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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #58

"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come."

Peter Muhlenberg

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"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."

--George Washington

The question is not has our intensity changed, but rather has world terrorism aimed at Americans or any freedom-loving peoples ended. If the answer is no, then the job of eradicating terrorism at every level is not complete and the answer is NO.

Robert Perry
Wickliffe Ky

Hell no. Give me some more. I joined the Marine Corps to go and use a weapon. Not just train my whole life. It looks like we are getting back to a time where we can get into the action a little more frequently than every ten years. Like back when Chesty Puller was breaking skulls.

Semper Fi
Mark L. Grice,GySgt USMC

"The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men."

--Samuel Adams

Sgt Grit,
The following is a quote from Mr. Kaltman's book, Cigars, Whiskey and Winning - LEADERSHIP LESSONS from General Ulysses S. Grant, page 156 (from the commandant's reading list). It's very interesting to note how things have not changed much in the last one and half centuries.


Grant was deeply offended by Northerners who were so highly critical of the war effort that the words both demoralized his men and gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

'I always admired the South, as bad as I thought their cause, for the boldness with which they silenced all opposition and all croaking, by press or individuals, within their control. War at all times ...ought to be avoided, if possible with honor. But, once entered into, it is too much for human nature to tolerate an enemy within their ranks.' "
(Ulysses S. Grant)

Jack Dougherty
Vietnam 1968
Corporal of Marines

Let's see. Using some peoples plan Saddam would still be in charge, he would still be killing his own people, and the French would still be supplying weapons. Using the current plan, Saddam is out, the wholesale killing has stopped, and the French are not fueling it. "Exit strategy" is of course what we should have had with Tojo and Hitler. Can you imagine what kind of world we would have now. The only comparison to Vietnam is the response of certain factions.


"If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you."

--B. Franklin

November 10, 2003.

I had the luck of having the day off from work and I had heard that he Golden Corral Restaurants was having a discount for veterans. Being a Marine and single, I knew that was the place for me to go for a late lunch. As I walked over to a table to set my tray down, I noticed an older guy setting in a back table with his wife. He had on his Army uniform, his ribbons and "lifer" hash mark on his left arm. I noticed his slow movements and the shaking of his hand as he picked up his cup of coffee. I figured, what the hell, and walked over to him. He looked up as I approached and I told him, "Glad you can still get in the uniform. I can't get into mine. I was 155 pounds when I returned from Nam." (I'm 225 now) His eyes lit up as he told me, "I went out and bought this one, because I want to be buried in it one day. When were you there? Where is your uniform? Oh, I forgot, you said you could not get into it, didn't you." I told him, "I was there 66-67. I was in the Marine Corp, up in the northern end. I always have my uniform here", as I pointed to my chest. I did not know how to end the meeting and so I extended my hand and said, "Welcome back." The guy pushed back his chair and slowly got to his feet and gave me a hand shake that would make a 20 year old proud. I noticed a moistness in his eyes as he said, "Thanks." I started having the same reaction, for some reason, so I went back to my table. I bumped into him a short time later as I was adding more chow on my plate. I and we both laughed as he committed, "We never seem to get out of a chow line do we?"

John Halpin, Sgt.

Col. Mitchell Paige died November 15, 2003, of congestive heart failure.

SGT Grit,
I was one of many "Marines" that received the PUC for actions in Iraq. I was with 1ST Combat Engineer BN. In your #56 News letter it is stated that "The Navy has awarded its highest unit honor to the Marines who invaded Iraq, pushed north to Baghdad and helped Army troops take the capital." I don't recall the Corps helping the Army take anything. I know we "the Marines" took the capitol of Baghdad and then turned it over to the Army after "major combat operations" ended. This is not to say that I would not be proud to serve along side the Army in combat but to say we helped them take what we took and handed over is in correct.


Dear Marines,

Listening to the news this evening, it was announced that DOD is calling on you to return to Iraq; because of the negative publicity that the news is giving on our efforts, and some problems we are having to secure and free the Iraqi people. I fully support and agree with our President and our Nation in the efforts to fight Terrorism. I support our efforts in Iraq. Many of you were in Iraq. Some of you had your children fighting in Iraq wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. You came home. Your children came home. You served our Nation most well. My son is in Iraq now as I write. He was a United States Marine, but now is in the U.S. Navy, but is serving in a capacity that is a bit unusual. He is working and performing like a Marine. In fact, his position in the Navy required Marine Corps training at several installations.

I find it ironic, that your Birthday is just around the corner, and you and your Marine Corps are being called to go back again, and you just got home. Yet, our Nation has called for you to go back to settle a problem and to extinguish a "fire." A "fire" that I think is embarrassing our Nation and our Commander-In-Chief. This call, I feel strongly, is the very reason of why you and your "Corps" still exist. It is not that you are a small group/organization in the Armed Services. It is not that we could save some money to let the other branches fill the positions you hold. It is not because at times it may seem that Americans do not want you. The bottom line is, when the sh!t hits the fan, as has happened many times in the past 228 years, the President calls out, send in the Marines. You never know defeat. You never quit. You never yield. You follow orders and you perform. Every request/mission called out by our Nation, the Marine Corps performs. Marines make America successful. Failure has never been heard of, nor seen, in the History that you have served as a United States Marine. You serve the United States. Yet you build on a History of 228 years of "great" Marines. Marines we never heard about, nor ever saw. Yet, in "Heaven" there are so many Marines. Marines looking down daily to observe the "Corps." I firmly feel, they are most proud of their observation on the quality of the Marine Corps and you. And you know what, there are some "old" LeatherNecks that wish they could join you right now to serve again. They would stand so tall, just to be with you once more. For the Marines that go back, I am sure it will be tough on your families. I am sure a few of you will not return. That is the "hard part." It is a part of your History you each "cherish and honor." You always show the greatest respect for the Marines that didn't come home. For me, to stand and watch the Marine Corps Flag pass by in an event, to see the Red Flag, with the Golden Eagle, Globe and Anchor, reminds me constantly, of your Marines whom gave all. And yes, the gold trim, tassels, that border your Flag, reminds me of your purity in "Honor and Courage and Love for your Nation".

I would like to end with three statements. First to the Officers. If you or any of your Marines are going back, bring them together. Do what "Chesty" did. Tell them the truth. Tell them they are needed by their Nation. They must perform, and perform under "good leadership" that will lead them into "harms way." Officers, you must lead by example. Second, America is most proud of the Marine Corps, and how Marines have always served so "faithfully." And Third: God Bless You, God Bless America and God Bless the Marine Corps, both young and old and most fondly, those whom served for 228 years and are not with us today. Tell your Marines, that, Americans are "Proud Of The Corps." America Stands Tall because of 228 years of Marines serving.

God Bless.
Semper Fi,
Steve Robertson

PS Marine: When my son flew out of Norfolk Naval Base just a while back for Iraq, the wife, his wife, son and mother-in-law were a bit emotional. When we got home, my wife was mad at me as I appeared not upset or didn't seem to worry for his safety. Told the wife, he will be fine. She steamed up some. I told her he would be fine, because he was a United States Marine!!! I will admit, it hurt. But couldn't show my fears/emotion. But I know that my Marine Corps trained my son most well and has a better chance at surviving in performing his duties. I owe so much to many in the Marine Corps, from Parris Island, to Quantico, to Henderson Hall in Washington, for what they taught and gave my son. "Honor, Duty and Country"

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; ...that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson ........................................................

Terrorism is alive in many countries in the middle east but none more so than Syria and Iran. It seems to be part of their culture. I think what our Government's policy should be towards these countries should be very hard line. They need to know that if their attitude towards terrorism doesn't change that the United States well be more than glad to help them change their minds. We need to remember that terrorism is not only in the middle east but in the Philippines, South America and yes right here on the North American continent.

Thanks George, Midland Michigan

Semper Fi Sgt. Grit.

Will be another great birthday party this coming Monday, Nov. 10, 2003. Will be a day spent with fellow Marines enjoying breakfast and then a round of golf(a little chilly here in Idaho) and then of course the party. I am sure you have seen "What is a Veteran" many times, but would like to submit it again as a web page.

There are many veterans from all branches of the service and all of them need to be thanked.

I want to personally say Thank You to all the veterans of all the wars that have kept us free.

Semper Fi
Sgt. M.D. Bernard 68-72

I have worn this Pow bracelet for about three decades (and I am assuming everyone on this list knows the significance of a POW/MIA bracelet from the War in Vietnam) and now, hopefully, another small part of the war will be ending for me. Thanks to Cliff and Maralyn Randall for introducing me to Inspector Rick Mcabe of the York Regional police. Because of his persistent and tireless effort, the family of U.S. Marine, Lance Corporal John H. Reeves has been located. I have worn his POW /MIA bracelet for the past three decades, plus.

Last year, at the Veteran's Honor Ride in Toronto, (sponsored by the Randalls') I was honored to be asked to speak of the contributions of our Canadian Veterans and Peacekeepers and the sacrifices they made at a tender age by volunteering to step into harms way for future generations of Canadians. That choice has made our lives so different today. I , on behalf of our President, Woody Carmack (President of the Vietnam Veterans in Canada) wanted to convey our thanks and gratitude to the Canadian Veterans at this prestigious event.

It was at this gathering that I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with Inspector McCabe. I told him the story of the bracelet and my inability to find the family, and how much it would mean to be able to write them, and if they desired send them the bracelet. To Inspector McCabe, I don't know how to thank you for all your efforts in locating Lance Corporal Reeves family. All this came about from a ten minute talk where the story of the POW /MIA was mentioned as part of the conversation. This will mean a great deal to me and I hope the family will understand that their son has not been forgotten by the brotherhood.

Gerry Flowers
Sergeant at Arms
Vietnam Veterans in Canada
Former U.S.Marine, 0311 / 8654

"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."


Being a old Gunny I feel that we should go over to coldrea oops Korea and do the job right this time for Chesty and all our other brothers who lost their lives during the Korea War. We'd go through those North Koreans like salts through a goosse as the Iraqis found out just a few short months ago, but we'd need to strike them in the Spring/Summer due to the harsh climate of North Korea. If we don't want to hit North Coldrea oops Korea then we need to go west out of Iraq and kick the sh%t out of Syria just for the terrorists that they like to harbor and the loot that Saddam insane Hussein put in their banks. Once a Marine Always a Marine

Semper Fi Ray Lancaster GySgt USMC (ret)

This past summer my college age daughters ordered marine tattoos from your catalog for the three of us to wear at a Rally for America. They were so excited to get them. One of my daughters was writing to a Marine in Iraq and sending him care packages, so they thought that would be pretty neat. Since that time we have received your newsletter. The rivalry between the Marines and the Army is pretty evident, to say the least. I always took for just that, rivalry. That is until we were in DC this past weekend for the Veterans Day Celebration at the Wall. Our family was in the elevator of the Washington Monument when the elevator guy (who was a Marine) made the comment that he was glad that there were a few MARINES on the elevator with him. One of my dad's best friends while he was in Vietnam made a friendly jab back at the Marines. Finally the Marine said "Where was the Army when we were fighting in Vietnam!?" I was too broken hearted to even speak at the time, but I would like to say to that man now, "My ARMY dad and my two daughters ARMY grandpa was laying in the Valley of Death on Nov. 17th, 1965 with his life ebbing from his body, paying the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom and mine. So, the next time you decide to make a smart-butt comment trying to get the last word, stop and think of the those around you and the affect your words will have."

Proud Daughter of SSGT Norman Soltow

Surely getting toward another "11th Hour" in life. That said, may I say to one and all, Welcome home and by Gods good Graces, Thank you .... One way and another, we all did good (even in my own little way) A good time to reflect and have a can of Falstaff, Pabst, Schlitz ... "Cheers, Mates, times three!"


"Americanism is a question of principles, of idealism, of character: it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent."

--Theodore Roosevelt

Sgt Grit-

Thank you so much for your newsletter. It is refreshing. I find myself quoting it all the time.

Veteran's Day is always an important day thanks to my father. He has taught us how to respect and support our vets. I can't tell you how much I treasure the emphasis he has always put on honoring the military. Perhaps the love for country is how I found the person I will soon marry- my Marine. But today when I came home and my father told me about his day it broke my heart. This is what he had to say....

" I stopped at Neil's grave (Lt. Col. who served in the first Gulf War) today and nothing reflected thanks for our freedom. So I stopped at Shopko and the clerk said, 'no, we put our flags on clearance and don't have any.' I asked if she had wreaths and she said, 'no we put all the Christmas stuff out and don't have any room'. Than I went to a local grocery store. They didn't have any wreaths or flags in the floral department. The clerk did say that was a shame they didn't have anything for veterans day. Finally I went a craft store and the clerk said, 'no you have to order wreaths two weeks in advance.' On my way out of the store I saw two small flags. So I put them on the grave and said thanks for my freedom. It really makes you think of all the people free and off work today what was important to them!" ~Bob Zych Vet Nam 1967

I was really surprised out of three stores none of them had veterans day wreaths or flags! Especially since we have so many of our men and women overseas currently! I don't understand. I guess not everyone has such a great dad to emphasis how important it is to honor those that fought. THANKS DAD, I LOVE YOU! & thanks to all the vets.

Nicole Zych
Omaha, NE



I missed my "senior trip" to southeast Asia in 1969 when the Navy found me physically unfit to serve. My physical disability was minor and in fact, I was a Police Officer in a major city at the time. So, it always haunted me that my friends never returned from Vietnam while I had the opportunity to finish college and get on with my life. I faced that haunting several years ago when I took my family to see the Wall. My son was 7 at that time and he asked me why I was crying and I tried to explain.

When my son turned 17 he asked me to sign off on his enlistment in the Corps. I never hesitated. He was in boot when 911 came. I wrote him and told him I wished I could join him to fight the enemies of our country together and he wrote me back that he wished I could be there too.

He was sent to Kuwait in January with the 7th Reg., 1st Marine Division. He was assigned as a driver on a 7ton carrying a platoon of grunts. He bought an American flag and hung it in the cab of the truck behind his seat. That flag went with him from Kuwait to Baghdad and back again.

We picked him up at Camp Pendleton last month and when he unpacked his sea bag he pulled out a neatly folded but dirty and torn American flag. In front of the whole family he presented that flag to me with the words, "Dad, every time I climbed into my truck and looked at this flag, I thought of you. It was like you were riding with me and we were fighting side by side."

Of course, I'll cherish that flag, but I'll always look up to my son, my hero.

Al Graves, proud father of Lcpl. Nicholas Graves

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

--Patrick Henry

"Like the occupation of Germany in January 1946, America's work in Iraq is only getting underway. A huge amount of effort -- and danger -- still lies ahead. What Americans need now are leaders who can focus on the great work before them, not sideline snipers carping prematurely that the occupation has been 'botched.'"

--Jeff Jacoby

Sgt. Grit -

I would like to respond to the whining tirade of Cpl. Ryan Page-boy regarding his dismay at the gall of the Marines he encountered in Iraq. What's the matter sweetheart, didn't your superiors greet you with a hot cup of coffee every morning? Or, perhaps, they didn't lull you to sleep at night with a soothing lullaby. If you are upset because you found the Corps to be different from the Army National Guard, well goodness me, I can't possibly understand that. What did you expect "Maggot", a tip-toe through the tulips?!! Let me explain something to you son, you're the one with the attitude, not the Corps. Don't worry about not enjoying being a "devil-dog", because you are more attune to being an "impish puppy" than you are to being a "devil-dog". Were the Marines you met "thugs" because they displayed "esprit de corps", a confidence you found alarming? Were they "thieves" because they absconded with some of your 782 gear, which you may have irresponsibly left unattended or worse negligently lost? Were they "liars" because they promised to "dine" with you and then let you sleep through chow? Were they "backstabbers" because rather than support or ignore your derelictions they instead chose the honorable path and reported them? And, were they "con men" because they found you so obviously gullible that they just had to have fun at your miserable expense? You know, the way the DIs did with all of us in boot camp when we were immature and didn't have a clue. Fortunately, most of us grew up at PI or Diego and continued to grow throughout our tour in the Corps.

Sadly, those experiences were lost on you and you are so pathetic as to blame everyone and everything, but yourself. Forget about being a Marine, boy, you are a pitiful excuse for a man. And that's the end of my tirade!

Ed Moore - Cpl. - An Hoa - '68/'69



Personally I think that the Marine Corps needs to slow and see where the Army is screwing up. I know that being a Marine comes with a lot of stature that we don't realize, but we need to observe for a little while.I just got back from Iraq about 2 1/2 months ago, and my Battalion is deploying again very soon. I also believe that the USMC needs to bring in more recruits. instead of cutting more people again. I was with 2/8 "over there" and I think we need to concentrate more on urban ops than anything. if we are truly America's 911 force than MOUT is imperative.

That's my opinion. Thanks.

Email at for more. Cpl Nathan Braden, USMC

"There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."

--Pres. Ronald Reagan

What to expect as a Marine's Wife: The Unexpected
Jennifer L

I was fortunate enough to marry My Marine in 1998. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time and was soon reassigned to RSS Pittsburgh. No one can prepare you to be a Marine's Wife....either you have what it takes or you don't. Every Marine out there has a family that they fight to protect. Being a Marine's Wife means that you will sacrifice as much, if not more than your Marine. You will have to suck it up when he is sent to the field for weeks on end, or when he is sent on deployment and you remain state side to manage the kids and home alone. There will be days when you wonder if you have what it takes, but you need to be strong for your Marine. Show him that you know what he is giving up so that everyone in the US can sleep at night under the blanket of The Corps protection. There will be sleepless nights wondering if he his okay...meals alone because he is working late...days where you see him for five minutes before he is off again on some other assignment...but through all of that you will have a family of Marine Wives to fall back on...You will have those special moments that will make you fall in love with him all over again...You will be given the opportunity that few are given to support the Corps and Your Marine.

Do not get me wrong, there are many disadvantages, as well as advantages to being a Marine's Wife, that band of brotherhood that the Corps stands for will wrap its arms around you and you will become part of what makes Your Marine who he is. Take advantage of all of the wives on base who are going through the same thing you are. What ever you do, do not sit at home on those lonely nights and feel sorry for yourself....Your Marine is doing his job, the least you can do is be happy that you are part of a family that will give you everything and then give you some more. When the going is tough, call another wife and lean on her, get involved with activities on the base where you are stationed.

But above all, hold your head up high because you represent the Marine Corps when you are a Marine's Wife and that is an honor that few will ever get to enjoy.

Marine Wife,

"The troops returning home are worried. 'We've lost the peace,' men tell you. 'We can't make it stick.' ... Friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. ... Never has American prestige in Europe been lower.... Instead of coming in with a bold plan of relief and reconstruction we came in full of evasions and apologies.... A great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease. The taste of victory had gone sour in the mouth of every thoughtful American I met." --Life Magazine, January 7, 1946

>From the Federalist

hey ryan page, if you don't like being a marine or the attitude of marines then get the hell out. the corps would not want you with that kind of attitude and you have offended me with your very rude attitude. why don't you go cry to someone that cares, like your mom. i dealt with attitude and stuck it out, and i am a WOMAN and we have had to overcome far worse things than attitude from the corps so i don't want to hear you and your bullsheat anymore. if you read the beginning of the newsletter you would have known how to unsubscribe yourself from the newsletter, i don't think that it is that hard to do, but for someone that is as ignorant as you it might be.


toni beltrano
cpl usmc 1989-1993, 1993-1996 usmcr

Sgt. Grit,

While celebrating my 57th birthday I reflected on my life. My wife and I have been married for 36 years. I have worked for the same company for 34 years. My son will soon earn his Doctor of Education degree. My daughter will soon receive her MBA. I have a 2 year old granddaughter and will have another in Mar. 2004. I mention all of this with pride. With as much pride I mention that I was a member of the 1st Marine Division during my two tours in Viet Nam. Other military units receive more press, however the 1st Marine Division will always be, year after year, a great fighting unit. Once again the 1stMARDIV has been notified that it is needed by the United States.
>From a former member I wish the division "God Speed" and I am confident the "Old Breed" will perform its duty.

Ken Weber
3/7 and 7th Comm. (66,67,68)

Even though I'm a former swabby I enjoy reading about all our brothers and sisters in uniform. Often wish I could go back in, but that's a younger man's game now.

I wish all you marines a happy birthday. I pray for all you folks in the middle east to come home safe. Your efforts to fight terrorism in those God-forsaken places are deeply appreciated by all of us here at home in the good old USA. Thank you.

Bob Harris
USN 1961-65

"Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"

--John Paul Jones

Sgt. Grit, I know that you want to end the American Legion discussion but I was wondering if I could get a plug in for an American Legion post that is Marines only. I joined the Legion only 10 years ago as I too had a bad experience with them early on but I found a post here in the Rochester NY area that is for "Marines Only". It is the William Cooper Post 603 and they are a great bunch of guys. If you live in the upstate NY region, give me a call at 585-872-1486. I live in Webster NY and would be happy to set you up for a visit to our post. We do not own a home, we meet monthly at different restaurants and just enjoy the company of other Marines. We also have a MCL chapter here and most of the Post members are also members of the league.

John Papietro
Former Cpl. of Marines

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I wanted to share with you some of my feelings and lessons learned.

I joined the Marine Corps Reserve before graduating High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. I served as a 0351 for 2 years and then later lateralled over to the Naval Reserve to become a Corpsman (my civilian career was to become a Paramedic). As a Corpsman I still served with the same Infantry Company until 1989 when I moved to Oregon. Due to family concerns I left the military before Desert Shield became Desert Storm. I found later that my home unit was activated for Desert Storm. I was devastated to learn that my closest friends were sent while I was sitting home watching it on CNN.

I watched again on Fox News as Marines went into Iraq, and learned that once again my home unit was activated not long after the attack on September 11th.

As a Paramedic, I was affected emotionally by the attacks on September 11. All my closest friends now are mostly Police Officers or Deputies who are all prior service military. Two of them are former Marines and two of them are former Army Rangers. We have drawn closer together and have applied even more the morals we have learned in the military. My friends and I still love the Corps and we get together on the Corps Birthday for cake and the works. I have regretted not going to war with my old friends to do my part. But I now realize that I am doing my part here in serving my country.

Thanks for all you do.

Semper Fi,
"Doc" Lepin

I have worked 23 of my nearly 34 years since leaving active with the Marine Corps, at a major corporation in Savannah, GA, where we manufacture the Gulfstream jet aircraft.

About three years ago, I began observing our Security Force engaged in the activity of raising and/or lowering our flags. Our facility sits on about 87 acres of land and has four flagpoles located at strategic points, onto which are hoisted daily, our American Flag, Our State Flag and any other pennant deemed appropriate.

Our downsizing efforts, like all corporations, minimized the staff to attend to our flags. One officer would scurry around in his little kerosene cart each morning until he had managed to hoist flags on all four poles. Not too big a deal, but lowering them was less ceremonious. One single officer once again tended to this duty, hurriedly gathering them in and scurrying on to the next pole. They got folded when he returned to the Security Shack.

While no disrespect was ever exhibited, this less than distinguished treatment of Old Glory bothered me. I sought and received permission, through our Corporate President, to assemble a crew of mostly military-background volunteers who would be honored to attend to this duty on a daily basis. Of about 4,000 total employees, around 200 Marines are on the payroll. Only 20 (not too untypical for Marines) volunteered to participate, and not all were Marines. I had to organize them into teams and assign days and shifts, dawn or dusk, for their contribution. With such a poor showing, e elected to take only the main flagpole and let the Security Force continue tending to the outlying locations. This would give each of us a weekly turn in the morning or afternoon.

This year, we Gulfstream Marines will gather again to slice and dice the Marine Corps Birthday Cake and share a few moments together. However, this time, we have gotten permission to hoist our Scarlet and Gold banner along with Old Glory and the Georgia State flag. Since Mondays are my day to share the duty, it is very convenient for me.

We are trying to notify as many of our Marines as possible to be there for the posting of colors Monday morning.

I just thought your readers might like to hear how some good old Georgia Marines are tending to our nation's colors when we were not even asked to be involved.

Kindest Regards-Always Faithful.

Sgt. Mike (Worden)

OOH-RAH, another birthday for our beloved Corps. This past year has again tested our young Brothers and Sisters in the Air, on the Land and Sea! I can't tell you how much pride they have given this old Marine! Semper Fi to you and to our Corps!

Happy Birthday!

I would just like to say thank you to all of our Veterans out here. I am very proud of each of you and I wish all the best that life has to offer. I served in the Marine Corps between 1979-1985 but never in a time of conflict. I have very strong feelings about the Marine Corps and how much it has served me for my life's work as a Police Officer. I want to honor all of those that have served our GREAT Country and give them all the highest of our respect. God Bless all of you and know that I am one PROUD AMERICAN and would gladly serve again if need be. I am only hopeful that my point is being made here. I am proud of you all and this one Former Marine just wants all of you to know, no matter what Branch of service you were in, that I am with you and I am proud of you. God Bless you and God Bless America. Please remember of troops abroad as well and wish them all God speed. I would also like to thank Sgt. Grit for allowing me to take this opportunity on this very important website to say thanks.

Semper Fi

Charlie Pittman
Hammond, Louisiana

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

--Patrick Henry

In response to cpl. Ryan Page and his feelings about the Corps. This individual is an unmotivated hog and should have never made it through Boot Camp. His Drill Instructors should have sent him packing. As a further disgrace, how did this maggot make the rank of Corporal. The Corps has made Boot camp too easy, people like this should be weeded out. It takes more than just words to instill esprit de corps, it takes knowing that you paid a price, and knowing that everyone else paid the same price. The most common theme I hear from young Marines is that boot camp was too easy, that they expected it to be harder. Please, Officers of Marines, realize that political correctness will kill our beloved Corps. Discipline is what makes the difference between us and the rest. Your concerns about your careers are ruining the Corps. The restrictions now put on Drill Instructors are ridiculous. The respect you receive is a direct response to the discipline instilled by Drill Instructors. The Corps doesn't need Ryan Pages or so called Marines that cut parachute lines of fellow Marines etc.. Please stop the destruction of 228 years of pride of the greatest military service in the world. To former Marines, educate yourself on the changes made to recruit training and how pathetic it has become. Please write to HQMC, Leatherneck Magazine, Marine Corps Gazette, to stop the change, keep The FEW the PROUD the Marines.

Happy Birthday, SEMPER FIDELIS

Former S/SGT Louis Castello 1962-1968 0331/ 8511 3rd Bn. DI 1965- 1967

"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."

--Calvin Coolidge

I just want to wish all Marines active, inactive, or retired, Happy 228th Birthday. I'm not sorry about serving in the Corps. At the time I did I didn't know what I wanted to do. It made me grow up real fast. Some people take the Marine Corps the wrong way. They think the reason why we join is to kill. It is a great way to serve and protect this great country of ours. I want to thank all of our finest for the excellent job they are doing. We have to defend what we have here or live in fear from now on. God Bless them all. Once again Happy Birthday Marines. Semper Fi.

Cpl John C.Annis 71-74

Hey Grit,

Just a note to let you know how a great celebration can be had even in a small town. Pur village and township has maybe 500-600 people total. I was invited to a great Veterans day tribute last Tuesday. The local High school had the choir and a video presentation you would not believe. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Each vet was honored individually with their name and service announced over the speakers. They made the statement that as your name and branch were mentioned, please stand. After this, was the various songs and our glorious Hymn. Again we were asked to stand. But remember, The Marines don't have that problem. hhaa All 3 of stood tall at attention until the Hymn was over. Needless to say we were the only ones that did. Upon leaving the school there were stars for each vet on the wall. And would you believe it? A Staff Sergeant in dress blues standing by our stars with A/C wings on. He took over my old job at New River. Small Corps huh? As I stood talking to him the Thank you's just kept getting exchanged. The respect is still there from both the young and the old. On Tuesday the 18th the choir and school are having a free dinner for us and an informal meeting to talk to the students about their futures. My advice will be obvious.

The older we get, the better we were,
Semper Fi
Jeff King

"The French couldn't hate us any more unless we helped 'em out in another war."

--Will Rogers

Sgt. Grit:

My intensity for stomping out terrorism has not changed, but stands just as strong before even terrorism was as great a threat as it is today. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991, left for boot in 1992, and honorably discharged in 1996. Though terrorism was not a strong subject, it seems, as it is right now, we were there to take care of it as deemed necessary if needed. I went to Somalia, and was advanced party, landing on December 12, 1992, not having been a LCpl for even 2 weeks. That was part of a terrorism anti-action. Perhaps that was as close I could get. After being discharged, I went to work. I worked retail sales, and management for about 6 years before moving into aviation security, and this was after 9/11, but before Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had taken over completely. Now I am a victim of cutbacks and budget constraints. I am to be reduced to part-time effective 3 days after Christmas this year. Serving my country in uniform, and then in a new agency, I am a victim of what I feel is the complacency of America, and poor judgment. So my personal intensity for stomping out terrorism has not and will not change. I chose to go part-time, instead of taking the choice to leave TSA entirely. A lot of us have done exactly that. So while a lot Americans still stand tall against a foe of evil, I'd say the majority has backed down. It is evident in the public that comes through the airport, and gives us snide remarks about how ridiculous it is that I am taking a pair of scissors from them. I'll bet they would think differently if that pair of scissors was stabbed into their neck, and finding themselves a direct victim of terrorism. Or would they think differently if they were injured over in Iraq? Or perhaps if they had gotten notice that their son/daughter was killed in Afghanistan?

I'll bet they would. JLD

I sincerely hope that we don't have to do ANYTHING next. My hope and prayer is that President Bush's gutsy moves and the establishment of a democracy (or close relative) in Iraq and Afghanistan will create a climate in which the Muslims can be freed from the notion that their only salvation is our destruction and the region can become peaceful.

However, until that works or if it doesn't, I hope we'll have the resolve to engage those who seek the destruction of this country - and make no mistake about it, that's what they want - wherever the are. It amazes me that the incredibly naive' (OK, just plain STUPID) democrats peaceniks and hippies whining about our actions are willing to just dismiss the deaths of 3,000 of us (more than double Pearl Harbor I believe) on 9/11 as well as all of the previous and subsequent attacks. I shall NEVER forget the sight of those buildings coming down and my thoughts that they might be 20 thousand or more people in there.

War has been declared against us and we need to see it through as we did when this country became great. Anyone who'll take some time to read and understand history can see what happens when we abandon the fight for freedom - the horrors all over Southeast Asia following our abandonment of Viet Nam, Cambodia, etc. And how can anyone conclude anything other than our frightened retreat from Somalia emboldened Osama to make the New York/Washington strikes?

I try to imagine if the current group of democrats, peaceniks and hippies currently caterwauling about Afghanistan and Iraq had been in charge in 1941 and 42. Let's see . . . . "Oh well, we didn't lose all that many people at Pearl Harbor, Wake Island and Guam, and it's only natural that the Japanese would want to control the Pacific. And Poland, France, Hungary and all of those might be better off with a Europe that is united and peaceful under Hitler. After all, it's none of our business, we're free to assemble and dance around with our protest signs - Make Love, Not War. Peace uber alles!"

Think of it - had they been in charge and IF we still existed as a nation, we might be dealing with a unified Europe stretching from the Atlantic to central Russia and the most if not all of the rest of Asia unified under Japan. Why, there would be peace everywhere! And surely the followers of Hitler and Hirohito would just leave us alone as long as we didn't bother them, right?

Yeah, right! (In case anyone doesn't pick up the sneering sarcasm above, trust me, it's there.)

Sarge, you've published all of the quotes surrounding one fact: FREEDOM ISN'T FREE. We must support and defend it. That's a simple fact of life that too many idiots in this country can't seem to grasp. Peace is wonderful and a goal we all seed; but unless you can convince the other side to be peaceful, you either resist or succumb. As for me, I recall an old T Shirt and bumper sticker saying: "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out!" I don't really subscribe to that; but I'd sure like to have the Osama's and Saddam's around the world worrying that we just might.

Larry Marsh
USMC 1961 - 65

twice served Beirut marine. our marine birthday is tough but proud. oct. 23rd is a b!tch. being a defender is good. a defender! what? 24th mau came home to the thought that pres. Reagan would greet us at legeune. guess what... the commandant did at least. i wonder if the fallen marines from the bombings that sparked the weakness of our superpower...are still sitting around looking for their air extraction.

uptight marine

Dear Sgt. Grit and all you Marines out there,

I have a problem I was hoping you could help me with. I am a relatively new Marine Mom. I read your newsletter all the time. It never ceases to amaze me the pride you Marines have. When my kids were young I got involved in the POW/MIA issue pretty heavily for many years. I read a book by Red McDanials and I just couldn't believe that our government would actually leave it's own behind!!! Those same people who fought for OUR freedom!!! I just had to find out the truth for myself. Through the years I made a lot of friends who served many different ways in many different wars. They are all very special to me. Then when my son turned 18... HE SIGNED UP FOR THE MARINES!! I was so proud!!! He graduated from high school in June 2002. In July he went to boot camp then SOI. Was assigned to a reserve unit pretty close to home, spent 1 week-end with them, then... they were deployed to Iraq!! He was there 8 months (Thank God everyone in his unit was able to return safe and sound!). I wrote to him almost every day since he was gone, from July to January and every day he was over seas. I wear "Proud Parent of a U.S. Marine" on the back of my coat, I have Marine stickers all over my truck. I have ribbons, signs and flags all over my yard. I have pictures of him in uniform everywhere. I volunteered to help his unit and family members keep in touch during their deployment. By the time they got home I felt like they were all part of my family. Since I was a volunteer, I was invited and had the honor of attending my first Marine Birthday Ball!! I had so much fun!! It really surprised me how much respect they showed me and my husband and how welcomed they made us feel, even though they had never even met us before! OK... here is my dilemma... from the very first vet I met (which was my dad) to my veteran friends from long ago, to my newly acquired Marine family, to everyone who has ever served, to my son who is now a Marine and a veteran... what can I say and/or do to show how much we appreciate everything you have done for us. I have been trying for almost 2 years now to tell my son how proud I am of him, and I have been trying for years to thank all our vets out there... but I just can't seem to find the right words. I am proud of you and thank you just doesn't seem to be enough!! Can you help me out here!!??


Momma Dicks

P.S. To the poor Marine Mom who's son maybe in trouble: Just remember he has gone where few could go, just the proudest of the proud. No one can take that experience away from him. (And us Mom's will never forget the great big bear hugs we got the first time he saw us at boot camp graduation!! NO ONE can ever take that away!!!) These seem to be pretty tough guys and gals.. no matter what happens, I have a feeling he will be just fine!! Hang in there mom, remember we are all family!

Those of us that have been in the Military are well aware of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and that it is the law the soldier lives by. This book, as many other law books, has been written with Judeo-Christian concept and recognizes the importance of the individual. We are at war with a society that does not respect the individual and has very harsh punishments for "crimes" against that society. They believe in justice as spelled out in their eye for an eye etc. If your left hand offends you then cut it off. Our USMC is not designed to handle this type of "law."

We need to change the rules of engagement to coincide with their philosophy. Just as Saddam wiped out entire villages, in his war with the Kurds in the North because of the few that were bearing arms against him, we should simply call in the armor, helicopter gun ships, puff the magic dragon, and heavy bombers to strike back at the area where hostile fire came from. We can use surgical precision as much as the situation allows but, if we take out the entire area we know we have killed the combatants. We will also probably take out their supply of arms as well as some of their leaders. The very idea of trying LTC West for using too much force to get a true statement from the enemy and saving American lives is making this just like Viet Nam. The military is fighting with it hands tied behind it's back. We should need no longer than from one week to one month to find and eliminate Saddam. At this point in time we need 500,000 troops in Iraq. Fully equipped with electronic warfare instruments to save American lives!

Snuff the bad guys keep the good guys and get back home. Our political structure is turning this into another Viet Nam where we can not win. Increase the number of troops and reduce the number of casualties. If we reduce the number of troops we will surely increase the number of casualties. This idea of reduction in force (RIF) is coming as my step grandson and many others of the First Marine Division is being sent into harm's way to replace the 82d Airborne Division and a reduction of 70,000 troops. You can expect a change in the methods used when the Marines arrive. An Army is on the battlefield to kill or capture the enemy not to give him ice cream and a soft bed. I believe in using whatever it takes to save American lives...Iraqi soldiers could be skinned alive to get the truth out of them and I could care less this is their way of battle and the only thing they understand. Anything less is showing the enemy a weakness in our "rules of engagement." An Army must change it's tactics to meet the needs of overcoming the enemy. Fear and is the only thing these people understand and, lying to an Infidel is not lying according to their religion. By Allah's word, to kill the Infidel's is a glory, we must adapt and overcome then, we can show some civility. Write your Congressmen and Senators and express your ideas. This is one war we have to win or we will be fighting them on American Soil. We are not being the police for or of the whole world but taking are our business. 9/11 should have demonstrated that we can be attacked here. Do not flood the streets with anti-war protests...that is Treason and anyone guilty should be tried, convicted, and executed according to our law. That is aiding the enemy and hurting the soldiers in harm's way. Flood the congress with letters saying to send enough troops to finish the job and turn the country back over to the free Iraqi people. Then will be the time to serve them the ice cream and a soft bed. But do not interfere with the Army's work and cause many American casualties. Desert Storm proved beyond any doubt that the army can do its job when left alone after being given it's assignment. What is happening now is that all the "smart" weaponry used in the first part of the war has been removed. All we have now is human aimed weapons and this takes too many innocent bystanders lives when it is un-necessary. Get the Aircraft Carriers back and use "smart" bombs and missiles to remove the enemy with as few civilian casualties as possible. Use the Navy SEALS, the Marine RECON, and the Army's SPECIAL FORCES to seek out and destroy the enemy. Especially Saddam! Then OBL! Once these are out of the way, the people will not be so afraid to help the soldiers finish their job

One Nation Under God
In God We Trust
Semper Fidelis

O. T. Bourgoyne


Please take a minute to vote on the NRA- Harris Poll this week. Click On the URL and click on "Weekly Poll" and vote. The results look good to me so far, but I take nothing for granted. 82% strongly agree with the NRA's position on the 2nd Amendment and firearms ownership. Only 6% strongly disagree. Your vote (in agreement, of course) will be appreciated, but if you feel different about it, please vote anyway. Thanx.

Semper Fi
Craig N. Mullis

Just the other day, while standing in the line at our local grocery, I realized that food stamp cards look just like my husband's V.A. card. I was so upset by this!!

I asked my husband for his Kroger plus card and by accident he pulled his V.A. card out of his wallet. The woman in front of me was using her food stamp card and that's what drew my attention to this matter.

I was humiliated by this as I am a local business owner. As I got thru my embarrassment of this I realized how degrading this actually was for our veterans. Could our government who spends billions of dollars each year on trivial research not come up with a design that would distinguish of veterans from food stamp recipient's?? How common of our government. Does anyone out there share my same view????

Thanks for listening.

Milli Wills
wife of Vietnam Marine Vet, Bob Wills

Bill Weiler aka "Velcro" wrote in the last newsletter about tracing Grady Lewis" name on the Wall with his thumb and then with a lighter. He also wrote that a yellow jacket then alighted on Grady's name. I can vouch for that. I was there with Bill and also ran my thumb over his name. I can also say now that I, too, felt Grady's spirit. To Bob Kurst...Bob, he was there and knew that you (and we) were thinking of him.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader aka Sgt. Wolf

Sgt Grit, I'm sorry to say I will not be able to read your great e mails for awhile. I am a Viet Nam vet that it still in uniform in the Army reserves. I turned 18 and 21 in (65/66-68/69) Viet Nam and I will turn 57 in Iraq. There are 5 former Marines in my unit and we feel that we will do OK if we can stay together and it looks like we might. My tour of duty will be 18 months this time. I'm 56 years old and old enough to be a dad to about 65% of the company, and that includes the Platoon Leader. The army is a strange place, we will have a MAJ as CO and CPT platoon leaders. Any way, thank you for the letters and the catalog but I will be out of the loop for same time.

Semper Fi SFC Sagawinia (SGT Sag)

The Price Of War

My home, like many others in our area, still display our American Pride. Yellow Ribbons and the United States Flag are there to represent the honor we hold for those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom and many of the basic rights we take for granted.

My son was 17 years old when he decided he wanted to join the United States Marine corps. Like many of our young men, he wanted to do his patriotic duty after 9-11. I'll never forget the phone call I received, asking for my signature to allow him this "honor" since he was not yet 18, nor was he even out of High School. My first instinct was a mothers instinct, NO!! Did he really know what he was asking of me? Did he not realize that after 9-11 war was a very strong possibility? There was no possible way, I was going to be persuaded to make a decision that could have such a tremendous influence in his life. "Mom, you raised me with certain beliefs, one of them is to always stand up for what we believe in and to take pride in them, no matter what others say or believe. Do you not believe th