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AmericanCourage #231     22 JUL 2010
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"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."
--Thomas Paine

Choose YOUR MOS: Recon, Comm, Air Crew, Motor-T, Combat Engineer, AMTRACS, Tanker, IYAOYAS, Grunt, Airwing, Supply, NBC, MP, or Artillery.

Design available in sizes S-5XL only until 8/2/10!

Get an "MOS" Shirt

In This Issue:

Below you have a LtCol PT'ing his young'un 37 years ago. Marine- Air Force regrets, VFW menu, the precious metal "Leverite" at 29 Palms, and what we will do for Santa and our Moms.

Of course there is the Sgt Grit blog which is full of info daily and our Facebook page has exploded in participation.

HEY - How about you tell me the best nicknames and the story behind it...

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Old Marine Corps Birthday menu 1956

This menu brings back some good memories and a hearty appetite.

Ray Skarzynski

A couple days ago I got a short email that in essence said, "give me a reason to be proud of the military", below was my response. It's not very profound but it was from my heart and I thought it may help you and others understand the psyche of warriors.

I've never been more proud to wear the uniform than now, to see what the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen over here are doing is inspiring.

I attended a ramp ceremony a couple days ago and as I stood at attention and watched the ceremonial detail carry this Marine by, in his flag draped coffin up in to the C-130, to honorably return back to the states and to those who love him, I couldn't help but be inspired by the fact that young men like this Corporal were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for a people he didn't know and a culture he didn't understand. How much more fiercely would they fight and willingly sacrifice for my wife and kids and those he knew and loved.

He was shot in the leg while on a patrol and the ground convoy that was evacuating him was struck by an IED causing two more casualties and delaying them getting to the landing zone. The helicopter tried on multiple occasions to land to pick him up but kept taking such heavy gunfire they had to waive off a couple times and try again. Despite the incredible risk to themselves and the crew the helo made a final attempt and got in to the LZ and picked this kid up. Unfortunately he had lost too much blood and died on the flight to my position.

It's events like this that, while tragic, demonstrate that I am in the company of men and women of a rare breed, those that are willing to do whatever it takes to guard and defend their brothers in arms, the defenseless, and those they love and hold dear.

Each and every service member is part of that brotherhood and that is something many of them have yet to understand but something we can all be proud of. As the quote from George Orwell so eloquently states, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to visit violence on their behalf."

May God bless you and your family who so graciously support us on this deployment.

Fratres in aeternum, semper fidelis (brothers forever, always faithful)

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

This is Gunnery Sgt Bruce the Moose, Welcoming Home some of the troops at Camp Curtius Guild in Mass.

Skip Ray's Moto car

Captain Skip Ray
Mustang Marine
31st MEU
Air Wing NCO/Motor-T Officer

And I Quote...

"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
--Samuel Adams

Hey Grit,

Saw a picture of a youngster doing pushup in your American Courage #230, Here are some pics of my daughter (circa 1973)

Palmer Brown
Slayer of Dragons,
Defender of Fair Maidens, and
LtCol of Marines (Now Retired)

Another Cold War Marine heard from. In 1955, out in 1960. MOS 0311. I always wanted to be a Marine. Enclosed is a "V mail" letter that my Grand Mother sent to my Uncle JIM, her son while he was in the Pacific. He hit all the Islands as a linesman running phone lines day and night. Not a scratch. His picture is in one of the books from the islands.

Enclosed is a picture of Jim Brady and his bride Murial Brady, one of the original Woman Marines. Jim spent his working civilian years at Pendleton as a linesman. Many reading this may remember him. I also included a picture of Plt.155, PI, graduated in Jan 1956 Depot Honor. I am top row 4th from rt.

My best day in Boot Camp was the last week when we were going to a class room and I got out of step and the senior DI started to get on my case and got as far as PVT, Recruit ??? he did not know my name! That is being invisible for 13 weeks when Boot Camp was a little different than it is now. Everyone seems to remember the DI's thumping people but our DI's were good teachers as well.

Yes, there were some VERY tough days. Everyone in the High Depot Honor plt. had the opportunity to go on Sea Duty aboard the new carrier. USS Saratoga. My friends from Pa. went aboard and talked me into going with them. I was going to Jacksonville FL to Air Mechanic School? No regrets. From there it was Embassy Guard duty in Singapore for 3 yrs. Since I had 2 of the best duties in the Corps. I decided not to press my luck and got out.

I am sure there were Marines during every Conflict and Peace time that never heard a shot fired accept on the range. We go where the Marine Corps sends us and sometimes it works out good. To me we are all Marines and for all of our lives we carry the Marine Corps within us. Those that served in combat are the Marines that gave me the Pride that I feel in Being a Marine. Boot camp is just the weeding out, the rest of the time is what makes us Marines.

Thank you SSgt. Monti - Sgt. Zygmont, - Cpl. Robarge.
Anyone from Plt. 155 please contact,
chuck @ stripernut .com
Chuck(Moe) Moseman Sgt. USMC

Another Marine reported to St. Peter this week. My father, Albert R. Ruggiero, PFC, 1943-1946, passed away on 11July2010 in his home of Huntington Beach, CA. He served with the 9th MAW, Cherry Point, NC as a radioman on a B-25 bomber. He was a native of Greenwich Village, NY. Upon leaving the Marines he moved to California with his mom and resumed his life in Los Angeles, CA where he worked as a deputy sheriff in the West Hollywood area then with IBM and retiring from IBM after 36 years. He is survived by 2 sons, Ralph & Paul and his daughter Christina. He was a wonderful good natured man and will be missed dearly.

I love you dad. Semper Fidelis.

Ralph Ruggiero, L/Cpl. 1979-1983
Camp Smith, HI


Enclosed is the obit. of a real fine Marine. Sgt. Portella, was a member of the WWII, DI's for many years, and traveled back to Parris Island, with them until a few years ago, when they all got a little old to travel anymore, and many had passed away. You would bring a lot of joy to a bunch of WWII, Marines if they could see Mike remembered in your great newsletter. Thank You.

Semper Fi,
Jimmy Whalen

To all vets that served during Korea conflict. Here is something that might be of interest to you. Regards.... joe

KOREAN WAR VET Appreciation Letter

The Invasion of Inchon, the Pusan Perimeter and the Chosin Reservoir are only a few of the fields of battle where Americans placed their lives on the line for democracy. Of nearly 390,000 Americans who served there, 36,000 gave their lives. The war was a military conflict between the Republic of South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, backed by the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea across the border between the countries - the 38th parallel - on 25 JUN 50. An armistice was signed on 23 JUL 53, thus ending the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War; however, a formal peace agreement never has been signed.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the war, the Republic of Korea 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee has various plans to thank, honor and remember Korean War Veterans and their achievements. One of the projects is to send letters of appreciation from the President of the Republic of Korea to as many living Korean War Veterans as possible to express tribute and profound gratitude for their service and sacrifice that laid the foundations of peace and freedom enjoyed today by the people of Korea.

Korean War veterans who want to receive the letter should fill our and submit an application form for an appreciation letter from the Republic of Korea President. To obtain forms and information on how/where to submit:

* Complete the PDF form at * By internet: click 'SUBMIT' upon completion.
* By mail: complete and print the Application Form and send to:
US Branch ROK 60TH AKW Commemoration Committee, 2450 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington D.C., 20008
* Direct all questions to: sweetewe @ korea .kr

And I Quote...

"The people of the U.S. owe their Independence & their liberty, to the wisdom of descrying in the minute tax of 3 pence on tea, the magnitude of the evil comprised in the precedent. Let them exert the same wisdom, in watching against every evil lurking under plausible disguises, and growing up from small beginnings."
--James Madison

SGT Grit,

During a recent stop at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, I was lucky enough to be able to park in a lot that is usually full. After getting out and securing my POV, I looked back to see that by chance, I had parked next to a Marine Mom's car. Not surprisingly we both chose bright red (USMC red?) cars.

I am still trying to locate the mom to tell her "Semper Fi."

Ron Skulas
Father of CPL Paul Skulas, USMC

Sgt Grit, This is 78 year old retired Gunner. Just spent six days and nights in intensive care. My ticker tried to give out. My Doc, and after some 11 years of his more than administering care to this old Marine, sent me home. He came by (D*mn few civilian Docs do that anymore) Came in and said h&ll you're ok. Your on your computer. Yep, reading Sgt Grits. He sit and read and said H&ll I want to get online with him.

For the record, he goes to Africa elephant hunting, New Zealand for red bucks, to the North Pole for polar bears, and he never served, but had he, he'd been one h&ll of a combat Doc. J. D. Bailey is his name, and when my wife once asked him how he and I had become such close friends, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, Nile did my share, I owe him. Such as him makes all we did worthwhile.

Sgt Grit, every week more buddies thank me for my putting them in touch with you and your factual facts. Be well and my all your sun sets be red, your sails full, and may the Good Lord bless and keep you.

Semper Fi The Gunner

I am about to turn 60 this month and I've had been carrying a burden most of my life. I know I am looked down negatively by other current and former Marines, but I try to hold my head up high anyway. In 1970, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, went through Parris Island, and all the training. I obtained an MOS of 3516 (diesel mechanic), which kept me on active duty about a mere 3 months longer.

Anyway, my reserve unit was not scheduled (to my knowledge) to deploy to Vietnam, but I decided I wanted to do more. Like an idiot, instead of going active duty with the USMC, I joined the USAF, through I honor all branches of the military, that was like when I was in the Boy Scouts of America. In any event, I made a career of it.

Just by chance (or lack of) I never served in Vietnam. More recently, during the first Gulf War, I volunteered, but I was involved with bringing the B-2 Stealth bomber into the Air Force inventory, so I couldn't go then either. Since then, I did do a tour in Saudi Arabia and one in Oman. I feel like I guess the facts are, someone almost like a draft dodger, which was the farthest from the truth. So, even though I tried to do my part, I feel like an outsider.

My whole point here is that I still did what I thought was best for me and our country and I do believe in the (more than a slogan) "Once a Marine, always a Marine". I just hope that people like me are not looked down too bad by full time, "real" Marines. But I can't change things now. It will always be a regret for the remaining few years of my life. U.S. Marines will always hold the highest honor in my mind.

Leonard Hingle, MSgt, USAF, retired
Former USMCR, still Semper Fi

And I Quote...

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both."
-- James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

"The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates."

I was invited to a gathering last night along with about 11 other former Marines.
We met at a VFW club in Philly on Martin's Mill Rd.

I am not a member of the VFW and have never been to a VFW club, so this was a first.

Plenty of parking, cool central air, pool table, a couple of flat-screens with the Phils getting clobbered, shuffle board, darts, and a boatload of men mostly my age enjoying each other's company is what I discovered.

For $5 one could enjoy beer for the entire evening, and yes, Yingy was on tap.

There were war stories shared and even pictures, but the thing that really caught my eye was the menu, which I brought home...

Sgt Grit,
Congratulations, once again on your having the best newsletter in the world. It has to be, just look at the players.

Let me share with you another thing that happened that I found sort of funny. At the end of the summer 1970 the graduates from MSG school were taken for a trip to Washington D.C. to a place if I remember correctly called Brooks Brothers. Here I was issued one black suit with two trousers (Just like Men in Black) one brown suit with two trousers. One olive colored suit with 2 trousers. One Blue suit with 2 trousers. 3 or 4 short sleeve white shirts 3 or 4 white long sleeve shirts. And one pair of black wingtip shoes. This issue may have been more but I don't remember.

After returning to Henderson Hall, most of the MSG's were shipped out to various Embassies and Consulates. Some of us however had to stay on for language school, and some for weapons training in the new (at the time) FBI Academy. Before going to our respective classes we were given an inspection in our new civilian attire.

One of our Marines fell out not knowing for some reason the proper (uniform) of the day. Something in between Hoover's boys and MIB. Any way the style in the street was wide ties (Mod Squad). We of course, had been told to wear those skinny ties and dress conservatively. Obviously above mentioned Marine DID NOT get the word. He fell out with one of those flower type wide ties, a checkered jacket and deep purple trousers.

The inspector on this occasion was MSGT Scarborough.(awarded the Medal of Honor) you can imagine what the MSGT said when he asked the Marine what was going on? The Marine replied that he did not want to be conspicuous and (blow his cover?) needless to say that was probably one of the shortest tours of duty in MSG history. I don't know what happened but I don't remember seeing him again. I would love to hear more Spook stories. I might even share a few, the proud, our memories are what make us ALWAYS MARINES

Sgt Grit,

In case you don't receive it, while reading today's issue of the Military Service Bulletin [from Lt. James Tichacek, USN (Ret) Associate Director, Retiree Assistance Office, U.S. Embassy Warden & IRS VITA Baguio City RP], I found an interesting comment in one paragraph of an article about the restoration that was recently completed on the Three Servicemen statue that stands near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

(The article's source is listed as: AFPS Michael J. Carden article 8 Jul 2010.)

"One of Hart's models for the Three Servicemen Statue, William Smith, 50, of Virginia, was present and recognized at the ceremony. Smith's likeness was captured in the Cuban-American service member on the right side of the statue, carrying a .60- caliber machine gun over his shoulder. Smith was the only model who didn't serve in the military. The other two were members of the Marine Corps Honor Guard and, at the time, were stationed at Henderson Hall Marine Barracks in Arlington, Va. Although Smith never served, he said, he's honored that his likeness helps to represent 'some of the greatest Americans to ever serve.'"

That is an interesting difference from how we were perceived "back in the day".

Semper Fi!
Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
'63-'76 (for pay purposes)
Vietnam 4Dec66-18Dec67

And I Quote...

"One man with courage makes a majority."
--Andrew Jackson

"Life's's even tougher if you're stupid."
--John Wayne

"You're never too Big or Proud for Santa's Lap"! I have some pics of My Son - Cpl. Marshall Brennan when he first came home from Boot camp as he is sitting on his Grandpa's lap - (Donald and Sharon Kottschade) Marshall's Grandparents play Santa and Mrs. Claus every year..

Marthamae Brennan

Note: What we will do for our moms. God love'm.
Sgt Grit

I have been married to my Marine for over 9 years now and this past weekend we went & got tattoos. My tattoo is a big star with the Texas flag colors as the background. My Marines name across the top, three yellow Texas roses in the center (my husband's is the center & two buds for our two boys) my husband's rose has the Eagle Globe & Anchor outlined in the center. It's pretty darn sweet if I do say so myself!

He is preparing for a trip to the desert and I wanted us to do something very special that would give a great memory & Something we can have with us all the time while we're apart. He got a Celtic band with my name also. Now that's love right there

Shelley Wright

"Don't Tread on Me" Flag

According to Wikipedia, the flag, "Don't Tread on Me", very well could have been the first USMC flag. It is not clear whether the flag was ever "officially" our flag, nor is it clear who used it first - the Marine Corps or the Navy (the Navy calling it the Union Jack).

At least, this is what I get out of the article on (search the flag name). I understand also, that today's Tea Party organization has used this flag and its motto.

Personally, I too, would like to know more about this flag...sounds Devil Doggish to me. I even like the Tea Party folks using its motto.

3/1 India Co. et al, 1956-1959

Dear Sgt Grit,
First, I would like to thank you for serving in the United States Marine Corps. The brave men and women that raise their hand to defend our country and be the world's 911 are the true super heroes.

I am the proud mom of two Marines and pleased to say they are safely home from 5 deployments. Our care package efforts started when our youngest son deployed to Iraq in 2007. My husband and I quickly learned the great need and importance of our support to these front line Marines. With the help of many wonderful Americans, family, friends and businesses, we have sent many care packages to support the brave men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year when my son was in Afghanistan, he asked for a sleeping bag liner. Well, we knew he was not the only cold Marine there. By the grace of God and many good people, we sent almost 600 fleece sleeping bag liners. The men were very thankful and told me how important and helpful the liners were. It has been great to find a way to truly make a comforting difference for our front line troops in the winter.

I submitted and am in the running for a $50,000 Pepsi grant. This grant would be used to make, send and ship more sleeping bag liners and some care package goodies to fill the corners, this winter. At this time, we are in 80th place. We need to be in the top 10 to win $50,000. I need your help. We need patriotic Americans with a love for the troops and a heart to support them.

Would you please consider sending a message on your email list with our link to vote and ask that people vote each day until July 31? There is no financial benefit put in this grant for anyone. All of the money will be used to get the fleece, shipping and $250 for office supplies~ ink, paper, tape, thank yous, etc. This project is to make our front line troops a little warmer and more comfortable this winter when they get a chance to rest.

Your help and support can make a huge difference. Please consider voting each day and passing word.
Semper Fi,
Brooke Pilkington
Proud Mom of 2 Marines~ 3/7, 1/7 & 3/4

Here is an email I have sent to our voters Thank you for helping get the word out to vote EVERYDAY! We have 2 weeks left to join the top 10 and win $50,000 to make the lives of the front line troops a little more comfortable this winter. We can do it! If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know. Hugs of thanks,

Brooke Pilkington
970 484 9211
sempergumby1 @ yahoo .com (no spaces)

Pepsi Link to VOTE

You Tube videos: Operation Boot Comfort

The Operation Combat Boot Comfort site

Don't just say "I support the troops" Do it Your vote will make a difference A vote a day keeps the cold away from our frontline troops The top 10 win $a 50,000 grant Push to the top July 1-31

And I Quote...

"The buck stops here."
--Harry S. Truman

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
--John F. Kennedy

Sitting here alone at night,
Missing you from now till light.
Where you are I just can't see,
And what you're doing is a mystery.
You said you'd fight for both big and small, Sworn in with honor to protect us all.
The ultimate price you're prepared to pay So that we all may be free today.
I admire your courage, as I hope for the best, I ask God to protect you and guide you the rest.
My spirits grow tired without you near,
But my heart will be with you in both happiness and fear.
Only few understand what I go through,
And even you might not know how much I need you.
I block thoughts of you in danger out of my head, While keeping the faith and ignoring the dread.
I try to be happy, and for you I stay strong, I keep trust in you whether you're gone short or long.
You're so good that for others you'd give your own life,
Although that thought makes me sad, I will remain a proud Marine's wife

By Angela K. Gard

Note: You have dozens of poems posted on my poem page. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit

Good morning Sarge,

On June 23rd, I had the honor to assist in a very worthwhile project. I volunteered for the DC Guardians. They are part of Honor Flight Chicago ( see attached link) We met 85 WWII vets, and took them to the WWII memorial where there is a color guard presentation, and Taps played, in their honor. Then off to the Viet Nam, Korea, and Lincoln Memorials. With a stop by Iwo Jima.

The reason for this post, is that there were plenty of Coast Guard, Navy, Army, and ONE proud Marine.

There will be six more flights this year. This is a truly memorable day for ALL. And bring your hankies, as there seems to be something in air that makes your eyes water.

It would be great to see more Marines helping out with this project.

Check it out guys. It's a great way to show our respect for these true heroes.

Thanks for passing this on.

Tom Flynn
Cpl. Of Marines
USMC 69-71
RVN 70-71.

So, Robin and I are sitting there, just a little bit away from the rest of our party.

And some guy off to Robin's left is yelling "HEY MARINE" at me.

I go over and we chat a bit. "Want a shot of Whiskey?" he asks me? "SURE" (Big Smile)... he he he

The beginning of a Great New Friendship.

Turns out, he's Medically retired Army Ranger out of Fort Benning, GA. Currently an "Army Contractor" with BLACKWATER... (Showed me his I.D.) Then he showed me the Bullet Hole in his neck. YIKES.

We (Robin and I) did our BEST routine for THANK YOU to him and his family.

I went over at one point and asked his two little children if anyone had ever told them that their "DADDY is a HERO"...

Two little BUG EYED KIDS, looking up at their DADDY...

He and his lady were in tears... I even got choked up...It was BEYOND TOTALLY AWESOME...

When TOBY KEITH sang AMERICAN SOLDIER, his Daughter shouted "DADDY this song IS FOR YOU!"...

And I repeated that to him...

Again with the tears...

It was SO WORTH IT...

THANK YOU GOD, for letting me have that opportunity to thank a HERO....

Love to all.
Art Glennon

"Ego! Attitude! Ability! -- MARINES!"

And I Quote...

Government is essentially the negation of liberty.
--Ludwig von Mises

"Posterity - you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
--John Quincy Adams

Sgt. Grit,
I'm sorry to call your attention to a story that was featured on your front page from Jack Nolan, but he is wrong. The History Channel had stories running almost all day on Korea. I even taped one that I couldn't watch because of being away from home. I think that I also heard some news from some of the commentators on FOX News Network. As for the other networks, I could not say because I usually do not watch them.

I was particularly interested in the shows that day because I was in Korea from late 1953 until early 1955. Most of the shows that on the History Channel were from 1950 up through 1953. Mr. Nolan was correct in one thing. The Korean war was "The Forgotten War".

Dan Nesom 1354640
2nd Btln, 11th Mar, 1st Mar Div.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Rush & Bortz spoke about the Korean War for several minutes but you are right...the media and the American public have a very short memory. Let's hope they remember what we have lost in the last few months. Welcome home.

USMC Michael October 21, 1963 Combat Marine, 2 tours back to back.....and loved it. Not as Lean...Twice as Mean...Still a Marine

Grit.... back to Ray Hoogendorn. We were both stationed at 29 Palms in the late 60's, when it was possible to check out two (had to be two) civilian 4x4 vehicles (CJ's or IH Scouts) from the Commercial Motor Pool, and roam the ranges if no units were firing.

Ray and I did that one Saturday morning, after I promised my bride that we would be back in plenty of time for me to drive the family down to Palm Springs airport to pick up my mother-in- law.

I had read a little on semi-precious gem stones, knew the name of some...agate, flame agate, calcedony, etc. We made our first stop somewhere out in Bravo area, east of Mt. Hildago. Ray broke out his special rock hound hammer and knocked a piece off a bigger rock, oh, maybe 12" or so above ground, and to my astonishment, licked it!...

When I asked, he advised that was how one could tell if that type of rock would "polish up" for costume jewelry... I felt it necessary to remind him that there were dog (male) coyotes in the area... then I found what I thought was a pretty little rock, showed it to him, and asked what that type was called?

"Leverite", said he. I hadn't recalled that one from the book... so he explained: "that's the kind you pick up, look at, and Leverite there".

We didn't make it home by the promised beloved ('64 four door Blue Buick 225) was gone, as were our two young'uns, and my bride... obviously had gone off to PS to pick up Gram. (Did I mention the bride had one arm in a cast?) I still hear about that day from time to time.

S/F, Dick Dickerson

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit