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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 #47

"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."

--General Lewis "Chesty" Puller USMC



"We never fight because we want to, but because we must. Always cautious to wield our might. But never willing to shrink from the battle."

--Charlton Heston


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OPERATION SHARING FREEDOM

I have agreed to give a special reduced price to a selection of USMC and USA items. If you would like to support 3/23 efforts you can do it with Sgt Grit. I will ship a package every Friday per the orders I receive that week. You have two options, a $9.95 or a $19.95 package. You will not be charged shipping. Your invoice will show shipping, but you will not be charged shipping only $9.95 or $19.95. (Programming limitations) Read more about the program from Lt Col Craig Berry's letter.


Sgt Grit,
Well I have been reading your newsletters for the past year and a half or so, and have never written in. I got back from Kuwait on May 20th with memories both fond and sad. As all Marines know from deployments or just acquired time in the barracks, you definitely grow close to your fellow brothers during such times. I have been with HMLA-169 the "World famous Vipers" since January 98 and have come to really love being part of the squadron. We deployed to Ali Al Salem air base in Kuwait (32 miles from the border) in January and February. We got there with 19 Cobras and 8 Hueys. We unfortunately lost three of our own in a Huey crash at FARP site Jaliba, about 20 miles north of the border in Iraq, They were Capt. Aaron Contreras, Sgt Brian McGuinness, and Sgt Mike Lalush. They were extremely wonderful people and model Marines to the tee, and they will never be forgotten. I also got to meet Col. Oliver North out there while attending Sunday evening Protestant services. Many have seen him covering the war on Fox news, and I must say, he is an excellent speaker and God fearing man. It was definitely a pleasure to meet one on my Marine Corps heroes (that's still alive) Well like I said earlier, I've been back about a month now as I have orders for recruiting school in July, but the rest of the Vipers are out in the sandbox sweatin it out until the Europeans get off their dead asses and allow us to leave. As Marines, that's one of our downfalls- being that we are such an awesome force in readiness, and combat (as I learned first hand) it is up to us to take care of the hotspots. It almost seems as if the army is no longer trusted to occupy the ground us Marines take, but rather it is left to us. But I know they will all persevere out there. Every one of our brothers and sisters out there are the few, the proud, US MARINES!!! OOORAHHH!!! Semper Fidelis,

-Daniyel C. Jones SSGT USMC HMLA-169


"Independence is for the very few; it is the privilege of the strong."

--Nietzsche


Sgt Grit;
Hope you can post this.
Yesterday, 6/12/03 was a great day. We had the privilege of welcoming home our local Phoenix, Arizona Marine Corps Reserve Bulk Fuel Co. C Unit of 220 Marines as they returned home from Iraq. It was a very moving site as we approached the Reserve Center because you could see all the red, white and blue balloons and then you saw the 'Welcome Home" banners all around the facility. It put a big lump in this old Marines' throat and brought tears to my eyes. This is the way every serviceman and woman should be brought back home, not the way is was some thirty years ago. I believe that America has learned by our past and we will never allow that to happen to our warriors again. A bunch of us ole Marines from the different Marine Corps League Detachments and the Division Associations here in Phoenix showed up to honor these young warriors and thank them. We spilt up and positioned half on each side of the street just before the gate and had our Retired MGYSGT and D.I. give the command to render a sharp, snappy hand salute as the busses passed by us. Then we went inside to look for those Marines who didn't have family there to greet them. They were not hard to find. They were just looking around with a rather blank look on their face. The first one I saw, I shook his hand and said "Welcome Home Marine" and in the true Marine fashion he said "Thank you sir". I asked if he had family there and he replied "no sir", so I asked him where he was from and he replied, "Ohio sir". I then told him that he did have family there, his Marine Corps family, at which time a couple of our wives hugged him and told him "welcome home". He seemed to feel and look a bit better knowing that someone was there for him as well. Marines, when the Marines or any of our Military folks from your area return from battle, take the time to go and welcome them home. You will make them realize that that America cares. And it will give you a feeling like nothing most people have never experienced. WELCOME HOME AND THANK YOU to all who served this war and ALL Wars.

Once A Marine - Always A Marine.
Semper Fi,
Marine Collis '61-'66 3rd MarDiv Assoc,
AZ Chapter


Golf Co 2/7 - upcoming reunion

Attention all Marines that served with Golf Co 2/7 during the years of 1990 -1994, a reunion is being planned for the late summer of 2004.
For more information contact: Dennis McHawes at thedi@jcn1.com or (636)933-4978 or (636)262-1461


Dear Pvt Brian York,

We are all proud of you Brian, for your patriotism and good sense to be a part of the best. But, don't be too hard on your fellow young Americans. We Americans have taken a lot for granted all out lives and patriotism is no different. We take our way of life for granted, our cars and toasters, our sodas and our steaks. Most of us have been relatively sheltered most of our lives. So we don't understand what America is really about.

I know that I did not understand completely when I joined the Corps in 1966. It took 2 years and 4 months in Viet Nam to give me a better idea of what the U.S. is all about. It is hard for people to understand from books or from TV, it is something that many people have to experience. Not just war, but the pride of the service to your country that one feels when in uniform. Most of the kids in my high school fooled around during the National Anthem and I expect that future high schoolers will do the same.

Don't know if you are related to the famous Sgt York or not, but he also was not much for patriotism when he was young. Same with Audie Murphy, and just about every other young American who grows up in a non military family. If you are not subjected all the time then you mostly go with the flow of the rest of society. Most of American society has not been hugely patriotic until the guns sound.
But the citizens still answer the call and they go off to war so that their way of life can be preserved for the next generation. We can lament that patriotism and observing dignities for the flag and the anthem are lacking, but we must take pride for what is done when the bullets are flying. We can try to teach our children a little better than we were taught and hope that their peers do not pressure them to be apathetic.
So Brian, just remember, you are doing the right thing and the best thing in your life. Keep being a shinning example of the best way to be and your actions will rub off on others. Good luck Pvt York, Semper Fi, Marine.

Steve Eslin
Pvt to 1st Lt, USMC 1966-1978


"The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations."

--George Washington


As a matter of info, the petition by the Government of the Solomons to change the name of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal is despicable, particularly to those of us who served with the 1st Marine Division during WWII. I have picked up the petition form by someone in your latest newsletter and sent it to all hands including the Guadalcanal Vets organization, the Leatherneck, the 1st Marine Div Assn, vets from my company H-2-1 of Guadalcanal and their widows and sons or daughters. Anything you can do to publicize this dastardly proposed event would be appreciated. Without the 1st Marine Division there would be no Henderson Field, nor would there be a Government of the Solomon Islands. It is obvious the Government of the Solomon Islands are proposing this change to placate the Japs who pretty well dominate the Island now, something they were unable to do during the War when we busted their butts. Your assistance is appreciated. To change this magic name from Henderson Field (named after a Marine Major who was killed at Midway) is paramount to resinking the Arizona. We should not stand for it.
Semper Fi
Tom Schicker

http://www.petitiononline.com/guad/petition.html


"What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought often to ask himself."

--Lavater


Good Afternoon Sgt:
This is my first visit to your website and I have enjoyed visiting with you very much, the newsletters are great, and I have a response to the one written by Capt Richard E. Hulslander to Joe G.

I am a retired Captain, I joined the USMC in 1953 and retired in 1973, served in Vietnam 1968 - 1969, enlisted wise I achieved the rank of MSgt E-8, was commissioned as 2ndLt at United States Strike Command (now known as Central Command) MacDill Air Force Base Tampa, FL in 1966, so I know, just as thousands of other Marines know, what it takes and what it means to be a Marine.

I would like for Joe to read the article on my late friend, Harold E. (Speedy) Wilson at http://www.marinemedals.com/wilsonhe.htm and maybe he can see a glimpse of what it takes and what it means to be a Marine, you take care of your men, you stay with them, if you leave you get back when you are supposed to be back.

Two worthwhile quotes I will take to my death bed:

ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE
ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL

GOD bless America and all of our troops, bring them all home safely.

Bill Painter
Capt USMC Ret'd
Chattanooga, TN


"Deep down, those who scream for Iraq's weapons of mass death right now! probably hope they remain concealed. If they never materialize, they will focus on the absence of equipment rather than the presence of evil, now vanquished, and thus dismiss Iraq's liberation as a worthless escapade."

--Deroy Murdock


Death of a Wonderful Marine
I lived with a wonderful man for three years. He took care of my family after my husband passed away, gave completely of himself, and brought such joy into my life. On April 30th, at the age of 53, Donald J. Bowerman passed away. He went through so much in his life, but had a completely unexpected heart attack. He was given a very nice military funeral, one which I shall never forget. He was originally from NY, served in Vietnam, being awarded two Purple Heart medals. He always talked about and lived the days he was in the service. He taught me so much about life and had a sense of humor I have never seen nor ever will again. I just wanted someone of importance to read this. He would have wanted me to write to you.
Thank you.

Stephanie


"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society."

--Thomas Jefferson


http://www.JohnBasiloneStampCampaign.com

Gentlemen: If you'll go to this website and talk with J A Jaffe, a nice lady and friend of the Corps, you can find ways to support the movement to get "Manila John" a commemorative stamp. The Post Office pukes (those guys who were telling people on the TV NOT to send too much mail to service people during Operation Iraqi Freedom because it would "slow down operations", implying that meant MILITARY operations, but really meant their OWN operations- lazy SOB's!) are dragging their feet on this, guys; they'll issue not ONE but TWO stamps honoring Muslim religious days, but quibble over honoring a man who won not only the Navy Cross, but ALSO the CMH- the only person in history to do so! A man who didn't have to be on Iwo Jima but chose to return to his buddies- and die with them. A man who not only LIVED the meaning of "SEMPER FIDELIS", but died to keep faith with it. Thank you for always being here when we need you; keep up the great work! We ALL sleep better knowing you are on guard. Carry On!

Sincerely,
Scott B. Croughan

P.S. My uncle, Robert Croughan, was a Marine at Inchon, and later became one of the "Chosin Few"...Semper Fi from Uncle Bob!
He now mounts guard in Heaven's streets, just like in the Marine's Hymn!)


Hi , I thank you for all those wonderful letters and comments. Our son is serving in Kuwait and Iraq still, since 2/8/03. I can't wait until he arrives home so he can read all those articles I think he will enjoy. When he called last night to wish his Dad Happy Father's Day, he asked me what we had planned for the summer. I said "I'm waiting for you to come HOME!!!!!

Kathy K. M.O.M


Reference June 12, 2003 Newsletter

I believe Henderson Field on Guadalcanal was named after Major Lofton R. "Joe" Henderson USMC not CDR Henderson. Major Henderson was killed during the Battle of Midway Island. Major Henderson was the squadron commander of VMSB-241 who flew SBD-2 aircraft.

Lets give credit where credit is due.

The invitation is still open to all you MARINES, I'm buying if ever get to Boise, Idaho.

Jim Davisson ATC (retired)


Hey everyone,
I just wanted to say that I just saw members of my unit and that they are home and well. Although 2-23 took some of the heaviest casualties after being attached to 1-1, the accomplished their mission and we were fortunate to lose only one. I was not able to go with them due to a spinal injury I suffered during training, so I've been pulling out my hair in anticipation ever since.
I just wanted to say thank you and god bless.

Semper Fi, LnCpl Phillips


I grew up in the Marine Corps being from a Marine family. I can remember as far back as I can wanting to join the Corps. When I turned 17 My dad signed so I could join. Right after my 18th birthday I was off to Parris Island for boot camp where my dad had been a Drill instructor & had gone though boot camp himself. Well after my 4 yrs I got married & remembered what it was like growing up as a kid with my dad always away not wanting to have my kids grow up the same way I got out. Well my youngest son has been wanting to go into the Marines for as long as I can remember. Well a few months ago we heard about something that in 30yrs around the Corps I'd never heard of its the Marine Corps only youth program. Called "Young Marines" for anyone who has a son or daughter that is interested in the Marines let me tell you its a GREAT program they go though boot camp for 13 weeks they meet only once a week but they PT study history, just about everything I learned in boot camp but they don't train with weapons. And what is really Great about it is their Drill instructors are kids also so they can see what its like being yelled at by their DI's. My son has changed a lot in just the 4 weeks he has been a recruit & in 9 more weeks he will become a Young Marine. He is even getting the things he hasn't had a lot of discipline. He is even starting to think about things he never has before like is this what I want to do or is this what I should do. He is pushing himself to go farther in school all the things that a Young Marine should do. Yea I know I'm boasting but to see someone so young want something so bad that he will go that extra yard makes a dad very proud. My Chest sticks out a little farther every week when I take him & watch him learn how to march. Has anyone heard of the Young Marines?

Thanks for letting me boast
Cpl Stephen M. Stevens USMC '81-'85


"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

--John Stuart Mills


Dear Sgt. Grit;

Always enjoy your newsletters and your products and service.

In the latest American Courage newsletter #46 Ron Shouse wrote about going to The Wall with Rolling Thunder and shining the Marine Emblem at the Soldiers Statue. Just an FYI to Ron and other Marines out there. The Marines at Marine Barracks 8 th. & I. send out a detachment daily to shine that very emblem and other Marine & U.S. brass while policing the area. Not sure if they are volunteers or not, but from the article I read in the Washington Times, all seemed very proud to be able to do it while noticing the other services never even thought of it. As usual with no fanfare the Marines simply do what's right and has to be done. I'm not surprised that Ron Shouse, being a Marine, would think it perfectly normal to make sure all brass was squared-away!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rolling Thunder is the best act of remembrance toward our POWs and Veterans I've ever seen or heard. That these thousands of great American Citizens come from all over the country at their own expense and spend a very long weekend traveling and showing America we still care is a testament to great Veterans and Americans.

God Speed & Semper Fi,
Mike Sigman USMC 1967 to 1971,
1/13 and Marine Barracks 8Th.& I, Washington, D.C.


"...[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

--James Madison


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I recently found a web page that is about support to the troops. As a Marine myself, it was nice to know how much people really appreciate us. On the web page itself, you can find a link to "read any Marine" It is a posting of messages written by people all across the country thanking us for the work we have done... Maybe you could post it in your next newsletter for fellow Marines to check out.

http://www.anyservicemember.org

Semper Fi,
LCpl Brobst


By the way, we were at the Wall on Memorial Day to put down flowers for E 2/3's KIAs and attend the services. Nancy Sinatra, whom I always considered kind of shallow, was there giving a free concert for the veterans (yes, she sang "These Boots are Made for Walking.) Anyway, afterwards, all the vets gravitated to her (and let me tell you , for 62, she looks pretty good...if the rubber band snaps, however, she's gonna look like the rest of us). Anyway, she was mobbed. There was a veteran in a wheelchair who kept trying to get close. She spied him, went over to him, knelt on the soaking wet grass right next to him, and talked with him for at least ten minutes. I have to tell you, my opinion of her just increased exponentially. Plus, Jack (my husband) got his picture taken with her,

jeanie


"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."

--Edmund Burke


Sgt Grit,

Hey, would you guys get off Jessica Lynch. How many of your daughters or sons were over there? Not many of your daughters, I'm sure. Jessica was there, guys. We were sitting on our butts at home watching it on TV (and cheering, with more than a few tears thrown in) as the Marines did us proud. I've never heard Jessica or her family trying to claim she is other than a soldier who was over there doing her duty as a member of the armed forces. Give her a break. She was there, you (we) weren't even if we were in RVN or Korea or WWII or WWI or the Spanish American War with Sgt Quick or embassy duty in some ideal location. How many of us wish we were young enough to be in a tent in Afghanistan or Iraq rather than sitting in front of the TV drink a cold beer and cheering the young folks on?

Steven Hales Lt USMC, RVN 68-70


Hello, this is in response to Carl Turner's letter in your last newsletter about heroes. He said that those who risk their lives to save others are heroes. Is that not what ALL people in the Military do? Every single one of them are out there risking their lives and I truly believe that all of them are heroes, at least in my eyes they are. But then, he is also a Marine and of course he cannot look at himself as a hero. It's hard to see yourself as someone others admire and are proud of. When speaking of someone in the Military being a hero, that word is not diluted, it is the perfect title for someone who sacrifices so much in order to protect a country.

Jill
Proud Marine Wife to Sgt Bennett


Reprinted from my local newspaper.

There were no oozing blisters, no scorched skin, no dehydration, not so much as leg cramps. For Charles Walker, the worst part of the seven-day, 243 kilometer Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sand) across Morocco, proved to be the French.

Sand dunes, 100 plus degree temperatures and the rigors of seven consecutive days of racing had nothing on the French organizers of the 18 year old race. What started out as a quest to prove a magazine writer wrong turned into something of a patriotic mission for the 37 year old San Joaquin Sheriff's deputy. While U.S. soldiers fought the war in Iraq, Walker, a former (sic) Marine, and 22 other American runners battled the French during the April 6-12 race.

By the time Walker took his first step across the Sahara, the fact he never had run a marathon, much less an ultra marathon, or that he was competing with experienced ultra runners no longer was his biggest concern.

"Failure was not an option," Walker said. "I wasn't going to disgrace my friends, or anyone who carries the flag."

The flag became the first sticking point. When the American arrived at the hotel in Ouarzazate where they were briefed, Walker said they were asked to remove the flags from their clothes, so they all complied. Once they arrived at the first bivouac, they discovered runners from every other country had flags of their nations sewn onto their attire. The red, white and blue quickly returned to Walker's hat.

When race organizers asked all participants to line up for an aerial photo in which they would be spaced out to look like a map of the world, Walker, and most of the Americans, the lone Canadian runner and some of the British troops competing in the race, declined to participate, having realized the circle was not a globe , but a peace sign.

Then as the American runners were being checked in, they were told their $170 security deposit was not received and they were each being penalized one hour. "The U.S. office (Racing the Planet) had sent one check for all 23 of us, but they said they couldn't confirm that Chuck Walker had sent his money, so, an hour penalty," Walker said.

Further, Walker said the Americans were penalized another hour each because their medical clearances didn't have a signature and stamp. "In Europe, doctors use a stamp to denote the medical profession and we don't," Walker said. "This is the 18th year of the race. You think they don't know this by now? The race hasn't even started yet, and I'm two hours behind. I'm in the negative."

The final blow, however, came when race officials kicked out Racing the Planet representative Josh Miller, who was acting as liaison for the American runners. "He emailed the U.S. office to tell them of the penalties and how the French were treating us," Walker said. "The French pulled up his e-mail and didn't like what he said. In the cover of darkness they told him he had half an hour to pack up his stuff and go."

Miller, who has twice run the Marathon des Sables, declined to discuss his removal from this year's race, saying it was between organizers and his boss at Racing the Planet. The time penalties against the Americans , he said, were eventually removed.

But the American runners were inspired by his treatment.
"Every day we'd say, 'Where's Josh?'" Walker said.

Originally, it had been mistreatment, or at least ill-speaking of the runners that had prompted Walker to compete. Looking for local races to run, he came across an on-line article from Outside Magazine in which the author wondered what kind of 'fools' would run the 142 mile Marathon des Sables. "It ticked me off," Walker said. "Because of him, because he was so mean to all those other people, that's why I did it."

That he'd never run a race longer than 25 kilometers or the fact his running consisted of four to five miles four times a week didn't faze him. "There were no time limits," Walker said.

Walker has competed in triathlons and in three and four day adventure races that combine any number of sports such as running, swimming, biking, hiking, climbing, and kayaking. An avid hiker, Walker has been known to go 48 hours in a row along the Pacific Crest Trail. If worse came to worst, he'd walk the Marathon des Sables. "When they said, 'First timers take it easy,' I did. I walked the first day and still beat 150 people,"he said. "The second day I ran and ended up beating an ultra marathoner, Katrina Coburn, that I had met at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Her claim to fame was, 'I've run 100 100-mile ultra marathons.'"

Nearly every runner Walker met at the airport had a claim to fame. One, Joe Decker, is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's fittest man. Others had run eco challenges, or the 134 mile Badwater run through Death Valley. Most were wealthy or had corporate sponsors, making Walker feel like Oliver Twist.For the first time in four years of plotting this adventure, Walker thought, "I'm under trained. What have I gotten myself into? I wanted to back out and leave."

But the confidence returned the second day. "I beat Coburn and she was like, 'Wait a minute. Oh, hell no!'After that I tried to beat her every day." He tackled the 34 kilometer day of sand dunes that reached as high as 1000 feet. He survived the one stage that is actually a marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 feet. He successfully completed the overnight leg of 82 kilometers, all while carrying his full supply of food, his sleeping bag and mandatory items such as a flashlight, lighter, flares, whistle and antivenom pump. Of the 671 who started the race, 633 finished. Walker, the non-runner in the crowd, was 262nd competitor across the finish line, having completed the challenge in 38 hours, 23 minutes, 50 seconds..

"I don't have any super skills," Walker said. "I believe there's one huge distinction between me and the majority of the people in this race. They might be superior athletes, but the majority of them are not outdoorsmen." Some didn't wear hats. Others wore tank tops. They wore airy, mesh shoes that sand could permeate and create blisters. They carried backpacks far heavier than the 12 pounds that Walker packed. Most finished, though. Walker left Morocco with sand. Yep, sand. While running the dunes, he stopped and scooped up the sand where he'd left his footprints. He carried with him memories. And a sense of completion, of being tough.

The son of a career military man, he never had really competed in sports. He was one of the three person 1984 graduating class of Calvary Baptist School and wasn't a star athlete. He was, he said, a late bloomer. While training with a fellow deputy, or practicing jujitsu at Shigu Academy, Walker said he constantly asked himself if he was tough enough. He won't question that, now. He was strong of body. And mind. And motivation. And dedication. And was ticked off just enough. It hasn't gone a way. The answering machine at his home announces, "If you're not French, I'll call you back."

ScottD.


"Do your d*mnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time."

-- George S. Patton


To Brian M. York, NC,
I agree with your idea of showing respect towards our National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance. Whoever doesn't show it were never taught it. If that's the case, I'd say it's our job to show the example as to how to show respect during the appropriate times. There's no useful purpose in getting p----ed off at someone for not showing something we want to see. If they're friends of ours and we're the only one's showing respect to our nation, they'll eventually do the same. Especially if they start asking WHY we're showing respect and our answers and actions are legitimate. I'd say for something like this, people will learn in bits and pieces. Some things in life take a while to comprehend. But the main thing is, instead of getting p---ed off at the human race, show the example. If they refuse to absorb the example, they may be too arrogant and belligerent for our taste. For something like that, just let them go and know where that person stands. I wish you the best of luck serving with the World's Finest. I'm sure you'll make an outstanding Marine.

Semper Fi J.S. Elliott
USMC 0311 '84-'88


Sgt. Grit:
A year and a half ago my son enlisted in the Marines the day of his High School Graduation. He couldn't wait to join the most finest fighting force in the United States...and the world. I supported his decision and have learned a great deal about the Marines. I am moved how this "family" takes care of its own. I mourned the loss of the Marine "sons" that were taken from us in Iraq. My son, Ryan, is a CH-46 engine mechanic stationed in Okinawa. He was hoping to go to Iraq, but never got to go. He received a Commendation for "producing 10 ready for issue T58 engines for distribution throughout the Pacific Theater in support of operation Iraqi Freedom." Their usual production before the war was a quarter of that. They worked night and day to accomplish their mission. I think he feels "cheated" not being able to fight with his brothers in Iraq. He told me that he was trained to do it and he wanted to go fight. I think down deep he knows how important his job really is, but it's not where the action is. When he went to Korea last year I told him I wanted some sand from each country he stayed in. He hated Korea and was glad to get the sand and leave. He wrote to me and told me that I was going to get some Iraqi sand. The first engine came back, and it was full of sand. He said the inside of that engine looked as if somebody threw a wrench in it while it was still running. He couldn't believe the condition it was in. I will cherish that Iraqi sand -- thankful for the boys who had to go -- thankful for the boy who didn't -- and thankful for all of you Marines who have kept us free, no matter what your job is, or was!

Proud Marine Mom of Lance Corporal Ryan P. Holladay, 1 MAW


I was just watching the NBC evening news and saw a report on recent casualties from Iraq. Many mother, father's and other family members are concerned that with the nation not focusing on what are young men and women are doing Iraq the way they were during the major military action we as a nation will forget them. As the father of a young Devil Dog I can honestly say that every lose we suffer is a lose I feel. What our service men and women do for this country will never be lost or forgotten by this individual and I'm positive that there are many many more people in this great country who feel the same way. Gone but never forgotten. I feel the lose of every parent of every sailor, soldier, airman and Marine. I'm sure that is in large part due to the fact my son is serving as I put myself in all those parents places and think about how I would feel. I've always support our Military and everyone in it but even more so when a part of me is out there. No matter what we will never forget the lose of our young men and woman.

I sent the Marines my little boy and they turned him into a man. Ooooh Raaah to the 2/4 and especially Fox company 1st. Plt. waiting to come home from Okinawa.


As I have read the last few newsletters reminding us all to remember the reason for Memorial Day I am reminded of the Memorial Days of my youth. Our small northeastern community held a huge parade every Memorial Day. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, was a part of that parade each year from the local fire and police departments, the National Guard, all fraternal organizations, local government officials, American Legion, VFW, the high school band, the junior high school band, the elementary school band. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sea Cadets, you name it, they marched in the parade. Each year the flag was flown from our porch at half staff and then raised to full staff after the ceremonies which usually concluded about noon. I was taught to raise and then lower the flag to half staff and then raise it later in the day by a family who were proud Americans. As I got older and marched with the scouts, then the various school bands, and eventually as an adult I understood more each year why we held this celebration. It was not until I married a Marine that I really came to understand fully. I often wonder if that small town still holds its Memorial Day parade and if the children growing up there understand the reason for the flag at half staff and how to raise and lower it. I know my children have been taught since they were very young. Both children have been in scouting and get upset when their peers do not respect the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. One of them has become a Marine. Now I hold the hardest job in the Corps - Marine wife AND Marine mom -- but I would not trade either. Thank you to the Marines everywhere and to all other service veterans and active, you are appreciated.

Semper Fi
Marine wife and mom


"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready."

--Theodore Roosevelt


Sgt Grit,
Just wanted to say 'Thanks' for the emails. They really kept me going in the 4 months my Marine has been gone. He came home from Iraq a couple of days ago, and hopefully will be able to stay home for awhile.

God Bless America!
EOD Wife


I have the Ball

The following was forwarded to me from one of my old Navy buddies who got it from an aviator friend on the carrier Abraham Lincoln. The email below explains briefly the procedure of a plane approaching a carrier for landing. The pilot is asked by the air controller to "call the ball".

For those not familiar with naval aviation lingo.
There is a visual aid used on carriers to let pilots know if they are on the proper glide slope to land on the deck. The part that moves up and down depending on how you're doing on the glide slope looks like a ball or "meat ball". The fact that you have a visual on the approach aid dictates a call to the controller on the ship. The President's recent approach to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln resulted in the following: In this case the standard response from the pilot of plane carrying the President would have been "Lincoln, Navy One, 12,500 lbs, Roger Ball" meaning I have the ball in sight and am on glide path (for a safe landing -- the weight is given for setting the correct braking tension of the arresting gear cables). The President's recent approach to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln resulted in the following: "Navy One" was on final approach for trap aboard CVN ABRAHAM LINCOLN... the President making the radio call said: "Lincoln, Navy One, 12,500 lbs, I have the balls,"

His call brought down the house in wild cheers.
No wonder the military appreciates and likes the man!

Submitted by: many of you


Check out New Development on the Agent Orange Law Suit Front http://www.tpromo.com/usvi/press/121801.htm


The National Personnel Records Center is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents. Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180 which can be downloaded from the online web site. www.grunt.com See left hand column "Free DD214" click.


"Good night Chesty wherever you are"

Inland Empire Marine Detachment 696 is sponsoring the 1st Annual Chesty Puller Day Saturday, June 21, 2003, at the American Legion Norco Post 328, on 6th and Hamner, Norco, CA From 1200 (Noon) until 2400 (Midnight) Marines and all their friends are invited to share in a day of mutual friendship and camaraderie Eat tacos (on your own), Ham n' Muthers' and SOS! BBQ dinner $15 per person or $25 for a couple Donation Raffle for computer, TV, DVD and much more to support care packages for our troops in Iraq Formal ceremony to start at 1800 (6PM) Guest speaker is MajGen. Raymond L. Murray, USMC Ret. former CO, 5th Marines, Korean Era, Frozen Chosin Reservoir Military and oldies music by DJ and Karaoke after 2100 (9PM) Prepaid dinner tickets are requested, as we need to know how many are planning dinner More information by calling 909 898-3917 Michael J. Sullivan or 714 336-7890 Dave Johnson

Semper Fidelis,
David R. Johnson, Sr.
Commandant, Inland Empire Marine Detachment 696
Marine Corps League


As a "retired" Marine, I want to say not only Thanks for a Good Job to our Marines who participated in Iraq, but also to the thousands of Civilian Marines in Barstow, Albany, Blount Island, and other places who stood shoulder to shoulder to support the Marines in the Fleet. Keep up the Great Support Folks!

M.P. HERRIN
MSGT. USMC (RET) 1965-1986


Ladies and Gentlemen Marines:

"Perk Up Your Devil Dog Ears!
The Truth Will Set You Free!"

Faith On The Battlefield: At The Front:

Marine Adam Morton, 21, sat on a box of grenades in the back of a truck as it thundered across the filthy Iraqi desert. A cloud-burst of dust and sand blinded the truck driver's view from the rest of the convoy. Marine Morton's vehicle suddenly slammed into the truck in front of it. "Something told me to duck, so I did, then we crashed!" Marine Morton recently wrote in a letter home to his parents, Mack and Marcy. The Morton family attends Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia.

The trucks collided at a high speed. Marines were catapulted from the back of the vehicle, triggering weapons and injuring almost everyone. Marine Morton was buried under a pile of supplies and Brother Marines. "My feet were pinned in the bed, and I was on top of the spare tire. Fuel was leaking everywhere." Morton said. After freeing his legs he went to the front of the truck and found that the driver was dead.

"My platoon commander was in the passenger seat; he was crushed pretty bad." Said Morton "We lost half our platoon to broken arms, legs and ribs." Most of the Marines around Morton were immediately flown to a hospital. "Everyone calls me lucky; I Call It GOD." Marine Morton Wrote. "It was something I'll never forget."

Mack and Marcy said they had been praying that GOD would protect their two Marine sons and Marine nephew in Iraq, and that HE would make HIS presence real to them."It was so amazing! We would pray specific prayers for them, and they would write us and tell us almost word for word what we had been praying." Said Marcy. Her Marines received very little of their mail, she said, so they had no way of knowing.

Marine Mom Marcy learned Marines were going into combat in An Nasiriyah. She and a friend prayed for her Marines, reading through Psalms 121 and 125. A few days later, she got a call from their nephew, Marine Joel Hight, from Iraq. He told them that her Marine son, Sam, had been in a pitched firefight at that specific time. Sam and Joel, aware of the possible battle, had prayed beforehand.

The Marines were in trenches. "The guy to his left, Sam's platoon commander, got shot." Joel said over the phone. "Sam got very angry, and he stood up and began shooting 'Rambo'-style. He took a lot of incoming fire." Several rounds hit Sam's weapon and bent the barrel. They had to give him a new rifle...but he didn't get a scratch. It was just incredible! GOD really protected him."

Those wounded in the battle...

To be continued next issue, "IF" the Great and Mighty Grit will print it!

This Non-Fiction was written by:
Christmas McGaughey.
For Calvary Chapel Magazine Issue 15, Spring 2003.
Edited into Marine-Speak by:
Pastor Mark N. Johnston, USMC Veteran,
Viet Nam Era 1973-1976
Oorah! Semper Fi! Pray For Our Troops!


Quran (9:11), in the last newsletter was a hoax or joke.
I assumed most would figure it out, 9:11 and the other references to eagles etc.....guess I should have included a disclaimer. It made good reading anyway. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Sgt Grit


A correction to those who think that I believe that Private Lynch is a hero: I simply explained why so many are saying that she is a hero. In no place did I give you my opinion on the matter. Read thoroughly before assuming that you know what I believe. I don't think that simply joining the military service earns one the status of "hero"; I do not go about claiming to be a hero. What I believe is that the majority of Americans are showing their appreciation to our men and women of the Armed Forces by calling them heroes. To most who have served, a hero is someone that went "above and beyond" the call of duty when faced with extraordinary circumstances; to most who have not, a hero can be anyone who has demonstrated the courage to stand and fight for those that cannot or will not fight for themselves. There may be a more accurate word to describe them ("soldier", "sailor", and "Marine" come to mind) but Americans have chooses to distinguish our service members as "heroes". It may not be the right term by our standards, but its not wrong simply because we do not believe it is right.

Michael Cantelon
Hanover Park, IL


Sgt. Grit:
I would appreciate yours or any other Devil Dog's assistance or past experiences with this subject. I am a former Marine and my soon to be wife has taken an interest in learning more about our history as well as wishing to see my former "homes" of Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, as well as Quantico if we have time during our vacation next month. I was able to successfully get visitor info for the Island, but I was then told that I could not even visit Camp Lejeune unless I have a current active duty 'sponsor' on base. I have been out for quite a while and have lost touch with most of my comrades.

I understand the intense security aboard our bases right now, however, this was a base which I lived and of course could provide my honorable discharge and current credentials as a police officer. Do you or any of your readers have any suggestions or have you/they found access through other means? Thanks ahead of time.

Thomas Ross

Cleveland, Ohio


Mr. York
I to get frustrated with the men and women who do not show respect for our Nations Colors. However there are just a few time when it would be inappropriate for someone to do so. One of these times would be for a Law Enforcement Officer whose job it is to keep watch over a crowd to divert his attention from the task at hand to render respect for the Colors. This would be the prime time for someone to create whatever mischief it is they are intending to create. I myself have been in that situation and believe me it is somewhat bothersome not to be able to render respect to the Colors of the Greatest nation on the Earth. I have served with lima company 3/7 during Desert Storm and I also served as a Military Police at MCB Quantico. So next time you are at a function and you see the men and women that are there to keep the order not showing their respect just remember they are doing so to maintain an eye on there primary job and that it to keep everyone safe. Good Luck in the Corps and Semper Fi....

Sgt. Christopher Dodge 0331/5811-5815


All Hands:
This is from Dustin Darnell.
I checked this out with www.snopes.com , which is a web site for "urban legends", and their opinion of this incident is that it probably happened. It would be in character for Pres. Bush to do this to a soldier.

At www.snopes.com , go to the bottom of their page and click on "search", and type in "Pres Bush at Walter Reed Hospital." This is an interesting web site that I use to help in forwarding e-mail on the All Hands.

Thanks Dustin and Semper Fi,
Seamus


Dear Marine Walden,
I had a really wonderful surprise when I was reading the newsletter and realized I was reading about myself in "I Stated the Obvious". I carry those little cards with me everywhere, and I place one on any car with a Marine sticker. It gives me a great deal of joy to recognize and perhaps encourage those who serve or have served in the Corp. It is great fun to do it anonymously. Anyway, I was very touched that you made the effort to write about your experience. Our son has been a Marine since March, 2002. (Greetings to MCRD, San Diego) He is currently at Camp Lejuene, serving in Intel, specifically topography. We are, of course, very proud of him. I hope he contributes as much to the Corp as I believe the Corp has contributed to his life. There are many more things I would like to say to all who read this newsletter, but my heart is fuller than my mouth is fluent, so I will just say "Semper Fi"!

from a Marine Mom in Plainfield, Indiana.


I am a member of the California Barbecue Association, a non-profit, charitable California corporation. We part of Operation BBQ For Our Troops, a grass-roots effort in the West to put on barbecue picnics for the families of our troops in Iraq and for the returning troops and their families. The web page for OBBQFOT is: http://www.operationbbq.com/

The CBBQA has put on two events here in Southern California. the first was on May 17th at the 29 Palms Marine Corps base for over 600 Marine family members and the second on June 7th for 300+ returning Marines of the 1st Recon Bn and their families at Camp Pendleton, CA. Both of these events were funded by our members and local companies.

We have a web page of stories and photos of our May 17th event here: http://www.cbbqa.com follow the "Click here for details" link under the "Operation BBQ for Our Troops" logo.

The Marine Corps Community Services office at the 29 Palms Marine base was so happy with the May 17th event we put on, that they have asked the CBBQA to help them put on a barbecue picnic for their Marines and family members during their "Welcome Home Party" in late August or September. The date is dependent on the return of the 1st Division Marines from Iraq to the base. They told us that there will be about 7,000 Marines and family members attending. The base has no budget for this event and is hoping that we can help them with the fund raising. An event this size is way too large an effort for us to fund by ourselves.

We want so much to be able to honor our returning troops and we are hoping the you can give us some help in raising the needed funds for the Welcoming Home Party at the 29 Palms Marine base. All donations will go directly to the 29 Palms Marine Corps Community Services office. They have set up a special account to receive and disburse funds for this event. All donors will receive a tax receipt from the MCCS.


Sgt. Grit,
In reference to Jessica Lynch being a hero, is just media BS. I was in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 1994-1995. In 1995, while doing a multi national field op in Italy, we received orders to report off the coast of Bosnia within 24 hours. After we got there, we learned that an US Air Force jet was shot down, and we had to perform an evacuation operation.

After we recovered Capt. Scott O'Grady, many family members sent us newspapers, magazines,and whatever they could send us. All we read in there, was how Capt. O'Grady was a national hero for destroying a taxpayers jet, and did what he had to do to survive. None of us read anything about the Marines that risked their lives to go in and rescue him, much less the units name, or even the ships we were on.

How can a man who does what he has to do to survive be considered a hero?
I am just trying to prove a point. I am not sore by this, hell, I was asleep in my rack when the operation took place, so I'm not trying to claim myself as a hero. Those Marines that went in and recovered Capt. O'Grady (even though they were doing their job) are the heroes, for putting themselves in harms way.

In 1994, I learned not to trust the media. Two weeks after we returned from a six month deployment witch included Somalia, we were recalled to support "Operation Support Democracy" in Haiti. After a couple of weeks of between Haiti, and Gitmo Bay, Cuba, we got a liberty port in Puerto Rico. During that libbo port, I made a phone call to my grandmother. She asked how I was making this phone call when I'm being shot at. When I told her that we were in Puerto Rico, and not in Haiti, she told me that she read in that days newspaper that the 24th Marine Expliditionary Unit landed in Haiti. I still have that newspaper clipping, and we never did get orders to go into Haiti. That was left for the 22nd MEU.

I guess that the points that I'm trying to make, is while, I respect all men and women in uniform, is 1) Jessica Lynch IS NOT a hero. 2) Captain Scott O'Grady IS NOT a hero. And 3) the media is full of BS, and only tells you what they want you to hear.

Remember what you learned about scuttlebutt? Automatically throw half of it out, and take half of that, and that's what you can believe. I'm sorry this is a little wordy, but sometimes it takes some words to tell a story.

Semper Fi,
Brian A. Saal
1992-Forever


God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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