The newsletter entry by the wife of SSgt. Wysong put a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes.

I remember all the deployments especially the one to Desert Shield/Storm. I was a young Reconnaissance Team Leader and unmarried. I had no real clue about family love and sacrifice.
I thought it wimpy when everyone was crying and balling when saying goodbye. Now I am married and have a 7yr old girl and a 10yr old boy. It would tear me up to have to leave them.

This photo of young Gracie and her father is a wake up call to us, of the sacrifice these families make. I am very proud and thankful for them.

Thank you for sharing her message with everyone!

Erik Little

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Marine Wife

Dear Sgt. Grit, I read your newsletter eagerly and with great pride in all our Marines, past and present. I'd like to share with everyone a very personal story on the meaning of the brotherhood of Marines.

My son Stephen graduated on August 17th from MCRD Parris Island. Before he left a very dear friend of mine gave him a precious gift. My friend, a highly decorated Marine Scout Sniper & Vietnam Vet is dying of complications from agent orange. He passed along to my son his USMC ring from 1967 instructing him to carry on the traditions and ending with a Semper Fi. His wish was that it travel with me to Parris Island and be there for my son's graduation.

My son was honored and very thankful. But he had not yet crossed that line between poolie, recruit and Marine and it wasn't until Graduation Day that he understood the full significance of this gift.

Since I didn't think that he would be able to have the ring with him during the actual Graduation, I brought it to PI but didn't have it with me when I would see Stephen the day before, on Family Day. When I told my son that although I had brought it to Parris Island I had left it in my room for fear of losing it, he said he would have put it in his pocket during the ceremony if I had it with me to give it to him. It was 6:30PM and there was no time left to run to the room before his liberty expired and I would not see him again till after the ceremony the next day. I felt awful. That night I started to think that there may still be a way to fulfill my friend's wish and fill it even more completely.

My brother, a retired Admiral, had accompanied me to Parris Island for the festivities. I asked him the morning of graduation if there was some way that he could get the ring to my son before the ceremony. At morning colors he talked to those in charge explaining the significance of the ring and the personal request of a dying Marine. About 20 minutes before graduation an officer called out my son from formation. (Stephen thought...oh geez! WHAT did I do NOW!)

The officer asked my son if he knew the story of the ring and then gave it to him and told him it was an honor to have it and that he was to wear it and to wear it proudly. We were told minutes before graduation started that he had it and that he was instructed to wear it during graduation with great pride in honor of my Marine friend.

As soon as graduation was over Stephen walked up to me and pointed to the ring on his finger. The significance hit him and he was so, so proud to have it on. It meant infinitely more to him then ever before because now he was a Marine too. It's very dear to him.

I saw my friend a short time later and told him the story. I think of all his many decorations, this honor brought him the most pride. He taught my son a personal lesson about the brotherhood of Marines and what Semper Fi really means.

Proud Mom of PFC Stephen

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Marine Family, and a Happy Birthday!

Sgt. Grit, I have two stories to share with you today:

This past weekend I was headed to the Marine Corps Ball, alone. My three young boys and I had a 4 hour trip to make to get there. Part way through, we stopped to get some supper. We were standing in line, and I was trying to keep my boys IN LINE, when a young man ahead of me commented that I really had my hands full. Feeling a little aggravated, I replied that I certainly did, especially since their dad is in Iraq. He immediately focused his attention on me, and started asking all about my husband. I was a little bemused, until he pulled off his jacket to show me the Marine Corps shirt he was wearing. I chatted with him and his girlfriend for a few minutes, then they went to pay for their food. When I finally made it to the head of the line, that former Marine was still standing there. Sgt. Grit, I'm not much of a crier, but I certainly choked up when he insisted on paying for all of our meals that night. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart...his reply? "It's the least I can do. I never went over, and here there are guys leaving their wives and kids. You just tell your husband thank you." I duly passed on those thanks, and the story that proves your brotherhood.

The next day, I attended the ball with another wife whose husband is deployed. That evening was hard in a way, to be surrounded by so many Marines when our own are so far away. But it was also a comfort, to know that we aren't alone, that even though we don't wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, we are welcomed into the family. I watched the Commandant's message and was grateful that my husband was not fighting in France nearly a hundred years ago, that he was not fighting in the Pacific alongside his grandfather, that he was not surrounded and shivering in North Korea, that he was not being stalked by death in the jungles of Vietnam, or fighting house to house in Fallujah. I am grateful to ALL of you that have gone before, and have given so much. I know that your sacrifices have made this life I live possible. On this years Birthday, I will be thinking of my husband, but I will also remember all Marines. Thank you so much, and Happy Birthday! Birthday Ball Angie Bare
Proud Wife of LCpl Steve Bare, currently deployed to Iraq

P.S. The picture shows from left to right:
Mrs. Gates, LCpl Tinnen and myself

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."
John Adams


My name is courtney i am 26 yrs old and the proudest ever wife of lcpl kendzierski (known by the guys as ski) before meeting my husband i have to be honest in saying it was rare that i thought about all the freedoms i had in my everyday life even after 9/11 i didn't think much of the everyday sacrifices our men and women fight and sometimes die for everyday. At the time of 9/11 i was a firefighter which is something i know so watching the news it was then the firefighters whom stood out to me and what they were doing it wasn't until meeting my Marine that i came to understand just how much to a civilian the phrase 'out of sight out of mind' actually means i currently live In tattoo Camp LeJeune N.C after moving here 2 yrs ago and seeing everyday our Marines shipping out then coming home just to ship out again usually with in 6 or 7 months of returning seeing the families left behind and the wives left alone to hold down the fort at home but at the same time not be scared and be strong for the kids seeing even the Marines as they leave try to be strong but upon boarding the bus it's clear the billowing up of tears in their eyes as they drive off trying so hard not to allow it be known as they watch their families disappear in the distance and every couple weeks Lejeune blvd is covered again in welcome home signs some with pictures of babies whom have still yet to meet their daddys after all this i have experienced in just 2 years i can only say wow at how much i never knew as a civilian about our real hero's and there families and the sacrifices they make and have made for many years even with my husband currently on his 2nd deployment 1st in Iraq i wouldn't trade this life for anything what relationships do you know of who get to meet their husbands for the first time many times because that's what life is like every time i see my husband step off that bus returning from another deployment

PROUD MARINE WIFE (and proud to wear it on my arm)
FOX 2/10

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?"
Thomas Jefferson


Hi There:
I am a mom of a United States Marine, I wanted everyone to know how proud of him I am and for him to know, He is MY Hero!

The power and depth of the Family of Marines that read Sgt. Grit's newsletter is truly amazing. (And I owe a debt of gratitude to so many.)

Last Thursday my letter about having to go to Court on charges of contributing to the truancy of a dependent was included. In this letter, I mentioned my granddaughters school, and the name of the judge's court I was to appear in. I was venting anger and frustration, but asked for no help, gave no phone numbers or e- mail addresses.

Friday morning I had e-mails from brother Marines who had found my address, and asked how they could support me. THAT IS CARING.

At 1130 Friday morning I received a call from the school principal telling me that they had changed the 2 1/2 days that Skye had missed from unexcused to excused, and how patriot the school was, etc. etc. etc. "And by the way would you please call your friends back and tell them. Our phone lines and internet lines have been inundated with messages......" When Skye got home from school her first question was did the principal get hold of me. He had called her out of class to tell her that her absences were now excused, "and was very nice to me".

When I went to court today, (after 2.5 hours of waiting) I was called in to see the DA, Asst. DA, and SISD police's officer in charge of truancy. I told the DA I was pleading not guilty. She asked if I had anything else to say. I answered in the negative. She said that after reading the "blogs" she had received, she thought there might be something I wanted to add. After a few minutes on my soap box I said I was finished. The police officer assured me she was patriotic, had a relative in the Corps in Iraq. The DA said that all charges would be dropped and I left.

The ending would have been QUITE DIFFERENT without the FAMILY OF MARINES help.

The extent of energy and caring expended by my Brothers and Sisters of the Corps amazes and humbles me. Thank you one and all for this showing. I guess that is what is meant when we say


Chris Madsen
Captain of Marines

"There are only two life forces that have offered to die for you...
Jesus Christ and the American G.I."

Dear Sgt Grit and all Marines everywhere,

I am not a Marine. I am not dating or married to a Marine. I do not have a brother or cousin who is a Marine. My sister is dating a Marine (whom I love dearly) but I have no direct relationship with any Marine. What I am is a red-headed, red- blooded, small-town American. And you are my heroes. I read this newsletter because I want to hear your stories, to know you are safe, to figure out new ways to help and because you are out there, at great risk and personal sacrifice, defending me and mine, and I love you for it. You step up to the plate, willingly, strongly and bravely. I am grateful to and for you.

So I'll shake your hand when I see you in public and I'll speak up when I hear others malign you and I'll buy you dinner when I see you at a restaurant. And I'll wear Marine logos (not uniforms or badges or ribbons obviously) .....not to claim anything for myself, but to show my pride in you and my support for everything you do to keep us safe.

Please do not listen to the naysayers out there....they do not speak for the rest of us. I appreciate what you give up to protect us and I will defend YOU until the end.

Happy Birthday Marines! May God bless you all.

Katherine in Kentucky

"It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."
George Washington

Each year I teach lessons about the service to our country and the price paid by patriots. My dad, 83 year old Sgt. Jack Watson, USMC Fourth Division, Iwo Jima, attends a Thank Celebration we have for Marines and their fighting comrades. Thank you all for your service.

Tues., May. 24, 2005. WASHINGTON D. C. The Education Department outlined a plan to enforce a little- known provision that Congress passed in 2004: Every school and college that receives federal money must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the day the document was adopted in 1787. If Sept. 17 falls on a weekend or holiday, schools must schedule a program immediately before or after that date.

Veterans Day has always been a special day for me. My number one reason for the first 22 years of my life stands 6 foot 2 inches tall and wears a size fourteen shoe.

My dad, a Marine in the fourth division.

My dad, who enlisted in the Corps after the bombing of Pear Harbor.

My dad, who after basic training set off to a previously unknown island, Iwo Jima.

My dad who charged out of the belly of a Higgins, shoulder to shoulder with other boys, buddies, some who left red stains on the black sands of a god forsaken island.

My dad is the reason this day was so special to me for the first 22 years of my life. Then I became a teacher. Veteran's Day took on a new meaning, a responsibility. A responsibility that has been challenged many times, sometimes by colleagues, sometimes by the gap created by having so much and forgetting the price that was paid.

Why do I set aside days to teach the lessons about Veterans? This question beat me up this year. I was having a hard time igniting a spark. "Why do I do this lesson?" I shuffled through folder after folder; previously written letters from kids who "got it", letters from Veterans who were glad they did. Then I came to my copy of the Preamble to the Constitution; the single sentence that neither grants nor inhibits power of the government; the single sentence that serves to explain the reason behind the Constitution of the United States of America. "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

As a beautiful representative of all veterans, those who came before you, those who stand with you and those who will stand after you, I thank you. For now I will thank you from all of the American people who benefit from justice, tranquility, welfare, liberty and prosperity under the provisions of the United Sates Constitution. Ours is the oldest and the shortest of all written national constitutions. On the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed, on the day that you decided to put your life on the line for this document and all it means to "We the people", the document itself was moved from Washington D.C. to Fort Knox for safe keeping. You bought us the opportunity to be here today. It is you and all those who have given their lives who are responsible for our safekeeping. It is the men and women who serve our country who are our Fort Knox.
Thank you, Dad.
Thank you, Marine.

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle."

Susan Wilcher

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. "
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Good day and "As you were Gentlemen and ladies"...

I just finished reading the newest Sgt Grit news, and as always, I am impressed by the letters sent into the news.

As I read through them, I find myself running the gauntlet of feelings, and well as feel the pride in my beloved Corps swelling once more inside me.

I must commend all the mothers and fathers out there that have a beloved son or daughter serving in my Marine Corps.

Parents, I salute you, and tell you "Thank you" for raising such a fine and moral that is standing tall and ready to give his or her all for their country, without question.

This is the sense of duty I can only wish the populace of the entire country felt.

As I read through the letters and short stories that are presented here, I find one thing very much in evidence here, a tremendous sense of honor, duty and pride that is engrained in the "Hearts and Souls" of all the active, retired and former Marines worldwide.

This depth of honor and pride is forged at one time in that young Marines life....Boot Camp.

Whether it be MCRD San Diego (Hollywood Marines), or MCRD Parris Island.

The principles and training are the same...the intensity is the same...the goal and results the same. Turn a young and innocent, or maybe not so innocent young man or woman into one of the greatest and proudest individuals in the world, a United States Marine!

As my Platoon Commander, GySgt Casto told my platoon as we played "Air-raid-Flood" in our Quonset huts at MCRD SD in a time and land so, so long ago, and I quote, "My job is to save your life...and if I have to half kill you to do it, I WILL! My job is to pump out your brains and pump the Marine Eagle Globe and Anchor in!"

And by God, he so many other DI's have done and continue to do in the proud tradition of the Corps to this day.

"Thank you GySgt Casto".

And thank you to all the former and current DI's....don't ever change what you do to keep our precious sons and daughters alive and strong while they are spread out around the globe defending not only our rights and freedoms, but the rights of others too weak to defend themselves against the long reaching arm of terrorism and oppression in their quest for freedom.

Ladies and Gentlemen, again I say thank you for your service, thank you for the service of your sons and daughters, and to those parents that have a son or daughter that has paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend ours and the rights of others, I say;

May God forever Bless you and yours, and thank you from the depths of my heart and that of your country" speech

At ease people!

LtCol D. A. Anderson

P.S. Attached is a picture of yours truly giving a speech to my sons graduating Avionics (Weapons) class at Shepard AFB in 2005...he is in the Air Force, however he is all Marine in his heart and admits the Air Force has one most laid back boot camps and lifestyles in the Military... Thank God for the Marines!

Sgt. Grit,

In response to the letters of concerned mothers regarding boot camp, I can only say this. My son signed up for the Marine Corps when he was 17 (he entered the DEP program) right before the beginning of his senior year of high school. I had to sign since he was under the age of 18 and with much reluctance and after many talks with him, I did so. It was during the discussions prior to signing that I realized he had just begun his journey to manhood. He graduated high school in May, 2006 and in June, 2006 left for Boot camp at Parris Island. He graduated Boot camp with Platoon 1072 in September, 2006. He is currently serving in Iraq.

To get to the point, I spoke with his best friend from high school a couple of weeks ago, who is now attending college. He said that after talking with my son while he was in on leave prior to his deployment, he realized he needed to grow up. He said he knew that he was still a kid and my son was a Man. Seeing my son matured, and a Man now, made him want to mature himself and think about the future (he and my son were just alike in high school, very high spirited and a little rowdy, but good kids). The Marine Corps not only had made a Man of my son, but had made a profound difference on his friends also! We who have not experienced Boot camp and everything it entails, cannot conceive of the difficulties that our sons and daughters endure. But, having seen first hand what those difficulties bring into fruition, wonderful, well-rounded Adults (still high spirited) who are more mature than all their age and more mature than most their majority, I say OOH-RAH! I can sleep a little better at night knowing that the ones fighting beside my son are UNITED STATES MARINES! If it were not for the intense training that they receive, they would not be the Men and Women that they are today. I am very proud of my son, the Man, the United States Marine!

Let us pray for all of our Men and Women serving our country! Without those who have sacrificed, and those who will continue to do so, we could not enjoy the freedoms that we do!


Teri P.

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
Thomas Paine

State Department Woes

CNN had an article this morning about some of the State Department personnel who are up in arms because they may be forced to go to diplomatic posts in the Green Zone in Baghdad. They are asking "Who will take care of our children if we are harmed?" My answer to them is to ask SSgt Wysong's wife. She appears to be a bit stronger in her moral fiber than those people. After reading the article I sent the State Department an email and told them that I would gladly volunteer to go. I work for another US Govt agency and I can transfer to the State Department easily. I may not be as lean at 60, but I'm ready to go. Please God let them take me.

Steve Eslin
Pvt to 1st Lt USMCR, 1966 - 1978
RVN Oct 1966 to Jan 1969
A volunteering fool and proud of it.

Not all Marines are men. I am the scared, but proud parent of a FEMALE Marine. Please recognize that some Marines are female. She wanted to be a Marine "because they are the toughest". She's a pretty tough little critter; made tougher by the Marines.

Thank you, Robin Crowley

"There are no hopeless situations; There are only men who have grown hopeless about them."
Clare Boothe Luce

Marine Mom B Lee

Here is a story from a Mom of a deployed Marine. We have lived in Houston for 20 years and never been to a professional football game. My husband was given a couple of tickets to the Texans football game and we were very excited.

We sat thru the first quarter then the second quarter and I just could not wait to refill my Dr. Pepper. As I stood up and started to walk away, there they were, all dressed up and marching on the field. The announcer proudly announced "The MARINE CORPS SILENT DRILL TEAM From WASHINGTON DC." After the long applause, the stadium was extremely quiet. The only sound you could hear was the movements of the team. I stopped and almost cried to see these men on the field. I thought about my son so far away and how these men have given up their families to be here completing their missions.

Silent Drill Team After the performance, I was all talk. I must have asked my husband ten times "did you see that?" and "wasn't that the best performance ever?" I just could not watch the game any longer. I so wanted to meet these men to say thank you for the best performance that I have ever seen. My husband then asked an employee if it was possible to see the Marines that performed at half time. My husband was given the information and off we went. I just knew that I would not be able to meet them and tell them thank you. I was worried that I would never get this opportunity.

I located the Marines sitting in the stands. I walked up to one of them and asked if he would mind taking a photo with me. To my surprise he said yes and asked if he could bring a couple of his guys with him. OH MY! I was so happy! I told them that my son was deployed and found out that they too were far from home. My husband took three photos of me with the Marines and to this day, I have not stopped talking about my experience. I got three of the best hugs a mom could ask for. The only hug that could have been better would have been from my son. I felt so relived and one step closer to my deployed son. It was truly a wonderful experience for me and my husband to hear them say my son was going to be okay.

Please tell your son for me that without this experience, I would sit and worry another day about my son so far away. Without these Marines, I would not have had this experience that will last a lifetime. These Marines not only gave me peace, a loving hug and reassurance that my son is in good hands, but their honor courage and commitment gave me the courage to relax and sleep a little better.

Proud Marine Mom, Virginia
of LCpl Justin

I cannot agree more with the retired SSgt Wilson's comment regarding the need of DI's to be hard on recruits. As a woman who survived boot camp at Lackland AFB I can say that it is not easy, but neither is war. The difference in the requirements between the different branches of the military was not fully comprehended by me until my son joined the USMC, even though my brother was in the Army and an uncle the Navy. The Few, The Proud, The Marines is not just a slogan; it is a reality. Not everyone can handle it. Matt survived and graduated MCRD San Diego but it is not for every one. Some people have had everything they have ever wanted provided by a parent, protected from the harsh word, never had a voice raised to them. Unless they are taught how to take care of themselves, control their emotions and know exactly what to do in a touch situation how would they survive the jungles of Viet Nam or the mountains of Afghanistan?

It is extremely comforting to know that when my son is in a bad situation that every single person in his platoon is intelligent, strong, well trained and as tough as they come. There are options. Our young people need to fully research the branch they make the choice to join, and if they make the commitment, keep the commitment. We as parents need to stand behind are children, be as strong as they are, tell them every time we get a chance how much we love them and how very proud we are of them.

Proud Mother of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Pfluger

"There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men."
Edmund Burke

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I say "Hats off" to the Baltimore jury who awarded Albert Snyder nearly 11 million dollars in his lawsuit against the Westboro Baptist Church! Those freaks from Kansas have made too many families miserable in their sick attempts to spread their message of hate. I am deeply sorry for Mr. Snyder's loss of his son. Hopefully this will bankrupt this pseudo church and thus make it no longer possible for them to travel the country, disrupting families and friends at a time of personal loss and grief. As a Marine Mom of two Marines who have made multiple trips to play in the sandbox, my heart goes out to the families and friends of ANY service member who has made the ultimate sacrifice. That these "people" would try to claim that what they did was protected under the First Amendment, is a slap in the face to all the members of our military who have died to protect our freedoms.

Tina Richardson

PROUD Mom of both of my MARINES!

P.S. I love Sgt. Grit...I am an avid fan!

Sgt. Grit,
I was having lunch with several coworkers today at a local restaurant when a little old man and his wife sat down at the table behind my party. I noticed his Parris Island Alumni hat and when we were just about ready to leave I got up and walked over to his table. I said Semper Fi, asked when he served and reached out to shake his hand. He firmly accepted the handshake and told me 1942 starting at Guadalcanal after boot camp. He then asked when I served. We talked for about 5 minutes and he shook my hand the entire time. I felt like sitting down and spending the rest of the afternoon with them but was running late for a meeting and didn't want to intrude on his lunch with his wife. I thanked him for his service and he returned the favor. My coworkers looked at me like I was crazy for going over to a complete stranger and interfering. I guess they will never understand the esprit de corps Marines have regardless of when or how long we served.

I hope I made this Marines day because he sure made mine !

Jeff Odle
Sgt., USMC
H&MS 32, MAG 32, 2nd MAW

"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth."
Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson

in nam, i was a forward observer for an .05 artillery battery. there were a lot targets we could not fire mission because they were considered sacred and holy to the indigent people of the area. i can only imagine, in the sandpile countries of the mideast, anywhere people gather can be considered a "no target" area.

it ain't the grunts, nor the will; it's the political policies they have to follow that puts our boys in harm's way. we need leaders with balls: "...Let loose Marines and the army defend...!"

joe r. taylor
alpha battery 1/13 TDY 1/26 Marines
Khe Sanh graduate of '68

Tattoo for my husband.....SSgt. Donald C. May, Jr. KIA 03-25-03

Tattoo for my husband Just wanted to show you my tattoo. I got it in Vegas. I wanted to get something to memorialize my husband Don. Don always said it was bad luck to get your loved one's name for a tattoo so I avoid that! I came up with this's from a letter he wrote from Kuwait...the "just in case I don't come home letter." It's his handwriting.

Every single time I look down I get to see my husband's writing and beautiful words.

Just thought ya'll might like this. My dad and big brother are both Marines, and my brother is married with three kids. The oldest, my nephew Trey, wanted my mom, whom he calls Grandmother, to play with him with his plastic toy soldiers. He calls them "'rines." After telling my mom about how the 'rines were going to ambush the bad guys, my mom says, "So then we'll capture them all and put them in prison?" After giving her a look, he said in a very condescending tone, "Grandmother, we don't take prisoners. We're not the army. We're 'rines!"

Ya gotta love 'em! I think my dad and brother's chests swelled quite a bit when they heard that. Semper Fi!
Amanda Bedingfield
Proud Daughter and Sister (and maybe future aunt) of Marines

Dear Sgt Grit

Well it was that time again when I said goodbye to my son, of the few, of the proud. Strangely it was harder this time than the last time. Last time I watched a boy go off to war and this time I saw a man climb onto that bus. The reality of it is that the 3/2 lost 14 brave, courageous men at the last deployment. I started a scholarship here in Tampa, Florida for Lance Corporal Eric W. Herzberg, 20 years old killed by a sniper in Al Anbar Province and a friend of my son's.

LCpl Carman He was featured this past Memorial Day weekend at the Memorial in Washington. Jimmy Smits the noted actor gave the introduction, and Dianne Weiss the noted actress read letters that Eric's mom writes to Eric every Sunday sitting on his grave in hallowed ground at Arlington Cemetery. Coming to know and be close to his dad and his stepmom has brought the reality of war and it consequences even deeper into my heart. I was honored and also sadden that I was requested to attend the memorial service for these 14 at Camp Lejeune in March. I sat in the tent with the families which is unusual at the request of the Herzbergs. I watched fathers and mothers wallow is such grief that I had to excuse myself to the ladies room during the ceremony. Yet, through it all the pride was there...not one was bitter, not one said I wished I had not let my son become a Marine. On my weak days, when I am overcome by dread, I am ashamed of my weakness and I tell myself I am a mother of a Marine...and that somehow jolts me back. Sometimes more slowly than other days. I know they are well trained, but so was Eric when a sniper got to him.

The reason I am writing this to you is that my heart is also heavy for another reason. Last year I adopted the whole platoon. I sent microwaves, blankets, cookies, individual packages for the whole platoon, I got donations, I took a second job, and much of it was out of pocket. I didn't care. I borrowed against my income tax also and paid it back, but I did, I sent basketballs, dart boards, footballs, the oven, the blankets, much needed blankets. I sent candy cookies, hot chocolate and all I, by myself made up over 300 packages, boxed them and did it in between my two jobs.

I was on the news because the school that promised to help did not come through. When all was said and done, I had no way to pay for shipping and needed to fill 22 more boxes...thanks to the news coverage an Army Sgt retired, David Morgan picked up the shipping...he jokingly said, I can't believe I am helping THE MARINES...

This year my donations are so down. I can't physically take another job and people that promised to help, are not. People don't ask anymore about the troops, there is a little less of the patriotism that we had two years ago. People are tired of the war and it is getting to be old news and for our troops and my son the war is as new and as fresh as ever before...I urge all of us, to remind everyone we meet that those boys are over there and doing the job, protecting us and those that can't protect themselves

Take the faded bumper stickers off your car and put fresh ones on, paint your windows, the way you did your local VFW and see what you can do.

If things do not pick up, I might only be able to do a squad instead of the platoon. I am praying that this won't happen. I have spoken to other mothers and they feel the same way. There is just a little less oorah in our voices and a little more complacency among the American people. God help us all if we neglect, forget, don't appreciate, don't thank, don't help and don't care about the greatest, most elite, most courageous, most honorable, most bravest, most patriotic group of men, called Marines! My son is my hero! 3/2 Marines are my heroes. I have on my car, some heroes wear capes, mine wears kevlar!

See Slide Show from last Christmas and get more info...

God Bless our Marines and all those that serve their country.

Faith Carman,

PMM of LCpl Justin Carman
3/2 Marines, Kilo Company
Deployed Al Anbar Province

My Son is My Hero

Dear sgt grit.

i for the first time have read some of your news letters and to say the least i was in tears all the time i was reading them. my first grandson is a Marine and we are so proud of him. we wish him the very best while he is in there. not sure when he might be going over seas but we hope and pray for his safe return.

i will start reading more often now, if i can stop crying. keep up the good work with the writing.

Ron Robtoy

Hey Sarge

Ran across another quote that I found to be direct and appealing.:

"We want to make our children feel that the mere fact of being Americans makes them better off... This is not to blind us at all to our own shortcomings; we ought steadily to try to correct them; but we have absolutely no grounds to work on if we don't have a firm and ardent Americanism at the bottom of everything."
-- Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States

Thanks again for the newsletter, and all the great products.

John "Wags" Wagner

"Education never helped morals. The smarter the guy, the bigger the rascal."
Will Rogers

To the person who wrote about purchasing a Chesty Puller Tee Shirt from Sgt. Grit, but is afraid of wearing it on the chance that it may offend a Marine:

You are not pretending to be a Marine by wearing that tee-shirt; you are showing your respect for the Marine Corps and those who served. Marines serve to protect and preserve our way of life, which include freedom of speech. Wearing a tee-shirt is a form of speech. In my opinion, you are free to wear that shirt.

If a Marine asks about it just say, no I am not a Marine, but I wear this shirt as a way of saying thank to those that are.

Mark Lurtsema
Marine Rifleman

This year we had a very touching moment and I was wondering if you could put this in the newsletter for me?

She gives me hope.

Every year in October I make a trip to Mentor Ohio for the Fall Veterans Memorial Service. Each year we honor a different group or time in history. The first service was held in 2003 and honored the servicemen that were lost in the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. I was unable to attend that year, for I was down at Camp LeJeune at the Beirut Memorial. Following years we honored our Corpsmen and Medics, Gold Star Mothers, small conflicts such as Somalia, Granada, Beirut, and Haiti just to name a few. This year honored women in the military.

The first year I did make it to the service, 2004, I met up with a handful of other Beirut veterans and we had a small reunion. This is when I met Andy. Andy had serviced with 2/6, the same unit I serviced with. Over the years he would show up for the service, then spend a little time at the Marine Corps League with all of us for lunch and a few beers, and then he would head home.

Last year at the service one of our Beirut brothers was telling a story to Andy about some protesters near his hometown. Jeff told the story of how a protester was about to burn the American flag. Jeff walked up wearing a leather vest covered with Marine Corps patches. One of the patches was an American flag patch that said, "Try and burn this flag." Jeff grabbed the flag away from the protester and punched him in the face. Well needless to say the police put the cuffs on Jeff and stuck him in the back of a police car and drove off. Just around the corner the car came to a stop. The officer got out of the car, came to the back door, opened it and pulled Jeff out. The officer took the cuffs off Jeff and told him "Semper fi, now get out of here"

Andy told the story to his wife and daughter when he got home. Andy's daughter went into her bedroom and started typing on her computer, Andy just thought she was doing homework or talking to friends online. A few minutes later she came out and handed Andy a sheet of paper, "Give this to that Marine when you see him next year" Andy read the poem she had wrote. His eyes filled with tears, he told her he would.

This year after the service I was standing next to Jeff when Andy gave him the poem and told him about telling the story to his family, I could tell Jeff had a tear in his eye even through his sunglasses as he read the poem. I didn't ask to read the poem, it was personal. Andy spent the weekend with our group. We were all gathered in one room of the hotel telling stories, looking at pictures, and doing when Marines do, drink beer. Jeff asked one of the Marines if he had read the poem that Andy's 13- year-old daughter had wrote for him. Jeff started to pass the paper around. Andy said "Here, let me tell the story and I'll read it to everyone" Andy stood in the middle of the room and told the story of Jeff and his run in with the protester and the cop that let him go, then he read the poem. It's titled "Try Burning This Flag!"

Try burning this flag - this one that I wear!

Old Glory sewn right on my chest!

Go ahead, try it - come on, if you dare!

Then you'll be the one they arrest!

I fought for this flag, and I wear it with pride.

I won't see it eaten by flames.

I've been to the wall and I cannot abide

The way you're disgracing those names.

The Star-Spangled Banner is not to be burned.

Salute it and all that it means.

And after today, if you still haven't learned,

You'd better watch out for Marines!

As Andy read the words I could feel a tear roll down the side of my cheek. I thought to myself she gives me hope. She gives me hope in today's youth. She gives me hope that our teachings as adults and as parents did not fall on deaf ears. Our country is free because of men that would stand up to others. Our country is free because of our love for our fellow man. Our flag has flown in battles, it has covered the caskets of those that gave their lives to keep our country free. It is the freedom of this country that gave the protester the right to protest. But the words of a 13-year old young lady said it all. The actions of one protester, one Marine veteran, one police officer, and one young lady brought a room full on Marine veterans to tears. I love this country, our Marine Corps, and our youth, she gives me hope.

Cpl. Rick Cunningham
USMC 1980-1984
Beirut Veteran 1983

"While I live in dread of the dreams and memories of times and places long ago; the bonds we forged as brothers can never be forsaken. We fought not for God, country or Corps..... We lived and died for each other".

"If we desire to insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War."
George Washington

Sgt Grunt,

We had a great response last time you included our website in your news email.

Please remind your subscribers about again!

Deployed personnel are all over the globe preparing for college football and they need your support!

Thanks again,

Dear Grunt:

I wanted to inform you that the Mayor responded to airport incident a few weeks ago. Upon learning of this situation, the Mayor (a former U.S. Marine) immediately directed the Port of Oakland to conduct an investigation into this matter. Please see the following public statement from the Mayor below:

"I join the citizens of Oakland to express my concern over the way our soldiers were treated upon their recent arrival at the Oakland Airport. As a former U.S. Marine, I understand that our troops deserve only the utmost respect for their service to our country. I want to be very clear, the City of Oakland does not condone this type of treatment of our troops. I have directed our Port to look into these matters and work closely with airport personnel to ensure that this type of situation never happens again."

Thanks for you time,

Paul Rose
Communications Director
Office of the Mayor

"Today's threat to our national security is not a matter of military weapons alone. We know of new methods of attack. The Trojan hours. The fifth column that betrays a nation unprepared for treachery. Spies, saboteurs and traitors are the actors in this new strategy. With all of this, we must and will deal vigorously."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 26, 1940

Sgt. Grit:

I would like to share a couple of things with the readers of this newsletter.
It is a forward written by Jim Proser. It is one of the most moving pieces I have read in some time. Proser's forward is found in his excellent book, "I'm staying with my boys . . ." The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC.

Here is the forward - - - "I owe a debt. In my time, among my peers, it was seen as dishonorable to go to war in Vietnam. So I did not go. I used my cleverness to dodge the draft. But some young man, perhaps less concerned with his peers or more committed to the call of his country or maybe just a little less lucky, went in my place. To that young man of thirty-five years ago I owe a debt I can never repay.

I am not going to debate here whether that war was right or wrong. I am only going to acknowledge what I have come to feel about those who sacrifice some, or all, of their young lives to defend the rest of us. They are our ordinary citizens who have forced themselves to extraordinary service. They do not answer the call to arms lightly, but weigh it against the safety and comforts of life at home. Yet they do answer. They answer because when the call does come, and they then look into their hearts, they see the delicate flame of freedom begin to flicker. I chose to write this book of offer what small payment I can toward those defenders of freedom. For them, I can offer no greater inspiration that the subject of this book.

Now, well past my prime as a warrior, the warrior instinct is stirred by threats that bear down against my country and her principles. I am moved to take my place in the line that will not be crossed. But these are vain fantasies. My place in that line will be taken once again by others. For these new defenders as well, I dedicate what talents I have in honor of their service with the certain knowledge that they will continue to risk all they have and all they will ever have, to keep the delicate flame alive".

I highly recommend the book.

Bill Hill, Cpl. USMC

Dear Sgt. Grit and Loyal Marines:

Happy 232nd Birthday to All....

This week at work (a federal location in L.A. Co.,Ca.), two (2) days before "Our Beloved Marine Corps Birthday," I wrote on a government calendar located in the loading dock/shipping and receiving area------"Happy 232nd Birthday Marines, Semper Fi!" That's all.

Today, 11/09/07, I returned to work to sadly find that some "A $$-Hole" wrote, "Baby-Killers, Elderly Killers, etc., etc.... I immediately flamed-up like a nuclear Fv(king bomb and I exploded internally but, given that I am older and wiser, I wrote the following bombs for the "A$$-hole(s):

"Freedom is Not Free!" Many brave men have made the ultimate sacrifice for your little "Freedom!" Your flagrant and disparaging disrespect for the Marine Corps' 232nd Birthday, reflects your cowardliness, your stupidity and your lack of manhood.

To all those who are man enough to understand (whether you served or not),

"Honor, Loyalty, Commitment, Courage and Pride," is a birth right and can NOT be instill in "COWARDS!"

"Happy Veterans Day and Happy 232nd Marine Corps Birthday!"

Semper Fi!
William J. Borges, SSgt.
Proud Marine 1971-1978

"Stupid hurts!"

I attended our Marine Corps birthday celebration on Nov. 8th here in Fort Worth TX. at the Police and Fire Police Training Center. This was a combine effort of Marines both active and formal within the police dept and in Tarrant County Judges Offices. It was open to all Marines active and vets. This was the first time and we had standing room only.

We had as our guest speaker General Michael W. Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps (retired). A great speech about what a Marine is all about. He touched on the flame burning within us Marines. OUTSTANDING time.

I took my 70 year old father-in-law, Korean Marine. I joke with him about probably being the oldest Marine there, wrong. There was two 86 year old Marines there and they got a great standing ovation, they both stood proud when they help cut the cake. Thought I pass this on to you and Happy Birthday Marines. God bless our country and our beloved Corps.

In response to Cpl. Joseph A. Francis' lament that his bronze star with "V" device may only be the same as an Air Force or Army bronze star without device, let me share this story.

My cousin's husband, an Army Reserve major, returned from Iraq in April of 2004 with bronze star in hand (no device, of course) after 5 months in country. While there, his job was to coordinate the putting out of oil well fires. During the whole campaign there were only six fires in the whole country and the most strenuous thing he had to do was to decide which contractor would get the job. As these contractors were from different countries and cultures, he had to be sure he was politically correct in dividing up the spoils. For his service "above and beyond the call of duty" he was awarded a bronze star.

Is it any wonder then that throughout the Army, a bronze star is referred to with derision as "the officers' 'good conduct' medal".

Corporal, grip that medal of yours tightly and never surrender it. You earned it and each and every Marine and Navy Corpsman salutes you for your valor and service. Just imagine, a few years from now, when both you and the major have a grandchild on your knee, who will have the better story.

Best Regards,

Peter Bradt
The once and future HM2(FMF)

"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country."
George Washington

Sgt. Grit,

The picture you had in this weeks newsletter brought tears to my eyes. It says it all, a daddy saying goodbye to his daughter before he leaves for Iraq, and this wonderful wife who stands behind him and supports him! If only everyone knew exactly how much our brave servicemen put on hold to protect our freedom. Mrs. Wysong, hats off to you! Many thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Debbie Hope
Proud mom of a United States Marine.

"The United States, Britain and Israel will eventually disappear from the world like the is a divine promise."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Marines and Friends: The 10th of November is a very special day in our lives for all of us who had the great privilege to serve in our United States Marine Corps. I will never forget the day when I was sitting in a little hamburger joint with four other misguided teenagers planning on how we where we were going to get the money to buy another pack of smokes and gas to run around town. All we needed was a dollar's worth that was good for the week. Gas was twenty cents a gallon, smokes ten cents then (Oh, the days). Well, then the door opened and in stepped a tall man with a white hat and dress blue uniform. We thought it was the police, but come to find out he was a Marine Corps Recruiter. Man, we were scared to death.

He sat down with us and explained how he could help us all out of a bad jam by joining the Marine Corps and get a great education, see the world, have your own guns, ride in your own truck and eat three square meals every day. The other option was to go to a juvenile home.

He was MSgt Bill Hart, a Marine Recruiter, who saved our lives from our beautiful fan club who wanted us to leave and leave now. We were very well liked in our little country town of Irving, Texas. We could tell because the Police Chief, Judge and Truant Officer were always asking about us. They were great fans of ours.

Really wanted us to make it big, so they being the wonderful folks they were, made that happen, they signed the papers for all of us to make a life somewhere else, not Irving, Texas or anywhere close by. So we took their advice and went with a true loyal friend who got us on the path to a good life, so we all enlisted and went in on the Buddy plan.

Then the day of reality set in. We got off the Bus at MCRD, San Diego,CA. in an orderly fashion, however, there was this small guy with a funny looking hat on, biting on my ear and saying some very nice things about my "civilian a$$ better get moving." Said something about getting on them prints on the side walk. I thought, "what the h&ll is he talking about." Well, that was the day we were introduced to the YELLOW FOOT PRINTS, our first meeting of my new Mother and Father (Oh sh!t what have I got into) how friendly he was to me and I am sure he was to you too. A memory we shall never forget. The rest is history.

49 years later, I am still loving it and will never forget those moments that we had in Boot Camp and throughout my career. My DI's, who later became friends, had a job to do to make us MARINES and they did it with the utmost respect. We went to MCRD as civilians and 13 weeks later, they formed us in a way that no one will ever understand if you haven't been there. The love of our Corps and Country will for ever be in my heart and I am sure yours too.

I want to thank all the Recruiters who works very hard to get the best qualified young men and ladies to join the ranks of the best d*mn fighting force in the world. A very special thanks to my Recruiter for what he did for me. I followed in his shoes and became one for 14 years. What big shoes to fill, what a MARINE.

Also, a special thanks to our Drill Instructors for what they do by taking young men and women and shaping them to become the future of our Corps by the many hours they spend to make sure there are no failures in our ranks. I will never forget my DI and I am sure none of us will.

On this special day of the 232nd Birthday of our beloved Marine Corps, I wish you all the very best and I know we will live forever. Kicking the a$$'s of our enemy is our business and business is good. That is what we trained for and that is what we do best. Long live our MARINE CORPS. God Bless them all and all of you.
God Bless all our Veterans. Many thanks for your service to our Country.

May God Continue to bless America, POWs/MIAs and all their families.
Semper Fidelis. Jerry Scoggins, MGySgt, Retired, USMC

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

Met and spoke to John Ashcroft last nite, (Sat) at a dinner at YAF Rea