It's Christmas time and I couldn't get into the Christmas spirit. My job is a pain in the a**, I have commitments, The shopping is a brawl sometimes, you know the drill. Then resting while the wife was shopping, I had time to think. I have a job, what was the gripe? Many do not. I have a jolt of joy when I answer the phone and hear: "Hi Dad!". I have friends that have been there for almost forty years, one that never finishes a phone conversation without saying: "I love ya buddy". One calls me every November 10th at some ungodly hour and blasts the Marine Corps hymn in my groggy ear. One who is always there to laugh, help, b!tch at me when necessary, and listen to me. I wear the Marine Corps hat or shirts that he sends and I am always greeted with a hearty "Semper Fi" when I meet another Marine or Marine supporter. I have a wife that puts up with screams from upstairs of "oohrah" while she is watching her soap on tv. She has seen the first half of Full Metal Jacket a couple dozen times. I am home in bed, many are not. I have hot showers, many do not. I am not in any danger, many are. I am near my loved ones, many are not. I have not had a flag presented to me by a fellow Marine, many have.
I am blessed beyond understanding.
Just a thankful Marine
Must Order by Friday!
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Here is a Christmas story for you. It was Christmas 1990 and we were in Saudi Arabia getting ready for Desert Storm. All of us SNCO's with 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion had been putting items we received from home on a table in our tent to share on Christmas Day. After going to the chow hall we went back to our tent to start our celebrating. The company CO and a few other officers came by to celebrate also. One of the Corpsman had been making some homemade hooch and he decided to share with all there (no alcohol was allowed in Saudi). Well everyone had a little sip as there was not much and we enjoyed it. The next day the word came down that no more homemade hooch would be allowed. We had a good Christmas even though we were away from our families. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.
Douglas R. Warren
They Were Hypnotized
When I served in the Corps I was a teenager when I enlisted in 1958. At that time a lot of the senior NCOS were veterans of the pacific. These men were all heroes to us and when they had their dress uniforms on the ribbons on there chest would take your breath away. Sometimes in the evening the kids like me would ask them to tell us what the battles were like . They would tell us story after story and we would set there with out eyes as big as silver dollars. I remember looking around at my buddies a time or two and they looked like they were hypnotized. When I was older and had a family of my own I was reading a story to my kids one Christmas eve and I looked up at them and they had the same look on their faces. That brought it all back to me. God bless the Marine Corps and everything it stands for.
Mike Mckinney, grunt 1958 to 1961
For Lance Corporal Christopher R. Yohe, USMC
currently serving his second tour in Iraq For My Son If I had but one Christmas wish you'd be home this year, to help me hang the outside lights and trim the tree with cheer.
You'd hold the ladder as I climbed up to place the Santa at the top kidding me that the tree's too big and this obsession has to stop.
You'd make your famous green bean dish...never reveling your secret spice, and ensure that our turkey was the largest bird that the store had pound for price.
You'd give me the perfect Christmas card, wrap the presents and tie the bows, and make it all seem like it's no big deal but a mother always knows.
I know that you won't be coming home to help me with the tree. I know that you'll miss the time we share with our friends and family.
I know that what you're doing now is the most important thing you've done, and that this Christmas I won't be the only mom without her Marine Corps son.
I'll set a place for you at our table and ask for your safety in our dinner prayer, the same words I've prayed for all our troops who are serving with you there.
And if I have but one Christmas wish you'll be home next year, to help me hang the outside lights and trim the tree with cheer.
From your mom, Cindy Yohe, Sergeant, USMC six years, your dad, Robin Yohe, USMC (retired) Master Gunnery Sergeant, 26 years and your brother, Colin, 17 years old. Beaumont, Texas 2006
Giant After Christmas Sale
Sgt Grit's Giant After Christmas Sale starting 12-26-06 Enjoy your Christmas...then Check our Website on Tuesday For great savings!
Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice, I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December, "Then he sighed,
"That's a Christmas 'Gram' always remembers."
"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam', And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home".
"I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother."
"Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least, Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
"It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long."
"For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
I have a picture of my three month old grandson in Marine cammies laying on a Marine flag all of which were purchased from Sgt. Grit. His name is Connor. He was born Sept. 5 at East Jefferson hospital in New Orleans. He weighed 8lbs 9ozs and yes he is a future marine.
Donald R. Perry
2/9 3rd Mar. Div.
Tank you for the goodies, we are running back and forth from ** **** to ** a lot, we went to ******** last week the road is my friend. The AO is starting to heat up we have IED's right out side the gate now. Three guys from ***-* got fvcked up bad last week within site of the gate. Our PTT guys in ******* are in it all the time.
Days Before Christmas
Oorah Sgt Grit:
I'm going to tell the readers a story about my most memorable Christmas. Now, I love my family and like to spend holidays with them as much as the next man, but in my 26 years on Earth, my most memorable Christmas occurred while I was aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard with my brother Marines. This particular Christmas had no wonderful gifts, or huge Christmas trees, or Christmas decorations, but it is still my most memorable Christmas ever.
I was a member of Battalion Landing Team 1/4, the ground combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. We were originally scheduled to deploy on WestPac on Jan 15, 2002. On Nov 20th, we were informed that we were to deploy on December 1st, 2001--45 days early on only ten days notice--in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. We were able to get fully embarked aboard ship in time so that we could have seven days of leave prior to departure, but of course it is not easy to deploy when you know that you will be missing the holidays with your family.
Anyway, a couple of days before Christmas, I got the idea that I would make the Holiday a little better for my Marines. I went to the ship's store--a small compartment selling bare essentials such as skivvie shirts, underwear, Navy rank insignia and uniform items (but no Marine rank insignia, go figure), hygiene gear, paper and envelopes, candy bars, cigarettes, dip, etc.-- and I shopped for the Marines of my squad. I got LCpl R.G. a couple packs of smokes, because he liked to smoke. I got LCpl E.S. a deck of cards and some Mach 3 razor blades. I got my wireman, Cpl G.C. a three pack of tapes for the digital camcorder that he brought aboard ship (the ship's store only sold one type of tape and it was the type that his camcorder used). The clerk bagged the purchases in a couple of small, brown paper sacks.
When I got back to the berthing, I went to my rack and used the bags and some scotch tape and scissors to wrap the items like it was wrapping paper. With the left over brown bag material, I fashioned a small, paper Christmas tree and colored it with a green marker and taped it to the bulkhead inside my rack.
One of the other NCOs had received an anti-Osama bin Laden banner that had been sent by a group in his home town. We posted that as a decoration in the main passageway of our berthing.
When Christmas rolled around, I laid the gifts out on my rack, under the mini-tree, and called my squad into my aisle to distribute gifts. Now, of course, they were only the bare essentials, but I could tell that they were all surprised. I also gave one of my only pair of sergeant chevrons to my friend, who I know would be picking up sergeant soon.
I made Corporal at age 20 and sergeant at 21. Being a leader of Marines, or a military leader for that matter, at such a young age is tough. But, I learned that, just like with anything else in life, it is the little things that count. So, to all military leaders out there reading this, keep on doing those little things that do not seem like they matter too much, because they really do.
You know what, there may not have been wonderful gifts, there wasn't a huge tree, and there weren't Christmas decorations, but we made it work onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.
P.S. And it wasn't all sad--we got to spend several days in Singapore during New Year's as the Bonhomme Richard needed repairs--so, we got our fun in port!
Merry Christmas to servicemen,-women, and veterans everywhere!
Daniel J. Robertson
Sergeant of Marines
The POW/MIA "Remembrance Tree"
When the Viet Nam War ended, 591 Americans were released in Operation Homecoming in 1973. Military experts expressed their dismay that "some hundreds" of POWs did not come home with them. Since 1995, thousands of reports have been received, indicating that many Americans are still alive, and being held against their will in Southeast Asia. Whether or not these men are still there today, remains a mystery. What is certain, however, is that if only one American remains alive in enemy hands, from any war, we owe him our best effort to bring him home.
"A man is not dead until he is forgotten."
"Never Forget Our POW/MIA's"
This Christmas tree symbolizes that credo; NEVER FORGET!
The tree is white...symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The tree is topped with the POW/MIA logo and encased in a sphere of barbed wire to symbolize the agonizing struggle in our global search for our POW/MIA, to bring them home to American soil, where they belong.
There are 44 dog tags hung with black mourning ribbon to symbolize the 44 North Carolina servicemen still missing from the war in Vietnam; each with their name, date of incident, and their hometown.
There are 44 silver POW/MIA ornaments on the tree...
The matching colored ornaments are from each of the five military services...the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard......each service with their own stories to tell from the war.
The articles of military gear under the tree symbolize emptiness, and they replace the traditional presents because these men are POW/MIA, and not able to spend the holidays at home with their loved ones.
This Christmas tree is brought to you with the love, devotion, and loyalty to our POW/MIA's!
The Members of Rolling ThunderÂ®, Inc.
10 Minutes To Call Home
Every Christmas I think back to 1968 when I was in recruit training at MCRD San Diego. It was a wonderful time full of love, cheer and surprises courtesy of our loving DI's and Platoon Commander. Our initial drill evaluation was the day after Christmas. Being that there was to be no training on Christmas day on which we were to be given 10 minutes to call home, we did not think anything of spending Christmas eve drilling into the night on a grinder adjacent to the San Diego Airport runway. Oh what a wonderful scene as we executed our maneuvers with such split disarray as the Platoon Commander barked out his commands that were drowned out by the continuing assault of jumbo jets taking off. You would think we had just arrived and were making our initial unruly trek to our beautiful squad huts where we would learn such un-forgetful words such as "get in the pits" or "squat thrusts till your nose bleeds." But, on the other hand, this was not our first day and we were to be justly rewarded for our futile efforts.
Upon returning to our Quonset huts we were instructed to fall out, retrieve our laundry bags, and fall back into formation. At first I thought we were going to need them to bring back all of our gifts Santa had brought and left under a Christmas tree somewhere on the base. After all it was Christmas eve. Wrong! We were told (all 74 of us) to get into squad one's hut, line up side to side with our backs against the racks, and place the laundry bags over our heads. Then started the fun. The DI's started with yelling "get on your backs, get on your bellies, squat thrusts, get on your left side, right side, get up, get down, and on and on ......." for what must have been an eternity (all I could think about was that we were told we would be allowed to call home for 10 minutes on Christmas day). After this splendid exhibit of care and affection it was time for the next surprise. We were again told to line up next to each other as before. The next thing heard are blood curling screams starting across from me working their way first to the left and then coming back. All of a sudden I am grabbed from each side by the arms and immediately hit in the stomach by the hardest fist imaginable. I caved in like a rock only to be immediately lifted back up twice more and hit again. Wow what a Christmas surprise!
I remember getting up that night and peering out of the Quonset hut's velum window at all the holiday lights that decorated the San Diego high rise buildings in the distance. Man did I miss home, my parents, my girlfriend, you name it. I knew there had to be a reason for what had just transpired. After all we were going to be allowed to call home for 10 minutes in the morning. So, not all was so bad.
Tomorrow came and Christmas was in the air. No training and we get to make the call. We went to chow from where we headed across the main grinder towards the phones in the distance. About half way there we were told to halt. OK, now what? Our platoon Commander instructed us to all face the direction of our homes from which we all were instructed to literally call out loud "home" for 10 minutes. God these guys were great! We were eventually allowed to make the call but not until they could measure our reactions.
I'm proud to say that not one individual hesitated nor beefed throughout all of what I have just described. I look back on it all, as I'm sure all my fellow recruits do, and feel that this was the beginning of what formed the most dedicated, loyal, brave, and most of all proud Marines there could ever have been. Now the real kicker, we were all Draftees! After graduation our DI's told us that they were particularly tough on us because we were draftees. Because we were a little older, more educated, and hadn't volunteered , that we would be harder to "motivate". It turned out that we were the best platoon they had ever had. We were Honor Platoon and took every streamer there was. Another amazing thing to me is when I looked up everyone from my platoon on the "Wall", not one of us is listed! It brings tears to these 58 year old eyes.
So, I wish all former, current and future Marines everywhere a Merry and memorable Christmas, and "SEMPER FI".
Christmas of 1990 I was serving with VMA-311 in Saudi Arabia. I was sharing a tent with about 12 guys. When we started receiving gifts from home, we decided to not open them until Christmas morning. We had a little tree we had cut down, a little scraggly thing, but we received decorations in the mail and dressed it up as well as we could. One of the guys in our tent, LCpl Bjortomt, had received an audio cassette of his grandmother singing Christmas carols while playing a organ. The quality was horrible and she would not have made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but Christmas morning he woke up early and started playing that tape and it was the sweetest sound we could have had. Not a single person minded having that singing as an alarm clock, we sort of didn't want it to end, then we took our time opening our few gifts.
It wasn't the same as having Christmas with your family, but it still is one of the most cherished Christmas' I have ever had.
Sgt. Greg Deere
Christmas Eve Fire Watch
It was the night before Christmas nothing was stirring, not even a mouse. As Old Saint Nick walked down the barracks he could hear praying, whimpering and moans from the aches and pains the young recruits were feeling. He ran into a young recruit on Fire Watch. He asked Saint Nick to please be as quite as possible because this is the only rest these recruits would get for three long months. Old Saint Nick had come to bless all of these young men for the sacrifices they had made. He couldn't bring them any present's because they are not allowed. So he brought prayers of encouragement, this is what they needed most at this time. The young recruit on Fire Watch thanked Old Saint Nick and Old Saint Nick said, NO thank you. Because you young men have sacrificed so much we will be able to celebrate Christmas for many years to come. The next morning all the recruits woke up feeling alive as they had ever felt. The DI's didn't know what had gotten into their recruits because they were sure that after the day before they would be slow to move. The young recruit that was on Fire Watch just smiled and said Merry Christmas to all.
This is dedicated to all the Marine Corps Recruits who will not be able to spend Christmas with their families.
Father of LCpl. Kelly "Buck" Cox Jr. 31st MEU
The Ball Dropped
My tour was fortunate enough to include 21 months on Parris Island as a Boot and as Base Personnel.
I was part of the Food Service Supply Battalion and lived in a Quonset Hut behind the 2nd Battalion PT field.
All eight of us who served and worked there took turns on night watch which included checking the massive refrigeration units and all the locked areas that contained food and other mess duty equipment used for the entire base. We also ran the Elliott's Beach "fine dining" facility as well as performed a few other necessary chores on base.
It was New Year's Eve 1967 and I caught night watch duty. Everyone else was either home on leave or out for the night when midnight came. I stopped in the Rec Quonset Hut where there was a small black and white TV and I watched the Times Square festivities (I was from Da' Bronx so it was a little bit of home). Immediately after the ball dropped and Guy Lombardo Band played Old Langs Syne the band starting playing "Nothing could be finer that to be in Carolina". I'll never forget that feeling as long as I live. Yes, it was fine. Ironically, 40 years later I am planning on semi-retiring and moving to...... Carolina, this time North Carolina and I can't wait.
Grand-Uncle of Recon. Cpl. Jacob Ledford, recently returned from Iraq.
My God Bless all us in 2007, especially our Marines.
Cpl. C.A. Benizio
CHRISTMAS 1967 at KHE SANH COMBAT BASE
I really can't believe it's been almost 39 years since we celebrated XMAS at Khe Sanh. This was a few weeks before the siege started and all was peaceful. I was flying reconnaissance flights with VMO Marine squadrons, call-sign "Southern Kilo". It was very hard for the grunts to get hard booze without paying an arm and a leg from the Air Force dudes at the base. We, the UHIN crew flew to Phu Bai and bought enough booze to fill 2 pillow cases, brought it back to the base and passed it out to the grunts in 1/26 as xmas presents.
Someone feeling a little tipsy, fired off a hand held flare that landed near the ammo dump, caught the grass on fire and the base CO, (Col Lowndes) raised h&ll with the Air Force since he thought they were the only source of supply for booze. He never did find out it was us that supplied the "free" drinks. We all had a good time not knowing that within a few weeks the siege would start and a lot of our friends would be killed. I like other Marines, have that feeling of not doing everything I could have done and the mission was not accomplished. I know we did the best we could at that time, but wished I could go back and correct some of the things that happen.
The strangest thing that xmas was drinking Scotch and Chocolate Milk. We all decided on doing something different and believe me, that was different. I'm almost 70 years old now, served 26 years in the Corps and wished I could serve another 26. I was really blessed to have the Marine family I had plus my own 3 sons and a daughter. Merry Christmas to all Marines , active and retired. Please pray for our troops in combat now and hope they will return home to their loved ones.
67-68 M-3-4, 3rdMarDiv AO DIV.
V/R "Southern Kilo" Jim K
It was Christmas 1965 and we were at Motor Transport School at Camp Pendleton. Dewey, Scotty and I decided to go to Disneyland.
On Christmas day, we had breakfast at Denny's and went to the gates at Disneyland where for the first and only time that day someone said Merry Christmas. We did meet a worker who let us up on a rooftop to watch the Disney Christmas Parade. What a site for three young Marines who were far from home trying to make a Holiday memory.
It must have worked, as I remember it well.
Dewey and Scotty if you are out there, CHEERS! And to all our Marines who are away from home and family this holiday season, I pray for your safe return from harms way. Thank you for your service and Semper Fi.
Cpl T.W. "Doc" Hamilton
Viet Nam '66-'67
Furbie (not FUBAR)
It was a few years ago that we had a bumper crop of toys, and on Christmas morning my wife and I had just settled down in the living room after having breakfast. That's when the phone rang and the voice on the other end said "Max, what're ya doin?" It was Lynn. He said we're going to Cape Cod Hospital with these extra toys for the kids in there at Christmas.
Down at the Marine Corps office in Orleans we called Cape Cod Hospital where we were told the children all went home for Christmas except the real sick ones who were in Boston. Falmouth Hospital gave us the same answer, so we called Mass General where they said they had three floors of kids!
Lynn wore his scarlet uniform and Chuck, our commandant, wore his dress blues. I chose to wear my Santa outfit. We loaded a jeep up with toys and we were off to Boston! Where to park? Security at the front door said "You can park anywhere Santa!", and he sent a man out with a large cart which we piled high with toys.
Up the elevator we went and the nurses were very friendly. Some wanted a stuffed toy to bring home to their kids, but we told them that was a no no, as people donated these toys for a worthy cause. It was pretty sad to see some of these kids. We had fifteen Furbies which was the big toy that year, but we only gave them to children that asked for them.
All was quiet on the way home, that trip had set us to thinking. When we pulled in to the office, Lynn said he knew someone in North Eastham that was deserving of the one last Furbie we had left. He wrote down an address and off I went to find this little girl.
Pulling into the driveway I could see into the living room as the door was wide open behind the storm door. I could feel all the neighbors watching me as it's not every day you see Santa going to someone's house! The girl's mother let me in and was very disappointed as her daughter was with her father on this Christmas day.
She made a call to the daughter and told her Santa had come to see her. She told the little girl that she could talk to Santa. We had a nice talk, and in the process I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she said "A Furbie!" I told her I'd check, and sure enough I came up with one in the bottom of my bag. That was the scarce toy you just couldn't get, and the mother couldn't believe with the tears rolling down her cheeks. I told the little girl I was handing a Furbie to her mother who gave me a big hug. I turned and disappeared down the driveway...
Sgt Max Sarazin, 1194840, USMC
1951-1959, 1st ANGLICO, Korea
Best Christmas Present
I am the proud girlfriend of a Marine who is currently doing his MCT training at Camp Pendleton. I wasn't expecting him to be home for Christmas and had already accepted the fact that the Corps is his home now, where he belongs. I got a phone call this Sunday while he was on libo letting me know that he WILL be home for the holidays. God bless the Marine Corps! I've already received the best Christmas present I could ask for: My Marine.
Sweetheart of PFC Van Wormer
Mt. Fuji Christmas
Sgt. Grit -
My most memorable Christmas story is from 1967 when I was stationed at Camp Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa.
Our company commander decided it would be a good idea for our company of Women Marines to travel to Japan and spend the Christmas Holiday with the Marine Detachment on Mt. Fuji. As a result, we were off to Mt. Fuji. Well, we managed to displace the permanent personnel from their nice warm huts. This made us feel awful because it was sooooo cold on Mt. Fuji and the men were relegated to tents which didn't sound at all warm to us!. In spite of that, we had a great party on Christmas Eve and then headed off to our respective bunks for a good night's rest. After we were all asleep, our CO toured each hut housing women and decided that our heat was a bit too high, so she turned it down.
Unfortunately, her "down" turned out to be OFF and when we awoke in the morning, it was cold as a meat locker in that little hut. Our solution was to jump into some clothes and run as fast as possible to the nice warm mess hall and stay there until somebody got the heat working.
Once we were warmed and dressed, we all headed off to a small orphanage located on Mt. Fuji which housed small boys of mixed race between the ages of 2 and 4. The Mt. Fuji Detachment of Marines sponsored the orphanage and made sure they had all the basic essentials. During our visit, the Marines brought them heating oil, a Christmas feast of spaghetti and meatballs, a toy for each child, a clothing gift for each child and Santa Claus! We all assembled in the dining hall where the children put on a show which was absolutely wonderful. We then fed them their Christmas meal and Santa handed out gifts.
There was one child who was too ill to attend as he was confined to bed in the dispensary. Not wanting him to miss the fun, the Marines brought him into the dining hall - bed and all. The most touching part of the day was watching each little boy open his gifts, take them over and show them to the sick child and then carefully wrap them back up again. It was so precious and the children were just adorable. We could have taken the whole bunch home with us had it been possible.
We all had a very memorable Christmas helping to make the day special for those precious little boys. I have always been so proud of the Mt. Fuji Marine Detachment for helping to care for those little boys who had such a difficult road ahead of them.
Merry Christmas to all Marines - past or present. You are the best of the best!
Christmas in Combat
As told to Jim Martinez, Proud Father of LCpl. James A. Martinez, Jr. USMC
The Marines of the 3rd Battalion 7th Regiment Weapons Company Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT) Blue were lamenting the fact that they had pulled duty at ECP1 for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2005 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. ECP1 is an Enemy Check Point on the banks of the Euphrates River and controls the use of a strategic bridge crossing the river. The duty meant that CAAT Blue would miss out on the special holiday chow that would be served back at Firm Base Hurricane Point.
CAAT Blue engaged in a firefight early on Christmas Eve, only this time, the small arms tracer fire lighting up the night was almost beautiful and then it went unusually quiet, almost peaceful. Over the radio net, the CAAT Blue Marines decided to talk about what they were most grateful for as they maintained guard at the various positions in ECP1. LCpl. Martinez started it off.
"This is my family too. If I can not be at home, there is no place else that I would rather be than here with men for whom I am willing to die and who are willing to die for me while I protect my family and my country." He then offered a toast and a prayer for Samuel Tapia, a CAAT Blue Marine Killed in Action just six days ago. The rest of the Marines offered their version of the same theme. On this holiest of nights, they pledged their lives to one another, just as Our Lord pledged the life of His Son to all mankind over two thousand years ago.
In keeping with the season, the Marines next discussed what they wanted for Christmas. It was unanimous: a confirmed kill and to see my family. Oorah! They finished the night singing Christmas carols Marine Corps style with old favorites like "Walking in a sniper wonderland".
There is a Santa Claus and he came to ECP1 on Christmas Day 2005. The Battalion Commander, Company First Sergeant and the Chaplin made a call on ECP1. The leadership team made their way to each fighting position to shake each Marine's hand and wish him a Merry Christmas. The Chaplin was bearing gifts of Girl Scout cookies and chili! CATT Blue learned the true meaning of the phrase that it is the thought that counts. The Battalion Commander then delivered his surprise.
He brought the 3/7 Quick Reaction Force with him to ECP1 and relieved CAAT Blue in place. He set up a make shift chow hall and served his Marines the special Christmas meal they thought they were going to miss! To make it truly special, the Marines got all the Coors Near Beer they could drink and they drank gallons. It is reliably reported that the only buzz the Marines got was from smashing the empty beer cans on their foreheads. Oorah!
This story of Christmas in Combat was told to me a few days after Christmas. Jaime (LCpl Martinez) summed it up as follows: "You know Dad, to tell the truth, this was a really good Christmas, spending it with a bunch of crazy S.O.B.'s. Oorah!
My Mother Saying Over
In December of 1980 I was stationed on Okinawa, Japan I had been left behind to get the Com. Plt.'s files in order the a CG inspection. while the rest of the Plt went off for war games in the Philippines. At this time of year we could make phone calls using radio weaves. The Sgt of the guard was offered the change to call home but no one was home at the time so he took my place and I call home it was the 20th day of December, my mother's birthday, I was a radio operator so I new how to say over at the end of each line but it was odd hearing my mother saying over. It was one of mothers best birthdays hearing from her Marine so far away from home.
Harold L Ramer 2531
December 24,1969---Chapo area---Camp Pendleton
I had to stand night duty at DPI 3 cause most of the company was on leave---- I reported to certain areas at 15 minute intervals and had to write that in a log book....At 11:45 I entered that I heard hoof beats on the roof and proceeded to go outside to check all the commotion. At that moment I saw reindeer and a sleigh leaving the rooftop and a white bearded man dressed in red shouting "HO HO HO ! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. Good night Chesty Puller wherever you are." I was called in on the 26th and stood in front of the 1st sergeant and the C.O. After a tongue lashing I was told to not write things like that in the log book as it was not military . I explained that I had not intended to write that in the log book because it would be unbelievable but the cubby old man did mention Chesty Puller. It still did not come across well and needless to say I never stood that duty again.
Blessing From Above
Merry Christmas Jarines!
I can honestly say that Christmas away from home is never truly the same. The only thing for me to do is hit the nearest town and paint it RED. Anyways, I would like to wish our fellow Marines that are fighting to protect our country a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. May the blessing from above watch and protect them and keep them safe throughout. I know how hard it is to spend the holidays far away from home. I just hope and pray that those enemies would put down they're weapons so all can have a peaceful holiday celebration.
Oorahh! May God be with us all and once again Merry Christmas to our fellow Marines and they're families and always remember that we are the FEW and the PROUD! The MARINES, HARDCORE DEATH Before DISHONOR.
PFC R. BLAS
2nd Bn 9th Mar., 3rd Mar. Div.
Plenty Of Volunteers
My Christmas story goes back to 1966 with MAG-15 in Iwakuni Japan. In addition to my regular duties as Legal Chief, I assisted the Catholic Chaplin, Commander White, with his duties including serving as an Altar Boy for Sunday services. Chaplin White wanted to have midnight Mass for Christmas and asked me if I could get some Marines for a choir. I was on the H&MS-15 football team and asked the team members and had plenty of volunteers. We practiced several times and as I recall were not too bad. What the Chaplin and I did not realize was that all the men had been in town earlier that evening and most, if not all, were a little "under the weather". So much so that a few fell asleep and were leaning against each other in the choir box in addition to being way out of tune. Come to think of it, it sounded like a bunch of homesick drunken Marines with no direction trying to sing Christmas carols.
After the services Chaplin White, as I helped him with his vestments, said something to the effect "Sgt Galus, if I ever again think about asking Marines to serve on a choir all I will have to do is remember this experience".
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas to all the men and women serving our country.
Jim Galus ('63/67)
Sgt of Marines whose son Bill Galus (91/95) was also a Sgt of Marines
Saturday, December 9th The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) annual Holiday Toy Express made it's first visit to MCB Camp Pendleton and was met by thousands of Marines, their families and families of those stationed overseas. A simulcast of the event back to Fallujah, Iraq, was made possible through a partnership with Verizon Business, Freedom Calls and Large Scale Display Rentals, Inc. for nothing. The Holiday Toy Express is a train decorated with over 50,000 lights and has a cast and crew of volunteers including Mr. and Mrs. Claus. We put on a 30 minute show and then the cast goes in to the crowd for photos with the kids and parents. Metrolink's employees also donated a check for nearly $5,000 to Snowball Express as part of the CEO's challenge. He matches the first $1,000. The Base Commander Col James, B. Seaton, III and his Exec. LtCol J.C. Malik III welcomed us aboard and invited us back next year.
As Chairman of the Board of Directors for Metrolink I requested staff work with MCB Staff to make this possibly. Staff responded and adopted the Marine Corps attitude of can do.
Art Brown, Chairman, Metrolink
GYSGT USMCR Ret.
A Christmas project that will make you feel good, mail a Christmas card to a recuperating Iraqi War Veteran. Thank them for their service and sacrifice this Christmas Season. I'm sure they will appreciate it.
A Recuperating American Soldier (I also used 'United States Marine') c/o Walter Reed Medical Center 6900 Georgia Ave NW Washington, DC 20307-5001
It's a little thing we can do that will be a big thing for these American Heroes.
I remember a string of lights and a few shiny ornaments in the avionics tent by our flight-line of A-4 Skyhawk jets. I was 19 and an electrician in VMA-223 based in Chu Lai, S. Vietnam , in '66. Every time one of us got a package from "HOME", we shared. I remember not everyone got mail so I guess that's one reason I've been sending Christmas cards & packages to our military these past few years. God Bless them all and their loved ones praying for their safety.
CPL. Bruce J. Kaiser, U.S.M.C.
THANKSGIVING and CHRISTMAS Memories
When I recently attended the dedication of the new National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA on Nov. 10 and spent an entire day among the archives there, many memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas 62 years ago flooded my mind.
After basic training in the summer heat at Parris Island in 1944, as well as advanced training at LeJeune and Pendleton, I set sail from San Diego on the troop carrier O. H. Earnst westward toward the South Pacific to "set the rising sun" in WWII. The ship's refrigeration malfunctioned just before Thanksgiving, and all of the turkeys spoiled. We had to unwrap and dispose of the spoiled food at night to avoid being spotted by the enemy. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of C and K rations.
Two days before Christmas these 11,000 Marines plus Navy crew crossed the International Date Line, and each Marine went through the wild initiation to become a full-fledged Shellback. My Shellback Certificate still hangs proudly in the hallway of my home today.
On Christmas Day the Chaplain along with many other officers became seasick from the turbulent waters as the ship headed for Guadalcanal to relieve other combat-weary Marines. Because all of my superiors were seasick, I was asked to conduct the Christmas service aboard the ship--an awesome responsibility for a young farm boy, still an inexperienced private. Not one Christmas has ever come and gone that I do not remember that event.
We slowly made our way from Guadalcanal through the Solomon Islands and on toward Okinawa, where the invasion began in the early morning of April l, 1945 (Easter Sunday and ironically April Fool's Day). Okinawa was the last Japanese stronghold and proved to be one of the costliest for casualties. Only two of my platoon survived. My fate was to wait two weeks in a field hospital for a ship to transport me and other less seriously injured patients to Peleliu and eventually to a hospital at Pearl Harbor.
After four months of hospitalization in Hawaii, I sailed back to the U. S. on the Matsonian Luxury Liner, which has been converted to a hospital ship. On Thanksgiving 1945 I was still recuperating at the Marine Barracks Hospital in Klamath Falls, OR when a local family invited me and another Marine to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. The bond with that family became so great that we still stay in contact with each other, and we have occasionally visited each other down through the years.
The war had ended in September, and many of us were now being discharged. In December I was still unable to return to duty, so I received my discharge a week before Christmas. I traveled across the U. S. by Greyhound bus and arrived at my home in North Alabama unannounced on Christmas Day just as my family sat down to Christmas dinner. Needless to say, Christmas dinner was interrupted that day.
I often wonder how many of that "band of brothers" who fought with me through the islands of the South Pacific to Okinawa are still alive. Although my steps may be a little slower now at age 82, I am still a Marine and proud of it: Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
John S. Smith, Chaplain
MCL Det. 1166
5 Jarheads on a 96 hour pass after ITR Camp Lejeune, N.C. Place: Diner somewhere in State of Delaware.
3 white, 2 African American Marines.
Early A.M. Diner had empty cups turned upside down. Order for five coffees.
3 cups turned over for filling. 2 cups left turned upside down.
Tired, asked why only 3 cups being serviced.
Answer: we don't serve them.
Response: five coffees ordered, five coffees to be served. Cook and some truck driver types advise us to drink up and leave.
Response: f--- you, 3 cups turned over spilling coffee on counter.
Cook and drivers closing in.
Advised them that they would be advised to back off or they may have trouble walking on two broken legs each.
Result: counter cleaned by waitress, five Jarheads drive away, disappointed that the apparent heroes were not heroes.
The diner (people?) realized at that point that there were no white, black, yellow, orange, red but only GREEN MARINES!
Gung Ho. (before OohRah).
Cpl. of Marines
P.S. Christmas was alive and well that year. I visit one of my brother Marines at the Wall each year. He was black.
Santa On The Nose
I was stationed in Korea in HMR-161 and the year after I left, which was in 1952, they painted a Santa Claus on the nose of one of the Sikorsky HRS-1 helicopters and delivered food, mail, ammo and other goodies to the troops on the front lines. I still have a photo of that chopper.
former S/Sgt of Marines
Sing Loi, Santa
. Twas the night before Christmas
We were here in Chu Lai
It had rained half the night,
not a star in the sky.
We were all pretty beat,
All our ammo was spent,
We'd run out of V. C.'s
And went back to our tent.
Our stockings were hung on field ranges with care,
In hopes that St. Nick soon would be there.
Then all of a sudden there was a h&ll of a clatter,
We jumped from our racks to see what was the matter.
The tent flaps opened and somebody screamed,
"Holy mackerel, it's General Greene!"
It was General Greene, there was never a doubt,
He was wearing his poncho, green side out.
He tore up our racks as fast as he could,
And scared us to h&ll like a general should.
He inspected our rifles and all of our gear,
"We'd rather have V. C.'s than that General here!"
Laughing he turned and dashed out of the tent,
We hurried outside to see where he went.
His sleigh, it was hidden behind a mud bank,
And pulled by ten Colonels of equal rank,
He was airborne in a second, and then came the shout,
"Merry Christmas You BAS#$DS, You'll Never Get Out!"
Marine Corps CHRISTMAS
T'was the night before Christmas
And all through the Corps
Not a soul had liberty,
The troops were all sore.
Yes, every Marine,
Every Marine in the lot
Was lying on a rack of nails
Called a Marine Corps cot.
When out on the Parade Deck
I heard such a clatter,
I sprang from my cot to see
What the h&ll was the matter.
With bayonet in hand
I moved stealthily to the door,
I cautiously waited to see
If there were more.
Yes, it was the Commandant of Marines
Of this there was no doubt,
He was wearing his poncho
Green side out.
He carefully moved from rack to rack,
He cautiously inspected each rifle and pack,
To a chosen few a 96 chit,
But to the majority, a ration of sh!t.
As he pulled away in his gold plated tank
Pulled by ten Colonels all bucking for rank,
I heard him say, and he said with a shout
"Merry Christmas you suckers, you'll never get out."
The (Original) Night Before Christmas
As this poem, which was written by a Marine in Okinawa, has been pirated by the Army, it's time to get the original back out there. If you use it, please use this version:
'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house
Made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
With presents to give,
And to see just who
In this home did live.
I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures
Of far away lands.
With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought
Came to my mind.
For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary.
But inside I found a Marine,
Once I saw clearly.
The Marine lay sleeping,
Silent and alone.
Curled up on the floor
In this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room so serene,
Not how I pictured
A US Marine.
Was this the hero
Of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to Marines,
Willing to fight.
Soon round the world,
Children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
A bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of Marines,
Like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve,
In a land far from home.
The very thought brought
A tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
And started to cry.
The Marine awakened
and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry,
this life is my choice,
I fight for freedom,
and don't ask for more.
My life is my God,
my Country, my Corps."
The Marine rolled over
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered there,
'Er the cold nights chill.
I didn't want to leave
That cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.
The Marine again rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered," Carry on Santa,
Christmas day, all's secure."
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night."
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas!
Help keep FREEDOM IN AMERICA, by letting the military people, know we appreciate their efforts to KEEP US SAFE!
Greetings Sgt. Grit I would like to send MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our Marine family, an a wish for Peace, our hearts go out to our men & women in active duty. YOU all are in my prays!
michele a wife of a Marine vet
In 1972 I was stationed at MCB Quantico, Virginia. As a young Marine "stuck" on base for Christmas, the CO asked if I would be willing to play Santa Claus for the base children's party. I agreed and happily say I am still playing Santa, for 34 years now. I have played at local malls and for different organizations and really enjoy it.
Mark J. Tercek
Thanks to Ed Craft for correcting me about my father's unofficial title...Yes, he was a "mustang", and not a "maverick" officer, I guess... I never made it higher than Lance Corporal, and that only lasted a few hours...What would I know! I'm just honored that people read my small story.
Semper Fi to all our Brothers.
Combat Veteran Decal
USMC with Emblem Digital Desert Decal
Welcome Home, Job Well Done!
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