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One Bullet Away
A Look at 1st Recon's SgtMaj
Then 1stSgt LeHew with 1/4
On Medals

By Corporal Robert L. Black, USMC.......Comedian

It has come to the attention of the author that many Marines have come under the traditional disease affecting all E-5 and below at the end of a deployment: Medal Fever. (Not syphilis, unless you're in the S-2) What warm blooded American Marine doesn't want some more shine on his chest? It makes a wonderful clinking noise and is directly connected to the size of your penis. But at the end of this deployment you have to ask yourself: what have we done this float? I know that the Marines who have been with One Four for more than this tour will say "Not much," and the Junior Marines might say "When's chow?" but what makes a medal worth the price to get it mounted? I've heard of people wanting, demanding really, something more than the standard sea service deployment ribbon and GWOT. Actually, I only heard it because I live with the S-1 and their ability to bitch about paperwork for awards deserves a medal in itself. Granted, if we were army unit we would rate approximately 143 different awards including non-sensical ones like "Grenade Expert" and "Haven't Shot Self in the Foot [yet] Medal."

As Marines we're used to getting awards that are too low for heroic actions in combat and too high for day to day life in garrison. Corporal Criss shot a rampaging waterbuffalo while flying through the air and he didn't even get a certificate of commendation. And some people get Navy Achievement Medals for filing reports in the office. Please. I'd be more proud for "Successful Completion of Arts and Crafts, First Kindergarten Division, 1990."

For the sake of argument, lets look at the most outrageous discrepancy in awards One Four has ever seen: First Sergeant Lehew's Navy Cross. Not to say it was too high of an award, oh no, his Navy Cross should have been a Congressional Medal of Honor. As a matter of fact, the military should have made a higher award than the Medal of Honor and gave it to First Sergeant Lehew…twice. Like "The Presidential Poon-tang 100% Awesome Award" or "Distinguished Achievement in the field of American Ninjas." And that's just off the top of my head. I'm not even an elected official, but I did nominate Sergeant Bonham the Commanding General of the Joint Sexual Deviancy command and am only five ranks away from E-9. What's the Senate's excuse for such blatant laziness?

In the interest of non-biased and fair explanation, and because I don't want this to get blown out of proportion, I'm going to throw this on the table right now: First Sergeant Lehew is God. Was that over the top? It's true. Ask any Marine that has served with him in combat and they'll tell you that bullets change trajectory around him, mortars simply don't fall near him, and body armor clings to him for protection. Get that Marine a couple of beers and he'll also tell you that First Sergeant won a game of connect four in three moves and Chuck Norris ran away (after he soiled himself) when they got into a fight.

My most notable memory of the First Sergeant was the Cemetery in Najaf, in August of 2004. The fighting had been heavy for the last two days and I was running casevacs for the Battalion. First Sergeant and I were standing next to my Humvee talking about Lt. Shickling who had the shit mortared out of him with hilarious results. (Thank God he wasn't hurt, find me and ask if you want to hear the whole story) Tactically speaking, it's difficult to describe. Just keep in mind that we were only half way covered to our left, waist high by the truck, and totally covered to our right by a six foot tall wall. Suddenly, rounds crack out from the mass of graves on the other side of the street, and impact in the four foot gap in between us while we're talking. I do the first thing that comes naturally to me: trip over my own feet and fall backwards, now in the complete cover of the Humvee. What does First Sergeant do? Return fire? Take cover? Call for Close Air Support? No. That crazy bastard walks away from what little cover he has, turns and stands tall towards the hidden shooter, and proceeds to flip him off with both hands while calling him every dirty word and ethnic Arabic stereotype in the book. The shooter flipped his weapon to full auto and simply sprays the area, trying to hit this insulting short little man. How do I know this? Because I'm less than 6 feet away watching the rounds impact the wall. They crashed into the concrete spraying gravel in all directions in between his legs, over his shoulders, next to him, most only missing by inches. Soon, the shooter runs out of rounds. First Sergeant brings his fingers down, shrugs, and comes back towards me, picking up the conversation where we left off as if nothing had happened. I got checked out by the BAS when we got back because being next to that much awesome can cause cancer.

Don't take my word for it, let's look at his Navy Cross warrant. I won't show the whole thing here because most of you magnificent bastards are one step above illiteracy, so here's the gist:

-In the initial invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 (then) Gunnery Sergeant Lehew's AAV unit was ambushed on a bridge in Nasiriya.

-Gunny Lehew provided suppressing fire, killing at least a dozen Iraqis. The Iraqis then went under the guise of surrendering, using women with babies as spotters for RPGs and mortars.

-Gunny Lehew didn't fall for any of that shit, and killed nearly all of them when they attempted to launch a surprise attack from the back of an ambulance.

-Gunny Lehew pulled all of the dead and wounded from the wreckage of several AAVs and army transports, treating the wounded with the help of a Corpsman and arming anybody who could fight.

-The Iraqi counter-assault wisely realizes it's time to retreat, Gunny Lehew gets on top of a building and calls in a medivac.

Jesus Christ! If that doesn't give you at least a half-chub your either a robot or a gay robot. Since the warrant ends there, and I don't have any reliable sources to fill in the rest, I'm going to use the next best thing: hearsay and rumor.

Gunny Lehew jumps off the building and breaks the fall with his face, just because he's hard like that. He then runs into an Iraqi woman acting as a spotter while holding a baby. He eats the baby and simultaneously impregnates the woman. Moving up the street he kills 42 republican guard and completes his crossword puzzle. Finally, he uses his magic dragon breath to light the tree on fire and uses its smoke to signal the nearest friendly bird for medivac.

Marines, let's not dwell on what we think we should be awarded this deployment. Let's prepare for the next deployment to Iraq and look back at the Marines who rated so much more and didn't complain; those who made the ultimate sacrifice without hesitation, and those who will never have their stories told unless we perpetuate them throughout time.

Message from the President
   This has been a momentous year for the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and our
Association. 1st Recon returned from its fourth deployment to Iraq and
continued to provide reconnaissance platoons in support of deploying Marine
Amphibious Units. Forty years earlier, in 1967, another generation of
reconnaissance marines and corpsman were in harm’s way patrolling the
jungles of Vietnam. We salute these two generations of warriors.
   Seventy-nine Association members attended our August reunion, held jointly at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia and, at the birthplace of our Corps, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For many, this was their first reunion. After touring this world class museum, members, family and guests enjoyed dinner in the impressive gallery of the National Museum, surrounded by the history of the Corps and life-like ground and air exhibits. It seemed fitting for these recon marines and corpsmen to have fixed wing overhead and a helicopter in the LZ. Lt Gen Bernard E. Trainor, a Commanding Officer of 1st Recon Battalion and our Guest of Honor, related to us details of 1st Recon Battalion’s employment and operations in Vietnam.
   Association members elected Kent Dickson, to be the Association Vice President, Curtis Greutzmacher as our Secretary /Treasurer, and Ray Tibbetts and Dave Backer are our Chaplains. Phil Peters and Tom Hyder join us as Associate Directors. Congratulations and welcome to our new Directors and Association officers. To Pat Grady, our long serving Vice President, and Secretary /Treasurer Garry Kline, my thanks and appreciation for their dedicated service to the Association. Thank you to all who attended the Quantico-Philadelphia reunion, your support is essential to our success. God bless America! God bless the United States Marine Corps!
Semper fidelis,
Charlie Kershaw
Reunion 2008, 26-30 August 2008
  • Association members attending the General
    Membership Meeting in Quantico, VA voted to attend
    the reunion with the 1st Marine Division Association at
    the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Opryland
    reservations may be made by calling the Hotel at:
    866 972-6779.
    1st Mar Div Association Reunion room rates are $99 per night plus another $14.10 in taxes and fees, plus another $10 in entertainment tax for a total of $124.10 per night. Parking is $16 per day plus tax! Reunion rates will apply for 3 days prior to and 3 days
    following the reunion. Fred Tucker and his Reunion
    Committee have done a great job arranging hotel
    accommodations and scheduling tours and other
    reunion events. We are confident members and their
    families will enjoy the Nashville and 1st Marine Div ision
    Association reunion events and entertainment.
  • 2008
    AUGUST 26-30

The Chaplain Speaks
Association Chaplin  Ray Tibbetts
   I believe that we are getting older and are experiencing different things in each of our lives. Some are experiencing anger problems, nightmares, night sweats, depression at times the feeling that you just want to be alone. Well you’re not alone. The VA called it anxiety when we got out and now they call it PTSD, which many, many vets are going through. They are trying to deal with it now as soon as the troops come out of the field so they don't have the problems that they have with the Vietnam vets. Family problems or job problems just add to an already bad situation. We, as the elite of the Marine Corps (a recon marine, aka, a leader) need to help each other with communication, with our members and those marines and other service persons coming home today. We understand what they feel and have gone through. I believe that from the beginning of time men went through just what we went through, and had PTSD. Moses from the Bible had trouble. He had trouble dealing with things in general. Then God said to him to go back to Egypt and lead my people out to the Promised Land. He was rejected and shunned just like we were when we came home from Vietnam. He had guilt feelings, he had rejection, and he had bad dreams.
   God said he would take all those problems away and as long as he had faith that God would take care of him and of course we know from the Bible he did. His situation was similar to the Vietnam vets who went through things that no one should ever have to and suffered through and seen things and was wounded maybe more than once, and came home to a brick wall and rejection. Killing and being shot at, feeling safe in the jungle were we felt we had control, then being taken out our safety net or what we felt as safety and thrown back into a world of rejection. We need to put our faith and trust in something else to get our feeling of safety back.
   I think that we put our faith and trust (feeling's) of safety in a place that wasn't the right place-(the jungle, but at the same time it was what we had to hang onto. We don't have peace because we continue to put our faith in people and the government. I believe that every war is the same, but in a different time and place. The conclusion is that we need to put our faith and trust in God and he (just like Moses) will give us the peace. This is not to say all our problems will go away. However, I do think we can deal with things better and have the peace that we seek.

Semper fi,
  • The National Museum of the Marine Corps, in Quantico Virginia, provides a unique opportunity “ to honor those Marines who preceded us…to confirm our heritage…to share with our nation, and with each other, the riches of our experiences… and to leave a lasting and glorious legacy for the future.”
    The 1st Recon Battalion memorial will honor the Marines and Corpsmen who gave their lives in service to their country while serving with the battalion in the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War and the ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    If you haven’t contributed, you may still do so! Contributions may be made by check or money order payable to:


    Mail contributions to: Charles Kershaw 2527 Unicornio Street Carlsbad, CA 92009

    The memorial will be a black granite slab standing 101” high and 36” wide, mounted on a 48” x 20” base. The rank, name, age at death and home state of each KIA will be engraved on the monument in ¾” letters. A memorial ceremony is planned when the monument is placed on site. Members will be informed of the day and time of the dedication. 

      Our thanks and gratitude to the following who donated so generously to the Memorial Fund:

      H.P. Alewine, P. Alexander, Craig Amo, James H. Anderson, David Apgar, Doc Aron, Fred Arthur, Eddie Ash, John Bailey, Robert Baird, Steven L. Baker, James J. Barta, Mark Bayuk, John Beard, Jack Below, David Boudreaux, Art Brooks, Robert “Doc” Buehl, Daniel Caporale, Jim Carroll, Jimmy M. Chandler, Alex Colvin, Hal Cordova, Kenneth Cotterman, John M. Derenick, Danny Deasane, Kent Dickson, William Doherty, Mark E. Doss, Phillip Downey, Jim Edwards, Carry Efaw, Alan Elfinger, Eanos T. Evans, Larry Farrell, Bud Fowler, Lother Lee Freeman, James A. Fossos, Gene S. Giles, David A Goodfield, William B Goodwin, Pat & Victoria Grady, Jack Grace, Mrs. Ronald Graebel, Donald Greenlaw, Curtis & Luana Greutzmacher, Gritz Towers, John Grandusky, Hilliard Hairston, George W. Haney, John F. Hare, James A Howard, William Howard, Charles E. Howdyshell, Robert Hungate, Vic Huone, Sgt Maj Jack Jaunal, Larry Keen, Charles W. Kershaw, Eugene Lashley, Jim Lubbock III, Carrol McBride, William McCloskey, David M. McGraw, Peter R. Merry, Kenneth R. Monnell, Robert Morris & Julie Mooney, James A. Mosel, Thurman “Doc” Mullins, John Myers, Paul F. Olenski, Charles Olson, Jim Page, R.A Partee, Leonel R. Perez, Phil Peters, Frank Portportage, Phillip D. Rogers, Gary Rosencrans, James H. Rowe, W. Edgar Rowland, Richard Schadl, Tom Schroder, Jerry Spolter, Daniel Sweeney, Bernard E. Trainor, Daniel M. Turpin, Robert C. Vermurlen, Jerry Webb, Steven Whitney, Jim & Sharon Wilker, Danny P. Williams, Audrey Winkelman and John Witmer.
      1st Reconnaissance Battalion

    • Operations. 1st Reconnaissance Battalion returned to Camp Pendleton recently following the battalion’s fourth deployment to Iraq. During this deployment, 1st Recon Battalion (-), with Companies B (3 Platoons), Company C (2 Platoons), and H & S Company(-), was based at Camp Fallujah, Iraq and conducted operations in support of Regimental Combat Team 6, 2nd Marine Division. Company A and H & S Company (-) remained at Camp
      Pendleton in support of the 11th, 13th and 15th MEUs. In anticipation of supporting upcoming MEU deployments, Company D conducted MOS and specialized training.

    • Relief and Posting of the Sergeant Major. Sergeant Major Alan D. Miller relinquished his appointment asSergeant Major, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, the senior enlisted leader and advisor to the Commanding Officer,to Sergeant Major Justin D. LeHew in a brief ceremony soon after the battalion’s return from Iraq. Our thanksand appreciation to Sergeant Major Miller for his strong leadership and best wishes for his future happiness andsuccess. Congratulations to Sergeant Major LeHew on his appointment as 1st Reconnaissance BattalionSergeant Major and best wishes for his success and the continued success of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

    • Change of Command. Lt Col James B. Higgins will relinquish command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, to Lt Col Michael J. Mooney in a ceremony at the Camp Margarita parade deck, 33 Area Camp Pendleton on Friday, 22 February 2008.

    • Awards. 1st Reconnaissance Battalion personnel received the following awards:

      The Purple Heart was awarded to Sergeant Josh Mathews;

      Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals (w/Combat V) were awarded to Captain Agur Adams, Captain Glenn Baker, Staff Sergeant Robert Brukardt, and Corporal Mike Andrews;

      Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals were awarded to Captain Agur Adams, Captain Ethan Taranta, Gunnery Sergeant Jimmy Stahl, Gunnery Sergeant Rodger Turner, Staff Sergeant Chuck Pena, Staff Sergeant Jason Westerman, and Sergeant Amish Smith;

      Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals (w/Combat V) were awarded to 2nd Lieutenant Peter Rodriguez, Sergeant Jonathan Byers, Sergeant Cody Cowin, Sergeant Stephen Geiger, Sergeant James McMillin, Sergeant King Ritchie, and Corporal Brook Fowler;

      Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals were awarded to Captain Bryan J. Abell III, Sergeant R.J. Blackwell, Sergeant Richard Fitzpatrick, Sergeant Peter Nealen, Sergeant Daniel Sanderford, Sergeant Garrett Schaeffer, Sergeant Jeremy Yingling, and Sergeant Geoffrey Clover.

      Sergeant Jonathan Byers and Corporal Geoffrey Clover were awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

    A warrior mourned by his comrades in arms

    Roy Lee Jones
    C Company RVN 1970
    Final Extract October 2007


    New Members
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