Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #24

"...[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own." --Benjamin Franklin

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"Let's celebrate all that's right with our great country.... Let
us ... honor those American institutions that, in this interesting year, did not flounder or fail.  Much has been said of those that did -- Wall Street, big business, big accounting, the Catholic Church, the FBI and CIA.  But most didn't.  Some stayed good and some improved and some seem to summon a metaphor: While the towers of the institution tottered, the men and women who worked
within them took the stairs two at a time, hauling 80 pounds of gear to save the structure.  So: Let us hold a single sparkler to the lights that didn't fail -- The U.S. military.... Cops and firemen.... Airline pilots and stewards.... The men and women of newspapers.... American television.... American wit.... Science and medicine.... The Internet.... The local church.... The American Dream...." --Peggy Noonan

"What makes our revolution unique and so exciting ... is that it changed the very concept of government.  Here was a new nation telling the world that it was conceived in liberty; that all men are created equal with God-given rights, and that power ultimately resides in  'We the people.'  We sometimes forget this great truth, and we never should, because putting people first has always been America's secret weapon.  It's the way we've kept the spirit of our
revolution alive -- a spirit that drives us to dream and dare, and take great risks for a greater good. ...Well, I'm convinced that we're getting that spirit back. The nation is pulling together.  We're looking to the future with new hope and confidence -- and we know we can make America great again by putting the destiny of this nation back in the hands of the people.  And why shouldn't we?  Because, after all, we are Americans." --Ronald Reagan

The Founders of our country felt so strongly about civil liberties that they insisted on inserting the Bill of Rights. Marines and many others have served and died to preserve those liberties.  In my opinion, no American should be willing to compromise  any civil liberties in the interest of security.

Responses to Pledge of Allegiance:

I Pledge Allegiance -- By Red Skelton
> <>

What will you tell your
children and grandchildren when they ask what you did
in the war??? Are you going to tell them that you were to scared to fight for your freedom and way of life??  This is not a nation based one singular idea, but a nation based on the ideas of everyone. Change is inevitable, but is the nation going in the right direction? Are we setting an example for our children, and our children's children to follow? Are we leaving a legacy for the generations to come that will be remembered as great, or just forgotten
and passed off in the history books as tragic mistakes? President Kennedy said it best, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country."
M.L. Brown
Sgt   USMC 1987-1996
Marine then and now
Semper Fidelis

HooRah for Dennis Miller!! He said recently on his show, regarding the judges who declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional:

"So, Your Honor, the Pledge is unconstitutional because it says 'Under God'. Guess that means when you were sworn in with your hand on a Bible, and at the end of your oath repeated, 'So Help Me God' that makes your job unconstitutional, therefore you have no job, which means your ruling doesn't mean SH*T.
Submitted by: Robert Carr

I Pledge (if I am emotionally so inclined, but otherwise make no commitment whatsoever) Allegiance (or if not, at least a passing interest in) to the Cloth Symbol (known by most but not necessarily myself as "The Flag") of the loosely associated group of governmental regulatory bodies known as The United States of America (which may also be referred to as a group of ethnically diversified persons living in the same place at the same time) and to the Republic (please refer to the aforementioned disclaimer regarding the USA) for which it stands, one nation (please refer to the aforementioned disclaimer regarding the USA), under (or maybe even over) an unspecified deity (or not if you so choose so as not to possibly offend any member of the ethnically diversified group herein assembled to recite or not to recite this
statement of allegiance or interest depending on the mood of the moment) indivisible (or invisible or visible or whatever) with Liberty (because you have to have liberty even if there is no commitment or responsibility whatsoever) and Justice (whatever you may define that to be) for All (and by "all" we may mean just one lousy individual who wants to, with the help of his A.C.L.U. court appointed attorney, ruin everything for everybody else).

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

...Something isn't quite right here.  Yes, we do believe that everyone has the right to express their opinion...but not FORCE it on everyone else without their consent.  If one person can start a "class action suit" to remove words from this pledge, why can't someone start a class action suit to keep them?  Why does the person who objects to these words just, personally, omit them when they say the pledge?  Chris Armstrong

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God,
then we will be a nation gone under." --Ronald Reagan

Just read an article by Mike Barnicle in the NY Daily News Sunday 7, 2002 about Ted Williams, a famous Marine Pilot who recently died.  The story relates a visit the author made in 1999 when Williams visited Boston.

"Then Williams turned to Luke Russert, Tim Russet's son, who wore a gray Army T-shirt.  Fingering the T-shirt, Williams said to the boy, "Luke, take that off.  The Marine Corps was the best team I ever played on.  Get their T-shirt." "


Spoken like a real Marine.

Your chance to make a timeless tribute has arrived! We want you to share your story of survival by honoring the selfless deeds of medical personnel during wartime. Your account will be compiled in a Military Medical Appreciation Book.  The profits from this book will bee used to find the National Medical Memorial and Youth Education Center, Inc., but as a contributor, you will receive your copy of this commendable hardback book free!

On July 4th:
First of all I want to thank everyone who served their country as a Marine.  Next I want to thank all the mothers, sisters, girlfriends, children, brothers, and fathers of Marines who are actively serving now.  My child needed some straightening up and I enrolled him in Young Marines.  I hope you all have heard of it.  You won't get paid to volunteer with them necessarily but you will have the opportunity to put on your uniform every or every other Saturday and teach this sloppy younger generation who has seen too much TV what life is really about and the discipline needed to survive in it.   When I watch him obey them and say Yes Sir I CANNOT wipe the smile off my face.  Today he will be directing traffic for five hours at a 4th of July event.  As a mother I could worry about how hot it will be and how his new military boots could be uncomfortable.
Or I can back off and remember he has been in juvenile court and this is exactly the kind of thing he needs to straighten up.  So say a little prayer for a kid we'll call "J" for confidentiality purposes that the Young Marines program will help keep him on the straight and narrow along with his belief in God.  He just got back from a campout where he had to make sleeping quarters with a tarp, cook without utensils.  Don't you guys want to go volunteer for Young Marines and be a part of that.  I think they have a national web site and chapter info.  Now I need to close so I can go investigate how to get that MTV crap banned from my television.
Sempre Fi--- A Mom

Note: See the Sgt Grit links page for 9 links to Young Marine

Sgt. Grit,
    What is an American?

    Americans come from many different places and different backgrounds with different beliefs.  An American is many different things, but can be simply stated:  Honor, Courage, Commitment, Loyalty, and Pride.

    Citizens young and old, all alike, all honor the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.  All are sharp and attentive while the Colors march on by, all four hands are over our hearts.  These all display only a small portion of our honor for this great, God blessed country.

   The buildings tumbled and many lives were lost.   Sadness and fear swept across our nation.  Across the country all of the school's TVs go on, all our flags at half mast, blood banks and the Red Cross are turning people away because they have too many volunteers already.  Americans are making cash donations and food donations, our men and women are ready and willing to serve any way they can.  Even our youth is seeking ways to help by volunteering at places such as the VA or donating this weeks allowance.  Standing up for, and doing what is right
no matter what the rest of the world thinks - that is courage and that is an American.

   Simply stated, if the firefighters, police officers, members of the armed forces, and many more, don't show commitment to this great country on a daily basis, then I don't know who does.

   Loyalty is the ready and willingness in an American to fight, bleed, and die for a cause, a belief, to die for The Stars and Stripes and everything they stand for.

   Along with loyalty, Americans have pride and they have earned their sense of pride.  The whole world believed the same thing and a daring few ventured into the unknown.  They embraced new ideas, left behind old prejudices and they succeeded, creating the most powerful and wealthy country in the world based on one dream, an American dream.  After all that, Americans have defiantly earned the right to be proud of themselves and their country.  Now that.....Is an American!  God Bless America!

Semper Fi,
Sgt. Michelle Taylor
Treasure Valley Young Marines

I would like to share a moment that occurred recently that gave me a tremendous burst of "pride" for myself and in my young son.

A few weeks ago I took my 8 yr. old son to a local air show here in the Northeast.  He is enthralled with things military and particularly things Marine.  Being a typical boy he is not given to much patience.  He would not wait for more than a moment in a line to view an aircraft before he would bolt from the line asking, "Dad let's find the Marine display with the small arms".  Well no such display was available--at least a Marine display.  We did, however, find an National Guard tent with several weapons available to see and hold: M-16, SAW, and a .50 I showed him how to operate each of the weapons etc. He was just delighted !

Throughout the day we kept coming back to that tent so he could handle these various weapons.  It got so the folks in the tent would smile at him and me with each return visit.

On the final visit of the day to this tent there were perhaps 20 other "civilians" there looking things over.  Mostly young boys, some dads and few moms.  On this visit my son, Connor--now very well familiar with the layout of the gear in the tent--put on a "steel pot", donned the flak jacket, and the web gear and promptly picked up the SAW  and just stood off to one side of the tent just beaming !  I was sitting down about 10 feet away savoring his pleasure and enjoyment.  I was wearing my USMC T shirt, my USMC ball cap with my division and unit pins and some of my ribbons etc.  You all know the look I am sure; there was no guessing as to who and what I was.  I commented: "Connor you look to be a warrior" In any event at that very moment a "40ish" woman saw my son, as did the others in the tent, and blurted out "Oh MY GOD"  She looked to me and asked " Are you his father?"  I so acknowledged.  She then said to me; "Is that his future, how could you let him do this?"  I sensed a tone of disdain in her comment.  I stood, smiled politely at her and noted:  "It could well be, if that is what he wants, it is certainly in his genes.  And if that is what he decides to do, you madam, should appreciate what that means to your well-being and security."  She gasped and grunted some snide parting comment grabbed her young son my the hand and yanked him out of the tent--much to his displeasure.

In any event just a quick exchange that left me flushed with pride that my son, even at 8 would want to think of serving, and that myself at 58 had served and would serve again if age were not so intrusive.

Several of the "doggies" in the tent thanked me for speaking up.  My son, still fully outfitted, was showing other kids how the SAW operated and missed the entire event.  I will carry the moment with me forever.
Phil Mason
USMC  1962-1966



Sgt. Grit,
Just a note to say how much I love the letter. It really makes my day. I served proudly with 1/3 at Kaneohe MACS, now called Marine Corps Base I hear. I started out as a Remington Raider (0121) in 1983 and gave back well over $1,000 of a signing bonus so I could become an 0311 grunt. I then went on to SULC Platoon as a Scout Sniper and finally finished as a Tactics Instructor with the SULC or Squad Leaders Course in 1987. I've never regretted giving back the signing bonus and feel I have something to offer in regards to the discussion of open squad bays vs 2 and 3 man rooms. As a Remington Raider we had rooms and the camaraderie was terrible. Once we switched back to squad bays we became a much tighter unit. We saw each other much more, spent off duty time together (mostly at the 311 club or Moose Mcgillicuddies in downtown Waikiki) and I thought it was great. We always had open squad bays when I was with STA and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. When we deployed on float and saw the living conditions of the people in the Philippines, Thailand etc it just reminded me that we would at least have a roof over our heads and full bellies when we got back from the field. Who can remember the houses in the Philippines made from the cardboard C-rat boxes? I also feel I have something to offer in the argument that the Marines of today are somehow softer or less trained than those of the "Old Corps". I've been a cop for 15 years and I've seen some pretty interesting recruits during that time. Today's generation is, for the most part, lazy, sloppy and unwilling to get the job done. They always question authority and rarely focus on the task at hand. The newly discharged Marines however are always squared away and will do whatever it takes to complete the mission. No whining about standing in the rain, getting shot at or having to fight with some crackhead. They just get it done. Period.  I've rambled long enough. Please add my email so I can hear from any Hawaii Marines or Hogs from STA that want to drop me a line. If you went through Squad Leaders Course sometime in '87 and remember a whacked out instructor probing the perimeter in the Kahukus wearing
nothing but the very top cover portion of a Ghillie suit, drop me a line also.  Semper Fi, Rich Bahret "BayRat"

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
--Thomas Paine

Sgt. Grit,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for adding my reunion notice to the last two editions your newsletters. While the response to the reunion notice hasn't been great, it's still nice to know that you are there for us to encourage the reunions.  As my notice states, this will be our first reunion since we left Nam, 37 years ago. Surprisingly, we have been able to locate 51 of the 196 members of the Squadron to date, and we are still looking. Even more amazing is what some of these Marines have accomplished in the past 37 years. I guess the silent majority of the Nam vets still prevails in attaining goals and moving on with their lives. Not the stereo-type of what the media has created of the military over the years. Thanks again.
Thomas Boyle, Sgt.
MACS-9, MWHG-1, 1st MAW
Chu Lai, 1965

"...[W]e live in a great and free country only because our
forefathers were willing to wage war rather than accept the
peace that spells destruction." --Teddy Roosevelt

'Heard a great line for a USMC bumper sticker during a stint as a Red Cross Volunteer in New York following the World Trade Center bombing.

About me, for what it's worth:

I joined the Marines on my 17th birthday in 1944 and after Boot Camp, MCRD San Diego and Sea School, managed to get to forward areas for the last two battles of World War II, which puts me in the youngest group of the WWII age cohort to experience hostile file. Now at 75, I watch our numbers dwindle, not without a catch in the throat.

Between 1945 and the invasion of South Korean in 1950, the Corps had shrunk from 498,000 men to 60,000, and from 6 full divisions to two provisional brigades. As MacArthur's garrison troops from Japan and the ROK's were squeezed into the Pusan perimeter, the Corps was commanded to get over there and straighten out the mess. The quickest way to get up to strength was to re-cycle the "Gyrenes" as we were called then, who had been discharged in 1946.  We were given 12 days to report for
physical and to bring tooth brush and nightie, 'cause if we passed the physical, we would leave that night for Camp Lejeune; we did, and we did. I spent my Korean time at Lejeune and so was not among those who ended up as the Chosin Frozen. I came home from that tour a buck sergeant, but bereft of friends who were carried out on the 60 mile fight to the sea. (An incredible accomplishment even by the standards of the 'Corps!)

In "retirement" from the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, my wife and I became Red Cross volunteers. Since qualifying for "nationals", we have been deployed for five national disasters around the country.  Among those was an assignment to the Family Service Center, Pier 94, New York, last October, where we managed the staff and family dining rooms.  Staff included contingents from all the armed forces.  One day I sat down at a table where some Marines and sailors were eating lunch.  After exchanging "Semper Fi's" with the our people, one of the sailors,
very respectful of my age I suppose, (he called me "Sir".) asked if I was a former Marine.  Before I could answer, a Lance Corporal spoke up:

"There are no ex-Marines!"

I would proudly display that as a bumper sticker on my car.

 Semper Fi!
Father Ernest K St Johns
Albuquerque, NM

As far as "are we growing more complacent as a people since there have been no more "attacks" since the Anthrax mailings?"-I can tell you from first-hand experience on the front lines of both the "wars" on drugs and terrorism, that this complacency is a fact of life. Many of the measures put in place post Sept.11th by the Customs Service were of the "feel-good" smoke and mirrors variety and not much in the way of actual substance.  Any real improvements mentioned to managers by the working stiffs on the front lines were roundly ignored. "Just wave the flag" they told us all. Of this, I am particularly sad to inform you fellow Marines. The "guard" has indeed been let down, and we now await the next impending disaster. The many errors of the INS of late are a small part of the story. The regular media picks and chooses stories based on these errors, yet offers no real solutions.  Perhaps lack of funding for enforcement operations at INS can be seen as the main culprit here? But did I see that published anywhere in the main stream media? The answer to that is a resounding NO ! Much need to be done is this new "war" on terror, yet sadly here at home, not much of substance is being done, at least as far as this Marine can see. And besides  all of that, Homeland Security reminds me way too much of the Hitleresque Fatherland Security.  Semper Fi !
Dwight Powers,1st FSR/FLC,Vietnam '68 and '69.

This is a reply to Airman Fred Lewis's letter complaining about the " whining " from Marines and Army that they had it harder in Vietnam.  First of all the " ass covering " of Marines you claim is minimal at best.  The majority of close air support missions flown for the Marines came from Marines and Navy.  Secondly your story on sharing the same bunkers and billeting.......yeah you're probably the base that is.  That was cake duty.  Go out on
patrol, set ambushes, get ambushed, set hasty perimeters, live in shallow fighting holes........go actually fight then tell the Marines how hard you had it.  Everyone in Vietnam went through their hardships and dangers but don't tell the world the Grunts are whining. Attitudes like yours bring the verbal abuse you have recieved.  You served your country in time of need and should be proud , and I personally thank you for doing that. But to make statements like you did is pathetic.
Cpl MacLeod
USMC 86'-92'

Sgt Grit,
       My name is Ron Poolaw, Jr., and I served in Somalia during "Operation Restore Hope" from December 92 to the end of June 93.  I was stationed with 1st FSSG, HQBN COMM CO, Camp Pendleton at the time I was deployed to Somalia.   My MOS was 2531 Field Radio Operator but was cross training to be a 2532 Multi-Channel Radio Operator.  We started out at the pier and were then moved to the embassy which was called the golf course slash sandbox near the university.  After a couple of months there, I was transferred from my parent unit to CSSD-17 to do food conveys, finally I was transferred back to the pier to BSSG-5.  I will never forget the day we stepped off that commercial flight and were told to form a line for ammo.  This had to be a dream because the only other time I was issued ammo was on a rifle range.  But, what I
guess I'm trying to get at is that I finally watch the movie "Black Hawk Down" and after seeing it, brought back some memories while I was there in Somalia.  I don't know if I could ever watch that movie again just cause it was so real to me.  Wished there was some shirts or other things that show that you were a Somalia Veteran.  We may not have been considered a war but the units I served with took some heavy gun fire from time to time.  Just thought I'd write this cause it has been on my mind since watching the movie and looking at the pictures I have from being there.  I'm PROUD to be a UNITED STATES MARINE.  I would like to also say we need to keep all of the men and women serving in our prayers.  SEMPER FI!!!!
Ron Poolaw
SGT  91-99

Got you beat 10 days ago I got open heart surgery. a new aorta I'm 48 they say nobody my age gets this operation. I told them I was a Marine and the Sgt of the Phila Highway patrol. they said never mind.

Sgt. Grit,
Spent this 4th of July driving my 1965 M37B1 3/4 truck (weapons carrier to you old timers) in two parades, one for a little community in Tustin, CA, with my partner in crime and his wife (he's a reserve Naval officer engineering type, has the right attitude: "I'll solve your problem, but if you give me any problems I will feed you to my Marine.") and had a great time. Second parade was in Anaheim Hills, in support of the Orange County Chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association, bunch of rough talking old farts who earned their right to talk trash at such garden parties as Peliliu, Tarawa, the Chosin, and Viet Nam.  These characters were leering at pretty girls, smoking, joking, and having a hell of a good time, and I was happy as hell to have them aboard.  There were calls of "Semper Fi" and salutes from all directions, and we were able to "pass the love" to the Marines on the sidelines.  One of the old Marines is Master Sergeant Pennybaker, who, due to health problems, recently had his remaining leg amputated.  MSgt Penny served in WW2, Korea, and VN.  In every parade, he shouts out to the crowd, "I love you all!" and the crowd goes wild.  I was glad to spend part of our nation's birthday in the company of such heroes.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. Benson

I must share a quick note about the best 4th of July I've ever had yesterday.  My wife and I bought no fireworks, planned no picnic, and stayed home from the crowds.  So, what made it the best 4th?  In the mid-afternoon, I received a phone call from one of my daughter's old high school classmates, a Lance Corporal currently stationed at Camp Lejeune.  He just wanted to wish me a happy 4th of July.  Boy, did my heart swell up with pride, and my eyes swelled with trears.  This young man reported on his advancement to squad leader, and his application to recon.  His ultimate
assignment, though, is sniper.  A fine young man, and an outstanding young Marine!  One again, my day was made, by a Marine!  Thanks,
Tom Bearden
Proud son of a Mustang Major (deceased)

Sgt. Grit,
       I'm really glad that you have setup this newsletter. I myself want to be a Marine and I will read anything that I can get my hands on that has to do with the Corps. A quote on your website is "Freedom has a taste that the protected will never know". I love that quote. When people ask me what I want to do with my life, I tell them simply that I want to be a Marine, not a particular job in the Marines, just a Marine. In my opinion, no matter what job you have in the Corps.., it's an amazing job that demands respect. Sure you might be able to do the same job in the Army, of Air Force, or even the private sector, but the fact that someone is doing it as a Marine makes them rise above everyone else.  I know that some Marines get pissed that someone would choose to be a lawyer or an accountant over an infantry man or a tanker, but the point is they are ALL still MARINES. Those are the key words. I respect anyone who wears that uniform. I had the privilege of seeing the Marines on
the USS Peleui (forgive spelling) come into Pearl Harbor. When I saw that ship come in and those Harriers on the deck with sailors and Marines standing together, I felt a feeling of pride and praise. I knew I wanted to be a Marine before that, but when I saw that huge ship come in, I wanted it more than I ever have before. I don't think there is a more honorable job in the entire world than a United States Marine. My friends all think I'm weird for wanting that life. Like that quote says, they'll never understand it. I feel a need to protect this nation, even more since September 11th. I want to do anything I can. When I see Marines in public, or when they come to school, I talk to them as much as I can.  There is no one that I respect more than a United States Marine. no matter what their job, when I see that uniform, whether there's only one chevron, or if there are four stars, I know that man earned his way into wearing that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. There is no question in my mind that that man or woman deserves the utmost respect. I want to wear that uniform and I want to protect this nation so my family and friends and fellow Americans can go to sleep and not worry if they're going to die tomorrow. They will never have to think about that, and neither will I, because I know that the United States Marine Corps. is on permanent watch, and always will be.  God bless America and the Marines.  From, DJ Moore  Age: 15

For many years I have seen our nation slowly being torn apart by an attitude of complacency and political correctness.  I continually hear how "I" should be tolerant of others while those others are never tolerant of me.  I'm to be respectful of the customs of people from other lands and told that AMERICAN CUSTOMS make these people UNCOMFORTABLE or OFFEND them.  The United
States of America has an identity and we are slowly losing it.  We are supposed to be a "United" country, yet we continue to identify ourselves as (something)-American.  What ever happened to just being an "AMERICAN" regardless of where you of your ancestors came from.  A hyphenated society only serves to separate us not unite us.

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants.  Just like our Corps the US is looking for a few  "GOOD" people.  However, the current policy of the government that allows just anyone to enter our land is dangerous.  I think this was proven on 11 September, yet we failed to learn the lesson.  We extend OUR rights to individuals who enter illegally.  Now we are even expected to furnish rest stops along the unguarded Mexican Border to make their trip more comfortable.  Then, once inside our borders we supply them with medical
care and lawyers at taxpayer expense.  I expect we are doing the same for the illegals coming in from Canada and our East and West Coast entry points.

Our founding fathers were wise men.  They established a nation where everyone had a chance to achieve their goals.  They knew that the ONLY function of federal government was to protect our nation from its enemies both foreign and domestic.  Today, however, we have a government that is continually interfering with the individual by means of taxation, regulations and political correctness.  We have allowed lawyers (judges) to INTERPRET the constitution saying that "Freedom of Speech", for example,
includes burning the American Flag, blocking traffic, occupying someone's office, etc.  After all, the American Flag is only a piece of cloth.  Ask an Iwo Jima Marine if that was only "a piece of cloth" that was raised on Mount Suibachi.  "Speech", as defined by Webster is "the act of speaking; expression or communication of thoughts and feelings by spoken words; vocal sounds.  We are allowing our country to be run by lawyers.  Look at where we
are.  It's okay to search Swedish grandmothers at the airport, but not the people who pose a real threat.  That would be PROFILING.

We are currently at war.  Weather declared or not, we are at war.  The enemy is both FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.  We must do everything possible to locate and eliminate (by whatever means necessary) our enemies before they eliminate us.  Our enemies want to kill us.  Nothing less.  Which part of THEY WANT US DEAD don't people understand?  This government MUST do everything possible to prevent our enemies from reaching their goal.  I have listened to the President, Attorney General, Defense Secretary and others concerning changes to the way our FBI, CIA, etc. operate.  I have not heard or read anything that takes any of my freedoms or liberties away.  I hear about allowing the intelligence agencies to operate without the ridiculous rules and barriers they have had in recent past.  Those who think we are giving up liberties are wrong in my opinion.  We are just re-empowering our government to protect the country.

If we, the American People, don't get our act together, we are doomed.  As I watch the direction this country has been taking over my lifetime, I worry.  Freedom is wonderful.  Too much freedom can be dangerous.  People must be held accountable for their actions.  Freedom is now defined as 'DO WHATEVER YOU WANT".  This must change.  I thought I saw this attitude change on 11 September, but it really didn't last long.  Are we going to follow the lead of the Roman Empire?  I fear some day there will be a book entitled "The Rise and Fall of the USA".  I know this got too long for the newsletter.  Believe me, this only a snapshot of my feelings.  Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts.  God Bless America.
Semper Fi,
Schiffler, JC
'65 - '69

My two cents...
I think we are interchanging RIGHTS with CONVENIENCE.  I am more than willing to give up certain conveniences.  Longer lines at the airport?  No problem.  Tightened security around public events?  Bring it on.  But I do not believe sacrificing my rights as an American helps our country.  I do not believe my phone should be tapped or my email read, without some credible evidence to justify the intrusion.  Privacy is right I value.

I know this makes me unusual among Grit-ers, but I wonder what we are doing with these prisoners in Cuba?  Are they POWs or not?  Imagine how we would react if our servicemen and women were captured and held, without regard to the Geneva Convention.  Yes, I know that their living situation is far better than it was before they were captured, but that doesn't change the fact that we are holding them in limbo.  If it was our folks, we would be demanding that the receive due process.

End of my rant.  Thanks, Sgt. Grit, for the ONLY email I read instantly when it hits my mailbox!
John Hulsey
Cpl/USMC  1985-1989

Sgt. Grit,
   Was out running around the park that I usually run
around and I was doin' some thinkin'.  I have heard my
dad and other older Americans say how America would be
in a bad situation if we ever did have to install the
draft and conduct a conventional war where thousands
die.  I definitely have to disagree with that.  Granted, there are the fat Nintendo slobs and the other human bile that we see on the news, BUT there are plenty of people that still would take up arms for America if she needed it.  The fact that our military is so well equipped and technologically advanced can be directly credited to my grandpa (he was in the army but we'll forgive him) and other older vets who fought for us to have these luxuries.  All we have to do is work hard and we can do anything we want in America
thanks to their sacrifices they made for us and for
many other countries, who aren't always grateful.
Funny, people come here and have the NERVE to
complain, I wish my ancestors just had to show up and
enjoy this great country like the people who come here
today. They had to come here and fight and establish
this land, not just show up and work hard.  That is
why we should respect and thank our grandparents and
uncles who assured us our freedom to be whatever we
want, be it a piece of crap or a doctor.  I am 24 and
was discharged out of the Marine Corps 6 months
ago(still run and work out every day, America still
has a certain image when they think of Marines).
People have said to me "You got out when it got rough
I guess."  That is the most insulting thing you can
say to someone.  After Sept. 11 there were plenty of
us that were requesting to go do whatever we could.
Fact is, anyone who has been in the military knows you
don't demand or request where you want to go, you go
where you are needed and told, even if you request to
go to God forsaken Afghanistan.  Being non recon and
non grunt for that matter, I knew that there was
little chance of me getting to go to the action.  The
point is I will never feel guilty for not making the
Corps a career because it is not meant to be a career
for everyone, but I do wish I could have done more in
terms of the truly hard stuff that I hear my grandpa
talk about.  I don't want to say to my kids some day
"I was a Marine and did some tough training"  I want
to be able to say "I was a Marine and made some very
true painful sacrifices and I put some hot lead
through a Team Talibaners, or whoever, brain."  If a
conventional war ever did break out and a draft was
installed, regardless of age, I wouldn't hesitate a
split second to sign to do my time in some $%$# hole.
This is by no means meant to be a look at me session
because any Marine or former Marine would do the same.
 I believe there are plenty of young people who would
defend Old Glory the way our grandparents did.  Always
Russell Garley

"Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its
inhabitants." --Leviticus 25:10, Inscription on the Liberty

Just had to wade in on this...
     Everyone keeps saying that its liberty or security for a while.  I beg to differ.   I believe its not just for a while, but its going to be for a very long while.  As a retired Marine, wife of a retired Marine, and child of 6 generations of past Marines, I value my freedoms as much as anyone, but as a mother of two daughters, and someone who's been on the receiving end of Terrorism more than once, call me crazy, but I'd give up a freedom or two for the duration, as long as I know that my daughters could go to school each day and return safely.  This is no temporary war.  I had to admit it, but I believe that this is the way of things from now on.   Crazies abound in this world, and somewhere out there, another one of them is targeting Someone somewhere, because they are American, or because they are Jewish, or simply because they have darker skin.
     If the powers that be, have to stop me and search my purse every block I walk, or run a random phone tap now and then, I will live with it, because I value the lives of those I love, more than I value the right to a private call or being searched without a warrant.
     USMC Ret

Very interesting page ...
Summary of World-Wide Terrorism Events, Groups, and
Terrorist Strategies and Tactics
Submitted by: "Dan E. Hubbell"

Enroll in the "Marine-For-Life" Program today.  This new,
HQMC-sanctioned project direct from CMC is designed to assist the 27,000 honorably discharged veteran Marines returning back to civilian society every year to find jobs, continue their education, etc. in their hometown or wherever they decide to settle down.  Any honorably discharged veteran (including those discharged all the way back to the '20's and '30's) may access the website at and register as a new member.
Then log in as an existing member, complete your biography, and tell how you can assist those Transitioning Marines coming to your area.  You may then get an e-mail or phone call from a soon-to-be-discharged Marine coming to your area who is interested in performing the same civilian line of work as you or attending the same trade school/college that you did.  Give him/her the information, advice, points of contact that he/she needs, point him/her in the right direction, and you're done!  The rest is up to them.  You're living proof that Marines take care of their own.  It's merely old-fashioned college alumni networking at its best - Marine Corps style!  The Marine Corps brotherhood continues and our ethos of "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" remains true.  We don't leave our Marines on the battlefield, and we're not going to start now by letting them flounder and struggle trying to get a good job or continue their higher education now that they've been
released from active duty.  P.S. Check out the other cities in the program and what they have to offer.  You may feel tempted to re-locate and start a new career.  After all, this program is as much for you as for those being newly discharged every year - so use it!

Thank-you for your time and support.
-LtCol John Wemett USMCR
Fresno Hometown Link
"Marine-For-Life" Program
(559) 294-1095 ext. 117

The following letter to the editor was recognized by The Orange County (Calif.) Register on June 30, 2002 as winner of the newspaper's Golden Pen Award. Each Sunday the newspaper recognizes a letter that eloquently expresses a viewpoint or engenders a debate on a topic of public interest.

A Young Marine Restores My Faith

It was our normal Thursday morning business meeting at our real-estate office. No big deal. Before the meeting, we hung around the bagel table, as usual, with our coffee. He stood aside, looking a little shy and awkward and very young, a new face in a room full of extroverted salespeople. An average looking guy, maybe 5 feet 8 inches. A clean-cut, sweet-faced kid. I went over to chat with him. Maybe he was a new salesman?

He said he was just back from Kabul, Afghanistan. A Marine. Our office (and a local school) had been supportive by sending letters to him and other troops, which he had posted on the American Embassy door in Kabul.  He stood guard there for four months and was shot at daily.

He had come to our office to thank us for our support, for all the letters during those scary times. I couldn't believe my ears. He wanted to thank us? We should be thanking him. But how? How can I ever show him my appreciation?

At the end of the sales meeting, he stepped quietly forward, no incredible hulk. As a matter of fact, he looked for all the world 15 years old to me.  (The older I get, the younger they look.)

This young Marine, this clean-faced boy, had no qualms stepping up to the plate and dodging bullets so that I might enjoy the freedom to live my peaceful life in the land of the free. No matter the risk. Suddenly the most stressful concerns of my life seemed as nothing, my complacency flew right out the window with his every word. Somewhere, somehow, he had taken the words honor, courage and commitment into his very soul and laid his life on the line daily for me and us. A man of principle.  He wants to do it. Relishes it. And he came to thank us? For a few letters? I fought back the tears as he spoke so briefly and softly.

He walked forward to our manager and placed a properly folded American flag in his hands. It had flown over the Embassy. He said thanks again.  You could hear a pin drop. As I looked around I saw red faces everywhere fighting back the tears.

In a heartbeat, my disillusionment with young people today quickly vanished. In ordinary homes, in ordinary towns, kids like him are growing up proud to be an American and willing to die for it. Wow.

We'll frame the flag and put it in the lobby. He only came to my office once, for just a few minutes. But I realize I rubbed shoulders with greatness in the flesh and in the twinkling of an eye my life is forever changed.

His name is Michael Mendez, a corporal in the USMC. We are a great nation. We know because the makings of it walked into my office that day.

--Ann Baker, Huntington Beach
Submitted by: Many, many, of you.


Regarding your question about giving up one's civil rights in favor of catching bad guys and protecting the nation against terrorist attacks:

The Marine in me says "screw civil rights, take 'em all down!"  However, since leaving active service, I have retired from government service after serving for twenty-seven years and have witnessed numerous examples of government gone wrong.  I am very concerned about all of our lives if we start chipping away at our constitutional guarantees.  Some of the folks I worked with had never read the Constitution and some who had read and
understood it had the attitude "Sure I know its illegal, but we're going to do it until someone catches us."

These are scary people.  I can honestly say some scared me worse than the NVA!  At least you KNEW the NVA was coming after you.  These folks are suppose to be serving the people but they would have run right over them if it had not been for the Constitution.  I fear if we begin voluntarily giving up any of our civil rights for the short term goal of bringing the present set of terrorist down, we may never see those right again and may start losing others.  I fear a government which is not FORCED by the Constitution to recognize who it serves.

There are many good, dedicated civil servants in government.  They make up the vast majority.  I wish I could say everyone who works in government was perfect, but we all would know that is impossible, this not being a perfect world.  And like our drill instructors use to tell us, "There's always that ten percent that f--- it up for everybody else."  To make sure those ten-percenters in government don't f--- up this country, I would look very long and hard at ANY attempt for ANY reason to take away ANY of the civil rights which now protect our freedom as Americans.

Regarding your second question about how the nation may already be returning to complacency after the 911 attacks, I say "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom".

I believe civilians who have not b