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AmericanCourage #239     11 NOV 2010
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Sgt. Grit,
You brought a smile to my face in remembrance of my father when I read the quote "The Japanese Commandant had boasted 'One million men cannot take Tarawa in one hundred years'... 5,600 Marines took the island in three days."

My father 1st Lt Robert Sherman was one of those Marines!
He would be so proud to know his 2 grandsons (3rd generation Marines) followed in his footsteps and are now in Afghanistan, one on his 5th tour and the other on his 1st. Yes, they DO come from good stock!

Thanks for the memory....

Jennifer Plemmons
Daughter, sister and Mother of US Marines


To date customers have helped over 1200 Marines, and during the holidays we are especially mindful of our troops. So please Adopt a Combat Marine and we'll send a package on your behalf!


In This Issue
It is our Birthday and then Veterans Day. I think this newsletter rises to the occasion. There is a touching poem at the bottom. Many pictures as usual. View an outstanding video about Hill 881 South and Captain William Dabney.

There is a corpsman doing what corpsmen do, taking care of Marines, a daughter of a Marine in New Zealand and a interesting detailed Airdale narrative. And a few observations and pictures from me about the Marine Corps Marathon.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

The Sgt Grit Blog is under heavy fire with your Birthday stories, so check it out for the latest messages!


MC Birthday menu, Parris Island, Nov. 10, 1956. I'd been on PI for about a week and a half and had a helluva appetite by then. Ate everything in sight.

Kent Mitchell, CPL, 1956-62


Back on November 10, 1775, my Marine Corps came alive. First there came the color gold, to show the World that we are bold. Then there came the color red, to show the World the blood we shed. Then there came the color green to show the World that we are mean. Last there came the color blue, to show the World that we are true... ?... Happy 235th Birthday to all my Marine Brothers and Sisters! ?

Semper Fi, Luke Bolenbarker USMC Retired (1955-1979)
"Once a Marine Always a Marine" OOHRAH!


VIDEOS to Celebrate and Remember
Happy Veteran's Day, Happy Birthday Marines!
This will get you in the mood for the rest of the newsletter.

This great song and the words below are from Marine and recording star, Major Mike Corrado

Mike Corrado, "Stand" (Video)

A tribute to our service members, past, present and future and the families who stand behind them. In honor of Veteran's Day and those who serve, please repost and share this video.


Hill 881 South: Captain William Dabney (Video)

If the above didn't get you going this will. Happy Veterans Day and Happy Birthday Marines!

Yes we have cake, ceremonies, fancy words, spiffy uniforms, swords, spit & polish.
This is what it is all about! This 'IS' Semper Fidelis!


235th Marine Corps Birthday Tribute (Video from Godaddy.com)


Last but not least, a rousing rendition of the Marine Corps Hymn as sung by Sgt Grit and fellow Marines at the 1st Annual Oklahoma Birthday Breakfast.


And I Quote...

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves."
--Thomas Jefferson


Sgt. Grit,

Went to the Marine Corps Marathon. It was my Daughter's third and my Son's first Had a great time. Can't express how proud I am.

Former SGT. Chuck Wanamaker
1960-1966
SEMPER FI


On November 10, 1951, I was a fire-team leader with 'Charley Co', 1st Bn., 7th Marines. We were dug in at the 'punchbowl. About 1400 hours there was a lot of noise and I climbed out of our bunker to see what was going on. There was a U. S. Marine Corps observation plane towing a streamer approximately 150 ft long that read "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES'.

He couldn't have been more than 200 feet above our lines and there were two Marines aboard. One of the Marines had his door opened and one leg on a wing-strut yelling down to us "Happy Birthday". We heard that he accidently flew over the North Korean lines further up and drew a lot of small arms fire. The flight was probably unauthorized, but I'd still like to shake their hands.

Bill Dunn
Reedville, Virginia


Dear Sgt. Grit,

On July 6, 2010 my "Son"-in-law was honored by being chosen for the Hometown Marine Billboard Campaign. The billboard was unveiled on July 6, 2010 just north of Paulding, Ohio. He was honored because of actions taken during one of his two tours of duty in Iraq. He accepted the honor on behalf of all Marines and especially for those that he had the honor of serving with. My Son, now SSgt Barnes, in currently stationed in Davenport, IA as a Detachment Commander.

Here's a picture that I took of Mark and his wife, Beth (my daughter) on the day of the unveiling.

Thank you for a great publication, Sgt. Grit.

Mrs. Anna M. Free (a proud Marine Mom)


Hello,
I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful catalog and I like the newsletter that we receive.

I would like to add a story about our son, Gunnery Sgt Gabriel J Salazar. He just re-enlisted to complete his 20 yrs of service to the "Marine Corps" and he did it in front of the statue in Washington DC of flag raising on Iwo Jima. Is that cool or what!

He is the proud father of 4 children and him and his wife have been married for 13yrs. He is now stationed in Okinawa and his wife is finishing off her degree in Maryland and they will join him the end of December. He is a strong soul and a very dedicated Marine and father, husband and son.

I have attached his re-enlisted picture.

Semper Fi!
Frankie & Linda Salazar


Dear Sgt. Grit

When I went through Boot Camp at PI, there was a sign posted on the squad bay bulkhead. It read "Let's be d*mned sure that no man's ghost will ever say 'If only your training program had done its job'"

When my daughter went through Boot Camp at PI, she never saw that sign. Does anybody know why?? Was it only for male recruits, or did the Corps do away with it entirely?

I know that for me, it was a constant reminder that my DI's were not sadistic, but rather were doing their best to prepare me for combat. I did two tours in Vietnam, and can attest that they did an outstanding job of it.

Joseph W. Frazier
SSgt USMC Ret.


And I Quote...

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
--George Washington


Hello Sgt. Grit,

First of all I would like to give kudos to your website. The stories are awesome and seeing the subscriber's submitted pics are great too. But most of all it's the dedication of service and support to all us DEVIL DOGS young and old and to their families. Keep up the good work!

I would like to share a few pictures of my 4 month old son Isaac Saul's first Halloween. The first one is of him of him on the bed directly in front of the window, he's doing security over watch on our backyard. Just in case some tangos wants to sneak in and "TP" the property.

The second one is of me relieving him of his duties for the night. The third one is with his older sister Isadora when he was taking a break from his detail. As you can see he's had a long night on the last pic (see more).

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great and safe Halloween this season. Thanks for everything.

Semper Fi!
GySgt. O D Vallero Ret.
1st Recon Bn
1989-2009


sgt. grit, i was hospitalized a number of years ago with pancreatitis in slc, ut. i lost 40 lbs during my stay. I was being discharged with the insertion of a pic line to feed me during the next month of recovery. during the insertion of the pic line i recounted a story of what had happed during an x-ray the previous hour.

i was lying on the gurney getting set to have x-rays when the urge hit me. i told the tech that i needed to go to the head and he refused. he gave me a cup to urinate in, all the while lying on my back. trying with despair i managed to make a mess of everything. clothing, sheets etc. when i looked up in amazement i saw two nurses standing there watching and giggling.

back upstairs the tech inserting the pic line noticed my Marine Corps tattoo. we started talking and when i told him what had happened in the x-ray room he shot out of the room like a swabbie being chased by a devil dog. the next thing i knew he was back and said "problem taken care of"

come to find out he was a corpsman in nam. he was still taking care of us Marines. i have since forgot his name but will never forget his actions . never really found out what transpired in the x-ray room but did find out the tech was no longer working at the hospital.

cpl. joseph mish 63-67


As Sgt. Rine would often tell his recruits in Platoon 105 (I among them), "No doubt in my mind, privates- should be none in yours!" Whether on the drill field; conditioning course; pugil sticks, or rifle range at Camp Matthews, everywhere we went Sgt. Rine would exhort us with that phrase. I use it often to remind myself of what we can do if we believe in ourselves.

Mike Beehler, Sgt, USMC 1963-67


And I Quote...

"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
--George Washington


Old Corps and New Corps
1967 ITR San Onofre, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

On the right is 1st Sgt McDonald with a chest of medals nearing retirement. On the left is a very "boot" Second Lieutenant with a National Defense Medal. We all thought the boot 2nd Lt was very cool because he drove a new Porsche sports car. Unfortunately I have forgotten his name. This would have been around 06/67 to 01/68. If anyone recognizes him please contact me using my name (no spaces) @Gmail. Thanks.

I was assigned as a Troop Leader and these two men were Company Commander and First Sergeant of our ITR unit. I had just returned from Viet Nam (H 2/7) and expected to be in this great duty station until my discharge.

Unfortunately the Corps had other plans. I was sent to Amphibious Recon School in Coronado Ca. for four weeks of training and given a quick Recon MOS. Within days of graduation I found myself in the First Recon Battalion leading recon teams out of Da Nang. With only six months left in my enlistment I was not a happy Marine. Needless to say I took no chances and made it back safely.

Jim Herren 2142536
USMC 1965-1968
H Co 2/7
1st Recon Bn


Our Parris Island Platoon 151 graduated on Sept. 25, 1962 and just completed our 3rd Reunion. This gathering was meaningful because during the past year we found the family of D.I. Sgt. Murphy who had passed away in 1967. The photo includes his wife and two sons along with D.I.s Snogles and Gartside and our platoon members.

Sgt. Murphy's wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were able to attend and celebrate the contributions of all our Drill Instructors to the Marines that we became. We attended an impressive Graduation on Friday with follow-up visits to the Depot on Saturday along with golfing and sightseeing. Several of our members had so much fun at previous reunions that they brought their own military friends to celebrate with us.

One of these was a D.I. for one of our platoon members who was reassigned after a medical event. Proving once again just how small the Marine World really is. Steve Price, a Marine himself and local Living History Instructor, gave us an interesting presentation on Marine Corps history.

The bonds of our collective Parris Island experience continue to this day and we acknowledge our connection to all Marines past, present and future. Semper Fi Marines!


Here are a few pictures of Iwo Jima Vet Leo Champagne at Missouri Military Academy's Homecoming Assembly. Pictured from left to right are GySgt Robert Munson (in Desert MARPAT), Leo Champagne, and GySgt Tompkins (Woodland MARPAT)

Mr. Champagne was our Guest of Honor for the Homecoming weekend. It kicked off with a assembly honoring Mr. Champagne then a speech by Mr. Champagne. I have been at the school for 11 years now and I have to say I have never seen an individual hold the attention of the Cadets like Mr. Champagne did. I am a Veteran of 18 years with 2 tours in Iraq, and GySgt Tompkins is a veteran of over 22 and it was a honor for both of us to meet one of our living legends.

GySgt Robert Munson
2311 Ammo Tech
Echo Company Mentor, Missouri Military Academy
18 and still going


Sgt. Grit,

I wrote this in once before, but it didn't get posted. This is a story of the old vs. new Corps.

It was Tun Tavern, November 10, 1775. There were two recruiters at the bar trying to start the Marine Corps. In the door walked a recruit. The asked him if he would like to join the Corps. If he joined, he would receive a bonus of a free steak and a beer. The recruit said yes, and the recruiters asked him if he had a horse and rifle. He answered in the affirmative. He was given his bonus.

The next recruit walked in, and the same thing happened, as was now the tradition in the Corps. The second recruit stated he had a horse and rifle, and he sat down to enjoy his bonus.

The third recruit came in, and was asked the same question. He stated he would love to become part of the few and the proud (4 strong now). The recruiters asked him if he had a horse and a rifle. He said he had a rifle but no horse. The recruiters told him they would get him a horse, and he sat down to enjoy his enlistment bonus.

The first recruit leaned over to the second and said, "it wasn't like that in the OLD Corps!"...

NOTE: My best friend, who I was in boot camp with in '86 in San Diego, now has a son who just finished the crucible and will graduate next week. It is cool to think he pounded some of the same ground we did. I feel like the old Corps now...The Corps has done a great job with their graduations now. They have a ceremony for handing each recruit an EGA and congratulating them. I think we were just threatened when we left not to introduce the Drill Instructors to our mothers, or they would "thrash their asses right there on the parade deck"...

Semper FI!

Mark Harris
CPL 86-89,
Plt 1021, A Co, 1st BN, MCRD San Diego


Sgt. Grit
I joined the Marine Corps Reserve 9th Infantry Battalion in 1955 based in Chicago, the armory was at Navy Pier, Chicago. My contract with the Marine Corps was an 8 year active reserve status. My first 2 week summer training in 1955 was at Camp Pendleton Tent Camp #2 and I qualified as a sharpshooter at Camp Mathews rifle range, I have had amphibious training at the Navy Base in Coronado, three beach heads in LCVP's. I received helicopter assaults training at Camp Pendleton, I have been trained in ABC warfare 29 Palms. I have been trained in all facets of war to be ready to defend my country.

I love the Marine Corps but there are many that feel that I am less a Marine because I didn't have a Boot Camp experience. All the NCO'S and officers in the 9th were WWII or Korean War Veterans, I felt very safe knowing that if we were ever activated I was in experienced company. The closest I came to combat was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were told to have our sea bag packed and ready to be at the armory when called. Fortunately the Russian ships with the ICBM Missiles headed for Cuba turned back when the U.S. Navy blockaded them.

I will match my adrenalin rush with any other Marine when I hear the Marine Corps Hymn or see our flag marching by.

Regards, V. Mejias 1497518 USMCR Retired


And I Quote...

"Old breed? New breed? There's not a d*mn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine Breed!"
--Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC


Dear Sir,

I've been looking for this Marine (SSgt Julian P. Etheridge) for a while and was surprised to see he has posted on this site several times now. SSGT Etheridge was my recruiter back in October 1981. I was the first recruit he signed up as I recall, having just completed recruiting school, and I made meritorious PFC out of Boot Camp.

I was going into a Kmart in Des Plaines, Illinois when he tapped me on the shoulder and asked what I was doing. I turned to see a Marine in a dress blue uniform. I think I mumbled I was going in to buy some underwear. He followed up with "No...What are YOU doing with YOUR LIFE?" He then gave me a business card with his predecessors name crossed out and his name written in and told me to come see him if I thought I had the goods to be a Marine. Of course, the next day I was in his office on Lee Street starting that process that would change my life from ordinary to extraordinary.

Semper Fi and God Bless!

Perry Olsen
SGT USMC 1982-1986


Sgt. Grit and Staff...

This is to say "thank you" for your help in making our recent get together a success.

The camera ready artwork that you provided was used to create large WELCOME SIGNS that stood in the lobby of the motel where we stayed. The Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau also made Name Tags for every attendee.

A number of Marine Veterans met in Fairborn, Ohio for a weekend of camaraderie and lots of laughter. We toured the Air Force Museum on Saturday and discovered that us "old fogies" get sore feet a lot sooner than we did as youngsters...that's a BIG museum.

A kid's soccer tournament was taking place that weekend, so the motel was pretty full.

It was a heartwarming experience to be recognized as Marine Veterans, because of our name tags. Many parents volunteered "thanks for your service." Since many of our group are Vietnam Veterans, this acknowledgement brought an extra special feeling of warmth.

You went "above and beyond the call" to help us...Just saying thanks seems insufficient.

Semper Fidelis

JJ Haight
Blacklick, Ohio
Corporal of Marines 1960-64

IN GOD WE TRUST


Sgt. Grit;

In reference to the Marine Corps Birthday 3rd FSR roster from Charles Struble. I remember each and every one of these dedicated Marines. I was listed on Watch 1 (LCPL R D Howard) and during my tour was meritoriously promoted to SGT by Lt. Gen. H. W. Buse, Commanding General of Fleet Marine Force Pacific.

Just a note concerning my basic training; my basic training platoon commander was Captain Charles Krulak, who later became Commandant of the Marine Corps.

I also served at Headquarters Fleet Marine Force Pacific under his father Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak.

Always Faithful.
Ron Howard (2361337)
API 653 #28572
API-TES #31150


Sgt. Grit,
On occasion you've asked for Airdale narratives. As the old TV series said, "There are 8 million stories in the 'naked city'. This is one of them."

There were four of us who went through advanced jet training together in 1965...'Four Amigos'.

George 'Dutch' Holland, killed in Feb. 1966, when his F-8 'Crusader' caught fire on departure from Yuma. 'Dutch' could not eject. He forgot to pull his ejection seat 'pins' prior to takeoff.

Don Metcalf, ejected from his A-4 'Skyhawk' in Mar. 1966 out of MCAS Cherry Point, NC. He went on to RVN and died from COPD around 2004.

Joel Warshaw, flying an A-6 'Intruder' in VMA(AW)-242 at night over North Vietnam was awarded both the Silver Star and the DFC. His wingman on that mission has never been found.

R.M. 'Zeb' Zobenica, flying a VMFA-513 F-4B 'Phantom II', was seriously injured when his aircraft crashed off the end of RWY 32 at Cherry Point, NC in Feb. 1966.

Here is his story....

Feb. 24, 1966. VMFA-513 F-4B BuNo 148404 Squadron Modex/No WF-11

I was on a round-robin night nav hop. On climbout, a case of the winter sniffles led to severe ear pain. Nothing resolved the problem. We flew the hop with the cabin pressure dump valve in the 'open' position. For the better part of two hours in the night sky, six miles above the mid-Atlantic seaboard, we were an unofficial airborne Marine Corps 'fart-mobile'. We shot a GCA (Ground Controlled Approach using precision radar) at Myrtle Beach AFB to a low approach and departure. Same WX as NKT. No sweat at Myrtle Beach with their strobes and high intensity approach lights.

MCAS Cherry Point, NC (NKT)
WX at start of penetration
200'/ 1/2 mi fog & drizzle, ceiling obscured WX at time of crash
100'/ 1/4 mi fog & drizzle, ceiling obscured
NOTAM (NOTICE TO AIR MEN) No approach lights NKT Rwy 32
Reason for NOTAM: New approach light system being installed at NKT...high intensity with strobes.
System not finished. Ground personnel not trained in set- up/switches/rheostats etc. Trees not cleared between light banks.

The GCA at Cherry Point was normal. On glide slope, on heading. During the penetration from the Cape Lookout DME fix, I reminded my RIO, Maj. Robert D. Miller, of the NOTAM and requested that he 'keep his head out of the cockpit' to alert me to runway lights.

In close, I sensed we were over lights. I looked outside; saw two parallel rows of lights. Although they didn't look like the NKT rwy lights (which were wide apart), I had just lectured the squadron on the 'Illusory Effects of Airfield Lighting'...wide rwy v. narrow rwy, fog v. clear, terrain rising v. terrain declining etc. This led me to conclude that the lights had to be the runway since we had no approach lights (NOTAM) and that the fog would affect their appearance. I started to land between them but they disappeared...as though they were shut off. (Trees weren't yet cleared). I went to 100% power, then hit the trees. My first thought was to call , "EJECT", but I realized that we were were outside the seat envelope; punching out near the deck with a sink-rate would likely be fatal. I decided to go to 'burner' and attempt to gain some altitude. Those mini-seconds of indecision handed the 'game' to Mother Nature and the law of gravity. She won and we hit the ground...we were treated to a violent, noisy ride as the plane was ripped apart.

Read the rest of the story


And I Quote...

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
--James Madison


Having served his time with the Marine Corps, a man became a school teacher and before school started he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body.
Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't even noticeable.
On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school.
Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window wide and sat down at his desk.
When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

He had no trouble with discipline that year...

SEMPER FI


Sgt. Grit,

I saw the D.I. when it originally came out and was mesmerized. This was my first glimpses into the Corps. There was not an abundance of Marine Corps boot camp movies back then.

Although I loved the movie, I had a big problem with it when I viewed it again after going through P.I. I could not envision a D.I. spending as much time as Jack Webb spent on the recruit who wasn't "cutting it". I could not see my D.I.s almost begging this guy to square himself away. My Sr. D.I. would have sent his butt back or out of the Corps.

Semper Fi

Bill Joseph, 9/60-9/64


Hi There
My Dad was in Wellington New Zealand during WW11. Along with his buddies went to Christ church where he met my Mom. My Mom went up to Wellington for a while until he was shipped out again to the Pacific.

I was born and adopted out. My Mom found me when I was 32rs From there I searched for my Dad. Resulting on gaining 8 siblings. Sadly I have just lost one of my American brothers and a few years back a New Zealand brother. I have been to the USA 13 times About time for another trip.

I am so happy I have been included into lots of reunions here and 5 yrs in Perth Australia. Marching for my Dad US Marines WW11, Grandfather WW1 US Army, Uncle WW11 US Navy in New Zealand-Australia At ANZAC parades etc.

If it wasn't for the USA we would not be here Thanks again for a job well done during WW11 God Bless those serving today
Proud to be an American
Jan Kidd


Sgt Grit: I just wanted to comment on the below article. I have a lil' Pomeranian that was a gift this last summer. A great lil' dog, full of spunk, and in its own sense, a guard dog, full of bark and vinegar when someone comes near the house. Anyway, I had no trouble with what to name him. Gunny was the one and only name. Having retired as a Gunny, it's only fitting.
Gunny Cy Hatch, USMC(ret.)


Walter Gibson's proud clan.


This very personal story was written for a multi-authored obituary on Ernest A. Liner (USMC 1943-1945) to be published in a scientific journal (Herpetological Review). Ernie was a combat Marine on Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. He passed away on September 23, 2010. The story is reproduced here with permission.

Ernie Liner Between the Pages

I can hardly see through my tears to write this. I had read on a US Marine Corps web page something about the book Flags of Our Fathers written by James Brady and published in 2000. It covers in great detail the lives of the five Marines who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima in 1945.

I had a copy on my shelf so I read the first part and then later, well into the night, got to reading to the end of the book. I don't usually do that but got caught up in reading a passage near the end and kept on going. Once I finished, I closed the book, feeling sadness over what happened to those boys and how it all affected their lives afterwards; those who were not killed on Iwo that is.

I leafed through it and happened upon a signature on the Library of Congress page - Ernest A. Liner. I could not believe it. I burst into tears and cried for a long time. Ernie was there. There in the book. There on Iwo Jima when the flag was raised. That immortal shot by Joe Rosenthal of the flag raising that captured American hearts and imagination, the photo that captured the essence of the US Marine Corps, that icon of the Marines. Ernie was there. He saw that flag fluttering in the south Pacific wind.

Ernie died a few weeks ago. He did his duty on Iwo like everyone else. As a trained demolitions expert, he killed the enemy with satchel bombs by crawling to the top of concrete machine gun pill boxes and heaving the satchels inside through the small openings over the edge below. He was wounded there, but he came back alive and healed. He healed so well that, unlike most other men, he did not have nightmares about the ordeal and experience.

I interviewed him about his life as an amateur herpetologist for the Historical Perspectives section in the journal Copeia and included a paragraph on his contributions as a combat Marine. I described his actions on Iwo Jima and how he was wounded. I felt great sadness upon learning of his death. But I never cried, at least until now. I clutched the book, ran my fingers gently over the signature and cried hard.

Ernie was a Marine, a fellow Marine, a brother warrior Marine. How could I not cry over losing him, over the loss of yet another Iwo Jima Marine to time and history? Ernie was a hero in my book and a hero by any definition. He loved life, loved herpetology, loved Cajun cooking, and loved people. All of my colleagues who knew him respected and loved him for the kind of person he was, in part a herpetologist who made substantial contributions to that field.

I loved him for being a fellow Marine. We shared a common bond, the bond forged by being a part of a brotherhood within a highly respected organization. We both paid the same dues to become part of that organization. We shared the common history of all the Marines that came before and those who will come after. We were connected in ways most will never understand. I miss Ernie.

I want to talk to him more about his Marine Corps and war experiences. Unfortunately, that will never be. I can only cherish the memories I have of my brief times with him at meetings, of my interview with him for the article in Copeia that covered three days in his home in Houma, Louisiana, and of his thoughtfulness and kindness to others, myself included. I do not know where I got that copy of Brady's book. I still cannot remember getting it from Ernie, tho' I am sure I did. But there, on that page, was his signature. How did I come to get this, I pondered? It haunted me as if it was somehow destined for me to find out this way, after reading the end of the book. And then I saw an odd piece of paper sticking out from inside the back cover. I turned to the back and found a white circular paper. Turning it over I saw the following words on the sticker: "RCA, Registered Coonass, 'Ain't Worried bout Nothin' " with a raccoon on the front. Well, it was Ernie's Cajun way of telling me to lighten up, to stop being mournful. Life goes on, as did his after Iwo Jima. He did his time. Now it is time for me to get on with what is left of mine. Thanks, Ernie. Semper Fi. Always.

Joseph C. Mitchell
Cpl. USMC 1966-1970
1 November 2010


Both my daughters live in the DC area now. Both are married (Uuuggg). Such is life, daughters should not be able to marry until Dad is dead. OOpps..that's not what I'm writing about....

My oldest daughter's husband ran in the Marine Corps Marathon and I went to watch. What a great event. 30,000 people ran in the event. You read that correctly, 30,000 RAN in it. There were a couple of hundred serious competitive runners. Everyone else was there to prove something to themselves, for a cause, or just to have fun. One runner was running his 30th marathon in a gas mask, forget what the cause was. I have pictures of two Elvis's. I saw a barefoot runner, one in a ballerina tutu, a girl dressed as Heidi, a cowboy, Batman and Robin, Pacman, many capped characters and may others.

My youngest daughter's husband works in at a bike shop that the marathon went past in Georgetown. He said when the event was over the street looked like martial law. There was at least 50 Marines in camo moving on line in the street sweeping the street and cleaning up. Ahh....but to be a LCpl again and get the glorious duty to sweep (police) 26 miles of road.

A Drill Instructor must have picked the route. The last approx. quarter mile is up hill. Not a gradual hill, but uphill. So you run 26 miles and the last bit is this tortuous hill. People were struggling to the finish line.

Below are pictures my daughter took of the event. For you history buffs I have included a picture of the infamous Watergate Office Building. My daughter and I walked past it going from one viewing area to another.

30,000 runners and tens of thousands of supporters stretching over 26.2 miles. It was impressive how organized and efficient it all was. The Corps did its usual outstanding job.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit


I also joined the 15th Rifle Co. in July of 1955. Pushed floats for the Miss Universe parade in Long Beach, I also worked the Toys for Tots that Christmas. I had signed up on a 2yr. active duty, 4 yr. Reserve duty hitch.

A buddy conned into going 6 mo's active duty, 7 1/2 yrs. reserve. He and I were on the same bus out of Seal Beach as David. I spent my 18th birthday in the Receiving Barracks at MCRD SD. After we got back from Camp Elliot, I conned my buddy Don into going 3 yrs Regular and going to Sea School. We were assigned to the USS Kersarge CVA 33 for about a year and a half. We were transferred to the 1st Mar. Div. Don went to the 5th Marines and I went to the Security Plt Hq Bn 11th Marines.

The funniest thing that happened in Boot Camp was when the DI's of the 2nd Plt found Cigarette butts on their "GRASS". Needless to say that add the smokes from that Plt. were gather up and placed in a foot locker and buried in a regulation grave (6' x 2' x 6') with honors and the 1st and 3rd Plt's as mourner's.

Jack LaFleur, Cpl.
1526122 USMC
1955 to 1959


And I Quote...

"If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by its heads instead of its hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman's."
--Thomas Jefferson


Hi Sgt Grit,

Regarding the nicknames of the three recruit battalions at Parris Island. I graduated in February 1968 from boot camp in Platoon 1076 and at that time we referred to 3rd Battalion as "Disneyland" since they had the only brick barracks on Parris Island except for the ones on the Rifle Range.

We called 2nd Battalion "The Twilight Zone" since the only time we were ever in their area was when we checked into boot camp and for initial uniform issue. They still had the old WWII 2 story wooden barracks just like the ones we had in 1st Battalion.

We referred to 1st Battalion as "Blood Alley", since we had the reputation of being the toughest Battalion on PI. We lived in the old WWII barracks too, and the battalion was located on the "swamp" side of the main grinder, where all the graduation ceremonies took place.

We stayed in brick barracks for the two weeks we were at the rifle range and we were astonished at all the modern conveniences in them. After rifle range, we moved back to the 1st Battalion area, and had the upper, port side squad bay in the furthest barracks on the far left side of the battalion area.

I still remember "squaring away" our individual bunk area with scrub brushes, used as brooms, to get all of the sand and dirt out into the middle of the squad bay so one of the recruits could sweep it up. Like every other man and woman who has ever gone through Marine Corps boot camp, no matter whether it was at MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego, I can tell tales for hours about my experiences there, all of them true.

Criss Morgan
2409092
'67 - '71


Sgt Grit,

Well the day has finally arrived. As I type this my only son is sitting in the MEPS station in Louisville getting his physical and doing the other enlistment activities that are required to become one of the world's finest. Of course right now he is going into the Delayed Entry Program and he will need to finish his senior year of high school prior to shipping out to boot camp but it is still a major step in the young man's life.

My son will be keeping the family tradition alive as he will be a 3rd generation Marine. His Grandfather was a Marine from 1955-1959, I was a Marine from 1984-1993 and now he will be marching on the same parade deck at MCRD San Diego. I hope that when he arrives at the legendary yellow footprints that he will realize that he is standing in the same footprints that his father and grandfather once stood in when they were his age. (Yes I know that the Louisville MEPS ships to PI, but I have had his Recruiters make his contract go to MCRDSD to keep the family tradition aspect)

I have to admit that I am very proud of him for making this decision and I will support him always but I am a little apprehensive at the same time. I worry about his safety and what he will see after he gets out of boot camp. I know that the Marines take care of their own but I guess a father's love for his son is also part worrying about his safety.

I look back at the time in 1984 when I was sitting in the MEPS and wondering if I was making a good decision and now 26 years later I have to say it was the best thing I could have done with my life. Back then times were different, we didn't have combat operations running and the only threat we really faced was each other. Now things are so much different and there are so many other people out there that want to do harm to our service men and women. I pray for the safety of all of our men and women in uniform.

I know that I am not the only father to be sitting with these thoughts today as there are others sons and daughters in the MEPS this morning and some of these kids will be shipping out much sooner than my son but still it is difficult to think that the number of days I have left with my son is dwindling away. Before long he will be walking out of the house and on his way to his own journey in life. I swear it seems it was only last week when I was taking him to kindergarten.

I pray I have done my job, and have him prepared for the days when he is on his own and making his own decisions....

Happy 235th Birthday my brothers and sisters!

Semper Fi,

Tom Tarr
Sgt of Marines
1984-1993
Father of a soon to be Marine


Eagle, Globe and Anchor OD Green Beanie PRODUCT : PEN3
NAME : X. Gallegos
EMAIL : xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
SUBJECT : Testimonials
COMMENT : I received this rosewood pen approx. 1 week ago and could not believe how beautiful it looks & feels. It accommodates Cross & Foray ballpoint pen refills for smooth writing. I highly recommend this item to anyone wanting to stand out from all the rest that just utilize an "ink stick". Thank you Sgt. Grit.


Think that the newsletter is great and enjoy getting it every week.

I do have a question, first, since when do Marines have serial numbers and not service numbers?

Secondly, Marines go to the head not the latrine, are we sure that we are getting straight scoop from Marines not doggies.

Let's get the terminology correct and use Marine Lingo not Army Lingo.

Steve Lippman
67-71 Nam 68-70


Sgt. Treitler talks about MCRD in the winter. I was in Plt 160 of the 158 series when we went through Camp Matthews Christmas of 1962. Talking about sleeping in all your clothes. While at Camp Matthews we slept in the Gp tents (six to a tent) with stoves that we could not use so you slept in all your clothes blankets and top it off with the shelter half so the morning dew rolled off of it. No doubt even in southern Calif. it gets cold.

How many others remember Christmas day at the Camp when they played It will a Blue Blue Christmas without you all day long. Don't know if my Drill Instructors are still around if so Semper Fi Gunny Grooms, Sgt Thomas, Sgt Gonzales, and Cpl. King

SSgt. John C. Scott


Hey, Going to the MC Ball this year in my Blues.... Yeah!

But thought I'd send you these two.

My "Trailer Hitch" I made myself... Bought the EGA at the USS Constitution Museum Boston during Marine Week 2010.

And the Marine BackPlate I made for my Antique 1980 Honda CB-750c.

"Ego! Attitude! Ability! -- MARINES!"
Art Glennon


Each year, the Old Dominion Chapter of the First Marine Division Association sponsors a Memorial service at the gravesite of Lt. Gen and Mrs. Chesty Puller. The service is held at Christ Church Parish, Saluda Virginia. It is usually held on the Sunday closest to 10 November. This year's service will be held on 14 November at 1400. All are welcome. The church is located approximately three miles east of the village of Saluda, which is 55 miles east of Richmond, Virginia and about the same distance north of Newport News, Virginia. The service is attended by veterans of all branches of the military, but most particularly by active and prior service Marines. Following the service, there is a reception, complete with the cutting of the Marine Birthday cake in the Parish Hall. In addition, a contingent of Marines from Ft. Lee, VA have the Chesty Puller run on or near 10 November. Groups of Marines run in relays from Ft. Lee and when they reach Saluda, all run together to the church where they honor General Puller. Route 33 East is closed to traffic during their run. It is an inspiring sight.

Barbara C. Cockrell
The opposite of love is not hate---it is fear.


Long time customer and #1 Fan Chris Vale.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit


Sgt. Grit.
I have really enjoyed all of the attention you have given to the "Hollywood Marines" and the "P.I. Marines". I have to say that the rivalry is never ending but it is all in fun.

I was also moved by some of the articles written by guys like me that were fortunate enough to attend a recent graduation. I was privileged to attend the Third Bn 24 Sep 2010 graduation at MCRD San Diego. And I must say it brought back ALL of the memories. I had my son with me as one of his school buddies was graduating with Plt. 3645 from Lima Co. I was with Third Bn India Co. and graduated on 26 June 81 with Plt. 3027.

I was moved by the tradition and felt an awe inspiring emotion and connection to my past. I was privileged to shake the hands of several newly minted Marines and the memories just flooded me. I do admit I was fighting back tears (and am as I write this.) Tears of pride and community.

I want to congratulate PFC Steven Gapinski and welcome him to the Marine Community and want to welcome his fellow Marines that went through the process with him. Thank you and your staff for all that you do and Happy upcoming 235th Birthday. And to ALL Marines worldwide. THANK YOU and your Families. God Bless.

Semper Fi.

Sgt. Jeff Wolven
1980-1985


Daddy's Poem

Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home
why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees a dad
who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in
back, for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats.

One by one the teacher called
a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher, who
told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.

"Cause my daddy's always with me,
even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere there in the crowd
of dads, her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was a right.

And when she dropped her hand back
down, staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far.

You see he is an American Soldier
and died just this past year
when a roadside bomb hit his convoy
and taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
she witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for
a moment, by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.


God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit