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Swagger Stick History...

September 28 2002 at 9:19 AM
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Dick G  (Login Dick Gaines)
from IP address

The following is all the info I have been able to document--if anyone else has additional info, please advise.

See the responses at the bottom of following webpage.



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Dick G
(Login Dick Gaines)

Re: Swagger Stick History...

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October 5 2002, 12:41 PM 

Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 16:38:58 +0100
From: "Richard Smith"

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To: "Ukans WW1 list" <wwi-l@raven.cc.ku.edu>
Subject: Re: Swagger Sticks

I agree that swagger sticks have nothing in common with pace sticks, but there are two, older possibilities. The carrying of a stick which was not a weapon goes back to the Roman army, where the 'badge of office' of a centurion was a vine stick, used to motivate the legionaries when necessary (also, of course, the centurion wore his sword on his left, unlike the legionaries, but that's another story).

Nice analogy as it is, I don't think it bears on swagger sticks as such. In the eighteenth century, however, a gentleman always had his cane, used for posing about in a Charles II manner. Officers, of course, carried only a sword as weaponry.

I would suggest that the swagger stick was simply an evolution of that practice, at a time when gentlemen in civvies still carried canes. Incidentally, in "British Infantry Regiments 1660-1914" by AH Bowling there is an illustration of a sergeant carrying a walking cane c1816.

Perhaps this evolved from the spontoon?

Dick Smith
r.c.smith@blueyonder.co.uk r.smith@free.fr www.aulton.demon.co.uk

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Related story....

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October 12 2002, 10:19 AM 

A Sea Story

(from GyG's History/Traditions)

3 January 2000

MILINET: A Sea Story

Contributed By: SSGT Clyde Queen, USMC(HD)


After we left the Chosin Reservoir, we were sent to a place
called Masan for
about two weeks for regrouping, and supplies. We were then sent
into another
battle against the Chinese called the "Spring Offensive."

was there, I
was taken out by concussion from an incoming artillery round.

When I left the hospital, I was sent back to Masan, and assigned
to an MP
unit to await my normal rotation back to the states. This
particular MP unit
guarded Marine Prisoners who had been "bad boys."

They were
awaiting their
trial at a General Court Martial for various heavy duty offenses
they had
committed, ranging from rape to murder in the first degree.

Master Sergeant Bowers, "Gunny Bowers," he preferred to be
called, was in
charge of the MP unit. He was quite a colorful, and salty old
Marine at that.
He found an old Korean walking cane that he carried around with
everywhere he went. One morning a brand new Second Lieutenant
fresh out of
Quantico had arrived in the first Replacement Draft.

One morning as we were standing around a bonfire we had going in
the yard and
drinking coffee, the young Second Lieutenant walked up to Gunny
Bowers with
his hands in his pockets, and said: "Sergeant, I've been here
for three weeks
now, and every time I see you, you've got that God Forsaken
looking stick in
your hands. Do you feel the need to carry that damn thing
around with you
every where you go?"

Gunny Bowers took his pipe out of his mouth, looked the brash
shave-tail up and down, and said: "Well, no Lieutenant, I don't
feel the
need to carry it around. The only reason I do is, "IT HELPS ME
DAMN HANDS OUT OF MY POCKETS!" The Second Lieutenant (jerking
his hands out
of his pockets) turned, and darted away like a puppy dog that
had just been
kicked in the rear end.

Posted on Oct 7, 2002, 8:51 PM
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Semper Fidelis
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
Gunny G's Sites & Forums

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Dick G
(Login Dick Gaines)

Swagger Stick, addendum....

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October 23 2002, 2:29 PM 

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Art Goetz
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The Swagger Stick at 8th & I

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October 24 2002, 3:44 PM 

I served at MB, 8th & I as a S/NCO standing parades and cerimonies during 1958-61. Colonel Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. ( later our Commandant ) was Brks. C. O. for the first two years of my tour there. He loved to hold dress blues inspections periodically and since we all had to carry the swagger stick then, he would require it be with us for inspection. We were required to fall in with the stick in our right hand and when the Colonel approached us for inspection, whip the stick up under our left armpit, and pitty the poor Marine who did not get it there with the eagle on the end of the stick flying facing outboard and with the wings flying level to the ground. Took a bit of practice, but it could be done and was a requirement for these inspections. I guess that just shows how meticulous Marines at that duty station soon learned to become. This is not in anyway offered as a derogatory statement about General Chapman. On the contrary, we all thought very highly of the General who by the way is one of only two 8th & I C.O.'s to ever become Commandant after his tour there, in the long and illustrious history of the old "Post of the Corps".

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Dick Gaines
(Login Dick Gaines)

Swagger Stick/Jim Crowe/Tarawa...

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September 6 2003, 10:32 AM 

Peter Hayes
'Jim' Crowe
Tue Sep 2 05:08:20 2003

Crowe on Red-3,courtesy of Michael Graham's 'Mantle of Heroism':

Crowe's landing craft came under fire coming in--Marines dived for cover but not Crowe who remained standing on the foredeck."The boys all hunched low on the troop deck--all except 'Big Jim'.He remained upright,staring angrily at the positions of the Jap guns."

Crowe's LVCP grounded to a halt five hundred yards from shore,the coxswain frozen in fear.Crowe shouted at him to drop the ramp but to no avail.Crowe ordered his men over the sides.1st Lt Fagan yelled out to Crowe that perhaps they should return to the transport for a coffee break if things did not work out.Crowe burst out laughing and continued wading ashore.

Crowe encountered some men streaming back past him,going in the opposite direction.He turned them around with "the sheer force of his personality"(plus I'd say his sharp tongue).

Fifty yards from shore a crippled LVT was reached,the driver trying to coax it ashore.Crowe and his party sheltered behind it as it reached the beach.It then ran over a mine and was waylaid.Crowe was pitched back into the surf by the force of the explosion but otherwise unharmed.

Crowe ashore 0940 hours.He later estimates the 2/8th Marines casualties as just 25 killed and wounded in the landing.

In 40 minutes the 2/8th had established a hundred-yard front between the sea and the seawall.Crowe was personally committed to getting the attack moving.Ignoring enemy gunfire he paraded defiantly up and down the beach..."move out...get off your asses and over that goddamm wall!"

Few dared to defy Crowe's words or risk his wrath;he clutched his swagger stick in one hand,shotgun in the other.Recalls one marine:"I wasn't about to try and swim away.I figured if I tried to,that old tiger would beat me to death with that cane of his."

The above is a post by Peter Hayes at the Tarawa Talk Forum

This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address on Sep 6, 2003 10:47 AM

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