The 8th & I Reunion Association

An organization of Marines
who served at
Marine Barracks
8th & I Streets, S.E.,
Washington D.C.

Memories of the 1970's

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A special tribute to honor the memory of Mike Haskell, who served as a Barracks Officer from 1978 to 1981
after 6 years outstanding service as an enlisted man, and was KIA in the 1983 terrorist bombing of the
Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon can be found here.

A Unique Chapter in Barracks History! In 1969 and 1970, the entire drill team was composed of Marines who had served in Vietnam.  Pete Heiss has a great collection of photos taken during 1969 and 1970, which may be viewed by clicking here.

Bob Baird 1969-71

(Submitted by Bob Baird)

One of those who served in the "Vietnam Vets" Flag Show was Sgt George Bubenheim, CGC, 2nd Platoon. The Flag Show was put on for schools and various civic groups in the area. These shows were performed on the Marines' off-duty time.

A meritorious Mast for Sgt Bubenheim arose by virtue of an unusual detail he headed, namely guiding a group of handicapped ladies during their week-long visit to Washington. Pictured with him are the five other members of the detail: Cpl Fred Herring; Sgt Peter Lang; LCpl Frederick Murock, Sgt David Simmerly and Cpl George Ratajczak. The details of their performance were highly unusual, and resulted in its being listed in the Congressional Record, which can be reviewed by clicking here, and the details of their service are spelled out in the Meritorious Mast document, which can be reviewed by clicking here.

George Bubenheim - Christmas 1971

George found a full-page article on the Barracks and its Evening Parade which appeared in Time Magazine in August of 1971. To see it, click here.

(Items submitted by George Bubenheim)

Barracks Softball Champs - 1973
Barracks CO Col. C.S. Cooper at center of the first row center, with Dennis Lynch to his left.and Steve Honto (standing in center with glasses)
Second row (L-R): Barracks XO Lt. Col. Duncan, H&S Co. 1st Sgt (the pitcher), Sgt. Mike Puhr,
Sgt. Jim Cowley, Sgt.Gardner and Capt. Rhodes and Tom Godwin (bottom right, kneeling).

(Submitted by Dennis Lynch)

CGC Commanding Officer (later Commandant) James Jones awards PFC stripe to Bryan Miller in January of 1973. Up until this ceremony, Bryan was the only member of the Silent Drill Team without stripes.

2nd Platoon getting ready to leave for a Flag Pagent, 1974. (L - R): Front row: Frye and Jio;
2nd row: McClain, Burton, and Grant; Third Row: Renwick, Shanel (deceased), "Kid" Winters, Owens,
Jacobs, and Bean, Top Row: Dietland and Snyder.

Ready for another Flag Pagent 1974 - (L - R); Burton, Grant, Dietland and Snyder.

Lunchtime SOP in the 2nd Platoon squadbay, 1974. Sitting with back to camera is "Kid" Winters.
Playing to his left is Dietland and (moving clockwise) Bean, Grant, Renwick and Fender.

2nd Plt, CGC in 1974
Front Row (l-r) 1st Lt Routson, Sgt Herring, Sgt Jacobs, Cpl Peters, Cpl Fender, L/Cpl Snyder, L/Cpl Flory, L/Cpl Carter, Cpl Jio, Sgt Mayo, Sgt Nummer, S/Sgt Coles
2nd Row (l-r) Pfc Jernigan, L/Cpl Grankie, Cpl McClain, L/Cpl Owens, Cpl Patera, L/Cpl Wilson, L/Cpl Tomlin, L/Cpl Tronguard
Back Row (l-r) L/Cpl Frye, Cpl Shenal, L/Cpl Winters, Cpl Turner, Pfc Gilbert, L/Cpl LeViegne, Cpl Walsh, Pfc Lanier, Pfc Covington

To the victors go the spoils - 1974

The innards of Building #58, Naval Gun Factory
(home of Ceremonial Guard Company since early 1959)

The basement hallway leading to the steam room. (We pressed our own uniforms then!)

Pictured is the business end of the mess hall

The Laundry room

(Photos submitted by Kent Snyder)

A member of the US Army Reserve serving in Iraq. (Steve Shenk, CGC 1973-1974)

Steve Shenk in Afghanistan, 2008

(Submitted by Jim Matthews and Steve Shenk)

SCP sendoff in 1970

Sgt. Don Romaine - 1970

Sgt. Pete Heiss - 1970

Bill Coleman receiving award from Col. Paul Graham

(Above items collected by {Pete Heiss and Bill Coleman)

The 1972 Barracks Naval District of Washington Championship team.
Front row left is Capt. James L. Jones, later to be Commandant, next to him is Sgt. Juan Escobar,
and in the back row is Lt. "Sandy" Alderson, later to become Chief Operating Officer for Major League Baseball.

The awards ceremony photo for the basketball team. Sgt. Juan Escobar, center front,
holds two trophies (one for being most valuable player).

(Items submitted by Juan Escobar)

This pic was from July 1972 inspections before friday night parade.

1st Sgt Dallas Richter, 2nd plt Sgt. Louis Bird, myself, lt. col. Duncan and Capt. James Jones.
Taken Oct. 13th, 1972, my day of discharge.

Items submitted by Sgt Lewis Combs, 8th and I, Ceremonial Guard Company, 1971-1972

Picture of Bob Stanton and I ( Melvin Baker ) we were both at 8th and I Marine Barracks and Camp David. We served at 8th and I then both of us were assigned to Camp David.

(Items submitted by Melvin Baker, 8th & I)


1-26-13 ... Is this guy a giant ????? How tall do you think the Assistant Drum Major really is? He's in front of the Band wearing a baldric but white cover! He really towers over everyone else around him doesn't he? He almost looks as tall as the Drum Major and his bearskin cover.

The Mace the Drum Major is carrying was made for the Band by Bosey and Hawkes in England. Either 1972 or 1973, I got to go over there for 10 days TAD to pick it up and bring it back. While I was there I slipped down to what was then the Royal Marines boot camp between Dover and Canterbury. That was a great experience to see them training. The Adjutant wore jodpurs, tall riding boots with spurs and rode a horse everywhere on the base. It had been arranged for us to bring the Mace through customs at Baltimore's BWI Airport, but for some reason they insisted we go through customs at the new terminal at JFK airport in NYC. The mace was in a custom made metal case painted black with white lettering, "UNITED STATES MARINE BAND, "THE PRESIDENT'S OWN". The damn custom's agent insisted I had to pay duty on it. Even after I explained I was traveling under orders and showed him my orders and all. He didn't give a damn that the Government actually owned it so I finally got good and pissed off and blew up and told him to take the damn thing and stick it up his ass because I was going to pay a single penny for it and I wanted his name to report to the White House when they asked where the new mace was! I raised such a scene everyone in the terminal was looking and it drew over a senior Custom's Agent, a Major I think. After I explained it all to him, showed him my orders and opened up the box and showed him the mace explaining all the detail in it as it had been designed by the Band and he called Baltimore's BWI and they confirmed they were expecting me and the mace and had the authority to wave fee's via the White House so he let me go with it. Later it was funny as hell but at the time I was one really pissed off Marine!

When Jim Donovan was Drum Major he didn't like the having to remove and shine the brass plate and chain on the bearskin. The plate was the insignia of the Marine Band complete with the Eagle Globe and Anchor in the center of it and the chain hung down in the front from brass buttons on each side of the bear skin. The frame work inside the bearskin is made out of bamboo or Malacca wood. Anyway Donovan got Col Schoepper to let him do away with the plate and I thought it was a real loss as it simply looked like the Army and Navy Band's bearskins then.Boosey

........................ The Royal Marine Boot Camp was then located down at Deale on the southern coast of England. I had met the Director of the Royal Marine Band the previous year when they had toured the US and visited at the Barracks. He had wanted to see Gettysburg battlefield so I got a staff car and driver and we drove up and I gave him a tour of the battle field and then we stopped by Antietam on the way back for a bonus. I also took him up to Ft. Steven's (I may have the name wrong) up near the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center where President Lincoln came up to watch the Union forces repel (at least he was hoping they would) the Confederate forces which were attacking. It was there that someone (I think it was Captain Oliver Windell Holmes, later a Supreme Court Justice) who hollered at Lincoln to get down as he was attacking fire, which of course Lincoln did taking no offense.

Well because of that trip when the Director of the Royal Marine Band found out I was coming over to pick up the Mace he insisted that I come down and visit him. Took a train down accompanied by a Sgt who worked at the Band as well. We were met by a Color Sgt and a Staff Sgt of the Band and set up in their SNCO's quarters and then over to meet the then LtCol Band Commander. That afternoon he had the Base Commander a Col, the XO a LtCol, the Adjutant and the Regimental SgtMaj (RSM) in for tea and to meet us. We managed to get through this without disgracing ourselves or our Corps! Then we were turned back over to the Color Sgt and Staff Sgt Bandsmen. The Staff Sgt was an Irishman with the first name of Paddy (for real). We were informed that that evening the RSM was having a formal NCO evening in the club. The Sgt who was accompanying me was from Arkansas and had come to the Barracks and then was assigned to the Band from bootcamp so he had never been anywhere other than Arkansas, SC and DC so this was really a great experience for him. I clued him in to expect the Brits to drink us till we passed out. Now I am probably the only Marine in history who gets sick on the smell of beer and simply can't drink it. So I ordered a gin and tonic. Then I asked for ice when it came without any. The bartender put a single cube in it looking like I was crazy. I finally managed to get him to serve my drinks with 3 cubes of ice along with some muttering about bloody Yanks! Not long after the evening started there was a loud knock at the door to the club and by now all the NCO's were formally arranged around the room standing and we were to the right of a podium on which a regal chair rested with the RSM sitting there as if he were the King himself. The NCO by the door opened it slightly, spoke with someone on the other side, then closed it, marched to the center of the room facing the RSM and "slammed" to attention. In a parade ground voice he announced that the Colonel and his officers were requesting the freedom of the Club. The RSM considered it a moment and then announced that it was granted. The NCO marched back to the door opened it and announced Sergeant's the Colonel and Officers at which all the NCO's "Slammed" to attention while the RSM rose from his throne. The Colonel marched into the room with his officers following him by rank and seniority and formed up in front of the "throne" and RSM. The Colonel thanked the RSM for granting them the freedom of the club and the RSM welcomed the Colonel and his officers after which the RSM and the Colonel marched over together to the Bar and were each given a beer and they drank to each other. Then everyone got a drink and a toast was offered to the Queen, then another one to the Royal Marines and a few more I forget. I had managed to wedge myself between a column and the bar in case my legs got wobbly. It all reminded me of the movies of the 30's and 40's of the British Army in India. At one point I was asked by a group if I had seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in London and I said that I had. I was asked what I had thought of it. I honestly said that I had been disappointed as when they formed up in formation there was a big bow to the front of the line and the RSM when he dressed them took the bow out and put it back in to the rear of the line. At that one of the Royal Marine senior NCO's drew himself up, tugged on his mustache (no kidding he really did do that) and said in that haute voice that only the British can manage, "Well after all what can you expect, they ARE ONLY ARMY after all!" I nearly busted out laughing but quickly caught myself when I saw he was deadly serious. I barely managed to walk back to my quarters that evening accompanied by my escorts and my barely alive Sgt. We dumped him into his cot and I hit the rack in my room. I listened till it was all quiet and then snuck down to the head and made my offering to the commode and went back to my room and slept like a baby. The next morning I awoke to my alarm a 1/2 hour early, took my shower and got squared away and then went down to the Irish SSgt's Room and pounded on the door while loudly announcing, "Time to get up Paddy my Bucko!" Finally I head some muttering about damn bloody Yanks and I went and got my Sgt up which was a job. The Color Sgt was married and had gone home. When the 3 of us got to the mess hall, Paddy made a bee line for the coffee urn while I continued to chat away happy as a lark, though it was killing me to put on this cheery show, but I had the honor of our Corps to hold up. We did a grand tour of their boot camp training and every where we went Paddy and my Sgt headed immediately to the coffee and aspirin bottle while I kept up my very painful cheery self. At one point we were in a building that served as an indoor parade deck. The Royal Marine Master of Drill was a Hugh Irish Color Sergeant complete with red hair and a red handle bar mustache who had come over from Canada. He looked like an NFL Defensive linebacker with a very narrow waist. While I was talking with him he spied something he didn't' like and roared our for "YOU PRIVATE, COME HERE INSTANT!" A private double timed over and slammed to attention saying "SIR!" The Master of Drill then read him the Queen's riot act correcting his slovenly drill and demanding perfection from then on and then told him to get back to his position. He turned and stated to speak with me as the poor Private started to march back when all of a sudden the Master of Drill whirled around roaring, "WHEN I SAY GET BACK YOU BLOODY WELL BETTER MOVE AT THE DOUBLE PRIVATE!" and at the same time he takes several steps and dropped kicked the private in the ass so hard the poor kid's feet went air born, but he came down at the double time! I was really amazed he had kicked him and I asked if that was permitted. He replied, "Oh yes, we have corporal punishment in the Royal Marines, don't you Yanks?" I mumbled a little and found a reason to move on.

All in all it was a great experience. They also took us over to see Dover Castle which was awesome to see and then to Canterbury Cathedral. I was struck when we walked through the doorway at a plaque that proclaimed the Christian Religion had been celebrated within these walls for a thousand and some years! They showed us the spot where Saint Thomas Becket was slain by Henry II's men. The Black Prince was laid out in his black armor in a glass case behind the alter. Because the Royal Marines often provide music for services they were able to take us down into some chapels below ground level and even up onto the ramparts of the roof.

When we went to the Boosey & Hawks factory because of a recent screw up over obtaining a new bearskin hat and instead had gotten a barracks cover the Band Director LtCol Harpham had called over and had spoken with Sir Jeffrey Hawkes and informed him that he was sending me over for the mace and I had his authority to decline acceptance of it if it was incorrect. LtCol Harpham had met Sir Jeffrey previously and they were friends. So when we arrived at the factory the rolled out the red carpet so to speak. We had lunch with the Board of Directors in their Boardroom and it was a little strained until I inspected the mace and was blown away by it's beauty and attention to detail. I accepted it and we made arrangements for it to be brought to the airport when we departed. Sir Jeffrey's chauffeur, Ernie then drove us back to our hotel in Sir Jeffrey's Bentley limo. He made arrangements for us to see a show on the west end that evening and another one the following evening of the "Mouse Trap" which was then London't longest running show. The following morning Ernie picked us up at the hotel and took us up to Windsor Castle where he had arranged a special tour for us which was really impressive. The Gurka's were the guards and we watched them Change the Guard. Ernie informed us that they also were guarding St. Jame's Castle and the locals had quickly learned not to tease them like they were used to doing with the Guards, because the "bloody little buggers take it very seriously and will come at you with the bayonet!" After Windsor on the way back to London we stopped at Hurley on Thames at the Old Bell Inn which we were informed was the 2nd oldest in England. We had drinks and a fabulous stead dinner that was cooked to perfection with the same color gray in the center as on the outside.

All in all it was a great trip and we got to see a lot of history. I was blown away at the dates of when things were built and how ancient they were while wondering how they raised up those huge stones so high and so forth with the technology they had back then.

Semper Fi

8th & I Marine David "DB" Wright, Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Band, 1965-1974, Alpharetta, GA


2-14-13 ... My name is Brad Van Hazel, I was a body bearer from 1977 -1980. I was the Body Bearer Section Leader (Sgt.) from 1979 - 1980. When I arrived at 8th & I in February 1977 the Body Bearers were a part of the Old Ceremonial Guard Company. Captain Biddle was our Company Commander. I actually tried out and was selected for the Silent Drill Team for the 1977 Parade Season. In 1978 Company A & B was formed. The Body Bearers were assigned to 1st Platoon, B Company with the Color Guard. Captain Natonski was our Company Commander. Captain Natonski retired as a Lt. General and the most decorated active duty Marine in 2010. I still stay in contact with Lt. General Natonski who resides there in Virginia. Colonels Rice and Monahan were our Barracks Commanders during my time there at 8th & I.

I have a scrap book with many of the funerals we performed at Arlington Cemetery. Some of the saddest funerals were the KIA's from Viet Nam.

During my service there, each Body Bearer had to be able to Bench Press 315 Lbs. and Curl 150 Lbs. Cpl. Tom Creekmore was the strongest Body Bearer. He could Bench Press 405 Lbs. (Four plates) five times. We called Tom “no neck” because he had a 20” neck. He looked massive in his Dress Blues. We also had to maintain a 1st Class PFT Score as well. We lifted weights six days a week and ran five days a week. The entire Section would run down to the mall weekly and play tackle football.

We had to go through an initiation before being accepted as a Body Bearer, (We called the new guys boots). The initiation usually took place somewhere during your first 90 days assigned to the Section. My initiation consisted of being stripped of all my clothing, naked, then held down and beat under both arms and inside my legs until they bleed. Then my entire body was taped like a mummy and a tube of ben gay shot up my ass. They left me laying inside the hallway of the barracks for a couple of hours while Marines would file by to take a look. That night of my initiation the entire Section took me out and we got shit faced. Lastly, that night I was taken to a tattoo parlor and had a tattoo put on my left arm above the sleeve line.

We had a tradition of flexing like the hulk after a funeral and ripping our Dress Blues Blouse all the way down the middle of the back. We would them have to go over the tailor located across the street from the Main Entrance to the Barracks and get fitted for another blouse.

The Body Bearers were treated with respect and no one screwed with us. We occupied the second floor of the barracks down from the Company Headquarters Office and no one would come down our hallway without our approval.

I was involved with burying Hubert Humphrey and Mamie Eisenhower during my tenure there at 8th & I. My favorite funerals were the Full Honors Funerals at Arlington. To this day I can still hear the beat of the drum from the Drum and Bugle Corps. as we marched to the grave site behind the caisson at Arlington Cemetery.

I left 8th & I in November 1980 and went back to college to complete by Bachelor Degree. I was accepted into the PLC Program and attended OCS at Quantico between my Junior and Senior Year of College in 1981. Prior to my graduation I decided not to get my commission as a Second Lieutenant and instead accepted an offer as Operations Manager for Pinkerton Security (Pinkerton Detective Agency). Pinkerton was acquired by Securitas Security Services in 1999. I've been with them now for 30 Years, since I left the Corps.

I have fond memories and still to this day take great pride in being a Body Bearer. Let me know how I can assist you in keeping the tradition going for the Body Bearer Section.

Semper Fi,
Brad VanHazel, Body Bearers and Silent Drill Platoon, 1977-1980, Broomfield, CO

I served at "8th & I" from March of '71 til October of '72. I started with Ceremonial Guard Company at the Washington Navy Yard. They needed a postal clerk at H&S Company and they seen that I had worked in the company office at 3rd Tanks in Okinawa so they transferred me to H&S Company to do this job. After a couple of months they received a Marine that held the MOS of postal clerk and he took over. I was then transferred to Guard Section where I became Corporal of the Guard until I was honorably discharged In October of '72. I had some great times in D. C. I seen most of the monuments and a lot of the Smithsonian. Also done a lot of partying down on 14th Street. I met a lot of great Marines. My best friends were Sgt Scott, Cpl Sagale, Sgt Knapp, Cpl Mericle, L/Cpl Runyon and L/Cpl Pankow. Can't wait to get back to the 2013 reunion.

Submitted by Dennis May


Sgt Maj Creedon was unique as I had never before heard of, not witnessed, anyone reach the rank of SgtMaj without having been a 1stSgt. I'm sure others have, but I recall the talk in the SNCO Club at the time none of us had ever heard of it before in any of the other SNCO's knowledge. For the life of me I can't positively recall if this Marine had been a MSgt or a MGySgt, but I believe he was a MGySgt. I do recall he was assigned to MCI Company before his lateral rank move to SgtMaj at the Barracks. I often shared a table with him in the Mess Hall for lunch and he was an astounding Marine by any standard. I vividly recall he had red hair, wore glasses and, even though he became SgtMaj via such an unusual route after the shock wore down he was highly respected and regarded by every SNCO at the Barracks. I believe it was the Colonel who was the predecessor, between Col Cooper and Col Graham (whose name slips me right now but was a good guy and CO) who upon the retirement of SgtMaj Neil King who, knowing and respecting MGySgt Creedon went to CMC and requested this unique lateral rank move.

I had submitted a request to resign from the Corps as I really wanted to take a shot at being a police officer and the county we lived in (Charles County) had just obtained a Federal Grant to hire a large group of new officers for their Sheriff's Office which functioned as the County Police as well. It had been granted, after a number of “career counseling sessions” during which I remained steadfast. But when I received the reply from HQMC I, as had the Brks Admin Officer, quickly noted it was highly unusual. Normally all such requests had an effective date in it and I had requested it to be effective 30 June 1974. Every Marine SNCO was aware Officers could “Resign” but very few knew of, the well hidden, MarCor Order which permitted SNCO's in the rank of GySg E7 and above to Request Permission to Resign. So with no “effective date” assigned to my granted permission to resign reply I was literally on an, opened ended, day by day, upset me and I'm gone today or tomorrow status. The Brks Admin Officer had summoned me to his office and explained the unique situation I was in and then took me down to see Col Cooper. In the Colonel's Office it was explained that the Barracks had a very unique “crisis” that had to be addressed immediately! A routine check by someone had discovered that few Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard personnel (especially enlisted) required to have a White House "Yankee Zulu” Top Secret Clearance had an up to date one. SO all the military ceremonial commands in the Military District of DC were “Under The Gun” to correct this issue ASAP! I was asked when I intended to separate from the Corps and I said 30 June (6 months away from then) and after a nod of the head from the S1 Col Cooper “asked” if I would accept the duties of Barracks Security Clearance Section NCOIC. They explained that the position had been held by a Sgt, but because of the need to quickly address this problem that it needed a SNCO and one with admin skills. I really wanted to know a bit more so asked if I could meet with the Marines assigned to that section, which they agreed would be a good idea.

That section operated out of one of the “SNCO” billeting rooms immediately to the south of the center walk ladder well, which lead all the way up to the D&B's Offices and Rehearsal Room in the Center Tower section of the Barracks. These were 4 or 5 small rooms lining each side of the center passage way to the south half of the barracks with one being a small head for their use. They office was the 1st one on the parade deck side from the ladder well. I found a LCpl and PFC working in the office and introduced myself and explained what I had been asked to do and asked them to tell me what their problems were to get the job done? They were reluctant at first but finally with a little coaxing they explained the problem was two fold; 1. Company's breaking appointments, delaying and simply not cooperating to provide their Marines to begin, correct, or respond clearance issues and 2. A little to no response from the other units above the Barracks involved in the Clearance Process.

When I returned to the Colonel's office I explained the issue I had learned of and said I'd take the job and get the problems fixed BUT I would need the Colonel's backing when I ran into the problems with Officers and senior SNCO's in providing their personnel for necessary meetings. The Colonel called the SgtMaj down and in his presence told me all I had to do was pick up the phone or knock on their hatches and they would resolve those issues on the spot.

I took all the manuals explaining the entire process to obtain a security clearance home with me that night and devoured them. The next morning I opened up the office and when the PFC and LCpl came in WE held a field day and rearranged the office to maximize the use of space. After getting a list of phone numbers of all the other players in the process above the Barracks I called and made appointments to meet with my counterparts at those locations over the rest of that week and requested a staff car and driver for that travel. I was told by the motor pool that wouldn't be possible but after a call from the SgtMaj suddenly one because available. Over the rest of that week I traveled to the Pentagon to Sec Nav's Office, Sec Def's Office, HQMC, and the Military Aide's Office in the White House to introduce myself to my counterparts in those sections that dealt with the process involved in obtaining a clearance. Then I went to Ft Hollibird up in Baltimore where the Defense Background Investigation Headquarters was located and made my manners with them. At each office I introduced myself, explained the new emphasis placed on resolving our issues as quickly as possible, evidence by a GySgt assigned by the Colonel and listened to what the main issues were for rejections of clearance requests and forms. I had gone out of my way to forge a personal direct channel relationship with my counterpart at each of those levels which proved invaluable once problems arose and they discovered I really would work with them as promised.

The following week I sat alongside the LCpl and PFC while they did the lengthy interview with Marines starting the process to obtain the clearance. The most difficult part was obtaining the address for every location the Marine had lived, and this generally required a followup appointment to give them time to contact their parents and obtain this information. To shorten that I obtained permission from the S1 Officer for the section to make long distance calls on the spot to shorten and do away with followup appointments by having the Marine call from our office. Within that second week one of our scheduled appointments failed to show so I called that company's Gunny and inquired why. Ceremonial commitment was the reply so I chatted with his 1stSgt and was given the same line. I called the Co Commander who backed up the Gunny and 1stSgt. I went down to the S1's office and he made a call to the Co CO and got the same line. While we had coffee in the Col's Office with the SgtMaj that Co CO and his 1stSgt joined us. The Col explained the crisis and "asked for their help” and the section had not more NO SHOWS for appointments. The next time I saw that 1stSgt and Co Gunny in the SNCO Club I explained the problem in more detail and smoothed down the feathers I had ruffled.

By the end of those six months the Barracks had made more headway resolving this crisis than any of the other services and had either renewed lapsed clearances, or gained new ones quicker than my counterparts had in there other services because of those relationships and follow on cooperation with all those offices I had visited at the beginning. In those early “manners” visits I had discovered I was the only one from any of the services who had made the effort to come to them, met them, and listen to their problems and issues and then attempt to work with them. A Name with a Face was an early lesson I had learned as a young LCpl working for a MSgt. It was the largest single factor that enabled us to “beat” our sister services in resolving this issue. Semper Fi

Submitted by David "DB" Wright, Drum & Bugle Corps and Band, 1965-1974 / USMC 1959-1974, Vietnam veteran, retired police officer, Las Vegas, NV

  :   : 

The two pics are of the Dremesi Flag presentation in '72 in a tent on the White House lawn for the Pow's return.
The Color Guard pic is also a '72 photo with Color Sergeant Tim Hughes & myself USMC Color Bearer.

Submitted by Bobby McPherson

Submitted by Dennis Steinhorst


Pass in Review, July 1974

Submitted by David "DB" Wright, Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Band,
1965-1974 / USMC, 1959-1974, Vietnam veteran, retired police officer, Las Vegas, NV


From time to time I write up short stories about incidents and things that happened while I was at the Barracks, of course with my habit of looking at the humor in them, or just how ludicrous some bright, highly Ivy League educated young 2nd LT would come up with what caused idiotic work on the part of a lot of H&HS troops. A lot of the events were vital to what made the Barracks the Barracks, but through time and certain CO's were massive over displays of senior leaders (Officer & Senior SNCO's).

In 62-64 in aviation, I served with several very senior Sergeant's (back in the days of slow promotions) in our squadron who had served tours at the Barracks. They often told me stories about how there used to be yellow stripes painted on the arcade every precise inch of the official 8th & I marching pace and when walking on the arcade everyone had to march and hit those lines or they would be challenged by an officer or NCO who saw them miss a mark. Of the special chrome-plated mess kits with fork, spoon, & knife, even the metal ends of the Pup Tent Shelter Half being chrome plated as well. One of the old SNCO's who was still at the barracks when I got there actually still had set of that stuff and showed it to me. Said he kept it as a reminder of just how silly the place could be.

Did you know that CMC McPate's wife thought the dungaree covers of the Marines utilities made them look like convicts? As a result, they were never worn around the Barracks but instead, the Barracks Cover was worn with the utilities!

I don't know if you have ever read the book authored by Col Jim Bathurst or not. It is titled “WE'LL ALL DIE AS MARINES!” I'm sure you have met Col Jim. He and I still stay in contact as he was one of the finest Marines I ever served with, or around. Well in his book he has several chapters devoted to his time as the Commander of the Silent Drill Team, Color Guard, and Body Bearers and serving under Col Graham. He also writes with a bit of humor. Col Graham was the ONLY OFFICER that I ever saw, or heard of, who at a beer blast the SNCO's and Officers would stand together telling stories about their CO - Col Graham and his “YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT THE SILLY SOB DID THIS TIME!” And I mean from the XO and SgtMaj to the most junior SSgt and 2nd Lt presenting the group. When the Col checked into the Barracks I was a SSgt in the D&B. Then in Spring of 70, I was asked to transfer to the Band as their PIO and did so. Of course, being the anal person I am, I pulled all the MCO's on the Band and quickly discovered that the Band was a “tenant command” billeted on the Post and thus were not under the Brks CO but reported directly to CMC & the President of the United States. Of course, an assigned Aide de Camp to CMC was specifically assigned to handle our needs and I ended up being the go-between. Col Graham had early on seemed to have taken a special interest in me and I sort of went bit out of my way to tease him back, but always playing him by the book to the hilt!

I was waiting for the date of my transfer and was coming down the Arcade and here came Col Graham. I saluted smartly and greeted him, “GOOD MORNING COL GRAHAM!” Got a nod and return salute with his trademark glare. Several paces past him I heard him, “SERGEANT WRIGHT!” I halted, executed a by the book About Face and there, was the Colonel standing with his legs spread, hands-on-hips (the famous I'm the lord god high Colonel) pose with his neck jutting forward and glaring at me in obvious anger. I marched smartly back slamming to attention 18 inches away, sharply saluted holding it as I sounded off, “STAFF SERGEANT WRIGHT REPORTING TO THE COLONEL - SIR!” He tossed his hand in a movie USAF type of salute and walked slowly around me, obviously look my greens over carefully. Then back in front of me, he advised me, “SERGEANT WRIGHT I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE BEING TRANSFERRED OVER TO THE BAND AS THEIR PIO!” “YES SIR”. He then moved in close, as if he was a DI and I a recruit, and in his nastiest voice, “I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU GROWING A MUSTACHE LIKE THOSE MAKE BELIEVE MARINES IN THE BAND DO SGT WRIGHT! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” “ABSOLUTELY COLONEL. THE STAFF SERGEANT IS NOT TO GROW A MUSTACHE - SIR!” He glared at me again, then turned and stormed down the arcade as Marines leaped through doors into the Barracks to escape his wrath.

Well after my in-depth reading and discovering I was no longer beneath the Barracks CO's regulations and orders, I commenced growing a mustache which I hated with a passion. I managed to evade the Colonel until I had it grown in full and then I laid for him watching out the front window. Here came Col Graham like a storm up the arcade and out I went. As I approached him I executed a by the book 8th & I snappy salute and sounded off, “GOOD MORNING COLONEL GRAHAM!” AGAIN I was tossed a salute, got a few paces before the expected rang out, “SERGEANT WRIGHT! COME HERE!” I halted, executed an about-face and smartly marched back, slamming to attention precisely 18 inches from the Colonel again executing a Salute, and sounding off - STAFF SERGEANT WRIGHT REPORTING TO COLONEL GRAHAM - SIR!” Right on score, The Colonel slowly walked around me, pausing to each side, intently and minutely moving his head close in to stare at my beautiful mustache (I really did hate the damn thing). Then he was back in front of me with storm clouds all over his face, steam coming from his ears and the veins in his neck standing out like pencils beneath the skin and, for once, in a quiet menacing voice, asked, “DID I NOT GIVE YOU AN ORDER NOT TO GROW A MUSTACHE SERGEANT WRIGHT?” “SIR THE COLONEL DID ISSUE THAT ORDER TO THE STAFF SERGEANT - SIR!” “THEN WHAT IS THAT ON YOUR LIP SERGEANT?” “IT IS A MUSTACHE COLONEL! THE STAFF SERGEANT FULLY OBEYED AND COMPILED WITH THE COLONEL'S ORDER AS LONG AS THE STAFF SERGEANT WAS A MEMBER OF THE COLONEL'S COMMAND. HOWEVER, UPON TRANSFER TO THE US MARINE BAND, THE STAFF SERGEANT'S GROOMING REGULATIONS CHANGED AS DID THE STAFF SERGEANT'S COMMANDING OFFICER AND THUS THE STAFF SERGEANT HAS NOT DISOBEYED THE COLONEL'S ORDER AND IS IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE GROOMING REGULATIONS OF THE STAFF SERGEANT'S CURRENT COMMAND AND COMMANDING OFFICER!” Several officers and SNCO's who had been headed down the arcade seeing this brewing potential nuclear explosion about erupt suddenly recalled being needed elsewhere and fled the scene. The COLONEL damn near had a coronary on the spot but finally whirled around and began to storm off. When you play the game play it to the maximum! “BEGGING THE COLONEL'S PARDON SIR!” I called out. When the Colonel stopped and half way turned back glaring at me, there I stood at the position of Attention and executing a Hand Salute per regulations. “WHAT?” Roared the Colonel. Then in the voice of pure innocence, I quietly said, “SIR THE STAFF SERGEANT IS AWAITING THE REGULATION RETURN OF THE STAFF SERGEANT'S SALUTE?” The Colonel's face turned from reddish-green to pure black! Glaring at me the Colonel slowly raised his hand and executed a salute, then whirled and left. Actually, it was of the better salutes I can recall him ever rendering while at the Barracks.

When I walked into the SNCO club later that afternoon the story had become a new chapter of the book of “WHAT HAS THE COLONEL DONE TODAY!” A day or so later LtCol Cheatham, 6-04 and a former NFL lineman of the Steelers & Colts, who was the Brks XO stopped into the Band's office to visit with Maj Harpham in whose office was also my desk, that of MGySgt John Bourgeois (Later Band Director), and Capt Jack Kline (Later Director). While there and over a cup of coffee Big Earnie asked me if the story about my mustache and Col Graham was true? Then he made me tell him the whole story from beginning to end. He laughed all the way through it, as only Big Earnie could laugh. He often visited our office and delighted in telling us the latest Col Graham story, or hearing our latest experience with the Colonel. Big Earnie was what kept that Barracks from imploding under our Col Graham and he stood like a massive wall protecting the officers, SNCO's, NCO's & Troops from THE Colonel!

Col Graham was a trip and one I've written a few stories about.

Submitted by David "DB" Wright, Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Band, 1965-74 / USMC, 1959-74, Vietnam veteran, retired police officer, Las Vegas, NV

For Photos submitted by Sgt Robert Goodwin,Guard Company, Silent Drill Platoon from 1970 -1972 click here.

To read an excellent article from the August 9, 1971 issue of
Time Magazine featuring the Evening Parade and the "all Vietnam vets" Drill Team,
and Mike Hill's Meritorious Mast citation, click here: time8-9-71.pdf

To read about the 1971 murder of Cpl. E-4 Christopher S. Brady on the steps of Building #58 (Marine Barracks) at the Washington Navy Yard,
click here

To read about the last CGC personnel in Building #58 when the
company moved to the "new" barracks on I Street, click here: memories1970matthews.pdf.

To read about Chet Russo's explanation about Barracks service
and its importance to him today, click here: russo.PDF.

For items collected since the 1970's,
Click here

Anyone having additional submissions for this page should send them to: CGC Webmaster.

Contact us at: 8th&I Reunion Association

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