When the big rank turnover occurred in the MC, and we went from 148 enlisted ranks to 7, I was a newly minted Platoon Sergeant (1 rocker). Along with the other line Marines I took a dim view indeed of "technicians" assuming the chevrons of what had been line ranks. For instance, if a platoon of 45 Master Technical Sergeants, (3 Flat), and one Line Private was assembled, the Line Private became the platoon commander since all line ranks were considered senior to all technical ranks.
After the changeover I personally never addressed a staff NCO as "Sergeant," unless I knew that he was "line." On the other hand, if I knew a Marine who was in fact a Platoon Sergeant, or a Gunnery Sergeant, I addressed him as such.
The old rank "Master Gunnery Sergeant," and I knew and respected several Marines of that rank in the 5th Marines between WW II and Korea, were almost always addressed as simply "Gunny." A very few of these old and wise Marine MGySgts were truly of the old school, having enlisted in the 1920s and of foreign birth. One such was a MGySgt Horyna, a bunkmate in the same Quonset Hut Staff NCO Quarters on Guam. Gunny Horyna was a very slim Marine, probably 6' 4" or so. Of a lithe build, when he stood it was as though he were unwinding to attain his full height. He had a mustache to die for and seen nowhere else that I know of except Kaiser Bill's army during WW I. As he talked he would wind the tips of his mustaches. Naturally his nickname was "Da Houza," meaning in Chinese "big mustache." Possibly his most outstanding feature, other than broken English and mustache, was his eyes. The latter were pale blue, and had a sparkle in them, especially when he was amused, that I never saw before or since.
Another denizen of the same quonset hut was MGySgt Thompson. This Marine was called "Tommy" by most of the other SNCOs. The fact that he was called by his nickname rather than his rank as GySgt Horyna was, in no way infers that anyone who knew "Tommy" had any less respect for him than for Horyna. After the 1stProvMarBrigade, BGen Edward Craig, Commanding, it was announced that officers and SNCOs would be able to bring their families to Guam. The Marine Corps engineers then cleared the jungle from a promontory, or spit of land that overlooked the ocean, laid out streets and house sites.
Then after the approval of transportation for the SNCOs dependents, the Marine Corps dumped a highly modified Quonset Hut on the site, and it was up to the individual SNCO to build his own house. OF COURSE, WHEN THE HOUSE WAS CONSTRUCTED AND INSPECTED THE HOUSING ALLOWANCE FOR A MARRIED SNCO WAS DEDUCTED FROM HIS PAY. Officers were treated in an identical manner, and furthermore as is typical of my Beloved Corps, moving into these "Government Quarters" were to be on a one-to-one basis. In other words, the number of Officers families in the quarters built by the Officers themselves were never to be more than in the Staff NCO section. Further, Officers were forbidden to hire enlisted men to help construct their quarters. For Gunny Thompson and other SNCOs who had applied to bring their families out there were no restrictions on getting help from whomever volunteered to help them. Suffice it to say that the 5th Marines turned out in mass to help our fellow SNCOs create their quarters. We'd have also helped our Officers as well except that such help, even when clearly volunteered was strictly forbidden.
The quarters when constructed were essentially two bedroom and one bath. However, the sides of the Quonset had been eliminated and replaced with screening. It's hard to describe them, but suffice it to say that they must have been pleasant to live in. After years of separation from their dependents anything that would reunite the families would have been considered perfect.
And that's the way it was....Salute! Semper Fidelis, Sully
All Marines die in either the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive our own mortality. It is belonging to something which gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing.
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