Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - August 19, 2004

I am a widow of a Marine that fought in the WW2. He was proud to be a Marine as I was proud of him too. Many days we relived those gloomy days spent fighting so the people back home could be safe. December12,2002 his heart gave out and he went on to his eternal maker but his last days reflected that he had been in the United States Marines and was proud of it . Sadly missed by his friends and especially me because I was happy to be his wife
Berniece Fullenwider.

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OK....listen up. It is time for my semi-annual hype to find your buddies from yester-years. I will start tomorrow. may not be getting any older, but your buddies are. So start today, NOW!! I have a page that may help. It has some commonly used resources to help you find people. NOW, TODAY, make a call or two, send a postcard. Take some action. Just a little effort every day will pay off big. Semper fi Sgt Grit


Morning Men, at ease, smoke em if you got em. Am I the only one who wonders why you can not remember your wife's anniversary but can spout your service number with no problem or can remember your Drill Instructors names, and something about each one. Oh well, on the subject of being covered indoors. There is a sign above the door at the Staff NCO Club at 8th and Eye Barracks that states: He who shall enter covered here, will owe the house one round of cheer. Maybe these guys are on to something.

While in Texas for our reunion, I had the pleasure of meeting an Army Captain who had just returned from Iraq. He was wounded when his vehicle was RPG'd and the man that was with him was whacked. He told us old guys that he felt a kinship with the group, even though he did not know any of us, that an outsider would never understand. The more things change it seems the more they stay the same.
Break it down Comm Shouse out


Here is another SitRep from LtCol Willy Buhl, the CO of 3/1, deployed in Fallujah, Iraq.

Forward to our 3-1 buddies as you see fit.
We put a whipping on a group yesterday that opened up on one of our mounted patrols from India Company after detonating an IED. The IED was a 155mm round that fortunately hit armor and tires on a 7-ton truck. The Marines in all vehicles immediately returned fire, dismounted and closed with the enemy. We killed three and wounded four and captured a five more after a Sgt threw two frags in a room and they came out with their hands up from another room. All but one of the EPWs appeared to be workers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure enough, however, we found over 300 155mm shells buried on the grounds of this place. In the midst of the action, Kilo Company's QRF arrived to join in the fight. Great cooperation by all and we had a Harrier aloft with 500lb bombs and his cannon itching for the go ahead. I strongly considered it as an example and radioed to the ground commander not to take any undue risks with his men but it all worked out. Our Marines were engaged by at least four different weapons systems from this structure to include two RPKs simultaneously. When we finally cleared it after some minutes, killing and capturing as described, we could not find any weapons or brass. The KIAs, however, all tested positive for gunpowder residue on their hands, as did one of the EPWs. Thorough search couldn't locate any spider holes, secret doors, etc. There were quite a few "Jihad" graffiti notes inside the building though, and some drugs and syringes.

The Kharma Iraqi Police who can never be found when there's a fight showed up immediately after casualties were taken by the enemy. This continues to reinforce to me that they are entirely embedded in the insurgency. The Kharma Ntl Guard troops have a check point just down the hill in view of IED and ran behind cover when the shooting started. We have some good ones in another town that we're training but these troops are dirty and well penetrated by the enemy. We cannot rely on them for anything. Kharma is an evil suburb of Fallujah.

Later in the evening the enemy tried to attack Kilo Company with RPGs and small arms without effect. We returned a heavy volume of fire and cleared the structures where we took fire from to find no one, though we did find brass this time!

122mm rocket landed outside the fence some distance off as I am typing - shook my hootch.

We've begun to receive our first combat replacements, with 14 arriving last night. SgtMajor and I are going to visit our wounded in Baghdad today, see how our Iraqi Ntl Guard troops and CAP Plt is doing in a neighboring town, and then attend the memorial service for Sgt Juan Calderone, Jr., of Lima Company, who was killed in an IED blast a few days ago. We are hitting back hard when the opportunity presents itself and yesterday was a celebration for all hands.

Semper Fi,
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE


Thank you for the news letter each week. There are items each week I want to reply to so here go's:

- I went through Parris Island in Jan to March 1969. We didn't have a PFC for an instructor but did have a Corporal. I still can rattle of the three DI,s names. S.Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Rector and Corporal Alexander. We were in the 3rd Battalion (Disney Land). Funny I remember the DI's names but can't recall the Platoon number. I can look it up. I still have my graduation "year book" and the red instruction book we all had to carry.

- I'm 55-years old and have had one sip of coffee in my life. I didn't like it at age 11 and haven't had any since.

- Thank you Col. Goodson for you letter. Thank you all who had to do that job. God bless the Marines and family you had to be there for.

- I enjoy baseball and have watched some Sunday game this past month. Major League Baseball plays "God Bless America" each Sunday at the ballparks. The last two weeks when I have herd it something has gotten caught in my eye because tears begin to flow when it is sang. I guess that thing in my eye is love for the USA.

- In October 1999 I went to the graduation of my son Joe at Parris Island. We arrived at the base about 8:00 am on Thursday. The L/Cpl. at the gate asked if I knew how to get to the reception center. I replied the I didn't because it was 29-years ago, 2:00 in the morning and I was scarred to death last time I was there. He laughed and said " I understand sir".

- My son Joseph, has been in the Marine Corps Reserves since 1999. He is trying to complete his degree at the University of Pittsburgh and needs 17 credits to graduate. It is taking him a long time because his unit was activated in Jan. 2003 and the crossed the line into Iraq on the first day of the war March 19, 2003 ( Saint Joseph's day for us Catholics). Well they were activated again. He and his unit, 1st and 2nd Platoon, Truck Company, 4th Marine Div. have been training in California since the first week of June. Joe comes home on a two week leave tomorrow. Then mid September they are off to Iraq again. I am telling you all of this because I can not contain the pride in my heart. I often wish I could go with him.

- My son like to tease me. Even though I spent seven months in Nam, he has the combat action ribbon and I don't.

---Funny story I like to tell. It was so hot in Vietnam the most of us didn't ware out boxer shorts. The first time we heard rockets coming in, they were about 1/2-mile away but felt like they were next to us, was the middle of the night. I jumped out of my sack, grabbed my M-16, helmet and pants ran to the fox hole and put my pants on.

God bless the United States Marine Corps and the United States of America
Buzz Barkovich

- I wonder what percentage of the current Marines had a parent in the Corps.


Bet you never thought what the consequences would be when you raised your hand and were sworn in as a Marine, did you?

August 1965 - Made the decision to join the Corps (Platoon 3007, MCRD)

Lived with the consequences involved in 39 years of "Being a Marine" to everyone who has ever known me including standing at attention when the National Anthem or colors are played, addressing others with respect, proudly acknowledging those who display the EGA with a "Semper Fi", and living and extolling the traditions of the Corps.

August 2004 - Consequences still include getting sweaty eyeballs hearing about the corps and it's actions, wearing USMC emblems (From Grit's wide assortment of ways to tell the world that you're a Marine), still telling anybody who'll listen that I'm a Marine, and still proud of the decision to serve with the best.

Semper Fi to all who have earned the right and the title

Mike Rounds - A Sergeant of Marines (Later an officer but what the heck?J)


This is so true US Marines are not BRAINWASHED....we just build a bind between one another no matter how much we may dislike working with one another but when the sh!t hits the fan like they say we tend to watch each others back and that is a fact.........

Semper Fi....
Former US Marine with HMH-361 Flying Tigers
JD Garza Jr...............


A country/western song released around 1950 (51) by recording artist Hank Snow. Marines in Korea at the time changed the lyrics somewhat. There's as many verses to this thing as the Marine Corps mind can create. Here's one I can recall

"Hear the pitter patter of a thousand feet/ its the lighting division in full retreat/they're movin on/ they'll soon be gone/ ect.

A reference to a U. S. army unit in Korea at the time I believe.
Ya gotta love it.
Semper Fi.

A few more verses to LCPL Vallejos song Movin On:

A T-34 comin down the road
I'm tellin ya boys you better lock & load
We're movin on, we'll soon be gone
We're headed for the station
Thank God for rotation we're movin on

Don't come too close and trip my flare
Or my M1's gonna part your hair
We're movin on, we'll soon be gone
These hills are too high for such a little ole guy
So we're movin on

Ten thousand gooks comin through the pass playin burb gun
boogie on the doggies @ss,we're movin on
We're headed for the station, thank God for rotation
We're movin on.

George Maling- Sgt Korea '52


Sgt. Grit,
I'd like to pass this on to the parents who like to think they can say "Semper Fi" to Marines and get a response out of us, as if it came from one who has earned the title. I am the father of a Ssgt. of Marines. Being a Sgt. of Marines by my own right, I have seen this boot rise to this rank before my very eyes. I can literally say he was @##tting yellow when I was in the corps! Does this matter to this young SSgt.? Of course not. The other day we were talking and I made the mistake of saying" I know what you mean." To this he replied " No you don't, You never were a SSgt." Trying to regroup, I stammered yea but I know the leadership problem you are facing. So you see parents , even for a dad that has been there, if you did not achieve their title, you don't rate! But don't worry your Marine still loves you! SEMPER FI (because I rate)
Sgt. J.L. Allen proud parent of ( boot) Ssgt. M. J. All

Once a Marine ALWAYS a Marine, Semper Fi is used by the old corps and new, even the wives and children or close friends. I am a Marine wife, who uses it when communicating with the Marines dear to me, who are serving in Iraq or in the states. Its just used, it has a meaning that many to the very on who have been affect by the corp. in one way or another. So have no real reason to use it, but they do. You might find it not appropriate to use but to me and many others,we find it appropriate to do so. Its all in opinion mostly. The corp. changes lives every waking hour of the day, so why not be proud and say Semper fi?

Sgt. Grit,
In regards to the gentleman who said he'd like to hear comments about the use of Semper Fi, I have no doubt the Marines will give him that. But I'd like to give him a civilian perspective if I might.

As daughter, wife and sister of Marines, I never have used "Semper Fi" but in two instances because I hold the same thoughts about it as the Marines who are writing in.

One instance has been to sign letters to Sgt. Grit that way at times because I write on behalf of my husband and brother. My husband works such long hours, that he only has time to read the newsletters in spurts, so I fill him in on each newsletter. My brother doesn't have computer access, so I print out the newsletters for him as I can. They'll read something or I'll pass along things from the newsletters to them and they say, "be sure to tell Sgt. Grit Semper Fi!" So when I have signed a letter that way, it is coming from my Marines even though it has my name attached to it. Sgt. Grit knows this, his readers don't. Now they do.

The second instance, and only time in my life that I have ever spoken the words "Semper Fi", was to a young Marine who had just returned home from Korea after several years of being there. He was a guest at a party my husband and I gave for my brother's birthday. My brother was surrounded by other guests and my husband was knee deep with grilling food, so I took over with this young Marine to make him feel welcome. He had been brought to the party by his uncle and didn't know a soul there with the exception of my brother. This Marine's uncle had told him that my husband and father were Marines, and he already knew that my brother was, so he felt at ease with me. But he was completely uptight about everyone else there (civilians) and kept telling me, "Please don't leave me. You're the only person I've been able to really talk to since being back in the States." To simplify this, the long and short was that his family and friends couldn't relate to him and he was having a hard time trying to readjust to civilian life. He was sounding pretty despondent, so I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Semper Fi Marine". The "About Face" came as soon as I said it to him. Not long after this, he had to leave, but he made it a point to come back over to me (walking like a Marine) and tell me, "Thank you so much!" "It was my honor to have met you." I told him, "You'll be okay, remember who you are, the honor was mine." I would never have used the Marine motto if he had not needed to hear it. And I would not have done it still had my husband or brother been able to break free of other guests at that point in time and hear the things he was saying. Before anyone reading this thinks that this Marine's brothers weren't there for him, they were. But he could not let it roll to them with lots of civilians around and I had the liberty to do the one-on-one with him. I knew they would have given this Marine what he needed to hear, so I did it for them.

As Marine family members, we all want our Marines to know that we love and support them, but I feel that "Thank You" covers it quite adequately. If a Marine tells me "Semper Fi", I say "Thank You". "Semper Fi" isn't mine to give. I borrowed it once to help a young Marine. I send it to Sgt. Grit from two Marines who at this point in time, are unable to write to him themselves.
Cindy Crook

Hello Sgt Grit,
I wanted to respond to a couple points made by my brother Marines here (seems the sister Marines seem to sit back and let us boys rant and rave, we never here the ladies stirring it up usually! haha; shows who the smarter of the species is).

First of all, coffee. It seems that this topic has gotten a lot of print time lately. While I served at the FMFLant, I worked for a small unit, and the admin chief, a SSGT, would always tell me "Arnold, make coffee." It didn't matter, of course, that I was the only clerk in a 3 clerk office, and that usually the sergeants and staff sergeants were just sitting around doing nothing. No sir, being the lance corporal, I dropped everything and went and made coffee.

This went on for about 2 weeks, until finally I inadvertently complained to a sympathetic sergeant who had held my job before he got the 02 MOS. Anyway, Sgt Spicer told me, "Arnold, I know a sure fire way to make sure you never make coffee again!" I did as he instructed, and after 2 days of the lightest, nastiest and weakest coffee ever, the SSGT came to my desk. "Arnold, why the h&ll is the coffee so d*mned weak? Are you ever changing the coffee grounds?" To which I replied, (this is where being a blonde haired, surfing, CA Marine comes in handy,) "Gee Staff Sergeant, was I supposed to?" After that the SSGT made his own coffee, and Sgt Spicer and I always laughed about that.

Now, about the term SEMPER FI, and non Marine personnel using it. First of all, any mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, child, grandparent or whatever family relation of a Marine rates to use our terminology. Try telling my mother she doesn't and you'll pay dearly (and she doesn't mess around; she still doesn't talk to General Gray, my Commandant, for sending me to Desert Storm, although I attribute my coming of age as a man to that deployment.) Marine Wives and mothers especially deserve our utmost respect, THEY'VE EARNED IT. And as for the civilian population we protect; it's a show of respect they bestow upon us; at some point they had to learn that phrase, and while they don't understand how to live by it like we do, they do at the very least have an understanding their uncaring civilian counterparts do not, and do not wish to have. SEMPER FI means, as we all know, "Always faithful to our God, our country, and our Corps." By country we mean our countrymen and women, those who sleep well knowing that we are on patrol in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Germany, anywhere the Eagle Globe and Anchor waves. Give them the benefit of the doubt, say "Thank you" for their attempt at understanding us, and leave it at that.
LCPL Arnold, Stephen M.
"Arndawg" FMFLant, Camp Elmore, 1988-1992

In response to J. Bush, parent of Cpl. Bush.
"Semper Fi!" is the time honored acknowledgment, or greeting, between two Marines - usually NoLOADS (No Longer On Active Duty - I use this term because there are no Ex-Marines). It is not something to be thrown around lightly - however. As the proud parent of a Marine (why wouldn't you be proud?) you have certain "Squatter's Rights", as far as I'm concerned - at least on this website. This is a pro Marine website and reading "Semper Fi" from a family member should be accepted in the same spirit from which it was offered. We earned the right to wear the EGA (that's Eagle, Globe and Anchor for you Sandcrabs!) - just as sure as you have earned the right to be part of your son's life. The fact that you have found this website (and participated), indicates to me that you have your head screwed on straight! Welcome Aboard!!!
Semper Fi and Keep the powder dry!
Cpl. Herald E. (Skip) Tryon

I just want to say in response to this whole SEMPER FI thing, When used in proper context by civies is o.k., I think that it's just their way of acknowledging that we're MARINES and just trying to thank us, let it be known to them that it's short for SEMPER FIDELIS (ALWAYS FAITHFUL). MARINE is a title earned NEVER given.
cpl. chris schaefer OORAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Just a little story that I'm sure a lot of Marines will remember from their ocean voyage, especially the first time on a troop ship. We sailed out of San Diego on a Merchant Marine ship. Thirty-five hundred strong and headed for Kobe Japan for further assignment to Korea. My group was send to the lowest level of the ship. I picked the very top sack which was five high. I awoke early the next morning eager to go topside and see the Pacific as I was from Ohio and had never even seen an ocean before. I sat up as best I could without hitting the bulkhead, and felt great. I said this is great and jumped down from my bunk to the deck. When I hit the deck, I just kept on going all the way till I was flat. I gathered myself up and stood up only to have to grab on to the bunks to keep my balance. I didn't have any sea legs and it took me a while to be able to climb the stairwell to go topside. I noticed all this slimy stuff running down from the above stairwell and dropping on me and everybody else who was going topside. It turned out to be vomit and It was flowing freely. When we finally got to the deck area I noticed GI cans all around the deck with Marines hanging on to them and filling them up. I then went to the side to get some fresh air and was hit by more vomit coming from a Marine forward of me who was throwing up over the side and the wind was carrying it right along to anybody that was down wind. Needless to say, the old salts were getting a kick out of our condition. I stayed nauseated the whole 19 days but managed to survive by not eating for eight days. We had to stand up to eat as the old ship was crowded and did not have room for chairs. When we hit bad weather the food trays would slid back and forth and you had to hold on to your tray. We had three days of very bad weather and the ship could only make 3 knots a day but the very next day the ocean was as smooth as a sheet of ice. We were really glad to see Japan and get our legs back.
Dan Powell


Sgt. Grit:
Enjoy your newsletters very much. My father enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1915 and was a seagoing marine aboard the USS Oregon. He then saw service with the 4th marines in the Santa Domingo, Haiti and then went on to France during WWI. He finished out his foreign service in China, Guam and the PI's and ended his career as a recruiter in San Francisco. I have a few things from his service including his medals, discharges (Sheep Skin) and a scrapbook he kept during his time in the Marines. I thought I would share a poem from his scrapbook from the period before going to France to fight.

Our Corps

We're United States Marines,
And proud of this old Corps
Wish we had a thousand lives-
We'd give then all and more,
We're proud to wear the uniform,
We're full of pep and vim;
We all belong to Uncle Sam-
We're MORE then proud of him.

We've done a lot of drilling,
We've had our share of play,
We've ready to go to France now,
So send us any day.
Just give us a chance at the Boches
And see what we can do,
We'll never give up till we've beat 'em
And riddle their carcasses through.

We're tired of sentry duty,
Around the Navy Yard,
So give us a chance to make 'em dance,
We're going to hit 'em hard;
Then when the big fight's over,
And the battles have been won,
We'll be proud of the flag, Old Glory,
And the things that we have done.

There are many poems, pictures, jokes; cartoons and even what looks like daily reports from the 29th Company, 4th Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Santiago, D.R. dated July 20, 1916. There are numerous newspaper articles like the example below:

Soap Saves Feet of U. S. Marines
By United Press

Washington, July 17, - That U. S. marines suffer little from foot troubles on long hikes in the tropics is attributed to the fact that they invariably sprinkle soap power into their shoes or their stockings just prior to the march. In the Haitian campaign the marines were sometimes forced to march 30 or more miles a day over rough mountainous roads, and the case of blistering, or painful swelling of the feet were almost negligible.

There is a lot of Marine Corps history of the old corps between these pages.

My father was very proud to have been a Marine and we always called him the Marines, Marine. He was one of the first members of the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco. VFW, WWI Veterans Organization and the Old White Squadron Post in San Francisco for those who had served aboard the old white fleet of battle ships.
Dick Cosbie


My father always said that I was the perpetual optimist. From WWII to Viet Nam, didn't even get a scratch, years after retirement, a gaping chest wound from open heart surgery. (Broke two ribs when they spread the sternum, now that smarted.)
I have calculated that if I can live to 100, I have it made. Empirical data shows that very few people above 100 die each year.
Marines come and Marines go, but someone all fills the empty spots and the job gets done, may it always be so.
Lt.Col.Tom Cook, USMC (Ret.)


Went to Parris Island in Feb. 1960. Drill Instructors were A/Gsgt. Weisenberger. A/SSgt. Burton. A/SSgt. Cassidy. Plt.127. Don't know the origin of "fart sack"; but had to stand in front of our racks with sheets, blankets, pillow case and fart sack every morning and count off.

Other things that you learned were that you were a P!ss Ant. Your soul may belong to God but your @ss belongs to me. That you are part of a herd or a bunch of ducks and that you will moo or quack if you screw up. One guy in our platoon had trouble with the marching cadence of Sgt Burton; he would be pulled out of formation, hold his M-1 over his head and run around the marching platoon yelling I'm a sh!t bird and I can't fly.

I was told at one rifle inspection that I had rust on my dust. could never quite figure that out, but you don't ask questions.

These and many other things you never forget. Our beloved Corps has a way of forming and shaping our lives forever. My son went to Parris Island in 1988. One of the proudest days of my life was watching him graduate.
Phil Carlson

18,200 days

Sgt. Grit,
Just a few lines to let everybody know how those pages keep on flying off the calendar. It was on 5aug54 that I was sworn into the USMC at the Armed Forces Induction Station in Cleveland, Ohio. We left Cleveland that day at 5 pm from the Pennsylvania RR Station on E. 55th & Euclid Ave. We did not arrive in Yemassee until the evening of the 6th about 2100 and we spent the night at the old wooden receiving barracks. The next morning we boarded buses to take us to PI and at the Main Gate the bus driver told the MP that he had 38 live bodies aboard. Within a few minutes after that the fun began and life was about to change from that which I was familiar with. I was in PLT 392 at the 4th Battalion in the old Quonset huts. Our DI's were Sgt. Sutherland, Sgt Olsen, Cpl. Brown and PFC Lane. All I can say is that I would love to hear from anyone out there who was in PLT 392 50 yrs is over 18,200 days. Sure is a long time !!!
Semper Fi,
Ray Mezo
Sgt USMC, 5aug54- 4aug58


Sgt Grit,
I read your newsletters, I find them uplifting and representative of the Marine Corps this GYSGT served in the capacity of a KC-130 ARO/Loadmaster - I am surprised by the amount of postings from the active duty force I see on your newsletters.

Question is, and I assume it is true, do you have a cult following with the Marine Corps? The letter from Sgt Jennifer McClintock was very moving.
Long Live the Corps.
Semper Fi,
GYSGT Bernie Ellis

NOTE: I have been called a lot of things, including the classics by my DI's. But until now, never a cult leader. Hahahahah!! This letter is more fun to put together than you can imagine. Semper fi Sgt Grit


Gunnery Sgt. Mike Perry was a Marine's Marine. He was at least 6'3" and weighed about 220 pounds and he could pick up a 155mm HE round in each hand and put them over his head. A veteran of Tarawa, he had a big scar on the back of his head where a Jap prisoner had beaned him with a shovel. When asked what he did after he was beaned, he said nonchalantly, "I killed the SOB."

Mike was the Co. Gunny of the 4th 155 Howitzer Battery USMCR in Raleigh, NC in the late 1950s and early 1960s. One of the reservists had asked the CO's permission to allow him to grow a beard in celebration of his college fraternity's 100th anniversary. Permission was granted. Well, the appearance of this little twirp in full hirsute got the Gunny's skivvies in a real big wad. Since the CO had approved the beard, there was little he could do about it. But he didn't like it one d*mn bit !

One day the Gunny had the Battery in formation and the appearance in the front rank of the bearded little Marine looking a lot like Fidel Castro was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Gunny, an outstanding orator and pontificator, declared to the formation. Can any of you Agents (his term for us Marines) name just one SOB that ever amounted to S**t who had a beard. There was a long pregnant silence . . . . .and from the second rank a tall gangly red headed bumpkin named PFC. Francis raised his hand. He was immediately recognized by the Gunny. " Well tell us PFC?" Francis replied, " Well, Gunnery Sergeant, there was Robert E. Lee and Jesus and St. Peter and " . . . . . . .The whole formation erupted in the most awful guffaw I've ever heard. The Gunny, knowing he had been bested by the PFC simply shook his head and walked away. Nary a word was ever mentioned about the beard until it came off after the anniversary celebration.
MSgt. G. Y. Coates (USMC Retired)
Raleigh, NC


It's a different world, all right - in the Air Force.

After two years in the Marine Corps, I was selected for an inter-service transfer to the USN as a Hospital Corpsman. After that, I went back to college, graduated, and worked in a research lab for a year. Went back to school to be a physician assistant, was in civilian practice for a year, then wanted to go back into the military.

The idea was to go back to the Navy and get assigned to the FMF, but Navy PA's were warrant officers at the time, and the Air Force offered me a commission.

I'm sorry to say that the story Mr. Eric Olson related concerning his son is all too typical of Air Force "leadership." I will guarantee that if 2LT Olson had handed the vacuum cleaner to the most junior enlisted person and said," You just volunteered," 2LT Olson would have received a Letter of Reprimand. This tactic would not have raised an eyebrow in the Marine Corps, but it simply wouldn't work in the namby-pamby Air Force.

The reason is that the Marine Corps and, to a much lesser extent, the Army, are leadership-driven organizations. The Air Force and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the Navy, are technology-driven organizations. In the latter two, the emphasis is on the toys - the planes and ships. Real leadership is virtually non-existent because the "leaders" are too busy maneuvering for the next promotion.

When I'm forced to admit that I was in the Air Force, I always follow it by saying, " I wasn't always an Air Force feather merchant. I was in the real military once."

If nothing else, my Air Force experience made me even more grateful that I was once a small part of a proud organization, with a fighting reputation, solidly based on leadership, integrity and honor.
Chip Taylor, LCpl, USMC (1975-77)


Sgt. Grit
I want to take this opportunity to thank a Navy reservist that my wife and I met at the Philadelphia airport last March. I was wearing my Sgt. Grit Marine Corps cover when a young man who was an employee of the airline we were using approached me and asked if I was a marine. I answered in the affirmative and he asked me to join him at a large window overlooking the airfield. He called my attention to a large helicopter and asked if that was a Huey. I told him no and identified the craft. We talked for a bit and he identified himself as a naval reservist and asked to see my tickets to Phoenix. When I gave them to him he tore them up and presented me with two-first class tickets. The next sailor I run across in a bar get a free drink for his act of kindness. Thanks, mate.

I would also like to tell your readers about meeting Mr. Roy Hughes in Yemassee, South Carolina last July. This is a place almost all marines from east of the Mississippi will remember and remember well. Mr. Hughes is the chairman of the Yemassee Train Depot Marine Reunion Committee, LLC. and a real gentleman. This group began sponsoring a reunion of those would-be Marines who detrained in the town of Yemassee at the Marine recieving barracks. In my experience, that was a night to remember. The reunion this year will be held on 15 and 16 October. Mr. Hughes tells me that free coffee and cake will be served at his store directly across the street from the train depot and two days of festivities are planned. I can attest to the hospitality of the area as we spent the afternoon wandering about and talking to folks. I believe this would be an excellent opportunity for Marines to reunite with our recruit plt. mates. If you would like to be part of this effort even though you cannot make this years reunion send me the following information and I will see that it is included in the roster of those who experienced their first contact with of Parris Island at the Yemassee train depot.

Year entered USMC:------------
Plt. #:------------
senior D.I.-------------------------------------------
Your name:------------------------------------------

Hope to hear from a lot you old ----birds from Yemassee who would like a chance at contacting Marines from your recruit platoon.
Semper Fidelis,
Bob Jennings, 1951, plt. 279
SSgt. George Altman
3705 tomlinson st.
bonita springs, florida 34134


Sgt Grit:
I read the contribution made by LtCol Goodson, and I felt his pain. While assigned to Inspector-Instructor Staff (I&I Staff), I was assigned to do more casualty calls than I care to remember. Each and every Casualty Call had it's own set of circumstances, each one hit a different emotional spot. Every Marines Wife or their Mom or Dad had a different way of reacting. We had to be ready for any reaction.

One Mother whose son and only child had been lost in a motor vehicle accident. We had taken her boy away, she wanted no military honors, no escort and no one in a military uniform to attend the funeral service. I sat in the back of the church with another Marine in a business suit. When the funeral was over she walked past us and did not even look at us. We were asked by the funeral director, at the request of the Mother, not to go to the cemetery. She also refused to see us regarding her son's benefits, we dealt with her attorney.

In another incident, HQMC called late on a Saturday night on a young Corporal who had been killed in a motor vehicle accident that day. Early Sunday morning I got into the Government vehicle and drove to the home of this young Marine's wife of 3 weeks to notify her of her husband's death. When I got there, in dress blues, the Marine's father-in-law invited me into his home and asked me to sit down while he got his daughter. When this 19 year old girl came downstairs, she asked me how I was going to get all of her personal effects into that small car. Her household goods were due to be picked up the next morning, and she was leaving that night to join her new husband in California. When I asked her to please sit down, it was then that she remembered what her husband had told her, if a Marine comes to the door in dress blues, it is never good news. She broke down before I said a word and sobbed uncontrollably for almost 2 hours. I spent that entire day with her and her family making arrangements and talking about this young Corporal who had meant so much to them. They we proud of their Marine.

Both of these incidents, and the other 10 calls that I made, let me see the other side of being a Marine. Not so much the hard corps side, but a more compassionate side. In some cases it was difficult to maintain my military bearing and remember that above all else, I was a Marine. After most, I started my drive home and had to stop some place along the way just to get my emotions out and get a proper perspective on what had happened. LtCol Goodson did his duty in a manner that brings, and brought, credit upon himself and the Marine Corps. I am reminded of the saying I read on a wall while going through basic training "In every clime and place". Our duty has lead us into hazards of all kinds. Even though I am sure the Col felt the anticipatory pain in the pit of his stomach, as all of us have had when assigned this type of duty, we all did what was required of us, no matter the reaction or the circumstance. Col, thank you for your thoughts and for your personal insight. This is a side of the Corps that few have experienced. Personally, I would rather have not had to do this duty but, as it is said, "it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it".
Semper Fi,
Gunny Carter
1969 - 1989


Sgt Grit and fellow Marines,
I've been a reader of the news letter for quite some time. It's the best. a great way for all us Marines and those who care about the Marines to share our thoughts. I've read A lot of articles lately about Marines that are suffering sever wounds and asking when they can rejoin the fight. And I know that to most (ordinary) people that is crazy... .......BUT, we Marines are not ordinary. and we're not "brain washed". We just share such a deep and strong pride of Corps and a Love of our country.......why is that hard to understand. If it wasn't for our kind there would be no country, there would be no elections, there would be no politicians. I was due to deploy to Afghanistan in July but my wife was hospitalized and I was dropped from the deployment. Most of the civilians and Army people I know was telling me how "Lucky" I was...... LUCKY? because my wife was so ill she was put into a hospital? That's Luck? You know I love my Country, & Corps. But I love my wife in a different way. Yes I want to fight those who will do us harm. and yes I want to do that so my wife and family can live in a country where we can get the best medical help in the world. and we can choose who we want to go to as a doctor. I will join my fellow troops sometime here in the near future, and I will PROUDLY GO, and I will Go because that's what it takes to beat those who will do our great people of this great nation harm.........lets fight them on their soil, and keep them out of our great country. To those who still don't understand; Go up to a Marines wife or family, try to start trouble with them... .....and then see how many Marines come out of the wood work just to make sure you get your A$$ beat. Marines watch out for each other and even when we are hurt we will still fight the good fight so others can live the good life. If you still don't understand, don't try, Just be happy we are doing what Marines do best...........
Semper Fi
Sgt of Marines


This is to thank my Drill Instructors. I am sorry I can't remember their complete names, but they where Sgt Strickland, Sgt Hill and Cpl Ballou of Plt 355, Q Co. at Parris Island from June 21, 1964 to Sept 8, 1964. The fear they instilled has been replaced by respect and admiration for these men who took on the job of making Marines. It has been nearly 40 years since I graduated Parris Island but the lessons learned there are with me now. I will always be grateful for my association with the Corps as it has carried me through many difficult times. Sgt Strickland, Sgt Hill, Cpl Ballou--you have my profound gratitude. I wish I could shake your hand and tell you in person.
Herb Dickson, Cpl


The difference between the Marines, and the other Armed Forces.

Long after their military career is over and they've been a civilian for years, you might hear a man say "I was in the Service once. You can take that to mean he was in the Navy, the Army, or The Airforce. But You'll never hear a Marine say, "I was in the Service," He will always look you in the eye and say, "I was in The Marines." It might have been decades ago, but he'll say it proudly till his deathbed. That's the difference, Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Sgt James Greuel


Semper fi sarge, I'm cpl e/4 J.R. Nelson 3rd Mar.Div wonder why they don't use the ontos any longer it seems to a good weapon for dusting off ragheads, I've got a stepson in Iraq at this time and he wanted to go back after he finishes his hitch in the army until I reminded that the civilians are the ones they are chopping off their heads said he would have another think on that! JRN
Jon R. Nelson


It gives me great pleasure to read all the wonderful letters and stories that all Marines, families, and friends write to Sgt. Grit. But one letter in your newsletter of 5Aug 04 stood out for me. A letter from LCpl Howard Coleman "All Yelling To Make A Hole". He did bring back some wonderful memories , I was station there(Jan 1963- April-1964) at Weapons Training BLT as a LCpl, a Marksmanship coach training Recruits. Of course Camp Matthews, did not close till late 1964, and as I recall the Camp was only 10 miles west of San Diego, Ca. of Hwy 101. I do not recall a Marine International Rifle Match station there? But all Marksmanship Coaches coaching Recruits wore Smoky Bears, including yours truly. I re-up and left Camp Matthews went to Memphis, Tenn. for Aviation School, and retired 1980. I was in Nam 1965-1966 & 1968-1969.
To all my Marine family Semper Fi.
GySgt Carmel Rodriguez
USMC (Ret.1960-1980)


Sgt. Grit,
Kind of sort of know how the Gunny feels. One time not long ago up in Mass. a retired Marine died and they referred to him as an x-Marine in the obit. Yee doggies, the flack they got from that. I know because my sis-in-law was one of the ones giving them h&ll about it.

Which brings to mind another insult, this time by the state of Georgia.

Hubby, a retired Gunny, had a military license plate on his vehicle. Went down to renew it, they gave me a receipt cause there were new ones coming out and it would be mailed to us. Got the new plate. Could not believe what I saw. It was XM-xxxx!!!!! Can you believe that! I hope they got a lot of flack over that one. Maybe one of these days I'll remember to add to their misery. :)

Take care everyone,




The Comanche Times coined the phrase "Our Heroes Have Always Been Indians!" in the early 90's paying tribute to the Comanche young men and women that go the extra mile to represent their school and community on the field of competition with honor and pride. The phrase was a symbol of pride used to describe these two young men and others in their football days at CHS as it is today, but the phrase "Our Heroes Have Always Been Indians!" has never been used with more pride and with more feeling than it is today in "Welcoming Home!" two of Comanche's favorite sons and Marines. Lance Corporal Jeremiah Johnson and Lance Corporal Dixon Harper, having recently returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Dixon and Jeremiah have been best friends for many years, sharing the good times and the bad times since their early school days, through their days at CHS, the gut wrenching memories of August football drills, the big games against the Marlow Outlaws and others, that helped build memories and a bond between best friends that could be built no stronger, but then...........

The best friends graduated in the Comanche High School Class of 2001, remaining best friends, but going their separate ways to achieve their goals, but as fate would have it, their most bonding adventure was yet to come.

Jeramiah and Dixon had often discussed while in high school their desire to make military services an option after graduation and when dreams of college baseball for Dixon and other challenges and goals for Jeremiah kept this from becoming a reality, there was a pact made that if one decided to enlist at a later time, the other would be notified.

That day came in April of 2003 when Dixon decided that his country needed him with the heightened tensions in Iraq sky-rocketing that very day and that it was his time to continue a family tradition as a marine, the next day Dixon made a visit to Jeremiah and told him what he had done, and after his initial surprise, Jeremiah said, "Joining the best of the best. Let's do it, why not?" and Jeremiah and Dixon visited the recruiter they had both known in high school the next day. A short time later the duo were in basic training in San Diego, then were off to SOI training (School of Infantry) at Camp Pendleton. After their three months of SOI training they were shipped out to Okinawa, Japan in December as part of the 1st Battalion 5th Marines, were shipped to Kuwait in March of 2004 and were sent to one of. if not the hottest war zone in the world, Fallujah, in early April of this year.

"We were sent to set up a perimeter around the City of Fallujah," Dixon and Jeremiah told the Times this week in an interview since returning stateside.

"The area had become a very tense place with the killing and hanging of four civilian contractors there," Dixon said. "We were to let no one in and no one out of the city," Jeremiah said. "We figured it would be one big push through the city, " Jeremiah added, but both believed. "politics stopped us."

Jeremiah and Dixon stated that there had been warnings for all the peace-loving residents of the city to leave, stating that the city had become the primary haven for terrorists from around the world and many of them well-trained from Africa that became sharp shooting snipers that they would have to deal with their entire stay in and around the city of Fallujah.

"We would make a big push and make progress and then there would be a cease fire declared," Jeremiah and Dixon stated. "We would cease fire, and they wouldn't, Jeremiah stated.

"During the political cease fires they would attack out lines, the cease fire would give them time to regroup and come back at us again," Dixon said.

"We couldn't understand why we would cease fire because it seemed like it was only their strategy to use this time to be ready for us and plan an attack," Jeremiah said.

Jeremiah and Dixon both were very disappointed in much of the reporting that came from the area, saying it was not accurate and many times came from the enemy to make the U.S. Forces and especially the marines look bad, something that was hard to swallow for the two young marines who have "Semper Fi" blood running through their veins.

Jeremiah's grandfather, Glenn Avey, of Empire, is a retired Chief Warrant Officer having served 22 years in the marines and served three tours of duty in Viet Nam, while Dixon's grandfather, Al Hinshaw, the present Mayor of Duncan, who is a 6 year veteran, having serves as a marine pilot captain.

Dixon and Jeremiah shared at least one example of reporting that got their marine blood to the boiling point.

"We were approximately 400 yards from a mosque, and we were under sniper fire, we knew it was coming from the mosque tower," Jeremiah said.

"We were under orders not to fire on ambulances even though they were being used by the enemy for non-peace purposes, and right there in front of us we could see an ambulance pull up to the mosque and using the ambulance as cover to resupply themselves with RPG's (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and other artillery," Jeremiah and Dixon stated. While that was bad enough, they also witnessed members of the ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corp) assisting with the operation.

Jeremiah and Dixon said that it was during this time that an enemy RPG hit the Humvee that they were assembled around. "It hit the back of the Humvee and it blew us back and I landed on my back,"Dixon said. "It happened so fast," Jeremiah added. We were dragging people out," Dixon stated, believing about ten marines were injured at the scene.

Dixon and Jeremiah stated that air support was ordered and three bombs were dropped on the mosque compound, none hitting the actual mosque. "When we went in, there was only one person left in the mosque, and he came out with us," Dixon added, with Dixon and Jeremiah stating the people fled the mosque after the bombing.

Later Dixon and Jeremiah found out that a national magazine had reported that the marines led incident had killed forty innocent civilians praying in the mosque, something they knew personally to be false and was one example of bad reporting that they knew the American people were seeing back home and made them very angry.

The duo also remembered their fourth day in Fallujah, a day they will never forget, and it was announced that one had been lost in the platoon. "I immediately started looking for Dixon," Jeremiah said, making for another very serious turn in the interviews.

It was soon learned that a sniper had claimed the life of Lance Corporal Blake Wafford, their first dose of reality related to the loss of a close friend to sniper fire.

"You're angry. you're sad, but you still have a job to do," Jeremiah and Dixon said of this experience.

The day to day knowledge that you could be killed in an instant was something that Jeremiah and Dixon had to learn to live with.

"Driving along in a Humvee and a click and you are blown up." Jeremiah said.

"Getting an hour of sleep a night if you are lucky, mortars falling around you, " Dixon Said. Remembering saying to himself, "Please Lord don't let the mortars fall on us."

Jeremiah shared vivid memories of helping fill hundreds of sand bags that helped in keeping their positions more secure from what seemed to be the always coming sniper fire.

:The time before and after a fight was always the scariest, " Jeremiah said with Dixon in full agreement.

"The aftermath of a fight was the worst when we had time to think about what we had just gone through, many times you would see people even shaking talking about the experience with one another," Jeremiah Said. "We would help talk each other down, " Jeremiah and Dixon said.

"We were always on each other's butt during a fight, like I would say,"keep your head down', and stuff like that, and after it was over we would check on one another to make sure we had not been hit and the pumping adrenaline it kept us from even knowing," Dixon said.

Dixon and Jeremiah agreed that being able to share memories of Comanche and home to one another was a great help while they were always under the gun. "I would talk to Dixon about going fishing and other things like that," Jeremiah added.

Mail was also an awesome time for both Jeremiah and Dixon, saying it provided a brief escape when they got news about loved ones and friends back home, something that would help get their minds off the constant stress of the situation and they could talk about.

"Man, you read it, and for an instant you are back home, " Jeremiah shared very seriously. Care packages from home were also a big hit with the two marines and were a blessing.

AS for the people of Iraq, Dixon and Jeremiah had some great experiences and others that were not.

"Some of them are grateful for what you are doing, and others hate you and want you dead," Dixon said.

"As we would pass some areas they would show you the bottom of their feet that means you are lower than dirt," Jeremiah said. :In other areas people would be cheering, we would throw candy to the children, give out soccer balls, and sometimes play with them, and the faces would light up," Jeremiah said. Dixon compared this with almost being in a parade, but you had to be ready for something to happen.

Dixon and Jeremiah said that they believe their personal experiences with the Iraqi people would leave them with a positive impression of Americans for years to come with many of the Iraqi people and especially because of their very positive interaction with the children. "We would also give the people food, shovels, seed and other items and that was very well received," Dixon said, saying many of the areas are very poor, something that would not have any comparison in the United States.

Customs of the area also had to be learned such as never talking to a woman and always addressing the man that was present.

"We also learned that you don't wave with your left hand, " Jeremiah shared, saying that there is no toilet paper and the left hand is used for wiping, the right hand is clean, the left hand is not.

Jeremiah and Dixon both stated that having grandfathers that had been in the Marine Corp gave them someone to talk to. Jeremiah said that prior to joining the Marines, he sometimes found it hard to talk to his grandfather or to even understand him, but that now, "We connect, it's so great to have someone to talk too and that understands," Jeremiah said with Dixon adding that he too has an even more special relationship with his grandfather now.

" I am very honored and proud to be a Marine, and to be with people who are willing to give their lives to keep freedom alive and for this country," Dixon said.

"My time over there serving with Jeremiah is one of the proudest moments of my life, second only to marrying Lindsey and the upcoming birth of my child," Dixon said. "Someday I will proudly share these experiences and my pride of being in one of the longest urban battles in the history of the Marine Corp dating back to Viet Nam with my children and grandchildren," Dixon said.

"People love freedom, and we were over there trying to give freedom to them, many of them have never had freedom and don't even understand it, and sometimes we take it for granted," something that Jeremiah said will never happen to him again and will never fail to appreciate the simple things in life about Comanche that he so longed for while he was in Iraq.

"It's so great to just be able to walk across that street and not have to run and duck," Jeremiah said. with Dixon saying, a loud noise sometimes makes him jump and be ready for action.

"It's the greatest organization I've ever belonged to," Jeremiah said with great pride. Dixon and Jeremiah both expressing their pride in being Marines, special people who would take a bullet for you and you for them.

On the plane ride home Jeremiah and Dixon said they sat together thinking and sharing what they had experienced in a heart to heart talk.

"I remember thinking, we made it, we made it," Jeremiah said with the greatest of seriousness.

With each saying, "I knew h had my back. and I had his."

"I don't want anyone to have to go through what we have, but if needed I would go back tomorrow," Dixon said.

"It will be with us forever...forever," Jeremiah said as it was obvious by his look that he was still reliving a thousand moments of Iraq a second as the interview ended.