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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 #82

"In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home."
--George Washington

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Patriotism can be identified by three basic colors:
Red for those who have fallen
White for the purity of their belief ..and
Blue for the vastness of their expectations

Stevens, T S
Cpl. 67-71

It is with the deepest sadness and most profound grief that I must report to you the loss of Daniel Wyatt, LCpl, Fox Co, 2nd Bn, 24th Marines, USMC. Daniel was killed in the line of duty, while conducting foot patrolling operations in Yusufiyah Iraq. Daniel was killed by a command detonated improvised explosive device. He died instantly, suffered no pain and was immediately recovered by his fellow Marines. My command security element and myself personally recovered Daniel's body and escorted him back to the forward operating base, and then onto the helicopter for the beginning of his final ride home. I cannot even begin to express to you the soul touching sight of combat hardened Marines, encrusted with weeks of sweat and dust, who have daily been engaged in combat, coming to complete and utter solemnity and respect in the handling of the body of one of their own. It puts on display a level of brotherly love you just cannot see anywhere else. We conducted a memorial service for Daniel in the battle space owned by his fellow Marines, as well as one the following day at the Bn forward operating base. I have spoken with his fiancée and expressed the sorrow and sympathy of the entire Battalion. If I might for a moment, I hear and see some of the media coverage. I hear the accusations and charges. I hear what could almost be labeled as hysteria over the situation in Iraq. Let me tell you something from ground level. The town of Yusufiyah that Daniel and his fellow Marines seized, had not seen government structure or security forces for over 8 months. FOREIGN FIGHTERS, TERRORIST AND THUGS have had free reign and have routinely murdered people in the market for no reason other than one day they MIGHT support a democratic process and speak for themselves. For nothing more than they MIGHT choose a version of religion even slightly different than the terrorists and foreign fighters. They live in squalor and fear. The Marines of Daniel's unit have not had a shower since seizing the town. They have eaten MREs day on stay on. They live a Spartan existence that few can imagine. And, on all my trips to their position for planning, coordination and command visits, I ask them if they want to be relieved. To a man, they look me in the eye and tell me NO WAY. Why? Well, I am not going to soften it for anyone, the primary reason why is to kill terrorists. Please remember, that is what they are trained and paid to do. But, they also tell me, they want to help the people of Yusufiyah. They want to show all of Iraq that they can stand on their own feet, push back against extremism, and with our help live the life of freedom that all men yearn for. Yes, from the mouths of these young and hardened warriors, this is what they tell me. And then...and then...they ask me how I am doing! Unfreakingbeliveable! They worry about everyone else but themselves. So believe what you want. That is your right as Americans. But I am telling you, there are no heroes on any football fields, basketball courts or halls of government. There are honorable and decent people all over America. However, the heroes are on the battlefields of Iraq. Suffering, killing and DYING that others might live, and live in FREEDOM. Americans free from terror, Iraqis free from oppression and tyranny.

I am an under-educated gun toter from Indiana who is just lucky there is an organization like the USMC where a half-wit like myself with some rudimentary combat skills can succeed. But I do know heroes! I am surrounded by over a thousand of them. And I am not the least bit ashamed to tell you I have wept like a baby for Daniel Wyatt. Because when one of these heroes falls, it is as if an angel of God himself has fallen from heaven! I will not profess glory of battle or any other such hype. I will profess duty and sacrifice. Daniel showed us all true duty and ultimate sacrifice. I have no doubt that the instant he died, he was whisked to heaven on the wings of angels and placed before the unapproachable light of Jesus, who Himself said: "greater love hath no man, than a man lay down his life for his friends." God bless and keep Daneil Wyatt, his family and fiancee and God bless and keep all families of 2/24.

Yours in profound sadness
Mark A. Smith, LtCol TF
2/24 Cmdr Mahmudiyah, Iraq

In April of 2003, I received a letter from then SSgt Adrian Walker, one of my former students. I didn't comprehend the true significance of that letter at the time, but in it he described his unit's (3/7) move into Baghdad. He explained how the AAV he was riding in crossed the Tigris River and then ran into a minefield. The blast damaged the left track, but the AAV continued to advance for about 1/4 mile before the track came completely off. His Marines provided security for the vehicle until it could be towed back to the Maintenance Collection Point (MCP). They fired on a couple of suspicious vehicles during the night and engaged in some firefights, but finally were towed back to MCP. There, they transferred to another vehicle and made their way back into Baghdad. Eventually, they moved into the Iraqi Olympic Training facility where they set up camp. That is where they were when they were informed that Hussein's regime had collapsed.

Upon his return from Iraq, I talked with SSgt Walker. He informed me that he had a gift for me that was very special. He refused to mail it to me, insisting that he present it to me in person. Then, he got deployed once again to Iraq.

Upon his second return, now GySgt Walker got to come home to Oklahoma on leave. We arranged for him to visit his old high school last week, and it was there that he presented me with the flag. That Iraqi flag had been flown over the Olympic facility that the 3/7 occupied when they entered Baghdad. He gave it to me as a token of his appreciation for having taught him history and for having inspired him to join the United States Marine Corps. And this gesture has completely floored this civilian! Thank you, GySgt Walker, for remembering me in this manner. God Bless you and keep you all the days of your life! David Bounds, Little Ax High School, Little Ax, Oklahoma

The rest of the story, the translation:

Allahu Akbar - God is great.
It's the first line of the call to prayer played 5 times a day from loudspeakers of every mosque,
and it's in Saddam's handwriting.

Read this and other Iraq Stories Like It

When they dedicate that so called "monument" to the U.S. draft dodgers in Canada, I hope those in attendance have the opportunity to hear something they missed in the 60's and 70's.
That would be: "INCOMING!"

GySgt Rosson

I am a Mom Marine. My son name is Omar Negron Santiago he is CPL. He work in Supply. He was before in Okinawa for 2 years later go to California now he is in Iraq. He is doing ok. Mine English is not very good when a need to write. But that is fine a always find people speak Spanish. We are from Puerto Rico. And only thing a can say I am very happy very happy Omar is a Marine a am very proud about him. I understand is not easy. But he have that in the blood. My father was in the Army, but now he is died for 18 years. My Father was in the 2 War. I wish a lot of teenager have the opportunity to do what Omar is doing. Omar have a brother his name is Antonio he have 7 year and ever time Omar come back home he is so happy he love his brother and when Omar go to his class room you can see his face so happy so proud. And a feel the mother and woman most important in this world. I do not have words to tell you. Is something you feel.
Thank you.

I am a Woman Marine (hate the terms ex or former). Veterans Day is fast approaching and I would like to encourage everyone to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to visit the nursing homes and veterans hospitals in their area. At age 50 I went back to school and got my state license as certified nursing assistant. I wanted hands on care of the patient and not spend all of my shift pushing paperwork. I have several veterans in my care. Some WW2 and some Korean War. To those who are well enough to understand the gesture I greet them each day with a salute that comes from the heart and reaches my eyes. To the others a hug. Sometimes both to each.When visiting try to carry a small gift with you. A bottle of hand and body lotion or baby oil or baby wipes. Even if they do not understand the gift, the gal taking care of him will and will appreciate the gift. Always check first with the nurse to be sure such a gift is appropriate. Try not to take fruit or candy or nuts as they may be choking hazards or in conflict with his dietary needs. I so love them. My tour of duty was stateside/safeside. Honor the veterans. Not just on veterans day but all year long. D@mned sand in my eyes.
Thanks and Semper fi.

To young Poolee A. Cuevas who reports to boot on 6-20-05. Make sure your mother has a way to attend your graduation from boot camp, then tell her to hold tight. On that day, as she discovers the change in her son, and sees you standing tall, her tears of sorrow will turn to tears of Pride. As the a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran and the father of a Marine currently serving in our Corps, I know of what I speak. Good luck young man, do us Proud. Now get on your face and give the Corps twenty! It'll be good practice.
Semper Fi,

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Understanding is not enough; we must do. Knowing and understanding in action make for honor. And honor is the heart of wisdom."
--Johann von Goethe

When I was a little girl, about 10 years old, my parents took me on a trip to Washington, DC. At one particular outdoor event, all the ladies we escorted to their seats by a United States Marine in full dress blues. Thirty years later, I can still see him: Very tall, blonde hair, piercing blue eyes. I remember this handsome young man taking me by the hand and walking me to my seat. As he left, my eyes remained riveted on him. I turned to my father as asked "Daddy, what kind of soldier is that?" My father put his hand on my shoulder and said "That's not a soldier, honey. That's a Marine."

Soon after, the program started and we were treated to several songs played by the Marine Corp Band. I couldn't take my eyes off them. They were all so perfect. Every move they made, every step they took. Absolute perfection. I was only 10, but I was hooked. "Mental note," I told myself. "Got to get me one of those Marines!"

Well, it has taken me almost 30 years from that day, but I finally did it. On October 1, I married my second husband in a very simple service at the Tallahassee Court House. Robert is the love of my life. He's handsome, sexy, smart and A MARINE! OOOORAAAAHHHH! My thanks to all those who serve and have served. God Bless and Semper Fi.

Joanne Terenzi-Cecil
Tallahassee, Florida

"In just three years, Afghanistan went from a nation that had never in its history allowed its people self-determination, to one in which -- despite the strictness of Islamic law that still dominates much of its people -- millions voted. The picture on the front page of Sunday's Washington Post said it all: a woman, garbed head to toe in a burqa, only her hands visible, pushing her paper ballot into a ballot box. According to one report, pollsters weren't able to get good exit polls because the Afghanis were reveling in their ability to keep their votes secret."
--Jed Babbin

Sgt. Grit,
I'd like to say welcome home to the Georgia Marines who just returned home from Afghanistan. We are very proud of them all and hope they all have a well deserved rest and time of reunion with their loved ones. May God be with the Marines who are about to take their places over there. The prayers of Central Georgia are with all of you and your loved ones. For those still there and in Iraq, and all who are in harm's way, as well as their families and loved ones, our thoughts and prayers are with you daily. Keep your heads low Marines and come home safe!

To Cpl. Turner Jr.: Your letter was very touching. I grew up seeing my father and many other Marines and Combat Veterans endure what you're enduring. I thank you for what you shared for the many families who will be experiencing all this for the first time when their Marines come home. You did a great service to them and to your fellow Marines with your letter. Even though it might not feel like it, your letter was a huge step in your own life by doing such a loving act for others. I will be praying for you every night! If you didn't get to see Lt. Col. Goodson's letter titled "Burial At Sea" that Sgt. Grit published a while back, read it. It will help you with the rough spots. God bless you Cpl. Turner!

Cindy Crook & Semper Fi from Cpl. John

God Bless You, 1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC! Thank you not only for your courage and commitment but for your efforts at making the lives of others better. It is so important for us (Americans) to hear from those who have served and to be told what you have been able to achieve for others on behalf of America and its Allies.

Sherilyn Goldammer
Marine Mom

I have been reading your newsletter for over a year now and many times have felt compelled to contribute then lost the thought during my busy day. However, this evening as I read Newsletter #81 I knew it was time. What caught my eye was the note from Dawn the mother of 3 sons. I too am the mother of 3 boys and have spent my summer vacation in San Diego the past three years attending graduation ceremonies at MCRD. It was the same each summer, yet it never lost a bit of the shine. This past September we had all 3 boys in the same place for the first time in 2 years and for the last time in who knows how long. The oldest two, currently with HMH 462 at Miramar were able to attend the festivities for their "baby" brother. At one point during those couple of days it finally sunk in to my husband and I that our job was done and dang we did good! The pride I have is not something I can express adequately, yet it does not lessen the fear that I battle as their squadron deploys to Afghanistan. To the other Dawn, mother of 3 Marines, I want to say "God Bless you and your boys, you raised them well, as they reached deep and found the conviction, courage and humility to give of themselves to others. Because of you their work was easier, you obviously gave them much of what they required to get the job done. Never under estimate your contribution to the United States Marine Corps!"

Dawn McCrea
Mother of LCpl's McCrea and Pvt. McCrea
Walford, Iowa

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
--Thomas Jefferson

Recently I had an un-named Marine on my train. I am an Amtrak Conductor, and depending on the view a Marine myself. I served briefly from 2001-2002, however never in combat.

I met this young man in the wee hours of the morning. He was in civilian clothes coming up the ladder well, in the center of the car. However, after Flagstaff, AZ he came from the same ladder well in his dress blues. As I had not observed anyone in the last 2 and 1/2 hours in dress blues, I asked him if he had just boarded at Flagstaff. He talked to me, and it was then I realized I had talked to him in the wee hours of the morn at the same ladder well.

I never gained this young man's name. I never asked. I talked to him, and he noticed my jargon as well tie clasp. We had an instance bond. If he hadn't had chow with him, I would have provided that chow (out of respect).

As we talked further I, he informed me he completed boot camp in 2002. He was deployed straight to Iraq. He was 21 years of age. OUTSTANDING!

He talked like the Marines I remembered, and was just anxious to make it home. I had made a comment about my not being from the area, rather the midwest, Kansas City, MO more in fact, and that I was not used to the desert. He made no comment about that until he was detraining. At which time a man (with tears in his eyse) thanked him for being a Marine and joining when he knew he would be sent into harms way. This young Marine never said anything other than he has heard a lot about the desert, and no on has seen the desert in such a way as those in Iraq now. As well, he said people just don't understand that freedom doesn't happen in 6 months. Minds don't change and accept in that time. However, Marines are working with the Iraqi's for that understanding and he just wished American's could see it that way.

I found out about 1/2 hr later that a young later with John Kerry badge had mentioned to him that she felt sorry for his being deployed for an unhonorable reason. I swiftly took her aside and told her that the young man she was talking about was a Marine. And as Marine myself, I can tell you this: No Marine serves for unhonorable reasons. And if she'd of noticed this Marines shaky hands she'd of seen that he'd of seen some bad trash. I know she meant well by what she said to him, however: She should of told him good job, and I thank you! Come to find out, she thought he was a soldier. That goes to show you that the young person(s) of America don't understand, and are unwilling to be as diverse as they preach.

I commend this young Marine (I wish I knew his name), as he has served in combat, 2 tours in Iraq looking at a third; and he kept his bearing when I could not.

The Marines of today, are as honorable of those as of past. Keep the tradition. Oorah!, Marine Corps.

Semper Fi
Charles Bailey
PFC USMC 2001-2002

PS: My brother was a Corpsman during Desert Storm, and he relishes his memories of Marines and still extends a hand to them and their families.

"We do not admire a man of timid peace."
--Theodore Roosevelt

Golden Corral's Fourth Annual
2004 Military Appreciation Monday
Free dinner to our nation's military, past and present

To show our thanks Monday Night November 15, 2004 from 5-9PM

Veterans' Day honors our military personnel, past and present, for their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. All 400+ Golden Corral restaurants spanning 39 states join together once again to offer these patriots a Free "Thank-you" Dinner Buffet on Monday Night November 15th from 5-9PM.

The offer is based on the honor system, no ID required; members of U.S. Reserves and National Guard are included in this special recognition offer.

Don't complain, 1/2 the people will not believe you, the other half will think you got what you grandfather Gmartin

Back From the Sandbox:
I know exactly how you feel. I left active duty in 1973, I have been in the trenches as a middle school teacher since 1978. Many times I thought about re-enlisting....every morning as I drove to work. The only thing that stopped me was my other half. As I look back at my decision I could kick myself for being so reasonable.
Semper Fi,
Sgt. Buck

just to let all marines and others coming home from the sandbox, you have 90 days from the time you touch down to apply for medical coverage at your local va that is nearly free or is free of cost for up to two (2) years. use it, you just never know when you will need it, i use it and i have never had any bad experiences.
semper fi
toni beltrano, cpl
1989-1993, 97

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."
--George Washington

The Marine Corps Musicians Association will hold its 2005 reunion in San Diego with the San Diego Marine Band (MCRD) as the host. Dates: April 19 to 22, 2005. Contact Richard Oldenburg, Administrator for details at:

PMB 42 25101 Bear Valley Road
Tehachapi, CA 93561-8311
Telephone: 661-821-1683

Thank you in advance.
Semper Fi.
Richard Oldenburg

This is my first issue of Sgt Grits News Letter.
I am simply thrilled at receiving such an outstanding piece of literature. It is a gift waiting to be opened from now on. I served in the USMCR for 6 years, in Ft. Wayne In. I'm a Hollywood Marine and I am so proud of our current Marines and how their performance has only made our Corps Prouder. May God Bless them and all who have ever worn our uniform both living and guarding Heaven's scenes.

Thanks so much and God Bless you all too!
Semper Fi!
Cpl Kenneth R. Yagodinski
USMCR 75/81, Det. Comm. Support Co.
6th Comm. Btn, Frc Trps, USMCR

"No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability."
--Federalist No.62

I read your newsletter all the time but haven't ever submitted anything but something happened to me that I wanted to share. I am a Marine mom and my son is on his third deployment to Iraq. My car has numerous Marine Bumper stickers, a Proud Marine Mom sticker, a license plate holder that say's "Marine Mom" (from Sgt. Grit) and Illinois Marine Corp license plates. As I was driving down the Interstate on Friday afternoon I saw a car in my rear view mirror that was following me kind of close. It was a sports car so I assumed it was young kids. The car pulled up next to me and when I looked over, it was two older gentlemen and a woman. The gentlemen saluted me and then pulled away. It really touched me when they did this and I wanted to share this.
Thanks for the great newsletter.

Kay Kappes

"One thing our Founding Fathers could not foresee...was a nation governed by professional politicians who had a vested interest in getting reelected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then looking...forward to getting back to the farm."
--Ronald Reagan

Dear Sgt. Grit and Marines,
10 November, is a solemn day. A day that not only lives, but burns in the "hearts" of the Marines. A day that no word or scripture can describe of the thousands whom wore the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor" and many are not know to us. Fore they served and served to build on as tradition, that lives today. They are buried all across the Globe. So many did not come home. Today, we have Marines that "honorably" continue in the "pride and tradition" that Marines have served so well for 229 years. So many people wonder, what is it or why it, that Marines always stand out. Well, you know why and only you. Well, it started with a few small folks, that started it back in 1775. Mom and Dad. And it has grown. Yes, it hurts, when we lose a Marine or a fellow American, but the Marines know only one thing, "Honor," and are willing to sacrifice all for God and Country. Sacrifice for their family. Plain and simple. But it was Mom and Dad whom wanted the best for a Colony that grew to become "America." Thank God for Mom and Dad, we have Marines! Mom and Dad started the "Corps"! I have been most blessed. Can say that many a Marine told me, that Mom and Dad had a reason, good or indifferent, for their joining the "Corps." I have been blessed. Fore I have been most honored to stand by thousands of "Marines," including a few here on Sgt. Grit's list. Many of them knew "Chesty." And "Chesty" was most proud of his Marines. He truly loved you each and daily he looks down with his fellow Marines with pride in his observations. There is only one "Marine Corps"; American Marines! Marines, Happy Birthday. Fore in the heavens above, as well as on this Earth; Marines, family and friends wish you each the best.

Sgt. Grit, thank you and Happy Birthday for daily, bringing your Marines, their families and friends together.

God Bless all.
Semper Fi,
Steve Robertson

Dear Sgt.Grit,
I will try to make this story short and sweet. My first orders in the Marine Corps was to report to 2nd Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Company, 4th platoon, which was located at naval weapons station in Yorktown, Va as an 8152( basic security guard) in January of 2000. As a fresh boot, just out of the Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Ca, I was eager to deploy and do something. Well, being with 4th platoon, our deployment to Bahrain was scheduled for July of 2000. I was finally going to deploy to a high threat area. After our 90 day workup for deployment, and meeting all unit requirements, we deployed. I mission in Bahrain was to respond to any terrorist or enemy attacks on any U.S. occupied building(s) or vessel(s). During the deployment we trained in several different countries throughout the middle east. In September be deployed to another country to fulfill a security mission. That mission was halted on October 12, 2000. We had just gotten new orders to secure a naval vessel in Yemen. That vessel was the destroyer name the U.S.S. Cole. When we arrived the ship was practically sinking, but do to the hard work the sailors on the ship did, the boat was kept afloat. In all 17 sailors were killed and a number of bodies still in the ship had to be removed. Every single body that was removed from the ship was in a body bag with our colors draped over it. I volunteered to pall bearer every one that came ashore. Our unit made sure that our fallen comrades had a proper ceremony. On October 22, 2000 4th platoon had a ceremony on the aft of the ship in which we gave our guidon to the commander of the ship, then soon after that we debarked the ship and headed back to Bahrain.

The main reason I am writing this letter is because with each year on October 12th, there is nothing on the news or in the paper reminding the American people of the sacrifice the sailors had given, and that terrorism is a battle that needs to be won. I was there in the h*ll hole of the world seeing the eyes of each and everyone of the sailors emotion in their eyes. The American people owe it to the families of the lost, and to the sailors who were lost too.

Three years after the attack, our unit as well as other participating units received the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. I have yet to receive mine since I was medically retired out of the Marines in June of 2003.

My goal in this letter is to remind those who have forgotten, or don't know about that terrorist attack to realize the sacrifices our fellow servicemen and women have taken to keep America free of evil. I hope this gets to you and thank you for allowing me to speak my mind.

-Sgt. Brian Fisher , USMC(ret.)

The following article was recently published in Leatherneck magazine and several people contacted me to suggest I also place it in your newsletter. I'd like to make an important point in connection with this. The letter has already generated an outpouring of support for Jason Murray. A Navy Commander in San Diego - who happens to be a neuro-opthalmologist - has taken a personal interest (Thanks again, Doc!) and maybe then impossible is not so far away. I mention this to remind you Jason, terrible as his situation is and has been, is only one of our seriously injured brothers. The 2/4 Association and many other groups (a major salute here to the network of families of current-day 2/4 Marines) have been reaching out where we can to support all of our wounded and the families of KIAs. GET INVOLVED! Make sure our brothers know they are part of a family.

I would like to share this with you because it's just a great story of Marines taking care of our own. Lance Corporal Jason Murray was serving with Company E, 2d Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment when he was severely wounded and, frankly, not expected to survive his wounds. He had traumatic brain injury and, unfortunately, is now blind. His right eye is gone for good, and his left will not allow in light, although it is otherwise "OK." I will get back to that point in a moment.

I found out about Jason after he'd already been hospitalized here in the Denver area for over a month. Because I am a cofounder of the 2/4 Association, my friend Colonel Harvey "Barney" Barnum, USMC (Ret) [a Medal of Honor winner during Vietnam]—who had just visited him in the hospital—alerted me. I went to see Jason and also contacted all 2/4 Marines in the area. Since then, we have made friends for life with Jason and his family.

The first question I asked Jason was, "What can I do for you?" I knew he was truly a Marine when he asked if I could find out how his company was faring in Iraq. To make a long story short, some days later, his company commander and several friends spoke to him by phone. It was a different kind of "shock and awe." Shock that he had survived and awe at his grit.

His next request, being so close to Memorial Day, was if a service could be organized to honor Marines of E/2/4 who have been killed in Iraq. On Memorial Day, we had the service. We had expected perhaps 20 to 30 people. The final count was 105. Three of the Marines in the color guard went to high school with Jason; the other gave up his holiday to be there. Five families (one driving more than 300 miles to attend) of other Marines currently serving with 2/4 were with us. Doctors and nurses from the hospital as well as people who were visiting other patients asked if they could participate. It was astounding.

I have come to admire and love this young Marine. His spirit is amazing, as is his love of the Corps. His family is also remarkable. Jason's brother is a Marine and will deploy to Iraq quite soon. His mom and dad have been told that several other casualties are expected by the hospital soon (Army, this time), and they have already said they would be there to help those soldiers and their families too. Jason's mother told me that the response by Marines lifted a heavy load from her heart. She still has her fears, but she knows now just how much Marines care for and look after each other, whether here or in Iraq.

Now, back to the blindness.

As we understand it, this is not a relatively simple problem that could be solved by, say, a cornea transplant. It is much more complex, and there is no surgical procedure known today to correct the problem. But we're Marines and the impossible just takes a little longer. All we need is a little bit of help from a few more good men.

Pass the word. We need eye specialists who are willing to get involved, willing to leave no stone unturned in finding a way to save Jason's sight. Here is my e-mail address, and I welcome any recommendations:

A tax-deductible fund has been established to help defray expenses not covered by TRICARE, but primarily to be a financial pool for whatever costs are incurred in the quest to restore his sight. Checks can be made payable to: Jason Murray Fund, c/o Suzanne Murray, 18926 County Road 32, Sterling, CO 80751

Dr. Peter W. Schlesiona, CFE

"[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another."
--Thomas Jefferson

Throughout the world on November 10, U.S. Marines celebrate the birth of their Corps--the most loyal, most feared, and most professional fighting force the world has ever known. The San Jose Marine Corps League Detachment #1122 is hosting a Birthday Celebration at the Hilton Santa Clara on Wednesday, November 10th. All military branches are welcome, and spouses, former Marines, parents and supporters of our military to invited. Semi formal attire. No host cocktails at 6:30pm and dinner at 7:30 pm. $35 per person. For more information, please contact George Mavrakis at 408 241-3269 or Mary Ellen Salzano at 408 779 6916

Mary Ellen Salzano

Dear Sgt Grit:
SSgt D.W. STONE (Korean War), was the most forward and honest man that I had ever met in my life. He was my Father. Being raised in and around a military family has the greatest awards ever but, especially if your family is all U.S. Marines.

This American was raised to stand in front of the flag and defend her with pride and a relentless pursuit for Freedom. But I failed to make the grade and have paid a life long regret for my mistakes in life. I had chosen the path of exactly what I was raised not to do and have been haunted by that all of my life.

So many people hide from their past and the mistakes they make, I never have, because I was raised to pay the price for my mistakes and to never ever talk about someone else, never to gossip and to never give up information on others, no matter what.

Our Son is now a U.S. Marine and he is the reason my life changed. I have walked the streets and gone to work relentlessly because of our Son. There is no one that can stand in my way now and especially if they talk against our U.S. Military.

Having a Son as a U.S. Marine makes me so proud, that I have a picture that I pull out and show everyone everyday of my life. He is the reason that I am proud. This year alone I have had four people snicker and make crude remarks about Son's picture as a U.S. Marine. When I got done with them, two out of the four apologized and said thank you. The other two were horrified that I had the BRASS to stand up and defend our Son, Our Military and this country. I am one h*ll of a proud American and no one can take that from me.

Our Marine's:
LCpl *****, C.L. USMC (^^^^) OUR SON
Sgt ********, B.L. USMC MP (^^^^) Lady Cousin
SSgt STONE, D.W. USMC (Korean War) Father
Sgt STONE, C.W. USMC/ARMY (Korean War, The Cold War, Vietnam War) Uncle
Sgt WILLIAMSON, D.W. USMC (Vietnam War) Cousin Sgt ELDER, C.C. USMC
(WWII) Father-In-Law Sgt ELDER, J.S. USMC (WWII) Uncle LCpl ELDER, H.J.
USMC (WWII) Uncle This is just a starter list of our Marines.

I came from a stand-up and proud family and I personally destroyed fifteen years of my own life. But I will tell you this, when we talk to our children as they grow up and when they are grown up, we should never lie to them about anything. I never did and it made a better man out of me for being honest and our Son has always trusted me.

The only reason that I wrote you this letter is because your e-mail newsletters are important to me and why I will never fail as an American.

In our front yard is the largest flag pole around except for the Schools. My Wife and I made a footing and foundation and had a 4" pipe flange mounted and then put a 21' x 2" flag pole on that flange. On that pole is The American Flag and yes the U.S.M.C. Flag. Next year we are raising it 6' for the POW-MIA Flag.

Thank You,
I am an American with no stories to tell or to share.
But I am relentlessly proud of our Family and Son and the U.S. Marines and of this great Country!

Raise a glass, make a toast
Give a little, to those who give the most.
Operation Christmas for the Troops

All door proceeds will go to purchase Christmas presents
for Military members affiliated with Operation Military Pride.
When: Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Time: Happy Hour 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: Fiona's Bar & Restaurant
1664 1st Ave New York, NY
1 st Ave Btwn 86th & 87th St
Phone: (212) 348-3783
Cost: $10 Donation gets you in the door.
There will be drink specials & appetizers.

Sergeant Grit, An observation and a question about the birthday ceremonies. I try to attend the Birthday Ball whenever possible. Last year for the 228th event, I attended one held by a Marine Detachment at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. While it was great to be able to celebrate our birthday again, I was somewhat disturbed by how things were done. There was no acknowledgement of prior service members present, ie: WWII, Korea, Nam, The Gulf, etc.There was no Rose and Glass. Myself and a couple of other "inactive" Marines were there, but our presence seemed to be ignored by the majority of the troops in attendance. We later put this all down to the fact that the troops, while Marines, were electronics, radar, and technician types. This year a couple of my fellow "inactive" Marines decided to check into the Ball being held by the 4th Amtrac Detachment at the CBC (Construction Battalion Center) in Gulfport, Mississippi. The thought being, that these guys were "Mud" Marines (this unit lead the way into Baghdad) and would be more in line with the traditions of the celebration as we all remembered it. Come to find out, the unit' s First Sgt informed them that the Sgt Major of the Marine Corps recently changed the orders on how the ceremony was to be conducted. The old traditions seem to have been put aside in favor of a more stripped down version. Maybe you can shed some light on this. Has the old Birthday Ball in fact been replaced by a "New Corps" model. Have 229 years of building Marine Corps Traditions fallen victim to the "Politically Correct"? SEMPER FI and Happy 229th Birthday to ALL my Brothers and Sisters. May GOD bless all of you, especially those standing watch today.

Joe Newman Inactive SSgt of Marines

A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society.
Walter Lippman

A Mother' Son,
A Forever Semper Fi Man
By Lindsay T. Winter

I've tried so hard to understand, "What changes a boy into a man?" Is it the love of another, the stride of his step, or the yearning to do good for his country instead. The sacrifice he's willing to give…even when he's still trying to figure out what's in his head.

I don't know the answer, and I guess for each man it's a different story. But as a mother, I did observe, my son, my boy in forced quarantine, become a man the day he became a United States Marine. It was at that precise moment I knew, he was no longer the boy I had raised, he had become a man strong and brave.

As I caught my breath, I sighed, God protect this man who now stands on the parade deck. For today he promised to protect America, our home. He's become your servant Lord, and I thank you for the joy of knowing him, while he was being grown. He's a Marine now and yours to watch over. For try as I might I can't go with him this time and hover. I am handing him back to you Lord, into your loving hands without fear, try to remember it's not without tears. For in my heart, my son has never changed. He's still the small child I held tight in my arms with a love that never waned.

But the proofs in the pudding and he's proven his worth, for he now stands tall for America as others have since it's birth. You placed him here on earth, at this time and in this place, to grow up to be in your service, a promise that is now being kept at your pace. I know I must accept your wisdom dear Lord, for he is ready, willing and able to do his part and I must cut the cord."

I sigh again, a boy to a man in one "Boot Camp" step. Was my love as his mother who molded and guided him, enough to supply him while he handled this depth? In his quiet way the Lord gave me his peace, and then I knew, myself questioning ceased, for I have been tried, and I have been true, I was put here to be his number one fan, my son, my boy …now a forever
Semper Fi man.

God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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