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Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #92

The Highest form of Leadership is evident when being scared to death and leading brave Men into battle, no other Man knows nor sees a hint of your fear!
A.H. Lane, Major U.S.M.C.
HML-367 "Scarface"
Viet Nam 1970-1971

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MY "Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Niece, Nephew, Grandma, Grandpa, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Friend, Granddaughter, Grandson, Daughter, Son, Husband and Wife" IS A MARINE Shirts

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Men's Ribbed Fleece Shirt

Marine Corps Cowboy Hat

Infant Digital Woodland Overalls with T-Shirt

Women's Fitted Flame T-Shirt

Black Suede Golf Driver Cover

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Again, the New Spring Catalog is in. All of the new items are on the web and you should be receiving a catalog soon.

Closeouts - Only available while stock lasts:

Guadalcanal Semper Fi Series Game
Maternity Shirt - My Marine Came Home from Deployment...
Spiral Christmas Ornaments - Once they're gone, they're gone for good...

Second Annual Gritogether being planned.

"The chief reason why we are at a serious disadvantage compared with the Nazis over this business of 'big ideas' is that the evil things for which they stand are novel and dynamic, whereas the excellent things for which we claim to be fighting may seem dull and uninspiring." British Directorate of Army Education, Booklet I, November 1942

Ms. Payne,
Rest assured that Every Marine, past or present may not know Ron or heard of his unfortunate passing. But make no mistake, each of us feel the loss of everyone of our brothers and sisters. We may show it in different ways, but we each feel the loss. Each Marine learns that a Marines life is valuable and should not be held lightly. That is why you see so many Marines throwing themselves on a grenade. It is to save the other Marines that are in peril from that grenade.
Ron is a brother of all of us, in him being our brother, you are also a member of the Marine Corps family. Maybe extended, but a family member none the less. If you do not believe me, walk up to any Marine, and identify yourself as the sister of a fallen Marine in the war. I would be extremely surprised if you did not immediately get a hung and their heart felt condolences.
You see, we Marines are tough and rough around the edges, but each of us hold our fallen brothers and sisters in the highest regard.
Mark Sasak

One day, I will be able to make it through one of your newsletters without crying. But I will never end a newsletter without a silent 'thanks' to all our service members.
-Melissa Bailey
Wife of Cpl. Bailey Fox 5/11

Long-distance call saves birthday
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Dear editor:
My name is Logan Prince and I am a student at Silverado Middle School. I turned 14 today, and expected this to be my worst birthday ever. But during my first period class I got a call slip to go to the office. I didn't know what to think. I was confused and a little anxious. As soon as I got there, I was told that I had a phone call. I picked up the phone and was surprised to hear that it was none other than my brother, Luke. You see, my brother Luke Prince is in the U.S. Marines. He is a graduate of Vintage High School, class of 2003. He joined the Marines soon after graduation. He left for Iraq at the age of 19, right when my school year started. I have thought about him and missed him every time I play a video game, which is every day!
So what could have been the worst birthday ever actually became the greatest, knowing that my brother Luke was OK.
Logan Prince

Sgt. Grit,
I never thought that I would get used to my fiancé being in the Marines, after he returned from boot he was a completely different man. I knew he would change but never imagined this. He is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. I can't say that this is the easiest situation nor is it any way that I would want to spend my engagement but I can say that I believe wholeheartedly that if we can make it through two years being this far apart, we can make it through anything.
I realize now that this is just a short period of time compared to the lifetime we have together.
I realize now that the pain that I feel for him being away is helping so many people that need it.
I realize now that it's ok to cry, it's ok to be upset, and it's ok to miss him every minute he's gone.
I realize now that family and friends will stand by you and help you through this, cry with you, and lend a shoulder.
I realize now that the saying is true: "absence makes the heart grow fonder" I realize now that I'm not the only one in this position, that others are feeling the same pain as me.
I realize now that not only have the Marines made him a stronger person, but they have also made me a stronger person. Someone I never thought I would be. I just want to say thank you because after reading your newsletter I've realized all of these things. Hopefully, someone will read this and feel the same way... Thanks again,
Kim Oprins
proud fiancé of L/Cpl. Sean Cloyd

Sgt Grit,
Thank you for the emails. I started receiving them about 3 months ago and have enjoyed every one of them. I have been in the Marines for just over 15 years. I have seen a lot and the only regret I have after 15 years of service is having to watch the Dumb A*&^* that do not understand the freedoms they have or respect the individuals that have the balls to stand up and fight for them. I served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. I have been around the world several times on deployments, helped with humanitarian missions, volunteered as a fire fighter, coached Baseball, worked with the Young Marines as a staff member and I am currently completing a 3 year tour as a Drill Instructor, MCRD San Diego. Although I did not go to Iraq this time around I just wanted to say to all those veterans from all over and from all walks of life: Semper Fidelis and Thank You for everything you have done for this country and what it stands for, so that ignorant people can complain about bumper stickers. It is people like all of you that have made this country the land of the free because of the brave. I have been married twice and I just recently got married again. I think my first 2 wives were communistic terrorists in training, which is why it didn't work out but I can tell you that my wife now, although not of American descent, is more patriotic with American Blood than most Americans by birth and she would proudly stand up to anybody that is foolish enough to try and take it away from her, me or any of you. So I say keep the bumper stickers on and if somebody complains about them, ask what have they have done for this great country. Have they missed Christmas', Birthday's, their babies first steps, their kids first day of school, anniversaries, trips, time or any number of other important things in the name of FREEDOM? Most likely not! So just smile and tell them the next time that a simple Thank you is all that is required, so that they can go home to see their loved ones. GOD BLESS, all of you and the United States of America.Semepr Fi!!
Gunnery Sergeant "Etool" Etheridge
"Engineers up!"
DI,SDI, 1st Sgt, OPs Chief
1st RTBN, Bravo, WFTBN

I was reading through your poetry section. Those authors have some great talent. I've had it out with some civilians that have gotten tired of riding the patriotic bandwagon and now call our troops murderers. They truly will never know the sacrifices those "murderers" make to protect the accusers way of life. They believe a war is not justified unless it is fought on our own ground.
Oh well, as they say, it has always been left to the few to sacrifice for the many.
John Chandler
SSgt USAF (reluctantly Ret.)

Sgt. Grit -
I read your newsletter every week and enjoy hearing from other Marine families. I am one of the Marine Moms too. My son is currently deployed in Iraq. He has been there a little over a week. Since arriving, he has made the decision to reup for at least another 4 years. As he put it, he can't imagine life without the Eagle, Globe and Anchor displayed on his body. I know that if he does another 4-5 years, he will be halfway to making it a career. I hope and pray that he decides to go the distance!
As he was growing up, I thought the hardest day of my life was his first day of school. I cried as he got on the bus that first day. And then, he left for boot camp in San Diego just three days after graduating high school. Another hard day for Mom. We attended his graduation in San Diego, and I cried as I watched him earn the title United States Marine. I didn't believe that I would ever be that proud again. Or that humbled to know that he is following in the family tradition of serving in the Corps. My dad is a "lifer" who served in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. My husband served with HMM-165 in Vietnam as well. And now our son is in Iraq. The day I left before he deployed has since become the hardest, but the proudest day of my life.
I feel privileged to also be called Mom by all of my son's fellow Marines. Before deployment I went to visit my son, and one goal was to go out and have a few drinks with the Marines. Thank you to all of the young Marines that made that wish come true. It was a great evening and a chance to get to know these fine young men and women. It is an evening I won't soon forget!
My thoughts and prayers are with each and every Marine and their families. I understand the pride that comes with being able to say my son is one of the few, the proud. I also understand the concerns when our children are deployed, or about to be. I am often asked how I deal with it all. I pray and trust God in all things. I refuse to think a negative thought, and God helps me to do that. In all things, trust God and He will see us through. To all Marines and their families, thank you for all you do. Thank you for doing the "13 weeks." Know that we love and respect you for all you do for us.
And thank you to Sgt. Grit for all of the "support" materials our family displays. The bumper stickers, the shirts, magnets, etc. My car proudly supports your license plate holder, Marine Mom! Our motor home has the one "Marine Dad" and also sports a large Marine Corps emblem. The largest one Sgt. Grit sells.
Proud Marine Mom (and Dad) of Cpl. Joseph Ostrowski.
May God bless each and everyone one of you. Return home safely!
Sue Ostrowski

In response to your above email newsletter clip today, leave the bumper stickers for purchase. I personally enjoy them, so do my family members and others that I know. It takes a certain kind of person to enlist in our military to begin with. Some succeed and some back out. But for those that stay and give their time and lives, they have GRIT. The Marines have to keep the ATTITUDE. They are the best of the best.
My son has just left for his term in Iraq. He will be gone 14 months at best, can't describe what he does, but you will understand that. He is only 21 and if it wasn't for the motivation and brotherhood that he is learning about then I would probably worry even more about him. I know his guys will take care of each other and him. His favorite is the one "I am here while your college student can attend parties and class, (or something to that effect)". My son was in college also, working on his criminal justice degree and working full time. He is a Reservist and was waiting to go. As a parent, it isn't easy, but we fly our flags daily, all three, (US, Marine and Child @ War, not to mention our yard is full of yellow ribbons, we even put one on his jeep's antenna while he is gone) and we proudly apply our stickers to our back windows on our vehicles.
To those who don't like them, tell them not to read them, it is a free country last time I looked. But remember to enjoy the freedom of being able to read that bumper sticker.
Need we say anymore?
Georgina Turner
LCPL Sean Turner, Greensboro NC
4th FSSG (As of 02/17/05 & next 14 mos assigned to 2nd FSSG)

"But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty." --Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps he is, as he frequently reminds his readers, "a former Marine NCO". But if he is, Finnegan has certainly lost his way. His criticism of Lt. Gen. Mattis is entirely consistent with his anti-American and anti-military diatribes published on the Southeast Asia News web site. And this web site has a political bias not very different from Al Jazeera's whose web site is linked. To Robert Finnegan I quote Samuel Adams, "--- may posterity forget that you were our countryman".
Dave Thomson
Father of Sgt Greg Thomson USMC '86 -'92

This morning I prayed with a Grand Mother whose Grand Son just shipped out to the "Sand Box" She is very proud of him, but of course very concerned. She said he joined the Marines be cause his big brother was in the Army and he was tougher. Good reason to me.
I'm also one of those nuts who has stickers on my vehicles and meet many past, present and former Marines because of it. This afternoon I met a Brand New Former Marine. He had spent eight years in the Corps, was in the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, and Somalia. He just got out 1 Feb. 2005. When I told him of the Grand Mother I was with this morning he wanted her name and number to talk to her and answer questions only one who has been there can.
She just called and was so happy to talk to the Marine. He helped put many of her fears to rest and they both made friends as he needed someone to talk to. She now believes me when I told her that he would not be alone and would have brothers to watch out for him.
Thanks for this forum!
As Tiny Tim said "GOD BLESS US ALL"
John Sprague 68-69

"If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?" --Benjamin Franklin ........................................................ Future Woman Marine! Go for it, girl. In 1980, about 8 months out of high school, with very few prospects ahead of me, I joined the Corps. Everyone I knew was stunned and amazed. I was the 'party queen' of the neighborhood. There was no logical reason for me to have done this. The reason I gave? I needed to get away from my so-called 'friends' and the way that I was living, if you get my drift. I needed a change. I have to tell you that going to Parris Island was about the biggest, most enormous change I could have chosen. It's 25 years later. I have one son, just discharged 2 weeks ago, after 5 years in the Corps. I have another son, Cpl Bryan Christensen, recently returned from Afghanistan who will probably be in for life. I have yet a third son, too young for the Corps at this point, but eager to follow in his Mom and brothers footsteps. This is YOUR life. You have to make the choices that are right for you.....not your family and friends. My parents were stunned. My Dad, not a military person by any means, is still stunned 25 years later. But NOTHING that I have done, other than my children, has made my father (or myself!) more proud of me. I am definitely not as lean, or as mean, but I am STILL, and always will be one proud, patriotic Marine! (and Mom of Marines!) Semper Fi! Ruth Chippich-Murphy

In this age of political correctness, it did my heart good to hear General Jim Mattis's remarks. He is obviously a leader, a solid infantry commander, and cut from the same bolt of cloth as Chesty Puller, Smedly Butler, Howlin Mad Smith, Carlos Hathcock, Pappy Boyington, John A.Lejeune and David M. Shoup. It is the job of the Marine Infantry to close with and destroy the enemy - and nobody does it better. America has relied on the United States Marine Corps to destroy the enemy since November 10, 1775. It is a dangerous, dirty, thankless job, but thank God for Marines like General Mattis who enjoy their work, do it exceptionally well, and make no apologies for it.
People tend to forget that Marines are not drafted, they JOIN. If you are good enough to pass the tests, you BECOME a Marine - for life. Marines are warriors, and should never downplay that role to be politically correct. Let the Navy, the Air Force and the Army be politically correct, and let the USMC continue to savor their role in destroying our enemies to keep America free. God Bless the United States Marine Corps and Marines like Jim Mattis.
Semper fi,
S. R. Van Tyle
Captain USMCR 66-70

Responses To S. Neff....
Dear Sgt Grit-
Just wanted to say "you go, girl!" to S. Neff, the woman who wants to be a Marine despite the misgivings of her family and friends. I was in the Army, but my brother and sister were both Marines, all of us Vietnam Era vets. My sister ran a radio shop at a Marine base in Japan that directed pilots over N. Vietnam; she had very high clearance and handled many important (even life and death) decisions. We were all very proud of her. She went to Marine ROTC and graduated from college in her dress whites- the only Marine at her college.
S. Neff- you follow your heart! God, me and your fellow Marines will all be proud of you!!!
B. Paul

I know how you may feel. My family, especially my dad, told me that the any military life was meant for men and not women. My family & friends thought I would get hurt or even killed. My dad was positive that I would not make it, but I think he was saying this because he didn't want to see me get hurt. I still joined the Marine Corps without their blessings. I was alone at our house when the recruiter came to pick me up. No one to say good bye or "good luck". I was very sad about this, but I knew this is how I had to go. I looked at it this way: this is how my family wants to deal with me joining the Marines, then so be it. I was sad, but not mad. After graduating boot camp as a PFC and walking out of the airport in my dress blues, I knew things had changed for family and especially for me!! My family was proud.
I say you do what you have to do, to do what you really wanna do!! Especially if it's to join hard corp Marine Corps!! I will never regret making this decision. I love the look in people's eyes when they find out I was in the corps. Satisfying!!!!
Even though I never made it to any wars (I was ready for Somalia, but that war ended before our unit was ready to leave!!), I hope this can help you out in any way.
May God continue to bless our troops in Iraq and all "newcomer" Marines!
Cpl Maria Mares
USMC 1992-2000
Semper Fi

Dear Miss Neff,
I was in the Corps from 1986 to 1997 and my WIFE was in the Corps 1989 to 1996. I originally thought that she had joined the Corps for me. I was wrong. She explained that it was something she had to do for herself and no one else. She was almost ostracized from her family and received little support at first. They attended her graduation from boot camp all smiles and she asked them what they think now. Their reply was that they love her and always have, they might not agree with her decision, but they will stand by her. Now (15 years later) they sometimes still do not understand what her motivation to join was, but they still love her and still support her in any decision she makes. Remember that your family will be there for you and they fear for your safety. Families have a funny way of showing it, but they want you to be happy and safe. Make the decision to join for yourself, not others. Only you will be attending boot camp, not them. You will be joining the fleet, not them. You may be in hot zones, not them. Try to see it from their point of view, and explain to them how you feel. In the end make a choice based on your reasons. Good luck.
Semper Fi
Former SSGT Fecteau

Do it. Live the dream. You will have awful moments when you question whether it is worth it, but you will have awesome moments when you know it is. It's hard, no question about that, and you will be asked more times than you can count why, as a woman, you joined the Corps. I usually had a glib answer ready; people really don't want to know, it's just an expression of their astonishment. :-)
You will join a whole new family, one that will stick with you just as your birth family does now. Your new brothers and sisters will depend on you, just as you will depend on them. You'll take care of each other and fight with each other. You'll defend each other with your last breath and when all is said and done, you'll be proud to be a Marine.
M.S. Richmond
Sgt USMC '89-'96

I understand how you are feeling, I too was in a similar situation. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1975, the very end of Vietnam. The military was not looked upon very highly because of the war. I came home from high school one day and told my parents that I wanted to join the Marine Corps. My Dad was real proud of me, because he had been a Marine, but he also thought that his daughter didn't need to become a Marine, my mother was totally against it and never supported my decision. ( I was the only female in my graduating class of 600 who went in the military) Back in '75 boot camp was a lot different than it is today, but I grew up and matured more so than my peers who went to college. As I was graduating high school my parents said my only option would have been to go to secretarial school, because they would not pay for college, that is not what I wanted to do so I Enlisted anyway, and it was the best thing I ever did. I served 4 years active duty, 3 years reserve; married a Marine- who retired from the USMC after 23 years, and I have 2 sons who are Marines. So, what I am trying to say is: if this is what you want to do, go for it! You will not regret it. And hold your head up high and be proud, remember "A few the proud the Women Marines.
Semper Fi
Sgt Debbie Abelson 75-79

hello, i receive the sgt.grit newsletter. i originally found this site while looking for info on my father, a marine from ww2. i just want to send my thanks and condolences to all those and their families who share their thoughts and feelings here. who have lost their sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, etc. thank you for your service and sacrifice. god bless you all
tim moore

Thank you for putting into words why I too stand when ever there is a news report about Marines or Soldiers that we have lost. As the mom of a Marine, the mom-in-law of a Marine, the sister of a Navy chopper pilot and the daughter of a retired Navy pilot I feel it is one way to pay respect to these brave young heroes. My boyfriend doesn't understand, but he was never in the service.
Valerie Hannon
Mom of Sgt Kelli Cairns USMC

Dear Sgt Grit,
I am the wife of a very recently deployed Marine. My heart hurts every single day because I miss him so much, but just when I feel my heart shrinking away to nothing, I feel it swell again with pride for what he does, not just for me, but for our country. I am so proud to be married to a Marine that has the fortitude and the moral courage to go where his country calls him to go, no matter the cost to himself or our family. Yes, it is hard to "carry on" here without him, but I look to the day when he will come home as one of the best days of our lives together. When we are old and look back on our lives, I think it will still be one of the best memories we have. I told him that I am proud to be his faithful wife because he has the passion that it takes to be a grunt and a good one, so I know he has the passion that it takes to love me the way I need to be loved. Ours is a beautiful relationship, but we are both willing to sacrifice our needs for the good of the country.
About the bumper stickers....I recently received your catalog in the mail, and I cut out the bumper stickers and tape one to each page of each letter that I send to him. He said that he and his fellow Marines always look forward to my letters just to see which bumper stickers I decided to send that time. So, for anyone that is offended by them, I think they should just look somewhere else for something to read. Anything that will give our Marines in Iraq or anywhere else in the world a reason to smile and something to look forward to isn't at all that bad in my mind, no matter who gives a d*mn.
Semper Fi,
Proud wife of Cpl Spencer
Wpns Co 3/25
currently serving in Iraq

Dear Pam, I am so sorry for the loss of your son. May God grant him peace, and may we always honor his sacrifice, and yours. I lost my best friend in 'Nam in 1966, and I miss him to this day. But somehow, honoring his memory helps. You have my most profound sympathy-God Bless. Jack Gabbert

I just wanted to say Thank You for your newsletter. I married my husband, CPL Rickey Smith, 2/24 E Co, in Feb '04. We were only married for 4 months before he was deployed to Camp Pendleton, and onto Iraq. God willing, he will be returning home soon. This has been the hardest 9 months of my life. I've cried a million tears, had a million sleepless nights, and a million restless days. I pray for him, I pray for all the Marines and their safe return home. I pray for the wives and their comfort in this time, for I feel the longing and heartbreak as they do. I pray for the families, as the void in their hearts is also in mine. I pray for the families our fallen heroes; that God is with them endlessly in their time of need.
This newsletter brings things into perspective - makes the reality more clear when the media fogs it up. There is nothing more encouraging than hearing from Marines and their proud families. Unless you're in the Marine Corps or tied to someone who is, you can never understand. I am so proud to be married to a Marine, my Marine, and completely honored to be part of this family. God Bless all of 2/24 - Mayhem from the Heartland - Semper Fi
Nina Smith, Proud Wife of CPL R. Smith

I would like to report the passing on of a W.W. II Naval veteran, Mr. Albert Campos Sr. of San Antonio, Tx. Mr. Campos was a driver of an amphibious landing craft throughout the South Pacific during the war. He attempted to join the Corps first, but was turned down due to the number already in at the time. I went to boot camp with his youngest son at MCRD, and have been pretty much a member of the family ever since. Mr. Campos exhibited all of the finest character traits that are such an integral part of our Marine Corps training. He had two son's join the Corps, and one a retired chief from the Air Force. I personally know of three grandsons and a granddaughter who served our Corps, as well as his youngest grandson who is scheduled to graduate from MCRD on April 8th. While he was not in the corps, Mr. Campos served his country with pride and dignity, and has supplied the Corps with a number of fine young Marines to carry on our tradition. Mr. Campos is interned at Fort Sam Houston, and was buried with full military honors. As usual, my eyes started to sweat when taps were played! Even though he never wore the uniform, he served his God, Country, and corps as well as any man I have had the privilege to know. Thank you sir for your service, and I know you are looking down on us now, as you looked after us while your were among us.
Ron Shaw
CPL of Marines
Wpns. 1/5 1976-1980
Semper Fi

3/8 Marines, Geiger to Beirut
Washington, DC, June 23-26, 2005
Contact: C. Eric Tischler
2038 Mary Ellen Ln.
State College, PA 16803

'The call of freedom' does indeed come 'to every mind and every soul.' Freedom is indeed on the march -- even down the 'Arab street'." --Oliver North

Whush- whush- whussh-whush:: Incoming dream noise woke me up this AM. I had not heard it for 61 years.. Combat fatigue? No, just an old memory impression. We wondered if incoming mortar rounds were theirs or friendly. If first heard coming from the front or flanks it is probably theirs. If from the rear I hope it went by. If they burst in front and rear we may be bracketed. Pray for those who now hear incoming.
Doug Finney WWII 22nd Reg.

I am a very proud and patriotic American, which goes without question when I say that I am a Marine. Throughout my time I have witnessed patriotic moments in my life that have hardened my soul as a Marine. These patriotic moments are the energy with which a Marine does his job, the reason Marines are here on God's Earth, and the food that sustains each Marine's motivated American soul.
Just the other day was my son's birthday, he is young, and when asked how old he was after he blew his candles out he smiled, showed three little fingers to everyone and shouted, "I'm Free! I'm Free years old!" He didn't know what he was really saying, but the idealism of it all hit me pretty hard.
I hit my knees and with a hug told him, "Your right son, you are free years old." As we hugged I thanked every one of my Marine brothers for giving my son the ability to say that he is Free years old. God Bless the Corps!
Thanks for fighting the fight whenever and wherever you were called to do so, Spencer Gwatney - Louisiana USMC, Gulf War

Hey Grit ,
Was sitting back the other night getting to go into the head and take some reading material with me, had a choice, victoria's secret catalog, newspaper, playboy and thought I'd better check the mail first..good thing I did your new spring catalog came in..Sorry victoria models this is a Marine thing. you lose. The idea of using Fox 2/14 company as models for the clothing? excellent idea..congrats to who thought of that..Unfortunately 7 yr old grandson sat on it and ripped the cover off it..he may not live to see 8..Anyways,seeing as its my 51st birthday coming up on the 20th , I thought this was a good time to let the wife know what I want.
Mike Redfern

My heart goes out to those who serve overseas today and those who have died fighting for the great United States of America. Recently I had bought the "half of my hear is in Iraq" decal for my older sister Kristen. About 6 months ago my sister had met and fallen in love with a man named Andrew who is in the Marine Corps. With their outgoing and smart @ss personalities they just clicked. I don't think I have ever seen a happier couple so in love with each other in my life. Until today my sister cried as the plane heading to Iraq left sight with the love of her life on it not knowing where he'll be. I never really understood what the Marines was like until I started going with my sister to camp lejune to visit Andrew. When I met his friends I got to understand the brotherhood between them and how they have each other's back no matter what. Through what I have seen and learned I have a better understanding and appreciation for the Marines. One day I hope to join the honor as well. Jessica Vass

Sgt. Grit,
I would first like to say, thank you so much for such a wonderful site for Marines and their families to go to. I was touched by Mrs. Trevino's e-mail. I myself am a veteran of the Corps. I was in Bosnia and Somalia (Mogadeshu). I myself have seen Marines not come home, first hand. I want Mrs. Trevino to know that her wonderful son will never be forgotten. And all the rest of the Marines who gave there lives so that others can be free. I also come from a family of jarheads. My little brother just came back from Iraq. It was such a moving moment to see back state-side and safe. I want to thank Mrs. Trevino and her family for their sacrifice, and know they will be in our prayers, God Bless You And Your Family. May God Bless your family also....

Dear Sgt.Grit:
I just read your last newsletter and as usual it brought pride to my heart. The brother Marine who wrote about "yuppies wearing camos" made me chuckle. "Hit the enemy with a pocketbook?" How politically incorrect can ya be! I LOVED IT. I live in one of those areas of our great Nation and I would be hard-pressed to find ANY worthwhile candidates for our Marine Corps in this area. (well, maybe one or two) I would venture a guess that this area is 90% tree hugging pantywaists and me and a few other guys who laugh a lot. I would further guess that ALL of us "once a Marine - always a Marine" guys who live here either sport your bumper stickers or a hat (which I do). My wife has a new Buick LaCrosse and even SHE has a front plate that reads "Marine Wife." She is proud as a peacock of the Corps and I am proud of her. We have a long way to go in this area to outnumber "those" bumper stickers but we are getting there. Speaking of the blue state folks, I always look at those folks and wonder what is wrong with them. Take care God bless you and I constantly pray for all of our sons and daughters in harms way.
Semper Fi.
Joe D Cpl E-4 61-66

Sgt. Grit,
First I want to thank you for your newsletter. I can't tell you how many times it has brought me tears, while reading it in my office, I have customers walk in that I am sure think I have lost my mind! Anyway, I want to share something with you. My husband served during the 1st Gulf War and has since been discharged. As you all know once a Marine always a Marine. Well, we have two daughters who have heard stories after stories. Our girls joined the Young Marines and this last Saturday graduated and now you have an 11 year old Private & a 12 year old PFC. There was so much pride in my husbands eyes to see them walk up on stage and shake their CO's hand. I can tell you I watched him put on his uniform for 8 years and always saw this glint in his eyes, that look of pride was there that Saturday in our young daughters eyes, they get it!! It's such an honor to have the title of a U.S. Marine, I think it's something that never leaves you. This week, the Ponchatoula Young Marines helped pack 1000 care packages headed to our boys in Iraq. For you Marines currently in Country be safe and know we are here and you have our full support. God Bless our country & the Corps. Semper Fi Marines.

I am Doyle Sanders, I am "the Flak" with the Marine Corps League in Tulsa and we are heading up the 4th Annual Medal of Honor Day Ceremony to be held here Saturday, March 26, 2005. However the "Moving Wall" will also be here the week of March 22-27. This will be the first even of the year for the Moving Wall and we lobbied hard to get it here. We sincerely hope you will mention our event on your web site to the many thousands of Marines, Marine families and non-Marines who visit your website daily.
To all those Marine who served on Okinawa at Camp Schwab, PFC Albert E. Schwab is buried in Tulsa. We will also have a wreath laying ceremony at Schwab's grave site at 4:00 p.m., March 25, 2005. The public is invited to attend this wreath laying ceremony as well. His widow (remarried) and a sister will be attending his family attending with Col. Robert J, Modrzejewski ( pronounced MOED-jev-ski) who will lay the wreath.
Doyle Sanders
GySgt. USMC (Ret.)
Vice Chairman Medal of Honor Ceremony Committee

March 01, 2005
Hi Folks:
I am composing this letter with a bit of bewilderment & befuddlement.
The majority of you know me personally, so, you are aware that I am a Veteran. I have served on several boards and committee's that foster fairness.
The reason I am bewildered is because I recently learned that there is a Marine that served in Falujah that is about to go to trial for killing two suspected insurgents.
After reading the accounts of the charges, I called New York and personally spoke with his Mother. She is devastated. (poor lady) Her son was not only putting his life on the line by VOLUNTEERING to assist in countering terrorism, he is being sent to Trial for doing what he was trained to do.(mind you he was discharged after serving in the Gulf War, was making a six figure income as a civilian, and then gave it all up to re-enlist after the 9-11 attack on the US.)
His name is Ilario Pantano. He is a Lieutenant with the Marine Corps.
The incident occurred on April 15, 2004. Pantano was leading his platoon on a search for weapons and terrorists, to a suspected hide-out near Baghdad. The search yielded several weapons, ammunition, as well as bomb-making materials. During the search, two Iraqis ran out of the building and attempted to speed away from the scene in their truck.
The Iraqi vehicle was stopped. Lt. Pantano instructed the men to pull everything out of the truck, as bombs and booby-traps were suspected. The men began to act nervously and tried to run away. Pantano ordered them both to stop (in Arabic), they refused and he shot them.
Lt. Pantano's commanders conducted an investigation, which subsequently cleared him of any wrong-doing. He continued to serve out his tour of duty, then returned to the United States to Camp Lejeune. It was not until an as yet to be named enlisted man, filed a complaint against Lt. Pantano that an eyebrow was raised over the April 2004 combat incident. The enlisted man filed the complaint several months after the shootings took place.
A little background on Lt. Pantano is necessary. He joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17. He is a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, as well as the peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia (1992). He left the Marines to attend New York University. After graduation, he went to work as a trader for Goldman Sachs. By 2000, Pantano was living in Manhattan and running his own company. In his spare time, he helped deliver food to some of New York's many homeless shelters.
By all accounts, the 9/11 attacks profoundly changed Pantano. Living and working around the smoldering ruins, which were once the World Trade Center, affected him deeply. The blow dealt to this nation by Islamic terrorists, moved Pantano (then 32) to re-enlist in the Marine Corps. This young man is the very epitome of the "all-American kid." He is the type of person that any parent would be proud to call "son." He is also the type of man that this nation needs in this time of war. Yet, now he sits awaiting a trial which could very well end in his untimely death. Something is incredibly wrong with this nation's leadership.
I am totally disgusted with the goings on in this matter and you all no doubt are too.
It is time we band together once again for this important case. Let's contact every official in every office of the United States starting with our local leaders and then to all the other States. We must band together on this. I hate to think what this type of treatment is doing to recruitment of our future Military personnel.
Any thing you can do to aid in this matter will make a positive difference. (I am certain of that)
His mother, Merry Panatano has started a web site that should answer any and all questions you might have. With Deep Appreciation,
Russ Scarvelli
President Emeritus
Northern Ohio Vietnam Veterans Assoc.

Sgt Grit,
I look forward to it every week. I am 55 years old, but still a Marine. I was at work the other day and the employee's were talking about the war during the lunch hour. Most of it was the negative sort. I decided to put my two cents worth in. After I was done with supporting my fellow Marines, I was asked why I could feel the way I do. I told them I was a Marine. They stated "you can't be a Marine, because you are too old". I said "sh#$ lady, you will never understand that Once a Marine, always a Marine. We old timers cannot go to the sandbox, but God#$%*&^, we can defend our brothers. May God Bless all of brother Marines and may he keep them safe. We will always support our beloved Corps.
Semper Fi
Jeff S
Sgt of Marines

Hello there Sarge
This is the first time I've written in and I just want to say great job Sarge. Currently I'm in the delayed entry program for the Marine Corps and set to ship off to Parris Island on 30 May 2005. Three days after I graduate High School and I wouldn't have it any other way. The reason I'm writing in is because I have one simple question for all of the people that call themselves Americans and don't support their troops. Where is your pride, your honor, and for Gods sake where is your sense of duty? I've been asked several times by people from all walks of life where I plan to go to college after I graduate high school. Instantly and proudly I ALWAYS answer back, "I'm not going to college just yet, I'm joining the Marine Corps and I plan to make it a career!" It never fails, I always get that same look and response. "You don't want to join the Marines, it's dangerous, you may die, I don't support what they do over there." It takes a great amount of restraint for me not to say anything to these people. That was something instilled in me by my father to not force my views on someone else.(by the way which is hard for an 18 year old young man) My Father was also the only one yet who has told me that he was proud of my decision to serve my country and even more proud of the fact I chose the Marines. My Father died the day after he told me that. His death strengthened my resolve to not let anyone stop me. I know the cost of being a Marine and my recruiter Gunnery Sergeant Blackburn has instilled a pride in our Corps that will only grow once I get into the Fleet. The point this future Marine is trying to make Sarge is that when you have a young person that is willing to sacrifice and put themselves through their own personal H&ll for the good of America and her people why would you discourage that? Someone please write and answer this question. Here's health to you and our Corps Sarge and may God bless all those under appreciated men and women fighting global terrorism.
Semper Fidelis
Future guardian of freedom and brother in arms
Brandon Dunn

To S. Neff wanting to join the Marines but her family is against it....Our daughter is a Marine Officer serving in Ramadi, Iraq. Part of her training is convoy commander, which she is hoping to do while spending 14 months in-country - to the horror or her mom. I want her on base surrounded by the entire Corps at her disposal.
It's natural for parents to want to shelter their children, no matter how old they are. It's out of the tremendous love parents have for their children that they want their child safe and secure - especially a daughter. Because my husband is a former Marine (Vietnam) and having heard the stories that Marines tell, both of us were apprehensive for our daughter when she called from college to tell us that she wanted to become a Marine Officer. We knew this would not be an easy path to go down. This path would be strewn with mental and physical obstacles, some life-threatening experiences and long absences from family and friends. What parent in their right mind would want their daughter - or son - to experience these things??!! She even honored our request after graduation to try civilian life for one year, but it was so obvious she wanted to be a Marine that we released her from her promise.
There is no more surreal moment than sitting in your child's home, with the TV on and helping to pack and sew on name tags so that she can go off to war (this is her 2nd deployment over there). Knowing that the odds are in her gender's favor for returning safely home does not relieve the anxiety and fears of a parent for their child. But she is an adult - a Marine - and she must make the choices for her own life and we, as Marine parents, will support her 150%.
You, as an adult, must choose your own path in life; hopefully WITH the help of family. But I would urge your family this: no matter the misgivings in your daughter's choice - support her and love her. And be there when she graduates from boot camp. I will guarantee you that you will be absolutely in awe of the accomplishments and changes in your daughter. From her and her peers, you will come to a greater understanding of how precious this country and freedom are and a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made to secure that freedom. You will absolutely bust your buttons with pride as you meet such fine young (and I do mean young!) men and women who have such awesome responsibilities and pride in what they do and who they are. And then look around at others her age in the civilian life (no disrespect) and see how far she has matured.
As a parent, it is our job to teach them about life to the best of our ability so that when they become 18, they have a firm foundation. It sounds like you, as parents, have done that. Now let her leave the nest and fly. She will soar as a Marine - we've witnessed that in our daughter.
Parent to Parent

"I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance." --Thomas Jefferson

To all fellow Marine supporters,
As a mom of a Marine, a Navy Seabee and mom-in-law of another Marine, you can bet I brag about my children and their sacrifice. My son's unit had special ribbon magnets made that say "support our Marines" which is proudly displayed on my new SUV. He bought many of them to distribute to family members. I find it interesting that his Mother and Father in-law, Seattle folk, got heir's stolen with-in the first week of driving around with them on. My daughter-in-law, who moved back home while her husband is in Iraq, says that she will pepper spray anyone messing with her magnet. Don't mess with anyone who loves a Marine, is all I have to say. We are tough and extremely protective.
God bless all our military!
Sheila Cates
Marine Mom
Seabee Mom
Marine Mom-in-law

I will tell you to keep the stickers on. I will tell you to keep flying your flags. I am so tired of this political correct crowd that is sooo afraid of offending someone it makes me want to puck! Who cares if they are offended? If we spend all of our life time worrying if maybe we have offended someone by the way we express our beliefs and true feelings, then we will never be able to be who we really are and will indeed become a people who are sheep and spineless. At my place of employment, the powers that be are calling people in and asking them to remove "offensive" tags/bumper stickers from their personal automobiles. Offensive to who???? And as soon as you become politically correct, now you may offend me. This is America. No one has the right "not" to be offended! We, as Americans, do however have the right to be proud of our heritage, of our beliefs, of our military service, and of our country!
Russell, John Paul
USMC 81-85

Nobody likes to fight,
Someone has to know how.

God Bless America!
Semper fi!
Sgt Grit

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