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China Marine Association Sgt Grit has now become the official PX for the China Marines Association. Visit our catalog for a complete list of China Marine Products!

Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.
John Gunther


You just might be the Parent of a U. S. Marine
by Kolette, proud mom of Cpl Brian Abell, 3/25 WPNS Co.

If you find yourself peaking around the corner before you turn down your street checking that no military vehicles are parked in your driveway and if you have nightmares about people wearing royal blue pants with a red stripe ringing your doorbell,
... you just might be the parent of a Marine serving in a combat zone.

If you put out your flag everyday and find yourself wanting to rip the face off anyone who disrespects that symbol of our freedom,
... you just might be the parent of a U. S. Marine.

If you feel guilty for wishing your son would get 'injured just a little bit' because that would mean he would be safe and comfortable in a hospital for a few weeks,
... you might be the parent of a deployed Marine.

If you get really mad at the ignorant idiots who insist that all this fighting is just not necessary and that the world would be at peace if the US would just mind its own business,
... you just might be the parent of a U. S. Marine whose life is on the line to protect the freedoms that these thankless bums take for granted.

If you negotiate with God every night before bed and the first thing every morning that if he will just bring your son or daughter home safe, you will do absolutely anything,
...then you are the parent of a Marine stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If you deliberately keep yourself very busy, every minute, every day for the sole purpose of distracting yourself from thinking that at that very moment someone, somewhere on the other side of the planet is shooting at your child,
... you just might have a Marine in a combat zone.

If your shopping cart contains tuna fish, beef jerky, foot powder, Chapstick, playing cards, disposable shavers, car magazines, a pre-paid phone card and small children's toys,
... you just might be the parent of a Marine who is spending a lot of his time patrolling the streets of Iraq.

If your son or daughter is halfway around the world fighting in 120 degree heat with 50 lbs of equipment on their back to preserve our country's freedom while your neighbor's smartass 20-year-old mouths off about our stupid military and you find you have to restrain yourself from slapping the crap out of him,
... you must be the parent of a U. S. Marine.

If you feel like an extraordinarily good mother because you know that you would sell your very soul, right now, to buy just one hug from your deployed Marine,
... know that you are actually only the average Marine Mom.

If you get calls at 3:00 am and barely recognize the voice of the child you raised between his satellite-delayed comments and then can't get back to sleep because you can't stop analyzing every word he said and kicking yourself for forgetting the things you tried to remember to ask,
... you are the parent of a U. S. Marine who is far from home.

If you have memories of a tough, but precious little boy with a dirt-smeared face who idolized He-Man, always had a 'sword' in his belt, and a plastic knife in his boot and later played hockey or football (and definitely paintball) and now has a very pretty girlfriend,
... you just might have raised a U. S. Marine

If you are someone who hasn't penned a hand-written letter since the day email was invented, but now cranks them out daily,
... you just might be the parent of an active duty U. S. Marine

If your vehicle displays a yellow ribbon AND a red, white and blue ribbon, a USMC magnet, a blue star, a "Marine Mom" license plate holder and an American flag sticker,
... you are a proud mother of a U. S. Marine

If you find yourself shamelessly, repeatedly, asking your friends and family to please send cards and packages to your child,
.... you are the parent of a deployed Marine

If you have never felt more heavy-hearted (and somehow guilty) at a wake than you did at the one you just attended for a handsome young man whose solitary portrait sat near his flag-draped casket,
... then your Marine may have just lost a good buddy.

If 45 years of a full life never presented a prouder moment than watching your son confidently march across the parade deck on graduation day at Parris Island or San Diego,
... then you are definitely the very proud parent of a U. S. Marine.


Dear Sgt Grit,

In the early '80s I attended a Pipes & Drums presentation at the Arizona State University Activity Center. The performance was from the pipers and military band of the 2nd Coldstream Guards from the UK. Their motto is "Second to None" Interestingly, this is from 2 different views of history. The first is the fact Oliver Cromwell disbanded the entire royal military with the exception of the 2nd as he wanted someone loyal to the established government and Parliament to keep watch. This they have always done as the King/Queens' own with distinction. The second is their loyalty and espirit de corps in all things during war and peace.

I was hanging about in the open spaces by the inside entries as a group of pipers came by. They were all ages and full of humor laughing and enjoying the late October weather in the Phoenix/Tempe area. One of the older members with a rack of stripes nodded to me (my Marine hairstyle must have been a giveaway) and I smiled, nodding back. "Where are you from in the UK?" I asked. He replied his home was up in the "Broads". I grinned and said I had always wanted to go sailing and canal boating up there. He and his "mates" seemed pleased someone in the States actually knew of the area. Our conversation got around to if I had ever been "in service" to my country. "Semper Fidelis" I replied, laughing, and adding that it was "...just a green thing among family." These guys understood immediately and handshakes went all around. When I added their motto "Second to None" was one of my favorites....along with "He who dares... wins" (SAS) and our historical origins.."Per mare, per terram"..by sea, by land (Royal Marines)...although I have a document listing a roll call of Spanish Marines from the early 1500's with unbroken time to today...Hmmm...cool, huh? So it was time to get to my seat and the band to go warm up. As we were parting, a young enlisted band member who had just joined the tour group that week made the comment about a lack of "Yank" patriotism. I only smiled and chalked it up to his youth. A senior sergeant of the band grinned and took him aside as I was leaving. No anger nor animosity but I did see a short conversation and two young enlisted newbie's shake hands with the senior sergeant. Later during the wonderful show...to a pack house of all ages...the pipers had marched off and the band came marching on in "quickstep". They played some great traditional British medleys and then began the traditional "Yank service marches". In order... The Army's Caissons brought applause. The Navy's Anchors brought applause and cheering from the retirees, the Coast Guard's (one of my personal favorites for tunes) got applause, and the Air Force's Up We Go got cheering and applause as this is an Air Force town with 2 tactical bases at that time. Then a moment of silence with murmuring and talking. I noticed the senior sergeant grinning and the 2 newbies watching the crowd carefully. The band suddenly broke out into the Marine Corps Hymn crisply and with gusto. All around the audience we were on our feet in seconds... Young, in uniform, grey haired, white haired, teen Naval ROTC...girls and boys, all ages with the classical chin up, chest out, feet at that glorious yellow-footprinted 45°, eyes front, and thumbs along the seams of the trousers or levis. The most poignant moment was a wheel chaired gentleman struggling to get up with his "Iwo" baseball hat on. From all around him a rush at double time of various aged Marines lifted him up and he saluted. I still get misty eyed at it. That group formed a little island of Sequoia trees standing tall among the slouched audience. The senior sergeant had glistening eyes, too. The 2 newbies were nodding to him and had grins on their faces. I learned later the newbies had popped off innocently about the lack of loyalty among the "Yanks". The senior members of the band agree to this...sort of...and make it an opportunity to hustle a fiver for some brewskies after the show.

Another story on a more serious note... In my 7th grade S.S. class I had a couple of years ago there were 2 Afghanis and an Iraqi student among my international mix. These were pretty cool kids and I didn't inundate them too much with doctrine. They knew who I was...there was the little bumper sticker on the wall over my podium "To err is human, to forgive is divine...Neither are Marine Corps policy". The night before on the news the story of the 12 Marines killed and bodies stripped of gear found in the street in Fallujah was a hot topic. Mehdi came up to me and asked my take on it. This kid's family are warlords in Afghanistan and he was very mature and cosmopolitan about politics and combat. His buddies tagged along. I had seen the pictures on the Internet. I used my quietest and most neutral voice as a teacher. "There will be a heavy price to pay for this. The Marine Corps is a family and has a few debts to collect...from Beirut with the barracks and the Marine officer hanged on video, from Danang/Hue-PhuBai/Quang Tri, Chosin in Korea, and other times/places. Within a month you will see and hear of Fallujah being a source of Allah having many many new friends to keep Him company." The Islamic kids laughed...not out of disrespect but nervousness. But the Afghan just looked at me deeply. "You wish to be there, teacher, with your tribe?" he asked. I looked him right in the running lights with that Jack Nicholson smile and growled "In a heartbeat, kid". Within 3 weeks the news from that area made me proud. We had studied the whole history of the region to clarify just what is going on there. Only the Afghanis and the Iraqi...and a Sudanese refugee 11 year old with shrapnel wounds...REALLY got what was really happening. Eventually, "M" the Afghani, shook my hand and said I could be a member of his tribe anytime.

I salute the women and men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other little place they don't mention on the news for security reasons. But I will always have, to my grave...and beyond in Valhalla...a special little place for my chants (yeah, I'm a Buddhist...just one of those things) and even old fashioned prayers for any Marines in harm's way on and off duty.

Its just a green thing... HOOOyah!

Philip L. Boddy Jr. 1967-1971 The Stumps, Tustin MACS-3, Monkey Mtn MACS-4
1981-1989 FSSG Reserves 4th Bridge Plt Phoenix
Off and On...


"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. ...[T]hat alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own." --James Madison


Chet's Boot Camp Graduation

I was privileged to attend our Grandson's graduation at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot June 10, 2005. My beloved and I flew to San Diego a day early to attend the Eagle Globe and Anchor ceremony on Thursday before the graduation. The recruits are presented a Marine Corps Emblem in recognition of their completing Boot Camp.

Marine Corps Boot Camp is unique to the Corps. It is an experience that is difficult to explain to someone who has not lived it. It is a Marine Corps requirement that every recruit go through the grueling process called "Boot Camp". The "Boots" lose most of their hair and much of their identity as they learn to how to drill, how to shoot, and above all to subordinate themselves to the over-all purpose of the Corps.

Boot camp is no mere training ground where men are taught the fundamentals of combat. It is the price of membership in a proud brotherhood of elite warriors - the U.S. Marines. It has a personality, a mood, and a force of its own which changes its graduates for life. It is "Boot Camp" where the Corps' core values of duty, honor, courage, and commitment are instilled into the minds and hearts of the recruits.

For those of us who have been through "Boot Camp" it is also an indelible memory that changed our lives forever.

The key man in the boot camp process is the Drill Instructor, the uncelebrated "D.I.". He is teacher, taskmaster, and role model; inspector, guardian, guide, coach and mentor to his platoon. He has the responsibility of making Marines out of his recruits.

He would never believe it but it is the recruit, with his guts, determination and will to succeed, from which the United States Marines draw the strength to support their fighting traditions.

Early Thursday June 9 we made our way on board MCRD to be in the viewing stands for the Eagle Globe and Anchor ceremony. This will be the first time the recruits will be called Marines. Unlike other services recruits are just that recruits - they must earn the title of United States Marine by completing "Boot Camp". When we were seated in the stands I looked across the parade deck and saw the six platoons of Mike Company forming up. Soon they were marching in formation toward us. As the formation grew closer I could hear the D.I.s counting cadence "awn taup reep fawya your lef righya lef", and encouraging their recruits to look alive and "dig'em" in. Boot heels pounding the deck in unison Mike Company looked sharp as the D.I.s counted cadence "awn taup reep fawya your lef righya lef" as they passed the stands.

These young men, average age nineteen years, were about to become Marines after 12 weeks of the most intense, grueling training you can imagine. I searched the formation for Platoon 3078. Then as the formation marched by the viewing stands, each Platoon Guide carrying its guidon, I spotted Platoon 3078. My search then began in earnest as I looked for our grandson Chet Thatcher. Then I saw him in the front rank standing tall, tanned, and self-assured.

The D.I.s brought the formation to a halt and ordered a left face. Then the Chaplin said a short prayer for the men who were about to become Marines. After the prayer, the order was given to make them Marines. The D.I.s then moved down the ranks and gave each of the "Boots" an Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem which the men immediately attaché to their cover. They were no longer "Boots". The men of Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion were Marines.

The next morning, June10, we were on board MCRD early for Morning Colors, a very impressive ceremony. Then it was back to the viewing stands for the graduation ceremony.

We looked across the Parade Deck and saw Mike Company forming up for their graduation parade. The band starting playing and the formation started moving down the Parade Deck they marched past the stands did two column lefts and marched past the stands again. As they passed the stands each platoon did an eyes right to salute the reviewing official. The formation was halted in front of reviewing stands. The men in Mike Company were then addressed by the Commanding General of MCRD, given their final orders and released for a well -earned ten-day leave. The three days we were in San Diego were an emotional roller coaster for me. Standing on the Parade Deck with Chet brought back memories of Item Company, Platoon 64 in 1950. I had marched on the same deck for my "Boot Camp" graduation. The pride I felt then was multiplied when I watched Chet marching with Platoon 3078.

MY heart swelled as I looked at Chet and the other men of Mike Company. These young men had volunteered to defend our Nation and the freedom we hold so dear. In all likelihood by the end of the year most of them will be placed in harms way. We all owe them our admiration and gratitude for the job they will be doing. One question that kept coming to my mind was did we look that young in 1950.

Walt McGee
Kaufman, Tx
USMC 1950


A half baked apology, a few tears. and he's good to go?

An open letter to Congress:

Now, let me get this straight. Here is a senator, who by any standard has denigrated the reputation of our nation, disparaged those whose job it is to defend his right to speak those words, refused to apologize and then did apologize in one of the most despicable displays of wordsmithing I have recently witnessed and we, the American public, are asked to put it all behind us and move on? Is that about how it went down?

Do you in Congress really think that this is the end of it? Do any of you have a modicum of either self respect or political courage that you would care to publicly demonstrate after this sorry event? Have you become so selfish and protective of your own political careers, that only a few of you will step forward and call this performance what it really is. a betrayal, a kick in the teeth to every man or woman who proudly wore or wears today their country's military uniform and willingly serves in the many dangerous places you have sent them. Have you in Washington developed your own code of ethics which embraces the notion that all you have to do is offer a tearful apology and, suddenly, all guilt and accountability are instantly swept away? Are you above the rules, practices and just plain common decency that you expect from your constituencies? If so, when did all this happen? Have you secretly defined the apology as the maximum penalty you or any of your colleagues should be asked to pay as a result of doing or saying something blatantly wrong headed? Funny, but when I was growing up as a kid and did something blatantly wrong headed, my apology was but the first step down a path that almost always ended in a pretty memorable butt whuppin'. Obviously, times have changed.

This is not the end of it. This senator's words are still reverberating around the world in every murky terrorist stronghold that spawns these thugs and gives them life and purpose. No doubt, they are being played over and over again for would-be suicide bombers fortifying their belief that theirs is both a just and winnable cause. And many of you say that it is time to move on and put this all behind us. Look me in the eye, knee to knee and tell me that!!

Does this renegade senator get to keep his job? Should you keep yours? Right now, I suspect, that more and more of us who voted for you are concluding that those whom you send to war have decidedly more backbone than those of you who send them there. What happened here? What do I say to my grandson who asks what it was like to be a Marine officer? Do I tell him that the opportunity to lead Marines is an honor, privilege and challenge beyond anything else he will ever experience, but by the way. don't trust those who send you to bad places? They will cover their assets and hang you out to dry whenever it comes down to you or them.

Is that the message we now need to tell those who would come behind us and stand ready to serve this great nation?

The Marine Corps teaches its members that there are several essential traits in effective leaders. They are integrity, knowledge, courage, decisiveness, dependability, initiative, tact and justice. Would any of you care to have your constituents complete a quick internet survey ranking you and your performance against these traits so close to the mid terms? The men and women you send into combat are force ranked on these traits every day when they strap on web gear and go off into harm's way in defense of our country and her values. Perhaps you have forgotten this.

Interestingly, on the heels of this senator's insipid attempt at remorse is the announcement that 170 of his party's colleagues are calling for a full independent investigation of the "conditions" at Guantanamo Bay. Before we assign seats in the hearing room for this one, I as a long suffering tax payer, have a request.

Would someone please conduct the following analysis and publish the findings before convening this investigative charade? Please calculate and publish the costs to the American taxpayers for all the housing, healthcare, food, spiritual requirements, upgrades and modifications to buildings, both accomplished and approved as well as the average weight gain by detainees held there plus a brief statement regarding the overall condition of each thug's health. Please include in these numbers the projected ongoing costs of any project or program we have initiated that has made the standard of living for these thugs better than what their traditional life style would have been had we not captured them as they tried to kill us. Next, calculate the monthly cost per detainee that we as taxpayers must foot. Now, by way of comparison, do the same thing for the soldiers guarding these miscreants. I am interested in seeing the relationship between the monthly cost of maintaining conditions for those sworn to kill us versus the cost of maintaining and supporting those who have sworn to defend us. Once we know this, perhaps the need for an independent investigation may seem less important and more politically risky. We all know how you will react to the idea of taking a political risk, don't we?

Take a hard look at America, Congress persons. We are not fools. We are not children. And for those of us who have seen and tasted the rotten fruits of wars and all their effects on those who fight them, we are disheartened by your incessant preoccupation with partisan politics versus our national defense, security and the support of those who defend us. We are alarmed that there are those among you who would demean the efforts of our loved ones whom you deployed to distant lands in order to further your own agendas Slowly, painfully, we are coming to the realization that we are all Americans first and our political affiliations come in a distant second to that. When... when... When... will all of you reach that conclusion? Our patience grows thin.

Semper Fidelis,
Dave St. John
Capt, USMCR
1964-'70


To Charles Harris....it pains us so much for each and every loss...please know that the price you and your son have paid for the freedoms we have will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. This past week my husband and I were in Branson, MO for the big welcome home ceremony for Viet Nam veterans. While there....AT EVERY FUNCTION and meeting....all through the week those who had paid the ultimate price were remembered and honored by all attending! The moving Wall was there and was a place for us all to give honor and thanks.

We met several Gold star mothers there...one in particular hung around the Wall...telling people about her son. She was hugged and shown such respect and love by all the veterans and their families. Her loss is just as great today as it was then...but so was her pride in her son and her country and in those who still give honor to her son.

FOREVER....your son will be among those who have given all to this nation of ours. AND for sure there will ALWAYS be those of us who will keep him in our hearts and thoughts.

Love to you and your wife,
Connie Beesley, wife of a Viet Nam veteran


Sgt Grit,

My son Gunny Tony Shamy was deployed to Iraq and his home base has been Okinawa since March 2001. I am visiting my daughter in law and grandchildren while he is deployed. I asked my grand daughter to write her Dad a little note so we could email it to him and she said she wanted to write a poem for all of the Dad's deployed. This is what she wrote.

My Dad, My Hero...

Marines fight for justice and for freedom. When one calls they always go. My Dad is in Iraq today and so are other Dads. When called they went to fight for justice and freedom.

Some die, some live. My Dad will live under God's help. Some will come back happy. Some will be sad, but God will help them all come back. Safe and happier than happy.

Tori K Shamy
Daughter of GySgt AM Shamy
9 years old
Okinawa, Japan

This is for consideration for your newsletter that we get.

Thanks, her G-ma
Penny Shamy


"We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient." --Samuel Adams, reflecting on the original Independence Day


I saw a National Guard member on the local news. He was being interviewed just prior to being sent to the war. He said, "I signed up for the educational benefits, not for this." He was disgusted. I was amazed. My dad was in WWII from the beginning to the end, was shot, was held POW, led a successful (for him) escape operation, and lived the rest of his life with what we would now call PTSD....at that time it was called "shell shock", I guess, and men were expected to buck up and be strong. So to hear a guardsman say "I just wanted the educational benefits" is pretty sorry. Diane Mason
Edmond, OK


"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth." --Thomas Paine (1776)


Sgt Grit,

My 23 year old son deployed to Iraq September 2004. He spent most of his time in Fallujah. November was a very hard month for him and for me. I've never prayed so much or so hard. He returned safely, and in April, I awaited the day that I would see him. His wife picked him up at the airport and called me when they were 30 minutes away. My friend's husband, who works at the sheriff's department, told me that he could arrange a police escort if I gave them a 20 minute heads up. I did. My son was so surprised when 4 police cars surrounded his car, 5 miles from town and escorted him in, with their lights and sirens on. They escorted him to my front door. Then they got out of their cars, shook his hand and thanked him. You'll never know how much that meant to him. He talked about it for days.

Weeks later, I found out that one citizen was inconvenienced when he had to pull over for the police escort. He called a city councilman, who called the police department, and the officers who escorted my son into town, got chewed out. They were told never to do that again.

I never told my son that those officers got into trouble and I never will. I don't want that awesome moment ruined for him.

I don't understand why we can't honor our Marines with something so small after what they've been through.

Marine Mom in Hobbs, New Mexico


"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!" --George Washington (1779)


Sgt. Grit,

As all Marines, I am extremely proud of being a part of this brotherhood. It was one of the best things I ever did with my life. I knew I would be going to Nam and never questioned it just as every Marine does what he gets paid for and goes where he is ordered.

After being released from active duty I have become increasingly bitter over the 58.000 plus price we paid seemingly to gain absolutely nothing. Not only that, but American politicians were directly responsible for the loss of a number of those lives. Their decisions based on world opinion and establishing a mission that was totally out of touch with reality by winning the hearts and minds of the people were almost as bad as Hanoi Jane. To me the loss of one American life unnecessarily cannot be reconciled.

The letter from Carl Nord in today's newsletter is the very first time that I have considered the possibility that maybe it all wasn't a total and complete waste. My feelings run deep and won't ever be totally changed, but I really appreciate his comments about his return visit to Nam. Maybe other veterans of Nam will find that it removes just a little bit of their bitterness.

Captain Daniel W. Caston, USMC '69-'72, Nam '70-'71


"And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice." --Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833)


HI Sgt Grit and fellow readers!

I am a very proud Marine Sis to CPL Collins and adopted sis to PVT Thompson. I just want to say today the day before INDEPENDENCE DAY that I am so thankful for all the Military that go out every day to put their lives on the line for me. So here is a big OOH RAH to all. Thank you so much

Lisa Bullis
Ga


Sgt.Grit

I am a Vietnam Marine veteran, I was in country only 7 months in 67 and was wounded for the 3rd and last time on Khe Sanh on 27 June 67. I am on the medical retired list rated at 60% disabled. I was with Alpha 1/26. My son just got back from Iraq in April. He is a Gunnery Sgt. with almost 18 yrs. in. His primary MOS is 0349 and he was there for Desert Storm also. Prior to going to Iraq he spent 4 yrs on recruiting duty. while in Iraq he learned the USMC was in need of recruiters and applied to go back to recruiting. He got his wish and was sent back to recruiting to the same station where he began, only now he is NCOIC of the Eau Claire Wisconsin station.

I just read your 100th newsletter, thank you for letting an old Marine talk a little bit about himself and about how proud this old Marine is of his son.

Semper Fi
Perry Whitten
Cpl.of Marines
1966-1968


Dear Sgt Grit,
I just wanted to say "thank you" for a year packed with items to show my pride in my son and all the other troops fighting to keep our country safe & free.

The bumper stickers, flags, caps, tee-shirts etc....have made it easy to let everyone know how proud our family is.

My son L.C.P.L Michael Guynes from Louisiana, recently returned home from Afghanistan and I would like to say to him as well as America Battalion, 3rd Bn 3rd Marines Co "Welcome home & job well done"
My son is so proud to serve his country.
Once again "thanks" and God Bless the U.S.A!


SGT GRIT,

I just retired from 23 years as a Special Agent with the NCIS. I spent the last four months of my career in Iraq with the MARINES. What an HONOR! I was working out of Al Taqaddum (TQ) and had the opportunity to travel to Al Asad, Blue Diamond, Junction City ( Ramadi) and Fallujah in support of the MARINES.

Being out of Washington State, I have to tell you I was seriously concerned about the future of the country before I went to Iraq.... if any of you have been in the Seattle, WA/Portland, OR area for a period of time you can understand. But not anymore...the MARINES, Sailors, Soldiers, Air Men and Guardsmen I met in Iraq are the future leaders of the country and we are in good hands.

During the time I was in Iraq I was not only with the MARINES but also supported units of the Navy, Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. NOT ONCE did I hear a single MARINE, Sailor, Soldier or Guardsman grouse about being called up... not one complaint about a bad foreign policy or an "exit strategy". We did talk about IEDs, death, lawn darts, freezing our butts of on convoy and family. I had the opportunity to laugh with some and cry over the loss of a friend with others...what a blessing...what an HONOR.

SEMPER FI!
Rick WILSON (SGT USMC 1970-1978)


Recently, I was married to a Marine. It was probably one of the proudest days of my life, not because I was getting married but knowing what sacrifices that the MAN I was marring had done. He served in the 1 Bn 3rd Marine division from June 98 to Dec 2003. I would also like to say to all, that being a Marine might be tough, but being a Marine wife is even more tough. I have had people tell me "sorry" when I mention that my husband is a Marine, my only response is that I wouldn't have it any other way.

S. Davis
PMW of CPL. Timothy Davis


Dear Sgt Grit,

I have received 3 of the newsletters now, and have not been able to get through one of them dry-eyed. The amount of feeling bursting through people's posts is amazing only in that we do not hear more of this kind of stuff in the news. In the latest newsletter there was a letter from a man whose wife, Debbie, had been a Marine and is now in Iraq as a civilian. That is awesome. He set up a really great website for her, too. I wish he had included an e-mail address either in his note or on the website. I work for the Navy, and our priority is supporting the war fighter. I know the work we do is important, but I really honor her for going over there and supporting the troops on site. Amazing.

I was in the Corps 20+ years ago. I enlisted for 6 years, but ended up staying in for only 22 months. I was discharged for being 8 pounds overweight. I had two COs look me dead in the eye and say "McKowen, I don't LIKE women in my Marine Corps". I wish I had been able to come up with a suitably pithy reply, but I was too scared at the time. I was very proud to be a Marine and did my job (2621 Manual Morse Code Intercept) to the best of my ability. It amazed me that they would want to throw away someone who wanted to be there and make it a career. When I processed out in Virginia, the guys working my case shook their heads that they'd "got another one" from my command, which had processed out several good people, rather than helping them achieve their goals. I felt like a failure, until a wonderful man, GySgt Oderlin, told me that as long as I did the best I could, I did not fail the Marine Corps, that my command had failed me. That helped immeasurably, though for a long time, I tried to forget or deny "my Marine-ness". I used to tell people that I was the world's only "ex-marine". It didn't work. Eventually, I realized the truth of "Once a Marine, Always a Marine". It somehow becomes part of your soul. I now proudly announce that I was in the Corps. I wear a new ball cap with the Marine Corps emblem on it, a friend has given me a beautiful gold filigree ring with the emblem on a red cabochon stone and I recently purchased some pins, shirts, earrings and car stickers from you. The sticker I like the best (and would love to see as a patch or pin for a hat) is "Fewer. Prouder. Women marines."

Among all the other great groups doing things for our troops (not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but wherever they are), is a group called Operation Gratitude. They are based in the San Fernando Valley in California and operate out of the National Guard Armory building. Their website is www.operationgratitude.com.

Allison McKowen


Sgt Grit

My name is Michael Conn Sgt Amtraks 1973 1981 recently I was in the airport in Dallas Texas and heard the announcement all -personal deporting for Iraq please assemble at the gate

I had seen a lot of soldiers walking around and thanked them some replied thank you back but I also heard you don't hear that very often to his buddies I offered to buy them a beer . As the plane pulled out I saw a few moms dads brothers sisters and girl friends watching needing too say thing I made a statement loud and clear moms dads sisters brothers girl friends t h a n k y o u for raising these H e r o e s never forget their sacrifices

Mike Conn Sgt
1973 1981


Dear Sgt. Grit

I just received your catalog. I just love it. I have ordered before. But more than that, I appreciate your email newsletters. They are very encouraging. My son is currently serving in Our Beloved Corps. He is a helo mechanic on the CH-53. He will be leaving for Iraq in Sept. My husband also served in the Marines. Operation Restore Hope. Thank you for your heart, and for serving our wonderful country as well.
Debbi Mills


Sgt. Grit, just finished reading your latest and as always, it was a great newsletter. I do want to disagree with Fred Ilgenfritz who wrote that he felt the school board did the right thing in denying permission for the young Marine to wear his Dress Blues at his high school graduation ceremony. Without that uniform or the uniforms of the other branches of the military, there would be no education as we know it. Earning the uniform of a United States Marine is a hard fought accomplishment from the depths of desire. As one of Sgt. Grit's readers so aptly put it a couple of months ago, being a United States Marine becomes imprinted on the soul forever.

Your premises are weak Mr. Ilgenfritz, the other kids have no clue as to what this young man has been through. I doubt it even occurs to most high schoolers that this young man has accomplished something that very few have ever done and that this accomplishment represents the United States of America. As such, this uniform outranks any cap and gown at any level of education. Almost everyone in the US has worn a high school cap and gown. Very few have the right to wear the uniform of a US Marine or for that matter, the uniform of any branch of the US military. A member of the military who graduates from any high school or institution of high learning should have the right to wear the dress uniform of his or her branch of the military at that graduation ceremony. It stands to remind all of us what this great nation is all about and how we came about. It isn't just words on paper that gave us the right to become a nation. It was hard fought deeds! These uniforms remind us that the world is not much different today. Words are words but the deeds that protect those words and keep them free are a matter of life and death to the individuals and nations who truly believe and support them. God Bless our troops!

Semper Fi

John J. Papietro
Former Cpl. of Marines


I want to encourage anyone who has a son, boyfriend, girlfriend, or any loved one in boot camp in San Diego California's Camp Pendleton to go to and buy the "Marine: Earning the Title" video.


DVD   |   VHS
I watched it with my boyfriend before he left for boot camp on June 5, 2004 and it showed us a lot of what his training would entail. It's a great video to watch. Good luck to my future Marine!
-Amber-


The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.
Woodrow Wilson


Thank you to all of our Marines serving in Iraq!!
My husband, after being honorably discharged from the Marines in 2000 is considering going back. Many of his family members are discouraging him because they do not want anything to happen to him. I, however, being the wife of a Marine I love and have two children with, would proudly stand behind any decision he makes. When we married he said that was the one thing that he wanted to do, fight for our country and freedom. We left military life to be closer to our families. After being detached for many years I honor him, in the face of what is happening, that he would like to face his goal in life and go to defend for our country's freedom. He would not be leaving any responsibility he has here in the dark (our son remembers him being a Marine and is still proud to say so), but gaining the sense of self that many Marines gain when they join and throughout their careers in the Corps. I respect anyone who believes that being in the military will lead them to be who they are when they return home and fighting to protect the lives of many who take what we have for granted in this country. God bless those who have family members over seas and thank you for supporting them while they are there. I hope they all return home safely.

J. Bero
Proud wife of Lcpl G. Bero


"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." -- Thomas Jefferson


I am a 39 yr old mother of a marine. My son PFC. Robert M. Wagner, graduated boot in San Diego. During graduation we had the pleasure of meeting Gen. Paxton. My son was given the Generals coin at that time. To see my son in uniform along with so many others, made me cry. I have so many people ask me why I let my son joining the military, let alone the Corps, during a time of war. I tell them that my son had a dream. Ever since he was 6 yrs old and went to MCAGCC and saw the men and women in uniform, he told me, "Mom, I want to be a Marine". His dream never left him from that day. So when he signed the papers to join, with me by his side, knowing that HE WILL GO TO IRAQ, all I could tell these people is that I would not want any other man or women standing by my sons side, if they did not want to be there. I know that my son is in good hands. And I support all military and always will. I would never disgrace my sons name or the Corps, by protesting a war that they will fight. I find it disgusting that so many don't support our troops, but have yellow ribbons on their cars. I say stand up and be vocal and let these men and women hear your voice, so that they know they will return home to an supportive country. May god bless all of them, My prayers and thoughts are with you always. Proud Mother of a United States Marine


"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." --John Adams


Sgt. Grit, My son is coming home from collage, that is payed for, fullypayed for! After one year and a lot of fun and good grades he told me it is time for him to carry on! he wants to come home and join the CORPS, just like his dad.
I was in from 81 to 89, I was med. discharged due to spinal injury in dec.87 in Cuba. Due to my being a disable vet. at 100 %, he and his brother have VA collage paid for! He said it was more important to be a marine at this time, then to wait for collage and ocs. He wanted to carry-on the family tradition! My hart is torn in to, should he finish school or through it away and go to the sand box,( we live at camp LeJeune), that's all he wanted to do is be a Marine like dad! my wife is proud and sad too! being a Marine is not the problem it's school, anyone with any helpful thoughts? I have all ways loved my time in and would never change a thing!!!! Even the pain I have now!! We know to many at the sand box, soo y'all stay low!!!

Sgt Ken "P" Patterson


The citizen who criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute. J. William Fulbright


Our 21 year old daughter was driving through a suburb of Milwaukee one evening without realizing that she had a headlight out until she was pulled over by a Police officer. He proceeded to ask her for her license saying he would have to give her a ticket. As she reached into the glove box to get her insurance and registration information he noticed the picture of our son, PFC Brian Guzzo, taped on her dashboard. He asked her who it was, she told him it was her younger brother. The officer than asked if he had been deployed yet, she said 'no' but he is preparing to go to Afghanistan as a machine gunner.

The officer then handed her license back to her and said that having a brother serve in a time of war was enough for anyone to have to think about and then he proceeded to just give her a warning.

Boy, was she surprised, she proceeded to call her brother stationed in Hawaii at the time and said, "thanks for getting me out of a ticket!"

Blessings,
Kathy
Proud M.O.M.


"One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our Founding Fathers used in the great struggle for independence." --Charles Beard


I am only a 16 year old student at West Feliciana high school and im a member of the NJROTC program im a senior chief and i am in command of bravo platoon. i just have to say that i had the chance to speak to one of the only surviving doctors from utah beach. The week before we had a man who survived the holocaust. These men were great. my uncle was in Lebanon his birthday is the day of the attack there. my great grandfather was in the navy my grandfathers were in the marine corps and air force during Korea. i have heard about every battle from the battle of the bulge to iwo jima. the men who fight in these conflicts are heroes. i believe that they demand respect. i have personally reprimanded a cadet who talked back to a man who spent 26 years of his life serving his country. how dare some little 14 year old kid insult a ma who was a master chief in the united states navy,and a man who spent 25 years in the corps. To some of these kids today do not have any idea what has been layed down so the they may have what they do. there are people who will mess with you when u have to wear your uniform but ill wear mine with pride knowing what great men im following in the footsteps in.

I would like to say thank you to all of those who have sacrificed their lives so i may live in freedom

sincerely:
C/SCPO Bryce Robert Kennedy
thank you


"Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." --Robert E. Lee


Sgt. Grit:

First my heart goes out to the family and friends of LCpl. Holly Charette and Cpl. Chad Powell confirmed murdered in Iraq today. Know they have reported to a much better duty station.

My question is since when has the press ever cared about the lives or the living condition of our fine troops. Unless it is to advance a political agenda. The news of a Marines death or the death of any of our nations finest comes hard weather it be in combat, training, or on a humanitarian mission. Weather by enemy fire or accident that news is always hard. The one thing that makes it semi bearable is knowing that that Marine sailor airman or solider died while defending his or her beliefs. The press will not mention that conviction though, because the devotion to ones country, to duty,honor,and the sacrifice to save another comrade is beyond their understanding or repulsive to them. Anything that brings credit or honor to our fine troops is either ignored perverted or buried on the back page.

Case in point. While this cowardly attack was taking place marines and soldiers from other units were raiding torture houses in Karbaila,doing what we do best, liberating the oppressed and giving them a fighting chance for the freedom which we hold so dear. But did this make headlines not here anyway this news was buried on the back pages along with stories about the freak Michael Jackson, and some new movie review out of Hollywood.

I appreciate the press acknowledging the sacrifice of our troops, weather its done with the respect they deserve or as more often than not out of some anti American driven agenda, because it allows those of who really care the opportunity to show it. But I would also appreciate them giving some credit where credit is due. If it weren't for those Marines, sailors, soldiers, and airmen, doing what we do they wouldn't be allowed to do what they do.... At least not in English.

So to the press show some d@mn gratitude sometime. To all our men and women in whatever uniform you wear thank you, continue to march, and God bless you and your families back home.

Semper fi.

LCpl. B.H. Fant
4th Bn 14th Mar 4th Mar. Div. 89-94
Presently deployed Opp. Enduring Freedom


This past Sunday before the 4th of July we were exchanging the peace in church. An older gentleman in the pew in front of me gave me a hardy handshake while he looked me straight in the eye. He then turned to another older gentlemen at the end of the pew and offered him the peace followed by Semper Fi which made my 4th of July!

Roger Walsh


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" Ben Franklin


To the teacher who thought her husband was not supposed to be there shame on her. He has been being payed for his weekend duties and signed an agreement to serve as his commander orders. My son is in the guard and when he was called to go to Iraq he told me this was his job and he knew what it meant when he signed on. He also told me he knew he would be home safe he was not sure why but he just knew he would.

To the Marine wife I want to thank her husband for serving and doing his job as well as he has, because if not for these men and women our guardsmen would have a lot harder time of it. I also want to thank her for her support because this allows her husband to do his job without the distractions of lack of support from home.I also want to applaud her composure and politeness I have no doubt she showed.

I not only have a son in the guard I have a daughter that is a Marine who would be appalled to here some one say that to me. So for all the families out there that have fathers, mothers, children, grandchildren, and in-laws serving our country now THANK-YOU and this is not nearly enough. D.V.MCELROY


Sgt Grit,
This is first newsletter I have read. Very nice, keep them coming! It gives me peace of mind to know that there Men and Women out there that still portray Dignity and Honor. It restores the hope for our nation that the media and the squeaky wheel population has trampled on. I loved your quote from Theodore Roosevelt--"We do not admire a man of timid peace." I would like to see it on one of your bumper stickers.

A big Thank You to all those who serve, past present and future from a civilian who is on your side.
Lee Sheek


I would like to say hello to a few friends I made on a trip I took to Camp Pendleton after my sons' death, also congrats on arriving home safely after your second tour in Iraq. This group of people are the members of HMLA-169 USMC.

Charles Harris, New Port Richey


Sgt. Grit,
I am the proud mother of Corporal Adam Semper, USMC currently stationed in Iraq. I have enjoyed your newsletter and the stories from all those "Marines"!
A quick Memorial Day story for all you Marines -- my husband and I were going to a store to get some flags for the parade we were going to be in and when we turned into the shopping mall there in front of us was this huge bus with "Marines" across it and very obviously (although in civilian clothing) a lot of Marines! We stopped and asked them where they were going and they told us they were the "Marine Band" and had just played in Chicago and were on their way to Detroit to play for Memorial Day. Our Marine is in Iraq and it was a hard weekend until we saw those guys! They really helped two parents not miss "their boy" so much! We couldn't be with Adam but we were with men that looked and talked like him! They were from Louisiana I believe! I tried talking them into being in our little community parade but they said they really couldn't but wouldn't that have been so awesome if they could have come!
I also wanted to share with your readership a project called Quilts of Valor that is providing for every wounded soldier in this war a quilt. The quilts are made by quilters all across the United States and quilted by longarm quilters. They are sent to Chaplains at military hospitals, where they are blessed and presented ceremoniously to wounded soldiers. I believe the current number of wounded soldiers is near 13,000. If anyone would like to know more about this program or contribute to it please go to www.quiltsforsoldiers.com Until our son became a Marine, I had no idea or understanding of what the Marine Corps means to this country and now to me. May God bless all of you for your service and sacrifice!
Sincerely,
Penny Semper


Sgt. Grit...

Hello...My name is Kelly Coyne. I have been a subscriber to your newsletter for about two years now. See, two years ago I fell in love with my fiancé' who is a United Sates Marine and ever since then I have learned the meaning of everything from "ooh rah" to "esprit de corps". My Carlos is a Lance Corporal and as I write this he is in his final days of training in Camp Lejeune scheduled to leave for Iraq on July 17th, my birthday. We got engaged in February shortly after he got his orders and the subsequent months were spent trying to do everything "one last time" before he shipped out on May 31st. I love the letters of pride and excitement that I read in your newsletter, but I am embarrassed to admit that although I am extremely proud, I am extremely terrified. He is deploying for nine months and he was gone a month yesterday and all I seem to see is the 8 months that loom ahead. I find myself crying at the smallest things and I get extremely defensive and mad when people insult our military or our President. I am proud of my Marine & all other Marines and I truly believe it's the best branch of the military there is. I'm new to the military family and I have the utmost respect for the men and women that stay behind while their significant others go & defend the freedom that we celebrate this Independence Day. I pray everyday for continued strength and courage, not just for me, but for my Marine. I am counting the days until his return and my Marine flag will fly out in front of my home alongside the American flag until he walks back through my door! God Bless and Semper Fi!

Kelly Coyne fiancé' of LCpl Carlos Martinez II, Headquarters Battery, NAS
JRB Fort Worth, TX


The first of earthly blessings, independence. Edward Gibbon


Again, Winston Churchill said it best in his first speech as prime minister before the House of Commons on May 13, 1940:

"You ask, What is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us..This is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."


Dear Sgt Grit
My name is Leila i consider myself one of the lucky few woman in the world. And what i mean from this is i come from a long line of marines. First off My grandfather was a 1st sergeant in the Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune NC were i grew up and my mother married my father a Marine stationed there as well. As the years went by i wanted to be a Marine myself but i met the love of my life my husband A marine also at Camp Lejeune with 2nd radio battalion i wasn't able to enjoy married life for very long before he was shipped off to Saudi in 90 and returned in 91 to see our daughter born. He was one of the lucky ones many other marines didn't get that joy and every day im grateful he came home safe to us. We recently lost his father a marine as well who was only 1 of 2 men to come home from Vietnam. My oldest daughter wants to be a Marine as well and every one in our home has something that says usmc on it. My husband says im more of a jarhead then he was and that is because i am very proud to know all the marines ive known and who i will always love.So when i hear someone says something negative about marines i get very angry because all marines are wonderful and im glad they are here to protect us every day.
Thank you God Bless the marines of yesterday, today and tomorrow we love you all.
Thanks usmc wife 1990 to always once a marines wife always a marines wife, daughter, granddaughter, and daughter in law.
Lcpl and Mrs. Pasbjerg 1990 to today and our 5 girls


Dear Sgt Grit,

My second oldest son was married July 9th. My oldest son, a Sgt in the Marine Corps, was the best man. My oldest son had been concerned about the speech/toast he had to give at the reception. He was coming from his graduation at OCS straight home for the wedding. When I picked him up he tells me that he had a LOT of time to think on all those humps and he knew what he was going to say. When it was time, he stood up with the microphone in his dress blues and spoke. Facing his brother and his new sister-in-law he spoke about the three things he learned in the Marine Corps, Honor, Courage and Commitment. He explained how the Corps teaches these values to all Marines and told his brother and his bride that this is how he wanted them to approach their life together. He said if they lived their life with these values they would be fine. He ended by saying that he had to become a Marine to learn these traits, but his brother was born with them. Needless to say , there was not a dry eye in the house! The room had become totally silent almost as soon as he started speaking so you could hear everyone kind of hold their breath as he said those last two lines. Just thought I would pass along to all the Marines who read your newsletter how far those Corps values go in real life and how deeply those teachings affect everyone the Marines come in contact with. Two hundred people had a small lesson that night. I like to think it will affect their lives and make a difference also. God Bless The USMC! Semper Fidelis to all the Marines out there protecting us. Stay safe and come home soon.
Jan Strand
Mom of Sgt Matt Smith, Brendan Smith, LCpl Ryan Smith, and Tim Jackson


So many terrorist
So little time


God Bless America!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit


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