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I cried when you told me you wanted to be a Marine.
I cried when you left for boot camp tears of fear as well as pride.
I cried when you graduated, I was so proud.
I cried when you told me you had volunteer to go to Iraqi, every day I waited for a Mothers worse fear to see 2 strange Marines at her door.
You came home safely and we cried in each others arms My baby had come home he had done very well.
You were safe on our soil the fears were gone. I never could have imagine that the day would come when I opened the door to see 2 Marines. With the words that will haunt me till the day I died." Your Son has passed we are sorry to say. He died in his sleep at Camp Lejeune". I cry every day and I'll cry till I died, till I can hold you again and ask why.
A fallen Marines Mom
God Bless you LCpl. Patrick E. A. Pote
March 20,1983----April 12 2006


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Show you pride in your service with the Marine Corps with these Limited Edition ribbon shirts! The shirts are 100% preshrunk cotton, available as a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, and a hooded sweatshirt. Available ONLY through June 11th.


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2006 GriTogether pictures

GriTogether

3rd Annual GriTogether

4th Annual GriTogether Saturday, May 12, 2007.
Put it on your calendar now...


Memorial Day is Monday. There will be a lot of burgers, beer, fun, sun, family, lakes, beaches, sports, parades, movies, shopping, picnics, reunions....well you get the idea. Do one thing on Monday. Personally, take a few moments to quietly reflect on what the day represents and a few more moments to remember the sacrifice that made all the above distractions possible.
God Bless Them All!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit


"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come."
-- Peter Muhlenberg


Dear SGT GRIT,

Mr. Jenkins wrote, 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? Bull****! Supporting this fiasco in Iraq is immoral." He hasn't seen the needs of the Iraqi people, I have - first hand. As a father of two Marines and a serving Chaplain (and former 8th and I Marine) I go on patrols with our boys and see the GREAT GOOD we are accomplishing for these people, schools with girls attending for the first time, good police and fire departments, hospitals, improving infrastructure, etc. Do I like war? NO. Do I think any war is moral? NO, any time man kills man immorality is involved, but sometimes, in this sin-fallen world, wars need to be waged. (By the way Mr. Jenkins don't forget Sept. 11) I have passed out toys to children while the Marines searched for insurgents and seen the look and love in the Iraqi children's faces and appreciation in the eyes of their parents. If we are successful in helping them get back on their feet from the previous tyrant's rule, we will have life long friends and maybe the process for true peace can begin. Mr. Jenkins you need to take a better look at the situation and stop listening to the outright lies told on CNN.

Richard Townes


The Sunday May 7th Doonesbury cartoon disturbed me enough that I wrote the following to the editor of the Dallas Morning News;

I don't normally read Doonesbury but this past Sunday, I read through the comic and was totally disgusted by what I read. The premise of the comic was a US Army Recruiter at a high school and how you can't be a loser if you want to join the US Army because of the technical nature of how we fight wars these days. One student says about another that the reason they are asking these questions is because the student is a loser, the character then replies, "well you should talk to the Marines". Well, my oldest son is a US Marine and he is no loser, why anyone would call the men and women of the US Marines losers is beyond me. Because of this disrespectful comic, I am canceling my subscription to the Dallas Morning News. Gary Trudeau has every right to create this type of comic but someone at that newspaper should have had the decency to say during a time where our men and women are dying in Iraq that it was inappropriate to print this comic. Maybe the next time Mr. Trudeau wants to refer to the US Marines as losers, he should take a trip to one of their bases and do it in person.

A very proud father of a US Marine Frank DeGise


Dear Sgt Grit,

I am a former Marine and gulf war vet that would like to respond to letters from Marine wives about people saying their husbands are baby killers. I live in Florida which has a very strong former Marine presence so most people thank me when they see my Marine Corps tag or stickers. Yet every once in a while I do run into who disapproves of my being a Marine or who wants to voice their disapproval of the war in Iraq. This is my response to them.

You're welcome.
You're welcome for the blood, sweat and tears that I and my fellow Marines have given for you. You're welcome for the right to your own dumb-a** opinion that that I and my fellow Marines have defended for you You're welcome for the feeling of security you have knowing that your country will not be invaded because I and my fellow Marines have fought for your freedom

That usually shuts them up. They usually walk away with their heads bowed in regret, apologize, and thank me for serving my country. I hate that there are people in this country that feel this way, but I love to put them in their place. " Freedom has a flavor that the defended will never know."

I am proud to have been a Marine, and fly an American Flag in my yard every day. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve my country with the greatest group of men ever born, my fellow Marines.

And to all our enemies abroad looking to meet your god and receive your 72 v!rgins, my Fellow Marines will be there to arrange the meeting.

Semper Fi
Sgt Gee USMC Ret
1990-1999


I'm very proud of my brother in January he graduated boot camp at Parris Island and in October he went to Iraq and on February 6 2006 was in a humvee coming back from foot patrol they ran over a roadside bomb! Recently I was crying in my car just dropped my dad off home and my daughter said look mom and I've never seen this car before but it had its turn signal on but went straight I glanced at the back window and it read (Smile 4 Me) and since that happen I know my brother wants me to stop Crying. I feel a little crazy but it was like he was telling me to go on with my life that he was ok I hope im not sounding crazy to anyone but I was very close to him I want to tell everyone my brother Lcpl David S Parr is my hero and he will be missed dearly and to all the troops that just came home from Iraq welcome home! Lcpl David Parr 3/18/83 - KIA 2/6/06
Misty Curley


Sgt Grit,
How about a welcome home to the 22nd MEU who went feet dry today at Morehead City.
Welcome Home, Job Well Done!
God Bless America
God Bless the Corps
Semper fi
Howie


"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
-- Patrick Henry


I'm a Marine sergeant that was medically discharged from injuries sustained in Desert Storm. One thing that kept me going is knowing my wife and family were behind me and mine, she headed an org called operation home front that the Gov. of Idaho sent a certificate of appreciation to her. I know there should have been more for as I think it was TG Shepard who sang it "War is h&ll on the home front too. thank you for all you do.

Sgt David M. Hartway
1985-1994 Motor T--- Without us the pride don't ride Cancer survivor gbmIV 02252002
AKA Wave Rider


My name is Kenneth Conde Sr, I am a former Marine and father of Fallen Marine Sgt Kenneth Conde Jr KIA 1 July 2004. You posted his story as someone to know after he was wounded on 6 April 2004 and continued to fight a refuse to come home, I just want to Thank You for posting him on your site and telling his story. I am working to keep his memory alive and have formed a non- profit org called Condes Way and will be building a teen community center in Orlando in his honor.
http://www.condesway.com

THANK YOU, Ken


Sgt. Grit:
Boy, do some of the letters you print can really make a Marine feel his age. I joined 30 March 1949, and retired 31 January 1970. Many of the letters are from retired Marines that joined after I retired.
Too many birthdays under my belt!...But, birthdays are good for you; the ones who have the most, live the longest.... Semper Fi.
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines
Hendersonville, TN. 37075


I have a question for Dwight: If this country did "pull out" of Iraq, how many Marine families are you, personally, willing to confront to tell them that their son died for nothing? If we left Iraq now, what good would the sacrifices that our military personnel have made, thus far, done? We cannot "pull out" of Iraq. Nobody *wants* to send our military over there but we cannot afford to lose this war. We are fighting for our way of life. Our enemy detests our way of life and wants nothing other than eradicating it.

May God bless all of our troops, especially the Marines, who are fighting and sacrificing for our country.

Semper Fidelis (does that mean anything to you, Dwight?),
Richard G. Cervenka U.S. Marine Corps (1969-71)


Sgt. Grit,
During Easter break, I took my three children to Disney World, we live in Delaware, I drove. One of the things I wanted to do and have wanted to do was visit Parris Island. I wanted to see it from a view other than from the back of the head of the recruit in front of me. I have three children and they are very proud to have a father that served in the Marine Corps. My 18 year old daughter has a friend that is being deployed to Iraq in the next few months. When we arrived at PI, I had to go thru the gate. The night before we left, a very helpful, young Marine that answered the phone explained to me that if we were going to the museum we would be allowed on base. I told the guard at the gate that, he took our information, and let us proceed. It was such an experience to drive on that island. The birth place of the "World's Greatest Fighting Man". I drove to 3rd Battalion, I showed my children my barracks, we drove around, but I could not remember where we disembarked that night so many years ago. I stopped a young Marine and asked him where the yellow footprints were. I was a block away from them. He got in the car and directed me to them. The old white building had been replaced with a new beautiful red brick structure. The hut where we got our gear were still there. I drove that young man to where he was going, before he got out, I asked him where he was from, he told me Philadelphia. That is my home town. My children got to see a platoon marching, set up road blocks. We saw a platoon of WM's. It was just such an experience. I thought the place was huge when I was there, and the 3 battalions were spread out, they really were close to each other. I want to go back with one of my buddies that was in about the same time as me and spend a day there. The next day, I asked my older son if it made him want to be a Marine, he gave me an affirmative. He is in 8th grade many things can happen between now and the time he is old enough. There is really no way to describe the pride one feels as being part of the Corps. I once said to a friend, you always see people with Marine Corps stickers, flags etc. on their cars. You rarely see it from any other branch, sometimes Navy, sometimes Army, never Air Force. It really is special. Semper Fi to all Marines, young and old.
Manuel Zaldivar
Sgt
USMC 1979 - 1986


Sgt. Grit

During the recent grandparent's day celebration at the St. Nicholas School, Chattanooga, TN, I had the opportunity to speak to the assembled seniors present encouraging them to share important stories from their lives, as many of their stories are inspiring, courageous, and heroic while others may be just plain ordinary. The point being that all of their stories are important and their grandchildren and great grandchildren should know their family history. Part of my story which I shared is that I served in the Marine Corps enlisting in 1953 prior to the end of the Korean War and leaving after 8 years to enter seminary in order to become a priest.

We held two assemblies in order to appropriately accommodate the grandparents. After the first assembly, an elderly man approached me walking slowly aided by a cane and with some labored breathing; he requires assistance from a portable oxygen tank. I immediately noticed the Chosin Reservoir lapel pin he was wearing, yes he was there in December 1950. A thrilling moment for me, for the heroic actions of all those who served there have served as an inspiration for me personally lo these many years.

Well, the day just got better, for immediately following the second assembly, I was approached by another elderly gentleman, yes lots of gray hair, but this one was wiry and quit fit walking with a steady gait. He also served in the Corps, a machine gunner, one of a few who survived in his sector, the place Guadalcanal.

A wonderful and remarkable day as I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to meet these two men and to listen to their stories.

Father Louis Hayden
USMC 1953-1961, 1st LT.


To LCpl Cummings, Kings Bay

Devil Dog,

It doesn't matter if you had one injury or a half dozen. You have to look toward the future when you make decisions like that. I know from experience and so does my wife, also a former Marine. I served for 14 years and have more injuries than I do fingers, and I have all of those. I was discharged due to two of these injuries. In 1987 while running on base with my platoon, my OIC Lt. Coglianese, now a LTCOL, insisted we go running again even after we had already run and were going home at 1700. You see he had a meeting with the Colonel so one of the SNCO's made a command decision and we PT'ed. When we returned and he returned from his meeting we went again. All because he wanted to run. So while everyone was driving home to base housing in Beaufort we were running alongside the road. I was called out to sing cadence and got tripped up and went out in front of a car. He clipped me and messed up my knees. In 1989 I went to D.I. School and completed two years at Parris Island. I did this with a bad knee that went out on a run plus a shoulder that dislocates. It went out on the pull up bar during our final pft. It had to be reconstructed and I now live with two screws in my shoulder. I went through allot of pain for my love of the Corps and would do it all over again. I have had numerous chances to go to Iraq for six figures, but I have someone that came into my life that I love dearly. The point I am getting at is as long as you know in your heart that you served with pride and dignity and did it to the best of your ability, then your fellow brothers are looking down from heaven upon you wishing you the best of luck with the new love you have found. The one that came into your life, just like the one that came into mine. She also was discharged due to back problems and degenerative joint disease. She has also survived cancer for eight years now. Nobody looks down on you in a bad way for looking to the future and looking at your long term health. The brotherhood doesn't do that. We are a family unlike no other. So as long as you know in your heart that you served, fought next to and lived for them nobody can take that from you. You earned the title and the right and you live with the decisions you make. I feel sure that your brothers in heaven are wishing you and your wife the best of everything. Take care of the wife you have now and take care of yourself, everything else will work itself out in the when we all meet up again. Semper Fi

Robert R. Barnes
Professional Bodyguard
Former U.S. Marine
1981-1995

p.s. For all the idiots that keep messing with the Marine Wives, keep your s--t up and I'll send my wife to kick your a--es while I watch.


Hello,

I would like to respond to LCpl Cummings regarding his decision to get discharged from the Marines. I am a fiercely proud Mom to LCpl Aaron Young. He will go to Yuma, AZ in June for some desert training and then off to Iraq in August. I don't really think that that qualifies me as "completely objective". But, I do have an opinion.

My opinion is that you have proven yourself a US Marine (I can't even type that without a feeling of reverence!). You did all that it took to become one! If you had stayed in, because of your bad back (I have one too, so I AM speaking with a little authority on THAT subject), you would not be able to give 100%. There is the possibility that the safety of one of your "brothers" could have been compromised by this fact.

In my (not so) humble opinion, you did absolutely the right thing. You don't need to feel guilt or shame or anything other than pride for your service. It wasn't your choice to have a bad back. You just have one and you have to make the best decision you can for yourself and the Corps. You did.

God bless you and thank you very much for your service. I hope you are feeling better about your decision by now.

Semper fi...

Cheryl Bradshaw
Norfolk, VA


Just wanted to write about the Marine and his fiancé who cannot attend her senior prom because of his age. I just wanted to write and say thank you for putting this in your newsletter. My fiancé just joined the Corps and when he comes back after basic training for a few days, he WOULD HAVE been able to go to my senior prom. But, because of the age limit, he cannot attend. So neither will I. I was encouraged, now knowing that I am not the only one who cannot go to her senior prom, because my Marine is too old. I think that this is disgraceful. He is putting his life on the line, to protect them, and they won't let him come to a 3 hour dance. I don't understand where all the "support" for our troops have went. I am proud to say that I still have support for my Marine, and everyone else's. OORAH!

Danielle


Dear Sgt. grit,
My name is Luke Wright and I am in the DEP program and am scheduled 2 ship out on 12 June 2006. I just wanted 2 relate 2 everyone an experience that happened to me while I was at work the other day. I was taking orders at Arby's when this older man came in and began 2 order. I happened to notice a Vietnam Veterans hat on his head so i asked him what branch he served in and he told me that he spent 22 years in the Navy and his daughter had just shipped out the day before for the Air Force. i told him that i was in the Marine Corps DEP program and scheduled 2 ship out soon and he asked me if i knew that it was dangerous out there then he came 2 attention and saluted me and gave a very motivated OORAH that stopped all conversation in the resteraunt for several seconds while everyone looked at us. i don't think that they really understood what was happening or not but i have 2 admit that it was one of the best feelings that i've ever had in my life. As he was leaving he gave me a smile and said that we were @ least cousins whether the Corps likes it or not. well i guess i'll end this here so i don't take up anymore of your time.
SEMPER FI!
USMC Recruit Luke Wright


Sgt. Grit,
Please allow me to extend a hearty OOHRAHH to Retired Marine A. Cranmore concerning Tina from Akron. So glad to see that someone dressed her down for thinking that the life of a Military Wife was going to be some kind of Freaking cakewalk. That's the last thing her Husband, his Service, and his Country need, especially in these difficult times. Hope she reads all the comments about her little "Hissy Fit", and smells the WAKE UP call!

Well Done Marine!
Semper Fi, Do or Die...
Mark S. Madson
Master Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
Retired


Dear Sarge,
I'm not a man quick to anger, and even considered mild tempered, but a letter in your column irked me somewhat.
Every American citizen has the right to his /her own opinion and the right to express them, as guaranteed in our Constitution. which I swore an Oath to defend when I joined the Marines in '68, and suffered with in silence as were protested against, spat upon, and verbally denigrated with unfounded, ungodly accusations. But, any American who cannot abide and tolerate their fellow citizens rights, for which I fought and bled, is no better than the Terrorist's we now strive to overcome.
For the" Intolerant" among us, I say try and find a nation on this planet where you'll be happier. I'm no 'Tree Hugger',or 'Granola Chomper',or' AntiWar Activist' ,but I'll defend their right to Liberty and Freedom of Speech and Expression to the last drop of my American Blood.
May God Bless and Keep the men and women who fight,bleed,and yes,...Die for this great nation, now and forever.

Semper Fi !
Johnson,T.W.
1st Mar.Div.
11th Mar.Reg. '69 Nam


Sgt Grit. The more I read the news letters the more proud I am of our current Marines. I served from July 1955 to Sept 1978.(23 years) I was one of those very fortunate Marines that saw a lot of the Corps and a lot of the world. As a DI at PI (1963-65)(11 years enlisted-12 as officer) off to Nam as Lt.(1966-67) Pulled duty in Oki, Japan , through out the Carib.and the Med. East and west coast duty. Had the opportunity to serve with the wing( fixed and rotary).ground plus independent duty but the reason for my letter is to say that it is good to see that Marines more and more are looking at each other as Marines regardless of what type of Job they do in the Corps. They realize that we all need and must support each other. Additionally it is good to see that the Marines are and should be proud of the Corps and the job we do without the need to make snide or derogatory remarks about our brothers in the Navy, Army Air Force or CG. Perhaps now more than ever we must all pull together as Americas armed forces, the true protectors of this great nation. And I am including the women who wear the uniform and the wives and families who support them and pray for them.
God bless America, USMC NAVY, AF. CG
Donald E. Laughner
Major USMC Ret.


My wife and I went yesterday & bought Pizza for the "poolies." About 20 young men who have joined the Marines, but not yet shipped out to boot camp. It's a way to help the recruiters, who often take such things out of their small salaries.

When they thanked me, I told them I was sorry I was to old to go with them, but they could pay me back. After they shot their first terrorist, they were to yell, "THANKS FOR THE PIZZA, SGT HALL!"

Robert A. Hall

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." --1st. Lt. Clifton B. Cates (later Commandant), USMC, July 19, 1918 commanding 96 Company, 6th Marines, near the French town of Soissons.

"Casualties: many, Percentage of dead: not known, Combat efficiency: we are winning." Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC, MOH, Tarawa, 21 November 1943.


Sgt Grit,
My name is Liz and I am the daughter of a no longer active duty Marine ('64-'68).
I am a frequent shopper and visitor to your site. I enjoy reading the newsletter as soon as it hits my inbox! Now for the reason of my letter. I just want to say 'THANK YOU' to those who have served and to those who are serving. It takes brave man and woman to stand up for the rest of us. I know the families left here while their loved ones are away are just as brave. I would like them to know that they have not been forgotten.
I am 29 years old, and I know that freedom isn't free. Unlike many (not all) of my generation, it didn't take 9-11 for me to learn this. I was raised with flags flying and the Marine Corps Hymn playing. The love and respect that I have for my country and the Marine Corps is one of the best things that my parents have taught me. I take every opportunity to say THANK YOU to veterans when I see them.
Please know that this is a sincere letter and it comes from my heart.
Sincerely,
Liz Mira,
Daughter of R. Unger, USMC 64-68


Sgt Grit,

I enjoy reading the newsletters each time they come in. but today I read something that set me off. A letter from Sgt/ Capt Dwight Jenkins blasting the current war in Iraq. I have this to say.... We are Marines we go and do as we are told, regardless what we feel about the political situation, we obey because we are Marines. I WILL SUPPORT my fellow Marines who are serving, regardless what those in Washington do or say. I am proud of my fellow Marines, and I will always be unwavering in my support for them.. no ifs and or buts about it.. my support for MY MARINES is unconditionional..

I served in Beirut, with 2/6 in '83 and I can tell you that we had to deal with the beginnings of this mess. We lost a lot of good men. I know what these fine men and women in MY MARINE CORPS are dealing with and I will be the first to let them know that they are appreciated and they have my gratitude for doing what we have all been trained to do as Marines. I can care less what a politician does or says, even if that politician is a Marine.. this is not about politics is about showing our fine men and women of MY Marine Corps, that we support them..

I will jump off my soap box now.. Semper Fidelis Devil Dogs! God Bless you one and all!

Cpl Dan Wilson 1979/1986


Donna, Your letter brought tears to my eyes. My husband is on the other side of your story. After many, many years he is in contact with the sister of CPL Daniel Duffy who was killed August 31, 65 from the same land mine that took my husbands legs. The first phone call to her was a bit hard on my husband Eddie, but he was so glad to finally get in touch with someone from his family. He had been Danny's fire team leader...he felt responsible. It has been so healing and god for both of them to be in touch with each other AND one day before long we hope to get to meet her and her family. Her brother as well as yours will always be remembered!

Connie Beelsey



This letter is a gentle reply to Debbie Hope whose son will be returning to

Camp LeJeune from Iraq soon.

Debbie, I do not know your circumstances or your financial situation, but as a mom who trekked out to Hawaii to see her son land on American soil after a tour in Iraq, my advice to you is :GO. If there is ANYWAY you can possibly work it out, GO! All the expense, trouble and last minute running was made worth it in one photograph I have of my son walking towards me from the plane across the tarmac at Kaneohe Bay. The look on his face was worth any price, any trouble or inconvenience. I know the two of you will never forget that day and that greeting as long as you live. It is just as wonderful as his graduation from boot camp and sharing the day he became a Marine. I am not saying this to make you feel bad. I just know how hard it will be for you if you cannot go. This was the first time in my life that I said "the h*** with it, I am going no matter what!" I never regretted the decision or the cost. I know you won't either. Good luck to you. Tell your son" Thanks" from the rest of his Marine family and "Welcome Home". I wish the best to you both.

Jan Strand, PMM of LCpl Ryan Smith 1/3, and Sgt Matthew Smith


I have a hard letter to write before I head to DC for the Rolling Thunder rally this year. I think I will leave it at The Wall. Years ago when I was a young farm girl in my late teens outside a small town in Colorado and the Vietnam War was raging and so-called Americans were spitting on our vets returning home I did nothing in their defense. When so-called Americans were calling them "baby killer" and "murderers" I said nothing in their defense. And years later when I was all grown up and learned how bad it was and how hard it was on them and how it haunts them to this day I realized what a terrible thing I did by doing nothing. Doing nothing was worse than what the protestors did. And I think I owe the vets a BIG apology.

Rebecca Mauler


Where two or more Marines are gathered, there ain't a hill safe for miles!


I wanted to send my story about my Marine son to you. We are in need of prayers for my son who upon arriving from his second tour of duty in Iraq was hit by a car and critically injured. He is now in rehab in Texas, and hopefully well on his way to recovery.

Here is Bens story: http://www.calltothenation.com and http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lcplbenhardgrove. I am trying to get his story out in hopes of continuing to get prayers for him.

Jamie Woodard


Dear Sgt Grit,
I just wanted to let everyone know about a great organization. I've recently gotten involved with a group called Sew Much Comfort. They take ready made clothing and adapt it for surgical/medical appliances on wounded troops. They will take financial donations if you don't sew. The website is http://www.sewmuchcomfort.org

This way the wounded don't have to spend all their time in hospital gowns. When you're in the hospital you feel better when you can wear real clothes, from my own experience.

Semper Fi,
Anna Grabill


I know a number of our readers have heard of the Patriot Guard Rides. I just returned from my first mission in Portland, OR; to honor PO3 (Corpsman) Nettles. It was an experience I will never forget. God bless his family and all that honored this young man. I would urge everyone to visit the Patriot Guard Riders website http://www.patriotguard.org/ and join this diverse group to honor our current and former service members. Semper Fi!

BA Compton
M 3/7 69-70 RVN


"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
--Samuel Adams


Proud to have a son who is a Sgt k-9 on the way for 2nd deployment. SEMPER FI left wed. 10th of may '06
PROUD FATHER Ted


I am a member of the Kansas Army National Guard. I am a former Marine as well. I returned home from 15 months active duty in Kosovo last January. I am scheduled to re-deploy June 4th of this year for another 18 months and I will be serving in a war zone which I am not at liberty to disclose. I volunteered for this duty as an opportunity to serve my country again.

On Monday, May 1st, I was at the Lyon County Fairgrounds to observe the immigration rally. On my truck I proudly displayed both the American flag and the flag of the United States Marines.

Within minutes of arriving at the parking lot I was approached by no less than 4 law enforcement vehicles and several officers. I was ordered to immediately remove the flags from my vehicle.

When I attempted to ask why, an officer replied, Shut your mouth and go home. I was told if I didn't comply that I would be arrested without delay for disorderly conduct. There was no opportunity to reason with the police. I was given an ultimatum and was forced to comply or forfeit my freedom.

I'll not go into the obvious implications that this incident raises. I will leave it to you and to your readers to explain how it is that as a citizen and solider I was not allowed to display the flag of the nation that I serve and protect. Meanwhile I stood in a sea of flags from foreign nations, some waived by hand, others attached to vehicles. I was also profanely insulted by one of the demonstrators who himself was flying a Mexican flag from his vehicle.

I would ask that each of you who read this ponder the inference of the actions of the officers in question, what it says about our country at present and the ominous implications of the future.

The immigration issue is not a joke; it is a matter of huge proportion concerning the security of our nation and the safety of our people.

I have seen a lot in my military career and many things have moved me deeply but not until this heartbreaking incident was I literally reduced to tears. The disrespect and outright hatred shown to me by both the demonstrators and by the law enforcement officers of my own hometown was heartrending.

Some might question just exactly what I am serving for. I hope you can find the answer in your own hearts. My conviction to serve still does not waver


Sgt Grit,

I've been reading your newsletter since I was a Poolee in the DEP. I've been training now for about 8 months just getting ready to go to the fleet. I'm almost done with Military Police school and cant wait to get off this d*mn army base. But I wanted to quickly say to everyone that yes our servicemen are making big commitments and sacrifices for our country. But behind almost every Marine, Soldier, Airman, and Sailor there is a man or woman rolling their eyes. It isn't just our servicemen and women who make commitments and sacrifices, it is also their spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, and fiancés. So to all of you waiting back at home for your loved one, thank you and keep up the good work. SEMPER FI!

-PFC Greg Schwarzenegger


"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
-- James Madison


Hello Sgt Grit,

I was wondering how long it would take for some anti war person to get into the Grit letter. Now we have Capt Dwight D. Jenkins ( if he is a real person) voicing his opinion.

That is his right! a lot of Marines have died to give that right to him. In the current Grit newsletter, General Omar Bradley said it very well: Retired Generals should retire their tongue and opinions, or words to that effect.

First Capt Jenkins, there aren't any correct wars at any place at any time! Marines fight the war at hand and prepare for the next. As in every war mistakes are made, and a lot have been made in this one. Our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen have done their job magnificently. In a short time a country has been liberated, democracy instituted, elections held, Police and Army trained, and most important a valuable piece of real estate has been kept out of the terrorist hands.

Capt Jenkins, my 42 years in the Marines ( 6 years) and the remainder working with all branches of the military, I found the biggest problem was Senior NCO's, Lieutenants and Captains worrying more about their careers than their troops. How many times have you kicked a closed mess hall door open to feed your troops, or demanded proper treatment from incompetent NCO's or Officers? Yes, the Marines do have a few, Many times the reason Generals make mistakes is because mid level Officers will not tell the Field Grades the real problems because it may hurt their careers.

You better believe I did, and never regretted it. Captain, would you stand in front of "Chesty" and make the kind of statement you make in your letter? If you did, and I don't know the size of Chesty's foot, but you would see the toe sticking out of your belly button!

Jim Reed S/Sgt USMC Still Lean, Still Mean and Still a Marine


"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families."
--Benjamin Rush


Sgt Grit:

This is being written in an attempt to "stir up some juices" and perhaps also "lighten up" the conversation a wee bit for those who may need a short break from some of the strain and pressures they are undergoing with their loved ones in harms' way. They certainly have this Marines concern, sympathy, understanding and appreciation for all the sacrifices they and their Marines are making.

So what exactly is a "Marine?" Or better yet, what does "Marine" mean? Almost always it conjures a positive image of an individual who is well trained, disciplined, dedicated to the protection of their country, and one who will unquestionably follow the lawful orders and directions of their superior non-commissioned and commissioned officers. (In fact, I'd argue we'd follow almost any order from a senior officer; Marines have been instilled with the belief that "an Officer's request is our command" believing "requests" or "suggestions" from officers senior to us are not clichés but rather absolutes and standards!)

Marines are also called a lot of other names, usually with respect and admiration for what an individual did to earn that title. Of course there are some who don't always feel that way and may say something else, though not always to our face. We're called "Gyrene's," "Leatherneck's," "Jarhead's," "Bellhops," "Grunts" (intended primarily for rifleman and infantrymen, though most argue it applies to all Marines), and a variety of other terms, some best not mentioned here. I've occasionally seen the term Marine good-naturedly poked fun of (almost always by those who never served in our beloved Corps), including acronyms such as:

Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Essential (or this variation:

Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Expected) and even this:

My *ss Really Is Navy Equipment,

My primary "bible source" for Marine terms, expressions and definitions is the "Unofficial Dictionary for Marines" (UDFM) (Compiled and Edited by Glenn B. Knight). And while it provides a wide variety of Marine terminology, such as "Marine Band," "Marine Brat," "Marine Detachment," etc., it does not define the unique word "Marine." Other dictionaries and Thesaurus' do, and they generally agree that a "Marine" is:

*A member of the U.S. Marine Corps;

*Of or relating to the sea:

*Military personnel who serve both on land and at sea
(specifically the U.S. Marine Corps)

Another definition of "Marine" that many, if not most of us Marines do not favor, is: *A soldier serving on a ship or at a naval installation." Despite the great book "Soldiers Of The Sea. The United States Marine Corps, 1775-1962" by the renowned and respected Col. R. D. Heinl Jr., USMC (Ret.), many Marines will be quick to opine that a "soldier" is not a "Marine," but is instead that same dictionary's definition of "soldier" as "One who serves in an army."

Other terms used to denote a "Marine" are "Gyrene," "Leatherneck," "Jarhead" and even "Bellhop." Several versions abound as to where these descriptors came from. I went to a few of my sources, including the UDFM, and found these definitions:

"Gyrene:" A diminutive form of Marine. Seldom used by Marines" (UDFM). I completely disagree with this definition for two reasons: (1) I dislike the use of the word "diminutive" (defined as "Limited in importance or significance; trivial: a small matter," and (2) I don't agree at all that the term is "seldom used by Marines!" In addition to many of my fellow Marines, I use this term often and respectfully. So looking for another definition I used GuruNet and found this one: "gy·rene (j?-r?n') n. Slang. A member of the U.S. Marine Corps. [Perhaps alteration of GI1 + (MA)RINE.]" Now I like that "modification" of GI + Marine=Gyrene a lot better. At least it is "positive" and far from "diminutive"!

"Leatherneck:" All Marines know what this term means and where it came from, but for the benefit of the few who may not, the UFDM definition is fairly well on the mark, though it too includes a "disparaging" comment. "The phrase comes from the early days of the Marine Corps when enlisted men were given strips of leather to wear around their necks. The popular concept has it that the leather was to protect the neck from a saber slash. Truth is that it was to keep the Marines from slouching in uniform by forcing them to keep their head up."

I have a problem with the sentence I underlined above as I do not agree it was designed to "keep.Marines from slouching." There is some acceptance of the fact that the old leather collar, and indeed the collar on today's blue uniform, is somewhat uncomfortable and by its very nature, may contribute to a better "stance and posture."

"Jarhead:" The UFDM defines this as "A pejorative term for a Marine. One account suggests that it refers to the Marine high and tight haircut which is cut almost to the skin at the ears with a bit more as it goes up the head giving the appearance of a jar. Another legend says that during World War II the Mason Jar Company stopped making jars and made the helmets for Marines." Mason Jars? While I don't know how true that last line is either, I do agree that the term "Jarhead" is, more or less, sarcastic slang for Marines high and tight haircuts.

While I do not completely agree with this definition, whatever past discomfort I may have had with this "pejorative" term has been increased in part by the recently published book that capitalized on that relatively sarcastic term. "Jarhead, A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles," and the subsequent movie made out of it, appeared to be overwhelmingly criticized by many Sgt Grit Newsletter contributors. (I didn't like the book so seeing the movie was out of the question).

Finally, the term "Bellhop!" No definition in UDFM for this one. Of course the dictionary says a "bellhop" is "A person employed by a hotel to assist guests, as by carrying luggage and doing errands." But somehow that's not quite what our users of this term imply. DevilDogs.CC explains this term is usually associated with "Seagoing," and comes out as "Seagoing Bellhop, considered a derogatory term for Marines." But it then goes on to contradict itself by explaining what a "Seagoing Marine" is:

"Seagoing Marine. The first mission of the Marine Corps. A Marine, trained at Sea School and assigned to the Marine Detachment on board ship. While most Marines at some time in their career will spend time on ship, only those Marines assigned as members of the ship's complement earn this title. The insignia of a seagoing Marine is a gold seahorse superimposed on a gold anchor within a crimson lozenge. In 1998, all Marine Detachments on board ships were disbanded, thus ending a tradition that dated to 1775 and the first duty of the Marine Corps." So that turns out to be a pretty good name for Marines too!

But no matter what we're called, or who does the "calling", no one can deny that to know what a Marine is, what a Marine does, or what Marine stands for, you have to either "be one to know one," or at least be married to one! Or put another way, "if we have to explain it to someone, they wouldn't understand it anyway."

Gerald F. (Jerry) Merna
Mustang MGySgt--1stLt USMC (Ret.)
Korea 52-53; Vietnam 66-67


"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."
-- Thomas Jefferson


Wrong war, wrong time, wrong place, wrong enemy, sounds like I've heard this before. I think that it was said by some in 1776. I know it was said by those in 1812, particularly those that were not at Ft McHenry or defending New Orleans. And in 1846 some said we were bullying Mexico, not many in Texas of course, but you know those Texans. And I'm sure it was said in 1861 and again in the bloodbath years of '62, '63, '64 and '65. And we heard it during the fights against the Native Americans. (By the way I had relatives on both sides of the Little Bighorn fight, so who do I root for?) Then we heard them talk about wrong war in 1898 and 1917. And they screamed about the wrong war in 1939 and 1940. But then stopped in December of 1941. Began shouting again in 1950. And then there was the ultimate wrong war in Viet Nam. (Been there, done that.) And how could we go into poor little Grenada and Panama. And there were those that said that Kuwait was not where our kids should go. Then came Sept 11 and most said go get them. And for a while we did without the wrong war, wrong time, wrong place talk. But when the toll begins to rise, and grieving mothers of dead soldiers are given more time on the 6 o'clock news than our live warriors, and when the politics of one side uses it to get elected, then we begin to think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea, and maybe it is the wrong war at the wrong time against the wrong ones.

Sgt/Capt Jenkins, you and the ones you have mentioned have every right to question the war. You and I both were in the military so that people can believe what they want. However, when you do not support the men and women in harms way you are out of line. So you darn well better put them yellow ribbons back up no matter what you believe about the war itself.

As for wrong war, wrong enemy, wrong time, we'll have to wait to see. If we can help to elevate some of the people of the Middle East out of their 10th century mind set, get them into the 21st century and change their crusader outlook on all Westerners, then we will have not been in the wrong war at the wrong time. If we can teach them about democracy so that they don't have to worry about the storm troopers boots in the night, then we have done something. The wrong war at the wrong time will be the one where they have nuclear weapons and are not afraid to use them against those pansy Americans. You know, those paper lions who are afraid to send their men and women to die in foreign sands.

For all of you that are in the military or are contemplating going in, don't be fooled by the wrong war, wrong enemy rhetoric. You fight for many reasons, not all of which are apparent on the surface. Anyone who says otherwise simply does not have your conviction and moral fortitude. To Hades with them.

Steve Eslin, Pvt to 1st Lt
Wrong War RVN 1966-1969 Proud of it.


While reading your 18 May newsletter I came across a story from Sgt. Jack Munger while serving with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Ticonderoga. I too was aboard the Ticonderoga with the Marine Detachment during this period. It has been many years, but I recall Jack telling about this event. He was shaking, but who wouldn't after being addressed by Miss Hawaii. It reminds me of when Bob Hope's USO show came aboard for a Christmas show and I got my picture made with Joey Heatherton. You can't be that! I enjoy reading you newsletter. Thank you for providing it.

SSgt. Larry Milton
Mar. Det. USS Ticonderoga
'64-'66
Semper Fi


"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."
--James Madison


Hate to be nit-picky but something in John Tonkin's story don't add up! He says that the "Birdcagers" were at Ft. Campbell from '52 - '65 and he was there from '56 - '58 and that the weapons were loaded up on C-5A Starlifters. The C-5 didn't come along until 1969 at the earliest. Actually more like 1970. The C-5 was the "Galaxy". The C-141 was the Starlifter and before that it was the C-133 (which from a distance looks like a C-130 on steroids!) I only live about 40 miles north of Campbell now. It's still in business 24/7!

Jerry L. Womack
CDR USN (ret'd)


"No crisis is beyond the capacity of our people to solve; no challenge too great."
--Ronald Reagan


I was in the Sam's Club parking lot today, loading a bunch of groceries into my minivan. An older gentleman, who had just pulled into the parking spot in front of me, came over to me and asked if I had a son in the Marines. (I have one of your "Marine Mom" license plates on the front of my van and a magnetic yellow ribbon with EGA on the back.) Surprised, but proud, I stood up very tall and told him "Yes Sir, I do". He asked if my son was in Iraq. I told him not currently but he would probably be going before too long.

This kind man shook my hand and thanked me for allowing my son to serve our country. He also told me that he prays every morning that God will put a hedge of protection around our troops and bring them home safely. By this time, I was pretty choked up and had tears in my eyes, but managed to respond with a "Thank you" and a "God bless you" before the man turned and headed toward the store. It was so comforting and encouraging to be reminded that God is hearing prayers from more people than just little ol' me!

For all you praying faithfully for your Marine(s) - You are not alone!

Always Faithful,
Mama H.
Praying Mother of a Marine from
Mishawaka, IN


"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty."
--Calvin Coolidge


Sgt Grit:
This note is in response to Dwight D. Jenkins, Sgt/Capt. In the very early 1960's as recruits we were admonished about being 10%'s. That is the 10% that never got the word. Here in this newsletter Which I have been a devoted reader and contributor since 2002, the tendency of the members are very cognizant of the fact that War is ugly, is horrible and an abomination to all decent people. We don't need to be reminded by the likes of you. We also know that every minute of every day we spent on active duty in The United States Marine Corps was not absolutely pleasant, or sugar & spice. Peace time duty was a boring b!tch, training was to be endured, combat was the time that tried your intestinal fortitude. Having said all this, I will remind you, that this newsletter is shared by Our Family Members and future members to express our feelings of fear, love of our Corps and for Brothers and Sisters in harms way. It also here to encourage the Proud Mothers, Fathers, Fiancée's , who have the greatest stake in this current conflict. Please do not soil these hallowed pages with your political rhetoric, we don't want it, we don't need it and we sure as h&ll are not going to tolerate it. Sgt Grit I apologize for venting but Mr. dwight got my dander up. And like Murtha the author of Jarhead and few other 10%'s he had violated the CODE OF HONOR and that p!sses me off. To all my Brother and Sister Marines I apologize for dwight jenkins (lower case intended) because he never got the word.
SEMPER FI, l/Cpl G.D.Vallejos USMC
1900576 1960-1966


I always TRY to find the time to read my "Sgt. Grit" newsletter. Today (18May06), the very first letter certainly caught my eye. Even though it was literally TOP SECRET, all of people had heard whispers about "The Birdcage," a Navy military base, INSIDE Ft. Campbell, an Army base in Western Kentucky. You couldn't go near this area and you weren't allowed to even fly over it, but here it was, a NAVY base, surrounded by the training area of my old unit, the "Screaming Eagles," the 101st Airborne Division (I had previously been in the USMCR). Rumors were that there were "nukes in there." It turns out - there were. The chap that got a Medal of Honor in the early days of WWII (because he and "PT Boat Kelly" rescued Gen MacArthur out of the Philippines), a USN Captain named Buckley, was the C.O. of this base. (Due to our mutual interest in sports cars, I got to know him in 1961-1963.) So, lo and behold, here's a letter in Sgt. Grit's newsletter from one of the USMC guards of this place, from long ago. Thanks for letting us learn about this very odd piece of military history!

Mike (Cpl., USMCR, '55-'58; Capt., USA, '60-'65)


"Life is hard and sometimes terrible, and that is a tragedy. It explains much, but it is not a free pass."
--Peggy Noonan


I was in the Marines from 1972-1976, right after they started pulling troops out of Vietnam. I know people that went to Nam and I say, "WELL DONE"! I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1973-1976, after going through MCRD San Diego and Aviation Sheet Metal school in Millington, Tenn. I was in SupCo SupBn, 2nd Force Service Support Group, Camp Lejeune. Mos was 3051, Warehouseman. In 1973, we were one phone call away from going to Israel during the 7 day war.

I am like many Marines that I have talked to or read their comments, here in your Newsletter. I never served in combat, but I am still proud to be called MARINE!

Whenever I hear the National anthem, I SNAP to attention, even though I am an amputee. I lost right leg above the knee to bone cancer in 1990.

Anyway, like I was saying, I am PROUD to be a MARINE and also, PROUD to be an AMERICAN. Semper Fi!

May GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN!

L/CPL Michael R. Dubala
SupCo Sup Bn 2nd FSSG
Camp Lejeune, N.C.


On the way to school I was talking with my son about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He is six so I realize that most of what is said at this age is mostly based on fantasy and on what is prominent in their life. For example the son of a doctor would say he wants to be a doctor. Well like most little boys his age the first thing he said was an astronaut. The big surprise came when my 4-year-old daughter told me what she wants to be. She very clearly said, " I want to fight in a war." As you can imagine I was a little surprised when she said this. So I calmly asked her why and this is what she said. " Because I want to be a hero and that is what hero's do." It took all of my strength to keep from crying at that moment. It amazes me what goes on in her little mind. Her dad did serve in the Marines but he has been out for many years and she has never seen him in uniform. He is currently an aircraft mechanic at Gulfstream.

Bridget


"During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been leveled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare."

--Thomas Jefferson


VA Data Base Compromised

FYI - the Department of Veterans Affairs recently had an analyst who took home a laptop computer that contained personal information on over 26 million veterans. This laptop was stolen from the individual's home. The VA has established a webpage that explains what happened, what to expect and what to do about this compromise.


"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free"
-- Ronald Reagan


Dear Sgt.
I just ordered 2 Memorial T-shirts . My wife and I are planning to wear them at a memorial service in Washington , D. C.. It is called a day of remembrance. Honoring those who gave all in Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Our son Cpl. Marc T Ryan USMC, was apart of both . His unit the 1/1 were the first into Afghanistan after 9-11. He was in Iraq 3 times . The third time he lost his life. He was killed on 10-15-04, in Ramadi .I last talked to him was on 10-10-04. The Marine Corps Birthday. That was the last time I would hear him say Semper Fi and I love you . My father in-law and I were both in the Corps, Marc was following in our foot steps . He along with the other brave men and women who gave all will never be forgotten.
Proud Marine Dad
Tom Ryan
2nd Recon Bn. 2nd MarDiv ' 73-76


"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment."
--George Washington


As an Australian, I grew up honoring those who have fought and died for our "sunburnt land". To us, April 25 - ANZAC Day, is Australia's most important national occasion. Originally it marked the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those f