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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 #97

"[I]t now remains to be my earnest wish and prayer, that the Citizens of the United States could make a wise and virtuous use of the blessings placed before them." --George Washington

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New Items!

Memorial Day Shirt - Only available through June 5th

This is a special way you can remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Featuring a stunning blend of images from the Iwo Jima and Vietnam Memorials by SSgt Charles Wolf (SemperToons) you'll want to see it!

More New Marine Corps Items Are In:

USMC Flames Visor

Neon Eagle Globe and Anchor Sign

Captain of Marines T-Shirt

Vintage Marine Corps Flag T-Shirt

TDI Law Enforcement Knife

Did you miss the 2nd Annual GriTogether?

It was a huge success. Marines, Family Members, and
Supporters all came out to enjoy the day! See some pictures

Featured Closeout Item:

Brothers Forever T-Shirt

See all of our closeout items

All Grit Readers,

Recently 1st Plt, Co. L, 3/25 (based in Columbus, Ohio) took some heavy casualties, after kicking some major butt in heavy fighting near the Syrian border. One local newscast said that 1st Plt was "decimated". Just for the records, 40 insurgents were captured and over 200 insurgents were KIA. Seems like 1st Plt. "decimated" the enemy.

As a former Squad Leader in 3rd Plt, Co "L", 3/25, I am proud of the ferocity of their fighting and mourn the losses they incurred. One of my Patrol Sergeant's heard his son was wounded in this exchange between the faceless, cowardly enemy and the courageous young Marines of 1st Plt. His son, Sgt. S.E. Balla, is recovering from his wounds and will rejoin what was left of 1st Plt before long.

I ask that all readers please say a prayer for those that gave their lives, their friends and families, and for the wounded. I also ask that all readers say a prayer for the leaders of our country, the Marine Corps, and especially all the officers and enlisted of 3rd Bn, 25th Marines, 4th Mar. Div. I am confident this outstanding unit will heal it's wounds, regroup, and carry the fight to the enemy in the proud tradition of the Corps. My only regret is that I can not pick up a weapon and join them in their fight.

Someone recently asked me why I take the losses of Co "L", 3/25, so personally. I responded that "first, it's a Marine thing." Second, "that is my old unit and therefore all members are my brothers." Finally, I said "I take it personally because when one Marine is in "harms way" all Marines wish to be at his side."

Enough said.

R.A. Kiser (former Cpl of Marines, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Co "L", 3rd Bn, 25th Marines)
Chief of Police
Grandview Heights, Ohio

What a beautiful depiction of what our men are committed to. My husband is a Navy Chaplain at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He is in charge of all the wounded Marines coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is amazing to see the courage these young men have. It is also Overwhelming to see the miracles God is performing on these young men. Many who were taken off life support to watch die were touched by God's grace and left the hospital days later with their families. Please continue praying for these brave men and women and for God's healing touch!
Danelle Dillman
Navy Wife

I too echo the thoughts of all those leading our troops through this fight! We must continue to take the fighting to his neighborhood, home, area & region. They ( these third world punks) need to managed right out of existence!

God bless our men and women who have given their lives up to this point in time.

We know that when duty called....they answered. When integrity, honor and loyalty were on the line, they fulfilled their duty.

Gene Spanos
Lieut. Ret. RPD 72/95
Sgt. US Marine Corps 66/71
Vietnam 68' DMZ 11th Engineer Bn

Dear Sgt Grit and All you Wonderful Marines !

This has been a stressful few weeks for me. So much so that I have had very little time to be online and connect with this wonderful family of Marines I have become quite attached too. SO when I got home late this evening and saw the priority mail box waiting for me I was moved to tears. In response to my recent post about how when I had returned from a trip to Camp Pen, my USMC flag had been destroyed, Sgt Grit's staff contacted me letting me know of the generous offer made by many of you to replace the flag for me. Enclosed with the flag was the newest M.O.M. T-shirt. I am never one who is lost for words, but today, I am speechless, and filled with appreciation and thanks.

One last thing. When my Cpl. was a tot, I got very upset with my sisters for giving him toy guns...... and well today (this week) he is on the range and I am actually rooting for him to shoot Sharpshooter! Go figure

What else is there to say! THANK YOU ALL.

With prayers for peace,

Sgt Grit,

I just wanted to say that I enjoy your web site very much. We just returned from a seven month tour in Iraq, and are due to return again later this year for another seven month tour. VMU-2 is over there right now maintaining the watch in the air.

SSgt Thompson, J. E.
VMU-1/ S2 Chief
Bldg 1980
29 Palms, Ca. 92278

Good afternoon to everyone who reads this. I'm a 21 year old student at the University of Iowa. I'm taking my second break from school to go BACK to boot camp. Two years ago, while attending Arizona State University, I withdrew from school to offer myself to both the security of this great nation, as well as the young men and women who were serving over in Iraq while I was partying like crazy. I enlisted arrived to boot camp on April 14th of 2003, right after the operations in Iraq had begun. I walked into a Marine recruiting office in Tempe, Az, and, having never even considered the military before, told the recruiter I wanted to quickest way to Iraq. He told me I should go infantry, and I said whatever I'd be doing that the guys fighting do. (I didn't know anything at that point, not even that the Marine Corps had a job other than infantry, lol). I was a platoon leader, switching between that and Guide during training company until week 8, when we were getting ready to go up to Camp Pendleton. The night before we packed the buses, I tore my PCL, meniscus, and chipped a bone in my right knee due to a nasty fall I took in the squad bay. I was furious, and didn't want to go to medical, but I couldn't even dress myself, let alone walk. I was separated July 28th. ANYWAY, here I am two years later, getting ready to ship out again for round two. I leave on May 16th. I am a contracted 0321, Recon, but would never claim such an MOS title until I EARN it. I'm going reserves, and I'm planning on coming back after my training and attending PLC (platoon leadership course) to become an officer. Anyway, all the Marines, and service men and women out there, and great American citizens, thank you for everything you've done, are doing, and will do in the future. No matter the politics of any situation, the bottom line is that this country, as every other country, needs a military.
Thank you.

Sgt. Grit, my son SSGT. Hooker who is stationed at Camp Fallujah Iraq, states that all the Marines there are , " taking care of business", and doing ,"some house cleaning". He says that moral is high, and that he has never served with a finer group of Marines. My wife and I are extremely proud of our "Marine", and keep him and all our "Marines" in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless them all.

Semper Fi, father of SSGT. C.N. Hooker, CLB-8, 2nd FSSG, Camp Fallujah, Iraq.

My 10 year old granddaughter was complaining to her mother (my daughter) about her being to strict. My daughter told her that she had it harder because her father was a Marine. A few weeks later I was watching Regis Philbin on TV and he had a guest Dana Carvey. Dana Carvey said that his kids were complaining about him being to tough. He told them that they didn't know what tough was. He told them that his father was a Marine. Regis said that his father was a Marine too. Marines affect other peoples lives too.
Jim Manning C-1-1 1948- 1952

Sgt. Grit;

My son's a Marine Recruiter. We've talked about the university's, colleges and schools not letting Military Recruiters on campus. I understand there's one campus on the left coast (California) that's currently voting whether or not to totally bar recruiters. Let's see now...A federally funded institution that supposedly prizes freedom of speech, seeks to bar a federal employee (the recruiter) who's carrying out lawful freedom of speech by recruiting for federal service, (our military.)

Pull the schools federal funding the moment they start that #*@! Immediately.

If they give you any static, send the Attorney General after them for violations of 42 USC Sec. 1983 Deprivation of Federal Civil Rights (Barring a Federal Employee Access to Federally Funded Property) and Title 18 Sec. 240 (Conspiracy to Deprive the recruiters, individually and collectively, of their 1st Amendment rights.) No Dean, or President of a so-called ivory tower of "higher learning" takes such a stupid action by themselves. Charge them for it. Individually.

My Marine son served in Iraq and I'm so proud of him I could just bust. So is my whole family. And our young Marine hero has completed five and just told me, he's looking hard at going career.

Lord? This proud old Army puke asks you to look after all the Marines, everyone in uniform and all our veterans.

God Bless and God Speed to you all as you go about your work.

Just sign me, "Old Army."

I have become a proud Marine parent on May 13, My son Brian graduated from Boot Camp at Parris Island. He is home on his 10 day leave and 40 lbs lighter and has become a real man at age 18.
Marty Johnson

The letter from the resent widow and school teacher of at risk children of which she is to commended for carrying on the personnel at heart sincere obligation to maintain this Nations freedoms. As a Disabled Retired Marine I most likely as your husband served with Honor and a strong sense of pride in this Great Nations History, Liberty and traditions. In closing as a State Highway Departments issue a Drivers License it is not a right it is a privilege. As we volunteered joined and met every call our Commander in Chief asked of us. We served with honor in the Marine Corps there was no question to why - it was pride and a pleasure.
Semper Fi -Always Faithful
SSGT Levangie USMC Ret.

Sgt Grit,

I've been receiving your Newsletter for quite some time now. Reading some of the stories just got me to thinking about my daughter. You see, a couple of years ago she came up to me and said, "Dad, I want to join the Marines". I asked her if she was f&*$ing crazy, and said, "Why don't you join the Air Force?". (I have no idea why I asked her those questions...Her Mom was a Marine for 8 years). Well, she said, "What, you don't think I can accept the challenge?". I threw up my hands, and said, "Do what you gotta do". By God, she did, and off to Parris Island she went. Since that time she's become quite a woman, and I couldn't be prouder. No, I take that back. I believe I was the proudest when she asked me to administer the Oath of Enlistment to her. An absolute honor, I must say, and to top it off...she did it on my birthday. My daughter's mom passed away when my daughter was 11, but I know she is keeping an eye on our "little girl". Thanks for allowing a place where a Dad can ramble on. OOH-RAH.

CWO-3, USMC (Ret.)

Dear SGT Grunt,

I would like to thank ALL marines for their commitment and risk to secure our rights and freedom as Americans. I am the very Proud Marine Mom of a Marine, a pride like no other. I would like to remind all our wonderful supporters that we have not just sons protecting us but also daughters. So many times it seems to go unsaid that there are females also in the Marines, defending our country.
God Bless you ALL , Marines, you all make us proud!!!!
Semper Fi.

VPM of PFC Alicia

Answer for J Daun

Suggest to the wife of the Marine who has a problem coping with the trauma of war that he (or she) contact the local VA. They have offices located in most counties. Check the phone book under county government. They can help get him to a clinic where he can receive help. They can assistance him with many problems, medical or mental, all FREE of charge to all Vets. I lost friends in Viet Nam and was messed up many years. It was only 5 years ago that I found out how they could help me. It was hard to admit that I needed help but after swallowing my pride (that is hard to do being a Marine) with help of a few friends I contacted them. They gave me the help needed. Thanks to them I am on the right track.

A L Davis

This is for Matt's mom Katie....I am not sure where you live, but I do know that the Young Marine program is a great one! Our 13 year old grandson Dillon is a member with the Norman, OK unit. He looks forward to every meeting night AND though I KNOW I am a bit prejudiced... he looks so fine in his uniform! Our 12 year old grand daughter wants to join as soon as she can talk her mother into it! (Mom doesn't think she'd like it, but we know she would!) I know your children will be proud to put on that uniform and that will make them feel even closer to their brother who is serving.

Connie Beesley

Dawn "Devil Doc's" wife,
First and foremost, I would like to thank Doc for his service to this great nation and the Marines he served with. Also I would like to thank you for the lonely and scared nights and days you have spent while he was deployed, as some "people" never think of what is left behind when a man goes to a foreign country to protect the world. THANK YOU DOC AND DAWN!!!!!

Once you have been "adopted" by the Marines and serve with them (us) your whole life changes. They will work a little harder, sometimes after a while they notice that they think a little different, they take on a new felt "pride". The only people that like naval bases are those who know nothing else but naval bases. Sometimes other services look at us with envy and don’t even know why.

Marines don’t always get the newest and best equipment. Some days you wonder if you have to wait till Christmas to get extra ammo and grenades. You trade and barter for the extras. One thing you cannot beg borrow or steal is a navy Doc. Your utilities may be thread bare, boot laces have so many places where there tied together that the are half the size of new ones. you have to wear two pairs of socks to cover all the holes. A slight problem that you can over come. No "Doc"-that’s a problem of major proportion!!!!

You made the correct decision . He needs to be where he is comfortable and not on a naval base. We used to have a saying: "navy medic? never leave home without one"!!!!!

I have never met one that I did not like.

Cute little story. Weekend off so we decide to go to the bar down town. We are loading up and one of the guy's yells "wait" so five minutes later he walks back out with "Doc Bonkers" in tow claiming we "might need him". Good call. And yes, we did need him! (civvies are morons at times-mouth's bigger than there a**'s especially when they run in pack's)

Again, thank you both and when he deploys know that both of you will be in our prayers.

Sgt. Just had to run my thoughts by you and your readers Last night The Wall that Heals arrived in a small town local to me East Haven Ct. I was set back by the way it was presented and the prior military who came out to see . One person who I am proud to call friend and brother Cpl. Jack Dougherty showed with his wife Jane in his Class A which still fit like a glove. Jack by the way was hit his 15th day in county and is a recipient of The purple heart. I was struck by the amount of people that reacted to names found on the walls smaller cousin. The local news was in force and did some interviews. When questioned I asked the camera be turned off. I told the young lady reporter I felt one that is was nice that the news covered this event but I personally felt that there was no positive coverage when my brothers and I returned home I felt out of place speaking now. She even asked how I felt about Hanoi Jane making all of her apologies recently. I told her I was glad the camera was off and that her father was spinning in his grave. I do realize that its now popular to be seen with a vet or speak out about the military in a positive way and this is a good thing maybe someday Ill forget the past and forgive Maybe. Semper Fi God Bless ALL my brothers and sisters
Sgt JD USMC Now and Always

"If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself. Character is a by-product, and any man who devotes himself to its cultivation in his own case will become a selfish prig."
--Woodrow Wilson

Sgt. Grit, I have just returned from Kanehoe Bay, HI where I had the privilege of being allowed to welcome my son home from Iraq. It was a trip I will never forget. I have one picture of my son hitting the flight deck that was worth any price. I also had the privilege of being treated like family by everyone at K-Bay from the XO , Chaplains right down to ANY and all Marines I had the privilege of coming on contact with either by phone or in person. I could not feel any more welcome or at home in my own house! There were a large number of parents there from all over the country and we were all treated like family. As an even greater honor, I was privileged to meet Bob Talmadge. He is a Korean War Veteran and one of "The Chosin Few". Sadly, I do not remember his rank, etc.. He was kind enough to keep me company and share some stories with me while we waited for the plane to land.

What a wonderful man! I thanked him for his sacrifices and service to our country and later introduced him to my son. Mr. Talmadge and all the Marine at K-Bay made this a wonderful family reunion for the parents and our sons. My thanks and deepest gratitude to ALL of them.

God bless all our Marines and armed forces people serving across the globe!

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
--Albert Einstein

"For now the Coalition of the Evil is stepping up the carnage [in Iraq] assisted by this recent innovation of attacking rescuers and onlookers. Perhaps the intelligentsia in France, Germany, and the other European countries who are so critical of our Iraqi presence will expatiate on this innovation in their scholarly seminars and their cafes. Some of Old Europe's most robust thinking is done in cafes. In Paris in the early 1940s celebrated intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre discoursed on the vulgarity of the English-speaking leaders as the Nazi tourists strolled by. Old Europe's history of appeasement goes back a long way and has taught today's appeasers nothing."
--R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

I've never written before; but I've been getting your newsletter for some time now. And I've been ordering from your catalog even longer. What has prompted me to write is that I lost my father to cancer yesterday- the greatest man I've ever known. My father was in the Marine Corps in the 1960's. He wasn't in very long; but anyone who met him would have thought he was a lifer! He loved "His Corps". He cherished every minute detail of every experience while he was in. I can't remember a time when he wasn't telling a story from that time in his life. Everything could be related back to some lesson, some value he learned in the Corps! Me and my family were blessed enough to have Daddy two months after his diagnosis. Although we were believing God for a miracle, we took the opportunity to grow closer by sharing our inmost thoughts with him. I thanked him for the man he was. I told him that it was because of him that I have such high standards; that I value honesty, integrity, and loyalty above all else. He was a living example and I still follow in his footsteps. I know that the U.S. Marine Corps took what my grandparents instilled in him and developed that potential some 40 years ago into a man that had an impact on every person he met. And I am grateful. I am honored to have known him, to love him, and to have had him love me. I am honored to get your newsletters and read the stories of so many families like mine who understand what makes our country so great. I am honored to be a part of the Marine Corps family. [Although my husband is Air Force (serving in Gulf Wars I and II), my Pappaw was Army (serving in World War II), my father-in law was Navy (serving in Vietnam), I am proudest of my Marine heritage (my uncle was also in the Marines)!] In the end, God did come through with a miracle...he took my Daddy home to be with Him. And, as much as my Daddy loved his family, his country, and his Corps, he loved the Lord more. I know he's having a grand time praising God and I can't wait till I see him again. Until then, I will carry his Marine Corps medallion he recently ordered from the catalog and wear my "My Daddy is a Marine" t-shirt to remind me of him. He's already terribly missed.
But he will always be my hero.
Semper Fi
V. Conklin (Proud daughter of a Marine)

"To our mothers we owe our highest esteem, for it is from their gift of life that the flow of events begins that shapes our destiny. A mother's love, nurturing and beliefs are among the strongest influences molding the development and character of our youngsters. As Henry Ward Beecher wrote, 'What a mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin'."
--Ronald Reagan

Dear Sgt GRIT, my name, Sgt Scott Beal, I have placed 2 or 3 orders now and I have been very satisfied at the level of your operation, delivery has been efficient, the catalog is "outstanding" and I do plan in June to notify my fellow Marine Veterans of the Marine Corps Association about your website, (most are WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) I was in the Corps from 81-91 and am now a 100% disabled veteran. My next delivery is arriving today and I told my son, if you want it done and done right and delivered, "Tell it to the Marines!" I did want to say on behalf of my new daughter in law, she and my son, Scott graduated from ASU or I stand corrected are about to graduate from ASU in Boone, NC, I am originally from Hickory, NC. Scott will be commissioned a 2ndLt in the Army (yeah, I know, we can't get em' all, but I'm proud of my son's decision anyway!) My son and daughter in law will be going to Germany and he will be going to Iraq, his major in college "Political Science" and he speaks fluent Arabic and Sunni, so that pretty much tells me where he's going and as his Dad I am proud and worried for him. His soon to be wife, Rachel, I bought the book from Sgt GRIT "Surviving Deployment" and Rachel called and said that book has answered every question and then questions she and Scott haven't even given thought of until I sent her the book and she wanted to thank me, but your catalog had it and I wished I had it back in the 80's or my first marriage might not have ended. I am really impressed with the inventory of items you carry, I will probably be ordering for as long as I am drinking my "lifer's juice!" I do enjoy the catalog, and the website is terrific also! I am going to assume that what you have on the website, I can put on an order form and mail in too? And I would like to end by saying I really wish my son, James and I can be there for the 2nd Annual GriTogether, it sounds like a lot of fun and as I recall coming across country on that last "DITY" move I did like the Oklahoma Red Dirt and the country in general, thank you very and Semper Fi! my extended family.

Sgt. Grit, I just wanted to talk about the bond of marines young and old. as a marine 82-86 I've met a young marine a few years ago 16 years my junior. we have a friendship and a father son relationship. I've brought this young man into my home and introduced him to my wife and children, family and friends. Our bond is solid and he calls on me for advice on a regular basis. we both are alike in many ways, he is now me when I was young and I am who he wants to be when he gets older, none the less we are brothers Marines and family. I am proud to have met him and to have opened not only my home but my heart. God Bless The Marine Corps. young and old.
Semper Fi
Sgt. Alpha 3 U.S.M.C.

Sgt. and all readers, just a few notes on being a Marine Mom,

No one and I mean NO ONE knows what its like to be a Marine Mom except another Marine Mom. Army, Navy, Air Force Moms are different. Its just different...If you are a Marine Mom, you know what I mean. If you are a Marine Dad, sorry, you still don't know...(But we still love you)

When my son left for boot camp in July 2001 (before 9-11) I was so proud of his decision. Graduation was more than I can explain.

The changes that take place in one young man are incredible. One thing to remember....NEVER EVER believe a new Marine when he says "Its just a short walk Mom"....LOL Since that proud day (that we almost didn't get to go to because of 9-11) My Marine has gone to Kuwait & Iraq and back again X2. The prayers that go out, the anguish whenever you hear on the news of another Marine death...Unless you are a Marine Mom, you just don't get it. I love you all like my own sons and daughters and when you are hurt, I hurt...just like a Mom.

I recently went to my son's wedding where all his buddies stood up for him and other Marine buddies formed the Honor Arch. After introducing myself as the Groom's Mom, I was MOM to all of them. I told them that since they were all brothers (and sisters) that I was their Mom too, and every hug and kiss I gave them was actually coming from their "other" Mom. Because its not only the Marines that are brothers and sisters...Marine Moms are sisters too. And no one knows it like another Marine Mom. And the LOOKS that these beautiful young men and woman with their uniforms on had from the other hotel guests ....OH MY! (there was a standing ovation at the reception for them...just a spontaneous outpouring of love and thankfulness)

I just wish there were more Moms in the little town I live in....lunch with my "Sisters" would be terrific!

So Moms, if you see My Marine (any of the hundreds of thousands of them) give them a hug and kiss for me. Marines say Semper Fidelis for "Always Faithful"; Marine Moms say Semper Gumby for "Always Flexible"
Love to all my boys and girls,

Dear Sgt Grit and All you Wonderful Marines !

This has been a stressful few weeks for me. So much so that I have had very little time to be online and connect with this wonderful family of Marines I have become quite attached too. SO when I got home late this evening and saw the priority mail box waiting for me I was moved to tears. In response to my recent post about how when I had returned from a trip to Camp Pen, my USMC flag had been destroyed, Sgt Grit's staff contacted me letting me know of the generous offer made by many of you to replace the flag for me. Enclosed with the flag was the newest M.O.M. T-shirt. I am never one who is lost for words, but today, I am speechless, and filled with appreciation and thanks.

One last thing. When my Cpl. was a tot, I got very upset with my sisters for giving him toy guns...... and well today (this week) he is on the range and I am actually rooting for him to shoot Sharpshooter! Go figure

What else is there to say! THANK YOU ALL.

With prayers for peace,

Sgt. Grit,

I will never forget the day I woke up one chilly November morning and thought to myself... I want to become a Marine. After school, I got with a recruiter and took the practice test on the computer. I came home to my Mother and presented her the idea. She looked at me in the Tahoo with surprise and thought I was scheming about some crazy ideas... Which I usually do. I figured, why not? Granted I'm a female, and once my family caught wind that the baby of them all, wanted to join the Marine Corps., they tried persuading me to the Air Force. They tried telling me that in the Air Force the standard of living was nicer, and how they were pretty much pampered. How in the Marine Corps. I was destined for a uncivilized way of life, and pretty much it was equivalent to four years of h&ll, I was fuming. Stubborn as I was, the following day I signed the papers at the recruiter's office. It has been almost a year since I've first went to Parris Island, and when I graduated from my M.O.S School to find out that the Marine Corps. was sending to Hawaii as my first duty station... I was thrilled. But, the ironic part about it all was... I got stationed on Hickman AFB. I stay humble about it to my family... I realized that joining the Marine Corps. was destined for me... even when I was stuck at SOI four months longer than I had to, because I was hurt. So, when some one asks me how I like being in the Marine Corps., I look at them and tell them it has it's days, and I'm thankful for each and every one of them.

Semper Fi... and all of my '03 friends I had made at SOI while they are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.... God bless you all!

PFC Golden

Fathers Day is approaching. So, I have gone through your Spring 2005 catalog and circled those items that I am interested in receiving from the kids and grandkids. It works. For my last birthday in March, I received a number of the items that I wanted from Sgt. Grit.
Worked at Christmas time, too.
Great thing about it is I get things I want...some I wear and some make it to my "brag" wall. Some of the other jarheads that read your newsletter also might want to try this...especially since Fathers Day is June 19th. Time enough to look through your book, make choices and "dog-ear" the pages for easy reference by family members. Gents, you can thank me later.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader
Sgt. '53-'56

I want to thank the men and women who are in Iraq fighting the war! I want to thank them for giving me the freedom to speak my mind. A lot of people don't realize that because of the brave men and women who are fighting the war, they are giving us the opportunity of letting us live our lives as we wish. I feel secure being able to go to work everyday because I know our fellow Marines are taking care of business. The military has control over the war and because of that the "Hibdie Habda's" aren't trying to take over our nation! My prayers go out to all those who are still at war, and those who have lost a loved one. God Bless!

I am sorry to hear about Marine LCpl. Lance Graham. My husband is also a Marine serving in Iraq, and my heart breaks LCpl. Graham, for his family, and loved ones. I will keep his family in my prayers and God Bless you for sharing his story.....


A Man is not Dead until he is Forgotten...

"[N]atural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and...civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice."
--Alexander Hamilton

Dear Sgt Grit,
On 4/29 I had the honor of speaking at the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall in Oxford, MS. At a time when the Vietnamese are celebrating the fall of Saigon, I want to pay tribute for all of your readers to those who served in the Vietnam War and honor the memory of our fallen comrades. An excerpt of my speech follows. I hope it is not too long for you to include it in your newsletter.
Semper Fi,
Gene Hays MSgt, USMC, Retired

The question that I get asked the most by students and other young people today is: "What do you think now about the Vietnam war and do you think it was worth the sacrifice of all those lives?" It is a question that I have had almost 37 years to think about. I try to answer it by telling the story of my best friend from high school, bobby Eaton. To me, bobby Eaton was very typical of the Marines and other servicemen I knew in Vietnam. He came from a hard-working modest income family in Odessa Texas. Bobby always thought of others first and he was genuinely friendly to all. I met him in our sophomore year when we both became charter members of our high school interact club, sponsored by the local rotary club. We shared flag raising duties at school and at football games with the key club. We also teamed up with our rotary sponsors to perform civic projects including renovation of a city playground and park near our school. At school we were all caught up in the space race between the soviet union and the united states, had watched in horror as our president was assassinated, the growing sphere of communist influence around the world and the nuclear arms race. It was a time to be patriotic and as president Kennedy had said, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." By graduation time in 1965, Vietnam had not been in the headlines very often and most of us didn’t know where it was or what was going on there. I wasn’t surprised when bobby told me he had enlisted upon graduation into the Marine Corps. Quite a few from our high school had entered the service by this time, but I decided to wait until after summer to make my decision. Another of my classmates, a popular football player and likeable guy, rex young, waited until the summer of 1966 to enlist in the army. When I graduated from boot camp in November of 1965, bobby Eaton attended my graduation and spent the day with me in San Diego. Bobby was undergoing infantry training in preparation for transfer to Vietnam. During our last few hours together, bobby told me he had a premonition that he would not be coming home. I told him that I didn’t want to hear that kind of talk that we would be together again after he finished his tour of duty. But he continued and he asked me to explain to his mother and his younger twin brothers, Barry and Larry, that he was proud to be a Marine, proud to serve his country and that if he didn’t make it home alive, he was at peace with his decision and he hoped they would understand and be proud of him. Bobby was killed in action on august 7, 1966 and was awarded the purple heart. Rex young was killed in action on august 21, 1968 and was the first Odessan to be awarded the congressional medal of honor. A total of 16 of my classmates made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

I had been in aviation electronics school when bobby was killed and was not able to talk to his mother and brothers until after I returned home from Vietnam in December of 1968. During the summer of 1969, en route from California to my new duty station in Memphis, I stopped in Odessa and met with bobby’s mother and paid my respects to my best friend. Mrs. Eaton was very gracious as I repeated bobby’s words to her. She was the first to ask me this question about the Vietnam war. I told her what I have told others since. Bobby and rex and all of my fellow classmates including all of those who answered the call of duty died fighting for the principle of freedom. I thank god that today we still have men and women willing to answer that call to duty regardless of the politics involved. History and time will be the final judge of whether any war is just, but no one will ever convince me or the majority of my fellow veterans that the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in Vietnam or any other war was in vain. Freedom in the united states and around the world will continue to exist only as long as we are willing to pay the price. It is tragic to have a life cut short by war, but it can be far worse to live a life in fear, tyranny and oppression.

In conclusion, I have thought a lot this week about what this wall means to me and the other veterans. My first thought is of the famous words spoken by general Douglas McArthur during his last address to the cadets at west point in 1962: duty, honor, country. Each of the names on this wall answered the call to duty as others before us. Duty meant serving your country when asked. Duty to family and god and country were not just words to Vietnam veterans. Honor. The overwhelming majority of Vietnam veterans served with honor. If you take a look around you now and talk to a veteran whether it is WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the gulf war, Afghanistan or Iraq, chances are you will see families represented that are god fearing people, the best of neighbors, and some of our best citizens. The servicemen and women serving us now in Afghanistan and Iraq serve with honor just as Vietnam veterans did. Country. No country in the history of our civilization has done more to feed the poor, cure the sick and promote liberty throughout the world than the united states of America. Vietnam veterans are proud of our country. For all our faults and problems, we continue to have more people seeking to come to the united states to become American citizens more than all of the other countries of the world combined. Duty. Honor. Country. The wall. And when I look into the eyes of my brother veterans and see the gratitude expressed by all of you for their service, I see healing. For all those who served, whether on active duty, in the reserves or the national guard, in combat or not. We all tried our best to serve our country and represent the best of what it means to be an American. Vietnam veterans look with pride at the praise and support given our brother and sister veterans who served and are serving in the gulf war, Afghanistan and Iraq. If this wall has accomplished nothing else, it has brought us together and made us appreciate the sacrifices made by all of our servicemen and women. We did not receive ticker tape parades when we came home. There were no marching bands to greet us or welcome home celebrations. And this is why to this day my brother veterans in our own tradition will shake hands, embrace and welcome each other home. To all whose names are on the wall and to all who risked having their names on the wall, I say "Welcome home brothers. Welcome home."

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: quality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
--Alexis de Tocqueville

Thank you all for serving our country. My prayers are with you all.
Thank you,
Mary Schumann

Dear Editor,

I would like to share with you the wonderful news that my family received this week. After 37 years the Department of Defense has reaffirmed what I have heard for many years from many families: we don’t leave our men behind. My brother, Lance Corporal Thomas W. Fritsch (Tommy to family and friends,) was Killed in Action in South Vietnam on May 10, 1968, at the battle of Kham Duc-Ngoc Tavak. The Marine Corps Casualty Office from the Department of the Defense has contacted my family to let us know that the son and brother we lost on Mother’s Day in 1968 has been identified and will be returned home so that he may be buried in USA soil, where he belongs. We all remember Tom as a bright and vibrant soul. He was a volunteer fireman. He was a Boy Scout and stayed active in scouting. He loved his family and had a passion for cooking and creating gourmet meals. He served as camp cook at summer Boy Scout activities and events. For many years he pursued his dream of becoming a professional chef. He had been accepted in the Culinary Art Institute in Connecticut to start that dream in earnest. Sadly, he was never able to see the dream come true. Instead, through an annual event, scholarships are given in his name for other young men and women to complete that dream for him. My brother leaves behind his parents, Bill and Mary Fritsch of Cromwell, Connecticut; siblings Gloria Fritsch Thomas, married to Dean Thomas of Winters, California; Patricia Fritsch of Colchester, Connecticut; William and Bonnie Fritsch of Waxahachie, Texas; Steven and Kim Fritsch of Cromwell, Connecticut; nephew Shawn and Wendy DeFelice of Marlborough, Connecticut; and nieces Lauren and Chelsey Fritsch of Cromwell, Connecticut. After so many years the tears now shed are those of joy for Tom’s return and of appreciation to the United States Marine Corps for making sure that No Man is Left Behind.
Finally, we proudly say Welcome Home Marine.
Semper Fi, Tom. We love you.

Gloria Fritsch Thomas
Proud American

The KHE SANH VETS reunion is coming up in July 12th through the 17th, and will be held in Chicago. and if anybody is interested in coming they can contact me at for more information.
Thanks Don I will see you soon in Chicago.
Semper-Fi Big John Pessoni
Khe Sanh Secretary


This letter is the best morale booster for my vet patients I have ever used. In our morning therapy groups the vets ask me to read a page each meeting. I offered to make them copies, but they said, its more of a ritual for me to read it to them.

I have been meaning to thank you for a long time, but get busy with my vets in the extreme. Thank you and bless you for this newsletter.


Dr. Ariane Tiffany Alexander
War Trauma Specialist
The Genesis Institute

Sgt Grit,
I would like to say goodbye and thank you to a great Marine who has recently retired from the Corps. He had a lot of responsibilities and many different jobs during his service, but one of them was recruiting. He was quite possibly the greatest recruiter in the USA. All of his poolees left for Parris Island knowing EXACTLY what they were getting into and what to expect and quite a bit of knowledge from the "green monster". All recruits knew how to "pound in", they all knew their General Orders like the backs of their hands, they knew basic drill movements, they knew how to run a pft, they knew what it felt like to be "quarterdecked" although not as severely as at boot camp. He was one of the greatest Marines a lot of his recruits will ever know. Thanks Again Gunny Don! (you know who you are!) We will have to have a reunion sometime!!!
A former poolee, now a Marine thanks to you!
Semper fi

My husband is a Active duty GySgt stationed in Iraq where LCpl Graham was with the 3/25th. These Marines have sacrificed so much the last 6 days. They have had so many fallen and wounded brothers in such a short time. My heart and prayers go out to these brave men every second of every day. I wish the average American could feel the pain that we feel as family members for these men. If anyone would like to support our Marines please write them a letter of thanks for all they do and all they sacrifice. Our prayers are with The families of : LCpl Graham, Sgt Cepeda, Lcpl Mahdee, LCpl Postal, Sgt Marzano, LCpl Philoppn, Cpl Derga ,Navy Corpsman Jeff Wiener and others who's names I do not have at this time.

All of these men died in a foreign land without any family members with them and most all of these boys were under 24 years of age.
God Bless you all and all you do.
Semper Fi
Laura Mackey (Proud USMC Wife)

2 of the boys that were killed Mothers Day were with my sons group. They are all taking it hard, but are continuing to do the job they were sent over there to do. Pray for all of them and their families. Also, pray for our president. Please remind people we have a lot of Marines in Afghanistan. They are not brought up to often in the news. When the news media is reporting on other parts of the country our Marines in Afghanistan are being mentioned on a strip moving across the bottom of the T.V. screen and sometimes the only way you can read the words are by getting right up to the screen. That is how much they are being recognized for their sacrifices. A good deal of the time the reporting is not correct either. So please do more to mention them. Sincerely from a mother who never sleeps!

S/SGT Jeffrey R. Starling, Force Recon, 1st Force 5th Platoon, Camp Pendleton_Deceased

For sometime I have been reading the newsletter and find most of the articles so darn fascinating and most enjoyable and it is my way of keeping in touch with "All the Good Men" who serve our country. On December 9, 1999 at approximately 1315 hours we lost our son, above, along with 6 other of his brothers off the coast of California near Point Loma. Now here is the reason that I have finally decided to reach out and try to contact any Marine that may have been at Camp Hansen-Okinawa recently. We were honored with the naming of the SOTG building after our son located at Camp Hansen and would like to hear from any Marine who has witnessed or seen the dedication to him. It would be an honor to hear from his brothers.
Grandle Starling
926 Wells Drive
South Daytona, Fl. 32119

PS: His nick name was "CORKY

Sgt Grit and all readers,

I am a 19 year old poolee set to ship to PI 29 AUG. I have religiously read this newsletter since I swore in 16 NOV of this past year because of the pure and unadulterated motivation I read. Believe me, it rubs off regardless of whether it comes from an insert written by an 80 year old veteran (whom I respect beyond words) or from a recently enlisted man. The end effect is the same: a brotherhood, loyalty and remarkable vigor that will not break come h&ll or high water. While attending Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, my mind was set on earning the title of Marine one day, largely due to the impeccable example set forth by our Commandant, LtCOL Al Ivens. A retired Officer and Gentleman of the Corps, he inspired me to be the best I could be, to always push my self- imposed "limits" and exceed my own expectations much less those of my superiors there. He did this without saying a word to this cadet personally.

As I moved up in the cadet rank structure, I got to put into practice the leadership I learned from LtCOL Ivens; the most important of which was the family mentality, putting my cadet brothers before myself. I was and still am overjoyed to learn of another brotherhood, stronger and forged in fire, that I could earn a place in.

Reading the stories published here never fails to motivate me or put tears in my eyes. I just finished reading the account of the Marine who, while his squad was pinned down fighting in Iraq, grabbed a machine gun and fired it until his fingerprints were burned into the barrel, allowing his fellow Marines to hold their ground. I just wish we could send those whining cowards who seem to tirelessly put down military service over there for a little attitude adjustment exercise.

I want to thank every USMC Veteran, past or present service for maintaining and passing on the esprit de corps; your sacrifice and service is sincerely appreciated and I am honored to think that I will become a part of this family.

Semper Fi
David Truglia

Sgt. Todd Venette. Killed May 7th in Baghdad.
You will be missed brother.

Doc Lucas

My son, Sgt. Michael Marzano, was KIA with the 3-25 on Saturday May 7th. They taught us how to be great proud USMC parents but not how to handle this h&ll. I wish LCpl. Graham's family peace. At this point we only have what is left of our Marine family. Which is why I will continue to work with packages from home to keep supplies going to our military. If we can make one soldier happy, one day, during this miserable time in their lives, we are being proud parents, We are being Marine Parents. Semper Fi.
Margy Bons
Proud mom of a Marine that gave the ultimate sacrifice May 7th, Haditha Iraq.

Story on 4 Marines and the " a healing process for all of us" as they honor a fallen comrade KIA in the Republic

Ken Riskedahl-USN/RSVN 67-68
Tupelo, Mississippi

Sgt. Grit,

Your readers are aware of the losses that Lima Company, 3/25 based in Columbus, OH has suffered in the last weeks. Our community in Central Ohio is basically numb. We have lost several fine young Marines. Families and friends are left now with memories and the inspiration from their courage and commitment.

At 0800 on 30 May 2005, the Marine Corps Family Support Community will be holding a special Remembrance Service in the Worthington United Methodist Church parking lot at 600 High St., Worthington, OH 43085 and adjourning to the intersection of High and South Streets at 1000 to observe Worthington's Memorial Day Parade as a Family. All Marines and Family in the area are invited to share in this.

Call or email for directions and details.

God Bless the Marines -- Semper Fi -- Dr. Dennis Benson Proud Marine Father of Sgt. Kris Benson

Sgt. Grit,
I first off would like to thank you and your staff for the great time had by all at the 2nd annual "Gritogether". I was sorta' bummed about the day, because I went to my neighbors house to see if he was still going to attend with me, I learned he had just came home the night before from a stay in the hospital. Gene Eidson is 82 years old and a WWII and Korean Veteran Marine. While at your place for the activities, I looked through the window of one of the static display trucks and saw a buddy of mine whom I had not seen since at least 1991! Cpl. Billy Babb of Claremore OK. That definitely raised my spirits, and made for a good reunion of brothers. I met some board members in person, as well as seeing some that I had met last year at your place. God Bless you! Sgt. Grit and Semper Fidelis.
"churchman" (Greg Crowder)

My kid fought in Iraq so yours can party in college.

God Bless America!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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