My son is a new D.I. and I couldn't be prouder. After seeing him graduate Dec 19th 2007 he sent me home with the Marine Cadence vol.1 and vol 2. I play them in the car often now to feel closer to my son and late husband who was also a Marine. This week I took my 6yr.old grandson to pay his Christmas respects to Grandpa Steven and had the cadences playing. On the trip home a small voice from the back of the van starts singing the cadences. He just wanted to be ready to run with Uncle Morgan when he came home.
Thank you, Ruthann Schiavone

Sgt Grit Picks

Sgt Grit's Picks
I've picked out some of my favorite stuff and put them in one easy to find place for you to browse. Semper Fi Sgt Grit

View Sgt Grit's Picks

On Nov. 10th, I read an article in our local newspaper, that reported a mix-up at the Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island (NY)

The Story: On Sept. 30,2007 an Army Veteran, by the name of Willie Hayes died and was going to be buried at Calverton. His family was advised that there was a William Hayes with the same date of birth, same social security number and military rank buried there since 2004.

William Hayes had served in the Marine Corps from 1965-1969 which included a tour in Vietnam. He died in a Nursing Home on Christmas Eve 2003. No Family and no money. When the investigation was completed it was learned the William Hayes the Marine had received an "Other than Honorable Discharge" and his remains would exhumed from Calverton Cemetery and reburied in an Unmarked Grave at "Potter's Field", the City of New York's Cemetery for Paupers.

A Funeral Director in Harlem NY from the Isaiah Owens Funeral Home advised the Newsday Reporter that he would pay for and provide a plot for the Marine to be reburied.

I contacted Mr. Owens to offer a donation that would help defer the cost and to thank him for caring enough for a Marine that he did not know. I was invited to attend a small service at the Harlem Funeral Home on Saturday Nov. 17, at 10am.

When I arrived I was proud to be a Marine, there at the Funeral Home were 7 members of the Marine Corps League who conducted a brief service that brought tears to my eyes.

Those seven, myself and two other Marines were there with nothing in common but the fact that we are brothers, we are Marines we will never be alone. Before leaving I presented Mr. Isaiah Owens with a Marine Corps Lapel pin and told him that when he gets to heaven he will gaze on heaven's scene and notice that the "Streets are Guarded by United States Marines" who will act as his Honor Guard. You Made Us Proud. Semper Fi

Sgt. E-4 Dennis J. Muldoon
USMC 1956-1960
2nd Marine Div - 1st Marine Air Wing

"Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it."
John Adams

All Sgt.Grit newsletters are exceptional especially the one of 12/26 and the story of Gen. Gray. But I have a problem. While Marines are exceptionally trained (Darth Vadar would not have survived six movies against you), you seem to have this problem accepting and acknowledging what the American People think about you and say to you. You are a true source of American pride and are part of our resolve and resolution about freedom and justice. Our comments and hugs and gifts are freely and willingly given to you. We are Patriots, and your service inspires us to be better.

Do not be embarrassed when somebody pays for your lunch, shakes your hand, gives you a Semper Fi, or only smiles at you knowingly. We do that because we love and embrace your commitment and decision to serve. We trust you and we feel safe in your care.

Of all the things in my life I have or might yet accomplish, I doubt any of that will eclipse the fact that I am honored to be the father of Sergeant of Marines Kristopher Benson.

You are a motley crew (love it), but as God is my witness, you are truly the best.

May 2008 be one of safety and health for all Marines and their families and friends. God bless you, everyone.

Dr. Dennis Benson

Bulldog DI Tattoo My brother just got a New USMC TATTOO it was done on Christmas Eve. He graduated Nov. 7 07' he was in 3rd Battalion, Kilo Company, platoon 3223
We are so proud of him.

Semper Fi.
Katia Castillo "Proud Sister of a US Marine"

My younger brother has not been in the military. Timing and he sleep walks. He is patriotic and he has always respected me (USMC), our father (USN), great uncles (USMC, Flying Tigers) and grandfather (USN). He has had good fortune in his life and now always flies first class. On his last trip he was waiting to board when he noticed a woman Marine in uniform waiting to board. He went up to her and said, "I'm not trying to hit on you or anything but I'd like to trade tickets with you." She finally agreed. When he started to board, the flight attendant looked at his ticket with a woman's name. She looked him and said, "Oh, your... ." He was seated in the usual cramped rear of the plane. After take off, the attendant surprised him with a meal tray with wine that was obviously a first class meal. To the surprised other passengers she said, "We take care of passengers that show respect to our military."
D Ward, Sgt. USMC 71-75.

"Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you-and especially for the young people here-is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill."
-Ronald Reagan (1992)

On 30 January, '04, (my 62nd birthday) my son retired as a Senior Chief, US Navy, at the Washington,D.C. Navy Yard.

I and all of my family was moved by the flag ceremony, as it is passed from one sailor to another and saluted. But nothing moved the family more when my son stopped in front of me and presented the flag to me. You see, I served in the Corps back in the early '60s, 1st Bat.,2nd Div. The flag presented to me flew for two days at the Marine post in the D.C. Navy Yard.

Iwo Jima Memorial Well this past Father's day my wife and I went to visit our son and daughter-in-law by D.C.. He and I did a walking tour of the memorials. The Wall, WW II, Korea, and the Iwo Jima Memorial. I want to share this photo that I took at the Iwo Memorial. I hope all who see it will feel the way my son and I feel about it.

Semper Fi,
Bob Cavalcante

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Capt. Doit L. Fish I am the son (the only) of a WWII Marine Corps aviator. My father, Capt. Doit L. Fish, was assigned to Marine Bombing Squadron VMB-611 as a PBJ-1 (B-25 Mitchell) pilot, Moret Field, Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippine Islands. On May 30, 1945, Commanding Officer Lt. Col. George A. Sarles lead an all-day, multiple PBJ strike on the Kibawe Trail area near Davao, Mindanao. In the morning, Col. Sarles' PBJ was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft and crashed with him and three of his crewmembers KIA. In the afternoon, while en-route to the target area, my father and his wingman were advised the Colonel's aircraft was missing. After searching the area for the lost aircraft to no avail, the two PBJs attacked their assigned target area. My father's PBJ disappeared, never to be seen again. He and his seven-member crew were declared missing in action. The loss of 12 brave fellow Marine squadron members was VMB-611's highest single-day causalities in their short history.

In November 1956, the aircraft wreckage and skeletal remains were discovered in the Philippine jungle near the area they were reported missing. Although individual identification was impossible, it was determined the remains were of Dad and his crew. A group burial of the eight Marines, with full military honors, was held at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO on July 15, 1957.

I recently purchased a USMC Ka-Bar knife from your on-line store. What prompted me to make this purchase was two-fold; a discussion about the Ka-Bar on a Marine Forum that I belong to and the attached photo of my father in front of a PBJ. The photo shows Dad with his hand on his trusty Ka-Bar. While his was lost in the jungle of the Philippines, I at least have a modern Ka- Bar to add to my memorabilia. Another interesting tidbit is that after my 18 year-old grandson saw my Ka-Bar, he also purchased one for himself. The tradition lives and continues to grow.

Best regards, and In Their Honor and In Their Memory, Semper Fi.

David L. Fish
Proud Son of Capt. Doit L. Fish, USMCR
VMB-611 1943-1945

"If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates."
Jay Leno

On 14Dec2007, my youngest son 'FINALLY' made it. He joined our exclusive brotherhood. It was an uphill struggle that started in 2001 when he graduated from high school. We battled a bout of mono that knocked him out first time around. A 'RARE' recruiter that was only interested in numbers lost interest in him. He also lost interest and his goal along the way. He finally found a recruiter, SSgt. Nelson Adames who never gave up on Jimmy. Jimmy struggled with his own brand of troubles, most of them 'Jimmy Generated' but SSgt Adames NEVER gave up on him. He encouraged him, never pushing. He stuck right with him when he needed to lose what seemed like an impossible amount of weight, 50#. He worked with him, encouraging him, even challenging him every step. It was obvious that this recruiter was not interested in my son as a number. I liken it to Luke Skywalker referring to Darth vader, " There is good in him...I can feel it". There were some shaky last moments but he got him shipped off. Never did I ever hear this MARINE, EVER, lose his zeal for the job He obviously believes in his calling.

Now Jimmy is home on leave, a new man, a MARINE. He stands at attention always. He never chews food and walks at the same time. He says sir,ma'am. Never loses his military, his MARINE bearing. Never talks on his cell phone in public, stands straight and has seen his 'friends' for what they are. Now, I know that he is new and some it will wear off. But, his Drill Instructors instilled the basic Corps Values in him. That he will never lose. He commented to me that he liked being home, but he joined The Marines to train. He could not wait till SOI. He chose 03XX.

Join me in welcoming to our MARINE CORPS, Pvt. James Wolter Jr. OOHRAH

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

Sgt. Grit
It has been some time now since I entered PI and "much later" out the back gate at Quantico. Those were a fast 28 years and I miss the Corps every minute of every day. During those short years I was fortunate enough to have had 10 years enlisted and the remainder in the WO/CWO ranks with both the bursting bomb and a WO insignia. Several tours "in country" with arty units (105's, C 1/12, B 1/13 and 155 K 4/13) as a Cpl/Sgt/SSGT. and selected for WO at the end of the last tour. During my CWO years I completed an I&I tour which included being a casualty assist. officer.

We had lost Marines in Vietnam and that was really tough but it was also difficult while on I&I duty, to inform Marine families about their Marine being killed. Nothing prepares you for that. We did our best for those families (which for us, it never seem to be enough). During those days (I & I duty) we would always coordinate with the airport and airlines and make sure that we would meet the Marine and escort plane-side (never at the cargo building). There would also be a Marine escort for the family.

My only job after I retired from the Corps in 1988 is at a Southern Airport as a police officer and Airport Security Coordinator. In this job I have the great pleasure to come in contact with all service members. I am impressed with this young generation of military personnel and the job that they are doing.

I do find myself looking closer at the Marines. I do my best to remember that I am retired but the inspection monster comes out from time to time. All I can say is that these young Marines make us old guys mighty proud. The Corps is in good hands.

When the shooting started over in the sand pile I visited all local branches of service in the local area. I Informed them about the support this airport could provide and the coordination that would be required when (if) they had a returning KIA. One branch of service told me that they did not do that and it would have to be done by another element of their service. Another told me that they did not do that and they did not know who did. Another told me that they may send a representative over to the airport. The Marines told me that they would be there with a full detail in dress blues and they would take care of their families. I expected that from them (no surprise to me or any other Marine).

The Marines that I deal with when we have a KIA returning, is from a local I & I staff, just up the road from the airport. These I&I Marines are everything that you would expect of a Marine and more. I could write a full page about them and what they do but I would like to just address a situation that we had with one Marine KIA arrival.

The Marines had met with the family and received instruction as to what the family wanted and did not want at the airport.

We had arrange for the arrival and conducted the required coordination with all local law enforcement agencies, airlines, airport, TSA, funeral home, and news media. I had coordinated with the air carrier station manager to make sure that the funeral home could complete all the paper work, and the Marines could conduct their service/honor guard plane-side. This one particular airlines is extremely supportive of our military. The aircraft arrival was later that evening.

The Marines arrived early and the family and funeral home personnel arrived a short while later. The Marines were in full dress blues and where professional from the time the got out of their vans until they departed the airport. They were covered outside the terminal and went in military file into the terminal and to the room set aside for them to muster and wait for the aircraft. We have another room for the family members. I went to the operations center of the air carrier to check on the aircraft arrival time and to insure that we all understood what had to be accomplished. As I talked to the cargo representative of the air carrier it became obvious that she did not get proper instructions from her air carrier station manager. She strongly advised me that the casket would be transported by baggage cart to the cargo building. At the cargo building, the funeral homes would sign for it and then the Marines could pick up the human remains (air carrier terminology). After several minutes of heated discussions I advised her that the Marines were going to meet their brother Marine plane-side, the funeral home would complete the paperwork plane side and it would be a good idea to be there. It just so happen that I had a civilian guest with me, that wanted to see what the Marines did for KIA arrivals.

When the aircraft arrived the family members, Marines, law enforcement escort, and news media were all in place. All of the ramp traffic had stopped even another aircraft that was taxing out of the ramp area. The pilot advised the tower that he would not move until the Marines have finished. The Capt. and some of the crew of the arriving aircraft got out and stood at attention on the ramp and near the front of his aircraft. All of the windows of the airport were packed deep with passengers observing the scene. With everyone and everything in place the Marines took over. Myself and guest were standing a short distance away from the aircraft with the air carrier cargo person that had insisted on taking everything to the cargo building. She (the air cargo person) turned to my guest and said "Well I guess they must be different". My guest who has known Marines for years replied "You just don't know how much different they are".

The cargo person learned a lesson that evening and I became more proud of our Marines.

They completed that service and have done so, many times since that evening.

I wish I could name each I & I staff member and I am even hesitant on putting my name on this e-mail because this is about Marines and not an individual ( but I understand that a name on the article is a requirement).

For you very very old Marines, thanks for all the lessons that you taught me (I still have some scars) For you old Marines, I am proud to have served with you and I miss ya For you young Marines, I am proud of you and what you are doing. Time will go fast. Cherish every minute of it.

Jim Carter

"They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake".

Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991

Whenever I wear my Marine Corps T-shirts in public, inevitably someone will stop me and ask if I have a Marine in my family. I always smile and say, "My son." Many people will offer their thanks for his service and I am always gratified for their support. Many will also ask, "Where is he?" That is when I take a deep breath, fight back the tears and tell them he is in heaven. Their expressions of condolences range from a whispered, "I'm so sorry" to embraces from perfect strangers. I usually tell them not to be sorry for me. I know where he is and I will get to see him again some day. Some will apologize for bringing up a sorrowful topic. I always tell them if I didn't want to talk about my son, I wouldn't wear the T-shirts. The fact is, I am fiercely proud of him and love to talk about him, even if it makes me cry.

One day I was wearing my Sgt Grit shirt that declares, MY SON is MARINE. A sweet older lady read the shirt, and then she patted my hand and said, "I hope he's safe." I swallowed the lump in my throat and said, "Yes ma'am, he is."

Connie Stevens
Mother of Sgt. Jonathan Stevens / 4th LAAD 1998-2004

I am a product of a military father, became a military wife and now have 2 boys serving with the last one getting ready to enlist when he turns 18 next month.

My oldest is in the Marines and is currently serving his second tour in Iraq.

I read the letter from the young man who is at a loss as to how to respond to the thank you for your service he gets from people. It touched me as these things always do.

I'd like to tell him to also remember his family when they thank him. To also remember, as my oldest son once said, the men & women that wore the boots he's now wearing, that came before him to serve.

A simple nod and smile in return to that thank you is enough for the acknowledgment of what it takes to serve and the sacrifice of your family and to those coming before.

very sincerely,
Karen Teem

Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in H&ll can overrun you!

Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC
rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950

Semper Fi,

I just wanted to get the thoughts from fellow Marines on the treatment of or Marines currently serving now in Iraq?

I think it is a beautiful thing they are getting. However, I sometimes find myself with tears in my eyes when I think of my departure for boot camp. Short of being hit by a bus. I was a baby killer, war lover, life taker and so on. These names did not hurt me. But the one thing that still hurts me and haunts me is when I was spit on numerous times when coming home from over seas tour.

All I wanted was to be recognized as someone who did the right thing. In my heart I know I did all I could do. My draft number was a sure hit to rock and roll. So I volunteered to serve in the greatest, proudest, and most recognized branches in "The World", USMC.

I am not jealous of our current Marines. I am so proud of them. I would be honored to serve and die for them, if I was permitted to do so. I am old and would love to have a chance to go do the right thing again.

Anyway, the spit still stains my soul and would like to know how to wash it away?

God Bless you all. I know our Savior has a place for us Marines. I cannot wait to get there.

Bob Ash
US Marines
2nd Battalion III MAF
Okinawa (Back when it was 333 yen to an American Dollar)

I spent a total of 11 years in the Navy, both active duty and reserve, from 1966-1977. Other than boot camp and Corps School, every other minute of it was as a Marine Corpsman. My wife (a Marine Corps daughter) and I now live in Oceanside, CA (Home of Camp Pendleton), and I have always identified more with the Marines than I have with the Navy.

Last week I was coming home from a trip in Omaha, and was waiting in line at the airport. A woman in line turned and looked at my Sgt. Grit Corpsman's hat and asked, "Were you a Marine?" I answered, "Well, kinda.

I was a Corpsman." Her eyes got big, and she proceeded to tell me that her son was a Marine and was coming home from Iraq, but she sure knew what a Corpsman was. "You guys are my heroes. Can I shake your hand?" A bit embarrassed, I shook her hand, and asked, "How do you know about Corpsmen?" "I may only be a Marine Mom," she said, "but everyone knows about Corpsmen." I told her that I was from another era (Viet Nam) and hoped her son had gotten as much from the Marine Corps as I did. She smiled, and said that the Marines had turned her boy into a man, and she couldn't have been prouder. I smiled and turned to leave, but she stopped me. She threw her arms around me, gave me a hug, and said, "Welcome Home!" I said thank you, and turned away, tears beginning to form in my eyes.

I will never forget my years with the Marines. They protected me, and in turn, I did everything I could to take care of them. If that just meant holding a young Marine so he wouldn't have to die alone, then I did it.

Thanks to men like Sgt. Grit, the tradition stays alive.
Semper Fi, and Merry Christmas,
Doc Thompkins, HMC
2/26 RVN 68-69

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

She gives me hope

Every year in October I make a trip to Mentor Ohio for the Fall Veterans Memorial Service. Each year we honor a different group or time in history. The first service was held in 2003 and honored the servicemen that were lost in the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. I was unable to attend that year, for I was down at Camp LeJeune at the Beirut Memorial.

Following years we honored our Corpsmen and Medics, Gold Star Mothers, small conflicts such as Somalia, Granada, Beirut, and Haiti just to name a few. This year honored women in the military.

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

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

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

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

Try burning this flag - this one that I wear!
Old Glory sewn right on my chest!
Go ahead, try it - come on, if you dare!
Then you'll be the one they arrest!

I fought for this flag, and I wear it with pride.
I won't see it eaten by flames.
I've been to the wall and I cannot abide
The way you're disgracing those names.

The Star-Spangled Banner is not to be burned.
Salute it and all that it means.
And after today, if you still haven't learned,
You'd better watch out for Marines!

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

Cpl. Rick Cunningham
USMC 1980-1984
Beirut Veteran 1983

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

"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."
Gen. A. M. Gray, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps

I signed to join the USMC towards the end of the Vietnam War. Due to my drinking the night before the physicals, I was put in a hold status because of my blood pressure. I was instructed to go back home and see my personal physician at least twice a week for a blood pressure check, and that I had to get a letter from him to complete my entrance into the Corps. I did as instructed, and entered boot camp at Parris Island on March 25, 1975. Now, during those days, we did not get to watch TV, or see the news. So when the order was given to evacuate the embassy in Saigon, we did not have any idea the war was over. But did we pay. The next day, the DI's came in furious and began tearing up the squad bay. I don't ever remember PTing so much as we did the next few days. We were wondering why the DI's were calling us cowards, then they began letting go that the war was over and that we were a bunch of cowards for waiting so long to sign up.

Now Sgt. Grit, I have no problem with what happened during recruit training during 1975, but I'm no coward. I left the Corps in 1979, and went to work as a peace officer in Texas. I never ran from shots fired or fight in progress, and always volunteered to go in with the entry team when needed. But I just couldn't get over not being able to fight while in the USMC. We were a peacetime force, and I was Military Police. Shortly after 1985, while still working for the State Correctional Facility, I also joined the Coast Guard Reserve, as a Port Securityman. I was told we would be on small boats doing interceptions and interdictions. Never Happened. Then while we as a country were gearing up for desert shield/desert storm, my reserve unit called to see if I was available for duty if our unit was activated. I immediately told them yes. Never got the call, and later learned that my unit only called up those that refused or said they would be unavailable to attend if they were called. I felt cheated again. I am now a retired State Peace Officer. But to this day I have the utmost respect for all the armed services that have protected our country. I personally feel that I owe them so much more than I ever gave as a peacetime Marine. And, since most areas celebrate Veterans Day, and they call out which war you served in, I am not sure I am qualified to stand at all. My records indicate I am a Vietnam Era Veteran, but to me it would be such an insult for me to have anyone think that I am a Vietnam Veteran. I never left the USA. I would like your input on this matter. I do not intend to demean any Vietnam Veteran. I have had to settle for my service to State as my service to the public.

My son, daughter and I were Marines for Halloween this year (2007). At the time we were checking into it, I did not realize cammies had changed so much, and every branch had their own sets of digital variances. Well, the place we were at did not have any Marine sets for my kids, so we ordered some, as my kids will not be seen in anything but authentic Marine cammies. They finally arrived, and my kids were very excited, so of course they wore them around before Halloween. I made sure that they knew the proper response if someone asked if they were in the Army, as well as the proper way to say 'Oh-rah!' I used one of my old desert sets for Halloween, and we set out to have some fun at a Halloween carnival. Many people approached and asked if we were dressed as Army soldiers that night, as I knew they probably would (being it is the norm I guess); and every time they asked, my son proudly said - 'We are Marines!'

Kid's Digital Woodland Shirt He is not old enough to be in the Marines (he's only 7), but he understands enough to take pride in making known the difference between Marines and others. He makes me feel good when he points out that dad was a 'real' Marine, and says it with such pride that he gets upset if they don't pay attention to what he is saying. If I am lucky enough to share that Marine bond with my son, when and if he decides to go into the Marine Corps, then I will have truly led a blessed life, as my son will come to understand a way of life that only the few and the proud can fully comprehend!

K. Barnhart

P.S. - He is already looking forward to taking part in the Young Marines when he turns ten. You gotta love this kid!

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."
Gen George Patton, USA

Sgt. Grit,

Korea Hat I'm a Korean Vet, I have my "Korean Veteran" hat in the rear window of my car. While driving down the street a van pulled along side, and beeped his horn , there was a lot of drive by shooting in that area, but I slow down and rolled my window down when we got to the stop light, a young man leaned over to the passenger side and yelled out the window, "THANK YOU for SERVING"...needless to say... "It MADE MY DAY",

Chuck Gore HM2 Corpsman FMF 1/1/5 Korea Inchon.

In reference to Cpl Chad Casey's story of being thanked for serving, a Marine such as myself may need to remind him that he chose to serve because he wanted to. That would normally lead to a simple response such as 'it was an absolute pleasure' with a smile. I would say that response would give the person showing the gratitude a universal description of what's in his heart and how solid it is.

A while back, while serving in GTMO, I came across an adolescent situation and took it up the Chain of Command. I couldn't overcome it alone so I was looking for someone within the Chain of Command who was experienced in dealing with 19 year old raw Marines to tell me what I needed to hear. It was a simple problem that happens all the time. I was in love with my high school sweetheart and so on.

I arrived in Newport, Rhode Island and reported to Capt. RC Daniels. The OIC of the Marine Corps Admin. Detachment on that base. He gave me an option that day: Do you want to stay in or get out? I needed time to think about it because my personal and family life was falling apart and didn't want to throw out my whole future and career because of a situation that could be resolved. I told this Capt. I had mixed emotions about it. He replied he had no time for mixed emotions. He repeated his question: Do you want to stay in or get out?

After thinking about the question for a good 5 seconds and thinking about the person and family issues in the outside world. I figured I'd take care of all that and get back in because serving for life with the World's Elite was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. Before I signed the papers and swore in, people asked me how long I intended to stay in for. I told them either to be a high ranking enlisted, high ranking officer, or blown to sh!t in combat. That was my way of saying once both parties make the investment, there's no turning back.

My adoptive next of kin was suffering from depression and attempting self damaging acts, my natural sister was being abused by her husband and adoptive brother was having marriage problems and being thrown out by his wife for 'hole chasing' behind her back and I'm supposed to know how to deal with all this while serving in the Corps. at age 19.

So, with all this going on, I chose to get out temporarily to help myself and everyone else unf--k what was f----d up.

The decision to get out after been given the OPTION was the biggest mistake of my life.

I'm still regretting it to this very day. Reason: I disowned all of them including my own natural sister. The reasons for letting them all go is not worth getting into because there are too many personal and family issues to get involved in. My main regret is making a bad choice/decision for a family that wasn't worth the loss/ sacrifice.

Anyone out there who makes such a military commitment and intends to stay in for life has to come across one true concept: Leave the issues in the outside world out there where it belongs and just go on. Simple reason: They will all eventually go about there business and leave you behind. You backtrack to where they are and you may not be able to get back in.

Trust me on this from experience. If you intend to make something of a career in the military in general, let what you once had go if you know it's no good for you and go on with your future plans. It's that simple.

I say all this because I was in a grocery store this morning and came across an associate I usually run into. He told me his friend is in the Corps and has 2 months in active duty left but they may want him in a hostile zone before his contract expires totally which means all the way up to his in-active reserve time. He also has family issues that need to be resolved.

He apparently didn't give his Chain of Command the benefit of the doubt by informing them of his personal and family issues so they can possibly work with him BEFORE the Chain of Command makes a final decision on his orders when the time comes. So while talking to this associate, the information I was giving him did surprise him a bit concerning his friend's contract and military obligation until his contract expires. At the end, he did tell me he'll put a 'bug' in his ear. That was the end of that.

Although my time in the Corps is over, mainly due to old age. I'm 41. My heart and spirit is still with the Corps and the loyalty involved towards the World's Elite will stay with me until I guard the Gates.

To all the 'fresh' new Marines out there, if you want a new life in the Corps, hold onto it.

Semper Fi
J.S. Elliott
0311 Basic Infantry '84-'88
Parris Island- 'H' Co, 3rd Bat. Series 3084
Series Cdr 1st Lt. Scarano
Bat. Cdr Lt. Col. Aymond
Bat Sgt Major- Sgt Major Fratterelli
C.O.- Col. James K. Van Riper (last seen in Quantico with 3 stars)
C.G.- Major General Stephen G. Olmstead
Camp Pendleton- Infantry Training School- Delta Co. 1st Plt.
Plt Cmdr- SSGT Schumpert
Series Cmdr- 1st Lt. Lacross
Company Comdr- Capt. Mcknight
C.O. Col. Rowe
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba- Fence-line Detail
Plt Cmdr- SSGT Reynolds
Squad leaders- LCpl Smith, LCpl Garcia
Series Cmdr- 1st Lt. Ringlee
Company Cmdr- Capt. Murphy

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong."
Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit,

Thirty-nine years ago I was in a Naval Hospital in California over Christmas and New Years. My parents lived in Columbus Ohio and could not fly out to be with me and I spent one of the most lonely Christmas times of my life. Even Christmas 1968 with Golf Company 2/7 in Vietnam was better. I was going to be in the Ellicott City Maryland area with family this year for Christmas and decided to go to Walter Reed Hospital to visit wounded troops and take them some cookies. My daughter, Marine Captain Theresa L. Demko went with me. When I called Walter Reed I was directed to SSgt. Justin Brown, USMC and he was my guide through the hospital. There were very few patients at the Hospital, most were well enough to spend the Holidays with their families, thank God. I was told that there are very few casualties from Iraq and it has been that was for about three months. SSgt. Brown attributed this to the surge, but you will never hear that from the press. If any of my Marine brothers and sisters have an opportunity to go to Walter Reed, please find the time. It will be one of the most rewarding and hardest things you will ever do, the troops will appreciate it. Bring cookies, they don't like the healthy foods like fruit. They really want the junk!

J. Michael Demko USMC 1967-1970

Sgt Grunt,
Veteran's Day at Aurora Sportsman's Club I'm including a couple of photos from our Veterans Day ceremony at the Aurora Sportsman's Club in Illinois- each year the Civilian Marksmanship Team gets together and stages this event- everyone wears the uniform of their time in service- as we marched past some older vets, they saluted our group and I have to tell you it brought tears to my eyes.

Veteran's Day at Aurora Sportsman's Club I was a Cold War Marine, an avionicsman in helicopters, so when people ask me about being a Marine, I let them know I carried a tool box, and then bark like a true Devil Dog.

I'm glad to see that our country now embraces our men and women in uniform-

Bob Johnson
Sgt of Marines

"I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician."
Charlie Chaplin

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I have been reading the newsletters for about two years now, basically ever since I met and married my Marine husband. I find myself nodding, laughing, and forwarding some of the stories on to my family as I read each edition of the newsletter. My mother and two sisters enjoy when my husband and I are able to visit them in Ohio and we usually introduce them to yet another member of the Marine Corps family because we tend to take one of my husband's buddies home with us. While my mother and sisters have heard several stories over the last two years of the Marine Corps family I realized you have to truly experience it firsthand to understand.

While I was home for Christmas, my husband is currently deployed with the 22 MEU, we were visiting my grandparents in Salem, Ohio and were preparing lunch when my mother asked my sister Katie to run to the gas station around the corner for a few 2-liters of pop. Katie took my vehicle to the gas station while everyone else remained at my grandparents house. Upon her return I overheard a conversation between my mother and Katie. Katie asked "is there something Marine Corps on Wendy's car? Because I didn't see anything on it." My mom asked why she was curious. Katie said "well, when I got out of the car this guy in a mini van asked me if I was a Marine." She said she was rather confused as to why he was asking, but said no...this is my sister's car and my brother-in-law is a Marine. The conversation ended there between the gentleman and Katie as she went into the station to make her purchase. I quickly explained to Katie that even though I didn't have anything Marine Corps on my car, the young man most likely saw the DOD stickers with Camp Lejeune on them. We took a trip out to the car to show her where the stickers were located and that they are one of the things that allows me to drive on base (this was just one of the many things I explained about the Corps on this trip home). Of course I asked Katie why she didn't find out more about this young man (she said he was cute...he was a Marine, of course he was cute) and then had to remember that it wasn't so long ago that I probably wouldn't have said very much to someone about the Marine Corps. Now Katie has been truly initiated to the Marine Corps family network.

Just had to share...
Thanks for the wonderful stories. I'm eagerly awaiting the return of my Marine husband and his wonderful buddies and hoping it happens soon.

Wendy Bivins
Proud Wife of LCpl Bivins~BLT 3/8 India Co 22 MEU

I am somewhat upset that Michael Laemmle (Old Corps) and Ernie Scherman (New Corps) are at each other. First, Mr. Scherman, you should be respectful of your elders. Yes, Mr. Laemmle not correct in many things he referred to, but you still need to be respectful. Second, Mr. Laemmle, you need to be respectful of the new guys and gals that come into the Military, regardless of the branch. Back in your day they had the draft. I was in high school from 1975 to 1979 and the draft ended either 1975 or 1976, but the young men still had to sign up or be accounted for. I am now 47 and proud to be a new member of the Marine Family. While all of our friends' children are going off to college, mine is going to go to war. My only son, PFC Babcock went to Parris Island for recruit training and was there 6 months. He lost 70 pds while there but gained so much more. I am proud to call him a Marine and proud that he "CHOSE" to serve MY COUNTRY! The men and women today don't HAVE TO SERVE, They CHOOSE TO SERVE. Third and I think most important, you are both Marines. You should be proud of the fact that you have served in the Military, war or no war. I am not happy with our war, but happy that my son and all the others out there choose to serve so I can sleep safely at night and read Sgt. Grit on my computer. I want to hear no more of the Old Corps vs. the New Corps. YOU ARE the MARINE CORPS!

Just so you know, I was an employee at Best Buy in Dayton for 5 1/2 years and I quit my job to see him graduate. My boss wouldn't let me go. That is how proud I am of my Marine.

Thank you for letting me vent and God Speed to all our Military,

VPMM, Jan Repp, Springboro, Ohio

"Let me not mourn for men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived."
Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

hello first i would like to say thank you for your news letters i really love them. i also email them to my son i iraq. just would like to share a story about love for this country it started a long time ago when my son was a little boy he wanted to be a Marine .

in july of 2005 he became one when he graduated from boot camp and we were very proud parents . he came home a taller, prouder Marine then went to n.c to train and came home again. then traveled back to camp pendelton to meet the love of his life and was married almost a year ago.

while training for iraq his wonderful wife finds that they are to have a baby . we are happy and sad all in the same breath because greg is to be in iraq at the time of birth. but that is not stopping a baby from being born right, not a war .

my grandson yes we found out before greg left it was to be a boy also the day he left he was made a cpl. robin my daughter-in-law is in calif. and i'm in arkansas so first we are worried about the fires and she is moved off the base but we get through that.

so we have thanksgiving and then christmas and are getting ready for the baby around the first week of jan. during this time we are getting to email greg to give updates and sending pictures so it's like he is there. he is doing the job he is trained to.

well last saturday night i get a phone call to tell me robin is in labor first i'm frightened and worried but the mom in me kicks in, i'm at work and i call one of greg's buddy's that lives in arkansas to ask can you email him to tell him ,

long story short greg had emails from his buddy chris all night giving updates and we waited then finally about 3am our time my first grandson was born, joshua terry healthly 7 pounds 6oz.

greg is on a mission and we are waiting to see if he has heard the news but no word from him. so we email him again. some time late the 31st he emails me and is so happy that not many words were spelled correct but we know he is happy.

i know that this isn't the first baby born with the other parent not there but the first in our family. we have a happy story to tell joshua when he grows up about his birth and i just wanted to share that my new year and my son's new year was great even miles apart .

thank you again for all that you do and have done for the parents and the Marines god bless you in the new year . my son loves his country and is making it a better place for his son to grow up, so that's why i wrote to tell you this story of love for our country. maybe what they are doing will help our grandchildren have a better place to grow up. thanks again from the proud mom of cpl. gregory selby

"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives."
John Adams

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I have written to you before, telling you of my two Marine sons. One is currently deployed in Iraq and the other is in Camp Lejeune. This story is of a retired Air Force Major and the Marine Corps. Yes, it's the same one that treated me to a trip to my youngest Marines graduation in San Diego this past February.

In the months since then, both Marines have been home on leave. My oldest, Sgt. Michael Hutchison, flew in and met his soon to be step-father just before he deployed to Iraq in September. At the same time my youngest Marine, PFC William Hutchison, flew in to introduce his new wife to all of us. I saw my soon to be husband, Major James "Eagle" Hartwig (RET), choke up with pride at both boys at the airport. It was during this time that Eagle told me he never really understood or appreciated the Marine Corps as he did now. Listening to our youngest Marine tell us about boot camp, the Crucible, the brotherhood and many other stories made him light up like a Christmas tree, as he shared his stories too.

Eagle and I were married on the 1st of November, as we were told his cancer was now terminal, and no further treatment would help.

Eagle wanted our Marines and all Marines to know that he would have been d*mn proud to serve shoulder to shoulder with any of them, and if ever again in a battle of any kind he wanted a Marine on each side and one on his six. (Of course, I had to ask what that meant!) He told me that I may be a "Mother to the Corps", but he was now a proud Marine Corps Dad. We also talked about the inevitable which of course was his funeral plans and wishes. Being a retired 22 year Air Force vet, he wanted to be buried in Camp Butler National Cemetery, in Springfield, IL. with all the bells and whistles. His only request was that if possible, his two Marines were to take part in the flag ceremony and present it to their Mother.

Sadly, the good Lord decided to fly our Eagle home on this past Thanksgiving morning. My Marine in Iraq of course could not come home, but Eagle understood that may happen, and commitment and duty was always first with him.

Our youngest son was in the California desert, training with his platoon in readiness for his deployment which is scheduled for April or so. With the Red Cross and Marine Corps, he was home in time for the funeral. That day, was a sea of Air Force brass, (including a three star general that had previously served with Eagle), and one very smart looking Marine in his dress blues best. The Air Force General was to present me with the flag, but upon my arrival, he introduced himself, and asked if that young Marine was my son. I told him he was. At that point, he stated that now he knew why Eagle was so proud of him, and said it was with honor that he turn over the flag to my son. I do not know what the General said to my son, or vice versa, but he too seemed impressed with PFC Hutchison.

PFC Hutchison stood by my side during the service, and a young Air Force LT. presented him with the flag. In true Marine Corps decorum, he followed by presenting the flag to me and smartly saluting it. This still brings tears to me more than a month later. I noticed on that young Marines face, under that salute and hat brim was one tear on his cheek. I can't begin to tell you what that meant to me both as a mother and as a widow. He never flinched or moved to wipe it away as he returned to my side. As the Air Force General prepared to leave, he wished me well, and said "watching that young man was an honor and a joy on such a sad day. Always be proud of that young Marine. He did an outstanding job."

Life started to return to normal, and in December about a week after the funeral, I got another surprise from the Marine Corps. My youngest Marines unit sent me a dozen white roses with their sympathy card. I have always been proud of my Marines, but now I know I am truly a Mother to the Corps and a Mother of (many) Marines. I may have lost a husband, but I have a whole platoon or better of Marines. I told my Marines, there will always be an Air Force Major on their "six", and the Corps can be sure the "Eagle" will be with them too.

Proud Mother of Marines and wife of an Eagle,
Linda Hutchison Hartwig

"Where there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
Benjamin Rush

Yes! There are those of us who miss Bob Hope. He was an exceptional person, giving his time during holidays to spend with our troops, wherever they might be.

When my youngest son graduated from Boot Camp last January (and will be leaving for Iraq this January) we went to a park right next to the USS Midway and they were still doing construction on a group of bronze statues of soldiers, sailors and Marines. If I remember correctly, is was a memorial to Bob Hope and his service to the USO. I miss watching those shows on TV.

Also, a salute to those celebrities who go over now to entertain our troops (Gary Sinese, Toby Keith). They don't HAVE to do it. They WANT to.

Nancy Hutchinson

Dear L/Cpl Walker,

As a former Sergeant of Marines, I can feel your pain about not being able to wear the uniform because of disabilities. Each and every time I put my cammies, Alpha's, Dress Blues or a t-shirt such as the one from Squad Leaders School or even the one proclaiming 2nd Bn/2nd Mar with a pair of jeans, I always felt a sense pride and of belonging no other human being on earth could feel except a Marine. In 1994, after fighting to remain in uniform, even going to a medical review board in Bethesda; I was forced out with a medical discharge. I thought my life was over, shamed and disgraced no longer able to wear the uniform that had provided me with my first real family. I took the VA up on their offer of getting a college degree, all the while trying to get back in the Corps in a different MOS. Finally after years of beating my head against a brick wall, I came to realize that my days as a Marine were over. This was the lowest point in my life.

However, my Marine training pulled me through. I refused to give up on living and began using my skills to help young people at risk. I am now a teacher in North East Tennessee. Everyone in my school knows that I was a Marine and am fiercely proud of the title. When you first walk in my classroom you will see a large Marine Corps flag behind my desk, a poster on the wall and another on my desk. I also have miniature flag display on my desk. Some days when I am really hurting, I'll allow the students to get me off my lesson plan and tell them stories about my Med Floats with 1st Bn/6th Mar or 2nd Bn/2nd Mar, stories of my service in Spain and Italy, or just stories about boot camp, 3rd Bn H&ll Company, Parris Island, South Carolina; the home of the real Marines. (Ha Ha... Okay I guess you Hollywood Marines deserve the title too!). I also have a tag on the front of my truck as well as s tickers on the windows proclaiming my dedication the Corps. I take my club members, Spanish Club and Student Council, to Mountain States Veterans Home each year for Veterans Day and let them tal