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

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #55

"History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future...."

Thomas Jefferson

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Sgt Grit

As I read the many stories that Marines from the past wars and battles of the Corps. I realize that no matter what, a true Marine helps another Marine when needed or invites him over for a drink or meal. I really realize this at this moment. I am in a 3 world country helping teach another country's military what some of us do it the corps. While we have been here, the Marines that are on Marine Security Guard (MSG) duty, have allowed other Marines to come in their home and step away from the poverty and disbelief of this country. That shows me that a true Marine is always willing to help another when it is really needed.

Sgt Kevin J. Kottke
3D FSSG, 3D TSB (Formerly 3D LSB)

I'm a Sgt serving with MSSG-15, 15th MEW (SOC). I have returned from Iraq a few months ago and I would like to say thank you to all the Americans that supported me and my fellow Marines in such a place as Iraq. I get so mad now when I watch the News. It seems to me like they are picking on our President for him sending us to War. I think he made the right choice. I never joined the Corps looking for a War. I wanted to do my part for this great country I live in. When I got into Iraq and seen what was going on I knew I had the best training any of the services can give. I did my job and took care of the Marines under me. I remember back to the small towns we would drive through and seeing kids the same age as my very own asking for water or even some food, but most of all FREEDOM. It gave me a great feeling of pride to see them cheering us on so they can taste that freedom that we have right here at home. As for the protesters no one is keeping you here, you can leave when ever you want to. I know that saying is true "Freedom has a taste the protected will never know." We have been fighting for freedom since 1775 and I know the fight will keep going far after I'm gone. I want to say thank you all Marines for your the time you spent in the Corps and helping keep this country safe for me when I was younger. It's people like you that inspired me to join.

Thank you.
Semper FI
Sgt G

"The only reason I stick around in this little tan outfit is to hang out with these obnoxious, cocky, macho, ultimately unselfish and selfless young guys."
MajGen James Mattis, Commander 1st MarDiv ........................................................

Good Morning: As a former WW2 Marine as is my wife of , right at 60 years , we certainly enjoy your contribution to our "good" E mail readings. With reverent respect and admiration we have for those of our war we are from time to time struck with the obvious decreasing words and writings from our WW2 vintage friends. As that light at the end of that oft spoken tunnel of life becomes a bit more dimmer we find that our "fast"decreasing ) numbers are a wake up call for us to make each day count for that which is worthwhile. Memories are wonderful but remember that the present will soon fall into that category .It takes so little to be a part of our service organizations and to do those things for our guys and gals currently doing their thing for us that count. Also we should pay a bit more attention as to how we might make our wonderful Country even greater. Even Though we know that our energies and some of our abilities no longer have the same punch as they had fifty years ago , Let's not quit and as in the past give , that which is good , all that we can. It is with (easier to flow than ever) tears that I just know that those no longer with us would be saying the same thing-----"Don't quit" as there is much we still can do for our troubled but nevertheless great Country.

Pete SanFilippo , Granbury , Texas

MajGen Mattis' response to 1 year tours for Marines in Iraq.

Soft-spoken but direct, Mattis said there is no question that the next year will be hard on Marines, no matter what it brings.

But if they believe in what they're doing, the rest will take care of itself, he said.

"I think the toughest part of this is the heart of the Marine, to keep their hearts in it," he said. "This is going to be an adventure ... they are young men. They came in to test themselves," he said.

"They did not come in to sit on the sidelines when there's danger somewhere."

"War is the father of us all."



I'm at Camp Doha, Kuwait and have been since 30Jan2003 so I saw every branch of the military come through on their way up north. I'm a Force Protection Officer for security here at Doha. Being an older Marine I must tell you how proud I am of all the young people who have served our country but the Marine Corps is still way above the rest as always. The Marines uniform appearance even coming out of weeks in the desert is noticeable from a distance, Marines are still squared away. I talk to a lot of troops and I've never heard any young Marine say he was ready to go home, they all say "let's finish the job then we'll go home". To all who are serving no matter what branch you're in, you've all done a fine job. The media has not reported the truth about the way things are and the great job the military and President Bush are doing over here. We old Viet Vets know how the media lies because they sure lied about our war too.

You young Marines have made we old Marines very proud. SEMPER FI.

W. Les White
RVN 70-71

"What seems to have been lost in all this debate is the simple truth of how a defense budget is arrived at. It isn't done by deciding to spend a certain number of dollars. ... We start by considering what must be done to maintain peace and review all the possible threats against our security. Then a strategy for strengthening peace and defending against those threats must be agreed upon. And, finally, our defense establishment must be evaluated to see what is necessary to protect against any or all of the potential threats. The cost of achieving these ends is totaled up, and the result is the budget for national defense. ... Since the dawn of the atomic age, we've sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. 'Deterrence' means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."

--Ronald Reagan

Dear Sgt. Grit, This letter is going to be long winded, as I want to my special Marine stories with you and your readers.

When I was a young girl my parents belonged to VFW Post #2857. My mother was able to join the Auxiliary through her brother's World War II Army Service record. Most of their friends were World War II Veterans. For a few years during this time my dog "Digger" and I walked in every Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran's Day parades that were organized. Digger, a black and tan dachshund was the official Post mascot. Walking behind the Color Guard made up of Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors, even then as young as I was, I thought the Marines were by far the most handsome in their Dress Blues. All those wonderful, brave men that I had the honor and privilege of knowing are now in a much finer place where it is always peace time.

To continue on, when I was a senior in high school I met a new student who came to the Midwest from the East Coast. She and I became almost instant friends for two reasons: we were both very young mothers, and both newlyweds.

Over the next few years we got to be very close friends and spent much time together. Our husbands had many common interests also. The awesome part of this chapter of my story is that my friend's father-in-law was Lt. Gen. Lewis Walt. Her father also had at that time recently retired a full bird Colonel, and accepted a job in our area.

One summer in the early 70's, just after Gen. Walt was appointed Asst. Commandant of the U.S. Marines, my husband and I went to Washington D.C. with our friends for a visit. We stayed in the Marine compound at 8th and I, in Gen. Walt's quarters. "Quarters" hardly fits the description of this fabulous three-story mansion with a sub, and a sub-sub basement where all the electronics were stashed. The Commandant was right next door, and across the compound was the Marine guard barracks filled to the brim with gorgeous Marines!

We were treated as royalty! We traveled in the General's car with a four star flag perched on the front, got private tours of the White House, the Naval Annex, the Pentagon, basically you name it and we went there especially escorted. We were also guests of Gen. Walt at a Sunset Parade that sent chills down my spine and gave me a huge sense of pride for my country, even with all the dissent at that time. On our last evening in D.C. we were part of a dinner party that had so much Brass and Politicians attending, my head is still spinning 30 odd years later! That afternoon, the General's personal assistant gave me a crash course in which fork to use when at dinner. Today I am still in his debt.

The General gave me a tour of his quarters, explaining all the pictures of presidents and other world dignitaries. We went into his private office which was covered wall to wall, ceiling to floor, with magazine covers, (he was on the cover of Time three or four times) keys to cities, various citations. On his desk sat three phones, a red one, a black one and a white phone. He told me that he never wanted any of those phones to ring, because if one did, that meant big trouble.

It was a very exciting 12 days of my life. I can say that I was totally swooned by the pomp and circumstance of it all. As one of our parting gifts, the General gave my husband and I each a Zippo lighter with 4 stars and his name, and our name on it.

Fast-forward to 1988 to my oldest daughter's wedding. Her husband-to-be was standing at the front of the church waiting impatiently for her. His Best Man (his best friend) was standing slightly behind at attention in his gorgeous Dress Blues; his brother standing at attention in his Army dress uniform. When my daughter finally completed her walk to the front of the church, he took her hand and they recited their vows to each other. Of course, you guessed it! On that beautifully serene December evening I got my very own gorgeous U.S. Marine!! It was much better than any Christmas present I'd ever received. The two of them standing in front of God and family, he in his Dress Blues, her in her white satin and lacy chiffon, they were quite a stunning couple.

Fast-forward to 1995. My youngest daughter heads off to college in Boston. She came home a year and a half later accompanied by "General Jacob Chaos," (a/k/a "General Chaos") the bad-est Bully dog around! He's all white, and full of wrinkles and attitude! He has become more or less our family pet. My daughter promptly moved into an apartment where they did not allow pets, which left Jake homeless. My middle daughter kept him for a short time but he didn't seem to particularly care for her, so we shipped him to live with the Marine family stationed in Kansas City. Jake was the unofficial mascot of the Overland Park, KS Marine Recruiting Office. Jake wasn't exactly "parade material" so he was left to lounge in the back yard. When my daughter found out that they were going to be transferred to "29" . . . and that she was going to have a baby . . . and that she couldn't possibly handle a child, a new baby and two dogs traveling 2300 miles, I stepped up and immediately claimed Jake. Besides, he and I have the very same birthday. Well, to make this chapter short, I have become Jake's slave, and I let him totally believe he is every bit the "lean-mean-fighting-machine" he thinks he is. He and I take life easy and are in no particular rush.

My gorgeous Marine Family is still stationed at Twenty-nine Palms, with their two regulation Government Issue dependents. As of December 2002, we were pretty sure by the news that our Marine was heading to the Persian Gulf. He left in January, one of the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, known as "The Cutting Edge."

Along with the rest of America, I became a CNN/MSNBC/FOXNews junkie. The TV was on 24-7 in my house. At work I had my travel TV on and was pretty much war news central. St. Louis-Post Dispatch Reporter Ron Harris was embedded with the 3/7, and I read every column he posted on-line. Some of the wives of the 3/7 established a web site for The Cutting Edge, and I found that to be a source of comfort. Also, 120 people who work with me prayed for my gorgeous Marine and all the others, and kept the faith for their safe return. I don't know how many goodie care boxes my family and friends sent out in all. Some of my friends at work even had their children's school classes write letters to him. Our family had many, many sleepless nights as I'm sure millions of other Americans and Britons did.

Because my gorgeous Marine he is "short," he got to come home in June to plan his last 2-1/2 years. (He was supposed to be in Okinawa!) We thanked God many times over for his safe return. He was also promoted to Gunny straight away. We were thrilled for him! The first week in July, they came home to the Midwest for a low-key sit around and do nothing family down time with his family and ours. During a Cubs home game he attended with his brother (Army, on leave from Korea), his dad, and his brother-in-law (also Army) he received a telephone call from his Lt. back at "29" and was informed that he was going back to Iraq. D*mn! Apparently the 3/7 needed a Gunny! We got the prayer line quickly re-established, and wanted to believe very much that he would not be there very long this time.

His second time being away was harder on his baby, my three-year old granddaughter "Fritzie" (mom's pet name for her). She was very surly the second time and didn't understand why dad came and went again so fast. During his first absence my daughter would ask her where dad is, and Fritzie would answer, "my dad is at the Persian Gulf, and he's gonna-open-a-can-a- whoop-a**."

My daughter, always positively optimistic, shared a dinnertime story that I will always keep close to my heart. Fritzie was sitting at the table with mom and Big Sis, and decided that she had just had enough of her daddy being gone. She proceeded to hum her dinner roll across the table and said, "I don't know why the he!! my daddy always has to go do BagBag!" We thought that summed up everyone's feelings about the situation quite well.

By God's divine grace, my gorgeous Marine got home September 5, 2003, safe and sound.

I also want to mention that I have an absolutely wonderful son-in-law who is a T.Sgt. in the Air Force. He was sent to several places the Persian Gulf in 1994 and 1998, and he said to tell you that his favorite MRE is spaghetti. This time, my gorgeous Airman bounced around the U.S. fixing various planes, preparing them for combat service. Thankfully never came in harms way.

It's funny how life connects the dots on it's own and shows you how it's supposed to be. Thanks so much for letting me share my story, and keep those great letters coming.
Becky Erickson, Proud USMC/USAF Maw-in-law.

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

--George Washington

Dear Sgt Grit,

As an infantry officer in Beirut, I wish to respond to Cpl Thorntons statement about conditions that led to the bombing of our Headquarters barracks in Beirut. First, there were the stupid "Rules of Engagement." Our Battalion Commander ordered the first officer to come under fire to account for every round he shot back with a description of the target as well, but had to get permission first. Some actually followed those orders, but not all. Out on the perimeter of the airport with my men, a senior Army officer at the ministry of defense ordered me to have my men tear down our machine gun bunkers, fill in the communication trenches and place our ammo on the open ground! I refused the order, my Captain backed me up. Essentially, you had some of the same things we have today. Hesitating politicians, an Arabist favoring state department that sees no need for action at any time, and a media that only tells one side of the story.

The saddest part of the whole episode, other than all those good men killed on October 23, 1983, was that we knew where they were at and the politicians, due to pressure from the state department, would not let us go after them. For that reason, myself and many others decided against a career in the Corps. We are all still Marines through and through, but we do not like to get our teeth kicked in and not be able to kick back!

W. Lee Marlow, Jr.
1stLt, B. Co., 1stBn, 8th Marines

Now this is interesting... My maternal grandmother died from ALS.

They gave her 6 months to live and she volunteered for a clinical trial to be treated with Cobra Venom and lived for 6 more years... It was horrible to see such a vivacious, independent woman be so debilitated and so dependent on others...

I am astounded but elated, that the VA is allowing this disease to be service connected for Gulf War Veterans.

I very rarely agree with the VA but I give them an "atta boy" for this one. Even if it is only $21,000...







Dear Sgt. Grit,
Tomorrow my Marine son comes home from Iraq where he and the rest of his platoon of reservists have been serving since the end of January. His older brother serves in the Navy and was in the Gulf at the same time. He turned 22 the first week of the war.

Both sides of our family have been proud to serve their country through many generations. My husband's father, uncles, brother and sister all served in the Navy. Of my father's 3 brothers, two were in the Air Force and one in the Army. My mother's brother served as a DI at MCRD in San Diego for 20 years. Her uncle was killed in France in WWI at the age of 20. My grandmother's great-grandfather was Robert E. Lee (yes, THAT Robert E. Lee and no, they don't kick you out of the Corps because your ancestors went to West Point!)

When my boys decided to enlist, I told them that they didn't have to do this. My younger son (the Marine) looked me square in the eye and told me "Yes, Mom, I have to. What if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and all the rest had said "It sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sticking my neck out"? Where would we be?" Well, you can't argue with logic like that.

Tomorrow he will come home a hero in many eyes including mine. We have every reason to be proud of these young men and women who so selflessly went when duty called.

God Bless Our Troops!!

Semper Fi,
One PROUD Marine (and Navy) Mom

I wanted to add my story about joining the VFW. In '96, I was working in Perryton, TX. I went to a welding shop with a friend to get some tools welded. The old man who ran it looked at my high and tight and my eagle, globe, and anchor tattoo and declared that he was Navy in WW2. I said Marines in Desert Storm. "Are you a member of the VFW?" he asked. I told him that I wasn't. He gave me an application form and said( and I quote) "Boy, you get your a$$ signed up right here and now." I am proud to say that I am a life member now.

Semper Fi,
Mac McCourtney

Sgt. Grit,
I realize that there are going to be disagreements regarding President Bush and the War against Terrorism, but I cannot believe the comments from guys like Chuck in Pittsburgh, I.M. Dudley, and John G. Hogan. Are they really Marines, or were their comments just a sick joke on their part?

-- Anson Rohr, SPC, US Army National Guard

Sgt. Grit
Iraq, wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. Afghanistan right war, write time write place. Too bad we did not finish it before going to war for oil. Semper Fi Chuck in Pittsburgh USMCR '53 to '64

I have a small problem with this little insert. I am recently back from Iraq. NO ONE really wanted to be there but we went and we fought. I still have times I think that I am being shot at or that there is Artty going off.

Chuck in Pittsburgh Would you have the Guts or the Nerve to tell one of your own Brothers or Sisters to their face who was there that we did the wrong thing. I was close enough to fire at those people. On the other hand I was also there to help the people of Iraq to get rid of the Dictator that was mistreating his country and people. I cant believe that someone one of my Brothers that served during times of turmoil would say such a thing and not back his own family....

I pray that all My brothers and sisters out there still in So. West Asia return home soon and unharmed....

To Adam Your platoon misses you. Keep Heaven Secured for our arrival.

Simper Fi
Lcpl Lytle 00 to present...

Just to confirm what you stated in your message below, just last weekend my old platoon from Vietnam + myself got together in Niagara Falls, New York. There were only 6 (+ 1 Navy Medic) of us that were able to go, but still it was such a good time to see them again and talk about some of the things that went on back then and to find out what's happening in their lives now. Last Year we had a company sized reunion in Indianapolis and we were all there for that too. Next year, there is a battalion sized reunion in Kentucky for our 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Mar Div. group. I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Glenn Podhola Jr., LCpl
1 Mar Div 3/1, India Company

"If you are unwilling to defend your right to your own lives, then you are merely like mice trying to argue with owls. You think their ways are wrong. They think you are dinner."

--Terry Goodkind in "Naked Empire"

Sgt. Grit,

I may not be a Marine but I am very proud to say that I am the sister of a Marine. My bother is Lcpl. Michael Gaynor. He served in the Iraq War he was deployed in January and returned in June. 1st Recon 1st MARDIV. He is now in SERE School. He spent his 21st birthday in Iraq and was also promoted to Lcpl while overseas. I only received a few phone calls and a few letters from him while he was over there but every letter gave hope of his return home. I don't know a lot of military families and my family wasn't very patriotic but when he joined the Marines in 2001 that all changed. He had once told me that he didn't want to join but he know that it was the only way of doing something with his life that people would be proud of because he didn't think that anyone thought of him as anything but a screw up even though that wasn't the case. Now he tells me that he joining the Marines was the best thing that he has ever done in his life. I just want to thank you for the news letters which have helped me understand what it means to be a Marine. God Bless the Soldiers who have fought and who are still fighting for our freedom I thank you


I do take the occasional moment to sound off, ask anyone who knows me well. I read the postings of many who are taking a stand against the War in Iraq, as they have a right to do so in THIS country.

However I feel a bit different on the whole affair. I don't believe there is a "War in Iraq". There is a Battle of Iraq and a Battle of Afghanistan in the real war, the War on Terrorism. Not every battle is entered into wisely in any war, but truth be told the important thing is winning the War. This country was attacked; men, women and children were slain on U.S. soil by the most evil of enemies. This enemy doesn't attack the Armed Forces of a nation, they are too cowardly to do so, instead they attack the innocent and defenseless civilians who can't fight back. They hide behind the guise of religion, their corrupted version of it anyway, and pledge to destroy any who do not follow their particular "faith".

I listen to all who have an opinion and feel the pain of those who disagree with any part of this war. But, I would like to point out once more, WE did not ask to be attacked, WE did not desire to have our citizens murdered. But by God we now have a DUTY to respond with all the might we can muster. Until this vile war of cowards can be eradicated from the face of this earth, no one can sleep peacefully.

As a Vietnam veteran I know the pain of having your government manipulate a war and send our youth to death. But still this time we were the victims! Our brothers in arms are laying it on the line every day in this war, a war that MUST be won to save the entire world from terrible evil. Those of us that served in Vietnam know the pain we felt when we heard of how horrible we were to fight there from the civilian population. THINK how our younger brothers feel to read in these messages the apparent lack of support from their "older brothers". Put political arguments aside and see the big picture, these are BATTLES, battles in what is surely a global war. We are now living the beginning of World War III, the war to save civilization from terror. And God help any who shirk in their duty, it is a war we cannot afford to lose at any cost.

no initials here...I am
Grady Rainbow
GySgt USMC disabled
Oklahoma City, OK

Hello Sgt Grit,
I have to reply to Sgt. Bruce T. Meyer from the last newsletter concerning the "recognized dates" for acceptance. My husband also served four years in the Corps (85-89), including 2 overseas tours, time on a carrier, and various other stints away from home. I totally understand Sgt. Meyer's frustration with the American Legion's ridiculous acceptance policy. My husband is as much a Veteran as anyone else who has served his country (as well as is Sgt Meyer), but because he just happened to receive his HONORABLE discharge 11 months before the start of the Gulf War, he has been denied a membership to the Legion several times. I can understand getting a denial from the VFW (which he has never tried to get into) because he was not in a war, but he served his time, did what he was asked to do and is very proud to be called a former/always Marine. Our oldest son is now freshly out of USMC boot camp and serving, but my husband doesn't want to join for that reason due to the rejection thus far. Being denied a membership to an organization like the Legion has made him feel as though he is less of a Marine than those who just happened to be in at the "right time". At this point he has the same "Kiss my ass" attitude as Sgt Meyer toward this organization. He still receives the same respect from people he meets for having served, except from the American Legion.

I contacted our local Legion here in north east Indiana, and I explained the situation and asked that someone there please get me a name, phone number or address for someone that I could speak with about perhaps changing the rules for acceptance. I was told that "Oh yes ma'am, someone will give you a call back by the end of the week." I have not gotten that return call as of yet and it has been over a year since then.

There has got to be a way to make the people who are in charge of this organization see that this is wrong and you must accept ALL veterans who have been honorably discharged after serving their country. Semper Fi, Bruce!

Wife of former/always (but also unqualified) Marine, Cpl Donald G. Boyer and Very Proud Mom of Pvt Boyer

Hey Sarge,
I was in the CORPS 63-66.
My Son is in the Army and has been for 15 years. He just got back from Iraq and is now stationed in Eugene Or. I now know how my parents felt when I was gone. I wrote the following because of the pride I have in my son. If you would like to share it, feel free.

My Son is a Hero

Please let me start this by telling you what my son is not. He is not a NASCAR driver, He does enjoy his new Dodge Durango. He is not an NBC player selling shoes, He does like to shoot hoops with his son. He is not a famous baseball pitcher, He does throw a pretty wicked curve. He is not a rock star, He does think he can play the guitar and air drums. He is not a movie star, He is as handsome as one. He is not a pro golfer, He does know his way around the links. He is not a police officer, He does believe in the law of the people. He is not a firefighter, He does believe in helping his fellow man. He is a husband. He is a father. He is my only son. He is your protector against evil forces.

Hobby the way did I forget to tell you he is in the United states Army? He has quietly served you for the past fifteen years. He has chosen the warrior path to insure your freedom.

Please remember him in your prayers, you are in his.

A Heroes Father

Cpl.Jerry Oldsen SEMPER FI

to the marine that had problems with the American legion, etc,
i happen to be a commander of an American legion post. you said that your orders to war were cancelled in favor of a rescue mission, well then you are not considered a war time veteran, having not served in country during war time you are not eligible to join any vfw, and you were not eligible to join the legion either, your dates of service did not fall into the eligibility dates on the application, seeing as how the iranian hostage crisis was not considered a war and there was no recognized war going on in iran at the time. you also said that you had a 10% service connected disability and that you did not ask for any money and did not want any, well then that is your fault, you should have taken the money if any was offered to you because you would have been recognized as a disabled veteran and had been able to partake in the benefits that disabled veterans, such as myself, 100% ptsd and 30% for a bowel condition, receive. i am not able to join the vfw, having never been in country during our first trip over to the sand box, but i am a gulf war era veteran and am proud of that, i am also an officer in the Niagara county American legion and i am a member of the mcl in north tonawanda. so don't complain about having to sign in as a guest because you did not go after the benefits that were there for you. you are mad at yourself and you are taking it out on everyone else. i for one do not want to see you do that again. i had no problems getting into the American legion post that i am the commander of and i will be dammed if i am going to let some knuckle head slam the organization that i am a member of because he could not be a member of.

toni beltrano, cpl, usmc 1989-1993
usmcr 1993-1995

Since President Bush called the war over no Marine has died under Combative conditions. Marine's regretfully have died since then but it has not been due to hostilities.
Just thought you would like to know.


Independent Lens' "Be good, smile pretty" chronicles filmmaker's intense, personal journey to know her father...thirty years after his death in Vietnam. Filmed by Tracy Droz Tragos. Airs nationally on PBS Nov. 11 2003, check local listings for time.

Sgt Grit,
I think I have a solution for George Andres' trouble. Get about a battalion's worth of Marines to attend the auction and no one bid more than $1, and another battalion's worth to block access to the housing development. Buy the house and give it as a gift to George. I know there are many legalities involved with buying a house but it would be a way for Marines to take care of one of our own. Just a thought.

Semper Fi!


On 9/12, we could have "nuked" Afghanistan, destroyed Saudi Arabia or all other Arab/Muslim countries supporting terrorism and bombed France and very few people here would have cared.

But too many Americans have short memories. I predicted back then, about 8 to 10 months worth of memory. Now there are those who would rather forgive, forget or fade from memory what happened instead of face the reality of that day and that there are over 1 billion people in this world who have some form of hate or resentment towards us. They are called Arabs/Muslims. Many of their religious leaders promote this hate and their countries leaders turn a blind eye to their actions.

The peace loving forgivers/forgetters are called, Liberals, Bleeding Hearts, Pacifists, nonviolent people.

We "war mongers" know what really has to be done but are not permitted to have our way. We must fight fire with fire. Instead we would fight fire with flowers if the liberals had their way.

President Bush sent our military to Afghanistan to rid that country of terrorism and to Iraq to rid that country of a dictator and supporter of terrorism. Since 9/11, we have had no terrorist attacks here. Will we? Who knows? It depends on how much influence the peace loving forgivers have. Is it possible that President Bush's policies are working?

During the Clinton administration, I heard how we need money for education, health care, etc. All for "the children". Money was restricted for our military, the CIA, FBI and other intelligence gathering organizations. Most of those who died on 9/11 had children or was someone's child! Now the "armchair generals" are berating our intelligence network pointing out how this could have been avoided.

These CIA and FBI agents have an array of lawyers protecting themselves from their actions, or lack of actions, because there are people in this country who will file a lawsuit for anything. Just imagine, if the CIA or FBI had definite evidence of this plot and actions were taken to restrict all Arabs from boarding any plane for a period of time, the ACLU and the liberals would go ballistic. Just look at the complaints we are hearing now about the prisoners being held in Guantanamo and you'll understand why they weren't sent to a prison here in the USA.

It's just a matter of time before we have to live like the citizens of Israel. And I have been there many times ( just two months ago too) to see their "safe rooms" in the homes to protect them from poison gas, all citizens issued gas masks, security guards checking you when you enter any building or business, armed soldiers walking around everywhere and burn marks on streets/buildings from recent bombing. The saddest was going into what I thought was a new restaurant only to find out it was rebuilt after a terrorist bomb killed and wounded many in there. Is this what the bleeding hearts think about if they ever think about 9/11?

The memories of 9/11 are still strong among those of us who care.

Martin E. Shapiro
RVN 1st Bn, 9th Marines 1965/66

Grit, here's a picture of our squad on Okinawa in 1957.

It's a little blurred (I didn't take it, of course), but look closely and you'll see name tapes over the left pocket of each member.

We had to have them made while we (W29) were in Japan and it became the mark of the old salts on Okinawa because replacements didn't have to have them.

Us "Sayonara Marines" also had fully-tailored khakis and trops (boots won't know about khakis and trops) and red wooden name plates--about 3" x 12"--with gold emblems port and starboard of our names. Hung these at the end of our bunks. Wish I still had mine.

With the name tape and the name plate, I didn't need to check my sea bag to remember who I was.

Not as lean,
Not as mean,
But still a Marine,

Kent Mitchell

See picture here. Click on 3rd MarDiv.

Note: Browse the above page. There are hundreds of outstanding pics and stories. Add yours today. Do it now, don't wait. You know you mean well and will get to it "tomorrow". Tomorrow will not get it in on the page. I get great comments on your pics. I have had many people find buddies from recognizing a buddy in the picture and story. Do it now or start 'Bends and Mothers' for ever.

Semper fi Sgt Grit

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

--Chinese Proverb

Another picture, click on "Other".

It is interesting to read the letters of our fellow Marines of the different eras. Regarding "Name Tapes" - as a member of Platoon 130, MCRD SDiego the summer of 1961. We were issued a rubber stamp kit with pad and our names were rubber stamped on our utility blouse [first initial, middle initial, last name] immediately above the left breast pocket as well as all of the rest of our issue, in less conspicuous places, at the beginning of our basic training. Because I'm old, and the memory is not always as trust worthy as it once was, I verified this with a photo of myself in the utility uniform which was taken at that time. Our blouse was issued with the EGA and USMC already stamped on the left breast pocket. Then when we arrived on Okinawa, we were able to buy the embroidery name tags for our fatigues.

So those who think it is an ARMY THING...not so brother! The name tags were also worn on our field jacket as well. For those who think the Marines should discontinue the name tags because it looks like the Marine are trying to "fit in" - that has never been a problem...we have always been set aside, not just because we are a squared away group...but because we are unmistakably MARINES.

Gary A. Halstead Cpl E4 USMC '61-'67
"Semper Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Frates Aerteni"

Re: "The protest on the court lawn....."
Nicely written, but there were 6 men on Mt. Suribachi that raised that flag:

John Bradley; Appleton, Wi.
Frank Sousley; Hilltop, Ky.
Harlon Block; Rio Grande Valley, Tx.
Ira Hayes; Gila river Indian Reservation
Rene Gagnoni; Manchester, N.H.
Mike Strank; Franklin Borough, Pa.

Then send a check for $25 to: Operation USO Care Package

C/O Pentagon Federal Credit Union
P.O.Box 19221
Alexandia, VA. 22320-9998

The USO will then send a package (in your name) containing Baby Wipes and many other items the troops want and need!

Semper Fi! Dwight Powers

All Hands:

This is from LtCol Brad Shultis, who is presently stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

This is a speech given by LtCol Christopher C Colin USMC, Commanding Officer, and SgtMaj Henry E Bergen USMC, Battalion Sergeant Major, of the First Marine Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, deployed in Iraq. Thanks and Semper Fi, Colonel Seamus

Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2003 6:50 AM

To the Citizens of the United States, On behalf of the Marine's of First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, Twenty-nine Palms, California, we would like to take this opportunity, to thank all of you for your thoughts and your prayers. Since our arrival in Iraq, we have received numerous cards, letters and packages from the wonderful citizens and children of the United States. These cards, letters and packages were greatly appreciated and had a very positive impact on the morale of your Marines. Although we have gone through great lengths to ensure each received a proper reply, at times we were extremely busy and may have been unable to respond. The intent of this correspondence is to ensure that we have expressed our grateful appreciation to each and every one of you for your outstanding show of support for these fine young men.

While staged in Kuwait, our Marines were concerned with public opinion. Leaders were constantly asked about the pulse of the citizens back in the United States. At the time, things looked pretty grim. There were many Americans opposing the war and news of large protests broadcast on the BBC daily. Celebrities were using their status and making a charge of opposition. Our Marines were seeing the makings of another Vietnam and were not looking forward to the experience. Then the polls turned from negative to positive, and the news of such was passed throughout the battalion. At this point, the morale of our Marines went up significantly. Then came the cards, letters and packages. The enemy did not stand a chance. America was now united and headed towards Baghdad.

Prior to the beginning of hostilities, we were certain that the Marines of this battalion were an extremely confident and capable fighting force. Having seen them in action, we can assure you that your Marines have performed above and beyond our highest expectations. During the early stages of the war, they continuously found themselves in some very dangerous and challenging situations. In every case, they responded with the confidence, courage and determination necessary to defeat the enemy forces. Their collective performance and sacrifices have demonstrated to the Iraqi people that as United States Marines, there could be no better friend (for those who wished peace) yet, no worst enemy (for those who chose war). It was this mentality that contributed greatly to achieving such an overwhelming success in such a short duration of time. We cannot tell you how proud we are to have had the honor and privilege of serving with the Marines and Sailors of this battalion. They are superb Americans who represented their country very well.

Our ability to return these men safely back to their families and loved ones upon our return was the ultimate goal of this battalion. Through the grace of God, which we believe was in the response to your prayers, we have not lost a single member of this command. Unfortunately, some of our sister battalions and sister services were not so fortunate. On behalf of this battalion, we offer them and their families our deepest and most sincere condolences. They were brave Americans who served their country honorably. They will be missed. May God be with them and may they rest in peace.

The major hostilities have now ended. Although the Marines are anxious to return home and reunite with their loved ones, they continue to remain focused and understand the importance of their current mission. The focus of this mission is the stabilization of the country of Iraq. In support of this mission, our Marines continue to patrol the streets ensuring the safety of the Iraqi people and the potential success of the Iraqi communities. The Marines continue to hunt down and apprehend resistance forces whose sole intent is to disrupt the current stability that has already been achieved within most major cities. Importantly, they repair schools, government facilities and restore basic utilities in order for the Iraqi people to return to an acceptable standard of living. Although most of these tasks are not combat related, these requirements are no less important in achieving a smooth transition towards peace and democracy.

We understand that back in the United States, there has been some negative publicity in reference to the acceptance of our presence by the Iraqi people. We personally have not experienced this. Although there are some individuals who do not welcome our presence, the vast majority of the people are extremely happy that we remained committed to their cause and grateful for their newly found freedoms. We base this assessment not on news reports, but on the daily contact we have had with the local population. The children here are extremely pleasant and happy. They run towards the streets with big smiles on their faces just to wave hello to the Marines as they drive by in hopes that their waves will be returned and their presence acknowledged. They often crowd around the patrolling Marines seeking autographs or just a chance to say "hello" close and personal. Personal touch is far more significant in their culture than it is ours. A simple handshake is all it takes to make their day complete. They will usually return for many more. The little girls offer the Marines flowers as a sign of affection and gratitude. Although the Marines are pleased with the fact that they have brought so much happiness to the people of Iraq, for them, it is a very humbling experience.

Iraqi men of all ages engage the Marines in conversation on a daily basis while women stand in doorways waving and smiling or offering them a cold drink of water or a shot of Iraqi tea. Grown men will shake your hand and, with tears in their eyes, thank us for freeing their nation while offering us their blessings. Once tight lipped, they now speak freely of the horrific years under Saddam. In the past, they would have had their tongues removed for such statements. With this restriction eliminated, today's typical phrases are "Down with Saddam", "We love U.S.A", "We love you", and yes, "We love George Bush". Just recently we were honored to see "WE THANK U.S.A" written in large letters and repeated three times on a wall in the streets of An Najaf. Contrary to some reports, the request we most often receive from the Iraqi people is that we not leave. Some still believe that should we leave, Saddam (who is now the Iraqi "boogie man") will reappear and destroy them. We continue to reassure them that Saddam will never and can never return to power.

The Iraqi people that we have had the pleasure of meeting are generally very good people. Although they have no desire to be a United States, they are very open to the ideals of democracy. The country of Iraq is beautiful and rich in resources. With the implementation of an honest government and under a democratic rule, they have the potential of becoming a prosperous and peaceful nation.

How could this have all happened in such a short period of time? Based on your heartwarming cards and letters, it could easily be assumed to be our actions and ours alone. The truth of the matter is that this success can be attributed to you, the American people. For it is the support of the American people from which our Marines draw their will to fight and their determination to win. When their country calls upon them, with the support of the people, Marines will give the ultimate sacrifice before they let them down. Failure is not an option and retreat is a place to get away and take a long deserved break. Neither are considerations for combat!!!

As stated in some of your cards and letters, our Marines have performed heroically and with pride however, even we have heroes and we would like to acknowledge some of ours: First to our Commander and Chief, the Honorable Mr. George W. Bush who stood up when many others sat down. He demonstrated outstanding leadership at a time when diplomacy had failed. Mr. President, we are proud to have served under your command and prouder yet to be Americans. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. We thank those who have served before us for all they have given us. You have left us with a legacy and a reputation that intimidated and cowered most of the enemy forces before we ever met on the battlefield. For those who did not believe in this reputation, we convinced them once we engaged!!! Word spread fast and because of this, many lives were saved. Thank you!!! We only hope that we lived up to your expectations.

Semper Fidelis!!!!

Last but surely not the least are the American people who stood behind our President and their military in support of a difficult global decision. During this crisis, the world needed a leader and in typical fashion, the American people showed them one! Now the war has ended and the Iraqi people are free to show their gratitude, you can take comfort in knowing that "It was the right decision". While patrolling the streets of Iraq, we do not see or hear any thing like, "We love Marines", God Bless Marines, or "Thank you Marines". What we hear and see is, "We Love America", and "THANK YOU U.S.A.".

Remember, "America is us". So tonight before you go to bed, take a look in the mirror, take a moment for yourself, understand the impact you have made on the lives of the Iraqi people and pat yourself on the back. You have an admirer. In fact you have 174,000 of them. You are our heroes!!! Our men may not be celebrities and they may not have a celebrity status, but they are United States Marines who serve in the forces, which keep our country free. They are willing to give their lives in its defense and in our opinion, you can't beat that!!!

Once again, we would like to thank you all for your patriotism, unselfishness and overwhelming support. May other countries take notice. The United States of America will not be threatened, intimidated, nor will they shirk their international responsibilities. They will retaliate when necessary and it will be costly. BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAY SO!!!!!

God bless each of you and God bless the United States of America.

Christopher C. Conlin
Lieutenant Colonel
Henry E. Bergeron
Sergeant Major
United States Marine Corps
Commanding Officer and Battalion Sergeant Major

sgt. grit,
long time subscriber and love the newsletter!! you and my gunners have kept me in informed during past and present wars. there is a print called "reflections" by lee teter. i don't know what hit the floor first, my heart, my tears or my knees. i have not been to the wall yet, but as a marine, its a lifetime commitment, as the sarge says "KEEP IN TOUCH" we all know how short life is!! we all know we made a difference. thanks to all our armed-forces and loved-ones who are doing a tough job in a world where terrorism is such a waste of innocent life. semper-fi, God bless and remember, squeeeeeezze the trigger.

cpl. bishop G co 2/5 wpns plt.

Yep, quick and dirty all right, just ask, well, just look at some of the peace loving people from NVA land, Afghanistan, and Iraq, that are now the quick and the dead, courtesy of the quick and dirty.

"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."

--Samuel Adams

My son, a Lance Corporal (3/7 Lima), having recently returned from Iraq, told me that he and his buddies have vowed to shake the hand of every WWII Marine they meet from now on. This is due to the formidable reputation those Marines left behind, all over the world. This reputation was instrumental in subduing the Iraqi "fighting" forces as it seems that once the Iraqi troops realized the Marines were on their way they scattered, leaving weapons, ammo, etc., in their hurry to save themselves from the world renowned and toughest fighting force in the world. Thanks to the Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard for the jobs they do and their support but when it comes to going in and getting it done, the Marines stand out, even in the minds of the enemy.

Semper Fi from a proud dad and American.
John S.
Scottsdale, Arizona

One November evening, Veteran's Day, while lost in my thoughts of my former Marine life. I was interrupted by an unusual call from my cousin. He went on to let me know of his life and work, when he stated that the reason he had called me for was that he was thinking of me on this day and wanted to thank me for everything I had done.

I then replied to my cousin he didn't have to wish me a happy Veteran's day since I did not experience combat while serving. He then interrupted and said "How dare you say these things! When I slept at night, you stayed up guarding our Country. When others threatened the US, you stood up with rifle on hand to fight. No one asked you to serve. You spent few years of your life doing what others fear to do. If no one has ever thanked you, I want to thank you first!"

My eyes filled with tears and still do when I remember his call. Since then every November 10th and 11th, not only do I think of my Marine brotherhood or our beloved Veterans, I also remember my cousin's special phone call. Stay safe, Devil Dogs!

Jorge L. Rivera
92-96 USMC
"The fallen unknown rest assured in our hearts"

Sgt Grit:
Some of here in St. Paul Mn are helping the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. We have set up a web site The web site describes what the intent of the program is. Unfortunately my son did not see the light and became a career army officer instead of joining the Corps. Fortunately he is a d*mn good officer. If you look at the web site and are moved to do so, could you perhaps link to it in one of your next Newsletters? Thanks so much

Chuck Donnelly USMC 19966056

"There are many ways to measure success; not the least of which is the way your child describes you when talking to a friend."


God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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