This is one of the examples why we are the few the proud. I am a desert storm vet, and my son is currently a LCpl with 2nd MEF in Fallujah Iraq. Last week he called to report to us that he got hit in the chest with an A/K by an insurgent while clearing a building. He was saved by the flak plate. Of course he along with his Cpl. and Sgt. took out the sh!thead. Anyway he went to medical for checkup, and he had a bruise on his chest the size of his hand. The Doc told him that he would be eligible for a medal and go home being a close call and the only son. But being the Marine he was trained to be he said screw the medal and will stay with his unit till they all come home together. Now that deserves a motivated "Oohrah". Semper Fi !
Cpl. Cruz 1st TkBn
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Combat Report from Col Bob Chase
Combat Report from Col Bob Chase, G3, 2dMarDiv in Iraq Robert Chase wrote: Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 21:39:50 -0700 (PDT) -
Was talking to Gino and he asked for some details on the MATADOR fight. Figured, by now since many of you might have caught some of the interviews, you'd like to hear, 'the rest of the story..."
Matador is now officially over, supposedly, they were going to fight our way back and destroy us. Guess they missed the turn at the dairy queen. We are back and the final tally was Good Guys 125+ enemy dead, many more wounded, and 39 detainees of some significant value. The bad guys, who talk a real good game 9 Killed (6 in the one Amtrak) and 30 wounded (most will return to duty). Not a bad weeks work.
As we have said, our intent was to make ourselves big by leveraging our firepower and mobility. This area was a real sh!t hole for AMZ criminals. We knew it, 1st Division knew it, but working it on a regular basis was tough. We kept some recon there and got the timing pretty well, brought up a bridging unit from the Army in Baghdad, then went across in the middle of the night (that was probably the only part that didn't go on sked - the bank gradient was poorly assessed), but we had near and far-side security already in and a blocking position near the Syrian Border.
The enemy figured out after about 4 hours that we were there in force. They came down with about 100 fighters (no, scratch that they were TARGETS) and made the poor decision to take on a battalion in open ground. They withdrew. We went after them into a place called Ubaydi. Many mounted boats and tried to escape N, we pushed Air and the Cobras sunk a bunch of trash-barges that night. Meanwhile, we continued to push west across the river.
Our far-side units started to see pockets of insurgents move to key areas to emplace mines/IEDs. They came out, snipers took them out; their friends came for the bodies; they, joined them on the deck permanently.
The force started getting the tanks and LAVs across later than we had hoped; but when they did, our first casualties came at a high-rise where the enemy had prepared positions; a platoon moved in under fire, 2 Marines, a SSGT and a LCPL were first in the hatch and received a burst of MG fire. As the unit assumed they were dead (no additional fire/no one came out), they lit up the house and dropped it with a couple of 500-pounders. As we moved to recover our Marines (NO ONE LEFT BEHIND), we discovered that the LCPL, though wounded was still alive (he is serious, but stable). Unfortunately the SSGT had taken a round to the grape and had been killed by the initial burst.
We moved on; portions of the task force moving along known rat-lines and others working intel developed in the cities of Ramana and Karabila. Fighting was sporadic, intense, and one-sided in outcome. We followed individuals into buildings; we leveled the buildings; all night, every night. Marine Air had eyes up and shooters on-station talk about a guardian angel! Each night we re-assessed, looked at the intel and developed the next target sets. We stayed down there until a few days ago; then shifted to a series of caves in the north. The caves were on an escarpment and rumors abound about whether these were, Bin-Laden like caves. Answer no, mostly small caches and some protection from about everything but a hellfire with a laser designator. We exploited some and closed most of them permanently. The enemy propaganda talked a lot about how they were going to kill us as we retreated etc., they showed pictures of devastation in Al Qaim (caused by an intramural fight between the tribes and foreign fighters, no less) and blamed the Americans. Al Jazeera called to speak to me and interviewed me twice on air. Yes, I called the enemy cowards, again, that hid behind women and children in the cities and caused their death by their cowardice. Played well, enemy swore they had captured/killed the enemy commander. Went on again last night to ridicule them for their lies and continued fear of death, told them the destruction of AQ was evidence that, the noble tribes of Iraq also reject those that deface their holy places and dishonor their dead. We'll see if a wanted poster appears tomorrow. Bad news is, they still didn't get p!ssed off enough to come out and play. We went back across the river without incident, decided to poke a stick in Ubaydi (where the big fight was), just ONE MORE TIME before we left. NOTHING, they wanted no part of these Marines again. We're all back at base camps and Forward operating Bases, maintaining, cleaning, talking sh!t, and prepping for the next smackdown!
NBC interviewed me again, last night, good stuff, but they harped on the casualties. I told them it was war; they wanted to know if a whole squad was killed in the track. As I told them a squad's worth of Marines were killed/hurt (6 KIA, 14 WIA) but it was NOT the catastrophic loss of a squad (it was a HQ track). NBC wanted to know how to refer to them, as a squad, company, etc., I told them, pretty bluntly, refer to them for what they will always be: US MARINES! They continued to push (I was starting to become a bit agitated); they wanted to know how we considered this a success with the deaths. I nearly lost it and how would we remember them, would there be a ceremony? You know what happens when I get into this mode thought you might appreciate the answer:
We can never replace a fellow Marine or best friend, but I can attest that he died doing what we all hope to be doing as Marines, they were advancing, leading, and setting the example, they were being MARINES! It may not matter in the grand scheme of things to anyone but us, but we are singularly proud that we have and know Marines that fought and died like these. We remember and memorialize them and keep them alive every single time we put on this uniform -- we are just honored to wear the same eagle, globe, and anchor as these warrior/heroes. We don't make policy, we don't decide on the fight, but we do fight and win. And when we win, it is because every one of these Marines fights with us in spirit, and we will not, we cannot let them down. To we Marines, Semper Fidelis is more than a motto. It was to them, and to us who were privileged to fight with them, a way of life.
Not sure that will get on the tube. Unfortunate, because I think we should all be such Marines when our time comes.
S/F, Bob [Chase]
After 31 years in the marine Corps, I will never forget this event! I was fortunate to be with one of the greatest Marine Corps battalions while in Viet Nam, 1/9. I was in Viet Nam from 1967-1969. During this time I made four unplanned trips to medical facilities to take care of wounds received in combat. I was unbelievably envious of those servicemen and women that were located in areas throughout Viet Nam where they allowed Bob Hope to present his show. Two Christmas's went by and I was in the bush both times but knowing Bob Hope was in-country made me drool with envy because like so many men during that era, Ann Margaret was usually with him and no one, and I mean no one, would discount the fact that she was our nightly dream wherever we were. Chris Nowell (Spelling?) had absolutely NOTHING on Ann! Many a night went by while out in the bush in some hole I dug filled with rain water or on a LP scarred to death that I thought about Ann Margaret!
When I returned to the states, my dad wanted to take me and one of the guys that was with me in Viet Nam, Chuck Bilgo, to Las Vegas. Of course we were delighted at the thought of going to "sin city" but my Dad failed to tell me that Ann Margaret was playing there. We stayed at the Stardust and she was playing at the Riviera. My dad had already planned to take us to the show because he knew how much we wanted to see her and that we missed her while in Viet Nam. He told us to take our uniforms with us to Vegas so we did but at the time just thought it was because he was proud to be around us while in uniform. My dad made reservations and he told us to wear our uniforms. Chuck and I were both Corporals at the time. Not a popular thing to do at that time with the Viet Nam sentiment being what it was, especially in Las Vegas.
We went to the show and when it was time to give the door man the tickets for seating, Dad palms the guy with what looked like a $20 bill. He then marched us down to a table right at the base of the stage. By now, you can imagine Chuck and I were in hog heaven. The two drinks came for each of us and the show started. Don Rickles was the subordinate act to Ann but he was hilarious. When his act was over it was time for Ann.
The show started and the lights were low and she was drop dead gorgeous and dressed in the s&xiest outfit I had ever seen. The place was packed. After a couple songs and dances they bring out a stool and place it on the other side of the stage away from where we were sitting. Ann starts to talk about the thrill she has performing in front of military men and how much she supported those that had been to Viet Nam and those that were there. We had been back 5 days so the jungle smell was still in our nostrils. She then made the move that ended my evening!
She asked if their were any servicemen in the audience and if any had been to Viet Nam. Chuck and I just froze solid but that did not stop my dad from standing up in front of hundreds of people and pointing down at Chuck and I. We were the only ones in the audience that had uniforms on but their were others in the audience that had been Viet Nam veterans. She slides off of her stool and walks over to our side of the stage. She gets to the side of the stage and bends over with the microphone and asks us when we got back. She then asks if we ever saw the Bob Hope USO show and of course we said no but envied those that did. She said thank you for serving Marines and then started to walk away. She stopped, turned around and walked back to us and said, would you two Marines please come up on stage with me? We froze and good old dad pushed us along to get up there in front of all these people. She put her arms around us both and walked us over to her stool but now their were two stools. She sat us on each of the stools and started to sing to us, the entire time rubbing her hands all over us and hugging us. I could not keep the tears from flowing and in front of all these people. I know, really tough Marines. When she was done she kissed us both, walked us back to the stairs on our side of the stage and gave us a final hug and a kiss and said I hope this makes up for you missing the shows in Viet Nam. The house exploded and gave us a standing ovation while Ann lead them in what appeared to be endless clapping.
Semper Fidelis Ann!
My Marines Knew
Good day, Sir! In the May 13 edition of the newsletter, a Marine mentions dividing up the goodies in Sundry Pkgs.
I recall saving the candy to eat on my nightly radio or hole watch. Everyone was exhausted and those that snored had to be awaked to stop. No one had enough sleep. The candy, including the nasty chocolate that came in B-2 units of C-rats was hoarded to help stay awake when we had to. I hope they have better candy for that now.
Another item that was hoarded was the tiny packs of toilet paper. My Marines knew they could count on Ol' Doc to have some when they needed it. Semper Fi, Marines! I'm proud to have served as a FMF Doc!
HM3 Chuck Hancock
K/3/5 and B/1/1 RVN 1971
O'Brien Bounded From
It was nice to get the news clipping the other day about my nephew SSGT James O'Brien. I still remember when he was a snot nosed smart a--ed kid. That has all changed as the following will reveal. The clipping reads as follows " SGT James O'Brien has been awarded a Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat "V" for heroic achievement. While serving as maintenance chief, 3rd, Platoon, Company D, 2nd Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
According to the citation on March 25, 2003, Sgt O'Brien distinguished himself when his platoon was ambushed by fierce and hostile fire. O'Brien bounded from the personnel hatch on the rear of the platoon sergeants vehicle and ran 200 meters along a berm to a downed vehicle while receiving hostile small arms fire. After trouble shooting the downed vehicle he identified the problem and brought the vehicle back into operation, which then supported the counterattack. Sergeants O'Brien's total disregard for his personal safely and dedication to duty is a model for all to emulate. Sergeant O'Brien's professional ability, initiative and loyal devotion to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United Sates Naval Service. As a former marine 76-79. This make me as proud of the young man as any I know. It is good to know that there are still young men and women who will do the job because it needs to be done. When ask about the award all James said was "I was just doing my job"
If And When
Remedial Training is not too new. I went thru Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1944. There was, in my platoon, a former Buck Sgt who had severed in Nicaragua in 1936. I think the D.I. was pretty rough on him - but what do I know. He was far more rougher on a kid - Tronconne(I think) from Conn. He was just about 5 feet nothing and weighed just enough to get into Boot Camp. His buddy was a guy named Smee who had been a marble miner in Louisiana and had arms and shoulders from here to there. I'm not sure either of them made it off Okinawa.
My claim to fame is - One night "Chesty" was making rounds and asked how I was doing. "Not too good. No sleep and no beer" His reply was "Your contract with the Marine Corps says you get two meals a day and four hours sleep if and when". I told him he "Had picked out a hell of a war", and he said "It's the only one here".
My other claim to fame is - Three days before being shipped out of Parris Island, I got a notice to report to my Draft Board.
Edwin H. Tate
Gysgt Usmc (ret)
I To Feel The Need
sgt.grit, i served in the marines from 1978-1985, during this time i served with many a good marine. i feel the same as sgt.joe caruso, i to feel the need to pick up an rifle and serve with my brother and sisters marines. presently i'm a police officer in a small kentucky town, at no time had a marine who may have had to much enjoyment been carried off to jail not on my watch, they went home. to the marines in iraq and afganstan, semper fi devil dogs, all those who gone before is with you, and stand guard over you. and my prayers and loyalty is yours.
Khe Sanh Reunion
The KHE SANH VETS reunion is coming up in July 12th through the 17th, and will be held in Chicago. and if anybody is interested in coming they can contact me at www.khesanh.org for more information. Thanks Don I will see you soon in Chicago.
Semper-Fi Big John Pessoni
Khe Sanh Secretary
The Rewards Are Countless
In the 12 May Sgt. Grit Newsletter, there was a wonderful letter from Mitchell about his daughter singing our Hymn when she was a child. I want to pass along a true story that still makes me laugh.. As you all are aware; myself, Fuller, Gugliotta, and Whitton (aka Sgt. Grit) were in Viet Nam together and have remained extremely close for almost forty years. One night, many years ago, My wife answered the phone and handed it to me just saying: "its Grit".
I said Hello and the most excited voice in the world was on the other end saying "Hunts, Hunts."
I answered, "whats the matter?".
He said: "hang on!"
At his que, his oldest daughter Sarah, played the most enthusiastic version of the Marine Corps Hymn on her HARP.
Grit came back on the line and asked if I had heard it. I answered yes and started to say something else, when I was interrupted by Grit saying, "I can't talk now.........I have to call Goog and Fuller!" and he hung up.
Keep in touch with your Marine buddies, or find them. The rewards are countless and many.
SSgt. JRS and Cpl. Nicholas Bausch:
Thanks for the feedback on the apricots; I feel better now and I sure as heck don't want to be responsible for thrown tracks, blown packs, or final drives going out, especially when we're in a war.
As for the gunner's controls, Cpl. Bausch, we used to call them Cadillac controls too, but I think they were really catalytic controls. I could be wrong about that. Either way I was being a smart alec about the Nintendo comment. I think the Corps is way more computerized than it was back in the 80's, probably making me a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to the M1A1 tanks. I am up to speed with shoulder-fired weapons and physical fitness though. If Mama Marine Corps would overlook the age cut-off, take me back, and let me run around like an Apache on the Syrian/Iraqi border with a scoped M1A Super Match, I'd make her proud.
Still lacing 'em left over right, still ain't eatin' apricots, and now I'm readin' my grand-daughter bedtime stories out of "Green Side Out" and "Brown Side Out". (Good night Major Duncan, wherever you are.)
I'm a Doc in greens in 1968. Before camo utilities. Sort of an old guy now, but once a warrior. Echo Co 2/26. From the USMC history that I have been told, Khe Sanh was the first time 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, fought together since Iwo Jima. My rifle platoon saved my life, that I could save their lives. 'Always faithful' to my last breath and beyond. Bless our active, reserve, and former Marines in every endeavor. You are ALL Heroes. Thank you for my life.
I read the letters my brothers, sisters, family and friends send, each and every time I receive an email. I am a Parris Island Marine, 3rd Bn, I Co. Plt 3076, graduated 12/13/79. I want to thank my Drill Instructors, Staff Sgt. Bethley, Sgt. Norfleet (the meanest SOB I have ever been around), Sgt Cooper, and Sgt Robinson. Those men helped make me the man I am today.
Last night my 17 yo daughter made my eyes tear and my body get goose bumps. A Vietnam Vet, a Navy Corpsman, came to her school to speak. She told him that her father is a Marine (on the shelf). The Corpsman said to her in front of an assembly, the only time he will stand and salute during a song is the National Anthem and the Marine Corps Hymn. He said you can keep all the other services songs. He told her he was under fire in Vietnam, tending to a wounded Marine. He thought he would not get out, he was pegged down. The wounded Marine was at least 200 pounds, he still weighs about 125 soaking wet. The gunner on the chopper provided cover and two other Marines jumped out, grabbed him and the wounded brother pulled them into the chopper and took off. When he thanked them for saving his life, the Marines told him "we had you covered, there was no way we would have left you".
Anytime I am faced with a task that seems very difficult, I reflect on my time at PI, and I don't let it beat me. I consider my Boot camp experience to be the most difficult obstacle any man can face and I never want anyone to think that what they put in front of me was too difficult for a Marine to handle. Semper Fi, God Bless all my brother and sisters in harms way.
Last my childhood friend Joe Coffey, is a Navy Chaplain, if any of you that read this bump into him, give him a big hello from me.
The passing of this fine man at least among the fellow marines shall not go in vain. To carry the name U.S. Marine your a man of Honor and Loyalty. The day graduating from Boot Camp parade across that drill field head high and your chin feeling likes it's reaching the sky. Every battle is a challenge and the meaning or reasons come from the leaders assigned in D.C. There is an end to all wars and all battles. Sorry for your loss bless you all.
Semper Fi - SSGT Levangie USMC RET/Disabled VietVet.
A Bar Fight
Your last news letter had a posting by Frank N. Johnson that referred to his Drill Instructor that played in The D.I. movie with Jack Webb. We had an acting First Sergeant in HMM-262 back in the early 60's that also was in that movie. He was a Gunny when we had him as our 1stSgt, but he was also an ex DI. Gunny Louis Lazarko. He's the guy Jack Webb got into a bar fight with named Joey. Gunny attended a reunion we had a few years ago in New River and I made sure I brought my copy of The D.I. with me to get autographed. We presented him with a D.I. Campaign hat that we purchased from you. There were two other distinguished Vietnam Era "Brothers" in attendance at that reunion that started as 1stLt's in our squadron. LtGen Fred "Crazy Fred" The Assassin" McCorkle who was out guest speaker, and LtGen Mike "The Rifle" DeLong who was running the war in the Gulf at the time. We've had many reunions and they never grow old, I was thrilled to see our Vietnam squadron CO Col. Ural "Bill" Shadrick at one in DC in 01. Your constant reminders to our "Brothers and Sisters" in the Corps to reach out and reunite with an old buddy is something that needs to be repeated all the time. The rewards are worth every penny you spend to mail a letter, make a phone call, or take a plane ride, don't miss your chance! Life is too short to miss such a rewarding opportunity. To our younger "Brothers & Sisters" in harms way Gods Speed to your save return home.
Tim McMahon HMM-262 65-67 RVN 66-67
Just wanted to thank you for your newsletter. It is very uplifting to hear from the old and new Marines, and the stories they tell. I do not read the newspapers anymore, as they always say "insurgents" instead of terrorists or cowards, or that the Army or Marines "were decimated" by some Iraqi "insurgents" instead of telling the real story, that the Marines or Army decimated the enemy ! Whose side is the media on, anyway ? Why lie when the truth eventually will come out? I would also like to say how proud I am of my Fellow Marines who place themselves in harms way each time they go out on patrol or a mission ! While I know they are sometimes scared, they have a job to do, and they get it done, the way Marines have been doing it for over 200 years ! Let the media and the cowards on both sides say what they will; Marines DO NOT get "decimated" because they are the bringers of death and destruction to the enemies of America and the free world.
SEMPER FI to the fallen and to those who fight on.
Louis A. Gilman (Gildog)
On Memorial Day, 2005, in Delhi, New York, the Donald W. Gleason American Legion Post 190 will perform it's annual ceremony at the Courthouse Square. This year, the American Flag that will be used for the ceremony was donated by Lt/Col. Paul Sweeney, USMC-R. Lt/Col. Sweeney recently returned from his tour of duty in Iraq and the flag that we will use had flown over Camp Fallujah on January 30th, 2005, the first free Iraqi Election Day after decades of oppression. God Bless All of Our Young Men and Women in the Military and a special thanks to my son, Sgt. Brett Walsh, USMC, who served with the 1st Marine Division during the taking of Baghdad in 2003.
Robert E. Walsh
Chief of Police
Delhi, New York
The Major Point
Yo Sgt Grit, I've been a very appreciative reader of your fine newsletter for awhile, and very satisfied customer of your on-line store, and I'm a dinosaur. Active duty from '60 to '63. I was stationed at MCAS, Yuma, Az. and saw 3 Women Marines in all that time. I read, with increasing frequency, letters written by female Marines and am heartened. One of the great regrets I've had in this life is 'getting out' when my time was up. I'm continually 'kicking my butt' for it, to no avail. The major point of this short letter is to voice my sincere appreciation of my much younger sisters' participation in this fellowship that's come to be known as the United States Marine Corps.
Semper Fi, and Ooh-Rah.
Lawrence Noder 1935163
Lance Criminal of Marines.
Been Home For
I am a Marine who has been home for about 5 months now recovering from combat wounds. I was with a Recon unit.
I love the Corps and everyone in it. It makes me so proud to hear how Marines are supporting other Marines in combat or who have separated. This is truly the fraternal brotherhood of the highest order. I pray to God that no matter what, we (Marines) never loose the bond that we have. "Always Faithful" is not just a phrase, it's our way of life. OOH FU#&*!ing RAH !
Good Time And The Bad
Why we become United States Marines...
The Recruiters say because of Honor, Courage, Commitment... No, because we have a Desire to be the Biggest bad ^ss around the block. Then we learn the truth in boot camp! Where they mold you into a United States Marine and make you into a team, a band of brothers for the same cause. To make it through boot camp and beyond.
Once we accomplished that, there is no stopping us... We are Now MARINES
Then we go to advanced training, more of the same, we are unstoppable now and bullet proof...
Then on to the Fleet Marine Force, where we really learn about what the brotherhood of the Marine Corps it is!
All the good times and the bad. We will remember them all forever. We are a family, closely knit by one thing, earning the title UNITED STATES MARINE, eating the same dirt, smelling the same smells.
This is something we will hold sacred to us for the rest of our days on earth.
The Marine Corps will be here as long as the United States is here and as Marines we will live on forever protecting heaven from evil.
My son joined the Corps, just as I had in 1980 and my father before me in 1941. He leaves 30 May 2005, less then 2 weeks from now.
A Marine Corps Family To The Last. Semper fi, All
SGT. T.E. Vormwald (USMC)
As Commandant elect of our MCL Detachment No. 1058, I find words difficult to express regarding LCpl Graham's untimely passing. Each and every active duty and Former Marines heart felt condolences go out to his family, friends and most of all loved ones. His family can only find peace and rest with the thought that Lance is now at peace and will toil no more, and that another Marine has been called to duty to stand guard, and awaits us all at our Lords Heavens Gates.
Charles H. Schneider
To Promise Me
I know that we talk about brotherhood and write about brotherhood. But, when does that occur for every Marine. I had the pleasure of meeting two PFC's in a Dallas Airport that were on their second day being their. They had on their Dress Uniforms and headed to Okinawa, Japan. We conversed and it was quite a feeling to share with these young men. They had spent their existing money the day before. I was their waiting for my girlfriend to arrive from Phoenix. I handed them $25, since that's all I had in my pocket and ask them to promise me, to repay me, by someday, somewhere providing assistance to a fellow Marine, if they could. Furthermore, I would like to indicate our skin color didn't match, like that should be of any importance, all I saw was Marine Green.
Sgt M. Betti/2656336
Dear Sgt. Grit, I got a phone call from my son the other day. He is on his 3rd deployment with 1/5 Marines in Ramadi. It was sort of humorous, but it makes a pretty solid statement on why we still have the Marine Corps. His sniper team was "asked" to go on a combined mission with a Navy Seal sniper team that was new in town. He said most of the Seals equal to his rank had anywhere from 10-20 years of service; (Clay has only been a Marine for a little over 3 years.) My son said he found it odd that every time a target was recognized, the Seals would mutter...."you guys (Marines) take the shot." I found it funny, but so true...if anyone could do it, anyone could be a United States Marine. Their mission that day was very successful, and my son learned a lot about the "Seals." Semper Fi, J.T. Anderson, Cpl. USMC,
'71-'73 and Proud Marine Dad of Sgt. Clay Anderson, Scout/Sniper, Wpns. Co., 1/5 Marines
Shared The Cost
My name is Ronald Metzler Lt. Col. U.S.M.C. (Ret.). I served two tours in Vietnam proud to do my patriotic duty. It is my sincere wish that all citizens of this great country irrespective of their personal views on politics or ethics, would upon these brave men and women show them all the deepest respect and gratitude. They have shared a cost of freedom that few will ever fully understand. In addition, lets pay a special thanks to all these soldiers families. They too must suffer a life changing injury to, or, loss of one they hold dear. With respect always
Ronald S. Metzler
Dear Sgt Grit: I am forwarding this message that I sent to the daughter of Sgt Anthony Tessari. He fought in every major battle in the Pacific theater during WWII. He came home unscathed physically but was emotionally scarred by the experience of so many battles, from Tarawa to Iwo Jima. Sgt Tessari challenged me when He discovered that I was talking to a MARINE Recruiter in 1959. He walked over to me and the Recruiter and threatened to kick my butt if I joined his Marine Corps before I graduated from high school. The recruiter agreed with him and told me that the Marine Corps had no use for misfits and quitters. Sgt Tessari promised me his Gabardine Dress Blues if I would wait, graduate from high school and survive Boot Camp. His exact words." I don't think you would make a pimple on Marine's A$$, but if by some miracle you do make a pimple on a Marine's A$$, you will have my eternal respect." Sgt Grit, I worked my but off to earn those Dress Blues and more importantly, Sgt Anthony Tesarri' s respect. That respect from him means a thousand times more to me today than it did when he presented them to me on Christmas day 1960. Sgt Tessari received his TAD orders to Marine Barracks, Heavens Gate c/o SgtMaj ST PETER a number of years ago, but inviting his only child and daughter Toni Lee who is now Sister Marie Tessari back into the family of The U.S. Marine Corps, is my humble way of honoring one our great warriors who fought the fight. Brothers and Sisters please join me in welcoming Sister Marie Tessar daughter of a great Marine to the family of Sgt Grit .. Thank you for allowing me to ramble on . Respectfully Submitted: L/cpl G.D. Vallejos 1960-1966 USMC
Dear Sgt Grit
I just want to thank you for all the many items in your catalog. I recently traded my pickup in on a newer one, and before I had even signed all the papers I placed an order for new decals for my new truck. I have the large Eagle Globe and Anchor in the middle of the rear window with the American and Marine flags in the upper corners. I am in the process of looking for a USMC decal for the front bug guard.
Since Memorial Day is approaching fast and I have marched in our local Memorial Day ceremony since I got out of the Marines in 95. I take out my dress blues and normally carry the American Flag in the front of the group. This year I have been asked to be the Sgt. at Arms for the group. As always I will put on my blues and lead the group proudly.
Cpl. Bill Amiot
Mr. Mike Damigo,
I was an 1812 in the early and mid 90's. We weren't even allowed to speak the word "apricot".
A true story: I was the TC on Bravo 22. It was 1995. Our company was staging the vehicles, on the ramp, for that years CAX. A fellow NCO of mine wrote, as a joke, "APRICOT" on my front slope. Before I could leave the ramp, a hydraulic line had broke and leaked FRH in the subturret and on the ground. A Mech fixed the problem and we were Oscar Mike to catch up with the company. The next day we were having problems starting. When we did finally get the tank started it wouldn't run very well. An 88 had to tow us to Camp Wilson and pull the pack to do some tests. They discovered we had blown the entire pack and needed a new one. All because of the word "APRICOT".
The gunner's controls are made by Cadillac Guage Company.
Cpl Rob Schepers
Bravo Company, 1st Tank Battalion '92 - '96
Dear Sgt Grit
Thanks for providing this service to our men and women who are active duty or served in times past.
Yesterday while at an upscale shopping mall in Los Angeles I was sitting, waiting for my family, while they shopped. I observed a young male accompanied by two small children, one in his arms and one walking by his side. The man had on a North Vietnamese army hat. Seeing that hat brought me to the brink of telling him, I'd hoped he'd taken that hat from a former owner, who perhaps wasn't breathing. The symbolism of that hat angered me so much. It's been more than 30 years since I was 'Lean and Mean' - but I was ready to advise both him and Jane Fonda of their rights - the right to get the hell out of our country.
May God bless all who are in harms way for us this day and provide comfort to those families who endure(d) yesterday, today and forever. God bless the USMC, Semper Fi always.
Sergeant of Marines
Since Her Brother
Dear Sgt Grit,
I just got my internet back and must not have subscribed in time to get the last issue. Please put this in your next issue. I have a favor to ask all Marines who read this. I have had at work for about a year now and recently noticed that her license plate on her car reads "BIGLOU." The other day I asked her what that meant and she, almost in tears, told me that it was the nickname of her older brother who died a few years ago just after getting out of the Corps. It was easy to see that she worshipped him. His name was Louis Forsythe and he was in Motor-T at Camp Lejeune between 94 and 98 when he died. She is so heartbroken at not having a brother anymore. I explained to her that all Marines are brothers hence, since her brother was my brother, then I too am her brother. Not only that but, I told her by the same process, she is the sister of thousands of Marines. You should have seen her face change. She was like a child on Christmas morning. This is the favor: I want to ask every Marine who reads this to email her and let her know she still has many, many, Marine brothers. I know this would mean a lot to her and ease a lot of her grief.
So, Marines, please write to Tami Forsythe at email@example.com and let her know how many brothers she has.
Sgt USMC '79-89
First I want to say I have been reading your news letter for quite a while.
Next I want to answer a question I read in the few it asked how many lands and grooves in the gun tube of a 90mm gun on the m48 tank. There are 32 lands and grooves.
I taught Gunnery at the Tank School at the old Camp Delmar at Camp Pendelton Also another question was the Little Joe which was a small motor there was in the m48a1 it was used to keep the radios and lights going after the main engine was turned off it also helped in keeping the batteries charged
S/Sgt Arthur Allen
Retired USMC 1st Tank Bn.
At Ease PFC
Sgt Grit and all Marines, I have to share this with everyone, today as I pulled into my parking spot at my son's school, I wasn't parked long and reading a book when my side vision caught glimpse of a uniform I wore from 1982-1991. I looked up to see a smartly dressed, lean, mean and proud U.S. Marine walk into the school office. I figured he was home on leave and then I saw him come out of the office and execute a "column right," this drill movement that tormented me at Parris Island because I couldn't execute as the DI wanted, I did many a push-up over the drill movement, but as a Marine, I finally perfected it. I decided to get out of my car and wait on this brother Marine, I of course have been wearing my head wrap purchased from Sgt Grit, as he rounded the corner and executed another "column right" he saw me and walked over with the confidence only Marines know. He stopped and stood at Parade Rest and asked: "How are you doing sir?" I was a Sgt when I was on active duty and told this young man wearing the uniform of a Marine and I told him he didn't need to be at Parade Rest, finally I just said, "At ease PFC!" Turns out he had just graduated from San Diego and I had to kid him that "You know, the real Marines come from Parris Island!" He smiled and told me he was told to be prepared for that. I asked him where he's going next? He told me he will be going to MP School and from there probably Iraq or Afghanistan. He then asked me if I had any advice for him? I again was surprised at this young Marine, I recall those days when I wore the uniform, sadly, I'm not that lean anymore, but still proud. I told him to listen and learn from those who have already been where he's going, and that his greatest learning will come from those who have experienced Iraq and Afghanistan and if he follows those simples rules, he'll be o.k. and when he comes home for good, we'll go have a beer together. He smiled and said he should be going, we shook hands, then the young PFC snapped to attention, one step back and saluted me! I asked why since I was a Sgt? The young PFC said, "Sir, I salute you for your service and all the veterans of the Marine Corps, please accept my salute, you paved the way for me to be here today." At 41 years old, I was choked up and I did return that Marines salute and I told him, "PFC, you're in a small but fiercely proud family now and you take care of yourself wherever your orders take you and don't forget we'll have that beer one day." Well, I wanted to share this with all the Marines who come to this website. As I thought about today's Marine, it still is true, we are the smallest of all the military branches, but we still get the best and I saw the tradition continue today with one young PFC. Thank you my Marine Corps Family, Scott Beal, Eureka, CA.
I Set It Up
We had PT this morning at 0600, kid calls me about 0544 and says he is in a wreck, so I ask him if he is ok and tell him to take his time and do what he needs to do. So he shows up, I again ask him if he is ok, he says he is, so I tell him to run up to S-1 and run me a copy of the police report, So then he tells me that he didn't get one, So I call over one of my SSgt's who is a Cop. The kids starts crapping himself, I tell him that he has one more chance to tell me the truth, So he finally breaks down and tells me he overslept............SO.....I tell him I will deal with him later and let him know that he is in deep deep kimche.......now I have to tell you I hate to write Marines up, I mean I really hate it, I would rather make them dig .50 cal pits all day and then bury them and dig em again. I set it up with two of my Cpl's they brought him to my office and had him report in......the kid is standing two feet from my desk staring straight ahead eyeballs locked and looking like he just swallowed a bug. I pull a sheet of paper out and start reading him his rights, I explain to him what articles he has violated, then I ask him if he understands what is has been accused of....at this point the kid is in tears, because he just picked up Lance Criminal last month. I slide the paper over to him and tell him to sign it.....the look on his face was priceless, He was so confused and dazed that he froze up so I screamed at him "Sign The F**N' Paper Boy"...........He signs the paper and then I dismiss him, he takes one step back, does an about face and cannot get out the door fast enough...............On the paper was typed one nice neat sentence.....................I am an Idiot.
Operation Matador, Iraq
Friday, May 20, 2005
Here Is My Story
As most people who read this already know, my company was part of Operation Matador. We engaged in some heavy fighting and took some losses while conducting combat operations. Here is my story.
After conducting a large scale operation in our AO (area of operations), we went back to the dam for 20 hours before heading back out to Al Qaim. On what was one of the most uncomfortable 10 hour AAV (or Amtrak) rides through open desert, we finally arrived at Al Qaim. Though, Matador wasn't going to kick off for a few days, my company took the time to enjoy the food and rest offered on base.
At the start of the operation, we had to wait for the Army to set up a bridge for us to cross the river. While the Army was doing this, we were staged just behind them and started to take indirect fire, mortars, from a nearby town of Ubaydi. My company repositioned itself outside the town by at least 1500 meters. I was standing up in the Amtrak providing security so I can see what was going on. I heard the occasional burst of machine gun fire from the town. Apparently, the insurgents were trying to shoot at our helicopters. Now keep in mind we are over 1500 meters away and the helicopters are roaming around us. There was no way those idiots were going to hit them! I found that quite amusing. Shortly after sitting around staring at the town, a stray round ricocheted off the ground about 25 meters from my Amtrak. I was surprised and got a little bit scared cause I never had a round land so close to me. So me and another guy, who was sitting on top of the Amtrak, quickly got back in. Soon afterwards, we realized that we were too far away from the town that they couldn't hit us.
We then had a sniper get on top of the Amtrak and start checking out the town. But with no luck, couldn't locate the source of the machine gun fire. After a bit of time, a bunch of us got back on top of the Amtrak to sit and lay down, because it does get hot inside. We sat there for a couple of hours just doing nothing. For some reason, higher ups didn't want us to go take down the town because it wasn't part of the major operation they had planned. Eventually, we did finally start moving out to take the town around noon; the hottest part of the day.
On the movement to Ubaydi, I stayed standing up inside the Amtrak providing security out the top of it (you can see all of this in my pictures on http://www.flickr.com/photos/88893304@N00/). While moving closer to the town I can hear rounds fly over my head. They made a sound one would expect from a Hollywood movie; like a zip and zoom sound. Another new experience for me all together.
Once we reached the outside of the town, the Amtrak ramp went down and the Marines rushed out. Immediately, we came under machine gun fire. I got my team together and ran across the street to the first house while rounds were ricocheting a couple meters from me. That really didn't bother me too much. My main focus was, believe it or not, was not to trip and fall and to run as fast as I can too cover.
As soon as I got to the first house, we were still receiving machine gun fire, but I couldn't locate its source. Neither could the other team across the street from me. So, with out further delay, my team jumps the first wall of the house and started to clear the houses one by one. For the most part, the houses had no one inside or everyone who was inside was already all together sitting in a room. The people living there knew the drill and were waiting for us to come by. All while doing this, there was heavy weapons fire from all over the town. It was almost like a scene in a movie; Cobra attack helicopters were making attack runs with rockets, a Huey firing its mini gun, .50 caliber machine guns firing, grenade launchers and small arms fire was heard everywhere.
Luckily, the houses were built right next to each other. All we had to do was jump a 4 foot wall, on the roof, to get to the next house. This allowed us to maintain the best firing position. But I tell you what, after an hour of running around and jumping dozens of 4 foot walls, with 80 pounds of gear on, started to wear on us. Fortunately, most of the fighting had stopped within the hour of us entering the town.
While clearing the houses, my squad ran across several large weapon caches just sitting in empty houses. You can see some of them in my pictures. One house in particular, had dozens of RPG warheads, Russian rockets, and several RPKs with hundreds of rounds. Since we didn't want to deal with the possibility of it being booby trapped, called in the combat engineers to blow up the cache. I tell you what, I've seen some large explosions since being here, but I've never seen anything like this, so close. We blew up an entire house while I was only a block away. The explosion sent debris hundreds of feet into the air and blew out every window within a block. It was very cool to see this. Once again, you can see what's left of the house in my pictures.
By evening, we only got half way into the town and were about to pull back to a firm base. On the last block, of the last house we were going to clear before we leave, hell broke out. My team, with a team from weapons platoon, was clearing one block and the rest of 2nd squad was with 1st squad clearing the block parallel to mine. My team was on the last house of the block when all of the sudden I heard machine gun fire nearby. I was providing security in front of the house when I heard this. Immediately, I ran through the house to the roof. Still hearing more shots, I get to the roof where I left a guy from my team up there for over watch. He said shortly after hearing the machine gun fire, 2 insurgents ran out the back of the house. My guy was on the rooftop behind that house and was able to engage and kill both the guys. They didn't even see it coming.
From my position, I was able to see clearly into backyard and the back rooms of the house where the machine gun fire came from. Next thing I know, I hear on the radio that we got casualties. What happened was a team from 1st squad was about to make entry into the house when they got torn up by machine gun fire from inside the house. We took 3 casualties right away from that. Then that's when my guy dropped 2 men running out the back door. They threw in smoke inside the house and a grenade to retrieve the casualties. After the smoke cleared, a team made entry into the house to secure it. They went through the house and made it to the backyard to where the dead insurgents lay. The platoon sergeant told my guy good job and dropping the men and went back inside to pull out a RPK used against us. A couple of Marines left through the front of the house, while 2 stayed in the backyard.
Apparently 1 of the Marines in the backyard went back inside and went to check out a closet to clear it. As he turned the knob, a hail of rounds hit him. The other Marine in the back yard ran back inside and exchanged gun fire for only a second before he had to run back to the backyard. I was able to witness the whole exchange of gun fire. It was horrible and I couldn't believe that 1 Marine made it safely to the backyard. My platoon then made another entry into the house to retrieve the fallen Marine only to be repelled by a heavy barrage of machine fire from an unknown location inside the house. The amazing thing about all of this, is how well disciplined these insurgents were. They waited patiently inside the house and only opened fire when they knew everyone was inside the house. All the while screaming, .God is great!. in Arabic. All the while, I am standing on the rooftop just watching and not being able to engage because I might hit friendly forces towards the front of the house.
The insurgents were able to fire through several concrete walls with armor piercing rounds. While our 5.56 mm rounds from the M16 could barley penetrate 1 wall. After 2 unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the fallen Marine, we could no risk any more casualties and with a fallen Marine inside, we couldn't use any bigger weapons on the bad guys. Then the call came to me over the radio. I could still see the Marine inside and was asked whether or not he was dead or alive. A call I never wish to make again, but due to the situation, I had to do it. The fallen Marine never moved since he got hit and I could see a pool of blood from under him. I informed my command that there was no movement from the body. With that call, higher ups called in a M1 Abram tank. My team was ordered off the rooftop to open up a free firing direction for the tank. I had to relocate a block down and joined the snipers. I could do nothing else that night but watch.
After a long day of fighting, my team was pretty drained, and I was experiencing heat exhaustion, so we just rested on a rooftop with the snipers. After what seems to be several hours, the explosive sound of a tank firing was heard followed by a large cloud of orange fire. The 1st tank round lit a propane tank next to the house and the car in the drive way burst with flames. This was followed by 6 more rounds, some of them meant to destroy bunkers. A team from my squad made a another entry into the house with 4 grenades to help clear out the rooms. Yet again, the team entering the house was greeted with a large volume of machine gun fire. One of my buddies, in my squad (2nd), was seriously injured from this. My squad leader was able to pull him out of the house.
After all of this, the company decided to call in air to drop a 500 pound bomb. This was something my platoon commander didn't want to do, but had to follow the order cause we were given 10 minutes before the bomb was being dropped. By this time, it was a little past midnight. We rushed to get back to a firm base, set up nearby, and waited for the bomb to be dropped. With much anger, the 1st bomb was a dud and the 2nd one totally missed the house. We had to wait till daylight before heading back out to the house to retrieve our fallen Marine.
My platoon cautiously approached the house in the morning. By this time, we knew the insurgents were firing from below the house. So just to be sure, we fired two rockets into the house from a nearby rooftop. Causing the floor to collapse on the insurgents. We think that they either bleed to death over the night or the collapse killed them. After we retrieved our fallen Marine, threw a grenade into the hole, where the insurgents were at, to be sure of their death. This ended the long ordeal with 2 KIA Marines and 5 WIA.
This was the most intense, frightening, and chaotic experience I have ever had. One thing that kept me going, was the fact that I knew I was surrounded by a bunch of Marines watching my back.
The next couple of days, my platoon was assigned to watch a road and block it. It allowed us to get some rest and deal with our losses. Believing we saw the worst of war; we were wrong. There really isn't much to say about the following day when 1st squads Amtrak got blown up from a IED (improvised explosive device). It was just amazing to know that 1 Amtrak rolled over the IED, then my Amtrak did, but 1st squads set it off. It was a horrific scene to watch and not be able to do anything knowing that we couldn't get all the Marines off the vehicle before it went up in flames and soon the ammunition inside was cooking off due to the fire. We lost 6 more Marines that day, 4 from my platoon and numerous casualties from the fire.
The higher ups thought it best that my platoon get back to the rear to deal with everything that happened. They had us do group counseling to talk about what happened and our friends that we have lost. It was hard, but in the end, I think it was a good way to deal with our losses. 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, Lima Company 1st Platoon
"I want to cry like the rain, cry like the rain, shine like the sun on a beautiful mornin', sing to the Heavens like a church bell ringin', fight with the devil and go down swingin'. Fly like a bird, roll like a stone, love like I ain't afraid to be alone. Take everything that this world has to give. I want to live."-- Josh Gracin (best country singer to come from the Marine Corps...so far.)
Our boy L/cpl Wilson I.S. just rotated back state side he was with 2nD Combat Eng.My neighbors son joined and I got a e-mail from him in country, I guess I have been a bad example for these fellas(Ha! Ha!)
S/sgt Davis N.K. USMC Ret.
I too have had good luck with the VA with affordable, EXPENSIVE-on-the-outside, meds.
I couldn't help but notice Sgt Davis' serial number, 1499874. Mine is 1499892. We must have enlisted at about the same time, early Sept 1954, PI, 3rdBN, Plt 409.
Sgt Chris Coxe
Dear Sgt. Grit, You have to make your newsletters a lot shorter. I must be getting old and soft. About half way through my eyes start sweating and I just can't finish them. Why don't you make them half as long and twice as often?
"Doc B" Brandt
The once and future
Krusty - #97,
I tried for 22 years to get my Father (who was an old WW2 CM1(Carpenters Mate First) to not call me a medic, and now a Marine of all people, is saying...Navy medic, don't leave home without one. Medics are Army or any other non-doctor type person. There never has been a Navy medic and never will be!! That would be on par with calling you Marines...soldier! Best Part Of The Corps..Is the CORPSMAN!!
" Every day you wake up free, IS a great day. "
Forever live the United States Marine Corps !
73- 80 Sgt. USMC