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AmericanCourage #215     10 DEC 2009

Cpl Clemens and his wife at a recent Marine Ball The picture enclosed is of my oldest son, Corporal Justin A. Clemens, who is currently stationed in 29 Palms, CA. his mos is NBC! He did serve 2yrs in Okinawa, Japan and 6mths in Iraq and I am very proud of him and his fellow Marines for their services! He recently came home, which is San Antonio, Texas, in July and got married to the female in the picture, who I dearly admire, also! The picture was taken at a Marine Ball last month, in November. There was a ceremony preceding the ball, and my son happened to be in the Color Guard for it that night, I am so very proud of him and just wanted to let you see what a fine Marine is has become!

A Very Proud Marine Mom

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Please purchase: "When H&ll was in Session" by Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton Jr", all Nam vets need to read. When I read this book this past week it relieved me of some of my guilt in resigning my commission. I thought I could come home and people and politicians would listen. I could not do this till Jan 68, after giving up my regular commission. What a surprise to find out that neither the people or politicians cared. Or I was not a very good messenger. After awhile I gave up. This story by Denton enforced my belief that I was right about the war and that it could have been over in August of 1966. Then a black cloud began to fill my heart and mind. I had let these POWs down and one was my sq mate. I gave up the fight, I quit. Yet they fought on, some for 8 years through terrible torture, yes they died and Jane Fonda marched. I pray they will forgive me for not continuing the fight.
Let's not forget the price paid and is being paid for not fighting, well foreigners fill our country and never fight to protect it.
Semper Fi
Ron Foreman
USMC 60-68
Nam 66
VMF(AW) 235; VMA-223

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And I Quote...

"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
--Benjamin Franklin

We would like to take a moment and recognize Karen Dodd and all the other Connecticut Marine Moms out there that are sending in orders for the Adopt A Marine packages. So far they have sent $1200.00 towards this program. There will be a lot of happy Marines receiving packages. If you would like to contribute to a Marine by purchasing one of these packages, please visit the link for more information, and don't forget, these packages are sent with no shipping charge.

Adopt a Marine

Sgt Grit,

My name is Sgt. Carl Kurtz. I served from 1999 - 2005 as a 0311. I was with Marine Security Forces Kings bay 2nd Plt 2000 - 2002, 2/3 G Co 2nd Plt. and 1/23 B Co 2nd Plt. I was on post when September 11th attacks happened, I did a UDP and Force Light 02, OIF II battle of Fallujah - Ramadi. I write to you because I was reading about the Devil dog who ran across an Older Marine and spoke of better days.

It made me think, as I am now a Freemason and have many ties to the community I find many truths in the bond we share. Not only between US Marines and the Freemasons of course but, in our Masonic Lodge we have a Marine who was on Iwo Jima, another who was in the Chosen Reservoir, a retired Major from Vietnam, one who served during the peace time of the post Gulf War, and myself with the War on Terrorism. At my church there is an old Catholic Priest who during WWII was a Corpsman before becoming ordained; I do not call him father, I do not call him holly one, I do not call him padre I call him DOC!

Sgt Kurtz and his girl I currently work at Miller Brewing Company in Fort Worth...(no free beer sorry I tried!).... I have found another 0311 Sgt. who chewed some of the same dirt as I, and another Marine who was in Beirut. I was recently honored to be invited by the I & I Co. of 2/14 to their Ball. I will say that no matter the generation, service time, severity of combat or peaceful winds of garrison, whether it is as a Marine of a Devil Doc all of us seem to be transported to happier if not simply more challenging times in our lives. We light up brighter than a soul on Christmas, with the holidays upon us it really does make you feel like your with family.

Marines and Devil Doc's everywhere Merry Christmas! We always remember the ones in the field, let's not forget the ones who pooped in our fighting hole before we got their... yes you know the ones! Same ones who now live in nursing homes, down the street, maybe need a ride to the VA, or just the one you never knew before it was too late.

Carl Kurtz
Sgt. 0311 USMC

Sgt Grit,

Soon, well like in 6 days my son Micah Jerone Gabriel Bowers leaves for PI to become a Marine. He has always had a thing for military history. He read 'The Art of War' at seven years old. Guess I should have got him 'Dick and Jane'. I am proud yet a part of me is just a little scared. Not scared something might happen to him that comes with the territory. Scared that our politicians are going to put him in harm's way and then forget about him and his fellow Marines and do what they feel is politically expedient to get reelected.

I too am a Marine, so I understand all too well what it entails. Having served in Vietnam I understand the politics involved. I did not like them then and do not like them now. The 'Art of War' should be mandatory reading for politicians. Perhaps then they would understand that war is the providence of military minds and not the playground for politics or the springboard for political aspirants. I hope this does not happen again. Once was enough for us all. We have all written that check and for most that check is still good. I would honor it today just as it was written forty years ago politicians be d*mned. It is my Marines that matter they deserve our support and gratitude for what they have done and what they have yet to do.

Semper Fi and God Bless you all.

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And I Quote...

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
--Pres. Ronald Reagan

I Only Thought My Job Was Stressful!

I work hard. I work a lot of hours. I spend a great deal of time away from home and seldom miss an opportunity to complain about it. I spend a lot of lonely nights in hotel rooms wishing I were at home in my own bed. Because of the extensive travel and time I spend away my employer pays me well.

My son also has a job that keeps him away from home for extended periods of time. The difference... He doesn't get frequent flier miles. He doesn't get free hotel nights. He doesn't get to go to the club and relax during a flight delay. He doesn't get free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast.

The following is how my son describes his job on his Facebook page with spelling corrected:

This section used to say "kiilin", but apparently that is offensive and not what a parent should be putting on something like this. So here is a better description.

12 men put their lives in my hands and expect me to prepare them for combat. Then they expect me to lead them in combat and bring them home in one piece. While in combat, I locate the enemy. I move towards the enemy, and then I incapacitate them by whatever means necessary. I also repel the enemies assault with high powered rifles, mortars, artillery, machine guns, and rockets. If these weapons fail me, I must rely on the martial arts training I have received. I go weeks without a bath. I wear the same clothes for days at a time. I get to call my family rarely. I sleep on average 3 hours a day. This is my job description. (so don't tell me about how stressful your job is.) I chose this profession and I love it.

I read that and I am humbled!

Compared to my son I have little stress in my job. Compared to my son I have little to complain about accommodations. When my feet or back hurt I remind myself that he and his men are wearing combat boots and carrying 50 lb packs. While I sleep on a firm mattress with a soft pillow they sleep on the ground with a Kevlar helmet for a pillow. While I dodge insults and jabs from joking crew members they dodge incoming rounds. THAT IS STRESS!

We speak much these days about patriotism. We use the term loosely about politicians and public figures. The true Patriots are not those who stand and wave flags. THE TRUE PATRIOTS are those who STAND IN FRONT of the FLAG to DEFEND FREEDOM.

To all who put on the uniform, pick up a weapon, leave the comfort of home and family, put their life on the line and stand watch over our freedom, you have my utmost respect and sincere thanks for your service. To the families that remain behind, place candles in windows, ribbons on trees, send packages overseas, and lift prayers up to our heavenly father, you have my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice.

Semper Fi,
Bryan Anderson
Proud Dad of Sgt. Nathan
II MEB, Afghanistan

Birthday ball Photo Contest

My husband Alvin "Al", served in the Corps from 1966-1970. His tour at the time, of course, included 2 years in Viet-Nam; 66-68. He and I had been introduced to each other by my brother when we were all in junior high. My brother and my (future) husband even graduated the same year in the same HS. They had been friends, but not all that close.

When Al returned from Viet-Nam in late 1968 he would double date with my brother and his (then) girlfriend. In February of 69' I was living with my Mom in Orange county, CA. Whenever Al would come up on weekends from his base at 29 Palms, he would stay either with an aunt of his or friends who lived the next block over from my Mom. On this particular Saturday Al called and asked me to go to Disneyland with him. He arrived about 10 minutes later and we spent the day, despite the rain, doing the park. Just before closing we decided to take the train around the park. We were able to get into the compartment car just behind the engine.

Besides the two of us there were 6-7 park guests and the conductor. Just out of the station Al kissed me and said "Evelynne I love you, will you marry me?" I still don't recall my answer, but Al tells me it was "I thought you'd never ask."

I recall the conductor standing by Al and asking what service he was in, Al said Marines and the other guests cheered. When Al asked why he had asked, the conductor pointed to an older gentleman sitting two rows up from us and said "Seems he recognized a brother Marine and wanted to congratulate you both."

Al smiled and thanked all of the them for us. It was then the older Marine got up and walked back to our seats.

He had the rough edged look that a lot of people consider to be the ultimate Marine face; somewhere between a very thin Chesty and Lon Chaney Sr. He saluted Al and reached across to shake my hand.

"Take good care of my kid brother little gal, OK?"

I nodded and smiled through my tears. "Yes sir, I will." I promised.

He went back to his seat and got off at the next station. I never knew his name, nor when or where he served, but I will always remember him.

It has been 40 years since then and I am still taking care of that Marines "Kid Brother". We went from being a Marine couple to being a Navy SeaBee family, Al retired in 1990 as Builder Chief. Despite the transfer Al is still MY Marine, and I wouldn't trade any of it.

Evelynne Ritter
Guthrie, OK

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And I Quote...

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
--James Madison

Sgt. Grit,

Please publish this request if you can.

My 15 year old son is a sophomore here in Anchorage, Alaska. As part of a social studies project, he is writing a 12 page paper on Iwo Jima. He is interested in talking to someone who was there. If you have an hour or two and are interested in helping a young man learn something about the price of freedom, please contact me at:

Semper Fidelis,

Mark Lurtsema
Marine Rifleman, 1980-RIP

Dear Sgt. Grit,

No, you don't know me. Yet, you and your brothers have placed yourself in harm's way for myself and all of my kin...just Americans.

I was attending collage during Vietnam. I was drafted; but I didn't go.

Now that you have decided that I am "one of those"; let's please back up some. I was definitely "One A". Through some government snafu (imagine that), I was never ordered to report for duty. I just got lost in the paperwork shuffle. I lost a lot of good friends in Nam, and for years I had a real problem with that..."They went; I didn't. They died; I didn't". You, having served, may not be able to imagine what that feels like. It's two different worlds. You lost REAL friends, REAL brothers. I didn't; and yet it still hurts.

You can salute the flag; I cannot. I can only uncover; place my hand over my heart, and wish to God that I had done better...whatever "better" means.

In the ensuing years after college, I was blessed with the opportunity to help build the first two Ronald McDonald houses ever constructed from the ground up in the United States. Today, the Ronald McDonald House serves over 10,000 people a day and are in 120 countries. Maybe the Good Lord wanted me to do something different; I just don't know.

I do know that I will never forget those that paid for me to be "just an American". May God bless America, our service men and women, and the United States Marine Corps!

Michael Sublette

I was touched by Marine Jeff Zgorzelski's letter in the 3 Dec 2009 Sgt Grit News about the Iwo Jima vet that had not been called a Marine in 60 years. All of us need to realize the main reason veterans wear clothing items which identify them as veterans is because at least unconsciously they desire some recognition of their service and status. It costs us very little for us to give them that.

Semper Fi, Ray Huebner (LtCol, USMC Ret)

Sgt. Grit, here's the other end of Jeff Zgorzelski's 'A Marine is a Marine - plain and simple!' story about acknowledging an Iwo veteran.

I was waiting to board my flight from Logan to Dulles as the passengers from the flight up from Dulles were deplaning. I noticed a squared away young man sporting a high and tight get off and then wait for another passenger. I closed my lap top and started toward him, almost certain he was a Marine.

That was confirmed by the polo shirt whose EGA I could see as I approached. I said Semper Fi and shook his hand. He had just graduated from PI and was waiting for his mother, who had attended his graduation, to get off the flight. As we chatted I asked if she was still on board. He nodded over his shoulder at a fine looking woman about ten feet away who was watching us, probably wondering who the old fart was who was talking to her son.

As they walked off and he undoubtedly answered her 'Who was that?' question, I hoped that they both realized that he was now a member of the strongest, broadest band of brothers and sisters on the planet.

Semper Fi, Marines, old and young

Stirling Rasmussen
SSgt USMCR 1963-1969

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And I Quote...

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
--Thomas Jefferson

John and his Granddaughter Here is a picture of myself and my granddaughter at the Foothills Elementary Veterans Day Ceremony. It is a very nice day for the vets who attend. It gets better every year. You will notice that I am wearing my Sgt Grit veterans day shirt.

You have a very great holiday!

Semper Fi,
John Keep smiling

Yesterday I stopped at a well known fast food place for a quick lunch. As I was leaving, I noticed a gentleman entering the restaurant wearing a cover that had Marine Vietnam Veteran embroidered on the front. I spoke to him and told him I was also a Marine Vietnam Veteran and asked him when he was there, what unit and all the other questions that Marines ask when they meet another Marine.

After we exchanged small talk for about 5 minutes, I told him I needed to get back to work and extended my hand to him. As he took my hand, I said two little words that caused him to start tearing up, which in turn caused me to get emotional. Those two words were "Welcome home".

After he composed himself, he told me he had been waiting almost 40 years to hear someone say that to him, and it was fitting that a fellow Marine would be the person to say those words to him. In turn, he returned the words to me.

I would like to encourage everyone who reads this that whenever you see someone wearing a cover or T shirt that indicates they are a Vietnam Veteran, take the time to acknowledge their service and welcome them home.

They will appreciate it.

John Lewis


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And I Quote...

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."
--George Washington


Any "Nam era Marine should thank Marine Mike Tank for putting into words what many of us think and feel every day of our lives. With all the BS about Woodstock, one would probably think that was all that happened then. All 'Nam vets know what is like to get cursed and spit on. and we should make sure that doesn't happen to the fine people who are laying their lives on the line now.

SSgt of Marines
'Nam 65-66
USMC 56-67

This is not Marine, but I think it shows the caliber of our servicemen and women.

Some years ago my wife and I were visiting the campus of Virginia Military Institute. While there we found out that General George C. Marshall' Nobel Peace Prize and other items of his are in the library there. We stopped a summer student to get directions. In a very sloppy way he said he had no idea. He was only there for summer school, and we needed to find a regular student. The next student we said I said "Pardon me, but can you help me?" Yes Sir! How can I help you Sir!" "I am looking for the George C. Marshall Library." Yes Sir! It is right over there, Sir!" Pointing to a building at the end of the parade field. "My I have the pleasure Sir, of escorting you over there Sir?" "I think we can find it, but do thank you for your assistance." Yes Sir! Any time I can be of help, Sir!"

Last October we spent Thursday night at a motel in Phoenix City, Al. I got on an elevator to go to the 4th floor, and there was a very young couple on the elevator also. I asked if he was in the Army. His reply "Yes Sir! I am graduating tomorrow, Sir!"

A very well taught young gentleman. We need to be proud of them all, even if they did not pick the Marine Corps!

Jack Schrenker

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And I Quote...

"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."
--Thomas Paine

The tears roll when reading of the new losses. Each loss is a needless loss for this what ever president will cut and run and each death will be on his shoulders. And he does not appear to have an excess the way it is, so be it. Nile E White CWO 2 USMC 1139517/099529 USMC Sept 50 to May 70

And every day was a holiday and every meal a banquet... and those words were uttered on hill 812 just south of the Yahooo river by a long deceased Marine Sergeant Major Shiftie Sweet and sweet he was not but next to Col Bull Fisher and Chesty, his words rang out loud and true. Off your aszes and on your feet ///charge'.

Retirement for Marines is non existent and how true he was God Bless all no matter age rank s&x and or color for a Marine is with out equal in the annuls of man kind war fare.

Nile White

Let all be thankful for all jarheads outstanding post. We need to stand proud & support each other in hard times. Ask your brother when you see him or her if they're good to go! Sometimes that's all it takes brothers. I live in a small town with about 10 devil dogs that help each other at anytime. So look around your area we are everywhere! GOD BLESS MARINES Over Seas (CPL. FARRIS) U.S.M.C.

Sgt. Grit
Once again, here in Sacaton, AZ, the Ira Hayes American Legion is hosting, the 65th Anniversary of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising. I attended a couple of years ago, and got to meet the former wife of Lee Marvin. I asked her if, I could take a picture of her and my girlfriend, she responded with "I always have time for Marines".
Get all the details (PDF File)

Mario Betti, Former Sgt/2656336

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And I Quote...

"Government, like fire, is a useful servant, but a fearful master."
--George Washington

Last May in Chicago, The first annual Marine Week was held in the city of Chicago, Ill. Events were held all over the city from high schools, to Soldier Field, to Navy Pier.

The Silent Drill Team, weapons demonstrations, and recruiting efforts were just some of the activities that took place. It was a magnificent display of the greatest military organization in the world.

I served in the Corps from 1965 to 1969. I was very pleased to see that the values I knew as a young Marine are still in play today. I hope those muckity-mucks who make decisions about events like this will continue with Marine Week.

Semper Fi.

Taps, an interesting read.

Sgt. Grit:

Reference the story of the fake Marine, we ALL need to do our duty to keep alert out here to look for them, spot them, expose them, and turn them in for punishment. I think this person should attend a military funeral and have him apologize to the fallen Marine's family for what he was doing and not in one of his many different uniforms that he wore in public. These want- a-bees for whatever their reason can't cut it in real life, makes us sick. I am sure there are plenty more out there somewhere and I am sure they are logged on to this newsletter site to gain information on and about the Marines.

So hear this now you "fake marines" someday we will locate you, expose you, and turn your a.. in after which, we will be Reading about it. You now have BEEN WARNED! You are our new mission in life. To all the true Marines no matter where you are, what you are doing, where you been, and what time period you served, have a great and Merry Christmas!

God, this is a great brotherhood!
Cpl. JM

65th Anniversary Iwo Jima Landing and Flag Raising Commemoration

The Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 will be hosting the 65th Anniversary Iwo Jima Landing and Flag Raising Commemoration on February 19 and 20, 2010, in Sacaton, AZ, located on the Gila River Indian Community. Parade (09:00) w/military flyover on Saturday and ceremonies thereafter at Veterans Memorial Park, Casa Blanca and Sacaton Roads.

Gourd dance and Powwow is scheduled for Friday (16:00) and Saturday (14:00/18:00) at District 3 Rodeo Grounds located on Blue Bird Road, Sacaton POC 520-562-1626

Ira H.Hayes American Legion Post 84
P. O. Box 186
Sacaton, AZ 85147-0003
520-562-3297 fax

This is probably the best search list ever compiled about the Vietnam War.

This simply has to be shared with anyone who ever served in Vietnam or who is studying the war. It would take months to look at everything this site offers.

Captured Photo Collection : David Guttenfelder in Afghanistan

To the Shores of Tripoli

I entirely approve the measures proposed by you in relation to the Marines who are lately captives in Tripoli. Therefore execute them.
-A letter from Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith to Col Commandant Franklin Wharton (3d CMC) on 21 Sept. 1805. Smith told Wharton to carry out certain measures proposed earlier.

"Fortitudine" (With fortitude)
-The first motto of the Corps antedating the War of 1812.

On board the GANGES, about 12 mos. ago, Lt. Gale, was struck by an Officer of the Navy, the Capt. took no notice of the Business and Gale got no satisfaction on the Cruise; the moment he arrived he call'd the Lieut. out and shot him; afterwards Politeness was restor'd"
-Signed "Yr obdt. Svt, W. W. Burrows, LtCol Comdt, MC" (2d CMC)

Cake cutting ceremony on the Marine Corps Birthday held by the Cedar Valley Marine Corps League Attached is a picture of the cake cutting ceremony on the Marine Corps Birthday that the Cedar Valley Marine Corps League and The US Marine's now serving their country on duty. Held in Cedar Rapids Iowa . Plus many families and guests attended for the Birthday ball, around 150 attended honoring those that have served, those serving and our fellow brother's and sister's who have lost their lives over the 234 years the Marine Corps have protected our country.

Lloyd Lewis, Chaplain, Cedar Valley Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Camp Pendleton and Korea 1954 though 1956

Sgt Grit,

I remember Christmas 1969 well. I arrived at DaNang on Christmas Eve on a Continental Airlines flight and was put in a holding barracks somewhere. We were told we would be sent out to our units the next day. We weren't issued weapons and most of us were pretty nervous as there seemed to be sporadic gunfire happening all night. In retrospect it was probably celebratory gunfire as we learned that the Vietnamese loved to shoot off a few rounds during holiday celebrations.

The next day, still with no weapons I was shuttled out to Hill 55 and the First Marines where I arrived just in time for Christmas chow in a field kitchen. It was raining and cold and most of the grunts were wearing ponchos looking like something out of a Korean war movie instead of Vietnam.

I'm sure me and the others stood out as FNGs because we were wearing clean stateside utilities instead of the Vietnam jungle Utes. The Grunts were looking at us strangely. I remember a Colonel came up and wished me a Merry Christmas and told me to get in line for Turkey and trimmings. The rest is a blur. I eventually made my way to First Battalion and was finally issued a weapon that night only because some corporal said we might get hit. We weren't but I was in the "war" and the rest as they say is history.
Jesse Brown
1/1 Vietnam 69-70

Chesty Puller's Rules of Success

And I Quote...

"SELF-CONTROL--Is what I must have in all situations."
--Chesty Puller

From "Chesty Puller's Rules of Success"

Select Your Quote- Double Flag and Eagle T-shirt
Select Your Quote- Double Flag and Eagle T-shirt

Select Your Quote- Worn Flag T-shirt
Select Your Quote- Worn Flag T-shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit