New weekly feature! Ask America’s SgtMaj

There are questions you have been dying to ask!
Questions have been lurking unanswered!
Sometimes you just HAVE to know!
Because you don’t know stuff!

And what sage oracle can you consult when desperate for knowledge?


Some of you may have questions about life in the military or what my thoughts are on particular topics. The floodgates are officially open so e-mail me already! I’m hoping this experiment will keep me writing on fresh topics particularly when nothing exciting or explosive is going on (like my entire last deployment).

The Rules of Engagement (ROE):

1. Send questions for consideration with the subject line: Ask America’s SgtMaj, to

2. Indicate if you wish to remain anonymous. Otherwise I’m telling everyone who it was and we will make fun of you.

3. Keep in mind I may choose not to answer a question if I feel it is inappropriate, or I simply don’t know the answer, or I can think of nothing clever to say about the subject. So no getting bent out of shape because I didn’t choose your question. It’s in the ROE so you have to comply.

If there are any questions about the ROE feel free to ask them in comments.

/ / / /


  1. OK,Top, Let me be the first.

    Something that’s been bothering me for some time.
    When loading tracer rounds into an M16 type weapon, do you prefer one in 3 or one in four?

    When we rolled into the battle of Fallujah in 2004, I had one mag for my M16 with regluar ball, and one full of nothing but tracers because that’s all I could get from the Army.
    The nice Devil Dogs gave us a full load of ammo…I think I’ve said that before.

  2. I’ll give it a shot on an email. But the problem is I already know everything and it’s hard to come up with a question about something I don’t know. Be patient, A1S.

  3. CI Roller, you have violated the ROE and therefore your question will not be featured in a future Ask America’s 1stSgt segment.

    But in answer to your question, last time I was in the Kharma/Fallujah area we would load the last four or five rounds at the top of the magazine with tracers. The idea was that you could direct the fire of your fellow Marines by pointing out the target with your tracers.

    In Vietnam my father said he had carried one entire magazine of tracers. In the event that he needed to he could fire a few tracers into a thatched roof and burn the place down.

    Coffee, I await your thoughtful and insightful questions with great anticipation.

  4. Hello A1Sgt.

    I gave it a try.
    Oh and I know that you will at least shake your head when you get it.
    Yep, I sure did do that.
    Well, when one is getting old, one should have a sense of humor to muddle through the dumb things one does.

    Miss Em
    Austell, Ga.

  5. What a cute idea! I’ll try to think of something to ask but right now all that I can focus on is school and apartment hunting… neither topic seems relevant to you so I’ll try to come up with something good!

  6. Miss Em, no worries. You are in good company. I often explain to my computer wizards that their 1stSgt isn’t computer illiterate; I’m computer stupid.

    Red, cute? Really? I’m not sure I understand that word.

    CI Roller, slack? Is that an Army thing?

    Kanani, I thought I made it perfectly clear that posting questions in the comments section is a gross violation of the ROE. Haze yourself immediately.

  7. I am at a complete loss for questions. Probably because I’m still trying to breathe without laughter hiccups 🙂

    No no, not from the post – from the comments – and the wonderful, fabulous really nifty idea I had while in Wally world’s photo area.

  8. Kanani ~ I’m kinda thinkin’ that since you’re not getting a response to your “boxers or briefs” question (even though you DID violate the ROEs) that America’s 1st Sgt my just be a commando type of guy?

    For the record – that is NOT submitted in the form of a question.

  9. You can’t STOP us from speculating…
    I have been know to give my Marines superhero underwear. And have requested that they model it….
    Superman or Iron man?

  10. ~blinks at applegoat9’s comment~ “I have been know to give my Marines superhero underwear”

    ~mind stutters and stops~

    Do you find being 1000’s of miles away from where they are opening the parcel muffles the “screaming like a girlie” reaction?

    Pax [making notes Downunder]

  11. Gee…how many donuts can 1st Sgt eat in one sitting..

    Just something I’ve wondered about 🙂

    Hee hee…

  12. “Do you find being 1000’s of miles away from where they are opening the parcel muffles the “screaming like a girlie” reaction?”

    Don’t know about “screaming like a girlie” but they giggle…yes Marines giggle…Haven’t gotten them to model yet….

  13. First Sergeant:
    I served USMC ’65-’69. Spent over one year at USNH Balboa after WIA ’66Was in Ward 26-3B. Marine Liason was first rate–so was Navy medical care. Thanks to yor folks. I must have met them..Semper Fi

  14. So according to the last Presidential debate, CIC says that you guys might be sitting on some surplus bayonets? Sounds uncomfortable. Care to comment on the efficacy of the Marine toe nail clipper?

  15. Can I suggest doing a video response to these questions? It won’t have the same affect in writing.

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