Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

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 #54

"It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen."


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Per board user requests I have made a few changes to the bulletin board recently. I have added a Marines Only area and a Tribute Forum. They are as described. If your bio does not indicate you are a Marine your out. The Tribute Forum is for tributes to Marines. Subtle changes, but some that enhance the board. Take a look.

New Items!

BK481-Once Upon A Lifetime

My son is with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, He has been in Iraq since Jan and is on his way home now. His plane had to make an unscheduled stop in Maine (plane problems) When these tired and homesick Marines walked into the lobby of the airport. There was around 30 to 40 Vietnam Vets there to met them. They offered them cell phones to call home and a meal or a bed, It meant so much to my son. They talked for 4 hours in the lobby and he said it was unbelievable. These men have met 148 planes so far, they aren't letting any of these men and women came home alone. Before they left, My son had the flag with him that flew over every camp he was in from the beginning of the war until now, he took it out and handed it to the vet who he had been talking with, Thank God for our Vets I couldn't be there to see my son come home but I think God sent his own angels to welcome him home, Thank you to all our vets.

A very PROUD Marine Mom

The Army has done themselves proud!. In spite of the Isabel, the soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery decided to stand their post. They were given approval for the first time ever to leave, but Thursday night during the heaviest of the storm Sergeant of the Guard Geary walked his post alone for 5 1/2 hours in rain and 60-mph wind.

A protest raged on a court lawn
Round a makeshift stage they charged on,
Fifteen hundred or more they say,
Had come to burn a Flag that day.

A boy held up the folded Flag,
Cursed it, and called it a dirty rag.
An old man pushed through the angry crowd,
With a rusty shotgun shouldered proud.

His uniform jacket was old and tight,
He had polished each button, shiny and bright.
He crossed that stage with a soldier's grace,
Until he and the boy stood face to face.

"Freedom of speech", the old man said,
"Is worth dying for, good men are dead,
So you can stand on this courthouse lawn,
And talk us down from dusk to dawn,

But before any Flag gets burned today,
This old man is going to have his say!
My father died on a foreign shore,
In a war they said would end all wars

But Tommy and I wasn't even full grown,
Before we fought in a war of our own.
And Tommy died on Iwo Jima's beach
In the shadow of a hill he couldn't quite reach

Where five good men raised this Flag so high,
That the whole world could see it fly.
I got this bum leg that I still drag,
Fighting for this same old Flag.

Now there's but one shot in this old gun,
So now it's time to decide which one,
Which one of you will follow our lead,
To stand and die for what you believe?

For as sure as there is a rising sun,
You'll burn in hell 'fore this Flag burns, son.

Now this riot never came to pass
The crowd got quiet and that can of gas,
Got set aside as they walked away
To talk about what they had heard this day.
And the boy who had called it a "dirty rag",
Handed the old soldier the folded Flag.

So the battle of the Flag this day was won
By a tired old soldier with a rusty gun,
Who for one last time, had to show to some,
This flag may fade, yet these colors don't run!

Grantland Rice

I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your stories, and I think it's great how Marines act as brothers or sisters. Just a few months ago I was at a restaurant and an older gentleman was waiting for a table as were my fiancée and I and another middle aged gentleman came out with a Marine Corps shirt on and the older gentleman, said "Son are you a Marine?" The middle aged man said "Yes sir," at that the older gentleman said "Semper Fi!" and that was the exchange of the conversation, and witnessing that conversation with few words, but knowing from my fiancée the amount of power those words have, was really an experience that will probably never leave my mind. With that, I will say Thank you for your newsletters,

Soon to be Marine Wife

"...[A] Constitution will not be able to keep the government limited; for given a monopoly Supreme Court selected by the self-same government and granted the power of ultimate decision making, the political 'ins' will always favor a 'broad' or loose interpretation of the wording of the Constitution serving to expand the powers of government over the citizenry; and, over time, the 'ins' will inexorably tend to win out over the minority of 'outs' who will argue vainly for a 'strict' interpretation limiting state power."

--Murray N. Rothbard

"The values and the valor of those Continental soldiers helped to release the freedom this blessed nation now enjoys. The vigilance and training of today's soldiers keep that freedom secure. Yes, meeting the defense budget calls for sacrificing other ways we might like to spend those funds. But this is a small sacrifice compared to that of America's colonial citizens. They paid with their blood and long years of hardship."

--Ronald Reagan

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars."

--George Washington in his Farewell Address delivered this day, September 19, 1796

"Do images of those fighting on the peaks of Afghanistan or in the desert of Iraq, when juxtaposed to the rallies on our elite campuses, suggest that a populist military is doing a better or worse job than our privileged universities in training our youth to be educated, well-spoken, and rational?"

--Victor Davis Hanson

"...[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."

--Samuel Adams

"I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: 'Freedom of assembly' and 'freedom of speech' and so forth. Of course, they don't allow them to have those things, but they're in there in the constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions -- everyone has one -- and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple -- that's why you don't notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, 'We, the government, allow the people the following rights,' and our Constitution says 'We the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights.' We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that's the whole story of the difference--why we're unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we're going to overcome."

--Ronald Reagan

Just one more word about the attitude of the VFW. Commander Christman pretty much sums it up correctly. It is indeed true that there was and is animosity between WWII Vets (the so-called greatest generation of which my uncles, father, and other relatives were members and served) and the Viet Nam and Korean Veterans. I have seen the animosity of some of the WWII types towards Viet Nam and Korean Vets first hand. But WWII veterans are fading from the scene faster with each passing day.

While as a Commander of my own Post in Oregon elected to that post three times, I made it clear up front that I would not tolerate that kind of behavior, I in fact angered many of those older WWII veterans. But you still have to love those guys and gals, because they are now what they were back then. Even those few of us who served in Korea were too young to serve in WWII but that war too was just a continuation of an Asian conflict using the same weaponry and to some extent same tactics. Still, because our politicians called it a police action instead of a full fledged war, Korean Vets were not appreciated either. But we held our ground and worked our way into their world. And then one day, we were in charge and could begin positive changes. Clearly, now, Viet Nam and Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and all the other actions have produced several new generations of combat veterans who are even now taking charge. Still there are a few that will not give up the reigns of leadership of our fine old Veteran's groups. They simply do not want to let go.

Don't think it can happen in your town? Then consider who will follow you newer Vets when you get old and gray....If you do not follow through and welcome and indeed train these new vets on how to protect their veterans benefits including yours, soon there will be no one left to defend them. Remember, just as the WWII vets are leaving us at accelerating rates every year, you too will one day be in that category and you must do all you can to save the rights of those veterans that served. Remember too that at the end of WWII 80% of members of Congress were veterans. Today, that number is in the 40% range and declining every year. And if our current crop of challengers to the White House gives you any clues as to their mental prowess or lack thereof, at the very least you need to let them know that there will always be a VFW, MCL and MCA and other Veterans organizations to keep watch over our rights.

No, as Commander, I did not tolerate that kind of dissention in our VFW Ranks and I believe with all my heart that it had an impact on our members that eventually became much more positive. But then, I also made sure that we tried to encourage the younger members to participate. Not always successfully because they too are what they were back then - products of another era and though their values are not necessarily our values and they may not see things quite as we saw them when we were their age, they must one day take the reins and carry on the fight to see to it that all Veterans receive the benefits they fought to preserve. In my own view, nothing we as a nation do for our Veterans who served their country is nearly enough. Let us all strive to see to it that a grateful nation takes care of those that go in harm's way to protect us all. And let me add, that no one loves to go to war, but in the case of IRAQ, I know that most of us old codgers would love to have been there with those young people using the incredible firepower, to do what they did. Realistically however, we also know that we could not do it half as well as our troops did it and that makes us so proud of them the words just fail us.....

Semper Fi to all you young Veterans, I would serve with any of you any time, anywhere.

Richard E. Nygaard, SSGT, USMC 1953-1963
Senior Vice Commander,
MCL, Detachment # 1089

Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit!

Thanks for all the hard work you do on your newsletter. I love it! In response to the letter from Senior Chief Messer of Task Force Charlie, I just want to say a big Thank You. His enthusiasm and upbeat reporting of some of the "Good Things" evolving in Iraq were a welcome breath of fresh air. What he stated about the press and all of their negative reporting is true. All I hear recently is about the various ambushes that kills our troops and how the death toll in this "peacetime" is greater (and growing), than during the combat that took place.

It was refreshing to read about the schools and businesses that are springing up and going forward due to the freedoms these people now enjoy. It would be great to hear more news of this sort. Semper Fidelis,

Larry D.Hamm

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

WTF Chuck? I know you're due to be flamed aplenty but being a troll I reckon that's your goal. Your provocation does bring up a potential topic, though. What is the most disgusted any of you Jarheads have been with regards to a situation? For myself, it was finding out the conditions that led to the bombing of the Marines' barracks. This is not mean to create a bash-fest but rather an opportunity to vent; we'll always get the mission accomplished regardless of the politics. Remember, a b!tchin' Marine is a happy Marine!

Michael A. Thornton, former Cpl. USMC

Sgt. Grit.
I have son who is in week 3 at MCRD San Diego. I have been receiving your newsletter for about 6 months now and am very grateful for that. We are not a military family, and at first did not understand why our son would choose the military over college. As I learn more and more about the Marine Corps, I could not be more proud of his selfless decision to serve his country in the name of freedom. It's easy to understand why he chose the Marines: to be the best of the best. I wanted to share an email that I received this week that touched my heart. The young men and women who are serving our country deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and gratitude.

Sue N.


I rode up the escalator at Penn Station, 34th St. and 7th Ave. My friend Dave and I stepped out onto the sidewalk. I bent over to shield my lighter and light my cigarette. I heard the roar of engines over Manhattan. You don't hear planes over Manhattan. I followed the plane until it hit the building. I cried like a little girl. We ran south on 7th Avenue. The second plane hit while we were running. We were stopped at 7th Ave and Canal St. When the first tower fell, we ran away. We went back to Canal St. Then the next tower fell. We ran away again. This is the reason I am in the Marine Corps. FDNY 343 NEVER FORGET

LCpl. Matthew Romaka, USMC
CSSC-121 Publications NCO

By Peter Franceschina
Staff Writer

September 11, 2003

Defiant flag flier George Andres once again is facing the prospect of losing his Jupiter home after a Palm Beach County judge ruled Wednesday that his homeowners association could go forward with a foreclosure sale next month to collect legal fees.

Andres, a Marine veteran, said he was worried about losing his home, but he vowed to appeal the latest ruling in a legal saga that has spanned more than two years.

"We are going to fight," Andres said.

It is the second time in recent months that Andres' home has moved toward the auction block. He was granted a reprieve in May when Circuit Judge Edward Fine agreed to reconsider his order authorizing the foreclosure.

The Florida Attorney General's Office stepped in and argued that Andres' home was constitutionally protected under the state's homestead law from foreclosure by a homeowners association attempting to collect a legal debt.

Andres' homeowners association prohibits flagpoles, and Andres has a 12-foot flagpole in his front yard. Another judge ruled that Andres didn't have a right to put up the flagpole, and the association filed a lien on the property to collect roughly $21,000 in attorneys' fees and legal costs expended in winning the case.

Fine rejected the argument from the Attorney General's Office and issued a ruling Wednesday that found the association's right to file a lien against the property was established in 1982, when its covenants and bylaws were recorded in land records, six years before Andres purchased his home.

West Palm Beach attorney Steven Selz, who represents the homeowners association, said the ruling makes sense.

"There has to be a way to give the association a right to enforce its claims on the property," he said.

Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver, who represents Andres, said he would file an appeal. Mediation has failed, while the attorneys' fees continue to pile up for both sides.

"They find George to be very intransigent because he has the right to fly the flag, and they think he is stubborn because he fights for that right," Silver said.

Selz said he hopes Andres decides to reach a settlement rather than face losing his home, which is scheduled to be auctioned on Oct. 9.

Andres said previous settlement offers required more of a compromise than he was willing to make.

"They said remove the flag and the flagpole, and that is not a compromise," Andres said. " I'm 66, and I don't have much left anyhow. We have to go ahead and fight."

Peter Franceschina can be reached at or 561-832-2894.

Copyright (c) 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

--Samuel Adams

It's Tommy this and Tommy that and chuck 'em out the brute but 'es Savior of the Country when the guns begin to shoot

A tommy being of course a British Solider

I never wanted the thanks of 90% of our Countrymen and felt the other 10% had earned mine.

SFFi, Tiger

Chuck in Pittsburgh go over look in the eye of every child over there and tell them it was the wrong war. Go tell the women over there who finally do not have to fear being selectively raped by a horrid regime it was not a right war like some. Like Mr John Lee said in Sgt's last letter whether or not there are WOMD does not matter. As the soul superpower our obligation to our protection and the Iraqi peoples freedom was just enough cause. Don't let the likes of your Political party cloud your Marine Judgement. Marines aren't just Americas 911 force we are the worlds.

Jason Halle
USMC 91-95
USNR 02- present

Sgt Grit, Some of your readers are upset with the Service Organizations i.e. the American Legion, the V.F.W. and others concerning the acceptance on membership into their organizations. The new veteran's and those still on active duty must not despair with them. Being Federally Chartered organizations, it does take a congressional resolution to change the dates of eligibility for membership. The American Legion for one has already done this for the troops of the Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 thru the cessation of hostilities declared by the President. Which means the dates for membership are open to all personnel who served on active duty including Reserves and National Guard members? For more information contact their local American Legion Post.

Thank You MM

I think Ron Whitcare is sadly mistaken. He had all the proof needed to join the VFW. No one the served in combat in a foreign war will never be turned away. I can't believe that you were. The Military Order of the Purple Heart ask for more proof of war time service and certificate of award of the Purple Heart. I am an officer at Post #8823 and have been for several years. The VFW is a great organization for all veterans of a foreign war an does not discriminate. Former S/SGT. Ron Marmon said that.

USMC 65 To 74, Nam 66-67,and I an a member of all of them organizations.


I'm glad that I'm not the only one who had problems with the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans etc. I served four years active duty from 9/76 - 9/80, which included two overseas deployments. On my deployment in the Med (during the Iranian crisis) our ships received orders from the President of the United States to proceed through the Suez Canal and prepare to invade the Country of Iran. Our orders were eventually cancelled in favor of a rescue attempt. I'm sure that you're all aware of how well that mission went. Anyway, after I was discharged I had to go into the VA hospital for a minor medical condition that flared up. I was granted a "Service Connected Disability-<10%" since the original injury occurred while I was on active duty. I didn't get any money-didn't want or deserve any money- just wanted treatment, which I received. I returned to active duty for a short time during my "inactive duty" period under a program that was designed to keep inactive reserves up to speed on their skills (one of my MOS's was Small Missile Maintenance Technician-TOW,DRAGON &RedEye). After that, I did a short stint in the Active Reserves.

In 1983 when I was planning my wedding, one of my friends suggested the DAV hall that he belonged to for my reception. I went to the hall, filled out all of the paperwork and showed them my "Service Connected Disability Card." They came back and told me that since my disability was not at least 10%, I could not join. At this point, I was O.K. with that. I knew that my "Disability" was really no disability at all, but a minor condition that had been treated and cured. Then the rep.asked my wife if her father had been in the military, to which she replied that he had served in the Army during the Korean War. She went on to say that he never left the States, but was admitted to the hospital for a case of VD that he caught while chasing numerous women. The reps. eyes lit up as he exclaimed to my wife "You are eligible to join the DAV as an auxiliary member, and as such, can rent the hall. Then anytime you two want to come in, you can sign your (United States Marine with two overseas tours, orders to combat and a service connected disability) husband in as a guest." Well, Kiss My Ass!!! Are you kidding me??!!! The only way that I can get into a service organization is as a guest of my civilian wife? No Thanks!

After this, I received correspondence from the American Legion asking me to join. I again filled out all the paperwork and sent it in. After a couple weeks, I received notice that neither my dates of service nor orders to war were "recognized dates" according to Legion rules. They were sorry, my application to join was denied. Whatever. I just hope that they didn't treat the service members who died, were injured or were held hostage during the Iranian rescue attempt the same way. Periodically, I received additional mailings from the American Legion. I finally wrote them a nasty letter and told them that if they didn't quit sending me applications, I'd hunt them down and show them how combat qualified I was! For some reason, the letters stopped.

I still remain a "gung ho" Marine. Everyone at work knows when the Marine Corps Birthday is and how to properly display the flag. And absolutely no offense to any of the fine men and women who belong to these organizations. I just think that your rules are a little goofy.

I've been reading stories about the shortage of buglers for veteran's funerals. I played bugle in the Boy Scouts and trumpet in high school. I've been thinking about offering my services to Bugles Across America. However, I don't know if I could handle another rejection! :)

Semper Fi!
Sgt. Bruce T. Meyer
Unqualified, Worldwide Service

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

--Sir Winston S. Churchill

Sgt. Grit,
usually wear my salty old cover sometimes, but since the first of the year, I have worn it proudly everyday. I was off work and recuperating from a back injury from Jan.- June. I watched every moment that I could of the Iraqi conflict on the Fox channel. I have never been more proud of our Marines, and our beloved George W. Bush. George does what he says he will do,and means it. For once, an honest guy in the white house who asks for guidance from God! Can you see others trying to cope with 9/11? I don't think so!I would like to say to ALL of the Marines out there that are fighting, or rotating back to the world, "outstanding work there ladies and gentlemen"!!! I'm a too old jarhead that would love to join in the fight with our young Marines. We that support

President Bush must make sure that we vote him back into office! You can bet that every fringe group, peace nick, green peace, whoever, will be out in force to try and vote him out. Semper Fidelis!

Heslep, J.A., Sgt. USMC 1969-1973 RVN. 1970-1971

A contributor wrote:

"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."

Such narrow mindedness cannot go unnoted.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" is a "wrong" war," at the "wrong time" and in the "wrong place?" While Afghanistan was the "right war, at the "right time," and in the "right place." (Interesting perspective.)

For anyone to believe that though, it would be because they were living in a vacuum on Sept. 11, 2001, and dates prior.

Be that as it may, or may not be, the events of 11Sep01 were hardly the beginning. The beginning was December 1993, and dates prior but lets begin with the first attack on the World Trade Center. That "attack" was the prelude to the events of "9/11."

Fortunately, the attack on the World Trade Center, "WTC," in 1993 failed because of "stupidity" on the part of the attackers. Yet, that failed attack gave the terrorist valuable insights, identified strategical shortcomings and sent them back to their respective "drawing boards." Taking down the "WTC" became a "mission," they would be back and they would not fail the second time around.

It was hardly chance that brought world attention to the Taliban, hardly random selection that sent our Troops to the mountains of Tora Bora. There was more than ample "intel," dedicated investigation, and a lot of hard work that enabled US to justifiably point "the finger of guilt" exactly where it belonged for the entire world to take note. Does that success qualify or justify the lives lost in Afghanistan? Does that make it the "right war, in the right place, at the right time?"

There could be a lot of reasons for being "right," but the only reason that should mean anything at all would have to be because that's exactly where the blame belonged. NO other reasons.

Fast forward eight years...September 2001! Attack number two, this time, the result of careful meticulous planning, supported by educated input of Architects and Engineers, (who acquired their skills in our colleges and universities), with their success in achieving their desired results exceeding even their own expectations.

Yet, as disastrous as the events of "9/11" proved themselves to be, with the loss of 3,016 lives. The total destruction of a world landmark, (The WTC). The happenstance attack on The Pentagon, and the senseless and unforgivable loss of the forty passengers and crew of Flt. 93 over Shanksville, PA. All realities collectively propelling our Nation into a total "defensive mode." Resultantly finding ourselves in a "wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time?"

There has to be something seriously deficient in that thinking and logic. In 1993 the death toll was six, in 2001 the tally exceeded 3,000. Within all sense of basic reasonableness, the loss of one life to terrorist activities would be a price TOO high.

The United States didn't ask for any of this. On December 8, 1941, every recruiting station of every branch of our Armed Services was literally swamped to prospective enlistee's. The Recruiting Station at Whitehall Street in downtown Manhattan, (NYC), had a line going completely around the block. What pain do we as a Nation have to endure before we can "take the high ground" as to declare a "right war?" There is no such thing as a "right war," but their will always be a reason to go to war. NO one likes war. There are no winners in war, (everyone looses something). Most importantly, no one dislikes war more than the very people that have to fight them.

For anyone to genuinely believe that our Armed Forces current daily battle to stay alive in Iraq and Afghanistan is about oil probably has their head in the sand as deep as the oil is. It won't be any time soon before Iraq comes anywhere near regaining their prewar oil production levels. So I doubt anyone is holding there breaths in anticipation of any windfall "oil" profits.

The very people that would benefit the most, the Iraqi's, couldn't care less...there too busy blowing everything up to consider the error of their ways, or the inevitable consequences. It's all about US "infidels." That's the focus of their concerted efforts, riding their society and culture of all US "freedom lovers" and that of our Allies, the staunch brave, courageous "Brits." As to the rest of the "coalition," as admirable as their contributions are, and welcomed, their presence is "token" at best.

Let's "throw in the towel," after all we're in the middle of a "wrong war, at the wrong time, and in the wrong place." Then when everyone comes home, our military puts all it's "toys" away, our lives will return to the peace and serenity we all enjoyed prior to "9/11." Yeah, right! Then all of US better be prepared for an onslaught no one could even begin to imagine. It will indeed make the events of "9/11" take on the appearance of a "skirmish."

NO, I respectfully submit, this IS a war, (not of our doing), "for the right reasons, at the right time, and in the right place." This is a war with no foreseeable clear-cut victory or end, but a war that needs to be waged. It is a war, we as a Nation, a people, a society, a culture cannot afford to loose.

Wars never won any popularity contests. There is no such thing as a pleasant war. Wars by their very definition are unpleasant at best, but they will always be necessary evils...especially at the price of freedom.

The basis of the argument presented lacks merit on its very surface, let US go back thirty plus years and talk about a war that was truly unpopular. Lets talk about a war that probably should never have been fought, lets talk about an Administration that promoted a weak cause only to admit two decades later that "we should have never gotten involved." (Robert S. McNamara, SecD, Johnson Administration)

Now, that was a "wrong" war, at the "wrong" time and definitely "in the wrong place." The late Gen. Douglas MacArthur foretold the penalties to be paid getting involved in a guerilla war in Southeast Asia, just as prophetically as Gen. "Billy" Mitchell foresaw an air attack on the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, HI and created an international incident when he accurately speculated that the attackers would be the Japanese.

To ignore history is to invite its repetition. Does any one want to see another "9/11?"

Civilization has reached the technological point where we can no longer sit back and "wring our hands," anguish and fret of what could be. Allow US to be so caught up in "political correctness" that we wait for another "9/11" before we act. We just cannot afford to wait for circumstances to allow moral approval "for a right war, at the right time and in the right place."

WE, as in "US," need to bring the fight to them, before they bring it to US, as in on our shores, in our cities, if not in our towns. Should terrorism, where ever it may surface, be allowed to gain a foothold on our shores, none of US will be safe. Our adversary is a very tenacious enemy, dying, in their culture, is a way of life, a given. Death garners no particular attention, concern or even fear.

WE didn't finish in Afghanistan? The writer suggest, or implies. There is no finish! This war knows no beginning or end. The Taliban, Al Qaeda, (synonymous forces for all intent and purpose), bleed back and forth across international borders unimpeded, (to the same extent we may cross a street), unrestricted to wreak havoc and destruction, death and mayhem at will. Does anyone want anywhere near that lifestyle to prevail on our shores?

There are no "front lines" to this war either. The "front line" for the "GI" waging the daily battle is less than an arms length radius looking out for a 7.62 sniper round from 360 degrees. Their enemy isn't even a "face in the crowd"...everyone is suspect, everyone is a threat. Which is all the more reason to be ever vigilant, less that very treat migrate to our own shores, towns and cities? A hard concept to "wrap one's mind around," but a very real possibility, one that is being pursued with great Determination by those who know nothing but hate for everyone outside their culture and beliefs.

We didn't "finish" in Afghanistan? Do you think the fight could have been contained in Afghanistan? Do you believe that the attacks on our Forces are occurring in a vacuum? None of the events past are "isolated events." Terrorism on the scale our Forces are confronting is being supported on a "state" level. There can be little doubt that the most ardent supporter was none other than Saddam Hussein himself. It could be argued that no evidence that has yet to "see the light of day" would support such thinking, but I would submit our government knows and knew better.

The scope of terrorism that has been allowed to flourish in the Middle East, (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and probably Syria and Jordan as well), succeeds because the governments of those countries, (recognized and otherwise), find it politically expedient to "turn a blind eye" to terrorism, if not support it.

Let US recognize and come to terms with the reality that we have been enjoined in a war, a "perpetual war" that we will have to fight for all foreseeable future. To revel in complacency, within a false sense of security will only invite our own demise and being "right" will have very little to do with anything.

Semper Fi,
T.P. Sheehan
Syracuse, NY

Sgt. Grit,
There are OTHER Marines voicing different opinions on Iraq. Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), the former CENTCOM commander and Bush administration Mideast negotiator just gave a speech last week to a joint meeting of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association. He told the assembled Marine and Navy officers that the administration got us into this war under false pretenses (remember Weapons of Mass Destruction?) and that we're now in a Vietnam-style quagmire. He was mobbed by a cheering audience who bought all of the tapes of his speech that were made that night. Jim Web, decorated USMC veteran of Vietnam, best-selling novelist and Reagan's first Secretary of the Navy said the EXACT SAME THING to another group of Navy and Marine officers at the Naval war college a few days before that. I happen to agree with them. Our Commander-in-Chief is a LIAR who has exploited 9/11 for his administration's own purposes. The CIA and the other intel agencies have said repeatedly that there is no connection whatsoever between 9/11 and Iraq, but Bush was determined to create one because that's the neoconservative game plan, al la Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, et al who think that that's the way to pacify the Middle East. Now that we're occupying Iraq, it's swarming with terrorists from the entire Muslim world (especially Saudi Arabia) because they can take easy pot shots at American troops there and wage a guerrilla war that will bleed American morale, lives and funds in the Sunni Moslem areas. Bush and Cheney are also still coddling the Saudi Arabians who are our sworn enemies and are bankrolling terrorism around the world. So who are the real patriots, those who continue to turn a blind eye to all the lies, arrogance and blunders or those who face the truth squarely and tell it the way it really is before the military is severely damaged and the Treasury bankrupted??

- John G. Hogan
former Major USMCR

Love the quotes in each newsletter. Here are a couple more:

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us: what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."

--Albert Pike

"The Returning
Our heroes sleep in honor
If we in faith and honor keep the peace
For which they paid"

--Rudyard Kipling

A Marine Mom.

I have read a little here and other places, and seen a bit on TV. But good news out of Iraq is hard to find. Most polls indicate Iraqis are glad they have been liberated from Saddam. There is bound to be some anxiety about the future and this is what most of the doom-sayers focus on. What I have noticed is subtle, fundamental changes for the better. Such as, over 150 newspapers and magazines have surfaced since the war. Electricity, still not what it should be, but is much more reliable than before. Some area for 20 years only got electricity one hour a day, now it is supplied regularly. Basic services are coming on line rapidly. Business's are springing up everywhere to supply what is needed. Schools are being rebuilt and are holding classes, many within days of the completion of the war. The subtle, but basic building blocks of life do not make headlines. To me they are more telling than anything the talking heads spout-off about.

The death toll is nothing compared to the quagmire and the Vietnam it is being compared to. One American death per day is too much, but let's not get too carried away with quagmire and Vietnam parallels. Vietnam averaged 18 dead per day for approximately 10 years. The first Gulf War was 9 per day. This is not a quagmire, it is excellent work carried out by our military. The problem is the American public, and its desire for immediate results, their attention deficit. The opposition is banking on that. Sure some want us gone, but most see the need and the stability we are attempting and succeeding in brings. And it is appreciated by the average Iraqi, even though they may not understand it due to their Muslim bias against the west. Time is on our side, not theirs. The resources al Qaeda and the others pour into Iraq means less they can direct to other areas, most notably the USA. I would rather kill terrorist and diminish their effectiveness in Iraq than on our soil.

I suggest we stay the course and support the effort. The right thing to do is usually the more difficult of options available.

Semper fi,

Dear Sergeant Grit,
You asked where we stand two years later. How's this: Wake up Call: On that infamous day, September 11, 2001, we were put on notice that we are under attack, have been for some time, and will continue to be until this war is won. Most of us understand this and are, mentally prepared for the long run. And most of us understand that in this war where territory is not involved, we will have to go root out the enemy where ever he is. Mistakes will be made and have been made, but we will prevail. Heck, those of us who lived through WWII can tell you about mistakes-one that comes to my mind is not blacking out the cities on the East Coast for more than five months while German submarines picked off dozens of oil tankers silhouetted against the lights night after night as they sailed up the coast from Texas oil fields to the refineries in New Jersey. I understand the Admiral in charge was a relative of Roosevelt's. I don't remember any calls for his impeachment. And I do remember some of the laws Roosevelt broke helping the British before we were at war. We also remember other serious mistakes-the errors made by the Navy at Guadalcanal, by the Marine General and the Navy at Tarawa; by the decision to unnecessarily invade Peleliu, thereby destroying the 1st Marine Division. The decision by the US Navy to stop shelling with the 16 inchers and sail away from Iwo Jima prematurely, thereby unnecessarily delaying securing the island by some weeks and resulting in excessive casualties. The decision by General Howling Mad Smith not to permit the 3rd Marine Regiment to land, thereby condemning raw recruit replacements on the front to unnecessary deaths. And how about interning the Japanese Americans& #045;taking their homes and land away and placing them in internment camps? I could go on and on. For all the mistakes, we united behind our president, kept our eyes on the goal-to protect our country and to win the war. And so we did!

But it is the time to pause, to remember the thousands who died on 9/11, especially the hundreds of rescue workers-the firemen, police, PA Police and workers, and EMT personnel who ran into those buildings and gave their lives to save people they never knew. Then to rededicate ourselves to a war to the death-of either the thousands of terrorists who hate us and want to destroy us, or to our way of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..

Semper Fi, Frank Hall, F-2-21, 3rd Marine Div, 1942-45

"Republics...fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."

--Joseph Story

In response to Chuck in Pittsburgh USMCR 53' to 64'. Have you really thought about you comments in ACN#53 about Iraq being the wrong war, time and place. We are Marines and any war that President Bush says we should fight then that is the right time,place and war because marines follow orders. That is what we do. And as for the Iraq war being for oil. I could be wrong here and if I am someone please correct me, But I have yet to see one ship load of oil from Iraq sitting at a American Port to be off loaded. And if there were you can bet your sweet A@@ that we would be paying for it. I don't just mean with the blood of all the young men and women who have given their lives so far in that god forsaken hell hole of a country. We live in a place that gives you the freedom to think what you want,believe what you want, and wright what you will. I thank GOD everyday that I as a "Marine" not former,not EX- just a Marine stuck on permanent civilian duty can voice my opinion and I thank you SGT. Grits for giving me the place to do that.

Semper Fi....and GOD Speed.

Mike Alpha CO1/3 93 to 97..

Sgt. Grit,

While sitting at a High School football game the other day I had a senior notice my USS Arizona hat. She asked me if I served on the Arizona. I was totally blown away. When asked if she knew what the Arizona was she said just another Navy ship. Hey Grit, I'm getting old but WOW! I told her it was a ship from Pearl Harbor in WW2 still on active duty. She asked me if they keep ships around that long. She had no idea. My whole family has been in the military. Including my 92 Year old Grandfather as a POW in Germany and my Uncle As a Marine killed on Saipan. Myself as a Marine 80-86. What are these kids learning? My family made sure I knew of our history and of the world.

We can't afford to let this generation slip through the hands of time. In WW2 and Vietnam my father and myself knew of the hardships the "Guys" were gong through. It's hard to believe this generation is so complacent. Yea, Iknow,it's not all of them. But, let's make sure they know and remember. Pass the tradition on.

Let them know there are people making the ultimate sacrifice. Staying up at night, skipping meals, Volunteering a part of their life to keeping us safe so they can enjot their football game and have a good nights sleep. If you see someone in the military, fire, or law enforcement, take the time to thank them. Lord knows we don't do it for thr money.

These people have taken a religion and belief and butchered it much the same way the Japenese did in WW2.


Jeff King USMC 80-86

To the four Corporals in Boston,

Something doesn't smell right about the woodpile that you described in your article "My Two Cents.... Sometimes More".

I'm a Disabled Vet Rep for the State of Oklahoma and cannot attest to the Vet Benefits in any other state but I can offer you some pointers.

If you have Questions about your Federal Benefits please call 1-800-827-1000. This number works in all states and is your regional office of Veterans Affairs. Ask to speak to a Veterans Benefits counselor and they should answer all of your federal benefits questions.

All states have different benefits for vets. Please call your local workforce office (employment-unemployment) and ask to speak to a veteran's representative. They should be able to answer all of your state veterans benefit questions.

To the best of my knowledge, all states have a state Department of Veteran's Affairs and they should be able to help you in the area. Every year the Department of Veterans Affairs publishes a booklet called Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents. I strongly suggest you get a copy of this booklet so your wife will know what to do if something happens to you, if for no other reason. Your state should publish a pamphlet on your state's veteran's benefits, as they are different from your federal benefits.

DM McDaniel, D.V.O.P.II

Interesting points were made by Greg Andrus and Sgt. Rapa relative to the lack of military experience for those now entering law enforcement. The Connecticut State Police emphasize on their website about their academy being rigorous because most entering the CSP have no military background and 'need' this type of training. As a retired police officer who held positions from the bottom to the top, I saw first hand the evolution of those coming on the job and the demeanor/attitude of those who did and those who didn't pay their dues. There is no question that college makes a good cop better,however, along with that there must be some worldly experiences.

Herman Bishop
USMC (Sgt., '67-'71)
Chief, 1996-99

Grit, last week I was surfing my TV and stopped at C-span,they were showing a ceremony for Vice Pres. Dan Quail [ I think that's how you spell his name] The announcer said please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, which they did ,they proceeded to say it and left out "one nation under God" .I could not believe my ears. When was it changed??

Peter J. Lazzaro
Sgt.USMC 53-57, 1423281

I receive your news letter on the net every Friday and enjoy all the stories of my fellow brothers who have all served their country at on time or another. We all have been willing to lay down our lives for the freedom that most Americans take for granted and don't even have the respect for. As an example I was a Motor "T" man myself and we did some time doing training in the San Francisco area and I drove the SOC Marines to the different objectives they trained for. Well anyone who has ever been to Frisco may know that it is still home to the hippy set and one of the first things I was asked in a bar was why I was forced to do Military service when I replied that I wasn't forced but wanted to serve my country and protect mine and their freedoms they didn't get it. The San Francisco newspaper actually called us and I quote Americas SS the Marines are here training to attack a foreign country and used Asia as a way the rile up the Asian community there against us Marines just doing our job. I seemed to have gone off on a tangent here from the real reason that I was writing was that since Sept. 11 talk of us being safe and secure from terrorist seems to be on everyone's mind but I also have noticed that we are slowly giving up freedoms to be safe and I don't think that most people realize it. We can no longer just get on an aircraft and fly somewhere we have to pass the many security tests that one has to go through just to get on a d*mn plane. This seems to me a real shame to all the brave and noble men and women who gave up their lives to make this country free and the great place that it is.

John Jones
Cpl 84-94 Marine forever

Dear Sgt Grunt,

I do like your news letter and for the most part have always found it extremely interesting and a good indicator of my fellow country men and MARINES reactions to the world at large.

I have watched the comments regarding the War in Iraq with serious interest for the last year. I personally encountered major problems last March at work because of armchair quarterbacks lip sinqig the president about a quick victory.

I was there in 90-91and I believe I have earned my right to an opinion.

I stood by as Clinton was bashed for 3 years about trying to intervene in Bosnia. I was in while Clinton made numerous speeches about the terrorism threat from 97`2000 and was ignored by congress in lieu of an impeachment for an intern under his desk (oh please if God struck down every dumb*ss who let that happen there wouldn't be a male arsenal on the planet) I am sure the 3000 people who died would be more than happy to trade their lives for his little indiscretion if it meant the powers that be would actually pay attention to reality verses polls and publicity.

Afghanistan- hot bed of terrorist- all through the 90's and funded by Regan and Bush in the 80's

I am personally so sick of individuals who have no idea of what they are talking about. The Congress and Commander and Chief are the Judge and Jury of so many human beings and the U.S. Military is their executioners.

I know what it is like to stand in a country and feel a hatred so strong from the natives it is almost a physical presence and I also understand that hatred is not directed at me but at the government I represent that that country always makes it's presence known in a manner that causes nothing but problems for the locals.

I can say I know what it is like to be hated and I know what it is like to hate. Of the two the latter is definately the one that put me on my knees completely.

I also understand what it means when someone says job well done. When you're a Marine it means a lot of people have died. You do your job and you go on period. Everyone seems to think it is this great big board game with a winner and looser no real impact. B.S. this is a reality.

I also know what it is like to reciprocate that. I guess I have to say Smeedly Butler said it best when he said war was a racket. If you can't believe a 2 time medal of honor winner I guess you cant really appriciate the world for its simplicities. No one should be in a hurry to die and even fewer should be in a hurry to kill.

I also know the registered voter has a knack for self preservation and b!tching. They don't care as long as they are comfortable. No matter how bad it gets they will be to busy to pay attention or they will support in the polls requiring a withdrawl which means all those deathes will be for nothing because it is the popular thing to do.

I.M. Dudley
90-94, USMC

The reason I am writing is to get some more activation from our brother and sister hood of Marines. As I sit in attendance at many local activities, the national anthem and/or pledge is recited. However, as we all know, most of our younger generation has little to no respect for our flag. I am not certain they have ever been properly "educated" as to etiquette regarding these functions. To that end, I approached our local elementary and middle schools to sponsor a class that would address such issues. They were delighted to have someone offer this up so I am contacting our local Marine recruiter to ask him if he is willing to help. The pay isn't so good, but there is pride in knowing he has educated these folks in proper etiquette, to include folding of the flag, how to raise and lower a flag, terminology, etc. I would like to see more Marines nationwide get active with their local schools to see if we can change how poorly things seem to have gotten. I guess it is like voting, if WE don't take the time and effort to change how things are done, we have no right to complain.

Gerard Torres VMA-513 86-90

Sgt Grit,
I wanted to let you know that my son Lance Corporal Daniel L. Cash returned to Camp Pendleton, September 12, 2003, after serving 8 months in Iraq. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it out to California for his homecoming, but he told me how he was welcomed home by his Marine buddies. He was one of the last of his unit to return. He could have come home in June but he volunteered to stay back. Thank God the only injury he got was to his ring finger. The day he left Iraq to head back to Kuwait, he once again volunteered to stay back, but since they did not need Combat Engineers to remain, he was sent home. Since my son enlisted in the Marines (2 years ago), I have heard so many stories of the strong brotherhood among the Marines, and everything I have heard is true. Anyone of them would lay down their life for their country or their buddies in a heart beat and never hesitate. I am so proud of my son as well as all of our Marines and Military men and women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, back in the states and anywhere else they are serving. They are all my heroes, and I thank God for all of them. I plan to continue to pray for all of our military where ever they are serving and I would like to encourage everyone else to pray for them. Without them, no telling what kind of shape our country would be in. Welcome home Daniel and all who have returned from the Iraqi war. We are so proud of you all and love each and everyone of you. Thank you Sgt. Grit for this great news letter. It has been such an encouragement to me and my family and I am sure to all families who have loved ones who serve or have served our country, past, present and future. God Bless America, and God Bless the Marines.

Donna Cash, USMC Proud Mom! Semper fi!




Jim Skipper

Hello Sgt. Grit,
I am not a Marine but I am the father of a fine young Marine. My son is Lcpl. Christopher Shipman serving with 3/5 India Co. Weapon's platoon. He graduated from high school last year and left for boot camp at MCRD three days later. On Feb. 7th this year he was deployed to the Middle East to serve in the Iraq War. He turned 20 y