Been thinking about this story.
Seems to me there were not than many officers and SNCOs carrying swagger sticks when I reported to Camp Pendleton in 1952. Matter of fact, I can recall specifically only two cases of this; I’m sure there were more, just can’t recall any other specific cases.
A bunch of us boots had just reported aboard the base, and we were eventually assigned a transit area–a smaller-size tent city–somewhere behind the present MCX area, and down the street a couple blocks from the old Division Headquarters building (dunno if it’s still there–big 2-story, white building)
This corporal stood menacingly on the front porch of the barracks across from the tents and bellowed for us all to fall in, as he glared down at us from several feet higher than where we stood.
He proceeded to tell us what he thought of us in no uncertain terms, and we all felt that old twinge of fear of DIs returning that we thought was now over. We had all just graduated PISC the previous month. He assigned my group to head detail and stated that he wanted to “see those ****bowls “shining like a diamond in a goat’s ass.” All the while standing at a kind of parade rest, thumping his stick against his free hand and glaring at each and all of us.. I had never heard that expression before, and, for some reason, never forgotten it. He made quite an impression on us.
The second swagger stick-carrying Marine I remember (maybe it was a riding crop) was Col Robert H. Williams, a few months later, the CO of 3rd Marines. The colonel wore riding breeches, riding boots, campaign (service) hat, and a battle jacket. I seem to recall the battle jacket also had a fur collar; but several others I have corresponded with over the years didn’t remember my point about the collar.
Anyway, in the two cases above, the swagger sticks were not of the .50 cal variety spoken of in the story in question. They very well may have been tipped at either end w/some sort of brass decoration, though.
The swagger stick did not actually come back into vogue in the Corps until later when General Randolph McCall Pate became CMC and made swagger sticks mandatory for all officers and SNCOs.
I do not recall seeing the swagger sticks w/the .50 cal round decor till later than that. So, therefore, the story about the possible origin of the .50 cal swagger stick may well be an actual account of history-in-the-making.
Just sending this around to see if anyone else can confirm/deny, comment on my recollections on this bit of trivia.