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Chocolate Mountains bombing spoils, MCRD Museum, Marine helo drivers

Bison herds on base, two vets return to Marine boot camp, Pendleton through and through

One of the military’s most insistent arguments for renewing the military reservation in the Chocolates is that the area could never be made safe for the public.
One of the military’s most insistent arguments for renewing the military reservation in the Chocolates is that the area could never be made safe for the public.

Operation Desert Spoils

More than 20 different kinds of leaflets were dropped by American soldiers onto Iraqi lines. Countering Saddam Hussein's claims that the allies would torture captured soldiers, the leaflets promised Iraqi soldiers good treatment and freedom to practice their religion. Thirteen kinds of leaflets were dropped on U.S. troops. One showed a Scud missile aimed at the head of a U.S. soldier, promising that such a fate would befall GIs if they did not surrender.

By Martin Hill, Dec. 5, 1991 | Read full article

On the tarmac at Camp Pendleton. “If we have a dual-engine failure or a main drive shaft failure, I will enter into a rotation, take the pitch out of the blades."

Like a Bat out of Hell

“Hell, a Cobra will go after the MiGs if it has to. We have the same kind of air-to-air missile. He’s got all the speed, but you’ve got all the maneuverability. You prevent him from getting a shot at you by turning tighter — hell, man, we can spin a Cobra! Then if he pops up and spreads out against the sky" — he shows this with his hands — “you have a hell of a Sidewinder shot!"

By Bernard Halsband Cohen, Jan. 7, 1993 | Read full article

Bison herd, Camp Pendleton. In 1991, a pickup slammed into a bison on Basilone Road, deep in the heart of the base. The truck took a beating, but the bison came out okay.

Camp Pendleton’s Shaggy Secret

Two of the herds, whose range encompasses nearly all of Camp Pendleton’s northern high country, are mature, healthy, and composed of about 50 females, a handful of older bulls, and a few calves. These herds are typical in size and composition to others that are maintained in Wyoming and Montana. The third and southernmost herd is composed entirely of itinerant bachelor bison (sort of like the Marine Corps).

By David J. Morrris, Aug. 16, 2001 | Read full article

Private Charles Michaud has been a woodsman and a hunter since childhood, killing his first deer at the age of ten.

The Boot

For 30 minutes he puts me through the old tortures — Chinese Thinking Position, Elbows and Toes, The Chair — and ones of his own invention. Hanging from the top of a bunk-frame by my hands and chin, I hold the position. The muscles in my arms and fingers burn; my gut feels like it’s going to rupture. I sink slowly, my throat and chin scraping against the iron frame. Exhausted, I am ordered into parade rest.

Dr. John McClure, March 16, 1989 | Read full article

“And what about journalists? Have they also been allowed into the Chocolates?” “You’re the first to ask."

Mission over the Mountains

A few years ago, a man from Niland who said he’d been an explosives expert during World War II was trying to use a monkey wrench to open a rocket he’d found on the bombing range. It blew up, killing him, wounding his wife and two other people. More recently a man was found dragging a 500-pound bomb on a chain behind his jeep; he said he wanted to take it back to his campground.

By Steve Sorensen, Oct. 29, 1987 | Read full article

Pugil-stick battle. A pair fight until one goes down and the DI says, "Stop!” If he doesn’t say stop, you keep smashing him.

Back to Basic

Like everything else, though, mail had its own element of terror. We had all written home imploring family and friends not to send packages or "treats” of any kind, and yet they sent the stuff anyway. Private Mouser received a dozen brownies, each wrapped in cellophane, and was ordered to eat everything — brownies, cellophane, box — in front of us.

By Ray Westberg, June 21, 1990 | Read full article

Master Sergeant George Spears: "This is the only Marine base in the United States where ship-to-shore operations can be practiced."

The Marines Are Sitting on a Few Good Acres

The majority of the area on Pendleton’s backsides — by San Clemente, the Cleveland National Forest, Fallbrook — is guarded by a 3- or 4-strand barbed-wire fence. There are a few gates. "We do have a poaching problem. We’ve had instances of people running dogs, of deer poaching, of small-game poaching — even instances of wood poaching. People come onto the base just before winter, chop down an oak, throw it in the back of the pickup and leave."

By Ray Westberg, Nov. 8, 1990 | Read full article

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One of the military’s most insistent arguments for renewing the military reservation in the Chocolates is that the area could never be made safe for the public.
One of the military’s most insistent arguments for renewing the military reservation in the Chocolates is that the area could never be made safe for the public.

Operation Desert Spoils

More than 20 different kinds of leaflets were dropped by American soldiers onto Iraqi lines. Countering Saddam Hussein's claims that the allies would torture captured soldiers, the leaflets promised Iraqi soldiers good treatment and freedom to practice their religion. Thirteen kinds of leaflets were dropped on U.S. troops. One showed a Scud missile aimed at the head of a U.S. soldier, promising that such a fate would befall GIs if they did not surrender.

By Martin Hill, Dec. 5, 1991 | Read full article

On the tarmac at Camp Pendleton. “If we have a dual-engine failure or a main drive shaft failure, I will enter into a rotation, take the pitch out of the blades."

Like a Bat out of Hell

“Hell, a Cobra will go after the MiGs if it has to. We have the same kind of air-to-air missile. He’s got all the speed, but you’ve got all the maneuverability. You prevent him from getting a shot at you by turning tighter — hell, man, we can spin a Cobra! Then if he pops up and spreads out against the sky" — he shows this with his hands — “you have a hell of a Sidewinder shot!"

By Bernard Halsband Cohen, Jan. 7, 1993 | Read full article

Bison herd, Camp Pendleton. In 1991, a pickup slammed into a bison on Basilone Road, deep in the heart of the base. The truck took a beating, but the bison came out okay.

Camp Pendleton’s Shaggy Secret

Two of the herds, whose range encompasses nearly all of Camp Pendleton’s northern high country, are mature, healthy, and composed of about 50 females, a handful of older bulls, and a few calves. These herds are typical in size and composition to others that are maintained in Wyoming and Montana. The third and southernmost herd is composed entirely of itinerant bachelor bison (sort of like the Marine Corps).

By David J. Morrris, Aug. 16, 2001 | Read full article

Private Charles Michaud has been a woodsman and a hunter since childhood, killing his first deer at the age of ten.

The Boot

For 30 minutes he puts me through the old tortures — Chinese Thinking Position, Elbows and Toes, The Chair — and ones of his own invention. Hanging from the top of a bunk-frame by my hands and chin, I hold the position. The muscles in my arms and fingers burn; my gut feels like it’s going to rupture. I sink slowly, my throat and chin scraping against the iron frame. Exhausted, I am ordered into parade rest.

Dr. John McClure, March 16, 1989 | Read full article

“And what about journalists? Have they also been allowed into the Chocolates?” “You’re the first to ask."

Mission over the Mountains

A few years ago, a man from Niland who said he’d been an explosives expert during World War II was trying to use a monkey wrench to open a rocket he’d found on the bombing range. It blew up, killing him, wounding his wife and two other people. More recently a man was found dragging a 500-pound bomb on a chain behind his jeep; he said he wanted to take it back to his campground.

By Steve Sorensen, Oct. 29, 1987 | Read full article

Pugil-stick battle. A pair fight until one goes down and the DI says, "Stop!” If he doesn’t say stop, you keep smashing him.

Back to Basic

Like everything else, though, mail had its own element of terror. We had all written home imploring family and friends not to send packages or "treats” of any kind, and yet they sent the stuff anyway. Private Mouser received a dozen brownies, each wrapped in cellophane, and was ordered to eat everything — brownies, cellophane, box — in front of us.

By Ray Westberg, June 21, 1990 | Read full article

Master Sergeant George Spears: "This is the only Marine base in the United States where ship-to-shore operations can be practiced."

The Marines Are Sitting on a Few Good Acres

The majority of the area on Pendleton’s backsides — by San Clemente, the Cleveland National Forest, Fallbrook — is guarded by a 3- or 4-strand barbed-wire fence. There are a few gates. "We do have a poaching problem. We’ve had instances of people running dogs, of deer poaching, of small-game poaching — even instances of wood poaching. People come onto the base just before winter, chop down an oak, throw it in the back of the pickup and leave."

By Ray Westberg, Nov. 8, 1990 | Read full article

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