Dear Sgt Grit,

I am the very proud Mom of a Marine serving in Iraq. Tomorrow will be his 21st birthday, one that is looked forward to by many as the day to frequent your favorite pub and have a legal drink or 12.
But on this day, my son will be making a bigger contribution to this world. Instead of getting gifts he will be giving them - the gifts of his time, talents and self.

To my son and all who serve our country and sacrifice their personal lives for the greater good I thank you, I appreciate you and I love you.

Elaine Gaglione

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To Mr. Timothy A. Tobin, Jr.:

Please pass on to your obviously beloved father the deepest respects from a Nam Marine (1966-1968). Your father has either already told you - or will tell you - that is the job of a United States Marine to guard the streets of Heaven. That's a Marine's final order. You'll find it in the Bible: "and on the Seventh Day, God rested. And the Marine Corps overran His perimeter and have been guarding the Zone ever since."

To your beloved father, Semper Fi, Semper Paratus.

Bob Connely

On behalf of the Public Affairs Officer, Captain Antony Andrious, I am sending this e-mail to request ideas and suggestions on how to acquire donated, historical Marine artifacts. The intent is to display the material and decorate Marine Barracks Washington. All artifacts will be attributed to the donating source. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me to discuss potential ideas.

We all know that many Marines who have left active service have acquired many wonderful memories. This would be a fantastic opportunity to final uncover the dusty covered uniforms, books, pictures and paraphernalia and have it on display.

Thank you in advance for considering this wonderful project.

CPL Aaron Clark
Public Affairs Office
Marine Barracks, Washington D.C.
8th & I, SE
Work: (202) 433 4173
Cell: (703) 459 7628

"War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice." Alexander Hamilton

Sgt Grit,

Earlier this week I attended the funeral of my father-in-law, Lee Krall.

Lee had been battling the onset of Parkinson's Disease and pneumonia and at the age of 88 years Lee left us. Lee was a survivor of Iwo Jima, having served with the 4th Marine Division and was proud of the Purple Heart he received during the fighting for the island. Lee's final resting place is the cemetery at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis County.

As my wife and I, my brother-in-law Mike Krall, and my two sons approached the site we were all some proud to see a detachment of Marines in full dress blues waiting.

The respect and reverence these Marines displayed during their participation in the services were a source a great comfort to the family.

Lee was so proud of his service as a Marine and truly loved the Corps.

My brother-in-law Mike and I both served with the Marine Corps in Viet Nam and we could not help but express our gratitude to each of the Marines for their assistance in bringing Lee to his final resting place.

God Bless the Corps, Semper Fi.

Joe Polette

Lean and Mean Just Like Grampy Hi, well now you have opened Pandora's Box! I got some help and look what you own now. Grampy and grandson. One more to come but X X X rated. Thanks for some positive attention for a Southwest jamoke.

Grampy Stoney
Once one of the few. Still one of the Proud!

"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,
Some time ago, I wrote and requested your help in locating any living Wake Island Defender, as I had a Bottle of Wine that was purchased on Wake Island and was to be passed down from survivor to survivor with the last survivor to drink the wine.

Well, with many phone calls and dozens of E Mails, I finally contacted a Lady Betty Thompson from Oak Grove, Mo. who I think is the Secretary or what ever for the Wake Island Defenders and she sent me a list and said that as far as she knew is was an up to date list of all the living Wake Island Defenders.

I talked with the Widow of Sgt Maj Ewing E. (John) LaPorte, who was a member of Catawba Valley Detachment #1163, Marine Corps League, to see if she might know any names from the list and she did with me telling her some of the names and she picked out Cassius Smith, a good friend of the Sgt Maj's and said that the Sgt Maj would be pleased if I sent him the Bottle of Wine, which I did. Cassius Smith, is a Navy Veteran and the youngest surviving Wake Island Defender. He lives in Arcata, CA.

I want to thank you for your help and I got a E Mail from Cassius Smith telling me the Bottle of Wine arrived safe and in good shape and thanked me for helping to keep this tradition going.

This is what Marines do, no matter how long they have been out.

Semper Fidelis,

John W. Grindel
District Vice Commandant
Northwest District
Department of North Carolina
Marine Corps League

Profiles of Valor: USMC Cpl. Dollard

In June 2007, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Ian Dollard was on patrol with his team in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, when they encountered a jihadi ambush. One Marine was hit by enemy fire in the first attack, and then the platoon commander, 1st Lt. Paul Brisker, was hit by a second attack from another position.

Dollard quickly put his life on the line using his body to shield Brisker from further fire while he administered first aid. In the process, his armor was hit twice, but he pressed on, dragging Brisker more than 25 yards to a Humvee. However, as Dollard approached the vehicle, he was hit in the leg. He ignored his injury, making sure the platoon was supported on their way out and back to their operating base. Only then did he tell his Staff Sgt., "Oh, by the way, I got shot too." Brisker eventually made a full recovery, and we're proud to report that Cpl. Dollard was awarded the Silver Star.

"Love your country. Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him."
~Giuseppe Mazzini

tattoo Hi Sgt. Grit -

My Marine son just returned from Iraq two weeks ago. The first thing he wanted to do was go skydiving - which he did. The next thing he did was to get a tattoo that included the names of the fallen Marines in his Company.

I was touched that my "tough Marine" wanted to have such a permanent memory of his fellow Marines that will stay with him no matter where his life leads him.

I hope you agree enough to include this in one of your newsletters.

Thankful that my son made it back home safe (again) - Very Proud Marine Mom Leslie Burkett

Sgt. Grit,

I just returned from a "Birdcage"* Marine reunion at Camp Lejeune, NC. Our Guest of Honor on Friday evening's dinner was Capt. Ray Barrone, 1st Bn, 10th Marines. Ray was wounded in Iraq by enemy rocket fire and lost his right leg and suffered considerable trauma to his left thigh. Nevertheless, Capt. Ray, in good Marine tradition, has returned to duty as CO of the Wounded Warrior Bn.- East.

In past wars, "police actions", or "conflicts", severely wounded personnel were given a medical discharge, a hearty handshake, a "Thanks for your service" and sent on their way. Not so today. The Wounded Warrior Battalion's function is to assist Marines in re-assimilating into Marine Corps life as much as possible, finding meaningful work that they are able to do. No more "kiss-offs" for wounded Marines, thanks to men like Capt. Barrone and the Marines who support his work.

We were inspired to hear of his devotion to his men as he shepherds them back from the edge of their experiences over there. We offered to "pass-the-plate" to purchase materials or equipment that the WW Bn personnel might like to have. Again, in true USMC style, Capt. Ray declined based on DoD rules prohibiting acceptance of cash gifts. What a blessing he is to his men! He has "been there- done that" and has adapted that experience into to support for his men. We asked Capt. Ray if there was ANYTHING we could do to support the wounded Marines returning from Iraq. He was emphatic when he asked us to write an encouraging card or note to those who remain at Bethesda and Walter Reed. He said encouraging cards mean more to those Marines than we could possibly imagine.

I hope ALL the Sgt. Grit readers will get aboard with this and send cards to:

National Naval Medical Center
8901 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20889-5600

Walter Reed Army Hospital
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20307

Incidentally, Capt. Ray is being married in May! You can't keep a Marine down very long! Best Wishes to Capt. Ray and his bride.

Semper Fi!

John Tonkin, USMC Birdcage Marine 1956-58

* Birdcage - a term denoting one of a fourteen top-secret bases involved with atomic weapons modification, storage and transportation during the height of the Cold War. Between 1952 and 1969, when the base closed, Marines were charged with the security of that site. It was never breached. Ever!

I have a story to tell about the military stickers covering our minivan.

My husband and I both served in the Air Force, one of our grandsons is currently serving in the Army (Iraq, then Kuwait) and another grandson is a Marine. Our auto decals cover all three of branches of service.

One day while waiting in the car for my hubby to run an errand, two gentlemen paused to look at all the decals and with puzzled looks asked me "Okay, which service IS it?", to which I replied "All three!" They smiled and walked on. For a moment, I thought they were going to salute!

Proud granny, former WAF

"A fine genius in his own country is like gold in the mine."
Benjamin Franklin

Sgt. Grit,
I was also highly annoyed by the description of the young girlfriends' remark to the SSgt. I was also surprised to read the cover of the Times (a letter for another time), and the article really ticked me off. I understand that the young woman was defending "her" Marine, but he is a Marine and doesn't need her to protect him. Hopefully he gave her some instruction on this matter after her outburst.
A.M. Grabill
USMC 86-93

To all those who have nothing to do with your used or outdated "Sgt Grit" catalogs or maybe your Leatherneck magazines, here's a good thing to do with them. Every time I go to the Denver V.A. center (about once every 3 months or so), I always take my used catalogs and Leatherneck Magazines and either hand them out to Marines I see (they are never hard to spot because we are the only ones who wear our pride so much) or just leave then laying around if I have a fast appointment. People are always happy to get them and with an added "SEMPER FI" it always makes my day.

If you don't go to the V.A. leave them in your Doctors or Dentist offices. It beats trashing them when you're done. Thanx for your time and SEMPER FI!

MSgt "Benjo" Spotts USMC (Ret)

"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." Augustine of Hippo

Memorial Day is just around the corner and if you happen to be in the Northeast Ohio (Canton) area on May 26th, I invite you to join the 'Running to Remember' 5K Memorial Run & Family Fun Walk in Memory of Marine Private Heath Warner who gave his life to our country on November 22, 2006. More information can be found at

To all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and to their loving families, I thank you on this Memorial Day.

Semper Fi my brothers.
Cpl. Donny Grisez
USMC 1974-1978 & proud Marine father of Sgt. Sean Grisez & LCpl. Brandon Grisez

Title: The Wall

My late Husband was shot in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, on 2/28/68. He was a Cpl. in the Marines, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Company L. As a result, he spent 38 years in a wheelchair. He died on Memorial Day 2006, due to complications of said wound. His name is being added to the Vietnam Memorial next week.

He will finally get the recognition he deserves, and now is truly at rest with his comrades and brothers.

There will be an official Ceremony this Memorial Day, for him and three other heroes who have been added this year. I will be there with my new "colors", ten ribbons he earned, tattooed on my left forearm, in glorious living color. My lifelong tribute to his memory.

Thank you to you all,
Priscilla Mason

"We are apt to be deluded into false security by political catch-words, devised to flatter rather than instruct."
James A. Garfield

I've been reading the Sgt. Grit newsletter for several years and have only submitted a couple of stories. I've read the usual debates and complaints of being called ex Marines rather than former Marines. For years, I always took exception to be called an ex Marine rather than a former Marine. To be accurate, for those of us who have earned the title "Marine", both are inaccurate for they both mean the same. An ex spouse or former spouse is still a person who is no longer a spouse The same goes for a Marine.

I can't remember where I heard the acronym (could have been through one of Sgt. Grit's newsletters) but the most accurate description of us who no longer serve in an active duty capacity is "No LOAD" Marine - No Longer On Active Duty. I now correct people who call me an ex or former Marine and tell them I'm a No LOAD Marine. It usually gets a "raised eyebrows" look until I tell them what the acronym means. It's not only more accurate, but always results in a laugh and a knowing look from them.

God bless and keep safe our young brothers who are now serving in the Corps. Semper Fi.

Jim Oakey, 2130946
VMO-3 (RVN 66-68)

In this weeks newsletter there were many wonderful letters about the Mom's we left behind as we served. My mother recently passed away after 86 years and a full life. She was the one who was always there while I did my time in the Corps (1966 - 70). She was the one who always believed in me and that the Corps would train me hard and bring me home safe. When my son, her grandson, joined the Corps in 2004, she believed the Corps would do the same for him and bring him home safe. We both did our time and came home.

During the dark days of WWII my Mom's little brother was lost at sea during the landings at Salerno. He is still listed as MIA. She missed and grieved for him until the day she died.
One brother went ashore at Normandy. Another brother, a sailor faced the Japanese. My Dad did his time as a solider facing the Germans.

When I joined the Marines, Mom told me that during WWII there was a saying 'Those who wait also serve'. She then said that her tour of duty would be the same as my enlistment. I did not understand how hard her time waiting would be. I now understand.

My daughter joined the Air Force after high school and I started my first tour of duty as a parent. When my son entered the Marines my second tour of duty started. Now I understand the saying 'Those who wait also serve'. Mom's are the one who have the hardest duty. I have seen my wife do her duty supporting the family during the many deployments. Next are the Dads. Then the Grandmothers. Our Moms and Grandmothers will be there forever waiting.

Bless them all, Happy Mothers Day to all who wait and believe in us.

A former Marine and the Dad of a Marine and Air Force member.

"In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail- maker."
Thomas Jefferson


Here is a copy of what I posted on our blog site regarding remembrance for the Marines killed in the 1995 Murrah Bombing:

After the ceremony remembering the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building, I stopped to reflect on the many ceremonies that made up that day - some formal, some individual, but all personal and moving in their own way.

One such was the "Last Roll Call" conducted by members of the United States Marine Corps in honor of two Marines killed in the bombing, Captain Randolph A. Guzman and Sergeant Benjamin L.
Davis. In a tradition as old as the American Civil War, this event, which began as a method for the First Sergeant to account for unit members after combat, has become a final tribute paid by Marines and other soldiers to their fallen members. The First Sergeant three times calls out the name and rank of the assembled unit, including the fallen Marines, and reports to his commanding officer, "All Marines present or accounted for."

In this meaningful and sometimes painful ceremony, a rich tradition continues. It is about history, personal accountability, remembrance and hope. In accounting for each and every person, the tradition emphasizes that all members of this brotherhood will be accounted for, remembered and never forgotten. As the Marine motto says, 'Semper Fidelis.' Always faithful.

Leon Gillum
Director of Security
USMC '62-'65

I invite all Marines to log on to our site, at and make comments.

Sgt. Grit,
First off keep up the good work. Always enjoy reading what the Marines send you. You will note I did not say Ex-Marines as there are no such things. Just yesterday when stopped at a red traffic signal, I could see the driver of a car behind me and he was waving his hand, I am sure he saw your bumper sticker (There are no Ex Marines) I saluted him back and I could see the smile on his face. The only thing I miss in your newsletter are items from Old Farts like myself 1940-1946 serial number 273744 M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller, USMCR Ret.

You old farts need to write more.
Sgt Grit

"After years of learning how to fight an unfamiliar war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to protect us at home, we are finally getting most things right. But if our soldiers and intelligence agencies have learned how to win, our politically correct diplomats and the American consumer haven't-and are doing as much at home to empower radical Islam as those on the front lines are to defeat it."
Victor Davis Hanson

I wanted to pass a little story on about my daughter and her young take on Marines. She is 5 years old, and continues to impress me with remembering things I have told her about Marines. She repeatedly corrects people when they tell her dad is no longer a Marine, by sternly reciting 'Once a Marine, always a Marine!'

She has had this conversation a number of times with her mother, and it obviously bothers my daughter, because she refuses to let it go. This is probably a trait she picked up from dad, as the word 'quit' is not a part of my vocabulary as a Marine. I try to tell her that people who were never in the Marines will probably not understand this, so she should just understand that, but she continues to correct her mother. (Kids - gotta love them!)

The other story happened while we were at the mall. I need to precede this story with the fact that we all dressed as Marines for Halloween, and I purchased kid sized Marine cammies for my kids.

We stopped in a clearance store, and on the way out, I pointed out some camo pants to my son. He gave it a shrug, but my daughter stepped right up to the plate with this comment:

"Dad, those are stinking Army pants! We don't want those! We only wear Marine stuff!"

It took me a while to stop smiling and chuckling about that one, but she was absolutely right. Even children understand the difference between Marines and everyone else.

Ken Barnhart

Yo BRO Jarheads...... As requested by the D.O.D. and SEMPER FI Magazine visit the site and click on water study for the mailing list on info about the cancer causing chemicals found in the waters at the base. Seems these agents were introduced into the water supply from 1957-1987 thru a laundry business near by (MONFORD POINT???????) and now the results are being studied. I'm sure DOD will be honest and upfront with the findings. Can't hurt to be on the list... thought I'd send this along. MGM/JOE

"Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence."
Thomas Jefferson

Sgt Grit,
I'd like to pass a message if I may.
To all members of Comm Plt 3d Bn 4th Mar 1985-1987. 1stSgt (then Gunny) Ken Bustamante USMC(Ret) passed away on 4 April 2008 in Tuba City, AZ. He leaves behind his wife Felis and daughter Adelina. Go to this link for the story.

Semper Fi,
HJ Cooper
H&S Comm 3/4 85-88

Cpl Fortner, I cried when I read your letter. You, sir, personify the Marine Corps Spirit. You were faithful to your commitment. I am so proud to have you for a brother.

Chuck Brewer, Sgt of Marines 1967-1973

Semper Fi, Cpl. Fortner

"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom."
Calvin Coolidge

Speaking of Marine Moms ... I was in a reserve battalion activated during the first Persian Excursion in 90. When I got called up, she proudly bought me my Ka-Bar and the day we left, there were no tears and the last thing she said to me was "Semper Fi and get your a$$ home soon". She passed away in '95, but that day still lives fresh in my memory.

Love ya ma,

Cpl. D. Martin, USMCR, Persian Gulf '90-91

Sometimes I read the thoughts of Marines around the world and cannot read farther because I cannot see through tears. I am not ashamed of that. I am proud to be a patriot, a fellow of the flag. I was Army, always jealous of Marines. I did my part and I did it well. But I was always jealous of Marines. Even today, when I am 62 years old.

This is the link for the Press Release regarding the reunion between my son Navy Corpsman HN Mark Scopa and myself. My son was nearing the end of his tour in Fallujah and I was starting my third tour with the US Army Corps of Engineers as a civil engineer. I am a medically retired SSGT of Marines and this was a truly unique occurrence. While it was great to spend two days with my son, it was incredibly hard to leave.

Emotionally, it was much harder to say good-bye in Iraq than it was when his leave was up prior to his deployment. I'm certainly glad that the Army Corps of Engineers allowed me the time to travel to Fallujah for this reunion. I'm also grateful that the Command of Sierra Battery, 5th Bn, 10th Marines thought that this reunion was unique enough to sponsor my visit.
Read Article

Semper Fi,
Frank Scopa

"Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist."
Edmund Burke

I have been reading (and purchasing) Sgt Grit for some time now.
The Newsletter dated 8 May 2008 contains an interesting article (to me). It was an article from Donna Swindle about her Dad, Retired SgtMaj John Swindle. SgtMaj John Swindle was my USMC Recruiter. I enlisted in Portland, Maine, during the fall of 1961, and it was during the lunch hour that I met him. All the other services were at lunch, playing grabbutt, or closed for lunch...he looked up from his desk (in Dress Blues) and asked if I would like a cup of coffee....

What followed is the standard recruiter wangle-dangle approach, a short test, a little physical (at the time I had a broken leg and was in a cast, but the doctor waivered that, I was going in the Marines as soon as the cast came off)...I then spent the most rewarding 20 years of my life. I met and worked with the most fantastic bunch of peoples ever, and carry a lifetime of training, experiences, and memories that can not be replaced. I recently settled my Mom's estate, and found within her collection of memorabilia, the "Acceptance Letter" sent from the USMC Recruiter (SgtMaj Swindle) to my Mom and other information upon my enlistment. I would just like to say thank you to Ms Swindle, and especially to her Dad, SgtMaj Swindle.

Sincerely, Robert C Bailey Jr, USMC, MSgt (Retired)

Sgt Grit -

I can remember the day each of my kids were born like it was yesterday and every one of them makes me proud every day. This Friday is one of those stand out days that will be memorable. My oldest son, Ryan graduates from Texas A&M and will be commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Marine Corps in a ceremony on campus at 1200 hours! When I look around and hear people complaining about today's youngsters, I thank God I can't relate to their complaints! Ryan attended OCS with the PLC program and I was fortunate enough to travel to Quantico over the past two summers to attend his graduation ceremonies. But the graduation Friday tops them all and it will make me proud to pin on his 2nd Lt bars. Now I just have to remember all those Lieutenant jokes...

Semper Fi
Proud Dad of a US Marine

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."
Ulysses S. Grant (1822 - 1885

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I know it's past Mother's Day, but I want you to know about my mother.

She's 91 now, but has told me that she was one of the first women to enlist in the Marines when they opened their ranks to females during WW II. She was at the recruiting station in Chicago on the second day and signed on the dotted line, did her recruit training at Hunter College in New York City, and was then sent to Camp Lejeune for a period of time.

After that, my mom, now a corporal, was placed in charge of a 10-woman squad, which was sent across the country via train to Miramar Naval Station in Southern California. She became a personnel specialist, determining which new enlistee got what job based on their civilian experience, because she had done similar work before she became a woman Marine.

Mom was in her mid-20s then, a petite blonde bombshell with bright blue eyes and Veronica Lake-styled hair when she wasn't in uniform. No doubt she stayed up half the night having a great time on the town when she wasn't on duty.

She was in the service nearly two years and was released with an honorable discharge after the war came to a close, having done her part for the war effort. She liked California so much she never permanently moved back to Chicago after that. She lives in Burbank and can still tell you about her time in the Marines. I recently sent her a copy of her official Marine photograph, along with one of your bumper stickers--"Women Marines, Fewer, Prouder." And, so she is. Here's to my mom, Jeri Burton, and all the wonderful women Marines out there. Thank you so much.

With much love, and proud to be the daughter of a Marine (and married to one, too), Elizabeth in Oregon

"To enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought has the greatest bearing on excellence of character."
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

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

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

You receive both (alternating weeks) what's the difference?

In short...The AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give supporters of the Marine Corps and American patriots a voice.

The Sgt Grit Newsletter is HARD CORPS Marine! If you are interested in topics that delve into Marine Corps history, Corps Stories, Boot Camp and other things that "only a Marine might understand" - then be sure to read the Sgt Grit Newsletter (every other week) - More about the newsletter