Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #30

We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our won Country's Honor, all call upon us for vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions. George Washington, July 2, 1776


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Sgt. Grit, I have to respond to the father in newsletter 28 who thinks he is the only Father in the world. I am the father of 3 girls and 1 boy. I TAUGHT MY KIDS ABOUT THE MARINE CORPS and did not encourage any of them to join, but when my 19 year old son told me he wanted to join ,I said how can I help and I did . Then about a year after he went in he called one night and said Dad I have thirty minutes before I leave for Kuwait my heart sank, I assured him everything would be alright and to take one day at a time. After he hung up I cried like a baby. Not for the danger he was in it was that I knew when he came back he would be different. He did not stay long and came back safe and sound and did not change much, my point to the other Father is, no matter what the politicians do Our young people will always have to defend our country, and if every parent says I will not let my child go !! Who is going to protect us?? I would gladly go right now instead of my son in-law who I love like my own that is deployed this minute, but us old salts are to old and we know it. So like it are not if we want to live free someone has to pay the price. HIS CHILDREN ARE KNOW BETTER THAN MINE AND MINE ARE NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE'S!! Everyone loves their children but to live in a country like ours everyone has an obligation, the Corps should have taught him and everyone of us that!! Semper FI Roger Hays ...........................................................

Today while driving from Laredo to my home in Corpus Christi I began thinking about my tour of duty in the Marine Corps. I had visions of days I hadn't thought about in decades. I joined the Marine Corp in 1966. June 1967 I boarded a Pam American 707 Jet, along with 165 other Marines, for our first leg to Okinawa. The next day I boarded a flight to Da Nang. I was assigned to 1st Marine Division 1st FLC Red Beach north of Da Nang. As I rode shotgun in a deuce and a half, I began forming my first impression of the country my country sent me to. I saw people living in shacks along Hwy 1. Old French bunkers, checkpoint Charlie. The smell was like nothing this ole country boy had ever smelled before. My driver told me it was the smell of burning honeydew pots near one of the bases that we passed. After passing checkpoint Charlie my driver motioned to his M-14. I picked it up, checked the magazine, and chambered a round. I was in the war. It's funny that I thought about that day on this day, September 11, 2002. I thought, "What in the hell was I doing in a country that wasn't mine, a country half the size of Texas, full of people who didn't want me there and who were trying to kill me and my fellow Marines. What the hell was going on?" These people had no capabilities to strike the shores of America. No Navy battery to fire upon my cities, no air force to bomb my countryside. But for some damn reason we were at war with these people. For the next 13 months I did what I was supposed to do. I was sent to do a job and I gave it 100%. But, I didn't do it for my country - I did it for the Marines that were on my right and on my left. We were not protecting our country - we were fighting for each other. Survival was the 24-hour word of the day. It became preservation with dignity, protecting each other, crying for our fallen, standing our ground, and kicking butt when we had to. It was a politician's war, not a soldier's war.
50,000 service men and women lost their life in a country half the size of Texas. To an enemy that would cut your hair during the day and your throat at night. An enemy we couldn't always see or define. We lost some damn good Marines. A war we should have never entered. Years later a war we embarrassingly pulled out.
As I continued my drive, my thoughts carried on to the war we are fighting today. Our shores have been breeched. Our fellow countrymen have died on American soil. This is a war that must be fought and an enemy that must be defeated. How different than the thoughts of my war. Our beloved Marine Corps was called upon, as always, to the front first. The enemy was defined. We knew who to fight and how to fight them. I don't know what lies ahead or how long we will have to fight this enemy. It could be generations. Will the enemy attack our shores again? More than likely. Will the Marines be there to kick his butt? Most definitely. Semper Fi R. E. Ruckstuhl, Sgt. USMC .........................................................

"I don't think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead-especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies." --Ronald Reagan .........................................................

My oldest son, Scotty is in the Marine Reserves in Air Delivery. He graduated boot camp at PI on Oct. 13,2000 and went to MCT and then to jump school and parachute rigger school. My youngest son, Todd, has always had a kidney disease (hereditary) that we knew would one day require a transplant. That time came in December of last year. The day after Christmas Todd was started on dialysis and things had already been put in the works for a kidney transplant. My Marine, Scotty, has always wanted to be the donor. And as it turned out he was the best match. The boys matched 5 out of 6 markers. They are so very close to each other. They are not only brothers but they are best friends as well. Scotty is 20, Todd is 18. On February 15,2002 the boys underwent surgery in Atlanta, Ga. Todd received his Marine brother's kidney. We tell him that makes him "part Marine". Todd wants to be a Marine so bad like his brother, but because of the kidney disease and insulin dependent diabetes he cannot. His brother has since been taken off of jump status by the Marines because of having the one kidney. This was very hard for him to give up. He still packs the cargo chutes and goes up in the plane with the cargo, but he can't jump. We are so very proud of him for the sacrifices he has made, and Todd is doing wonderfully well since the surgery. His kidney function is almost perfect and except for one rejection episode that had to be stopped he is doing great. Oh yeah, I love the shirts I ordered the other day. I am a Marine Mom through and through....never ever thought of myself as being THAT much into the patriotic scene but it makes a HUGE difference once one of your own is involved. I can't stay away from patriotic things now. Just can't seem to get enough of it!!!!! Semper Fi, Sandy Sapp, Valdosta, Ga. Proud Marine Mom of LCpl Scotty Sapp and "part Marine" Todd Sapp ......................................................

Sgt Grit: This is a somewhat belated response to J. Ferguson and his lament about the lack of coverage of the battle for Guadalcanal by the mainstream media. I wanted to inform him that one media outlet didn't forget that we Marines were there. National Public Radio covered the battle in a two-part report on 6 and 7 August. On 6 August they talked about the Scotsman coast watcher Martin Clemens and about Sergeant Major Vouza and the battle at the Tenaru. The 7 August segment talked about Edson's Ridge, some other aspects of the battle, and a recent trip to the Island by a NPR reporter. The two reports can still be heard by accessing NPR's archives. (go to the website: http://www.npr.org/, click on "NPR Archives" and enter "Guadalcanal" in the box with the words "I'm looking for a story about...."). While I'm on my soapbox, there are two other aspects of the Guadalcanal campaign I want to mention. First, in agreement with R Winkler (newsletter #27) concerning the lack of knowledge our countrymen have about many events which were pivotal in keeping them free, I want to add the following: I have worked with several young Australians and New Zealanders in recent years. Unfortunately, none of them has answered affirmatively when asked if they've ever heard of Guadalcanal or what the First Marine Division did there. I find their lack of knowledge absolutely amazing considering the proximity of Guadalcanal to their homelands. Alas. The following aspect of the Marine battle for Guadalcanal I find particularly galling. How often have we heard about Bastogne and how the Airborne doggies were surrounded for FIVE WHOLE DAYS? I suppose the 45 days the 1st Mar Div spent without reinforcement or resupply on Guadalcanal was a tropical vacation. Also, the Japanese Army had not had a thorough ass-kicking in some 2500 years prior to their formal introduction to the US Marines at Guadalcanal. In contrast, during the three years immediately prior to the Battle of the Bulge, the Wehrmacht had experienced Stalingrad, Kursk and other major defeats. In other words, the Marines went against a first class military at its zenith; the US Army at Bastogne fought against a Nazi army that was on the verge of collapse. Enough said. Semper Fi. W. Riley Sgt, 1st Radio Bn, 1975-1978 .......................................................

I just read newsletter #28 and wanted to say "Thanks" to Mr. George Cribbs of Tulsa, Ok. I was the Marine Sgt. that marched the 4 (not 3) new Marines onto the field at Skelly Stadium. For the record they are PFC Brent Adkison, PVT J.D. Stauffer, PVT Kenny Elmore, and PVT Brian McClendon. To see 28,000 people give these 4 young Marines a standing ovation was probably the hi-light of my 9 1/2 in the Corps. Semper Fi Sgt Robert M Perkovich Recruiter Tulsa, OK ......................................................

My youngest daughter has just completed her first year of service in the Marine Corps. Her original ship-out date for boot camp was to be Sept. 11, 2001. My husband and I were on our way to the MEP center in Cleveland to see her sworn in and to say goodbye. Needless to say, a couple of things happened that morning that prevented any of the young men and women entering military service from leaving for their respective posts for basic training/boot camp. We got to the center to be met by increased security and other measures. My first thoughts were, "My baby daughter is entering the Marines and we're going to war!" It was a very tense few days waiting to see when she would actually be leaving. She was sent home on stand-by until transportation could be arranged for her to get to Parris Island. I had many second thoughts about this whole military service idea, but the events of those days only served to make her more sure of what she wanted to do to serve her country. As you may know, boot camp training is on a very definite schedule, but those days were all crammed into the following 12 weeks (instead of the usual 13) and her platoon graduated on time on Dec. 7, 2001 (yes, Pearl Harbor Day) We had a wonderful reunion with her father and grandfather - both former Marines - in attendance as well as 2 of her sisters and her brother. We are all so very proud of her accomplishment - getting through boot camp and the Crucible and earning a sharpshooter medal in boot camp. She is currently stationed in Okinawa until April, 2003. Sarah comes from a family of Marines - both of her grandfathers served during WWII - one on Iwo Jima and other Pacific battles and the other on Guadalcanal and other South Pacific battles. Her paternal grandfather earned a silver star (he was a heavy equipment operator) and her maternal grandfather was a scout who is mentioned in a book (now out of print) about the South Pacific campaigns. Her father entered the Marines in '68 for a 2-year enlistment, but never was sent to Viet Nam - he, instead, was sent to Vieques PR to survey an airfield (he was a draftsman/surveyor) It's funny, my husband has never felt himself to be a veteran until the past couple of years when he finally realized that he did the job he was given and going into battle overseas was not what made you a veteran. He was 20 years old when he entered the Marine Corps, after getting a deferment at age 18 due to a previous back injury. He knew he didn't want to enter the Army, so he enlisted in the Marine Corps at the height of the Viet Nam conflict. I am proud that he decided to serve his country and not try to get out of his duty as some of his age-mates had done during those years. Yes, we actually knew a couple who went to Canada to avoid the draft. I am proud of my family of Marines - of course we also have a few Navy veterans in the family and a nephew just completed basic training, so that makes for some friendly rivalry about which branch is 'better'. We are proud of them all. Semper Fi! A proud mother of a female Marine! .......................................................

What do you do it a blond throws a pin at you? RUN.....she probably has a grenade in her mouth. .......................................................

Ross you pressed a button for so many of us. I spent just 4 years in the Marine Corps and was discharged on January 12, 1968. Yet my license plates are the acronym OAMAAM "Once a Marine Always A Marine" For those of us who have been fortunate enough to be called United States Marines we share the bond that stirs us when our nation needs it's Marines. I envy you Ross and I'm sure I speak for thousands of us old farts who would love to get back in our utilities and kick some Terrorist butt. God bless you Ross and all our men and woman Marines. Semper Fi Marc Tarabour Sgt. USMC 64-68 .....................................................

Sgt. Grit, My name is SSgt Randolph Peat and I am a recruiter in North Carolina. This is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in the Marines and sometimes it gets me so stressed out the I want to just say "the hell with this!" I have a young man I enlisted a few months back that is awaiting his ship date to begin his journey to becoming a United States Marine. He wrote the following statement for me on why he wants to be a Marine. I hope everyone gets the same chills from this that I got when I read it. Semper Fi everyone! SSgt Randolph C Peat, RSS Fayetteville North Carolina Why A United States Marine The reason I want to become a United States Marine is, of pride of belonging and foremost the privilege to serve my country. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to serve my country. Which branch of the service I wanted to serve in was undecided. When I was in the sixth grade, my friend's dad picked him up from school. He was wearing his Marine's Dress Blues. After that day I decided to look up information on the United States Marine Corps. To my amazement, I liked what I discovered. Since then I wanted to become a United States Marine. It is not a goal, or a dream, but a true passion. The reason I am choosing to serve my country is, I feel I have patriotism in my heart. I have received many awards for that reason. For example, I received the "Honor and Patriotism Award" form the Hollywood Coordinating Council, the highest award in it's district. I have always had gratitude for all the fallen comrades and veterans that have fought in all the battles around the world to keep the United States what it is today. Every day after school and also on summer vacation, I went to the American Legion (43rd District Hollywood) to help organize all the events they had. I also attended all of the ceremonies. That was truly my second home, other than my Marine Corps Recruiter's office. I used to sit in the American Legion's auditorium and do my homework. I would think about how I could not wait to become a United States Marine. It is important to me to fulfill my one life long passion. There are many other reasons I have for becoming a United States Marine. Unfortunately, I cannot express them in words. I do not want to do it for money or for the benefits. I want to do it for the pride of belonging to an elite organization such as the Marines and for the opportunity to serve my country that I love so much. Written by Humberto Portillo A soon to be Marine 2002-09-19 ...............................................................

Apparently Sgt. John Klein thinks he is the only non active Marine in the country. Maybe when he gets a little age ,and hopefully a little sense, he will realize that no father wants to lose a child, but we do want to be proud of them. If my son hadn't decided to join the Corps at an early age I would have been very disappointed. Now he has moved up to being a police officer, another thankless job, I am even prouder. It would be better to lose one than to have them live a coward. It is sad to think one of our own is so upset that he would stop others from helping to keep our freedom safe. Semper-Fi Paul Trainor 62-68 ..............................................................

Sgt. Grit; I do like your newsletter, but have one complaint about some of the Marines who post messages. First of all, let me say that I am a Viet Nam Veteran who served 9 1/2 years in the Marines while earning 3 rows of ribbons. I am proud of that fact and will never be an ex-Marine. At 63 years of age, I realize that once a Marine, always a Marine and I am a Marine through and through. However, I dislike the way some of your writers cut down or make fun of other branches of the service. While in the Marines I served with many who had previously been in other branches and then decided to become a Marine or, visa versa, those who went from the Marines to another branch. At one time, I, myself considered joining another branch because it had an MOS that the Marines didn't at that time. Also, I have several brothers and nephews who belonged or currently belong to various branches of the service and I assure you that they are all honorable people and I am proud of them. They would all give their life for their country just like any true Marine would do. Further, since leaving active service many, many years ago I am about to retire from a career in the industrial/healthcare security field. During that time I have worked with numerous people who had spent time in the various branches of service and, except for the 10%, all have been honorable people who would not take a back-seat to a Marine when it comes to dignity, honor and sense of duty. Lastly, I would like to mention that while in the Marines, I saw many a "tough ass" Marine get their butt kicked in a fight with a sailor, soldier or airman. All I really want to say is that we should all respect each other for the job we're doing and the sacrifices we're making for our country. Semper Fi Bill Jenson USMC 1957 - 1966 ..............................................................

Sgt. Grit, Thanks again for a great web site and a chance to bang out a few thoughts here. What brings me to your web site tonight is the ongoing gathering of our nation's forces against two bit thugs that threaten us with terror, weapons of mass destruction and fear. Sadam, Bin Laden, and Abu Nidal and the rest are nothing compared to what our nation has at it's disposal right now. Of course, I am speaking of the United States Marines. In particular, the Marine Scout/Sniper and the Recon Marine. What frosts my flakes is the incredible expenditure of manpower, machinery and money against what a mere company of Scout/Sniper or Recon Marines could easily hold at bay. Did we forget our lessons so brutally learned in Vietnam after Gunny Hathcock taught us so well? Have we forgot the sign that greets the future Scout/Sniper Marine at Quantico, Virginia that simply states, "The average rounds expended per kill with the M-16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 round. The cost difference was $2,300 vs. 27 cents"? Have we so quickly forgot what a handful of Marines can do? There are few and far between terrorists left in Afghanistan to bomb with our overwhelming air superiority. What we have left is not unlike what we were assigned to in South-East Asia in hunter/killer patrols. A few, designated targets that a team of two men could easily prosecute. A sniper and his spotter. When will we realize that this war of mass mobilization and fire-power is long since over? That it is now the same war that we could have won forty to thirty years ago by the same teams we have at our disposal now? You bet I am talking about the Marine Scout/Sniper and the Recon Marine. Taking out the gar gage that is Al Quida and the rest with our all ready trained, all ready motivated elite teams of Hunter/Killers. This is a no-brainer. We will bring the Al Quida to justice or we will bring justice to the Al Quida. Hopefully in the form of a Scout/Sniper via his M40A1. (Somewhat modified from what Pres. Busch said earlier.) Reach out and touch someone. Semper Fidelis, GF Kremer, USMC ............................................................

I think that there is a lot of people out there that doesn't have a clue out there about being a hero is, first of all I've seen real hero's in my life, I was with 2/9 in 68 in Vietnam, and let me tell you I do know what real hero's are when I came home still in the marines, people treated me like I was a monster or something, and at times still treated like that, I seen a poster the other day there was two pictures together one was the flag being raised in combat the other in New York, I think that there is no comparison, what happened in n.y was terrible and wrong, and we now know that we are not as safe as we thought but to compare those two pictures together is wrong in my opinion I love this great country of mine after all I bleed for it, and all most gave my life for it, I flew the flag when it wasn't cool, and still do, what makes them heroes and not us? they were doing there job and so were we. thanks for letting me say what's been really leaving bad nightmares for me. Joe S. ...........................................................

Sgt. Grit, This is a reply to Sgt. Bowden's letter regarding his "run-in" with the purple-haired- pierced-National Anthem-disrespecting punks. I too had a similar situation a number of years ago (16 to be exact), but unbelievably it was a "run-in" with someone my own age. A few years after getting discharged I went back to playing football (on the semipro level), and, even after serving 4 years in our beloved Corps and being out for 2, I still felt old and salty at the ripe age of 26. At the time I was actually one of the older players on the team and after being "away" for 4 years, I could see that I was different from many of the guys my own age and seemed to view things very differently from several of them. Anyway, on one particular away game in a very nice stadium, we assembled on the sidelines before the game to hear the National Anthem. As all but one of us stood at attention with ours helmets to our sides I noticed a teammate in front of me and to my right with his helmet on and moving around. Already pumped up for the game, this infuriated me, but when the singer got to the part of the song, "Oh say does that Star-bangled Banner yet wave" this chump yells out "ohhhhhhhh", mocking the words to the song. Well, I don't what came over me, but I had seen and heard all I wanted to and at the end of the song, I shoved him and told him that if I ever heard a peep out of him other than to sing along in a respectful manor I would personally lay him out. He went to our defensive coordinator and whined, but the coach (a Marine himself), said, "Yeah?....well if he doesn't kick your ass the next time, I 'll kick his!. To which I said, "oooh-rah coach". Needless to say this puke never stepped out of line again. When I told my wife, she said I should have kept my hands to myself, and I guess that she was correct, but, when I see anyone disrespect our nation or our flag in any way, the veins bulge out! I have only the utmost respect for the men who fought and died to make our country what it is and to keep it the way it is and I'll be damned if I will sit by idle while someone disrespects our country. In this particular case, this clown only sung out one verse in what I felt was a disrespectful manor, but I hear this more and more often at baseball and football games from many of the crowd (sometimes the entire stadium) and this really bothers me. Anyway, just thought I'd sound off too! Mike Kunkel Cpl. 0331 (81-85) ...........................................................

Dear Sgt. Grit, I am a former active duty Marine, having served for 15 years, 2 months and thirteen days. May 1962-August 1977. I served in Viet Nam with 1/4 1965, 1/27 1968, and ANGLICO 1970-71. In November 1982 I was one of many thousands of Nam Vets who arrived in Washington D.C. for the dedication of "our" wall to our fallen brothers and sisters from Viet Nam. That Sunday I bought a copy of the Washington Post newspaper and I had the distinct displeasure of reading Bob Green's column about how he and so many others were having "guilt feelings" for not going in the service during the Viet Nam war. Well, ain't that a bitch! I and others were spit on in airports, called vile names while in uniform and were made to feel as if we were somehow unworthy of respect and admiration. And now this same bleeding heart coward who didn't have the courage to do for his country, was lamenting how guilty he and others now felt. How in God's name did this 20 year old attempt at confession and pity pandering get back into print. Bob Greene should hang his head in shame. Victor DeCurtis United States Marine Corps 1962-77 Viet Nam 65, 68, 70-71 Semper Fidelis Marines! .............................................................

Dear Sergeant: On the back of my company truck I have a circular decal-"Proud Parent of A United States Marine" surrounding the Marine Corps Emblem. I have modified it by adding a home made decal by its side, "X 2". I have five children, one daughter still at home, a senior in High School, two other daughters who have been out of the house for a while now, and two sons, 21 and 19. Both are USMC. 0311. The oldest was on in a six month float and on liberty in Darwin on 11 Sept. 2001. He and his MEU were some of the first United States boots on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His brother followed him in and graduated platoon honor man and guide at Parris Island and platoon guide at SOI, Camp Geiger this year.
Both have wanted to be Marines since they were small boys.
They took a lot of crap from some people about their decision to enlist. Some opposed the military, some Marines in particular and some asked what good was going in the infantry going to do them? If they enlisted they were told, they should at least pick a service and an MOS that offered the prospect of training and future income. I believe the only encouragement they got was from their Mom, me, some coaches and retired servicemen.
To their credit they resisted the pressure to not enlist and are now part of the thin line of USMC infantry who are willing to pay the ultimate price to protect America from her enemies on behalf of her citizens, many of whom are ungrateful and many who believe that, if you must serve in the military, as distasteful as that might be, at least do so to get something out of it.
So, if you read this, when you hit your knees before you go to bed, ask God to remember to keep an eye on LCpl Curtis, James A. and LCpl Curtis, Andrew C., and to let them know in their hearts how proud their Mom, Dad and sisters are of them. Thanks. Proud Dad of A United States Marine "X 2" ..........................................................

After 34 years the Marine Corp is coming back into my family. My Husband and I were Pen Pals when he was in Viet Nam and I was in College. After writing 7 Months He came back to the states we met in person and 12 weeks later we were married. This was back in 1968. We have now been married for 34 years this coming Oct. And until a two months ago my Husband didn't talk much about the Corp or Viet Nam. But, our Son decided he wanted to join the Corp. Which he did. Our Son leaves for Parris Island in Dec. At first my Husband wasn't to happy about that. And as a Mother I was either. But, your know the closer that Dec. comes and seeing how excited our Son is and talking about the Corp, asking his Dad questions about the Corp. My Husband is talking more about his pass experience in the Corp, too. And we again are getting Marine Bumper Sticker, etc. Even my Husband put stickers on his truck of the Corp about USMC Alumni's. And Viet Nam. We are proud of our Son. And looking forward to going to Parris Island in March to see our son graduate. It will be interesting to My Husband to see how the Island has changed in 36 years since he was there in 1965. Jane Painter Lima, Ohio ........................................................

I have been listening to Scott Ritter who is a former Marine and former weapons inspector. This man is a disgrace to the United States, a paid stooge of Saddam Hussein and dishonors the title of former Marine. I am sure that Scott Ritter's motto is "Semper Fi to Saddam" and not Semper Fi to the Marine Corps. Fred Nabutovsky Former Marine ........................................................

Sgt. Grit, Let me ramble about Charile's post in the AmericanCourage.Com Newsletter #28. I'm not happy about the article in US News and World Report; I personally think that politicians are idiots for the most part. I honestly believe they shouldn't have a say in military affairs. Let me ask you this, how in the bluest of blue hells is Camp Pendleton an "environmental park"? I know the naturalists down in California wrote to their congressman to take it to court and got their way. However it took politicians to abide by their wishes. It amazes me that civilians who choose not to join the military (or the Marine Corps for that matter) have some say over military installations. Last time I checked Camp Pendleton was and still is a Marine Corps base, not a civilians. Meaning in which the Marines are the ones who control the camp on a day-to-day basis. I'm surprised that civilians like to bitch and complain about the military. "Oh they shouldn't do this, that and the other." My advice to the civilians and to the politicians is this, either put up or shut up. In other words if you are not in the military or haven't served that don't medial with affairs that aren't yours. The only thing and I mean the only thing civilians and politicians should say to the men and women at arms is this: Thank you and carry on. I myself am not in the military yet. Later on this year I'll being signing up with the Army. I'm proud of our nation and our military. I personally encourage every true red blooded American in my generation to join the military. God Bless America and our Armed Forces. Locked, Cocked and ready to rock. Ooorah, carry on. Chris ....................................................

Here's a true story I'm sure your readers will enjoy. Our Detachment of Marine Corps Leaguers in Idaho has an opportunity each summer to serve free coffee to travelers at "Rest Area's" on the Interstate. While so engaged this summer, an elderly lady with silvery hair approached our booth and asked for coffee. I couldn't help but notice she was wearing a fluorescent blue satin jacket with a large USMC emblem over her heart. I said "I sure like your jacket", to which she replied "Did you see the back"? I said, "No, not until you turn around". On the back side was an even larger 12", very beautifully, hand embroidered USMC emblem! Above it, in an arch that stretched from shoulder to shoulder were the words" The Marines Needed a few Good Men" , and below the emblem it read "SO I GAVE THEM MY SEVEN SONS". I could hardly get to her quick enough for a big hug! She said three had been in Combat, two had made the 'Corps a career, and all were still alive, successful, and loyal to the 'Corps! I think she mentioned she had a grandson in boot camp. When she departed, we exchanged "Semper Fi's" and I gave her a loud "Ooorah!". Brad Robinson Idaho Department Comd't Marine Corps League ..................................................

Sgt. Grit, I have been a loyal reader of your site for quite a while. My family has a long tradition of military service. An Uncle wounded on Saipan and died on the 4th of July, an Uncle with 3 tours in Viet Nam and retired Captain, my cousin "the Amtracker," and myself with service in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. We are all fans of yours. I wrote last year that our Honor Guard was going to New York for the fallen Firefighter Memorial. I am now a Professional Firefighter in Ohio.
Well, it has been rescheduled for Oct. 12, 2002. We also were invited to march in our local parade as Color Guard. We did not expecting any recognition. We ended up winning best marching unit and best of show. Our unit also performed the service for the Sept. 11 ceremony in our area.
I firmly believe it was my Marine training and devotion to service that "rubbed off" on our unit. We are going to New York to march in the service. My Eagle, Globe and Anchor will be on my uniform and always has been. The Chief and other Firefighters have never said a word about me wearing it. My Captain says I earned it the hard way and deserve to wear it.
By the way. We beat an Air Force color guard that was in front of us. They didn't even case their colors when the parade was over. GO FIGURE. SEMPER FI J. S. KING USMC 81-85 IAFF LOCAL 379 MARION, OHIO ............................................................

I have a candidate for the title "EX-MARINE". Right up there with Lee Harvey Oswald. His name is Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector in Iraq. He quit that post in August of 1998 because Saddam was not allowing the UN to do its' job. He said, and I quote: "Iraq presents a clear and present danger to international peace and security." He blamed the Clinton Administration for fearing a confrontation with Saddam. Well, now he's done a completely "about-face", and has become a supporter of Saddam. He has said in effect that Saddam is not building weapons of mass destruction, and that it would be "an historical mistake for my country to go to war" over this. He has also accepted a payment of $400,000.00 from an Iraqi-American to produce a movie (tape) defending Iraq. So, you see my brothers and sisters, there are "EX-MARINES among us. What we need to do is I.D., them and present them with the title "EX." For those of you who say he has a right, as an American citizen, to say anything he wants to......I agree....So do I, and he's still an Ex-Marine in my book! Semper, Semper, Semper Fidelis! Chuck Sarges, Cpl., USMC 1954 - 1957 ..............................................................

One "gentleman" said that he and his friends figured out how to get out of going into the military via college deferments, etc., and that those that went to Viet Nam were "different from them in only two important ways: they hadn't figured out a successful way to get out of going, and they had a certain courage that we lacked." The writer is an IDIOT. Some of us went we because we wanted to and because it was the right thing to do. Hell, I failed the army physical twice and finally figured out that it was my medical history that way the problem. So, when I enlisted back in 67 I just left out the part of my medical history about bad knees. I WANTED to go into the Marines, and I WANTED to go to Viet Nam. That makes me, and a lot of guys like me, different in more then just "two ways." The IDIOT didn't understand back then, and apparently still doesn't understand. Maybe he should get together with Hanoi Jane and then there would be two IDIOTS in the pea pod. The nicest thing I can say about this humanoid is that he was, is, and always will be, a wimp. Our society doesn't need the likes of him, nor Hanoi Jane. Both should be sterilized so that they cannot further pollute the gene pool. Ralph G. Schwartz, once a SSgt of Marines "C" Co. 1st Tank Bn, 1st Marine Division, F.M.F. 20 July 67 to 19 July 77 .......................................................

This is a copy of a thank you letter my son, Cpl. Derek Mills of the 26th MEU, wrote to the students that sent letters and packages to his unit during Operation Enduring Freedom. He read most of it during the Miami-Dade County Public Schools 9/11 Memorial Ceremony. Here I am off the coast of Pakistan, when I started thinking. "How does my being here have anything to do with school and teachers?" As I started the thought process toward writing this, it all ran through my head - math, science, reading, etc. One subject stuck in my mind - history. Everything that's happening now is going to be someone's history. It is up to the teachers to teach the generations to come. The teachers will set alive the pictures in the books and the other media. It is the teachers who will explain what the Marines, we in Kandahar, Afghanistan, did to preserve their freedom. Before September 11, our way of life was taken lightly by all Americans. After that day, all was taken away. But again, tied into history just like Pearl Harbor, the American people pulled together and united as one nation. I can't remember the exact translation but there is a phrase on all currency. "E Plurubus Unum" - of many as one. No one notices it. It is an everyday thing. But it is America. The American government has shown its strength and resilience through these hard times. This must be taught to the citizens of tomorrow. They will be the leaders, the senators, the governors as high as their potentials will carry them. These are all predicted by their teachers. They must be taught. I can remember sitting in my high school government class and everyday we would watch current events. Mrs, Brown would explain to us that one day what we were watching would be someone's history and that we should know the present as well as the past, because they both can and will affect you. As I close, I would like to thank all of the teachers and students who took part in sending letters to the Marines and sailors of the USS Shreveport. Enjoy your freedom. We stand poised to protect it. ............................................................

Hello Sergeant Grit, I wanted to fill you in on a new program we've developed at Little Axe High School. This idea originated with LCpl Mike King (1977-80)of Paducah, KY. He told me about his experiences at boot camp and of how sad it was to see some recruits who never received any mail at mail call. Knowing that I was a public school teacher and avid supporter of The Corps, he suggested that I check into the possibility of having our students "adopt" a platoon of recruits for the purpose of writing letters of encouragement as they go through training. I loved the idea and immediately got in touch with the public affairs staff at MCRDSD. (I also had the opportunity to present the idea to MajGen Huly when I visited MCRD to see three of my former students graduate in August.) On Monday, September 23 we got the information on our adopted platoon and our students will send their first letters this Friday. Our students are extremely excited about this program and hope that it will serve to provide this group of Marine Recruits with the encouragement they need to get through difficult times. I also took this opportunity to show the video, "Marine: Earning The Title" to my classes. This way, the students can have a basic understanding of what their recruits are experiencing at each stage of their training. I believe that this program will help the young people of our school district to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the men who serve in the United States Marines and will allow at least one platoon of recruits to realize that there are many citizens of our land who love and support them for their willingness to make sacrifices for us. Semper Fidelis, David Bounds Little Axe High School Norman, OK ......................................................

My concerns are many on this not so "Splendid Little War";
1 - As always we have many flag waving cowboys "supporting" the war ! But how many are willing to step up and personally get on the gun line ? Or ask their own son or daughter to do so ? For example do you for a minute believe that if there were a Draft ... we would have so many flag waving rear echelon stay at home cowboys itching for a fight ? Or for that matter, an administration so publicly bellicose in its comments on this matter ?
2 - The Administration has not, in my opinion, provided any shred compelling evidence that Iraq, even if it now or in the future possess weapons of "mass" destruction that Iraq now or in the future will represent a clear and present danger ?
It is interesting how we come up with these terms "Weapons of Mass Destruction" designed to elicit an emotional response remind you of "Hate Crimes", "Aggressive Drivers" and " Assault Weapons" ? Anyone who has ever been under fire knows that any weapon, regardless of caliber or type, if aimed your way is a weapon of potential mass destruction.
I would submit that China, for example, more clearly represents such a "clear and present danger".
3 - We, the United States claim we are a Nation of Laws. Where in the Constitution or in International Law does it say we have the Right to "preemptively" invade another country. Secondly, where do we have the right to dictate to another country who should be its leaders no matter how distasteful they may seem to the United States ? Please do not bore me with the "Hiler" analogy !
We are moving into very dangerous territory both constitutionally and internationally. The "War on Terrorism" is not an excuse for the central government to erode either the rights of the states nor of its citizens. The American people must remain ever vigilant not only to those external threats to our liberties but also to those within our own government who under the pretext of "protecting the American People" are in fact today assaulting those same liberties. Thereby, representing, in of themselves, a very "clear and present danger" to those constitutional liberties.
Don before we commit our true hero's, those precious few, who actually volunteer for the Gun Line there needs to be a clear and compelling danger to the United States or to its well defined and clearly articulated National interests.
The President has a constitutional obligation to provide this to the American people !
The American people, as citizens of this great democracy, have an obligation to accept nothing less !!!
We, today's citizens, are but "custodians" of those liberties and freedoms which are fore fathers, by their prior custody, have passed on to us. Very often in our history this was done with their own blood. We have an obligation to protect those liberties and freedoms, from any attack, whether internal or external, so that we the current custodians may pass them onto future generations. We do not have the right, including in the name of our own protection, to erode those liberties and freedoms in any manner whatsoever ! If we fail in this, we fail in all matters !
Semper Fidelis !!! JJ Gugliotta, Cpl 1968-71 ..........................................................

Sgt. Grit, I love the newsletter and your catalog, keep up the good work. I just wanted to respond to Bob Greene's "I-missed-Vietnam" Guilt. In his article he spoke of all the men that dodged Vietnam thru college, medical deferments, and lucky lottery birthdays and their guilt later in life. I have experience the same thing from Service men that were on active duty and did not go to Vietnam. My brother-in-law expressed this very thing to me once. He was in the Army, married with a baby girl. He received orders for over seas but it was for Korean not Vietnam. He told me he felt cheated that he didn't get a chance to fight. I was in the Corps form 1969 to 1973 and was with the 1st Marine Brigade in Hawaii when I got orders for Nam( the orders were for FMF WestPac) so I told my wife I could be sent anywhere in the Pacific. The point is I really wanted to go and I thought that might make me a little crazy, but I was a 0311 trained and ready. The month before we got our orders to go to Nam the Brigade had a 5 man quota for Vietnam and ask for volunteers well I didn't volunteer because my wife was on her way to Hawaii to live. Before she got there we received orders for a 500 man quota for Vietnam, that cleaned the Brigade out except for the Marines that had just come back or were too short to go. But if I had missed Vietnam I'm sure I would have the same guilt. It's strange to think about it now, but I'm glad I went, maybe that's easy to say now that I'm home safe and sound (almost sound). For the Marine part of me I would give my life for my country then and now. I know I'm a better person for having gone and survived Vietnam and I think I know how those service men that didn't get to go might feel. I have no answers, but all we can do is what Uncle Sam tell us to do. I'm proud I'm a Vietnam Vet. and just like WWII vets there are fewer and fewer of us. Thanks for the opportunity to sound off. Semper Fi and May God Bless! Sgt M.P.Johnson U.S.M.C. 1969-1973 P.I. Plt. 1056 Vietnam 7/70 - 6/71 ..................................................

I recently had the chance to attend The Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. Present were bands,pipes,drums,and drill teams from around the world. Of particular note was The Albany Marine Band who put on a fine show. I stood for The Hymn of course, alone. But when they played America The Beautiful many stood but EVERYONE sang.
I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. If any members of this fine group read this thank you. You did yourself and every American proud. Gene Addison Sgt USMC 67-71 Semper Fi ....................................................

Dear Sgt Grit, Just recently in reading your newsletter from cover to cover, I found the article written by Christopher Buckley. First of all I would like to commend him to write such an article because it brings to light feelings that a lot of us feel and have felt over the past 30 years or so. I was in the corps from 1966-1969, and had a running battle with guilt ever since I was discharged. I served as an Amtrac crewman, and received orders to Vietnam three times. The first time they were cancelled and my MOS changed from the original combat engineer to the Amtrac crewman. I was sent to camp Pendleton to attend school at Camp Del Mar. After finishing school, orders were there again, and since I was already across the country, and staging battalion was here at Pendleton, I knew it was inevitable I was going "across the big pond". Again new orders were issued and off I went to the Med. During my six months aboard an LST, I developed some hearing problems, and after I returned to the US, I had ear surgery, and lost the hearing completely in my right ear. This of course sealed my fate for combat. After returning to my unit, I was placed on an H-3 profile and could not be around loud noises or gunfire. Being Gunfire is our stock inn trade, I hade to change MOS's and became a Remington raider. This went on for about a year or so, and I came to a decision I must go and do my share. I asked to go to Nam, and I was told I had to sigh a waiver because of the hearing. No problem, I signed it and then top tells me you do not have 13 months left to go so you will have to extend duty to be deployed. I remember vividly my response, " I might be crazy top, but I am not stupid" So they would not let me go and I finished my career in the corps at Camp Lejeune. I always had the sinking feeling in the back of my mind when talking to other marines and they asked if I had gone to Nam. Sheepishly I relayed the story about the hearing, and my saga, feeling guilty and somewhat ashamed it ended up that way. Where the guilt really hit me one day was when I was visiting a close friend and former Marine, and we were talking war stories, and had a few glasses of wine, and he really bared his soul. he spoke of his near death experiences at Con Tien, and through tears he mentioned how the killing really got to him. We embraced and the tears were cascading down my face because one, How could I possibly relate to what he was feeling, and two I wasn't there and did no know how he felt. It was a combination of helplessness and inadequacy, and I so wanted to comfort my friend who was hurting, and probably had been for so long, but did not know how. We have been friends for years and every November 10, we always call each other up and the first thing you hear on the phone is, "OOORAAH, Happy birthday Marine". We have not missed a year since 1969. I guess the bottom line to this diatribe is that I think I understand Christopher Buckley's feelings, but really don't know how to find some peace within myself. I believe there are other marines out there that might be feeling some of these emotions as well. I find it somewhat ironic however that in my job as an assistant fire chief, I started the first firefighter based SWAT-Medic program in this country, and have seen combat on the street level. I have actually been involved in several police /suspect shooting incidents, and handled that fairly well. Bad guys 0, SWAT team 3. I do believe my Marine experience allowed me to adjust to those situations well, and obviously I am still alive to write this article. I guess the way to handle that missing piece in my life, the Vietnam experience, I must totally immerse myself in my job, and do the best I can, and the best of my ability at that job. Does this have a familiar ring? Again I have to thank the corps for giving me the work ethic that allowed me to ascend as far as I have during my civilian career. I still wear a uniform, and am proud to do so as well. Semper Fi Marines Michael J. Essex 2221088 Sergeant USMC 66-69 ....................................................

In 1953, I raised my right hand and swore that I would Preserve and Defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies both foreign and domestic. I no longer wear the uniform of Marine, but at 67 I am still that person that made that commitment. The Green is still on the inside. It is not satisfactory that we have a government that is manned by non supporters of that same constitution. They are all TRAITORS, and they must be accorded the swift sword. At my age I should be thinking of soft breezes and gentle nights. I do not, I worry that when my marching orders come, I will not be able to answer them. God help me. Art Haggett, Cpl H38,2nd Mar Div FmF.'54-56, 0311, '53-'62. ....................................................

To John Klien, My son grew up also with the Marine Corps as a bench mark for values, discipline and responsibility. When he joined our beloved Corps I was proud. I too shivered and cried all night when he and his FAST Company (attached to the LAV unit) went into Panama and went in harms way. I too would have changed places with him to keep him safe. Both he and I were at the mercy of politicians. For 227 years, has it been any different? Should we stop? I don't think so. You become a Marine to join the family and take care of the Marine next to you. Now my son is a pilot for United Express and a much better Dad than I ever was. I am so proud of him. He wouldn't be what he is were it not for the Marines. Other than being scared one Christmas, I wouldn't change a thing. Tom Masles USMC Sgt.


God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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