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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #37

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

--Patrick Henry

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Sgt. Grit
I have just read the one of the last news letters that I will be able to read for a while.... I am a reservist that has been called to active duty... I will still receive the newsletter via family and snail mail. I just wanted to let you know that you have some awesome readers and an awesome Newsletter..... I will drop you a line when I return from the Big Sandbox Iraq....

Lcpl D.R. Lytle

Dear Sgt. Grit:

First of all, I want to thank you for your outstanding news letter. I have read a lot of articles about the upcoming war and other events to come in your news letter. I have to admit that I feel deeply bothered by the fact that I am not there with the rest our Marines. I got back from active duty in September of 2002 and I have been on medical leave ever since. I had a small accident while in boot camp that is causing me great deal of pain in my knees and right now I am waiting patiently for arthroscopic surgery on both of my keens. I have felt great depression and disappointment in the past six months. I finally found a home in the Marine Corps and I am not allowed to go there. I just wanted to take a moment and say to all my friends in the Corps and to Marines who have been deployed to the Middle East, that if I could have my way, I would be there with you. I would watch your back and you would watch mine. I have met a lot of people in my short lifetime. Some loving, caring and full of heart and some not so kind. But to me, there is nothing like a United States Marine. Ooorah!!! and Semper Fi

Miguel A. Aviles, Jr.
Semper Fidelis

In response to "Proud Marine Wife":

I understand your frustration and fear. I am grateful that you are "Proud", but please, do not fall in with the uneducated and forgetful.

This is not a war of prestige that we seem to head toward. This is not a war for oil, or weapons of mass destruction or any other thing. This is a country that will not suffer another blow such as that which was leveled against us on September 11, 2001. This war that looms in our near future is not aggression unchecked, or political in nature. This is a war to protect my children and yours.

If we shrink from the task, from fear or ignorance, we doom our children and grandchildren to the fate we have suffered already. The time is now come. We must shed what tears need flow, and send brave men to do horrible things. We have no choice. We must answer the challenge. We must do it now, or face the consequences being paid time and again, both by us and the precious generations yet to wear the uniform with pride. God bless you and your family.

Always Faithful,
Keith Riddle
Chattanooga, TN
HMT-204 CH-46 Crew Chief
92-96 & Forever

There is something magnificent in having a country to love.

--James Russell Lowell

As the hide and seek game continues in Iraq, the UN arms inspectors are giving the Iraqis 12 to 36 hours warning of so-called "surprise" inspections. The UN inspectors claim that this is "purely a matter of logistics" since they supposedly need a crane to change cameras and air sampling equipment. The US official have become increasingly concerned that this shows that the primarily European-dominated inspection teams are intent on finding nothing.

Military Magazine

To Sgt Frenchie Renaud,
To answer your question, I believe a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is designed for overseas deployment and operations in little or no notice.

Semper Fi
J.S. Elliott 0311 '84-'88

Yo Grit,

Nobody but nobody raps on or plays the dozens with other branches of our military as this old Gunny does, but push come to pull I done some snooping and pooping with some of the best in combat and very professional peace time dog faces and squids (Vietnam 66,67,68) 75th Rangers and River Rats, to this day we are still in contact and friends. I continue to assure them that we Marines are still the best. My brother is also a Marine(66-86) who served in Vietnam(68) and caught one in Phu Bai.

Now I have a grand-son in South Korea, an Army Ranger weapons forward observer I had the Honor to pin on his jump wings, at his graduation ceremony, also my oldest grand-son is a Navy submariner father of two and out who knows where protecting our Marines on convoys and task forces.

I can call members of other branches what ever I please and I have always been ready for their retaliation. Its our spirit de corps, our cohesiveness, our brotherhood and our willingness to remain the best which keeps us ahead of the rest. God bless America and our leaders my they serve our troops overseas by allowing them to get the job done right!

A.J.(da Mad Dog)Rodriguez, GySgt USMC Ret 55-76

Hello to all who read this Newsletter, I served in the Corps with Alpha Company, 1/5, 3rd platoon, 1st Marine Division, from 86-89 and 91-93. Got out and tried to get on with my civilian life but it wasn't for me, tried to go back to the corps but they wouldn't take me back, something about prior service and cutbacks,etc. etc.

Well, got a call in 98, and the army was looking for people, and I jumped that and been in since then. I am grateful that I got to go back to the military and still in the infantry, here also. Its not the same yes, but I am still serving my country and proud to be here once again.

I do miss the corps, and they even call me marine here in the army cause of the prior service I have done. You would be surprised how many marines are here in the army. I was, that's for sure. They are usually the ones with the most ribbons on their class "A" uniforms. I got 14 and have had other soldiers ask me why a sergeant has so many ribbons and say I was in the corps, and they say oh, okay. Kinda funny, actually. Well, now I am at the 10th Mountain Division and we might get the call to leave soon and will go without hesitation.

Well, I guess that's it for now. God bless the U.S.Armed Forces and those who serve in them.

I am Sergeant William A. EagleBlanket
2d squad ldr.,3d plt.,Cco.2-22 Inf.
10th MTN.DIV. "Climb To Glory"

Semper Fi:
What does it mean? It means having the courage to stand up and be counted among those that care about their freedom and rights. It means sacrifice of time, blood and even life, for the belief that the United States is the greatest nation on the planet.

As Marines we believe in GOD, Country and the Corps, we believe that what we do is worth the time, blood and life, because we to have dreams and hopes and ideals which we would like to see go on.

We take up the gun because we know that in order to maintain peace we need someone to watch those who would take it from us. Let us watch those who would do us harm, and warn those who want to do us harm.

Tho we are few, we are proud, we are Marines.
We are Always Faithful.
Semper Fi

"I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American."

--Daniel Webster


I am an active duty Marine stationed at Whidbey Island, Washington. I just wanted to inform you and your readers of an organization that was brought to my attention at It is called Operation Interdependence. They deliver "c-rats" to deployed service members. Basically things from home that Marines in the field often miss. (cookies, candy, clean socks, etc.) The website is if anyone is interested in checking it out to volunteer. Thank you for a great newsletter.

CPL Destiny Thomas USMC

"The choice we face today is not between war and peace. Rather it is between war now -- under circumstances and timing of our choosing -- and war later, when conditions may be far more favorable to Saddam Hussein."

--Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Sgt Grit,
I want to let you know that I Love reading your news letters. I am currently In Saudi Arabia supporting Operation Southern Watch which will soon turn into a war with Iraq, I am with the Air Force. I have read several letters in the last couple newsletters, about the difference in the 2 branches. I can say this, the "Corps" is rough. The Air Force is not. However they do not need to be, we do. We do not need all the luxuries the USAF has, if we did we would become soft and not live up to the heritage of our brothers that have come before us. I have been here working with the USAF for over 90 days now and they have great respect for me, and The Corps. I am complimented on my attention to detail, and dedication to duty. They always tell me that they are glad I am on their side, cause we would be in trouble if I was on the other side. I am hard corps and love 3 things in my life. My son, Our Corps, and my Country. It was a great honor to Promote a USAF Capt to Maj this past month, he said afterward that is was a honor to have an Enlisted Marine promote him. He had worked with Marines several times on Joint ops and then quoted Gen Macarthur: "I just visited the Marines at the front, There is not a finer fighting force in the world". When the Major said that, it pumped me up with pride and everyone gave me a big Semper Fi. I have much respect for the Air Force, they have a different mission than we do and they do it very well.

Semper FI!
Sgt Ingraham, C.J. USMC
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Friends, family, and associates,
As all of you know by now the time has come for the United States to take action against an evil dictator that has created hate and discontent for not only his enemies, but his fellow countrymen as well.

12 years ago today I was living in a HUGE sand box with my fellow Marines during the Gulf War under President Bush. Now, I am heading back to finish what we should have done the first time...take down that evil dictator. There are some differences and some similarities about the Gulf War and our new order of battle. At this point it matters not whether we believe there needs to be action in the Middle East. The bottom line is that there has to be action should we as a Nation rest easily. This isn't as narrow as terrorism or political ties regarding oil; it still remains that Saddam is an evil dictator that is fully capable of hurting and killing without feeling.

This year is my 17th year in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps changed my life and has had the biggest impact on my life second only to the birth of my son Tristen. I am a blessed man. I have the best family anyone could ask for. I have terrific friends that believe in me. I have a profession that allows me to directly impact the future of young men and women. I have started a business built on values and honesty. I have had many opportunities that most have not. Given this time of uncertainty, there is one thing that is certain, I am thankful for what I have and who I share it with. I am not a wealthy man, a status man, a powerful man. I am a proud Marine, father of one.

I was putting "my bags" in my car just yesterday when this older woman was trotting by. She stopped, grasped my hand and said "thank you for what you do, God bless you" and immediately broke into light tears. She wished me a safe and wonderful day and then trotted off on her way to finish her training session. She must have been in her late 60's. That feeling is one of many that I get that justifies and reinforces what I do for our Country. I can not imagine a better way to live. I sometimes feel sad that others can not feel that sensation when being told something that makes your skin crawl with pride and having to fight back tears from an emotional pride rush. I have never been accused of being soft or overly sensitive, especially from my wife, but when it comes to family and beliefs, there is nothing more powerful to me.

Family, friends and associates please know this. I will be safe. I know that all of you are very concerned because my phone has not stopped ringing. I really appreciate that.
This is how it will go:

-I will leave soon
-Arrive "over there"
-Lead my Marines safely
-Take down the bad guys
-Lead my Marines home
-Call you

See, very simple. My wife Maria will be holding down Camp Rosenbum during my departure.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, your family and your friends. The old saying goes "you don't miss it till it's gone". Don't wait that long!

Semper Fi and stay motova8ed.
Tony D. Rosenbum
CWO3        USMC

It was midnight.
Reaching back throughthe area between our bucket seats my hand missed clutching his ankle. But successfully grabbed a good chunk of his pants. Eyes straight ahead I concentrated on not sobbing as I listened to my husband and baby son visiting as we traveled the five miles between the 8 acre chunk of a pecan plantation we had recently purchased out to Wendy's at I10 where he would catch his ride back to Camp Lejeune.

With only a couple of weeks notice that he would be home on leave, he asked and the permit people helped us obtain the permits we needed to begin building our new home.

Now, Christmas parties; News that his sister was happily pregnant; Long visits with close friends; Hugs, hand shakes that turned back into more hugs; Dress blues worn to church; new computer and all but his marine gear left in the 5th wheel we shared for two weeks sitting feet away from a completed house footer.

This two week leave was over. His words echoing through my mind. "The house will be done when I get back mom." The Plymouth van stopped and my fingers slowly opened letting loose of his pants. "Come home", I managed to get out. "I will"

That final hug. No longer did I hold back the choking sobs as tears poured down my old cheeks. In fascination I saw them settled into their seats. It was as if I had never seen anyone stash away a little gear and arrange themselves for an 8 or 9 hour journey. (I noticed Marines do not take as long to get places as other people). My son laughed at something his buddy said and they drove off. Yes, I would do it again. With more tears this time, I would be an example and tell them, my 3 girls and 2 military boys, if you see someone doing something wrong and you do nothing about it, you are as guilty as they.

Maybe they hear my words, read your bible every day, that is our directions on how to do things down here with the most happiness and least amount of pain. Trust God and be not afraid.

No, I do not know where he is. We send letters. One a week, don't send the notebooks and magazines-- as he informed me that he has to maintain all of his garbage while on ship. Smile No, I do not know where he is going or when he will be back. I only know I love him, our baby boy and it is okay. Trust God and do not be afraid I tell myself often.

Smiling through tears.
A proud Florida mom

"What constitutes an American? Not color nor race nor religion. Not the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence of his citizenship. An American is one who loves justice and believes in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice property, ease, and security in order that he and his children may retain the rights of all free men."

-~Harold Ickes in his "I Am an American" speech

I read your newsletter Monday with trepidation (d*mn fancy word ... you impressed ?) and was very glad my hide did't get fried. I guess with all the war hysteria mounting people rightfully are focused on more important matters. In case your wondering, the weekends demonstrations made my decision for me ... turn the whole country into a parking lot (Iraq that is) I'll be d*mned if I am ever gonna be in the same continent as those assh_ _ _s (never know who readin' the mail around here). I cannot believe the media put's those a_ _ _ _ _ _ s on the news. Most are a bunch of snot nosed intellectual pimply *ssed kids who don't know sh*t let alone comment on national security. The rest, older ones, looked like a bunch of a_ _ _ _ _ _ s communist demonstrators from the 60's. Total freakin' a_ _ _ _ _ _ s. Where the h*ll is my m16 and radio I'm ready to go.

I told you after 9 - 11, this country has changed, and not for the better. Our fathers were out enlisting on 8 December 1941 ... we're still whinin' waited for the f_ _ _ _n tooth fairy to save our dumb *sses. Of course a majority of your readers are ready to go ... for the most part there all former marines who don't need a lot of excuses to go kill somebody ...but that ain't the majority of what we got today in this country !! Remember, those of us who served in the 60's were a distinct minority, most of our generation outright "dodged" or just avoided the whole d*mn mess in Nam. Who the h*ll do you think is the majority today ? Yea I get flag waving is back in vogue since desert storm and 9 - 11, but not fightin' killin and dyin' ! That is some other dumb f_ _k's responsibility.

As for the Chinese, Christ I'm not very smart... when everyone was running around (dems and repubs) saying that we had defeated communism ... I just said "Excuse me but aren't there a billion and a half of the f _ _ _ _r's still in a place called China" ? Who by the way have a load of nukes and intercontinental missiles capable of putting them in our hip pocket.

Now that I have all that off my chest you have a nice day !!!

Semper Fi

dear sgt grit,

i've been reading your newsletters for a while, ever since i decided to join. i swore in back in september 02'. i loved seeing that article about the Eagle Scout...I too am an Eagle Scout. people always ask me "why did you decide to go into the marines? your an eagle scout...why the marines?" I feel like the marines are my new family already, i PT with a great bunch of guys from Marlboro Mass, and i feel so proud of myself for enlisting. I am still in high school right now, i got an early graduation, january 24, and leaving for boot camp at parris island on feb. 24. my friends are going to college and i'll be in the marines. i will miss everyone sooo much, and i'll miss my high school graduation too, but i really want to earn the title. keep up the good newsletters and

thank you to all Marines out there.
Poolee J. Boyd USMC

There are, at this moment, 54,000 British and Commonwealth troops in Iraq and the Hussein government doesn't like it! These brave troopers, the casualties of two world wars, are buried in 13 cemeteries through-out Iraq. Their markers and stones are being upturned, removed and destroyed by Iraqi authorities. Rest in peace, brave soldiers. It won't be too much longer.

Military Magazine, January 2003

Dear Sgt. Grit:
I work in the Registrar's Office of a major east coast University and have been inundated with special requests from young military personnel who have been called to duty.

I look in the faces of these young men and women and I just want to hold them all and protect them from the dangers they will be facing as they go unselfishly to protect OUR country.

I am a Proud Marine mom and have joined in the good-natured bashing of other services that we each do (I work with an active duty Navy mom and we tease constantly) but I have to say, no matter what branch these young people are serving in, I can see HERO plainly written on each face.

I have begun making it a point to hug each and every one and wish them all the best on their future efforts. It makes me feel like maybe they leave knowing that their sacrifice is appreciated.

May God bless each and every person who dons a uniform to serve our country.

We are truly a blessed nation.

Katherine C. Domorod
Very Proud American and
Mom of Sgt. James Domorod, Jr. USMC

We just received a phone call from our Grandson, Lance Corporal Shane E. Wiley, U.S.M.C..

After "hurrying up and waiting", for two weeks his Amphibious Assault Vehicle Company just got word that they will be flying out Wed., morning for Kuwait. Their vehicles are already there.

Shane is the 3rd member of our large family to serve in the Marine Corps. I was the first, my cousin Bernie Angelo was the second....Shane is the third. Shane is the only one of us three that will ever have been in harms way.

I told him not to be a hero....but I know Shane.....I told him to keep his head down.....He will, but only when it's necessary.....We told him not to worry about us....He said that was a two-way street, for us not to worry about him.....How the h*ll do you do that?

There are so many things going through our minds......I was baby-sitting for him when he was months old, he fell asleep on the floor. I laid on the floor next to him, and went to sleep also. His Grandmother and Parents found us both that way when they came home.

There is a "Mothers Blue Star Flag" hanging in our window and his parents window. This is an old World War II tradition that has recently been revived It signifies that the household has a member in the Armed Forces of the United States.....

We are so proud of him..

I would give what ever years I have left to take his place for the next six months.

I would appreciate it if you all would just say a silent prayer for Shane and the other Marines, along with the other members of the Armed Forces of the United States that will be protecting our backs out there.

One other thing.....I received a call from a e-mail friend out in Oklahoma whose son Lance Corporal Cody Sherrill, U.S.M.C., is also shipping out the same day...Cody is also with Amphibious Assault Vehicles, in the same Battalion as Shane, just a different Company...He needs your prayers too....

Thanks a lot.....
Chuck Sarges, "Always Faithful"

I am the wife of Capt. Glen L."Skosh" Gorton U.S.M.C. Ret.. (I was not married to him while he was in service.) I know first hand what serving his/her country means to a Marine! They give their all and then some!!!

As a Marine wife I personally do NOT want to be "Sadamized"!!!

This is a correspondence in answer to Chris Spencer who said not to share unless you would be ready to sign your name and date of service. I am proud to tell a little tale about this "sole survivor" who walked point for our Glorious Corps. I ain't braggin nope. It s*cks to see all my fallen Brothers in my mind , I was at Happy Valley and mind you it wasn't a real happy place. Peace be with all troops including all branches of the United States Military service.

John Reightler Retired Corporal USMC

"You do have to concede to the French their place in military history: As warriors, the French have always made superb pastry chefs. A French war begins with a retreat on Paris, followed by a scream for help, usually American, and four years of peaceful collaboration. They're the only country I know of that has a stack of surrender documents addressed To Whom It May Concern. I've seen fiercer geese."

--Fred Reed

These Old Vets..

By D.H. Newton.. GySgt USMC
(Okinawa A-1-29)

It's quiet around the wards tonight
Silently , these old vets, put up the good fight.
If only we had more time to spend with them
Perhaps sit a spell and hold an old hand so thin
A hand that once carried a rifle with bayonet attached.
Or perhaps held the rutter, on a fast moving landing craft.
Or, standing at the plane's open door, guided a "fifty"
As it fired on enemy planes flying by,
So many years ago when B-17's did fill the sky.
His eyes now seem to be dull and slightly glazed,
But once were bright blue when on Suribachi Old Glory he helped raise.
He doesn't ask for much
Just a soft kind touch
Each of these old vets, are like pages from an old History book
Just laying on the living room table, just waiting For some one to take a look
The sounds they make now are different from the Ones of their youth
When on a sandy beach, they fought hand and tooth
Where in darkness you hear now a moan or two
Try to listen, as if it were a far away lost and happy tune.
That now in his lonely dreams, he tries to remember
When once on the cold North Atlantic he was a crew member.
On that old oil tanker "North To Murmanks"
Sit, hold his hand, is that so much to ask?
Those legs that no more move, and seem so fragile and unbehaved
Once ran, and dodged and climbed and fought In some far away cave.
Sit a spell, and with a damp cloth his forehead soothe
Where now its toped with grey, blonde curls once grew.
Don't be afraid,
Hug 'em, his dues have been paid
His shoulders now seem sagged and loosely hide
On those same shoulders a wounded comrade did ride
When in early morn, he slips back to his roots,
Stand erect and snap him his finial salute

Since the tragic events of September Eleventh many people declare themselves patriots of the United States of America. Numerous citizens of our great country fly Old Glory from their houses and cars, display bumper stickers, they wear FDNY / NYPD clothing, and act as if they are truly proud of living here. Unfortunately as I analyze these occurrences, it appears as if the sense of pride has burnt out and this country's citizens are less patriotic than ever before. Either the word Patriot has taken on a new meaning or it is simply misunderstood. As far as I am concerned a true Patriot makes his/her sense of pride evident through their actions, not by merely displaying our flag. Of course it is an appreciated gesture, but it takes a little more to contribute to our country. It is obvious that not everyone can be a Marine, or even take part in the other branches of service, but everyone does have the ability to help out even if it is in the most minimal way. This was made evident in September of 2001, when citizens from all walks of life contributed to the future of our country.

Attending an extremely liberal school, I have observed many other disturbing events. The same young citizens who declared themselves Patriots on 9/11/01 also attend public war protests, make disturbing remarks during debates, and display anti-American views. In October of 2002, Wagner College held a debate in which students would express their views opposing or justifying a war with Iraq. Although I respect the freedom of speech, and am proud to say I will fight for it once I am commissioned, I cannot respect many of the remarks made. Students stated that if there were a draft that they would dodge it, explained that they feel this country is terrible, and even initiated an anti-military organization. How can it be that these were the same citizens that were so "Patriotic" approximately a year ago? After the nauseating debate concluded, a timid female student grabbed my arm. She explained that she appreciated my comments and her father would too. After I asked what she meant by that she said, " my dad passed away two years ago from cancer, but served the Marine Corps until he got sick".

I urge everyone who is reading this article not to overlook their freedom, or the people who play a role in granting you this freedom. Give to their children what they have given to you. Proudly display the American Flag and contribute something to it, therefore you can admire it with even more dignity. Challenge yourself to step away from the meek, and to take part in something greater than self-interest. The true Patriots of this country may be greatly outnumbered, but the few and the proud have been victorious since 1775.

Officer Candidate Joseph A. Paterek (USMC)

"Whether or not the 'Axis of Evil' holds regular board meetings, there does seem to be a remarkable amount of interdepartmental coordination. For a year now, whenever the Americans look set to take on Saddam, some fortuitous diversion has come along: last spring's ferocious intensification of the Palestinian intifada, Crown Prince Abdullah's entirely fictitious peace plan, and now North Korea's nuclear capability. The idea, eagerly taken up by the West's many Saddamites, is that Iraq is something you never get around to: oh, no, you gotta put Baghdad on the back burner till you solve the Palestinian question, North Korea's nuclear standoff, the East Midlands borough council reorganization crisis, whatever."

--Mark Steyn

Dear Sgt Grit,
After serving 10 months at Reykjavik, Iceland in 2-E-10, where we heard President Roosevelt announce that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, my Marine outfit returned to the States. Within a week my high school sweetheart and I were married in Texas and for 6 months we lived in San Diego.Then I was shipped out again to the South Pacific where I served for 27 months during World War II. Upon returning to Texas my first night in Dallas my wife and I went to the Baker Hotel and was told by the young desk clerk that there was no vacancy. I was wearing my Marine uniform. A gentlemen stepped out from behind a wall, probably the hotel manager and said, "Let me see if we can find a room for the Marine Sergeant and his wife." He motioned to a bell hop to take our luggage to our room and what a room I was afraid I would not be able to pay for the room it was so nice. We had a wonderful dinner with Champaign, that we did not order and I charged it to our room. The next morning as we check out I ask for the bill and the desk clerk said some nice man said there would be no charge and thank you for your service.

My wife died several years ago from cancer of the lungs, she could not stop smoking those cigarettes.

I'm 82 years of age now and each day, weather permitting, I fly the American, Texas, Marine Corps and National Rifle Association flags on a 30 foot pole in my "front" yard. Semper Fidelis,
Robert J. CARR
2-E-10, 2nd MarDiv

As a 2 tour Vietnam veteran (65-68), I only have the one regret that I am now too old to go over and kick Iraqui/Terrorist butt! God bless the men and women who are there and prepared to keep the protesting "cowards" free and able to exercise right to protest!

Semper Fi!
John Allen (SGT) 0811.....

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have been reading your newsletter for quite some time now and then pass it on to my two sons serving our country in the United States Marine Corps. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of both of them. My son Jacob could have gotten out of the Corps. in 2001 but after 9/11/01 he said "no way" I'm staying in. He is now in his 2nd enlistment. My son David also has reached the time he could have left but feels it is his duty to be part of the force protecting our country. I pray for all our military and ask God's blessings and protection on them. We need to uphold all who are serving in prayer and to let others know how proud we are of our sons, daughters, husbands, and wives. God Bless the U.S.Marine Corps.

Mother of two Marines from Parsippany, New Jersey

"Nothing leads more surely to disaster than that a military plan should be pursued with crippled steps and in a lukewarm spirit in the face of continual nagging within the executive circle. United ought not to mean that a number of gentlemen are willing to sit together on condition either that the evil day of decision is postponed, or that not more than a half-decision should be provisionally adopted. Even in politics such methods are unhealthy. In war they are a crime."

--Winston Churchill

I generally don't write letters of this kind, but I was moved to this time when I read the last newsletter. I would like to thank Chris Spencer for his letter and I agree with him 100%. Interservice rivalry is OK in fun but we are all in this together as Americans. I served in the Corps during Viet Nam and since have served in the SD Army National Guard and now the Army Reserve. There are patriots and heroes in all branches of service and I am proud to have served with all of them. I also appreciated what S. Booker said in her letter. She mentioned that it was not only a wife's duty to support her soldier as he goes off to battle, but to instill that same sense of patriotism in the next generation by teaching them a sense of pride and understanding of what freedom is all about. Thank you maam. Also want to say that I enjoy the quotes in the newsletter and save many of them.

Semper Fi
Ken Wallin

thank you so much for your newsletter. when your son is in another time zone (wherever) it is so encouraging to read such positive letters. he emails when he can and calls also. he is on the uss tarawa and we are very proud of him. l5th MEU...yellow ribbons and mother's flag in the window and many prayers...semper fi

matt's mom

Sgt Grit,
the article in Parade magazine with Gen Jones was excellent. I forwarded his quote about "by serving in the armed forces, we contribute to that world, and it's profound." Maybe if more people looked at military service in that light, they wouldn't keep their kids from enlisting. We're already nudging our 4 kids in that direction, and if our oldest daughter comes through her brain surgery next month with flying colors, she plans to join the Air Force when she graduates from high school. She'll be the first ever "zoomie" in either of our families.

r/s Anna Grabill USMC 86-91

As I watch the news day in and day out about all the protesters across the country trying to stop the war against the Iraqi people I tend to lean toward their way of thinking. And this scare's me. Because I am a Viet Nam veteran and I remember very clearly how my fellow veterans and I were treated when we got back from V.N. and was called baby killer and spit on by protesters not much different looking than the people protesting today. I just hope that the people out there today do not start protesting against our men and women that are putting there lives on the line for us. It should be just for the way that President Bush is handling his information about his proof of weapons of mass destruction with the American people.

If they have proof of weapons of mass destruction, it should be told to us (the American people and the rest of the world). Show us the proof. If they can't , Then it proves to us (the world) that it's about oil and only oil. If they have proof of his weapons of mass destruction, why hasn't the UN inspectors found it? They should have been able to go right to it if Mr. Bush had the proof.

With us being a nation of good morality, Allowing Saddam to lie to us and put the scare to the world with weapons of mass destruction and treat his own people like a war monger treats his enemy's, would lower us to be a nation of evil. As I know we are not.

So Mr. President all we ask is to be shown the proof. Then the world will be behind you, and not in front of you in a protest line at of the White House and city's around the world.

Cpl. Dan Moore : U.S.M.C. veteran

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

--Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps it is necessary for you to take a realistic look at the situation at hand. George W. Caesar, wannabe autocrat of planet earth, is desperately trying to divert everyone's attention away from his many failures. The economy is a shambles, unemployment is up, the stock market is down, Osama is still on the loose and thumbing his nose at good ol' George W. (and the citizens of democracy), and North Korea just rubbed George's nose in his own bellicose bull sh*t.

The weapons inspectors are still on the ground and in the air in Iraq (capitalized because it is proper). Saddam cannot so much as break wind without us knowing what he just ate. So you tell me what threat does he pose to anyone at this time? What purpose is served at this time to put our armed forces in harm's way?

I too, will gladly defend my country and way of life if necessary. I too, have no intention of letting some madman invade my country to harm or tell my children and grandchildren how to live. I would imagine that the average citizen in Iraq would love to be rid of Saddam but, at the same time, they do not want to be invaded by a madman and harmed either. (There will be civilian casualties when we invade their country.) And please don't hand me the old; "That's the cost of war." bull sh*t. Because in this case it would simply be the price of George's stupidity.

Yes, I'm a diehard Democrat. But I supported George's father in the Gulf War because it was the just and proper thing to do at the time. I also despise Clinton for the things he did and did not do while he played President and Commander-in-Chief. Just because they hold the office, it does not mean that you are to blindly follow their lead. You have a mind of your own, use it.

I was taught a lot of things during my almost seven years in our beloved Corps and one of them was what my brain housing group is used for and how to engage it. My suggestion to you is, stop beating your 'I'm a bad *ssed Marine chest' and crawl up in your attic and get your sea bag out and find the brain housing group that was issued to you in Boot Camp and blow the dust off of it and put it to work.

Semper Fi,
Mark Stewart
Sgt - 1970-76

"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 happiness."

--George Washington

The count is in. Those Marines responding to the American Courage Newsletter who are in favor of kicking the a** of "So-d*mn" (credit to Wayne "Road" Halstead), Al-Qaeda, Bin-Laden, France, etc, etc.: One Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety Five Million, Four Hundred and Ten Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Five. Those opposed: Eight. Troops it is time to lock and load! You eight who don't have the heart for it thank you for your input. Now step to the rear of the formation and report for Mess Duty. The Gunny has some items he wants to discuss with you. I am too old to go and if I had to go I'd be just as excited, apprehensive, keyed up, quiet, talkative and sad as I was when I went to Viet Nam. But I'd go at the drop of a hat. I'm not trying to cause someone else's loved one go into harm's way. However, the time for talk is recorded as having been ten years. The time is up. This time we have a leader who is serious. Those who don't think he is are in serious hurt. The threat is real. My fear for my family, friends, countrymen and Nation is real and growing. It is time to eliminate this threat to our National existence. I'm requesting transfer to Major Bill Donahue's unit. I read his comments in Newsletter #36 and I am with him! Major you tell me the rally point and I'll be standing tall with you. I'm not as lean but I am still as mean and that will count for something. Semper-Fi. God Bless all of our troops and Heaven have mercy on our enemies. The Marines won't.

Mike Koontz, USMC, 1963 - 1967

Heya Sarge!
My name is Jim. I had been toying around with this poem I wrote for my father for some time now. He is Vietnam Veteran and I had to do a small project for one of my classes and my professor insisted it be on person whom has inspired us. Instantly, I knew he was going to be the basis for my collection of ideas. Since poetry is not one of my best qualities, I initially had not planned on writing one. Yet, when I began to dig further into what I wanted to express in the project, my professor immediately encouraged me to turn it into poetry form. My father is a true inspiration to me with everything he has accomplished in his life. Everything he had fought for has become a dream come true to him, and with the addition of this poem that I wrote for him I hope will merely add to his happiness.

He has yet to read this poem and I would be so grateful and appreciative if you would gladly add this poem to your "stories" even though it's not one, or wherever it is you would post something of this caliber. He loves your site and looks forward to all the updates of stories, etc...especially new merchandise! Please let me know if you are willing to publish my poem that I am enclosing, and if you wouldn't mind sending me a direct link as where it will be located if you should decide to do so. If the attached document doesn't open properly for you. Thank you very much and I hope to hear back from you soon!
Semper Fi,
Jim Ligman

Where I'm From

I am from the dreams, of which
he had his faith
I am from the age of seventeen,
where he became his dream
I am from the obstacle, of which
he endured during training

I am from the eagle, globe & anchor,
he proudly wore upon his chest
I am from the trigger finger, of which
he held the fate of the enemy
I am from the long cold nights,
in the heart of a wounded soldier

I am from his eyes, in which
he watched his brothers' fall
I am from the names, of which
fifty-eight thousand are carved in stone
And I'm from hope, that there was a
hope on his safe journey home

He is from those moments
Only some can truly see
From those moments
No one should have to be

...Semper Fi

Hey Sgt. Grit,
Ok, I'm going to jump on this Service Rivalry band wagon...

I enlisted in the US Air Force right out of high school. Boot camp (if you want to call it that) was a breeze. I ended up being stationed in the Philippines for my first two yearsand had a great time. (boy, did I ever!!!!!!) Deployed to Saudi Arabia with our squadron of F-4E's in support of Operation Desert Storm. (interesting in an apartment and watching the war on CNN) After the conflict I spent my last 2 years stationed in California. In all, life in the Air Force was great, and yes we were spoiled. I left the Air Force after 4 years with a lot of wonderful memories of exotic places visited and great friends made. However, something was missing, something I could not place...

I then went into the United States Army Reserves as a helicopter Mechanic. I spent 4 years with my unit, never went anywhere, and never really figured out my rank because everyone just called me Steve. No real challenge there and still, I felt something was missing...

Finally, on Mar 8, 1996 at around 2am I found myself standing on those famous yellow footprints at MCRD San Diego. I had found what I had been missing all those years. I found a challenge, a sense of pride, a feeling of belonging, and the knowledge that I had accomplished something many had dreamed of but few had done...becoming a United States Marine!!! Ok, so the Corps made my go to boot camp again, make me start all over as an E-3 (it was hard explaining why I was a LCpl with a chest full of ribbons and two service stripes), and gave me a "funny haircut". I got over all that and soon began to enjoy my place in the Marine Corps "family". I remember the feeling that shot through my body the first time I was addressed as "Marine". I remember the pride I felt the first time someone on the street said, "hey look, a Marine!" I remember the first time I put on my dress blues and felt I was part of a legacy.

That was nearly 7 years ago but I can tell you that I was in Plt 1101, 1st BTN, Charlie Co and that my SDI's was SSGT Rice. I can still recite my 11 General Orders. I can tell you the exact date and time I became a "Shellback" aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3). I can still fire expert on the rifle range almost in my sleep. As for my time in the Air Force, I can tell you that I went to boot camp in San Antonio, Tx. As for the name of my TI (that's DI to us...), I haven't the foggiest. I can remember many friends from the Air Force and Army, but NOT ONE last name!!!!

I have respect for all branches of our fine military but I'm truly proud to say that I am a Marine. God bless the Corps and all my brothers and sisters in harms way. Semper Fi!!!!

Sgt Steve Chargois 1996-2000 (active)
2000-Present (reserves)
OH... and by the way... I still wear that funny haircut!

Hey Sgt. Grit. Semper Fi and keep it up. I just have to vent a little, this guy Scott Ritter and now another Ken Nichols O'Keele make me want to camo up and put together an old fashion blanket party. They disgust me and there is not a thing I can do. please Echo this disgust for me.

Sgt. Grit,
I was a reservist from 1978 through 1982 with infantry company Echo 2/25 in Folsom, PA. Although I was ready, I was never called to serve in battle. I often feel guilt about this, especially when I see our young Marines going off to war. I know this is silly since world events are beyond my control. I never had a thirst for war, but why should I be given the luxury of a safe and comfortable existence, while my brothers and sisters sacrifice so much?

I often visit and study our Revolutionary and Civil War sites. I am moved to tears during my visits as I reflect on the enormity of the personal sacrifices made by those who fought at these sacred places. In my mind's eyes and ears, I can see and hear the sounds and images of battle. I can imagine the courage, the fear, the horror, and the suffering. Why have I been spared? Maybe I am so moved for a reason. Maybe I was there in another life and another time. Maybe I will be there again in another. Maybe the good Lord has given me a pass in this lifetime.

I pray that the Lord will protect the men and women in all our services. I know that my way of life, and that of my precious family, exist solely because of the sacrifices made by them and those who went before them.

Semper Fi
Ray McKinley (A proud and grateful Marine)

Sgt. Grit,
I don't even know where to begin.......other than to say I was appalled and angered by the treatment of the Marines before their departure of January 17. The merchants of Oceanside in their last ditch effort to make as much money as they could had raised their prices on many of the items these young Marines needed for their float!!

Name tags that had normally sold for 4 for $5.00, were being sold for 4 for $20!! Some of the kids were driving the 30 miles to Temecula in hopes of finding a better deal!! To boot some of these merchants in Oceanside are actually former Marines, this was the straw that broke the camels back for me!! I am at a loss for the explanation in my heart that I felt.

Just for a moment I had the opportunity to bask in the wonderful glow of some of Americas finest as they manned the rails of the 7 ships that sailed away. And for a life time, I will be thankful for their commitment and courage that they find in their hearts to protect our freedom. God bless them all and keep them safe.

Y.M. Alonzo

Dear Sir
Just thought I would drop you a line and let you know I have two wonderful sons who are in the Marines my son Damien has been in for 5 years and my son Douglas just joined on January 26 he left for boot camp. I hope he enjoys all his travels as much as his brother did he spent 2 years over in Japan and loved it also went to Aust. and Korea and Taiwan and many more place he is now in San Diego. Well be getting out as of Feb 8th but said once a marine always a marine . Husband was a marine for 15 years. So I just hope and pray all our boys stay safe .Its a long 3 months till I see my son but I know it will be great for him as it was for his brother.

LONDON, Jan 25 (AFP) - Some 60 anti-war protesters left London for Baghdad Saturday aboard a convoy of double-decker buses to offer themselves as human shields in the event of a US-led war against Iraq. The Truth Justice Peace Human Shield action group will travel 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) overland on their journey to Baghdad and have pledged to stay in Iraq should war break out -- forcing the United States and Britain to bomb their own citizens. The group's founder, former US marine and Gulf War veteran Ken O'Keefe, said he would go on hunger strike while in Iraq until 10,000 human shields joined the cause. "If we don't get 10,000 people, I think this is a world that will be hard to live in for all of us," he said.

Dear Sgt. Grit,
As I sit here composing my very first letter you, I am anxiously awaiting a call from my son who is to be deployed from the west coast today. He has been back from his Enduring Freedom deployment for less that a year. As hard as it is on me, it is even harder to express how proud I am of him. He chose this career with the knowledge he could possibly be called on to defend our great country in a war, but I never considered the possibility until 9/11/01. He reminded me during his first deployment and during the past few months while we have been awaiting his deployment orders that his job is to defend our country by what ever means needed.

But, as difficult as this time is on me and all the other families here at home, it disturbs me terribly to hear people complain about our president and his decisions on how to deal with terrorism. We elected these leaders and should have the faith that they are doing the right thing. These people who are doing the complaining and the picketing should not do so unless they have a better answer to the problems. And they usually don't because the general public does not have access to the information to make these kind of decisions. Those of us left at home while our loved ones are fighting world wide terror do not need to hear these negative comments. It degrades my son and all others who have chosen this way of life.

I pray continually for those in harms way and have faith that God is protecting these men and women. Thank you.
A proud USMC Mom.

To Mrs. Kiera J Rustay of Suffolk, VA:

Ma'am, The hardest thing I ever did, as a 17yr. old kid, was look out the back window of that bus as I left AFEES, Columbus Ohio as my mother was watching me leave. She said the hardest thing she ever did was to open that box of personal belongings that you send home from boot camp incoming processing. Wait until you see your new Marine standing tall in his uniform and realize that he is now a MAN. (Try to forgive him when he sits down to dinner and asks for the F***ing butter.) Trust me you will never regret the look on his face when he knows he has made his parents proud as I and so many before us have done. Once he has earned that title, United States Marine, he has joined the best brotherhood in the world and will never, as long as he lives, lack companionship again.

Semper FI
SSgt. Moore,J.C. 2389599
University of MCRD San Diego, 1967-1977

Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated the laughs I got outta your last newsletter, Chris Spencer,.I've never heard it called 29 "Stumps",.but, I knew exactly whatcha were speaking of,.thanks for the laugh!..Richard Wells,.71 years old,.I applaud you! Your word "Dubya" gave me a belly chuckle also,.my son arrived in Kuwait yesterday, & I needed that! Let's pray for ALL Military personnel overseas,.Semper Fi!!

Marine Mom Brenda

Love to read this sh*t. Never thought I'd be voicing anything here but, got to say I'm one proud Marine. You all keep this brotherhood alive. Though I was a "Cold War Marine" I'd still at this very time give my very soul and life for the red white and blue.God bless our men and women over seas.

Terry Stanton ..VMFP-3 3rd MAW El Toro.77- 81..

SSST Muccia,
Semper Fi !!! Don't worry, the bayonets are fixed and charges have been set!!! I couldn't believe what I saw on CNN the other night, my wife got so p*ssed at me, all these tree hugging, planet saving, no clue about the real world, no walking the dog butt munchers are in DC protesting, I about got the 'ole .45 out and blasted the set. Nobody wants a war, but sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do, and when dealing with the likes of ole towel head himself, well go bust some caps men, the gunny is with ya in spirit if not in body !!any of you grunts need anything, you send me an e-mail and the logistics info I need and you'll have it as soon as the next mail bird can touch down ! Sorry, but red heads won't make the trip in a box!!! Semper Fi Men


"Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws,
and asks no omen, but his country's cause."


God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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