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oohrah OOHRAH!
This is my husband in boot camp. The picture speaks a thousand words of why I am proud of my Marine. :)
Ruth Pankey

Against Terrorism

I received this email from my sister a while ago. I thought you would appreciate it.
Sgt.Foye LAAM 1966-70

Hey to my brother the Marine - I must tell you a story that just happened to me. I was in Shannon airport on May 21st, early afternoon, waiting for a flight to U.S. As often happens in Shannon a U.S. Troop Transport plane came in - full of Marines this time - and off they came. I have seen U.S. Troops there so often - it is the refueling spot on their trips in and out of Kuwait. I have been there and seen those young men walk up to the bar and order a pint and have seen men - U.S. and other citizens, and women, too, walk over and say - No U.S. solder pays for a drink here - there are enough of us in this airport to buy them a pint - and they do. I have rarely seen a soldier remove money from his pocket. As they get off the plane and walk in and it happens all the time - the entire waiting room area in the airport stands up and claps. The first time I saw it I melted in tears as I clapped - and I have melted again each time.

Those young men whether coming in from Iraq or wherever or going to Iraq are always moved and sincerely appreciative of the support. As I was sitting there watching them I noticed several of them going up to the Eircom (the Irish version of Ma Bell) boxes trying to make calls home to the states and I sat there with our Irish phone with about 25 Euro still left on it - and so I walked over and handed it to the young Marine and said - here - call your momma. He looked stunned and then thanked me and did call his momma. He finished and I checked the time left on the phone - 23 Euro - I said, just take it and pass it to your friends til it runs out. Jim and I were sitting there in tears - but knew that those 25 Euro were well worth the price to think someone's momma or wife would hear from her son again. Another man asked what I was doing and Jim told him and he was an Irish citizen and he whipped out his cell and handed it to another Marine. By the time our phone ran out of Euro there were about 15 phones being passed around.

As wewere boarding our flight for the states another troop transport was unloading and they were Air Force men. They, too, got the standing ovation and someone started handing them their cell phones. It was just a very emotional experience for us and for everyone there. It made me proud, once again, to be an American to see the reaction of the U. S. Citizens, the Irish and the many other nationalities there in the airport. I think the press downplays the support, love and loyalty that we all feel toward our military.
Becky Kent

Vote Marines Special

Sgt. Grit,
Have some very exciting news. My son, Sgt. Gregory Clark, has been at Quantico MCB since Nov 2004 and has been with HMX-1 during that time. His terminal leave starts 4 Aug 2008 and since he is separating from the Marine Corps and leaving HMX-1 he and quite a few other service members have the privilege of going to the White House and having a picture taken with President Bush - in the Oval Office no less. The Marines lovingly call it the Grip-n-Grin. Each service member is permitted to invite 1 family member to join them - I GOT TO GO!

Yep! June 30 the Marines from HMX-1 loaded into a cool looking bus (had graphics on the side that read America, your troops support you - United States Marine Corps; how cool is that) and took the trip up to Washington, D.C. and to the White House - it was the old "hurry up and wait" all over again. We were told what we could NOT say to the President and where to stand and so on. Its been a week and I'm still trying to process the whole event. It took all of less than 5 minutes once we were standing next to him. I have never had the privilege of meeting a President so I didn't know quite what to expect. The thing that caught my attention was how he commanded your attention even before you were meeting with him and when you were standing next to him he called you by your first name and spoke very comfortably with you. My son had met him before and kept telling me he was very friendly and now I know what he meant but still it seemed so surreal. What a privilege to meet such a great president and have a picture to prove it. I haven't shared this with many people because I don't think they will believe me...but I know my Marine family will.

Proud Marine Mom of Sgt. Gregory Clark, Quantico MCB,

"National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman."
John Adams


Sgt Grit;

Alexa Mudge's story was great and I know exactly what she is talking about. It was my honor and privilege to thank a WWII - Korea - VietNam Veteran for his service; I was humbled to be in the presence of a true hero. I received my first (and most remembered) Thank You from my Mother six years after I enlisted. I think it's unfortunate for Alexa, and any other service member, veteran, and family member to feel any hatred. In the time since 9-11 I have experienced the opposite, and a Thank You from a stranger still surprises me, especially the younger ones.

Alexa should sleep well at night knowing that her husband is supported, and her job as a Marine wife is also supported. And above all, I extend my thanks to LCpl Caleb Mudge and Alexa Mudge for their service to this country. Semper Fi.

GYSGT Jeff Jennings, USMC 1990 - 2001

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors."
Joseph Story

Just read the latest newsletter & blew my stack! I refer to the letter from Kim, who's friend encountered an idiot in a parking lot. This a**hole saw her "support our troops" displayed on her car, then spat near her feet and said "F--- You!" to this Marine's wife.

I was immediately struck by the fact that this sorry-excuse-of- a-man approached a woman to express his feelings about our military protectors. I would bet large sums of money that he has never (and would never) approach a man the same way.

Our grandson is currently serving and even though I'm an old man, I certainly would have made the a**hole defend his position; in one way or another (his choice).

He could have made a terrible mistake if he had not first made sure no other man was nearby to witness the exchange; or if he had confronted a female Marine or even my wife. The verbal tirade could have blown both his eardrums or cleaning him up after the physical carnage would have gagged a maggot. (She can take care of herself quite well, thank you!)

Thanks for letting me blow off some steam!

Lee Castell LtCol, USAF, Ret

"From its humble beginnings, America grew to be the example of freedom and opportunity that it is today. People around the world suffering under the rule of dictators, despots and tyranny look toward America for freedom. People yearning for a better life seek our shores in hopes of the American dream. Nevertheless, there are still those among us who believe America is on its way down that America is merely a force of imperialism and capitalistic greed. "
Pres. Ronald Reagan

swimming gear This is what I am swimming in for the tri .. it's only 1/4 mile but wet cammie pants are really freaking heavy. All geared up for the run back home.. The run for the tri is only 3 miles, this is what I am doing it in 'cept with boots (which I had to take a little break from due to blisters ... but still ran the 1/2 mile there and back :) And, yes, I found a swimsuit with blood stripes and, no, I haven't mastered that "Marine" face yet (I tried in the last one but just can't get it ) .. but a few more days of running in these freakin BDU's in 90 degree weather ...and I may just get it

Save the date Aug 2nd 0730 Ft Desoto, St Petersburg, Fl (but I will be finishing around 9:15 ish ).. and spread the word .. biking gear I am trying to round up as many Marines, Past, Present and Future as I can to come out, represent and provide some moto for that last 3 miles in 20 pounds of gear. Please spread the word to any recruiters, Marines and former Marines who you might know = Thanks . I will have put in over 100 hours of training for this, gone through countless blisters and left quite a bunch of puke on the sand training for this bad boy... To honor our Marines (past and present), all of their sacrifices and all that You/they stand for ... to raise awareness and.. hopefully a little bit of money.

I will be doing the 1/4 mile swim in cammies, the 10 mile bike ride in either a 30 pound ruck or an MTV (if I can find one )and my 12 pound ruck & boots and, the final 3 mile run in BDU's, boots, helmet & 12 pound ruck. running gear Compared to what our Heroes endure every day, this is really nothing but it's all this 40 year old civilian pansy can manage in between sending out 60 - 80 boxes a month to our heroes forward deployed

Semper Fi

Dianne Villano
Support Our Marines, Inc

"Years and years of history books have taught us that America was shaped by the great deeds of great men and women. It was not. America was shaped by the great deeds of ordinary men and women. America always has been better than its government, that its people have always been more decent than their presidents, and that the strength and greatness of this nation lies in them, the men and women who are not great and who never will be. "
Roger Simon

The recent airing of the first episode of HBO's 'Generation Kill' has generated numerous inquiries regarding Marine Corps support of the series. The Marine Corps DID NOT provide any official support to the filmmakers. The series is based on the book by the same title by Evan Wright, a former Rolling Stone magazine reporter who was embedded with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While there are certainly aspects of the film that are accurate, it is at its heart a commercial production.

It's raw and has elements that are very much out of synch with the core values our nation rightly expects of its Marines. Viewed as a whole, in my estimation, it does not accurately portray the honor and professionalism of our Corps of Marines.

Semper Fidelis,

Major David Romley
Director, Community Relations
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
3000 Pentagon Rm 4A532
Washington, DC 20350-3000

Winning Isn't News

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, July 07, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Iraq: What would happen if the U.S. won a war but the media didn't tell the American public? Apparently, we have to rely on a British newspaper for the news that we've defeated the last remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq.


London's Sunday Times called it "the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror." A terrorist force that once numbered more than 12,000, with strongholds in the west and central regions of Iraq, has over two years been reduced to a mere 1,200 fighters, backed against the wall in the northern city of Mosul.

The destruction of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) is one of the most unlikely and unforeseen events in the long history of American warfare. We can thank President Bush's surge strategy, in which he bucked both Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington by increasing our forces there instead of surrendering.

We can also thank the leadership of the new general he placed in charge there, David Petraeus, who may be the foremost expert in the world on counter-insurgency warfare. And we can thank those serving in our military in Iraq who engaged local Iraqi tribal leaders and convinced them America was their friend and AQI their enemy.

Al-Qaida's loss of the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis began in Anbar Province, which had been written off as a basket case, and spread out from there.

Now, in Operation Lion's Roar the Iraqi army and the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is destroying the fraction of terrorists who are left. More than 1,000 AQI operatives have already been apprehended.

Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, traveling with Iraqi forces in Mosul, found little AQI presence even in bullet-ridden residential areas that were once insurgency strongholds, and reported that the terrorists have lost control of its Mosul urban base, with what is left of the organization having fled south into the countryside.

Meanwhile, the State Department reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has achieved "satisfactory" progress on 15 of the 18 political benchmarks - a big change for the better from a year ago.

Things are going so well that Maliki has even for the first time floated the idea of a timetable for withdrawal of American forces. He did so while visiting the United Arab Emirates, which over the weekend announced that it was forgiving almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad - an impressive vote of confidence from a fellow Arab state in the future of a free Iraq.

But where are the headlines and the front-page stories about all this good news? As the Media Research Center pointed out last week, "the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 were silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks" that signaled political progress.

The war in Iraq has been turned around 180 degrees both militarily and politically because the president stuck to his guns. Yet apart from IBD, Fox News Channel and parts of the foreign press, the media don't seem to consider this historic event a big story.

"Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us that they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy ‘accommodation.' And they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer-not an easy one, but a simple one-if you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based upon what we know in our hearts is morally right...
[E]very lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well- meaning friends refuse to face."
Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit,
Is this where you e-mail stories? Well anyways, I'll start by saying that I absolutely love your newsletter. It is what gets me through the stress of long nights and not knowing where my Marines are. I am a good friend to several Marines. I consider them my family, my heart, and my inspiration. They are indeed the best men that I know, they are Marines.

I met most of the Marines that I care for so much at high school. They were two years older than me, but going to a small school, everyone becomes friends. Before they left for basic they fashionably sported their Marine Corps shirts, one claiming that waiting for basic training was like waiting for Christmas. While these young men were in basic training, I wrote them a letter for every single day that they were away from home.

The very day that they came home, I took one of them to my high school homecoming which happened to be an anchors away theme. They told me that bringing a Marine was a little over board.

Anyways, to get to the point. I love these young men more than anything in the world. They are more strong minded and have the biggest hearts than anyone I know.

They have inspired me.

I have always known that I wanted to serve my country. It was just the question of what branch I would join. After seeing the change in these young men, there is only one choice. I will be in the United States Marine Corps.

When I sat my parents down and told them my decision they cried. Then they screamed. Then they just refused to talk to me. Now I hear why not the Navy, Air force, or Army? Why the Marine Corps?

My response was why? Why Navy, Air force, or Army? I WILL be a Marine.

Then they went through a cycle where they wanted to kill my recruiter... they are quite crazy...But you can't blame them, not only am I their daughter, I am their only child.

They say that the Corps is no place for a young lady. The men will be mean to me. I'm not tough enough. I'll hate it. I'll be miserable.

I say I'll be a Marine.

A Marine once said, " The army, airforce, and navy do what we do. We just do it better."

God Bless Every Marine Out there.
Old, Current, and Soon to be.
You are all amazing.

A Marines best friend, little sister, granddaughter.
A Soon To Be Young Lady Marine!

Recently I took my son to visit a couple of colleges in California. While waiting for my return flight at LAX I was wandering around the gate area, I had on my VietNam Veteran hat with EGA (naturally) which came from Sgt. Grit. I was approached by a young man. He extended his hand to shake mine and said, "I just wanted to thank you. I am active duty army and appreciate what you VietNam Vets did and say that because of the way you guys were treated, we are treated a lot better. Thank you." Custom Headgear

I thanked him and told him that was a lot better reception than I had received the last time I was at LAX when coming home from the Nam. Maybe our treatment did help the servicemen and women today. I also thanked him for his service and told him to be proud.

Art Proper

"We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it."

Calvin Coolidge

"I was that which others did not want to be, I went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do, I asked nothing from those that gave nothing and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness should I fail, I have cried, pained and hoped; but most of all I have lived times others would say are best forgotten. At least every day I can be proud of what I was and will ALWAYS be...A United States Marine!"
Once a Marine, Always a Marine

To the letter by Frank D. Briceno.
Don't put down any member of a HONOR GUARD for they are out there doing a great job. I'm a member of a honor guard and very proud of it. each member feel that we are doing what is right for the decease vet. you should put on a uniform then you could be proud of yourself and the ones standing there with you. I had the honor to serve with the Marines and now the honor to serve with USMCL HONOR GUARD. We do at least two funerals a week.

HM3 J. TIMMS and a Marine at heart .

"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"
James Madison

This is in regard to Kim Hempe's husband is also in Habbaynia and I have stickers and magnets all over the back of my vehicles supporting him and all of our troops. I have NEVER had anyone say anything negative to me. (As a matter of fact, I've gotten out of a few speeding tickets because of them! My heart felt thanks to the Illinois AND Indiana State Police!) My suggestion would be to check your state's laws regarding carrying a concealed weapon! If your state won't let you...move to my state! I'm pretty sure it's legal to at least wound someone who spits at you because you're patriotic! If it isn't should be! At the very least, take a self defense course. I'm pretty sure any good cop is going to agree that that guy deserved the a$s whoopin that you gave him!

Karen S. Smith
Proud wife of GySgt Smith

True heroes are those who are able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the circumstances.

Dear SGT Grit,

My boyfriend is currently deployed to Africa. They have been through a lot while being there, with the passing of a Marine on Easter, to the war that has broke out in the southern part of Djibouti. I want to thank all the Marines who are there. They have done so much for this country and I wish that the people in this century would treat these guys just as they treated the guys in WWII! It breaks my heart to hear the awful things that are said about our military these days. I know a lot of the guys volunteer to go overseas to protect the people who bad mouth them. I just want to thank every man and every woman who has ever been overseas!

Proud Girlfriend of CPL Massey 8th PSC Briana

"It's one thing to fight a war and lose it. It's quite another to willingly surrender without a struggle."
Cal Thomas

Outstanding website about Iraq.

A Path Slowly Down
Our Story about Vascular Dementia


JULY, The Year 2005
We stand transfixed as Captain Melvin C. Dodson, USMC, Ret. struggles to rise. This is slow motion up close and personal. Eventually his slight, wasted frame becomes as erect as possible. Deliberately but with much effort, his right hand inches its way up to that Marine Corps officer's dress cap, meticulously positioned on the beautiful white hair of his now balding head. Those long, handsome fingers linger at the brim, as though savoring every second.

Then comes the capstone-the snappy release. The crowd breaks into applause. Captain Dodson has just participated in what is perhaps his last 'moment in the sun.' It is a stirring 'goodbye' to his admirers, medical personnel and residents of Pebblebrook Convalescent Center.

He has just been presented a prize in the wheelchair decorating contest for the Fourth of July celebration parade. We have 'marched' up and down and around the halls of his final residence with flag waving. The 'crowd' claps, yells and cheers. It is a good celebration to commemorate an almost 85- year walk/march/shuffle/roll down the path of life.

Early this particular morning, I hurry into Pebblebrook Convalescent Home where my husband resides. It is preparation day. The halls are cheerfully decorated for the big occasion. The parade will start at 1:30 PM. Everyone is involved. Anyone who can get out of bed is either a participant or a spectator. I burst into Mel's room explaining that we must hurry to the dining room where the wheelchairs are being decorated. This is not just a parade; there will be prizes given for the best decorated wheelchair!

I asked him earlier if he wanted to be involved in this parade. 'I have to be,' he explains. 'I have been voted in as the president of the Residents' Council. I'll be in the lead.' Well, that settles that.

Down the hall and around the corner we speed. As we burst into the room, we see several wheelchairs lined up. Crepe paper is everywhere. Since Mel has his own private decorator (me), we are all set. The atmosphere is festive. Joyfully we decorate the 'president's' chair with red, white and blue crepe paper, balloon and flags. After lunch, I will bring his white Marine Corps cap and a bright red sweat shirt decorated with stars, flags, and a U.S.A. eagle perched in the middle. If Mel is going to lead, he needs to look the part.

Susan-the animated, caring and very able Activities Director- greets us. She has the exceptional talent of making each resident feel important. I asked her if Mel has understood correctly-that as president he is to be in the lead. No. Mel has misunderstood. Yes, he would be first, but first behind the king and queen of the festivities. Of course! Everyone has to make way for the king and queen. So Captain Dodson will be third in the parade.

As it turns out, the queen didn't want to be in the parade. I guess kingly powers had no power over the queen! Therefore, Captain Melvin C. Dodson and his consort (his wife) would be second in line. That's good. Almost as good as first!

When I return in the afternoon, I'm not concerned about running a little late. We have already decorated his chair for the big event. I bring his cap, and the festively decorated shirt; all I have to do is put them on him. Running into his room, I find him sitting in his undecorated wheelchair. He has stripped off the crepe paper, ripped the balloon from the handle and let it soar to the ceiling. He is in the throes of a lengthy narration to his new tech. She is even sitting down-like an audience. (He probably ordered her to do so.) I warn her not to believe most of what he tells her. Who knows what he has said! I hope not the 'second date story' about when I supposedly invited him into my apartment to stay all night with me! (Not!)

'Why did you tear all the decorations off your chair, Mel? We've got to be in the parade in fifteen minutes.' It's not a question so much as an irritable reprimand. Jodi, have you forgotten the man has a memory problem? He probably thought the parade was over and he was doing what he does best-cleaning up and organizing.

He is not happy with my interruption of his memoirs; he isn't through telling his story. I start pulling the shirt over his head while he continues to hold his audience of one captive. The cap is placed carefully on his head. He promptly readjusts it, and we head down the hall on a run. Fortunately, I have time to quickly throw on some crepe paper, managing only a very simplified decorating job. I push him out into the hall where the king (without his queen) and the vice-president are waiting in line. The activities director hands him a flag and we are set!

Jodi Dodson

"If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation. "
Samuel Adams

Dear Brethren and Sisters of the Armed services,

As I sit here on this July 3rd making plans for tomorrow, the family and friends, all the celebrations, I am forced to contemplate the vast enormity of what we are celebrating. This great nation is not defended by a hired army, nor by serfs and slaves. It is defended by ordinary citizens. Men and women who walk away from their homes, family and friends, to give the life and liberties that we enjoy. I can scarcely comprehend what many generations of Americans have gone through for me, and my family. To all those men and women who have sacrificed on my behalf I give you my deepest gratitude. To all those who sacrifice now in defense of liberty and justice I offer my prayers and thanks. I do not believe there is any greater honor than to stand in the defense of those things one holds dear.. I am privileged to stand among those great heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow. I am honored to be called brother among you. Thank you and always remember how precious this gift we call home is.

God speed and God bless,
Sgt. Robert D. Wickham
USMC 2000-2005

This letter is to Bill Leverance JR,

After reading the letter that you wrote in about your father and your day in Washington DC I was touched. The best part was the picture of your father as a young man in action. Like you I am also the son of a Marine, my father tried signing up when the war started but was too young he did get in at the end of the war and stayed in until the Korean war started. They held him a extra year because of it and he said he was mad as h&ll he wanted to get out and start a family. But just like most kids of vets from that time I knew my father like the fact that he was a Marine, he would tell my brother and I all the different stories of being on board ship and the Marines would have to wash their cloths over the side in their duffle bags because they didn't have enough fresh water on board to do the navy and Marines both. the stories of thumbing it home from Parris Island back to Philly, and a little coffee shop or diner in dc where any guy in a uniform could get a ride. Let me get back to your letter, the picture of your father and all the other men who served in WWII, when I look at these men who were little kids very young men 17, 18 some may have even been younger sneaking in because they wanted to do the right thing at that time, just so brave, to look at those men now over 80 years old, most of them gone, I worked with some men who landed at that same island your father did and just like you said they really didn't talk about it much. If I ask they would tell me stories or just about the whole thing and how much are country has changed since then. they all still hate jap cars and don't no why any American that was alive then would buy one, and how the country has sold out the younger generations. But I am glad that I was old enough to know these men and what great Americans they are. Being born in 1960 I can still remember that anything this country did was the best and got better every year, that picture of your father is something you should be so proud of, I am proud of it and he is not related to me. I am glad your father got to go to WASHINGTON DC and be honored for what he and a great generation of men and women did for this country I wish every kid leaving high school would get the chance to talk to men like your father, maybe they would turn out just a little bit better American for doing so. this is the first time that I ever wrote in to anything that is how much your story and that picture meant to me. I am sorry your father has passed this country was a better place because of him I am sure you are very proud. I am sorry if my letter wandered all over the place but that's where my emotions went after reading your letter thank you
just a MARINES kid

Improvise, adapt, overcome! http://www.heraldleaderphoto.Com:80/2008/05/31/

I am the daughter of a retired Marine & a Proud Parris Island Recruit Mom. I'd just like to thank all who share their stories in the Sgt. Grit Newsletter for their service & sacrifice. I send many of the stories & pictures to my recruit for inspiration, and sometimes a laugh. My recruit is in awe that he is currently walking "on the sacred ground that my grandfather walked on as a recruit then a DI 47 years ago"
S. Barringer

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to ask your readers to pray for our car show on July 27th. All proceeds are going toward care packages for our deployed troops.

Had my son not joined the Marines and then talked his best friend into joining, this project would have never been started. You see, my son's best friend went to Iraq last March, having his address, of course I wanted to mail him care packages from his "2nd Mom". Then, a prominent politician came across the TV saying we had lost the war. That got me fired up. My troops needed to know most of the people back home do NOT feel that way. My place of business began being a drop site for those in the community that wanted to send items in care packages to our troops. We began in April 2007 and to date we have sent more than 125 care packages to local military persons while they are deployed. Names and addresses are phoned in, e-mailed and even dropped off. We have gone from that one Marine to more than 28 local heroes who have been deployed! Some have come back stateside and others have taken their place on the list, however, our community has NEVER let the box in my lobby go empty!

Now that my son is in Iraq, I have had the opportunity to send to a couple people in his division that are not locals, but are my son's brothers. I have been blessed with a HUGE Marine Family that I connect to daily on the internet. I have been blessed by my community. God has truly blessed this Marine Mom by giving her a job to help keep her sanity while her son is playing in the sandbox.

My son will not be stateside for his 22nd birthday, but weekend after next, my community will be celebrating him and many others that are sacrificing their family time for their country. God Bless my country, God Bless my Corps, God Bless my Military.

Semper Fi
Rhonda Elliott
Proud Marine Mom
LCpl Kristopher Hill- deployed

2nd Mom to
LCpl Shane Miller

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
Thomas Jefferson

Hello, my name is Kelly Venne, I live in Florida and work a refund desk for Costco. I deal with the public on a full time basis and my job is based on Customer Service. The reason that I am telling this is because I happened to find this website by looking in Google.

My Dad is a Vietnam Veteran and for many years it was never discussed in the family about his time there or even about him being a Marine. After 9-11 and the Iraq war had been going on for about 2 years it seemed that on very rare occasions we would talk about Vietnam-actually he would talk and I would listen-not saying a word because I knew that this was a big deal for him to share this with me.

For his birthday 1 year I decided that I wanted to get him a Marine hat and started looking online for a hat that fit my specifications. I ordered the 1 that I wanted and was thrilled with it when it arrived. Since that first hat-I have ordered several things from here and have always been very happy with the quality-the price and the prompt service. By the way-my Dad loved that 1st hat so much that he wore it out-I ordered him the exact same hat and had his name put on it this time-this is 1 of his favorite hats.

Because of the positive response from him about the Marine things that I had been getting for him-my twin sister and I decided to create a Marine Scrapbook for him. For almost a year the entire family (including his 2 grandsons Hunter-8 and Terry -6)was in cahoots gathering pictures and whatever we could find to be able to make this for him because this was our Father's Day gift to him. I found that you also have scrapbook stuff on your site and ordered several things which came in time for us to use them because we finished it 2 days before we were to give it to him. He was floored! He couldn't believe 1-that we pulled this off without him knowing anything about it and 2-that we all did this for him.

I also ordered a flask for him for his birthday which happens to fall a week after Father's Day. A beautiful flask and had it engraved-it turned out great. I had it shipped to my sister's because they live closer to my parents and they would just give it to him. My Dad told me that when he opened it-the lid wouldn't screw on. Not only did a new flask come-in perfect working order-but also a junior Mini Marine hat. The oldest grandson is wearing that.

I am writing this letter for 2 reasons. 1 to compliment you on great customer service and wonderful products-I have enjoyed shopping here and have told other people about the website. In fact a gentleman that I work with is a retired Navy man-and he has been in your newsletter before because him and I have discussed it.

The other reason that I am writing this letter is I feel that because of the things that I have gotten for my Dad here it has somehow opened up a whole new dimension for him and our whole family. He and I have had intense conversations about the reception that the Vietnam vets got when they came home-and how it was worse for those vets than any other war. He has had perfect strangers walk up and shake his hand, hug him, tell him thank you for his service. He's had conversations with other vets in the grocery store. When he tells me these stories it always makes me weepy and I told him it was because before nobody knew that he was a Marine. He just told me a couple of weeks ago that he would never again wear any other kind of hat-than a Marine hat. So from the bottom of my heart-thank you because this all started because I was looking for a hat.

Great job,
Kelly J. Venne

Sgt. Grit,

Attached is a photo of my young great nephew A. J. little Marine in Tropics Dressed in tropics and along with my wife dressed as a BAM ( ugh.... sorry Mindy, I guess I should have said Women's Reservist). I also dressed in my tropics at my former rank of GySgt., all went to a World War II re-enactment and encampment last fall. A. J.'s father Sgt. Joey Hoffer, has served 4 years in the Corps and has done 2 tours in Iraq. Joey was honorably discharged in May of 2007. He landed a job as a prison guard at a state penitentiary and eventually wants to become a Police Officer in one of our local Police Departments near Reading, PA. Joey missed the Corps so much that he has enlisted in the MC Reserve and still holds his rank of Sgt. A. J. looks like another of America's finest in the making! OOO- RAH! Needless to say A. J. was a big hit with all of the Marines in the Pacific encampment, and also with the lady spectators at the show. One thing though, I couldn't get him to salute right handed. I guess he's going to be a south paw.

Semper Fi,
Former GySgt.
Monte L. Deamer

after the trip to the barber Sgt. Grit,
My wife kept pestering me to get to the barber.
Yesterday she said I was getting to look like a sailor. That did it!

Semper Fi,
Jack Thomas Spencer
Fmr. Sgt. of Marines

"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."
Sir Winston Churchill

I love the newsletters and catalogs that I get sent. Let me first start off by saying I am not a military member, however a military brat. I grew up on military bases for the first 16 years of my life, and now being 25 I am so thankful that I did. I grew up with discipline, respect for my elders and a pride in my country that will never be broken.

Both my parents are Marines. My father retired after 24.5 years of service to this great Country as a Master Sergeant working with the CH-46, and my mother 4 years. On several occasions I have purchased things for not only my dad but Grandfather who is also a retired Marine. I must say, what a better way to thank them for not only their service but commitment to our country. The smile on my dad's face when he gets something, whether it be big or small makes me so happy, and for him of course there are those times he misses the Corps but like the saying goes "Once a Marine, Always a Marine." I wouldn't change growing up a military brat for anything.

Thank you to all our service members for your service, dedication and commitment.

Ashley Rebmann
Military Brat

Sgt Grit:
Someone wrote in your newsletter that in a recent article about Sen. John McCain in Parade Magazine that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were mentioned and only Marine was capitalized. No surprise here. Walter Anderson publisher of Parade Magazine is a Marine. In his autobiography, "Meant To Be," he acknowledges how the Marine Corps changed his live. A very good read.

Joe Lisi

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
Soren Kierkegaard

I perceive I have a problem...
I was in the Corps from 1968- 1974 with my time in the 'Nam. I'm quite a bit older now and have learned much and find I still have much more to learn.
But seems most every place I go, there is always someone that wants to challenge me!
I'm just the average sized white male, 5'10 185 # and now a slight paunch that just won't fade away.
I still walk the way the MARINES taught me to. Back straight, shoulders straight (no slouching) Head high and look you right in the eye.
I'm not timid, I say what I have to say.
I don't start fights, but have never backed away from one presented to me.
I have an old ball style cap, getting tattered and worn and sweat stained I wear everyday and everywhere. It' emblazoned with "ONCE a MARINE ALWAYS a MARINE!"

So I sometimes wonder, is it me, my attitude, my presentation of self, my air of confidence or perhaps it's the hat, that advertises to everyone, here comes one of AMERICA'S best and FINEST a UNITED STATES MARINE, That brings out all the wannabee's that so far just didn't have what it took. So they want to compensate for their shortcomings......

On second thought, I don't have a problem. I've been tested in the past, I'll continue to be tested in the future. I'm here to let AMERICA know, I will always still be standing holding the line! I will accept your challenges!

You and me .... WE know "ONCE a MARINE ALWAYS a MARINE" , just has a certain ring. As honorable as the other services are it just doesn't work for them: once an airdale always an airdale once a doggie always a doggie once a squid always a squid

See what I mean, just doesn't have that ring!
But whether we use MARINE, Jarhead, DEVILDOG, LEATHERNECK, or TEUFELHUNDEN, It Always Has THAT RING! We're the best and we know it, no conceit, just convinced!

SEMPER FI one and all
Sgt of Marines 68-74

Last year me and a small group of riders road our bikes from Sacramento, Ca. to Washington, DC. to spread Patriotism across our great nation and promote National Military Appreciation Month. We participated in the Rolling Thunder parade in our Nations Capitol. A camera crew followed us and filmed a documentary that should be out in August. It was and probably will remain one of the greatest experiences of my life. My family has 3 generations of Marines me being in the middle with my Father, his brothers, and my nephew being the rest. I had always dreamed of owning a Harley and having it painted as a tribute to my Fathers generation in Vietnam and to all our Vets. The picture attached is a frame from the DVD coming out soon.

Marine Biker The front of my bike says it all. "Semper Fidelis", Always Faithful to my Marine Corps and to all our Vets. It is pretty obvious that the painting is to represent "The Wall". The names are from KIA and MIA from California as well as a few of my Fathers friends that he lost in Vietnam. You can see a trailer of the documentary at under Road to Thunder. My goal, like so many others is to keep the memory alive of our Fallen Heroes and using my bike as a moving tribute has been a wonderful tool. Thank you for having your newsletter as a way to heal, share, laugh, cry and so much more. When people ask me why I am so Gung Ho and why Marines are so proud, I simply tell them you can't and wouldn't understand unless you earned your Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. Being a Marine is truly embedded in your heart forever.

Semper Fi
Mike Perry
USMC / 2nd Bn 4th Mar

"Do not hit at all if it can be avoided, but never hit softly."
Theodore Roosevelt

Dear Sgt,
Our Daddy (as he always likes to be called) has passed away and has now joined the ranks of other fellow Marines. He was a Veteran of both World War II (Espiritu Santo, Munda, Bougainville, Green Islands, Emirau Island, & PELELIU) and the Korean campaigns. He got out of the Corps at the end of the Korean campaign as a Gunnery Sergeant but still needed excitement and camaraderie in his life so he became a Volunteer Fire Fighter in his home town of Fort Washington, Pa. With all the Battles he fought the last was the worse, Asbestosis. Daddy has left an indelible mark on everyone he has ever met-even those who never knew him. To some he is loving, funny, witty, or daring -- to some he is the best son, brother, cousin, loved- one, Father, Friend, Godfather, Marine, Fire Fighter or person they have ever known. We realized that Daddy is not gone. We just can't see him anymore. He let us know in so many ways that he is still with us. That was the first miracle and there are many more to come. We always knew how blessed we were to have him and we still are blessed. Daddy was always here for everyone in life and now he is our Guardian Angel forever.

Although it is so hard to say goodbye, we know that God's loving arms were open wide to welcome Him home. We'll be seeing you, our wonderfully loving Daddy and Pop-Pop. We Love you! Although, we may not have you with us, all the Memories from his Marine Corps life, his Fire Fighting life and Life in general will be in our Hearts forever and ever!

The Daughters and Grand Children of
Marlin J. Miller,
1309 Hartranft Ave, Fort Washington, Pa 19034
Carol, Marilyn and Gail - Daughters
Christopher and Michele - Grandchildren

Sir / Ma'am;

I am a 22 year MSgt (USAF - E-7) whom has had the distinct pleasure of serving alongside Marines on Okinawa (1st MAW III MEF) and other duty locations worldwide. Today I was honored to be alongside the toughest Marine I have yet to meet, LCpl Andrew C Purchase, a medically retired Marine who for the first time raced the largest 15K road race (9.3 mile) Boilermaker here in Utica, NY today under his own power in a standard wheel chair, in about 4 hours and 24 minutes. LCpl Purchase refused our assistance and forged ahead despite the challenging terrain, his physical limitations, the oppressive humidity and occasional rain showers.

LCpl Purchase had run the race by foot last year, but was unable to do so this year. LCpl Purchase made all of us extremely proud of him (an Army recruiter, two Coast Guard recruiters, myself, a Navy recruiter, Utica PD, Utica FD, EMS, and myriads of other volunteers and public safety officials), and we all were very humbled to have been allowed to walk alongside him as he aimed for the finish line. Here's the article the Utica Observer Dispatch wrote on him prior to race day.

WKTV News Channel 2 (NBC Affiliate) covered him extensively as well today at the finish line; not yet posted but is their website.

LCpl Purchase performed this incredible feat today not for him, but for all of those warriors who did not make it home, to include Utica Police Officer Thomas Lindsey, a former Marine, murdered in the line of duty two years ago. LCpl Purchase's ultimate goal is to raise funds for a wounded warriors home here in UpState New York. He was sponsored in large part by the Ilion Marine Corps League.

Thought you would like to know.
Respectfully Submitted;

"Treating your adversary with respect is striking soft in battle."
Samuel Johnson

You have never seen anything like this before and you won't see the American flag wave like this again. Absolutely fantastic!

Just wanted to drop a line and say that the Marine's make me prouder every day of being an American. We recently had a young Marine from our hometown come back to visit. She brought her Marine husband with her. While at the courthouse in Ozark County, taking care of business, they thwarted a prisoner's escape. Please see the attached articles on these two great heroes! God Bless the United States Marines!

Leigh Ann Myers
Proud mother of Cpl. James Myers Jr.

It can't always be someone else's son!
It can't always be someone else's son!

What have you done for your country today?
What have you done for your country today?

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

USMC Yard Flag

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