Sgt Grit AmericanCourage Newsletter

Several years ago at my 11 yr old sons football game it was raining so hard that the announcer couldn't get the tape of the Star Spangle Banner to play. As we stood there in the cold October rain we heard 7 little voices saying the Pledge of Allegiance, immediately what was left of the crowd joined in.

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Out in front of the squad of 9 year old cheerleaders stood my daughter, leading the way. My wife and I looked at each other and we both broke into tears of pride. I had told my children Marine stories (the clean ones) and they had seen my memorabilia but they had never really shown anything other than the casual interest in it. When all was said and done I called my daughter over and asked her who told them to do that cause I was going to thank them. Her answer floored me! She said it was my idea daddy and I did it because I am very proud of you for being a Marine.

One Very Proud Dad
LCPL Jeff Crump 86-90

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."
Thomas Paine

This letter is to the mom whose son is willing to DIE so kids can go to Berkeley and party

My son is also a poolee and will be going to Camp Pendleton along will three other guys from his class in June.

Home of the Free Bumper Sticker One day he was in his English class when the teacher made the comment why would any one choose a military life? and my son simply said someone has to do it, a week or so later the subject came up again and another student told my son how stupid he was for going into the Marines, and my son looked at him and said let me guess your going to college? and the kid said that's right I'm going to make something of myself, and my son said well while you're at college learning how to Party and make something of your self, I'll be in the Marine Corps. defending our country so you will be able to have that right, and at the end of your four years in college you will be in debt, and have on Job and I will still be a Marine! Like another one of Sgt Grit bumper stickers (America, Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.)

Marine Mom to be

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My father accomplished much in his life. However his proudest accomplishment was being a Marine - and more specifically a China Marine. He purchased a Harley Davidson motorcycle from a Marine who was discharged soon after his arrival in Tsing Tao. I can only imagine the looks of the rural Chinese as my father roared by. Later in life he wanted to return to China and retrace his routes through the then rural areas. He wrote an article which was published in the China Marine Scuttlebutt. He considered the Corps his family.
Michael Driscoll

In response to the following:

Sgt Grit,
I am the wife of a retired Marine Corps SGTMAJ, who served on active duty over 30 years with three years in the jungles of Vietnam. We have sons who have served in the Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Our grandson will be departing for Parris Island after high school graduation this year, obviously I don't need to tell you how proud I am of my family.

What I am writing about though, are two other things that fill me with a tremendous sense of pride. The first is that this is the first and probably last time that we may see a Vietnam veteran serve as the Commandant. You Vietnam vets have truly come full circle. I pray that we will have one serve in that position that will look out for our troops and truly understand their sacrifices and honor them.

I am a retired GySgt, 1960-79, with one tour in NAM in '68. I just wanted to be sure if Mrs SgtMaj's letter is current that readers understand there is more to the story.

I just wanted to identify the fact that we have had many VIET VETS as Commandant:
1972 Gen Robert Cushman 1975
1975 Gen Louis Wilson 1979
1979 Gen Robert Barrow 1983
1983 Gen P X Kelly 1987
1987 Gen Alfred Gray 1991
1991 Gen Carl Mundy 1995
1995 Gen Charles Krulak 1999
1999 Gen James Jones 2003
2003 Gen Michael Hagee 2006

The current CMC Gen Conway is not a VIET VET

R "Rock" Conroy, GySgt (Ret)

Marine and Bride I just wanted to share a photo of the happiest day of my life- when I married my hero. My husband is a United States Marine, currently stationed at Pensacola Florida where he is receiving training for his MOS. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of a wonderful group of men and women- it's an honor to walk beside the strong and the brave. God Bless the United States Marine Corps.

Chandra Syna Malin
Semper Fidelis

"There's right and there's wrong. You've got to do one or the other."

John Wayne as Davey Crockett in The Alamo.

Sgt. Grit

Marine Homecoming I am the happiest girl in the world to share with you that my husband is finally home! He deployed [second tour in Iraq] in January 2007 in support of OIF 06-08. While there he received his 4th Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. After nearly thirteen long months, he finally came home January 31st 2008. I cannot begin to express the level of pride I have for that man. It's more than just "what he does". Being a Marine is who he is. And he is my hero, the one I look up to, my one true love. It is so touching to read all the stories Marines & their families send in, it always fills me with pride and admiration. The Marine Corps is an amazing family, filled with some of the most outstanding people this country has ever produced. Thank you all for your loyalty, service, and dedication to this country. So to my Marine, and to his fellow Wolverines from MALS 29, welcome home and a job well done! OOHRAH SSGT!

Genevieve B.
Proudest Marine Wife
Semper Fi!

1st Mar Div HQ Pendleton This picture is at the 1st Mar Div HQ at Pendleton. All the Dog tags represent the Marines and Sailors attached to the 1st Div that have been killed in the GWOT. We took it on the way to the Bodfish campout last week.


"Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason."
Benjamin Franklin

"I am not a Virginian, but an American."
Patrick Henry

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to say that I too am sickened by the traitors on the Berkeley City Council. I am also ashamed, because after ten years service in the Corps. I attended the University of California at Berkeley

I would also like to say, that the college and city are separate entities. Even the Chancellor as voiced his outrage at the councils stand. I was always given respect, and appreciation for my service, by students and professors alike. 95% of Berkeley would chase these traitors out of town!

Defending Recruiting Office P.S. Thought you'd enjoy this photo of our Brother from the local ML detachment ready to defend the recruiting office!

Jack Thomas.
Former Sgt of Marines.

Active Duty Marine My son is a 19 year old active duty Marine, deployed to Iraq. When he was in boot camp he got the Expert level in the Rifle Qualification, and the pin to wear that goes with it. When he came home on leave he found his grandfather's Expert Rifleman pin, from WW II, the same exact one he was given. It's in mint condition and he checked to see if he could wear it and was told "By All Means, Marine!". His grandfather passed away, but when I think of how proud he'd be of his Grandson, well, there aren't words to describe.

This face should be on a recruiting poster!

"The name of American, which belongs to you... must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism."
George Washington

I'm an Air Force veteran but enjoy reading the newsletter. I have a strong respect for Marines as my nephew was one. He fell in battle in Afghanistan on June 24th, 2004. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him and his devotion and sacrifice for his fellow Marines. The military is indeed a band of brothers, regardless of service affiliation. The chain is strongest at local squadron/company levels but then encompasses each subunit, the service division, and finally the military as a whole.

I've stood with my Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Marine brethren as we protected Memorials in Washington DC as part of Gathering of Eagles and Eagles Up. Those that do not know the resolve of the military brotherhood and hope to spread their venomous hatred for the military through their recent actions in Berkeley, California and at a recruiting center in Washington DC, will be met toe-to-toe and eye-to-eye wherever they gather.

I look forward to meeting many of you brothers in the future at pro-troop rallies. I am Mustng959 or Mustang, listed with

Semper Fi to each of you,

Mark Welsh
U.S. Air Force veteran

In memory of PFC Daniel B. McClenney, USMC .

Sgt Grit, Just wanted to let you know that I think this newsletter is OUTSTANDING! My mom has instilled in us to always be proud of where we live and to stand up for our country. I too have brought up my children this same way. We were involved in the Young Marines a couple years ago and that in itself was a very rewarding journey for my children and I. I have two brothers (Kenneth Arvayo and Shawn Arvayo) that have served in the Marines and also my cousin (Nuffie Magdaleno) who served two tours in Iraq. I am very proud of all that they have done to defend our country.

I truly believe that when they say, "Once a Marine Always a Marine." My brothers and cousin do not brag about what had to be done, they just live regular lives with their families but you can always see there is that hard core edge instilled in them to be their best at everything they do in life. I believe that is what the Marine's has done for them. My family has and always will support all the servicemen and women who defend our country! I thank you and all that have risked and will risk their lives to keep our country safe! Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of you. Semper Fi and God Bless

From a Proud sister
Rosalinda Arvayo Leavitt

"Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil."
Thomas Mann

I continue to read comments of other proud family and friends of Marines who are continuing to do what they do despite whatever else may be going on in the world. My son, Cody, spent 2 tours of duty in Iraq...once in the Battle for Fallujah and the other on the Syrian border during the major national election. His squad was in charge, during that time, of security at one of the polling places. In the prior election 2 people were able to vote, but with our Marines in charge of security, over 48,000 people voted at that same polling place. So much has been accomplished ! War is "DOING NOT TALKING" is right! THE DOING may entail many MANY TASKS ! LOVE our MARINES !

Kathy Blaylock, proud Marine Mom

Sgt. Grit,

I have been reading your newsletter for about 6 months now. My son, who is in his 4th week at Parris Island showed me the newsletter. I really appreciate your newsletter and how informed it has helped me become. When I read about the nitwits in Berkley, it makes me even more proud that my son has chosen a career that will protect the rights of pinheads like these to be stupid! We are very proud of our son and I can't wait till April to go there and see him graduate! After that I will be wearing my Sgt. Grit T-shirt "I may look harmless, but I raised a US Marine"! May some fool say something to me while wearing that shirt! Thanks for the newsletter, it often warms my heart.

A proud mom,
Elizabeth W.
Fuquay Varina, NC

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."
General George S. Patton Jr

As I sat in front of my computer screen reading your Newsletter #168, I remembered back some 53 years when I rode through those gates at MCRD San Diego, it was about midnight and the base was pretty well locked down, I couldn't help noticing how neat and clean the whole base was, how in the distance I could hear the voice of a DI calling cadence to a platoon of Recruits as they dug their heels into the grinder, a sound that I was soon to be a part of and to this day can't get out of my mind. Fast forward to October 2002, I again stood on that grinder watching my Grandson graduate with his platoon. The tears welled up in my eyes as I stood there with his younger Brother, Mother and Grandmother feeling prouder than I had ever been before, save my Boot Camp graduation in October 1955. Fast forward again to 10 November 2007 when I was at a Young Marines meeting as they were cutting the cake and received the first piece for being the Oldest Marine in attendance. All this to say I will never, ever, forget my Marine Corps training which have put my priorities right all these years, God, Family, Country, Marine Corps...

Jack E. Forrest
Sgt of Marines

Sgt. Grit,

I'm writing today to vent some frustration that only other Marine families and Marines themselves may know. My wonderful fiancé is a proud Sgt. of Marines, recently retired. When people ask what he does for a living I explain proudly that he's a Marine. Nine times out of ten, the response I'm met with is a look of horror and "Why is he a Marine?! Is he in Iraq?" I explain that he's home now (and yes he did serve but he's very private about those details) to which they say "Thank God he's out."

I'm currently in training to ship off to become a Marine officer (or as he calls it a "zero") and again, I'm met with the same look of horror. "But you're a pretty girl, why do you want to go off to war?" I'm always left dumbfounded that people would say something like that. My college career councilor said to me, "Why would you do that? You're smart." I then rattled off a list of "smart" people who have served in the military and explained that my brother was a Marine ('81-85) and my sweetheart is one too. That shut her up quick, but it still hurt none the less.

I support people like my brother, my high school and college buddies who are serving and especially my guy. I just wish the rest of America would too.

Vanessa Gulin
Sister of LCpl. R. Gulin 81-85
Fiancée of Sgt. P. Laven 99-06
Friend of 2LT. R.D.Pierce, USA, 2LT. M. Garcia, USMC, Cpl K. Petrov

"True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information."
Winston Churchill

I'm an avid reader of your newsletter and finally just had to share some of my thoughts and story.

I joined the Army out of high school on November 11, 1974 pretty much for lack of anything else to do. Even though Vietnam was over it wasn't officially a done deal until about six months later. This makes me a Vietnam Era Veteran, but I have always been embarrassed to admit that as I was never there.

Fast forward to more recent times. People have always guessed my age ten years younger than I am. The older of my two sons has given me so much grief that I have aged that tens years and more in the last few. We didn't get along and I was so worried about him and his future it made me sick.

About a year and a half ago, he announced he was joining the Marines. When I asked, "Why the Marines?" He simply responded, "They're the best." I kept my opinion to myself as I knew this was just another wild fantasy and would never come to pass. Well he signed up delayed entry and it was a done deal as long as he could make it through high school. When I was signing my consent, (he was 17 years old), the recruiter asked me if I had served.

When I stated that I had served in the Army he quickly thanked me for serving. I think this was the first time I ever felt anything akin to pride for serving.

My son and I continued to butt heads and a few weeks before he was supposed to go to MCRD San Diego it got ugly. He broke down the door to my room, (which I had to keep locked and bolted to keep him out of), took keys and tried to steal my car. If he had been successful, his career in the Marines would have been over before it started. Fortunately, I had changed the lock on the garage and he couldn't break in. I wasn't home when this happened, but arrived shortly before he left and discovered the damage. He had a few choice words for me, picked up what he could carry and started walking down the road. I didn't know where he was going, but one of his friends did come pick him up at some point.

Where did he go? To his recruiter. His recruiter took him in and kept him on track for the next few weeks. Yes, he actually stayed at his recruiters home. I was out of the loop, but he would talk to his Grandmother who passed information on to me. I didn't get to see him or speak with him before he left for MCRD San Diego. It was a pretty miserable time.

I waited a couple of weeks into boot camp before sending a letter telling him how proud I was of him and hoped when graduation came that I would be welcome. Well, something happened. I received a letter and was welcome at graduation. Soon I was getting two sometimes three letters a week. More than anyone else he was writing. (Except maybe his girlfriend.) And I was sending him even more.

One letter he wrote described training with pugil sticks. Now he had a slight advantage here as he had trained in martial arts since he was ten years old and was very adept with the bo. (I honestly believe it was the martial arts training which he loved is what kept him from crossing the line and ending up in jail.) When his turn came up he easily pummeled his opponent eliciting oohhs and ahhs from the Drill Instructors. I laughed reading that because I knew of his previous training and what the result here would be. I wish I could have been there.

Things didn't always go so well as he still had this wild hair waiting to be triggered. One day a Drill Instructor pulled that trigger and a confrontation ensued. I feared the worst for my son, but, although he did garner some extra attention, the worst didn't happen and he became very popular with the rest of his platoon. Whew!

My son graduated October 12 2007. I researched all I could about MCRD and graduation so I would know the ropes and was able to score rooms at billeting. The ceremonies were phenomenal and you could taste the patriotism and pride in the air. As I watched him receive his Eagle, Globe and Anchor and be called a Marine for the first time emotions ran high.

(Unfortunately, I understand they no longer have the Eagle, Globe and Anchor ceremony on family day and families of future graduates won't get to experience this.) When it was over and I finally got to shake his hand the pride and emotion I felt was so overwhelming I couldn't speak. It was all I could do to contain myself. I got to meet his Senior Drill Instructor, but I was so caught up in emotion and so struck with awe that all I could say was," Nice to meet you." This is my only regret as I would really like to have talked with him and thank him properly.

After graduation we brought him home and things were great! We live in Southern California so, when the time came, I was able to take him to SOI at Camp Pendleton and pick him up for Thanksgiving and he even came home an odd weekend or two. He and I got along better than we had his entire life.

Living as close as I do to Camp Pendleton, I was able to attend his SOI graduation as well. It was a short but excellent ceremony with only a few hundred spectators as opposed to the thousands that had come to witness boot camp graduation. At one point, any spectator that had served in any military branch was asked to stand and be recognized. I think for the first time I was actually proud to have served and realized I finally had something in common with my son. I knew he was standing in formation watching me rise and stand. Afterwards, even though he wasn't heading out to his duty station until the next morning; we only got to spend about thirty minutes with him, but the trip was worth it.

I always read stories about the unexpected special treatment Marines sometimes get such as a stranger buying their meal. My son has already experienced this. While at SOI, he went into San Clemente one weekend where they are undoubtedly used to Marines being around. He decided to get a haircut and, out of the blue, a stranger paid for it. He and his friends sometimes stayed overnight and the proprietor of the hotel they stayed at repeatedly went out of his way to give them a nice room at a discount.

Thank you, who ever you are.

When I was in the military I recall only once getting any kind of recognition. It was January, 1975 and I and a few hundred others, wearing our greens, were traveling by train from Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey after graduating from basic training. The train was packed with Army, but there were a lot of civilians too. The car I was riding in had nothing but Army in it and happened to be a no smoking car.

Some of the guys wanted to smoke and as soon as the conductor walked in and realized this he reached up and switched the sign so we were now in a smoking car. We had boarded the train in the evening and wouldn't arrive at our destination until mid morning the following day. This meant breakfast on the train. We slept in our seats and the next morning as we made our way to the dining car I noticed the conductor stopping some civilians. A woman was complaining that they wanted to eat. I heard the conductor plainly state, "These boys are serving our country. They get to eat first." I've never forgotten that.

The more common treatment was like when I was at Fort Monmouth and went into town alone one day and while walking down the street a local cop stopped me by nearly running me over and questioned me like I was a suspect in a murder case before letting me move on. Those were the times I was serving in. The military was NOT popular with most people in those days.

Today my emotions always run high. I love and hate to get your news letter.

The stories of people going out of their way to thank or accommodate a Marine and the experiences of brotherhood I read bring tears to my eyes.

They are tears of pride. I feared my son was doomed to be homeless or worse. By some quirk of fate he decided to join the Marines and they made a man of him.

Somehow a side benefit crept into my sons training. He used to have a terrible habit of speaking too fast and slurring his speech and it was sometimes difficult to understand what he was saying. If you asked him to repeat he would just get irritated and say, "Never mind." His Grandfather commented to me the other day, and I agreed, that he is speaking much more clearly these days and is much easier to understand. I don't know how the Marines accomplished this but thank you.

The only problem now is listening to the jokes. Somehow my son managed to get based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Oahu - a Lava Dog. You get a guffaw from pretty much anyone you tell this to. I try to laugh along but it gets old. Ok, he is currently training in Hawaii, but he earned the title of Marine. He is currently scheduled to deploy to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment this summer, but I've stopped providing that information as it seems to come off as an excuse. Personally, I'm thankful that he will have time to acclimate himself to his new surroundings and make new friends that have already done tours in Iraq and know the ropes.

Knowing that Marines take care of their own is a great comfort.

Despite the thought of him going to Iraq, I'm much less worried about him than I once was. Where once he seemed to have no future, I now know he can take care of himself and that he is surrounded by people that will look out for him. The new America's Marines commercial says it best. "They have always defended this nation and each other."

I know this has been long winded though I've tried not to ramble. I really tried to keep it short, but there is just so much to say. I believe the Marines saved my son from a dismal future. I know that my son and I are closer than we have ever been thanks to the Marines. It took the Marines to teach my son to respect his own Father. Heck, a year ago he wouldn't waste time spitting in my face yet he called me from an auto dealership in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago when he was buying a Jeep just to get my opinion.

Wow! Thank you Marines, for making a man of my son, teaching him so well, taking care of him and above all, defending our nation.

Proud Father of a United States Marine

"A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end."
General George Patton


I am a Navy Corpsman at MCRD Parris Island. I just wanted to say that before I was stationed here, I had respect for the Marines but when I arrived here and seen what they go through to become a Marine it made me stop and think. So I just wanted to say thank you. I haven't had the opportunity to go to Combat but several of my fellow corpsman from this Island have on IA billets.

For those of you that have sons or daughters on Parris Island, don't worry. They are in our hands and we will take care of them!

God Bless the Marine Corps. Semper FI.

HN Kiser

Sgt. Grit,
I recently purchased some Challenge coins from you and one of them was for a friend that was a Corpsman. Since I am here only be the valiant efforts of a Corpsman that wouldn't give up on me, they hold a special place in my heart as they do so many of our Brothers and Sisters in FMF.

I work occasionally in a hire back program at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and see many fine young Men and Women passing through, orders in hand looking kinda lost. I see them and wonder "Were we ever that young?" I see Army kids and Officers up to Colonel in Rank wearing their BDU's in transit (I'll never get used to that), Navy Personal and Marines in their Greens (as Marines are supposed to dress in transit). I also run across a lot of Navy personal leaving for their new Duty Stations after completing their A--Schools at NTC Great Lakes. I occasionally see these kids with Medical Caduceus' denoting Hospital Corpsman. I always make it a point to stop and speak with them and see if by any chance they are assigned to FMF and to lend a few words or praise and encouragement.

I am going to be placing an order with you for a number of Corpsman's Challenge Coins to give these fine kids (I know they are adults but they look too young to this old fart). I want them to enter their new Duty Stations knowing what they mean and how much they are appreciated by Marines.

Sgt. Bruce Rapa
Chicago Police Department

"A well-disciplined regiment is as well behaved as a community of monks."
Frederick The Great

I am not a Marine, wish I was, rather I am a Sergeant at a police agency. We have several Marines working among us and I must say that they are all great men and police officers. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. I had an incident just last night where I was working along side a young officer/Marine. We were at a mall and speaking to a security guard there. This man is probably too old to be a guard, but wears the uniform still and even a DI/Trooper hat. While speaking, I mentioned that I thought he'd served in Vietnam in the Marine Corps. He confirmed, and without a word, the young Marine said "Semper Fi!" The guard replied back "Ooohrah!" It was simply a cool exchange between Marines and it made me proud of my young officer.

Sgt. Steve Young

Sgt. Grit,

In December of last year, my wife and I were joined by our entire extended family and a few childhood friends to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary. We took over a row of rooms at the Disney Pop Century Resort in Florida for a full week. Throughout the period, I was always wearing either my boonie hat or my remaining HBT utility cap with the Globe and Anchor prominently showing.

One afternoon, while in the resort dining room preparing to have lunch, a Disney staff member walked over and asked me if we could speak. He asked me if I was a former Marine. When I answered in the affirmative, he gave me a bear hug and told me that he is proud of me and thanked me for my prior service.

That sentiment, so warmly and eloquently displayed, added to the vast success of the anniversary gathering, and once again reaffirmed my faith in the wisdom of America.

Joe Weisberger
Pardess Hanna, Israel

"Force and Fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues."
Thomas Hobbes

Sgt. Grit,

I have been receiving the weekly newsletter for several years. Although I am retied Navy I have been a support person to a couple of Young Marine Units as well as the husband to the Paymaster and the father of a Young Marine. Currently our son is at the Island in the 9th week of boot. He is obtaining his dream and even at this time of conflict his mother and I are so very proud of him!

But, what I am really writing about is your fine news letters. I attempt to read them as soon as they hit my email. In the 6 or 7 years that I have been getting them I doubt that I have ever made it all the way through one with out getting all choked up and often tears flow. So many of the stories are so touching. I often pull one story off to share with the YM's. Marines take care of their own!

I take my hat off to all of you fine Marines. I wish that I could shake all of your hands and give you all a hug! Thank you for your service!

Larry Clark

Sgt. Grit, I had the pleasure of attending Graduation at Parris Island in May 2004, preceded by Morning Colors which was a great way to start the day! That was my first visit to the island since my own Graduation in December 1954. We attended as a small group of older Marines and our wives, mostly having met on a internet forum; only two of us had met previously and served together. One of our group had served in WWII, the rest had served since that time, but we were a good representative sample of service spanning 60 years! What struck me in the heart that Friday, was that a very few brand-new Marines were unaccompanied after the ceremony; no family members or friends were evident. I picked out a couple and made a point to share their special time with them and to let them know that someone else cared about their Graduation. What I would like to do is stand in the gap for the family of a soon-to-graduate recruit; one family who, for some reason, would be unable to attend the Graduation on April 25, 2008. I understand that Hotel Company, 2nd RTBn. and November Company, 4th RTBn. will graduate on that day. Perhaps there may be a recruit who has no family at all or one whose family simply cannot make the trip.

I feel that every new Marine should be welcomed into our brotherhood by an older Marine. I am in hopes that if there is such a family that they will feel free to contact me right away.

There will be a group of us who served on sea duty together in the Marine Detachment aboard USS Antietam CVS-36 in the mid-'50s and most have not yet returned to Parris Island; only three of us have met since 1957.

Spike Berner
Sergeant of Marines
Mcqber @ bellsouth .net

"History is littered with wars which everybody knew would never happen."
Enoch Powell

Sgt. Grit,
I am the proud father of LCPL William J. F. Nichols. I served in Vietnam as a Chief Warrant Officer flying helicopters in C Troop, 2/17 Air Cavalry, 101st Airborne, U.S. Army. I left active duty as a Captain in the Armor Branch. My son decided when he was 14 years old to join the military as soon as he graduated from high school. Bill did not know which service to join, but narrowed it down to the Army or Marines. He looked at the Army out of loyalty to me. Sitting on our front porch one day, he asked me which branch I thought he should join. I told him it did not matter what I thought, "just pick the one you really want to join". Two weeks later, he told me (on the front porch) he had decided on the Marines.

I told him that was great and inquired why he made that decision. I will never forget his answer. "Well, Dad, I want a really big challenge and I think the Marines will give that to me". I simply told him not to be just a Marine, but be one h&ll of a good Marine. He finished in the top 9 Marines (out of 500) in Boot Camp and was the top shooter. He has been in for 15 months and is on the promotion list this month (February, 2008) for Corporal of Marines. He is now married, and his wife is expecting a "Devil Pup" one week before his deployment to Iraq in April, 2008. Sergeant, I have never met a Marine I didn't like. Now I can say, there is one I love and is truly my hero. Semper Fi,
William D. Nichols

Sgt. Grits-

My name is Meghan and I am 22 year old college senior. I am no one special, but I have some incredibly special people in my life. I am the proud fiancée of LCpl. Rife, sister of Cpl. Hillman and cousin of Sgt. Barr.
The past few years have been a crazy whirlwind of Parris Island, graduations, MOS, MCT, SOI, deployments, engagements, weddings and homecomings. I have quickly learned to do my best to adapt to exciting reunions, tearful goodbyes and never, EVER letting my cell phone battery die.
I am not a Marine and I will never truly understand what it means to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, but I can't help being proud simply to know some of the few and the proud that do.
I feel that there is a special place for those with loved ones who serve. We may never go into combat, but fight a different type of battle every day. I have truly grown to admire the wives, girlfriends, fiancés, moms and family members who wait patiently while those they love serve. We all have a common bond and work to support one another. They are truly the ones who understand.
Thank you for doing what you do. You allow so many people to come together for support, answers, opinions and guidance. Thank you!

Meghan Hillman

"History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."
Ronald Reagan

Recently, The City of Berkley made a huge mistake. They verbalized how they felt about a Marine Corps recruitment station in downtown. Following these remarks, a battle ensued, leaving everyone hating Berkley. I have learned over the years not to become enraged with the anti-military interpretation, but simply to say "You're Welcome". If it weren't for these anti- military types, the battles fought on the battlefields throughout the years would have been for nothing. We, as Marines, know in our hearts what is right, and we can allow them to hitch a ride on our coat tails. Giving them the opportunity to speak freely, means we have done our jobs. I say thank you to the Marines, and all Armed Service personnel, and you're welcome to the ones standing behind us, because it you didn't express your freedom, than everyone who died ensuring your right to speak freely, would have died in vain.
Joe Dwyer, USMC, LCPL, 1983-1986

Sgt. Grit,

Here's an email I sent to the Berkeley city council. It was never returned as others' have been, so I assume it was delivered:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Berkeley City Council,

Your actions regarding the Marine Recruiting Office in your city have brought dishonor, ridicule and infamy upon your city. You have exposed your city to the scorn of the nation and have made it a laughingstock...again. You should be deeply ashamed of yourselves."

I didn't rant and rave at them because I believe there is no useful purpose accomplished in engaging with people of the "Berkeley Mindset". Conflict is all they want. They don't want solutions, they only want issues to get in good people's faces about. They thrive on acting like bad-boy adolescents who only want to shock the sensibilities of their elders. They created this technique in the '60's and '70's and have passed the lesson on to their latest generation of 'America-hating' offspring. I believe it's useless trying to argue with them or change their minds. It's like yelling at a wall. They are fools without honor. It's best to let them rant and carry on in full view of the entire population. If a fool wants to make a bigger fool of himself, don't stand in his way. There is however a great value in exposing their actions to the review of the rest of the nation.

A world-wise Marine combat veteran SGTMAJ (WW2, Korea, VN) told me many years ago, "...some people want the freedom to make fools of themselves. They'll eventually resent whoever provides that freedom because they fear the very people who are brave enough to risk their lives for others." This lesson was repeated to me a few years later by another Marine combat veteran (sheriff's dept training officer) who said, "Soft people who are afraid of everything need to feel safe at night in their beds, but they don't want to know what it takes to protect the flock...if they ever found out it would scare them, then they would fear and resent their protectors more than the predators."

The sheep fear both the wolf and the watchdog. The Berkeley city council, Code Pink, etc., are a loud bleating flock of cowards...scared sheep who have turned on their watchdog instead of the wolf.

Semper Fidelis

"The United States is like a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lit under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate."
Winston Churchill

Now Hear this, I'm getting desperate about finding any Wake Island Survivors. As I said in a note some time ago, the Catawba Valley Detachment of the Marine Corps League buried a Wake Island Survivor, SgtMaj John LaPorte, and his family entrusted to me a bottle of wine that was purchased on Wake Island, with the last Wake Island Survivor to drink the wine. I need to find a Survivor, to pass the bottle of wine down to. You can reach me at 828-322-2541 or

Semper Fidelis,

John Grindel
District Vice Commandant NW District
Department of North Carolina
Marine Corps League

I feel compelled to tell your readers what happened to me after I left the Meijer store in Fruitport Township a short while ago. I still get goose bumps when I recall it.

I have to use an electric scooter due to having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects your muscles and ligaments. As I was riding the scooter out of the store, I saw a tall man, dressed in desert camouflage, standing by the side of my old car. It was still daylight, or I may have returned to the store, not knowing what was in the offing. He didn't move a muscle as I motored my cart closer to my car.

As I approached my trunk to stop and unload my purchases, he "saluted" me! To say the least, I was a bit shocked! I said, "Hello," and still saluting, he said that in the entire three weeks he had been home on leave from Iraq, my car was the first he had seen that had the American flag prominently displayed on it. He said that he had seen many cars with yellow ribbons and blue ribbons, but mine was the first with the American flag.

I have an American flag on each rear seat window that also says under it, "God Bless America." I asked him his name and he replied, "John, ma'am." I told him that I had put the flags on the windows after 9/11 and had no plans to remove them. He unloaded my groceries into the trunk for me. He told me he was a Marine and would soon be returning to Iraq. I asked him for his last name, as I told him that I pray for our men and women in the military, religiously. He said, "John is enough, ma'am, and that is the best thing you can do for all of us."

I then noticed a tear trickle down his cheek. I told him my name was Pam, and he saluted me again and walked off to his car, saying "Good-bye, Pam." I had no idea how long he had been standing there as I was in the store for more than an hour. A gentleman who witnessed our meeting said that the soldier had been standing there for at least 30 minutes. I wish I had his address to write him in Iraq, but he knows that I will be praying for him.

Pamela Hasper

"Leadership is a great burden. We grow weary of it at times... But if we are not to shoulder the burdens of leadership in the free world, then who will?... We grew from that small, weak republic which had as its assets spirit, optimism, faith in God and an unshakeable belief that free men and women could govern themselves wisely. We became the leader of the free world, an example for all those who cherish freedom. If we are to continue to be that example—if we are to preserve our own freedom—we must understand those who would dominate us and deal with them with determination. We must shoulder our burden with our eyes fixed on the future, but recognizing the realities of today, not counting on mere hope or wishes. We must be willing to carry out our responsibility as the custodian of individual freedom. Then we will achieve our destiny to be as a shining city on a hill for all mankind to see." Ronald Reagan

Brother Jack:

I won't bore you with war stories from my time in The Nam. Suffice it to say that while you were MP'ing it at Da Bridge, I was humping out of Happy Valley Rock Quarry (other side of the Big Hill north of you) and when back in the Valley, was running Brig Chaser on 'hard-labor' Grunts your buddies sent us.

I, too, joined the PTSD Brigade a few years after (A). I got back from The Nam and (B). PTSD had been 'discovered'. Thus, I can truly relate to the jungle you lived in for so many years after returning from the Jungle you lived in so many months. My PTSD manifested itself in uncontrollable rage which was far too often directed at my 4-year old son.

If you're still getting any kind of counseling, you may want to work with your Shrink on something that I developed (and shared with all the guys in my PTSD Band of Loons). It worked well for us and was incorporated into the Shrinks' menu. Here's the exercise:

Draw one horizontal line on a piece of paper, from edge to edge. On the left side of that line, write, "Birth." On the right side of that line, write, "Death/Eternity."

6 inches above the first line drawn, draw a second horizontal line that is 3 inches in from paper's edge, both ends.

Label the left end of the short line, "Birth." Label the right end of the second line, "Death."

You have drawn what represent your personal, parallel Time Lines.

Start with the longer line: on an angle below the horizontal itself and after "Birth," pencil in highlights of your life-to- date that stick out in your mind (don't concentrate too much: being a Marine your thought-rays will ignite the paper).

NOW: using the second and shorter line, and again on an angle, pencil in your "Birth:" that'd be the day you stepped off your transport-means for the very first time onto soil of The Nam.

In the middle of that horizontal line, pencil in one -- just one -- In-country highlight/incident that sticks out in your mind the most frequently. Shorthand it - you're the one that has to read it.

On the far right-hand end of that short line, pencil in the day/date/time (or whatever parts you can recall) that your last foot lifted off the soil of The Nam and you were on your way back to The World. That would be your "Death." Your Nam life is over.

Now, the part that members of any other Branch of Service would find impossible to do, because it requires guts, determination, and brains.

Look at the two lines. They are "Parallel Time Lines." One has nothing whatsoever to do with the other, although they appear to have occurred simultaneously. Focus on that one thought: Your Birth-through-Death in The Nam Timeline has nothing whatsoever to do with your Birth-through- (where you are today) Timeline.

All that happened in The Nam did happen. The emotions are real, the feelings are real, and so forth. That experience is not diminished... but using the Parallel timeline theory, they can be put into a perspective. What you did then is not what you do now. What you did then is what that life required of you. But that whole Birth-through-Death cycle is over and done with and can be put ion a shelf. What you do now is part of another Life, and moves forward. Thus, looking at that shorter timeline, you can at least get a perspective on where the load of guilt and shame and other that you carry really belongs: it was in another lifetime that is over and done with.

End of exercise.

If this helps in any way, I thank our Warrior King and Grit's forum for the opportunity to share with you. If it doesn't work for you, then my real name is Sam Madaratz and I'm really ex- Air Force.

Semper Fi, Semper Paratus.

USMC 1966- 1972
The Nam 6/6/66 - 6/6/68
MOS: 0311/1SP ("One Scared Puppy")

"In war, the clouds never blow over; they gather unceasingly and fall in thunderbolts."
Winston Churchill

We would like to add our website to Sgt. Grit's Favorite Links and Websites (Personal Marine Pages)

The National Marine Corps Business Network is looking for Marines that have left the Corps and have begun a career in business. We are a network of business owners, sales representatives and executives that recognize we can benefit by networking with one another. If you, or a Marine you know, is interested in developing quality business relationships with other Marines, this is the place for you.

The NMCBN is more than a business networking group. As a member, not only will you expand your opportunities and grow your business, you will interact with fellow Marines who posses the same level of integrity and commitment to excellence you demand of yourself.

Mark Holm

Thanks for providing the BEST d*mn show in town! The newsletter is GREAT and of course the selection is amazing!

Thanks again and Semper-Fi
Steve Lewis

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women In the service of our great country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."

Pres. Harry S. Truman

Semper Fi All!

Good Morning GySgt G. R. Archuleta

Gunny your letter about Hanoi Hannah really brought back memories. My tour lasted from March 66 thru April 67. What I remember is Bomber bomber flying high, dropping bombs to make you die, oh bomber tell me why? I have heard that tune a lot of times.

My MOS 03 machine gunner, ground pounder I am very proud of my job and service.

I am now 60 years old. I still remember the good and bad times in country. Thank god for the MARINES!

I would very much like to hear from anyone who was in my group at PI or in Vietnam. I was in PI 1st recruit battalion company c platoon 103 dates 12-30-65 thru 2-19-66 Our DIs were
SSgt P. A. Rossano
Sgt W. A. Larson
Sgt D. E. Gabbard
I still have my graduation book.
One more thing I love reading the letters from Marines that were in country at about the same time I was. Makes me feel great that so many of us are still around and kicking a-- still.

Cpl D. L. ( fox ) Mooney

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
III John 4

My first brush with "Kilroy" was in 1950 as a youngster in Athens, Greece, where at the Anglo-American School the children of war-time multi-national expatriates attended classes. Our mixed lot was comprised of a far ranging and diverse group. Most were American children, but included were Brits, Indians, Turks, Egyptians, Italians, Spaniards and others from respective embassies, military services and even missionaries.

Kilroy was more legend than fad, the small drawing and inscription was ubiquitous and in the most unusual places. It was found on black boards, on the walls of restroom stalls, on the playground walls and basketball backboards. At that early age, it bugged me that "Kilroy" had been someplace ahead of me, but I soon got in the spirit and although too young to grasp its significance, like many of my cohorts, I would occasionally adorn some spot with the famous, or infamous depending on ones perspective, sketch and statement.

A few years ago my bride and I had the privilege to ride the USS Iwo Jima on its maiden voyage from its birthplace at the shipyards Pascagoula, Ms. to Pensacola, Fl. There were about two thousand guests aboard the ship and many sat on the flight deck to enjoy the sun and breeze. As we strolled by one lady whose leg was in a cast, we noted among all the greetings was the well known image and inscription, "Kilroy Was Here."

Few people reading this today are old enough to remember how very important "Kilroy Was Here" was to GIs in WW2, Korea, and is today in the Gulf War and Iraq. The best legend of how he started is that James Kilroy was a rivet inspector on ships in Salem MS during WWII. To prove he had inspected, he would scribble the words throughout the ship.

Often the ships were sent to sea before painting or cleaning up (one Liberty ship was actually built in four days), GIs and sailors found the graffiti in impossible places. Soon Kilroy became the super GI who always got there first and survived. They began placing him in the most unlikely places. He has been reported on enemy beaches as landing GIs approached, on the Arc De Triomphe and even scrawled in the sand on the moon. As Owen Edwards said in the Smithsonian; "'Kilroy Was Here' appeared almost everywhere American soldiers went."

There is one story of Stalin after emerging from a "porta- potti" at the Malta Summit, asked, "Who is Kilroy?" Kilroy was in all likelihood the forerunner of modern graffiti which itself has a long and illustrious history.

But why did this crude drawing and scrawled words become the super GI of WWII, Korea, the Gulf War, and Iraq? We know how it probably started but why the "movement?" I see the Kilroy phenomenon as a manifestation of absolutely amazing sense of humor. GI's were always able to find something funny to say and do under stress that those of us today can only imagine. I also see Kilroy as a comfort to GI's suffering through a world gone mad. No matter how bad it got, no matter what the danger, no matter how exhausted, scared or fed up they got, Kilroy was there first and survived. Only those who have "been there," "done that," can really appreciate and understand their motivations.

Finally, "Kilroy Was Here" was an effort by millions of GI's to be a little rebellious when their whole life was controlled by others. It broke the horrible tension and provided a little fun. "Kilroy Was Here" persisted in spite of efforts by several commands to stamp it out. Certainly several occupied territory commanders issued orders that Kilroy not be scribbled and that it be removed wherever it was found. Such orders were always greeted with monumental indifference.

He was an outward demonstration of rebellious GI's insisting on some individuality! "Kilroy Was Here" was duty - duty to their country; duty to their buddies. These were not warriors but simple guys who were caught up in forces far beyond their control. But warriors they became! By 1945 they were the most skilled warriors in the world. But, they never thought of themselves as such. They were just guys who wanted to get the job done and go home. Actually, they felt the only way to go home was to get the job done. This was a powerful motivation! Griping was taken to an art form but whining was never heard.

Kilroy still lives everywhere GIs have passed, including courthouses, places of worship, markets, and undoubtedly other, less respectable places limited only by ones imagination.

The generation that made Kilroy famous is now going to its eternal reward at the rate of a thousand a day; it won't be very long before its members are gone. But our memory of them will live on for their legacy of sacrifice, bravery and wit. The torch has been passed to a new generation of American servicemen and women who are equal to any challenge, adversity and enemy. If politicians would but listen to and permit them, they can and will keep this nation safe and free for another generation, until their time too has passed. Static memorials grace Washington, State Capitols and even towns across the country, but few things are as ubiquitous as a US postage stamp, and consistent with that it is fitting that a stamp to commemorate past and contemporary heroes be issued so that wherever they travel and mail follows, Kilroy will always be there.

My good friend, Pat Tillery and I call on you to make a difference by sending a postcard or letter urging the Postal Service to issue a stamp to commemorate "Kilroy Was Here." Send you notes, cards, and/or letters to:

Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee
Stamp Development
US Postal Service
1735 North Lynn Street, Rm. 501
Arlington VA 22209-6432

Or send an email, letter or petition to

Semper Fidelis

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