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Sgt Grit

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AmericanCourage #228     10 JUN 2010
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My name is Laurie Lewkowski here are pics of my tats one for my son and the skull for all Marines WIA/KIA. My son is LCPL DAVID RAYMOND BAKER he was killed 19 days after his 22nd birthday; he stepped on an IED on Oct 20th 2009. The couple pics I sent, David is on the left of the picture with the beautiful blue eyes, Yenowine is on the right.

Marine Mom memorial and skull and crossbones tattoo Mom and her Marine

My son is my Hero, our hero. A highway was dedicated in his name Rt 2 in Painesville Ohio pull up LCPL David R Baker 22 from Painesville Ohio you will see many many things about him. My heart is so broken.

Flowers for LCpl Baker LCpl Baker and Yenowine

Once a Marine Mom Always a Marine Mom

Honor YOUR hero with this Sgt. Grit exclusive “My Hero” t-shirt!- let the world know! Get One

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In This Issue:

There is a good Old/New Corps comparison. Speaking of new, take a look at the story about the Youn.g (very) Marines. There are some great pictures of a "military room" to pay respects to family members. LZ Lambeau, Packers kinda, welcome home event. How NOT to eat chicken and mashed potatoes and a lesson from Dad. And the last Iwo Jima Chaplain has passed and a story.

The Sgt Grit Facebook page is growing daily and people are having an outstanding time there, take a look and join. The Sgt Grit Blog is growing, take a look and leave a comment on a story.

Happy Father's Day to all you Marine fathers. I am sure each of you has passed on some of the Corps to your kids. Tell us about some of what you have passed on.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt. Grit,

Yet another opinion about the TV series Pacific. Poetic license aside, I think the producers did a fairly good job at telling the story they wanted to tell.

But, historical accuracy cannot be ignored. In episode 5 or 6 John Basilone is being introduced at a 'lodge' bond rally and the speaker says, "And now the Congressional Medal of Honor winner... " When I heard that I literally came right up out of my easy chair with and exclamation that scared my wife half to death. How could the military advisers let them get away with, once again, misnaming the Medal of Honor. This is a total miscarriage of history and an insult to every GI who was ever awarded that medal. Yes, I know, they have been misrepresenting that medal for a lot of years. Recently I watched the 1941 movie, Sgt. York, and the presenting officer called it the Congressional Medal of Honor. It looks as though the movie industry hasn't gotten their history correct in at least 69 years.

Some would say that it's been done incorrectly by so many for so long, that it should just be accepted. With that I am reminded of Adolph Hitler's motto: "Tell them the same lie often enough and long enough, they will come to believe it is true." Well, I for one, cannot accept that. I don't believe I have ever seen or heard a Marine call that medal anything but the Medal of Honor.

So, I've lodged my complaint, now I feel better. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
Semper Fi.
Kenneth L. "Rip" Stephens, Former Cpl of Marines, 1956-1963

LCPL Joshua Townsend and fellow Afghanistan soldier in Afghanistan Just want to give a big shout out to our son LCPL Joshua Townsend of the 1/3 who has just completed a 7 month deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. We would also like to acknowledge all our military personnel and we really appreciate all their efforts and sacrifices especially our Marines. We wish and pray all have a quick tour and safe return. Attached is a photo of Josh and fellow Afghan soldier.

Phillip Townsend

Sgt Grit,

Photo of Mike Swihart and his son PFC Swihart I'm sorry I missed your photo contest, I don't know how I missed it. Anyway I'm sending you a picture the day my son graduated from Parris Island, Dec 19th, 2009. That is the proudest day of my life. He has gone on and completed MCT and MTC. He just reported to Camp Lejeune, 2nd Tank Battalion. God bless all those that serve our great nation!


Mike Swihart

And I Quote...

"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness."
--George Washington

May 27,2010

I want to thank you for SGT GRIT and my brothers in arms, helping me gear up my Son-In-Law, reenactor Zack, to look as we did in Vietnam during the four day and Parade event, when the (AVTT) American Veterans Traveling Tribute was in my home town.
Lcpl Williams and son-in-law Zack Reenactors walking down a street
Zack walked in the Parade with the Young Marines of Ellis County. He touch and surprise many Vets along the Parade route, when they saw him, they tried to get him to stop, to take more pictures. It was a great time of healing for All the Vietnam Veterans, to finally be welcome home.
L/Cpl Dane Williams
Fox 2/7 Marines Vietnam 1969-70

I was active duty in the corp from 2000 to 2004. Second Tank Bn, Alpha company 2nd Plt. we crossed the border from Kuwait to Iraq in March of 2003. we were one of the very fist ground units to attack. On a side note we are in the Marine Corps record books, as a Bn for the longest overland assualt in Marine history, 300 plus miles. We didnt take many casualties in this stage of the war but the ones we did take hit home and hurt deeply. We lost 2 Marines on the way to Baghdad, Lt. Brian Mcphillips and Cpl Bernard Gooden. Subsequently the BN named our two trainin rooms after them when the main body returned home.

Fast forward to Feb of this year. I went to get another tattoo and the parlor is up near North Ga. I decided that I wanted to visit the cemetary because I heard about it. I was in awe of the peaceful derinity that I felt on the grounds of the cemetary. The entire compond is up off of GA Hwy 20 in Cheerokee County. The respect that the care takers have for all of the fallen is un matched. the place is emormous and it lets you know just how many people have given their live is service of this great nation.

Georgia National Cemetery sign Georgia National Cemetery wall

I have never visited one of the other national cememtaries but I know that our brothers and sisters are taken care of even in the after life. I have serveral more photos but these are just a few that I wanted to share of the facilites.

Sgt. M. Linen / 1812 USMC 2000- 2004
Semper Fi

Last Iwo Jima Chaplain passes away.
posted 21 May 2010

In the bloodiest days of Iwo Jima, he spoke the last words over fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen as they were buried in the island's black sand. On 20 May 2010, Marines, sailors and soldiers returned the favor to the late Rev. E. Gage Hotaling of Agawam MA, sending the old Navy chaplain on to join his comrades with military honors.

Hotaling was the last surviving chaplain who served ashore with the Marines at Iwo. He joined the Chaplain Corps at age 28 in 1944 because he didn't feel he could preach to the WW II generation unless he knew what they had endured, so he found himself with the 4th Marine Division on Iwo Jima. Some of his experiences on Iwo Jima are included in the book, "Flags of Our Fathers," which tells the stories of the men who raised the American flag during the battle of February 1945.

Rev. Hotaling's first sermon was delivered at a Manton, Rhode Island church on November 19, 1933. At that time the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Rev. Hotaling was 17 years old and had promised his father, who was dying of cancer, that he would carry on the work of ministry.

Hotaling, 94, died Sunday 16 May 2010 in a Springfield hospital, 65 years after the iconic battle for the Pacific island. In a 2007 documentary, he talked about the grim task he faced as Marines fell in bitter combat against the dug-in Japanese enemy. Of the 6,821 Americans killed, Hotaling believed he buried about 1,800.

"We would have four Marines with a flag over each grave. And while they were kneeling with the flag, I would stand up and I would give the committal words for each one," he told the filmmakers.

He said he took up smoking to overcome the stench of decay.

"I did it not as a Protestant, Catholic or a Jew, but as a Marine," the Baptist minister said. "Every man was buried as a Marine. And so I gave the same committal to each one."

A Marine Corps honor guard stood by as family members and other veterans paid their respects yesterday at Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

"He was a man of God, a man who comforted people and a shepard to his flock," said son Kerry, 57, of Ludlow. "He brought comfort to the fighting Marines who were on the island."

Thanks should go to Massachusetts State Trooper Mike Cutone, an Army vet, who was on a prisoner watch at Mercy Hospital when he learned from an old Marine that Hotaling was dying down the hall. Cutone made some calls and saw to it Hotaling was attended at his bedside by Marines in dress blues in his last days, just as he had tended to them in theirs in dirty, bloodstained dungarees.

During the Viet Nam war I returned back to Va. Beach Va. to visit my father, a retired Mustang. I had met my new step-mother once before and her two daughters and their children, so I was on my best behavior, so I thought. The day passed with my new brother-in-law and I along with my Dad bantering back in forth as he was in the Army, not a good mix in my Dad's house, but we made it thru the day.

My Dad used to say he would rather have his daughter working in a whore house, than his son in the Navy. My older brother joined the Navy, my sister called me and told me she was going away to Nevada to work, Steve had just joined the Navy. I told her that at least she would not to carry a lot of luggage.

Getting back to the story, I was seated at my Father's right hand, not by choice, and was enjoying the family surroundings and a meal of Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn with freshly made bread, suddenly I found myself looking at the ceiling while I was still in my chair, my Dad had back handed me so hard I was still in the chair and flat on my back, the room was dead silent, I got up and left the room, followed by my Father. He explained that I could eat the whole platter of chicken, but that he would not tolerate my wolfing down my food like "you are not running in the jungle" .

He also gave the lesson that we as Marines are held to a higher standard than any other group of people, and that we carried the obligation and the honor of keeping that standard above all others. That when I chose to join the Corps I became more than just a man, I became a Marine, that is when I realized that there are not any Ex-Marines. We are Marines, I know because of my Grandfather, Father, his brothers that we are, just that, A Marine, I believe that says it all.

W. Austin U.S.M.C.

USMC car at Nashua, NH Memorial Day Parade

Marine Corps-vette rear Marine Corps-vette side view
Marine Corps-vette Twin Towers hood Little girl at parade in black and white with color USA flag

PS. One of the pics is of my daughter at the parade. My wife enhanced it a bit...hope u like it!

Roger Doucette

And I Quote...

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
--Proverbs 16:18

The Old Corps and the New

I wanted to wait until I saw the entire HBO series "The Pacific" before commenting on it. Overall, I thought they did a good job of portraying the Marine Corps' performance during WWII, albeit with a few Hollywood touches. What struck me over and over again were the scenes where the Marine Corps training and spirit of "getting the job done, no matter what" came into play.

Watching Sgt Basilone humping ammunition through the jungles of Guadalcanal, through rifle fire and mortar explosions that sometimes knocked him down, was truly inspiring. Yet in one sense it was just a reminder of "That's what we Marines do: We improvise, overcome and adapt."

Just as the series was winding down, we had our Marine Corps Week here in Boston. It was pretty exciting stuff with the Osprey landing on Boston Common, seeing the Drum & Bugle Corps perform etc. But the real treat for me was meeting the young men and women of the 3rd BN/24th Marines who were all over the city.

These fine youngsters were all over the town - serving dinner at the Veterans Homeless Shelter, helping clean up the parks, meeting with Boston schoolchildren and putting on displays of equipment for Boston citizens. I ran into a group of them by the USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard. I had to growl at them a few times to quit calling me "Sir" but they were some of the nicest, most squared-away individuals I had ever met.

After they left town and The Pacific series ended, I found myself marveling about the legacy left to us by all those youngsters who went through h&ll to secure our freedom and the young people of today's Corps who have picked that mantle up and are carrying it forward.

I owe it to the Old Corps to keep their memory alive and to do whatever it takes to live up to their sacrifice - be it another lap in the pool or another round of weights. I owe it to the New Corps members to support them when they are Over There and when they come home and to always let them know their service and sacrifice is appreciated.

Semper Fidelis,
L/Cpl John Nihen

First I would like to thank all of those people who have served this country. I can't thank you ENOUGH. I recently went to a fund raiser for the production Our Vietnam Generation. It's by Keith Famie who made the movie on Our Greatest Generation. Sitting and talking to Vets of all Wars and ages, the one thing they all kept repeating was I wish my dad, mom, brother or sister would have told me stories of what they did in war or the service. Vietnam Vets welcome home sorry the country treated you so bad, but for your family's sake please tell your story.

I recently did a military room for the 9 you served their country from my father-in-law to my grandson. I didn't have any stories for my father in-law or brother except their military records. I did this room because my niece and nephew asked what they did during the war. Since they asked I have been able to add so much about the family. All were so thankful to read about each member. I writing this to encourage you to tell your stories so no one will have to not know what you did. Once you die there is one less chapter in history to share.

Proud Marine Dad
and Army Grand Dad
Semper FI

dodge truck back view showing decals, window graphic, and mud flaps Hello
You guys do a great job,with pic's notes,and stories. Here is my everyday driver (see more pics). 1995 Dodge 3/4 ton farm truck, cummins diesel,5 speed manual trans,stage 2 power banks exhaust,Cadillac 6way power seats,300 amps for sound. Hope to see my pic's in Sgt.Grit


Dear Sgt Grit,
Please pass on my sincerest condolences to the family of Sgt Josh Desforges, and send my gratitude for his courage to serve.
Momma Karey
Mom to the Corps

As I read the opening letter to GRIT today I wept openly and sobbed at the thought any parent or family would think their loss was not recognized and appreciated. I have not cried the past 35 years over much-maybe 3 times. Keven Jandreau's letter touched a deep well of emotion in me today-so close to Memorial Day.

Please know that there is NEVER just another name to me, and now I know more about what a great young man SGT Josh Desforges, USMC, was. I will keep you in my prayers as I thank God for the Marines and their families who sacrifice so much for all of us. YOU GIVE US ALL FREEDOM!

May God bless you as you continue to mourn this incredibly profound loss of such a good man. During my own service, during Vietnam, I saw many young men leave this life, and there was never just another name. Even today I can remember their faces.

Thank you for sharing all this with us. I deeply appreciate your sacrifice and loss. I will pray for comfort for you. an old WAC

And I Quote...

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
--John Adams

I saw in your latest catalog that you have pictures of Marines and family and I thought I'd share the attached pictures. My son gave me away at my wedding this past May 1st and I have never had a prouder moment in my life...except when he got his eagle, globe, and anchor, of course!

Cpl Gass and mother, Karen Cpl. Gass giving his mother away at her wedding.

Karen Balmer
Mother of Cpl. Zachary Gass

In response to Kevin Jandreau's letter concerning, Sgt Josh Desforges USMC, being Killed in Action.
Kevin it saddens me that any parent and family should have to go through what you and your family are. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

During this trying period, please keep in mind that Josh was doing what our country, and the Marine Corps asked him to. Defend the freedom of others, less capable of defending themselves, and I'm sure he was doing it well or he would never have been made a Sgt. of Marines. He upheld the finest traditions of this great country and the Marine Corps.

Also keep in mind that Marines, present or former don't forget. Yea, we may not know each and every Marine that has fallen in the line of duty. But we do know that, freedom isn't free, and that some Marines have given all to defend those freedoms, both for ourselves and others, and that sadly more will follow. We also know that Marines share a special bond with each other. A bond that allows us to hold a special place in our hearts for all other Marines, and that is where Josh is, in every Marines heart, both present and former. Why you may ask, well that answer is simple really, he is and always will be one of us a United States Marine, and Marines don't forget their own.

Marines are a proud bunch to say the least, why just look at how many cars have the Marine Corps emblem on the window, or how many houses are flying our nations colors along with the Marines Corps colors, or how many cars have a "Semper Fi" bumper sticker. Semper Fi {Semper Fidelis}{always faithful} Marines live by those 2 words, and that's why Josh will not be forgotten, because Marines are always faithful {Semper Fidelis} to God, country, the Marine Corps and each other.

My thoughts and prays
{Former Pvt.} A.P. DiGeorgio

Reading the note written by Sgt Jandreau's father Kevin about the loss of his son really made me realize what Memorial Day is all about. My own son was born just three days prior to Sgt Jandreau and is here alive and well today thanks to the sacrifice of both Josh and his parents.

That particular recruiting poster is one I grew up looking at. I became a Marine in 1980 and to this day see that poster and am reminded of who I was in those days and how much my life changed because of the Marine Corps.

I for one among many others will be thinking of your son and you as well Sir. He will never be forgotten!

God bless your son and your entire family.
Semper Fi

Cpl. USMC 80/84

Dear Mr. Jandreau:

The loss of one Marine, in battle or otherwise, is a loss for every Marine that has ever worn our uniform and called themselves a Marine. Simple words, cannot remove your grief, nor take away the sting of sorrow and loss. Please know that you are in the all of our prayers, for your loss, Sir, is our loss as well.

Semper Fi, and God Bless you and your family, Respectfully,

John A. Carter
Gunnery Sergeant, USMC, Retired

Out wearing Sgt Grit Memorial Day shirts 2010.....
Cpl. Kenneth R. Ellis Jr.

Cpl. Kenneth R. Ellis Jr.
USMC 78'-82'
Memorial Day 2010 at Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary in Fair Oaks, CA
Marine Lil' Sister Keely Goshia running in memory of LCpl Joshua Davies KIA and Marine dad, Keith Goshia

On the left is Marine Lil' Sister Keely Goshia running in memory of LCpl Joshua Davies KIA several weeks ago in Afghanistan (she also attended his funeral in IA) and on the right is proud Marine dad, Keith Goshia running in honor of our son LCpl Cliff Goshia of Cherry Point.
Earl Becker

Earl Becker

And I Quote...

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
--James Madison

Hey SGT. Grit,
We had a welcome home to all Vietnam Vets two weeks ago. It was A very emotional Three days. I even met a couple of Marines from my old unit. They had the moving wall and an almost a football size Vietnam map with all the cities on it. You could put your name on the cities you were in while you were in Nam. It was held inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, right inside the Packer Stadium. It was awesome.

It caught on with a few other states, and now they are having the same thing that we had. It took them 44 years to welcome us home but, we'll take it. Bart Starr was there and the Assit. Chief of the Onidea nation was there also. Too bad you couldn't make it, it was one h&ll of a get together. Bart Starr actually couldn't be there because of his busy schedule, but they put him on the big screen and he gave his speech saying he was sorry he wasn't there, but he wished us the best and said that he will be there the next time.

Next year they are planning to have one for the Korean Vets. I just might go to that one also, because most of my uncles were in Korea. I think it's about time they honor them also. They had the moving wall, and all types of trucks, jeeps, (EVEN THE MIGHTY MITE) mules, and of course, the water buffalo. They also had the HUEYS have a fly over Lambeau field. I just wanted to tell you this, because, Like a lot of brothers said, Now we have closure on Vietnam.

Never again will one generation of Veterans Abandon another Generation of Veterans!

CPL. Anthony E. Packowski, USMC

SGT GRIT In a previous post I mentioned the upcoming Welcome Home VietNam Vets for the State of Wisc "LZ LAMBEAU" in GreenBay Wisc MAY 21-23. I was invited to attend actually from the son of my best friend, fellow corpsman and best man at my wedding.

I was very apprehensive and responded with I don't think I can do this for various reasons. His son called me again and said how his dad would like me to attend if I could but did not push the issue. My wife supportive, acknowledged my decision. I knew how much this would mean to him and wanted to share this experience, especially in his home town the Village of Ashwaubenon. In addition he is an avid Packer Fan and a Proud Police officer.

On the flight up my thoughts were again of apprehension etc. Upon arrival at Milwaukee my friends son was there to greet me. He handed me a Ball Cap that his dad had made special VietNam Veteran Third Marine Div 67' '68 and "DOC on the side with a Medical Caduece Pin. This set the stage for a wonderful time of highs and lows, emotions and gratitude.

The experience of the motorcycles and riders doing the Honor Ride from LaCrosse Wis, 250 miles in rain and fog. My name in lights on one of the numerous signs on local business a gift from my friends LT.

Over 30,000 in attendance at Lambeau Stadium Sat night for the Special Ceremony which was un-describable. In addition to I met the brother of a Marine from Milwaukee in a bizarre circumstance I Had the honor of attending his brothers Coming Home in Arlington May 10 2005.

I witnessed the camaraderie of all branches of services coming together. High fives and hand shakes, thank you and Welcome Home but the reason most came were to not forget their brothers who had fallen. The State of Wisc sponsors and the volunteers who gave money and time and to the civilians who waved flags and gave hugs freely. I knew the reason why I came to LZLAMBEAU.

Frank Morelli FMF Corpsman of the Marines
Nam '67'68 "Semper FI"

MGySgt Thomas Steadham of Newcastle Oklahoma, Stood his final post on June 3 2010.
Memories from his wife of 52 years include; being Stationed in Alaska, Drill Instructor at San Diego, Embassy Guard at Parris France, Instructor for OCS at Quantico and Recruiting Duty. He was aboard the USS Saipan LST and enjoyed his time there so much, he re enlisted on the ship and stayed for another tour. He received his Silver Star in Vietnam. They were under heavy fire and he saved his Captain and a Corpsman while being shot at. He took 9 bullets.

He is survived by his wife Millie who married him 8 weeks into his enlistment. He has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. He will be interred at the Fort Sill National Cemetery.

Marine, Take your new post.

Hey Sgt. Grit,
I have to tell you a story that you don't have to publish if you don't want to. I have a cousin that has been attending several of my "Grit to-gethers" each November 10th for the last several years. He is a Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran and in my book, he is the hero I wanted to be when I went to boot camp in 1984.

I have been fortunate enough to have a wife that appreciates the Marine Corps Birthday and allows me to celebrate in the fashion to which I have been accustomed. I have also been able to obtain a few motorcycles that I can ride in both the American Legion Riders and any other good cause I come across. We had a "Thunder Rolls" ride in Belleville Michigan and I was able to get both bikes running at the same time.

My cousin was able to ride for the first time in 39 years. His last ride was after he got released from Great Lakes Naval Hospital almost 40 years ago and it wasn't what a hero of his caliber deserved. As we rode along the escorted route and the Police led the way, I witnessed his official welcome home parade. People were lining the parade route and were clapping and blowing horns. We rode for about 15 miles to cheers and flag waving, then we rode into the most hellacious storm I have ever seen. I survived two Typhoons on Okinawa that made this look like a spring shower.

Even though the rain storm chased off half of the riders who started, we were there at the end for the memorial and we were able to stop and see our Uncle who is a 91 year old US Army Air Corps veteran and his son who is also a decorated US Army Vietnam Vet. I'm very happy that I was able to make this happen. Our parents made us cousin's, the Marine Corps made us Brothers!

Sgt. Grit, I want to thank you for allowing all of us Marines to have a place to brag about, show off, and just vent our feelings about what we go through every day we claim the title of Marine. Each one of us who claims the title prays to be worthy of those Marines who came before us and those who come after us.

I am humbled by the Marines who came before me and I am awed by the Marines who have come after me.

Semper Fi,

Sgt W. Hoeft

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
--Samuel Adams, 1776

Sgt Grit,
In this week's issue a former DI made his own case about what the DI means to all Marines. I may have suggested this book before but even if I did some may not have read it the first time. The name of the book is, "The Few and the Proud". It is written by 5 different Drill Instructors explaining how and why they have to train us this way. This book takes each week by week and explains what is to be accomplished with the platoon that particular week. They have to break us down to our lowest point then start building something new from there. That is why there is such an amazing difference in our posture, demeanor and pride when it is over. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on these men to accomplish these tasks over and over again. Sometimes they will put in 100 hours a week or more to get this job done. DI Lee Ermey is one of the five DI's in the book. It will make you want to contact your DI if possible. Two of my 3 have already passed away and I couldn't find the other.

And I Quote...

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
--Thomas Jefferson

Just an update here is a couple of pictures of Gunny monster listed on your best use of site page for under the title of "Gunny Monster". Here is a picture the really fits the shirt title. And a current picture of him now he is almost 2. He has grown into a Bulldog any Marine would be proud of. I hope you can add these to the posting.

Gunny Monster bulldog in t-shirt Beware of the Devil Dogs sign

I have also added a customized sign for the yard and the cabin that your sales people were great help with. Thanks again Leah, keep up the great work. I have two at the house on my gates and one at the cabin door. With one of your other signs that I am sure you will recognize.

Thanks again Troy

Black Doggie T-Shirt

Need Custom Signs? Call Leah in our customs dept. @ 888-NOV-1775

There'll be plenty of incoming over this one. I know I was plenty p-ssed when I read it. I don't believe this is a pervasive attitude. I think that most young active duty Marines just don't know how to respond to a Marine who is no longer AD, especially the older generation. But once in a great while you run into a disrespectful sh-t-head like this. It takes all kinds.

The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Sgt. Grit, Inform Mrs. Desforges that it is a shame that she lost her son, however, she has gained many sons as a result of your e mail !
S/F Al Allaband USMC Korea

Hey Sgt Grit!

Greetings from El Paso, TX home of Fort Bliss and the Ft Bliss National Cemetery where our Young Marine unit provided a color guard detail for the ceremonies that took place on Memorial Day. From the emails, phone calls and text messages that I've received, they apparently made an incredible impact with the crowds of Veterans, and everyone that was in attendance.

Now you may be thinking that a youth group providing a color guard to a ceremony may not seem significant in itself, but I would like you to take into consideration that the oldest member of the detail was only 10 years old!

This detail was formed over a year ago and these kids have been busting their little humps during our weekly drills and they've jumped at every chance to march the colors onto any field, street, parade and ceremony that they hear about...

Anyhow, these kids made enough of an impact that they caught the eyes of the local newspaper's photographers and attached is what was printed about them. Enjoy.

Semper Fidelis,
Rick Tafoya,
Executive Officer, El Paso Young Marines

Here is an update to a picture I sent earlier. Sgt Allen Dale June - Navajo Code Talker I was fortunate enough to sit with a Code Talkers Wife today. Today was the 54th annual commemorative wreath laying at Bethel Cemetery in Cheyenne. Afterwards we had a free BBQ picnic at VFW 1881.

Just by chance she happened to sit with me at the table. She autographed the back sides of these two cards for me. One is a pic when he was in service back in 1942 and the other a few years ago.
He's 91 years old now.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Of Marines (nla)
RVN 1970-1971

And I Quote...

"He that lives upon hope will die fasting." --Benjamin Franklin

Dear All,
Would like to convey my "Respect" and "Remembrance" this Memorial Day to my family members who served... My Great Great Grandfather, Mort Reardon, (Civil War), infantry, representing Brooklyn, NY in various campaigns, died after complications from swamp fever (Malaria). My father, John, Army Corps of Engineers during the Pacific "Island Hopping Campaign" (WW II), his brother, Tommy, Infantry (WW II), my mother's brothers, John McCourt, Navy fighter pilot, lost his life at the close of the war (WW II), Joe McCourt, Communications (WW II) and my brother- in-law, Gregg Lavery, Infantry, who lost his life during a battle near Qua Viet in March of 1968 while serving with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines (Vietnam War)...

And to all those who paid the ultimate price from Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines and of whom I served with in Vietnam... With emphasis, if I may, on friends Jerry Baldwin, Jimmy Krysil, Gary Wilkins, Warren Bibbs, "Poncho", Jimmy Armstead and Bruce Hickox... All fellow infantrymen, with exception of Bruce Hickox, a Marine fighter pilot, one of three survivors of his fifteen man squadron who died of cancer two years ago...

And to my hometown pal here in Hicksville, L.I., John Nichols, United States Air Force.
"God Bless", guys, "Thank You" and "Rest Well"
Semper Fidelis,

I entered my roadster in a custom car show and I just went around the looking at the other cars and spotted his hood, we chatted and he was a corpsman. He liked my shorts and we chatted about the Corps. He seemed more a Marine that a Navy guy. not much of a story but we had a nice time. The one mural on the bottom of his hood is his squad in VietNam.
Marine Corps art under hood of car USMC Skull, Crossbones, and Wings artwork under hood of car
SSgt DJ Huntsinger

SSgt Daniels shadow box that was put together using Sgt Grit products. Sgt Grit;
I am attaching a photo of a shadow box that I was able to put together with your quality products.

I lost all of my memorabilia in 2005 in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Even my Boot book.

This is what I now see when I drive into my garage every day after work.

Thanks for the help.
Semper Fi
SSgt A. Daniels 1969-1979

Well, my friends,

It is time I sat down and attempted to put into words an event that is hard to describe in words. Many of you know the history of the trials it took to reach this point. I have a dear friend I met at my mall many years ago....his name is Sgt Gordon Ward, 1/25,USMC. He was one of the first to land on Iwo Jima, was shot, was rescued, and has some pretty incredible stories to tell. I was blessed to have met him those many years ago, and blessed to have become his friend. And let me tell you, he has some stories to tell. As a matter of fact, until a year ago, when his health started to deteriorate, he spent most weekends down at the Iwo Jima Memorial, telling those stories to the tourists...and anyone who wanted to learn some of the history of that battle.

Fast forward.....the last year he has really started to suffer the affects of aging, and walking and breathing are not as easy as they once were. His health is declining. He sold his home and he and his wife now live in an assisted living residence. His spirits were very low, he was frustrated at his state of decline, and missing his trips downtown. (Ana managed to get him down there a couple of weeks ago with his wheelchair and oxygen so that he could once again entertain the tourists with his stories). Anyway, I realized that the one thing that would bring him hope and the return of his pride would be a visit from Marines. I tried many different sources....from the local recruiting office all the way up to Commandant Conway's office. Not one place I called panned out. I felt disappointed, and had given up hope....thinking the only time the Marines would see Gordon was at his funeral.

This past weekend, Memorial Weekend, a Vietnam veteran and friend reminded me to try the Marine Corps League (which I had tried before to no avail). I went to their website, clicked on "Contact us" and told my story, asking if they might be able to visit Gordon while he is still of the living. Within an hour I got a reply from the Exec Director...and he said he was forwarding my request to his fellow Marines that were more local that he. Shortly thereafter I got an email from one of his Marines asking if the following Thursday (this past Thursday) would be alright for a few Marines to stop by to visit. Well....I just about cried....called Ana, and they all arranged through the Residence to be there. I thought it would be a couple of Marines....and their two therapy dogs, which are ranked LCpls! Gracie and Buster. I was scheduled to be at work that morning but used an excuse to be away for a couple of hours.

So...the social director decided to invite all the residents and it was to be a surprise. Gordon's wife was wheeled in, then many of the residents...into a large social area. The first Marine arrived with the dogs, and set up the room. Then two more arrived, then several more arrived, all in their red "Marines Helping Marines" shirts, and their MCL covers. They brought many gifts for Gordon, including a certificate you can see in the photos that are attached. Bob, the lead of the group, asked Gordon questions about his war experiences and he gave very clear explanations of all of his experiences...from the two Navy Corpsmen who lost their lives trying to save him, to shooting the Japs, to watching the raising of the flag on Mt Suribachi. The residents were enthralled, as were the Marines, as were the staff. One other resident announced that it was his Coast Guard ship that the second flag was taken to raise on Mt Suribachi. When you look at the photos you will see how wonderful this gathering was for everyone...including me. I was near tears many times, just from the joy of knowing how much Gordon and his family were grateful for the recognition. As the social director said to me later, now Gordon will be seen in a different light by all who are around him every day.

I feel incredibly blessed that the Lord made this possible...and I give Him the glory....only He could have been responsible for this taking place.....the Holy Spirit was could feel it in the room.....the blessings were enormous...and as I said, it is hard to put this into words. Gordon was totally surprised, but he knew it was I that orchestrated it because he knows how much I love him as a man and as a Marine. I called and thanked each of those who participated in making this dream come true...and the best thing is that those Marines will now stay in touch with Gordon and make visits to let him know that he is still one of them. Praise be to God!

Semper Fidelis, Susan

P.S. Last minute that morning I called the local paper, the Gazette, leaving a message of what was going to take place and the actually got a reporter out there early who stayed late to interview many of the Marines, the residents, and take photos. I hear he was thoroughly entranced in the 'living history'....can't wait to see the article that is forthcoming.

You can also Google Sgt Gordon Ward Iwo Jima and find some excellent articles

Gen Patton said 'It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.'

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God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit