Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #65

"My son has volunteered and is going to Iraq on this next (soon) deployment. I believe in this war against terrorism and the stand we are committed to. Thanks for all you do...... I support them totally!"

Scared but Proud Marine Mom, Denise


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Announcements

Well Folks the time is on us to start adding to the proud history of the Corps. These coming days are going to be busy. With major deployments in Iraq and smaller deployments in Afghanistan and Haiti our Marines are once again very busy doing what it is that we do best, protecting democracy and our way of life. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the Marines and their families who know without a doubt what it means to make the ultimate sacrifices for this great nation. We at Sgt Grit will include you all in our prayers. God speed and come home safe.

O.K. it's official! We are having the First Annual Grit Together at Sgt Grit's on May 22 from 11-3 PM. More information will appear on the Forum Page, Website and Newsletter in the near future.

As it stands, we plan to have FREE hotdogs and hamburgers. Door prizes will be given away and there will be a moon walk for the kids. Our local Marine Recruiter will be here with the pull-up bar, so you can find out if you still got it. So Old Corps, New Corps, and Future Marines, mark it on your calendar. The First Annual Sgt Grit " Grit Together"

Bring you family and friends and come and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Marines.

Here are a few hotels in the immediate area that are working with us on providing discounts and transportation to and from the hotel:

AmeriSuites $67.00 + Tax
1818 S Meridian Ave free cont. breakfast
OKC, OK 73108 free shuttle to us
405-682-3900

Biltmore Hotel $59.00
401 S Meridian Ave $64.00 w/ breakfast for two
(continental I think)
OKC, OK 73108
405-917-2200

When you make reservations at the AmeriSuites, you need to say that you are with the Sgt GriTogether to get this rate and so we will be notified.


More blatant good ol' American capitalism:

Roses and Thorn Book....For Marine Wives -BK420

USMC Datebook-BK482

USMC Calendar-CAL04

Chesty Picture-PIC810

Semper Eye Poster-P1VET

NEW PATCHES

1st Marine Division Band

Recon Detach 1

1st MEF

7th Comm BN

3rd FSSG


If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great hazards.
John Henry Cardinal Newman


"[George Washington's] example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read."
--John Adams


"A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets rough."
--Ronald Reagan (1990)


Sir, I'm a brand new Marine, straight out of Recruit Training. I graduated on 13 Feb. 2004. I want to say that even though I haven't been in the Corps long at all, I am extremely proud to be able to call myself one of the few, one of the proud, a UNITED STATES MARINE!!!! Being able to do that is something that not many people can say that they've done. As former president Ronald Reagan said, "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference or not. Marine's don't have that problem." When companies Bravo and November graduated on 13 Feb., our Bn. Executive Officer used that to close out his speech. He then turned to the audience and said, "Ladies and gentleman, the newest Marines of 2004!" I already had quite the lump in my throat, but that made it just that much bigger. While I was down at Parris Island, I had a few things gone wrong with me. I was originally sent down with Co. D. I failed the IST, so I had to go to PCP, Physical Conditioning Platoon. Then I went to Co. A for 56 training days. I was then dropped to EHP, Evaluation Holding Platoon for pneumonia. I finally graduated with Co. B after almost five months on that island. I want to say that anyone out in this great country of ours that has the thought of joining the Marine Corps, to do it. It is hard, I won't lie, but once you get over all of the obstacles and you make it to graduation, you have a feeling that you are unable to explain. Do you remember how you felt that very first time you were able to go drive the car by yourself? Well, imagine that feeling multiplied by a million. There is no way that you can truly describe that feeling. It's something you have to experience to understand. To all of the Marines out in the Corps, and all of the retired Marines, a giant OOHRAH!!!!

Pvt. Zac Irwin
16 Feb. 2004


Electric capacity has tripled in Iraq since the end of the war. More "good" things you will not hear about Iraq. http://www.usaid.gov/


Sgt Grit,
Thanks for another outstanding letter.

I just want to say that being a Marine is about "YOU" and not about anyone else in the world. It's about what you feel and what you want.

I saw Vietnam coming in 1963 and felt it was my duty to go fight for my country.

My mother hated every day of my 20 year career and made it obvious at every opportunity.

When I came home from Vietnam my Dad asked me one question: "What did you learn there?"

I said, "That life is very fragile." We didn't discuss my service again.

After I retired in 1983 we had a brief conversation about my service. He said to me that the day I joined the Corps was the worst day of his life. He had 20 years to contemplate that remark and I'm sure it's what he felt.

Now I've had 20 years to contemplate that remark, and my parents are gone.

I'm a Marine and that's what matters. I stand tall and trod a firm path, I am glad to have served my country and respect myself. I may have been financially better off in civilian pursuits, but that doesn't matter. I have enough.

I wouldn't have this if I went with my parents wishes instead of following my heart. I wouldn't be me.

Parents! LET GO! It's not your life; It's their life. Go to their graduation. None of you will regret it.

Best regards,
Scott McClellan
MSgt USMC Ret.


Sgt. Grit I would like to thank you for your news letters. They make me have even more pride in the Marines and my husband. He is a Navy Corpsman. We were stationed at Camp Lejeune for almost 5 years. He left for Iraq back in Jan of 2003 and the Navy sure did a bad job of supporting the kids and me. I had to do a move during that time and it was Marines that stepped up and helped me move my belongings. I was just moving to another part of town and it was nice to have their help. My husband saw things he didn't want to while in Iraq and it has changed him and us forever. He recently got transferred in September to a Navy base and boy do we see the difference. I choose not to live near that base but near our family here in Texas. Still close enough to him to see him on weekends. Our girls are becoming little Marines esp our youngest and it is just too cute to here a 3 year old yell Marine Corps. On this Navy base they call him Marine not Navy or his rank. He is honored to be called that . He loves the Corps I think more then the Navy and so do I. Proudly we display the Marine Corps flag. Proudly I tell people of my husbands job. He has a big issue with the Army after going to Iraq. He has his bad dreams of trying to save his Marines and all I can do is try to calm him while he sleeps. I guess I am writing this to you now because he leaves next week for Camp Pendleton and then back to Iraq. I am more scared this time then last. I have family support here but not the real family support I need. There is no Marine base. There are not hundreds of families near by that know what I am going through .. That can comfort me if I start to cry for no reason when out in town. I miss Jacksonville and I miss Lejeune cause I know that this time I will be alone. Here I go being a single parent again. Being strong for the kids. Holding out that everything will be fine even though I am not sure cause no one is promised anything. There are no signs here saying We support the troops.. There are not yellow ribbons or American flags on the houses. People are trying to forget part of why we went over there. People are trying to forget Sept. 11th. All those people who protested the war said they supported the troops.. B.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You cant shoot down what the President decided and say you support the troops.. The military was his decision. Its like two separate Americas here. One side are the military and their families the other is people who don't know a d*mn thing about military life. People who couldn't last a day in this military life of mine. How dare they say they support the troops. I don't understand how people just move on so quickly. How this new wave of Marines going over is just "normal" transition. We are sending the finest over to clean house. It is not going to be fun or pretty or safe. I am mad, hurt, sad, shocked all at the same time. Americans sit in their houses living a free safe life and I bet not many of them thought even once about the men fighting or lost when they sat with their families at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did. I thought about the Marines lost in a ambush on the 23rd of March.. I thought and prayed for the families of everyone lost . I never forget the past. I am so thankful to all the military for all that you all do.. I am esp, thankful to the Marines. You guys have made me feel safe and proud . My kids know of you all and have respect and honor for you . My girls asked me where the Marines are here. They didn't want to move away from a Marine base. My oldest daughter asked me if we would still be safe not living near the Marines. I told her yes cause they are everywhere. I am thinking of taking my kids to a near by recruiting office this weekend. My oldest wants to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day. So do I. I am sorry I babbled on ... I just wanted to say Thank you !!!!! Thank you to all the Marines in this world and everything that ya'll do. We love you just like my husband does. You are his brothers, his boys and he will do everything he can to bring the Marines he goes with home. Thanks for letting me vent.

"Devil Doc's" Wife


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have to relate what happened to me several weeks back. My wife and I and another couple were dining out. I had noticed an older gentlemen and his wife in a booth across the room. He was wearing a jacket with an EG&A on his heart. I fought with myself for a bit about whether or not to interrupt his meal and conversation. Then, I thought, well, I'm just saying "Hi" to a brother. I went over and begged his pardon for the intrusion and then said "Semper Fi, thank you for serving." He replied, "you are welcome" and asked when I was in. I told him and he said "you Vietnam era Marines had it pretty rough." Remember that statement. I asked when he had served. He said "I was on Wake Island. I was captured and spent 3 years with the Japanese in China and Manchuria." I was stunned. My Marine Corp history rolled quickly through my head. Stupidly, all I could think to say was "That's a bad way to see that part of the world." He replied "Yes, but I came home alive." I expressed my appreciation again and made my leave. When I returned home I picked up a book I had just checked out from the library. "The U.S. Marine Corp, an illustrated history" by Bartlett and Sweetman. I'm sure most of you know what happened at Wake Island. If you don't, look it up. Condensed version; after a valiant fight the end result was: 470 Marines and sailors, 5 soldiers, and 1146 civilians were taken prisoner. On a Japanese ship on the way to Shanghai, 3 Marines and 3 sailors were beheaded. Other places I have read said that only 25 to 35% of the people who went to Japanese pow camps came back. Weather, disease, malnutrition, and murder thinned the ranks. Those who survived had their health damaged. I agree with the writer several newsletters ago who said "not enough bombs dropped and not enough war criminals hanged." Back to what this gentlemen said about us having it rough. My time was a walk in the park with a beautiful woman on my arm with a band playing compared to the h*ll on earth this Marine survived. Where do we get patriots like this? Why do they love this country so much? Why do men and women continue to serve and sacrifice even to this hour? Thank God for them and their love for this country. Thank God for our founding fathers and their vision for a free nation under God. So, please when you see one who has served or is serving, take the time to say thanks. By doing so, we affirm that we believe in them and this great nation.

Glen W.


Sarge!
I am the Proud Mother of United States Marine, Corporal Andrew J. Sterling, 0311, India Co. 3/5. Andrew served in the invasion of Iraq the overthrow of Baghdad. Needless to say, 2003 was the year from h*ll for this single mom of one.

Recently, I mentioned, in passing, that Feb 10 was the one year anniversary of my son deploying to Kuwait to prepare to fight in Iraq. As you can imagine, I experienced many emotions, but being a good Marine Mom, I adapted and overcame.

Andrew is home safe and continuing his training.

There is one Ya-Hoo at work that is a total idiot - as I mentioned the anniversary, he looked at me dead in the eye and said that he didn't give a sh!t! Then proceeded to force-feed me this political views every time he strolled by my desk. I wanted to reach over and get him in a choke hold - but I digressed, not worth breaking a sweat for the ignorant slob.

Instead, the following is what broke forth. I'm not a big woman in stature, but my love for our Beloved Country and Corps is Gigantic!

"I am weary of the rhetoric that we, the parents of our United Stated Armed Forces are forced to stomach every time we mention that our loved one has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Does mentioning that our children are in a foreign land, fighting terrorists, make you feel a little guilty that you're not doing your part? You say that you support the Troops yet, I would wager to say that you have never once sent a care package or a letter to our troops.

But, you insist on opening your mouth (veiled in the right of freedom of speech) thinking that we give a sh!t about your opinion of how President Bush has it all messed up. I suspect, that with all your thoughtless words, you have never ever once considered what it does to us, the parents of Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors, who are and have been in the direct line of fire, who have seen their friends injured , worse yet, killed.

What do you really think that your off the cuff comments does to us? It angers us, it makes us feel disrespected and it devalues our children. Oh, if only I would be willing to lower myself, letting go of my self respect for one moment, I would beat the sh!t out of you!

What are you trying to accomplish by telling us your political views? Do you think that somehow, we'll agree with you, phone the President and tell him that we demand our troops home? Come on - Get real.

War makes no sense, but it is real and it does happen.

Deal with it, we have. Get over yourself.

If you want to support the troops make a donation to the VFW or donate blood visit a National Cemetery by paying your respects, walk with & along side a family whose loved one is deployed, do something, but in the meantime, please keep your BIG mouth shut."

Ester Souza
Proud Marine Mom of
Cpl Sterling, Andrew J.
V 3/5 India Company
2nd Platoon
Camp Pendleton, CA
MOS: 0311 Rifleman


Sgt Grit,
There's been chatter in your Newsletter about the CAR (Combat Action Ribbon) being awarded to troops fired upon. We as helicopter crews were fired upon all the time on the ground and in the air, getting hit more times than not. The ribbon is not awarded to personnel for aerial combat since the Strike/Flight Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure: however. A pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade after being forced down could be eligible for the award. There are many a helicopter crew members that are eligible for those reasons! I found the information with a net search at:
http://www.cursor.org/venturawatch/combat_action_ribbon.htm
I hope this make things clear for aircrews searching for information on it.

Semper Fi, Tim McMahon HMM-262 RVN 66-67


Hit Hard.
Hit Fast.
Hit Often.
-Admiral William "Bull" Halsey


"Get off my bus now! Move it!
Hurry up and grab your sh!t!"

No tuning back now, too late
You have already passed through the "gate"

Thirteen weeks of blood sweat and tears
Learning new things and conquering fears

We train all day and into the night
Why stop for the lack of light?

Muscles hurt like all the time
As if taking a break would be a crime

So home sick you want to give in and die
But mama is so proud it almost makes you cry

So you'll keep pushing to the very end
To go home and see family and friends

Just over a week is all you get
To sleep and handle your sh!t

Everyone is smiling and glad your back
Impressed by the discipline you no-longer lack

Now its time to go and start phase two
Marine Combat Training waits for you

Out in the field for twenty days straight
With nothing more then a bunch of hurry up and wait

A lot less sleep and a lot less chow
Because they are training us for war now

Our troops are gone and not doing well
They are tired and sick and living in h*ll

Can't stop now, no time for rest
Have to train hard and do our best

You've done well from the start,
Remember, stay strong, safe and smart!

PFC James W Arnold
USMC 030804- forever


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


Sgt. Grits:
This past Christmas Season, my wife convinced me to go shopping with her. The deal was I could set on one of the benches and watch the masses of lost soul walking by. I went to set on one of the benches and I noticed a senior citizen, wearing a red baseball cap that said 1st MAR. DIV. Guadalcanal Survivor. I said to the Marine, mind if I set here. His reply was, take a load off Marine. I asked how he knew I was a Marine, he replied you ask my permission. For the next two hours as we set there he did 99%, of the talking and I just listened.

Told me how he enlisted two days after Peal Harbor, was attacked. Men of all ages were fighting to get in to sign up. Talked about his basic training, most importantly was becoming a Marine being able to shoot straight and accurate. While he was on the canal. There shortage of everything medicine, food, everyone was fighting not only the japes but malaria and dozens of other tropical disease.

No matter how often thing went from bad to worst, there was one thing that was never in short supply of that was the MARINE CORPS sprite. Everyone on the island was a Marine Rifleman. Cook pulled their shift in the mess and then manned machine guns position around HD., clerk worked in the office during the day and pulled night paroles, air wing personal became rifle men during all attach. Chaplin's became ammo carrier or stretcher barriers, band members were stretcher and when thing got real rough they picked up their true weapon, the RIFLE and filled in on the line. The one thing the japes and American people forgot about was the MARINE take care of there own and make do with what they had. They watched each other backs at all times.

I asked the Marine how long he was in and he said 1941 - 1946, the last 9 months in the hospital due to an injury, his leg it had a brace on it. I didn't asked what happen. There were many more thing he told me about MARINE in WW 2, there isn't enough time to tell you everything.

When my wife came to pick me up it felt like I had just sat down with this wonderful senior Marine. I shook is hand and said it was an HONOR MARINE, having the privilege to talk with you Sir. His rely was I am a Sgt, not an officer. As my wife and started to walk way I noticed something, this Senior Marine, was sitting a little taller and straight, color in face, a sparkle in eyes and yes a small tear was forming in eye.

The sad thing was I failed to get his name. That night when I went to bed I hugged my wife a little tighter and longer than normal, I knew that if it wasn't the SENIOR MARINE, I would not be here today.

So if you see a Marine that has served and is getting along in year take time to stop visit a few minutes, you will be surprised how much better it will make him or her feel and it will also make feel good.

Phillip Fields
USMC 62 - 66


"Part of the appeal of al-Qa'ida -- what it uses to recruit people and funds -- is its mystique. Superhuman feats, brilliant execution, masterful planning. That aura feeds its ideology of historical inevitability, that ultimately it will prevail over Western decadence, because the seemingly high-tech West lacks the diabolical and methodical will that Islamism brings to the war."
--Charles Krauthammer


This year, America will start to listen to and learn... about the positive things all honorable Vets did in Vietnam. With this year's American presidential election and the current war on terrorism, it looks like the truth is finally coming out about the brave men and women who served in Vietnam. I've been hearing that the Combined Action Program (CAP) is about to be reactivated in Iraq. The more the American People hear about the success of CAP in Iraq, the more the interest will build about what CAP is and was... all about. CAP was a successful anti-terrorist unit in Vietnam. The unit had a nickname "Peace Corps Volunteers With Rifles." It's strength was it's civil action programs.

CAP is just one of the civil action programs that all the branches of America's military had in Vietnam. America has been listening to the crap... for too long!

Always Faithful
Jack Cunningham
Vietnam 1970-71
www.CapVeterans.com


"Terrorist organizations haven't sprung up from Eritrea or Burkina Faso. Terrorists aren't the impoverished. They are generally more affluent and better-educated than the truly deprived."
--Jed Babbin


Sir
Just a quick note. I was in Iraq from the end of February last year until October. While in Kuwait in early February, before the war, I saw the Chaplains Guidon on the flag pole, and while in Iraq, the Chaplain for 7th Marines would fly it on his Hummer while inside our compound and giving services. This would tell me it is still used today.

SSgt S.P. Perry
I&I Staff, L/3/23
Monrgomery AL


Hey, Pastor Mark H. Johnson,
you wanted a listing of some of the famous Marines, well here goes.

Former Sec. of the Navy, James E. Webb; Gene Hackman, actor; John Glenn; Mike Mansfield, Montana Senator; John Philip Sousa, the March King; Edwin Denby, former Sec. of the Navy; John Chafee, former Sec. of the Navy; Robert C. McFarlane, former Presidential National Security Advisor; Hugh O'Brien, actor; Joseph J. Foss (MOH) Governor of South Dakota; Hugh Brannum, "Mr. Green Jeans"; Art Buchwald, humorist; David Dinkins, former Mayor of New York; Edward Dugmore, artist; The Everly Brothers, musicians; Ray Heatheron, television's Merry Mailman; Bob Keeshan (Navy Cross) Captain Kangaroo; Ed McMahon, television host; Paul Moore Jr, former Episcopal Bishop of New York; Mark Russell, political satirist; Vincent Sardi, restaurateur; Carmen Basilio, boxer; Gil Hodges, baseball player; Bob Mathias, decathlete; Ken H. Norton, boxer; Leon Spinks Jr., boxer; Ted Williams, baseball player; Sterling Haydon, actor; Brian Keith, actor; Steve McQueen, actor; Lee Marvin (Navy Cross) actor; George Peppard, actor; Tyrone Power, actor; George C. Scott, actor; Burt Young, actor; Robert Wagner, actor; James Whitmore, actor; Henry Bellman, Oklahoma Senator; Daniel Brewster, Maryland Senator; Dale Bumpers, Arkansas Senator; Francis Case, South Dakota Senator; James P. S. Devereaux, Maryland Senator; Paul Douglas, Illinois Senator; John East, North Carolina Senator; Howell Heflin, Alabama Senator; Joseph R. McCarthy, Wisconsin Senator; Charles S. Robb, Virginia Senator; James Sasser, Tennessee Senator; George Smathers, Florida Senator, Adlai Stevenson III, Illinois Senator; Pete Wilson, California Senator; Walter Cunningham, Astronaut; Robert Cabana, Astronaut; Jack Lousma, Astronaut; Story Musgrave, Astronaut; S.B. Griffith, writer; John W. Thomason, writer, Ira Hayes; Gerald McRany, actor (Major Dad); Walt Disney; Zell Miller, ex-governor of Georgia; Montel Williams, tv talk show host; Lee Travino, golfer; David Douglas Duncan, photographer; R. Lee Ermey, actor; James J. "Gene" Tunney, boxer; Conrad Burns, Senator from Montana; Eugene Stoner, inventor of the M-16; John Russell, actor; Robert Ryan, actor; Leslie M. Baker Jr., Chairman of the Board of Wachovia Bank; Drew Carey, comedian; John S. Corzine, New Jersey Senator; Don Imus, radio show host; George Jones, country musician; Alfred Lerner, former Chairman of MBNA Corp.; Robert A. Lutz, former Chairman of the Board of Chrysler; Tom Monaghan, founder and CEO of Dominos Pizza; Buddy Rich, jazz musician; Fred Smith, Chairman of the Board and CEO of FedEx; Craig Thomas, Senator from Wyoming; Felix de Waldon, artist; Jonathan Winters, comedian; Pupa "Shaggy" Rico, musician; "Tug" McGraw, Phillies relief pitcher.

I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but this is the list I have compiled over the years


Last issue of herringbone utilities or perhaps my claim as one of the last of the "brown shoe" Marines. In addition the word old as I noted in # 64 a few vintage brothers such as myself 61-65. Know the feeling of these seasoned brothers and the affects of our common parents, mother nature and father time. You published my note about the Army Officer who comes from down my road and his feeling about how the Marines he first served with in Afghanistan "did it right". Reflecting on this in the early AM today, that simple statement made in respect and admiration in my opinion, really strikes at the heart of what being a Marine is all about. Do it right a simple statement starts with respect. God, Country and Corps can be translated to do it right. From my era, still opening a door so ladies can enter/exit is part of respect, manners, and courtesy. I am 62 and still use the term "Ma'mm" to young women a third my age. The Corps instills in most of us the core value of simply do it right. Pride lasts forever, it is what makes us a cut above the rest. So Old Corps, new Corps.......history and tradition are, have been and will be simply about three ....."Do it Right". Matter of fact, a bumper sticker or hat/shirt MARINES...WE DO IT RIGHT might be another slogan to share with the rest of the world. So if you are ever stuck for a definition of the Corps just the words "we do it right and maybe add night, after night, after night" is what it is all about.

RIGHT, NIGHT, MIGHT AND FIRST TO FIGHT. IDM 1960764


Sgt. Grit: Saturday, February 14, 2004

Just thought it was about time to share some experiences...whoa, how this war thing has changed my life. I used to be able to maintain calm patient perseverance with the criminals that I review and deal with as a District Attorney Investigator. But, my temperament has become so volatile, as of late. I would excuse the occurrences to age, womanhood or season...but none of those are an issue, except age and that is a good thing...getting much closer to retirement. I have noticed my concentration is full of distraction, crying comes with the a break-out of the American flag, or a endearing story of another veteran or separated family, even songs of whoa and endearment brings tears to my eyes now. September 11th has had its effect on the better part of us with youngsters in the military...but the dedication and spirit of the United States Marines seems to cause start to the heart! My grizzly-bear Hubbie, now just pats me and gives me those silent knowing looks...he doesn't know what to say, as I stare at the evening news with breathless attention. My son is on his second deployment to that nasty sandbox...he goes with resolution and volunteerism. He now has the experience of one that has traveled those alleys and feels the need to guide his brother Marines through a path yet followed before.

I really thought there would be more time and stalled a visit to allow him to adapt with his wife and daughter....only to be cut short of that precious hug to his neck. I will return to my package routine and letter writing again. Last week, while attending a conference of seasoned investigators in Austin, Texas...a woman investigator traversed the mirage of chairs and bodies to seek me out because I sported my "blue star" hat pin...as usual on the lapel of my suit jacket.

We huddled and hugged during the breaks of three days of Mandatory Peace Officer Training, both quite aware of the pitfalls of government service, unable to quite express the fear, pride or wishes we felt. Her son returned last month, only 23 years-of-age from service in Iraq. His initial request of his Mom was not to remove the YELLOW RIBBONS because they are still there. He served as a tanker with the Army 3rd ID and saw some action. She described her first meeting with her son, after almost a year-and-a-half as elation and sorrow. Her description of her son chilled me to the bone...she said he was so happy to have served and so proud of the courage exhibited by his brothers that fell...he had wanted to be a tanker since the age of 4. The Marines wouldn't take him because of a birth defect, after trying several doctors and recruiters to enter the Marines...he elected for surgery to repair his heart defect and was accepted by the United States Army, assigned to Fort Gordon (it might have been Campbell...I have difficulty with details lately). She said he looked like a ghost of the son she knew before, like pale skin hanging on a gaunt skeleton...but that he returned with such pride and spirit of those that serve, and a never ending admiration for the Marines he encountered.

I lost many and experienced the trek of my pals during the Vietnam War and never saw the pride she expressed. Many returned bitter and beaten...while I was mainly exposed to Army service contributors... Through the years, I have known Marines from that era that while they often expressed disdain to their service through the conflict; they all continued to maintain total and ultimate support for their brother Marines. The Marines that have worked with me, or for me, throughout the years...have never shirked their duty or failed to complete the task at hand, regardless of the required commitment.

I will continue to be vigilant to the issues, always know the name of news reporters [I never knew before 02/2003], support our President, and remain an example for my profession, my son and the Marine Corps spirit. If he can go for it, I can, too!

I thank you for your trinkets of distinction and applaud the camaraderie my little pins and bows have brought for me throughout this conflict. You just never know when someone needs to talk! ... and the identity of my little Sgt. Grit pins provided me an insight to the service of yet one more mother and her son.

Thank you for allowing my participation in your site, your dedicated contributors and for your spirit to the needs of those of us that serves at home.

Cathy L. Holm, Chief Investigator
Special Prosecution Unit, Civil Division
The [GREAT] State of Texas
Huntsville, Texas
Mother to SSgt. S.E. LeMay, 1st MAR DIV, HQ-BN (Main).
[currently back in Kuwait...preparing to enter Iraq...one more time!]


Dear Sgt: Grit, for several years now I have been faithfully reading your newsletter. As far as I am concerned it has proved to be a great asset to the Marine community. To this I say OOOORAH on a job well done. In the past I have written several times to express my feelings. Today I'd like to comment on the letter submitted by Sgt; James E. Smith.

After my return from Vietnam in 1970 I was assigned to Guard Company Marine Barracks 8th & I Streets in Washington D.C. and for a short period of time I had the privilege of being involved in funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery. The one thing I can remember so clearly is the sound of Taps being played. It seemed too echoed across the whole cemetery and for a brief moment it would bring the entire world to a complete halt, as if out of respect for our fallen comrades. To this day I don't know how I kept such a straight unwavering face because each time I heard it played I would feel a cold chill going up and down my spine. Jim you should feel a deep sense of pride because as a bugler you rendered a final tribute to our fellow Marines.

As a 55 year old "Once a Marine Always a Marine" I now again have the privilege of being involved with funeral services. As members of the Marine Corps League we are often called upon to provide a tribute of respect for fallen Marines in our area. It's a small service lasting maybe 10 minutes where we offer a prayer and place gold Marine Corps Emblem on their heart and present a small Marine Corps flag to their next of kin. Then the moment of truth and since we don't have a bugler we play Taps from a CD player. I can't begin to tell you how that one haunting song moves so many people. Once again I keep that unwavering face as that cold chill travels up and down my spine. As a final tribute we play a 1/2 time version of the Marine Corps Hymn. Its funny how even us old Marines seem to stand a little straighter when the Hymn is played. When the final note is struck each member is called upon to render a final salute "Semper Fi My Brother" and finally as we march off we pay our condolences to their family members. I can't begin to tell you how this simple ceremony solidifies the bond among us. Even though we may not know the Marines that lie before us we are still there for them in their last hours. We provide this service without cost and the responses from family members and friends of the fallen Marines are more than ample reward. William Shakespeare wrote. We few, we precious few.. We who have shed our blood together, shall forever be... A Band of Brothers... And we shall always be Marines. Semper Fi Jim and may God Bless our fellow Marines wherever they may serve.

Cpl Anthony P. Sandrick, Jr. 1968-1972.


I think anybody with half a brain knows that this war is in fact "worse" than Vietnam. I work with many Vietnam veterans...men who's country has more or less turn their backs on them. Many Desert Storm veteran's returned home with bugles playing and flags a waving...and nothing else has been heard...nothing about the mysterious illnesses...nothing. Gen. Smedley Butler would think you all a bunch of "yes" men. Worse than a hundred malingerers. All of you wave the flag, but sit on your good for nothing fat asses while the VA administrations budget gets cut yearly. There isn't a thimble full of wisdom in anything posted on this page, and censure is the word of the day. Our boys are being sent to war by someone "worse" than a draft dodger. At least Bill Clinton could be straight up about his beliefs! I like reading this page...it bring new meaning to Michael Moores...STUPID WHITE MEN!

stephendurham@juno.com


Hello Sgt. Grit,
Sgt. James E. Smith's contribution to #64 triggered a vivid memory that I thought I should respond. In September, 1967, I returned to CONUS and was given 30 days leave. My home of record was New York City, Manhattan's lower East Side, and I returned unannounced to visit with my family. On the night I arrived, I was asked if I knew the Flahive family, and I had a nodding acquaintance with them. They live in adjacent apartment building, and their son was 4-5 years older than I. He was a US Marine Captain and, regrettably, he was KIA. His wake was being held nearby, and I attended to pay my respects. Capt. Flahive's parents were grief-stricken, of course. Their precious son had given his life, and their lives were destroyed in the vacuum of his death. I knelt at the casket, then turned to his parents and his father's face was contorted with grief. He too asked, "Why are you alive and my son is dead? Why?" His wife jabbed him with an elbow and asked, "How could you ask that?" He turned to her and added, "Because I don't understand why our son is dead." I had no answer that would ease his pain, but I didn't want to say anything that would make it worse. I simply answered, "Because your son was a better Marine than I, sir. I'm genuinely sorry for your loss." His mother graciously answered, "I'm glad you made it home." I nodded and responded, "Thank you, Ma'am." His father buried his hands in his face and was unable to speak, and I took no offense. This man was wracked by grief, and he was dealing with the loss the best way he could. For my part, I had nothing to offer that would ease their pain. I remained for a while, spoke to the officer who escorted Capt. Flahive's body, and returned to my mother's apartment for a night's sleep. I would say Mr. Smith and his bugle performed a far more useful service for his brother Marines. It has been four decades since I first heard Taps as a Marine recruit at Parris Island. Lord willing, it'll be played for me when I cross the river. The memory of Capt. Flahive's parents is vivid, if only because I felt genuinely useless for them at the moment and somewhat guilty for being very much alive. Like Sgt. Smith, I doubt I'll ever forget that question or the context in which it was asked. Like most of us, I've tried to formulate an answer in the way I've lived my life, and I think I see my answer in the faces of my son and daughter. We all have excellent reasons to live productive lives, and often that is not a matter of choice. For those of us granted the opportunity to live our lives and share them with others, we do well to keep the value of a life, every life, in the forefront of our minds. There's been a change of the guard; another generation has shouldered the burden of protecting America's interests and keeping our nation's promises, and each of their lives is precious and irreplaceable. Let us support the troops of all branches of service and, whatever the role or MOS, remember that there are no insignificant jobs in our Marine Corps.

Edward J. Palumbo
2030368; 2543/2531
1964-1968 and Forever


Sgt.Grit, I was struck by a comment of Henry Eichenbaum, in AmericanCourage #64. Henry, I hope your comment of being "very proud to be a distant relative..." was a reference to your age or mileage from a Marine Corps Base; and NOT a reference to being ONLY in the Marine Reserves! Our Corps requires a multitude of MOS's and billets, both active and reserve. When you graduated from boot camp, were you given only a Eagle and Anchor? NO --You earned the title "MARINE". By your letter I can tell the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is also seared on your heart. Do NOT consider your service as "only a short timer" on active duty. As the years fly past, most of us would like to have the opportunity to once again serve our corps. You earned your full membership into the Brotherhood of Marines. Once a Marine -- Always a Marine!

We all are proud of our active duty brothers. They continue to build on a heritage from 1775. We are all part of that heritage.

Semper Fidelis,
Steve Bruce
MSgt. USMC (Retired)
Steve E. Bruce


I would like to say something about Mr. Rick Wilson's comments about Marine Reservists. I suggest that he attend the next Tiger Comp held at Fort Knox, KY usually in the Fall of every year. It is the only tank competition in the world where reserve tank units are matched against active duty tank units. Mr. Wilson might be surprised how well the reserve units match up against the regulars; they have even won several years. And as I recall, wasn't it a Marine reserve tank unit out of Washington state that fought the large tank battle at the Kuwait airport in '91 in old M-60s and kicked the Iraqi's butts? It is probably people like Mr. Wilson who also disdain the President for serving in the Guard. Serving your country is not dodging anything . . . especially these days, Mr. Wilson.

Bob Peavey
Tank Commander
5th & 3rd Tank Battalions
Vietnam, 1968 - '69


To Gunny Wurdinger,
I did missed the one about the 0369 Master Sergeants in our glorious infantry. I should have remembered, we had a hard core one in my last unit. Thanks for the PMI and know that I dropped and did 20 to your honor.

Respectfully,
Sgt Oscar A. Martinez, 0311 USMC
MSG Detachment Colombo, Sri Lanka


Recently, I have seen a lot of concerns about young people going into the Marine Corps and possibly being put in harms way. I enlisted in the Corps at 17 years, with my parents permission. My mother was against me going into the Corps, Viet Nam was still going on and my dad and 2 of my uncles had both been wounded in Nam. I was a kid in trouble, head for reform school unless something changed. The Marine Corps made this change.

My mother worried about me until I retired in 1992. You are a mother and are expected to worry, each Marine out there has someone at home who is always concern about them. I can not calm your fears, what I can say is that your child will get the training they need to survive almost any hardship, and believe me there will be many. The NCOs, SNCOs and Officers of the Corps will watch over your Marine and try their best to bring all the Marines under there care home. Many of us are grateful to those Marines that trained and help us to come home. Your Marines Have chosen a path few can walk, I hope that as a Marine Mom you will notice the change and show the pride of a Mother of Marine

Semper Fi
MSgt (Top T) Trujillo, USMC
1970- 1992


Sgt Grit,
I enjoy the newsletter greatly, it's great to hear sea stories from Marines of every era. Interesting to me is the ongoing question of what do you call a Marine no longer on active duty... It's simple "MARINE" I'm not a "NOAD", "RELAD" I'm a MARINE plain and simple, not as lean but a lot smarter and still ready to serve.

Sgt Griffith 2052554 "63-67" II MAW H&HS2, MACS-7,
I MAW MACS-9, MCSC Phila.


I am a recent subscriber to your new letter line and I am glad to hear some of the comments. I am proud to be the wife of a 21 year serving marine and counting. He never hesitated to re-enlist after his 20 years were up. Retirement is not in him. He is proud of this country and I'm proud of the man who has developed into a strong, loving, caring and supportive husband. He entered into the core as a Senior in high school and left for boot camp right after graduation. Never regretted one minute of it. I know that he has trained a lot of men that have gone over to fight in this war, and he wishes them all a safe return. It is just as hard to our service men here training these younger men to go and fight, sending them off like their own kids, and hope that they have taught them well and will return home. Bless all the friends and families of those in the service here and abroad.

Crl.Tun.


"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
--Thomas Jefferson


Hi Sgt. Grit,
In 1969 I was pretty severely wounded but recovered well in a field hospital. I requested and was granted a 30 day covalence leave to CONUS (I had been in country for 2 years already with only an R&R out). When we arrived at San Francisco all military personnel in uniform were hustled to a "holding area" and told to change into civilian clothing, and if we had no civilian clothing, a set was provided to us. I did not understand why this was happening, I figured it was a "perk" for military returning from the 'Nam. Actually, there were hundreds if not thousands of protesters spitting on returning military, calling them all kinds of foul names, and just making life pretty miserable for them. That was the real reason we were segregated. I boarded a flight for Memphis, TN, though I lived about 100 miles south of there in Mississippi. My parents were picking me up at the airport and taking me home. I made it to Memphis fine, but the civilian clothing I had been "issued" did not fit well so I changed back into my uniform. I met my parents, and we set off for home. It was about noon so we stopped at a nice restaurant in Mississippi and ate. When we had finished, my father went to the register to pay. The owner was there and told my father that the entire family's meal was "on the house". My father, of course, asked why and the owner told him that no Marine coming home from the war was gonna pay for a meal in his restaurant. I asked the man if he had lost someone in Viet Nam and he answered that he had not, but he did watch TV and saw how returning Vets were treated and was appalled. He told me he recognized the Viet Nam Service and Campaign ribbons. My mother began to cry and I thanked the man heartily and Semper Fi'ed him as we left to continue home. Though the restaurant is no longer there, I get a really warm feeling every time I pass through that town now.

D. Dye, USMC, 1966 through forever and beyond


Regarding the Sarge, Gunny, Top issue, in 1969, I was with Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based out of the 5th Marine Regiment base camp in An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, RVN. Our 1st Sergeant (name escapes me) allowed only NCOs and above to call him Top. Our Gunnery Sergeant, a Korean War veteran who carried a metal .45 cal. "burp gun" with a fold out wire frame butt, allowed everyone to call him Gunny. However, I don't remember anyone calling the E-5s "Sarge". I always referred to them as Sergeant and I don't recall anyone saying Sarge. Anyway, that was just my company, at that time. I would like to say, though, that if I had earned the rank of E-5, I would have been proud to be called "Sarge".

Ed Moore - Cpl. - 2463544


This was written by the 3018 Platoon, I Company graduated MCRD San Diego 24 October 2003

A Marines Poem

If I ever go to war Mom
Please don't be afraid
There are some things I must do
To keep those promises I made
I'm sure there will be some heartbreak
And I know you'll shed a tear
But your son is a Marine now Mom
There is nothing you should fear

If I ever go to war Dad
I know that you'll be strong
But you won't have to worry
Because you taught me right from wrong
You've kept me firmly on the ground
You taught me how to fly
Your son is a Marine now Dad
I love you, Semper Fi


If I ever go to war Sis
There are some things I want to say
You've always had my back
And now its time to repay
You'll always be my daybreak
Through all of life's dark clouds
You're brother is a Marine now Sis
I promise to make you proud

If I ever go to war my friends
We will never be apart
Though we may never meet again
I'll hold you in my heart
Remember all the times we had
Don't let your memories cease
Your Friend is a Marine now
I'll die to bring you peace

And when I go to heaven
And see those pearly gates
I'll gladly decline an entrance
And stand my post and wait
"I'm sorry sir I can't come in
I'm sort of in a bind
You see I'm still a Marine sir
So I can't leave them behind"


I would to post a question on the newsletter.....I was once told that a Metal Marine was the few that were left here state side during the WWI or WWII....sort of the old guard. AV


Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit and all my Brother and Sister Marines,
I was very impressed by the letter in your recent newsletter from Sgt James E. Smith about his service as a bugler during the Vietnam war. His was truly a special duty. The incident where the grieving sister of a fallen Marine slapped him makes me think about the many different ways we may be called to serve. As young Marines, many of us focused on being "Riflemen first" and then our particular MOS. That's the way it has to be, because we are our Country's "Warrior Class." But, as I have gotten older and been able to reflect on the place our beloved Corps has played, and continues to play, in our society, I have come to appreciate that being an American warrior is about more than fighting Our Country's battles in the air, on land and sea.

Our ultimate purpose is service. Service to our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and others, because we care enough to make the sacrifices required. AND we recognize that we are blessed to have such a wonderful country to serve. That's the part the draft-dodgers and shirkers never got - - it is a privilege to serve our Country and our Corps.

Sgt. Smith rendered his service in a unique way. Thank you, Sergeant, and God bless you and all Marines, past and present, who make the us "the proud."

Michael P. Reynolds, Cpl.
USMC, 66-70; RVN, 67-68


Hey Sgt Grit,
I guess it's time I said hello and sent a shout out to all my Marines still in the Corps. I recently retired after 22 years. I still serve in some way, I'm back in Iraq for the government helping to expedite critical items our troops need. H*ll I spend more time gone then I did with the Corps. My last crew of men came to me about 4 years ago straight from Boot Camp and A-School. All a bunch of hard *ss recruits. Well they have done well for themselves, all are have been promoted to Sgt and doing well. And I wanted to let them know I am very pound of them and they're success. I often talk to my guy's (Sgt Olivero) and was informed about they progress. They were truly a blessing for a old gunny heading out the door. I feel that I have done all I can when I leave behind a group of young men with such high standards. So here's to MY crew. For an outstanding job. And for carrying on the tradition. "Parachute Riggers - THE LAST TO LET YOU DOWN" They're all still in Yuma fixing jets.

Capt Jeff Wideman (Major select)- Best d*mn OIC I ever had, Sir treat all your SNCO's like me and you'll have no problem making Commandant.

Sgt Olivero of Texas, Sgt Welch of N.C., Sgt Alveraz of Calif, Cpl Dopkowsky of Penn. And to all the new ones, Just follow the example of your Sgt's and it will come to you also.

Kenneth E Mayle GySgt, USMC (Ret.)


Hi Sarg;
I know I had the honor of being the the only caviar to be with the Marines before and after "The Bombing." I'm Hot Dog Harry Hirschinger and as a gesture of love and affection for our Marines I shipped and personally served 3000 Marines hot dogs pop and all the fixings. I also brought with me thousands of cards and letters from loved ones back home and the school children of Oho. In 1987 after another trip to Korea The White House called me at my hot dog commissary. I owned 18 hot dog carts in Columbus, Ohio They said the President was coming to town Thursday and wanted to meet me and thank me. He did and my children also met Ronald Reagan. Just came across your site and thought you might enjoy the story. My brother was with 5th Marine Div on Iwo Jima.
Best wishes Hot Dog Harry Hirschinger


"You Might Be A Military Wife If......."

1. Your mail goes to four addresses in two countries before it reaches you.

2. You earned an Accounting degree by deciphering your husband's LES and running a family on what was ACTUALLY deposited.

3. "Savings" sounds like a great idea and you hope to someday have some.

5. You can simultaneously be a control freak, change plans on a moment's notice, yet you are not being treated for schizophrenia.

6. You know the Tricare regulations/procedures better than their service reps.

7. You know what forms you need better than your husband's Admin clerk.

8. You are strangely attracted (or repulsed) by the color green.

9. You can calculate the cost of a 5-minute phone call from any country, any time, on up to four different calling plans.

10. At a distance, you can pick out your husband from 100 other men with identical haircuts and clothes.

11. The face paint in your closet is NOT for your children.

12. Name tapes are not just for kids.


"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. '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."
--Thomas Paine


I so much enjoy reading your newsletters. I wanted to write you as I have been reading all these wonderful heart felt letters from parents, retired Marines etc. My son was just deployed to Iraq on Feb.18 from Camp Lejeune. He is in the Blt 1/6 bravo co. Only a parent can feel that special pride of seeing their child leave to go overseas for their country. I have two sons in the USMC but only one is being deployed. Listening to the GySgt talking to us of how proud and honored they are that we have sacrificed in giving our sons and daughters to them to train and send to protect our great country is an overwhelming feeling. I feel my son was a gift given to me by God. He made a choice to go to the Marine corp. So my gift has been given to the USMC. Watching those young men that day give me a feeling that there is no other place in the world I would want to live. They were just kids but the responsibility that has been given to them is more than any civilian could ever comprehend. I think back when he was a little boy, how he would play military soldier games. And now he is that soldier ready to die for our country if need be. I realized that day in Camp that all my sacrifices I've done as a single parent has molded this young man, my Son. I am so proud of him and all our military personnel. God bless them all! Semper Fi

A Blue Star Mom,
Dana Beasley


In reply to "Top or not to Top",
It has been my experience on my way up the promotion ladder to the rank of MGYSGT that most of the Marines I served with that attained the rank of MSGT or MGYSGT had no preference as far as being addressed "TOP" for either rank or "MASTER GUNS" after being promoted to MGYSGT, myself included. However there were several Marines of those ranks that preferred to be addressed as MASTER SGT or MASTER GUNNERY SGT when conversing with subordinate ranks.
The rational is that it took a lot of time and energy and experience to attain those ranks and as a sign of respect for those ranks and the effort it took, the individual Marine deserved to be addressed as each proffered. I always schooled my junior ranks that at times rank has it's privileges and that was one Sr. SNCO's deserved if they chose.

G.O. Lewis, Retired MGYSGT, 2153186.


Dear Sgt. Grit,

"So Much Bigger"

My Son graduated from Penn State University in the Spring of 2000, and then spent that summer pursuing employment in his Telecommunications degree. By early fall he was preparing for his final interview with a business that was based in the World Trade Center. On September 11th that corporation, and the people