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Something happened today that I never thought could happen as fast as it did. Today we turned over security of the Al Anbar Province to the Iraqi government. During my deployments to Fallujah in 2005 and Ramadi in 2006, I could not have foreseen the Iraqi people taking control of the most dangerous area of their country.

Veterans Day Shirts In Ramadi, attacks on our outposts and the governor's center were almost an everyday occurrence, whether it was a complex assault, mortars or IEDs. Everyday we struggled to talk to the people, letting them know we were not the enemy that we were there to help them. We were there to protect them and help them take back their country so we could ultimately come home knowing that we did the right thing. It was the determination of our fighting men and women and our President's decision for the surge that made this changeover possible. It was the people of Anbar that finally decided that they had had enough with the insurgents. Record numbers of citizens enlisted in the police force. They turned in all those they knew were insurgents. Now markets are open. Marines can walk through the city and not have to run everywhere dodging constant sniper threats. Listening to the stories of friends returning in the last year and hearing how much has changed since I was there has compelled me to share their stories with everyone I know. Don't listen to the news telling you we are losing control. Listen to those returning and their stories of hope and progress.

Future generations will look back and see that this was a turning point in what is being called "The Long War." If Anbar can be saved and governed by its own people then all of Iraq can follow suit. Now is not the time to pull out, now is the time to stand firm and finish what we started. We can do it, we ARE doing it.

God bless all those in the fight!

Semper Fi!
Travis Gundrum
Lima Co 3rd battalion 8th Marines

In memory of the Marines and Corpsmen of 3/8 who fell during Operation Iraqi Freedom. You will never be forgotten!

Halloween 2008 Shirts Response to Doc Antoine:

Doc, I haven't seen "Generation Kill" and don't intend to.

Comparing positive vs. negative portrayals by Hollywierd's and the big three news networks version of Nam vets in particular, and pretty much anything to do with the military or war over the last 45 years or so (since Vietnam) is a waste of time. It doesn't even need much study. Just think of the times you have seen or heard mention in TV of movies, and how they were referenced. They are about 100:1 negative. Almost every instance where a Nam vet, and now an Iraqi or Afghan vet, is shown or the fact that a person served is even mentioned in passing, they are portrayed as being dysfunctional "walking time bombs", "a danger to themselves and to society", drunks and junkies, failures who can't stand up to life; and always with the heavy sigh and some sort of "It's so sad" or "... could have done so much better, been so much more" comment spoken with the shake of the head and the sagging, heartbroken face. It is more insulting when Hollyweird portrays the everyday junkie as salvageable, but any vet who every smoked a twisty end cigarette is displayed as irredeemable - a total loss who should be warehoused away from society. In answer to your question: It is my belief that the large majority of current programming, including those claiming to be written by Marines, are playing on anti-military and/or bleeding heart sentiments, and promoting the idea that enlisted high school graduates are more aware and intelligent than officers who have "only" attended VMI and West Point or Annapolis, and therefore have no "real life experience", for the sole reason of making a buck. I see no reason to give them mine!

Doc, you and I, and everybody reading this knows we continue to be the best there ever will be. Those who find it necessary to belittle others so they themselves can feel superior (the Hollywierdites and their ilk) are the failures. We need more like Chesty, Duke, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, and others like them. Ones not only served, but came back afterwards to face down the michale moores, susan sarandons, and tim robbins types currently getting all the lime light.

Semper FI

Huge Sale, Everything Marked Down D. Bushlow, Cpl of Marines
USMC '65-'69
RVN VMO-6 '67-69

He who is cowardly will do what is right because it is safer to do so ...
He who is overly ambitious will do right if it is to his advantage to do so ...
He who is miserly will do right when he finds it cheaper to do so ...
He who is average will do right because it is expected of him...
But blessed is he who does right because it is right.

I asked Jesus how much He loved me,
He said, "This much," and stretched out his arms ... and died.

"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!"

"The United States leads the world in too many areas for us to start imitating those who are trailing behind. "

"Most people coming out of war feel lost and resentful. What had been minute-to-minute confrontation with yourself, your struggle with what courage you have against discomfort, at the least, and death at the other end, ties you to the people you have known in the war and makes for a time others seem alien and frivolous."

Lillian Hellman

Cpl Justin's homecoming Sgt. Grit
On Saturday, September 6, we were at Camp Pendleton, CA to welcome home our son, LCpl Kronenberg as well as the rest of the members of CLB 1 Maintenance Company. These heroes, our young men and women had served for the last seven months in Fallujah, supporting Operation Iraqis Freedom. I'm sending along a few pictures, both of Justin while at work in Fallujah as well as his homecoming. Cpl Justin and his company in Iraq We are so very proud of him and his fellow Devil Dogs for a job well done. This was Justin's second deployment. His first was in T.Q. in 2005, being deployed just 3 days after he and our lovely daughter-in-law Tavia were wed. Tavia served during both deployments as a KVP, during this deployment she was asked to be the lead KVP and a big job well done to her. Justin re-enlisted for another 4 years, leaving behind the Optical Electronics and moving on to a new MOS, Combat Correspondent. CPL Justin This means he will be leaving Camp Pendleton. They will be leaving in Nierenberg for MCRD, Parris Island. They are both CA natives and look forward to living in a new state. We look forward to several vacations in that part of the country.

Semper Fi
PMM of Cpl Justin, home from Sandbox, PM of Kate- God's hard worker, SIL Minister Rick, DIL Tavia, Most Beautiful Grand daughter Kayla Marie & adopted Cali mom of Cpl Mark Sacramento,CA

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I started baking chipped beef gravy for my 73 year old dad early this year. He would always say politely" it was very good but can you make S.O.S. " and I would tell him "no I tried once but it did not turn out. Then I found your original Marine Corps recipe (I use butter & he told me no need to use the expensive ground beef. )

That first night I received an email from him saying how" terrific it was!" And he felt so good that, and I quote " I feel like I could Storm The Beach"

After that I started tripling the recipe and putting it in single serving containers. Which he would freeze and eat on Sundays or whenever he needed an extra boost. It made the both of us feel good. I don't know what he enjoyed more my showing up for a visit or the new batch of S.O.S.

Dad passed away on May 1. So I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated your recipe. And that we got such a chuckle about the comment you made "feeds 8 people or 2 hungry Marines.

Thank You.
Elysia Bowman-Gaines

in memory of John C. Bowman (proud Marine and Father)

"Conscience is the most sacred of all property."

James Madison

Devil pup sleeping on USMC blanket with her stuffed animals Devil pup sleeping on USMC blanket next to her pink bear Sgt Grit,
Hi I have loved your newsletters and website. Ever since I left the Corps almost a year ago I have wanted nothing more than to get back in (I am unable due to a medical separation). I wanted to share a story with you. On June 2, I had a beautiful little girl. I was extremely nervous since I was a tomboy growing up. Since she was born my fears have been calmed. She loves to "play" rough and wrestle with her puppy. She is my little devil pup. Both of her parents are Marines and it shows it in her blood. Her favorite blanket is a Marine Corps Blanket my gramma gave me for my graduation. She sleeps with it every night. And recently she has started growling...I find it hilarious. I just wanted to share my little Devil Pup with you and thank you for this community.
Heather Lowhorn

"Government doesn't work. You work, I work, Federal Express works, Microsoft works, the Salvation Army work, Alcoholics Anonymous works, but the government doesn't."

Harry Browne

Andy Purchase racing in his USMC flag decorated wheelchair Just wanted to touch base with you and let you know a little bit about how things came out over the weekend with the big race. The experience itself was incredible although a little bittersweet for me in that I did not make my 2hr and 15min time frame. Sitrin Healthcare has opted to award me the racing wheelchair anyway for hanging in there and going the 9.3 mile distance in my standard wheelchair. There was so much motivation along the way I can't even begin to describe to you the whole story but the following contains some of the highlights:

Mile Marker 1: The local Shriner band struck up two verses of the Marine Corps Hymn. (First time I have ever failed to come to attention and face the music. Sorry Chesty I had a race to run I hope you understand)

Mile Marker 1.5: A Gunnery Sgt. whom I have never met before in my life passed me and handed me his challenge coin.

Mile Marker 3: a young man about age 8 joined me in his wheelchair to run alongside me and shout words of encouragement.

Mile Marker 7: An entire group of people from a local bank decided to walk with me to the finish line singing God Bless the USA and other patriotic songs the entire way.

Mile Marker 7.5: Another one of the wheelchair athletes who had ran the 5k earlier that day rolled back up the hill accompanied by a uniformed detail of active duty military from every branch of the service to see me home the last two miles.

Mile Marker 8: Met a First Sgt. from Camp Lejeune who had ran the race earlier in the day and he joined the detail to march me on home the final 1.3 miles.

Finish Line: Heroes welcome complete with two Marines in Dress Blues to meet me and welcome me home. Interviewed on TV and made the evening news.

Andy Purchase surrounded by other participants Thank you all so much for the shirt. I have attached a couple of photos, and I am in the process of putting together a complete package containing photos and all the video coverage from the weekend. It may take a while to complete but once it is finished I will send it out to you so we can discuss further sponsorships for races in the future. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!

Semper Fi
Cpl Andy Purchase
USMC Retired

"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

A few years ago I spent a lot of time on the Sgt. Grit boards and had some fine discussions with some solid Marines. Poppa Gene was one of the finest. As my father became more ill I was preparing for his end and his memorial. Poppa Gene was kind enough to send me some of the black sand that men like he and my father fought so hard for. I still have some of that sand and to this day I am moved merely by holding it in my hand. I was also moved when I read of Gene's passing.

Semper Fi,
Jim Taggart Jr.
USMC 68-71

We came from all around the country. We didn't know each other at first, but grew together like kin. We ate, slept, showered, and even sh!t together. No matter what our social standings, race, religion or beliefs. They all got put aside. We became brothers. Not because we had the same blood. Because we shed that blood together. We learned each other. More importantly we learned ourselves. It was a journey we took that defined us, it made us who we are today, and impacted us for the rest of our lives. It became engraved in our souls. It became part of our genetic make up. It became another family from the one we were born into. We were and forever will be United States Marines.

It didn't matter if you were the one driving the trucks, the one fixing the trucks, or the one riding in the turret gunning a "ma deuce". It didn't matter if you were in supply issuing the gear or the grunt on the front line using it. It didn't matter if you were the guy who fired the rounds, the armorer maintaining the weapons, or the ammo tech bringing the rounds...We all had a mission, and we all had each others backs. Some people can't understand why we are how we are today. Some think to themselves "he's not there anymore, when is he going to just let it go". They will never understand. We can never let it go. It is forever a part of our lives. That camaraderie lives within us for eternity. The spirit of the Corps will always be a part of our lives We were 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, Motor Transport platoon. The "2/6 Warriors". The finest men to ever wear the uniform. I have served with the finest Marines a man could have the privilege and honor to call as his brothers. I would trust any of them to this day with my life, and they can have faith knowing they can trust their life with me.

We Marines are a different breed. A Marine will always come to the aid of another, whether in combat or a bar fight. You can always count on your fellow Marines. We can pinpoint another Marine across a parking lot at the mall or from across the bar, even if he has been out for numerous years. Marines carry themselves different than other people. They walk different, talk different, sit different and live different. We are cocky, foul mouthed individuals who live life to the fullest. We don't take a second for granted. We always know our surroundings. Most of us drink well beyond the limits of a normal man. Our commandant is like our God. We slap our emblem on everything we own. We all have at least one Marine bumper sticker on our car or truck. We still call a bathroom "the head", we still say things like "check", "roger that", "good to go", or "oorah!". We all know the Marines Hymn, rifleman's creed, and phonetic alphabet by heart. We call kilometers "clicks" and minutes "mikes". We call each other devil dogs. And we will still always stand up and salute the American flag. My flag flies high in my front yard daily. With the seven year anniversary of Sept. 11th only a week away, you can be sure mine will fly just a few inches higher. My daily flown flag will be lowered and another raised this year. A flag with just a little more special meaning for me. The flag my father flew on his front porch every day I was deployed overseas. Although it is getting old, it will fly this year for that one special day of remembrance. One that impacted all of our lives. One that should never be forgotten, and a day that is a reminder why we did what we did and Marines today do what they do.

Even though it is against proper protocol because it is getting faded, the grommets are starting to come loose, and even has a few rust stains from that old flag pole, I am going to raise it that day. That evening it will be lowered and retired once again, but never disposed of. It symbolizes everything we stood for, everything I personally will always stand for. It will be flown to honor those who died that day, and those who answered the call in the aftermath. Those who have never been there will never know. Those that have will never forget. That kind of pride doesn't fade like that old flag did. Those memories are forever in our minds. That brotherhood will never die. Our ways are carved in stone, much like our place in the history of this great nation. It's in our blood. We are forever and always will be United States Marines.

Semper Fi,
Cpl Philip A. Beisel Jr,

"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."

Thomas Paine

USMC, USA, and Confederacy Flag Tattoo Sgt Bost My husband is Sgt Todd Bost he is currently serving as a Range Coach with Weapons and Field Training here at Parris Island. (His MOS is Com Field radio op) When he got out of boot he wanted to make his commitment to his Family, Country and Corps just a little more permanent than words that are uttered or written on paper. That is where his Rebel flag, (now redneck~which sums us up too as we are into big Chevy Pickup trucks, muddin, 4wheeling, fishing and so on), His American flag is for the love of his Country and his Corps flag represents who he is and his pride in being a Marine.

Zachary in his Marine shirt Mr and Mrs Bost The pic of the little man in the "Marine shirt" is my youngest Zachary. This is Todd's step- son, but you'd never know it the way they act. And there is also a photo of us at our wedding in 2007, at Camp Pendleton Ca.

Thanks so much
Avien Bost

Dear Sgt, Grit:

My son served with First Recon when the Iraq War started, the book Generation Kill was based on the start of this war. The book which the hbo series is based was written by a reporter from rolling stone magazine. He was imbedded with first recon on which the book was based.

My son was not happy with some of what he has written. He saw the original article written in rolling stone magazine and made comments that were some what different from what was said in the article. I made a purchase of the book and passed it on to him to read. He has some different views of events that happened. To my knowledge he has not seen the hbo series so I do not know his feelings about.

So Doc Antoine should not put too much into what is shown because those that were there see things different. But his concern is well founded on how it affects the marine name. It was not written by a marine.

Edward Novakowski ----- N8UXN
Proud Father of A Marine
Gunny Heyman

Nathaniel's USMC Tattoo Dear Sgt. Grit (and readers),
My husband, Nathaniel, is a fairly new Marine. He enlisted in February and headed to MCRD San Diego on March 24th. He graduated at the end of June, finished MCT in August, and is currently in classes to become an MP. I am SO proud of him for choosing to serve our country & I am especially proud of him for being a Marine. I am so proud in fact, that at his halfway point of boot camp (around his 23rd birthday) I got my first tattoo. Torey's Semper Fidelis Tattoo It's on my right shoulder blade and says "SEMPER FIDELIS". During his 10 day leave he got his first tattoo and had "USMC" put on his back. I am known as a VERY moto wife. My cars are covered in Marine Corps magnets, my keys have USMC key chains, I often wear Marine t-shirts, and I even carry the local recruiter's cards with me. (He recruited my husband & has been wonderful! I often thank SSgt. Hardin for his faith in my husband.) As of November 10th we'll have been married for two years and will be stationed in December. (That's right, the USMC birthday, though that was accidental or prophetic- depending on how you look at it.) I just wanted to share with everyone our motivation and love of the Corps. Thanks for all the great stories & products! My in-laws LOVED their anniversary gifts. I included a picture of us together, and our tattoos. Oorah & Semper Fi, guys!

Proud to be a Marine Wife,
~Torey R

"I have always been against the pacifists during the war, and against the jingoists at the end."

Winston Churchill

Tara's EGA with Dog Tags tattoo Hey Sgt. Grit,
I met my husband while serving in the Marines. We got married a couple of months after I got honorably discharged. That was in 2003. Now it is 2008 and I decided to get a tattoo to show how proud I am of him and the way we met. He is still active duty and we just had our first child. It's funny how things work out! Well anyway's I definitely got Semper Fidelis on it, because it not only is the Marine Corps motto, but I believe it applies to marriages as well. Happy Birthday Sgt. Q. I love you!

Tara Q

Hello Sgt Grit,
I just finished reading about a rather amazing priest. Father Vincent Capodanno. He served in Vietnam. He requested the MARINES as his flock. They were "his Marines" and he was their "Grunt Padre". 41 years ago Sept 4. He was killed in action. THIS priest was with his Marines every step of the way. There is a group of folks who would like to see him canonized. You need miracles for that, but maybe someone out there who knew Father Cap. has a miracle that they can attribute to him. is one way to read more, tell your stories. The Grunt Padre is the name of the book. I think many of your readers would like Father Capodanno he was a MARINE at heart.

Me too,
Donna Fornear

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

Winston Churchill

In response to Gregg's exposure to Royal's mine. Marines all over the world "think/know" that they are the best.

Back in '58 (on a Med Cruise aboard the LSD 25 San Marcos) coming back from Beirut, Lebanon, we lost our stern gate in a storm in the Med. We had to go to the Isle of Malta for repairs and while we were there, I met a few Royal Marines (who had just come back from warring Cyprus). I was alone sitting in a bar having a couple of beers when these 4 BIG guys (I'm 5'7" weighing 165lbs) come in an approach me. Two of them picked me up by my arms and started to carry me out to the street. When I screamed at them that I left my beer on the bar...they carried me back so that I could get my beer and then all of us went outside the bar and into the street. I looked across the street and saw 2 US Marines walking up the street toward us..and I figured, if I was going to get my a$s kicked, I wanted to have a chance to get in a few licks myself. Having finished my beer, once more I screamed at these 4 guys to let me down. They immediately let me loose and explained to me that they were Royal Marines and wanted to "treat" another Marine to a good time. And so the story continues...they took me to a couple of their "places" where we had one h&lluva time drinking beer and Maltese wine called "screech", or at least that's what they called it. I got back to the ship really "sh!tfaced" and awoke the next morning with a very bad headache. During the day I was back on the stern of the San Marcos, when I was told that I had visitors? Who the h&ll is visiting me, I thought?...It was the same 4 Royal Marines I had met the night before. They had a jeep and took me all over the island, (off and on) for the next 3 weeks. I can say my experience with the Royal Marines was nothing less than mutual admiration.

Oh and by the way, they saved my young butt one time when we were at one of their "places" and we were drinking and carrying on...when one of them "Reggie" stood up and said "here's to the Yank"; and then asked me if I was upset about him calling me YANK? I stood up and said No, I don't mind you calling me Yank as long as you don't mind me calling you L!mmeys! At that, I drank the toast completely down and then slammed the glass upside down on the table. All of a sudden, a few "other guys" at another table stood up and started for me. "Reggie" and his buddies stood between them and me and explained that I was their guest and I didn't know that turning the glass upside down, meant I could kick anybody's a$s in the place. Yes I had a good experience with the Royal Marines, and we kept in touch for a few years after that..

Semper Fi

Sgt A. J. Steen '55- '59
5th Marines & 6th Marines (8th Comm Battalion)

Dear Sgt Grit.
I am new to your news letter. Thank you for the wonderful stories and letters. They help me. I saw my son swore in today and watched as the bus drove him away. He has wanted to be a Marine since he was about 8 or 9. I know technically I can not say he is a Marine but I have no doubt he will be. For my own mental health and pride I wear a Marine Mom dog tag and plan to wear my "I may look harmless, But I raised a Marine" shirt tomorrow to work to show my pride for my son. I know the Marines will make him the man he wants to be and more.

I May Look Harmless T-Shirt In my family every Friday is red white and blue day. I have various shirts with saying from "if you can't get behind our troops please stand in front" and "home of the free because of the brave" they are my normal dress down friday wear. My sister is a second grade teacher who does this with her whole class. She teaches information about the flag and service men and women each friday that is not part of the mandated curriculum. No doubt information on the marines will be added heavily this year. Our family feels it is important to teach these things. Needless to say she gets more flags than apples, but she loves every minute of it.

I want to say thank you to all the service men and women; and families who help support them. I am full of mixed emotion for my son but the biggest emotion is PRIDE. Thank you Valerie L Minns

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."

Thomas Jefferson

As a girlfriend of a Marine (2nd Div. GySgt. G. Gordon), I'm proud to say thank you for all that you do for us and for our Country and for others. Its funny but I don't get any negative comments from ignorant people, whenever I'm at my job an I'm running my mouth off about my Marine, the men who are my customers always ask what's his rank, where was he stationed?...etc... and they seem so proud and impressed and they always have a story that it makes me puff up my chest like I've done something. lol I just feel so proud of him and all of the guys and gals who have sacrificed so much. On the eve of my Marine laying his dad (also a Marine) to rest after a very long battle w/cancer, I'd like to take this time to honor him also for his sacrifices for his family, and his country. God bless you, may your journey be made smooth an straight. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES and thanks.

Semper Fidelis
Have a Blessed Day
Pam McCullough

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."

Winston Churchill

Although I now live in New York, I was born and raised in Oklahoma (born in Norman) and I want to share the following story with all the Sgt. Grit readers.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s I was working at AAR Oklahoma, Major Air Services Division at Will Rogers World Airport. I was an airframe mechanic and an aviation production controller. We were doing airframe modifications on USAF C-9A Nightingales (Aeromedical Evacuation) at the time and started getting in some C-9B Skytrain II aircraft from USN VR-57 Conquistadors. Then, during the first Gulf War we started doing airframe fatigue / stress repairs and TRAM modifications on A-6E Intruders and I met Marines from VMA(AW)332 Moonlighters which at the time they were based at MCAS Cherry Point. I fell in love with the A-6E Intruder and really liked the Marine air crews and personnel we dealt with.

The Marine Corps are definitely the best in quality and gung-ho spirit and I wish I had had the opportunity to be a United States Marine!

God Bless America and the Marine Corps!

Bruce Payne

I am a proud mother of all three of my children. Two boys and one girl. Girl is in the middle and in her second year of college. My oldest son just graduated from WVU as a political consultant. My youngest son is the one I have always wondered what he would do after high school. Well I found out. Last year he stopped by the Marine recruiter's office. When he came home and told me what he wanted to do, I was not too shocked. His Dad was Navy, both of his Grandfathers were in the Korean Conflict, one a Army Drill Sergeant and one Air Force, his uncles have been Army also. But it was something of the twinkle in his eyes when he said "I'm going into the Marines when I finish high school". My response was good for You honey, and I turned away with tears in my eyes thinking it is just a phase. Well second surprise was this summer when he told me the recruiter was coming to talk with me. Okay, I thought.

He signed the papers as did I. When his recruiter said "okay, You will go on Sunday, stay all night, go for the physical and so forth, I burst into silent tears again turning my head. He has been going to pull functions all summer, he is a senior in high school and will ship out in July 2009 right after my birthday( they changed his date because his original date was two days before my birthday). He is so happy and so into this. His recruiters are now like family. There are five Marines between the two offices here(Weirton,WV and Wheeling,WV), with the best group of guys you could imagine. My problem is a couple of them are being transferred before he graduates and when he leaves for Parris Island, I am not only watching my baby leave, I feel like I am losing an entire family. His 18th birthday is two weeks away, and I am "LOSING" it.

I have been in tears for three weeks, I can no longer imagine how these other Mothers , Fathers, and Wives feel when there loved one is overseas. I have always respected the Armed Forces and proud of them, but it has hit home. I am this "lost" now, next year I hope to be stronger like my son, but I know when he graduates high school and leaves on that plane, a "adopted family" will be with me. And I am looking forward to when he finishes boot camp and makes everyone proud. He wants infantry but maybe someday he will think of his recruiters and say that would be good, and be with families to make the transition easier. So thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder, but for now I am going to get my tissues.

"The Mader's" Mom
Weirton, WV

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."

Clarence Darrow

Amelia, you obviously know that your relationship with your Marine is one blessed by Our Warrior King on High and Chesty Puller. You also know that stats show that 50% of all marriages today end in divorce. Marriage is a great institution - if you like institutional living. The bond you have with your Marine today is the bond that you will maintain "until Death do you part." And, when your Marine gets back from BadSand, and the two of you stand before a gathered assembly and are announced by the Officiator as "Mr. and Mrs." the only change in your 'status' (MOS) will be a piece of paper and a Legal Contract. Neither of which come close to equaling what you both have in your heart. When far too many times (once is too many) I held my brother in my arms as he passed from this world to his journey to The Streets of Heaven, most of the time my brothers' last words were about their girlfriends. Not about Mom, or Apple Pie, or even Old Yeller, and in one instance that your letter brought back so clearly, not 'Wifey' ( 'most all of us were not married; in this instance, my brother Marine was married, but knew he'd picked the wrong one to cut the cake with). As to "being notified" and "receiving the flag," Amelia, those are just human trappings. Please think about the fact that your Marine will live forever tucked away in that small, still, special part of your heart, because the bond you two share was ordained from just one level above Chesty Puller. And it don't get no better than that, m'Lady!

RVN 66-68

In response to Alex Rodriguez, 1stSgt, USMC, Retired, who thanked the parents of the Marine recruits he trained: My husband and I have the privilege of being the parents of three fine sons, all of whom served in the USMC. The eldest has served 12 years and counting, deployed to Iraq twice, 2003 and 2006, with number three coming up. The middle son served before the terrorist attack of 2001, so hasn't experienced deployment, but his efforts supported those who followed him. The youngest recently became a civilian after 7 years active duty where he saw action in Iraq in 2002, Afghanistan in 2004 and Iraq again 2007. While we are certainly proud and grateful to these 'boys', we feel especially grateful to others who know what they have gone through to support the liberties and freedoms we all experience today. A special thank you to people like yourself, 1st Sgt Rodriguez, who gave them the tools and training they needed to get the job done well and return home safely.

God bless you,
Sandra Lloyd

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."

George Bernard Shaw

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Recently my mother in law was cleaning out some drawers and came across some of my father in laws things. (My father in law has been dead many years now). In it was a laminated code of honor, an old chauffeur's license and this poem my husband had sent him from Viet Nam. It came from a military news paper they had when he was over there. I want to share it with you.

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,
On this glittering morn of May?"
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad;
They are looking for men they say."
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad;
You aren't obliged to go."
I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad
And ever so strong, you know."

So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you're looking so fit and bright."
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad,
But I feel I'm doing right."
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad,
You're all of my life you know."
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad,
and I'm awfully proud to go."

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad?
I watch for the post each day;
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad,
and it's months since you went away.
And I've had the fire in the parlor lit,
And I'm keeping it burning bright
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit."

What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad?
No letter again today.
Why did the postman look so sad,
And sigh as he turned away?
I here them tell that we've gained new ground,
But a terrible priced we paid;
God grant, my boy. that you're safe and sound;
but oh I'm afraid, afraid

They told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad;
You'll never come back again:
Oh God: the dreams and the dreams I've had,
And the hopes I've nursed in vain!
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you proved in the cruel test
Of screaming shell and the Battle h&ll
that my boy was one of the best.

"So you'll live, you'll live, young fellow my lad,
in the gleam of the Evening Star,
in the wood-note wild and laugh of the child,
in all the sweet things that are.
and you will never die, my wonderful boy,
while life is noble and true:
for all our beauty and hope and joy
we will owe our lads like you."

Marine Veteran Acquitted in Killing of Iraqis


RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Aug. 29) -- Jurors wept and embraced former Marine Jose Luis Nazario Jr. after acquitting him of voluntary manslaughter in the killings of unarmed Iraqi detainees during a fierce 2004 battle. Tears rolled down Nazario's cheeks and courtroom spectators openly sobbed and cheered Thursday. He is the first U.S. veteran tried by a civilian court for alleged actions in combat.

Joe Nazario said, "It's been a long, hard year for my family," Nazario said outside the courtroom. "I need a moment to catch my breath and try to get my life back together."

Jurors took less than six hours over two days to find the former sergeant not guilty of charges that he killed or caused others to kill four detainees in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 9, 2004. The detainees were shot during a battle - marked by house-to-house fighting - that was considered one of the fiercest of the Iraq war. Nazario had been charged with voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. He could have faced more than 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Prosecutors had urged the jury to convict Nazario, saying he violated his duty as a Marine and must be held accountable for his actions in Fallujah.

Juror Ted Grinell said the panel acquitted Nazario because no witnesses testified to actually seeing the shootings and there was "not enough evidence to point that he was guilty."

Jury forewoman Ingrid Wicken said the panel was not making a statement with its verdict, but added: "I think you don't know what goes on in combat until you are in combat."

"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate - look to his character..."

Noah Webster

Hey Marines,

Regarding the recent posting about military service and Social Security: I like to advise my veterans that only Marines qualify for the extra money. In fact, all veterans qualify, and the military service question is actually part of the interview that we do when you come in to file for Retirement, Disability, or Survivor's benefits. In most cases we don't even need to see a DD-214 because the services accurately reported the wages to SSA. It's the years prior to 1968 that usually need verifying, which the DD-214 takes care of. And remember, in a Retirement claim Social Security uses the best 35 years of earnings on your record (indexed and adjusted for inflation) to calculate your monthly benefit amount, so in many cases the military years don't make any difference at all. The computer has better years to pick from, even with the extra credits. Just wanted to keep it real so you don't go blasting down to your local SSA office expecting lobster tail only to get beans and weenies!

Dwight Jenkins
USMC 1979-1991
SSA 1993- present

Hey Sgt. Grit,
Here's a song we used to sing back in Elementary school, hard to figure I turned out a Marine.

From the halls of John Moore school
To the shores of bubblegum bay
We will fight our teachers battles
With spitballs, gum and clay
First to fight for rights and recess
And to keep our desk a mess
We are proud to claim the title
Of the teachers number one pest.

CPL Gerald Schaaf H&MS-13 PP/VMA-311

"It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights."

Benjamin Franklin

Combat Fitness Test (Video)


As a former Marine and the Father of two Marines, (both Son and Daughter), your recent submission detailing your Marine Corps experience resurrected a long held personal perspective about what it means and always will mean to be a Marine.

I can't say that I know with any degree of accuracy where the phrase "Once a Marine Always a Marine" originated or who coined it, but I can say there is no truer statement.

In that regard, I feel all but obligated to make the observation that you are being entirely and unreasonably too hard on yourself. What you really need to do is "cut yourself some slack" and put your Marine Corps experience into it's proper perspective.

First and foremost, recognize what you accomplished. Our Armed Forces, branch of service notwithstanding, has been an all volunteer service for decades. Had you not enlisted you would never have had the honor to stand on the infamous "Footprints." Your very enlistment warrants an accolade in its own right.

Going beyond that achievement, as you explained, you "broke your foot halfway through" [Boot Camp]. Yet, and this has to be a very important qualifier, you "hung in there" and completed Boot Camp on literally (for all practical purposes), "one foot." How many of your peers could have or would have done as much?

It has to be a sad commentary as regards modern military medical care that your proper injury wasn't diagnosed until AFTER you completed Boot Camp. To have a fracture diagnosed as tendentious simply defies logical explanation. Be that as it was, you clearly demonstrated yourself to be definitely "hard Corps."

As regards your decision to separate from the Corps...that had to be a very tough, if not emotionally, difficult decision. As difficult as it no doubt was for you, it was going to be a decision you were destined to have to make at some point during your period of enlistment. My own insights seem to suggest that your undiagnosed or, as the case proved to be, "misdiagnosed" injury would have caught up with you when and if you faced deployment. At that point, the out come would of, I suspect, have been the same. Medical separation.

See the injury for the potential threat it would have posed in a combat environment. Not only would you have put your own well being at risk, but without a doubt the well being of your fellow Marines would have been placed in jeopardy as well. Fellow Marines that would have been depending on you at the potential peril of life and limb.

Marine, as hard as it was for you to leave active duty, you made the right decision. Your selfless decision clearly makes you as much a Marine as all those who have proceeded you or will follow you onto those legendary "Footprints."

Unfortunately, the annals of MCRD Parris Island as well as San Diego are replete with instances of "slackers and quitters." Recruits that, as you phrased it "landed" on Parris Island or San Diego in the dark of night, (as all Recruits do), only to return to their Home Towns in the dark of night, sans any honor or recognition.

To your personal honor, you, young Lady didn't quit, you didn't "drop your pack." You demonstrated a genuine "Gung Ho" attitude that typifies what a US Marine In the same vein, there are innumerable instances of Recruits that never saw Graduation Day due to properly diagnosed medical conditions or pre-existing medical conditions. So with that reality in mind, take heart and be undyingly proud of what you DID accomplish.

You not only survived "Boot Camp," but you completed Boot Camp to proudly stand on the Parade Deck and be recognized as a US Marine. I would hope, for your own peace of mind and future emotional well being, that will be a title you will proudly carry with you the rest of your life, earned it.

If all of the above still leaves you "second guessing" your decision, consider this...when you left the Marine Corps you left wearing our beloved "EGA." No one cut the buttons off your blouse or broke a sword over their knee. You left the Marine Corps well after you graduated Boot Camp with an Honorable Discharge (reason not withstanding). You didn't leave with a "BCD" or worse yet a "DD." Our Nation will never lessen the service of those medically separated from Active Duty. You are no less a Veteran! Underlying that, if not more importantly... no less a Marine.

Always be proud of that fact. Don't let anyone deny you that reality, least of all yourself.

From one Marine to another I say...

Semper Fi and Ooh rah "Devil Dog,"

T.P. Sheehan
Syracuse, NY

"The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest."

Thomas Jefferson


You state in your letter that you "graduated a U.S. Marine" despite having a mis-diagnosed broken foot. Please go back and read, again, your own words: "I graduated a U.S. Marine." From that statement, alone, you are a United States Marine. The plaintive call of your indecision and struggle to reconcile your having left Our Beloved Marine Corps comes ringing through every word of your letter to GruntGrit. To gain the closure that you seem to desperately seek, I respectfully suggest to you that the hardest part of being a Marine is, was, and always will be the weeks that you are killed, re-borne, and then shaped into a Marine by highly-dedicated professionals. "Coulda, woulda, shoulda," my Six. You did Parris Island with a broken foot. If that, alone, doesn't make you a Marine, I cannot imagine what else would. I speak only for myself, and do not pretend for even a moment that my few words echo the sentiment of our brothers and sisters in Our Beloved Marine Corps, but for my money, you, Madame, are - and always will be - A United States Marine. Now, suck in that gut, tuck in that chin, square away those shoulders, and continue your march through life knowing that you have at least one member of the few and the proud who says you are a Marine. Dismissed.

Sgt/USMC/RVN '66-'68

"If the war didn't happen to kill you it was bound to start you thinking."

George Orwell

I wanted to notify you of some up and coming Marine Corps History to take place, at the graduation of new recruits, October 3, 2008 at MCRD, San Diego.

My son, Recruit Charles Huntington Lyman V is due to graduate from Boot Camp, MCRD, San Diego, Oct. 3, 2008. He will be the fifth generation, and the sixth family member serving our great country, dating back to the 1800s. All the previous Charles H. Lyman's, plus a brother, were all officers, as ranks listed below:

Charles H. Lyman, I Colonel, Marine Corps
Charles H. Lyman, II, Marine Corps, General, Commanding Officer, MCRD
Charles H. Lyman, III, Admiral, Navy
The brother of above, Andrew Irving Lyman, Colonel, Asst. Depot Commander, MCRD
Charles H. Lyman, IV, Colonel, Marine Corps
Charles Huntington Lyman, V, Recruit, due to graduate MCRD, Oct. 3, 2008.

This is a very long line of Marine Corps service, sacrifice and dedication in one family.

Also our family will be honored to have in attendance of the Oct. 3rd graduation, Colonel Charles H. Lyman IV, who will be flying to San Diego from the Virginia. We thank you all, most sincerely for serving our country.

Betsy R. Gill
(Mother of Recruit Charles H. Lyman V)

Twenty-four years ago my one and only child came into this world. Such a blessing. Back then I knew he was special, but I always tried to figure out why. Teachers from school, even his friends' parents commented on how they thought he was special, but they would just say we will know why someday. In May of 2001 the start of why he is so special happened. He walked into the recruiting military office in Woonsocket Rhode Island, straight past every military branch, until he reached the Marine Corps door, he entered and decided that this would be the path he would be honored to follow for the rest of his life. He also told the recruiter that he would certainly like to start out his Marine Career and duty with HMX One. He did just that! As his Mom you can imagine the pride I took in that.

We would have conversations about how proud I was, but my Son still wanted to do more. He was happy about his enlistment with HMX ONE, and one day he said, "Mom how about if I become a Marine who saves lives, instead of having to take lives?" I felt like this does not sound good, but I did admire his thinking. He then said , "Mom I am interested in becoming an Explosives Ordinance Disposal Tech. For a brief second my heart stopped, it was as if my Son's tiny little life had flashed before me. Of course being his mom I said, "you have never steered yourself in the wrong direction with any decision you have made so I will support you no matter what you decide. Today I am the Proud Mother of a Marine who is serving his first tour of duty in Iraq as an E.O.D Tech. Today my question is now answered as to why my Son is so special. Not only is he serving overseas, he is keeping peace, protecting the innocent, and making sacrifices for the good of his country.

Soon he will be home reunited with his family, and holding his beautiful baby boy who was born about a month ago. Now my Son will not only know the honor of serving his country, he will know the Honor and Privilege of having a Son to pass on his legacy. At this time I wish to Thank all of the brave Marines and other Military Forces for being who they are, without them we would not have a Free America. Thank You also to all of the parents who raised these children as if it was a Privilege, and not just their duty.

Proud to be Sgt Bernard J. Coyne Jr.'s MOM

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Thomas Jefferson

Sgt. Grit,

During a recent doctors appointment, I could not help but notice the picture of a Marine in his Dress Blues proudly displayed on the receptionist's counter. After signing in, I asked the young woman sitting at the desk who the Marine was. I expected her to say he was her boyfriend, brother or husband. It made me feel a bit old(er) when she said the Marine is her son.

My wife and I talked with her up until the time my name was called to see the doctor. I found out that her Marine has already served one tour in Iraq and is about to go on his second deployment, this time to Afghanistan. Both my wife and I could hear the pride she has in her son with every word she said. We could also hear her concern for her child as we talked of her Marine's service, 2nd Battalion, PI, hot sauce, his new car and more.

After seeing the doctor, my wife and I went back to see the receptionist again. We talked more about her Marine and I shared a few of the tales I have from my days in the Corps. Something inside me wanted to comfort and reassure this Marine Mother that her 'baby' could not be in better hands or with a better group of people. I wanted more than anything else to ease her worries and show her that there are others that are both proud and concerned for the welfare of her son as well as the others serving our Nation now.

Jewell, this part is for you. Never feel that you are alone. When your son became a Marine, he became a member of the Marine Family. He also brought you into our Family and put you in with a group of fine, outstanding women. When he became a Marine, you became a Marine Mom. I did the same and my own Mother became a Marine Mom back in 1974. She still is.

Also remember, there are many of us in the area, all willing to listen, all wanting to be there if you should need us. We will listen to you brag on your Marine's accomplishments, will be there when you want to blow off steam when angry, will do our best to answer your questions as they come up and will be there when your concerns become worries. It's the way we are and is what we do.

I asked her about Sgt. Grit and the newsletter. She responded that she did indeed get and read it. She seemed somewhat amazed when I mentioned that I have had one or two letters printed up in it over the past several years. I am hoping Jewell gets to reads this one. She has a tale she should submit about her son's service dates in the Corps that both my wife and I found amazing.

We could have stayed there and listened to Jewell for hours, but she was at work, doing her job and we did not want to disturb or interrupt her. As we parted, I offered my Semper Fi and a handshake to her and said we wished the best for her son. If the counter had not been in they way, rest assured, she would have gotten a 'bear hug' from me! I am honored that she felt comfortable enough with me that she could confide some of her Marine's story.

'Semper Fi' Jewell and to all Marine Mothers and Fathers out there.

Tony Glass

In response to Retired 1st-Sgt. Alex Rodriguez' post in the Sgt. Grit Newsletter #182:

It was nice to hear from a former D.I. who is expressing thanks to parents for their sacrifice. I raised three sons. The oldest became a Marine right after high school. The middle one hits the Crucible this coming Wednesday and the youngest is shipping to Parris Island for training on Dec. 1, 08. My cousin's wife was a D.I. for the U.S. Army many years ago. My father is a VN Veteran and spent 23 years active duty, then retired from the Army.

My guys are the only Marines that we know of on both sides of the family. My husband's side is Navy. But there are at least 4 generations of military on both sides. I had enlisted but didn't finish training for medical reasons. However, my boys are carrying on generations of family military service. Not to brag