I was in an elevator in a Washington hotel, packed with 'peace activists.' They looked with disdain at my dress uniform. I queried the most boisterous among them, 'If you were locked away in some God-forsaken h&ll hole of a prison in one of the 'Stans,' who would you rather have coming to rescue you, buses loaded with peacenik protestors or helicopters loaded with gung- ho Marines?' The silence was deafening.
Colonel (USMC), San Diego, California


Sgt. Grit,

Today I picked up my wife for lunch and we ended up at Subway. While we were standing in line I noticed a lady wearing a black issue fleece jacket with US Coast Guard and her last name in English and Arabic on it. A younger girl with her had on a T- shirt that had a scope's crosshairs over Bin Laden's face and "Al-Qaeda Hunting Club" written around it. Well, I was wearing my desert tan ball cap with a subdued American flag and "US Marines" velcroed to it. We kind of eyeballed each other until we all got through the line with our sub sandwiches. I walked over to the younger female and asked to see her shirt. She proudly displayed the graphics and I said, "Outstanding young lady, you're a good American!" Her mother, in the black fleece, turned around and said, "You must be a Marine. My son just got out of the Corps." I asked her if the fleece was hers, and she replied, "Yep, I'm in the Coast Guard and my husband is career Army!"

I listened to her story of how her Coast Guard unit had assisted the Navy in the interdiction, boarding, and searching foreign vessels in the Gulf, and also transporting those KIA from the war. She and her husband deployed to Iraq about the same time and were not able to see each other for nearly a year. She did get to see some of the fighting in the Al Anbar province last December and January when her job took her to dry land. She said, "I've seen some of the battles that Marines have fought in and there is no one in the world who fights like a Marine. They put everything-all their weapons, all their skills and tactics, all their heart-they've got into the battle. It takes the fight out of the enemy. Most of the places where Marines are in control, the area is nearly pacified now because they've done the job right. Unfortunately you won't hear that from the news media."

It was good to hear that about my Marine Corps. At the same time I considered how much this family had sacrificed and put on the line in the defense of our great nation: A mom and dad both serving in Iraq at the same time and a son who had already deployed twice. Thank God for people who are able and willing to give so much of themselves.

Semper Fi,
Mike Damigo
Sergeant of Marines


"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die."
Gilbert Keith Chesterton


Sgt Grit,

I'm not a Marine, but I did deploy to Somalia with the Marines from 1 MEF back in December '92. Our element was operating out of what was left of the US Embassy in Mogadishu and, as you might expect, church services were held on Christmas day for those inclined or able to attend. I attended one in the foyer area just inside of what had once been the Embassy's main entrance. The service proceeded pretty much routinely until the singing of "Silent Night." Not surprisingly, most of us weren't exactly choir material, but one of us (I believe she was a Marine Lieutenant) had the voice of an angel. One by one, each of us fell silent as we listened to her sing. She sang the loveliest rendition of "Silent Night" I've ever heard.

Needless to say, suddenly encountering beauty in the midst of ruin was totally unexpected. By sharing her voice with us that Christmas morning, she gave all in attendance a gift in a place where there were no gifts to be had. She also turned what would have been "just another day at the office" back into something special. It may not have been my best Christmas ever, but it certainly was the most remarkable.

Merry Christmas to all!

Ed Hanley
SMSgt, USAF (Ret)


Dear Sgt. Grit,

The weekend after Thanksgiving my mom and I took my 3 small children, ages 4, 22 months, and 4 months to see Santa at our local mall. My daughter the oldest named Rylee was really excited until we got up to the front and it was their turn to sit on his lap for a picture. She has been asking a lot for daddy who is deployed right now. She started crying hysterically and said "I want my daddy" and Santa asked her "well, where is your daddy? Is he here too?" and she said "no, he's at war working. He works there a lot!" my mother at that time said "he's a Marine and he's in Iraq right now." So Santa's reply to Rylee was "I worked a lot at war too but I worked in Vietnam, so you tell your daddy that Santa said thank you for working so hard! You have a Merry Christmas!" Of course we were all teary by then but she calmed down and told him what she wanted for Christmas. It's amazing what a 4 year old will say when they're asked where daddy is. The people behind in line were getting a little irritated with us for taking so long in getting her to talk to him but after they heard the conversation they kind of smiled and were a little more forgiving. So people out there do appreciate our men and women over there and I hope they all have a Merry Christmas and get to come home soon! I hope you and your staff have a great one too, thanks for the newsletters and apparel that we buy to support my husband a SSgt, who's there right now.

praying everyday,
Dana.....a SSgt.'s wife


Hello Sgt Grit,

I am a proud Marine Brat and mother of a "Future Grunt". My son (William Price- aka "lil Will") is the son of Gunnery Sgt. William Price and grandson of Col. John Gautreaux (ret). My son was born on November 10th 2006- & could not have made his dad and granddad prouder to have him born on the Marine Corps future Grunt birthday! He will share this day with pride with the men & women of the Marine Corps. This is a recent picture of "lil Will" wearing his Sgt. grit "future Grunt" attire, cheering on the silent drill platoon as they performed at the Sea & Sky Spectacular in Jacksonville, Fl.

Sincerely,
Marine brat & Marine brat mom,
Michelle Gautreaux Young RD, LD/N, CLC


Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth or Falsehood,
For the good or evil side,
Then, it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside.
James Russell Lowell


Hi there...

Thanks for your awesome catalog, newsletter and website. I ordered some Xmas Ka-Bar with my guy's named engraved on it, I never thought it would get here so fast. I had taken notice of a 2-3 week delivery when I called.

American Legend KaBar So why is this so special? Well for starters I was in Iraq for two years straight (as a USG employee NOT a contractor = for the mission not the money) and missed those two years plus of Christmas and other holidays with my folks. Wouldn't you know it that I made plans to visit them this year and three months ago met a Marine who swept me off my feet. Long story short, he cannot come with me on Xmas so last night was our Christmas.

When my Sgt Major opened is Ka-Bar with his name on it, he was stoked! He loved all the things I was able to order from you!

Thank you for the quick turn around, great prices and quality items! You rock!

RavenWolf


sgt grit, once again a super well done, xmas is coming and i do hope that old saint nick over looks your transgressions and fills your stocking to the brim, may you and yours and all the readers such as i have a merry one.

its was 57 years ago at the age of l8 we were yes north of south and just south of the Chinese yalho river, am 75 and if i had it to do over again, yep sure would.

had a old gunny then, each morning, he rise call out every day in the Corps is a holiday and every meal a banquet who the h&ll has the church key for the pork and beans,

we were not forced to be there as Marines, and neither were the men at valley forge, god bless the united states of America and all our troops serving in harms way, no matter the gender or the rank, for only a chosen few were and are chosen to serve so well,

semper fi, nile white de gunner ate


"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
Socrates


This is a photo of my Mothers Blue Star Flag that I made in honor for my Son LCpl Gregory Kelley. He is currently deployed in Iraq and this will be our first Christmas that we have not been together in 20 years.

Mothers Blue Star Flag I can't say enough of how proud I am of him and all the other Men and Women in the Service.

I am going to miss my Son this Christmas and I wanted something that I can look at and think of him this Christmas.

Marion Roth
PMM


Having spent my entire career in a critical MOS training command, seeing students come back to the barracks and wakeup the next morning with some disfiguring "body art" then get infected, missing a cycle and getting office hours or worse, why anyone would subject themselves to this practice is beyond reasonable understanding. Many of them were in some kind of altered state of mental function or were challenged to a bet or so called "macho" contest.

If the Corps wanted you to have a tattoos they would have issued one. Sailors are the ones who started this not Marines. Just like "old soldiers" tattoos simply fade away with time. Being a Marine is an earned title which lasts forever and being "branded" makes you simply one of a herd. Glorification of tattoo's is contrary to good taste, and inconsistent with sound judgment.
herd.
Mark


"Nothing is more essential... than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable character."
Samuel Adams


JoAnne has a Korea Marine going into surgery today. She had been told by the Nurses yesterday that this new patient was difficult to deal with and so she went in and started yammering right back at him and when he asked her gruffly if she was married she said no but she had a Marine boyfriend the guy softened and they had a pleasant conversation. She told him that one of their Pas was a Coastie and she said to him that the PA said Marines wear pink panties. So he told her to bring him a pair of pink panties and she did. He wrote on them USMC and drew a picture of a shoreline and put a Coast Guard boat 50 feet from shore. He's going to wear them into surgery today where the PA will be. It should be really good.
Bill.


"It is obvious that the media war in this century is one of the strongest methods; in fact its ratio may reach 90 percent of the total preparation for the battles."
Osama bin Laden


What I see every day in Iraq: locals turning against the insurgents BY MICHAEL TOTTEN

Sunday, December 2nd 2007, 4:00 AM

FALLUJAH, IRAQ - In August, I wrote in these pages that it was too soon to judge Gen. David Petraeus' surge of troops in Iraq a success or a failure. It's not too soon anymore.

Baghdad, the most dangerous city in all of Iraq, is only half as violent as it was when I was there during the summer. And the fact that the capital is now the deadliest city is itself evidence of a tectonic shift on the ground.

In the spring of 2007, Ramadi was the most violent place in Iraq. But the insurgency there has been finished. The Taji area north of Baghdad, which was a catastrophe when I paid a visit in July, is now going the way of Ramadi.

I am writing these words from Fallujah, site of the most horrific battle of the entire war in November 2004, and the city thought to be the meanest in Iraq since at least the time of the British in Mesopotamia.

Almost everyone I know back home was sure I'd be shot at every day, that it's still a war zone out here. Based on the news reports - even the new, optimistic ones, could you blame them for thinking that?

But attacks against coalition forces in Fallujah are down by more than 90% since March of this year. Almost all attacks these days are single, ineffective pot shots rather than the lethal IEDs of last year.

There hasn't been a single firefight in this city for months. The Marines at Camp Fallujah haven't been shot at with a rocket or mortar since April. Not one Marine from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment has even been wounded since they rotated into the city two months ago. The only shots the Marines have fired have been practice rounds on the range.

There's a gigantic perception lag in America these days. The Iraq of the popular imagination and the Iraq of the real world are not the same country. It wouldn't be quite right to say Fallujah is safe. You do not want to come here on holiday. But I'm a lot safer here as an American than any terrorist or insurgent would be.

The Marines and Iraqi police find caches of weapons every day, thanks to tips called in by locals. No insurgent can plant an IED without getting turned in by war-weary civilians. Recently, an Al Qaeda cell from outside of town showed up and tried to distribute propaganda DVDs. They too were turned over to the police.

There are only 250 Marines in Fallujah, a city of about 350,000, right now. Last year, there were 3,000 Marines. Because the city is pacified, troops that were here can join the additional surge forces that are clearing and holding more volatile

Everywhere I go in Fallujah, I am mobbed by smiling children who want me to take their picture. It wasn't always this way.

"I didn't see a single kid out here in 2005," one Marine told me. "If a kid popped out of the house, his parents yanked him right back inside." Women walk the streets by themselves now, as well, which I'm also told was unheard of not long ago.

I'm embedded with the Marines. They keep me safe. If I spent too long in the city alone and without armed protection, terrorists might eventually find me. But any insurgent who shows up and announces himself in public won't be rolled up "eventually." He'll be arrested by the Iraqi police within minutes. Even the Marines are softer on terrorists here than the local cops are.

Fallujah was once the backbone of the insurgency. Today, as First Lt. Barry Edwards put it, "They avoid Fallujah now like it's the plague. ... They're afraid of the Iraqis."

"Security is good now because the coalition, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi police all work together," said an Iraqi fruit stand owner. "One hand does not clap."

Another Iraqi who works as a money changer told me, "They are finished. It will be a shame on all of us if the terrorists ever come back."

Insurgents are having a rough time if the American military is more welcome in Fallujah than they are. How shattering it must be for them. Imagine if Iraqi insurgents were more welcome in New York City than the Marines.

Totten is an independent journalist on his fifth trip to Iraq. Visit his Web site at www.MichaelTotten.com.


"The happy ending is our national belief."
Mary McCarthy


Dear Sgt. Grit,

Grandson's Tattoo Enclosed please find a picture of my Grandson's Tattoo. He graduated Oct. 26th from Parris Island and was promoted to PFC while in Boot.

This is one fine young man.

One Proud PaPa,
W. A. Moody


I love everything Marine and read your newsletter as soon as it comes out. I was so touched by the story of Marine Wayne (The Critter) Fritter and what he did for that Marine dying of cancer. I only wish someone like he were there when my Marine husband passed. That would have been better than a 21-gun salute. The Marines are truly a brotherhood of helmets, honor, hardware, and hearts.
Linda (wife of a Marine serving a higher authority)


Dear Grit,
Love your newsletters and products. Just ordered some more bumper stickers which are a hit with the baskets of homemade goodies I give during Christmas.

Recently while shopping for the baskets I put the stuff in, I was watching a future Marine tell his Mom, "Santa needs to get a high and tight or he won't get any!" Several people around obviously did not know exactly what the little guy was talking about, and looked confused, but everybody laughed.

A few minutes later when I had my cart full of baskets and was waiting in line, the little guy came up with his mother in line just behind me. A short conversation revealed to me he was waiting for his dad to come home from Iraq. He was all of 4 and told me point blank, "My dad better not come back with messy hair and a beard like Santa or my Mom won't give him any."

I nearly fell down trying not to laugh and asked him how he knew that. The Marine wife had a face of crimson. He said, "She tells him all the time when he is home that if he doesn't get a high and tight hair cut he isn't getting any. When I asked what that meant she said any kisses son."

Merry Christmas to all the Marines and their families. and Godspeed, An Old WAC in California


.. "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."
George Washington


Reflecting on Marines and all other service personnel that lost their lives on that day 7 Dec. 1941, 66 years ago. We are losing more and more of the "Greatest Generation" each day. We honorably remember and thank all of those that served during World War II. And let us not forget the men and women proudly serving in the Corps today. I have two sons in the Corps, both Pfc's. Let us all be thankful for our freedom and to those who fought/fight for it. Passed and present

Former Marine
Monte L. Deamer
S-2, 3rd MAW
El Toro, CA
1980


Sgt. Grit,

I know my Dad served in the Army but...

Here are a couple of pics of my Dad, Jack Glass, getting his high school diploma from Barren County Schools. He also received a certificate of appreciation from the Marine Corps League for his service to the United States during time of war.

Glass honors The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs has a program for those Veterans that quit school and enlisted to go off to war. This program is for WWII and Korean War Veterans. My Dad was too young to enlist during WWII, but after his oldest sister's husband and his older brother had left for the war, he quit school to help with the family farm. Years later, he enlisted into the Army and served from 1951 to 1954. He was with the Army's 16th Infantry Regiment/1st Army Infantry Division in Germany.

After checking with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and the Barren County Board of Education, it was determined that my Dad did qualify for and would be awarded his high school diploma. When I contacted my local Marine Corps League, Al Broussard, Detachment Adjutant, told me he would like to attend the presentation and would also award my Dad with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Marine Corps League for his service to the United States during time of war.

Many stories of past days in Barren County, plus a few military tales, were told before and after the presentation. All present enjoyed them. My parents are so proud and excited that this is all they've talked about since.

Looks like this old(er) Marine did do something pretty good, huh?

Semper Fi,

Tony Glass
Sgt USMC
1974-78

(HEY Sgt. Grit, use this letter if you can. I'm more interested in getting word of this program out to the war Veterans that would qualify. I don't know if other states do this like Kentucky does, but this is one thing that should be done for as many Veterans as possible).


"The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. It was not to be government by the strongest or for the few. Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world?nothing more and nothing less."
Ronald Reagan


Hi Sgt Grit,

I have been coming to your website and reading the newsletter since my son left for boot camp on September 4, 2007. I worried so much the first few weeks after he left and then when it was time for the Crucible I was a complete wreck. I am very PROUD to say that on November 30, 2007 my son graduated along with 609 other young men from Parris Island! What an awesome ceremony, even my husband who bleeds Navy Blue & Gold was so impressed. Just reading the letters and stories was so much help. I think that this website is an awesome place for support and I cannot thank you enough for such a fantastic website. Even the controversial letters about the Drill Instructors seemed to calm me. The change I see in my son was solid proof that we should all be thankful for what these Drill Instructors do and the sacrifices they make for our sons. My son grew up in that 12 weeks and stands with so much pride not as an individual but as part of the Marine Corps Family. I have never seen him happier, he is standing tall and I know that he will make you all proud too. And yes, this Marine Mom has a new kick in her step too. Happy holidays to everyone and to our troops GOD SPEED....... OOH RAH

Debbie
Very Proud Marine Momma of
PVT Van Cleave Corey A.


Sgt. Grit: My name is Kay Gibson. I am a proud Marine Mom and one of the co-founders of the Houston Marine Moms. My son is a Marine Veteran and currently back in Iraq as a military contractor doing the same job he did in the Marines?Crash Fire Rescue (7051). I am NOT one of those whiney-a$$ Moms that complain about the DIs or the way that the Marines treated her son. God and his father and I raised him for the first 18 years and the God and the Marines made him the man he is today. Being from Texas AND a Marine, he's about as obnoxious as they come and he truly believes he is THE BEST. Once again, he will be gone for Christmas, serving his country.

There is a singing group from Spring, Texas by the name of Branded and they have recorded one of the best songs I've heard in awhile?Heroes. I put a few pictures I've taken, along with some given to me by other Marine Moms, and a few I "borrowed" from the internet and created a slideshow to go with their song (with their permission). I wanted to share the song with your readers. It's out on YouTube

A couple of the pictures show some of our injured Marines. The second one of the Marine that is badly burned is Cpl. Merlin German. Cpl. German was 18 years old in February of 2005 when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb on the streets of Baghdad, Iraq. The blast burned over 97% of his body and he was medically evacuated out of Iraq to the Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. Corporal German was not expected to survive his injuries--he was given just a 3% chance of survival. After hundreds of surgeries and over a year in Extreme Intensive Care, Cpl. German has defied the odds. Cpl. German made a t-shirt he had designed himself and a few lucky people have one. The front of the shirt reads,

"Got 3% chance of surviving, what ya gonna do?"

On the back, the shirt offers a multiple choice response:

a) Fight Through
b) Stay Strong
c) Overcome Because I Am a Warrior or
d) All of the Above!

d) is circled.

Have I told you how much I love the Marines?

Kay Gibson
Very Proud Mom of former Marine Cpl. Gibson, Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, currently serving as Aircraft Rescue Firefighter supporting the military at Camp Taji, Iraq

P.S. My mom was a Marine too!


"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens."
George Mason


Sgt Grit

I have a 16 year old son that has been a Varsity starter on his High School's football, Wrestling and Lacrosse teams since the 8th grade. He is captain of the Wrestling team, and would have been captain of the football team except the coach felt as a sophomore he was too young. He is an 2 year All-Conference football player and was named his team's Defensive MVP. This year he started playing Tailback towards the end of the year and was a bruising runner that did the hitting instead of waiting to be hit. I asked his coach why he did not use him in that capacity all season, he said he did not want to take a chance on his best defensive player getting hurt. This boy has a 4.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale and is VP of his HS class. He makes me real proud as a father.

He has grown up hearing Marine stories from my friends and me since he was a baby. I have been telling him that I want him to go to college and he has drawn interest from a major college in the Big 10. I feel that he is not quite the size he needs to be to play football at that level. He is 5'11" 195 pounds. I do feel he is just right for the Naval Academy and would do well playing at that level.

A friend of mine graduated from Annapolis and was a Navy pilot. We took our kids for a visit on a football weekend. The kids had a blast of course, and you can't leave there unimpressed. When he went back to school on the following Monday he told his counselor that he was interested in attending the Naval Academy. She set up a meeting with the local representative - for the Air Force Academy, by mistake. My son met with the gentleman and came away feeling that it would be a great place to go to college. I asked him where his first choice is, and he said Annapolis. His counselor has since scheduled an interview with the Annapolis Rep for this coming Monday. My son is on cloud 9. When I asked him what he liked so much about Annapolis, his answer was the tradition and lore. I asked him what he wants to be when he graduates, a Marine Fighter Pilot, he wants to be able to take care of our guys on the ground. I have always told him Marine Fighter Pilot were the best of the service. He wants to be able to take-off and land on carriers. I told him the proudest day of my life will be to be able to salute him and call him Marine.

He still has to finish high school, but his grades are great and he is a polite, well mannered, humble young man. He has always been a leader even as an 8th grader the older kids on the football team used to look up to him. Hopefully he will get a seat at the Naval Academy because kids like him are hard to find.

Semper Fi,
Corporal Manuel Zaldivar
USMC '79-'85


Sgt. Grit,

I would l like to share with you some pictures.

My husband and I got married on October 27th, 2007, and just days later, he was promoted. I got the privilege of pinning him and putting his new chevrons on. I was so nervous and at first I put the first pin on upside down, (I felt stupid -- but what new wife hasn't done that?) I'm so proud of my husband, (and any Marine). The first thing the SgtMaj said to me after the pinning was over meant a lot to me. He said to me -- "welcome to the family".

promoting a husband I visit your website a lot, and I'm always buying products for myself and family.

I just wanted to share these pictures with you and thank you for all of the great products that you provide. I am very proud to be an American and I am more proud of the men and women that protect us.

Thank you!
Proud Marine Wife to LCpl Mudge
-Lexa


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
John Adams


Dear St Grit,
I am Mom of a newly graduated Marine from MCRD San Diego. On 11/21/207 my son became one of the FEW & the Proud....a U.S. Marine and on July 7th, 2007 my youngest son will leave for San Diego for Boot Camp and he too will become a Marine. I can not tell you how proud I am of both of my sons.

My Hero My Marine My Son T-Shirt I bought a T-shirt from you that said "My Hero, My Marine, My Son" and I was wearing that when some lady came up to me and said "Tell your son I thank him for what he is doing for me and for all of us". All I could do was say Thank you, I could not say more because I was about to cry! My son is home this Christmas then he returns for training back in California, then after that maybe to Iraq or Afghanistan we have no clue.

Both my sons love it when I wear that shirt because for them t means that I a so very proud of them and respect their decision to join up.

Thank you for supporting our Marines!

Cindy Peckham
Marine Mom to 2


Hi,

My names Casey Hurn. My friend and I are big time Marine Corps Junkies. Both of us being 17 and not quite to the point of enlistment, have always been into war books. A couple years ago I bought a book, Marine Sniper By Charles Henderson on Carlos Hathcock's tours in Vietnam. Anyway, after reading it we got to talking about whether or not his rifle was still around. As you probably know they have Charles Mawhinney's rifle on display in a military museum, I think in Quantico. Mawhinney had the most confirmed kills as a sniper in Vietnam, 103 I think. My friend and I would like to know if anyone at the website, or anyone else for that matter, had any idea of where the first rifle he used during his first tour of duty, from 1966 to 1967 could be. It was a Model 70 Winchester .30-06, with a 10-power Unertl scope, and walnut stock. Possibly sold, lost, or in an armory somewhere. We've taken trying to track down the rifle a hobby of ours. I would appreciate any information you had, or could find on the subject.

Thank You


"Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions."
George Washington


Dear Sgt Grit,

I am the proud father of a new Marine. My son, graduated from Parris Island (Plt 3078 Lima Co) on 14 September, 2007 and is getting ready to graduate from SOI at Camp Geiger, NC as a 0351 (assaultman). He calls every now and then saying that "I can't believe they pay me to blow things up." He says all of his instructors are incredible, motivating, top-notch Marines, who know what they are doing.

My wife and I were shopping before Thanksgiving at one of the larger superstores and ran into 2 Marines standing in front of the store collecting donations for Toys for Tots. Of course being the shy person I am, I went right up to them and thanked them for their service and told them about my Marine son. I found out they were at school (C) at NAS JAX and wouldn't be able to go home for Thanksgiving, but were taking their time to stand out in the cold (yes, it was cold in Orange Park, Florida that day) in their Dress Blues to collect toys for underprivileged children. Anyway, my youngest son and I went on in and bought some toys for their collection box. We also put in some cash and then I slipped each of these fine, young Marines a little something from me. I told them that as a Marine dad, I was concerned about them being out in the cold, so I had bought some hand warmers for them to slip into their pockets. I said that "I know you are Marines, and you won't admit that you are cold, but humor me and take these to at least keep your hands warm." I also told them that "I was certain that if my son was standing out in front of a store sometime, that another Marine parent or relative would do the same for him." They just said "Yes, Sir", "Thank You, Sir." I shook their hands and went on my way, with a big smile on my face and a small tear in my eye. I am so proud of our young people who answer the call and take the challenge of becoming a Marine. I want to thank all of the Drill Instructors, especially at PI, and SOI - East, for their dedication to these young warriors. I also want to thank the families of these fine DI's and Instructors for their commitment to their spouses and the Corps.

Proud dad of PFC Hatten, Spence soon to be a 0351 at Camp Lejeune in the 2/6.


Every week I receive these newsletters and I read these stories of people who are involved somehow in the Marine Corps either if your married to one, your a parent or an actual Marine. Reading these stories has helped me realize how important my job is... I am a Marine Wife and very proud of it. I was also raised by a Marine, my grandfather, he served during Vietnam from 1960 to 1972 leaving the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant and being awarded the bronze star for killing 30 Vietnamese by himself. I married my Marine right after he got out of boot camp this past January when we were just 19 years old and we went through the struggles of S.O.I. together and then finding out where his permanent duty station would be. Our luck we got sent to 29 Palms or should I say 29 Stumps. I just wanted to tell everyone that is either dating or married to a Marine that even though its hard being away from the love of your life you have to stay strong not only for yourself but for your boyfriend or husband. Always remember to pray for everyone that has served, is on active duty, and the future Marines.

Semper Fi~
Ashley Hagan
Wife of Lance Corporal Chris Hagan
Granddaughter of Gunnery Sergeant Gerald Woods


"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
George Washington


"The people know the difference between pretense and reality. They want to be told the truth. They want to be trusted... The people want a government of common sense."
Calvin Coolidge


Thanks for this news letter I enjoyed reading it. Please keep them coming. My husband was a retired GY/SGT with 30 years. He was all so a Drill Instructor, He was on the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Team he and his team won quite a few matches. He all so was an instructor out at Weapons Battalion I think we had 3 or 4 tours at Parris Island. He was a junior D.I. and a senor D.I.

I am sorry to say I lost him this year on Jan. 21,2007. The Marine detachment that is located here performed his Military Funeral for which I was very thankful. We just missed our 55th wedding anniversary which would have been March 8, 1952. Thanks so much for the news letter keep them coming.

Sincerely,
Catherine Heintze


"Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you... From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death."
Thomas Jefferson


first tattoo Here is my first tattoo I got to show support for my son and I wanted him to know how proud I am of him.

He did not think I would go through with it. But when I texted him a picture he was really excited. He said he can't wait to see it in person when he comes home for Christmas.
Mary Shultz


Christmas Tree Our son Vince is a 1st Lt in the Marines. He is spending another Christmas in Iraq. We thought this tree would be a good way to remind people of our military stationed around the world! Especially during this Christmas season. Have a Merry Christmas!


"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."
Booker T. Washington


I am former Marine from 1993 to 1996. I was in Boot camp during Christmas and New Years. I spent several Thanksgivings in the Barracks. 13 years have past since I was Discharged and I found my self in a strange situation. In 2006 My wife and her family went on vacation as they sometimes do the week of Thanks Giving. I was not able to go due to financial issues. I realized that I was going to be alone AGAIN for the Holiday. My wife had meet a Gunny at a toys for tots drive and he gave her one of his cards. I had called him and asked if their was a Marine detachment Her in El Paso, TX. He informed me of the Stinger school her at the Army base. So I started tracking down the number to the school. I was finally able to reach the 1stSgt. We spoke for a while and I explained to him that I was going to be alone for the Holiday and asked if he had any young Marines that were going to be stuck at the base. He asked around and found that were some young Marines not able to go home. So I set up a dinner at my house for 6 young Marines. It was so much fun. I enjoyed watching these young men eat and eat and eat! We watched some football and relaxed. It was so fulfilling to be able to do this for these men. I swore to my self that when I got out of the Corps if I was ever able I would try to prevent some young Marines from having to do what I had to do not having somewhere to go and enjoy a thanksgiving meal. Myself, my wife and my Sister-in-law did it again this year. My Sister-in-law's oldest son is in Iraq right now with the Army. This year was even more special since we did not have him here we were still able to treat some of our nations defenders to a home cooked meal. That night my wife looked and me and said "every year we are in town we need to make sure we do this". I told her of the great enjoyment I had by doing this the year before and this year she got to experience it with me! Thank you to the past, present and future Marines who defend this great country.

Semper Fi
Daryl Ogletree
LCpl USMC


Sir,
I forwarded you letter to some Marine Moms I have contact with. There sons and my son serve in the 5/11th Tango Battery and are preparing for duty to The Sandbox very soon. Most of us are suffering from PPDS - Parental Pre-Deployment Syndrome as this will be their first deployment. I had one MoM respond that she had been feeling a bit down today and that letter was just what was needed.
Thank you for your service, Sir! And for your support of those of us who have family serving presently. It's much appreciated!

Semper Fi!

N.M. Hutchinson
VPMMx2
Arvada, CO


"[t]he strength and spring of every free government is the virtue of the people; virtue grows on knowledge, and knowledge on education."
Moses Mather, 1775


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I enjoy every page you send. It does this old Marine's heart good to read the letters of praise, and proud parents who write to you, and to all of us in the Marine family.

My son, Seth is at this moment, at MCRD, his 3rd week there, which makes me very proud. I still remember that first trip to the mess hall, and as I looked down, I saw that the steps were worn from all the past Marines who had stepped before me. It was truly an honor to be on those steps.

From July 1955, until now, each day has impressed on me the honor of duty to God, and Country, and Corps.

I'm looking forward to wearing my blues at Seth's graduation, and every one of his letters confirm his desire to do his best. The tradition goes on.

I have been very active in the Marine Corps League, and hold a State officers position.

On the 7th of December will be a high-light for me, because its our Christmas party, and a time when I serve on of my fellow Marines, Jesus Quintana who lost both legs in Vietnam.

He is one of the best Marines that I know, always in a good mood, always ready to help others, to serve, never a cuss word, but only praise for God.

I am truly blessed with friends like this.
Semper Fi
Jim Wade
Marine veteran 1955 to 1961


Sgt. Grit,

Not being a Marine I have been amazed at the FRATERNITY of the CORPS. My involvement with Marines has been since October 2, 1968 when my friend 1st Lt. Carl William Myllymaki III was killed in Quaint Tri Province in Vietnam. Since then friends have established a Outstanding lineman Award in his memory, given each Thanksgiving Day to a Westerly High Lineman in his Honor. In 1996 a Vietnam Memorial was Dedicated in Memory of Lt. Myllymaki at The University of Rhode Island in his Honor. After months of research when they only knew of three URI ALUM who had given the Sacrifice 18 Alum & Staff members are now Honored. Four of the 18 are Marines, Major Walter Decota, 1st Lt. Charles Yaghoobian, my childhood friend 1st Lt. Myllymaki, CO of Echo Co, 3rd Recon and 2nd Lt. William Gary Schanck, 1st Recon.

In July 2000, a new 26 high element Challenge Course was dedicated at Camp Yawgoog Boy Scout Reservation in Honor of Lt. Schanck and Lt. Myllymaki, both Camp Yawgoog Scouts. Myllymaki making Eagle Scout. This was a $80,000 project. Many recon members were present for this Dedication.

On June of this year The FINAL CHARGE up FENNER HILL Golf Club a Golf Tournament was held to Honor Lt. Myllymaki. We would be meeting our final goal of $100,000 Scholarship in Lt. Myllymaki's Honor. Most of these accomplishments were done by saving Aluminum cans. The story made TIME MAGAZINE in April 22, 1996 and from the story I was able to make contact with many Marines who served with Lt. Myllymaki. It has been a Honor for a Army Vietnam Veteran to know and meet many fine Marines.

Brother do not forget Brothers. As Myllymaki played right tackle the left tackle has been throwing blocks for him since 1968 when Myllymaki was volunteered for his last mission with 10 days left on his tour.

SF Dick Smith


"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been...to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the U States free from political connections with every other Country.

To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home."

George Washington


Every Day's a Holiday Every Meal's a Feast
Every Day's a Holiday
Every Meal's a Feast




USMC
USMC


God Bless America!
Semper Fidelis
Sgt Grit

THANK YOU

Because of YOU over 580 deserving Marines have received a package or gift certificate this Christmas! Thanks to everyone who has participated!

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