Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #44

"RE: 70 VIRGINS comment in May 1 newsletter, I don't think that any coward who blows people up and calls himself a martyr will get past the Marines on guard duty in Heaven to look for virgins."

Rev. Dan Rogers
72-79 USMC Serving Country
Now serving God, but still a Marine

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Sgt Grit,

This is insane! Here I am in a little Eureka tent in the middle of Iraq during a dirt-storm smelling like a three day old corpse writing a letter on a computer. Oh I forgot to mention the fact that I have a bottle of Iraq's finest whiskey as well. This sh!t would peel the tar off a road. It has little things floating in it but I don't really give a f!ck. I am going to drink some and hope I don't go blind. This country is not dry but we are prohibited from drinking. It seems like the politically correct thing now is to go to war without drinking. Well f!ck that, I'm gonna drink tonight. This whole thing has been a mess from the beginning and it appears as though it will only get worse in the end.

Iraq, what a sh!t-hole this country is. I have been all the way to Baghdad and it all looks the same. It's one giant slum. In the country the people live in mud huts. Everything is dirt colored. I am south of Baghdad at a military airfield near a town called Al-XXX. We just left a dirt field that was by a town called An-XXXXXX or something like that. Every town here is Al something or other. We moved here and guess what? Another dirt field. We own the whole country and we choose to set up in dirt fields. They tell us the serious fighting is done and we are pretty much safe. There are no known enemy units left intact. Funny thing is that some of these people still want to shoot at Americans. I guess they didn't get the word, or perhaps they are pissed at us for liberating their country from them, for them. I guess they don't understand how good it was for us to invade their country. There is nothing like a good invasion by the infidels to put the local population in a first-rate mood. It really elevates the mood to a new level. I can see why these people are pissed off all the time, hell our homeless people live better then this in the states. Just to reinforce how well we have it we drive down the road in hundreds of truck throwing food out the windows to them. I bet that makes them proud, eating the infidel's trash. I wonder what the Koran has to say about that. We are winning there hearts and minds! In the Viet-Nam war they had a saying "We will win your hearts and minds or burn your f!cking huts down!" Well, how in the hell do you burn a mud hut down? I guess we will have to pour bottled water on them and melt them.

As I sit here in my tent with the wind beating the sh!t out of it and dirt filtering through the walls I am happy. I am living above ground! Can you believe I think living in a tent is a luxury? It's a small two man tent and I have it all to myself. I have a folding stretcher that was liberated by a Staff Sergeant and given to me. It just fits in the tent and has become my bed. It's not wide enough for my shoulders, and it's only three inches off the floor but it sure beats sleeping on cardboard in the bottom of a hole. I fill up the tent and I am not really sure who they use to measure these things to determine that they are two man tents. I guess they use skinny midgets as test dummies because I would have to be spooning with my tent-mate to fit two of us in here. The Marine Corps still frowns on those same sex relationships so I am forced to live alone. Most of the Marines are not of the midget variety so they rotate nights in the tent and nights in the dirt. I can't imagine being in here with another body that stinks as bad as I do. I would most likely puke or cause him to puke, either way it would just be fowler then it is now. It's been over a month since my last shower, and some days it's over a hundred degrees in the shade. Yes sir! You work up a sweat just breathing air. We do wash ourselves but pouring water over your head with a canteen cup and rubbing the mud around with a dirty rag doesn't really give you that Saturday night going on a date clean feeling. We call it changing the mud. I change the mud at least every three days so I am clean! In between mud changing's I wipe myself down with baby wipes. There is something about a 6'1" man armed with a rifle, pistol and a couple hand-grenades smelling like a baby's ass that is just not right. They really need to come up with commando scented baby wipes so we smell right. How the hell can you take over nations smelling like a baby's ass? It's embarrassing! We need to smell the part.

The toilets... Yes in deed I can live in my bathroom after this. Have you ever thought of how nice that would be? Out here we have these lovely sh!tters. I would say they were outhouses but that would be a lie. An outhouse would be an improvement over these things we have. There are three stalls or I should say three holes in which to drop a load in. They are not round holes they are triangular. It is simply a sheet of plywood and three holes. There are no seats so you just sit on the plywood. When you drop your load it falls into half a 55 gallon drum and there it sits so you may view the last Marines load. Now in a normal outhouse you would find a deep hole underneath and when it gets 3/4's of the way full you would dig a new hole and move the outhouse over that hole. You would fill in the old hole and be done for a month or so. Here in the Marine Corps we like to create new and fun things to do so we opt out on that method. We prefer to burn it. Oh yum what a treat. You find a group of Marines and assign them the job of burning the sh!tters. It takes about four hours and five gallons of diesel fuel to burn one can. There are three in each sh!tter and they may only burn two at a time so at least one is available for deposits. These sh!tters must be at least 50 feet from a work or sleep area. They surround the camp so no matter which way the wind blows you can have the lovely aroma of scorched sh!t drifting through your area. It takes about eight hours to burn all three so you get eight hours of fragrance each day. It's not the most pleasant smell I have ever inhaled and when you accompany that with the aroma of baby wipes and sweating bodies it's just plane nasal overload. Imagine smelling a sweaty baby's ass packed with burnt sh!t, covered in dust and you would about have it. I almost forgot the buzzing sensation you get while sitting on the hole. Flies! Hundreds of them, as soon as you drop trousers they attack. They are all over you and when you look at the mess below you realize what must be on their little feet. Perhaps these flies hover when they eat so they aren't tracking other peoples poop all over you. Do flies really barf on their food before they eat it? If they do that means as I empty my bowels I am getting a paintjob on my ass consisting of fly puke and someone else sh!t.

Speaking of bugs, well I have fleas! Yes, indeed fleas! They are eating me alive. I guess they are sand fleas or some other nice sounding name. These little monsters just eat and eat and then I scratch and scratch. All of the scratching tends to rip open the skin and then you bleed. Now bleeding is a sure sign that you are among the living so I guess that is good in a sense. The problem is how to keep the little scabs and bloody wounds from becoming dirty and infected when you can't shower. That takes a little work and so far I have not found the answer. I am working on it. We were told that the dirt has an extremely high fecal content so we should avoid consuming it. We should wash ourselves regularly and avoid the dust. As I sit here covered in fecal laced dust I wonder how I am supposed to accomplish all of these things. I guess I will figure out a way to stop the wind and then we won't have dust storms. I am working on that but until then I will just drink my fecal mochas and enjoy the new taste sensations. I wonder if Starbucks will have that on the menu for us when we get home.

Here in Iraq we also have mosquitoes, they attack right at sundown just like a normal mosquito. The only real difference between these here in Iraq and ours back in the land of flush toilets would be malaria. These mosquitoes are of the almost lethal variety. Knowing this makes you beat the crap out of yourself for about an hour each night and adds a whole new meaning to watching the sunset. After an hour of sunset aerobics we can then crawl into our sleeping bags to feed the fleas for a few hours. After feeding the little vampire fleas all night we rise to a bright sunny day! Soon it will climb into the triple digits and the wind will give us a fresh dusting of fecal powder to stick in the sweat produced because of the heat. When a Marine out here is eating and he says this tastes like sh!t you can take that to the bank! He knows what he is talking about because the Preventive Medicine Technician gave us a class on the fecal content in the dirt of our little piece of Iraq.

I must not forget my sleeping bag. Gosh what a treat that is. I have been sleeping in it since February and now it's May. I have slept in my bag at the bottoms of holes I dug, under vehicles, on top of vehicles, beside vehicles and inside vehicles. I have slept in my bag through sandstorms, rainstorms and brainstorms. I have even been known to sleep in my bag though explosions. Pretty much no matter what the day brings I end up in my bag. It's been a month since my last shower and guess what? I'll sleep in my bag that way too. There is so much grime and slime on it that the fecal dust won't even shake off anymore so I guess now I sleep in a sh!tbag!

This is a desert so you may wonder where we get our water. I will tell you. It comes from the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. It's dredged up from a canal about four miles from our pile of dirt. They attempt to purify it but I guess the science is not exact because we have all had Saddams Revenge. It's pretty good stuff because you get to throw-up from the top and the bottom. Sometimes you get to do them both at the same time. This is accompanied by a fever and wonderful stomach cramps. When you add the heat and constant sweating, bug-bites, lack of real showers filthy clothing and fecal dust everywhere it's lots of fun! Don't drink the water and then you get dehydrated so you end up the same way. At least when they re-hydrate you at the battalion aid station you get clean pure water. The only draw back to that method of re-hydration is the fact that you receive your water via an intravenous injection (IV). Well that's not fun either but at least you can pick your method of sickness. Drinking the water or not drinking the water it's the same damm thing.

I know this all sounds pretty fun but it's really not. You don't want to plan your next camping trip with Iraq as a stop. This is not on the top ten lists of must see places. Some say that this is the birthplace of civilization, if that's true then God (if there is one) has a sense of humor. He is one funny entity.

All joking aside as I look at these people and all that they don't have I am thankful for the things we do have as Americans. Most of these people don't know what a phone is and have never heard of cable TV. They don't have running water and they live worse everyday then I am living right now. The things we expect they don't even dream of. I wish everyone back there in the states could come over here and live like this for a week. How many relationships built on true love ended today over something that really doesn't mean sh!t? Just because someone got unhappy? We demand to be happy and run as soon as it gets rough. Do you want to know what rough is? In my eyes it's seeing children begging for our garbage on the side of the road. Seeing children happy when we toss food to them that we ourselves won't eat, seeing a Childs face light up because you gave him a bottle of clean water to drink. That is rough; imagine your child having to do that. We as Americans let everything else get in the way of what is important. Take a look around you and be thankful for what you have. Don't look at the house, cars, or your bank account for they mean nothing. Look at the ones you love, and what they really mean to you. Are those things that bother you all that important? Try to imagine your loved one living like I am. Imagine them living like these people live. I have been a Marine for 21 years and this has been the most rewarding thing I have done. I only have to imagine my son begging for food and I can see what's important. I and those around me are doing this so people we don't even know don't have to watch their children beg for food. Turn off the TV, Shut out the world for a night, draw your loved ones close and spend some time with them. They are all that matters. I am glad I got to visit because it reminds me to be thankful that I am an American. I am thankful.


Random Thoughts

Dixie Chicks with Diane Sawyer and the tears, give me a break, it's about the lost CD sales not love of country or troops. The UN has become irrelevant, corrupt beyond compare, and should be shut down. The Commander and Chief just landed on the USS Lincoln.

Every day is Memorial Day!!



"We need to restore the full meaning of that old word, duty. It is the other side of rights."

--Pearl Buck

Sgt. Grit,
My husband is currently in Afghanistan. He was able to call me the other night, and I was really exhausted so I know I was not the best conversationalist. When we got off the phone he decided to write this beautiful email to me. I wanted to share because I think it makes a very valid point. We constantly support our troops, but forget about the people in the background. The family members who sacrifice just as much when the troops are deployed. Yes our wonderful Marines are fighting for their lives and our freedom, but those of us at home are fighting just to make it through the day. This is a tribute to all the Marine spouses out there who sit among the "Silent Ranks"

[I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to tell you how much I love you. I felt like talking to you that you were either very sad or very tired. I hope it was the second because if you were sad or angry I think it might break my heart. I don't know if I've really told you how loved I feel by you. You are so incredible and I couldn't be more proud to call you my wife. I do know one thing from all this though, when this whole thing is done I never want to be away from you and Carson again. I know our marriage will be stronger, if that's possible from all of this but it doesn't mean I like it or that I would recommend it to anyone. It hurts me to think of you doing all of the things you have to do including the house, Carson, your job, keeping the house, taking care of the animals, and everything else. I hope you realize that I do appreciate all that you're doing and I understand how tough it is. Never think that I don't care or don't understand nor appreciate what you're doing. I never thought I could love someone as much as I love you and I never thought I could be as proud to say, "That beautiful woman over there, she's my wife and she is the strongest, smartest, most tender, most loving, and most loved person I know. She is the reason I am the person I am and the reason I appreciate the stars in the sky, the grass, the sun, and the moon. She makes me a better person and if you appreciate what I'm doing, you need to tell her first how much you appreciate what she's doing, because without her, there is no me." I love you Sweetheart.]

Very Proud Marine Wife
Tara Stainback

"When in doubt, tell the truth."

--Mark Twain

"Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes it jarring gong--these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history."

--Winston Churchill

Sarge, I want to thank you for making this forum available. I read and enjoy it all the time. I am a single parent ( father ) who raised two sons alone. My Marine is a LCPL in the 2nd.Marines, he is back in Kuwait right now, though at one time he was in Iraq. My youngest son is in the Army in the 101st Airborne. I can relate to the Marine wife who wrote on the rear window of her vehicle. I have Marines and Army decals all over mine.

I had a couple of T Shirts made that said....front " My son is a US Marine. My other son is US Army..Air Assault. On the back they say "MY sons are fighting for YOU". I get A LOT of support from people who walk up and say they are proud of my sons and the job they are doing while I have only had one negative remark. ( A liberal college professor ) . I told him they were fighting for him whether he liked it, appreciated it or approved of it.......though I would really prefer that it was him risking his worthless hide. This conversation took place in the check out of a local Wal Mart and drew a very loud and positive / supportive response from those around us.

Joseph Brinkley
MM2 - USS Constellation CVA 64
Tonkin Gulf Sailor
1971-1974 / 2 cruises

As a member of a SEABEE 81mm mortar squad in VietNam, I spent quite a bit of time in the field. Some with Marines & some with Army "Quads & Dusters". Bullsh!t aside, everybody worked TOGETHER to get the job done. Inter-service rivalry was fun, but not really serious.

When the Marines got into some heavy sh!t & called for 81's,

Army troops ran to our position & helped lug ammo up from the bunker , break open the boxes, open the canisters & get it ready to fire. We actually fired several hundred rounds, warping one of our tubes. It was a b!tch, but we knew it was worse for the Marines who were out there. We heard later on from the Marine General that they had taken few casualties, thanks to our mortars. Sure, we still called Marines f***in' Jarheads, & we still called Army soldiers f***in' Doggies, the Air Force were still f***in' Zoomies, & of course Fleet Sailors were still f***in' Squids. That doesn't change. Believe it or not, it was rumored that some of these other outfits may NOT have always referred to us as "those fine, brave, strong, handsome SEABEES" as we would have preferred, but that's okay. We knew who we were. Now 35 years later as I sit in my recliner & watch as American troops work TOGETHER so effectively in Iraq, I am more proud than I can say, of all these f***in' Jarheads etcetera, who are over there. Maybe they learned a little something from us. Let's talk about this "Greatest Generation" thing.....

Eric "Rick" Wendt

RVN '66 - '68, MCB 62

Our son, Cpl. L.A.Webb is in Iraq, serving with the 2nd battalion, 11th Marines. I have been very proud of him his entire life, but never as proud as I am today.


I am the wife of a Marine. We are stationed in the Stumps. I have been married to him longer than he has been in the Corps, but I will always be a "Marine Wife". He is currently in Okinawa, Japan and has been there since August of 2002. He and his unit...along with many others...are stuck there because of the war. I have heard so many times that I should be grateful that he is not in Iraq. And while I am, that does not mean that what is going on isn't affecting me or our kids. Those guys want more than anything to be over there with their fellow Marines. Almost everyone here at this base that we know is gone. My kids have been without their dad for about 9 months now, and when the war started, they lost all of their "Uncles". This community has pulled together so strongly and it makes me so proud! My kids know what is going on. They are 4 and 8 years old......they know why daddy is gone and why their "Uncles" are gone. They express their pride every day! They make flags to put out and sing our National Anthem with tears in their eyes! I want to say thank you to everyone who is in Iraq or "stuck" elsewhere! You are all amazing and the sacrifices you make are not going unnoticed! I just hope that in all the hooplah that is bound to happen when the guys from Iraq return that we don't forget the guys who are still gone because of the war. The guys who are on normal UDP's that have been suspended have no idea when they will be returning to their families. By the time this is all over they could be gone for over a year in many cases. While they did not have to go to war, they still made a huge sacrifice for their country. Please, in all your prayers and celebrations, don't forget them!! They deserve our thanks too!! Again...THANK YOU!!!! God Bless this country and all who gives their lives to support it!!!

Melanie...Proud USMC wife of Sgt Michael Hart Kilo 3/11, 29Palms

I am grateful for the blessings in my life now, and I accept the events in my life as gifts of growth that create strength of character and strength of faith I love him because he makes more of my world and my life than I can make of them by myself My dream and I have grown together

Thank You Marines for doing your job.
Ensuring freedom for the USA and freeing Iraq.

Semper Fi.
Tom Durfee,
Sgt. of Marines 1972-1976

Dear Sgt. Grit. I am a 17 year old high school senior. On April 5, 2003 I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I am scheduled to ship out to Parris Island on October 6. I joined for those who served before me and can no longer serve. I joined for those serving now. I joined for those who will serve after me. I joined for my family. I joined for my friends. I joined for the protestors. I joined for the supporters. I joined for the oppressed and destitute people in the world. I joined to serve. People have told me I was too smart for the Marines. They said I needed to go to college and become something. I know that I am going to become something. I signed for Infantry as my MOS. Not because I wanted to kill and destroy but because I want to be there when the dust settles and its time to hand out food and water to misfortunate people. I support the actions to free oppressed people of a horrible regime. We are not in Iraq for oil. America gets its oil through Venezuela (for those that didn't know). I wrote this letter to tell the Marine Veterans that we are willing to fight the fight, no matter what the cost. We will rise to the challenge just as you did. We are young and we are brave. We will not back down because you did not back down. We will follow in your footsteps with Honor, Courage and Commitment. We will carry on the legacy of the United States Marines just as you did irregardless of the challenge, protestors, or anything else that may stand in our way. Thank You for serving to keep me free. Now its my turn to serve to keep you free.

God Bless America!
Semper Fi!
David Glenn
Raleigh NC

I want to thank everyone that is supporting our men and women fighting for our country. I also want to say I am disgusted in the people who do not support our troops. Thank you to all who love our country!!!!

Proud wife of Cpl School, USMC
Bulk Fuel, on the border of Kuwait and Iraq

I feel I must reply to the letter of Ashley Virgil Lilly (April 24). It seems to me you learned your lessons well at P.I. Plt. 20. S/Sgt. McKinnon would be proud of you. I say please remember this, France helped us win our independence. I believe the French have a noble history, it's just the jokers that are now in charge that is the problem. I hope we never have any problems with my Welsh ancestors. It's good to know some of us are still around.

Ben Reese, Sgt. (Before the crossed rifles) Active Feb. 55--Feb. 59

I am a US Marine on my way out with a BCD for a mistake I made and regret. I went UA and now I have a BCD. I have thought over my mistake and now I want to lead my life in an honorable way. I hope to become an attorney and prevent future servicemen from committing the error that I made. I want to ask from your readers if there's any way of leading a normal life with a BCD. How bad will it affect me? I would appreciate it if your readers wrote back at I would appreciate it if you put this in your next newsletter.


I just want to let all the wives, friends and family members know that you keep me motivated and inspired to get that grass to start growing with Iraqi blood out there in that desert sand. We had many difficulties in Somalia when our platoon commander would tell us that even if we were fired upon that we weren't allowed to shoot back. I made this one mental thought when I heard that: "If my buddy next to me gets shot and killed, I'll be damned if I'm not gonna shoot back and kill the man that shot my buddy (LEAVENWORTH OR NOT!) at least I'll be able to write to his family and let them know that I got the bastard for them!"

Cpl. Anthony L. Beardmore '93-'97 Currently in the Reserves

Sgt. Grit:
Todays Marines have proven that they are of the same caliber as those Marines who has gone before them. I know without a military doubt that Chesty, Daly,Basilone,and all other Marines who are serving with the BIG 6 that they are standing taller today at what the new Marines have accomplished. At the onset of this conflict I tried my dangist to get back into my beloved Corps after having served 22 years. When the call went out from HQMC that they was taking retirees back I called and a young L/Cpl informed this old Gunny that I had been out too long (9 years) that they was only taking those back that I have been out 5 years or less. I informed the L/Cpl that I would even bring my own rifle and ammo and that my utilities still fit and are in serviceable condition but he said it wasn't his decision but those of the higher authority. I'm still proud of our Marines in all that they have accomplished in this Mission to free Iraq. When the tank retriever pulled the statue of the Iraqi madman I felt such pride for our Marines. I know now that our Corps is in good hands with the Marines of Today at the helm.

Semper Fi
GySgt Ray Lancaster 71- 94 USMC (ret)

APRIL 3, 2003


I read you news letters all the time and decided it's time to add a little something. I see that more wives are writing and I think that's great. My husband left on Feb. 12th for Kuwait and I moved back home with my parents ( a small town in upstate NY). My husband has 2 younger sisters who are trying so hard to understand what their big brother is doing. The oldest who is 9 decided she wanted to do something to help. She started with a small jar at her mother's family owned diner. Within the first week she called to tell me she had around $500. We then did a dinner and served 733 dinners. We are selling shirts and get half the money for them as well as getting lots of donations. She has now collected well over $12,000 and has been keeping us all VERY busy. On average we are sending about 55 packages each week to our local military men and woman over seas.

I have just been so amazed by the support that we are getting from such a small community. I know that our men and women really appreciate the support. She has started getting letters back from some of them telling about sharing with their unit and some are forwarding boxes to friends also in the field.

Thank you for your wonderful news letters. Thank you to all the military families who stick together in times like these to not only support our family members and friends but also each other.

Semper fi,
pround marine wife of Cpl Walsh

Sgt. Grit,
Wonderful newsletter...thank you for providing it!! I wanted to respond to Chris, a USMC Cpl (1998-2002) who wanted to re-join but was denied. I wish what he said was true here about people knocking down the recruiter's doors. We are currently one year into a three year tour on recruiting duty. My husband is not experiencing any knocking down of doors. Instead he "enjoys" the de-moralizing task of offering the Marine Corps to kids who have no concept of what the Eagle, Globe and Anchor could be to them. Recently, a mother asked him what kind of promotion or pay raise he would receive for enlisting her daughter!! I suggested that he tell her that he benefits by MAYBE not getting his a** chewed for not making mission, that he gets to keep his 85-90 hour a week job with no vacation, and that he gets to see his wife and kids less over the next three years than he did when he spent 13 months in Okinawa without them!!!!

One problem seems to be competing with the money that the Army can throw at these kids...enlistment bonuses, etc. In order to go Marine, they have to WANT to be a Marine, end of story. Civilians have no idea how hard these recruiters (and their families) work so that our Marine Corps can continue to be filled with the best. Honestly, I think there is no finer way to for a child to say, "Hey, Mom and Dad, you did a great job!" than when they enlist in the military...especially the Marine Corps. I mean, to selflessly serve your country is an incredible thing. I wish more young people would take that opportunity. It has been an awesome thing to see some of these guys before and after boot camp. They have become part of my "family" and I am so proud of them.

Thanks for letting me comment! Semper Fi!! God Bless America and the Marine Corps!

The proud wife of a Marine Recruiter

Sgt Grit,
I just finished reading your newsletter. I, like many others, am proud to be an American! I have two children serving in the armed forces an 1 may be shipping out on a medical ship soon. I used to send them copies of our local paper so that they could keep up on news from home. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to send photos of fellow friends and neighbors marching against the war and our troops. I want to scream and tell them they are a bunch of idiots! Where is your support for all those who risk their lives to protect our country?

Please let all of the people serving in any branch of the service, that there are more people, like me, that would volunteer today, if we could, and stand right beside them and protect everything that the US of A stands for. That is freedom! And thanks to all of our brave people, another country will have the chance to experience that type of freedom, which we would die to protect!

A Marine and Navy Mom
Merrill, WI.

To Mr. Bill Holly,

You wondered over the past decade about the caliber of young men entering our services....

When I was 10 in the mid 50's I remember my father, a bomber pilot in WWll, expressing his concerns about the "caliber" of "this generation" when we would have to go off and defend America. He actually didn't think we would have the stuff. Then came the Nam. 5 million went over that place over 15 years. Over 50,000 paid the ultimate price. We went.

I never doubted the "caliber" of todays young men...or women....they will be with every generation. They just need to find their way to Parris Island or San Diego or Great Lakes or become "born".

I'm just so proud of what these young people did over the last month. What a team. What a country. God Bless Them All and the families who raised such wonderful children.

Tom Masles
USMC Sgt. 1969 to 1975

I am a former Marine from New Hampshire, having served from 1956 through 1962 (combined Active/Reserve time). Our NH state motto, as you might know, is _Live Free or Die._ Quite appropriate, I say, for the current situation in Iraq as well as the rest of the world.

My wife Mary and I have become _Snowbirds_ and spend much of the winter months in Florida at a seniors_ community mobile home park. Each year as we near the end of winter we celebrate with an _American Night_ dinner and dance. This year Mary suggested we honor our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services. She found some really great patriotic information on the computer network, including the history of our National Anthem and the American flag.

She developed a program and _volunteered_ me to present it during our _American Night._

The program went as follows:

As the guests arrived (about 200 of them) we had a series of patriotic songs playing in the background.

Singing of the National Anthem

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

I then recited the history of how our National Anthem came to be

Demonstration of proper Flag Folding

Two Army veterans with nearly 50 years of combined service acted as our Flag Folding detail

As the detail performed each flag fold with _America the Beautiful playing in the background, I explained the significance of each fold. (Many commented later that they didn't realize what that ceremony meant, some mistakenly thinking the 13 folds referenced the 13 original colonies.)

I then asked members of each of our services to stand and be recognized, beginning with Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines. (I saved the best for last.)

As the groups stood each branch song was played. When I called for former Marines to rise and be recognized, I was the only Marine present out of nearly 200 people!

Another Veteran offered a prayed to those now serving which caused many emotional reactions .

The program was concluded with the singing of _God Bless America._

The real _kicker_ came when an Army veteran asked: _How do you figure that out of about 200 people in this crowd there is only one Marine?_ To that I replied, _It only takes one!_

Semper Fi!
(Former L/Cpl) Bradley Ford

A reply to:

Sgt Grit
Could you or any Vet. tell me why our service men don't wear their uniforms on liberty??? ....

It is very possible that very few feel comfortable in their uniform in public...what a shame. Our liberal, intellectuals, and artists have for years targeted the military for all the ills of the world. You see, it's just not popular to place God and Country before a promising career, or a "me" centered lifestyle.

President Bill Clinton put it best...he didn't have "time" to serve in the military, he was building a "political career". It is all about "Me", and they can not comprehend anything which could rank above their self-serving attitudes. Our cities vie for military bases, and prisons, and industries for economic development, but then develop an intolerant attitude and resentment for the individuals who work there because they have added to traffic congestion, longer lines at the stores and the movies, and have robbed the local populace of their "quaint tranquil small town peace".

And when the boys came marching home, after WWII it was housing shortages, job shortages, etc.; and after Nam we were all "baby killers" and freaks that didn't fit in with those who had 'vacationed' in Canada, or protested on campus. We had hoped that after the Sept 11th tragedies that maybe we were returning to a era of patriotism and the values that were predominate in the forties and fifties, and before. But alas, we find with the War on Terrorism that Hollyweird and the liberal society are just as "Anti-American" as they ever were, if not more so.

The question is, what will it take to change things? Do you suppose that if Arby's, McDonalds, Radio Shack, and Old Navy, just to mention a few of the sponsors of "West Wing" and martin sheen, who flunked his entrance exam for admission to the University of Dayton, were to get the message by a boycott, that America has no use for Pres. Bartlett [the egotistical 'well educated snob' who orders the assassination of a Head of State from Uzbekistan in spite of a long standing executive order against such actions in a previous West Wing episode] and then shows his face with duct tape over his mouth carrying a cross [as if portraying Christ] in a recent "Peace Rally"; and possibly America's boycotting movies starring peace advocates such as jessica lange, alec baldwin, julia roberts, sean penn, and the like might make Hollyweird and others to take a harsh look at the economics of 'Anti-American' stances they have taken?

Gary A. Halstead USMC Cpl E4 [1961-1967]
"Semper Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Frates Aerteni"

I've always been frustrated by those who say that it's one's right to express themselves by burning our flag. From my perspective, our national flag is the "Battle Color" for the nation and as such, when one burns the flag, they aren't making a political protest against a government policy, they're attacking the people/nation; an act reserved for our enemies. If people want to protest policy, politics, or whatever, they can burn an effigy or something equivalent.

An American burning our flag is equivalent to renouncing their citizenship in our country since they quite obviously oppose us.

Semper Fi,
Pete Hoeft Gysgt USMC (Ret) 79-99

A Marine Comes Home

The battle of Iraq may be over but the warriors for peace struggle on. Theirs is not an easy road, particularly, we hear, in the entertainment industry, which is packed with notables fresh from their vocal campaign against the war, the president, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney -- objects of scorn in all the best circles, from Paris to California.

Now, it appears, some celebrities worry about damage to their careers. The Dixie Chicks have taken a hit. Sean Penn thinks his views have cost him jobs. Tina Brown, whose main concern about the war seems to be that it caused the postponement of her new TV show, announced last week that it would soon air and that she planned to decorate the set with an American flag bigger than anyone else's. She had to scrape up as many core American values as she could, declared Ms. Brown, "to have any hope of being allowed on TV at all in the current climate of punitive patriotism."

No fear. Americans aren't likely to concern themselves much with Ms. Brown's flag -- in the event they actually encounter her program. Most of them have matters more pressing on their minds. For some these days those matters include funerals and mourning rites for people they have never met.
* * *

On April 14 in Vermont, for example, mourners gathered for the funeral of 21-year-old Marine Cpl. Mark Evnin, killed in action on the drive to Baghdad. A thousand people attended the rites at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, at which the Marine's grandfather, a rabbi, presided. Reporters related how the Marine Corps League color guard and local firefighters flanked the walkway into the synagogue, where mourners included the Roman Catholic bishop and the governor.

Crowds lined the streets in salute -- some with flags, some with signs -- everywhere the funeral procession passed. But what struck the Burlington Free Press reporters most were all the strangers who had been impelled to come to the cemetery to honor the young Marine. One of them was a mother who had brought her two young children and stood holding two American flags. "Every single man and woman out there is my son and daughter," she told the journalists. "He could have done a lot with his life. But he gave it to the nation."

Two days later came the funeral mass for 25-year-old Marine First Lt. Brian McPhillips of Pembroke, Mass., killed not far from Baghdad. Three Marines died in the firefight at Tuwayhah described by Dallas Morning News embedded reporter Jim Landers. The 2nd Tank Battalion had run into an ambush by a band of Islamic Jihad volunteers -- Syrians, Egyptians, Yemenis and others. Lt. McPhillips went down firing his machine gun.

The knock that brought the news home in the early hours of April 6 had caused the walls to reverberate, his mother recalled. His father, a Marine veteran of Vietnam, knew at once what the 5:00 a.m. visit meant. They never come because somebody's been wounded: "They want you to know as soon as possible."

Neither of the McPhillips was surprised at Brian's choice of a military career. His father had served, his great-uncle had fought at Guadalcanal; and Julie and David McPhillips had been the sort of parents who wanted to imbue their children with a consciousness of history -- that of their country's not least. So they took them to places like Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg and other national shrines.

David McPhillips nevertheless used all his powers of persuasion to keep Brian from enlisting in the Marines right out of high school. Heeding his parents, Brian went off to Providence College, a Catholic institution, where he thrived, compiled an academic record most people considered enviable, his father included, and looked to the future. Shortly after graduation in 2000, it arrived, with the commissioning ceremony that made him an officer in the Marines. He would go to war, his father reported, carrying his rosary and his Bible.

At his funeral service at the Holy Family Church in Rockland, where Brian's mother attended daily Mass, David McPhillips recalled his son's generosity and enterprise. Mrs. McPhillips would deliver a eulogy of her own, afterward carried in the local papers, on the subject of her son's life and death. She saw herself, Julie McPhillips said, as one of the fellow Americans for whom he had given his life. It had been her great privilege to be his mother: "To you my dear and faithful son, from earth to heaven I salute you . . . ."
* * *

As at Cpl. Evnin's funeral, crowds lined the streets. Brian's uncle Paul Finegan pondered the problems getting to the cemetery in Concord -- a 150-car cortege traveling 50 miles on the busiest highway in New England. He had, it turned out, nothing to fear: 50 state troopers, many of them coming in from days off, had closed most of the road for them, a stretch of 35 miles.

Then came another sight he could scarcely believe. At the side of the road, near their halted cars, stood streams of people, standing at attention -- paying their respects.

"They stopped all these cars, and people got out to stand holding their hands over their hearts," he marveled.

He should not have been surprised. Scenes like this are the reason all the celebrity protesters can stop worrying about public wrath and punishment. Americans have other things on their minds all right. September 11, for one. What they have on their minds, too, since the just-concluded remarkable war, is the consciousness of who they are and what this society is that it should have produced men and women of the kind who fought in that war and died in it.

People got a powerfully close look at their fellow Americans in uniform these last weeks. This is what impels them now to stand at roadsides in tribute, heedless of where else they had to go. And this is why strangers flock to funerals.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.
The Wall Street Journal

Sgt Grit,

I am in the beginning stages of organizing a reunion for Golf Co 2/7, years 1990 - 1994. If possible please post in you newsletter and provide the following contact information:

Attention all Golf Co 2/7 Marines 90-94 a reunion is being planned please contact,
Dennis McHawes at
(636) 933-4978 or
(636) 262 -1461 or
(636) 574 -1771

Sgt. Grit: In July 1945 General Rocky, Commander of the 5th Marine Division, came to Tinian Island, Mariannas, to dedicate our B-29. When he arrived and the area for the ceremony was prepared, the General looked at the "over six foot tall" Air Corps brass and stated he wanted one of the "smaller" members of the crew to stand with him on the podium - and he selected me, a 5'4" tail gunner on the B-29 named The SPEARHEAD. The plane's artistry showed the arrow w/SPEARHEAD design on the right side of the plane and the raising of the flag on Saribachi on the left side. It is one of my fondest memories of WWII.

Bob Watts

Sgt Grit,

Believe that Chester Puller is proud of his MARINES. I know that I am. Right now I am sitting here reading the letters written for the newsletter and the tears are flowing freely. It is comforting to know that the people of our great nation are not ashamed to let everyone know how proud they are of our service men and women. Our military has performed like the "HEROES" they are. Being a "MARINE" for life, I bust with pride when the news media shows our Corps in action . I pay no attention to the actors, politicians, and protestors because in the big scheme of things ,they mean absolutely nothing to me. To know that our service people are watching each others backs and those at home are praying for them and watching out for each others families makes me proud. We Americans have taken care of our own and we always will. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND TO ALL THE MARINES 'SEMPER FI'.

James W Walters,
Cpl. US Marine Corps 1963 to 1969 [Viet Nam 1965-1966]

I just wanted everyone to know, the whole male side of my family has served in the Corps, in every war the US has been part of. I chose the same when I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1977. I personally believe that those of us that are part of the "Few and Proud", deep down, had hoped we could sacrifice so that our children, nephews, nieces, would not have to. That is, in all probability, never going to happen. I am so very proud of our patriots. God bless them all.

Michael Eldred
Proud VFW Member
Proud American Legion Member

Thanks to the USMC we Americans are free of the tyranny and regime of sadists like Saddam. The boys over there are doing a FINE job and keeping the faith. My husband has been over in Kuwait and Iraq since January 25 and is with the US Army Reserves after an 8 year career with the USMC. He tells how tough it is and how they all act togethers, whether Marines or GI Joes. He says the Iraqis are so HAPPY to see the soldiers they fall down at their feet. He said to tell the country that they will be home soon!

Semper Fi
Darcy from Minnesota

Sgt. Grit

I have a few words for R.V. Wilson:
There have been many Marines who I guarantee has seen things ten times worse than you have and don't cry about it the way you just did. The combat veterans that I look up to are those that went over, did their job, came home, and went on with their lives. Sometimes someone you would never guess, turns out to be a combat vet. The local barber, firefighter, banker, mail carrier. My folks have an old man that has lived next door to them since 1973. He has always been a great guy and friend. I just found out about 2 months ago that he is an Iwo Jima Marine.
I have one other issue with you. Are you saying that I am not a real man, or that I am a coward because I wasn't there with you in Veitnam? You think G.W.Bush is a coward because he didn't go through the same experience you did. While your service was important and appreciated, you attitude seems to cheapen the service of every man or woman who wasn't right by your side. Are you saying my father (ret Gunny 53'-73') served any less than you because he never fought in the jungle, but instead spent his last three years as a recruiter in a college town in Connecticut. Millions of men and women have served this Nation and never seen combat. Don't you ever stand in my face and tell me I am a coward, or less of a man, patriot, or Marine than you because I served stateside during the first Gulf War.

N.D. Gray Cpl, USMC 88-92

It has occurred to me that these Marines are the sons and daughters of those of us that were Marines in Vietnam. They sure make us proud. See what we could have done in RVN if our government was more interested in winning the war and saving lives, instead of politics. Same thing happened in Mogadishu.

Semper Fi!
Douglas Forde Simms

I am the proud mother of 2 United States Marines. My oldest, just returned from a deployment to Japan, Russia, Korea, and the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he re-enlisted for another four years. He is currently stationed at Camp Lejeune and was so disappointed that his unit didn't deploy to Iraq. My youngest, stationed out of Camp Pendleton, left in January and is currently serving with the First Marines Expeditionary Unit Force. He is a part of the 1st BN 4th Marines. Bob Arnott had been embedded with them from the start of the war, so we were able to keep up with most of their moves. Good and bad to that. Every time a Marine went down, you couldn't breathe for 2 days wondering if anyone would be coming to your door, then as time passed, your heart grieved for the family that had gotten the news that their loved one and given the ultimate sacrifice. He finally called on Good Friday from the United Nations Building in Baghdad! It was so good to hear his voice. We are so proud of him and the mission that our troops have carried out and continue to carry out! God Bless you all and please know everyone of our service men and women are in my daily prayers!

Lisa Proud Marine Mom

I am a 21 year old fiancé of a 22 year old Marine. He is in Alpha 1-11 and is currently in Iraq. My fiancé, LCPL Timothy J. Clark, was your typical boy next door...athletic, intelligent, big-hearted, ambitious (not too mention good looking.) Yet when he joined the United States Marine Corps something changed in him. I didn't think such a great guy could get any better but the Corps has done a remarkable thing to him. I take great pride in him and all of his brothers. I wish he could have been home for his 22nd birthday on April 29 but I know they'll be many more we will share. I am not sure about anyone else but although my nights are lonely, I do feel safer than ever knowing that there are men and women like LCPL Timothy J. Clark fighting for this great country. Before the song had ever been released and he had left for boot camp, we attended a Lonestar concert. We both cried and knew right then and there that the song "I'm Already There" would help us cope through hard times. All through boot camp, schooling and now war, we end every letter and phone conversation by saying "we may be 1,000 miles apart, but I'll be with you, where ever you are...I'm already there." I just want to applaud your newsletter for a job well done and to also "thank you." While it is tremendously hard being so far away from my Marine, your newsletter helps me find comfort and makes me prouder and prouder to be marrying such a wonderful man. I know no matter what that myself and all other Marine spouses are "Already there."

Semper Fi
Kelly Rodriguez

I am so proud of all the troops and want to give them a Job Well Done. As an old Cannon Cocker I would like to send the folks of the 11th Mar a special Job Well Done. We've heard about what you have done and are so proud of you. No one Shoots, Moves or communicates better.Wish I wasn't so old so I could have dug trails and humped ammo with you.Remember Artillery brings dignity to what would otherwise be just a brawl. Hope it's not too long before you get the word to CSMO back to beautiful downtown Las Pulgas, and that paradise 29 Palms.

Semper fi
Jim Monteith 65 - 77 SSgt 0811 (Gun Ape) OOHRAH!!

"In the last twenty-five years, no one has killed more Muslims than Saddam Hussein. Yet, only two of 57 Muslim states lined up against him. In the same interval, no nation in the world has saved more Muslim lives than the United States (Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo and Kurdish Iraq); yet only 2 of 57 Muslim states recognized the debt enough to support America's war effort. The Arab world in particular is a collection of medieval theocracies and fascist regimes, who supported first Hitler and then the Communist empire. Its culture is xenophobic and its media is effectively controlled by the state. How could America conduct itself in liberating any Arab country or neutralizing any Arab threat without provoking a negative reaction?"

--David Horowitz

I caught the last ten minutes of the Bob Hope tribute show. It was USO footage, interviews,and whatnot. The thought hit me, How the hell are we going to win a war once Bob is gone? I've been reading what you WW2, Korea, and Vietnam vets have been writing about him. Seems to me that we ought to be able to come up with some sort of Marine tribute for someone who has done so much for us.

On the lighter side, Norm Gray and I (both no longer currently serving Marines) do fireworks shows. We invite anyone near DeQueen, AR on July 3 and Ashdown, AR on July 4 to come watch the show, honor our troops, and celebrate the birthday of the best country there is. Even though the Marine flag will be flying, all branches of service will be welcome.

Semper Fi,
Mac McCourtney
SGT 1986-1993

Sgt Grit,

In November 2003 I will be traveling to PISC to celebrate the 228th birthday of our beloved Corps. You may be asking yourself, what is the big deal. The big deal (to me) is that I will be celebrating my 50th Marine Corps Birthday where I celebrated my first. I joined the MC in 1953 and was in boot camp on our 178th birthday. Out posted from PISC just before XMas in 53 and have never been back to PI since. Retired in 1973.

I am just hoping that maybe in the vast audience of readers of your newsletter's, just one of the other 72 MARINE's of Platoon 390, 1st Recruit Training Battalion (Oct-Dec53) will see this and join me there. SDI was SSgt Frank James NOVAK. JDI was Cpl W. N. BROWN. Contact me at or

Semper Fi,
Don Elseroad SSgt, USMC(Ret)
1438194 RVN 65-67 & 72-73


Sgt. Grit; For years I have read about these suicide bombers who believe they are going to heaven and being met by virgins. Give me a freaking break!!! Just exactly how stupid and backward are these murders to believe this.

First of all, I find it difficult to believe there is all this sex going on in heaven. Secondly, who in the hell would ever believe a virgin is any good in bed. I would rather be with a woman who knows what she is doing.

Finally, with all of us Marines who made it to heaven, I doubt if there are any virgins around. Assuming these murders ever get there, the only virgins the suicide bombers will find in heaven will be other suicide bombers????? So I guess they will have to settle for THAT!