"The Christmas spirit of peace, hope, and love is the spirit Americans carry with them all year round, everywhere we go. ... The tree that lights up our country must be seen all the way to heaven...its lights fill the air with a spirit of hope, and joy from the heart of America."
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I received many many replies to Concerned Mom, LT J, and about Lt Col. West. Too many to print them all. I have printed as many as I felt I could to keep the letter its usual length. And edited others to shorten them. I apologize to those of you who's letter did not get in.
Hello Sgt. Grit,
My name is Deborah May. My husband, Staff Sergeant Donald C. May, Jr ,was killed March 25th in Nasariya. I just read your comments regarding the mother of the serviceman that could not come home for Christmas. I cannot even begin to tell you how much it hurts when I see people on the news whining about things like that. Maybe for Christmas she would like to get the letters she wrote her son marked "RETURN TO SENDER" because he never read them.............that was the Christmas present I got this week.(One of them was a letter I wrote the day he died telling him about the ultrasound I had that day as I was 7 and a half months pregnant when he died) My husband obviously read his contract before he signed it and had a clear understanding of what the job required AND HE DID HIS JOB. He understood that being a Marine was more then hanging out at the tank ramp and smoking ...you are training for the most important thing Marines do.........DEFENDING THE WORLD (sometimes a 24 hour a day job, MOM). She is lucky she will see her son's smile again in her lifetime. I wish I could say the same thing about my 3 children( 7, 2 and 7 months)......I have also been meaning to write and thank you because my husband was buried in that incredible Marine Corps casket. It was just beautiful and every warrior should be honored with one. My husband had seen it in your catalog 2 years before and said how cool it was.
Thank you for helping us get it for Don.
"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
Sgt. Grit///You hit it right on the head with your slant on the cry baby mother who's son would " miss " all the holiday festivities. Poooor Thaaaaang. Like no one else has been in THAT situation. My favorite are the married couples, with kids, in the reserves thinking that they would both do their twenty without getting called up.
What did they really think it was about? I really have to laugh when professional football players refer to their games as " going to war on Sunday. " The NFL is brutal but it is not combat. I was watching the FOX NFL post game show last Sunday after Saddam Hussein had been captured. They did a brief segment on a Marine that had been wounded in Iraq. He was in the Packer's locker room getting around in a wheel chair. They gave him the game ball and it lead into some patriotic talk on the show. Terry Bradshaw, who probably considers himself a " warrior, " said: " Osama, you're next! I'll come get you myself!! " Terry. Have another drink and think about it. Yeah, you were a good NFL quarterback, but that would not help you in Afpakistan. Terry Bradshaw would last about two minutes. He can't even sneak up on a microphone.
These are perilous times. Talk is cheap. It always is. This current crop of Marines has done an excellent job, in a difficult situation. They have done it with class, and they are to be commended.
Thanks for the newsletter. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Dan " Doc " Wilson
The recent post to the last newsletter concerning LTC Al West, USA prompted me to write and give your readers a little more background on him. Al West took command of a MLRS battalion after completing a tour with the Marines of II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, NC (II MEF has a Force Fires exchange billet filled by an Army Artillery Officer). While there, he consistently displayed an exceptional level of professionalism, competence, and ability while serving as the II MEF Deputy Force Fires Coordinator and then Force Fires Coordinator. One key project that he got off the ground was the return of live Naval Gunfire training to the G-10 range at Camp Lejeune. He received an end-of-tour award (an MSM, I think) for the outstanding job he did with us.
My own impression of Al was that he was a superb officer, highly professional, devoted to his job and his family, and highly qualified for command. He was certainly on a par with the best Marine Corps officers I have served with. Having known and served with Al West, I truly believe he was doing everything he could do to protect his troops. I also believe his actions would have never resulted in such a ridiculous prosecution if he were in or serving with the Marine Corps.
I hate to say it, but I think Al's tour with us at II MEF made him think more like a Marine than a soldier, particularly in 4th ID, which (in spite of recent successes) doesn't have a stellar reputation. As an aside, 4th ID didn't make much of an impression when they arrived in Iraq; the Brits requested that they never transit their zone again. While conducting the RIP, they also fired on Marine LAVs (didn't know what that LAVs belong to us, not the Iraqis). In summation, when you think of Al West, know that he served with us and did great work - he is an outstanding officer and soldier and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.
To Concerned Mom:
Your son deserves no more safety then any other mothers' son. Your comments are way out of line. All families have tragedy in them. You question his maturity level, what is yours? Hopefully your son does not think like you. If he does tell him to stay home. Marines are men and women who SHARE the dangers and responsibilities of wearing a Marine uniform. I am a Marine parent who sent his Marine son off to war, PROUDLY and with all the support I could give him, not like a sissy. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting your personal interests ahead of everyone else's.
This is an paragraph from a article I found on ww.usmc.mil regarding a US Marine Sgt who lost a leg in Afghanistan and was able to retain his active duty status and complete jump school. Great article but I though this was kind of funny: He motivated me because at first I felt kind of down and I didn't like the course because it was so hard, but then I saw that he was doing it with only one leg and that inspired me and let me know that I could do this," said Army Sgt. Fatima Hickman, Company B, 203rd Infantry, 4th Support Bn., here. "He could have done anything else but he chose to continue in the military and to go forth with what he wants to do. He's not letting his prosthetic leg stop him from being the Marine he wants to be."
Too bad it was so hard dog face!
Sgt. Christopher Chandler, an Aurora, Colo., native, lost his left leg from below the knee Dec. 16, 2001, when he stepped on a land mine while providing security for an explosives ordnance disposal unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was one of the first service members injured in the Global War on Terrorism, but unlike some of his wounded counterparts, he refused to let the accident diminish his resolve. Semper Fi Sgt Chandler!
I'm a Marine Brat and I fondly remember the Zombies Tim McMahon referred to. It was the summer of 1970, I was just 21 and home from college. My dad was stationed at Camp Lejeune, and I had a dream job -- in the Staff Club bar. If a Marine could drink 2 Zombies, wait 30 minutes, and walk the length of the main bar without assistance, the drinks were free. I remember calling quite a few taxis that summer!! I also remember meeting many terrific Marines who always treated me with respect.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year.
"Posterity -- you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
--John Quincy Adams
I read an outstanding article at fox news from LtCol Oliver North about Sadaam's capture and what the some are saying about him and our Commander in Chief. I am a Marine Sgt who spent most of 2003 in Iraq (six months; eight total deployed) and probably will spend most of the next year in the same country. I am not complaining; this is what I signed up for. Sunday morning I received a phone call from my father at 0700 telling me Saddam was in our hands. I got out of my rack and jumped for joy (unfortunately I woke the CO up -my wife-and she couldn't get back to sleep). Later in the day when I read the media's response to this uplifting moral booster of a event; I found to my dismay some are complaining; focusing on the bad and not seeing any good. America; my country; is safer because one b*stard that supported terror will be trying not to drop the soap in prison and not be able to give more money to the organizations that we are fighting. I am not a politician; I am a Marine. I swore to defend the Constitution at all costs; yet; it seems to me that some are chipping it away; bit by bit; making our job harder to defend it. Our country is at war; yet they forget the events that brought it into this war (September 11, 2001). We need to stick together. If nothing else then I have a suggestion to all those who will whine about the war; protest; bash the Commander in Chief (as if he doesn't already have a hard enough job); and generally look down on the military. To all those I say-YOU SHUT THE PISS UP! WE'LL PROTECT AMERICA! STAY OUT OF OUR WAY YOU PANSIES!
OORAH and Semper Fi to all my brothers in arms. God bless those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and their families. My prayers are with them. JH
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Your latest newsletter really struck home. I'm the proud father and father-in-law of two active duty Marines. My son, Marine Cpl Brain Spatz is currently serving in Afghanistan, and his wife Marine LCpl Tasha Spatz is stationed at Camp Lejuene, NC. I'm with you, these so called entertainment type individuals which include some radio talk show hosts do more harm to our nation than good. They rant about military leave time, duty time, our countries focus, and how our nations current military endeavors are mishandled. What gives them the right to speak about things that they have no knowledge off. I, for one, can not speak with any knowledge as to what it's like being in a war zone. My brother can, he's a Vietnam Army veteran. My son will, once he comes home. So, lacking any knowledge, I will let the military make the military decisions and accept them. Being a Marine is my son's chosen job and part of that job is to follow orders.
In the past, my wife and I have visited , Parris Island, Camp Lejuene and Fort Meade, the locations where my son received his training. During our visits, we were treated with the utmost respect, something that is sorely lacking in most of today's generation. Both of us now know that all Marines are part of our family, not just my son's and daughter-in-law's. We are now a personal friend to of my son's past commander who's stationed at Fort Meade.
Thanks for listening,
To Corporal Jon Rumbolt:
With regards to your letter stating people see you as unbalanced and wanting to continue killing in Iraq ...Have you ever been in combat? Usually people with such macho killing statements have never been to war. If you have, then you DO have issues... Semper Fi. PB Modesti SSGT
This is in response to Lt."J"
Is this your entire Name??
Mine is Corporal Henry H, Hight-19401940 U.S.M.C-Noload (No Longer On Active duty-but forever a Marine) 6"3Â½"-300-pound 60 yoa Recon Marine with beaucoup "Combat Experience" (and about 5 pounds of solid Brass Balls)
First SIR---You had best learn the definition of "Venting" and I'm here to tell you, you don't want to be any where near a Marine who is not allowed to vent-they "DO EXPLODE" an woe be unto anything with in 100 yard radius.
Second SIR- Congress made you a Marine Officer---It would appear that you have a very long way to go as far as leadership capabilities. I don't deny you had "Your" boot camp to attend---I taught there at one time long before you were even born.
Third SIR- YOU are the Lucky one that he is not in your platoon. I'm sure you have heard stories of "Fragging" Now I don't know first hand about these "Stories" but I sure as hell wouldn't push MY luck by pi**ing one of my troops corn flakes, particularly in such a fine forum as Sgt. Grit's.
Fourth SIR- Immature and Juvenile thinking---Bubba---you go look in the mirror and you WILL see the epitome of the definition of immaturity and juvenile.
Fifth SIR-You have some fine words about breaking down unit integrity. But YOU SIR have done more about that in your statement than a thousand Lance Corporals could ever do by a little venting.
Sixth Sir-Racism Exist---Deal With IT and NOT the way your doing it now.
Seventh SIR-All Men "ARE NOT" created equal. If this were the case EVERYONE would be United States Marines. We are the FEW, the Proud and don't you ever forget THAT---SIR!
Eighth SIR-YOU are the one who needs remedial Leadership course because you flunked the hell out of it the first time. Give ME 50-IF YOU CAN, swim with me for 5 miles and then hit a target (with weapon of your choice) the size of plate at 1000 yards while you have an alligator chewing on you hind parts, and get out in one peace.
Ninth SIR-Stupidity should be punished---Bet you A* * on that one and I'm here to tell you I can think of a thousand ways to deal with YOU. I just pray to the powers that be and General Puller and the rest of our fine Marines that have gone before us that they see fit to watch over your dumb A** and NOT let any of YOUR troops get wasted because of your arrogant attitude and stupidity.
Tenth and Final---Internet in Boot Camp----someone with a hell of a lot more Rank than you---or are you going to tell our Generals how to do that too?
Sincerely- Sir Henry H. (the thief) Hight Just taking care of business---Semper Fi
Vietnam, Ah.., wonderful place, well at least it was warm. Vietnam can be summed up by saying that we had politicians who were playing General, and Generals who thought they were politicians. Jim
"The last thing we need is an international tribunal to try Saddam Hussein. Do we really want the Libyans or the Cubans playing international politics with this? Do we want some French judge to sentence Saddam to so many hours of community service? For that matter, do we even want American laws applied in a country with such wholly different traditions? Certainly we do not need some lawyer like Johnnie Cochran to obfuscate the issues or -- heaven help us -- a 5-4 decision by our Supreme Court, after years of innumerable appeals."
Dear Sgt.Grit, Thank you for your comments on the blowhards on talk radio, those who talk tough. I am so tired of reading or hearing the same old flag-waving claptrap from those who have nothing of experience in their personal backgrounds. They, have only invested their idle words and nothing more. The dirty job of soldiering, is not for them nor their offspring, but for countless others. They are all mere posturers, for whatever their own selfish reasons. They are of the "do as I say and not as I do" crowd. Unfortunately, that particular crowd seems to be running our government at the moment. War is indeed HELL, and all should well remember that. War is not a video game, a made for t.v.movie, a newspaper article, a talk-show staple nor anything to treat lightly. War is the most serious of consequences, and when all else has failed, war is the result. Real human beings are killed and are horribly wounded in war. War should always be the last resort after all DIPLOMACY efforts fail! Our brave troops were sent to Iraq and to Afghanistan, and cannot pick and choose where they are sent or whom to fight. Again personally, I was/am against our troops being sent into Iraq, as I personally still feel Saddam Husseins' Iraq was ZERO threat to the security of the U.S. However, that being said, I personally support our troops, and have done so with donations to the U.S.O. which I know from first-hand experience, does a wonderful and non-partisan job of "really supporting the troops" and not merely mouthing those empty words. My own personal wish for all our troops, wherever they may be serving at Christmastime, is to safely and soundly come home to their loving families as quickly as is possible. My flag flies daily, 24 hours a day, in honor of ALL OUR BRAVE TROOPS!
Semper Fi! MarchMarine17
I'd like to reply to C. Davis about the spitting incident he experienced after Nam. I also experienced some of this when I got back, but I also experienced some of the most Thoughtful people you could ever come across. You have to remember, America is made up of a whole bunch of individuals who are encouraged to think for themselves. That's what makes us so great. Sometimes we don't like what some of them think or do but we have to remember that it is their right to be jerks if they so choose.
Some Americans love those in the military and support them to the utmost. Some do not. And there are many shades of gray in-between. Here's a little story of one of my experiences with people who cared. In Sept of 1966 I was going through training at Camp Pendleton getting ready to ship out for Nam. We were given 72 hours for the Labor Day weekend and a buddy and I decided to go to LA to see the sights. We got off the train at the station and got into a cab. We were wearing our uniforms because we were proud to show off a little and the cabby asked us where we wanted to go. We said that we needed a very cheap hotel for the weekend. He took us to one of the nicest in the city. He walked in with us and told the guy at the counter that we were heading to Nam shortly and had little money. The guy gave us a great room and charged us next to nothing for it. The guy behind the counter asked if we were hungry and suggested a German restaurant nearby. When we got there the people gave us all the free beer we wanted with the meal. Then, the same cabby that took us to the hotel, picked us up and took us to Grummans Chinese Theater. He spoke to the ticket person who gave us free tickets to the show. The movie was Fantastic Voyage and Raquel Welch was making an appearance at the theater. The ticket guy got us in to see her and let me tell you, she looked just as good up close as she did on the screen. The next day the cabby drove us all around LA to see the sights and charged us nothing. That night the hotel clerk sent us to an outdoor theater (whose name I can't remember, wait, I think it was called the Greek Theather) because he thought we could get free tickets there. We were again in our uniforms, standing in line with people in minks and jewels. Boy did I feel out of place. There was a matronly lady standing in front of us and she struck up a conversation with us. When she got up to the ticket counter she told the man there that she wanted to buy us tickets for the show. Considering that the tickets were expensive as heck we were pretty happy. The guy in the ticket booth said "Sorry, ma'am, but the theaters policy is that we do not allow patrons to buy tickets for servicemen." When my buddy and I got up to the window we were ready to explode. However, the guy looked at us and said "Sorry guys, it really is the policy of the theater not to let the people pay for you guys, because we like to give out free tickets to you ourselves." So, that is how we got in to see the show, center of the aisle, fourth row from the front and sitting right next to Ronald Reagan and his daughter. The next day was Sunday and the hotel guy woke us up and asked if we wanted to go to the Rams football game for free. Of course we did and so the same cabby from Friday picked us up and took us to see the game. Then he drove us to the train station on Monday and refused any payment. So, not everyone spit on me. Though I got into a terrific fight with my college economics teacher who called me a baby killer, I always remember that there were many more who treated me with honor and respect than with loathing. However, I can tell you, that when I picked that liberal commie economics teacher up and threw him across the table in the classroom, I felt wonderful. Ooooorah!
Steve Eslin, Pvt to 1st Lt, 1966 to 1978
Sgt Grit- My wife & I decided as our Christmas gift to each other we would adopt families of Troops at Camp Pendleton California that were either deployed, KIA or in need of financial help to provide adequate toys, blankets clothing etc for the kids & Moms. It is ABSOLUTELY impossible to navigate the base telephone system at Pendleton & talk to a human being about how we could help with families in need. I tried 4 different times & never was able to connect with a human voice who could give me guidance about a group within the 1st Mar Div to assist fellow Marine families. You can't even reach the Chaplain who I thought might have a list of families in need. How difficult can it be for the CG to assign some on duty personnel to pick up a friggin phone a talk to someone who went to the trouble of calling the base ? Is this a Pendleton phenomenon or USMC wide ? It's a shame that some Kids had to go without because the Corps has become as impersonal as corporate America. Maybe if I start again now I'll have some communication prior to Christmas 2004.
Bob " Barbedwire " Dwyer
Sgt USMC 1957-1966
Dear SGT. GRIT
If at all possible I would love for you to post this on your next news letter...I am about to go to Parris Island on Jan.12 and start my journey on becoming a Marine, and as I sit here and read all the thoughts of all the marines past and present I just get sense of pride knowing that I myself will be able to share all these wonderful stories to my kids and grand kids..I first signed up for the Navy and was gonna become a SEA BEE but something just didn't feel right about it, so I prayed about it and asked God what he thought would be the best thing for me to do, so as soon as said amen the marines commercial popped up on the television, well that's pretty much all I needed. The next day I called the recruiting station and set up an appointment for me to go take my asvab and sign up to become one of the FEW AND THE PROUD..Its basically just a waiting game now until i can say that i was once on the yellow foot prints too. My MOS is gonna be tanks so if there are any tankers or any marines that would like to email me and share stories with me i would be more than happy to write you back and say thanks for sharing your past experiences...My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
GOD BLESS YOU SGT.Grit and GOD BLESS THE MARINES AND OUR MILITARY...HOOAH
Kevin Bouldin future Marine..
As I was reading the Dec 18 newsletter, I came across the letter from Cpl Jon Rumbolt. In the letter he stated what he would do if he was in Iraq. I am a Vietnam Veteran, and from experience, I say you don't know what you will do until you have already did it. if you took the time to think, you might be dead,you react then you think. Jon was partly right when he said you fight for the Marines right beside you. But when you do this, you are helping to make sure the enemy won't be able to harm our loved ones back home. I work at a school, and when I hear kids say I' do this or I'd Do that, I tell them you don't know what you would do till you already did it.
Semper Fi Cpl William Pippin 3/9 Vietnam 67-68
I just read your opening rant on your current newsletter and I could not agree more. TV newscasters, celebrities, personalities ad nauseum discussing the current situation and none of them have a clue. None of them served. It makes me sick. My husband and I both served. We have relatives still serving. We love them and we can face the reality because we know the reality. As for the rest of the country at large, unless you have been there yourself you have no idea. I was about to rant myself but you did it for me.
God Bless and Semper Fi. Lisa De Wilde 1978-1981 SGT
In response to Cpl.Rumbolt. As the Mom of a young Marine serving in Afghanistan I resent your comments that imply Marines are killing machines that enjoy killing. My Son has been trained by the finest military men the U.S. has to offer. Not trained to kill everything in site and enjoy it, but to protect his brothers and carry out the job he was sent to do.He is still the compassionate and caring man he was before the Marine Corp fine tuned him into a Marine who takes his commitment to the Corp and fellow Marines very seriously and lives by the Core values taught to him before he ever went to Basic. I thank God every day that he's standing next to a soldier who believes in those values and because of that my son will be home next Christmas. God Bless the Marine Corp and God Bless America. Marine Mom
Ahoy Sgt. Grit and all Raiders!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some traffic from a, Mr. Worden relating about how he and his brother Marines were not allowed to fly the "Colors" on the Marine Corps Birthday riles me to no end. How could an employer, hopefully a patriotic one, Deny such a showing of pride and respect of ones service and country to those who have served. This employer needs some remedial instruction about dedication and sacrifice from those of us who remain. A reminder about those who paid with their lives, just so this lowly, spineless creep can mouth off and show meaningless superiority. At my quarters, The National Ensign,and The Marine Corps Colors wave proudly from the mast head each day that is not inclement weather and especially on the Sabbath........ absolutely mandatory.........Load & Lock
1st. Sgt. B. J. (Pete) Petrisky U.S.M.C. ' 52 - ' 72
My son is USMC. He is a great kid. He is my glory. He serves proudly. I feel for all those who do not have their Service People home now, I did miss my son, when he was not home for Christmas. Sgt.Grit, no-one could have said it better about war and serving. You are more than right on...War is hell, but nobody said it would be a rose garden. It is like being a parent, nobody can clue you in on how it is, until you go through it. Thank you for what you do and who you are. God be with all our warriors now and always.
Joy and Peace to you.
Marine Mom Carol Vargo/Hutchings
Don't forget, when in combat:
If it moves, Kill it.
If it may move, Kill it.
If someone may come along and move it, Blow it up.
Relax Lt.J., just think what experience will do for both of you.
Regarding all the hoopla over the "hajii bastards" comment:
I feel that it should not be taken as a slam against Muslims. Sometimes we say politically-incorrect things in the "heat of battle," but so what? True Muslims would not be upset over someone calling Terrorists "hajii bastards," (or whatever was said), because, as we have been told over and over by Muslims themselves, Terrorists are not true Muslims. If this is so, then no one should be upset at such comments, as they are directed at the enemy (Terrorists, not Muslims).
We all know that it is a sin for a Taliban male to see any woman other than his wife naked, and that he must commit suicide if he does, So this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time all American women are asked to walk out of their house completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists. Circling your block for one hour is recommended for this anti-terrorist effort. All men are to position themselves in lawn chairs in front of their house to prove they are not Taliban, and to demonstrate that they think it's okay to see nude women other than their wife and to show support for all American women. And since the Taliban also does not approve of alcohol, a cold six-pack of beer at your side is further proof of your anti-Taliban sentiment. The American government appreciates your efforts to root out terrorists and applauds your participation in this anti-terrorist activity.
God bless America!
To "Concerned Mom", the college instructor who is worried that her son will not be able to continue his schooling in the Corps: Lady, his education has just begun.
An old CAP Marine
In response to Cpl. Jon Rumbolt ; Son, you need to relax a bit. Being a hard charger is all well and good but don't be a fool. You obviously have never taken another life or you would not speak the way you do. It is a heavy thing to bear and any person who thinks otherwise is either a fool or a poser. Did I take lives in Vietnam ? You bet I did, and it stays with me even today.
Charlie was one tough little sob and most of us had a great deal of respect for him. If you didn't, you paid the ultimate price. Marines are good at killing and re-arranging landscape because of our training and the ability to empathize. If you can't understand your enemy, you will die by his hand. Think about it son. I hope you never need to bear that burden, but if that need be, may your God rest your conscious.
SSgt. Moore, J.C. 2389599/279507748
1967-1977 University of RVN Class of '69
False machismo. I agree with you. Last year my 30 year old nephew was mouthing off about what we should do to Iraq. My boy was on the delayed entry for our beloved Marines and has completed boot camp 11/26/03. After listing to him go on about how we should send troops and do this, that and the other thing, I told him that I agreed to most of what he said. Then asked when he was enlisting. The look of shock and fear at such a suggestion was all over his face. His answer was that he could never do something like that. My answer was if you not willing to risk your own life don't be so willing to risk the lives of others. The topic was never talked about again. Being a Viet Nam Vet I'm tired of the way so many people are willing to risk the lives of others while they sit safely at home.
Semper Fi, Bob.
Way to go Sarge!!
I was shipped out to Japan and couldn't take my wife. I got along OK (Heh Heh).
I am responding to LT. "J" and his comments. Firstly, he said he is in the process deploying to the sandbox, meaning he has yet to go. Who are you to have a comment on something you haven't experienced? The recruits comments are not racist. Calling the enemy "hajji b*stards" is the same principle as in Vietnam, when we called them Charlie.
This is in regards to cpl. John Rumbolt. who wrote in this newsletter that he wouldn't fight for freedom, just for his buddies and he would kill anything, without mercy and enjoy doing it. Take it from me son. I'm a Marine combat vet from Nam, and there is nothing pleasurable about killing another human being. I did it. Many of us have done it. But I don't know a lot of men who enjoyed it. Your letter just shows your inexperience. Get your head on right before you go to combat. Kill the enemy out of a sense of duty or self preservation because if your doing it just because you think you'll like to do it, then you're not a Marine, you're just a phsyco.
Jarhead311. SEMPER FI!
Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on the TV are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?
The land is too large to secure all of it. The bad people causing this damage can roam anywhere, and we can't possibly police the whole place. Why are we still there?
We occupy this land, which we had to take by force; but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?
Their government is unstable and in the process of changing. Why are we still there?
Refugees are fleeing by the thousands, driven from their homes. Why are we still there?
It will cost billions to rebuild, which we can't afford. Why are we still there?
We can't even secure the borders. Why are we still there?
And to repeat. Every day we hear of more and more Americans killed in this dangerous land. It is clear!
. . . . . . . . .
We must abandon California.
"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
Dear concerned mom,
I can appreciate your love for your son. I also have a 17yr old son. I myself was once in your son's shoes, as I am sure thousands of other fellow Marines were also. I have but a few words of advise.
1) Let him go. You have to allow him to find out what he is made of, and who he is. He is like the little bird in the nest wanting to fly for the first time.
2) Write to him daily or as much as possible during boot camp, and afterwards. Your support will mean more than you can imagine.
3) Have you ever thought that maybe he was joining the Marine Corps to try and protect those rights, and freedoms, of which so many Americans take for granted?
4) consider him joining the Marine Corp as a selfless act. I do not know your son, but be rest assured that he will be trained by the best. The Marine Corp will give your son the best chance at succeeding in life, in my humble opinion.
I am sure he means no disrespect to you and your concerns.
Good luck to your son.
Jay W. Howe
"And if you think labeling our spruces and firs 'holiday trees' is the solution to the season's wars, just wait until the ACLU realizes what the dictionary already makes clear: That the word 'holiday' itself comes from the Old English 'holy day'."
--The Wall Street Journal
Dear Sgt. Grit:
My name is Marc Stramer and I was in the Corps from Dec. 1995 to Dec. 1997. I just got done reading the most recent newsletter....and a bad habit of mine.....when I have a few things to say I can't let it go. First, I totally agree with what you said about the mom and fiancÃ© in Oklahoma. Yeah, it's a bad thing that her son was on his way home and it got frozen. That happens all the time. I'm sure her son was just as much devastated as she is. I'll agree with her on one point...it's not fair to her and her fiancÃ©, but sh*t happens. He's over there doing a job that so many people in this country don't have the courage to even think about doing. I'm damn proud of each and every man and woman in the Armed Forces...it don't matter what branch, either. They're all defending this great nation, and my hat's off to all of them. Semper Fi to all.....and on the upcoming holiday....take the time to remember those who can't be home with their families, only if it's just for a few minutes. Keep those brothers and sisters close to your hearts....because they are doing the same. Merry Christmas to everyone.
Cpl. Marc F. Stramer
HMLA-269 Flight Line
The Spartans do not ask how many the enemy number, But where they are.
---Agis, King of Sparta
I would like to respond to the Concerned Mom whose son has depped in. My son also depped in. His name is also Michael. The last thing you have to worry about is discipline, he'll learn that in boot camp. My son is an Amtrak grunt. He returned from Iraq without a scratch. That doesn't mean I didn't do a LOT of praying, that's all I did while he was gone. He spent spring break last year in Iraq and is back in college now. I'm sure your son will finish also. My best advice is to go to his graduation from boot (It's awesome). Be very proud of him and let him know your proud. And if he has to go "over there", stay on your knees. GOD answers prayer.
Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/USDevilDogMoms
It's been a Godsend to me, especially while my son was overseas. By the way, my son is also working at a civilian job, where he recently was injured (22 stitches). He jokingly claims he was safer in Iraq, although I doubt it. No one is shooting at us here. We can thank the Marines for that. I guess I'm writing because it is so easy to relate to your situation. I lost 5 family members in the 2 year period prior to my son going to boot. One was my sister. This was five years ago. I still miss her of course. The last was my Dad, who died 2 weeks before Mike left.
If you need a friend, I'm at email@example.com.
Very Proud (praying) Mom
Sgt Grit, this is a quick response to Concerned Mom.
Ma'am, I can understand your concern, I have four children ages 14-3. We have only one boy and we fully plan to encourage him to serve in the military, but we are also encouraging our teen aged daughters to serve at least an enlistment. My husband and I are both Marine Corps veterans, and my husband was in Kosovo, and at the Pentagon on Sept. 11th, and we still expect our children to be good citizens of this country and serve at least one enlistment. I worry every time my oldest walks to school, I worry every time my 12 y/o goes off on some 4-H expedition. I worry every time my 4 and 3 y/olds do something that makes my heart stop. I worry every time I watch my husband strap on his bullet proof vest and heads out the door. Let your son do this, for his sake, he will come back a much better man than you could ever have believed. And whatever MOS he ends up in, have no fear that he will have the best training available, and he will be surrounded by others whohave that same wonderful training. Believe me, he will thank you for encouraging him to go out and earn the title of United States Marine.
Semper Fi, Anna Grabill 86-91 USMC
One should see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
Re: Concerned Mom in American Courage Newsletter #60
First of all, your son should be able to choose whether he joins the Marines or not. It isn't your choice. Your choice is whether you support his decision or try to emotionally blackmail him. Joining the Corps is a VERY good decision. He will learn discipline and fortitude that he would learn nowhere else. I know there are many jobs in the Marines that are 'less dangerous'. Many of them can easily be converted to experience in the civilian world, such as aircraft mechanic or computer specialist. However, ALL Marines are first and foremost riflemen and are counted on to be able to perform the duties at any time.
My major dilemma is how to politely tell you to 'GET A GRIP!' I don't want either of my sons to die. No one wants their son to die! I didn't want to die when I joined the Corps, but I felt it was my responsibility to stand up for the country that had nurtured my family for 150 years. What makes your son so special that you are willing to sacrifice someone else's son? If no one's sons join the service, how long would it take before there isn't a USA? Everyone faces losses in their life and you've been hit pretty hard, but not as hard as others. There aren't any guarantees in life. Let the young man choose his own path. The Marines don't promise you a rose garden, although in some ways it resembles one - a few beautiful flowers, a lot of mud and dirt, and a whole lot of thorns! It is also the best thing that I've ever done or could ever do.
There's NOTHING NORMAL about a Marine.
I'm worried that the politically correct bunch like this guy are absolutely trying to remake the Corps. When it comes to a fight, I want Marines around me who want to do a great deal of harm to those who oppose us. I had the wonderful pleasure to have led a group of young, dangerous and well armed Marines in Vietnam despite the stupidity of some young second Lieutenants who thought they were commanders. After 90 days in the bush, they were gone, having made First Lieutenant and rotated back to the rear. I do have the highest regard for the Marine Officer Corps as 99 percent of them led from the front
Nick Cominos, 1838728/0311, Sergeant of Infantry Marines, Vietnam, 68-69, D 1/7
May God Bless our Troops no matter what branch and may he keep them safe. Now to the Concerned Mom. Take it from a concerned Mom, let your son make his own decision. Mine did. He was to go to college and play football until he turned 18 and entered DEP. He had no job when he left for Boot on 5-29-01. They do not have time to worry about us, Mom's, back home. They need to be focused at the task at hand. He was to go to MSG after SOI, but the Corps had other plans. He went to the Marine Barracks Silent Drill Platoon. He has been there ever since. He leaves on 12-23-03 to come home before he goes to Camp LeJeune to be, what he calls a real Marine. He said he has finally made to the Marine Corps. He will be going somewhere that has sand. That is all I know. Now talk about uncertain. Not for him but for me. However this is not about me is it. It is about him. This is what he wants. We Mom's have to realize that it is time to take that back seat and remember we are not in the thought process with our Marines. Sure they love us and they will miss us, but look at the brothers that they will have with them. They will not be alone. This is my only child and God Bless him for doing what is in his heart no matter how much my heart breaks.
Semper Fi Marines One Hell of a Proud Marine Mom.
Who ever said Marine Moms don't have the right to whine obviously is not a mother and never gave birth. This mother you mentioned,, Sgt. Grit, is sacrificing her son for this country. Every mother who has a son/daughter in the Marines or a soldier who is away for Christmas has an aching heart and none can understand the depth of that pain. We aren't under the dictates of the military, like our children are, and I hope people can understand when some of that pain, anguish, and frustration comes out. Do you mean families can only show pride by remaining stoic and silent? I don't think we signed up, anyway I didn't, in my case my son did, he is in boot camp right now. My husband is a Vietnam Vet, my grandmother had three sons in World War II. I'm sure she suffered, maybe more stoically than the mom who wept on television, but then again she wasn't bombarded with information from all media venues that show us more than perhaps we want to know, as mothers. In my experience, those most in support of the war that I know, have no sons or daughters serving. Those that have them there pray for a resolve and a safe journey home for their loved one. You are off base ever judging a mother's tears until you have walked in her shoes. She was weeping not for herself, but for the situation of separation and grief.
Proud Marine Mom of a recruit
To the "Concerned Mom"
You worry about your son who is going into the Marine Corps delayed entry program. You worry he won't continue his education. You worry about death. You worry too much! Death is with us all. It's how we LIVE that makes us who we are. You worry that he should be in a place less dangerous. Why, so others should be in more danger to save him and you and all of us. He wouldn't want that and neither should you. This miracle called the United States of America is what it is because people braved danger in many ways to make it that way.
You ask about jobs in the Marines. Which are best, you ask? Every Marine is a rifleman. Even fighter pilots are riflemen first. And, by definition, your son will get discipline. If he can cut it, he'll be a Marine. He will have the best training on the planet to make him a fighter, a gentleman, a better American and best of all, a Marine. I had a degree before I joined the Marines. So don't worry about education. My being a Marine is the most important feature of my resume. Next to my wife, the Marines are my most important family members.
So, "Concerned Mom", however your son made the decision to join our beloved Corps, he made the best decision he will make in his life. It will guide him for the rest of his days and "Yea though he walks through the valley of death, he will fear not" because he will be a Marine forever. Be thankful for that. Stop worrying and be proud!!!!! And, oh by the way, the title Marine should be capitalized!
God bless the United States and the United States Marine Corps!
I read your letter about the Army family in Oklahoma that was feeling sorry for themselves because their son couldn't be home for Christmas and it hit close to home. Our son has been away from home at Christmas 5 years in a row now. In a phone call a couple of months ago he told me he would be home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, because his tour as an Embassy Guard was coming to an end and he was re-upping for Oki. I was all excited since his mother and I were planning to be with all her family in Chicago this Thanksgiving. I was excited about being able to surprise his aging grandmother with a visit from him. That would have been the first time she saw him since his High School Graduation in 1999! But because our Marine Corps needed him to stand his post until properly relieved , CMC decided it was necessary to extend him in Moscow until March 2004. He wanted to stand a third post on MSG and now he has his chance. He's having a great time in our Corps and I envy him. Yes, as a father who really wanted his son home for the holidays it doesn't feel like Christmas, but as fellow Marines his mother and I both understand his dedication to duty. I hope by his having to stay there it let his replacement spend time with his family before he has to assume his post. IT IS CHRISTMAS and it's only because of dedicated men and women like ourselves that we can celebrate this holiday as free men and women in the greatest nation on earth! On a personal note, Mike re-upped in Red Square and in saying his oath he yelled at the top of his lungs " To defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic!" THAT'S MY BOY!!!!
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas to all
A proud father of, a proud husband of, and a proud member of THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
Many people ask me how the people of Iraq feel about the United States. Here are two emails I've received from two average Iraqis. These people are not powerful, rich, or in any way spectacular. They are good men (one older, one younger) who struggle daily for a better life than existed before the war. I am optimistic that they will find such a life.
Lieutenant Colonel of Marines;
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq;
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time;
Lover extraordinaire; Chef de Hot Dog Excellence;
Collector of Hot Sauce; Avoider of Yard Work Check out my homepage at
in god's name, my dear friend david couvillan, i received your mail and we read it with great pleasure. we know how that you share our happiness for the capture of saddam, the cruelest dictator of the world, capture which was possible only due to America's help. sent all our greetings to the families of all soldiers from iraq, if possible, for capturing saddam. greetings also from our governor, which remembers you all the time when he is looking at the gift that you gave him. we would like to come in usa to tell you personally our gratitude.
the death to saddam
we are thanks our God to help Iraq people to down the saddam. know I'm & my family and all people in Iraq happy happy by saddam capture these end of iniquitous . and special thanks to Mr. Bosh & Mr. Blear & to all coalition forces to help the Iraq.
The best advice I can offer you is to please be supportive of his decision. It will mean the world to him & will make you home more peaceful until he goes....(I will keep you both in prayer) The first thing I do on Friday mornings is read through the newsletter & copy letters that I think would be of interest to another Marine that I work with. I print it out & let him know he has some lunch time reading to do. I wanted to mention Roman Mordacz, a member of "the Walking Dead", by name so I can see the sh!t eating grin on his face when he sees his name in your newsletter!!
Blessing for the new year to you Sgt. Grit & all my brother & sisters. Please remember to keep our active duty Marines in constant prayer....
Coleen (Majecki) Gaines
LCpl, USMC, 87-91
(Fewer, Prouder, WOMAN Marine!)
Sgt. Grit: I would like to respond to the "concerned Mom" in your latest newsletter. Ma'am, my advise to you is first of all, you won't have to "survive" your son Michael. If he makes the grade and completes boot camp, the change you will see in him will bring such pride to you that the worry of what he does as an MOS will seem minor. You stated in your letter to Sgt. Grit that he's already completed many hours of college credits while still in high school. That type of discipline and drive and personal commitment will carry him along way in the corps, and his training will only help to motivate him to higher and loftier goals.
Larry D.Hamm Sgt. 77-81
I am so very proud of each and everyone of you guys and gals taking care of business. I was a corpsman in the Navy many years ago (ouch - dating myself !!). You tell everyone - I pray for you all, brag about you all and stop any grumblings I hear - dead in their tracks. Whiners are pitiful, especially when they are not actively supporting anything. Anyway, if there is anyone you know who needs "snail" mail from the states I know many people who would love to send them letters so they don't feel so far away and can a bit of comfort for the journey you all are in the midst of.
God bless America and her troops !!
Ms Cory Meyer.
hey devil dogs,
this is PFC Spires just saying semper fi to the devils in iraq during christmas. i am one of the lucky ones that got to come home for christmas before going back to SOI and finishing my ITB training. ive been told i leave for iraq in February but you really dont know until it happens but i cant wait. my mos is 0311 and i love it. but i just wanted to let the devil dogs know that im grateful and cant wait to join the fight. semper fi devils and see you soon in "the big sand box". SEMPER FI !!!!!!!!
You and your readers kept up with my oldest son when he joined the Marine Corps and now my youngest son has left for MCRD. I would appreciate it if all the fellow Marines here would write too him and give him so words of encouragement while he is in Boot Camp.
His Address is:
Recruit Beltram, Samuel A. 3396
1st RTBN. A Co., Plt. 1146
36001 Midway Ave.
MCRD San Diego, Calif. 92140
Samuel comes from a family of Marines. His two uncles were Marines and wounded at the "Frozen Chosin." I was in Viet Nam and his older brother was among the first Marines into Baghdad.
Thanks in Advance Bro's!
Charles A. Beltram
Sgt. USMC 1968 - 1972
Viet Nam 1970 - 1971
God Bless the women who give us the support wee need. In My case it was Mom who wrote and prayed for me, I'm not religious, but it's always nice to think that He's on your side and knows who you are.
Semper FI DEAR,
After I read the Christmas Eve newsletter, and the story about the Everly Brothers visiting there. This brought back memories to me. I was medivacked out of Nam, and ended up in Oaknoll hospital after a short visit to the hospital in Guam. Several of us walking wounded were headed to the em club at Oaknoll, we were walking by the amputee ward. We heard someone shout halt, help, stop. We looked around and saw two guys, had to be marines on a rolling gurney. Both guys had their legs blown off and and were in Oaknoll recovering. They were using crutches like paddles for a canoe. It was funny, they were really rolling along with a nurse in hot pursuit. While it was tragic the young Marines had lost their legs in Nam, it was good to see that they realized life goes on, and they were making the best of their situation.
Semper Fi, Cpl William Pippin, Vietnam, Sept 67-Aug 68
Tonight (26 Dec 03) on CBC's "The National" newscast they were reviewing some sequences of Canadian reporters who had covered the Iraq war.
In one instance the CBC reporter had arrived in Tikrit soon after it's fall. He was shown interviewing a USMC 3-Star, who he described as the commanding officer of the Marines in Iraq. I did not get the name of either party. They were standing in front of a palace of Saddam's. The reporter asked the general to tell him about the city's capture.
The general said, "The Marines came to Tikrit. The rest are details."
He was smiling and he gave that same response twice. He then mentioned that they had to shoot a couple people, but only a couple. Then they went on to talk about the palace there, which the reporter had yet to enter.
I thought that phrase just said it all! A great response and I bet none of you ever had a chance to hear, see or read it in our media.
Semper Fidelis and a Happy New Year to you all!
I am a former Marine from the Chosin Reservoir. I know and appreciate the prayers for our troops.
Thank you for your prayers ejmiller Sempre Fi
Thank you for putting your life on hold and on the line for My family, Me, and all Americans! Kick some evil ass brothers & sisters!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Columbus, Ohio- Go Bucks!
To all who are serving our country. Happy Holidays. We are very proud of you all. You are in our hearts and thoughts. And to all my brothers who served and remember Fuji Fire Oct 19 1979 2/4 you are also remembered.
Ace 2/4 81mm Semper Fi
Sgt Grit: In your last Newsletter, I read the story about the older gentlemen, that was saved on the airplane by a Corpsman Marine, his name was P.G. Bradt, HM2. I would like to say "Thank You". This man should be rewarded for his courage and valor. The story was titled "Is He Going To Die" "Merry Christmas" & "Happy New Year 2004" to all of my Marine brothers/sisters. Terry Harmon (Semper Fi)
I know you get a ton of stuff, but I thought you would enjoy my son's poem. He's back at 29 Palms and being trained for 2nd tour in Iraq end of February after he finishes Arabic lessons and training in counterinsurgency, and educating his newbies. If you would like me to add you to his email contact network I maintain, let me know. I wish I could share the email he sent me this weekend -- mature, impassioned, literate, committed. The kid has definitely added a gray hair or a thousand on my head, and Dad is extremely proud of every one.
Dr. Dennis Benson
by Kristopher E. Benson
Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Please forgive me the promises I must break
The dates and holidays I will not make
But our freedom has come under attack
And it is my duty to fight back.
It may be a while before I can write
But know it is your l