Santa contacted the Marine Corps for possible replacements for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen... The Corps sent Santa two of our own to relieve his aging herd... He named them SEMPER and FIDELIS.
8th and I
It is a story of Thanksgiving, surprise, but most of all Love for a Mama, and family who haven't seen their Marine for a year, and very soon will again not see for another year.
I know there are so many families who have their beloved children, family members, and friends who are serving our great country near, and far, and so many other countries around the world. Whether it be in a combat or non-combat zone it is never easy to be separated from your loved ones for so long, but as Americans we're forever grateful to God and our Troops for keeping us safe and giving us our many freedoms.
I was given the best early Christmas gift a Marines' mama could ever have hoped for. While sitting at our computer wondering why our oldest son was not yet home he did arrive later than usual, and was followed by our Marine who very nonchalantly walks in behind his brother and simply says "Hi Mama" with a smile from ear to ear. Yes this mama's Marine is home, and we are so blessed to have our family united under the same roof again for the time being. There's no place like home, and this home is ever so at peace, with the greatest joy and appreciation for his safe return.
While he is 100% Marine, he still allows his mama to kiss him good night and echo the childhood whisper of "Sweet Dreams". It's so wonderful and such a beautiful feeling that does a mother's heart good.
From our family to yours it is our sincerest wish that as many of you as possible receive the gift of having your beloved Marine or what ever military branch they serve under, Troop Hero home for the most special and blessed time of the year Christmas, and hopefully the New Year too!
God Bless Us Everyone, and Especially God Bless Our Troops from past, present, and those in the future yet to join one of our many great military forces.
God Bless America forevermore! We support our troops always have and always will.
Merry Christmas Everyone, and a Safe, Healthy, and most Happy New Year, and all those that follow!
Proud U.S. Marine Family
Mama & Papa Delgado & Sons
Snoop And Poop
Just sounding off with thoughts about being in the rear and not in the bush. At DaNang in '65, the rear and the front were only the direction you were facing. After immediate clearing of the strip areas did the lines become established. Then the rockets and mortars began. With a M.T. 3531 MOS many of those runs out to forward sites became quite warm and many a return to DaNang home base was with truck rails shot away and air holes in the 6x's body. MLR time at night attch. to grunt units around the base was interesting also. While we pretty much didn't worry about NVA, charlie had a huge perimeter to "snoop and poop" around, and they did it often to test response times etc. Each day dozens of civilians were brought onto the base for pay to do chores for the govt., how many Charlies came along with those numbers? There was almost no accountability on those numbers who left the base at 1600 hrs. If charlie hid behind he had to be rooted out after dark. He knew where all their stuff was while we had to find it all. Hey, look, I'm sorry to ramble on as I did and I pray often for our grunt brothers who did the hump. Their the finest.
MGM/Joe Corps '63-'67 Nam '65-'66
Inspiration Before The Battle
GySgt Walgren's speech before the Marine assualt on Marjah, Afghanistan.
Gotta love the Gunny!
Never Quit, Never Give Up Attitude
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Here is how I used one of your coins. Most tombstones (called Memorial Stones today) tell you little or nothing about the person. I wanted anyone doing genealogy on me or my family to know that I made three accomplishment in my life. When I die, people will know that I am currently still a Marine assigned to guarding the streets of Heaven. They will know that I was a Chiropractor. And I was pilot.
The paint may fade with time, but the image of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor should last as long as the stone.
If it was not for the "Never Quit, Never Give-up" attitude that I learned while I was on active duty in the Marines, I doubt if I could have completed the 4-years of chiropractic college and I doubt if I could have become am instrument rated, commercial pilot. I am 73-years-old and I am currently fighting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia that may eventually kill me, but I am giving this cancer one H-ll-Of-A Fight because the Marines taught us that there are no rules in a fight for your life.
Just one more use for Grunt.com coins.
God Bless the Marine Corps,
Active duty 1961-1964, but still a Marine!
Obviously, this poser didn't think that anyone would notice that he had every ribbon on the Marine Corps ribbon chart upon his chest. Not to mention that he also has an EOD Badge and a Navy Seal badge.
(This photo was obtained from thebrigade.thechive.com.)
The Corps We've Got Right Now
The recent Old Corps/New Corps discussion in the newsletter brought to mind a great Marine we lost in 2000 - Lt. Col. William Corson - whom I had the honor of meeting and becoming friends with in 1980.
I would be surprised if there are not more than a few newsletter subscribers who remember Bill Corson. He joined the Marines as a teenager during WWII, fighting on Guam and Bougainville, rising to the rank of Sergeant. After returning to civilian life and earning a Master's Degree in economics, Bill re-entered the Corps as an officer. He served as a tank commander during the Korean War and commanded a tank battalion in Vietnam in 1966. In 1967 he was placed in charge of the Combined Action Program.
Two other Marines and myself were having lunch with Bill one day at his table at the Hay-Adams when one of the others said something to the effect, "Not like the Old Corps, eh Colonel?" to which Bill replied, "There's no Old Corps and there's no New Corps. There's just the Corps we've got right now."
Somehow I think Gunny Rousseau would appreciate that observation.
Sergeant of Marines
Here's My Take
In Response to Me. Deleon:
I've had the conversation about Combat Marines vs. Non-combatant Marines with many Marines who did not get shot at.
Here's my take:
You made it through the toughest initiation of all the services.
You volunteered when others would not.
You served, wore the uniform proudly, and we're ready and willing to put yourself in harms way.
You did not shirk your duty nor ignore your conscience.
I did not win the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star, etc while serving in Vietnam Nam. I did the best I could. I led my Marines to the best of my ability. Don't sell yourself short. You don't have to be shot at to be a Marine. You are a "Bro" forever.
Five days ago I presented the flag to the wife of a L/Cpl reservist who served his four years plus two years inactive. He was never deployed. He was only 69 yrs old. He is a Marine.
Case closed. Thanks for your service. You were and are important.
Joe Neff, LtCol, USMCR(Ret)
One And Done Grunt
One of my memories of boot camp is the last day. During the late afternoon/early evening of our last day, we were gathered around our Platoon Commander in a loose grabasstical formation and he was reading out the MOS/duty stations for each of us. As he called each (now) Marine's name and spieled off the future duty station and MOS of that Marine, I recall standing there with b-tt cheeks clenched tight, whispering a mantra to myself, "Please God not 0300, Please God not 0300." God must have heard me and decided to smile down on my dumb azs because when S/Sgt Way got to me I heard sweet words come out of his mouth, "Private Downen. Port Hueneme 1100." WTF? What the h-ll is an 1100? Oh well. At least it's not 0300. After four months of school at the Seabee base at Port Hueneme (Oxnard) CA, I reported into h-ll, oops sorry, 29 Palms, as an 1141 Electrician.
Even though I ended up a Continuous Wave Radar Repairman in a HAWK missile Battalion, I did get to play Grunt once. I was with Bravo Battery, 1st LAAM Bn on Monkey Mountain just a little north and a little east of Da Nang. In early 1966, we got a new 1st Sgt and he came to us from Recon. I'm sorry, I don't remember his name but I remember one of his decisions. He decided we should start patrols down the side of the mountain. Okee dokee then. The first patrol was down the north side of the mountain and it was a fairly large one, probably 10-12 Marines of which I was one. Our piece of Monkey Mountain (Hill 647) was just a skosh over 2,000 feet high (remember that because it's about 600 ft shy of a half mile). So we follow this little creek down the side of the mountain and get almost down to the beach (probably making so much noise you could have heard us in Da Nang on the other side of the mountain) when Farrell (I think that's who it was) slipped on a wet rock in the creek and messed up his knee something fierce. Until I talked to a couple of guys who were on the patrol with us, I remembered hauling him on down to the beach and calling in a medivac but a couple of the other guys remember carrying his long lanky azs (God we were all so skinny in those days) back up the mountain to the battery area. The patrols continued but the size was cut back and that was the only one I went on. No contact with Sir Charles. Does that qualify me for a one and done Grunt?
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Cpl. Jerry D.
Kicking My Own Azs
I was re-reading some of my Sgt. Grit newsletters and came upon this from Chris Eddins - Lakeview, Alabama. He has a lot of pride in "I am the grandson of a First Division Marine, Staff Sergeant Robert (Pete) Nelson, who served his country proudly during WW2," and states he wishes YOU would make him a shirt that says "Still kicking my own azs for not joining the Corps 23 years ago". Of course now you would have to add 5 years to that.
So, put that in your next newsletter, and see if he orders one.
Echo 2/9 1969
Suicide By Knife
Short nihongo lesson for Gy Rosseau... Hari Kari, or "Seppuku" is suicide by knife to the belly... bit of a ritual that went with that... the sacrifcial planes (and boats) were Kamikaze... roughly, 'divine wind'... relates back to a victory in the Russo-Sino war of very early 20th century. The explosive-laden boats I have also heard referred to as some form of "Baka"... our snack bar/boot repair/translator entrepreneur at MB Naha used to refer to one of us as "Baka-tadae"... or crazy... or, sometimes, ol' Toshio would just call the guy a crazy dumb sumb-tch (Tosh was fluent in a couple of languages, one of which was Marine slang... recall a rumor heard when up at Schwab to shoot the range about 1960 that some 3rd Recon Bn grunts poking around on the coast north of Schwab had found a sea cave with a couple of the Baka boats still hidden inside... pretty plausible, given that it was only 15 years after the war...
BTW... have decided we might call the really, really old Gunny (Freas), 'the Portuguese Lothario'... used to work with one, taught me the difference between "Gar-see-ah" and 'Garsha'. I got a quarter that sez Freas is a Portuguese family name...
Forgave Me For Being A Jughead
To Vic DeLeon:
If your story was '69-70 , and it was a C-130, it might have been "The Shadow". In the '80s and '90s I had the honor of working as a veterans advocate with USAF (ret) Col. Franz Schmucker who had (in '69) pulled my sad Marine b-tt out of a jam when we were both younger. He forgave me for being a Jughead and I ignored the fact that he was one of my fathers wingwipers...
Semper Fi to all our Brothers, regardless of branch.
Skivvie Guard Duty
MCRD San Diego, 1951, after we hand washed our skivvies, and were told by Cpl. Netterberg that if he saw any nicotine stains on them, "you will chew them out", clean skivvies were hung with tie-ties and care, and had 4-hour shifts of guard duty till dry. That was the old Corps you hear stories about.
Would do it again in a heartbeat... Semper Fi
The letter titled "Anti-Corps, Harry T" sent by GySgt FL Rousseau, was right on the money! In fact, I refer to that very truth in my recently completed book, EXCITEMENT: Shot At And Missed, which is at my publisher and should be in print by early Spring 2015. It is a first-hand account of the Marines of F-2-5, 1st MarDiv, as related to me by my brother, Sgt. Ken Lonn, a Section Chief of 60mm mortars and rockets in Korea, 1951-52. The book takes the reader from hometown, through boot camp and a year in Korea. Here is an excerpt dealing with the President's desire to eliminate the Marine Corps.
"Because of President Truman's personal dislike for the United States Marine Corps, and guided by his Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Marine Corps was slashed from a peak strength of 485,833** officers and enlisted at the end of that war to a total Corps strength of only 74,279. The Administration and its Army advisors had concluded that the Marine Corps would no longer be needed. This was strongly stated by Truman's Secretary of Defense, Louis A. Johnson, to Admiral Richard L. Connally in 1949, to whit, "We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do nowadays, so that does away with the Navy."
The Second World War had been won! Marines had fought with determination, bravery and tenacity. And the thanks they got was; 'Take a hike! Your services are no longer needed! Don't let the door hit you in the b-tt as you leave!' That was not exactly the 'thank you' the heroes of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa expected.
But when the conflict erupted in Korea, the leadership in Washington DC soon came to realize that the nation did, indeed, still need its 'soldiers of the sea', because in the early days of what became known as the Korean War, the outcome was looking very bleak. In fact, by the end of July, the situation was very much in doubt for the U.N. forces. With the Army clinging desperately to its small perimeter at the southwest end of the Korean peninsula, the Marine Corps was ordered to send troops to the battle zone – immediately! Yeah, right!"
I'll let you and your readers know when the book will be available.
Harry was not against the Corps, he wanted to combine all services! Check your history, he fired the "God" of the Army in Korea! We need more Harry Trumans!
Darrell "Gene" Cordes
Sgt. "Old Corps"
Olde Salt Colleagues
I owe a sincere apology to Daniel Flynn; shortly after I forwarded the below response to his posting, I began hearing an echoing refrain in my brainless housing group: "Battle jacket, battle jacket, battle jacket." I contacted two of my olde salt colleagues and put the question to them, and they both, independently responded that my future was destined to be an occupant of a nursing home for olde folks. Incidentally, there were also kahki style Battle jackets (I have photos of my brother June, 25 1950, where he is wearing one at the Marine Reserve Battalion out of 'Boston, MA - he and his unit coincidentally were that very day on the way to Camp Lejeune for summer training when the North Koreans invaded South Korea; that two week training went on for two more years).
Capt., USMC (Ret)
Product Of The Depression
A Career in Navy/Marine Corps Meals. I got thinking about the meals I have had in Navy and Marine Corps Mess Halls. The most remembered was the beans for Breakfast on Wednesday and Sundays mornings in Navy Mess Halls during World War II. Aboard ship, we Marines ate the same thing as the Sailors.
I am a product of the Depression, when some times we didn't get all the things we needed for Breakfast. Most breakfast were Oatmeal probably because it was the cheapest meal to prepare and the most nutritious.
Entering the Mess Halls were not the same as eating at home. You line up according to your Platoon schedule, then with your DI rushing you through the chow line so he could get back on schedule with your training. At Treasure Island, during WWII they had recalled two Old CPO's that were at least in their seventies and they ran the Mess Hall Lines which were constant from Dawn and Before. After Boot camp came (from my point of view, cause I was loaded aboard ship soon after) ship board food. Some great and some forgetful. "C" Ration Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners were the norm, with long lines waiting at your designated mess hall entrance, sometimes getting in line for Lunch after Breakfast because there were several thousand on board the ship.
I went from Pearl Harbor to Guam in June of 1944 arriving as the Island was Secured, so we lacked the fine meals at tables in the Mess Hall to meals made from "C" rats and served in your meat can and cover, with you sitting where ever hoping to get some of the chow before someone screamed about get moving again.
Korean War Chow wasn't much different from WWII chow, they had been working on it, BUT there were warehouses full of WWII "C's" that needed to be eaten up.
Between Wars I had been at Guard Detachments that served great food and Infantry Training that served WWII Rations, now and then some one would scream and we would have Steaks, mashed Potatoes and Gravy, just like home.
But with all the training, I was hard as a rock and hungry all the time.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
My Heart On The Line
By Frank Schaeffer
The Washington Post
Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me.
Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.
In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.
It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, "So where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.
"But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong."
When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.
We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private school a half-year before.
After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him."
My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.
Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?
Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?
I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future "greatest generation." As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye.
My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.
From The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #12, #2)
It was getting late and I wanted to see my bedroom - and the new furniture my parents had purchased for me. Mom asked if I wanted anything more to eat before we went upstairs. My answer was "No!" We went upstairs. They showed me their room. They had gotten a new king size bed - but most of their furniture was that which they had for years. They showed me the other two rooms on that floor. They were to be for guests and had all new furniture - a king size bed in one and twin beds in the other. My Mom must have had a ball when shopping for furniture. Then we went into my room. I could hardly believe my eyes when she flipped on the lights. It was beautiful. I gave them hugs when I saw it. All of these rooms were the same size - quite large - about 12 x 20 feet. They said that those on the 3rd floor were the same. The only difference was the height of the ceilings - 10 ft. on the 2nd floor and 8 ft. on the 3rd. My bed was a queen size and made me think of sometime sharing it with the love of my life, Mary. The rest of the furniture was quite masculine and appropriate for a Marine Sergeant. I thanked them over and over. I went into a bathroom, took a shower and got ready to turn in for the night. Boy did I sleep - until my usual wake up time - 0500. When we lived on the farm that was the time that everyone was up and my parents had not gotten out of the habit.
They were in one bathroom while I was in the other - and we all went downstairs together. We went into the kitchen so Mom could prepare breakfast. Dad said that he was going to take the Oldsmobile to Anderson Olds for a complete check-up and he doubted that he would be back for lunch. He asked if I would like to ride along. I declined. I told him I wanted to talk with my Mom. After Mom had done the dishes we went into the living room. She said "I understand you wanted to talk with me?" I said "Yes. We have to talk." She was both attentive and puzzled. I went on "As they say, I am now free, white and twenty one. Do you know what 'Platonic' means?" She replied "I never heard the word. How is it spelled?" That didn't surprise me. I said "Capital 'P'-l-a-t-o-n-i-c. You can look it up in the dictionary or the Book of Knowledge later. But I will tell you what it means right now. A 'Platonic relationship' or 'Platonic lifestyle' means a love that is devoid of or without sexual relations... Are you with me so far?" She said "Yes, I am with you. Continue." I continued "Mary and I have been going steady for more than four years - and we are very much in love with each other. And it is our choice to live a Platonic lifestyle - until we are married... Do you understand that so far?" She said "I think that is commendable. I am glad to hear that." I told her "It is also our choice to 'sleep together' at various times. You are a Christian Scientist by choice and Mary's parents are Quakers by choice and they are aware of our choice to live a 'Platonic lifestyle' - and permit us to 'sleep together' in their home. And I expect you to permit us to do the same here. I know this may be a shock to you - and your way of thinking - but I want you to think this over carefully before you say anything. I will be leaving for Camp Lejeune at 7:00 PM. There is no hurry for a decision. I do not expect to see Mary again before Thanksgiving weekend. But I would like to have her stay with me for a day or two that weekend. I will be staying with her at her house for part of that weekend. PLEASE, I hope you can accept this. Now, How about you and I going out for lunch - and I will not take 'No' for an answer. Dad doesn't expect to be back for lunch."
Semper Fi. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
I've been following the tracking of a package I ordered. We have a present thief in our neighborhood, so I want to keep a close eye on when it arrives. My son was concerned that the package would get stolen. I told him not to worry because it is a Marine Corps bear and if anyone tried to steal him, the bear would kick his b-tt!
"There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard."
"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure."
They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake."
--Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991
"For over 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation. We make Marines, and we win battles."
--Gen. Charles C. Krulak, USMC (CMC); 5 May 1997
"It is mostly a matter of wills. Whose will is going to break first? Ours or the enemy's?"
--General James Mattis
"You people are making me very unhappy! Just because the sand fleas get in your noses and your ears and crawl down your necks, you clowns think you have the right to kill them. I don't care how much they bite, you will pretend that you do not feel it!
Do you hear me?
"You can slap a sand flea in the jungle and if the enemy sees you slap or hears you move, you'll be dead before you get your hand down. You can knock a bug off your shoulder and be dead before that bug hits the deck."
"Still wandering around on the DMZ" every night!
God Bless the American Dream!