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this happened a long time ago, I believe it was may of 1969.i was a "grunt"0331 machine gunner on a hill that no one seems to know of. it was l.z. gould, and it was either on the edge of the d.m.z. or i believe possibly inside the "z". i was with "kilo"co.3/4.3rd.mar.div.we had orders to pull back due to the "deescalation' of the war efforts. our co commander was lt. fisher. there was kilo co, lima co, and India CO, all on a line at the "z" my co. "kilo" was to be pulled out first, before lima and India. so we filled in our foxholes and prepared to be evacuated at approx. 0800 hrs. then the 81 m.m. mortars started coming in (the n.v.a.
used to have a "spotter on the front of the hill and the mortars on the backside, so you couldn't see any "tube pops") then the word came down that India and lima would be pulled out first, so we would have to sit tight. i was supposed to be on the first ch46 off the hill as the first gun team, however, it turned out my gun team was now on the last chopper off after lima, India and almost all of kilo was gone. i believe we sustained 30% casualties that day. we were mortared from approx0800 till 1700 hrs. all were evacuated, only left were me, Carl Boyd, Walt Whitman, gonsales, and a radio operator who i cannot remember the name of the marine corps off. in charge told us that the 5 of us should go to the bottom of the hill and set in for the night, and they would contact us in the a.m, as it was getting dark and they couldn't afford to have a chopper shot down. we started to do this, then we got the word over the
horn that a chopper pilot wasn't about to leave us there, and he was coming in at approx. 1750 hrs. the five of us hauled @#S to the hilltop, just in time to see the nose of this ch46 rising up the hill after hugging the ground, (in order not to be shot down) i believe that was the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. he never touched ground, and the five of us were over the hill and on that chopper in under 5 seconds. as we pulled away (hugging the ground) then came up for a look (out of practicable rifle range) i saw at least 150_200 n.v.a. regulars storming the top of the hill. the only reason i mention this story, is that i am eternally gratefully to that marine corps pilot that refused to leave five of us stranded there. that was in 1969,and i owe my life to that marine corps pilot which i believe disobeyed orders, just to save the five of us, because he wasn't about to leave a marine behind to die. i don't know what his name is and probably never will, but i am eternally gratefully for each and every day, and all the years I've lived since that day in 1969.
Cpl..jahan Acciavatti kilo co.3/4 r.v.n.69/70 serial no 2466590
To All Who Receive,
Hello to you all, our names are SGT BABBITT iv, SGT GALLIMORE, LCPL PETERS in the United States Marine Corps. We got this idea to start this letter to say thanks for the support from all the American people. We wanted to personally give our thanks for your letters, e-mails, packages and prayers. Through the endless miles walked, sleepless nights in the cold pouring rain, endless days in the relentless desert heat, all the holidays, birthdays, anniversary's missed we PROUDLY serve and protect you all... When we see your smiles and get your hugs it makes it all worth while. Please pass this on so that we can get out thanks out to everyone who supports us.
SGT BABBITT iv
Please write back to let us know you got this.
MEMORIES OF A MARINE DAD
I am a proud daughter of a United States Marine. My Dad died from complications of diabetes on March 29, 2001 and was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery in Maryland. He served in the Marine Corp for 8 years. He was so proud to be a Marine and raised all 3 of his kids to be proud also. We were raised like "little Marines" (especially me because I am the oldest) and we are so grateful for our upbringing. Of course, growing up there were times when we hated it but my Dad always said that one day we'd appreciate it. He was right and he did not die not knowing how thankful we all are as we told him long before he died. He loved us unconditionally and showed it and he honored our mother until the day he died. Whenever he heard the Marine Corp hymn he would stand if he
was sitting but always the tears would well up in his eyes and travel
freely down his cheeks. God, that man was so proud to be a Marine and so proud to be an American. He hung his Marine Corp flag under the United States flag and they still wave proudly (and remarkably in very good condition) outside my parents' house everyday and spotlighted every night. Every car my parents own displays the eagle, globe, and anchor in the back window as well as the Veteran plates. He never left the house without wearing something that signified that he was a Marine. He demonstrated strength even throughout his illness. He continued to go to church with Mom where you would see him in the same spot in the
third pew wearing his USMC tie clip and a United States flag pin on the lapel of his suit jacket while Mom sang in the choir. He refused to shake hands without standing (this is significant because both of his legs were prosthetics). His funeral service was held in their Baptist church with an overflowing congregation. The pastor acknowledged the pride of being a Marine that my Dad displayed followed by the Marine Corp hymn being played on the piano. EVERYONE in that church stood at the onset ~ it was incredible. My Dad lived what he learned in the Marines.
Those values were embedded in his kids from birth. I guess you could say that the United States Marines helped raise us. These "little Marines" and their mom are doing very well even though a day doesn't go by that we don't miss our Marine so very much.
I apologize for this letter being long but I wanted to share a little bit
about Mr. Black (my Dad, my hero and my favorite Marine) with his Marine Corp brothers and sisters. My Dad died loving the Corp, America, God, and his family.
Thank you Marines
Michele in Maryland
MY WIFE GETS TIRED
Dear Sgt Grit,
I would like to say thank you for your newsletter. I have been reading the last few months at work because I wasn't aware that it existed until a few weeks ago. I am a Sgt in the Reserves with Fox Battery 2N Bn 14th Marines, 4th MARDIV in Oklahoma City. I recently took over the Career Planners MOS for the Battery. I was a 0811, which is a cannoneer for the M198 155MM Medium Towed Howitzer. I have been in the Corps for the past 6 Â½ years and plan on re-enlisting for another 3 years. I hope that I am not the only one that re-enlists in my unit because we have a new peace of equipment coming in the near future. Fox Battery will be the first Artillery unit to receive the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems). When we become a rocket unit I will probably move in to FDC (Fire Data Center). I live and breathe the Marine Corps. I even have an electronic doorbell that plays the Marines Hymn. My wife gets tired of me telling her how I have to wear my hair or civvies or even how I have to wear my uniform. I haven't been in any combat "yet" but am ready and willing to go wherever they send me. My
heart goes out to the men, women, children, families, and rescue workers that lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack. I think that what they did was an act of cowardice and they should pay life for life. I would be more than happy to discuss my views on the matter with anyone who wishes.
Michael D. Whomble
Sgt USMC (Nov. 1994 to Present)
Battery F 2N Bn 14th Marines, 4th MARDIV
This is a somewhat different type posting, but I want to get out the word to the Marines I served with (and their wives) that my wife, a true and faithful Marine wife, died in January 2002 after an eleven year fight with Multiple Sclerosis. Her name was Karen Ballard and the Marines who would have known her are my fellow members of TBS Class 2-75 ("B" Company, primarily 1st Platoon); 1st Ban 12th Marines (75-78); and any squid officers aboard the USS Shreveport (LED-12) [78-80] who might happen to come across your newsletter.
Active Duty June 74-Aug 80
Local SUMMER (Ret)
Your recent newsletter contained a brief insert about something going around the internet on Lee Marvin and Bob Keeshan (aka: Captain Kangaroo). I'm not aware of what this information (scuttlebutt?) is but I can attest to the validity and community spirit of Bob Keeshan. 'Captain Kangaroo' is a Life Member of the Marine Corps League and a member of the Twin State Detachment out of Lebanon, New Hampshire. He's a charter member of the Detachment which is currently the largest Detachment in the state. Bob is heavily involved with Toys for Tots though somewhat physically limited to short trips he has been an integral part of the Detachment and was implemental in Twin State Detachment being recognized by the Foundation as a Toys for Tots Regional Distribution Center which covers western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont. During the 'season' Detachment members volunteer EVERY DAY to complete the six hour circuit to empty all the boxes. Marine Keeshan has done several TV spots and radio
interviews for Toys for Tots. I can attest to his service in the Marine Corps for I'm the Adjutant for Twin State Detachment and have his separation papers on file. Believe me, all is legitimate. I'm not at liberty to say more than that out of respect for 'the Captain's' privacy. I see him on a fairly regular basis and he's one hell of a guy. By the way, he was also the very first 'Clarabelle the Clown' on the old Howdy Doody show.....anyone remember that?
Brian L. Hipwell, Adjutant, Twin State Detachment #1010
SIR OR NOT TO SIR
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I just read a letter from Brad Robinson, and it touched on something that has become something of an enigma for me. He says he went through boot camp at MCRD San Diego in '50, and he relates an humorous story involving himself and some fellow recruits painting one of the heads at Camp Matthews green. My question involves one sentence in his letter.
He says that when questioned about the incident,"....we each individually answered 'Sir, No Sir!' " I have debated this with many a Marine, and now I'm putting it to you. I have heard all the tales about the first word and the last word out of your mouth being "Sir" ....however, I went through boot camp at MCRD San Diego in '53, and that was simply NOT the case. We screamed "Aye Aye Sir!"....and "Yes Sir!"....and "No Sir!" at the top of our lungs a million times, but the only time we ever started with the word "Sir" was if we had something like a request, an explanation,
or the answer to a questioner directive......"Sir! Private Helmke requests permission to enter the duty hut!".......or "Sir! I have been properly instructed, but I have forgot!".....or "Sir! My first general order is, etc."
I suppose its really a moot question. I doubt anyone would have gotten in any type of bind for over-using the word "Sir". I just find it curious that some folks claim that first "Sir" was required, and some folks don't. I KNOW its required these days, as I attended my grandson's graduation recently, but it wasn't required of me.....but then, I never had to scream out OOOH RAH, and my grandson didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned Gung Ho. Time marches on!
George Helmke '53-'57
My name is William Pippin. I served with 3rd battalion ninth marines during the siege at Con Thein.My mom sent me a care package containing some jiffy pop popcorn. Word got out and several of us came to my bunker and we were popping some. We had just peeled back the aluminum foil when our bunker took a direct hit with a mortar round. It was a dud, but it threw dirt into the popcorn. Boy were we mad, the nerve of some gook to
throw dirt into our popcorn. Then like light bulbs lit up in our brains,
if that mortar round wasn't a dud, forget the popcorn guys. We laughed and ate the popcorn anyway.
Rusty remembers that some of his buddies were buried on IWO after the battle but they were disinterred and reburied somewhere else. He would really like to know where so he can pay his respects. Any information anyone can shed on this historical fact I am certain Rusty would greatly appreciate.
You can send it to Rusty at IWOJarhead@aol.com
And a really big OOORRAAHH!! to you Marines that have made Rusty's days with your e-mails and now with the Bronze memorial. Semper Fi.
Richard E. Nygaard, SSGT 1344668 1953-1963
Hey Grit! Just got my recent orders from youz guyz. I would like to take the time to inform any 3/26ers (Vietnam). We are having a reunion in Ennis Mt. 6/12 thru6/15 2002. For the past six or so years. I've been looking for members of my old Platoon in Lima Company 2nd Platoon 1966-67. So far I've been able to contact about 20 Marines and Doc's who served in that time period. Many of us were original people who trained and floated together
from the West Coast,via Okinawa,Subic Bay and finally to Dong Ha. We initiated Operation Chinook in the Kobi Than Valley just North of Hue City in December 1966. The Chinook perimeter later became known as Camp Evans. It was named after Lcpl Paul Evans our first KIA. We were relieved at Camp Evans
around late April 1967. We stayed in Phu Bai for a few weeks and then convoyed to KheSanh. The convoy was halted just West of The Rockpile cuz, the enemy had blown the iron bridge on Rt. 9. We were helolifted into The Sanh. Each reunion we seem to attract more and more people who are just finding out about these bi-yearly reunions. So if any of you Marines are a former 3/26er
Vietnam,or, you have a friend who served with us. Please pass this
information along to them. The contact men are Waltwhitesides at
email@example.com or Andy DeBona at Andy78471@aol.com (till the end of April 2002) After that Andy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org This promises to be our biggest reunion yet! As always. We are still looking for a couple of good men. Unfortunately we have'nt found all of our surviving
brotherhood. Well! I hope I've rung a bell for a couple of Marines or
friends of Marines. Semper Fidelis W.P. (Doc) Miller HM2 Lima Company 2nd Platoon
3rd Bn 26th Marines(Vietnam) FMF
Had an interesting experience at the last Riverside
Air Show, where a few of us had brought our restored
military trucks for display. We normally set up a
pseudo-tactical lager site for display. There are a few
Marines (former, past, however you want to call
us...), a few Vets of other services, and civilians
who own these green beasties. We were situated near the rotory winged vehicle displays (I wasn't happy until my 1965 M-37B1
was "blessed" by the rotor wash of a UH-1 Huey) and,
true to form, the female Air Winger Master Sergeant
who was involved with the birds came over to chat with
us "old crusties" (Marines tend to gravitate towards
one another... I think it's the fourth law of
thermodymanics...) At that point, myself (0331 -
Machinegunner '84 - '97), a Vietnam era Air Wing Lance
Corporal, and this Master Sergeant had established one
another's Gyrene credentials, when one of the other
chuckleheads came over and interjected himself in the
conversation, seeing the Master Sergeant. said, "Hey,
it's a BAM!" The Master Sergeant, blonde, not drop dead gorgeous, but still a pretty lady, still carried that air of
competent authority from directing birds all day. She
rose to the remark (As the rest of us Jarheads
cringed...) saying, "I'm not a BAM, my PFT scores are
outstanding, and my ass isn't broad..."
I couldn't resist... I tried, but I couldn't...
"No, Master Sergeant. May the Sergeant say that the
Master Sergeant's ass is absolutely outstanding in
both quantity and quality." She glanced at me, fired off a million watt smile, and walked back towards her birds with a girlish flip of
her blonde hair, leaving the chucklehead in the dust,
and us Marines grinning at his expense.
This might be amusing and helpful: Most recently I asked a Woman Marine if I could call her a BAM, she answered "Of course, Beautiful American Marine" Being an old salt (1952-1955) we had a few Women Marines in the Corps that really could have been called BAMs for the reason most Marines think. Now the Women Marines that I have seen have improved greatly, I have not seen one that wasn't very pretty and "Squared Away".
The recruiters are doing an excellent job.
Semper-Fi. (No name)
Got a question that'll seem a great deal off-topic for
this newsletter, but I can't think of a better spot to
get the message out. A young man that works for a client of mine recently asked me some general questions about the Corps. I gave
him the answers I had, and a few weeks later he was happily getting in shape for a trip to P.I. The only problem is he screwed up - twice. He's in his early 20's, and is squared away for a kid his age. When he was 17, he wasn't as squared away, was running with some undesirables and got busted for possession of marijuana (first screw up). On the Corps' entry paperwork, he
failed to disclose this offense (second screw up). I
know both screwiest were stupid - youth, inexperience,
fear, whatever, but in my humble opinion the kid could
make it into our Fraternity. Is there a way that he
might be able to reapply to be considered? No, he
doesn't use pot. No, I don't, lest anyone accuse me of
sticking up for a druggie. I'm just hoping for some
guidance. Lord knows I wasn't an angel as a
teenager...no drugs, but sufficient mischief that the
recruiters may have given me the hairy eyeball. Thanks
for your help. Feel free to respond directly, if you
wish, at tmccourt@
I haven't seen many letters to you from Moms of Female Marines, so here is mine. I realize most of your readers are retired, but I hope they will enjoy my story.
We just got home from our daughter's graduation at Parris Island on 3/29/02. We stayed at TLF on the Depot, as my husband is retired military, so we were right in the middle of all the action! We arrived the night before Family Day, and saw so many platoons of males and females, all in the different phases of recruit training. It is refreshing to see the male recruits being taught excellent manners, addressing everyone, standing at attention when you walk by, etc.
The first Saturday after graduation, I was behind our room at TLF trying to get two bags of trash into the dumpster, and two male recruits ran clear across two streets and a parking lot from the Exchange, to where I was, asked to take the bags of trash, and jumped on top of the dumpster and deposited them for me, and were off like a shot again, back to the Exchange, all the while saying "Good Afternoon Ma'am! How are you today Ma'am? Let us help you, Ma'am!"
We saw our daughter's platoon on their motivation run the morning of Family Day, as well as many other male platoons on their motivation runs, ringing bells everywhere, running with renewed vigor, knowing they were only hours away from a day of liberty with their families. I hardly recognized her, she looked taller, thinner, and had an air of confidence and pride about her that was so impressive, it is almost indescribable to anyone, except those who are Marine parents!
Anyway, the EGA ceremony that was held during the review before Liberty on Family Day was awesome! All the platoons looked so tight and smart. There were about 7 male platoons and two female platoons. I couldn't wait to get hold of my daughter, so it was a good thing nobody got between us when they were released for liberty, and I headed down onto the Parade Deck! We spent the next several hours hanging onto her callused hands, treating
her to a sandwich at the Subway (it was like she was eating for the first time!), then going over to the Chapel for her baptism (this was a nice surprise). Then we spent some time at the PX, had dinner with her, then she scooted back
to the Squad Bay by 1845 hrs.
The next morning was Graduation, and that was also very impressive and emotional. The Marine Band was awesome, and Iron Mike made an appearance, too! That evening, when she was officially on Leave, we went for a walk around the Depot, and she reminisced about all the things she had went through, the times she was sure she couldn't go another minute, and how she got through those moments. As we walked, we could hear many other
platoons, (both male and female) in their squad bays, in various phases of recruit training, getting yelled at (she referred to it as "motivational direction"). She smiled as she listened, saying she knew exactly "where these recruits were at". The next day we drove around and saw Leatherneck Square, the Rappelling Tower, and all the other places she spent the last three months becoming a Marine. I couldn't believe some of the things she endured to achieve this honor.
With all her stories of hard, dirty, painful training, she had nothing but high praise and respect for all the DIs, instructors and other Marines she had come to know.
I'm not saying she wasn't a responsible teenager when she went in. She had graduated from high school a year early, and was in community college, when she came home one day and announced she was going into the Corps. But the change in our daughter is so remarkable, it almost makes me wish it was required for all teens nowadays. She is walking taller, and carrying herself with such an air of pride and confidence, it brings tears to my eyes.
She is home with us now, and has an extra week for RA, before she goes on to Camp Geiger for MCT, then on to her MOS. I hope I didn't ramble on too long for most of you, but I wanted to express my pride, and let you know the tradition you all refer to so fondly is still alive and well. Semper Fi!
Proud Marine Mom in Oregon
I FELT REAL PROUD
I recently spent 5 days in Las Vegas and one day I wore my "Not as Lean-Not as Mean" T-Shirt and I was amazed at all the comments I received as I proceeded through the day and night. I guess I have been cooped up in this small town I live in too long.
I heard ooh-rah's (which I am not real familiar with, since I earned the title "Marine" in 1957 (Paris Island, Plt 296) and Semper Fi's and Hey Marine!. I felt real proud and I knew the brothers who were calling to me felt proud also. No matter where you go, you will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.
HATED THEM AT THE TIME
You included a letter titled "Care Package" in your last newsletter..
It was signed "PAT WHELCHEL, CPL USMC 2270032 â€˜66-â€˜69 FONTANA, CALIFORNIA". Just curious because my older brother, Matthew Madden, being the first of four brothers (me being the last) went to boot camp in 66 and I believe his DIs name was BOWSER. My brother would have perked up at this email. Wonder if they might have been in the same platoon or had the same DI.
I'm sad to say I can't share it with him or ask the question as he left
us two years ago, November. My Brother, , led the way for three younger brothers to follow. He was proud to have been in the Corps and some of the last pictures I took show him proudly displaying the Eagle Globe and Anchor on his cover. We were very close and talked on the phone all the time but I ALWAYS called him on November 10th to say Happy Birthday. He came back from
Vietnam with his head a little twisted like a lot of guys did. But he
was a good Marine, a good Citizen and the best Brother a man or a Marine ever had. He would have enjoyed your newsletter had I discovered it and shared it sooner. One thing we used to enjoy was telling boot camp stories. He had the best ones being the earliest of us four. He told me it was a full month before he began to suspect the DIs really wouldn't get away with killing you if they so decided. There were a lot of changes in the years between 66 when he went in and 72 when I went in, but by-in-large, one thing remained the same, the brotherhood and the pride. We hated our Drill Instructors at the time but I'd love to see them today. Here's to SSgt Davila, Sgt Hawse and Sgt Gott. And here is to three Brothers who looked up to followed their big Brother to
the Marines and to manhood. God Bless the Marine Corps and the young recruits that carry the pride forward.
John Madden, Sgt (0311/72-76)
Bravo Co, 1st Battalion, 1st MarDiv
When my friend Danny and I enlisted in 1975, there were six of us all ready to join the Marines. When the bus left early that morning for AFEES in OKC,OK, there were only two of us. My dad told me stories of his boot camp and what to expect, and Danny's brother Roger told him what to expect, but the reality was much stranger. Waaaay stranger. My first indication of the I.Q. quotient of the herd I was traveling in came at AFEES. It all began to come unraveling when we were required to bend over (jaybird-nekkid) as the examining doctor yelled, "Spread your cheeks!" Those who already knew the drill, like us, complied. Then came the inevitable bellow, "I mean your OTHER cheeks!" There's always some in every herd who don't get the word.
SENATOR REID'S BILL 2051
Howdy Sgt Grit: I've been reading quite a bit of your news letters and enjoy most of them. "Keep up the good work".
I have a big problem and so do all military retirees in all branches of military service. I thought this might be a way of getting the word out and the support we military retirees need from all hands as well as the civilian community.
The Senator Reid's Bill 2051 is about complete con-current receipt of service connected disability and the military retirement. For those folks who are unfamiliar with this Bill let me put it more in layman terminology. Example; Say a military man or woman who served only four, five or six years and has a Service Connected Disability of 40% he/she might receive $488.00 (depending on marital status). Or for 100% approx $1500-2000.00 per months. (Again these dollar amounts are not exact). Now lets look at a Military Retired Serviceman/woman. If he/she retired on twenty years of faithful service and filed for disability and was to receive 40% or 100% Service-connected Disability, the government
will take the money from that Retired veteran's income and give it
back to him/her tax free. Now.......Is that fair to the Retirees?
It's just one of many, "Stick it to the Retired Veterans." The
Politicians claim that it would be to much of a tax burden for the
people. Who the hell are the tax paying people??? We are, the
military men and women who served this country.
No offense intended, but lets look at a brief history of how are Country is willing to help it's citizens. We paid out millions to our Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII for payment of our wrong doing. Now the black race are pushing for a class action law suit against our Government for the slavery and hardship we put their ancestors through. Our Government recently settled with the Japanese people, Eleven million dollars, for the tragic sinking of a vessel several years ago by one of our submarines. Just last week in the National news, "Fleecing of America," there were some interesting topics. Such as; The Government causing the tax payers a 160 million dollars loss for the Sacagawea One dollar mint that didn't pan out. Another topic was the National Science Foundation, a Judith Hall has been studying,
"Smiling," Yep! you got it, "Smiling" Over several years it has
cost the Tax Paying Citizens a whopping 505 million dollars and
recently another 230 thousand dollars.
Now, I ask you........Does our Government really have a good answer or concern? That by paying it's military Retirees a separate disability from the Retiree's fund it would be over taxing it's citizens.
Lets get real, Senators, Congressman/Women. The Government mis-manages our hard earned tax dollars and then they have the nerve to say to our Retired Military Disabled Serviceman/women the Government can't afford the heavy financial burden. I for example am 40% disabled and 62 years old. I lose $5856.00 in disability compensation a year. I've been disabled since late 1989. I for one am not seeking retroactive pay, but just have our Government approve this Senator Reid's Bill 2051 for
this fiscal year budget. So all you military folks, retired or not,
Families and Friends of military serviceman/women help by contacting your Congress/Senators. Tell them their obligations to their countryman/women who served on the battlefields in far off lands. For the years of suffering and lonely days and months of families being separated from one another because they choose to serve their Country honorably and now are still suffering from battle scars, nightmares and permanent injuries for life. We also deserve a just and fair compensation for our injuries. But don't insult us by giving back our retirement funds and say this is for your disability compensation.
A last note of concern for the young folks who are now in the service. We old FARTS are long in our years. The Government is notorious for waiting out it's servicemen/women until we are parted from this earth and our generation is of no concern to the Politicians' careers. I worked with the Veterans Administration and see it everyday with our Government. So for the young generation by helping out your old counterparts you will be benefiting yourselves when the time comes and you file for disability.
Semper Fi.................Don Griffith, 1stSgt, USMC (Ret)
A MARINE MOM
I wasn't terribly happy the day my 17-year-old son told me that he wanted to join the United States Marine Corps. Ryan was a boy from a professional family with many educational options--and he wanted to join the armed forces? I signed the forms permitting him to enlist, but I did so with a heavy heart, fearing he was throwing his future away.
When my son graduated from high school, his gown draped with ribbons for academic and music honors, I envied the proud parents all around me. The program in my hands reflected my feelings. Page after page extolled the college choices of hundreds of graduates--yet there wasn't a single acknowledgment of Ryan or those of his classmates who had chosen to enter military service. Joining the Marine Corps seemed a step backward for my
intelligent and talented son.
Boy, was I ever wrong!
I began to glimpse the truth early in my son's military career. Ryan told me of a talk he'd had with his drill instructor during boot camp. The subject was respect. "When I speak," the DI said, "you stand at attention and say 'Yes, sir!' But I've only been tucking you in at night for about six weeks. How do you treat your mother, who's been doing this your whole life? Do you treat her with respect? Do you call her 'Ma'am'?"
I was quick to assure my son that calling me "Ma'am" was completely unnecessary, but a tiny quiet part of my brain began to glow. How long had it been since I had seen or heard public praise of motherhood? As editor of OrganizedHome.Com, I could count on one or two e-mails a week objecting to our site's focus on home life, and complaining "I thought we were past all that!" Yet the Marine Corps acted as if motherhood mattered, as if respect
mattered, as if even a "good kid" like my son still had a lot to learn about honor and duty and character.
As the months passed, I saw more and more changes in my child. "I used to have to force myself to do my homework in high school," Ryan told me, "but now, I have self-discipline!" When he completed his military occupational specialty school, the first thing he did was visit me, his mother--before he saw his girlfriend, before he saw his former classmates. During that visit, I could see he was still the boy I knew, but he had also become a man, strong and confident, calm and balanced. He had grown inside far more than he had
on the outside.
A few weeks later, I received a beautiful letter from the commandant of his training school. Ryan had graduated first in his class, the commandant wrote, adding that his achievement was "possible only because of the parental foundation you have lain; for this, we render the ultimate salute."
The Marine Corps was thanking ME? Holding this letter, the last remnants of resistance to a son in military service crumbled away. The Yuppie parent capitulated and in her place stood a stand-tall, gung-ho Marine Mom.
In the past few days, this Marine Mom has had good reason to think about my child, my home and my country. Our future may soon lie in the hands of hundreds of thousands of young people just like my son, together with the military leaders who have taught and transmitted the values that have so enriched my child.
Corporal Ryan Swain, USMC, is just 20 years old.
But Corporal Ryan Swain, USMC, is a man of honor and courage. A man who is pledged to lay down his life for his home, his country. Together with young men and women from all parts of the United States of America, he is ready to defend us and our way of life.
As his mother, I can't help but think about the possibility that my child could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
I am not afraid. But I do have something to say.
In the past few days, many have asked that I speak out as editor of
OrganizedHome.Com. E-mails urge me to publicize blood drives and fundraisers and memorials. All are worthy efforts, all will make a difference--but none of these pleas have said quite what I want to say.
As a Marine Mom, I would ask, "Will we be worthy?" Will the weeks to come see a flurry of waving flags--but no real changes of heart? Will we dissipate our shock and grief and horror with symbolic acts, or will we use these emotions to fuel new commitment, new idealism, new devotion to the values that have built our nation?
What can we do for our country at this time of trial? Go home and invest ourselves in the lives of our children, our spouses, and our neighbors. Build strong homes and we will build a strong nation. Teach children the virtues of honor and discipline and self-sacrifice. Embrace family, friends and neighbors in a spirit of tolerance and respect, and seek out those who are alone. Be unashamed of standing for the values that my son and his fellow service members have pledged to defend with their lives.
What can we do for our country at this time of trial? Bring a new sense of dedication and service to our homes, schools, churches and communities. Give time and money and talents to make better lives for those around us. If a need is there, meet it. Support charities. Show, by our own sacrifice, that we value the sacrifices which may be asked of our service men and women in the coming months.
What can we do for our country at this time of trial? Prove, by civic
participation, that our system of government remains strong and vibrant and relevant to a new century. Vote. Run for office. Speak out on issues. Communicate with our representatives. Fly the flag proudly, and exercise those freedoms of speech and religion that have been hard-bought throughout our history by men and women just like my son.
What can we do for our country at this time of trial? It is not the editor of OrganizedHome.Com who answers, but the mother of a Marine who speaks. We can BE that nation to which my son has pledged his life's blood.
He believes. Can we do less?
--Cynthia Townley Ewer
Copyright 2001 by Threadneedle Press. To serve our nation in this time of grief, this essay may be shared freely among your friends online, provided it is published in full and includes the byline. God bless America!
Founded in January 2001, US Marine Corps Food Service Association membership is open to Officers, Enlisted and qualified Civilian Employees of Marine Corps Food Service including Active Duty, Reserve, Retired, and Former Marines and their spouses and the widows/widowers of qualified deceased Marines.
Current membership boasts over 2,700 man years of dedicated Food Service to the United States Marine Corps. Qualified Marines may obtain additional information and membership applications by visiting the Associations website
Edwin T. Gray, Major USMC (RET)
Secretary, USMCFSA for the Directors
A QUIRK AT HQMC
Not sure what area to send this, so I am sending it to you and you
can post it in the right area.
I am writing to tell you my story and the story of a Marine I called friend.
My name is John Walker. I served in the Marine Corps reserve from 1979-1982 and active duty from 1992 until 1990. My friend is Luis Nava. he is more then my friend though he saved my life and I will always be in debt to him.
I first met Luis at Range Control Bearmat, 29 Palms California. He was a radio operator and I worked in Air Control/AntiAir Warfare. We worked as a team managing the ground and air ranges in and around 29 Palms.
The two of us and the other Marines who were there worked and played just as you would find with any other group of Marines. We watched over Caxes and directed medivacs. We helped to keep Marines safe while they were practicing for war. While we were doing this, we never expected that one of us would eventually die.
Towards the end of the year, about November I think. I received orders sending me to Camp Lejuene and 8th Marines. I wasn't thrilled but started making perpetrations. Being married and having kids makes moving a war all its own as any Marine who has gotten orders will know and understand.
About 3 weeks to a month before I shipped out, a change came down. The orders were changed and my friend Luis Nava's name was given the orders intended for me. The time frame was not changed so he had to rush around and make all the perpetrations.
Up at Bearmat, we gave him a going away party and told him how much we would miss him. We never realized it would be the last time we ever saw him.
Over the next few months we continued to do our jobs and followed the news of world events. 1st Lebanon happened. We also followed the news happening in Lebanon. Somewhere in there we noted that 8th Marines was heading to Lebanon.
We heard about the bombing and were shocked like everyone else. How could anyone do such a thing to members of our beloved Corps. I did not realize my friend was over there. As news came out we started to see names. One of the crew noticed Luis Nava's name and we wondered. I became really afraid for what may have happened. Latter that day, our Captain informed us it was our friend and comrade. Luis was dead, killed by the terrorist.
I was in shock. I also felt guilty. By a quirk at HQMC the names on
the orders had been changed. I was sitting with my crew at 29 Palms while my friend was lying dead.
How does one bring that knowledge and make peace with it. How do you loose a friend knowing it could have been you.
I still think of that. It is never far from me. I know I am not the
first person this has happened to nor will I have been the last.
I have been to Camp Lejune and looked at the wall they put up for those brave Marines. I have touched my friends name and traced my fingers over each letter.
I wanted to share this with you and every other Marine that stops by. Let us never forget be we past, present or future Marines. We are a Band of Brothers. Once and Always Marines.
Thanks for reading.
Concerning the apparently false claims: When I returned to college in 1963 after service in the Corps, I submitted by DD214 and received several hours college credit. My college transcript contains the notation that the hours were credited from a DD214. Most everybody knew about this available credit, so I wonder if a check of the college transcript of this guy might provide a clue? L.A. Reynolds, SGT USMCR.
My Wife & I were sitting here and I was telling her the dilemma that
Maj. Cox was having. My wife asked if the professor had done his time & not really cared about it. Sorry Guy's You have to forgive my wife, she was never married to me when I was a Marine so she doesn't know. So I set her on the straight & narrow. Every Marine male & female knows who Chesty Puller is, Every Marine knows the Birthplace & the Birth date of the Marine Corps. These basic bits of history are drilled into our heads in Boot Camp or OCS. Every Marine Should know, should be able to rattle off their enlistment history (duty stations) from boot camp up until the day you were discharges. places & dates & duty stations don't lie either. I know I can. Can you remember where you were when 1/8 H&SCo lost all those Marines in the Beirut Bombing, I can,
can you remember where you were when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I can . I was stationed in MCAS Iwakuni and once the word had gotten to us every Marine on the Base Wing Side Or Main Side headed for the barber shop, High & Tights and Flat tops took over & a high state of alert. The Point is no matter where you were in the Marine Corps when small things
like these happened. You are stuck in a point in history. Use those
history points & the professors "service dates" to your advantage.
Do a little homework on his service dates and the truth will come out. Give'm hell major. The worst thing that I hate is someone who doesn't deserve the title, who never sweated through boot camp, field ops, had to be separated from loved ones for months at a time, of a United States Marine.
Semper Fi, Mac.
Devil Dog for Life,
Christopher D. Taylor, CPL, USMC
An a**hole at work claims to have shot a perfect 250 in boot camp.
Is there any way to verify this?
Sgt Bob Orlove
Jason Grabills letter about penalties for wannabees brought to mind a situation that's pending here in Northern Illinois. A sitting circuit court judge has prominently displayed his Medal of Honor for a number of years, proudly proclaiming his heroism. Fortunately this wannabee was exposed by a patriot. When his deception saw the light of honesty he dropped back to the status of victim. He was an alcoholic and it caused him to do things like this. He ignored calls for his resignation for a period of time; but ultimately succumbed. The continuing issue now appears whether or not to revisit cases he presided over to see if his diminished capacity for integrity denied the parties due process. Those who would denigrate the valor of we who served can have long term effects beyond their immediate gratification.
Jim Brown 1958-1968 USMC
What do you do when you've got the goods on a phony? There's one in Broken Arrow, OK who drives a black Chevy pickup with OK tags adorned with Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star icons. He's an addict who supports his habit by finding out where terminally ill hospice patients live (coincidentally, his wife works for Blue Cross/Blue Shield). He goes to their homes masquerading as a hospice caregiver only to steal their life-sustaining morphine and dilaudid. He hit my mother's house two weeks before she died of cancer. He's been arrested several times for this and given probation. Last time they really fixed his wagon--they gave him a
suspended sentence. Silly me. I thought when you're on probation and commit a felony you go to jail. Not in Tulsa. So when I saw his license tag I ran the FOIA check on him. Squid. Vietnam service was aboard the Coral Sea offshore. Ended his military time with 6 months in the brig and a BCD. Brought this to the attention of Tulsa and Broken Arrow cops, OK Highway Patrol, Tulsa Co. DA and local media. Yawn. Sorry. Nothing they could do but send him a "cut that out!" letter. So what's the point of doing the legwork to out these scumbag phonies if nobody can do anything about it?
Cpl., 68-72, 2455897
Sgt Grit I liked the response to fraud and wanabees in your newsletter however it did not say who to contact when a person violates Title 18 of the United States Code. I work for the Department of Defense and an individual in my office is wearing around a purple heart ribbon. Since he was never on activate duty an only in the reserves I am certain he has not earned that
ribbon. A lot of us Vets are pissed off at this situation and would like to report it to the proper authorities, however we do not know who to contact. Could you help me out. Thanks.
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and
wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." --John Adams
"Our Government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we
derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty,
and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these
principles, they cannot believe in our Government." --Calvin Coolidge
Just finished the newsletter, I think the phrase Sgt. Wells
was referring to goes like this.
I don't want a B,A.R.
I just want a candy bar
Lead me to the Coke machine
I'm a poggie bait Marine
Jim Heine 1stSgt Retired
"If we continue to accommodate, continue to back up and retreat,
eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum."
Being a hobby gunsmith and former Marine is a challenge for me. When I hear about the debate of CLIP vs. MAGAZINE, I wonder to myself what does it matter as long as there are rounds on target?
Many Thanks for a great set of newsletters for a nostalgic Marine
(former/ current doesn't matter).
Tom Frock, Cpl, 7011 Aircraft Recovery, 86-90
I went through Marine Corps Boot Camp from May 1951 in San Diego Boot Platoon 171, right next to our base was a B-36 airplane factory one day when we were out marching when one of the B-36's took off, being from a small town in Indiana I had never seen a plane that big so as I marched I was watching it, when I had this terrible pain in the side of my head, my drill instructor bounced my M-1 Rifle off the side of my head, and said "If you wanted to watch Airplanes, why in the Hell! didn't you join the Air Force"?
Phil Street Former Marine 1951 - 1954
I currently work at a treatment center for sex offenders. At times we'll get new placements that have absolutely no remorse or sympathy for the children that they victimized. Whenever they do not follow the program rules, they earn consequences. As soon as they find out what their consequen