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I have found an organization that unites veterans and their families and provides support for those in need. Members receive great benefits.
Check them out and become a member, I did.
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit
veteranfamilynetwork.com


We want to know more about you! Update your newsletter preferences. Tell us where you served and your relationship to the Corps...Do it now !
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

AmericanCourage #229     24 JUN 2010
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United States Marine Corps 10in patch Sgt. Grit, my husband died May 29, 2010. He was a WWII Marine, serving on Okinawa. I ordered your 10" embroidered United States Marine Corps patch, and had it mounted for display in Hal's casket. It was a beautiful tribute to my Marine, and it stayed with him. Thank you for providing such a quality patch. It was perfect. Even the funeral director commented on how nice it was.

Semper Fi,
Sharon Kaiser
Elmira, New York


Red Friday T-shirt


In This Issue:

Nelson, a great love story! Read more below. As usual some outstanding pictures. An unassuming Medal Of Honor story. This year is the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War. I would like to see more stories from you about Korea. Do your part to make it not so forgotten. Write me now!
The Sgt Grit Facebook page is a fun place to hang out during day. And the Sgt Grit Blog has a different kind of Marine coverage daily, check it out.
Far winds and following winds.
Sgt Grit


Photo of future Marine Photo of next Recon Marine
James E. MacNeil
Semper Fi is my creed
Bulldog is my breed


Sgt. Grit,

Taken on 12 May 2010 at Forward Operating Base Shield with Detachment 3 members just before going on a mission into downtown Baghdad. Enjoy the news letter each week. Didn't know if this might be of interest enough to put in your news letter. I'm Commandant for the "SGT.MAJ. LINEHAN" Detachment #1034 in Lewiston, Idaho & X.O. for the "Lewiston Young Marines". The staff are all members of the Detachment. The C.O. is Cruz (Mario) Guzman-Rivera (MGYSGT/Ret.) & recently he had the Young Marines banner & Flag sent to Iraq to be flown there, these pictures are from there with their notations.
Semper-Fi , Ron Gray

Col Susan Swiatek and I (LtCol Brad Jewitt) with the Lewiston Young Marines Flag. CIM PIC: This picture was taken on 12 May 2010 at Forward Operating Base Shield with Detachment 3 members just before going on a mission into downtown Baghdad. The flag and banner were in the lead gun truck for that mission.

SAM PIC: Please find attached the pictures of Col Susan Swiatek and I (LtCol Brad Jewitt) with the Lewiston Young Marines Flag.

We were honored to participate.


And I Quote...

"The republic was not established by cowards, and cowards will not preserve it."
--Elmer Davis


CPL Gonzales in Afghanistan Hello My name is Melba Bernal and my son is currently serving in Afghanistan. Two weeks ago he was promoted to CPL while serving there. I'm so proud of him and wanted to share this photo with you Thanks and GOD BLESS YOU.
Proud Mom in Amarillo Texas


Paul's Dad's I got my dad's SRB from the National Records Center. And after relating his SRB to my history reading and looking at old family photos, I now understand his service and his sacrifice. His SRB only contains entries noting his embarkation to Korea, his debarkation at Hungnam, his embarkation to Wonson, and this debarkation from Wonson. Who would know this encompassed the Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir. Not to mention three PUCs along the way. These two pins complete his story. He died a few years ago, but this will be passed down to my kids. Photo attached.

Thank, Paul.


English Bulldog wearing World War 1 helmet

Here's your devil dog from WW1.

Grace


Marine vehicles and the desert While I have the ear of the outside world I wanted to pass along the good news since I'm sure the media is only reporting the casualties and ugliness of war. I had a chance to visit a school in Marjah referred to as the Yellow School. 2 months ago it was one of the largest IED making factories in Marjah and a stronghold of the Taliban. The renovation and reconstruction of the school starts this week and soon children in the area will be able to go to school for the first time.

When you think about how short of a time period that is to go from IED factory and Taliban stronghold to a school to give the children hope of a better life it's amazing and something I'm proud to be part of. This is just one of many significant events that have occurred over the past few weeks that show the progress of the reconstruction and development of a war torn nation.

Maj French sharing some 'Western Culture' Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

Though you might an enjoy a photo from one of my recent patrols through a bazaar in Northern Marjah at a place the Marines refer to as Five Points. I was trying to pass a little western culture

Semper Fidelis, "always faithful" to my God, my family, and my country.

Major John French
Engineer Officer, RCT-7
C Co Commander, 3rd CEB
Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan


Dear US Marines

I happened to find your Sgt Grit website when I looked for Ka- Bar knife for my son's last year's Christmas present. My son is now 17 and we live in Australia. My son was born in New Zealand. He wants to become a Marine but there is no MC in Australia and NZ so this is a concern for him. I myself is a former Marine of ROKMC 1980-83. (Just in case if you don't know, it is the Republic of Korea MC).

I can see that your website is like an unofficial community of former or current US Marines and their families. I have read many moving stories in your newsletter. I can share your feelings and sentiments because I am also a proud Marine. Once one of my seniors said that the Marine Corps is a religion and yes I think it is like a religion no other people can fully understand.

Some time ago there were stories from perhaps old Marines who fought in the Korean War 1950-53. The US Marines who went to the Korean War would be at least in their mid 70s.

Here I would like to use this space of your newsletter to thank the US Marines who fought in the Korean War. You fought in such a harsh condition to defend the freedom of an unknown country and its unknown people. Many Marines sacrificed their flower- like young lives on the land of an unknown country. Many Marines were wounded and have lived rest of their lives with the injuries. Many parents, wives, children, brothers and sisters have endured the hardness of losing their loved sons, husbands, fathers and brothers. I am sorry to all of you and sincerely thank those Marines and the families.

I thank the USMC and the United States of America the great country you are proud of. Because of your sacrifices, now so many people are enjoying their freedom and prosperity. May our God remember you.

Sincerely yours

Syngdong Hahn
Lt ROKMC 1980-83


Honor YOUR hero with this personalized "My Hero" t-shirt!- let the world know who your hero is! Get a "My Hero" Shirt

My Hero Special T-shirt


And I Quote...

"The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become."
--Ronald Reagan


Recently I was given a priceless, undeserved gift by a World War Two Marine fighter pilot - Maj. Len H. Mapes, USMCR (Ret). It was a simple embroidered patch - about four inches in diameter, one of those "Army-type" patches. But this one was different. It featured an oriental-ized tiger in stalking posture and "AVG" lettered at the bottom. I thought I recognized the unit, but wanted Len to tell me more about it.

AVG Patch given to John by World War II Marine fighter pilot, Major Len H. Mapes After asking the obvious question of what it was, I followed up with, "Where did you get an Army patch?" His response blew me away. "It was given to me by Col. Jimmy Doolittle. A group of aviators were being honored by Chiang Kai Shek, including sixteen Marines, Claire Chennault, General Weidemyer and the Doolittle Raiders. After the ceremonies, Doolittle and some of the others went on liberty and it was then that Len was given the patch.

I will treasure this patch knowing that it is documented through photographs taken at the ceremony, Len's actual award certificate that these heroes were presented by Chiang and Madam Chiang (who Len recalls was "one gorgeous lady").

Am attaching a scanned image of the patch behind which is shown a copy of notes Len made on his 1945-46 China experiences.

Semper Fidelis!
John Tonkin
USMC 1955 - 58


As a volunteer at the Long Beach California VA medical center, we are given the task of passing out necessary items to the various wards. I recently came across a veteran who served in Korea and was awarded our countries highest award, the Medal of Honor. He is an immigrant to our country and enlisted in the Army before he became a citizen because, even then, he had a strong taste for freedom.

Before he came here he was in a Nazi concentration camp and saw his entire family die and he is the sole survivor. I sat and spoke with this American hero, who must go unnamed, for almost an hour. He was the most unassuming person I have ever met, and like many who have received this honor, he did not feel that he had deserved it. As a Marine, I gave the man his just due and saluted him coming and going, as did all the other vets there who stopped in to pay their respects.

It was an honor to sit with a man who took the award without the necessity to wear it on his sleeve, and the shame of it all is that even though he won it in the 1950's, he did not receive it until 2005 because his paperwork had never been processed.

I say to him, and all the other vets which I have the honor of rendering service to, Semper Fi to all of you who have served. There are many heroes here, but they never speak of the heroic acts which they did for their comrades which made them who they are. God bless the United States Marine Corps.

S/Sgt I. J. Oshana, Ret.
2/1, 1952 - 1962


First Birthday Photos of James "Levi" Davison
Son of Cpl. James "Erron" Davison
Oorah!

James wearing dress blues hat and camo, standing next to USA flag and photo of James without hat sitting in front of USA flag James wearing dress blues hat and camo, sitting in front of USA flag and photo of James standing next to flag with hat placed on top of flag

See More photos


My name is Cpl Owen King of the New Century Young Marines. I am 11 years old. May 27-June 5, 2010, our troop took a trip to Washington DC.

New Century Young Marines with Skip Adams Tuesday night we went to the Iwo Jima Memorial to witness the 8th and I Silent Drill team and Sunset Parade, but, unfortunately it was cancelled. That was a real bummer. But, we did meet a Marine that survived the Iwo Jima attack. His name is (Harold) Skip Adams, he is 83 years old. He came over to us and took the time to talk to us, about Iwo Jima, about the raising of both flags on Mt Surabachi, drilled us, and took pictures with us. I know not too many made it out of Iwo Jima, and the fact some are still alive, was absolutely amazing to me.

He was a very interesting man. He deployed with the 5th Pioneer Battalion, B Co of the 5th Marine Division. He landed on Red Beach One the morning of 2-19-1945. This was the most amazing part of our trip to me. My brother is a Marine and stationed in Okinawa. I am sure he will be very jealous I got to meet and talk to Mr Adams. I feel Mr Adams is a true legacy!


And I Quote...

"I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father.'"
--Will Rogers


My name is Jeffrey Rosener. I live in Minneapolis Minnesota and I'm a Marine. I served with 3rd Btn. 7Th Marines Kilo Company from December of 2003 until June of 2007.

When I got out of active duty I was working construction. I wanted to write a poem that resembled The old St.Peter poems about the pearly gates and the polished boots. Over the course of a few weeks I wrote it and sent it to my brothers in 3/7. They thought I should submit it to you.

--

"Alive" Written by: Jeffrey Rosener, USMC

As I approach the pearly gates, I stop to remember when,
the time that I felt most alive, where boys were forced to be men.
My hands begin to tremble, so I light myself a smoke.
Reliving all the sad times, laughing at the jokes.
As I continue walking, I see St Peters' face.
Friends and family all behind him, angels sing amazing grace.
I stand tall before him, and render a salute,
St. Peter looks me up and down, and even at my boots!
He said "your boots are muddy son! Your uniform's not clean.
You haven't seen a shave in weeks. Your teeth are O.D green!"

I smile into his steely eyes and lower my salute,
and stare down at my grimy hands, and at my worn out boots.
Recalling what these hands have done, and where these boots have tread,
I say "I want to feel the way, that I did back then!"

"The time that I felt most alive, the time that rung my bell,
is when I walked amongst HERO'S... through the streets of HELL!"
"Men of such great stature, stories never could explain,
Their courage under fire, and all lives that were gave."

Read the rest of this outstanding poem


Sgt. Grit,
You asked for some war stories so I thought your readers might like a true one from World War One.

When I was in the sixth grade the Babcock & Wilcox Co. transferred a department (way out west) from the New York City area to Barberton, Ohio. We had to assure their children that it was safe for them to walk to school without being attacked by Indians lurking behind every tree or bush.

Years later while working on a church project with Milford Simpson, he asked me about my Uncle Ed. About every time I saw him after that he would mention my uncle. While on a vacation trip to Florida I stopped to see my uncle who was wintering in St. Petersburg and asked him what the connection was between him and Mr. Simpson. He replied, "Milford and I were in the same outfit in France. We are the only two who returned home alive."

Bob Gaston, StfSgt
384564


Hi, Sgt. Grit,

Sgt. Max Sarazin wrote in arguing that the you shouldn't say someone "won" the Medal of Honor because it somehow implies that it was gained through blind luck.. I've heard this before. My answer is that the word "won", like most words, has different meanings and connotations, depending on the context. True, people "win" the lottery, but you also "win" battles, wars, and football games, and these are not won by blind luck, but through hard work. Look up the word "win" in the dictionary and read it yourself. It does not necessarily imply blind luck. People "win" marathons all the time - are they just lucky? Let's put this "controversy" to bed. There's nothing wrong with saying that someone won the Medal of Honor.

By the way, I haven't seen "The Pacific" yet, but in a movie or book, you can't assume that the characters don't make any mistakes. A lot of people (erroneously) call it the Congressional Medal of Honor - perhaps the character in the show might make the same mistake? It sounds like the character who said it wasn't a military person, so it's not surprising he would make this mistake. So, don't necessarily blame the scriptwriter. If we're going to blame scriptwriters for everything their characters do, we'll have a lot of them in prison for murder, bank robberies, etc.

Regards,
David Johnson
USMCR, 1991-1999


Can anyone tell me if there is a movie out about Chesty and if not, why isn't there one? I guess if there isn't one the reason would be that there isn't anyone that can be him or anyone that would even try to be him. We have a lot of outstanding Marines past and present, not really sure if I have ever met one that could actually portray this man properly.

R. Barnes
1981-1995
D.I. 2ND BN GOLF CO. P.I.S.C. 1989-1991


Dear Sgt. Grit and all Marines past, present, and to come, I was a paratrooper in the South Pacific in WW ll. I have written a book, USMC 457703, about those days a lifetime ago.

A revision, published by an affiliate, CreateSpace, of Amazon in 2010 is available. Russell Baker, a friend from the GI Bill college days at Johns Hopkins University, read the first and outdated version, published in 2006 by Trafford, a "vanity" press, in one sitting and then put the book on his "friends'" shelf with books by Tony Lewis, Calvin Trilling, and David Halberstam. I think USMC 457703, revised and published in 2010, is better.

Sincerely and Semper Fi, Eugene Blank


And I Quote...

"The terrorist lives for terror, not for the change he tells himself he wants. He masks his desire to kill and destroy behind the curtain of a cause. It is destruction he wants, not creation."
--Louis L'Amour
Last of the Breed - 1986


SGT Grit,
Am getting 'old' and suffering from advanced stage of CRS so I don't think I passed this along before.

In 1961 while stationed on an LST in Yokosuka Japan, I had a filing cabinet kind of 'crush' my hand. We didn't have a duty Corpsman aboard so I was just sitting around when the OOD came into the radio shack, took a look at me and 'ordered' I go to the base dispensary. Upon arrival, the Duty Corpsman inspected my hand and figured he should stitch it up.

Now I am a flat 'coward' when it comes to needles and when he said he was going to inject Novocain, I asked him how many shots, and how many stitches would it take. He told me and I said, "Forget the Novocain, just go ahead and stitch it up"....He looked at me and commented "Even Marines take Novocain before getting stitches",

In all the intelligence a 21 yo NCO could muster up, I commented. "Marines are p-----s, just stitch the thing up". I lost track after about the first 5 insertions and he finally stopped and was admiring his work. I was thankful it was over and he said, "well, let's tie this thing down and you can go". He pulled the 'cat gut' and darned if it didn't go straight through. It seems "DOC" had 'kinda' forgot to put a knot in the end before cinching it up.

I have no idea how many shots of Novocain and stitch insertions I had but my 'sending hand' was some kind of sore for the next few days..... It seems "Doc" had just finished a tour with his 'beloved 3rd Recon/3rd MarDiv FMF' and didn't cotton to shore duty, much less a SA fleet sailor, who really did learn a good lesson in life that day.

George R. O'Connell
RM2 USN 1956-64 an 'old GATOR' sailor and proud of it.
USS Henrico (APA-45) 1957-60
USS Terrell County (LST-1157) 1960-62


Sgt. Grit,
I received my order in record time, thanks for the quick response.

I served my time in the U.S. AF 1969-1973 as a crew chief on B57 & F4 mod aircraft. All of my time in service was spent state side with the 4677th, radar defense sqd.

At least I know we did our job, and did it with pride.

Most of my boyhood friends and cousins where Marines, (1967,68,69, out of Chicago Ill) returned home safe with the exception one Marine KIA, and one Army medic KIA. Both names are on the wall.

My father was a WWII Army combat engineer who served proudly on Guam and Saipan, he is passed now and has been truly missed.

My uncle a tank driver was a POW for 3yrs. that I know of, captured by Rommel in North Africa. The story he told was that he was personally approached by Rommel who told him that his war was over. My uncle's answer to that was, The H&LL it is, and was beaten for it.

I just wanted to thank you for your service, and share a few words and to say that these men will never be forgotten.

Best regards,
Mike K.


Dear Sgt. Grit,

My father was a China Marine. He didn't talk about his service, but I do have a newspaper clipping of Pvt. Wiley Urquhart winning a rifle match while representing the American Legation Rifle Team in Peking. He served only one tour, late 1920's or early 1930's.

I served from 1956-1960 and was a part of two historical changes of the Corps. My first assignment out of MCRD-SD was with the 1st Engineer Bn. at Camp Pendleton. May 1st 1957 the 1st Engineers were renamed the 1st Pioneer Bn. I Never knew why, but I understand the name was restored to 1st Engineers sometime in the early 1960's.

I was then assigned to Headquarters, 1st Marine Air Wing, Iwakuni, Japan. As a PFC in 1958, patiently waiting for my second stripe, to Corporal, the Corps restructured the ranking system, and instead of a corporal's 2nd stripe, I was made Lance Corporal, still one stripe, but with a rocker underneath. Believe me, there were a lot of unhappy corporals and buck sergeants with the change.

By the way, my son, Timothy Urquhart was with MAG 29, HMLA 269, ordnance, and participated in the '03 Iraqi invasion, over on the USS Saipan and when Bagdad was secured, returned to New River, NC on the USS Kearsarge, with stops on the way home to support the Presidents meetings with leaders in Egypt and Jordan, and then another support operation off the west coast of Africa.

A Marine Corps Family,

Phil Urquhart


And I Quote...

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be: for without victory, there is not survival."
--Winston Churchill


Sgt. Grit,

I wrote you over 5 years ago about the pride of seeing my son Brian Tarte graduate from MCRD in San Diego in 2005. He is now out after his hitch was up and using his GI Bill for college, but that isn't why I am writing.

Though not a Marine myself (USAF veteran) I have always had a deep respect for Marines, many of whom I knew growing up who were my dad's friends who had fought in the Pacific. Three years ago, I finally took the trip of a lifetime with my wife and daughter to Washington D.C. and visited all of the monuments, including Arlington and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

We got to the memorial early one morning when no one else was there, except an elderly gentleman, who by his very appearance, demeanor and squared away appearance was nothing but a Marine. That gentleman turned out to be Sgt. Gordon Ward. I was standing in awe of a man who had been on Iwo Jima and we talked for maybe a quarter hour, or better, I listened for that time. I felt like a little kid again sitting around listening to the old friends of my father.

He told me he did this as a service to ensure that the myths that had built up about the memorial were corrected and that visitors, especially school children, were given the real stories of the memorial and its purpose. Some buses arrived and he excused himself and handed me his card. I wanted to e-mail him, but alas, some material, including Sgt. Ward's card, was lost in the trip home. I want to take this opportunity to thank him for that talk and for his service to our country.

Mark Tarte
Livermore, CA


Dear friends,
I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my son, Scott, while he was deployed in Afghanistan. Their deployment is done and the unit is back in Hawaii now. Scott is safe and sound, though some others are now guarding Heaven's Gate. My heart goes out to their families. My other son is still has a few months to go on his deployment. So again, thanks for all the prayers. It means a lot.
Gratefully,
Camille Petrie


Please post my husband's obituary the brothers across the country need to know that he is gone!
Thank you Mrs. Tina McGee

--

Col James M. McGee Lieutenant Colonel James M. McGee, Esq. 54 of Cottonwood passed away March 21, 2010. Jim was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps in Quantico, VA and earned his wings as a naval aviator in Pensacola, FL. He was assigned to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at MCB Camp Pendleton, CA where he flew the UH-1N Huey and AH-1J Cobra Aircraft helicopter gunships.

In 1984, Jim accepted orders to the USMA Reserve in order to attend law school at SMU where he earned his Juris Doctorate Degree. Soon after he accepted an appointment as an Asst. Attorney General for the State of Arizona.

Jim retired from the USMC Reserve in 2003 after his last assignment as the Asst, Staff Judge Advocate for the First Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As a Marine, Jim stayed active with the Corps serving as Air Boss of Operation Supai Toys for Tots for the last 14 years. Each year Jim coordinated his Marine Corps Reserve airlift drop into the Havasupi Village at the bottom of the Grand Canyon each Christmas season. Jim conducted his missions with immense pride with a selfless devotion to duty which was reflected in the faces of the children each Christmas.


Sgt. Grit,

A hearty hand salute to Corporal Kenneth L. "Rip" Stephens. Over the years I've heard the Medal of Honor referred to as everything from the Congressional Medal of Honor to the "CMH" as if we need an acronym for everything in the military just to confuse the civilians. His post got me to thinking because one of the best sites on the internet for Medal of Honor recipients is even titled the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. After a couple hours of crack research on the internet I have to agree completely with his assertion that the Medal of Honor is just that and it seems to be a very common mistake because the award is presented by the President "in the name of Congress". Fact of the matter is that all medals are approved by Congress and we certainly don't call them the Congressional Silver Star or the Congressional Purple Heart. Well done Corporal!

I've also heard and read all the complaints about the historical accuracy of the HBO series "The Pacific". From BAR's to one Marine's assertion that racism didn't exist in 1941. In the context of about 10 hours of programming I think they did a great job telling only a few stories of our beloved Marine Corps in the Pacific Campaign and I commend Captain Dale Dye for doing it the Marine way and accomplishing the job with the tools that he had at his disposal!

We need to remember this is a historical based story of our Marines and not a documentary. If anyone should feel slighted about any historical gaffes it should be our Air Wingers. World War II brought the combined arms abilities of our Corps to the forefront. From Wake Island to the Cactus Air Force to Mac's misuse of Marine aviation assets in the Philippines while our Marines were left without adequate air support, a total of 11 of the 82 Medal of Honor recipients in World War II from our Corps were aviators. The ability to put boots on the ground supported by tanks, artillery, rotary and fixed wing aircraft remains a staple of the Marine Corps and our Corps remains the only branch of service that can bring all assets to bear against an enemy near the shore or even land locked in remote places like Afghanistan.

I keep reading the stories about our Corps being under attack once again by politicians and others that question the validity of the Marine Corps into today's world and have also read the stories coming from Commandant Conway that the Corps needs to return to our roots as soldiers of the sea. With all due respect to the Commandant, our Corps has fought in every clime and place and our focus and salesmanship efforts need to focus especially hard on our combined arms ability.

Our Corps has been given difficult missions in the last couple of decades from holding the border between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and we were well on our way to Kuwait City before our brothers in arms from the other branches had barely fired a shot. Our Marines were also given the mission of putting a lid on Al-Anbar Province and trying to keep it contained while everyone else tried to solve the rest of Iraq's problems. Last I heard our Marines are all but completely out of Iraq and surely we'd still be there if our Marines hadn't been in Al- Anbar province in the first place. I'm not even going to start about the more recent stories about "Marineistan" but to paraphrase General "Black Jack" Pershing regarding the other branches of service, "Why can't they all be Marines?" I say maybe it's time to do away with the Chair Force and the "in the rear with the gear" Army and let the Marine Corps live on for another 500 years!

Semper Fidelis,

J.D. Farmer
Corporal of Marines 1978-1982


And I Quote...

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter."
--Isaiah 5:20


Thks for Email the USMC is the most awesome & amazing group they choose to fight & stand for us who can't go My son is a Staff Sgt 12 yrs on duty for our country. Tell that mom great work & her son is much appreciated
Marine mom forever


Marine Monument at NH State Veterans' Cemetery memorial day Four Detachments represented the Wreath Ceremony memorial day former Marines from WW II, Korea, Vietnam and Cold War Among the Pavers are three dedicated to former Marine Police Officers, two killed in the line of duty

Marine placing Wreath on monument close up photo of wreath on monument


In November of 2007, I posted a memoriam about PFC Nelson Menard, my husband's oldest brother, who was KIA in Korea on November 7, 1950, at age 19. Nelson was the family's and my Jesse's hero. I failed to tell you that Nelson had a fiance.

Her name was Rita, but Nelson only ever called her his "sweetheart". In his last letter home which arrived after his death, he asked about Rita and told his Mother, "I have sent you some money to buy my sweetheart a gift." I'm sure that Mamom did just that.

After Nelson's death, Rita stayed close to the family. Mamom loved her like a daughter, as did the whole family. Nelson's body was returned 5 years after his death and the family and Rita experienced the grief anew.

Rita married 5 years plus after Nelson's death and had children. She and her husband lived not very far away from the family farm and visited often, bringing their children along. Mamom babysat Rita's children and Pop became close to her husband who often asked advice about farming and life in general. I believe they thought of Rita's children as the children she and Nelson never were able to have together.

In time, Rita and her husband and children moved to a small town just Northwest of Youngsville. Still they kept in touch, although not as frequently. You could find Rita at every family wake and funeral throughout the years. Rob and I met up with her at the funeral of a mutual friend's child years ago. Rob pulled out a picture of Jesse in his dress blues and showed her, at her asking about our children. Rita burst out crying right then and there saying that Jesse looked so much like Nelson.

In May of this year, while reading the newspaper I came across an obituary with a picture. I recognized her immediately and showed it to my husband. He called his sister's and sister-in- law to tell them of Rita's passing. I was ill and it was late, Rob just having come home from work. He dressed appropriately and went to the funeral home to give his condolences, because Mamom and Pop were not here to do so.

Rob sat through the rosary and made his way to the front to once again give his condolences to her children. Rita's daughter Marie asked him to wait a moment. He stood to the side and waited until she came and asked him to go to the casket with her. At Rita's casket, Marie turned and spoke to her Mother saying, "Mom, I hope it is all right with you but I have to share with Rob." Then, Rita began to tell Rob of her Mother's last living moments. Very near the end, when only Marie was with her Mother, Rita held her left palm up and traced across it with the fingers of her other hand, almost as if someone were holding her hand. Marie told Rob that very softly she heard her mother speak only one word. That word was---"Nelson."

Rob's eyes filled along with Marie's. When he could speak, he asked Marie if she knew the story. She responded, "Of, course. Mother told all of us often the story of she and Nelson and we remember Mamom and Pop and the kids because you all were so good to mother and all of us. And Daddy understood. They had a good marriage: she was a good wife and daddy was a great husband and father."

When Rob came home, he told me all that Marie had shared with him. I cried like a baby. Rita loved Nelson for 60 years and kept his memory alive and a love which will last through all eternity.

I wish all of you a love this great. Thanks for letting me share this beautiful Love Story and remembering to you Rita, Nelson's sweetheart. The first line of one of my favorite poems is " Where do the memories go when the one who remembers is gone?" They live on with those whom we share our memories with. Make memories and please remember Rita, Nelson and my Jesse, along with all who serve and sacrifice and love.

Always Faithful,

Barbara
GSM of Cpl Jesse (8/81-6/05)

Barb is a wonderful woman and a proud Marine Mom.
Semper Fi,
Bob Rader aka Sgt. Wolf


I wore my pins of the American and Marine flags for 4 weeks, no one said anything. On the 21st of May when I went to check in for work, Jennifer (General manager) and Brandon (Manager) pointed out my pins and said I could not wear them because it wasn't a part of Olive Garden's uniform, I argued with them and they said that they would have to talk to Vikki (District Manager)...

Brandon said that he didn't want to offend anyone with my flags and I said like who, he said well Muslims for one thing and I asked him if he was serious. He said he was and I told him I was an American, why should I worry about offending anyone wearing my flags.

The next Saturday (May 29th) when I went to work Brandon looked at my pins and told me to take them off before we opened, I did not... When I got a few tables and needed a manager override on a check, I asked Brandon if he could help me with it and he said take off your pins and I'll fix it. I just looked at him and said no. He fixed it and said if I didn't take them off he would fire me.

He told me as soon as I got done running my food to go to the office. When I got there he told me they had a managers meeting and Vikki pointed my pins out. I asked when, cause I would've known she was there and said hi like I always did when she was there.,.Brandon didn't say when Vikki was there.

He told me he talked to her about me not wanting to take off my flags and said Vikki would allow me to wear a small American, pin but not the one I was wearing. I told him I am an American who is going to be a Marine and two of my best friends are over there now and that I'm going to wear my pins with pride and to support.

Brandon said I couldn't say that (when I said I was an American), he also said that my Marine pins might offend a mother who lost her son/daughter in the Marines, I've never met someone that lost their child and hated the Marine Corps because of that. I told him I would quit if I couldn't wear them.

Brandon told me I couldn't quit and to just take them off. When I would not, he said close out your tables and get out.

Solita

--
Solita is an Oklahoma Marine poolee and now also a customer service rep at Sgt Grit.


And I Quote...

"The Marines I have seen around the world
have the cleanest bodies,
the filthiest minds,
the highest morale,
and the lowest morals
of any group of animals
I have ever seen.
Thank God for the
United States Marine Corps!" --Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

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God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit