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

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #45

"He may get 70 virgins, but they may be mean, nasty, retired Nuns who taught school for 50 years each and know how to rap knuckles!!!"

Andrew Thall

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Monday is Memorial Day. REMEMBER!!! Go to a parade. Go to a grave yard and lay a flower on a vets grave. Say a prayer. Remind a friend. Fly your flag. What ever you do, do something. Remember in your own way but make sure you REMEMBER. Do something however small or big. It all adds up to recognizing those who gave it all so the rest of us can enjoy this great nation. God Bless those who have gone before us.

Sgt Grit

New Items!

Women's Camisole

War on Terrorism Service & Expeditionary Medals, Mini Medals, and Ribbons

Kids low profile OD Green Cover

Look Who cleaned up Iraq bar of soap

Save water shower with a Marine bar of soap

Corporal of the Marines T-shirt

Republic of Korea War Service Medal

New Survey!

86% of you thought the Presidents trip to the USS Lincoln was patriotic.

New Survey Question .....Who's the next most dangerous.
France, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, Al Qaeda, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Korea.

Sgt. Grit
I read your postings as often as I can, but rarely finish them because I am to choked up with pride before I can get through them all. I am very proud of my service in the Corps, just ask anyone who knows me or has seen my truck. I tried to re-enlist after Sept. 11, but was too old and fat. I have since fixed the fat problem (PT is good for the soul), but I can't change the fact that I am quickly becoming an old fart. Not being able to re-enlist, I thought I would never again have the opportunity to experience the camaraderie that makes the Corps so unique. That has recently changed for me though. You see, I now have the unique privilege to not only be a Marine Veteran, I am now also part of another organization that is full of patriotic individuals. Many of the folks I now work with are either active or former service personnel. Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, USCG - we have them all.

The night the war began, I worked 32 hours straight and the people that pulled that duty with me are some of the finest people I have ever met. Case in point - I now work with a man that was a LRRP in Vietnam. He has two bronze stars, a purple heart and God only knows how many other awards. But that is not what makes him so special. What makes him so special is that he started out as an E1, completed the enlisted ranks, Warrant Officer ranks and made it to an 04 before he retired. I would say he has served his country well, wouldn't you? On 1 October 2001 he gave up the ranch he so richly deserves to come back and do what he could for his country once again and he is still at it. For that Mr. Barger - I am honored beyond words to call you my friend and I salute you.

Well, Many people question if what we do is worth while or just more government bureaucracy. To them I say, at least we are doing something and not sitting on our butts crying about false injustices and waiting for our hand outs. To the rest of you - I am proud to inform you that we, the men and women of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are united in our cause and are doing everything in our power to protect this country and the freedoms we all so dearly love. As with any war, we can not guarantee that no one will die, but we all are contributing whatever we can to protect as many life's as possible. As Secretary Ridge recently said to me "I don't think anyone hear is working an 8 hour day." and he is right. If we only work 10 hours in a given day, we feel like we are not doing our share.

So, if any of you want to feel like you are part of something bigger than you or want to feel like you are contributing in some way, I suggest you take your lead from a 63 year retired Navy LtCmdr and get up off your duffs and do something about it. I would suggest you consider joining either the Freedom Corps or the Citizens Corps. Semper Fi,

Gary McCarty
SGT USMC (83-89)
Beirut Vet
Department of Homeland Security

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I've just completed reading #44 Newsletter. This is the best of the best. The "report" from Iraq by LJT has to be the most informative letter I've seen, yet. I'm making copies of it to hand out to friends. It is just plain "straight from the spirit, to the spirit". I laughed and then choked-up at the end. I don't know who this Marine is, but thank God there is someone who has the guts to put down what he sees and thinks "without wax" (sincere). I hope he writes more.

Semper Fidelis,
Don Hepburn,
Sgt.USMC (HD) '55-'59

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."

--Albert Einstein

"We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world -- nothing more and nothing less. To carry out that purpose, our fundamental aim in foreign policy must be to ensure our own survival and to protect those others who share our values. Under no circumstances should we have any illusions about the intentions of those who are enemies of freedom."

--Ronald Reagan

"...[I]t was an honor for me to go on the USS Abraham Lincoln. I appreciate the chance to thank our troops. It was an unbelievably positive experience. And not only was I able to thank our troops, I was able to speak to the country and talk about not only their courage, but the courage of a lot of other men and women who wear our country's uniform. I'm glad I did it. It was also a really good landing."

--President George W. Bush

1/9 RVN 1965-1966

Good analysis...too funny!

What makes you think any of the suicide bombers will even get into heaven?

Remember whose standing post at the gates into heaven!

T.P. Sheehan

"The battle over Iraq may be over, but the war on terror is not. Our nation continues to face a ruthless enemy -- and thus a test of our national character. Do Americans have it in them to run not just a sprint, but a marathon? Do we have what it takes to prosecute the war on terror over the long haul?"

--Gleaves Whitney

Can you hear it. It is deafening. It is the vacuum, the silence, the lack of outrage from the Muslim community. This is a cultural war. And it is not being talked about. I'm not so sure we are not in the midst of WWIII and the world is aligning itself. Dissent does not equal patriotism. Just like sex and f@@k!ng do not equal love. The anti-war group does not love the USA, so they must be......

Michael W.

(Get ready for this one folks)!!!!
A friend of mine who teaches in Connecticut informed me of fellow teacher who was arrested for carrying a compass, two rulers, and a protractor. It seems that he belongs to a terrorist group known as Al Gebra. They are suspected of distributing weapons of math instruction!!!

Hey Sgt. Grit,
I have been reading your newsletters for over 2 years now and have been intending of writing and telling you how much I appreciate your website. It let's those of us who once served remember the good ol' days, and helps keep our Marine Corps. Loyalty in check. I am sitting in my office right now and just received the following e-mail. So I thought I would pass it on to you and your fellow Devil Dogs. No doubt the Man is a Marine, and I would have loved to have seen the look on that Frenchman's face that day.

An elderly American absent mindedly arrived at French customs at Paris airport and fumbled for his passport.
"You have been to France before Monsieur?", the customs officer asked sarcastically.
The ancient Yank admitted that he had been to France before. "Then you should know enough to have your passport ready for inspection", snapped the irate official.

The American said that the last time he came to France he did not have to show his passport. "Impossible, old man. You Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France." The old American gave the Frenchman a long hard look.

"I assure you, young man, that when I came ashore on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D Day in 1944, there was no Frenchman on the beach asking to see my passport!"

-- Author Unknown

Semper Fi Devil Dogs
Cpl. Jason Wood
2nd FSSG 8th ESB.

Sgt Grit,
This past weekend, I was privileged to be part of a wonderful ceremony for veterans of WWII and Korea who had to leave for combat before receiving their high school diplomas. These gentlemen were so happy to make it home that the importance of receiving that diploma faded over time, and most went on to lead successful lives and build careers anyway. A few years ago, one of our local veterans talked to our state representative about having a ceremony to close that gap in these men's lives and hand them that missing paper. This is the third year and the family members have been instrumental in persuading the men to actively pursue this. The superintendents of our county's schools come to present the diplomas, and it is an incredibly emotional event to witness. The veterans are also encouraged to make speeches, and their words bring tears to your eyes. You can't help being proud of these men, who are as excited as the high school graduates. Some schools have even incorporated this into their high school commencement ceremonies, presenting the veterans' diplomas at the end of their programs. One college student wrote a speech about how proud she was to share her high school graduation day with her grandfather, a WWII veteran whom she never realized had not graduated from high school. I am not sure if this program is in other states besides Michigan, but I am urging all of you to start something if there is not. Call your local state representatives, check with the Veterans Administration, and start asking those veterans some questions. You might be surprised at who did not receive their diploma, but never mentioned it. One WWII Marine told me, with a wink, that he never received his because he put the wrong date on his paperwork and was actually only 16 when he left. He received his diploma proudly, held it up for all to see, and sat up straight with the proud look that only we Marines seem to have. It was a very emotional and proud ceremony, and I would like to see it in every state.

Semper Fi! -- Lori (Moore) Casanova
USMC 86-90

Just a word to say that what all our men and women done in Iraq makes me proud to be an American and a former active-duty Marine. (Never "X") My secretary's only son will be returning home in early June from Iraq and a tour with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit. He was in the center of the spearhead and is a highly motivated marine. We're all very proud of him and are thankful there are still brave young men to defend our country and the freedom of those who can't fend for themselves. Many people cursed our President and the decision he made to go to Iraq, but if those people were at the mercy of another Saddam, they would be the first to beg for someone like President Bush to come to their rescue. I hope our young Marines quickly learn that stupidity yells the loudest. The calm, collected, brave Marine will still be standing when the smoke and bulls*** settles. Always proud. Always ready.

God bless our country and its leaders.
God bless the United States Marine Corps!!!

Detective T. R. Ashley

The Solution

The Palestinians, understandably, want a homeland of their own. So far, it doesn't seem chopping up Israel even smaller than it already is will be a satisfactory solution for either side.

So, why not give France to the Palestinians?

The French have already stated that nothing is worth fighting for. France certainly has more room, better irrigation and soil than the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. The houses are nicer and tourists will visit, helping the economy. Plus, there's no pesky IDF troops to hassle with.

Heck, the French won't even fight back ... and they may not even notice their country's gone.

It's possibly the perfect solution!

And how about a name for this new "Franco-Palestine" territory?? How about calling it Frankenstein?

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin in France.

Submitted by: Frank Emerson

Ride 'em Cowboy
"They call my President a 'cowboy."

It used to tick me off when the Muslim detractors in the Middle East, or the socialist detractors in Europe, or the ultra-liberals in Hollywood and others called our President a 'cowboy', but the more I think about it, the more glad I am that he is.

When I was a kid, cowboys were my heroes. Well, I mean the ones in the white hats, not the black hats, who were the bad guys. There was Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Johnny Mack Brown, Hopalong Cassidy, Red Ryder, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, then later Marshall Matt Dillon, Hoss Cartright and others. Personally, I think Gene Autry could beat 'em all up, and then sing a song afterward to his girl friend. He was my favorite.

What were common attributes of these legendary cowboys? Here are a few: 1. They were never looking for trouble. 2. When trouble came, they faced it with courage. 3. They were always on the side of right. 4. They defended good people against bad people. 5. They had high morals. 6. They had good manners. 7. They were honest. 8. They spoke their minds and they spoke the truth, regardless of what people thought or "political correctness," which no one had ever heard of back then. 9. They were a beacon of integrity in the wild, wild West. 10. They were respected. When they walked into a saloon (where they usually drank only sarsaparilla), the place became quiet, and the bad guys kept their distance. 11. If in a gunfight, they could outdraw anyone. If in a fist fight, they could beat up anyone. 12. They always won. They always got their man. In victory, they rode off into the sunset.

Those were the days when there was such a thing as right and wrong, something blurred in our modern world, and denied by many. Those were the days when women were respected and treated as ladies, because they acted like ladies.

Now as a senior citizen, I still like cowboys. They represent something good -- something pure that America has been missing.

Ronald Reagan was a cowboy. I like Ronald Reagan, who was brave, positive, and who gave us hope. He wore a white hat.

To the consternation of his liberal critics, he had the courage to call a spade a spade and call the former Soviet Union what it was -- the evil empire. Liberals hated Ronald Reagan.

They also hate President Bush because he distinguishes between good and evil. He calls a spade a spade, and after 9-11 called evil "evil," without mincing any words, to the shock of the liberal establishment.

That's what cowboys do, you know. He also told the French to "put their cards on the table" (old West talk), which they did, exposing their cowardice and greed.

The Arabs are wrong. In the old West, might did not make right. Right made right. Cowboys in white hats were always on the side of right, and that was their might.

I am glad my President is a cowboy. He will get his man. Cowboys do, you know

Semper Fi
Jim 'Wags' Wagner
CAP 2-4-1/Delta 5
Tan Thanh Hamlet, Hoi An 1971

Mr. Wiltse,
I'm writing in response to your definition of "hero" and your assertion that Jessica Lynch is not one. That's your opinion, and you're welcome to it, but many of us do consider Lynch a hero. Not because of the situation she was in, or the way she handled it, but because she served. Today, many people are finally giving our servicemen and servicewomen respect for simply having the courage to serve, and with that respect comes the title "hero". I don't know whether you were drafted or not, but in Vietnam, many soldiers and Marines were made heroes because of their actions and they way they handled themselves during the war years. Many of them did not volunteer for service, and perhaps they might not be considered heroes unless they became heroes on the battlefield. Today, we have an all voluntary military. Each one is often called a hero for simply voluntarily sacrificing their time, serving their country, and knowingly (we would hope) offering to lay down their lives for their country and brothers- and sisters-in-arms.

Now, I'm not writing to tell you whether or not that is right, but simply to say that your definition is your own. It may have been but no longer is the definition our society has placed on the work "hero". Firefighters have always been heroes. It did not take the September 11 tragedy to make them heroes; the tragedy simply brought that fact into the spotlight and into the American consciousness. At the present time to the American people, each member of our all-voluntary force is considered a hero, and it doesn't take a tragedy to make them heroes. With this thought, Jessica Lynch is a hero. I would have to speculate that she is being called a hero so much because she is the most visible figure in the military, and the face of the military sacrifices made by the members of our Armed Forces.

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong; heck, you're actually saying what a lot of people are thinking. But, the general consensus right now is that all our Marines and Soldiers, and Sailors and Airmen, are heroes. From the General Clark to Private Lynch to Sergeant Smith the Supply Chief ...

Semper fidelis,
Michael Cantelon
Hanover Park, IL

Gentlemen, Marines and Navy, I served onboard USS America CVA-66 1975-1977. Although I was a squid I met a helluva lot of good guys assigned to MARDET. The reason I am writing is that the USS America is decommissioned and slated for scrap/demolition. I am the treasurer for the USS AMERICA MUSEUM FOUNDATION. We are attempting to save the "Nations Flagship "as a floating museum/educational facility. Unfortunately we are meeting a great deal of resistance from NAV/SEA,and other governmental entities. They wish to take the only combat warship named after our country and either sink it, or turn it into razor blades. We find this totally unacceptable. I would ask you to PLEASE go to our website and find out how you can help save the USS AMERICA. It requires no money/donations, merely the ability to write to your local, state, and federal representatives. However, time is running short! Please step forward and try to save the only capital warship that is named after our country. USS AMERICA CVA-66.

Thank you in advance gentlemen.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant -- and free -- in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

--Thomas Jefferson

That's all I can say after reading the post from the corporal's wife in the last newsletter detailing how this Marine's sister has raised so many $$$ to help our brothers and sisters in arms. Sounds like another generation getting ready to take over...and not to worry.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader sgt #1405534

Early last month, vandals defaced a World War II British cemetery in Etaples, France. Just recently, US Marines spent weeks restoring a World War I British Army cemetery in Baghdad that was neglected when Saddam was in power. I'm speechless, I really don't know what more to say.

God Bless America and the British too!
Christina V.

To Issac with the BCD.
My question is what persuaded you to go UA?
Homesickness, family problems, etc?
Since you were a part of the World's Finest, you were obviously instructed to talk to your Chain of Command concerning any problems that existed. If you failed to utilize your Chain of Command and give them a chance to help you, you obviously didn't possess enough loyalty towards them to give them the benefit of the doubt by working with you on the problem you had.
From what I understand, a BCD is a nicer way of saying Dishonorable, but not as severe. It all depends on the circumstances involved. Receiving a BCD for a positive piss test, I believe, would be more severe than a BCD for going UA. However, being that a BCD will be on your DD-214 and on your record for life, you most likely will be interrogated by any employer as to why you were tossed from the military with less than an Honorable Discharge. After an explanation, you will be either accepted by the employer, or you won't. Depending on how severe your circumstances were. I'd say the only way to get around this position you got into is to let time do the rest. Deal with the after affects of your actions now and some time down the road, it may not matter anymore. A good percentage of the employers nowadays do a thorough background check of potential employees. The only thing I can recommend is you asking the employer for a chance if and when they feel apprehensive towards hiring you.

Good luck.
Semper Fi
J.S. Elliott

It is very possible to lead a good life, even after a BCD. As I saw in this news letter a few issues ago, when you graduated from Boot Camp you earned the right to be called Marine.

Living honorably means recognizing your mistakes, and correcting them quickly and quietly. You will have to work harder to earn the trust of others, but it can be done. When you do, remember where the attention to detail, personal bearing and discipline come from.

Recognize every single veteran that you see and say thank you. Take every opportunity to serve that is offered to you. Take the worst, lowest, most thankless jobs and do them well and with pride at being able to serve.

Eventually you will stand when they ask in church or public gatherings to recognize service men and women. In time, people will recognize that you are a Marine and only God (or the Commandant) can take that away.

Wyant L. Niswonger

I wanted to respond to the numerous negative comments about Pvt Jessica Lynch being a hero. We all took the oath when we joined the military that we would give our life for our country. Everyone, past or present who wears the uniform is a hero, yes as much as my old former Marine self hates to admit it... EVERYONE!

P.W. Long, Sgt '74-'78

Sgt. Grit,
I would like to comment on Mr. Nick Wiltse letter about Pvt. Lynch being dubbed a "Hero". In Pvt. Lynch's defense, she didn't give herself the title. This title was bestowed upon her by our press and has been sensationalized beyond reality. I'm sure she doesn't consider herself a hero. She hasn't asked to be put on this pedestal of fame. If anything, she is probably feels just the total opposite. I can't imagine how she feels about the pressures and guilt that go along with all of this label. However, Americans are about symbolism and she happens to be the one symbol that they chose. Just like in the case of Capt. Scott O'Grady. Was Capt. O'Grady a "Hero" that the press made him out to be? The fact is, he got shot down and survived the ordeal. He didn't feel like he was a hero. As a matter of fact, he publicly denied being a hero and gave credit to the Marines who rescued him. So are the Marines that rescued him the hero's? No, they were just doing what they are trained to do. But once again American's needed a symbol and Capt. O'Grady become one. As the same, in the case of Pvt. Lynch. My whole point here is this, if this gives all American's a sense of pride and strength in our Armed Forces by labeling Pvt. Lynch a "Hero," then so be it. All veterans and I'm sure Pvt. Lynch, know who the true "Hero's" are. The only true hero's are the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice and came home with an American flag draped over them, whether they be Army, Navy, Airforce or Marines.

Semper Fi to them all.
Christopher Andrews
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (Ret.)

"Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway."

--Elbert Hubbard

Dear Sarge
I agree with the comments of Nick Wiltse U.S.M.C. 1964-1968 (AmericanCourage Newsletter #44) regarding Jessica Lynch. What really bothers me is that she has been given such a high status of "hero". Yes the fact that she survived is wonderful and I am most happy for her. BUT the real heroes are the ones who risked their lives to go in and rescue her not to mention the Iraqi man who told the US about her. And why haven't the other returned POW's been given a free ride to college? Something is just not right about this. I know it has nothing to do with her being a woman. Not in this day and age of political correctness! Welcome home troops, you done us proud!

Doc R.E.Wagner
Proud to have served the "heroes" of Kilo 3/7
Vietnam, class of '67 - '68

"Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes it jarring gong--these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history."

--Winston Churchill

Sgt. Grit
In your last newsletter one of your subscribers made reference to service men and women not wearing uniforms on liberty. It is not because they feel uncomfortable wearing them. I was on active duty throughout the early 90's and at one time we traveled in uniform. I remember one time we were in an airport and like typical Marines we went into an airport bar to have a beer. An older gentleman in a 3 piece suit walked in and ordered a drink. He saw 4-5 of us standing at the bar in our Charlies and he walked over and dropped $100.00 on the bar and said next round's on me. We said thanks and he said "no...thank you" and he walked out. I was never so proud to be a Marine as I was at that moment. I always liked wearing my uniform in public, but them something changed. As I recall we were no longer allowed to travel in uniform. I'm pretty sure it was due to the fact that they didn't want U.S. service men and women to become "targets" for terrorists. That may possibly be the reason for uniforms not being worn on liberty anymore. On top of that let me now congratulate all of the men and women of the armed forces for the job they did in Iraq. I am especially proud of the 1st MarDiv. How it pained me to sit at my TV and watch my brothers fight for me without being able to join them.


Toronto has finally been dropped from the SARS list....let's remember to keep it on the other list, you know, the one they earned with their pathetic lack of gonads!!


Hi Sgt. Grit -
I want to thank you so much for your awesome newsletter. I pour over it every time it comes out. It's comforting to read all the other Marine families comments, thoughts, and heartfelt prayers. I'm still waiting for my son to come home. He's in Combat Engineering and has to stay longer to help rebuild. Haven't heard from him in a few weeks now, but rush out to the mailbox every day hoping for a letter. I write Warren every day and send him a package at least once a week. He's ALWAYS on my mind, in my prayers, and in my heart. I'm so proud of all our servicemen and women over there. What a brave, unselfish group of people. They truly are the "Chosen Ones." I reference in my poem. I wrote this poem last night. It's from my heart, so I'd like to share it with the other Marine families, and thank all of them for what they're doing and how they are sacrificing for me and this country.

A Mother's Declaration

I wake each day and remember things aren't as they should be.
My son's in a godforsaken land far across the sea.

He's fighting for our freedom and all that America stands for.
I'm just so very sorry that sometimes this takes war.

They are doing what they have to do to keep our country free.
We need to stop and realize - that means you and me.

We owe these brave young soldiers a debt we can't possibly repay.
Without them we would not be the glorious US of A.

We all need to stop and realize where we'd be without these tried and true.
The things we would have to endure, could not be gotten through.

Our blessings need to be counted - more than once or twice.
They've paid for things we take for granted, with a very heavy price.

Would you lay your life down for your fellow man?
It's hard to believe - but that's God's divine and Ultimate Plan.

That's the very thing that He did for us so many years ago.
It's hard to fathom that kind of love, but something we all need to know.

What would I do without Him to bear this heavy load?
There's no way I could make it each day along this earthly road.

I thank you, My Lord and Savior! I would be forever lost without You!
I also thank you, Chosen Ones, for defending our Red, White, and Blue!

Semper Fi!
Debbie Kuplin
Proud Mom of PFC George "Warren" Bujol, III - USMC
May 15, 2003

SMSGT. Don Burch, United States Army, Retired.

Who Am I ? , Cries the Warrior
A lone sentry paces the walkway,
And many tourists come to see.
For "I am the Infantry, King of Battle,"
And you can -, "Follow me!"
The old guard stands lonely vigil,
Twenty-four hours a day.
Through sweltering heat and freezing rain,
While in my marble tomb I lay

I am called the Unknown Soldier,
For no one knows just who I am.
I went 'over there' to fight the 'great war",
When called by my Uncle Sam.
But in the gardens of stone, when all is quiet
Shadows cast by light of the moon.
I search each headstone every night
Of soldiers lost too soon.

For I was called to serve my country,
On a far and distant shore.
Now while others rest, my spirit roams,
And will forever more.
As my spirit walks the gardens,
Row after row after row.
Some of these names I recognize,
And others, I just don't know.

Was I a farmer in Nebraska,
Or a lumberjack in Maine?
Did I die quickly, through the mercy of GOD,
Or did I agonize in pain?
Did I lead soldiers into battle,
Or did I follow those who led?
To so many questions the answers I seek,
As I walk amongst the dead

Who am I? Cries the warrior,
With faded medals on his chest,
Who am I? Cries the warrior
While those in the gardens rest.
'Here rests in honored glory, an American soldier,
Known but to GOD.'
These words cut in my tomb so deep
As the lonely sentry walks his post,
The known of Arlington sleep

Speaker disrupts RC graduation
A New York Times reporter delivers an antiwar speech that offended many.

Kent M.

Hello there, SGT Grit:
Please sign, distribute, link to your website Links Page

I thank you very much for your service. Peace to you.
Semper Fidelis, Joe "Mongo" Martin
PFC, 0311, USMC 1976-80, Golf 2/8 2nd Mar Div (FMF) 32nd MAU, BLT 2/8

I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how great your newsletter has been since the conflict broke out in Iraq. My husband, a MARINE SGT., has been gone from home now for three months. This is my first deployment,what a first deployment,and reading your newsletter has made it a lot easier. The calls and letters are few and far between , but I know he's doing his job and doing it well.My heart fills with pride when someone walks up to me and thanks me for the sacrifices my family endures. I am her to say the sacrifices are worth it. I miss my hubby more than I can even begin to describe, but I also know that this is what he does and he does it well. Thank you for having such a wonderful newsletter, and God Bless the United States Marine Corps, and all military branches for all they sacrifice. Our loved ones who are over there sacrifice the most, but yet they keep their chins up and their morale and do their job so they can come back home to the loving arms of their families.

Thank you,
Rebekah Richardson
Sgt. Richardson

In your last newsletter one of your topics was the training in the services. You really made the Air Force look like a bunch of peons in that article, if it wasn't for us that served with pride while in the service getting the bombers and other support aircraft ready to fly so our flight crews could help you guys out on the ground with our air support many of you guys wouldn't be here right now. I have had a lot of in-country Vietnam vets tell me how grateful they were to see the B-52's coming in on there runs helping them out of some bad situations. That's what's wrong with the services they can't do things together, one always thinks there better then the other. It takes a whole country to have a war not just the in-country vets. If it takes to be a in-country vet to be a war veteran then I feel sorry for this country. No wonder a lot of vet clubs don't have to many members in them any more, I think there just fed up with all this bad vibes between the branches of service. Thank you for your time.

Tom Konieczko
U.S.A.F. Veteran 66-70



Sgt. Grit
I recently wrote a letter to President Bush, to send him a copy of a letter I sent to our newspaper. (letter to the editor, it wasn't printed) and I thought you might like it.

Dear President Bush,
I recently wrote a letter to the editor of our newspaper concerning some of the letters I have seen sent in for publication and thought I would send you what I wrote. To all the individuals who denigrate our government, may I respectfully remind you of something? I am one of the people who are despised in parts of the world. I am one of the people who are feared in parts of the world. I am one of the people who are loved in various parts of the world. I am one of the people who are respected in parts of the world. I am one of the people who have the right to speak what I am thinking. I am one of the people who have the right to practice any religion I wish. I am one of the people who have the right to own and bear arms. I am one of the people who have the right to be secure in my own home. I am one of the people who have other rights that I do not have to write about. Who am I, you ask? I am a citizen of the greatest nation on earth.
I am an American!

I might suggest that some of our distinguished elected officials could benefit by reading this as a reminder of the oath they took. The same basic oath I took in 1972 when I enlisted into the Marine Corps from which I retired. Thank you for your time.

Respectfully yours,
Thomas E.Reasinger
Msgt USMC (Ret.)

I have had a request for Chaplain stories. So send them in.

Thanks Sgt Grit

I live near the town of one of the POW's that came back from Saudi Arabia. The town made him a parade and even our Governor came to see him. They call him a "hero" for getting lost out there. I'm a veteran of "Operation Just Cause"(Panama) and "Operation Desert Storm"(Saudi Arabia) and believe, just like other veterans around hear especially Marines, that they are giving him to much credit. Yes, they were prisoners of war I give them that but a hero is someone that goes beyond the call of duty. Someone who gives the ultimate sacrifice. Those are "heroes." Thank you for letting me speak my mind.

Former Cpl. A. Sanchez,
God Bless Our Troops,
Semper Fi!!!!!!!!!!

"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives."

--John Adams

Brothers & sisters,
The annual Wichita Area Vietnam Veterans, Assn Welcome Home celebration is set. It will be held 25 Oct 2003. For more details and registration please visit or email me. This year we would like to make this a national event and have Veterans and Nam era veterans from all over the country. Hope to see you all there!!

Sgt. Grit
OOH RAH I love your newsletters I find myself crying and laughing and very proud of all Our Marines past and present..My husband is currently serving in Iraq (GRUNT) and I print out your newsletters and mail him them along with as much positive news as I can.So he will still feel connected with us back home. I have to say I am so pissed off that some of our Senators are making negative remarks about Bush flying in on the Abraham Lincoln. I think they have to know we have spent millions of dollars protecting war protesters and that makes me so angry. When Bush landed on the deck of that air craft carrier I was so proud of our Commander in Chief. Our Military deserves the respect and gratitude he has shown them and the families left behind. I am so proud to be a Marine wife and he made me so proud to be an American not to mention all the sacrifices the children of all our deployed troops have made too. When my husband left a dear and close friend of ours named Frank Grille (1st Mar Div) was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Frank is a Vietnam Vet and calls me like clock work every week and makes sure I am well taken care of even while he is going through chemo gave my husband a bracelet that one of his buddies gave him in Vietnam. His buddy died shortly after in the war and Frank held on to that bracelet all this time. It is a treasure. My husband was so honored to wear it and he promised Frank to bring it home. I think Frank may need that bracelet to carry him through the hard times. You Marines are a special breed no doubt about that I love you all. So I am asking you all to say a special prayer for your 2 brothers. God Bless The United States Marine Corps


It's September 6, 2002. Last week at this time, my wife Nancy and I were taking care of last minute details in preparation for our trip.

Our son Christopher, a Corporal in the Marine Corps, is to be married tomorrow evening in California.

We flew into Long Beach airport and drove down to Carlsbad, California where Nancy had booked the weekend at The Carlsbad Inn. A beachside resort, the Carlsbad Inn offered beach access for our early morning strolls along the Pacific shoreline and a short drive to Camp Pendleton, where the wedding was to be held.

The wedding was a very nice, simple ceremony. Chris and his groomsmen were all in dress blue uniforms and the bride and her bridesmaids were all beautiful.

After the ceremony, as they left the church, swordsmen, weapons raised, created an archway that the bride and groom passed through on their way to greet the waiting reception of friends and relatives. As they approached the end of the archway, the two leading swordsmen lowered their swords to halt the newlywed's advance and the bride was then wopped on the backside with the sabre.

The reception was elegantly modest, held at the base Non Commissioned Officer's Club. Great food, music, new friends and new family.

The most perfect moment requires a lead-in story...When Nancy and I were married in 1983, we had a beautiful reception at a country club in North Dallas. Christopher, my son from a previous marriage, was 5 years old at the time. As the band played, Nancy, in her beautiful wedding dress, picked Chris up off the dance floor, and Mother and Son shared a most precious dance.

That moment was recreated this weekend on the dance floor.

It was such a beautiful moment....As Christopher approached his Mother on the dance floor, I felt the moment unfolding. My eyes welled up in tears as I excused myself from a wonderful conversation with the father of Chris's new bride. In his beautifully melodious Irish accent, Michael, my new friend replied, "Go on Mitch, it's okay."

I fought back tears as I tried to capture the moment on film.
I could fight no more.
Chris seeing me in the wings motioned to join them in their dance. Brittany soon followed, then Sinead. And we danced, arm in arm, crying tears of joy.

It was a perfect evening....from where I was standing.

Chris was deployed to Iraq in February.
We heard from him two weeks ago, our second phone call since his deployment. It was his 25th Birthday.


The following is taken from a letter written by Sgt. Carl J. Ronhaar, Optics Platoon, H & S Co., Maintenance Btn, 3rd AA BN

As my unit prepared for deployment, and the possibility of war, we were all anxious to leave, and believed strongly in the cause. As the war progressed and its reality set in many began to have questions, even doubts, about what we were doing. When our unit lost its first Marine some even expressed hostility to the administration that had sent us in to harms way. The following story laid to rest all the doubts surrounding this conflict and reaffirmed in our hearts the greatness of our nation and the ideals it stands for.

I recently had the opportunity to travel with one of our Battle Damage Assessment and Recovery Teams (BDAR) to the heart of Baghdad to retrieve a dead lined Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV). While most of the fighting in Baghdad had stopped, I was along for the ride to provide security while the mechanics worked to recover the broken vehicle. Just two nights prior one of the BDAR teams had to return to camp because they were receiving fire, so I was unsure of what to expect.

As we traveled into the city what we found was not a hostile group of people, but a people overcome with joy celebrating on the streets. I turned from security Marine to an instant celebrity as everyone was either waving, clapping or whistling. Little kids would hear the tracks rolling down the street and come running out of their houses screaming and waving as we drove by. A simple wave in their direction would fill them with so much joy and excitement you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Everywhere we went we were greeted by people who shared the same enthusiasm.

Once we reached our location, one of Saddam's palaces, we set up security outside the gates as the BDAR team went in to recover the vehicle. It was hard to remain vigilant when everyone that passed was happy and generally thrilled with our presence. However, we had been told of Iraqis approaching Marines looking for food and then shooting them with AK-47's so we were cautious of everyone who approached.

Not long after arriving a young Iraqi man on a bicycle approached and asked us in very good English what we thought of the war, and our presence in Iraq. One of the other Sergeants responded that it was the desire of our President to free the Iraqi people from Saddam and give the government back to the people. The man responded that he did not live in the area, but had come quite a ways to say "Thank You". We wouldn't understand the significance of the length of his journey until later.

He began to tell us how "If you did not say yes to him (Saddam), he would kill you." Over three million Iraqis died at the hand of Saddam according to this man. For over twenty years he tortured, raped and killed innocent Iraqis. We knew all of this, yet it was so much more powerful hearing a first hand account.

He continued saying that he appreciated us coming, but that it was too late. The Iraqi people would never fully recover from Saddam. Another Marine responded by saying "At least you're alive and still have your health." This seemed to anger the Iraqi who began telling us how he wasn't fine. He couldn't run and could barely walk. He told us how one of Saddam's sons had shot him in the legs for no reason. As he pulled up his pant leg you could see gun shots in both sides of his leg, his foot, and that he was missing his big toe. It was obvious by the nature of the wounds that they were not meant to kill him, but rather cripple him for life to serve as a living warning to those who dare cross Saddam's regime.

I don't know why but I was overcome with guilt. He was right, we should have taken care of Saddam 12 years ago. Perhaps there would have been hope for this young man and the countless other who must have suffered similar torture or worse. It seemed of little comfort that I was in the fifth grade during the Gulf War and had no influence over the situation.

I wasn't sure how to respond, but I asked him if he had a son. He did not and I told him that when he did, he would grow up in a free Iraq and never have to worry about the cruelty of Saddam and his regime. He smiled and seemed comforted by the idea. I also explained that he would be free to come and go as he pleased and that he should visit America. He said he would like that very much and seemed especially intrigued by the description of California. We talked a while longer before he left. As he left, it became apparent that he had not ridden his bicycle the great distance he had traveled to thank us, but rather used it as a rolling crutch as he hobbled down the street.

Despite what protesters may say, and what the media portrays back home, this war was a huge success. Weapons of mass destruction aside we have done a truly remarkable thing by liberating the Iraqi people. I have seen their joy with my own eyes, and as I look at the children who line the streets to greet us, I can't help but think that I have been part of something historic. We went when nobody else would and did what nobody else could, and it is a testament to the greatness of our county and the American people.

Bill Ronhaar

"After a grueling fight [in Iraq], a company of infantrymen was resting and opening their first mail delivery of the war. One of the young soldiers had received a care package and was sharing the home-baked cookies with his friends. A photographer with a heavy French accent asked if he could have one. The soldier looked him over and said there would be no cookies for Frenchmen. The photographer then protested that he was half Italian. Without missing a beat, the soldier broke a cookie in half and gave it to him."

--Jim Lacey

Per Paul Harvey, tourism is down in France. The French are so desperate they have resorted to being rude to each other.

Mr. Halstead:
I was quite entertained, in spite of your sarcasm, with your observation of my deliberate "fopar" with regard to my F-14 misidentification. (Sgt. Grit keep up the good work, you clearly have a vast astute readership.)

It was a deliberate error designed to elicit a response from the original writer who saw it appropriate to degrade and belittle the contributions of all serviceman and woman on the field of battle, past and present.

What I had hoped for, by way of my deliberate error, was to make the point that as stated in the original posting, as a basis for ridicule..."what does an old 'Jarhead' know about airplanes." Mr. Halstead, you made my point, thank you.

I would conclude from your own posting in reply to mine, that while you made my point, you missed the ulterior point to my posting as well. You chose to pick up on the obvious, blatantly obvious, as to not see and recognize the genuine intended message. It's not about aircraft identification, nomenclatures, designations, etc., all such being petty incidentals, it's about common support toward a common goal.

Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and "Coasties," "slick sleeves to Stars," all contributing all they can, toward one unified end...VICTORY!

As I said in my posting we Marines are very good at what we do, but we do not do it alone.

We, Marines and the Marine Corps at large, can take justifiable pride in all of our victories, all of our hard earned Battle Streamers, and well we should! BUT, recognize the support effort that lent to all of those victories; that led to all those Battle Streamers we so proudly wave.

For anyone to even suggest that Marines fight harder, are "braver," or more courageous then our "Brothers in Arms" is an insult to our fellow Services, and detracts from our own valiant contributions on the field of strife.

We didn't do it alone! To say, or even imply, that we did, only invites the "lackluster" opinions often attributed to those "arrogant, self centered, egotistical" Marines. We want other Services to respect our Marine Corps, we need to recognize, first and foremost, to be prepared to "reap the seeds we sow."

T.P. Sheehan
Syracuse, NY

PS: One more point...Mr. Halstead:
You need to work on your's "Semper peritus" or "Semper gnarus." The Latin word "Expertus" refers to "a process," or the process of experimenting, as in, "to experiment," not the persona, or person of knowledge, as in "Professor," which while in current common English usage is, in it's original coinage, a Latin word. (Humanum 1994)

"Semper Fidelis," I'll go with that...Semper Fi

As to "Frates Aertini," that's not Latin at all, not historical Latin, maybe "pig-latin," but not traditionally recognized Latin. (Only you know what that means!)

Finally, you need to lighten up a little, "...don't mean nuttin'!" "" is a discussion forum, a place to exchange ideas, reminisce, if your will. Above all else, a "place" recognize those who have served, and certainly those now service to protect all of US.

God Bless "Chesty"
God Bless the Marine Corps
God Bless America

"A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species."

--James Madison

"My thoughts and prayers and those of our fellow citizens are with the families of the victims of yesterday's murder in Saudi Arabia. We pray for them. We mourn the loss of life. These despicable acts were committed by killers whose only faith is hate."

--President George W. Bush

"One of the two Middle Eastern pillars of the Axis of Evil has fallen; are we prepared to cope with the other?"

--Michael Ledeen


They were raised, like so many others.
They all had fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers.
They loved their lives, like all the rest.
They always worked, at doing their best!
They left their homes, to fight in wars.
They weren't just in them to settle scores!
They learned to know, their bodies well!
They made them perform, in living "Hell"!
They hardly complained, when things were bad!
They always were thankful, for what they had!
They loved the simple things of life.
They had or wanted, a loving wife!
They had or wanted, kids of their own.
They wanted land, for them to roam!
They attled the enemy, night and day!
They prayed to God, in their own way!
They saw their comrades, fall in pain.
They marched through jungles, and driving rain!
They froze their fingers, and their toes!
They were burnt by fire, and on it goes...
They never forgot, their mission goal!
They felt it deep, within their soul!
They put their lives, out on the line.
They knew each day, could be their time!
They did all this, for me and you!
They died for freedom, and the Red, White, and, Blue!

By, Bob Beskar U.S.A.F.68-72, Vietnam War Vet.
This poem is dedicated to all those "Heroes" that gave their lives in the name of "Freedom"!!!!

I just read the recent issue of American Courage and noted that some Marine's were taking issue with the remarks made by Sgt. Wilson's comments in the last newsletter about President Bush.

First of all I don't see where he was saying anything at all about our Reservists or them or anyone serving in Viet Nam other than Bush. His remarks were I think in response to the whereabouts of Bush when he was supposed to be on active duty during the Viet Nam war. Some think he was over the hill?

I don't know where he was... and I don't know that we will ever know because it's a subject that a lot of people breeze over when asked. Word is the records have been sealed so if you're wondering you'll have to find someone that was with him at that time.

The fact that Sgt. Wilson brought it up is to his credit. I think if I was at Khe Sahn or one of the other hell holes I'd wonder too?

I salute Sgt. Wilson and the guys that fought in Nam and anyone that served and would follow orders and go when ordered whether enlisted, reservist, drafted or whatever. The President could put all this to rest by answering the questions. America is all about asking questions and it shouldn't piss people off!

Semper Fi
Jack D...
Cpl. USMC 57' - 60'




Land of the free, home of the brave!
God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit