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Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - July 8, 2004

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Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit,
I recently wrote you about a young Marine Sgt. from Orlando, Kenneth Conde Jr.. He was a young Marine Sgt. that was leading his platoon through the streets of Ramadi, when they were ambushed. During the fire fight, Sgt Conde was wounded in the shoulder, but her refused to quit. He recovered enough from the wound to resume the fight, but fell once more. He was attended to by the Company Corpsman and he then returned to the battle. This happened in April. He could have come home at that point, for he had a get out of Iraq free card, but he did not use it. He wanted to stay with his men.

I saddens me to say that as I was reading this mornings paper, I saw where Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr. had been killed in combat. He was scheduled to return home in September.

His Dad, a former Marine, said that he understood why his son would not leave Iraq. In his heart he wanted his son to come home, but young Sgt. Conde did not want another leading his men.

I say to the parents of Sgt.Conde, God Bless and our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time. To Sgt. Conde's platoon, who are part of the Mobile Assault Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, I say keep Sgt Conde's spirit and dedication is the Tradition of the Corps.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. D.J.Tasker USMC


Dear Marine and Friend,
Tonight enjoyed a nice dinner with a fine crew that serve to assist in performing some good work to protect our Nation. Most of which served in the US Navy. This was in New London, Ct.

We were in a nice restaurant. They had a five piece band. The band was great. During the break, I walked up and asked them to play the Marine Hymn. They play several songs, then stuck it up!!! I walked forward, stood at attention. Next thing I knew, had four standing beside me. Marines. The restaurant was full of applause. But!!!!!

I went back to my table after the chat with the Marines. Was sitting, when a young lady came up and asked me a question. Now, I am over 50 and she was close to my age. She asked, "When the Hymn is played, does she stand"? I asked why. She said her Daddy was in the Marines and died for the Marines in Battle. I stood. And said, "Ma'am, you are most welcome to stand anytime with the "Corps". Marines and your Dad will be proud for you to stand when the "Hymn" is played. In fact, all will look upon you with respect." "You are family".

Marines, you each are a special breed. Sgt. Grit. probably is tired of my letters, yet, each day there are those in life that appreciate the history, the tradition, the honor you each have displayed for over 228 years. In a restaurant tonight, a young lady heard a song of tradition, a song of pride. Marine Corps! She asked a question. Her question was answered, right or wrong, it was answered.

Sgt. Grit. Know you are one "fine" Leatherneck". You allow me to speak to your Marines. I pass on information that I feel is important to the "Corps" and our Veterans.
God Bless Marines.
Semper Fi,
Steve Robertson


I recently lost my grandfather And thought I would share a story about a Marine to the end. He served in WWll on Iwo Jima and was always proud of his service in the corps. My father and I took him to the VA after a mild stroke and heart attack. Once he was admitted the nurse on duty was helping him into bed and asked him if anything hurt. His response was "Only my pride." He never complained about the pain he was in the last few years confined to a wheel chair unable to take care of himself. All due to injuries received in the war. He always held his head up with pride and kept a Marine statue by the table where he played cards. This was the last words I ever heard him say, he passed away a couple of days later. For me this shows the strength and courage that is the Marines. Something they all seem to hold on to till the day they die.
Levi B.


SGT. Grit;
What can I say I am the wife of a Marine SSGT Doug Kummings, and d-mn proud of it. My husband and I were at one time a two military family. I in the Navy and he in the Marines. I did 10 years from 94-04 active duty. He did 7 active from 95-02 and choice to go off active duty and stick with the reserves, due to our second child being born, and he just didn't want to miss all that again. In the past 8 years that we have been married we have done 5 pumps between us and lets not forget all the trips out in the field and 29 palms. It has been a rough road but we always make it through. Last year is when I felt the most proud in my life when Doug was called back to active duty to Iraq. With only 3 hours notice I sat and watched my Marine pack with ease. Like it was nothing, the look in his eyes as he looked and me I just knew what he was saying without speaking. As I stand crying he says to me "I am a Marine this is my life, I have to go Baby doll but don't worry I will be back before you know it. We have done this before and things will be fine"

But for some reason this time was different for me, Iraq was different. My husband is a Marine, will always be a Marine and die a Marine. It is in their blood, and the brothers that he has come to know are very special to us. Well some say I am a survivor but I say NO I am a Marines Wife no more no less.

Diane Kummings, Murrieta CA


Our group "Walking for Chance" is a group of family and friends of Marine Lance Corporal Chance R. Phelps who was killed by enemy insurgents in Iraq on April 9th 2004. Our group was selected to run the Marine Corps Marathon. on October 31, 2004. 100% of the proceeds of our efforts will go directly to the Chance Phelps Memorial Fund to send Brunton binoculars to Chances' fellow Marines in Iraq.

You may sponsor our group by pledging any amount of money for each mile that our group completes in the 26 mile Marine Corps Marathon. Please visit us at and read about Marine Lance Corporal Chance R. Phelps and our efforts..

Please share the link and God Bless America.
Semper fi
Walking for Chance


This is directed to the Marine mom who complained that her son was deployed after only five months of training.

I guess she would have really been pi$$ed off a little over 50 years ago when Marine reservists were activated to go to Korea. At that time you didn't have to go through boot to be in a reserve unit. So, many of the Marines sent to reinforce the forces around the Pusan perimeter in South Korea had much less training than she is complaining about. A lot of "snapping in" with weapons was accomplished from the fantails of the ships carrying the troops over. Then, from the Pusan area, some of these reservists, remember with very little training, landed at Inchon and proceeded to the Chosin Reservoir.

A postscript. Then, when returned to the Land of the Big PX, those who had not been to boot camp were ordered to attend same.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader #1405534


I was in the Marines 1963 to 1966. I was stationed in San Diego, Memphis, Beaufort, Chu-Lai, and Philadelphia. Anyway, I grew up, and got old, and had children. One of my boys joined the Marines, like I did. I am so proud of him. He is staying in as a career. He is a Sergeant stationed in Japan, with his wife and two little girls. It is nice to have a child follow. I joined because I noticed how my Dad was so impressed by the Marines Uniform. My dad wasn't in service at all. He said he was to young for one war and to old for the next one. I joined the Drill Team in Memphis and made dad proud. I was proud to get out of Viet Nam alive.
Pat Eccles ex-PFC


Hey Sgt. Grit,
Speaking of the OORAH thing...I was at the Nam Vet's Parade in Chicago a long time ago. The two Marine divisions marched one behind the other, the !st, then the 3rd. The streets were swamped with people watching us go by. Many of the guys were doing the OORAH thing, but it sounded like a bark, no kidding, these Marines were barking ala Bellau Wood. It sounded great, and the crowd loved it. By the way, 67-70, Nam 68-69, Golf 3/11, 1st Mar Div, a 105 battery that called Hill 10 home, for what it was worth. Yeah, I was in the 11th ,like you, and can't hear worth a d-mn anymore. And the Lord said, "Let there be Marines." ...and all the fish arose from the sea! Semper Fi!
Larry Binns
E 2/13
G 3/11


Sgt Grit,
I've been out of the Corps for 7 years. I often check the USMC website and your newsletter for Marines I've worked with over the years. I perused a recent issue of the Marine Corps Times. In the issue was the posting of the GySgt's list.

I found two Marines I served with at 1st Tank Bn in 29 Palms. When I was a Sgt they were two salty L/Cpls and the best of friends. I know that they both had moved on to other assignments after I left, but lost track of them over the years. It was a pleasant surprise to see their names on the list. Never have I met two better radio operators. The Marines under their charge will no doubt benefit from their vast knowledge and experience. The Corps is better because these two Marines serve. I am proud to have known them in my life. I would like to congratulate them on their accomplishment. To GySgt's (select) Arthur H. Bork and Rodney Harris. Semper Fi and Congratulations!! Keep up the good work Devil Dogs. I just hope that one or the other get your newsletter and read this. They deserve it.

Semper Fi
Howard J. Cooper
1st Tank Bn, Comm Plt 92-95


Sergeant Grit, brothers and sisters,
Enjoyed another fine newsletter just now, and must comment on Tom Godwin's story regarding wearing a cover indoors. This is one my pet peeves, guess I'm just an old f*rt, but everywhere you go nowadays you see men of differing ages wearing their cap or hat indoors, even in presence of ladies. When I was at MCRD in '61 we were told that one never wears their cover indoors, unless armed. My parents before this had told me that one never wears his hat in the house, and always removes it in the presence of a lady. I don't know whatever happened to either of these practices. I will ditto what brother Godwin says about receiving an admirable glance when observed removing one's cover entering a doorway, you will certainly receive admiration from me. Thanks for letting me get this off my old fat chest. Semper Fidelis and God Bless our fighting men and women.
A. Dorney, '60s model.


Former Marine Glenn "Sam" Bass asked in your June 24, 2004 news letter:

"I'm curious, why does the tag on the utility blouse say, "U.S.Marines", wouldn't it be better to say U.S. Marine?
Glenn "Sam" Bass
HMR (L) 163, Cpl. 1958 - 1963"

Could it be because its Semper Fi, rather than Semper I.

Mike Jackman
Sgt '65-'68
Semper Fi


Sgt Grit,
I enjoy receiving your online newsletter and thought your readers would like to know about, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers"- the Marines of the Marine Corps League's London Detachment over here in the United Kingdom. My name's Richard J MacDonald, I grew up in Scotland before moving to California. I graduated from San Diego with Plt 1105 in February 1991, before joining MWSS 472/3, MAG 46, 4th MAW, MCAS El Toro and MCAS Miramar. I now live back in Scotland and have become an active member of MCL Det 1088, one of the few overseas detachments in the Marine Corps League. We are always on the lookout for new members and if anyone reading this knows of Marines living in the UK or in Europe, please send me an email. Our Honorary Commandant is Gen Krulack, 31st CMC.

Yours Aye & Semper Fi, Mac.

Dear Sgt Grit

Today's newsletter stories of Marines who received their draft notices after they became Marines reminded me of what I did recently on behalf of my son. My son had entered the DEP last July, reported to Parris Island in late January and graduated on April 16 (HOTEL Co.). Ever since he was a sophomore in high school he'd been receiving glossy brochures from the Naval Recruiting Office about once per quarter, including the time he was at PI. Well, one lovely tri-fold flyer arrived after his graduation and 10-day visit home, while he was at MCT. In an attempt to do my part to save the trees, I decided to do something. I wrote a note on the flyer saying, "Joseph graduated MCRD Parris Island on April 16 and is now a US Marine. Please remove him from your mailing list. Thank you, Proud Marine Mom." And I signed my name, enclosed one of Joe's graduation photos in dress blues, put it all into an envelope and mailed it back to the Navy. I hope somewhere that some Navy recruiter got a chuckle and maybe even posted my note and Joe's photo on the bulletin board as a reminder that you can't win 'em all. The Marines got another good man. It was so worth the 37 cents!

God Bless the US Marines and all who serve!

Diane (Proud Daughter of a Navy Officer [deceased], Proud Sister of a Marine Officer [deceased], Proud Stepdaughter of a Marine Officer [Retired], and now . . . Proud Mother of a US Marine [PVT, active duty, attending MOS school])


Sgt Grit,
Once again, this newsletter is the best one! I always want to write that to you ! But then the subject is MARINES, so, of course it's the BEST!

I am getting ready tonight to fly to visit my son in Pensacola. I started to read Sgt Grit's newsletter when he was in Afghanistan, thank GOD, and you, I had it!

I was just remembering when I went to San Diego to see my son graduate from Boot Camp. I went a couple days early to take advantage of everything they had for the families of the recruits, plus I couldn't wait to see my son!

A most impressive sight for me was after the 5 mile run the day before Graduation. The parents and friends waited, I don't remember it being very long, before the recruits were back from their 5 mile run. It was September in San Diego. I know they must have been hot & tired. But when they stopped, when "halt" was called, there was not one movement! It was like looking at a painting! I gasped, looking for someone swaying, or heaving breathing, there was none! Except for silent sweat, and a soft Southern California breeze, nothing moved! I thought, now THAT IS TRAINING!

Even in the heat of the day, I got a chill of excitement. The only thing better was the part of the Graduation when the recruits were called Marines for the first time, and they all answered at the same time!

Oh yes, something really special here!
Very Proud Mother of a Marine!
Barbara, Sacramento California


Sgt. Grit;
Cold beer never tastes better than when it is free (or stolen). During a lull in the battles in Korea around June or July of 1951, the Fifth Marine Regiment moved into "Corps Reserve" at a location on the East Coast near the now destroyed town of Inje. This is on the banks of the Soyang River, a peaceful slow moving stream unless it rains. Marines caught up on "Admin Time", training and cleaning weapons, haircuts, etc. A few days R&R, swimming in the river, and believe it or not once in a while a movie. Marines know that the movie was a real thrill, laying on the ground or sitting on your helmet, and nobody went anywhere without their (or someone else's) T. O. Weapon. One night, as we were heading to the movies, we spotted an old well in the rubble of the town. Leading down inside the well was a series of Communication wire, common in those days. With some trepidation and fear of booby traps, I tugged on the wires, and soon brought to the surface a spent artillery casing filled with beer!!. Ice cold beer! Whoopee! Bonanza time! We stole that beer, dropped the now empty casing back in the well, and took off at a high port for the movie, just in case we had been spotted.

Last week, as I was making some arrangements for a funeral service to be conducted in California, I called one of the Marine Corps League Detachments, and explained to their Commandant that one of the members of the Pappy Boyington Detachment in Idaho had passed, and asked if they could assist the widow with some League representation. They willingly complied. When we started chatting about our Marine experiences, we came to the subject of Korea, the dates, and the locations. Can you imagine my surprise when he asked me "Do you remember that old well in Inje where we used to cool down our beer?"
Brad Robinson




I need to be respectful to my elders, but Cpl Bass needs to remember that the focus is not on the individual, it is on my platoon, Rifle Company, etc, so the tag would say the plural "U S Marines" because we never represent ourselves first.

"Now this is the Law of the Jungle
as old and as true as the sky;
and the wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back-
for the strength of the pack is the wolf,
and the strength of the wolf is the pack."



Sgt. GRIT;
I am the proud grand-father of a Marine. He is presently a Senior D.I. at MCRD San Diego,( A Gunny Sgt.) I am proud that perhaps I had some influence on him. I served in the Corps as a fighter pilot WW II , (1942-1946) and Korea, (1950-1952). I was astounded at the degree of training the "Boots" receive today. The Corps can be very proud of the progress they have made.
Former Captain Tom Houchns
Semper Fi


Hello Sgt Grit,
Thank you a million times over for your great and outstanding newsletter! You are doing a great service to many people all over the country, we enjoy reading the many heartfelt letters you receive. Although I hate to ask this question, and please understand that it is not intended to be in a negative fashion, but I had a question concerning a letter that was sent from Iraq, by Col. Kyser, the Commanding Officer from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. My question is have they changed or reverted back to the old "Easy" Company from "Echo" Company? Or was this a typed letter to your website and possibly someone from old just made a mistake? I ask this because in the letter it referred to "Easy" Company twice as the Col was defining the missions of each company within the battalion.

I thought the letter was outstanding, and very emotional to read the Colonel's feeling as he described how he felt giving the medals to his men. A very noble thing for him to say and I admire him for allowing us to read what his feelings were. I'm only curious as to know if the Marine Corps has made these changes to the company as I knew it, "Echo" Company!

Thanks Sgt Grit and keep up the fine work!
Mike Angelo
GySgt USMC (ret)


Dear Sgt Grit:
After nearly 24 years I was honored to be able to make a return visit to the MCRD in San Diego this past March while in California on business. The emotions it stirred in me were quite unexpected. I was accompanied by my sales Manager who is not a Veteran but said that he too felt very special that day for being able to share this experience with me. Long dormant memories flooded back and it felt as though it were only yesterday, and I could still hear the melodic cadence calls of SSgt Lewis echoing across that hallowed ground. Of all my life experiences I can think of no other that has so profoundly stirred my course through life. From my days with Platoon 2042 at the depot to my times with Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, nothing in my life short of raising my son has had more impact on who and what I am.

As I stood in the parking lot of the Depot museum a Chaplain approached and All he said was "How long has it been?" I told him almost 24 years, his answer was, "Welcome Home"

The enclosed picture is of me having the honor of standing with this fine group of young drill instructors who are the finest example of America's best. To have them call me Sir was The greatest honor any ole Marine could ask for.

Semper Fi, Pfc Mark Yasaitis, 1980 to 1982

Sgt. Grit,
You may already have this one: My hero on this list is Karl Taylor. I knew him only briefly. When I read his citation, I said that this is what we are about. I can only imagine his selflessness and dedication to his Marines. I sometimes tell SSgt. Taylors story when people ask, " What's so special about being a Marine?"
Semper Fi!
Barron, T.B. (former) Capt. USMC
094528 - Old Corps - No SSN for us.


Sgt G,
Marines in Trouble:
Soon after being transferred to a new duty station, my Marine husband called home to tell me he would be late - again. He went on to say that dirty magazines had been discovered in the platoon's quarters and they had to discipline the whole squad. I launched into a tirade, arguing that many men had pictures hanging in their quarters at our previous post, so his new platoon should not be penalized for something trivial.

My husband calmly listened to my gripes and then explained,
"Honey, dirty magazines:
the clips from their rifles had not been cleaned."
Semper Gumby (always flexible)
Frederick C. Montney III
MSgt, USMC Retired


Dear Sgt. Grit,
My husband joined the Corps in the 50's and proudly served his 4 years. Last year, his son gave him a cap that states, "Once a Marine, Always Marine". Whenever he wears it, inevitably someone will throw him a "semper fi" if not actually getting into a conversation with him. One young man even thanked him for serving! It makes me proud to know he served our country for the protection of our precious freedom! The people of the world could take many lessons from our Marines and one in particular - it is this unity, this fierce pride, this common bond of the Marines that makes them so strong and so successful!


i just wanted to comment on the picture of the injured marine posted on the iraq BS pages. first let me say that i hope that god was with him and he made it through his struggle and quick and painless and possible. second, i want to say something about the person holding his hand. he could've been a friend of years months or even days but just the fact that it was the hand of a fellow marine explains everything. marines have a bond that no one can possibly be able to explain unless that person is a marine. i feel it and im overwhelmed with pride when i see a flag in someone's yard or a sticker on their vehicle. its a wonderful feeling.
semper fi
cody miller, ohio


Everyone say their prayers for the family of the latest Marine casualty. Lance Corporal Tim Creager. He was my son's best friend. My son is also a Marine and was in Iraq from March 2003 to October 2003. Tim was a wonderful young man that we have known since 4th grade. Eagle Scout, honor roll every year of school, 4 year scholarship to the Citadel, black belt TaiKwondo and a sweetheart who only wanted to be a Marine.
Prayers please


Sgt. Grit,
I have read and heard about DI'S in WW 2 who were PFC'S, some being assigned immediately after recruit training. Do you have any info as to when this practice stopped? I'm assuming it only happened because of a manpower shortage as a result of the war. It's just hard to believe an 18 year old PFC who had not even been in the fleet yet could hold the position of DI. No offense intended to anyone who was one of those DI'S.
Sgt. Matt Kirk
HQ Btry 1/12


Sgt. Grit,
I wrote this version of the Marines Hymn a few months ago. I know it will never be adopted, but I figured there are other popular verses that have been written in times of war as well.

The verse about no better friend or foe is attributed to Major General J.N. Mattis in his letter of March 2003 to the 1stMarDiv when he said "Demonstrate the world there is No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy than a U.S. Marine.

For your readers:

At the start of the millennium
As Band of Brothers we attacked
In the sands of far off Afghanistan
And in cities of Iraq

For the honor of our country,
To protect her glorious scenes
No better friend or foe, they'll ever know The United States Marines

S. Dilcher
Sgt. USMC, 88-94

THE FLIGHT: a joke

A Baptist was seated next to a Marine on a flight to Memphis, Tenn. After the plane was airborne, drink orders were taken. The Marine asked for a scotch and soda, which was brought and placed before him. The flight attendant then asked the minister if he would like a drink. He replied in disgust, "I'd rather be savagely raped by brazen whores than let liquor touch my lips." The Marine then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too. I didn't know we had a choice."


Sgt Grit: You have a SUPER staff working for you. I have been for the last two months trying to get your newsletter back on my receiving list through my provider EV1. After a couple of strong emails to every one connected to EV1 and with Ashley and Ann Lally help I am now back on line with your newsletter, you should give those two a Medal of Semper Fidelis, because they were just that.

My second reason for being able to write you is to let you know what the Marine Corps League here in Texas, is doing in response to our Fallen Marines, from WWll to today's war. The Galveston MCL Detachment #688 started a "Fallen Marine Program" to pay honor to the Marine and especially his family. As Chaplain of the McLemore Detachment #324. Houston, Texas, I have jumped into this program with both feet. What the program is, during a family viewing or wake of the Fallen Marine. a detail of three to five MCL Marines march to the casket during a 37 second tune called Church Call. Then the Marine Hymn plays at a slow march rate, the detail renders a slow military salute and remain with the salute until the Marine Hymn is finished. then Detail the turns to the family members and presents a MCL Certificate to the family as a symbol of appreciation for their Marines service to his Country and to the United States Marine Corps, and a Marine pendant or lapel pin is given to the family. If for some reason we can not make it to the viewing, we send a card of condolence. This program was adopted by the Dept of Texas Marine Corps League in 2002 and it will be presented to the next National Marine Corps League Conference. If any MCL Detachment or any one would like a copy of the program they should go to the MCL Galveston Detachment web site and click on Fallen Marine, their web address is . It's good to be back on your mailing list and I look forward to each one. I also print out a copy to my best friend, who was the youngest Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps along with two others during WWll. Sergeant Major Barney T. Welch USMC 1940/1946. He is now 85 yrs, not as lean or mean but still a MARINE.
Semper Fidelis Paul R. Renfro USMC 51/54


Something came to me while reading your news letter,I'd like to share. I got my orders for Nam while on a missile shoot in Vaquis (sp) PR in April of 69.Yeah ......I volunteered.
Went home on leave,did the usual.I&I with my buddies,one even let me borrow his '60' Chevy Impala convertable,after I promised him all my Stones,Doors,Bealtes albams,if I got blown away. Now I come from a military family on my dads side that goes back to the Civil War.My dad served in the Merchant Marines from 43-47.And he had a 19 yr.old brother KIA on a PT boat in 44 in the Pacific. As is mentioned,come from a long line of ancestors that volunteered in every conflict in this country since coming over from France in the early 1840's.Maybe there's something wrong with the Kiene's DNA that they keep volunteering!!!! What I remember,and ALWAYS will remember is the night before I left,was the whole family sitting around the kitchen table.I was Mr. AJ squared away Mac Marine,until it hit me BAMM....This just might be the last time I see my family.Then I lost it.I'll NEVER forget how the ol man took me in his arms for probably the first time in 15 years and said.'Just do your best in what the Marines taught you,the rest leave in God's hands.'
Later on,remember the faulty DNA, I ended up in Somolia with the 42nd Field Hospital in 93.I was maybe two or three people in the whole outfit that had ever been in a combat zone.And by June that is what Somalia had become. Now,for some reason almost everyone in the Army believes that if you were a Marine,and in Nam,you had to have been a kill crazy grunt.My time in Nam consisted of sitting up on top of 'Freedom Hill',hill 327 with 1ST MAW 1ST LAAMS with not much to do,but watch the occasional firefights down below,and a rocket now and then.And listen to some guy in my hooch play Sgt Pepper's over and over and OVER again.,,,,,, So, when a scared young trooper would come to me for advice.I'd tell them the same thing dad had told me 24 years before.Trust in your training and leave the rest up to GOD.
Sure do miss the 'ol man'.He started to really share his sea stories as he got older. My one regret is that he didn't make it to go aboard a liberty ship that was in Toledo Ohio in 2000. I do believe,like for most of us,his service time was some of the 'best years of our lives'.
Semper Fi Mac
Rich Kiene


I was talking with a young Marine the other day who was describing to me about some of the battles he was in during OIF.I was amazed about the things he did as a Marine. As I near that big 30 before retirement, I know the Corps is in good hands. I'm a old fart and this Marine is young enough to be my son. He asked me if I served in OIF and I told him I was on the Rock at the time, and did we want to join in the battle? H-ll yeah, but we couldn't Pull all the Marines off Okinawa (due to the threat from North Korea may be wanting to cross the 38 parallel again, only a FEW Proud warriors left Okinawa, and that was all that was needed. I was talking with this Marine and a former Marine who was a Desert Storm Vet like myself and during the discussion we found we were attached to the same unit but didn't know each other. As we discuss the different battles I felt something from this young Marine and the former Marine, it was as we connected as warriors the three of us. I really think we should talk with our warriors and listen to their stories about being in battles. I try and talk to the young guys as much as possible because sooner or later they want be LCPL's any more but hard charging NCO's leading the way and that makes me feel proud that our Corps has so many young battle tested warriors to lead us in the future. I have always felt this way give me a Battalion of Marines and I will take on the world. In closing the young Marine earned a purple heart for wounds he received. Some days I wish I was back in the grunts, but I know I can't run as fast as I use to, I can't dive in fox holes head first with reckless abandon, but if I had a LCPL beside me, I feel we could win any battle, any where, any clime, any place.

Semper Fi
MGuns Miller


There's a time set aside, within our home
I call it, "The reverent hour".
When a Marine sits down to his email
And is flooded with memories, some sweet, some sour.

I try not to disturb him during this special time,
Though I've stood at the door and looked in.
I've heard him laugh, I've seen him cry
Recalling Viet Nam and the places he's been.

Sometimes he calls me to join him
And reads of what's going on
He tells me of the young men in Iraq
Who are going to battle where he's already gone.

He's a grandfather now and wears that shirt
That other men always acknowledge, when seen
You know, the one, it reads:
"Not as Lean, Not as Mean,

So today, while he' reading, I hope he's surprised
When he reads in Sergeant Grit's letter,
A tribute to him from his very proud wife .
"I love you Staff Sergeant Ben Setter!"


Received this among some other stuff from an old college classmate and former Force Troops Recon Marine, Dr. Frank Osanka: The Recon Marines (and maybe all Marines), have their "OORAH" and the Army its "HOOAH"!

But what is the origin of these exclamations by troops (can't call them words-- they are better described as sounds)? When used they are unmistakenly expressions of verve, spirit, morale, espirit, eliteness and sometimes derision! They are responses, greetings, etc. You won't find anything in Navy BuPers files. Marine Corps directives or Army regulations prescribing that they be used. Yet, they permeate the ranks and their origins ought to be recorded for they are as much military lexicon as "SNAFU," "GI", "Kilroy was here", "P38", etc. And, woe betide the commander who thinks he can put an end to their use! They are exclusive property of those who use them and rightfully so--for what it means to them transcends anything a leader can do to give them unity and a sense of belonging!

Whey did they start? Who started them? Why are they so popular with the troops? I can't answer the question..."OORAH"is answered below, courtesy of Gary "Buddha" Marte, (former Marine). OK, HERE IT IS! THE DEFINITION AND HISTORY OF 'OORAH' Right after Korea in 1953 the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Company, FMFPAC can be credited with the birth of "OORAH" in the Corps. Specifically, where it came from was when Recon Marines were aboard the Submarine USS PERCH, ASSP-313. The Perch was an old WWII diesel boat retrofitted to carry UDT and Amphib Recon Marines. If you remember the old war movies, whenever the boat was to dive, you heard on the PA system, "DIVE,DIVE", and you heard the horn sound "AARUGHA", like an old Model "A" horn. Sometime in 1953 or 1954, 1st Amphib Recon Marines, while on a conditioning run on land singing chants, someone imitated the "Dive" horn sound "AARUGHA", and it naturally became a Recon Warrior chant or mantra while on runs. It is sort of like the martial arts yell and adds a positive inference to the action. And this became part of Recon lexicon. Former SgtMaj of the Marine Corps, John Massaro, was the company gunny of 1st Force in the late 50s and when he transferred to MCRDSD as an instructor at DI school he took "AARUGHA" with him and passed it on to the DI students and they , in turn, passed it on to recruits. Just as "Gung Ho" became symbolic of the WWII Raiders, so did "AARUGHA" become part of the new "running Marine Corps." Over time, "AARUGHA" EVENTUALLY CHANGED TO "OORAH". The official Marine Corps Training Reference Manual on the history of Marine Recon is titled "AARUGHA", giving credence on the origination of the 'POSITIVE RESPONSE' accenting anything that is meant to be good and uniquely Marine Corps. It is part of Marine Corps language, like "Pogey Bait", "SOS", etc.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader sgt '53-'57


Dear Sgt Grit,
Per an e-mail to the Sgt. Grit's newsletter of 6/25/04 relative to the origin of the term OORAH, I submit the following. I just talked to retired Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps, John Massaro, on the telephone in order to congratulate him on creating the OORAH and this was his response..

"I may be having one of my "senior moments" and I have heard in the past that I was the one responsible for initiating this cry but there was more than one Marine at that time that were chanting this slogan and hence I humbly refuse to take full credit for it." John was our platoon guide in Korea and one of the most conscientious and religiously devout Marines I ever had the pleasure of serving with.

Respectively submitted,
Sgt. George Maling, Korea '52


One of my Drill Instructors at P.I., a Recon Marine, made it clear that he did "not want to hear any of that pu**y "oorah" s**t" !!! The proper sound was "AARUGHA"!!
He even made us stand at attention and practice it, repeating after him several times until our volume reach an acceptable level. I would always cringe when I heard someone say "oorah" after that, but felt it was useless to try to correct them.
Dave Stutesman
SGT/USMC 79-83


Just read your article on the origin of the word Ooorah. The first time I heard the word was in Viet Nam and it was not "Ooorah" as now pronounced, but "Uh" as in the sound a grunt makes when he is walking with his pack and rifle heading into the boonies. At that time it was a short one syllable gutteral grunt to give encouragement to the ground pounders. I was a Marine Corps artillery cannoneer with I/3/11 (67-68) and was more than happy to cheer them on and even pull their butts out of the fire occasionally.
Old Artyvet


Sgt. Grit:
Having spent a little time in the Corps; March 1949 to January 1970, I was stationed at MCRDep, San Diego, when "The DI" was filmed. I was personally acquainted with many of the Marines who appeared in the movie with Jack Webb. My last duty station was at HQMC, when I retired as a GySgt; in all of my years in the Corps, I never heard the expression "OOOOOHRAH". I don't think that I was so isolated, I wouldn't have noticed if I had heard it. So, maybe it belongs to the New Corps...

James R. McMahon
Hendersonville, TN
GySgt of Marines


Yo, Grit...couple things....having been retired 20+ years, have noticed that when the subject happens to come up with new acquaintances, that Sailors will note 'when I was in the Navy,' Soldiers will say something like.."When I was in the Army..".....if that former serviceman says "Well, when I was in the military" your paycheck he was a blue-suiter! ironic in it's own way.......

further to OhRah, etc, and Sgt Maj Massaro/Recon/Subs, etc... ...kinda doubt it.......(then) 1stSgt John Massaro was the 1stSgt of HqCo, RTR, MCRD San Diego around 1964-1966. As one of the DI's in Special Training Branch, as it was called at the time, (Motivation, CC, PCP ,aka "Fat Farm", Hand-to- Hand, etc. ( I was a plank-holder in Motivation Plt)....) we all got in many, many ,noon time runs with Capt Wunderlich (read about 2/5 and Hue sometime)......never once heard, or heard about "OhRah' from the 1st Sgt, who, by the way, ran like a gazelle..good story, but in my opinion, bogus.......doesn't matter, anyway,,,still a good story...... On last visit to MCRD, noted that there is a pine tree ,probably 36" in diameter, across the street from the swimming pool....about where the DI house in the Motivation barracks was back when.....tempus fugit!


I was in the Corps from '64-'68. I attended a reunion of my Basic Officer Class in Quantico last July. What a trip. I plan to attend the 40th reunion next year. I have two sons, one is a Major who has 15 years in an a second an E-5 who left this morning to travel to Iraq with his reserve unit. Hope the craziness is over by the time he gets there.
Carl Burtner USMC 1968

Hey Grit,
I was in the VFW on memorial day ,when an old guy about 75 came up to me and said."You know why the Navy invented the Marines.. ...So the sailors would have somebody to dance with. ...... And I always thought it was so they could give us a ride to the fight....
Cpl M.F.Ryan
G 2/9 65-66

To all the Marines, new and old, have a great 4th of July and stay safe. To the Marines in Iraq, keep your chin up and come home safe and sound OH-Rah!
JM '61-'65

To the Marine Mom who was concerned about her son only having 5 months training at Camp Lejeune before being sent to Iraq. As an active duty Marine 57-61 and now a Jr. Vice Commandant in the Marine Corps League, I can suggest that you just keeping reading the Sgt. Grit Newsletters. All Marines look after each other. They will never leave a Brother Marine out there by himself.
Semper Fi .....Pete K.

In response to Major Brian P. Bresnahan's article - Thank You to Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq. Thank you Sir for your kind words. You sound like an Officer that any Marine would be PROUD to serve with. And we will welcome home all of our Brothers when the job is completed.
SemperFi and Godspeed
Ed Gruener, Vietnam Vet 1967-68

Yo Sgt. Grunt,
I'm searching for the ditty that was used to coordinate the timing of the rounds during the rendering of the 21 gun salute. Would you ask the 08's out there if they can provide the information needed.
Section Chief
75 pack howitzer
1950' s C Btry. 155 Gun Bn.

Peace through superior fire power!!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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