Hey SGT. Grit,
This is one of those chest puffing moments, and the proudest I have ever been! I was home on Christmas leave, and had just left visiting with some family. I was on a ferry boat in my Dress Blues on December 24, going to see my dad. When I had gone topside to get a paper I heard this little girl ask her mom "Is that the ferry captain?". Her mom said "No, that's a Marine". When I heard that my chest swelled with so much pride. I will never forget those words. God Bless Our Marine Corps!

Semper Fi,
Cpl Brown,
R 5/11 93-99

Say Merry Christmas

Say Merry Christmas to your friends in the Corps...

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Christmas Card

Gentle Touch On That

Christmas 1969, I was a Marine in Vietnam. Going on my second tour, I was wondering what I could do to cheer myself and the men around me up. I wrote a letter in October to my Aunt Stiley in Chico California and asked if she could send me a small Christmas tree. Two weeks before Christmas I get this odd shaped package at my unit, Gulf Battery, 3/11, 105 howitzer's. We were stationed at Mount Baldy in between Da Nang and Chu Lai. I carefully opened the package and to my delight was a 3 foot live Christmas tree with all the trimmings. I removed the tree and put it into a vice on a workbench in my armory. I gingerly pulled down one branch at a time, not breaking a one, and decorated it with the lights, garland and bulbs. It even had a slight scent of pine left in it. The word was spread near and far, that a real Christmas tree was in the Nam.

To my great delight, Marines came from all around to get a look at this small tree. The smiles on my brothers faces were heart warming. They forgot for a few moments that a real war was going on outside and were able to remember what Christmas met to each of them. I don't think one those men walked out, without placing a gentle touch on that beautiful tree.

My aunt has passed away since then, but I never forgot to thank her and tell her how much joy she brought to a bunch of young Marines so far away from home on a very special holiday.

Former Marine
Sgt Fritz McDowell
# 2349865
Nam 2/68-6/70

P.S. Keep up the good work and word. I never fail to shed a tear when I read the letters to you.

Silent Night


Marine Christmas Wedding

Hello. My name is Frances Roy and I am the Mom of LCPL Anastasia Benton, USMC. My daughter and her boyfriend Robert Benton joined the Marine Corps in August 2006 and they went thru boot camp Parris Island together, for the most part, until Rob hurt his leg and was held back for a couple months. My daughter graduated before Rob and went on to Camp Lejeune after a brief visit home.

Soon after Rob graduated boot and he came home for a visit also just about Christmas time. My daughter managed to come home from 29 Palms to do recruiting and in that time they managed to get engaged and have a small but really beautiful wedding, the day after Christmas 2006. There was no time for a honeymoon because my daughter had to head back to 29 Palms and Rob went to Camp Lejeune for his MCT.

Finally, the bride and groom met up at 29 Palms for a few weeks and then Anastasia was sent back to Camp Lejeune as her station. After Rob had his schooling in CA he was stationed back at Camp Lejeune and these 2 kids got to set up house together for the very first time in their marriage.

In August this year, Rob was deployed to Fallujah Iraq and left behind his beautiful bride. These kids haven't been together much in their marriage so far and their first wedding anniversary will be spent apart. Being the good Marines they are, they take it all in stride and wait for the day they can be together again when Rob comes home and take their honeymoon trip to Orlando.

Christmas Wedding I wanted to share with you and your readers a picture of the bride and groom and ask prayers for them to have a long and happy marriage. Anastasia is 20 and Rob is 19 and very much in love. It's their great love for each other that keeps them together and happy while they are so far apart. I'm sending a picture of them on their wedding day hoping you might like to share it with your readers. Thank you all, past and present for defending this great nation and God Bless America!

with kind regards, Frances Roy
Proud "MOM" (Mother Of a Marine)

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Sgt Grit,
package recipient I want to let you know that CLB 8 appreciates the packages coming. The Marines love them! I got one from Elizabeth W. of Albuquerque, NM. These are items I will keep the rest of my life. Here are a couple in pics; I am the one on the right. I am a huge fan of Sgt Grit's Magazine and please tell everyone there THANK YOU.

Sgt Snook EJ
Ammo Chief CLB-8

Japanese General

Japanese General Letter

A Japanese General's letter to his men toward the end of the Saipan campaign.
This is an original copy of the translation.

Semper Fi!
Lou Lowrie

Everywhere We Go

Everywhere we go oh people want to know oh who we are so we tell them We are the leanest we are the meanest hey you get out of the way comin' thru One mile no good two mole no sweat three mile guarantee guarantee
6 mile girl scout seven mile boy scout eight mile heut hut Everyday ten mile Speed it up slow it down bullsh!t speed it up make it hurt no pain no gain
H & S Alpha Bravo Charlie Company
Good night Chesty, Good night Chesty.

John France

After All These Years

Sgt Grit:

As I was getting out of my car in a busy supermarket parking lot, I did not see the old man approaching me from behind. As he tapped gently on my shoulder, I turned to see a slightly stooped man with clear blue eyes and a shock of white hair. He stood there holding his hand out towards me with a smile on his face. He uttered two words nodding towards my rear window where a US Marine Corps decal was. He said, "SEMPER FI". I smiled and shook his hand uttering "SEMPER FI". There was something about him that caught my attention. After shaking my hand and patting me on the shoulder, he turned and walked back to his car and stood by the passenger side, talking to a woman seated inside.

I walked over to them and asked if there was anything I could get for them in the store. The old man stood erect and said, "many thanks, but no", and then, "He is another Jarhead dear". I laughed and admitted it as I saw the woman grin broadly.

The old gentleman waved his hand and started for the market. His wife, the lady I had been talking to said, "After all these years, it beats me how you Marines can recognize each other from such a distance." I smiled and told her it was because we are brother's. She laughed and said, "I sure know that much." I told her that her husband must have seen some bad times in our world and with a deep breath and a sigh, she looked past me to see her husband just going in the market. She nodded and told me had seen his share of action.

I told her that I had served in Korea, with Able Company, First Battalion, Fifth Marines as she nodded knowingly as if she knew what I had experienced in that cold place. It was then that I noticed a blue lightweight jacket on a hangar in the rear seat area and my attention was immediately drawn to a very small pin on the lapel. I instantly recognized the small sky blue ribbon with the smattering of tiny white stars on it and I turned to the lady, pointing and asked, "Is that

.? She interrupted me and with another knowing smile, she said, "Yes, it's his". "The First Marine Raider Battalion, in WW II"

My mouth dropped open and I turned quickly towards the entrance to the market, as she whispered his name to me. I shook her hand and stepped back from the car and brought myself to attention and rendered a smart hand salute. She did not seem surprised at me doing this, but she did nod respectfully and grinned as she wished me well. I turned and went back to my car deciding I would not go in the market now. Sure, if I had gone I would probably have met the old gent inside, but I thought it would be embarrassing for him.

So as I began to get in my car and drive away, once again I waved to the lady in the car. As I drove out of the parking lot and all the way home, I replayed the incident in my mind. I knew one thing. In my lifetime I had briefly stood next to greatness. A genuine recipient of the Medal of Honor, had shook my hand and I realized that for a brief moment I had stood next to a living hero.

Dr. James Taylor, PhD
Former "Buck" Sergeant USMC

17 Years

17 year tat

Took me 17 years but I got the tat I wanted. The USMC on top is 20 years old and was touched up to match the lower part.

Semper Fi,

Paul Bogan, Taylor Texas
Lance Corporal, 0331

Just Get Out Of Their Way

I watched my grandson graduate from MCRD San Diego this last August and I was soooooo proud of him. He went through Pendleton and now is Virginia for more training. But he gets to be home for Christmas. He has been gung-ho since his sophomore year in high school. He is so smart, I wanted him to go to college first; but he couldn't wait to be a Marine. God bless him! The only thing he wanted for Christmas was a gift certificate for "Grit". So that'll be under the tree for him.

As an old retired USAF Lt. Col, I read with interest your newsletter; especially the ones about Nam. (2 tours - one at DaNang) All those references to dogpatch, Monkey Mountain, etc. brought back a lot of great memories. I don't remember the number of the VMF across the runway at DaNang, but I worked a lot with those pilots. I spent a tour as a fast FAC in the F-4 and the VMF guys in their A-4s were superb. They didn't hesitate to 'get-down-among-em' and put their ordnance right were it needed to be. I'd mark targets with WP and just get out of their way. One time I took some hits and started an immediate climb to get out of the ground fire and head for DaNang. The A-4s told me I was trailing smoke, so they joined up on me to look me over and assess the damage. It was relatively minor (fuel spraying out of holes in the wing tank - looked like smoke -thank God it didn't blow up). Anyway they flew with me all the way back to DaNang for moral support. I never did get their name, but a Marine in our club never had to buy a drink when I was in there.

God Bless those who won't be home this Christmas.

Lee Castell
Lt.Col.(Ret) USAF

Artillery Video

Sgt Grit
I am writing in reference to the artillery video displayed on your page titled poetry in motion. My name is Sgt Phillippi Charlie Battery 1st Battalion 10th Marines this video displays every wrong thing to do as a section chief and a #1 man. I trained section chiefs at the Artillery Training School 10th Marines. The #1 man never swabbed his tube nor checked to see if the bore was clear also never saw him hook up a lanyard once. If my Battery Gunny had seen this type of action this section chief would be relieved on the spot and he would have some won ton soup for these Marines. There is no need for these types of cowboy stunts during training which I am sure this is where this video took place. Many of Marines have lost a hand by not hooking up that lanyard. I write this in hopes that other young artillery section chiefs read this and avoid that video and to the section chief in the video I thinks he needs to go back to section chief school and show someone where these practices are in any type of manual because he will not find them. I know this is not a story but just a concern from a former section chief and instructor of Artillery thank you kindly

Jason Phillippi

I Finally Got

Dear Grit,
got my tattoo I finally got my tattoo after all these years. I didn't have to get drunk or held down by my squad.
I have a even better one in the makings. Will update as soon as possible.
Take care and as always "Semper Fi"

Sgt. KA Dove 0311
Rose Garden 72-73

My Support

tattoo This is a tat I got after I got out to represent my unit 2nd combat engineers Charlie Co.. So Semper Fi to all my fellow brothers out there and my support is behind you.......Sgt.C.W.Atwood 1371

Do The Math

In response to GySgt Wasmund and his dislike for Fruit Cake after having to eat the whole thing for his DI at MCRD San Diego in 1953. This must be a universal lesson taught at Drill Instructor School. I received about 2 dozen peanut butter cookies from my grandmother while at Parris Island in 1979. There were 84 recruits in Plt. 3083. Do the math. I can attest to the fact that the human mouth will hold approximately 13-15 large homemade peanut butter cookies at one time. As I stood at attention, SSgt. Helmcamp crammed each and every one of those cookies in. I had to wait till they melted as I could not chew and could hardly breathe. My letter home that night clearly stated - DO NOT send me anything! To this day, I pretty much hate all things peanut butter. Thanks for the belly laugh Gunny!

Many thanks also to SDI GySgt Scott, DI SSgt. Helmcamp, DI Sgt. Kosell, and DI Sgt. Willis for a most enjoyable 13 weeks and a great foundation for life.

Jeff Odle
Semper Fi.
Sgt. '79-'84

Next Thing I Remember

President Bush had given Saddam Hussein 48 hours to vacate Baghdad before he sent us across the border of Kuwait and into Iraq to take care of him ourselves. In retaliation, Saddam began to shoot short-range missiles at the outer camps in Kuwait from just across the border.

Of course, being a troop on the ground in Kuwait, how were we supposed to know what he'd do after the ultimatum came down?

Myself and a few other Marines had been tasked with driving to one of the outer camps to pick up a few new HMMVs and bring them back to our base. We were all piled in the back of a high-back HMMV and trundled off down the road (such as it was). We told jokes, passed bottles of water back and forth, smoked cigarettes, and had a fun ride. After a few hours of jouncing around in the back of the vehicle, the driver shouted back that we were in sight of the camp. We all cheered and readied our gear to debark.

Whenever a convoy enters a camp with vehicles in it, the vehicle must stop just outside the gate so that the armed personnel may debark and clear their weapons to insure that no accidents happen. (This means that we have to make sure there is no ammo in the weapons and then dry-fire it into a barrel just to double-check.)

Well, being the low man on the totem pole, I threw open the back flap and started to climb out.

As my right foot exited the vehicle, a bright light shot at lightning speed directly over the vehicle. The light was followed by a smoke-trail and the sound of an extremely low- flying jet. It was a short-range missile. The missile impacted 200 feet away from the vehicle.

Short-range missiles of that nature have an effective killing radius of 300 meters. A meter is just under 3 feet, so that means that anything within about 900 feet of the missile's impact is generally toast.

A sun was birthed before my eyes.

The next thing I remember I was picking myself up off the ground, the loudest, highest-pitched ringing I had ever heard in my life in my ears. I shook my head to clear it and noticed blood spattering the ground from my ear; my eardrum had ruptured. I turned to look at the HMMV. It was tipped completely over on its side, its wheels slightly melted and smoking. My friends were clamoring out of the back of it, yelling and pointing at the black smoke the desert seemed to be vomiting up in the distance.

One of my buddies, Corporal Zimmerman, grabbed me and hurried me over to a small concrete bunker. Within seconds, the entire bunker was filled with hot, sweating Marines.

We all pulled our gas masks out of our bags (we were already wearing our protective suits in case something like this happened) and put them on. I noticed two of the Marines in the bunker didn't have either protective suit or mask. I yelled over at them to put their stuff on, but they protested that they hadn't been issued their gear yet. I looked at them again and noticed how clean they were.

The two Marines had just arrived here from America; this was their first day in Kuwait.

We couldn't do anything for them; if there was a toxic gas in that missile, they would just have to breathe it.

I know that sounds harsh, but they were new and knew nothing. We had been there awhile and were more important to the overall mission because of our accumulated knowledge. Yes, it's screwed up, but that's the military for you.

Zimm pulled out my first-aid kit and helped me gauze up my ear. (To this day I still have trouble hearing out of my right ear.)

We huddled there in that bunker for what seemed like hours; it was probably only about fifteen minutes. When we were finally told to come out, we hurried into the camp, located our vehicles, and got the h&ll out of Dodge. I had been looking forward to eating lunch in their chow hall, too. Ah, well.

Looking back on that day, so much of what happened has been lost in memory's fog already. I can't remember the names of half of the men who were in that vehicle that day; I don't remember the jokes or the stories we told on the ride up and I don't even remember what kind of missile it was that flew over my head. I remember Zimm and I remember the smoking, melted tires. I remember the two boot privates who were probably wondering why in God's name they had chosen the Marine Corps and I remember thanking God every night for about a week afterward. I remember wondering what my mom would do if I was killed and I remember thinking about the letter I had sent to my school with instructions to only open it if I was reported killed.

It's funny the things you forget, and it's funnier the things you remember. In two years' time, all those stories of what we did might be lost; could just be the mind's way of dealing with trauma. I'll never know. What I do know is that God was watching out for me that day. Something I hadn't mentioned earlier: The seat I had been sitting on by the back of the vehicle was completely demolished. If I had been sitting there when the missile hit, I would've been skewered by a chunk of wood thicker than my leg. I stood up to get out because someone stood me up; that's the only way I can think to describe it.

And I still flinch when I hear low-flying jets.

LCpl Jason Gormally
HQ Co. 5th Marines 1MARDIV

My Two Loves

Joined in Feb. 11, 1952 and 8 weeks vacation at Parris Island. Spent 14 months in Korea and met Chesty Puller. Attached to 1st Tanks. Married my wife May 15, 1955 and bought a car. She picked it out. She and my car became my two loves.
George Branch

Take The SgtMaj Advice

Sgt Grit

Just want to tell you what an outstanding job you are doing Marine keep up the good work! James Maroon sent in a letter saying that he served proudly with at the time LtCol Peter Pace in 1984-1985, I to proudly served with him. I was in 2Bn 1st Marines First Marine Division E Company 1st Platoon. We where out in the bush for a few days then went to the range for some live fire action, I was the grenadier for our fire team. We had to low crawl to our firing positions, I did not like that idea because I had a vest on with live 203 rounds in pockets on my chest. That's when I received a little adjustment from the SgtMaj to keep my butt down and low and behold who was standing next to him but none other LtCol Pace. All he said was "take the SgtMaj advice and keep your butt down" I said yes sir like a good Marine and went on to the range.

He must have been watching because I put a 203 H.E round in the center of this simulated column and we wanted to see if I could do it again, this time I was just a bit high but it was still considered a kill shot. After we where done LtCol Pace came over to talk to our platoon and to shake hands with us, he talked with every Marine for a minute or two. When he got to me he looked me strait in the eye and said that was good shooting Marine and keep your butt down.

That was one of many things I admired about him, he loved his Marines. He would take the time to talk to you, make sure things are good at home stuff like that. I think that's why we loved him so much he took the time to talk to us as men. If he was to knock on my door today and ask me "we need you back in" I would jump on it in a heart beat there would be no thinking about it at all. You will truly be missed General Pace!

With Love and respect
LCpl Snowden
Marine Barracks Seal Beach NWS 1982-1983
2Bn 1st Marines E company 1st platoon 1983-1985

I Have No Idea

This is probably a long shot. While stationed on Okinawa in 1970, I became friends with a Captain Smith at Force Service Regiment. He was transferred to Camp Pendleton about the time I was. I wanted to look him up, but as fate would have it, the base locator could never find him for me. I know he wanted to remain on Okinawa, but I have no idea what ever happened to him. He was a career Marine - a temporary Captain, a temporary Warrant Officer and a permanent Gunnery Sergeant. His wife and family lived on Okinawa. I don't remember which battalion he was in. However, it was the battalion, the Military Police Company was part of and Captain Smith was the Supply Officer. I was the Garrison Property Officer assigned to Force Service Regiment, Camp Foster (Futemma Village) I drew shot guns from the armory at Camp Butler, for Captain Smith to issue to the Military Police. He was not only a very professional Marine, but also a pleasure to know and work with. I wanted to thank him for being a good friend.
Lt. R. O. Burns USMCR 1968-1971

Boyfriend's Left Leg

Sgt. Grit,
I get your news letter every week & I enjoy seeing pictures of the tattoos the Marines get, and reading their stories. So I am attaching a picture of my my boyfriends left leg. He got his upper left leg branded...did I mention that he did it himself? His branded name is Hugh Smith and he was in the Marines 1999-2005. I have never seen someone with anything like this. He also has a tattoo of the eagle globe and anchor, that one covers his whole upper right leg. I will have to get a picture of that one and send it into you as well.

I also just want to say thanks for putting out such a great news letter, I really enjoy reading it!
God Bless the Marines.

-Mary Fioretti

We Loaded A Jeep

A Christmas to Remember....

It was a few years ago that we had a bumper crop of toys, and on Christmas morning my wife and I had just settled down in the living room after having breakfast. That's when the phone rang and the voice on the other end said. "Max, what're ya doin?" It was Lynn. He said we're going to Cape Cod Hospital with these extra toys for the kids in there at Christmas.

Down at the Marine Corps office in Orleans we called Cape Cod Hospital where we were told the children all went home for Christmas except the real sick ones who were in Boston. Falmouth Hospital gave us the same answer, so we called Mass General where they said they had three floors of kids!

Lynn wore his scarlet uniform and Chuck, our commandant, wore his dress blues. I chose to wear my Santa outfit. We loaded a jeep up with toys and we were off to Boston! Where to park? Security at the front door said "You can park anywhere Santa!", and he sent a man out with a large cart which we piled high with toys.

Up the elevator we went and the nurses were very friendly. Some wanted a stuffed toy to bring home to their kids, but we told them that was a no no, as people donated these toys for a worthy cause. It was pretty sad to see some of these kids. We had fifteen Furbies which was the big toy that year, but we only gave them to children that asked for them.

All was quiet on the way home, that trip had set us to thinking. When we pulled in to the office, Lynn said he knew someone in North Eastham that was deserving of the one last Furbie we had left. He wrote down an address and off I went to find this little girl.

Pulling into the driveway I could see into the living room as the door was wide open behind the storm door. I could feel all the neighbors watching me as it's not every day you see Santa going to someone's house! The girl's mother let me in and was very disappointed as her daughter was with her father on this Christmas day.

She made a call to the daughter and told her Santa had come to see her. She told the little girl that she could talk to Santa. We had a nice talk, and in the process I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she said "A Furbie!" I told her I'd check, and sure enough I came up with one in the bottom of my bag. That was the scarce toy you just couldn't get, and the mother couldn't believe with the tears rolling down her cheeks. I told the little girl I was handing a Furbie to her mother who gave me a big hug. I turned and disappeared down the driveway...

Sgt Max Sarazin, 1st ANGLICO
1951-1959, Korean War Veteran

I Know What Happened Back

Sgt Grit,

I would like to relay a story to you about the passing of a tradition. A dear friend assigned as the III MEF NBC Chief in Okinawa was retiring and asked me to carry on his tradition that he had started many years before. He had started reading a poem he had found, author unknown, to his Marines every Birthday Ball season. He asked me if I would carry on that tradition after his retirement and I agreed. I have since retired and I passed the tradition on to one of my Marines and to my knowledge it continues today. I am fortunate to be living and working around Marines and still do my part to honor my friend's request. I would like to post this for all your readers and ask their help to continue this tradition. Again, the author is unknown but the message is timeless.

I noticed last November at the annual birthday ball
that things are different in the Corps not like they were at all,

The kids look so much younger then when I was wearing green,
they seemed just barely old enough to hold the name Marine.

I stopped to talk a minute to a brand new PFC.
He didn't wear a hash mark and his chest was ribbon free,

I tried to make him understand my feelings for the Corps,
its battle streamered banners and the honors won in war,

He listened to me politely until I stumbled to a halt
and then he looked me in the eye and he told me what HE thought,

Sir, I know what happened back in the year 1918,
I know the story of Belleau Woods and the Devil Dog Marines,

I know the story of Tarawa's blood red sand
where Marines fought on bravely locked in combat hand to hand.

Now you look at me and wonder if I can fill the bill,
well I've never seen a battle and hope I never will,

But if that bugle blows again I'll saddle up and go
cause that's the story of the Corps and why I love it so.

I happened then to notice the young girl there by his side.
Her eyes were filled with love and hope but most of all with pride.

Just as they turned to walk away so young so proud so tall,
Quite suddenly I realized that it hadn't changed at all.

Thank-you and Semper Fi

Steve Nutter
MGySgt (Ret)

Mom At The Grocery Store

I spent nine years as a Corpsman of the Marines directly and indirectly for nine years. I made it a point to talk to a Marine Mom at the grocery store. She was wearing the requisite st-shirt "My son is a Marine". In conversation I told her that she had nothing to worry about because her son would have the best training available and it would save him if he were to get in a tight spot. Marines don't run. He had just completed Boot Camp and was training for deployment. She gave me a hug and said until I talked to her she was scared to death. She was convinced that the arrogance she felt at his graduation was not real. I assured her it was. I think I made her day.

Reached Our Conclusions

If we are lucky, once in our lifetime we meet that one individual who most personifies everything we should strive to be. I was that kind of lucky when I met Charles "Chuck" Colvard in the summer of 1989 at the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Twentynine Palms, CA. In Chuck, not only did I find the finest gentleman I had ever met, but I also found the leader I most wanted to become; a man who above all else, above his own safety, well-being or hope of personal gain desired for his team to succeed even above his own desire to get ahead. In a nutshell, my greatest personal example of a leader was a man who was never above simply being one of the team.

Major Chuck Colvard (LDO) started at the bottom, having run away from home at the age of 16 to join the Marine Corps. When the Marines sent Chuck home he and his parents agreed that he'd wait until he turned 17 and then he'd be signed into the Corps by his father. Over the next 32 years Chuck became known to many Marines young and old as a friend, a mentor and a great patriotic American.

Although easily one of the oldest Marines in our command at the time, Chuck was always quick to roll up his sleeves and get into the work of the day not only in his position as our senior Intelligence Officer but also as a top quality analyst. Always guiding with a smile and a friendly word, Chuck continually nurtured in us the desire to learn.

Even when he saw us moving off into a less efficient method, Chuck would let us try to work through a problem, offering advice only when asked.

After we had finally reached our conclusions, Chuck would then sit down with us and talk through what we had accomplished and how we might have better performed the project. In this way he allowed us to work through our own problem-solving processes while ensuring the mission was met in the time required.

In 1990 the world was rushing toward the information age. However, Chuck ensured every one of his Marines had the best quality computers before he'd allow one to be set up in his office. Not until the computer I had arranged for him had sat unplugged for almost two weeks did he finally admit that he was scared to death of computers; totally computer illiterate at the time.

Afterward, Chuck went down to the base education office and over a span of five years signed up for every computer course he could find, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology. Even through his own failing he showed each of us how to succeed.

Just before my return from a deployment to Iraq I was informed that Chuck had passed away. It was almost like coming full circle because when he and I deployed to Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield, Chuck was hospitalized with a heart attack and rushed back out of theater to Germany for quadruple bypass surgery. Here 15 years later, while sitting in the Middle East again with America at war, I was receiving word of his passing. Still an overgrown kid at the age of 61, I knew Chuck wanted to be serving still. I also knew his having to leave us in theater during Desert Shield had hit Chuck hard and as recently as six months earlier Chuck told me that he still did not forgive himself for "leaving his comrades when he was needed most". That was Chuck at the very core and what I found to be his strongest leadership trait; his desire for the team to succeed over his own personal gains. To Chuck I can only say, "Rest in peace old friend."

Steve Clayton
Captain, USMC, LDO, Retired

A Fine Marine

This is video is called "A Hymn to the Marines."

It is a little bit over two minutes in length. At approximately the two minute mark an image of an Iwo Jima survivor is shown. This is Gene Gustad a fine Marine and a dear friend of mine. When I first saw this video I got a big smile on my face and a tear in my eye.


John Wear, USMC
Tanker, Vietnam


The family of a retired Marine Sergeant Major, with 42 years in the Corps, reluctantly decided that at, age 92, he needed more care than they could provide.

The only decent place close to their home was a nursing home for retired soldiers. They approached the facility and were told that, while Army vets got first choice, they would take vets of the other services if there happened to be an opening; which, by good fortune, there was.

A week after placing the retired Marine there, his sons came to visit. "How do you like it here, Pop?" they asked.

"It's wonderful," said the old Jarhead. "Great chow, lots to do, and they treat everyone with great respect."

"How so, Pop?"

"Well, take Harry, across the hall. 88 and was in the Air Force. He hasn't worn the uniform in 30 years, but they still call him 'General.' Then George, down the hall, used to lead the Army band. Hasn't conducted a note in 40 years, but they still call him 'Maestro!', and Bob used to be a surgeon in the Navy, has not operated on anyone in 20 years, but they still call him 'Doctor' "

"That's fine for the other guys, Pop, but how do they treat you?"

"Me? They treat me with even more respect. I'm 92, haven't had s&x in 10 years, and they still call me 'That F---ing Marine!'"

St. Michael

Hey Sgt Grit, Happy Holidays to our ever-growing Marine Corps family out there. A quick tattoo story...

a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, added new "moto" tats to his body every six months or so. I always wore a St. Michael medallion with my dog tags for protection, and he thought it was pretty neat, so decided to get "St. Michael" tattooed across his upper back. Well, he showed it to me, and it looked neat, but something just wasn't quite right. I soon realized what it was, checked my medallion, and knew that a permanent mistake had been made. My buddy and the tattoo artist didn't spell "Michael" correctly...

it was spelled "Micheal". I let him know (probably shouldn't have), and he really didn't mind. It could have been pride kicking in, but over the next year he told me that I was the only one who had noticed the error... hopefully that has remained the same! Thanks for the newsletter... OohRah!

Sgt. F.M. Brown

NO Cover

Read with interest Nile White's remembrance of his Xmas vacation in Korea.

EVERY December, I remember, in a fox-hole from dusk to dawn with NO cover, as we were in a valley and the gooks would have had a field-day with us with a bunker over the holes. Approximately 14 hours of darkness and then we were relieved by tanks during the day.

For December AND January, until the 30th when they sent me home from my vacation. Figure 14 time about 60 days, gets a little COOL.

Chesty's last regimental command.

Great Christmas Commercial - OOH-Rah

Santa in Dress Blues

All These Changes

My son graduated 7 December 2007 from MCRD San Diego. He was Meritoriously promoted to PFC and was also chosen platoon guide which signifies him as the outstanding recruit in his platoon. As a former US Marine (1961-65) I could not be prouder.

However, that's not the reason I'm writing. I had not been back to MCRD in almost half a century and was very surprised at the changes that have been made. The recruits have to purchase all there gear from the PX. This includes all personal gear: shaving, tee shirts, underwear, etc. They paid for all their hair cuts (@$4.00 ea.) No more Government Issue. Part of the privatizing of the Services.

By going to the PX they come into contact with non-military personnel which we never did. They were permitted to make phone calls home, again something we were never allowed. We also received a letter from his Senior Drill Instructor giving us an e-mail address to contact him with. I'm sure my SDI had more important things to do than writing my parents and answering their question concerning whether I was eating enough, ETC.

Also from what my son tells me his unit did little PT with weapons, little running as a platoon and spent a great deal of time in class. After the first few weeks not much PT at all.

When I arrived at MCRD with the rest of the families the day before graduation we were meet by a SSgt. who acted as some kind of MC, telling jokes and what not. To me his performance diminished the seriousness and dignity of the graduation experience. That first day my son and his comrades were awarded their Globe and Anchors and this made the following days graduation ceremony anti-climatic, they were already Marines. All totally different from my experience.

After graduation my son has been given 10 days leave before reporting to ITR. This is something also very different from my experience, as we were given 2 hours to visit with our family and the next day were ship off to ITR. To my way of thinking this 10 days leave, though great for the family, does little for the Marine as he can lose focus and nothing for the Marine Corps who receives a young man after 10 days leave who more than likely has had way to much fun. All these changes, I'm not so sure where making better Marines. Just the opinion of one OLD CORPS MARINE.

Michael Laemmle
Corporal of Marines
Semper Fi

Altered State Of Mental Function

Someone needs to inform Mark (current Newsletter) re: tattoos that while they may be "disfiguring body art" to him, they ancient body art going back for thousands of years. While poor tattooing or post-tattoo care can result in infections, they normally should not become infected. As to being something "sailors started" - I wish he could tell that one to the late MGEN Smedley Darlington Butler, whose name any Marine should recognize - he had a large tattoo of the EGA on his chest which was shot partly away when he led his men in the charge on the fort at San Tan Pating in the Boxer Rebellion...

I have one - a skull with a campaign hat, and the word Recon beneath it - which I got shortly before leaving the Marines, after having considered one for the last 10 years. I was not in "some kind of altered state of mental function or were challenged to a bet or so called "macho" contest" - I was stone cold sober on a Thursday AM.

I am no longer "gungy" or a kid - but the tattoo is wearing well, and hardly fading at all. (It was done by an excellent tattoo artist, the late Davy Jones.)

Jim Taylor
USMC (Ret.)

(CAP Oscar-2, Khe Sanh, 1967-8, 1st & 3rd Recon, E 2/2, M 3/9, etc.)

Rhode Island


As we were putting on our coats leaving my wife's beauty parlor today, the new receptionist looked up from behind her computer and upon noticing my Marine cap excitedly said, "Oh you're a Marine--my boyfriend is too!" I said, "that's great, and where is he now? She hesitated slightly before saying, "Oh I'm not sure, I think he's in Rhode Island." On a "hunch" I replied, "do you think perhaps he may be at Parris Island?" You could see the relief on her face as she said, "Oh yeah, that's it, Parris Island." Made my day!

Merry Christmas, SgtGrit, to you, your staff, your readers, and to all our Marines and all servicemen and women wherever they may be (including those who may actually be in Rhode Island), serving us as we celebrate this Holy season, and to the friends and family of all our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve!

Gerald F. Merna
1stLt, USMC (Retired)

Better Trained By Far

Hi always happy to receive the news letter and read them all. But I am tired of all these people who are always gripping about-- What are they doing to MY Corps-- they gripe about boot camp being too soft, and DI being disciplined for abuse. Tough love is one thing but abuse is something else and the jerks who do it deserve to be disciplined. The deal in San Diego was abuse clear and simple. there is no excuse for striking kids with sticks and flashlights. of jumping on them in a trash can. This is like a abusive marriage, not to be tolerated under any circumstances. My grandson just finished his boot camp in Oct. and his School of Infantry today at Pendleton, the same places I did mine fifty years ago. He did not have it soft at MCRD in Diego or a easy time at SOI. No time out or the stress cards I keep hearing so much about. He is every bit as much a Marine as I was and better trained by far. I have met and talked with his instructors, and wish I had received his training. These kids might look like babies and they do, but By the grace of God and the Marine Corps they are highly motivated young Marines capable to doing the job and holding up the traditions of your Marine Corps, that you are so worried about. Nuff said.
Pvt. R.. Young
USMC 1956-58
Proud grandfather of
Pvt. Jeremy Thomas
Smilin_Bob Young

Shoulda Known Better

Don't remember the name of the ship that I and 6,000 other Marines went to RVN on in the spring of'66; but I do remember the oldest 2nd LOOEY I ever saw! He was white haired and determined to be in ONE more War! The Marines that knew him said he had been a MGYSGT and would not retire! So the Marine Corps in its wisdom made him take a "promotion" to 2nd Lt. thinking this would make him give it up! They shoulda known better! This guy was a MARINE! No matter what his age! Any body out there remember him? Will always wonder...
David Lindsay Sgt. '62-'66

Deploying In Mid Jan

usmc tattoo

Just was looking at your site and thought I would share my USMC tattoo. Got it right out of MCRD San Diego in Omaha,NE. I am currently assigned to Echo Co, 2/24 and activated for ILOC in 29 Palms,CA. Our battalion will be deploying in Mid Jan 08.

Semper FI
LCpl Matt Chaney

For About A Month

I guess I was very lucky when I came back from Nam. I went to B Co, 13th Engineers Bn. 5th Mar Div. at Pendleton. I had been a truck mechanic for two years (mos 3516). Anyway when I arrived there, Somebody found out that I had typing in HS. So here I go I am now a 0141. I was with B co. for about two months, sent to admin school, came back to B Co. Got transferred to Charlie Co. ( was just activated) Was a E-3 and the X-O for about a month. Acting CO was a Gunny Sgt by the name of Moore ( heck of a golfer by the way). Finally we get the Captain in, by the name of L. S. Chevez. He was one of those guys you liked right away. He told me that he didn't need to see most of the paper work that goes thru a company office. So I learned to write L. S. Chevaz very good. We worked our tails off in the office every day I required my guys in the office to be in there by 0630, and we usually worked until around 2000 every night.

After see us doing this for about a month, He called me into his office one day, and said that from now one I was to close the office at noon on Fridays, and was to go on Liberty at that time. I always keep one person there to answer the phones, though. We all took turns. I found out though a friend I had meet at Admin school that we were going to have an I.G. Inspection soon, and I should get started before they dropped in. All totaled we ended up with about 18 days to get ready. I begged, borrowed, and stole every missing order. Had all the SRB;s up to day along with every thing that was down at Dispersing all squared away. Finally this 90 day wonder came in and for five days went through every order, every SRB, and I think even for dust in the bottom draw. Anyway after the wonder boy had left, Captain Chevez came in and told me to check what they would be looking for the next day. I pulled out this manual, took out two pages, and handed them to the Capt. Next morning here comes the wonder boy, goes over to the manual that I had pulled the two pages from, and guess what he finally found something to write up against us. Needless to say he was gone in five minutes. Captain Chavez came in then and handed me a form to type up. It turned out to be my promotion to Corporal, meritorious, and it was presented to me in from of the whole battalion down on the parade field. by Lt Col. Drummond. That was one of my proudest days in the Marine Corps. If I could have keep Capt Chevaz as my CO I might have stayed as long as he did!

Edward Insell
Corporal USMC 1966-1969
Happy Birthday to all Marines, Past, Present and Future

New Tattoo

White Knights Tattoo

I took my Marine husband for his Birthday Present. He designed his own tattoo a few years ago but we never did anything with it until now. He served with the "White Knights" HMM 165. The knight's head on the aft pylon is the only markings that they had on the helicopters while HMM 165 was in Viet Nam. It was the result of flying into Cambodia and I think it was Operation Shiny Brass. Flying Korean Marines into Cambodia before anyone else was aware they were there in 1967.

Happy Birthday to My Wonderful Husband
-Duke from Wheeling, West Virginia

Major Steed

I have read some great stories about the excellent Marine officer that some of us have served with, so I thought I would add mine to the list. I was a gunner in a Dragon Platoon in H&S Co. 2/3 at K-Bay (then home of the West-Pac) in early 1979, when I went on my first of three floats. While at sea it was decided to take Dragoons, 81 mm Mortars and snipers and form Weapons Co. The first Co. CO to get us up and running was also the Battalion XO at the time. His name was Major. B. C. Steed. The finest Marine I ever knew. Rumors abounded about Major. Steed, he had completed every single Marine Correspondence course, he had been in Vietnam, no it was Korea, and he still ran a 300 pft. He was Chesty's long lost son. He had been a NCO in Vietnam, got a battlefield commission, therefore he could not go above the rank of Major. I think I saw step in a mud hole in P. I. one time and the water parted.

I don't know what was true, or fiction. I do know he demanded respect without demanding it. He character, and military bearing, made you not want to disappoint him. And isn't that true for all great Marine leaders? You did not want to let them down. Sh-t birds pressed their uniforms and polished their boots if there was a change they might bump into him the next day, and popped to attention when he walked into the room. At the time he was battalion XO, the CO was then Lt.Col Boomer. Who later became four star general assistance commandant Boomer, a great leader in his own right. But to us grunts in 2/3 Lt.Col. Boomer couldn't hold a candle to Major. Steed.

I can't think of my time in the Corps without think of Major. Steed. I wonder if he is still living, and how his Marine career finished up? If there are any other readers out there that served with Major. Steed, I would love to hear one of your stories.
Semper Fi, J. T. Marvel Wpns. Co 2/3 79-82

Boot Camp Graduation Books

Sgt. Grit

While cleaning out a locker up at the Veterans Home of Calif. (Yountville, CA) we found three Boot Camp Graduation Books. After a search, we are unable to locate the original owners. If anyone that was in the Platoons would like to have them, we will send them.

Second Battalion

Plt. 2048 16 May 1974 - 2 Aug. 1974

Plt. 2063 2 July 1974 - 18 Sept. 1974

Plt. 2110 8 Oct. 1975 - 24 Dec. 1975

Vince Rigoni

USMC 1950-1954

Contact Sgt Grit: info@grunt.com

Privileged To Have Made It

Sgt. Grit:

I am one of those rapidly disappearing WWII Marine Corps Veterans. I have been privileged to have made it to age 81 & 1/2, but of all those years, the most memorable ones were July, 1943 to April, 1946 - the time I spent in the United States Marine Corps. I truly can't think of an episode. or era, more meaningful to this former Marine. There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to adequately describe how I feel about "The Corps", but then, I think I have expressed this on another occasion. At the risk of sounding morbid, I understand we are dying off at the rate of 1000 per day. Sounds reasonable to me, since I enlisted one month after I turned 17.

I want to wish all Marines who have served, and are serving, our nation a Very Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year; and the same to all the Moms, Wives, Sweethearts, Sisters, Brothers and Fathers of Marines who are presently serving in the finest organization in the world - The United States Marine Corps - and especially to all those Marines who are in harms way - in Iraq or Afghanistan. God Bless You. I hope I am around next Christmas, and that all you guys and girls serving overseas are also, but in case the law of statistics has caught up with me, know that I love each and every one of you. Hurry home to those who love you and wait for you, and to a nation who thanks you for your sacrifice, for being "on the wall" and saying " no one will come to any harm tonight - not on my watch".

Semper Fi Marines,
and to all who love a Marine

James D. Broome, Cpl.
Cumming, GA

The (Original) Night Before Christmas

As this poem, which was written by a Marine in Okinawa, has been pirated by the Army, it's time to get the original back out there.

'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house
Made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
With presents to give,
And to see just who
In this home did live.
I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures
Of far away lands.
With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought
Came to my mind.
For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary.
But inside I found a Marine,
Once I saw clearly.
The Marine lay sleeping,
Silent and alone.
Curled up on the floor
In this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room so serene,
Not how I pictured
A US Marine.
Was this the hero
Of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to Marines,
Willing to fight.
Soon round the world,
Children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
A bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of Marines,
Like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve,
In a land far from home.
The very thought brought
A tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
And started to cry.
The Marine awakened
and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry,
this life is my choice,
I fight for freedom,
and don't ask for more.
My life is my God,
my Country, my Corps."
The Marine rolled over
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered there,
'Er the cold nights chill.
I didn't want to leave
That cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.
The Marine again rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered," Carry on Santa,
Christmas day, all's secure."
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night."

Semper Fi and Merry Christmas!

Short Rounds

Would like to share my Christmas stories with all hands. Went to San Diego in June 1958. Home on leave in Oct and then back to Camp Pendleton to Base MT. Christmas comes we didn't have money to go home to Minn again. Went to Okinawa in Dec 1959 and spent Christmas at Camp Hague with Hdq 4th Bn 12 Marines. And Christmas 1960 was at Camp Hague again. We had a Christmas tree etc and pretty much did have the best time we could.

Tom Loch Cpl E-4

Merry Christmas to all of my fellow Marines
Vin Grimley - Rhode Island
Former Staff Sergeant of Marines
1948 to 1952

I know it take balls to be in a position where you train men to fight and maybe die for their fellow man. Maybe MSGT Gossage ought to take a trip to the WALL or purchase a copy of the book "To Heal a Nation". He would no longer have to pray that his recruits were not on the wall, he would KNOW. The best DI I ever knew. MGySgt James E. Prince, lost 3 to Viet Nam....Nobody's perfect. MSGT go look at the wall, start the healing....you've already waited far too long.
JK March, Former Sgt of Marines

Outstanding Video

Pvt.! Are you a sleep? No SIR! I'm praying! What you praying for? I'm praying the Drill Instructor will not catch me sleeping!........SIR!
MCRD / PI. / 57 / 60

Dear Sgt Grit,

I proudly served in the USMC from Dec. 57 to Dec. 61. I was recently at the Marine Corps birthday celebration and they asked who the oldest Marine was. I feel 35 inside and am physically fit, so I didn't think of myself as the oldest. Turns out that at 67 I was the oldest Marine and got to eat the first piece of birthday cake. Still standing proud.

CPL Leland Dittman USMC 57-61

USMC Decal
USMC Decal