We got some heavy rain for a few days and we got stranded due to the rain and flooding for a couple of
The roads on both sides of our camp got flooded and vehicles couldn't bring us supplies and we
couldn't get out. They had to use helicopters to air drop food to us.
Fortunately, we didn't get set back
and graduated on time.
Lucky us.  We didn't have to delay going to 'Nam.

Excerpt from
the letter I wrote on February 25, 1969
What sucked about being there was that it was cold, too. The temperature was in the
30's and 40's and we were in tents with no heaters.  When we would hit the rack (go to
bed) we would take our clothes and lay them out on our rack under  us and sleep on
them. That way when we got up at "zero dark thirty", our clothes would be warm.  
We'd put the boots at the end of the rack under the blanket.
I considered going to Reconnaissance
Recon school was one of the schools in
BITS. I really wanted to go to jump
(parachute) school.  To do that, I had to
get into recon school.  Recon was the
Marine special forces, like SEALS or
Green Berets.   There were two types of
recon - Battalion Recon and Force
Recon.  Force Recon involved all the
good stuff - jump school, scuba school,
etc.  Battalion recon is pretty much more
infantry training.  Recon usually operates
in four man teams.  When they wanted
volunteers for recon, they couldn't
guarantee I would go to force recon and
jump school, so I didn't.
The M-60 machine gun weighs about 26 pounds and the tripod weighs 16 pounds.
It's maximum rate of fire was 1100 rounds per minute.  In reality you couldn't shoot
that many because the barrel would overheat.
Machine gun ammo came in 100 round belts.  A belt of ammo weighed 7 pounds.  The
were two belts of ammo to a can.  The whole package weighed 18 pounds.
In addition to the gun, we had to carry a spare barrel, an asbestos glove (to change the
barrel), and sometimes a tri-pod, if we were using them.
You had to change the barrels often if you were shooting rapid fire for any length of
Tri-pods were mainly for being set up in a defensive perimeter for a length of time. The
60 had a bi-pod attached, which was used if needed.
The 60 could be fired from the shoulder, the hip, bi-pod or tri-pod.
To shoot from the hip or shoulder, you had to lean way forward and hold on tight
because, if you didn't, the recoil would knock you on your ass.
Weapons Company 21/69
Basic Infantry Training Schools
"0331" machine gunner
Camp Horno
Camp Pendleton California
February to March 7, 1969
This is a map that I drew of Camp Horno with the bridges that were washed out on
February 23,1969.
After we finished BITS, we got our first leave to go home. When we came back, we
to go to Staging Battalion to prepare for Vietnam. This is the "OK Mom, while I'm
home on leave, I'll go get my picture taken before I go to Vietnam" picture.  This was
in the dress green uniform we were issued.
, 1969
*** Danger Will Robinson! Salty language below! ***
<--Back to  ITR
Page 2
<-- Back to Sarge T's
Next --> Staging
Page 1
Next --> Staging
Page 1
Marines went to BITS if they were going to one of the crew served weapons sections
(machine guns, mortars, and rockets
) or into reconnaissance (Recon).
The "0331" in the heading above was my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and
the M-60 machine gun as seen above is what I was trained to shoot.
Every Marine has an MOS. 0331 stood for machine gunner. The infantry fields began
with "03". A grunt
(infantryman) was 0311, machine gun - 0331, rockets - 0351,
mortars - 0341, and recon was 0321.
Machine guns, rockets (3.5 rocket launcher commonly known as a bazooka) and
mortars are considered crew served weapons. These were called crew-served
weapons, because each weapon had a team, according to Marine Corps specifications.
As an example, a machine gun team consisted of the machine gunner, assistant  
machine gunner (a-gunner), and two ammo handlers.
In reality, in Vietnam there were seldom enough people for full teams on any crew
served weapon.  Marines got killed and wounded and their replacements didn't come
quick enough.
In 'Nam it was usually the machine gunner and a-gunner.  The grunts carried all the
ammo that the gunner and a-gunner couldn't.
It was the same way with mortars and rockets.  The grunts had to carry all their ammo
for them.
To graduate, we had to qualify with the machine gun, just like we had to qualify with
the M-14 in boot camp.
I thought, "Well gee.  If I never qualify, does that mean I don't get to go to Vietnam?"
"That's a big negative, Marine. We'll just send you to 'Nam as a grunt."
"Well, cool!  I didn't really want to be a machine gunner anyway."
"Shut the fuck up and get in the prone position behind that 60.  You
will qualify or you
can stand the fuck by."
I went to 'Nam as a machine gunner.
<-- Back to Mardex
<-- Back to Sarge T's
<-- Back to Hotdex
<-- Back to Vetdex
The gunner on a machine gun team carried a 45 caliber pistol as a side arm.  The A
gunner and ammo handlers carried rifles
<--Back to  ITR
Page 2
The ammo for the M-60 came in 100 round belts. Often we would link two or three
100 hundred
round belts together. Especially if we were on the ground firing with the
bipod or tripod.
It was easier to do that than to wait until one belt ran out and have to
open the feed cover and put in another belt.
M-60 Machine gun
An excerpt from letter I wrote home on
February 17, 1969.