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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 #77

"If you counted on America to be passive, you counted wrong."
Ronald Reagan

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I too, would like to add my name to the recent roster going around the newsletter: I am a PROUD Marine wife.

With that, I would like to remind all of you ladies and gentlemen waiting for your Marines to return home, that they may have a piece of themselves still in the desert, or where ever they may be. Please remember to stand patiently and faithful next to your Marine as he/she tries to pull what normalcy they can from their spirits to retain their lives here back at home. Please remember that when hard times come and anger and hatred are in the air, that is not a personal vendetta against you, the loved one.

I'm blessed to have my Marine home with me, as he has had his fight and now is home for good. But I'm reminded everyday of the "other person" that is in our bedroom/house. I sleep with the war and with the peace as well, and what I've learned from my Marine is that he needs my support more than ever, now that he is home, now that there is no base to return to, now that he must move on in the "real world". That is the battle. The statistics are scary and even scarier for the women. So after all of the flags have been waved and all of the confetti has been thrown, the trick is to keep the welcoming going. Welcome Back everyone who is blessed to come home. I am Proud to be a Marine Wife, I do believe it is one of the hardest jobs in the corps. It's still the hardest job in the "world", even though my husband has been out now for 12 years. The job never ends, so look forward positively to your future because the obstacles you have to climb and "get over" are the hardest you'll endure. But the lessons learned from climbing those obstacles and the reward for finishing is truly, truly rewarding.
CPL DeLeon's Wife - Jennifer

I look forward to each and every newsletter. As a Marine wife having her husband in Iraq has been tough on me. I would like to thank each and every service member fighting for our country. I am a KV and can't tell you how important it is to support and to go the extra mile for our Marines. Last week was my husbands birthday. Luckily I got a phone call the day before - he briefly mentioned to me that he will be online at 1630. Who ever sent those webcams to where my husband is - God Bless You!! I feel so spoiled to even have the privilege of seeing my husband while is in a combat zone. How did you wives in the past do it? My husband came on and I told him I had a surprise. I had a cake baked that said Happy Birthday in Iraq!! I brought it out to show him on the web cam - I put a candle on the cake and sang to him even though he couldn't hear me. If you could of only seen his face - I was so proud of being a Marine Core WIFE even though he wasn't physically here with me.
Semper Fi!! - Helen Liguori

George Goodson w LtCol USMC (Ret)
August 6, 2004

Sergeant Grit:
I received your latest newsletter yesterday. I was astonished to see my name and your generous remarks regarding my service as a Casualty Notification Officer. Later, as I read on, I was amazed to read the comments from Marines and members of Marine family.

I am both humbled and surprised that so many were interested in events that occurred 37 years ago.

War is a terrible thing and its aftermath touch not only those who fought, suffered, and died but it also touches the soul of two or three generations of the families of those who were there.

This document is one of several that I am writing for my grandchildren when they are old enough to understand their implications.

I firmly believe that those of us who were there and survived WWII, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq have an obligation to pass on to our children and grandchildren what we know about these wars.

Would you please pass on these remarks to those who commented?
Warm personal regards,

"It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people."
--Richard Henry Lee

Sgt Grit,
I just wanted to say thanks. I have been receiving your newsletter for a few weeks and I love that it brings me to a place that makes me think about my marine. I am engaged to a marine in the 22nd MEU that was recently in Afghanistan. I was impressed and happy to read on this last newsletter that someone actually new what a bang up job they did helping the people of Afghanistan. In the news we hear mostly of Iraq and what is happening there. It was a nice change to see someone talking about or mentioning another area besides Iraq. I believe that all military active and non active should be recognized for their hard work and dedication. If it weren't for them we would be in the same state as some of these other countries and I thank God everyday for my blessings, a military that knows the meaning of Freedom and what it takes to achieve it. So thank you, thank you to everyone who has served. And thank you for bringing their stories to my computer every week.
Heather George
USMC almost wife =)

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
--George Washington

Soon my son Greg will be deployed to the Iraqi theater for his tour. My dad made landings on Iwo Jima, Saipan And Tinian with the 4th Mar Div. I was deployed to Viet Nam with 1st Bn 7th Mar 1st Mar Div in 1969.

I have been a police officer for the past 27 years and never did I think that each unit would be equipped with AR15's.

Thank god we still have such brave men and women who join the Marine Corp knowing full well that they may be called to make the ultimate sacrifice and thank god for their wives, sweethearts and families who support and love them.
Semper Fi
Patrick D. Manthorn

LtCol George Goodson
Sir. Thank you, Sir.

Sgt. those encouraging letters!! This helps keep the Marine fraternity faith going. We take care of our own! Marines and our live-by-our-slogans are something a more civilized world can learn from!!!
Scout Obsvr-0844
Arty--Steel Rain

To Ruth Sheehan, I am very very proud of you. I spend 8 years in the Corps, after 12 years of civilian life, my wife decided to take off with a truck driver. She pretended to be happy with a Marine, but I think only because I was never home a full 12 months.So you hang in there and the rewards will be great.
Ray Bidding Sgt.E-5

Sgt. Grit, your letters from MARINE wives and girlfriends, helped open my girls eyes, she never really understood the pride that a MARINE has, and she may never truly understand the pride that we have for GOD, CORPS, UNIT, COUNTRY,but by her reading your e-mail updates it really helped, I currently returned from a twenty month tour, and am trying to re-up for another tour, but my ol' lady is real reluctant to let me go, but she has to understand that the CORPS comes first, just thought I'd drop a line, SEMPER FI, and CARRY ON......
Cpl. Christopher Schaefer
1st.bat. 3rd. Marines

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
--George Washington

Dearest Friends, I can not thank you GOOD folks for the contributions you have made in my life. I have just joined your page and was looking through the different links you have. I clicked on the Buddy's link and went to the wall. There I found my Step-Brother's name and also my best friend from High School. For more than 30 years I have blamed myself for their deaths. You see, both came to Vietnam so we could be together. James S Langworthy ( my step-brother ) was in the Army and stationed in Germany and Gerald Markwith ( Jerry ) was on a ship and both transferred to come to Vietnam so we would be able to visit. I did get to be with my brother on several occasions. But with Jerry I didn't know he was there till I went home on leave after extending my tour. There in the local was his picture and it said the Final Curtain has fallen for Jerry Markwith. Both are on the WALL and this was the first time I found Jerry's name there.
God Bless and Keep You ALL
Franklin D Wilson Sr
USMC '67-'69

Sgt Grit (and loyal newsletter readers):
It has been awhile since my last post and since then, my husband (the Marine in the marriage) has headed off to Iraq. Very soon, I (the Air Force Zoomie in the marriage) will be heading there as well. Please keep both of us in your thoughts and prayers as we join those who have gone before us to fight the good fight and defend this great nation. Be blessed!

When the going gets tough, the UN bails out.

Our Military is a dictatorship and should be. Civilians live in a Democracy and that too should be. Here is the irony, our dictatorship protects our Democracy and our Democracy ridicules the dictatorship. God bless America and lets hope the civilians don't ever run our Military!!!
Sgt. Hoolahan BJ., USMC

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to thank all of our brave Marines who are proudly serving our country. My husband, LCpl. Victor M. Quevedo Jr. was recently shipped out in july. It was very hard for me to let him go the morning I dropped him off to leave for Iraq. Now as time goes by all I can do is wait for a phone call or an e-mail, but I guess that is better than nothing. This time being the first time he goes to Iraq, it is kind of hard being alone with our one and a half year old and another on the way. As time goes by I find that I am not really alone because he has the Honor, Courage, and Commitment to be fighting for our country and that is what I think about every time I feel lonely. In reality he is doing something courageous for our whole family, including families all over the United States. I know he will come back home to us. My faith is in God. I know he will be okay. Thank You, Very Proud Marine Wife,
Veronica Quevedo.

On August 03, 2004 S/Sgt Walter P. Tigue USMC 392004 (Iwo Jima Vet) reported to his permanent duty station . Sergeant of the Guard, Streets of Heaven. OOOOOOOORAHHHHHH
Semper Fi
L/Cpl Larson USMC 1827891

"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."
--Edmund Burke

Sgt. Grit-- Homecoming! My son was a member of the 1/5 that recently returned to Camp Pendleton. We just picked him up at the airport and have now arrived home. Oh, how sweet it is to have him for a couple of weeks. He is a member of 1/5, Weapons Co., Scout Sniper Plt. We have been enjoying his pictures of Iraq and have talked him to sleep. Peaceful sleep. I have waited for this day since early spring. God bless our troops and God Bless the US Marines.
A happy Marine Mom--CA

"[W]hat I call the 'post-Vietnam syndrome,' [is] the resistance of many in Congress to the use of military force abroad for any reason, because of our nation's experience in Vietnam. No rational person ever wants to unleash military force, but I believe there are situations when it is necessary for the United States to do so -- especially when the defense of freedom and democracy is involved or the lives and liberty of our citizens are at stake. I understood what Vietnam had meant for the country, but I believed the United States couldn't remain spooked forever by this experience to the point where it refused to stand up and defend its legitimate national security interests."
--Ronald Reagan

Dear Sgt. Grit,
My son is a close quarter battle team member, designated marksman (sniper) and breacher (explosives) at Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia. Anyone who knows about Kings Bay knows that's where the nuclear subs for the Atlantic Fleet are based. Even though most people think of Marines as doing their duty all around the world, we must not forget those who serve at home doing important things to preserve our security and freedom. So to all of those who have sons and daughters in the trenches at home, I say God Bless All Marines. They're a breed apart and we're all so very proud of them. I was one of those moms who thought my son had to go to college to make some of himself in this world. How wrong I was. The Marines have done far more for my son and I am forever thankful for that. He always tells me "Mom, others have done their turn before me. Now it's my turn. And after me, someone else will take their turn. We do it for love of our country." What higher commitment can a young man/woman make for themselves, their family, and their country?
Semper Fi,
Donna Stephens
Lockhart, Texas

To LtCol George Goodson,
Reference: Sgt Grit Newsletter # 76 "Burial At Sea"

Sir, I commend you for the finest newsletter I have read thus far. I thank you for your service, courage, clarity, and compassion. Your duty was indeed difficult beyond belief. There are no words to adequately describe the emotions and experiences you lived while informing the families of our fallen heroes of the tragic reality of war.

I am a Navy veteran '70 to 74', RVN '72. I support all our Warriors, their families and loved ones, 1000%. They are special people that serve willingly, without regard for political affiliation. I bring this up to encourage and remind all Americans that it is our duty to insure that our nations greatest assets are used wisely and supplied every resource needed to complete their mission. You see, my wife Gail and I understand LtCol Goodson's reason for relating his experiences and emotions.

My youngest son's name is Lcpl Peter "PJ" Sora, Jr. On the morning of May 5th, 2004, a Marine Major, a 1st Sergeant, and a Navy Chaplain arrived at my door to inform my wife and I, that our 19 year old son was killed in a training accident at 29 Palms California. What LtCol Goodson describes is a horrific realty, that we experienced. His weapons unit - 3/5 - was training for deployment to Iraq in late summer or early fall. The Humvee he was riding in, rolled over, and crushed him. I want everyone to know that PJ served with great pride and honor. He loved the Marine Corp, his MOS 0351Assaultman, and understood the price of freedom. I pray on behalf of all our brave Warriors, that our Country's leaders (Democrats and Republicans) will work together in support these young men and women.

God Bless you LtCol Goodson, and all the families and loved ones of our brave heroes.
Peter J. Sora, Sr.
Proudest Marine Dad Ever

"Nothing costs so little, goes so far, and accomplishes so much as a single act of merciful service."
--Auguste Renoir

Sgt. Grit,
I'm not sure how many readers are aware of Operation Homelink. This is a nonprofit program that provides recycled computers to parents or spouses of service people deployed overseas or attached to a ship. The service person must be a rank of E-1, E-2, E-3 or E-4. This program is intended to help families keep in email contact with their deployed loved ones and is serviced by Redemtech, Inc., one of America's largest computer recycling companies.

If any of you reading this are in companies that just trash computers when they upgrade, consider donating them instead to Operation Homelink. Redemtech receives these, conducts extensive bench tests, certifies them and sends them -- at absolutely no cost -- to the families. They have more requests than they have equipment to share. Not all service families have computer equipment or internet access.

You can get details at:

You can also contact its President/Founder -- Dan Shannon

This program is volunteer staffed. It is an example of average Americans donating their time and sweat to acknowledge and support our men and women in uniform and the families that stand proud behind them. If you can support their efforts, please do so.

Semper Fi
Dr. Dennis Benson
Proud father of Cpl. Kris Benson, 3/7 WPNS Co -- shutting the holes down on the Syrian Border

I just wanted to sound off about a young Marine KIA in Iraq. 21 year old Bryan Kelly from Klamath Falls, Oregon grew up wanting to be a firefighter (even though his dad was a Police Officer) Bryan excelled in school and became a Volunteer Fireman. When the attacks of 9/11 happened he told his dad he had to go and help get the bad guys. He became a Marine (he wanted to be the best). I attended a memorial service on Wednesday (along with 1000 other local people) to honor Lcpl Kelly. The service contained a lot of great music and song, some local people speaking, the Oregon Governor (served his time as a Marine) spoke about the Corps and its value. A Marine who made friend of LCpl Kelly spoke about what happens in the field when a fellow Marine is KIA. I don't believe there was a dry eye in the place.

Everyone stood when he was done as a tribute to ALL our military personnel serving in combat. I am Honored to have known Bryan and proud that he chose to become a Marine. He knew that Freedom does not come cheap, he paid with his life.

Thank you for allowing me to say a few words about Bryan, a first rate Marine
Lt. Ron Miller
Oregon State Defense Force

"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"
--James Madison

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
--Sir Winston Churchill

At 3:00 a.m. this morning I was reading your 5 Aug 2004 newsletter on my computer's monitor while waiting for it to print it out for my wife to read in the morning. (She can't wait for it and reads every single word!)

Like everyone else who wrote in his praise, my cover is off to LtCol George Goodson USMC for his sterling Casualty Notification duties. They were indeed both devastating and the cause of overwhelming grief and distress. And it was not only his story, but also the comments and reactions to it that brought back my own heartache from when I performed similar duties.

To begin with, there is no "training" (at least not in my time) you can get on how to handle the widest variety of such devastating calls on family members. No two are alike, and except for the shock and grief, no two families "handle" such calls the same way. The emotions run the gamut from shock, anger, denial, blame, hate, and yes, even greed and a total lack of remorse. I'll explain this latter one further down.

In 1967 I was a Mustang First Lieutenant back only a month from Vietnam and was the Adjutant for the regular Marines and several Reserve Squadrons at MARTD, Andrews Air Force Base, MD. (I was also the only non-aviator officer in the Detachment, and had a difficult time understanding not only the peculiar language used only by "Airdales" (meaning anyone who serves in aviation), but also the hand and arm gyrations they used to explain what they were doing when they were "up there.")

As most everyone knows, an Adjutant wears a wide variety of "hats." One such "hat" was Casualty Notification Officer that was the most heart-wrenching service I ever performed. To begin with, in those days there was absolutely no "training" for casualty officers, so all of us literally "flew by the seat of our pants." We covered D.C., and suburban Virginia and Maryland, and normally had a deadline of four hours to contact the next of kin and break the news before they would receive an official telegram from the Commandant of the Marine Corps expressing his regrets. My "M.O." (Modus Operandi) was to take a staff car, head for the address, try to find a priest, minister or rabbi (depending on the casualties religion), and ask that member of the clergy to accompany me to the family home. Though not always having the time or able to find a member of the clergy, when I did, my request was never refused. Of the casualty calls I made, three in particular stand out.

One was to a Mom and Dad in a Maryland suburb where I was unsuccessful in finding a clergy for this call. As soon as my car pulled up in front of the house and I stepped out in my uniform, this very heavy Marine Mom rushed out to meet me and began screaming, and before I knew it, she literally collapsed in my arms. She later told me she just "knew" I was there to tell her that her son had been killed. Fortunately he wasn't, but the news I delivered was every bit as devastating to them. Her over six-foot Marine son had a college basketball scholarship waiting for him until he lost both his legs stepping on a "Bouncing Betty" mine. The situation improved just a wee bit after that when the Dad called a couple of nearby family members and friends. I stayed with them until things settled down. (It's important to know that we remained in almost daily contact with our seriously wounded or deceased Marine's families for weeks or even months. There were funeral arrangements or hospital visits to arrange, insurance, pension and pay matters to explain and assist with, medals and awards due to the casualty being ordered and delivered, and a host of other items that were different for each family).

The call that perhaps stands out in my mind more than anything else I've ever done was the antithesis of the above described visit, particularly for the expected grief and devastation displayed by the next of kin. All I had was the notification from HQMC with the very basic information that a PFC X had been killed in action in Vietnam. It included the name and address of his wife, Mrs. X, in another Maryland suburb.

Arriving at her address in an apartment building, I learned she no longer lived there. I located the building manager, and after telling her why I was trying to find Mrs. X, she told me that she had to evict Mrs. X several months earlier for several reasons, including "throwing wild parties and causing all kinds of disturbances in her unit." She told me that while she was aware Mrs. X had moved again after leaving her unit, and while she did not know where she lived now, she did know Mrs. X worked at a prominent restaurant in the District of Columbia.

After calling HQMC and asking for a two-hour extension I headed for the popular restaurant in downtown DC. Entering the restaurant I asked for the Manager, who came to the front to meet me. After explaining to him why I was there, he verified Mrs. X was one of his waitresses and very kindly offered me the use of his office, saying he would send her right in.

Standing alone in the Manager's office, the door suddenly opened and in came this very attractive, blonde haired Mrs. X. She hesitated momentarily, apparently a bit shocked and not expecting to see a Marine officer in her restaurant Manager's office. Before I could say my first word, she calmly and coolly looked me in the eye and said, "He's dead, isn't he? Do I get his insurance?"

It takes a lot to shock and anger me, and this totally unexpected reaction from her did both. For a moment (though it seemed like an hour) I did not know what I was going to say (remember, no "training" and no two experiences are alike). Burying my anger though some may have shown on my face, I asked Mrs. X to please sit down, and then gave her what details I had about a heroic Marine who died in Vietnam. She then went on to explain to me that they "weren't getting along" and admitted she had been "dating" since he was gone. Again, I stifled my many urges to say what I really wanted to say, never letting on what I learned from her former landlady, and after assuring her I would be "back in touch" got out of there as fast as I could. I didn't remember driving back to the MARTD. And for all these years, I remember that experience as if it were today.

My final remembrance was a call I made in D.C. It was only unusual from all the others because when I made my visit, there were quite a few family members of aunts, uncles and cousins there. After I told the Mom and Dad, one of the cousins approached me and started arguing with me about the merits of the war. Before I could really explain anything, he hauled off and slugged me in the face. Fortunately, it was not a damaging blow, and my "dignity" was probably hurting more than my face. Though "difficult" I recovered my "composure" and almost at the same time the "cousin" approached me again with his hand extended and said he was very sorry, and didn't mean it, but that he was very close to his cousin. By then other family members had gathered to apologize as well, and I of course made light of it, saying something like "that's alright, I understand." That was the "anger" and "blame" emotions I mentioned above. I never got really upset over that, understanding almost immediately where this man was coming from. He had lost someone he loved very much, and this Marine standing in front of him represented the "symbol" of why he died.

Semper Fidelis, Col. Goodson, to you and all those who found themselves on either side of those telegrams and notifications. But at least the Corps made it personal-no cold telegrams without a Marine visit first.

Gerald F. Merna
1stLt USMC (Ret), 947-1968

"The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head."
--Noah Webster

Forward to our 3-1 buddies as you see fit.

We put a whipping on a group yesterday that opened up on one of our mounted patrols from India Company after detonating an IED. The IED was a 155mm round that fortunately hit armor and tires on a 7-ton truck. The Marines in all vehicles immediately returned fire, dismounted and closed with the enemy. We killed three and wounded four and captured a five more after a Sgt threw two frags in a room and they came out with their hands up from another room. All but one of the EPWs appeared to be workers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure enough, however, we found over 300 155mm shells buried on the grounds of this place. In the midst of the action, Kilo Company's QRF arrived to join in the fight. Great cooperation by all and we had a Harrier aloft with 500lb bombs and his cannon itching for the go ahead. I strongly considered it as an example and radioed to the ground commander not to take any undue risks with his men but it all worked out. Our Marines were engaged by at least four different weapons systems from this structure to include two RPKs simultaneously. When we finally cleared it after some minutes, killing and capturing as described, we could not find any weapons or brass. The KIAs, however, all tested positive for gunpowder residue on their hands, as did one of the EPWs. Thorough search couldn't locate any spider holes, secret doors, etc. There were quite a few "Jihad" graffiti notes inside the building though, and some drugs and syringes.

The Kharma Iraqi Police who can never be found when there's a fight showed up immediately after casualties were taken by the enemy. This continues to reinforce to me that they are entirely embedded in the insurgency. The Kharma Ntl Guard troops have a check point just down the hill in view of IED and ran behind cover when the shooting started. We have some good ones in another town that we're training but these troops are dirty and well penetrated by the enemy. We cannot rely on them for anything. Kharma is an evil suburb of Fallujah.

Later in the evening the enemy tried to attack Kilo Company with RPGs and small arms without effect. We returned a heavy volume of fire and cleared the structures where we took fire from to find no one, though we did find brass this time!

122mm rocket landed outside the fence some distance off as I am typing - shook my hootch.

We've begun to receive our first combat replacements, with 14 arriving last night. SgtMajor and I are going to visit our wounded in Baghdad today, see how our Iraqi Ntl Guard troops and CAP Plt is doing in a neighboring town, and then attend the memorial service for Sgt Juan Calderone, Jr., of Lima Company, who was killed in an IED blast a few days ago. We are hitting back hard when the opportunity presents itself and yesterday was a celebration for all hands.
Semper Fi,

>From Colonel "Bob" Robert Brockish, former Grunt Mud Marine C/1/1 Korea. I agree with him that it's not strange that the Khrama Iraqi Police never show up until the fire fights are over or until the insurgents start taking heavy hits. We seem to be experiencing similar"falderall"throughout the entire nation. Must be digging up all the arms they buried when our troops went in and rolled over them. I approve this Virus Free message.
Art McKellips

"Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism."
--Herman Hesse

TO whom-ever reads this My late husband was a Vietnam Marine, he was killed a few months ago in a freak accident at work. My Nephew PFC Christopher D. Mabry was KIA in Ramadi, Iraq in April. It has been a very trying time for our family. Now my sons unit of the National Guard got their orders to go to Iraq. We wish the very best to all the troops and all the people who have been so caring and helpful to us.
Sincerely, Mrs. Frankie Mabry Woodall in Mississippi.
WE need to blow Iraq off of the map.

Veterans Appreciation Day. Herkimer County NY Det. MCL. Sept. 11 from noon to 5pm at MCL Clubhouse at 178 Second St.
Larry Gowett

To the father of Cpl. Bush;
In regards to your request for information on the use of Semper Fi!, as the father of a Marine, you are now part of the Marine Corps family. As your son is now my brother, you are now my father so to speak. I would be as proud to have you say Semper Fi to me as my other (real) father. While I was in Iraq my dad was a mess, I would hate to think that somebody would have gotten bent out of shape because he wanted to say Semper Fi to them while trying to feel a little bit of that bond that we all share!
So sir,you say Semper Fi to every Marine you meet.
If they don't like it, they don't understand what it's all about!!!
Sgt. B D Porter
Iraq '03

The Hamberg family wishes to thank ALL the people who read your website and newsletter for the many cards and letters sent to LCpl Daniel J. Hamberg while in Bethesda Naval Hospital. He was injured in Afghanistan in June and suffered massive crushing injuries to his pelvis and abdomen. He is home in Cincinnati for 30 days, then returning to NNMC for further surgery. Doctors think he will walk again (perhaps not like before) but they think his legs will work. Thanks again to all the thoughtful ex-Marines, ex-military and civilians who thought enough to send a card or letter. We really appreciate your concern.
Pam Hamberg Collins

"All Florida Marine Reunion"

The Central Florida Chapter of the 1st marine Division Association is sponsoring a gathering for chapters in Florida of all six Marine Division Associations. A planning session was held recently in which state leaders of four of the six Divisions were present.

The dates for the Reunion are May 6-8, 2005 and will be located at the Ramada Inn Gateway (just across Hwy 192 from Walt Disney World).

Although all six Associations are assisting in planning the event, it will be open for all former Marines and all time periods.

Activities tentatively planed are an auction, Kentucky Derby Social, Marine For Life presentation, an on site PX, and a nationally renown speaker. For more information contact Reunion Chairman:

Mike Galyean, President
Central Florida Chapter
1st Marine division Association
746 McIntyre Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have been getting your newsletter for a couple of months and always seem to cry by the end of it.

No one in my family has ever been in the Marines. No one close to me is in Iraq fighting the good fight. I do have friends that are Marines and they may or may not be sent out soon. They are hoping to be sent. So why do I cry?

In part because I have recognized the willingness of so many men past and present willingly laying down their lives so that I can enjoy the precious freedom that comes at so great a cost.

I cry because of the pain of parents, spouses, children and significant others who lift up their heads with pride, with a smile, and a wave for their warriors. While inside aching with the knowledge that this could be the last time they see their Marine alive.

I cry because so many people take this thing called freedom for granted, not giving a thought to the fact that it is won only by the blood of men who stepped up and said , "I'll fight,"

I cry with joy when I read of warriors coming home because they fought and lived to tell the tale.

So now I want to say thank you. Thank you to all the Marines past and present who have gone into battle for the sake of my freedom, thank you to the mothers and fathers for raising such amazing men and women, to the husbands and wives who have stood proud next to their Marine, to the children that said goodbye to their dads and moms.

I am grateful for you. And I will not forget your sacrifice! God Bless the Marines and God Bless the USA

With much appreciation,
Paula Dameron

Marine Receives Navy Cross

I have a son who is serving in Iraq. It is so difficult, the faith I have knowing he is coming back to the states in one piece and as healthy as he was the day he left here is very strong however I have a problem, I can not help but miss him so bad it hurts I mean it really hurts. I have been holding strong but its getting closer to his return and I feel as if I am losing it.

He is a second generation Devil Dog, his father served from 1979-1985 and was medically discharged. That was the worst thing that could have happened to him, he didn't live long after that as the Corps was his real love and with out it he was lost. I am sure he would be very proud to have a son as a United States Marine I sure am.

He happened to end up stationed at Las Pulgas, Camp Pendleton exactly where his father was stationed when we were married in 1981. The memories when I first drove on to that base again are not easy to explain I cried all the way to the barracks which are next door to the ones his father used to live in. I am a former wife of a Marine and the mother of a Marine and the pride I feel is as if I were the Marine. I love the Corps, don't always agree with them but I love it. The faithfulness the brotherhood the love and respect.

I receive the same respect from my sons friends as I did from my husbands friends. ITS AWESOME!!! I want him home so bad but I know he is doing his job. He is my only son and God knows I need him. May the Lord bless all our brave men and women serving our country.

This newsletter is great!!! Thank you. If anyone reading this knew Cpl Gonzales (johnny) who served at Pendleton from 1979 to 1983 then in Norfolk Va from 1983-1985 and was attached to Hotel Btry 3/11 at Las Pulgas and Motor Transport in Virginia. Please email me at I need to hear from some of his buddies so we can keep his memory alive and hopefully some one has pictures as my in laws will not share any of the photos we had with myself or our children. Please someone out there must have served with him. Here are a few names I remember Sims, Benny Rivera, Victor Cruz, Rick Strohline, Lowrie,Gary and Kaye Brown (married couple from Virginia) Ray Rodriguez, and I can't remember much more at this time. If anyone can remember us please contact me. Thank you again Sgt Grit this is an awesome way of keeping with the CORPS.

Terry Very Proud Marine Mom and former wife.

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."
--James Madison

To Sergeant Grit
Four members of Fox Co., 2nd Battalion, 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division just returned from our "Ticker Tape Parade", 60 years late, but most welcome, nevertheless. We "Liberators"were invited back to Guam to help the Chamorro people celebrate the 60th anniversary of their Liberation. Boy, what a celebration. We were part of a 21-veteran group under the auspices of MilitaryHistorical Tours. Including wives, sons, etc., there were 41 in our party, plus Tour Guides Gary Andrejak and John Powell, and historian Jennings Bunn. We were guests of The National Park Service for a dinner, Governor Felix Camacho for a breakfast, a Fiesta Party by former Marine, John Gerber, and three breakfasts by the Outrigger Resort. The Governor presented us with a medal and a beautiful Certificate of Appreciation for our service to the people of Guam. We were guests at a wreathe laying memorial service at Assan Overlook high above our original landing beach. Some of us were on a float in the three-hour, 80-float Liberation Day Parade, the rest enjoyed it from the VIP stands. They tell us that every year, people start to gather and camp out along the parade route three weeks before the annual parade. We participated in a rededication of the War Dog Memorial along with Betsy Putney, widow of the late Captain William Putney who was in charge of the war dogs during the battle for Guam, and responsible for the cemetery itself, first dedicated in 1994. He single handedly got Congress to pass a bill permitting dog handlers to bring their dogs back to the States after overseas duty. Thousands of faithful, loyal dogs were ordered destroyed before the troops came home from Vietnam, much to the anguish of their handlers.

We participated in the renaming of the main road to Marine Corps Drive, with Ron Lucas, Fox Co.'s Silver Star winner helping to cut the ribbon.

We were guests for lunch and a tour of the beautiful Andersen Air Force Base which stands on ground we of Fox Company patrolled for several months in 1944. We were guests at the Naval Station and Museum. Present day Generals and Admirals shook our hands. My old buddies, Bob Glenn, Ron Lucas, Lou Statile, and I stood alone on our landing spot where we jumped out of the Alligators 60 years ago and looked up at those heights we climbed that first day. Each of us had our own thoughts about our close friends we lost that first day and the days that followed. I'm sure we each wondered, "Why Me?" Why did they die, and I survived. Ron's wife, Nancy and my wife Alice gently helped bring us all back to the present. But we wont forget that experience, that feeling of sadness, nostalgia, and memory of our old friends who never lived beyond 20 or 21, never knew the joy of a lifetime partnership or raising a family.

With all the celebration the best of all, was to meet some wonderful people of Guam. There were those of our age who survived the terror of the occupation by the Japanese, there were there children, and their grandchildren. They treated us like family, and not only the ones we spent some time with. Every where we went we were greeted by complete strangers who came up to us, shook our hands and said "Thank you." And to me, the frosting in the cake is that they have taught their history to their children and to their grand children. They know their history. They value their liberty, they know it doesn't come cheap, and as a group, they are the most loyal, patriotic Americans I have ever met.

Cpl. Frank "Blackie" Hall, F-2-21, 3rd Marine Div.
1942-1945 Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima

"From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own."
--Carl Schurz

Sgt Grit - you might like to know that today, August 7th, "Purple Heart Day" the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter #431, Little Rock, AR dedicated I-430 as the Purple Heart Memorial Highway, which will not become part of the National Purple Heart Trail which will cross America. The starting point of the Trail is locate at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. Also, a Purple Heart Monument was dedicated to all Purple Heart Veterans.
Semper Fi - Sgt. Bob Ingram, USMC Retired

Dear Sgt. Grit, I enjoy reading all of the e-mails sent in to you. My husband proudly served in Viet Nam after having come from Mountain Warfare Training in Bridgeport, CA. I make him copies of the letters which reference the places where he was; Camp Carroll, Phu Bai, Dong Ha. He doesn't talk much about it, but has kept in touch with his friends at MWTC. Talk about a brotherhood.

Last month for the July 4th weekend, my husband and I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law. They are stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where my b-i-l (a Captain) is an instructor. My husband has always teased my b-i-l for being in the Army, but Albert takes it as being in good fun. He has a lot of respect for my husband and all who served our country in our military forces.

On Sunday evening, July 4th, we all went to Trophy Point (with about two thousand others) to watch the fireworks and listen to the West Point Army Band. After the beginning Flag ceremony the Orchestra Conductor (maestro?) began his acknowledgments of the visitors, guests, servicemen and women. One by one-each and every category was asked to rise, be recognized and then be seated. One by one: Cadets; West Point alumni; active duty Army; retired Army; etc. After each announcement there was grateful applause and cheering. When "United States Marine Corps" was announced and my handsome husband stood up, my heart stopped. Still ramrod straight-his DI would be so proud-I closed my eyes to envision what he must have looked like at 19 in his dress blues. Even at the mere mention of Marine-his entire demeanor changes; his mindset changes, and even his stance changes. I have always been proud of my husband's service to his country, even though I didn't know him then.

Thank you so much for the wonderful service you provide with your newsletter. When I read these letters submitted, especially by veterans, you can tell how proud they are to have served their country, even when their country didn't show its gratitude, or worse. And how it seems to me, that by writing their letters and telling their stories sometimes this is the first time that they have let their feelings out. It is a great catharsis for them and even though the audience may not be the largest forum of this type, it is the most loving and supportive.

Before closing, I just wanted to pass along some information about "Chickenman" for those who were as addicted to it as I was. Here are a couple of sites that I found that might be of interest:
to quote that website:
"Chickenman was created by Dick Orkin at WCFL Radio (Chicago) in 1966 as a daily serial that satirized the then-popular TV series, "Batman." Dick Orkin wrote all the episodes and starred as Chickenman, "the most fantastic crime fighter the world has ever known." At the time, Dick had no idea how incredibly popular this humble radio comedy serial would become. It was (and remains) a worldwide phenomenon. Even today, if you yell "Chickenman!" millions of loyal fans will instantly respond, "He's everywhere! He's everywhere!" In addition to radio listeners in every English-speaking part of the world who heard Chickenman on their local radio stations, millions of U.S. servicemen who served in Vietnam hold Chickenman very dear to their hearts...thanks to its broadcasts over American Armed Forces Radio. In fact, there even was a "Chickenman Battalion." (If you have a friend or relative who served in Vietnam, ask them about Chickenman. This collection probably will make a wonderful gift for them.) "

Thank you again for your wonderful newsletter.
With appreciation and respect,

Claudia DeMaggio
wife of Frank DeMaggio-E5
Viet Nam veteran 1967-1968, 1/12

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Thanks for the newsletter, I can consistently count on being moved by the writings I find on your electronic pages.

I have one question that I hope you and/or your readers can answer? I live in NY and it may be a factor of my geographic locale, but why doesn't mainstream America understand or relate to the sense of loyalty and responsibility to support and defend this great Nation that the readers of your newsletter seem to share?

I admit I have become somewhat cynical having had to listen to the rantings of my neighbors here in NY, but I do not see a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good around me like I saw while in the Corps.

In NY of all places I hear people praising some movies and the trash they call a documentaries, in the city where those towers came down. I hear things like endless needless war, like we weren't attacked. The low threshold for personal sacrifice in this country has grown to a point that it sickens me. Our Founding Fathers and the pioneers that settled this nation sacrificed daily for this land we call home. What happened to our heritage and culture? Personal sacrifice and a commitment to the grater good are truly American values that seems to have become watered down to the point that they border on extinction.

This newsletter is one of the rare places that I can come to rekindle my faith in that the fact that truly American values are still alive and well.

God bless the Marine Corps.
Scott Pryhocki,
Cpl., USMC '87-91

Sgt. Grit,
I have read these letters now for months and have seen the brotherhood shine. As a former Marine, it does my heart good to see and read how friends, family, active and former Marines are supporting out brothers and sisters currently serving. I am a member of a BBQ Cook Team, competition, in Spring, Texas and it was our honor to have cooked for H&S Co. 1/23 before the pulled out for California for training and then Iraq. The emotions and pride of these young men and women who have just left their families was thick. The pride that I felt knowing that I was a part of them and the pride my cook team felt fixing a meal for them was great. I hope and pray that these young marines all return home safely, though I know of one that has already met God, may he bring the rest of them home to us for another BBQ.
God Bless.
Semper Fi!
Mike Hamby

As a member of "L" Co. 3/9 3rd Mar Div. in The Nam I came back to find the VFW wasn't sure yet if 'we' would qualify for their org. I assume 'we' did. The lady in charge of processing GI Bill benefits at the college I enrolled in lost all of the Nam vets paper work. The Vets stayed alone or together as the World was not home anymore.

I am so thankful that the citizens of this country do appreciate what our service personnel are doing for them. I have lived in Pueblo, CO about four yrs now and have found these people to be Patriotic beyond belief. We are the "Home of Heroes" as we have FOUR Medal of Honor winners from this town! There are more Marine Stickers on cars and pick ups than you can count. I know Marines may be at a disadvantage in the counting arena. It is heaven.

The Marines are truly a band of brothers, but all military personnel are part of that brotherhood. I don't know the PC word to include women, but they are part of it too. Thanks for the forum to express our feelings. John Sprague

"We've been trying to follow the advice of Mark Twain, which was, 'Do what's right and you'll please some of the people and astound the rest'."
--Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit,
I am a mother of a Marine, Lcpl Charles Watts, he is stationed at Camp LeJeune NC. I have also had the great honor to have a father, and a uncle who have served in the Corps.

I would like to say that the letter from LtCol Goodson was a very touching one. I now can understand a lot of what my father did or did not say about his Marine Corps life.

LtCol Goodson please do not think that your job is ever over. It is not you are still doing the Marine Corps work just in a different way. Please never think that you are not.

Thanks for the in sight to a life I did not know much of, but can really understand now..
Debbie Watts

Sgt Grit,
This may seem petty, but it just gets me going. I realize that most don't have a clue when it comes to the Marine Corps, let alone the military in general. Reading the paper the other day I saw the memorial announcement for our brother Marine, and had him listed as an army gunnery Sgt. Well.......having read that and being disgusted at such a mistake from our "tell it like it is, only the true and accuracy will do media" I sent an e-mail out to the chief editor. A very polite letter with lots of small words so he could understand. Telling him I would be more than happy to bring him a current copy of US Armed services rank structure chart, so his staff wouldn't be embarrassed by such a mistake again. I had also informed him that the military community wouldn't see the humor in that mistake. Well to make a longer story shorter, not so much as a reply, correction or acknowledgment for the papers mistake. I thought it would be a good gesture if all who may read this could send Mr. Church a short e-mail expressing their concern, he of course can be found at
Semper Fi, Gunny B

The Marines at Fort Sill are having the 11th Annual Devil Dog Run. Relive your youth or die trying.

The 10th Annual Devil Dog Run is on Saturday, 11 Sept 2004. Race day features a 10k and 5k race. Race information and registration can be found online at
Semper Fi

God Bless America!!
Sgt Grit

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