The man who will go where his colors go, without asking who will fight a phantom foe in the jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. ...His pride is in his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face...and his obedience is to his orders. He has been called United State Marine.
T.R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War-

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Thank you for the newsletter I receive every week in my email. I love reading the letters, even though most make me cry. My son Cody graduated MCRD San Diego on Aug 3. It was a wonderful two days we spent there watching the new Marines receive their Eagle, Globe & Anchor, and watching them graduate. I have never been prouder of my boy than I was then.

Cody was eleven years old when 9/11 happened. We all sat there that morning glued to the TV, not quite believing what we were seeing and unable to turn away. My other kids asked questions but Cody just sat quietly. When I finally decided they had seen enough, I sent them outside, then Cody turned to me and said, "Mom, I'm going to be a Marine. This won't ever happen again when I'm a Marine."

I told him that was a nice thought, but I was sure that he would change his mind about what he wanted to be when he grew up a thousand times over, but he didn't. He graduated high school on Feb. 23 at age 16 because a recruiter told him he could join the Marines at 17. On April 7, Cody turned 17, it was a Sunday, and the next morning he joined. Signing for him was the hardest thing I've ever done, but he had worked so hard to be a Marine and had never wavered from his resolve to serve his country.

On May 7, much too soon for me, he was on his way to boot camp. He was the youngest recruit they ever had there. The next 13 weeks were the most difficult of my life. Graduation and the 10 days leave he had were a blur of activity and went by much too quickly before he was on his way back to Pendleton for SOI, and then to Camp LeJeune, or so we thought. Three days into SOI his orders were changed from demolition to sniper school and he arrived in Maryland yesterday morning.

The reason I am writing this is because of a letter from a Marine mom who wrote you about the treatment at boot camp by DI's. Cody told me about boot camp, about the training, and about the whoopins' they all got and as much as I hated hearing it, I know that what he learned in boot camp from those tireless and dedicated drill instructors may very well save my son's life, and those of his fellow Marines. As much as I hate it, I know Cody will wind up in Iraq, and I know I will feel much better about it knowing that Cody and his fellow Marines have been trained by the best.

Thank you to all the Marines who have served this country past and present. God bless you and keep you.
Marie M. Antlers, OK

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving the peace."
George Washington

Sgt Grit,
I served with Charlie Company 1st Tanks in RVN in 1967-1969 and my son was with 2nd Tanks 1st Mar Div in Iraq during Iraqi Freedom. My son-in-law was a stateside Marine. 3 years ago we lost our daughter and grandson to a train/auto accident and just on August 24th lost another son to a trucking accident. It was a day after attending the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association Reunion in Las Vegas. I emailed a friend that had attended the reunion informing him of our loss. We've had tons of cards, emails, and flowers sent since he put it on that web site. My former CO, Charlie 6 sent a card and flowers even though I had not seen him for 39 years. I was still "One of his men". I received cards from the AT's that were members of the association. Closer to home I had Marines that I knew pick up relatives that had flown into Tulsa (90 miles away) and transport them to our house. The Commandant of the Indian Nations Detachment of the Marine Corps League, Johnny Nix, has been exceptionally helpful during our loss. My Marine Corps family has been so very supportive during our loss. Without them we may have not been able to make it through this crisis.
It doesn't matter if you've served 40 years ago or if your just a recruit, when you are a Marine your Marine Family will be there for you. Semper Fi Marines. Thank God he made me a Marine.
P. A. Morris, Sr.
Sergeant of Marines
2318350 1967-1969, RVN 12/67-01/69

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"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink."
George Orwell

As a former 0311, 8511, 8531, hard charging Marine from 1973 to 1977 when the times "they were a changin," I have had the good fortune to witness our beloved Corps in transition. As a squad leader with Charley 1/4, 1st platoon at the end of 'Nam, I served with some of the finest young men that ever walked the face of the earth. These were volunteers ( as was I ) to liberate and free an oppressive communist regime that had no respect for the individual life. They would kill anyone and everyone that did not regurgitate their political rhetoric. This was a fact of life in Viet Nam - and still is. We knew that and that is why we were there. We are a people that so loves freedom that we will sacrifice our finest so that others not so fortunate may experience the joy of life and of a free will. This is what we stand for and continue to die for today. It's not about oil, anymore than it was about rice back then. It's about the right of self determination and the freedom to disagree with the government. Every man and woman that has given that ultimate sacrifice has charged us with that responsibility. Their ghost do haunt us today and they are saying "fight on, don't quit and do not let our sacrifice be in vain". I hear these voices and they are my brothers and sisters that are still alive today because we will not let them die. We can not let our lives be diminished by letting those that went before have no voice in the present. This is our duty to them and to our country, which is why each one of us alive today must not be silent. We are the voice from the grave and we will not let our brothers and sisters lay silent. We were right then and we are right now. We did not lose then and we will not lose now. We quit then, we must not quit now.

Sgt. D. R. George
Semper Fi

To the Marine mom who said, "I am ONLY the mother of a Marine..." You are ONLY the one who made him the kind of person who has what it takes to be a Marine. From your views on how boot camp ought to be...your Marine must be proud of you!

Mark Lurtsema
USMC Rifleman 1980-RIP

Dear Sgt Grit;

I see from time to time in your great News Letter a jab at the Marine that can cry.........

As a 82 year old I can remember many Marines that did not ever have a tear in their eye,

They are the kind of Marine I did not care to be around, I had a tear in my eye many times,

The day I left the farm, The day I got into the home town on leave,

As a boy I stood beside the grave of my grandfather, I was 10 years old, a tear came to my eye,

my father held my hand in a very tight grip and told me. "men don't cry". we never showed any affection

in my family, never a hug, that was not what Men do.

When I was on the grinder at PI in 44 at graduation,,,,,,,,as that flag passed I got a tear in my eye, I hoped nobody noticed,

In The fall of 45 when we were on the racetrack for the Japanese surrender, In Tsingtao China, there was that tear in the corner of my eye, "I never told anyone," In the fall of 46 when we saw the lights of San Diego while I was standing Guard Duty, there came that tear again.

To this day when I see the lights of the Harbor there, I remember that feeling,

In those days you did not see one man give another a hug, Remember we were men and you did not show affection.

Twenty years later when my son in the Navy flew out of LAX on his way back to his ship the thought came to me,

I never have hugged that young man and told him that I loved him. He was killed and I never got that chance,

I learned a lot after that, MEN DO CRY, and this old China Marine can tell others that he cares, Oh yes when that

American Flag comes past there is a tear in my eye, a lump in my thought, and at 82 I am not ashamed to cry..

Please Pray For Our Marines and as a old man I have learned that My best friend is a person with a heart.

Gods Blessings from a old Marine that can cry when he needs to,,,,,,,,Rusty Hoeck

"There are two different kinds of people in this world: those who finish what they start, and...."
Brad Ramsey

Dear Sgt. GRIT

I am writing concerning the letter written by a proud Marine Mom.

Her letter to the concerned Marine Devil Dog Day about whether his son is a Lackland or MCRD was rude and uncalled for.

For her to tell him to mind his own business concerning the rewards for doing well and to but out was not only disrespectful but belligerent as well.

We as Marines have the right to question the training methods of the instructors today. We have paid for the right with our blood. Just because her son has gone through Boot Camp does not give her right to question us on what we feel is important in the training of today's Marines.

I fell that the Marine Mom should apologize, to the Marine Devil Dog Dad and to all of the Marines Past, Present and Future for her outburst.

S/F A MARINE 1967-1971 Cpl Viet Nam 68-69

Sgt Grit,

I was never a Marine or in the Navy. I am in the Army. I was an 11b (infantryman) in the 82nd and the 101st. While I was deployed to IRAQ with the 101st/1-187 INF I was injured by a mortar blast. The Corpsman who patched my butt up was from a Marine unit that we were supporting and I to this day still remember his name and wish him the best in his career. (DOC Garcia) to this man I owe my life. I will always hold the Marines and their "docs" to a high standard that my family to this day still values. I am the black sheep in my family as I joined the Army and not the Marines.

Sgt Watson, Dalton
US Army

Hi Sgt. Grit-

I having been reading your newsletters and appreciating all of them. I still have my feet wet when it comes to the Military lifestyle. My son graduated MCRD earlier this year - OOHRAH! I am so proud of him in all the accomplishments he has made. For him and all of the other Recruits Boot Camp was not a picnic. It was tough! The SDI were hard, and there was a lot of IT. I wrote lots of letters and received several. I have read newsletters that recruits are receiving fast food, my son did not. He did not have anything fried, he still has a problem eating it. They did not have much free time, maybe an hour in the evening, but that was time to wash, clean, write letters, shower. Not much time to relax. I feel that the boys that were turned into men during those 13 weeks are amazing Marines and SDI should be praised for the work they do. Those yellow foot prints are forever etched into my son's memories, as well Black Friday. It was the worst time of his life and the best. He is a better man for it. I will say that he did mention that the following group after him was going to have it a bit easier, and did not think that would benefit them. I do not know what is going on now during Boot Camp, but I know that my son worked hard. He lost a total of 23lbs. I agree that I hope that the newly trained Marines that are receiving a kinder training will survive during war. Thanks for listening.

C. Miller
Very Proud Marine Mom of PFC Joe

"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow."
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison

Striking similarities to current day coverage and attitudes:

General Giap was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military.

The following quote is from his memoirs currently found in the Vietnam war memorial in Hanoi :

"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media were definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"

"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 am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."
- Robert E. Lee, 1863

Regarding the letter from Concerned Devil Dog Dad Thursday August 31, 2007 issue who was wondering if his son was at "Lackland" instead of MCRD. My thoughts are that his concerns in a movie or food reward are misguided ~ I would be concerned more about the food served from Pizza Hut or McDonalds being unhealthy & noting else. They are indeed entitled to a competitive reward for work hard done. Either way, yes it is what is expected of them but lighten up ~ use your concern to the Drill Instructor (if you have such control issues that you feel you have to stick your nose into it) as to what type of food is served or butt out as to how they run their camp.

Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Ever Failing, But In Rising Up Every Time We Fail ~

Yours Truly,
Proud Marine Mom

Sgt. grit. I am troubled with the thought that a few whiny recruits, crying to their mommas; which in turn has demanded change to a few kiss&%s senators and congressmen. Thus mandating the tradition of the Corps to be manipulated by citizens and politicians is an atrocity. The United States Marine Corps has always been the toughest military basic training. What's next? Giving them "time out" cards so when they go off to defend this country, they can wave the little card at the enemy and get a time out from being shot at? Come on...where is the leadership of the Corps? I think the commandant of the Corps needs to regroup. I think that politics and politicians need to keep their noses out of military issues related to how each military command conducts their training. This country had the VietNam war in sight of winning it and threw it away because of political pressure as well as other issues unbeknownst by most. When they give johnny a "time out" card to wave in boot camp; maybe he'll wave it " on point' while on patrol ridiculous as that sounds; I'm afraid that is what's next. Then that senator or congressman that pulled political rank on our Corps should be made to accompany when the parents are notified that "johnny" was KIA. Then let's see just how cowardly that senator or congressman actually is. I love the Corps with every fiber of my being. I served in the Corps and I thank each and every man or woman that has done so before me , during, and after. Semper Fi
C H Lambert earned my EGA in early 73 and d*mn proud of it
NOTE: Keep the mice out of the soup and you won't have to taste the vermin.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin, 1759

This is a letter that was posted on the 3/7 website by the C/O, Lt. Colonel Craig Covert, when my son was on his first deployment in Iraq in 2005. They are back again, doing what they do best. I think the article says it all.
Dan Proud Marine Father of Corporal Chris (my hero!).

Giants among Men

I interviewed some pretty incredible Marines over the last two visits with 3/7. They are typical of young fleet Marines. Cocky and filled with bravado, they call themselves an "old guy" or a "senior Marine" as a Lance Corporal (E-3) or Corporal (E-4). I chuckle to myself, as many were merely toddlers when my troops and I deployed for our first wartime experience during Operation Desert Shield. They enlisted in 2003, their recollection of September 11th simply a distraction that captivated their parents while their attention was focused on their next algebra exam or football game at school.

Barely out of high school, the youth of these young men is apparent. They love their video games and Sony Play Stations; they boast about their girlfriends and make plans to get an apartment with 3 or 4 of their friends when they return to CONUS, splitting their expenses to save for beer and parties. Yet outside the wire, they magically transform into completely different individuals. Gone is the boyish grin, the horseplay and the thoughts of home. These attributes are replaced with steely grit and determination, strength and courage. They are all business, every bit of energy and every ounce of concentration focused on the mission and the safety of their fellow Marines.

These young men have experienced things that took my generation an entire career to experience. Major Bradford Tippett, the Battalion Operations Officer, summed up the actions of the Marines in his unit who do the job "no one else wants to do." To liberally quote Major Tippett, "...the Marines do a job they don't fully understand, but they know has to be done. The odds are often against them. They are scared and afraid but go out and do what's required of them. The same kid, the same young men you wear out for getting drunk and stupid at 29 Palms is the same kid, who after a firefight, has done things that only giants of men do when they are here. They've done things we've only read about in the annals of history; that we've read about in the award citations from Guadalcanal and the Chosin Reservoir, things we wondered how anyone could do. I've seen it. I've watched these men, these Marines, do extraordinary things. They do phenomenal tasks that the American public will never have a full appreciation for, but should forever be appreciative of. These Marines are doing what they won't. They are giants among men."

Ummm...NO. They are not entitled to anything until they finish earning their new title of Marine. If they win competitive drill or the rife range because they do a better job than the other platoon but still a poor performance overall, I would expect the DI to drill them until they fall.

When they cross that parade deck and claim the title Marine, then they may claim entitlements. Until that time, they need to shut up and learn what their DI is teaching; it may be all that saves their lives.

Myrna Richmond
Sgt USMC 89-96

P.S. Really? Fast food in boot camp?

"Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle."
Thomas Jefferson

To Ryn Riddle, Proud wife of MSgt. Brian Riddle

Dear Ann,

I'll tell no stories of war, I've no need to testify on behalf of the pain of dedication displayed by warriors. I'll only signify that I understand, at the deepest level of my body, mind, and spirit, that war does change one, and when death becomes an intimate. I will tell you now, at the start of this letter, that there is a hope out there. That I re-found my faith and belief in God and my fellows, and in my self. But that journey was a long one.

I'll instead say that I too wandered in the always ready, check your weapons and ammo mode for many years. I never entered a store, restaurant, movie theater or bar without scoping out the back door and what could I hide behind, if... always the "if". Regardless of the reality of the situation, I had to be always ready to react to threats.

See, it's that "What if..." that grinds you down. It's about ALWAYS being ready for the threat that deadly won experience tells me is around the bend. It is a mind set rooted in fear. But such a thing cannot be, for you are a warrior, like it or not, understand it or not. Some acknowledge the fear, some resolutely turn their minds form it, but all who struggle and fight in deadly earnest are forever molded by the things that HAD to be done to survive. I lived that you see, for far to long, trying to ignore the root cause of my discontent. In avoiding the pain, and the fear, the loss and grief, I ignored the beauty, wonder, and peace that surrounded me if I could but see it. I loss my faith in God and even worse, in my self.

But I was lucky. Others had been there before me and I was fortunate to find a group of men who understood.

I'll tell you that through the grace of God, a lot of therapy with other vets at our local County Vet Center, a stint at the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress (at Menlo Park, California), a lot of prayer and hard work something changed. That something is, sorrowfully, rather an indistinct quality. But it manifests as a sense of honor, a sense of acceptance and gratitude.

Warriors are, in my experience, more sensitive than most men (and women, but I cannot comment on them, I haven't the clarity of vision of what a woman feels after the deadly shadow has passed over them). Sensitive in a way that seems almost instinctive, that sees their fellow man as an individual. You are taught see the "enemy" as a caricature, an abstract.

But when faced with the reality of bodies, blood, pain and violent death, when you, the living, must deal with those, the dead, that sensitivity must hide so that it can survive.

Things will never return to " they were before he departed August 31,2005", you cannot stuff the genie back into the bottle. You must learn to live with it. But one can regain their sense of honor and gratitude. Again, I hesitate to give advise for I am an expert in only one case; mine. But I have seen others who have found that their dedication to their country, their Corps, themselves and to God, can be regained. I was told "Acceptance is the key". This simple phrase hold vast field of understanding, but it is not an easy one to understand.

There is a path back to the joy of living. It's twisted and dark sometimes, but with patience and help one can fine the way back to joy.

I'm rambling here, it's 3 AM and my wife is sleeping, the house is quite, and I am probably not making too much sense. I wanted to write to you while the emotions were fresh. I want to bless you and your husband, and give my humble and sincere thanks to you both for the sacrifices you've given to our country, our Corps, and from yourselves. MSgt Riddle, may God bless you, hang in there, allow yourself all benefit of doubt, and thank you, Sir.

John Wagner, once L/CPL "Wags", 2nd Force Recon '67, 1st Air Delivery Plt. '67-'69, #2298163

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."
James Madison

This is written in response to Mrs. Ryan Riddle and the change that took place in her husband, Master Sergeant Riddle, after his return from Iraq. My step son was in the initial invasion of Iraq and returned in much the same way. He is a policeman and one day had to attend a critical stress management seminar for police officers. It turned out to be a life changing thing for him and is a course that I wish they taught to all military members and their spouses. The short form of it goes like this:
Picture two parallel lines running from left to right. These two lines represent stress and most of us operate between the two lines with the everyday ups and downs of life. On occasion, when walking down a dark street in a strange city, your stress level may go above the top line into hyper-stress. Below the lower line it goes into lethargy. Now a policeman, or a military man in combat, just about always is operating in the hyper-stress zone as his life depends on it. The adrenaline is flowing and the senses are acute. When he comes home or is back at his base he passes through the normal stress zone and goes into the lethargy level. In the civilian world he resorts to the "magic chair" and probably the TV remote.
"Honey, mom called and she and dad want to know if we are coming over Sunday?" "I don't care." "Honey, what would you like for supper?" "I don't care."
The man in the magic chair does not interact with his family. The only time he feels alive is when he is with his buds, someone who has walked where he has walked and understands what he has seen. The family winds up taking second place and he has no interaction with them.
This was the case of my step son but when he took this course he recognized that the instructor was talking about him and that the problem that was destroying his marriage was him. The instructor pointed out that his family had not walked where he had walked and could never understand the depths of what he had experienced but they were his life and his love and he must force himself to interact with them. He must get out of the magic chair and attend the soccer games with his son, attend the church, talk with his wife about the things that are happening in her world. After all, if she can't talk with him about the things that bothering her, who can she talk to?
I served twice in VN but I was an attack pilot and cannot place myself in the same boat as what my grunt counterparts went through. I can, however, recognize the value of what my step son experienced and the turn around that took place in him when he realized that he was placing himself as the victim and that everything that was happening to him was because, "They don't know what they are doing!" Life isn't peaches and cream and everyone has their share of problems. If you allow yourself to become the victim then you view everything with a, "It's their fault," and in reality, because of that attitude, you tend to give up on yourself and become the victim.
Don't become the victim, don't give up to the magic chair and forget those that love you. Remember that they have lives too. No, they did not experience the things that you did and never will. Be proud of what you have done to ensure that they never will have to experience those things, but reengage them in your life. You, Master Sergeant, owe it to them for they are what you fought for.

Col. D. R. "Duke" Stanton, USMC (Ret.)

"[P]oliticians gave us the idea that the things we could not afford individually we could somehow afford collectively through the magic of government."
Thomas Sowell

Was reading the letter sent by proud Papa, had to look to see if it was written by myself. My grandson is half way through recruit training also and I write him the first and last of each week. send jokes and what ever. He graduates in mid Oct. he is 3rd Bn. Mike Co. Plt 3267. letters have changed from poor me to marching on to becoming a Marine tonight. Only 10 days separated our leaving for boot camp his July 23 mine Aug 2 , 51 years apart about the same time for graduation. Only a true disaster will keep me away from that graduation on Oct 19. Already have our rooms reserved.
also a Proud Papa

Smilin_Bob Young

From my son Cpl. Cotter back from Iraq in Feb 2007 - signed for another 4 when he was there - what should have come to an end this August - is now an extension of what a young hero believes - That a Marine is a Marine and nothing less will do.

We will pay tribute to his cousin Sgt. John G, Scharf, USMC this Sept 11th - -murdered in the towers. We will stand at the footprints for maybe the last time - and remember a fine man - a fine Marine - And the thoughts of all who are fighting for our cause - will be with us - Please Marines - Say a prayer for Sgt. Scharf on that day - the anniversary that he was taken from us. A fine Marine and a Fine man - we were honored to be a part of his life.

The lesson is this: if you fail to fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose it inevitably... Stop thinking about how to not lose. Think about how to win. Jed Babbin

Sgt Grit: I enjoy, as do all Marines who read your letter, the success stories, the trials and the pride of fathers and grandfathers who attend a graduation ceremony for their own family members who are keeping the tradition alive. Family Business

When my son finished high school he spoke to a Marine Recruiter and then came home to discuss it with me. While my chest swelled at his selection of the Corps for his inquiries, I had one question and that was what his goal in life would be. He said he wanted to be a doctor and to have a military career and I informed him the Corps has no doctors. Lots of bayonet operators but no doctors.

In 2000, I got to swear him in as an Ensign in the Navy Medical Corps and today he is a Flight Surgeon and Lieutenant, U.S. Navy Medical Corps and keeping up the tradition of service to Country. He did do some time with the Corps at Camp Pendleton during his Medical Training at Bethesda and says he will return again one day as a Battalion Surgeon. The attached is a picture of he and I at Newport, RI for his graduation from OIS. Our family has served in each of the services since WWII and continues to this day with over 110 years combined. A huge OOOORRAAAHHH to all Marines and families in service.

Jim McDonald
Plt. 248, MCRDSD
June to Sept, 1958

We are the extremely proud parents of Marine Sgt. Aaron Cook, currently serving with the VMFA(AW) 225, the Vikings, at Al Asad. He is our only son, the baby of the family, and we couldn't be happier that he chose the Marine Corps. Aaron left for Basic Training the same night of his high school graduation in June, 2003. Being a Marine was all he ever talked about or wanted from the time he was in 6th grade. No amount of talking or persuasion from anybody could change his mind. His first two or three weeks at Parris Island were rough on him, but his poignant note home to us telling us he decided it was "time to grow up, be a man, and get down to the business of becoming a Marine" made us cry. He has lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and now is stationed at MCAS Miramar in San Diego. We were able to be out in California when he left for Iraq, and we both admit that was the hardest thing we have ever seen--watching him walk away from us and his dear wife toward the buses that were to take his squadron to the plane. We also have never been as proud of him as we were at that time. Do we miss him?? Absolutely. Are we counting the days till he comes home? You bet! But would we have it any other way? Never. As Aaron told us "Mom, God is watching over me and my brothers just as much in Iraq as He is in San Diego!" Can't argue with statements like that. Our love, prayers, and thanks from the bottom of our hearts, go out to every Marine who has ever served and is currently serving now. We are proud of you!

Greg & Becky Cook
Parents to Sgt. Aaron Cook

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
Helen Keller

Leslie B. I read your letter in the September 6th issue. I agree with everything that you said. The older Marines that went through the tougher training are the ones that are concerned and worried about the way the Marine Corps is heading. It is getting soft and the new Marines just don't have the respect that they should have. My son went through boot camp 3 ½ years ago and feels that the Mothers of America are doing terrible harm to the Marine Corps. He had a junior Marine under him and reprimanded him by making him do push-ups and also did them with him. The Marine couldn't keep up and couldn't do them. He complained to his aunt, who was a higher up in the Marines and my son got in trouble and almost lost rank because of it and got fined a lot of money. This is just ridicules. That is what their job is, to teach them discipline. My son was going to reenlist, but won't now because of the way the Marines is going. It is very sad. I think that they are loosing a lot of good men. I believe my son would have made a career of it.
Cindy S.
Very Proud Marine Mom of 2, Cpl James S and PFC Kristen

I guess you could say it's a from of flattery that so many want to brag that they belong to something so great as the Marines. What a slap in the face though to all those who have struggled through the rigors of boot camp and the violence of war and earned the right to brag about being a Marine, but choose not to.

My Mom sent me this little story the other day and I thought I'd pass it along in light of all the phony Marine Tales. Cute!

Talking USMC Dog

A guy is driving around the back woods of Tennessee and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: "Talking Dog for Sale " He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
"You talk?" he asks.
"Yep," the lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says "So, what's your story?"
The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA and they had me sworn into the toughest branch of the armed services ..the United States Marines know one of their nicknames is "The Devil Dogs". In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders; because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.
I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running, but the jetting around really tired me out and I knew I wasn't getting any younger. So, I decided to settle down. I retired from the Corps (8 dog years is 56 Corps years) and signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
"Ten dollars," the guy says.
"Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"
"Because he's a liar. He never did any of that stuff. He was in the Air Force.

By the way, my active duty nephew will be leaving late September for his second tour in Iraq. I pray for his safety and that of all our men and women serving is this war.

Proud Marine Aunt B

"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed."
Alexander Pope

Sgt. Grit,

Re: Former Sergeant Groswold's "Ask to see the pictures" method of spotting phonies. Not all of us have pictures anymore. Following my medical discharge after 14 years of active service, my civilian careers seemed to follow the Marine Corps way; move every 12-18 months. Ready or not.

After two ex-wives, 17 moves, 3 apartment fires, what few pictures I had went by the wayside. Since I was a photog while in, I took more pictures than were taken with me in them. Only upon my last re-up did I get a grip-and-grin, and only because I set up on a tripod and used the camera's timer delay.

While I was in RVN from 10 March, 1966 to 15 August, 1968, I don't even have my cruise books anymore.

I'd love to have pictures from my time (30 June, 1964 - April 30, 1980) in our beloved Corps, but I have nary a one. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this predicament, but don't even think about calling us phonies. After all, who was first ashore, John Wayne, or the photog?

Semper Fi, brothers and sisters,

R. James Martin, former GySgt
Euless, Texas

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I have always appreciated getting your newsletters and reading the exploits of such fine Marines. As a "squid" with 18 years service, my most memorable times have been on the "Green side" at Marine Corps bases, such as Camp Pendleton and the Mountain Warfare Training Center (Pickle Meadow).

I recently separated from service with the local VA hospital after 15 years. It is truly the most honorable work I have done, as I consider the veterans there my friends and family, not just my patients.

My Marine patients in particular have been the finest gentlemen I have ever known, possessed of Honor, Courage and Commitment in their dealings with me and their fellow warriors. Marine Corps esprit de corps continues WAY after active service. These guys would give you the shirt off their back, and every one of them has shared how they would gladly pick up a rifle again to serve in Iraq, if Uncle Sam would let them.

My thanks to these "few, proud men" who gave to me far more than I ever gave to them.

Semper Fi, Marines! Job well done.

CDR J.M. (Doc Mike) Smith, USNR

We make a Living by what we get, we make a Life by what we give.

"Every man dies. Not every man really lives."

Sgt Grit I am a former Marine Sgt Phillippi 1st battalion 10th Marines Charlie Battery " SO HARD CHARLIE " as my Battery Gunny always called us . I love the website and the quotes and motivation on here is great these are all things that were up on my cork board in my barracks room and through the years have found there way into a box in the attic. I have been in management for some years now and have found that being a leader of Marines has taught me great life lessons. I am a very high energy person and still shed a tear when I hear the National Anthem for it holds a special place in my heart as I am sure every Marine who ever defended this great country. It burns me up to see the caliber of young men who are making there way into the work force these days they have no discipline, no character, and no initiative or drive . They have been handed everything in there lives and expect guys in my position to do the same. I understand that we are in a different time and my time was different from those before me I was 17 years old when I joined the Marines and my parents did not hesitate to sign the waiver they proudly wrote there name on the dotted line as well as I . The point of this letter is to tell you the people who I come into contact with on a day to day basis CEO's and presidents 50% of these guys are former Marines the employees that are at the top of the food chain in my company are former Marines. I guess what I am saying is even though we are not wearing the uniform anymore we are still running this country and somewhere in my heart that gives me hope for this country. I wished I could let every young Marine know that what he learns from the Marines might not always land him the greatest job but with drive and determination they have will always make them shine above his peers and that people such as myself will take notice and advance these people faster than the average American. It is these qualities the back bone of the Marine Corps which sets us apart from any other branch of service and all other civilians that make us great and show that we have no limitations and can truly accomplish any mission handed to us. Keep up the good work I will be posting these quotes all over my office and spreading that motivation to all others who want to hear it.
Jason Phillippi

"Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark."
Walter Lippmann

Have been meaning to say how proud I am to have been fortunate enough to win a bag of Iwo Jima Sand.
My being navy retiree makes me feel 100 percent more proud that I won.
On board President Jackson APA18 during Inchon invasion, we carried elements of the 5th MarDiv. Having only four ship's company radiomen, we asked Marine radiomen if they could help us during the voyage. Since that time, I have been wishing I had joined the Corps. If any of those troopers are still around, I want to say I have not forgotten any of them. God bless them. Just wanted to say thank you.
Always rooting for the MarCorp
Acuna, Frank RM1 USN Ret.

Earlier this year I attended a Marine Corps reunion in South Carolina. One of the planned events was graduation at MCRD Parris Island. We assembled at "Oh my god it's early" and drove down in the dark for the ceremony. If you have never been back to PI or "Hollywood" it is well worth the trip! We did not know any of the soon to be Marines personally but our family increased greatly that day. What a sight! Talk about a feeling that all is well in the world. There stood 5 companies of recruits. Looking like Marines in every way except the title which was soon bestowed upon them. Several parents were surprise when old men wearing Marine Corps covers or shirts would step up to their son or daughter and greet them with "Congratulations Marine". There were a few "Thank You Sir's" but most responded with "Semper Fi".

Sleep well America. The names have changed but the Marine Corps stays the same.

One old Hollywood Marine.
69 - 71.

"The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green."
Thomas Carlyle

Sept. 6, 2007

Two years ago today my oldest son stood on those infamous yellow footprints at MCRD San Diego.

Yes, I was scared and concerned for our son, not sure what his future would bring.

Then the first letters started arriving. At first he felt it was a mistake, but soon we could see the letters start to change. A new sense of accomplishment and pride started to show through. Then our son broke a bone in his foot at the beginning of the 8 mile hike with full pack. He finished that hike with a broken foot and was proud to say he was not the last one to finish the hike. He then spent the next 8 weeks in the medical recovery platoon. It took all the strength I had not to just go get him and bring him home. (and my husband hiding my keys.)

Of course he got very discouraged at first, but by the time he was back in training he was the most motivated recruit and we knew he would make it.

Then came the big day, the day we watched our son receive his Eagle Globe & Anchor! Only one day in his young life meant more than that day and that was the day he was born. I could not be more proud of our son, and I love meeting new people so I can tell them my son is a US Marine!

I still don't know what our sons future will bring with the Marine Corps but I know he has the finest training in the world and the best men and women watching his back wherever he goes. A mother can't ask for more than that.

I pray every day for all our Marines and say a special prayer for the drill instructors who train these fine men and women.

God Bless all our Marines.

Happy anniversary son!

Mom of LCPL 24th MEU

I will certainly honor your Marine since I now have two sons fighting for the cause in that God forsaken country of Iraq. I know how I would feel if one of my own had perished. I would have certainly felt the tragedy but would have known that HE DIED WITH HONOR AND FOR THIS COUNTRY, regardless of who disagrees.

Semper Fi ---- OOorrah!

Mary Vander Veer
Mother of two Marines

"Don't you think the road commissioner would be willing to pay my wife something for her recipe for pie crust?"
Calvin Coolidge

I just wanted to say thank you. I have been searching for the hat pin (American/Marine Corps Flags) since my son decided to join the Marine Corps last year. He just left yesterday for Parris Island to begin boot camp and I am a very proud Mom. I come from a proud military family (all Navy men except for this son). Thank you for the catalog and I know that I will be ordering more. American / Marine Corps Flag

Thank you for the service you gave for this country.

God Bless,

A proud military, daughter, wife & mom

Debbie Van Cleave

Marine Corps News

Marine, detective, professor - Marine again?
Aug. 18, 2007; Submitted on: 08/18/2007 12:22:06 AM ; Story ID#: 20078180226

By Cpl. Andrew Kalwitz, 2nd Marine Logistics Group

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Aug. 15, 2007) - CWO 5 Christopher Harty stands atop his workspace in Iraq overlooking the American and Iraqi flags. The 56-year-old was recalled from retirement for the second time to serve a deployment here as a liaison officer. Even though the Medford Lakes, N.J., native retired from the Marine Corps and police force in 2000, he continued to work as a college professor and for the state before again volunteering his services to the Corps.

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Aug. 18, 2007) -- Most people in Christopher Harty's position might choose just to get paid while taking it easy on a Florida beach. Though the option was available to the Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 5, he seems to find greater satisfaction in hard work. Not an often desired feature for a retirement package.

After more than 30 years of military service, the 56-year-old retired and began working with New Jersey's Department of Treasury, Division of Taxation and Office of Criminal Investigation. He left that to go back to work for the Corps January 2004 with the Logistics Resource Coordination Center, Installation and Logistics, Headquarters Marine Corps, an activated reserve unit.

This isn't the first time the Marine Corps has called upon the retired Vietnam veteran. He was also recalled for six months in April 2003, leaving behind his job at the Treasury Department as well as a position at Camden County College teaching Criminal Justice Studies.

Harty was provided the opportunity to deploy when the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned, or MCCLL, required a senior ranking Marine to serve here as a liaison officer for 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward).

"I put my meat-hook in the air and said 'Hey, pick me.' And they did," Harty said.

Over his 38 years of service, Harty preserved many of the characteristics he had when he enlisted at age 18. He certainly doesn't seem to have lost his willingness to serve his country.

"The whole reason I joined the Marine Corps at that time was to go to Vietnam," said Harty. "I never was, and I pray to God I never become, one who ducks an obligation. You get duties and responsibilities; you meet them, face them and do them. You might not always like it and it may not always be pleasant, but too bad."

Harty explained that enlisting in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam era not only allowed him to serve his country, but also had additional incentives as well.

Many employers refused to hire young men who didn't have draft deferments. This didn't leave Harty many options. Interview after interview, he was turned down for the likelihood of being drafted.

Harty also said he and his father had "a really contentious relationship," which also inspired him to join. His father, a former sailor, didn't approve.

"I was going anyway. When I joined, I was invited out of the house," Harty said. "Never went back. That's just part of life. That's how it is. Things happen."

Many things happened as the years went on. He enlisted January 1969 to serve as a repair shop machinist. Four years later, his contract ended and he began serving as a reservist and a uniformed police officer with the Cherry Hill Police Department in New Jersey. Harty earned the position of detective five years later.

Harty said he may have faced more dangers in Cherry Hill than he did with the Marine Corps. As a police officer, he sustained a shotgun blast to one hand and rolled a vehicle on the other during two separate incidents. But he didn't let Vietnam's dangers turn him off and he wasn't going to let New Jersey's either.

Shortly after making detective, Harty and his partner needed to apprehend a 17-year-old kid. After about a half hour of talking, the young man began moving toward his room where he had a bayonet collection. Harty had enough.

"I said, 'Ya know what? Talking's done.'"

That's when Harty made a move to strong-arm the juvenile, taking him down. Harty was able to apprehend the individual but sustained a serious injury during the melee. The suspect had struck Harty over the head with a telephone.

"Opened me up from one side to the other. I just drug him down the steps. Bled all over, but I still got him cuffed," Harty said. "...That was just one of the many times I came home kind of broke and battered. She was always there to kind of put the pieces back together."

The she Harty refers to is Monica Harty and the two have been married as long as he has been married to the Corps. He said he won her over by being "Mr. Warmth and Personality."

Harty considers himself to be very lucky for the wife he describes as a "strong, loving woman" who has been invaluably supportive, tending to his wounds whether physical or emotional.

The Harty's lost their oldest son, Chris, in 1995 to a vehicle accident. He was 25 years old. Harty described the loss as "a scar that never truly heals."

"It's something you learn to live with. Maybe that's what closure is; living with it," Harty said. "But life does go on. Not easily, but it goes on."

In addition to the loss of Chris, Monica has stood by her husband through the dangerous nature of his work, including military deployments and a law enforcement career that included approximately 17 years with the SWAT team.

"I have worried about him every time he left the house, but yet trusted that he was well-trained because of the training he received while in the Marines," Monica explained via e-mail.

She went on to explain she understood who and what she fell in love with. Though she worried for her husband's safety, she said she did not object to the service he so willingly provided.

"To prevent him from doing so would be unconscionable," she explained. "He would not be happy with himself and, if he is not happy, how can we be happy as a couple or a family?"

As much time as Harty may have spent away from his family, Monica explained that they have, in many ways, also benefited from his Marine Corps experience.

"The Corps had an immense effect on him as a father, husband, police officer and all around human being," she said. "He also instilled those qualities in his sons and continues to instill them in our grandchildren. "

Harty's guidance seems to have especially had an impact on his youngest son, Aaron, who served as a Marine Corps infantryman for four years.

"He never pressured me to enlist," said Aaron. "I could see firsthand, on a daily basis, the kind of positive impact the Marine Corps can have on a person. I knew I needed to be that kind of person. We are Marines through and through."

Harty returned from a deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm only two days before Aaron graduated basic training. He said he immediately headed south to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., to see his son graduate.

Aaron now has children of his own and a wife to help raise them.

"That's another woman who runs my life," Harty joked. "I have a great daughter-in-law who is a fine mother to those three grandchildren. So God's blessed me. I'm very, very fortunate."

Aaron also explained he feels fortunate. Not only to have his wife, but to have his father.

"He is one of the most dedicated, disciplined and motivated individuals around," he said. "Is it hard for all of us that he's over there again? Of course it is. But if I could, I'd be there too and I understand and appreciate what he's doing.

"I'm actually a little jealous," he said. "I miss him and look forward to him coming home."

Along with Aaron and the rest of the family, students at Camden County College in New Jersey await his return. Harty will resume his position there as a professor, which he formerly held from January 1996 until he was activated in 2003.

Until Harty returns home, the Marines around him are the closest things Harty has to both a teaching job and a present family.

"As far as family goes, they are a loose-knit group of relatives. As long as you're a Marine, you're always going to have friends when there are other Marines around," Harty explained. "But my wife thinks it's time for me to grow up and stop playing with the boys."

"The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be."

Sgt Grit:

Hot Springs Village will be celebrating the United States Marine Corps 232nd birthday, Nov. 10.

All Marines and former Marines and their spouses or significant others are invited to join in the traditional celebration of the Corps' birthday at DeSoto Club. Local Marines who have served their country in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will be honored. Entertainment will be by GySgt.Marcus Suggs.

If you would like to attend, call Bill Behan at (501)922-1474 or Col. Tom Donnelly at (501)915-0880. You can also pick up an invitation form at one of the local golf courses, restaurants, or the Property Owner's Association building. The cost for the event will be $37.50 each person or $75 a couple. If you are a local business and would like to sponsor an active duty Marine, contact Bill or Tom.
Semper Fidelis!
Semper Fi
Harold L Ramer

Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity.

O, that estates, degrees and offices

were not deriv'd corruptly !

And that clear honour were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!

William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice (1598 approx)

William Carey
Cpl of Marines 65-69

"Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."
Charlotte Bronte

One of my proudest moments was seeing my son's graduation day Nov 8th 2006 (my birthday). Boy seeing MCRD SD again brought back some memories I thought