Sgt Grit AmericanCourage Newsletter

I just wanted to share a heart warming story with you. I live in Texas and my fiance is at TBS in Quantico. I flew out there a couple of weeks ago to visit him. When he took me to the airport, we noticed that there was a large group of WWII Vets.

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I checked my bags and went to my gate and not too long after that, the Vets showed up. It turns out they were all going to be on my flight. Most of them were in wheelchairs. The lady at the ticket counter made an announcement that we had the privilege of flying with 20 WWII Vets. Everybody clapped and cheered. Several people walked over to them and thanked them for their service.

It took a little longer than usual to board the plane but nobody complained. I decided to try and sit next to one of these gentlemen thinking they would have great stories to tell me. (Flying Southwest you can pick your seat.) I wear an EGA on my coat collar and my fiancé's dog tags just as my way of showing support.

When I got on the plane one of the vets noticed the EGA and asked about it. I explained that my fiancé was a Marine and was at TBS in Quantico. He said "I'm an ex-Marine." I smiled and said "There is no such thing. Once a Marine, always a Marine." He laughed and replied "That's what they say."

I lucked out and found a seat next to two Vets. One Army, one Navy. They live in the same town and have been friends for 20 years and they play golf 5 days a week. It turns out that a man in their hometown spends a lot of time raising money. When he has enough, he gets a group of WWII Vets and takes them on an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to see the war memorial.

The two men sitting next to me told me that their faith was restored in the youth of America on their trip. A group of teenagers approached them outside the White house and thanked them and asked to have their pictures taken with them. Then they were in a museum and there was a school choir there that asked could they sing for them. He said they all had a wonderful time.

When this man in their town gets done taking all the WWII Vets he can find, he is going to start taking Korean War Vets. What a wonderful man. He allows these men to see something they would not have otherwise gotten to see. And those nice gentlemen helped soothe my sadness of leaving my fiancé behind again for another long period of time. It was so nice visiting with them. So thank you to all who have served and who are serving. Also, thanks to all the family members. Continue to do whatever you can to support your service member.

Semper Fi from Texas

5th Annual GriTogether - This Saturday

Saturday MAY 3, 2008
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

GriTogether Flag Raising Live Blues Band, Free Food and Drinks, Free High 'n Tight Haircuts, Giveaways, Military Vehicles, Games for the Kids, and more!

Join us for the USMC party of the year!
You won't want to miss it!

Get the details at our GriTogether page.

"The value of liberty was thus enhanced in our estimation by the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of characters appreciated by the trial of adversity."
George Washington

Sgt. Grit,

I recently had the privilege to meet a man who was one of the survivors of the Frozen Chosin. His name is Jack Lewis Finer. He was wearing a USMC Korean war ball cap when I met him. He is very sick, cannot hear well and is unable to speak very loudly, and he looked very sad. Determined, I looked him in the eye, put out my hand to shake his and thanked him for serving. A small twinkle showed up in his eyes along with a tiny smile. That was a start. Then his daughter explained to me that he was a survivor of the Frozen Chosin and he was really sick, etc.

I looked at him and said, "Jack, you got through Chosin and you'll get through're a U.S. Marine!" Needless to say, he got the biggest grin on his face and his eyes gleamed with tears. That was what I was looking for. He told me to tell my Marine son, Semper Fidelis, and go with God, cause he was his Marine brother. Ya gotta respect a man for surviving in such conditions because he never gave up! There was NO pity in my eyes and he knew it. He was only about 5' 6" in height, but he sure stood taller than that, when he left that meeting and he was still smiling, too.

I don't know who was, for stirring up some life and dignity in him again: or him, for getting some of that back for as long as he is able to hang on to it. I wish him well.

Proud Mom of a Marine.

Blake's Arrival Maggie and I had the pleasure to accompanied Crystal to Blake's arrival this morning. Crystal was very excited. He actual arrived earlier than expected. All is well! Blake and Crystal

Maggie and Steve

I just wanted to tell you about my Marine. PFC Cody Marler, Camp Geiger, NC...he was only 11 when 9-11 happened and after watching the planes crash into the towers on TV, he told me he was going to be a Marine. I thought he would grow out of it, but he didn't. He graduated high school a full year ahead of everyone else on Feb. 23, 2007. He turned 17 on April 7, 2007, which was a Sunday, but on Monday morning he was a Marine recruit and on May 7 he was at MCRD. (The longest 13 weeks of my life!)

PFC Cody Marler We went to his graduation on Aug. 3, 2007, Golf Co. Plt. 2154, and I have never been so proud in my life, not just proud of my son, but of every son standing there that day. From there Cody had 10 days leave and after a day at Sea World, we headed home.

McGaha's Truck Being with Cody at the airport, out in public, was like being with a rock star! Men shook his hand, former servicemen shared stories of their time as a Marine or Soldier, women thanked and hugged him, and teenage girls posed for pictures with him and giggled like he was Brad Pit!

My pick-up, (photo attached), is covered with bumper stickers from Sgt. Grit and never fails to get McGaha's Truck Bumper Sticker closeup comments when I am in town. I have never heard anyone say a disparaging word about my son, the war, or the Marine Corps. Everyone has been so supportive.

And I would just like to say thank you to every service man and woman, past and present. Semper Fi!
Rie McGaha

"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
George Washington

Radio Operator Artwork Here is a great drawing from our deployed Marine

6th com Alpha company New York Sgt JJ Deritter

Marine Momma

First off let me start off by saying "Semper Fi" to all you Marines out there....

Second, let me say a big "Thank you" to Paula Zupan for her heart felt note here in the "News", and to her son, Marine PFC Nathan Zupan for his service, and for her support of the Corps and this WONDERFUL NATION we all call home.

Having retired from the Corps after 30 years of service, and with my son now serving, sorry Marines, but he chose the Air Force.... HOWEVER he is serving his country, and has finished one deployment in the "Suck" and returned home safe with his squadron scheduled to deploy again in January 09 I tend to watch what is happening in the Iraq, as well as the world situation very closely as a whole.

When I read letters such as the one posted by Paula Zupan, a great feeling of pride swells within my chest, and my thoughts return to the days when I was a young Marine Lt., in January 1968 waiting for deployment across the pond to that land and time so long ago forgotten, "Viet Nam!"

I can very well remember the feelings I had within me. A combination of fear, excitement and dread.....I can also remember having a lot of unanswered questions in my mind... Questions like, "What are we doing over there?" and even though I had volunteered, "Why me?" Along with, "Am I doing the right thing?" and "Am I going to come back home again", and if I do, am I going to come home "in one piece?"

I can also remember the looks on my Marines faces when we were walking waist deep in rice patties, climbing steep, muddy hillsides through the pouring rain until your lungs hurt, and your legs screamed out in muscle cramping pain....

I remember the faces of the Marines I lost on those hillsides and patties.... I remember the pain in the voices, the whimpered "Mom!" as they lay on a poncho, bodies shattered., waiting for the peace of death to overtake them. I remember as it was yesterday, the disgusted look in the eyes of my Corpsmen as he tried in vain to save a life that should not have been lost in a place so far away....

I can also remember the happiness of surviving and coming home to a welcome that was not at all nice... to the protesters, the signs of "Baby Killer!" and "Ban the Bomb!"...words written and spoken by those that had never set foot across the "Pond" of anywhere connected with a military action....

I remember the pain, the disgust I felt as I pondered how anyone could treat a fellow AMERICAN this way, especially a combat vet.....

What really mattered to me in the long run was, I had SURVIVED! A lot of my Marines had survived to return home, while a lot of great young men, HEROES had not.

What mattered was the welcome my mom and dad gave me. The comfort that I, a 21 year old Marine felt as my mom hugged dad grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye, with tears in his eyes and said, "Welcome home SON!. Welcome back to the U.S.A!"

That one sentence had said it all.... "Welcome back to the USA"

This made all the pain. the misery and the discomfort of 13 months worth it...

Over the years I came to except and understand the feelings of others in regards to the military, not just those connected with "WAR!. I came to understand that those protesters were able to do what they did, say what they did, and travel to do so because of one thing, because they live in a place, the greatest country in the world, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!

I was employed in 90-91 to the SUCK during our countries first sojourn there...and was again faced with the fact that I was probably going to be taking casualties with my Marines once again...hear those frantic calls for their "Moms" once more....see the looks in the eyes of my Corpsmen as they tried in frantically to save a young life...

I con only thank the Good Lord that we were not met with the situation where that was demanded of us....we were able to get I and get out without a great loss of life, although granted, the loss of even one young man or woman is a great loss.

We came home to a different welcome, a different voice of the public.

Now our sons and daughters are in harms way once more....and we as parents are faced with the same fears and forebodings as our parents were so many,many years ago.

Not just in Viet Nam, but in all conflict's and military actions since this Great Nation of ours was founded....and all conflicts, God Forbid, that are yet to come.

Why do we continue to face send our young men and women off to war, to uncertain fates,


Simple, because we live in the Greatest Nation in the World, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"

We live in a country who's values, freedoms and way of life has been protected, and you might say, purchased with the blood of our children since the American Revolution...

A country where millions of people throughout the world risk their lives daily to escape too...can only dream of living in....

A country of the "FREE and THE BRAVE!'

Unfortunately war and conflict are a part of our heritage, and most likely, our future....but as long as there our nations and people out there that are persecuted, tortured and desire the rights to live and be free, I believe we, as the Greats Nation in the world should, and will continue to help, to send our sons, daughters, husbands and fathers into harms way.


Because this is WHAT WE DO, this is what we believe in and will die for.... We are Americans, and we are Marines....

So in closing let me once again say "THANK YOU!" to all the mothers and fathers out there that have sent there children, their futures, to a strange land so, so far from home. Not knowing whether they will ever see or hold them again...

People, no matter your feelings about the President, nor the world situation, remember this...we are there because we have to be provide those that have never tasted freedom, the chance to taste what we as a Nation have always enjoyed.

Thank you, and God Bless your sons, daughters, husbands and fathers.

LCol D. Anderson USMCR R'td

"If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them."
Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 21, 1787)

Sgt.Grit: I am a proud grandfather of my Marine granddaughter. She is an Annapolis graduate and presently a Marine cobra pilot awaiting deployment. Although I am very proud of her that is not the real reason I'm writing. I am not a Marine. My tour in Korea was with the army. This is for all the present, past and future service men and woman, God Bless them all.

In 1953 I sent a Korean scarf home to my girl. That girl became my wife of 53 years. My wife gave that scarf to my daughter, the cobra pilot's mother. Well a few months ago she wore that scarf to a coffee shop and was approached by an Asian woman. She was asked where she got the scarf, when told of the story she told my daughter to thank me for her country. Wow talk about being surprised. So all of you out there, It may not seem that anyone cares about what we have done but there are many people in this world with great gratitude and tears in their eyes that really appreciate America. God Bless you all and God Bless America J.L. Cordoni

In memory of my friend Raymond Jacobs who was one of the Marines photographed during the original flag raising on Iwo Jima. Ray passed away Jan. 29, 2008, in Redding, California. He was 82.

A Letter to Ray from Betty:

Dear Ray - I'm so sorry to hear that I won't be seeing you at future Marine Corps activities. However, I will never forget meeting you in Minnesota and keeping in touch with you ever since. I will treasure the copy you gave me of "Iwo Jima, Feb.23,1945-First Flag Raising-An Eyewitness Account by Radioman Raymond Jacobs." You did so much work to prove you were the radioman there. I believed you Ray.

Your note to me still brings tears to my eyes. It says "To Betty Boop for your friendship & support. Your Dad and I will always be together on Mt. Suribachi."

Rest in peace my hero. You deserve it.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Jacobs' Family at this time.

Semper Fi,

Betty McMahon (daughter of Pfc. James Michels, foreground in original flag raising on Iwo Jima)

"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."
Thomas Paine

I wanted to respond to an article I saw in the latest edition of the Marine Corps Times, regarding the term "Devil Dog". Today Marines don't like to be called Devil Dogs because it is usually used when a Marine is being Scolded. For instance, "Hey Devil Dog, what are you doing!". Well it is unfortunate that the term is being disliked anytime it is used. Devil Dog is part of the Marine Corps Heritage and should not be forgotten, or how it came about. Back to the article in the Times, a Marine Staff Sergeant was somewhere that he encountered a young Marine and his girlfriend walking by. The SSgt said, "Hey there's another devil dog". He meant no harm or disrespect to the brother, just recognizing that he knew he too was a Marine. The SSgt said that the Marine looked at him puzzled and that the girlfriend said aloud "before you make a comment like that, why don't you grow some f___ing balls and serve your country". Well my message to that little lady, and I use that term loosely, is go study your history, shut your mouth and stand aside. This SSgt did serve his country! I have little patience for "girlfriends" of Marines that do not know about the Marine Corps, but open their pie holes to voice things they know nothing about. And a direct message to her is "become a Marine wife, learn some history and terminology, then speak your piece."

Proud wife of a Marine!

Last week here in Northern California a US Marine Sergeant saved the life of a 5 year old girl by administering CPR. The EMTs say that there is no doubt that he saved her life. When the Sergeant went to the hospital to visit her, she was walking out with her mom. The girl now refers to the Sergeant as her "angel". Another story of the fortitude of our Marines whether in battle or home. The Sergeant is a recruiter so now I assume Code Pink will be after him. Semper Fi

Sgt. Grit,

After bumming around the Corps, the AF, a couple of OGA's, between 1967 and 2004 I have a lot of memories, good ones and bad ones. I do not dwell on the bad ones, but reflect often on the caliber of person I met while in the service of my country. I would proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with most of them, and even throw in a few foreign warriors I fought along side of, in any conflict, war or what ever the h&ll you want to call it.

One of the best memories I have came at Khe Shan in March of '68. I saw the following written on a piece of cardboard in a bunker, "For those that have to fight for it, life has a flavor the protected never know." These words have stuck with me over the years and I have seen that many an individual with that flavor; they are pretty easy to spot most of the time.

I like what you are doing. Keep up the good works.

Semper Fi

My guy and I are a biracial couple and we were hanging out in a "white bread" roughneck bar together and I was wearing a t-shirt with the Marine Corps. emblem on the front. A big scary-looking guy came up to me (I could see the hackles bristling on his neck) when he asked me, "why are you wearing that?!?" I pointed to my guy, a big muscular black man, and answered, "Because he was a Marine sniper!" It turned out the scary guy was a Marine too and we were all best of friends for the evening after that.

Rhonda Settle

"A hundred years from now, Americans might still be fighting militant Islamists in Iraq and other places. What could be worse than that? A hundred years from now, America and the West could have been defeated by militant Islamists."
Clifford May

Sgt. Grit, how do I go about placing a letter in your newsletter? I am a advocate for veterans rights. I give and hold veterans meetings on how to obtain compensation and benefits. I also stress at my meetings how important it is that the veterans register with the VA. With some 1800 WWII and Korean veterans that are passing away each week it is vital that the current veterans register with the VA so that the Veterans Administration can set the coming years VA budget according to the number of registered and proposed veterans that are using the VA system at this time. Thank You, Sgt. Tom van Hees, 0331 "L" Co. 3rd. 7th Marines, VN 66/67

My son's name is Michael Figueroa, he is a Marine and is in Iraq now, he went last year too. He broke his knee when he was in a boot camp, he had surgery, the doctor said: you can't do it, but my son answer if God wants I can do it. Now he is sergeant and signed for four years more.

I am very proud for all Marine, army, navy people who fighter for this country and for the freedom.

Thanks. You.
Celeida Figueroa.

It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.
Thomas Paine

Sgt Grit -
Among the many things I enjoy about the American Courage Newsletter are the political and patriotic quotations interspersed between the comments from Marines, their families and friends. Please continue to include them. They add meaningful context, e.g. why it is necessary to have a Marine Corps (and our other armed forces) in the first place.

Semper Fi.

Sgt Grit,
I have been reading your letters for years now and finally decided to send one of my own. I served from 1985-1991 as a 6337, F/A 18 electrical systems tech. I loved it. I went to PI, NAS Millington to school and ended up at NAS Cecil Field at VFA-106. I had the opportunity to work with sailors and Marines side by side , training pilots and maintenance personnel. We trained the Blue Angels, during their transition from A-4's to the FA-18 Hornets. I had the chance to log 66 days at sea on 8 different carriers during training. I knew Scott Speicher, the MIA pilot who was the first pilot shot down in Desert Storm. I pray that he is still alive. The memories go on and on.

My brother also served from 1985-1989 as a short range supply and logistics NCO. He got to go to Korea and Japan as well as being stationed at Lejeune and finally Pendleton.

Then comes both of our proudest moments. We both had sons and now Michael is in Iraq for his third time and my son Jared is at Fort Sills (serving in the legal department there).

The stories that we will be able to tell at our next reunion will be something. I guess my brother and I did well, never pressuring the boys into the Corps. I just wanted to share the tradition in our family.

Semper Fi
Brian Lee Moore
Sgt, father, brother and uncle of the finest men in the world, United States Marines

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities... With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
Thomas Jefferson

Hey Sarge,

I was recently at my local hardware....umm, home improvement store, when espied a gentleman wearing a t-shirt with the Marine logo. I said my Semper Fi and we talked for a bit. He asked where I went while on active duty to which I replied, Nam 70-71. He informed me that he survived three tours in the Nam, starting in 1965. Tongue in cheek, I said, "You were there in 65. Dang, YOU started that war." The gruff old Marine replied, " No, I didn't start it but I COULD have finished it."

Nuff said.
Dan Buchanan

Sgt. Grit --

I just came back from our local shopping center and I was the first car stopped to turn left. At the corner was a scruffy dude holding a cardboard sign saying "Homeless Vet. Please help." He was about five feet away from me and I looked him head on and was about to ask something when he looked at me, folded his sign and booked. I was wearing my cover which says "My Son Is A Marine." I don't think you have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to cut through that phony.

The presence of him and other frauds like him on the streets offends me to my core (Corps?) and is an insult to the many men and women of all services (but especially in my heart and soul, our Marines) who have and continue to serve this country daily with honor and distinction, especially those warriors in true need of assistance and the families of those who have given the last full measure. I guess that sorry excuse for a human being did not wish to exchange a few words with the Father of a United States Marine -- may God keep them all safe.

Semper Fi --
Dr. Dennis Benson

"Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy!"
John Dewey -- Philosopher

Definition of a Veteran.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in one's life,
wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America",
for an amount of "up to and including my life."
That is honor, and there are way too many
people in this country who no longer understand it.
-Author unknown.

Submitted by Marilyn Miller, Blue Star Mother Spartanburg SC

Sgt Grit,
Today I am beaming with pride. MCRDSD has platoon videos of Marines about to graduate. As a Marine this is the greatest gift God could grant me, my son is second from the left on the bottom row.

Semper Fi,
Carl Johnson
Corporal of Marines

Marines, I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive as h&ll on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat.
Rear Adm. Stark USN

Brooklyn Young Marines Brooklyn Young Marines In 1972 I commanded the Brooklyn Young Marines of the Marine Corps League. The youngsters performed the Iwo Jima flag raising at many ceremonies and veteran functions.

Semper Fi,
Joe Saluzzi

Sgt Grit,
Yesterday a brave Marine passed away. Cpl Larry Foster U.S.M.C.62-68. Larry was the Past President of the VVA chapter 897 In Nampa, Id. His passing is going to leave a huge emptiness in all of our lives. Larry had cancer related illnesses stemming from Agent Orange exposure during his tour in Nam.

Larry, who will now be among those Marines guarding the streets of Heaven, was an inspiration to those of us who had the honor of knowing this man.

During the last days of his life he had a way of "sucking it up and driving on". He had diabetes and was taken off dialysis some seven(7) weeks ago, and was not given food or water for the past two weeks. Yet, he did not quit or did I hear him once complain about how much pain he was in. Of course they had given him pain medicine but that did at times wear off. While serving as president of the above mentioned VVA chapter he would ask to get something to help other Vets in the county and although it may have taken time to get accomplished it did get done. He also provided people with the inspiration to "drive on" even when they felt that they could go on no longer.

Larry was an example of what it is to be a Marine and he lived it everyday. He was a true Marine, friend and will forever be in the hearts of those who knew him.

Thomas Gase Cpl. U.S.M.C. 66-70

"Wouldn't it be better for the human spirit and for the soul of this Nation to encourage people to accept more responsibility to care for one another, rather than leaving those tasks to paid bureaucrats?"
Ronald Reagan


First off thanks for time served and thanks to all who put there a$s on the line for there country! Just taking a minute to tell you a little about one Marine that has been my Hero! He started out born and raised hear in good old New Orleans, Louisiana. Grew up during a time period where baked potatoes in your pocket were the pocket warmers of the day and one shot one kill was because you could not afford shells and if you missed your family was with out meat. A young man that was a alter boy did not swear did not drink, broken family and the drive to one day the a$s of a farther he felt pushed him a little to hard. He Joined the Marines right out of high school.

As a good Marine he learned smoking and drinking was a way of passage for some, he learned quickly. Served on the USS Coral Sea and saw the world. He also saw Korea up close and personnel, as he was in more than one fire fight. The Marine even as many seamed to defy death when his own artillery was called on top of him to stop the enemy just days before the firing stopped. There is much more of being a real life taker and heart breaker. Blown up by artillery, mortar fire, being burned and yet when his time was up he walked away upright and on his own two feet.

That did not make this Man my Hero, even though it sure makes for a lot of respect. What makes this man my hero is he came home and raised a family. He knew how to kill he did plenty of that numbers in the thousands, he knew how to kick a$s and adapt and over come. But most of all he made a difference in my life as well as many others around him. It was never about glory or riches! It was about family and the struggle every day to be there for his family.

Now my farther lays in bed body broken and awaiting death. I take care of my farther now and still see a HERO! A man even on his death bed fights for his dignity, caring for his family and some how cheating death to the bitter end. This Man lived life even after he came home, after learning to kill and seeing all the h&ll of war. This Man, this Marine raised a family and taught me so much about life and living. This is what makes him a Hero to me, he went through the h&ll of war and came home and went through the undisciplined life of raising a family where the battle changed and he never killed any one after he put weapon down. I thank the United States Marine Corps. for my life and the life of my family. Its been one h&ll of a ride but I'm dam proud of the Marine that came home, I'm dam proud of my farther and even as he still cheats death I'm still proud of the man laying in the medical bed.

From a Marines loving son!
Timothy A. Tobin Jr.

PS God bless America and God bless the United States Marine Corps.

"We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money."
Davy Crockett

Sgt. Grit,
First off I would just like to say that I love reading your newsletter, reading all these stories of these Marines really gives me some good moto. My father enlisted in the Corps in '76, and was in 1/3 Marines through '80, and I can't get enough of the stories that he tells. Just recently I decided that I wanted to shoot for a slot at OCS. I applied in October, worked my butt off PTing and was accepted to the PLC program in November. Since then I have been training non stop trying to get myself ready for what is going to be the biggest culture shock of my life. I ship out to MCB Quantico on May 29th, and will be there until graduation on the 9th of August. I just want to thank all the Marines that have served in such a great organization, and I can only hope to be good enough to join the ranks of the few and the proud. I would consider it the biggest honor of my life to be a Lieutenant of Marines, and I am going to give it all I've got this coming summer. Thanks again, and Semper Fi

Candidate Williams

"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."
Benjamin Franklin

Good Morning!

My name is Connie McClellan. I am the author of the newly released book, My Miracle Marine, The Story of Three-Time Purple Heart Recipient, LCpl. John McClellan. John is my son and was shot in the head by a sniper in Haditha, Iraq on September 26, 2006. My Miracle Marine chronicles John's recovery since his injury, which happened to be his third gun shot wound in an eleven month period.

It is my desire to share this story with as many people as possible as it is a story of God. John is the recipient of twenty-four miracles, performed one at a time by God. His story is truly amazing, and provides a message of encouragement that the entire world needs to hear. If possible,

In invite you to visit our website, for an abbreviated written and pictorial account of this story.

Connie McClellan
Author of My Miracle Marine, The Story of Three Time Purple Heart Recipient, LCpl. John McClellan

I just received the below email and I ask that you please keep Jack and his wife Ruby in your prayers. Jack is in the hospital with cancer.

For those that have no idea who Jack Lucas is, let me tell you a little about him. I had the pleasure of spending about 5 hours with Jack at is home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2006 and I was fortunate to get to visit with him again about 3 weeks ago when he was here in Tuscaloosa as the Guest of Honor and Speaker at the local ROTC/JROTC Awards ceremony.

During WWII Jack was 14 years old when he falsified his records to enlist in the Marine Corps. He desperately wanted in the fight to defend and protect our country. Here is how desperate he was.

After boot camp his first duty station was Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He went AWOL from there, got on a troop train traveling across the country to California. He ended up at Camp Pendleton until he jumped on board a troop ship headed for Hawaii. All of this was over a 2-3 year period. By the time he got to Hawaii he was 16 years old and officials had learned of his real age and were preparing to send him home. This time Jack jumped on board another ship with no idea where it was headed.

Jack turned 17 during this voyage and soon found out the ship's destination. Iwo Jima.

On the 2nd day of battle there, Feb 20, 1945, Jack and his fire team (3 other Marines) were in a trench when they became involved in a firefight with Japanese troops in another trench just feet away from them. Jack tells of how he had to look down to reload his rifle when he saw not one but two hand grenades lying at his feet. Not having time to warn his Marines, he immediately fell on both grenades, covering them with his body. He was SEVERELY wounded when they exploded and Jack says to this day that the power of God stopped him from bleeding to death. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for bravery in combat.

So please keep this genuine Hero in your prayers. Thanks.

Take care and God bless.
Semper Fidelis,

Jack is at Forrest General hospital in Hattiesburg - you can email him there by going to the Hospital website - go to "email a patient" Jack is in room #4421.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."
Thomas Jefferson

Cpl. Hill,

I myself thought the same thing when I first saw the flag on their right shoulder, but if you check the Public law reference the Flag, it states that the field of stars will be to the forward as if it were moving in that direction. In other words, the stars are to be the direction the wearer is facing, when on the sleeves.

Bill Wilson
"Gunny Bill"


This past weekend I was in Maine, for a Compressor Station Start-up. While waiting at Banger Intl. Airport to fly home a plane load of our Troops came in from Iraq and Afghanistan. There was 331 Troops, and every person I talked to was excited to be home, but wanted us to know "We are making a lot of progress, and almost all of the people over there, want us there." They also said that some of those who didn't like us there, didn't want us to leave, yet.

The folks who have made it a mission to meet and encourage these brave young people say there are 3-4 flights, coming and going almost every day. Many individuals and groups travel to Banger to meet and thank our Troops. If you ever have an opportunity to join them, they are very gracious and appreciative.

You can go to their web site and see some of what they are doing. I urge us all to support their work in any way you can.

God Bless, and God Bless America,
Jack Ripley

"For every one hundred men you send us, Ten should not even be here. Eighty are nothing but targets. Nine of them are real fighters; We are lucky to have them, they the battle make. Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior. And he will bring the others back."
- Heraclitus

Sgt. Grit,

My boy joined the Marines on a Challenge from his Mother! Every day of my life, I regret it during this war!

My youngest son has been a challenge to me since the day he was born, I would say no, he would say yes!

I would say stop, he would say go!

And to this day, I am so proud of him for going OOH-RAH!. He went the toughest way, because he needed the discipline! He was headed down a path of destruction with the people that he was hanging around with!

So, I guess that I am sending this to you today to say "SEMPER FI"! Bless my child who is going to Afghanistan in Sept. of 07 of Feb. of 08.

And God bless all of the children, of parents in the US, that are presently there. I have a cousin and a friend's son, who is there now.

God grant us the security that we need, to get these boys through this, for they are serving our country at this present time. They believe in us, as we should believe in them.

Let's Stand Together and Unite as One Country!

As I Kneel and Pray, Amen

Mini-Marine cap Mini-Marine I ordered a Mini-Marine cap and put Enlisted Collar Emblems on it for our grandson, Saxon. I think he is a fine looking Jr. Marine.

Robert Seale, HM2 FMF Corpsman '54, '55, 2nd Marines

"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death."
Sun Tzu

MGySgt Tom Knoll, Ret. Is running across America to raise money for several charities including Wounded Warriors.

Check out his page.


This is written in response to the comments made by "Danny-Boy" in your newsletter date 17 April 2008. I think "D.B." needs to take a deep breath and get back to the planet earth. I can't image anyone in their right mind wishing to "risk getting killed" nor can I ever image any Marine who would knowingly trade his or her orders for combat to avoid the risk of getting killed. This is total nonsense.

I was an FMF Navy Corpsman in RVN in 1966 thru 1967. I had the honor of serving with Charley 1/7. I was 18 years old, married with a 5-month-old son, when I got my FMF orders. I joined the Navy to greatly lesson my risk of getting killed. At least that's what I thought when I enlisted at the age of 17. I was supposed to be an office pogey as I knew how to type. Little did I know that while I was in boot camp the Army would move up to the DMZ, and the Marine Corps would make a landing in Chu Lai. This greatly escalated the Marine Corps participation in the War.

My big brother, who was as gung ho as a person could be, was a Marine Cpl. stationed with the 25th Marines at Kaneohe. He was ready to be a life taker when he joined up. However, as fate would have it, he also knew how to type and ended up being the office pogey, and a d*mn good one at that. When he heard that I received my FMF orders he called me immediately and offered to go instead of me. He and I both knew what's in store for a Navy Corpsman in a combat zone, but my response to him was thanks but no thanks. I said that I loved him very much but the card was dealt to me.

"D.B" made a choice when he got out of the Corps, just like my brother and I made our choices. As it turns out, my best service years were when I was with the 2nd platoon. To this day, my only past service related contacts are with those Marine brothers I served with. This was nothing that I went looking for, nor was it something I volunteered for. It's what life gave me. Oddly enough, I lived through Vietnam, despite the fact that I could, while just doing my job, have been killed 50 times over. Unlucky for me, I was wounded while on a patrol, and spent a month on the USS Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was the only ship I was ever on during my 4 years in the Navy. My dear brother, who I love and miss to this day, was killed in a car accident while he was in Hawaii.

"D.B." talks about "rather it be me that it happened to (dying I guess) so that they could come home and enjoy the rest of their live". I'm 60 years old now. "D.B." claims to be only 43. I've had 17 additional great years of living than "D.B." and I hope to have at least another 20. Even at my age I have sense enough to realize that you don't tempt fate, and woulda-coulda-shoulda just doesn't cut it.

If Danny-Boy wants to make a real meaningful contribution to his beloved Corps he should take some of that "pretty good money" and send some care packages to where they would do the most good. That's taking a deep breath and coming back to the planet earth.

A very respectful Semper Fi

Mark P. Stitzel
HM3 RVN 66/67
Life member MOPH
Life member DAV

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread."
Thomas Jefferson

Lt. Ripley's Tattoo Hi Sgt Grit,
I read your news letter religiously and see that people share their new tattoos. So I figured what the h&ll. Enclosed is my freshly done Eagle Globe and Anchor. It was done by a lovely gal named Sierra at Psychedelic tattoos in Pensacola, FL

Semper Fi,
2ndLt Ripley

Time Magazine Cover "We never cease to be amazed by the inability of the left to feel shame and its lack of reverence for America and those who defend its freedoms, including the right to be stupid. The cover of the April 21 issue of Time, taking the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of Marines planting our flag on the blood-soaked island of Iwo Jima and replacing our flag with a tree, qualifies for obscenity of the year. It echoes the greenie theme first advanced by Al Gore in his book Earth In The Balance that the internal combustion engine is the greatest threat in the history of mankind. Gore and Bill Clinton have both said that global warming is ultimately a greater threat than terrorism... This trivializing of the sacrifice of American blood and treasure to defend freedom ignores the fact that in World War II we faced a real enemy with a terrible agenda. The bombs that fell on Pearl Harbor were quite real, not the output of some badly fed computer model. 'Global warming may or may not be a significant threat to the United States,' Tim Holbert, a spokesman for the American Veterans Center, [said]: 'The Japanese Empire on February 1945, however, certainly was, and this photo trivializes the most recognizable moment of one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history'." —Investor's Business Daily

If you wish to participate in a signature list to be sent to Time Magazine do the following:

• Name
• Current or retired rank
• Branch of service
• If pertinent a bio line about family members who served (for instance, one Iwo Jima vet who is signing lost a brother in Italy)

Send to: SMotley[at]

Below it the letter Brent Bozell of Media Research sent to Time.

Thank you, Sir.


Seton Motley
Director of Communications
Media Research Center
(703) 683-9857 - Direct
(512) 573-3950 - Cellular

April 23, 2008

Richard Stengel
Managing Editor
Time Magazine
Time- Life Building
Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10020-1393

Mr. Stengel,

The cover of your April 28, 2008 Special Environmental Issue is appalling, and offensive to the veterans of the battle of Iwo Jima, the United States Marine Corps, all members of our Armed Services and every American who understands and reveres the sacrifice of those Marines who fought and died to raise our flag atop Mount Suribachi and to everyone who has ever stood up to serve to help us remain free.

Your subsequent "explanation", devoid of an apology, was no better.

Co-opting the hallowed image of the United States Marine Corps War Memorial was horrendous enough. To barely acknowledge, and in fact dismiss, the outrage of the Marines who served there - and that of all those who served and are serving in all branches of the military - is worse still.

The Iwo Jima Memorial is a sacred part of our national story. It is a transcendental image that represents the love, honor and respect the American people have for those who gave so much to defend us, those who wrote vital chapters in blood and sweat to ensure our American tale could continue being told.

It is not a punch line to be altered on the momentary whim of journalists attempting to further pet projects. To politicize what should be - what is - an apolitical moment in time, a great one of American valor and victory, is simply and unequivocally wrong.

Our intent with this letter is to elicit what nothing thus far has succeeded in securing - a full and complete apology from you and your publication to the men who served at Iwo Jima, and in defense of our nation then and now.

Anything short of that belittles further the memory and the majesty of those Marines and everyone who has ever put on our nation's uniform.

L. Brent Bozell, III

"Illustrious examples are displayed to our view, that we may imitate as well as admire. Before we can be distinguished by the same honors, we must be distinguished by the same virtues. What are those virtues? They are chiefly the same virtues, which we have already seen to be descriptive of the American character -- the love of liberty, and the love of law."
James Wilson, Circa 1790)

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
George Washington

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God Bless America!
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done.
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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