Sixty years ago, February 23, 1945: Marine's; Strank, Hayes, Block, Gagnon, Sousley, and Corpsman Bradley, were immortalized in Joe Rosenthals famous photo, raising the Stars & Stripes atop Mt. Suribachi, On Iwo Jima. "Uncommon Valor was a common virtue."
Pause to remember All our fallen brother Marines.... Semper Fi
S/Sgt. '72 - '80
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"Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully"
- John A. Lejeune
Here's His Letter
I received the following letter from my son (LCpl Geoffrey Bivins) the day after his brothers in the 1/3 C Co went down in a helicopter crash in Iraq on January 26. His request to me, is to have it posted on the internet. Here's his letter.
What's going on back home? Why are college kids calling me and my brothers in arms "barbaric" and "war criminals". Is this where their education comes from? Is this what their parents pay big money for? For attacking the strong for protecting the weak. I wonder what it is like knowing that tomorrow they can see their best friend and the day after that. I wonder what it's like knowing that a Captain will not come to their mother's door and tell her that her son has been killed in combat and that there are not enough pieces of the corpse to burry in a coffin? I want to know what it's like to never have to smell a dead corpse or to have to call your best friends wife and tell her that even though her husband volunteered to go on a mission to ensure that an Iraqi has the security to ensure his God given right to vote and that he will ensure that no one will ever oppress him while he's on watch. He died from an insurgent sniper round or is bombed for protecting those that can't or won't fight. I wonder what it's like to drink a beer, go to sleep when you want to. I wonder what it's like to be able to look at your girlfriend, mother or wife and tell them that you love them. And then again, I wonder what it's like to pick on someone who is doing a job because I have no morals or respect for the fallen who have given their lives so that others may enjoy a freedom that they have never known.
But I'll tell you what I do know. I do know selfless service and sacrifice for a cause greater than my own meaningless existence. I do know what it's like to help other people and for having participated in a noble cause to help those in need. I do know what it feels like knowing that my mother and girlfriend cry themselves to sleep every night; not knowing if that phone call is a Captain or boyfriend or son. I do know however that people back home haven't forgotten what it felt like when two airliners were slammed into the World Trade Center and how thousands upon thousands of people will never see their mothers, wives, sons, daughters or husbands again. But remember Mother, I am barbaric and I commit treason and I'm a war criminal. All I have to say about this is at least I'm a part of the system and I'm not b!tching about it from the sidelines."
Sign me, A Marine Mom, PROUDER than ever!
I work for a Concession Equipment supplier in Detroit, and have Sgt. Grit Bumper stickers and the like displayed just about everywhere in the store. Today, a customer came in and noticed the EGA fastened to our cashiers computer monitor, and asked if she was the Marine? Luckily I was using the adjacent Computer and she pointed to me. He asked if I had a Son in the Marine's, which I proudly claimed the affirmative, and that I also served for eight years...
This customer then relates that he was in the Army, many years ago, and that a month or so ago, he and his wife were in the Bangor, Maine airport, when a whole plane load of Marine's had just returned from Iraq. He kept telling me how Impressive they looked and acted! I of course responded with "Of course they're Marine's! He then told me that someone in the airport began singing Our glorious Hymn, where upon all those impressive young men snapped to attention! and joined in, then received applause from everyone in the airport! He kept saying over and over how impressed he and his wife were of those Marine's!
"It's hard to be humble, when your one of the finest" Talking with this customer really made my day!
S/Sgt '72 - '80
Back Blast Net
In response to Cpl. Calahan from I 3/9, I too arrived at Camp Schwab in April 73 and went to H&S Co, 106 Plt. 1/9. Being a 106 man , the very first thing I was sent to supply for was a back blast net as there wasn't one in the cleaning gear box. Then off to MULE school and NTA. Couple of years with 2nd Recon Bn. at Lejeune and now it's your turn to haze the FNGs. I smile and have a good chuckle when I read these wonderful stories, things never change.
Sgt. Sig Schulz
It Brought Back
I saw on television and read Lee Sang-don's account of President Bush's address to the 1st Marine Division in your 1/21/05 News letter. It was and is one of the finest tributes to not only the 1st Marine Division but to all Marines, young and not so young, active or still wanting to be active, everywhere. I lost a lot of great buddies there and I'm sorry but I cried through the entire story. It brought back too many memories.
Thanks and God Bless
George Maling Sgt. Korea
Good Afternoon Marine
Having just graduated Parris Island in 1981, I was a highly disciplined, highly motivated young PFC. I was on my way home from Boot Camp and had to change planes in Charleston, SC. As I entered the terminal I observed a Navy Captain in full uniform approaching me. Now this is the highest ranking officer I had yet to have the occasion to salute. As a squared away Marine, I mentally prepared myself to give the appropriate greeting. Going through my mind were; "Wait until the get within a few steps", "Hand straight, slightly tilted, forearm parallel to the deck", "Sharp salute and cut it when acknowledged by the Officer", "Clear, loud 'Good Afternoon Sir' greeting". Okay, I was ready! I executed this highly-honored military courtesy perfectly. As I cut my salute, the recipient replied "Good Afternoon Marine, thanks for the salute, but I'm just a Delta Airlines pilot". I'm glad my Senior DI wasn't around.
Tough Old Bird
After 14 MO's in Korea with B/1/5 I was assigned duty as the hand and rifle grenade, land mines and booby trap instructor, at Camp Gieger in 1954 /1955. The new commandant felt that the squad leaders needed more "presence" in the squad and ordered that the old Squads drill be taught. MSgt. Trope, a tough old bird who was once featured in Life magazine while a D.I. at P.I. in the early 50's was our instructor. It, like the swagger sticks, was a disaster. The commandant was Gen. McCallPate. I met him once when he visited the Med. Co. where I was a patient just before the armistice was declared.
R. Jennings MSgt. USMCR
William Paul Bakaleinikoff must have smoked some very strong stuff if that is his memory of Don and Phil Everely. They were assigned to Hdqtrs Btry, 3d Battalion, llth Marines CamPen, CA. Their Platoon leader was Cpl John J. Gomes . John & I are members of the LAST COLORADO OLD GLORY PLATOON, Which, incidentally, holds its 45th reunions in Las Vegas, Nv June 9 thru 12, 2005. John and I often broke bread at the mess hall. I was assigned to "G" btry, 3dBn, 11th Marines. Don and Phil were 6th Month reservists and demanded time off for rehearsing and to charge a door fee for anyone who wanted to listen to them rehearse. Respect from the 1stMarDiv? I don't think so. In spite of their demands to receive deferential treatment due to their celebrity, they had to adjust to life as ordinary Marines. Much to their chagrin. But they are Marine Brothers to which I say oohrah. p.s Sgt Grit My Grandson, Smedley, is doing well and just gave me his first OORAH a few days ago. Thanks for letting me submit my recollection of 1964 and the Everly Bros.
L/cpl G.D. Vallejos
Triangle Of Death
23 January 2005
FOB St. Michael
N. Babil Province
We have been operating here for four months and have passed the halfway mark of our battalion's deployment. Some talking head in the media dubbed our AO the "Triangle of Death". We still have not figured out whom, exactly, that title was supposed to impress or intimidate. I would hazard a guess that it was the American public, eagerly being fed their nightly ration of one-sided reporting and doom soothing. Most, if not all, of the vile predictions of the sky falling have yet to come to pass. I cite the recent car bomb attacks in Baghdad as example. Yes, there were six Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices employed in a single day, what we call SVBIED's (pronounced phonetically"ess-vee-bid"). What the reporters standing on the balconies of their nice hotels may have overlooked was the fact that none of the vehicles reached the intended target. Five operators blew themselves up and the sixth was captured as he fled the scene. The other casualties, as is common in the tight confines of urban Baghdad, were simple bystanders. More and more often, these attacks by Sunni Iraqis, and the foreign (largely Syrian) volunteers that are duped into doing the self-immolation behind the wheel of a car bomb, have the effect of enraging the Shia majority and the moderate Sunni's. The Christians, Kurds, and northern Turkomen need no more incentive to hate their ancestral enemies. Some of the most eager and effective members of the Iraqi Army are the Kurds from the northern provinces. America backed out on them the last time, but apparently that generation is dying off or was hunted down. Perhaps they have just come to terms with the current situation. Regardless of how it is coming to pass, I have seen a few Kurds in action and can tell you they hunt the Sunni gangsters with glee. Payback, as they say, is a female dog and revenge is a dish best served cold.
Speaking of cold, the chill is slowly returning to my fingers. This is not conducive to my meager efforts at hunting and pecking at the keyboard. I spent some time outside this afternoon, talking to my wife via satellite phone, and was warmed by the return of the sun. The past few days have been overcast, culminating in a daylong rain shower yesterday. We have come to learn that this tends to be a day off for us as it is a day off for the insurgents. The rain turns all of the canal roads and dirt tracks into an instant morass of gelatinous muck. The muj (mujihedeen) are, of necessity, spread all over our territory. If they congregate in any numbers, it simply makes them easier to hunt. They know this and keep good dispersion of their forces, operating in a large number of small cells with a few overall coordinators. They are forced to do quite a bit of driving and have to avoid paved roads since these contain Coalition checkpoints. If the back roads are impassable their operations are severely hampered. Having the elections during the rainy season was either pure luck or blind genius (ha-ha, get it?). Any thing that reduces the number of days available to the muj helps the election process far more than any security measures that we could take. A week of rain starting the 26th of January would ensure a clear victory for the Iraqi democratic process. Those of you inclined to do so may pray accordingly.
You can't truly experience the roads here without traveling to the Third World. In a region covered by fields, trees, and irrigation canals, every flat space running more or less straight is considered a road. Learning to navigate by using a sheet of satellite imagery instead of a military map has been a fun challenge. I have gotten quite adept at interpreting what is a large canal, a small ditch, a paved surface, and what will be navigable by Humvee. Most large canals have a dirt track running along both sides, although the farmers here change the landscape by cutting roads, dredging canals, moving water works and destroying crossings. I have an obsession with mapping all of the terrain I have traversed and making corrections to the outdated imagery. My platoon commander has accused me of trying to achieve total map domination. I suppose I stand guilty as charged. Driving new roads, naming new routes, seeing new faces on a regular basis alleviates some of the boredom of constant motorized patrolling and helps to stave off some of the complacency that can lead to casualties. It also keeps the muj off balance and forces them to constantly change their routes. More than once, we have made a random traffic stop and hit pay dirt.
A random traffic stop is what we call a snap VCP (Vehicle Check Point). There is some police vernacular creeping into our vocabulary and much of what we do in counter-insurgency is comparable to what a county sheriff's special task force might do. If I had ever entertained notions of working in law enforcement, there is no need now. I have gotten a taste of cop life, that box is checked. I even have a bullhorn with a siren in my vehicle for clearing traffic during high-speed pursuits on the roads. I have chased quite a few suspicious vehicles, though an armored Humvee does not lend itself to success in this area. If they won't stop for a warning shot, or shots, they stand a good chance of escape. Checking ID cards, vehicle registration, searching cars, raiding houses, getting names and intelligence from sources has been mixed in with the few actual combat engagements we have had. The dangers in operating here are always present, but the scale of the operations is at a very low level. The senior leadership calls this "A Corporal's War". The actions of the small unit leaders are impacting the enemy, not the Colonels and Generals moving their units through a conventional engagement. This is something the Marine Corps has done often and well for over two hundred years and this conflict is no exception. We have heard that the Marines are largely hands off for the muj. Their leaders prefer to target US and Iraqi Army units and especially the lesser trained Iraqi Police. The muj tested my battalion for about two months, but as time progresses and we constantly hammer their resources the insurgents are turning away from targeting Marines. This has happened with other Marine units in Iraq.
We measure our progress here one day at a time. Every day brings us closer to the desired end state. The changes here are evident and are starting to take on a life of their own. Consumer goods are pouring in. If anyone is interested in an investment opportunity, find stock in a European or Middle Eastern automobile importer. Most of the vehicles are coming through Jordan. There used to be very strict controls on who could own an auto. With that restriction lifted, every Iraqi and his brother are trying to achieve the American dream of having 2.3 cars in the driveway. Gasoline shortages, you say? Well of course there are; demand is outstripping supply at a fantastic rate and the government is still developing the needed refining infrastructure. Food shortages, you say? You would not believe how much these folks are eating. Little food and cigarette stands are in business on every single paved road intersection, and even more on the dirt roads. Candy, soda, plastic chairs, blankets, the list is many, varied and sundry. The Iraqi Dinar is beginning a recovery. Many US servicemen are investing in the currency with the belief that it will be worth much more in several years. Twenty-five years ago, one US dollar would get you about 3.5 Dinar. Today it will net you roughly 1500 Dinar, though I have seen it dip down to 1350. Many guys here are hoping to convert the Dinars they are buying when the exchange rate becomes favorable. I may bring a few back for myself. The process of reconstruction moves so slowly that it cannot be tracked on the nightly news. What I have put into two pages of rambling occurred over a four-month span. It is slow, but it is inexorable. Our continued patience and persistence will make a lasting change in this region. When? Everybody wants to know when. When will we have victory? When do our boys come home? When will we be out of this mess? When does the news shift to something else? When are we victorious in the War on Terror? The answer is never. The US has been conducting contingency operations since inception. This will not change in the foreseeable future. What will change is the scale of our commitment in Iraq. Most people have forgotten Afghanistan by now, and the same thing will happen here. Americans will have their attention grabbed by the next operation, whether a year from now, five years from now, or ten. Rest assured the borders are safe, our actions abroad affect us at home, and the right people are on the job. Go to work, raise your families, attend school, volunteer, and buy new cars. Live the life that is the envy of the world and you strengthen the resolve of those that ensure your liberty remains secure. All of us are here by choice. There will always be some dissident crying to Congress on the evening news. The one hundred cowardly schmucks you read about in sensationalized news articles are not representative of the 135,000 fine servicemen that are creating a new Iraq.
I look forward to a joyful reunion with my friends and family, and with my loving wife. I do so knowing I have earned it every day, that I will continue to earn that reunion every day, and that I shall carry my experience here as a source of pride for the rest of my life. I hope those close to me share in that pride.
Staff Sergeant of Marines
We Also Promise Not
I would like to second the motion of recalling us "older" 50 year old Marines. Let us do something that wouldn't get us in trouble, like guard your Armory while our younger brothers are out in the field. I swear we wouldn't go into the Armory unless we had to and I promise, we would only issue what we needed to chase the "insurgents" away. Of course you realize us "older folk" don't see as well so we'll all need the M249 SAW. We also promise not to "field" test the TOW or drive around in the hummer it is attached to.
When you come back in from the field, you could leave your weapons with us to "clean" for you and we promise to site them in for you too!!!
Back in the "old Corp" when we had a 50 Cal. that was acting up, we would just put a couple of thousand rounds through it. We would be more than happy to "test" fire the weapon to see what we can find.
You already know where to find us when it's our turn to pull guard duty, we'll be coming back from that walk we'll take to watch the lights in the cities. We see the Iraqi's firing tracers on TV at night and figure we can join them and let them have a few tips, maybe fire a few of our own, you never know.
Worried About Her Feelings
I was in Santa Monica and had stopped at a liquor store to feed my habit of diet Pepsi. This middle aged woman asked me how I could be proud of being a soldier (she saw my bumper sticker.....you are always getting me into trouble). I told her that I was not a soldier, I am a Marine. She got slightly huffy and said what's the difference? Me being Mr. nice guy answered that any fool can be a soldier but very few can be Marines. That seemed to get her a little angrier. She said that we just killed so there wasn't any difference. I explained that on some occasions we do take prisoners. Her veins seemed to get larger and she said: F:ck you. Of course I was worried about her feelings so I said: thank you for the offer but I am married. That seemed to really set her off. She stomped away. I thought I was in tune with her feelings..................Now I know what to do,.................get more bumper stickers!
SSgt DJ Huntsinger
He Stated He Was In
Dear Sgt. Grit:
This is a funny story when I was on vacation during the week of January 18, 2005. We were standing in line to do a dune buggy ride in Mexico I notice a person wearing a Marine Corps shirt. I pointed it out to my wife and said there is a Marine. As we went to the dune buggy the person with the shirt came and asked if it was all right to ride with us. I asked him if he was in the Marine Corps and he replied no, then I asked if one of his family were in the corps and he replied no. He stated he was in the army air corps and did two tours in Vietnam 65 to 67. He said he was loading helicopters and did not see any action. I laugh a little and said to myself it does not matter what a person did in Vietnam we all had to do a job no matter what form it was. Then he said I always wanted to be a Marine but did not have the b###s to enlist. He asked me if I was in the service and I said yes. He then ask me what branch and I said USMC and I was in Nam 67, 68, well he did not say a word during the trip. I guess there are Marine and there are people who wanted to be Marines.
C Davies 67-71
Four retired Army vets are walking down the street window shopping.
Then they turn a corner and see a sign that says "Veterans Bar" over the doorway of an entry into an establishment that doesn't look all that well kept up. They look at each other then go in. On the inside, they realize in this case, they could judge the 'book by it's cover'.
The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, "Come on in and let me pour one for you! What'll it be, gentlemen?" There seems to be a fully stocked bar so the men all ask for a martini. In short time the bartender serves up 4 iced martinis - shaken not stirred and says, "That'll be 40 cents for the round, please."
The four men stare at the bartender for a moment then look at each other-they can't believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis and order another round. Again, four excellent martinis are produced with the bartender again saying, "That's 40 more cents, please." They pay the 40 cents but their curiosity is more than they can stand. They've each had two martinis and so far they've spent less than a dollar. Finally one of the men says, "How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime a piece?"
The bartender replies, "No doubt you've noticed the decor in here. And the outside ain't nothin' to write home about. I don't waste money on that stuff. But, here's my story. I'm a retired Master Sergeant and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the lottery for $45 million and decided to open this place for real veterans. Every drink costs a dime, wine, liquor, beer, all the same."
"Wow. That's quite a story." says one of the men. The four of them sipped at their martinis and couldn't help but notice three other guys at the end of the bar who didn't have a drink in front of them and hadn't ordered anything the whole time they were there. One man finished his martini and, gestured at the three at the end of the bar without drinks and asks the bartender, "What's with them?"
The bartender says, "What? Those retired Marines? They're waiting for happy hour."
Back in 1964 while serving in a Marine detachment aboard the USS NORTHAMPTON CC-1 I meet A man and a Marine that I really admired. His name is First Sgt. Cecil Ward. This Marine had so many medals on his chest that he had to wear them on both sides. He told us that he joined the Corps when he was 16 years old, He lied to get in and he was big for his age. He fought in WW -11 and in Korea. He made all the major campaigns. What I remember most was his love for the Corps. If they ever gave out an award for Mister Marine Corps He'd win hands down. He had a Pink caddy convertible and a good looking blonde wife. One time we went to the rifle range in Dam Neck Va. we all practiced every day ,all but the first Sgt. then when Qualification day came he bet us all that he would out shot each and every one of us. Even though I qualified high expert he still beat me and won a case of beer. If anyone remembers the Best first Sgt in the Marine Corps let us know where he is and how's he doing, He was from Norfolk Va. And if he's in heaven I'll bet he's in Charge. Nov 19. 1963 to Feb. 2 1968
So What Would You Do?
OK - so it's 1966 and your kid brother is in the 1st grade and you're home on liberty in your dress blues.
The kid wants to take you to school for "show and tell."
You show up and although their first choice is to have you demonstrate how you can "take out a wall" with one punch, they decide that in addition to standing tall, they want to hear you sing the Marine Corps Hymn.
Sweating bullets, you remember the famous question from basic training: "If you are surrounded by 1,000 of the enemy, what do you do Marine?'
You remember that the Reply is "Kill 'Em Sir!" but these are kids - what now?
You realize that a Marine is innovative and never out of weapons as long as he is breathing, so you take a deep breath and sing.
As the room clears out -FAST - you learn that the idea for the "flash-Bang" grenade came from a Marine
Come Get Me
It has probably been mentioned hundreds of time, but if things get sticky and downright nasty, bring back some of the OLD MARINES and put them back to work. Having retired more than 20 years ago, I still run marathons and every race of shorter distances on a consistent basis. I target shoot and can still zap that VC at a great distant. It wouldn't bother me in the least in having to go to Iraq or Afghanistan; in fact it would just please the h&ll out of me and perhaps save some young American lives. Of course today's politicians would just have real fit and would probably notify some of those ignorant newscasters that don't care much for Marines and their talents of getting the job done and done right.
Come get me; I'll go
1stSgt CK &
Very Special Souls
I would like to add a post comment to fellow Marine John Belaire's statement that "we didn't spend 3 months in H*ll to be called soldier". The thing that I am constantly reading in articles and books and tweaks me the wrong way every time I see it, is the statement... "He earned his Silver Star..." or "He earned his Purple Heart..."
Don't these people realize you earn merit badges and high school athletic letters? You are awarded a Silver Star. A person just can't go out one day and say to himself (or herself) "today's a good day to earn myself a Bronze Star, I'd better get moving!" Medals are not merit badges. They are symbols of sacrifice and heroism. They are symbols of a persons ability to rise above 'self' and accomplish the mission no matter what the personal cost. As a current 'Marine on inactive duty', I never was in a situation that warranted such efforts but I am very protective of those who were and still are in harms' way. Every time I see those ribbons and medals on a young (or old) Marine's chest, I remember that such things are not earned, but awarded, to very special souls.
Thanks for a great site and a great newsletter!
Sgt USMC 74-78
Don't know if you can use this, but my favorite line I ever heard was from one of my junior drill instructors when we were cleaning our rifles and the whispering had apparently gotten too loud. So out flies the DI from the duty hut:
"I want it so quite in here I can hear a termite p!ss on a cotton ball!"
I almost busted out laughing but instead bit my lip and continued cleaning my M-16.
Seeing An Opportunity
Hey Sarge! Pass this along will ya.
At 69, still a Marine. (53-61) Still in the Marine Corps League here . While working part time in a grocery store a young Pfc in uniform comes in for a coffee. He's home on Boot leave and is doing some local recruiting. So I introduce myself and invite him to our Joint Installation of our seven Detachments that coming Sunday and he accepts.
Seeing an opportunity to show this young Marine what it means to be part of the family, I re-do the opening ceremony intending to use him as a "We still make 'em like we use to". His Prime Rib dinner is paid for $23, A MacDonald's coupon booklet $5, a Dunkin Donut credit card for $5 and a collection taken at the door for extra leave money $105 plus other items and he's a no show. We used the $105 for a 50/50 to pay for the un-used meal. I just can't believe he doesn't realize what he did. He had my card and could of phoned. I phoned his local recruiter the next week and relayed the story to him. I have not heard back from either of them.
That's not the Marine Corps I know. If you give your word.. Keep it!. Semper Fi!
Old Bold Marine Pilot
An 80-year-old man went to the doctor for a checkup and the doctor was amazed at what good shape the guy was in. The doctor asked, "To what do you attribute your good health?"
The old timer said, "I'm a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before daylight and out flying up and down the countryside."
The doctor asked, "How old was your dad when he died?"
The old timer said, "Who said my dad's dead?"
The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your dad's still alive? How old is he?"
The old timer said, "He's 100 yrs old and, in fact, he flew next to me this morning in his own airplane. That's why he's still alive; he's a former Marine fighter pilot too!"
The doctor said, "Well, that's great, but I'm sure there's more to it. How about your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?"
The old timer said, "Who said my ! grandpa's dead?"
The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your grandfather's still living! How old is he?
The old timer said, "He's 118 yrs old. He's a former 'China Marine'!"
The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, "I guess he went flying with you this morning too?"
The old timer said, "No, Grandpa couldn't go this morning because he got married."
The Doctor said in amazement, "Got married!! Why would a 118-year-old guy want to get married?"
The old timer said, "Who said he wanted to?
USMC Motor Transport Association 9th Annual Meeting/Reunion..............
The USMC Motor Transport Association will be holding their 9th Reunion on September 18-21, 2005 in Savannah, GA. POC: Hal Clapp, (910) 346-8797, email: email@example.com, PO Box 1372, Jacksonville, NC 28541-1372. For membership information: Terry Hightower, (910) 340-2065, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This Association was formed to bring together all Retired, Active Duty, Former, Reserve and others who have served in or with the USMC Motor Transport Field.
Good afternoon Marines,
Wanted to relay a little story about something that happened to me today. About 2 months ago I came home from Iraq where I spent the 7 months before that. I am a proud Marine so on my new pickup I have a front license plate with an EGA on it and the words "United Stated Marine". As I was leaving my mother house after an afternoon visit a car load of high school kids passed me in the oncoming lane and flipped me the bird. I hit the brakes and initially thought of going after these 'punks'. Well instead I decided to try and catch their plate number just in case I would run into them again. (you know how Karma works)
The next day I was back down at my mothers doing some yard work for her and would you believe that car of punks belongs to the neighbor across the street. I walked across the street and up to the door and explained who I was and where I had been, and also that their young son was gesturing rudely to me the day before. The boy said he did it because he doesn't support the war or the military. I said ok and then told them that there was going to be a pro-Marine Corps sign put up in my mothers yard and if anything happened to it I was going to kick down their front door when I came over to ask them about it. The sign that 'my mother' put up said simply "They don't like Marines over there" and had an arrow pointing to their house.
Well, as I stopped by my mothers house today, 'the punk' came over (with his dad in their driveway watching) and said that he had changed his mind about Marines and wanted to know if we would put up a little bit different type of sign. It seems that people have been stopping in the street at all hours dumping trash on their lawn and yelling obscenities at the house. I guess the 'punk' had even been getting a hard time at school too. I asked the boy what changed his mind, he said his dad has been making him get up out of bed at all hours keeping the yard clean and being awake that much got him to thinking.
Changing hearts and minds one way or another.-Semper
03USMC Operation Iraqi Freedom II
But I Am Not Alone
Sgt Grit. I just got out of the Corps. after 10 years of active and some reserve service as a grunt. I crossed the border into Iraq on day 1 of the war (Oif 1) as an infantry squad leader with 1st Marines (rct 1). Now I am stateside, but have a nervous tic disorder and strong case of ptsd so I usually stay in and avoid social interaction with civilians as much as possible. Most of my contact with the outside world is through my computer now.
But I am not alone. My corpsman from the war calls me almost daily, and I email regularly with many of my fellow devil dogs whom I had the honor of fighting alongside with. And...I have you. I have been a Sgt Grit subscriber for years now and look forward every week to Sgt Grit popping up in my inbox. Now at home, even though I may have left my mind back in Iraq, my Marine brothers have stayed true to our ethos of leave no one behind. I am thankful for their loyalty.
And I am thankful for your newsletter which keeps me up to date and gives me a feeling that I'm still in the fight. You've made me laugh and forget my current disposition. And you've made me cry as I do every time I remember my friend, SSgt Cawley, who gave his life for freedom when we fought in Iraq. But most importantly, your newsletter makes me feel connected. Keep up the good work Sgt.
Once a Marine, Always a Marine
Sgt. Scotti Fraser 93-04 1st Mar. Rct 1 - Iraq 03
Well Do It
Good news from Iraq.....the insurgents can't shoot worth a d*mn.
Bad news from Iraq.....the insurgents have LOTS of ammo!!
I recall learning Squads Drill when I was in DI school at SDiego in 58. Used it on and off for the next 4-5 years. Was really funny in late 61 when I had to teach LPM drill with the Air Wing at El Toro. Had a big parade coming up and my squadron was to participate. My skipper knew I was just off the drill field and leaned on me heavily for assistance and guidance. It was funny as h&ll when he hollered out to me back in the ranks, "Sgt Kemp what is the next command?" I replied at a good DI volume, and he said "Did you all hear that? Well DO IT" I would have laughed if it weren't so serious at the time!! Later I had a class for the officers and their respective parts in the parade. It all went quite well after that. Sgt Kemp
Life should not be just a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, and in a well preserved pretty piece. Rather it should be an arrival in a broadside skid with dust and gravel flying, all used up and worn out with a gleeful defiant shout, .What a h&lluva ride that was!
Simply Ask Him
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I would like to, first, express my thanks and gratitude to all of those young men and women serving our beloved country. There are those of us who, truly appreciate the sacrifices they are making. I would also like to thank the parents, spouses and children of those serving for making similar sacrifices. I am proud to have earned the title "United States Marine" in November of 1982 at Parris Island, Platoon 3009. I served with "Guts" Golf Company 2nd Bn, 8th Marines. I saw action in Grenada and Beirut. Later, I was attached to a group running ops in Central and South America. To the Marine who thinks God will never forgive him, I say this. God forgives ALL. Simply ask Him for forgiveness and it is yours. Like ALL Marines before and after, you do what you have to do for your team. It's all about getting it done and going home. My Father, who served in the Marines during Vietnam did what he had to do to see that he and his team came home. When he did get back home, he was called a lot of vile things but, in his heart he knew he did it right and came home. Besides God, only you can judge yourself.
To Mr. R. Lonn, I fully agree with you. I'm 40 years young but I still shoot straight and can hump an ALICE pack with the best of them. Once a Marine, Always a Marine is not just a saying but a way of life. Give us Old Timers a chance to get into the action. You would be surprised to see how many of us would, gratefully, go back.
To Sgt. Grit I say a heartfelt Thanks for giving us a forum to express our ideas and allow us to communicate with other Marine families across the country. God bless the Marines.
L/Cpl USMC 2/8
Just an update about the event. They have a web site where all interested can sign up to either play or volunteer, as well as a power point presentation covering the event time table. Point of interest, this will be a nationally televised event . The main point of Echo taps is to pay our respects to all vets, past and present. and to foster new buglers to play taps at our vets memorials.
The web site is, www.echotaps.org
Super Stallion Crash
My heart goes out to the families of those lost on the CH53 Super Stallion that crashed in Iraq on January 26th 2005. It was a sad day in the Marine Corps and all their brothers and sisters have shed a few tears. I know that the Marines were doing what they loved to do.
Brother Grunts: As a former Marine... 62-66, stationed at MCAS, Kaneohe Hawaii ( B-1/4) 1st Marine Brigade during most of 64, my Heart + Soul goes out to the families of my brother marines killed in the chopper crash in Iraq last week. Kaneohe was my last duty station b4 the whole Brigade shipped out rather suddenly to the Bush. B-1/4 landed by chopper on the beach at Chu-Lai May 7th / 65.... supposedly to JUST..?? support the SeaBees for a couple of weeks while they built the airbase there. YEAH RIGHT...?? Marines landed at DaNang, in march.
As I remember every single day, 4 friends that did not come back from Nam, I will never forget my brother Marines who were stationed on that beautiful base on the beautiful island of Oahu, who will not be coming home from Iraq. I hope and pray that their families will take a little comfort in knowing that our Brother Marines from Nam whose names are now on the "WALL" are now looking after their sons and showing them the ropes, in Heaven and those that were at Kaneohe are probably getting some more surfing lessons. GOD BLESS YOU ALL + SEMPER FI,
L/Cpl John E. Voracek May 7th 65 / March 7th 66 B 1/4 + A 1/3
Note:I received dozens similar to this. Too many to print. I apologize for not being able to print all of them.
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John chapter 15 verse 13
UNITED STATES MARINES are willing to do this for people they don't even know.
Proud to have served.
L/cpl Larson 58 - 61
Although fighting the enemy is considered normal, the Marines frown upon fighting among the troops. So much so that after one too many battles royal, that an enlisted man was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in which he had to endure some odd questions. "If you saw a submarine in the Sahara, what would you do?"
"Well, I'd throw snowballs at it," he answered.
"Where'd you get the snowballs?" the doctor asked.
"Same place you got the submarine.
While in MARINE CORPS BOOT CAMP, we were taught to keep our heads if taken prisoner by the enemy. After all methods used to extract information, we learned, might not be the ones we were expecting. "Imagine that the door to your cell opens and in walks a beautiful young woman in a revealing outfit," said our instructor. "The best thing to do is not to touch her." From the back of the room came the question, "Sir, what's the second best thing?'
This came to my email via a dozen or more other Marines. If you ever served under "Chesty",and I did , you can know it did happen, close our eyes and you can see it happen...Paul R. Renfro, Chaplain McLemore Det #324, MCL Subject: Marine Math
The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps fought and won some of its most brutal battles, was not without its gallows humor. During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting along with the Marines, called legendary Marine Chesty Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector. "How many Chinese are attacking you?" asked Puller.
"Many, many Chinese!" replied the excited Korean officer. Puller asked for another count and got the same answer "Many, many Chinese!"
"X*#d*mmit!" swore Puller, "Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio."
In a minute, an American voice came over the air: "Yes sir?"
"Lieutenant," growled Chesty, "exactly how many Chinese you got up there?"
"Colonel, we got a whole sh!tload of Chinese up here!"
"Thank God." exclaimed Puller, "At least there's someone up there who knows how to count
by Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.
Marine Corps News
January 24, 2005
CAMP ABU GHURAYB, Iraq - The first Marine battalion into Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, who tore down the statue of Saddam and spearheaded Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah, has landed once again in familiar territory.
More than 700 Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, have arrived to support operations in Iraq for a third time.
"We're the only (Marine infantry) battalion to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom three times," said Cpl. Benjamin B. Earhart, a 22-year-old Marine from Colorado Springs, Col., who serves as an intelligence clerk for 3/4.
This third deployment, coming only five months after the battalion returned from Iraq for a second time, is seen as a testament of 3/4's renowned service.
"I think this early deployment speaks for itself," said Staff Sgt. George A. Rogers, 28, a Zebulon, N. C., native who serves as the battalion intelligence chief. "3/4 has a reputation over there."
See These Bars
I had to laugh about the Lt. and Gen. Patton in the motor pool in newsletter 89. In 1966 I was stationed at Camp LeJeune and worked in regimental headquarters. I was a private and then pfc in charge of the regimental files. If you wanted anything you had to go through me and sign for it if you wanted to take with you. The Captains, Majors and above would come to me and ask for a sign out sheet to get something from the files. I had a hot shot Lt. come one day and ask for something and when I gave him a sign out sheet he looked at me and said private do you see these bars on my shirt. I said I did and if he wanted the file he would sign for it. With that the Captain came over and advised the Lt. that if he wanted anything from the private he would sign for it. After that I never had any problem with the Lt.
First of all, thanks Sgt Grit for keeping us all in the loop with your awesome newsletters. I want to add some more to what the MSG Sgt from Kabul mentioned in the Jan 20th newsletter. I also served at the Kabul embassy when it was opened up after the Taliban were crushed. I was with the 4th MEB, 3/8 Lima, assigned to them as their linguist/cultural advisor. Being an ethnic Afghan (Pashtoon) myself, I had the honor to chit chat with the locals at the embassy, including Mr. "Tooth". The Marines from my unit were the ones who named him "tooth" because of the phenotypic nature of his rabbit-like teeth. He was the nicest guy, and I knew he loved us and the American values.
Similarly, there was their boss, another elderly gentleman who was on many occasions imprisoned and harassed by the Taliban. He had planted many trees and rose bushes in the compound and our Marines wanted to cut them down to improve visibility. This saddened him because it were those trees that kept him going while Americans weren't there for some 13 plus years. Mr. Tooth on the other hand was beaten up so severely that I could sense mental and psychological problems with him. We should keep in mind people like these two gentlemen who assist our Marines accomplish their missions. Without the friendly local Afghans, and Iraqis I don't think we could have achieved what we have today.
Last but not least, thanks to the Msg Sgt and his team for their service. Keep Kabul Kondos safe... Semper Fi!
Sgt RA/ 98-02
Major Rich Risner
Dear Sgt Grit: A true Marine hero, Major Rich Risner, passed away today, Jan. 28, 2005 in southern CA. Rich was an 03 infantry officer, Vietnam Veteran and former POW, one of the few who managed to escape on his own. His decorations included the Silver Star and Bronze Star, both with Combat V's, and the Purple Heart with 2 clusters. He will be remembered for his exploits as a Civic Action Officer in Chu Lai, RVN, 1967-1968 and for his love of family, God and the Corps. Condolence emails may be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward them to Rich's widow, Lynda Risner. Thank you. Semper Fi, Rich.
Get One Bad Guy For Me
As a former Vietnam area Marine I would like tell you and everyone how great it is to see these letters from active and former Marines. The greatest think we can give to our troops is support. One of the things I remembered about my return home from Nam was no-one cared. I know by reading these letters that people care about our Men and Women. Let's stay on their side as long as it takes. When every I meet a fellow Vet I always say "WELCOME HOME" and shake there hand to show them that I mean it. This really made me feel good the first time someone said that to me(I'd been home about 12 years). Let's not wait that long. Thanks for letting this old Marine vent a little. To all Marines, Soldiers and Sailor now serving in the Sandbox. Take care and WELCOME HOME. God bless you all. Get one bad guy for me.
Ernie, Nam 66-67-68. 1stMarDiv.
It All Started There In Korea
I agree 100% with Sgt. R.M. Wallen, USMC. I was in the First Marine Div. in Korea. We fought hard and bravely in that cold winter at Chosin reservoir. we lost a lot of good Marines there. I often think of those who were in our machine gun squad that didn't make it out. What really bothers me is, we crossed the 38th parallel and drove the North Koreans almost to the Manchurian boarder. While the politicians ignored reports of the Chinese troops that were entering N. Korea. Then our armed forces we limited to the action we could take. Our bombers and fighter air craft could not hit the enemy in Manchuria. Our politicians were afraid it might start the 3rd world war. Maybe they were right, maybe not; but did my buddies die in vain? We did not surrender, but we didn't have victory.....It all started there in Korea, Contain only, no real win.
Cpl. J. Carvalho Jr. USMC 1st, Mar. Div. Wpns 1/7
The Chosin Few
Thanks for turning me on to"Down South" by William Hardwick. I am also a veteran of "L" company, 3/7,1st Mar Division. as Captain. Downey but at a different time.There seems to be very little written about our area of operations so I was glad to find his letter.
I arrived in RVN in August,1967,a gray headed 2nd Lieutenant(mustang) and former Gunnery Sgt. I was assigned to Lima company, 3/7. "L" company was on hill 65 and the battalion was at hill 37. Captain Marshall commanded L co at the time and we shared the hill with India 3/11. At that time 1st Lieutenant Lindwall was our Co. FO. We overlooked the Song(river)Vu Gia with a grand view into "Arizona Territory" to our south and a high mountain ridge to the north. There was always constant enemy movement in both directions and if we looked close enough with the ships glasses we could get a fire mission. At night we could fire an 81mm illumination round at Liberty bridge 6 clicks distant and the river would turn into a silver ribbon silhouetting anyone trying to cross it or travel on it at night. I don't think they ever knew they were being seen. They were just unlucky with H&I fires they thought? Who knows, we got quite a few that way.
I was transferred to Kilo Co on 23 Nov,1967. There was a short platoon at the north end of the Liberty Bridge reinforced with a sect of 81mm and some Seabees were near the bridge. The LT. was injured in the AM when a mine took out the tracked vehicle he was riding.
Prior to leaving the BN CP, I was told that a large enemy force was moving in the direction of Liberty Bridge. I arrived about two hours before dark. I didn't think much of the position as a place to defend. Not much dug in there since the water table was so high. A lot of sand bags that would fall in on you or be penetrated with small arms fire. Meanwhile the other two thirds of the company was over in Arizona territory making up one of those "composite" battalions.
I climbed a tower in the perimeter and scanned the area with my glasses. I saw movement in Arizona and did not like the look of it moving in my direction, no kids, no animals, just about 20 adults. Couldn't get a fire mission since it was speculated that they were innocents displaced by the operation going on over there. I checked and found no concentrations or barrages had ever been fired in by India battery. It was getting dark. The Seabees were shooting down river with a 50 cal. m.g. and we had no communications with them. I called India, shot in the defensive fires and brought them right into our wire. By now the troops were irritated with this new guy who was calling this fire in so close. We finished, and fired 3 volleys of HE, searching out about 150 to 250 meters.
A morning patrol found several blood trails and most of the trip flares had been disabled. I think we caught them in the assault position or at their squad release points. India battery saved our backside! We had no more trouble there for the remaining 5 days I was in "K" company. I reported to H&S and took over as Plt. Ldr. of the 106 RR plt,81mmMotar plt, and the Flames section. About this time Lt. Lindwall was hit and evacuated. Someone packing his gear mistakenly packed a set of camouflage rainwear that my wife sent me. Also took a fine jungle bolo that I brought from the Philippines!
Lance, if you are reading this ,keep the clothes but I want my bolo Back! Eventually I became H&S Co CO, relieving 1st Lt. J.H.Van Dyne on 28 Jan,1968. We had an old triangular French fort on top of hill 37 and the battalion CP was inside. We called a lot of rocket sightings and other fire missions from the top of the fort. If you ever rode from DaNang to An Hoa, you've seen this position. I rotated home in Aug. 1968. I'm told that 106mm rr were used on top of the tower over the fort.
A few months later Liberty Bridge was burned. Chief Hospitalman Frank Strickland, husband of my widowed aunt reported for duty the day I left. He had a successful tour, and now resides in Seneca,SC..almost blind and almost deaf for any old shipmates that want to call him.
As I close, let there be no mistake in anyone's mind. I feel no less dedicated to today's Marine Corps and have a vast pride in the quality of today's Marine. There have never been any finer in my estimation. They are a credit to our nation. God bless em all! Semper Fi!
I wanted to thank George R. O'Connell RM2 (E5) for his kind comments about the gates at Quantico. I am a MP platoon sergeant at Quantico and the Marines on the gates are doing their best and usually all they get is grief from the public and told by " wannabe duty experts" how to do their jobs. So Mr O'Connell, from the MP's at Quantico, thank you!!
GySgt James C Chambers Jr
MP Company, 2nd Platoon,
Security Bn,MCB Quantico, VA
My Money Was No Good
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I really enjoy your newsletter. Please keep up the good work. I was discharged in June of 1970. I was flying home "military stand-by" & was wearing my uniform, of course. We had a layover that lasted about 3 hrs. at the Atlanta airport. Upon leaving the plane, I walked immediately to the closest lounge. It was about 2 in the afternoon and I ordered a whiskey & water. The bartender was an older Black gentleman and he served me cordially and didn't take the money I handed him. We were alone in the place and started talking. He was a WWII Army vet.
To make a long story short, my money was no good. He didn't take a penny from me for my drinks (and he kept my glass full). He and I had a shared experience of serving one's country. Until one serves their country they will never know the kinship of service. I was indeed fortunate to happen upon this man's establishment after my discharge.
Thanks for your site. May God bless our Corps, Country & Commander-in Chief.
Sgt. M. Morris 0311/8662
I've been reading this news letter for quite a few years, Has the term God, Country, and Corps, been forgotten in this PC world?
S/sgt. J.Bryan '70-'79 6531 Viet Vet '72-'73 Bien Hoa RVN.