AmericanCourage #203 25 JUN 2009
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I live in Orange County, CA, so visiting Disneyland is part of the local scene. This past year, I bought annual passes to the "Happiest Place on Earth" especially for my two little girls and enjoyed the park practically every weekend for the last 52 weeks. This past weekend was our last week before the annual pass expired, so we made it a point to visit and experience the little shops and attractions that we normally do not enjoy. We were making our way out of the park through Main street USA right around sunset time, when the local public announcement system stated that they will have a flag lowering ceremony at main square under the flag pole. Having never viewed this before, we decided to take a few moments to observe this "show".
(Story continues below...)
In the beginning, we got the usual that we expected out of Disney production, a small marching band, in their bright drum corps uniform and tall nutcracker-ish feathered hat, marching in from the Sleeping Beauty's Castle down Main Street. They played the usual patriotic themes...Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic, etc. But all of a sudden, something happened that changed everything. The Disneyland Color guard came in. They were dressed in their regular Disneyland security guard uniform: white button up shirt, red tie, navy trousers with blood stripes, white police-style octagon cap.
However, what set them apart was their demeanor, their tight movement, the sharpness of the crease in their uniform...and the Marine Corps tie pin. It was obvious that this Color guard took their job VERY seriously. First they invited all current and former military veterans to join them at the rotunda right under the flag pole. While the band played all the service songs (beginning with the oldest and the most well recognized one of them all, the Marine Corps Hymn), the Color Sergeant gave a crisp salute to us, and thanked us for our service. He was barking out orders and making facing movements that would have made the 8th & I platoons take notice. He then lowered the colors slowly and deliberately, better than what I have seen in my days at MCRD. The three men team folded both the national ensign and the CA flag in a perfect triangle shape, all the while making sharp and tight facing movements, and then they marched off as the band music played on.
My two small girls, 7 and 4, were enthralled by the pomp and circumstance. They were also very proud and excited that their daddy was a small part of the ceremony. My wife could not stop talking about it later when we met up with our relatives. I struck up a conversation with a gunner who was standing next to me during the ceremony. My 7 year old asked me how I knew him. My 4 year old commented how he was wearing the same ring as I do. But more than the pride I felt that day personally, I really want to give a heartfelt "OOHRAH" to the Color guard. Marines serve, and then eventually they move on. However, even in the "Happiest Place on Earth" they make their presence felt.
Corporal of Marines
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I have just returned from the reunion of the Vietnam era USMC 9th Engineer Battalion Association in New Orleans. It was great to renew old friendships and to make new ones. We hit about everything you can in four days in the French Quarter. We had a picnic lunch at the local naval reserve base that was great. Not sure I want to but I now know how to eat crawfish! We were taught cooking at the New Orleans School of Cooking. The teacher was former Navy but had relatives and friends in the Corps, so he kept us fairly well entertained. We even learned a little history of New Orleans and the Louisiana Purchase. Anyone want Bananas Foster?
Thanks again for the donated gifts. I ended up with a 9th Engineer's patch to go with the rest of my Marine stuff, most from Sgt Grit Marine Specialties.
Since I was staying a day longer than most of the rest, I put off visiting the World War II/D-Day Museum until after the others had left. Our young docent, probably not a veteran, did a commendable job until he got to the Iwo Jima display and while a video was showing it, announced something about the "soldiers" raising the flag. I couldn't let that pass and told him it was Marines who raised the flag. I know a Corpsman help too but he was part of the Corps then. Another younger than I Marine in the group supported me and later laid into the docent again. The docent, to his credit, couldn't apologize more. I suspect the docent considered all fighting men to be "soldiers" however, I'm sure he knows there is a difference now.
The museum tried to show many aspects of the war and dwelled on Japanese (Rape of Nanking, Bataan Death March) and Nazi (Holocaust) atrocities as well as the Allied firebombing of the Japanese mainland. The docent seemed to want to dwell on the latter too long for me. I would recommend seeing this museum if you ever visit New Orleans as the intend to continue adding to it. Just force yourself to keep away from Bourbon Street and all its scantily clad and other attractions for a while.
Jim Harris, former Lance Corporal, always a Marine Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country and Corps
I am so proud of my Marine, LCpl Daniel Lambert. Daniel fulfilled a boyhood dream in September 2007 when he completed boot camp at Parris Island - he was a Marine! But to me I am proud of my son for more than being a Marine. When he graduated from high school in June of 2007 he was a honor student and had been accepted at NC State University and was recruited by a small college in NC to play football. However, Daniel choose to follow his dream and leave for boot camp just two weeks after graduating. Daniel just returned from a seven month deployment overseas and is expected to deploy again in early 2010. Daniel's grandfather served in the Navy in World War II and a very special man he "adopted" as his grandfather served in the Army in World War II. These two men are Daniel's heroes but MY HERO is my son - my Marine - LCpl Daniel Lambert!
A Proud Marine Mom
And I Quote...
"[T]he flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them."
Dear Sgt. Grit-
My son, LCpl Jordan C. Haerter of Sag Harbor, New York, a proud member of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, The Walking Dead, was killed in action on 22 April, 2008
He was guarding an entry control point at Ramadi, Iraq along side of Cpl Jonathan T. Yale of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines who also perished.
Jordan and Jonathan were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for Extraordinary Heroism for their actions at a beautiful ceremony fittingly held at the awesome, National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA.
Many of Jordan's Marine brothers and his girlfriend have sent me photos of their tattoos that they have had done to honor Jordan.
These are lifetime remembrances that they proudly wear and I love them for that.
Marines are a true brotherhood
Forever Proud Mom of LCpl Jordan C. Haerter, USMC
Hey Sgt. Grit,
Well, as for me, I'm only 16 years old but I love the Marines so much that to me it's not another branch of the military but more like a passion and a way of life. Most of the Marines I know are really crazy but also are very dedicated. So far, I am planning to join the Marines unless I have something holding me back here at home. My family is very supportive with my decisions and very open to what I plan to do. I have been in an Army JROTC for the passed 3-4 months and I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the Marine JROTC, so I plan to return to that. Whatever it takes. I love that program with all my heart because it made me who I am today and made me realize so much about life.
With that being said, I would like to thank Sgt Maj. and Lt Col. for that because they have been there through my ups and downs and even though I wasn't always the best at everything, they helped me get somewhere better than I was yesterday. My entire life I always tried different things like playing guitar, saxophone, trumpet, basketball, modeling, and being in the band, but nothing ever made me have the pride that I have when I get up in the morning and put on the uniform that our men and women wear today and have worn in many different years. When I'm in that uniform I feel a rush and so much pride and respect for our country and I just want to thank anyone who has served or is planning to serve because little by little we make this country and this world a better place. God bless the USMC!
With much love and respect to the Marine Corps,
Leticia M. Lezcano
And I Quote...
"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."
Dear Sgt, Grit,
My son Levi Howe graduated from the Young Marines boot camp on June 10, 2009 in Gardner, Ks. I was always proud of him but he really made me proud that night. His CO really cares for his kids. Thank you!
Hey, Sgt, Grit.
Thought you might like some pics of my son, Jesse in Afghanistan. The group pic is of his embedded training team, ETT 5-4. 4 of them, including himself, are training the ANA or Afghan National Army and the rest are assigned to humanitarian teams throughout Afghanistan. The other pic is of him playing football with our army. Who says our Marines and army can't get along? LOL!
He has been stationed in the Kunar Province which is on the border of Pakistan since November.
Thanks for all of your support for our brave men and women...I call his ETT pic "The band of Brothers".
My book ....Airdales of Guadalcanal ...is now made into a screenplay. Hopefully it will be seen by a producer for a movie. The Marine Corps Avenger TBF-1 was in service at the beginning of the Guadalcanal campaign.
Although a work of fiction the screenplay it took over 2-years to put together a story of a TBF-1 torpedo bomber and a crew that flew the offensive missions against the Japanese Army, and Navy.
Your news letter is a wonderful tool to remind us of the supreme sacrifices the Pilot sand Airdales contribution to win the Pacific War. It will be appreciated if you would mention the screenplay in your news letter.
And I Quote...
"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."
You recently posted some photos of my Marine and I at my wedding in April. Thank you for that!
I wanted to tell you real quick how totally awesome the Marine Corps family REALLY is. My son PFC Hebb, Nick L. is on his way to Oki. Japan for two years. He is my only son, we are extremely close so this is pretty hard on both of us. I put him on a plane out of St. Louis Mo. on the 9th heading to NC where he will catch another one on the 10th to Seattle WA. From there he boards an aircraft for Japan. He hit Seattle about quarter till 5 pm on the 10th, which is today. As I am typing to you two of my Marine mom, email buddies since boot, are with him and two of his boot camp guitar playing buddies from boot. I have arranged for him to meet these ladies upon arrival.
They are taking him sight seeing and out to dinner before he has to leave US soil for two years. Originally it was only planned that they meet Nick but when he hit the USO in Raleigh he hooked up with his two buddies. Well, being the awesome Marine Corps moms that they are, they switched from a car to a van to accommodate all three of them at the last minute. One of the ladies even bought more Bibles so they all have one. They are sending them off with their bellies stuffed and a bag full of all sort of goodies for the plane ride. Now how cool is that! Marine moms rule!
To give you a really good example: one of my friends who lives here at home with me and is suppose to be a real true friend, was supposed to and promised to, get Nick a St. Christopher's necklace for before he left. I wanted more than anything for him to leave with one. I even emailed her a few days before he left and she still said she was going to get him one. Well when he left here yesterday, he didn't have it. So I email these two Marine moms in Seattle and plead my dilemma with them and you know what! When I got home I had two messages on the machine. They had found him a necklace and were on their way to the church to have it and the Bibles blessed by a priest. No where on the face of this earth have I found such loyalty, not even from my so called friend who sadly let me down in a time of need.
Here these two ladies are, all the way across the country, and have never meet him yet them didn't seem to have any trouble coming thru for him, and at the last second! Loyalty truly does not exist like that outside the Marine family. God Bless the Marine Momma's!
VPMM of Hebb, Nick L.
3rd MLG Oki, Japan
About one month ago, my wife and I were eating at a restaurant in Terre Haute, Indiana.
We had our meal, and were talking when a man walked in from my left. He was straight as a board, crew cut, chest out, flat abs, eyes straight ahead, and walking as if marching with great pride. I told my wife, "he is a Marine or a great copy of one". We finished eating, and I excused myself and said, "I'm going to talk to him". I walked over to the man, and said,"You are a Marine, or I miss my guess".
He stood up, looking me right in the eye, shook my hand, and pulled out his business card, and introduced himself. "I'm Major General Tom Jones, retired, and If there is anything I can ever do for you, just ask." It was indeed one of the great highlights of my life as a Marine.
Major General Thomas Jones, Retired is one of the Board of Directors for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund organization. As Marines, we are all lucky to have officers of this quality.
I will be writing him soon, and it was my honor to have met him that day.
Former Marine Sergeant Jim Wade, 1955 to 1961, 3rd and 2nd Tank Bn.
And I Quote...
"The right of resisting oppression is a natural right."
-President Andrew Jackson
Freedom has a flavor...The rest of the story!
ORIGIN to the Tim Craft message originating in Vietnam, 1968 L/Cpl Edwin L. "Tim" Craft, B Co 3rd AT's, Khe Sanh Combat Base, February, 1968
Read the article
On 13 June 1966, members of the 3rd Mar Div, LVTE-1 Platoon were on a search and clear/ search and destroy mission in support of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines at Hill 55. At around 12 noon, a booby-trap (bouncing Betty) was tripped killing 4 and wounding 4 from our platoon. William Dely was one of the KIA. A bridge will soon be named in his honor in WV.
Frank J Scorsone
WIA 13 June 1966 Hill 55
And I Quote...
"If ever there was a time to save, it's now. When a dog gets a bone he don't go out and make the first payment on a bigger bone. He buries the one he's got." Will Rogers
I attended a wedding in Rochester NY over the weekend and the cousin of the groom attended in his dress blues. My son is a Marine for almost 4 years now. He was stationed in Iwakuni Japan for 2 years and is now in Quantico VA with the HMX-1 Squadron. I have only seen him in pictures with his dress blues on at the Ball with other Marines all in their blues and I could tell from looking at the pictures this Marine in NY was not squared up properly. He was out side and he wasn't wearing his cover and his pants were so long they were dragging on the pavement. His hair was long and he didn't look sharp like a Marine in his dress blues should. I didn't say anything because I wasn't sure what to say.
I know he just got back from Iraq and everyone there was glad he was back and probably could care less about dress blues protocol. My cousin Adam who was not in the Marines but sat at the reception table with me also made a comment about him being out of uniform. We both said he just didn't look right. Halfway into the reception and many drinks later the white belt was undone and the jacket hanging open with his t-shirt showing. My cousin Adam told me when they were outside smoking a cigarette he made a comment to him about being out of uniform and this Marine told him he didn't give a f**k because he was on vacation.
I mentioned this to a few of my relatives at the reception that maybe he shouldn't have worn his uniform if he wasn't going to wear it properly and was basically told to shut up. I think if you are going to wear your dress blues then wear them properly and proudly the whole time they are on or leave it at home and wear a suit even if you are on vacation. Am I wrong???
K Jenkins Pembroke Pines FL
Proud MOM of Cpl Travis Jenkins
I wanted to say thank you to the Sgt. Grit's team for making me this bumper sticker. I've seen several items for wives, girlfriends, and fiances, but never anything for those of us who are proud of being a Marine Corps brat. As I drive around town or on the freeway it has become common place for Marines, young and old, new guard and old guard, to wave, salute, or honk their horns. Those around me think I'm nuts to place this on my car, but I am truly thankful for the service and sacrifice the Marines have made so that I may enjoy my freedom at home.
Thank you to all who have served and are actively serving both at home and abroad.
Daughter of Staff Sergeant Ronald Miles Service Dates (1959-1972)
Create Your Own Bumper Sticker
And I Quote...
"Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind."
--James Wilson, 1790
Here is a picture of my new Marine Mom tattoo. I have one son who is a Marine and is currently in his MOS school in Missouri and another son who is scheduled to ship to Parris Island this summer after High School graduation. I am so proud of both my boys!
and here is one of my brand new Marine! and my future Marine!
Very proud Marine mom of PFC Keith
Dear SGT. Grit,
My son Jeffrey went to boot camp last August.(2008) He left just before his 18th birthday, and to be honest I had hoped that he would go to college and play baseball, but he chose the Marine Corps, and what a great decision that was. To pass the time away, and to make me feel closer to him I started to read everything I could on the Marine Corps. I started reading about Parris Island and the training that these young men and women go through to become Marines.
Unless you have lived it you will never know the sacrifice and hardships these people go through, so that they can protect us. I always knew the Marines where the best, but I never really knew how good they where until I started my reading. Some of the stories of what past Marines have done just blew me away. One thing that I didn't realize is what a close nit organization the Marines are. As I look back on graduation day, it makes me happy to know that I didn't loose a son to the Corps, but I gained thousands of Marine step-sons and daughters. I thank everyone that has served or is serving now, you, people are true heroes. I am including a picture of my tattoo in hopes that you will post it with the others.
And I Quote...
"In a situation where there is no righteous person, try to be a righteous person".
I was recently looking at some old 1960 era photos of myself, Lance Corporal Gary E. Stevens and a very good friend of mine, Cpl. Charles "Skip " Venable, who were photographed together while going through Recon School at Dam Neck, Virginia. We were stationed aboard the USS. Newport News, CA148, a heavy cruiser, the ship which was selected to have it's Marines board the Russian Ship suspected of bringing missiles into Cuba to check and verify the intelligence report. Fortunately, the ship turned around on it's own prior to reaching our position and the Cuban Crisis kind of deescalated from that point on. Anyway, I digress, I tracked skip down to Dover, Delaware, learning that he was a retired Major in the Delaware state Police and that we had followed much the same career paths, myself having entered the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the same point, but later left to pursue a college degree and bigger bucks. Upon getting reacquainted and learning that I was having another bout with Leukemia, Skip packed up the wife and drove to Ohio for a visit.
Upon arriving, Skip was impressed by my den, which looks like a USMC museum. My Dress Blues Uniform from sea duty days, is displayed in a glass case with pistols, knives, grenades, bullets, patches, Japanese and German war souvenirs on shelves and in display cases. Upon seeing this, Skip commented that an old friend of his had given him a WWI USMC helmet and that it would look good with my collection. Taking this in, I waited four days before calling offering to trade him something for the helmet. His reply was: " It's already in the mail." Upon examining the helmet I found it to be well constructed, olive drab, with a small USMC emblem sitting above a painted insignia: a yellow square, with a white star, and an Indian chief centered on the star? I looked through all of the literature I have but could not find any history related to this insignia. Can you or any of your readers help in identifying this insignia and any history that may be attached to it.
Thanks to all, and Semper Fi, Devil Dogs.
I understand that a member of Congress from Kansas is proposing that the Navy and the Marine Corps in the future be known as "Navy and Marine Corps". Does anyone know why he is proposing this? It seems to me that the Marine Corps being 20% of the Navy has worked out Ok over the years.
Rodney A. Davies
In the 4 June issue of the newsletter, MGySgt. R. M. Neuman told about the time, as a junior enlisted man, when he was hassled by a gate guard for driving his officer's car without written permission (while his officer was riding as passenger in the vehicle).
For some reason, (probably because it's June now) that reminded me of my own close brush with the MP's that could have derailed my career.
I reported to The Basic School as a brand new second lieutenant around 15Mar66. After a few months of separation from my fiancÃ©e, we made plans by long distance phone to get married during the long 4th of July weekend. However, her older brother died of Hotchkins Disease around May or June, at the age of 22, about a year and a half younger that I was at the time. Afraid that her getting married so soon after Larry's death would further upset her parents, she said we should postpone our plans. I decided to go home to Texas on leave, anyway.
The first thing she said to me when I arrived was, "I've changed my mind.
I'm coming up in two weeks and we'll get married after all."
I asked her whom she intended to marry, since I had spent all my money on the plane ticket home to see her.
When I got back to TBS, I not only had to deal with the daily training routine, but I also had to buy a car and find an apartment for us during the last month of our stay in Quantico. Long story short: I bought a '64 Chevy Impala convertible (the only convertible I've ever owned) at a used car lot owned by a retired gunny in Triangle with a Greek name, which, for some reason, I can't remember after only 43 years. I also made arrangements for her to stay in the "Hospitality House" aboard Mainside Quantico. Then, over the last weekend in June, I drove up to Baltimore to meet her at the airport.
During the week, I left the car with her, since I would be in classes or out in the field all day. Around Wednesday, when I returned to the BOQ at the end of the training day, I found an urgent message waiting for me to contact the Base Provost Marshal regarding possible charges stemming from an accident involving my vehicle! My roommate drove me into mainside.
The "Hospitality House" parking lot sloped gradually down toward the banks of the Potomac River, and was separated from that body of water only by a few large trees. I found out that my young lady had parked in the lot up near the house, only to have the car roll back, almost going over the edge into the river, if it had not been stopped by the trunk of one of those aforementioned trees. She apparently did not put it in "park".
Unfortunately, that was not the only problem. On its way toward the river, my shiny yellow convertible managed to knock out the tail light of another car, which happened to belong to a colonel. In addition to the accident itself, and the damage to his property (which was much less than the nice long gouge now gracing the entire length of my "new" used car), we were not yet married, so my young lady was not authorized to drive my vehicle aboard the base. They had me on three different charges!
Fortunately, the colonel decided not to press those charges. He said he didn't want to ruin my career before it really got started. (THANK YOU, SIR!) Besides, my car had more damage than his did. That "scar" was still there a year and a half later, after my 'Nam tour, when I traded the convertible in for the first new car I ever bought.
And, yes, I married the young lady, anyway, on Saturday, 23Jul66.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
Subject: I called my stockbroker
I called my stockbroker today and asked, "What are you buying"?
His answer: canned goods and ammunition.
Fueled by the Fallen
This issue has focused on DI's. from Parris Island and San Diego. We all had the same kind of introduction to Marine life. I went through P.I. from June-August of 1958. I know what we went through at P.I. but I have heard some of my buddies talk about "Little Agony" and " Big Agony". Today someone talked about the "Reaper". I don't know if they are one and the same or not but this is one former Marine that is glad we didn't have anything like that. There were no yellow footprints at P.I. in 1958. We all seem to agree that we hated our DI's for 3 months and then thanked them for the rest of our lives. I may have mentioned this book before but this book was written by 5 former DI's. It explains boot camp from their point of view. They lay out week by week what is expected of them with their platoon. Pressure is put on them so they have put pressure on the platoon to accomplish all of these tasks. Some of them will put in as much as 100 hours a week sometime if that is what it takes. They break the training down week by week through the whole 13 weeks. The name of the book is, "The Few and the Proud" The old gunny Richard Ermey is one of the DI's. It will make you want to contact your DI. They would appreciate the call. Don't wait too long because 2 of mine had already passed away. The widow of my Sr. DI said that he would have been very grateful.
L/CPL Harold Beasley
And I Quote...
"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men."
Doc Miller here, just wanted to let you know I received my shirt yesterday it was outstanding. This is the 4th one I have bought from you and keep getting better every year. I liked the Marine Corpsman on the back. I had a Colonel Bassett tell me I was great and told me I was not a Navy Corpsman but a Marine Doc all the way. I felt very proud of that statement. I worked with some of the best Marines in the Corps.
HM1 (DOC) C. T. Miller
Flag Day June 14, 2009
WWII Veterans Honored
I am on our Legion Honor Guard, one of our past commanders Bill Kaufman had noticed that we had lost a lot of our WWII Veterans last year. So he said we should find a day and get them all together for a picture. Well it took some time to get the right day for the picture. We finally picked "Flag Day" because all of our snow birds would be back for the summer. Also it was a date close to the "D-Day Anniversary". The Flag Day program is always put on by the Grand Haven Elk's Lodge with support from the American Legion and the VFW. I asked the chairman Mike Lankes from the Elk's Fag Day Committee if we could be part of their program that day. He said YES.
I had told the VFW Commander Darrell Thornley about what I had planed. He was very pleased because he is a WWII, Korea and Vietnam Veteran. So we worked together to get American Legion and VFW members to spread the word to the community so we could get as many WWII Veterans. Our local newspaper ran an article for us.
When I told members from our Legion Riders about what we wanted to do. They came up with the idea to escort our WWII Veterans from the Waterfront Stadium where the Flag Day program was and to also cook a dinner for the WWII Veterans and their guests.
We had a great day, 68 WWII veterans came to the Flag Day program and had a wonderful dinner. Lots of the veterans stayed late and just talked to old friends and made some new friends that day.
The wonderful people from Sgt. Grit helped me get them all the special WWII Veterans Pin (15908). You made their day. Lots of them wondered where I found a Great pin like that. I told them about Sgt. Grit. I want to thank all of you at Sgt. Grit for helping me get the pins so I could have them for Flag Day when I found out I needed more pins with only 3 days to go.
Grand Haven, Mi.
American Legion Post #28
2nd Vice Commander
David L. MacKellar "Mack"
ex-Marine, Sgt. Mack 1970-74 Semper Fi
And I Quote...
"Eloquence and good intentions exempt no one from the truth of the past. "
Victor Davis Hanson
Lindsay thank you for setting AOL straight. I received my Sgt Grit newsletter this week. I read them nearly everyday till the next one arrives. It was like missing an old friend when they stopped coming. So again thank you so much from an old Marine
My Senior DI was GySgt Deshotel a veteran of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, Inchon, Chosin.
After being in Boot Camp for about a week he said to us. "The Marines are in the real estate business and we pay for that land in blood." I have never forgotten that statement and how true it is.
I am writing in regards to a momentous event that occurred this past weekend (11-14 June 2009).
In 1969, an honor platoon graduated from "A" Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD, San Diego. Platoon 1066 Drill Instructors were, SSgt. Guadalupe Gonzalez, Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt. Ed E. Alley, and Sgt. Anthony Leon Gatling. The Honor Man was Private (awarded PFC) Steven Wills. Although awarded the "Honor Platoon" streamer for their Guidon, members of this platoon has exemplified the meaning of honor throughout their military and civilian careers. One member, Ken Fielder, has been awarded 5 Purple Hearts and the bronze star. Of all the members of this platoon that saw duty in Viet Nam, not one failed to return. This, in itself, is unheard of. The Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt. Gonzalez, however, feeling the call to serve again, returned to Viet Nam, where he was fatally wounded by a booby trap.
In honor of SSgt. Gonzalez and the two remaining Drill Instructors, a reunion was held in Branson Missouri 40 years later, organized by Recruit Platoon 1066 members, William "Tom" Rogers and Robert "Bob" Deal. They were assisted by Tom's wife Michelle, Honor Man, Steve Wills and 1066 platoon member, Mark Tapscott (ret SSgt).
This is the only reunion of it's kind and I hope that you will find it of interest to your readers.
Attached are photographs of the recruit platoon, drill instructors and attendees of the reunion.
Anthony Leon Gatling
My son Sgt Ryan Mathew Robinson was a US Marine, assigned to the HQ Battery,14 Regiment, 4th Division, stationed at the NAS/JRB, Fort Worth, Texas. He had served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006 but had come home with brain trauma from numerous concussions received during combat. Although under medication for seizures, he left us for heaven on September 1st, 2008, after having a grand mall seizure as he slept. We are a family of service. My father was the adjutant US Marine orderly bodyguard for Admiral Kimmel and Nimitz at Pearl Harbor during the attack by the Japanese. My mother was an US Army Nurse. Oldest brother, Navy...middle brother, USMC...I was in the Air Force...oldest son, Navy (USS George Washington) ....and Ryan was our Marine. My wife, Bonnie, started getting support from "Gold Star Moms" on the internet several months after Ryan's passing. This article I know will touch many Marine moms and dads....sons and daughters that have lost our loved ones in service to there country.
My Dear family members,
We, Bonnie and I hope that when this is read we will all be reminded of God' providential and love for us. A few weeks Bonnie wrote about how she was feeling and I responded and tried to encouraged her to be strong. I told her I wish I was near to hug her. Bonnie, precious mom of Ryan wrote me back and we started to correspond.
Bonnie's husband decided to take her on a cruise just to cheer her up somewhat. She really wasn't interested until she found out that the ship would make a short stop in Jamaica. She became excited for maybe, just maybe, we could meet. I was excited when she told me of her pending trip so I begged my husband to take me to Montego Bay which is a three hour drive both ways from my home. Now I am presently going to university in Kingston which is another hour and a half drive from my home.
We put our plans in place to meet. I had to ask for special absence from classes, which was gladly given when I told the lecturer why I was going to be absent. He felt it as of uttermost importance to at less try to meet Bonnie. I was not penalized. I was given extra reading to make up for the hours.(God be praised for that) Bonnie and I were just like kids who were promised a new doll. We could hardly wait for the day to come.
The morning April 15 came and I started to travel from 5:30 since I live on campus. I was late reaching home but my husband was ready so we started our long journey. We drove fast which is not the norm especially since a year ago we had a terrible accident. But we prayed as we left home. We were about an hour into our journey when my cell rang. It was the tour guide telling us that Bonnie was waiting. Now you know how children are when what they were promised is near. I was nearly beside myself. Only God knows what I was going through. I was saying I should have missed classes the day before too, then we would have been on time and would not get caught up in traffic. Anyway we finally reached the pier. Bonnie knew what I was wearing and the color vehicle so she spotted us. It was so good to finally put a face to the words and voice. We hugged and went to spend a few hours sharing our boys with each other.
As we sat having lunch sharing stories and just getting to know each other, crying too, we started sharing pictures. Bonnie gave me a small album among other pictures to look at. Perhaps because of its side I put it aside and somehow almost forgot it. We started to share more stories when I started to put the pictures together when I saw the album and picked it up and began looking through it, looking at Bonnie granddaughter and more pictures of baby Ryan and Doug when I came to the very last picture in the album. It was the only picture of Ryan in Iraq. He took the picture with two of his friends. As I looked at Ryan and started to look at his friend stooping on top the Humvee.... whose smile, whose eyes, whose fingers was I looking at??????
None other than that of my precious, loving adorable, unique only child the one and only STEPHEN RON-O'NEIL KARL RICHARDSON SR smiling at his mom. ...ME. I jumped up, I screamed 'this is Stephen, this is Stephen'. I ran outside to look at the picture in the natural light to make sure and there he was.....my Steve.... my precious child. We could not believe it. Of all the pictures Bonnie had, she choose that one. It was an act of God. Only He knew how many times I wish I could see a picture o Stephen in Iraq. He was deployed on February 8, 07 and pass away on March 20, 07. I was overjoyed. We were all crying and looking at the picture of our boys-RYAN AND STEPHEN smiling at us.
Bonnie had remarked once that she believed our boys wanted us to meet and that they would smile when we did meet. Was this a self fulfilling prophecy. She did not know Stephen. She did not know that both boys knew each other. She also said she felt that God wanted us to meet. Well what do you think? I am just thanking GOD again for being good to me. I saw Stephen smiling at me. If he was here he would say 'Mommy I know this would make you happy. Meet Ryan my friend' We, Bonnie and I have been replaying this meeting, set up by God, over and over again in our minds. God You Are Good. To You Be All Praise Glory And Honor. David in Psalm 16 verses 5&6 says 'You, Lord are all I have and You give me all I need; my future is in Your hand. How wonderful are Your gifts to me, how good they are!' This is one of them good gifts so we can say without a shadow of doubt that GOD'S HANDS ARE IN OUR LIVES.
Bonnie's family and mine trust that as you read you will come to appreciate the fact that Our God Is With Us And We Are Not Alone and added to that He has brought us together for His own purpose and reason which we will never understand but let us trust His heart for He Loves Us With An Everlasting Love.
We will grieve every day for the rest of or lives but we can find comfort in His promises which leads to life eternal. God bless you. Have a day filled with His choicest blessings.
Jackie C. Proud mom of Stephen,
Proud mom of Ryan.
DOUBLE big bear hug from both families filled with much love and sun shine
From Doug Robinson,
Proud father of Sgt Ryan Robinson, USMC
And I Quote...
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
My BROTHER Is A Marine
In the face of Terror...
God Bless America!
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done.