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 #76

"Freedom isn't free, you must pay for it somehow -- see your nearest Marine recruiter!"
Ken Smalley

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Decal - 1st Battalion/11th Marines

Decal - 2nd Battalion MCRD San Diego

Decal - Bomb w/Wings

Decal - Combat Aircrew

Decal - FMF PAC

Decal - Purple Heart Medal

Decal - US Marine Corps Parris Island

Decal - Operation Iraqi Freedom

Guadalcanal Semper Fi Series Game

Honor Courage Commitment T-Shirt on Gray

My Son Went To Iraq.. T-Shirt on Gray

Every Friday I look so forward to Sgt. Grit's news letter. I know there are millions of American's that have a passionate love for our country. However at times, based upon the news media and certain other groups I feel that I am out of step with most Americans. The news letter reminds me that I am far from being alone. Honor, Duty, and Country has been tattooed on the most inter recesses of a Marine's heart. One of the best things about being a Marine is we never give lukewarm support to the truths we hold dear. This leads me to this conclusion that as a Marine I could never be out of step. Our God and Commandant for-bode this long ago. Rather it is America's degenerates that are walking to the wrong drum beat. We are never alone. We have Brothers.
Don-1958-1964 Semper Fi
C. Don Bowman

Your newsletter possibly saved the best relationship I have ever been in. How could your newsletter do that? On Thursday MY Marine told me he 'wanted' to go back to Iraq. I immediately thought it had something to do with me. Why else would he want to go back again? He had been there once, missed the birth of his son, and half of his daughter's life. Was I doing something wrong?

Then I read the letter from Mrs. Cindy L. Brown about having what it takes to be a Marine wife. I was also just going to 'run away' because I was too scared to stand behind him any longer. Needless to say we had a huge argument about me only being proud if there was no danger involved. Also got blamed for standing behind everybody but him, I now realize that I hurt him more than anyone ever could by trying to give him an ultimatum between his kids and I or fighting for something he truly believes in.

On Friday I told him that although I would love for him to stay home with us, it is his decision and I wasn't going to make him choose.

He signs his papers on Wednesday. I know we will miss him but he promised he would come home safe. I know there is one Marine there that is truly fighting for his family.

Thanks Sgt. Grit for adding that letter to your newsletter.
Proud and standing beside MY marine!
Denise T.

Yes in fact I do believe I have what it takes to be a Marine's wife. Why can I say this after a year of being married to my hero??? Maybe because the past 7 months of our married life he has been deployed overseas fighting the good fight. I have been by his side, maybe not literally all of the time, but I have been there for him through everything, I am not one to shrink under stress, or worry. I do not whine because of a missed phone call and I do not feel angry at him or the Marine Corps because he is over there doing a job that needs to be done. I am proud of him and every other marine past and present and I thank each and every one for keeping my family and I free thought out history. I told him on our wedding day in front of God, the minister and family. I will always walk beside you in our life path, and when you need someone to pick you up if you should stumble I will be there, we will find the way together, and that means no matter where the Marine Corps will send him, or us. I will always be by his side literally or through encouraging letters, phone calls and welcome arms when he gets off the bus. So yes I do believe I have what it takes to be a warriors wife, and Proud to be a Marine Wife all the way!

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of government is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of government, not the increase of it."
--Woodrow Wilson

Dear Sgt. Grit,
This is my first letter to this newsletter forum. My son-in-law is a Marine and has been to Afghanistan and Iraq. It took all the strength I could muster up every day to listen to a few minutes of the news or to read the newspaper while he was there. Every time I heard that a Marine had died I was so afraid that it was him. He returned safe and sound to us, and I am so very proud of him and everyone in his unit, and of every United States Marine! To all who serve, my thanks go out to you. To the families at home, my thanks also for your support for our troops.
God Bless America!
Semper Fi.
Proud Mom-in-Law of a United States Marine

Freedom is a gift from God, not a political grant from the government.
--Ronald Reagan

"Those who are quick to promise are generally slow to perform. They promise mountains and perform molehills. He who gives you fair words and nothing more feeds you with an empty spoon. People don't think much of a man's piety when his promises are like pie-crust: made to be broken."
--Charles Spurgeon

We've had enough of the wheeling and dealing, and enough of schemers and schemes. I think it's time now for dreamers -- practical dreamers -- willing to re-implement the original dream which became this nation -- that idea that has never fully been tried before in the world -- that you and I have the capacity for self-government -- the dignity and the ability and the God-given freedom to make our own decisions, to plan our own lives and to control our own destiny."
--Ronald Reagan

Ref: Newsletter quote by Michael Berliner Thursday 15 July, 2004 Interesting that the American Revolution was also the only one in history that ever "got it right", and now we are in a battle both home and abroad to maintain. I do NOT fear the enemy, or death, or privation. The only fear I have in my "old age" is that the Revolution seems to be turning around on US and our posterity. The only regret I have is that I made the wrong decision 36 years ago, 22 July 1968, and listened to a now ex-wife instead of my heart and soul.
"Not as lean, a little meaner, a little smarter, but; FOREVER A UNITED STATES MARINE!"
Semper Fidelis brothers,
D. H. Gilmour
Sgt. U.S.M.C.
64-68 RVN vet

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-- Winston Churchill

"Marines kill 25 in Ramadi"
"22 MEU kills over 100 during 4 month deployment in Afghanistan".
Like the commercial says "Lovin It"

Sgt. J F Frawley Jr USMC 1969 - Eternity
Marine Barracks
NAS Kodiak, Alaska 70-71

16 July 2004

To: SgtMaj J.N. Rougas (Ret.)
Senior DI Plt 372 13Sep61-7Dec61

Re: Visit to C Company, 6th Eng. Sup. Bn.

SgtMaj Rougas,
I'm writing you today in the manner of a back-channel report on the fitness of one of our reserve organizations. Charlie Company is based in Peoria, Illinois, is activated, and is preparing to ship out for Camp Pendleton next week. When they get to their final destination, estimated to be Iraq, it will be their second time in country.

I may have told you before that I'm a member of the Marine Corps League and Association, but never told you that I'm also a member of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, Intl., Inc. Our Illinois Detachment of the Leathernecks MC, Intl., has done some things in the past for our veterans, but this week we were able to do something for our active reserves, too. On Wednesday, we gathered enough food and drinks, plus donated items, for the entire company and put on an extended noon chow for them. We cooked hamburgers and hotdogs on a grill we towed in, and had lots of baked beans, salads, and desserts donated by the Archway Company (of cookie fame). Several other companies in the area donated some nice items, not the least of which were handheld GPS units, compasses, fishing kits (presumably for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), work gloves, folding multi-tools, pocketknives, and calculators. Thus, as well as feeding them, we "raffled" off the donated items by giving each person a numbered ticket, then drawing the tickets to see who would come up and choose an item.

We talked briefly to both the Company Gunny, GySgt Howard, and the I & I NCOIC, 1stSgt Zamborski, who both said that these Marines are well trained and ready for the tasks ahead. To be honest, I was worried about my young brothers and sisters, but I think that was more because of me than them. After talking to them, from the enlisted, NCOs, Staff NCOs, and Officers, I found that I really had nothing to worry about. The Marine Corps can be assured that Company C, 6th Engineers, is ready for anything the world situation can throw at them! (Were we ever that young?)

Here's hoping this letter finds you well! You have my best wishes, and please give my best to your family.

Semper Fi!
L/Cpl Kenneth G. Smalley
1958634 USMC

"If you kick a tiger in the ass, you'd better have a plan for dealing with his teeth."
-- Tom Clancy

Howdy, Sgt. Grit! Just sat thru another inane "legal issues" seminar at the college where I work. The Dean of Students made a big deal of how she hates the Patriot Act, because it "invades the privacy" of our foreign students. She wanted us to know that she doesn't like the idea of cooperating with the Feds for the sake of Homeland Security. I told her that the Patriot Act is a great idea, and long overdue. The room went very quiet. She told me that "others would disagree." I told her that's OK; it's their right, but then I asked her why WOULDN'T she want to help the Feds out if it avoided another 9/11? I guess I will hear about the fallout on Monday, but I no longer give a d@mn about the PC police. Guess I shouldn't have read your newsletter before I left for work! Got me all worked up!
Thanks, Anson Rohr.

"The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon."
--George Washington

dear Sgt. Grit,
My son, Pfc V.M.Quevedo Jr., has just received his orders for deployment to Iraq, I'm scared for him. See I'm 35 and never served in any branch. I was raised in the westside of San Antonio,Tex. with the upbringing of F**** everything. Not from my parents but from the people I thought were cool. Never realizing the sacrifice of every person that wears a uniform. Until now, man am I ever sorry to you all !! But I do thank GOD for my son's decision to join the CORPS. Seeing him graduate on 1/30/04 was a miracle in its self. Because, just a year before on the same day I was getting arrestted again for DWI well needless to say in one years time we made amends because we had stopped talking some time before. Then as fate would have it he asked to move in with his girlfriend Veronica and their son Brian,my grandson!! Well after graduation he came back and made her his wife. The CORPS has transformed not only my son but all of us. So to all you devil dogs out there in the sh!t of Iraq here comes ah-lluva MARINE I know he'll be in great hands in yours and my LORDS. Thank you for time and your ear,HOORAH from one proud F'ing father,
Victor M. Quevedo Sr.

I am the wife a USMC Sgt. , who is currently inactive and we're from Ohio. I would like to thank everyone in the military for everything they do! I currently volunteer with the Army Reserves, since there are no Marines in our area, that we know of who need help. We are seeking Marines who may need help with pen pals & that may have websites that they want us to add a link to from ours. I'm sure you can understand why we want to help out the USMC, so please let us know if you need help with anything!
Your Friend,
Winter Dryden
Cincinnati, Ohio

Sgt Grit: I read this in today's edition of the Star Ledger, a major NJ newspaper) and thought you might want to share this with your readers. Not all Americans are sh!tb!rds!!! NaggyB!tch

TITLE: Air travelers upgrade 8 soldiers to first class

DALLAS - Eight soldiers flying home from Iraq for two weeks of R & R flew in style instead of coach after first-class passengers offered to swap seats with them.

"The soldiers were very, very happy, and the whole aircraft had a different feeling," flight attendant Lorrie Gammon told The Dallas Morning News in yesterdays editions. The June 29 seat-swap on American Airlines Flight 866 from Atlanta to Chicago started before boarding, when a businessman approached one of the soldiers and traded his seat.

When the swapping was done, "the other two first-class passengers wanted to give up their seats, too, but they couldn't find any more soldiers," Gammon said.

I read Gunny Garrett's letter regarding his son in the 3/6 still in combat. I just wanted the Gunny and his young LCpl. that even though LCpl. Garrett may feel forgotten over there, he and all other Marines are in the minds of many as they do their jobs that only they can do as U.S. Marine Grunts. Others may get credit by the media, but every Marine knows where our American forces would be without the guts and precision of our young "Mud Marines" in this present day defilement breaks my heart to hear of any of our troops becoming casualties in Iraq, or any other foreign land they're serving in, but it is especially hard when I hear of a fallen Marine knowing his only job was to defend our freedom liberty. I hope LCpl. Garrett knows there are many here at home and abroad that think of him and his comradery day. Our prayers and thoughts are with you LCpl. Garrett, and you too Gunny.
Semper Fi
Detective T. R. Ashley - Former active duty Marine ''75 -' 76

A Message from the Commanding Officer of VMU-2-July 2004 16 July 2004. Well, who would have guessed that the Coalition Provisional Authority would transfer sovereignty to an interim Iraqi Government two days earlier than planned? I was pleasantly surprised that the "bad guys" were also caught off guard by this unannounced schedule change. We (the US military and Interim Iraqi Government) still have quite a challenge ahead, but progress is made each day although it may not always appear that way in the press at home. I can tell you that your Marines are tired and worn, but they are also determined. I have spent many afternoons on a flight line with temperatures past 120 degrees working to get an aircraft off the deck for the next flight, and your Marines never pause, never complain, and always get the mission done. They are a superb bunch, and each day they remind me why America will inevitably win this fight. Although our products are classified, the details of the service we provide to the many Marines that patrol in our area of operations are not, and I thought I would share with you a sense of the role that your Marines play in this conflict. For simplicity sake, I use the word "customer" later in this discussion to denote any organization that we have been tasked to support with aerial reconnaissance. Most of you know that we operate remote controlled aircraft over the cities of Iraq. They weigh about 450 pounds and have a 16 foot wingspan. Onboard we have all the electronics to control and downlink imagery, both color TV and Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), that allow us to "view" the battlefield both day and night. We control the aircraft and the sensor from a ground control station using all enlisted pilots (unlike other Marine aviation squadrons where officers are responsible for operating the aircraft). The few officers that we have in the squadron perform a supervisory role with the mission crews and also coordinate with other agencies on the battlefield. With literally a bird's eye view of Iraq, we examine the imagery and do a few things with it. First, our intelligence analysts take a look at the image and interpret what it means. For instance, a truck to you and me is just a truck, but to our Intel analysts, they look at what kind of truck it is, how weighted down it is, how many personnel are in it, and so on. They also compare what they see with other intelligence products to correlate the image within the bigger picture of what is going on. Like CSI, from just a small bit of information, they are able to interpret a great deal about what they see, and they create annotated images that provide the customer with a better understanding of the situation on the ground around them.

Besides providing these images, we also communicate, via classified chat rooms, directly with our customers during every mission to give them a detailed description of what we see. The closest analogy I can use is that of a sports announcer describing the action and players during a football game. This is an extremely effective means of disseminating information, and if numbers are any indication of our effectiveness, our chat room is usually at maximum capacity. Additionally, some of your Marines are also forward based with ground units, and they each have a laptop computer and the capability to directly downlink a video feed from our aircraft to give Marines on the ground a live picture of what is in front of them. This has also been extremely effective, and there are many arguments within Division about who gets to "own" and use these special teams. That is just a snapshot of the surveillance and reconnaissance mission that we perform, and I have only discussed a small part of the service we provide. It is not as easy as it sounds, and everyday your Marines solve a new set of problems. But for them, these challenges are half the fun of operating the Night Owl Flying Circus. I didn't get into the details of maintaining the aircraft, managing the communications networks, generating power, or transporting people, fuel and equipment around the site. The bottom line is that all of your spouses play a specific and critical role in maintaining this complex activity, and they make it look easy. You should be very proud of them. I am! In the simplest terms, we send our aircraft where it is too dangerous to send Marines. I can assure you that the bad guys do not appreciate our presence, and they have come to associate the sound of our aircraft as an omen of bad things to come. This is a testament to the focus and determination of your Night Owls, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by some incredibly smart and motivated Marines who are passionate about getting the mission accomplished. Our advance party has made it to VMU-1 where they are signing over equipment for our training this fall as we prepare for VMU-1's arrival here. I would also like to mention that the Key Volunteers are sponsoring our last family day event at the Cherry Point Bowling Alley on 7 August before our homecoming. It should be a great time, and they plan on making welcome home banners during this get-together also. Your KV should be calling you shortly with specific information on this event as well as more detailed information concerning our return. Again, I ask that you be patient. We have a window for a return date, and I am hoping to narrow that window by the end of the month as our plans become more solidified. I will relay that information via the KV network. However, please hold me responsible if there are changes at the last minute. Your KV's information is only as good as what they receive from me. Like the end of a marathon, you can feel the spirits and attitudes of the Marines around here begin to rise because they can see the finish line ahead. What never ceases to amaze me is the dedication and professionalism that they display each and every day under some very harsh conditions. With a little more than a month to go, they still continue to work on improving our operating site and billeting area while we maintain an almost constant presence in the air over Iraq. My previous experiences during this phase of a deployment usually involved keeping Marines focused on their daily tasks and managing the tempers that would routinely flare from the months of close quarters. However, that is not the case here, and I believe the key difference between then and now is a heightened sense of purpose with the mission we perform.

I wish I could tell you that this war was over, and that the world was once again a safe place. But the Global War on Terror is a long term effort, and unfortunately, there are still many groups out there that see the American way of life and the freedoms that we enjoy as a direct challenge to their own perverse sense of culture and religion. The Marine Corps, along with the US Army, has a large role to play in this conflict. What does that mean to you and your spouses when we arrive home? Make each day you have together count because for those in uniform the next deployment is one day closer with every sunrise. Take care and God Bless.
Semper Fi,
Lieutenant Colonel Doug Hardison
Commanding Officer, VMU-2

"Mankind censures injustice, fearing that they may be victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it."

I'm not sure this comment will reach print. I am very negative about some things that Marines and others fight and die for. I have a bad attitude about the USA repairing and rebuilding countries that "picks a fight with us" and lose. I served 20 years in the Corps, retired as a MSgt E8, two tours in RVN "66 and 69". It just break my spirit to have our"men" die in a war that is being fought in the papers and politics. My rambles tell me we could have won the RVN war very easily. True we would have to "kill" and burn everything in sight. As I remember in history a general named "Grant" cut a wide path thru the South.

We bombed Germany in submission and many were killed of all gender and the same at Hiroshima and Nagaski. America must wake up to the call. We are so busy trying to be "good guys". There are no "good guys" in a battle and a fired round does not choose its target. Get in war destroy and get the job done pull our troops and let the enemy fend for itself. D@mn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!~

God Bless the Marine Corps and a big thanks to all who helped!
Semper Fi. Dave

Hi Sgt. Grit, I enjoy reading your news letter. I just returned from visiting my son, L/Cpl Matthew at Camp Lejeune. What an experience to see the base, his living conditions and his friends personally! I have found, even at the airport, people working there that are past/retired Marines and everyone I talk to say to give him their best. That has to be for one reason and that is that we are ALL proud of the Marines and other service personnel protecting our freedom. My son has always wanted to be a Marine. He was 9 years in the Chosan Young marine (Pico Rivera, CA) and graduated there as Sgt Major. Enlisted upon graduating high school and graduated MCRD San Diego as Company Honorman/ Lance Corporal. What an honor and I felt so proud. I feel proud every letter, every good word someone says and reading your news. Just wanted to thank you.
Nancy/Proud Mom of Marine L/Cpl Matthew, Camp LeJeuene, NC, Data Systems Analyst

My wife and I had the great pleasure and honor being in Washington D.C. for the Memorial Day weekend and dedication of the WWII Memorial. It was a weekend filled with respect, reverence, appreciation and patriotism. We started at Arlington National Cemetery as we arrived early 0730 hrs, I suggested to my wife that we walk to the USMC Iwo Jima Memorial, I had always wanted me picture taken there. Upon arrival some 20 minutes later, a WWII Marine was taking pictures of his family there, I noticed his Marine Corps League cover and approached and offered to take his picture with his family and he accepted. Turns out he was a Native American "Code Talker"! After the photo he shook my hand and noticed my 1st Marine Division Viet Nam Veteran cover and said, I was with the 2nd Marine Division and listen a number of Island in the Pacific that he went into battle on ending with Okinawa and said, "I didn't see you there"? We laughed and I said I wasn't there but perhaps I saw you on the History channel? And we laugh again, I thanked him for his service to our country wished he and his family a good day and we moved on after getting the picture I also wanted. We moved on to the National Mall and the Vietnam Memorial and the area of the WWII Memorial ceremony we didn't have tickets but moved towards the Washington Monument and observed the WWII vets getting off buses and making there way towards the access points to their memorial and its dedication. Senior warriors some wearing the WWII uniforms others caps indicating there service USMC, Navy, USA, Air Corps, and Coast Guard. They made there way some with a slow step, some with a cane, some with a walker, others in wheel chairs assisted by son's or family members others yet had a brisk walk all with pride in their eyes and determination on their faces to participate in the largest gathering of WWII veterans and the dedication of their memorial. One had to reflect upon their effort and the number of years at War our country united collectively in support of their service and sacrifice and you had to feel the pride and patriotism. To think of it brought tears to my eyes and my wife's it was a commitment to success. From North Africa to Italy and Normandy, from Pearl Harbor to Midway , Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Tokyo they fought, were wounded, died and or survived and over came the evil of the world. They were and are Patriots and of the 16 million who served in that war 400,000 gave all of their tomorrows for the freedom we defend today. Makes one think about the word Patriotism and it's true meaning. And when you listen to those in the news media today who have taken an oath to defend our Constitution and our Freedoms you have to think again about the word "PATRIOTISM" and our commitment to our Armed Forces on the ground, in the air and on the seas defending "FREEDOM" and are those making comments in support of the goal of freedom? We were proud to share in this Memorial Day event and to remember and honor these veterans of WWII and all who served our great country. God bless America and God bless our Commander in Chief!
Doc Ray Knispel HM3
Hq Co 5th Marines 1st Marine Division VN 1966-67

Just got home from a whirlwind week. My son,one of many, of 1/5 arrived stateside this week in California and I was one of the many that got to witness the beauty of homecoming. The people I have gotten to be friends with online were there in strength and many more learned about Sgt Grit and the MMOL groups. I do want everyone to know what my son said happened that sent him to the bathroom to wipe his eyes and to pass a thank you to all that participated.
They arrived at Bangor Maine around 2/230 and when they started down the walkway at the airport...the halls were lined with vets of all wars offering the young men cell phones and thanks and pats on the backs and words of kindness... Dixon said that one thing made EVERYTHING worthwhile.
After going to my first MARINE homecoming, I would like to encourage everyone to try to attend on sometime. The warmth of the others and the smiles of joy on the soldiers' faces makes everything they have done for us even more real and appreciated. Thanks to all for a life time of wonderful memories.
Beth Harper,
Proud Marine Momma of LCpl Micheal Dixon Harper

"...every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government owes his personal services to the defense of it."
George Washington

Recently a civilian came up to me and said Thank You for serving our country. It made this old Marine feel very Grateful for that. So as a Disabled Service Connected Veteran and Marine for Life. I want to say Thank You to all My Brothers and Sisters who are now veterans. May God watch over all. And For those who have gone on to watch the pearly gates of Heaven. You are not forgotten. And to my old unit in Iraq 2/4. I keep you all in my prayers. as well for the rest.
Semper Fi
E-3 Lugo 2/4 Fuji 1979

p.s. My brothers who I physically lost, I keep you in my heart and mind. Also will not be forgotten. Magnificent Bastards












Sgt "storm"
My son was one of Tim's best friends since 4th grade. He stood along side you husband as a pall bearer at his funeral. My son is also a Marine, who we were fortunate enough to see come back from Iraq. Tim was a huge influence on my son on becoming a Marine. My son always wanted to be military, but until Tim he wasn't sure which branch.

They competed against each other constantly. Boy scouts, band, JROTC, and the scholarship that sent Tim to the Citadel (well deserved). We have camped together, rappelled together, laughed together, cried together. He will always be one of my adopted children. I still see his truck in my driveway "Cowboy Up". I loved him dearly.

Thank you for responding about Lance Corporal Creager.

My son, Corporal Andrew Gilliam stood with your husband during that funeral, and it was very tough for all. I have some articles from local newspapers that I can send to you if you would like.

Semper Fi,
Debra Gilliam (mom of Cpl. Andrew Gilliam)

The other day, I was remembering listening to the old AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio Television Service, we called it "Afarts") and there is one skit that I always remembered and liked to listen to while I was in Kuwait in '91 even though it was stupid. It was called "Chicken Man" and it would start off in a Jimmy Olson/Price Is Right announcer's voice, "It's time now for the greatest superhero the world has ever known.....bwak, bwak, BWAAK, CHICKEN MAN.....he's everywhere, he's everywhere!". Listening to this everyday, it got stuck in my head and I was wondering if there was any way that old shows like this are available on cassette tape/CD format for veterans? It would be great to hear some of the old shows from AFRTS from the time fellow veterans were in.
William N. Thompson Former L/Cpl '89-92

Dear SGT,
I am a proud member of the Marine Corps Musicians Association (MCMA). We are about 400 strong. We are made up of Marines Bandsmen from the Last China Band to active duty Bandsmen.

Each April we enjoy 4 days of reunion. We change locations each year with a Marine Band as our host. This year we were at Quantico, last year at New Orleans, the year before at Pendleton.

Next year we will be at San Diego. April 26-29, 2005. Our headquarters will be the "Hanalei Hotel.

I would like for any former Marine Musician to contact me Gordon Bennett at for any info about the MCMA.
Semper Fi,
Gordon Bennett
4411 Walnut St
Pascagoula, MS 39567

Marine Combat Veteran bumper sticker. BS246

My Dear Mrs. Brown,
What a lovely tribute you have written regarding your life with your Marine husband. Our similarities are the same except I knew exactly what was put in my path and I thanked God every day for my wonderful Marine. Just to see him walk through the door was a joy for me and would put a smile on my face. We could have a disagreement and then look at each other and all it would take was a smile from him and my heart would melt and I would bust up laughing and we would end up making fireworks. When he would leave on short trips upon his return I would be so eager to see him again. When our eyes met my stomach would have butterfly's in it. We were truly soul mates. We believed in LOVE, LOYALTY AND FRIENDSHIP.....the sign of the Claddaugh. It was the theme for our wedding. What a truly wonderful man he was....However our time together was too short. We were married for only 9 short months. A total of only 4 years together. We had just married and at two months into our marriage he became ill. We found out it was cancer. He passed away February 1994, from agent orange. In honor of our enduring love I made sure the Claddaugh symbol was etched on our headstone in our neighboring cemetery. I will be with him again someday. To those of you who still have your Marine hang onto him tight . Your times together are so very, very precious. I still have my memories but oh how I miss my Marine.......My heart still aches for him.
Semper Fi.
Ruth Sheehan wife of
Earl R. Sheehan

In response to GySgt. Steve Garrett's comment on the apathy of the public regarding our troops in Afghanistan, I couldn't agree more! Unfortunately, it also applies to the troops in Iraq. My husband was deployed 8 days ago to Iraq (by way of California) and left myself and two great kids. My neighbors all know he was deployed, yet no one has said a word to me about it. I work at an agency of more than 500 employees. Except for a few close friends, no one has mentioned it. Yesterday, I sent an agency-wide email asking for donations for care packages. I GOT ONE RESPONSE! Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for a medal or some kind of an award. However, I am asking for someone, anyone, to acknowledge the sacrifice that my husband is making (along with thousands of others) so that we can rid the world of terrorism. People who are willing to make that sacrifice are special and should be honored...all of them (even when the new has worn off). Proud wife of USMC Sgt. on the way to Iraq

Dear SGT Grit,
In regards to Cpl. Smith's remarks about using SEMPER FI. I am a father of a Marine , Stationed in Okinawa, Japan . I have a large collection of Marine Corps hats and T-shirts and other Marine Corps objects. I wear Marine Corps clothing every day. I am proud to be a Marine Dad. I have had a lot of Marines walk up to me and say " SEMPER FI" My reaction to them is "SEMPER FI" . Now I know I am not a Marine but my son is and that is a big part of me. I am proud to say "Semper Fi". Ever since my son became a Marine the rest of our family has become part of the Marine family. I have become very good friends with the recruiters at RSS Denver and all the Marines I have met there have taken us in and we've become family. So Cpl. Smith I say to you "SEMPER FI" . I'm sure your parents are just as proud of you as I am of my son. Thank you for being a Marine!! OORAH!!
Proud Marine Dad Of CPL. Jonathan Hass U.S.M.C.
Rick Hass

Sgt Grit
Please check out my website sir
Thank you sir !!
Josh Wright

Hello and hope this letter finds you all well. I want to take time first to Thank you one and all for serving. I always heard.. and later it was confirmed by the man my Father was, that Marines are the Best. He gave the Corps. the credit for the man he was and I am so so grateful to the Corps. The Corps would be proud of him as I am and how he lived his life with Honor, he died with Honor too, March of 2002. I cant explain but believe me, It's so. I'm proud as h-ll to be named after him. I miss the stories and listening to him sing his Cadences, his stories always kept our attention, especially as we got older and were allowed to hear more of them. Thanks to your Newsletter I'm still hearing them :) Thank you SGT GRIT and all of you who write in. If I meet a Marine, standing talking with them.. I feel as if I've met them before, what a wonderful feeling. I hope you all feel are loved and revered by many. I had the Blessing of being the child of a Marine and am so grateful because I know it had "all" to do with the woman I am today. You're the Best! We love you, Marines! Please don't ever forget it. Thank you Sgt Grit and all who support this forum.

Any Marine needing a pen pal that are in Iraq..etc. or not.. Please write me, I'd be honored and it would be my pleasure to write you.

Proud daughter of Former U.S. Marine, Sgt. Robt. W. Walton.
Robin Utt. Lancaster, Ohio.

Dear SGT,
I am a proud member of the Marine Corps Musicians Association (MCMA). We are about 400 strong. We are made up of Marines Bandsmen from the Last China Band to active duty Bandsmen. Each April we enjoy 4 days of reunion. We change locations each year with a Marine Band as our host. This year we were at Quantico, last year at New Orleans, the year before at Pendleton. Next year we will be at San Diego. April 26-29, 2005. Our headquarters will be the "Hanalei Hotel.
I would like for any former Marine Musician to contact me Gordon Bennett at for any info about the MCMA.
Semper Fi,
Gordon Bennett
4411 Walnut St
Pascagoula, MS 39567

lucinda landino
disabled american veterans (dav)

patriot day benefit dinner 9/11/04 (sat) 4:00 - 8:00 pm benefiting the freedom alliance scholarship fund. continuous buffet $10.00 donation.please e-mail or join us. 1510 n. 79th street. scottsdale, az. we'er always the red headed sept can help by e-mailing your local customers. thank you, a marine wife P.S. these are a marines b-day presents. thanks again

hello, i am a dad to a marine recruit, he will graduate on september the 10th. he has said that the drill sgt. has told them that they will most likely be sent to iraq. he is so proud of becoming a marine. he has written me often from boot camp, he loves it & is proud, he just got his desert cammies, & he said when they gave him his name tapes, he held the one with his last name in his left hand & the other that said marines, he said it was so motivational he almost cried. he isn't a marine yet but he will be soon. this is the first time i have sit & read some of the stories on your site, they are very touching. i am very proud of my son, he could have chosen any path he wanted after he graduated but he wanted to be a i will close with this, we all should be & are proud of our sons & daughters that choose this path, if they didn't where would we be now.
proud dad of a U.S.MARINE

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I need to take a minute to say 'THANK YOU' to all of our men and women in the armed forces everywhere around the world and especially to my nephew, Marine Capt. T.D. Giersch, who is currently based near Fallujah. I thank ALL of you past, present and future for allowing me to watch and raise my family in freedom. Thank you and your families for your sacrifices on my behalf and that of my family. As a nonservice member I am truly grateful for all that you have done, continue to do and will do in the future to keep our country free.
God Bless America and ALL of our troops,
Pete Giersch
Waterford, WI

My boyfriend, LCpl Jeffrey Gaczewski, has been stationed in Okinawa Japan since November. We are fortunate to be able to talk on the phone at least once a week and I even bought us webcams to use with the computer. I was also lucky enough to be able to visit him a few weeks ago. It was an amazing feeling to see what his life is like. Honestly I was extremely scared to be traveling out of the country by myself but it was very comforting to know that most of the island is military base. Of course the guys were all googley eyed to see a girl that was not in the military or Japanese. Most of them acted only with up-most politeness. It was the best time of my life and I cried like a baby when I had to leave. But when I thought about why he was there I remembered how important it is and how proud I was. At that point I knew I could handle anything. He has been looking into msg (marine security guard) and had began to work on a packet for that. Than he started to forget the idea because he thought it would be to hard for me, for us. But I as I said before I knew I could handle it. When he had first mentioned it he told me that if accepted he would be able to train with the FBI (his ultimate goal is to be in the FBI or something of the sort). He was so excited I could just imagine his eyes getting wide and his face lighting up. It took several talks but he finally realized that I was behind him 100% and in fact that I thought it was a great idea. So at the moment Jeff is waiting on a few last interviews than will hopefully receive notice of acceptance and begin training in a few months. He's so worried he wont make it, the failure rate is 60%. But I tell him he'll regret it if he doesn't try and he knows I'm right. Everyone should be sure to encourage the marine they know as much as they can. Love them and no matter how they will come back to you.
Proud girlfriend,
Stephanie Roske

Yo, Grit;
Near Gallatin, TN, there is a brand new highway overpass just completed. I am proud to say that I had a hand in convincing the Sumner County Commissioners to pass a resolution to name the overpass in honor of Corporal Patrick Nixon, the first Tennessean, in our local area, KIA in Iraq. The TDOT (TN Dept.of Trans.) approved the idea; local state senator and representative, wanting to look good, also ok'd the idea. Right now, we're still hanging fire as to when the dedication will take place.

About two months ago there was an article in the local paper, with the headline "Overpass to be named in honor of local soldier". I got an email off to the paper right away, stating that it is down-right insulting to refer to a Marine as "soldier". 'Course, never did hear from the paper.

Problem comes about because of lousy media coverage, and all those "ijits" calling everyone "soldier". Seems their mentality is, if you carry a rifle into combat, you're a soldier. Semper Fi, and all that good stuff!!!

James R. McMahon
Hendersonville, TN
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (1949-1970)

I am a civilian contractor, and had the great privilege today while working to see the new recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Base in N. Chicago, IL.

To see so many young Americans working hard, at a common goal, with such enthusiasm and no grumbling was a great inspiration!

"It is up to us ... to work together for progress and humanity so that our grandchildren, when they look back at us, can truly say that we not only preserved the flame of freedom, but cast its warmth and light further than those who came before us."
--Ronald Reagan

In reply to a question from T Newman about Marines that were not coffee drinkers, I served three years (medically discharged) and don't recall drinking coffee more than once. To this day I can't tolerate the taste of it. I'll eat coffee Ice Cream like it is going out of style, but I just can't drink the stuff. I am also a fluke, I don't drink, don't smoke, and tried both a few times while I served. Never took up either habit but gave it a shot. No shame in it either. I work as a Paramedic now (you'd be surprised how many former Marines are Medics out there too) and somehow I manage to get through this job without the coffee.

Semper Fidelis. And to our brothers in arms now deployed, stay safe. To their families, we miss them as much as you do. We mourn their loss as brothers as well. And I think most of us are humbled by their sacrifice for that most precious gift from the Great Commandant - Liberty.
Mark Navin
1992 - 1995
Cpl. A Co., 1st Radio Battalion (now 3rd Radio battalion).


In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

  • The smell of Nuc Mam.
  • The heat, dust, and humidity.
  • The blue exhaust of cyclos clogging the streets.
  • Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
  • Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
  • Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
  • A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
  • The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
  • My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand we shook and said, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel." I smiled.

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.


My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

  • Name, rank, and serial number.
  • Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
  • Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.
  • Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
  • A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me-I was in uniform-and then, shaking, bent at the waist, and vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said; "Neither would I."

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.


Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, "All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf of a grateful nation." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I didn't say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.


Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.


One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call I have no idea why and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father's schedule.

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important, I need to see him now."

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"


Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth I never could do that and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

Jolly, "Where?"

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam."

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This ti