Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - March 1, 2002

Sgt Grit Re: "Ex" , "Former" , etc. debate
Ever wonder what soldiers, sailors, and airmen sit around and argue about?
Semper Fi Marty Monnat, Sgt 1972 - 1978

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I have been doing this newsletter for nearly 3 years now. You have taken off on many subjects from boot camp, Osama, Ex, former, etc.. Old Corps/New Corps and everything in between. Some important, some thoughtful, some trivial, some funny...well you get the idea. I ask a simple question about Marine food (C-Rats, MRE's, chow). Well, now I know what is truly important to you Marines....CHOW!!!! I got an overwhelming response. It may take it own separate newsletter to do all the responses justice. Standby to standby...Stand by!

I know, I know, it has been awhile since I updated the BS page. But it is now done. Many outstanding additions. My best friend SSgt DJ Huntsinger turned his Porsche race car into a "GritMobile". Take a look at our Marine Corps MotorHead link. Now chow for the mind.


Sgt Grit:
I write in response to the Marine who got out, came back, and "its not as tough as it was". I've heard this for years and years, and said it a few times myself. You see, I served from 82-89, starting out as an 0311, then going into 0231 ...(And I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Marine Intelligence??? That has to be an oxymoron!") Anyway, I had been "out" and serving as a Police Officer in one of the roughest beats in the country....directly across from South East DC, in Prince Georges County, Md.

In late 1997, I decided to say "the hell with it", and reenlist. Well, I was a 33 year old Lance Corporal who made it through Field Radio Operator Course in scenic 29 Palms, California. (I'd gotten out as a you can imagine the growing pains I had there). After awhile, I came to realize that while the training may change, and the way we train may be different, Marines are Marines no matter what. We'll always hear "It wasn't this way in Rangoon" (or wherever) and "Back in [insert date here] we humped with 90 pound packs for 30 miles without a break". I can tell you, the humps are just as long, and just as hard today as they were in the mid 80's.

Eventually, I went to Kosovo as part of Operation Allied Force with these same "kids" (I was the old man of the Platoon) and they did just as well, and played just as hard, as "we" did in the 80's.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Marines are Marines, no matter what the year, or how old they are.

I'm glad I got the chance to come back in, and prove I could "do it" all over again. I'm one of the lucky ones!

I got passed over for Staff Sergeant on this "go 'round" and had to leave, but have no hard feelings or regrets. It was a great ride while it lasted! Semper Fi! Sgt Jason S. Grabill USMC 0311/0231/2531/9962 82-89 & 97-01 Marine Barracks, Annapolis Md VMFA-312 "The Fighting Checkerboards" MSSG-24 (24th MEU) HQMC, Director of Intelligence (Staff)


The response to my buddy Rich's letter published in newsletter #13 is overwhelming. Although my mane is on each of the 300+ letters, I can only except them in the name of all who served in the invasion and capture of Iwo Jima, especially those who died there. Do to the great volume of letters it is impossible for me to answer each individually. To all you wonderful friends who wrote giving thanks to the Marines of Iwo, and concerned about my health, all I can say is a big" thank you." May God bless each and every one of you and God Bless America.........Rusty

Now that warrants a big OOOOORRRRRAAAHHHH, job well done Marines!!!!! Sgt Grit


Dear Sgt. Grit,
When my son joined the marines & went to San Diego, I received a letter saying NOT to send packages but as a mom I figured I knew more than the Corps when they told me he had plenty of food, little time to write, etc. So I sent my son a package with 'things to keep him busy', like puzzle books, cards, candy, (well you get the picture). When my son returned home he told me his 'package' had been confiscated & when they graduated every marine who had received a package had their stuff thrown in the same box. The c.o went thru each item asking who's item it was. When they got to the crayons & coloring book, (which I sent as a joke) my son had to say it was his. Ditto for the balsawood plane, the Playboy magazine, the little marshmallow bunnies & all the other nonsense I had sent. What I didn't notice was that my other son had thrown in a condom as a joke. Well Marines don't lie so he had to say it was his. The co said he didn't want to know what use my son would have had for that at boot camp. Everyone had a great laugh I guess but I had a really ticked off Marine when he came the moral of this story is....All you new Marine Moms! Don't send ANY packages, even for fun. Marines at boot camp do not have fun but the DIs do when you send packages after they tell you not to.
Maureen Grafton, proud mom of Cpl. Jon Grafton.


I am a retired CWO (Reserves)and Vietnam Veteran who had the honor of being on IWO during the anniversary in 1964. Being a part of that ceremony and seeing the blacken earth ash, I was amazed at how Marines fought their way up Mount Suribachi. Just getting to the top walking was a challenge not to mention fighting all the way. My hat goes off to these wonderful "MARINES" who are true heroes. You know it is a wonderful tradition of passing off the title "Marine" to the next generation. These gentlemen were my heroes when I was just a young pup "Marine". Today, it is a wonderful feeling when my son tells me that I am his hero. I realize those who gave their lives were the real heroes but my generation saw these gentlemen as heroes.
Bill Sealock


To most people today is simply Monday, Feb. 25, 2002 but it is a special anniversary day for me. Fifty years ago on Feb. 25, 1952, I was sworn into the Marine Corps in Minneapolis and put on a train that night headed for MCRD, San Diego. The train trip has kind of faded with time but who can forget that arrival day at Boot Camp. Believe me, it is as vivid in my memory as yesterday's lunch. For some reason, I managed to hang on to those original orders to report to San Diego. There were 14 of us and the meal tickets on the train figured out to $1.25 each for breakfast, $1.50 each for lunch and $1.75 for dinner.

Last month while traveling in the Southeast, my wife and I attended a Friday Boot Camp graduation at Parris Island. Brought back lots of memories and although the fabric might be different, the dress greens haven't changed. My old Platoon 200 could have participated and blended right in. I'm proud of the Marine Corps history prior to my time. I'm proud of the history that we provided in 1952, 53, 54 & 55. I'm every bit as proud of those young men and women coming out of Boot Camp now and all those in between. I wear a USMC cap that I got from your catalog much of the time and you know, I find myself walking just a little more erect and proud when I have it on.
Semper Fi!! Sgt. Dick Rasmussen, 1290233 Marine for 50 years today.


SGT Grit,
While in the classroom of our squad bay in the summer of 1980, we were having mail call. We had to slap our hands together hard and slap the letter away from our DI. On that day we had Drill Instructor SGT Dauge. He was a sawed off, red haired, in your face meanest sob that I had met to date. Being just after chow time one of my fellow PVTs could not hold his gas, and let one rip. When the DI smelled it made the usual remarks and asked who could do such a foul thing. We all pointed to PVT Nelson. He was brought to the front of the classroom and asked if he S#*@ his pants. He reached around and felt his butt, and replied no sir. The DI not satisfied with the method of checking asked him to check his pants again. This time PVT Nelson dropped his pants showed the DI the crotch of his skivvies and replied NO S#*@ SIR. That was the first and last time any of us saw a DI laugh. He turned red in the face and laughed out a dismissed. We did not see him again until lights out.
Jeff Handy USMC 80-84


I've got a story to tell. After returning from Desert Storm in April of 1991 I was on my home from Camp LeJuene N.C. and I was fling in Desert Cammies. I left LeJuene and stopped in Raliegh N.C. for a change of planes and then flew into Nashville. While in Nashville I didn't once have to buy anything to drink because my money was no good. What a great feeling that was. When I boarded a TWA flight back to Tulsa I asked the stewardess if I could go up front and thank the pilot for taking me home because it was TWA that flew me and my unit over to Saudi and she said she would check. I went to my assigned seat about amidships and was setting there when the stewardess came up to me and told me get my gear because I was moving my seat from coach to first class at the pilots instructions. After we was airborne the pilot came over the intercom and announced that there was a hero on board and had me stand up to a round of applause. Boy did that feel good considering that I can remember coming home from Nam and getting spit on and called names. As I stood up at attention I told the passengers in a loud and Marine Corp manner that I and my fellow Marines and service personnel that it is us that should be thanking them for their support. After we landed in Tulsa the whole aircraft crew came up and shook my hand and then a lovely stewardess came forward and kissed me on my cheek and gave me a bottle of Champagne from the crew to me. It brought tears to this ol' Marines eyes to have such a gift bestowed up on me.
Ray Lancaster GySgt. USMC (Ret) 1970-1994


A Marine and a soldier die and go to heaven. God comes out and escorts them in. He walks them over to some buildings and says these will be your quarters. The soldier looks and sees a lovely little cottage with an army logo on the door, a flag with "An army of one" flying above the door. God says this one is for you, to the soldier. Then the soldier turns around and sees a huge beautiful mansion, set high on a hill. It has rows of flags with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, lining the drive. A Huge EGA in solid gold on the door. Also several Marines forming an honor guard at the front door, In the background, he could hear the Marine Hymn being played. The soldier confronts God, and asks him, "Not that I am ungrateful, but why do I just get this little cottage, and the Marine gets a beautiful mansion?" God chuckles, and says, "You have misunderstood, son, That's not for the Marine, that's my place"
Submitted by: Ron Morse


Just wanted to say thanks for your site. While cruising through, I stumbled to an old picture posted in the Marine BS page, in the 4th Marines section. The photo lists the 1st Battalion, 23 Regiment, 4th Marines on VJ-day. The smiling dirty faces and one of those faces stood out. I could not believe my eyes but right in the middle squatting down was my Dad!.

My Dad was in Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division and my passion in life is to learn all about what he went through. He is still alive and lives on Maui not far from his old "Camp Maui". But he will not talk about what went on. He will not say a word. He did give me a Jap flag that he took at Saipan and his Purple Heart from Iwo. In addition I have his regiment book dated 1943. Anyway I quickly printed the photo and when he last visited this fall I left the photo out. He picked it up and quickly named four of the guys and pointed himself out. That was great!!

But when asked what the event was about he quickly replied " It is almost 60 years ago and I do not want to remember". I know what that means.

I just hate to lose this historic first hand information. But the day is quickly approaching when no first hand accounts will be available for us to learn from. But I do want to thank you for that moment in time when I was able to share a memory with my father.
Thanks again for your efforts
Rodger B. Thompson

Dear Sgt. Grit,
My name is Rebekah Murphy. I'm a newly married Marine Corps wife. I have a long military history in my family. My grandfather was in the Marine Corps for 32 years. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Sgt. Maj. We know that he had 5 purple hearts. What we don't know is how he got them. We know very little about my granddad. I know that he retired in 1977, he was in WW2, Vietnam, & Korea. He worked in maintenance, amtrax, recruiter, and the air wing. That's all I know about him. I was wondering if you know a way that I can find out about my grandfather's Marine Corps life. Like, how he got the purple hearts or anything like that? If you could help me any at all I would really appreciate it. You can e-mail me back at
Thank You,

This observation is for the WWII Marines out there. I get several emails a week like the two above. Children of Marines wanting to know more about there fathers military history. There is a great desire by a lot of children to know more. They are finding it very difficult to impossible to get any information. If I am out of line I apologize, but you would be doing your children a great service if you told them a few stories. My own father was a dentist with Patton's 3rd Army and he would not talk much about it. With the lack of military and combat experience of most people today; a few stories would help them understand the importance of the military and the sacrifices required for our freedoms. Who better to pass this on than "DAD".
Semper fi Sgt Grit


Dear Sgt. Grit,
The following note from an old aviation friend on events after 9/11:
"I was in Victorville, CA flying my first military charter to Cherry Point, NC. A battalion of Marines were issued ammunition and secured the area, which was George AFB. There were eight armed Marines guarding the aircraft. The crew would meet each day for breakfast and then hit the pool where we would wait for word on what might take place next. On day 5 we took 400 of "the Few, the Proud, the Marines", to Cherry Pt. What a handsome, fit, polite, disciplined group of young men. Seeing these fine men gives us a great sense of pride and hope in our country's youth. I haven't heard that many "thank-you's" in all my years of flying. That Sunday I brought the "Be all that you can be" Army, not quite the same caliber of individual, back to Victorville for desert training."
Don't know who these Marines were but their NCOs and officers should be proud of them and their comparison to the doggies.
Tom O'Leary Capt. USMC (1954-65)


Dear Sarge,
I would like to share a story with all our fellow Jarheads. Cpl. Gennero Lombardi, was KIA 9/16/44 on Peleliu. Gennero, (Jerry) was with Fox Co. 2nd Bn 1st Mar 1st Mar Div. At the same time, his brother Vic was serving with the 4th Mar Div. I met Vic about 5 years ago when I joined the Marine Corps League. Since then we have become the closet and dearest of friends. The day I met Vic, he told me about how he lost his brother Jerry on Peleliu. The day Peleliu was secured, only 8 men from Fox Co. walked off that island. Of his brothers Plt., only 3 survived. Over the past 5 years, I have sent out asking for info., about his brother Jerry, on many Peleliu Tribute Web sites. Well this I have shared with Vic throughout the last 5 years. His answer was always, Pete, only 8 guys survived. There is really no chance of anyone out there that might be alive to remember him. (Fast forward) About two weeks ago I get an E-Mail saying," I was with Jerry Lombardi on Peleliu, and I have many pictures of him and I". Well, I sent him my #, and within 1 minute he called me back. Not only does he have Pics, but it turns out they were buddies. When I called Vic to tell him the news, he could not believe it. Well those two talked for a long time. Plans have been made through each other and Vic will have the closure he has been waiting for, for over 50 years. It turns out this buddy of Jerry"s, was with him when he was killed. Jerry was killed the Morning of the second day when Fox Co. started to assault the airfield. What are the chances of one of the three survivors of this Plt., still being a living? I could not go without sharing this story with other Marines, I know you guys will like it.
Peter T. Allegretta Sgt. 69-74 USMCR

I keep telling you it is more than worth the effort to look for you buddies. Start today or give me 50. See Click on "Buddy Search"


Sgt. Grit, Read your letters faithfully, and finally have something to offer. Through the miracle of computers I started looking for a few old friends a year or so ago. A name here and a phone number there and sure enough I got hold of a fellow marine stationed with me in Naples, Italy some time ago. We talked and traded info and soon I had the numbers of two other buddies we had last seen in 1961. Our phone calls became sorta regular and we made plans to meet. Last July we met for a long weekend in Williamsburg, VA. and plan to spend some time together possibly this summer. After forty years we spent the days telling lies and laughing and enjoying and shaking our heads and saying " can you believe it, forty years!!" We all brought pictures and memorabilia and the Globe and Anchor flew outside the condo for 5 days. For a short time we were in Naples, off duty and on liberty, drinking beer and being friends. I'm hoping a reader might have been there with us, "us" being Jack Robinson, Richie Bednarz, Nick Nardoia and Jim Mayotte. If so, drop a e-mail.
Semper Fi Pfc. J. Mayotte 58-62

See I told you to find your buddy. Give me 50 maggot.
Sgt Grit

OK, I will stop, but just one more. Kinda like your mother telling you to call and write, you know you need to do it.


To paraphrase Sgt Grit "If you haven't gone to a reunion yet you need to". Attending a reunion is probably one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. The chance to meet old friends and make new one that served in the Corps with you is an invaluable experience you will never forget. 1st Bn 7th Marines is holding their biannual reunion the end of May. Go to then select 1st Battalion. This will be my 5th and they get better each year.
Semper Fi Nat Holmes USMC 66-72 Alpha 1/7 67-68


On 15 February 2002 a Sgt. Robert M. Wallen wrote regarding MCRD and Camp Mathews. I did not know his beloved S/Sgt. Bailey but I was in Honor Platoon 451 at MCRD in the summer of 1952 with Sgt. K. W. Wright, Cpl. D. W. Elkins, and PFC O. H. Mc Clelland as our DIs. I bumped into Sgt. Wright aboard the U.S.N.S. Nelson M. Walker later on the way to Korea. He was going over as a replacement in the First Division and I was going as a replacement in the First Marine Air Wing (FMAW). During the time I was in Boot Camp, CONVAIR next door was rehabbing a bunch of B-36s and they drove us crazy. They had six pusher prop engines and each wing tip had a pod with two jet engines. They would "run up the engines" during the day while we were in class and the instructors often had to just stop and let them finish before they could continue.

I was struck by the reference to Camp Mathews. I have been trying for the longest time to find out what ever became of it. No one has been able to tell me. I even sent an e-mail to the MCRD public service officer with no result. A woman I happened to be talking to (about an insurance claim) who lived in the San Diego area suggested that it must now be the location of the University of California San Diego campus. I wonder how much old ammunition is still kicking around there. Shortly after we went through rifle training we were told the S/Sgt. in charge of the range was killed by a ricocheting round. I remember them zinging around every once in awhile when pulling butts and he used to sit in a kind of command tower calling commands when we were pulling butts. Where do they go for rifle training now, Camp Pendleton? By the way my high school buddies who went into the Navy won't believe the forty foot "abandon ship" tower at Camp Mathews.

I have often felt that "my old Corps" has been forgotten. When I served (52 - 55) there were no Lance Corporals, no Gunnery Sgts., and no Chief Master Sgts. etc. I suspect Sgt. Wallen was, like myself, a Sergeant E-4 which was sometimes called a "Buck Sgt." Even the famous Jim Brady who I am told was a rifle company commander in Korea did not recall that difference when he wrote his book "Marines of Autumn". It seems like all my old duty stations have been done away with as well. Treasure Island in San Francisco bay where I took basic electronics training has been turned over to the civilians. El Toro where I served my last six months has been turned over to the civilians as has what we called LTA a few miles away where we (the FMAW replacements) staged to go to Korea. I still remember those blimp hangers and the Navy flying the blimps on week ends.

We had a Colonel Nelson who was the Officer in Charge of Signal Battalion at MCRD when I was in Radio Repair School and one Sunday while sitting around drinking beer during a Battalion Picnic at San Diego County Park we asked him about the wings he wore and he told us he had been a pilot but got permanently grounded for flying a corsair through one of those blimp hangers. We asked if that wasn't a little harsh and he replied it wasn't the first time he flew a Corsair where he wasn't supposed to and said something about a bridge near Long Beach. In his day he must have been really good at low level "close air support".

Some years ago I happened to be in San Diego staying at a Harbor Island hotel. I was amazed to see a free-way like road going along the shore line between the bay and MCRD. That's one of the places the DI's used to take us to play games in the sand with our fire buckets when we hadn't been doing too well. Oh, for the good old days.
Semper Fi
Terrance W. Stewart Sgt. USMC 1318421
8 July 1952 - 7 July 1955


Sgt. Grit,
I am not sure where U got your information concerning my Marine Corps but, it is in error. To start with the Corps was NOT born in a bomb crater, it was born in a Pub, Tunn Tavern to be exact and as the M-16 was not even a twinkle in someone's eye it surely was our Mother. As for the devil being our farther? As we stand Guard 24-7 on the streets of Heaven, I some how doubt that the devil was and/or is our father. I am more inclined to believe that the devil likes us but is scared to death of us. He likes us because we keep him stocked in bad souls. I will not continue to point out your errors. U do have some extremely fine info in this page.
Semper FI


Sgt. Grit, After reading several letters about experiences of Marines from all over, I am reminded of one Sunday afternoon in Lakeside Calif. (just outside San Diego) The music was country and the drink of choice was beer. I went to the bar for another, the person standing next to me had the appearance of a Marine and he was extolling the virtues of his career choice. His comment was one I have remembered and quoted many times since to those who never made the same choice we made. "I feel sorry for any young man who never took the opportunity to be a United States Marine" I thought that said more than a whole stack of books about how we feel about ourselves and our unique experience.
Semper Fi
Robert F. Neal Fire Capt. Ret Sgt USMC 62-66


Howdo Sgt!?
I want to start off by saying what a wonderful letter this is. I read them all the time. They have definitely helped me to calm some of my fears about joining the Corps by providing lots and lots of words of confidence and spirit. The letters that people submit never cease to keep me motivated and to keep me dedicated to my choice to shape up and ship out. I am from Norman OK and I have been to your store in OKC numerous times. I am shipping to MCRD San Diego 18Feb02, to embark on a journey that I know will make me better. I just want to thank everyone for showing their love to this country and to you for posting this letter. I know now that my time served will not be wasted because everyone has shown me that they love this country and support all who fight for it's preservation. Oorah motivated, and highly dedicated!
Chad Alexander


Sgt. Grit..
I just wanted to take a moment and say that it is really nice to see marines write in with stories and comments about their Drill Instructors. I can still remember my DI'S names as if it were just yesterday, in reality, it's been over 30 years. It goes without saying , that this very special breed of Marine that wears "the hat" as they call it now, is , was, and will always be the very corner stone of our beloved Marine Corp. You see, just as most Marines never forget their DI'S, most DI'S never forget their privates! As you might have guessed , I was a Drill Instructor at MCRD San Diego from 1975 till 1977. This was without question the most rewarding tour of my career. I still frequent the Depot, and stand in front of the theater where I dismissed many platoons out into the Corp. I still on a daily basis, walk into the spare room of my house, where pictures of all the platoons I graduated hang, along with all the other memories of my career, and yes my "hat". I continue to be very proud of my time in the Corp, but the drill field still holds the closest place in my heart. So with that said, to all of you who have survived Marine Corp Boot camp, and your DI'S name is etched in the back of your brain forever, don't think for a moment that we don't often think of you as well!!
William Bossaert USMC


Sgt Grit:
Although it’s now about two months after the fact, I thought you and your readers might like to read a “Christmas Story.” To make a long story brief, we have a fellow Marine who is a long-term in-patient in the Veterans Hospital in Washington. Major Ted Bliss is a former CH-53D pilot and an ANGLICO platoon commander from the Gulf War where his platoon went into combat with the 8th French Parachute Regiment in northern Iraq. Ted was afflicted with cancerous brain tumors in mid-1994 and has been battling a very debilitating recurrence of tumors, multiple neurosurgeries, physical and occupational rehabilitation and serious disabilities and paralysis over the past seven and a half years. Ted is a resident in the Nursing Home of the VA facility at present.

On Christmas Eve another Marine and myself were visiting with Ted about mid-day when we sensed someone standing in the doorway. Looking over my shoulder, I noted with surprise that a Marine Brigadier General Christmas presents for all of the Marines in the hospital. The presents were literally full of supplies from the Marine Exchange containing a range of edibles and gifts. The Marines brought enough for everybody and had enough for distribution to the other services, as well. Suffice it to say, there wasn’t a sign of any other service representatives to be seen anywhere, at least while we were there.

I can’t tell you how pleased and proud I was to see that “my service” did not forget and Semper Fidelis really does mean Always Faithful! The fact that these four Marines gave up their hard-won personal time to visit the hospitals on a lonely holiday for patients, was exemplary. Their unexpected appearance really caught all of us by surprise and having a General Officer, and a pilot at that, with a team of professional Staff NCO’s and an NCO, made a positive impression on Ted. (Think about the impression made on that young Corporal!)

With the attention to detail, compassion and thoughtfulness evident that day, we can all be very proud of the Marine Corps. By the way, if any of you Marines out there served with then-Captain Ted Bliss in a –53 squadron or in ANGLICO, he would very much appreciate hearing from you. He has a real day-to-day challenge facing him and his spirit is high although his physical condition is poor. Great newsletter! I look for it every week. Well done, Sgt Grit!
Semper Fidelis Joe Featherston Mustang Major of Marines (Retired), still a Marine! Oooooh Rah!


Sgt. Grit:
Sgt. asked about those who remember Camp Matthews. I do. I do. I do! It was March, 1953. We were loaded into the cattle trailers and taken to the south rim of what is now Mission Valley and marched to Matthews. Range F--it was forever getting there.

And there was "Mousy" the smallest member of Plt. 46. He was caught smoking when the lamp was out. The DI had him take his butt to range F and bury it. When he returned the DI asked him if he'd watered it. "No" was the response. "How do you expect it to grow if it's not watered?" he asked. Every evening while we were at Matthews Mousy had to take a bucket of water to Range F and water the cigarette but. To make it worse, our platoon had mess duty at Matthews.

During the week of Mess Duty I worked in the spud locker. Every day we peeked 2800 pound of potatoes, along with preparing onions, garlic and whatever else was needed in produce. Thank God for potato peelers.

Workers for the spud locker were selected from those who didn't smoke. The Sgt in charge said non-smokers are better workers and he needed the best in his operation.

I'd be glad to hear from other members of Plt 46 which was formed about Feb. 1, 1953.
Sgt Robert Hawkins, 1368514 USMC


Hello Sgt Grit,
In your last newsletter a SSgt DJ Huntsinger wrote, "If I needed something, I am sure that a fellow Marine would help. If the word got out that a Marine family was in need, Marines would come out of the woodwork to help." I felt compelled to second that statement. I was engaged to a Force Recon Marine SSgt who was killed in a car accident 2 years ago February 3rd. We were not "officially" married and I was living in a different state. We were doing the long distance thing. I was feeling like an outsider because I wasn't "officially" his wife. But when I got home from the funeral I had received one dozen roses. There was 1 yellow rose in the middle of 11 red roses and the card read: "You are not alone. You are surrounded by your Marine Corps family and we will see you through this loss and support you all the way. Semper Fidelis" also enclosed in the card was an auto decal that read: "Marine Wife-Toughest Job in the Corps" The past two years have been very very difficult to get through but Marines across the globe have helped me so much and many of them without even knowing. I will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart for all Marines. They welcomed me into their family and for that I am forever grateful. Semper Fi Marines!
Proud Marine Wife and future Marine Mom!


Subject: The Marine top ten from the Letterman show 2/14/02
10. I always loved jumping off landing craft and hitting the beach under heavy fire (Staff Sergeant Barbrina Chandler)

9. Couldn't stand one more day of waking up later than 5am (Lance Corporal Mike Gregga)

8. My mama was a Marine (First Lieutenant Phillip Walter)

7. I'd always heard great things about Afghanistan (Lance Corporal Phillip Simmons)

6. It was either this or beauty school (Captain Stan Holland)

5. I happen to look great in camouflage (Corporal Alan Stowers)

4. Army movies star Pauly Shore, Marine movies star Jack Nicholson (Lance Corporal Jeremiah Maddox)

3. To serve my country and fulfill patriotic duty, and shoot some big-ass weapons (Sergeant Julie Matthews)

2. Every Spring we go to Daytona to establish a beachhead (Lance Corporal Michael Renuard)

1. Give me that eagle, globe and anchor (Corporal Sean Holcomb)


Christmas Eve 1965............seems all the guys I grew up with were now all members of the armed forces. This was the time of the beginning of the Vietnam Era. We all had orders for Nam and were shipping out in a matter of days. We elected to meet early at the local diner ( watering hole) before heading up to the church for midnight services. I got delayed at my girl's house and arrived late. Christmas Eve is a special time for everyone, its especially special for those attending this late service. I recall as a young boy all the servicemen that would wear their uniform to this occasion. I would dream about myself in one of those uniforms. Now the time has come for me to step forward like so many before me had done. I remember running up the steps of that church and as my hand touched the metal handle, I heard the spiritual singing of the holiday carols. As I entered the church, my eyes scanned for my buddies in uniform and soon found them tucked away in the corner of the church. The church strangely fell silent as our priest (who watched us all grow into young men) stood silently at the pulpit. He motioned and called all by name to come sit near the alter. Then his eyes fell upon me. Dressed in my blues, I looked like a recruiting poster for the Corps, those blue trousers with its red stripe, covered by that darker blue jacket with its shining brass buttons, white duty belt with the large brass EGA, ribbons over the top left pocket and marksmanship badges below them. Topped off with a salty white cover with a brim that would blind you if the light reflects from it correctly with a large brass EGA attached, finally completed with the spit shinned shoes and white gloves. Father Frye (who later married my wonderful wife and I) smiled, called me MARINE and asked if I would come forward to guard and protect his alter during his service. Father Frye served as a Chaplin with the Marine Corp for eight years.! As I walked down the long aisle way, folks began to stand and applauded and continued until the priest got them to quiet down. I stood three inches taller, (my few medals riding high on my chest) and that chest expanded further then I thought it possible. I immediately walked over to my buddies and had them sit along with me and the applauds began again. All these civilians knew we had orders to report for combat just as they had done so many years before during WWII. I have never participated in a service such as this again. This service was for us, this service was special so as to return us all home safely...........this service did just that....we all returned to our families, we all had adapted to the changes as we were older for our years, we were more worn for our years, we walked a little different from scars and wounds, but we were all alive and still full of spirit. That evening was a special time, I accepted my fate of what was to be, I considered myself the greatest fighting machine on the surface of the earth. I had trained for the past eighteen years and now I was ready to do my part. That uniform had a lot to do with it and for what I became.
Semper Fi Frank Jurkiewicz Sgt. "63" to "67"


Sgt Grit,
First off, outstanding job Marine on the work/ service you do for Marines. I have written before but thought I would again. Every time I read your newsletter( or is it OUR newsletter, anyway) I feel compelled to write. There is no other service I would rather be in than the Marines. The more I travel the more I come to love what I am a part of. I recently moved to Iowa from California and that's when most of my history lessons hit home. Since moving to Iowa I have been approached or in one way or another started talking to Marines. One I met while running in my new neighborhood. I saw an older gentleman running and figured hey he knows where he is going Ill follow him. We got to talking and he ask me where I went to school, I told him I didn't, he asked if I was in the military I said yes. he asked what branch I said Marines, he replied me too. There was the bond After talking come to find out he was in Korea and saw some of the first A-bomb test. All I could think of was WOW I want to sit and talk to this Marine and pick his brain. Listen to how it was ect. We did swap some stories while running. When I got home I called my wife, Dad(Navy ret.),and anyone else I felt would think it was as cool as me. The next Marine I met was at the dump. He was a W.W.II vet and I didn't get to talk to him much other than the exchange of units we served with. Yes, I wear U.S..M.C. hats, shirts, ect. but if you were a member of this years Super Bowl Championship team would you not tell anyone! I enjoy history and love to meet Marines who lived it! Some don't understand the brotherhood of the Marines, and that's why the aren't Marines. In my experiences no other branch walks, talks, or remembers those who came before them like the Marines! We have alot of history out there Marines lets not lose it talk to some off these vets let them know there appreciated.
Semper Fi
Sgt Timothy Gnade E CO 2/24 Wpn Plt 1993-97(active) 99-present (reserve)


Hi Marines,
While I was in Vietnam, I was in a 4 deuce Mortar battery, and was commanded by a Lieutenant Kalstrom, who later became a Captain while he was attached to our unit. He was respected by all of us there at "Whiskey" 2/12. He was a tough but fair man, and did what he had to do to keep us all in line over there. James Kalstrom joined the battery as a young Lieutenant, was promoted to Captain, and then subsequently rotated back to the States.

That is where my little story ends, and his begins. Captain Kalstrom later became the Director for the FBI, New York Division. He was later in charge of the Flight 800 Disaster. I'm sure you all saw him on TV. He was a little heavier than I remembered him, but then after 25 or 30 years, we all somewhat changed. Mr. Kalstrom left the FBI, and is now the Director of Public Security, and works out of the Governor's office for the state of New York.

I am employed at CBS Television as a Stagehand in one of the studios at the Broadcast Center in New York City. A couple of months back, I was in the hall, when Mr. Kalstrom arrived for a News Conference. As he walked by, we made eye contact, and you could tell that he was thinking, "Where the Hell do I know that guy from?". I hesitated to confront him as I'm really not the type of guy to just walk up to someone and say "Do you remember me?" I waited until his conference was over, and then waited outside in the hall for him to come out. I talked to his bodyguard, and asked him all the pertinent questions to make sure I had the right guy. As he came out, the bodyguard was saying to him, "This guy says he was in Viet Nam with you." He walked up to me and shook my hand, as I said "Semper Fi." I then asked him a few questions to make sure I wasn't making an ass out of myself, like "were you a Marine? Were you in Vietnam? Were you up on the DMZ in a place called....., before I could even get it out of my mouth, he said "Con Thien, Mortars 2/12"! I told him my last name was Hancox, and he said "Bob." I couldn't believe it, there we were standing in the hallway 12 thousand miles away, and 33 years later. We hugged each other, and because he was pressed for time, had to go. He asked me for my card, I told him I didn't have one, so he gave me his. It was great to see this remarkable man again, and very Proud to have served under him. I thought I would share this story with you guys, because it meant so much for me to once again see this Great Man, and to let you all know that our Motto "Semper Fidelis," really does stand! Seeing him again brought back many memories, and I thought that I should share this experience with all my fellow MARINES!
Semper Fidelis,
Bobby (HOBO) Hancox (Sgt. 1967-70)


As the author of the book "Korea the last of the fun wars" I truly enjoy the stories and reflections that Marines past and present tell. Please allow me to send this poem which stresses the fact that "Yes Virginia there really is a Marine Corps but there are no ex-Marines. Only Marines of many generations. Kal Kalnasy Marine 6-50-3-53 Semper-Fi

"Marines Don’t Fade Away"

They say old soldiers do not die that they just fade away
They sit in their rocking chairs and think of old memories all day
That may be true for some and then again maybe it’s not
With a cold glass in their hands or maybe a cup of coffee so hot
Marines are different they look at events with a weathered eye
Looking deep into the past handkerchief in hand trying not to cry
Looking at children and grandchildren hoping they’ll never go to war
But the descendants of these Marines are prepared to do much more
The proud history and that intangible thing called e-spirit de corps
That magnificent action from deep within Marine Corps Lore
That indomitable bravery shown in the battle of Peleliu
And the courage and tenacity displayed in the rice fields of Taigu
For two-hundred twenty-six years Marines have stood proud and tall
Never retreating just advancing no matter how many of them fall
Grinding up the enemy like a savage threshing machine
Putting the fear of God in them when they hear the word Marine
Viet Nam a new kind of war fighting and dying for no apparent cause
Slipping through the forest setting up traps seemingly without pause
Nerves on edge sweat pouring down their faces terror in their eyes
Yet they still crouch down and plan tomorrows’ deadly surprise
Then twenty years later called upon to fight another war
To go off to a land to fight a madman who has gone too far
Worrying about bullets and missiles and a biological storm
Yet the Marines fight with their usual demeanor and form
Once again our young Marines are in a strange land fighting a foe
Preparing for the enemy a terrible and permanent blow
They will prevail they will triumph they will win and then come home
For a Marine would rather raise a family than sit on a regal throne
No my friends never think that Marines just fade away
They teach their children values because there will be another day
We will defend this democracy of ours from enemies or we will die
Our Marines will be ready for they know the meaning of Semper-Fi

For All Marines and their Moms & Dads –Wives & Husbands and all their Children
Dr. Kal & Anette Kalnasy Las Vegas, NV. 12-07-2001 ©


Hi Sgt. Grit
I felt compelled to write in regard to a letter in the newsletter about a man who returned to Parris Island after 55 years. I had to share my small story.

I surprised my husband last year with a Valentine's week vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC. (He is a big golfer, and has never been.) I decided driving down there from Massachusetts would be fun - my husband has always wanted to go on a road trip. So, we jumped in the car, and off we went. We decided to stop over for the night in Virginia (I was pregnant at the time and very uncomfortable, so long days of driving were not in order), so we began looking at a map to see where we were, and where we could stop for the night. Well, when my husband saw that we were quite close to Quantico, the Marine in him said - there, we shall stop there. So that is what we did. We stayed at a little motel just outside the gate, across from an Iwo Jima statue... I was looking for the nearest Marriott, but there was no talking him out of it. So, we rested, and got up the next morning, and decided to tour the base. We actually had a bit of fun, seeing the OCS training going on around the base, and we spent quite a bit of money in the shops there. My husband was in a zone so to speak, all things around him were Marine Corps (he was in for 8 years and a Desert Storm veteran - and has been out for 4 years). It was then I decided to tell him that while in SC I had planned a day excursion to Parris Island. He was so excited that he wanted to jump back in the car and get there as soon as we could. Well, we arrived late evening to our condo at the Marriott in Hilton Head that day, and as soon as we settled in, he wanted to know all about our visit to Parris Island. I showed him all of the info I got on tours etc.. and showed him the directions to Parris Island from our condo, and he was even more excited - it was only half an hour away! The next day it rained and though he was OK with going in the rain, I wasn't, so we put it off one more day. Well, the next day he was up early, had gone to the car wash and everything, waiting for me to wake. Once I was ready we headed over to Parris Island... I must admit, I was quite surprised and impressed - it was amazing there! He had so much fun taking me to various places - the tower, leatherneck square, etc. I swear if he could have put on some camouflage and joined in he would have ... happily. He was excited to see that not much had changed at all since 11 years before - and shocked at how short of a distance things were now, when they seemed like miles and miles when he was in boot camp. We spent quite a few hours on the island that day - he really didn't want to leave. We watched Marines on the parade ground practicing for graduation day, saw brand new recruits waiting to check in ... saw what will be the new golf course, etc., we did as much as they would allow us to do as civilians! It was a lot of fun seeing everything that he has told me about for years. As we went back to our car parked by the Visitors center - and by the PT field I think he called it (sorry, don't mean to offend), I had to do everything in my power to restrain him from climbing up the ropes. I mean it, if I would have let him I think he would have just stayed there... and had fun. On the way back to our resort, my husband said - I want to go back in - I giggled, thinking he was kidding, but he wasn't. We ended up having a serious discussion about it, and agreed that as soon as our baby was born, he could do just that. I am proud to say that he is back in the Marine Corps Reserves, and loving every minute of it... all a result of a day trip to Parris Island - which it turns out is not only the place that Marines are born, but where they are also REBORN!
Proud wife of Cpl Sabourin


Sgt Grit;
Please tell your readers that when they refer to the Corps' is the MARINE'S HYMN...not the Marine Corps Hymn!!!!!!!!!! The sound you hear is my DI spinning in his grave. AND, a 1911 .45 caliber pistol and/or M-16 is loaded with a MAGAZINE...not a clip!
Donald McKay Sgt 81-85

Doug Finney

yes Sgt Robert Wallen I guess I was in between somewhere there. I remember the 40ft tower, and it seemed much higher because it was on top of the hill. I remember the little aggie and the big aggie, with sea bag over the head while duck walking. After that we got to waddle thru the "swamp" just in time for clean=up before chow. I was in Platoon 308, Sgt Quigley,Pfc Pullman, PfcBachman. Ring any bells....???
Mgysgt Melvin E Dunham,1953-1977...

Well," snarled the tough old Gunny to the bewildered Marine. "I suppose after you get discharged,you'll just be waiting for me to die so you can come and piss on my grave. "Not me, Gunny," the Marine replied. "Once I get out, I'm never going to stand in line again."

Chow time!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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