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AmericanCourage #205     23 JUL 2009

Our favorite Lance Corporal is John Blacksher III from Mobile, AL. He is in Iraq as part of the MTT. (Military Transition Team) They are working with the Iraq Army and Police is training them to take over. We are so proud. He was part of MWSS 271 out of Cherry Pointe, NC, but volunteered for this duty. He is supposed to be home in about 14 weeks. We can't wait. Thanks for what you do!

John Blacksher, Jr.

US Marine Corps Special Shirts

While reading the recent newsletter, the short tribute to Ed McMahon set me thinking about Marines that have gone on to gain acclaim for something other than their service in the Corps. We all get emails claiming service for someone who has been in the public eye for one reason or another, be it politics, the entertainment industry or whatever. Sometimes those claims are true, sometimes not. For example, Mr. Rogers was not a Navy Seal, nor was he a sniper. In fact he had no military service at all. Bea Arthur was not in the Marine Corps. She states that emphatically in an interview on YouTube.

Captain Kangaroo served in the Marine Corps but not in World War Two. Lee Marvin did serve in the Marine Corps, did serve during World War Two, was wounded in combat but not on Iwo Jima, did receive a Purple Heart but did not receive the Navy Cross. I see all these false claims of service and heroism and I become jaded, then up pops someone with genuine service and I'm surprised.

I like surprises; such as Dave Rosner a current stand-up comedian and a recent active U. S. Marine. Rosner likes to say he served two tours in Iraq. One in 2003 with the Marine Corps, the next in 2009 as a comedian.
Some probably know Jonathan Winters served two and a half years in the Corps during World War Two.
Wikipedia claims Dusty Baker, current manager of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team was a Marine Reservist 1969 through 1975.
That was a surprise to me.
Bob Bell, famous for years in Chicago as Bozo The Clown spent some time in the Corps.
One of my biggest surprises was Don Adams, best known as Maxwell Smart of the old TV show "Get Smart". Adams served in the Corps and did a tour on the drill field as a Drill Instructor. Picture that in your mind.
Comedian, Drew Carey.
Baseball Hall of Famer, Rod Carew.
No, you didn't go through boot camp at the same time as the Everly Brothers unless you joined the Corps, as they did, in November of 1961.
Baseball's Ted Williams and Roberto Clemente along with Golfer Lee Trevino have all been inducted into the Marine sports Hall of Fame (I didn't even know there was one. Did you?)

What got my train of thought on this track was a cooking show I was watching last night. Chef John Besh, owner of four top restaurants in New Orleans, let drop that he was a Marine. I looked it up and sure enough, he was a Corporal and squad leader in the Company that was involved with the liberation of the Kuwaiti Airport during Desert Storm. Cpl Besh carried a mortorman MOS.

There are thousands upon thousands of Marines that have done something special with their lives and a large number have gained some degree of notoriety. I would like to think those successes come from their training and service in the Marine Corps. Congratulations to those Marines and thanks to all Marines for serving. You're all number one in my book.

The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Best In Show Marine Truck and Car My Dad entered this pair of vehicles in a car show in Florida on July 4th. He won Best in Show! All day long, people passing by declared, "Semper Fi!"

DE Huntington
USMC Corporal '79 - '83

And I Quote...

"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."
--Gen. A. M. Gray, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps

Support Our Troops Special

Sgt. Grit,
Thank you George T. James for your ode to the Arlington Cemetery! It brought a tear to my eyes and reminded me to stand up strong when people criticize me for marrying someone who is often in harm's way. Nothing has ever made me more proud. Thank you for your service to this country! I won't forget your words.

Stacie Worden
Fianc�e of PFC Adam G May

Hello my name is Carl Little I am a sailor in the United States Navy. I am writing in regards to the story that George T. James wrote about burying his father in the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. Well, I recently had my father cremated and spread his ashes with the rest of the family. Well I have been to that cemetery and I know what you mean by hearing the voices in the silence and I want to say that I am very sorry to hear about your father. Semper Fi and even though he is gone (God rest his soul) he is and forever will be a Marine and I hope that you have a great day. I just wanted to say that I read what you wrote and it touched me it was very heart felt and moving.

Carl Little
USS Boxer LHD-4

And I Quote...

"So they've got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those bast*rds won't get away this time!"

Parris Island Marriage Proposal Devil Pup in Marine Father's Cover Devil Pup and Marine Father

Memories, that will NEVER fade!
A Picture of our son with his daddy's cover on when he was 4 months old.

A very happy day in our life, his graduation from boot camp, Parris Island, The marriage proposal!

Then a recent Photo of my husband, and our son. He will be going on his first deployment this August. My son and I will be totally lost without him home. I just wanted to share this picture, and just how cute a father and son can be. Especially with so much pride.

Semper Fi,
The Cabral Family
Rhode Island

Sgt. Grit:

My husband, our son and I visited southern California for our vacation this summer. While there, my husband wanted to take us to MCRD San Diego so we could see where he did his basic training 25 years ago. He has not been on that base since. We picked June 19, a day when there would be a graduation of new Marines. My husband joked when we entered the base that he was starting to sweat and feel nervous! I have to say, having never been to a Marine Corps boot camp graduation, it was an awesome ceremony to witness. (I have attached some photos of that day and a picture of my Marine.)

LCPL Gregory W. Hartle MCRD San Diego Graduation Ceremony MCRD San Diego Graduation Ceremony MCRD San Diego Graduation Ceremony

We didn't know anyone there, we didn't have any loved ones graduating that day. We just wanted to take some time and cheer on the outstanding accomplishment of the graduates. They all looked so perfect and handsome in their uniforms. We are so proud of them and so thankful for them. My husband certainly knows what they have accomplished, and it will be a part of who they are for the rest of their lives. I was mingling around with some of the graduates in the gift shop after the ceremony and they are so polite and such gentlemen, always saying thank you, excuse me and yes ma'am. To all Marines, thank you for your service.

Allison Hartle
Wife of LCpl Gregory W. Hartle, 1984-1987

PS. In May, we took a trip to Oklahoma City. Since we were in the area, we had to stop in at Sgt. Grit headquarters and do some shopping!

Sgt. Grit, I served two tours in Vietnam, my first with Foxtrot 2/7 as radioman and M-60 Sqd. Ldr. 1966-67 and with II Combat Action Group in 1969-70 as a CAP Ldr. I saw my share of combat, WIA four times, two Purple Hearts. I am PROUD of our "GRUNTS" who serve our Country today, we are in good hands, they are dedicated and trained well. My town has 20 men and women in "Harms Way," pretty good since our population is only 1830 citizens. Two of my nieces served in Iraq. Some of them serve many tours. My "THANKS" to all who serve our Country!

Semper Fi, Sunny Sundberg Sgt. USMC {Old Corps}

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Got a call recently from a fellow I served with and was told to go to YouTube's, "On My Way To Vietnam" video... Absolutely made my day to see that the 13th (My new lucky number) photograph was one I had included in a letter to you about a year ago... My family, too, got a great kick out of it. Also tracked down a few of the guys included in the pic and they enjoyed it very much...

Sincerest "Thanks" to all of you at the awesome News Letter for taking time to include it in that neat video.

And to all my fellow Vietnam war veterans and all Marines everywhere, lets continue to "Improvise", "Adapt" & Overcome"... OOOoooRah...!

Semper Fi',
Mike Regan

And I Quote...

"People unfit for freedom -- who cannot do much with it -- are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a 'have' type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for power is basically an attribute of a 'have not' type of self."
--Eric Hoffer

I would like to give a big OOh~RAh to my 2 special Marines the first is my father Charles Clevenger who was became a Marine in 1950 he was a Gunny Sergeant (I think that was how he said it) and a m.p. He was sooooo proud of being a Marine and everything bein a Marine stood for he fought his last battle with cancer August 9th 2007. He lived and died a proud Marine. SEMPER FI. He left behind 2 sons 2 daughters 5 grandkids and our mom. He was and always will be our hero we miss him so much.

The 2nd Marine is my nephew Corey Charles Carr his rank is Private 1st class and is currently is stationed Camp Pendleton in California just like my father. He is excellent with guns but he also is training to work on the amphibious tanks. I was looking in my fathers military papers and came to believe that my father is my nephews guardian angel because everywhere my father was in the Marines my nephew goes you might think im crazy (maybe I am) but I truly believe they are as one and my father is there beside him bein a Marine he always was.

Thanks for letting me tell my story. Once a Marine always a Marine. I am lucky to have 2 CHARLES JACK CLEVENGER and COREY CHARLES CARR OOH~RAH!
Thanks again Sincerely Kim Vazquez

Sgt Grit
Kudos for the very timely quote from Lenin which appeared in this week's newsletter.

Failure in the struggle against tyranny is not an option. I think it is going to be very difficult, but the enemies of liberty are worthless cowards once they are stripped of absolute power. My instincts tell me we are going to win this fight.

Patrick Hickey

Outnumbered 8 - 1: 'A good day for the Corps'

By Peter Bronson

"Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our humvees was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast." That's not from an episode of The Unit or 24. It's not from an anti-war movie. It's not from any newspaper or TV news reports I could find.

The quote comes from a "designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified." He was reporting what happened recently in the city of Shewan, Afghanistan. The story was told in a Marine Corps News report by Cpl. James M. Mercure. It will give you goose bumps and make you want to stand up and salute the nearest flag. Here's more, because it's a lot better than anything I could write today:

"The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,"the marksman said. Mercure reported, "Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines' deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area."

Read the rest of the story

And I Quote...

"Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the AMERICAN MARINES."
--Captured North Korean Major

Sgt. Grit

In response to Mr. Chervinko's statement, "I don't think there'll be a reader to argue this statement: There is no "vacation" when in that uniform!" a mentor of mine Col. William Belcher USMC retired once told me "you always represent the Marine Corps in or out of Uniform, active duty or not, you are always a Marine"

Col Belcher and I have the pleasure of traveling the world together for our civilian job and we watch each others back in many a "clime and place". It is an interesting that the former military members of our group automatically watch each others back, it is ingrained in us from our service.

Thank you for your newsletter.

Semper Fi

LCPL Michael R Kirby
H&S 1/2

There have been two items featured in the newsletter that I have to respond to.

The first is that scumbag who either didn't care to or didn't know how to properly wear the finest dress uniform on earth. While I certainly committed my share of transgressions in my 20 years of Marine service, I NEVER wore my uniform with anything less than the splendor and perfection it deserved. And the worst azz whippings I handed out were for those who did. Nor did anyone I corrected ever do it again when I could possibly catch them.

Marines don't take freaking vacations, we go on leave. That this lad could have said that and dishonored his uniform so only indicates to me that he needed NJP at minimum. I would have forced him to produce his ID card, and moved Heaven and earth to make sure his First Sergeant and Sergeant Major got a call. Would that have caused this malcontented soul some trouble, hope so. And he would have richly deserved it. Apparently his drill instructors failed the boy.

The other item was that moron wishing death on a Marine. This take the high moral road crap is just that, crap. People who do stupid and ignorant things, such as the Code Pink clan and others like them, do so only because they know there will be absolutely no consequences for their hateful and reprehensible actions. Had this individual seriously had to consider how bad he might have gotten his asz kicked because he wanted to act stupid, he would not have made that offensive statement. People like that are almost always physical and moral cowards, with no valid point in life, let alone in an intelligent conversation. And don't even waste my time about his right to have an opinion. He had no opinion to state, only a childish and no doubt notion that he should be allowed to act out like a four year-old and the security to know he could get away with it.

No doubt I will get heat for my opinion here, but given where I will take it from, others who have actually been useful in their lives, I will know that we could actually have a difference of REASONED opinion, and still remain comrades. But for those who simply want to be azzholes, they will continue to get embarrassed by me. And I after I am done, I ask them if they think they will want to do something that stupid again soon. Those who answer reply in the negative.

I am finding as I age that ignorance, cowardice, and stupidity are really chapping my asz more quickly than they used to.

Steve Cox
SSgt USMC Ret.

And I Quote...

"Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution -- or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement."
-- Ayn Rand

As a fellow Corpsman to and for Marines I also know the inner turmoil and struggle you described in your letter. I have been able to come to terms with my demons as I hope you have. Semper Fi.

The distant clack, clack sound of an AK-47 echoes in my memory

Shouting and confusion whirl around the ricocheting imagery bullets

The near misses still felt and almost seen in the slow motion recollection being played repeatedly in my head

I smell rifle smoke

Decaying jungle is thrown in my face

Noise becomes silence

The movie plays on

I reach for the black granite wall

My hand covers your name

I hear your laughter

I see your smile

I hear taps being played some where in my mind

I taste the tears that run down my face

I hear you say...

Doc ... its OK

HMC Donnel Schmidt

WW II : Rare Color Film : Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific

And I Quote...

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
--Patrick Henry

Sgt Grit

In 2006 it was 40 years since I earned the EGA at Parris Island. The wife and I were on vacation in Florida and I mentioned to the her that it was 40 years since Parris Island that I would like to see the Yellow Foot prints again. She readily agreed and we headed to South Carolina. We were lucky enough to catch a 1st Battalion Graduation. It wasn't a 2nd Battalion Graduation but I was thrilled to be there. The graduation was spectacular. The wife was really impressed and chills were all up and down my spine with the precision that those women and men displayed.

On July 2nd my granddaughter graduated from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Again I was thrilled to be at her graduation but something was drastically different. The precision was not there and it seemed like they didn't even care or try to get in step. My wife even noticed this. We truly are the elite. I have friends that were in the Navy and the banter goes on all the time and I can always shut them up when I say "say what you want but you can't be called a Marine". We earned that title and it is something that I am very proud of.

Cpl Randall H. Clark
Parris Island 1966
Viet Nam 67-68 2/26

I have to agree with him. So much has been in the news and on TV about one person. Maybe they need to publish on the front page of all newspapers all the deaths in combat. Then would anyone care? Other than the family's that lost a son, father or brother. I'm still waiting for my welcome home from Vietnam, 66-67. When do you think that will come? I did have two people thank me for serving recently which was appreciated. Semper Fi and a welcome home to all Vietnam Vets.
MSgt. John Kuheim
HMM-165, RVN.

And I Quote...

"Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
--Leviticus 25:10

I read your letter and it brought back many memories. I am not a Marine, I served with Marines in WWII and again as watch supervisor for about 40 Marines on Adak in the Aleutian islands 1962-64. I have a grandson in the Corps that will be deploying to Afgumpstan this summer, keep Daren in your prayers.

To all my Marine friends I say Semper fi.

Graham Smith CTRCS, USN Ret

Well, the Navy is working against drinking beer and now this. Interesting to see if it works. Look out Marines. I got this from an excellent source in the Marine Corps.

For ALL YOU SMOKERS out there, DOD has a plan for to make the U.S. Military completely tobacco free in 20 years, the first step is to STOP the sales of any tobacco product on U.S. Military bases including overseas! A tobacco sales ban may come as early as THIS YEAR, for Marines that are hooked on tobacco products, you better start finding a way to quit. Soon, your only option will be to buy all your products out in town, or while overseas you will have to rely on someone mailing those products to you. YES, even bases in Afg. Or Iraq will not sell tobacco products.

In the long run (20 Years) DOD wants a complete ban of tobacco products on Military Bases. If you want to read more on why do a yahoo search. "tobacco ban U.S. Military".

I just returned from a week in La Holla CA, San Diego CA. I went to the beach, but the best part was going to MCAS Miramar. Got to see all the aircraft they fly and talk to the young Marine pilots. I was with a group of 300 people and all were impressed by the Marines. On the way on to the base the guy talking to the group said this is a Marine base and you will see a lot of Soldiers. I couldn't hold back and said "they are not Soldiers" he said well what do you call them. I said you call them Marines. The bus was silent.

While walking to the hangar a fella ran up to me and said Semper Fi, if my dad was here and he heard him say that he would have been busier than a one legged man in an as$ kicking contest kicking his asz.

Jerry Morehouse Jr.

And I Quote...

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Sis follows brother into the Marines

Fredericksburg News

As a child, Mallory McClelland considered herself a princess in her frilly dresses and matching hair bows.

She even prayed that one day she'd have long flowing hair like the Little Mermaid.

Mallory also had two older brothers who picked on her so much that she had no choice but to get tough.

When they looked for tadpoles, she stomped her pretty pink shoes in mud holes right along with them.

"I dressed up like a girl, but I could fight with them," she said about Thomas, 24, and Justin, 22. "They made me the way I am."

Mallory, 18, will take the toughness she learned from her brothers--and from playing field hockey at Stafford High School--into the military.

She's following Justin into the Marine Corps. He's a lance corporal who has done two tours in Iraq.

She has some big shoes to fill, literally.

She's 5-3, a foot shorter than Justin, but those who know her say she's just as spunky.

"I think the Marines are a good fit for Mallory," said Harry Mack, her guidance counselor at Stafford and a retired Marine. "She has an aggressive personality, which you probably noticed, and she's always been very active and passionate on the field hockey team.

"The Marine Corps gives her a positive place to expend some of that energy."

It also gives her the chance to get out of Dodge, even though her ticket takes her to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., a swampland riddled with sand fleas and red ants.

"It's going to be amazing," Mallory said, her brown eyes glowing. "I'm just trying to get out of Stafford as fast as I can. I've never lived anywhere else."

Her parents, Melissa and Mark McClelland of White Oak, say they're proud of her, just as they were of Justin.

"The pride was overwhelming," Melissa said.

At first, Justin tried to talk Mallory out of joining the service. He has been in for 31/2 years as an infantryman. Although his sister and other females aren't able to go into combat as he did, Justin says there's a lot of stress--and work--being a Marine.

But then he realized there weren't many job opportunities for Mallory and other members of the Class of 2009. He didn't want her hanging around, getting into trouble.

Newsletter 7/6/09 Sgt Ski mentions the Indian head and another writer mentions a yellow square with the white star and Indian head. I would like to contribute the following information and offer to correspond with any of these writers about this. I am not a historian but am passing on what I have learned.

The National Military Heritage Museum in St. Joseph, Mo has the following uniform on display.

In the lower left corner is the 2nd Infantry division patch. A black shield with a white star on which is an Indian head. The uniform has a left shoulder unit patch that sports a home made red shield of felt with a white star and Indian head. The tour guide at this display says, "In WWI there were not enough Marines to form a Division. Therefore, Marines received Division level command from the Army. The Marines said, 'We'll fight for you but we want to wear our own uniform.' The Army made the Marines wear Army uniforms. The Marines said, 'Fine we'll fight for you and we'll wear your uniform, but we want our own unit patch.' The Army agreed and the displayed uniform is an example of the unit insignia they came up with." They go on with other information about the uniform not relevant to this topic.

Just thought that readers might be interested. I can be contacted at

Dave, Sgt, USMC 1971-1975

And I Quote...

"That's the thing about government: The more it fails, the more power it accrues."
--Steve Forbes

FOR ALL OF you that have helped me through the last four years, even some, that never met me and my son face to face and the countless other Marines that you gave care packages and Christmas to, of all the shoots that been taken of Justin this one will stay in my heart forever.

When Justin finally got out two weeks ago, I asked the notorious, gracious, patriotic, self sacrificing group of people I have ever met to welcome him home. The PGR riders, known as the Patriot Guard Riders, those men and woman on their bikes, cages that attend funerals of our fallen heroes when asked to, and welcome home the ordinary Corporal that was a hero in the truest sense of the word. I am putting together a video, that thanks all of you of my journey of the last four years. But it has not ended for me completely because every night, mothers cry themselves to sleep over a deployed son or daughter, every father, has that tight feeling in his gut over his son or daughter that is deployed, I consider them all my sons, and I will continue to do Christmas and send care packages until the last one is out of danger.

You have not been forgotten, I have saved every email, gesture from all of you and I have had a lot going on and with Justin home he does have many medical issues and getting on his feet. And being a mother of 8 one of them always has an issue. I have told them two of you have to share a day as there are only 7 days in a week and 8 of you!

New Meets Old, Iraq veteran standing next to WWII Veteran SO about this photo. My son that is a doctor, Justin's oldest brother, lives across the street from a retired army gal. Her husband is a Marine, retired, and her son is a 20 year Marine just retiring. When they heard the patriot guard was coming through the block where we were going to have his party, they lined their lawns with flags and people we never met came over with hand made signs with their kids. Patty and Bud Marine hubby and Army wife, went next door to get their neighbor.

New Meets Old, Iraq veteran standing next to WWII Veteran So here you have the youngest Iraqi war veteran, hand to hand with a WWII veteran that served in Europe, shouting out 1941-1945 "until we had all those %!$!@ under control" 94 years old and my son, 21. If ever, ever I was proud of my son, it was in this moment standing next to my son.

Men that went to war and their parents and families didn't know where they were for months at a time or even what country they were in. There was no moto mail, there was no priority shipping in ten days with canned food, letters that took months to arrive, often letters were received and loved ones were deceased. There were no laptops or webcams, no body protecting armor just helmets, there were no microwaves or video cameras in packages, no Christmas trees, no Thanksgiving dinners - just fox holes and guts. It is only now, that Justin appreciates and understands what these men have gone through. You know what makes my son my hero? He doesn't think of himself as one. He had a job to do and he served his country and they owe him nothing and that is his attitude in a nutshell.

God bless you all
Pray for our troops
Proud Marine Mom of LCpl Justin Carman
3rd BN 2nd Mar Div
Kilo Company 2nd Platoon
Once a Marine Always a Marine
Once a Marine Mom, Always a Marine Mom

Every time I read stories about veterans and especially our NamVets I am humbled and honored all over again to have played a small part in the history of that era. I was a WM, holding down a desk so that the guys would be freed to fight. Then about three years ago I undertook a project under the auspices of the local historical society to locate, interview and write the stories of the NamVets from this county. A daunting task, but one that has been so richly rewarding to me, to the Society and most importantly to the NamVets. The book is beautiful and has been a tool of healing for many of the veterans and their families as they read and discuss these stories with their children and grandchildren. We owe you guys so much more than we can every repay.

And I Quote...

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
--James Madison

And I Quote...

"Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends."
--Jacques Delille

Patriotic USMC T-shirt
Patriotic USMC T-shirt

Semper Fi Til I Die T-Shirt
Semper Fi Til I Die T-Shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit