Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I recall vividly a day in 1953 at Tent Camp #3,
at CJHP, when M/Sgt Tony Virginia pointed out to
me that "Semper Fi" did not mean Semper Fidelis;
it was not an abbreviation of Semper Fidelis, nor
did it have anything positive in common with
Semper Fidelis. He then went further into detail
regarding just what Semper Fi was and meant. It
had apparently come into use with the influx of
great numbers of new Marines during WW II into
what had been a very small U.S. Marine Corps.

The Top stated that, in many cases, promotions
had become much faster than previously experienced
for peacetime Marines. At one point early in
WW II, Marine enlisted began to wear chevrons
only on the left sleeve, due to a policy of
conservation of supplies. He advised that the term
Semper Fi came into being with a gesture
reminiscent of the old Italian salute, and he
demonstarted this by slapping his right hand over
the left upper arm (over the chevron) while he
exclaimed the words "Semper Fi!"
This was obviously intended as an obscene term
and gesture. The above noted conversation with
Top Virginia, now more than 50+
years ago made an impression on me.

Though I have sometimes used both the correct
Semper Fidelis as well as, sometimes, using the,
what has become the usual, Semper Fi, I have
always preferred Semper Fidelis, and for obvious

People in general, and Marines too, pretty much
just accept the current customs, explanations, if any, and norms as they
are without question. Sometimes, however,
something occurs which calls attention to certain
things that we all have just accepted as is. I
think this is one of those times, and for myself,
I choose to go with Semper Fidelis, and pass by
the (now traditional, incorrect as it may be)
Semper Fi.

I have recently noted with interest the following
posted to the Fifth Marine Division website...





40'S AND 50'S, IT
F----D, OR GO TO H--L





And, too, there is....

"When did the term "Semper Fi," an abbreviation?
of Semper Fidelis, come
into being?

Although not exactly recorded in history, one
story stands out.

Sometime shortly after the Beirut bombing in
1983, then–Commandant of
the Marine Corps General Paul X. Kelley was
visiting a wounded Marine
in the hospital. The lad shook the Commandant's
hand and then
scribbled the words "Semper Fi" on a piece of
paper. It was the
Marine's way of saying "Semper Fidelis." Gen
Kelley became emotional
and said, "Lord, where do we get such men?" The
press picked up on it.

After that the term "Semper Fi" was given new
life and a new meaning
among Marines. However, for older Marines, the
term had a slightly
different meaning. Today while one understands
"Semper Fi" to be a
Marine greeting, in the past. "Semper Fi, Mac"
meant "I got mine, how
you doing?"
Leatherneck magazine FAQ>> "
And the following is from one of my own previous
postings on this topic...

"Since then, although I have gone along with the
herd at times and used
the phrase, I have always preferred Semper
Fidelis, Always Faithful,
even though many generations of newer boots have
assumed it to be just
an abbreviation of Semper Fidelis. Sort of like
in the '60s, when
"Sorry 'Bout Dat" (meaning screw you...) also
came into use for the
general population.

See the book, Semper Fi, Mac by Henry Berry,
1982, Qill...About The
Title...where Berry says practically the same
thing as I have written
above. There are many more references to this in
many books, etc.

There have been many other bastardizations of
Marine words, words
like, "Gung Ho," EGA for Eagle, Globe and Anchor
, etc.
With the big enlisted rank structure change of
1960 came the problem
of the troops calling one another by the
so-called E-numeric pay
grades Vs. their actual rank titles, e.g., E-4 for
Corporal, E-5 for
Sergeant, etc. And that problem persists to this
day. Gotta be careful about slang--amazing what
can become "tradition," though
unintended and unofficial.

I take heart that you old salts are seeking to
bring this to light on
your 5th Marine Division website, and it is being
SEE ALSO: "Draw The Pay - Talk The Lingo!"

Semper Fidelis
Always Faithful

R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)

This is...
Gunny G's...
Marines Sites & Forums

By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
GyG's G&A Sites & Forums is an informational site and not for profit. Copyrighted material provided soley for education, study, research, and discussion, etc. Full credit to source shown when available.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Tribute: "Hey Grimes, What's Up Dude?"

Memorial Day: Hey Grimes, What's Up Dude?

Gary Lynn Grimes--friend and fellow Marine--memory rest at Panel 09W,
Line 52. His spirit resides in Valhalla. He is symbolic of many, many
similar friends, comrades in arms, brothers, nephews and, yes, a few

It is a tradition here at FlyoverPress to publish this small tribute to
all of them on or near Memorial Day.

Semper Fi

thegunny, 419

Hey Grimes, what's up dude?

By Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his
blood with me Shall be my brother.--Shakespeare, Henry IV, Act IV,
Scene 3

Hey Grimes, what's up? How are things going for you up there in
Valhalla? With Memorial Day coming, I thought I'd drop you a line. I
don't talk about it much, but there has not been a single day in over
32 years that I haven't thought about you.

I remember the first time we met. It was in Staging Battalion at Camp
Pendleton. At the ripe old age of 24, I was a good deal older than
average. You've heard of the generation gap? Well, I was the gap. I had
little in common with the guys of my rank, with whom I was allowed to
socialize. But, although you were still very young, you were different--
an enthusiastic, bubbling, peached faced kid from Amarillo, TX.
Remember our big plans for me to teach you to ride bulls and bareback
horses when we got back to the world? Boy, what a couple of dreamers!
When we got in country, you went to 5th Marines and I went to 2nd
Battalion, 11th Marines. Since my Battalion and your Regimental
Headquarters were both at An Hoa, we had several chances to see each
other and renew our friendship. Any time that you were there, you
always made a point of finding me, as I did you when I would pass

I'll never forget the last time I saw you. It was about a month before
we were due to rotate. You had been out with a CAP unit and showed up
at my hooch wearing a flight suit and sporting a 45 in a shoulder
holster. I didn't ask where you got the flight suit and shoulder
holster--just figured that you had traded some air-winger an AK (or
something) for them. I'll never forget the last conversation we had.

"Hey Grimes, what's up dude?"

"Man, I'm being MedEvaced to Japan!"

I checked you out. You seemed to have all your appendages and didn't
seem to have any extra holes. "MedEvaced? What for?"

"Man, I'm eat up with parasites."

"Parasites! Man that's great!!! By the time they get you to Japan and
get you cleaned up, it'll be time to rotate."

We knew that you had it made so we celebrated. As I recall, we snuck
out into Duc Duc and captured a couple of liters of Gook banana rum.
What a night! The next morning I sent you off. "See ya back in the
world dude!"

When rotation day came and I got on the freedom bird, I was fully
expecting to see you in a few days. The first morning back on Okinawa,
I ran into Piasaki. Remember him? He was a mutual friend that had gone
through Staging Battalion with us. That's another conversation I'll
never forget.

"Hey man, did you know that Grimes is dead?"

"Naw, bullshit, Grimes ain't dead."

"Yea, he is too."

"No he ain't. I saw him less than a month ago and he was being
MedEvaced to Japan."

"I'm telling you he's dead. I kicked his body the next morning. I was
part of the relief force that got too them right after daylight. The VC
overran his CAP unit and killed them all. It looked like Grimes had
been one of the last left fighting. He had about 30 AK rounds point
blank in his chest."

I refused to believe it. I just came home and tried to burry it. I
never made any attempt to contact you or your family--guess I didn't
want to believe it. Then finally, in 1983, I went to the wall and there
you were—Panel 09W, Line 52, Gary Lynn Grimes. Born 01 June 1949 in
Amarillo, Texas. Died 13 June 1970 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. I

It has only been just recently that I located your family. They are
still in Amarillo and, from what little I know, seem to be doing well.
Although I have your parents' and brother's addresses and phone
numbers, I have still made no attempt to contact any of them. That is a
wrong that terribly needs to be righted and, I promise, I will…someday…
As far as what's going on in the world, you wouldn't believe what
they've done to our country. Remember all those greasy headed hippies
that we used to hate so much? Well, they're all grown up now and are in
control of all our major institutions and all levels of government—
everything from Congress to law enforcement to the public schools.
Hell, one of them even became President. They are stealing our
property, murdering our citizens, and generally making a mockery out of
the Constitution—all under the color of law. What a mess! Oh well,
hopefully, there'll be plenty of time to fill you in on the details of
all that later.

So, how's it going for you? I suspect that promotions come pretty slow
up there--after all, you are amongst the cream of the cream. But,
knowing you, I'd bet that you are at least a Battalion Sergeant Major
by now. When the Supreme Commandant decides to cut me a new set of
orders, I'm hoping He'll consider me worthy of joining you. Maybe
you'll have room for a good Company First Sergeant in your outfit.
Hope to see you up there dude!

Semper Fi
LaBaume, Jimmy T
Think secession! News you will not get from anywhere on the
mainstream media.

To manage your subscription, send an e-mail to:

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Jimmy T. LaBaume, PhD, ChFC is a full professor teaching economics and statistics in the School of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX. He wishes to make it abundantly clear that he does not speak for Sul Ross State University and Sul Ross State University does not think for him.

Dr. LaBaume has lived in Mexico and spent extended periods of time in South and Central America as a researcher, consultant and educator.

"Gunny" LaBaume is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. His Marine Corps career spanned some 35 years intermittently from 1962 until 1997 when he refused to re-enlist with less than 2 years to go to a good retirement. In his own words, he "simply got tired of being guilty of treason."

He is also currently the publisher and managing editor of, a daily e-source of news not seen or head anywhere on the mainstream media. He can be reached at

This is...
Gunny G's...
Marines Sites & Forums

By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
GyG's G&A Sites & Forums is an informational site and not for profit. Copyrighted material provided soley for education, study, research, and discussion, etc. Full credit to source shown when available.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Regarding Retired Military and The UCMJ....

Recently there has been much discussion, brouhaha, regarding the so-called Revolt of The Generals, and the question has come up again and again as to whether or not these generals could be court-martialed for their statements, etc. Well, some say yes; some say no; and some say, yes, but....

Most articles on this subject have said very little as to whether or not retired military personnel can actually be prosecuted for their statements. The following articles, however, do address this specifically.

So in an effort to make some sense of whether or not retired military can be prosecuted, the following articles on this subject are hereby presented for your perusal.

Semper Fidelis
Dick Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
1952(Plt # 437) - 1972

MILINET: Retired Military ARE Subject to the UCMJ--Lt. Gen. Bob Springer, USAF (ret.) Inbox
to undisclosed-re.
More options 7:36 am (1� hours ago)
Weekly Standard
May 22, 2006
Generally Speaking

Frederick W. Kagan's "Let the Generals Speak" (May 8) wrongly claims that retired military officers are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All those receiving retired pay are subject to the UCMJ.

Lt. Gen. Bob Springer, USAF (ret.), Pinehurst, N.C.

Frederick W. Kagan responds: I readily acknowledge that I erred in stating that retired officers are not subject to the UCMJ. The question of the applicability of Article 88--which bans contemptuous speech directed at superiors and civilian leaders--is, however, more complicated. Apart from the fact that there are no cases of attempted prosecutions for violating this article, the standard for preferring such charges is different from the one required to accuse active duty officers. To prosecute a retired officer, the military would have to show that the words used "create a clear and present danger" leading to evils "that Congress has a right to prevent." This hurdle is much higher than the requirement to show for active duty officers that "the speech interferes with . . . the orderly accomplishment of the mission or presents a clear danger to loyalty, discipline, mission, or morale of the troops." Even discussing an Article 88 charge in the context of the retired generals' statements is absurd.
(Previously Posted)

April 27, 2006, 7:10 a.m.
A Dereliction of Duty
Military officers shouldn't try to be policymakers.

Criticism of Donald Rumsfeld by the uniformed military is nothing new. As I noted a year ago, most of Rumsfeld's critics are uniformed officers unhappy with the changes he has wrought during his tenure as secretary of defense.

But the rhetoric has notched up recently. Several retired generals have denounced Rumsfeld and called for his resignation over Iraq. Much of the language they have used is intemperate, and some is downright contemptuous. For instance, Marine general Anthony Zinni, Tommy Franks's predecessor as commander of Central Command — the organization responsible for implementing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — has described the actions of the Bush administration as ranging from "true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility" to "lying, incompetence, and corruption." He has called Rumsfeld "incompetent strategically, operationally, and tactically." One has to go back to 1862 to find a senior military officer condemning a civilian superior so harshly.

Some have expressed concern in the past when retired generals have campaigned publicly for a presidential candidate, but this unprecedented attack against Rumsfeld is far more serious. While there are no legal restrictions that prevent retired members of the military — even recently retired members — from speaking out on public policy, doing so now and in this way is imprudent.

The open (and often intemperate) criticism leveled by these officers against Rumsfeld is not only feeding defeatism at home, but is also adversely affecting the military that these officers purport to love: Aside from demoralizing the soldiers and Marines who have sweated and bled on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, this behavior has weakened the cohesion of the active-duty officer corps by ultimately forcing them to take sides on the Rumsfeld affair.

Although one would not know it from the press, Rumsfeld has many admirers within the uniformed services. Some critics of Rumsfeld have called his uniformed defenders "Courtney Massengales," a reference to a character in Anton Myrer's remarkable novel, Once an Eagle. In this novel, Courtney Massengale and Sam Damon represent two polar-opposite archetypes of the soldier: Damon is the dedicated citizen-soldier who is commissioned on the battlefield and, as he rises through the ranks to become a major general, never forgets his roots as an enlisted man. His life is one of dedicated service and loyalty to his subordinates. Massengale is Damon's nemesis, a West Point graduate who is really never a soldier at heart, but merely a careerist who advances himself at the expense of others.

Some of the officers who criticize Rumsfeld fancy themselves as noble and self-sacrificing, even as they paint the secretary's defenders as sellouts who have succumbed to the allure of promotion, prestige, and personal aggrandizement. Ralph Peters leveled a similar charge in his piece for the New York Post last week. But this is a slander.

There are fine officers on both sides of this issue, and pitting one group against another does nothing to enhance the security of the United States.

In addition, such public criticism by senior retired officers is undermining healthy civil-military relations. The cornerstone of U.S. civil-military relations is civilian control of the military, a principle that goes back to the American Revolution and the precedent established by George Washington, who willingly subordinated himself and his army to civilian authority.

The public attack on Rumsfeld by retired officers flies in the face of this tradition. Should active-duty and retired officers of the Army and Navy in 1941 publicly have debated the lend-lease program, the occupation of Iceland, or the Europe-first strategy? Should generals in 1861 have discussed in public their opinions of Lincoln's plan to re-provision Fort Sumter, aired their views regarding the right of the South to secede from the Union, or argued the pros and cons of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation?

Many of Rumsfeld's critics have invoked the very important book by H. R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam , the subject of which is how the Joint Chiefs failed to challenge Defense Secretary Robert McNamara adequately during the Vietnam War. Many serving officers believe the book effectively makes the case that the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have more openly voiced their opposition to the Johnson administration's strategy of gradualism, and then resigned rather than carry out the policy.

But as Richard Kohn — an expert on U.S. civil-military relations and McMaster's academic adviser for the dissertation that became Dereliction of Duty — has observed, the book "neither says nor implies that the chiefs should have obstructed U.S. policy in Vietnam in any other way than by presenting their views frankly and forcefully to their civilian superiors, and speaking honestly to Congress when asked for their views. It neither states nor suggests that the chiefs should have opposed President Lyndon Johnson's orders and policies by leaks, public statements, or by resignation, unless an officer personally and professionally could not stand, morally and ethically, to carry out the chosen policy."

The misreading of Dereliction of Duty reinforces the increasingly widespread belief among officers that they should be advocates of particular policies rather than simply serving in their traditional advisory role. Kohn writes that a survey of officer and civilian attitudes and opinions undertaken by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies in 1998-99 discovered that "many officers believe that they have the duty to force their own views on civilian decision makers when the United States is contemplating committing American forces abroad." When "asked whether military leaders should be neutral, advise, advocate, or insist on having their way in the decision process" to use military force, 50 percent or more of the up-and-coming active-duty officers answered "insist," on the following issues: "setting rules of engagement, ensuring that clear political and military goals exist, developing an 'exit strategy,'" and "deciding what kinds of military units will be used to accomplish all tasks." In the context of the questionnaire, "insist" definitely implied that officers should try to compel acceptance of the military's recommendations.

There is, as well, a practical political problem resulting from such actions on the part of retired officers: a loss of confidence and trust in the military institution by the American people. Although Americans hold today's military in high regard, this will change if they come to view the military as just another special-interest group vying for more resources as it seeks to restrict how the civilian authorities use it, or if retired soldiers are perceived to be no different than the sort of political appointee who just left the administration and is now peddling a "tell all" book intended to settle scores with his adversaries.

The view of the soldier, no matter how experienced in military affairs he may be, is still restricted to the conduct of operations and military strategy. Civilian control of the military means at a minimum that it is the role of the statesman to take the broader view, deciding when political considerations take precedence over even the most pressing military matters. The soldier is a fighter and an adviser, not a policymaker.

— Mackubin Thomas Owens is an associate dean of academics and a professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He is writing a history of U.S. civil-military relations.


Could Rumsfeld Court-Martial the Retired Generals?

Surprisingly, yes.

By Fred Kaplan

Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006, at 2:59 PM ET

Donald Rumsfeld has a notorious vindictive streak. How low will he stoop to pursue it? Let's put him to the test. If he wanted to get really brutal, Rumsfeld could convene a court-martial and prosecute the six retired generals who have been calling for his head. Military law, if read literally, permits him to do this. So, will he?

One of the assumptions surrounding the recent criticism of Rumsfeld is that the retired generals, unlike active-duty officers, are free to criticize the defense secretary without fear of reprisal. Surprisingly, this assumption is untrue. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, one of the many activities deemed punishable by court-martial is "contempt toward officials." This code of laws applies not just to active-duty officers but to retired ones, too. It's right there in Article 2, Section (a) (5): Persons subject to the UCMJ include "retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay."

The key phrase is "entitled to pay." If you resign from the military, and thus give up all retirement pay and benefits, you're free from the clutches of military law. But if you retire and thus keep getting paid 50 percent to 75 percent of your peak active-duty salary (plus cost-of-living adjustments pegged to the consumer price index), you're still in the cage. (Many retirees learned this the hard way, when they were called back into service in Iraq.)

If Rumsfeld wanted to stick it to the retired generals who are daring to question his wisdom�Anthony Zinni, Greg Newbold, Paul Eaton, Charles Swannack, John Batiste, and John Riggs�he could invoke Article 88 of the military justice code, which reads:

Any commissioned officer [and, under Article 2, this includes any retired officer] who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation [!], or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. [Italics and exclamation mark added.]

The military's Manual for Courts-Martial, the implementing document for the UCMJ, could be read as strengthening Rumsfeld's case against his critics, in two ways. First, in its elaboration of Article 88, the manual states:

It is immaterial whether the [contemptuous] words are used against the official in an official or private capacity.

In short, it's no defense for a retired general to say, "I'm just speaking as a private citizen."

Second, the manual notes:

Giving broad circulation to a written publication containing contemptuous words of the kind made punishable by this article � aggravates the offense. The truth or falsity of the statements is immaterial.

This is pretty shocking stuff. It means a lieutenant could get court-martialed for e-mailing all of his friends a newspaper or magazine story that's contemptuous of Rumsfeld. The six retired generals didn't merely give "broad circulation" to such stories. They wrote the stories, or gave on-the-record interviews to those who did, in publications with extremely broad circulation.

If Rumsfeld wanted to take this law literally and crack down, how could he go about it? Article 22, Section (a) states that a court-martial may be convened by, among others, the president, the secretary of defense, the "secretary concerned" (i.e., the official who's been the object of contempt), or any commanding officer designated by the secretary concerned or by the president. So, Secretary Rumsfeld or President Bush could set up a court-martial, or either of them could get a loyal henchman to do the dirty work. If the generals were found guilty, the maximum penalty under Article 88 is "dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for one year."

Now, before Secretary Rumsfeld and his small circle of friends start salivating, they should consider two things. First and most obvious, trying to court-martial these six generals would be stupid beyond all measure. Very few officers�and, as far as I can tell, no retired officers�have ever been prosecuted under Article 88. I'm hardly suggesting that Rumsfeld break precedent; nor am I predicting that he might. But if he wanted to interpret the law literally�as the Justice Department does when it prosecutes someone under the federal espionage statute for receiving classified information�this would let him bring down the hammer.

But second, Rumsfeld should take a closer look at Article 88. In fact, all officers, active and retired, should take a look. In its commentary on that article, the Manual for Courts-Martial notes:

If not personally contemptuous, adverse criticism of one of the officials or legislatures named in the article in the course of a political discussion, even though emphatically expressed, may not be charged as a violation of the article.

In other words, if officers (active or retired) merely criticize Rumsfeld, even emphatically, they are not violating military law, as long as they avoid "contemptuous" words. (I guess this means you should preface your remarks by saying, "With all due respect, sir � ") So, it turns out that military law�which actually protects most critical speech�may not be why active-duty officers won't harsh on Rumsfeld. They refrain from criticism of any sort not because they fear court-martial, but because they know their careers will hit a brick wall. They'll never be promoted; they'll probably be transferred to the Arctic Circle.

The open question is: What is the legal meaning of "contemptuous"? Article 88 offers no definition. Neither does the commentary in the Manual for Courts-Martial. The only guidance that the Defense Department's public-affairs office could come up with was this definition from The Military Judges' Benchbook, paragraph 3-12-1d:

"Contemptuous" means insulting, rude, disdainful or otherwise disrespectfully attributing to another qualities of meanness, disreputableness, or worthlessness.

This sounds more like an 18th-century guide on gentlemen's etiquette than a modern-day casebook on military law. But if it is a crime, punishable by court-martial, to disdain Donald Rumsfeld, he could lock up half the Army officer corps.


Return to article

According to Eugene Fidell, a lawyer with the National Institute of Military Justice, the last time Article 88 was invoked was 1967, during the Vietnam War, when Reservist Lt. Howe�off duty, out of uniform, and off base near a local university�carried a placard in an anti-war demonstration that read "End Johnson's Facist [sic] Aggression in Viet Nam." He was convicted for using "contemptuous words" against the president (and, under Article 133, for "conduct unbecoming an officer"). The Court of Military Appeals affirmed the verdict, ruling that suppression of his speech was essential to prevent a military "man on a white horse" from challenging "civilian control of the military."

The only time a retired officer has been so much as charged with this offense was in 1942, when a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was opposed to America's intervention in World War II gave a speech impugning President Roosevelt's loyalty. The Army charged him under Article 88 but then withdrew the charges to avoid giving him and his views further publicity.
Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column for Slate. He can be reached at

Article URL:

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This is...
Gunny G's...
Marines Sites & Forums

By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
GyG's G&A Sites & Forums is an informational site and not for profit. Copyrighted material provided soley for education, study, research, and discussion, etc. Full credit to source shown when available.