American Courage Newsletter #130 - August 31, 2006

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You can always tell the kids who grow up around the military. My husband is a Gunny with MP Company B in Pittsburgh PA. A few weeks ago we were at a picnic with our 7 year old son and 10 year old daughter. The kids were all playing a game with water balloons. The balloons ran out and all the kids wanted more. While the other kids were asking for more balloons our son was asking for more ammo. A little while later while playing on the play ground our daughter came over to find us to report that she had been wounded when she fell on the play ground. I thought that other parents of Marine Corps raised children would appreciate this.

Georgetown, PA

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Sgt. Grit,

I would like to share a little about a man who I am proud to say I knew, Mr. William Meola Sr. of Utica, NY. Bill served with the USMC during WW2 as one of the few jump qualified Marines. If memory serves correct, he at one time served with the Marine Raiders. Mr. Meola passed away this Spring and was followed shortly thereafter by his beloved wife. We mourn them deeply.

While I know that Mr. Meola (as I always called him as his is my friend's father) saw much combat during his time in service, the one battle he spoke about was Iwo Jima. The battle took a heavy toll physically and mentally on all who served and Bill was no exception. Upon returning home Bill was diagnosed with Combat Fatigue and honorably discharged from his beloved Corp. This was not the end of his loyalty and service to his country nor the end of his suffering.

Bill went on to own and run a business as well as work as a civilian employee at "The Griff" (AFB) in Rome, NY. I met Mr. Meola while in college after becoming good friends with his youngest son, Dan. Mr. Meola was barrel chested man who you could easily see as a Marine. He proudly spoke of The Marine Corp. and was always pleased to see young men and women enter it's service. Many times we heard brief stories of his time in the Corp. though Mrs. Meola always asked him to stop. Fearing no doubt, the nightmares and LORD knows what else would begin again. Never once, did he speak ill of the Corp. it's men or the job he was sent to do. Not unlike most others, he understood that until mankind found a less horrific way to decide it's fate, war would take place and men would die.

We always got a chuckle from the light hearted arguments between Mr. Meola and his then son-in-law Peter who had served with the Army in Viet Nam. They'd sit at the table and "debate" the more formidable opponent! Both knowing full well, it was h&ll on earth for all who served in war. Like most Vets I have come to know, including my father, they don't rush to tell you stories, show you awards or show you scars. They save those memories for time alone or for those who shared hallowed ground. What he did share with us, was what he had learned from family, the Corp, combat and loyal friends, what it means to be a man, and an American! For that, I am eternally grateful.

His last years were difficult ones and that pain extended most heavily upon his wife of many years. Its with a sad heart that I tell that Mr. Meola suffered emotionally for several years, leaving a shell of the vibrant, muscular man, that I honestly believed could do anything he chose. His last few years saw him battle cancer as well. All along, never far from his side, was his wife, the person he loved the most and the person that stood by him through all his battles, those during the war and afterward. Sadly, Mrs. Meola had given so much of herself those many years and her love for Bill so strong, that three months after his passing, she too passed. Both strong of will and stronger yet in Faith, they passed their wonderful qualities on to their children, Grandchildren and all those who knew them.

Regrettably I must say, that I did not attend either wake or funeral. I found it far too difficult to go or address their loss. They had treated me as their son for several years and even after we hadn't seen each other for many years, it was as if nothing had changed but our looks. I felt it would only cause the family, my extended family more pain to ME, a simple friend break down. It is in their honor that I tell you Mr. Meola's story. Perhaps they'll forgive my selfishness.

Men and women such as Mr. & Mrs. Meola are of a by-gone era. One where uncommon valor was a common virtue. One were sacrifice was understood and met head on. I, like the Meola family, was luck to be raised amongst these wonderful people. Almost all my family served during WW2 and all bound closer together and with their friends as result. Bonds that lasted a lifetime. Now, as I find very few of those who raised me left among us, I am deeply saddened. The end of a generation has come and with it, the loss of many of their values and virtues. Enter the United States Marine Corp. In my opinion, the Corp has not wavered in it's dedication to it's ideals and values.

Our world today and that which we will pass to our children will be shaped by the very values we hold dear and are willing to defend to the death. Our future is in our hands. The Marine Corp. remains as it has for many years, holding these traditional values among the highest honors taught to all who ask to enter her forge. Let me end by saying that I don't believe it is The Corp in and of it's self, that produces these fine men and women. It is the members of the Corp. and their totally commitment to preserving these life values and beliefs that give us this end result. It is why so many young men and women from all walks of life come to her door and exit changed for life. The men and women of the Corp ARE the Corp. You have made the Corp and our Country what it is.

As Mr. Meola taught me indirectly, it's not the colors, it's not the emblem, the anchor globe and eagle, it's the title of "Marine", the knowledge of what they've done, and what they've become that makes them proud.

To all who've served, those serving, planning to serve and their families, you have my deepest respect and admiration. My God bless and keep you all safe, healthy and happy.

Semper Fi!
Ray Mazza

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am not a Marine, Marine wife or Mom (maybe 4 year old loves Marines!), however I want everyone to know that there are non- Marine families, as mine that do love the Marines and support them. I have many friends and a cousin that are Marines. I wanted to do something to show my support for Marines and was able to do this through the help of your website. I found 2 links...Hugs from Home and Any Marine...I have "adopted" a Marine to correspond to and also a unit in Iraq that needs some goodies and letters from home. I have written to both and sent's the least I can do for the brave men and women who are risking their lives for the sake of ours. Thank you all Marines for your courage, bravery, commitment and for keeping America's families safe and free. God bless all Marines and their families.

Irene Hansen

"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Dear Sgt. Grit and Marine family:

I am a faithful reader of the newsletter and have laughed and cried while reading... as I'm sure many others have done and do. In the newsletter today - #129 - August 17, 2006, there is a quote/excerpt from Bing West, former Assistant Defense Secretary, regarding "The Iraq war is being played out against a backdrop of bitter partisan politics in the United States... If we as a nation lose heart, who will fight for us?" After reading this, I have to share the story of my son, my Marine, LCpl. Brandon W. Davidson. It's the simple story of his decision to become a Marine.

My son graduated from high school at the age of 18 yrs old in May of 2005. Before his senior year, in the summer of 2004, he headed to the USMC Recruiting Station near our home to talk with the Recruiters about becoming a Marine. Coming from military family of many generations, I wasn't surprised when he decided to look into joining the Marine Corps. But then graduation came and he was offered a position (right out of high school... working for a friend of the family who owns a concrete company) driving a concrete truck and pouring concrete for $1,000 per week plus benefits. Well... the "concrete-driving-pouring-$1,000 per week-job" won out over joining the Marines Corps. He was living "high on the hog", driving a fancy pickup truck, had his own apartment... etc. He had everything an 18-19 year old could possibly dream of... right? He thought so. Then, on March 15, 2006 around 6:00 in the evening, he called me and said that he couldn't sit in a concrete truck any longer... not while our country is at war... not while men and women are dying for our country... that he had to do something... anything to protect his country and loved ones. Then he asked me if I was sitting down. J He told me that he had signed with the U.S. Marine Corps that day! It was the proudest moment of my life... right next to the day he graduated from boot camp and was called "Marine" for the first time! He's now stationed at Camp Pendleton and going through SOI training. He's been told that he will be in Iraq within 6-8 months. As his Mom, of course this frightens me. But, as all sons do for their Mom's... he reassures me that he will be fine and that he is ready. His decision to take this journey, to serve is country, to become a Marine... well... I've never been prouder or had more respect for any one person in my life than I do for him. He truly is one of the Few, the Proud.

So, the point I'm trying to make is this... Regardless of the politics and politicians, the news and news reporters, the protestors, etc., there are, and always will be, brave young men and women who, even in the face of danger, are devoted and willing to fight for and protect our beloved country.

God bless our Marines, our loved ones, that give all for our country, and to the Marine families who share in the selfless acts of our loved ones.

Semper Fi!
Proud Mom

Sergeant "Grit",

I, as many others have stated, always enjoy the uplift and even the heart ach your letters bring to our Marine family. This is my first comm to you and I hope I carry it off well.

First, I'd like to address all the moms, wives, dads, sisters, brothers and brothers-in-arms who enlighten and uplift us with the stories of their families and friends who serve or nation and Corps. Thank you for all YOU have done to mold the youngsters who are walking the walk for us today.

To Mrs. Genevieve L. Miles, my heart is broken by your loss and the loss to the nation of such a fine Marine as Sergeant Sean Miles. While it may be no true comfort to you and your son Sean will never die as his memory will live with all of the heroes of the nation. We who have survived will not let forgetfulness set in.

Semper Fidelis,
Jim Burke
fmr Cpl, 5th/7th Comm Bn
RVN '69-'70

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

I was so impressed with Sam Jones', Minnesota, letter from 17 August 2006! He is going to be a dedicated Marine! (Once he turns 18) The passion of a 17 year old American embracing our freedoms and going all out to protect those hard earned freedoms is exceptional!

We should all be proud and support their courage! My 17 year old son, Trevor, told us of his decision to join just before his high school graduation. I admit, it was a shock I wasn't prepared for! But, my husband and I came around to respecting his decision so, we signed for him to join early. He leaves Nov 6th for boot camp and keeps pestering his recruiter to see is he can go in sooner! My older children were Not the least surprised of his choice to become a Marine! They told me it's just who he is at heart and he will make a great Marine! Although it's a few months away before my son will earn the title of Marine, I now have the Marine Corps emblem on the back of my truck to show my support to ALL Marines!

Lynne Clarke
Fountain Valley, CA

I just wanted to say that my Fiancé is almost home (mid September) from his first tour in Iraq. Sadly, his unit (1/7) is coming home with a few less Marines. I know, along with everyone else, that those Fallen Marines made the Ultimate Sacrifice. I love all of them, and hope to see them some day guarding the gates of Heaven.

Also, I want to wish my future brother-in-law, Pete, the best of luck on his soon upcoming deployment to Iraq. Pete, your wife and 3 month old baby girl (Liberty Marie) can't wait to see you once again.

I want to thank the Mattice brothers for everything they do. I am proud to be a part of their family.

Loving Fiancé of LCPL Mattice, and future sister-in-law of Cpl Mattice

Amber Colvin

Hi Sgt Grit,

I thought I'd write to tell you about a young man I met the other day. He is 14 yrs old and in the Jr.ROTC program at his school. He came in to the doctor's office where I work and had injured his arm. When I asked him how he'd done it, he said he was "dropping" to do pushups and that's when I found out he was in the ROTC program to start with. Well, I proceeded to ask him what branch of the military he was thinking about going into and he very proudly stated the Marine Corps, but couldn't really give me a reason why, except to say he wanted to be the best. I let him know he'd have to work on losing a bit of weight, but also gave him a huge OOH-RAH and Semper Fi. When I left the room before the doctor came in, this young man was grinning from ear to ear and so was his mom. I do believe that wherever he learned about the Corps, he'll make a fine Marine when he gets older.

Mom-in-Law of a wonderful Marine

"I am not influenced by the expectation of promotion or pecuniary reward. I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary for the public good, become honorable by being necessary."
-- Nathan Hale

The last newsletter #129, had many entries regarding the vandalism of Marine Corp. support ribbons and magnets. My son is a recent Marine, just finished training at SOI, Camp Pendleton. I display a proud parent of a Marine magnet on my car and fly a Marine Corp, Semper Fi flag in front of my house. One evening while returning home, I noticed the flag was gone. I had feared that someone took it off and destroyed it. My family and I walked around the house thinking we might find it vandalized. Quite the contrary, thank heavens. It must have fallen off the onto the ground because I found it in my mailbox carefully folded. I thank the good neighbor or passer-by who did that. We are very proud of our young son and those that serve in the USMC.

Huntington Beach, CA

"When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary."
--Thomas Paine

"Power doesn't corrupt people, people corrupt power."
--William Gaddis

"History and war are cruel pedants. Those who know too little of the former are likely to have too much of the latter."
--Oliver North

"The wars of the future will be won by those with the greater strength of will. And boundless determination is one weapon that Islamist extremists unquestionably possess. Do we?"
--Ralph Peters

"A people...who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything."
--George Washington

Sometimes I feel like I have no real support from my family and even boyfriend for having enlisted in the USMC they say that it's the biggest mistake that I could have done. Just a waste of my life but I don't care what they say because I know that the Marines are like my family when ever I have a problem their always there to support me. That's all that I have to say...
Thanks for listening....

John Wear is dead on in his assessment of the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah "Party of Iran" terrorists in Lebanon. Apologies Mr. Wear if I'm over reaching with regard to your comment. In the latest installment of the American Courage news letter of August three. "If the Arabs put down their weapons today there will be no more blood shed in the middle east. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there will be no more Israel today". Hezbollah, the same group which gets air time on National Public Radio and who's terrorists are often referred to as "activists" are the same who murdered 242 Marines in the Beirut bombing, hung Lt Col. Rich Higgens, and bombed the Kobar Towers. Lebanon is complicit and a legitimate target because it has allowed for a situation to arise where Hezbollah terrorists have 1/3 representation in the parliament and 2 members in the Cabinet. It is intolerable to have a country with literally two governments and armed forces/militias that don't recognize your right to exist, which acts on those principles right on your border. If Israel was bent on the destruction of Lebanon the Air Force would have bombed the electro generation plants and water treatment facilities in the first days of the war. If the Lebanese want to point the finger at some one with regard to the mess in their country they only need to go as far as looking into a mirror.

Justin Chatov
Corporal USMC R 1992-1996

Sgt. Grit,

I can't stand but to be ticked off by all of the people out there that complain about the US being in Iraq for so long. They don't stop to think about our history. Do they think that an organized democracy can be achieved overnight? How long did it take the USA to get to where we are today? We went through the Articles of Confederation and through 2 Constitutions and 27/28 (forgive me, my Constitutional Law knowledge is a little hazy) amendments to "get it right" and we're still working on it! People need to be patient and the Iraqis themselves have to make strides in working on democracy, and yes our men are getting killed but in order for a democracy to arise out of tyranny blood must be shed. I wish that it wasn't just our men and women and that more countries would help support the Iraqis. This is a historical event, the chance to give a Middle Eastern Muslim country a chance to govern themselves. I can only hope that other democratic countries will step up to be role models for this fledgling government, but until then it is our responsibility to do so, since we were the first there. I also have to say, from speaking with my husband, a Marine, that the Iraqis do want us there. Most of the insurgents aren't even Iraqi, they're Syrian, Iranian, and Lebanese who are worried that not only are we going to "impose our government on the Iraqis, but our Christian beliefs as well. There are already Christian Iraqis, but that's not our job and we're not there for that. I've said my piece, I've said it to many people face to face, but now at least I have a bigger audience to show my support for our troops and our Commander-in-Chief.

Amy Baker, proud wife of a Marine

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories."
--Thomas Jefferson

Sgt. Grit,

I am not a Marine, nor a relative of one. In fact, I am a police officer's wife and the granddaughter of a Naval Aviator. But I have a special place in my heart for the Marine Corps. LCPL Roger Dale Castleberry, Jr. was a friend of mine and my husband, Tony. Dale, as everyone called him, was KIA on 01 Aug 2005. He was one of the six Marine snipers ambushed in Haditha, Iraq.

Dale was a great friend and a hard-charging, gung ho Marine. Despite the fact that he was a reservist, you could still spot him in a crowd as a Marine. He was the toughest person I have ever met. When the 4th Recon Bn was deployed, he went because his Corps and his Country called him. While in Iraq, he volunteered for every mission leaving camp, so that squads wouldn't be short handed. Dale became a sniper while deployed; his marksmanship saved many lives. He talked to my husband about joining the police dept. when he got home. There's no one else I would want more watching my husband's back. Dale's emails touched us deeply. He sent Iraqi Police body armor to my husband. He said that it came with a great story, but he would tell us over beers when he got back. We never learned the story behind the IP body armor. Maybe he'll tell us in the next life.

I am proud to say that LCPL R. Dale Castleberry, Jr. was a friend. He is a hero because of his unselfish service protecting his brother Marines. My husband and I have decided that if we have a son, we will name him Dale Michael. (St. Michael is the patron saint of military and police) I ordered some USMC items from you to make a scrapbook to show our son. I will not push my son to become a Marine or enter any other specific career. He should follow his own path. I only hope that my son displays the same level of courage and integrity as his namesake.

Thank you for reading this long letter.

Eva Bigongiari
wife of Det. Anthony Bigongiari, Austin PD

Subject: Young Marines Unit in Tulsa

Tulsa has been chartered to have a Young Marines Unit. We expect to start youth sign ups prior to the end of the year, after the key adult personnel are in place and are trained.

Roger Kincade will be the Executive Officer: Terry Funk will be the Commanding Officer.

The Young Marines Program is a character building opportunity for young girls and boys ( 8 -17 ): one in which they can progress in leadership skills, rank, community involvement and have opportunities to accomplish more then they ever expected of themselves. The program has been very successful in hundreds of cities for decades.

We are looking for a few great men and women, who do not have to be Marines or even former military, to become adult volunteers. Expect to commit a few hours each month.

Please contact Terry Funk at (918) 585 - 8522 if you have an interest in being part of this program. More can be learned by going to

Terry Funk

(918) 585 - 8522
marinemustang @
Junior Vice Commandant, Dept of Oklahoma, MCL
Past Commandant Albert E. Schwab Detachment, MCL
Suite 820,
4500 South Garnett Road
Tulsa, OK 74146

"While America's military strength is important, let me add here that I've always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith."
--Ronald Reagan

I am a Proud Marine Mom of a currently serving Sgt at Camp Pendleton, CA. My son has been in the Marines 8 yrs and has been overseas a few times, two of which were in Iraq. The group of Marine Moms of Brevard County, Florida that I belong to are a new group, but wonderfully supportive of each other. We have had two sons in Iraq last Christmas and have two in Iraq again this Christmas. We have had one interview from our local news paper regarding our sons in Iraq last Christmas and they are wanting to interview us for this years 9/11 article. I went thru the 9/11/01 as a Marine Mom and my son sent me a brief letter reminding me what he was doing on that specific day (he remembers it so clearly) that I thought I would let you know what he wrote and what makes me the PROUD MARINE MOM that I am today.

Sgt R L Wilemon wrote this and I quote:

"Well, my reaction was as follows. I went to work 5:30am and as soon as I got there, since I didn't have a cell phone yet, they told me to go find a phone and call your families to let them know we are still ok because of the scare that there might have been more attacks that were aimed at military installations that were not in the news yet. It was actually weird, do to the fact that I was shocked (yet excited??) I guess is the first word that comes to mind because I was finally going to do what I joined for and that is FIGHT FOR MY COUNTRY and helpless nations. Now, what I told you was that I'm ok and not to worry but there was a chance I would be leaving in the near future and again not to worry (even though you always worry no matter what's going on). As soon as the base found out about 9/11 the entire base went to lock down. Only military personnel were allowed on base and NO ONE was allowed to leave the base. That lasted, I think, for about 5-6 hours. It was after 12:00pm before anyone could leave base. And EVERY vehicle was thoroughly inspected for several weeks before being allowed on base."

He was sent to Iraq in 2003 and in 2005. He is home (in California) safe and has commented to me how he would (if he gets out) work for a civilian company to go back to Iraq and help them re-build their country. I could not be any prouder.

Thank you for letting me voice my pride in what our military personnel are trying to accomplish.

Proud Marine Mom Susan W

Sgt. Grit,

USMC Flag flying proudly at Haditha Dam, Iraq after a motar attack in July 2004. Photo courtesy LCpl Chris 'Hareball' Hare H&S Company/3rd Battalion/25th Regiment.

In Louisville, KY a seventh grade civics teacher decided to burn two American flags in two of his classes on Friday, 18 August. He wanted to get his students to respond for a written assignment. Word got out and a real sh*tstorm has developed. The local newspaper, the Courier Journal, website ( has been inundated with views everywhere from the teacher should be rewarded, even given a medal of freedom, for his 'fresh approach' to teaching young students and courage for what he did to he should be fired, shot or worse, for showing such disrespect toward 'Old Glory'.

It got me to thinking about a picture LCpl C. 'Hareball' Hare e-mailed me from Haditha, Iraq from July 2004. 3/25 had just been under a motar attack, fortunately no wounded, when he took this picture. Even though 'Old Glory' and whatever that blue/orange/green flag is, the Flag of The United States Marine Corps flies proudly (some general probably ordered Marines standing by to blow real hard for this). I think this is one hell of a picture!

The only good thing to come from the flag burning incident is that I have become acquainted with three other Marines that live in this area. I was also contacted by another Former Marine of the female persuation last week that lives just a few miles away from me.

And one last thing, how many Marines saw Retired LtGeneral Carol Mutter on Jim Lehrer's News Hour this week (Wednesday evening here in Kentucky)? She was in a panel discussing the recent call up of Marines in the Inactive Ready Reserve. I found it very interesting.

This has been another of those Marine Corps Weeks for me, I'll have to give my 'Bro' Lurchenstein a call this weekend. It'll probably be a long one!

Semper Fidelis,
Tony Glass

Dear Sgt. Grit,

This note has been a long time coming but today seemed to be just the right day to share my Marine story with your readers. I never had the privilege of serving in the Corps. In the late sixties my older brother served in Vietnam with A Co. 1/1, so I grew up with an understanding of the Marine Corps as "family". It wasn't until April of 2005 that I truly experienced and came to understand The Corps as family. You see on April 3rd of last year my youngest son, just weeks away from leaving for boot camp was accidentally killed in a hand gun incident. "Brady" loved the Corps; we talked often about how he and I were going to experience the Corps together. The conversations we had, leading up to his shipping date, were rich: father to son, friend to many dreams, so many experiences were lost that day. Yet it was in the middle of that storm of life that I discovered a Marine Corps family that surrounded my family with care and compassion. We had a wonderful church family and deep faith to support us thru that journey, but there was an extra measure of comfort we experienced when that group of Marines in dress blues arrived at the funeral to show their support. At the grave site my son's recruiter presented my family with a Marine Corps flag as his personal expression of comfort and support. To this day, those faithful expressions bring great joy and peace to us.

Since that tragic day, we have tried to honor the family bond we continue to experience with the Corps. We have supported two of my son's best friend as they struggled thru boot camp; I never miss an opportunity to greet a Marine that I meet in my comings and goings. I'll buy a meal as the opportunity arises and never miss a chance to guide a young man towards the Corps. Matter of fact, when I conclude this note I'm having lunch with the new recruiter in our area. Tomorrow, I'll take 3 young Marines who are in "my son's" unit (I Co.3/23) to a trap shoot event "on me". In a few months I plan on visiting a "Gunny" friend currently assigned to SOI in North Carolina. I tell my friends that every day I get a chance to spend time with a Marine is a better day for me!.......Just my little way of saying "thanks" and supporting The Family. Marines, Thank you for all you do for our nation and for what you have done for my family. I've got your back!

I'll always be a "Marine dad" at heart!
God Bless and Semper fi,

"He knew that...the war was still in him, and that it would be in him for a long time to come, for soldiers who have been blooded are soldiers forever. They never fit in. Even when they finally settle down, the settling is tenuous, for when they close their eyes they see their comrades who have fallen. That they cannot forget, that they do not forget, that they never allow themselves to heal completely, is their way of expressing their love for friends who have perished. And they will not change, because they have become what they have become to keep the fallen alive."
--Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War

I am about to depart from Iraq and sadly, I've had to conduct memorial services for a few good men.

Please always remember them for the ultimate sacrifice they made for you:

LCPL Bryan Taylor - 2nd CEB
LCPL Aaron W. Simmons - 1/7
LCPL Michael Ford - 1st Tanks
HA Zachary Alday - 1/7
LCPL Salvador Guererro - 1/7
LCPL Brent Zoucha - 1/7
LCPL Jeremy Long - 1/7

Soli Deo Gloria
Chaplain Richard Townes

I was wounded in Vietnam Dec of 1967 while with A-1/9. Recently, while taking my youngest son back to school at UC Berkeley I decided to try and revisit Oak Knoll after being a patient there 37 years ago. Didn't want to see it for so many years. With the help of my wife and son I found the place, gates locked and sad looking. What a pity. All the WW2, Korean and Vietnam Marines who have memories locked up there. Also the parents of fallen Marines who came seeking anyone who knew of their sons. It is a shame that there isn't a monument to honor the Marines and the doctors, Corpsmen and nurses who spent some trying times there. Just seeing the place again was for me in certain ways similar to expressing my respect to the names on the Wall.

Forever grateful and proud of being a part of the United States Marine Corps, Corporal Tim Lane


You wrote that you were not an officer in the Corps and should not be addressed as Sir. Gunny, I have survived, grown, learned in my five years as the proud father of a United States Marine. You were a Non-Commissioned Officer, but that is irrelevant. What is important is that you were and are a United States Marine. And there is not a United States Marine on this planet of any era and of any rank that I would not personally address as "Sir". It is meager, but a small measure of my respect for the service you all have provided.

Gunny, SIR, need to live with that. By the way, we ever meet, first round is on me, Sir. LOL.

Semper Fi -- God Bless and Keep Safe our Marines.
Dr. Dennis Benson

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

We are trying to get plans made for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, For a reunion of any and all MCJROTC cadets under the Command of Lt. Col. J.P. Marada and 1st Sgt M.W.Young This is a Bday Ball and a reunion. It has been quite some time since we have all seen one another. We are in planning stages right now and need a head count. You can contact me at or phone to (828)221-2399. This is to give enough time to get the event planned as well as to give you time to get in if you are located some distance from home. Just a glimpse back to our yester years . No matter what branch you may have ended up severing in for this country.

Semper Fi!
Shawn E. Stamey

My Marine son graduated 3056 Lima Co, Parris Island, on 21 July 2006. I proudly attended the Emblem Ceremony and the Graduation, and will cherish these memories for life. Long before the event, I had searched for a suitable card to present to him afterwards. We drove back to his barracks to retrieve his sea bags and other items. I parked and saw lots of folks reading my bumperstickers (check the pictures I've attached!).

Various Drill Instructors could be seen, some observing from the external stairwells of the barracks, others greeting parents on the deck in front of the building. After the car was loaded, I observed his Heavy Hat nearby, and handed my son his card. I instructed him to read it /aloud/, in the presence of his Heavy Hat.

He began reading: "Congratulations! Under NO circumstances WHATSOEVER are you to open this card." Hesitating for several seconds, he opened it and continued reading aloud, "How you /ever /got this far with no respect for authority, I'll never know!" So much for what had been printed on the card... under all this, I had handscrawled, "Now drop and give me 25!", and my Marine read this aloud as well.

The Heavy Hat was hard-pressed to not laugh. My son looked at him, then at me, then promptly dropped to the deck to begin his pushups. He hollered out, "One! Two!" and was all set for the third when a voice from the stairwell above (another of his Drill Instructors) called out, "Spell 'em, Atwood!" I immediately realized that the lad was now going to have to execute a /significantly /greater number of pushups than the original 25. Yipe!

He began anew, shouting: "O-n-e, t-w-o", descending on one letter and rising on the next. He was spelling s-i-x when that same DI asked him how he was feeling. Bear in mind that it was a typical mid-summer day for Parris Island... hot and plenty humid. My son instantly responded, "Awesome, sir!" and continued his pushups.

A number of moms wore horrified expressions as they observed my Marine. New Marines passed by, looking bemused. /All /the Drill Instructors in the area had their eyes on my Marine. Even the Battalion Commander had come over to watch. Someone asked, "/What /did he do?", unable to figure out why my Marine was being ITd. The Heavy Hat replied, "His mother... card... read it."

The card was passed and read by all. By the time my Marine had spelled out t-w-e-n-t-y t-w-o, he was released from the pushups; he'd done about 65 all told. He stood up, only then realizing the extent of his "audience". By this time, just about everyone was chuckling. We figure that the tale of these post- Graduation pushups probably made it all around the Island by the end of the day! I couldn't be more proud of him!

Laura Atwood
Danbury, CT

"We've come to a moment in our history when party labels are unimportant. Philosophy is all important. Little men with loud voices cry doom, saying little is good in America. They create fear and uncertainty among us. Millions of Americans, especially our own sons and daughters, are seeking a cause they can believe in. There is a hunger in this country today-a hunger for spiritual guidance. People yearn once again to be proud of their country and proud of themselves, and to have confidence in themselves. And there's every reason why they should be proud. Some may have failed America, but America has never failed us, and there is so much to be proud of in this land."
--Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit: Just a little anecdote. Last week I went car shopping. I was hesitant of course being a woman alone. I pulled into a local dealership with my rear window facing the front entrance. My rear window sports a Marine Corp sticker. As I started to walk to the door a man came out and said..."who is the Marine?" I stated it was my godson and he immediately stuck out his hand and said Semper Fi and related that he to "was" a Marine. Silly though it may seem I instantly felt trusting of this man and got a great deal on my new car. My godson leaves for Quantico this month so I have feel I have first hand knowledge of the Marine brotherhood.

Diane Toms River,NJ

Sgt Grit:

My job requires that I travel extensively through a lot of airports on the east coast. On a recent trip, I was sitting in a lounge waiting for a connecting flight, and sitting next to me was a young member of the Air Force. Sitting next to him, also in uniform, was a young soldier. Both of these young agents, had their jackets unbuttoned looking like civilian businessmen on a long haul binge. Both were obviously under the influence of adult beverages, although neither one looked more than 19, at best. They were telling their version of sea-stories and using language that even made me, the old retired Gunny, blush. After about 10 minutes of this I turned to the member of the Air Force and quietly reminded him that he was in the uniform of Armed Forces of the United States and that he was not exactly conducting himself in a manner that brought credit to himself or the Air Force. I reminded him that there were ladies in the lounge and that they could also hear his rather loud and offensive language. His response was to ask me who the f*ck I was, to which I responded who and what I was. He became rather quiet. After I had revealed my horse power, if you can call it that, the young Army PFC got up and left, leaving the young Air Force turd sitting there all by himself. He became very quiet, and, shortly thereafter got up, failed to button his jacket and slithered away, slime that he was.

I gotta tell ya, if this young piece of work would have said one more thing, I probably would have taken him outside and cleaned his clock for him. I know that we live in a different time, openness seems to be the way, and speaking your mind, no matter who or what you are, is, to a degree, acceptable. But these two young men were an absolute disgrace to their uniform, and, although retired and not wearing the uniform any more, embarrassed me with their antics. Apparently, other branches of the Uniformed Services do not teach their children well.

Semper Fi
Gunny Carter

"Humiliation and hate go together. Why humiliation? Because a once-proud, dynamic culture in the forefront of world civilizations, and still carrying a message of their own superiority to "infidels" today, is painfully visible to the whole world as a poverty-stricken and backward region, lagging far behind in virtually every field of human endeavor... There is no way that they can catch up in a hundred years, even if the rest of the world stands still. And they are not going to wait a hundred years to vent their resentments and frustrations at the humiliating position in which they find themselves."
--Thomas Sowell

A Few Calendar Contest Participants

Even if they didn't make it to the calendar, these entries are still winners in our book!

Dear Sgt Grit. I am the proud wife of a Marine and the mother of two girls, 4 and 2 years old. My husband, Peter, has been in the Corps for 18 years and away for the majority of their lives due to deployments, TAD, etc. but the impact he has left on our daughters is tremendous. They were born into the Marine Corps so it has been nothing but adventure since day one. One day while I was driving, my daughter Rosa (4) noticed a billboard with a sword detail that read "For Honor. For Country". All of a sudden she exclaimed: LOOK Mami, they're just like my daddy....A Marine.. Oohrah!" All I could do was cry. It was one of the proudest moments in my life. On another occasion, she had to bring in an item to school for show and tell that started with the letter "M", which was the letter of the week they were learning in preschool. Before heading out the door to school, she grabbed a picture of my husband and I at a birthday ball. When I asked her what she wanted that picture for she said: "It's for show and tell. It's my Mom and my Marine." I couldn't argue with her....she was right. To be proud of something greater than yourself and to be able to teach your children the same is a true joy in life. Lead by example and your children will follow. We are American by birth, but a Marine family by the Grace of God. Semper Fi!

Marisol R. Morales
Marine "Cheerleader" since 1993, Spouse since 2000

"The republic was not established by cowards, and cowards will not preserve it."
--Elmer Davis

Pain Is Weakness Leaving the Body
Pain Is Weakness Leaving the Body

God Bless The Marine Corps
God Bless The Marine Corps

God Bless America!
Semper fi
Welcome Home, Job Well Done.
Sgt Grit

New items!

Womens Red Nylon Jacket with USMC
Womens Red Nylon Jacket with USMC

Womens Camo Gauze Skirt
Womens Camo Gauze Skirt

Womens Camo Shorts
Womens Camo Shorts

14 inch Marine Nutcracker
14" Marine Nutcracker

EGA Dog Tags
EGA Dog Tags

USMC Wooden Key Holder
USMC Wooden Key Holder

Jarhead Flavor Gift Set
Jarhead Flavor Gift Set

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