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 #71

I take care of Marines everyday and I am proud to know that they appreciate a good Army Nurse. My Marines are well taken care and I am glad that I can help them.
CPT Murillo, Mercedes
Landsthul Regional Medical Center, Germany

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There are a lot of things going on now. Saddam's trial, the transfer of government to the Iraqi people, Presidential election, etc... It is easy to forget there are individual Marines on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done an outstanding job and have accomplish much. But there job is not over. There is still a lot to be done and it is still very dangerous. They need our continued support. Both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as they return home. This is long from over. There are still forces that wish us harm, even in the USA. I was just sent a picture of a poster in Seattle. It shows flag covered coffins with the caption "Replacements Needed".
These people have the right to dissent, and we have the right to support. DO IT!! Show your support somehow. It does not have to be big and loud. Sometimes the littlest of gestures speak the loudest. DO SOMETHING!!
Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

New Stuff!

Motherlode Camelbak

Thermoback 3L Camelbak

Mug - Tight 360

Mug - Sniper

Mug - Operation Iraqi Freedom - US Marines

Mug - M-16

Mug - Emblem w/ Marine Flag

Mug - USMC - Green

Small Bulldog USMC Pennant

Baby Bib - Lean Mean Future Marine

Baby Bib - Let Me Hear Your War Cry! "Whaaa!!!" USMC

Infant & Childrens T-Shirt - Lean Mean Future Marine

Infant T-Shirt - Let Me Hear Your War Cry! "Whaaa!!!" USMC

Women's Tank Top - USMC

Women's 2 Tone Baby Doll T-Shirt - I Love My Marine

KA-Bar Presentation Case

Rifle Stock Knives

Black Marine Wallet

Marines Poolee Shirt

Cooldanna - Woodland Camo

Cooldanna - Digital Desert

MARINE Warm Up Jacket

MARINE Warm Up Pants

Infants T-Shirt - Day Care...

White Cotton Headwrap

Black Cotton Headwrap

Red Cotton Headwrap

OD Green Cotton Headwrap

Hat Pin - MCB Quantico

Hat Pin - Oorah!

Hat Pin - Navy Air Crew

Hat Pin - Large Round USMC

I just wanted to say thanks. Even though reading your newsletter often brings tears to my eyes, I read it thoroughly. I look for news from the frontlines, letters from other moms and the hot topics often discussed in your newsletter. My son, Cpl Stephen Chassee, H&S Company, 2nd Bn, 24th Marines, is preparing for deployment. While I worry, as any mother would, I feel comforted knowing that his brothers will watch his back. I have become a part of that family and truly feel the love and caring provided by all. Many of his warrior friends have become my sons. After reading the poem submitted in your newsletter about watching each others back, I hope and pray every night that he will be safe and return to his wife, his sister and his family. Thank you for your newsletter it helps me get through tough times. I can't say it often enough, I am proud to have a son in the United States Marine Corp. Also, I just had to tell you how much I enjoy your website!!!
Lynn Chassee, Proud Mother of a United States Marine

Hello everyone,

Attached is picture of an AK-47 that will be given to the border guards. This is called Iraqi recycling, I will explain.

1. The Iraqi soldier got it from a rebel terrorist, who was trying to overthrow the government, but was killed.
2. We kill the enemy Iraqi solider who is using the AK to try and kill us.
3. We are not allowed to pick up souvenirs or possible bobby trapped weapons, so it is picked up by a local.
4. The local is killed by a rebel terrorist, who takes the AK.
5. We kill the rebel terrorist and, this time, take the AK.
6. We give the AK to the border guards because they have no
weapons. That is because they are former military, who lost their weapons per sentence 2.
7. Rebel terrorists kill the border guard and take the AK.
8. We kill the rebel terrorist, take the AK and give it to a new border guard.
9. This cycle continues over and over. The biggest problem
is; somewhere in this never ending cycle, American military are being killed by that same weapon.

At least there will always be job security for the military. Hope everyone is having a great day.
1st Sgt T. Mancheste

A Thank You to Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq

A guy gets time to think over here and I was thinking about all the support we get from home. Sometimes it's overwhelming. We get care packages at times faster than we can use them. There are boxes and boxes of toiletries and snacks lining the center of every tent; the generosity has been amazing. So I was pondering the question: "why do we have so much support?"

In my opinion, it came down to one thing. Vietnam. I think we learned the lesson, as a nation, that no matter what, you have to support the troops who are on the line, who are risking everything. We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. The stories are nightmarish of what our returning warriors were subjected to. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us.

After Vietnam, it had time to sink in. The guilt in our collective consciousness grew. It shamed us.

However, we learned from our mistake. Somewhere during the late 70's and into the 80's we realized that we can't treat our warriors that way. So, starting during the Gulf War, when the first real opportunity arose to stand up and support the troops we did. We did it to support our friends and family going off to war. But we also did it to right the wrongs from the Vietnam era. We treated our troops like the heroes they were, acknowledged and celebrated their sacrifice, and rejoiced at their homecoming, instead of spitting on them.

And that support continues today for those of us in Iraq. Our country knows that it must support us and it does. The lesson was learned in Vietnam and we are better because of it.

Everyone who has gone before is a hero. They are celebrated in my heart. I think admirably of all those who have gone before me. From those who fought to establish this country in the late 1770's to those I serve with here in Iraq; they have all sacrificed to ensure our freedom.

But when I get back, I'm going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam Vet I encounter for their sacrifice. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors. We as a country learned from our mistake and now treat our warriors as heroes, as we should. I am the benefactor of their sacrifice. Not only for the freedom they, like veterans from other wars, ensured, but for how well our country now treats my fellow Marines and I. We are the benefactors of their sacrifice.

Semper Fidelis,
Major Brian P. Bresnahan
United States Marine Corps

Just saw the other statement on the 21 gun salute and thought you might want to set it straight. You can read it at the address above at Snopes. I think their record of truthfulness is pretty good. Semper Fi. Just had a hand shake with a young man going in PI next month. He was wearing a Marine T and I with my Marine cap. Keep the GOOD newsletters coming Sgt. Grit

I Pray that I may live to fish until my dying day.
And when it comes to my last cast, I then most humbly Pray,
When in the Lord's great landing net and peacefully asleep.
That in His mercy I be judged BIG ENOUGH TO KEEP!
Roy M.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Ronald Reagan

We had a visitor at our church several months ago from Iraq. He is setting up a mission there. He told us that the news that we get here is a lie. The common people of Iraq are afraid we will leave and abandon them to those that have oppressed them for so many years. A lot of good is being done by our troops, and the people there have shown our troops love and friendship. Several of our soldiers have expressed to this man that they want him to tell us here in the USA "Only the terrorists and followers of Saddam are the ones causing all of the problems in Iraq - Not the people of Iraq". Spread the word. I will try to get the name of the visitor (missionary). Oh yes, he is Arab (not American).

Hello Sgt. Grit and Marines,
Been a while since I have written and weekly, upon reading Sgt. Grit's newsletter, have just wanted to respond so many "heartfelt" messages published. So many are very moving.

For nearly 55 years, I have been solely tied with the "Corps." Yet, my job now takes me into various Submarine Bases through the United States. Thought I would pass on a few observations and comments made by the group of Chiefs on board with the Submarine Force.

First, was with the Command Master Chief and a number of Master Chiefs, COB's, etc., at a very large Sub Base. The "honored" guest into their CPO Lounge are several retired "JarHeads. This "CMC" was once a "Doc" at Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia. He was with the US Marines there. Every Chief at this Base brags on the "quality" of the Marines. Not just the Uniform, but their devotion to duty and the protection of their Boats. Also, to the discipline of the Marines.

Now, I have seen, within this community of Submariners, a closeness and a fraternity of a good group, yet the respect they give your "Corps" and the respect they have given me, it a bit overwhelming. Yes, I got some ribbing on what the name "Marine" stands for, and yes had them laughing with our standard response. "Marines Always Arrive In Navy Equipment." I told them all, yes they are the best "taxi service" in the world, they provide the best meals free of charge and we do not have to tip for the service. They loved it.

But what was great! They took me to their Submarine Vets Association for breakfast. After much coffee, I had to hit the "head." In the middle of each urinal, is a picture of "Jane Fonda." It is a decal of sorts, but darn good!!!!! Sgt. Grit, you need to get some of these to sell!!!!!!! It withstanding wetness.

Marines, yes, within you respect each other. Just wanted to remind you, that the NCO's of the Submarine Forces of America, certainly have the "deepest respect" for the "Corps." You wouldn't believe the things I have been told in a short week. They brag on the Marines they met and served with.

Also, the CMC knew of "Chesty." "Chesty" is highly respected amongst these Americans. I was floored. Only thought Marines knew/respected Puller. You each have a major impact on each individual that you meet and serve around in this Nation and the Globe. Your impact is in discipline, duty and honor. Your devotion to fulfilling the mission assigned.

Thank you. Fore where-ever I travel, people step forward to praise Marines. This praise, is because of you each. God Bless you and your "Corps."

Semper Fi
Steve Robertson

Hello Sgt Grit,
Thanks for your great newsletter. I read the letter from "Kelly Marine Wife" of June 17th concerning her husband. Just wanted her to know that there is a great national group she can join that lends support to families of our military. We offer support, love, prayers, shoulders to cry on and words of encouragement. We have many projects going on to help our brave soldiers. We are all women who understand what it is to be a military wife/mom/girlfriend/friend and welcome all from every branch. We are the Blue Star Mothers. She can find out more about this organization by going to . And please let Kelly know that her husband is certainly being prayed for by THIS Marine Mom!
Marilyn Miller
Proud Mom of LCPL Marc Miller USMC

I want to thank you for this newsletter. My life has brought me to live in Jerusalem with a wonderful woman I met some 18 years ago. After 9/11 and after a few days of rage exited my spirit I thought about just what could I do now that I've gotten older to contribute to the war on terrorism. So I have ended up leaving my teaching position and becoming a security guard here in Jerusalem. As long as my blood still runs some what warm I just have to do something graphic to make a stand. As I have chosen to do this all the memories of PI, Geiger, the training at Pendleton, and my tour in Nam have refreshed themselves in my present memory. The job I have chosen this work to allow people to live their lives as normally as possible. In my mind this war on terrorism is as simple as that. The way of life and the freedom that this encompasses is what this war is basically about. My father fought with the 5th Marines in WWI and he always said to me "that not everybody can do it". So as long as I can I will continue "to do it". My nephew was with the 15th MEU and he extended his enlistment only to participate in Iraq.
This newsletter brings me in contact with like minded people and gives me a deeper sense of effort.
God Bless America, God Bless the Marine Corps.
James Hoagland Sgt USMC retired

Sgt Grit,
I am an old WWII Marine and ought to know better than to shoot my mouth off but, it irks me to hear people moan about the treatment of prisoners in Iraq. If the people we have are really the bad guys-- and I believe that are--- we should reward the bad guys who kill our people by knocking off ten of theirs for every one of ours. It seems to me that back in '43 we were told that a 10 to 1 kill ratio was good. Why /what has changed? It still sounds acceptable to me. Maybe if we let them know that that was going to be SOP -- it would sink in. In my opinion ,that's about the only conversation we should be having with them. Instead we are releasing them by the hundreds---anyone who thinks they won't be back is a fool. Korea, Viet Nam---any of those places ring a bell? The same bunch of idiots that did it to us there are doing it again. Maybe we shouldn't take any prisoners?
RS Holden 542650 '43-'46

I'm proud to say that, I support all the Men and Women of the Armed Forces and the President for standing up to all that would do harm to the United States of America. Just as we did during the Viet Nam War. We did what we started out to do , and that was to stop communism. No Country has become that since we left Viet Nam. look at Russia and Germany with the wall that came down. I spent a little over 22 years in the MARINE CORPS. And I'm damm proud to say. ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE.
Charles Outman
Msgt Retired
chpt "J"
Phx Az

Sgt. Grit,
When I was released from active duty in 1969, I returned to my hometown of Mission, TX. I joined the nearest Reserve unit, which at that time was located aboard NAS Corpus Christi, 120 miles to my north. At about the same time that I joined, another captain, Jack Fraim, joined from Brownsville.

Besides both living in the area called the "Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas," we also had been artillery officers in Vietnam. (Jack had been with 13th Marines. I served with India Btry 3/11--as an FO for Lima 3/7 for about six months and then Battery Fire Direction Officer for a couple of months before being transferred to 3rd 8" Howitzers to finish my tour.) We carpooled together for several years, meeting at the intersection of US Highways 77 and 83 in Harlingen, and taking turns driving each month.

The unit consisted of two recon companies, "Charlie" and "Delta" 4th Recon Bn, which in 1969 were commanded by two majors. I served as XO of Charlie for about a year, and Jack was XO of Delta; and then we switched assignments. When the two majors left the unit at about the same time, Jack took command of Charlie (he was a senior captain who soon picked up major), and I took over Delta. Sometime around 1972, the two recon companies were redesignated and combined into Charlie 1/23. Jack was the CO for a while until he moved to Florida. Since we were somewhat short of officers, I served the dual roles of XO and "Acting" 1st Platoon Commander for a few months until another officer joined. After Jack left, I had the honor of commanding Charlie for about almost two years. Just before ATD (Annual Training Duty--two week summer training) in 1974, Major Tomas Rodriguez from Laredo joined the unit. Since by then I was on an extension of my reserve tour, I was given the option of leaving the unit or stepping down to the XO slot again. I chose to stay with the unit. When another officer requested to join, I was forced to leave.

Several years ago a detachment of the company was created in Harlingen. (Too bad it didn't happen on my watch--I would have put much fewer miles on my car.)

With your permission I would like to send my regards to the current members of my old unit, upon their activation for service in the ongoing war on terror, whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq.

To the current officers and enlisted men of Charlie 1/23 I send my heartfelt best wishes. I will pray for you and apply the words to the Marine verse of the "Navy Hymn":

"Eternal Father, grant we pray to all Marines, both night and day, the courage, honor, strength and skill their land to serve, Thy Law fulfill. Be Thou a shield forevermore from every peril to the Corps."

God bless you and keep you, and may God bless the Marine Corps.

Semper Fi!
Tom Downey,
1963-'76 (Vietnam '66-'67)
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine

Dog Tags
Our 19 year old son is on his way to Iraq. He is a Marine! When he joined the Marines he chose the infantry. Even though there was a war in the Middle East that America was involved in he signed up anyway. I have never discouraged my children from doing anything they wanted to do or try. Jason has wanted to be a Marine all of his life.

On graduation day we were very proud of him as he stood on the parade deck at Parris Island with over 1000 other men and women who had just finished 3 months of the toughest days they ever experienced in their young lives.

During a quiet moment with just me and him he held out his closed hand and said, "Happy Father's Day". I held my hand out and he dropped something into it. This was the last gift he gave me before going back to Camp LeJeune to gather his gear for the long journey over seas. Out of his hand and into mine fell a set of his dog tags.

Our son's job is one that takes him into the "thick of things". He repels down a rope from a helicopter. He says the ground comes up very fast with a 140 pound pack on his back. On a raid he's the second man in the door. On patrol he's out in front! His job is fearful and his life so young.

On the tearful day we all said our good-byes I held him and he said, "Dad don't worry, I'll be ok". I tearfully told him it was my job to worry. I have always tried to protect my kids to the point of actually fighting another adult who once threw a heavy object at my future Marine. That guy never messed with our boys again! Now, I feel helpless because I can no longer protect him.

Through misty eyes, I looked down at the dog tags and the name on it said, "J.D. BAKER"! My initials and last name which I gave to our sons. One tag I put on Anita's key ring. The other is around my neck. I plan on wearing it every day until he comes home. He said giving loved ones his dog tags signifies that he'll be returning home.

He is our son, Lance Corporal Jason David Baker, United States Marines. Father! Mother! I must go do battle In a far away place called Iraq I give you my dog tags to keep for me For in a year, I'll be back!

Dear Marine Mom,
I can not start to tell you how angry I am at the (enter expletives here) school administrators. I only wish I lived in your area that I may share a dose of my disgust with them. I wish I could give you some legal edge or policy statement that could rectify their, (sorry but we Marines get riled up when one of our own is being hurt) but all I can give you is my support from a couple hundred miles away.

The decision to who walks and who doesn't rest with the principal, a strong principal will stand up and tell the, I assume school board, that it was his decision and he supports your sons right to wear his dress blues. So who draws the line exactly, where is it drawn and why.

If a member of the graduating class was in a car accident they would be allowed to cross the stage with their crutches or in a wheelchair, and what if they were disfigured, wouldn't that make someone in the crowd uncomfortable. Those things are what they need to get them through their difficult days, what makes your sons desire and my desire that he wear his dress blues any different, it is what keeps him going, and it is, I am sure, what keeps those that love him going too. I am sure he walks taller in them I think those dress blues make a hell of a crutch don't you.

As a Marine I wish I could offer you and your son more, Marines never give up, retreat or leave one of our own behind, so please tell your son the fight with the graduation committee, the principal is not over. Please tell him that should he not be allowed to participate in his graduation in some crowded stuffy gym with his Senior class for his 12 years of education, remind him he is part of a bigger class, an elite group that held it first graduation more than 200 years ago and keeps growing. He is now part of a group that doesn't hold reunions every ten years, but every time two or more who claim the title Marine cross paths for the rest of this life.

I hope this is only one of many letters you receive in support of "our" cause, and it is our cause, because if they discriminate against one Marine, they discriminate against us all.

May god bless you and your son,

Semper Fi,
E Saucedo
2DBn, 23D Marines,

I am a Marine Veteran of the Viet Nam war a CAP Marine 1968-1969. I was inspired to write this on behalf our new Vets.

It Makes no Difference

It makes no difference if the sun doesn't shine
Sand blasted flesh with eyes nearly blind

It makes no difference if you hit or miss
While conjuring images of your wife's last kiss

It makes no difference if you are passively divine
With bullets flying from Allah's sacred shrine

It makes no difference if death comes like this
A martyred soul an eternity of bliss

It makes no difference if the ground sprouts vines
Covering the fallen one more time.

It makes no difference

War is decided my others and fought by the few. If we go to war we must go to win. If we fight we need to honor the fallen as well as the fallen who continue to live. War kills parts of all men that fought. It's to late for a lot of us but it's not to late to thank those who stepped forward now and continue to step forward.

Thank You
Don Dark

Sgt Grit
I have been to see the wall in DC several times but it was only this last trip over Memorial Day that I was actually able to walk by it and look at the names. My wife and I were looking for one in particular, Maj Mike Echanis, USAF, shot down over Laos and never recovered. His daughter is a friend of ours and my wife has been wearing a POW/MIA bracelet for him. This was the first time I was able to get any closer than 50 yards to the was like a force barrier that prevented me from coming any closer. Shortly after we found Maj Echanis the sorrow overwhelmed me and I had to step back while the tears dribbled down my face. My wife just left me alone while I worked my way through it. We continued on past the wall and over to the Korean Memorial where I remained composed. Strange because I had been in Korea and not Viet Nam. Then it occurred to me there were probably names on the wall of men I had put through boot at MCRD San Diego in 58-59. We visited the Unknown Soldiers tomb and stayed for the changing of the guard, and then slowly strolled on around Arlington. We visited the Confederate Memorial up above it and found an area where there were a number of gravestones with Confederate Soldier - Unknown. Once again that terrible feeling of sorrow overwhelmed me and I cried again. When I visited the battlefield and cemetery at Al Alamein in Egypt I began crying while signing the guestbook. I'll never know why it happens when I least expect it, or understand the deep feeling of sorrow that just overcomes me. Some of the places where I've never been during wartime that haunt me. Other places that are famous battlefields worldwide and I feel like a total stranger and no tears come. I suppose that accounts for my inability to play Taps at military funerals now. When its one on one like at a funeral, I can't retain my composure anymore. May God bless all those who are in harms way and watch over my beloved U.S. Marines.
Semper Fi
Sgt Rocky Kemp 1953-63

I am just now reading your latest newsletter when I came upon a comment that triggered something in my mind: Memorial Day is, to me, a somber day for paying tribute to those warriors who have fallen and those who are fighting for freedom now.....

To wish people a "Happy" Memorial Day has always seemed very inappropriate to me....this year I asked people that I came in contact with if they even remembered why they had a day off from work, and to my dismay, most said NO!!!!

To say that I was shocked would be putting it mildly.....I was sickened. It seems to me that we should wish people a somber and thoughtful day, reminding them why they have a holiday.

We certainly can't force people to pay tribute to those who have given them their rights, but we can pointedly help them be's the least we can do.

Susan Warren
aka MarineAunt
Rockville, Md "God Bless the Marine Corps and all our military....."

Packages for Marines in Iraq

We are in the process of relieving 1/5 here in Iraq. Things are going well though the enemy is tuned in our arrival and welcomed us aboard with a coordinated rocket attack that came close enough to get everyone's attention yesterday morning!

1/5 has done a superb job in every regard here - their motto is "Make peace or die" and they have truly epitomized Gen Mattis' motto for the 1st Marine Division, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." Our intent is to build upon their success as we continue a mission of security and stabilization operations east of Fallujah.

If anyone on your list would like to send packages to the men of the "Thundering Third", our addresses to individual companies are:

UIC 40225
FPO AP 96426-0225

UIC 40225
FPO AP 96426-0225

UIC 40230
FPO AP 96426-0230

UIC 40235
FPO AP 96426-0235

UIC 40240
FPO AP 96426-0240

Your thoughts and prayers most welcome... will be in touch.
God Bless and Semper Fi,
LtCol Willy Buhl

Memorial Day, May 31, 2004

Growing up in Brooklyn, at the age of seven, my father began taking me to Sheepshead Bay for Memorial Day services. At first I only understood that there were lots of people gathered at the piers to watch the parade of fishing boats all decked out with wreaths and flags chugging along at a slow pace, proudly displaying their colors. We always got there early so we could have a good view of the ceremonies and the boats. There was a band that played familiar music, much of which I had heard for years before at other parades or in the movie theaters. There was a raised platform at the beginning of the pier that was draped in red white and blue bunting and encircled by American flags that had rows upon rows of folding chairs, and of course, the Star Spangled Banner commenced the beginning of the ceremonies.

It wasn't very clear to me what these ceremonies were all about. There were lots of people who waited for a good while, as the crowd began to form. Whatever it was, I was happy to be there with my Dad and feel that I was a part of something out of the ordinary. None of my friends had ever been to Memorial Day ceremonies, so I felt special in that regard. But, more so, I could sense there was meaning to all of this gathering and that the adults and festivities surrounding the day had a serious tone to it. Laughter was not in the air, as much a chatter and talk about neighbors, friends, the military and America. Oh, it definitely was bigger than something I could not explain to myself.

As I looked upon the great platform from my father's shoulders, I could see men in uniform, grown ups in their suits and dresses, and a podium with a microphone that screeched occasionally whenever someone new came to speak. I didn't exactly know what their words meant, except that, at one point in the ceremonies, they spoke of all those brave men and women who sacrificed themselves for our country, who endured years of hardships, lost friends and left behind families with gaping holes in them that could never be filled, and of all of us who were standing there because our freedom was protected by them.

How does a seven year old understand such words? They were powerful sounding, and spoken with enormous reverence and emotion. But, the words were only words that I associated with the war, pinching pennies, ration coupons, saving fat renderings, tin cans and foil gum wrappers, posters and radio appeals to buy war bonds, and the great celebration of V-E Day and the news reporting the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I understood from my school teacher that America was fighting a war against the Germans and the Japanese to preserve freedom and liberties.

I understood that there were heroes, and that there were good guys and bad guys. I understood that Americans were the good guys. I had seen my aunt have a date call on her who wore an army uniform and take her for walks and buy ice cream on hot summer nights. I had heard stories told within my family about historic battles such as Iwo Jima and the Normandy invasion, and war heroes like General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. I believed that the world was now safe because we won the war. I knew that freedom and liberty was something important and not discussed in a light way, but that it was what my family called America's bedrock. I wasn't sure what the word "bedrock" meant either, but I knew it was something strong.

When they began throwing the wreaths into the bay and the Marines in their blue uniforms with white hats and polished brass buckles and emblems held their rifles up and fired shots in the air after the wreaths had been thrown into the bay, a chill went through me, and I understood it was because we were commemorating something that had been lost. I understood that we were remembering men and women who died in the war fighting for freedom and liberty. I was being trained to remember Memorial Day.

Today, I recall those warm sunny days at Sheepshead Bay and the formality of the ceremonies and the crowds that gathered to watch and listen to the speeches, listen to the band and see wreaths tossed into the bay. I can remember the sense of excitement and feeling like I was part of something that gathered people to speak about America in a way that will be with me forever. It was an experience of trust, confidence and belief in the words liberty and freedom, though I didn't come to truly understand the meaning of those words, and sometimes what price had to be paid for them, until years later when I tried to explain them to my children when I took out the flag and proudly posted it on our mailbox for all the neighbors to see.

What is Memorial Day, and what does it mean to each American today, I suppose depends upon how each of us learned what it was about. No doubt, it resonates differently for those who served in Korea or Vietnam than those who remember World War II. No doubt it means something different for those who have loved ones now in Iraq or Afghanistan. These are complicated times with complicated emotions. For Memorial Day to mean something enduring that evokes impenetrable beliefs in America's values and the need for us to live by them, respect for our individual liberties and freedom, we must understand that the men and women who served our country, the thousands whom we do not know, and for all those who perished in wars we supported and in those we didn't, for all those who were wounded, and for all those who gave of themselves, and for those who now serve, to honor them, is what Memorial Day has come to mean to me.

I hope you will have taken some time today to pause and reflect on what Memorial Day has meant to you, share these thoughts and feelings and pass them on to whomever you might think would appreciate them.

Semper Fi….Barry Peters, USMC (1962 -1964)

Dear Sgt Grit and Fellow Devil Dogs:

I saw a lot of anger at the decision to back out of Fallujah in this last newsletter, and I thought I'd forward a letter I received from my father, who was 28 years in Naval Intelligence. [Yes, I am descended from a squid, but it's all right; he's okay :)]

In it, you'll find that given the circumstances, backing out of Fallujah, though repugnant to those of us who feel we should just wade in and get the job done, was an excellent move that has harmed Al Sadr and his bone-headed hate monger militias more than we could have realized. This post shows you what our media won't: that we are indeed winning because we are better strategists, better fighters, and better human beings. Long story short, everything we're doing over there is cutting the bad guys' support out from underneath them, and that as long as we stick to it, there is no way we can loose.

Although it's long, read this all the way through, as it gives you a lot of ammo for going up against the whining leftists who would rather see us fail. It answers a lot of questions about the conduct of this fight, and makes you just that much prouder to have served in the best damned fighting force on the planet.

Semper Fi!
Matt DiPalma
Sgt of Marines, USMCR 82-92

The fighting we are engaged in against the uprising of Muqtada Al-Sadr is one that is extremely sensitive and risks catastrophe. Had we entered this previously, it would not have been possible for us to win. Over the months, we have been involved in preparations and much planning. Thus, today we are scoring amazing successes against this would-be tyrant.

I ask that the American people be brave. Don't fall for the spin by the weak and timid amongst you that are portraying this battle as a disaster. Such people are always looking for our failure to justify and rescue their constant pessimism. They are raising false flags of defeat in the press and media. It just isn't true.

Last year in April while the main war was still going on to defeat Saddam Hussein's military, I myself gave a class to my company of the 16th Engineers about the threat posed by Sadr and the prospects for conflict with his militias. Though my fellow soldiers didn't appreciate having to attend a class at 8am on one of our last days before deploying to Baghdad, they can tell you that what is happening now is no surprise. I used open and general information that my superiors were already aware of.

The basis of our evaluation over a year ago was that Sadr presented a formidable and possibly impossible threat. Last summer, as my unit covered Sadr City -- the sprawling part of Baghdad that Sadr controlled then -- his militias challenged us by making a show of force in defiance of the effort to open up Iraq society to the new freedoms. Sadr clearly demonstrated that he would deny Iraqis democracy and freedom in his quest for power. By the fall, he had most of Iraq's Shia leaders and the community at large intimidated and kowtowing to his bully tactics. In January through March, his arrogance and thuggery led him to pursue two further attacks upon the hopes for Iraqi freedom.

He vigorously pursued courting and forming alliances with Iranian hard-liners. Upon returning to Iraq, he then welcomed many foreign fighters to train and assist his militia in terrorist tactics and guerrilla warfare.

In fact, we almost went into full conflict with him back then, months ago!

So our leaders, Paul Bremmer, Gen. Abizaid, and countless other US and Coalition leaders all over the land, acted w/ caution and care to secure for the US ever stronger cards against Sadr while simultaneously working to achieve four main goals.

Now we today are in a climactic battle against him and his militia. When the remnants of Saddam's regime were in full uprising in Fallujah, Sadr thought his time had come to make his bid for total power and to oust the US from Baghdad. He was very wrong.

It has been subtle and very well done by our leaders. You should be proud. It would have seemed impossible to have achieved our four main goals against Sadr even just a few months ago. Now today, despite the message of the pessimists who are misleading you into despair, we are have scored all the victories needed to bring this battle to a close. First goal was to isolate Sadr. Second was to exile him from his power-base in Baghdad. Third was to contain his uprising from spreading beyond his militias. And the last goal was to get both his hard-line supporters to abandon him, and to do encourage moderates to break from him. This has been done brilliantly, and now we are on the march in a way that just months ago seemed impossible to do. Sadr is losing everything.

Goal one: His so-called Mahdi Army militia is fighting alone. We are out defeating them day and night, and all the time we find them exposed and vulnerable. The people of Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf are not supporting him. His forces are isolated.

Goal two: His one-time powerbase, Sadr City in Baghdad, has been lost. Sadr has been exiled from there, and we have him on the run. He is trying to cloak his presence and activities in Najaf and Kut as planned, but that is damage control on his part. Yes we confront pockets of his followers. Just a couple days ago, I had to maneuver around such a crowd of 300 in Sadr City. The point is, though, we operate in Sadr City, and his followers are merely trying to raise the lost cause of his. It is perhaps better to understand why he is able to mobilize groups like this by seeing him as a mafia leader who is just sacrificing his own people in a mad last plunge to grab onto power. He is no different from any other thug in the world who manipulates and betrays his followers for his own lost cause. The critical thing to see, however, is that in Baghdad, Sadr is gone. He has been effectively exiled and we are destroying his one-time properties of power and abuse there.

Goal three: Other Shia leaders are breaking from him now in large numbers. The overall Shia leader of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has left Sadr's call for jihad and uprising to flounder on deaf ears. Bremmer and Gen. Abizaid stunned the overall Shia community by negotiating a calm in Fallujah. That has tail-spinned Sadr and his efforts to intimidate Iraq's Shia leaders. They see the US hand is strong, and that therefore they are making a mistake in kowtowing to Sadr's terror and violence.

Sadr is now running scared in Najaf. This is great. The Iraqi people of Najaf are offended by this Baghdad thug coming to their city and trying to hijack them into conflict with us. His militias have moved into Karbala too, and the same sentiment is being expressed by the people there. Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia are occupiers of those cities, and are insulting the most sacred sites of Shia Islam daily in their actions. Sadr's forces have stockpiled weapons in mosques and schools, and he continuously is going into the Imam Ali Mosque to call for jihad against us. This is offending Iraq's Shia leaders very much, and the Shia people are not following.

Our units, in fact, are operating w/in 500 meters of the most sacred Shia religious sites in these cities, and you should notice that the local people are not resisting. This is what the pessimists amongst you are preventing you from understanding. Something like this would have been impossible before Sadr and his militia thugs went into there to hijack Iraqi Shia Islam. The people of Najaf and Karbala know we are not there to conquer and occupying the religious sites; we are there to liberate them from this would-be tyrant who is trying to hijack them. His uprising has been contained, despite Sadr's desperate efforts to expand.

Goal four: Now Sadr's patrons and mentor in Iran are breaking from him. Grand Ayatollah Hossain Kazzam Haeri in Qom, Iran, is no longer backing him and has instead made it clear that Sadr's uprising is not sanctioned. Haeri is his mentor, and was a close intimate to Sadr's respectable father. The Teheran Times has run stories that are largely exaggerated, but still are making clear that Sadr's uprising is counter to Iranian interests and does not have the support of even one of Iran's grand statesman, Hashemi Rafsanjani.

In lieu of this, Sadr has exploded increasingly desperate and offensive. On Friday, he offended perhaps the whole Muslim world when he issued a fatwa (a religious edict) that if his forces in Basra capture a female British soldier, they can keep her as a slave. And as I pointed out already, his militia thugs in Najaf and Karbala are keeping weapons in mosques and schools.

In this, quite frankly, Sadr has done it to himself. He has compelled his would-be supporters amongst Iran's hard-liners to break from him and to put distance between Iran's interests and Sadr's uprising. Along with this, Shiites all over Iraq are breaking from Sadr and ignoring his frantic calls for jihad and slave-taking. Sadr has been abandoned.

I'm not writing you blind to the casualties this is causing us. My battalion, the 16th Armored Engineers, should be home reunited w/ family and friends after serving a full year here. Instead, we are still here where the temp is reaching 115-125 degrees. And some of my fellow soldiers have fallen. Units of my battalion are right in the front of the fighting. Your prayers are needed. [A soldier] lost his eyes and a hand last week. The surgeons are trying to salvage his hand now by re-attaching it. This tragedy is a real nightmare. Another suffered shrapnel wounds in his abdomen. Others have been cut badly. Miracle of miracles, however, Sgt. Morales on Friday was shot in the CVC (helmet) -- the bullet ricocheted around his head and fired into the back of his seat, never cutting his skin!!!

I'm telling you this because you need to know that your soldiers are working their hardest. My unit is just one of many in this fight. What you need to do is be strong and persistent in your faith with us. Sadr's militia is in panic and desperate, so they are dangerous, but you need to keep this all in perspective. The pessimists would have you believe this is a disaster. Don't listen to them. I think some of them feel that their reputations require our failure because they have been so negative all along, so they are jumping at every opportunity to sensationalize what is happening here as a disaster. Eliminating Sadr's threat is part of the overall mission and we are further ensuring the liberation of the Iraqi people. This has to be done, and we are doing it.

Don't be seduced by those who would rather that we sit back and just enjoy the freedoms past generations of Americans have sacrificed to gain for us. This is our time to earn it. I remember President Bush saying after the September 11th attacks: "The commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time."

"[A] good moral character is the first essential in a man... and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous."
--George Washington

If your interested in your service records, pros&cons, deployments, date of rank, etc. Write this address, with a copy of your DD214,or your military time and service to.
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records,
9700 Page Avenue
St Louis,Missouri 63132-5100

It'll be a some time before you get all you request, but you'll get EVERYTHING from ALL service time.

Also, here is the address to request any and all USMC awards:
Navy Personnel Command Liaison Office
Room 5409 PERS-3E
9700 Page Avenue
St Louis Mo.63132 You'll have to have a DD214 for this. And if there are any of you, like my self that was a doggie also,here is the address for Army Awards: US Army Tank Automotive & Armaments Command IMMC Soldier System Team PO Box 57997 Philadelphia,Pa 19911-7997

Hope this may be of use to anyone interested.
Semper Fi Mac
Rich Kiene Jr.
USMC 67-71
Mo.National Guard 84-86
US Army 86-93
USAR 93-96
And yes.....I AM an old lifer after all!!!!!

"It will not surprise you to find out that things are better in Iraq -- for IRAQIs -- than the popular press generally portrays. ... [T]here are 26 million Iraqis. Most of them do not live in Fallujah or Najaf or Karbalah. Most of them are sending their kids to school, going to work, starting or operating businesses and generally doing what civilized people do everywhere in the civilized world."
--Rich Galen

"Freedom is a lonely battle, but if the United States doesn't lead it -- sometimes imperfectly, but mostly with honor -- who will?"
--Cal Thomas

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just had to mark the end (?) of my sons active duty as a US MARINE.
I raised my son as a single mom since he was 4, and growing up never in a million years would I have thought that the Military was in his future. Heck I had his baseball coaches getting his autograph on baseballs when he was in Jr. High....yes I/they thought he would be a baseball player. He surprised me in his Junior year of High School... with a request for me to talk to a Sgt..... I thought at the police station. That Sgt. turned out to be a Marine Recruiter, and though tears I signed for him to enlist. He trained at the recruiting office a couple of days after school and every other Saturday until he went to MCRD in June 2000 only 8 days after he graduated from High School. I'll never forget all of his friends (23) at the terminal waiting for his plane to leave. (this was before 9/l1)... when they announced his plane for boarding I had to bite the insides of my cheeks to hold back the tears.... it didn't work...I hugged him, and he told me "Mom I'll be fine".... here I was letting my little boy go off to who knows where with only a white tee shirt and some baggy jeans...The long 13 weeks of boot camp was awful and agonizing when a call was missed, and I just didn't have a clue as to what to expect. All of my friends were sending their kids off to college and no one could relate to my stress. When the time finally came to go to his graduation at MCRD it was the most wonderful experience. This has changed now I know but I didn't see my son until we had a dinner on the base and then the recruits were to join us for a brief period. I will never forget the image of all the Marines marching towards us at dusk and the first embrace with my new Marine..... I could not believe the change in his appearance.... still handsome as can be, but a stronger more assured man stood before me... had I lost my little boy? I took him back home and we were greeted at the airport with all of his friends that had been there to see him off..... he stood out amongst all of his peers with a deep confidence and a killer smile........ I was very PROUD! When I had to send him on his way again, I knew good-byes would not be easy so I wrote him a note to read on the plane... telling him all the things in my heart, and most of all how PROUD I was of him. His letters and phone calls were always upbeat and he really seemed to enjoy all this Marine life??? His MOS was 0341/ Motorman and when his first tour came up he went to Okinawa. While he was there he sent me a letter saying he had qualified to try out for Reconnaissance.... again I didn't have a clue to what this was but he seemed to think it was a good thing and was very excited! 9/11 happened while he was in Okinawa and all I could think of was "this will start a war"..... When he returned from Okinawa on leave he said he would be starting Recon Training after he returned.....I know the training was very difficult, and the only negative phone conversation I had with him over the training was about his fellow brothers who didn't make a cut and how bad he felt for them. I had to assure him that the trainers had a hard job, but they had to make sure they had the best of the best next to him when duty called. He made all the cuts... and I attended his graduation ceremony.... My son now a Recon Marine another PROUD moment. He went on for more training jump school, diving school.. and passed all of that. When he came home on leave Dec 2002 he said he was going to go to Yuma for more jump school when he returned.....the war had already started. I knew dropping him off at LAX that he might be sent........ how do you hug your child goodbye knowing you would not see them before they went off to war.......very hard. I cried for days.... and he didn't' have any orders... but I think he did. He left on the USS Bataan January 11th 2003 I talked to him on my cell phone just prior to his leaving I was looking at the ocean and seeing how massive it was.. I'm sure it was filled with my tears....I didn't know I would ever have to face a parenting crisis like this. The correspondence was null,,,, and I missed one 2AM phone call.... with a message I played over and over. I finally got a letter....."Hi Mom, How ya doin? Pretty nervous Huh" I laughed so hard thinking of him thinking of me and how afraid I must be. I never allowed him to have any guns as a kid and he knows how fearful I am of them..... I always ask him "your not playing with guns are you"..... and his answer is always "nope"... and of course he's not lying. He returned in June 2003 (I'm very blessed).... and I had a welcome home party for him and we also celebrated his 21st birthday with a shot of patron (well more than one)! And then I saw the difference...... my son (my baby) had been to war. He had a different look, and it was a look that as a Mom I know I could not protect him from what he saw or had experienced.....only his fellow brothers can share those moments with silent understanding. As I'm writing this I have mixed emotions about my son leaving the Marines.... I know Once a Marine ... Always a Marine....But what about me...? Once a Proud Marine Mom... Always a Proud Marine Mom......YES!!!!!
Semper Fi,
Randie Kleman

"Two visions of the world remain locked in dispute. The first believes all men are created equal by a loving God who has blessed us with freedom. ...The second vision believes that religion is opium for the masses. It believes that eternal principles like truth, liberty, and democracy have no meaning beyond the whim of the state."
--Ronald Reagan

I am not a Marine, But I am the "Brother" of four of them (LCPRL Mark Gorzik, LCPRL Ryan Hoff, PFC David Gage, & PFC Roudolph) and I am damn proud of it. I love these guys like family and all of them are over in Iraq right now fighting for this country. I think about these guys every day and miss them like they have been gone for years. I know they will come back I just wish it was sooner. I have many other friend in the military and wish all of them the very best. I wish I could meet every Marine in the US and Iraq and thank them personally for all that they do to protect our freedom. I wish all the Marine and their families all the best and wish them a safe return home. OOORAH!! & Semper Fi!

Matt Jopling
Marine Brother At Heart
& Marine Corp Motivator

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
--George Washington


Sgt. Grit,
I have written to you before and I feel that I must write to you and to my Brother and Sister Marines, and ALL Americans again.

I am a Canadian that crossed the border and enlisted in the Corps in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1967. I served until August 1970 at which time I was released from Active Duty.

I served two tours in "the land of bad things".

Upon my release I returned to Canada and became a member of the (now) Hamilton Police Service. You see, in Ontario, we cann