"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997

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"There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away."
Winston Churchill


Dear Sgt Grit,
Having read some of the controversy in this last American Courage letter regarding boot camp and the DI's, I have to try and get my two cents worth in.
When my son graduated from boot camp (MCRD San Diego) and we met his DI's, he had the utmost respect for them, and they likewise for the new Marines they had just finished polishing. I was extremely touched at the level of care and concern the DI's seemed to have to each one of these new Marines. To this day, my son will tell you that the DI's made him a man. Yes, they can be hard on the recruits, but how the h&ll do you make a Marine without some pain? If it was easy, we'd all be Marines, right? My dad, who was in boot camp (also MCRD San Diego) sometime in 1943 will say the same thing. Yes, there was definitely some times when he hated his DI's, but he made it through Okinawa in WWII and the Korean War. If the DI's go soft on the recruits, Heaven help the Marine Corps. Heaven help the USA. If there are some moms out there who think the DI's are too cruel and hard on their children, then either don't sign the papers, or get a reality check. Your son or daughter's DI will be the one who will train them to stay alive on the battlefield, and in life in general.
God bless the Marine Corps and the DI's who make Marines. Thanks for letting me spout off.

Karey
Proud Marine Mom of former Sgt Tim
PS-to Marine Mom Marie, both my son and my dad were 17 when they went to boot camp.

"Once A MARINE MOM, Always A MARINE MOM"

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Hi Sgt. Grit,

Both of these quotes talk about a man's perception making all the difference in what he's endeavoring to do.

* "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." ~Marcus Aurelius~ "

* There is a verse in the Bible that says, "As a man thinketh...so is he."

These quotes speak precisely of what the Marine Corps is training recruits to do...rethink the combat situations they may find themselves in so they can survive and win with the least amount of pain/injury and loss. I for one agree with the Concerned Devil Dog Dad (in Thursday August 31, 2007 issue) who was wondering if his son was at "Lackland" instead of MCRD and with C. H. Lambert.

I don't know what they're doing with recruits now...but 4 short years ago they weren't doing that with my oldest son and he's been to the sandbox and back and is still alive and in once piece...thank you God. He calls me Momma Dawg and has bragged to his superiors that I cut him no slack. He has decided to re-up and his youngest brother is thinking of enlisting next spring. I hope they don't do the whole "grade-school rewards" type nonsense when he's in training. That's just flat out not reality and shouldn't be allowed...period!

I am a 4th generation Army brat who went through boot camp in the early 80's. Drill instructors not only train these young people about the realities of surviving chaotic, high-stress combat situations, but they also need to see if they will handle the minimal stresses (comparatively speaking) they give them in boot camp BEFORE they send them into combat where they will need to keep their minds straight to also defend their brother's in arms. I'm so sick of these whiney momma's and yes, daddy's too, who think boot camp and drill instructors are "so mean". My drill instructors are still two of my favorite people whom I will never forget. They showed me who I really was, and I ended up liking who I was. Boot camp is purposely designed to be difficult. As harsh as it is, you become a better, stronger person for having made it through. Mom's and Dad's...let your little boys or girls grow up and stop interfering with the training process.

I say, kick my son's butt and see what he's made of BEFORE you send him to any combat zone! Find out if he can handle it so he's not part of the problem for the other guys he's gotta fight next to...and so he doesn't get himself killed either. Do the same to the other recruits for my son's sake, PLEASE.

YES...I AM THE MOM in this case. If the Corps is gonna train my son, forget the good behavior treats/rewards...there won't be any such treats in the Sandbox and I want him to get used to that idea, pronto! I want my son dealing with reality straight up, not looking for rewards because he had the audacity to just show up. When the "war" is over and he's on that parade deck...that's the real reward because he knows he won a long hard battle...mostly within himself. When asked why I'd let my son join the Corps and go to war, my answer is; "Why won't you let yours? You're enjoying America's freedoms aren't you?" It's amazing to see the different looks I get. LOL! Sadly, though, not one has answered that question to my face.

Semper Fidelis,
Momma Dawg

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Sgt. Grit,

I enjoy reading your newsletters weekly. My son left for boot camp MCRDSD the day after he graduated from high school. I remember it like it was yesterday. He left June 6, 2005. He did his 13 weeks of boot camp, and graduated on time. My husband, myself & his girlfriend flew from Michigan to San Diego for his EGA ceremony & graduation. What a wonderful time that was! To see him after so long, and to see the confidence he had was truly amazing..

Like all moms, I worried about my son, but not to the extreme that some seem to. He was raised to be able to take care of himself. From the time he was 10 or 12 he was taught how to do his own laundry, and he was in the kitchen learning how to cook. He was certainly not "pampered". He was a 3 sporter in high school; baseball, football and wrestling, so needless to say, he was in very good shape. I never really worried about him being mentally or physically prepared for what lay ahead for him that 13 weeks. I put my faith in God to know that he would graduate on time, and that he would be safe.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: I don't understand any parent who thinks it should be ok to be rewarded for doing what's expected of a recruit in boot camp. McDonald's and pizza aren't things I would have wanted my son to be "rewarded" with...maybe an extra phone call home would have been nice, but I'm not complaining. Our sons and daughters MUST be trained to the BEST of the Marine Corps ability, otherwise, why bother? The Devil Dog's Dad was right. If they don't want the "tough" training that the Marine Corps is giving out, join the Air Force. I want someone guarding my sons back with the same tough training he had.

I also want to say "Thanks" to you for giving us such a wonderful newsletter every week. I so enjoy reading mine. I have suggested to a few friends that now have sons in the Marines to subscribe. I also want to thank you for a venue for dialogue on subjects that most people don't understand.

VPMM of my LCPL
Deidre


Hey Sgt. Grit, love the newsletters. There's been a recurring theme in here that's been bothering me a bit, and that's the scuttlebutt regarding boot camp, Drill Instructors, Stress Cards, Timeouts, swearing, hitting, etc... I was at MCRD San Diego as a recruit nine years ago today, and after I graduated and made it to the fleet, my senior Marines kept making incorrect assumptions about stress cards, timeouts, and anything else that would make a "boot" less of a Devil Dog than they are. I can tell you this as fact... in 1998 there were no stress cards, and the only timeout you could take was if you were drowning in the pool, and after you take the timeout you're still drowning, there's just an orange floaty thing above your head. There WERE black flag days where it was too hot to train outside in the sun, so instead you performed "SQUADBAY EAST", moved all of the racks to one wall, and performed C.O.D. in the squadbay.

The Drill Instructors did not swear, but were really good at "almost swearing" (frickin, stinkin, daggone, doggone, God dang, etc...)... Recruits were also not allowed to swear. Drill Instructors could not lay a hand on a Recruit unless the Recruit came within "one arm's distance", then it was whuppin' time if the D.I. thought the Recruit was a threat. I had a DI have me pretend I was the rifle rack and he was the deck, and I'd better not let that rifle hit the deck... I didn't, but I'm pretty sure he would have laid his hands on me had I hit him with my rifle. Anyway, my point is this: there has been stress card scuttlebutt for many years, but no evidence of stress cards.

Drill Instructors can't hit Recruits, but can defend themselves if necessary. No, you don't get hit, but you do have to walk around all day with a nice, sweaty, pile of sand in your skivvies after doing a little Incentive Training in the dirt. Regardless of whether or not "Old Corps" Marines had it tougher than "Boots" like myself, it's still the toughest, longest, and best training out there... far from the cakewalk that some on here have been portraying. Thanks for the forum, and I'll ask a friend of mine who is currently on the Drill Field if stress cards truly exist, or are a figment of our imagination.

Semper Fidelis, OOHRAH! KILL!

Sgt Francis M. Brown IV USMC
1998-2003
OIF-2003

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"Yea tho I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I fear nothing, for my Marines are with me"!
~The Texas Top


My son is a Marine. He has wanted to be a Marine since he was 5. We would sit and watch war movies together and he would tell me that someday he will be a Marine. First in, last out and he will protect me from anything that would hurt me.

When he was old enough to join and have us sign for him, he went on his birthday to join. He has never regretted doing this and he has never changed his mind. This little boy is now a Marine and serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

His father was unable to see his son go from this little boy to a Marine because of his health. He died before our son went to serve his second tour. I don't have much experience with the Corps, but I do know that the man my son is now is because of what he has learned in those hard days at boot camp. I feel very inadequate to make any judgments on anyone who has served, who is now serving and the direction this wonderful organization is going. I do know this; the man he is now is because of the hard times he faced there.

He told us once he thought many times of quitting but when he remembered his father and the brave fight he was in for his life; he would never quit if his dad would stay alive to see him graduate. He was not at graduation but he was able to see his son between tours. He saw his dad in March. His dad died in April. Bravery comes in many forms but my son is the purest example of what it means to be a brave man! At almost 21, he is more of a man then most. I am so proud of Ryan Reed Anderson, my son.

I am a very proud mother!

Ruthann Anderson


"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws-the first growing out of the last... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government."
Alexander Hamilton


Sgt Grit,
Thirty eight years ago, I was a 20 year old L/Cpl assigned to Golf 2/5, 1st Platoon, in the An Hoa basin in South Vietnam. As it has been well documented, 2nd LT. Peter Pace was a rifle platoon commander of the 2nd platoon. Recently I wrote to General Pace and covered our shared experience. I asked him if it would be possible to receive the Chairman's coin that he hands out when visiting military servicemen and women. His response was immediate. I received a package from the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In it was a letter to me from General Pace, a personalized autographed photo and the Chairman's coin. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. I had them put in a custom frame and have it proudly displayed in my home along with my other memorabilia from my service in the Marine Corps. I share this story with you because it speaks volumes about the leader and man that General Peter Pace epitomizes. This great Nation has been extremely fortunate to have a Man of his caliber as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Every Marine has the utmost respect and admiration for General Pace and I'm sure I speak for all Marines, past and present, in wishing General Pace and his family all the best in the future. Semper Fidelis.
Lewis D. Kaslow
Golf 2/5 1st Marine Division
68-70


And from the support the troops (wink, wink, nod, nod), hate the war crowd we have San Francisco:

Great site sent by my Marine buddy from our 1-9 days in Okinawa (Walt). I am ashamed to say that the City of S.F. mistreated our Nation's finest. The Marines wanted to shoot a recruiting commercial on California Street in S.F.and/or at the Golden Gate Bridge. The City film director- a female named Coyote wouldn't allow them to do so. She should be disciplined.

If you are so moved write a letter to the Mayor of S.F and/or your Congressional Reps to complain. SF grants permits to all kinds of decadent events on it's streets but won't issue a permit for the Marines who protect them. This is-to me- a wrong that needs response

Then Mayor's email address is: gavin.newsom@sfgov.org


Sgt. Grit,

To the mother who complained about the treatment of her son in Boot Camp...GROW UP, Woman! I sure wouldn't want your son covering the back of my Marine or any others, if he hasn't been trained properly. Get your nose out of something that isn't your business. Let the Drill Instructors do the job they were trained to do...make your son a Marine! They know better how to do that than you do. Certainly you may not like it, but that's your problem. Deal with it yourself. Knowing what your son is going through to be a Marine is what make YOU a Marine Mom. If your son can't earn the title of Marine by getting through all the Boot Camp entails, then you too, do not deserve the title of Marine Mom. You're both wusses.

I have two Marine sons of which I am very proud. The youngest is a LCpl serving in Artillery working with the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). While he has been home on medical leave he went back to visit his third grade teacher and her class. He was answering questions about what he does, and the equipment he works with. One of the questions was about the difference in cost between a practice round and 'the real deal', the latter being 5x more. The class was properly awed except for one little girl, who asked "Why don't you just use fireworks?" I'm sure those in charge of the military budget would appreciate that!

My prayers go out to those Marines serving our country, wherever that may be, and to their families awaiting their safe return.

Semper Fi!
Nancy Hutchinson
VPMM of 2


"Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in H&ll can overrun you!"
Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC
rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950


Dear Sgt. Grit.
My son graduated MCRD San Diego Sept. 14th 2007. The proudest day of our lives. To watch those young men march proudly across that parade deck, well... it is quite a sight. They leave home boys and when you see them 13 wks. Later they are by all rights young men. I understand that training is a lot less grueling now a days as my Marine husband has let us know. They did the story comparison and yes my husband did have a harder training. But my son had to learn discipline.

He had to learn to follow authority and to become a team player, that in itself is hard work. I don't know who is responsible for the difference in training but my son did mention that the instructors all blame "THE MOMS OF AMERICA", these are the same moms that raise whimpy football players and whiny co-workers. Shame on them. I know that the instructors at MCRD are amazing men and women, they can take a young boy/girl and make a young respectful man/woman out of them. My hat is off to them.

They deserve our respect and support. My son is home until the 2nd of October, here is a story that he told me just the other day. Josh (my son) and a fellow Marine Zac were out helping our local Recruiters, he (Josh) said that they stopped to eat lunch at Wendy's. He said that there was a young man wearing army camo's and that this young man was smiling when they walked in, but that when he saw them he simply put his head down and found a table to eat, I asked my son what did you say or do to him, he laughed and said nothing. Both, he and Zac were wearing their alfa's. He said they got their food and sat down to eat when an elderly gentleman approached them and said: "Excuse me, but what branch of the service are you in?" my son answered "We are Marines, sir" the gentleman said "I feel like such a traitor" my son asked "Why is that sir?" the gentleman answered "I joined the air force". My son said "that is still something to be proud of sir" the gentleman then replied "I would just like to thank you for what you are doing for our country" and left. My son thought that it was strange that he never did speak to the army gentleman. But he said very proudly: "its because we are Marines."
Proud Marine Mom... Jessie


My husband, Sergeant Tim Capehart, and I got married on May 19, 2007, and he got activated on June 1, 2007. He will be leaving for Iraq at the end of September, 2007, and I am heartbroken, but proud. I love me husband with all of my heart, and although I will miss him more than words can express, I am so proud of him. He is fulfilling a commitment to the country that he loves, something that so few are willing to do. He is a Combat Engineer with Alpha Company, 4th CEB out of Cross Lanes, WV and will be Support Tattoo deploying with 3/23 out of New Orleans. This is my husband's second tour of duty with his Corps, and I have been here holding down the home front while he is gone. I got this tattoo in support of him. I want the whole world to know just how proud of my husband I am. I showed it to a friend of ours who is a Gunny, and he teared up and told me that he wished everyone knew just how important the wives, girlfriends, etc are to the men that are overseas. He told me that we are the backbone of the deployed Marines. I completely agree. A lot of people focus on the guys, and rightly so, but they often overlook the wives that are left behind...it's hard for us too! I pray every day for my husband, along with every other Marine that is serving to protect my freedom. To all Marines past, present and future, thank you for your service. I owe you all a debt that I could never repay.

Semper Fi!
Stephanie Capehart


You should not honor men more than truth.
Plato


I have read with interest and amazement all the stories about Marine phonies.
Incredible. There is a simple solution, but who wants to bunk with OJ?

I was in a store this week, in my Grit gear and my cap "Proud Parent of a US Marine. Scruffy dude next to me is in gear as well, so I ask him what he was with. "Recon" Is this the standard response? "Where did you serve?" Panama and Granada and then I was wounded.

I'm just a dumb Marine dad. My kid went in at 27. I was never taught all the MOS numbers. Kid rattles off four numbers. Dad says "Great, but what the h*ll do you really do?" "I shoot big mortars, Dad." "Why didn't you say that in the first place?"

Did I come in contact with a fraud? Probably, and except for Sgt Grit and his readers I would have had no clue what a problem this was. I didn't know enough to resolve the issue, but I sure wanted to. Two other people in the store, genuine vets, knew the story.

Another story -- local grocery store. Guy bags, does odd jobs, brings in the carts from the parking lot. Sees me in my Grit gear loading my trunk and comes across the lot. Wants to shake my hand and have me thank my son for his service, and then turns to leave. I haven't verified this, but he says Chosin Few. Very reluctant to talk at all to me. I had to work hard to get "Korea" out of him. The phonies love to talk. James didn't. He just wanted to say "Thank You."

There isn't a single Sgt Grit newsletter that doesn't teach me something, make me smile, make me proud, or bring a tear. Keep it up.

Dennis -- proud Marine Dad


"Every day you meet a delegation going to some convention to try and change the way of somebody else's life."
Will Rogers


Hey Sarge,

I would like to relate to you a strange (keyword) incident that happened to me recently. While shopping with my wife, two daughters and grandson, I was approached by a gentleman who thanked me for my service. (I was wearing my 1st Marine Division Vietnam Veteran cap from Sgt. Grit) His wife asked when I served and I told them my tour. She allowed that her husband joined the military about the same time I did and was in country about the same time. The man then spoke up and said "but I wasn't a Marine. I was only a helicopter pilot." He then turned and walked off. The strange part was that this was the first time that anyone ever took the initiative to thank me for serving my country. Even stranger was that his remark left me with the feeling that I emasculated him in front of his wife. Why this man, who I guessed to be an Army chopper pilot, felt that he was a lesser person that me, I'll never know.

I have always had the utmost regard for pilots. These brave men NEVER talked down to me while on my tour. They were always down to earth and very amiable. I guess I should have stopped him and relayed these thoughts to him, but it didn't seem proper at the time. WE are all Nam vets no matter what branch.

Semper Fi,
Dan Buchanan
1969-71


"History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower


This is a reply to Mary Antlers from OK.

Mary,
I read the News letter every time it is published. I have received and read just about everyone since I deployed to Iraq in 2004. I served 8 years in the Marines from 1999 to 2007. I enjoyed every minute that I was in. I read your story about your young son Cody and felt compelled to share a couple of thoughts with you. I went to boot camp at Parris Island. There is no doubt that it was the hardest thing I ever did. I know that Cody got the best training there is and he learned the skills to help him through the tough times. The best thing you can do is support him just the way you are. I always have people stop and ask if I was in the Marines. My reply is I'm just not on active duty anymore I will always be a Marine just as your son will be. Cody has joined a Brotherhood that he will never be without. He will be taken care of by his brothers just as he will take care of them. It is quite an honor to have served with my brothers both past and present. I will always be a Marine and continue to support those that come after me. When your son gets ready to deploy, take comfort in that he knows how to handle himself. Of this I am certain because I have been there just as all my brothers have. The final thing I want to leave you with is this: the phrase "Semper Fidelis:. Always Faithful. This is the key to success that has been instilled in your son. He will always remain faithful to his Family, Country, and Corps. I hope this helps in some way. Just remember that you now have not only one son in the Marine Corps. but thousands because we are all family.

Sgt. Maddox
E Co 4th Anti Terrorism Battalion AL 1999-2007


"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
Thomas Jefferson


Response to earlier letter;

Apparently no on ever told her "That a Marine is not happy unless he is complaining about something."

H. Hight---Cpl.-USMC-61-65


PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS! What an awesome bunch.

I have been to funerals homes where they would attend and was very thankful that they were there.

However, I have to admit that I did not know that they also attended groups being deployed. My son just left for Iraq the first of September and seeing the Patriot Guard Riders there to show their support was almost more than I could handle. I tried to "Thank" as many as possible.

I hope there are a lot of them that read your newsletter, because they need to know how so much we appreciate them.

Signing off this e-mail with a big 'THANK YOU Patriot Guard Riders".

Lois
PMM of LCpl Raymond


God! , Country! , Corps!

Notice who is mentioned first.

In a unseen world, our tears are collected.

Find out for yourself in the Bible who is collecting the tears.

Nathan M. Hendricks Jr.
U.S.M.C.
83/87


As a Grandmother that helped raise the Grandchildren... it blew me away when our 17 year old Grandson told us he had signed up for the Marines!

He told us I'll have my 18th birthday in boot camp, well that day was as hard on all of us as thinking what and how his special day would be.

We seen a special on TV about how important days such as 9/11, when Kennedy got shot, and how the hardness made them stick in our minds... we said this would be a stick in Jeff's mind.

He writes that his platoon was starting to understand and to shape up but some still wanted to fight... but all and all he was doing much better.

He left Aug. 11Th for Ft. Lee, VA and then on to Parris Island.... during that time span he called home, "Mom, I'm home sick now and how will I make it 3 months... and this is a mistake!" I got the first letter... "Gram you saved me because I had made my mind up if I didn't get any mail I was coming out... your letter came and I'm still here!"

Now almost a month has gone by and I write every day... maybe just a post card, note or long letter but I want to know he receives mail at every mail call.

He is the same as my son and for him joining the Marines and getting the training he will I now as the whole family feels it was the Best thing that he could have done!

Thanks for allowing me to share how a heartbreaking day can turn in to grateful time and with the knowledge that Jeffrey will be one of the few that has made his life better.. by going Marines!
Grammy Shreve


"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
Ned Dolan


Sgt. Grit.

I am a Marine Mom and very proud of that fact. My son LCPL Gary W. Moore III, went to MCRD for boot camp, and then to Camp Pendleton. He has never said one bad word about any DI's. Actually, after he graduated we went to Sea World and there was a very large crowd and out of the blue I hear my son's name being called, he turned and walked over to a gentleman as did I, come to find out he was one of my son's DI's, I thanked him for taking care of my son and his reply to me was "It was my honor, he was one of the best." The Corps has done wonders for my son's confidence, the way he carries himself everything about him says he is proud to be a Marine. He is back in Iraq for his second tour. The saying Once a Marine always a Marine, that same saying is Once a Marine Mom always a Marine Mom.

I actually have a tattoo with the E,G,A that says MOM, mother of a Marine. He is my only son, and to know that he is fighting in a war for us, for our security, our freedom, make me very proud. Everyone needs to remember that Freedom is not Free.

I just wanted to share this with you.

Jill York
Mother to LCPL Gary W. Moore III
3/3 Lima Co. 2nd, Platoon


Just got back from MCRD San Diego watching my youngest son graduate from boot camp. This is the second time I got to go. In 2001 I got to watch my #3 son graduate as well. D@mn I'm proud. Two of four sons Marines, one was Navy, but I don't hold that against him, still love him. He served in Desert Strom. I took my #3 son with me as he got out in 2005 after two tours in Iraq. After the ceremony we were talking and he now is interested in going back in. Says life just isn't the same outside the Corps. Too boring. It was a bit of a shock to see the changes that have been made since I was there in '64, Plt. 246, and went back for electronic school. During the moto run got a little dust in my eyes. Got a lot more in them during his Eagle, Globe and Anchor ceremony. GOD bless our Country and our Corps., and continue to bless all those who have served and are now serving to defend us here at home. May the families of those who are now in country, be surrounded in the loving arms of our LORD.

Sgt. Of Marines
Greg Engelman
RVN '66-67
1st. LAAM Bn.


"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk." Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanistan, 20 September 2001
As reported on page 1 of the New York Times


Dear Sgt. Grit,

Okay, I know, I use my "outside voice' way too much, but when you encounter stupidity at it's finest, what else CAN you do!

Yesterday, I stopped in to the little convenience store to pay for my gas and get something to drink. I was wearing the shirt I had made for hubby and I with the picture of both our boys in dress uniforms and it says, "My Heroes, My Sons"! Well, a woman who was standing in the line next to me saw the shirt and reached over and offered her hand and asked if she could know the first names of my sons to add them to her prayer list! I obliged and thanked her. As she continued to tell me about her brother, a Marine who was killed in Vietnam, we chatted as we waited. A "male" ( I won't give him the dignity of calling him a 'man') was also listening in. As we talked about support, he chimed in that "how can you support this war, it has no mission". I promptly turned on my heels and said, "I don't have to support the war, or know it's mission, I'm a military mother, and MY MISSION is to support my sons!" Immediately, the man behind the counter gave out a stout "Semper Fi, ma'am" and then proudly lifted his sleeve to show off his "Devil Dog" tattoo! I gave him the proper "OOOH RAAH" response, and then of course, a hug! The guy was left standing there speechless, with everyone looking at him for the idiot he is!

Thanks for allowing us to share these kinds stories and others. This site is great! Thanks too, to all our Veterans! You each are our nations National Treasure!

Andria, Jax FL
Proud Navy and Marine Corps MOM


Sgt. Grit!
I'm a 17 year old senior girl in high school and lovin every minute of it! My daddy's a colonel, and has been faithfully serving this country for 27 years now! I couldn't be more proud of him. I grew up loving the Corps and wanting to join since I was 8. My older sister is in the Naval Academy and is joining the Corps as soon as she gets out. I met PFC Jonathan Hightower my freshman year of high school, and have liked him but never thought we'd be together. Last summer he decided to join the Corps, I was thrilled! Last Friday I drove 3 hours to watch him graduate from Parris Island, and after 7 days of him being home, we started dating. He left for LeJeune today for his combat training. I am more proud of him than ever. And will drive 6 hours in October to watch him graduate. People always told me I'd grow up and marry my daddy, but I never knew what they meant until now. I pray for him and Daddy everyday. I read Ryn Riddle's article, and it touched me, because I didn't know anyone was going through what my family was. My dad has served two tours in Iraq, and he has not been the same since. He is startin to come around and it's hard to believe that it has taken him two years to get half way back to normal. So Mrs. Riddle, I say to you, that you are an amazing woman, and never give up hope on your husband, because he will come around. It's hard to imagine what they go through over there and I pray that Jonathan doesn't have to experience any of that, but if he does he's got the love of his family, a good girl, and his country behind him. Ooh Rah, Semper Fi, and God Bless.
Sabrina


"The United States is like a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate."
Edward Grey (1862-1933), British statesman


His Tattoo My son graduated from Parris Island on September 14, 2007. Before he left to boot camp, he wanted a tattoo, but when we talked about it and I told him as a birthday gift I would get him his tattoo after boot camp. While he was in boot camp I wrote him and told him that My Tattoo I would like to get one too as a celebration for his accomplishment. So we decided to get them together. We couldn't get them together on the same day as there wasn't enough room, but we did go with each other days apart to get them.

Proud Mom of a U.S. Marine,
Yvonne


"The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities or citizens is likely to cause endless trouble, through the rivalry of schools and creeds that are anxious to obtain official recognition, and there is great danger that our people will lose our independence of thought and action which is the cause of much of our greatness, and sink into the helplessness of the Frenchman or German who expects his government to feed him when hungry, clothe him when naked, to prescribe when his child may be born and when he may die, and, in time, to regulate every act of humanity from the cradle to the tomb, including the manner in which he may seek future admission to paradise."
Mark Twain


I would like to respond to the Marine Mom from Antlers, OK. My son joined the Marine when he was 17 and asked me to sign the papers. It was the hardest thing for me to do BUT also the proudest. He graduated high school in May of 2004 and left for boot camp 2 weeks later. He was deployed in October 2006 to Iraq and returned at the end of April 2007. I would encourage you to join the Blue Star Moms, if there is a chapter in your area. I would not have made it through the darkest part of my life without them and of course God. These are mothers that have gone or are going through the same experience that you are. No one understands what a mother goes through but another mother. You see a man standing in front of you in his Marine uniform but you still see your little boy. He will come back changed. IF or when your son is deployed be prepared for emotions coming out that you didn't know you had. The day he returns from his deployment feels like the first day you saw his face when he was born. You check him over from head to toe to see in person that he is OK. Keep Faith in God and for His protection around your son.

Marine mom from Sand Springs, OK


"Newspapers... serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke."
Thomas Jefferson


My oldest son a former Cpl. 75-78 is a principal in Tenn. Two days after summer school started a young man came to his office requesting admittance to summer school with the explanation that his mother would not permit him to join the Marine Corps unless he completed a particular class. His reply. The Marine Corps doesn't want any dummies, and I don't want any dummies in MY Marine Corps, now get to class! The Cpl/principal is working on his Doctorate. Paul E. Rockhold Sgt. 53-61


Sgt. Grit,

I've read a number of the comments by Marines seeing Iwo Jima sand for sale on eBay and being concerned it was the sand you gave out. I happen to know two of the sellers of this sand and both are Marines who visited Iwo Jima as a tribute to our history. They returned with extra sand which they then packaged into beautiful displays and sold on eBay for money (mostly to other Marines who would not be able to make that personal visit). I purchased two displays (both very different) and they sit prominently on my desk. Becoming good friends with one of the sellers (he lives in the same city as me), I learned that he uses the money he makes from these sales to make other trips to historical Marine battle sites (recently returning from a trip to Pelileu). Everyone benefits, especially Marines like me who treasure our history and now have the opportunity to own some hallowed ground.

If anyone won the Iwo Jima sand you gave out and then turned around to sell it, I would be just as disappointed in them. However, most of the Iwo Jima sand for sale has another story, one I'm glad to hear.

Jim Hill
Former Captain, USMC
1970-74


"There are two races of men in this world, but only these two- the 'race' of the decent man and the 'race' of the indecent man."
Viktor Frankl


Sir or Ma'am,
I am a Sgt serving the Marine Corps. Recently in your Sgt Grit news letter there was an article about Iwo Jima sand. There is a gentlemen, (Don Renwick/E-4 1954-1957) who wished to win so he could present the sand to a Iwo veteran. I would like if you can provide me with his contact information as I have a small bag of Iwo Jima sand a friend who visited the island gave to me. I would like Cpl Renwick to have it.

R/S
Sgt van Uffelen, L.S.
MAG 46 S-4

Note: Now that's what being a Marine is all about.
Sgt Grit


Dear Sgt. Grit,

My 18 year old son Mickey is attending Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He is in the Corps of Cadets, and is on the wrestling team. Mick has been focused on being a U.S. Marine since the age of 10, and he is on his way to achieving that goal. Even though he has always been "gung ho," he was still just a boy. After reading the email he sent on September 11th, I realize Mick is no longer a boy. I just wanted to share the email to let people know that young people do care about the future of this country. And as long as my kid (in 4 years) and other kids like him that are now on watch, all enemies of freedom better beware. Semper Fi.

"Today is September the 11th 2007, the 6th anniversary of the cowardly attacks executed upon us by so called "Warriors of God." We all mourn the loss in our own way, some pray, some talk about it, others just keep it bottled up inside. For the past 5 years I have never felt as I did this 6th year, now being at a military school it takes me one step closer to bringing justice to these evil doers and avenge the victims and victims' families. This evening the entire Corps of Cadets of Norwich University fell in to their respected companies around the Upper Parade Ground in absolute silence. At 2200 Echo, taps was played by two buglers, immediately following that was a lone bag pipe player sounding off with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Standing there at present arms saluting our fallen brave souls I couldn't help it, I was so moved by this I was brought to tears. It is moments like this that make me absolutely proud to be an American, it further provokes my desire within to become a Marine officer and lead Marines into battle against supposed men and end this tyranny called Terrorism."

GOD BLESS AMERICA
-Recruit Monica, Corps of Cadets Norwich University
Ted Monica


"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence... the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake."
-George Washington


Sgt. Grit,
I wasn't a US Marine (US Army) but I have the utmost respect and admiration for our US Marines. A few years after I got out, I became friends with an outstanding bunch of Marines at the reserve center in my city in the early 90's. Most were combat vets from the Gulf War start up. They taught me how to do PT! I really loved those guys. My son made it halfway through boot at PI and had a bad back injury. They sent him home. He wanted to stay and I wanted him to stay, however, he came home a much better individual than he was when he left, even after a few weeks. Like all of you (I too) hate it when people say they were in the military and in "Nam". I always ask them enough questions to see if they're lying. That really burns my butt! To all of you former Marines and to all you active Marines, THANK YOU, I am always praying for your safety. May God keep you safe and return you to your loves ones.
G.W.Willis
SGT. US Army (72-78)


The book out several years ago, STOLEN VALOR by B.G. Burkett, covered quite a number of the infamous and famous (media, Hollywood, sports) phonies out there. For the CONTINUED reports and new DAILY claims, anyone can check read FAKE WARRIORS by Henry Mark Holzer or check www.pownetwork.org org. Not only do we track the REAL POW/MIAs from Vietnam and the Gulf, but we have over FIVE HUNDRED PAGES on fakes, frauds, phonies, charges, bills, prosecutions and excuses! The list of those CLAIMING to be POWs from SEA is more than double the number of men that survived and made it home. Then there is the "all the rest" list. These frauds are changing history. The more that can be done to expose them, their lies and their dishonor - the better it will be for our future generations. This is NOT a victimless crime - and it IS in many cases, a prosecutable offense.

Mary and Chuck (India 3/5 Nam, 65-68) Schantag
P.O.W. Network
www.pownetwork.org


"Courage is endurance for one moment more... "
Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam


My father was a former Carlson Raider and wounded on Iwo Jima. His last request was to return to Iwo Jima. I took him back for the 59th anniversary. It will be one of the most memorable times I spent with my Dad. He past away the following year.

I brought back two bottles of sand from Red Beach #1 where he landed. I shared this with my brother who is a Marine Vet and my son, a wounded Iraq Marine Vet. The remainder of the sand I cannot part with for sentimental reasons and wouldn't never think of selling it.

Mike Leverence
USMC 69-71


I am quite sure all reader's here are well aware of "The City on the Bay(s)" refusal to allow our Marine Corps "Silent" Drill Team to film on their golden streets.

In 1970 I returned to CONUS through San Francisco (Travis AFB) and was bussed down to Treasure Island for separation processing. While at Treasure Island being processed we had a lot of free time to take in all sights; however, we were specifically instructed to do our sight-seeing in civilian attire.

It was explained that the military wasn't well received in San Francisco. Why am I not surprised to see that our Marines are still not welcome?

Apparently, some things never change.

T.P. Sheehan
Syracuse, NY

PS: No relation to "Cindy."


"Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it."
Jean-François Revel


I entered boot camp at MCRD San Diego Feb 2, 1953, That was a real life wake up call. We had it rough for 12 weeks but we were changed from school boy to becoming a Marine. Would not take anything for the change. I know boot camp is a little different now then it was back then. Was sent to Tent Camp 1 at Pendleton for combat training and then a short visit to 29 Palms before shipping to Nara Japan. All my excellent training thru the Marines help me to make a career in Law Enforcement of 30 Yrs and retired 17yrs as Chief of Police. When hiring new Officers, I would try to get former Marines to fill up my slots. Anyone out there went thru MCRD around that time or Combat training or any the other places, would love to hear from you.
CPL Gene Ray
Plt 55 1363023
1953-1956


Marine Corps News

Corps slogan takes out the competition
Staff report
Posted : Friday Sep 28, 2007 10:48:14 EDT

The Marine Corps' legendary recruiting pitch, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines," defeated such famous ad slogans as "Just Do It," "Have It Your Way," "Take a Bite Out of Crime" and "Think Outside the Bun" for a spot on the advertising industry's Walk of Fame in New York City.

This year's two winning slogans - the other is Southwest Airlines' "Ding! You are now free to move about the country" - were announced Wednesday as part of Advertising Week 2007, an advertising industry convention in New York City. The Corps beat out a number of companies and agencies in a nationwide Internet poll for the honor, including Nike, Burger King, the National Crime Prevention Authority and Taco Bell.

The Corps and Southwest will join previous winners, such as the Texas Department of Transportation's "Don't Mess with Texas," Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now?" and Hallmark's "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best," on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, which consists of a plaque on the sidewalk between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan.

Other nominees the Corps beat out include: the USDA Forest Service's "Give a Hoot. Don't Pollute"; the California Milk Process Board's "Got Milk?"; Major League Baseball's "I Live For This!"; Dunkin' Donuts' "Time to Make the Donuts" and Allstate Insurance's "You're in good hands."


"The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of our is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight."
Theodore Roosevelt


Hello Sgt Grit~

I would like to respond to a letter sent to the Sept 27 issue written from Not No but H&ll No

Hello JM Clontz USMC (RET)

First I would like to thank you for your service and your sons service in the USMC !
But when I read that you where p!ssed when you heard that they give "Stress Cards" out at Parris Island~~~Well I had to know where you get your information from but you are WRONG!
The Marine Corps has Not and will Not change their BOOT CAMP Training.
It's the same training that our Fathers had and our Grandfathers had.
The only difference is the way we advanced with Technology like everything else.
And because of that we are able to save more lives. But rest assure that the DI's today are the same if not Tougher. And it's that same training that Separates the Marines from others~The Few The Proud!

" STRESS CARD " I don't think so!

Proud Marine Wife
Proud Marine Granddaughter


Sgt. Grit, I feel so enraged that the Gutless incompetent so called Mayor of San Fransicko did not have the guts or Balls to let Our Marines film a simple commercial. The City of San Francisco is now on my S$#@t list. Has a resident of California I apologized for this stupidity.. One SICK CITY

Frank Dias USMC
Mag-16 70-71


You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are.
Father Kevin Keaney
1st Marine Division Chaplain
Korean War


My name is Connie Helfrich. I just recently got back from a Marine Corps takers reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada. I laughed, I cried, I met heroes, I met men who were injured. I learned more in just one short week than I ever learned in school.

You see, when David (my husband of 17 years) was out fighting for our country, I was in kindergarten. When I got to the age when we were learning about Vietnam we were taught that our guys were the worst people on the face of the earth and they should never have any rights. After being at the reunion I learned so very much more that any teacher or book had taught me. I felt so much anger towards the states letting and encouraging the schools to teach such horrible things. We were taught not to help Vietnam vets, that is was there own fault they were in that position. We were also taught that so many were killed because our military didn't care about lost lives.

After the reunion was over I remember going back to my room angry, sad, mislead, and betrayed by the teachers that taught me those things.

I now wear Marine Corps shirts quite often and people ask about them and I proudly say that my husband was in the Marine Corps with many of his comrades and bothers. I wear it to show my appreciation for the troops, The one who came home and the one who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In my eyes, heart and soul each of you are heroes. Gods blessing to all of you.

Signed Connie Helfrich
Proud wife of a United State Marine


I don't want to hear about those who pretend to be Marines when in fact they never were...If you were never exposed to places like P.I. then you can't imagine what it takes to become America's finest. Pretend all you like but the fact remains that if you are not a true Marine then you are significantly less and that's not enough to make the difference. Dream on Jodie---Play your video games and know that you didn't have what it takes to be what America describes as good enough to stand in front of our flag instead of behind it----L/CPL VIDEC


"The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps."
General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC
to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, 5 May 1946


Sgt. Grit,

Many of the recent postings have been about fake Marines. I was reading with interest the newsletter and commenting about it to my partner, also a former Marine. We are narcotics detectives, and in our section there are three Marines, an Army grunt, and a reserve Captain (army), so you can see we've got some proud people who don't take much crap.

That day we executed a search warrant at a methamphetamine lab in a rural area. The s***bag we arrested went down without a fight, and as we searched his trailer after sending him to the detective bureau, we found two AR-15's, over 1000 rounds of .223 ammo, lots of military related magazines and two camouflage blouses. As I looked at the blouses, I realized he had sewn some stuff on them, and showed them to the veterans.

He had a US MARINES name tape over the left breast pocket, a green oval USMC / RECON patch on the shoulder, and metal Staff Sergeant chevrons on the collar. He also had a US Army infantry badge sewn over the left breast pocket. As a former SSgt of Marines and Corporal of Marines, we were a little angry.

Interviewing his brother, mom and dad (farmers), they all said he was active duty military. As he looked like a typical meth head, I asked