We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


New Marine Corps Mascot arrives
15 February 2013, 17:27
Filed under: Marines, Military Working Dogs | Tags: , ,

Chesty at 8th and I

Photo by Sgt. Dengrier M. Baez, USMC

The new Marine Corps mascot, Chesty, has arrived at the Barracks at 8th and I to begin his obedience and recruit training.



Dogtags Finding Their Way Home
13 January 2012, 13:35
Filed under: Veterans, WWI, WWII | Tags: , ,

Two stories of lost dogtags catching up with veterans popped into my email recently.

  • Private Kent Potter lost his dogtag in France during World War I. Determined Frenchmen made sure that it reached his family after they found it. Hat tip to Fred, from Easy Company, re-enacted.
  • Marine Richard Urie lost one of his two dogtags on Saipan during World War II. The wife of the man who found it works for the US Attorney’s Office there and one of the deputy marshals there has his own dogtags framed in his office. They were able to find the 86-year-old devil dog and return his lost dogtag to him. Hat tip to Paul Clifford in the Trigger Time airborne forums.


Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
9 January 2012, 18:49
Filed under: Marines, Veterans | Tags: , , , ,

Vester Elvin “Puci” Blevins passed away recently. He’d spent over 30 years serving as the Superintendent of the Oneida, Tennesseee, Water Department and on the local school board, but what struck me most was his determination. No, I’d not met Puci, but I did read his obituary in Leatherneck this month.

The Battle of Iwo Jima included some of the fiercest fighting in World War II. Some 21,000 Japanese soldiers stationed there fought ferociously, with only about 1,000 of them surrendering. Puci Blevins landed on the first day and fought there for all 38 days of the battle. He would have landed on either the Red or Green beaches and may have assaulted up Mount Suribachi – at the very least, he would later say that he “saw the first Iwo Jima flag raising from the foot of Mt. Suribachi.”

Blevins must have transferred from the 5th Marine Division, as he was in the 2nd Marine Division for the occupation of Japan, with his obituary noting Sasebo and Nagasaki.

The part that really caught me in his obituary in Leatherneck was that when Puci enlisted in 1943, it was his third attempt to enlist. He’d been rejected twice due to his poor eyesight. When he went in for the third time, Blevins followed a Marine mantra. Marines are often at the tail end when it comes to new equipment, so many units use “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” as their mantra.

  • Not being able to see the eye chart clearly, Puci improvised.
  • His adaptation was memorization of the eye chart.
  • A true leatherneck in his heart, he overcame the obstacle.

Semper Fi, Puci.



One tough Marine
29 December 2011, 12:18
Filed under: Marines, Veterans | Tags: ,

The Old Jarhead pointed me to the story of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Karl Trenker, 48, who was shot three times by two men who stole a gold chain his fiancee was trying to sell via Craigslist. They swiped the chain when he showed it to them and took off running. He drove around the neighborhood looking for them. When he found them, he gave them a chance to just put the necklace down and walk away. They ran again. The good Colonel pursued, for which they shot him three times. He merely plugged the holes with his fingers and called her to let her know he’d been shot. He told NBC that “If he [the gunman] didn’t have a pistol I would’ve whipped his butt.”



Weekend Wanderings, Thanksgiving 2011
27 November 2011, 11:30
Filed under: Books, Marines, Weekend Wanderings, WWII | Tags: , , , , ,

I haven’t posted a set of Wanderings of late, but have been accumulating some interesting links. Hopefully, you didn’t over-eat on Thanksgiving or, if you are not a celebrant, on a lovely fall weekend.



Henderson awarded Bronze Star with Valor
20 January 2011, 18:37
Filed under: Henderson, Leadership, Marines, Officers | Tags: ,

LTC Anthony Henderson USMCWhile it didn’t happen in World War II or Korea, I’d like to note that LTC Anthony Henderson (USMC) was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his leadership of 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment in the fight for Fort Jugroom near Garmsir in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The 19th century British fort “sits at a crossroads and along a river, letting those holding it dominate much of southern Helmand.” The Taliban had held off an attack by the Royal Marines in January of 2007. 15 months later, in April of 2008, the US Marines were on duty in Helmand, so 1/6 was tasked with clearing the fort. Henderson’s men fought a close quarters battle against 200-400 Taliban fighters, through tunnels, bunkers, minefields and buildings. As the Marines of 1/6 fought their way in, the Taliban attacked them from behind, making it a 360-degree battle. Chesty Puller might have said, “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.” As darkness fell, Henderson knew that the heat would continue and that he’d best pull his men back to a defensive position. When they headed in the next morning, Fort Jugroom was empty, the Taliban having stolen away in the night, in hopes of living to fight another day.

In the tradition of Chesty Puller and Jim Gavin, Henderson took a hands-on approach to leadership. “My desire was to be as far forward as I could be without interfering with the small unit leader’s ability to fight his fight against the enemy.”

Gravesite of COL Richard Henry Henderson at Arlington CemeteryLieutenant Colonel Henderson was in a staff position with the Joint Chiefs in DC this fall. “It’s humbling and fulfilling to lead Marines,” reflected Henderson. “I have a constant yearning to be back there and amongst them.”

I mention LTC Henderson here for two reasons. First, he exemplifies the hands-on take-charge leader that characterized the World War II airborne officers I’m studying. Second, he shares my wife’s last name. I know, it might be silly, but every Henderson out there and every Navarre, as well, will be heralded here for their accomplishments. As such, every time Devery Henderson scores a touchdown for the New Orleans Saints, I say to wife, “How ’bout your cousin Devery!” I think my father-in-law, LTC Richard Henderson, would be justifiably proud of his Marine “cousin”.


Weekend Wanderings New Years 2011
2 January 2011, 11:30
Filed under: Homefront, Leadership, Marines, Navy, Weekend Wanderings | Tags: , , ,

My lament about a lack of posts on Christmas at war was pre-mature. I just hadn’t wandered far enough to see them!




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