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AmericanCourage #236     30 SEP 2010
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Hey Sgt Grit

I was stuck in rush hour traffic east of Sacramento one weekday afternoon, doing my best to be patient as I sat virtually motionless, or the next best thing, inching along.

I have Marine Mom stickers and license plate frames, globe & anchor and American flag stickers on my car. I perked up as a nimble motorcycle threaded effortlessly through the traffic. As he passed I saw the globe & anchor on his helmet. The young Marine snapped a salute toward my car, by which I was greatly honored.

Best rush hour traffic ever!

Marine Mom
Marian Schwartz

In This Issue
There is a motivational award write up by a SgtMaj for a Corporals actions in Afghanistan. A heartfelt writing by SSgt Storey. The 5th Honor Flight just completed its trip to Wash DC and a nice follow up below. HomeDepot Marines standing tall for us all. And a Sgt Grit staff member does me proud at the Oklahoma State Fair, Marine Recruiters booth.

Sgt Grit Facebook continues to grow. We have added a weekly football prediction for a free t-shirt, come join the fun. And of course the Sgt Grit Blog serves up a daily dose of current Marine news and info.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Dale was temporarily in The Cheyenne VA hospital last year and early this year. While he was there I had an opportunity to visit with him. He had reverted to his native Navajo language, but he did say a few words in English.

We first met outdoors. I saw him being pushed in a wheel chair. I saw his red hat with Marines and Code talker on it. I immediately squatted down where he could see my Marine hat, and when he did, he sat up straighter and smiled and saluted! No doubt he was proud to be one of us.

Next day at VFW breakfast I just happened to sit with Virginia and his grandson. She gave me two of his autographed business cards. So these will definitely become a keepsake!

I was saddened to read of his passing in the recent news letter. My condolences go out to his entire family!

Semper Fi
Choo Choo
1968 - 1974
Rvn 70-71

I am sending this motivating story on behalf of my stepfather SSgt. Thomas Godbout USMC. He was part of the 1st provisional brigade out of Japan, when the N. Koreans crossed into S. Korea. In combat with the 1st Marine Div. 5th infantry regiment, he was instructed to man a listening post.

While in the bunker he made an attempt to complete his high school diploma test, given through the Marine Corps school... When the attack occurred he threw the test paper on top of the sandbags. After it all, his test was shot with several bullet holes. He took it to his C.O. with the thought, his efforts were in vain. There was no way they'd accept a test paper is such condition.

The C.O. was so taken by this gung ho Marine and his attempt, he sent the test in as it was. The Marine Corps school did accept it and said if our Marines want an education bad enough to take it to a fire fight, who are we to turn it down for a few bullet holes.....

He got his diploma ! And a great story to tell behind it...
Semper Fi

Subject:Cpl Wooldridge 3/7 [U]

Below is an excerpt from an award that is being worked for Cpl Clifford Wooldridge (V37).

On 18 June 2010, CAAT White Bravo was screening in the Musa Qal'eh Wadi when it came under intense and accurate machine gun fire. After the vehicles returned fire, dismounts were pushed out to close with the enemy. Once the dismounts moved away from the vehicles, the company began receiving indications and warnings that the enemy was preparing an ambush for the dismounted squad. Corporal Wooldridge took his fire team and pushed around the suspected enemy flank. During the movement, Corporal Wooldridge's fire team received fire from a tree line 100 meters away. Corporal Wooldridge directed his Marines to return fire and close on the tree line.

Once Corporal Wooldridge arrived at the tree line, his Marines noticed approximately 15 enemy fighters carrying machine guns, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) and rifles. The fighters were gathering in preparation to ambush the other portion of the dismounted squad. Corporal Wooldridge emplaced his Marines and proceeded to engage the enemy fighters. During the engagement, Corporal Wooldridge and his Marines killed five enemy fighters, wounded three, and forced the others to break contact and run away behind the compound. While his Marines held observation on the downed enemy fighters and waited to link up with the rest of the squad, Corporal Wooldridge picked up flank security. While on flank security, he heard voices around the corner of an adjacent wall.

Corporal Wooldridge then pushed around the corner and saw two enemy fighters moving into an ambush position less than 25 meters away. He immediately engaged with two bursts from his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, killing both fighters. Immediately after killing the fighters, he began to re-load his weapon and noticed the barrel of a medium machine gun appear around the corner of a wall less than five feet away from him. Knowing his weapon was out of ammunition, Corporal Wooldridge grabbed the barrel of the enemy's weapon, threw the fighter to the ground, and became engaged in hand to hand combat. During the fighting, Corporal Wooldridge made multiple attempts to subdue the fighter. When the fighter made an attempt to grab one of his hand grenades Corporal Wooldridge grabbed the enemy's machine gun and butt stroked the fighter, killing him instantly. Corporal Wooldridge's bravery and aggression saved the lives of his fellow Marines by forcing the enemy to withdraw from the ambush and dealt the enemy a tremendous defeat and instilled fear in the remaining fighters.

SgtMaj Barrett

This past week (September 15-19) Platoon 145 (MCRD SD 1962) gathered at San Diego for a reunion and walk down memory lane. We were joined by our surviving Drill Instructors, Platoon Commander, S/Sgt William 'Bill' Way (GySgt Ret. USMC 1944-1968) and Drill Instructor, Sgt Jesse Pacheco (SgtMaj Ret. USMC 1943-1979).

Attending were twenty three of the forty three Marines from Platoon 145, whose whereabouts are known. We ate, we drank a few barley pops and gathered to shoot the breeze at every opportunity. It was our great pleasure to attend the graduation of 2nd Battalions Fox Company on Friday September 17th, just one day shy of our own graduation 48 years ago on September 18, 1962.

For Friday's graduation, MCRD supplied us with our own Marine as a guide and event NCOIC. In his second enlistment, wearing a Combat Action Ribbon, Corporal Mendoza, patiently herded us to the morning colors ceremony where we were recognized along with a 1961 platoon reunion group from 2nd Battalion. Following morning colors we spent a too short hour in the museum followed by our own section in the reviewing stands for Fox Company's graduation. What an honor to witness over five hundred new Marines taking up the standard, preparing to carry it forward for a new generation. We ate noon chow at the mess hall and the mess hall is different but the chow hasn't changed a great deal in the past forty odd years. After chow we clowned around on the yellow foot prints at receiving then walked across the street and reminisced as we wandered among the remaining fifteen or so Quonset huts.

A visit to the USS Midway on Saturday made me glad I joined the Corps instead of the Navy (I never once considered the Army or Air Force). An all hands dinner ended the festivities Saturday night and left us with many memories of a special four days in September 2010.

At dinner Saturday night, our Drill Instructors and their wives were presented with custom coffee cups which were hand made by Bruce Perry, one of your platoon members and a fantastic artist in both clay and metal. The Drill Instructors were also each presented with a Sgt Grit's 'I can't hear you' ball cap catalog number C451, lettered on the back "Drill Instructor MCRD San Diego Platoon 145 1962" Thanks to Sgt Grit's for making the ball caps possible.

The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

This is gunnery Sgt Moose in his new Dress blues 67 pounds of all pride. And he's my Little Marine all the way. He's a great company and the Marines in my area just love him and the VSO of all the towns around us ask if he will come to their events and I take him he's good for moral and he's an all around good pal I never leave home without him ..

Grace Washburn

And I Quote...

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
--Thomas Jefferson

"A State, I cheerfully admit, is the noblest work of Man: But Man, himself, free and honest, is, I speak as to this world, the noblest work of God...."
--James Wilson

Sgt Grit,
Paraphrasing General Krulak in First to Fight, the future of our Corps has always and will always be in the hands of the American people. Even in these tumultuous times, I don't believe the American people would allow our beloved Corps to be dissolved. That being said, SSgt Rasmussen is right on point about taking action now. Write letters to all of your elected representatives, to the editors of your local newspapers, and to all of our Veterans organizations. We can't stand by idly and do nothing.

Semper Fidelis,
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC, Retired

Sgt. Grit

Thanks for the newsletters, I have really enjoyed them. Here is my 1978 Honda Goldwing. I bought this bike right after I got out of the Marine Corps. Drove it for a year, then had kids. It sat out back for the better part of 20 years until I recently restored it to its original glory with a little bit of added Marine swagger.

Brad Coulter
SSGT 3rd Mar Div

Another great news letter, thanks Sgt. keep up the good work, and as all Marines, I am sure are doing, pray for the Corps and it's continued existence.
Semper Fi
Dr Ron
Cpl, 65-70, 2533

My name is Tony Storey, I served in the Marine Corps from 1989-2010, and am a Veteran of Desert Storm, Somalia and Iraq. I sat down the other day, thinking about 9/11 and the Marines I've served with. I began remembering Marines that I've lost, and began doodling, writing words until what you see here is what ended up on paper. I'd like to share it with you and your readers.

Thank You, and Semper Fi

-SSgt Tony Storey

I don't see anything to the front of me, can hear much coming from beind. I'm surrounded by noise, smoke and darkness. Not sure of how far I've come, how far I've gone, or where I've been ...the ruck on my back, a 90 pound stone in my shoulder, my M-16 comes alive

I left behind a family, alone at home Bound by honor, I answered the call. On my breast, the symbol of my calling for God, Corps, and Country, I offer my all

There are Marines all around me The faces blackened, their eyes burning bright their courage is what steels my heart, as I sand among them in the line of fire

I see the families of the fallen Cradling pictures of their heroes Standing inside gardens filled with stone Their heroes smile down upon them from a sky, filled with light Heaven is now their home.

I feel their arms wrap around me Feel their blood mix with mine As they stand silently in formation Waiting for me to take my place To the right of their line.

-SSgt Tony Michael Storey
United States Marine Corps.

Sgt Grit,
I just completed my 5th Honor Flight Guardian trip with the Honor Flight Chicago group. (I am a Washington DC volunteer). I served Honorably, USMC, Sergeant of Marines, 1970-1976. Honor Flight is an organization which brings our WWII Vets to their Memorial in Washington DC.

I have copied Renda on this email, and I know she is seeking more volunteers to meet our WWII Vets at the DC airports, as Guardians. and accompany these Vets for their day of Honor. I have met many WWII Pacific Marine Vets on these trips and they always are pleased when they hear Semper Fi Marine. All the Veterans are very emotional upon their tour of the Memorial. These men and women are in their 80s and 90s.

See for more info on the organization, and the service they provide free to our WWII Vets.

Yesterday, I was the only Marine Guardian on my bus, and while there are many Marines supporting this organization, we can use more! The Vets are particularly moved by the Active Service folks.

Please contact Renda as to how you can expand our support to the WWII Veterans.

Thanks and Semper Fi!

I was greatly surprised and immensely pleased to see my picture on the cover of Volume 15 of your SGT GRIT Catalog! It was the third picture down on the left, standing beside a little white car. Needless to say my family was very pleased to see it also.

Story behind the picture: When I left for Paris Island in 1964 my 1959 Catalina had just lost an argument with a truck pulling a house trailer, on a narrow mountain road here in East Tennessee. While enjoying my stay at Parris Island I received a letter from my mother that my dad had settled with the insurance company and I had a 1962 Chevrolet 2 door coupe, with red interior, and a 4 speed transmission waiting for me at home. The wonderful visions and thoughts of this car helped to take my mind off of things that were going on, because I knew my dad knew my taste in cars.

Of course there was no mention in her letters that this was a corvair not some powerful, wonderful vehicle that a 18 year old would be dreaming of. Any way can you imagine my thoughts when I got home and saw a corvair, but it did eventually grow on me.

If you will notice the left arm in the picture, it is in a cast. I had 3 broken bones in my wrist. This picture was taken Mid- December 1964. After boot camp leave I returned to Camp Geiger and completed ITR with my left wrist in a cast.

Thank you Staff Sergeant Ermish, Sgt. Lewis, and Corporal Robles for instilling in me the values that made me the Marine and the man that I have become.

Semper Fi,
Lance Corporal Ernest Smith USMC

And I Quote...

"Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there. Eighty are just targets. Nine are real fighters and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one. One is a warrior, and he will bring the others back."
-- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, 500 BC

"One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli

I work for Home Depot. Contrary to the urban legends about Home Depot, we are allowed, and even encouraged to wear pins that show off our patriotism. On my orange apron, I proudly wear the Eagle Globe and Anchor, I hate the lazy term EGA, that my youngest son was awarded after he successfully survived "The Crucible" in Dec 2007. We have a couple other MARINES who work in my store as well as a couple of other branch veterans. The MARINES, here, proudly wear some emblem of our service. Mine is a magnet of sorts. It stands out and I am constantly approached with a smile, an extended hand and the proud words, "Semper Fi MARINE!".

Recently, we had a visit from a member of the General Staff. I was asked about my emblem. As I was explaining it and the pride and history behind it, I was approached by a man who is our town's Iwo Jima Survivor. He and I engaged in quite a lengthy chat, completely ignoring the entourage as they continued their walk. Later, I was counseled for ignoring the visitors. This chastisement was overheard by the senior member of the tour. The chastisement was turned around as this senior member explained to the other individual that a) The gentleman was a customer, b) He was an Iwo Jima Survivor and c) He was a MARINE. Turns out this senior staff member's son is a MARINE on active duty, as is mine. Rule for the day: Be careful when you cross a MARINE. There are just too many of us out there.

Jim Wolter
Semper Fi

SF Sgt. Grit,

It's me again to relate how I came to join the Corps. I was going to college but found I was not college material. I had a buddy who was going to college on a football scholarship and somehow we both ended up at our old high school hangout, a drive-in. We both had dropped out of school and were pondering our futures. I was all set to join the Army as my draft status had changed to readily available and my number was in the top ten. My buddy said to me one evening, "let's join the Marine's... they have better looking uniforms." I was sold!

The deal was really cemented after my older brother told me that I could not make it in the Corps. He had been in the Nam with MAG 16 near Marble Mountain and was wounded in a rocket attack in 1967. I did have second thoughts though about my choice. While taking a break from tests and paperwork, I picked up a magazine (Life, I think) and was reading about the mistreatment of prisoners at the Camp Pendleton Brig. This was in the fall of 1969. Later on I picked up another magazine and read an article about the Corps doing their best to never leave dead or wounded behind. I said to myself, these are the guys I want to serve with! We enlisted (I returned home after being recruited to find my draft notice in the mailbox) and left for MCRD San Diego on Dec. 28, 1969.

Dan Buchanan
L/Cpl of Marines

And I Quote...

"The more is given the less the people will work for themselves, and the less they work the more their poverty will increase."
-- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi

"Coolidge is the first president to discover that what the American people want is to be left alone."
-- Will Rogers

Dear Sgt. Grit,
when my son was home this past august 2010 we had some time together to share before his deployment to Afghanistan in September. I wanted to get a tattoo to honor my son, as you can see I'm one proud Marine mom.

Semper Fi,

Mother of LCPL Rausch
3/5 Get Some

Thanks for the help. I cannot thank you enough. I was finally able to get a hold of my former Commanding Officer. I now have the tools to fight the VA. I have been fighting VA since 1977 about a car motorcycle accident in which I lost my lower left leg on the way to my reserve unit.

In January 1958 I used my Marine Corps scarf to keep me alive. I found out about 1977 I was covered by VA benefits. I could not get any info because VA had all of my paper work. They want written orders. Well we did not always get written orders back then. Could you see an NCO or an officer caring a typewriter and a ream of paper in their packs. I had lost all contact with my unit and the officers and NCO's. Thank God for the internet and e-mail.

You did a story about five months ago "I joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 5/5/55". This was about my original unit the 15th Rifle Co in Seal Beach, CA. This article included a sentence about a guy in our Marine Corps League that went to Korea without going to boot camp, straight from a reserve unit.

When I went to boot camp I went in as a PFC the DI did not like it and made me cover it up.

Dave Schooling
1526108 USMCR

There will be a 5K run honoring the MARINES fallen, on 23 Oct. 1983, 1st. Bn., 8th Marines, 2nd MarDiv., in McDonough, Ga. at Heritage Park, 1700 hrs. I'm sad to say I was there. (Beirut), I have just recently been able to come to terms with this in my mind, (Thanks to the saving grace of my LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST). I hope there will be a great turnout for this event.

Gunnery Sgt. Charles N. Conkle, ret.
1st Recon Bn., 2nd Snipers Plt.

I am 77 now...But

57 years ago I was a young stud ready to take on the world, After all, A D.I. (K.W. Wright now in Redding, CA) had given me all the tools...

I started out in E-2-11 but later transferred to H-3-5 ('53-'54)

Then to 29 Stumps in 1st 8" Howitzer/ MP's in Pendleton (back gate)/ Naval Retraining Command out by Miramar Naval Air/ Summer on the Silver Strand training Reserves on dry net landings... Getting stopped on the street and having people say "thanks for your service" is great...But So is hearing "Semper Fi Mac" from another old goat !

Fisher, Philip D 1320243 "52-"55

I am not a former Marine, but that is only by accident of birth (female), which the Good Lord and I will discuss when I get to heaven. However, my dad was a Marine in WWII and instilled in me a love of the Corps as great as any Marine. I married a Marine, my one son is a former Marine, and I have four grandsons who are active duty Marines (3 from one family, 2 have served in Iraq twice, smf 2 have served in Afghanistan once (so far)). My youngest will enlist as soon as he can get in.

I have read "Marine" six times...never get tired of it. Each time I read it, the politics of the Corps toward Chesty makes my blood boil! I'm 69 yrs. old, so that's a lot of boiling.

There was a very small advertisement in the Sept. issue of Leatherneck Magazine showing Chesty's house up for sale. The Corps won't touch anything of Chesty's because of the politics... still. Perhaps a campaign could be started by the Associations of Chesty's former divisions to raise money to buy the home. There are bound to be Marines (and other interested parties like me) who would also join in.

I live on Social Security and a small pension check, but in memory of Chesty, I would gladly start the campaign with a onetime contribution of $1,000.00 to turn his home into a museum.


Pat Miller

"They also serve who only stand and wait."

I got this tattoo in memory of my cousin, SSgt Justus Bartelt, who recently was killed in Afghanistan while in operations alongside the 40th Commandos. Growing up together, we dreamed of becoming Marines as little kids, and ended up in the desert once again together. Born on the 4th of July, and graduating boot camp on September 11th, 2001, he was destined to be a Warrior. I know he'll be at home amongst other warriors here.

Semper Fi,

Fmr Sgt David Bartelt
4th GSM, 4th MLG, Rock Island, IL

And I Quote...

"When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny."
--Thomas Jefferson

This is Lindsay O'Hair of the Sgt Grit staff. I read and insert the stories for each newsletter. Lindsay makes it easy to read, lays it out etc...

This picture is her at the Oklahoma State Fair, at the Marine Recruiters pull up bar. She was an Army Sgt. She has 4 kids and can still max the women's arm hang. Must be the Marine influence! We'll see if she leave that last sentence in.

Sgt Grit

Note: In the interest of keeping my job, I humbly and wholeheartedly agree that all my smarts and physical strength can be attributed to the Marine Corps influence I have received at Sgt Grit. -Lindsay

P.S. Real Friends Don't Let Friends Join the Army

This is a poem I wrote for the Marine I love but it goes out to all Marines:

The Brave

Each morning you are up,
Well before the sun.
Our great country to protect,
You'll get the job done.
You give so much:
Your heart, your soul, your lives,
Knowing that you're fighting for
Your parents, your kids, your wives.
Does anyone ever thank you?
Or tell you how much it means
That daily you defend us
So we can live out our dreams.
We only see your blood stripe
When a mighty warrior is laid to rest.
How many would make that sacrifice?
How many could pass that test?
So thank you, for giving me
My freedom and my rights.
I'll pray the Lord on bended knee,
May he keep you in his sight.
Thank you, Marine.

Angie D. Savage

Thank you for sending "newsletter" via e-mail. Always enjoy it. Just returned from San Diego MCRD with 9 Marines to watch a graduation of over 500 young men from 7 platoons, Fox Co., 2nd Bn., RTR San Diego become United States Marines. Ten of us from platoon 234, Fox Co, 2nd Bn., RTR San Diego regrouped to celebrate the 49th anniversary of our graduation (30 Aug. 1961) and to observe their celebration. I celebrated my 72nd birthday the day we arrived.

Restored my faith in American youth. Saw over 500 of America's finest become Marines. Visited with D.I. 's and staff officers. All Marine graduates had at least a high school education. Three had college degrees. Instantaneous response to every command given. Ooooohrah echoed in unison about the still huge parade deck. Average age 19. All hair cuts were "high and tight" with the average waist size likely 29 to 30 inches. No pony tails, no earrings and all trousers worn at waist height. Is it any wonder we say "the few, the proud, the Marines?" God bless and protect our Marines and all troops serving us, our wives, our children and our grandchildren.

Thanks Sgt. Grit. for your efforts to keep us old timers connected. PFC Jim Irwin

You close with the salutation, "Fair Winds and Following Seas!"

"The origin of the quote "Fair Winds and Following Seas" is unknown. It is often said to have been lifted from a poem, phrase, or literary work, but to the best of this researcher's knowledge, it wasn't. Over the last century at least, the two quotes "Fair Winds" and "Following Seas" have evolved, by usage, into a single phrase which is often used as a nautical blessing.

"Fair Winds": The Dictionary of American Regional English defines "Fair Wind" as "safe journey; good fortune." An early example of the phrase's use is in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, published in 1851, where it says near the end "Let me square the yards, while we may, old man, and make a fair wind of it homeward." In other words, let me square the yards (add on all sail) and make a safe journey home.

"Following Seas": Defined by Bowditch's American Practical Navigator as "A sea in which the waves move in the general direction of the heading." It further defines "Tide" as "the periodic rise and fall of the water resulting from gravitational interactions between the sun, moon, and earth. . . . the accompanying horizontal movement of the water is part of the same phenomenon." In simple terms: the movement of the water, the waves, and the surface, correspond with the movement of the tide.

"Fair Winds and Following Seas" is really two quotes originating from different sources. The two quotes are a nautical phrase of good luck--a blessing as it were--as the person, group, or thing it is said to depart on a voyage in life. It is often used at a "beginning" ceremony such as a commissioning ceremony of a ship or people, as well as in retirement, change of command, or farewell ceremonies.

Source: Researched by Samuel Loring Morison."


But as a former Coast Guardsman (who spent some time pulling young, seasick Marines off Navy ships off the coast of North Carolina) I always viewed the salutation as being seen as positive, but in reality had a subtle negative connotation to it. Sailors, at least Coast Guardsmen, seek the winds of vigor and violence. There is nothing more boring than going to sea in a Fair Wind! And as for the Following Sea, anyone who has been at the helm of a vessel in a Following Sea knows the complications such a sea presents to steering.

It pushes you to port then to starboard, and back again. It requires constant corrections, and is almost impossible for a new helmsman to steer an accurate course.

So, I know the intent is a positive one by common usage when you wish someone "Fair Winds and Following Seas," but I prefer excitement offered by just the opposite. The Navy calls it "Sailing into harm's way!" And of course, no Marine would ever avoid the danger of combat.

As the Dad of a Marine, I take the privilege to close with:

Semper Fi.
H. Michael Hawkins

MGYSGT Charles (Chunks) Padilla on your left in the attached photo is a member of the Gumpathon Team who will run/bike/walk across the USA, starting in New York and ending in Santa Monica, California.

The Gumpathon is a charity run for the "Injured Marine Fund" and all donations to help the wounded warriors will be appreciated:

Grandle Starling Cpl E4 59/63

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit