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I was reading the letter sent about the cross in San Diego. I couldn't help but think of my former Marine husband who had also been to that cross. He was a Lithuanian/American and one of his tales about his Lithuanian country was about the "Hill of Crosses". When the Russians took control of Lithuania, they leveled this area with tanks to try to keep faith and history out of Lithuania. The next morning all the crosses were back, thousands of them! They were torn down again and were put back over and over again. They are still there proving that you can occupy a country but not the people.

That cross in San Diego meant a lot to my husband and all the freedom loving Marines that have been to see it. I hope we all have the strength to keep it safe.

A Marine Widow

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I am a 67-68 Nam vet, it took my dying fathers wish for me to visit the Wall, we spent a week in DC taking in not only the wall, but Arlington and the many great things our country stands for, And like you my Dad stayed in the shadows while I faced this demon inside, but I remember stealing a glimpse of my dad and I now know how proud he was of that moment, While we kept that special moment private... I will keep this as one of life's most cherished moments.

My only regret is that my dad did not live long enough to see the WW II monument and that I could not share that same moment of respect for his sacrafice..Thanks for being there for him, and tell him I said Thanks for his sacrifice.. T.M. Tube 2367377

Semper-Fi and God Bless America
Ted Tube

Sgt. Grit,

I Love reading your letters and it give me great pride to know our vets are getting some recognition. It sure was rough on us during Viet Nam. Though Grieved, it didn't bother me . I knew what I was fighting for ,during that time and all time.

It sadden me to know the great loss of Life and Freedom to all those of South East Asia. Millions died in the Killing fields after our departure and I ,apologize for our politicians who didn't have the fortitude to see them threw.

My job did not take me in country, but as a communicator ,handling the situation reports, I felt the pain of every action . I admonish all to Pray for our country and keep doing all we can to keep it FREE.

Pastor ,Sgt. Rick Young
USMC 69-78

"Tyranny, like h&ll, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-Thomas Paine

Sgt. Grit, Today (6-11-06) is one year ago that my son Jesse passed away. He was a Proud Marine. He had been in for three years, he was in the Reserves. He was Military Police. I know how these mothers feel I was there once. I had only two sons they are eighteen months apart. Jesse was my youngest. He had just came home from Iraq for a 90 day leave. We went to Willow Grove to pick him up and we had no idea that 250 Marines where coming home. That was the happiest day of my life, Me and everyone else was in tears when we saw the plane. That was Feb.26,2005. and on March 6 my son had turned 22 years old. A friend of his wanted him to go on vacation with him to Cancun Mexico on June 11th, it was four of them. When they got there they wanted to go swimming, they where there 45 minutes and my son was caught in an undertow and drowned. I cry everyday because I miss him so much. I just wanted to say all the worry you do when your Marines are away from home at WAR and they come home for a visit you just never think anything will happen. I still fly my Marine flag and have my Marine tag and sticker on my car because I'm PROUD of my SON and ALL THOSE MARINE MEN out there. I will always be a Marine

Bonnie Billet

"It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect."
-- Thomas Jefferson

I began reading this newsletter around Christmas time 2005. I was looking for a gift for my fiancé, a Marine, and found Sgt. Grit. I sometimes read others entries with tears of sadness as well as humbleness. Having no other Marines in my life I never understood the pride of a Marine or the dedication a Marine possesses. When I decided to put together a scrapbook for my fiancé of his Marine Corps days, I started to understand. The way he talks of the Generals he worked under and the Marines he served with, I see that pride and excitement in his eyes. I read the same thing in the entries on Sgt. Grit. That pride has transferred to me, knowing I love a man who was willing to sacrifice life for a country he believes in. Knowing he would never have left or will leave a man behind. I want to thank Marines and their families across the world for the sacrifices you are willing to make and often did make. I now understand where that pride comes from and why it is so strong.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul. All service men and women give meaning to the word FREEDOM and give examples of what it costs us to have that freedom in the United States. I challenge everyone with a loved one in the Corps, and even those without, to walk up to that Marine or other service man or woman and shake their hand. Say THANK YOU! That is all you have to say, thank you.

Proud fiancé of a Marine

"Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights."
-Benjamin Rush

My young Marine son had some of these same questions while he was training at SOI, in North Carolina a couple years ago. He was concerned about my opinion of him if he should be put in a position of killing women or children and male civilians. These are some things I told him, besides the fact that I was on his side no matter what happened. One thing people often confuse is the difference between killing and murder. God originally made a commandment saying "thou shalt not commit murder" (thou shalt not 'kill' gets misinterpreted)...there is also a passage that says that if you "hate" someone you are guilty of committing murder in your heart. The difference between killing and murder has 'everything' to do with the attitude of your heart. War is about killing the enemy, yes...so I told my son to always check his heart for motive and he would know if he's murdering or doing a job of protecting the rights of freedom and liberty. The Bible is full of combat/battles/wars...very bloody ones in which God commanded the women, children and even the livestock to be slain because of the evil hearts of those people. Murder is not just about taking the life of another human being, otherwise we would not have legal terms like "involuntary manslaughter". Soldiers are under the command of their government to do a job.

I also told my son that sometimes the enemy is so awful they will use their own innocents to protect themselves. They will place them in close proximity to themselves to keep our American troops (who do try their best not to kill civilians and have that reputation) from killing them in order to spare the civilians. I encouraged my son to do what he had to do to protect himself and his men first. If the enemy is going to risk their own women and children then those deaths are on the enemy's own hands...not his. Sometimes the enemy likes to send their women and children rigged with explosives as a booby trap...it seems to me to be more merciful to shoot them so they don't feel the pain of being blown to bits by their own soldiers. Most other countries we have fought against don't value their own women and children, and have no major qualms using them this way. That's not say that we shouldn't value them either, however, if I were to see one about to be sacrificed by being blown up, I'd seek to put them down quickly before they could blow me and my men up...and also so they weren't alive and conscious to feel their own deaths by explosion.

These ideas seemed to help my son get things settled about what he had to do when he got to Iraq. I know that many people won't understand me, and that's okay. I believe murder takes place when killing is done out of hatred and revenge. But as casualties of war, where exhaustion and chaos prevail, being able to avoid every instance of causing the deaths of innocents is just humanly not possible, and an unrealistic expectation of the public...hence the accusations of Marines committing murder. I am aware that it's not that easy to live with the results of these things, and I have personally never been in combat...but I have talked to many Vietnam veterans and know that if you can't keep your perspective and you let all that death get to you, it makes you feel crazy.

The fact is someone has to do the dirty work to protect the freedoms we often take for granted, and I thank every veteran for paying that price. There are those who get angry with me when I call them a hero...they feel terrible about all the bloodshed they were a part of...but I respect them just the same and thank them all for going through it, even if they do feel so terrible. I know the freedoms I get to enjoy because of what they've endured and I appreciate it, very much. So to all of you Vets on this American Courage mailing list...THANK YOU.

I've seen the way people live in other countries, because my dad's military career took me to other places in the world. And anyone who doesn't like it should just pack their stuff and move somewhere else. America needs unity, not dissension and division. I KNOW that even with all of it's shortcomings, blunders and imperfections...America is still the best place to live...period. I'm very proud of my son no matter what he ends up having to do, while he's serving in the Marine Corps...he may be helping another country gain a measure of freedom, but by helping in taking out terrorists (recall 9/11) he is also perpetuating America's freedoms as well, and thankfully he doesn't have to do it in our own back yards, such as happened during the wars in the 17-1800's. As he has said..."I am sick of the freakin' desert!" But at least when he comes home he can leave it over there.
Yes...please sign me as...
An Idealistic American Patriot...

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must...undergo the fatigues of supporting it."
--Thomas Paine

Sgt Grit:

My son, LCpl Jay Stephenson is being deployed to Iraq in three weeks. Your forum , and the supportive letters that we have been reading on your Website have given us what we need to prepare for this emotional event. I especially loved the letter from the worker at the Atlanta airport that describes the supportive scene every time a group of our troops are deployed. How fortunate we are to have such brave young women and men who are willing to risk everything for this sacred cause!

I love my sons more than I can describe. I have another son in the Air Force. He is stationed in England but deals with the War on a daily basis through his assignment. He is constantly telling us of the good that is happening over there - a hospital is opened for the first time, a town gets new electricity, etc., all because of the hard work and sacrifice of our troops. My Air Force son tells us not even to watch CNN anymore, so we do not. Shame on our media for not showing the positives!

Thanks again - I assure you we will be in touch!

Proud Marine and Air Force Papa
Semper Fi and OO-RAH!

My friend's daughter, PFC Hansen, Emily M., is headed to Iraq by the end of summer. We are not sure what day exactly. She is at Camp Pendleton, CA. I am going to go to join our Marine Support Group here in Springfield, IL, to help Regina, her Mom get through it. I would give anything if I was as strong as our Marines.

God Bless The Marines,
Thanks, for listening, Sgt. Grit.

It is amazing how many people mistake a certain hip snideness for sophistication.
Thomas Sowell, USMC

Greetings From Rancho Mirage

Ben Stein's Letter to the Folks at the Pointy End of the Spear

By Ben Stein


Dear Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, National Guard, Reservists, in Iraq, in the Middle East theater, in Afghanistan, in the area near Afghanistan, in any base anywhere in the world, and your families:

Let me tell you about why you guys own about 90 percent of the cojones in the whole world right now and should be d*mned happy with yourselves and d*mned proud of who you are. It was a dazzlingly hot day here in Rancho Mirage today. I did small errands like going to the bank to pay my mortgage, finding a new bed at a price I can afford, practicing driving with my new 5 wood, paying bills for about two hours.

I spoke for a long time to a woman who is going through a nasty child custody fight. I got e-mails from a woman who was fired today from her job for not paying attention. I read about multi- billion-dollar mergers in Europe, Asia, and the Mideast. I noticed how overweight I am, for the millionth time.

In other words, I did a lot of nothing. Like every other American who is not in the armed forces family, I basically just rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic in my trivial, self- important, meaningless way.

Above all, I talked to a friend of more than forty-three years who told me he thought his life had no meaning because all he did was count his money.

And, friends in the armed forces, this is the story of all of America today. We are doing nothing but treading water while you guys carry on the life or death struggle against worldwide militant Islamic terrorism. Our lives are about nothing: paying bills, going to humdrum jobs, waiting until we can go to sleep and then do it all again. Our most vivid issues are trivia compared with what you do every day, every minute, every second.

Oprah Winfrey talks a lot about "meaning" in life. For her, "meaning" is dieting and then having her photo on the cover of her magazine every single month (surely a new world record for egomania ).This is not "meaning."

Meaning is doing for others. Meaning is risking your life for others. Meaning is putting your bodies and families' peace of mind on the line to defeat some of the most evil, sick killers the world has ever known. Meaning is leaving the comfort of home to fight to make sure that there still will be a home for your family and for your nation and for free men and women everywhere.

Look, soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen and Coast Guardsmen, there are eight billion people in this world. The whole fate of this world turns on what you people, 1.4 million, more or less, do every day. The fate of mankind depends on what about 2/100 of one percent of the people in this world do every day -- and you are those people. And joining you is every policeman, fireman, and EMT in the country, also holding back the tide of chaos.

Do you know how important you are? Do you know how indispensable you are? Do you know how humbly grateful any of us who has a head on his shoulders is to you?

Do you know that if you never do another thing in your lives, you will always still be heroes? That we could live without Hollywood or Wall Street or the NFL, but we cannot live for a week without you?

We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment.

And Oprah Winfrey, if she were a size two, would not have one millionth of your importance, and all of the Wall Street billionaires will never mean what the least of you do, and if Barry Bonds hit ninety home runs it would not mean as much as you going on one patrol or driving one truck to the Baghdad airport.

You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and you are in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet.

That's who you are and what you mean. I hope you know that.

Ben Stein

"A government can be compared to our lungs. Our lungs are best when we don't realize they are helping us breathe. It is when we are constantly aware of our lungs that we know they have come down with an illness."

It is not unusual for any Marine that has left the service to find it hard to find anything to do. The Corps brands you with the name Marine and instills in you the history and traditions of the Corps and the insatiable desire to be the best.

I found that after I retired in 1968, I could become a member of the Marine Corps League and Have worked ever since to aid the Marines retiring, or honorably discharged in finding employment or Helping them seek medical assistance in some cases.

I am in an area where we as Marine Corps Leaguers do attend the home comings for our Marines, or go down to see them off when they deploy.

We honor all Military holidays and perform many funerals, for those that would like a military funeral.

Our help as Marines go to our surrounding communities as well.

It would be a shame for your Marine to keep all that emotion pent up inside, and you could join with him as an associate member and help him enjoy the Corps again.

Semper Fi,
George B. Jacksonville, NC
Home of our Warriors at Camp Lejeune.

Greetings Sgt Grit,

I read this fine newsletter all the time and I thoroughly enjoy it! If I can't get to it right away, I will save it in a special folder for later. Needless to say, I don't believe I've missed a one of 'em in a little over a year. I am a Mom of 5 children, 4 girls and youngest is my boy, my Marine (20 years old). He is currently stationed at Camp Pendleton with HMLA 369 and is scheduled to deploy to Iraq this fall. Well everyone at work knows that I am a PROUD Marine Mom. What with my magnets on my car and my key chains and Proud Mom of a Marine tee, who couldn't guess?! I have lunch every day about the same time as one of the accountants and it seems that he is trying to bait me into a debate over the war, the President, the Republicans and most of all who's "fault" it is that my son will go "over there". I have been very kind and polite to him as I am trying my best not to lose patience. Well I finally just had to tell him that NOBODY forced my son to join, and YES he WILLINGLY joined during a time of war and in case you haven't noticed, there is NO draft going on right now. So I guess you'd have to say it is my son's "fault" for loving his country and doing what he felt was right for him. And maybe his parents "fault" for raising a Marine. Not everyone does ya know! ALSO, I have never been more proud of my son and my country than I am right this moment. I also let him know that my son would also defend the right of this guy to voice his opinion. Needless to say, that just about did it. He is now cordial but no more baiting with the "blame game." Just thought I'd share a bit with you and your wonderful readers. God Bless & Semper Fi!

-A VERY PROUD Marine Mom in California


Just a few thoughts...
I often see the quote "There are two kinds of people - Marines and those who wish they were" As a Dane I, of course, am the latter. If I had been an American, I would have joined the USMC. I have always had great admiration for the corps and the heroic men and women in it.
I think it was spawned by the movie "Heartbreak ridge" when I was 12, which gave me the final push toward my career as an NCO in the danish army.
When the US decided to go into Afghanistan and Iraq, we, the danish armed forces, where the first country besides the UK to follow You guys in. The things You did for us in WWII are not forgotten!
I was in Iraq in 2003 for my first tour of duty along with the danish forces and in august I'll be leaving my home again to join the NATO TRAINING MISSION in Baghdad for a second tour! As exciting as the first tour was, it will not be comparable to the pleasure and honor of working alongside the US forces in the war on terror and helping to rebuilt the country and their military.
My thoughts go to all the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in this struggle, both danish and US. I salute them, and comfort me by the fact that THEY ARE ALL IN HEAVEN, BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL DONE THEIR TOUR IN H&LL!

Semper Fidelis!


My regimental motto: "VÃ¥gen og tro / Awake and faithful"
My old COY motto: " Vor fjende til frygt! / To strike fear into the hearts of our enemy!"

Your's truly
Sergeant First Class
Bo Julius
Danish army.

Hi Sgt Grit, I saw the pictures of the yearly get together and can tell by the smiles that everyone had tons of fun!
I just wanted to briefly share that on the 25th of this month, my youngest son ships out to boot camp following in his two older brothers steps. One is already in country and the other one headed that way too.

~~Thanks for this site, as a mother of three military sons in active duty, it brings comfort to me when I read the emails from so many. It clearly shows how we must never forget our Veterans, past, present and future. God Bless our men and women who have served and who continue to serve.

Proud Military Mother
~~Lorena, Oregon.

Your Marine should look at work involving service to and/or helping others, specifically with or around military people, and civilian professions like the military. Police, Fire, Paramedic, civilian employment on a military base. The best thing he can do for himself is NOT be separated from the lifestyle he has known so well. I returned from Nam in 1969 and got as far away from military and government as I could. About 19 years later I ended up needing work (again) and decided to go to an aviation contracting company that did work for the Navy. My first day on the job - and on base again - I felt a peace and comfort I had not known since leaving the Corps. The profession of arms, and others which have the same discipline, devotion to duty, and work ethic - and by extent those out of uniform that work with them on a daily basis are a totally different animal than those who are protected and pampered. There is a major difference between the military and civilian worlds.


"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."
-Robert Heinlein

Wednesday, June 14, is Flag Day. This often-neglected holiday gives us an opportunity to remember our flag and its origins. Our flag has endured for over 230 years because of dedicated men and women who have given of themselves to protect our flag - and the nation that it represents. For as long as the flag has waved, there have been enemies (foreign and domestic) who sought to overthrow our nation and tear down our flag.

We are again engaged in a war with those who seek to tear down our flag. An image from that war, of three firefighters raising a flag, has been reprinted hundreds of times. It has even been featured on postage stamps, articles of clothing, etc. Similarly, the image of five Marines and a Navy Corpsman raising our flag on a Pacific island in February of 1944 has been reprinted thousands of times. Both of these images have served to help stir us to renewed patriotism.

There are those who choose to desecrate our flag under the guise of "Freedom of Speech." The misguided souls who allow this are not advancing the cause of freedom. Instead, they give aid and comfort to the enemies, foreign and domestic, of our country and our way of life.

Jim Phillabaum

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

-- George Washington

Hello to fellow Marines, Corpsman and the families at Home. I am a former Navy Corpsman who served in the Republic of Vietnam from December, 1968 to May, 1971. With an Air Wing Unit HMM-364, a voluntary augmented Recon Platoon that had the distinction of Killing one of the last Tigers that tried to eat a Marine. I also served with a Sniper Company at Hill 55 where I met some of the greatest human beings alive!

That was my war. Now my stepson is serving in Iraq as a Gunner on a Humvee doing patrol work to find caches of insurgent weapons that are buried. He is a Sgt. E-5 and has been for the last 3 years since his last deployment to Bosnia. In spite of his being in the Minnesota National Guard, I am d*mn proud of him.

But suddenly my former wife and I heard nothing form him for almost a month. Everyday we told each other that he is busy and his time is a strict commodity. Then it happened I heard about a Humvee in the Sunni Triangle which is his AO that was blown-up by an IED with no survivors. In spite of the excellent efforts of the Fort Ripley Family Assistance Project, we still heard nothing. Believe when I say that I was more the willing to go there in person to track him down or find out what happened. I would not have been polite either and pulled every string and favor that I could think of.

Then today I got the E-mail I was looking for. He was and is alright in one piece and appreciative that he has been pulled of Patrol and reassigned to Point of Entry duties. Where they need a trooper with a calm and observant head on his shoulders. In our war it was hard enough to tell the good guys from the bad and over there it is even more challenging.

OOORAH what a relief. I mean to tell you I wrote that son of mine 3 and 1/2 pages and I'm not much of a writer.

The thing is, I now can identify with my family while I was in harms way and got wounded twice. For years it has been difficult for me to understand how they felt. Trust me not anymore Brothers and Sisters.

Life has just given me another lesson.

Semper Fidelis
Bob "Doc" Swafford

P.S. Yes my unit laughed at the way I talked too Just like John Michael Montgomery's song "Letters From Home". You know I get hay fever every time I hear that song. I can't speak for anyone else. But Ya'll know how sentimental we hillbilly's are Lol.

"Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right."
-Lawrence Auster

Hi! I'm writing from Mar del Plata, Argentina, I'm 21 years old and I'm a buff and supporter of the United States of America. This letter's purpose is to send my entire support to all the men and women who make up the Armed Forces of the United States.

I tell you that my grandmother is American; she was born in Boston, Mass., and she is 81 years old but she lives over here. Maybe, it's some American blood that I carry in my veins, the love to the law enforcement and the freedom, what causes to me a strong feeling to USA.

The terrible attacks of September 11, 2001 against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon stirred me an enormous sadness and anguish. I prayed God for all the people who died in that tragic day. I knew that the World had changed and nothing would be the same as before.

Hence, I support totally the war against the d*mned terrorism. I think that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be good to shape a New Middle East because its "stability" was fictitious. Accepting that "stability" (read inaction, negligence or lack of guts) enabled Islamic terror to grow from a local problem to a global threat during the '80s and '90s. "Stability" that paid a high price: 09-11-01. The threat was more dangerous than what was believed; but it was hidden, stealthy, ill-checked and underestimated.

Therefore a change needed to be made. I know that the situation in Iraq is not one that was expected. But I also know that a tyranny-ruled society won't turn into a free society overnight. I don't say it, history says it. Yet, I hope that things look up and the Iraqi people can have its own military and democratic government, so all of you can return home as soon as possible.

I suffer and grieve for all the lives of the American soldiers that get lost in the battlefield. And I remind the families who lose their relatives in the war, for that reason, I pray to God that protect and bless all the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces every night. All the Americans should thank, to remember and to honor to all those who gave their life in the name of the United States.

I know there's no medal, there's no money, and there's no word to comfort the pain of the lost loved one. But I also know and I want you to think what it would happen if the war on terror moves to the American cities? I think that all what was built in three centuries would collapse. And I do not wish to sound apocalyptic, but realist in view of the magnitude of our enemies.

United States is strong, powerful and rich. It's the nation that has created this new way of life. It's the Leader of the Free World, the nation of the freedom, the individualism, the ownership, the law, the technology, the consumerism and so on. You have created this good system, which has some flaws, but it is the best in the Earth. And we won't allow some murderers without conscience to put in danger our way of life. The objective is clear:
to put an end to this scoria of the mankind to preserve the future of our civilization.

American soldiers, I say you: Don't throw down your arms, continue, stay strong, be careful, take care of one another and keep your morale up, because I know that it's very hard. I know that constant danger surrounds you. I know that you want to come home. I know that you miss your kith. But I also know that you guys are making a difference. United States needs of you once again. United States supports you again. United States is what it's for you. If United States didn't have men and women like you, it wouldn't be as strong and powerful as it is. Thanks so much for protecting the U.S.A. every time.

Because of your bravery, loyalty, heroism, patriotism and, mainly, for obliterating the enemies and the threats of the United States of America, all of you are my heroes and idols. You Will Have My Unwavering & Uncoditional Support FOREVER.

As a fanatic of the United States, my biggest dream will take place the day that I set foot upon U.S. soil but I'll fully be happy when I visit some military base or hospital and I say to each and every one of you, in person, Thank You For All That You Do For The States.

I thank you vastly your attention and I send greetings and encouragements to all the men and women of U.S. Armed Forces. I look forward to your answer (if possible), to make sure me that this message has been read.

May God bless USA's Forces and their families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Thank you very much and good luck!

Yours truly,

Ignacio S. Cucuzza
A staunch friend of the U.S. Military.

"The Declaration of Independence...[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man."
-- Thomas Jefferson

About a month ago the very proud father of a US Marine Frank DeGise wrote about his outrage at the political cartoon strip by Gary Trudeau. The cartoonist had an Army recruiter suggesting that a loser should talk to the Marine recruiter. I chose to take a different view. I went through boot camp from August to October 1951 and although a lot of things have changed in the Corps and in the world since I retired in 1974, I'll bet one thing hasn't changed. In 1951 the Marine Corps took losers and made winners and I'll bet they still do.

Semper Fi
Gordon L. Graham
MGySgt(Ret), 1205645 USMC

Sgt Grit,

My name is Steve Semenek and I served with Alpha Company 1/9 in Viet Nam as a Grunt in 1969. I am also a retired Deputy Sheriff with the Lake County Sheriff's Office in Illinois. There is a Sgt. on the highway patrol of the sheriff's office that is wearing the gold colored cover Globe & Anchor symbol on his duty uniform microphone holder. He has never served in the Marine Corps or any branch of the service, but his son is currently in the Marine Corps and God Bless him. I understand that he can wear anything that he wants off duty, however by wearing the Globe & Anchor symbol while he is on duty, he is depicting his self as a former Marine, which myself and several other former Marines that are currently employed by the sheriff's office strongly object to. Several of the former Marines have respectively asked him to remove the Globe & Anchor from his duty uniform, but he has refused to do so. I have written a letter to the sheriff politely explaining that the Globe & Anchor symbol is not something that can be inherited, purchased, rented or lent, it's something that is earned. I asked the sheriff if he would be so gracious as to have this Sgt. remove the Globe & Anchor symbol from his duty uniform. this letter was written and fax to the sheriff three weeks ago and I know for a fact that the sheriff has read the letter, but the Sgt still adorns his uniform with the symbol. The sheriff is a very vindictive individual and is the type of person that no one can tell him what to do and I expect him to ask me to turn in my sheriff's office retired identification card if I pursue this matter, but myself and the other former Marines feel very strongly about this. As I stated previously God Bless the Sgt's son and HE has earned the right to wear the Globe & Anchor symbol, not his FATHER. I understand how proud the Sgt is that his son is serving in the Marine Corps and he can wear anything that reads MY SON IS A MARINE instead of wearing the Globe & Anchor Symbol. My question to you is are we out of line in requesting the Sgt to remove the symbol from his duty uniform ? and if not would you have any recommendations in reference to taking further action. Thank You

In response to Ms. Atwood, who wrote about being told not to play military songs on Memorial Day.

My husband and I volunteer in the English as a Second Language program in our church teaching English and Bible to the large immigrant population in our community. On Memorial Day, we had the students come into the "big church" service and sing "God Bless America". I can't think of a more appropriate event for Memorial Day. The great majority of our students are from China or Vietnam. Many of them risked their lives escaping their native countries to find freedom in America. They all have great respect for our military.

It happens that the son of a church staff member had returned home the night before from a year's deployment in Iraq with the Army. The ESL students joined the congregation in a standing ovation for this young man.

Your pastor could take a lesson from these students in respect for our military and what it really means to love the freedom we have in America. I, for one, have learned more from these students about what it means to be an American and to enjoy the freedom my son fights to protect.

Proud mother of Marine Corporal, Sam.

Linda W.
Milpitas, California

Hello to all, I am responding to a letter sent in by SSGT. Bradford M.Fields, retired. I was extremely moved and touched by your words. I can only imagine the sadness and pride felt by that father who bears the heartache of a "gold star". You , on the other hand, must also feel proud, and honored to hold such a task. To bring honor, dignity, and, compassion to a fallen comrade is the utmost of respect you can give a family. Handing a flag, or a rose to a family member involves bravery of a different kind. It is at the most difficult time in a family's life, that your presence means the most. I commend you for your own act of courage, in doing what you do. So, feel proud and feel recognized, for a job well done. Your support will always be remembered.

Proud mom of a Marine who made it home.

Responses to Arizona Republic political cartoon:

Mr. Benson

We seldom compliment but are quick to criticize..

Have you ever been in combat? God forbid you ever having to be in the same position of the Marines to kill or be killed in Iraq today by unknown enemy including civilians who plant bombs to kill Marines.

The United States Marine Corps is proud of it's history as symbolized by the flag raising over Iwo Jima during World War II. The same flag that is stained with blood of the United States Marines fighting in Iraq today.

Have you ever burned the flag of our United States?

I proudly served as a United States Marine in two campaigns during World War II and five campaigns during the Korean War. Your cartoon ? in the Arizona Republic newspaper I consider disrespectful to all Marines.

And IF you had served, you'd know, but guess it's easier to sit behind a desk and give YOUR thoughts, that OTHERS have paid for!

Watson Crumbie, et al.

What I wrote:

"Gentlemen - one word on Steve Benson's political cartoon desecrating the Marine Corps Emblem, and prejudging the Marines currently under investigation, but not charged with any crimes. This desecration of the Marine Corps Emblem appeared in Wednesday, June 7th edition of the Arizona Republic as a political cartoon. The word I use is: unconscionable. I, and too many men and women I know, have fought and bled with that emblem on our chest and in our very soul. Thanks for the prejudgment and thanks for painting all of us in the same brush. Most of all, thanks for giving aid and comfort to an enemy that isn't interested in your right to publish this crap. I, for one, will remember what you did. As for Mr. Benson - feel free to come visit Camp Lejeune anytime - there's over 60,000 of us here that would like to discuss this cartoon with you. Believe me, we'll show a lot more courtesy and respect to you than you obviously feel for us. Amazing, I'd like to know what your Editorial Board considers as "Mean-spiritedly insulting. . " if they approved publishing crap like this.

Semper Fi
Russ Jamison

Based on a few allegations, the press has already decided that the entire Corps is at fault for the problems in Iraq. The Marines being investigated apparently have already been tried and convicted by the news papers political cartoonist, Steve Bensen


8x8 cells, solitary confinement,schakeled by the wrists and ankles, no special meals, no set times for prayer, no special religious considerations, no conviction, but worse treatment then the insurgents at Gitmo, volunteered to defend this country from harm, guilty until proven innocent??? These are our very young sons and grandsons who did a job that they were trained to do. I believe that they are innocent until proven guilty. Charge them or release them ! RELEASE THE PENDLETON 8

Signed - Sharon - A very proud Marine Mom of an Iraq War Vet


"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors."
-Joseph Story

Dear Sgt. Grit,

May of 2005, our son was one month away from his high school graduation. He decided to move out of our home, because he could. He was 18. We did not know if he would graduate. In the mean time he was talking with the local recruiter. Again, something we did not know. He proudly graduated high school. Through correspondence with our 17yr. old son I learned that our now 19 yr. old had joined the Marine Corps. I will not say I was happy or sad. Maybe indifferent. As the months progressed were heard little from our 19 yr. old. On October 18th,2005 a tragic accident took the life of our 17 yr. old. ( These are my only two children.) Our 19yr. old had come home only briefly for visits. Little did I know he was still talking with the Marine Corps. He is all I have left. Around January he called and asked if I would pick him up. He was coming home to live. I gladly went to get him. Every thing was going well. One evening my husband and I returned home to find a visitor at the house with our son. I sadly say, I did not give him a warm welcome. It was our son's recruiter. Just four months prior I lost a son and no way was my now only son going to join the Marine Corps. During the next month our son talked with us about the Marine Corps. and his plans. He had made a decision and we were either going to support it or fight it. We don't fight! On April 1st we took our son. My heart was breaking. But I could see the pride in our son's eye's. I am PROUD to say our son is graduating boot camp on June 30,2006. We will be making the trip. We would not miss it for the world. We are so proud of the accomplishments he has made and doing so while he was still grieving for the loss of his only brother. Our hearts swell with so much pride. I wrote a little poem for him from his brother and I would like to share it with you. He will receive this poem at his graduation party.

Know that I was there with you every grueling day.
To guide you in your journey
and pray you through your day.

How proud I am,
of the accomplishments you've made.
How proud I am to call you,
a United States Marine , today.

I received a letter a week ago from our son and he explained to us, thoughts of his brother is what helped him get to the top of the reeper. I wrote the poem 10 days after our son left.

Thank you for letting me share our story.

Proud parents of a US Marine.
Tom and Teri Gottowski

Sgt. Grit,

I am the proud wife of an Iraqi Freedom Soldier. Although my husband is in the Army National Guard now, he was an active Marine from 1986-1991. The only reason he says kept him from re- enlisting in the Corps was "the darned PT"-it seems running in those boots did bad things to his knees. He says Army PT is much easier, however, after 4 yrs in the Army, he still can't (and won't) define the word RETREAT.

I didn't have the privilege of knowing him when he was active in the Corps, but in his heart and mine, he is still very much a Marine. There is just something special within a Marine that keeps him loyal, no matter where life might take him.

Just a few short weeks ago, I signed him up for our local Marine Corps League. Talk about an instant extended family!

I want to encourage all out there who have any Corps time to contact their local Marine Corps League chapter and enlist. I can't say enough about how wonderful an organization it is. They truly love what the Corps represents, and do all they can to help those of us that are left behind during deployment.

I also want to say thank you to everyone at Grit H.Q. for putting out your weekly newsletter. I receive it, read it, cry a little, laugh a little, get a little angry, and a little happy. I miss my husband everyday, but your newsletter and all the people that write and share little pieces of their lives keep me going. Please don't ever stop doing what you do!

Becca Hood
Proud wife of a Marine SGT in heart and Iraqi Freedom Soldier in body

P.S. If I did not have our 1 yr old little baby to raise, I would be right there in the sand, fighting alongside all of our brave men & women for the right to a peaceful society. To those men, women and all their families on the home front, I say "SEMPER FI" and yes, even "Hooah" (to those that have defected to the Army).

I don't know how many of you may have seen this new Starbucks commercial on TV, but it had a very strong attraction to it the first time I heard and saw it. Later my significant other, who was in the Army for 11 years reminded me that the beat was the same four count beat to drill and running cadences that all of us have experienced at one time or another as Marines and soldiers. I wonder if the ad folks that came up with it realized that when they were making it or they just thought it was catchy? H&ll, the actors in the commercial even fall in and do their cadence while running/dancing down the street. (My excuse for not knowing why it was familiar is I've been retired for 14 years and my memory is going).

Major B. Davis 70-92 Retired Mustang.

Hey! Everyone! Sgt. Grit just wanted to let you know I am back. My name is April Cheek, you may or may not remember me, but I was the one who had the hard story about becoming a United States Marine. Well I graduated Boot Camp Jan 6, 2006 and then graduated MCT Feb 28, 2006 then graduated MOS School May 9, 2006! And now here I am in Camp Pendleton California! Yeah! Can you believe it! I know I sure can't I never thought that I would make it this far. Just goes to show how far a little determination will take you and the power of believing in yourself and the beauty of your dreams! And the desire to make dreams a reality!
PCF April R Cheek
MCAS H&HS FLCL, Camp Pendleton

For Laura Atwood, whose pastor stopped her from playing patriotic music as a postlude to the service: You can approach the church's governing body. If they won't overrule the pastor, there are other churches. And you can invite vets and other patriots to leave with you. Since you have a small congregation, your departure will make a statement.

Robert A. Hall

My son graduated from Parris Island 4/9/04. His college part- time job was just two blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and this, I believe, is what initially guided him to the Marine Corps. Before that, to tell you the truth, I didn't know much about the Marines and I've sponged every bit of knowledge that I could since then. I could not be prouder of the life he's chosen and I now have a new sense of gratitude to all you who have served and do now.

Thank You
Cathy Sabol
Mom of a Marine

"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
-- Thomas Jefferson

New Sgt Grit radio ad

Direct Link to 2006 Radio Spot

I could do a "Commando" style radio commercial for y'all up here in Minnesota. I'd just take over a local station for as long as it took to get the cops there, and promote, promote, promote!

Skivvy Stacker
Sgt Grits Marine Corps Forum member

Just wanted to thank all the Military Personnel in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN, but especially my Marines.
Semper Fi, wish I was with you.

Erwin Lopez
Cpl of Marines
1st LAAM Bn, 1995-1998

Sgt, Grit,

I never leave the house without wearing my mother's star. I am a nurse and I recently took care of a patient who had tattoos that were too "blue' to make out. I asked him if he was in the Navy, he shook his head no, I asked him if he was in the Army, and again, the answer was no. I asked if he was a Marine and he adamantly shook his head YES! I told him of my son, Brandon, a Lance Corporal with 1st BN, 25th Marines, A Co in Iraq, and he understood. He could not speak to me, but, I told him I would sing him the Marine Corps Hymn if he let me take care of him. I sang, he listened, and the tears welled in our eyes. That moment, I felt close to this Marine and to my son, Brandon. The family, the Marine Corps family, that I joined 22 years ago when I married my 2nd LT husband, grew that day.

I am so proud to be a part of this family.

Semper Fi,
Melissa Stolley
wife of Capt. Brian Stolley (ret.),
mother of LCPL Brandon Stolley,

Semper Fi Marriage

Sgt. Grit,

Two weeks ago I had the honor of re-marrying my lovely wife of 35 years. We met 39 years ago on a blind date at a high school soc hop when were 16 years old. She had no intention of spending the evening with me. I can only be thankful she has spent the last 39 years with me. We were engaged by our senior year of high school. Then my draft number of 101 came and I had a decision to make. Let the Army draft me or join the Corps as my brothers had. That decision took approximately 1 milisecond and off to the Corps I went. I thought I knew what scared was but as I would find out there are degrees of scared and standing on the yellow footprints I learned about the worst fear of all. Pissing off drill instructors. One of mine spent the better part of his carreer knocking me to the ground. At 124 pounds it didn't take much. However, that 124 pound scardy cat graduated series honorman.

Vietnam taught me another whole level of scared. The Viet Cong didn't scare me the damn booby traps scared me and what scared me the most was the thought of never seeing that beautiful girl I engaged again. As luck would have it Charlie didn't get me and I returned home 11 months after leaveing a changed person. This wonderful women who I married as fast as I could upon returning gave me back my life with her gentle love.

Three children and six grandchildren later I recreated that day of our wedding as best I could and corrected a terrible error of 35 years. My wife had never gotten a "first" dance as we had a backyard reception. Attached is a picture of that serious error being corrected after all these years. Once a Marine decides to set the record straight nothing can stop him from doing so. I was honored to have my old company commander from Vietnam drive all the way from Boston to Chicago with his wife just to celebrate this day with us. There were two Marine Vietnam vets besides myself and two Iraq Marine vets in attendance. It was as if one generation was watching the other pass the battan off. It was outstanding.

I fullfilled a goal I had set for my wife which was to give her a day she'll remember always and a personal goal to have the honor of wearing the uniform of a United States Marine one more time.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
RVN 2/1 70-71

"It was leadership here at home that gave us strong American influence abroad, and the collapse of imperial Communism. Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag."
-Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit.

I read the column by Michelle Malkin in the Rocky Mountain News the other day about the "Pendleton 8." Sounds like they are getting a bum deal. Hope the situation is corrected soon.

I heard on Rush Limbaugh that the Haditha incident might be a hoax, initiated by an Iraqi with an ax to grind against the U.S., and spread by the Media. Just wish the Corps leadership would give their own the benefit of the doubt.

-- Anson Rohr.

Dear Sgt. Grit:

Saigon MSG's and Civilians Reunion
21-25 June 06
Redmond, WA (Seattle area)

Details @ www.saigonmac.com


Keith Birhofer
Paul C Burton
(425) 401-0185

Sgt Grit.

Greetings and SEMPER FI to all of my fellow brothers and sisters out there. I have a story here that I want to share with everyone. It reminds those of us who have children that they are watching and notice things we do. Even the things we do as Marines. This is why we must uphold our traditions and standards even in civilian life.

My children and I were going to church recently and as we were driving down the road, there were 2 former Marines jogging down the same street coming in the opposite direction that we were going. The Marine insignia they had on their t-shirts told me they were former Marines. They saw the USMC tag on the front of my vehicle waved and shouted a hearty, "OOH RAH!" as they ran past. I responded in kind. My 13-year old daughter Jackie then spoke up and said, "Daddy. Can I ask you something?" I said, "Of course you can honey." She said, "Daddy. I have noticed for some time now that when some Marines pass each other, that you all wave to each other and shout different phrases to each other. Sometimes, you all even stop and talk to each other and you all don't even know each other. What is that?" I told her, "Honey. Being a Marine is being part of a brotherhood. It is being par t of a family that goes back to 10 November, 1775. That's when the Marine Corps was formed. I'm not going to try and explain it to you, because you wouldn't understand. You would only understand when you have earned the title Marine." It is true. Until you have earned the title Marine, you wouldn't understand. Not everyone in the world can say they understand. Semper Fi. Carry on.

Danny Russell
Savannah, Ga.
U.S.M.C. 1984-eternity

Father's Day my father (ARMY WW2 Purple Heart), was thank for his service and shook his hand by a stranger while leaving an I- HOP. This made my brothers and I proud. We thank him every 4th of July and 11 Nov Veterans Day ( his birthday ) for his service. I would like to thank all, every branch and families for there part in keeping this country free. We do need to thank our Veterans and Active members.

Thank You

GySgt Daniel L. Burhans 1971 to 1993
2720928/ Rigger AirWing VMGR-252/VMFA-115

"A nation of well informed people who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."
-- Benjamin Franklin

I just read Sgt. Norton's request for the words to a cadence about Chesty. If I remember correctly, we sang it like this-

Chesty Puller was a merry old soul
and a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe,
He called for his guns,
He called for his privates three.
Beer, beer, beer, said the privates,
Beer is all we need.
There are some that are fair, but they can't compare
to Marine Corps Engineers!

Hope this helps.

I reported to MWSS-174 in '93, but when they disbanded 174 and the base was changed from MCAS to MCBH, I moved over to CSSG-3. I still have the print screen for our pt shirts we wore while with MWSS-174.

I have not talked with anyone from either unit in years, so if you are reading this, contact me at mikewasson@centurytel.net

Cpl. Mike Wasson
1345 Heavy Junk

My name is James Ellis, now living in Houston....I too am a former Marine...I enlisted in the Corps in '44, giving up an engineering deferment in college, because I was afraid WWII would be over before I could help out....the Corps was my college for the next 3 years and it was the basis for a rewarding and productive life...I served in the Pacific and China....this old boy came out a lot more worldly than when he left that little home town in Louisiana...after 62 years, the pride of association with the men/women of the Corps still rings true and brings emotional tears at the loss of any of their number...or any other veteran... I would like to pay tribute to a boy hood buddy....he followed me into the Corps, served in the Pacific and China '45-46, came home, finished engineering as I did, raised a family and proudly watched and waited as one of his sons joined the Corps and served in Gulf Storm in the '90s....then proudly watched and waited as two grandsons joined the Corps and served in Afghanistan and Iraq in '00's....three generations of living Marines....you can't do much better than that...

James V. Ellis,
Houston Texas
Cpl, USMC, 44-47