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AmericanCourage #235     16 SEP 2010
View with Pictures | ONLINE STORE

"So they've got us surrounded? Good!
Now we can fire in any direction.
Those b-st-rds won't get away this time!"

In This Issue
Many pictures this week including a comic book cover from 1989. Several bikes and some very interesting tattoos. A touching picture and story of Old Corps respecting his New Corps grandson. A daughters tribute tat for her Dad. A funny sailor/Marine joke and an interesting story of being born on the Corps birthday.

Our Facebook page went over 50,000 friends, what an outstanding forum for people. The Sgt Grit Blog is read by about 1,000 people a day. It is more current with daily stories of Marines, such as the Marines rescuing a German freighter from pirates off Somalia last week.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Here we are again the Gunny is making a big hit around my area. Everyone thinks he so Marine. He does what a Marine is told to do without questioning it. He has been on many missions in the last 2 years... If he can make a Family smile when they have lost a loved one or make an old Marine in a nursing home or soldiers home smile that's all that matters,

He's a Patriot Guard Rider mascot. Since I'm a ride captain & flag director the gunny is mine to take care of and he's only 22 months at this point... he's a real little trooper. We have done home comings and send offs and also been there for are fallen troops (Gunny Sgt Bruce The MOOSE)

I was in Madison, WI on short notice family business. Friday night, we stopped at a store across from the Marine recruiters' office. The recruiters were out there giving PT to about 20 "poolies" (recruits waiting to ship out to boot camp).

Naturally, I drifted over. The recruiters spotted my USMC cover (hat for you civilians) and USMC suspenders, and called me over. They shook my hand, and had the recruits do the same, then had me tell the recruits about my service. I told them that all my success in life, being first a state senator and since 1982 a successful executive, I owe to the Corps and my DI's, Sgts. W. Harris, M. Martin and E. Owens. I also told them about my buddy, Maj. Gene Duncan, who is fighting a grim battle with his usual ferocious joy, both his service and his books. Both got a loud Oohrah.

They were putting the recruits through pull-ups. They had a young, blue-eyed blond woman, about 18, pretty as she could be. She was highly motivated, and did 7 pull ups! I told her there were guys in my outfit in Vietnam who couldn't do that. Unlike in my day, these "poolies" looked like recruits already in their fourth week of boot camp. They sounded off, popped to and were churning out the pushups. They know boot camp will be tough and Afghanistan tougher, and they are volunteers, eager to serve. Even in the People's Republic of Madison.

I was proud of them, almost moved to tears. It just motivated the h&ll out of me.

Robert A. Hall

Sgt Grit,

I wanted to share a photo of my buddy John and I at the U.S. Marines Memorial at Fisherman's Park, North Tonawanda, NY. It is very humbling and I recommend all past and present Marines to see the Memorial if you are in the area. The bronze colored area of the memorial are hundreds of small plaques dedicated to our brothers in arms.

Semper Fi -

CPL Matthew Callaghan, 2811

SGT John Sibiga, 0311

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Look at this, I found it at a garage sale.

From R.E. Myer USMC 74--76

And I Quote...

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
--Winston Churchill

"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens."
--Joseph Story

Sgt Grit,

I took my XR1200 Harley Davidson and had it painted USMC style. While checking out all the quality tattoos on your site, I decided I had to send you some pictures of it. P1000880 is the stock bike back when I first brought it home from the dealership in February 2009, and is just for reference.

Joe Pool

Don't forget to give recognition to all the Marines running the USMC Marathon on October 31 in D.C.! My husband and his 3/7 India mates included. They've been out of The Corps since '06 and still have an unbreakable bond. They get together at least once a year. This year they chose the marathon as our meeting place. They've all been training hard. Amanda

Note: My son-in-law is training and will run this year also. We will be visiting them that weekend to cheer him on.
Sgt Grit

This a copy of my late brother's boot camp picture from early 1943. His name was Jerome (Jerry) Strumpf. He is circled in the 2nd row. He was in the Marshall Islands and Okinawa campaigns in WWII.

He passed away much too early at age 72 in 1997. He was my hero and I followed him into the Corps during the Korean War (1950-53) I would like to honor him in your WWII BS section

Semper Fi!
Jack Strumpf

I had to send you a picture of my son Sean M Alexander at the Marine Corps recruit depot on family day. His Grandfather Charles R Spring is also a proud Marine from the Korean war. He had went through extensive spinal surgery and spent time in a nursing home trying to recover. We never thought he would get back home, let alone travel across the country to make it to his grandson's graduation.

Sean went through boot camp knowing his Grandfather was also working hard to be able to make the trip. Both of these men were motivated to do their best as a matter of pride and honor in service to our country. The Marine Corps has been a large part of our family heritage and I am proud to witness such a great reunion.

Mary Alexander
Mena, AR

Two images from a long-time customer. My tat is very unusual in that it's a satire of the EGA that I got in January 56 while at Camp Geiger. No Marine has ever complained about my unusual tat, for they all know I love the Corps!

The other pic is my 4-year old grandson that has been fighting brain cancer since April 2008. His cancer is in remission now and I have clothed him in several t-shirts from Sgt. Grit. I keep telling my daughter he'll end up in the Corps; but she keeps insisting they won't take him since he has a small hole in his skull. H&ll - I tell her I have known many Marines that seem to have holes in their heads.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Earnie Aikens
PI Platoon 108

I just found out through the Marine Corps Tankers Assn website that Maj H.G. Duncan, USMC (Ret) has terminal cancer and might have a short time to live. They said he has trouble speaking but he answers emails. His email address is if you'd like to send him an email. I just did. I can't tell you how much that man's influence has shaped my life. I wouldn't be how I am today without his lessons on leadership, courage and integrity.

That announcement about Maj. Duncan's status was posted on 20 August so I'd suggest haste in contacting him.

Semper Fi,
Greg Smith

Submitted by: M. Thornton

And I Quote...

"The great fact seems to be that when a man dedicates his whole soul to his work, when he fully determines to meet the responsibilities that he incurs, in his time of need some power outside himself directs his course and gives him the strength to prevail. To such men comes revelation. They do better than they know. Therein lies the hope of the world."
--Calvin Coolidge

"Well done is better than well said."
--Ben Franklin

BRAVO ZULU on another great American Courage Letter. I know it is hard on her since her husband passed away but Mrs. Rita Huntsman is still part of the MARINE CORPS FAMILY she should get back on your newsletter address as she will always be one of our family members keep up the good work


I have to say it is really great to hear from the "old Corps", Korean War vets. Most of the WW 2 vets are gone. My father USMC Pearl Harbor survivor has gone and most will pass on in the next few years. I respect those that served in Korea because I have shared a similar experience with my VN service. I am blessed because my State (Colorado) has a "VietNam Veteran" plate which I proudly have. I see many more of these plates each month.

Those that have served before me please keep your stories coming you are the only real History that we receive in today's world.

Don Jensen

Dear Sgt. Grit,
For years - my entire career - I have said to all I care about and often asked instead this simple question; does power corrupt people?
The answers usually all come back positive and in the affirmative that power corrupts people.
Then I tell them that power does NOT corrupt people; it merely reveals who the real person was all along!

David Fredrickson

To James Flynn... Your honored father was a "recipient" of the Medal of Honor, not a "winner"...An often commonly made mistake by many. The MOH is nothing that any of us have ever gone out to "win", as more often than not, it is presented to the hero's family posthumously. You can certainly be proud of your Dad, and display his MOH with pride knowing he was indeed a TRUE American Hero.

John Allen, USMC (Sgt) 1965-1974, Vietnam

One of Original Navajo Code Talkers Dies

Sgt Grit I am writing this letter to tell about a young man and woman new to the Corps, never been very far from home, but had a gung ho attitude zest for life! My father told me how hard it was to keep from jumping around like a crazy man when he got the news that his wife had just had a baby boy on the Marine Corps birthday. He won the baby pool that everybody was betting on and thought that they would win.

He told how everybody cheered as he left for the base hospital to meet up with his wife and new baby boy. I know how proud he was to be a Marine, a father, and husband and looking back he said he had no regrets and would not change a thing. I did not get a chance a serve in the Marines but I have always been Proud that I was born on the Marine Corps base camp on the Marine Corps Birthday Thank you for letting me share his story.

Proud son of A MARINE I AM!

I want to thank you and your staff for a wonderful newsletter and website. I also want to thank you for your prompt service when I order items from your website. I am amazed at how quickly my purchases are delivered to me here. Most mail order places take up to six weeks to process an order before it is received by the buyer.

My main reason for writing to you though is to also thank you for posting the info for the agent orange information in your latest newsletter. I joined the Viet Nam Veterans of America organization in October of 2009. I am not a Nam Vet but a Nam Era Vet. I say that as I served in the Corps during Nam here in the states and in Panama during my tour of duty but I was not sent to Nam.

Upon joining the VVA I started getting emails from them and every time I'd get one on Agent Orange, I'd just delete it as I thought that since I had not gone to Nam that I didn't need that information. Wow, was I ever wrong. On July 3, 2010 I was sitting at a local grocery store helping a Korean War Era Marine sell raffle tickets for our local American Legion. When out of the blue he says, Carl, you know that when you were stationed there in Panama that Agent Orange had been sprayed there don't you?

Of course I was stunned by his statement. I had no idea this had happened at all in 1970. I went to the VA Regional Office in Waco, TX on the following Tuesday to see about applying for benefits and was told to fill out all this paperwork, which I did and turned it back in to them. Before I turned this paperwork back in, I scanned it all into my computer so I'd have a copy of it for myself. I also had my current doctor forward all my medical records to the VA for these benefits proceedings to begin.

What I want to pass on is that if you were stationed in Panama during the year of 1970 then do yourself a favor and go ahead and apply for these benefits too. Those of you who have been to Nam should also apply if you have not. You at least did know that A.O. had been used there. I had no idea that it had been used in Panama at all until 40 years after words. By the way this Korean War Era Marine was a civilian worker in Panama while I was there but we had not known each other back then.

Needless to say, I no longer just delete any information that comes to me about Agent Orange. I open it up and read it all thoroughly.

Semper Fi,
Carl Conkling
Sgt 68 - 75

And I Quote...

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bast-rdized form of illegitimate government."
--James Madison

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
--George Washington

Howdy Sgt.,
I'm retired (1997) and have a full time job. I recently took on a part time volunteer job working for Vets4Vets. Their website is It was started by a Vietnam vet in 2005.
The purpose of the organization is:

Vets4Vets is a non-partisan organization dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans to heal from the psychological injuries of war through the use of peer support.

They are a 501(3)(c) organization. Since my participation I have seen the dramatic change in the soldiers, sailors, Marines, etc. that have come to our workshops. In my county there are about 2500 combat vets from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. I am having a workshop 15-17 October and we recently had one near Houston on 20-22 August. Vets4Vets puts together workshops that offer free participation. We pay their mileage and room and board for the 2 day event.

Why is there a need for this organization? Last year an average of 18 veterans a day took their own lives according to the VA. The majority of these were Iraq/Afghanistan vets. 1 out of 6 were under the care of the mental health part of the VA at the time they committed suicide. Historical numbers now indicate that 3 times as many Vietnam era vets took their own lives as were killed in the conflict. That equates to about 95 per week since the end of the conflict. Vets4Vets wants to do what they can to slow down this trend. That's why I participate. Vets are not only hurting themselves, but others. In this county 2 separate murder trials were held for 2 separate Marine Sergeants. One was found not guilty using the self-defense laws of Texas. He killed a perpetrator who was trying to kick another Marine to death. The other pled guilty to 2 murders and is on death row. There is no doubt in my mind that both of these individuals has combat stress related issues that led to these charges. I am working with them.

I write with the hope that perhaps there are people out there that may want to support this organization. I have worked to raise all the money I need here for my workshop (usual costs $7,000-12,000 for 36 participants). I recommend that if people want to donate to this cause they go to the website and get the address in Tucson, AZ and mail it directly. If they use the website to donate, there are administrative fees that come out of the donation.

Also, if anyone is interested in participating in one of the workshops, there are applications on the website. Thanks for what you do in running this newsletter. If you desire additional information, please call my cell phone at 979-574-4514. Semper Fidelis.
Ed "Horse" Johnson
LtCol USMC(Ret)

By the way, active duty suicide is also a significant issue. Highest rates are found in the Army and Marine Corps. Civilian suicide rates are around 10.9 per 100,000 ( I guess they call this normal) and the Marine Corps rate is 25 per 100,000.

I had this sudden realization...

What good is my 'Antique Motorcycle' ... I can't 'sticker' it...


see attached... Semper Fi...

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

Art Glennon

I just got my new tattoo. It's an ambigram, when looking at it one way says Marine and from the other Andrew, my son's name. I'm about to deploy to Afghanistan and wanted to pay tribute to my Son and Corps. Semper Fidelis!

Cpl. Grooms
Kilo Btty 2/14

Old war stories

An old Sailor and an old Marine were sitting at the VFW arguing about who'd had the tougher career.

"I did 35 years in the Corps," the Marine declared proudly, "and fought in three of my country's wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood-soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade."

"As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire."

"Finally, as a gunny sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a firefight, we'd fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we'd charge the enemy with bayonets!"

"Ah," said the Sailor with a dismissive wave of his hand, "lucky Bast-rd, all shore duty, huh?"

Submitted by
James Crandall

here's another quote I just came across, you might be able to use it in the newsletter.

"All great leaders know the mightiest undertakings succeed because of the strength and courage, determination and sacrifice, of men and women whose names will never be recorded in history books or memorialized in museums."
--Eric Shinseki Veterans secretary

choo choo
Sgt Of Marines
68-74, RVN 70-71

In response to D. Suter, the vehicle pictured (see attached) belongs to the Conrad F. Kania detachment, Marine Corps League, the Tonawandas, New York. It is named Chesty Puller and is used in parades in the Western New York area. This MCL detachment is also responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of the U. S. Marine Corps memorial in Veteran's Park, North Tonawanda, NY. I have attached a picture of the memorial from one of the annual Marine Appreciation Days held in July.

Robert L. Hunt, Quartermaster, Conrad F. Kania detachment, MCL Marine Mustang (Sergeant and ultimately, Major), 1971-1989

P.S. Darrell Womack, you might remember me as 1stLt. Hunt, your Bn MTO, 1st Bn (Rein) 12th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Hawaii.

And I Quote...

"He that Lives upon Hope will die fasting."
--Ben Franklin

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
--James Madison

A little blatant capitalist propaganda from a question we asked on our Facebook.

Perhaps the two Marines at the Iowa state fair that didn't have time to talk to the guy who identified himself as an "X-Marine" would have had a better response had he identified himself as a "FORMER Marine" or simply "MARINE." I'm usually a little skeptical when someone says that they're an ex-Marine. Gary: FORMER 0302

They are recruiters. Public Relations is their job. You give the man respect, using "ex" is not enough to discredit him. My experience, many, many Marines use the term ex-Marine.
Just my two cents.
Sgt Grit

So, my 19 yr old daughter comes over the other day and says her tattoo guy friend is putting a book together on military tattoos and can she give him a picture of mine. Naturally I say yes, and off she goes. Later she comes over for dinner and says she has a surprise ... and then shows me her new tattoo. I was Verklumpt to say the least. What an honor!
Stephen Gifford

And I Quote...

"For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery."
--Jonathan Swift

"Casualties many; Percentage of dead not known; Combat efficiency; we are winning."
--Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC, Tarawa, 21 November 1943.

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit