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In the past two days 20 MARINES of 3/25 stationed in Brook Park, Ohio were killed in the war. we as a family have lost 20 of our brothers. Please remember the families of these MARINES in you prayers.

J. Bliss
Cpl of Marines 66-74
B/Btry 1/12 V.N. 67-68
Andover, Ohio

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Sgt Grit in Kansas City

My crew and I will be in Kansas City, Missouri this week. (August 3-7, 2005) for the First Marine Division Association Reunion. Stop by and see us if you're there!

An Unknown Place Called Iwo Jima

Thanks to my Son, I receive your articles and clothing. I'm not much on these computers, so bare with me.

I enlisted at the age of 17.(1943)..Mom didn't like it, but we were at war. Trained in San Diego and then at Camp Pendleton..We were the beginning of the mutt division...The Famous 5th Marine Division.... The casualty rate of Marines in the South Pacific was staggering. The Fifth was formed fast to bolster our strength...We shipped out to Hawaii and were Hq'd in Hilo... We knew the Fifth was in for something big, but had no idea when or where..

Out of Hawaii, we hit Saipan and Tinian..mop up's basically..From there the Fifth sailed for an unknown place named Iwo Jima...I remember seeing Iwo for the first time..We had been in the belly of the transport for a long time, coming up to daylight was a rare escape from the dark alleys below...Iwo was taking a blasting. Everyone was nervous but watching the Navy pound it and the planes drop tons of aerial death on that island, we thought there was no way anything could survive that and Iwo should be fairly easy to secure. We were told the enemy was holed up and the Imperial Marines were defending it...But after observing the way Iwo was being hit, a huge surprise lay ahead for all of us. D-Day Feb 19, 1945...Longest day of my life...Getting in the Higgins was one experience, and then heading to Iwo was another, but hitting the black sand and sinking in, then looking back as the boat pulled away..Scared...young and scared.. Shells flying everywhere..Marines dying...bodies floating and scattered all along that cruel black beach... Everyone knows the story...A lot of brave marines lost their lives on that island..I was on Iwo for 35 days...I watched as Iwo turned boys into men quickly..We had seasoned Marines with us, some fought in the jungles of Guadalcanal..Other's on Pelieu, but everyone was in agreement.. this was h&ll on earth.. I'll never forget the flag raising..We were fighting across the narrow part of the island...and cheers went up everywhere...Ships horns were blasting...Someone said look at Surabachi...The Stars and Stripes flew proudly...This was only a few days into the conflict..Forgeting my fear for a few pride swelled in my chest...That was the most beautiful sight ever... I'm now over 80 years old, and remember it as it was yesterday. I never really spoke of war much until the last few years....But sharing my experiences now helps me cope in my old age...I still get around pretty good...Thanks to the good ol training the Corps instilled in me.. Reading stories of Marine's in Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia keeps me busy...Someday I would like to visit San Diego again..Maybe watch a graduation.. I've been a proud Marine all my life, and I'll die one

Semper Fi

Sgt. Paul J. Stammer, Sr
HQ.CO., 2nd BN, 26th Marines
Fifth Marine Division

My Proudest Marine Moment

Standing all of about 5' 8" and weighing in at a not-so-macho 130 pounds, I certainly didn't look like the billboard-type Marine. After two years of college (barely getting by), I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps in 1964. For as long as I can remember, my father had told me (at least once a month), "You'll never be able to get by in this world without a college education". My father was a college graduate and a former enlisted soldier in the Army Air Corps who eventually went to OCS, graduated as a 2nd Lt. and mustered out at the end of WWII as a Captain. Now, here I was, quitting college to enlist in the Marine Corps. To say the old man was p!ssed was an understatement.

He was so p!ssed that he refused to see me off the day I left for MCRD San Diego. We had always been close, so the bus ride from Springfield, Illinois to St. Louis and subsequent flight to San Diego seemed even longer than they were. During boot camp, I wrote him several letters - but the only letters I received were from my mother, sisters and girl friend. He still didn't want to talk to me - even in a letter.

I graduated from MCRD and made meritorious PFC (and gained 30 pounds). I was proud as h&ll to be a Marine and especially proud to be called a Marine. The 20-day leave after ITR was bittersweet. I had a great time with my buddies and a better time with my girlfriend. They, along with most of my family, made the leave great. My father continued to be stubborn. He would answer my questions - usually with one or two words, then get up and walk away. My mother would chastise him, my sisters would beg him - but nothing could get through to him. I believed that he felt that he no longer had a son. I couldn't believe he was treating me this was - we had been inseparable once.

Following school in Millington, TN, I spent 18 months at Camp Pendleton with a Huey squadron that would become VMO-3. It has now been two years in the Corps and I have exchanged no more than 50 words with my father. In December, 1966, we left California for Vietnam. We were based out of Phu Bai, with detachments in other areas including Khe Sanh. I had volunteered to be a door gunner so one day I would work in the Supply hut (MOS 3071) and the next day I would fly. I made it through the 13 months in Vietnam through the support and letters I received from my friends and family (except my dad) and the support from a great bunch off Marines - my VMO-3 brothers.

I stepped off the plane in St. Louis and entered the concourse expecting to see my mother and my two sisters (my girl friend had written me a "Dear John" while I was in Vietnam). There standing in front of everybody was my father, with tears in his eyes. His first words to me was, "Welcome Home, Marine - I'm so proud of you". We hugged for what seemed to be ten minutes. All of the feelings of the last three years disappeared in a matter of minutes. Nothing more was said about it for a few days until my mother took me aside and told me the reasons for his strange behavior. While I had assumed he was just p!ssed off that I had quit college, his concern was all about my safety. Having seen action in WWII, he knew that by enlisting in the Marine Corps, I would eventually go to Vietnam. The thought of losing his only son in a war put a strain on him that he couldn't share with anyone else.

I've experienced a lot of proud moments (and continue to experience them to this day), but those first words from him in the St. Louis airport was the best moment of all.

Just a short epilogue on my father. He spent the first 3 years of his 5 hear hitch as an enlisted man. He was a Sgt. when he qualified for OCS. He and my mother had a lot of good friends - all enlisted men and their wives. When he became an officer, he was told that he could no longer fraternize with them. Although he agreed not to see them socially any more, he and my mom continued to see them on a regular basis - only in a very clandestine manner. He was proud to have become an officer in the Army Air Corps but always hated that rule. My father passed away in 1992 and is buried at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, AZ. A few weeks after the burial, I took my mother out there to visit the grave site. We walked up to the stone in the ground and all of a sudden my mother started laughing. Since her grief had been intense and it was hard just to get her to smile, I was a little shocked at her behavior. I asked her why she was laughing and she said, "Look, Jim, your father would be so happy. There is an enlisted man on either side of him". I couldn't help but to join her in laughter.

Semper Fi to all Marines - especially our brave young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jim Oakey, 2130946
1964 - 1968

This Trusted American

While reading the newsletters, I constantly read about Marine Moms, dads, cousins, and all sorts of family members. I have been remiss in giving credit to a person who has never worn the uniform, but would be a great Marine. Every morning, our flag gets posted. Every night, our flag is this most trusted American. When the Marine hymn is played at band concerts, I stand. This trusted American always stands just as tall. When I walk, and come up with rude, crude, sometimes stupid cadences...........this most trusted American is there in step all the way. When I put battle ribbons on my car, this most trusted American advises that they are not straight. This most trusted American is my wife of almost 26 years, the person who exemplifies the words Semper Fidelis.

SSgt DJ Huntsinger

I Am The Wife

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am the wife of a Marine...13 years now. We just came off of recruiting duty in March. Although it was definitely the toughest duty so far, there were some pretty rewarding things that came out of those three years. I was a very involved spouse. I created a newsletter for the poolees and their families, planned family events, and was available to speak with wives, girlfriends, and worried moms as needed. It was such an awesome thing to watch young men and women go from high school to boot camp to U.S. Marine. We are still constantly getting phone calls from the Marines my husband recruited. We had the great fortune to welcome them and their families into the greater family of the Marine Corps. I have always believed one of the greatest testaments a child can give to good parenting is the decision to selflessly serve their country. I have never understood why going into the military vs. college is the "lesser" choice. Is that to say people who chose the Marine Corps over college aren't as good or worthy? Is our country's protection some other family's problem? It seems that is the way some people look at it. Our teens would not have the freedom to make this choice if we didn't have willing volunteers to protect that freedom. College is important, but it doesn't have to come right after high school. The experience and career training the Marine Corps provides is invaluable. As the wife of a recruiter, I watched too many parents refuse to support their child's decision to enlist. It always broke my heart when this happened. I am so fiercely proud of my husband and all of his brother and sister Marines. It is not an easy job in today's world. There are many sacrifices they make. They need the support of their families and their nation.

Thanks for letting me sound off on this. I am a parent, too. I know that it isn't easy to watch your child do something you don't want for them. I am also a Christian. I believe that I don't know God's plan...especially for my child. I have to trust that God knows what he is doing and my child is His. God bless our country and our Marine Corps.

proud USMC wife

I Was Told

I'm not sure if this is the correct way of getting a story of me in Viet Nam in, but if it is I'll continue. I am a Hollywood Marine Platoon 154, graduated April 26, 1966. The three DI's we had were the worst and the best people I have ever meet. S/Sgt. J.W. Conyers, Sgt. A.C. Perry and Sgt R.L. Hilles, if you are reading this I would like to say Thank you very much. I left San Diego as a Pvt. I was told I was one of the 10% that was up for Pfc. oh well. Shipped out to RVN as a Pvt. that was August 66. I was put in 2/7 as the Battalion Armor helper, I got my act together over there and I started making grades, it was around March or April 67 I had to go on a C-rat run. We stopped at Hill 327 PX, I ran into Sgt. Hiles, I reintroduced myself to him and we talked for some time. I was then a Cpl. and he was still a Sgt. He said "I see you finally got your S*it together" It was really great seeing him and talking to a man that changed me from a snotty nosed kid that thought he was street wise, into a man that was able to play in a very dangerous game and come out. I have wanted to send this message for a long time, I feel really good I took the time and did it...
Cpl. Terry R. Gulch
RVN 8-66 9-67
Semper Fi

Boot Camp Was Probably

I joined the Marine Corps in 1948 Just out of high School. Boot camp was probably one of the hardest times of my life. I got out in 1950 after serving in tanks and motor transport at Camp jejune and Guam. I reenlisted in 1954 after deciding civilian life was not for me. I came back in with aviation guaranteed. I served at Quantico, Cherry Point, crewed R4Q's for four years. Then to Cherry point where I joined VMA-225 which would go to Japan and then open up Chu Lia as a tactical base in RVN. after a tour at MCAS Beaufort I went back to RVN and spent a year at Da Nang. I retired in 1972 at Beaufort, SC. I want to send my well dones to all the Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can just barley imaging what they are going through. I would enjoy hearing from any one I served with.

John R. Combs Gysgt(ret)


The world lost a good man awhile back. Equally important, the world lost one h&lluva Marine.

He was born Richard Moore but we knew him by other names. During a long and honorable career in the Marine Corps, including a tour in "Nam", he reached the rank of "Top". Among his other duties and a variety of MOSs, he worked as a DJ on USMC and Armed Forces radio, where he was known as "Johnny West", a moniker that he carried into a post-USMC second career on the radio in New Bern, North Carolina, not far from Camp Lejeune, home to the 2nd Division, with which we both served. He had that kind of personality, one that lit up those around him, as well as those who listened to him on the airwaves. Some years ago, he was written up in Leatherneck magazine. That's how I found him again - a long-lost brother Marine.

We first met in 1956 when I was stationed with MACS-1, MAG-11, FMAW at Atsugi NAS in Japan. In off-duty hours, and when not puttin' some down in the Slopchute, I was trying to put together a Rock & Roll band (remember that this was the era of Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and early Elvis Presley) and had recruited an acoustic guitar player (Marine Cpl. Jimmy Wallace), a drummer (Navy Seaman Gary Webb) and a singer (Marine Cpl. Jim Pasquale). We were in desperate need of a stand-up bass player so that we could try out for the All-Navy and Marine Talent Contest.

One evening as the four of us were sitting around the 'Chute piano (piano was my instrument), and having a few beers of course, in walked this tall, lanky, tousled blond-haired and, at first glance, rather lethargic-looking "Buck" Sgt. who promptly announced that he had heard we were looking for a bass fiddle player and he was the man to fill the job. The only problem was that he didn't have a bass!

The next day, we went to Special Services and checked out the oldest, dirtiest, grungiest, most raggedy-looking bass that we had ever seen. But it had a bridge and four strings, so we took it. We settled down at the piano, tuned up the acoustic instruments, launched into "Rock Around the Clock" and "The Jumpin' Jacks" were born, with our new-found bass player, who was immediately christened "Slim".

We went on to win the Far-East Area Talent Contest and flew to New York City for the finals, where we were selected by the contest judges to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. At that performance, we played "House of Blue Lights" with Jimmy Wallace handling the vocal.

After a US tour, we returned to Japan where we spent the next five months touring various military bases in the Far East command and, on liberty hours, posing as a professional American band and headlining nightclubs in Yokohama and Tokyo. By that time, we had perfected our "shtick" and, in the manner of the days of early "R&R", Jimmy would gyrate around the stage putting on his best "Elvis" moves, Gary would pound the drums like a man gone berserk and I would play the piano standing up, down on my knees, upside down and sometimes with my feet! But for the most part, "Slim" stood perfectly still, playing the bass line without moving any part of his body except his fingers and arms, and looking like he was sound asleep! Needless to say, many stories can be told about that period of time.

The most unforgettable moment came in February 1957 at the Night and Day Club in Yokohama (where we had been mistakenly billed as "The Jumping Ducks"!), in what was to be our last performance since it was on the night before I shipped out for the States. "Slim" had silently and painfully put up with the dilapidated bass for all this time but on this night, with a packed house at the midnight show, "Slim" suddenly stopped playing, short of the last eight bars of the last piece in the last set. With great composure and resolution, he stepped out onto the dance floor and carefully laid the tired old bass fiddle down directly in front of the "front line" of the bandstand. Then he calmly walked up to the top tier of the bandstand as we all watched, fascinated and dumbstruck. He turned to face the audience and then, to our utter amazement, the chronically peaceful, languid, sometimes almost catatonic "Slim" opened his eyes wide, let out a blood- curdling scream, threw his hands in the air, vaulted down the three tiers of the bandstand, took a flying leap into the air and landed squarely in the center of the bass fiddle, shattering it into a thousand pieces and sending scraps and splinters flying all over the dance floor. It was a fitting end to the group.

I left Japan and lost contact with all the guys. Why we let friendships like that dissolve is a question that, to this day, remains unanswered. However, sometime in the 80s, I ran across the Leatherneck article and made contact with my long-lost friend. Shortly after that, "Slim" retired from the Corps and we lost contact again.

Then, one day early in 1999, I received an e-mail from a former Marine who, in checking one of the USMC Websites, had run across my name, and who asked the question, "Are you the 'Aly' Kahn who led 'The Jumpin' Jacks' in Japan?" And with that, "Slim" and I had reestablished our contact.

In the summer of 1999, "Slim" and his wife Linda joined us in Hawaii for one of what we called our "annual" but was in fact "occasional" USMC "Old Corps Old Farts Platoon" Reunions. Our group now numbered 12 former Marines, including my two brothers, many of whom had spent time together while on active duty. Tom Parker, Brian Parris, Johnny Morgan, "Chico" Marzullo and I had gotten together in the past and I had seen Don Kelley on a number of occasions. On the trip to Hawaii, "Chico" also joined us. When "Slim" and I met in the Sheraton Waikiki, it was the first time that we had seen each other in forty-two years! We had a fabulous time and talked for hours about our experiences together, which by now had passed into legend and, like all good "sea stories", had been stretched and exaggerated to the point where truth went out the window and laughter took over.

In 2000, my wife Paula and I vacationed in New York and Linda and "Slim" joined us for three wonderful days. The last photograph of "Slim" and me was taken on the upper deck of the open-top NYC tour bus, in front of the old Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway (where we had played on the Sullivan show), which now houses the Letterman show. The sheer fun of being together - and being at that "historic" spot - is evident on our faces and the photo is one of my most prized possessions.

Then, early in 2001, while I was in Egypt, we brought "Slim" over to set up a video shoot of one of the projects that we were working on. Once again, we spent our evenings over beers and martinis, swapping those long-ago, far-away and often-told tall tales. Little did I know when "Slim" left to return to the US, that it was the last time that we would be together.

Even now, I can see his big, happy, smiling face as he boarded the plane, a smile that I will sorely miss, as he was hardly ever without one. He had a gentle personality, a willingness to befriend all comers and a smile and good word for everyone who touched his world, a world made just a little warmer and gentler by his presence.

A few weeks ago, while "Slim" lay in the hospital, I received an e-mail from Linda. In it, she passed on some extraordinary comments that "Slim" had made from his hospital bed about our relationship over the years and the close friendship that we had established and then reestablished. I was so taken with what she wrote that I tried three times to respond but just couldn't find the words. Now that lack of response will haunt me. But I know that my buddy "Slim" understands and is probably laughing about my concern, as I'm sure that he can see into the deepest part of my heart.

Several years ago, Johnny Morgan passed away and I, like so many who knew him, cried for the loss of a very special guy and a classic "Jarhead". Now our boy "Slim" has gone upstairs to the "big PX in the sky" (as we used to say), and there are more tears to be shed. But Johnny will be there to greet him, along with his brother Marines from Tun Tavern, Tripoli, Belleau Woods, Tarawa, Iwo, the Chosin Reservoir and the jungles of "Nam". What we lost, they have gained, and a valuable gain it is. Another "Leatherneck" to guard the streets of Heaven!

So Semper Fi, "Slim" ol' buddy. You will be missed by those whose lives you touched, whose faults you graciously accepted, whose hearts were filled with the love that you gave them and who will return that love forever.

Here's a toast to you and to our Corps. "Jumping Duck" leader salutes you! Thanks for being a brother and a friend.

Don "Aly" Kahn
Former "Buck" Sgt.
1953 - 1957

Note: Those of you who have received this newsletter for years know how I feel about this subject. Find your buddies. Do it now...NOW! If this was 10, 25, 35, 60 years ago and I was your DI telling you to do this you would not hesitate. Do it! NOW! I have never gotten a call or email saying they wish they had not made contact. Semper fi Sgt Grit........NOW!

The Many Ways Of Life

To Rberg: I remember Cpl. Shockley and S/Sgt Eason but I can not help you find them ( Wish I could) I was a Drill Instructor back then, I was a D.I. with platoon # 256 and later platoon # 388. They made me a D.I. when I returned from Korea, the first platoon I was with was under my old D.I. that took me thru boot camp, S/Sgt. Bailey. After 3 to 4 weeks they sent me back to work with a new SDI. I'm sure you remember what a great time was had by all up at Camp Mathews. The wonderful Duck Walks up good old Agony Hill, the Forty Foot Tower you got to jump off ( Abandon Ship Drills) The Smokers we had on the week ends in the out door ring. ( Many a bloody nose and hurt pride). The hours of snapping in, the many weapons to clean and learn to take apart and put back together. Then the great time qualifying and shooting for record. Did you ever have to stand with your M-1 on the back of your hand, with your arms straight out from your shoulders. I wish I could find some of my many fellow Marines from way back then, to talk about the good old times. I guess that is what we get for getting old, however the many ways of life that we all learned in our beloved Marine Corps still stays with us. I still go to the 24 hour fitness center and work out 4 to 5 days a week for at least an hour, not to bad for an old Marine of 72. I want t wish you luck in finding some of your lod fellow Marines.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Wallen
An old Marine till the day I die.


Hi Sgt Grit,

Thought you might like this story. If you can't have courage about the little things you can't have courage about the big things.


The Meaning of "IS"

Lance Corporal John C. Calhoun

Written By Ed Driscoll

Our training had just ended. Our training had just begun. In a few months some of us would be dead others crippled and seriously injured. In the parking lot below the barracks waited the wives, girl friends and beloved family members of the young marines who in a few days would be fighting for the freedom of a people they did not know in the remote jungles of South Vietnam. We were from all over the United States but those marines who had loved ones close enough had this one last chance to have one last weekend together before we left. The marine barracks was old but spotless. There were four squad bays in the barracks. All squad bays had been released except ours. The order had been given that we would not be released until Lance Corporal John Calhoun's stolen wallet was returned.

Staging Battalion was lonely duty. It was final training before we left for South Vietnam. We came and left not as members of a marine unit but as individuals. We were all marines but were together for only a few weeks. We were trained by Vietnam veterans. Some had long ghostly silent stares. All had the desire to give us the skills needed to come home alive. Unlike boot camp we were not harassed. We were treated with the respect we had earned in becoming Unites States Marines. In boot camp we learned to shoot straight. Here, we learned to shoot fast from the hip at pop up targets as we walked along dirt trails. We learned how to avoid capture if separated from our unit, how to trap and kill food. We learned how to identify east then travel south so as to stay out of North Vietnam. But, the most important thing we learned in boot camp and had reinforced at every duty station was that the actions of one could get many killed. Therefore, we understood that while it seemed totally unfair to the non military minds of the loved ones waiting in the parking lot on this beautiful California day, we were going nowhere until Lance Corporal Calhoun's stolen wallet was returned.

Wisdom prevailed. The thief did not have to confess. The wallet could show up in the head or in any common area. The order was it had to be returned. The method of the return was not specified. Tension mounted as the hours passed. The heels of boots hit the clean polished floor just a little harder as if troops were marching. The squad bay doors swung open with more force than necessary as marines entered and exited. The sudden sound of footlockers slamming shut, punctuated the passing minutes. We all wanted to be released for the weekend but those with loved ones in the parking lot were really uptight.

John Calhoun was my best friend. We left for basic training from the South Boston train station and had been together ever since, partly because his name began with C and mine with D and the importance of order, partly because of chance, but mostly because we grew to love each other. It was not how much money I had but how much we had. Not what I was going to do but what we were going to do. Not if I was going to pass inspection but were we going to pass. Therefore, we volunteered for Vietnam. John was an award winning artist, a gentle marine. I once saw him struck repeatedly by a drunk he could have easily neutralized. He made not a motion to strike back. He was a squared away marine. He always had starched utilities and spit shined boots. John Calhoun loved the Marine Corps.

John was not comfortable at the center of this problem. His face usually happy showed the stress. His shoulders usually straight slumped forward. Though he had searched his locker a number of times, he searched again. This time he pulled his duffel bag out of the locker and placed it on the floor. When the bag hit the floor his wallet appeared in the back of his locker. I told him his wallet must have been returned. He did not even look at me. I said, John don't be foolish your wallet has been returned. His shoulders regained their marine posture. He walked with purpose toward the sergeant in charge. The sergeant yelled, "Listen up Lance Corporal Calhoun has something to say to you all". John spoke softly but deliberately. "My name is Lance Corporal Calhoun. It is my fault you have not been released for the past two hours. I found my wallet. It was in my locker. I am sorry. I will be here in the barracks if any of you want to talk to me more about this. I am very sorry". No one could have put a hand on John Calhoun that day. We all knew what we had seen.

Mrs. Virginia Calhoun received John's body, an American Flag, and the Navy Cross for John's heroism in battle. Somewhere his courage in the last moments of his life is recorded in an official military citation.

Citation For the Award of the NAVY CROSS To Lance Corporal John Caldwell Calhoun

For extraordinary heroism while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Combined Action Platoon H - 6, Third Combined Action Group, III Marine Amphibious Force, in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 January 1968. Corporal Calhoun's platoon, while defending an outpost in Nuoc Ngot Village, Thua Thien Province suddenly came under a heavy volume of mortar and rocket fire, followed by an aggressive assault by a numerically superior Viet Cong force. The enemy quickly seized the northern wall of the compound as the Marines and Popular Forces soldiers moved to the sandbagged southern wall. During the ensuing fire fight, the Marines became dangerously low of ammunition. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Corporal Calhoun unhesitatingly ran across 30 meters of fire-swept terrain to obtain the ammunition and deliver it to his comrades. Ignoring the danger around him, he repeatedly crossed the hazardous area, resupplying the defenders, until he was mortally wounded. His heroic and timely actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in repelling the enemy force. By his conspicuous valor, strong initiative and complete dedication to duty, Corporal Calhoun upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

36 Years

Sgt Grit- The Marine Corps closed a huge chapter of it history on July 01, 2004 when MSgt Randall Arnold retired at MCB Quantico, Virginia. MSgt Randall Arnold was the Marine Corps last Active Duty Vietnam War Veteran to retire after 36 years of service. I was honored, humbled, and amazed to be apart of this Marines retirement ceremony. Standing in formation listening to the list accomplishments and tours of duty was unbelievable. But when MSgt's opportunity to talk came, he didn't talk about his accomplishments, or the places he's been, or the things he's seen. He talked about his Marines and his love for the Corps. When the Marines finally marched in and began his flag presentation, they slowly passed it from one Marine to the other, each saluting as they went. It was as if every time they passed that flag, it was another battle fought, another comrade lost. Every eye was on that flag. But as I watched him, the look of pride and honor that surrounded this man as untouchable. He was/is a Marine in every sense of the word. It was his time and he was ready. It was a pleasure and an honor serving under this Marine. His words and his teachings will not be forgotten. Semper Fi MSgt Arnold to you and your loving family.

Sgt Jenny Franks
Scty Bn, Brig Co

Camp Foster

Take a look at the images on this page. Looks like quite an improvement since we were there. Of course that was Thirty years ago. I arrived in January. I left California - temperature in the 70's. Stopped in Hawaii, temps in the 80's. Stopped in Guam seemed like it was in the 90's, very humid. Got to Japan and it was snowing! All I had was my "service c" short sleeve uniform. Thought I would freeze to death. Hope you all are well. Here's to Andy.....

What Are The Odds

What are the odds of two men who have not seen each other since boot camp meeting in the Sgt Grit showroom. I do not know, but it happened a few weeks ago to Robert Whitford and Steve Spurlock. What a great job I have.

Semper fi Sgt Grit

The Perfect Example

I am an old Air winger, but of late I have had the opportunity to get to know some tough old Marines. One of them who is not so old is working hard to stay on active duty. His name is LCpl Jeremy Boutwell and he is in my opinion one tough Marine. He was injured in Iraq in 2003 when an IED went off stealing the sight from his right eye and shattering his right femur. He has undergone a host of reconstructive surgeries and in the meantime has recovered to train the next group of warriors in true Marine Corps fashion, LCpl Boutwell has earned the respect of his peers and those who are able to see him perform everyday. Boutwell's latest battle is not in Iraq, however, but with the Department of the Navy, who are working to retire him. He has enlisted the help of retired GySgt Eddie Aguilar, who suffered a similar injury while fighting more than 20 years ago in Grenada, and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) . It would behoove us all to pray Boutwell is allowed to continue serving his country and our Corps. He is indeed an example. In a recent newspaper article published in the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise Cuellar said it best. "If you think of an ideal Marine, this is him," Cuellar said. "He is the perfect example of what a Marine is. He is a fine example of what a patriot is. He is a patriot without a doubt."

Bryan Kirk
CPL of Marines
2d MAW, MCAS New River, NC

Learned About God

Pltn 1005 MCRD, San Diego, November, 1964. Best time of my life. Learned about God and Country and the comradery that I feel to this day. To all of those Marines of Pltn 1005 that lived through Vietnam and Marines that died for their Country. I want to go to the Wall and pray for all my Pltn Brothers that paid the ultimate price. God Bless The Marine Corps and God Bless America.

Semper Fi,
PFC Herbert J. Ware Jr.
Pltn 1005, MCRD, San Diego
November, 1964



I'm curious to hear about the PFT (Physical Fitness Test) prior to 1975-79 (when I served). Was it the same pull-ups, sit-ups and 3-mile run? Did you run it in utilities and combat boots or some type of PT gear?

Matt Brzycki


Niagara Falls NY Oct 12-16
Contact Jo Waleslagle
36 N. Beaver St.
Dunkirk NY 14048

Aye-Aye Sir

Sgt. Grit, the newsletter is absolutely great. The new format even better. It's great to hear from brother Marines, and to know our Corps is in good hands. I have recently retired from the Alabama Department of Public Safety. I am very proud of that, but every bit as proud of serving in our Corps.Nothing yet has matched the feeling of pride and accomplishment I felt when graduating from MCRD San Diego. "Platoon 143 Dismissed". "Aye-Aye Sir"

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

But Instead

Hey Sarge
I thought about talking about my time in the Corps ('73 - '76), but instead I'll submit this link about a hero of mine, my cousin Larry, who will never be able to share his thoughts. It's a short tribute page, but I hope you'll give him his due. Thanks Sarge ! Ooo-Rah !

Vern Spotswood, NJ

Yemassee Reunion

Parris Island Re-Union, at the Train Station at Yemassee ATTN: Roy Hughes (843) 717-1786 Work 843-689-3385 PO BOX 265, Yemassee SC 29945-0265 Joseph Schilling Jacquline Jinks Donna Baker BOB GWIN

The Marine Corps Memorial Association of Golden, CO

The Marine Corps Memorial Association of Golden, CO salutes you and thanks you for your services to our country. The year 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the Marine Corps Memorial located at the base of the Rocky Mountain Foothills in Golden, CO. If you are traveling in the Denver-Area anytime in the future, stop by and visit the Memorial Site located right off of Interstate 70 at the intersection of highways 6 & 40. This site displays the noble emblems of the six Marine Divisions, and four Air Wings facing the parade area. On the reverse side of this landmark stands a large Marine Corps' emblem. The cherished stars and stripes waves in the center of the Memorial's structure beneath the beautiful blue Colorado sky.

The late S/Sgt. "Bo" Bowers rallied many Marines to build this historical landmark. State and local officials authorized the Site's construction, and fellow Marines provided personal funds to build the historical site with no government subsidies or grants. Two years after ground was broken in 1975, Marine Corps Commandant General Louis H. Wilson Jr. officiated the dedication of the Memorial Site's in tribute to all Marines living and deceased. The Memorial's Articles of Association are officially recorded as a subsidiary organization of the Marine Corps League, Department of Colorado. The Colorado Secretary of State has approved official Nonprofit Corporation status. The City Council of Golden, CO officially granted Community Landmark Status to the Memorial on May 4, 2005. Large rocks are placed with plaques giving tribute for the Navy Corpsman, Women Marines and Naval Amphibious Forces. The Avenue of Honor contains stones representing by various Marine Divisions.

Each year, ceremonies are conducted in memory of the service and sacrifice that Marines have provided for the preservation of our country's freedom. Media attend and report these events for the benefit of the general public. The Memorial stands in order that the United States Marine Corps will never be forgotten.

You can join the Memorial and participate in the preservation of history that this landmark represents. A major resurfacing project is underway to remove and replace the current eroding asphalt with a tinted concrete surface. Bids estimate the costs will require fifty thousand dollars to restore the appearance and integrity of the Memorial Site. You can contribute by writing: Marine Corps Memorial Association, P.O. Box 1803, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034-1803.

Semper Fidelis
Rick Baum,
Secretary for the Marine Corps Memorial Association

The Navy Song Was Played

Sgt Grit,
I just want to pass on a experience I had this past 4th of July. I'll try to keep it short. I was at Church in my Dress Blues doing a color guard for the 4th. I meet this Doc who served in Vietnam on a chopper picking up & patching up wounded Marines right off of the battlefield. I told him I just returned from my 2nd tour in Iraq and that I knew first hand how tough if was to patch up your fellow brothers, so we just talked a little before the service began. The church service program went like this. Each of the military branches song/hymn was going to be played. The pastor would ask all the people who served in that branch to stand when their song was played. Well the Navy song was played and he didn't stand. Deep down I knew he deserved to be standing because of what he's done and where he's been. Just before our Marines Hymn was played I stepped up to him and said "Thanks for patching us up Doc, you can stand with us (the Marines)". With that I marched out.

My line of thinking is this: any man who dips his hands into to the flesh and blood of my brothers wounded in combat to heal them and give them life again can stand proudly with the Marines any day of the week.

Semper Fi,
Sgt Lewis, J P

There Are

Sgt Grit, I've been reading your newsletter for almost two years now and it's been a great source of motivation. Every time I receive it, it's the first thing I read. The one thing that I've noticed is with all the attention being focused on the war in Iraq there isn't much mention of Marines that are not in the sandbox. There are many Marines out there who wish to be with next to their brothers in harms way but the "needs of the Marine Corps" require them to be elsewhere. There are Recruiters who put in countless hours on weekends and holidays to select the future of our armed forces. There are Drill Instructors who also work night and day to make recruits into Marines. There are instructors at MOS schools and support Marines stateside with their units making sure that the Marines overseas and back home have the training and the equipment they need. There are Marine Security Guards protecting our embassies at over 150 countries, and although in most places the threat to them is not as imminent as it is in Iraq, it is just as grave. There are also marines doing tours in Korea, Philippines, Japan and other numerous countries. I would like to say thanks to ALL the marines, past and present, no matter where they are. And to all my brothers in harms way, wish I were with you. On another note, congratulations to my good friend Cpl Christopher Crigger on being selected to pick up Sgt on the first. All I can say is its about time.

Thank you Sgt Grit and keep up the good work.

Sgt. Rostislav G. Ionin
MSGBn. D Co.
Detachment Caracas, Venezuela

Hardly A Day Goes By

Sgt Grit,

In regards to Sgt Grit's American Courage Newsletter #102, I just wanted to make a quick response to future Marine Alex Aldridge from Tucson, AZ. I experienced similar incidents when I was preparing to become a Marine back in '74. Several family members and friends talked down my intentions to become a Marine. Some told me to go Army (as most Veterans in my family did), some said Air Force, a few said Navy and others said stay out of the military altogether. I am more than glad I didn't listen to them! Because of my decision, I now belong to, and will always be part of, a truly wonderful family, the United States Marine Corps.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't get the opportunity to talk (or e-mail) another 'family member', whether it is a young Marine stationed in Iraq (Hey 'Hareball'), one of the Marines I served with (one for you too 'Lurchenstein') or meeting a fellow Marine NOAD (Not On Active Duty-haven't been seeing that term for a while), in a store, parking lot or wherever, wearing a USMC t- shirt or ball cap, bumper stickers on the car or other items identifying themselves a 'One of the Few...' (courtesy Sgt Grit) and spend time talking with someone, never seen before, acting like family or old friends and sharing stories that mere mortals cannot imagine. That is something that, after 22 years of marriage, still fascinates my Wife. How two men, that can have a vast difference in age, background and have never met before, can fire up a conversation and relive their Marine days just like they served together yesterday.

Reading about the magnificent support for the Marines of today, especially from Proud Marine Moms and Dads, well, it has been known to make the eyes sweat at times. The pride and respect I feel when I see and hear about this generation of Marines makes me honored to say I am part of that family and always will be. To those parents, wives, families and loved ones of these American Warriors, your sacrifices and efforts are inspiring.

Rest assured young Mr. Aldridge, if you continue this path and become a Marine, you won't have to ever think about a few aunts that thought this effort senseless. You will have thousands and thousands of new (and improved) Aunts and Uncles (like older NOADs like me).

You will have new Brothers and Sisters that you will bond with in a way you've never been able to before. And you will all be Marines.

I'll go ahead and thank you now. Hearing from young Americans like you gives me hope for the future of the United States. I know the next 'crew' will carry on OUR proud traditions and my family and I will rest easy knowing that we are going to continue being protected by the Few, the Proud, we Marines.

Semper Fidelis,

Tony Glass

In The Black

While we all can't be like Dave, we can all do our part to help keep the Marine Corps numbers where they belong, in the black.

1)Go to your local recruiter's office, introduce yourself and ask for some business cards. -Community contacts prove to be invaluable to recruiters, but they don't always have the time to make the contacts themselves, so by you coming into the office yourself and asking for cards you have just saved them several hours of legwork.

2)Give out business cards! -If I could just stand on a street corner all day and give out business cards I would! Give them to everyone because they might have a son, grandson, nephew, neighbor, so on and so on that they could end up giving it to.

3)Wear Marine Corps related clothing! -I know most of you already do, but wearing clothing that is representative of the Corps and being prepared to perform step two is like free advertisement! Remember the Marine Corps does not have the budgeting that the other branches do, (when was the last time you saw the Marine Corps giving away free DVDs and boonie covers just for calling an 800 number?!) so all you good lookin' guys and gals can double as walking billboards! BTW, if you are looking for fashionable Marine Corps apparel at a great price our host, Sgt. Grit, has a wide selection! While we all can't be like Dave, we can all do our part to help keep the Marine Corps numbers where they belong, in the black.

Semper fi wfy

From the Bulletin Board

Trip To The Reserve Center

Hey Sarge,

Just a word on police escorts for returning vets. I left active duty in April 1990 and joined the reserves. I volunteered to be activated in December 1990 with 1st Battalion 24th Marines and we were sent to Okinawa and later the Philippines. Although we did not even go to the desert we spent 9 months on active duty. I returned home with Charlie Company in August 1991. We arrived at the Lansing, MI. airport very early in the morning and took a bus to the reserve center. During the trip to the reserve center the bus was surrounded by several Lansing P.D. police cars with their lights on. It did not take long for everyone in the bus to be wide awake even though we had been traveling for more than 24 hours. They escorted the bus to the reserve center and we were met by a huge crowd of family and friends at approximately 5 AM. Prior to that I had been in the military on active duty for 11 years and have never felt so appreciated. I will never forget that simple act and how it made me and everyone else on the bus feel that day. For most of the guys it was the first and only time they had been deployed or on active duty. There was a lot of grumbling during the 9 months we spent overseas because a lot of guys felt that we should have came home right after the war was over. With a homecoming like that it made those that did grumble more proud that I think they ever were in their lives. I want to thank everyone that supported us then and everyone who supports our USMC now. It was not always like this.

Sergeant Gale Owen
Michigan State Police
Former USMC - USMCR GySgt

Short Rounds

Every FMF Corpsman may have had the Navy I.D. card, but will always be Marines in my book. Their dedication to the Marines they served with was second to none. I'm proud to have served with them.

Semper Fidelis
Bob Carter , RVN 66,67

"I served more time with the Marines than the Navy, I preferred the Marines and consider myself 75 percent Marine." --Lee Lewis, HMC,AC,USN,RET

Doc, I consider you 100 percent Marine and thanks for taking care of us.

Kent Mitchell, CPL, 1956-60
3/3/3 and some other units are having a 40th anniversary of Operation Starlite @ PI 18-20 August. Check for further info.

Semper Fi,
Jerry Underwood
106's Platoon
Tom Loyd cpl Usmc Has hit the nail right on the head, I can remember when we were scorned in our uniforms.

Thankfully my Marine SSGT son was welcomed home from the 1st Gulf war as it should have been.

Semper Fi Brothers
Art Caesar
Navy Seabees 55-59, Marines 59-65
Corpsman in Iraq

All gave some. Some gave all!

American by birth Marine by choice

Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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