Marines - Vietnam era question

In the movie Full Metal Jacket, Joker is working for “Stars and Stripes”. After the Tet offensive, Joker makes one crack too many and his CO tells him to go straight to Phu Bi (i have no idea if that is spelled right) be Use “Captain January is going to need all his men.”


  1. when Joker is graduating from basic training, his DI reads the billet (or specialty) number (or whatever the proper term is) and says “42-12, basic Military journalism”, and after Hartman trashes him, joker says “I wrote for my high school newspaper.”

Was that the only requirement that someone needed to get the chance to write for Stars and Stripes, and if so, did just about everyone try to get that job? I have to say, if my choice was 0-300 infantry, or military journalism, I know which one I am taking.

  1. for the Marines assigned to S&S, were they just on loan? If so, how long could they stay until they were forced to rotate into the field?

  2. when Joker’s S&S CO sends him out to the field, it seems as if he was punishing him and kicking him off the paper. But when Joker gets to Cowboy’s unit, he says he is still on S&S, along with Rafterman. How did this work? Would he be assigned to Capt. january’s platoon until he was called back to S&S, Was he sent out there to write some articles for S&S and then come back, or what?

Joker eventually gets into a fire fight and kills a sniper. When would he go back to the S&S camp “in the rear with the gear?”

  1. Rafterman volunteers to go with Joker. And he is permitted to go with Joker. Was he sent to just take pictures for Joker’s written assignments, or was he going to fight?
  2. does this system work basically the same way today?


Joker would have gone to DINFOS after boot camp for a few weeks of training in military journalism.

Not listed in the Wikipedia link’s list of notable alumni are the late ChiefScott and yours truly. Graduates are sent to work on base/post newspapers, and shore or ship broadcasting facilities. You’d be sent to some command same as guys completing electricians school, infantry school, etc.

Over the course of any given duty day, I’d be in charge of a CCTV system, a mop, and a holstered 45 on the quarterdeck. Once when we were in the same foreign port as an Iranian ship, I was given a [del]50 cal. MG[/del] white Navy billy club to defend America from terrorism, and my journalistic credentials were not at all required.

Nobody was sent to Stars & Stripes: that was even beyond a dream billet like Armed Forces Radio & TV shore duty in Pearl Harbor. Stars & Stripes recruited professional journalists with college degrees and years of civilian experience.

Gustav Hasford’s friends maintain this website, it used to be bigger and crazier but still a great place to visit. He wasn’t with S&S but a Marine Combat Correspondent. Dale Dye was pretty much same place same time, too, he says FMJ is a great and true story of how they all fiddle-fucked their way through Vietnam.
Joker actually remains a correspondent throughout the movie, not getting busted until the second half of the book which the movie skips.
Love R. Lee Ermy, rest of the movie sucks.