"Courage is a character trait most oft attributable to men. In fact, it is the universal virtue of all those who choose to do the right thing over the expedient thing. It is the common currency of all those who do what they are supposed to do in a time of conflict, crisis, and confusion."
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What are most kids doing 9 months after graduation? How about college, working, taking it easy, while trying to decide what they are going to do with the rest of their lives.
Some decide on the Armed Forces, some on just goofing off with their friends, living it up, so to speak.
What about becoming a man... A UNITED STATES MARINE.
Just like our own Hometown Hero........ David Tope, of Waynesburg. A 2003 graduate of Sandy Valley High School.
Just 9 months ago David was graduating high school. One week after that he was shipped off to Paris Island for Marine training boot camp, 13 weeks later a young kid emerged a United States Marine.
Heading into this, David wasn't sure he was ready to be the man he has to be, leaving behind family, friends and his fiancÃ©e. He is strong willed and this is what he wanted to do since he was 13 yrs old, he wanted to be a Marine, and be one for life. His passion for firearms and explosives, was scary for some of us but he always said "I KNOW WHAT IM DOING".
After getting to come home to spend time with his family for 2 weeks, he was sent off again. Camp Lejeune was the destination this time for his schooling and training. David was then sent to California, for desert training. For what you wonder, how about to be sent to Iraq. Yes, he got his orders, this 19 yr. old, recent graduate of high school got orders to "go fight for our country."
While on patrol, approx. two weeks after he arrived in Iraq, this young man is now fighting for his life because of a bomb exploding. David's injuries were critical, massive chest injuries. The Marine Corps could not give the family any other information until it was available. Two days after the accident his condition was improving, he was finally stable. The very next day this very strong young man was phoning home. To talk to his family, his fiancÃ©e letting them know he is alive and doing better, and if it wasn't for his jacket he would have been killed. Only one week after this massive trauma our hometown hero is coming home. Back to the United States. And not coming home alone, with him he is bring 2 metals,.combat action ribbon and THE PURPLE HEART! How can any one imagine... 9 months out of school 19 years old ,,and a story to tell about how he got his purple heart. Not only does he have a purple heart he has a Big heart. And a lot of people who love and care about him.
Our hometown hero is in good spirits and joking around, considering his injuries, and is getting better and stronger every day. All I can say about David is there is nothing that can hold him down, when he has his mind set on something. Every one that knows him knows it's the truth.
Good luck, get well, we love you David, all your family and friends
by Stephanie Leachman
I swore "...to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." - I WAS NEVER RELIEVED OF THIS OATH!
This did not get through to you via the "news" address. It was forwarded to me by my friend and comrade, Maj. D.D. Brooks, during my first tour in NAM 65-66.
C.R. Scroggins, GySgt. USMC (Ret.)
Subject: Fw: Final update from Iraq 9.23.04 [from Rob Nofsinger]
This is truth! This is what the media fails to write about!
Note, this Marine states "detainees were treated with respect.....
....." Need we say ----- No! But the media does!!!!!!!!!!
Well, my unit has come to the end of its time here in Iraq and I wanted to send a final note.
During the past seven months 3rd Battalion 11th Marines has accomplished much. Our artillery Battalion was given the mission of convoy security and provisional MP (Military Police) duties. From that mission grew other duties and we eventually ended up accomplishing a wide range of tasks.
We were assigned to assist the Iraqi Border Patrol along the Saudi Arabian border. Along with that came the responsibility to care for the nearby town of Nukhayb. It is a fairly small town that had been ravaged by two wars, 12 years of sanctions, and a tyrannical government that neglected its basic needs. Over the course of seven months, our small civil affairs section was able to spend roughly $1.3 million on the infrastructure, people of Nukhayb and outlying areas. The projects included the following:
Â· Hospital renovation and medical supplies
Â· School refurbishment
Â· Water supply improvement
Â· Sanitation equipment
Â· Regional fire department
Â· Agricultural cooperative
Â· Multiple power generators and transformers
Â· Equipment and gear for local Iraqi Security Forces
Â· Electrical rewiring
Â· Refurbishment of local government buildings
Â· Establishment of employment programs
Â· Local mosque refurbishment
Nukhayb is now a thriving active community with a renewed sense of direction. The local economy is rapidly increasing and is already far beyond where it was at any time during the past 30 years.
3/11's main mission was to provide convoy security for military and non-military convoys throughout Iraq. This was done with the utmost patience and professionalism. The Marines of 3/11 being trained as artillerymen, performed tremendously as provisional infantrymen without skipping a beat. As this war has only further proven, Artillerymen are the "go-to" Marines of the Marine Corps. In the end 3/11 was responsible for escorting hundreds upon hundreds of vital convoys throughout the theater.
In addition to this responsibility 3/11 was asked to supervise and run a provincial Iraqi Security College where Iraqi Security Forces were trained to take control of their country. The college was so successful that it is now entirely run by Iraqis.
Continuing the Military Police role 3/11 also maintained and operated a provincial detention facility where detainees were treated with respect and humanity. Long before incidents at other prisons in Iraq were discovered, 3/11 set the highest of possible standards in the country for quality of care and facility conditions. The detention facility has been heralded as a hallmark in our area of operations and brings much praise to the battalion.
All along the way 3/11 was asked to step outside its area of expertise and provide the highest level of performance, and each time the expectations were met and exceeded. Few units if any can claim to have accomplished such a wide variety of missions in such a short period of time. The Marines of 3rd Battalion 11th Marines can return home to their loved ones knowing they provided absolutely vital contributions to the war in Iraq. The Iraqi people have never known liberty in their entire history and now they finally have a chance to live free. With Marines and soldiers out there like those from 3/11, the war on terror will be definitively won and the world will know a higher level of freedom and prosperity than it has ever known.
I personally want to thank each of you who have supported me through this journey. I will never be able to put into words, my appreciation for all you have done for me. My definition of family has grown exponentially since being over here and I thank you.
But more than just your personal support I am grateful for your support of the cause. Not everyone in America is educated enough to understand the full importance of what we are doing in this part of the world and I am so thankful that you all do. Freedom and liberty are fragile and America seems to be one of the only countries actively fighting to ensure that they do not perish from this earth. Your continued efforts at home are much needed in spreading the truth. Together we will win this fight and secure a better future for the whole world.
God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
We've been pounded recently here in sunny Florida by more than our fair share of hurricanes. 4 storms in just 6 weeks. Seems like every weekend is a race to cover the windows with plywood and check the supply of batteries etc. This last storm, Jeanne, hit us hard and knocked down the backyard fence, took out the tree out front etc. It also left us without power for a couple days. I was running low on clean skivvies after the power went out so I decided to wash them by hand in the sink in the garage. As I hung them up to dry I couldn't help but smile as I recalled the many countries I had also hand washed clothes in. I was thankful that my house and family were in one piece and the minor inconvenience of no power was lost in the memories of time spent on West Pac floats, Okinawa etc. I wouldn't trade those days for anything but it was nice when we got power back and the air conditioner kicked back on. There are a lot of folks here in Florida with no homes, no power etc. keep them in your thoughts and prayers and if you can, donate to the Red Cross. They saved our butts down here several times this year. A side bar to my story. My brother, Grunt with Bravo 1/1 in Nam had his house damaged by an earlier hurricane and as the 3rd one approached he went up on the roof to secure some shingles. Slipped on the ladder and fell about 15 feet. Landed on the concrete sidewalk and shattered his wrist. As we sat in the emergency room the nurse asked for his medical history. He rattled off that he had lost a lung to an AK47 round, had a heart attack while he was a cop in NY, stroke last year, smokes 3 packs a day etc when I interrupted her and asked that she just put very simple wording on his chart. "Dumb@ss on a ladder in a hurricane." She smiled and left the room.
Semper Fi, Rich Bahret Scout Sniper 1/3 '83 to '87
Subject: From Marines in IRAQ
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
2d Battalion, 7th Marines
1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Box 788262
Twenty-nine Palms, California 92278-8262
August 23, 2004
Dear Family and Friends of 2/7,
As I write this letter, the battalion is completing its most recent combat tour in almost 14 years. We are beginning to turnover our responsibilities to the unit that is relieving us. Soon enough we will complete final packing and prepare to return home to rejoin our loved ones.
We came to Iraq to provide a windbreak against terrorists and criminals, with every sentiment of faith, friendship, and honor to allow the Iraqis to rebuild a proud, free, safe, and prosperous Iraq wholly committed to the struggle against those that threatened them. We respected religious practices, culture, and always considered Iraqis our friends. We intimately observed just how hard Iraqi life was under a brutal and evil dictatorship. We saw the conditions in which terrorists could seek safe harbor and refuge. In our hearts and minds we always upheld the belief that the terrorists would never succeed in making us think the Iraqi people were our enemies.
We gained common cause with many Iraqis. We formed friendships, bonds, and associations. We became part of their lives and communities. It took a long time, blood, and heroic effort, but many Iraqis finally understood our good intentions. After all, our two cultures have been separate for more than 4,000 years. We were truly strangers in a strange land for quite some time. We know our part of Iraq is better today than when we arrived. We have witnessed the steady progress with our own eyes and heard their words of hope. We have helped them walk as they placed each step forward and learned what it is to taste freedom for the first time. We are confident Iraq will be even better six months from now. There will be setbacks in the future, but they are headed in the right direction.
We approached our fight in a very unique way, adopting lessons from others that visited the same areas of Mesopotamia nearly eight decades ago: "Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is. It may take them longer and it may not be as good as you think, but if it is theirs, it will be better." (T.E., "Lawrence of Arabia," Lawrence)
The result in Iraq, after the efforts of the men and women of 2/7 along with our Iraqi friends, is better now than when we arrived. It is now their fight to win in every sense. The men and women of the battalion performed magnificently. When we look back years from now, I think we will all share in the belief that we gave all we had towards making a difference in Iraq. We accomplished our mission as best as we could. That is what Marines have done for 229 years. I will always be proud to be the commanding officer of 2/7 during that moment in time.
Finally, and most importantly, remember those who will not be returning home or sharing the sea stories years from now. They have paid the ultimate price for our country's efforts in fighting the War on Terrorism. Their sacrifice for us was for a much greater purpose. They will always be in our hearts. We will see them again and thank them for what they gave the rest of us.
We look forward to seeing each and every one of you soon.
LtCol Phil Skuta
I am the wife of a marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, 3/5 L CO, formally with 2 FAST CO 7 PLT, who is currently deployed, again. I am a corpsman also stationed on CP, at 13 area. My husband and I have been married for 2 years now. He has missed practically every holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc. due to deploying 4 times in those 2 years. Somehow we managed to have a little girl who is now 10 months old, who is his pride and joy. He has only been with her for four months total since she has been born. I just wanted to say to him, as well as all the other Marines out there who are in Iraq, or have been, or are waiting to go, how much love and respect I have for you for having the courage to go over there and fight. I know you would much rather be here in the states with your families, but I also know you want and need to go and do the job you signed up to do. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say Thank You, and we all love you.
You are our Heroes.
HN CJ Miles, USN
The bitter part of descreation is valor.
No monument has been cast in marble, bronze or stone. No songs of praise have yet been raised for the valor she has shown. There are but few who have lived life through who are e mindful of the strife that come to those who bravely chose to be a Marine Corps wife. It mattered not when came the call to move in new directions. The choice was but to take what came with all its imperfections. To be alone in peace or war, to anchor firm union, and pray that God would grant the gift of a lasting, full reunion. No saint deserves more glory, no hero more acclaim, that the wife who lived life in the Corps, in service without fame. So stand with me, my brothers, and let our toasts ring true, for we know that it is only she who made a Marine of you.
Edward F. Danowitz
This is for the family and friends of those awaiting a loved to come home. I just returned from Iraq in October 2003. I was discharged in November. I had voluntarily extended to go with my unit. The thought of actually going to war when I enlisted into the Corps in February of 1999 seemed unreal. Well, unreal until Sept. 11th. Nevertheless, we had a job to do and I wasn't going to leave until we finished it. I will not go into details of my experiences in that God forsaken place but being a grunt in a first wave attack on the northern part of that country my experiences were all but pleasant. I feel I served my country, my Corps, and God honorably. Yet no training or briefings have to tell me how to deal with the acts in which I had done and seen. When I returned home there was a mix of feelings. Something wasn't right. For so long I had waited to come home and be with my family. Now, I just didn't feel as though I could face them. Nightmares have haunted my sleep and guilt has weighed my conscience.
It has been almost a year now since I was over there yet I can recall it as though it was yesterday. Everyone here tells me it will be "ok", "not to worry", "I was doing my job, what I was trained to do." Easy for them to say! I appreciated all there support but for some reason I resented them for it as well. I am not ashamed of what I am (A Marine) nor what I have done. But I just don't want people talking to me about it or asking me about it. I know that many of you can not wait to get your loved ones back home. Trust me when I say they want to be home. But you must understand that they may not be the same when they get back. Especially those serving in infantry and special operations fields. Give them time and space and realize that there mixed emotions and attitudes are not directed towards you in any way. They are just trying to find a way to cope and deal with things. And don't be upset if they do not want to talk to you about there experiences. Believe it or not they are just protecting you from what they were faced with.
Myself along with all the other men and women who have served appreciate all your support. But just because they return home and the war is over for you, it may not be for them and they are going to need your support even more then. Even if that support is silent and just a comforting touch. My unit was recently deployed back over there and when I first heard of it I tried to go back in and rejoin my unit. The thought of them going back without me was something I couldn't live with. It just didn't feel right. Unfortunately, I couldn't get orders to unit and I didn't want to go to a new one. Now I am stuck back here will my fellow brothers are over there fighting again. It just doesn't seem right. Nevertheless, your loved ones may feel the same way. Try not to be anger with them for there connection to there fellow Marines is just something you will never possibly fathom unless you yourself were a Marine.
I will close now but keep this in mind. Man hath known no greater love, than a man who lay down his life for his friend, and a Marine hath known no greater honor than a Marine fighting beside fellow brothers.
Cpl. S.W. Turner Jr.
Far too many have the idea that this Nation is infinite and will last forever, no matter what happens. Our spirit will last as long as there are men and women like these I spent the day with, but the Nation can be brought down by those so full of appeasement and apathy, and our enemy knows this as well as I. This is one old Jarhead that will fight it with word and deed to his dying breath.
U.S.M.C. April 16, 1964 to Death
If you are looking for sympathy, there is a dictionary in my office.
my first First Sgt.
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
--Alexis de Tocqueville
S/F Sgt. Grit,
I want to thank all of your readers who said such nice things about the FMF Corpsman. My husband served the best of two worlds..the US Navy and the USMC as an FMF Corpsman. He spent his 21st birthday in a North Korean foxhole (he always corrects me on that..he tells me it was His foxhole..he dug it himself! and a tour in Viet Nam in "65-66" He put 8 years with the Corps.
this is the first time that i am writing. as am a Marine ( 72/76) Parris Island- plt 171 ,A Co. 1st.Bat. SDI - SSgT. Bearup , ADI- SSgT Stuart , ADI - Sgt . Heath . after boot onto Fort Gordon,GA. M.P. school was there in the 70's .That's right , I'm a : 5831 .Then it was Mar Brks. Long Beach, CA. at the Navel station &amp; ship yard .I was the Brks' TOP SHOT ( m 14 ) in 74 . I thought that I might have to deploy when the U.S.S. MYIQUEZ was taken . My mom, and grandmom at the time did not know what to do. So, like the old corps guys in my firehouse told me I Will tell (PMR) as I told my family . You have nothing to worry about until you see two Marine's in full dress blues walking to your front door. So , I just wanted to clear this slight bit of confusion up since as long as your son is with his brothers he is safe in the company of other Marines.
May GOD BLESS THE CORPS& EVERY ONE IN THE SAND PIT
CPL. A. Kaminsky
"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."
- Ronald Reagan
I wanted to tell Cpl. Paul Upthegrove (newsletter #79) that there is indeed a severe dust problem in the eyes in this country and it does happen at the strangest times and has affected me as well. As a professional researcher I've tried to discover the causes of that. For me, it seems to happen several times when I read American Courage and the Sgt. Grit newsletters. It happens when somebody on the street or in a store stops me and asks how my son is. It happened when I got an email recently from my son in Iraq telling me he had received a combat meritorious promotion to Sergeant of Marines and had been selected as the Marine of the quarter for the 7th Regiment. It happened at a recent federal conference I attended in Washington, DC where a person I'd never met read an article about Kris, approached me with tears in his eyes (d*mn dust again), gave me a huge hug and shook my hand and told me to tell Kris and his men how proud he was of all of them. It happened again when I got the flight schedule home for the 3/7 from their second tour. It happened again at 0718 EDT on 9/21 when Sgt Benson called me having just gotten off the plane in California with the other Marines from the 3/7 Weapons Company. And he called me before he got his first beer -- d*mn dust again. And it seems to happen when I write letters like this. It's probably going to happen again when I see my son at the airport in October
I'm 57 years old and have many accomplishments I am proud of, but none even comes close to being a proud father of a United States Marine. God bless every one of them and all the men and women in all the branches who serve our country and American values so admirably, as well as the parents, family and friends who stand behind them.
The conclusion of my research, Cpl. Upthegrove, is that I don't think it is dust that causes this. It is True Grit. And there can't be too much of it. Its cause seems to be Pride and Respect. There is no known antidote, not that anyone wants one, and this affects equally Marines, their families, their friends and all true Americans. It seems to be infectious and side effects beyond tears are enhanced pride in the Corps -- its history, its present, its future-- and the men and women who have made life-defining decisions to serve at this high level.
Semper Fi -- Dr. Dennis Benson, Worthington, Ohio.
"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."
- Ronald Reagan
Hi Sgt. Grit:
Last weekend a ceremony was held at the Coast Guard station in Cape May, NJ, to induct 33 outstanding people (including David Toma) into the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor program. Among those upon whom this honor was bestowed was a flight attendant (from American Airlines, I believe). One of her many assignments over the years has been the ferrying of troops home from "the war"... Apparently this woman has a "special" attendant's uniform - a US FLAG across the seat of her britches and a sign attached to her jacket that reads "Saddam kiss my Flag"... My only regret is that I didn't catch her name so that you could properly honor her in your newsletter!
Hugs to you and our Heroes...
Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear.
I know it is uncommon for someone who isn't a marine or affiliated with one to write to you, but I just couldn't help it. I have been reading your newsletters for sometime now and I must say, some of the stories are really touching. I processed for enlistment into the DEP program for the USMC about 2 1/2 months ago at the age of 17. It is something I have wanted to do my whole life! I can still remember being in 1st grade and being asked what I wanted to be in the future and I responding with my little squeaky voice,I want to be a marine Truly, with all the Marines I've met and all the stories I've read, I can proudly say that this is the best decision I have or will ever make in life. It was hard convincing my mother to sign because she still sees me as her baby, especially since all along she has been a single mother. Its sad to come home after school and find my mother weeping in my room as she looks at all The Marine Corps. stuff I have hanging from my walls. Then suddenly looks up at me with all those tears in her eyes and asks me if I'm sure this is what I want to do, I always respond with yes, ma'am. It's hard, but I know in the end she will be very proud just like all the other mothers out there.
Now I anxiously await my turn to leave and try to become one of the most respected, finest, fighting warriors in the world, A Marine. I ship at 0500 on 20050620.
Poolee A. Cuevas
To the Mom with a Marine newly sent to Iraq.
I too am a Mom with a son in Iraq. He is an MP and running convoys. I wish I had magic to make things easier for you (and myself), I can only offer that I gave my three sons (2 active Marines and the third goes after high school graduation) to God many years ago and have a peace that my Marines are doing what they feel they have to do and are where they are supposed to be. I try to look at the positives in life and not dwell on the negatives in this world or think the worst as to what could happen. Keep a positive attitude.
Very Proud Marine Mom
Kim Burgess, Proud Mother of PFC Ryan J. Burgess
We just returned home from our son's Graduation at MCRD in San Diego. It was all that you said it was. I wish more young people would experience what our son's have. It is AWESOME! Our son is home for a few days before going back to Camp Pen. He actually was offered seven days of Recruiter's Assistance, but he wanted to return to be with his new buddies. Which I can see why. Our young generation seems to be lost, and he also sees what could have happened if he had stayed home. We are amazed at how many people come up and shake his hand or how many people stare when they see him in his dress blues. It puts a tear in my eye every time. But it is a tear of joy. I am so proud of each and everyone who has taken the time to serve our Country.
Leslie Baker, Proud Mother of PFC Baker
"[A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
Would just like to say that I'm a well motivated Marine wife and just would like to share that it is in deed tuff, but regardless Never ever give up. As a Marine Wife my duty's are to provide moral support and respect to my Marine, love and cherish him for the job career he loves and enjoys, I'm very proud to say that my Marine is awesome. He takes care of his marines and takes the marine corps seriously and being a Sgt. he loves it. He always goes the extra mile And learns every thing possible about the corps. He recently reenlisted And soon after that completed and graduated the Sgt.'s course. I was so proud of him out of the whole 50 marines he was the only one to get a perfect 300pt score, as the announced his name I was so proud, In my head I said that's my marine, as I heard his Cpt. yell OORAH..
That's my Marine..........
Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He's the chap who makes it possible for civilized folk to despise war.
Essence of a Leader;
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.
They do not set out to be come leaders, but becomes one by the quality of their actions and the integrity of their intent.
In the end, leaders are like Eagles... they don't flock, you find them one at a time.
CWO4 Len Tippett
1st Marine Air Wing
I am honored to have served with 1st and 3rd RECON from '86 to '90. My family and friends would say that I am still serving and proud of it. I happened to come across your website, ordered a catalog and to receive your newsletter. While I was reading the first letter I was having trouble with my vision due to the tears that were forming in my eyes.
To read what other people have shared on this site is one more reason why I am so d@mn proud to be a Marine. These letters that people send into you is a huge part about being a Marine. We are family, and we care for each other. We will never leave one of our own behind on the field.
So, I would like to thank you and those that make this newsletter possible for all of the time and energy that you put into it for the rest of us. I will close with a request. I ask of each of you that read this note to please pray for all of our troops who are away from the families, fight the good fight.
Blake R. Miller
Hidden valor is as bad as cowardice.
My son LCpl William Stevens with 1/4 A Co. Attached to the 11th MEU was injured in Kufa, Iraq August 21. He was shot thru the sole of his foot and the round exploded out the top. He is in Naval Medical Center, San Diego. There was a flap reconstruction done but he developed a blood clot and the Drs. Feel to risky to try again as he is on blood thinners. He is to receive his purple heart Monday morning and then is to have surgery in the afternoon for a partial amputation of his right foot. He is 20 years old. His is my hero and I am so very proud of him.
Semper Fi Marine
Jane Woods proud Marine Mom.
I had to laugh when I read the account that Don Herndon sent in about his traffic stop--I had an almost identical experience about a month and a half ago, including the same outcome, with the same "Not as lean..." bumper sticker on the back window of my car. I pulled over immediately when I saw the trooper and was already stopped by the time he got turned around and parked behind me. He never mentioned the bumper sticker, but acted the whole time like there could be no other possible outcome than a simple verbal warning.
Have to add that our two oldest sons, both USMCR infantrymen, just landed in the big sandbox last week. We are extremely proud of them, all our fellow Marines, and all the rest who are serving this great land. God bless them all, and this nation.
USMC 5945 (77-81) and USMCR 1302
Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness."
- Thomas Brant Henry Huxley (1825-95); English biologist
The "Hugs" Project" to send cooling ties/hand warmers to our troops in the Middle East.
DOESN'T THIS SOUND FAMILIAR ??
By JAMES GLANZ and THOM SHANKER, The New York Times But most of all, military officers argue that despite the rise in bloody attacks during the past 30 days, the insurgents have yet to win a single battle.
"We have had zero tactical losses; we have lost no battles," said one senior American military officer. "The insurgency has had zero tactical victories. But that is not what this is about.
"We are at a very critical time," the officer added. "The only way we can lose this battle is if the American people decide we don't want to fight anymore
SEMPER FI !
"Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction."
Dear Mrs. sheffield and others whose sons or husbands are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I spend several hours each week, usually while I am having my morning coffee, writing to those who are serving our country. I would feel honored to have your sons...and others...addresses to add to my list. At present I am getting off at least 2 or 3 letters to each one each month. I know that they value getting mail as my father was a career Navy Corpsman and I married a Marine! It has always been important to me to write whenever I our men and women are off serving our nation.
You can send me their addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be an honor to write to them.
Thank you, Connie Beesley
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Your newsletters here lately have been most moving/motivating. Yet a few, well, Sir, have been most challenging to the soul. So many letters recently have been "heart felt" from the experiences lived. The life of a Marine, is never easy nor that of the wife and child of a Marine.
Today, was at a Navy Chapel in Groton, Ct. First time I witnessed a "Pining Ceremony." All Chiefs in the only Submarine Base left in our Nation. It was a unique experience.
Yet, just at the start, in walks nine (9) United States Marines. Lead by a 1stSgt and eight (8) NCO's (SSGT''s and Sgts's). The seats were all taken, they stood at the back. Now, several Chiefs here were "Doc's" and served with Marines. The Command Master Chief was a "Doc" back in the 80's in Yorktown, Va with the Marines. One Chief served as a "Doc" with the 1st Division for 4 years. You would not believe how proud these Sailors were, to see a hand full of LeatherNecks on "Deck." No, these Marines were not stationed at the Base, just visiting and felt it was most appropriate to drop in to represent your "Corps."
Well, all. There is deep pride in the "Corps" and it's family and friends, but again; there are many outside the ranks of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and their family, whom have the deepest respect for you each. I wish I could convey the many messages expressed with the Navy Chiefs of their "pride" in you each, Marine and of your "Corps".
Last but not least. Wish to say thanks to you each and Sgt. Grit for the wonder newsletter and the many "heart-felt" letters/opinions and yes the arguments. Marines are known to complain. But that is a Marine thing many do not understand.
God Bless all. America, and many outside the ranks of your family, not just love you, but proudly say they need the United States Marine Corps!!! Thank you.
"I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING"
I teach Criminal Justice at a community college so most of my students are young kids with vague ideas of what they might want to do with their lives. Occasionally I'll see a young man (and one or two young women) wearing USMC attire of one form or another, or an EGA tattoo. We usually exchange "Semper Fi's" after class and, not surprisingly, they just about all turn out to be good students. Most are interested in becoming cops and, if they do, they almost always turn out to be good ones.
About a year ago, I had a young man in my class wearing a t-shirt with a large EGA in the center and "Abecrombie" underneath. I asked him if he was a Marine and he gave me a look I have come to associate with a student totally incapable of coherent thought and reason. Finally, I pointed to his shirt and asked him, "Why are you wearing a Marine Corps emblem?" As the dawn broke over his mental fogbank he looked at me and said, "Oh, is that what it is? I just thought it was interesting."
My boot camp-issue self-discipline was the only thing that saved his life (and my job!). I have seen the future of our country in my classrooms......and sometimes it scares the h&ll out of me.
I would also like to respond to Suzanne Brown who has a son who just graduated boot camp. My son graduated from MCRD-San Diego last Dec 5 and l was privileged to go to the graduation. Most impressive! On our return flights to Cincinnati he was not treated like an 18 yr old. He was repeatedly addressed as Sir. When we boarded one plane an older man was standing at the front of the plane who told him "Welcome aboard Marine." He wore his Service Alpha uniform (forgive me MARINES if l didn't get that correct) which brought A LOT of stares. One thing did happen that miffed me. At the airport in San Diego they made him, A MARINE, take off his shoes at the security check point. l know they have to do their job but come on A MARINE. How do the rest of you feel about that. He didn't argue he complied like a gentleman. He was the handsomest thing I'd ever seen. What l did forget to tell you was that on his way to San Diego a very kind gentleman got him into this restaurant at Chicago O'Hare, because he was going to boot camp to become a MARINE.
My son isn't a walking bill board for the USMC but you just know he is. Is it the hair cut, or the strut? Or maybe it's just something in his demeanor but you just know he's a Devil Dog.
PMM of PFC Mac, New River
This is a response to the all the talk about those who are not Marines wearing Marine gear and saying "Semper Fi". For me, being a Marine is not the t-shirts I wear or the stickers I have on my truck, which my girlfriend tells me are about four too many. It's not the photographs on my wall, it's not the three inch MARINE I have tattooed across my back or the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tattoo on my forearm, and dare I say it's not even the uniform hanging in my closet. To me being a Marine is the sand I thrashed in Hollywood (p!ss off PI, come on I'm kidding), the heals pounded into the grinder. Its Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Settlemire, Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Muro, and Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Germany. It's the miles I've humped and the meals I've missed. Its the Dear John letters and the old farts who won't stop talking about the .Old Corps.. It's the Halls of Montezuma, the Sands of Iwo Jima, the Siege at Khe-Sanh, the fog of Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, the frozen Chozen, Operation Hastings, and the push for Baghdad. It's ole Dan Daly, Chesty, John Basilone and Gunny Howard.
It's our history and the brothers and sisters that went before us that make us who we are. These are just a few of the reasons we are proud to call ourselves Marines. I don't think there are enough pieces of paper in the world to list them all. With that said I have no problem with someone else wearing a Marine shirt. I can even deal with others saying "Semper Fi", it's out of respect. Now the guy who got the Marine tattoo, that's getting up there, but I don't think he really understood what he was doing. No one who hasn't earned the title knows what it really means. With that said lets just remember who we Really are and look at that sh** and smile.
Kory L Ryan, USMC
PS. To all Marines that left their lives in far off lands, go easy friend.
There are those, I know who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is. It is the American Dream.
Marine Corps Recruiting Association is looking for active duty and former Marines who have served in both a and b billets,to join the association. My e mail address is duganb_P@msn.com
MSgt Bill Dugan USMC retired 1956-1977
Parris Island,Jan-Apr1956 4th Bn Plt 27
Recruiter Boston,Ma 1970-1974
Proud father of a Marine, proud grand father of two Army National Guardsman,who are both serving their country in Iraq.
God Bless America,God Bless all the men and women who are serving in harms way.
"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions."
Were the Marines in Tun Tavern Hollywood Marines or real Marines?
Mike Damigo, Former Sgt. and tank commander
"B" Co., 1st Tank Bn
In response to Katherine C. Domorod "Very Proud Marine Mom":
I think she has just created the next Marine Corps bumper sticker with her statement:
"Marine is not a title, it's a force that binds itself to the soul." I am happy that you are a proud Marine mom. Those kids need all the support they can get. In these times, a show of support is not only called for, but mandatory - especially for those of us who have served, but welcomed from those who did not.
Nikki Allen Cain
91-98 6th ESB
Did you do your "PT" today .... ???
On, February 3, 2003, I said good-bye over the phone with my heart breaking, as I sent my fiancÃ©e (at the time) off to fight in Iraq. I spent many sleepless nights in front of the television not knowing if my Marine was ever going to make it home to me. I was there in a field at Camp Pendleton waiting with open arms & a heart full of excitement as I welcomed him home from Iraq. We were married a week after he returned & I have been living the life as a Marine wife ever since.
September 2, 2004, I once again experienced the painful good-bye as my husband left again for Iraq. So, I sit here today (proudly wearing my USMC yellow ribbon pin) while I wait, hope, and pray for the safe return of my Marine. I feel as though I have earned the right to wear my USMC gear with pride and support of my husband and all the other Marines out there.
"Marine Corps Wife-toughest job in the Corps!"
*Proud Wife of USMC Cpl Jeffrey Hazard Jr. (2/11 Kilo-OIF I & OIF II)*
I have been asked by several parents recently about the different training for grunt and non-grunt MOS's. Gunny Davis provided a Mom a good description last week.
Dian, About your son's Combat Training, He is going to MCT(Marine Combat Training) instead of SOI( School of Infantry) MCT is 6 weeks SOI is 8 weeks , the extra two weeks is for specialized weapons training to pick up an AMOS instead of a PMOS, meaning your son is going to Infantry School same as the SOI bunch what he is not doing is specializing in a weapons system such as the mortars or 50 cal Machine Gun or Squad Automatic Weapon or TOW Gunner Etc Etc, the others are specifically infantry and have to be trained in a specialized weapons system as this is what they do for a living. I can promise you that your son is being given the best training in the world in the art of making the enemy die for his country. He will be trained in basic Infantry. God Bless and Semper fi.
GySgt Michael W. Davis
"The way to be safe, is to never see secure!"
The subject seems to come up often about people wearing Marine shirts, and never actually being a Marine. Well this old grandma in Kansas proudly wears my Marine grandson's camo shirt with his name on one pocket and U S Marines on the other. He gave it to me when he returned from Iraq the first time. He is back over there on another deployment at this time. I put on this shirt and wear it to feel close to him. Our love is special and this is why I so proudly wear this shirt in support for him and all the Marines over there as well as the other troops too. We are so very proud of him.
God Bless them all, God Bless America.
Re: Ms. Nancy Blair,
In 2 hours I will be meeting my Marine son at our local airport who is returning home from his tooour in Fallujah. I have not seen him in one year. I will be wearing my USMC. sweatshirt, my Marine Mom pin, my truck all decked out with USMC slogans as usual. But this time I will be thinking of you who is unable to do this. Thank you for raising such fine men and please continue to wear the clothing you earn proudly.
"The liberty we prize is not American's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."
George W. Bush
VFW Furious About Draft-Dodger Memorial News coverage about a proposed memorial in Canada to honor Vietnam draft-dodgers has drawn the fury of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "We urge the President and Congress to do whatever is necessary to communicate to the Canadian government that this exercise of free expression is an absolute slap in the face to every man and woman who ever served in uniform... both in our military and theirs," said VFW commander John Furgess. "To honor draft-dodgers, deserters, people who brought grief to the families they left behind and anguish to those American men who took their place, is an abomination," he added. An estimated 125,000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. Half returned to the U.S. when then-President Jimmy Carter granted them amnesty in 1977. Dedication of the bronze statue honoring draft-dodgers is planned for July 2006 in Nelson, British Columbia.
TODD T. SHEAF ( SGT )
THERE ARE ONLY TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE . . .
U.S. MARINES . . . AND THE REST OF YA !
USMC - 73 - 80
SEMPER - FI !
Hey Sgt. Grit,
I am now in the CA Army National Guard (trying hard to clean it up, but the d@mn doggies just don't learn too fast), and am deploying to Kosovo in a few weeks. I work for a middle school in Santa Cruz, CA, and recently one of our teachers, unbeknownst to me, got a hold of my Sgt Grit catalog. She called to order a "Mother's flag", for the school to fly in my honor, and the supply guy said that it would be a couple of weeks before it got out. Dianne, the teacher, told him I was leaving in a week, and she was very happy when your supply guy told her that, "In that case, it will be out tomorrow!"
Dianne got her flag, I got the honor of having a flag dedicated to me by 700 little Americans who only know that "Mr. A" is going off to keep them safe, like I've done for almost 5 years there.
Several weeks ago I wrote to you about one of our most seriously injured Marines from Iraq, Gunny Sergeant Kenneth W. Sergeant. He took a piece of shrapnel upward from under his chin and up thru the left side of the top of his head, taking a 2 x 4 chunk of his brain and skull with it. This is a short update of his status. The Gunny remains in serious condition. However, he is aware of those around him As testimony to this, at the conclusion of my last conversation with him, I gave him a "Thumbs Up" sign. In spite of his serious condition, he amazed me with his response of TWO Thumbs Up! It honestly brought tears to my eyes. The Gunny has been transferred from the Bethesda Naval Hospital to a facility in California.
In my first email on the Gunny, I asked for cards and emails of support for him. I am very pleased to report that a lot of you Marines and Marine Mothers have responded with quite a few cards and emails which I have passed along. Keep the coming if you wish. When I get a forwarding address for the Gunny, I will pass them along. The Gunny's family are going to have a rough time of it. Obviously, the Gunny will never work again. That's why we in the Marine Corps League (MCL) I will continue to provide assistance to the Gunny and his family, both emotionally and financially.
Remember the Gunny in your prayers.
Tony Begenwald, Chaplain
Free State Marine Detachment
3404 Medina Lane
Bowie, MD 20715
Thank you for taking the time to write that note. I hardly know what to say and can't see well as you've caused my eyes to "sweat". A term my Marine husband uses "cuz" Marines don't cry he says! My husband served in Viet Nam and lost both legs from a land mine. We met at the Oakland Naval Hospital in CA and six months later we were married. that was over 38 years ago. Ed buys me Marine T-shirts and bought me a lovely ring with the Marine Corps emblem on it. He says I earned the right to wear it just taking care of him! Being there for him through the PTSD and everything else. I think that the loved ones of those serving earn the right in their own way. I am proud to wear this ring! The Marine Corps helped make my husband the man that he is AND I am so thankful for that. I believe that what he learned in the Corps helped him deal with what he had to after losing his legs. That PRIDE instilled in him gave him the motivation to get on with his life and make it the best of it! Which he has.
You were in our thoughts and prayers when we heard about your son on the news and we continue to pray for those serving AND the families of all those who are serving AND have served!
Again, thank you for taking the time to write.
Semper Fi Marine,
I was wondering if you could put this in your newsletter?
The forgotten Veteran
It seem like everyday we hear about another car bombing and more of our brave men are killed, but let me tell you about a car bombing that most Americas have forgotten about, the first blows on the war on terror, our first blood shed.
April 18, 1983. The America Embassy in Beirut Lebanon this was the first strike and a shocked world watched as we dug out, 63 Americas dead, and now its just one line in out history books, but not for me, I was there, I remember hearing the explosion that day. I was a young Marine standing post in that war torn city. I was a Peacekeeper in a city at war, it was like standing in a house on fire and trying not to get burned.
Six months later the fire engulfed us on Oct. 23 another car bomb was detonated, this time the death toll was much greater. 241 brave men were gone, I remember that day, everyday, for I lost men that were my friends, but I am not alone, 241 families have been without a loved one for all these years, 109 children lost their fathers that day, some having never met. It was the greatest loss in one day for the Marine Corps since Iwo Jima, yet in our history books it is a mere few short lines. America cried that day, as did I, for the Peacekeepers. President Ronald W. Reagan said in a speech "They were not afraid to stand up for their country or, no matter how difficult and slow the journey might be, to give to others that last, best hope of a better future. We cannot and will not dishonor them now and the sacrifices they've made by failing to remain as faithful to the cause of freedom and the pursuit of peace as they have been." The total of our brave men killed between 1982 and 1984 in Beirut Lebanon came to 273 some perished from sniper fire and other atrocities. Others died years later from the results of their service. Mr. Reagan later said it was his deepest regret of his time in office.
This year marks the 21 anniversary of that day, most of the brave men that were there are now in there 40's, their sons and daughters are going off to war to fight the same enemy that we did 20 years ago, this time they are not Peacekeepers.
The thing that saddens me the most is the brave men that gave their lives 21 years ago are not remembered by America. In 1986 a contingent of Gold star mothers, wives and family members of the 273 fallen heroes descended on Washington, DC their mission... to get postage stamp unveiled and issued to honor Americas fallen sons. This trip turned out to be fruitless. On September 14th, 1993 armed with over 20,000 signatures from American citizens, family members and comrades the trek was again made to our nations capitol. The bevy was met with opposition and excuses, not to issue and honor the fallen and peacekeepers with a commemorative postage stamp.
For seventeen years, numerous people have petitioned the USPS and the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee to unveil and issue this stamp. On January 31st, 2003 Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. R-NC 3rd District introduced H.Res. 45 expressing the sense of the congress that a postage stamp be issued in remembrance of the victims of the peacekeeping mission in Beirut, Lebanon 1982-1984. As of yet, because of lack of 50 congressional signatures co-sponsoring this measure has not made it to the complete house for a vote. The killed in action came from 33 states, the District of Columbia, a territory: Puerto Rico and an allied country: United Kingdom. You do the math...
For the past 19 years we Beirut Veterans and family members of those that died have been trying to get a Postage Stamp to honor our fallen heroes but to no avail the Postmaster General and the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. have turned us down. Some comments for not honoring our fallen heroes in the past with a postage stamp were"We try hard to honor positive things." "People want non-controversial pretty stamps." "Beirut lacked significance in American history and not enough people were killed." So I ask you is it to much to ask for a stamp? We honor cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, rock stars, dogs, cats, bugs, flowers, and a wide range of other things have a stamp, why not The Peacekeepers? Why after 21 years are we still trying to get a stamp, the Gulf War stamps were out before our troops were even home. A stamp for 9-11 was out the very next year, there is even a Muslim Christmas Stamp! Why are we pushed away? Why are we the forgotten Veterans.
Could you write, call, fax, or e-mail their congressperson and have them support HR 45 (2003)or go to www.beirutstamp.com for more details, this is long over due.