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My son Cpl Tyler F. Slabey USMC....1st Tank Btn....M1A1 Headquarters Tank...Charlie Co...29 Palms....left for Iraq in January 2003...they were the tank battalion that went up the east side of the Euphrates...they made it to Baghdad and setup camp in the middle of town...they were surrounded by barbed wire and razor wire in a circle for the men and equipment. Ty had been saving up some goodies from home skittles, candy, cookies etc. They were in the camp for a week...one day a man and his son about 2-3 years old come up to Ty....Ty talked to the man (Iraqi) and gave him some of his stash. The man started to cry and couldn't stop thanking him...he and his son was all that was left of his family and they were so hungry. As the week went on everyday he would give the man food...especially his MRE's because they were so packed with calories....at one point the man fell to his knees crying....Ty hugged the man and Ty and the tanks left for southern Baghdad.
My son does not talk much about the war but once in a while he has something to say...my son is a very humble young man and did not tell the story to get praise he wanted to let me know about the conditions this man and others lived in. My son's story reduced me to tears and it still does....there are a lot of young men like my son who show acts of kindness to the Iraqi people...my son touched this man and his son's life with absolute kindness. My son is an amazing Son, Marine and human being.
Very proud mother of CORPORAL TYLER F. SLABEY
PS: If you preserve a persons life it is as if you saved the world.....
My son joined the Marine Corps September 13, 2002. He was ELS'd January 10, 2003, after a fall during the Crucible, when it was found he had a heart murmur. Gratefully, they allowed him to graduate as a PFC.
But he didn't give up.
He volunteered at the recruiting station in our home town, and when we moved to San Antonio, he volunteered here as well. He spent every weekday and most weekends, helping the poolies get ready for boot. He took them running in the mornings, or helped them work out a diet to slim down. He went to the local schools to demonstrate the exercises for the students. He even went to the mall to show off his skills and hand out t-shirts.
Finally, after several civilian doctor appointments and tests, he was allowed to re-enlist in the Marines December 12, 2003. He was promoted to LCpl. February 2, 2004, and shipped off to join his unit the very next day.
His dedication, his commitment to the Corps. well, it's made me want to be a better American.
Thanks to young men like my son who are able to instill the spirit of America and a profound sense of patriotism in people like me.
San Antonio, TX
I'm the proud wife of Lcpl Vessey, 3/5 Lima Company. I enjoy your newsletter so much. My husband is training and gearing up for his third deployment to Iraq and I'm a complete wreck inside. I try to be strong and not let my worries show through, but at times it really gets to be too much for me. That's when I'll read the stories and words of encouragement from so many people who are in the same situation or have been in the same situation before. This deployment is weighing heavier on our minds than the other two did. For one, the news reports break my heart. God bless those fine men and women and their families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It's also going to be harder because our three year old son will be old enough to wonder and ask questions about where his Daddy is. The thought of telling my precious son that his Daddy is in Iraq taking care of business and that he'll be home in seven to ten months is a lot more than I think I'm ready for. But with Sgt. Grit's newsletter I'll still be connected in a way to a strong support system that seems to be endless. And that gives me strength too. Please pray for our Heroes and think of them often. They truly are a rare kind of breed. Thanks again for such an open forum to get this all out. It helps IMMENSELY!
Proud Marine wife of Lcpl P. Vessey
3/5 Lima Co
Last year (2004) we attended the EGA and graduation ceremony of our grandson, L/Cpl Toby J Forrest, at Parris Island SC.
This year (2005) we attended yet another EGA and graduation ceremony. This time for our granddaughter PFC Andrea M Forrest.
This is the 1st time that I have attended these ceremonies since I "graduated" in 1949 at MCRD in "Dago".
The Senior Drill Instructor of our grand daughter's platoon (4014) established a line of communication wherein the parents and us grandparents could send letters of encouragement and inspiration to the recruits. Although the recruits could not answer our letters all of the letters we sent were read to the recruits,
Well I thought this would be fun to talk to our Andy and her platoon. What started out as fun letters turned into a way to let the recruits know that what they were learning will carry them through their career as Marines. Since I had their weekly schedule I tried to time my letters to coincide with what they were going into for the next week and the life in the Corps as I saw it.through the eyes of a Pfc during the Korean War.
And again where I thought I would write an occasional letter it became an obsession to the point that during the 12 weeks of her boot camp I posted some 50+ letters to these kids. I told them that as long as they wanted me to I would write about the only war I ever knew. I soon found out from the SDI that these letters were so well received that the kids anxiously awaited my letters. The SDI said she too was inspired and encouraged by the postings as it gave credence to all that she was trying to teach these girls.
I soon started signing my letters as Granpa Gunny. The SDI wrote to tell me that she had printed out each of my letters, put them in a book and labeled the cover as "Granpa Gunny's Motivational Book" for the recruits to read any time they wanted.
When we attended her graduation we were invited to visit her barracks. And there, to my amazement and honor was the Book on platoon 4014's Motivational table along with the three trophy's they had received including "Honor Platoon". And after the graduation the entire platoon met at the Iwo Memorial to have their pictures taken with "Granpa Gunny". I was in hog heaven!
And the moral to this story is:
I hope any of the drill instructors who read this will find out from S/Sgt Barnes how to open this EZ Board web site. The words of encouragement and inspiration to the recruits help them get through a rather traumatic ordeal and will help in the success of your platoon.
And to the parents, grandparents and kin folks of these recruits...write them.who knows you could be the next Granpa Gunny and be my replacement.
Being 75 years old I doubt that I have another ceremony in my future. That is 'til I make the final muster..heaven or h&ll.depends on which fork in the road I take.
But then again I do have a great-grand daughter. And if she steps forward to be "counted" you can bet your sweet ass that this old Marine will be on the parade deck even if they have to wheel me there on a gurney.
To the spirit of the Corps
"Saying 'the rules of the game are changing,' British Prime Minister Tony Blair has proposed tough new anti-terror measures that would deport clerics who preach hate, close their mosques, bar entry to Muslim radicals and shut bookstores and Web sites that promote murder and revolution. Mr. Blair's actions are long overdue and that's the problem. Some have been warning for many years not to let these hostile invaders into Europe and the United States, but they were labeled 'Islamophobes' and 'racists' by people whose objective was to keep the doors wide open, allowing more killers to come in."
- Columnist Cal Thomas
I really enjoy your newsletter. I would like to reinforce what many of you already know. How important your letters and care packages are to those serving in the military. My first pen pal was a young 20 yr old Marine. We chatted often prior to the war starting. We then went to e-mails, snail mail, and care packages. The day the war started I sent him a e-mail, not expecting a reply. Yet there it came back in a few hours, " Yes we will go get him." He sent me many touching e-mails and pictures. He was/is a only child and had a girlfriend. He could be very open with me as not to worry his family. I will always remember this young man (Nathan Discuillo) He is home now. We are no longer in touch, I know he bought that classic car and I'm sure went on to college. I now have 2 pen pals (army) I e-mail and write, and send goodies. There are many there who never get a letter or package. I ask them often to give me the name of someone, who receives nothing. This brings a smile to my face, when I mail a new package to such a person..
Granada Hills, Ca.
I really enjoy reading your newsletters and then send bits of them to my son who is a Machine Gunner serving with 2/3 Whiskey Co in Afghan. Thank you for all you do to encourage support to our Marines here and abroad; former, retired and active.
Proud M.O.M. PFC Brian
To Sgt. Paul J. Stammer Sr. I just wanted to give you a big THANK YOU! For the job you and other MARINES did for the USA back on Iwo Jima. My son is a Marine stationed on Okinawa . He is with 1st MAW . He had the opportunity to visit Iwo Jima on Feb. 17th 2005 . Two days before the anniversary . He told me that just being on the beach was very emotional. He said he could feel the pride of all the men that landed there 60 years before . He also said that standing there made him so proud to be a Marine and motivated him so much. He was able to get some sand from the beach and send it home to me. I have it in a special jar with all of my other Marine collectables that I have received from my son and other Marines and Sgt Grit. I have never served in the military, but I am so proud of my son and all the other Marines . So again I would like to say THANK YOU for giving the great opportunity to my son to be in a place so special like Iwo Jima. SEMPER FI
Proud father of Sgt Jonathan Hass
Dear Sgt Grit:
My high school buddy Sgt Jim Underwood and I decided after 50 years we would visit MCRD San Diego for a yellow footprint anniversary. As we left the San Diego Holiday Inn that morning to proceed over to the base we found a large note on Holiday Inn stationary under my windshield wiper no doubt triggered by my Sgt Grit stickers & American Legion/MCL Indiana license plate on my Jeep.
GOD BLESS THE USMC!
US Navy (Son of a Marine)
Sure set the tone that day for a fantastic visit we will always cherish and remember. Enough can't be said for the tireless efforts being put forth by the MCRD Training Co. and the outstanding young Marines and future fine citizens being turned out here who will forever uphold & benefit our country.
Sgt 1955-1959, 2/3/3 & 2/10/2
First let me say that the letter from x-marine Bret Ford about his experience in the Des Moines airport made me sit here and cry, but then i dont think i ever get your newsletter and finish it with dry eyes. My husband and i are blessed to say that our son from the 2/24, returned safely in April, but without 13 angels. As i watch the news everyday, it breaks my heart for the soldiers lost. I guess i hurt just alittle more for the Marines though...please send our love, respect, admiration, and strength to those families in Ohio of the 20 fallen Marines.....we are born and raised Midwesterners, and not only have we lost these men out of our Marine family, we feel we have lost some great men raised from great parents, with strong down to earth values, and that is a very big lose in this day and age...I can imagine the pain of their lose, but cannot even begin to understand how, other than by the grace of god, they get from day to day....this was what kept me from months of sleep while our son was away, so as a Marine Mom, i would just like all these families to know that they are not alone, we Marine families are there to help in anyway that we can....I pray for God to send them peace and strength and the courage to reach out for help, because there is no shame in needing others.....sometimes it just helps to talk.....I thank each and every Soldiers from every walk of life for their service to our country, and for protecting my right to be free. I am grateful for all those who are willing and able, past and present to give me that gift....please don't let the children forget why we have soldiers, why sometimes we need to go to war, why some of these brave men don't return. If we let all these values die, then we will end up being like the people that we are fighting against!!!!!!!
Lance Corp. Daniel Cysewski - weapons 2/24th
I am going to be very upset if Fonda doesn't make it to Dayton, Ohio. My dog has been making special gifts for her.
Sgt. M. Lotspaih
During the recent weeks the Marine Corps have suffered many losses due to the tragedy of war and in particular one Reserve unit from Ohio. One photo stands out in my mind more than any other and that is the photo of Melody Roop and Yvonne Brown standing amongst the waiting crowd for the funeral procession of Marine Lance Cpl Daniel N. Deyarmin Jr., in Tallmadge, Ohio. Melody Roop is the mother of Marine Lance Cpl Andrew Brownfield, who died on March 18, 2004, from wounds received during an enemy mortar attack at the Al Asad Airbase, Iraq. Melody was wearing a Marine Corps First to Fight t-shirt, jean shorts, and holding an American Flag, a Gold Star Mother's Flag and a photo of her son. Her sister, Yvonne Brown was holding a hand written sign that said We are praying for you. This family has suffered the same loss that the family of Army Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan. You see photos of Cindy Sheehan camping along side the road in Texas, placing white crosses in the ditch, and demanding to personally speak with President Bush and trying to hold him personally responsible for the death of her son, Casey. There is no loss that is greater to bear than the loss of a child. Cindy Sheehan has said that she did not support her son's decision to serve his country, something that he had wanted to do since he was a young boy. I personally feel that Cindy Sheehan is not honoring her son's memory in the way that she should.
Proud Marine Mom
Hey Sergeant Grit,
I am a former Marine Sergeant- 0311 Squad Leader and I learned from the Marines "Never Give up". I am a college professor and a secondary education teacher today. When I join the Corp in 1973 I was a high school dropout. Today, I set high standards for my students. Sergeant Grit ,I am dying of Bladder Cancer at 50 years of age! I believe I caught the Cancer in the Gulf War when I was in Operation Desert Storm with the 3rd Infantry Division . I tell my students, my children this, Life is a continuing boot camp and when life throws you a curve, loss of job, cancer , it is how you handle it that makes the difference in the quality of your life. I know I will lose my Bladder and I might die but I will continue on as a warrior to the end . Why? Because Marines NEVER GIVE UP ! I salute all Marines who have earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.
Sergeant Don Thompson-0311
"I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'." -Will Rogers
Thanks, Sgt Grit; another outstanding Newsletter! As a caregiver for my disabled parents, there have been many nights that I didn't think I could handle taking care of them anymore, as it is a lot of work. And it will be a lot of work for several years to come. But then I remember the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan, living in the worst conditions, day after day, and I am encouraged and inspired to continue on. -- Anson Rohr.
On the 22nd anniversary of my father's (USMC Korea) death, I write to thank you and all Marines for your service and sacrifices. To all other branches of service, thank you as well. To the many families who are bearing such devastating losses of your loved ones, the depth of your loss touches every Marine family so deeply. Each of your Marines takes a piece of us with them. And the intense pain that you feel touches our souls. The tremendous sacrifices that your Marines made and the sacrifices that you made to allow them to be Marines, is cherished to the fullest and will never be forgotten. Their spirit lives on inside the heart of every Marine and yours lives in the heart of every family member. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with you. May God send his angels to take care of you and help you bear this.
God bless each of you who are still serving. Thank you for continuing to do your job so admirably when you face all these devastating losses. And to the Marines who have to deliver such sad news, you are thought of and prayed for.
On Wednesday, August 3rd I woke up and turned on the television. What I heard stopped my heart and made my stomach fall to the floor. 14 Marines killed west of Baghdad. My first thought was of utter fear. My husband is a Marine with the 2/2, an infantryman stationed out of Fallujah right now. All I heard was a little 2 second headline. Then they went on to spend 15 minutes on the spacewalk. I didn't have a chance to stay and hear if they talked about the Marines that died. I went to school and was walking around in a daze, half in tears, and not sure if my husband was alive or not. I was able to get online and I found out that it was not my husband's unit, but I also thought about the wives and mothers of the Marines who did die that day. We hold down the home front and send letters and care packages for our loved ones in Iraq. We go on stoically with our daily duties; taking care of the children, working, paying the bills... while our husbands and sons fight for the freedom and safety of the Iraqi people. To give them the security and opportunities that we have at home. People ask me, "don't you want your husband to come home?" Of course I miss him, our kids miss him, but I know that it is his honor and duty to protect democracy and freedom for those who can not fight for themselves. It is a shame that the media and large-mouthed celebrities (Hanoi Jane) don't understand that. They live in their perfect little worlds, in their studios, with their expensive clothes and cars, while our soldiers fight overseas just to give an oppressed people the chance to have decent lives. It's a shame that more time isn't spent in the media supporting the military, instead of condemning 19 year old boys for shooting people who try to blow them up. I am proud of my Marine. May God Bless the men and women (of all the services) who are serving the will of democracy and freedom. Many don't understand, but those of us who have a family member "over there" do. We love you!
Marine Wife in SC
"Toughest Job in the Corps- Marine Wife"
"They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the some to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as 'children'." -Mark Steyn
I agree with Kent Draper and you, Sgt Grit. I floundered in college but after the Marine Corps and a tour in the Republic of South Viet Nam, I returned on a mission. Older and somewhat more hardened, I argued positions in my political science class which were the antithesis of the 60's, professors, but I gained their respect, if not agreement. Had it not been for the Marine Corps, I would still be floundering. Now I am teaching at the university I attended before entering the Marines! When you come home, get going on your education and put that experience, maturity and discipline to work for a better life. Jim Kanavy, CPL, S-2 HQ Company, 1st Marines, 1966-68, East Stroudsburg University, BA 1971, MA 1973.
Leaving college to join the USMC; not a bad choice but just remember Marines finish what they start.
Let me warn you getting your degree won't be as easy when you return home. While your ability to hold a bead on target will have improved considerably, your test taking skills and ability to concentrate on a boring text will have diminished with age. There will also be many other distractions. But if you really want to go to college after what you have seen and know you will find a motivation that you didn't know existed.
You will be older than most of the students attending class with you not only in years but also in wisdom and maturity. Don't spend a great deal of time wondering why you don't or trying to "fit in". You can change your appearance or grow your hair but being a Marine goes very deep. This time and energy is better spent with a book in hand.
You won't be invited to the parties on campus. The small talk is very different than that you had with your brothers in the Corps. With all your training, what you went through was frightening at times. Even after a few beers, it doesn't make for a good conversation with those who have only known the comfort and safety of their parent's home and school. Your close friends that you left behind may choose others to spend down time with. After all, you haven't been around for awhile. Remember your objective! Find a quite place, pick up a book and get the job done.
Addressing your instructors as 'Sir' may bring smiles from other students, but it will also bring admiration from those who have been there, and an acknowledgement of your experiences from those that matter. There are more people on campus than you think who had their undergraduate degree financed by the GI Bill. These people may offer you help and an insight into how to succeed. Accept their help, it is offered willingly out of appreciation and respect for what you already have accomplished.
They may simply be the best thing you have to wear when you slip on your desert/jungle boots on some cold winter morning, but in the eyes of some they will label you. Don't let it bother you, because to many others you look 10 feet tall. Every bit of those worn soles are paid for, wear them with pride.
If the task at hand seems overwhelming, remember the times when you thought there was a good chance you would never see the sunrise again. Take a deep breath, say a prayer for those that weren't as lucky, and carry on with a renewed dedication.
Be proud of what you accomplished, we are. Kent Draper
LCpl, Lima Company 3/1 69-71
University of Wisconsin-Milw 71-75
Several weeks ago, there was a letter regarding the American flag not being raised at the Georgetown CA post office. I also wrote a letter to the postmaster and got a reply from Clifford R Ramos this week. He had recently assumed the position as Postmaster of Georgetown. The issue was raised to all the postmasters in the district, over 400 post offices in Northern California. "We reminded each postmaster that the Post Office traditionally serves as the central hub in its community and is an established focal point of that community, particularly in small towns such as Georgetown, and no job could be greater than that of raising the flag each morning in front of their facility".
Since reading the original letter, I've also been watching to see that our local post office raises the flag every day. I'm also from a small town and since our post office is across the street from the Legion Hall, I'm sure there would be plenty of veterans with something to say if it were not displayed properly and proudly.
Proud Mom of PFC Steven
We have a team at work that mails "care packages" to Marines (and some soldiers) in Iraq. Our company pays the freight, provides packing materials, gives us a room to put things together and time from work to do the packing. But I just heard from my cousin who is a nurse at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City. They are getting in wounded Service Men and Women who are arriving with nothing. Their families are several states away and their kit is still in transit from Iraq or Afghanistan. The nurses are supplying tooth brushes, tooth paste, razors, combs, shampoo and other necessities out of their own pocket. We'll be sending items to my cousin, but would you consider contacting your local VA hospital to see they have similar needs that you could supply? Sample/Hotel/Travel sizes just fit the bill. Thank you and God bless you and your Marines.
Aunt of a Marine
Thank you to R.C. Knight for telling us about the anniversary coin. l immediately ordered 1 for my young Marine. His PDS is Quantico---HMX-1. l was blessed to attend his graduation from boot camp at MCRD-SAN DIEGO and bought the Golf co. coin while there. Would like to make a coin collection for him to display someday.
Additionally, l live in the Greater Cincinnati area and 5 of the Fallen Marines are from this area. It is true that when 1 Marine dies the entire Marine Corps family mourns, they are all our sons/daughters. l am thankful that my Marine is relatively safe, or so it appears, but l know he wanted to in the fight. l have tried to convince him that he is doing an equally as important job serving in HMX-1, the President's Squadron. l also told him that if all the Marines were deployed overseas who would protect us here at home. But, you know the heart of a Marine is to be in the fight. And yes my young Marine is my hero!
Thank you to all of you who are defending our right to live in Freedom.
VPMM of LCpl Mac
Sgt. Grit, Brothers and Sisters
This past week our community had the sad duty to say farewell to 20 of our finest Young men from a Marine reserve base (3/25) in Brookpark, Ohio.. The community turned out at a special memorial that was put together by our Mayor and many other politicians. There were (20,000) plus in attendance for this ceremony.
In Jan. I had the special honor to be part of a special Police escort that took these brave Men & Women to the airport as they prepared for departure to 29 palms for training, I felt so honored for this privilege.
During this ceremony (I was unable to attend as I was needed for department duty due to this ceremony) My wife whom is disabled went to the ceremony with my Son, As you can imagine there was very limited seating available, She was wearing one of my Marine t-shirts from our Viet-Nam Reunion. Looking hard for a seat (there were none) someone saw her shirt and asked "Are You a Viet-Nam Vet"? and she explained that while she was not, that her husband was, but could not be there tonight, they promptly told her that if her husband served so did she! and found a seat for her to sit in during the ceremony. While we had the sick sorry a protesters that show up for these events, they failed to even make a dent in the honored ceremony put forth for our fallen Marines.
I am proud to be a citizen of Brookpark Ohio, and am so proud to be part of our special brotherhood, however I would like to take this time to ask that anyone who reads this, that they take a moment to ask the Lord to watch over our families of these fallen hero's through this most difficult time, but more importantly in the months and years ahead they will really need our prayers. Thank You to all who came out and those that are here in thoughts and prayers...Semper-Fi and may God Bless America Ted Tube
Semper-Fi & God Bless America
I just finished reading the article penned by Cpl Pat Conell about going to college after leaving active duty from the "Corps" I retired from the Corps on l Jan 69 and promptly enrolled in the University of Memphis at Memphis Tn. I was 42 years old and am the father of three sons. I wanted to teach high school, so I went back to school. I taught in the Memphis City School System for 17 and one half years and loved every moment of it. But back to Cpl Conell, I don't know his/her age, but the insight to how other students relate to veterans is outstanding. I also found myself at odds with a few of the younger students "especially in child development" classes, however, I just felt that they were immature and had no previous experience what so ever in raising three healthy boys. The main point of the Cpl's letter as I interpreted it however, was don't give up, keep on going and do not let others deter you. I have 53 hours post Masters and loved every minute of it. Semper Fi.
GySgt Paul P. Anderson, USMC (Ret)
I am a Marine Mom from northeast Ohio...home of the 3/25.
The last week was a surreal experience for Marine families. The 3/25 suffered 20 casualties; The Marine Corps League held its national convention in Cleveland; there was a Marine Corps pride event featuring the Silent Drill Platoon and the Drum & Bugle Corps. I have never been so proud to be part of the Marine family...I have never cried so much in one week!
Although I didn't personally know any of the fallen Marines or their families, I attended three funerals this past week. I spoke with the parents and told them how much I admired their composure; I thanked them for their dignity with the media, not blaming the government, but saying how proud their sons were to be a Marine and how much they believed in what they were doing; I shared with them the understanding that once your child decides to become a Marine, there's nothing you can do about it...it's a "calling," much like clergy experience.
Our sons truly believe in what they're doing. They have seen the difference they are making to the Iraqi people. They know that if this war isn't fought on Iraqi soil, it will be waged here.
I am sickened by military parents like Cindy Sheean (an Army mom,) who is camped outside of Pres. Bush's Texas ranch. Does she realize how furious her son would be with her actions? Does she realize how disrespectful she is being to every other military parent, especially those who have lost their sons?
Words cannot express the emotional highs and lows of the past week. I have never known the level of pride I felt all week, being part of the Marine Corps family.
A Very Proud Marine Mom in Ohio
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to those who are serving in combat today. I'm an Air Force Captain instructing new officers on history, tactics and doctrine. I shared a story of my best friends son who is a Marine on his second tour in Iraq. He just lost he two best friends who also were on their second tour. We forget how some must cope and survive. We complain about our lives being so hard and we take them for granted. I hope the young men and women I teach will learn from this story and others I share. I pray that they will prove to have the courage and honor of those who have served past or present. God Bless!!!
Capt Thomas Piche, USAF
AKA Cpl Piche 1/6 Marines 87-91
"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives." -- John Adams
I just thought I would take the time and let you know how awesome and encouraging your News letter is. I'm a Senior in High School, and have been in the Delayed Entry program for a few months (RSS Jamestown). And constantly encounter people who try and discourage my choice of becoming a "Jar Head", but what do they know! Our last Pool function was this past Saturday, competing against 9 other RSS's from the Area. And it was so awesome to be surrounded by Marines, and those who, like me, are aspiring to become one of the few, and proud. I also had a chance to talk to a few WWII, and Vietnam Vets!!!! I can now honestly see why Marines refer to the Corps as a second family. Keep up the great work, and to those Marines who are and have protected our Blessed Nation... OOHRAH!!!
As a Marine mom it is very difficult to stay focused when your son is so very far from you. I just read the latest news letter and many give deep sympathy for the fallen Marines from Ohio. My heart bleeds for these young men and their families. My heart also bleeds for my son and his comrades who were with these guys. My sons unit was call for support from the air. The letter my son wrote from this night was very bone chilling. A letter letting me know my son will never be the same. One of those young men died in his arms. My son asked for me to pray for each and everyone of those guys from that night. I told him I pray for All of them everyday and night. So please everyone pray not only for their safety, but for their peace of mind. May God Bless each and everyone of them.
Proud Marine Mom with a saddened heart
"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."
- Ronald Reagan
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am sending you and email I sent to Fox News this morning, weighing in on "Today's Topic". (I had a little trouble trying to copy it to you, so I'll just do it this way)The question posed - Should Cindy Sheehan stay or go home? My reply: Cindy Sheehan needs to GO HOME! it's probably fortunate that her son is not alive to see her dishonoring his name, his memory and what HE CHOSE to stand for. He was a hero and a patriot who died to give people like her the freedom to spout off garbage in the name of freedom of speech. She is dishonoring the name and memory of not only her son, but mine and every soldier past and present, dead or alive. She is so misguided and full of hate and venom that she can't see what she is doing. Her pathetic attempt to weaken the resolve of this nation is just that, pathetic. We all need her to go home, especially our soldiers. My message to her: Except for ending slavery, fascism, nazism, and communism, war has never solved anything.(thank you Sgt. Grit for the quote) I, for one, am proud of our troops AND our President and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Sue,PROUD Mother of a Marine
P.S. Her website states that only mail supporting her will get to her. That's why I didn't write to her directly.
Education is the route to many goals, or just the broadening of one's horizons. Whether post secondary education is sought immediately after high school or four or more years after a stint in the Marines - it's still an education. Many of those writing in the news letter, #103, captured the experience of attending school after the Marines, but there is much to be said of going on to school before the Marines. It is an individual thing, but I can tell you with absolute certainty the ability to focus on a goal is changed by the Marine Corps experience.
Four years in the Corps and a tour of Vietnam pushed me through undergraduate school in 31/2 years, while working full time and through law school in four years while working full time. My wife and children learned to focus during this period as well. Thirteen years as a Judge is a testimony to The United States Marine Corps' influence on my life.
Get an education.
I have a son who is currently serving his second tour in Iraq. I pray for him and all those who are serving and their families. I pray for those who have lost loved ones. I pray for those who have been injured. I pray for our leaders and our county, leaders and people of other countries, for the people of Iraq. May we all remember those who have put aside their families, jobs, careers and future for the benefit of others. I pray that those in active duty will be able to do their jobs well, to protect themselves, one another and after they have done all they can that God will then watch over them. I know that those who have given their lives for others will be welcomed in heaven with Jesus' open arms. That the insurgents, terrorists, and suicide bombers will not be welcomed by Allah or v!rgins but only by Satan in h&ll (what a surprise they are in for). May we all pray as a nation and world so that evil can be overcome and united in our prayers may God hear and answer them. Remember IN GOD WE TRUST. Marine Mom S McLean
To all those wives, fiancÃ©s, and girlfriends that are taking care of their man overseas, I have to say Great Job. But when you out buying goodies to send to them, keep in mind that some of those guys over there don't have a good woman back home looking out for them. My Marine has been in the Corps for 14 years now, and I have been with him for 11 of them. Whether he was deployed on a simple Med cruise, or over in the sand box, I never sent him anything without sending enough for his buddies too. During his deployment in Afghanistan, he and all his tent mates received Christmas stockings, Valentine Boxes, and Easter Baskets...and I just didn't look out for them over the holidays either. My Marine took a little ribbing from the guys at him receiving this stuff and passing it out, but the day they all returned from Afghanistan, they came to me and said how much they appreciated what I had done for them. One day he opened a box he had received, while on duty in the duty hut and an officer noticed what he had received and what his tent mates also received, and made the remark that I must be the best wife in the Marine Corps, and if he (my husband) ever did me wrong, he would have him court marshaled. (HA). I know I am not the best wife in the Marine Corps, far from it...but I just wanted to pass on a little info to the other awesome wives out there. Keep up the great work.
SSGT Stewart's Wife
Thank you so much, Sgt. Grit, for your newsletter. I am the proud mother of an 18 year old Marine with the 1/2 out of Camp LeJeune who will deploy in November. He tells me he is going to defend what he believes in and is ready to go. I am scared to tears every day. Your newsletter helps us stay in touch with what is going on around the country and with other military families. It helps us feel closer to other families and to know we are not alone. I pray every day for the safe return of our troops, for the families who have lost their loved one and for the families who are scared every moment of every day for the safety of their loved one. Keep up the great work!!
Proud Marine Mom
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Well, the news this weekend has been all about a Cindy Sheehan camping out at the entrance to President Bush's' ranch in Crawford, TX demanding to meet with him and blaming him for the death of her Army son during the war on terror. I only have a few things to say about Ms. Sheehan. First and foremost, you can tell by her actions that she is not a proud MOM - Mother of a Marine! I have personally known MOMs who have lost their sons (and daughters) in combat and I have never, and I expect I will never, hear that MOM denigrate the memory of her loved ones by protesting against a conflict in which her son or daughter died. Sheehan's son died doing what he wanted to do - no one forced him to enlist in the Army (1st bad choice he made) but he also re-enlisted when his hitch was complete. She has no one to blame because her son did what his commander in chief wanted him to do - he knew all along what he was getting into when he joined up and he died a hero's death. To hear his mother degrade his memory is totally disgusting to me and should be to all veterans who answered their nation's call and served, some ultimately giving the final measure of devotion to this great land. To Ms. Sheehan, shut up, go home and thank God everyday that Marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors worldwide are defending your right to dishonor your son even in death! If you were a MOM, you would stand proud knowing that your son did what so many others don't, and that is serve this great country and preserve the rights and freedoms that we all hold so close to our hearts. So Ms. Sheehan, my sympathy to you for the loss of your son but I am ashamed that you choose to dishonor his memory when you protest against this country because he paid the ultimate price for doing exactly what he chose to do. To all you MOMs out there, Semper Fi and God Bless You All.
I am originally from Ohio. I enlisted right out of high school in 1973. Last week was a sad week in Ohio as the funerals for too many Marines were held again across Ohio. As that tragedy plays out, with scenes of crying mothers and other relatives at graveside services, I just can't believe at the same time Terrell Owens is trying to renegotiate his $49 mil contract in the second year.
We were taught honor and integrity in boot camp. A place Terrell Owens obviously has never been.
His actions disgust me and at the same time make me even more proud of our Marines and the sacrifices they and their families make every day. And they don't make them any where close to $49 mil.
Sgt USMC 1973-1979
Well I'm a new wife to the Marine Corps and I love it! Its like I'm in it I feel the pride and I just enjoy it so much I want to join, my husband is leaving to Iraq next month he's training right now in Twenty-nine Palms. You know I never thought it would be like this like I would be the one telling my husband to be careful out there. I'm always reading about mom's and wife's talking about how hard it is and you know what it is like they say being a Marine wife the hardest job in the Corps. I just appreciate my husband so much for all that he does and those other marines in Iraq right now for all that they do. "For the Marine wife's lets just pray our husband's come home safely" proud to be a Marine wife Annie Tiliano.
LCpl Gilbert Tiliano
5 Battalion 14th Marines
4Th Marine Division
Had to respond to Kent Draper's email (issue #103) regarding going back to school after serving a tour. Could not agree more to everything he said. I finished degrees at Fordham University (74 and 76) and another at St. John's University (01) after my tour of 65-69. Yep - doesn't matter what age you are. As to Ken's statement of "There are more people on campus than you think" - I'm still on a campus.
St. John's University
Staten Island Campus
Sgt of Marines
Proud father of Cpl. Shea, USMCR, presently on 2nd tour Iraq (civilian occupation - FDNY)
"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandment's would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."
- Ronald Reagan
Sgt. Grit. Just wanted to tell you that my bumper sticker (which is right next to my Marine Corps and VFW Sticker on the rear window of my Jeep, and which says First IRAQ and then France is still working and still getting rave reviews from all that get the opportunity to read it. Recently, one Gentleman and his wife all smiles pulled along side of me in his Mercedes, and shouted out to me that was the best d*mn bumper sticker he has seen in the last 59 years. He then yelled Semper Fi and drove off all smiles. I had thought about retiring the sticker but what the hey, it is still working and
with all the smiles and the few negativisms it gets I think I will leave it on there for awhile longer. Semper Fi.
What are the thoughts about what Cindy Sheehan is doing? Isn't it a disservice to her son's memory? I would think so. I do sympathize with her feelings, having lost her son but I know my son who is also a Marine would hate that I would drag his chosen life, not to mention the Marine Corps.
I salute Cpl Van Lue and the rest of our Marine Corps buddies. We're right behind you men.
Sgt J Pankratz USMC
I just wanted to share a really touching thing that happened to me yesterday. I was at a tire place yesterday getting some work done on my car. Well, while I was waiting for them to finish, one of the guys that worked on my car came out of the garage and walked up to me. He smiled and asked me if I was a Marine. (I have bumper stickers from your catalog on my car). I told him that I was not the Marine, but my boyfriend is in his last weeks of boot camp, and was going to be a Marine very shortly. He smiled and said "I served for 8 years. When you get to talk to him please tell him that I send my sincere thank you and tell him good luck, From one Marine to another." He shook my hand and walked away. I didn't get his name. All that mattered was that he is a former Marine who is proud of all his Marine brothers! That made me feel really proud of what our Marines do, and especially proud of my boyfriend!
He graduates this September 2nd in San Diego, California. I have heard that boot camp graduation is a great thing to watch. Who knows, maybe some of you will be there?
Proud Girlfriend of a soon-to-be Marine
Sgt Grit, I am the Proud mom of a US Marine currently deployed to Iraq. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the heroes my son is serving with and all the past heroes...I didn't quite appreciate the military until my son became a Marine, Thank you doesn't seem to be enough for all you do........
The great virtue in life is real courage, that knows how to face facts and live beyond them. DH Lawrence
This in response to Doc Miller. You're a good man who understands what it means to be a brother. But, never question the Big Guy whose running this joint. Your destiny was to be somewhere else and that's that. Your wife is an instrument in the fulfillment of your destiny and versa vica. We all could have been somewhere else to perform the miracle or to take a bullet for someone but that's not the way it works. We have all been honored to know men like these. Take that honor and make your life a celebration of theirs. But remember, you are here to live on and do something else. I'm sure your wife knows this too. The question is how and what.
Dick "Charley" Brown
Chu Lai 69/70
As so many of your readers have stated, you never know when you will meet another Marine. I work in a physician's office. The physician is a skilled hand surgeon who does traumatic hand reconstruction. One of our patients is a man in his mid-50's who always seemed in a hurry and less than friendly. The last time he was in, as he and I were in the process of making his next appointment, which would be around the second week in November, he stated that was a busy week as it was around (I thought he said) his birthday. I'm not sure why, but I turned to him and said, "Well, 10 Nov is an important date in our family, too." We then both said, "The Marine Corps birthday." After I stated my son was in the Corps, his eyes lit up and he started talking about his time in Viet Nam with recon. What a surprise to me. This quiet man became quite animated. We had to stop after a few minutes- other patients to see, but I won't forget how he had changed. I told him about this website; I hope he gets the opportunity to check it out. (Turns out his birthday really is in June.) Another Marine Mom learning to love the Corps I just have to mention-our small neighborhood now has five Marines serving, one Air Force and one Navy. Every neighborhood I go into in our town has at least one or two homes showing a family member is serving in the USMC- flags, stickers, etc. A new banner went up this past week, a new Marine coming home from basic training this weekend.
God Bless all those who served and are serving. God bless the families at home waiting for their loved ones. Our hearts and prayers are with you all.
Enjoy this auto reply to an email I sent....
hey i dont really care what you have to say cuz im getting my ass kicked in basic training for the United States Marine Corps.
After receiving your newsletter for some time, I finally took time to read all the Marine comments. After reading your current letter, I had tears in my eyes from many of the comments. I served in the Corps from 1957-60, spending time with the 3rd Marines on Okinawa. I lost a cousin on 23Mar45 on Iwo Jima. I certainly related to many of the old timers. Great contribution to the history of the Corps.
The Marine Corps of today is far better trained than my generation. They make me very proud and there is hardly a day I don't wear a Sgt. Grit ,USMC cap. I'm from Columbus, OH and we certainly have come face to face with the realities of war in the past month. We know family members of two of the Marines KIA and the reaction of local folks has been over whelming.
While I have had a excellent professional career and now retired, there has been nothing like the Marine Corps to influence my life. I will be buried as a United States Marine.
22Jul57 - 21Jul60
I was stationed at Pickel Meadows (at that time it was called Marine Corp Cold Weather Training Center MCCWTC) in 1960 and 1961. It is now called Marine Corp Mountain Warfare Training Center...I think. It was a great place to be stationed. We ran a Escape and Evasion course that a lot of pilots from the Navy and Marine Corp took. We also did mountain warfare training, but the primary function was to train Marines how to survive in extreme cold weather during winter months. Everyone I have ever met who was trained there were impressed at the quality of training and the facility. The reason for this letter is to see if there has ever been a reunion of permanent personnel who manned that base. If not what needs to be done to see if there is interest in having a reunion.
Cpl Mike Rice 1958 - 1962
My heart goes out to all Marines and their families. When a Marine is deployed or worse yet lost for any reason, it touches us all. For me, sitting back and just reading isn't enough so I offer this thought. I am a member of WMA (The Women Marines Association) and the MCL (Marine Corps League). Both groups are actively supporting our troops in Iraq. Specifically, the WMA sends approximately 200 "care packages" directly to service members in Iraq. Some of the recipients haven't received mail from family members or friends for any number of reasons. The care packages are a friendly smile from home and provide items that might be hard to obtain while deployed. We also send back packs filled with essentials to the hospital where wounded service members are taken. Often these service members arrive at the hospital with nothing but the clothes on their back. Again, the back packs are a well wish from home and filled with necessities. I guess participating in these groups and more specifically Operation Caring Friends gives me the opportunity to help our Marines in a way that I am able to. I don't feel helpless, I feel useful. Information about these associations and operations is easily found on the internet. I remember when I was on active duty, mail call was one of the highlights of my day during difficult times. A simple letter from home let me know that I was thought of and wished well. I can only imagine how special and important it is to our Marines in Iraq. With that said, I will continue to pack boxes until our Marines are home.
Cpl. Lori Robinson
1982 - 1987
Recently, I've read many books about Terrorism and the politics surrounding both the "left" and "right" wings of the varied arguments on how to deal with the enemies. I've learned some details about the Beirut attack that have disturbed me greatly. That event was an act of war, just like 9/11. Yet, it was not treated that way by the USMC, the administration, or the general public. I hope we have learned our lessons about being too passive as "peacekeepers". As the Mission of the Marine Corps Rifle Squad states: "...seek out and destroy the enemy by fire and close combat."
Donald W. McKay
Sgt. 81-85, 8531/5831
I would appreciate if the media would stop comparing Iraq with Vietnam. Its not the same - !!
Leave those who fought and for those families who lost there loved ones while serving in SOUTH EAST ASIA - ALONE. Its not fair to them and for us who survived.
Lieut. Gene Spanos
Sgt. USMC 66/71
Vietnam - Class of 68'
I just received my first news letter. I must say I was impressed. For years I didn't really say too much about my service time. I was a Corpsman who proudly served with the Marines. But in many ways we are the red headed stepchildren of Navy. Neither all Navy nor Marines but parts of both. Whenever I met another Navy vet and told him of my FMF service the usual response was "I'm sorry to hear that" not realizing that FMF duty (at least when I was in) was strictly volunteer. They thought of FMF service as a punishment. But my wife found out about the 1st Marine Division Association and suggested I join. I not only found the Marines were ready to welcome me but other Corpsmen who, like me were proud to serve as FMF Corpsmen. One of the reasons I became a FMF Corpsman is my father who, as a Marine fought in Korea and told me of a Corpsman who dragged him to safety when he was wounded and how that Corpsman later died trying to save another Marine. How can you not be proud of your service in company like that? So that is my thought but I also wanted to share with you something I wrote about some heroes who have gone un-noticed, the Marine wives. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to many more issues of your fine newsletter.
Luis M. De La Cruz
Some time ago I found myself sitting next to an elderly couple in a restaurant. We got to talking and he mentioned that he had been a Marine. Then his wife, proudly, said that her husband had been awarded a silver and bronze star in the Pacific Theater in WW II. I said that I was proud to be sitting next to a hero and he smiled, squeezed his wife's hand and said. "H&ll son, I had it easy. All I had to do was to fight the Japanese, she's the one who had it tough."
It got me thinking and I realized that in a way the gentleman was right. When we think of heroes we think of the Marine who stormed a machine gun nest or the Corpsman who died trying to save the life of a Marine but we never give a second thought to their wives. After all they're safe at home. But in many ways the women who marry a Marine are heroes themselves. They follow their men from duty station to duty station, up rooting their family at a moments notice, moving to new and very strange places, making some of the worst base housing into a home, having to say goodbye to friends and having to make new ones. When their husbands are away on deployment they are the father, the mother, the provider, the housekeeper, the disciplinarian, the referee, the comforter of the family, everything that a couple should be, they are by themselves. And to top it off they go to bed every night wondering if their husbands are all right, if they're safe, if they will come home or if she will get a visit from the Chaplin. Even in peace time accidents happen, men are killed or wounded. And yet the Marine wife, like her husband might not like the situation she is in but she makes the best of it, adapts and overcomes. She does the right thing because it is the right thing to do. And any Marine who is honest will readily admit that the only person tougher than they are, are their wives. How did one Staff Sergeant put it? A pretty velvet glove over a fist of iron or another Gunny who said of his wife, the heart of a Marine in much better-looking package. That Gunny also said that they also serve who sit home and wait. But it's not like they just sit at home doing nothing, like all Marines the wives take care of their own.
When the first Marines were sent to Iraq and many Marine families had to go on welfare because their husbands had to give up part time jobs they had to make ends meet my wife started a food drive at her work and had me start one at mine. She gathered so much food, diapers, household goods and other necessities that a large truck had to be rented and when we got to Camp Pendleton we were the third largest donation behind two radio stations and a church. Another woman at work who was married to a retired Marine and who had a active duty Marine son who had just been sent over started a care package drive and by the time she was done we had sent over 1,500 boxes with each box containing goodies for five to seven Marines. She even had her granddaughter's grade school class make thank you notes to the Marines to let them know that not only were they not forgotten but that their sacrifices were appreciated. And that is but a small sample of the things that Marine wives have done to support their husbands, the other Marine wives and those out in the field who might not have anyone to care about them. And like all Marines they come through and achieve the objective despite being poorly equipped. The motto "we who have done so much with so little are now qualified to do almost anything with nothing", that should have been the motto for the wives.
So next time we think of our heroes, lets take a moment and thank those heroes who will never get a medal pinned on them, will never have a parade in their honor, but who quietly did their part and so much more. So to all the Marine wives and the wives of FMF Navy Corpsmen and especi