Unit Diary admin codes
and Rick “Doc” Doggett, CAP 2-7-2, 1970-71
The Marine Corps Unit Diary is kind of like a “General Ledger” to an accountant and is the successor to the “Muster Roster” of earlier times. It keeps track of comings, goings and major events that affect the members of a unit.
The early 1970s period when we were in the Marines was early in the application of computers and electronic data processing. The Unit Diary was typed on a special, “optically readable” form using a special “OCR (for ‘Optical Character Reader’) Font” typewriter, which accounts for the fact that all the entries are in capital letters and many are in strange codes.
Data entry for the Unit Diary was, in effect, a kind of computer programming effort. The computer could read the forms and interpret the code, and there was a reference book of codes that described the common administrative events. The entries were separated into fields by use of the pound sign; no typing errors or corrections were permitted, which resulted in a lot of wasted paper and single use OCR ribbons.
Entries began with name, initials and seven-digit service number, then recorded the event codes to be reported. If I remember correctly, the HIST entry is short for ‘history” which is, essentially, a ‘comments’ section in which the S-1 clerk could record additional details relevant to the event.
The six-digit date entries were expressed as YYMMDD (two-digit YearMonthDate) numeric strings. People joining a unit would be added (ADD), those leaving would be dropped (DROP), to sick or from sick, i.e., TO SK or FR SK, with the appropriate comments. People who were dropped sick were not counted as ‘effective’ when the unit’s strength was counted and reported each day.
There were some additional uses for some of the arcane computer symbols like those you see printed on the bottom of a personal check, which also uses an OCR format including that square “blank space” symbol.
2nd CAG had a kind of an ad hoc or ‘task’ status, and was not a part of the permanent organizational structure of the Marine Corps. If I remember correctly, administratively everybody was given Permanent Change of Station (or PCS) orders to the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), then sent on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) to a CAP unit. Technically, we were a part of “Force Troops” just like the supply clerks and the bakers at Force Logistics Command.
My memory is foggy here, but I seem to recall that there were several categories of temporary duty, some of which involved additional pay, which, of course, wouldn’t apply to any of us.
In the diary example reproduced below, Corpsmen Hurt and Lutes (N=Navy service numbers) would have been sent by the Navy on PCS orders for formal assignment to the Headquarters and Service Company of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force and assigned Temporary Additional Duty (those lucky dogs!) with 2nd CAG.
700416 ATT 1000 TAD# HIST: FR H&SCO III MAF FPO SFRAN 96602#
HURT AR N B283997
LUTES GG N B855637
On the Unit Diary entry below AUTH HQ IIIMAF SO 354-70 meant that the orders for transfer were issued by the authority of the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force under Special Order number 354-70. Special Orders were issued intermittently and usually involved transfer, promotion, etc. Being transferred to CG MCB Camp Butler didn’t necessarily mean that Gary Omey would have gone to Okinawa, only that he would have fallen under the administrative jurisdiction of the Commanding General, Camp Butler at that point.
Camp Butler was the transient facility, and from there, Gary could have been assigned to any number of other places, sent home on convalescent leave, or even processed for discharge if he was moved from Japan to a VA hospital. FOREC might mean ‘For Extended Convalescence,’ but that’s just a wild guess. If I get the drift of this, though, it might not be far off.
OMEY GL 2524428 700328 TR FOREC# HIST:TR CG MCB CAMP BUTLER OKINAWA WHPLE SK USNH YOKOSUKA JAPAN AUTH HQ III MAF SO 354-70#
WIANE would mean ‘Wounded In Action Not Evacuated’ – better known as “Ti-Ti” to the ground-pounding cognoscenti.
From Doc Doggett:I went through the course for doing the Navy’s daily PAMI Diary (Personnel Accounting and Management Information). Charlie is right for most of what he said. I don’t know when the Marines went to OCR, but the Navy didn’t until 1973. Prior to that it was all done with paper and onionskin copies. That was a pain since, as Charlie said, mistakes were not allowed.
As Corpsmen, we were assigned PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to HQ III MAF and then placed TEMDU (Temporary Duty) to 2nd CAG. I still have some of this in copies of my orders in my service records.TEMDU was for temporary assignments of 24 weeks and longer and may not necessarily include a return to your permanent duty station.TAD was temporary additional duty and had to be less than 24 weeks with return to your permanent duty station upon completion. Sometimes TAD pay was authorized to help with the expenses of being away from your permanent station.
STRCAT is strength category (I think) and related to the unit’s TO&E strength. A category of ‘T‘ meant a temporary loss and did not require replacement, cat ‘P‘ meant a permanent loss and that a replacement would be necessary. It’s been a long time, but I used to be pretty good at it. Rick Uht and I were sent TAD to the 1st MARDIV (1st Marine Division) after being pulled out of the bush, which is how we ended up at 1st Med BN the night (Jan. 18, 1971) Tex and the others from CAP 2-7-2 came in wounded off the chopper.