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 #70

"We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts.... Self-government means self-reliance."
--Calvin Coolidge

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Old Corps - New Corps - Family of Marines - Future Marines

1ST Annual Sgt GriTogether!
Saturday, May 22, 2004
11 am -3 pm

Free Burgers and Hot Dogs!
Family Fun! - Door Prizes!
Free Temporary Tattoos and Face Paint for the Kids
Pull-up Bar
Sgt Chuck Gregg's huge Marine collection.


New Stuff

Light Up Eagle, Globe & Anchor Hitch Cover

Single Churchill Cigar with black Tube

Angels of Death / O.I.F. II - Black T-shirt

"But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty."
--Thomas Jefferson

Hello, I just wanted to say a few words. My son, who is 18 yrs old, has enlisted and will report to MCRD San Diego this summer after graduation. As a mom I have to admit that I was initially a little upset, even though I knew since he was 5 yrs old that this day would come. However, after reading your newsletter each week, and speaking with other Marines, I can now see what a positive, life-changing event this will be for my son. I am sick and tired of the media and others who bad-mouth our military, when most of them have never even served. My son would go to Iraq today if he could. I am proud to say that he is a Marine and that he is willing to risk his life for his country, even for those who are ungrateful. Thank you for your newsletter. It motivates me every time I read it.
The Marines are the best!
Marine Mom in TX

My 19 year old son, Blake is in the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Bat. 4th Marines. I never dreamed he would ever go to war, let alone be in the middle of a 3-day gun battle in Ramadi! Even through all of this I know only God is in control! I'm sick & tired of the press media talking about why we should pull out of Iraq. If we would do that now, then all of our work, and over 600 lives would be in vain!! Keep praying for our Marines!!!
Lisa P.

I take issue with the man who said that that the 82nd did not have the balls to kick ass at Faluja. I am willing to bet that the problem was that they were not allowed to do so. I served next to enough Airborne to know that they are top notch troopers even if they were not Marines. They were always ready for a fight in a bar or in the elephant grass in Nam.
Edward Hannan
Former Capt. USNCR
12th Marines and 3/9 RVN 1965

"The lesson of 9/11 has already been learned and a doctrine to prevent its repetition has been formulated. Without actually saying it, President Bush made it plain that as a nation, we are tired of being surprised by our enemies, over and over again. What else, after all, is the Bush doctrine of preemption? We are not, it says, going to wait around for the opportunity to turn the other cheek. If you are planning on hitting us with a surprise attack, be prepared to be surprised, yourself. ...And, then, preemption isn't much of a doctrine unless your enemies believe you mean it."
--Geoffrey Norman

"We should be as bold and brash and brave in our democratic ideals as ever. ... The struggle for democracy does not end at the Battle of Midway, Normandy, Warsaw or Kuwait City. The struggle for freedom begins in the hearts and minds of all men and women and will not end -- must not end -- until all peoples everywhere are free."
--Ronald Reagan

"War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice."
--Alexander Hamilton

Dear Sgt. Grit:
Our son, a member of the 1st Marine Division, returned from Iraq last July, then went back in February, as have many. This time, however, we and many others thought that he would be safer because he went over as the aide to the 1st Marine Division commander. This false impression was brought to a screeching halt on April 16th, when we received one of those terrible calls that no one wants to receive, informing us that he was seriously wounded when the increasingly common IED was detonated as his humvee passed in a convoy. His left leg may recover; his upper right arm is a bigger question. All we know and can focus on right now is that he's getting the best of care at Bethesda Naval Hospital and he has the Corps attitude. His recent selection for flight school has been put on hold, but to him that is not an obstacle; it's an objective. Our boy (1st Lieutenant Steve Thompson) will survive and prevail, and he will do so because of that state of mind that made him join the Marines. Our hearts go out to all of those relatives, loved ones, and friends of those fine young men and women who are wounded or die in this terrible conflict. God bless them for it." I believe that.
Doug and Lynn Williams

- George W. Bush

Thanks for the newsletters. I am deployed to Germany. I am an Army Nurse and I take care of some or our Marines. I say our Marines because I feel proud that I can take care of them when they come in injured from down range and it feels good when they know they've been taken care of. Yes, God Bless them and watch over all of the servicemen down range.

(A man states) One of my sons serves in the military. He is still stateside, here in California. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him, and his troops, everywhere he goes.

Telling me how people shake their hands, and thank them for being willing to serve, and fight, for not only our own freedoms but so that others may have them also.

But he also told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the base. He said that ahead of several people in front of him stood a woman dressed in a burkha. He said when she got to the cashier she loudly remarked about the US flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock.

The cashier reached up and touched the pin, and said yes, I always wear it.

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.

A gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son's shoulders, and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: "Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that you could stand here in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing your Countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR OWN country we wouldn't need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly I'll gladly pay your way back to Iraq so you can straighten out the mess you are obviously here to avoid."

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Thanks for the recent shipment. Events of the last month floods back memories long buried and secured. The lose of our Marine brothers in combat unlocked the memories of what it is like to loose the Marine on your right and left and wonder why them. We are old Marines now, strong in mind and spirit but time takes it's toll but our young Marines today, fighting for our very freedom in a country few Americans can fathom, are bringing us honor while ensuring freedom to a tortured group of people and may God have mercy on the poor souls who have no idea what is about to be unleashed upon them should they not turn in their heavy arms as directed. Our Marines and their commanders have shown incredible poise and control while trying to spare the lives of the innocent.

To the Marine sniper who was asked by an Army "idiot" how it felt to have a women in his sights and pull the trigger I say only this - "if you had ever been in combat, Vietnam or Iraq, you would know the enemy is the enemy, man, woman or child." Every Marine who has found themselves in this position has lived with it for the rest of there lives and cried inside and out at what was asked of him. But they did it without remorse at the time to perhaps save a fellow Marine. There is no response to ignorance that will satisfy the ignorant.

As I sit here looking at a picture of my wife and I on our wedding day, two weeks after returning from Vietnam I realize how young we were, how much was asked of us and how we carry it's cost privately for the most part. Each time I see that picture, in my dress blues and her in her white gown toasting the camera in the backyard of her home my mind wanders to my own daughter engaged to a Marine about to deploy to Iraq. I know he will go and do what is asked of him and with the help of his fellow Marines, come home safely to marry my daughter and carry his burden, mostly privately, as the Marines before him have done.

Bless our brothers of today who carry on the tradition for us and represent honor and freedom in the uniform we have all so proudly worn.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
Hotel Co. 2/1 RVN 70 -71

1st, Why did 9/11 happen and who's to blame? It happened because a group of terrorists thought they could get away with murdering our countrymen because we don't follow their brand of religion. Who's to blame for 9/11?? We are, the citizens of this country because we have let ourselves be seen as weak and fragmented, our government be sidetracked by petty issues and political posturing instead of concentrating on what it was chartered to do which is to protect the citizens from all enemies. This needs to change!!

2nd , Why is it that I keep seeing those thugs on TV with their faces covered, dancing around with weapons in their hands but I don't see them falling to suppressing fire or air strikes?

This needs to change!!! GOD BLESS OUR CORPS AND OUR BROTHERS WHO ARE IN ACTION OVER THERE!!! Wish I was with you! SEMPER FI!!!!!
Jim Monteith USMC

with regards to the gent named rainbow who had his Marine flag struck and the American flag masted upside down by vandals. may I say don't worry about it. they are only making a statement for their cause. let me suggest this, call me and a few other Marines (Grit has my number) we wait for the vandals and them tie them up and hoist THEM upside down for a week or two, just to make a statement for our cause. DJH

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Thank you for your newsletter. As the mother of two Marines, I find it very comforting to hear some of the Good that is happening overseas. All we hear in the rest of the media is bad news and slanted rhetoric! God Bless ALL of our Marines, soldiers, seamen and airmen who are deployed in faraway places.

God be with all of them who are in harm's way! Thank you to all of the Veterans for their service to our country. I am SO PROUD to be a part of the Marine family. The letters I read in your newsletter only reinforce all that I have learned about the Corps since my oldest son graduated from Boot camp (January, 2001). I had the privilege of being able to attend the ceremony at MCRD San Diego twice. The Marines I met there instilled a sense of pride in what my sons have accomplished over and above a mother's usual pride. They are all dedicated and wonderful people! Any Marine I have been in contact with since then, has only increased these feelings. What a terrific family to be made a part of! The letters you receive are all from the heart and they don't hold much back. That also is a directness found throughout the Corps. Keep at it Sgt. Grit.!

We moms need your newsletter also. Thank you from:
Janice Strand, Mother of Cpl. Matt Smith and Pfc. Ryan Smith

Sgt. Grit,
Just a couple of quick comments about the relief of Col. Dowdy by Gen. Mattis, especially in light of the comment by the retired Captain. First, from what I understand, Col. Dowdy is a good officer, but that does not mean that Gen. Mattis jumped the gun in relieving him. It was not done lightly. One good source the a person may want to consult before commenting is "The March Up" by MajGen Ray Smith (ret) and former Marine and Vietnam Vet Bing West. They were there with 1st MarDiv at the time, had access to all the senior commanders, and provide some good insights.

Doug Ballard, LtCol, USMCR (Ret) [1974-1995]

P.S. By calling Bing West a former Marine, I am not trying to reignite that hornets' nest about what we call ourselves (that was carried on for several newsletters several months ago). The term is easy shorthand for a Marine no longer on active duty.

Sgt Grit,
I would like to respond to the article you posted last week concerning the 9/11 commission. I agree whole heartedly with the editorial written on this partisan committees proceedings. I would, however, like to point out one thing. The author stated: "Can you imagine handling the attack on Pearl Harbor this way? Can you imagine Congress, the media and the public standing for this kind of political gamesmanship and finger pointing after that "day of infamy" in 1941?"

The fact is that a commission was appointed by the President to investigate the Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December, 1941. One of the big differences between that one and the 9/11 commission is that the "Roberts Commission" was not "trying to find a way" to blame the President and his cabinet. But they did manage to find some senior military leaders to make scape goats out of.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." Abraham Lincoln (17 June, 1858)

The average American may find it difficult to relate the fighting, and dying, of our Troops in Iraq, to our Freedoms here, but I think the alternative would be much worse! Thank God we have not had to fight on our homeland for our liberties, since the 1800's.
Richard Chesler Sgt 2nd MAW MAG-31/32, H&MS-31/32, 1970-1974

This goes out to Cpl Jacob C. Bullion of 1/23. I'm LCpl Nachtigall with 2/23 WPNS CO. CAAT PLT. My heart and prayers go out with 1/23, because I know you guys aren't coming home after AT in Japan. Go get some, and come back alive.
See you at Camp Fugi this summer during AT. OORAH!!
LCpl. Nachtigall

Hey Folks,
It's an absolutely beautiful morning here. Not much wind and gentle sunshine. The Bizarre was canceled this week and for good reason. We are going to be launching about 3,000 Marines to the boarder and beyond on Saturday. Allah better work overtime because these guys are getting real serious. We now have Harriers and Super Cobras here. Hajji is gonna have a real bad spring. You all would be very proud of these fine American men and women. I sure am.

I have about 22 days before I start my long trip home. I can tell all of you I am looking forward to a nice hot shower (By Myself) porcelain commodes and no dust.

I wanted to share a few of my observations with all of you. We Americans are so lucky (possibly the luckiest in history) but most of us don't know it, we take much for granted. Over the last 15 months I have lived in some of the poorest places on this planet and have seen things most folks wouldn't believe. The odd thing is that I have never seen so much mutual respect for Americans by Americans in my life out here. Then I read the newspapers on line and see how Americans treat each other at home and I am appalled. I ask myself if the sacrifice these brave men and women are making is misplaced.

Some of what I have learned in the past months is that life is short, precious and the world doesn't revolve around me. To be more compassionate to other people, to respect all people until they prove unworthy of that respect. Most of all I thank god that I have had this opportunity. I thank god for every day because after the lessons of the last 15 months I know that every day I wake up is a blessing. Please say a prayer for the Marines and soldiers getting ready to go into harms way. They are the quintessential Americans.

So when one starts to feel sorry for themselves or that they got some kind of a raw deal remember these troops, think about the rest of the world where disease, pestilence and brutality are the norm not the exception. At night when you lay down in a comfortable clean bed remember to thank god you were born in America! See you all soon.

Best Regards
IGX Section Lead
Operation Enduring Freedom
Kandahar Afghanistan

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Last night I had a dream that I was in combat. I have never had a dream like this one before. Yes, I've had dreams about fighting and dangerous situations, which usually leave me feeling uneasy the next day, still trying to piece the dream together. I don't dream very often or at least I don't remember them everyday, but when I do; the messages are all too clear.

I woke up this morning and decided not to tell my Marine husband, what had occurred in my mind the night before. My husband fought in the 1st Gulf War and was injured in Kuwait. He desperately wishes day and night that he's out there with his brothers and sisters. He's up at 3 in the morning watching for anything that might show some footage, so that he can be there for that split second. There is not a moment that goes by that "the dream" isn't present. But the revelation for me is that the "dream" is there for me too. With everything going on with the war, people being gone from their families, super sacrifices being made; that deep inner calling, the one that was there when I was just a little girl is calling again. I am born from a family of fighters. My great-grandfather was a Sgt. in WWI. I was fortunate to come across a letter he had written to his mother describing his tour in the European Theater. The letter was dated Nov. 3, 1918. He came home and his son my grandfather was a fighter pilot who fought with Task Force 77 aboard the USS Oriskany in 1951 in the Korean War, he later became commander (XO) of the USS Lexington. My uncle served 3 tours in Vietnam with the Army and came out a Warrant Officer and later worked with NASA. And my Husband, the die-hard Marine whose PTSD afflicted mind still wanders through the Saudi Desert.

My dream: I didn't want to wake up. And when I did, I wanted to go back. It's a strange feeling wanting to be somewhere for a larger cause than yourself. I have never wanted to be away from my 3 young children like that. I don't suppose I ever really will. I had always dreamed of going into the Military when I was young, but paths crossed and I started a family. I tucked that dream away in a little tiny spot in my heart when I got married. That tiny little spot has turned into the frog in my throat. I don't want to lose that dream. I cherish it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to fulfill it, but I do know that when I close my eyes, and the world around me is different, I'm ok being there. My dream is for all those fighting out there today, where ever you are. I am there with you too.

A Marine Wife - Jennifer DeLeon
Walla Walla, WA

Hello Everyone,
I am taking time to ask you all for your help. First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help.

It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people.

Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. We are a people that cherish the democratic system of government and therefore hold the will of the people in the highest regard. We love to criticize ourselves almost to an endless degree, because we care what others think. Our enemies see this as a weakness and are trying to exploit it.

When we ask ourselves questions like, "Why do they hate us?" or "What did we do wrong?" we are playing into our enemies' hands. Our natural tendency to question ourselves is being used against us to undermine our effort to do good in the world. How far would we have gotten if after the surprise attacks on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, we would have asked, "Why do the Japanese hate us so much?" or "How can we change ourselves so that they won't do that again?"

Here in Iraq the enemy is trying very hard to portray our efforts as failing and fruitless. They kill innocents and desecrate their bodies in hopes that the people back home will lose the will to fight for liberty. They are betting on our perceived weakness as a thoughtful, considerate people. Unfortunately our media only serves to further their cause. In an industry that feeds on ratings and bad news, a failure in Iraq would be a goldmine. When our so-called "trusted" American media takes a quote from an Iraqi doctor as the gospel truth over that of the men and women that are daily fighting to protect the right to freedom of the press, you know something is wrong. That doctor claimed that of the 600 Iraqis who were casualties of the fighting in Fallujah, the vast majority of them were women, children and the elderly. This is totally absurd. In the history of man, no one has spent more time and effort, often to the detriment of our own mission, to be more discriminate in our targeting of the enemy than the American military. The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to avoid shedding innocent blood.

Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace. What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten?

Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace. The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us!

If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail. That is why I am asking for your support. Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are, fight the enemy's lies. Don't buy into pessimism and apathy and say that it is hopeless, that they hate us too much, that this part of the world is just too messed up and it is our fault anyway, that we are to blame.

Whether you're in Middle School, working a 9-5 job, retired or a stay-at-home mom, you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth. So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions about our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good. Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer.

Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success. You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as fellow soldiers to do your duty; stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side.

Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.

God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC
Ramadi, Iraq

I am appalled, no, outraged, at the latest developments in Iraq. With particular focus on Associated Press reports from Friday, April 23rd.

A Marine Col. John Coleman, Chief of Staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, actually made the statement for a press release that "his soldiers are trying to differentiate between hard-core rebels who will fight to the death and former officers (of the Iraqi Army) who might be persuaded to lay down their arms."

The above statement was made with regard to the current situation in Fallujah (shall we rename it Hue City?) as well as other "trouble spots" (shall we call them RVN?) the Marines are fighting in and around.

This stupid and ridiculous and wholly impossible idiotic nonsense is going to get A LOT of Marines killed. This Col. apparently was not "in" during Viet Nam and/or has totally forgotten any lessons learned.

A front line grunt in Fallujah, facing an enemy terrorist group of 1 man with an AK-47, 1 with an RPG, and 1 with an M-16, is supposed to hold his fire - according to the latest civilian imposed restrictions -(shades of Viet Nam, huh?), and NOW, to also discern which one of the three, assuming they don't all 3 fire and kill the grunt first, MIGHT BE PERSUADED TO LAY DOWN HIS ARMS?

DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN!!! Save us Marines from the civilians and rear echelon pogy bait staff. PLEASE don't let "them" continue to lay more and more restrictions on our fighting men, of all branches, while allowing the enemy to reinforce, regroup, rearm, and lots of idle time to plan and plot their next attacks on the poor Marines who cannot fire until they are fired upon. Assuming that the bad guys miss and there remains a live Marine to return fire that is.

Where are the "Old Corps" Marines? Aren't there any left? Aren't there any younger Marines who learned from the Old Corps? Aren't there any civilian and/or military minds who did NOT attend a liberal university and who were taught that in war you shoot first and ask questions later- if there's anyone left to ask? Who understand that the only way to negotiate with die hards, fanatics, zealots, human bombs, volunteer suicides and a mindless, soulless, dedication to die killing Americans is with more firepower?

What can we do to educate the politicians? Probably nothing. Can we somehow make them understand the politics of war rather than of world opinion? I don't know how. Short of putting them in a sand hole with a horde of crazed "martyrs" attacking, which we know will never happen, how can we make them understand that they are costing us the lives of many, many more servicemen and women of all branches than have to die?

I don't know if letters and public service telegrams to the White House and our illustrious leaders in the Dept. of Defense and Congress would really make a difference. Would phone calls or personal visits? Prayers help, but there must be something more we can do to see that this war is fought properly, with the least amount of losses on our side, as is humanly possible.

Marine Corps "DOC" Burt, HM3, 1st and 3rd Divisions, early 60s.

We need to get off the General relieving the Colonel. Either the col's. regiment was in the middle or on one of the flanks. Either way, the col.'s regiment had to keep up or dangerously expose the flanks of one or both other regiments, OR the general had to slow down the whole advance. It seems that a lot of people want to "throw rocks" at the general in question, but I don't see any casualty figures, refusals of requests for support, denials of requests for reinforcements, or the like. So, put up some supporting facts or shut up.

As for laggards who cost lives on their flank(s), check Field Marshall Montgomery's "tidying up the battle field" as the allies tried to advance across Europe. Every time the German's were on the run, good ol' Montgomery would stop and go about his tidying giving the fleeing German's time to stop, regroup, and dig in.

Our beloved corps as always been an attack force. As such, our tactics generally involve fast, violent attacks that first of all wins and secondly incurs a high number of casualties in a few days but a low number of casualties in terms of achieving the objective. Check your history books on Belleau Wood (sp?), Tarawa, Iwo Jima, and the temple in Hue. Better to lose 300 a day for two days than 100 a day for two weeks. By the way, if you can figure out a way to explain that to the media, please do so.

A second point is the will of the US citizenry at large to see a task through to its completion. We did not do so in Korea. Hordes of Chinese charged across the border, and the US citizens said, "Gee, we didn't think this would happen." Well why wouldn't folks think it would happen? If you are about to destroy a puppet, the guy holding the strings in going to be PO'ed. So, 60,000, I believe the number is, lives later, we pulled out. How about Viet Nam? The Viet Namese had been fighting the French since colonial times, but the US citizens had had too much after a decade give or take and 55,000 lives. And we didn't destroy Iraq's Republican Guard in the first gulf war because it would have upset the other Arab countries ! ! ! Now there is a fine bit of strategy - do not upset the enemy's supporters.

So, let's be careful about rattling our sabers too loudly. Our fellow citizens are nervous. While I totally support "leveling the place". I think it would be an absolute shame to lose one more life if we are just going to quit thousands of lives into the future like we have been doing for half a century.

Semper Fi,
Dick Hulslander
Capt., USMC, inactive

My thoughts and good wishes go out to the good lady Kerry whose husband 's email she has posted on the news letter this week. I am amazed but not shocked about what the puke said to her husband about having a woman in his sights. My husband was in similar circumstances at one time, and told me he felt much the same way that her good man feels. He is doing his job, and a good one at that, and it is bad enough the civilian population does not understand, but really stupid coming from another service member......%$#@! and I pray that every one of his shots is true. God bless our Marines and I bless every round that comes out of their rifles.Get as much as you can.
Lisa DeWilde-Tyler SGT

"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others."
--Alexander Hamilton

Hello Sgt. Grit Enthusiasts,
This is the first time responding to these wonderful newsletters since our son Sgt. Ronald B. Campbell enlisted five years ago. The Sgt. Grit group has kept us going when times have been tough through 9-11 and now. On that dreadful day in 2001 our sons' MEU was the first to report to Afghanistan. This past February, he reported to Iraq along with many other fine 1/5 Marines from Pendleton taking with them our prayers, concerns, love and overwhelming pride.
Please keep up the good work -SEMPER FI!!
Mike & Betty Camp

"The world's becoming a museum of socialist failures."
--John Dos Passos

"The elements of our strength are many. They include our democratic government, our economic system, our great natural resources. But, the basic source of our strength is spiritual. We believe in the dignity of man."
--Jeane Kirkpatrick

Hi Sgt Grit, My heart goes out to all Marines in Iraq, my son was in gulf war, and at that time I could not speak to know one. My stomach was in a thousand knots and I could not think straight, prayers relieved a little. Today's Marines make the Vietnam veterans Marines very proud to have served at a time that was also very difficult. I served 70-71 helicopter unit USMC. Our prayers for all the families that have a Marine in Combat because I know the awful feeling in my gut. All I know is that we are in almighty hands. God bless the families of all Marines. We are praying..
Vietnam veteran Frank Dias,
Mag 16, first Mar Div. Danang

"Education never helped morals. The smarter the guy, the bigger the rascal."
--Will Rogers

Hello Sgt. Grits,
First of all I would like to send my deepest sympathies to the family of LCpl Travis Layfield. No words can express the sadness I feel for you. Tiffany I will keep you and your family in my prayers. God bless you. To Jonathon Lemke- the next time your mom breaks down and cries just hug her.Crying is a healing thing , I know it make some people uncomfortable but it heals the heart and soul. Tell her you are proud of her and you love her and I can guarantee she will feel better! And to Ronda Ahlin, both of my son are Marines , my oldest is in Iraq for the second time and my younger son is guarding an Embassy. I know all about the pride and the fears, one doesn't change the other.Both of my sons left the same night for boot camp so I also know that gut retching feeling. I am grateful that they got the best training through boot camp and I thank God everyday for that. Keep the faith and know that MANY people are praying for your son and our troops. I am lucky to be one of the original members of the Michigan Military Moms. Our group started with 8 moms and less than 2 years later we have over 200 members. We support each other through good times and bad. We celebrate when sons and daughter come home and we band together when we have to bury a child. We are a constant comfort to each other as only we can understand how it feels to have a child in the military. You may want to start your own group for support, ask your recruiters to spread the word to other moms of kids they have recruited, that's how we started. We have our meetings at an American Legion hall of Vietnam Vets and they have told us that they wished their moms had a group and that they never realized what their mothers had gone through while they were in Vietnam. I will continue to pray for our troops and all of the men and women who have served before them. God bless us one and all
Patty G

"If 5,000 Iraqi children were dying every month under Saddam, and we have now been in Iraq one year, it means that 60,000 children have been saved. That's a number worth remembering."
--Helle Dale

Recent news came to me that my brother PFC.Michael S.Bishop will be deployed for the 1st time on June 22nd from Camp Lejeune,N.C. to Iraq. This is 2 days before his 23rd birthday and 7 days before his son's 2nd birthday. I want him and everyone to know how proud I am to be a Marine sister and an American!!!We have the best military in the entire world and may God protect them all and return them all safely to the families and the country that loves them dearly,OORAH!!!!
Rebecca Bishop

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am not sure if this is the correct way to post a response for your newsletter, but here goes.
This is for Marine Mom 2/8 Echo Comp.

My husband just came home from Afghanistan 2 weeks ago. I received the call that he was coming on a Sunday night, and was told that he would be in that Tuesday, at 2:30pm.
It changed 2 times before they finally nailed down an exact day and time. And it changed one more time, when the families got to the base to pick up their loved ones. Fortunately, it was only bumped up a half hour. I don't think that I have answered your question too well, but just wanted to let you know how it was for me. Hopefully you are working for a wonderful boss, who will understand that in the military, things change at the drop of a hat.
God Bless you and your son.
-Proud Marine Wife

Foundation Awards Scholarships to Children of Fallen Marines. With increased U.S. Marine deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is stepping up fund-raising so it can honor its pledge to award scholarships to all children of Marines killed in combat during the war on terror. The foundation also has pledged to award scholarships to all children of Navy corpsmen killed in combat while serving with the Marines, and to any children of Marines and former Marines killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Scholarships run up to $10,000 each, according to Rose Gault, the foundation's director of development. All scholarships are funded through private donations. For more information or to make a donation, visit the organization's Web site at or call (800) 292-7777 toll-free.

The Marines should be let loose to do their job. Let the military run the operation not the people in Washington. The Marines should not be a occupation force, let the ARMY do that. Semper Fi

Your buddy knows more than that......You both got nicked somewhere and didn't tell no one......Screw a purple heart, you wanted to stay with the unit.....your Mom died and your buddy cried.............your other buddy died in a fire fight at Marble Mtn. and you get word and your buddy cries....anytime a Marine falls you both get teary eyed.......its more than buddies Marine, people die and Marines die. That's our job-we die if we HAVE to. GOD chose those Marines who died for a reason, HE needs a good gate guard.........the few .............the proud(chosen) Marines.......cry not for the dead, but rather cry for the living, for they shall be the ones called to pay for there sins..............Semper Fi

Semper Fi! Sgt Grit,
The Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council is sponsoring many events starting on 7 May 04. Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy some great music and show their support for our men and women serving our country. The following is a breakdown of events, times and places. Come on out and you never know who you may run into.

Armed Forces Day Parade May 15, 2004, 1-4 p.m., Allentown, PA. This will be the largest Armed Forces Day parade in PA. We have 71 units comprising approximately 1,500 participants in the parade. We have motorcycles, dogs, donkeys, horses, some dozen or so floats, seven bands ... and a partridge in a pear tree! Included are marching units from all the local services.

Our flyover of four F-16s was approved and will be a go unless operational commitments preclude the mission. They're going right down Hamilton Street around 2 p.m., so look up! The families of our three local deceased veterans, Capt. Seifert, 1st Sgt. Coffin and Sgt. Geiger, will attend the parade and be honored there. A reviewing stand will be provided by the city between 5th and 6th streets on Hamilton Street.

Armed Forces Week Concert May 8, 2004, 4-8 p.m., Bethlehem Rose Garden. The lineup is set. On the main band shell will be the American Legion Band of Bethlehem, the Slicked-Up 9's (a WWII-era swing band) and the Bethlehem Municipal Band. On a second band shell, the Ritter School "Andrews Sisters," and singers Erin Kelly and Julia Figueroa will perform when the bands at the main band shell are setting up. So we'll have four hours of continuous music!

The Coffin and Geiger families will attend the concert as our honored guests. We'll be selling food at the event and local military and veterans organizations have been invited to set up booths/displays. Radio station B104 will have radio exclusivity.

The Bethlehem Parking Authority will provide parking at the North Street garage and a shuttle to transport individuals to the concert. The city's traffic division will arrange for traffic control and parking along Eighth Avenue.
For more information visit our website at Howard J. Cooper Commandant Lehigh Valley Det #296

From a former Marine with the 2nd BN/2nd Mar.and a member of the FDNY I just want to say keep up the good work over there. Your brothers on the FDNY are very proud of you guys. Stay low and go, Semper Fi. Firefighter 1 FDNY/ Corporal of Marines Kevin McDowell.

Sgt Grit,
Recently posted was a statistic of 1963 corpsmen KIA. Seems rather low considering their exceptional bravery in aiding wounded Marines under fire. Every one of them a hero. God must look out for fools, Drunks, and Navy Corpsmen.
John Klein Sgt USMC 78-82

To those fighting for our country, just wanted you to know that this former Jarhead is praying for you and stands 110% behind you. Kick some butt, the heck with the names. Semper Fi
Bob Hill, 1968-1972

Dear Houston Chronicle:

What #@!!*@ feather merchant editor wrote today's headline "Fighting grips Fallujah as Marines plan retreat?" U.S. Marines do not retreat! We may withdraw, pull back, or fight our way to the rear, but "retreat" is not in the Marine Corps manual. If you have at least one person on your staff who has ever served in the military, and specifically the USMC, please ask him to proof your material when you sound off in 40 points about the Marines.
James W. Carter
Cpl, USMC 1958-61

Well I know I had wrote a letter a while back on my husband choice to return to the reserves after he got back from OIF, and my mixed feelings on that (but eventual support) I was even appointed KVC. Well three months later of reserve drill and the word Marine echoing in every newscast, tears forming in my husbands eyes as every name is read and every fight is retold, reserves isn't cutting it and he is putting in his package to return to active duty. Reading your newsletter helps me to understand why. I read letters from all of the Marines of former wars and you can hear it in their words...if they were able bodied at the level a fighting marine needs to be...they would re-enlist too. So here is the thing, we are moving to Camp P. in sunny California, and I was wondering if you could give any wives that have lived there my email address so I can hear how wonderful it is out nay sayers need apply because NOTHING is changing my Marines mind...We have a 6 year old son, so news of schools would be good too. We are putting in for housing at San Onofre, looking for temporary quarters in San Clemente, etc..oh and we have to take our Dog. Well thanks for your help!
Semper Fi!
Amie Hayes

My nephew was so impressed with the stories I told about being a Marine that immediately after high school he signed up and is presently an E-4 serving in the Persian Gulf aboard the USS Truman and carrying payroll over to the troops in Iraq via helicopter. Please remember him as well as all our Service men and women serving overseas and everywhere.
Stanley D Taylor

Dear Sgt Grit, I moderate a support group for friends and family of my son's unit. I always forward your newsletters to the group. Apparently one of our members didn't notice this was a forward and responded to the group. Since she BLESSED everyone in your group, I thought I would pass it back to you, so you will know you're appreciated. While I'm not real certain exactly where she is coming from, I believe in Free Speech. And I THINK I know what she meant. God Bless You.

I'm an Officer Candidate for the Marine Corps and I have two stories that I'd like to share. Not long ago in Boerne, Texas I was in Walmart with a friend, at the time I was wearing a black Marines shirt. My friend and I had stopped in an aisle to look at something when an elderly couple walked closer to us. I heard his wife say, "It's just a Jarhead, honey." To which I replied, "Not quite yet." Then her husband and I got to talking about the Corps. He had told me that he was a Corpsman with First Force Recon in Vietnam. At the time it didn't dawn on me but the President of my high school, Marine Military Academy, Major General Rollings was in First Force Recon as well. To this day I wish I had asked him if he knew General Rollings. But that did show me how small of a world the Marine Corps is.

My second story is from a Pre-OCS weekend that I attended a month ago. I was running back to formation when I was coming upon my OSO which was faced away from me. "By your leave, sir!", I exclaimed. To which he replied, "Semper Fi." That moment I will never forget because when he replied Semper Fi, it made me feel like he had the confidence in me to become a Marine.

Take it easy gents.
Bryan Zurlo
Marine Military Academy Class of 2003

Read the post by Cpl David Osborne Jr. He mentioned he attended the funeral of Sgt Michael Speer. Yes, Speer was a Marine's Marine. My son served with Michael Speer at Camp Lejeune, NC. They were sent to Iraq together. My son is still in shock and disbelief that Speer's life was taken. My son is still in Iraq and I got a letter from today, he grieves for his fallen friend and Marine, but is carrying on as Marines do.

We met Michael Speer several times and he was a very dedicated Marine. We were unable to travel across the US to attend the funeral, because we didn't know where services were to be held and don't know his family.

But they are in our hearts and prayers, as are our Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Debra D Rojas, Proud Mother of Cpl Justin R Rojas
2d BN 2d Marines

Sgt Grit...
My fiancé, John, is over in Iraq right now. He is near Ar Ramadi. He left in February and is due back in September (hopefully...we are getting married..doing the Vegas thing..I know how the Corps works!) I live every day praying that God will bring him home safely, knowing that the Marine Corps has trained him well, and feeling more pride than I have ever felt in my entire life.

Things can get very difficult back here at home. This is my fourth deployment (my ex husband was a Marine...what can I say??) so I knew what I was getting into. What gets me through is the strength and courage he passes to me simply by being a Marine and doing what he is doing for people he will never meet. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like for him over there. I just know that being there is harder than being here alone. I hope that when things do get hard for him there and he needs that little bit of extra... whatever.. ..that me being here..standing guard in our home, can give him that strength. I miss him with everything I am and I want him home as soon as possible. But, I also know that he is where he needs to be. I support him 1000%. Words cannot do justice to the pride and love I feel for him.

John called me the other day and I asked him if he had to take part in any "defensive" measures. He said he had. Then I the words of my daughter...if he had gotten any bad guys. He said he had. I asked him how he was doing with that. He said fine...surprisingly enough it didn't bother him. He was doing what he had been trained to was either him, one of his men, or them. Then he asked me if it scared me that it didn't bother him...I said, "No baby, it isn't like you are walking into a 7-11 and shooting some innocent person. These people are trying to kill you. You made a promise to me to come home. So, if they shoot at you then you d_mn well better shoot back and make a direct hit so they don't have another chance!" All he could say to that was, "I love you!"

Anyway, I have been reading your newsletter for years and something compelled me to write. Thank you for all of this...God bless our troops, come home safe....and KICK A**!!!

Proud Fiancé of Cpl John Foster 3/11 Kilo Btry

Sgt. Grit,
Our finest young men and women are being killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we, the old salts, doing anything to help them? I am willing to give blood and money, whichever and whatever will do the most good. Just say the word!
Bill Grace, Sergeant, USMC
1st MAW, 1970-1971, RVN

OIF is one of the best military campaigns in US history. Saddam and most of his gang are dead or captured, among other sundry characters. In Afghanistan the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been defeated. Iraq and Afghanistan are free of dictators and on their way to freedom. Iran, Syria and Libya and others are softening their positions. But our military efforts are considered a failure by SOME. So what am I missing?

Talk about disgusting, this is it.

The Daily Collegian - Pat Tillman is not a hero He got what was coming to him

If anyone wants to send their best to Rene Gonzalez, his email is and his phone number is 413-253-9639.
Semper Fi
Joe Denneen, Sgt. 1964 - 1967

Once again those in Washington have made us the fall guys & gals for their own edification. They have forced the Marines who have lost buddies and friends to give up their hard won ground and positions to the same &!@(*&^ that were killing us. They are also forcing the general that was third in command of Saddams forces on us. There is no honor in this. What a crock!
They sure don't know what Semper Fi means.
Marine green is the only way to go. God Bless us everyone.
Smith, William H. Sgt. 1405823

All gave some
Some gave all.
God Bless America!!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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