Note:   This is not an official website.    It's  purpose is to support Marines of 3/3.
   The "Geezer Platoon" visits at Mojave Viper 2009

          A group of our alumni attended the Warrior's night for the active duty crew at 29 Palms.

Doc Hoppy - Feb 26, 2009  

What a revelation tonite.  Was on the internet showing off our public website areas, on our active duty crew, to SgtMaj Baldwin and 1stSgt Michael Burke.   They were impressed.

Then I logged-in on our alumni database to show them how we handled things there ...

Plugged in the name Burke ... and 1stSgt Burke noticed one name on the list ... a 1stSgt Robert W. Burke.

He said "That was my father's name!"  I opened the file ... he stated "That's when my dad died!"  Turns out he is the son of our Robert Burke!   What a surprise!

Got him access.   He's hooked!  Long story short... I think we've finally made the connections to get these younger guys involved in order to keep 3/3 alumni going long after our Nam alumni have mustered out.

Tonite Dan Ryan, Rod Consalvo, Skip Wray and myself chowed down at the O club with SgtMaj Baldwin and 1stSgt Burke.   We'll meet with the Bn CO tomorrow, and the full Bn tomorrow evening followed by Warrior's night.  

It's a gas!  Wish ya wuz here!
Doc Hoppy

Buzz Heckerman - Feb 27, 2009       

Well, the reunion with Doc and the other 9 guys is over; it came to an end about 11:pm last night.  I can't speak for the other guys, but I had one hell of a good time with the new 3/3 at 29 Palms.

I will tell you this, those guys are just like us, and they have some good stories to tell. This will be the first time for some of our younger Brothers going to Iraq and the second time for others.

I found out that my eyes are bigger then my stomach as I could not eat every thing that they gave me to eat.  It's hell getting old LOL .  Doc will be posting pics and name probable later to day. So stand by for his update.           Buzz
Click on image to enlarge
Doc Hoppy - Feb 27, 2009      My Marines left me to deal with the Officers and Staff NCO's on my own tonite.   Managed to provide 'em with a few pitchers of beer and drinks.   Talked with LtCol Goff, who is not only impressive, compassionate and capable, but is simply a great guy too.

Doc Hoppy (the Flyin' Ponytail Express) hobnobbin' with the brass ... whooda thunk it?

My parting words to the Col. were:  "Remember Sir, you may hold the pink slip on these men for now, but they will always be OUR 3/3's Marines."

He grinned and said:   "I know, Doc, and I'll take good care of them for you!"

Perfect ending to an incredible couple of days!

The Bn CO, LtCol Goff, was presented with 3/3 coin #0005 and SgtMaj Baldwin presented #0009.   Otto Lehrack also sent a pair of autographed books for same.   The new 3/3 poker chips made it here in time, and most of them were passed around to some of the young crew.  They appeared to enjoy them.  Wish we would have had enough to give to all hands.

Skipper McAdam addressed the troops briefly (in the dark) at the formation on Thursday night.   It was short, sweet, and ended ... to resounding Ooh Rahs and boot stomping ... with:

"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ... cuz I'm the toughest M***** F***** in the valley!"

The young guys loved it!  It set the tempo for the remainder of the evening.

The legacy continues ....  

These young men are incredible.   They are so very well trained, equipped and motivated it is awe inspiring.   All of the "Geezer Platoon" were duly impressed and left with elevated spirits and smiles on their faces!

It's been a whirlwind tour, but spectacular.  Film at 11

Doc Hoppy

PS:   More on 1stSgt Burke ... Mac McClain served with the elder Burke, as well as Dan Ryan.   Both got to share some tales with him.

Doc Hoppy,
As you are well aware, I had the time of my life with these young Marines. Skip Wray asked me how I would feel if my grandson would become as centered and focused as these Marines. I said that I would be ecstatic.

They had a ton of questions about Vietnam. The weather, the insects, the snakes, the "Rock" apes, the tiger, and the enemy (Viet Cong, and NVA) all came up, several times, as I was approached constantly.

I will be walking on a cloud for a little while. This will take some time to wear off.
Semper Fi.            John Smeltzer

Skip Wray - Mar 1, 2009        Members of 3/3 Vietnam Alumni.   If you live in the local area and didn't attend this meeting in the desert, you missed an opportunity of a lifetime. It was awesome!

The Marines, Officers, Staff NCO's, and NCO's made us feel warmly welcome.   Captain McAdam's inspiring speech set the tone for the night...... we are Grunts, with them, in the dirt, and proud to be there, drinking beer and talking about the battalion.   Al Niece and I spent time with our company (Lima), and were duly impressed.   Yet all of the battalion were just as impressive.

These guys make you proud to be an Marine, but more proud to be an American.   Their training, equipment, and leadership is superb.   They come from every part of the United States, then are forged into this elite fighting force, yet they look at themselves as regular guys.   They are far from regular, they are dynamic and impressive.   I was in complete awe of these Marines, and felt humbled in their presence.  

I would like to recommend to Doc Hoppy that the eleven of us who attend this soiree at Camp Wilson be known as the "Desert Rats", a name we'll wear with pride.   This was such a special event, it was and indelible moment in my life and in my fellow attendees lives, and we deserve a special moniker to identify the moment.

Craig Slaughter and Doc Hardin, I know you were there with us in spirit.   I could feel your presence, and I talked about you to the Marines.   To the SAW Marines and Weapons guys, Slaughter was mentioned, and to the Corpsmen, Doc was talked about.   You were there, trust me.

To John Smeltzer, Buss Heckerman, and Mike Lozano..... for your first 3/3 Association function to attend, you couldn't have chosen a better one and it was made better by your presence.

To Doc Hoppy.........thanks for all the hard work in setting this up, and, thanks for the data base that all of you worked so hard on creating.   I know the First Sergeant Burke thanks you.

Dan Ryan, Rod Consalvo, Mac McClain, and Al Niece, it was great seeing you again.   Sam Samaniego it was good to meet you.   But to Captain McAdam.......Sir, it was the great speech you gave that set the tone for the entire evening.   Thanks to all of you for being there.

Semper Fi     Skip

To our young legacy in 3/3:

Gentlemen, we are proud of you, in awe of you,
and welcome you as alumni of 3/3. 

Welcome aboard to Alpha 3/3!

Click any picture below to open the album ...
[I couldn't help but preserve this gem from the Active Duty site:]

Feb 2009

From the desk of America’s First Sergeant:

Well the holidays are long over yet the lingering results of our reprehensible eating habits during the leave period are proving to have long range consequences. While PTing yesterday, I cursed every brownie, slice of pie, cheesecake, and all fat pills that I had greedily consumed during block leave. On behalf of all the Marines that I have physically destroyed since the end of block leave, I would like to thank every well meaning family member for feeding us nothing but chocolate chip cookies and eggnog in December. It has nearly rendered us combat ineffective with its fatty goodness.

February sees America’s Battalion wintering at Camp Wilson in the scenic Mojave Desert for our final major training cycle before we deploy. Now generally, when one hears the word “desert” and “Mojave” in the same sentence it is also associated with the word “furnace”. During our last Mojave Viper training cycle it was so hot that Marines were shambling off the ranges at the end of the day resembling mummified zombies wrapped in body armor. Fortunately a zealous approach to the consumption of water seemed to keep the incidents of spontaneous human combustion to a minimum.

This trip however it appears that there is such a thing as winter in the desert although I would never have believed it after my last experience here. During the day it’s not so bad but as soon as the giant heat tab sets in the west the temperature plummets sending us all screaming to our sleeping bags like small wailing children. So intense is this daily cold snap that we have decided to rename the training evolution Valley Forge Viper. To add to the discomfort military engineers seem to have devised various ingenious ways to maintain a proper level of misery in keeping with the highest traditions of U.S. Naval service.

For instance, all the Marines are housed in metal buildings known as K-Spans. The K stands for, “kill everyone who sleeps in here”. The perverted mastermind who designed these buildings somehow engineered them so that they retain heat in the summer and expel heat in the winter. It is actually colder inside the K-Span right now. I suspect the purpose of this is to cheerfully drive us all outside in an effort to get us to train. Twenty First Century technology is a marvel to behold.

Another clever device is the shower trailer. The shower trailer is a training tool designed to hone a Marine’s reflexes and situational awareness until they are razor sharp. Upon entering the shower trailer the Marine’s senses must remain keen as you are never quite sure what is going to happen. As a matter of fact, no two experiences in the shower trailer are ever the same. The hot water faucet may actually be cold and the cold hot. Upon turning on the water, it may shoot out of the pipes, the faucet, the walls, or even the drain. Occasionally it even comes out of the shower head. Once without telling us, they replaced all the shower heads with flame throwers. That was an interesting day.

But if it all came easy to us it wouldn’t be the Marine Corps. We live a hard life.
That is why what we do is often referred to as “service” and “sacrifice”. I can assure
you that your Marines are meeting and exceeding our expectations and continue
to do those things that others are unwilling or incapable of doing. They are the
good guys. Rumors to the contrary are generated by lesser men who will never
know or understand what it is to be part of our tribe.

Semper Fidelis,

1stSgt Burke
Headhunting & Skullduggery Company

Source:  Hawaii Marine
Judge Bill McAdam and 1stSgt Michael S. Burke
H&S Co 3/3, Mojave Viper Training, 2009
1stSgt Robert W. Burke and Capt Bill McAdam
H&S Co,3/3, Vietnam 1968-69.