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AmericanCourage #223     01 APR 2010
Print | ONLINE STORE

CPL Jonathan Lindsey and CPL Kenneth James Oltman Love reading the various stories you share with us. I came across this picture that was taken 4 years ago at my son's graduation from Parris Island. It was and will always be one of the most memorial events in our lives. Not only because of what my son accomplished but the fact that my father (Cpl Kenneth Oltman) could be there for that impressive day. We weren't sure that my mother and father would be able to attend because he hadn't been well but all the plans worked out for them to come.

While standing in the bleachers listening to the men and women singing the Marines Hymn I looked over at my father who had tears in his eyes singing along. He was so proud of his grandson, you could just see him beaming. My father since passed two years ago from cancer but whenever I hear :"From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli..." I remember that day and how proud my father was of being a Marine. It brings tears to my eyes and makes me beam with pride. He was and will always be our inspiration.

Sincerely,
Connie Lindsey
Mother of Corporal Jonathan Kenneth Lindsey and Daughter of Corporal Kenneth James Oltman


Memorial Day Shirt


In This Issue...

A Gunny asks for your help with a dilemma about his son getting booted from the Corps.
A nice story about picking up the tab. A few thoughtful comments about recent visits to the VA. And of course the quotes are sprinkled throughout.
My Sgt Grit blog and Facebook page continue to grow. Take a look and participate.

Far Winds and Following Seas
Sgt Grit


My Mom.
I proudly went home Feb 1969 and informed my Mom that I had enlisted in the USMC (delayed enlistment program so that I could graduate from High School in June). I did not understand why she became so upset, angry, and crying. As it turns out she worked as a civilian clerk-typist for the USMC at the end of WWII. She worked for WWII Vets and typed reports concerning the war in the Pacific. She knew what Marines went through.

She quickly became a supportive Mom, proud of her 'son the Marine', especially when I deployed to the Far East.

MARINES! Listen up, do this with parents, grandparents, uncles, etc. This is living history.

I asked my Mom to write about her WWII experiences. What she sent to me is amazing. Some excerpts:

Graduated High School Jan 1942 (moved up from Jun due to the war) 1943-1946 Worked for Engineers in Washington, PA, and at the Army Hospital in Butler, PA.

Worked at Hdqrs USMC 1946-1949, in the G-4 Engineer Section. She worked for Lt.Col A. L. Vogt, MAJ Sharpenberg, CAPT Card, and LT Kutelik. Typed letters (original w/13 copies) and given to COL Shoup to deliver to A.A. Vandergrift.

"_ housing at Arlington Farms. A small room w/cot, dresser, chair, was provided w/large bathroom facilities for all. Plus check in counter- no male visitors beyond lobby." A cafeteria several blocks away. "It was perhaps a mile from Marine Corps Headquarters, not bad walking in high heels/hose."

"COL Shoup was a very warm, friendly, caring man- as were my 4 officers I worked with. They had all seen South Pacific action."

I May Look Harmless Items WOW! Names that I learned about during Corps history at the PI- my Mom worked with them, and I never knew. I spent a year at Henderson Hall in 1969 while attending language school- although I never walked a mile in high heels/hose.

Semper Fi,

Mark A. Fulton, SGT, 1969-1975

P.S. I ordered a special t-shirt from SGT Grit for Mother's day, "I May Look Harmless But I Raised A U. S. Marine". Befitting of an active 86 year old, she will wear it proudly.


And I Quote...

"A wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
--Thomas Jefferson


Hi Sgt Grit,

Thank you for such a powerful newsletter, keeping us veteran Marines informed of today's Marines. I would request if I may to share a short story.

The other day, my former brother-n-law and I stopped into a Denny's Restaurant, where his wife managed the store. As we sat we had our morning meal and we were discussing some business when I noticed an older gentleman walked in the restaurant, he passed us and sat adjacent to our table. I immediately knew he was a Marine by the cap he wore, that old familiar Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

I had initially thought he was from the Vietnam Era. I turned got up out of my seat and walked over to him, I gave him the "Semper Fi" and we talked. To my surprise he fought in WWII, he was in Guam and in Manchuria in China I believe. He certainly did not look that old at all.

My brother-n-law gave me some grief, but he was kidding me in a good way about how I still hold the Marine Corps values after fifteen years since my retirement.

At the front counter as we paid for our meal, my brother-n-law's wife took our receipt, as she always does gave us a discount on our meal.

I looked over to my new found friend and fellow Marine, I then said to Helen, "Helen, I would like to pay for that gentleman's meal sitting over there", as I pointed to the former Marine.

She looked at me perplexed, so I told her the story of this Former Marine, and I asked her to not tell him who paid for his meal, only that it was a fellow Marine, I'm sure he would know who it was once we were gone.

She began to immediately shed tears came from across the counter to hug me, I thought it nothing what I was doing, only just a kind act.

Some of the younger kids working at the restaurant heard my story, so I told them in a stern voice as I did from my former years as a Marine Platoon Sergeant that they should go to him and shake his hand and thank him for his service to his country.

That they did, in fact everyone in the restaurant who found out walked up to him and gave their thank you's to him. Then to his surprise Helen had told him that his meal was paid for, I was sitting in my car getting ready to leave, when I saw him come out of the restaurant. I could see the tears streaming down his face as he slowly walked to his car, a smile came to my face as I felt a very enormous "good feeling" knowing that today I made this man's day, knowing these young kids took the time to say "Thank You" to his WWII veteran!

My brother-n-law and his wife will remember that day for the rest of their life, they knew nothing of the Marine Corps until that morning, in fact I believe everyone in that restaurant learned one thing about the Marines that day, "Once A Marine, Always A Marine!"

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Angelo
GySgt USMC (Ret)
1974-1994


Mother's Day Special


I lost my son February 27, 2010. After spending a couple of days with fellow Marines, I was inspired to write this and wanted to share it.
Kari Underkofer

A Marine

To most, a Marine is a young handsome son in uniform serving his country, but there is a far greater depth to he that is called a Marine.

There are many who desire the title of Marine, but few that are able to give themselves to this calling.

It takes a great inner strength and fortitude to even complete the training that is required of a Marine.

A transformation of one's self takes place and a lifetime brotherhood bond is established between each and every Marine.

A Marine is a different breed of character and only their own understand this tie to one another.

A Marine is the first one on the battle field, eye to eye with the enemy, knocking down doors and removing threats.

They will go days without hot meals or showers. Their beds will be shoveled out dirt holes that fill with water and mud.

They are exposed to the elements of heat and cold, with only their fellow Marine to keep them warm or care to their wounds.

A Marine may be wounded from blasts or explosions, run on broken limbs, but will continue on until the mission is complete.

They will risk everything to save one another. They will retrieve their brother's bodies from the battlefield, as no man is left behind.

But the battle does not end here, it continues on in every Marine's memory, all for the sake of freedom so that we, as civilians may speak our minds, go to a McDonald's or grab a cup of moxie.

The Marine continues to bear this burden for us. He trembles inside at loud noises, his heartbeat races in crowds of people, he continues on high alert to ensure his safety.

He sometimes attempts to silence this burden with alcohol, pills, and drugs. His home life is often damaged with anger because he cannot speak of what he feels.

My friend, this is the price of our freedom. The reason we can take a walk on safe ground, have good food and clean water, raise our children and send them to school so their lives may be better than our own.

The sacrifices made by these men are daunting.

The United States Marine Corps took my son Joe and returned to me a warrior, Chango. The good Lord took Chango, but returned to me hundreds of sons in the United States Marine Corps.

Their love for their fellow Marine, brother and family is overwhelming.

I am privileged that God would entrust me with such an honor as to give birth to a Marine.

Although Chango now guards the gates of heaven, he continues to live on through each and every United States Marine.

May God send his angels of peace to touch each Marine and may every United States citizen take the time to truly understand that your freedom is not free.

God love the Marines


Captain Daniel J. Meyers and his wife Lindsey My son, Marine Captain Daniel J. Meyers, was married on 7 March 2010 in Winter Park, Florida. His Marine buddies were a remarkable contribution to the wedding from participating in the wedding party to the sword detail down to their rendition of the song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" from the movie TOP GUN (you'll note Cpls to a BGen) that they sang to the bride (Mrs. Lindsey Cleary Meyers). It was as beautiful an event as it was fun! The sword detail, commanded by GySgt Jason Eckman conducted a flawless "arch of swords" and a barked "welcome to the Marine Corps, Mrs. Meyers," with a swat and sound that would have made a DI from PI very proud!

Enjoy the pics! Please share them with our Marine Corps family...

Marines singing a rendition of the song You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' Marines holding the bride for a photo

Marines presenting a sword display

Semper Fi,
Jim Meyers
once a captain
Always a Marine
2/5 RVN '67-68


Iwo Jima flag raising float This float has been in the Racine WI. 4th of July Parade every year since 1946.

David Kramer
Agerholm-Gross Marine Corps League Det. #346


And I Quote...

"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
--George Washington


Hey Grit:

I need some help that only you and your newsletter can help me with. I am a Marine of 23 years active and 15 years now on standby. I believe in once a Marine always a Marine but now I have a situation that I would like everyone to help me with.

My son went into the Corps and graduated boot camp in Jan 2009 He then went to Infantry Training School in Camp Pendleton and while there he and a few of his pals decided to smoke a little bit of natures wild flower. He failed a urinalysis test and was then discharged from the Corps with a Bad Conduct Discharge.

I say he is no longer a Marine but he says that he graduated Boot Camp and earned the EGA. He says that Makes him a Marine for life. He posts pictures of himself on his face book site in his blues and gets lots of responses from his peers mostly good ones. But I have a problem accepting him as a Marine and I feel that it is wrong for him to post pictures in uniform if he failed out of our Beloved.

This has created a lot of problems in my house and I would like to know how the other people that wear or wore the EGA feel about it. If they side with him I will accept that, change my opinion, and move on. But until I find out how everyone else feels I will stand steady and say he gave up the right to call himself a Marine by knowingly doing what he did and I do not see him as a Marine.

I still love him as my son and there is no problem there. But I can't shake this other feeling. I would prefer you not to print my name but if you have to then you have to.

GySgt USMC
Mar 72 - Jan 95


Veteran at the Cleveland VA wearing Sgt Grit backpack Just wanted to show all of you at Sgt. Grit that the backpacks that you so kindly donated to us at the Cleveland VA are being put to good use.

Todd M Anderson LPTA
SCI/D
For Those That Have Served Before, With, and After US
SEMPER FI
0311


And I Quote...

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."
--Ronald Reagan


Sgt Grit,

Recently I read somewhere that some army MSgt claiming he came up with the term "hurt locker" in reference to the motion picture Hurt Locker. I'm 73 years old and have heard and used that term for decades in the Marine Corps. I believe I first heard that those words in boot camp in 1955. Wondering if any of my Marine brothers can add input to this.

GySgt G.R. Archuleta
USMC Retired
1955-1975


We are pleased to honor the remaining members of the WWII Forgotten Battalion (those who are able to attend) at the 24th annual reunion, to be held in Des Moines, September 2010. WWII Forgotten Battalion

They started the war as the 10th Marine Regiment, Third Battalion. They were a 75mm pack howitzer battalion. After the Tarawa campaign they were divided into two different battalions with the new battalion becoming the 2nd 155mm Howitzer Battalion, named the "Forgotten Battalion" in the February 1945 issue of Leatherneck magazine. They were awarded five battle stars for their actions in the following campaigns:
Tulagi
Guadalcanal
Tarawa
Saipan
Guam
Iwo Jima

They shipped from the United States on July 1, 1942 and returned on approximately April 30, 1945. They served continuously overseas for 34 months. They were awarded three Presidential Unit Citations and two Navy Unit Citations.

The second flag to fly over Iwo Jima arrived with these men on LST 779. This is the flag shown in the famous Iwo Jima photo. They are recorded as having been recognized for the following: First American offensive shots fired in WWII. First artillery shot in preparation to support an amphibious landing in history. They fired over 56,000 artillery rounds against the Japanese


I have watched the first episode of The Pacific on HBO and a question arose in my mind. What makes a Marine do the things they do such as Dan Daly and John Basilone to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor? Is it adrenalin, fear, or what?

Thank you for any insight you can give me.

A Marine wife and Mother

Send your response to info@grunt.com


And I Quote...

"The Constitution, which at any time exists 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all."
--George Washington


Had to talk to the VA clinic today, responding to a voice mail they left for me. I am now on minute 39 of ON HOLD! Welcome to free medicine.

THIS JUST IN after 43 minutes on hold I get a human voice. After researching my records, they have some info for me...you guys are gonna love this. After reviewing my blood work (see below) they determined that my cholesterol is too low (74) and they want me to change my medicine so it can get higher.

Now I have been under the care of a what I consider a top notch cardiologist for 2 1/2 years and the goal has been to keep my cholesterol below 100 (I have some stints and the lower the cholesterol the better). At my first visit to the clinic 3 days earlier, the affable and senior doctor who saw me reviewed and spoke with me about my medical records for the past 3 years. I brought them with me, fresh from my cardiologist and hemotologist/oncologist printing machines. We agreed on my course of treatment and that I was going to stay in the private world for treatment for as long as I had private insurance. He kept my records. Now three days later, I find myself politely explaining to the clerk on the phone that I would not change my medicine, but thank you for the info. WELCOME to free medicine.

I've had to have blood drawn at a private lab at least once, occasionally twice, a week for the past 5 months, usually 3 large vials. NEVER was there a problem, except finding the vein in my arm. Last Friday, my first time at the VA clinic, they took 6 vials of blood. 4 hrs later they called me and said that they dropped one vile and I had to come in and have more drawn...months and over hundred vials with no problem at a private lab. One time, 6 vials and 1 drop. Welcome to free medicine.

Here's the part that is astounding to me. I had the opportunity to enter an Agent Orange Study. I realized that it would not help me on my quest with my effects of exposure to AO, but I thought maybe, some of the guys from Nam in the years after me, whose exposure has not yet manifested, might be able to be helped. Off I go, 31 miles to the VA Hospital. I met a very congenial man and he was very helpful. At the end of the 30 minute Q and A period he said he would like me to get a physical so the hospital would have one on record. I told him I was available all afternoon, that I had set the time aside for him and whatever he wanted. He thanked me, handed me a piece of paper and said "We will be in touch on when to come in, it will be about 10 months." Welcome to free medicine.

This is CERTAINLY NOT a knock or derogatory tome about the VA system, although those who use it see some room for improvement, as is true anywhere I am sure. I am blessed, I can afford to have a nice private insurance plan that I pay for myself, no employer help. My fear is that if my recent experience with a top notch facility and the very caring folks within the VA system are this bogged down and busy, what will medical care be like when we are shoved into a system where the facilities are not top notch and the personnel actually have no vested interest in the patient as our VA system does? Welcome to free medicine.

USMC Viet Nam Vet 68-69


Marine Wife Tattoo

Marine Wife tattoo    Marine Wife tattoo


I was in the Marines from 1960 to 1964. Just missed Viet Nam. What I notice different about the Old Corps and the New Corps is the equipment. WOW do the new guys have great gear. But it's still the Marine and his rifle.

My dad was a 30 year Navy mustang. But when it became my time, the Marines were the only choice for me. My uncle (Marine) was at Midway, my son (Marine) was in desert storm, My Brother-in- law was a Marine pilot in Vietnam and my Dad was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th, 1941. Military service is just something we do.

Where I work, I see a lot of servicemen. A while ago I saw what looked like Marines at a distance, but up close I saw the pants were black. What? Then I saw the insignia, they were squids. What's up with this? Marine wanna be's?

Ron Peugh
Corporal of Marines 1960 - 1964 HOORAH!


And I Quote...

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary..."
--Thomas Jefferson


My son is 21 yrs old. Since he was in the 6th grade all he ever wanted to be was a Marine. The dream came true when he signed up while a high school senior. He graduated boot camp at M.C.R.D in Feb of '08. After SOI graduation he was stationed in Hawaii. He was deployed to Afghanistan last Spring and came home in the Fall.

Now because of a boot who fell through the cracks he may be discharged. This boot had to get a waiver for the ASVAT...he scored a 31! Continued to fall through the cracks in boot camp and SOI. This boot was not doing what he was supposed to be doing that they are supposed to do. He accused my son and some other Marines of hazing and assault. My son didn't touch this boot because he knew what would happen and didn't want to ruin his career. He did admit to verbal abusing him, but I don't think it was any worse than what he himself got while in boot camp/SOI.

My son was sent to the brig. It was supposed to be investigated by N.C.I.S. How well I don't know. The first hearing didn't go well because he was still in the brig. Now they are going after the plt. sgt and lt. He is supposed to get out the of the brig Fri. His court-martial is next wk. I hope it goes well and that he can stay in the Corps. If he doesn't that he will get a general/honorable discharge if possible. He only had a little over 12 mos left on his contract and he was thinking of re- enlisting.

What is so bad about this is that that boot was transferred to Weapons and is staying in instead of getting out! Now tell me is that fair? Where is the justice in that?

Edwina
PMM


Sgt Grit,
In January my wife and I took my oldest son to visit the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. While my son was finishing up with the coach he was meeting with and watching practice we went to the Air Force Academy store. My wife can't help herself when it comes to shopping. As we went to the registers to pay, the cashier asked if I had a military ID? I still have my last ID from my time in our glorious Corps, it expired in 1985. I said, I did and produced it for her. She told me it had been at least 20 years since she had seen one like that. She said thank you and gave me the discount. She said, you served our country you are entitled to a discount.

My son was accepted to the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. It took a long time for him to make his choice, but he chose Air Force. I am on board with it and agree with him that it is the best fit for him. He wants to become a doctor, and he said if he doesn't get into med school, flying jets is not a bad fallback career. He will be an outstanding officer someday and will serve our country well.
Semper Fi,
Manuel Zaldivar
USMC 1979 - 1985


And My Mother Danced With Chesty Puller

Bruce Hoffman spent four years in the United States Marine Corps. Two of those years were spent in Vietnam and Okinawa. And My Mother Danced with Chesty Puller is the story of a young Marine's adventures during the Vietnam War, sometimes humorous, sometimes hair-raising.


And I Quote...

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one."
--James Madison


Sgt Grit,
My name is Mike Aguirre. I was with Echo, 2/5. I joined the Corps in 79 and one of the recruiting songs of that time was something along the lines of "My, my, how things have changed, how things have changed...Up in the morning with the rising sun..." Any idea if you can recall that tune or if you know who may have a recorded version?
Thanks much,
Mike Aguirre
Sgt.
USMC 80-84


Sgt.
I am sure many if not most Marines have experienced this.

When I enlisted I was just hanging around. Had no idea of what I wanted to do in the future. I mean, I was a kid, didn't know then, that I would have to leave home, get an education and a job and support myself. That Mom and Dad would no longer be doing that. But I also did not have a clue as to what I wanted to do or how to go about doing that.

Was ignorant of the world out there. I think we all were. I'm sure if everybody is honest in looking back, they were the same, Yes, we all saw the news about Vietnam (back then), and knew we would likely be drafted.

My grades weren't the best, and I bet many here can say the same, so the draft was definitely in our future. Mom and Dad couldn't afford to send me to college, besides as above I didn't know what I wanted to study.

We all had different reasons for enlisting in the USMC. Some noble, some as just to be doing something. Some to avoid being drafted, and expecting our recruiter to have told us the truth. Mine was Gomer Pyle USMC. A comedy TV program. But we all loved Gomer, didn't we?

But now we were in and on way to boot camp. We were excited, and a little apprehensive. Then all h&ll broke loose! Was not what the recruiter told us and sure as h*ll not like Gomer Pyle. Not like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin. Or in the movie the D. I. At least not for me, Mom and Dad were not going to come take me home.

Over all it was a good experience, and a learning experience, but yet a fearful experience, and most if not all of us wondered what we had done, and how to get out of it. Mom and Dad were not there to give advice and help us.

Some of us were from small sheltered towns and didn't know what to do with the myriad personalities around us. Let alone the ogres from H*ll, the D. I.'s themselves. Come on everybody, be honest they put the fear of God into all of us.

Then it was over. We were Marines. Well at least in name and training. But I don't think we were ready yet to fulfill all the name entitles. We still had a lot to learn. Learn all that it means and to apply that.

Now, we were on to MOS schools for further training in different skills. Again the thought let me out of here, I can't do this, etc. But most survived and moved on once again. We learned another piece of Marine.

Then for most onto Vietnam (today Iraq, etc). Now we have more to learn. Hands on combat training, where there are no do overs, and get me out of here. Learning to trust your brother (sister) to cover your back. And more importantly, impressing on him (her), that they CAN trust you to cover theirs. This is one of the most valuable things you will take from the Corps. TRUST and your word is your HONOR, you will NOT fail, You will NOT let your Brother (sis) down.

But throughout our time in the Corps, we all have had a love it, leave it, get me the H*ll out of here, can't wait till it's over attitude.

Now we are civilians again, and something is missing. Sure we're back home so are some of our school friends. But things have changed. We each have had different schooling, training, experiences. We the Marines, and them college and maybe work.

Suddenly it's not the same. Maybe different values. Like they say, "you can't go back home!" So some of us return to what we knew as home for the past 4 or so years, but we continue the love hate relationship with the Corps. But admit it, many of us were lost without it. Some never come back, many go into denial for many years, that they missed the good and the bad times they experienced. Even the D.I.'s and the combat. And mostly the camaraderie they experienced with the ones that had truly been there and done that with them.

Then slowly it invades their soul, I miss what I had, but I don't want to re-enlist or I can't for various reasons. So then they start looking for other ways to get back that old feeling of belonging to something elite and that only a few can attain. Other Marines. And here comes one of the final pieces of training and learning of what a Marine is.

Yes he is a fighter and Warrior, like other warriors in the past, but he has also more than that. He's learned that we truly are a brotherhood, and that we miss our brothers. But also that the MARINES, are country and community oriented, and we are instilled from Boot Camp with the integrity to defend and support our Country, Community, And those individuals that are not capable of doing it themselves.

So we have come full circle back to our enlistment. Even though back then (42 years for me), didn't realize it. Many of us join a Marine Corps leagues, or VFW, or American legion. Some as hangers on and others in an active role. I joined the FRA (Fleet Reserve Association). I don't desire an active role with them right now. But I spend every day talking up the Marines, trying to be a better Marine than I ever was, and doing all I can through the year to support the TOYS FOR TOTS.

So for me I have come full circle. No I am not active duty anymore, but I feel I am more Marine now than before. As now I am willingly living what they tried to teach me back then. It's more than training, combat, schooling, or a job. It is a lifestyle.

I see many service members getting out today and just going away, not joining the many different service organizations. I encourage one and all, that if you know of any, please guide them along (gently) to becoming involved, coming full circle. Life is not just a straight highway. Sometime you need to come back full circle to your roots, to the beginning of your journey.

And share and educate other you meet on the way and when you get back. You know, we that have been there and done that, are the best recruiters for our Corps. We can help get the best into our ranks, to keep the Corps strong and vibrant. To keep us the Few and the Proud For many that don't want to join the American Legion and VFW, because they would be "lost" in a sea of all the other branches.

Consider a FRA chapter. To join you have to be active duty, retired, or Honorably discharged from the Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard. Air Force, Army, Need not bother to apply, as you cannot. Perhaps by doing so you too can come full circle, and regain, or reclaim what you feel you have lost or is lacking in your life. A feeling of belonging to something unique. A very tight clique that only a limited few can belong to. One that others will longingly look too, wishing they could be a member of, but cannot.

I apologize for rambling, but hope you all were able to understand what I was trying to say.

Semper Fi
Choo Choo
Sgt. of Marines (nla)
68-74 RVN 70-71


And I Quote...

"Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety."
--Daniel Webster


Joseph Heller and the Fine Art of Reading Modern American Literature.

Dear Sgt. Grit:

Once upon a time, I was a member of a Battalion Landing Team which alternated between operating in the Zembales Training Area and floating somewhere in the South China Sea waiting for the proverbial balloon to go up.

I was blessed with a platoon sergeant who knew his business. As a mustang lieutenant, I was also blessed with enough common sense to know when and how to stay out of his way commensurate with the good order and discipline of the platoon. This left me a bit of free time. Having majored in English at the University of South Carolina, one of my additional assigned duties was as the company librarian. As such, whenever new books appeared for distribution, my hands were the first they passed through on their way to distribution. Within the third such delivery, a paperback copy of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 appeared. This novel was previously one of the required texts for Modern American Literature. However, its meaning passed me by entirely during the course of the class. Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was much more to my liking. Having missed out on Catch 22 the first go-round, reading it a second time was irresistible.

The Hundred-Man Camp comprised a grid of Quonset huts set upon concrete slabs on the road between Mainside and Cubi Point. I was dressed in an olive green t-shirt, matching swimming trunks, pink flip-flops, and a utility cover pulled low over my eyes against the fierce tropical noon-time sun. Engrossed in the novel, and having just passed the part where Major Major Major Major decided to slip out the back hatch rather than deal with Yossarian, some our battalion staff's characteristics came to mind. This time, the book made much more sense.

I was laughing fit-to-be-tied.

A familiar voice floated toward me from out of nowhere. It was the Battalion Commander: a somewhat elderly Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers embarked on his twilight tour. My chair was leaning back against the relatively cool corrugated steel wall. Commensurate with my Parris Island training, I immediately snapped to attention and my right index finger rose to touch the intersection of my utility cover's brim and bill: upper arm parallel to the deck, lower arm straight between elbow and index finger with the palm rotated sufficiently so that just the back of the hand was visible. A picture-perfect salute. The steel chair clattered into the gravel.

"Good afternoon, Colonel", says I.

"What's so funny, Lieutenant?", says the colonel with just enough ice in his voice to preclude a flippant response. "What are you reading?"

"Catch 22, sir."

"Am I to believe that there is something in your current set of circumstances which reminds you of that book?"

"I was hoping the Colonel wouldn't ask me that", says I.

A conspiratorial sly grin spread across his face: "Well carry on, Lieutenant; I trust when you make field grade you'll remember Heller's lessons."

"Aye, aye, sir."

Approximately forty years have elapsed since then. That encounter comes to mind from time-to-time, and I pass on some of Heller's lessons-learned to my son, who will be commissioned into the Navy in May.

He called the other day to thank me for some of the leadership lessons he's absorbed: such as praising in public and criticizing in private, letting the troops know that their welfare must be perceived as being on similar footing with the overall mission, and that the commander's position is always at the back end of the chow-line. The main lesson is to lead in the same manner as you would prefer to be led.

KB


Marines in armor Sgt Grit,
Ran across these in a pile of old photos- unless your deuce gear looks like this don't even think of talking to me about "old Corps" LOL

Semper Fi
Tyler Therrien
Ashland, MO.
Cpl. EAS 7/87


And I Quote...

"Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character."
--1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) .


Dear Sgt Grit,
My husband of 40 years just passed away on March 19, 2010. By his own hand. He was with the Marines Hotel 2/5 1st Squad, 1st Platoon 1st Marine Division as a Sergeant. He was in Hue City during the 1968 Tet Offensive He got 3 purple hearts and 8 other medals. What a sad day for our family. I pray he has found peace, and will not be fighting the war in his mind anymore. He was a great man, but the pain was just too much for him to bear anymore. Thanks for all your newsletters.
Wife Linda


Hi Sarge,
Tonight's bantering between MARINES and the Navy reminds me of several years ago when my granddaughter and I were in Nassau, Bahamas, Two sailors asked if they could sit with us and we said ok. Well me and my smart mouth said oh yes you are a small part of the MARINE CORPS to which they replied who do you think signs their pay checks. My answer was "that's a privilege we allow you". They said I needed a talking to. Barb and I got a big kick out of them.
GOD BLESS our MARINES
Ellie (mother of former MARINE now guarding Heaven's gates.


Back in Feb/10 I attended a wake for a friend's father. I noticed the Flag on the casket and asked about their fathers service, he was 84. They said Dad was Marine which made me offer him a big Semper Fi brother and also one to his kids. When I was looking at many photos of this lively old guy something caught my eye about Iwo Jima veterans.

As I asked further details of my friend he said Dad was Corpsmen and served with the Marines so I guess he's not really a Marine. I quietly corrected my friend and said of course his Dad was Marine and always be remembered that way among the Marines he served with and saved on Iwo. We laughed cause they said Dad got shot in the can while on Iwo and had joked that he couldn't keep his big butt out of the line of fire. It's easy to see how that happened, when leaning over a wounded Marine.

This fine man and FMF corpsmen died on Feb 19, 2010, 65 years to the day that the Marines landed on Iwo Jima--strange cosmic vibe there, he was 19 in Feb 1945.

Daniel J. Danhauer Sr
FMF Corpsmen
Iwo Jima Veteran
lived most of his life in the Chicago area and passed peacefully on Feb 19, 2010

Semper Fi Mac,
OLY Olson, Sgt


I am writing in response to the letter written by Andrew Mathias. First of all he made a broad generalization about young people in the 16-18 year old age group. I do not believe we should stereotype people in this way. I found his letter very disrespectful towards young poolies and recruits. They deserve a lot of credit for making the decision to join the Marines at such a young age. It's a very adult decision and requires a lot of thought and courage to make such a decision.

Let me tell you about my young poolie. This kid's parents abandoned him when he was 5 weeks old. That's when I took him in and raised him as my own as a single parent I might add. He calls me "MOM" and he feels every bit like my own. He is 17 now and he has brought a lot of joy to my life. Especially since my daughter passed away when he was 2. He has gone through anxiety and abandonment issues growing up and he has worked through it.

Yeah he acts like a know it all at times, but he is a very good kid and has always made good decisions. He has been involved with music since the 5th grade when he started playing the clarinet. He went on to learn the bass clarinet, tuba, bass guitar and the bari-sax. He has been in marching band, concert band, orchestra, the winter ensemble and has played for our high school's musical for the last 4 years. He has also been in regional honors band and state's honor band. All of that requires a lot of discipline don't you think Mr. Andrew Mathias?

He talked about enlisting in the Corps several years ago and sent for information when he was about 12. On the second day of school this year, his senior year the recruiter called and he made an appointment to see him the next day. Sounding like the military commercials that are on TV, we talked about it that evening. I told him that I would support any decision he would make. The next day when he came back with the recruiter from his appointment. The recruiter told me that he wanted to become a Marine. He asked me if I would sign a paper giving him permission to make his own decision. I couldn't say no. In my heart of hearts I wanted this for him for awhile but I never told him that. I am actually swelled with pride with his decision and his future as a Marine.

The funny thing is you wouldn't know it by looking at him. His hair is quite long. So I am sure if Andrew Mathias saw this kid on the street he would stereotype him as a long hair rebellious teen. His hair is only his musician look. He grew it long to donate it for locks of love. He is also a regular blood donor. He is very into physical fitness and watches what he eats and works out on a regular basis.

Let me tell you how dedicate he is, this past weekend, March 18th-20th, we had our musical at the high school. After going to school on Thursday he had a performance that evening and we got home near 11:00p.m. He went to school on Friday, came home and ate, went to the gym and back up to school for Friday's performance. On Saturday he got up at 7:00p.m. drove an hour away for his IST came home got ready for yet two more performances on Saturday. I might add he played two instruments during the show. We got home around 11:00p.m. that night. That's just a little sample of how dedicated he is to both the Marine Corps and his role as a musician.

By the way he didn't sleep in the next day, he got up and went to the gym. I hope and pray that he chooses to go into one of the Marine bands because he is very gifted and talented. I'm not just saying that because I'm his MOM, I'm saying that because it's true. He says he wants to go into infantry because he wants to make a difference. If there are any Marine band members out there I'd like to hear from you. Well Mr Andrew Mathias before you decide to stereotype anyone again just keep this story in mind.

Yours Truly,
Linda L. Bentley, Future Mother Of A Marine


And I Quote...

"By their victory, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and other units of the Fifth Amphibious Corps have made an accounting to their country which only history will be able to value fully. Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
--Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U.S. Navy


Just to let you know how much we enjoy your website. Yesterday was the third annv. of receiving the "knock on the door" telling us our USMC hero had been killed in an auto accident after a training mission at Camp Pendleton.

We appreciate our continued link to the USMC and truly enjoy the newsletter.
My husband has two brothers who are USMC vets from Vietnam era (one served in country) that also benefit from the purchases we make from you.

Thanks again and God Bless!
Mike and Jennifer


Grit,
Would you post a message on your weekly newsletters and / or face book about a homecoming for a wounded Marine? Sgt Bouchards Humvee hit a I.E.D and he lost a leg and other injuries..Another Marine was wounded and 3 Marines were KIA'D.

He was supposed to come home about 2 months ago but required more surgery. Just received phone call he is suppose to come home April 3rd..I or the fire dept Capt that is in charge of our city's part of his trip can send you all the required info on his arrival etc. Would love to see every square inch of roadway with a Marine or American Flag...MCL Westfield River Valley chapter 141 for which I am a member of will be present along with the CT Leathernecks motor cycle unit who will escort him hopefully from CT/Ma state line all the way to his house..Still getting everything worked out.

Semper Fi
Mike Redfern


Just wanted to say my Marine came home from Iraq. He was stationed at Al-Asad, Iraq, with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of Cherry Point, NC. Back in Sept. he made Marine of the Quarter for his unit (VMAQ-3). Talk about a proud mom. I had to go to work and let everyone who would listen to me. I have my yellow ribbon on my tree and a blue star banner in the window, for all service members. I live in a military family. Both father and step-father put in 20 years in the Air Force (SAC). Yes I am an Air Force brat. My older brother just retired Ai4r Force (Motor Pool). I have a brother that a Marine, a brother- in-law in the Air Force, a nephew just went in the Army and my son-in-law just got out of the Army. I had 5 uncles (my mother's brothers) were Merchant Marines. God bless all our military, no matter what country they are from.

Semper Fi
Proud Marine Mom
Denise Burgett
Lorain, OH


And I Quote...

"Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there."
--LtGen Victor H. Krulak, USMC
April 1965


Mom Decal
Mom Decal








Dad Decal
Dad Decal



God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit