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I was at a flea market, wearing my son's US Marine cap when a man walked up to me, extended his hand and said "Thank you for what you have done". Taken off guard, I suppressed a tear and said "Actually it was my son. He is gone now".
He nodded and I knew he understood.
Semper Fi

Last Chance - Rose Garden T-Shirt Special

One of our favorite Marine designs now on a t-shirt! Order this special printing only through February 12, 2006. "We Don't Promise You a Rose Garden".........

University Of Shirts are Back

If you attended the University of "Afghanistan, Kabul, Beirut, Chu Lai, Con Thien, Da Nang, Iraq, Fallujah, Baghdad, Ar Ramadi, Tikrit, Al Asad, An Nasiriyah, Khe Sanh, Somalia, Korea, The Gulf War, Mogadishu, MCRD (San Diego), Parris Island, Quantico, or Quang Tri" courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps - we have a shirt for you. T-shirt, sweatshirt, long sleeved t-shirt, and hooded sweatshirts featuring this new design are only available to order only through February 26th.

Sweatshirts are on Sale

Check out these sweatshirts - 20% off through February 19th!

The Old Dominion Chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association is saddened to report the death of a very dear friend.

Virginia Evans Puller, the widow of Lt. Gen. Lewis B. Puller, USMC, died yesterday at the age of 97. Services will be conducted at 3 PM on Saturday,

11 February at Christ Church Parish. Interment will be in the church cemetery, Christ Church, Va. (the area is about 4 miles East of Saluda, Va.)

Semper Fi.
Floyd D. Newkirk, O.D. Chapter Secretary

"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness." -George Washington

Hello Marines!
As a former Marine, and currently the mother of one former, and one active duty Marine, (and one ready to sign up on Delayed Enlistment Program this fall) my pride knows no bounds. I am the manager of national retail store in Vero Beach, FL, home to many retired former military personnel. My store is also about 10-15 miles from the UDT/Navy Seal Museum in Fort Pierce. I have a great relationship with the local recruiters (thanks in part to signing over two kids and a potential third!) and I always go to them first when I'm trying to fill an available position on my staff. I know I'll get a great employee there!

When either of my sons were deployed over the last several years, I proudly wore pins with their boot camp pictures and a red, white & blue ribbon. I feel it is my duty to remind everyone that while we go through our days, doing the things that need to be done, Americans are putting their lives on the line so the rest of us can go through our days, doing the things that need to be done.

In the summer of 2004, my middle son, Cpl Bryan Christensen, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 22MEU. I never left the house without my two Marines pinned to my blouse. I was 'going through my day' at work, when a young lady, probably in her early twenties (like Bryan) walked into my store. I greeted her and her friend and asked if I could help them with their purchases. The first young lady looked at my pins and without a second thought, loudly spit out the following: "This company should fire you for wearing war-mongers on your chest!"

Now, before I tell you my reply, I should state that the red, white and blue ribbon that I had the boys photos pinned to, had come from our corporate office. My company had sent out reels of ribbon to all of our stores the week after the events of September 11th. We operate a store within a block or two of Ground Zero.

Back to my story. At first I wasn't quite sure what she had said. And then, through a red haze of fury, I heard the two teenagers on my staff suck in their breath and watched their eyes grow to the size of dinner plates, waiting for my reaction.

While my initial reaction was to smack her across her mouth, I refrained. I really didn't want to lose my job, and I'd like to believe I have more class than that. So I took a deep breath, calmed myself, and replied "Honey, it's because of years of 'war-mongers' like MY CHILDREN that you can walk into MY place of business and spout off with an asinine statement like that. If you don't like that fact that I'm wearing 'war-mongers' on my chest, you can take your d*mn business somewhere else. Now get the h&ll out of my store!" My two teenage sales associates started applauding. An elderly customer offered to show her the way out, and I walked into my stockroom and tried to stop shaking. I figured I probably ought to call my District Manager and give her a heads up in case there were any repercussions. She was horrified that someone would say such a thing, but her first reaction was "I hope you smacked the crap out of her!". She told me not to worry about a thing and that she had my back if any problems arose from the situation. There were none.

Fast forward to today. I'm getting ready to head up to Cherry Point on 2/9 with my husband and our 16 year old future Marine to see Bryan off to Iraq. He was promoted to Sgt. yesterday. I've already ordered and received my "Half of My Heart is in Iraq" t-shirt from SgtGrit.com and I will proudly wear it, along with my "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" baseball cap. I defy another person to make a derogatory comment about it!

By the way, my District Managers ten year old son recently called me to ask if it would be okay if his fourth grade class 'adopted' Bryan while he was in Iraq. It seems they were deciding to do this as a class project and when he told his Mom about it, she suggested Bryan. She felt it would be nicer for them to adopt someone they sort of know, rather than a stranger.

I spoke to Bryan on the phone last night, and with his usual good-heartedness, he offered to go visit the class when he gets home from the sandbox. Mind you, his new adopted 'family' is in Fort Lauderdale, a good two hour drive away from our home. I didn't think I would ever be more proud of anything in my life than I was the day I got my EGA at Parris Island in 1980. I was wrong. Seeing two of my sons getting their EGA's was even better. As a Marine, I fully understand (and back) Bryan's desire to do what his Country has asked of him. As his Mom, my heart is full and for some reason, it keeps leaking out of my eyes! I know it's going to be a long year for me, but I wouldn't change a thing. When I gave birth to him, all I wanted was for him to grow up strong, and happy, and honorable. He's achieved all of those things. I can't wait for September to get here so he can come home! Semper Fi!

Ruth Murphy,
Former Lance Corporal, Always a Marine
Ft Pierce, FL

Stories like the above are why every other weekly newsletter is call "AmericanCourage".
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am so excited! !My Son called today to say hello and to let me know all is ok with him. After I hung up I realized that his calls are going to be few and far in between, when he is deployed March 1st. I cherish each and every call. I don't know what to expect when he is deployed, scared is the best word for it. But I know that he will be ok because he was trained not only to fight but to survive. He has a good head on his shoulders and the Marines have a really good kid. I take comfort in knowing they trained him well. I have felt many new feelings in the last year since he has joined, but I must say, "proud" is by far the best feeling.
Thank -you for the great newsletters, They give comfort to me as I am a new Marine Mom.
PMM in Montrose, Michigan

Dear Samantha "Daddy's 2 little girls":
you sound very much like another 2 little girls I know of. They were about your age when they watched daddy leave them for VietNam in 1967. I tried to explain then, and now, that they needed to be brave and proud of their daddy. He is doing something that many others are not willing to do. Daddy will be home again soon but you must remember this, if daddy can never come home, you must know that he loves you very much and will always be watching over you each day and night from heaven.
SSgt Morre, J.C. 2389599
Semper Fidelis

I was coming back from Washing, DC after a 96 and I was in uniform as we all were most of the time back in the late 40's early 50's. I was sitting on the inside with an elderly gentleman sitting on the outside, their was a cute Woman Marine sitting in the seat directly in front of us, and the gentleman asked the Woman Marine what BAM stood for and she quickly said Beautiful American Marine and look at me and said, don't you say a d*mm word. We had a good laugh at this.
John W. Grindel, GySgt/Ret

Thank you for such a great newsletter, I have been reading it for quite a few years now and it reminds me of how proud I am to be a part of this elite organization. My husband, brother and son are all Marines too and we all share the same pride. You wanted to hear from Women Marines and so here I am and here's my story:

I went to Boot Camp on PI (only place women can go) in November of 75 and did 4 years in the Corps as a, "Food Specialist", back then they called us cooks. When I graduated from school, I was sent to my duty station, MCLB Albany Ga. I worked in the mess hall and the Officer's club on base. My job wasn't glamorous but I loved it and made Meritorious Sgt in just three years, I also won the "Commandants Top Quality Marine" award.. If the Marines taught me anything it was that if your going to do something, do it to the best of your ability and never quit. That has stuck with me all these years, and got me though some challenging situations. I bought and ran my own business for 20 years and when someone asks me what college did I go to, I tell them USMC, they always look puzzled and you can see them searching for the school name, when I finally tell them, United States Marine Corps they look upon me with disbelief and always say, "Really? Good for you." I'm so proud that I can say that I served with the best of the best. I have stayed active in the WM Association and other Veterans organizations and love all of it. Semper Fi!

Every Year on the Marine Corps birthday, if we don't go to the ball we always get together with other Marines and celebrate the traditional way. God Bless the Corps and those who serve her.

Semper Fi,

You asked for Women Marine stories. As we know their intent was to relieve Male Marines for overseas duty. Well I was transferred from Norfolk Va. to The Depot of Supplies in San Francisco to relieve a Women Marine for overseas duty. I'll never forget her name Marquette Blankinship. She shipped out to Pearl Harbor. The most embarrassing moment of my life.

Thank God I rejoined the 2nd Mar Div. and left shortly for Saipan.

Sgt. Gene Mazzie USMC 1943

I was watching the news last week and became VERY ANGRY! The majority of the newscast was dedicated to the reporter and his cameraman being injured in Iraq. They mentioned several times how unfortunate it was these men had been injured while doing their job. They gave minute by minute details as to how it happened and the care they are being provided... I found myself saying "Who gives a crap about these reporters! What about all of our troops that have been KIA or WIA by the same tactics?"

I wish the military had enough in the budget to have their own newscast. That way we could get the REAL news and not all of this propaganda bullsh!t. The true Heroes would get their time in the spotlight.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Scott Kerr
1989-1995 Fox Battery 2/14
0861/Forward Observer

Sgt. Grit,

Reference Wally PFEIFER 48-50. I think the word he is looking for is "survey". Broke or useless for what ever reason it was "surveyed".

LCpl. Richard J. "Finner KANE

"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders." -Mark Twain

After having served proudly under a great commander in chief, the honorable Ronald Reagan, I have tried time and time again to reenter the ranks of our Corps. With the abundance of young volunteers who also want to join our ranks, I have had a tough time of it. But I will step aside to give these men and women the chance of a lifetime to know the pride that goes along with the wearing of the EGA.

Since I still have a strong desire to get back into uniform, I have decided to go into the Army reserves. The responses to previous letters from Marines joining the National Guard and reserves helped me make up my mind.

The Marine spirit flows in my blood and I live every day with that pride, holding my head high and when I serve with the Army, my Marine Corps green will be just under my shirt. Like siblings from a large family, we will fight amongst each other, tease and ridicule each other, but let someone from outside our military family try to step in and we'll see who's got whose back.

My father served 23 years in the Army, my father-in-law is a WWII veteran of the Navy and I am a Marine. If I can't get into a Marine uniform, I will do my part to serve the greatest country on earth in one way or another. Semper Fi.

Tim Singleton
Cpl. 82-86

Dear Sgt Grit,

As I sit here reading all those letters from the wives, mothers and friends of our serving Marines, I thought of an experience my wife had while I was serving my second tour in Viet Nam.

We lived on a short street in Fallbrook, California. There were four houses on this street and all were occupied by Marine families whose husbands and fathers were serving in Viet Nam. The wives were in the street chatting one morning when a Marine Green Staff Car turned into our little cul de sac. A Marine Major, Navy Chaplin and A Staff NCO emerged and all the wives knew what it meant. They all held their breath until The Major called the name of one of the wives. My wife said she felt relief, pity and grief all at the same time.

I had seen the name of my good friend SSgt Paul Turstege on the causality list and had written her about it. His wife knew long before the letter ever reached home. The wives all provided comfort and care to Kathy and helped her move back home, and we will never forget it.

Wives and mothers have the hardest job, just sitting and waiting, let us all give the our prayers.

Semper Fi
Jerry R. Hattox
GySgt USMC Ret 1954-1958

I just wanted to share my thought on Marines.... I have a 22 year old brother who is in Iraq, I can't say how many times I think of him a day because it is to many. I have a grandfather who is a Marine as well whom my brother takes after, I should have known. I have never been so proud of my little brother, and I am so proud to say I am a sister and granddaughter of a Marine!

I have a picture in my office of him, and every time someone walks in they say "is your brother a Marine" I say "of course one of the few, one of the proud!"

I just want to say thank you to all the Marines, from the bottom of my heart it is a honor to get to meet a marine even if it's just in passing!

I love my brother and my grandfather, stay safe to all Marines!

Cpl Garza
Al Taqqadum Air Base, Iraq

Thank you....Natalie R.

Title: Americas Youth: Semper Fi, Carpe Diem, Fortier

By Dr. Ariane T. "Doc" Alexander

"And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
--John F. Kennedy.

It was Wednesday, the 3rd of August, 2005 and fourteen United States Marines were killed in combat. Marines--14 of America's youth. I am a war trauma specialist, so I experience America's youth through the eyes of the troops, America's sons and daughters. It is my role to be there for them, to be a witness, to hear and hold their pain, to take within my heart and mind and soul, their emotions, their stories, their values, their goodness, their ethics and yes, also their pain.

Because of my contact with these brave young men and women in the military, I know in my heart, our finest American youth are scattered to the farthest winds and lands. From the privilege of working to help and support them as they undertake the challenge of protecting America and troubled global arenas, I witness the nobleness of our American youth firsthand, and I witness what is in their hearts, minds and souls. All of America's sons and daughters are the best, but the best of the best are out making a difference every moment we draw breath. These American youth are not waiting in line for their next fast food snack, hanging out at raves, or worrying about if they got that section of English that allows them to hit the beach early to surf. Americas youth in the military are giving all of themselves, relinquishing all comforts and luxuries to the point that receiving a box of chap stick, wet wipes and jelly beans is cause for a party. America's youth in the military are working in extreme conditions that remove health, emotions, and even life and limb, for a salary equal to a fast food worker. And yet, how many of these brave young men and women, when wounded to the point of discharge, weep and beg to return to their units, because they cannot live with the thought of letting down their fellow soldiers and their country. American youth in the military of whom I speak are not all Medal of Honor, Purple Heart or Bronze star recipients-but they are all everyday heroes on the front lines. And this heroism is present in every one of their actions, great and small. Countless platoons are begging loved ones at homes to send shoes, school supplies, candy, clothing for the children of their war zones. "The kids here have nothing, we want to give them something," I am told over and over. These youth that serve America are not motivated by materialism, but pure altruism. America's youth in the military are motivated by a higher intent than to have the latest stereo, I pod, fast car, minimalist designer gear or get to the next great party. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful inside, and would love all those things just like the rest of our youth in America - and don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge our American youth anything, I am a parent and like most parents, want to give them everything. But America's youth in the military have searched within themselves - and responded to a spiritual calling within their higher self, their soul, if you will. America's youth in the military have chosen to put their own needs to the side, to take their place in America's history to protect our country, to selflessly put oneself on the line for others, including, if required, the ultimate sacrifice of life.

The majority of America's youth in the military enter their service too young to vote or legally purchase alcohol. Yet these American youth are exhibiting levels of courage, fortitude, bravery, and analysis well beyond their years. Their compassion, their depth of soul touches me in ways I can never forget. How many dark nights I have lain awake, so touched by their stories, sleep has left to return no more forever. One soldier wept as he talked to me, telling me this story. He and his platoon had been patrolling in Iraq, and they had been "adopted" by a group of children as big brothers. They had interacted with the kids for weeks; always bringing them treats from their MRE's and care packages from home. One of the platoon members had taken up a collection from their minimal salaries to purchase sweaters, shoes, coloring books, crayons, school supplies and candy to help children who had nothing. It was, this young soldier said, nothing to what the kids had been through. "These kids are the real heroes," he said, fighting back the tears, "They have endured so much, yet still have this spirit of joy and humor in their little souls. We can't do a lot for them, but these little things we do, they get so excited over - I know it doesn't make up for the bad stuff in their world, but it might keep them going, like my letters from home keep me going when it gets dark."

"Oh God," he continued...the GPS line crackled and I could hear this brave and compassionate young man loose his emotions. "It was the worst of the worst..." It took awhile for this young Marine to get it out, and time stopped for me as he told it. "One of the little boys, Ahmed, was strapped with an IED by the insurgents and told to walk with us. His Mother came running up. We didn't know why she was upset; none of us know their language. She grabbed the little boy and tried to pull him away from us. They began to run, and insurgents began shooting at them. They shot Ahmed and his mother, and Ahmed's body was blown to nothing. What kind of world holds people that would blow up an innocent little kid?"

What does one say to America's youth at this point? In addition to this, the platoon had lost three of their brother Marines. We want to tell America's youth, "Here take the keys to the car son! Do you need money for school? What do you want for your birthday?" - Yet how does one answer a question that breaks one's very heart? America's youth in the military are being tempered moment by moment, and so is America tempered - for these youth are a part of our future.

Yes America's youth in the military have been trained to be warriors, yes -- yet, due to their own internal being and motivation, they are also knights with a code of honor and ethics, chivalry and complex emotions that would be equal to King Arthur and his knights of the round table. How little is said, even in America, of the tender beauty of their emotions; how even as they lay their own life down to save their platoon, making the ultimate sacrifice, they will cry out for their mothers, mourn the deaths of the children that are a consequence of war, and if they survive, where their comrades fall, remain guilt ridden for all their days. I mourn as they mourn, for what our youth learn, they first learn from all of us, their elders, before the world begins to teach them.

My soul cries out for our fallen, America's youth, America's finest, and their families. I know in my mother's heart what it is to lose a son who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. There is a saying, which is that of the thousand-yard stare our troops have when they return from war, which describes the tempering effect of a combat zone. Well there is another 1,000 yard stare we parents have when we loose our child, and another 1,000 yard stare that our wounded have, and these two later types of courage have to go on forever.

What our brave youth in America's military protect, is worth protecting. What their mission is, they do it, with the highest standards and with all they have. What their courage teaches us, and their sacrifice, and their beauty of soul, can never be forgotten and to me, is spiritual in the extreme. Freedom is never free; Freedom has its price, yet the sadness of this is; only a few pay this price for us all.

This essay is dedicated to our fallen youth of America and their families..."And how stand America on this winter night? After two hundred years...she still stands strong and true and her glow has held steady no matter what storm."---John F. Kennedy

Semper Fidelis, Carpe Diem and Fortier oh youth of America, America's sons and daughter in the military. You are our hearts, our heroes and never to be forgotten, as my tears wash my face, my soul soars with your courage.

Copyright 2005 Dr. Ariane T. "Doc" Alexander, All rights reserved, permission for publication must be requested in writing at dragonlady13 @ prodigy .net.

This is to the mother who lost her son on 1/24/04 while he was stateside.

Personally I don't believe any words can relieve the pain or hurt right now. All I can say is... I pray that one day you will find peace. You have my deepest sympathy on the 2 yr. anniversary loss of your son. Patricia

The whole marine thing is new to us. My son is a first for our family. He was walking through Wal-Mart with several of his marine friends--not in uniform--but the look. A little boy with his dad holding his hand looked at them then at his dad and asked--Dad, are those real marines? His dad with pride said--yes son, aren't we lucky. My son said those moments make it all worth while. He's currently trying our for FAST team in Virginia and loving every moment. Thanks for the newsletter. We love every one.
Pastor Gary Cox
Fort Myers, Florida

Hi Sgt. Grit!

After reading the latest issue I had to write. My son, Cpl. Edward McManus is serving in Iraq for a second tour of duty. I thought I would share a humorous item for others to enjoy. I am a Special Education teacher and my class started sending care packages to my son. One package grew to two, two to four, and now we send 11 care packages to Marines that do not receive much mail from home. As we add each name to our list, my students look forward to writing that Marine a note and packing a box for him. My daughter's sixth grade class also writes letters to be included in the boxes. Now for the humor.... One young sixth grader was very short but sweet when he wrote, " Dear Marine, I hope you are safe and come home soon. I am a sixth grader and I like recess. Please write back when you can and tell me how the Army is." Another student wrote that he thought the Marines were the best because he had heard that the Marine food is better than the Army's. Anyway, I hope this brings a smile to some people's faces. By the way, my son is very proud to be serving in the Marines and we take every opportunity to let his fellow Marines and him know how proud we are of them!

Semper Fi! And God Bless Our Troops and Recruits!
Sharon MCManus
Proud Marine Parent of Cpl. Edward
Littleton, CO

Recently one of our own returned home from Iraq. He paid the ultimate price and gave his life defending this great country. He died fighting for the right and the freedoms for communist b*ttholes to protest the Marine Corps and other fallen heroes of the war in Iraq. There is a group from Kansas that travels from town to town protesting at these hero's funeral services. They were saying things that I would never have thought I would have heard from the American public. Grant it there were only six of them and approximately 60 Vietnam vets on their Harley's revving their motorcycles so the family of this home town hero could not hear the words they were saying. It was a sad day when they buried the hero but it made me proud to see the veterans stick together and show how proud they were off the colors that run from no one. LCpl Price served his country and died doing it for all of us. I didn't know him personally but I too was a marine therefore we were brothers. I again want to send my thanks for the dedicated, hard charging men and women in the service serving this great country and send my thanks to all the Veterans that show up and show their support for the home town heroes that gave their life fighting for this great country. OOHRAH, SEMPER FI

Sgt. T. Trotter
USMC 1993-1999

Dear Sgt. Grunt,

I wrote you a little while back about info on visiting Marine bases. Well, we found all the info we needed thru my wife's workplace. A customer of hers has a Marine son-in-law who is stationed at Camp Lejeune. He and his wife have set us up for a week-long visit at the base. Our son is on cloud nine. All he talks about from the time he gets up till the time he goes to bed is "talking to a REAL MARINE". He is so excited about going to a Marine base, seeing the tanks, he's got plans to drive a tank when he gets to the Marines. Anyway, I wrote that I would let you know the outcome of our findings so there it is, in March our son will be introduced to a small taste of being a Marine. We can't wait.

I thoroughly enjoy the news letter, thanks so much. Perhaps someday I can write you as a proud Marine dad. Thanks again.......

Thanks for the newsletter. It's awesome. I'm going to recommend it to my parents as a way of trying to widdle them down a bit. They're still stuck in the "Oh my goodness! My son wants to join the military, no, even worse, the Marines!" phase. I'm hoping that your newsletter might be able to help them understand better why I'm going to be a Marine and how proud other parents are when they see what their child becomes and what they do (though not openly, my parents don't seem too happy with my decision). Anyways, that's neither here nor there. Thank you for the newsletter and will you please put in more quotes, especially when they relate to someone's letter.

I've been wanting good quotes to use and good philosophy from people with a brain for a long time. Our great thinkers of today like Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Damon, J Lo, Michael Moore... I'm sorry, I've got to stop. I can't do this with a straight face any more. Needless to say, the philosophers of our day are lacking any intelligence. So if you have a great quote, please put it in with a letter. Thank you.
Nathaniel Frank

"I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance."
-- Thomas Jefferson

I completely agree with CB in newsletter #115. My son joined the Marines 3 months after his 18th birthday. He is now 19 and currently serving in Iraq. To me, this is not about the war. This is about our children, husbands, wives, etc. I am not for the war nor against it. I am for my son and all the things he believes in and all the reasons why he became a Marine. I take it very personally when someone makes a comment about the war to about our family members serving over there.

We asked our son why he chose the Marines and he said because he wanted to be the best of the best and the Marines are the best of the best. This is the path he chose and our job is to support him 100%. While we cry out of fear and our hearts are heavy when we don't hear from him, we never let him know that. We stood beside him and supported him through boot camp, training and now his service in Iraq. God Bless our Marines. Semper Fi! Where would we be without our Marines?

Thank you, Sgt. Grit for this newsletter. It is a way for us to stay in touch with other Marine families and know that we are not alone.

Proud Marine Mom from Louisiana,

"He who in his own house is virtuous will also be just in civic affairs."

I have been reading your letters since shortly after my son went into the Marine Corp in the fall of 2003. He went over to the sandbox on 2/25/05 and will be returning shortly back to Camp Lejuene. I know he will be a changed person and I am certain all for the better. When he was leaving he admitted he was a bit scared, not knowing what he would be facing but that he was doing something he felt was right and in the end he would be able to say he tried to make a difference. During the past year his wife presented him with a baby daughter whom he was able to be home for 10 days when she was born. We can't wait to see his face when he sees how much she has grown since October 5, 2005 and he will realize the changes he has made will make her future life better. The support from reading these letters and from my Marine Moms Online board have made this time go a little easier and I thank all of you for being there.

Linda Patrick
Proud Marine Mom of LCpl. Cody

Sgt Grit,
I went to the "big" gun show at the reliant center, formerly the Astrodome, in Houston, Tx., and it was just that. Along with all the vendors, were active duty soldiers with interactive video displays and Hummers and all that appeals to most men. In the front of the show, was David "Tex" Hill BrigGen Ret and his wife Maisy. I had met the general on other occasions at other gun shows and received autographed photos of "Tex" and the "Flying Tigers". This show he and his lovely wife maisy had books that their grandson had put together about the life of "Tex" and his exploits from early childhood to now. I have only gotten through the first chapter, but it is great informative reading. Anyway to make a short story long, I talked to the general and his wife Maisy about this and that and they were so gracious. I bought a book and the general signed it for me. I was talking to Maisy about the two movies "Flying Leathernecks" with John Wayne, and "God Is My Co-Pilot" with Dennis Morgan, and was not paying attention to what the general was writing. He asked me if I had served and I replied that I served in the Navy from 1965 to 1969 during the unpopular Vietnam war. After her signed the book, he closed it and handed it to me. I thanked him for his time and the autographed copy of the book and we shook hands (he has a very firm handshake at 90) and I thanked him for his service to our country.

I didn't look at the book again until I got home and sat down in the library with a cup of coffee and a cat or two. I opened the book and read the inscription and was almost brought to tears. He had written "To Beau, Thank you for your service to our country, all the best from another Navy man. Sincerely "Tex" Hill . " Why it was so heartening because I served when it was not fashionable to be in the service as so many others did. We were called murderers among other things. When it was all over, I put away my uniform and all semblance of that time as many others had done. Even my own father did not want me to wear my uniform when I came home on leave. I never asked him why, I just assumed I had done the wrong thing by serving in the Navy.

And here was a genuine bonifide air ace, war hero and legend thanking me for my service to our country. The only other person to acknowledge my service is my wife, and she is very rah rah about it. I was not a war hero and did not particularly distinguish myself in my duty. It was just a job, and one that needed to be done and done right, so I did it to the best of my ability as did many others, some even with the last full measure of the ultimate sacrifice. I had several uncles and cousins in the pacific during WWII and an uncle that was 17 years old that hit Omaha beach on d-day and went all the way to Berlin. They all made it back un scarred, on the outside. If it were not for the actions of "Tex" Hill and his generation, we would all be speaking Japanese and German and harvesting rice on the west coast and goose stepping around the sauerkraut fields on the east coast. It is indeed fitting to thank that generation for their service to our country and the world. But I somehow never thought that I necessarily deserved any thanks, in fact I don't remember it even crossing my mind.

I have many friends that served, some have gone on to the great beyond. I ride a Harley with one of my Marine friends who is a member of the LEATHERNECKS motorcycle club. They even let me ride with them on occasion even though I am a swabby. I have the highest regard for Marines. My Mothers new Husband is an old childhood sweetheart from 68 years ago. Nelson joined the marines in 1937 and went to china and served with Chesty Puller and knew him personally as well as John Basilone, Medal of Honor Recipient at Guadalcanal that was killed on Iwo Jima. Nelson retired as a bird colonel and went on to other things. He was a pilot flying the SDB dive bomber and crashed once among other things. It is this group that deserves the thanks and gratitude of the entire world. The kids today that are fighting and dieing in foreign lands, fighting still another unconventional war where you don't know who the enemy is, fighting a less than human, cowardly fanatic bunch of @#$^%#^. Sorry ! I get so incensed over this. From the letters that I have heard from our soldiers, they exhibit the same type of courage that was evident in WWII. The can do attitude, the we are doing the right thing attitude. I have offered my services again to this country, but alas I am passed the age cutoff. Heaven forbid , should it ever get down to calling me up, I would gladly serve. I guess you can tell what is near and dear to my heart, freedom ! I just realized that I have gone on too long and this letter is too long to go into your American Courage letter. Well just read it and know that there are a lot of us out here, former Navy, Marines, Air Force and the like that give a d*mn. HOORAH

Beau Wann RM3 USN

Sgt. Grit,

Your forum has now answered the question that even my father would not answer. having a medical classification of 4F prevented me from even entertaining the idea of being in the military.

However, having been raised by a Marine and his bride, I certainly knew the discipline and regimen of a military household. My Dad (and his twin brother) were Marines in 1952-55 and spent some of that time on the USS Baltimore. Since my Dad's passing in August I was given his dress blues, and they hang in my closet, (for now).

Back to the reason for my writing, I have been called "dinky dau" by a small group of Marines I've known for 20 years. They were in 'Nam and I figured the name was associated with something there. My Dad wouldn't help solve the mystery, he said I needed to go back to them. Now, I get to see Ray and Don tomorrow and enlighten them as to my new found knowledge.


Mike Dow (Dinky Dow)
Farmington, MN

Re: the Marine who had gone to Beirut in the '50s. I attended a State Department-level USAF SpecOps course down in Hurlburt Field I believe it was early '90s. One guest instructor - I've forgotten his name but he's retired "Company" man and former president of the retired CIA association and wrote a book "Men Are Not Angels". After a chance meeting with Che Guevara in a Cuban restaurant he was sent to Beirut. Things went downhill fast and, prior to evacuating, stopped by a tailor's shop to pick up a suit. The tailor beseeched him, "PLEASE, you are an important business man! You MUST tell the U.S. President to send the Marines! Only they can save Beirut!" Well, the man left that day -and the Marines coincidentally landed the next! He got a letter of profuse thanks from his Lebanese tailor for giving the President his message!

Semper Fi,
Mike Ligon

Congratulations to Sgt. Suzy & Sgt. Charles Wofford on the birth their first child, Charles, Jr. born Jan 19, 2006, Naval Hospital, Okinawa. As the case with all Marines, he didn't mess around and wait on everyone else and came into the world 5 weeks early. He already has a most excellent war cry. Mom and baby both doing great.

Proud Marine Dad/Grandpa
Mike Wofford

"We all know our duty better than we discharge it."
-John Randolph

To Bill Clark, regarding his remarks about Robert E. Lee.if you WANTED to get me wide awake at 5:30am, you certainly did it. General Lee came from another time and another mindset. You should keep in mind that Virginia WAS his country. His struggle was with the oath he had taken to serve the US Army (which he had done for many long and faithful years) and his allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was not unusual at that time to feel the same for your state as we feel today for our country. Ultimately, when Virginia seceded, Lee felt he had no choice.to take up arms against Virginia would be to attack his own home and family. It was his intention to leave the military altogether, but his sense of duty led him to serve Virginia. By the way, Lee commanded Marines at one point (the capture of John Brown). Oh well, these matters have been debated for 150 years and state government vs federal government is still alive and well. But there is much more to Robert E. Lee than we learned in the gosh-awful history classes of our childhood.
Marianne E., proud Marine Mom

Sgt Grit,

I was in platoon 371 at Camp Pendleton in 1966. My drill instructor was Cpl. R L Ermey. I believe the things that he taught me helped me to return from Viet Nam in one piece. He later went on to be a famous actor in several movies.

Semper Fi
Dan Heck
Sgt. 1966-1971, Viet Nam Vet

Sgt. Grit,

I just read the post "The Feeling I Got", by David A. Ravanesi. I, like him, did not get to see action while in service. Only those who did not, can understand that we would go back to serve now if it was allowed.

Semper Fi
Mark Ryalls, E-5 USMC
VMFA- 451 and VMFA-235

Semper Fi North and South

I don't want to start the war again but Bill Clark's comments on the Robert E. Lee quote are only correct from Bill's 21st century point of view. Eighteenth century America was not a totally unified nation at the start of the Civil War, War Between the States, War for the Southern Confederacy, War to Save the Union and End Slavery, blah, blah, blah. There were lots of different views of it then and there are still different views today. Lee felt a higher duty to Virginia, the land of his home and family. He did not leave the service of the US until the Virginia legislature seceded from the Union. At that time, technically, as a citizen of Virginia, a lawyer might say that he did not have a legal obligation to the US and could not be called a traitor. It was a time when the patch of ground you lived on and the family that lived there with you meant more than the notion of a nation as a whole. His anguish at having to choose one over the other is well known. But he felt that he had to turn from his oath to the US to his "higher" oath, family and Virginia.

After the war Lee called for all Southerners to rally to the US. He fought for what he believed to be his higher duty and lost. Then he was a gracious loser and was one of the persons who, by his example, turned the US from a patchwork of individual states and lands, into the nation it is today. Had I lived in those days I would have fought for the Union, but I would have admired one of the finest military men this nation ever produced. (My personal favorite is George H. Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga, who was also a Virginian, but saw things differently than Lee.) Just as most of the men did who fought for both North and South. It was simply a different time, if we strive to understand the people who lived in it, we'll be better for it.

One of the few courses in college I paid attention in.

Steve Eslin, Pvt to 1stLt USMCR
1966-1978 (with 4 years for college)

The Chicago Fire Department will be having a Firefighters Exam for Hiring in May,2006.

I wish to contact any fellow Marines that may be interested. Contact www.cityofchicago.org If there is anyone deserving for this career opportunity it is those that have served. Thank you for serving. Please pass this info along to anyone interested.

Semper Fi
Pat Maloney/ USMC
Captain Chicago Fire Department

Sgt Grit,

Your site has been on top of my favorites list since our youngest son left home to become a Marine. We remain proud and steadfast towards all the troops that serve - especially those involved at this time with Afghanistan and Iraq. I just wanted to take a moment of your readers time to offer a special prayer for our son, James and the other 28 Marines and three other servicemen and all their families. True heroes we lost when their helicopter "crashed" on it's way to Rutbah to oversee security for the first election there (January 26, 2005). After a difficult assignment to look for insurgents in and clear Fallujah of insurgents and rescue private citizens - these brave Marines suffered this terrible tragedy. Our family will never recover fully. We do know, that James was proud of what he and the troops were doing over there and would want us to continue supporting his brothers. Each and every one of those continuing the fight our constantly in our prayers.

Semper Fi, Some Gave All,

Dad, Garry Moore - Stepmom, Suzanne Moore - Grandmother, SueLane Moore- and Ariana Moore (our precious little girl)

Sgt Grit,
I'm just wanting to say WELCOME HOME to my son-in-law Sgt Joseph L Dickens III. He will be arriving in Phoenix next week after 7 Month overseas. He left as a Corporal and came back as Sergeant. What a exciting day that was for my daughter and I. He's been a Marine for about 7 yrs now and even though I've only known him for a short time, I'm a very proud Mother-In-Law. Having said that, I want to tell you about some folks I met at the doctor's office I work in. The wife had just finished her time in the Army and we were talking about the different ranks between she and JD. She left as a Sgt after only being in for 3 short years and she and her husband made a comment about how the Marine Corps short changes their men and women. As they put it, she was "guaranteed" to be a Sgt in 3 yrs and yet here was JD still a Cpl at the time. I thought about what they had to say and initially was agreeing with them, until it dawned on me...She may have been "guaranteed" the rank, but Marines have to earn it and to me that makes for a much BETTER person all around, because of the ethics and standards for the Corps are MUCH higher than any other branch of the military. Gee, no wonder it takes more soldiers to do the job than it does Marines.....

Semper Fi and Hope you all come home safely,
Deanna Cummings
Proud Mom-in-Law

I just wanted to let you know how much I love this website! My boyfriend is a Marine and was in Desert Storm. I went on this site about 2 years ago to order him some things for Christmas and his Birthday. Not only did I find some great things at a great price but I enjoyed reading all the letters from the Marines. My boyfriend was so happy that I bought him these things and he had never even seen the items that were being sold. I realize how important the Marines are what an amazing job they do to ensure our freedom and I am very grateful to all of you who have served our Country, thank you very much. God bless America!

Ann Arbor, Michigan

I know the above is a blatant capitalist plug. God Bless America! Sgt Grit

"The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."
-George Washington

Hi Sgt.
It is fifty one years since I left my Corps., but I still stand straight when I hear our band or watch them cross the stage. My wife still says I'm the only one that does that but this last time I turned around & sure enough there were a few getting slowly to place their hands on their hearts! A young man approached me to ask what does "Gung-Ho" mean? & before I could even think (a little slower now) he shouted "MER-FMR"(Semper-Fi! His mom quickly grabbed him & said "all those guys are just killers"! If it ever happens again, & I hope it never does, ---what kind of answer would you use?

"[W]e've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important-why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know...on the 40th anniversary of D-day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, 'we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.' Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do."
-Ronald Reagan

Going back into the fray; i.e., HQMC has taken a hammer to that glass box stenciled "BREAK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY." I am going, and hope I am good enough. I'd like to say I am bringing h&ll with me, but I am probably going into h&ll and do not realize that when I get there, the devil will be waiting and it will be so hot he will be sighing. . .. . hope my canteens are full. .

Semper Fidelis,
R. S. Rayfield, Jr.
Major, USMC (Ret)

Camouflaged Amphibious American Christian Anti-Drug Conservative Pro-Gun Heterosexual Gladiator from New Braunfels, Texas. "Any questions?"

"Your love of liberty - your respect for the laws - your habits of industry - and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness."
- George Washington


Death Smiles At Everyone
Marines Smile Back

God Bless America!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

To Honor our Women of the Corps

U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve officially founded 13 Feb 1943..........

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