"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and notwithstanding go out to meet it."
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Sgt Grit's ELECtrONIC POSTCARDS
This time of year we all think of family and friends. The tribute page on the bulletin board is a nice place to share those memories of a special Marine. http://www.grunt.com/BB.HTM
My turn. It is my letter so occasionally I contribute. Two things have really chapped me this week. A local Oklahoma City TV station interviewed a Mother of an soldier. He was due to come home in time for Christmas. He got stopped in Kuwait and put on a working party to load and unload ships for about a month; which will mean he will not be home for Christmas. The lady was crying, almost hysterical. Poor me, we have put up decorations and had special events planned for our son. More loud crying and tears. His fiancÃ©, also a soldier, got two weeks R&R from somewhere and is now here in Oklahoma and he is not. More tears and crying from her. It just amazes me how people expect this WAR to be painless, nothing unexpected should happen, don't change my routine, don't bother me, let someone else miss their Christmas, but not MY son. A lot of our warriors will miss Christmas. They will do their jobs and not whine about it. Their families will not whine about it. They will do their duty; stoically and with pride.
False machismo. We have a couple of celebrities on a local sports talk show. They occasionally talk about the war. They have this bravado when they talk about it. What the USA should do, how they should do it. Who and how they should blow someone away. And on and on. I have noticed this about a lot of news people local and national. None served. None have clue as to the sacrifice and effort it takes to accomplish the job. They appear silly, childish and scared. They strike me as being glad someone else is doing the job so they can falsely feel brave and falsely talk bravely about it.
Oh well, just a few thoughts. That's what I like about putting this newsletter together. Real warriors talking about real experiences.
"He was just caught like a rat. ...He was in the bottom of a hole...." --Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno
To all family and friends.
As the Holidays fast approach, let us not forget all those men and women which are deployed and in harms way, as well as their families who must go through these days without their Loved ones being with them. happy holidays to one and all and
May God Bless.
(Looks like (former CIA director), James Woolsey has the Right Idea, HUH? ? ?)
"My hunch is that he will do his best to not give anything away and lie, but even liars are sometimes useful to talk to," says Woolsey.
Perhaps -- but U.S. interrogators reportedly haven't found it useful -- yet. Saddam's still insisting the U.S. "dreamed" up his WMD as a pretext for war. But some doubt he may even know the specifics of where those weapons would be. "That's not likely the detail he will be on top of," says Woolsey. "More likely, one his subordinates would be. But as they say in the Old West, they should give him a fair trial, and then hang 'em."
OOOH-RAAH, for the Rangers......
Dear Sgt Grit,
Some people say I'm off balance, and others say that I'm dead wrong, but is it possible that the majority of Marines fight so well just because they like to kill people and break things? I think all this stuff about defending freedom is great, but should I be sent to war, I ain't gonna fight for freedom...I'm gonna fight for me and my buddies. I am gonna descend like an angel of death upon anyone stupid enough to challenge a SAW totin' jarhead who has homicidal tendencies. I will destroy anyone who tries to hurt other DevilDogs ruthlessly and without compassion...and I will enjoy it. I'd like to thank all those WWII vets who bailed France out, or My JARHEADS who played in the Islands (oof=ckin'rah!!). MY deepest respects to those fallen in Vietnam and Cambodia. Grenada, well sympathies to those SEALs' families. Beirut, I say we take Syria next.I would have tons of laughs making a quilt out of head-towels. To my bros over there right now, continue killing people, and may the body count rise
Corporal Jon Rumbolt
Army captured him, Marines would have brought his body back.... A few grenades in the hole should have been dropped first. Now he is still alive and has to be dealt with. Simpler to identify him with dental records in the morgue.
Should have let God sort him out and sh%^can him.
I'm just replying to an active duty Marine who sent in a letter last time (LCpl Mark Neuman, 3rd Radio Bn "Ground Communications )...
You are d*mn right about the army noticing the strange fact that the enemy is intimidated by the Corps. I have been following the war(s) closely and have been pointing out to everyone that will listen that the majority of the KIA's and WIA's are not the Marines. People ask why, and I tell them about our history, basic training (everyone is a rifleman) and practices.. I even let them know about how the Army is considering adopting our ideologies (according to Marine Corps Times). It is that knowledge that the enemy is afraid of the Corps that keeps my faith going that my friends who are still on active duty will come home safe and all in one piece. Just do me a favor and keep calling in those air strikes for the grunts who ALWAYS appreciated a good radio operator.
SSGT Pete Fecteau
President Bush is the Commander of all troops and he spent time in the field with his troops.God bless President Bush. God bless THE CORPS.
Albert C. Rainey
A Marine Father's Christmas Poem
I sit here at night
And ponder my son.
Decisions he's made
The course he has run.
When your kid's a Marine
Dad's don't sleep well at night
Cause they know very well
That they're doing it right.
The slogans and words
That slip off of the tongue,
Are true, but they pale,
With what they have done.
All the men and the women
My son fights beside
Are Heroes to me;
That won't be denied.
All we seek is true peace
But it comes at a cost
And Marines stand in front
And we know lives are lost.
But they stand proud and true
For Freedom for ALL
This Dad sleeps much better.
They're there for us all.
Dr. Dennis K. Benson
This letter is in response to Peter S., the recruit that wrote the letter about the "hajji bastards". I'm a Lt in the Marine Corps and am in the process of deploying to the sandbox. You are lucky you are not in my platoon. This kind of immaturity and juvenile thinking is exactly what we try to stamp out in our platoons. Not only does it create unwanted tension but it breaks down unit integrity. Your racist ideas are exactly what will destroy our ties with the Arab nations. The United States is proof of the success achieved by a country that recognizes that "all men are created equal". You need to take a good look at your Principles of Marine Corps Leadership and go PT the hell out of yourself. Stupidity Should Be Punished. Why the hell are you on the internet in Boot Camp anyway?
We've traveled far, but we've only begun our journey. There are hungry to feed, sicknesses to cure, and new worlds to explore. And this is no time for small plans or shrinking ambitions. We stand on the threshold of an epic age, an age of technological splendor and an explosion of human potential, an age for heroes."
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you out there on the 'net. Just wanted to log in and let you know that all of the teenagers out there are not self-absorbed and useless.
Long retired from active duty, I herd high school juniors through U.S. History now, instead of making it with my Marines.
The senior class asked me to do a poetry reading at lunch today in our high school auditorium, as part of their "Know Your Teacher" series. I read a lot of stuff, including a poem I wrote after my first visit to the Wall, which included the information that at Christmas Dinner at our house, we always set an empty place for "Absent Friends". When I was finished, I looked up in surprise, because they had politely applauded everything else I had read, and there was silence in the auditorium.
There were about 150 17-and-18-year-olds in the audience, and most of them were crying. You could have heard a pin drop.
Former SGT and CPT of Marines
"In our time, government has become the main source of America's troubles. It deprives us of freedom and self rule, makes us poorer, sows strife among us, undermines our families, and debases our souls."
I was looking in your catalog for several items and I ran across an article about a Marine and his daughter. After reading this article it brought back an experience I had when I returned home. When I got off the train a women came up to me and asked me if I was in Vietnam I replied yes then she spit in my face and called me a baby killer. As a 19 year old I did not know what to say to her. My point is nobody cared back in 68, however recently I received a Vietnam Service Medal from New Jersey and a Distinguished Service Medal. When I went to revive it an Assembly Woman took my hand and said Welcome Home. I replied it is a little late for that where were you when I came home? Some of the people I know walked away and said keep you medal. I'm just wandering if other states honored the Vietnam Vet's like New Jersey? I think the US learned something from this war. Some of the stories I'm been hearing, the government is still not watching over the servicemen. It make me feel good that the people in the United States are coming together and welcoming home the service persons
67- 71, Semper Fi
The pacifist actually refuses to defend what defends him; his country. In the final analysis this is the most basic immoral position.
--General George S. Patton
Lt. Col. Allen B. West, who faced criminal charges for firing his weapon to intimidate an Iraqi detainee into providing information about an upcoming assault on West's unit, has himself, dodged a bullet. LTC West's actions yielded critical information which enabled West and his soldiers to thwart the attack -- thus saving the lives of their fellow soldiers. It was and remains our position that LTC West's actions were justified. Indeed, President Bush, on his visit to Iraq Thanksgiving Day, said "In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force." We believe this certainly applies in the case of LTC West. To that end, The Federalist's companion site, PatriotPetitions.US, collected more than 130,000 signatures asking President George Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, acting Secretary of the Army Secretary Les Brownlee and Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, exonerate LTC West from this grossly misguided prosecution and any criminal charges. On the day LTC West's Article 32 Board convened, Patriot Petitions released the results of the petition in support of LTC West. We learned yesterday afternoon, that the Army hearing officer in this case, LTC James Davis, has recommended to MGEN Raymond Odierno, the 4th Infantry division commander, Article 15 administrative correction for LTC West -- but no court-martial. MGEN Odierno can accept or decline that recommendation.
"It's extremely good news," said Neal Puckett, LTC West's attorney.
"This is what we think the Army should have done from the very beginning." LTC West indicated from the start of this case that he was willing to accept nonjudicial Article 15 punishment and then retire. MGEN Odierno has already relieved him of his artillery battalion command, a career killer. LTC West has submitted a retirement request and acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee may retire LTC West at his current rank, or at the reduced rank of major. We contend that LTC West should have received honorable recognition for his actions and be promoted to full Colonel -- his considerable experience will be missed on the frontlines of our war with Jihadistan.
Sgt, H&S 1/1
" 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."
I have been thinking , nobody says anything about the poor Marines , soldiers Airmen and Sailors who have been wounded in the recent conflicts. I don't have any idea how many there are but it must be a bunch. To these men and women I give all the credit in the world, a lot of them will be crippled for life and nobody ever mentions them. I say that Americans should be thanking and giving recognition to these Heroes and the government should take first class care of these people and not cut benefits for these veterans. Its easy to give lip service but the proof is in what you do not what you say. The Marine Corp forever
CPL W H Znidarsich USMC 52/54
I am wondering if anyone out there that was at Camp Carroll from Feb. to June, TET '68, or with BLT 2/26 later, remembers a Corporal Barry who used to sing for us from time to time the song "Road to Con Thien"? I would like to know his last name and, if possible, how to get in touch with him. I still remember all three verses as well as the song "I Don't Believe Their Coming". I intend to send a copy of the words to these songs to the P. I. museum as well as the new proposed museum in Quantico. I also intend to donate a brick in memory of one of our Corpsmen, Doc Crowthers. To any of the questionable jarheads out there about Corpsmen, my reason should be obvious!
I attended my first Marine Corp Ball this past November 10, 2003 and met many present and former jarheads who did not know very much at all about the TET of '68 and it's impact on the Vietnam War. This was shocking to me as while I was in boot camp in 1967, we were thoroughly taught the history of the Corp. I have become somewhat of an amateur historian on the Vietnam War and on American history in general. I have several documentaries from the History, Discovery & TLC channels as well as several books and, also, VFW magazines, not to mention personal experience. I believe the Gunny Sgt. who summed up the Vietnam War by saying, "We won the war on the battle field and lost it in Washington" was dead on! I would also say that we lost it to the politicians who quickly took cover during and after the TET of '68 and them blamed it all on Pres. Johnson and his generals. In my opinion, Pres. Johnson did a half assed job! LBJ and Nixon's primary concerns were on votes and diplomacy! The media also should take a great deal of the blame as they totally focused on the enemies ability to launch total surprise attacks, the taking of the US Embassy in Saigon and the ONLY city to fall, Hue (which the 5th Marines took back in approx. 22 days). The bottom line is that we kicked *ss and devastated the enemy! AS quoted by Gen. Giap on a recent history channel show, "We annihilated the NVA & VC". The American people were never told of our overwhelming military victory. Stats on enemy KIA's vary wildly from as low as 40,000 to as high as 400,000 during the TET ALONE. Our causalities were approximately 4,000 for the TET and 14,592* for the entire year, the highest count for any year of the Vietnam War. [*Source: VFW Magazine March 1993.] The crucial impact that the media played, especially during the TET of '68 and their influence on the American people lead to the loss of resolve and support of the war. I challenge any media people reading this to show anything positive or anything dealing with our overwhelming military victory of the TET of '68, especially from Jan. 31st to the end of the seize at Khe Sanh, that was published during that time. Read "An Illustrated History of US Marine Corp." by Chester Hearn, especially pages 180-182 and "Semper Fi Vietnam from Danang to DMZ" by Edward F. Murphy, campaigns 65-75, focus on '68, 1st & 3rd Marine divisions. If I had to pick a single day that we lost the war, it would be January 31, 1968. There is a lot of info out there regarding Westmoreland's obsession with Khe Sanh and Dien Bien Phu and how he was totally outfoxed by General Giap (commanding Gen. Dien Ben Fu) and by the NVA during Nam. Westmoreland left orders not to abandon Khe Sanh until he left the country--why is that? Marine Commandant Cushman and two subordinate generals tried in vain to persuade Westmoreland to abandon the base. The bottom line is that hardly anyone knows the entire story. We supposedly study history to learn from it and yet this chapter in American history remains relatively unknown though there is a wealth of knowledge to learn from! I feel strongly that the things we cherish most, freedom and democracy, can and most likely will be used as the most powerful weapon our enemies can use against us via the media. Just as Uncle Ho did, telling his commanders returning from the south totally demoralized that "We have won the war!" never conceding to the total military failure of the TET of '68 (which he believed was going to be a complete victory thus ending the war). He told his commanders of the disruption, protesting and chaos that was taking place back in the US (probably from watching it on TV!). Can't you picture our current enemies doing the very same thing as they watch our current Democratic candidates on TV attack everything and anything that Pres. Bush does and just waiting for the return of the protestors, etc.
Cpl. Joseph Bissonnette
RVN TET 68 and 69
Whiskey Btry 1/12, BLT 2//26
"Politics, n. strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles."
Today my father died. He won the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of two soldiers, who were liberating the concentration camps of Germany, so no more innocent would have to suffer at the hands of tyranny. He gave his life for freedom, and asked for nothing in return but respect. He was a veteran.
Today my mother died, During the Korean war she was a nurse, She was awarded many medals but all she wanted to do was help ease the wounded's pain. You see they were there so you could have the honor telling everybody about your rights as a free American. All she wanted in return was respect. She was a veteran.
Today my son died. He served proudly in Vietnam. He was wounded twice. He was awarded the Navy Cross. He served there so you could joke about how stupid it is to join the military as you burn the American flag. All he wanted in return was respect. He was a veteran.
Today my Uncle died. He was fighting terrorists in the Middle East; He died alone and suffered for hours at the hands of his captors. As they beat him to death they laughed and told him how great their god was. Pray for him the next time you worship in the choice of your church. You see the blood he shed gave you that right. All he wanted in return was respect. He was a veteran.
Today my nephew died. As he was dying he was trying to tell everybody how terrible it was in France during World War One. They called him a senile old man that couldn't speak very well; you see he lost his voice box to the poison gas they used on him. When you speak of freedom remember him, all he asked for was respect. He was a veteran.
Today is Veterans Day. When you think about who gave you all these right's walk into the veterans home and see what the veterans gave. Take a stroll in the cemetery but walk softly for they are the Lord's own and he is letting them rest now, for only he and he alone knows how much of a price they paid. This you will never know, and then ask yourself what have I given to the veterans. When was the last time you saw a group of veterans protesting your rights? You see all we ever asked for was respect. Today is payday.
"Congress may be going home for the holidays soon. How can you beat a Christmas gift like that?"
Thank you for an excellent forum for Marines and those that support Marines to share their experiences and vent their feelings. I served on Active Duty with 2/5 and 3/3 62-65. After I got off active duty, I went to college and started a family. I was approached about being a reserve but, had no use for the reserves. After 10-23-83, I tried to re-enlist in the Marine Reserve, only to be told I was too old. I then joined the Army National Guard and went on Active duty with them for 15 years, until I retired an E-8. With the help of a good wife, I provided a good home for our kids now grown and Married. My son is a CW2 in the Army National Guard. He was with the 5th Special Forces in the Afghanistan campaign. Now he is headed to Bosnia for 9 months. The entire 81st Armored Brigade, WA ARNG is headed for Iraq. The bottom line is, we need our Reserve and National Guard more than ever. There is no unimportant jobs or services. But lets be reasonable. No 55 yr old Army Guard NCO can keep up with a 18 yo Marine Rifleman. I'm glad to see we are sending Marines back to kick *ss and bring the peace once and for all. Semper Fi!
Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
Hi Sgt. Grit,
Re: J Jasper, Do not, under any circumstances, join our beloved corps! If you have problems with politics, run for office. Do not carry your crap onto our yellow foot-prints.
Michael J. Morris, Sgt. 2D Force Recon Co FMFLANT 68-70
Dear Sgt Grit
I have been receiving your newsletter ever since my cousin left for boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina on September 8, 2003. I enjoyed reading everyone's stories about their Marine, and their life. The information that I have gained from this experience was wonderful. I have always appreciated the Marine Corps, but I never realized how much. While I was in Parris Island for my cousins graduation I realized the importance of the Marines. I learned so much just from listening to stories that my cousin told my family and I. I am so proud of him and of every single Marine. While we were in Parris Island we talked with SSgt Holden, one thing that I will never forget about him is what he told us. He said that, "If you join the Army, you're in the Army, If you join the Navy, you're in the Navy, But, if you join the Marines, You ARE a Marine." Watching the graduation of all of the different Platoons, you really understand so much better than just reading about it, how everyone comes together. I am proud to say that my cousin is a Marine. He is a very respected person, and will always be extremely respected. I learned so much while in Parris Island, I comprehend on what the recruits go through, but I will never fully understand. Every single Marine deserves credit, for they are they people who fight for us, our country. God Bless
Cousin Of Private O'Connor
Check this page out. May be a way for you to support the troops.
It made me feel good to read the post from Mr Worden about flying the Corps flag at his work on the Birthday. I am a state employee at a relatively small facility and tried to arrange to have our flag flown that day at work (kind of on the sly-as a surprise to the other Marines I work with). Without going into the details of the refusal I will tell you that it was not allowed. We have flown the POW/MIA flag on Veterans Day in the past and I was a little stunned at the refusal. I had not asked my employer to bear any cost associated with the request as I supplied the official/regulation flag. It had crossed my mind that I might start a tradition of sorts as a significant proportion of employees here are military, many of them retired. Of these employees a good number are extremely proud of their military service and it would have made a nice statement (I think) to see flags from the other branches flown on their birthdays also. It does make me feel better to know that other 'non-active duty' Marines were able to celebrate in this manner even though I was not. It seems as if the president of the corporation Mr Worden works for is a person who recognizes that if it were not for the five branches of our military and what they have sacrificed that he might not even be living in a country where he is allowed to make that kind of decision on his own.
Camp Smith, Hawaii
Merry Christmas to you and to all Marines and their families who gave and give so much to keep our country free. With pride I claim the title of a United States Marine. With enormous pride I thank the United States Marine Corps for keeping this world we live in safe and under the umbrella of all Marines that went before us. Some say thy are in their final resting place but there is no rest for any Marine past or present until this world is Marine safe. If any foreign country has a problem respecting human rights tell them the USMC Warriors are coming to town and they will run and hide as the case is in Iraq. They will hide and s**t in there pants. I'm sure Saddam has a big load in his right now. I'm sure his screwball friends near him love the smell.
Cpl Greg Sommers
Class of 1966 Parris Island
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I don't know how I got on your newsletter list but I am so happy that I am; I just marvel at the bravery and incredible stories that the Marines share in your newsletter. It makes me so proud to be an American and to know that we as a country are blessed with the finest military personnel in the world. So many of the stories that you post bring tears to my eyes yet joy to my heart. Recently, I was working on an assignment in a local hospital and saw the following quote posted on the wall in one of the offices. I made a copy for myself because it touched me deeply. After reading this latest newsletter from you, I felt I wanted to share it with you....
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled and fell, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; and at best, knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat" .........Theodore Roosevelt.
Thank you to all who have served and who are serving now.
I am so grateful to you all. May His glorious light illuminate your precious lives.
"He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.... The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people."
We just ended yet another awesome Toys for Tots Christmas party. We were able to collect lots of toys for the area kids. However, it was a bittersweet party as we know that SSgt. Jaime Benavides, the local recruiter, has been reassigned back to the field. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank him for his outstanding commitment to our family, our community, and our Corps. During his tenure, he proudly displayed to many people what the highest standards of a Marine are. He helped with the Toys for Tots, our local Marine Boot Camp at the elementary school, and numerous other activities where he gave selflessly of his time and talent. We shall surely miss him and his fine family and pray for his safekeeping for the remainder of his tour.
God Bless and Semper Fi SSgt. Benavides
Gerry Torres and family and all those whose lives you enhanced here in Longmont and Mead, CO
Oh, Sgt. Grit, you are amazing. I love, love, love your newsletter. When it arrives, I know enough to keep a FULL box of tissue next to my computer. Thank you for forwarding this note. I sent a message last night, to Bruce Carter, USMC, '72, in regards to his note on Tarawa, where my daddy was stationed with the Marines during WWII. Of course, Daddy, God bless him, will be 80 next month, and not in the best of health, but I had to write Bruce to tell him about my dad.........and how daddy joined the Marines because he loved their dress uniform. Smile. Well, with a war going on, daddy never got his dress uniform, but he still talks about it, now and then. I sure wish I could find his former WWII buddy, Russell B. Evans. He's talked about him for years. I've tried so many sites, and other sites you have to pay for, and I can't afford to do so, at this time. Anyway, I'm a South Philly girl, from the wonderful East Coast, home of the FORMER Phila. Naval Shipyard.......Sailors and Marines..........have met them all, and we are very pro military. My folks and brother still live in South Philly, and my sister and I live out here in So. Calif.....
...thank you again. Your newsletter makes my day.
Stay safe, Sgt. Grit, and WELCOME HOME.............
Catch you later......Grace
I for one appreciate everything you have done when you were in before you retired. I also served our Corps for just less than eight years (I was medically discharged). Before that, I spent four years in the Air Force. I loved the Marine Corps, nix on the AF. But my point that I want to make is that I want to thank you and all other veterans before me on giving me the ability to pay back and serve this country for the twelve that I did. My father-in-law and uncle were both in Korea during the war serving in the Army. My uncle was in graves and registration. When it comes to veterans, interservice rivalry is fun, but I drop it to thank each and every one of you and thank you for your time so I could serve mine.
I was one of the few Marines that did not go over to the first gulf war, but I still served and did what I was asked to do. Am I a combat veteran? Absolutely not. But I served my time (maybe shoveling $hit in......) but by God, I served it to the best of my ability. I believe that you did far better than I, and I want to thank you for what you did and know that when the nightmares come from your experiences (if they come at all), then remember that one veteran appreciates what you did so that he could serve his time.
To all veterans, no matter what branch. THANK YOU. LOUIE, I AM STILL PRAYING FOR YOU. Get better soon.
Patrick AFB will be hosting its 23rd annual Military Retiree Day, 27 March 2004.
A day for all military retirees to get together and catch up on all the latest information, legislation and programs available.
If you think its worthwhile, please add to your letter.
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I am an old former Marine (HMM-26) working in Homeland Security. I have recently launched a website, I wanted to let everyone know about.
The site covers Homeland Security news, events, products, and lots more. It would be great if you could let folks know about it.
I have read with great interest many issues of this newsletter. I am the very proud father of a new recruit. He will finish high school and ship out for boot in June. My son comes from a family with a record of service. My father and several uncles served in the Great War. There were 6 of 10 kids in my family that served, including two sisters. I am a graduate of West Point and was medically retired as an infantryman in the United States Army. I will be sending my son off to one of the most admired organizations in the world. I ask only that you take care of him as one of your own.
But the real reason for my writing is to try and give something back to so many of you. I have read many entries from you Viet Nam vets. I am one of the very few that does not believe Viet Nam was meaningless or a war that ended in defeat. On the contrary, I believe Viet Nam was but a single battle in the much larger, and longer Cold War.
Think of it in terms of the Alamo. The Alamo, in the micro-perspective was a total defeat. But in the whole scheme of things it was a major victory. The battle for the Alamo lasted for 13 days. The 186 combatants of the Alamo kept the entire army of Santa Anna fixed in one place providing much needed time for Sam Houston to raise an army. The Alamo was lost and the war for Texas independence was won!
The same is true of Viet Nam. Imagine if Viet Nam was not fought? Imagine if communism had spread throughout Southeast Asia 15 years sooner? Imagine the domino theory beginning in 1960 instead of 1972....remember that in the 1970's communism was being exported all over the world, in Africa, Southeast Asia and even knocking on our back door in Central and South America. But imagine if it had had 15 years more in which to expand. Can you imagine having a Jimmy Carter as President without the Viet Nam war being waged? I can, and it makes me very thankful for every one of those soldiers that fought in Viet Nam or served here at home while others fought.
The Viet Nam War, was in my opinion, very much like the Alamo. It held communism in check for 15 years, which allowed time for a "President Reagan" to be elected and proved, in my opinion, to be the turning point in the much more important Cold War.
No, my fellow patriots, Viet Nam was not meaningless, and in my heart, I will always Remember Viet Nam just as I remember the Alamo!! God Bless all of you who served so faithfully and for so important a victory!
1st Lt, USA Retired
If you tolerate too much from others, Others will not tolerate you.
Every day I am proud to be,
In this grand land where I am free.
I choke back the tears that brim in my eyes,
When I see our flag wherever it flies.
I think of all who serve now and served then,
To say I am thankful...I just can't begin.
So I'll pray for those both near and far,
And honor you all for the brave souls you are.
A MARINE'S ChrISTMAS
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I could sleep
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A Marine, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
huddled out there in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear.
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said, "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me."
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on that day in December,
"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am."
"I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers,
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright.
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long."
"For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
THE LETTER FROM GUNNY WALTERS HIT HOME. I HAVE HAD THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO ME AND I AM SURE OTHERS HAVE TOO. IT SURPRISED ME, CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD. I AM NOT UNAPPRECIATIVE OF THESE COMMENTS, BUT FOR ME THEY ARE TOO LATE. I'M SORRY FOR THEM, NOT US. HOWDY--RVN-MAR'67-NOV'68
I'm a Marine Security Guard here at the Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. For 4-1/2 years I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. with 3rd BN 8th MAR and was with the 26th MEU (SOC) in 1999 that deployed to Kosovo. After Sept. 11th I reenlisted for another 4 years to join the MSG program. But if I could turn back the hands of time I would have put the MSG program on hold so I could have done my part over there. Anyways, I wanted to write you because when I was at my first post, American Consulate General Jerusalem, I met Sgt. Joseph Cole, my A/DETCOMDR. We together in Jerusalem for almost a year and became great friends but... before you know it...I was leaving for my second post and he was due to rotate back to the Fleet (3/7 I believe). Later I found out he was going back to the Fleet and before long on his way to Iraq possibly. I just wanted to wish him the best of luck and tell him congratulations on finally marrying Nikka!!!! (hope I spelled her name right)? Take care Joe and come back safe.
I'll never forget ya buddy!!
ANDREW R. KLATT
A/DETCOMDR, AMERICAN EMBASSY LISBON, PORTUGAL
About 2 years ago my oldest son joined the Corps. He was featured in Sgt. Grit's Newsletter Volume I. He has been to Iraq and back and has been told he is going back again.
My youngest son, Samuel Adam Beltram will be leaving for MCRD on 12/15/2003. I am sure you can imagine just how proud of him I am. All my sons will be in the Marine Corps. But I tell you what. It's sure bringing a tear to this old Marine's eye. I have two uncles that are Marines. Were both wounded in Korea. I was in Viet Nam, my oldest son in Iraq and now my youngest son is on his way to completing this Marine family.
Charles A. Beltram
Sgt. USMC 1968 - 1972
Viet Nam 70 - 71
SGT. GRIT, IT'S ME THE" GUNNY" IN MIAMI,
I'M PRETTY TIGHT WITH THE RESERVE CENTER HERE IN MIAMI THE BOYS FROM THE (TOW UNIT) HAVE SEEN THEIR SHARE OF THIS WAR AND HAVE SUFFORD SOME CASUALTIES ALSO, ONE OF THOSE IS A VERY CLOSE FRIEND OF THE FAMILY. ANYWAY ALL I WANT TO SAY TO ALL YOUR READERS IS TO PLEASE TAKE SOME TIME IN YOUR HEARTS AND SAY A PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO WILL NOT BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES THIS YEAR AND SPECIALLY FOR THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO WILL NEVER RETURN HOME AGAIN.
THE MARINE CORPS IS IN MY BLOOD AND I TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN READING SOME OF THE STORIES FROM ALL YOUR READERS. PLEASE REMEMBER MARINES ALWAYS TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN EVEN WHEN YOU CAN'T DO IT PHYSICALLY, THE CORPS STILL EXPECTS YOU TO DO YOUR PART EVEN IN PRAYER. TO ALL THOSE MARINES AND SOLDIERS AWAY FROM HOME I AND MY ENTIRE FAMILY SAY THANK YOU FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEARTS FOR ALL YOUR DOING AND ALL YOU'VE DONE. WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL AND WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE ULTIMATE ACT FROM THOSE WHO ARE GONE. I LOVE YOU ALL MY FELLOW MARINES AND BROTHERS AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS THIS WONDERFUL COUNtrY THE BEST COUNtrY IN THE WORLD.
SEMPER-FI MARINES THE GUNNY IN MIAMI.
"To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say."
Thanks for putting it into perspective for me. Sometimes I get a little down when I see how so many people don't realize the danger we are in as a nation. I just read a story in the Denver Post, praising a retired Army Sgt Major, who was calling the war on Terrorism wrong. The photo showed him in his Army dress uniform, but he was also wearing several large "peace" symbol buttons on his uniform (he looked pretty stupid). He said that wearing the uniform gave him better credence to speak out. Nice, huh? At the college where I work, teachers regularly have anti-American reading lists. I hear senseless attacks on the America almost daily. I try to rebut these fools, but it is like trying to stop a flood. And so I appreciate knowing there are guys like you out there; it makes the war here at home easier to fight. There will always be that 10% (or more) that will never learn.
Thanks again, Anson Rohr
My son is 17 and a senior in HS he is in the delayed entry program. I am not liking this at all. My younger sister 39 years old died this past summer of breast cancer. I am helping her wonderful husband raise their four children ages 6-12 yrs. old. Death is very fresh in my mind and I don't want to loose my son to war. I believe he hasn't a clue how hard it is and feel the recruiters glorify it without telling them the truth. He doesn't know what job to pick before he goes (hopefully not). I only hope it will be a job where he is in less danger. Any suggestions?? My husband has had cancer, a heart attack and celiac sbrue disease all in the past 6 years. So you can see why I'm not too crazy about this. Although he definitely could use the discipline. My other two children are 20 and 22 and I survived them. I'm not sure I'll survive Michael. I teach at a college and see how undisciplined all kids are now a days. How do they fair in the marines compared to years ago when people had respect. If you could tell him what jobs you recommend I would appreciate it. Michael is smart but immature. He will have 22 college credits when he graduates HS. I also worry he won't continue his education. We heard that they are so busy they don't have time for school. Thanks for listening. Concerned Mom
"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
hi i am a son of a former marine and i would like to say thanks for all that you marines have done for this country. I have read a lot of the letters that have been written and they have inspired me so much that i am going to carry in my fathers foot steps and join the corps. thank you and Semper Fi.
I just have to write and say "Thank you and Semper Fi" to Gunny Walters. Your story was moving and saddening. It's a shame that Veterans are treated a certain way depending on what war they happened to fight in. I fought in Iraq during OIF, and it wasn't a drop in the bucket compared to what you went through. The amazing thing though, is that no matter how long the conflict is, combat is combat. You fight, people die, and it's as intense as anything man can dream up. One thing that kept more than one Jarhead sane was the support of our Chaplain. Your desire to come back in as a Chaplain is more than noteworthy. Many people take the Chaplains for granted, without knowing how much they really do for our men and women serving at the tip of the spear. It's amazing how many will deny it, but inwardly appreciate what the Chaplains provided for them.
Semper Fi Mac, and God bless you.
SSgt John Pierce
1stMardiv, 1st Tank Bn, AT/TOW Plt
"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right."
IN THE DECEMBER 11TH ISSUE OF YOUR NEWSLETTER. MR TERRY KING HAD SOME VERY KIND WORDS TO SAY ABOUT THE SEABEES. I THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ANOTHER SEABEE ISSUE TO LIGHT. THE 133RD NCB-SEABEES ARE STILL trYING TO GET THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION FOR THEIR ROLE IN THE INVASION AND SECURING OF IWO-JIMA.THE FACT THAT THEY WERE A PART OF THE INITIAL ASSAULT, ATTACHED TO THE 4TH MARINE divISION, WEARING MARINE UNIFORMS AND SUFFERING HEAVIER CASUALTIES THAN THE 4TH MARINE PIONEER BATTALION DOING THE SAME DUTIES ON THE NEXT BEACH-AND SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTS FROM MARINE ON-SITE OBSERVERS-WHICH WERE SUGGESTED-IS NOT ENOUGH. WHAT trOUBLES ME, DURING ALL THE YEARS THAT WE HAVE PERUSED THIS, HOW AT LEAST FOUR OTHER SEABEE BATTALIONS DURING THE WAR RECEIVED THE PUC AS SHORE PARTY UNITS IN OTHER PACIFIC BATTLES. THE TOTALS FOR ALL FOUR DO NOT COME NEAR THE CASUALTIES OF THE 133RD. THE 370 CASUALTIES OF THE 133RD,EXCEEDS THE 189 CASUALTIES OF THE 4TH PIONEER BATTALION BY 181 MEN. THE 4TH PIONEERS RECEIVED THE PUC THE 133RD GOT EXCUSES. THE 133RD NCB WORE THEIR UNIFORM PROUDLY AS NAVY, AND WORE THEIR UNIFORM PROUDLY AS MARINES. THEY SERVED BOTH WITH GREAT DISTINCTION.
THEY EARNED AND DESERVE THE RECOGNITION THAT IS STILL NOT THEIRS!
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
A Marine stationed in Iraq recently received a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home. It read as follows:
I can no longer continue our relationship. The distance between us is just too great. I must admit that I have cheated on you twice, since you've been gone, and it's not fair to either of us. I'm sorry. Please return the picture of me that I sent to you.
The Marine, with hurt feelings, asked his fellow Marines for any snapshots they could spare of their girlfriends, sisters, ex-girlfriends, aunts, cousins etc. In addition to the picture of Becky, Ricky included all the other pictures of the pretty gals he had collected from his buddies.
There were 57 photos in that envelope....along with this note:
I'm so sorry, but I can't quite remember who you are. Please take your picture from the pile, and send the rest back to me.
Re; NASCAR... Just wanted to let you grunts know... those of you who are NASCAR fans, that this Marine, Class of '59 - '63, has a son who has just been named as the Director of Corporate Communications for the NASCAR Nextel Cup for Nextel Communications. Now whenever you see the name of "Mike Mooney" quoted in the newspapers as the spokesman for NASCAR Nextel Cup, just behind him stands one very proud Marine! His dad!
Cpl E-4 1841530/2571
My name is Donna Wilkins Fryling, I am the proud daughter of Former Sgt. Richard Wiliness. He recently submitted an article to you titled Chow Time. You printed the article in the December newsletter. My Dad received his copy of the Sgt. Grit Newsletter the Monday before Thanksgiving and he passed away in his sleep the night before Thanksgiving. He had worked very hard at putting his thoughts to words. I can't thank you enough. You put his words in print and it was timely enough, that he got to see the article before he passed away. His life was fulfilled, his children were grown, his wife cared for and his article was printed.I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen. Please if anyone had any stories or memories of my Dad or Sgt. Jerry Benson please forward them on to me or the paper. I would love to correspond to one and all. Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year to everyone.
Donna Wilkins Fryling
2961 Lemke Drive
North Tonawanda, New York
"The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them."
"President Bush sends his regards." --Anonymous Special Forces soldier on taking Hussein prisoner
Life is tough, even tougher if yer stupid. John Wayne.
God Bless America!!