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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #59

"Freedom is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear"

Mark Twain


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New Items!

Pfc Charles B Mawhinney Print - Limited Edition

Sgt Grit's ELECTRONIC POSTCARDS

Iwo Flag Raising - Limited Edition (Very interesting print)

New Survey!

Did you like President Bush's visit to Iraq?
Survey Question:


Though I am new to the world of the USMC, I am overwhelmed with the quality of men I have met thus far (I know women serve, too, just haven't met any personally yet). God Bless and Keep each and every one of you. You are truly modern day warriors, with all of the honor, loyalty, and pure guts that that word evokes. You are in the fight, not for glory, or scholarships, or money, or notoriety, but for basic human freedoms. I could gush on and on, but I won't. Just know that those of us who care about you as people, who are not among your ranks, understand that the Marine Corps is not a job, but a calling. That you have answered that divine summons might mean we will have to lose you for weeks, months, or a lifetime. The thought makes my heart hurt, yet I would send my favorite Marine into harms way with a spirit of pride and a bucket of faith. Ooo-rah, fellas. Let the thoughts and prayers of those that love you go with you wherever your talents are needed.


"To restore...harmony,...to render us again one people acting as one nation should be the object of every man really a patriot."

--Thomas Jefferson


The good news that hasn't been fit to print or report on TV:
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...

.... the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.

.... over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.

.... nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.

.... the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

.... on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts-exceeding the prewar average.

.... all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.

.... by October 1, Coalition forces had rehab-ed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than scheduled.

.... teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

.... all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.

.... doctors salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.

.... pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.

.... the Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq's children.

.... a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.

.... we have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.

.... there are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000 by year-end.

.... the wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.

.... 95 percent of all prewar bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.

.... Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.

.... the central bank is fully independent.

.... Iraq has one of the worlds most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.

.... Iraq has a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.

.... satellite TV dishes are legal.

.... foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for minders and other government spies.

.... there is no Ministry of Information.

.... there are more than 170 newspapers.

.... you can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.

.... foreign journalists (and everyone else) are free to come and go.

.... a nation that had not one single element - legislative, judicial or executive - of a representative government, now does.

.... in Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.

.... today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.

.... 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.

.... the Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.

.... Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.

.... for the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.

.... the Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.

.... Uday and Queasy are dead - and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.

.... children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.

.... political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or are forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.

.... millions of long-suffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.

.... Saudis will hold municipal elections.

.... Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents.

.... Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.

.... the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian -- a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.

.... Saddam is gone.

.... Iraq is free.

.... President Bush has not faltered or failed.

.... Yet, little or none of this information has been published by the Press corps that prides itself on bring you all the news that's important.

Iraq under US lead control has come further in six months than Germany did in seven years or Japan did in nine years following WWII. Military deaths from fanatic Nazi's, and Japanese numbered in the thousands and continued for over three years after WWII victory was declared.

It took the US over four months to clear away the twin tower debris, let alone attempt to build something else in its place. Now, take into account that almost every Democrat leader in the House and Senate has fought President Bush on every aspect of his handling of this country's war and the post-war reconstruction; and that they continue to claim on a daily basis on national TV that this conflict has been a failure.

Taking everything into consideration, even the unfortunate loss of our sons and daughters in this conflict, do you think anyone else in the world could have accomplished as much as the United States and the Bush administration in so short a period of time?

David Ray


"The people have given us the duty to defend them, and that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men. In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force."

--President George W. Bush, speaking Wednesday at Whitehall Palace, London



With the latest reports that the top 2 people in terrorism have been seen there and all the worries of nukes. what are we waiting for. search and destroy now before they get to us. proud dad of a marine. semper fidelis CM


Everyday while watching the news I hear more and more about American servicemen losing their lives in Iraq. We have lost more lives after the official end of hostilities than we did during the initial fighting. what we are now is an occupation force. What I see happening here is the same as I saw in Viet Nam in 66-68. What I mean is that we went in and were stopped half way. We never accomplished the job we started and I believe that is because we have politicians trying to tell the military how to fight. The politicians send us there and tell us to kick ass but don't go too far. What happens is that when we stop half way the enemy regroups and comes back as a gorilla force. Now we have people in civilian clothing walking right up to American service man and we don't know who is armed and who is not. What this does is gives the enemy the opportunity to walk up and shoot Americans or throw grenades. It's Viet Nam revisited. Now, please don't get me wrong, I am a Marines Marine, a Marine to the bone, as a matter of fact my birthday is also November 10th. I fought proudly in Viet Nam, I have three Purple Hearts and a whole chest full of other decorations, and support our troops 100%. I don't however support the politicians who wants the glory of saying that they stopped the enemy when they never put their life on the line and allow our troops to continue to put their lives on the line and stop us short of completing the job. What I am saying is either let the troops do what they are supposed to do or get them the hell out before we have another Tet Offensive on our hands.

Semper Fi
Bob Treitler


"Personally, I'm for foreign aid. And the sooner we get it, the better."

--Bob Hope


Ms. Luciana Pooler, I am sure that as of yet we have not lost more Americans in Iraq than we lost on 9-11-01. Total number killed in attacks on Sept 11 (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819 . Total of Number of Coalition forces killed as of 11-23-03 is at 510. The duty of a Marine is to insure that casualties occur in places other than the CONUS, and mainly to Enemies of America. Your son is to be commended for his service. This war was not started by our great President. It was not started by our Great Nation. We did not choose this path but we we forced to enter this war by the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by those Diaper-Domed Sunsabeaches. My father was a WW2 Veteran of the US NAVY. His stories left no doubt that us Sea Going Bellhops were truly the men we brag we are. When I joined he was supportive but apprehensive. When I went to Desert Storm he had tears in his proud eyes, but he supported the war. Let me clear this up for you, 12-07-41 Japs attacked Pearl Harbor we went there and kicked their A55 no more Americans were killed on our home soil. 9-11-01 Islamic terrorists attacked our cities, we are in the process of kicking their A55. This war is worth it as long as we are fighting to win even if we don't always win. Often you must fight just to survive.

When I came home from Desert Storm my father was proud and again had tears in his eyes. AT NO TIME DID HE EXPRESS FEELINGS THAT THE WAR I FOUGHT IN WAS UNWORTHY, if he had I would have never spoken to him again. I hope your son acts accordingly, you have the freedom to say it, he has the freedom of association. Always remember We did not start this war but we will finish it and the Only virgins the Diaper Domed Bastards are going to screw are each other. Kill em all Send em all to Hell.

Luciana Pooler, you are either with us or with the terrorists.

LCPL Abbott, JD 0311
89-93


Fifty-three years ago today 120 thousand Chinese troops attacked the 1st Marine Division and two Army RCT's at the Chosin Reservoir North Korea. For ten bitterly cold days we fought our way back to the sea and freedom. Along the way our combined forces lost over 700 dead and some 11000 wounded or suffered frostbite. On this Thanksgiving day I pray that all of us take time to thank God for our deliverance and to pray for the souls of those who gave their lives so that we might live.

Semper Fidelis
GySgt Gary Gigg USMC Ret
Proud member of the Chosin Few


Whether it's a true story or not, I like it!!!!!

An officer in the U.S. Naval reserve was attending a conference that included admirals from both the U.S. Navy and the French navy. At a cocktail reception, he found himself in a small group that included personnel from both navies. The French admiral started complaining that whereas Europeans learned many languages, Americans learned only English.

He then asked: "Why is it that we have to speak English in these conferences rather than you speak French?"

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied: "Maybe it's because we arranged it so you did not have to speak German." The group became silent

David Ray
GySgt USMC (RET)


OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained

by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.


"Free enterprise has done more to reduce poverty than all the government programs dreamed up by Democrats."

--Ronald Reagan


Sgt. Grit,
Like many Marines before, since, now, and in the future, I will never forget the horrific events that were September 11th. It is important to remember that we did not start this, our enemies did. Their reasoning is unimportant; our resolve to use military force to defend ourselves is. I am giving my only son to the Corps, and know he will do his duty. If the President is taking votes, my next stop would be Saudi Arabia. I pray not just for our Marines, but for every member of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Sincerely,
Harry G. Naylor Sr., Cpl. USMC


Just like Pearl Harbor, how could ANYONE forget the events of 9/11? Just in the last few weeks terrorism has raised it's ugly head more and more. Several bombings and attacks on not just the United States, but many other nations as well. We have to work to rid the world of as much of this "terrorist monster" as we can. The simple but devastating acts of terrorism perpetrated on innocent people are severe acts of cowardice in its lowliest form. These people are far from martyrs....They are the ultimate chicken sh*ts!

Semper Fi ALWAYS Do or Die!
Sgt. Chet Ragsdale Active 1969-1973 Marine in Perpetuity


Never, before this past Marine Corps Anniversary Ball, have I been exposed to the honorable traditions set forth and maintained by our United States Marine Corps. November 10th, 1775, was a most auspicious day for this country and the world. No other organization holds the loyalty, devotion, and enthusiasm demonstrated by the fine men and women serving here. I am not a mother, wife, sister, or cousin to the Marine I know best. But his steadiness of character has landed him a permanent place in my heart. He, along with all those that serve with him, give me a sense of safety I have taken for granted for too long. I know who was in Baghdad first, I know who can be deployed anywhere in the world within 72 hours. I know why these men are called Hell's Dogs. I know that no greater set of morals, ethics, and values can be found in such numbers of men than can be found in the Marines.

God Bless and Keep you all, may duty call you to service soon, may you have the opportunity to do what you have been trained to do, may each loved one left to keep the home fires burning stand proud and tearless as you are sent into action. You are the best this country has to offer, LEATHERNECKS!

This is one young woman saying thank you.

M.G. Evanston, IL


"Secular nations have one thing in common -- mass graves, and the reason is that they believe the government is the final arbiter of right and wrong and good and evil."

--Rob Schenk


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I have a request to make to the members of your fine mailing list. I am the Advancement Chairman of Boy Scout Troop 264, Mason NH and I am in charge of "soliciting" letters of congratulations for our newest Eagle Scouts.

There is one young man, in particular, that I am writing to you about.

Steven Dunn, Jr., our newest Eagle Scout, will be leaving for Boot Camp at Parris Island in Spring 2004. (His MOS is infantry). As a current Poolee (through the Nashua, NH recruiting station) and future Marine, I know that he would appreciate congratulatory letters from current and former Marines on attaining Boy Scouting's highest rank - Eagle Scout.

Steven, aside from being a Boy Scout, is also an active member of the Mason Volunteer Fire Department, works a full time forestry job and part time at a local restaurant.

He graduated high school this past June and can't wait to join his fellow Marines!

If you (or your readers) are willing to write a letter to Steve, please contact me at my email address (ILoveToQuilt@hotmail.com) and I will be happy to forward my address.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Semper fi,
Anita Crehan (mother of Marine Cpl. Steve W.)


I have for decades told those of you I've known that long that we are a "Nation of Sheep". Many of you I know have deducted that my war experience twisted my core morality and logic. Many think I am a loose cannon that could go off at any time proclaiming If I can't fix what I see is a moronity in my nation, and the runaway amendments to a constitution that is going the way of chaff to fire that someday I will "Lock and load" and take out a dozen or two of the representatives that represent themselves as patriots. The truth is I would be wasting good ammo as the road and course we are on will collapse on itself regardless what I do. It is only a common realization and a meaningful majority "Stop!!" that will stop the listing. It appears that although we can see the listing of our ship, and in heart of hearts we know what is right and what is not, at this point we (with the exception of a few that our rattling their sabres each day and laying their lives in this crooked path to make things right) mearly lean to coordinate a temporary fix to issues we "Know" need more that a half hearted patch job. It appears obvious we either come out of this drunken slumber or simply get in line and let those with the shears take all our wool, as well as ideals and heritage that is being taken with a blurred cognizance by physical and mental passive apathy. Did my war experience open my eyes and mind? You bet it did. Am I crazy ? Quite to the contrary I am one of the sanest people in your address book. It was mentioned in this piece I am forwarding you about bumper stickers. One that comes to mind goes something like this, "If you want my gun you'll have to pry it out of my cold dead hand". To most that is nothing more than a punch line, but to me it is a long awaited situation for which is right up there on the list when it is my time to leave this planet. Please read the "Federalist" carefully, and if like me there's a word that you don't understand, look it up as it may be the difference between confusion and acute clarity. They don't make these Chinese/Indonesian "Soap boxes" like they used to. I feel it crumbling beneath my feet, but that's OK as @ 50c a piece made by 20 cents an hour labor we can buy them until we're all out of a job, aye ?

Jim Hattabaugh
Paragonah, Utah
https://www.thefed.com/


Sgt

Re: Thugs, thieves, liars, backstabbers comment.......and the problem is? Wars are not fought by guests at a high society tea party. They are fought by dirty, dangerous men who are engaged in a dirty, dangerous business who must be able to fight in the shadows with the opponents weapons however loathsome they may be. This individual obviously has never had the experience of a war. This indiv needs a snap in to reality...the high society poodle fakes they prefer exist only because of thugs, thieves backstabbers and liars do exist in the basement with crazy old uncles who make bombs. By the way for those of you not familiar with 19th century English a poodle fake is a parlor snake who simply is there to walk the ladies dog and play the society role.

HM1 "DOC' HERDINA 1968 TO 1994 HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES and a lot d*mn more too!!!


"I think he's [President Bush has] made us weaker. He doesn't understand what it takes to defend this country, that you have to have high moral purpose. He doesn't understand that you better keep troop morale high rather than just flying over for Thanksgiving. ... Mr. President, if you'll pardon me, I'll teach you a little about defense."

--Demo presidential frontrunner Howard Dean


Sgt. Grit,

I had the honor of attending my first reunion of the 2nd Bat. 1st Mar. Reg., 1st Mar Div. of the Vietnam Era in San Diego during our 228th birthday. While I didn't meet anyone I actually served with in Hotel Co. 70-71, I did have the privilege of meeting a whole lot of outstanding Marines and Corpsmen from that era, like "Stormie", who served two tours in the Nam. He earned the Silver Star and had been wounded 6 times and according to his bio on the 2/1 web site, left the Corps when they wouldn't send him back to Nam again. No he isn't crazy, he is a warrior and still is today.

For anyone who has not experienced combat understanding why we Marines consider our Corpsmen Marines first and Navy second is never really totally understood. At the reunion there were several Corpsmen and it was outstanding! You couldn't discern Marine from Corpsmen until they wore their shirts, which by the way, were 2/1 Corpsmen shirts.

I had a chance to visit with most of them and learned some interesting things about them. One in particular, Doc Hale, who is an outstanding person also, had the honor of not only meeting but becoming friends with Carlos Hathcock, the best Marine sniper who ever lived. He spent a lot of time with Carlos and shared his pictures of their visits and was on the verge of tears speaking of his passing. Our Corpsmen love their Marines as much as we Marines love our Corpsmen.

For many years I had thought about inviting some service men to our home for the holidays as all of us know serving time away from home during the holidays is lonely. Well, I'm finally going to do it. This morning is Thanksgiving day and at 1000 hours I will be picking up two Sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to spend the day with our family. I would ask that all Marines out there take action and invite service men and women from all branches of our services into your homes for the holidays and show them we understand their situation and how much we appreciate what they are doing for us.

Today I have three grown children and four grandchildren and counting and after seeing our Marines of today while at Camp Pendleton I know nothing with happen to them today, not on their watch. It was an honor not just meeting them, but being able to have a bunch of old Marines from a war people would just as soon forget than remember, serve them chow in the field. One couldn't help realize for everyone of them there was a parent, spouse, brother or sister, girlfriend or significant other, worrying about them somewhere in this great land of ours.

Upon leaving Camp Pendleton having been given way more praise for our service than we deserved from today's Marines we invited some of them to our dinner reception and showed them how deep and long lasting the bonds of Marines are, even if you had never met before that moment. These young men and women are being redeployed to Iraq in February or March and they will leave with the admiration and prayers for their safe return from a battalion of their brothers who know first hand the price they may have to pay so we may enjoy safe and secure holidays. There was not a Marine or Corpsman present who wouldn't have jumped at the change to take their place. God bless these men and women and the United States Marine Corps. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cpl. Tom Gillespie
USMC RVN 70 -71


Greetings, Sgt Grit,

My name is Ray, a former Marine, E-6, 1962-1978; and endured four tours of Nam ('66-69, '72-73, 6x PH's); a tour on the Drill Field in San Diego and at the US Naval Academy, MD, and have had the honor of serving in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Marine Divisions.

I apologize for getting this out so late. Due to wounds suffered in Iraq, I'm presently undergoing intense medical treatment and have not had access to a computer recently to get this out to you.

I've been an avid reader of your news letter for some time now. However, though I have had some strong opinions about what some of your readers write in to you, I've never sent in a comment.

After 17 years as a civilian state worker & law-enforcement officer, simultaneously, I joined the Army National Guard in 1995, at age 50. Because of my previous combat wounds, I couldn't pass the physical to reenlist in the Marine Corps Reserve.

One of my sons, also a former Marine, joined my Guard unit about a month before 9/11. A unique situation for us both.he was assigned to my squad as a fire-team leader. I turned out to be his squad leader. Two days following 9/11, our unit, a military police company, was activated and mobilized to Fort Lewis, WA. We spent the year there in Support of Noble Eagle, before being released from active duty late 2002.

Four months later, our company was activated for the second time in less than two years. This time in Support of Iraqi Freedom and we ended up in Baghdad, Iraq. While there, my son and I would go out on convoy escorts and patrols together. I had no fear of us being injured. Having survived four tours in Nam, Iraq is a walk in the park. At any rate, in the first days in July, 2003, we were expecting to get hit by the rag-heads. for certain on July 4th. It didn't happen.

However, July 5th was a different story. That morning, my Son Gary, was tasked with a day patrol. He and his team used my hummer for transportation and left on their patrol. They returned to base camp just minutes before the night patrol was to leave the camp. I was in that squad size patrol. We didn't have time to exchange hummers, so I borrowed one from another squad and both our teams headed out to look for bad guys. my hummer taking up the rear.

Approximately twenty minutes into the patrol, an RPG found its way to the front, passenger windshield of my hummer. The round exploded approximately two feet from my face. I was sitting in the front passenger seat. The round took out my right arm, destroyed my 203; the front tires, damaged the engine, and we were instantly engulfed in flames. Our vision was obstructed by the flames from all sides.

Due to the close proximity of the explosion, I was astounded to be alive. I thanked my God, my mom who recently passed away, and then yelled out something to the affect of: "dam-it.not again"! (7th PH). What really tightened my jaws is that I'm the oldest member in my company; have had the most combat experience, and I'm the first to be wounded in combat and then taken out of the field due to my injuries! Those rag-heads must have known that I was going to be out there that night!!

However, I was astonished at how calmed I remained. I wasn't scared or nervous and was thinking real time, assessing our situation. Then I ordered my driver to get us out of the kill zone. We were lighting up the rest of our squad. Limping approx. 100 meters ahead of our squad I ordered my driver to pull to the edge of the highway, not off of it, and for my team to get out of the hummer and take cover. At the time I didn't know that I had suffered other wounds or that my 203 was destroyed, so I ran back to my hummer to retrieve my 203 ammo and anti tank weapon, AT-4.

Having gotten back down on the ground, I heard someone running towards me to provide cover fire. Because of the dark, I couldn't see who it was until I heard the voice. It turned out to be my Son Gary. At the time he didn't know that it was me that was hurt. He just knew that some one was on the ground and needed help.

I told him that I was hurt and he called out for a medic.

I was pretty proud of my son. It was his first time under enemy fire. If he was scared, he didn't show it. While in the Corps, he served in Desert Storm, but not on the ground. He was a crewman aboard a Marine C-130 re-fueler.

Some one yelled out to call for a medevac. but I countered that and suggested that we drive out instead. This way we wouldn't have to set up a perimeter for the chopper, and possibly suffering more casualties. Eventually we got back to Baghdad; I was taken directly to a field hospital located next to the Baghdad Airport. Fortunately, we didn't have any others wounded that night. Two days following my injuries, my son was able to visit me in the hospital in Baghdad. It was then that I learned that my 203 had been destroyed in the explosion; that the hummer in which I road had burned to nothing more than a few inches of recognizable chassis. I recalled that the night of my injuries, I wasn't able to clear my M-16. I thought that it was due to my being weak from my injuries. I could only pull the bolt back about an inch. Because of the dark, I didn't see that my weapon was destroyed.

I suffered multiple chunks of flesh ripped out of my right arm, two ruptured ear drums, wounds to my neck, groin, both legs and feet. Since July 5, I've been treated at six military hospitals. I am still under going therapy and medical treatment on a daily basis.

I've requested to go back to Iraq to be with my troops and also my son. But I don't believe it will be right away. Though my eardrums have healed, I still can't hear out of my right ear. The fingers of my right hand are still weak and shrapnel remain through out my body, especially in the whole of my right arm.

People think that I'm crazy because I want to go back to Iraq. But what they don't think of or seem to realize, is that the bad guys are still out there. They're still killing and causing mayhem. If our government says that we have to fight these Dirt-bags, then I don't want to fight them here in our country, I'd prefer to fight them in theirs!! Additionally, I have years of combat experience and knowledge that I can contribute toward our daily tasks in Iraq that will help in keep our young men and women alive.

Let's get them all home alive!

Anyway, Sgt Grit, my reason for writing is to share with you an experience that one of my sons and I were able to share together in combat. A father and son team where the father is the son's squad leader. A unique situation uncommon in today's military. I also have an older son who is a SSgt in the Corps and stationed in Yuma, AZ.

The second reason is that I wanted to wish you and yours, and possibly your Marine readers, a happy Marine Corps Birthday!

I also want to thank you and your staff for your efforts in putting out your news letter. Keep up the great work. Semper Fi!

Raymond Anthony


"To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions everyday; I say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny."

--Ronald Reagan


Hoo Rah Marine Core, Thanks for what you have done, Thanks to Yall this Seabee had some fun, In a place where it is not often seen, Thanks to Yall a Iraqi Soldier I didn't see, Me and my brothers didn't have to worry much, In Kuwait we did what we thought would help you out, We built sh*tters so you could do your business in private, We built bridges so that you could drive over it, We fixed roads so that you could get there fast, We did your laundry so Yall could have clean clothes, We put hospitals up and kept them going, We convoyed Materials north so yall could keep going, These are a few things that we done, All helped you in some way from Guadalcanal to Afghanistan, South Korea to Iraq, We will be there till the fighting is done, One SEABEE would like to say thanks to all MARINES for what they have done

Note-This was written by a Seabee veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom Stationed in Gulfport MS EO3 Ohms Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 Alpha Company


"I can't think of a finer group of folks to have Thanksgiving dinner with than you all. We're proud of you. Today, Americans are gathering with their loved ones to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. And this year we are especially thankful for the courage and the sacrifice of those who defend us, the men and women of the United States military. I bring a message on behalf of America: we thank you for your service, we're proud of you, and America stands solidly behind you. Together, you and I have taken an oath to defend our country. You're honoring that oath. The United States military is doing a fantastic job. You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq, so that we don't have to face them in our own country. You're defeating Saddam's henchmen, so that the people of Iraq can live in peace and freedom. By helping the Iraqi people become free, you're helping change a troubled and violent part of the world. By helping to build a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East, you are defending the American people from danger and we are grateful." --Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush in a surprise visit to our troops in Baghdad Thanksgiving day. (For the complete text of the President's comments, link to --

http://Federalist.com/news/Bush_thanks.asp


I just want to thank all the U.S. Marines and all our armed forces for all they do and have done for the protection of freedom. And may God forgive those idiots who cannot get past the fact of George Bush being president. They know not the harm they do to our soldiers morale and the country who supports them. They do offer comfort to the enemy and make our political leaders fight a half hearted war, by carping at every chance. I sometimes believe that there are those who would see him fail regardless of the consequences to our troops. I live in a state which has been the home of statesmen and presidents yet cannot get past criticizing our President.I am truly ashamed of our current batch of Demmies who sell such a crock of s*** on the daily news and liberal left wing media television. I only hope our troops realize the respect the majority of Americans hold for what has become the calling of a century. These men are truly putting their lives in jeopardy even for the schmucks who are wet behind the ears as my Dad used to like to say. America does what these other countries have not the stones for. That we would actually stand up and fight for freedom for others is incomprehensible to the rest of the world. God bless our fighting men and women, Steve Howard, Natick, Massachusetts.


"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." --Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 B.C.


I get sick and tired of the comparisons of the Iraq war with WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. Before you make a comparison you better know your history. The war in Iraq doesn't make a pimple on the butt and to compare Hitler with Saddam is a joke, Hitler was responsible for the death of at least 36 million people plus how many people did the Japanese kill. Know your history before you sound off .

W.H. Znidarsich Cpl USMC 52-54


"Toys for Tots 2003"
Motorcycle Ride
Date: Sunday - December 7, 2003
Time: Meet at 12:00 noon to stage bikes, roll out promptly at 1:00 pm
Location: Meet at Independence/Cricket Arena, Independence Blvd.,Charlotte, NC

Ride led by US Marines in military vehicles with police escorts through Charlotte and finishing up at Freedom Park Please bring one unwrapped new toy to be turned in to the Marines at the end of the ride for distribution to needy children in the area this holiday season.

Free coffee and doughnuts at the park!

For info contact: Chris (704) 408-0257 or Gary (704) 458-0571 or Kelly (704) 889-1976


The newsletter dated 26Nov03 carried a message from

D. Nevarez
Sgt USMC
82 - 92
Desert Storm
RLT-5 (5TH MARINES)
I don't know if I missed something in the "mix" but it seems as though he forgot completely the Marines that served in Vietnam when pointing out that throughout history we have devastated our foe. WWI, WWII, Korea, Grenada, Gulf 1 all made the list but not RVN. I'd like to point out that a lot of a**kicking went on there for an extended period of time and a lot of Brothers gave their all........

Sgt G. Powell
64-70, RVN 65-66
"Attitude Is Everything"
SEMPER FI


In response to Cpl Page's response in Newsletter Nov 26, 03;

First off Cpl Page; Maybe the Marine that signed you up for this newsletter was performing an act of loyalty or possibly looking to encourage a wayward Marine such as yourself. After all, If I'm not mistaken your NCO creed goes a little something like that anyway! The reason you can write such things as you did is because Marines stuck together long enough to get your ass back home safely. If these "Thugs, Liars, Backstabbers, Thieves or Con men are any of your superiors (which there's a d*mn good chance they're NOT) your duty is to tactfully approach. If they are your subordinates: correct the issue by the necessary means. Another thing I couldn't help but notice is how you continue to refer to your units action as: "THEY KICKED ASS IN IRAQ" and the ever-catchy " DON'T THINK THAT I ENJOY BEING A DEVIL DOG" and then there's the fact that you rarely, if at all refer to your relationship with Marines or the Marine Corps as "US" or "WE". You speak of us as an outside entity. These are not phrases to be muttered publicly by any man that is a part of the brotherhood in which you belong. By the way, the reason we have to watch what we say these days is because of Marines like yourself that approach every environment with loathing and discontent. As far as that explosive ordnance MOS... If you do succeed in this lateral move don't bring all your negativities with you because if you can't trust us Marines now, how will you like it when you have to stand next to me while we defuse a 22 lbs. antitank mine? Do your country a favor, re-think that whole re-enlistment thing. You would definitely be doing your country a disservice by contributing to any lack of leadership the Marine Corps may now be experiencing. Or.... get your act wired tight, shape up and be the leader of Marines you are trained and expected to be. Be this as it may, take this to heart and consider it an overdue counseling! Do the right thing Marine...don't write another international demeaning letter to all of your brethrens past and present!

Sgt Charles V. Westall
(VMGR-252)

P.S. I'm looking for some stories of any Marines who flew on or with VMGR-252 during any period of these old war birds career. Some of you may know the F's and R's are being phased out. Some to other squadrons and others to their final resting place! I'm proud to add my name to a long list of Marines and sailors who have been safely carried to and from the fights. >From Vietnam to Grenada to Mosoul Iraq and everywhere in between.

" Flying Blind with Comm/ Nav"
WestallCV@2mawcp.usmc.mil


Sgt. Grit,

I just read where several Spaniards were killed by Iraqi's. After all the American and Italian casualties, I believe it is time we took the gloves off, and start to hurt these 'people'. we lived through restrictive "rules of engagement" once, and it didn't work. It will not work now, and it never will. Unfortunately, they have been brought up to believe in only one thing; physical force. It is time we employ it unmercifully.

Sincerely,
Harry G. Naylor
Corporal of Marines
73-77


WHICH BASTARD HAJJIS

To my young friend Peter S. who will be leaving Paris Island in 4 weeks I say this; Stomping out terrorism is a good thing, but who are these hajji bastards of whom you speak? Could I be one?

I am a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca (Makka) and therefore have earned the right to be called Hajji. I have also put it on the line more than once in the fight for freedom during the 30 years and 21 days I spent on active duty in our beloved Corps. My record speaks for itself. Viet Nam 66,67,68; MSG Guatemala & Nicaragua; Beirut 83, Iceland, Desert Storm; and multiple points in between. I ran a 1st class PFT, fired 393 (1990) on the pistol range, qualified as Expert the last 4 times I went to the rifle range, and lead a study group on a battlefield study walk through of Iwo Jima. I served with a lot of good Marines in 232, H&MS-11, NATTC, 513, 542, 231, 203, H&MS-32, CNAL, 1st MAW, & FMFPAC and don't know of a single one who wouldn't be glad to have me covering his 6 if the feces collided with the whirling ventilator.

I suggest, my friend, that before you draw a sight picture on all (as you so eloquently put it) "bastard hajis" that you spend a little more time studying your "knowledge" so as to gain a greater understanding of the real world and thus become a better Marine. Because, I for one have no desire to be back-shot by someone who can't tell pepper from fly specks.

I am curious how it is that someone still a PI boot has access to the Internet, let alone time to read Sgt Grit's newsletter. That isn't the MCRD I remember.

Semper Fi,
Hajji Mostafa
a.k.a.
A. C. Koon 2127274 USMC (Ret)


I can't sit here and not comment on John Marra's letter....as a Soldier of the US Army..let it be known, YES, we DO have bumper stickers, etc displaying our pride in our branch--U.S. ARMY. Love your newsletter..now, I wished the Army had that...sigh.

Dedicated, motivated, Soldier-Girl


Some of you wonder why I like Bush so much. This is one of the reasons. He does what a true leader should do and gives some of himself to the people he puts in harms way. Jim


We were at my brother's house yesterday and watched the President's appearance on TV. I can only imagine how the troops felt when they saw their Commander-in-Chief appear in the battle theater in the middle of a war to offer his thanks on behalf of America. I was never so proud of George Bush (and our troops) as then.

My niece will turn 19 in a few days. She just finished basic and her first round of training for the military. I've had some of my liberal co-workers ask me if I'd support the war if I had a son or daughter in harm's way. I told them that could happen with my niece and, while I certainly don't want anything to happen to her, freedom isn't free. If I could, I'd go myself. Since I can't, the least I can do is support and recognize the sacrifices made on our behalf by those who are in Iraq.

By the way, I couldn't help thinking that a side-benefit of President Bush's visit was to eclipse Madame Hillary's grandstanding over there. What are the chances that the "nine dwarves" are going to say Bush's visit is just another "exhibition" like landing on the aircraft carrier? I saw the genuine reaction of the troops yesterday. They understood the meaning of George Bush's visit yesterday, even if the others don't.

Rosanne


Sgt. Grit,

Just want to respond to Sgt. Masso's article "It will only happen once," Newsletter of 26 November 2003, as printed in Stars & Stripes a number of years ago:

Sgt. Masso, you had better get your facts straight (I hope you have by this time) because it was not those of 41-45 (you guessed 44) or those of 50-53 (you only said 52) that were doing the "muttering," but low-life scum fags just like we are hearing from now. I was with the 1st. Bn. 5th. Marines 50-51 in Korea and I spent two tours in Vietnam. One with the 7th. Marines 65-66 and one with the 1st. Marines 68-69, but none of us ever accused WW2 or Korean vets as the ones doing the "muttering". We were able to read and discern who the yellow belly scum were. Also, who is this "ex-Marine" (it must be you) because real Marines are always Marines, not EX! I can only hope that you have learned the TRUTH by now.

Oh, by the way, to Daniele -- Col. Chesty Puller was the Regimental Commander of the 1st. Marine Regiment in Korea, not the 7th. Marines. Col. Litzenberg was Regimental C.O. of the 7th. Marines and Col. Ray Murray was Regimental C.O. of the 5th. Marines. Col. Puller, later in 1951 was moved up to Assistant Division Commander, promoted to Brigadier General and after General O.P Smith was moved up to Corps, he became the Division Commander of the 1st. Marine Division, before returning to the States.

Semper Fidelis, GySgt. C.R. Scroggins, USMC (Ret.) - 1947-1970.


Dear Sgt Grit,

I was reading your latest article and came across the letter from Cpl John Schubnel's dad. I agree with him on the point of his son getting the shaft about reenlisting. He and his friends should have been able to reenlist in the same MOS. Where was his career planner? He is the one who should have given him the option to reenlist in his MOS or change it. I know that was how it worked when I reenlisted back in 1995. Plus as a recruiter I got to know some of the ins and outs of how the system works. Which is basically what a career planner is.

As for his son not writing his Senator himself. If he wants to get back in he should keep hounding him. When he gets back to his unit there will be no hard feelings. If so his units isn't worth anything. His superiors should be glad to have someone with his experience in their ranks. To teach and share his experiences with his fellow Marines. I had a friend in my unit who after trying it in the civilian world he got back in by nagging his congressmen and senators. And there was no negative feelings towards him. As a matter of fact we welcomed him back like he never left. Maybe it was just the tightness of my unit but it shouldn't matter we are all Marines.

Sgt Shepherd
LAAD BN 1991-1999

I wanted to add that I created a web group for LAAD BN Marines to use as they see fit. It is in the link below.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LAADBN/


Sgt Grit,

I know you don't want to drag this story forever, but please hear this out.

To Cpl Ryan B. Page,
As an active NCO of Marines, I am proud and grateful for my service to God, our Country and our Corps. If there are three things that I would die for at a moment's orders, those are the three things. You obviously have issues and weakness. You are a child, because you knew the trouble you would start by sending good old Sgt Grit your "mamma I miss you" whinny letter. But most of all, you are very disrespectful. We, the active duty Marines, don't really pay you much attention. We deal with your kind everyday and know that sadly the Marine Corps have rats like you who infest our Corps with your weakness and malice. It comes with the duty of serving. However, you disrespected the eternal memories of those men gone before us in the fields of battles, the men living today with the scars of their sacrifices, and the veterans who came in one piece and healthy, but with the lasting memories of brave buddies who were not so lucky. That, however, I cannot tolerate. And I am sure other veterans out there will not either. Yes you have freedom of speech, use it if you so desire, that is your right. But take it away from us, go ahead and mingle with other communist nasty whiners. Do not disrespect the memories of my brothers. You are an embarrassment to our nation and our Commander-in-Chief. You are the one "Gunny" has a field day with, putting you in every working party and shutting you in the galley to clean dishes on ship. You have no tact, leadership, and loyalty and basically lack all of the leadership traits and principles we NCO must live by.

Cpl Page, do your self and us a favour and leave the Corps and go join some campus peace corps where you will be treated with the outmost respect and comfort. You are the one whose feelings are being hurt, not ours. We love what we do, and we love even more those brave men and brothers you so wrongly called disloyal and thugs.

Sgt Grit thanks for sounding this off. To you, the Officers and Marines and civilians who read this letter; please accept my apologies on behalf of the NCOs of our Corps for this little no good weasel. We may not be as hard you guys were, but we are still hard and charging the beach. We honor you for all the sacrifices you made and are very grateful for your leadership and past glories.

Semper Fi, and in the words of our Commandant; "Keep attacking!"

Sgt Oscar A. Martinez, USMC
0311, Infantry
Marine Security Guard Detachment
American Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka


Thank You to all MARINES,

I recently had the privilege to attend my first Marine Corps ball. My son is a Cpl. stationed in Okinawa, Japan. His recruiter SSGT. Forbis invited my wife and I to the Recruiters ball. Ever since my son became a Marine I have learned a lot about the Marine Corps. That night at the ball every Marine there, treated us like family. I am so proud to be in a family of such great people , and so proud that my son chose the Marine Corps. To all the Marines that attended Recruiting station Denver's ball 2003 a BIG THANK YOU!!!!

To SSGT. Ken Forbis Thank YOU and your family.

VERY PROUD MARINE FATHER OF CPL. JONATHAN HASS USMC
RICK HASS OOHRAH DADDY!!!!!!


wow- this is just amazingly awesome -- the love, devotion, and pride in the Marine Corps. I am proud to say that I am a daughter of a Marine of WWII and a mom of an 18 year old Marine. What a brotherhood you have. As Ollie North said the only people he likes besides his wife and children are Marines. I can understand why. I am jealous. I wish I would have listened to my heart and joined in 1973, but I listened to my cousin who was an Army V.N. vet who told me that it "wasn't for me." Oh well, I guess I did ok raising a future Marine who was meritoriously promoted out of BC and was born to be a Marine.

God Bless America, our troops, and our Commander in Chief George Bush

Sharon
VPMM of Pfc Mark


What happens to a warrior? You know they all start out the same, they are the young, the strong, the clever, and they are among our nations best and brightest. They all believe, they believe in their government, they believe in the system, lastly they believe in themselves.

They are proud of their strength, their brains, and their courage. They know that they can and will do what others are unable, or unwilling to do. They are young, and cocky, and arrogant, it goes with the territory a byproduct of their training, and their unique skills.

They sometimes feel contempt for those who are unwilling or unable to manage their fear and so are barred forever from this small band of brothers. They walk differently, they talk differently, they think differently, they quite simply are different.

Then life begins to happen, people die sometimes many, sometimes those very close as only those who have shared hardships and danger can become close. Perhaps they even hold a comrade in their arms watching the life leave the body. They bury their friends, all too often most of their friends.

They change; they are never the same again after life begins to happen. Some, survive the change, many do not. It can be a difficult road back from where they have gone. The litany of their ills can and has filled books. Drug or alcohol addiction, madness, meanness, or they just plain no longer care.

For some however, the truly lucky, they not only survive, they thrive, they even get old, and sometimes they learn one of life's harshest lessons, one they should have learned in their youth. A lesson their mothers tried in vain to teach them, they learn Humility and with this they have the beginnings of wisdom.

Sgt. Major David W. Marion- USMC (Ret.)


Dear Sgt. Grit

I'm a 56 year old discharged, but still and always will be a Marine. I have had my share of trials and tribulations and I'm sure many other service personnel has experienced some of them also. I found these words written by Anonymous, and have it hanging on my bulletin board by my computer. When things get a little tough going , I just look over and read them. I would like to share them with you and your great group of veterans and supporters if possible.

I believe that the trials which beset me today are but the fiery tests by which my character is strengthened, ennobled, and made worthy to enjoy the higher things of life, which I believe are in store for me. I believe that my soul is too grand to be crushed by defeat; I will rise above it. I believe that I am the architect of my own fate; therefore, I will be master of circumstances and surroundings, not their slave. I will not yield to discouragement; I will trample them under foot and make them serve as stepping stones to success; I will conquer my obstacles and turn them into opportunities. I will not waste my mental energies by useless worry. I will learn to dominate my restless thoughts and look on the bright side of things. My failure of today will help to guide me to victory on the morrow. The morrow will bring new strength, new hopes, new opportunities, and new beginnings. I will be ready to meet it with a brave new heart, a calm mind, and an undaunted spirit. In all things I will do my best, and leave the rest to the Infinite. ( Anonymous ) I hope this finds everyone that reads it and their families safe and healthy, and also enjoying your special holidays.

Semper Fi Bill Munson
1965-1969 Sgt. USMC / RVN/ E-2/5-66-67 / L-3/7 68-69


Sgt. Grit,

I submit to you that your page is read by mostly Marines (there is no such thing as a former Marine unless your dead). I also submit that there is no such thing as a Marine, or member of their family, that has lost the intensity to defend our Nation. I do not believe that this time, the American people will lose their resolve, either. Americans abhor war by our very nature, yet when threatened have not only the wherewithal, but will, to fight