From my son Cpl. Cotter back from Iraq in Feb 2007 - signed for
another 4 when he was there -
what should have come to an end this August - is now an
extension of what a young hero believes -
That a Marine is a Marine and nothing less will do.
We will pay tribute to his cousin Sgt. John G, Scharf, USMC this
Sept 11th - -murdered in the towers.
We will stand at the footprints for maybe the last time - and
remember a fine man - a fine Marine -
And the thoughts of all who are fighting for our cause - will be
with us -
Please Marines - Say a prayer for Sgt. Scharf on that day - the
anniversary that he was taken from us.
A fine Marine and a Fine man - we were honored to be a part of
Big Clearance Sale
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Parris Island T-Shirts, Women's T-Shirts,
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Tonight I walked down memory lane regarding husband MSgt. Brian
Riddle I came across about 5 little notes all of them being
American Courage Newsletters regarding an article I wrote back
in August 2005 when my husband left for Iraq.
I had no idea of the people that article touched or the
responses that came with the article. Included with the
responses were statements that I should write a journal and
update everyone on his deployment... well here it is:
Brian returned in March 2006 - and I can honestly say he did not
return the same man that left. After going through about a
month of him walking the perimeter of the house and checking for
his flack jacket & helmet every time we left the house. Then
there were the times we were sitting out back on the patio and
him going back inside the house every time the Marines practiced
with artillery aboard Camp LeJeune. I knew his time in Al
Taquadom was not good.
He has never talked about what happened there or what he saw
except for the story of 3 'young cowboys" who were moving too
fast and needed to slow down and be careful - he told them this
1 week before they ALL came home - he told them "we are almost
there - stay safe, be calm, think about what you are doing - we
only have one more week" Unfortunately those same men did not
return with my husband in the same condition they had left and
it touched him deeply as those were his men.
Our marriage has not been the same since his return, Brian is
not as happy go lucky as he once was. He doesn't return phone
calls from friends who happen to call. However, he still feels
the need that his duty to his men and country is not complete
it's not finished and he is putting together as I write this
another enlisted package for another 3 years.
Once a Marine always a Marine - I love the man, I respect him -
I do not believe he knows how to be anything else after 23 years
of service. It's hard being the wife of such a dedicated man.
It's hard seeing the blue fade from his eyes yet I am behind him
100%. I know our great beautiful country would not be the
United States we love if not for the courage and dedication of
men such as my husband.
I know I will watch him deploy once again and I will wait upon
pins and needles for his return not knowing what his condition
will be upon his return. I do know when my husband left in
August 2005 he had 80 men he was in charge of and 77 came home
in the same condition they left- he will forever mourn the 3
that didn't return as they had left. I will forever mourn the
happy man that use to laugh all the time and tell great funny
Maybe one day things will return to how they were before he
departed August 31,2005 - maybe one day things will be better
than when he returned March 2nd 2006 - however until that moment
we remain faithful to the Corps - and we still get goosebumps
when we hear the Marine Corps Anthem being played.
Proud wife of
MSgt. Brian Riddle
Camp LeJeune, NC
They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.
Mike Co...2nd Plt
Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written
Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.
Hi Sgt. Grit -
Even though I am only a mom of a Marine, I appreciate getting
your newsletter. I find all the stories, information and
remembrances very compelling. I read it all the way through as
soon as I receive it, and I usually end up using a tissue or
two! Thank you so much for all you do to support Marines and
those close to them. The reason I am writing is because I find
it interesting that the people that seem the most dismayed by
the changes and the apparent softening of the training are the
Marines themselves! I have read many stories about how Marines
are "corrected" during training. My own son told me a story of
one of his experiences in boot camp. As his mom, it was kind of
hard to hear. However, when I thought about what these people
in charge of my son's training were really trying to teach him,
it made me realize that he was learning to react under extreme
pressure and that this training may some day save his life, as
well as those of Marines serving beside him. Seems to me that
our society is continually moving in a direction where nobody
has to do anything they don't want to, and nobody should be able
to make them. I say leave the Marine Corps alone. There is a
reason why this amazing branch of the military is known as the
few and the proud! By softening up the rules, it seems to me
that the value of the "correcting" is lost, as well as the
lesson. I can see where casualties will continue to rise with
this mind-set. That concerns me a lot - particularly with my
son still an active-duty Marine, facing his second deployment
later this year! Even my son is not happy with the easing up of
how new recruits are trained! To me, that speaks volumes.
Maybe it's because he knows that while his initial training was
while the tough rules were in effect, who knows what kind of
training the Marines had who will be tasked with watching my
son's back? Something to think about next time little Johnny
goes crying to mama about how mean his DI is. Maybe he should
stay where he belongs - behind mama's apron, instead of putting
all our real Marines in danger!
I know I probably have no business getting all fired up about
this issue since I'm not a Marine, but I can't believe all these
whiners are missing the big picture. I just hope that all of
our sons survive the war after this kinder, gentler training
they receive. Thanks for your time.
Very Proud Marine Mom of Cpl Adam B.
It's getting more and more difficult to support the government
in the style to which it has become accustomed.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
To Concerned Devil Dog Dad who in your last newsletter
questioned the easing up of Boot Camp training, my son graduated
from MCRD Parris Island not to long ago. First let me say I
have never been prouder and he was born to be a Marine. He feels
a pride and brotherhood that is unsurpassed and will remain
unmatched by anything he will ever do. His DIs were professional
men who gave every waking minute to the recruits in their charge
and his loyalty to the Corps is a new found passion. He did,
however, feel that much, although not all, of the training was
not as hard as he expected or desired. He was disappointed in
the degree of difficulty of some aspects of his 13 weeks there
and said that at times, through no fault of the DIs who must
follow code, he had to challenge himself to a degree not placed
upon him. He has a theory. Since the Corps is dictated to by US
Senators and Congressmen and since those same Senators and
Congressmen are interested in being re-elected, those he calls
the "Mothers of America" who complain to their congressmen that
Marine Corps Boot is too hard on their little Jimmy or Johnny,
have had too much influence on training. Those women who, as I
have heard speak, hate that the DIs "give my son nightmares"
seek a kinder gentler regiment. They whine that their son is a
"kind, sensitive boy" and they fear he will be turned into a
harsh, mean, not nice person. They march too much, don't sleep
enough, shouldn't be made to cry and what's will all that
yelling! They just want their son to get on with being a
Marine! Pleeeeeease! It gives this mother chills to think
that these women may collectively and in the long run change to
any degree what I see as necessary and God knows DESIRED
training tactics. I wanted my son to have a waking nightmare
while at boot so that when he is in the unbelievable and not to
be duplicated nightmare that is war he and his platoon mates
will have a fighting chance to survive and the mission to
succeed. I want the Marine next to him trained that way as well.
The United States Marines are the best trained fighting force in
the world and I guess only time will tell whether these
misinformed do - gooders and the congressmen that serve us will
forever change the Corps and the quality of training handed down
to the men and women who serve in it. God help us if they do.
A newly minted Marine Mom
I always enjoy reading the stories from Marines and their family
members in the Sgt Grits newsletters, and seeing the photos they
include. I'd like to share my pride in my husband with my own
letter and photos. He recently retired from the Marine Corps,
here at Quantico, VA, after nearly 29 years of service. He was
able to be joined at his retirement by many members of his
family including his parents, brothers and their families,
daughter and son and daughter-in-law! And of course, me, his
wife! He retired shortly after his safe return from an Iraq
deployment. Our son is also a Marine veteran, having served his
4 years as an armorer, and now working for a police department
in CA. Thank you for letting me brag for a moment on my
Marine! I've attached a few pics I hope you will allow me to
Proud Wife of CWO5 Paul D. Spencer, USMC EOD (Ret)
Democracy is measured not by its leaders doing extraordinary
things, but by its citizens doing ordinary things
Hello.....I enjoy your site often, and the stories told. I never
had the honor of serving in the Marine Corps, but I write you
because my son who passed away is a Marine. He left for Parris
Island February 14, 2005 a typical 18 year old, not having
direction and focus and graduated 3rd Battalion Mike Co. on June
17, 2005 . I work in law enforcement with numerable Marines who
I always heard recall the Corps highly . Once my son earned the
title Marine, It was like my eyes opened wide to your
brotherhood. Although his first year was rough , he was becoming
a fine young man, I could actually hear it in his voice each
couple days we spoke on the phone and the Marine Corps was
responsible for that. He was becoming a "go-to" guy, according
to his SSGT. He was a Field Radio operator (621) with the 2/6 at
Camp Lejeune NC, and was to be deployed to Iraq 1-2007.....and
return 8/17/2007 ten days before his 21st birthday. I felt the
need to relay this to yourself and all Marines in that I thank
the Corps for letting my son earn the title Marine. The ongoing
care and concern from day one was nothing short of
phenomenal.....and I was told and I know it's true.....all we
need to do is lift the phone and call, and they will do whatever
they can to help us! My son's name Is Private Richard A. Mazzeo
8/27/86-9/30/2006 I still proudly call myself a Marine dad, and
every time I see a Marine.....it is like I am looking at a part
of my son standing in front of me.....now I understand the
statement "as long as one Marine is left standing, Richard will
never be forgotten" God bless you all .....and the Marine Corps
will forever have our gratitude and support.
Richard E Rysinski
I would like to respond to the Double Duty Dad from Durant, Ok.
I know exactly how you feel. My son left for boot camp in San
Diego about 2 weeks after his high school graduation of 2004.
He has only been home, since then, no more than 2 weeks at a
time. He returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq the last
week of April, 2007. I thought the hardest part of being a
Marine parent was seeing him get on the plane in OKC to San
Diego, it is not. Taking a trip out to 29 Palms CA before his
deployment, seeing him, telling him good-bye, not knowing what
condition he will be in or when I will see him again was one of
the hardest. He hasn't been home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or
any holiday is one of the hardest. When we got the word and
time that he will be back to 29 Palms, after his deployment was
almost more than I could bare. We you see your son, step off
from the bus, in one piece, your emotions run wild. He is still
stationed in 29 Palms. I am so proud of all our men and women
in the military. They were not appointed for their jobs, the
volunteered. People ask me what is the hardest of being a
Marine Mom? I have to say all of it. You cry at the flag
flying, songs on the radio, even when you hear how many
military personnel the USA has lost. BUT I would not change a
thing. I walk with my head held high and say YES my son is a
Marine and YES he has been deployed and fought in Iraq! And
what did your son do this week-end? Party? I did see a change
in my son when he was sent to Okinawa for 9 months. I no longer
had my little boy, he had changed into a young man. But when he
came back from Iraq he wasn't a young man anymore but a man.
Stay close to God and He will be there on those long nights when
you can't sleep worrying about your sons safety.
from Sand Springs, OK
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.
Yesterday I was at a local gym lifting weights. I was wearing
a "Vietnam Veteran" tee-shirt. A woman who was using some of
the exercise equipment asked me if I was really a Vietnam
veteran. When I said yes she asked when I was there. I
replied 1966 and she said that she was just a little girl then.
She said she was Cambodian and her life has not been a happy
one. She told me that after Pol Pot took control of their
country her parents and her older sisters were taken away and
never heard from again. She told me that she has been in this
country for thirty years and that she is now a citizen. She
added that she is a college graduate, was married, had children
and is now divorced. I told her about being shot in the head
and almost dying on the upper Dong Tranh river in Vietnam and
about the years it took to recover.
We talked for about fifteen minutes. I think it did both of us
good however in the future I will think more about the innocent
civilians who are caught up in war.
Jim Dickson, USN,
River Patrol Force,
Nha Be', 1966
My son is a Marine stationed in Hawaii, He has done one tour in
Iraq, he is married to a girl that is Hawaiian, she is in a
wheel chair and has been since she was ten [bad car accident]
any way Kai and my son Mike have been expecting a baby any day
well at 7;00 am on 9-2 07 she delivered their baby girl at home
in there bed. Mike was very scared and had no idea on what to do
but he new the baby was coming he could see its head so he new
he had to calm down and take the situation in hand so he did
just what the Marines taught him and did just that and delivered
his 6lb10oz baby girl and mom and baby are doing good. Thank God
For the Marines and everything they teach these young men. I
couldn't be prouder of my son.
Semper fi proud Grandma
Note: Grandma doesn't know it but she just describe; Improvise,
My grandson in currently in the last half of his boot training
MCRD in San Diego. I write to him several times a week & scan
various photos from my file that interests him , which I print
on the top of my letter, which he seems to enjoy. .Most are
Beatle Baily, Ziggy & others of our family.
My wife was sorting some old family pics & files & which
contained the following menu, which was interesting to us & I
sent the same to him. We don't know how it came up to Northern
CA & was in such fine shape. I thought you might be interesting
in looking at it & we hope to eat there if & when he Graduates
I sure enjoy reading your newsletter & am looking forward to
purchasing more than the Flag I gave his mother one for her B/D.
A proud PaPa,
Dear SGT. Grit,
Regarding the letter from Concerned Devil Dog Dad Thursday
August 31, 2007 issue who was wondering if his son was at
"Lackland " instead of MCRD. My thoughts are that his concerns
in a movie or food reward are misguided ~ I would be concerned
more about the food served from Pizza Hut or McDonalds being
unhealthy & noting else. They are indeed entitled to a
competitive reward for work hard done. Either way, yes it is
what is expected of them but lighten up ~ use your concern to
the Drill Instructor (if you have such control issues that you
feel you have to stick your nose into it) as to what type of
food is served or butt out as to how they run their camp.
Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Ever Failing, But In Rising Up
Every Time We Fail ~
Proud Marine Mom
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth and listen
to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts...
I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to
provide for it.
I am reading these stories and need to say that all of them put
tears in my eyes. Some are happy tears some are sad tears but
there is nobody more proud of these boys and girls that serve
this country that I am.
My son Justin, who is now SGT, joined Marines 5 years ago and
on his third tour in Iraq. He will be coming home soon and we
are very excited about that. He is very proud to be a Marine we
are very proud parents to have son like him. He never talk about
Iraq when he comes home. All he say when you ask him "It is my
job Dad" and nothing else. He will be leaving Marine Core this
year and entering civilian life. I hope he will be given respect
that all of these brave men and women deserve for placing their
lives on line to protect our freedom.
I need to thank all of them trough you news letter . I will
continue to read it after my son leaves Marines and continue to
support all brave men and women that serve in Iraq in every
which way I can.
Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the
individual who can labor in freedom.
The Rank Structure:
1. A General = Leaps tall buildings with a single bound,
is more powerful than a locomotive, is faster than a speeding
bullet, walks on water and gives policy to God.
2. A Colonel = Leaps short buildings with a single bound,
is more powerful that a switch engine, is just as fast as a
speeding bullet, walks on water if the sea is calm and talks to
3. A Lieutenant Colonel = Leaps short buildings with a
running start and a favorable wind, is almost as powerful as a
switch engine, is faster that a speeding BB, walks on water in
an indoor swimming pool and talks to God if a special request is
4. A Major = Barely clears Quonset huts, loses tugs-of-
war with locomotives, can fire a speeding bullet, swims well and
is occasionally addressed by God.
5. A Captain = Makes high marks when trying to leap
buildings, is run over by locomotives, can sometimes handle a
gun without inflicting self-injury, can dog paddle and talks to
6. A First Lieutenant = Runs into buildings, recognizes
locomotives two out of three times, is not issued ammunition,
can stay afloat if properly instructed and talks to water.
7. A Second Lieutenant = Falls over door sill when trying
to enter buildings, says "Look at the choo-choo," wets himself
with a water pistol, and mumbles to himself.
8. An NCO = Lifts buildings and walks under them, kicks
locomotives off the tracks, catches speeding bullets in his
teeth and chews them, freezes water with a single glance.... And
The news media created the myth we lost the Viet Nam war to
cover up their lies and inappropriate actions of false
reporting. Now they are doing the same with the war in Iraq
because they got away with it during Viet Nam.
"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the
bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed
us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready
to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You
defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we
were elated to notice your media were definitely helping us.
They were causing more disruption in America than we could in
the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"
- General Giap, North Vietnam (memoirs)
Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public
liberty and happiness.
I am the proud mom of a US Marine. As his father and I were
cooking breakfast and talking this morning, we realized our son
has been away from our home for almost a year now. That does not
mean that we haven't counted the days he's been away from us. We
instead count the days and ways he has grown as a person because
of his commitment to the Marines.
I'll never forget MEPS and the look of a "deer in headlights" on
our son's face the day he was leaving for boot at PI. Then there
were the days and weeks of boot with only letters of
communication. I count those words on those pages as priceless
and precious. I was daily in tears and in prayer for my son and
for those who stood beside him. For all but one week when he got
"fired", he remained Squad Leader throughout boot. I now know
the beyond words thrill of the moments after the Eagle, Globe,
and Anchor ceremony when I could once again hug my son who was
now a changed young man. I could read on his face the honor,
courage, and commitment to which he was wedded for life!
He remains in training for at least a little while longer. In
addition of some difficult classes, he was selected to lead 168
fellow men and women Marines as Duty Section Leader which is
continuing his growth as a Marine and a man.
Pride in him? This must be incomparable. Miss him? Beyond
measure. Want him to be back home and attending the University
where he'd been accepted in the College of Engineering?
He is where he needs to be among the few, the proud. I am
Very Proud NC Mom of a US Marine
My oldest son decided to join the Marine's when he was a Junior
in High School after a friend talked him into joining on the
buddy system. By the end of his Junior year he was filling out
paperwork and taking physicals for the early enlistment program,
by himself. His ASVAB score was high enough to choose any job in
the Military, which shocked me since he was not a fan of school;
his grades did not reflect his academic abilities.
He did opt to push boot camp out as far as possible to spend
summer after graduation with his buddies who had chosen the
college route instead. His large extended family and girlfriend
all showed up for his swearing in and painful goodbye.
I never got the phone call or letters saying he'd made a bad
choice. He never cried and wanted to come home. In the few
letters I got he would write about how hard some of it was, how
he anticipated the next phase and eventually that he was ready
to graduate. He compared it to a long wrestling camp and said
the Crucible was overrated. My son worked hard in wrestling and
football in High School. His best friends were the natural
athletes that were State Placer's and recruited on college
scholarships. He worked hard to keep up with them. He had never
stood out as the best but he was acknowledged for his hard work
ethic by his football team by being named a Co-Captain his
senior year. The years spent "building character" were starting
to pay off.
Although he lived with a high fever and severe headache for
several weeks during boot camp he graduated on time with no one
knowing how sick he had been. He qualified as an Expert with his
weapon in the rain during this same period. The whole family
went to San Diego for graduation. On family day we walked for
hours to all of the places at MCRD that had been off limits to
the recruits and listened to his stories he couldn't wait to
tell us. I was in awe of this handsome and professional young
Before boot camp started he had chosen the Intelligence field
for his MOS, he waited 2 weeks to hear that he'd been accepted.
During boot camp he found out his specialty training would be in
radio and communications. School was located in Pensacola and I
had my doubts he would make it through the very intense
schooling. It was hard enough that several students were dropped
but not my son. I'm sure the 5 months of training were
equivalent to that of a two year college degree. I hoped and
prayed for a desk job somewhere in the States when it was all
He was sent to Camp Pendleton to be in a Radio Battalion. When
he arrived he was told he had been assigned to the Radio Recon
Unit. I didn't know much about Recon but I was pretty certain it
didn't mean a safe desk job. He was even a little concerned
about this assignment, that is, until his first few trainings.
Needles to say, my hardworking son who has used lessons learned
on the wrestling mat and on the football field has found his
place in the world. He is still 19 years old and is in a
position of leadership within the Recon training platoon. He has
spent this past summer learning the different phases of Recon
which have included dangling from a helicopter at 700 feet in
the air and swimming in the ocean with dolphins.
I've never had much thought about our military until my son
decided to join. Now I listen intently to the news, pray when I
see another soldier has died and have camaraderie with my
coworkers and family members that also have children in the
Marines. I get a lump in my throat when I think of him, his
accomplishments and how much he has grown in the last year. I
quiz him often about how he is doing mentally and emotionally. I
am comforted to know he feels confident in the training he is
receiving. We are all so proud of him. Every Marine has a
special story and is a special person for what they are
sacrificing. God bless them all.
Proud Mother of United States Marine
Deer Park, WA
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but
to escape finding one's self in the ranks of the insane.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
My son has been a Marine almost 2 years now.. He graduated
from Parris Island In December 2005.. Now on September 15th he
will be going on his first tour to Iraq.(hopefully his only one)
He is my only Son and he is 20 years old, he will turn 21 while
in Iraq. When he first told me he was going to join the Marines,
I about fell out. I did everything in my power to talk him out
of it with the exception of getting down on my knees and begging
him. Now don't get me wrong, I am very proud of him and I guess
one of the proudest days of my life was when we were at his
graduation at Parris Island.
Now like one of the other mothers said; it's one of the
hardest things I have ever went through in my entire life.
Knowing he was gonna be gone to boot camp for 13 weeks and then
his letters started coming and I was so worried about him, I
wanted to go get him and knew I couldn't. It was the first time
in my life that I had no control of what was going on in my sons
life. That was bad enough! But I missed him so very much and I
worried about him. We are very close. I knew he was hurting,
feeling alone, and probably wondering why in the h&ll he decided
to do this. Ha Ha! I wondered why I didn't get down on my knees
and beg him not to join! Ha Ha!
When his letters first started coming I cried but as time
went on I saw a difference in him... He was becoming a Man...
one with which morals, standards and strength was showing
through. More than I could've ever taught him. Now I am going
through a whole new set of feelings which I'm not handling very
good... He tells me he's gonna be ok over there and he's ready
to go... Now again I am proud of him and proud that he's doing
this to protect his family and his country. But I'm scared non
the less. His job is aviation electronics so he shouldn't be in
harms way (that's what he tells me anyway) but I don't expect
him to tell me any different cause he doesn't want to make me
worry any more than he knows I will. I just pray God will
protect him and guide him and keep him from evil and that he
will come back to me safe and sound.
I want every man and woman in the military Marines or not
that I appreciate them and pray Gods protection over them and
that He'll give each ones family peace of mind and strength as I
pray the same for myself..
My son is a United States Marine one of the Elite! And I'm
proud of him!
His name is PFC Justin Scoggins
Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When
they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. When they do something
is when they become dangerous.
my time at P.I. instilled in me a sense of PRIDE in me that
has never wavered in the past 55 years. once a MARINE always a
MARINE. I was boot camp ,Feb - April and early May. I was
selected and was sent to LITHOGRAPHERS SCHOOL, WASH. D.C. my
D.I.'s were upset that low life s*** birds were give such a
choice duty station and the mos-1533. we schooled in the
basement of the Pentagon Bldg till the middle of Nov. I was sent
to the Depot of Supplies at 100 Harrison St San Francisco,
Calif. when I was released, my rank was Sgt. with 14 months in
grade. i would not listen to my seasoned Marines who Encouraged
me to sign over for a 6 year hitch and become a career Marine.
Lt. Donahue pleaded with me to make the Marines my a lifetime
commitment. to soon old, to late smart. I have regretted that
decision ever since.
I visited 100 Harrison, the building is still there Marines
have left the building. I reflect back about that mistake. I
wonder what might have been?
Ronald E. Hartell
This last news letter, the first letter was from GySgt P
Santiago, who said he was with the 3rd Div in 1954 when they
made a landing on Iwo. I was also in that group. Haven't heard
from anyone from that era in a very long time, and would like to
talk to him if you could connect us in some way. I was with
Charlie Co, 1st Batt 4th Marines, 3rd Div. Stationed in Nara
Japan at that time. One of the M/Sgt's, I forget the outfit,
filled a box of Iwo Sand and sent it to John Wayne. We never
thought about taking anything from the Island. What a special
place for an 18 year old to be and see after growing up during
those war years. My Brother, 3 years older and I were civilian
aircraft spotters, on the roof of city hall Richmond California
1943 44 and 45. We kept up on the war day by day as much as
we could. Tom went in the Air Force in 1950 and I went Marine
Corps Feb 53 to Feb 61.
God Bless, Semper Fi
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of
its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to
live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own
good will torment us without end for they do so with the
approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis
I just read this morning's newsletter from Sgt GRIT. Yes, there
are phoney Marines/Wannabes out there and having served in the
beloved Marine Corps 1982-1991, it disgusts me that these
phonies think they pull one over on us. I always ask questions
every "real Marine" knows. One phoney couldn't even tell me the
names or locations of the two Marine Corps Recruit Depots, when
I reminded him of San Diego, of course he was quick to point out
that his "sisters best friend" went there for boot camp. And
one day one of the transients with his sign saying he is
homeless approached and asked me if I was with the 2nd Marine
Division (guess the fact I was wearing my cover from Sgt GRIT
gave that away) I replied that I had been with the 2ndMarDiv and
he informed me he was too! Only he was with the 101st Airborne!
I looked at him silently for a minute to give him time to think
about his answer, less than four minutes later, I told him the
101st Airborne is also in North Carolina and based at Ft. Bragg
while the 2nd MarDiv is based at Camp Lejeune. I told him I am
part of Marine Corps history as I was at Quantico, VA and
witnessed the first Women Marine get promoted to Brigadier
General Gail Reals, General if you read this and I misspelled
your name, I apologize ma'am! I was amazed as this wannabe
corrected me stating Women Marines go by "WACS!" I very politely
informed this wannabe he was incorrect and during my time in the
Marine with an MOS of 0151-Administrative Clerk, I had served
with and beside some of the most dedicated and professional
Women Marines in my time. I finally told this wannabe if he
really wanted to impress me, instead of sitting outside the mall
near the traffic light, he could walk one block over and talk to
our local Marine Recruiter and enlist and this way he can learn
Marine Corps History and perhaps earn the right to wear the
Eagle, Globe and Anchor! With that said he moved on to other
cars. To be honest, I am more impressed with young 6-11 year
olds who have in fact watched "Sands of Iwo Jima" and know more
about Marine lingo than the phoney's that walk our streets, or
the little girl in Long's who came up and hugged me as tight as
she could and thanked me and all Marines for our service for our
country, she did tell me she didn't know exactly what a "Marine
is!" but her Grandma pointed me out and told her, "there's a
Marine hon, he's one of the best and the few who can say he
earned his title, the Marines have never just taken anybody!" I
believe that wonderful Grandma must have known a lot of us
Marines and she was passing down her knowledge to her
In response to Don R.'s recent story about someone pretending to
be a Marine. I can only say imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery. I myself have had a number of run-ins with persons
claiming to have earned that which we all hold as our highest
honor. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. It used to make me
angry, but now I've come to understand that it should just make
me even prouder. It does not take very long into a conversation
with a "wannabe" to ascertain that this person craves respect
and admiration so much that they would try and say they were a
Marine. We know who we are, and we certainly know what it means
to be a Marine. From the "fighting tops", Tripoli, Chapultapec,
Belleau Woods, Iwo, Chosin, Hue, Beirut, Kuwait, Iraq, and the
countless other 'climes and places' where each succeeding
generation of Marines can only hope they uphold the legacy of
the previous generations. Rather than get angry Don, simply
share a "we both know you are not me " moment, and take heart in
the simple fact that you are what that person only wishes they
Craig W. Anderson
LCpl of Marines '88-'92
Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe
is clearly visible.
I was left very emotional when I read your last newsletter. Even
more so when I was aware that it was a 3 / 6 Marine. Parents the
decisions your sons and daughters have made are great ones. Be
proud of the fact that you have raised honorable men and women.
It is not an easy decision to know that you will be taking up
arms against your fellow man. But those honorable individuals
who continue to make that decision do so because of their
upbringing. It is with great emotion and admiration, and I know
with the support of those that have served that I and all of
them thank you and your families for the sacrifice that your
children are making and continue to make on a daily basis. I
know it is not easy and it does not ease the pain of separation
and/or fear of loss.
But it is all due to your love and teachings that these men and
women do what they do on a daily basis........ooooohh rrrraaahhh
and semper fi
LCPL Perez CI
82 - 86
3rd Battalion 6th Marines
From Letter #155, 23 August, 07
To Proud Mother of Almost a Marine" –
My son in the 2/1 had the exact same experience, not sure he
made the right decision during the first 2-3 weeks. Then, it
changed. The Corps must have the date/week down pretty well by
now! Keep up the encouragement as you will reap the rewards of
being a proud parent of a Marine.
I am the proud father of a Marine who finished his second tour
of Iraq last year and completed his 4 years last May.
He IS my hero!
J. Craig Wagner
Whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession of his mind,
body and soul.
Sir Francis Bacon
Working for Dept. Homeland Security at an airport in Michigan
has afforded me a great chance to see the phonies come out of
I no longer greet suspect Marines with a "Semper Fi." I now ask
and then give that sacred acknowledgment. I once screened an
airline pilot with an eagle, globe and anchor on his tie. He was
rude, inconsiderate, and thought he was much better than me. At
the end of the session, I asked "Sir, were you an officer in the
Corps, or an Airwinger?" Either answer he gave, I would have
told him how rude he was. "I was in the Corps."
Was all I got. "What unit?" I asked. "Vietnam." was the reply.
Said I, and walked away.
My favorite was the coffee guy who served coffee at a small
coffee bar around the corner from the checkpoint. Shortly after
his third or fourth week working there, he told me he had not
been called 'Sir' so many times since he was a Drill
Instructor!" "Really?" I asked. "Where did you scream at
recruits?" "Fort Benning!" He replied. "Hmmmmm, Bruce, in the
Army, they are called drill sergeants." I reminded him. He
didn't say much after that, but I no longer tip him when I get
my coffee from him.
Sometimes I see a passenger wearing some sort of USMC garb, in
which case I will strike the conversation of asking if their
child is serving in the Marines. They then have the floor to
tell of their child, spouse, uncle, aunt, or their own service.
Once, a gentleman told me he was wearing it because it reminded
him of the service he should have gone into. He reluctantly told
me he served in the Navy.
Of my co-workers, some will comment on the strength and
tightness of Marines, and the one supervisor I have, is so
jealous that he won't speak of military service because it is
too painful for him to be reminded that he is army. army strong,
all day yawn.
Dear Sgt. About two months ago you put me in touch with another
soon to be proud Marine mom from Illinois. I am from Idaho, it
so happened that our sons shipped out on the same day, both
heading to MCRD San Diego. We have been in touch with each other
ever since, for this I thank you, she has become a big and
special part of my life. I wrote my son and asked him to try and
find her son if he got a chance, I said his name is Ethan
Stiverton, his reply to me was, and I quote: "Mom there are over
700 kids here and I'm not going to spend my time trying to find
Besides echo co. 2101 is the enemy." so I thought that was that.
Well, here is where God had his hand in their lives. They both
just went through the crucible and my son Josh's platoon was
split in 1/2, can you believe that he and Ethan met and became
friends. God truly does work wonders as he brought two proud
soon to be Marine moms together and then turned around and
arranged for their sons to meet as well. I have read many
stories about graduation day and I only hope that I will not
cause a flood and drown everyone there. I get so emotional and
the deepest sense of pride overtakes me that i can't help but
cry. I want to thank you as well for putting me in touch with
this wonderful person and I know that I have made a new family
member through the Corps. Proud mom from Idaho - Jessie Stuart
Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to
I received the following letter from my old First Sgt.
(from my Embassy Duty days).
Unfortunately, this simple letter speaks volumes.
Regardless of your politics, I thought this was a great
letter....especially the last line.
From today's Honolulu Star Bulletin:
Troops went quietly as civilians slumbered
On the night of the 23rd, while your city slept, members of the
2nd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division at Fort Shafter
convoyed their Stryker vehicles and other equipment to Pearl
Harbor to load on ships for Long Beach, Calif. They will meet it
there in late August and train for two months at the National
Training Center in the desert to prepare for their 15-month tour
They moved their equipment at night so as not to inconvenience
commuters. Forgotten now is that the interstate highway system
was built as a National Defense Highway System on which military
traffic was assured priority. They go to California because they
cannot fire or use most of their equipment in Hawaii, this land
that was the threshold of war for America a short half-century
There was no mention of the passing of the 6,000 through the
night while Oahu slept. There was no story or photos in the
paper as they prepared to leave their homes and families.
Thus do Hawaii and all America, for that matter, mark the
passing of this generation to war. They deserve better but they
go quietly without disturbing the sleep of their countrymen.
My son was among them.
July, 1952. San Diego MCRD, Plt #463. Issued 1(ea) Battle
Jacket, 1(ea) Blouse. Was informed the battle jacket was NEVER
referred to as an "Ike Jacket" Was also informed that the
General's dislike of The Corps stemmed from an occasion he had
to inspect a Marine outfit, and someone had chalked on the
barrel of a howitzer: "With God's help, and a few Marines,
MacArthur retakes the Philippines". No sense of humor I guess.
Nearly eleven years later I was a navigator watching a few rough
landings mixed in with the "grease jobs" and I thought I could
do that! So out of the Corps, into the Army, WO flight school.
(Spent the next ten years making my own bad landings) Off to
Viet Nam. Two years there in the Caribou supporting the Special
Forces Alpha Teams. Met more than a few former Marines both
flying and in the team camps.
I took a long time to "grow up" and I credit the Corps for
Don Hammond CWO Ret. Army of the United States
Proud USMC Veteran
Your love of liberty - your respect for the laws - your habits
of industry - and your practice of the moral and religious
obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual
Last Sunday we had the unmitigated pleasure of Brunch with the
General...Lt.General (ret) Brute Krulak, USMC, 94 years young
and sharp as ever. What stories he told...about USMC before WW2,
his service in the Solomons, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as when
he told off LBJ, and shared a bottle of 3 Feathers with JFK in
the Oval Office. (He wrote "First to Fight" still in print).
He is a true living legend, and a wonderful representative of
what's best in the USMC.
Barton Lane MD
Proud Dad-in-Law of MGySgt H.Alan Franklin
I was in the Corps from 1987-1994, Parris Island, SOI at Camp
Geiger (0351), 3/7 Dragons Wpns Co, then in Desert Storm D Co.
1/1. I just wanted to let everyone know of the Veterans'
History Project. Contact your local VA and inquire about who is
the local affiliate. The person will come to your home,
interview you on camera for the historical record, and borrow
your pics and documents to make you a part of living history.
Their focus was for the older vets cause they were dying off too
quickly, and not enough of their stories were being told and
recorded. It was interesting to go back in time and tell a
civilian some sea stories...Thanks for the great motivation of
Sgt. Eric A. Eaton
One of the great maladies of our time is the way sophistication
seems to be values above common sense.
Another phoney Marine: I had the cable guy out the other day
(looked like Larry but without the funny), he mentioned
something about when he was in the service, I asked which branch
and he answered Marines. I asked what he did, he said he was a
"jumper". No more questions yer honor! (I wanted to get back
to the Military Channel and Fox News.)
I went thru 2ndITR at San Onofre in the spring of '59 and spent
the rest of my first tour at Camp Pendleton. Onofre was
pronounced On-a-fray, lately I have heard it pronounced O-no-
fray, when and where did I miss the change?
L. H, Marshall
RE Newsletter - Spot the phonies - pictures
Speaking from the experience of chasing and EXPOSING thousands
of phonies and fraudulent vets - they have pictures. And they
have pristine DD214's.
There are millions of them posted on the internet for all to see
and USE. Paper documents and pictures sadly prove nothing
anymore. At times we must search rosters for EYE WITNESSES to
the time, battle, unit and tale to check it's validity.
Can tell you the phonies are CHANGING history. For every tale
not retracted, for every phony not confronted, bits of reality
are lost forever.
Our site lists the REAL heroes within the POW/MIA community -
and then regretfully, lists thousands claiming to be what they
are not. It's an epidemic and we desperately need help keeping
the TRUTH in history!
Mary and Chuck (Vietnam, India 3/5 )Schantag
Nov 5-11, 2007
Command Center all week.
Military GALA Nov 9
Marine Corps Birthday Nov 10
POW/MIA service at the WALL (Welk Resort) TBA
Freedom of speech ends where treason begins.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they
could and should do for themselves.
William J. H. Boetcker
About 6 months after the tragic incident at PI where 9 recruits
drowned and the Senate Investigating Committee had gone, my
buddies and I from Trenton, NJ entered boot (50 years ago
A great Marine named Gen Geo. E. Schell took over trng. command
and stiffened things up. Our SDI, SSgt Wm S. Shannon (a Chosin
vet) was tremendous. This was the formative moment of my life
and got me through my ration of life's BS. This country was very
different then. Discipline was much more a part of it.
Today's family structure, rampant consumerism and general
disillusionment have taken their toll.
Let's all hope the USMC maintains a model of the right way to
develop young people for their tasks ahead.
Fellow Marines: It continues to amaze me how many former 'Force
Recon' vets I seem to meet. 98% can usually be dismissed with
one or two questions. What I really wonder is where are the
thousands of Vietnam era USMC vets who where mechanics, Motor T,
engineers, avionics, etc., supply, etc.? They need to step
forward to counter the ever increasing numbers of "phonies".
Semper Fi, Col Tom Cook USMC(R) (Ret) 1962-1998
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs
treat us as equals.
Sir Winston Churchill
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Media Contact: Major Christian Devine, USMC (703) 614-2879
July 27, 2007
"Why We Serve" Speakers Program
The Defense Department launched a program in 2006 titled "Why We
Serve" in an effort to help the American people understand why
U.S. service members choose to serve their country and what that
experience entails. Proudly, this program continues today as
the DoD's premier speakers outreach program with our service men
and women traveling around the country to engage the American
public and share their experiences.
Service members representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and
Marine Corps, are traveling the country sharing their
experiences and motivations for serving with groups ranging from
Chambers of Commerce to Rotary Clubs, to grassroots
organizations, conferences, schools and media outlets.
Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public
Affairs explained that the program has one simple goal: to help
connect returning military members with the general public and
give them an opportunity to tell their personal stories.
The "Why We Serve" speakers hit the streets, without any DoD-
generated "talking points" or packaged speeches – just their own
thoughts to express in their own words, Barber said.
The goal is that they will go out on the road to different
venues nationwide to tell their story," she said. "Why did they
choose to serve the military? What did they do in Iraq or
Afghanistan? And why are they are serving our country?"
Barber said she hopes the effort helps connect troops returning
from overseas deployments with the American public and promotes
understanding about what motivates them to serve. "It's an
educational campaign," she said. "We are educating the citizens
of this country about why people choose a different path and why
they choose to serve this country."
Although the American public stands solidly behind its service
members — as evidenced by the success of DoD's "America
Supports You" program — the new Why We Serve effort is designed
to create a more personal connection, Barber explained.
"You just can't beat face-to-face communication," she said, and
that's exactly what the Why I Serve program will promote. The
public will get a chance to shake hands with the troops, talk
with them and ask questions about their experiences and see
their photos. "And that bond can only be developed in one-on-
one, real communication," Barber said.
The program has no political agenda, she emphasized. It's not
designed to sway public opinion about the war on terror, but
rather is simply to give people insight into their men and women
Community organizations, business associations, academic
institutions, veterans groups, and other non-profit or non-
partisan organizations may invite a speaker from Why We Serve
program by submitting a request via www.whyweserve.mil. Please
visit this website to learn more about the program, our current
speakers, and their stories.
Confirmed speakers are provided at no cost to the host
organization, regardless of location, throughout the country.
For general questions on the Why We Serve program or to request
a speaker, please contact Ms. Jennifer Giglio at (703) 697-5976.
A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Broken Heart and Hollow Body
On December 21, 2006, our son, LCpl., Ryan J. Burgess was killed
in action, along with four other men, two additional Marines, a
Navy Corpsman and an Iraq interrupter.
It was a day like any other, planning for Christmas, getting
ready for a huge family dinner we were having that night and
looking forward to time off work over the Christmas Holiday. My
husband had left to run an errand for me and I was busy cooking
when the door bell rang. There had been so many other times
when I had had a funny feeling or an uneasiness about something
when the doorbell rang. I would peek around the corner of our
front door only to find the UPS guy, etc.
You see, our son's Humvee had hit an IED on November 17th, 2006,
sending one or two (not sure exactly) Marines back to the States
for further medical treatment, and landing two Marines (my son
included) in a hospital in Iraq. I will never forget that call.
I was scared to death, yet almost relieved as to think that we
survived it, his turn was over. When I got to talk with Ryan,
he downplayed the entire accident, telling me that what the
military had told us was more serious than it really was and
that he would be back out there right now if they would let him.
He wanted to get the terrorist that had hurt his men. He was a
vehicle commander, thus responsible for all the men in his
Humvee. His plan was to return as soon as he could. He wanted
Within weeks he was back out in the action. As funny as it may
sound, after hearing that he would receive a Purple Heart from
this injury, I felt a sense of calm. I almost relaxed a little
too much. He was assigned a new driver and a new vehicle and
out he went. Somehow I thought this accident proved he could
survive. That he would be coming home safely from his second
tour in Iraq. He had already made plans to re-enroll into
college to finish his degree and was making plans to settle down
with his sweetheart. He loved the Military and loved being a
Marine, but also wanted to complete the education that he had
cut short to join the Marines when he felt the calling. We were
so proud of him.
I was at the base in Twentynine Palms, CA when he returned from
his first tour in Iraq. I thought Boot Camp graduation was one
of the most awesome ceremonies I had ever witnessed, but his
first return paralleled that experience for me. He was due to
return from his second tour in March, after being extended. We
were planning on traveling to California with his sister, and
her husband, his brother and his wife, and his girlfriend.
Then the door bell rang. I didn't slowly approach, Ryan was
safe now. I turned the corner, and got a direct view of the
side window. I stopped dead in my tracks. There were uniforms
on my porch. I ran to the phone, called my husband and told him
to return home immediately. I must have stood there for several
minutes, thinking could they just be here to tell me he was hit
again. The thought crossed my mind, wow he must really be hurt
this time, they only called us last time. But I knew.
I know nothing would ever be the same again.
It has been eight months since he was killed when his Humvee
once again was struck by and IED. His fellow Marines tell me
that it was one of the largest blasts they had seen to date. I
believe it was two anti-tank mines stacked on top of one another
(not sure of the exact working). All five were killed and I do
find some comfort in knowing that he did not suffer. We were
forced to have a closed casket funeral. Not sure if I am happy
about that or not. I had not laid eyes on him since late July,
but not sure I could have spent the rest of my life knowing the
last time I saw my son he was laying in a casket.
He was one of the most amazing young men. He was not afraid to
join during a time of war; he loved his family, his friends and
life. He certainly enjoyed the ride that life provides. He
believed that freedom came with a price and everyone should be
willing to fight for it. He did everything on the edge. We
never had replace brakes on his vehicles because he never used
them; however, he wrecked four cars getting through high school.
We were frequent visitors to our local emergency room and on a
first name basis with a lot of the doctors. Even after he
returned from his first tour, he would e-mail us pictures of him
rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Forest and his father and
I would laugh with concern that he returned from Iraq safely
once, yet could hurt himself or die stateside. He could melt
you with his smile. Whenever I had to correct him or get after
him, I could never look him in the eye. If I did, I just could
not stay mad. He would walk up from behind me and give me a big
bear hug and say "you know you love me". I would give anything
to discuss the missed curfews and wrecked cars. I would give
anything for one of his hugs.
When he told me he had received his orders for his second
rotation to Iraq, I told him I didn't think I could take another
eight months of constant worry. His response was "Mom, I don't
want to hurt your feelings, but this is not about you. This is
about what I want to do. I am sorry if that makes you worry,
but it is what I need to do". I remember being taken back by
his response at first, thinking about it as I lay in bed and
coming to the realization that we raised this amazing,
patriotic, selfless kid that became an awesome UNITED STATES
MARINE. I still worrie