Return to Archives

Pass It On...

Pass this newsletter on to anyone you feel would like it:
Send to a Friend Now

To submit your thoughts use

Update Your Subscription...

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the list.
Click here to UNSUBSCRIBE from the list.
...OR... email


Operation Enduring Freedom Mug

MP Collectible Coin

General's Salad Plate

USMC Pacific Theater of Operations

These items only for a limited time!
See all our Closeouts

My husband just returned from his second tour in Iraq this week with 4th Recon Bn, C. Co. out of San Antonio, TX. Welcome home Gunfighters! We are so proud of you and thank you for all that you do!

Kim Kovach
Wife of Sgt. Peter Kovach

Got Grit Shirt

By request - only until Nov. 13th
Got Grit t-shirts in OD Green or black.

Christmas Shirts Extended!

Our Christmas Bulldog shirts were so popular that we decided to extend the ordering window until Nov. 13th. If you had already ordered a Christmas shirt by 1 p.m. on Oct 31st, you'll still get your shirts by Thanksgiving.

Did you miss out on the State Bumper Stickers?

We ordered an extra or two for every state, so if you missed out on the state bumper stickers , check to see if we still have your state.....From Alabama Marine to Wyoming

Dear Sgt Grit,

The Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines is seeking to hear from WWII-era 3/25 veterans to assist the staff at Battalion HQ in Brook Park, Ohio with a memorial project that is currently underway. During the recent deployment to Iraq, 46 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen serving with the Battalion made the ultimate sacrifice to country and Corps. Our historical files show that 3/25 lost 200 during the battle for Iwo Jima, and an unknown number of additional losses in the other campaigns. We would like to put as many names to those numbers as possible. Anyone with any information on 3/25's WWII fallen heroes, please contact Maj Jenny Potter by email at Semper Fi and God bless! -- Maj Jenny Potter, 3/25 Public Affairs Officer, Brook Park, Ohio

Dear Sgt. Grit:

First and foremost - Thank you and all Marines for the outstanding job you have done and continue to do for this American and the USA.

I have been around the Marines all of my life. My father died a retired Marine and my Uncle died while he was doing his duty. He is my purpose for writing to you. He was a 17 yr. Veteran who died along with about 230 other Marines in the barracks blast in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. His name was Master Sgt. Matilde Hernandez, Jr. I remember my Uncle "Buddy" very fondly because he was one of the very best things in my childhood. He is why I so very much loved The Corp then as much as I do now. By his service he showed me honor, respect and so very much more. I didn't understand it all then, but I get it now. I only wish I had the chance to thank him not only for his service and commitment to his country but for my first motorcycle ride and being the coolest uncle a girl could have and simply for what he showed me of his beloved Marine Corp.

It is to him, you and all of the brave warriors both here and abroad, alive and gone - I say SEMPER FI - MARINES, SEMPER FI.

God Bless You,
Marcella Hernandez Grimes

"We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land-nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution." -Daniel Webster

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am forwarding the below letter from a friend of mine who took a job working with the military and is now in Iraq. He has been there for the past 10 months. I have found many of his "journal entries" to be enjoyable reading. This one, in particular, stands out as it references the Marines - in a good light, of course. I asked him if he minded if I forwarded it to you as it contains a bit of insight into the world of our Marines. Since he lives and works with Marines, I can't help but think that his insight is a bit better than those typically "on the outside, looking in".

Please feel free to post it (or parts, since it is somewhat long) as part of your weekly newsletter or in full on your website. He asked only that I "sanitize" it so as not to violate OPSEC and keep his identity confidential.

Jeff, father of Lcpl Jesse, USMC


Hello all! I am now a resident of Fallujah. As I have found, this is a very different place from Victory, and a very different world.

The Marines run Fallujah. Marines are different. Their way of life is different. More disciplined. More regimented. More austere. Harder.

I'm surrounded by dozens of them when I go to chow or to the Morale Center (the MWR). Especially at the MWR, it's mostly the youngest of the Marines in what must be the closest thing to a purely social gathering they'll experience here. Few NCOs and fewer officers, just them and their buds.

They're young men, mostly Privates, Lance Corporals and Corporals, between the ages of 18 and 22. They're slim and lean of build, yet muscular. Broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip, as Jimmy Dean would say. There are no chubby Marines here.

Almost to a man, they wear their hair high and tight: buzzed on the sides with just a close-cropped shock on top to give their Kevlar helmet a lightly padded resting place. A few shave their heads altogether but most wear the sidewalls.

Many have a white stripe on either side of their face, running between the eye and the ear, where their skin was shielded from the harsh Arabian sun by their sunglasses or dust goggles. All are clean shaven, though some don't look like they need it regularly. Some still haven't outgrown acne.

They're good, honest faces. When they look at you or speak to you, you sense that there is no nonsense about them; no guile in their manner. It's as if their life is too busy and their spare time too precious to fritter it away on anything but straightforwardness and candor. Their life here revolves around linear thinking and linear action, going straight from Point A to Point B. And their demeanor shows it.

Their behavior is more reserved than I've come to expect from a gathering of the same age group from any other service. No braggadocio and no trash talking. It's not that they're deathly grim, they're just not as boisterous as a typical group of American 20-year-olds. They're aware that their next appointment with fate is only a few hours and a few hundred yards away. And the only thing that keeps them alive tomorrow could well be that pimple-faced Marine sitting next to them.

In this setting you truly can sense the depth of their camaraderie; the respect among those who've shared a common, life-changing experience. They behave as if they were family, a brotherhood of baby-faced warriors.

The job of the Marines is different, which makes them different. They don't rely on all manner of 21st Century techno-wizardry, like the Army or Air Force. Sure, they have tanks and helicopters and night vision goggles and the like, but those do not form the core of the Marine's order of battle. To them, the perfect weapon is a gutsy Marine with a keen eye, a steady hand, and a rifle that shoots straight. These are serious people doing a deadly serious job. It's a difference they wear on their faces.

The Marines make this place different. Frivolous living takes away the edge; hard living makes hard men. They pay scant attention to creature comforts and don't "waste" precious assets on it. Why buy a billiard table for the Unit's rec room when you could spend the same dollars on another 20,000 rounds of 5.56 ammunition? Besides, anything necessary for living already was issued to them but the Corps. Officer and enlisted, their entire world packs away into just two duffle bags and a ruck sack.

Marines talk differently, too. It's a port, not a door, a deck not the floor and a head, not a toilet. Equipment or personal items aren't lost, they're adrift. It takes a bit of getting used to.

Most everything they do for recreation involves athletic competition (it enhances both fitness and Esprit de Corps). And the equipment list rarely is longer than a football and an open field or a volleyball and a net. It makes no difference that it's only a friendly game; they still play like their lives depended on it.

Here they fly the US flag. It always has been understood that Camp Victory was an Iraqi base, albeit with a large number of Americans residing on it. It would have been disrespectful to the "landlords" to fly an American flag there, so none were. The US flag was never flown on the installation where I lived in Honduras many moons ago, and for the same reason. There is no such concern for the host's sensibilities here. This was never a palatial compound. It was us -- the US -- who dislodged the terrorist vermin from this place and it is we who man this post. And here they fly Old Glory proudly.

Basically the entire camp is as safe as a typical police station. Camp Victory butts up against some outlying Baghdad neighborhoods so certain areas of the camp have locals living right outside the wall. And they sometimes toss "surprises" over that wall and into the compound.

Here at Camp Fallujah, on the other hand, the Marines have cleared back any semblance of vegetation or habitation for what seems like several hundred yards from the camp's outer wall. That cinderblock wall is pretty tall (I'm guessing 11 or 12 feet) and this place is so flat that there are very few spots where you can stand on the ground and see anything beyond it. Where you "can" see past the wall, the most apropos image I can think of to describe it is Hiroshima after the bomb. The ground is barren and strewn with destroyed vehicles, both civilian and military. There is nothing there but desert and rusted hulks, a barren and desolate monochrome brown as far as you can see.

Marines man the numerous guard towers and scan the surrounding wasteland for anything approaching the camp. Anything that appears in that no man's land and looks to be headed toward the wall automatically is presumed to be hostile and reduced to just another piece of the lifeless landscape. It's a very stark image but it also is reassuring to know that none of the bad guys can get anywhere close to here without incurring the wrath of the bulldogs of the USMC. They guard their homes fiercely.

The PX here is the smallest I've seen in Iraq. And come payday, the Marines descend on it like so many locusts. With that double-whammy, the shortages I've seen elsewhere are even more widespread here. When we first got here, they were out of practically all the items I needed to set up housekeeping in my new swingin' bachelor pad (aka "bunker").

I wanted a reading lamp to replace the one I'd abandoned when I left Camp Victory. The PX had the lamps but only 115 VAc light bulbs. The current here is 220VAc.

They were out of fly swatters. And brooms. And buckets. And mops, er swabs. And extension cords/power strips. But they did have an impressive selection of decorative Christmas lights.

When I moved in, my bunker... I mean my room... was filthy. There was dust a full quarter inch deep on the window sills. Not house dust but the brown stuff that passes for desert sand here. The walls and part of the ceiling were streaked with the same stuff. The room stank with the same earthen odor as a dust storm. Since this used to be a bath house, the obvious solution was just hose it down and swab it out. But the PX had no buckets. Or mops, er swabs. Or detergent (except liquid Dial hand soap).

It took us three days to find a mop and bucket that we could borrow from the Marines. Then it took my roommate and me a solid eight sweat-soaked hours to scrub the grime out of the room. We worked from top down, naturally, and by the time the floor had dried, there was dust settled on the window sills again.

Our site lead spends a lot of time trying to convince us it could be worse. If he's hoping to convince me, he's got quite a lot of ground yet to cover.

If you think the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the greater international war on terror, you need to come here and look around. This place was West Point for the Islamo-Fascist terrorist crowd. Saddam hosted training for all the major flavors of Muslim terrorism in this place, including Al Qa'aida, the Taliban and the PLO. The dormitories and some of the military-style training facilities (obstacle courses, etc.) still are there. Some of the things I have seen here send chills down my spine because they are undeniable proof of the unholy terror that was grown here to be exported to the rest of the world. I think I understand the revulsion that the Allied liberators of the Nazi concentration camps at the end of WWII must have felt.

Eventually I will post pictures that I think are conclusive enough to sway all but the Kool-Aid drinking anti-war crowd that Saddam was growing an infectious disease here to be loosed on the Western world in general and the US in particular. One photo in particular shows a dormitory wall painted with an Iraqi flag and a Palestinian flag waving over an American eagle, beside which is written in Arabic, "Death to America". That one shot pretty much says it all.If Chuckie Schumer or Cindy Sheehan or Teddy (hic!) Kennedy or any other of the anti-war moon bats were to come here, open their eyes and see what I've seen, they'd know better (thought I expect they'd never admit it).

Few Americans waking up on September 12, 2001 would have believed that just four years later the Taliban and Saddam Hussein would be gone, afghans and Iraqis would be lining with governments they elected, the Syrians would be forced out of Lebanon by angry Beirut voters, elections would have taken place on the West Bank after demise of Arafat, all U.S. troops would be out of Saudi Arabia, and political reform would be on the rise in the Gulf States. All without another terrorist attack on the United States.
Victor Davis Hanson
The American Enterprise
September 2005

Marine Corps Intelligence Association..............

The Marine Corps Intelligence Association is a non-profit, fraternal organization of Marine Corps regular, reserve, retired and honorably discharged Intelligence Marines, dedicated to the noble purpose of promoting fraternity, professionalism, and philanthropy. Two of the programs we sponsor are the Marine Corps Intelligence Educational Foundation and the S-2 Care Package Program. The Marine Corps Intelligence Educational Foundation, Inc supports academic excellence through scholarships, support the professional education of active duty and reserve Intelligence Marines and conduct historical research. The scholarship (presently $1500) is awarded annually to an eligible recipient. The S-2 Care Package Program supports our Intel Marines on deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations by sending phone cards, books, snacks, recreational games, and personal hygiene items to Marines serving in Intelligence sections fighting on the front lines to defeat terrorism and protect our freedoms. All donations are tax deductible.

Joseph "Top" Kuhn

Had to pass along this story,
I just received a new shirt from you, the "My kid fought in Iraq so your kid could party at college". The next weekend I wore my new shirt to the Texas state fair with my wife and 23 yr old daughter. We made the mistake of going on Texas, OU Saturday, yes it was a mess. Well I got lots of great comments on my shirt, until half time. My Daughter and I were in line to get a corndog and a cold beer when a young Texas Coed taps me on the shoulder. I turned and she asked "Just what dose your shirt mean". I said "can you read"? A little miffed she said YES, but "What is your intent". Well I explained that my son was now in Iraq, fighting for freedom, not just for the Iraqi people but for all of us, he was in College the year before and while others fought for freedom he sure had a good time, or at least his grade reflected that. I went on to say this was my way of tell everyone about him. and what he was doing for us all. As I turned back around she flipped her blond hair and said to her two boy friends " So what makes him so special". well before I could say a thing my petite little daughter jumps in her face nose to nose like a DI and barks " Because he is a U.S. Marine, not like the to wimps your with". And I thought Marine Moms were bad.

Rick Roark

Just wanted to drop a line to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletter, even though it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. You see my father passed away two years ago. He spent 20 years in the Marines, MSgt Bon W. Stalcup. When he was alive I would print out your newsletter every week and take it for him to read. It was the highlight of his week. He really enjoyed all of the old war stories and the new ones. I have just recently gotten internet again and one of the first things I did was to request your newsletter again.

I would like to tell you about the day he died. You see my father was ate up with cancer. We found out on May 23, 2003. He had it in the brain, skull, leg, arm, back and lung. My father was a proud man and lived a Marines life to the day he died. The day he passed was July 2, 2003. He had been undergoing radiation and was due to start chemo the next week. He knew that the next week we would have to call in hospice for additional health reasons. That morning, I walked in with my suitcase and said "I'm spending the night tonight." I normally did about twice a week. He went for radiation and came home. When his sister went to leave, he made her kiss him and told her he loved her. That afternoon my husband came over and daddy lost his first bit of hair. He looked at us and laughed with his gruff voice, the cancer had affected his vocal cords, and said "I'm shedding like a dog". My husband left and my mom went to lye down. I had just gotten her out of the hospital. My father and I talked about our plans for the 4th. I could tell he was real tired. He decided to go to bed. That night I had to help him get undressed, this killed me, for I knew how proud my dad had always been. I got him into the restroom and went to sit on the bed with my mother. I sat there and cried. I told her "I can't stand to see him this way". When he came back I helped get him in bed and left for him and my mother to be alone. She got his legs fixed like he liked them and he looked and her and said "I love you" she looked at him and told him she loved him too. With that, he laid his head down on his pillow and left us. He never struggled for a breath, he went so peacefully. As I have said before my father was a Marine to the day he died. PROUD. How blessed I was too have been by his side and see him go so peacefully.

He wanted a closed casket because he thought he wouldn't look like himself. Like the strong Marine all of our family had known. However, that was the only wish I didn't fulfill. For he looked like daddy. Marine Corps haircut and all. Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort sent over the honor guard. I can tell you there wasn't a dry eye in the house as they played "Taps" for the most dedicated Marine our family knew.

I feel as though he died with the honor of the Corps. God blessed us and him by not making him suffer, as so many others have. For God knew what a proud man my father had always been and let him die with dignity and grace. All of which was instilled in him by his many years in the Marine Corps.

With honor and love to the Marine in my life
Semper Fi Daddy
Cpl. Stephanie S. Ward
United States Marine Corps

Heaven has crowned all its other blessings, by giving a fairer opportunity for political happiness, than any other Nation has ever been favored with."
-George Washington

Sgt. Grit,

Every year since we were married in 1971, my husband and I did something special on the Marine Corps Birthday. He was in the marines for 6 years, then the Army for 3 years and then the Virginia National Guard for 4 more while attending nursing school and finally got out of the service when he became a full time ICU RN. He then went on to Medical School at 40 and became an MD.

However, on April 8, 2002 he died just 5 days before his 52nd birthday of a sudden heart attack and left me in shock of which I am slowly recovering as we were "buddies" as he said. He was a Sgt and went to VietNam via Okinawa and spent a lot of time in DaNang and was in a CAP unit. We were married in July 1971 and he wore his dress blues instead of a tux.

In Nov 2002 I wore a USMC T shirt and had Chinese lunch with my husband's spirit with me. In 2003 I drove up to the National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL and looked at all the headstones and American flags. It was for me a imitation Arlington Cemetery. We had lived in Arlington and Falls Church VA when he was stationed at Fort Myers in the Army in the late 70's.

Last year (2004) the bereavement group I meet with each month had a memorial service at the Hospice House in Dade City FL and it was on November 10th, so I wore a red USMC T shirt with a round emblem on the front because it was "the birthday". Another widower who was a Korean war veteran Marine saw it and we were Semper fi - ing each other. He is now a good buddy as he is a volunteer at the hospital where I am an RN.

This year I am not only going to return to the National Cemetery, but I will be wearing your Old Corps T shirt I purchased from your website and then I will again have a Chinese lunch with my husband's spirit. I will always celebrate this day, November 10th, because it is and will always be "our special birthday", even though his is 4/13/50 and mine is 12/15/48.

For my first Christmas after his death in 2002, my son gave me a very large musical box statute of the Iwo Jima statute which plays the Marine Corps Hymn. When I opened this gift, I cried so hard - not because I was sad - they were tears of joy and good feelings that my husband was with us at our son's house in Jacksonville for that Christmas celebration. It was the best gift I could ever have received. It graces space next to his flag box on a book case with a cup that says "Marine Wife, toughest job in the Corps" next to our wedding picture (he in dress blues) and also a Boyd's bear saluting the flag on the music box of Iwo.

You see my husband was in the 8th and I drum and bugle corps 2 years before going to Vietnam and did a lot of sunset parades at Iwo and Friday evening parades at the barracks, as well as processions at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, so all of these are a part of my memories and make me realize he is not gone here on earth, just playing the snare drum in Heaven. He also wrote a lot of the music for the snare line for the D&B over those years from 1967 to 1970.

Thanks for your newsletter, it just confirms what I already knew: Once a Marine, always a Marine. And I feel that goes for the wives, mothers, fathers, and other family members as well.

Semper Fi. Dee Mann, Zephyrhills, FL

Marine Corps Birthday, 10 November 2005

My husband, CDR James F. Armstrong USN, NC will be spending 10 November 2005 with his fellow Marines in Kuwait. He will be home soon...before Thanksgiving...but he has spent the past year taking care of "his Beloved Marines" in the Persian Gulf. Semper Fi Jim...glad you will be home soon!

Proud wife of CDR James F. Armstrong
USMC '69-'73
USN, NC '90--

We Marines will fight for the rights of our countrymen to believe as they like. That is what we do and we will never waver from such duty. That question should never be asked. The question to be asked is will they do the same for us? For the most part I would think yes but there are those who would not. It is to these people I say, do not fret we still got you covered. You see it is not really about you and it never will be. It's about doing what is right. It is about upholding principles and believing in these United States of America.

Semper Fi
Jerone A. Bowers

I'm not the type to post stuff on a newsletter or a website, but I feel like now's the time to start. Tomorrow will mark the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut where we lost 241 in one of the 1st acts of terrorism on this country. It was on that Sun Morning that I saw P.X. Kelly speak on the news. It was on that day that I decided I was going to join the Marine Corps. I had to wait for 5 1/2 years but I did. Served all my time in 2nd & 3rd Marine Div. Did a tour on the drill field before I got out. I recently joined our local Marine Corps League ( Det 970 ). Those men, that bond and sense of belonging have done more good for me than any dr or medication could. Once again, Marines take care of our own. We all need to look after these guys coming home now. They deserve it. Semper FI' & God Bless.

Robert Willis

90-99 0352/8511/8563

Sgt Grit, I think the below latest revised response from dated 10/21/05, 5:27pm best describes this whole issue.

Dear Mr. Bowman,
Our customer service team forwarded your inquiry to me so that I could review your entry and address your questions.

As our team members have already explained, we screen all entries for appropriate content prior to posting them online. We understand that those who are actively grieving are more sensitive than they typically would be, and we therefore train our staff to err on the side of caution when screening entries. One of our goals in screening entries is to prevent material that could be upsetting or offensive to anyone from appearing online. To meet this goal, one of the things we will not post is an entry that includes negative comments about any individual or group. While we certainly do not have a problem with an entry that includes the term "terrorist," we are unable to post entries that include disparaging or threatening comments about any individual or group.

We would be happy to post a revised version of your entry, removing the following lines:

"When the last terrorist is left standing, there will be a Marine staring him in the face, and he then will meet his maker."

May we not accept the woes of the few who would have us play turncoat and cut and run from our mission. We must not listen to those few, because to do so would dishonor the sacrifices mad by Carl and his brothers."

Please let us know if you would like this option, or if you have further questions.

Katie Falzone
Operations Manager

To Ashley Cooper, It takes more that just wanting to follow in the footsteps to be a Marine. Sometime, even having the title doesn't really make it true either. But, to do what's right each and every time no matter what hardship. Now that's what really makes a Marine. And I wish I was out there with all my Brothers to do what's right. But, my family and I know that we can all sleep well each and every night without fear. Because, the United States Marine Corps is always there.

Semper Fidelis

Ronald E. Barnard

Sgt. Grit,

It had been over three weeks since we had heard from our son, Nathan, and I figured it was because his unit was being used for what they have trained for. After scouring the web and finding several DoD press releases, I was able to confirm that. The sad part was that it was the most recent casualty release and I saw the names of two Brother Marines from 1st LAR who had just been killed, Lance Corporals Daniel Bubb and Chad Hildebrandt. Chad had been Nathan's roommate down at Las Flores.

We finally got a call from Nathan on 22 October. It was a relief, especially for mom, to hear our son's voice. He had just returned to the rear for a little sleep before going back out again for another extended period of time. Grit, our Marines are earning their combat pay and they're doing a fine job of continuing the glorious history of our Corps. The counter-insurgency operations along the Syrian border appear to be as intense as the ones in Nasarieh and Fallujah. There isn't a bank in the world that can hold enough money to pay a single Marine to do what they must do when called upon, but they do it anyway because they are Marines and that is what Marines do. Their actions in Iraq will be remembered, read, and studied by Marines another 230 years from now.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Chad and Daniel's family and trust that our gracious Lord will sustain them through this time.

Mike Damigo

"Man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."
Ronald Reagan

This story is only beginning...
I'm send the Corps a wonderful Birthday gift on November 7th 2005, "My' very own maggot.......John "Bubba" Antoine, my only son. Bubba is 21, lives in Long Island New York and is ready to go. His father, John has been out of the Corps for 33 years and is still very active in the Marine Corps League in Bayshore New York. So...this is only the first of many pages........... I will keep you posted from time to time.

Very proud..with a heavy heart. mom

victoria antoine

"It is too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is to be sustained. If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God. "

-- George Washington

I am a father of a Marine corporal and I am very proud of it. He served one tour in Iraq and is going back in January. He is with MLAH 269. Every time I hear about one of our boys loosing his or her life tears fill my eyes. I have stickers all over my truck and pictures of my son all over. Many people ask about the stickers and make very nice comments which make you feel very good that people still care about our troops. On the other hand I am very disappointed with our Township officials especially the Mayor. He made comment's on several Township meetings and to the newspapers on how hard he is trying to reach out to soldiers that are stationed in Iraq. My wife works for the Township and when my son came back from Iraq most of the coworkers sent their congratulations to her and how proud and happy they are that he is OK. Two local newspapers wrote an article about him but the Mayor never said anything to her or another employee regarding their son's service to our country. The Mayor and Township Committee receive copies of news articles and also are kept informed through his secretary and the Public Information Officer. He make's appearances at other functions that include publicity but he had difficulty to reach out across the hallway to my wife. It is sad that our officials use situation's like Iraq to make themselves look good and it hurts deeply especially when he didn't have to reach too far to find these soldiers. Shame on him and the whole Administration of Middletown Township, NJ.

Thank you
Mick Gasparik
Proud father of CPL Justin Gasparik

We had only been married about 5 years when I asked my wife if she would like to go to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. I had already been retired out on a disability from 'Nam, and had waited awhile to find the right Lady that could put up with me. It was a bit of a chance asking her, as I had kept things low profile about the "Brotherhood". She said "Yes" and it was on!

The night of the Ball, she had on a drop dead gorgeous formal ball gown, and I had on my best suit (make that read, my only one) with some of my miniature medals and Combat Aircrew wings. As we went around the corner towards the Ridpath Hotel ballroom, I stopped her and warned her that there would be something "in the air" and it wasn't mine! She asked "What do you mean?" I told her that the place would be permeated with something that you would have only at a Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Testosterone!

As we walked into the foyer, a low rumble came rolling down the hallway until it reached us as an outstanding OORAH! She stood there and all she could say was "What the h#$@ is that?" It was her initiation into mystique of the original Brotherhood! She said it sounded like a bunch of animals making threats at each other. After taking a few minutes to explain what it meant and where it came from, she still was a bit doubtful as to our sanity and lineage! By the time the evening was over she could even do a credible OORAH! Not that a few scotch and sodas helped any, hahaha.

By the time we got seated in the ballroom, she was utterly speechless looking at all the Old Corps men, and the New Corps men. All she could say was how young they looked. Weren't we all like that at one time? She was amazed at the presentation of the oldest and the youngest Marine, 82 years young and 18 years old. She couldn't believe anyone that old could stand so tall and proud as the two of them marched to the front to cut the cake.

She asked about the table with one place setting, and I told her that it was for the Marines that would never be able to ever again attend. It was the first time I had ever seen her with "something in her eye" as she put it; and when the "Missing Marine" ceremony was over everyone had "something in their eye". I have always stood a few inches taller when the Marine Hymn is played or sung, but by the second chorus my Lady was standing as tall as any other person in that room.

Later that evening she told me that she didn't notice any testosterone, just a lot of pride and closeness! Then she asked "Can we go next year?" She survived her first Birthday Ball and wanted more! OORAH! for my Lady!

We haven't missed one since, and the last couple I have had a hoot because I have been the only Marine there in a Marine Corps tartan kilt! Yes, we are the only service that has their own tartan! All the others use or borrow them from other clans. Fitting that ours is called "Leatherneck" tartan, too!

I found my calling in '63 with the United States Marine Corps, and now have a wife that understands what it means to be a Marine! By the way, that was 20 years ago, and she still puts up with me, and adores the Corps!

Happy Birthday Marines! Semper Fi!
Good Night, Chesty; where ever you are!
Bill "Willie" Wilson
'Nam '67-'68
Combat Aircrew Chief

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."

-- George Washington

I have a wonderful and one of a kind story! I met my husband at a Marine Corps Birthday Ball in 2003, in San Diego, CA. We actually have pics of the first night we met!! He proposed the night before the Ball in 2004 (he couldn't wait until the actual Ball, like he planned), and we married this year April 2005. Sadly, he was deployed to Iraq last month, and I miss him dearly. If my story sounds interesting, I can you many more details......


Dear Sgt Grit;

Thank you so much for the news letters. I makes my heart swell with pride every time I read one.

I was recently in the grocery store wearing my "My son is one of the Few , The Proud, A Marine" tee shirt when an older man who was handing out free samples of some thing ask where my so was. I told him he had recently returned from Iraq and is now at Camp Pendleton preparing for deployment after the first of the year back to Iraq. This person had to nerve to ask me why he was not doing something useful like going down to New Orleans to help clean up that mess. Needless to say it took me by surprise. However, I remembered a story someone sent to me about military person in CA. who was harassed by an eastern asian person asking why they were in Iraq blowing things up. This soldier told the eastern asian he was there to allow people like him to come to our country and speak their mind without fear of imprisonment. The other people standing around applauded the soldier for his remark.

I told the man who asked me about my son basically the same thing. My son is a Marine so people like you can ask stupid questions and we can ALL live in a free country and you can have the right to work and not worry about some blowing you up for asking your questions.

I walked away with tears in my eyes and he was left with his mouth standing wide open.

Linda Reeves
Mother of Captain Jacob S. Reeves, USMC

Sgt Grit,

Last year, my son attended the Marine Corp Birthday Ball at Quantico sans date after being stood up. I still can't understand any female standing up a Marine in his dress Blues, but, it happened. After the festivities were well underway, and my boy had consumed much "liquid courage", he spied a female that he thought he would like to ask to dance. After relating that to a nearby buddy, his buddy told him to just go ask her to dance. When he told him he didn't know how to dance, his friend said all he had to do was stand there and rub his crotch on her! My son said he could do that. ha Well, that must have been quite a sight, because the way she tells it, she held him up most of the time! At any rate, they started seeing each other every weekend, were married last April and will be welcoming a daughter on Nov. 14th this year.

You can't tell me that Marines don't know how to git r done! :)

Proud Marine Mom of LCpl Keith, Quantico, VA

This year my husband Sgt. Michael Stach Marine Reservist and I will be attending our first ball. The other day he made a comment that I'll be having a lot of eyes on me but he is the one that people should be looking in awe at. My husband had been attending college when he was deployed last year. We had only known each other for a short time but we both new that we wanted to be together so we had a quick wedding service before he left. When he came home not only did he have all the post stress to deal with but he left his college buddies, his corps buddies, his family and everything he knew to come live with me and my son so he can fix up my old house so we can try to sell it. My husband works a third shift security job, goes to college during the day fulltime, has redone the plumbing and electrical in our house and still finds time to be an active reservist. Next year at the age of 28 he will finally graduate college and go to OCS. During all this my husband has never stopped trying to be romantic; he is always concerned about my feelings and goes out of his way to make sure that I am happy. He truly is all that he can be everyday of his life. He fills out his dress blues just fine. He stands tall, proud and true and that is something to see. OOOrah! Baby I love you.

Proud to be a Marine wife,
Stacey Stach

"It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen." -Herodotus

Sgt Grit,
I am so happy and grateful to announce that we have our son back on U.S. soil after his second deployment to the sandbox. He will be home this weekend and I thank God every day for his safe return. Sadly not all of 1/6 "B" Co were present at this homecoming. There was a huge void where LCpl Klinger should have been. PFC Klinger, posthumously promoted to LCpl, died as a result of an explosion from an IED while conducting combat operations against enemy forces near Fallujah, Iraq. He joined the Marines in May 2004. He shipped out for Iraq on March 11, 2005 with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment from Camp Lejeune, N.C. There is so much I could say about Josh, like what a quite mild mannered Gentle Man he was. Or how he loved to make the guys laugh with his remarks coming out of the blue. But just knowing that he was a brother Marine should be enough for you to understand the terrible loss his family feels right now. I just want to let the Klinger Family know that he will not be forgotten. To those of us assoc in anyway to 1/6 B Co., Joshua Klinger will be "Forever in Our Hearts."

Another PMM

First, a hearty "Happy Birthday" to all my brother and sister Marines from the Birthplace of our Corps!!

Now is also the time of year when Marine Reserve units would be ramping up for the annual Toys for Tots program (sometimes affectionately known as "rubbish for rugrats"). Our fellow Marines are rather busy at the moment, so, in order to prove yet again to these Marines that we've got their "6" covered, I urge Marines and Marine families everywhere to contact the Toys for Tots Foundation, learn the name of the local coordinator, and volunteer in whatever way you can. While I await my invitation from the Commandant to put my boots back on, I'll do what I can here.

Semper Fi-

Tom McCourt
CPL - USMC, USMCR '80-'86
0311, 1 each...NSN: n/a

Well Sgt Grit,

You asked for memorable Birthday Ball stories. I am being escorted to my very FIRST Marine Corps Birthday Ball by my oldest son. He will also be part of the color guard for the evening. I am traveling to South Carolina for the event. I have always wanted to attend one, but my son had been stationed overseas. Next year I WILL have a memorable story to tell you!

Proud and very excited Marine Mom, Jan Strand

Any Marine, and their guests, who would like to come to a Marine Corps Birthday Party near Rice Lake/Chetek WI on 10 Nov 05 call the Indianhead Marines % Bob Olson 715-458-2272!

The other night , I heard a story told about a local sheriff's deputy whose National Guard unit had been called up. He was told he'd be deployed for 12 - 24 months, a tremendous amount of time away from his young family. The sentiment was that deployment was fine for the young guys, but at age 35 men should give up the 'game'.

Something sits wrong with this way of thinking to my mind, and I realized that I owed this soldier and his family a hearty thank you, because without experienced 35 year olds over there, my inexperienced 19 year old Marine would be without leadership.

So thank you to the thousands of dads in their prime of their lives who have been deployed to lead our younger men into battle. And thank you to the wives and children who have been left behind, your man is valuable in making sure that all those 19 year olds come home alive.

Marine Mom, Minnesota

"People who think that they don't owe anything to anybody should read David McCullough's outstanding new book '1776,' to see what h&ll other people went through to create the freedom that we enjoy and abuse today." -Thomas Sowell

My husband and I have a soon- to- be 21 year old son in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq for his second tour of duty. As all Marine parents are, we are so proud of our son, and ALL of the Marines and military men and women who are defending freedom here and abroad. I would like to say that the thing that hurts more than even having our son serving in Iraq, is the criticism of the war and the actions of the anti-war protestors who say things about our sons and daughters who are willing to give their very lives for the freedom for them to say the things that they say. When I saw the signs of the protestors at the rally I couldn't believe the disrespect to our President and to our soldiers. It reminds me of the bravery of those who served in Viet Nam and were not welcomed home. How hurt the parents of those soldiers must have been. It does make me cry when I think of it. I wish I could convey the hurt, and anger at times, that we feel against those

who will not support our efforts in the war on terrorism. We don't want our son there, but it is a necessary action to take against evil people who would love to destroy the United States and the freedom that we possess. Thanks for reading this and understanding the feelings that we deal with as our son serves in Iraq. Semper Fi! I know that is God's moto and was His moto even before the Marines started using it. We are very proud of our President and the work that is being done.

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of government is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of government, not the increase of it." -Woodrow Wilson

"The problem of terrorism has become an international concern that knows no boundaries-religious, racial, political, or national. Thousands of men, women, and children have died at the hands of terrorists in nations around the world, and the lives of many more have been blighted by the fear and grief that terrorist attacks have caused to peace-loving peoples... [B]rave soldiers [have] died defending our cherished ideals of freedom and peace. It is appropriate that we honor these men and all other victims of terrorism. Let us also offer our profound condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these unprovoked and contemptible acts of violence... I urge all Americans to take time to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made in the pursuit of peace and freedom." -Ronald Reagan

Gun Control
Hitting your target

If everyone could get it in
It wouldn't be the Marines

Welcome Home Marine!
God Bless America
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

New Items

Fallujah Warrior Signed Print

Proud Girlfriend of a Marine

Marine Corps Colors Silk Necktie

Jar Hedz T-Shirt

Semper Fidelis with Cross T-Shirt

Tons of New Window Graphics

See all the new stuff