Hey Sarge, I can only relate this once. After reading the many outstanding letters from the families of Marines.....I come away with a lump in my throat or else a tremendous feeling of pride regarding my Marine family. The Marines have always been the tip of the lance and, the Brotherhood will always remain within me.....Thank you, Semper Fidelis, John Velar, Old Corps Warhorse.....1st and 2nd MARDIV.....WWII

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My Marine My Hero - Always Faithful....Order one of these Family Member Shirts

"We are face to face with our destiny and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage."
Theodore Roosevelt

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is not survival."
Winston Churchill

I would like to address the letter from Beth who had a dad with her father for the movie "We Were Soldiers". I totally agree with what she said. I feel that all of our military our heroes. My son is a Marine and returned back from his deployment from Iraq the April. He is my hero. All gave some and some gave all but all are Heroes. I thought the stress, tension, worry and crying would leave me once my son was home. It doesn't. I still cry at the sight of an American Flag, the Marine song, seeing a military personnel in uniform etc. It might be a different reason for my emotions. I have always been proud of my son but knowing what he did while deployed and saw at his age (21) is what makes my emotions run. He did what he had to do, as all do. I just want to say THANK YOU to all military. The 4th of July is for you and are fore fathers. Again thanks. You have given me the FREEDOM to be able to send this.

Marine Mom

I'm a Viet Nam Vet who was touched by the letters from the mothers and daughters of Marines young and old who know that their men have seen a lot but are holding it in. I can only say that the more they talk about what they experience the faster they can lead a healthy life and start feeling again without fear of breaking down. It took me 39 years before I even knew that I had demons inside that would eat me alive as I grew older.

I had no one to talk to back then and isolated, so if your son or dad seems distant, engage him with love and understanding hoping he will open up, otherwise they will live a life of guilt, and grief until they can unload. They need to start enjoying the good life they have deserve and earned. Semper Fi Noe B 1/1 69

"The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men."
Samuel Adams

Sand of Iwo Jima Contest

Sands of Iwo Jima Contest

Thank you to all who participated in our contest. We received an overwhelming response. If you were one of the first 400 to answer correctly, you should receive your sand by the end of next week.

The correct answers are as follows:

1) What does Iwo Jima mean in English?
A) Sulfur Island

2) What Marine Medal of Honor recipient lost his life on Iwo Jima?
A) GySgt John Basilone received the Medal of Honor and was later KIA in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

(Other Marines we accepted as answers were those awarded the MOH posthumously for their action on Iwo Jima: CPL Charles J. Berry, PFC William R. Caddy, Sgt Darrell S. Cole, Sgt William Genaust, Sgt Ross F. Gray, Plt Sgt Joseph R. Julian, PFC James D. La Belle, 1LT Jack Lummus, 1LT Harry L. Martin, PVT George Phillips, PFC Donald J. Ruhl, CPL Tony Stein, and GySgt William G. Walsh)

3) On what day was the flag flown over Mt. Suribachi?
A) Friday, February 23, 1945 or the 4th day

4) Where does the "black" sand come from?
A) The black sand is pulverized volcanic rock and ash.

See our WWII Pages

First, this is not the first time you have heard from me. I'm an unapologetic promoter and admirer of Marines.

For 30 and a half years, I was a Calif Highway Patrol Officer. For 27+ years, I worked in San Diego County, which means Camp Pendleton, MCRD, and from 1993 on, Miramar MCAS.

And, yes, just like Insurance Actuarial Tables, most Marines are between 18 and 26, and is usually reflected in their driving.

Most Marines that I stopped for run-of-the-mill traffic violations drove away after simply being told why they were stopped. Why?

By the time I was at their window they had in hand: Driver's License, Registration for the vehicle, Insurance card, and Military ID.

Upon being told why they were stopped, a prompt "Sir, Yes Sir" was heard, instead of the standard retort of a sailor: "What the H&ll did you stop ME for?!" (Don't worry sailor, it will be on a piece of paper that you will carry away with you, necessitating arranging your schedule to make way for a morning or afternoon in court)

If I had said, "You are going 200 miles an hour" to a Marine, the response would have been "Sir, Yes Sir".

What I did not tolerate:

Lying and/or Drugs. one case.. Stop a Marine.. billows of marijuana smoke come out.
"Been smoking in here?" "Oh, No sir". (Called the Sgt Major later. Sgt. Major, "Thank you officer, we'll take it from here".)

Any idiot knows that you do not drink--then drive. If you think it's cool, you thinking is outdated by about thirty years.

100 MPH
Anyone over a hundred got a ticket--and I mean anyone.

One of the points that generates my admiration of the Corps is that line from the Marine Corps Hymn First to fight for right and freedom, And to keep our honor clean,

It may be hard to teach younger guys this fact: If you are a member of the military or a Law enforcement agency, and you are arrested for :_(Fill in violation, from misdemeanor to felony), the general population doesn't look at you as John Smith. No, you are "another criminal Marine" or "Another Dirty Cop".
You reflect on your organization.
And the Corps does not need that kind of publicity.

Dave Hollenbeck

Hi Sgt Grit,

I have a stepson who served 5 years in the Marine Corps and who did a tour of duty in Iraq. Last year he returned home from his 5 year enlistment. I am very proud of him and as such, I have bumper stickers from Sgt. Grit on both of my trucks. I was on my way to the local home improvement warehouse last weekend in my truck that has the sticker:'My kid fought in Iraq so yours could party in College'. As I pulled into the parking lot, a vehicle followed me and parked right next to me. The man got out and walked over to me to tell me how much he liked my sticker! I then noticed his sticker across the entire back window of his vehicle: 'Retired US Marine'. I then proceeded to thank him for his service to our country and we had a nice visit. As I was walking towards the store, he got back in his vehicle and left. He made the effort to stop and talk to me because of the sticker I bought from Sgt. Grit. I was amazed!

Thanks for a great newsletter and a great catalog!
Larry Lemieux

My kid fought in Iraq   US Marine Corps Retired

"It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect."
James Madison

My brother-in-law recently joined the Marines at age 27. He has his bachelors degree, but couldn't figure out exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He fell into a rut since nothing out in the working community appealed to him and that he was didn't feel like a real man since he never really achieved anything worthy of being called a man. He decided that the USMC had what he was looking for in achieving his place in this world. He knew he'd get a far greater education that any university would give him and that he would be a part of the greatest brotherhood in existence. He asked me what I thought about him becoming a Marine, and honestly I couldn't of been more proud. I know his parents didn't quite understand his decision since they aren't a "military" family. I was raised as an Army brat, and after high school I enlisted in the Navy. The time I spent in the Navy I can honestly say was enjoyable because of the friends that I called brothers who were Marines. The professionalism that they had on and off the job was second- to-none. I tell you it sure made the Navy look second-rate. I knew my brother in law made the best decision he could of possibly made due to everyone wanting to feel part of something, and he decided to become part of the most elite, most professional, and most respected team in the world. My prayers are with him while he starts his training into becoming a Marine, and my prayers and thanks go out to each and everyone current and past who have served with the Marines. You men and women are the best of the best, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for this country.


Chris Drake
Airman/ABH USN


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"Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process."
Phillips Brooks

This goes out to Cpl Ryan Walden. First "SEMPER FI!" My family and I just came back from a week in North Carolina, Got an awesome tour of Cherry Point (where I was stationed) Anyway on the flight down I was speaking to an elderly gentleman, He asked if I was headed for Cherry Point. I said yes but have been out of Marines for 20 years. (I have a Marine Corps tattoo) He said "doesn't matter I always feel safer with a Marine onboard! You could have knocked me over with a feather. As you said we always represent whether we know it or not...God bless all our brothers and sisters in harms way. And a special thanks to LCpl Poole who gave a the tour of Cherry Point, She was very professional and knowledgeable. Her Sgt husband is in Iraq watchin our backs. Say a prayer to bring him home safe! Anyway take care all ! Happy 4th!

Cpl James d Hatheway 1983-1987

"If your head is wax, don't walk in the sun."
Ben Franklin

As you know Marines take care of their own and have since the Marine Corps was founded in 1775. Today, June 28,2007, I witnessed some thing outstanding, when the City of Hickory, North Carolina through many of its citizen's paid their final respects to a fallen Hero, a Marine who transferred to the Army, who was killed in Iraq Tuesday, June 19, 2007 and was laid to rest today with a moving service conducted by two of his former Pastors. Their must have been 50 motorcycles or more, with the flags flying leading the hearse and Family with a line of cars that might have reached 1 1/2 to 2 miles long and respect was shown all along the way, but the thing that impressed me the most was the turn out of the Army, led by a One star General, a Command Sgt/Maj with an additional 15 or more Soldier's, and they did an excellent job in the folding of the Flag, the presenting of the Flag, the Firing detail and the Taps. Army Spec. Darryl Wardlaw (Ward) Linder, who served four years as a Marine then transferred to the Army, and as he was a Brother, our Catawba Valley Detachment 1163, Marine Corps League, attended the vitiation on Wednesday Evening and presented his Father, Darryl Linder with a Certificate of Appreciation for his Son's service to his country and Corps. We also attended the services on Thursday June 28, 007. paying our final respect with a hand salute over the casket. His Father, said, that he died in an Army uniform, but he died a Marine.

John w. Grindel Sr.
District Vice Commandant
Northwest District
Department of North Carolina

"But to manipulate men, to propel them toward goals which you— the social reformers—see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them."
Isaiah Berlin

Sgt Grit,
I am a proud Marine mom that is dealing with my son being deployed to Iraq back in April on his first tour. I can't thank you enough on sending me these newsletters. It really helps me to cope as I read the many letters and comments of the other parents and former Marines that have gone through this same thing. I am extremely proud of my son and all other service men and women that have served for our country. I can't understand how so many Americans choose not to support what our fellow service people have provided for us as they defend our country. Even though my son will not be able to attend his sister's wedding, he reminds us that he is doing what he does to give her the right and freedom to get married as she chooses. I would like to thank any serviceman that reads this that I am deeply grateful for your service and I hope you will pray for my son and his platoon for a safe return in December.

A proud mom in Michigan,
Sally Lonk

I would like to thank all Marines serving our nation at this time. I served from 81-85 and everyone I come in contact with knows that I served. While I was not in combat we did lose friends during this time period in Beirut. A few I knew were lost. I have since become a High School football coach and have had the pleasure of seeing some of my players follow in my footsteps. There are now three former Ledyard HS football players in Iraq doing there duty. I continue to stay in touch and meet and greet every time they come back. Semper Fi to all serving at this time. Cpl O'Donnell 81-85

"Men don't follow titles, they follow courage."
Mel Gibson in the Movie Braveheart

When I read the letter from PFC Sanchez (Young Marines) about his not telling his father that he cried while visiting the Iwo Jima memorial and the Viet Nam Wall I could understand how he felt. I just hope that he doesn't lose his feelings because that is what every Marine must have. Without feelings we would be nothing but walking machines.

A lot of people feel that when a man cries that he is showing weakness. This is a falsehood! When a man cries it shows that he is deeply effected by the situation and when that situation is about our beloved country, or our Marine Corps, then it is a manly thing to do.

I will be the first to tell the world that whenever I see the Viet Nam Wall, or almost any other historical memorial, it brings tears to my eyes. When the USMC flag passes by during a parade, and the Marines Corps Hymn is played, I stand-up with tears in my eyes.

Semper Fi
Gilbert Snodgrass
Sgt. Of Marines
1962 - 1966
Viet Nam Vet

Love this site & have passed it on to many..... My cousin was a Recon in the 1960's - Viet Nam & he's made sure I have plenty of t-shirts (and other things from this site) When I go to the local super Wal-Mart, in a dicey neighborhood, I generally have one of your shirts on - and my dad's dog tags (I put them on the day he died & have worn them ever since - WWII, Medical Corps) I get a lot of looks, but NO ONE messes with me. Sometimes I get a nod from some people...mainly they just move out of my way. It's the t-shirt because I am not intimidating - so the Marines are protecting me even when I'm alone.

As a make-up artist, I travel a lot. I did have a 3 week assignment at a local mall that I seldom visit. One week day while sitting in the food court reading Smithsonian, I had one of those "oh my gosh! So that's what that means!" moments. As I looked up with eyes popping & mouth dropping, I didn't realize a Gunny was walking towards me. Bless his heart, he thought I was pop-eyed over him - when in reality I was in shock over what I'd just read. When I refocused and realized he was there, all I could do was let him think he'd bowled me over. If it made his day, good for it. The Marines - and all our people in uniform - deserve it.

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Ronald Reagan

Before I snag my nap, quick update. I couldn't get to sleep before 3 AM worrying about this.

Talked to Ed Shaffer (Army, D-Day) last night and told him I had a wounded eagle and his mom incoming. He brought over one of his original D-Day invasion maps. There is no way I could have scripted this. Ed was loquacious and magnificent. Thank God Bill Ruth wasn't here or we'd still be on the deck. As it was it was 2.5 hours with Sgt. Horn and his mother Jeni.

Kid got some serious injuries and we'll see how that plays through the Marine bureaucracy. He is supposed to be out in September, and I gave his mom the two page resource list that Michele sent me and contact info.

How do you deal with PTSD? Drink beer and eat fruit and munchies and talk about other stuff. I think we did that quite well and focused on a different perspective. Captain Shaffer was just great and I think for no less than 90 minutes Sergeant of Marines Horn forgot he'd been shot up and his body hurt like H&ll. Bring a D-Day vet together with an Iraqi vet and add beer -- geez I hope my tape recorder worked. It was a great afternoon. I think I need a nap.
s/f Dennis


My son is in the Marines, 1st Lt...now serving in Afghanistan, with 82nd Airborne Division, Army in COM, only Marine on staff.....
I had this tattoo done for my son. Marine Mom Tattoo

Semper Fi....He has now decided to go career, I am so very proud of him.

Tattoo was done by Roz


"If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect."
Ben Franklin

The last time I saw this was close to a year ago at a luncheon. Invited to join my friend Karin, we listen to the guest speaker General Williams who began with this video; we were all invited to join a campaign against the drugs in our schools today. Yesterday celebrating the Fourth of July truly brings on a deeper meaning to my heart and as I pass candy out during the parade to young children I know later in life they will remember getting dressed in their red, white and blue and seeing by the representation of each float what a great country we have.

As soon as my first son joined the Marines I was scared; a line from the movie A Few Good Men "You can't handle the truth" kept running through my head when he left for boot camp. As soon as I was able to hug him and speak to him face to face on the Parade deck I asked him, "Do you have any regrets?"

My community involvement grew the moment I got home from MCRD Graduation. I was patriotic before, growing up on Air Force bases all my life, but there was a new intensity after seeing so many of our boys turn into men in front of our eyes.

I joined everything I could, attended city council meetings and read not only the major newspaper in our area but the local community paper as well. Getting involved as a volunteer is worth so much more than a 40 hour work week with a paycheck; sometimes it can be overwhelming with so much to do. I was supposed to attend my first State Ladies Auxiliary conference this past weekend. David had taken off work for a road trip, just the two of us, down to Corpus Christie for this event. One of our sons Michael friend was home on leave. I say Marine Michael's friend but truly he is like an adopted son to us. E.J. is what he goes by after being ribbed so many times growing up given the name "Elvis" by his parents. I will not go into detail, but his family life was hard. He was top of his class in middle and high school; he could retain everything without studying. Just before graduation, he had enough and dropped out of school. We worried about him, wondering where he will end up. Making $7.50 an hour seemed like a lot, without insurance or a car payment and living in an apartment with a room mate; "Is this where you want to be two years from now?" I would ask. The calls stopped coming after this question each time and our son Michael was in the delayed-entry program with the Marines. During that year before going into the Marines, E.J. saw a difference in Michael, they grew somewhat apart. But Michael never stopped caring for his friend E.J. and would ask him the same question I use to ask him on the phone. E.J. showed up one day unannounced at the door; he had some news to tell. "I want you to know I have joined the Army!" he told us. "I want to do something more with my life." I knew he was too embarrassed before but now had something to brag about. He wrote us from basic training and when he called he told us he loved us. Last Christmas was wonderful walking in the door and seeing Marine Michael with his friends Navy Rob, Army E.J. and Chris all playing video games in the house just like before. "Hi Mom" they would yell out, "What's for lunch?" E.J. has now completed his job training, something to do with bomb detonation and will be stationed in Germany for the next three years. While home on leave, we spent some time together. Without his "Military" friends here, civilian life was hard to get use to and he decided to head on back early. Upon arrival at the airport, being young as they most all are, his ticket was not purchased but on reserve and cost way more than he thought. David being the person he is, whips out his credit card and informs him "Just come home with a patch for me." He will leave Germany to Iraq for his tour of duty. With the "merchant hold" on the credit card for being swiped twice, the Ladies Auxiliary convention will have to wait another year.

Yesterday on July 4th Marine Matthew called from Iraq to tell us "Happy Fourth of July" and asking how the parade went. Again we tell him how proud we are of him and thank him for serving our country. Quietly he replies as they all do, "It's my job, it's what I do."

At the end of the video you see families standing behind the barricades waiting for their love one to get off the plane; it's what we call "Homecoming" and we will be there sometime in November!

Proud Mom Karen Marks

"By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion."
Lord Acton

I read the newsletter faithfully and I thought I would write about brotherhood and "paying it forward". I was in LAX in 1980, fresh from WestPac. My orders were to El Toro but my home was Florida. The squadron unceremoniously dumped me at LAX. I was 20 bucks short of the cost of the flight and was visibly bummed. All this 20 year old wanted to do was get home and see his family. A Staff Sergeant, a total stranger, saw me looking despondent and struck up a conversation. To make a long story short, he gave me the 20 bucks, telling me "To pay it forward" to another young Marine in the future. Well, I have lived by those words, and whenever I see a young Marine family at dinner, I will pay their bill, or stop to help with a broken car when I see that EGA on the vehicle. To all who have or are serving Semper Fi. To all my brethren serving in harm's way. Take care of each other and leave no one behind.

Tony Folds
Brandon, Fla.
Sergeant, USMC 76-81

You never win when you play NOT to lose.

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Please allow a wife, mom, and grammy some time on her soap box!

I am so sick of what I was fed while I was in "a politically correct" master's program at my university... it goes along with the media, unthinking people, and people who will swallow anything that the media sells! The "we should all hold hands and sing Kum-ba-yah", everyone is nice... What really gets me even more are the so-called vets against the war in Iraq; etc. right up there with Cindy Sheean!

As a volunteer Chaplain for our local Military Family Support Group, what do I say to the parents of children whose sons and daughters are there in the Sandbox now, or who are preparing to go?? What about this, "I don't support the war, but I support our military?" That's an oxymoron if ever I heard one! Sorry folks, you can't have it both ways! Either you support our men and women in uniform AND their mission, who are protecting you while putting their lives on the line to liberate others and keep us liberated, or you don't!

I don't know of anyone who truly wants war. However, we don't live in a perfect world! Not everyone wants to play fair and get along! Picture our beloved USA as your personal home. Why do you lock your doors at night or when you leave your house? Why do you pay companies to "watch" your home when you are gone on vacation? Why do you call the police when your home has been robbed? What would you do if you came back from work to find someone had moved in to your house, expected to be paid for living there, fed, clothed, and catered to? How long would you put up with it? Worse yet, what if they met you with guns and took over your home?

Yes, we are citizens of a country who come from various backgrounds and nations. However, just as in our families, we do not reward our young for violence and willful disobedience, destroying our way of life, and allow them to take over running the household, neither should we as a nation allow anyone else to do the same! Thank God that there are still those who VOLUNTEER to serve God and country... our beloved men and women in uniform! Where would we be without them???

It is high time that we as a nation show our gratitude and support to our military personnel and their families! God forbid that it would take another "9/11" to rekindle our patriotism!

Mother of a US Marine, wife of an Army Vet, and daughter-in-law of a WWII Army Purple Heart Recipient (earned, not purchased!) and proud of it!

Thanks for letting me vent, Bro!


Dear Sgt Grit,

The 4th of July has always been special to me. I get to celebrate my birthday (a day late) and our country's. This year was the best. I was in the Corps for 15.5 years and married a Marine as well. Raised two great Marine kids. We divorced in 1992 and each got a child. I lost track of my son for 15 years. three weeks ago he was able to track me down and made the trip to see me on my birthday.

I found out that my son had tried to enlist in the Marines, but was unable to get in, so he went to the Navy. There he went to Hospitalman's school and was assigned to FMF duty. He was on the front lines when we went into Iraq with Romeo Co. 5/11. He served two tours there and a total of 8 years in service. His unit received the PUC and he left as HM2.

I didn't know anything until he found me. No Mother ever got a better birthday present than her son, a "Doc", who served and cared for my beloved Corps.

My pride in him can and will never die.

Marine and Navy Mom
Johnnica Ingle
SSgt 1975-1991

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong."
Ronald Reagan

Please Tie Your Shoes.
I have always told my son to tie his shoes or he might fall and break his neck or don't run with that stick or you will poke out an eye. It's almost our family joke, "I know mom, tie my shoes or I will fall and poke out an eye." He kids with me, but my fear has always been genuine.

In September of 2006 my fear increased about 500 percent, my world turned upside down and I thought my life was coming to an end. I was not afraid of my dying; in my mind it was my only choice if, God forbid, anything were to happen to my son and he died before me. I figured I would be five minutes behind him; that my heart would just stop.

I could never explain how this felt to someone who had not been there except to say imagine someone had just blindfolded your baby and set him on U.S. Interstate 80, or 95 or any freeway and left him there in the dark. Now imagine someone shooting at him too.

In reality, my baby had been sent to Iraq in his third year of his four-year active duty commitment to the United States Marine Corps. My son, the rifleman, was deployed to Iraq for seven months.

The weeks leading up to that day were the worst. Every fear magnified a million times by what I didn't know and more importantly what I did know. Having been a peripheral part of the Marine Corps community for nearly three years, I knew one thing. Any mother's son can die. I think most of us military parents go through the numbers game and the endless questions in our heads. When was the last time someone in my family died? Are we due? When was the last time I prayed? Is it too late? What if something happens to him? Will I feel it or will I have to wait for the knock at my door? And I thought; will my daughter in law be able to call me or will she be so devastated that she curls up in a ball and I won't know for hours?

My thoughts were always wandering to the dark places. I felt melodramatic at times and other times simply practical. Rarely was there a moment of time when my son was not on my mind. He was my first and last thought everyday. I struggled through conversations with God not wanting to appear that I was asking anything for myself, even though I was. I also didn't want God to think that I was a hypocrite and that I would start to go to church all of a sudden if he let my son live. And sometimes I would think, maybe God plays no part in this at all. Maybe this is not his job, this whole war and warrior thing.

Night after night I didn't sleep. Even before he left the United States I would watch the news all night, knowing full well the news we got at home was seldom accurate and almost always incomplete, and my mind would wander to all the places it shouldn't.

I foolishly signed up for the online news alerts, including the Department of Defense causality releases. One after another would pop into my email. "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom"...Day after day until I could no longer read the names of someone's son or husband or father and my head hurt just looking at the first few words.

My son was able to call me from Iraq on a few occasions. He always assured me he would be fine and I wanted to believe him. I wanted to tell him he better be... but I carefully chose my words every time we spoke just incase it was the last.

I asked him once about a unit that had suffered many losses and if he thought it was a leadership problem. "No" he said. "Sometimes mom, it's just sh!t luck."

That wasn't what I wanted to hear. I wanted to believe that he had some control over things. I hoped his intelligence alone would bring him back home to his family in one piece. But I knew he was right.

I kept thinking back to the fear I felt when he first told me he was joining the Marine Corps. Pride never did out-weigh the fear. When he went to boot camp I was grief-stricken the whole thirteen weeks and when my friends compared his time at boot camp to their kids going away to college I truly wanted to rip their heads off their shoulders. I kept thinking that perhaps the grief I felt was a premonition.

Halfway through his deployment when we were just starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, we received word that the unit would be extended. The seven month deployment would be extended anywhere from 60-120 days. The odds of him not being injured or worse increased in my mind if not in reality. The sleepless nights grew longer and the one-ton elephant on my chest became a two-ton humvee. I became even more obsessive about care packages, baking cookies and finding ways to get him all the foods he loved. The sense of powerlessness was overwhelming.

My daughter-in-law and I talked on the phone two, three, sometimes four times a day. Our mutual love for him was the common denominator that allowed us to support one another so completely. We held each other up on days I know neither one of us could lift a feather we were so weak with fear. She became my best friend. My confidant.

During the deployment my son periodically had access to the Internet. His communications with me during those times were what sustained me the rest of the time. He was always his witty self and we rarely talked about anything related to his job but instead about the house, cooking, crazy animal antics or furniture moving mishaps. I would go back to those instant messages that I learned to save and read them days later looking for hints of despair or signs of stress. I saw only my own.

Thankfully, time did not stand still. On May 5th, 2007 my son and a couple hundred of his friends stepped off the bus in California. His beautiful bride found him in that crowd of hundreds and ran into his arms. My anticipation of seeing him was not unlike the day he was born. I hugged him as hard as I could as long as I could without looking like a mom over the edge. I did a quick check for any new scars on his face or hands and was relieved to see none. My eyes watered, but I did not sob or pass out or wail like I thought I might. And now I am relieved to say; I don't have to die. No more melodrama for me please.

The interesting thing is that the fear has not passed. It's like a bad cold that will not go away. I told my son to expect me to keep worrying for a while. I will tell him to be careful driving, skateboarding, swimming, walking, and breathing. He understands I think when I just have to say to him; tie your shoes son, so you don't trip and break your neck. Okay?
Katie Wigington

Dear Sgt Grit,

Another Marine Mom said that "When our sons volunteer, we as moms are drafted". Maybe that's true, but I wouldn't trade being a Marine mom for anything. I've never met a finer bunch of people. I hope that this family will be as much of a blessing to you, Mark, as it has been to me.

God bless you and good luck.
Mom to the Corps

Sgt Grit I thank you for your newsletters and write to you so u can post this message on your newsletter.

I was born in Bogotá, Colombia but I came legally to the U.S. at the age of 11 I'm now 15 and a legal resident awaiting to become a citizen.

Right now I can't wait to finish High School so I can join and become a Marine.

I get very mad when ignorant people from my school tell me stuff like "why u wanna fight for Bush" or stuff like "ha ha u gonna go and get killed by those Arabs" ; I really think that commentaries like these are so disrespectful to veterans and servicemen who fight for our beloved America; I guess people who make those kind of comments don't understand the sacrifice man and woman make to fight and defend this country and that the freedom most of they give for granted isn't free at all but that it comes at the cost blood from those who serve our country in the military.

My condolences to all parents of wounded or killed sons/daughters in this war against terrorism.
God bless America and God bless the United States Marines.
PS: Ohh Rahh to the Marines and thank you to all in the military for serving my country.

and last but not least thank you AMERICA
Hebert Pelaez
Deerfield Beach, Florida

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
Mark Twain

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

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

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