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AmericanCourage #240     25 NOV 2010
View with Pictures | ONLINE STORE

Sgt Grit,
Thanksgiving is upon us again and I thought I would send you a menu of what was served at the MAG 11 Mess hall in 1970 in Danang Vietnam. I hope all the troops receive a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
Semper Fi

In This Issue
It's Thanksgiving, a national day of gluttony. If you're an optimist you start a diet on Thanksgiving day. You've heard these and others. Try this.

President George Washington's Proclamation, October 14, 1789

Image of the original proclamation

As Marines we know for what we have are thankful. We defend it. Take a moment, turn down the volume on the Lions game, grab your grandchild, hug your wife, hold your daughters hand, look at your picture from the Corps, pet your dog, look at the flag, read the Constitution, read the Bill of Rights, read the Declaration of Independence, have a second or third helping of the abundance that is America; then bow your head and say: Thank you! Semper Fi!

There are a lot, many, beaucoup pictures in this issue. Also, busting their balls, 2 jokes, the new agent orange policy. A great story and picture about the "Four Palms". And a touching story, Bionic Marine. Also check out the blog with two daily pictures from the Sgt Grit archives plus daily stories.

This issue is a bit longer than usual, but hey, most of you have all weekend off. Enjoy!

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Thought I would share pictures from Marine Corps League Detachment 1124 Marine Corps Ball, 2009 and 2010.

Semper Fi,
Jesse Garland

There was more brothers in the Marine Corps during viet nam from the same family like ours.
1966-1970 my oldest brother Micheal served with the 1st Marine Air Wing with VMFA-115 in Da Nang.
1968-1972 my second brother Robert served with 1/9 Charley Co. in the northern part of South Viet Nam.
1971-1973 my third brother Ernest went to Camp Lejeune and was in Motor Transport until his discharge.
1969-1973 and finally myself, I was with VMA-331 out of MCAS Beaufort S.C. went on a Med Cruise...what a trip that was.
My parents were given an award for having all four sons in the Corps at the same time at MCRD San Deigo at my brother Ernest's graduation ceremonies.
Sgt Edward Guerin 2500318 1969-1973

Sgt Grit,
My grandson, 2 month old Zakkary Christensen, smiled from ear to ear when he put on his new Marine uniform and I told him he was going to be a Marine.

LCpl Merle Christensen
USMC 1969-71

And I Quote...

"If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it."
--James Madison

Sgt. Grit; Each year (By Law) on Nov 10th the Marine Flag is flown over our State Capitol (NH). and we hold a small Ceremony with our eight MCL Detachments (The Color Guard is a Young Marine unit) after which we motor to a local restaurant for breakfast.

Keep up the great work. S/F
Joe Shea PDD

Dear Sgt. Grit,

My family and I love your store. My husband served in the Marine Corps for 8 years and misses it every day. He was injured in combat, but your store allows us the opportunity to show our USMC pride! We have something for every vehicle, every family member, and every room in the house.

You're customer service is unbeatable and I have never had a problem with ANY order. Thank you so much for providing a wonderful place to buy all of our USMC gear - My husband's eyes light up with every Sgt. Grit package that comes in!


Jacinda Gravem

I am sending you a picture of my son Jimmy (7 yrs old) from Halloween. He has an absolute fascination with the Marine Corps. Maybe it's because his Pop-Pop is a retired Marine, maybe it's because we are a Proud American family, maybe it's because we teach our children to love and respect our country and all who serve it.

When he has met Marines at the Sussex County Fair, or on the Point Pleasant Boardwalk - he also approaches these fine men & thanks them for defending our great Nation. He always salutes them and shakes their hands.

For his birthday, his grandfather bought him his very own set of fatigues - even a hat. His grandfather decorated his uniform with General Stars. He decided immediately that he was going to be a Marine Corps. General for Halloween. All he needed was the combat boots and Dog Tags. That's where you guys came to the rescue. We ordered the Dog Tags with the help of one of your associates (who was wonderful).

He wore his costume so very proudly. He mentioned to me that he would be wearing this costume with pride. He walked in the school parade & from door to door saluting everyone (just like his Pop-Pop taught him). He slept in his fatigues that night - he just didn't want to take them off - he fell asleep smiling. He is still wearing his Dog Tags.

I wanted to send you his photo & to say thank you for all that you do and have done.

If you would like to publish this picture in your newsletter or magazine - I give you permission. God Bless America!

Linda Klekner

On Nov 4, my boss, Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor, attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas as one of the speakers. While walking around, she just happened to come across a display booth where R. Lee Ermy was signing autographs. She not only got an autograph, she got a hug too! (See attached)

At least she brought back a signed photo for me and it's hanging on the wall in my office. And how did he sign it? It says, "Eat your heart out." Yes, she knew I'd be jealous.

Valerie Phillips, niece of GySgt Harold Eugene Morrow who's been guarding the streets of heaven since the days of Khe Sanh

Attached is a picture of my Bulldog and his date to the 235th Ball. My wife made the dress blues, buckle from your store, buttons from your store, Collar Brass from your store priceless

Larry Helser
Ret MGySgt. USMC
VFW Post 11160 Clarksville, Tn
Sr. Vice Commander 2010/2011

Sgt. Grit,

I enjoy reading your email news letter. I served our Corps for twenty years (0369/8511 GySgt - Ret - 1964 to 1985). I spent just a little more than seven years as a "hat" at both San Diego and Parris Island. I served 44 months in Vietnam as a grunt with the mighty 5th Marines and 1st Recon Bn. I continue to maintain contact with the Corps today. And I believe that today's Marine is a better trained, better equipped, and more disciplined Marine than we were.

Our discipline was because we feared anyone who wore any kind of rank on their collar. Marines today are disciplined because they want to be, because they have the desire to be the best. Now, having said that, I will also say that the "old Corps Marines" were incredibly resilient, brave, motivated men. Today's Marines honor us by maintaining the "espirit de Corps" that we so proudly served.

Finally, I to wrote a book concerning my experiences in Vietnam. Title - Fall From Grace - Publisher - Xlibris or Anyone who served in the Nam will easily relate and enjoy the book.

After leaving the Corps, I owned my own small, successful business, got a college education, and have since retired completely. I would not be where I am today were it not for the Corps. November 10, 2010 was my 46th Marine Corps Birthday and I continue to march !

Semper Fi,
Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Michael Short

3rd MAW MCAS MAL-11 Ball Avionics

LCpl Aguilera with MSGT Hill, MGYSGT Lewis and CAPT Finch

See all the photos

On Friday, November 12th, "PFC. THOMAS RUSS" 2nd Bn, Golf Company, Platoon 2085, graduated from Boot Camp. Here are two photos.

Congratulations from your WHOLE FAMILY, We are PROUD!


My buddy came home from the Air Force and I was home on leave from Parris Island. We were both proud of our uniforms. His brother-in-law was also home on a pass from the Army. We three stood shoulder to shoulder and posed for the attached picture.
Vince B.

And I Quote...

"No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt."
--George Washington

Grandsons of Marine Sgt Al Csoka, 1964-67.

White socks Marine Lucas Kevin Csoka born 7-1-2010
Blue socks Marine Robert Jeffrey Csoka born 7-17-2010

Sgt. Grit

I'm sending this photo of my co-worker's pride and joy. Both her boys Justin and Joshua are serving in the Marines. Unfortunately this photo was at their Fathers funeral also a Marine) Their Mother is Robin Werling, Cape Canaveral Fl.

Semper Fi
Cecil Carter 79 - 85

I supervise a graveyard patrol shift at my police department. On Veterans Day, I told my patrol team we would be visiting the local VFW on duty. After briefing, we headed down and staged in their parking lot. As we were waiting for everyone from the team to get there, all these heads kept poking out of the building to try and figure out what we were doing.

After we assembled, we got buzzed into the bar. You could have heard a pin drop as this sea of cops walked in. I walked up to the first person at the bar, shook his hand and announced that we were there to thank every one of them for their service and sacrifice.

You should have seen the look in their faces. They all thought we were there to "Bust their balls." When we reached the end of the bar and had shaken everyone's hand, I announced to the barkeep that we wanted to buy a round for the house. I never envisioned the emotions this simple jester of gratitude would invoke. There were veterans from Korea through today who kept telling us, with hugs and tears in their eyes, thank you.

Afterwards, one of my officers who has no affiliation whatsoever with anything related to the military told me he gained a different perspective on the meaning of Veterans Day. He said he had never seen such genuine gratitude in all his life. He admitted how emotional this event had been for him and how he now has a completely different level of admiration for those who have served.

Semper FI
Bill Covington

"Some people spend a lifetime wondering if they made a difference. Marines don't have that problem."
--Ronald Reagan

As I face my first holiday away from my son, I am filled with equal parts of sadness and pride. I offer these words in his honor send him my unconditional love and support!

A Tribute to My Son

The wait it seemed was endless until the day that you were born
When they placed you in my arms, my love for you was forever sworn

Through laughter and tears, through joy and fears; I raised you the best I could
Accepting nothing less than your health and happiness; I did what any mother would

The sports, the schools, the girls, some broken rules; you made sure you covered it all
The friends you made, the adventures you had; and my, how you could brawl

Through every stage I watched with pride and overflowed with love
That I had the right to call you "son" was a gift from up above

It should have come as no surprise that you chose the path did
There was never a time you cowered with fear or ran away and hid

Fiercely brave and proud, loyal through and through
Truth and courage and honor; it's as if you always knew

You were made for something bigger, always reaching for that brass ring
My little boy became a man and that man became a Marine!

November 20, 2010
By Lisa D. Adamson
In honor of my son, PFC Roy M. Pedro, USMC

Dear Sgt, Grit,

I used my Internet access/Email to set up access to your web- site and order a catalog for my immediate next door neighbor, Sgt George N. He is an older "inactive" Marine :) a former Artillery Sgt of 16 yrs who truly loves the Marines!

He said he only got out of the Corps because his wife said it was either them [his family] or the Marines. So he got out... wound up losing his family to divorce anyway a few short years later. I can tell he still misses the Marine life.

I want you to know that this guy is still so Marine "neat"; he still wears military greens/khaki's a lot, his camos and his various covers, and stands straight as a rock [when he can walk]. He just got his Sgt Grit catalog today and was SO excited!

Thank you so much for the stuff y'all do. I was an Army wife 12 yrs, my nephew was a Marine 13 yrs and my son-in-law was an Army soldier of 16 yrs who served in Desert Storm in Kuwait and again later in Iraq [in Baghdad] where he was wounded, receiving a Purple Heart. I understand fully what the troops do and I have so much respect for ALL of them. Ooh-rah !

BC DeLong,
Rome, GA

And I Quote...

"History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views."
--Thomas Jefferson

Sgt Grit -

Please post this picture of my new tattoo. It is a cover-up tattoo. My son Matt graduated from MCRD PI Nov 12 2010 Platoon 2083. We were going to get tattoo's together. He has to wait until MCT is over. No tattoo's permitted while on boot leave.

This design came from myself and the help of a local tattoo artist in Ontario, NY named Josh. I've wait 20 years to get my Marine Corps tattoo.

I was born a Marine at Parris Island October 23rd 1992. Platoon 3098 Company M. SDI SSgt Dixon.
Thanks. Steve Barone - retired.

Sgt. Grit, what is the big deal about whether one went to MCRD PI or SD, the training is the same established for all Marines, having traveled to both the only difference is the travel time from airport to the "yellow footprints".

Semper Fi!

On August 3, 2005, I lost my Marine, Cpl. David Stephen "Bear" Stewart, when his AAV was attacked by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operating South of Haditha, Iraq. He was a fine Marine and a d*mn fine man.

He had told me that he wanted one last tattoo when he returned from his second tour in Iraq. He didn't make it home to receive it, so I did. On November 10, 2005, I received my first tattoo in his memory and in the memory of every Marine. I'm sharing it with you today. Thank you for keeping the memory alive and for having somewhere for all Marines and their families to share their stories.

Andrea Burkenstock

Hey Sarge,

Per your request, here's a story from Christmas 1970.

The interesting part was trying to get back to MAG 16. When I got to Travis and reported to the Marine liaison at MAC, He said since I didn't have a uniform, the only way I could get on board was to declare myself a deserter. I had to contact my congressman again, who told me to report at 0800 the next morning. The liaison, a Gunny, came out and said " What the f*%k did you do?" I answered I was not a deserter, and was only trying to get back to my unit.

Long story short, a NAVY dentist who was going to MAG 16 lent me one of his Khaki issues (with no rank) and I got back.


Tom Flynn USMC 1969-1971
RVN 1970-1971.

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for them it costs nothing to be a patriot."
--Mark Twain Notebook-1935

Bionic Marine

Let me tell you about Cpl. Matt Bradford. The beginning of his email address starts with "BionicMarine", which should give you some idea right off. He's not particularly muscled up or big and tall or a recruiting poster-type Marine. He's relatively quiet until he figures out who exactly is in the room and he assesses who among them he has met. That's when the smack talking and the fun begins.

You see, Bradford truly is a 'bionic' Marine. And he's one exceptional individual. Cpl. Bradford has no legs. And he has no eyes, unless you count the one natural eye that no longer works and the other that is made of glass and sports the University of Kentucky emblem embedded in it. His injuries were sustained from severe shrapnel wounds from an IED in Iraq in 2006. His legs were amputated from above the knee, and he walks on two titanium prosthetics and with the aid of a cane.

Read more of this inspirational story

Sgt. Grit,
I am 52 yrs old and served from 1976-1982 in the USMCR. My highest rank was a E-5 and I received a Honorable Discharge. I have ALWAYS been proud of that time in my life and only wish Jimmy Carter" hadn't been such a p...... and ran from every threat made towards us as a nation. I HATED it when he gave back our canal and then, when those rag.....'s took our Embassy in IRAN! But I better stop here.

Thank you for all you do and I'm only sorry I did not find your website until recently.
God Bless, Semper Fi!

Gilbert J. Galvan

And I Quote...

"No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability."
--Alexander Hamilton and James Madison

I got this thank you from my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter. I felt I should pass it along to you. Please note the t-shirt

It reads "Thanks Poppy, I love you, Lucy"

My granddaughter thanks you for your service, I thank you for your service. Happy 235th everyone

This is a thanks to all those serving and it comes all the way from Cape Town South Africa because when you fight you don't just do it for your country but also keeping countries around the world safe Super Man who, super man was based on the courage of the men and women serving in the United States Military

I mean there is only a select group of men and women who have courage like that. So thanks to all those who put on that super hero uniforms and make a real difference. So thank you all the way from Cape Town South Africa but on behalf of the world.

GOD BLESS YOU all and our PRAYERS GO OUT to you

at 0418 hours but worth it watching Football but taking time out to salute.

Hello Sgt Grit!

My husband is LCPL Jeffrey Saville, as most people are doing, we are celebrating the birthday of the Marine Corps. Our son, Bryce Saville, has been wearing his Dress Blue outfit in honor of the 235th Birthday. Since he has been wearing it all day it has gotten a little dirty :) Out of regulations I know :)


Semper Fi,
The Saville's
(Laurel Saville)

I joined the Corps right out of high school July of 1947. I was in Plt 78 1st recruit Bn Parris Island. Senior DI was S/Sgt Dunkleburger who was given a commission in Korea & retired a Capt. From boot camp I was sent to sea school & served I USS Leyte 47/49. Went to Ord school Inf Wpns repair 49/50. From there was transferred to 1st Sig Bn. Camp Pendleton.

I was transferred to D-2-5 handed a rifle & boarded the USS George Clymer heading for Korea with the 1st Prov. Marine Brigade. We landed in Pusan Aug 2,1950 & saw first combat aug. 7. Aug 10 made first attack out of Pusan Perimeter but were called back after 18 mile advance by 8th army. to push NKPA out of their Naktong river penetration. D-2-5 had rear guard for the withdrawal & I was injured during then ending up in the Hospital in Japan.

I rejoined the co. on the way to Seoul going all the way to the Frozen Chosin. Was evacked from Hageri-ru ending up in the Hospital in Philly Pa. In 1951 I re-upped for 6 at the Philly navy yard transferred to Lejeune, then to I&I in Philly back to Lejeune, got married in Sept 56 to a Reserve WM from Boston who I met on PI while on I&I taking the reserve Bn on two week training.

I was sent on the Med cruise in Jan 57 & was discharged July 57 after 10 years service. Had a daughter Lisa who served the Corps 6 yrs, a son D. Scott 4yrs & a daughter Muriel who was in the NG for 16 yrs but was mustered out because she needed a 2d leave of absence because her Marine husband was heading for the first Gulf war with his helicopter wing (he was a crew chief) he retired after 22 yrs.

Semper Fi David S. Van Dommelen D-2-5 Korea Aug./Dec. 1950
S/Sgt Ord. chief 2/6 when I left the Corps

And I Quote...

"Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value ZERO."
--Voltaire 1729

To everyone who was a Marine, Son, Daughter, Wife or Husband of a Marine,

I want to wish everyone of my brothers and sisters a very Happy Birthday. I normally send greetings but please bear with me because I want to reflect on what being a Marine means to me.

A Marine to me is a person who wanted a challenge and found the gonads to win that challenge. Graduating from boot camp is only the first step (albeit an important one) of being a Marine. That is the first challenge that we faced. It gave us a sense of being part of something bigger than oneself. It said that you had what it takes to become one of the best.

Each day after boot camp, I have learned that the sense of family is always there. The challenges are there also. Each one is a test of our resolve as Marines. Each time we face a challenge, each one of us are aware of those brothers and sisters who have gone before us are watching and waiting to see if we have the internal strength to accept and complete the challenges or fail. Our failures are a failure for each of us. I believe that once you become a Marine, you keep fighting no matter what the challenge is. Our brothers and sisters deserve nothing less than our blood, sweat and tears.

Our current brothers and sisters of either Active duty or Reserve are maintaining the Corps history now. Those of us that are no longer on Active or Reserve duty have the obligation to support those that are in the fight for our country and way of life. I have no doubt that they are just as or more capable than we are or were. Those who came before us deserve nothing less.

May God Bless each and every one of you and keep you. For those of our brothers and sisters in the fight. Know that those of us that are no longer active have your back and will support you. You deserve nothing less.

Mark Sasak

May God protect all our service personnel. Especially the men and women of 3rd Bn/ 25th Marines. Come back to us safe and sound.

Not as mean, not as lean, but still a Marine!

"For those who fight for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know"


Head Call
A young Navy Ensign decided to have some fun with a Private in the Marines. He noticed that the Marine did not wash his hands in the head after using the urinal and shouted "Hey Marine, in the Navy they teach us to wash our hands after using the urinal!" The Marine politely responded "Sorry Sir. In the Marines they teach us not to p!ss on our hands".

Smart Bombs
The Air Force used "Smart Bomb" munitions to great success in operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. An Air Force General was taunting a Marine Corps Aviator about the Marines not having this technology at their immediate disposal. "You guys don't have Smart Bombs, do you?" the Air Force General snidely asked the Marine. "No Sir we don't. We prefer smart pilots" the Marine fired back.

R. W. Rodgers
GySgt USMC (ret)

Happy 235th Birthday from an old PI Marine in Muskogee Ok. I have enjoyed your News letter it really brings back memories, and I get a kick out of reading about other Marines exploits. I have read Marine the Life Of Chesty Puller so many times I don't remember. I loaned it to my youngest son in Indiana and it inspired him to join. He served with the 2nd Recon Bn. in Iraq

I am very proud of him. I like to show my pride in the Marines I purchased mud flaps and a hitch cover from your magazine.

Dennis E. Jones SSGT of Marines 73 to 81

I'll begin with telling you that I WAS in TEARS....

I want this to "GO VIRAL".... More to follow later today or tomorrow, or as soon as I can get with the School's Administration and their photographer.

But I'll just attach a couple of shots my sister-law took.

VFW and MCL and other Veterans' organizations invited and participated in the dedication of a flag pole at Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody Ma this morning.
Last year, the 2nd Grade class was studying "Patriotic Symbols", which, of course, included the American Flag.
The question was raised about their flag pole out front, where there was NO FLAG.
The class wrote letters to the school's administrators, who discovered that there had NEVER been a flag on that pole since the school's opening.
The result was the class did a "Funds Drive" and raised enough ($100.00?) to get a flag.
They are now in the process of raising the funds to "Paint" the pole, and install new a pulley.
I was not alone, among the attending Veterans to have wet eyes. To listen to an entire school singing Patriotic Songs about the Flag, et al.
Various grades did presentations of Historic Facts about the flag, and the ensuing laws governing it's display, and care, and folding. Made Every Minute of my time in the Corps worth it. OOOORRRAAAAHHH

When I get the rest of the photos (I know there are going to be some Great Ones), I'll be sending them out.

I want to discover if there's a way to get the school a "Battle Flag" in a display case for the inside of the entrance of the school.

I figure, the Administration and the Teachers deserve this kind of "THANK YOU" for their efforts to continue our efforts to promote Patriotism.

Semper Fi.
Art Glennon


To One and All, Dotter an' Me sending our Well Wishes on this, our 235th!

Just a reminder:
Our Enlistments had a start and finish date, not the Oath!

Oorah, Semper Fi and

Stephanie and Stephen


New Agent Orange policy recently approved by the VA will finally make it possible for Vietnam War veterans to qualify for Agent Orange disability payments and healthcare. The new policy adds three illnesses - Parkinson's disease; B cell leukemia's, such as hairy cell leukemia; and ischemic heart disease - to the list of those presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

This new designation means that Vietnam veterans diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, B cell leukemia's, or ischemic heart disease no longer have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This "presumption" simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

If Veteran is deceased - spouse and certain surviving children would complete VBA-21-534 form that can also be found on the VA website.

Visit - Herbicide Benefits for more information.

Please pass this info to Vets (or Surviving spouses of Vets) that you know that may have been exposed to Agent Orange.

V/R, HMC Pohl

I was born on the same day as the Marine Corps, and became a Marine 19 years later. One of my brothers was in the Reserves, and my oldest son joined when he was 18. He's now serving as a Sgt at Cherry Point. It's always enjoyable to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger who also served in the Corps. I just ask questions and can't get them to stop talking!

Semper Fi Marines!
Robert L.

A Happy 235th Birthday to you, your staff, families our Corps and Marines young and old.

Semper Fidelis
S. Munoz, 1stSgt USMC (ret)
1971 -1997

Sgt. Grit,

I want to ask a question and receive feedback from Marine readers. My question is this. Have any Marines during rifle qualification day had their M-14 (FLASH SUPPRESSOR) loosen during your actual day of qualification and if so please explain what transpired after this event happened. When a suppressor loosens your rounds start going in every direction. If so, what actions were taken by the Drill Instructor or range officer regarding the rounds that you fired while the suppressor was loose. Example: what happened to the shots fired pertaining to your score, were you allowed to fire those rounds over, were those shots taken away and counted as not on target?

Is there a Marine Corps manual on rifle qualifications or is there a rule on this situation, or is there a standard on how this is dealt with? I would appreciate any feedback from any Marine who has experienced or has knowledge of qualification rules and regulations.

Sgt. Liam Jones
Di Bo Chet B. Co 1/9

Been reading a great deal about the Old Corps vs New Corps and had the privilege of seeing both of them together tonight.

The local Marine Recruiters in the Springfield, MO area had a Marine Corps Birthday Cake cutting tonight for their Poolees and the Marine Corps League. Their idea was to give the future Marines to the opportunity to talk to those who have "Been There and Done That." It was really amazing how many of these young people showed up. I went,, expecting maybe to see about a dozen or so, and really saw around 60, both young women and young men.

As I sat there at the dinner watching their faces and listening to them talk to the "Old Corps," I could not help but feel a sense of relief in that there sat the future of our Corps and believing that it was going to be in good strong hands. I saw nervousness, anxiety, some macho attitudes, excitement, a little fear, and most of all, a strong desire to be part of the best. These young people want to go (one even wanted to go today.) They were going to be grunts, aviation, military police, and the beautiful thing, they just wanted to be Marines.

Jealous, yes, I admit it. Even though I served my time, even though I am out of shape and overweight, etc., I envy them as they are starting on the most exciting time in their lives. They are ready for it.

Marines, it is good that we can sit back and remember the good times and the bad times we had when we were young. The young men and women who are serving now and those who will be serving in the future (these poolees and others like them) are our Corps and our Corps is and will be in good and capable as well as strong hands. They will keep our flag flying and they will keep America free. You want to see the future of our Corps, go down and sit with the local recruiters and listen to them as they talk and work with these future Marines.

May God bless these young men and women and may He keep our beloved Corps in His loving arms of protection.

Gary L. COON
MSgt (USMC) Ret

In Sgt Grunt's Newsletter #214, I recounted how a drunk disrespected my police Lieutenant, but more importantly a VietNam era Marine Sergeant, and was treated to a stay in the local vertical bar hotel for his indiscretion. I regret to inform you that Sgt. Rex Heinitz was posted to Heaven on 15 February 2010. I'm reasonably certain he celebrated the Corps' most recent birthday this year in a new area of operations. Semper Fi, Rex. It was a privilege working with you.

Emporia, KS

I am sad to report that we have lost another Iwo Jima survivor. Dennis Cowan passed this August. He was a big man with a bigger heart. He will be missed.
Sgt. W.L."John" Bessent... 1964-1967... RVN June 1965- October 1966. Semper Fi

And I Quote...

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
--James Madison

Dear sgt grit, I was in platoon 227 in 1956 my D.I.s were Sgt Butates Sgt Beam and Sgt. Lorimer. I was assigned to do training at Camp Pendelton after 13 weeks at P.I. went overseas on the Gen. Brekanridge and then assigned to heavy machine guns (water cooled) I think the army had abandoned this weapon after WW2. I was in Weapons Company 2nd Bat. 3rd Mar. Div. FMF Okinawa. If any of my buddies are around please write Chet Coleman (chick) checherski. Chet was my a gunner.

My computer handle is poppy3443 @ aol .com
artie leporin 1555298
semper fi to all Marines

Perhaps one of the most unusual stories in the Marine Corps was the one of The Four Palms, a singing group formed at 29 Palms, Calif.

In January, 1957, MCB @Twentynine Palms, Calif. officially became a base separate and apart from Camp Pendleton. In order to generate some publicity for the base, the Special Services Officer decided to enter the All-Navy Talent Contest as a part of the yearly competition that culminated in an appearance of he winner plus other top Navy acts, from around the world, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, which, at the time, was the top television show in the country.

Although there was no great expectation of winning, Special Services nonetheless closed the base theater to movies for one night, in early March, in order to hold a base talent show in order to find talent worthy of sending to San Diego in April, where all the talent from Marine and Navy facilities in the 11th Naval District would compete in the semi-finals to see who would qualify to go to New York for the Finals, which would be held at the St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, NY, in May, 1957. The twelve Naval Districts worldwide, would send their winners and first runner-ups to New York for the finals.

The talent show at 29 Palms only drew 5 acts. Among them were 5 Marines who had just met that night ,and after making the walk to the theater only to find no movie showing, decided to sing. They called themselves the "Five Boondockers", and they were declared the winners. A tap dancer and bongo player by the name of Pvt. Ervin Lucas, came in 2nd, and a singer, whose name escapes me now, was third. It was decided to send these three acts to San Diego as the representatives of the newly- independent, MCB 29 Palms.

The Five Boondockers were asked to cut their act to 4 people since that was the limit on the size of an act in the competition. They were also asked to call themselves the Four Palms in order to give the base further recognition in the Regional competition in San Diego. The Four Palms had about 3 weeks to prepare. At the end of that time, the only personal appearance they had made was at a local supper club in SmokeTree, Calif., right outside the base, so that they could judge their effect in front of a live audience. Aside from that, they received time off from their regular duties in order to practice each morning in the shower at the base theater, where the Special Services office was located and the sound could reverberate.

The 3 acts piled into the Special Services station wagon in April for the 160 mile trip to San Diego, and upon arrival, noted that there were 64 acts on the program, and a full house with standing room only at the downtown YMCA. The singer went on 14th, the tapdancer 31st and The Four Palms, 60th. The Four Palms not only wowed the audience with their comedic presence and singing but their choreography and vocal harmony was right out of Hollywood. They were awarded first place. Ervin Lucas, the tap Dancer, came in fourth. Two Navy men, Randy Sparks, a calypso singer, who later created The Serendipity Singers, a folk group, and Don Wyatt, and impressionist, who became the lead singer of a doowop group called the Colts, came in 2nd and 3rd respectively. The top three acts went on to New York.

In New York, at St. Albans, there were 26 acts, and the competition was much tougher. Before a packed house of 7,000, at the St. Albans Naval Hospital, Much to the chagrin of the Navy, The Four Palms again took first place, and became the first Marine act to ever win the Navy's World-Wide Talent Contest! They stayed over an extra week in New York's fabulous Henry Hudson Hotel to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show on May 13, 1957. They were written up in Leatherneck Magazine and were issued dress blues at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, specifically for the Ed Sullivan Show. Prior to that they wore their undress greens. It worked out since the act featured marching, while singing, onto stage. They performed superbly on the Ed Sullivan Show. (I have the videotape).

After a hero's welcome back at 29 Palms, Gen. McFarland, as a favor to them, transferred them to El Toro MCAS as a part of the Special Services unit. There they spent the next 2 years singing up and down the coast of California at special events in high schools, colleges, beauty contests, record hops, Officers Clubs, Marine Bases etc, representing the USMC. They were also the feature act in the El Toro Talent Show that featured other Navy and Woman Marine talent in many shows. It was a fabulous time for me and the fellows. We became the first act to appear twice on the Ed Sullivan All-Navy Talent Show, now representing El Toro the following year in August,1958, but still kept the name, The Four Palms.

We were discharged in January of 1959, after adjusting our enlistments in order get discharged at around the same time .A top-selling record and contract with Aladdin Records in 1958 made that decision much easier. The group was composed of: Sgt. (E-4) Nathaniel (Nate) Thomas, from Chicago, Il., Cpls.(E-3) James )Jack) Jackson Jr. New Orleans , Louis L. Faison, Detroit, and Hasker Nelson, Cincinnati.

Faison passed away in 1999 in Detroit after a long illness . The others; James Jackson, settled in Los Angeles, which became our second home for 3 years, and retired in 2001 as a waste management supervisor for the Beverly Hills Public Works Dept. Hasker Nelson retired from television station WCPO in Cincinnati, in 2003, where he produced and hosted a television show, "Black Memo" for over 25 years. Me??....Dr. Nathaniel Thomas, retired from the Ill. Inst. of Technology as Vice President of External Affairs, in 2003, after a long career in higher education, and I continue to work part-time as an educational consultant on many projects involving high tech education and other projects in university settings.

It's a long story, but I don't know how I could make it any shorter and do it justice. I have pictures and other memorabilia from that era as does Jack (James Jackson) and Hasker. It was a time in our Marine Corps careers that we will never forget and a circumstance that, I am sure, will never be duplicated.

Nathaniel (Nate)Thomas, PH.D.
4210 S. Michigan Av. #1
Chicago, Il. 60653-3113
773-924 -4384

P.S. I have tried without success to locate some of the Woman Marines who appeared with us when we made our many appearances representing El Toro. It's difficult since they got married, and I have no idea what their names are now, or who is still around. The ones I remember and their home towns were :
Mary Jane Berry, San Francisco, Constance Dorsey, New York City, Beverly Miller, Philadelphia??, Elizabeth Tallant, Baltimore, Md.,Betty McKeown (McKeon), ??, Anne Benson (Texas).But, they were all still at El Toro in January of 1959 when we left.

And I Quote...

"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors."
--Ronald Reagan

Hello. I am not sure where this email will take me but I feel the need to pursue it anyway. My name is Charles Frattini Jr. I am putting Junior down after my name for two reasons. One because that is technically a part of my name. Secondly because the reason for this email is Senior.

My Father is a former Marine who was a Post WWII China Marine with the First Marine Division. I grew up prodding my Father to tell me stories of his time in the Marine Corps and especially, China. He would reluctantly tell me his experiences and I sat there in awe of him. So much so that I joined the Marine Corps as well.

My Father is getting older and lately he has been experiencing problems with his back. He is in constant pain but he sucks it up. My family and his friends are amazed by his ability to function under so much pain. They attribute it to his "Marine mentality". Being a Marine myself, I know they have no idea what they are talking about but also know how right they are.

Charles Frattini
Former Sgt USMC

I am not going to write you to talk about the battles I was in years ago or my experience in the Corps. Just something that the Corps instilled in me and a battle I am in NOW.50 some years later. The Marines made me a man, they made me understand what America means and what the Flag stands for, why we display it and why, when I believe I am right I should stand up for those beliefs even when everyone around me says it doesn't matter. I believe I am right.

I joined the Marines in 1956 and did Boot with Platoon 1003 MCRD San Diego. I could tell many stories about that or the following years but I will just say that from the almost day I turned 17 the Marines instilled Pride in me, Made me proud to be a Marine, Proud to be a Man, Proud to be an American, Proud to Fly and carry the Flag of the United States of America! Many men have fought and died for the right we have to live under this glorious flag, to me it is a symbol of not only freedom but of a promise that we will have freedom tomorrow for us and for our grandchildren.

Here is my problem. I attend a local Assembly of God Church. I have attended this denomination in other areas and states before and never had this problem. I have also in my 70+ years attended many other denomination of Churches. I have never attended a Church where, in the sanctuary the American Flag was not displayed, commonly along with the Christian Flag. At this Church IT IS NOT.

I have raised this issue to the pastor. He has told me that he does not display the American flag in the Church because...HE DOES NOT want to OFFEND ANYONE that happens to attend this church. I immediately told him that I was offended that it was not being displayed. I am a member of the Church Advisory Committee. The pastor and all other members on the committee are not veterans of any military service. They could not understand the importance I was placing on having the flag displayed in the front of the Church.

Can anyone out there help me?
Let it go? Right or Wrong?

Art Anderson
USMC 1622999

I served in the Marine Corps from 1966-69. Did a tour in Viet Nam with the 5th Marines. I got out, went to college, and became a teacher. I enlisted in the Army Reserve and later returned to active duty, did a tour in Iraq and retired as a CWO5 with 35 years of service. But my greatest sense of pride and accomplishment will always be the title "Marine"!

Mark Smith (2230642 USMC)
CW5, US Army Retired

This Poem was written to me by a friend of mine when it was official that my son went to boot camp (Hollywood Marine) and on the picture, that is me with my son, 2nd generation Marine. This is graduation day at MCRD-San Diego

In his fathers' footsteps
that's where he wanted to be.

So he did what his father did
and joined the USMC.

The few, the proud, the brave
the defenders of the free.

Now this boy has become a man
and made his parents proud.

Because he made a decision
and stands out in the crowd.

Because in his fathers' footsteps
is where he will now be.

Tomorrow is his induction day
and everyone is sad.

To soon he will be shipped away
to places near and far.

And pay the price we cannot pay
Because freedom isn't free

But he's in his fathers' footsteps
and that is where he wants to be.

Luis E. Piedra

I went to Parris Island in 1977. The M16A1 was our issued weapon. That was a fair number of years ago. However, I have always enjoyed the challenge of rifle shooting for score. In the last few years, as the kids got older and out of the house, I took up shooting as a hobby and have found the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

They offer competition in several different rifle disciplines. So, about once a month, early on a Saturday morning, I am on the line. The commands echo back to another time and place.

"Ready on the left, ready on the right, all ready on the firing line."

I usually shoot with a 1903-A3, but most of the line at my club is using Garands.

There's a lot of vets at these events, from all branches of the service, but it seems to me that the Marines are well represented. I am writing to invite some of the Marines here that are looking back at their time at the range and inviting them to come out and shoot now. It's still as much of a challenge as it ever was. There are clubs all over the country as well as national events every year.

Semper Fidelis,
Mark Harrington

Sgt. Grit,

Warm greetings from Wilmington, North Carolina.

Just got your catalog in the mail - wow - cool - funny - interesting - amazing - and all-encompassing. I can't wait to recommend your site & catalog to my Marine friends.

As well as being a former Marine, I also served for 10 years as a submarine torpedoman - the Submarine Service has NOTHING like this catalog.

Well done, Marine. You'll be hearing from me again.


Don Ward
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran
U.S. Naval Submarine Service Veteran
American Patriot/Idealist/Peacemaker/Foole

Sgt. Grit,
For quite a long time I have been enjoying reading the newsletter and purchasing items from your Marine inventory. I have found the newsletter to be very interesting. At times happy at times sad and at times a tear rolls down a hardened faces cheek. The story's are great and causes one to think of their own time and their own story's from their days in our beloved Corps. I read were in this newsletter a plt was having or just had their 30th year since boot camp.

Well to all in plt. 2033 that graduated in May 1970 happy belated 40th since graduating boot camp. I look at that number and I wonder where all the years went. Nearly seven of them were in the Corps with the last two 75-76 on the grinder as a D.I. I still have my original smoky in a cover block in my closet. A smoky that is 40 years old and still looking ready to put on and step out smartly on the head of a Marine D.I. too bad the Marine D.I. needs to sharpen up the shape of his body.

Another said that all 19 year olds should go to Marine boot camp. I agree to a point this would shape up our nation. However boot camp is just the flint that gets the fire started and the rest of the making of fine well disciplined Marine is in the rest of their training and their first couple of years of service to finely tune a young boy into a young man that can be called a United States Marine.

Semper Fi

Joseph E. "Rick" Whimple
SSGT U.S.M.C. 2/1970 through 12/1976

Sgt Grit,

Long story short....One Sunday I took my wife to Quantico MCB to show her where I went OCS back in 1976. The building was being torn down and I happened to get there before it was demolished. In the parking lot was a gentleman taking a picture of the building. I noticed that his license plates frame indicated that he was a H-53 myself. I asked him about his association with the 53 community. He was a past squadron commander and had long retired.

Then he told me I just missed it by one day...Of course I asked, what did I miss. He said, the H-53 rendezvous/reunion. He told me it started back in 2004 with just a few couples getting together to tell old war stories. But continued to grow each year. The following year, 2005, I attended the reunion as it was for ALL H53 pilots and aircrew. Last year we had over 350+ attendees and continued to grow since I started attending.

I was able to find a few past friends from my squadron and they are all excited to attend and are also reaching out to others they know.

Please pass on the attached website. It would be great to see many of my past friends and to see if they have gotten fat and gray like me.

CH-53 Rendezvous Website

Thanks so much for your help Sgt Grit. Actually, I found your catalog in the trash of our condo complex. I kept it and have already ordered !

Thanks so much and Semper Fi,

J J Elliott

Sgt Grit,

Pictured you will find my triplet grandchildren with an Attitude.

They are from left to right: Robert, Anastasia and Dartanian.

Jack Cullin
1964 - 1971

Sgt. Grit: I would ask that you go to and learn about a remarkable young Marine that has written a book "ONE STEP at a Time" and has become the community spoke person for the NFL Colt's. He is a double amputee as a result of a road side bomb. He has worked hard to turn this negative into a very positive in his and other lives. Please consider adding his book to your library so others can read his remarkable story.
Thank You
Semper Fi
Dave Taylor

Sgt Grit

I will not forget Veteran's Day of 2010. The local Catholic School always have a Veteran's Program for all Veteran's. However, this year was special in that my grandson (and will be Marine) was in the program. He is in the first grade and he was participating in this year's program. He stood up and helped sing the Marines Hymn. He was singing louder than the other students and since he was in the front row he was making eye contact with his Grandpa. Of course Grandpa with a tear in his eye was very proud of this boy.

When the program was over me and my wife went to a local restaurant to have breakfast. When we walked in we got the second booth and in the first booth with a young couple and their young son. I had my Marine Corps cover on the young man told me "Thank you for your service" and shook my hand, his wife said the same thing.

After the young couple left and we had finished our breakfast the waitress which we get every week and has been a very good friend walked up. I had not received our check to pay and took out my billfold to pay her. Christie told me that our breakfast was paid for. I asked her how could that be. Christie told me that the young couple in the front booth paid for our breakfast. She said that they wanted to pay for our breakfast because it was Veteran's Day and I was a Veteran.

That has never happened since I have of the Marine Corps since 1972. Especially when I got back from Viet Nam. You ta