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Sands of Iwo Jima Video

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A Marines life will be filled with many first's and last's. But they will always be a Marine first and last...

K. Mayle GySgt (Ret.)

Veterans Day Shirt

For a limited time only, we have this design for Veterans Day! Available in a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and long-sleeved t-shirt. Thank you for your service to our Country - Semper Fi!

State Bumper Stickers

For a limited time only, we will be making these State Marine bumper stickers, so you can show your pride in Country and Corps. From Wyoming - every state is included!

Beirut Stories:

A few weeks ago I asked the WWII vets to send me stories. And they did, many, many outstanding stories. Now I would like to ask the Beirut vets to send in stories.

Sgt Grit

I Was Honored

Although I am not good with words, I feel like writing. Here we are, September 11th, 2005. Four years after that devastating day when we as American's were attacked on our own land by cowards and lost thousands of innocent people. And we saw a nation come together in the wake of a tragedy, and a new breed of heroes came about. Both firefighters and police alike gave there lives for something that seems very simple, because most watch it through a T.V. Saving a life, in the middle of chaos, and giving your own, easy to see, easy to write, but not easy to do. During a moment of silence today, when we rose our Colors in Al Asad Iraq, this was all passing through my mind. I will never forget that day, neither will anyone that existed during it. I was honored to be able to take a moment of silence, in Iraq for all the victims, then I looked around and took my own personal moment for all the Marines I saw around me serving with me in this war, the one that began on that day. Most of them barely 20, and some not even 19, men and women, who knew exactly where they were gonna go, and still signed their life away, VOLUNTARILY. I thought about what brought me here, in 2001 I was a 18 year old punk, who did not have a care in the world, no respect for authority, nonetheless, for anything. I was careless on a one way road to nowhere, was not thankful for anything. Then at work on that day I heard the news stating the attacks in New York, it was merely reported as a plane hitting one of the towers, and eventually turned into a lot more than just that. We took a smoke break, then Lee came and let us clean up and head home to watch the news. When it got soaked in, it freaked me out, and none really knew what to make of it, we were all freaked. In the coming weeks after, I started to realize how much of a loser I really was, and how much I had taken for granted in my life, I had everything a kid coulda wanted, and a good head, but I pissed it away, and barley made it out of school. I was in a 1 bedroom roach infested apartment, lived like a slob, and came to the conclusion there was no way out, I could not afford school, neither could my parents. So after a lot of thought, and some advice, I took a walk to the recruiting station, and straight to the Marines office, I decided if I do it, take the hardest road, to not only teach myself a lesson in life, but to prove I wanted to change. I got laughed at, I was quite overweight, took me 6 months to drop about 70 pounds, just to get shipped to boot camp. And change I did, I had an attitude at first, but it got knocked out of me quick, in about 1 second to be exact. I made it through, 30 more pounds lighter, and a whole new outlook.

Then came the news, which I knew would come eventually, but not right away, that we are going to Iraq, our Drill Instructors said that 60% of the platoon would go there. We did not take him seriously at all, till that day. I was nervous, more so in telling my family. It went ok, mainly due to the fact I really did not know where we were going till later, so I told them I was just going on the ship. Then the news started shoeing the building tension, and then we all knew what was coming. Then OIF kicked off on 17 march with the cruise missiles, and we got word we would be crossing the border on the 23rd. At first we were pretty excited, nervous, the whole butterfly thing, then the fear set in, I'll admit it, we were scared sh!tless, invading someone's country is very real, and when you are first, history tells it is the worst, just look at the beach of Iwo Jima and try to picture how many dead Marines were laying there. So a couple sleepless days later, we are on the flight deck about to board the helicopter, know the butterflies turn into the sh!ts, and you're thinking is this real. H&ll yes it is, and h&ll yeah you are here. You can see the other guys, same emotionless young blank stare you got, you would never know we wanted to sh!t ourselves. The flight starts, we are over water for about 30 minutes, and most of us fell asleep, just a natural reaction to being on a bird. Then comes the first shots you hear, the .50 cal starts ripping up bad guys on the ground, not what you wanted to wake you up, but the beginning to the longest 21 days of our lives, 21 to Baghdad, the highway to h&ll. 21 days that will live with me and the men I served it with the rest of my life. 1 day was all it took to make me look around and appreciate everything we have to live for, the freedoms we have, the luxuries we don't think twice about because they are always there, and always have been.

So with your thoughts today, mourn the victims, and their families from the 9/11 attacks, that day changed history, my life, and many others lives. And do me a favor, and take a minute, or at least a second, to praise the men and women serving out here, people just like me, many I have found have a similar background as me, and decided to change their lives. We all remember, none of us will forget. We all know someone who has paid the ultimate price, gave their life for the flag, and continue to press on and complete our mission to serve and protect innocent people around the world, and make sure that a 9/11 does not happen again. I am proud to serve America, I have never been more proud to be a Marine. Words cannot explain what I felt today, but I tried. "Courage, is being scared to death and being willing to saddle up anyways."-John Wayne. Semper Fidelis.

Cpl. Danny

We Said A Prayer

4 September 2005
Hello Sgt Grit and Marines,
This is “Hareball” reporting for one of the last times here in Iraq. I have just moved from the Hadithah area where Lima Co. took their big hit, down the city of Hit, where 3/25 had their first Guardian Angel receive his orders for his last tour of duty at the right hand of St Peter at the Pearly Gates. For those of you who don’t know, I am part of India Company, 3/25, Buffalo, NY. I have finally been reunited with some of my Marines, who are down at Hit. I have been here for almost 36 hours and India Co. just took 13 casualties. I happened to be attending church at the time, when all the Corpsman were called from the service. Our CO immediately vacated also, leaving a handful of us left. We said a prayer, and knowing that God would forgive us, postponed the service to find out what happened to our beloved Marines and Corpsman. My Marines from India got hit with a VBIED, SVBIED, rockets, and small arms fire. The gate and steel fence in front of the forward operating bases BAS was knocked over. Finally India Co. began arriving here for medical attention. As they began the medical evac, the bridge they needed to cross was blown up with a VBIED. They had to coordinate an alternate route, all the while they were still taking small arms fire. As my sergeant and I were getting prepared to begin completing the casualty reports, I began reading the injuries. Of all the Marines and Corpsman, possible broken ribs were the worst. Most of my India Co Marines sustained concussions and minor lacerations. God and our Guardian Angels were definitely overwatch for our Marines and Corpsman today.

3/25 is nearing the end of our tour. We have less than a month before we are stateside again. I cannot begin to thank you, Sgt Grit, and all the friends that I have made, Tony and Lurchenstein, just to name a couple. Even being this far away, I was even able to introduce this newsletter to another Marine (Mil, gotcha again!!). All the support and care packages that have been received have continued to remind us throughout this deployment that no matter what Jihad Jane has to say, this is NOT Vietnam and most Americans do support our troops. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether these people support the war or not. They have realized it is the men and women over here in harms way that NEED the support, WANT the support, even THRIVE on the support. There have been so many schools that have gotten involved that it boggles this pogues mind. Even the teachers at my boys school got involved. My future devil pup, my oldest, has wanted to be a Marine for 3 years now, and he is only 8! He learned early what the Marines stand for and is already proud of it. He was singing the Marine Hymn at age 5. He tells everyone that his daddy’s a Marine. If only everyone could have that kind of support for our troops, moral would never be low. If there are Marines that you haven’t been in contact with for a long time, find them. There is no relationship like that which exists between Marines. “Here’s health to you and too our Corps…!”

“Sometimes it is entirely acceptable to kill a fly with a sledgehammer!”

Semper Fi!!
LCpl Christopher Hare
3/25, H&S Co (S-1)

Opened It Up

Recently I had two experiences which solidify the meaning of Semper Fi. While on vacation with my beautiful wife of 34 years we decided to have a “nice” meal at the Sardine Factory in the area of Monterey California. As we were finishing a wonderful meal, a great end to a great time together our waiter noticed my “Marines” pull over hanging on the back of the chair and said he was a member of “the Gold Club” himself. He had served four years in the 90’s. Out of curiosity I asked him what rank he was when he left our beloved Corps. He proudly said Corporal and set our check down at our table and walked away. When he returned to pick it up I handed it to him and opened it up revealing the Marine Corps Corporal coin I always carried in my pocket. He was beaming as I told him that this old Marine wanted to present it to him. As he left grinning from ear to ear my wife asked what I had done and said to him. I said that I had given him my coin and wished him well. My wife got the warmest smile on her face and said you sure made his day. And so it goes one brother to another, regardless of age or the era served in.

Upon my return trip home I found a package at my door from Sgt. Lynn Crowell in Iowa, a friend I have met through fellow Marines of 2/1 Vietnam Era. Although we have never met he sent me a Marine Corps throw blanket his mother and sister made for some of his “friends” And so it goes. A gift of love from a brother I have never met. I’m sure he’s going to really love the Sergeants coin he doesn’t even know is in the mail to his address.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
USMC RVN 70-71

All Learned

Hey there! The stories about Pickel Meadows brought back some memories of when I was on the I&I Staff, Reno, NV and we took the Reserves down there for some training. After being brought up to our area in the Weasels, we started to get ready for the evening, by building the snow caves and forming the fire platforms. Unfortunately, two things were not brought to our attention, (or if they were, our attention was else where) one being that you don't build a roaring fire on the platform, as it causes it to sink into about 7 feet of snow, still burning and the second being that you don't build a fire under a tree whose branches are covered with snow. You can imagine the results. Needless to say, the troops all learned, from the actions of a few, that Attention to Detail is very important..LOL Semper Fi -- R.A.Swank, MGySgt(Ret) 1949-1972

Parris Island

Dear Marines,
Been on deck at PI since yesterday. Met and talked with many "DI's". It is such a good feeling to see the "quality" of both the recruits and the "DI's" that are molding these good Americans. This quality is always present. I have witnessed this since my first visit around 1953.

I am forever amazed of the respect shown me in all regards of my visit. But you know, looking at faces, talking to the DI's, hearing a recruit say good morning Sir, shows that in my short 55 years in life, the "Corps" has not changed and will never change. A number of MGySgt's, SSgt's have invited me to speak, talk. There is a SgtMajor here that I know from San Diego, d*mn, what a small world.

Just before you enter PI on US 21, there is a large Bill Board, Sgt. Grit!!!!! Wasn't there in my last visit in 10/97.

Wanted you each to know, that you each have been a very personal friend in the "Corps" and being here just drives my pride in you and all that wear the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor". Will be at (been invited) to the Brig and Brew at 1430. I will raise the first one, to you, my family and those whom give me the right and freedoms to be an American. MARINES!! Plus, to a very close friend. "Chesty". Know he is beaming. He knows my mission.

I just want to say thanks. Thanks to you and your beloved "Corps". Words just can not express my pride in you.


13th Marines

I hope I can finally straighten everyone out about the 13th Marines. 1-13 was the arty for the 26th Marines. Both were attached to the 3rd Marine Division until Sept 68 when they were transferred to the 1st Marine division.

1-13 was with the 12th Marines as the Arty for the 3rd Marine Division until sept 68 when they were attached to the 11th Marines. So 1-13 and the 26th Marines were part of the 3rd Marine Division and then part of the First Marine Division.

2-13 and the 27th Marines came over in Feb 68 and left in Sept 68. 2-13 was loaned to the 11th Marines, as the Arty for the 27th Marines who were attached to the 1st Marine Division. When the unit went home, Long timers like me were transferred to other units.

Kilo 4-13 was a M109 Battery 155mm Self Propelled attached to the 12th Marines, supporting the 26th Marines until Sept 68 when the 26th, 1-13 and K-4-13 were transferred to the 1st Marine Division. K-4-13 & !-13 were then part of the 11th Marines.

If you look at reference to 1st Marine Division (Reinf) that was because the Division had extra units attached to it from the 5th Marine Division and the same applied to the 3rd Mar Div (Reinf) until at least Sept 68.

Kilo 4-13 has its own web page.

Because the 26th Marines, 1-13 and Kilo 4-13 transferred from the 3rd Marine Division to the First, there are a lot of Marines who served in both Divisions during the same tour. "If you are not confused, then you do not understand the situation".

Semper Fi
Snuffy (Joe) Jackson

I Had The Opportunity

Dear Sgt. Grit
in reference to CWO5 Dusty Cooper's letter: I had the opportunity to attended a picnic with Marine NCO's from 3/1 all of whom will be deployed to western Iraq by the time this is posted. These men are the highest caliber of any individuals I have been acquainted with -- not only can they read, they think and that is their strength. We pray for them all.

Semper Fidelis
Earl A. Stanley M.D. , Former Sergeant of Marines
Father of SSgt. B.C.Stanley
India Co. 3/1

Head Of The Line

Sgt Grit readers,

As you all know by now L 3/25, a Reserve Regiment from Ohio, has taken an exceptionally high number of casualties while deployed in Iraq the last few months. They are due home in early October and this old Marine is so proud of his old outfit that I am going to add "L Co. 3/25 Fratres Aeterni" to the bottom of my aged U.S.M.C. tattoo. That way when I am wheezing and unable to speak in a rest home I can still "get the word out" by merely pointing to those symbols. Also, if I'm fortunate enough to meet St. Peter it always helps to advertise, right? Might get me to the head of the line!!!

Semper Fi to all the members of 3/25 and their families. For the families of those that will not return I offer my deep condolences, and offer to take their pain as my own. After all we ARE a family.

R. A. Kiser
Former Cpl, 3rd Squad Leader, 3rd Plt, L Co, 3/25, 4th Div.

Father Of Six

Dusty, the Marine Corps will continue to have excellent leaders like yourself because you possess humility and have been blessed with the responsibility to lead young Marines. I can only pray that those who've not gotten the chills while hearing the Marines Hymn would someday recognize the heroes among them for what they are and step up to their own personal calling to make America the country it ought to be.

I am the father of six and one of them is today an active duty Marine. I couldn't be more proud of my son Joshua. It's not anticipation of the hero he someday might be for an act, but the realization of what he's accomplished as a result of his desire to become one of us that makes him a hero in my eyes. On the day he donned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor he said to me, "You've been my dad all my life and now we're brothers too".

I salute our Marines, young and old, for being where their country needs them.
Semper Fi
Marty Schnoor
MSgt USMC retired and still confident in our Corps

From the Commanding Officer: Al Qa'im, Iraq -07 September 2005

This will be my last message update to the webpage from Iraq . As of today, 3d Battalion, 6 th Marines has taken over many of the functions 3/2 has been performing over the past 6 & ½ months. We still have a few of our Marines and Sailors out, riding along or standing on post with 3/6 men, helping them learn the environment. But we have turned over most missions here and have started moving 3/2 personnel to Al Asad for our eventual return home. The last elements of India Company arrived via convoy yesterday from Camp Gannon . Elements of Kilo , India and Weapons Companies are headed for Al Asad today for a much deserved break and preparation for our departure from Iraq . Our other companies are finalizing their turnover with 3/6 counterparts and will depart over the next several days. I will remain here a few more days, and then transfer authority for the Al Qaim area of operations to LtCol. Dale Alford, CO of 3/6. I'll then accompany the last elements of 3/2 to Al Asad. I think we have done as much as we can to prepare 3/6 for their mission here, and I wish them the best of luck continuing the hard work ahead.

I'll provide some general information to help you understand part of the magnitude of your men's accomplishments. One thing I won't ever mention is the number of enemy killed in action totals, because I don't believe any amount of enemy dead will ever replace, or balance, the loss of one of our Marines or Sailors. I mourn the loss of the men no longer with us because of death or serious injury. They are heroes for performing their job amid danger and risking injury, and in some cases, paying the ultimate sacrifice. I never sent the battalion out after one of our losses to find the enemy and “even the score.” There is no replacement for those men, and realizing that, we honored them by continuing to perform our mission with professionalism, not by seeking revenge.

Since March 9 th , when I assumed responsibility for this area, your men have been attacked by the enemy, from sniper attacks to complex assaults involving multiple suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, to mortars, to rockets, to mines and IEDs. Hundreds of times, the enemy has tried to inflict casualties on the men of 3/2, but has rarely been successful. By contrast, your men have raided enemy strong points many different times, eliminated terrorists, captured terrorists, and captured or destroyed their weapons and ammunition. The list of the types of weapons and ordnance your Marines and Sailors have destroyed or taken away from the enemy is remarkable: large rockets; rocket propellant; different large projectiles (mortars and artillery rounds); anti-vehicular mines; AK-47 rifles; machine guns; rocket propelled grenade launchers; a dump truck converted into a rocket launcher; stolen vehicles being made into vehicle borne IEDs; and already constructed vehicle borne IEDs. In addition to those actions against the enemy, 3/2 Marines and Sailors performed the hard, daily business and operations that allowed the battalion to be successful. They worked all hours of the day and night. There were no holidays or weekends here. Almost daily there were mobile patrols or convoys out. Your men put over 109,000 miles on my vehicles here, and those were driven in enemy territory, amid the constant threat of mines and IEDs. They remained vigilant on guard posts, and improved camp security by continuing to build and harden our defenses. The men of this battalion filled and used 105,000 sandbags in 6 months time! Those were all filled by hand-not a bad accomplishment for a battalion around 1000 men strong! I could continue to list other accomplishments, but I think by what I've written above you can understand just how much your Betio Bastards have done in this deployment.

One accomplishment that I have referenced already, but is more intangible, is the professionalism with which your men have conducted the mission here, and the effect it's had on the region. I've listed above the numerous things we did against enemy forces. Equally important is the interaction with the Iraqi people here. These people have a very difficult existence right now, living in a war zone, with foreign terrorists who move routinely through their towns and are cruel to them. The Marines have had to fight in these areas, being fired on and returning fire at one house, only to walk a little further and come in contact with an innocent Iraqi family. I have always witnessed your men showing respect and kindness to these Iraqis caught in the crossfire. Your Marines have been able to fight the enemy with ferocity one minute, and then give a bottle of water to an Iraqi child, and smile and wave the next. The Iraqi people know the difference between American Marines and foreign terrorists, and they are happier with the Marines around. Eventually they will want US forces to leave, but they respect what your men did to try to help them, and to rid their neighborhoods of the terrorists. I truly do see progress being made in Iraq , despite the setbacks. Your Marines and Sailors efforts are a big reason why progress is being made.

In this message, I have tried to express to the families and friends of Marines and Sailors in 3/2 just how proud I am of your men. They have operated and fought in one of, if not the, toughest areas in the Al Anbar province. This “Marine” area is the worst in the country by far, and the enemy your men have faced daily are the hardest of the hard core. We are fighting fanatical terrorists in this area, and have found evidence of their presence through documents and weapons we've captured, and we've seen them face to face when they fought us. High level terrorist leaders have come to this area to rally their forces, usually because they have suffered another humiliating defeat at the hands of your men. It has been my privilege, and the highlight of my career, to lead this battalion in combat, in this area, and against this enemy. Nothing came easy to 3/2 out here. The success we enjoyed was possible because of the professionalism, hard work, and proficiency of your Marines and Sailors. They were innovative in how we fought the enemy. They varied their routines. They learned from what the enemy did. They rehearsed. They prepared. They trained. They were vigilant. They lived up to the lofty reputation of Marines who have fought long before us, and I hope you share my pride in what they have accomplished. They are U.S. Marines in every sense of the word, and I thank God I had the opportunity and honor to be their commanding officer.

So now, this chapter of the Betio Bastards' history closes, and we'll only have about one week remaining until we are back with all of you. Your men will return home carrying their heads high and well they should. They're the best in the world!

Ride the Thunder!
LtCol. T. S. Mundy
Commanding Officer, Task Force 3/2
Al Qa'im, Iraq

Clean Sheets

I agree 100 percent with CWO5 Dusty Cooper. I served 42 years with the US Marines and other military units. Six years with the Marines (1948-51 and 54-55) and 36 as a Weapons Tech Rep, serving with Air Force units, Navy Aircraft Carriers and Marine Units in Country and other locations. I could tell no difference between the ww2 Vets I served with in Korea, Korean Vets, Vietnam vets and Desert Storm vets. Vietnam Story; I was serving as a tech rep on the USS Bon Homme Richard on Yankee Station, We were introducing the first smart bomb, the Walleye, when Kaesong was about to be over run, we launched A4 bombers in torrential rain, 300 foot ceiling, at night. When they returned, after descending through overcast, bombing then climbing back through the muck, returning to the carrier, letting down through the muck, pouring rain, and trapping on the Bonnie. The squad flight surgeon brought some spirits and I popped a bunch of popcorn and two cases of Pepsi and we had a calm down party(heart rates of the pilots were about 150). A little later one of the pilots turned to me and said,"Jim, Can you think of anything worse than what we just went through?"
I replied, Yes, I can. You could be down there with those Marines.( As a combat Marine and pilot I could get away with that.) The squadron Ready room became real quiet, then LCDR Mike Cater (two Navy Crosses) stood up and said I am going to go take a hot shower, then climb between two clean white sheets and sleep like a baby, who knows the last time those guys had a hot shower, let alone a clean bed and a good nights sleep. Jim, you are right, those guys have it a lot rougher. Thought you grunts would like to know who the "top Guns" think is the toughest.
Jim Reed, Branch Head, Fleet Ordnance Maintenance Branch.

I Had To Come Back

Sgt. Grit,

In reference to the letter from Bill Fortune, about someone calling and asking if he was a Captain in the Navy, and when he replied no, but he ws a L/Cpl in the Marines, which was the same thing, the caller hung up.

It reminded me of an incident while I was in Vietnam. I was quite sick of something. I forget what it was, but I did not go to Sick Bay unless I really, really needed to. As I was talking to a Corpsman and doctor, they said that we had to get ready and be squared away because their Commander was coming. I said, "So what. He is nothing more than a Marine L/Cpl!" They did not like that, and threw me out of Sick Bay. I had to come back the next day to receive treatment!

GySgt Tommy Walters, Retired
1961-1981, Vietnam x 2 Doc Stone

Newsletter contributor Doug "Doc" Stone passed away this past June. Doc served with I/3/3 Vietnam 68-69. His son is also a Marine and served in Iraq. Survived by his wife Joanie.
God Bless
Sgt Grit

Happiest Man

Dear Sgt Grit;
I was in the Marine Corps July 64-June 68 as I have always said in the door in 64 and out the gate in 68, but you never leave the Corps it is always with you.

I served 18 months in Vietnam with the 11th Marines and 13th Marines. I tell friends that I was at Khe Sanh before it became famous.

I also thought I was one of the few that was untouched by my experience in Vietnam but then in Dec 2003 I discovered I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I am now cancer free for the last year.

The main reason I am writing is that my 18 year old step son made me the happiest man in the world when shortly before his high school graduation he informed his mother and I that he was joining the Marine Corps at the end of July 2005. I am now in the process of planning our trip to watch his graduation from MCRD San Diego, 41 years after I graduated on the same parade field. I can already feel my chest tighten. I am so proud of him, when in this day and age he is doing exactly what I did in July of 1964.

I can not wait to smoke a cigar with him right after graduation and his rite of passage into the best brotherhood in the world.

Mel R. Hendrickson
(Skoshie to some)

Sgt USMC 64-68
Platoon 157 in 1964
"Semper Fidelis"

His Next Assignment

This is in response to Bill Fortunes call from someone asking if he was Captain William Fortune of the Navy, his response was no I am Corporal Bill Fortune but that is about the same so I will talk with you if you like...they hung up.

In the early Seventies after I had left the Corps and had graduated from the University and started raising my family, my wonderful wife and I bought a new home in an upscale community in Northern Virginia. We were one of the first thirty families to select a lot and build our new home. Another of the first thirty was a Navy Captain awaiting orders for his next Command. He was hoping for a Carrier or something similar. He did not get his carrier and the following illustrates that the Navy does recognize its best and sends the rest to other duties as assigned. This Navy Captain and several others were preparing our new community center for a community party. They thought that they should wax and buff the large meeting room hardwood floor and make the dancing later much more enjoyable. They had asked for volunteers on a very hot summer day. My wife and I had a previous engagement which took most of the day. However around 9:00pm we were driving by on the way home when we saw all the lights on and a crowd of people in the center still cleaning for the party. We stopped and looked in. I could not believe my eyes. There was the Navy Captain in his undershirt, soaked in sweat wrestling and trying to force the electric buffing machine (most Marines and sailors know what one looks like) back and forth. Every person in the room and there were about a dozen men there, the women were in another room (at he bar laughing at the men), and each was covered in sweat resting and waiting for their turn to take over that very reluctant machine. They had managed to only polish a fourth of the large floor space when I arrived. I asked the Captain what the H&ll he thought he was doing wrestling that buffer around the room. He screamed at me that it would not work. I told him I could do it with one hand tied behind my back. That Navy Captain let loose with a string of swear words and screamed at the top of his lungs to gather around, Mr. Nygaard was going to show us all how to buff the floor using this machine with only one hand. I just rubbed it in by saying not only that Captain, I am going to do it now with just two fingers. Ohhhh he responded, now he is going to do it with only two fingers......He was absolutely furious. I did see a few grins beginning from some of the men because clearly, they knew I would not say something like that if I could not produce. I then proceeded to do just as I said, first with the two fingers on my left hand, then with the two on my right, gently lifting the handle of the buffer and letting it do all the work then reversing hands and going the other way.....Navy Captain screamed, threw his sweaty cap on the floor and let loose with another string of swear words. Wife person and I left amid all the laughter of the men who had tried along with the Captain but who like the Captain had never had to do menial chores in their lives. As a Marine, I learned early on how to do it and do it right. The Captains next assignment was an Oiler.

His career ended at the completion of that assignment. I have nothing against Navy Officers, I just did not care for the Captain.

Semper Fi
Richard E. Nygaard, SSGT USMC, 1953-1963

Clenched My Teeth

Sgt. Grit,

I look forward to receiving your newsletter every week. To me it is the most patriotic publication around and even better since it is centered on Marines and their loved ones.

Three weeks ago my wife, my ten year old son, and I drove to Camp Pendleton to see our son off to his first tour in Iraq. He's a L/Cpl with 1st LAR out of Las Flores. Strangely enough when I was at Pendleton back in the '80s, LAVs were starting up at The Stumps and I was with "B" Co., 1st Tanks at Las Flores. Now they've changed places and it brought back lots of memories to be where I lived four the last four years of my enlistments. I've had the opportunity to see my son at Pendleton, meet his buddies, and spend time with them. Sure, there are some differences in their interests and their civilian attire, but when it comes to what really counts, they are still Marines. Someday in the future they will be referred to as the "Old Corps". One thing I can say is they are outfitted better than we were in the '70s and '80s. Their cammies are better and their boots are much more comfortable and tactical. Their deuce gear makes more sense, they have Camelbacks that don't slosh noisily, and the brain buckets are better. I've seen ACOGs, EOTechs, and Aimpoints on rifles overseas; many of them personally supplied. That would have been unheard of in Beirut or before. What I see is a Marine Corps that is determined to get the job done and has shown some sensibility.

On the morning our son left for Iraq, we met him at his barracks to see him off. We got there early and he told us that he and some of his buddies hadn't been to chow. I told him I'd drive down to the McDonald's near the main gate and get some food. A couple of other Marines asked me to pick up some sausage biscuits and I took off. As I waited for my order, several other Marines and dependants waited with me. I had a sniper school ball cap on with a set of Sergeant chevrons on the front. After several minutes, a Lt. Col. in his cammies came in and got in line to place an order. Now I make it a habit to keep my hair well within USMC regs, usually a high and tight. My moustache is not though, and typical of many other deputy sheriffs (deputies sheriff?). I always have a fresh haircut right before I go to Camp Pendleton to see Nathan and I trim my moustache to regs, but this time I failed to do so. The Light Col. stared at me for a couple of minutes and then I guess he'd had enough. He caught my attention and motioned me to come over to him with his trigger finger. He looked at my cover and then looked at me square in the eyes and told me, "Sergeant, your moustache is unsat!" I replied, "Yessir, it is and I apologize because I usually trim it before I come here, but ...I've been out for 16 years. I'm just getting my son and his buddies some chow before they deploy to Iraq." We both got a laugh out of it and ended with a "Semper Fi" (with the addition of "Sir" at the end from me).

Our Marines ate and then it was time to load up. My wife had a death grip on my hand as she fought to keep her eyes from tearing up as L/Cpl Damigo boarded the bus for the ride to the airport, his first leg of his trip overseas. I had to do what many fathers have done, in an effort to be strong to help our wives be strong and to keep our son from being embarrassed. I shoved my jaw out, clenched my teeth, and watched with pride as my son, a United States Marine Infantryman, went to war.

God bless the Corps and all Marines! Semper Fi!
Mike Damigo

Get My Dad's Goat

I read the thoughts of Cpl. Ernest Doyal. When I joined the service I joined the Navy, mostly to get my Dad's goat. He was a Marine who was wounded at Chosin during the Korean war. At the time I really didn't get along with my dad as most 17 year olds don't. As with the men in my family, I knew it was a duty and honor to serve even if it meant going to war myself. Still I wanted to do something in the medical field. In Corps School we were given "dream sheets" to see what we wanted to do after school.

We had an old Chief who was an FMF Corpsman during Korea and Vietnam and instead of telling us how great FMF duty would be he told us up front that his job was to discourage us from going FMF because he was not going to send any "pansies" (my word not his) to his beloved Marine Corps. He told us how many seconds the average life of a corpsman was during a firefight (7 seconds), that corpsman, radiomen and officers were shot first in that order, that corpsmen made up the majority of the KIA's and then he took us to this hall which I called the hall of names and read off the names of corpsmen who had been awarded the Medal of Honor and what they did to deserve the medals (Navy FMF corpsmen account for the majority of MoH winners in the Navy).

But what made me realize that I had made the right decision was on my graduation from Field Medical Service School my Dad came up to me and told me that when he was wounded at the battle of Chosin a Corpsman came up to him and with bullets flying he dragged my father to safety and secured his wounds for transport. When he got to the MASH unit he asked about the corpsman who was not with his unit so he could thank him for saving his life. He was told that the corpsman died later that day trying to save another Marine. He got up patted me on my shoulder and said. "Take good care of them".

Oh by the way 16 of us at corps school showed interest in being FMF corpsman. After the Chief's little "talk" only two of us stepped up. American by birth, U.S Navy by choice, FMF Corpsman by the grace of God.
Semper Fi

Luis M. De La Cruz

MCRA Reunion

Hello Members of The MCRA,

For those who plan to attend the 2nd Reunion/Conference 20-23 October 2005 in the Dallas, Texas area; now is the time to make your hotel reservations and have some time left to do the little things at home that sometimes get forgotten.

Some early birds have registered but not near the number we expect to attend. If we have a need for (35) rooms or more, the Hospitality Room, Business Meeting Room(s) and the Ball Room will be provided complimentary by the hotel. There are only (20) days left for making your reservations; the cut-off date is 29 September 2005: don't get cut short.

Jim Simmons, Secretary/Treasurer, has recently moved and his new address is:

1705 N. Main St.
Nevada, MO 74772-1137
(417) 549-6391

A Pacifist

As a wife of a former marine, now living in another country, it frightens me when I read some of the letters here. People are so brainwashed by the government and the "gung-ho" attitude of those in power. I take my hat of to people like Cindy( the woman outside the presidents ranch), who have seen the light and realize that the young men and women are being sent like lambs to the slaughter to satisfy one mans desire to rule the world. Thank goodness my family is no longer involved in that, we live in a peaceful country far removed from America and it's foreign policy...
A pacifist
Joanna and Tim

I Didn't Understand


I have read this letter for at least 2-3 yrs I am 57 a 2 tour Viet Vet. I never thought about if the war was right or wrong, I enlisted and volunteered to go and go back until they said no more, not bragging that is what Marines do. I am ashamed of these as-h---es that say we support the troops not the war. I am glad they are at home and not there with you they would get someone killed. I get emotional every time I see a pic of a fallen Marine on the 6pm news. I could go on & on, Once a Marine Always One of the Few. God Bless you all, and don't let the News Media bother you, In RVN "68" I once got a letter from a Wms group wanting me to write to Dupont and say I was against Napalm. I didn't understand it then and sure as h-ll don't understand it now. There are many more of us who understand and support you than not.

Semper Fi
Art Braun Cpl 67-71

Rehabilitation Program

I was an 0311 in E-2/3 in Vietnam, '67-'68, who became a lawyer after I was a Marine. I was planning to make the USMC a career, but I got shot during Tet in February, 1968, and I was eventually rated 100% disabled (but only for a while, I got better pretty quickly and the disability rating was lowered after a few years) and because of my injuries I was medically retired, as a Sgt. Thanks to the VA I had the great good fortune to be able to go to college and law school on the VA's disabled veterans rehabilitation program and I've been practicing law since 1974 in Albany, NY. My son, Captain Lee Kindlon, 29, USMC, did the marine-lawyer combination the other way around. First, he became a lawyer and then he became a Marine JAG. He's currently serving as a Staff Judge Advocate with a Regimental Combat Team (I don't think I'm supposed to name which one, so I won't) near a certain famous city in Iraq. My wife, some of my other kids and I went to Camp LeJeune in August to spend a few days with Lee before he departed for Iraq and I was amazed at the professionalism, energy, optimism and powerful esprit of the Marines I encountered there. I am proud to have been a Marine, I am proud of my Marine, Captain Kindlon, and I am deeply proud of the United States Marine Corps and each and every Marine serving or who's ever served.
Semper Fidelis, Terry Kindlon (2187197 USMC!)

Take Solice

Any Marines reading this needs to hear it from some of us old farts. The media will paint the most negative picture never the real story. I saw first hand all the good things we did in NAM and none of it was reported. Same in Iraq & New Orleans. My favorite bumper sticker..... "I Don't what happened when I left we were winning. " Take solace in the fact that your fellow vets know what you are doing and we'll pass it on. We are proud of you and you are continuing the best traditions of the Corps.
Tom Fearns
69-70 Republic of

May Be A Question

I think this may be a question many active/reservist/retired Marines may be asking themselves. While watching the unfortunate events of hurricane Katrina, I have seen many politicians and civilians putting blame on our armed forces for slow and insufficient response to the disaster. I believe some people have forgotten the primary role of our military , Where their responsibilities end, and where their generosity as Americans begin. The role of our military is to protect the best interests of our country and preserve its safety .As I feel for all of our fellow Americans, I hold a special place for our armed forces. They give all they have and then some , It's sad to think in a time of need that any type of blame could be directed at the people that are giving the most. I as a former Marine have a young (brother) Corporal Adam Overfelt who he's not been back from Iraq for long and has volunteered to go help in the relief efforts in the south. His family and friends could not be any more proud of the person he has become. He has proven to me that we can still depend on our younger generation to do what is right at home and elsewhere. As our military does their job elsewhere, I believe it is our job and responsibility to do our part to take care of issues at home, not expect the giving to give more. We should all be grateful for the givingness of our military forces and not point fingers. This country would not exist if not for our patriots. Remember :(United We Stand)

Sgt. R.Lawrence (USMC)
Gulf War Vet. 1991

USS Arizona

Sgt. Grit -

I read the entry by MSgt. Ben Terry in the Sept. 8, 2005 Newsletter #105, about his trip to the USS Arizona Memorial. I could identify with a lot of what he said as I too visited the memorial, albeit in 1969, while on R&R with my wife. Unfortunately, I came away from my visit with a dangerously high blood pressure. You see, there was (is?) a small gift shop near the boarding area for the boat ride out to the memorial. Upon my return from the memorial I checked-out the gift shop. I noticed a small silver colored paperweight in the image of the USS Arizona. I picked up one of the paperweights, turned it over, and on the bottom I read the words "Made In Japan". I thought my wife would have heart failure because I just lost it. I went ballistic. Who in the h&ll are these insensitive people who allow this type of a slap in the face to such a solemn memorial? I knew then and there this country's demise will only come from within.

Cpl. Ed Moore, C 1/5, An Hoa, '68-'69

Physics Of The Flush

While Nixon was pulling US forces out of Vietnam but sending us to Thailand (the Rose Garden) from Iwakuni, Japan, I and mine were procuring steak and garden vegetables from the mess hall. I would ask for the Da Nang turn around for reloading and refueling for a second mission. Whenever we were there, we could get ice cream and use the USAF’s genuine flushing toilets. They didn’t have the unpleasant augmenting aroma of burning ?????? (Russky for “sh!t”) and jet fuel. When I returned to the US, I was frequently discovered flushing either a urinal or a toilet and just staring at the water, contemplating the physics of the flush.

As an instructor pilot for replacement aircrews of the A6 intruder, I trained my students to surpass my skills, and deploy to combat better prepared than I had been. That approach apparently worked as my students survived combat, not only those of the Vietnam era, but also those who deployed for Gulf War 1 ten years later as senior commanders. It became clear to me that the future generations of marines were and are better trained, better prepared, and much more enthusiastic about their missions than we were.

I am now a proud member of the 4th & I Marine Brigade. As opposed to the 8th & I Marines who already are serving, and are themselves actually in harm’s way, I will be recalled when the enemy gets to 4th & I.

God bless all of our service men and especially my Marines who are in harm’s way. The following article cries out for publishing here.

Semper fidelis
RD 'Bob' Lankes
Mustang Captain USMC (retired) 61 - 81
Ocala, Florida

Short Rounds

11 MIAs from Delta Battery 2-13 have been recovered. Two have been buried already. One is to be buried in Knoxville on Sept 17th. The other Eight will be buried in Arlington on Oct 7th. 2-13 Marines please contact me.
My favorite boot camp lines. "Bends and thrusts, bends and thrusts, many, many of them." And "Bends and thrusts, all of them that haven't been done." But I still survived and it made me a better Marine. Sgt Walter E. Seneff, May 60-Oct 69, VN 61-68-69
Sgt. Grit,

A local Harley dealer here is trying to make sure all the Marines from Lima Co. 3/25 go to the Birthday Ball this year when they get home…….thought you might like to look at the site and mention it in the newsletter………

Semper Fi,
Bill Reifsteck
We keep all our brothers in our prayers both home and abroad. As usual the Marines can make an impossible situation, manageable.
MSgt Gregoire Camp Smith, Hawaii

I know the difference between my rifle and my gun.

Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

Semper fi
Sgt Grit

New Items

Be on the lookout for many new items that will be added THIS WEEK to our Marine Corps Product line-up...Check for updates often...

Silver USMC Emblem Pocket Watch

Gold USMC Emblem Pocket Watch

Cross with Emblem Necklace

Gold/Silver Bolo Tie

See all the new stuff