Dear Sgt. GRIT and company, I just wanted to say thanks for all you do. I served with 1st Force in Nam in 1969-1970. I just had the greatest pleasure back in November 08.
I was able to go back to MCRD San Diego to watch my oldest grandson graduate from boot camp. He was home on leave for 10 days and we had the usual get together with family and friends. For him becoming a Marine, I wrapped the medals I received and the gold jump wings I earned and presented them to him for safekeeping. The look on his face was worth the tour in Nam. I am a proud Marine and a prouder grandfather. Again I thank you for all you do for our Marines. Here's wishing you all good health and a very good life.
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Dear Sgt Grit:
Few occasions are as memorable and festive as a wedding, especially one where the 300 guests and the entire region were evacuated in the path of last year's Hurricane Gustav just 5 days earlier. We all returned home to find no power, no food, other than canned, and no personnel including venue caretakers, bakers, florists and hotels employees. In addition, we had lost four days of valuable preparation time.
At one point, we had people in the air, flying from four different states and no place to board them. Miraculously, all the pieces feel back into place just in time and people were calling it the miracle wedding. If you had seen it all in a movie, you would never have believed it.
Take a look a the photos and witness a very happy Marine wedding party, including my son the groom, 2nd Lt Robert M Locke.
My husband, Bob, was a SGT and a 6 yr disabled vet in the Marine Corps.
He served almost 3 yrs in the jungles of Viet Nam. He was proud to be a Marine, and proud of being a former Marine. Needless to say I was proud of him and the Corps. Bob passed away in Aug 08, he was only 66.
The Corps was on guard at his coffin at the funeral home, blew taps at the cemetery and 2 folded the flag and a Sgt presented me with the flag. The Corps takes care of their own, I am proud to be part of the family.
Mrs. Robert Cook
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"
hi i am a proud parent of cpl jessica a bradley george she was at camp Lejeune nc she has been in for 4 yrs. and been over sea and got hurt but came back safe her daddy and i is very proud of her and the Marines that is in. because freedom is not free. she has seen the world she got married to a Marine and they have a little boy now i miss her and her family. thank you and the Marines for what you do God be with you
I truly admire your acumen in finding a niche ( Marines and our enthusiasm for our beloved Corps ) and running with it. Yes, these are hard times right now, but does this sound familiar...Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. I try to live by these words. I'm one of the statistics you've been reading about - I was laid off a month ago after ten years on the job but rather than sit around on my hands and mope I'm using the training I received in the Marines to do whatever it takes. Were it easy, anyone could do it. If I was 37 years younger, I'd reenlist in a heartbeat. I'm not trying to suggest being a Marine is all fun and games ( I know better! ), but it's the price you have to pay to be among the world's finest! I also appreciate your mention of the Marine Corps League in your outstanding newsletter. Typically, by time I've read it, I've laughed and cried. I really look forward to it every week. Being the Sgt. at Arms of our Detachment is one of the things I'm proudest of. Thanks!
Sgt. at Arms
Billy Stelpflug Detachment ( 1064 )
Marine Corps League
"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."
I entered the Corps in June of 1970, straight from high school, I was 17. After Comm School (I was a 2533), I was sent to Camp Schwab, Okinawa and H&S 2/9. We went on float that summer and spent enough time in Viet Namese waters to get a ribbon.
Upon returning to the states, I spent 5 weeks at Marine Barracks Treasure Island and last eleven months at Marine Barracks North Island. The whole time with 2/9 and at the Marine Barracks, I felt like a Veteran even though I hadn't been under fire.
When I got out and went to college, there was a Veteran's Club that I joined. I was totally accepted by these men who had been "in country". I was even elected Treasurer. After college, I was never really around military people. I started to feel guilty and that I really shouldn't consider myself a veteran because I'd never been shot at. I didn't want to join any military clubs or organizations.
In 1984, I went to work for the Postal Service at the main processing center in Santa Ana, CA. There was a large number of Marines working there. Most of them retired who had spent multiple tours in Viet Nam. I was not treated any differently because I hadn't been in country. I didn't notice any different treatment of Cold War Marines. We were all just Marines. My feelings of guilt subsided.
In 1994 I transferred back to my home state. Not having a history of belonging to organizations like the Legion and VFW, I didn't join. My feelings of guilt returned. Until I confessed my feelings to a friend I made at Union conferences. This was a man I respected, a Green Beret. He basically convinced me I had no reason to feel guilt.
Not long after, I was in a Sporting goods store, when one of the employees noticed my SGT Grit cap. He asked me about my service and asked if I was a member of the VFW. I mentioned my reservations about being a Vet. He said Bull! and paid for 1st year membership. The members, all with more "experience" than I made me feel welcome. In fact, I had been going less than five months when I was elected Junior Vice Commander. (I didn't run, I was railroaded)
What I'm trying to get at is maybe we need the fellowship of fellow Marines or men and women from other services. I know I get along better with my coworkers who have served in the military.
i am the daughter of a family of Marines, now im the mother of 2 wonderful Marines, both my sons are Marines, i just wanted people to know how much i enjoy reading these newsletters, this is a great magazine and website, my dad who is a retired Marine now told me about this site, its great
A letter this week in newsletter #193..stuck a small fork in me.
I would like to thank Kara Peterson for the service her family members have given to our country, and welcome her son into the folds of our Marine Family. Even though he can't be a pilot, and I have doubts he can be a sniper with the color blindness...it seems he will be happy being a grunt...I know I would have been. But in 1966, I had no choice in the matter.
In 1980 when I joined the Army, I wanted Tanks, and that's what they gave me. I was behind in child support and the $3500.00 bonus the Army gave me took care of that....but in '66 I played the hand the Corps dealt me, I tried to get out of it, because it was a lowly job with no honor in it. I spent 3 years in the Marines, and initially flunked the school the Corps sent me to for that MOS, I graduated 49th out of a class of 48...the man in front of me could not speak English.
In that 3 years, I spent 5 months in Vietnam...where, because of my MOS, I earned the total respect of the 88 men in my Battery...they were proud to have me and I was proud to be their Battery cook.........Mrs. Paterson...every job in the Marine Corps or the US Army is there for a reason....now-a-days cooks are contract civilians, but back in the day...on Sundays..if it was not raining, the men in my battery took me down to the beach, cooked my steak for me and made sure there was always a cold brew in my hand...because the other 6 days of the week, I filled their bellies with good food. I did the JOB the Marine Corps gave me to do...as I did in the National Guard for 3 years after that in Demo..and for 2 years in the Army in Tanks. And what ever job the Corps will give your son to do...he will do...with Pride..because the job is needed...just like grease monkeys, truck drivers, and cooks.
L/Cpl Mark Gallant
"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."
my husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack Sunday. he was Marine Force Recon and did 3 tours in Vietnam. he did a lot of other things that were classified but suffice to say he qualifies as a hero like all Marines do.
he was larger in life and in death, he has become a legend to me. this photo, though you cannot see the writing on his shirt, is one from i got him from Sgt. Grit. it says "University of Vietnam." i just wanted to post this so other Marines will keep Carl and his family in their prayers. he is now standing alongside his mates in Heaven guarding the gates. he was so vital and important to me. he took my heart when he passed.
I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'.
Thanks for thinking of us in-between-the-conflicts GI's, where there were really no "Heroes" but we were at-the-ready to become so. I graduated from MCRD SD in 1956 and did my nine years (they had plenty of time to have a war) as I watched world conflict all around us. I was at Pendleton in 1956 with my seabag packed, on 24 hour alert for deployment to Beirut - fortunately this did not happen. However, as everyone knows, some 20-30 years later we lost many good Marines there.
Then, in 1962 it was discovered that Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union was sending components for surface-to-surface nuclear missiles to Cuba. An act that created an incident that led us closer to nuclear war than at any other time. The entire country was at the brink of nuclear annihilation - we were all hanging in the balance of Nikita's action to President Kennedy's response to this aggression. Fortunately Nikita backed down. The world was truly at the mercy of these two world powers.
Though of a lesser magnitude, there continued to be hot spots of potential conflagration, world wide, even after 1974. So let's not forget the post-Vietnam Veterans as cold war respondents.
Many have forgotten - and many are not old enough to have lived through this period - where we grew up practicing nuclear attack survival skills as children in school. Now it's a new kind of "cold war" threat, for you never know where or what or when the enemy is likely to strike - in the form of terrorism. This country must continue to provide the kind of men and women who make up our armed forces if the United States of America is to remain the vanguard of world freedom - who else is going to do it?
Finally, with all the evil or Wolves (back to the Sheep and Wolves story) are we not always in some kind of Cold War? We continually need to enlist the aid of the Sheep Dogs. Is Devil Dog out and is Sheep Dog in, as the new epithet for Marines? Do I need to change the patch on my cap?
This old cold war Marine would love to have a Cold War Marine T, even though I am considered a Vietnam "Era" vet because of my time having overlapped the cut-off date (or start date, if you will). However, my Pacific tour never got me past Okinawa. As a matter of fact, not only did I miss the Korean war by a year or so, I also missed out on the fabled Chesty run on the Zuit Suiters of Los Angeles, CA by the Marines at Pendleton - now that might have been some cool kind of duty. Is there anyone out there who can confirm that episode?
Sgt. Grit, I don't have any ideas emblazoned on my feeble old mind, but I hope this message will inspire other's gears to start turning.
Thanks to you for this forum.
Bless us all,
I am friends with a retired navy captain who told me that the soviets stayed on their side of the fence because Cold Warriors like the two of us stared back from our side.
Paul Gleason LCpl USMC not as lean...
PS your first letter describes my old Master Gunny Cockerell, promoted to Captain during'Nam, back to enlisted afterwards retired as a Captain
I am a grandma of a "new Marine" he graduated MCRD October 10,2008. He has gotten stationed at Twenty Nine Palms, CA and will be deployed in September to Afghanistan, I enjoy reading the letters sent from the ones that have served our country, and pray for each and everyone for safety, peace, health, warmth, love, and an understanding that we here in the States are living because they are serving.
Thank You to each of you who have served are serving and getting ready to serve.
One Proud Grandma
I enjoy reading your newsletters, it brings back so many memories that I have shelved for so many years. My son joined back in 2003. He was with 2/2 and did 2 tours. After 36 years of sucking it up I have finally settled with my ghosts. Watching my young Marine and the way he carries himself today has and always will be the proudest days of my life. But like we say 'Once a Marine Always a Marine'!
"Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may be disappointed. Strive to be the best and you may succeed: he may well win the race that runs by himself."
There were some letters from "Cold War" Marines in your recent letters.
I fall in that category myself. I served 1953-1955. Instead of the term "Cold War" I use the term "The Quiet Years". I have always maintained that my greatest disappointment was not having combat experience with my beloved Corps. The closest I came was when the Chinese Communists were shelling the Islands of Quemoy (Formosa). We, the 4th Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division, was moved from Nara Japan to Kaneohe Bay Hawaii to train as the initial striking force. We were beefed up with Amtracks out Korea and Artillery out of Okinawa. It never transpired. What a let-down. Too, I tried to volunteer as a gunner on a helicopter during Vietnam but was turned down. They were concerned about my age.
Even though I never made it into combat, and didn't make the Corps a career I did complete my Military service in the Army and Navy Reserves.
I told both outfits that every Reserve Unit in the U.S. deserves at least one good Marine to keep them squared away and I'm yours.
In addition to the Reserve time I have been a member of the Marine Corps League for 20 years. Too, I have recruited several young men on my own whom I thought would be worthy to wear the EGA, one of them is my Grandson who will soon be deployed to Iraq (I told him to tell his CO I would be more than willing to take his place).
Life is not always fair. Wars and conflicts do not always follow one's own time table, you just have to roll with the punches. I was there in the event I was needed and was ready and willing to prove myself. I don't run around jumping any six foot fences any more but one thing for sure, I'm a Marine for life.
Cpl (E-3) of Marines
Gung-ho & Semper Fi
"This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I Mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden."
Senator Barry Goldwater
Greetings Sgt of Marines,
1. "We did not write our orders, but we followed the orders given"
2. "When was the last time the Marine Corps asked you what you wanted to do?"
3. Cold war, hot war, how high, where at, it does not matter, Marines get-er done!"
4. Cold war, Marines p!ss, moan, and b!tch, There're happy, leave them alone!"
5. Marines eat, sleep, and thrive on training and hardships. Cold war, hot war, its all the same to a Marine.
"The weak will inherit nothing. The strong will kick butt and survive!"
"The Texas Top"
Semper Fi (Always Faithful)
Fratres Aeterni (Brothers Forever)
"Top" R. Plumlee, Sr.
Master Sergeant of Marines (Gold Wing) Airborne (Retired)
Still Lean, Mean, And Always A Marine!
"Attitude Is Everything"
The "Texas Top" says-----"Never Forget"!
Your request for ideas for the above line made me think of a jacket my Marine vet hubby wore when I first met him. He was a Marine Security Guard at the US Embassy in Oslo, Norway, where I worked as a "local".
After first calling these guys "Navy guys" (Navy in Norwegian is Marine, so I was confused...), and being firmly corrected, I had lesson number two coming to me in the form of this jacket.
It said "Kill a Commie for Chesty".... Well, I knew what a Commie was, but I had no clue about Chesty....
I do now, though. Berry got out after serving 8 years, but our son (Cpl. David) is now in his 4th year of the same profession!
I am a proud Marine Mom now, and can educate people on who the "Chesty" is in the cryptic saying "Good night, Chesty, wherever you are"!
The cold War was a like Marriage when things got pretty cold, but you prayed it wouldn't end in the divorce.
Steve (Chip) Kramer
I'm sure you'll get this a thousand times; it's a Ronald Reagan axiom "Trust . . . .but Verify".
"Parade and reinforce the behavior you want others to emulate"
Armed Forces News
Two U.S. MARINES To Receive Posthumous Navy Cross Medals Two U.S. Marines who died thwarting an attack upon their standing post in Ramadi, Iraq, will receive posthumous Navy Cross medals in a Feb. 20 ceremony at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Va.
The two Marines, Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter of Sag Harbor, N.Y., and Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale of Burkeville, Va., immediately recognized the potential threat when they say a truck moving toward their position at an entry-control point on April 22, 2008.
They fired upon the vehicle and stopped it before it could breach the checkpoint, but not before a suicide bomber could detonate the nearly 2,000 pounds of explosives it carried. The blast killed Haerter and Yale.
Comrades credit them with saving their lives. Haerter was assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment; Yale served with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
Both units are part of the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 2nd Marine Division.
T.T. SHEAF SGT.
In response to Sam Hood's question if any other Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipients are still living I am happy to report that George E. Whalen, Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, United States Navy is still with us. He served with the Second Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division.
The Salt Lake City VA Medical Center is named for him. The book "The Quite Hero: The Untold Medal Of Honor Story Of George E. Whalen At The battle For Iwo Jima" tell of his actions during the taking of Iwo Jima.
He certainly raised the bar for the Docs who followed after him.
"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
I was stationed on the MARDET USS Independence CV-62 and myself and several of my fellow Marines are trying to locate as many of former brothers as possible. Could you post a message in the next newsletter for anyone who served on the MARDET USS Independence from 1990 to 1995 to go to Facebook and sign up for our group page there MARDET USS Independence CV-62. At a later date will you make an announcement about a future reunion once we know the date?
Cpl. Michael Hand
USMC 1991 to 1995
I was stationed on Oakie with A co 3rd Engineer Bn during the early part of 1971 ( my 2nd tour over seas ).
We managed to catch a BLT ( 1/9 ) and visited several great ports of call too.
It was just after my return to the rock that I began to receive my series of shipping over lectures.
I'll never forget the first one when the SSgt. came into the NCO section and sat me down. At that point the old man Capt. Hansen wanted me to apply for warrant officer school.
I had other ideas and wanted to become a law enforcement officer back here in Illinois. But the thing that stood out the most was that just about all of the NCO's back then - were in fact getting out that I can recall. No one wanted to stay in!
Anyway, my goals were set and I thanked them all for taking the time.
I did follow my dream and just about within that year's time - I put back on another uniform - the one called public safety officer and completed 23 years with the final rank of First Lieutenant at the time of retirement.
The best memories was being able to complete US Secret Service POB school down in Glynco, Ga and helping to protect the president of the United States times four when he came through our town.
I guess you could call it "the making of a mustang-er the hard way" !
Lt. Retired Police & Fire
Sergeant of Marines 66/71
Rosemont Public Safety Dept 72/95
"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."
Dear Sgt Grit,
My hubby Jim, a Vietnam Recon Marine, and I usually go to breakfast on Weds and meet up w/a friend of ours who is an Army vet. On Weds John brings w/him an older gentleman, Jack. Jack served as a pilot with the FLYING TIGERS in the China-Burma theater. What a guy Jack is...always full of stories about what Claire Chennault's 1st AVG was up to during the years he served. Yesterday, as John was telling us something about using his computer to track down a map site for one of his daughter's friends who is currently living in Japan, he tried to come up with the name that the Japanese call their districts, and it was escaping him.
Jack quietly said: "I know what we called them..." And of course John thought Jack would know the "correct term" he was looking for... We got a chuckle as Jack pronounced: "TARGETS!"
RE: Warden Was Not Happy
During my time in Japan I learned a Japanese parable about Mt. Fuji. It well may apply to Jon Slayton's story:
"He who has never climbed Mt. Fuji is a fool. He who has climbed it twice, was twice a fool!" Kinda like joining the Corps ... But, I guess I'd be a fool.
Subject: Fw: North Platte Canteen -"Greatest Generation"
Some think America needs gov't programs to be great.
"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."
"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over the broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely the will be, by the better angels of our nature."
"We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth."
A swabby friend and I were talking on a Cruise and we both came to the same conclusion that the Oath we took when we Enlisted didn't have a time limit attached to it. We promised to defend our way of life, our Country, our Constitution, our flag against all enemies foreign and domestic. I am sure that every Marine, Sailor, Soldier and Airman feels the same. We sheepdogs need to unite in our cause.
Cpl of Marines 1958-1962
I served four years 1955-1959, High Depot Honor Platoon #74 during Cold War but will always wonder how I would have behaved in combat. Would I have made my fellow Marines proud. Always think I would have but will never know.
Jim Connor Sgt USMC
June 30, 1955 to June 30, 1959
Dear Sgt. Grit I have a friend, Ernie, who served in Korea during the cold war. every Veterans Day I call him to thank him for his service and to wish him a Happy Veterans Day. He says "oh nothing happened" or " I didn't have much to do." I tell him "nothing happened BECAUSE YOU were THERE." I thank him for providing that which we all pray for, Peace. They Also Serve, Who Only Stand And Wait.
Proud parent of CPL Robert Fay (3 Iraq Tours)
"Act like you are his friend. Then kill him."
- Sheik Muburak Gilani explaining how to kill American infidels
Operation Dewey Canyon,
I'll be forever thinking of the Brave Warriors of Operation Dewey Canyon and Marines, Corpsman that gave there lives on this Operation. It was to you those that served before us we carried the Traditions And Heart of the Corps. I'll be forever indebted to those I served and carrying the Memory of Our Lost Brothers, May they rest in Memory of our being but not for them they gave us Life.
Mike 3/9 2nd Platoon
On February 11, 2009 a group of us from here at Sgt. Grit went to visit the Veteran patients at the V.A. hospital in Oklahoma City. I didn't quite know what to expect until we got in there and started to visit the patients in each room. Our volunteer tour guide, Barbara, took us to a couple of floors where we passed out "goodie" bags to the veterans.
One Veteran in particular stands out in my mind. We gave him a goodie bag thanking him for his service and asked how he was doing. With a puzzled look on his face he thanked us wanting to know who it was from.
When we explained it was from Sgt. Grit, he laughed and said "well that's kind of funny because that's what I'm watching on TV, "True Grit", the movie. Knowing ourselves this movie was the reason that Sgt. Grit has this given name, we all looked at each other with a little shock. The three of us standing in his room looked behind the curtain blocking our view and sure enough, there it was on his TV, "True Grit"!
After a few seconds of disbelief over what had just happened, we explained how Sgt. Grit got his name and that it was all because of that very movie he was watching! Wow, what an amazing moment that I don't think any of us will ever forget!
When unexplained things like this happen, I believe it is for a reason.
I know I will never forget the experience of meeting the Veterans we did that day and simply saying thank you for their service. I'm sure some of them will never forget the people, ones they didn't even know who came by to say hi and thanked them for their service. If it only touched one person and made them feel like they were thought of, honored and appreciated then it was well worth us going that day. It was a very humbling and rewarding experience for me that day. I can't help but wonder how it made them feel.
Written by: Sami Tipton
"If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Some Heroes Wear Capes, Mine Wears Kevlar
In the face of Terror and Murder, the call for Peace is Not Patriotic, It's Cowardice!
God Bless America!
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done.
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In short...The AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give supporters of the Marine Corps and American patriots a voice.
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