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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 #98

""No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." - Ronald Reagan


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New Items!

Memorial Day Shirt - Only available through June 5th

Here is a special way you can remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This t-shirt features a stunning blend of images from the Iwo Jima and Vietnam Memorials by SSgt Charles Wolf (SemperToons) you'll want to see it!

Many new items for our new Summer Catalog

Marine Corps Stand Golf Bag

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Marines Beverage Tub

What a Life: How the Vietnam War Affected One Marine

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When Tiger Woods was just coming on the scene on the tour, a commentator on TV made the remark, "how nice, courteous and well behaved the young man is". Another said "That's probably because his father was in a special unit in the Army and they were strict". My #1 daughter, said to the TV, "huh, you think that's bad, you ought to be raised by a Marine". And she was in her '30's.

SF NC 1108487 C-1-1 '50-'52 Chesty's last regimental command


Dear Sgt.
My name is Paul Cuellar and I am 18 years old. Currently I am in the process of graduating high school and I will be leaving shortly after. As of today I only have 18 days left with my family before I am on my way to join my new family. One of the greatest things about joining the Corps is that the other day I saw one of my old coaches from middle school and when I told him what I was doing he looked me straight in the eye and told me "I know that you are not yet a Marine, but thank you...thank you for everything that you will do and everything that you will continue to do." To me that was one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. I am just very privileged to be able to take on the challenge and become a Marine. In closing I would just like to say that I am proud to say that I am a future Marine, and I would not have it any other way.

Paul Cuellar


Ms. Semper Fi Pageant http://www.clix.to/pageant


To Whom it May Concern:
First of all, my letter is in support of all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are putting their lives on the line every day so that we may all enjoy our freedom; I would also like to extend this same gratitude to the Coalition Forces who are also helping to defend freedom. Secondly, I work at a hospital in Portland, Maine where one of the women that I work with, has a son who is a United States Marine stationed in Iraq. Bob's unit has recently taken some major losses due to the recent fighting in Iraq, but yet he remains confident that what they are doing is the "Right Thing". Interesting thing though, when Bob and his mother talk and he tells her about the road side bombings that they encounter on a daily basis and some of the other tragedies that are taking place, it takes the media almost three weeks to get these stories to us. The media never mentions about the medical care, schools and homes that are being built and rebuilt, the roads, communication systems, electricity, and so many of the other things that we as American's taken for granted everyday that our men and women are doing to help the Iraqi people. Why is this? Is it because they would rather look at the negative aspects of the war as oppossed to the positive?

Sincerely, Tom Ryan Falmouth, Maine


On Memorial Day in Sun City Center, Florida , we gather at the Kings Point Auditorium to honor those veterans who have gone to their Heavenly reward during the past year. All of the organizations here are represented, VFW, American Legion, SeaBees, Leathernecks, Shriners, K of C,etc. It is a very impressive ceremony with a local high school color guard, piper and a distinguished speaker from either current or retired military status. Each participant is carrying a small American Flag as we march into the auditorium to the applause of all who have come to pay their respects to those who gave so much. The highlight of the program is when the names of the deceased veterans who have died during the past year are read. Each participant rises, turns and faces the audience when the name of each veteran is called. The sad part of this years program is that this is the highest number of our beloved veterans who have departed us in the past year in Sun City Center alone, two- hundred twenty-nine (229). At the conclusion of ceremony, the organist plays and requests each unit to stand as their hymn is being played. When they play the Marines Hymn, the Leathernecks rise and sing with all of their gusto and the audience responds with cheers and thunderous applause in appreciation for our past and present efforts for our country. May our Good Lord keep a watchful eye on all of our service men and women and let us keep them in our prayers.

George Maling - Sgt. Korea


Our sons and daughters of this generation are devoting their future to our freedom. I am talking about the generation of 9/11. It is a true generation of patriotism. The enlisted and the commissioned. The future of our country . I pray that our leaders of today will change the fashion of politics. For our generation of 9/11 have the heart to protect this great Nation. Unselfishly.

Roxanne Gentry


Sgt Grit,
We have been receiving your news letter for some time and placed a few orders..Our fav is the Marine Corps tire cover. My husband is an active duty Marine, Has been for 18 years now. He is currently deployed to Camp Fallujah,Iraq.He left from Camp Lejeune on March 1,2005.Not knowing when he will return. I pray for his safety..and I pray for those with him.My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost a beloved Marine.One can never know the sacrifices we and our loved ones make on a daily basis.Only we will know the emptiness and sadness that comes with sending our loved ones off to war...Not knowing if they will ever return to us. I know in my heart that if I lost my husband today..The only thing that would keep me going would be the thought of knowing that he took great pride in being a marine and that he believed in what he was fighting for. I support my beloved Gunny in all that he does and all that he fights for...I support my country in all that we stand for... God Bless our beloved United States Marine Corps and God Bless The USA! OORAH...

Proud Marine wife

GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS !


As a Cpl of Marines (97-01) I did 2 tours in Kosovo and Albania. I was saddened today by the flagrant disrespect to our Corps. I was driving home from work and saw what I consider to be a sorry individual. This unhuman thing was flying the Marine Corps flag upside down in full view of everyone who was passing by. I understand the freedom of speech and expression but when you do it in disrespect of my Corps and fellow Marines it drives me to be fighting mad. Had I not had my children with me I would have confronted this individual, but knowing how confrontations escalate I decided against it. My children did not need to see there father that way nor should someone respecting the Corps act in such a manner. For everyone behind Our brave men of any branch I salute you and God bless the ones away.

Cpl Timmons USMC (97-01)


Sgt Grit -
Here I am, writing again to ask the opinion of your readers, my extended Marine Corps family. I wrote a few weeks ago regarding our town in central Wisconsin. It is the wish of two fine young Marine recruits to be able to wear their Dress Blues to graduation. I say recruits because at this time, they have not quite completed boot camp. The school board originally voted in favor of these young men (due to a large number of signatures on petitions) but a second vote was necessary for the final decision. I was heartbroken to learn the other night that the school board has denied their request. I am so angry that I can't see straight or think straight. My heart goes out to the Mom who has to tell her son that he is not allowed to wear his uniform to graduation. In an effort to soften the blow, so to speak, the school board agreed to "let" these fine young men wear their Dress Blues to lead in their fellow classmates as part of an Honor Guard. But then they have to remove their uniforms before they will be allowed to graduate! If they choose to remain in their uniforms, they will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. What a bunch of crap! In a lame excuse from one of the student school board members, she stated that this would be the last time the class would be together as a whole, and they wanted to maintain tradition. Obviously, this young woman has no concept of what these Marines have been through to earn the right to wear their uniforms. She has no concept of the rights these Marines will be fighting for -one of which is her right to voice her opinion about tradition. What on earth is wrong with starting a new tradition? My only consolation is what my son told me on his graduation day from the same school. "It's okay, Mom. This graduation is not the important one. My true graduation will be in 13 weeks in San Diego." To these young Marines, I pass on his words. By the time you get home to Mosinee, you will have graduated in the finest tradition of all. To those in my hometown who don't understand what this uniform is all about, I offer my sympathy that you just don't get it! And never will. By the way, two years ago, they "allowed" on fine young Marine who I proudly call my son as well, to lead the graduating class in wearing his Dress Blues as part of a color guard. They also let him speak to the graduating class. (He had missed his graduation the year before by about a week. He returned from boot camp a week after graduation.) They were glad to have him speak, after all, he had just returned from Iraq. Since then, he has been back to Iraq twice. And, he was quite a hit with the crowd! I remain a Marine daughter, wife and Mom. To all Marines I say, may God bless you and keep you in His care. Keep safe and come home soon.

Sue Ostrowski - Cpl. Joe Ostrowski's mom. (Current deployment in Al Asad)


After reading #97, the old saying of "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" has a new cousin of "Once a Marines Family, Always a Marines Family"

T/Sgt DW Meyer, 1st Marine Air Wing 1944, 45, 46


Reply: Mom #97 Newsletter

Yes, "Mom" is special being a Marine Mother. I have to disagree that the Air Force Mom's etc have different feelings than that of a Marine Mom. I am the Mom of a Marine and Airman Love them both, worry the same, Proud of both, MP and SP but still fighting for the Same Cause--My Airman has been in many a dangerous situation over seas 2 times. I lie awake, freeze when the phone rings, smile, hug his friends and co workers and I am equally proud of both. I remember a time in Vietnam when the Navy came to the door w/news of my brothers death there is no less worry whatever the Branch-They are the US Military--Not to say that we have interesting talks and competition in our home. Semper Fi to the Marine Corps My Father died this year w/his purple heart and bar times 2 and many memories of his Battles that history talks about in WWII Iwo Jima, Saipan,Tarrawa-- (sorry about the spelling) But the stories he did tell are stories I will never forget-I am waiting for the time my son's talk for now no info for Mom unless I over hear see they know I have lived w/ the man in uniform w/the worse news possible at the door-I pray for all the service members in every branch. I know the Marines are excellent, so is our Air Force...Thanks to all. Pray for my Nephew Scott who is deploying again soon....You are in my prayers.. Thanks, Sgt Grit for all the fine products and your service has been flawless..

Marine/Air Force Mom God Bless the USA


Sgt. Grunt,

I have the most self disciplined, honorable young man for a son. My son joined the Marines in 2004 and left for boot camp May of 2004. He actually talked about joining the service all through his senior year. Then one weekend, while home from college, he announces to his Dad and me that he had something to tell us. When the words "I've joined the Marines" came out of his mouth, I can't even begin to tell you what I felt. I had a hard lump come up in my throat, and was literally speechless. My son and I have always been really close, talking about everything. As he set there talking to his Dad about it, I couldn't say anything. Dustin as me "mom, are you ok"? All I could do was shake my head yes. If I had even started talking, I would just start crying uncontrollably. So I didn't say anything until my husband said, "well, son what made you do this"? I commented without thinking and said, "he talked about it his whole senior year". My husband was not aware of this because their not as close. So when I opened my mouth, guess what started? Tears & more tears and the lump in my throat became unbearable. I didn't want him to think I was disappointed or upset at him, so I left the room and went to my bedroom and fell to my knees beside my bed and began to pray. All I could see was him coming home in a box and I prayed to the Lord and told him this. God spoke to my heart and said " Don't you know I have him in the palm of my hands and I'll take care of him"? I felt this over whelming peace come over me. I got up, went to the restroom and washed my face. As I was coming out, my son was coming in the bedroom door really slow and ask me, "mom are you ok"? I rushed to him, hugged him and told him what I had thought and prayed, that I was so proud of him making this choice, a choice that only a real man could make. It was then I realized my son may have been 19, but he was a real man! I then began researching everything I could to find out about the Marines. I learned their history, motto, hymn, you name it. I then planned a pre- boot camp party for all of his friends and had all this info on each table, then showed everyone the video he received from his Recruiter. Of course his friends thought he had lost his mind. I reminded them he wasn't crazy, he's a man. Out of all the branches of service he could have went into, he chose to me, the hardest. That's because he's the most self disciplined person I know. He was a little guy in Sr. High and started working out his 10th grade year. He's huge & buff now. He disciplined his eating, faithfully working out 2 hours every night. I had no doubt he couldn't become a Marine. He's in the reserves, and wants to get into the nursing field, particularly forensics. He left for boot camp May 17, 2004, the hardest day of my life I think. He broke his foot on the crucible, but didn't know it was broke until they were back in base and he seen a doctor. He went was delayed 5 weeks in MRP. I continued to write him daily, sending bible verses of encouragement and just constantly up lifting him and reminding him God has it all in control and everything happens for a reason. We drove out to graduation September 2004. When I saw him for the first time, he looked nothing like he did when he left and my heart sank and I could think of was running over and hugging him. He was in formation for their motivational run and let me tell you, that is really hard, not seeing your first born in so long and knowing their less than 8 feet away and you can't touch them. Then the tears began to well up, and I held them back and thought, he was strong enough to conquer everything that was put before him, I can be strong through this, so as they started off, I hollered " Give'em h&ll son"! Of course, he was all pumped up for the run, he never heard me but that's ok. Out of all the people there, I would say I'm was the PROUDEST! My family is a Military family now and we're all proud of Dustin. He has a new respect from all of his friend and our family. God Bless You All!

Semper Fi Char PMP LCpl Derrick


To Margy Bons,

Your son and you make us all proud. God Bless You in your loss and know that we too will never forget his sacrifice.

Tom & Karen Shepherd Proud Marine Parents of LCpl. E.T. Shepherd (3rd MAW)


Old Army,

Very well said, and I couldn't agree more! I live in California, just minutes from the college that wants to ban the military from "their" campus (Chabot Jr. College, Hayward, Ca.). My husband and I had the same discussion regarding their federal funding and the rights of those that want to talk to the recruiters from the various branches of our military. Our daughter (who attended Chabot College but did not enlist through it) is a Sgt. in the Marine Corp. She is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in August. My husband and I are both Army veterans. I remember to this day the afternoon assembly that all graduating seniors listened to the recruiters and the choice I made at that time to join the military (upon graduation and turning 18). It was one of the best choices I have ever made and can still appreciate the chances it gave me to grow. 1st Amendment rights are for all of us, even if we don't necessarily agree with the opinions of those speaking. We also have the right to turn a deaf ear to things we don't agree with. No military reps to speak to those that want to listen then no federal funding paid by law abiding citizens to keep these establishments doors open!

God Bless our troops, our recruiters and our Constitutional rights

Judie


There have been an average of 160,000 troops stationed in Iraq during the last 22 months. During this time the firearm death total was 2,112 for a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. The rate in Washington DC is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington, D.C.


I just came back from visiting our Nation's Capital. We went w/ the 7th and 8th graders of St. Paul Lutheran School in Chicago, IL. I went as a chaperone.

It was a GREAT VISIT and we had some FANTASTIC WEATHER. But the true reason for my email is to tell you how nice the WWII Memorial is. It is BEAUTIFUL and to see so many Vets walking around w/ their hats and some in uniforms was truly special to me. There are 2 flag poles that have the four symbols of the military at the base and I went to take a picture of the USMC symbol and there was an old Marine sitting w/ his wife and he had a cane. He wore a red USMC cap and a red USMC t-shirt. I asked him if I could take his picture and he said yes. He told me he fought in the Marianna Islands. I shook his hand and said Thank You and then I got the h&ll out of there because I get too emotional. I cheated a lot when other old Vets were having there picture taken, I'd sneak around and take one for myself. Couldn't help it. Then at the Viet Nam Memorial, I shook the hands of four Vets and thanked them. I think they appreciated it.

So to all you Vets out there...Thank You!

Sincerely,

Daniele


To all...
I have the distinct pleasure of being the proud father of Marine Iraqi veteran. Some people may be tired of hearing how proud I am but tough. I'll never quit talking about him or the other Marines. He is back now, was wounded and discharged, but we still have young men and women over there needing our support and prayers. One in particular is Marine Sergeant Heber Boucher, 1st Marines. Throughout the campaign in Iraq, his father and I formed a bond which I hold with great honor. Sgt Boucher has returned to Iraq. Remember him in your prayers.

VR/ Mike Collins Proud Father of a US Marine


Just to let everyone know, the civilian Marines at MCLB Albany are really working long and hard hours to support our Marines in the war zones. Many are pushing 12 hour shifts six days a week to get the best possible equipment possible out to the Marines as quickly as possible. As a retired Marine and civilian employee, I've seen both side of the street and believe me when I tell you that you couldn't ask for a finer group of professionals that support the finest men and women in uniform. May God bless the U.S.A. and those that serve her honorably!

Semper Fi M.P. Herrin MSgt. USMC (Ret)


Hello Sgt. Grunt my name is Renee Taylor my son Lance Cpl. Joseph W. Burwell is serving his country in hit Iraq forward operating base, his unit is 3/25 Kilo Company reserve unit from Moundsville WV. I'm very proud of Joe and thank him all the time for what he's doing I think all the troops our great. My sons unit has lost 4 Marines since they have been there, not a day goes by that I think what if they come here to tell me my son has been killed in action, but Joe has said mom if something should happen, you know I'm a Marine and when I joined I might go over to Iraq. Well he was right and even the thought of all the fighting and car bombs and IED's I could not be more proud of Joe and the 3/25 . My sons a hero to me and a true Marine also he's said they our my brothers , I wish I had the courage to do what these men do. People say to me how could you have let him join the service and I tell them ,your crazy my sons doing a good thing for his country and the Iraq people, all men and women should join the service I think at least 4 years. Well some might disagree but that's my thought. I say in closing Gods Speed to all the Marines in the 3/25 and god bless all the troops, Semper Fi "

Renee M. Taylor


http://operation-helmet.org
"OPERATION HELMET provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to those ordered to deploy in the near future. The Navy Corpsmen, Doctors, and Nurses that accompany the Marines to the front lines have also asked to be included, and we do so gladly. Operation Helmet has no connection to or association with any manufacturer of helmet suspension systems. Our only goal is added protection for our troops. All admin expenses related to the organization are covered by our volunteers. Our books are open to inspection by any person at our home office." Bob Meaders, MD CAPT, MC, USN-Retired Operation Helmet, In.

Semper Fi, HMC (FMF) Margaret Duke United States Navy Reserves


A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits. - Richard Nixon


May 12th 2005 my daughter celebrated her second anniversary in the Corps. She is currently a LCpl. stationed at Cherry Point. Her first year in she was stationed in Okinawa. I would like to thank the Corps for helping her become what she is. To her father and I she is our Beautiful Marine. She can be a hardcore Marine when needed and a beautiful woman when she's not. It's amazing to see the things she's accomplished being part of the Corps. This August she will be deployed to Iraq for the first time. I know she'll have her brothers and sisters to help her through her deployment. And of course we have the Marine Corps family with us stateside to help us through. Our LCpl. will re- enlist. She has it in her blood now. The Marines are a unique group of men and women. I know now why she choose this path. Thank you all Marines for doing what you do and how you do it.

A very proud Marine Mom in Indy.


Sgt. Grit
I have been reading this newsletter for quite some time now and am constantly reminded of the courage and commitment of our Marines, both those who are serving today or those who have served in the past. As the son a former Pacific Theatre Marine and the father of a young LCPL who recently returned home from Iraq, the Marine Corps and all it stands for has always been in the forefront of our lives. When my father left his home in 1942 he said goodbye to his father, who passed away before I was born, so I never had the chance to know him. Not until my own son shipped out, did I realize that my grandfather and I had something in common. We both said goodbye to our Marine sons, proudly going into harms way, never knowing if we would see them again. I was luckier than my father, who's own father passed away while he was deployed.

As I read the accounts of many of the contributing parents, many of the fears shared by them, are all too real. When my son first deployed we heard from him sporadically, but when the battle for Fallujah intensified, we did not hear from him for quite some time. It was really only a couple of weeks, but seemed like forever. Every day and night, as causalities were reported I would wonder, "Who's son or daughter it was?" It had to be someone's. It was always someone's. Someone with the same fears and hesitations that my wife and I lived with daily. Fears that made us examine what was important to us, and how trivial some things were. How many nights I was terrified to come home almost convinced a car would be waiting outside our house, occupied by several Marines, bringing some tragic news. There are many memories I have of my son in the Corps, but the two most distinct are the day he received his eagle, globe and anchor on the parade deck at PI and the night he returned home, marching in with his unit to the uproar of a proud and ever thankful group that had assembled many hours earlier. On both occasions, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Our thought and prayers go out to all of our Marines, present and past, who have served honorably and made this country what it is today. My son returned home in March and we will never forget that but for the grace of God, it could have been a different outcome. Whether he returns or not is uncertain at this time, but if he does, we know that he is part of one of the finest organizations in the world. Semper Fi Mike De NJ


Dear Sarg:

I was thinking about the meaning of Memorial Day and I came across a quote by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, that exemplifies what freedom, independence and honor mean to America, thanks to our Founding Fathers. Now, the lunatics who believe that they alone have the intelligence to tell the rest of us what is true, do not believe what this quote means. But those of us who believe in the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution know it is true.

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animated contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countryman."

What a dynamic and wonderful statement! These words give meaning to what this country is about. FREEDOM and JUSTICE for all who believe that we truly are living in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". Freedom is not Free! FREEDOM occurs because of those who are willing to make a stand for what is right! I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be one of "the Few, the Proud, the Marines!"

Semper Fi, Bob Lonn, SGT, USMCR, 1963-69


Here's one for ya sarge,
a good buddy of mine was deployed in Iraq with the USMC. It was his 3rd tour, and he was just weeks short of coming home. On the outskirts of fallujah, he was running a routine patrol with his squad. a grenade exploded wounding two men in his squad, he dropped his rifle and rushed forward to grab them and pull them into cover. he got to the first one, and pulled him behind a wall. He started to run to the first one and was hit in the leg, he kept going. He got to the second one, but was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. he is being awarded the bronze star posthumously. He is missed by me nearly as much as by his marines.

Cadet Petty Officer 3rd class Beresovoy Semper Fidelis


To my Fellow Americans,


Today, I found something new, a ideal that until this Memorial Day has not been a part of my way of thinking. My beloved 18 year old daughter, Jamie, is a member of our Armed Forces. A United States Marine. Proudly serving her country, proudly committing herself at a time of war.

She has brought a new meaning to this Memorial Day.

I have always been a proud American. Thankful to those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we have. Thankful to those who served and those who are currently serving.

Until today I truly have not connected the two. My Daughter, Memorial Day

I never imagined this moment, never thought I could be so proud, never considered all who are thankful for my daughter's commitment.

To my Jamie (Ladybug), LCpl Langiewicz 1stMAW, 18PSD, USMC, All my Love, All my Pride, All my Thanks and may all Americans Salute you, your fellow Marines, All our Armed Forces worldwide and especially those in harms way.

God Speed, Be Safe, Come Home Soon

Semper Fi

Dad
James Langiewicz


I have always had great pride for my country an the Corps, but it wasn't until spending one year with a E-9 (ret) that I really got turned on. So now I will be swearing in on 5/31/2005 to become a Ground Pounder.

Thanks,

Dusty Kitchko


We in SE Idaho are completing a Memorial to all veterans. It has a been a few years in the works and looks to be complete this summer. It would be an honor for any of the traveling Marines to stop by and take a look even before it is complete.

It is located in Pocatello, Idaho across the street form the Visitors Center of the Interstate 15 at exit 63


Yo Sgt. Grit., I think the Memorial Day holiday is overlooked but most civilians. Yes, it is a holiday, and yes it is good to get away on vacation, but the real reason we have this day is because of the men and women of this great country that gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives for the very freedoms we enjoy. Just a sound off from an Old SGT. Semper Fi.

Sgt. D.J. Tasker USMC 1962-1967(NAM)


Due to extending my tour in 'Nam I was back with C Battery 1/11 waiting for my 30 day leave. I was the lucky one that got to see Bob Hope at Hill 327. I was half way up the hill when his chopper landed and beautiful women stepped off. By the time Ann Margaret danced in her black leotard, I was leaning on the stage. I never forgot it.

Chris Noel knocked me out too. I would have married her in 3 seconds.

Larry Tooley


i was hit by an a/k in 1969 and wasn't wearing a flak jacket. but i signed a waiver to stay. as with cpl. cruz-always faithful.

ShadowDancer #0111


This morning on the way to work I noticed that the truck in front of me had those over sized tires. I was thinking what a dumb thing to do because the vehicle was unsafe, just waiting for an excuse to roll over (so I have been told). Then, I noticed the bumper stickers the guy had stuck all over and I mean all over the back of his truck. I started reading them and right away recognized Sgt. Grit's merchandise. They were all Marine bumper stickers right out of your catalog. I then noticed the license tag and saw that it was honoring the US Marines. Then I looked inside the truck and saw the high and tight. Well, right then I smiled and rethought my position about that truck driver. Yes, it may be dangerous but isn't danger second nature to a Marine? I would have followed him to get a Marine hug but I was already late for work (sigh). Now that might have frightened him!

W. Hall
Proud Grandmother to a Marine
and Mom to 2 Former Marines


I want to thank all for sharing your stories. I too come from a family of Marines. My brother retired after 30 years of service. My sister served this great Country of ours as a Marine as well. And now my son and my nephew are serving our Country with pride as Marines. I was in the Air Force and was planning to transfer to the Marine Corps but was talked out of it and to this day have great regret. My son is on his 2nd tour in Iraq. He turned 19 during the war and recently turned 21. He was recently promoted to Cpl. On the day he turned 7 my brother returned from Desert Storm and from that day on he knew this is what he wanted. I remember telling my brother that when we return over there that in my heart of hearts I knew my son would be deployed. I pray every day for all our soldiers over there. We should ALL be proud of our soldiers and stand behind them.

I have a son who is going to be 15 and all he talks about is becoming a Marine as well. He speaks highly of our soldiers no matter where he is at. Unfortunately he has learned quickly how many anti-military we deal with daily and that bothers him a lot. But, he has also found support from many of his teachers and peers alike. My daughters team sent out birthday cards to my son. That made me feel so good and she was so proud to bring home over 50 cards for her brother and we mailed them out. My son's team decided to send packages out for extra credit. The strong and devoted will prevail.

I also want to thank people such as Tobey Keith, David Ball, Alan Jackson and all other artists who can take a lyric and sing out to our nation in support of our troops. Some of these songs are so much from the heart it brings tears to my eyes.

We have in our local towns mailings going out all the time. We just had a local heroes dinner to help defray the cost of packages and postage to send to troops overseas. It was a great turn out and an enjoyable evening.

I get stopped in parking lots many times from people asking me to thank my son for his service. What a great feeling that is! This Memorial Day take the time to go to a parade in support of all our heroes they deserve all our support.

To all our troops out there......God Speed, Semper Fi and GIT R DONE and come home soon.

Susan Magner, USAF


Just wanted to inform anyone who may be in the east Tennessee area who may be interested in meeting this "true survivor"! Here is the "scoop"....
He will be speaking in Knoxville, Tn on Thursday,16 June 2005. For those who aren't familiar with who he is...Stand by... Cpl Harrell was a member of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Indianapolis in July 1945. Indianapolis' mission had been to deliver components for the first atomic bombs to Tinian. Just past midnight on 30 July, the ship was hit by two Japanese torpedoes, sending her to a watery grave. Five horrifying days later, only 317 men who had survived the terror of shark attacks, hypothermia, severe dehydration and salt-water hallucinations, were accidentally spotted and rescued. Join us as Mr. Harrell vividly describes the crew's heart- wrenching struggle to survive the greatest catastrophe at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy!
Advanced pre-paid reservations are required. Contact me for more info if you are interested! Max Roark mtroark@aol.com or call me (865)679-8437. Semper Fi !


Gentlemen,

Last Thursday I helped organize a tribute to our US military entitled the "Salute to Our Heroes" dinner.

It was the second year we've done this in Miami. We hosted almost 300 people including about 100 men and women in uniform. The dinner is designed to pay tribute to our troops and raise money for several military-related charitable organizations.

As part of the dinner, we honored the families of two fallen Marines. One of them was the family of Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo. You may recall that his father made national headlines when he went berserk after being notified of his son's death. He set fire to the van that brought the Marine casualty notification team. Mr. Arredondo was severely burned in the process. The Marines never pressed charges and instead worked with the father to get him both physical and emotional rehabilitation. Major Scott Mack, USMC led that effort. LCPL Arredondo's father stood on our stage and publicly thanked Major Mack and the Corps for all they had done for him and his family. It was a deeply touching moment.

Coincidentally, we had earlier recognized Major Mack with a proclamation from the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. Major Mack is retiring after 20 years and has been actively involved in a variety of charitable activities in our community. The recognition----combined with Mr. Arredondo's public apology and thanks---made it a very special evening for Major Mack and his fellow Marines present.

The Marines are indeed a special breed. I am glad that we could help the rest of our local community recognize just how special they are.

Respectfully yours,

Raul Mas Executive Director, Co-founder "Salute to Our Heroes" Miami, Florida


Just had to write about our daughter's experience in returning from deployment in Iraq. She was there for 7 months driving a humvee as security on convoys and returned to the States just before Easter in March. We met her at Camp Lejeune and got to spend a week with her before her block leave began. (She got a 72-hour pass immediately following her return, then a 96-hour pass over the holiday weekend before she was 'officially' on leave). Anyway, I just assumed that the "debrief" they were supposed to have on return from leave would include an opportunity to talk to a counselor if they felt the need. That didn't happen. She had been having a few problems - sleeplessness, dreams, crying for no apparent reason, jumpiness around the firing ranges (especially hearing the Howitzers being fired) - and really needed someone to talk to. (After she got back, she told us some things that she hadn't told us in our weekly phone conversations. For instance - her base was mortared every day for the first month she was there.) However, when she got moved from Bn. to PMO and was checking in to her newest assignment she finally got a chance to talk with a chaplain who made sure she got to see a doctor at medical who made a referral for her. This is more than a month after her return. She finally has an appointment at the beginning of June. Now, I know I'm just being a 'mom', but shouldn't the military at least offer these troops the chance to talk with a counselor automatically? I realize some don't think they need it, but most of these are just kids out of high school who have never experienced what war is about. I know in talking with my dad and my father-in-law (both Marine WWII vets) that nothing like that was available for them. And Marines, in particular, are taught to maintain military bearing and not to show emotion - so I think many of them see that kind of 'weakness' as some sort of personal failure. I just needed to get this off my chest and to see what others have to say about it. I just keep praying for my daughter - as I did daily for the last 7 months.

Lorinda Wilder


Krusty - #97,
I tried for 22 years to get my Father (who was an old WW2 CM1 (Carpenters Mate First) to not call me a medic, and now a Marine of all people, is saying...Navy medic, don't leave home without one. Medics are Army or any other non-doctor type person. There never has been a Navy medic and never will be! That would be on par with calling you Marines...soldier! Best Part Of The Corps..Is the CORPSMAN!

J.R.Nagel,HMCS/IDT/SW/USN

Thank You,
Paul C. Helms HMC 1947-1968
FMF
My wife has that bumper sticker on her car..


Sgt Grit,

This Memorial Day, the American Flag and the Marine Corps Flag will again fly in my yard to honor my Dad's service, and also this year, to honor my Dad's memory. He passed away November 3, 2004. July 1944 found him barely past his 18th birthday, arriving on Guam as a replacement, Fox Co. 2/21 had taken terrible casualties and he was assigned to Weapons Platoon and to his new buddy, Barney "Frenchie" Provost, of Jeanerette, LA, also a replacement. Guam had been "officially secured" by the time he got there, although they saw plenty of action in a grim sort of "on the job training" as the months passed. After spending all day February 20, 1945, circling in Higgins boats in seas to rough to land, the 21st Marines landed on Iwo Jima Feb. 21, and began the push north up the middle of the island. March 3 found Dad and Frenchie northeast of airfield three, supporting a Fox Co. Rifle Platoon with their Browning light .30. They were discussing how to move the gun farther up when a Jap machine gun opened up. Frenchie was killed as he spoke, my Dad seriously wounded, along with three other squad members...

It was over fifty years later before Dad spoke of this to any extent...until we obtained Muster Rolls from the National Archives, Dad couldn't even recollect "Frenchie's" real name. In February, 2004, during the Iwo Jima Vet's Reunion in New Orleans, we drove to Jeanerette where Dad placed a small Marine Corps Flag, and a small American Flag on Frenchie's grave, and after 59 years, got to say goodbye.

My Dad was the finest man I have ever known. I miss him terribly.

In memory of: Cpl. Jay C. Crotty, Fox Co., Second Battalion, Twenty-First Regiment, Third Marine Division. Born 1 May, 1927, San Francisco, CA. W.I.A. 3 March 1945, Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. Died 3 November, 2004, Albuquerque, NM.

Semper Fi Dad
Steve Crotty


This is in reply to Col. Tom Czech's letter. Chris Noel, you were close on the spelling, is alive and well in the West Palm Beach area, runs a place call "CeaseFire" Vetsville, for homeless veterans. Here is a place to flop and regroup. Had the opportunity some years ago to have dinner with her, seams she married a Army Lt. who after returning from Nam couldn't take it and took his own life. By the way only help she gets is from donations....Thought you might want to know. Also, anyone who ever had their butt saved by a AD Skyraider might be interested to know one of the test aviators for this plane was a Flying Chief, John "Buck"Buchannan LCDR USN Ret. He flew these planes out of China Lake after the war.....so some of you might owe your "bacon" to this great man. He passed away on Monday evening, 23 May 2005, he was a veteran of 3 wars.....it was a honor and privilege to know him.........

Chuck Stark
Riviera Beach, Fl. Hosp.Corps.USN58-62


Hey Sgt Grit,

We just got our June 2005 issue of Readers Digest, I was immediately drawn to the article "Father and son off to Iraq", on the cover . But when I get to the article, the article begins with their pictures, full pages face, only, the words, MY SON, MY HERO. ' A Father re-enlists in the Marines and joins his son on the battlefield in Iraq'

My eyes mist up quick as I see a full page photo of each handsome male face, heads each covered with different style head gear. The son has youth, but his eyes are looking at something tremendously sad, but there's a bit of hope here. His face, seems to be ...waiting? The father, amazingly his 30 years in the Marine corps shows up ( to me ) as pride as the lines in the skin trying to pulling his mouth into a smile. His eyes gaze out as if he's got a plan. yes, this man has a plan already.

So, I read the article, and now I discovered the strength behind these men, is their wives. If the media wants to put some beautiful women on TV they ought to take a look at these American beauties! These Marines have wives who are gorgeous, healthy, women, strong in every way, these women love & support their men & the men know it!
This family lives in Kansas. The younger woman, another American beauty, has 4 young sons at home, ages 23 months to 7, and she's smiling in the picture! Since their husbands have left for Iraq, they've had to handle losing electricity, having a snake in the house, & other nasty problems, but they are handling it because they are so proud of their men, wait till you read this article!
I'd just like to call attention to the wives because I think they are the 'heart & soul' of America, & what our Military should have when they come home. Ok, I'm hoping you'll want to read the story, maybe I can entice you to do it. The Dad had to retire after 30 years from the Marines, he did not want to, he had stayed in as a reserve after Vietnam.
He is a school teacher. After he returned from Vietnam, he got a job as a music teacher, & is also a coach at the school in Kansas. They lived right across the street from the school. His son joined the Marines after college, became an Officer, & was sent to Iraq. No one had heard from him since Operation Iraqi Freedom had Started a month before, he somehow was able to be on camera, in desert camouflage in front of a bombed out building in Baghdad. He was holding a sign " Dad- WISH you were HERE- Semper Fi"
The father saw that & printed it out, ran across the street to the school where his wife worked, also a teacher, she was printing it out since she saw it too. The fathers elation that his son was all right, was replaced with a desire to be there with his son, side by side, for he was still a Marine, he wanted to be there with his son, fighting & protecting, side by side.
This past winter, against all odds, Master Gunnery Sgt Kendall Phelps, 58, and Major Chris Phelps 35, deployed together for a seven month tour in the newly formed 5th Civil Affairs Group based in Fallujah.
Their mission is to facilitate the reconstruction of Al Anbar province, an area riddled with suicide bombers. Chris, a team leader, is working with Iraqi police, firefighters, and contractors on rebuilding the infrastructure. His Dad, Kendall will use his 30 years of teaching experience to help establish new schools.
They both know it won't be easy," it will be hot and nerve- racking and people are going to die" says Chris. But they feel that the civil affairs is a dangerous job, but the most gratifying if they can get that grid system up and the water pumping.
And Chris adds, to be doing this job with his Dad, well, there's some comfort in that! So, please get this issue & read about this family, not just because of these terrific Marines, but because of these wonderful, gorgeous real AMERICAN BEAUTY WOMEN, Sherma Phelps, a Lovely woman from Kansas,* & Lisa Phelps, a Beautiful woman also from Kansas * ! So check it out,
Great newsletter again,thanks, I'm also the Mother of a Teacher, thanks to University of Kansas, Go JayHawks! He's proud brother of my son, a Marine Sgt.

Sincerely,
Marine Mom in California


He went to war, but now officials won't fight for him
Jun. 1, 2005 12:00 AM
He finished high school early so he could join the Marines. At 19, he was on the front lines in Fallujah, earning praise for his poise under pressure. "For such a young man," the sergeant wrote, "his remarkable common sense and wisdom guided him well . . . despite the very dangerous and arduous conditions."

Not as dangerous, it turned out, as conditions a bit closer to home. Lance Cpl. David Cantu survived Iraq: the mortar attacks, the roadside bombs, the siege of Fallujah. But he couldn't survive Valley streets at bar closing time.

Cantu was driving cross-country in the wee hours of Aug. 29, returning to his base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., when he was killed on Interstate 10, near Litchfield Road. Police say he was sideswiped by a drunk.

Now Cantu's parents feel they've been sideswiped by the County Attorney's Office. Over their objections, prosecutors on Friday will offer a plea deal to the Avondale man accused of killing their son. If Judge John Foreman agrees, Michael Hampton will get just four years in prison.

"He'll be out on the street in three," said Rosita Cantu, of Springfield, Mo. "That's justice after my son fought for his country? And was willing to go back again?"

Cantu was wrapping up his leave last August after six months in Iraq. He'd just proposed to his girlfriend and was returning to duty to prepare for a second tour. At 2:20 a.m., he got gas in Avondale and called his fiancée. Ten minutes later, he was dead.

According to the Department of Public Safety, Cantu was in the fast lane when Hampton came up behind him. A driver who saw the two cars just before the crash told police that Hampton was not four feet from Cantu's pickup, flashing his headlights. As Hampton went to pass on the right, going 87 mph, police believe he hit the pickup, causing it to flip. Hampton has contended that Cantu swerved into him.

"The defendant was not the cause of the death and was neither negligent nor reckless," his attorney, Michael Freeman, wrote in court records, noting that Hampton's passengers and friends in two other cars back Hampton's version of events.

There are just a few problems. Hampton's friends told police that they didn't see what happened, though his girlfriend wouldn't talk without an attorney. Hampton, who told police he'd been at his mother's house, was at a west Phoenix bar. And his blood-alcohol content was 0.147, nearly twice the limit, although he told police he hadn't had a drink in eight hours.

Yet prosecutor Hilary Weinberg called the Cantus last week to tell them she's settling. Instead of trying Hampton for manslaughter, which brings seven to 21 years in prison, she's offering negligent homicide and the minimum sentence: four years. Apparently, she doesn't feel the evidence is strong enough to go to trial. "She doesn't want to lose, she said that," George Cantu said. "She didn't feel like she could win."

Prosecutors declined to comment, citing legal ethics, but here's the thing. The Cantus are willing to risk it. They know Hampton and his friends are here to testify while their son is not. They know that from the prosecutor's standpoint, four years is better than no years and it's still a win. And yet it isn't. Not for them.

"This," Rosita said, "is our son."

If they wanted to, prosecutors could try this case, conviction rates be damned, and let a jury decide where justice lies here.

Not because it would matter much to Cantu, who didn't live to see 20. But because it matters greatly to the people who proudly tell me their son went to Iraq and never backed away from the fight.

If only prosecutors could say the same.

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8635.


As a Marine parent. I could not be more proud
of these kids.........God Bless em......


To Sgt. Grit and the entire family:
Although it has been sometime since I served, daily I reflect and use what I learned. As I enjoy my freedom here at home in Branson, MO., admiring the great outdoors, I am overjoyed and proud as any parent would be when they here that one of their own has taken the challenge. On May 25th, 2005, My oldest daughter, Casey joined the Enlisted Marines. This is a young lady of 19, who was her Class Prom Queen and an active College Cheerleader studying to be a teacher. Now she is in "BOOT" and soon to be an MP. Why MP? so that she can help as close as she can be to a front line. The corps served me well and now My oldest is serving. God bless America and the Freedoms that we have. One H&lluva' OOORAH.

SSGT/Capt. D. Wilson, USMC


Dear Sgt Grit,

Not sure if this is the kind of material you put in your newsletter or not but this close to Memorial Day I thought it might be accepted. Just got through placing an order for a "Doc" coin to replace one I gave away yesterday. My Uncle, Sam Johnston died Tuesday morning. He was in his 70's and survived by a Daughter, Son, Grandkids, and my Grandmother in her 90's, his sister.

I grew up with Uncle Sam being the funny, favorite uncle, "Pull my finger!" the whole nine yards. He was always pretending to be ornery and telling us kids to leave him alone, when the reality was he paid a lot of attention to us and gave me some good advice on numerous occasions. As an adult I didn't see him as much as I wish I had, I was off saving the world and a million other excuses, none of them worth not keeping in touch with a favorite Uncle.

I arrived at the funeral home with my Grandmother and the first thing to catch my eye was the flag on his coffin. Now I suppose that I heard him talk about his service as a kid but I guess it didn't stick. when the timing was right I asked my Mother "What service was Uncle Sam in?" and she replied "I'm not sure but he was a Medic, he gave me my inoculations as a child." raising a sleeve to show me where. WOW! I was blown away, he was a Medic like I was a Corpsman! My hand immediately went to my wallet where my "DOC" coin was, something I keep handy at all times "just in case". I had put a coin in my Grandfather's coffin several years ago as a tribute to him as his grandson, but here was a "Brother in arms", even though he might be from another service. I approached Johnny his son, who also served, and asked if he thought Sam would take offense at the Marine Corps emblem on the back, he immediately said "No not at all." and we joked that it might help him get through the Pearly Gates Guardians. I placed it in his pocket and said goodbye to an Uncle and a Brother.

On this week of all weeks please remember that we are all Brothers and that you might be surprised to know just how big a family you have.

"Doc Hewett"
"Semper Fidelis"


I want to be one of the first to congratulate you on a job well done, Cpl. Cruz, We are the Parents of these few, proud Marines. It wasn't easy but we did it!

GOLD STAR MOM
Betty --->E.T.'s Mom

In Loving Memory
LCpl. Elias Torrez III
3rd BN 7th MAR
01/28/83 - 04/09/04
U.S.M.C. / K.I.A.


Sgt. Grit,

Whether at sea, in the skies above, on the ground.. They matter. No one likes feeling forgotten, do you ?

" A Wise Man said.....Pray for Peace... but...Prepare for War." That what our Military does .. Prepare & Execute when called upon.... during the holidays it's always lonely.

Please take a moment to remember and support those troops currently defending our country in harm's way and away from friends and family.

One way you can do so is by sending a message to a soldier, sailor, airman , marine, or coast guardsman via the link below: