Dear Sgt Grit;
For a long time, I've felt like a very unique person. I have one biological father, who survived a battle on a small island in the South Pacific, because of two other Marines and a Corpsman.

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My father, a thin, 6'4 farm boy from Kansas, was hit by a Japanese sniper. Unable to move, he said he just lay there, several feet from his rifle, as a fellow Marine tried to reach him.

One was pulled back by the other Marines when he was hit by the same sniper, but they just kept coming for him. One Marine went down, and then another, both hauled back by other Marines, before a Navy Corpsman bounced out and ran for him.

My Dad said that the man couldn't have been over five foot if that, but the man grabbed him, and hauled him back, by tossing him over his shoulder, with his feet dragging the ground, as the man raced for safety.

He learned a few moments later, that two of the Marines died trying to reach him, and it was a heavy burden to bear for a very long time.

He married, had three daughters, and worked all his life at being a good neighbor, a good husband and a good father, because of them.

Years later, when I joined the Corps, my father told me that story, on Father's Day. He said he felt guilty each and every time we wished him Happy Father's Day, because he said, ".. You have three other men who should be honored, I was just the one who survived."

Since then, each Father's Day, I remember those three other men, and I have been trying my best to honor them in every way I can, by living a very ordinary, American life, because that's what they sacrificed for... ordinary American life, where we can go to church, mutter about our government, or just read a book.

Every birthday I celebrate, I think of those men, and I am humbled by their sacrifice. Corpsmen will always hold a special place in our hearts, because my sisters and I exist, because of one.

Glynis, 7th generation Marine

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:
What's the difference?

In short...the AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give Supporters of the Marine Corps and American Patriots a voice.

The Sgt Grit Newsletter is HARD CORPS Marine! If you interested in topics that delve into Marine Corps history, Corps Stories, Boot Camp and other things that "only a Marine might understand" - then Be sure to read the Sgt Grit Newsletter (every other week)

Would you like to know more about the 2 newsletters? Click here

"Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you—and especially for the young people here—is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill."
Ronald Reagan (1992)

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Sgt Grit,

You may have too many responses regarding Cpl Fernley. If so, just delete this paragraph; otherwise I'll offer a bit more. In our family of five, we have an old Navy line officer (me) married to a Navy nurse. Our three sons (who share five deployments among them, so far) all chose the Corps. (My wife, also, has been recalled, but at least hers is not to the Middle East.) I retired as a police inspector after my USN time, & occasionally am given a "Semper Fi" by Marines in our sons' units who know my background. I, personally, chose long ago never to initiate this greeting, but always return it when offered. To do less would insult the Marine speaking. Honor, courage, loyalty & other admirable traits have never been the sole property of the Marine Corps, although Marines possess them in higher percentages than virtually any other group or organization.

My main reason for posting involves Marines trying to get transport between the airport & their base. Numerous times, we have flown to the three main stateside bases (Pendleton, Lejeune & 29 Palms for your new readers), none of which are close to local airports. Since we always rent a car, my wife & I have always made a practice of offering a ride to these young Marines. (They're not hard to pick out, if you'll just look.) On our last trip to Camp Lejeune (nearly 150 miles from Raleigh- Durham, a very ugly cab ride), I notified the USO that we would have seats. The initial two grew to five, but fortunately the rentacar folks had an extra minivan available. We took the whole group & fed them on the way. Your new readers should also know that, although travel on orders or a transfer will cover these costs, Marines on leave or a 96 (hrs) are paying the freight themselves; no reimbursement. Worse yet, young Marines are likely to have little money; may not know anyone in a new unit (for a ride) & own no car. For the return (base-to-airport) trip, I have left info @ the rec centers, which is easy since we stay aboard the base.

BTW, our middle son just returned a few days ago from his latest stint in the sand: the first time in nearly four years all three have been together; a great day & happy reunion...

John Harrold
Ship Driver

I did not have the pleasure, or misfortune as it may seem to read Cpl Fernleys comments, but suffice it to say that what I've gotten out of the comments made back to him or in regards to his words seems a bit unnerving. That ANY Marine of ANY rank would think that "Semper Fi" is somehow derogatory when anyone but a Marine says it is insulting. I personally find solace in the fact that people recognize the things we have done and the sacrifices made for them. Not many do in this day and age. I look at a Semper Fi from anywhere as a reminder of who I am and who I will be for the remainder of my days as well as a "thank you" from those that can't serve or those that serve in support of those in harms way (Wifes Mothers Sons Daughters....all of Marines). So Cpl to you I say next time you decide to speak your mind let's avoid the colossal brain fart, shall we?

Cpl Bossart
"Semper Fi"

"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
George Washington

Please tell all those Moms and Dads out there, plus brothers and sisters, to rest easy, the Marines will take care of their own. The Marine Corps becomes a family the moment they leave boot camp. Should you worry about your sons or daughters, of Course, that is the AMERICAN WAY, we all love our kids, but again, Marines take care of their own! I am a Old Nam Vet from 67-68 and I can speak from experience that your kids will be protected by their own, fellow Marines! PERIOD! War is not a good place to be, things happen, things we can not control, but the training they get, the knowledge that they are part NOW of a big family, who will look after them will get them home! SO, Moms and Dads, relax, for your kids are part of a big family who has been around for many, many years, and we will do out best to watch out for your son's and daughters and get them home to you!
Jim Lyles- USMC- 66-70!

Dear Sgt. Grit:

One of the toughest things about being part of a Marine family is the physical distance we often experience as a group. Our oldest son is now a SSgt and is stationed in Okinawa with his (ready reserve) wife and two children. Our second son is a Sgt and, along with his Sgt. wife and their two children, are also stationed in Okinawa. Our oldest daughter is currently at Miramar, but knows another trip to the land of sand is coming Meeting in Okinawa within the next year. Our 2nd daughter is a university student and our youngest is a HS freshman. So Christmas 2006 we decided we'd had enough of all this distance and we flew everyone to Okinawa for 2.5 weeks of fun in the sun. It was WONDERFUL! We got to play golf, visit all the sights, check out Gate 2 Street (yeah, you know what happened there! LOL) and spend Christmas all together for the first time since 1999! We were also joined by one DILs brother (yeah...he's a Marine, too) for a great time and made some wonderful memories. We learned a lot about the island's history and the Marine's role in its occupation by American troops. As a place to visit one's Marines I would recommend it highly. So many places our young people get stationed don't offer a lot of options for places to stay and things to see, but Okinawa is a cut above.

Thanks for letting me share in this arena, where so many of your readers have been to the island and understand how nice it was to be there (especially the WARM weather part).

SW Michigan

"All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the luster which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity."
George Washington

My son is in the sandbox, he just began his first deployment a month ago. The stress has been overwhelming, I choose to stay busy with work and now beginning a local support group for families of military members. I wanted it to be for all military because there are so many of the young people in our area who are joining all branches. So far I have known just two who are facing deployment, my son and a young man who joined Army. The others are still training for their mos.

I have read many items in this particular newsletter and I would like to respond. First off my father was twice deployed to Vietnam as a part of The Magnificent Bastards. He was in almost every major battle that took place between 1967-1969. While I was growing up he never talked about that time in his life. As I grew up I understood more and more as I learned from others about what he went through. I did grow up knowing what Semper Fi meant, but I never used it with anyone. I was just proud that I knew someone who could use it. My father was medically discharged in 1971 and our life changed as he was dealing with his PTSD, in those days they didn't admit that our veterans even had it. But me and my siblings knew that the problems he had were all connected to the war he fought in. As the mother of a Marine who is deployed to a war zone, I know that this is a reality. But I have made a network of friends both here at home and on the internet I know what the chances are that my son will come home with this same problem, and I know that it will take a lot to help him through it. But I also know that because of all the other Marine family members around me, I will understand Semper Fi in a whole new way. So will other members of my family. I do not use the term lightly, when I use it, it is always done with the utmost respect and love for All the Marines who have ever served and are serving now.

Now, about his homecoming, the only thing that I have planned is that I want to take him away someplace quiet. Just me, my husband, our daughter, and our son's fiancé. We know that he will need to take some time to get used to being here in the U.S. That feeling safe will take some time. Our intent is for us all to get used to being with each other once again, before he comes home and others want to be in his presence. Then we will let him do what he chooses in his own time. I know that when he marries I will need to do what he wishes on his homecomings, if that is to stay home until he says hello to his wife, then that is what I will have to do. I only have concerns for what he wants.

My thoughts and prayers are daily for all the Servicemen and women who are deployed to places that are involved in combative situations and for the family members that are left behind to support each one.

Susan Robinson

Sgt. Grit. I have been meaning to send you this e-mail for quite some time now and I just haven't had the time. I thoroughly enjoy your website and also subscribe to your catalog.

I tried to enlist in the Corps back in 1986 right after I graduated from high school. Honesty, if anything kept me from earning the title that I had always dreamed of. When I was in the recruiting station, I told the Gunny that I had suffered from childhood Asthma, and was hoping there was some way to get around it, and let me enlist.

He assured me that there was no way this could or would happen. Not to be let down, I kept trying to enlist at several other local recruiting stations showing the determination and positive attitude Marines are known for. After trying unsuccessfully 9 times, I realized my dream was simply not going to come true. My father served the Corps from 1938-1945. He reported to MCRD San Diego in Sept. 1938, and upon graduation was assigned to Marine Barracks Pearl Harbor HI. He was assigned to Alpha Company as an MP, and fought in the defense of the Navy Yard when Pearl was attacked in 1941. After Pearl Harbor, Dad was assigned to "M" Co. 3/6 and relieved his brother Marines on Guadalcanal in early 1943, who had been there since they made the initial landing in august 1942. after several wonderful months on the 'Canal, he participated in the landing on Tarawa, and was wounded on the second day of the battle. Suffering from malaria, and having his right ear drum perforated on Tarawa, he was sent back to San Diego where he was subsequently assigned to HQ Co. 1/27, part of the now de-commissioned 5th Marine Division. He was honorably discharged at MCRD San Diego in Sept 1945.

I always looked up to Dad not so much as a hero, but as more of a mentor. He taught me to do the right things for the right reasons, and never give up. What he learned as a Marine in WW2 helped him all through his life. He ended up enlisting in the Army as an E-7, and eventually attained the rank of CW0-2, retiring in 1961. Dad sadly passed away on November 22nd, 2002 of complications from Kidney cancer. He passed away at 0500 that morning. Things always seem to have a way of coming back around for lack of a better phrase. On the morning of November 22nd 1943 at 0500 hours, Dad, then a Gunny serving with an 81MM mortar company, waded ashore with his brother Marines on Tarawa's Red Beach One. Almost instantly, he and his Marines were taking extremely heavy fire, and heavy casualties. When he passed away at almost the same time 60+ years later, it just seemed like God's way of bringing him home to his fellow fallen Marines.

For the past 16 years I have devoted all of my off time to the Corps in some way or another. I began collecting Marine Corps memorabilia when I was a young boy. As I got older, I just kept on picking up various items and storing them in a safe place to look at later. In 1991, I contacted a local Marine Corps Reserve unit located here in my hometown. I was put in touch with the I&I Sgt.Maj. I explained that I had a VERY LARGE collection of Marine Corps artifacts I would like to display so his Marines could see their history in person instead of a book or article somewhere. He informed me that he thought it would be a good idea, and that the unit (4th Landing Support Battalion) would be holding the commissioning of the new reserve center on board Ft. Lewis, the local Army base here. I came out and sat up my display which at the time filled up two tables, and all of the Marines were highly impressed with it. Now, with over 1.200+ articles in my display, I continue to serve the Corps in my own way. I attend as many local Marine Corps Birthday Balls as possible, and set up my display at each one I go to. I have continuously attended the ball in Anacortes Washington for the past 7 years, giving history talks and sharing my knowledge of Marine Corps history with the Marines stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. I am often asked how much I charge to set up a display like this and the answer is always the same. Not a dime. I just don't feel that anyone should have to pay to see history that has been paid for with the lives of literally thousands of Marines since the birth of the Corps My payment is seeing the tear streamed face of a former WW2 Marine when he sees a piece of gear that he carried with him in the South Pacific, and says "Thank You for your support" My payment is the privilege to live in a country where our rights and freedoms are being defended by thousands upon thousands of Marines, Sailors, Airman, and Soldiers who would go anywhere, anytime, anyplace without a single thought.

As long as there is still a United States of America, I will be here doing my part to serve this country and all of it's service men and women. I am just one man who wants to do what I consider to be a small part for my country, and I ask for nothing in return. I don't ever want to be paid for coming out to set up one of these displays because this is just my way of saying thank you to all who have served. Working closely with the local Marine Corps Recruiting Station has bonded in concrete, a very close friendship. There is NOTHING I wouldn't do for these Marines. They have never treated me as anything less than one of their own, and all I have done is offered to set up a display or two to assist in their recruiting efforts. One of them told me that he considered me to be a brother, not because I have earned the same title they have, but simply because I have it in my heart, and live by the core values of Honor, Courage, Commitment. I was bound and determined to serve the Corps one way or another, and I guess you could say I am. After being declined enlistment in the Corps, I developed a take charge attitude and told myself if I couldn't earn the title Marine, I was still going to do something for the Marine Corps and this is what I have chosen to do.

I work as a Public Safety Officer at a local shopping mall and hold the rank of Lieutenant. Through the course of my service with my company, I have run across many Marines who have just returned from boot camp. I always make it a point to go out of my way an congratulate them on their accomplishment, because I know it isn't an easy one to obtain. Many WW2 Marines frequent our mall just for some exercise, and they to are thanked for the service they have provided our country. Without them, and the thousands of Marines who have gone before them, this country would not be the strong bonded nation that it is today. I will be forwarding some photos that I took at a recent Marine Corps Birthday Ball that I would like to share with you, and hope you enjoy looking over. It is to those Marines and all service members serving in defense of our nation that this display is and will always be dedicated. It is a small part to play, and as I said I am only one man, but I will continue to do this until I am no longer able. Thank you for all that you do, and remember, your sacrifices are highly appreciated and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

God Bless, and Semper Fi

John Waldron
USMC Historian
University Place WA.

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
George Washington

Dear Kelly Sebuterski,

I too am a proud mother of a Marine. My son Sgt Christopher Magner is now serving his 3rd tour in Iraq. He is stationed in Al Anbar at this time. Thank you for setting the record straight.
Our town stands behind all our service men and women. We have fundraisers monthly so we can take care of our soldiers. We meet weekly to pack and send care packages to all our local heroes...and I do mean HEROES.
When I see a service man or woman I make it a point to go out of my way to thank them for their service.
I have a 16 year old who meets every Wednesday night to pack up boxes to send to our troops.
You are right...we ALL think of not only our flesh and blood but we continually pray for ALL our service men and women who continually give of themselves so that WE can enjoy a life of freedom. They are OUR sons and daughters.

God Bless All Our Troops....GOD SPEED
Susan Magner

Sgt Grit
I just wanted to respond and let the fellow readers know that I am doing all I can to make sure that the 1st/2nd grade class in Skagway AK does know how important it is to let the troops know we appreciate them. We have adopted several different units from the website and we send out cards and letters to the troops as well as gathering items to send out care packages. Back in November I made 172 stockings for Christmas, the kids helped me stuff the stockings and get them into the boxes to be shipped out. We received an email from one of the troops that our stockings ended up decorating the chow hall and supporting about 400 troops during the holidays! When I shared this with the kids and their teacher you could just see the way their little brains were figuring out how they helped soldiers around the world from where we are. We have taken out maps and shown them where we are and where the war is, we have had some Army veterans come in and share with the class on what it was like to be over there and how nice it is to get things from home to let them know how much we as AMERICANS do care about them. The class has colored and made literally hundreds of pictures and cards for the various units we support and each holiday we make sure there are more items headed for Iraq and the men and women who fight to keep our country free and safe.

Proud to Be An American
Melesa in Skagway

"Courage and resolution are the spirit and soul of virtue."
Thomas Fuller

Having been involved with the Patriot Guard Riders has brought me many sad times and every once in a while, some very good times. It has, however, made me aware of some very disturbing information that might be of interest to your readers.

Having a son currently in Iraq, I do not talk of our men and women giving their all in a light or humorous manner. I do, however, need to talk about one subject. Beneficiaries of death benefits. I am aware of several families that have lost everything material because of current laws concerning who receives said benefits.

The ONLY people who are covered by law are the spouse and the child. Sounds good so far. However, how about the family members who are taking care of said child as the service member is either unmarried or divorced? The child is the recipient but only upon reaching the age of eighteen! If the child is nine, that means care must be continued by the family members for the next nine years. Also, it means the family members will most likely have to petition the court for custody of the child(ren). If the family members are on a fixed income, this can create a large financial burden that they may not be able to overcome.

The forms filled out by every servicemen/women can be as intimidating as they are crucial. Most of the time, the forms are filled out in boot camp. Then the forms are revisited when being prepared for a trip to a combat zone. Neither time allows for stress free thinking. As a result, the right name can be entered into the wrong box and a chain of events started that cannot be reversed once that service member has perished. For instance, we are working with an older family that lost their daughter to an IED. There is a nine year old daughter involved. The family members are listed as the beneficiaries but listed in the box named "No Spouse or Child". Seemed like a logical thing to do by the service person. Guess what? It means that IF there is no spouse or child, then the family members are the beneficiaries. Since there is a child, the child receives the money but because the child is not of legal age, the money goes into a trust fund until the child reaches legal age. Money can only be pulled out of the trust fund for specific reasons such as health issues or educational issues but only by the legal guardians or the court.

Please, if you are anyone other than the spouse and are taking care of a child for someone, make sure you are listed as the legal guardian in that someone's will and that the disposition of survivor's benefits and insurance policies are specific. Survivor's benefits are $100,000 and insurance can be up to $400,000. Suggestion is to have survivor benefits go to legal guardians and the insurance to the children as a trust fund until they reach legal age.

Hopefully this will remain a non-issue but we can not count on something we cannot control.

Semper Fidelis

Jim Rooth
SSgt USMC 65-77
DevilDogs MC Treasurer
Information Services Officer, Help on the Home Front - Patriot Guard Riders
If you can read this, thank a teacher,
If you are reading it in English, thank a VETERAN!

May our families enjoy the gifts given by God and never have a Chaplain appear on our door step.

"May we never forget their sacrifice"
Dave Uselton,
Marine Corps League

I never thought when my son Aaron age 18 decided to go to the Marines it would be such a life changing thing. I realize my son wanted to serve our country. He has always had a drive to go and do things and get them done. So I guess the Marines was the right place for him. Now he will be going to fight for our country and I couldn't be prouder of him. Yes I am scared to death, But I know one thing God is still in control and is there all the time. I enjoy reading your news letters and really liked the Hero one my son is my Hero and all those who are there for us. We need to lift them and praise them. They are there to protect us and our country. Lets give them the Praise they are due.

Debbie Landers
Proud Mom Of A Marine
LCPL Landers Aaron
United States Marine Corps

"Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. Wisdom comes of such a recognition."
Miguel de Cervantes

Future Marine Here's a pic of my grandson I just wanted to share. If this isn't a future MARINE I don't know what is..
cindy proud mom of three

Reading your post, James D. Broome, about the Marine mom, and how she was worried about the safety of her son at boot camp, really brought back a lot of memories for me. I too "was", and I mean was, one of those worried moms, I cried a lot and worried constantly. I had never met a drill instructor that I could truly say I liked, they all scared me. I just couldn't figure out why they yelled all the time, and acted so darn mean. I found out why they do this, and it is to mold them into a Marine, to instill the Marine Corps values, and to transform them into the finest., (so goes my story.) My son, J.J. at the age of five, came up to me one day and said, I am going to be a Marine when I grow up. At the time I thought, this will pass, but it didn't. When my son was thirteen he wrote a letter to our local recruiters office telling them that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. He corresponded with a Gunny Sgt., who informed him that, although he was proud of his wanting to do this, he would have to wait till he graduated. (This Gunny kept this letter and shared this letter with us the day that J.J. signed on to the DEP.) J.J. spent the rest of his teen years getting into shape and living the Corps values. When he was 17 he joined the DEP. It all paid off, he graduated MCRD in 99, and is still in the Corps. He is serving in Iraq right now, he is a Sgt. and has several boots under him. Before he left for Iraq he used to talk to me about his boots and how hard he trained them, he was tough on them and I'm sure still is, but this toughness and strict discipline will help keep their heads on straight and their minds keen . I understand why the Corps has strict discipline and all the other training that you mentioned. It just makes them stronger. When my son comes home from Iraq, he is going to DI school and become one of those Marines that I used to fear, but have respected since my sons graduation from MCRD. He will become the drill instructor that will mold a boy into one of the few, the proud, the Marines. God Bless all our Marines and their families and to you Mr. Broome, I truly enjoyed you article and would love to shake your hand, and give you a big hug!
Proud Marine Mom of a Sgt.
Proud Mom of two police officers
Proud mom of two firefighters
Jean Reppert

French Poster My daughter and son-in-law were on a business trip to France. While in Parris, they toured the Napoleon burial site and the war museum (Musee deI'Armee). One of the World War 1 displays was this USMC poster. I have never seen it before and thought all of us old (but not that old) USMC vets would like to see that the Corps is still fondly remembered in France.

M. Verhagen

"Learn all you can, but learn to do something, or your learning will be useless and your vision will depart."
Booker T. Washington

I hung my new "Mother's Flag" on my door today. I felt a surge of pride mixed with fear as I looked at the single blue star on that field of white surrounded by red. My son is an Army MP serving in Afghanistan. I held my chin up as I walked down the street to the corner store. Perhaps I was just a bit prouder today than before. I looked again at the neighbor's "Mother's Flag" on their front door as I walked past. It was just like mine but older and a bit faded from hanging in the sunlight. When I walked past again on the way home from the store I noticed that the "Mother's Flag" was missing from the front door and the old faded cardboard one was no longer in their front window. I wondered why but kept walking home.

Later that day curiosity got the better of me and I walked down to the next block to look again. Perhaps their son had come home and they didn't need the flags to proclaim that he was in a war zone anymore. I even entertained the idea of asking them. But when I got to their house I saw that the "Mother's Flag's" had been put back up. Only this time they were different. Instead of a single blue star sewn perfectly in the center there was now a piece of gold fabric cut into the shape of the star and sewn over it. On the cardboard one in their window gold paint had covered the blue star.

All thoughts of knocking on their door left me like lightning, and tears streamed down my face as I turned and walked slowly home. I prayed, "Please God, Please let my star stay blue always". My head hung down, and I was sobbing as I walked up to my house. I looked at my own "Mother's Flag" with it's shiny blue star. Somehow I didn't feel quite so cocky anymore, just grateful that my star is blue.

My prayer is that all the stars on all the "Mother's Flags" stay blue. I pray for the day when there will be no need for conflict anywhere on this planet. But until that day comes. I am so very grateful for all the men and women that serve, not only in the Marines, but the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, Nat'l Gd, and Reserves. I salute all who wear the uniform of the Armed forces of these United States. Please all come home safely, but if you can't; then know that there are still many, many of us here that support you and pray for you and your families.

J. David Staller, former Col. USMC

To the mother who heard horror stories of Marine Corps Boot Camp.

I also heard such stories prior to my enlisting. These stories seem to abound, some are true, some are not. Boot camp in the United States Marine Corps. is world renowned. The reputation of US Marines begins with our boot camp.

The Marine Corps. reputation also tends to scare many of the women in the Marines life. When my aunt heard I was enlisting in the Marine Corps., she wrote my mother asking why the Marines?

My first recollection of hearing of the Marine Corps. was from my mother when I was a small child. She described the US Marines as a "rough and ready bunch". It stuck with me. I was the first and still the only one in the family to have served in the United States Marine Corps.

I, as most recruits, wondered what in the world I was thinking when I entered MCRD around midnight in March 1963. The sergeant that had picked us up at the airport had seemed so reasonable and now was a raving maniac.

I, as all Marines, progressed from a maggot to graduation day when we earn the title UNITED STATES MARINE. The pride that was earned through enlisting in the Marines lasts a lifetime and beyond (especially if you pull duty at the pearly gates [refer to Marines Hymn]).

Granted it is scary for a mother but the change you will see in your son, both immediate and long term, will be rewarding for him and for you. So don't worry, be proud.

Dan Corum
Corporal of Marines
USMCR 1963-1969

"You can observe a lot just by watching."
Yogi Berra

One quick Marine nephew was ordered by his CO to get on the transport helicopter not knowing what the mission was. Upon boarding, he looked up to see Toby Keith sitting inside! My nephew (who has never been shy) immediately shook his hand and said "I'm a huge fan of yours" and Toby Keith replied "No young man, I'm a big fan of yours". God bless all the entertainers who support our young men & women over there!

God Bless all soldiers & Marines:) !
L Land

Sgt Grit,

I thought you might enjoy some of the stories on our website...

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I just want to thank all of our Marines & the Marine Corps. for the job that they do, they are doing what a lot of us cannot do any more.
I admire the CHOICE that they have made to be the best of the best and not shrink away from keeping that as a priority.
I admire the guts it takes to make it through Boot, MCT, and MOS school and then to keep up with the PT and all the re-qualifying and qualifying with weaponry
For the "Constant state of readiness"
There was no promise of money, it was not a college tuition it was not a "what can you do for me" issue.
Any good recruiter in the Marines will tell them (and they do) that "If you want all the perks, go down the hall"
It is a choice I had a story related to me that speaks volumes about these young men and women who choose the more challenging path of becoming a Marine.
Back in the day when recruiters could be in the High schools on career day, the recruiters were taking their time on the podium telling these kids all they could do for them, there was usually a couple of guys from each branch of the service. First the Army, then the Navy, soon the Coastguard and then the Air force all had their turn. The young men & women were getting restless at this point and knew that they had another speech coming, at that time a lone Marine recruiter walked up in his "C's" and said a few short words
"If you want to find out who you really are and what you real potential is come and see me" He then turned around and left the stage.
My daughter made that choice, and she like so many before her hit the yellow footsteps as a child at Parris Island.
The Marine Corps. formed her and made her into a young woman who is confident, secure & able to make decisions
God bless the DI's for not allowing for shortcuts or pulling up short on these recruits
God Bless the Marines for holding true to their way of training and not letting the politically correct crowd mess it up
She has done Two tours in the sand box and is now up for her DI billet
on her last "e-val "she received a near perfect score with all pros and no cons

These young men and women are my heroes and rock stars in my book
May God keep them and bless them in the job that they have to do

Washington State

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
Thomas Jefferson

I just wanted to jot a little letter. I have been receiving the newsletter for a while now and I am just so overwhelmed with the bond that all Marines share with one another. I was engaged to Cpl. Brandon M. Hardy. He was killed in Iraq by an IED on April 28, 2006. It will soon be a year but feels like a week. He was a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, prior to becoming a Marine, for 5 years. He took a pay cut and decrease in rank to become a Marine. He wanted to be in the military since he was 10 years old. He was able to live out his dream and died fighting for this country. I tell this story because even though I am not a Marine, only in love with one, I feel the camaraderie between all of you and it makes me so proud to be a part of this country. When Brandon died so many Marines materialized to show support. It was so touching. I just want to thank all of you. All of our service members. For doing an awesome job. May the Lord bless you all. Semper Fi!

Samantha DiGrazio
In Memory of Cpl. Brandon M. Hardy USMC 3/8/81 - 4/28/06

Saints and begorrah - how soon we forget that St. Paddy himself was a Marine. Like many, he had a tough life as a kid – was snatched by slavers from his native Ireland, escaped and later mustered A FEW GOOD MEN, 25 to be return. He made an amphibious landing back into the sacred land of his birth in 432. Outnumbered and freezing cold, this band of brothers survived their own version of the frozen Chosin Reservoir on a remote mountain top and, as fable tells us, he "threw out the snakes"
...something Marines have been doing all over the world ever since. Is it any wonder why we wear the Marine Green, are labeled "Gyrene" and are in fact a mean machine. We jarheads first mustered in an Irish tavern (the Tun Tavern, Philadelphia), 10, November 1775, drank and raised our mugs in solemn oath to protect America's freedoms and liberty, while our ranks swelled with Irishmen and pride ever since.

God Bless AMERICA and God Bless the MARINE CORPS


Norman C.

Susan W. Turner can say "SEMPER FI" to me anytime and as many times as she wishes. I could never be offended by her!

Tony Begenwald
USMC '54-'62

"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

Sgt. Grit,

I am a retired USAF Reserve Chief Master Sergeant and very proud father of a Lance Corporal of Marines. Today while reading some local postings on a community discussions blog in Elk Grove, Ca. (Elk Grove Online I came across a posting from a woman whose nephew suffered a brain injury in a diving accident. At a recent wedding, her nephew approached a Marine Lance Corporal who was at the wedding in uniform and told the Marine, "You are my hero."

A short time later the Marine returned to the young man and presented the young man his White Cover with the following written on the top,

"To Ryan. You are my hero because of your strength & willing to survive and I honor you for that.

You Are My American Hero!

LCpl Alexander and the United States Marine Corps"

One of the other guests offered to give him money or purchase a replacement Cover for the Marine. He adamantly, but politely refused saying, "It is my Privilege to Present my Cover." What an outstanding young man and great representative of the USMC!

At the end of this blog, the aunt is passing on this Cover to the mother of a young man, Nick Davis, who was killed in a car collision. Nick's mother has taken on the task of helping educate local teens in the Elk Grove and Sacramento, Ca. areas on the dangers of street racing.

As the proud father of a Marine, I cannot begin to tell you how this act of kindness has, and continues to have a very positive emotional effect on our community.

LCpl Alexander truly is an American Hero in all of our eyes. I only wish I knew more about him in order to see that he receives proper official recognition for his selfless action.

CMSgt Dan Dailey, USAFR Retired
and proud father of LCpl Jared Dailey, USMC


I have had enough and am going to give my perspective on the news about Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Please understand that I am speaking for myself and I am responsible for my thoughts alone. The news media and politicians are making it sound like Walter Reed is a terrible place and the staff here has been abusing our brave wounded soldiers; what a bunch of bull!

I am completing my 24th year of service in the Army next month so you decide for yourself if I have the experience to write about this topic. I have been the senior clinical chaplain at Walter Reed for four years and will leave to go back to the infantry this summer. I supervise the chaplain staff inside Walter Reed that cares for the 200 inpatients, the 650+ daily outpatients from the war who come to us for medical care, the 4000+ staff, and over 3000 soldiers and their families that come for clinical appointments daily.

Walter Reed has cared for over 5500 wounded from the war. I cannot count the number of sick and non-battle injured that have come through over that timeframe. The staff at this facility has done an incredible job at the largest US military medical center with the worst injured of the war. We have cared for over 400 amputees and their families. I am privileged to serve the wounded, their families, and our staff.

When the news about building 18 broke I was on leave. I was in shock when the news broke. We in the chaplains office in Walter Reed, as well as the majority of people at Walter Reed, did not know anyone was in building 18. I didn't even know we had a building 18. How can that happen? Walter Reed is over 100 acres of 66 buildings on two installations. Building 18 is not on the installation of Walter Reed and was believed to be closed years ago by our department.

The fact that some leaders in the medical brigade that is in charge of the outpatients put soldiers in there is terrible. That is why the company commander, first sergeant, and a group of platoon leaders and platoon sergeants were relieved immediately. They failed their soldiers and the Army. The commanding general was later relieved (more about this) and his sergeant major has been told to move on--if he gets to. The brigade sergeant major was relieved and more relief's are sure to come and need to.

As any leader knows, if you do not take care of soldiers, lie, and then try to cover it up, you are not worthy of the commission you hold and should be sent packing. I have no issue, and am actually proud, that they did relieve the leaders they found who knew of the terrible conditions some of our outpatients were enduring. The media is making it sound like these conditions are rampant at Walter Reed and nothing could be further from the truth. We need improvements and will now get them. I hate it that it took this to make it happen.

The Army and the media made MG Weightman, our CG, out to be the problem and fired him. This was a great injustice. He was only here for six months, is responsible for military medical care in the 20 Northeast states, wears four "hats" of responsibilities, and relies on his subordinate leaders to know what is happening in their areas of responsibilities. He has a colonel that runs the hospital (my hospital commander), a colonel that runs the medical brigade (where the outpatient wounded are assigned and supposedly cared for), and a colonel that is responsible to run the garrison and installation.

What people don't know is that he was making many changes as he became aware of them and had requested money to fix other places on the installation. The Army did not come through until four months after he asked for the money, remember that he was here only six months, which was only days before they relieved him. His leaders responsible for outpatient care did not tell him about conditions in building 18. He has been an incredible leader who really cares about the wounded, their families, and our staff. I cannot say the same about a former commander, who was my first commander here at Walter Reed, and definitely knew about many problems and is in the position to fix them and he did not.

MG Weightman also should not be held responsible for the military's unjust and inefficient medical board system and the problems in the VA system. We lost a great leader and passionate man who showed he had the guts to make changes and was doing so when he was made the scapegoat for others.

What I am furious about is that the media is making it sound like all of Walter Reed is like building 18. Nothing could be further from the truth. No system is perfect but the medical staff provides great care in this hospital. What needs to be addressed, and finally will, is the bureaucratic garbage that all soldiers are put through going into medical boards and medical retirements. Congress is finally giving the money that people have asked for at Walter Reed for years to fix places on the installations and address shortcomings. What they don't want you to know is Congress caused many problems by the BRAC process saying they were closing Walter Reed.

We cannot keep nor attract all the quality people we need at Walter Reed when they know this place will close in several years and they are not promised a job at the new hospital. Then they did this thing call A76 where they fired many of the workers here for a company of contractors, IAP, to get a contract to provide care outside the hospital proper. The company, which is responsible for maintenance, only hired half the number of people as there were originally assigned to maintenance areas to save money. Walter Reed leadership fought the A76 and BRAC process for years, but lost. Congress instituted the BRAC and A76 process; not the leadership of Walter Reed.

What I wish everyone would also hear is that for every horror story we are now hearing about in the media that truly needs to be addressed, you are not hearing about the hundreds of other wounded and injured soldiers who tell a story of great care they received. You are not hearing about the incredibly high morale of our troops and the fact that most of them want to go back, be with their teammates, and finish the job properly. You should be very proud of the wounded troopers we have at Walter Reed. They make me so proud to be in the Army and I will fight to get their story out.

I want you to hear the whole story because our wounded, their families, our Army, and the nation need to know that many in the media and select politicians have an agenda. Forget agendas and make the changes that have been needed for years to fix problems in every ! military hospital and the VA system. The poor leaders will be identified and sent packing and good riddance to them. I wish the same could be said for the politicians and media personalities who are also responsible but now want it to look like they are very concerned. Where have they been for the last four years? I am ashamed of what they all did and the pain it has caused many to think that everyone is like that.

Please know that you are not hearing the whole story. Please know that there are thousands of dedicated soldiers and civilian medical staff caring for your soldiers and their families. When I leave here I will end up deploying. When soldiers in my division have to go to Walter Reed from the battlefield, I know they will get great medical care. I pray that you know the same thing.

God bless all our troops and their families
wherever they may be.
God bless you all,

+Chaplain John L. Kallerson
Senior Chaplain Clinician
Walter Reed Army Medical Center

"If Freedom wasn't so costly; everyone would have it!"
Bob Beskar

This is in response to the one who was ticked off about the one who wore the Marine Cap.
I can imagine how you felt about that person.
I had my share of running into them. They live here and they are so *&%!@#
I was chatting to a student one time who was from Libya. He tried to say a lot about our country.
And, I replied "Kadafi deserved it when we bombed his area". I had to seriously pray to keep from becoming a wild mean Marine. All I could do is just stare at him. They work in our country crapping all over us with their protest in some form of way to eat at us emotionally.
Do not become radically foolish like them should they make remarks about our country.
Just give a good ole Marine yell from the inside.

Still a Proud Marine/NativeAmerican
Nathan M. Hendricks Jr
"Semper Fi"
USMC 83-87

In reply to "Doc"
Russ Tracy, HM2
USN '66 - '70
TAD USMC RVN 12-67 to 12-68 9th Engineer Support Bn

8.5 million men and women served during 1965-1973. When we came home we found American cities on fire, snipers, numerous radical groups, college protests, racial unrest, things were blowing up. It was a difficult time for a veteran. It was so dangerous on some stateside bases you couldn't leave the base unless you had 5 military men in the car. Those of us who served during the Vietnam-Era have a special friendship a brotherhood.

As far as I'm concerned, you served with a Marine Infantry unit, you can use Semper Fi anytime you want. "Welcome Home Brother"

MButler US Marine Corps 1969-1971 an infantry Marine never forgets the "Corpsman"

Sgt Grit
The New MCL detachment that Teresa Trevino-Schick mentioned in last week's message is in Lincolnton, NORTH CAROLINA, about 40 miles from Charlotte.

Teresa's dad Ray is my Sgt-at-Arms, and he's got that "spark" that the job requires, and mom Sherry is also involved.

We named our Detachment after Marine Capt. Jeb Franklin Seagle, a Lincolnton native who was posthumously awarded the 1st Navy Cross since the end of the Vietnam war in 1983 for his actions in the skies above Grenada.

We got permission from Jeb's only blood relative left in the area, his brother Tom, to name our Detachment after his brother. Tom came to our Charter Presentation and decided to become involved with us as an Associate member. He came to our 1st regular meeting with his son, who also carries the name Jeb Franklin Seagle. As I told our Detachment at the meeting, using John Wayne's words from Sands of Iwo Jima--"A Name that won the Navy Cross should be good enough for any kid." We're all very pleased that Jeb's brother wants to work with the League.

And for the Doc who's wondering about the proper use of Semper Fi, I believe it to be a brotherly greeting, one given in the spirit of friendship and brotherly love and affection for all, Marines and Sailors alike, who have worn the EG&A.

I'm VERY proud to have been elected Charter Commandant of my Detachment, and we're excited about our mission to assist our community, and our Brother Marines and Corpsmen.

We're happy to be part of the explosive growth of the MCL in North Carolina.

Thanks for letting me add to Teresa's Sound Off.

Best Regards
Hank "Doc" Kaczmarek
Capt. Jeb F Seagle Detachment #1265
Lincolnton North Carolina.

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth - and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
Patrick Henry

One of my sons graduated from PI about 7 years ago and watching him march as the platoon