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I was recently hired at the Atlanta airport as an Airline Customer Service Agent. Several times a week I am honored to assist our military in checking in for their flights. Occasionally, I've been part of that crowd that stands as the next group of men is escorted to the plane taking them to Iraq. The Atrium erupts in applause. It makes my heart stop every time and sends goose bumps up my spine every time. How many of these young men won't return? So, if you see that commercial on TV or the internet, know that it really does happen every day here in Atlanta! May God Bless each one of you serving.

Joan Lynch


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Sir. at our memorial day event in rochester, mn. our vfw was busy setting up chairs when a passerby mentioned how hot it was going to be that day. the comm. of our vfw answered back, yea , but think how hot its going to be in Iraq.

david crawley,
kilo third bn,
first Marine regt.


"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means..."
—John Adams


Dear Sgt. Grit, I read with interest Jerry Merna's explanation of a number of terms related to Marines and it brought to mind an occurrence in 1968. I was choppered in and later wrote the following poem:

"A new Squid"

The Marines greeted me on hill 861 overlooking Khe Sanh. A derogatory term from Marines to Navy, but as I pondered it came to me that they weren’t being negative they were only speaking of Aquatic Biology for I reasoned. A squid was something floating around the ocean shi..ing on Marine life. Once congratulated on their Academic prowess was never called a squid again.

Another quick couple of items relating to words;

In his Inaugural Address John F Kennedy stated, "Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country."

In a speech on May 30, 1884 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. stated, "-- --Recall what our country has done for each of us and ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return."

A sign in Vietnam said," For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

John Stuart Mill- Philosopher- 1806-1873 Stated," Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered ands protected can never experience."

Please keep up your prayers for those in harms way. They need them and deserve them.

Semper Fi,
Barry "Doc" Stevens Vietnam '68-'69


They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men."

-- John Adams


To all the Marines, past and present, who have served for our Country, I would like to take this Memorial Day weekend to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of you! You are all heroes in my eyes!

My son went in the Marines right after High School. He was in Boot Camp in Parris Island. He then went on to MP training and then K-9. This June will be 2 years that he has been serving. His 1st deployment to Iraq was May 10th, 2006. I was so proud when he graduated and I am even prouder that he is willing to serve for our Country. Yes.... I do worry about him. But I know with all the Prayers Our Troops get, he will be just fine.

I have been reading this news letter for 2 years now and have never wrote anything. So I thought it was time to speak up and say how Proud I am to be a Marine Mother! And to take the opportunity to thank you all.

May God Bless you all!
Proud Mother of ~ LCpl Justin Todd Shettleroe


Take a look at pictures from the Gritogether May, 13th.


I read the recent news letter and found myself appalled at the story of a comic strip in the Dallas Morning Newspaper. ( By: A very proud father of a US Marine Frank DeGise.) So appalled that I went on-line to find the comics strip. I found it along with the writer Gary Trudeau. I am the proud wife of a former Recon Marine and feel that this writer should be ousted for the dumb*** that he is... I plan to leave a very lengthy worded remark on his homepage about how we true Americans feel about our Marines. I think it is obvious that he has never had any interaction with a Marine, and now he better hope he never does...

Proud of my Marine....
Debra Harding


I'm 18 years old and leaving for boot camp in 17 days. I've come from a very military family; most of my relatives have served in the Army and Navy, although I will be the first one in my family to be a US Marine. So not only am I continuing the tradition, I'm stepping it up a notch. I visited my grandfather's grave a few month's back at a military cemetery. The feeling I got when I was there was tremendous. A could almost see all those fallen soldiers saluting me as I prepared to carry on my family legacy, and theirs.

I've been told by several people about the courageous act of Marines. People in the Army, including my grandpa, have talked about how the Marines would never leave a man behind, about how much honor and respect they have, about how "when the Marines were there, we knew we were safe." I want to be that Marine. I want to be that guy who people talk about "when he was there, we knew we were safe". But not only do I want to be that guy, I'm expected to. Because that's who the Marines are! Oorah!

Poolee Kyle Morris


"To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing." —Theodore Roosevelt


Yesterday was my Marine husbands birthday. I still cry when I visit his grave and rub my fingers over the Marine emblem on his tombstone. Back at work now, I read the Marine comments, and realize that some people will live longer lives but never know the satisfaction of having been the face of freedom and respect. I should be crying for them.


My one and only is home for a few days prior to leaving for his first deployment. The days have gone by much too quickly. I have cooked all his favorite things, we have stayed up late into the night talking and watching his favorite movies - creating a bank of memories to fall back on until we see each other again. I go into his room and watch him sleeping and remember the little boy he once was. I sit on the edge of the bed and pray for a blanket of protection to surround him as he goes to join his best friend and cousin already there. He will have to leave before Memorial Day and will ship out 10 days later - it will be exactly two years from the date that I watched him leave for boot camp at Parris Island. I know without a shadow of doubt that my son is exactly where he is suppose to be doing exactly what he loves doing in his beloved Marine Corps. No Mother could ask for anything more than that their child has a job that he loves. This Memorial Day I want to thank all those serving in our armed forces. For those who are not able to be with your loved ones, I wish you a safe and speedy return home and for those who are with their loved ones - give them an extra hug for those of us who can't.

Very Proud Mom
CH-46 Crew Chief
MCAS New River


The movie "Saving Private Ryan" was an excellent display of the terrors and sacrifices of combat but the primary message of that movie is sometimes lost in the thrilling and frightening scenes of combat. At the peak of a horrendous combat scene, the Captain lays dying of wounds and whispers something to Private Ryan that we don't hear. The movie begins and ends with an elderly Private Ryan kneeling at the Grave of his Captain at the cemetery at Normandy Beach. With tearful eyes and with his family standing behind him, he whisper's, "That's my family behind me Captain and I did what you told me to do. I became a good person and I lived a good life."

I'm convinced that each veteran buried beneath his stone or bronze monument would want each of us to do the same.

Semper Fidelis,
Dick Phaneuf


Sgt. Grit:

I have a son, a very proud Marine PFC son, Kevin, who is now in active duty in Iraq. He is infantry. He rarely gets a chance to call us but, when he does, it is so GREAT to hear his voice! I realize when he talks to me, and the rest of his nuclear family, he is quite proud and respectful of his service and job! He tells us at times, some things are getting better, and their jobs are getting done. I told him the media only tells us about all the awful, horrible things that happen in Iraq, and that nothing is getting solved. THE MEDIA IS WRONG! They never inform the public of the accomplishments and good actions being done! You know people are so quick to criticize and judge the Iraq War, and yes, in the past, I was one of those people, but, you know the old saying? I'm pretty sure it's this," Don't judge a person(s) until you've walked a mile in their shoes, or is it moccasins?!" So, we cannot judge, if we are not there, we cannot judge if we are limited to info/news, we cannot judge if we don't know the WHOLE picture! Not all of Iraq is getting better but, parts of it are. I know it's taking a long time but, remember, so much work must be, and is being done! Also, if there is a spy, or let's say, a type of double Iraqi agent(s), terrorist, whatever, we must find them, and they are being found and stopped! My son, a PFC infantry Marine, works hard, and his fellow troops, they help each other, and work together! Their jobs are VERY DANGEROUS! They do this for us also, to rid terrorism for our country! They are also helping Iraqi troops to protect their country, and hopefully their country will have a peaceful and safe democracy!

I've read comments in these newsletters that it doesn't take brains, only muscle, to become a United States Marine. Those people, are DEFINITELY WRONG! The Marine Corp doesn't take just anybody, you must physically, emotionally, and psychologically be prepared! They are tested on many tasks and situations. There is a pre-conditioning program, which my son took, before he finally joined. The testing is quite hard! The U.S.Marine Corp helps prepare you for so many tasks, and how you would react to them, your morals and values, discipline, as well as respect to yourself and others!

Can any of you do that? I mean, I'm not just talking lifting weights and shooting a gun, there is much, much more! My son feels he is doing a good thing for his, and our country, that for now, this is his mission in life. He feels he has direction. With the help of God, he does his job, and feels right doing it! Yes, I most certainly am a "Mother Hen,"I have ALWAYS been supportive and protective of my children, Kevin, our Marine, he's my oldest, 22, and my daughter, Bridget, 18, just graduated from high school! When they were, and have been wrong, of course they were disciplined, and talked to. I am proud of both my children! My son, PFC Marine, has always been somewhat spiritual in what he does, even more so now over in Iraq. There's a prayer he follows, and I say it as well, Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd!" This is a calming and peaceful, besides guiding prayer, anyone can say! Look in up in the Bible in the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. Believe me, reading it and having faith and hope that my son will come home alive,safe,and well to us soon! This is more beneficial to me than taking sleeping pills, or tranquilizers! So, DON'T criticize our troops, any troops, especially our Marines! I don't think, unless you were, or are there, that you can do their walking in their shoes and judge for yourself! I've always been proud of my son anyway, I know he is doing for the good of us all, I just want him to finish his work/tour, and come home to us !

Happy Memorial Day to all our Veterans, as I grew up w/Vietnam troops, and many friends, and a brother-in-law who were there! Much RESPECT to ALL VETS & OUR PRESENT TROOPS!

Respectfully, PMM-PFC KEVIN JR.(Infantry) &
PM- BRIDGET, (Senior Graduate),
WIFE of KEVIN SR.(Teacher & Coach),
Veteran Son of WWII - FATHER (Navy),
BROTHER of 2 BROTHERS (Navy)-VIETNAM, and HAWAII

Mary K. Gallmeier RN (Professional Registered Nurse & C.S.N.- Certified School Nurse)
PEACE & GOD BLESS!-----MAY, 2006.


Dear Sgt. Grit, I had written to you previously on how to get help to cope with my 19-year son David who joined the Marines last year. Well David is now a Private 1st Class, and is doing well. He starts college the 3rd week of August, he wanted to become a Marine Officer which made me very proud. He will be in college for another three years, and hopefully decides to become that Marine Officer which he intended to become. David will then be sent to the East Coast for another 4 years of Officer Training. But he has changed his mind, I hope in a few years, he will change his mind again. David is a very good Marine and certainly will make a great Officer. I am hoping at his young age, he will do what he set out to do.

My youngest son Brian has already enlisted in the Marines, and will start boot camp in San Diego, just as David did last year. Brian only 18 years old will graduate from High School in two weeks. When Brian was accepted, I thought this can't happen to me. I only had two sons, Brian enlisted to be able to go wherever they send him to fight (after boot camp graduation).

My 19 year old and my 18 year old sons (my two sons), are Marines. I am proud, but I can't watch the news anymore, read the paper, read the stories on the Internet.

I just wanted you to add my story to your other stories of Marines (yes, I do read some of the letters). Thank-You

Lori C. McFarlane (Mother of two miracle sons)


"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

Thomas Edison


Sgt. Grit,

In numerous letters, I have heard your contributors talk about the march back from Camp Matthews. In your 10 May, 2006 edition, Dick Dickson a Drill Instructor (L Co, 3rd RTBn, 62-64) spoke of his march back as a recruit in 1957. He spoke of Mt. Soledad and "a huge cross". In the same edition, L/Cpl. Larry Ornett (1960- 64) spoke about the end of the march being "on top of Mount Soledad at the cross."

Many of your readers are aware that this is the same cross we are hearing so much about on the evening news these days. The cross was actually erected in 1913 using private funds and has been a landmark in San Diego since then. At some point (I believe to be in the early 50's) it was included as part of a memorial to Veterans which became part of the park.

Since that time the US Congress passed a law which uses tax payer funds to encourage lawyers to stir up trouble and get rich at the same time. The intent of the law was to have honest lawyers (oxymoron?) protect innocent citizens from discrimination. In actuality it appears to me that it makes ambulance chasers rich by paying them to trump up some useless suit to protect a minority of citizens from some imagined discrimination by discriminating against the majority. The city of San Diego has fought the good fight by trying to avoid the destruction of the cross by deeding the land to a nonpublic entity and taking other steps, but the ambulance chasers are still making money and the courts (if you can call them that) of California are still helping them make that money. We have Judges in California finding in cases which allow their ambulance chasing ACLU spouses to make additional money.

The American Legion (God Bless them) have come forward and taken up the fight. They have vowed to fight for the preservation of the cross. The only problem with this is that I think the ambulance chasers of the ACLU are laughing and praying they will bring it on. The longer the litigation, the more the tax payers will pay them.

I have a suggestion:

I have a very low regard for the typical protester. People like Jane "Barbarella" Fonda are the scum of the earth in my book. They are out raising h&ll and hurting our country while the rest of us are out trying to make a living. On the other hand you have to hand it to them. While we are working they turn out hundreds of thousands of people to spend our tax dollars in a way that is not in the best interest of our country.

At the same time I hear Marines and the patriotic members of other services lamenting about growing old and not being able to fight for the country they love any more.

This sounds like an opportunity to me. Many of us are retired, or approaching retirement and do not have to earn a living any longer. I suggest we learn from our enemy and use that retirement to make their lives miserable. San Diego is the residence of the largest concentration of retired service people in the United States. If the people who fought in wars from WWI to Vietnam and are now retired and the younger people who are still earning a living but have the time will refuse to let anyone tear down that cross, it will stand. Let us make the life of any politician or judge who tries to remove this symbol miserable. We faced the toughest foes in history. Surely we can stand in the way of a few construction workers with a recking ball. Rather than the American Legion spending its funds to pay the ambulance chasers to mark time, they should use those funds to pay the legal expenses of veterans who get caught up in legal system while fighting to protect our country one more time.

S/Sgt. Nick Hayes USMC 1967-71


The Transportation Security Administration is out making friends again, although they've shifted their attention from kindly grandmas or WWII Medal of Honor recipients. This time, three Marine NCOs were stopped and searched by TSA officials in the Philadelphia airport—while in uniform! The three were escorting the body of a fellow Marine—Sgt. Lea R. Mills, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in April—to make sure his body was properly delivered to his family in Mississippi. Screeners must have thought the trio looked especially dangerous considering they were each instructed to remove their dress uniform blouse, belt and black dress shoes. They were then taken to another room and patted down. All this must make the ACLU-types downright giddy, since it's clear that the TSA wasn't engaged in—gasp!— profiling.

Bruce Klobeke


The article about the poor Nat'l Guardsman and Marine being made to remove his flags as the Lyon County fairgrounds, here is the other side of the story. This is the response I have been sending since May 4th:

Yesterday, you may have received a message written by an anonymous author claiming he or she was only "observing" the immigration reform rallies at the Lyon County Fairgrounds on May 1st. The message explains that four Emporia police cars and officers approached his vehicle and he was advised to remove his American and U.S. Marine flags and go home. This is not true! If it were, I suspect the author would have the courage to put his name to the letter and file a formal complaint with me.

The author claims he must remain anonymous due to the nature of his military service. I am a retired Senior Master Sergeant with twenty-two years service in the U.S. Air Force & Kansas Air National Guard Security Forces and therefore I have first hand knowledge that his "cloak & dagger" reason for remaining anonymous is as false as his message.

On May 1st there were two opposing immigration reform rallies several hundred feet apart at the fairgrounds. Officers were told by me to have zero tolerance for people in vehicles driving by and shouting profanities at the participants of either rally.

Two Emporia Police cars would be notified by officers on foot of any actions or law violations from passing vehicles that could have caused either rally to turn violent. In fact, several cars were stopped and advised to stop using profanity toward rally participants and not to return to the area. One arrest was made for disorderly conduct/language and one citation issued for loud music from a car.

I commend the Emporia Police Officers, Lyon County Deputies, Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers & Emporia State University Police for maintaining their poise and their superb performance on May 1st.

Mike Heffron
Chief, Emporia Police Department


USA Flag June 14th is Flag Day.

Take the time to celebrate and show respect for our flag, and don't forget to replace your old flag with a new one. If you need a place to dispose of your flag, please consider American Flag Disposal.


Sgt. Grit,

It is Memorial Day 2006 and we have so many to remember. Yesterday I had the honor to attend a welcome home gathering for a new Marine. LCpl Colin Arthur, Honor Grad, 3rd Battalion India Company. His father asked that all arrive before 15:00. We gathered on their deck waiting. AT 15:00 the door opened and out stepped LCpl. Arthur in dress uniform. You could see the transformation that had occurred. LCpl. Arthur was blessed with a Christian family and had been brought up the "old" way.

He had respect for family, Country and God but now he was a Marine. This young Marine had completed the first step of a journey of a life time. He couldn't stop talking about his experiences and his D.I.s.

On this special weekend we must remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we may live the lives we do. To all those who are serving and those who have served, thank you. LCpl. Arthur, I am proud to call you friend, good luck and thank you.

Douglas Kimbell
The fate of the wounded rest in the hands of he who applies the
first dressing


Dear Sgt Grit;

My wife and I were visiting my son and family some time ago and my daughter in law, called me in to show me my 12 year old granddaughters school project. The students had to make a poster of their hero. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the poster and there I was looking back at me. The poster had some old pictures of me and a lot of things about my time in the Corps that I had forgotten, but my wife, son and daughter had provided the information for my granddaughter. Most girls would have put their father or some rock star on the poster but, I was overwhelmed when my grand daughter chose me.

Semper Fi;
GySgt Jerry R. Hattox
USMC Ret
1954-1978
Viet Nam 56-66, 68


"I will venture to assert that no combination of designing men under heaven will be capable of making a government unpopular which is in its principles a wise and good one, and vigorous in its operations."
-- Alexander Hamilton


By way of introduction, let me explain that our family has served in the American military since prior to the Revolutionary War. Often we have provided music for various occasions. At present, I have a son who has just completed his 7th week of training in boot camp at PI. He will graduate, God willing, on 30 June with the rest of Charlie Company. Like so many who have gone before, he has a band MOS and will play his French horn for the Corps... oohrah!

Now as a child, I was taught (in school) to sing the songs of each of our branches of the military. As an adult, I am both a music teacher in 3 local schools and a church organist. Each Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, I always play the service songs to honor our military's service in defending our beloved country. I have followed this tradition for the past 22 years, and I play them with the dignity rightfully due each branch of the service. On Veteran's Day, I also play Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings (which was used for the movie Platoon and seems quite appropriate).

Today, Sunday 28 May 2006, for the first time, I was instructed to NOT play the service songs as a postlude following the liturgy. It seems that the pastor had some personal problem with these songs but only today chose to mention it, even though I have played in this church for 6 years with no such prohibitions.

On a Sunday such as this, one would think that folks with any sense would realize that this music was a way to honor each branch of our military. No one is obligated to sing the songs when they are played, but there are several veterans in the (rather small) congregation.

Playing these songs as a postlude is outside the boundaries of the liturgy itself, therefore the pastor had no reason to object except on a personal level.

I am just as incensed about this as if I'd been told to stop flying the US flag or the Marine flag from my front yard, from my car, or anywhere else I choose to display it or fly them. I do not play music based on political opinion; the hymnbook happens to be sadly lacking in patriotic songs suitable for Independence Day, Flag Day, and other national holidays.

The first Sunday after 9-11, the pastor happened to be on vacation. I chose to open the service with our National Anthem. I now wonder if, had he been present at the time, would he have permitted it?

Sgt. Grit, like one of your bumper stickers says, "America... Love it or leave it!" I couldn't agree more!

Laura Atwood
Danbury, CT


The last couple of months I have been getting a set of dress blues together for my husband for the Traveling Vietnam Wall that came to Portland, Oregon over Memorial Day weekend. I have to say a big thank you to SGT Grit in helping me do this. But the real story here is a Disabled Veteran made his first trip to the wall, and it was a tear jerker for all involved. Dearl has always told me that he would never go see the wall and I never pushed the issue. But thanks to a fellow marine, Dearl not only went to see the wall he was also one of the Honor Guards that were there. I have aways been proud of my husband, and more so now. Because this was a big step for him and his fellow veterans. I hope that anyone that has a chance to see the Wall do so. There was a gentleman that was there. He didn't go near the wall, but stayed on the hill. But he was there. And I know that took a lot for him to do that. Inclosed is a picture of my granddaughter Shana and my husband Dearl. I think he cleaned up rather nice myself. We were there through most of the week. And I have to say that it was a life changing experience. Love and Best Wishes Veterans and Families. Robin Taylor. Proud wife of a Marine.

Walk By Faith, Not By Sight, God Bless!
We listen to KXY.com out of Oklahoma City.

Check it out.


How can a Marine Mom ever begin to express the deep pride and gratitude she feels for a son (soon to be deployed with the Marine 3rd) who serves his Country and Corps.? This mom does it by putting her shoulder to the wheel, and I encourage all the other proud moms out there to do the same! Whether you work outside the home or in, you can help our beloved sons and daughters immensely by your support with letter writing and collecting supplies for the troops (by the way, if you care to look, there are many, many sites besides this one that will inform you where the needs are or that will link you to sites that do.) Above all, keep our bravest and finest in your prayers at all times; and remember to pray for their families as well. We may not be able to serve in the military ourselves, but we can and should serve Those Who Serve. God bless the United States Marine Corps!

Kate T.
New Haven, WV


"[E]ndless repetition is not a coherent argument."
—Thomas Sowell


what with all the liberals , politicians and nationalities in this country saying it is wrong for us to fly our flag and push our patriotism on them, I say this. I will fly my flag this weekend for my son. one of the few Marines who gave all. I pity the man or person who tells me it is offensive or tells me I can't fly it because of some deed restriction in a community or any other stupid reason. this is America, I love it! if you live here love it also.

Charles Harris


"A society that puts equality...ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom."
—Milton Friedman


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I have been reading your newsletter for a few years and also have my father reading it (3/5 66'-68'). As a Marine veteran I was very disappointed this week with some individuals at work. See, the air conditioner went out here and it was 79 degrees in my work area and 84 degrees in another. (The day after memorial day) Many people were complaining, some even left work early, don't get me wrong it was uncomfortable but I just told myself that the boys in Afghanistan and Iraq and everywhere else would probably pray for 84 degrees and a restroom with running water and a vending machine all in walking distance. I just thought about my time in the Corps and in Somalia (BLT 2/9) where I would of loved to have 84 degrees. The Corps has shown me to appreciate things in life that civilians will never be able to.

Semper Fi

R.J. Forrest
0351,8541, 0231 1991-1995


"America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race."

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sgt. Grit,

I can't stand on the side lines any more. I have had it with the news media, past generals and scorned mothers. I think that we all as Marines should take a look at our selves for one second and remember the words Semper fi , that we were a band of brothers and the few the proud. We all know that Marines take care of there own but I haven't seen that from these people along with the fact that we b!tch to our selves not in public. We don't blast to the news media what could be a black mark on our faithful service to the American People for over 230 years. We as Marines have always policed our own. The American People have always looked to there Marines knowing that as long as there was a Marine Corps that they could sleep at night. What they have seen in the last year should make all Marines feel ashamed of these few people. Marines that prosper at the cost of other Marines (congressman). Generals that speak out against our president. These are not the actions of Marines. Yes we b!tch that I will not deny but as I said not in PUBLIC! And last but not the least there is a mother that I think she forgets when her son completed boot camp that not only he entered into the family but so did she. As a Marine I feel the pain of every Marine family every time that a Marine is kill no matter if it's combat or not. We are the few have always had the worst barracks, worst chow, worst assignments ,smallest budget and then there was people that felt they could give some of that money back. Thru all that ,we always knew that we had each other. A Marine would always have the back of a fellow Marine. If these people wanted to b!tch you can't tell me they didn't know another Marine.

Marines have been b!tching to other Marines from the start and will till it ends for that you can be sure. I'm sure threw this letter you get my point and some may feel that I to have just contributed to Marine on Marine violence but I feel any Marine that commits these acts against another Marine no longer is worthy of the curtsies.

Semper Fi
Vincent Burkholder
3CEB, 2CEB 83-87


Sgt Grit

I served from 1956 to 1959 on Sea Going detachments and it was a great experience. My youngest son served during Desert Storm and I would just like to say that whenever I see a man or woman in uniform, especially a Marine uniform I walk over to them and say," young man I would like to shake your hand and say thank you" Boy does that ever make me feel good.
Sgt R D Stober Ret
582186 USMC


Dear Sgt. Grit and Grit'sters...

Words seem not enough to tell you how much I appreciate your website, the newsletter and all you do.

I am in England now, for the duration, I came here to work with a think tank to develop a university to train community level to federal level leaders and policymakers in anti terrorism theory, policy and psychology. Its weird being "The only AMERICAN in the village, let alone the only MARINE AMERICAN in the village." My worst day was Memorial Day. I have four Marine sons, deployed to Iraq, but I could hang tough for even when in the States. Your Newsletter, which I spent Memorial Day reading, [and praying for our fallen and their families,] was like a USO show for me.

Anyway, enough mush, grunts yer get what I am saying, you are da best!

SEMPER FI

Doc
Dr. Ariane T. Alexander
Manchester, England


"But if we are to be told by a foreign Power...what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little."

—George Washington


The recent notes in the newsletters about the Marines deploying to Viet Nam from K-Bay in ’65 brought back a childhood memory. I was then a Navy dependent of 7 years old, living in nearby Kailua. For all of our base chores, we went to MCAS Kaneohe, instead of chasing across the Island for a Navy facility. So here’s the story: one day in 65, Dad was at sea, and Mom filled the car with my brothers and I after school for a commissary run, and the base was typically high energy...the nodding idiots out by the gate were pumping up and down, sentries crisp and correct, H- 34s beating the air into submission, Marines mowing lawns, double timing somewhere in formation and good voice, pummeling volleyballs...all of the typical peacetime garrison afternoon activities.

For some reason, we also went to K-Bay the very next day, think my brother had some medical appointment...and the contrast with the previous day could not have been more stark: K-Bay was a complete ghost town, empty and silent to the point of oppressiveness...no sentries, no radars, the sky was empty...not a Marine and scarce a Sailor to be seen. The Brigade had deployed overnight.

A related memory, and in spite of all the locker box tales, this memory kept me a hearty contributor to Navy Relief for my whole hitch (and to this day !)...my Mom and the entire NRS organization swung into action, providing for the families of the deployed Marines that same evening. Seems the deployment was so sudden, and perhaps the processes were not as effective in those days, that the dependents were left high and dry without all of the legal and financial arrangements we are now so scrupulous about. I remember gangs of young families, mostly wives and kids of junior enlisted Marines, passing through our house, and those of neighbors, and endless hams and lasagnas being prepared and quickly whisked away to Marine families. I have since learned that the more adult things, like allotments, SGLIs, powers-of- attorney...all that stuff (I hope) is now squared away before deployment, was accomplished in makeshift offices set up on the Base by this crew. It was an astounding out-pouring of support, compassion, and organization, and was accomplished entirely within the auspices of the informal organization of the wives of deployed Sailors (submariners, actually), Navy Relief, and the Red Cross...women who arguably had their own challenges to deal with.

Incidentally, one of the neighbors in those days was WWII hero and former Senator, then a mere Kailua Town Council member, Daniel Inouye.

Thanks for the Newsletters, Grit !

Semper Fi
Tom Ratliff
Capt USMC (Tanker, PAO)
1978-1986


Wondering if anyone has advice...
I am the very proud wife of a decorated Iraqi war veteran who has, as of a year ago, completed his contract and opted for civilian life. After 13 years as a reservist who volunteered for everything that came up -amounting to several years active duty including combat situations- he's having a tough time as a civilian. He seems to have a sort of inner conflict and though the Marine Corps is his first love (I'm OK with that), he won't go back to it. He truly loves the Corps and want's to be in the fight but he is adamant about staying home and starting a family. Being a Marine is so much a part of who he is as a person that it's sad to see him push it away. I want nothing more from him but his happiness. As he won't really talk about it, I figured I'd ask the pros....any thoughts?


In October of 2004 we had the pleasure of attending our son's graduation ceremony at MCRD Parris Island. During the proceedings the officiating Marine turned to the audience of proud Marine families and asked all former Marines to remain standing while the other guests were asked to sit down. My wife, her brother, and myself were all able to remain standing having each earned the title ourselves in the past. Needless to say, when we were recognized for our service and the crowd applauded, we three were all left a little over come with pride and emotion. As we humbly sat back down, our daughter broke the silence by pointing out that my wife was now at the center of a "Marine Corps Cross". My wife being the Woman Marine in the center, and her Father, Brother, Husband, and Son being the Marines that surrounded her. Our proud Marine Family: William L. Payne, Former Cpl. of Marines (deceased) William N. Payne, Former Staff Sgt. of Marines Billie Jo Payne/Fredericks Former Sgt. of Marines Stephen B. Fredericks Former Cpl. of Marines L/Cpl.

Robert W. Fredericks

Keep up the great work Sgt. Grit, and God Bless all of our Marine brothers and sisters. Semper Fi


The military spouse I’d like to tell you about is my mom, Judi Gutierrez. My dad has been a Navy Corpsman, frequently stationed with Marine Corps units, for almost 20 years now, and will soon be retiring and she has stuck by him through his entire military career. Their first duty station together after getting married was Kaneohe Bay MCB, Hawaii in 1989. So we headed to a new world. Shortly after being there Dad was deployed for to Okinawa for 6 months only to return for a week and a half before being deployed to Operation Desert Storm for 8 more months. She picked up everyone’s pieces and pulled together the best support group a Key Volunteer Network’s ever seen. She started the Ombudsman network in Hawaii and is responsible for what is now the Key Wives center Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station. She was the Base Generals primary Ombudsman through all of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She took in wives that needed counseling, housed solo wives that had no where else to stay, while still being mom to my sister and me. She was the classy smiling front face for 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. She cooked for everyone that just needed a good home- cooked meal. When the unit was gone all they mentioned was missing the incredible New Year’s Eve party they knew they had missed at Judi’s house. When they did finally return, she had bought all the decorations, streamers, balloons, hats etc., to celebrate New Year’s and saved them so that when the Marines and my dad returned in April she let them know that not only were they deeply missed but greatly appreciated. My mom threw the biggest New Years Eve party ever seen in the month of April. All single Marines that had no place to go eat dinner or spend the holidays, she warmly invited them into our home every year as if it were their own. She takes everyone into our home and cares for them like Mother Hen. After my brother was born and both Desert Storm and Desert Shield were over we returned to south Texas. Again working the KV network and raising a family, she took in friends, & cared for us all. She eagerly supports every baseball, softball and football game my dad, Brother, Sister and myself ever participated in.

Now in Oklahoma City, OK, Judi works a full time job at Sgt. Grit Marine Specialties, is planning/supporting a retirement for my dad, raising a working honor roll college student (myself), an honor roll drama high school student and an honor roll athlete junior high school student and still finds the time to taking care of the young Marines, Airmen, and spouses and families who’s husbands are deployed, whether it be just someone to talk too or again a home cooked meal or maybe someone to watch the kids so they can run to a doctors appointment. She attends every military ball with elegance/grace by Dad’s side. Judi continues to stay close to the spouses & all the families we’ve met. She truly is the picture perfect Military spouse!

Thank you,
Jennafer Gutierrez
Tinker AFB, OK


MEMORIAL DAY

( More than just a day off work )

M is for the memory we have of those who put their lives on the line to give us the freedom and privilege of living in this blessed nation....

E is for the enduring gratitude we have for the sacrifices these men and women make for those who stayed at home....

M is for the merit we recognize in those who serve our nation when such service comes at such a high price....

O is for the obedience we honor when those in uniform follow orders that may, and many times do, cost them their lives....

R is for the reverence we give to the thoughts we have on this day, or any day, when we remember those who give so much...

I is for the integrity we salute when those in uniform stand up for all of us even when some of us do not stand up for them...

A is for the allegiance we have to the nation that these brave warriors fight and die for...

L is for the love that goes with those who are in harms way, and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me...

Offered respectfully by,
W. Larry Chapman, Jr.
Capt. USMC - Vietnam Era


I just wanted to say recently I lost my 22 yr old brother in Iraq on Feb 6 06. I prayed for that day not to come that phone call from my Mom broke my heart. He is and will always be my hero and will miss him dearly. No one understand that brothers and sisters have a bond to I was very close to him we never fought and I have a hard time accepting that I will never see him again like they say “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” and I know he’s guarding those pearly gates with the rest of them.

SEMPER FI to all who are and were Marines GOD BLESS
In Memory Of LCPL DAVID S. PARR
OOH-RAH


"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting; correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private charter gave effulgence to his public virtues;. Such was the man for whom our nation mourns"

-- John Marshall (official eulogy of George Washington, delivered

by Richard Henry Lee, 26 December 1799)


"[Ronald Reagan] quoted Thomas Merton, 'We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, work without expecting immediate reward, love without instantaneous satisfaction, exist without special recognition.' The president then wrote, 'In today's modern world many would challenge Merton's statement and ask why we must be content to live this way.' He answered that question with some of the best advice I've ever received: 'Because our nation was built by men who dedicated their lives to building our country for the sake of their children and countrymen, without taking the time to worry about receiving recognition for their efforts'."
—Oliver North


These are pictures my friend took at Rolling Thunder of a motivated Staff Sergeant of Marines. The Staff Sergeant stood out in the heat for hours while thousands of motorcycles drove by. The water was given to the Marine by a Park Police Sergeant, who has originally placed it in front of his feet. The only time the Staff Sergeant moved was to put the water behind him so nothing would be in between him and the fallen.

SEMPER FI!


Nothing...is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."

-- Thomas Jefferson


We should take no action against any Marine or other service members for alleged misconduct or killings until every insurgent is caught and prosecuted by the Iraqi government.

Martin E. Shapiro


Sir:

We have received dozens of e-mails about something published in your newsletter with factual errors.

For example, the recruiter's name you published said this did not happen to him. The recruiter who said this did happen to him said the school's reaction was "awesome."

The part about the first amendment appears to be fiction.

You might want to verify these facts before forwarding information.

The best contact would be Larry Rich
Assistant Principal
Roseburg High School
541-440-4142


Sarg,

I have been pondering the recent allegations by a New York Times "reporter" against several Marines, whom the reporter has accused of murdering over 20 Iraqi civilians after one of their fellow Marines was killed by an IED. It appears that these Marines are being hung out to dry! What the h&ll is going on? Do the media-elite really have such boundless control over our military? I don't know what happened that day in Iraq, other than a Marine was KIA by someone setting off a home made bomb. His buddies went after the "murderers".

I have believed since I was kid that in a person is "presumed innocent until proven guilty". According to news reports, these Marines are guilty until proven innocent?

And the bureaucrats, always looking out for themselves and being astutely "politically correct", haven't discovered that this war, like Vietnam, has evil people, and that many of the evil people are women and children who have strapped bombs to themselves. How do you train someone to know who is evil and who is good unless they are either shooting at you or are wearing signs stating either, "I'M GOOD!" or "I'M EVIL!"?

My prayers go out to these Marines and their families!

Semper Fi
Bob Lonn (1963-69, Sgt, USMCR)


Sgt. Grit

Reading my morning paper today I see an article claiming that it took a five hour gun battle for a Marine unit to kill about a dozen unresisting civilians in two houses in Haditha, Iraq. Several questions are raised in my mind. If only Marines were shooting it was not a gun battle. If there really was no resistance on the part of the civilians it is unconceivable for me to believe that that it would take five hours for the Marines to kill two dozen unarmed civilians.

Is this going to be another situation where, in the heat of battle resulting in the death of civilians, the powers that be, fearing bad press, are going to desert the men they sent there? I urge every one to watch this closely and if this be the case raise h&ll.

R. Jennings
MSGT. U.S.M.C. Ret.


I am just a mom of a brand new Marine and am yet learning the protocol of politics and war but am I totally crazy in not understanding how our Marines (or any forces for that matter) are being held for "MURDER" in a war situation? When one house holds terrorists that are wanting and willing to shoot, mame and kill over 2000 of our military, yet the next holds civilians that, on occasion have to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time", how can we be mind readers or psychics? Is this the way it has always been? Is it due to our over-cautious thinking of how the world sees us as a "super power"? I know we should not lower ourselves to a terrorist way of thinking but does anyone think that their sons and daughters who have died for the sake of this country believe that "murder" was not involved when their? I believe I just read something from a recent A&E TV special, when there is war, it has to be assumed that there will be killing involved. It's a sad fact but true. What can we, as citizens do to help protect our young warriors who are going to battle for someone else's freedom? I want to help but even my hands are tied... in a small suburb of Denver CO, they have taken my voice away as well as those men who have risked their lives for millions who do not seem to care. Help me understand! SC


I'm probably out of line with this, but I don't think Gen. Hagee should have gone to Iraq just now. It makes it look like he believes Marines actually murdered innocent Iraqis, which I myself don't believe. Gen. Hagee sounds a little too PC to me.
-- Anson Rohr.


"Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction."
-- Thomas Jefferson



Walk the Walk
Or Shut Up!





Sleep Well America




God Bless America!
Welcome Home
Semper fi
Sgt Grit


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