Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter

You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."
--General Lewis "Chesty" Puller USMC

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For the young man who is getting nothing but flak from his parents for his decision to join the Corps:

My grandfather served on the U.S.S. Nevada in WWI. My father served as a Gunner's Mate on a 16" gun turret aboard the U.S.S. South Dakota in WWII, after dropping out of high school. From the time that I was about 8 years old, I was certain that I wanted to join the U.S. Navy & make it my career.  I looked into getting an appointment to Annapolis but, in sophomore year of high school, when I found that girls found me to be acceptable, my grades
went into the toilet & I realized that Annapolis would never be in my future. My plan was to finish high school & enlist in the Navy. It was 1968 & I had already lost a couple of buddies over in Vietnam. When one of my friends came home from Marine Corps boot camp, we sat & talked all night, one night. He said, "Rich, you're definitely doing the right thing by going into the Navy. You'd never make it through Marine Corps boot camp. It's just too tough." Well, the next day, he accompanied me to the office of SSgt Colson at the Marine Corps recruiting station, "to make sure that they don't try to screw you over". SSgt Colson was VERY happy to see me. My friend told him that I wasn't stupid enough to sign up for four years, as he had done & insisted that the contract only allow my enlistment to be for three years. At that time, this made no sense to me, since I wanted to make the military my career, anyway. When the SSgt found out that I was only 17, he explained that I would have to have one of my parents sign the consent form for me to enlist. I assured him that that would certainly be no problem, as my father was VERY supportive about my military career choice.

That evening, after dinner, I brought out the paperwork, explaining that I had seen the recruiter that morning & needed my father to sign the consent form. My father said, "No problem! Let me have it & get me a pen." As I found a pen, my dad said, "Wait a minute...there's something wrong here.  This says 'Marine Corps', not the Navy." I explained that I had decided to go Marines, as I just wanted to go to Vietnam to personally avenge the deaths of my friends. My dad looked at me for a long time, then ripped up the consent form, saying that no son of his was going to be "a jarhead". I was crushed. Then, the first time that I EVER raised my voice to my father, I said, "You won't sign it? Fine. I'll just wait a few more months till I turn 18. Then I don't need your signature OR your approval."

After my 18th birthday, I went back & saw SSgt Colson again. I signed the paperwork & was told that I would enter the Marine Corps about three weeks later. When the morning of 4 February 1969 came, my father drove me downtown on his way to work, to the AFEES station where I would take my oath & ship out for MCRD San Diego. As I turned to him before getting out the car, I extended my hand for him to shake & said goodbye. My father refused to shake my hand & didn't say a word. He just glared at me, telling me that this was the biggest mistake that I would ever make in my life.

After boot camp & Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton, I was given a leave before being assigned to the Computer School, MCB Quantico, VA (nope, never got to Vietnam...went to Camp Smith, Hawaii, HQ-FMFPac to operate an IBM System 360 mainframe computer for the better part of 2 years). I hadn't called to tell my parents that I was coming home. I just knocked on the door. My mom answered &, of course, began crying & hugging me until I thought that my greens would shrink. When I looked at my dad, he teared up, hugged me & told me that he had never been prouder of me than he was at that moment. From then on, everything was fine between us. Looking back now, as a parent, I understand how fearful he must have been when, during the height of the Vietnam action, his oldest, hothead, know-it-all son had decided to "go Marines" so that he could "go to war and kill people".

The ending to this story is that, the night before last, my dad passed away. He was 76 years old & we had had a truly wonderful relationship after this particular incident. The last time that we spoke (at the hospital), we told each other how much we loved each other. My fondest memory of my dad
will always be the look on his face when I walked into the house that day in 1969 & he told me how proud he was of me.

Sorry this is so long, but I owe it to my dad.

Semper Fi,
L/Cpl Rich Cervenka (1969-71)
Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Sgt Grit,
My son is PFC Jeremy Wortmann and is currently stationed at 29 Palms 3/4 infantry.  After the 9/11 tragedy he decided to drop out of college and join the Marines in Jan instead of finishing school first, he wanted to make a difference now.  The following is something that he wrote one night during field exercise.  I have shared it with everyone that I know even though he has told me it wasn't intended to be a poem just his thoughts.  I think it tells us how a lot of our young men and women feel.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

"The Life of Me, As a Marine"

     A Marine is something of a different breed.  We torture ourselves everyday to become stronger.  Everyday our lives are in danger, but we do not fear anything because we are fear.  We know no pain.  Pain to us is only a sign of weakness.  Nights are full of sadness.  For that is the time we think of loved ones back home.  But loved ones back home are what keep us going.  Only Marines know what other Marines go through.  That's what brings us closer.  We are a band of brothers who are willing to fight until nothing is left to fight.  We band of brothers like to ensure America will live forever.  Many Marines have died and more will follow.  But as long as there are Marines to fight and die for freedom there will be a free America.  Many men would like to say Marines are crazy, ruthless killers, which is true, but those same men are the ones that hide behind us when their lives are in danger.  Marines do not look down on the common man, but knows he is inferior.  We do the dirty work and for that people sleep peacefully at night.  As a Marine I have felt the pain of full body exhaustion, lack of sleep, and hunger.  The sweet memories of moments of love.  The sting of bitter cold and burn of extreme heat.  I have done what many others have tried and failed.   I do what others would not even have tried, and for that I will always stand proud to say I am a Marine, because I know I stood up to the challenge, and answered the call of duty.  America was hurt by September 11, and looked to its youth for help.  I answered her call and so in front of the stars and stripes I swore allegiance to the flag. My life now lies in the hands of God.  Because the day will come when my enemy stands in my way and it will be kill or be killed.  But God help me, I be victorious and America will remain safe.  So as days go on me and my
brothers will march proudly behind the stars and stripes side by side.  Together we will fight and defeat the armies of evil leaders.  Most importantly someday I will be able to tell my son that his Daddy was once a proud warrior and defender of peace.  A United States Marine.
Debbie Wortmann
PMM of PFC Wortmann

Sgt. Grit,
I own a carpet in Brooklyn NY, anyone familiar knows we have the American Flag all over the neighborhood, I have three in front of my store.  They are 7 feet high and stand in a hole drilled in the sidewalk about a foot in from the curb.  Last week the New York City Department of Sanitation came to my store to ask if I had a permit to fly the flag.  I said no and was issued a $50.00 fine for sidewalk obstruction.  My fiancé and I were floored, you need a permit to fly the flag.  I was assigned a court date, September 11th at 8:30 am.  To keep my flags legally and for everyone else in Brooklyn I must apply for a permit, cost $100-750, pay an architect to draw a plan for flags already flying, then appear before the planning board.  Then IF it is approved I must pay $100.00 a year to keep them.

Well I am defiantly flying my flags daily and will go to court.  Can you believe in the US, New York no less, you get a fine for flying the red white and blue.

Anyone our there from New York please make calls to your councilmen and lets get rid of this craziness.
Vito USMC  Vietnam 1968-70

Since the attacks on 9-11 we have all heard about the heroes who did so much during the attacks and their aftermath, but the media fails to mention a word about the real heroes who are and have fought in Afghanistan defending the freedom of our nation. They are in harm's way everyday and put their lives on the line to defend freedom, but the media fails to mention even a word about them. The defenders of freedom deserve more media attention.
Military Magazine, Sept. 2002

In an interview last fall on "Entertainment Tonight," James Woods said of Sept. 11, "Simple logic tells you that if somebody wants you dead, you have one course of action: To get them deader sooner."

"If we ever hope to enjoy real and lasting prosperity
in this country, we must redefine our view of the proper
role of government.  It is tempting during difficult times to
demand that the government 'do something,' but a free society is defined by what its government does not do." --Ron Paul

Dear Sgt Grit. I thought I would share my Marine Corp back ground with some other Marines:  In the city of Philadelphia before the second  war the celebrated Navy day and as a very young man( about seven) my uncle a pre second war Marine used to bring me to the Philly Navy Base.  It was there that I saw Marines marching in close order drill and he brought me aboard a cruiser and I saw Sea going Marines in dress blues and it was then  that I decided that I would be a Marine.  The imposable happened and on June 16, 1944 this Marine uncle 4th Division was killed on Siapan.
Upon notification the following day I went to the Marine Corp recruiting station at 12th and Market to enlist at thirteen.  Of course they sent me home telling me that I was to young and I didn't even shave yet.  That night I shaved for the first time and returned to the recruiting station the following day.  They still wouldn't enlist me!  I tried again when I was sixteen and they discharged me for being under age.  My next enlistment was at eighteen this was in 1948 and I received my  last discharge in November  1979 with the completion of over thirty years total time. I'm sure that if my uncle was still alive he would be proud of his Mgysgt retired nephew.

If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
Ronald Reagan (1983)

Sgt Grit,
First of all, thank you to Vicki, the 5th grade teacher who wrote about her class learning and showing respect for our flag.  I am about a year and a half away from graduating with a degree in elementary education (after a career in the corps - I'm obviously motivated by the money!) and I have nightmares about being hired by a school that would be less supportive of my patriotic fervor. I'm happy there are teachers like you out there who can and do make parents and other teachers understand what being an American is all about.

Second, to all who talk about "giving up" personal freedoms in response to the terrorist attacks as being antithesis to why you served, you are missing - or misstating - why we did what we did.  I don't recall ever promising to protect the rights of individuals over preserving our country.  "God, country, Corps," not "God, Joe Schmuckatelli, Corps."  Care and discretion need be taken, of course, but this is not a situation where giving an inch is giving a mile.

Third, let me add my own flag etiquette story (with a big "OooRaahh" to Cpl Jones, Tad Palmer, the "future lady Marine" and all others who have had the stones to make an immediate impact): I was working part time as the clubhouse security guard at a very posh country club.  One of my duties was to take down the flag every evening.  When I was hired, my supervisor, unaware of the scarlet and gold blood in my veins, instructed me to "just kind of fold it up the best you can."  I stared at him for a few seconds before sarcastically replying "yeah, THAT'S gonna happen."  Over the next several months, quite a few of the other employees, mostly from the kitchen crew and wait staff - most of whom are immigrants - came out to ask why I was making such a big deal of the trifold.  I must tell you that what began as scorn quickly became understanding, at least to a degree.  And one Arab man known for heaping derision on all things American realized that, when I made it clear that one of his new freedoms include leaving , I was not making the recommendation lightly, and changed his attitude appropriately.

I am in Sarasota, FL, which is where the President was on September 11, 2001.  I was exceedingly proud of my coworkers  - indeed, even of the members of the club - when they decided to suspend a second flag from the balcony in the foyer opposite the main entrance.  Proud because they went to great lengths to ensure that it was displayed in the proper manner.

Fourth, let me add my kick to the chops of Audrey-the-Marine-wife.  I was an intel weenie, pogue, REMF, sonofabitch, etc.  The "real" grunts bitched about us constantly during training for embarrassing them, but once they realized the end result (them getting better at communicating, us messing up the enemy) and got the mud out from between their ears, you wouldn't find any one of them seriously denigrating us.  The same situation applies to any other supporting MOS.

Fifth, to 2ndLt Douvas, thanks for the laugh.  "Two sheets and a blanket!"  I was constantly in trouble in boot camp at PI . . . for laughing, of all things!  Basic training was brutal, and I can still remember that first night, staring at a spot on the wall and wondering how in the hell I managed to get myself into this.  However, every time I picture some 85 future jarheads standing on line with " a sheet in each hand, blanket over your head, and" - lest we forget! - "pillowcase in your mouth" it still brings tears of laughter!

Finally, to Mike Koontz for your reply to BGR - you said it all, brother.  Thank you.

Thanks, Sgt Grit, for the newsletter; thanks and Semper Fi to all you Marines out there for - well - for being Marines.
Brett Hagberg, GySgt (Ret)1975-1996

Dear Ms. Grabill and Cpl. Bell,
No, I never went to boot camp.  I haven't learned how to fire a rifle or hump 30 miles in the dark and the rain.  I'm not required to pt at regular intervals, nor do I know what an MRE tastes like.

I can, however, move my entire household on two day's notice with little money and by myself.  I can unpack in my new location with no water or electricity and make it seem like FUN to my kids.  I can parent my children alone and explain why daddy's not here without crying, then turn over half the discipline without a hitch when he comes home.  I've been pregnant and alone, 3000 miles from my family while my husband did his job for the Corps overseas.
Many of my friends have given birth to their children ALONE, which many doctors say is the worst possible pain a human can experience and survive.  Most of us do it without morphine.  I've spent birthdays, holidays and wedding anniversaries by myself more times than I can count.  I can build things, fix things, hang things and do other things that a civilian wife wouldn't have to touch with a ten foot pole.  I've learned to accept long separations that would destroy other marriages without resent.  I volunteer in ten different ways, so that young wives who haven't learned
to handle the crises yet have someone to lean on for help and advice.  I know every acronym the Corps has ever come up with, and a few more that my Marine made up on his own.  Not only that, but I can use them in everyday conversation without blinking nor sounding like an idiot.  He doesn't call me CINCHouse for nothing.

I HAVE had a Marine Corps career.  Every move, every job change, every fundraiser, every deployment.  Spouses are just as integral to what you do as any other part of the Corps.  Our support at home is crucial when you are deployed, and our welcoming arms when you return are a huge reminder of what you are out there fighting for.  You might want to reconsider before you snub us and insinuate that we are only in it for the paycheck.  There are a lot less painful ways to earn a buck.

Marine wives are strong, flexible, caring, warm, helpful, and extremely proud of our Marines.  We love the Corps just as much as you do, and YES, we've earned the right.  I may not wear the uniform, but I carry the heart and soul of the man who does.  Please afford me some respect.

Proud Marine Wife
Cherry Point, NC

"Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct.  Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates.  The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.  To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free." --Federalist No. 8

Sgt. Grit,
Please pass this on to Audrey for whom I have two thoughts.  First, Marines are Marines: nothing more because there is no fighting force that is anything more; nothing less because anything less is not a Marine. We don't wear specialty insignia, unit insignia or Combat Infantry Badges. That is not to denigrate those who do, but we are Marines and that title with our beloved Eagle, Globe and Anchor are as much recognition, honor and glory as one can get in this life.  Second, during 1967, I was the executive officer of a four deuce mortar battery at Con Thien, RVN. We were there for several months. We did our duty, held the hill along with other Marines of a variety of MOSs, some corpsmen, and even a few soldiers.  Unfortunately, about a third of us went off that hill on
helicopter stretchers or in body bags. We called in helicopters, loaded the wounded, and the dead - infantry, artillery, motor transport, etc. - all Marines. When I came back to the world in 1968, part of my duties included casualty notification and assistance as well as commanding funeral honor details.

Conclusion, Audrey, your comments - even allowing for your obvious stupidity and insensitivity - are an abomination. You in the comfort of your America for which my men bled and died have the unmitigated gall and total lack of class to belittle their sacrifice. I wish you could see the eyes of a young boy at his birthday party when he is told that "Daddy is not coming home", the total terror of a fiancé or new bride when she learns that the wedding will never happen or she is now a widow, or the face of a mom who learns that she will never see her son come home, have children and live a full life. And you have the audacity to criticize those Marines and their surviving loved ones. I fell sorry for your husband, evidently a Marine. Your existence must be a nearly unbearable embarrassment to him. Yet, I must make some requests of you. Please, never go to the Iwo Jima statue; one of those men raising the flag was a corpsman you know.  Please stay away from 8th & I; your presence would be a pall on the ceremony especially when the Marine Hymn is played. And please do not even think
about, let alone go to The Wall. I truly can not bear the thought of the likes of you being near anybody's name, especially those of far too many of my buddies' and comrades in arms' names inscribed there.

Richard E. Hulslander
Formerly Capt. USMC
Heart and soul, still USMC forever.

"Don't take counsel of your fears." --George S. Patton

     My first language in this country was German, and I would march off proudly to the Liederkranz Halle in Indianapolis for school and Sunday school.  I would sport my liederhosen and small hunter's cap and would be ridiculed and condemned by passers-by as well as neighbors. My Father was a United States Marine in World War II and Korea, and I later served as a United States Marine during Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, and in the Persian Gulf. I don't care what color, race, ethninticity, or background a MARINE comes from, once he is one of US he is GREEN. GREEN is the only color for us, and whether you're Arab or Martian, YOU will always be one of us. Semper Fi Marine, God Bless you, Allah Inshah, forever MARINE !!!!
Semper Fi,

This is Storekeeper 2nd class Rogers again. I don't understand where I came off as being unpatriotic. But I'm not getting in a sh$# slinging contest with some Marines that can't read a statement without throwing there misguided 2 cents in. If I offended you Miller or any other Marine, I apologize. I felt that the original comments on bitching over rusty M-14's was uncalled for and very much misunderstood. Listen up Marine!! I am as Patriotic as you or any other combat vet. Do not imply statements  you know
nothing of. I am 100% permanent and totally disabled because of injury during combat. I've been their and done that, with the best, THE MARINES.  So, where some of you are coming from, please enlighten me. If calling one of you a jarhead, lighten up, squids have the right to call you back, what you refer to others as. Again sorry to hurt your feeling, that was not the intension. A very Patriotic proud squid Wally R

My idea is this, and I was wondering if you could help me with it.  I would like to put together a collection of individual Marine's stories of how the Marine Corps helped them in the real world to achieve the success (whether financial, familial, professional, spiritual, whatever) they have achieved.  I was teaching a class today and I asked the students in the class, many first-year college freshmen what they want to be when they grow up.  So, I thought an initial title for such a collection of stories could be, "When I grow up I want to be... (subtitle) How the United States Marine Corps helped me realize my dreams."

  In this day and age, when all initiative seems to come from the top in organizations and the entrepreneurial spirit of most Americans seems (to me) to be at an all-time low, why in the heck is it that Marines still keep their heads high and charge forward?  What is it that the Marine Corps instilled in all of us, enlisted and officer alike, that gives us an unwavering spirit to dance to our own tune long after the band played Taps?  Why can we succeed where others fail, even as civilians?  I would like to collect these stories and put together a book for which I would seek publication.  If I can launch this and there are profits, I would see to it that Navy Relief gets a portion of them since they have helped Navy and Marine Corps families in ways that only they know how.

Potential contributors could send their story to or snail mail them to 4038 S. NC Hwy 87, Graham NC 27253-9345.  I think our stories collectively could certainly inspire some folks who thought that their lives were useless or dead ended.  Additionally, this could serve as one heck of a recruiting tool.  Thanks and I look forward to some great stories.  Dave Remington, Cpl, USMC H&S, 2/4 (88-91), H&S, 2d LAV Bn (86-88)

In response to J Ferguson, My father was also with the 1st on Guadalcanal.  I too share your disgust at the lack of respect given for such historical events that have meant so much to our Country. In a recent poll it was noted that over a third of our graduating high-schoolers can not name the countries we fought against in WWII. There is a large percentage of our Country that has no idea of the sacrifices then, or necessary now, to preserve our way of life. I have no remedy for the masses, but my children know where Guadalcanal is located. They know what happened there and they have great respect for our Country and those that have, and do serve.  My grandsons will also know.
Sgt. R Winkler USMC 1967-71

Sgt. Grit,
    Thanks again for a great web site and a chance to bang out a few thoughts here.  I have been privileged and burdened to have provided security to Sharon, Clinton, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, (Saudi Arabia),  Albright, Bush Sr. and others, including the mayor of Jerusalem while wearing the badge of Deputy Sheriff here in Pitkin County, Colorado.  Rarely have I been asked anything but my assignment while on such duty.  Previously, I was honored as Cpl. Kremer, USMC.  My heritage goes back to Gen. Washington, where the Vaughn members of my family fought alongside our future Father of Our Country.  It also goes back to Chosin, Okinawa, Iwo, Guadacanal, and so on.  My family now girds itself against Al Quida as my nephew preps his Hornet as he prepares to once again fly "over the beach" in his duties as Lt. L. Kremer, USN.
    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. Bush said earlier.) Reach out and touch someone.
    Semper Fidelis,
    GF Kremer, USMC

In response to Newsletter 26's 'Top' who was offended by Major Mustang's 'hatred' of of the big issues and problems in America today is that we tend to say that we are African-American, Italian-American, Irish-American, Arab-American...c' about just American?  Certainly,Major Mustang could've phrased his editorial a little more politically correct, but lest we forget...who are/were these groups who seek to destroy us? quote a Marine General...'it isn't the Norwegians'...I know that they will not succeed in their evil endeavors...they say that do what they do in the name of God! The God I know does not advocate the death and destruction of innocent people. I'm rambling, I know what I'm talking about...oh yeah! I'm one quarter American Indian, or Native American,if you will...but first and foremost...AMERICAN!!! I would ask the readers who recall WWII about the treatment of those Americans of Italian and German descent how they were
treated during those dark years? I wasn't born until '48. Again, just rambling response(s)...tough to have been bitten by a snake and not hate all snakes...we'll get over this...amazing how I'm of the aforementioned descent along with English/Scot ancestry and that my best friend is of Lebanese descent and this is why we will overcome whatever adversaries seek our downfall...because we possess the best of everything...that being the combination of all cultures to have the best rise to the top,Top!!
Semper Fi!
HGB, Sgt.,USMC,1967-71

"The lesson of 9-11 isn't to be found in past instances of
American intolerance or in trying to find fault in our actions
around the world.  The lessons of Sept. 11 are simple enough and don't need complicating.  A good and just nation was attacked by evil people, and we responded with heroism, charity and nobility.  If that's too simplistic for you, fine.  We can argue about it on Sept. 12." --Jonah Goldberg

I am one royally pi*sed Army soldier! I've been out of the Army for about 15 years, honorable discharge as E5 Sgt. Soldiering in is my blood!! I was pretty excited waiting for Basic Training to air and got my husband to sit down and watch it with me. First episode, I was mortified!! With each passing episode real embarrassment set in. Was it the female who grimaced when she received her weapon....and said something about it being a surreal experience and how all she wanted to do was go to college? What about the bonding sessions between the Drill Sgts and recruits?? Shall we light candles and create mood lighting and nibble on cheese and crackers??? Oh, and let's not forget the latest (among many) fiasco of the female recruit doing the happy dance...oh God I wanted to throttle her! I'm not even going to go into the state of affairs that our (my feared) drill instructors have become.  SO, FOR THE RECORD...I am Army! (Once a Marine, always
a Marine) BUT I AM ARMY!! I have a sense of loyalty to my branch...(what it now has become has me real disheartened and uneasy about the future.) My loyalty is with my old Company, Platoon, Unit and Squad! We were fu***ing AWESOME!! Joining the Army was a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I had to fight like hell to get in. Nothing could deter me and I prevailed! Basic Training was TOUGH...NOTHING (!!) like the TV series. There was no talking back, etc, it was hardcore. I would say one notch under Marine training. I came out with an in your face confidence (without being considered a bitch since I am female) and very strong. What I have learned in Basic (thanks to some REAL hardcore drill sgts) has served me well in this civilian world. The TV series is nothing like the Army I joined in the 1980s!! WE HAD MILITARY BEARING...unlike Miss Happy Dance!!  On a personal note, I have some concerns. My cousin recently joined the Army and is training in the 10th Mountain Div. in New York. I would write him letters of support during his basic training (before I saw the TV series) and couldn't understand his flighty, lack of confidence, and fearful attitude. I figured they were being real hard on him. On the contrary, with what I've seen of basic nowadays, I understand now. I feel sorry for him and fear for him.  There is no confidence, discipline, and most important..that gung ho kick ass attitude.  So, in summary...I understand being dogged by you guys. I totally agree. Just realize..all Army is not like you see on TV. At least not from when I was in.  Army Of One---load of crap! What happened to team work? What's with that? Thanks for listening.  Soldier On!!

Jerrie Curtin (Sgt--U.S. ARMY!!) d*mn it, I'm still
loyal.... :)

Sgt Grit,
  In response to "Top" who was responding to "Major Mustang", I have this to say.  Although I am of half Lebanese decent, I am one hundred percent American.  When people say they don't like Arabs, Top needs to understand who they are talking about.  They are talking about the anti-American scumbags that roam the sands of the Middle East today who will do anything they can to undermine the United States.  Not the honest, hardworking
immigrants of yesterday.
  Semper Fidelis,
  Sgt H.  USMC

I have to respond to the Cpl who corrected the storekeeper. I am not a Marine but I come from a long line of Marines and Army men.  Not counting all of the Marines I know outside of the family.  Plus I have a deep and abiding love and respect for this country and the men and women who fight to protect it and everything it stands for.  Nothing burns me more than seeing a flag being disrespected, whether it be hanging in the rain, flying for days and weeks on end until it is torn and weathered and not being disposed of properly, to it being hung facing the wrong way or twisted around the flagpole.  And I don't hesitate to tell people about it. People don't respect our flag or the servicemen/women who fight for what it stands for. I get goose bumps and well up with tears every time I hear our national anthem. I commend the Cpl for what he did and if I
were there probably would have done the same. To all of our Marines out there, young and old, I thank you for everything you've done and continue to do. May God keep you safe.  -Jennifer

"America united with a handful of troops, or without a single
soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat." --James Madison

"Historians looking back at our time will note the consistent
restraint and peaceful intentions of the West.  They will note
that it was the democracies who refused to use the threat of their nuclear monopoly ... for territorial or imperial gain. ...If
history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face
of unpleasant facts is folly.  We see around us today the marks of our terrible dilemma -- predictions of doomsday, antinuclear demonstrations, an arms race in which the West must, for its own protection, be an unwilling participant.  At the same time we see totalitarian forces in the world that seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human
spirit.  What, then, is our course?  Must civilization perish in
a hail of fiery atoms?  Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil? ...Well, the emergency is upon us. Let us be shy no longer.  Let us go to our strength.  Let us offer hope.  Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable. ...Well, the task I've set forth will long outlive our own generation.  But together, we too have come through the worst.  Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best -- a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation.  For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny." --Ronald Reagan (1982)

Sgt. Grit I am writing because I am pissed off at all those limp d*ck flag waving Americans in our country.  After 9/11 everybody was "Red, White & Blue" and lets kick Osama's ass etc, and now this "patriotism" is showing a 61% approval rating to pre-emptively attack Iraq.  Have you noticed what's missing?  Not one damn percentage lift in the number of new recruits to any of the service branches.  In fact the only branch continuing to meet and exceed quotas is our Corps.  What a disgrace that all those f*cking flag wavers and war supporters want to see a war fought,
but not with their son's and daughter's.  If we continue the terrorism war like I think we should and then go to war with Iraq while maintaining all our other world wide military commitments we will need a draft, something I support anyway.  If it takes a draft watch support for the war drop to about 4% as those hollow flag wavers take their flags off their houses and put them away out of fear that their kiddies will be going overseas.  It's also interesting to note that those "tough Hawks" like Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld want war but none of them have ever experienced blood and guts and fear while General Powell who has carried wounded buddies off the battlefield, supports diplomacy because he knows what its like to write a battlefield letter to a dead soldier's parent.
Jerry Gulyes

Sgt. Grit,
   In response to Mike Koontz and his article about "respecting our Flag.  What ever happened to "Flag Respect"? When I was a young boy, that is from the time I recognized our flag, until the time I entered boot camp at MCRD-SD, I was always told by my dad (a mere Army Colonel)  "Son, one day you may have to fight for that flag, so always respect her, honor her, and protect her, with your life if necessary." That necessity came for me late in December 1967, when I reported in to my unit in Chu Lai. Anyway, I was taught to face the flag or face at least towards it's location every morning and evening and render the proper salute, whether as a civilian or military, and when the colors were being raised or retired, to stop, stand at attention, and or render the proper honors. I am sorry to say I never see that anymore, anywhere, even on the navy base where I work.  (I work for the army) (figure that one out).  The only honors I see rendered to our colors are by our Marines. Every time they leave our building, and have placed their covers back on their heads, a sharp salute is rendered by enlisted and officer alike, the navy and army pukes could care a less, they just diddy-bop on by the flagpole, and look at each other with a confused look on their faces. Keep it up Marines, show the others who is the best.
John R. Wright,
USMC, 4/66-4/70
VN 67-69

I received my first newsletter today, and am delighted to read the sentiments and hopes of the Marines who defend our country, both before, and after retirement.  In particular, the passage from Cpl. H.F. LA RUE, JR. regarding his grandson's visiting acquaintances, reinforces that my choices as a mother have been none to be embarrassed by, even when they have embarrassed my children.  My eldest son, soon to turn 18, is currently in his 6th week
at Parris Island, and I rejoice that he endured hearing my values and beliefs every day of his life, yes, right down to the point of embarrassing him in front of his then so-called friends.  Many times it caused arguments between us over who he was allowed to 'hang-out' with.

I too question what is wrong with so many parents, wondering why they cower behind a fear of upsetting their children, preempting critical lessons they should be teaching?  If our children don't learn from the strength of their parents taking a stance, they will certainly model someone stronger.  And that is scary indeed!

I believe our country was founded on the premise that freedom was to protect human right, not for the abusive premise so many radicals and yes, sadly even our malleable youth, slap traditionalists with every day.

Corporal LaRue, more of our youth would be well served to hear your reaction.  Have you considered public speaking? The middle and high school circuits would be wonderful!  I am damned proud my son will be shaped by the Marines, and you are but one of the examples I hope he continues to follow.
Emily Benedict

"Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech." --Benjamin Franklin

Dear SGT.Grit
to the marine in the last news letter that said a lot of us tried to get back in and were told we are too old, i was told the same thing.  i am no less a marine at 45 than i was at 18!if anything, we have a clearer understanding and likely more determination.  it was not only the younger soldiers land that was raped by pigs on 911 but ours too!  i want to do my part, dont tie my hands behind my back, give me back my 5 ton and us OLD Fogies can still drive a load of Howitzers
and Jar heads right up sadams #@## and i will gladly
lead the pac.
lcpl K.Bayne
8th motor T, 1977

Doesn't anyone think if we were to invade Iraq the Draft should have been called on 12Sept.01? We may have missed our opportunity to get the people we need.  Just after 9/11 Canada was on our side and any draft dodgers going north would have been sent back or perhaps drafted by Canada but earlier this year we accidentally dropped a bomb in A`stan and unfortunately killed four Canadian Soldiers prompting Canada to pull out. A Draft now would create the worlds biggest traffic jam at border. I must sound like an arm chair general but this old 3rd Mar Div  rifleman (VN 66 - 67) is now in his mid-50's the age of most generals. FredM.

Sgt. Grit
I've wanted to be in the Marine Corps since I was five years old.  Now thirteen years later I have just graduated from high school and I'm almost there.  In the past years I have worked hard to meet every requirement that will make me a Marine officer.  During Easter break of this year I was faced with the hardest decision I have had to make yet...I was accepted to the Naval Academy and to the ROTC program at the University of Rochester.  Well, the more I thought, the easier it became to decide...the Naval Academy could not guarantee the Marine Corps, ROTC did.  In two days (25 August 2002) I will be leaving to go to Rochester to join the ROTC unit.  When I made my decision, most people didn't understand...they thought that any branch would be ok as long as I attended the Naval Academy.  Thank God I grew up with a Marine father, I knew better!  Though I'm not a Marine yet, I am closer than ever and all this preparation I have done all my life finally has meaning. Thanks to all the Marines before me who have inspired those like me to want to join the brotherhood.
Semper Fi
Eric T. Kujawa

Hey Sgt Grit
I don't know about you ,But I'm really enjoying that new Sitcom on the History Channel, Called Basic Training, What they should have done is put Basic Training & Discovery Channels Making of MARINES, back to back, the Army would probably want their show taken off.
 Semper Fi
 Mike King  77-81

Hi this is my first time writing, but something is really bugging the heck out of me. Has anyone watched WWE on Monday nights. Now I know its all entertainment, but when these Canadians come out wearing shirts with our flag upside down and saying that they hate America, I think is going just a little to far. I think we should all write Vince and let him know that there are other ways to entertain other than degrading our flag, and the men who served and died for this great country. If they don't like America send them back to Canada or pay them in Canadian money instead of U.S. money.  Thank You for letting me get this off my chest.
Roger Morin Sgt 1965-1971

Sgt Grit:
My name is Dwight Thompson, FCCS(SW), USN, Retired and I have a story I'd like to share and maybe worthy of one of your newsletters. I'm active in the Fleet Reserve Association and our Branch Secretary is HMCS FMF retired Corpsman.

I was in I-hop (International House of Pancakes) one Saturday morning with my bride and while waiting for a table a biker came in and had a USMC tattoo on his arm. About that time an older gentleman was coming out and had on red wind breaker with a large USMC patch on the back. What an amazing site to see. Two different generations with one thing on there minds. "Semper Fi"
and where did you serve. "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" They gave each other a hug and went on their separate ways.

My Uncle was a Marine in WWII and my cousin was wounded in Viet Nam and is still in the reserves. Even though I'm Navy, My FRA shipmates are Marine and Coast Guard. I had the privilege of serving my country for 22 years and really appreciate your efforts to get the story out. I get your catalog and have ordered stuff in the past for raffles and auctions.

"Semper Fi"
A Swabbie

Sgt Grit,
Just wanted to get the word out that Houston's mayor, Lee P. Brown, wants the city to rename the November 11, 2002 parade to "Houston Salutes American Heroes 2002". He proposed this in a letter dated July 29th, to the city council for the purpose of including the men and women of the Fire, Police, and Emergency Medical Services organizations. I don't have a problem including these fine individuals in the parade or letting them have their own celebration,
lord knows they do deserve credit for the services rendered to their community.  But we do not need to do it this way!  This is another example of a politician doing his best to further dilute the values and principles of this great nation.  "Veterans Day Parades" should remain just as it is; we can not quit remembering those who served in the Military to provide and preserve the freedoms we still have.
W.M. (Bill) McClendon, (SGT.,, B-1-11,  RVN, '66-'67 )

Dear Sgt. Grit,
My father served as an f-4 phantom flight line mechanic from '73-'77 in our beloved corps, and all i've heard about from the time i came to his knee was the great things the corps taught him and that it was the best thing he ever did... he takes pride in the title Marine like no one else i know... last year, as my senior year was starting, i wasnt sure what i wanted to do with my life... then after the tragic events of September 11th, i decided there was no better way to serve my country than to become one of the Few and the Proud, so i signed up and now plan to leave for boot camp on october 7th, ready to give back something to this great