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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #53

"Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven't courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others."

Samuel Johnson

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---- 9-11-01 ------ The day will always be remembered. It is the reason for various military actions the past two years. Let us not forget these courageous actions of our military since 9-11. Go out of your way to welcome them home, wish them well, and tell them what an outstanding job they have done. As most of you know, it is the very least, and in some ways the very most, we can do for them.

Welcome Home!

Job Well Done.

Semper fi
Sgt Grit

New Items!

BK478-Sea Stories & Fairy Tales

New Survey!

Most of you think Saddam is hiding with relatives. Then in approximately equal percentages think he is disguised as a woman, in hell dead, or living with French Pres. Chirac. This weeks question is: What is your stand two years after the events of 9-11-01?

Survey Question:

Sgt. Grit:
Just wanted to say "Well Done" to those Marines who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Semper Fi
Dick Masters
Sgt. USMC 1951-56

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' "

--Samuel Adams


This Message Sent By "Dan E. Hubbell"

Copy of this letter was sent by Senior Chief Art Messer, 22 Naval Construction Regiment (Forward) Task Force Charlie U. S. Navy Seabees to a friend in the States.

I caught wind of and read the recent news articles being circulated back there in the states.

I figured I could clarify some things for you. As usual the news media has blown some things way out of proportion. The countryside is getting more safe by the day despite all the attacks you are hearing about.

Imagine every shooting incident or robbery committed in LA or Portland being blown way out of proportion. This is a country where most of the Saddam Hussein thugs are being chased around like scared rabbits by Coalition forces. It is literally open season on them!

We hunt them down like animals. There were about a million soldiers in the Iraqi army at the beginning of hostilities and most of them took off before we attacked. There are some that were very loyal to Saddam that are trying to sneak around and take pot shots at us.

We are cleaning them up pretty fast. There are also thugs from other countries running around, like Iran and Syria. Well the Iraqis hate these thugs as much as we do. So the Iraqi people are hunting them down too! I can honestly say 98% of the population of Iraq love us and they do not want us to leave...ever! They say as long as we are here they feel safe.

What is going on with the countries infrastructure? Everything is going well! The railroad is running again! The railroad has not run since 1991. In the city of Hilllah, the power stays on 24 hours a day and it has more power than prior to the war. Some Iraqis are worried about getting too much food from the coalition because they don't have enough room in their homes to store it.

The markets are open. The Seabees have rebuilt all of the schools and put in furniture and chalkboards. The kids used to sit on the floor! Now they have nice desks to sit at.

Commerce is running. New money is being printed. The Iraqi Dinar has stabilized and is now increasing in value. Most of the Iraqi men want to buy Chevy pickups (I told them a Dodge Ram with a Cummins Diesel is better Ha Ha). They pretty much want any vehicle made by General Motors. The highways and bridges are being repaired. In the Universities, the girls have tossed their deshakas (long black dresses with head and face coverings) and are now wearing western style clothes and even some are wearing short sleeves.

The favorite drink is Pepsi, followed by Coke. They want us to bring them any and everything American. Any item made in America or that is from America is worth money over here.

The newspapers and television paint a picture of doom and gloom and that we are having major problems over here. That is just not the case. The Iraqis have a saying about the situation over here "Every day is Better than the day before". Life is flowing back in to this country and it is fun to watch and I am so glad I got to watch it happen. Some days watching the Iraqi people is like watching the faces of little kids on Christmas Day! Many of them are walking around in a daze wondering what to do with their freedom. They are starting businesses everywhere. They want to build shopping malls and factories, they want McDonalds and Jack in the Box and Pizza Hut. Of course anything American Fast Food, because of the stories the troops are telling them. We give them our old newspapers and magazines that you have been sending us and they are absolutely flabbergasted when they read them!

They want us to keep bringing them. They read every single page even the advertisements over and over! This would be a good time for media to get their magazines going over here because the Iraqis just love them.

So in short you see the straight scoop of what is up over here.

Senior Chief Art Messer 22 Naval Construction Regiment (Forward) Task Force Charlie U.S. Navy Seabees "With Compassion For Others, We Build, We Fight, For Peace With Freedom"


Dear Sgt Grit, September 6, 2003

I first started getting your newsletter before I went to boot camp two years ago. Yesterday I got back from Iraq having been there since mid January. I was lucky enough to be sent just about every newsletter you sent out. I found the stories funny at times and agreed often when you former Jarheads ranted and raved about the negative attitude of Hollywood. Reading your newsletter made me feel even more connected to the Marines who went before me and to those who will follow. The deep sense of pride you all feel is with me as well.

Semper Fi
Lance Corporal Kushner M.A. 3/7 Kilo 0311

The hamburger patty is the best MRE meal out there now!!

Your comment about emails and media differing was right on the mark. Last week Rush Limbaugh took a call from someone I believe was an Army officer who just returned from there. While I missed the beginning of the discussion, it was clear that he was royally pissed at the media for not telling the truth about how well the US is doing there and how much actual Iraq citizens were helping us. He said most of the people they have caught are from other Arab countries. Rush asked if this was hurting morale. The caller said no, just that they were disgusted with the "second string" reporters who replaced those that were embedded during the liberation period and who seem to just want to make a name for themselves with the bosses back home.

Jim O'Neill
S/Sgt - 1st MarDiv, 1947-1951

"And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength -- they are invited by the perception of weakness."

--President George W. Bush

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

--Benjamin Franklin

The people of Iraq deserve an opportunity to enjoy a taste of freedom. We, as the one 'Superpower" in the world, and as a Christian nation, have an obligation to civilization to remove despots like Hussein who prey on the weak. Whether or not there were any WOMD stockpiled, just the fact that a madman like Hussein tortured and murdered his own people, at times just for port it seems, justified our presence in Iraq. Ask any Marine that has seen a population that has been suppressed, be it in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or any third world nation, if we should be helping to free these people, to give them a better life, and I am sure that you will get a resoundingly affirmative answer.

Are our people in Washington doing things right? That seems to be debatable on the part of some government officials that go for the 'sound bite', or try to placate the Hollywood morons who think they know what's going on. Our media is too concerned with sensationalism to report on the good works that are being done on a daily basis in a country decimated be thirty years of tyranny any too many wars. Our military is in the process of rebuilding basic utilities to areas that haven't seen any in 30+ years. Let's see more of that on the front pages and 11 o'clock news.

Our Service men & women that are in harm's way deserve our support and prayers. Our President deserves our support and prayers. They are the ones that are trying to make the world a better place.

Semper Fidelis,
John Lee

"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders."

--Mark Twain

"Had the horror of September 11 occurred in 2003 rather than 2001, just imagine what the reaction to it might have been by the current crop of presidential hopefuls."

--Victor Davis Hanson


For exemplary courage under fire during combat operations to liberate Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Private First Class Lynch's bravery and heart persevered while surviving in the ambush and captivity in An Nasiriya. Private First Class Lynch's belief in the Battalion's motto "One Team, One Fight" is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service. Her honor, courage and dedication reflect great credit upon herself, 507th Maintenance Company, 3d Infantry Division, Victory Corps, and The United States Army

From Mar 23 03 to 2 Apr 03, signed Apr 03 by Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace Commanding and Thomas E. White, Sec. of Army.

I would remind readers that the incident is probably as embarrassing to many in the Army, as it is irritating to those who have responded so vociferously in Sgt. Grit's Newsletter. Although I probably share the disgust of the disingenuous creation of a "hero", keep in mind that the guilty parties are the media, and the public relations officers, and not Private Lynch.

Semper Fi C. Williams, USMC 1964-1968, RVN 66-67

".....If she walks into my VFW, American Legion or DAV Post, I'll by-God buy her a drink!
SgtMaj Tom Schlechty, Retired (68 - 94)

A SgtMaj of Marines has spoken. No more about PFC Lynch."

Well done, Grit. It is time to move on and the SgtMaj said it all. H.J. Sydnam (Sgt Syd)

Oh it's Tommy this and Tommy that and Tommy get out of the way, But it's thank you Mr. Atkins when the bands begin to play. Too bad it takes a war for the appreciation to set in.

John E.

Hey Grit!
Something has been stuck in my craw for a while.... One of our fellow Marines wrote you a letter asking for some help to put on a feed for the Marines returning to Camp Pendleton last month.

Back up to 1974. I went to Guantanamo, Cuba (GTMO) for duty. Gasoline was 18 cents a gallon. Chevas Regal Scotch was $7 a quart. That was routine - same thing in Okinawa a couple years earlier.

Somewhere someone decided that either we were getting too good a price, or presenting some sort of unfair competition to the neighboring communities. It was decided that gasoline would be priced 2 cents less than the local gasoline price (How'd they do that in Cuba??? -I don't know) and alcoholic beverages were to be priced similar to the surrounding community. Gas went to 52 cents and Chivas Regal to $12 overnight. We didn't get a pay raise.

Now get this.... The difference was to go to Special Services - for the welfare of the troops.

Can you imagine how much money is involved here? Basically half the price of any, and every, alcoholic beverage served in the lifetime of all our active duty members. AND, at least the taxes on every gallon of gas sold on-base, anywhere, since (about) 1975. In most places that is 12 cents a gallon (or more). A GALLON. For 27 years....

And Special Services can't fry a hamburger for our returning troops? Where are they? Did anyone ask them?

After a lot of deleted expletives; I'm at a loss for words.

I greeted a returning Iraq Marine and his unit at Nellis AFB. Nothing! Get off the bus and leave, if you have a ride. Corpsmen too.

WTF? There should be an investigation. At least no one was spitting on them.

MSgt Scott McClellan

In the old testament, Isaiah & Jeremiah tell us whats going to happen to the kingdom of Babylon. Whether we like or not this is still Babylon & the people there still live a lot like in days of old. They never moved into the new world.

Sgt. C.T.Tuno '65/'69

"Let us look at American policies. America conducted three wars in the 1990s. The Gulf War saved the Kuwaiti people from Saddam. American intervention in the Balkans saved Bosnia. And then we saved Kosovo from Serbia. What do these three military campaigns have in common? In every one we saved a Muslim people."

--Charles Krauthammer

"Nothing would please the terrorists more than if we willingly gave up some of our cherished liberties because of their actions."

--Rep. Ron Paul

Sgt Grit,
I have no idea where you get all the quotations you include with your newsletters but they are great! I especially liked the recent one by Justice Louis Brandise, "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." Fantastic! The purpose of the Corps is to defend our constititution against all enemies foreign and domestic. All Marines should be alert to the attempts to curtail our freedoms that are being attempted in the name of fighting terrorism. The next time you see legislation about gun control write to your elected officials and let them know you do not appreciate their attempt to rob Americans of their rights.

John Klein USMC Sgt. '78-'82

Dear Sgt. Grunt,
Was reading your newsletter today and have been since day One!! My husband served in "The Corp" and done a tour in Vietnam and I've learned quite abit about being a Marine's wife. And I must say that that the Marine who gave up his first class seat for the widow and her escort is just a minute look into the soul of a Marine.

I was reading this particular article aloud to my husband and couldn't finish the story without coming tears. My husband brought me a few tissues and when I finally composed myself I asked him why they don't furnish all fallen heroes of war who have to be flown home to their families first class seats . When do you suppose the Airlines will offer this service?

In closing my husbands response to me was, we'd give up our seats to heaven for our fallen comrades any day of the week!!

God's Speed and Safe Return to Our New Brood Of Devil Dogs!

Tammy Parker(wife of a Marine)

In response to Cpl Panleter,I also had the same problem with VFW in 1953, I served and was wounded in Korea 1950/51, I was refused to be accepted by that group, I have not missed it at all.MCL,MCA, and Order of the Purple Heart...

Ron Whitacre USMC,1949/52.Member H-3-1

Hey Sgt Grit...
Thanks for posting the poems I sent to you recently...I would like to send a comment to CPL James F. Panlener from Newsletter #52...Although I can't comment on the attitude of the VFW either nationally or locally when you returned in 1970, I think I can speak, especially on a local level, of the attitude now. I serve as Commander of VFW post 6341, located in PA. I won't attempt to say that I understand how you felt when you returned from Vietnam, as I was greeted with open arms, thank you's, and parades when returning from Desert Storm. During the time that I was in Desert Shield/Storm, my local VFW had my picture and that of a fellow Marine fighter pilot hanging up inside as a reminder to members that local military members were overseas, fighting for our freedoms. I know this culture is 100% different than that of the culture in the late 60's early 70's. While the VFW may have turned their back on you when you returned from Vietnam, I think you'll find a much different attitude now. While true that many WWII and Korean vets are passing and our membership is struggling, the VFW has opened it's eligibility to include many different hot spots that have taken place in the last 50 years. While my membership is at 100%, I certainly always ask people who mention past war time experiences to join. I don't push it, but I make it known that I would love for them to join. A VFW is a place that you will find a comradely unlike any other place. Whether you wind up sitting next to a Marine from Korea, an Army dog from Vietnam, a Navy squid from WWII, or an Air Force fly boy from Desert Storm, a VFW is common place for stories of drunken brawls, gallantry, and the oh so frequent "which service is better" argument. The VFW can offer you a place to associate with Marines, and other previous servicemen/women. My local VFW paid for my first year's membership when I joined after Desert Storm, I am continuing that tradition as I signed up our first Jar Head Vet back from Iraq. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed talking to him and seeing the fire and brimstone shooting from his eyes when speaking of his escapades in Iraq. Where else could I ever get that chance? The VFW also offers a place that you can shed a tear on Memorial Day, and everyone understands why. We participate in giving the final graveside honors to fellow members who have taken their place guarding the gates of heaven. Our VFW is also very involved with our community, sponsoring little league teams, helping the needy, and currently donating 100 computers to kids who other wise couldn't afford one. I believe that if you give the VFW another chance, you will find a different attitude, and you will find a place that will welcome you with graciousness, thank you's, and a free one on the house. Semper Fi Marines,

Michelle R (Keim) Christman CPL of Marines 87 - 91

"Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries."

--Ayn Rand

Recently we have been told that we should remove God from our schools, our money, our monuments even Pepsi was afraid to put it on their cans once protested.

Protestors have taken more from our Country and our rights that hundreds of thousand men and women have fought and died for, and Mothers of Foreign Wars (thank God they were foreign wars and not on our lands as some in the far past and we saw on 9/11) have tried to weaken or corps. As a Marine, trained in PI, served in Nam I, and thousands of other Marines, will always maintain the motto

God, Country and Corps.

Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters
L/Cpl Dennis DiTinno, 69-71

"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"

--James Madison

With respect to SSGT P B Modesti of Desert Storm; I am a Nam Vet...USMC..66-69.....L/Cpl..3371..and YES we MARINES did take care of our equipment..

in 76-79, I was in the Va.Army National Guard 276th Combat Engineer Batt......Sgt...Demo Section Chief.... and I took care of my equipment there also.

in 80-82....I was in the 3rd ACR..."Brave Rifles" Tank Driver....Sgt. in training as TC.....and although we trained in the dessert at Ft. Tank was always clean and rustless......

Do Not say a particular Branch of the Service is remiss...because YOU witnessed the equipment of a few DEADBEATS!

At Main side in Lejeune we had a cook with the nickname of 'SCUZ'..him, his equipment, his skivvies were filthy..hence the name SCUZ...we had to give him a G.I. bath on "Carib 3/66" cause the Grunts complained

so DON'T DUMP on the U.S.Army

Mark H. Gallant .....Ser# 2200015 USMC...66-69....
Chu Lai '68 "SEMPER FI"
Va. Army Natl Guard.....76-79
140% Service Connected Disabled/Retired...Proud of my Military Service in the Corps and the Army

"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."

--Thomas Pain

Death always puts things into perspective. We spend so much time worrying about jobs and money and every other insignificant, pointless, trivial, imbroglio of life that we forget what a precious and delicate gift that each breath we draw is.

My uncle, Clovis L. Caldwell, battled cancer for two years. We watched him deteriorate from a strapping 200 pound man to a whisper of what he was physically. Yet, always there was the twinkle in his eyes - The courage and hope of a ground pounder grunt. Today, at lunch, that twinkle faded.

How many youngsters did he enthrall with stories of the Pacific? Guadalcanal? Peleleiu? M-1 Garands, BAR's, Carbines and .50 cals filled our dreams as we fought the battles against the "Japs" in grandma's garden? I will miss you Clovis. We will all miss you.

I'll end with a quote by Ronald Reagan:
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."

Charles T.

Sgt. Grit,
I noticed most of the guys that write are "Boots". Our Marine Detachment was just declassified in 1996. We served on the USS Curtiss (AV-4) as security guards for the AEC from 1948 to 1957. We were on all the Atomic tests held in the Marshall Island. We had one of our own receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in Korea after a tour in our detachment. We will be having a mini reunion October 27-31 in Laughlin, NV. Thanks for passing the word, Cpl. Ed Franklin 1953-56

Iraq, wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. Afghanistan right war, write time write place. Too bad we did not finish it before going to war for oil.

Semper Fi Chuck in Pittsburgh USMCR '53 to '64

"We will not tire,
We will not falter,
We Will Not Fail."

--Pres. George W. Bush

Semper Fi Sarge!

My son Mike, Jr. is currently serving in the USMC on board Camp Lejeune. He was with the 2nd LAR in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a Sergeant and was serving as the LAV commander of the point vehicle of his battalion when he was wounded in action on 1 April.

The reason I am writing is that after he was wounded, he was medevaced by an Army Blackhawk to a Navy Fleet hospital in Southern Iraq. In the process he was heavily sedated and somehow he and his 35mm camera were separated and his camera was left on board the chopper. I gave him the camera about six years ago for Christmas and it was a fairly expensive Nikon. Cameras can be replaced and we are glad to have Mike Jr. home safe and sound. He did have about six rolls of exposed film that was also in his camera bag that as you might imagine are priceless and he would truly like to recover those.

I know your newsletter goes out to a lot of active and inactive (like me!) Marines. If I would furnish you with more details, would you be willing to run a piece in your newsletter explaining Mike's plight and MAYBE, just MAYBE someone who was also over there may have come across the camera and film and would be willing to return it. I know it's a long shot, but what the heck!

I truly enjoy your newsletter via email... keep up the good work!

Oohrah! Mike Simmons, Sr. USMC '69

This seems to be an open secret for the last 35 or 40 years about the M-16's reliability problems.

I was in the Corps from 58-62 (M-3-5) with a basic MOS of 0331(machine guns for all you poges) and was also trained as an armorer. One of my main hobbies since then has been guns of all kinds (my buddy and I are licensed class III dealers), including building and repair.

Although it's predecessor, the AR-10, in .30-06 cal., was apparently a pretty good weapon but produced in limited quantities, the M-16 was seriously flawed from the beginning, as almost anyone who carried one in Nam or Desert storm will tell you. Rarely, you'll see someone on TV news mentioning some reported problem, immediately followed by some army spokesman/apologist telling you that if the troops had kept them clean and kept a condom over the muzzle like they were supposed to, the gun would have worked fine.

This is the most outrageous piece of stupidity I can imagine. Have you ever heard of an AK-47 that wouldn't fire because of some dust or sand? In fact, have you ever heard of an AK that wouldn't fire for any reason? I haven't, and I've had several.

I wish I could put my finger on a single correctable reason for the lethal effects of dust and sand on the weapon, but I can't. Of course there's the additional problem of that rare substance, water, getting into the works. Then we start getting into hydraulics problems and other things.

Possibly my biggest concern is with the weapon that gets some sand in the locking lugs and gets jammed partway into battery. How are you going to open it to correct the stoppage, especially in the heat and confusion of combat? You aren't. Your posterior is grass for that big lawnmower in the sky.

WD Hosack, sgt., USMC (long time ago).

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a United States Marine who just returned from the war on Iraq. I have created a website dedicated to the personal photography of United States Military Personnel which was taken during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have two simple ideas to the site: One is to provide military personnel, who didn't have cameras, with pictures so they can also have some keepsakes. The other is that coming back from a war there are memories that you suppress, I was taught that if you suppress them it isn't healthy. So I hope that these photos can act as story tools for military personnel to better help them overcome bad memories and be at ease with themselves. I would like more personnel's photos and am having trouble getting the word out about the site. I can't afford a lot of advertising because I am married and have 1 child and 1 more on the way. If you know anything about the pay in the military, it isn't great, but the benefits of pride and other intangible things make up for it. I hope that if the word gets out about the site that more people will donate their pictures. Thank you for your time,

LCpl Brunhoff, Joshua P.

"...I've called for whatever it takes to be so strong that no other nation will dare violate the peace. If that means superiority, so be it. ... You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. [I]s it worth dying for...? Should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots of Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools...."

--Ronald Reagan

God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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