Monday, November 2, 2015

Semper Fi, Sciline

Several years ago I was looking for a tool set called a Chapman. It is a small ratcheting handle and a collection of bits like screwdrivers and hex keys. I had borrowed one from a friend at the range and broke one of the tips and I wanted to replace it. I found it on a website called They sold tools of all sorts and varieties.
It wasn't a well laid out site and there was no online ordering, just an address and a phone number. Mixed in were references to the Marine Corps and Iwo Jima(archive). One interesting comment was "Sciline remembers, because Sciline was there".

I called the number. It must have been a small operation because Mr. Sciline answered the phone. Clearly an elderly man, he took my order for two Chapman tool sets and the expanded bit assortments. I bought one for my friend and one for me. Then I asked him if he was the veteran that remembered Iwo Jima.

We talked for almost an hour. I told him I had a been a Marine and was interested in history. He spoke of going in on D+1, of the losses, the battle, his experiences on the island, of knowing Ira Hayes and John Basilone. It was real and immediate, not glorified, but honest. This was before I had a cell phone and I was paying long distance charges, but I let him tell his story all the way. It ended with them embarking off the island when the Army took over and the remnants of his outfit were shipped out to recover and rebuild for the next operation. When the conversation wound down, I thanked him for his time and hung up.

I was going to order a tool today and thought of him so I went to the bookmark I had saved and clicked it and got this. A placeholder site talking about medical devices. Sciline was gone.

The Internet Wayback Machine showed the page as I remembered it on May 12th, 2013.(archive) After that, it was still an active website advertising the tool business in June, 2013 but all the Marine Corps references were gone. Finally, it was completely shut down in December, 2014.

Semper Fi, Sciline. It was an honor and a privilege to have spoken with you.


harp1034 said...

You were indeed lucky to have talked with living history. The WW2 vets are few now. If you can talk to them, record it or take notes. My father was a bombardier-navigator on a sub hunter out over the Mediterranean. One uncle was a tail gunner on a B-17. He was there late in the war so he only flew eight missions. Another uncle was in the Navy. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Silver stare. He was on one of the ships hit by a kamikaze. Injured himself nevertheless his actions saved a bunch of sailors.

Guffaw in AZ said...

We should all remember these heroes.

How fortunate you are to have connected with one, however briefly.


Borepatch said...

I remember taking the (then 12 year old) #2 Son to Paris Island. The docent at the museum there had been at Chosin. His story sent a shiver up my back.

Semper Fi indeed.

drjim said...

One of the "side benefits" to volunteering on the Iowa is actually *working* with our Veterans.

One guy was at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and had the USS Hoel shot out from under him.

Another was on the Iowa during her Korean service, and remembers the day the ship took two hits from a shore battery's 6" guns. One shot hit Turret Two and literally chipped the paint, and the other put a small hole in the outer hull.

The Iowa responded and mad the top of the hill where the gun was disappear.

And we have numerous other WWII Vets on our volunteer staff that served on other ships.

They all have their stories, and it's an honor to talk to them, and thank them.

And to a man, when you thank them for their service, they look at you and say "We were just doing what needed to be done".

Amazing men.....