Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - December 23, 2004
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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 - December 23, 2004

"Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so thou shalt live jollily, for a good conscience is a continual Christmas."
--Benjamin Franklin

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years. I can truly say each year is better than the last. You have been a big part of that.
Thank you and Semper Fi.
Sgt Grit

Lt jg Claus

Operation Order 12-2004 For: Official Visit of LT jg Santa Clause

1. An official staff visit by LT jg Claus is expected at this post on 25 Dec. The following directives govern activities of all personnel during the visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without permission. This includes warrant officers and mice. Soldiers may obtain special stirring permits for necessary administrative action through the Battalion S- Officer stirring permits must be obtained through the Deputy, Post Plans and Policy Office.

b. All personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap NLT 2200 hours, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be; Pajamas, Cotton, Light Weight, General Purpose, OG, and Cap, BDU woodland pattern, with ear flaps in the extended position. Equipment will be drawn from the supply room prior to 1900 hours. While at supply, all personnel will review their personal hand receipts and sign a Cash Collection Voucher, DD Form 1131, for all missing items. Remember, this is the "season of giving."

c. Personnel will utilize standard "T" ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Sugar plums are available in "T" ration sundry packs and should be eaten with egg loaf, chopped ham, and spice cake to ensure maximum visions are experienced.

d. Stockings, Wool, Cushion Sole, will be hung by the chimneys with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fires caused by carelessly hung stockings. 1SG's will submit stocking handling plans to S-3, Training prior to 0800 hours, 24 Dec. All leaders will ensure their subordinate personnel are briefed on the safety aspects of stocking hanging.

e. At first [sign] of clatter, all personnel will spring from their beds to investigate and evaluate the cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw up the window sashes. On order OPLAN 7-01 (North Pole), para 6-8 (c)(3), dated 4 March, this office, takes effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. SDO and all CQs will be familiar with procedures and are responsible for seeing that no shutters are torn or sashes thrown in Bldg 9828 prior to the start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 0001, date of visit, all personnel possessing Standard Target Acquisition and Night Observation (STANO) equipment will be assigned "wandering eyeball" stations. The SDNCO will ensure that these stations are adequately manned even after shutters are torn and sashes are thrown.

g. The Battalion S-4, in coordination with the National Security Agency and the Motor Pool will assign on each Sleigh, Miniature, M-24 and eight reindeer, tiny, for use by LT jg Claus. The assigned driver must have a current sleigh operator's license with roof top permit and evidence of attendance at the winter driving class stamped on his DA Form 348. Driver must also be able to clearly shout "On Dancer, On Prancer, etc."

2. LT JG Claus will initially enter Bldg 9828 through the dayroom. All offices without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M6A2 for use during the visit. Draw chimney simulator on DA Form 2765-1 which will be submitted in four copies to the S-4 prior to 23 Dec. Personnel will ensure that chimneys are properly cleaned before turn- in at the conclusion of visit.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed in the shouting of "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" or "Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Night." This shout will be given upon termination of the visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of each section NCOIC.


The Heart Of America

"The Christmas spirit of peace, hope, and love is the spirit Americans carry with them all year round, everywhere we go. ... The tree that lights up our country must be seen all the way to heaven...its lights fill the air with a spirit of hope, and joy from the heart of America."
--Ronald Reagan

Two Questions

Sgt. Grit,
I really enjoy receiving your news letters. Being an old duffer I enjoy hearing what's going on these days. This may not be the proper place, but I have a question that has been with me for many years. Maybe someone can clue me in.

It was almost 50 years ago when I separated out at El Toro and obviously a lot of things have changed since then. In early 1955 the Marines started a new way of Troop and Stomp. As I recall the old method was one where each individual executed the same pattern of steps upon a command such as column left or column right, etc. Coming out of boot camp we could fall in formation and march quite smartly without really using our brains. It was second nature.

The new scheme as it was explained to us was based on a four man fire team. The fire team assembled in a four man box -- two in front and two behind -- and a number of fire teams would line up alongside and behind one another to form a column. Upon a given command, each of the four individuals executed a different pattern of steps depending upon which position they were in. In some cases upon the command "column left" or "column right" you actually turned and went behind the man on your right or left and ended up on the other side of him. To be honest, this was rather complex, especially if one was not normally a specific member of a fire team. In a group of men such as in casual company, when you were called upon to fall in to formation you usually fell in to a random position each time, but there were four different sets of steps to learn, and you had to recognize which set you needed to execute.

Only once did I ever really see this method executed properly and I must say it was a sight to behold. It was done by a group that practiced together a lot and everyone had his own position. It was something you might expect to see from a drill team or something. I must say that when I left in July of 1955 it really was not succeeding well at all. I left thinking I had finally witnessed a "Chinese Fire Drill". The question is: Does the Marine Corps still use that style of marching? If not, how long did they stick with it?

Another question regards Inchon Bay in 1953 / 54. I was recently telling a Swabby buddy of mine who was a LCVP driver about when we boarded the USNS Gen. Brewster to come home from Korea. He seems to doubt my honesty. After marching single file past a UN inspection team, they loaded us aboard the landing craft and took us out to "the middle" of the harbor. They then stopped, lowered the ramp, and said "all out". The problem was we were in the middle of the bay with no ship around and seemingly no where to go. They had taken some metal strips usually used for temporary aircraft landing fields and lashed them to a bunch of empty fuel drums to make a floating island of sorts. The problem was they hadn't told us this ahead of time. When we got out of the LCVP onto this float we each had a sea bag on one shoulder and a small bag in the other hand. The whole thing bobbed around and the water actually came up about to our ankle bones. You couldn't set your sea bag down or it would get all wet. It must have been quite a sight to sea -- all these guys standing on the water. The LCVP promptly pulled out and left us floating there. After a bit, two tug boats pushed the USNS Gen. Brewster up along side, they dropped a ladder and you never saw a bunch of Marines go up a ladder so fast. They had boarded the Army, Air Force and Navy personnel somewhere else prior to this and when we finished loading we set sail and went non-stop directly for the dock at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Fortunately we Marines always seemed to be the last to board and the first to disembark.

Does anyone else remember the floating man made island in Inchon Bay? Everyone around here thinks either that I'm old and my mind has gone on me or that I'm lying.

T. Stewart, Sgt. (E-4) 1318421 USMC 1952 - 1955

Get It On

As a disabled marine I will forever remember the experiences and the Marines who fought beside me. I have known Mike Anderson Sr. for 10 years, and am saddened by the loss of his son. Mike Jr. never told his parents that he had been wounded and returned to service. When his father found this fact out, he could not be prouder, and that his son was a hero. His remains will not come home until Christmas. And in this time of sadness for his family, I can not be prouder of the young marines carrying on our proud traditions and the families who in the time of loss continue to support the cause. At times we all wonder what if, and did I make a difference. I must say we did. In Cpl Anderson's own words lets "get it on"
Cpl Anderson was a member of a FAST team, so his accomplishments can speak for themselves. Semper Fi Anderson Family, and God Bless.

PFC Timothy Wheeler USMC 1991-92

Bond With A New Family

Our son is in Falluja or thereabouts, on Sunday 12/12, after the 8 MARINES were killed, his unit went in. There was a firefight, more injuries, etc. When he called his gf to tell her she seemed surprised that he was "chipper". He told her it was because they were able to get revenge. Our family is very close. When our son joined the Marines he found a bond with a new "family". Many of the guys who have given their lives for us over there are Marines my son as yours trained, lived with, prayed with, and had fun with. Please remember that as long as my son is there and alive your Marine will never be left behind or alone. He will do his best to bring all home. Please accept our family's thanks and prayers to all whose son and /or daughter has made the greatest sacrifice, for our freedoms. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Thanks to all families with MARINES over there. Proud American Family of a USMC Machine Gunner

Viet Nam Histories

Hi Sgt. Grit!
In the Wall Street Journal today (12/9/04) is an article about the Virtual Viet Nam Archive collection from Texas Tech University - we can contribute to an oral history of the time across the pond.

Last week the archive added 850,000 pages of Marine Corps unit histories covering the 10 years up to the fall of Saigon.

Pass the word. Outstanding!

Andrew Carnegie
DaNang 1968
First Wing

A Real American Hero

Hill 28 Vietnam I Corp, 16May68


The first round hit me, Andyman & Brown.

Andyman & Brown had major arteries hit & only minutes to live.

Michael Jernigan (Washington D.C.) ran to BAS & talked the Corpsmen (Angels everyone of them) who were resupplying meds to the BAS to hover in their chopper & wait for him to bring back the injured.

Jernigan ran through 100's of rounds of mortar & heavy artillery and grabbed a 'mule' and drove back & picked up Andyman, Brown & me.

The chopper waited (God Bless them), the Corpsmen worked on Andyman & Brown. I held Andyman's main artery on his thigh. I prayed some more, begging God to let Andyman live.

When we got to the 'Sanctuary' hospital ship they put Andyman with those who won't make it. He laid with the dead for two days.

Andyman & Brown lived because Jernigan was 'just another hero' that day.

They put Jernigan up for the Silver Star, he told them to shove it, he did it because he loved his 'brother' Marines.

Doc Hoppy has a 3rd Marine site (search for 3/3 Marines) and after 35 years I am going to see my brother Jernigan again come 3Jan05.

And it still stings to remember the day in 1969 he came to Brooklyn NY to see me, I said "lets go get a beer", we walked into MY neighborhood bar (they knew me & my family for years) and I said "two beers" and the bartender said "we don't serve niggers here".

Well suffice it to say we had two beers each and left.

There is no color but GREEN and MARINE.
Michael Jernigan of Washington D.C. is my brother and a true American Hero.

Santo Ciabattari
3rd Bat. 3rd Reg. 3rd MarDiv

Do Your Duty

I was in the fourth or fifth week of boot camp at MCRD in August 1953 when our senior DI called out "private Daly -- front and center." He stacked one locker box on top of the other and had me climb up on them. He then read the following words written on the flap of a letter from my girlfriend Margaret. "Postman, postman do your duty. Rush this letter to my Cutie." From that day on I was known as Private Cutie at roll call, mail call and any other time the DI addressed me. That name stuck with me until I was transferred to the 3rd MarDiv 12th Marines, in 1954. In my next letter to Margaret, I told her NEVER to write ANYTHING on the outside of the envelope again. She never did !

Another Marine recruit was caught signing his letter to his girlfriend with his nickname, "Bubbles". So we had a "Private Cutie" and a "Private Bubbles" until graduation.

God bless all Marines. Semper Fi!

John B. Daly, 1412090 (0844)

GySgt J

As a Marine MOM I wish the very best to ALL of our Marines. My payers tonight and always are for the safe retune of our troops. As I get the DOD announcements of recent causalities, I say a prayer for each one as well as their families. I have even attended the funeral services of local Marine KIA. I know the cost of this war and am very grateful to all our Marines ( and other troops).

That being said I 'd like to take a moment to say THANK YOU and MERRY CHRISTMAS to our Marines stationed here on US Soil and those in non-combat areas. Many times their work goes unnoticed.

For the past 3 years my own son a Cpl at Camp Pen has never made it home for any of the major holidays. It has been heart warming when he told me of the graciousness of fellow Marines, their families and even neighbors. He told me that while he pulled Guard duty, the guard room was filled with all the food and goodies they could hope for.

This year my blood has giggles in it! My Cpl. is coming home for CHRISTMAS! When he first got his leave approved, there were no plane tickets (that I could afford). I thought it was going to be another holiday without him being home. Soon after I called him with the sad news, He called me back and said his Gunny, rearranged his dates of leave so we could get him a ticket home.

GySgt. J. for the past few weeks I have gone to bed with a smile on my and a Thanks you GySgt J. in my prayers. When my son was in boot camp, I had asked if it was OK to Kiss a DI .( it got my Cpl. some QD time ). GySgt. J. with great respect.. when I see you again. I owe you a HUG!

With prayers for peace,


Sgt. Grit,
I have never written anything as a testimony but I finally wanted to share a note of thanks and how Marine training impacts on lives.

I joined the Marine Corps while still in high school. The day after high school graduation I reported to MCRD, Parris Island, SC. I was trained by the most professional military in the world, a Marine Drill Instructor. I served my time in the Marines and while attending college in 1966, I enlisted in the US Army Special Forces. To finally earn your Green Beret you start with a class of 250, which about 50 are selected to start training. During the training cycle only about 35 make it. As you can tell I made. This was due to Marine training.

I later was accepted to Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS) and out of my class of 200, 96 were commissioned. I requested Infantry and got it. I graduated because of Marine training and ideals.

I was sent to Viet Nam as a young LT and during my first tour was a recon leader in a LRRP unit. My Plt. Sgt. was also a former Marine and during that tour we never had a trooper killed and all of our missions went well. Again it is because of Marine training. The Marine training and attitude saved lives on men that looked to me to make command decisions and take the leadership of the unit.

I went back into Special Forces and commanded units during many of the known conflicts and some unknown operations. All went well.

I met one of my Junior Drill Instructors during a tour in Viet Nam and personally thanked him for his dedication to duty. As a Special Forces officer (retired) I still look at Marine Drill Instructors with awe and admiration. They are the Corps and when training is placed in their hands, it is professional and the end product is the best in the world. I have also attended some of the so-called toughest training courses in the world. I made them all because of the Marine training and instilled attitude.

This is a long note to say my Marine training has saved lives in combat, changed my life, and got me where I am today. I still have the same "Marine" attitude which drives my civilian career to a success. Again I want to thank all of the Marine Drill Instructors for their dedication, professionalism and caring for the young Marines in their charge. The Old Corps is still there and will always live on with these professionals.

Thank you for letting me tell the story of someone a Marine sees as an Army Special Forces Officer, not knowing his background as a former US Marine NCO.

Jerry Harrison


Attention all Navy and Marine Corps communicators who were involved in the old MARS system. The members of that system are involved in a project to locate those operators who are still with us, and learn about those who have transferred to The Big Comm Shack in the Sky. A website has been established, at

MARS task force patch

Good Laugh And A Good Cry

Sgt. Grit,
I always enjoy your newsletter and frequently cut and paste quotes and stories to pass on to friends. I spent five years in the Marine Corps ('87-'92) never appreciating what I was a part of and, until recently, never feeling like a part of the Brotherhood. Reading the stories and letters in your newsletter has helped me realize that what I did was important and that I should be proud of it and I am. I b!tched and complained the whole time I was active but it was the best time of my life. I find myself telling Marine stories all the time. My Dad was cleaning out his shed and came across a bag that had all the letters I received while in boot camp. I had a good laugh and a good cry reading those letter. The laughing came from a bunch of letters from my high school buddy Jim Henneberger who would later join me on the Island. He started addressing the envelopes promoting me to General and Commandant of the Marine Corps. You can imagine what pain that caused me. When he got to the Island I got him back. We met in church one Sunday and had a good laugh about that and how funny we looked with no hair. Thanks again for the newsletter but most of all thanks for your service.
Semper Fi.

Cpl. J. Healy Jr.
VMGR-252 '87-'92

I Could Still Ding

I am a Vietnam Vet.1963-1974. The saying on one of your shirts fits me good "Not As Lean, Not As Mean, Still A Marine" I'll bet there are a lot of old timers like me around that would be glad to go back in the Corps, go to Iraq, and do our best to help those young Marines out. I can't run a PFT anymore, and I'd have trouble on a forced march, but I could still ding some those cowardly bass turds between the eyes and help them get to paradise quicker.

My thoughts and prayers will be with all of our men and women in uniform. I know how hard it is to be away from your loved ones, even more so this time of the year. Give h&ll Marines and come home safely.

Sgt.R.R.Roth.....still a Marine

NCO Training

Just got word that I am being promoted to shop foreman of a large auto dealership as the previous foreman suddenly quit. (Talk about deer in headlights). Came home that night in shock (how can I do this?). Read my Sgt. Grit newsletter and a quote by Harry S. Truman was particularly motivating. I now know, relying on my Marine NCO training, that I can get the job done.

Thank You Sgt. Grit for the confidence booster.
Semper fi, Do or die, oorah
Bruce Pitts Cpl. 1979-1983

Extended Enlistments

The year was 1965, the month, October. There I was, a young US Marine Sergeant counting the days until I would, after over three years, be home with my wife and two year old son! Alas though, a storm brewed in the west. Vietnam! The Commandant of the Marine Corps decided that I should spend another four months in the USMC! Disappointed, yes, angry, no! I was a dedicated young warrior trained, willing and able to defend this country who had been so good to me. I stayed on willingly and gave the Corps my all for that four months while my wife and child waited a little longer!

Today in the Reading Eagle I read of another young man, David Qualls, I won't dignify him by using a title (Spc.) borne by many fine warriors that serve honorably. Mr. Qualls thought he had a "cushy" deal by serving in the reserve forces, doing a little time on a few weekends and earning some extra pocket money. Along comes reality, in the form of big bad Uncle Sam, to tell him, no son, you can't go home just yet, we need you a little longer!

Instead of "sucking it up", as thousands before him had, Mr. Qualls hires some bottom-feeding lawyer to get his sorry butt out of the Army! The "stop loss" program is not some Pentagon plot, it is an obvious way of retaining talent.

Unfortunately, I can't entirely blame this young man for his "cop-out" attitude. All too often we have allowed, and in many cases taught, our youth to seek the easy way out. Responsibility and duty to country are no longer desirable qualities!

All of this in the same issue that honors warriors of yet another place and time - Pearl Harbor!

Rod Riegel (formerly Sergeant Riegel, USMC)

The Christmas Visitor

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,

I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
who stand at the front against any and all,
to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Pulitzer Wannabe

Sgt Grit
I must say that the Pulitzer Prize wannabe, NBC embedded reporter Mr. Sikes sells freedom out for selfish man bites dog journalism. These Al Qaeda murderers do not carry the Geneva Conference Card like we had to in 'Nam. The NVA assured us that also if we were in civilian clothes we could be shot as spys.

Thank you Lord for the Warriors, Drill Instructors, Officers, NCOs, Wives and Parents of these fine Marines.

Cp Larry Tooley 2379167l, retired disabled 'Nam vet '68-'69

"Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And had to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, No Presents, Not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle, just boots full of sand.
On the wall hung pictures, of a distant land.

With Medals and Badges, Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought, came to mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a Marine, Once I could see clearly.

The Marine lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor, In his one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle, The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured, A United States Marine.

Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, The floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these Marines, Who where willing to fight.

Soon around the world, children would play,
And grownups would celebrate, a bright Christmas day.

They enjoyed Freedom, each month of the year,
Because of these Marines, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder, how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, In a land Far from home.

The very thought, brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened, and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;

I fight for Freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my God, My Country, My Corps."
The Marine rolled over, and soon drifted to sleep.
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours, So silent and still
And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,
This Guardian of Honor, so willing to fight.

Then the Marine rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa. It's Christmas Day, All is Secure."

One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
Merry Christmas my friend, And to all a good night.

He Would Hear

Yo, reference to the language issue, was reminded of the SOP of a good friend of mine, CWO-4 Valentine Patsy Amico, who, as he would quickly tell you, was "four foot, fourteen inches" tall......33 years in the Corps, and when he would hear a Marine 'slip' with the language at the Exchange or other areas where there were wives/moms/kids about, he'd march up to them and enquire "Marine, you kiss your mother with that mouth????".
Never saw an occasion when anything more was required....Semper Fi...Dick Dickerson

Sands of Iwo to the Sands of Iraq

Sgt Grit
Let the people unsubscribe that don't agree with your newsletter that is what we as MARINES and service men fought for from the beginning to now and our children's children will continue to stand up for. The problem as I see it is most of those who raise their voice the loudest are the ones who Never placed their lives on the line for their beliefs. I believe I speak at least for ALL of my brothers. We felt It was an honor to fight for and defend this country we love and those that paid the ultimate sacrifice did so willingly without hesitation. As one of the many who served this county and Corps I could never fully express the pride I felt when a young eagle scout associated with my native American dance team joined and served in the sandbox. He was injured by a roadside device set by cowards who could not face the pride of this great nation. Thank God he was not seriously injured and after some time at Fort Sam Houston being treated for intense burns he returned home safe. LCpl Cris Lewis does us proud. From the sands of Iwo to the sands of Iraq from the dark days of WW II to my time in the paddies The Corps has NEVER turned from its duties and in a time when people question actions in time of war the Corps stands PROUD. to all my brothers SEMPER FI and For those who FOUGHT for it for FREEDOM has a flavor the protected will NEVER KNOW
Sgt Jim DeMayo USMC


Sgt. Grit,
I've been a subscriber for some time, and being a Beirut Marine, it would have been nice back in a day for my parents to have a forum such as yours to communicate w/ other Marine parents. Thanks!

As far as the "unsubscribers" I too agree that they were NEVER Marines...good riddance. Keep up the great work that you do! And to the parents of all of our brave Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for my freedom, know that you and your families are always in our prayers and thoughts. Your sons and daughters are true heroes. Godspeed and safe return.

Semper Fi
MJ Barbella
50 cals. Wpns Co. 3rd Battalion. 8th Marines
24th MAU Beirut MNPF, 1983-1987

He Gambled

Back in 61 I was told that; "the deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle," it was true then and it is true today.

An enemy against humanity took up arms against more than just the USA when he picked up that weapon to perpetuate his immoral and illegal way of life. He declared war against all things good and against the master of goodness itself. In a split second of time there is no room for question. In a wartime scenario he is the enemy who would kill everyone and anyone within reach. He gambled on the act of playing dead and he lost the bet. As we used to say back in the dark ages, "let God sort em out." Kudo's to that young Marine warrior, I would have done the same thing.

Joe Doherty
Cpl-E4 61-66

She Didn't Hesitate

Hey Grit -
About nine months after we were married, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune (alias Swamp Lagoon). One day while at the main side PX, she spotted this young Marine who was wearing his p-cutter in an other-than-uniform manner. She didn't hesitate to tell him to "quit pushing that cover around like a wheelbarrow". Another of her favorites was to catch one with his hands in his pockets - "I see you're wearing your Army mittens".

We were married for 46 years when she passed away. I'll never forget that attitude, though.
J.J. MSgt.(Ret) 1428664

Who Would Have Thought

Dear Sgt Grit,
In Sacramento Bee, today 15 Dec, 2004, this article:
Joe Androlowicz, was in the hospital when someone stole his Marine Corps Flag. He loved that flag. It came from a buddy who got it from another buddy, both dead now. They served with Joe in Vietnam. The flag was their connection.

"I flew it outside my house all day & night" Joe said.

"as flags go, it's not worth much, maybe $45. But the fact that it was handed down to me from my friend is really upsetting " Joe, 65, served 26 years in the Marine Corps. Retired as a Master Sergeant. Survived 3 tours in Vietnam. Today he's disabled, struggling to get around, in and out of hospitals, dealing with home visits from nurses. His home on Palmerson Drive in Antelope was notable for two Flags. One pole holds the Stars and Stripes. Another held Joe's Marine Corps Banner." They didn't take the American flag, only the Marine Corps Flag" Joe said.

"Who would have thought someone would steal a flag? It doesn't make sense" Joe's family put flyers around the neighborhood offering a reward. So far, nothing. Joe feels like he let his buddy down, the friend who gave him the flag.

They Stated That

While waiting for a plane in Seattle last year I was approached by two young men who stated they were Marines, Recon Marines just back from the sand box, the had seen my cover and ask if they could visit with me a few, they stated that they could tell I had been in the old Corp and wanted to let me know that they were doing their best to uphold all the Marine Corp tradition but felt that the Corp was getting too soft in some areas. These young men were in great shape, tanned and hard looking, high and tight very much poster Marines, and for them to take the time to visit with an old out of shape guy just because he was wearing a Once a Marine Always a Marine cover makes me realize these young Marines are still getting good boot Camp training.
Semper Fi Floyd

Note: The above story is from the bulletin board thread titled Brotherhood. Many others like it on that thread.

Even Though There Is A War

As a retired Marine and a life member of the Marine Corps League I want to say Semper Fi to my Fellow Marines in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves for their support of the needy families in the Tulsa Area. Even though there is a war going on and we have members of our Reserve unit in B.A. deployed to fight against the terrorist in Iraq and Afghanistan, our I&I Staff and those Marines not involved directly in the War against Terrorism they spend countless hours supporting the needy families in our community who wouldn't have a Christmas for their children if it wasn't for the United States Marine Corps Reserve and their Toys for Tots Program. We all need to pitch in and help our Marines help those who needs help.
Semper Fi Bros and Sis's
GySgt Ray Lancaster USMC (Ret)

On One Such Patrol

As you know, I asked for toys for the Iraqi children over here and several people (Americans that support us) sent them over by the box. On each patrol we take through the city, we take as many toys as will fit in our pockets and hand them out as we can. The kids take the toys and run to show them off as if they were worth a million bucks. We are as friendly as we can be to everyone we see, but especially so with the kids. Most of them don't have any idea what is going on and are completely innocent in all of this.

On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street. This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge. The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK. The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road. Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place. It was the heart of an American that sent that toy. It was the heart of an American that gave that toy to that little girl. It was the heart of an American that protected that convoy from that mine. Sure, she was a little Iraqi girl and she had no knowledge of purple mountain's majesty or fruited plains. It was a heart of acceptance, of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through the inconveniences of conflict that saved that convoy from hitting that mine. Those attributes are what keep Americans hearts beating. She may have no affiliation at all with the United States, but she knows what it is to be brave and if we can continue to support her and her new government, she will know what it is to be free. Isn't that what Americans are, the free and the brave?

If you sent over a toy or a Marine (US Service member) you took part in this. You are a reason that Iraq has to believe in a better future. Thank you so much for supporting us and for supporting our cause over here.

Semper Fi,
Mark J. Francis
GySgt / USMC

Please pray on this day, and every day, for our Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.

It's Great

Mr. Molnar I just read the news letter and read your story, I too am 40 yrs with two kids 7&4 yrs old, I think its great what you are doing. I was in the corps from 1982-86 1st blt 2nd mar 81mm mortars. I did two west pacs and two nato tours (Norway sucked!) any way to sum it up we trained for war, however I never had the honor to serve in combat with my fellow Marines. When the first gulf war started I went to the recruiter to reenlist, he informed me that the war would be over by the time I got reprocessed, and he was right. I have a criminal justice degree and worked for local law enforcement for a while and also loss prevention for a major retailer, God how I loved taking shoplifters down! Any way since the war started I watch the news every night and hope to hear about our brave Marines in Iraq, I would love to do what you are going to do, I am still in good shape, except for 3 knee operations which has left me with no cartilage in my knee ,40 yrs old and need a knee replacement. I believe even if I had a good knee and could do what you are doing, deep down I don't think I could leave my family this is why I think what you are doing is so honorable because as much as I want to go to Iraq I don't think I could leave my family , I know you love your family and they are safe here, however our other family is in combat in Iraq, their is no statement as true as once a Marine always a Marine, I have been out of boot camp for 22 yrs but it feels like it was only yesterday. Anyway take care and be safe, God I wish I was going with you, God bless you and all our Marines in Iraq.

Semper Fi Mac Cpl Hill 1982-86

Chesty Called Him "Jonesy"

Dom, it doesn't appear that Jones Hopkins, retired Navy Chief Hospitalman will make it through the Holidays. He's an across the street neighbor and close personal and family friend. Jones walked out of the Chosin with Puller as his Corpsman. Chesty called him "Jonesy" and he was privilged to call Chesty "Skipper." Oh, me, oh my... I have been blessed with some truly great neighbors.

My dad is among Jones' closest friends, and we're all really "bummed-out" just now. Jones is about 5'-5", 125 pounds, but he's easily the equal of any DI in presence and voice. He's been a friend and mentor to me and many, many others. If he leaves us, is there any chance you can arrange to have him mentioned in Grit's newsletter? I read it, but I don't go there anymore... Too old, too sad, too much else to do before I go...

December 1950

Sgt Grit
When we returned from the Chosin to Masen, Korea in December of 1950 We were given Christmas from Division to send to our folks back home. I Don't know the author or who wrote this poem relating to our time in Korea, but I believe it said much about what we had experienced.

What did I do to deserve this?

Below the Manchurion boarder, Korea is the spot We doomed to spend our life in a land that "God" had forgot through the paddies with our rifles, digging foxholes with a pick doing the work of a doggone mule, to dam tired to kick, we sweat, we swear, we freeze, it is really more than we can stand we are really not convicts, we are defenders of our land we are the troops of our Corps, earning our measly pay guarding our country's millions for a lousy four dollars a day living with our memories, wanting to see our best girl hoping to see her before she married our best pal nobody knows we are living, nobody gives a dam back home we are have been forgotten as the nephews of Uncle Sam however when we climb that golden stairway, right up to that golden bell St. Peter will say , welcome "Marines" you served your time in Hell!

May we always remember those who served with us and are no longer with us during this epic time in our Corps history!
MGySgt Ralph Hoffman (Retired)

I Told Him To Come In

Dear Sgt. Grit,
As usual when I read your newsletter I keep getting something in my eyes and I have to stop reading for awhile. Being a Viet-Nam vet, it often brings back memories.

When I returned to "The World" and my time in the Corps was up, I returned to college. This was in 1968. I was assigned a dorm room, which was for three students, by myself. Even the suite mates would not enter my room. They had been told to stay out because I had been in Viet-Nam. After about a month, one of my suite mates got curious, opened my door and asked if he could come in. I told him it was fine with me. He told me what the school had told him about me. I began to wonder why I had come back to "The World". I told him to come in any time, however, if I was asleep, not to touch me. If he need to wake me up, kick my foot and no where else. It was hard to trust people when I didn't have someone to watch my back.

I took a math class and as luck would have it the prof was not too positive on the war. One day he started off on the war. He was reading from the same printed sheet that most people were using at that time.

"I don't have to be in war to know what it's like". I raised my hand,

"What color is a black man when he is hit by our napalm"?

"Why he is black of course. And I'm sure that did not happen".

"No, he is burned white. A white guy is burned black. Yes, it does happen. I thought you didn't have to be there to know that answer". He went back to the lesson at hand. Two weeks later he went off again.

"All the military is are killers of women, children and babies".

Being the only vet in the class I could not let this one go by. I raised my hand, again, and went after his stupid a**.

"If the VC tape a grenade to a baby, pull the pin and set it down like a wind-up toy, to run towards Marines to be saved, - would you shoot it to save your life and the life of other Marines? If someone came through the door right now and started shooting, - would you stop, to take a second you don't have, to check their age and sex? Or would you fight to save your *ss and to live another day in a H&ll, of which only someone who had been there will know about and understand"?

Nothing was ever mentioned about Viet-Nam the rest of the semester, while I was in his class.

I, like so many others, was having trouble adjusting to "The World", so I took a speech course. Like the sailor in "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" - "Sometimes I have to grab someone and tale the tale that haunts me to this day." The class covered different styles of speeches. For the demonstrative speech, I brought in maps to show people where some of the names that they had heard on the news, were located. The persuasive speech was the same one I had given to FNG's, on the reason to wear a flack jacket. The final speech was on any style of speech, for 15 minutes. When I got to the podium the prof ask where my speech outline was. I told him I could not make one. He knew what was coming. I took a deep breath and told the class, "I have taken you to the door with my other speeches. Today I am going to open it and take you straight to H&LL!!!" I talked for 30 minutes and you could hear a pin drop when I sat down. I credit the class it with my keeping some of my sanity when I returned. But, even today, at times, I feel like I need to grab someone and tell of my time in H&ll.

To this end I thank Sgt. Grit for the opportunity to write down things at times. The "ghost" don't come around as much, however, the memory is still there. Even at the age of 63 I still hear the sounds, remember the smell and even have the nightmares-..

Keep up the great work. Semper Fi to all.
John Halpin
2/9, 1966-1967

Peace On Earth

The young woman was shivering. Being under the covers with her clothes on was not enough to keep out the cold that was seeping in through the flaps of the tent. She could hear soft sighs and not so gentle snores from the others. They had escaped this place in their dreams but tonight she was not to be so lucky. Even though she was tired, her mind refused to let her rest. It had been a long, stressful day. It looked like it might be a long night, too.

Rolling over, she could barely make out the outline of the picture frame on the stand next to her cot. She didn't really have to see it though, the picture of her family was etched in her mind as well as her heart. She missed them. She had been missing them from the moment she left. Tonight she missed them more than ever.

The woman reached over and grabbed her cap. Maybe if she kept her head warm she wouldn't feel so cold. She needed to go to the bathroom but the thought of getting up and leaving the tent did not appeal to her. She pulled the covers up over her nose. There, that was a little better.

Tomorrow would be December 24 th and she was far from home. Maybe that was why she was feeling a little blue. She let her mind wander back to other Christmas Eve's when she was growing up in Texas. It could be cold there, too, but in the house the fireplace would be blazing and she and her twin sister would lay with their feet on the hearth warming their toes. The Christmas tree would be twinkling in the corner. When it was time to open presents there would be no GI Joe doll or BB gun wrapped up for her. Those were for her brother. She would get what she had wanted, a Barbie doll and an Easy Bake Oven. Later the whole family, even her dad, would bundle up and drive to the little church in Wylie for Midnight mass. It would be dark in the church except for blue Christmas lights around the manager. "Peace on earth, Good will toward men", she would sing with the innocence of a child.

With her spirits lifted, the young woman finally dozed off. Morning came very quickly. It usually did. After she slid her feet into her size 5 combat boots, pulled on her cammies, and strapped on her pistol she was ready for another day. As she left her tent, it was hard to tell her apart from the other guys in her unit except for the fact that she was one of the smallest there. She was in harms way, too, but there was a job to do and she was one of those who had chosen to do it. Do it as a Marine.

That evening, the young woman gathered with some of the others there in the desert of faraway Iraq to celebrate yet another Christmas Eve. With a hopeful, although not as innocent a heart, she again began to sing, "Peace on earth, Goodwill to men".

This is dedicated with love, to my daughter, Gunnery Sergeant Patricia R. Smith, USMC, deployed to Al Taqaddum, Iraq this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas, Patty!

Gentle Hands For The Injured

Simply, thanks. This old Vietnam era Navy Corpsman knows exactly what you do, how well you do it, and what you pay for it with, Death to terrorists, gentle hands for the injured and compassion for the innocent victims of those self-indulgent pukes who hide bomb and have no honor. I earnestly congratulate you for sending the insurgent Muslim b*stards to a face to face meeting with Allah.
Semper Fi
Randy Boldt

I Took Note Of

"Once a Marine..." How true it is. I entered the Corps after college and spent the 1980s on active duty before filing over to the civilian side. I stayed in the Marine Reserve with sporadic participation until 1999. At that time, I was in my Emergency Medicine Residency, a year out of medical school. After years of being pursued by the Medical Corps of the Army Reserves, I took the bait and signed on to be the next 'Hawkeye Pierce'. When the balloon went up in Iraq, I was sent over with my Combat Support Hospital to do my part. We were all impressed with the performance of how our men and women in uniform. All of the young Marines we took care of made me especially proud. Always concerned about getting back to the fight and never whining about their wounds, they reflected the best of Marine Corps tradition.

While over there I took note of the tendency of soldiers to say they were "in the military". After hearing this enough and thinking something was wrong, it hit me. Never would I hear this from Marines, nor did I hear it during my prior service. We are Marines, proud of the title and not about to use a generic term for it. To this day, when I get patients in the Emergency Department who say they have gone to the VA or Walter Reed before, I always ask why they receive care at these facilities. To a man, they will say "I was in the 'military'..." to which I always reply, "you mean, not a Marine."

I cared for a Marine Korean War vet not long ago and gave him my thanks for his service. I also gave him the latest copy of Marine Corps Times that I happened to have with me. It seemed to make his day. Actually, treating fellow Marines tends to be the highlight of my day after seeing throngs of worried well and whiners looking for a work note or druggies looking for a fix. To all Marines in the fight both then and now, and to those who support them, I give my greatest thanks - Semper Fi.
Evan English, MD, USMC 1980-1999

Audio Version

For the record I recieved this back in the late 80's from an CO of mine. I have an in with a local radio station here in CT. The owner is a Korean Marine Vet. He allows me to play this on air for a week before Christmas. The station is 106.9 WCCC. Please excuse the part about the law office.

Merry Christmas, Happy New year, Semper Fi,
Joe Kowalski (Sgt. USMC 80-93)

Merry Christmas

Sgt. Grit,
I have written to you twice before over the past few years.

I am writing again today to wish all Members of ALL THE ARMED FORCES a safe and Merry Christmas.

Having spent two December 25th's in Vietnam (Marines) I know the heartache and loneliness of being away from family and friends.

I wish our Brothers and Sisters safety and good health over this Christmas Season and may this all end as soon as possible.

(Sgt) Michael Joy, 2396312, USMC 1967 - 1970

I Do Not See Him Much

Sgt. Grit,
Recently I was looking for something to give my oldest son for Christmas. He is in his junior year at Georgia Southern University and me living in North Carolina I do not see him much. Well, my youngest son told me that the oldest wanted anything with the Marine Corps on it. Curious, I asked why, well, my youngest son said he could not tell me but I would find out later.

Well, I found your web site and ordered several items for him for Christmas. My oldest son, Jeff and my youngest son Matt drove up to Charlotte for this past weekend and we exchanged presents. When Jeff opened his, he was so excited and thrilled. With a surprise, he asked me if Matt had told me, with that I said no. Jeff said, "Dad, I'm going to OCS to become a Marine like you". With that, this old salty dog had tears of joy that my son was soon to be one of the finest.

Jeff told me all about how this is going to work, some program where he will go to for of OCS for 10 weeks and upon completion and graduating from GSU, he would then go to Quantico for OCS. It is all I can do not to yell and tell everyone that I know, I am so proud. Proud of him wanting to become a Marine is awesome, but first proud that he is my son!!

Just wanted to share this story with you....Maybe my youngest son will follow our footsteps as well.

Jeffrey L. Lippard

I Often Wonder

Sgt. Grit,
I have a problem and it has been bothering for a long time and it is bothering me again.

I joined the Marine Corps, July 2nd. 1953 right out of high school and was discharged in 1957. I went to boot camp in California. Served in Camp Pendleton, Indian Head Maryland, Okinawa and Quantico.

You can probably figure out what's bothering me. I was at Pendleton when the division came back from Korea. I missed Korea and all the other engagements to follow due to my years in the Corps. I am still Gung Ho and love my Marine Corps and my Country. We trained and trained and made landings on Okinawa and Iwo and Thailand. I wear the belt buckle I bought from you and the tie clasp. I have my Marine Corps license plate and my sticker on the rear window. This is what I am bothered with. When people stop me and ask if I was in combat and I say NO! My question is, is there a difference between the two? I often wonder.
Thanks for letting me express my feelings.
Sgt. of Marines 1399101

The PC

Gone to h&ll and back! The PC, that the services seem to be in. The Marine, that took one good shot and finished him off. He is now represented by a light or full-bird,(ret.)., who was a prosecutor in the U.S. Justice dept. for years. And his rank was that of a Marine. So, if he needs defending (which I personally think, is unadulterated BS,) then he has the best man in his corner. And second, several in the Army, who were court-martialed for taking parts off an inoperable vehicle and made their work so they could continue their mission, again, the PC, put into motion. If they were wrong in doing so, then let's step back a little in time, when Chesty had as many Army vehicles as he had of our own, because someone left there transportation and hooked it south.