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It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own. -Benjamin Franklin


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News From Camp Korean Village

Greetings!

It's been some time since I have sent a newsletter your way. I've been remiss in my correspondence to you. I resolve to do better. There has been a great deal of discussion about "timetables" for troop withdrawal and other policy questions concerning Iraq. I wrote a short piece for World Defense Review. Those of you interested in knowing my views on why we are in Iraq can read the article.

People ask whether the "negative" talk has an effect on our morale. While I certainly can't speak for everyone deployed here, I can tell you that what I observe may be an indication of the whole.

Our dining facility (used to be a "chow hall" years ago, you know) has two sides with one about one third the size of the other. Each side has a large television. The bigger of the two sides has Armed Forces Network sports, the other CNN.

The AFN sports side is always packed. The CNN side has the few news junkies and those who can't get a seat in the bigger side.

You're more likely to hear talk about college or pro football than to hear a discussion of whether we should stay the course in Iraq or withdraw. No one seems to care what the chattering class has to say and they're not affected one way or the other by those who rail against our involvement here.

It's been quiet here in our part of Iraq. The Shock Trauma Platoon has been busy with Christmas presents arriving for the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines here. Better that they are sorting through tins of Danish butter cookies than having to care for a wounded Marine.

Chief David Peterson has been doing a remarkable job in organizing and sorting out the hundreds of boxes from all over the States. He is sorting out the presents into six sections with each section going to a unit. Each unit has given a personnel roster to the Chief, so there will be an equitable distribution of presents.

We have a beautiful Christmas Tree complete with decorations that was sent to us by Scott Farrington of Indian Creek Nursery in Omaha. Thanks, Scott and your colleagues at Indian Creek. The tree is in what was in former times the chow hall. It looks great.

The Chaplain has been busy, too, putting up decorations. His biggest challenge is to get the fan working for his 8 foot inflatable plastic snow globe. The last time that I saw him he had a tech rep working on it. We'll accept it as miracle if he doesn't electrocute himself.

That's the latest from Korean Village.

Semper Fidelis!

Colonel John Folsom, USMCR
Forward Operating Base Camp Korean Village Ar Rutbah,Iraq


Hey Bossman, its been awhile. I have been all over the country these last few weeks, not even sure where I'm waking up these days. Everyone is gearing up for the elections, so sh!t is getting pretty tight around here. Not much to tell, they keep killing us and we keep killing them. Still lots of IED's all over the place. Interestingly enough, The army has asked us to start taking some of there convoys, because the enemy wont attack us directly. The army has a cut and run policy, so if the Hadjis start shooting at them they hit the gas and try and drive through the kill zone. We on the other hand when hit stop right on the spot dismount our vehicles get online and attack the f^*kers head on, till they are all dead. The Hadjis have started to notice the difference between the two.

I was traveling between base x and base x and ran into this fine gentleman while waiting for a helo. Good good man, very nice. Hope all is well with you and the family and I cannot wait to get home. Gunny Davis

Gunny Davis and fellow Marine OH yea, I was riding in a helo a few nights ago, which by the way was built in 1973 and this crew chief comes up to me and takes off his visor and its Ben Weir, a kid I put in about 5 years ago from BridgeCreek Oklahoma, we have him in the Grits Catalog, talk about a small Marine Corps.

God Bless brother.
S/F
Gunny D


Colby went in with the initial push. So he was in Kuwait in December until March when we went in to Iraq. He wrote and indicated he would be home by April, then June, then August. Finally, in September, he called from Kuwait to tell us he was out of Karbala and would be coming home within a few weeks.

Naturally, I was thrilled to hear from him, sobbed like a baby into a phone that had a terrible echo. With the time delay, I just kept talking over him and asking if he was eating, able to rest and all the things mom's want to know their 'babies' can do. When I look back at that, I laugh at myself. Of course he couldn't sleep and I'm sure the food was not too fantastic.

Anyway, he finally said 'Mom, da___ it, I don't have time for this s___. I'm ok and will be home soon. Love you.'

So it occurred to me that as a teenager he had much more patience than after having experienced his tour. I would never have thought I'd say that - at least as we were going through those teen years!

You really put things in perspective for me when you explained that everything he/our troops do while in combat has an affect on everything else and that time is crucial.

I've noticed his lack of patience now when he talks to his buddies on the phone (those that have not been in his shoes and are not military). He isn't rude, just doesn't bother with small stuff and makes it known that he feels that in itself is a waste of time.

Karen Schuenemann (proud Marine mom and Marine daughter)


I have just read your heartfelt e-mail with regards to the running of the Marine Corps Marathon. I too, run PROUDLY this marathon in the memory of my 20 year old brother who died 3 years ago in a tragic humvee accident. My brother was the youngest of 11 children and my brother's death nearly broke my mom's heart. My mom goes on and does so with pride for her family and most of all for her baby who gave his life for this country.

For years I had always been a casual runner who enjoyed the sport for the stress relief that it provided. Always running at the end of a work day but never doing any more than 5 miles-then the tragic accident of my brother. Running became a chore in which I could not do 1 mile without tears in my eyes-needless to say I did not get much running done. Then one day while I attempted yet another run and was just about to give up again when I decided I needed a goal with my brother's memory to be honored. I sprinted home and discovered the Marines have a Marathon-I then had my goal! I trained and trained and trained and come Marathon Day I was physically trained for my 26.2 mile run. What I was not prepared for was the emotional part of this run. There are Marines from mile 1 to mile 26.2 who are thanking me for running all the while I thank them for the great service to this country they give to us. It is an honor to run this marathon and even more so my pleasure to say 'Thank You' to as many Marines as I can along the way! I love to 'oorah" they chant to whole way, I love the service men and women who run fully dressed in uniform-all the while I want to strip down to nothing from being so hot, but what I love most of all is this is one little way to honor my brother and many men/women who have fallen before him. I have run other marathons since my first Marine Corps Marathon 3 years ago but I have run the Marine Corps Marathon each year since my brother's passing! I will continue to proudly run this marathon as long as my legs allow me to! Honor, Pride and Commitment is what the Marines are about and I have since learned unfortunately through a tragedy that it is not such a bad motto to live by!


Sgt. Grit,
First of all thank you for this forum that allows both Marines and Corpsman to have equal ground. Myself being an HM8427 Amphibious Recon Corpsman and veteran of Gulf war one as it now called. It is refreshing to find a place like this to read and share our thoughts and memories. I have noted that it seems Desert Storm like Korea in some respects is rapidly becoming a "Forgotten" War. I can personally attest that it was a war in the truest sense and many vets tend to compare his or her personal experience against another, and the point is you can't. Yes some of us have seen more combat action or experienced more in the way of warlike horror. I have a close friend who is a Vietnam era Marine but wasn't deployed and was stuck at Pendleton and feels shame for this. And in my way I told him what I tell all vets "Brother even if you had no trigger time you still showed up" . And to all my fellow Vets out there be they Marine or Corpsman, Army or Air Force It's not how much "Fruit Salad" is on your chest. It's the heart in that chest that had the bravery and self sacrifice to give when others wouldn't and to do so in times others would think are best forgotten. But we the few who stepped up whether it be as a special ops operator or REMF. Stand tall be proud we were there in the sands of the desert, standing watch at Gitmo, in the NTA on the Rock or on a female surgical ward in a Naval hospital waiting to go to a Marine regiment or embarked on a Gator at sea. No service is any prouder than the next and anyone who acts so probably is a liar anyway. I loved my Marines and joined the Navy to be a Corpsman with the Marines no other reason. I am proud of what I was and in my heart always will be, I am "Doc" and GySgt Wilbanks and Augeree and Sgt Harris your in my mind and Heart everyday. We all know that you never ever again have friends like the friends you had in service and for me at least it's true. I would of died for you then and I'd do it now brothers. God protect you in the "sand trap" where ever you are over there. Again thank you Sgt. Grit for letting us "Doc's" Have a home too.

HM2 D. Cavender FMF
DV/PJ 87-93 active
94-2000 Reserve


One night I was shopping at a store(walmarts) to pick up a few things before my daughter left to go to her combat training in North Carolina, I picked up a card to put in her bag for her to read it later on her journey to training, well I was feeling sad about her leaving me after the 3 months she had at boot camp and only 10 days home and off she is going again. Well a man behind me in line could see I was not happy and we started talking about my daughter in the marines. The kid at the register says to me 'Well she volunteered. I asked him how old he was and he said 23,well my daughter just graduated high school and boot camp at 18 and she is not working here at night, but saving your *ss.And if she didn't do what she did you would be called to serve our country. I think you should be thanking the men and women who serve our country so you don't have to. I left feeling very proud of my daughter for doing what she is doing.

I just thought I should share this with you and feel better for myself. I miss my daughter as if she is gone but I know this is something good for her.

VPM of PVT Holly Winglerv graduated Parris Island Nov.10,2005
Papa Company


Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq"??

Another mother asked Harry Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea"??

Another mother asked Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Why did son have to die at Iwo Jima"??

Another mother asked Woodrow Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France"??

Yet another mother asked Abraham Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg"??

And yet another mother asked George Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge"??

Then long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my son have to die on a cross outside Jerusalem"??

The answers to all these are similar: that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN


Sgt. Grit
Tom Lacovara wrote in the November news letter about his Drill Instructors. He said he was in Plt. 200 in '62. He mentioned one of his Drill Instructors was a Sgt. Handshumacker. I was in Plt. 245 in '61 and the third hat in our Plt. was Sgt. Handshumacker. We used to call him "the handyshoemaker". He transformed a bunch kids into Marines. He was the type of Marine that made you believe in yourself and keep on going when you didn't think you could. He never gave up on any of us in that platoon. He motivated us because he was motivated and he believed in what he was doing. I can't help but think how ironic it is that two people that have never met was influenced by the same person. It is indeed a small world, but then again we are all connected by the Brotherhood of Marines. The Sr. Drill Instructor of Plt. 245 was S/Sgt Welch and the second hat was S/Sgt Morris. Of the three, "the handyshoemaker" always has been an influence on the way I conducted myself as a Marine and it carried over in civilian life. Thanks for letting me ramble on and thank you Tom for stirring up some old memories. Love the news letter, Grit. I hope you know how much this news letter means to all of us.

Semper Fi
Rick Roderick
Plt 245 '61
1970471


Greetings once again Sgt. Grit:

On 10 Nov. 05 we celebrated the birthday of our glorious Marine Corps in our little town in New Jersey. It was a grand affair, a color guard of active duty Marines came and we did the finest adaptation of the actual USMC approved protocol suited to our circumstances (outside and in front of an American Legion post). Anyway, the only flack I got in organizing this affair was that it was the day before Veterans day so I answered that by inviting a contingent of each of the other armed forces to attend and we saluted them as well. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard all sent a representative with their flag. We got all the music together, wrote it into the protocol and also saluted the MIA's as well. The whole thing was awesome. We had a guest speaker who was in on the invasion of the Marshall Islands and Iwo Jima, His name is Captain Albert Martis and he is one great guy. Two newspapers showed up and one dropped us like a hot potato while the other one gave us front page reviews and a full pictorial review inside. Guess which paper we will buy in the future huh? Anyway, we had a hard time getting a Chaplain to attend, most didn't answer the phone messages and the one that "almost came" ended up telling me that he "hates military persons because they represent war and that is the bane of humanity" - Gee, I thought - man would I love to sit and argue a few points with this guy but I have other more important things to do. I wrote the invocation myself and delivered it as well. Printed below if you wish to include it in your newsletter.

PS: Anyone interested in seeing the pics of this celebration go to http://www.soundspinners.com/American%20Legion's/American_Album.html


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I would like to respond to the letter written by "PMM of a 2/5 Marine, #111 - December 1, 2005.

Like your son, I too wanted to make a career of the Marines. I served from Feb 1967 - Nov 1970. Due to injuries I received in Vietnam, my goal of being a lifetime Marine was cut short. I have missed it since the day I was discharged. I do not regret what happened to me, but I do regret not being able to fulfill my dreams.

Although a career is law enforcement is commendable, I do not believe that he will ever experience the feelings of respect, accomplishment and self pride, that he will as a Marine. Your son is right, just knowing that you have the right to put on that uniform each day, gives you a special feeling. You take pride in yourself, you respect yourself and you know that you are a member of the most elite group of men in the world. No matter where he goes, or what he chooses to do, he will always have a special bond with his brothers who have served before him.

I thank God every night for men like your son and you can be very proud of him.....as I know you are.

Semper Fi,
Joe D. Hill
Sgt, USMC 1967 - 1970


My son, LCpl, Richard J Hernandez is getting ready for his second deployment to Iraq. I am very proud of him and wear my Marine T-shirts as often as I can wherever I go. Several times people have stopped me and told me to thank my son for his service in the USMC.

God bless all our troops.
Proud marine mom in San Antonio, Tx


"What a colossal mistake it would be for America...to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory." -Sen. Joe Lieberman


PMM -- with tangible pride -- wrote in the #111 American Courage Newsletter that "Unless you are closely related to by family, friendship or a Marine yourself, you just don't get the difference do you?" She speaks about Marines, the transition they make, what they think, whether we understand.

My experience is different than hers, so I offer another view. I volunteer with the Marine Corps Family Support Community in Central Ohio. While Lima 3/25 is based here, we have Marines in multiple units deployed all over the world. We did our Care Package night in November to send off our Christmas packages. Our local major newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, has a fantastic kids section in the paper, and two days before Package Night, the Dispatch ran a section that featured United States military medals with two additional pages of letters from kids addressed to our warriors.

I contacted the paper to see if I could get some extras of that section to include with our packages, and I probably got about 70 entire newspapers donated to our Marines. We sent the whole paper, because it was the newspaper the day after the election, and our Marines could show the Iraqi people how Americans do elections. Not only that, but the staff of that newspaper section, with hardly any notice, prepared handwritten Christmas cards to accompany those papers.

I had sent a personal email of appreciation to the newspaper requesting the copies, and another well-read columnist in the paper saw that, and my letter was featured in the Sunday edition, where I invited people to add letters if they wished. To date I probably have 70-80 letters to add to our December mailings. They have come from a day-care center, two schools, a VFW aux, a boy scout troop and several seniors.

People out there do want to connect and they do want to understand and they do support what our kids are doing with all their heart. This same American Courage newsletter contains a link to Adopt a Marine, but basically the general public never sees that. I will see what I can do to publicize that link to the general public who also want to support our Marines.

Yes, I know more because I'm the father of a 4 year Marine. That has been a graduate level education. But there are a lot of civilians out there who understand they are not getting all the information, want to connect, and want to support.

I received an email from a Marine in Fallujah this week who receives one of our boxes. He is amazed at the packages and mail they receive from people who don't know them, that they have never met. Cpl. Timothy Sargent, USMC (H2 Bn 2nd Mar-Div) in his message to me of 11/29/05 says "This is definitely the example of the American culture, which supports my reasons for being here in the first place. I take great pride in seeing people band together, not only over here but back on the home front as well . . . If you happen to be in contact with the group in the future can you give them my heartfelt thanks? I thank you so much for your support, and we owe it to Dads like you for letting your sons go off to war."

Cpl. Sargent -- we owe to a lot of Moms, Brothers, Sisters, etc. as well.

I need to clean my office. It is just way too dusty in here.

Advice to readers of Sgt. Grit -- if you see a great link featured in one of the newsletters, or a special story -- send it to your local regional or suburban paper. I seriously doubt Sgt. Grit will hit you with a copyright violation. We are already connected here. There are a LOT of people out there who would like to be connected and to show their support. I want them to know about his catalog as well which is jammed full of ways people can show their pride.

Go tell a story. There are lots of them. And if you've never done that before, and want to walk it through with a Marine Dad, email me, call me.

This is Christmas. God Bless our Marines, and the millions of people around this planet who support them. Safe Journey.

s/f Dr. Dennis Benson
Proud Marine Dad


A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.-- Thomas Jefferson


You know it struck me last night as I watched a show on W.W. II about our war with Japan. Can you imagine the whining this generation of democrats would be doing back then. Particularly during the kamikaze attacks during IWO JIMA and Okinawa. "Oh my you can't win against this type of fanaticism, we need to set a time table, we need to "strategically redeploy our troops", you can never introduce democracy in a society like Japan, yatta, yatta, yatta".

You know the democrats are right about one thing, this is just like Viet Nam. They are pulling the rug from underneath the feet of our troops so that they can gain political power.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Goog
DaNang 69-70


Sgt. Grit,
This is an apology.... I graduated in '66, my friends had signed up and gone, all to the Corps, except one. I thought I would go too, but I had letters, seen the guys on leave and watched the news. I decided to sign up to fly in the Corps. I was a pilot, so I signed to go Marine Air, via the Navy to Pensacola. The recruiter said 'H&ll yes, ground air support is like the hand of God to Marines or Army on the ground...' That was 'it' for me. I could see myself in the films I saw on the news... 200' off the deck in a Sandy, or 111 or Phantom. Zips in the wire? I'll be there yesterday. I could have saved grunts, I know it. But I had to have a degree to fly. Why? I had no idea, and still don't. What does napalm or a chain gun have to do with basket weaving?

But I went to college and got it done... hated it. Reported in October of '71 or '72... don't remember. I trained only two months... passed everything. Then the news; In my first hour class my DI said: 'Stand by, the Pilot Pipeline is full (You are out...!). I signed for six, studied for four and was discharged in 90 days.... I was stunned... just stunned. Disappointed doesn't even come close. It was like being dropped off a bus in the middle of the desert, the bus... the dream...

was gone, and there was nothing as far as the eye could see. So, I apologize. Some other guy went in my place. It was MY WAR, and I didn't get there. The Marines I know say; 'Forget it man, you tried', or, 'You didn't miss nothin'... it ain't no thing, man.' Well, it was and still is to me. Every time I see an Insignia, a set of Blues, a USMC TV commercial, it all comes back. It's like being a deserter... in my mind.

Don't get me wrong... I never, ever whine. But I b!tch plenty... mostly because I was an idiot. The war in 'Nam was on 'then', and not going to wait for me. Dumb kid...!

I got my discharge and went home. Discharged in summer whites, still Navy, to go home to MN in December.... In the bar waiting for my girl to pick me up, I couldn't buy a drink. It seems like every older guy in the place ordered one for me. Good thing no one tried to spit on me, I was not in the mood. I married my girl and she gave me three sons, the middle one died before I could hold him, but the other two fine sons went on to join the Corps. So I live as a Marine Dad, reminders everywhere that my sons are Marines, but I am still not, and never will be. I will not have had the experience, I will never have this 'band of brothers' for my own. 'Semper Fi' is not my right. All of you who are Marines are truly 'one of the few'. I'm no fool, I know some gave all or suffered in some way, physically or mentally. But such is life, it has a cost, sometimes a terrible one. My oldest son '96-2000, came home and was hired by UPS, right off the street as a manager...first time ever, because he had been an active Marine Sgt. My youngest son joined up in '04 and is in AAV's, both have double bar crossed rifles. I am extremely proud of these boys, and I guess, envious.

To the guy who went in my place... I hope you came out OK and carry no 'baggage'. If you didn't come back, I would so much like to know your name. I'm sorry.

One last thing, being older now, I see this 'baggage' thing way too often. No matter what service, what war, you may have seen things, or done things or caused things to happen that weigh on you. They cause you to blame yourself and wake you up at night in a sweat. You have just got to let it go. It is the 'fog of war', the 'dogs of war'. You did not cause these...war and battle did. Mistakes are made, sometimes costly. Did you want them to happen? Of course not. Would you change them if you could? Certainly. It is over, things done are done. There is no time machine.... I talked to a old vet, in a wheelchair at a flag raising, he was pinching both eyes with his fingers to stop the tears. I asked if I could do something. He said no one can. Why? 'I killed two of my men in Korea.... Just a flank, they got 10 yards and a grenade'. Do you see? Go on with your life. Go to a quiet place and apologize if you need to, but let it go. If they were Marines or Soldiers, they would not blame you anyway. We all have our demons it seems, and there are all kinds. I have the right to forgive you, because you risked your life for mine... and you didn't even know me.

Just had to get all this off my chest. Take what you can from this and live as happy a life as you can, you earned it and paid for it. If I could, I would say 'Semper Fi'.

Through the looking glass, or the rear view mirror......

K. W., Father of Two Marines
Port Charlotte, FL


Sgt Grit,

Thought I would let you know what some very fine Americans are doing this Christmas. My Son is deployed in Iraq and will be there for the holidays. A friend and I have started Operation Recon (He's 1st Reconnaissance BN, B Company). Friends from Idaho, Utah, NV, CA, east, south, north, west coasts, I think we have each state covered are gathering items to make a memorable Christmas for his Unit and anyone else that can partake in our efforts for their Holidays. To name a few, we have 40 lbs of cinnamon sticky bun coffee, 3 large boxes of Doritos chips, homemade cookies.............the list goes on and this is work in progress. After the holidays, I will have all this info compiled. It's amazing what a couple people can start and get the ball rolling on. We're hoping to make a huge impact on their holidays and let them not forget that there are many people here thinking of them, praying for them and wanting to make a difference in each and every young man and women on the ground in Iraq this holiday. We're already talking of doing this every Christmas until we are out of Iraq.

Debbie Smith (A VERY proud Marine Mom)


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


Sgt. Grit;
Your Dec. news letter was outstanding keep them coming. In 1959 I joined the Corps It was something that I wanted to do every since I saw my uncles dress blues hanging in the closet, he is a retired Marine Gunny Sgt. Jack Guither server in Korea, man what a uniform!, after boot I was sent to sea school what a site I get a dress blue uniform, I served 2yrs on the USS Ranger Mar. Det. then two years at Camp Jejune, NC., after getting out of the corps in 63, Nam. was getting hot and heavy and the country was going down in a tail spin as far as patriotism was concerned, I was one that didn't say much about the fact that I had served in the Corps, at that time there was allot of bad feelings about service men and former service men, for years I felt this way. During a forth of July parade in the late 60's the American Legion passed in front of me and like most of the people I didn't even stand up, to this day I have regretted that stunt. I now have been a member of the American Legion in our town for over 40 years, for the past 5yrs I have been a member of the color guard, this past forth of July parade as I was caring the stars and strips people stood up and clapped as we passed by, this makes me one of the proudest Marines that has ever served, the color guard has 23 members 16 of witch attend almost all military funerals 6 are former Marines 4 Army, 3 Air Force, and 3 Navy, we have on the average 30 funerals a year. A friend of mine ask me one day why I wear a Marine Corps ring, My comment was, You wouldn't understand ! I am now D*mn proud of being a Marine and as the saying goes Once a Marine always a Marine! Good bless all the service men and women that are servicing past and present and those that are coming home with only half of a body. I think that we should stay the course in Iraq. but on the other hand hearing about the 11 Marines killed and 15 wounded last week makes me sick if there was only another way. God Bless Semper Fi !

Mike Rauner Cpl
USS Ranger Mar. Det. 59/61,
Camp Lejune, 62/63 L 3/Bat 2nd


"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people." - John Adams


Hi, Sgt. Grit,
Sitting here thinking of Christmas and knowing our son Daniel, a Lance Corporal, is spending his second one in Iraq. Today is really bad. I miss him terribly and pray for his and his fellow Marines' safety. It's a 'mommy moment' day. He is our youngest and this is his 3rd. Christmas away from home. It's hard. I work at the local state employment office. We had a veterans' service last month to honor veterans, past and present. My coworker told me to come and he'd do up a certificate for Daniel and we could walk up and get it. When they called Daniel's name, they spoke about Daniel being on his way to Iraq for his second deployment. Everyone stood and applauded and my husband and I were both fighting tears. I told Daniel that later on and he appreciated it. He said that he doesn't feel that people appreciate the job he does. He knows I do for I tell him that all the time. God bless our brave young Marines who are fighting to protect us. God help the ones who protest and can't appreciate these fine young people. They need to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to live, then maybe they'll appreciate what we have here. To all who will, please continue to pray for the safety of our Marines. There are no better people on earth. Wishing all the families who wait at home like we do a most blessed Christmas. There's a song that says "He is our peace, He is our peace" So appropriate here. I read a verse in my Bible that spoke of a mighty man of valor, so of course, I wrote and told Daniel that's what he and his fellow Marines are.

God bless .

Debbi Bell,
proud Marine mom of Lance Corporal Daniel T. Bell


I am not one who calls talk shows, or who responds to editorials.but.I could not take the disrespect hurled towards one of us. An article written by Sgt Noy regarding condemnation of the Honorable John P. Murtha, has increased my need to send this note. Col. Murtha, is a former Marine with 37 years of honorable service to his country and his Corp. A combat wounded Korean and Nam Vet with a much acclaimed history of bravery.

Congressman Murtha does not deserve this type of resentment. We, as Nam Vets has seen the disrespect hurled at hero's alike the Honorables John Kerry and John McCain. IT IS NOT DESERVING! How could a former Marine sign "Semper Fidelis"? I thought Semper Fi meant."always faithful"?

It might not be politically correct to go against our President's "Stay the Course", and most coward behind the coat- tails of the top brass. It takes a man, and usually a Marine, to step-up and be counted. You are out of line Mr. Noy. You do not know Col. Murtha. He is a man who stands hearty behind his men, and would never leave a man behind. Sometimes it takes real leadership to translate vision into reality.

In summary Mr. Noy, I totally disagree with your attitude towards Col. Murtha. He is a leader, a good man, and a great former Marine. I could only hope to achieve what he has EARNED.

Semper Fi

Wayne Mattis
USMC 63 to 68
Viet-Nam proud Vet


Let me see. When I play chess I always tell my opponent what my next few moves will be. When I watch football I notice the coaches are always letting the other coach know what the next play will be. When I play cards with my buddies I always them know what my cards are. At my job my boss is always asking me to call our competitor and let him know what our marketing strategy is. So.....in a life and death situation, like war, it is perfectly logical to let the enemy know what your next move will be. Why we see that info in this newsletter. I think every other story is a request from a returning warrior to let the terrorist know more about our operations.

What a crazy world we live in. We are just too protected and safe. We have lost contact with reality.

WMD


... I have at times asked myself, where do you all [U.S. Armed Forces] come from? How have you managed to cohere into the crack, disciplined, patriotic band of brothers I see before me this morning? Well, the answer's simple.

You come from the southwest and the northeast, from the Rockies and the Adirondacks, from the inner cities and the most remote of farms. You come from America, and you are America's pride. And on behalf of all America, I thank you and pray God that He may bless you now and forever." -Ronald Reagan


I thought this might help you with your copyright for website.
Take care and Semper Fi
BK

Excerpt from Snopes.com

This piece, which sees wide circulation every Christmastime, is generally credited to "a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan" (or, since 11 September 2001, "a Marine stationed in Afghanistan"). More specifically, the poem is often attributed to an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel named Bruce Lovely, who purportedly penned it on Christmas Eve 1993 while stationed in Korea (and saw it printed under his name in the Ft. Leavenworth Lamp a few years later): I arrived in Korea in Jul 93 and was extremely impressed with the commitment of the soldiers I worked with and those that were prepared to give their lives to maintain the freedom of South Korea. To honor them, I wrote the poem and went around on Christmas Eve and put it under the doors of US soldiers assigned to Yongsan. This attribution does a great disservice to the poem's true author, James M. Schmidt, who was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., when he wrote the poem back in 1986. As Corporal Schmidt told us in December 2002: The true story is that while a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, DC, under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers [in 1986], I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine. Schmidt's original version, entitled "Merry Christmas, My Friend," was published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991, a full two years before it was supposedly "written" by someone else on Christmas Eve 1993 (and had appeared in the Barracks publication Pass in Review four years before it was printed in Leatherneck).

As Leatherneck wrote of the poem's author in 2003: "Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been a holiday favorite among "leatherneckphiles" for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when. Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer's Christmas holiday decorations inspection . . . while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks' annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section. Over the years the text of "Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been altered to change Marine-specific wording into Army references (including the title: U.S. Marines do not refer to themselves as "soldiers") and to incorporate line-ending rhyme changes necessitated by those alterations.

We reproduce below Corporal Schmidt's version as printed in Leatherneck back in 1991: Merry Christmas, My Friend

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

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

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand. On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind, a sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen. This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more, so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door. And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone, Curled up on the floor in his one- bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene, Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I'd just read? Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. I soon understood, this was more than a man. For I realized the families that I saw that night, owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play, And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year, because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home. Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye. I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice, "Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more. My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep, I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still. I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill. So I took off my jacket, the one made of red, and covered this Marine from his toes to his head. Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold, with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold. And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride, and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight. But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure, said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure." One look at my watch and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

After leaving the Corps, Corporal Schmidt earned a law degree and now serves as an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles and is director of operations for a security consulting firm.


Sgt. Grit,
Just found another Marine that a few of us served with some 35 years ago that lives in Wisconsin. We were in the CAC/CAP program that deactivated the last CAP's in 1971. Found our Sgt. in charge a couple years ago in Montana, and also found and went to see another Marine from 4-1-2 in Great Falls, Mt. last year. He (Gary) and I became fast friends when (at 4th CAG at CAP 4-1-2) he told me that he had graduated from High School, and a buddy and he had made it as far as Harrisburg, Oregon before running out of money, and had to stop and work for awhile. The 4th 4-1-2 Marine that we have found. Slim was his nickname, and Italian was he. His Mother and Father kept Slim fed; his fellow Marines too. Spaghetti, and sausages... cheese? Name it. Mama san had the pots, Slim cooked and we ate it. Don't think there was a Jersey or New York outfit that could have outdone that sleepy little CAP member or the others there of our Corps.

Semper Fi,
Dale


Hi Sgt. Grit,
My son graduated from high school in June of 99' and was at Paris Island, in July of the same year. Needless to say, the whirlwind of emotions I was experiencing, have stayed with me for the past 6 years that he has been a Marine. He has always wanted to be a Marine for as long as I can remember. He exemplifies the very meaning of being a Marine. I see it in his eyes, his voice, and in his spirit. It is who he is, it is the career he has chosen. I am bursting with pride, and I have the utmost of respect and honor for my son. On March 2nd, 2005, he called me, and said "mom, I am on my way over there" There being Iraq. The tears came freely for the rest of the day. The next several months of my life would be put on hold, nothing mattered The phone call came as no surprise, for I knew his unit was being deployed. My maternal instincts just wanted to hold him, and never let him go. I was not ready, but my son was. He was ready emotionally, physically, and he was focused on the job at hand. He had trust, and faith , not only in himself, but in those serving with him. I can understand why elite, and Marine are used together. On October 6th, 2005, I welcomed home a man, a Marine, my son. Words cannot explain what I was feeling that day. As the xmas, and new year holiday draw closer and closer, I am very lucky to have him home. I want to send a special thank you to all the families, who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I pray for all of you, and I embrace the spirit of your loved ones. I applaud, and salute you all. May the new year bring a comforting peace, for all Marines past and present will never be forgotten.

Semper Fi, and God bless.
A very proud MOM
Janet Hairston


Sgt. Grit,

Hello to my Marine Corps family! I have felt nothing but support through this whole year from you all. It's such a refreshing feeling to get this newsletter and read about the Marine Corps family.

My husband has been on his second deployment since September. He is doing well and has sent me pics. I just want to say how proud of him I am and how proud I am of all the Marines that have given their all to make sure we are safe. None can ever really know what our boys go through. I am anxiously awaiting my husband's return and will be so happy to let you guys know when he is home. Thank You for everything you have done to make me feel part of the family.

Love to you all,
Elizabeth Goldschmidt


I arrived at work and took the line. As I usually do I look up at the American flag waving in the breeze. Instead of flying proudly from the top it was drooping down almost to where the lanyard is tied. My blood pressure immediately surged. It was assuaged somewhat by being reminded it was in commemoration of Pearl Harbor. However, as usual, the non-military maggots who handle that beacon of liberty didn't know where half mast was. I stopped traffic in my lane, walked over to the pedestrian lane and hauled it up to the correct level. It immediately began blowing freely. I work on the U.S./Mexican border. I work in an area where most people don't think of 9/11 as happening to them because they don't think of themselves as Americans first. I signed up for the Marines out of high school in '69. Platoon 1084 at Parris Island. After a very short tour in the RVN, I attended college and grad school thanks to Uncle Sam. I bought my first home with his help. I later entered the Army and served in Africa (including the "Mog") and Central America. When I hired on here I was told almost immediately to "Quit thinking of myself as STILL defending YOUR country!" I told them it would have to get a LOT colder in Arizona before I did that. Back to Dec. 7th, shortly after restoring the flag, a Resident Alien entered my country from Mexico. He has worn T shirts of Che Guevara before. This time he had a large picture of Che on his truck's rear window. I asked him if he knew Che was Castro's right hand man. He did. I asked him if he knew Che was in charge of La Cabana prison where hundreds of innocent people were murdered by Che. He said he did. I asked him if he knew that Che was a communist and actively advocated the violent overthrow of the United States. He arrogantly said "Sure". I asked if HE believed or supported that same policy. This maggot, a guest of the United States, said, "Sure, but I have my rights!". Well I took him inside and, after explaining to management WHO Che Guevara was and why this guy was a potential threat to the United States, he was put under oath and interviewed. Of course, he realized how his mouth had overloaded his *ss by this time so he lied under oath. My statement and his went higher for a judge to determine. I don't hold out much hope this maggot will be deported but I will NEVER tolerate disrespect for this country.

Still Leaning Forward in the Foxhole,
Mike Ligon


Sgt. Grit,

You've done it again ! The newsletter of 8 December captures once again the meaning of what it is to be a Marine. Our Corps is unique because of it's people, the training they receive, the spirit they have inherited from countless Marines who have gone before them. Keep up the great work, keep attacking!

P.C. Callahan
L/Cpl. USMC, 1961-1966


Sgt Grit:

I would like to run the following information in your newsletter:

The Marine Corps Recruiting Association, Inc. is still looking for active duty recruiters, retired recruiters, former recruiters and Marines associated with recruiting to join our ranks. Our mission is to support the Recruiting Service and promote the Marine Crops. Please go to our website www.marinerecruitingassoc.org for more information. Our second Conference/Reunion will be in beautiful Albuquerque, NM 17-20 May 2006. Contact President Dan JOHNSON, 4112 Driscoll Dr., The Colony, TX 75056-3014 phone: 972 625-0720 E mail dandodie@earthlink.com or Secretary/Treasurer Jim SIMMONS, 1705 N. Main, Nevada, MO 64772-1137 phone: 417 549-6391 E mail jimandsally@sofnet.com. WE NEED YOUR MEMBERSHIP! Dues are $25.00 per year, comes with a nice logo patch and an ID Card.
Semper Fidelis
Jim SIMMONS
Secretary/Treasurer
Marine Corps Recruiting Association, Inc


Sgt. Grit...
As a friend of Ralph Willis' who wrote MY LIFE AS A JARHEAD, I feel I must make the clear point that the book of this Iwo Marine must not be confused with the dribble that is our currently in book and movie form. (Jarhead).

Also, I am dismayed that your catalog is no longer carrying this wonderful story of a WWII Iwo Marine Vet. I'm sure that many of the new breed of Marine would benefit from reading this story which is told with such good humor and historical accuracy.

Dick Vara, Sgt.
2nd Amphi Recon, 56-59


Sgt Grit,

As I sit and read the current letter and everyone's thoughts and thanks to their Drill Instructors I reflected back on some memorable moments for me that changed me from a directionless kid to the confident (sometimes called arrogant) person I am today. In July 1986 I was welcomed very loudly I might add to platoon 2081 Parris Island, the drill instructors were SDI SGT Rivers, JDI SGT Hopkins and JDI SGT Green. All three in one way or another affected my thought processes to this day. SGT Green was tough having come from 8th & I he was the drill and discipline master, SGT Hopkins made you think before speaking, if you questioned something have a solution first before asking. SGT Rivers was Papa Bear or at least mine. As platoon guide I spent more time on the quarterdeck than I ever cared for since the rule was if they mess up they were my responsibility. SGT Rivers did not like seeing his guide in that situation and on numerous occasions offered unknowing advice on how to handle people that come from all walks of life. He looked out for me and I watched his back during field training so he could check his eyelids for leaks. I had the pleasure a couple years later of running into him on Okinawa, you never forget a face after it has affected you after all those weeks. I want to send my thanks to all three MEN who helped me grow up. I also want to pass on a big THANKS to everyone currently doing whatever you are doing in the Corps, do not ever think your task is not significant in the scheme of things. They don't just come up with things for you to do to kill time (well sometimes) everyone has a purpose figure out yours and be the best in what you do.

Thanks for your time
Randy J. Adkins
SGT 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
1986 - 1992
Plt 2081 July 86 - Oct 86
Parris Island


A group of U.S. Marines arriving in Afghanistan found themselves taking a surprise refresher course on first aid. Following an involved lesson on making splints, dressing wounds and applying tourniquets to stop bleeding, the instructor decided to determine how well the Marine class had grasped the information given.

"Goldberg ," he said, pointing to one of the Marines, "say you captured Bin Laden and find he has sustained a minor head wound, what do you do about it?"

"That's easy, Sir," said Goldberg. "I wrap a tourniquet around his neck and tighten it until the bleeding stops."


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I'm a wife of a Marine...a 2/7 Marine...we have just been dealt an awful blow to "our" battalion. My husband is safe, and is the most amazing man on earth! I have considered writing to you before, but always held back. Now I cannot sit idly by and watch...the following is from my husband, currently in Iraq:

"Gentlemen, Enough. This is beyond the Pale. This angers me to speechlessness, at its inanity and malevolence against countrymen. Kaiser and Patten were both Marines from Fox 2/7, so this hits home more so than it normally would. I do know that no matter what unit they belonged to, these two men do not deserve this sort of disrespect.

I did not know if you saw this, but would urge you to send it around to the people that you may know. This is wrong, and I cannot stand idly by and allow it to go without mentioning it. Their right to demonstrate does not extend past these families rights to mourn and bury their sons.

Semper Fidelis,

Unclean"

The Beacon News (Ill.)
Dec. 6, 2005

Protest set for funeral of Marine

By Tim Waldorf

From all accounts, 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Adam Kaiser lived a quiet life before he was killed serving with the Marines in Iraq.

His funeral service, however, may not be that quiet.

A church group that protests funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq with signs that read God Hates America± and Thank God for Dead Soldiers± plans to be there.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, the attorney for Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., said a group from the church intends to protest at both Kaiser's funeral and the funeral of Byron resident Lance Cpl. Andrew Patten, 19, who was also killed in Thursday's blast in Fallujah. The group has already protested about a dozen funerals in Illinois.

Fred Phelps, Westboro's pastor, said soldiers' deaths are God's way of punishing America for its "acceptance of homos&xuality."

Wade Kaiser, Adam's father, said he heard of the group about two weeks ago, and after his son's death, was told by the Marines to prepare for their presence.

Wade said he thinks it is sad that the group wants to do this, but he supports their right to do it.

"But I think it will show a lot of people what these people are all about," Wade said. "I think it should be an embarrassment to them, and it does nothing to help their cause."

Naperville Police Sgt. Joel Truemper said the department is aware of the possibility that the Westboro group may protest at Kaiser's funeral. He said Naperville police already planned to have a presence at the service, just as they have for the other funerals of Naperville soldiers recently killed in combat.

At past funeral services, police have worked with funeral homes and churches to protect mourners' privacy by asking unwanted parties to leave the property.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a new law that would prohibit protests within 300 feet of any military funeral.

"To have these vile signs and epithets hurled at any family and any funeral is wrong," Quinn told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We should respect the right of any family to grieve and bury their dead with reverence."

Phelps said such a law would be unconstitutional, but Quinn said the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the type of restrictions he is proposing.

Sitting on the "sidelines" (as many a wife does), I have watched and listened to this continuous "slap" on my husband's face. I am sickened by it! I will be silent no longer! I have spent the past 4 days in constant struggle with my emotions. If only all of America knew...if only they could stand in my shoes, for just a moment...see the inspiring words straight from Iraq, as I see them...but they do not. They only see what they want to see. Day after day...they have their freedom...they have their rights...if only they had their "ears" to listen; to really listen to what this fight is all about! As I and the other family members around me, gather together during this difficult time, I have to ask..."do you support America?"

God Bless and Semper Fi!
Laura


Sgt. Grit,
Thank you for your newsletter. I have been introduced to a whole new society. The few and the proud! In his Sr. year of high school, one day our son came home and announced he was going to join the Marines. I just looked at my husband. I was sure he was joking. Over the next months he kept talking about the Marine Corps. He brought home videos of boot camp and made us watch them over and over, then Navy Seal training videos. After all of this he kept telling us the recruit was going to pay us a visit. He was 17! I started to think he just might be serious, so I began talking to him, asking him probing questions and making sure he understood what this decision would mean for him and how it would affect his entire future. I spoke to my husband and we prayed. We wanted Gods' will for our son and not our own. I am a mother. My job is to protect my son, so I understand the job of the military. I knew in my heart the sacrifice these families made as they watched their loved ones go to war, some never to return. My heart was broken, but my pride increased for my son as I watched him become more focused than I have ever seen him. He was determined to become a United States Marine. Two months after graduating high school we watched him walk out the door in the wee hours of the morning. I buried my head in my husbands chest. We both sobbed. Waiting for letters was an excruciating lesson in patience for a mother whose children are normally a cell phone call away. We all fought over the mail and poured over every word with tears streaming down our faces. Then the weeks and months passed by and it was only days away. We made our plans and eight of us traveled from Ohio to Parris Island to watch our son become a Marine. My three sons , my Rcts. girlfriend and my older two sons girlfriend traveled with my husband and I. I etched every memory in my mind. Entering Parris Island we cheered. It was before sunrise because we wanted to be there for the Moto run. We stood on the edge of the grass waiting for signs of them, then we heard the voices, like one voice and we saw flashlights here and there. The DI'S were directing their platoons back and forth. It was fascinating to watch. Finally, at sunlight the run began and family members lined the road, cheering them on. We positioned ourselves we I could get a good look at our son as he ran past. He looked so good. I just cried. After the run we had breakfast and killed time so we could get back to the parade deck early. I wanted to get a good seat. No way was I going to miss this! The ceremony was so moving. We all sobbed and when I saw my youngest son, who turned 17 that same day, hug his brother and sob, my heart melted within me. This whole experience has reduced me to a weeping, sent