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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 #99

I just wanted to say to all of my Marine Corps brothers out there, former and active, thanks for your devotion and service.

SEMPER FI
Sgt. M.E. Danie
Longview,Texas


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Father's Day - June 19th
There's still time to get a Sgt Grit Gift Certificate:
http://usmcshop.grunt.com/Grunt/dept.asp?dept_id=225&PRID=LE_GRIT-n25

New Items!

Many new items for our new Summer Catalog

Operation Iraqi Freedom Convoy Mug

Digital Woodland Garment Bag

2nd Marine Division Flag

Red/Black Mesh Marines Hat

Semper Fi Women's Shorts

And Many More:

Featured Closeout Item:

Women's Black Digital USMC t-shirt

See all of our closeout items

Last week, we asked what your FAVORITE officer rank was,
And the overwhelming vote was for CAPTAIN.... http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=734027111


Sgt. Grit, I thought you might want to hear what an old Marine would have to say on Memorial Day to the Borough of Saddle River, New Jersey. The crowd seemed to like it, so maybe your readers will, albeit , it is a little long. Cpl. Frank Hall, F-2-21, 3rd Marine Division, 1942-'45

Memorial Day, 2005

Mayor Caruso, Council members, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans I am very honored to be here in Saddle River to add a few thoughts about Memorial Day. Thank you. Back in the days of the last century, when I was a lot younger, and thinner, we had a holiday May 30th called Decoration Day. My parents would take me to the ceremony in Ridgefield Park where they had some old guys giving speeches about duty and patriotism and heroism. They didn't impress me very much because as a kid, what did I know about these abstract terms. I was usually bored stiff. I didn't know what those words were all about. I found out a few years later. What I did know was that the United States was the greatest country in the world and the greatest in the history of the world. How did I know that? I was taught it in school, in the Boy Scouts, and by my parents. They knew full well the flaws in our country's history, but they also knew full well why their ancestors had come to this country, some of them suffering many hardships to get here. All my friends knew this too. We knew all about, and took great pride in the inventions by Americans --the submarine, the airplane, the sewing machine, the reaper, the telephone, the electric lights, the movies, the phonograph, etc. We knew about the American Revolution. Our heroes were George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Patrick Henry "Give me liberty or give me death," and Nathan Hale who said: "I regret that I have but one life to give for my Country-- as he was hanged. We knew about the Civil War. Our heroes were Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, and General Sherman. We knew that when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Grant let him keep his sword and his men keep their weapons. Then came December 7th, 1941, FDR's proclaimed "Day of Infamy." While the greatest country in the world was going about its business, Japanese aircraft savagely attacked Pearl Harbor. Most of my generation rushed out to join the services, in my case the Marines. That first year, the Marine Corps had so many 17 and 18 year olds trying to join, it couldn't handle them all. I had to wait three months before they got around to me. Why did we rush out to join? Ask anyone my age. We wanted to defend our country and kill Japanese. Ah, we were so young. Some of us got a lot more than we had bargained for. And that's why we are here today. Every year at this time, I consider a gathering such as this, my class reunion. I combine the classes of 1935 to 1945 with my class of 1940 and remember them all. Out of 60 boys in my class, nine were killed. At the same time, I was good friends with many Teaneck High School students. Four of my good friends were killed.. One was my good friend, Rudolph "Midge" DeCanio, all county basketball player. He was a machine gunner. We were together through three battles, Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He was shot between the eyes his second day on Iwo. I have never forgotten Midge, and have often asked myself " why me? Why did I walk off that island while Midge was buried there at the age of 20? What might he have become? A doctor? A Governor? A husband and father of some kids who never had a chance to be born? I heard former President George Bush (the father) say the same thing. Why was his gunner killed when his plane was shot down in the Pacific, and why not him? I'll bet every veteran here has his own Midge DeCanio and has often asked that same question, why me? And speaking about Iwo Jima, everyone that I have met of the 26,000 casualties on that island carries a burden of guilt because he left his buddies before the job was finished. Almost 7000 were buried there and those are the heroes. When I left, I thought all my friends were dead and didn't have any contact with the survivors for more than 50 years. No matter where you were on that island for some five weeks, you were being shot at. The Japanese had every spot zeroed in with their artillery and kept firing away.

Here's a quote by Arthur Herman in the Wall Street Journal, February 19th,2005:
"....Iwo Jima would be the first island of the Japanese homeland to be attacked. The Japanese had put in miles of tunnels and bunkers, with 361 artillery pieces, 65 heavy mortars, 33 large naval guns, and 21,000 defenders determined to fight to the death. Their motto, 'kill 10 of the enemy before dying.' American commanders expected 40% casualties on the first assault. "Even before the attack, the Navy' bombardment lost more ships and men than it lost on D-Day, without making a significant dent on Japanese defenses. Then at 9;00AM on the 19th, Marines loaded down with 70 to 100 pounds of equipment each hit the beach and immediately sank into the thick volcanic ash. They found themselves on a barren moonscape stripped of any cover or vegetation, where Japanese artillery could pound them with unrelenting fury. Scores of wounded Marines helplessly waiting to be evacuated off the beach were killed 'with the greatest possible violence,' as veteran war reporter Robert Sherrod put it. Shells tore bodies in half and scattered arms and legs in all directions..... Some 2300 Marines were killed or wounded in the first 18 hours. It was, as Sherrod said, 'a nightmare in h&ll.' "And overlooking it all, rising 556 feet above the carnage, stood Mount Suribachi where the Japanese could direct their fire along the entire beach. It took four days of bloody fighting to reach the summit and when Marines did, they planted an American flag. When it was replaced by a larger one, photographer Joe Rosenthal recorded the scene-the most famous photograph of WWII and the most enduring symbol of a modern democracy at war. "Yet instead of meaning the end of the battle, it marked the beginning, which dragged on for another month and cost 26,000 men. The Marines pushed on. Over the next agonizing weeks, they took the rest of the island yard by yard, bunker by bunker, cave by cave, They fought through places called Bloody Gorge and the Meat Grinder. They learned to take no prisoners in fighting a skilled and fanatical enemy who gave no quarter and expected none. Twenty out of every 21 Japanese defenders died where they stood. One in every three Marines were either killed or wounded. Twenty seven Marines and Naval Corpsmen won Medals of Honor, 13 posthumously. One third of all the Marines killed in WWII died on Iwo Jima. Admiral Chester Nimitz Commander in Chief said, 'Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue." Can you see why we didn't talk about it for more than 50 years. Is it any wonder why most of our "baby boomer" children have no idea of the sacrifices a whole generation of their fathers and mothers made so they can live in freedom? So welcome to our 65th Class Reunion. There's not many of us left. We are also here to remember the men and women who died in Korea and Vietnam. Those in Vietnam won every battle and the politicians lost the war. I have always admired the men who fought at that time. On the home front they were reviled and spat upon, yet they did their jobs magnificently. And we are also remembering all the heroes who gave their lives for their country from the Revolution right up to today's war on terrorism. We have been blessed to have such exceptional people who gave us our liberty and helped preserve it. And I want to add to that list, those exceptional people, those firemen, policemen, and EMT workers who ran into those burning twin towers to rescue people. They do that on a daily basis, but it took 911 for them to gain the recognition they truly deserve. Yet even this valor and sacrifice is not the full story of what Iwo Jima means, or what Rosenthal's immortal photograph truly symbolizes. The lesson of Iwo Jima is an ancient one. Sometimes free societies must be as tough and unrelenting as their enemies. Totalitarians test their opponent's resolve by generating extreme conditions of brutality and violence; in those conditions-in the streets of Fallujah or on the beach and in the bunkers of Iwo Jima-they believe weak democratic nerves will crack. This in turn demonstrates their moral superiority: that by giving up their own decency and humanity they have become stronger than those who have not. Free societies can afford only one response. There were no complicated legal issues or questions of 'moral equivalence' on Iwo Jima. It was kill or be killed. That remains the nature of war even for free societies. The real question is, who outlasts whom? The real significance of Iwo Jima is that as long as Americans cherish the memory of those who served at Iwo Jima, and grasp the crucial lesson they offer all free societies, the totalitarians will never win. But, those of us who are still standing are not finished. All those sacrifices will be for nothing if we don't continue the battle for freedom and for our values at home. Our country has been weakened morally to the point where, some 10 or 20 years down the line, we might not have a country because we may not have the will to fight for it. Medal of Honor Winner Marine Corps General Ray Davis called it to our attention a few years ago. He said our job isn't finished and challenged us to go to work and help educate the young people of America to the values we hold dear. We owe it to our dead buddies, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our country, and we owe it to our grandchildren. The young are being deprived of their country's history and are being taught all about our country's defects and none of the good qualities that make it the best hope of mankind. History is not being put into perspective. I recommend you read Bill Bennett's book, "Why We Fight" if you want an idea of what's happening to our country. Back in September 2001 after we were so horrendously attacked by fanatical murderers, I saw a lot of flags being waved, but I didn't see a rush by today's 18-year olds to sign up to defend their country, did you? What I hear is a bunch of spoiled, self indulgent college kids demanding their rights and some demanding rights for our enemies. A small group, I'm sure, but growing larger. Some colleges wont permit the ROTC to operate on their campuses, and some wont even fly the American Flag because they don't want to offend some people. Well, I'm offended! Is this why I ran up a beach under fire? Is this what our dead comrades fought for? We have some wonderful people, our kind of people in our armed forces, but each year they are drawn from a smaller and smaller pool of young people who are willing to make sacrifices for their country. If we truly want to honor our fallen comrades, we must make every day a Memorial Day. Get busy and start educating our young people about what's really important in life. What better place to start than with our own grandchildren. Stop indulging their every whim and teach them responsibility by holding them accountable for their actions. Then take a look at their schools and see what they are being taught, and not taught. That's a good start. I leave you with a bit of wisdom from Senator John McCain: "For I have learned the truth: there are greater pursuits than self-seeking. Glory is not conceit. It is not a decoration for valor. It is not a prize for being the most clever, the strongest, or the boldest. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely, and who rely on you in return. No misfortune, no injury, no humiliation can destroy it."

Frank Hall


Fear is like a fire: If controlled it will help you; if uncontrolled, it will rise up and destroy you. Mans actions depend to a great extent upon fear. We do things either because we enjoy doing them or because we are afraid not to do them. This sort of fear has no relation to physical courage, moral courage or faith. It is inspired by the knowledge that we are not adequately prepared to face the future and the events it may bring, perhaps, injury or death. John F. Milburn

Mike Raby
MABS-16, MAG-16, 3rd MAW, 70/73


Sgt. Grit:

I am a volunteer knitter for an organization called "Operation Baby Blanket". The group was started to help support ladies who are expecting, as well as those whose husbands are deployed. They do this through an "adoption program" for Mommys-to-be. The group's volunteers provide support in different ways:

1. Making blankets to send to deployed troops so they can, in turn, send the blankets back home to their wives. 2. Making packets containing hats, birth announcements, & blankets to send to hospitals for new mommies whose husbands are deployed.

OPERATION BABY BLANKET

I was hoping you might include this info in your newsletter - so that Marine-Moms-to-be or even deployed-Dads-to-be might be able to enroll in the program AND to let any of your Marine Mom readers who knit, crochet, sew or quilt & who would like to volunteer to make some of the above-mentioned items know about the program too.

If you would like to "adopt a mom" or if you are an expectant wife of a deployed serviceman or if you would like to be a Project Pal and would like to join us please check out our website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/operation_baby_blanket/

Or email usa_granny@yahoo.com if you have any questions.


SgtGrit: A friend sent this to me, and I know all our Marines, Marine Moms and Dads and other friends will really like this:

When God Created a New Marine

A new Recruit asked an old Warrior, "What is War like?" The old timer replied, "A bunch of us went down to Gettysburg one day, a lot of people died. If you weren't there you wouldn't understand." = Author Unknown.

-----

When God created a United States Marine, it was into the sixth day of overtime. An angel appeared and said, "You're having a lot of trouble with this one. What's wrong with the standard model?"

And the Lord replied, "Have you seen the spec's on this order? It has to be able to think independently, yet be able to take orders; have the qualities of both a military mind and a compassionate heart; be a leader of junior Marines and learn from seniors; run on black coffee; handle critical ops without a Military Procedure Manual; be able to manage a difficult subordinate, an irate supervisor and a demanding OIC; have the patience of a saint and six pairs of hands, not to mention the strength of three its size."

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands - no way!"

And the Lord answered, "Don't worry, we'll make other Marines to help. Besides, it's not the hands which are causing the problem. It's the heart. It must swell with pride when other Marines do well, sustain the incredible hardship of combat, beat on soundly when it's too tired to do so, and be strong enough to continue to carry on when he's given all he's had."

"Lord," said the angel touching the Lord's sleeve gently, "Come to bed!"

"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something unique. Already I have one who can complete a 26-mile forced march with full pack, handle a 9mm and an M16 with astounding accuracy, conduct land navigation in the dark, and operate field communications."

The angel circled the model of the Marine very slowly. "It's too serious," she sighed.

"But tough," said the Lord excitedly, "You cannot imagine what this Marine can do or endure."

"Can it feel?" asked the angel.

"Can it feel!" replied the Lord. "It loves the Corps and country like no other!"

Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the Marine's cheek. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told you you're trying to put too much into this model."

"That's not a leak," said the Lord. "That's a tear."

"What's it for?" asked the angel.

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, frustration, pain, loneliness and pride."

"You're a genius!" exclaimed the angel.

The Lord looked at the angel somberly and replied, "I didn't put it there."

Pain is Temporary, ...Pride is Forever!

Semper FI!

Gerald F. Merna
Mustang USMC (Ret.)


Sgt. Grit:

Thank you so very much for a wonderful website. My son is now in his fifth week of basic training in the Marine Corps. Our family has traditionally been a Navy family (forgive us please) but my son broke that tradition when he joined the Corps. I could not be more proud of him. He went with his heart. I believe when he was conceived in his mother's wombs he was a Marine. It's his DNA. He is enduring everything they throw at him with one thought in mind.....obtaining the eagle, globe and anchor. I've learned so very much about the Marines in the last two years. I can never become a Marine but I can love the Corps. I pray daily for his safety and of those around the globe. It makes me proud to be an American and an American veteran. I love the Corps and all that it does.....Semper Fi....oorah!

Proud Marine Dad
Larry Page, Missouri


I wanted to spread a little word. I am pregnant and my husband is deployed to Iraq. Our baby is due in a few weeks and my husband is going to try to watch the birth of our first child over the internet through a web cam. The hospital that I am delivering at is doing us a huge favor and even buying the web cam for us. I want to get the word out. I think that is a great way for him to be involved and I think that it would be great for anyone expecting to check it out. He is also excited that he will be able to see it. I hope someone can use this idea.

Semper Fi
Proud Marine Wife Stacy


In response to the comment about the banning of recruiters from Chabot College in Hayward, California. I remember walking through that campus in uniform while home on leave in November 1967 and being called a "baby killer"! Some things never change.

Eric Olson


i know i am late in saying this, but to the mothers and wives of the fallen you have my sincerest sympathy. we lost our son 16 months ago, a marine, and i know what my wife is going thru and i also for that matter. we attended a memorial service in lakeland, fl this past holiday weekend that honored 13 marines killed because of this war. also honored were vets of ww2, korea, and vietnam. it was with the utmost sincerity that this church greeted us and that helped a little. the hardest thing about the service was the final roll call. it had such a profound meaning that day. bless all who have given a little or given all.....

charles harris


Sgt. Grit:
I also am the proud grandmother of a Marine. He served in the Battle for Fallujah. He was wounded and was awarded the Purple Heart. He has since returned home but his heart is in Iraq with his brothers and sisters. He has volunteered to return but the higher ups said no not for a year. We are holding a Welcome Home party for him because we are so proud of him. My husband was a Marine during the Korean War, my brother was a Marine during the Vietnam War and my nephew was a Marine. My family has fought in World War 2. We are proud of all branches of the service since people in my family have served in every branch. If not for their love of country we would be living in a different world. I thank God every day for their unselfishness in serving this great nation and keeping us safe. God Bless them all and keep them safe. God Bless America.

Proud Marine Grandmother


Sgt Grit,
I enjoy reading all the stories people write of their military experiences, especially stories that the parents share. I really can relate to one Mom's story (Char PMP LCpl Derrick) of the emotions she went through when she learned that her son had enlisted as a Marine. She responded the same way I did when my son signed up to join the Marines. What a proud moment when I saw him become a Marine at Parris Island in May 2001. Then the fears I had when America experienced 9/11 and how that would impact our military for war. My son became a Sgt. December 1st, while at war in Fallujah. Many prayers went up for he and our military. God was gracious and brought my Marine son home. I related to Mike De's story from NJ who shared how thankful he was that God in his mercy allowed his Marine to come home. We do grieve for the families of those who have paid with their lives. The most grief any military family could receive is the disrespect people share towards our military. It is a blessing when people tell me, "Thank your son for me for serving our country and making America a safer place to live." While my Marine son was in Fallujah, I would read Sgt. Grit faithfully even while at College working to become a teacher. The only way I could stay in touch with my son for weeks, was to read the casualty list on the web to see who had been killed from his unit. I dreaded going home for fear I would be confronted by Marines telling me my son didn't make it. Even though I had to stay focused on my college work everyday, thoughts and prayers for my son, consumed me. It was the letters military families wrote that helped me know I wasn't alone and gave me some feeling of being connected to a larger family, knowing they were going through the same fears I was. It became my support group. Thank you Sgt. Grit for sharing these stories from other military parents.

Proud Mom of a US Marine
Maine


Is Memorial Day a shopping holiday?
A good 25% discount on your favorite item?
Is it for chicken, steaks and barbecue?
Or for the chance to buy that special car?
Is it for drunks, accidents and long traffic jams?
Or knowing you don't have to work on Monday?
Is it for fast food and the Indy 500?
Or that weekend getaway for camping and fishing?
Is it a reason to fly and see family and friends?
Or just trying to keep the kids busy so it doesn't mess up YOUR HOLIDAY?
Is it getting movies from Blockbuster to watch all weekend?
Or just saving your money and hanging out doing nothing?
Is it just another GREAT reason to have a Party?
Or a reason to catch up on much needed yard work?
Is it that you really don't know about this day?
Or that you really even care?
Do you---care?
What's about this holiday that should mean so much to you and I?
Why care?
Why?
Young kids going to war----
both men and woman dying.
For what reason?
For your continued FREEDOM----

So, do your shopping, have your parties, catch your fish, etc, etc, etc.

All I ask is one thing. Take a few moments out of your busy schedule throughout this weekend and think of the hundreds of thousands of men and woman who died for this country to KEEP YOU FREE. Won't cost anything---just some of your precious time. America, a war continues on, and we still have men and woman coming home in body bags. Or so severely wounded they will never be able to hold a real job or go to the store without someone doing a double look---will you think about them.

This is your wake-up call America---and if you don't feel it here than I invite you to Arlington Cemetery or to any State Cemetery, to walk through the rows of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day to those who gave there all.
Semper Fi and God Bless America
Randy Scott (GySgt Retired 81-01)


Good Morning, Ma'am!

I read your letter of dismay and frustration about your son's school not letting him wear his dress blues to graduation, and I wanted to offer the following thoughts. You might want to contact the American Civil Liberties Union about this. About his wearing of dress blues at graduation, it seems as though we might have a First Amendment issue on our hands here, i.e., freedom of expression, seriously.

Also, get your local media in on it; school boards rankle under bad publicity. See if you can get the local USMC Reserve Unit in on it, and any local detachments of the Marine Corps League; keep the pressure up from absolutely all sides. Any local Senators and/or Congressmen should also suffice. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

One of my jobs, by the way, is to comfort the afflicted; and to afflict the comfortable.

Semper Fi!
Dr. Andrew S. Berry
Chaplain
Marine Corps League Life Member
S/W MO Det. #993
Springfield, MO


To ALL my brothers and Sisters,

I heard the rumors, and it wasn't until I saw it myself, that it struck me (again) how proud we are an how steeped in tradition and honor. For those of you have not seen it, at the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial, the flag staff has a brass ring at the bottom. Represented on the ring are the seals of the Armed Forces.

On Veteran's day 2004 while on my yearly trip to honor the heroes, I passed the flag staff, and looking down saw that the only POLISHED seal was... The Eagle Globe and Anchor.

I had heard that a contingent from 8th and I reports every day to polish our insignia, but never actually saw it.

With pride I looked at the respect that is given our seal, and know that it is out of respect that this is done.

Just another way that the Marines OUTSHINE the rest!

Semper Fi.
I won't mention Hollywood Marines this time.
Cpl. Tom Flynn
69-71
Danang 70-71.


"The Last of the Walnut Bottoms Boys"

(Written on the occasion of his last son's leaving high school graduation for Parris Island, USMC)

Last night after his high school graduation ceremony, I watched the exclamation mark of our family, the last of the Walnut Bottoms Boys, our beloved son, "Heafus", walk down Main Street with the step of youthful exuberance and with a Marine Corps recruiter by his side. Casual observers, others who had played a significant role in his development, and excited graduates all looked on as his momma and I memorized the gait, the bounce in his step, and the sway of his shoulders as he walked out of our lives and into the future for which he had prepared all of his life. But nothing, not even the coming of age of our other adult children, had prepared us for the six feet, one hundred and eighty-five pound hole in our hearts as the last of our dear children passed over from the nurture of the only home he had ever known into adulthood with all the trials and tribulations that accompany it. Rivulets ran unashamedly down both cheeks as I stood, sometimes stretching to get one more last glimpse of the little boy who was now, and would be forevermore, just a memory.

Moments before in the crowded lobby of the GA Mountain Center, he had handed me his cap and gown and had made a dash to the men's restroom for a quick change out of his black dress slacks and royal blue shirt and tie, and into casual dress for the trip to Parris Island, SC and the beginning of basic training. When he stepped back into the crowd, he was greeted with tearful hugs from his older sister with whom he had once shared the up-stairs bathroom. His momma's face expressed the anguish that only a mother can know in giving up bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh. His granddaddy held his last grandchild as if by doing so he might postpone the inevitable. His older brother, on-duty and in the uniform of the Hall County Sheriff's Department, bade the little brother who had idolized him farewell. One by one, amidst strangers and concerned onlookers, we each held him in our arms, kissed his face and whispered words we hoped would encourage and have profound impact upon the impending days that awaited him.

He left with his life having been influenced by his Confederate ancestors who served nobly before him, a Georgia governor, Baptist preachers, football coaches, teachers, a college president, and plain old red clay farmers; but all left their mark in the consistency of the blood that flowed in his vibrant veins. He held in his hand a Marine Corps Bible and a diploma, but in his heart, the undisputed confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ had saved his soul at an early age and that he had been bought with a price. There was also no doubt that he was loved as the child of promise, the special unplanned gift of God sent to an entire family and not just to two parents. He knew that somehow his Granny, Pe Paw and De Da were smiling down at him from Heaven with that look of approval that all grandparents know when their precious grandchildren have turned out well.

His momma and I are waiting for the call from the Island that informs us of his arrival. Our minds are filled with treasured memories that recount events which lead us back to the present. With bittersweet tears, she quietly suffers the unknown trials he must now be facing. I know he is plenty tough enough. I think back to his first varsity start as a freshman in football. I wondered what he was doing running pre-game drills with the first unit as they prepared to do battle against a very good GHS team. But there he was, all one hundred sixty pounds of him, having to start as a quick-side tackle against a senior linebacker who later played at UGA. He had his back snapped back on more than one occasion and looked as if he were running into a brick wall at full speed. But throughout the entire contest he was as tenacious as a bulldog, fighting and staying in his opponent's face on every snap. That linebacker was held to one tackle and hurried one pass all night. Little Heafus had harassed him incessantly. I had never been more proud - until last night.

I will have to get someone else to help me cut and rake the hay. I never would let him run the baler. He left me the numbers of some of his friends to help me split wood, work cows, or rebuild fences. And, his older brother has always been a hero when it comes to bailing me out of farm emergencies. But, the last of my children to grow up on the farm in the Walnut Valley is only a memory now. Because when my Heafus Boy returns to the only place he has ever known, he will be a boy in name only. The last of the Walnut Bottoms Boys will be a man, a United States Marine!

His daddy, v Ralph West Mills


A friend sent me your newsletter and the first picture I saw was the marine standing at attention. What a great picture. I fully agree with him. I have always thought that the last rider deserves as much respect as the first rider.

For the past 18 years I've been at rolling thunder and don't leave until the last bike comes over the bridge. This year my family said it was 3 hrs 41 min. Now I stand on the Memorial bridge at the end by the Lincoln memorial on the double yellow line. I think it takes a little longer when they wind through town and stop. It took me 10 years to get my husband (Army - Vietnam Vet 70-71) to come to Rolling Thunder. The best part is that he can be with people who understand what he went through, I can only imagine.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU FOR SERVING, I appreciate the freedom I have for what you gave up.

Martha L. Morgan


Sarg: After my "1st" stretch in Nam I came into El Toro Air Base . A group of officer wives and you ladies greeted us with cookies , coffee , sodas, and all the trimmings. One of the young ladies came over to me with a tray of goodies. We began to talk. Then she asked of me, "What were you fighting for in Viet Nam "? I looked at her young face {maybe 14-16 at the most} sweet and shinning from behind her braces. I told her that was simple "I'm not married", "but ", I took my wallet from my pocket .Opened it to a foto of my nephew [only 28 days old when I left] saying ," If I did my job the best I could maybe some day he would not have to go thru what I had". She gave me a long look than sat down her tray and gave me a big hug. She said ,"I have asked a lot of men that and no one could answer me". Now that we have carried our flag to foreign lands, fought the good fight. Some of us were shot, some of us were blown up, some of us were stabbed in the "back "! Look Behind You See What Your New D.O.V.A Is Doing

Cpl. Massey Aco.3rd Amtrac Nam 2/68-10/69


Your mention of our beloved other son, Lance, was sent to us tonight. Thank you for your kind words. He brought such joy to our lives and we will always miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the members of the Corps. We keep Lance alive in our hearts by remembering those who are still serving. Thank you again.

Suzanne Hildebrand


On june 5 1969 i had the honor of leaving my home in Topeka ks for a bigger and better home in M.C.R.D. San diego ca.36 years to the exact date i had the honor of dropping my 17 year old daughter of in Kansas City to start her new life the Marines! i was very Proud to make the grade to be a Marine and I'm Prouder to say my daughter is in the makings as i type this.

Cpl.R.D. Starkey
2537640
sin s&x wine i became a Marine in 1969


Hi!
I'm sure you have answered this a few times - but I am a Mom with a new 'baby Marine' (just 19 and graduating from MOS next week) and my family is new to the Marine Corps. Last week when my husband and I went out to dinner we ran into a couple (acquaintances) and after the hugs and hello's 'she' asked me : "Why did your son join the Marine's?" Sort of like, is he nuts or something? You know, that tone of voice. She then proceeded to proclaim herself a democrat and that she believed we have no business in Iraq and it was all just a big lie about 'weapons of mass destruction' blah, blah blah. Then she said, kind of condescendingly: "he must just be patriotic...." As if that was the only answer she could think of as to why any one would go into the Marine Corps. at this time! I was dumbfounded - most of my friends have been very supportive. I just didn't know how to respond to this woman - at least, without starting a political fight right there in the restaurant. So I just kept my mouth shut - and, of course, afterwards I wish I had something very pointed to say to her - so I have come to you....how do I respond to this question?

Karen


sgt d a lynch jr ret, we are MARINES i don't know if you have or ever had a son in combat but as i see it my boys bruise is a result of a round intended to do more harm than it did so don't give me that "BLURB" crap. i have sleepless nights thinking if he is alive or dead . make up your mind, are you one of us or not!

cpl cruz
semper fi to us who are MARINES and take care of our own


Sir,

I know the Iraq conflict occupies a great deal of the American Public's time, however, as the mother of a 1st Lt just deployed to Afghanistan that conflict is still very real and just as heartbreaking for myself and the family he has left behind.

Juli Dykman


Sgt. Grit, I just wanted thank you for adding to your "New Items" the book, A TABLE IN THE PRESENCE, by Lt. Carey Cash. This is a MUST READ for all devil dogs out there, as well as, parents, wives, children, and relatives of Marines in Iraq. Whether you believe in God or not, after you finish this book, you certainly look at things differently. It is that powerful of a story, told by a wonderful Navy chaplain who was the 1/5 Battalion Chaplain on the first invasion in 2003. I met him at Camp Pendleton at the 1st 1/5 homecoming, along with his beautiful wife and five wonderful children. He was such a positive influence in my son's life (who is currently on his 3rd deployment to Iraq), that we had to fly he and his wife back out to Camp Pendleton to perform his wedding after his 2nd deployment. The book doesn't preach to you...it doesn't have to. It simply gives you a day by day, battle by battle account of young Marines' courage and valor, as well as, God's miracles and protection during some of the bloodiest battles of the war. It more importantly proves the value of the prayers of the Marines and their love ones back home. From crossing the Kuwait border hours before any other US ground unit to their heroic victory at Al Azimiyah Presidential Palace, you will read of rockets splicing through armored vehicles packed with Marines hitting no one; Marines finding bullet entrance and exit holes in their helmets, yet no injuries; Marines watching their enemies prepare to fire from point-blank range, then pause and drop their weapons and running in terror, and RPG's fired from only a few yards away, yet missing its intended targets. When the book first came out (in hardback) we bought several copies for family and relatives, because our son was mentioned in it. After reading it, we bought many more copies as gifts because of its message. And now that it is out in soft cover, I urge everyone to order a copy. If it doesn't dramatically change your life or at least cause you to look at things in a little different light, I will personally buy the book back from them. Thanks again for offering this book in your catalog...I'm sure it will be a "best-seller".

Semper Fi, J T
Anderson, Cpl. USMC '71-'73

Proud Father of Sgt. Clay Anderson, Scout/Sniper, Wpns. Co., 1/5 Marines currently in Ramadi, Iraq

http://usmcshop.grunt.com/grunt/productr.asp?pf_id=bk547


I went to Rolling Thunder in DC. they had all kinds of tents set up. I walked by this tent the Army had. The guy calls me and said you know how the Marines say were the few the proud, he said we want to have an image like that have a sticker. I said no thanks and pointed to my patch on the back of my vest that says Proud Parent USMC, but to be polite I took the sticker any way. I guess they think handing out stickers will change there image?

Jerry


Joe, you hit it right on the head! I am sure every MARINE has had that at least once happen to them. Maybe not with all the involvement from the police or security but... you know what I mean! I too have been at basketball games, hockey, football and any other sport that they have the National Anthem being played and some idiot either wants to talk or friggin' not take his hat off! My wife gets so nervous when it happens because she knows that I am going to say something or turn and give a cold stern look that can kill at a 1000 yards! However, one that really nerves me more is that... does no one else see it going on and say something or do something. It is a sad state of affairs when you have people fighting for the GOD, CORPS, COUNTRY we live in and some piece of whale scum does not have enough respect to take his hat off. I applaud you and your handling of the situation. Next time though, do a sweep stomp! Goes quicker and does not let him blab anymore during the National Anthem!

However, SEMPER FI... and to all my fellow Jarheads out there... GODSPEED!

R/S
B. McNeal
USMC
SSgt


Yo, Grit....good to see a post from Chuck Greene (The Greene Man)......used to run into him from time to time at the barber shop on Redwood Road in Castro Valley....don't need to go quite as often these days, nor does Chuck, but you can bet what we have left is cut high and tight.....had to change barbers after moving 2200 clicks east, now have a tin can squid doing the honors here instead of a naturalized citizen there (Vietnamese....knows more about the Constitution than I do, and is d*mn proud of it).....

Dick Dickerson K/3/5....'66


Sgt. Grit My son is in Iraqi now. He has been there since January he is coming home July 22, 2005. His unit is 3/8 Kilo. I have never been prouder than anyone in my life. When he joined the marines 4 days after high school I could not talk to anyone without crying. Then I seen the man in front of me at Parris Island. When he get back I will have him write to you.

Proud Mother of Lcpl Singer
Theresa Barrick
Newville Pa.


I am proudly married to a Marine ('73-77 E5 MOS 6112 CH-46 Mechanic/Crew Chief) - 22 years now. His twin brother was also a Marine during the same time frame. That said I want to comment on your newsletters we receive, having just gotten the most recent one yesterday. We've been getting the newsletters at both my work email address and our home email. I have to admit, at first I felt I was always too busy to read them and in fact I didn't when they started showing up. Well, my company has been in the process of restructuring so things have gotten very slow. I decided to glance over a newsletter one day.

That is one of the BEST things I have ever done. I am touched so very deeply by the stories, the camaraderie, the loyalty and the feeling of belonging. When I read the stories of these Marines, young & old alike, it brings tears to my eyes. I laugh at the humor; feel the anger of those who have seen our country betrayed and even puff up a bit at the stories from the mom's and dad's of these fine men & women.

I have also learned an awful lot.We motorcycle (with both Marine and US flags flying on the back) and we participate in our annual Patriot's Day Parade every Sept.11th. Last year I carried a flag, sitting proudly behind my Marine. I can't tell you how doing a simple thing like that brings all the emotions to the surface just like reading your newsletters does. When I see a Marine anywhere in uniform, the tears flow. (I'm so easy!) J

I have a SEMPER FI bumper sticker on my truck and I always think to myself that if I ever have trouble on the road someday, I know there will be a Marine that will come by and offer help (if mine isn't available).

I'm positive of that.

I now look forward to that cherished newsletter and read through them just as soon as I get it. It sure makes the possibly of losing a job seem very trivial compared to what our Marines are going through all over the world! It puts things in the right perspective and I feel myself holding my head higher as a result. I will never be 'too busy' again to read about our Marines.

Thank you Sgt. Grit and your entire staff for this connection.

Thank you Marines everywhere!
Deborah Kent
Phoenix, Arizona


I would like to thank the Mr. Kiser, the Grandview Heights Chief of Police for his words. My husband is currently deployed with the 3/25th, Lima Company from Columbus, Ohio. He is a recent police academy graduate, and before he got a chance to settle in to a full time job, he was called away to duty. He is not only serving with, and performing a lot of the security functions of, the Marines, he is their doc. I am very proud of him.

Just sign me,
HMC Lori
Proud wife of a Navy doc.


Muslim Terrorist
Let this one sink in and consider the consequences suggested here. It's downright scary realizing that this is a reality right now. It's long but well worth the read.

This was written by a retired attorney, to his sons, May 19, 2004.

Dear Tom, Kevin, Kirby and Ted,

As your father, I believe I owe it to you to share some thoughts on the present world situation. We have over the years discussed a lot of important things, like going to college, jobs and so forth. But this really takes precedence over any of those discussions. I hope this might give you a longer-term perspective that fewer and fewer of my generation are left to speak to. To be sure you understand that this is not politically flavored, I will tell you that since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led us through pre and WWII (1933 - 1945) up to and including our present President, I have without exception, supported our presidents on all matters of international conflict. This would include just naming a few in addition to President Roosevelt - WWII: President Truman - Korean War 1950; President Kennedy - Bay of Pigs (1961); President Kennedy - Vietnam (1961); [1] eight presidents (5 Republican & 4 Democrat) during the cold war (1945 - 1991); President Clinton's strikes on Bosnia (1995) and on Iraq (1998). [2] So be sure you read this as completely non- political or otherwise you will miss the point.

Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII). The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.

First, let's examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start? Many will say September 11th, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us: Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979; Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983; Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983; Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988; First New York World Trade Center attack 1993; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996; Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998; Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000; New York World Trade Center 2001; Pentagon 2001. (Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide). [3]

2. Why were we attacked? Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats, as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.

4. Who were the attackers? In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

5. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%

6. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful? Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests. nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm. Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the 6 million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others. Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way - their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else.. [5] The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing - by their own pronouncements - killing all of us infidels. I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with? There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions: 1. Can we lose this war? 2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean? It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly to terrorist attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would of course have no future support from other nations for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see we are impotent and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do, will be done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast. See the attached article on the French condition by Tom Segel. [6]

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else? The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war and therefore are completely committed to winning at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war? Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by imploding. That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win.

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war. For the duration we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently. And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then. Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him? No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening, it concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein. And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still more recently the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of an American prisoner they held. Compare this with some of our press and politicians who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners - not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them. Can this be for real? The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can. To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned - totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into all non-Muslims - not just in the United States, but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant'. That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with bot