating this guy so he got transferred to pre-trial confinement at the brig. One day when I didn’t get an outside work detail, he and I had the responsibility for cleaning up the common area. This basically meant to straighten up the area, sweep, mop, and buff. He was running, or should I say riding, the floor buffer. It was actually pretty funny. The guard didn’t think it was as funny as I did. He got thrown into maximum for a few days after that trick. The last day that he was in there, one of the funnier guards came out with a naked prisoner in tow. He had stripped down buck naked and was shooting craps by himself with a pair of home made dice. He had taken stationery, wet it down, and formed cubes. I can still see this guy rolling the “bones” buck naked in a bare cell.

All in all, the time in the brig wasn’t that bad. The worst part of that experience was that I had an additional six months to serve at the end of my enlistment. Integrating back into my unit after the brig time was interesting to say the least.

Submited by Squadbay member ccoale

Marine Of The Month


Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff







20, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 19 in Ramadi, Iraq, while conducting combat operations.







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