Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter - June 17, 2003
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 #73

"Some people spend an entire LIFETIME wondering if they made a DIFFERENCE. The MARINES don't have that Problem."
President Ronald Reagan

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Semper fi
Sgt Grit


"And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you -- and especially for young people -- is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill."
--Ronald Reagan (1992)

The American Courage Newsletter is great!

Here's a quote from around 1904 written by Mark Twain. I believe it can be applied to the current war against terror and the conflict in Iraq - those who support it and those who currently do not:

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
- Mark Twain

Semper Fi
Gordon Nelson
USMC 1971-1977

Interesting site:

Sgt. Grit
When are we ever going to learn that we cannot win a war by following a set of rules that is not followed by the other side. We try to "play nice" and the animals on the other side burn us for it every time. We did not learn that in Korea, Viet Nam and in Iraq twice. The old adage is very true "If you don't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it."

My son leaves for Paris Island on June 7 and will likely be in the "sand box" within the next 12 months.
Semper Fi.
L. G. Rainone CWO4 (ret)

Sgt Grit for some reason I felt like I had to write something today. My Husband is in the Marine was deployed in Dec. He's in Iraq right now for this second tour. He's due back home in the middle of July. I wanted to say thank you to the men and women serving our country without them I wouldn't be able to sit here and write. My husband has been to Fallujah he has seen lives taken by the enemy, He has watched his good friend fall in the mist of combat. He has felt the pain of being shot. I just want people to know that it's because of people serving our country and having the courage to stand up for what they believe in that we're able to be free. For everyone that protested the war when it started I want to say that you have the freedom of speech because men and women all around the U.S. are willing to give up there life and shed there blood for that. Freedom isn't free it's earned by the blood shed of the fallen or wounded troops. I have learned a lot being a Marine wife and I have learned that everything comes with a price.... I also want to say that people should support the families of those that are at war. I found that I got no support because no one under stood what I was going through and that they have no idea what it's like... Please just keep our troops in your thoughts and prays because this war isn't over and it's still going on even though major combat was declared over last year it's not.. We're losing more Soldiers and Marines now then when major combat was going on, and I ask that if you can just take one second out of your day to remember those of have fallen and for those that are over there and understand just what they're fighting for.

God bless our troops and may they all return home soon.
Kelly Marine wife.

OORAH to all my fellow Devil Dogs out there. This will be a short one. Insomuch as many people have written about the commandment "Thou shalt not murder" (proper translation); I will not get into that. However; I will say; one of the greatest warriors of all time was King David-he killed his share of heathens-and God called him a man after His heart. When their is no war; then there will be no need for Marines-until then God bless the Marine Corps and give us the strength; courage; and discipline to kill every enemy of our beloved country.
Sgt Harrup

Guess the archbishop don't know who guards the streets up yonder? Mr.Nofsinger,with all the press on a hate America binge what more can be expected?
Sgt.Brown,proud member Chosin Few.

To all the politicians that are screwing things up in this war need to pucker up and kiss my jarhead @ss!!!
L ONeill
Charlie co.1/5, 1974-1980

"Our terrorist enemies have a vision that guides and explains all their varied acts of murder. Our actions, too, are guided by a vision. We believe that freedom can advance and change lives. These two visions have now met in Iraq and are contending for the future of that country... America's task in Iraq is not only to defeat an enemy, it is to give strength to a friend -- a free, representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf. And the sooner this goal is achieved, the sooner our job will be done."
--President George W. Bush

"We can make [the Americans] use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country, it's your choice. They were brought here by the acts of one coward who was hunted out of a rat hole -- Saddam -- who disgraced us all. As President Bush said, they did not come here to occupy our land but to get rid of Saddam. We can help them leave by helping them do their job, or we can make them stay ten years and more by keeping fighting."
--Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdul-Latif (ret.), commanding Iraqi forces in Fallujah

to all Marines and all of our soldiers...Believe this.. the people of the greatest country USA are with you every step of the way. and WE WILL Welcome you HOME! to Mom and Pops Brandow, all I can say is You raised one outstanding young son. Congratulations to you!

Sgt. Grit,
I'm Navy enlisted, 47 yrs old, having served on a destroyer (fired Tomahawks in Desert Storm) and guided missile cruiser (counter-drug ops near Colombia and in the Pacific) but was honored to be part of FSSG 1 (General Usher's bunch) during the war in '03. The time I was in the war with the Marines was the most fulfilling time in my 15 years in the military. I think the Marines are the greatest group in the U.S. military today but we all know that there are great men and women in all branches over there now fighting the good fight. We're all in this together.

I study the Bible too and I agree with the comments of several people who show the true meaning of the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" is more truly rendered, "You shall not murder." History has shown that when evil and tyranny have come into power and have oppressed the weak and innocent, then God has called upon those who are true and righteous to stand up and fight for freedom. Remember, the first war began in heaven between the angels of God and Satan. And the war has continued on down here (for the Marine Corps that war has been from Montezuma to Tripoli to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima to the sands of Iraq) - and the Marines are the ones still taking the standard of freedom forward into the battle. Here's a quote that pretty much sums up what fighters for freedom understand and what I wish the nay-sayers would realize:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
~John Stewart Mill~

God bless all Marines and those who keep on fighting for freedom.
Semper Fidelis, ET1(SW)Weylin Wendt, USN

Had to submit, got a daughter named Lindsey, just got done reading #72. Best letter to date. My eyes sweat when I heard a child bless his grandpa, sing a song, play hard, laugh and be happy. I regret I only have one life to give for that level of "Freedom". And I can not imagine missing out on birth, an the first months of life, can not see the key board my eyes a sweating.
God, protect em all an bring em home soon. Semper fi.

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
--Nathan Hale Dear Sgt. Grit,
I think the above quote by Nathan Hale should read: "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." It is my understanding that the "revisionists" got a hold of it and changed it.
Semper Fidelis
Don Hepburn Sgt. of Marines '55-'59 (HD)

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am writing to you to see if it is possible for you to help me locate a picture of a tattoo...if it exists or find the other Marines who got it when my father-in-law received his. My father-in-law, PFC William H. Reyer, served in Korea during the Korean War. He and some buddies got tattoos one evening and one was USMC on one arm and the other was a skunk named Stinky. Well to make a long story short....PFC. Reyer passed away on January 16, 2003 and left behind 4 sons and some daughter-in-laws who want to honor his service in the Marine Corps. So we are hoping that anyone who would have any tattoo flash of Stinky the Skunk would be so kind to pass it along to us so we may get our tribute going. I thank you so very much for your time and patience as you read this and i look forward to hearing from you.
I can be reached via e-mail at or Thank you again
Amanda Reyer

Regarding respect towards Memorial Day, the Friday before the holiday weekend, I can't count how many times I heard, "have a happy Memorial weekend". What the h@ll is that all about?

God Bless America, Semper Fidelis .... Keith Koepke

Sgt. Grit, I found the following quote from Abe Lincoln. Let us have faith that might makes right; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
Sgt. John Jaeger,
1955-59, 1st Mar Div, 3rd Mar Div Okinawa 58, 3rd MAW

I am very proud to be an American. I am also very thankful and humbled by those who have died for my freedom. My son is with Wpns. Co. 1/5, Scout Sniper Plt. in Fallujah at this time. During the month of April four of his buddies were killed. They had grown quite close having been in Iraq last spring and on the same team. My son is 21 yrs. old and hopefully will be returning to Camp Pendelton in the next few months. I am very proud of him. My heart goes out to the 1/5, his family in the Marine Corps. They have become my family also. God Bless the 1/5 and safety for your return.
A very proud Marine Mom,CAC

Sgt Grit,
FYI "Do you know why there are 21 rounds fired in the 21 Gun Salute?" It is the sum of the numbers in 1776.
Semper Fi, Ron Swensson 3rd Bn 26th Marines '66-'68

Since my return from Vietnam and my discharge from active duty in 1968, Memorial Day has always been a difficult and emotional Holiday for me to face each year, however this year it seemed to be even more difficult. In addition to my thoughts each year about the memories of lost friends in my company and battalion, this year the dedication of the W.W.II Memorial and the thoughts of my father, older brothers and uncles dedicated service to our country during that war certainly had an impact. What a fitting memorial to such a brave and heroic group of men and women who certainly had a major impact on our ability to live in a free and democratic United States of America. It has also had an impact because of those still defending our freedoms in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and other far away lands and for those that have been added to the list of those brave men and women who continue to give their lives so we can live like we do in this great country.

This evening, I received an e-mail from Mark St. Laurent a paramedic with the DC Fire and EMS Department who is also an ACLS Instructor with the Metro ACLS Program. Mark is also a Captain in the Army Reserves and has just returned from serving in Iraq for more then a year. We are certainly grateful to Mark for his service to us and our country and are thankful that he has returned to us alive and well. The e-mail that I received was the perfect ending to this Holiday weekend and why I am so proud to be a veteran and to be associated with such a fine group of men and women. I have copied it below and hope that it means as much to you as it did to me. Regards, Leo

Greetings to all and I hope everyone had a pleasant start to the summer of 2004. I worked this weekend, but I did manage to have what I think will be one of most memorable experiences as a paramedic and military officer.

We responded for an elderly gentleman that that dislocated his artificial replacement hip while stepping off the curb. He was dressed in his Sunday best as he had just finished visiting the W.W.II Memorial. He wanted to pay his respects to his "fallen comrades and maybe meet some living ones." As we were assessing him and immobilizing his hips and legs, I inquired what as to what his duties were during the war. He briefly described a series of duty billets as an infantry officer and major battles he participated in until he received the wound that caused him to require a false hip. The Lieutenant from the engine Company that was dispatched along with us, told the retired Colonel that I had just retired from Iraq. With that the gentleman sat up, enduring the pain and extended his hand to me and said, "Thank you for your service to America." Shaking his hand and with tears welling in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat I had to struggle to squeak out, "No, Thank You." When I finally found my voice we had quite a pleasurable chat during the short trip to the hospital.

Simply an incredible experience and incredible generation. Have a great summer. Keep our service members in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you Don~ I simply after this email to you typed in Walter Reed and the hospital and address popped right up. I just addressed my letter to " Any GI recovering from the Iraqi~ Afghan theatre" C/O W. Reed Army hospital. I'm sure somebody will get it to a wounded GI. I think Walter Reed Army hosptal~ Washington DC would get it there.
Thanks again for the site, and thanks for the great gear. Jim

Letter to Editor from Marine in Iraq The Longview, Washington Daily News

| 05/23/04 | LCPL Dustin Fraidenburg

=== Letter to Editor

I am from Kelso, and a 2002 grad. I am a U.S. Marine over here in Iraq right now, and I am reading about all the things being said about the prisoners being mistreated and people trying to blame President Bush and everyone else higher.

You all make me sick. You forget these people are trying to kill us everyday. The good people over here can't even wave at us or thank us any more, because they kill them also.

We have lost lives here trying to make it a better place. When we get someone who tried to kill us or set up a bomb to take a lot of us out, would you like us to give them a pat on the back, invite them to our town or maybe your house? Then you could cook them a great meal after they try to kill your family and friends.

If you still think we should treat them like a king, you should come over here and show us how it's done. After all, you have all the experience right?

All I am trying to say is stand behind us. We are doing what we can to come home safe and help this country.

Dustin Fraidenburg

Submitted by:
Randy Whitewolf

I feel compelled to write a response to the Marine Mom "Rhonda" regarding her son's graduation from Elko High School. My opinion is to respect that the school will announce her son's name and a message that the is in the USMC and unable to be at the graduation. We all know the ignorance of some people when it comes to what a huge sacrifice made when one enlists into the USMC. The other peoples children are able to go on to college because of our son's & daughters serving our country. Some day hopefully they will see that and know that their rights to their opinions were allowed by those that choose to serve.

Until then lets not look like raving lunatics as our boys do not get all the positive attention that they deserve. Hang in there Mom ~ we all know how you feel. Give your son a big "Thank you" from us too & congratulations.

Proud USMC Mom
Duluth, MN

"I want the people of all the earth to see in the American flag the symbol of a Government which intends no oppression at home and no aggression abroad, which in the spirit of a common brotherhood provides assistance in time of distress."
--Calvin Coolidge

I was watching the funeral of President Reagan on FOX News Channel and was terribly upset by what I saw. When Air Force One landed with the President and his family and friends and they were taking him off the plane, there was a twenty-one gun salute with howitzers. FOX had it posted as an Army 21 gun salute. Since when did the Army start wearing Marine Corps Charlie uniforms?
Also when the President was being laid to rest at his National Library, again there was a 21 gun salute via howitzers, and again FOX had it listed as an Army 21 gun salute. Since when does the Army wear Marine Corps Dress Blues? Now, it's been over ten years since I left the Corps, and I didn't have that much contact with any Marine that was in the Band, but the Army Bugler that played taps sure did look like he was wearing a uniform similar to the Marine Corps Band.The Fox News Channel did an outstanding job of showing due respect for this honorable man, but they should also give respect to the Marine Corps.

William N. Thompson former LCPL 1989-'92

Interesting page:
Returning to Vietnam

Hey Grit,
I just finished reading the American Courage Newsletter #72 and the article by 1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger in Ramadi, Iraq regarding the media reporting. I have an idea of how to get the media’s attention and at the same time help our troops. Let’s get every veteran and their family members to just stop taking the newspapers and watching the news on TV, till the media realize that we don’t want their kind of negative crap. Let’s take the money we save from paying for their high priced toilet paper and use it to support our troops and their families. We could use it to buy needed items to send to them in Care Packages. This would, or at least should, send a clear message to the idiots of the so called news media that we want to see more positive things and not all the negative crap that they shove down our throats. If the people quit buying the paper, the advertisers would quit spending their money with the media too and it shouldn’t be long before they get the message. I haven’t taken the newspaper for many years, because of all the negative things that they call news.
Semper Fi,
An old Marine in Arizona

I am a Woman Marine currently writing a book devoted to the narratives of veterans from Wayne County Tennessee or with ties to the County. The is will be volume 3 in my words of war series. One is WW11,second is Korea and now nam. I would like to hear from Nam Vets from the County and others too who may have real time pictures I can use in the book. Credit will be given for any items I can use.
Contact me

I just want to say to the Marine moms .Hang in there, and be strong! Your son or daughter has had the best training in the world!!!They are the finest ,and most feared fighting force on this planet. As a young Marine myself.(1966-1972) I know my mother had some very rough times while I was in Vietnam(1967-1968)I was 17 years old in bootcamp,and just turned 18 when I got to Vietnam. I look at these young Marines today, and say did I look that young? We Marines will always stick together, so you are not alone worrying about your young Marines, we are all praying for their safe return home. Stay Stong-God Bless The USA
CPL D Evans USMC (ret)
1966-1972 RVN 1967-1968
SEMPER FI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just wanted to tell you about my experience last week. Our Veterans Day committee, made arrangements to bring one of the moving walls to our city. Iola, Ks. population of around 7,000. We worked there a wk. straight and it was such a rewarding experience to be able to help Marines and other service members to find their brothers on the wall. Our grandson is a Marine and on his way back to Iraq for a second time. Working to bring the wall here to our town, and having this experience was very very worth while. So glad to be able to help in this way. Iola is a rural community and a lot of our veterans may not have been able to travel to see the real one in D.C. Thanks for you time.
F.W. Niemeyer

In case you haven't noticed, we are at war. Young men and women from across this great country, are laying their lives on the line for the call of duty. Their lives may be lost here or overseas in today's world, no-one knows for sure as we are in a different time.

Being that these young men and women are offering their service in the name the United States and freedom, it is you on this "graduation committee" and apparently the school system in Elko who seem to be the inappropriate ones here, very nit-picky indeed. What is so inappropriate about a loving Mother receiving her sons diploma in his honor? I personally think that this is a very honorable thing not only for the Mother to do but also to the folk living in Elko Nevada and elsewhere.

We all in this country owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve, especially at this time in our lives and to deny such a request by a United States Service Man's Mother is not only ridiculous but ludicrous and very petty. Whoever is the chair of the graduation committee should be ashamed and embarrassed by this act and should step down and apologize to the town of Elko and to this Mother as the committee is setting a very poor example of Americanism and patriotism to the young people there.

Shame, shame, shame.

Robert Hill
USMC 1968-1972

"It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives."
--Samuel Johnson

Sgt Grit,
I just read your column, although I am former Navy -- Naval Communications, served on Gators for all my Sea Duty, I have the "Marine sense of pride etc"-- I got to that story about the Marine not being allowed to accept his High School Diploma in FULL DRESS BLUES because he might "OFFEND" someone-- That just stuck in my craw. I am sure his mother handled it well but it is really sad that we have administrators who, if they didn't make the decision themselves, surround themselves with people who are so short sighted. as to have that kind of thinking.

Now I sit here, really ticked and try to think of many things WE could have done to upstage that school administration but, alas, everything would just make it worse for the mother... To bad he couldn't have graduated -- maybe in civvies -- with his entire Boot Company in attendance, cheering him on....or maybe the local Reserve Unit had a Band that could have performed, but neither is PC and may have worked in my day (enlisted USN 11/10/56) but I can't see any Company Commander allowing such shenanigans...

I really enjoy your columns and the letters from the present and former Marines....You can't really classify me as a WANNABE as the day I turned 17, Oct 9, 1956, I skipped school, went to the Recruiting Office in Los Angeles Cal where I was going to enlist in the Corps.

The recruiter was out to lunch (or so the Navy Recruiter said) and the Navy recruiter asked me if I wanted to take the test while I waited...well to make a long story short, by the time the Marine got back from 'lunch', I had enlisted in the Navy...but was assigned to a Boot Company that was sponsored by the Los Angeles Rams and we were 'sworn' in on Armistice Day at half time during the Rams/49ers game....which was held on the 9th (Sunday) and my OFFICIAL swearing in day was 10NOV56, so I did retain a 'little' Marine history in my Military Service
George R. O'Connell 493 24 18 RM2 USN
1956-64 USS Henrico (APA-45)
1957-60 USS Terrell County (LST-1157) 1960-62

Hi there,
Your newsletter is terrific. I would like to make a recommendation, perhaps you could post it on your sire. We recently were visiting our Marine, currently at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds for school. While there we toured the Nation's Capital, wonderful, and surrounding sites. We took a day and visited Phillie, they deserve the title City of Brotherly Love, in every neighborhood, on most public bldgs. and most private businesses, the support of our troops, our country and the President was overwhelming. There were more Red/White and Blue bows, yellow ribbons, and support signs than I have seen in months, outside of my front yard. If only the news crews would go there, send those pictures to our troops what a difference it would make. We were embarrassed to know that when we returned home there would be almost none of this support showing.
PM of PFC Justin

Sgt Grit,
I am a Marine Mom. My son and his two best friends are in the Marines. They are so proud to be Marines. As proud moms, we are always wearing clothing or jewelry that displays a Marine emblem. People come up to me regularly and start up conversations with me. Older men walk up and shake my hand, saying Semper Fi and giving me a big smile. The saying "Once a Marine always a Marine" is so true. I also feel that as a Marine mom, there is a great bond there too. This bond is so strong that I have "adopted" six military men overseas and I write them weekly to support them. I am very proud to be a part of the Marine family. My Eagle, Globe and Anchor necklace is on 24/7.
Terri Bowes

SGT Grit,
I laughed out loud when I read the story about the Draft Dodger. The similarities are amazing. In 1968 I had taken my physical for the military and was waiting to be drafted. Knowing the lifetime abuse from my two brothers (Marines) if I was drafted into any other service I joined the Marines. Shortly after, the Army sent me a letter directing me to report to Kansas City to be drafted. I ignored the letter and went on to San Diego. In 1969 I found myself in the DaNang area stationed on Hill 327. Several months into my tour I received word that I had a registered letter at the APO in DaNang. The Army was threatening to send me to jail for avoiding the draft! No wonder they called Hill 327 "Freedom Hill"!
CPL Don Flattem
1st Rad Bn, 3rd MAF

I never knew what patriotism was till I married a Marine. I called myself a patriot and I was proud to have a flag in my front yard, but now that I see first hand what my husband and every other service member gives up to fight for this country, I appreciate what they are doing so much more. The Star Spangled Banner takes my breath away and there are always tears ready to overflow when I hear it. I love it when people ask me what my husband does and I can say he is a Marine! I am so proud of him for what he is doing and proud to be his wife. He is deployed in Iraq now and I will be here waiting for my hero when he comes home
Semper Fi
A proud Marine wife

Dear Sgt. Grit:
We live in a small rural town in Pennsylvania. Our son is in the Marines, (1 year in August 2004), stationed in Cherry Point, NC. He is a Scopist, working in the Legal Administration Dept.

This Memorial Day I was asked by our church to read a poem at our Memorial Day Service about our precious fighting Military. Needless to say, I was fighting back tears after the 2nd verse. It is a very moving poem and I would like to share it with you and your readers.

I am a small and precious child,
my daddy's been to fight.
The only place I'll see his face
is in my dreams at night.

He will be gone too many days
for my young mind to keep track.
I may be sad, but I am proud;
my daddy's got your back . . . . .

I am a caring mother.
My son has gone to war . . . . .
My mind is filled with worries
That I have never known before.

Everyday I try to keep
my thoughts from turning black.
I may be scared, but I am proud;
My son has got your back . . . . .

I am a strong and loving wife,
with a husband soon to go.
There are times I'm terrified
in a way most never know.

I bite my lip and force a smile
as I watch my husband pack.
My heart may break, but I am proud;
My husband's got your back.

I am a soldier . . . . .
Serving proudly, standing tall.
I fight for freedom, yours and mine
by answering this call.

I do my job while knowing;
the thanks it sometimes lack.
Say a prayer that I'll come home;
It's me who's got your back.

Author Unknown

A week after Memorial Day, I was asked to read the poem again at a P.O.S. of A. Picnic celebrating all the local men and women in the Military.

I hope all your readers enjoy the poem as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. May God Bless and watch over us all.

Proud Mom & Dad of Pfc Joshua Linderman

First of all I wanted to write to you and say how excited I was to have found your site. You see, I am an extremely proud wife of a Marine and have been for 8yrs, but up until now he had always been a station Marine. Of course, there were schools and trips to the field, but nothing major. Then all of a sudden he tells me we are moving to SC and that he will be deploying a week after we get there. Well, of course my feelings were very mixed, jumping from so proud to h*ll no. I have 3 can I do this. Nevertheless, I reminded him that this was nothing, I could handle it.

He has been gone now for 5 months. It has been so tough, but I have been able to grow so much as a person and as a Marine wife. I volunteer as a KV and I also spend my Thursdays at Parris Island talking to new spouses about the joys of the Corps.

You know, I have always been proud to be some part of the corps. With each task that is put in front of me I've noticed that I handle it like my husband would although when alone I do shed tears. But, when I began reading your newsletter it showed me the depth of this great organization. I've realized that no matter how long ago you were in you still have that connection. Believe me getting sentiment from family that everything will be ok does help, but it is nothing like getting a hug from another Marine telling me to stay strong because that Marine knows.

I know I have rambled, but let me say Thank You. You have helped pull a spouse through a hard time. I forward your newsletter to my husband each time I get it. He loves it!
So Semper Fi and God Bless.
Leslie Schiller
Proud Marine Wife

Sgt Grit,
I have been enjoying your great American Courage Newsletter for sometime. I want to contribute this which happened today (6/10/04).

Hundreds of thousands of Americans filed in to the US Capitol Rotunda to pay their final respects to former President Ronald Reagan. Among them around noon on Thursday June 10th, was Cpl. James Wright. Cpl Wright is the Marine HERO recently awarded the Bronze Star with Valor device for his actions in Iraq when his unit was attacked with RPGs. During that attack, Cpl. Wright lost both of his hands and sustained severe damage to his leg because of the RPG, but remained calm and continued to give orders to his Marines to call for support and on how to render first aid. According to the citation, "He also pointed out enemy machine gun emplacements … assisting in the demise of 26 enemies killed in action."

I was watching C-SPAN's coverage of the mourners filing past the casket of the former President, when I saw deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, accompanied by a Marine Major General and a Corporal. The Corporal centered himself on the casket and rendered a SHARP salute to the fallen President. He had NO HANDS, but it was the most beautiful salute I have ever seem rendered. It was pure and true RESPECT. I cannot describe the immense emotions that rushed through my heart, as well as the tears that freely flowed down this old Marine's face. They were tears of PRIDE, tears of pain, tears of Esprit de Corps!

It has been almost 12 years since I completed my active duty career, and I miss being among Marines 24/7. I wish I could be there doing whatever I can to support the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan with these Devil Dogs who definitely embody the phrase used by Admiral Nimitz about the Marines of another generation on Iwo Jima, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue".

Cpl. Wright, your example of courage causes this old Marine to PROUDLY state: "WE ARE PROUD TO CLAIM THE TITLE OF UNITED STATES MARINE".

Thanks for all you do for ALL our brothers, Sgt Grit! OOOORRRAAAHHHH!!!

Norb Logsdon
Gunnery Sergeant, USMC retired 1970 - 1992

Proud to have served my country in war.
Proud to serve my country in peace.
And would proudly serve my country again if my president called.
Sgt. Robert ("Sparks") Fallier VMGR-252, VMGR-152 69-73 Semper Fi brothers all!

"Our terrorist enemies have a vision that guides and explains all their varied acts of murder. Our actions, too, are guided by a vision. We believe that freedom can advance and change lives. These two visions have now met in Iraq and are contending for the future of that country... America's task in Iraq is not only to defeat an enemy, it is to give strength to a friend -- a free, representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf. And the sooner this goal is achieved, the sooner our job will be done."
--President George W. Bush


Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to remind everyone who subscribes to this wonderful site that not all who read and respond are who they say they are. There are unscrupulous liars, cheats and con-men, posing as Marines. These Sh*t-birds post and respond to the emails they read, just to elicit anger and hurt from us real Marines. These... people... ( word used loosely) often times are ones who WANTED to become Marines and couldn't make it through Boot Camp and or were washed out of the Corps for one reason or another. They see the pride and love that is written on this site and they consciously work to disrupt it. So before one gets too upset at some stupid, idiotic,ignorant,uninformed,hateful, spiteful email, keep this in mind...
Every time one gets upset, usually your blood pressure spikes upward, chemical reactions take place in your system that produce toxins, you feel like @&^%!!!!
Semper Fi
Paul Garrett 74-80

"[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."
--Benjamin Rush

I served with the 1stCEB1stMARDIV from 83-87. Yes I served during peace time, but I served! I was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice if called upon. There's times when I'm glad I didn't have to, and there's times like these I wish I was still in!!! Just remember! I support our MARINES, and am proud to have served ! God Bless the Marines who have and still serve! SEMPER FI !!!

Dear Wives
I have read some of your letters and shared some of your tears. One young lady wrote --but they are trained to kill and that's their job..So true, but later,,,,,, much later , when we are are old men, granddads we crumble...Because they never taught us how to forget.
Sgt Taylor

Sgt Grit,
The following was forwarded to me and I am forwarding it to you for publication in one of your fine newsletters.

Marines, what follows is a family sitrep letter from LtCol Giles Kyser, CO 2/2. It will make your Memorial Weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Letter to 2/2 Families
Hello Warlord families!

We miss you! I'd like to take a few minutes to pass on what the battalion has been up to during the past thirty days. To say that we have been busy would be the understatement of the decade and I must tell you that your Marines and Sailors have been amazing not only with their flexibility and ability to adapt to changing missions and locations, but they have been amazing in terms of their courage and tenacity.

As of the 19th of April we were still in our original location of Mahmudiya (about 30 miles South of Bagdhad) and we were making significant progress in developing and improving the relationships and security situation in the four major urban centers of Mahmudiya Qada (county). Easy Company had been working in Mahmudiya city proper, Fox had been focusing its operations in Latifiyah, Golf in Yusafiyah, Weapons in Rasheed, CAAT across the AO in a Quick Response Force role and our H&S always focuses everywhere supporting every conceivable facet of our operations. Simultaneously, the 81mm mortar platoon had been making significant strides in training and conducting operations with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps Battalion that had been started under our predecessors in the US Army's 82d Airborne Division.

We had seen an increase in both security and "winning the hearts and minds" through the diligent and compassionate work of our Marines and Sailors, but because we also had pushed our forces into areas that had until now, been unaddressed, we also saw a significant increase in combat operations. The events in Fallujah, Najaf and Karbala that occurred right before and just after Easter resulted in a significant spike in activity as many radicals and terrorists began to take action wherever they could to try to stir up hate within the populace. The Warlords responded and at one point the comment of our enemies was that "The marines are everywhere.we can't do anything." At that point the battalion had been conducting intense 24/7 operations since about 4 April to provide a secure environment for the Shiite Arbaeen celebration (40 days following any Muslim holiday-the traditional mourning period-Muslims celebrate an "Arbaeen").

The terrorists changed tactics to try to stop traffic along the major highways and the battalion responded by refocusing its efforts along the main artery running through our area and shut the enemy activity down there completely. Just as we were getting ready to re-energize our efforts throughout the Qada, we received orders to re-embark the entire battalion, move to a completely different base and then begin operations in an entirely new area. We moved our force from Mahmudiya to "Camp Fallujah" west of Baghdad and immediately began split operations. Golf Company assisted 2d Bn, 1st Marines to the Northwest of Fallujah at a place called Saclawejah, Easy assisted 1/5 along the southern portion of Fallujah and the remainder of the Battalion began operations to the Northeast of Fallujah at a place called Al Kharma (also commonly known as "Bad Kharma"). At any rate, each part of the battalion executed combat operations that included some violent engagements with the enemy and the recovery of significant amounts of terrorist weapons, ammunition and bomb making material.

After only about five days, H&S performed miracles again and the battalion then moved in force to the southern portion of Fallujah and slammed the back door on the terrorists operating in the city. Almost immediately upon our arrival, the battalion became decisively engaged and built on the situation Easy Company had been developing over the past five days. Easy and Fox, supported by Tanks, Armored Vehicles, 81mm mortars and our superb snipers began to wreak havoc upon the terrorists within Fallujah.

After only 48 hours of fighting, the battalion had succeeded in killing between 100 and 200 of the terrorists, leveled a portion of southern Fallujah and in the words of our Regimental Commander "broke the back" of the resistance in Fallujah. Within hours, the terrorists were at the negotiating table proposing a solution that developed in to what is now known as the Fallujah Brigade. Throughout those intense days, the battalion performed magnificently and earned a very key place in the history of the Regiment's history.

As the Fallujah Brigade entered the city, we reluctantly departed our positions and entered what would be our fourth operating area in less than a month. We are now conducting operations east of Fallujah in an area that had, until now, been largely ignored. Our presence alone brought the rats scurrying out to engage. The result of our operations has been the virtual elimination of indirect fire attacks against key coalition facilities, the development of millions of dollars of civil affairs projects, the disruption of terrorist operations in what was once on of the most volatile areas in Iraq, and, through the superb efforts of Golf Company and our Counter Intelligence Teams, the discovery of the largest series of weapons caches in Iraq to date!

Throughout the past month, the Marine's living conditions have varied from a firm base in Mahmudiya where they had access to a gym, internet, showers and two hot meals a day, to fighting holes and 100 degree heat, to bombed out buildings in Fallujah to abandoned buildings and open fields. Operations have been at once defensive and offensive and have reflected what has become known as the "three block war" where your Marines and Sailors are conducting full up combat on one block, peacekeeping on the next and humanitarian operations on the other. Access to the internet has been spotty at best, but we are now in a situation where we can rotate platoons back to our current location for showers, hot chow, and a brief period of rest and refit before they re-attack the missions we execute every day.

Snail mail has been regular for the most part given our hobo status, and your cards, letters and packages have been the most welcome thing you can imagine. Mail and the occasional hot shower are the highlights of our existence here and your support through the mail is literally the rock upon which we draw our strength. Thanks!

Throughout one of the busiest months in the storied history of the battalion, the Warlords acquitted themselves in the finest tradition of their predecessors from Tarawa and you should all be incredibly proud of them. As a result of those intense operations, we have had many wounded, and tragically lost two of our own to the cowards that do not have the fortitude to fight us openly. I ask that each of you remember their families in the prayers that you say for all of us every night and keep the faith that we are talking care of each other and that we are doing what Marines do . we are winning!

I must also tell you that one of the reasons we are winning, is because of the incredible support we receive every day from you all at home. The Key Volunteers in particular have done an amazing job of juggling the worries associated with this kind of a deployment while simultaneously providing that unique kind of help across the battalion that makes Marine and Navy families so very special. There are no words that can possibly describe the combat multiplier that you are, but take my word for the fact that your actions have saved lives, because your Warlords have been able to focus on the mission here. God Bless you.

As you can see, the battalion has done more in a month's time than many do in years and done so under intense combat conditions. You should all be immensely proud of your Marines and Sailors. I am and I can honestly tell you that the battalion's success has been the result of a magnificent team effort from the Staff, the Companies, our Regiment and the Division here and at Camp LeJeune. We were set up for success and we are winning because of it.

In closing, I must tell you that I have the privilege of walking in the shadow of greatness every day. The Marines and Sailors of Task Force 2/2 have exceeded every expectation and excelled in every mission. In a short e-mail to my wife after a ceremony I recently conducted I said the following:

"As I award these young men their medals as they stand in front of me in their combat gear, sweaty, dirty and so very young I am struck by the purity of their service to our nation and to each other. They accept the recognition but more often than not are embarrassed by it, and always concerned more for the welfare of those wounded along with them. They personify those things that so many people speak of but can never really know; the feeling of camaraderie, the commitment to the point of death to the men around them, and the unspoken hardness of their patriotism. God they are a blessing to me. and I feel so unworthy to stand in front of them to offer them such a small token. I feel inadequate and humbled to be in their shadow, regardless of their age and I walk away feeling so d-mned honored to be with them."

I am honored to know each of you to have been given the rare privilege of leading your husbands under difficult conditions. It is an honor that I will never forget and a debt that I can never repay. Please know that we miss you and love you all.

God Bless each of you, God Bless America, and Semper Fi from your Marines and Sailors in Iraq.

Giles Kyser
"Warlord Six"
Semper Fi,
Tom Tilque
Cpl. USMC 1969-73

At ease men, smoke em if you got em. Just had to respond to the religious issue of Marines not be blessed. I was indoctrinated by my Drill Instructors almost 40 years ago that Heaven Streets were guarded by the United States Marines. I guess that the Archbishop wants the HYMN to be reworded.

As for the killing vs murder, any man that was faced with this problem did what he had to do to survive. I personally have wrestled with this subject for years and I have trouble sitting in Church because of it. I can only say that some day My God will answer my question and say you are in or out and that will be the end of the argument.

Also "The Snake" wrote about the passing of Mike Claussen. I can think of no better date for a hero to go meet the Maker than on Memorial Day.

Mourn not that this man died but praise God that men like him lived.
Semper Fi Mike and TAPS
Ron Shouse
Khe Sanh Vet

I would like to say a few words and hope it gets passed on to every one in the armed forces.

I am a mother of 2 boys and I worry every day that they are reaching the age of 18, My oldest son will be 16 in July and both of my boys are currently in the CHESTY PULLER YOUNG MARINES regimen. My oldest wants to in list when he is 18 and with the world is today I am truly afraid.

On Memorial Day the young marines were in a parade in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. There was a young man from that town that perished in Iraq, earlier this year, This young man, a United States Marine, was honored for his bravery and courage. His mother and fiancée where honored with a plaque, and also a gold star. My kids in uniform stood in line behind 5 people just to shake the hands of these women and tell them "We are sorry for your loss" I do not know many kids 10 & 15 years old that would do that. It truly touched my heart and I know for sure it did and will touch those women deep in their hearts for a long time.

Just wanted to share for all the men and women serving over sea's and for those who are at home where they belong, what kids with good background and guidance from the military source can do....... the CHESTY PULLER YOUNG MARINES has truly changed my kids and I just wanted to say thank you ... to ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE SERVING AND THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED.

Proud mom 2 kids young marines & step brother Pfc-Marine corp. (WIA)

Someone wise once told me to believe half of what you see and none of what you hear...I believe that is especially true if the talker is a politician or a journalist

I've had it with pandering politicians and morally bankrupt media idiots taking every opportunity that arises to kick my President, my military and especially my Marines.

Does anyone with an IQ above 50 really believe that Iraq did not have WMD? Ask the families of the dead Kurds in Northern Iraq or the families of Iranian soldiers who died in the Iran Iraq war. Are we really to believe that Saddam was just having fun when he would deny/delay access to the UN weapons inspectors? Did he just get bored with all the inspection fun, is that why he kicked them out of the country? If you want to know where his WMD is I suggest you look first to Syria and the Bekka Valley in Lebanon - we gave Saddam nearly eight months of warnings, while we tried to work with those spineless corrupt basta*ds at the UN, that we were coming to look for WMD, next I'd look in France and Russia. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence - I can't see oxygen but I know it is there.

Is the press really interested in presenting the facts? How come we're still hearing about the humiliation (only the truly ignorant/media/ would say that was torture) of a bunch of enemy combatants/thugs at Abu Gharib while the murder and corpse desecration of American citizens in Fallujah as well as the decapitation of Nick Berg (what was this idiot doing in Iraq anyway) has already passed from the scene?

How come we have the entire world whining about the Marine siege of Fallujah as unjustly punishing too many for the acts of a few and then have these newspapers talk about the Marines "retreating" when a deal was struck to end the siege and spare the a$$ho*es? We pulled back because our leaders, this time my President included, lack the will to see the dirty work through. Then the press reports how the residents of Fallujah are celebrating the defeat of the Marines in the streets. Does any sane human being really believe that had the Marines been 'allowed' to accomplish their mission there would even be one terrorist left alive to celebrate anything?

Why do we keep hearing only the negative? Because it's an election year and all of those cry babies who don't understand the electoral college hate George Bush so much that they will say or do anything that might help defeat him in November, including undermining the efforts of our military and risking their lives by emboldening the terrorists(they're not insurgents assba*s, they're terrorists) with all of their talk of us "Pulling Out"

If it makes you feel any be