My son Adam, has just deployed to Iraq for the first time. He was doing security duty in Georgia but was bored. He truly felt his training was being wasted, so he asked to be transferred to California to train for a deployment to Iraq. The change in him after training for this deployment was unreal! He truly believes in the Marines and is proud to be serving his country. His father and I are extremely proud of our son and his commitment. Although the next 6-7 months will be difficult, my pride grows more each day he is gone. Please keep him in your prayers so that I will see him safely again.

Proud Marine mom in Michigan!

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

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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 are 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) - More about the newsletter


Well, where does a father start? I am proud that I have served our beloved Corps for 15 years. 12 of which was on active duty in the Airwing (VMFA-314, VMFA-531, MATSG-90), got out in 1994. Went back in the reserves after 9/11, took over a year to get my waiver but I got it and was reinstated as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Kilo 3/23 after 9 years broken time. Rare but these things do happen ask my buddy Ernie Hall!

Deployed to Iraq at the first part of the war in 2003. Upon returning home my Son was about to graduate from high school and expressed to me that he wanted to join the Corps. WOW! Outwardly I was very concerned as I had just returned home from a combat tour in Iraq, but inwardly I was bursting with pride that my Son was thinking about joining the Corps. Words could and still cannot describe what that meant to me. You brother Marines out there with Son's and Daughter's that are in the Corps understand.

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A few weeks before his graduation from recruit training in San Diego, he writes me that he wants me to be in uniform on his graduation day. I wasn't planning on it because I didn't want to take away from his big day so I wrote that back to him, which he quickly wrote back that was all he wanted on his graduation day was to stand on the same parade deck that I did 22 years earlier both of us wearing our uniforms. That was and will always be one of the proudest moments in my life along with the day God brought him into my life.

Well it's been almost 3 years since then and he is on his second tour of duty here in Iraq. He spent the better part of 2005 patrolling the streets of Ramadi, and is now back, but this time in Fallujah.

With HQ Bat 2/10.

The reason I am referring to him as back over here is that I work for a private security firm now and have been stationed in Baghdad for over a year and pretty much work this local area. Although I can't go into who and what we protect I will tell this great story of How and old Marine and his Son were able to share dinner last Saturday night in Fallujah. Now another one of my most proud moments in my life. To see my Son there doing what other Marines have done for over 231 years. Another "WOW". God has truly blessed my family in ways that only few will ever understand. Fallujah was the second to last stop in a very long day of movements. Thanks to the efforts of a Marine Capt and Lieutenant (I'd love to mention there names but won't for security purpose) who got the ball rolling even before my detail arrived. They found where in the city my son was working and Reunion in Iraq made arrangements for him to be at the main Marine base there for a short visit. There are a lot more details and this letter would be much longer but the long and short of it is, "That Marines take care of there own". Even in a combat environment. When I saw my son last Saturday 4/14/07, once again my heart was bursting with pride only now I can share it and the people around me understand. They all seemed to be as proud and excited as I was and am. In there own way they were all being reunited with their own Son's or Daughter's or Brother's and Sister's. Here is a picture of that reunion in Fallujah.

Thank you for listening to the thoughts and ramblings of a Very Proud Marine Father.

PS: My Buddy Ernie Hall was out for ten years and got a waiver to get back in. Both he and I were able to share our years of experience with the young Marines in our unit. Kilo co 3rd Btl 23rd Marines out of Memphis, TN. He also has a son that is a United States Marine. LCpl Ernie Hall Jr.

Manuel L Saldana "Sgt of Marines"
1982-1994-3rd MAW, MATSTG-90
2003-2006- Kilo co 3rd Battalion 23rd Marine Regiment 4th Marine Div Semper Fi

"Father God please continue to watch over my Son LCpl Robert L Saldana, and all the other members of our armed forces as they carry our message of freedom and liberty to the people of the world"

MEMORIAL DAY is Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Special

20% OFF - An assortment of items IN MEMORY..... Grave marker's, Plaques, Flag Cases

Be sure to take part in a local event honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson


My Son, CPL JOSHUA HARRIS USMC died 1-24-04 during a training flight while assigned to MAG 39 after returning home 10-15-03 from a 10 month stint in Iraq. Now whenever I travel whether it be by plane or automobile and I see a service person (politically correct?) I take time to ask where they are headed and shake their hand and wish them luck as we depart. It is worth it to see the smile I have left on their face. And no I do not tell them about my son even though they might see it in my eyes.


Hello all,
I am a Marine wife, not someone who's married to a Marine. I feel as though the Corps is my home and my family. I have been through the wife's side of a deployment is support of OIF3, as the family informant (to his family who couldn't care less about me) and the encouraging yet terrified mother (to a 3 year old). I have taken care of his/our Marine brothers when they had no one they were comfortable with. I am more motivated than my husband at times. His SSgt at the time even asked how come I wasn't a Marine (I damaged my hip when I was a child and it pops out of socket when I run).
So after all that I have a question for all the Marines out there. I would like to get a tattoo that includes an EGA and something stating that I am a USMC Wife. My husband says that since I didn't earn an EGA, he doesn't agree with it. I would like to know what you all think. I see his point but I feel as though I am an illegitimate child of the Corps and I don't count.

Thank you all for all you have done, do and will do.
Kimberly Harvis
Very Proud Wife of Cpl. Harvis

Dates to Remember

Military Spouses Day is May 11th!
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May 13th!

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I'm sorry. I'm sorry we didn't do it right the first time. I'm sorry. It should have been us not you. The very child who wrote me during Desert Storm is the one who is in the sand pit today. It hurts beyond belief to know that you are there when you didn't have to be if we had done it right the first time. My heart is heavy... very heavy. I'm sorry.
Cpl. Long
WPNS Co 1 /24


Please tell Yadira that understand everything that she is going through, I go through this every February. I have been living with this nightmare since 1969. One day that I will never forget that made me live three different lives since. I was medically discharged in 1975 because of this. Life One. Life two as a man with out anything to look forward too until 1987, when I started life three with some who cared about me as a human being. I still have my moments every February but I have the most important thing in the world that keeps me going and to get through it. That is my wife who loves me for me no matter what. I am a 100% disabled Marine, but I am still a Marine and always will. As long a Eric has you he will make it. God bless and Semper Fi.

George M Sorg Jr.
SSgt (USMCRet)


Even if you're not into horse racing, be sure to watch the opening ceremonies of the Kentucky Derby this weekend. GySgt Sanchez and the rest of the Marine Mounted Color Guard is scheduled to post colors.
T. Garrett

4th Annual GriTogether

Saturday, May 12, 2007
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


4th GriTogether

Join us for some MARINE QUALITY TIME!
Talk with fellow Marines and enjoy the days activities!
Tattoo Contest - USMC Vehicles - History Displays!
And we have free food!
Gather up the clan and come on down - it's fun for the whole family!


"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."
Thomas Paine


Sgt. Grit,

This is a response to 'Confused Marine Mom', American Courage Newsletter #146, 19 Apr 2007. It was my experience during the time I served in the Corps that I usually got the exact opposite of what I wanted. This was also true for many of the Marines I served with.

An example: my Aviation Radio Repair Course (ARRC Class 6-75), MCCES, MCB 29 Palms. There were seven of us in this class. Just before graduation we were given our 'dream chit' where we could make a request for our next duty station. Four of us were single; one from Rhode Island, one from Indiana, one from Tennessee and me from Kentucky. The other three were married, two had young children. The married Marines did not want to move and up-root their families They wanted to stay out west and requested that. We four single Marines wanted to serve closer to home and requested the East coast.

Well, you can guess what occurred next. Upon graduation, the three married Marines were sent to MCAS Cherry Point. The other three single Marines were transferred to MCAS El Toro and I was sent to MCTSSA, MCB Camp Pendleton. Funny how that worked out, huh?

Maybe this Marine can start trying make it look like he does enjoy his new job and brag about how much he enjoys it. Then he can start saying he does not ever want to go back to what he did before. I'm not going to say it will work, but there is no harm in trying that approach.

Semper Fi,

Tony Glass
Sgt USMC
1974-78


This is in response to Cpl Worthington's note concerning having to face the challenges of college and some of the bias of the professors. I transferred to a 4 year liberal arts college after attending a military school that was a also a junior college. I transferred in January 1971 and graduated in July 1974 during some of the worst periods our nation has known in domestic violence/demonstrations due to opinions and politics about the war in Vietnam.

One of my first classes was titled Basic Studies (BS) that included a review of the history of man. I wrote about the period of the Roman empire with emphasis on the Roman soldier. My professor didn't fail me, but didn't give me high marks. Unknown to me at the time, he put an entry into my school record that stated "This individual is a fascist, but worth saving."

That period from 1971-1974 was one that I look at with shame as an American. I saw how those who served were treated by our "honorable" nation. I saw Marine recruiters at our school avoided by almost all of the students. I didn't avoid them. In 1976 I joined our Corps. My friends from college heard of it and took it upon themselves to call and tell me how stupid I was. None have ever called me since.

Take on college like any mission you would as a Marine. Just give it your all and do your part. You will never change those who are already dead in their dogma. Graduate for yourself and no one else. I am more proud of each moment of the 21 years I spent as a Marine than the total of 4 years in college. When I first moved to this town (in 2000) I found there are at least 75,000 Aggies (and Texas A&M University) here. I was asked by a man if I went to A&M. I told him no, but he persisted by asking where I went to college. I said "What difference does it make?" "I only honor the most important title I have in this world and that is Marine!" I also told him that I tried to get into Texas A&M but was rejected. He asked why, were my grades not good enough. I told him no, I was rejected because my parents were married.

Semper Fidelis Cpl Worthington
Ed Johnson
USMC 1976-1997


"The most effective way to ensure the value of the future is to confront the present courageously and constructively."
Rollo May


Just a quick story from a Marine who never wanted but had the MOS 0141, as a boot from PI, I went to 10th Marines, Camp LJ, getting of the bus the battalion Adj. a CWO 4, camp out of HQ seeking anyone who knew how to type, that was the beginning of 14 months as the Adj. assistant. I wanted to go overseas so put in for artillery, I was assigned to the 4.2 mortar Co., 3rdMar, 3rdDiv. I was there probably 3 months, after being trained on the mortar, I was resigned as all the office personnel were rotating back to the states, I became the Chief Clerk, and was in that MOS PFC through Sgt. I didn't reenlist and was discharged in 1957.
I served as a Marine typist, but the irony is that I only ever had four (4) fingers on my left hand.

Sgt. Bryan Goodrow 54-57


Dear Sgt. Grit,

As a proud working mother of a Marine who didn't go to work until her two boys were almost grown (6 year difference between the two) you would think I was of the 7th Force defending our country. Remember we have the USAF, US Navy, US Army, USMC, National Guard, Coast Guard, and then the 7th Branch, the United States Postal Workers. Don't think so? Ask any Jarhead how he feels about mail Call. Nuff Said! At least that is the way it is in California.

In my P.O. we are proud to honor all serving in the Armed Forces and have photos on the wall of all the young heroes whose parents, grandparents, girlfriends, boyfriends, or spouses bring to us hanging on our walls.

Until one week ago we only had one Gold Star hanging in our office. Yesterday we hung number two. Proudly and reverently we hung that star and asked for a moment of silence.

Many times we will have some young child ask if all these people (our service men and women) are dead. I being of loud mouth and short tolerance for the California school system will speak up before their parents can, and say, "I hope not, MY SON IS UP THERE!" This usually leaves their parents agape and the other people in line, many who have apparently served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf I, and now, thanking ME, just a mom, for my son's service.

I tell them my son could not serve if it had not been for their prior service and sacrifices.

I too will be in 29 Palms the first week in May to welcome my Marine Home along with all those who have had his back, even if my absence means they may fire me from the 7th service for being AWOL.

S. L. Olsa

Proud Marine MOMMA of Lance Corporal Jason Olsa.
PS: His Dad, who is also proud of him will be there too. He is Michael Olsa, Sergeant of Marines, 66 to 69.


"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)


Hi Sgt. Grit – I'd like to encourage all your readers, and especially Connie Lindsey, to check out the website www.amillionthanks.org

Connie's experience with an ignorant, principal who would not allow second grade children to send letters and drawings to her son in Iraq is disgusting! A 15 year old girl founded the Organization of "A Million Thanks" to generate a million letters to our troops. In only two years time, they have collected over 2.6 million letters! And best of all, her high school and principal in Southern California

Support and sponsor her organization! All letters are sent and collected there before being shipped out to the men and women serving our country. I found it totally amazing what a young girl could accomplish!

I just bet lots of the loyal readers here would be more than willing to take a few minutes out of their day to send a letter of Thanks too!

A Proud Marine Mom
Lynne Clarke


I would like to say to the Mom who wanted the school kids to send pictures they drew to the troops, and the Principle refused, have the Mom send the letters from Sgt Grit to that Principle at the school. Let her see the real world and not the Media world.
Semper Fi.
Cpt. Fred J. Tuckner Ret.


Sgt Grit,

My name is Bill Gill and I wanted to acknowledge Marty Monnat's reference to my son Steven Patrick Gill's final letter that was published in Newsweek. Thank you Mr. Monnat for your kind words. Sgt Grit, I have been reading your newsletter for over a year now, and enjoy reading the stories in them. When I was first contacted by Newsweek about the special issue, I hesitated in submitting his letter because of how the media tends to portray the War in Iraq. However, in the end, I thought the American people ought to know who these men and women really were that paid the ultimate price for them. The following is the cover letter that I sent to the Newsweek reporter, and I include it here because for every letter that was published, there was a life history that went before it.

V. Bill Gill
Sgt. 4th Recon Bn, USMCR
1964 - 1970

"I received a copy of your request from the Gold Star families for emails and letters from Marines who died in Iraq. I understand that Newsweek will devote a magazine issue for publishing these letters, and that it will be done without editorializing or political analysis. Out of respect for the memories of the fallen and their families, I sincerely hope that you honor that claim. It is painful enough to have suffered the loss, without injecting politics into it. As you will read from my son's letter, and from others that you will receive, they had no doubt about why they were there, or their willingness to sacrifice their life for their fellow Americans, as countless other others have done in previous wars.

My name is Bill Gill. My son Steven Patrick Gill was a Corporal in the Marines when he was killed by an IED on July 21, 2005 in Zaidan Iraq, just outside of Fallujah. Just a bit of background about Steven so that you will know that he wasn't just another "uneducated" statistic who was killed in Iraq. Steven studied for two years at Concordia University, River Forest IL as pre- seminary student with a full scholarship. He wanted to be a Lutheran pastor. After two years, he changed his major to be a Director of Christian Education and transferred to Concordia University in Austin TX. Steven loved kids, and was a youth leader at our church, taking them to service missions to impoverished churches on Indian reservations and across the border in Mexico.

Steven was a 9-11 Marine. When the Twin Towers fell, he came to me the next day and said he was joining the Marines. He felt the need to do something for his country. He believed that if we didn't take the fight to them over there, that eventually they would be committing terror here in our streets. I temporarily talked him out of it by asking him to finish the semester. In January 2002, he came home with two Marine recruiters and announced that he had joined the same unit that I served with for 6 years, 4th Recon BN in San Antonio TX. His basic training took place at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA. He had special training as a Recon Marine, including amphibious recon, scuba school, and parachute jump school where he earned his wings at Ft. Benning GA. He was activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom on January 4th, 2005 and arrived in Fallujah on March 18th.

The attached letter from Steven is addressed to his family. It is very personal, but I felt moved to share it with the American people because of the self-sacrifice all of these young men and women have made. It is a letter that a Marine writes to his loved ones before going into combat, is kept sealed, and is only delivered when he has paid the ultimate price. As you can see, he was a young man of great faith, and a patriot. His tombstone reads "He loved God and Country". As a father, I cannot describe what it feels like to lose your youngest child. A father should go before his son, and I would gladly trade places with him so that he could have lived a full life. As a former Marine myself, I accepted and respected his decision to put his life at risk and go into Harm's Way. Unfortunately, "It can't always be someone else's son".

Attached is a PDF file with his handwritten letter, which may be difficult to read, and you'll have to change the orientation. I have transcribed it into the attached Word document that is more readable.

Sincerely,
V. Bill Gill"


Courtesy of John Bower:
"Deep in the heart of every dilemma is a solution that involves explosives!"


Having just returned from visiting the detention center at Guantanamo, Cuba I can tell you this: Each year we are spending 100 million of taxpayer money to house 350 scumbags who want nothing more than to kill us and destroy our way of life. They are receiving excellent treatment including 5000-6000 calories of great food each day (I ate the same lunch they had---a veritable feast), unlimited correspondence, books, magazines and medical/dental/psychiatric care that most Americans can only dream about (e.g. physical therapy whenever they sprain their ankles on the soccer field or basketball court). They are being guarded by a combined Army/ Navy team of young soldiers and sailors that are as sharp and disciplined as any military unit I have ever come in contact with. Bottom line: Rosie O'Donnell and others are full of sh-t.

Raul Mas
Coral Gables, Florida

PS- While the Army and Navy may be guarding the terrorists, they still have US Marines walking the fence line with Cuba....and protecting everybody on that base.


For Connie Lindsey,

Connie,
I am both a Marine and a retired educator; and there are two things wrong with what happened in regards to your son's birthday. First, the teacher shouldn't have asked permission, she should have had her students draw their pictures and gone on about her business. The second thing is that the principal is an idiot.

Tell your son happy birthday and Semper Fi.

Sgt. Buck
70-73


Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.
Gen. A. M. Gray, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps


Sgt. Grit,

It is my pleasure to announce that Sgt. Grant Goehler, 3/7/Weapons will be receiving his B.A. in Business from Kent State University on 5/12 after only 3 years. When the First Division liberated East Baghdad in April of 2003, my son was under his wing, as were many other Marines. I credit the superb training of the Marines and the leadership of Sgt. Goehler for the fact that Sgt. Goehler and Sgt Benson through two tours brought all their men back safely into the arms of their families. The President of the University will be meeting with Grant and his family following the graduation ceremony. Sgt. Goehler's initiative, perseverance and total dedication to his duty has reflected credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Services. Sgt. Goehler joins a very long line. I am proud that he calls me a friend. And congratulations to all other Marines graduating this year.

Semper Fi -- Dr. Dennis Benson
Proud Father of Sgt. Kris Benson, 3/7/Weapons/81s, Purple Heart, Commendation, Achievement x2


A DAY TO FEEL PRIDE...

This past Saturday the members of HQ Co., 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, the only Philadelphia based Marine Reserve unit to be deployed to Iraq, returned home to their families. I along with some friends went to the Reserve Center to in some way welcome these young Marines home.

While driving to the Reserve Center in the Far Northeast I saw American Flags and Yellow Ribbons everywhere along the route these Marines would travel to rejoin their families. There were Welcome Home signs and banners everywhere, and the block of Woodhaven Road leading to the Reserve Center was lined with young and old wearing red, white and blue and waving flags. There were literally thousands of people waiting at the Reserve Center, with two cranes, their booms criss-crossed over the front gate, each with an American Flag flying from their booms.

While talking to one of the Marines manning the front gate I learned that the convoy of busses bringing the unit home had left Camp Lejeune, NC earlier in the morning with an escort of North Carolina State Troopers, and as the convoy made its way north, at each state line another police escort picked the convoy up. When they reached the Delaware / Pennsylvania border they were met by members of the Pennsylvania State Police and over 200 motorcycles ridden by members of various Veterans Motorcycle Clubs. At the Philadelphia border they were joined and led by the motorcycles of the Philadelphia Highway Patrol.

Back at the Reserve Center the anticipation of the impending arrival of the convoy continued to grow. The Archbishop Ryan H.S. Band and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes & Drums took turns playing patriotic songs. Finally, sometime around 4:00 PM the sounds of many motorcycles could be heard; the convoy had finally arrived. It seemed like it took 15 minutes easily for all of the motorcycles, with American, Marine Corps. and POW flags flying, to turn into the gates of the Center, and then the busses could be seen. As the buses one by one turned thru the gate, shouts of Welcome Home and U.S.A. went up, Everyone was on their feet shouting, clapping and waving. The rooftops of the buses were packed with the returning Marines; some waving, some taking pictures, and at least one on each bus waving an American or Marine Corps Flag.

As the busses emptied out, reunions swirled around in front of us. The one that will always stay in my mind was a woman and two small boys standing in front of us near the gate. The little boys each had Mom in one hand and an American Flag in the other. Suddenly a Marine, loaded down with his ruck and gear turned the back corner of the last bus, and the two little boys went ballistic and ran to this Marine... Daddy was home!

If I live to be a hundred I will never forget that reunion, or the pride I felt for our troops, and for the people who did so much to make this Welcome Home so special.

Until Each One Is Home...
God Bless Our Troops, and God Bless America!

Phil


I've always been proud of being a Marine. I won't hesitate to defend the Corps.
Jonathan Winters, comic and Marine


An Answer for Confused Marine Mom

The Marine Officer is correct in his actions according to what is best for the Corps. What one desires may not be in the best interest of the Corps and if a Marine has an expertise in a given field then that is where he or she may be best suited. Your son according to what you wrote was the best qualified for the position he was assigned.

I knew a First Sgt. who, after giving the Corps 23 years of his life, perhaps risking his life in WWII, and /or Korea. Yet he wanted to be sent to Electrician school so that he could have a trade upon retiring. He was denied his request because he would be taking up a space someone else would benefit the Corps with years of service since he was getting out anyhow. Needless to say he was not a happy camper.

I, too, was hoping to be assigned to what I wanted but ended up doing something else. However, I can hold my head high for being good at what was given me.

Encourage your son to excel at his position and that at some point he may be granted his request because of his persistence.

Semper fi! - to what has been given us, what we can do to support and complete the mission in whatever capacity we fill. Everyone has a different job that make up the whole team.

Bob, USMC 1961- 65


"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."
Abraham Lincoln


Dear Sgt. Grit -

I just had to write and say how much I liked the cover on the Spring 2007 Catalogue. I am the daughter of (the late) Pfc. James Michels, who is in the foreground with the carbine in the 1st Flag Raising on Iwo Jima photo. So seeing that photo on the "From the Sands of Iwo Jima to the Sands of Iraq" tee shirt on the cover was nice. Also, my husband Mike is a Navy Seabee who went to Iraq last year. Helping the Marines was one of the jobs he enjoyed.

I love your newsletter and have been receiving it for a couple of years now. Thanks for putting it together.

Semper Fi,

Betty McMahon
Proud Marine Daughter &
Navy Seabee Wife


"I am convinced that there is no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world."
Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Churchill on the U.S. Marine Corps


Mrs. Johnson,
I send my condolences to you and your husband especially. I am truly sorry that he lost Eric over there and I know that nothing can replace that. I actually knew PFC. Ayon. We went through basic training together and I spent many a night up talking to him and writing letters while he working on our range flag or whatever else our Senior wanted him to paint and work on. I was completely devastated when I saw on Dateline NBC that he had lost his life. I remember him many a time talking about his little boy and how much he missed him and cared for him. As soon as I found out what had happened I contacted NBC and got a direct contact to his wife and sent her an email and spoke with her via that a few times. I hope things get better for both of you and just know that time heals all wounds. Semper Fi and God Bless.

LCPL Dickerson, Doug
14th Marines Regiment, HQ
2003-Present


I'm a student at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, and because my brother is a Marine, I've got my car decked out with Marine Corps stickers. It was a Monday night and I was at my night class. I got out a little early and wanting to get home and relax I just jumped in my car. After I had turned the car on I saw a little piece of paper stuck under my windshield wiper. Not expecting it to be anything important, I got out and read it and it said "Semper Fi (blue truck to your right)." It's the little things like that simple note on my car that make me very proud of my brother and every other Marine who has served or is currently serving our country. I immediately called my mom and told her about it and I said, "now that's something you read about in the Sgt. Grit newsletter." My brother had just gotten home from his deployment in Iraq one week earlier.

Sarah Ruby
Proud Sister of CPL Scott Ruby


"And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"
Benjamin Franklin


Semper Fi Marines
Being a Marine is truly very cool, and one of my proudest accomplishments in my life. I know that now, but I don't think I realized it until after I got out. Yea, I saw the motivating Marine Corps commercials before I enlisted, but I also saw some motivating commercials about the other branches of our great country's military as well. Just after High School, when I first thought about the military, I was looking into the Army. A friend of mine and I were about to enlist on the "Buddy System", but as luck would have it, he was out of shape and he couldn't make the grade. So, we both dropped the idea of the military. It wasn't until a few years later, when I started to think about the military again. I needed to do something positive, or I feared that I would wind up just another slug on the face of the earth, with nothing to show for my existence. By this time I didn't just want to be all I could be (no offense Army), I wanted to be the best, and from what everyone was telling me, the best has always been the Marines. I walked into the recruiting station in Roseville Michigan, past the Army's office and told the Marine Staff Sergeant that I wanted the best, I wanted to be a Marine. He started in with his sales spiel, I told him to hold off because I have already made up my mind. He told me that I was about to start the process to a fantastic brotherhood. I had no idea what he was talking about.

While I was in Boot camp, MOS school, and even my first duty station, I heard myself ask, "What am I doing here?" At the time, most of the people that I was around were all Devil Dogs, big deal! I just figured that if I was a Marine, and they were Marines, what makes me or any of us special. It wasn't until I went home on leave, where people would take notice. Not just of that fancy uniform with no rank on the sleeves, and that itty bitty "fire watch" (National Defense) ribbon & Expert Rifle Badge. It was how I was transformed from a slug, into a Marine. I stood different, I looked different, I felt different, maybe I was different.

When it was my time to get out, I did, with only a little hesitation. Shortly after I got out, People, started asking if I was a Marine. "Yes, How can you tell?" I asked. "By the way you carry yourself, your haircut, your aura, your mannerisms. You can always pick a Marine out of a crowd." they would say. Then More and more, I started to notice the now familiar Marine Corps stickers on just about every 10th car. Why did I only see a similar showing of pride about the Army on 1 in 100 cars, and almost nonexistent toward the other branches? Maybe the Marines are the best. During the Gulf War, I heard of Iraqi soldiers who were completely defiant when interrogated by the U.S. Army, but literally wet their pants when a Big 'ol Marine Walked in. The prisoner told other interrogators "that it was known far and wide that just to be a Marine, a man has to kill a member of his own family", and he didn't want to die that way. Wow. Really? I just signed on, and didn't have to kill my aunt, or my uncle. Now the pride of claiming the title of United States Marine had taken over my life. On most of my wardrobe, my truck, my desk at work, everywhere, I display the Eagle Globe & Anchor. I make it my business to approach another Marine, when they too have their pride displayed. It's always the same basic conversation, When did they serve? Where did they serve? What rank they were, and when they got out? It is also followed up by a "Welcome Home & Thank You" along with a good handshake, and a Semper Fi Brother / Sister. I didn't realize how much of a family I signed on for, but I now know that if a Marine is in need, they can call on me. If I can, I will help, just like I now know that if I am in need, all I have to do is let it be known, and another Marine will be there to pick me up.

God Bless our Marines
Corporal R. Palombit
'88 - '92 Semper Fi


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I would appreciate it if you could put the following paragraph in your newsletter and bulletin board:

A British documentary company www.brooklapping.com – is wanting to speak with veterans from the battles of Khe Sanh and Hue for a new documentary-drama series on the Vietnam War for the Discovery Channel, working title Grunts. If any veterans of these battles would like to share their experiences with them please email James Leigh – jleigh@brooklapping.com . They are looking for veterans to interview, but also veterans willing to help them understand and get the experiences of the young men who fought in Vietnam completely right. They want this to be your and your buddies' story of Vietnam.

Please do let me know if you think this appropriate and likely to get response. Otherwise thank you for agreeing to post our appeal to your readership.

Sincerely

James Leigh


"I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast...would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it."
Thomas Jefferson


I am a constant reader of Sgt Grit's newsletter and see quite frequently the term EGA. I find this offensive, as so many Marines have given the ultimate sacrifice for the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I am asking our readers and those that write to Sgt Grit to use the Eagle, Globe and Anchor as it's suppose to be. We have gone too far on acronym's in the military. Our symbol is not something we should making into an acronym. Lets keep the good faith and respect what we have all earned.

SSgt Sliva
SOI-WEST
2006-present


Sgt. Grit

My son is deploying today 4/26/07 for the sandbox. This is my first experience at this whole ordeal. It is a very trying time, but one that we will get thru.

My son PFC Kehoe, was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal, but said that he did not want his ceremony until he was in Iraq and was able to be promoted with the rest of his brothers that will be having their ceremony in September. He is not selfish by any-means, just proud. Although he is a Lance Corporal in status, he will not be to the civilians until then. His mail will stay as PFC. He loves the Corps and what it has made him. He has made so many lifelong friends thru this and knowing that they will each have each others back, brings a sigh of relief to me. What a fine batch of men we are sending to go where many have never gone and many never will because they don't have that "something" that makes a Marine what he is.

I know it may be awhile before we speak with him again. We will always support him and all our troops for defending us and having the courage to stand up and answer the call of duty to this great country. Without any of them, we would not have the freedom we take for granted.

May God watch over them all. And may he also watch over all of us awaiting their safe return.

Very Very Proud Mom of PFC Kehoe
Hallettsville, TX


"The naked truth is always better than the best dressed lie."
Ann Landers


Sgt. Grit,
A short time ago, my father, Clarence Connell, GySgt (ret) passed away at the age of 77. He retired in 1968 after 20 years total service 3 years navy, 17 years Marines.

During his time in the Corps, he was a "heavy junk" engineer, a 2 tour D. I. and a recruiter. Of all of these duties, he was most understandably proud of his time as a San Diego Drill Instructor. Of the many platoons he led, he had many recruits go on to be career Marines, including a Colonel. He was quick to point out that his favorite platoon was 349-58, mainly because of them qualifying 100% at the range (quite a feat at the time). Apparently he made quite an impression on those young men as well, as a group of them managed to track him down decades later and transform from "his recruits" into "his best friends". He could hardly wait for Sunday to roll around so that the could engage in their weekly chat sessions.

Unfortunately, he will be unable to attend the platoons planned 50 year reunion in San Diego next year, having instead to observe from above. My family have been cordially invited to attend the reunion in his place and are looking forward to doing so.

My Dad was a very easy person to shop for once I discovered your site. On any gift-giving occasion or even just for the heck of it, he would say, "Get me something from Sgt. Grit, you know what I like.", and he loved everything I got him. You made and "Old Marine" very happy on many occasions during his final years.

Thank You for not only providing the greatest products, but also a connection for "Old Corps" and "New Corps".

Semper Fi,
Scott Connell former AM1(AW), USN
"I wear Navy blues, but I bleed Marine Corps green."


Willapa Valley Veterans Memorial
Dedicated to students of Willapa Valley High School who served in the Armed Forces. The initial recognition will be for Robert Bush and those veterans killed during time of war. Donations accepted.
Contact: Irv Stephens 360-942-3860,
Ron Black tapsbugler@centurytel.net,
or Rex Hutchings 360-942-3736


Now hear this you Nam Vets the 23 rd Annual Nebraska Viet Nam Reunion is going to be August 16-19 2007 at Hastings Nebraska. All you need to know is on the Web site www.vetsreunion.com. We have been doing this a long time and we do it right so get off your butts and join us for a fun time with all your brothers. All services and conflicts welcome. Thanks for reading this and if you have any questions you may contact me anytime.
Wm Duke Humphrey
Corporal of the Marines
Nam 1968-69
0811 "Can You Hear Me Now"?
dukeewh@cox.net


"The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


Sgt Grit,
I was an active Marine from Jan '60 - Dec 63. I went to MCRD SD and into the air wing for the rest of my 4 years. I met a brown water sailor in the 90's who was in Viet Nam, and we talked about a lot of things. One of the things I told him was I always wondered what I would be like in combat, I just wouldn't want to let down my buddies. And with that he said that I would be just fine. We also walked in a Memorial Day parade and while walking I got more than a little choked up.

Corporal of Marines
Bob R
Semper Fi - OOORAH


To My Family & Friends,
As some of you know my Marine Corps Reserve unit will soon be re-activated to fight in Iraq. I won't give details as to our timeline, destinations, or missions as they will change daily and operational security is paramount.

Regardless, I will be leaving soon. And the question that I have been asked the most is ‘How do you feel about going back to Iraq?' Well... I've told them how I feel and now, if you could spare a minute, I would like to tell you how I feel.

To answer the question shortly - I want to go back. In fact, I feel that I need to return to the fight.

Why? Why would I want to go back to a war that is not producing results, costing billions, and killing my brothers on a daily basis? Why would I want to go to a war where I have little to gain and everything to lose?

Why? Because it is the right war to fight. The American public has lost sight of the true war that we are fighting.

Iraq has become a convenient distraction from the true fight. What war am I talking about? It is the war that radical Islam has waged against the rest of the world. It is the same war that has been overshadowed by the catch phrase "The War in Iraq". Well, "The War in Iraq" is not a catchphrase and it isn't the war itself, its a battlefield, like Afghanistan, where we get a chance to spill the blood of our enemy. And unlike any war in the past there are no boundaries and there will be no end. No end until Jesus returns in fulfillment of his prophecy. My son and his children will be dealing with this fight as the enemy will never change their ideological stance much like we will never change ours. This war will wage as the Fringe Elements of Islam continue to exist.

Many people believe that being in Iraq has little bearing on the war on terror and winning is no longer an option. Yet even if we have no chance of winning we must have the moral strength and courage to continue to fight.

Through our operations we have tilled up the Iraqi society and our departure would only allow the enemy to embed themselves deeply within the social fabric. Left unchecked this situation would produce a state that is evil, radical, and anti American. This would be a Jihad Victory. Because of this we must be victorious.

I say that it is the "Right war to Fight" and I mean it with every fiber of my being. America is in this fight now. Much like Israel is locked in war, we are now locked in war. It may be slow and protracted but it will remain.

You may be thinking that this is not the case and that the attacks on American soil were a fluke. I say to you that you are lying to yourself and are in for a rude awakening. Not only are you in for a rude awakening but your self-deception will cost our nation dearly in mindset and readiness. You have become tired of fighting. But how can anyone become tired of fighting the right fight? Much like in a foot race you will begin to tire and hurt. You will begin to focus on what is happening to you now. You have lost sight of the goal as you focus on yourself. And the pain that consumes you now has killed your aspirations of winning. You will only be able to win when you keep your eyes on the end goal and you see past the now. But unfortunately our eyes, via the news, have been focused on the now far too long.

Where have the enemies of our country come from? The answer is Radical Islam. The only thing that I can equate Radical Islam to is a gang. In a land where there is little to offer in terms of education, jobs, and class advancement the idle public will begin to look for affiliation. They find that affiliation in their religion. Similar to a gang, Fundamental Islam provides a sense of belonging which translates to influence and through that affiliation and influence the members execute the will of the organization.

Another variable in this complex equation is the stance and objective of our own government. Much like the issue of social security this problem will remain critical yet unresolved. Social security has been identified as flawed. Yet action, or better yet the decision to act, seems impossible to attain due to partisan goals. The issue of Social security is indicative of our government's all talk and no act nature. Like social security this conflict will not die. And like social security it will not be dealt with. Leaving Iraq will no more fix our problems than ignoring Social Security and hoping that it rights itself. How bout we shoot for simple political victories now and leave the tough issues for future generations to deal with? That sounds more like cowardice than a plan. You can dress it up hundreds of different ways but at the end of the day we will be left with one of two outcomes, victory or defeat.

One comment that I receive a lot is "Man, we need to just bomb every Muslim and get it over with." I couldn't disagree, and be more disappointed with that statement more. This situation is so much more complex than that and to offer such a suggestion is counterproductive. The enemy that we are fighting is radical, much like a cult.

David Koresh and Jim Jones perverted and twisted the word of Jesus Christ as do these individuals manipulate the words of Muhammad for their own demented gains. I consider all leaders and organizations that operate in this fashion to be my enemies. But the remaining 99 % of Muslims are decent people and do not deserve to be grouped together with their fringe counterparts.

One phrase that has stuck with me and rings true is the simplest I've heard: "If they lay down their weapons there will be peace. But if we lay down our weapons there will be a holocaust"

So as I sit here I think about the journey that is before me. I have begun my preparations and as the day approaches I find myself more and more focused. I will leave behind my wife and my son, who I will have only known for 1 month, bound for Iraq on my second combat tour with my Marine Reserve unit. And I am prepared to walk back into the fire for my wife, my son, and all of you.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Baker M. Brooks
Section Leader
Weapons Company (Mobile Assault Capable) 3rd Battalion 23rd Marine Regiment 4th Marine Division Baton Rouge LA.


"Peace cannot be achieved through pretending that war does not exist."
Steven Plaut


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Operation Iraqi Freedom Coin





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Yellow Ribbon - Support Our Troops Coin



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

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