THE OLD GUNNY SEZ!
The page title above is just something from my memories of many years ago, and since a webpage probably needs a title of one kind or another, it seems to me appropriate for this one.
Back in the late 1940s/early 1950s, there was a radio program called Marines In Review. It was a half-hour show and it was broadcast on Sunday afternoons, and as I had an interest in the Marine Corps at that time, I would regularly listen to it. My favorite uncle had joined the Marines as soon as he was seventeen in the months after Pearl Harbor, and he became a member of the 18th Marines of the Second Marine Division, and saw service at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan/Tinian.
One segment of this show was The Old Gunny Sez, in which the resident old gunny would be queried each Sunday regarding questions that arose regarding the Corps. This venerable old Marine never failed to come up with the information sought by the questioner, due no doubt to his knowledge which was a result of his long and varied service and experience as a Marine. This must have made an impression upon me as I still recall it vividly these fifty-plus years later.
A few years later, about September of 1952, I myself, as a 17 year-old Marine PFC fresh out of Parris Island, reported in to my first duty station at Marine Barracks, Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, Oceanside, California (yes, that's how the orders read then--no zip code, either). There was no ITR in those days (in case you're wondering), though there was a T&R Command (Training and Replacement) which may now be seen roughly the equivalent of ITR, but just for those w/orders for Korea, and 17 year-olds were not eligible for Korea at that time.
A few days later, I decided to go to the 12 Area flik one night--each area had its own theatre and PX, etc. To my surprise, I found that the Marines In Review radio show was being recorded there that night just prior to the showing of the nightly movie--"transcribed," I believe is the word they used for the recording of radio shows in those days. I was also surprised to see that when it came time for The Old Gunny Sez segment, that the Old Gunny's lines were being read into the microphone by a young Pfc or corporal who, strangely enough, sounded exactly like the Old Gunny I had heard so many times years before over the airwaves back in Rhode Island.
In the coming weeks and months, I made it a point to see the show being recorded there on numerous occasions. No doubt I have forgotten the greater part of those shows--but I will always remember having seen General "Chesty" Puller on stage there. Who could forget that! And on another night I sat down in the audience beside a gentleman who was later called to the stage. He was John Hodiak, the star of a movie that had recently been filmed aboard the base (Combat Zone, or maybe Battle Zone, I think). His wife was Anne Baxter, and was also present that night and we spoke briefly. As I have said, I'm sure I have forgotten many other things about that show that I might mention here, but the rest escapes me at the moment.
Anyway, That's how I arrived at the title for this webpage. Since I have seen mention of the old Marines In Review radio show on only one other website, I am happy to make note of it here. Perhaps this will serve to trigger its remembrance to some other old salts out there in cyberspace somewhere. It never ceases to amaze me that so many things of some historical note to the Marine Corps has failed to become documented on the Internet. Memory is a strange thing, sometimes just when we know that we will never again remember where we left our car keys just minutes ago, something will occur to cause memories of long ago to spring back into our minds as though it happened only yesterday.
In recent years since having my own websites and forums on the Internet, I have become more and more interested in some of the more detailed and finer points of Marine Corps history. I have found that certain topics of Marines history have been totally ignored and absent from the Internet. This is a shame, as much of such history could have been preserved, if not by any effort of the Marine Corps itself, then by the many older Marines now discharged, retired, etc.
A couple of examples of this, I have found, were the almost total absence of information on the WWW regarding Evans F. Carlson, and information regarding Marine Corps enlisted ranks and insignia of long ago. In the case of Carlson, almost no websites were available five years ago when I started my own websites on Carlson. Since then, however, numerous sites have sprung up on this subject. In fact, some have even copied my own webpages and posted them to their sites w/o any credit or recognition as to the original author; in one case, the thief has even posted my writings with her own copyright on it on her site--even though the content of the text clearly indicates it is word-for-word from my own webpages. In another case, the thief, a gunnery sergeant--believe it or not, posted my work, and when I e-mailed him regarding this--I found his webpage quite by accident--he stated he would remove my writings as I didn't "deserve" the exposure he was giving my work!
On the topic of history of Marines enlisted rank, there are still only my own sites and, most recently, those of another who has come up w/pictorial information of most of the old enlisted ranks dating back to the early 1900s. The photos of the old enlisted ranks was something I have been trying to obtain for years, but except for a few from reenactors and others, I have been unsuccessful in doing so. There are other topics also where I have attempted to somewhat fill the void--usually only those topics that have been passed over by others, and/or those that appeal to my own interest. I have also attempted to encourage older Marines to set up their own websites and to post their own biographies, personal experiences and service in the Corps, etc. I have seen some progress in this direction, but certainly not as much as there could be and I would like to see.
The above mentioned topics, and many others, are avilable for viewing on Gunny G's Marines Sites & Forums.