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Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! Patrick Henry

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Make Sure I Put

Dear Sgt. Grit;
I recently went to a funeral of a friend of our family, Our friend served in the US Navy during WW II and Korea, I dressed up in my dress blues to pay my respects at his lay out. After waiting an hour to pay my respects and talk to his family, my father and I left the funeral parlor and headed to my truck. While walking to my truck, a your boy around ten or so came running out of the funeral parlor and up to us, he then ask me if he could have my autograph. As my dad smiled, I said to the young man, that he sure could..He gave me the paper and I wrote my rank and name on it, and he asked me to make sure I put US Marine's on it. That night was the best motivation for me. I love serving in the Corps, but that night put it over the top.
Semper Fi
PFC Don Schuckmann

Asking My Dad

I served from 79 - 83. I grew up during Viet Nam and remember the day, after watching the nightly news and viewing the body count, asking my Dad "Am I going to have to go to that?" He had a rare and serious look of concern, one I had never seen before, and just replied "I don't know". I was 13 at the time and it 1971. The war lasted another 4 years and I remember watching helicopters leave the American Embassy, people hanging off, and then the birds being pushed into the sea. Later I watched as Marines were taken hostage in Iran. And our military, and America had lost so much respect in the world they flaunted it in our faces until we voted in a President that they truly feared. Then we went to Beirut, and some of my buddies got blown up in a building there. And we left. Some Marines went to San Salvador to train and repel communism, some fat-a$$ed politicians didn't want to commit funds and keep America's honorable name, and forced a USMC Colonel to try to keep honor and fund the fight in another way. They brought him before their committee and tried to dishonor him and the President he was sworn to protect. Then some Rangers went to Somalia and again because some politician didn't want to commit funds, 18 Rangers died. Then some men with clubs lined the shore on a small island in the Caribbean called Haiti. They beat there clubs on the ground and hurled insults to the U.S. troops on the ships off- shore. Clinton sent them home. We went to Iraq, and in days defeated a dictator who threatened the Mother of All Wars. Now we're back in Iraq. We have provided the makings of a Democracy in a land of Monarchies and governments ran by religious zealots. The people there PROUDLY hold up purple fingers. For the first time they can vote in a real election where as individuals they make a difference in the shaping of their own country. We have Marines, Soldiers, and Seaman who believe their mission will prevail and they will make a difference if allowed to remain to do so. And yet we still have to tolerate some of our own county's leaders stand before television camera's for air time, to proclaim "We must pullout now". People - History shows us that if we make promises to another country, we must stand by it to the end. If we do not, we lose the honor and integrity that is vital to our own personal freedoms and security. How can we pullout of this major engagement and birth of a nation, leave them to the insurgency, and expect to EVER be taken at our word in the future? We are ALL Americans. Some of us who are a little luckier are American Marines and Former Marines. But as Americans it is in the interest of national security to remain true to the cause until Iraq stands on their own. Just think what the citizens of Iran and neighboring Arab states will think on that day - Freedom and Democracy could be theirs as well. And by God, stay the cause for those Marines and Soldiers who have fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq. So that their loss will be won in victory of a lasting democracy.

Thanks, Gary Cagle, Sgt USMC 79-83

Capt. John Paul Jones

Sgt Grit:

After 155 years of standing watch over the crypt of Capt. John Paul Jones at the U. S. Naval Academy, the Marine Corps has been relieved of duty. They have been replaced by Navy sentries. A sad day. The reason?...The Marines were withdrawn to fight the war in Iraq. Par for the course. Countless outstanding Marine Corps officers have graduated from the Naval Academy. I only hope this is a temporary reassignment until the mess in Iraq is secured. I'm sure the spirit of Capt. John Paul Jones feels the same way. God bless our Corps and our brave young warriors in harms way for the cause of Freedom.

Semper Fi,
Fred Arnold
former Capt. USMC

Family Point Of View

Oorah, Marines! Responding to HM3 De La Cruz, this is what my little brother, a SSgt in our beloved Corps, told me when he and I had a discussion concerning my thoughts on having been an active duty Marine and not having been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan; You received an honorable discharge, the Marine Corps saw fit to have you serve stateside as an MP, you did that to the best of your ability, there is nothing for you to feel guilty about. I understand how you feel, I was in a baseline unit at 29Palms, when the 1st Mardiv deployed to Iraq in '03, a couple of my Marines were transferred to victory units, I was fapped to PMO. From a family point of view, I had 3 children at the time, now have 4, I was lucky, from a Marine's point of view, I was cheated. I feel guilty about being home with my family, holidays are the worst. But our Brother's and Sister's are not forgotten from our celebrations, this year at Christmas we started a new tradition for our family, the place setting at the head of the table sits empty, with a dress blue cover on the plate, to honor those that are not at home and especially those that will not be coming home.
Semper Fidelis,
Wallace III, Charles L.
Cpl, USMC, 00-04

Simple Yet Bold

Sgt. Grit,

I have to tell you that the points and derby covers, along with the Marine's flag I bought for my 'former' Marine's Harley for Christmas all look GREAT on his bike! He just had the dealership install the covers this week while it was in for service. I find myself going out to the garage and smiling at how good they look. Harley Davidson now puts out a collection of Marine items also but I preferred the simple yet bold statement your covers conveyed. No fancy colors or fine print that you can't see from a distance. The black EGA on the chrome background stands out for all to see. I only wish there were more items to choose from. I have searched for a gas cap, horn cover and even an air cleaner cover but can't find anything that is as nice as these covers from Sgt. Grit. I will definitely come back to purchase again from your online store as the flags on his bike get pretty grimy from road dirt. I always like to have a set of clean flags for him to put on - both the Marines flag and the American flag.

Thanks so much!! Love your newsletters, we wouldn't miss them for the world!

D. Kent
Phoenix, Arizona

An Hoa

Hi Sgt, A while back you emailed me about my An Hoa project and my forth coming interactive CD on The history of the USMC at An Hoa . I should have the 1st test CDs ready by this spring and I will send you one to evaluate. Once this Part One CD is out ( 1966-67) I will be getting information together for part two which will cover 1968-69 and part three that covers 1970-71 I was wondering if I could put a post it on your newsletter about the project and that I am now looking for stories and photos about An Hoa and its surrounding AO for these years to put into the Scuttle Butt and Gallery section of the CD.

Kind Regards
alan @ graphicbikeart.com

Became My Family

HM2 Barry "Doc" Stevens wrote down some thoughts that must ring a bell with most Corpsmen. The only change I would make would be right at the end:

"Corpsman Up," I must answer the call as I have dedicated myself to do But, THEY BECAME MY FAMILY, and it destroyed me to lose them.

For all the courageous Marines past and present. Keep up the good fight for Freedom is worth fighting for.

HM1 Steven Byars
"E" Co., 2/1 1965-

All His Men

Hello from Kosovo! Finally got settled in and we are operational. Our departing task force is in the process of exiting and very happy to get out of here. Lots of things going on NOT making the news. I can fill you in later.

Reading this, I wanted to tell you about my experience at Landstuhl. I was there for only three days and I had to return to Hohenfels because of medical coverage. Long story but we take care of the troops.

When I was at LRMC, I was in the Emergency Department. I was on duty the day the Marines arrived from Iraq. These Marines were the survivors of the IED attack following their awards ceremony. They think it was an inside job because they were in a secure area. Anyway, when the bus arrives with the incoming wounded, we would go out and load them on stretchers, wheelchairs, etc. and bring them into Intensive Care. They were less than 24 hours from the attack and had received buddy care and BAS treatment, that kind of stuff. Their wounds were extensive and fresh. One Marine, a non-com, young, MAYBE 22 years, had lost his right arm just below the elbow and still had a field dressing covering it. He was supervising the unloading of his troops. HIS troops, I know you understand. He would not go into the hospital until he knew all his men were taken care of. When I walked up to him, he turned in my direction and snapped a solid salute at me, with half an arm. I told him, "Son, you don't have to do that now." He responded to me, with his troops in sight, "Yes Sir, I do!'

That's leadership!

Robert Lefler, Maj. AN

Submitted by: Judge Gary L. Lumpkin

U.S. Marines Birthplace Memorial, Tun Tavern

7 January 2006
Dear fellow Marines:

This letter is to inform you and your group about the U.S. Marines Birthplace Memorial. We are going to build in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania near the original location of Tun Tavern which is in Penn's Landing, by the Delaware River. As you know Tun Tavern is the original and official birthplace of the USMC, 10 November 1775.

Included in this letter is our web site address for you to review and pass on to the other members of your group. We are hoping to get Marines like you from all over the world to get involved, help, and donate to the Memorial. Please pass this letter on to other Marines and add our web page link to yours.

Please contact me through the web site anytime with your comments, questions and ideas. Thank you.


Semper Fi,
Michael L. Emerson
Memorial Originator and Project Manager


SEMPER Fi DALE, CAC /CAP UNIT There was very few of us I was in one of the first unit's they came out with, we had to wear a little blue badge on our chest that said we were pricks (cac in Vietnamese) they finally changed it to cap unit I was with Cap lima 5 67-68 we were south of chu lai by the Mei Lai villages, we were finally all split up because there was a high price on all our heads i was a cpl. an our corpsman carried a 60 (finally transferred to the seals) i would like to get back in touch with some of the people who was put out for bait 13 marines an a corpsman in a controlled village or by it.
cpl patrick owens
cap lima 5
i joined in 65 to 69


Sgt. Grit,

I just came upon several mentions of the PFT in one of your August newsletters. (As you can see, I am "way behind" in reading my newsletters. That comes from being a high school English teacher in Texas. I'm taking advantage of the Christmas/New Year holidays to catch up.) Anyway, it appears from the different recollections that there must have been a variety of PFT's. Actually, I believe some people are confusing two different physical tests taken back in the 1960's and -70's.

The Physical Readiness Test (PRT) was run in full combat gear and consisted of: (1) step-ups (with a one-minute time limit); (2) 20-foot knotted rope climb; (3) from the prone position, get up and run 40 yards to pick up and carry back another marine in a fireman's carry, taking your M-14 with you; (4) 100-yard "fire and maneuver", beginning with a 25-yard low crawl, then get up and run 75 yards, hitting the deck and assuming the firing position three times along the way, and jumping an 8-foot ditch at the end of the course; (5) three-mile "forced march" with a time limit.

The Physical Fitness Test was sometimes run in shorts and sneakers, other times run in utilities. During my "thirteen years for pay purposes" in our Corps, the requirements changed, but generally consisted of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and a three-mile run. By the time I did my last PFT in '75, we were required to do more than the minimum in at least one of the events, or we failed the entire test.

I signed aboard as a PLC candidate in '63, took my two six-weeks summer training sessions during July-August of that year and in '65, then reported to The Basic School as a brand new "butter bar" in Basic Class 4-66 (Foxtrot Company) in March 1966 after graduating from college. I took several PFT's and PRT's: at Quantico (OCS and TBS), and then later, at my last active duty station (H&S Bn, FMFLant in Norfolk, VA), from January 1968 to June, 1969, not to mention six years as a reservist with the Corpus Christi, TX. unit (two recon companies--Charlie and Delta 4th Recon, combined and redesignated as Charlie 1/23 around '73) from '69 to '75.

However, I feel that I successfully completed the only "Physical Fitness/Readiness Test" that mattered to me by returning from a tour in Vietnam with all parts intact and only the holes that God made. Half of my tour was as artillery forward observer for Lima 3/7. (Usually the first call after "Corpsman up!" was "Art'y up!") My parent unit from December '66 until August '67 was India Battery 3/11. I was transferred to 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers for the last four-and-a-half months of my tour.

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
'63-'76; Vietnam Dec '66 - Dec '67

1st.8 inch Howitzer Battery (Viet Nam) Reunion

Sgt.Grit and Staff,
Please post the following reunion ;

1st.8 inch Howitzer Battery (Viet Nam) Reunion
July 8th. and 9th. 2006
Bob and Cheryl Biggs house
6711 Nathaniel Dr.
Shreve , Ohio. 44676
Contact :Bob Biggs:(330) 567-2152
Greg Ladesich (949) 249-3525
GLadesich @ aol.com

Thank you and Semper Fi,
Greg Ladesich

Never Gets Mentioned

Somehow there's one D.I. who never gets mentioned nor praised. Yet, he deserves the highest praise and acknowledgement. Given only a few hours a day for twelve weeks, he is responsible for converting a bunch of soft, pudgy, waxed-floor loving swabbies in to something the Marine Corps can abide, something that can survive the Corps. Field Medical Service School, a batch of wise-assed young Corpsman, and a poor Marine. Ripped from the heart of his Corps and forced to work with a bunch of primadona sailors, these men are never really thanked for their efforts. Well, Sgt. Bermudes, I hope you see this, and hear the depth of my "THANK YOU!!!". If it hadn't been for you, I would never had made it.

Steve Byars, HM1/USN
Field Medical Service School, 1964-65

Cleanliness Of My Urine

Sgt Grit
Happy New Year to all of you Marines, Corpsmen, and other Sailors in the Corps (gummers mates and RP's). Special thanks from one of the "protected" to all the warriors currently on Active Duty. I DO sleep better at night knowing you are out there willing and ready to do violence on my behalf.

I want to thank the Marines who have sent in letters lauding their "Doc's" and the letters of support from the Marines to the Doc's who didn't face combat.

For those HM's who didn't serve with the FMF---combat or no, you missed out on the experience of a lifetime. It didn't always feel like it then, in my day there was no FMF badge, and the ribbon had just been introduced before my discharge. But I never felt like I needed it. My reward was the gratitude of my Marines. I still hear from a few of them, and I am in the process of looking a few others up.

Marines in my BN didn't necessarily accept you immediately. In my time (83-84) you had to show you "knew your stuff" before the Marines would warm up to you much. But once you showed your talents, the respect and friendship is a special feeling, one you won't find serving the Navy in any other capacity.

I had orders to a ship in Charleston. After my CO and I disagreed on the cleanliness of my urine, he called DC, cancelled my orders and had the detailer send me to FMF, with instructions for me to be put into the infantry---"to teach me a lesson" in his words.

Going from a frocked E-6 to probably the senior HM3 in the Navy at age 24 (7.5 years active) wasn't easy--from Division to Reg. to BN Chief, the Navy Hierarchy reminded me that I was "overweight, and a drug abuser". Once I was detailed to B 1/2, all that evaporated. My 1st Shirt and Co GySgt (also my platoon Sgt) and my 2nd Lt. got me in an office and told me they had read my record, and knew that I would do fine. 6 months and 68 pounds lighter later, I agreed with them.

My "lesson" turned out to be the most significant experience of my life. Spending time with my Marines taught me the ideals the Corps holds dear, and changed my outlook on my life and my Country.

I think I can speak for all the "Docs" who had the honor to work with the Corps when I say I was proud to serve. Drop into a USMC recruiting station sometime and tell them you were with the Corps. I assure you of a seat, some coffee and some good sea stories.

6 years after my discharge another 1/2 Doc helped get me hired as a Deputy Sheriff for Norfolk, Va where I served for 6 years until my wife Retired USN. My shift LT was a retired 1st Shirt, and the Major was a retired Sgt Major--They just told me to remember what I had learned in the Corps and I would do fine. And again, I Did!!!

May God continue to bless the Corps, and our Marines
Hank Kaczmarek B Co 1/2
Corpsman of Marines.

2nd ROK Brigade

Just after Christmas, 1966, I volunteered to go to the 2nd ROK Brigade, (Korean Marines), to teach them how to use some of our equipment. (You remember, the army got the stuff first and then we got it and then we sent our old stuff to our allies.) So, on Jan 1, 1966, I and two other guys from Chu Lai trucked down to the ROK brigade HQ. We were quartered with the ANGLICO's while there. We were supposed to be there for 2 weeks and ended up staying for 3 months. I have several interesting stories but will stay with just a couple.

Very first day we got there the Americans in the compound (only a couple dozen with about 600 Koreans) were all nervous. It turns out the Korean Brigadier had taken out his pistol and threatened to shoot the US Navy officer present because the air strikes were too close to his men. I did not see this, but one of the ANGLICO's told me later that everyone had taken their safeties off and were worried about a shootout at the OK corral.

The next day I was getting ready to get into the chow line (Kimchee and rice, breakfast, lunch and dinner) when I saw a ROK master sgt walk up behind a guy in the chow line. All this guy had done was giggle at something someone else said. That Msgt proceeded to beat this man with his swagger stick. When the ROK corpsman came the poor guy on the ground was a bloody mess. No one else twitched a muscle in the chow line after that. On the other hand, I did not have to worry, I went to the front all the time. And here is why:

The second night that I was with the Koreans I helped make apple turnovers. I wish I were better with names and wish I could remember the bakers name. We called him Frank, short for Frankenstein because he had these lines in his face that made it look like he had a face transplant. He was one of the guys who had volunteered to show the ROKs how to use the equipment we were sending to them. Frank was by far the best field baker I ever saw. He could make stuff that melted in your mouth. And of course I wanted as much as I could get because eating the Kimchee and rice was not my favorite thing. So that night we made 600 apple turnovers, one for each of the men in the compound. The Korean general got word of it and sent a dozen ROK MP's to snatch 200 of them. Frank and I were livid but there was not much we could do about it. The next day though, Frank and I were called to the generals hut where he handed us two ROK camo outfits. Franks' had colonel insignia on the collar and mine had lieutenants. Almost everyone in the camp had to salute Frank from that time on. I got my share of salutes also. And at the end of the two week period, and we were supposed to go back to Chu Lai, the general said not a chance. So we stayed for three months. A number of interesting things happened during that stay. Will save for another time.

Steve Eslin, USMCR
Pvt to 1st Lt, 1966-1978 (with 4 years out for college)

Hangs On The Wall

Sgt. Grit.

I rarely read the notes in your E-mails, skimming them at most. Noticed one, the boot from PI and the "pogey bait." I was a DI at MCRD, with Then Staff Sergeant Clinton A. Puckett in 1950, later to become Sergeant Major of The Marine Corps. Now dead, his picture hangs on the wall to my right. Was with him when he got the Navy Cross in Korea my FIRST tour there....

Puckett went to Korea, I went to SF, later in 1951 to 1st Engineer Btn., Korea. Read another on "Chesty's last regimental command." I was there also, the story of the "new" Mickey mouse cold weather boots WAS true, I got frostbite wearing them, no one passed the word.

Chesty saved my bacon at Camp Pendleton, Cousin of General George S. Patton, Chesty loved his men, we went to Korea together also, I one of his Platoon Sgts. Bless him.

Semper Fi:
J.C. Lettow

Pen Pal Dad

On Oct 20, 2005 I was reading my Sgt Grit's American Courage Newsletter #108, when I found a letter from a very determined young lady named April Cheek. (You can read her letter at the link , it's about the 10th letter in the newsletter).

Anyhow, I was genuinely touched by her determination and I wanted to let her know that, so I decided to write her. I only knew her first and last name from the newspaper, so I looked up the female recruit schedule and found that female recruits arriving Oct 10th would be in Papa Company. I sent my letter of support and promised her I would be her 'pen pal dad'.....

Read the rest of this story.....

On The Other Side

...HEY HEY HEY!!! Sgt.Grit.....

well, Here I am once again, on the other side of things!..YOu may or may not remember me but I wrote back sometime ago saying that I was a young woman aspiring to become a United States Marine....well, I DID IT! My name is April Cheek....I graduated boot camp at MCRD Parris Island on January6,2006.....WHAT an AWESOME Feeling to know that I now belong to an elite brotherhood, and that I am One of the Fewer the Prouder..Female Marines! ....I just want to say a very quick thank you to all of those who helped me stay motivated throughout training, and to those who allowed me not to give up on myself! ......

OOORAH!, Semper Fi~ Pvt April R Cheek..USMC

Least Of Your Troubles

Tim McMahon:

You inquired about SSgt F. J. Moser. I was on Parris Island Sept - Nov. 65- Pl Plt. 286. My Senior DI was also SSgt. F. J. Moser assisted by Sgt D. W. Jarrell and Sgt. Carroll Eggbert. Sgt. Eggbert received his own Platoon and left 286. He was replaced by a short wiry red haired Corporal. I cannot remember his name. When SSgt. Moser walked you knew the land under that shoe was his! Plt.. 286 was composed of 6 or 7 Regular Marine Recruits, rest of us were 6 month Air Wing Reserves from Boston, New York City and Minnesota. In a short period of time SSgt. Moser and his assistants had us in "his program" 286 was the high scoring Plt. on the Rifle range and the Honor Platoon at Graduation. SSgt. Moser was the no nonsense leader - the most feared words were, when we were out, and he would put his face close to yours - with his black eyes looking through you - saying in a even tone "See me when we get back"! You knew the least of your troubles were the 100 bend and thrusts and/or pushups back in the squad bay. Sgt. Jarrell was the enforcer no one messed around when he was in charge. The Corporal - I will remember his name as soon as I send this - was squared away and tough but he would smile and crack jokes once in a while. Looking back it appears that SSgt. Moser and Sgt. Jarrell would push us to the edge, then SSgt. Moser would allow the Corporal to lighten our load a bit. It was never easy . I do not know if that was the plan for all training on Parris Island at that time or SSgt. Moser's personnel method, but it worked. By the end of training they had us squared away. They worked together and made us all Marines.

A Marine I know, who was one of the last Embassy Guards in Saigon, told me SSgt. Moser was in Marine Intelligence during Viet Nam. Mike had run into him over there but did not have any details.

I was assigned to Hmm 766, NAS Twin Cities from Mar. 65 until the Squadron was transferred to Detroit in 1970.I believe HMM 766 was the last Squadron in the Marine Corps to fly the H-34 Helicopter

Semper Fi!
Sgt. Chan Zuber, HMM 766

I Can't Stop

BACK in 1954, Stationed at 8TH & I Marine barracks on the Silent Drill Team, we were called to protect President Eisenhower for his weekend at the camp with his wife Mamie.

A sergeant took two of us in and old Ford station wagon to check out a bridge on the route to Camp David. It was a small bridge and we got out of the vehicle to check be sure the bridge was safe. The Marine I was with told me that he really had to pee and he proceeded to do his duty over the bridge. I had been to Camp David once before, and told him to hurry because I knew that the Secret Service really drove fast in the Mercury's they used.

Well as he was doing his duty, I looked up and noticed the Secret Service were closing in on us. I hollered to my buddy, "HERE THEY COME!" He replied, "I CAN'T STOP!" We were standing side by side and not knowing what to do I fell back on my Marine instinct, faced the road and came to the position of presented arms. I was laughing so hard that tears running down my checks, and here he is peeing away and he still could not stop. I was at present-arms and he was at short-arms.

I thought we were going to jail as soon as we were picked-up and taken back to the barracks. Nothing was ever said about the incident but my buddy and I have never forgotten it.

Semper Fi,
Bob Turner

Different Walk About Them

Hey, Grit..been reading this newsletter for a number of years. Love every issue..thanks for what you are doing and the forum you provide.

My unit was in Iraq for OIF II-2. We were there for Christmas 2004...Here's a letter our Company CO sent to us this year..now that the shootin' and bombin' are just memories..Here are his words..

"In ones military career, there are those few moments that embed in memory far deeper than most others. They are the ones you tell in a smoky bar to those around you while cupping a favored drink.

On the 25th of December, 2004....I woke as I normally did, to the sounds of my room mates banging and moving around as they readied themselves for the day. I stood, grabbed my pants, shirt and boots, put them on and looked around a moment. In the hall way outside my door I could hear people talking, directives and commands announced along with the sounds of bags being drug down the hall. I looked out my door to see the SgtMaj and Bn CO. Both had their "war gear" on. With a different walk about them, I caught sight of them as they hurriedly moved & turned the corner of the hallway and made their way down the stairs. The Sgt Major was carrying a box I believe.

Anyway, I withdrew back inside my room to continue the process of readying myself for the days missions and activities. My room had a balcony and the door to it was open. It was a nasty, wet & cold day but not the worse we had see by then. I heard the slamming of doors and engines starting along with the sounds of men yelling commands or information. This caught my attention so I walked outside onto the balcony to see what was going on.

I looked down towards the ground below me to fix my eyes on the SgtMaj and LtCol just as they entered their vehicle. Other vehicles were in line with them and young men stood ready on top of those vehicles. Floors and balcony's below me, other young men leaned out to yell words of encouragement or parting messages. Then Santa Claus with a M-16 rifle came walking around the corner towards the vehicles.

Yes, I know it was Santa cause he had a red stocking cap with little white dingle berry on it, a red coat with white fur lining, black belt, red pants and boots...though I believe the boots were tan in color. He had a big, big sack over his shoulder (which I assumed held goodies for the kids). However, strapped to Santa was a three-point sling connected to a M16A2 black military assault rifle.

Santa went off towards a vehicle, pushed his sack of goodies into that vehicle, with some minor difficulty, then he jumped into his vehicle and disappeared behind the door as it closed. On queue, the line of vehicles drove away into the distant landscape, over a ridge and out of sight.

In a world thousands of miles from home, a world of wet, cold misery, Santa came to Iraq to take care of the troops. We required everyone in Iraq to have a weapon with them at all times. This so applied for Santa as well.

I never saw Santa again that day with his M-16. I probably never will again, but I'll never forget that sight, that good memory of the "Santa Claws Patrol."

Merry Christmas everyone."
SSgt Z..

The Good Life

About 25 years ago, I saw a painting that touched a place in me that I thought I had sufficiently protected. It was at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. I don't remember the name of the artist, but I will always remember his work. The painting was a depiction of a cowboy, rough cut, sunburned, grizzled, a man with the bark still on him, clad in a yellow rain poncho and an old dirty cowboy hat. The rain poured down as he sat to eat a hard-earned meal. As he bent his head down to take the first bite, the rain water which had pooled on the brim of his hat funneled down into his tin plate of beans. The work was titled "The Good Life".

I knew what the artist meant as soon as I saw the title. I identified with the old cowboy, and knew him immediately. I didn't have to know his name, or where he was from, or his politics, or anything else about him to know that he understands about The Good Life.

I have met the spirit of this cowboy many times, many places. The circumstances were different, the clothes were different, the names were different, but the eyes... The eyes were the same. The guys who understand The Good Life come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. But their eyes... Their eyes tell the story.

Their eyes reflect the cold miserable rain and the fetid, sticky mud. They tell about the oppressive heat and the dust that sticks to their sweat. Their eyes speak about the flies and mosquitoes and leeches and hookworms and malaria. They describe the taste of dirty well water and iodine tablets and green Kool- Aid.

Their eyes tell about cold C-rations and hot Carling's Black Label beer. They tell about the nights - the nights when it was so dark. The nights when their imaginations tried to sneak up on them. The nights when reality exploded all around them. The nights when they were the Hunter and the Hunted.

But their eyes also reflect the other side of The Good Life. Their eyes prove that they have been tested and that they passed the test. They have a confidence, a self-assuredness, a knowledge that they can handle anything that comes up. They have been through the fire and came out with a sharp edge.

And these men also have the ability to recognize other men who know The Good Life. They have the same sense of humor that other people just don't get. They share the memory of a maniac in a Smokey Bear who taught them the basics of The Good Life. They share the memory of Brothers lost, and of Brothers found. They share the nightmares and the laughter. They share the tears of crippling sorrow, and the tears of utter joy, and the tears of spine-tingling pride.

There is no greater honor than to sit in the rain and share a plate of beans with a group of men who understand The Good Life.

Semper Fidelis
L/cpl Smith, M.D.
CAP 4-3-2 , CAP 2-2-1 , 70
We don't live in freedom. Freedom lives in us.

When Young Pups See

Sgt. Grit:
A few of the items that I received in my last order from your PX need mentioning. By the way I am totally impressed with the order to receive time.

Marine Corps cowboy hat Marine Corps cowboy hat: Had to have one to add to my cowboy hats. The rest of them will now take second row. A really great cover.

Bagpipe music for USMC ceremonies: Needs a warning label - "Do not play for the first time while driving or piloting a vehicle" During parts of it the goose bumps and mood had me wanting to go Mach 1+. Other parts caused eye problems that caused slowing down to wipe particles out of the eyes. Now when one of these idiots pull up alongside of me wanting to share their "music" with all within a mile. I crank up "Amazing Grace". What an arrangement of this classic.

Training "pineapple": Amazing when young pups see it sitting on my bar and exclaim "My God, is that a real hand grenade? (I do not bother to educate them on the purpose of the blue paint on the spoon")

Your newsletter has made Thursday my favorite day of the week.
Carry on.
Semper Fi,

Chris Madsen
Captain of Marines , '60 and early 70's

When He Told Me He

Sgt. Grit

I am reading the Newsletter #114 and am just thinking of someone I met recently. I was at a football game with my grandsons and had on my 1st Mar. Div. cap and the coat I decorated with items from your store. A man I had never met came up and asked about my years of service. We started talking and I discovered he had joined the Navy after high school and ended up a Corpsman with 1st. Mar. Div. FMF and was sent to Beirut after the bombing of the Embassy there. He served 8 or so years with the Marines and a Corpsman and then was discharged. He latter tried to reenlist, but couldn't for some reason, so he joined the Army as a Medic. After his tour was up there he got into civilian life, which worked for him, but he said he was missing something. He has just rejoined the army Reserves and has volunteered for Iraq. He will be leaving soon.

Anyway, when he told me he was a corpsman, I said SEMPER-FI Brother and he just couldn't believe I would consider him a Marine since he wasn't in combat. I explained to him that ANY person, and ESPECIALLY a corpsman who served with the Marines WAS, IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE A MARINE in my book.

This happened about the time you had your special on the Beirut Marine T-Shirt, so I bought him one. When I presented it to him he unfolded it and with moisture from the sprinklers in his eye said "I just can't believe you would do this for a Navy guy". Well once again I explained to him he was more than just a navy guy, but would remain a member of the Corps for the rest of his life.

So if anyone of you "Army Dawgs" are ever treated by "DOC" Meshlin, please know you are being administered to by one of the BEST MEDIC'S this country could ever provide. Thanks for listening.
v Will Perdue (USMC) Delta & Foxtrot 2-11 (66-68)

He Was Right

The United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina was a very unpleasant place to spend the summer in the 1950's. Drill Instructors were somewhat more physical in their manner of correcting malfunctioning recruits than they are in the more modern Marine Corps. Nevertheless, by the time I reached the rifle range (4th week of training if my memory serves) I was fairly certain that I would live through boot camp. Before that, none of were sure we would ever walk off that island. While sitting on a shooting box waiting for my relay to be called to the line at 500 yards, my M1 Garand (serial # 1959500) between my knees, I was approached by my Senior DI. In a voice that was not too far removed from that of the sound of gravel being crunched underfoot, he asked me if I planned to stay in the Corps. I replied in the negative. My plan was to serve one hitch and---in my mind---the sooner it was over the better. He looked down range for a few moments, then turned to me and said something that was the truest thing I have ever been told. "Private Flynn, " he said, "You will be a Marine until the day you die."

I ain't dead yet and he was right.

Semper Fi
Billy Flynn
Corporal of Marines, 1955-59, Kilo/3-6-2

Short Rounds

MasterGunnery Sgt Jones, Chestys body guard in Korea and aid in the states and friend died the 15 Jan 06.

Sgt. Grit,
I saw this in my local paper yesterday, all proceeds from the wine go to a great cause, the maker is a Marine. Don't know if the wine is any good, but you have to like what they are doing. Put your mouse on Firestone Winery then go to wines, then click on Jarhead Red.


Semper Fi,
James Pearson

Just want to echo the thoughts of Cpl. Joe Blanck about the Christmas 1957 visit to Okinawa by the Bob Hope Show. It was really really appreciated by those of us living there. I have a 8 x 10 Glossy of Jayne Mansfield taken close up by a Buddy in Photo and Repo. C. Gibbemeyer, Sgt.

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I want to inform you that James J. Conner 111 Has passed away on Dec.2,2005. It is with great sadness that I give this news. He was a very loving husband for 43 years. He was also a very remarkable man. Sincerely, His wife Rita Conner

Passing hello
to alla youse, young and olde. More than 50 yeers ago since I've been there and done that. Looking back, still one of the greater accomplishments in my life. I wish every 17 yeer old kid would see it that way. Semper Fi. al chin 1366801

Back Alley Bridge Rules.

Honor, Courage, Commitment
Honor, Courage, Commitment

Semper Fi Do or Die Semper Fi
Do or Die

Semper fi
Welcome home, Job Well Done.
Sgt Grit

New Items

Men's Moisture-Wicking Shirt
Men's Moisture-Wicking Shirt

Semper Fi Vietnam Book
Semper Fi Vietnam Book

Marine Corps Bagpipe CD
Marine Corps Bagpipe CD

3rd Bn 11th Marines Patch
3rd Bn 11th Marines Patch

Pacific Ghosts 2006 Calendar
Chesty Puller DVD

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