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"The world has no room for cowards. We must all be ready somehow to toil, to suffer, to die. And yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battlefields, and no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat."
-Robert Louis Stevenson


Spring Break 2003 & 2004 Shirts

These Spring Break Iraq 2003 and 2004 shirts are back for a limited time only. Show how you spent your Spring Break in the hot sun fighting for freedom. Available ONLY through May 21st. The t-shirts will be made at that time and shipped approximately 2 weeks later.

Special USMC Emblem Shirts

Last Weekend - Special USMC Emblem Shirts

Only through Sunday - get these custom colored shirts with the USMC emblem discreetly featured. Sgt Grit wears these every day! Available in a Men's Golf Shirt, Men's T-Shirt, Women's Golf Shirt, Ad Women's relaxed fit T-Shirt. ONLY available through May 7th...

Mother's Items Special

Memorial Day Items - One Week Left

Gear up for Memorial Day this year with these items showing your support for those who gave the greatest sacrifice... 20% off for a short time only

GriTogether Next Weekend!


For Marines, family members, and friends! 3rd Annual GriTogether is coming up fast. Saturday, May 13th, stop by to see the YL-37, Get some free food, talk with buddies and more...

To Jessica Yanke

I am a proud sister of a Marine killed 29 March 1969 in VietNam. For 37 years I have missed Mo because he was and always will be my hero. There will never be a day when you don't miss your brother but you have many many more brothers who will watch over you but you have to pray for them too Jessica.

I was blessed on June 3 2005 to learn about my brothers' best buddy in Nam. And I learned about the man who stood next to Mo when he was hit. I am blessed to know and communicate with these two heroes via e-mail. Make e-mail a tool of healing. Communicate with the men who knew your brother in combat - they know another side of your brother and can give you insight to the brave Marine he was and will always be. Your brother is watching out for you from a much better vantage point - up above. Know he will always be there for you and be quiet - and listen for his voice. He won't fail you!

Mo promised he would always watch out for me - he has never let me down as long as I listen. Now I have two more heroes. How blessed I am!

I'm a 57 year old "Marine Brat" because my father served in the Corps for 25 years. He, too, is my hero.

Thank a serviceman or woman when you see them - don't be shy and don't hesitate - no one is promised tomorrow and you may pass up a chance to lift a spirit.

Jessica, stand tall and be proud of your brother - as he was and is proud of you!

Donna Mulholland
One D*mn proud Marine Brat!

Hi Sgt. and all who love Marines!
Just had to write since I got back from Camp Pendleton to welcome home our eldest son, Cpl. Edward "Mac" McManus from his 2nd tour in Iraq. The rule of "Semper Gumby" (always flexible) really played out on his return. Anticipating a daytime arrival (2-4 PM), only to have it go into the night (9 p.m.) proved to be nothing that the Marines and their families couldn't handle! There was such a feeling of all of us being part of a special family that I have a hard time putting it into words. Yes, there was excitement in the air......yes, everyone waited with anticipation of their arrival to the parade deck.....the Harleys revving their engines as the Plt.s marched in were not able to drown out the yells, screams, shouts, and whistles of joy and pride. I wish every American could have seen and experienced what we were able to experience. It didn't matter how long we had to wait. It didn't matter that we couldn't sleep for days anticipating hugging our loved ones. Time stood still as we all embraced and kissed our Marines. The nicest thing was being able to hug and kiss those Marines whose families could not be there. We have always thought of every Marine as family......now we feel it even more! I need to order the bumper sticker for my front door......Marines always welcome....family by appointment..... OOORAHHHHH! Sharon
PMP of Cpl. "Mac" McManus

Well Grit,

It's time to get on board. If there was any doubt after Gen. Zinni and Congressman Murtha, there ain't none now that Gen. Newbold has finally sounded off. It's about time. We're supposed to be all about courage, but moral courage too often gets short shrift. We d*mn sure should have seen some high- ranking resignations by now. You can stick all the yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbons you want on this war but the truth remains: wrong war, wrong enemy, wrong strategy, wrong time. Or are we now going to turn on the likes of Zinni and Newbold? Call them unpatriotic? Disparage their character or commitment? War for war's sake? Bullsh!t! Supporting this fiasco in Iraq is immoral, and if you needed some genuine heroes to get behind…now you have them. Better late than never.

Dwight D. Jenkins, Sgt/Capt, USMC

Sgt. Grit,
From time to time I have read the emails that you have shared with all of us. It gives me great pride to know that the slogan, "Once a Marine, always a Marine still exists. I was a Hospital Corpsman (Doc Bunny) with 1,1,1,A,1 during TET 68. I served with them through Battle for Hue, Central Highlands and at Khe Sanh. We Medics and Corpsmen also have a slogan, "Once a Doc, Always a Doc (Then and definitely Now!) I am a proud member/Founder of National Association of Medics and Corpsmen (NAMC). We have formed this organization due to no one except us Docs can understand the pain, guilt etc that we, as young men caring for others, went through. I don't know how many times I have heard from Marines, etc, "Gee Doc, I don't understand how you managed to do you job." What we are about is not to help financially but to lend an ear to another Doc when he thinks life is not worth living anymore due to those guilt feelings of not being able to save everyone. We support each other and encourage each other to continue in living and to still try to make a difference.

Our Official website is located at

There you can go to my website by clicking on members area, then on Members Websites. Click on Doc Bunner's Webpage and you will be taken to my site which explains my reactions to life in trying to help keep those thinking of not continuing on, not to take their own lives.

I have noticed several times and realized that I am not the only Corpsman, Doc who reads the emails. Can you please post this in you next copy of Sgt Grits to encourage all of us Docs to try to help each other by lending an ear?

I'd appreciate it.
Doc Bunner

Marine escorts Princess story:


Mr. A. Cranmore:
Please accept all my gratitude for your former service from the bottom of my heart. Have you ever heard the saying "They also serve, those who stand and wait"? It is very true. Although we may not be enlisted, we Marine Corps wives have a VERY hard job to do as well. Although I don't view it as hard to support my husband's Marine Corps career, I do know from personal experience that it is extremely hard to comfort a young child who doesn't understand why Daddy is gone, or an older child who is distraught because they know their Daddy is a Marine in combat after they see the news that Marines were killed that day. It is hard for a wife to figure out what to do when half her chimney falls off or a tree falls on her house. There are constant daily struggles that a devoted wife goes through while a husband is deployed so your disrespect for Tina from Akron was uncalled for. I am also a Marine wife who lives very close to the Akron area, and it's hard enough to deal with all that I before mentioned without having no respect from your community or getting your ear beat that your husband is a "killer" every time you wear your USMC shirt in public.

Tina, keep your chin up. What your husband does gives all those ignorant people the right to be and act however they choose. Just know that as your husband is in a breed all his own, you too are a special breed. You are strong, you are proud, you are a Marine Wife. Hang in there.

Another Ohio wife

Respect is not freely given. For those who wish to instill respect through terrorism, bullying or brutality, understand that this is not respect.

Respect is never given. It is earned by doing those things that set us above and beyond common morals. It is never earned by those that act below or without common morals.

Jerone A. Bowers

For Jessica Yanke and her Marine family

Jessica, our Marines Hymn third verse closes with, "If the Army or the Navy ever look on heaven's scene, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines". I believe the Marine's "Amen" sounds something like, "OOORAH!"

We too, are very proud of your brother and ours, Lance Corporal Nicholas Anderson, and we are grateful for his service. And though there is pain in losing a brother, we are proud to know he is serving in the best duty station in which any of us will ever serve.

God bless you and our Corps.

Semper Fidelis,
Marty Schnoor
MSgt USMC, retired (1978-1998)

"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."
-Thomas Paine

As a Viet Nam era U.S. Air Force Veteran, I want to salute Ruth Murphy on her handling of that smart *ss young lady's (?) comment made in Lance Corporal Murphy's store. She was probably correct in not smacking the crap out of her, but I can certainly appreciate her desire to do so.

I come from a military family. My father and six uncles (as well as one aunt) served in WWII. One uncle was killed by the Japanese on a God forsaken Pacific island. I have five brothers who are also veterans. We covered all branches of the service except the Coast Guard. Some served during the Korean conflict. My younger brother, Dan, served with the Marines at the same time I was in uniform. He served two tours of duty in Nam, and was wounded more than once over there. I am very proud of all of them. I am also very proud of all the men and women who are serving today and who served in the past.

Brother Dan is the one that told me about your newsletter. I enjoyed reading some of the letters. I will add this site to my favorites and come back to read more in the future. Good work.

Larry E. Heck
Former Sgt, USAF 1962 - 1967

US Marine can travel "from the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli," but not to the senior prom at Pearl River Central High school in MS.
The school's 'age' policy prohibits a high school senior from taking her boyfriend to the prom.
Leah Lott, an 18 year old senior at the school and Marine LCpl Christopher Raffo, stationed at Camp Lejeune have been dating for several years and plan on marriage.
Leah had reserved a dress for the prom on May 13th and Chris is scheduled to be home on 30 days leave prior to deployment to Iraq.
Things seemed to be working out perfectly...except the school board says Chris Raffo is too old for the prom. Here is a US Marine traveling over 700 miles with plans to escort a young lady to her senior prom. A one-time event that is supposed to be meaningful and special in her life.
This LCpl is not someone who has the opportunity to visit his young lady often. He is serving his country and will soon be going in harm's way to do this. As we all know, his ability to get leave is limited.
To enforce a blanket policy of age restriction in this situation is contemptible. The school board members, who this Marine has volunteered to protect, and possible give his life for, have so far stood fast to many appeals and requests on this couples behalf.
However, the school board has stated "though the couple is not allowed to attend the prom, they can stop by for a few minutes to take photos, but then they will have to leave." Ms. Lott has stated that they would not be going. " We're not be getting all dressed up just to take pictures."

It's history repeating it's self. The ancient Romans wanted their army for protection, but wouldn't let the soldiers enter the city. Fortunately, since the beginning of this great Nation, Marines have always stood front and center to protect and serve God, Country and Corps in spite of insensitive, unappreciative people like this school board.

This Marine and his lady may not be able to have senior prom memories to look back on in later years, but I know that they will find the support and care of the Brotherhood of Marines to make up for it.

LCpl Raffo, your brother and sister Marines will never treat you in this manner. Had I been able to be there, I would have proudly stood and voiced my support for you, and displeasure with the school board's decision.

Semper Fi, to you and all Marine's, inactive, and active.

Joe Newman SSgt
USMC 65-71

My name is elena, I am 20 years old and have been a Corpsman in the navy for 2 years now. I am stationed at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in California. Coming from a family of all Mariness and being the only female in the military in my family, reading your newsletter bring it all home for me. Sgt... Your newsletters bring me back to reality and remind me of the support we always have. I grew up living the dream of being a Marine through my dad, cousins and uncles. H&ll my dad has yellow feet at his desk! When I learned of my new passion for the medical field I found my way into the navy, in hopes to become a FMF Corpsman. In raising my right hand and saying the ole faithful OATH of ours, I also gave my family and my marines my word that I will do everything in my power to take care and protect them. I have yet to have been able to be stationed with a Marine Corps unit. I tore my meniscus in my right knee, and being stationed with marines like I have dreamed has become farther and farther away. I am currently in Kuwait and stationed on an army base, not exactly a Corpsman's dream. I have been participating in physical therapy and have been doing things on my own in attempt to recover and to fulfill my dreams of being the FMF Corpsman my heart desires. I have requested to receive temporary assigned duty orders or even just orders to attend Field Medical Service School (FMSS) and all request have been denied. For several reasons, medically and they are currently only excepting females who's specialty school requires it. In all reality what im trying to say is thank you for your newsletters and those of you who have written your own. It shines a little light on a cloudy day in Kuwait and keeps the hopes a dreams alive of a future FMF Corpsman. OORAH!

Saying thanks for those of us at Camp Buehring.

HN Creutzburg, Elena

Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
-George Washington

Just a Semper Fi from the proud 2 Marine father from Fayetteville Ohio.Son #1 is Sgt.Dennis Osborne Jr. of the #/25Lima Co.out of Columbus Ohio and Recruit Christopher Lee Osborne presently at Parris Island.God Bless America-God Bless Our Soldiers.
Dennis Osborne

Please pass my thoughts and prayers onto Cpl. Aguilar's family. Just recently we were contacted by one of our sons currently serving in Iraq. If this is the Cpl. Aguilar with the 3/3, my son is feeling a great deal of loss without him as they served together. Cpl. Aguilar played a huge role in my sons life through being a friend and reintroducing him to the game of soccer, I know he will be terribly missed. This story continues to touch my heart every time I see his name. You see I wasn't sure if this was who my son was referring to until I spoke to our oldest son, also currently serving in Iraq. As it turns out our oldest was part of the recovery team and was not able to console his brother as well as he would have liked. Cpl. Aguilar's family can be very proud of their son for positively touching so many peoples lives both as a friend and brother Marine. I will continue to hope and pray for all of our Marines and service people that they will stay safe.

Thank you Marines, you are the best. And thank you for being a special friend Cpl. Aguilar.

Mom, 3xparents

Sgt. Grit -
I had an experience I've never had before and wanted to write about it. I am the proud girlfriend of a Marine who is currently deployed with 1/7 in Iraq. I was in church a few Sunday's ago wearing a Marine Corp. sweatshirt. After the service, we have "coffee hour" where we talk and eat and generally enjoy each others company. I am new to the church so I don't know many of the people there. As I was drinking my coffee, one of the women came up and asked me if I had a Marine in the family. I told her about my boyfriend in Iraq. She looked me in the eye and said, "You tell your Marine Thank You very much for what he's doing." No one has ever approached me, let alone to say thank you. Tears filled my eyes and she hugged me as tears began to fill hers. I'm not sure if I said it that day but I would like to say it now - Thank You.

I would like to say thank you to the fiancé of the Marine in 1/7 who wrote last week. It's not always easy being a wife, fiancé, or girlfriend, especially when our men are deployed. If you ever need anything, please feel free to get in contact with me.

Lastly, I would like to let the Marine, who wrote about LCPL Phillip Martini know that your letter was passed on to his family as soon as it was read. I'm sure it is bringing comfort to his friends and family who read it.

Proud Marine Girlfriend of CPL. Teeple

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I read the note by Jon Mitchell of Garland, Utah and thought he hit the nail right on the head. He regretted not actively serving in the military but tried to do his civic duties well. I would say to Jon that not everyone is called to serve in our armed forces, and those who do certainly deserve our respect; however, EVERYONE is called to serve their country and to defend its freedoms by performing their civic duties. Those who serve in the military cannot alone guarantee our freedom. President Reagan said, "The loss of freedom is only one generation away." Preserving freedom is everyone's duty and responsibility. Just as one must exercise muscles to stay fit, all of us must exercise our freedoms and civic duties to preserve our rights. Jon Mitchell, who does these things, is a patriot and has my profound respect.
Larry Malby, USMC, 65-69

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
-Thomas Jefferson

Sgt.Grit, I love reading all the stories of our great Marines. My son Gabe is a Marine. He was in Iraqi Freedom in the beginning. So proud of him & all his fellow Marines. They all came home.{Thank our God} The reason I'm writing you is to give you a heads up that maybe a small health issue. My son was sick with a common cold, sore throat, & he also has bad allergies. He was doctoring for his symptoms& the doctor aspirated his ears . The doctor was puzzled what came out. He asked if he was around sand.'' Of course ''was the answer. He's been home for a couple of years now. The sand was still there. I thought this was a little info to pass to our troops coming home. With some people this could become a more serious problem. Oh Well! Once a mother always a mother! Sincerely, a Marines Mom { and proud of it}

The new television program the unit came on and I started to watch. A couple of weeks ago the unit's commander had s&x with one of his enlisted men's wife. Does anyone know how insulting this was to me a 27 year veteran. I was embarrassed and shocked they would portray a commander in that light. I can't watch that program any more and its too bad as I liked it when it started. Prude I think not. Retiree with personal pride you bet.
Joe Fragomeli
1STSGT Retired

It's strange to think that you consider yourself to be above everyone just because you are a military wife. I am 18 years old and my fiancé is a Marine of two years and in those two years I too have been asked a lot of questions, but never once have I felt that I need to call a fellow American idiot. Yes, some people don' know what a blue star flag is, but maybe that is because they don't know any better. Second, are you in the military? Are you the one fighting for our Country? No, your husband is,(and Lord know his country thanks him and is proud of him) that doesn't mean that you need to get upset about a military discount at a home depot. Third, if someone asks to see I.D. and they can't accept military I.D., don't get upset, maybe a military I.D. isn't what they are trained to accept. They are only doing there job.
Lastly, being a military wife, you have had to deal with a lot of things, a lot of things that civilians don't know or can't even fathom...i.e. depending on how long you have been together, boot camp, AIT, MCT, all of those thing that causes your husband to have to leave the comforts of home, and be gone for periods of time that are sometimes unknown, you would think that would teach you patience, and graciousness, so yes, you know what things mean and where things are and everything a military wife should know, but that doesn't mean everyone will know. So I'm assuming that it was indeed a civilian, you can't call someone ignorant, or an American idiot when they do not know. And if someone is wearing military clothing, even if it does have rank on it, who are you to judge that person and say they shouldn't wear it? maybe it was a close relative's and they are wearing in tribute?
Support your husband, be proud and show it, let people know you are proud by answering questions graciously, and know that you are just like everyone else, except you are married to a hero who defends the country we all call home. Ooh rah,Good Luck, God Bless you and your family, Semper Fi, Megan Kreger future Marine wife of LCpl Edward D. Garverick

Sgt Grit,
This column appeared in our local paper in York, NE today. I edited it slightly. I'm the author.
Semper Fi,
Major Brian Bresnahan

What Our Troops Deserve

I served in Iraq with some of the most incredible men and women of our Armed Forces. The members of our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are truly worthy of our unswerving support.

Although I'm sure the Army and Air Force have more than their fair share of outstanding soldiers and airmen, the adoration for my fellow troops comes from my time serving with Marines and Sailors. I will forever, jealously guard that time in my life when I stood side by side with the grunts and docs. I personally know now why we hold fast to the decree of "Once a Marine, Always a Marine." We do so because of those we serve with.

Even when you are one of "The Few, The Proud" it is still an incredible experience to serve alongside others who belong to that fraternity. I continue to be impressed at the level of maturity, professionalism, and courage they possess. These are smart kids with intestinal fortitude, with character.

So many times you would simply give them your intent and desired end state, and they would deliver. If you've never led or had the privilege of observing a group that gets it right almost every single time the first time, believe me, it is truly an honor.

It's an incredible thing to serve with an infantry unit that has every Marine, without specific command or direction melt into exactly the right place. Each one, knowing his job, from the time they dismount the vehicles or walk into an area, is either posted or patrolling precisely where he should be.

I stand in awe of the Corpsmen that run into the middle of a firefight to retrieve or give aid to a fallen Marine.

I am encouraged when I remember the Forward Air Controller being shot at by RPG's who simply peeked back around the corner at the rest of the platoon, in a humorous, cartoon- like way and kept talking to the medevac helo and close air support gunships.

To know that young men like Corporal Stephen Flannery exist should reassure all of us. Every time I stepped into a group of Iraqi's I knew he had my back. I knew he wouldn't be gawking at something around him. I knew, without looking, that he was doing his job and that he would act swiftly and decisively when the time came.

They were inspiring to work with, and they taught me how to be a better Marine. From them I also learned lessons which I apply today and will for the rest of my life. Like the time a Marine older than I taught me to "Never argue with a pig. You'll only get dirty and you'll make the pig look smarter than the pig that he is."

These fine young men and women deserve all the support we can give. We observed Iraqi Liberation Week last week and did so with relatively little fanfare. With news cycles stuck on immigration issues and disgruntled generals who haven't gotten over Secretary Rumsfeld urinating on their fire hydrants, the hard work of the troops was again overlooked. This, during the very week our focus should have been on them.

The young Marines and Corpsmen I served with, those still there, and their counterparts in the Army and Air Force have given and are giving their sweat, blood, tears, and lives so the Iraqi people could taste just a little bit of what we have. They do it without complaint. They do it without asking for recognition of their endeavors.

With each passing day, more and more call this group "The Next Greatest Generation." Knowing those I do from both groups, I would say this is not only a fair title, but also a humbling one. Both groups have had the courage to stand against the evils of their time. The first faced the fascism of empirical Japan and the evils of Hitler's Germany; this group faces the evil of Islamic terror, and they do so voluntarily.

Unlike so many here, these fine young men and women have the insight, the vision to see the world around them and all that is both good and bad about it. They see how their actions can make the world a safer place. Unlike the anti-war groups and cynics, they know that change only happens through hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance.

But, they also have to follow the orders of our civilian leaders in Washington D.C. So, they deserve to have leaders there with character, courage of moral convictions, perseverance, compassion, a vision, and a hope for the future. I implore all of you, as you survey the landscape around you through the election season, to keep an eye out for those who can provide civilian leadership worthy of our young troops. Avoid individuals whose words and actions provide the enemy with propaganda and supports the morale of terrorists; avoid those associated with them. Choose those who will or have demonstrated the qualities our troops deserve in a civilian leader making decisions on their behalf.

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
-Patrick Henry

Howdy Sgt Grit,
Get the letter every week and this Marine Dad loves it. My son's been a Marine going on 22 years now and still on active duty. I read the letter from Capt Bellflower, USAF in last weeks newsletter. As I am a proud 101st Airborne Vietnam vet I'd like to clarify something. The Captain is indeed correct in stating that in the Army those who have served in combat with a unit are entitled to wear that units crest/insignia/patch on their Right shoulder as their "combat service" patch- however we ALWAYS wear the unit insignia of the unit we are presently serving in on our LEFT shoulder. So the 2nd MarDiv patch wasn't being worn INSTEAD of the 101st Airborne patch it was being worn WITH it. In my last tour in Vietnam I was proud to wear the 1st Cav patch as my "combat" patch (I'd previously served with them) along with my 101st Airborne insignia. For the remainder of my time in the Army I always wore the 101st Airborne as my "combat" patch on my right shoulder which was my choice & privilege..

You probably don't care about all this "Doggie" stuff, but I thought I'd do my best to update you all on another services traditions and practices.

Airborne & Semper Fi,
Vince Vitale
CWO USA(ret)

This was my first newsletter and I enjoyed everyone's letters. However, it made me want to tell my husband's story.

My husband had a massive stroke last year in July 2005. Physically he is affected by fatigue - mentally the effect has been more. The stroke has over emphasized his memory of 3 tours in Nam.

Let me regress quickly, I am 23 years younger than my husband and I grew up 10 miles from El Toro Marine Base, in Orange County, CA. When I was growing up, "Jar Head" was an insult if you called someone that. Because of my father's age and marital status, he was in the Navy Reserves and never got to serve ,much to his dismay.

So to "end up with a jar-head" was way beyond my scope of things. I have always been a civilian and never understood the men and women who have served and are serving our country until I met my husband. Thank God, God allowed me to have an education!

My husband is a recipient of the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, 5 purple hearts, etc., etc. I am so proud of him. He has taught me to appreciate everyone who has served and now I am pretty obnoxious about this. I work in retail and I have an elderly clientele and many of them wear veteran's hats. I have one customer who is a 3 war veteran and every time I see him I shake his hand and tell him thank you.

I am ever so grateful that my husband did not loose his memory of his time served. Let me tell you, once a Marine always a Marine. My husband lost four out of five brothers in Viet Nam and rightfully so, he is still very proud. So am I. I guess that is what I want to share.

Since his stroke, my husband is a different person. But he is alert, physically independent and thank God he is not an invalid. Trust me though, HE IS STILL A MARINE. This is the one thing his brain has allowed him to hang on to.

God Bless to all of our Marines and we pray victory and safe return home soon.

Love to you all, a Marine wife,

Sgt. Grit.

This is long, so I'll understand if it doesn't make your letter. It is a true story of my "welcome home" in 1969.

This is in response to the letter in your American Courage Newsletter #121 signed "Semper Fi 2038388, particularly the paragraph quoted here.

"Last item is this Sundays PARADE magazine section in the Chicago Tribune had a article by Dr. Joyce Brothers titled "When The Troops Come Home" the article aims to erase the failures of the government in the past with respect to our returning troops. It states that one/fifth of our returning troops need some form of help. As the article states the government has found plenty of money to wage the war and we should write letters to congress reminding them that it is our responsibility to step up for those that have done our national bidding."

When I returned from my second tour in Nam in 1969 it wasn't the government who denied and condemned me. Dr. Joyce is a pretty smart cookie, but she missed totally the real problem of repatriation after Nam. More harm was done to me, my brothers and sisters, and now to my nephews and nieces in Iraq, by the general public than anything the government did or failed to do. It was not the government who called me "baby killer" and walked away from me as I approached to buy groceries, refusing very loudly to wait on me. It was not the government who told me they had no gas as I watched others come, fill up and go. It was not the government who refused to serve me in restaurants and bars. Is it any wonder that when I found one that welcomed my money and tolerated me, I stayed! It was not the government who told me a hard luck story about how they had "missed a lot of parties because I had to stay home and study so I wouldn't get kicked out of college and lose my deferment" just before he told me in his opinion "You people are nothing but a bunch of alcoholics and drug addicts, you're nothing but a bunch of f…ing losers and don't deserve a g.d… thing. The first chance I have I will personally fire you. Get out." (It WAS a newly hired college graduate assigned as DOM in my area when I had about 6.5 on the job). And it wasn't the government who, about six months later, fired me. This lazy, alcoholic, drug addicted loser was out of work for a whole 5 days in an area that at the time had an unemployment rate above 12%. A former co-worker told me a few weeks later that he had heard that if I apologized MAYBE he (the DOM) would give me my job back - as a new hire at the bottom of the pay scale. Maybe I would have done so if I could figure out what I was suppose to apologize for. I was working, but the cut in pay hurt. I ended up selling my car to make house payments, then having to sell the house anyway. It wasn't until twelve years later that I was comfortably back on my feet, and almost 30 years before I could afford to buy a house again. None of this is the fault of the government - not Kennedy, not Johnson, not Nixon. None of them. The number one reason Nam vets were treated the way they were was the stories the media put out. The media exercised subtle brainwashing of the American public for years during the Nam war. The kid who was 8 or 12 in 1960 became an adult, politically aware by 1972. And what they were aware of was what a terrible group of ignorant, racist murders and baby killers the 3.2 million Nam vets were. They knew this because NBC, ABC, and CBS told them every night and twice on Sunday. Today it is the same media who can still talk of nothing but body counts. They talk continually about Abu Grahiab and Gitmo, just as in the seventies they talked about Mai Lai. Here's a test for you: Can you remember who the primary actors were at Mai Lai? How many soldiers were under their command? How many soldiers took part in the killing? First bonus question worth 10 points: What caused the shooting to stop? Second bonus question worth a quadjillion plus points: What was the name of the person who caused the shooting to stop? I admit, to my own shame, I had to look that one up. In Iraq, as in Vietnam, the a$$holes who give the media what they need to denigrate everybody consists of less than one-tenth of one percent of the whole. The U.S. media cannot survive with out that one percent.

Let us all remember "Government of the people, by the people, for the people." It is up to us individually to support, love, respect, and help those returning. It is up to each of us individually as we leave our jobs every day to educate those around us whose only source of information is CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, anti-America, anti-everything. They can vent their spleen at and about politicians all they want. We must un- confuse them about politicians and our service men and women. We must lead the fight - they CANNOT MISTREAT our Veterans.

God bless and keep all.
Semper FI

"The steady character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor; and notwithstanding the efforts of the papers to disseminate early discontents, I expect that a just, dispassionate and steady conduct, will at length rally to a proper system the great body of our country. Unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner, we shall be able I hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom & harmony."

-- Thomas Jefferson

G'day Sgt Grit,

Been quite a while since I last wrote you. On April 29 I celebrate my first year as a US citizen (I'm an ex-pat aussie), and in June my wife and I will be attending the graduation of her son (my stepson) Jason, from TBS as 2nd Lt. He ranked about 5th in his company overall and has been told he has been given his 2nd MOS choice - Logistics. Seems he will be posted at Camp Pendleton, with the First Marine Div, after completing 3 months training at Camp Lejeune. His mother is holding her breath as Jason has indicated the possibility of being deployed to Iraq as soon as he clears Camp Lejeune. I can understand her trepidation, but at the same time we're both extremely proud of his achievements to date and that he's been in the Corps for just over 10 years now. He's champing at the bit to get out there and join the fleet, and his mates on the line. Our prayers are with him, his family, his Corps family, and everyone here at home with family 'over there'. Semper fi, mates! --
Greg Smith

I just wanted everyone in our Marine family to know that my husband is home safely and I wouldn't have made it without out your newsletter. I am still praying for you all overseas and at home. Semper Fi. Elizabeth Goldschmidt

"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it."
-- George Washington

This ltr. is in reply to the young person named Jessie. Girl, get ready for the best change of your life. You better have dreams, guts and stamina. Mostly stamina! The Marines will not accept anything less than your ALL! And you better get to the understanding you maybe asked to give your life for the support of any operation that maybe required of you. But first, you have to make it through the land that GOD forgot. (Paris Island) The place where the sand is 18 inches deep and the sun is blazing hot. And don't hit a sand flea! Treat your arrival as a thirteen week introduction into the elite branch of service this country has to offer and it is...The only way that I can best explain it is on graduation day. When you accomplish this, you can call me "TOP"!

Sgt. Grit

I read your newsletter faithfully and have passed it along to all my friends. I have started a support group in my area for Marine parents. We had our first meeting over the weekend. My son LCPL Travis left for Iraq on October 1, I immediately put yellow ribbons everywhere, bushes, mailbox, car, etc. I have all the proud parent decals on my car, signs in my car windows, Marine mom license plate, the Marine flag on my front door, etc. However, nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the feeling of knowing your son has completed his FINAL mission and will soon be returning stateside. The ribbons are starting to fade, but they will not come down until he walks through my front door. I am looking forward to his return and my only wish would be to be able to travel to Camp Lejeune for his return, but that is not to be. I am so proud of my son and his decision to serve our country. Keep the newsletter coming, and please, everyone, keep our boys in your prayers.....they have done a great service.

Debbie Hope

"The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past-by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away-the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity-or dishonor and shame."
-Ronald Reagan

I thought I would share some great news with you guys! Anne [Chicago] Very proud Mom of Cpl Steven and Veteran Rich.

Today is a great day for democracy and the freedoms of the First Amendment in Illinois. By a unanimous vote, the Illinois General Assembly has passed the Let Them Rest in Peace Act to protect the rights of mourners at a funeral to speak, assemble and practice their religious faith without harassment or disruption by an outside hate group.

The Let Them Rest in Peace Act creates a zone of privacy of 200 feet around a funeral or memorial service so families mourning the loss of a loved one will not be subjected to vile epithets or signs. Hateful speech designed to disrupt a funeral will be prohibited 30 minutes before a funeral, during a funeral, and 30 minutes after the funeral within the designated zone of privacy.

The Let Them Rest in Peace Act protects the First Amendment religious rights of families to bury their dead with reverence and dignity, and everyone in the Land of Lincoln believes in this fundamental principle of human decency.

I salute the people of Illinois for their grassroots effort urging their legislators to enact this important law. Thousands of citizens signed an online petition urging passage of the Let Them Rest in Peace Act and their voices have been heard. .

I also salute the sponsors of this bill, Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet), as well as Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), and Sen. Dale Righter (R- Mattoon) for their support.

Thank you very much for your personal support of the Let Them Rest in Peace Act. God bless you and God bless America.

Pat Quinn
Lt Governor of Illinois

London Muslims demonstrating in front of the Parliament building bore signs reading, "Islam our religion today, your religion tomorrow." Military Magazine, May 2006

Sgt Grit,

"Fellow Marines, family members, and friends. Next month, 11 of us will be running marathons to help raise funds for the injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. We have all served at least one combat tour in Iraq or Afghanistan and all of us have had friends wounded and some killed. This fund helps raise money for injured Marines to help them during the difficult recovery process. Please check out our website at https://www.firstgiving.com/semperfi and help out a few good men and women. Semper Fi."

Capt Grass

"A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal."
-- John Adams

Sergeant Grit

I was going to start this off by saying that this was the first time I had written to you, then as I scrolled down I saw my brief message in the 4/27/06 newsletter, memory at 85 years not as good as it once was. But to get back to hitch hiking, a short story.

Shortly after December 7th., the Squadron I was with had transferred from Quantico to the Naval Air Station at North Island, San Diego, A good friend of mine Pvt. Milo Fox & I decided we wanted to go to Long Beach. We got out on the highway and were careful not to raise our thumbs if the approaching car was being driven by a person in uniform, there ware regulations out against hitch hiking, you were permitted to stand by the side of the highway.

We saw this Convertible Touring car approaching and could see that it was being driven by a Naval Officer, so we merely stood there and sure enough the driver applied the brakes and stopped. We ran up to the car and he said "Get in men". of course we obeyed his order. As we proceed north on the coast highway, he asked, " do you know why I stopped and offered you a ride?" of course our answer was " No Sir, but we certainly appreciate the lift", well he then told us " it is because you were not actually hitch hiking, and that there was an order out prohibiting service men from doing so". we answered that we knew of the order and were complying with it.

Oh yes he was a newly Commissioned Ensign. He began to tell us how he received his Commission, he had read something in a newspaper that the Navy was looking for young men who had served aboard a vessel and had some ocean going experience. That when he had graduated from college a year a before pearl Harbor, he had signed on as a deck hand on a freighter out of New York that was going to South American, he had made the one round trip and took a civilian job. He applied to the Navy and they sent him to O.C.S. Officer's Candidate School, for 90 days and he graduated and was Commissioned an Officer in the United States Navy.

We asked him if he had received his orders and just what was he going to do. Well he replied that yes, in just one week, he was going to take Command of a small sailing craft , something under 30 feet, that he would have a 2 man crew and they would proceed out into the Pacific from Long Beach to a point approximately 100 miles and the proceed to sail up and down for 30 days watching for Japanese Submarines. That they would be in radio contact with a Naval Shore Installation. Being curious we asked about what they would be armed with, his answer was he would have a Forty Five caliber automatic, and his crew would have one sub-machine gun and one Model 03 rifle. That they would spend one month at sea and then come ashore for a month and then out again for another month. At the end of one year, the entire crew of 3 would receive a leave, he wasn't certain how many days, that had not been fully explained. He had no idea what experience his two man crew would have, but assumed that they would be men who were familiar with sailboats. It sure would have been interesting to talk to him again after his first tour of duty, but unfortunately that was not possible.

M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller
Six yrs. active 3/40/to 3/46 and then
inactive Reserves. Retired list
October 1957.
Still a Marine.

"I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty."
-Thomas Jefferson

Women Marines ?
That is what we've been called for years, why?
Is our s&x that important?
Do we not wear the same uniform as you?
Do we not train the same?
Do we not endure the same pain?
The loneliness we share with you.
The heat, the cold, we endure
We pride ourselves just as you
Our uniform tells of this
Women Marine?
No, just, Marine
This is for all our sisters who stands tall by our side,
And who has earned the right to be called, United States Marine
From an ol Marine, Robert L. Smith - Okmulgee, Okla

"Poverty is uncomfortable; but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim."
-James Garfield

As you know, I have written in the past about amazing people I have met while working in a mall in Rockville, MD. Wounded vets, their families, Marines I have shipped care packages to, etc.

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to meet a very dear gentleman, who is an Iwo vet.

He lives near the mall and comes to dinner with his wife weekly. As it happens, I had not seem him for several weeks and was worried about to call him. He walked into the store five minutes after I thought of him.

Earlier that day I had received in the mail a beautiful certificate of appreciation for my care packages from 1/25, a Reserve Unit mostly from New England. I showed it to my friend, whose name is Gordon F. Ward.

Incredibly, it was the same unit he served with back in '43- '45...when he landed on the beach at Iwo!
Was he surprised to see I was shipping to his old unit...and I found an article about him which I forwarded to the 1stSgt with 1/25 so he could see a story about one of his old Marines. He printed and posted the article for his Marines in Fallujah to read!

Here is the article about Gordon

My life is so full of beautiful events such as this.
I am daily blessed with these outstanding Americans in my life!

Susan Warren
Rockville, MD

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-Edmund Burke

Hey Sgt. Grit,

I'm 18 and chopping at the bit to ship to boot camp. I still have four months to go. Anyway I love your newsletter, I love the stories of Marines from around the country. And since some many stories have influenced me I think I have a good story that would influence anybody that has no clue what they're going to do in the future.

One early Saturday morning, me and some of my fellow poolees were driving to Everett Naval Station. A state wide pool function was planned and we had to be there at 0900 sharp! We finally arrive, there's hundreds of poolees and recruiters already there. After stretching were informed that the day is going to consist of a series of friendly competitions.

Well we made it through the competitions (truck pull, dizzy izzys, fireman carry etc.). And all the poolees are separated by the office that their from. I'm standing in formation when a GySgt. explains (with a grin on his face) that he has a little treat for us. Out of nowhere comes a DI from San Diego. He's a good six to seven inches shorter then me. But he looked like he could brake me in half just by lookin' at me. He immediately had us running sprints, doing push ups and saying "yes sir" "no sir" more times then I care to count.

After a mini PT session he instructed us to form a half circle around him. That DI stood there and answered any questions we had about boot camp. He still demanded respect and we gave it to him, but he answered everything we asked. That really made my day, to have the opportunity to converse with a Drill Instructor. You know the Marines are the only branch, where I come from, that weekly gets together with it's poolees and work out and learn about the Marine Corps.

I will never forget that day. Even though I was dead tired the adrenaline rush of that DI gave me the strength to do more push ups then I'd ever done. I just wanted to tell that DI how much of an impression he gave me. He solidified my desire to join the Corps and become a Marine.

A big Semper Fi to all past, present and future Marines.
Justin Young
boot camp Aug. 21 2006

"I am convinced that the best service a retired general can perform is to turn in his tongue along with his suit, and to mothball his opinions."
-General Omar Bradley

I am a Marine MOM . I am very proud of my Marine and what he now represents . They are a tough bunch of men , at least I try to look at my boy as the Man he has become . My son , Lance Corporal Dickie Prince Jr. , Alpha Company , 1st Battalion out of Grand Rapids Michigan . He has gone to California for his final months of training before going to Iraq . As I try to be as brave as I can , I have to admit , I am terrified for him . With the help of God and his new found brothers , he will come back home to me safe . I love the Corp and stand by it at all cost . OOOH RAHHH!
Marine Mom
Renee Prince

"Mistakes are made in every war; there's a reason the word 'snafu' began as a military acronym whose meaning we can't reprint in a family newspaper."
-The Wall Street Journal

I get so tired of the unwashed masses of tree-hugging, granola-chompers saying that their fat-azzed, lazy, unshaven, loud-mouthed protesting anti-war activist friends are "patriots"...this term it total bull crap.

My American Collegiate Dictionary defines a patriot as "A person who loves his country, zealously supporting and defending it and its interest."

My country right or wrong, my country!

Bad mouthing is NOT the act of a patriot. It is an act of an anti-American zealot. Saying anything BAD about America is anti-American.

Semper Fidelis,

"If we ever forget that were one nation under god, then we will be a nation gone under."
Ronald Reagan

United 93/Movie
You gotta' see this movie. CAUTION! INTENSE! This we know HAPPENED! GOD BLESS these HEROES! My best to you and as always The Corps. God speed! Sgt. of Marines. 1964 to 1970. Miller O.F.

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."
Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit,

Nice to see some more new items for sale in the newsletter. Keeps us all interested!

I wanted to share an experience I had this last week with several Marines from 3/5 and 2/9 from the Vietnam Era, 1965 - 1966. They had a mini reunion in LA. where a half a dozen of them reunited to talk of old times. I was invited because my brother, who they refer to as "Doc" (for Doc Gillespie), has long since passed away and they thought I would enjoy meeting them all. Well, they couldn't have been more dead on target. Having done a tour myself I was able to relate to them and they with me while they told stories of old "Doc" and the rest of the clan. I could not have felt more welcomed if it had been my buddies from 2/1 70 - 71 I had met with. The love and admiration they showed only reinforced what I already knew and experienced. Marines are brothers forever. It is this Commitment to Corps and fellow Marines, every forty years later, which makes my beloved Corps such an outstanding organization.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
RVN 70 - 71

Sorry, Sarge, but I have to nitpick. I have seen several letters in the newsletter (mostly from women) talking about the Marines to whom they are engaged. They spell the word "fianci" or "fiancie". Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for being picky, but the proper spelling of this word is "fiance" when referring to a man and "fiancee" when referring to a woman. Both words are pronounced the same "fee-ahn-say". It's just a personal quirk, but these misspellings have been driving me nuts. Just thought I'd share my knowledge. Thanks for listening to my little rant.

Allison McKowen

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." -Thomas Jefferson

Sgt. Grit,

I've been reading your newsletter recently and would like to hear the opinions of my fellow Marines...

I was in the Corps as an 0311/8152 from June 2001 to April 2004 and loved nearly every minute of it. However in October of 2003 I went to the Doc about a back ache that hadn't gone away for a VERY long time. I was given a choice to stay in and cause more harm, extensive and painful surgery, or discharge. A month after that visit my life was changed forever; I was discharged about six months later.

I have had a very good friend die in Iraq and two other fellow Marines that I served with. I can't help but feel as though I betrayed my Brothers by that self-centered choice. I feel like the choice I made was infinitely selfish and somehow attributed to my friend's death. I even went to the Army and they said that it was possible to waive my injury, but then I made another selfish decision to stay home for my wife. I really don't want to start a b--ch session or sound like I've lost all motivation, but I can't help but feel as though I let them down. I had the choice and I chose to get out. I suppose the reason I'm telling you all this is that all of you are more experienced than I am. I'd been on one mission while I was with 2D FAST and thought that was enough, but each day I find myself regretting that decision nearly every day.

I suppose I'm writing to see if I'm the only one; to get a completely objective opinion. Thanks in advance.

Semper Fidelis,
LCpl Cummings
MCSFCo Kings Bay, GA

In 1956 I was in Pl