Sgt Grit AmericanCourage Newsletter

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

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Sgt. Grit,

I love your newsletter! To the "Marine Mom" who has heard horror stories about boot camp and her son going, my son went at the age of 19. I had heard the horror stories too, but my fear was not boot camp, but Iraq. Many men and women survive boot camp. My son, LCPL Travis is now on his second tour in Iraq and there isn't a day that goes by that I worry about him over there. HOWEVER, if you pay attention to the news, our boys are in worse danger here in the US. Look at the gangs, drive by shootings, drugs and alcohol use. At least in the Marine Corps, my son is taught respect, honor and courage. He was taught how to defend himself and his country. He has been taught more in the Marines than anywhere else he could have been. Don't worry about your son, he can take care of himself and other Marine brothers with him and they will take care of him. Worry about the people in Iraq who come in contact with our Marines!

I am so proud of my Marine, he has come a long way, he has grown up more than I care to admit, he has seen things most men/women will ever see in their lives. He is 21 now, and I am praying that he comes home safe and sound along with all his Marine brothers.


Debbie Hope
Proud Mom of LCPL Gil Travis,
United States Marine Corps

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I have enjoyed reading your newsletter so much. My son, Corporal Christian Gonzales, graduated boot camp at MCRD in San Diego CA October 14, 2005. I went to watch and took my 17 year old daughter also to see her brother graduate. This was the finest ceremony I have ever witnessed and the most touching and patriotic. I was so proud of my son and all the other young men and pray every day for all of our Marines. Truly I was born into the family that day also as a Marine Mom forever! My son is now a Corporal and just got married last July 17 and is stationed at 29 Palms. The Marine Corps is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He chose to go in and wanted to fight for his country even though he was an EMT-Intermediate working in a local emergency room. I say this so Senator Kerry will realize that there are many young people who have volunteered that had already went to college BEFORE they volunteered for the Marine Corps; in fact he is still paying off school loans! I want more than ever for this war to be over and our young Marines home as well as all other servicemen in other areas of the military but "these colors (red/white/blue) don't run" and we want the job completed so we never have to go back! When my son is deployed I will have the utmost confidence in the training he has received and know that this is what he wants to do, for all of us back home.

Carolyn Alyea Gonzales
Pueblo, Colorado

"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
-James Madison

Sgt Grit,

Not too long ago, I was headed down the street when I saw something most would consider rather out of the ordinary. Now, in order to get a better picture of this, I'm going to make a note that this took place in New Jersey, and it obviously gets pretty cold here this time of year. Well, I was on my way when I noticed that a Marine was jogging down the street in a pair of running shorts. I later mentioned it to a buddy, and the first question was, "How did you know he was a Marine?" so I said, "He had a high and tight, and a USMC sweatshirt... but what really gave him away was the fact that it takes a MARINE to be motivated enough to wear shorts out when running in the middle of February."

Stefanie Shaw
USNA Class of 2012

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."
-Robert E. Lee, 1863

Dear Sgt Grit,

I sent my three children off to boot camps : one to the Air Force, one to the Coast Guard and one to the Marines, all three were "civilians" on departure and came back military professionals. The Marine was the most radical change: Junk food and pop gave way to water, lean meats and veggies. "Veggies are good for you mom". Sounded like what I had been saying for years but an outside expert (gunny) was more believable. The boy whose room I had to clean with a snow shovel, now puts his socks in a grid system in the drawer. Posture, manners, diet and a new appreciation for education at all costs came back as baggage from boot camp. He had a couple scars from doing more than his share in team events and a mature understanding of consequences. In fact, "horror" stories" or not, the saddest person at graduation was the Marine who was delayed for 6 months while the stress fractures in his legs healed. Neither he nor his family blamed the Marines for anything - he tried too hard to be the fastest runner.

None of my children regret a moment of their boot camps - part of the transformation from child to adult professional. I have often thought that the 2 year military requirement of service that is mandatory in Israel would be good for what ails America's youth. I know I have nothing to apologize for with my 3, only pride. Members of my family have fought for America for many generations past and hopefully for many to come, always with pride.

Deborah J Thomas

Dear Sgt Grit,
I would like to ask all CALIFORNIA residents to contact their representatives to establish Gold Star license plates in CA The following comes from the Blue Star Mother + Families of the Central Valley.
"Let us all show our GOLD STAR FAMILIES how much we care and ask our State Officials to pass California Senate Bill 287 in record time! Go to THANK YOU!
Carolyn L.
Blue Star Mother of a Marine and an Airman

"When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in the happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peacefully and happy Country."
--George Washington

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We are a group of mental health professionals called The Soldiers Project (yes, I know the name doesn't ring right with you, but our services are for all branches of the military). We are in Los Angeles County and Orange County, California. We offer FREE, NO RED TAPE counseling to any military person who was in OIF/OEF. We also offer free counseling to their extended families - kids, girlfriends, spouses, grandparents and parents --- for deployment-related issues, prior to, during or following deployment. And, we offer free counseling to bereaved families.

We are mostly in private practice, so people are coming to private offices. We want to help with combat trauma, and we want to help support the families so the Marines can keep their focus on their mission. We want to reduce the escalating OIF/OEF divorce rate, and stop the post-deployment suicides.

Our services are free. This is our way of giving back. If a person is interested, they may call Dr. Broder, who was inspired by a Marine to found the project, at 818 761-7438, or email her at She normally returns calls within 24 hours, and matches people up with a therapist within a couple of days. We ONLY have therapists in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California.

We know that Marines and Marine families are tough. But we also know that there are times when it can be really helpful to talk to a person to get some stuff off your chest. And that's why we're here.

Thank you.
Barbara V. Schochet, Ph.D.
Los Angeles
310 479-8751

P.S. We receive the funding that pays for our website and business cards from the Trauma Center of the Los Angeles Institute & Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, a 501C3.

GOD BLESS the UNITED STATES MARINES.... Welcome home LCpl Jones - 12 months in the sand box was enough!
Jgranberry Proud Marine Dad

My father was stationed at Parris Island, S.C when I was born in 1944 we traveled all over the world. I spent 22 years growing up in the Corps. We have been many different places he was not very kind to me since I was the first born I have two other brothers.
When I got my draft notice I went into the Army instead of going into the Corps because I knew what would happen. After serving two years I got out and went my own way several years later I joined the Army National Guard and spent twenty years. All through my life I have been focused on the Corps value that I was instilled from him and a few other people who have been in the Marine Corps.
Thank you
John Holliday


I have never been a Marine. However, I served with the Marines in 1950,51 while in the Navy. I wish someone could instill in our Politicians the same Credo I learned from my Marine friends. "Close with the enemy and KILL him". Where do our idiot politicians get the Idea that War is supposed to be anything else but that. I have been an admirer of Marines all my life and I am 75 years old. My 12 years of active duty taught me two things more important than all the rest....."There is no substitute for Victory", and there are NONE BETTER than the United States Marines.

Semper Fi
JMJ (49 to 61)

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world."
-Thomas Carlyle

Subject: This needs to change: Something to think about and speak up about!

Good afternoon fellow Leathernecks, Marines, Veterans, friends and family members and just people who care,

I just returned from the funeral of a young (27 year old) female Marine Captain from Swampscott, MA who was killed while flying a rescue mission in Iraq on February 7, 2007 and I must admit it was a very moving experience to say the least. Let me just say before I go on the Captain Harris and her crew of her helo completed their mission that day and saved the life of another Marine by getting them to medical care on time it was while returning to base that they were shot down. As her commanding officer said today in church her actions that day saved another Marine family from going through what we are going through today.

I had many emotions today in church and at the funeral, I went from being sad, not understanding why a talented young women a Marine would be taken from us, to being very proud, after hearing about the young women her life and her struggle to get into Annapolis and becoming a Marine and then becoming a Helo pilot completing three tours of combat flying. When you look out and saw her classmates from Annapolis in the uniforms of the U.S. Navy and Marines many of them pilots also, and look out into the crowd in the church with many young men and women of all branches of the services in uniform who came to honor one of their own you couldn't help but feel proud of these young men and women and all those who went before them and put on the uniform of any service of the United States.

This all brought a tear to my eye and I think it should for if it doesn't there is something wrong with you not matter what you think of the war and why we are fighting it. This brings me to the last of many emotions I have felt today Anger, I am angry and I want to tell you why!

As I drove to the funeral the airways and the TV this morning were filled with stories that someone thinks are important, the newspapers have been full of these stories since Captain Harris's death, Tom Brady's ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Britney Spears cut her hair off, Anna Nichol Smith body was embalmed and we still don't know who the father is, our new Governor just got a Caddy for an official car etc.

What angers me is the amount of time, effort and money is spent on these stories when men and women like Captain Harris who are role models (or should be) and are the fabric of this country (or should be) get pushed to the rear or get no notice at all. This needs and must stop, there is something wrong with this country and the people in it if we can't see this and speak up about it. Tell your newspapers your TV stations and in particular tell you children, other people's children, tell your friends, tell people you might not agree with, but people need to put what's important and meaningful in perspective.

This is still the greatest country in the world even with it faults and for those who have worn the uniform, any uniform know that more than most and the families of those who go in harms way know this also but we have lost our way as a country and a people if we really care about the stories we are being force fed by the media and others. So what I am asking is for all of us to take a moment and think about what is important to us, what should be important to us and our loved ones and families.

I watch sports but they are not Hero's or even role models anymore, I watch movies and listen to music but the entertainers aren't Hero's or role models they are just people. We all have met our own role models and Hero's and most of them don't dance, sing or play sports, they don't write for newspapers or cover what they are told is news they are people like Captain Harris and your own son's and daughters who work hard everyday and accomplish great things but go unnoticed by the main stream, if we want to Honor men and women like Captain Harris don't let this happen.

Tell you children you love them and support them, tell the men and women of our military THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE and look around you to see the real people that go about their lives doing things for us and to protect us etc and tell someone you don't care if Tom Brady's ex-girl is pregnant, I don't care what Britney Spears looks like bald and I am sorry but I don't care who the father is of Anna Nichols baby is, I just care that some one will love her and take care of her so she doesn't end up like her mother.

God Bless America and those who have and now serve her !

Semper FI
Bob O'Toole
USMCR Sergeant 1964-1969
President North Shore Chapter
1/25 4th Marine Div
Leathernecks Motorcycle Club

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am responding to Cpl Samuel Fernley's letter regarding non- Marines using "Semper Fi."

My Father died in 2003. He entered the Marine Corps In 1936 at 17 years old. He served with E, F, G, H AND Hdq. Companies in 2d Battalion, 5th Marines in the Pacific. He fought valiantly alongside Lou Diamond, Chesty Puller, Lewis Walt, and Gordon Gayle to name a few. He was a "Mustang" and was promoted to 2d Lt. at New Britain by Lew Walt and Gordon Gayle. He served as platoon leader often, battalion liaison and was an expert at pistol and sharpshooter at rifle. He carried a 70# (plus) water cooled machine gun in intense heat under inhuman conditions. He used flamethrowers and had jungle rot. I could go on and on.

He fought at Tulagi, Guadalcanal, New Britain and Peleliu. He fought the three battles on the Matanikau, Edson's Ridge along with the Raiders, to mention a few. He taught at OCS at Quantico after World War II and made 1st. Lt. and was discharged with a good Conduct Medal, among others.

WHY DO I KNOW THIS? It wasn't because he boasted or told me ANY of it. I know it because his fellow Marines have taken me under their wings and have told me many, many stories about Dad. And, I received his service records.

While he was gone, his mother and father worried about and supported him. MY MOTHER worried about and supported him. They wrote him daily, they sent him packages, they helped sell war bonds, they flew the American flag, they knitted socks, they rationed gas, sugar, rubber, tin cans....They did not go through what he went through and their experiences were in no way comparable to his by any means. But when Dad got back, he KNEW they were part of a MARINE FAMILY. He never ever let me forget that. He was proud of them and his children. My parents instilled patriotism in me. We flew our flag every day. It was up at sunrise and was ALWAYS taken down at sunset. It was never tattered and NEVER touched the ground.

When Dad died he requested that people send donations to "Toys for Tots." He didn't want "anyone wasting their money on flowers." He died a MARINE.

NOW, when I hear a Marine, who tells me I cannot use the sacred words, "Semper Fidelis" or "Semper Fi," he is assuming I use them casually. I do not. In fact, I use them sparingly and respectfully, communicating to Marines that I WILL ALWAYS BE FAITHFUL to the MARINE CORPS and ANY MARINE that CROSSES MY PATH, as I WILL ALWAYS be FAITHFUL to my FATHER. My Dad fought along with his fellow Marines to ensure I would not be censored and that I would continue to be able to live under the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I have spent many, many hours/days/weeks with Marines of the World War II, China, Korea and VietNam. I HAVE NEVER EVER been asked not to use Semper Fidelis. They use that beautiful phrase with me as I do with them. I will continue to use those words with respect and only to Marines.

I'm sorry that Corporal Fernley is offended.

Sincerely Semper Fidelis,
Carolyn "Hutch" Hutchings Carino,
Proud Daughter of 1st. Lt. Charles A. "Hutch" Hutchings E, F, G, H, Hdq./2/5

P.S. By the way, in response to Sgt. Grit's request for bumper stickers, I sent in the one that is now for sale and it says, MY DAD PUT THE "FI" IN SEMPER FI.

"If there is one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man—it is the man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil."
-James A. Garfield

I just wanted to say that I take exception to the remarks of Cpl. Samuel Fernley who states that only a Marine is entitled to use the Semper Fi greeting. That only a Marine knows the significance of Semper Fi. I feel he is very wrong.

I am the widow of a 24 year Marine veteran who served three tours in Viet Nam, and the mother of a son, an only child, of a Marine who served in Desert Storm. In fact, the day after my son was deployed, my husband was re- activated to serve because of a "critical MOS".

My husband left for his last tour in Viet Nam when our son was 2 weeks old.
Cpl. Fernley has no idea what wives of Marines went through when their husbands were deployed in the 1960's and before. If you lived on base, you had to move. There were no cell phone calls, no e-mail service, only wait and pray for a letter and write letters every day. At that time, units were not deployed, he left by himself and flew to his next duty station without the comfort of knowing he had friends to watch his back. There were no "support groups" for wives and families, only prayers that a wife would be able to handle the day to day situations. The wife had to be the mother and father and keep hearth and home together for 13 month tours. And when they came home, if they came home, there was no one to greet them but their wife and children. There were no parades, no celebrations, just come home and get prepared to go on to the next duty station. If that is not fidelity, I'd like Cpl. Fernley to explain his definition of faithfulness.

I have a Marine Corps Retired tag on my automobile and have had several young men ask me who the Marine is. I tell them my husband and son and they greet me with a "Semper Fi" and I always respond with a "Thank you".

A. Morton
Wife and Mother of Marines.

black walnut ega Sarge,
I live in a retirement community which is also home to several Marines - WWI Guadalcanal, Chosen Reservoir, the Cold War and Viet Nam. A couple years ago I made myself an EGA from American black walnut and got a few comments from the vets. So I set to work making one for each and every one of them, plus a few for my fellow-Marines with whom I served in the 1950's. Thought you might like to see what they look like. Keep up the good work of keeping us "old" Corps guys informed and in touch.
Semper If!
John Tonkin
USMC 1955 - 58

"Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."
-George Washington

Cpl Fernley,

It is with great sadness that I respond to your comments:

"If you are a spouse, wife, boyfriend, airmen, sailor, soldier, etc unless you have EARNED the TITLE Marine, you will NEVER understand the significance and importance behind it. Stop saying it and using it, it is not yours because you have not earned it."


"Semper Fidelis is not a casual phrase to be used by anyone because that takes away from the meaning behind it, which you don't understand or appreciate unless you earn it and you take away from the meaning because you don't fully understand what it truly means. Please respect the fact that only those who have earned the title should use it."

I am a Marine's wife and also a Marine's Mother. As far as I'm concerned, Anyone who is considered part of the Marine Corps extended "family" should be able to use this term. We NEVER use this term "casually" because we, unlike average citizens, know all too well and understand exactly what this term means. We say it out of RESPECT. Just as every Marine is considered your brother or sister, you are ALL considered our sons and daughters.

In conclusion, Marines are not alone when it comes to making sacrifices. Their families and loved ones suffer tremendous "casualties of war". I prayed for my husband and his fellow Marines every day when he was serving in Iraq during Desert Shield & Desert Storm and sacrificed a year and a half of my life without him in my arms and so did our son who was only 2 at the time. That is minute in comparison of what Marine families go through today. I will proudly do it all over again when our son gets deployed to Al Anbar Province, Iraq next month.

We take every Marine under "our wing". You are all our sons and daughters. We will continue to support you, pray for you and send you care packages, because we too, are ALWAYS FAITHFUL!

May God Bless you, the Corps and our Country.


Kelly Sekuterski
Proud Marine Wife and Mother

Last Fall I got interesting to read your Sgt Grit's Marine Specialties Newsletter. I thought that I should write something. Early in 1960 my brother joined National Guards. He taught me how to "march" and swing the rifle during standing and marching. He was surprised that I was so good at that. During that time I always wanted to join Army but I could do that as I was a Deaf. Sorry I had never thought of Marine until we family attended our son, Andrew's graduation from Marine Boot Camp last September 15, 2006 at MCRD San Diego, California. Now our daughter, Sherri went to Parris Island, South Carolina for 13 weeks training at Marine Boot camp last December 26, 2006. We are planning to attend to her graduation on March 23, 2007.
Really I am a most proud DAD of two MARINES!

Semper Fi
Proud DAD, LeRoy D. Elmer

Given all of this country's past wars involving intelligence failures, tactical and strategic blunders, congressional fights and popular anger at the president, Iraq and the rising furor over it are hardly unusual... The high-stakes war to stabilize the fragile democracy in Iraq is a serious, costly and controversial business. But so have been most conflicts in American history. We need a little more humility and knowledge of our past—and a lot less hysteria, name-calling and obsession with our present selves."
-Victor Davis Hanson

OK --- I have been soundly and forcibly corrected. I hereby swear to never say the words "Semper Fi" again. But Nobody--- That's NO-BODY will ever, ever prevent me from saying "God Bless the Corps and all who serve" and, yes, I still owe my humble Zoomie A** to the Marine Corps
Jake Jacobsma USAF

Earlier this month, our Public Broadcasting TV Channel aired a documentary entitled, "The Marines." I thought it was an excellent program that showed actual, narrated scenes from Boot Camp; starting at the yellow footprints and proceeding through training, on to graduation. Culture shock was had by all.

Another segment was done at OCS, Quantico. It emphasized that officer candidates are screened to determine their leadership abilities. The C.O. was a Colonel, who said that he looked at every candidate and asked himself, "Would I want this man to be leading MY son?"

The program also visited the Raider Battalion Museum and explained their valuable contributions to Marine Corps History and their service to our country.

It wasn't long afterwards that a Sgt. Grit Newsletter contained a letter from a self-proclaimed failure. The letter was written by someone who said he either quit, or washed-out of OCS, in the 9th week. He went on to relate his many successes in civilian life, but said he still felt like a failure, because he didn't finish OCS. I've waited for someone else reply to him, but since no one has; I guess I will:

What is a failure, anyway? My definition of a failure is…anyone who doesn't try, because they're so afraid of failing, they're paralyzed into inaction. I still vividly recall the agony of burning lungs and still hear the DI saying, "If you refuse to quit, your mind will let you do more than you ever thought you possibly could…Don't you dare quit!"

Think about it.
If you can't jump like Michael Jordan, are you a failure? Did you try?
What if you can't hit like Barry Bonds, or throw like pro-ball players?
Could you be a leader of a football team, just like Peyton Manning?

Being a Marine Corps Officer is a profession, too. Except, it's like being part of a game where win, or lose equate to life and death. Not everyone can qualify to be an officer and a leader of Marines.

Each of us has limited talents, although we give 110%, trying to succeed, when we're called upon. The Marine Corps certainly recognizes leadership and responsibility by designating its personnel into pay-grades. Lower pay-grade, translates into less responsibility. Yet, would a PFC be a failure because he might not complete OCS? I hardly think so. We each do our part.

My advice: Give yourself a break, man. Count your successes and be grateful and…be proud when you say, "I tried and I did my best."

Semper Fi
James Haight

"There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world... for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lost that war, and in doing so lost this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening... If we lost freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth."
-Ronald Reagan

I enjoyed reading James D. Broome's letter to the "Marine Mom." Boot camp will certainly change him. He will be a better person. I believe every private in Platoon 11-A will agree that going through boot camp at Parris Island made us better citizens. I served with honor for three years.

Jeanette Drummond Phillips

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Thank you for your newsletters. My entire family enjoy reading the letters and articles. Keep up the good work!

Now for the reason I find it necessary to write. I read the letter headlined "I Have Had Enough" written by Cpl. Fernley (01 Mar.2007). My anger and hurt outweighed my better judgment to just ignore his opinions, hence my reply.

Sir, with all due respect, please do not tell a Marine's wife or a Marine's mother that she is not allowed to say "Semper Fidelis". My husband, Sgt. USMC, 1968-1974, Vietnam 1968-1969, 326 Mike Company, and both of my sons, Cpls. USMC 1991-1997, and 1993-1997, Kuwait Liberation, and VMFA 212, served proudly. I also served proudly as both MOTHER and WIFE to Marines. No, I did not don a uniform, but my role as supporter to my sons, their father, and everyone they came in contact with as Marines, was important in my eyes. I started a local chapter of "MOM's" (Mothers of Marines), held rallies in support of our troops during the beginnings of Desert Storm, and am president of this support group even now that my sons are no longer active duty. I went through boot camp twice, one time with each son (with one being Platoon Honor Graduate), sent letters, homemade cookies (it was Christmas time for both boot camps) for all recruits and staff in their units. I walked the floor every night when my oldest was sent to Kuwait. I tried to give support to my husband when the night mares of Vietnam would surface during his sleep. I became a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, West Palm Beach Chapter, in support of all Vietnam Vets. I'm not asking for any accolades, I would just appreciate the recognition that I have the "right" to express "Semper Fidelis" to any Marine. Now my grandson (11 years young) is a PFC in the Young Marines, Nature Coast Chapter, FL. He is a "future" Marine, because I have no doubt that he will follow in the foot steps of his Grandfather, Father, and Uncle. I hope to live long enough to be there to see him receive his EGA. What a proud day that will be for all of us in this family. We ARE a Marine family. Can you see my point of view?

When I say "Semper Fidelis" to a Marine, I feel that I am showing them my highest respect and honor. I had no idea that these words spoken by anyone not considered a Marine, offensive.

If Marines do not feel that I have the right to say "Semper Fidelis" to them, I apologize. I would never offend a Marine on purpose, but your statements Sir, offended ME. I respect the Corps just as much as any person does, but should not wives, mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, in general "supporters" of the USMC deserve respect in return?

Thank you for your time. Thank you for your service.

Susan W. Turner
Wife of Wallace H. Turner USMC '68-'74
Mother of Chester G Turner USMC '91-'97
Mother of Wesley H Turner USMC '93-'97
Grandmother of PFC Alexander W Turner Young Marines 2005 and current member

I write this in honor of the individual who penned himself a failure of OCS Quantico 1976. I believe that the title of that newsletter is American Courage #142. His admission at the national level of his belief that he failed is courageous. I wrote and told him that and I write to Sgt Grit to share that opinion. You see, I was there in Quantico in 1976 and knew him. I can think of no one in that platoon who would think less of him for requesting to leave, especially after the candidate had proven himself for 9 weeks. We were all trying our hearts out to just get to the next day without failing. And we all had the same absolute respect and loyalty to the Platoon Sergeant.

Some of those who did not complete were asked to leave. Some failed temporarily (or were injured) and were put back to a different company. Some requested to leave. This individual was in the latter group. I know that the GySgt spoke well of this individual when he left and was presented to us as one that could make it but chose to return to civilian life. I remember that there were 2 who made this same choice and the GySgt spoke well of both and gave them his respect.

I know that in my communication with him over the last week that I respect him also. His letter to Sgt Grit emphatically demonstrates that though he never got the Eagle, Globe and Anchor (and for officers a rope is included), he got the Marine persona into the core of his makeup. The evidence of this is his own personal success and his complete respect and honor he shows his son upon receiving his Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I know he understands what makes a Marine and honors that understanding by presenting his son. (I want to honor his son also telling him congratulations and welcome to the Corps. Carry your SAW with pride. Keep your head up and your azz down!)

I was very pleased to see that GySgt Booth also supported this individual with his comments in newsletter 01 March 2007. OORRAAHHHH.

With Utmost Respect,
Name Withheld
LtCol USMC(Ret)
Retired 30 SEP 1997

"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute."
-James Madison

Dear Sgt. Grit,

With all due respect to Cpl. Samuel Fernley USMC 1993 - Forever who ranted in the latest newsletter about other people using "Semper Fi" when they haven't earned it....perhaps he doesn't understand that parents and spouses, children and siblings HAVE EARNED the right to say it. We are the ones who faithfully pray, support, cry, raise the Marine's kids, pay the bills, mail the letters and care packages, fend off the politicians and know-nothing neighbors and generally guard the rear of each and every Marine through boot camp, SOI, training, deployment, and re-entry into civilian life. And we do it knowing that if our Marine pays the ultimate sacrifice, he will go to his reward, but we will be left with a huge empty hole in our lives for the rest of our lives. "Semper Fi" is not just a "vow that Marines make to each other and to their Docs", it is a vow that thousands of us have made as we've swallowed our tears (at least until they're out of sight) and let our poolees/recruits/Marines go. Perhaps Cpl. Fernley hasn't seen the Sgt. Grit bumper stickers "Marine Wife....the toughest job in the Corps" and "Marine Mom...the toughest job in the Corps."

Do I think those outside of the Marine Corps family should use it? No. Do I wear an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor? No, (unless it's part of the logo which says "proud parent of a US Marine" on a decal or t-shirt). But am I allowed to SAY what I AM: always faithful? You bet.

DM, proud Mom of TWO UNITED STATES MARINES and their five siblings

This is in response to Cpl Fernley's Comments about "SEMPER FI"
I served between 83-87 also a Cpl, Anyway now as a civilian "always a Marine" When I spot another Marine active, or like me. I always give em a handshake and a Semper fi! It is awesome especially wwII vets, I've had some pretty distracted or mad faces, suddenly break into a huge grin! And a hearty handshake!
God bless you and "SEMPER FI"

To Cpl. Samuel Fernley
USMC 1993 - Forever - Family members have most certainly earned the right to say "Semper Fi" - If you think you became a Marine on your own then you are very mistaken. Do you think your mother slept through each night of your boot camp and/or deployment? Who sacrificed to send care packages, raise children left behind, took care of the household, paid bills (the list goes on and on) while you were at boot camp and/or deployed? How do you think you got to boot camp in the first place? I love the bumper sticker that says, "Don't mess with me, I raised a Marine" - You may have carried a 100 lb pack but your mom carried you! Think again, Marine -
Semper Fi - Proud Marine Mom and Aunt

Dear Sgt. Grit

Charlotte, N. C. is a hub for US Air and has Marines going thru our airport on a daily basis. I would like to use your newsletter to alert all military personnel of our new U. S. O. located just above the food court. Our Marine Corps League Charlotte Detachment # 750 has 5 Marines and their wives working as volunteers in the USO to make you feel at home with food, drinks, snacks, cookies, computers, games, TV, lounge chairs, books and magazines.
We have an area for children to play and or rest. We also have a baby room with diapers, wipes powder etc.
The Charlotte USO has been open long enough for our volunteers to know how to make our service men and women really feel at home.
We look forward to seeing you.

Semper Fi.

Mike Goodman, Commandant
Marine Corps League
Detachment # 750
Charlotte, N. C.

"Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."
-Thomas Jefferson

My car was blocked by two employees pulling a long line of shopping carts at a hardware store (no, I won't name it). While I politely waited (I appreciate hard work, and theirs was quite large) while the ladies struggled to get the carts by. Noticing the Marine stickers on my car, one of the girls asked about my "Marine Mustang" sticker: "Marine Mustangs, do they have some kind of baseball team or something?"

I couldn't go there: the disconnect was obviously too great. I simply replied "yeah."

And I thought later; you know maybe it's a good thing she and probably many others don't have a clue -- and please, don't make any mistake that I am referring to the "Mustang" part. I have served with too many Marines that made my best day a small shadow compared to their worst day as Marines.

Her cluelessness is a reminder that the citizens of our great country are protected by the wonderful service women/men serving our country and can get on with their lives without worrying about survival. We live as free Americans that many countries can only dream about.

Charles Sumpter
1968-1975 (2531/0302)
plt 133, 3/26th Marines, 1/9th Marines

ps: I hope she does get it straight about the "baseball team."

All Men Are Created Equal, Then Some Become MARINES!

Sgt. Grit,
I am the wife of a former Marine and a Viet Nam vet. I am so proud to be the wife of a Marine.
Whenever there was duty to be filled, he was there willingly. He went to Nam twice, I had to be without my husband and my son's father but he was there to fight so that my son would not have to go there when he was old enough.
God bless all Marines, they are always the first to go and the first to die. All I want to say is that these men that are calling themselves Marines are not truly a Marine. A Marine would never turn on his buddy for petty things that they are being punished for today.
My Marine Corps stands behind each other and is always there to help, not to be a snitch.
There is nothing I love more than a Marine and each time I turn on my television and hear about a Marine that has died in combat, it tears out my heart.
I read a letter from the wife of a Marine in your newsletter and she stated it right, "the wife loves the Corps when her Marine loves it and hates the Corps when her husband hates it". We are as much a part of the Corps as the husband that is on active duty and still as much a Marine after he has served his time and is to old to serve again.
God Bless the Corps, our freedom is paved with the blood of the Marines! Thank you to every Marine that is willing to lay down his life to preserve the freedom we have.

Nancy Gregoria
Semper Fi

This is for the mom worried about her son at boot camp, as mom's we worry about our children (that's our job) but he is in good hands. I worried and cried when my son was at boot but I have to tell you I cried tears of joy when we went to his graduation and I saw the transformation! He was always a good kid and always wanted to be in the military and when I saw him out on that parade deck I was so proud of him. It is hard to let go of them but we have to trust in GOD that HE will take care of them. Our son told us the first couple of weeks were the hardest but it got better and he even said he would do it all over again. I was very fortunate that my son's recruiter gave me a list of web-sites and I was able to connect with a few of the parents that had son's with mine, and now we are supporting each other as our young men are getting ready to deploy to the "sandbox" in a couple of weeks. Keep the faith mom and know that if your son chose to be a Marine you have done something right!
Ethel H.

Dear California Vietnam Veteran Widow, Marine Mom:

I'm a California Marine Mom too. My son was in Iraq last year. I understand that you want to talk to him or get an email from him, but you must understand that he is VERY BUSY doing his job. When he does get a few spare minutes for a phone call, it's his wife he wants to talk to -- not his mother. Talking to his mother might make him feel small and vulnerable and helpless. It's very important that he does NOT feel that way while he is in Iraq.

When my son was in Iraq, he was not yet married. (He got engaged a few weeks after homecoming and then was married three months later.) He called his girlfriend far more often than he called Mom and Dad. That did not stop me from writing to him or sending him packages. This time when he is deployed, I don't expect to get any calls -- he'll be calling his wife. I have worked hard to develop a good relationship with his wife, so that she will tell me how he's doing when he does call. We haven't talked about homecoming yet, but if he wants me to wait a few weeks to see him, so that he can have time alone with his wife, I will understand. The two of them need their "couple time" alone.

Mom, you have done your job very well. You have raised an independent, responsible, mature young man. You've raised a young man who is willing to make great sacrifices to serve his country. You have a lot to be proud of. Now, you need to let him be a man.

Linda in CA - Proud Marine Mom

I came across these quotes & I thought you might like them.

"Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any abstraction. They fight for one another. And if you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity" -William Manchester. Earned the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, & two Purple Hearts in the Pacific in WWII.

"There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war, except its ending."
-Abraham Lincoln

R. C. Knight
RVN '66-'67

I am a mom of two Marine lieutenants, one a helicopter pilot currently deployed in Djibouti and the other a new addition to the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton. My parents were Marines who met in Parris Island during the Korean War, so I am well aware of the Corps' esprit de Corps.

This past December, on Pearl Harbor Day, to be exact, my big Chocolate Labrador, Maggie, went missing, I think stolen from a fenced yard with a locked gate. I posted ads in the local paper to get her back and a few days later I got a call from someone who had seen a brown dog alongside the road.

I drove out immediately but failed to find her. The next day I went again and I found her lying on the shoulder, not a mark on her. To say I was devastated is an understatement, but my immediate (and big) problem was getting an 85-lb. Lab into the back of my little pickup truck.

As I contemplated my situation, several vehicles passed by, including a red mini-van with a Semper Fi sticker on the hood. I thought, "Great, where are the Marines when you need them?" but got back to the task at hand. A couple of minutes later the same van returned and the driver got out and asked me how he could help. I told him I was trying to get Maggie into the back of the truck, and without so much as batting an eye he bent over, picked her up and gently placed her into the truck bed as if she weighed nothing.

I can't tell you how grateful I was - the Marines were DEFINITELY there when I needed them and definitely made a tragedy more bearable. Semper Fi...

Jane M. Howard
Charlotte, NC

The Longest Day

Wednesday starts out like any other day. Wake up at six, exercise bike, oatmeal for breakfast, diet coke for caffeine, and JAG for entertainment. JAG ends and I get ready for work. I still have a few minutes before I have to leave, so I turn on FOX News. Okay time to go. As I stand up, the running blurb across the bottom of the screen says, "CH-46 crashes north of Baghdad". Oh Sh!t. I really didn't need to see that. My mind is racing. Well he's west of Baghdad. He keeps them in the air; he doesn't go up in them. Well, rarely. Stay positive. There are a million helicopters there. It's probably not one of theirs. But what if it is? These are Ryan's Buddies, his Family for the last seven months, h&ll the last 3 years. It's going to be a long day.

Typical chaos at work. It's about 10:00 a.m. and the chaos has helped me not to dwell on the blurb from the news. My cell rings and I see Rita's smiling face pop up on the screen.


"Hello, Stan?"

She sounds different I think.

"Yeah, what's up?"

"Uh, I got a call from the lady at Family Readiness."

My mind is racing again. They don't call you on the phone with bad news. Oh no, maybe they got extended. Calm down Stan. Just listen.

She says. "The CH-46 that went down was a Purple Fox."

The rest of the conversation is kind of foggy in my mind. She is going to go home from work. We talk about why he wouldn't be in a chopper. She couldn't reach Carol, would I please call her. I can tell she is trying to be strong, but I can hear the doubt and fear in her voice. I know what I'm going through as a father. I can't begin to imagine what she is going through as his wife.

I call Carol. I have to tell her everything. She hasn't heard about the crash. She's amazing! I feel better after talking to her even though nothing has changed. She helps me think logically about it. I know she doesn't think she is strong, but she is. I draw any strength I may have from her. I call her several times the rest of the day just to be with her, even if it was just through the phone.

I find out on the internet that all 7 aboard had been killed. The news has no facts so they make stuff up. They say the CH-46 was on a typical transport mission. What? What is typical about CASVAC (casualty evacuation)? They don't even know what the troops they are reporting on do. Half the coverage is saying it was shot down, the other half say it was mechanical failure. Can't they just wait until they know something concrete?

After lunch, I tell my good friend and boss, Dave, what my day has been like. I know he will understand. His son, Jim, had spent 2 tours in Iraq with the 3rd infantry division. During one tour, 7 people from a maintenance group of the 3rd infantry division had been captured. Jim was a mechanic. Dave knows exactly what I am going through. He tells me I can take the rest of the day off if I want. I stick around the rest of the day, but don't accomplish anything. I just need a sense of normalcy.

About 3 pm, Carol hears from Rita. She had called a friend of theirs at Camp Pendleton. A former Purple Fox,. He hadn't heard and was shaken by the news. These are his buddies too. He had been with them through the last deployment. He probably knew everyone on board. He told Rita he would make some calls and send some emails. Even though communications would be down for everyone else, he could maybe get some email through because they were military emails. He did get in touch with a friend of his and Bryan's at the Pentagon. He found out three of the seven names. He knew them all. He said there would be one more pilot and two Corpsmen. That left one unknown. The guy was 99% sure it wasn't Bryan, because Bryan doesn't usually go on missions.

Steve stops by after work and Carol relays everything we know to him. She is very calm and matter of fact in her manner. I'm sure Steve feels it is surreal, but she is just trying not to appear as concerned as she really is. We tell him we haven't called Jen and will do that after her classes are over for the day.

Later in the evening the phone rings. I pick it up and hear a weeping voice, "Hello, I need some reassurance that everything will be okay."

I ask, "Did you hear something from Family Readiness?" That is the wrong thing to ask.

The reply is, "Dad, This is Jen!"

Oops, we haven't called her yet. She has night classes and we were waiting till 8 pm to call her, but Steve got to her first. We tell her everything we know and tell her all she can do is say some prayers.

The phone rings again at 8 pm. Carol answers. It's Rita. I hear Carol say, "Oh good."

Rita tells her that Family Readiness called and informed her that all next of kin had been notified.

What a relief! But also sadness. There are 7 families that didn't get this call. Instead, they got a visit. I can't even imagine.

Well, we finally get a phone call on Thursday night at 11:45 pm. It is so good to hear his voice. There's a big difference in the conversations I have with him and the ones he has with Carol. With me it is more guy stuff, not as intimate as he is with Mom.

I ask how he was doing and he says fine, considering what has happened. He knew four of the men. He didn't know the two Corpsmen. They had just rotated in the week before.

Carol says, "I'm so sorry about your buddies." He replied "Thank you, Momma."

He tells me he has to go. They are going to transport the remains and he wants to be there. "I love you, Dad."

"I love you too, Bryan:"

The longest day is over.

You can read the stories of the seven lost crew members at this site

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I would like to blow off a little steam, I am a proud mom of a Marine, my son is currently in the sandbox but should be home next month, he was wounded in action in December and thankfully was not too serious. I currently interviewed with a company and was able to get that second interview. During the interview I was offered the job, I explained that my son is coming home from Iraq and need to be at the homecoming. I was told that taking time off would be fine under the circumstances. The next morning, I received a call from them stating that they were withdrawing the job offer due to me taking time off to go see my son, that it would not be appropriate at this time for me to work there and then leave for a week (per her superiors). I was devastated that anyone could be