Skagit County Detachment No. 1043 Newsletter

Department of Washington

Marine Corps League

Mount Vernon, WA


March 2015



List of Officers…………………………………………………………………………………….2

From the Commandant………………………………………………………………………….3

VA Choice Card…………………………………………………………………………………..4

Special Monthly Compensation……………. ……………………………………………….4

Committed to Hiring Veterans ……………………………………………………………….4

Afghan Weapons Report………………………………………………………………………..5

Marines Surrender Weapons before Yemen Evacuation……………………………..9

Six Marines Credit USAF for saving their lives…………………………………………10

Streets of Heaven ………………………………………………………………………………….11

The Funnies……………………………………………………………………………………… ….12


This newsletter is the unofficial publication of the Skagit County Detachment No. 1043, of the Marine Corps League (MCL), located in Mount Vernon, WA.  The Detachment is subordinate to the Department of WA, MCL.  This publication reflects neither the views nor the opinions of any U.S. government agency nor any private organizations.  This newsletter is published approximately 10 times a year and is free to the members of this Detachment.  Please address all comments or correspondence to the Commandant at the email address or phone number below:

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Commandant:   Shane Inman               (360) 941-0861

Sr Vice Commandant: Dan Walker (360) 880-1206

Jr Vice Commandant: Lee Schuirman  (360) 856-1105

Past Commandant:   Ted Carney         (360) 202-1291

Adjutant:   Dan Cantrell                           (360) 739-6104

Judge Advocate:  Joe Velasco                (360) 391-4930

Paymaster:  Tim Brown                         (360) 708-9199

Sergeant at Arms:   Johnny James        (360) 610-5732

Chaplain  Steve Bruffy                           (360) 466-3248

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DETACHMENT MEETINGS are held once monthly at 7PM on the Third Tuesday of each month.  We meet at:

George Baldridge American Legion Post 43

701 Murdock Street

Sedro Woolley, WA 98284Tel: (360) 855-0520

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Schedule of Events;


20 March                    American Legion Corn beef and Cabbage Dinner

4   April                      Spring Department Staff Conference Yakima

18 April                      MCL Detachment 336 Puget Sound 2015 Annual Pistol Shoot



From the Commandant


Errata:   The February 2015 issue of the Detachment Newsletter published an article in which the Marine Corps plans to do away with Navy medical personnel and replace them with Marine Corps medical personnel.  This is totally false and the Navy will continue to provide Navy medical personnel to the Marine Corps.  The editor has apologized profusely for this glaring error and especially to our Navy corpsmen members.

Name Badges:  I received the first shipment of name badges. If you paid I ordered them and have them see me at the meeting. Dan Cantrell, James Angell, Rick Konz, Sam Sweeney, Ed Marlow, James Hall, and Art Anderson. If you ordered them and haven’t paid…pay me…

Devil Dog Growl Turnout was not so great we will strive to do better next time…many Devil Dogs have received a letter in the mail from Steven Joppa Kennel Dog Robber…DISREGUARD…I repeat..DISREGUARD…our pound is going nowhere and we are not delinquent in anything.

Spring Staff Conference:  Will be held on the weekend of 4 April at the Oxford Suites in

Yakima.  If you have never attended one of these events, plan to attend this one.  It will give you a chance to meet many other members, and it’s a lot of fun.

Convention:   The annual Department Of Washington convention will be held during the 25 to 28 June.


Semper Fi,

Shane Inman


VA Choice Card

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Choice Card Program is a new, temporary benefit that will begin to cover non-VA care for eligible veterans already enrolled in VA health care.  Veterans are eligible to Choice Card benefits if any of the following conditions apply:

  1. They were told by their local VA medical facility that they need to wait more than 30 days from their preferred appointment date or the date medically determined by their physician.

2.  Their current residence is more than 40 miles to the closest VA health facility, or

3.  They face significant travel hardships to get to the nearest VA health care facility.

For more information on the Choice Card Program call 866-606-8198 or contact your county veteran service officer.

Special Monthly Compensation

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)   Program may provide benefits in addition to, or instead of, disability compensation if there is a loss (or loss of use of) a limb, sight, speech, hearing, mobility ,sexual organ or for certain other disabilities.

There may be eligibility for SMC if the veteran is unable to leave the house or bed without help or is in need of regular help from another person in performing the basic tasks of everyday life such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and transferring.  Because VA’s SMC program is one of the most confusing and intricate program that the VA offers, it is important that you seek assistance from an accredited veteran service officer.

Committed to Hiring Hundreds of Veterans

At Hertz we share the military’s value of discipline, hard work, and dedication.  Start your civilian career with a company that can provide endless opportunity and a career path that lets you choose where you want to be.  Whether you are looking for an entry level position or a management role, Hertz can provide the opportunity to grow, learn and be challenged as well as provide you with the tools to succeed.  Come back and join a team that appreciates all that you have done for your country and is ready to help you use your skills to better your life.


Afghan Weapons Report

This is from a Marine in Afghanistan, his buddy Jordan provides many of the details.  No politics, just a Marine with a bird’s eye view.

U.S. Weapons.

1.  The M-16.  Thumbs down.  Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there.  The sand is everywhere.  Jordan says you feel filthy two minutes after coming out of the shower.  The M-4 Carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also.  They lack the ability to mount the various optical gun sights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.  Hate the 5.56mm (.223) round.  Poor penetration on the cinder block commonly found over there.  Even torso shots can’t be reliably counted on to put the enemy down.

Fun Fact.

1.  Random autopsies on dead insurgents show a high level of opiate use.

2.  The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon) .223 caliber drum fed light machine gun.  Big thumbs down.  Universally considered a piece of sxxt.  Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly (that’s fun in the middle of a firefight).

3.  The M9 Beretta (9mm) pistol.  Mixed bag.  Good gun performs well in desert environment, but all hate the 9mm cartridge.  The use of a handgun for self-defense is actually fairly common.  Same old story on the 9mm.  Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

4.  Mossberg 12 gauge Military shotgun.  Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.  (Great weapon – I used these when transporting prisoners.)

5.  The M240 Machine Gun.   7.62 NATO (.308) cal belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was).  Thumbs up.  Accurate, reliable and the 7.62 round puts ’em down.  Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.

6.  The M-2  .50 cal heavy machine gun.  Thumbs way up.  “Ma deuce” is still worth her considerable weight in gold.  The ultimate fight stopper – puts their dicks in the dirt every time.  The most coveted weapon in-theater.


  1. The .45 pistol.  Thumbs up.  Still the best pistol around out there.  Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one.  With few exceptions, one can reliably be expected to put ‘em down with a torso hit.  The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it.  The old government model .45’s are being reissued en masse.

8.  The M-14.  Thumbs up.  They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special op guys.  Modifications include light weight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights.  Very reliable in the sandy environment and they love the 7.62 round.

9.  The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle.  Thumbs way up.  Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train.  Used frequently to takeout vehicle suicide bombers (we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy.  It is definitely here to stay.

10.  The M-24 sniper rifle.  Thumbs up.  Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag.  Heavily modified Remington 700’s .  Great performance.  Snipers have been used heavily to great effect.  Rumor has it that a Marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock’s record for confirmed kills with over 100.

11.  The new body armor.  Thumbs up.  Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs, and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round. The bad news is that it’s hot as hell to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages 120 degrees).  Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible.  All this bull sxxt about the “old” body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED’s was a nonstarter.  IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn’t make any difference at all in most cases.

12.  Night vision and Infrared Equipment. Thumbs way up.  Spectacular performances.  Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period.  Very little enemy action after evening prayers.  More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter killer teams.  We’ve all seen the videos.

13.  Lights. Thumbs up.   Most of the weapons mounted and personal lights are sure fires, and the troops love them.  Invaluable for night urban operations.  Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G-2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.  I can’t help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old.  With all our technology, it’s the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants.  The infantry fighting is frequent up close and brutal.  No quarter is given or shown.


Bad Guy Weapons.

1.  AK-47. The entire country is an arsenal.  Works better in the desert than the M-16 and the .308 Russian rounds kills reliably.  PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective.  Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like sxxt.  Undisciplined “spray and pray” type firepower.  However they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles (Iran again).

2.  RPG.  Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys simple, reliable and as common as dog sxxt. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range.  Still killing a lot of our guys.

3.  The IED.  The biggest killer of all.  Can be anything from an old Soviet anti-armor mine to jury rigged artillery shells.  A lot found in Jordan’s area were in abandoned cars.  The enemy would take 2 or 3 155mm artillery shells and wire them together.  Most were detonated by cell phone and the explosions are enormous.  You’re not safe in any vehicle, even an M-1 tank.  Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there.  Lately they are much more sophisticated “shape charges” (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.

Fact.  Most of the readymade IED’s are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics.  That’s why their attacks have been so deadly lately.  Their concealment method are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cider blocks that litter all Iraqi roads.  We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

4. Mortars and rockets.  Very prevalent.  The Soviet era 122 mm rockets (with an 18 km range) are becoming more prevalent.  One of Jordan’s NCO’s lost a leg to one.  These weapons cause a lot of damage “inside the wire.”  Jordan’s base was hit daily almost the entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (it did).  More of a psychological weapon than anything else.  The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds and then haul ass in a matter of seconds.

Fun Fact.  Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight.  They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness.  Let’s just say they know better now.

Bad guy technology.  Simple, yet effective.  Most communications is by cell and satellite phones and also by email and laptops.  They use hand held GPS units for navigation and “Google earth” for overhead views of our positions.  Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent.  Their explosive and bomb technology is top of the line.  Night vision is rare.  They are very careless with their equipment and the GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.


Who are the bad guys?  These are mostly “foreigners” non-Afghan Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe).  Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in various “sacrifice squads.”   Most however, are hard terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc).  These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off.

The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasians) are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters.  They have been fighting the Russians for years.  The terrorists have been very adept at infiltrating the Afghan local government, the police forces, and the Army.  They have had a spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80’s.

Bad guy tactics.  When they are engaged at an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time.  Brave, but stupid.  Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur.  They will literally sacrifice 8 to 10 men teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AKs and RPGs directly at our bases just to probe the defenses.  They get mowed down like grass every time (see M-2 and M-240 above).    Jordan’s base was hit like this often.  When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand.  Instead we call in air and that’s the end of that more often than not.  These hole-ups are referred to as “Alpha Whiskey Romeos” (Allah’s Waiting Room).  We have laser guided air to ground thing down to a science.  The fast movers, mostly Marine F-18s are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy.  When caught out in the open, helicopter gun ships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night.  Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all.

Fun Facts.   The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45 to 50 thousand.  That is why we’re seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, and suicide bomber attacks.  The new strategy is just simple attrition.  The most frustrating tactic is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover.  They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons, and ammo and flee to when engaged.

They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for inflicting civilian casualties.  They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans.  Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people that are trying to influence but can’t reach such as local govt officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.


The first thing our guys are told is “don’t get captured.”  They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet.  They openly offer bounties for anyone who brings in a live American serviceman.  This motivates the criminal element who otherwise doesn’t give a sxxt about the war.  A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to them.  As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death.  Surrender is not an option.  The Afghanistani are a mixed bag.  Some fight well, others aren’t worth a damn.  Most do okay with American support.

Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better.  Many Afghani were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and police forces went right up, along with their motivation.  It also led to an exponential increase in good Intel because the Afghani are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.

Morale.  According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high.  They not only believe that they are winning, but that they are winning decisively.  They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them.  The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted.  Our guys are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20 to 1 and then see lies like “Are we losing in Iraq” on TV and the print media.  For the most part, our guys are satisfied with their equipment, food, and leadership.  Bottom line though, and they all say this is that there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there are not enough troops in theater to shut down the borders  with Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The Iranians and the Syrians just can’t stand the thought of Afghanistan being an American ally with of course permanent U.S. Bases there.

Marines Surrender Weapons Before Yemen Evacuation

Published February 11, 2015, Sanaa Yemen

By Richard Sisk

The U.S. State Department decided to evacuate the embassy in Yemen.  U.S. Embassy Marines destroyed all of their crew served weapons as they evacuated the country with diplomatic personnel under orders from the State Department.  The Marine Corps said in a statement Wednesday night.  “To be clear, no Marine handed a serviceable weapon to a Houthi or had one taken from him,” the Marines said in a statement distributed by the Pentagon.

Earlier Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman, Col Steve Warren said that the Embassy Marines had destroyed their crew-served weapons with sledge hammers at the embassy but took with them their personal weapons such as M-9 pistols and M-4 carbines to the airfield in the capital city of Sanaa.

“The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the ordered departure with only personal weapons.  Upon arrival at the airfield, their personal weapons were rendered inoperable.  Specifically each bolt was removed from its body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers.”   The same with the receivers of their carbines.


Six Surrounded Marines Credit USAF Pilots with Saving their Lives

By the time Capt Jeremiah “Bull” Parvin and 1stLt Aaron Calvazos arrived over the Afghanistan battlefield on Oct 28 2010, six special operations Marines cut off from the rest of their unit had been fighting off 50 to 60 insurgents for two hours in close quarters combat.  They had not received close air support because F-18s on scene were unable to fly beneath low cloud cover according to

Despite having no adequate maps to help guide them through the narrow four-mile wide valley, Parvin and Calvazos descended below.  We just kind of picked our best access to get down there and hoped for the best, and this is also happening at twilight, so this also made it pretty difficult as well.  But we did both make it down there, and once we got underneath the weather there was more of a firefight than I ever expect to see in Afghanistan” Calvazos recounted in a video featured on

The pilots turned on the exterior lights of their aircraft, intentionally presenting a visual target for the insurgents in order to draw their fire from the Marines, reported the Air force Times.  With the help of enemy coordinates relayed by the joint terminal attack controller and infrared strobe lights to mark the Marines position, Parvin and Calvazos were able to make multiple death strafing attacks.  Their accuracy was crucial, as they effectively targeted enemy positions as close as 20 meters from the Marines.

During the course of engagements, the A-10 Warthogs flew as low as 400 feet above the ridge lines.  “I would have rather hit the mountain and at least try to save them versus fly above the weather and listen to them fight and die on the radio.” Calvazos said in an interview.

Before the A-10s arrived the Marines were surrounded with nowhere left to retreat.  They had suffered two wounded and were taking fire immediately outside the windows of the house they were holed up in and even from an inside hallway.  The house itself had caught on fire.

Thanks to the air cover, the Marines were able to withdraw from the house back to the safety of their base.  Running low on ammunition, Parvin and Calvazos continued to fire enough well placed rounds to slow the enemy’ pursuit.  By the end of their eight hour mission there were only 100 rounds left in Parvin’s A-10 out of 1,350 rounds.

On 16 February 20l5, the Air Force awarded both pilots the Distinguished Flying Cross with valor in January


The Streets of Heaven

Trying to sit down for a quiet brew in Tun Tavern , the ghost of Dan Dailey complained that the ghost of Chesty Puller “doesn’t know when to shut up.”

“We’re supposed to be guarding the streets of heaven, and I know our seventh general order ‘talk to no one except in the line of duty’ says Dailey.  “But he goes running his mouth to every new angel we get up here.”

“Hi, I’m Chesty puller.  I won five Navy Crosses” mimicked Dailey in a girlish falsetto.

“Sxxt I have one of those, right next to my two medals of honor.”

“Blah, blah, blah, Japanese hordes in Guadalcanal, blah blah blah Chinese hordes in Korea’” Dailey continued, mimicking Puller “Wow.   Because I would not know anything about Chinese hordes, like when I was single-handedly killing dozens of them in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion.”

“And I don’t recall having on call artillery or air power to back me up.”

The ghosts of other famous Marines reluctantly agreed that someone needs to take Puller out to the tree line especially after Dailey complained.

“Come on you sons of bitches, do you want to listen to this sxxt forever?”

“War is a racket” said the ghost of Smedley Butler, “But not half the racket that axxhole makes every night.”

When some Marine ghosts defended Puller, the most vocal critics are usually former Marines who served with Puller and died under his command. Their views are echoed by a lone survivor – John Basilone.

“Chesty was my CO (on Guadalcanal)” Basilone said, reflecting on the 1942 battle, “and I’ve noticed that most of the pro Chesty Puller crowd never actually served under him.   I always asked our new arrivals if they ever met Chesty Puller, and they usually say no.”

“There is a good reason for that” Basilone said before saying “HE GOT THEM ALL KILLED.’

Other Marines from earlier conflicts think that the controversy over Puller is just bunch of boots whining, in the words of the ghost John Mackie.

“I was the first Marine to have been awarded the Medal of Honor, and what do I get?  The worst barracks in the Marine Corps named after me.” complained Mackie, whose namesake graces Marine Corps Base, Hawaii’s Mackie Hall, not far from a river sewage called “Sxxt creek” by its residents.  “Marine just needs to harden the hell up.”

“Trapped in the jungle for weeks, literally running out of food, having to shoot our native guides when they mutinied.  Oh wait, that was Samar, which nobody remembers anymore.”

“It’s always hell to get these historical legends with their PR machine and laundry list of extraordinary achievements, who think they have the right to just come up here and jump the chain of command,” said Quick.  At least Al Gray is not dead yet.


The Funnies

Dentist:  A guy goes to a female dentist to have a tooth extracted.  She pulled out a large syringe to give an anesthetic shot.  “No way, no needles. I hate needles” the man exclaimed.

So she started to hook up the nitrous oxide tank, and the man said, “I can’t do the gas thing.  Just the thought of having a mask on my face suffocates me!”

The dentist then asked the patient if he had any objection of taking a pill.  “No.” he says “I’m fine with pills.  So the dentist gave him two little blue pills and he swallowed them.

“What are those?” he asked. ”Viagra.” she replied.  “I’ll be darned,” said the patient “I didn’t know that Viagra worked as a pain killer?”

“It doesn’t,” said the dentist,”but it will give you something to hang on to when I pull your tooth.”

Interesting Observation:

1.  The sport for the urban poor is BASKETBALL

2.  The sport of choice for front line workers is FOOTBALL

3.  The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BOWLING

4.  The sport of choice for supervisors is BASEBALL

5.  The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS

6.  The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF

The amazing facts are the higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.   There must be a boat full of people in Washington playing marbles.

Medical Advice:  “Can anyone here tell me what food is it that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?”

After several seconds of quiet, a 75 year old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said “Wedding cake.”


© 2010 Skagit Valley Marines. All rights reserved.