Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

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 #78

Guided by these laws, our fathers for twenty generations have breathed the blessed air of freedom and have paid the bill in full when it was presented. We their sons can do no less.
Leonidas King of the Spartans

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CHESTY: see the new stuff 1st item. Outstanding image of the Corps greatest icon. In dress greens with complete ribbon display. You will only find it here.

Vietnam Vets: Answer the atrocity question on my new survey question at

Semper fi
Sgt Grit


Chesty Puller Poster - 18" X 24"

24th MEU Lapel Pin

Boot Camp DVD

I'm reading Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield and I came across a speech given by Leonidas king of the Spartans that I thought was pretty good. It kind of sums up why we're in the Marines.

Nothing good in life comes but at a price. Sweetest of all is liberty. This we have chosen and this we pay for. We have embraced the laws of Lykurgus, and they are stern laws. They have schooled us to scorn the life of leisure which this rich land of ours would bestow upon us if we wished, and instead to enroll ourselves in the academy of discipline and sacrifice. Guided by these laws, our fathers for twenty generations have breathed the blessed air of freedom and have paid the bill in full when it was presented. We their sons can do no less.

CWO4 Len Tippett
1st Marine Air Wing

Hello Sgt. Grit,
Just wanted to say I enjoyed my first newsletter you sent me. It's nice to see that with all the negative thoughts about the Iraqi War and that there are fine and brave Marines and their families who still know that someone has to fight for our Country, and to protect the innocents from those who would destroy them. While I am disabled and too old to fight, I am PROUD of our Marines, and wish them all to know my family and I are with them in prayers.
God Bless, and SEMPER FI !
Louis A. Gilman(GilDog)
Cpl. USMC 1973-76

"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it."
--George Washington

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. A sensitive war will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans. ... The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity."
--Dick Cheney

Sgt. Grit and my brother's,& sister MARINES:

I hope someone can tell me something that has bothered me from my days in the Corps in the Korea Police Action. Why in the world do our leaders see fit to limit us when we are at war. I wonder why they stop our attack and give our enemy's time to restock and bring in replacements. We have wasted many young lives by doing this. When the Cleric Al-Sadr says kings x we let them off the hook. It is unfair to ask our bothers and sisters to give their lives this way. If someone shoots at me from where ever I feel I should have the right to shoot back, no matter how they are or where they are. I don't like to destroy holy places but if the enemy use's them to store guns and fight from there TO BAD. They do not think to highly of such places if they do that. I guess I am a war monger because, if I'm in a war I believe you should fight it to win and with as few dead and wounded. This is like Korea we fought to take a hill then gave it back to the enemy and had to take it again, to me this is wrong.

I think Mrs. Frankie Marbry Woodal from Mississippi has the right Idea. Once a Marine always a Marine.
Sgt Wallen

On the lighter side:

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Darn...that was fun!"

"The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on."
Jon's Law

Sgt. Grit,
Watched a movie tonight, _Resting Place_ starring Morgan Freeman and John Lithgow. Lithgow plays the part of a Survivor Assistance Officer trying to help get a black Lt. buried in a small southern town. And interesting story and mystery to solve, but more, an intense look into what it meant to be a Survivor Assistance Officer.
Doc Byars

What a emotional post by former lstLt Gerald F. Merna in the last newsletter relating three experiences relating to relatives the faith of their Marines. I don't know how I would have reacted if I had had his sad duty. His restraint in dealing with the cheating wife was admirable. I would have been red faced with resentment.
Semper Fi,
Bob Rader #1405534


Dear Sgt. Grit,
First, let me take this opportunity to again thank all the soldiers of the world who risk their lives to protect our peace. God bless you and protect you! And thanks for your great newsletter. I particularly like the inspiring quotes you add. They are so true!
Dorothy Minkema
(my husband served in the Marines during the Vietnam war)

Sgt. Grit,
In response to an article in your last newsletter. I spend a lot of time studying history, and have now again seen more of what our cry-babies can come up with. All during Viet Nam, in which I participated during the "68" year of fun, as a "Marine Rifleman" all I ever heard from the press, and the whiners, was how we the American Military were wanton killers, destroying not only the innocent, but also capable of nothing but pure hate towards the peoples of Viet Nam. Not once do I recall the mighty press telling the world of the brutality and horrors that our men and yes even our women were subjected to should they be captured alive, or the desecration of the bodies of our honored dead, by the VC or NVA. Ask John McCain, and the men with whom he spent so many years as a guest of the NVA, on how they were treated. Yet, here we go again with all the cry-babies whining about how a few Iraqi prisoners were humiliated. I do not condone what was done to these prisoners, but you can bet your bottom dollar that during the first Iraqi conflict our prisoners were treated much worse, but did we hear any indignant voices raised in or on our servicemen's behalf afterwards. Not just NO, but H&LL no. Our people need to find out who and what the true enemy is and react accordingly.
John R. Wright, Cpl
USMC 4/66-4/70

"The right to be left alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms."
--William Douglas

Dear Grit,
On a recent trip to Princeton,WV to pick up my 92 yo grandfather we met a young Marine home on his 2 week leave. A little history if I may? I am a Marine vet, Grandfather is an Army WW2 vet and former German POW. Uncles and cousins in the Marines also. Including one that died on Saipan. We are a very proud and proven family.

Anyway we were sitting in Bob Evans in Princeton and who by fate or luck did we get seated by? A Marine of course. The wife had one of your shirts that says I Have One of the Few Good Men.Well I let him finish his meal and walked over to him. Introduced myself as a Marine and took the yellow ribbon off of my cover (also purchased from you) and handed to his 2 yr son. I told him to wear that pin and daddy will always come home. I don't think there was a dry I in that section of the restaurant. I gave him my address and phone number and told him to write and we will send him a care package.

His wife could not think us enough. As I write this there will be an order from me for more yellow ribbons. I have given all of mine away. Oh, We also paid for his lunch,

Keep up the good work,
The King family,
Proud veterans since 1942
Semper Fi

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread."
--Thomas Jefferson

Hi Bill,
As a teacher of Logic, I thought I rather neatly avoided any conflict, including jumping to any conclusions, one way or another, by simply stating the obvious... Tangle with one Marine, you tangle with them all. No judgment there, just a simple, and rather obvious (if you know Marines), statement.

Also, you verify a certain level of ignorance (not stupidity, ignorance) by referring to me as a "Marine." Check out my signature. I was a Medical Corpsman of the United States Navy attached to the United States Marine Corps... but NOT a Marine except by their honorary standards.

As far as understanding goes, I've done a certain amount of editing and publishing work, so I do, truly, understand and sympathize. The other shoe is that Marines are fantastically (not fanatic, to squelch the office wit before he/she or it gets started) protective of each other--- and ever so wary of the press and the press's veracity. You (the collective "you -- the press") have done little to endear yourselves to those you write about. Everything from minor errors of usage to so many horror stories as to engender a near-phobic response to the press. By way of illustration:

Some years ago I was doing counseling with Vietnam Veterans. I had a family come in seeking to help our organization, and to lay old memories to rest. Seems as though Grandma, Dad and Mom, Little brother and sister sat down to dinner one evening. Being a good American family, they had the television going. Their dinner treat was full color motion pictures of their grandson, son, brother being ripped to shreds by a machine gun. Needless to say, this totally ruined dessert. They were not notified by the authorities of their sons death until the next day.

Yes, some of us do have trouble dealing with the media.

Steven Byars
Hospital Corpsman First Class, United States Navy/United States Marine Corps.

Mr. Church,
Well, you've put your foot in it this time. May God have mercy on you, because the Marines sure as h-ll won't!
Steve Byars

To be brief is almost a condition of being inspired.
George Santayana
Little Essays, 1920

Sgt. Grit,
On the subject of those who go above and beyond. Many years ago I was leading discussion groups composed of Vietnam Vets trying to work through the after effects of participation in the South-East Asian War Games. One young man was noticeably supportive of others, and yet never offered much information about himself, constantly deferring to others so that they might have a chance to "work" in that particularly large group. It got to the point where it was really noticeable, to the point where I was wondering and more than a few of the groups members came to me asking if this guy was for real.

I finally confronted this young man and asked him why he never took time to talk about himself and what his experiences were. He replied that he had been a rear-area pogue and didn't deserve to take the groups valuable time away from "Real Combat Vets".

"What did YOU do in Vietnam?" I finally, very pointedly, asked.

"I spent two years working in graves registration." He quietly replied. Stunned, we all sat there staring at him. He rose and started to leave. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to take everyone's time."

Gulping for air, swallowing tears that threatened to overwhelm me, I told him to sit down and to quit talking stupid. I forced myself to focus and questioned him about his "work." One of his duties had been to put together enough pieces to send his best friend home in a sealed casket. They had been best friends since grade school and had signed up on the buddy program.

He again apologized for wasting "real warriors" time with his silly crying. I asked everyone in the group to consider the horrors they had gone through, and then asked them, "Which of you would have traded jobs with this man in his nice barracks in the safe zone?"

Everyone looked at each other, and then, as one, we all pushed our chairs back out of the circle, our way of saying, "NOT ME!" We left him sitting in our circle of honor, alone. All of us staring at him in respect, some of us with awe.

Some of us serve with honor. Some of us ARE honor.

My friend, who's name I cannot mention, USA.

LtCol George Goodson USMC.

And all the others who gave so deeply of their inner selves giving honor unto their brothers, and sisters.

All Honor! All praise your glorious souls. May peace cover you with grace.

HM1 Byars
E 2/1 '65 - VN

Only in America... do we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: "Poli" in Latin meaning 'many' and "tics" meaning 'bloodsucking creatures.'

To the wives, girlfriends, and parents who are fearful because their loved one chose to be a Marine, or is facing deployment, or a combat zone.

Your fears have been shared with every other wife, girlfriend, or parent of a Marine. But those emotions are only temporary. Soon, they will be replaced by a lifelong feeling of pride, and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Long after your fears are faded memories, there will be a defining moment that will never be forgotten. When he said "I gotta do what I gotta do" is the moment your "baby" became a man.

Would you really want anything less?

Mike Farrell
First Sergeant of Marines
Retired from active duty

28th Reunion, First Armored Amphibian Batt.
Biltmore Hotel, Oklahoma City, OK.
October 6-9th, 2004

Cell phones for soldiers

Veterans History Project, Library of Congress/American Folk Ctr.

"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."
--Joseph Story

In reply to Buzz Barkovich: I'm a Marine Corp Mom and the wife of a former Marine. I was surprised and very proud when our son came home from high school in January of 2003 and announced that a Marine recruiter would be coming by to talk to us. I almost cried that night as I signed my son's life over to the Corp. He graduated in May of 2003, turned 18 six months later on October 8th, and then left for San Diego for boot camp on October 19th. He turned down a full Presidential scholarship to UCA to join the Marines and to be in the Marine Corp Band. On Friday, the 27 of August he will graduate from the Armed Forced School of Musical Instruction in Norfolk, VA as one h*ll of a trumpet player! But, as proud as a mom can be, it can't compare to the pride that his father is beaming with. They went to boot camp and MCT on the same day, only 30 years apart. My husband was with the 3/5 and the 1/3. (1973-1979) He helped evacuate the embassy in Saigon. My son grew up with a Marine Corp Sgt. so boot camp wasn't that bad for him, it's what he grew up with! I used to get so mad at my husband for the way he treated our son sometimes, but he grew up with an instilled since of Honor, Courage and Commitment. So, Mr. Barkovich, I'm willing to bet that there is a higher percentage of former Marines with kids in the Corp than any other branch of the service.
God Bless The Marine Corp!
Beverly Hunt, proud mother of LCPL Austin Hunt and proud Marine wife.
Simper Fi!!

Hi. I am a "new" Marine mom. My first born son graduated from high school on June 6, 2004 and left for Parris Island on June 21, 2004, just three months after he turned 18. I know his choice to become a Marine was a decision coming from somewhere deep in his heart. He was raised in a rather privileged family - both parents are college educated (father is a lawyer) and he didn't need to join the military to benefit from a G.I. bill. I am so proud of him. He graduates on September 17, 2004, and our entire family is planning to go!

I have never been "patriotic" but this journey certainly has changed that. Although the title "Marine" brings much apprehension to a mother - it also carries with it a sense of pride that I have never known before.
Suzanne Brown
Canal Winchester, Ohio

Sgt Grit,
I wanted to put in my two-cents worth on this subject of "Semper Fi" and those outside of the Marine Corps who use it. Being a veteran of twenty-years in our beloved Corps, I have a twenty-four year old daughter who had to endure my absence from her young life while I served my country. As a young teenager she was somewhat bitter that I was not around much as she grew up, but when she came with me at my retirement and the good timing of the movie "Saving Private Ryan", she finally got it! She was able to understand the sacrifices I made and she understand the "why"! She has nothing but respect and admiration for any Marine in uniform, and she uses that phrase to any Marine she sees, her way of paying homage to those Marines who served or have served. An incident that happened just after the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she was on her way home sitting in her car at an intersection in Riverside California when some idiot moron who decided he wanted to shove his head in her car and yell some anti-war slogans to her for whatever reasons he had. Well, from her upbringing from her Marine father, she promptly reached with her left hand and pressed the button for the electric window and lodged this young lad's head so he could not pull out of the car. She then promptly gave the poor young lad an elbow right across the bridge of his nose and nonchalantly stepped on the gas and proceeded through the intersection while very slowly lowering her window until the now half unconscious and half dazed moron fell to the ground. I almost wet my pants when she told me the story, but her reasons were she felt this idiot was disrespecting our Marines who were putting their lives on the line to instill freedom to a country who lived in terror for many years. She became very emotional when the casualty rate started coming in. What I'm saying here is she has a very good understanding of what our Marines do and why, she endured my time in and she endured the hardships of me being away, and I feel she is entitled to use the term since she understands what the term means and she holds the Marine Corps in high esteem. Let anyone make some derogatory remark about Marines in her presence and she is the first one letting fisticuffs fly!
Try telling her she can't use the motto, "Semper Fi"!
H&ll, I'll never tell her she can't!
Mike Angelo
GySgt Ret

New pic and story on BS page.

New Vietnam Story

New Parris Island BS

Humorous Song Lyrics

MOTG-81 Reunion
60th year anniversary, Edenton NC
Oct 4th Monday thru October 7th Thursday 2004 Hampton Inn
115 Hampton Drive
Edenton, NC 27932
252-482-3500 Hampton Inn Room Reservation
Call Master Sergeant (retired) Sandy Sandman 301-929-1333

See you there Marines

There is a project called "Marines helping wounded Marines". This project is being run out of the Maryland Marine Corps League, a program to obtain all kinds of needed donations for our wounded brothers and sisters recovering at the National Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD. Please everyone, at least take a look and think about directly supporting our wounded Marines.
Semper Fi!
Steve Hosie, CISSP, CISM
Sgt USMC, 1986-1993

The difference between me and my spouse goes far beyond my being a woman and his being a man. I am a Marine. He was Air Force. I got so tickled at LCpl Chip Taylor's (75-77) piece. I am a see the hill take the hill kind of gal. He will sit and debate for days about a project and of course by then the Marines have landed and the project has been completed. I do not believe the man has ever made a spontaneous move in his life. Every move he makes is calculated toward some point down the road, scheming and plotting for the next promotion even though he retired in 1972 with over 20 years in the AF. He makes decisions with built in problems so he can come along later and correct the problem and look big in his eyes at least. As a farm kid first and then a Marine, I learned early to recognize what a bull does if he eats regularly so I just smile as his bs and give a mental head slap. Air Force. Duh. That explains it all.
Semper fi

yo grit=my daughter got her order for the little one the other day=her 2nd child=another son=she brought him home in his Marine tee shirt=funny cause she's married to a E-6 in the air force, there at hollamand==he did 2 tours in Iraq=just goes to show=WHAT A MARINE BRAT, tks buddy
gunny sgt=patrick o'brien=ret=66=68=in country==did 22 yrs

"Defense of a Nation is the Duty of its Citizens..... Service as a Marine is the Honor of its Elite"

Hello Sgt Grit,
I just have to tell you, I am a former sailor and my husband is a Marine (he got out in 1997, 3rd Marines). We met in Hawaii, he was stationed at Kaneohe Bay and I was stationed a Naval Magazine LuaLuaLei. I remember when I met him, how arrogant and oh my what a smart *ss he was, I remember saying to myself "what have I gotten myself into here". Well we dated for a while and then we married November 10,1994. It had to be that day, the "birthday". I remember my family saying "oh no you can't marry a Marine!!", well I did anyways. As I became more involved with the Marine Corps, I started to really admire them, then I began thinking "what idiot told me to join the navy, I shoulda been a Marine". I loved the Marine bases where we lived, the spirit of it caught my breath, the security of being there, that I didn't feel on a Navy base, the nice clean looking men, the Marines were always so respectful and polite and that walk of a Marine, so proud to be there. My husband talks about the Corps on a daily bases, he reads all of your newsletters and when he talks with a bunch of guys, he dominates the conversation by talking about the corps. He is so proud to be a Marine! I decided to sit down and read your newsletter today, what a impact it had on me. I called my husband at work and told him "you have to go back active duty, I want my children to see what the Marine corps has to offer, I want them to LIVE in THEIR WORLD, I want them to feel the security that I felt, the respectfulness and politeness that has been given to me, but most of all I want them to LIVE the SPIRIT of the Marine Corps, there is nothing else out there like the US Marine Corps! Whatever has to be done gets done, it doesn't matter what you have to sacrifice to do it, it just gets done, the honesty, the hard work and the commitment. I am so proud of the US MARINE CORPS! You have a great newsletter here and you can bet I will read this for now on.
Thank you,
Lori Stanfill

No matter where we travel it seems sooner or later my husband spots a fellow Marine. Understand we are classed as "Old Geezers" but once these Marines begin to talk the years drop away and they are young men enjoying that "Special Something" that dwells in the heart of a Marine. We are nearing the 80 year mark in years but age means nothing when two Marines meet. It's wonderful to me and my equally wonderful Gyrene...WWII vintage...and weathering well. Blessings on all our men and women who serve our country now and have done so in the past.
Dede Ott
56 years a Marine wife

Please convey my deepest condolences to Mrs. Fullenwider at the passing over of her husband.
Also let her know that her email has been greatly appreciated by my daughter and I. My daughter is recently married to a new Marine. Matthew will carry on the tradition of her wonderful husband, I am sure.
Respectfully yours,

Sgt. Grit,
Last year, when my son, Sgt. Brett Walsh, 2nd CEB/2nd Marine Div., left for Iraq and was assigned to the 1st Marines in the taking of Baghdad, (earning him a N&MC Achievement Medal with "V") my then 9 year old daughter, Kellie, started a "Support the Troops" Care Package Drive. It started small but has since, with the help of her wonderful mother and a great community, mushroomed and Kellie has to date raised over $32,000.00 and has sent over 500 Care Packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is hard work and Kellie (now ten) spends hours shopping and packaging the boxes with her "entourage" at the local fire house. She has participated in numerous parades and fundraisers and has recently been elected as "Delaware County (NY) Citizen of the Year". She is the youngest recipient of this award. The reason I'm relaying this information to your readers is, of course, because I'm a proud father, but, more importantly, to show that you can never be too young (or old) to show support for our troops. Just reading the letters of appreciation from our servicemen and women who have received Kellie's packages bring tears to my eyes. I think that every citizen should make a conscious effort, every day, to show support for our men and women in uniform. Let's not forget that while you're enjoying that delicious steak dinner, there's someone out there eating an MRE protecting our wonderful way of life!
Thanks for letting this old "Swabbie" brag a little,
Robert E. Walsh
Chief of Police, Delhi, NY

We walked all day searching for a Marine at the EAA here in WI. There were none to be found the day we were there. I got more tickets for another day and we walked some more. We found em'. There they were, all lined up around a Harrier. Why did I do this? My nine year old has his future planned to be a MARINE. End of story. His room is filled with pictures of y'all, and he sleeps under a U.S. MARINE blanket (thanks to Sgt. Grit). This is not a nine year old dream, this is his reality. Anyway...we walked up to those Marines...we stood there and soaked it in. My son was in awe. I asked one of them, "can I hug and thank a Marine?" He smiles and says, "you sure can ma'am". So I did. My son was in such wonder of seeing them, he was silent. Well, as I read the newsletter, I read about saying it and not saying it....I SAID IT! I looked right into the eyes of that Marine and I said softly, "SEMPER FI". I said it out of RESPECT, THANKS, and to give my small tribute to HONOR what we feel for each and every one of you Marines. So there..I said it. My son squeezed my hand, as if I entered a place I should not go, for saying it...but that Marine smiled right back at me and said a gentle "ooh-ah"...and then I knew. It was okay for me to say it. God Bless all of you, God Bless our Country, and many, many Thanks.
Deb Toussaint
Future Mother of a U.S. Marine!!!!!!

IM myself lost my Husband 20 months ago. Don spent 20 of our 28 years of our marriage also married to the Corps. I find its very strange starting over, your whole circle of friends change. None of our friend spent anytime in the Marines so now IM in my own little world living with civilians. Don did most of his time in the Reserves. The proudest of days is when both our children graduating boot camp. The kids are away and I just live with civilians.
Semper Fi
Carol Blais

Sgt. Grit,
My son is a Lance Corporal serving in Okinawa, his buddy is also a Lance Corporal serving in Iraq. I proudly display the EGA logo on my SUV. Just this week, I have had two people stop me inquiring about them, asking if I had a child or spouse in the Marines. One local resident is a retired Marine that will be 58 this October and said if he could, he would be over there right now supporting our troops, even if it meant doing their laundry. He asked me to pass on his support and prayers for their safety. The other resident that stopped me, said to say "Thank You" to both young men and all the young men and women serving our country. I wanted to share these kind words of support with all the members of our armed forces, thank you for the great job you are doing.
>From A proud Mom of a Marine

Interesting sites

Hello Sgt Grit,
I have written my story here before, but just let me say, once you've been part of the Marine family, that never dies. I was also a Marine wife, and my first husband is now deceased. I have remarried, to a "civvie" but he's a very patriotic country boy and loves the service people. I also am the mother of Marine, very proud of my boy, my only son, and he is in Iraq with the 1st Mar Div, 3rd Bn near Fallujah.

And Terry, the Marine Mom and prior Marine wife, I hope some of your husband's Marine buddies contact you. Its always wonderful to catch up with those we served with. I still occasionally run into or hear from friends that served with my husband or the wives of our friends. Its always a joy. Its like we've never been apart.

Relating to Marine wives, I went through several deployments with my first husband, I know firsthand the loneliness and the fear of trying to do it all yourselves that all wives feel. Taking out the garbage, breaking up fights between the kids, taking sick kids to the doctor, paying the bills, keeping the cars on the road. And, at the end of the day, when you are too tired to do much more than fall into bed, you sometimes cry in frustration, cursing the man you love because you are left behind to handle the "everyday crap". But, they are forgiven immediately because then your heart turns to prayer for their safety.

My first husband served in '79-'88, before email really got underway, so we communicated the old fashioned snail mail. Occasionally I got a phone call, but those were few & far between. His letters were precious to me, and I still have all of them. I will never forget keeping a hawk-eye out for the mailman. I know he probably was hounded by all the Marine wives on my street in "K-Bay". Wives, I understand completely, and boy do I remember. Hang in there, and know that this too shall pass!

Rose Turner-Young
Former Marine wife, former Marine, and mother of a Marine!

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I would like to thank Lt. Col. George Goodson for one of the most moving letters I've ever read. Semper Fi.

I've enjoyed the numerous letters that you've brought to us. I would like to share a subject we're all familiar with, Mr. Death. Looking back from two tours in Nam from Da Nang to the DMZ. I dispatched Mr. Death from afar on my second term in 1970. So, I'm very familiar with him. This in itself is an old subject.

I had the misfortune of having one of my men die in my arms. After more than 28 years I could never bring myself to talk about the loss of a friend and comrade.

Over the past seven years I've been working in a prison hospice. The support groups that are part of the hospice program have helped build a strong emotional support system. Without the support, I could never have put my emotions or feelings out there.

After my discharge from the Marine Corps, I moved around until I landed where I am today, doing time. But, what I would like to share with you and other Marines, has become a very big part of my life. Most of my time is spent doing volunteer work in the prison hospice, where I specialize in sitting vigils. This program was the first of its kind in the United States prison system. Starting in late 1984, working with HIV/Aids patients, we're now dealing with all kinds of different strains of cancer and anything that can kill a person.

Every 90 days, there is a memorial service held in the chapel for these men. Most of the men who have passed are ex-military of one kind or another. I've sat with sailors, air force, army, and yes Marines, from the grunt to a Light bird. My last two friends to die that were Marines were an ex-corporal (9th Marines) and a master gunner.

To watch the changes in them is enough to emotionally wreck a person not mention the family that are there for them. There are others whose families have long forgotten them. They're not forgotten, because when a man sits with them, to hold them or just to read to them, he's with family.

It's not easy holding a brother as they pass, either here behind the walls or on the battlefield. I want the young men and women to know that there is always support when they lose a friend.
S. Rockwell
Sgt. U.S.M.C.
RVN 68 & 70

This was submitted by my daughter from a previous marriage. I only see here on occasion because of my military service but I wanted everyone to know that there are teenagers and kids alike who know what patriotism is. I realized after I read this who my hero was. It's her. Enjoy and pass this around all you want.

My American Hero
It's hard to describe such a person. An American hero. What devotion, what bravery, what a person you'd have to be in order to receive such a title as that. But, the person I have in mind for this is above and beyond this title. A man of great magnitude and respect. Who has such an honor of these attributes? Well, I'll tell you. Without a doubt, I would choose my father. If you didn't already know, my father is a Marine in the military. I owe my patriotism to him, for he was the one to spark the flame, and leave it open for all to fan. The lessons he taught me have greater meaning than many things taught in schools today. Public schools are teaching kids to learn about chemical combinations and the best way to write up their resume, but do many of them teach you how to love you country? This history class is one of the few classes that have taught me to better love my country and have taught me also about the sacrifices past figures in history have made to get me here where I am, in a free democratic country called America. Americans have such passion, desire, and drive, that virtually anything is possible. We don't feed on bread and water, but on hatred, love, and other emotions of mankind. That's what makes us Americans. How would we have gotten here if our forefathers hadn't had the power, determination, and perseverance to fight for the true and just things in history, like equality and popular sovereignty? Would we have a voice in government if a few men with extraordinary ideas hadn't branched out and took the road less traveled upon? My father taught me about honor and justice in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of God's.

He is always so anxious to "get some action", and to go fight. He inspires me beyond fathom ability. The way that he can sit back and take it all just amazes me to no extent. He misses his whole life to save others. I love him to death, and the only way that I could ever cope with his aching absence is by means of nationalism feelings (thinking for the better of the country) see him less than two months a year, sometimes almost none at all, like when he was stationed in Saudi Arabia last year and couldn't get off barely any time. I think I spent a good week with him. Such a man, as is he, that can suffice without seeing his family for so long! If I didn't love my country, then I would surely not understand that his absence in my life is for the better, for a bigger cause than I could comprehend. My needs and wants of him are so petty compared to the effects of his dedication, hard work, and fighting. Could you imagine fighting for millions of men and women who didn't even know such a man named Len was giving up everything for their sake? He sacrifices his "simple" freedoms, that we so absent-mindedly take for granted, like seeing his family every day, even every week, or month, so that they can keep their freedoms intact during the length of their lifetime. That is why it frustrates me so to hear about protests in the streets of Washington D.C. and California against war. Do you think all of the men want to be over there? No, not at all. Think of the soldiers. Do they want to fight a war (some) believe isn't theirs; away from their families, away from safety, for a bunch of selfish and ungrateful strangers? If I ever have to live with the torture of seeing my father come home in a body bag, then I want to know that he didn't die in vain, that he won't come home to a banner saying 'you got what you deserved'. To think that men and women volunteer for this is just incredible. It shows the devotion of our fellow countrymen, despite its unpopularity. The famous quote by Nathan Hale says, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." I know that this is exactly what my American hero says, as well as all the other heroes of America every time a bullet came (comes) whizzing by their head. It is unbearable to think if he would ever die. All my father would get would be a medal and his own knowledge of an honorable death. He wouldn't be found in history books, or even on anyone's lips years from now. It comforts me little to know that he died in the line of fire, with honor. Could you imagine paying the ultimate sacrifice while doing such great deeds and not being known for it? Time is like sand, the more you try to cup it in your hands, the quicker it slips through your fingers. What of all of our time lost together? No more to laugh. No more to sing. No more to cry. No more to even breathe. What about my hurt? No one could ever accommodate the feelings I'd feel. Knowing I can't be there to hold his hand if he dies overseas doesn't hurt me as badly as knowing that his death didn't mean anything, that his cause was looked down upon, and innocent lives are taken time and time again for our liberty. I pray that he won't die in vain. Despite my constant fears, I plan on following my father somehow into the service of the government. I wish I could be half of what he is, for that is even enough to inspire a whole camp. I wish to serve with such fire and love as no one has seen in this generation as my father has. Selfishness is out of the question. I share my family and their precious time on Earth with the millions of citizens of this great country. Neither a shed tear nor a thought is given to themselves. This bravery doesn't only just empower my father alone. Every person who puts on a uniform of duty and service has this ambition in which I prize my father for. Why is my father an American hero? He puts his life on the line day after day tirelessly for each and every one of you sitting here today. I hope you can now better honor and appreciate our soldiers. More than just the soldier is hurt when you are ignorant of your country. People die for you, whom you didn't even know existed. They think about you. Have you ever taken time to spare a thought for them?

To the soldiers--Thank you for fighting.
Thank-you for making a difference.
Thank-you for caring for me, an insignificant piece of the greater puzzle.
By: Megan Tippett
History 5th hour

Why should we look down upon these brave men and women just because a few are corrupted? What if all the other countries judged America by the headlines in newspapers? Stereotyping gets no one anywhere but miscommunication and misjudgments.

Dear Sgt. Grit:
As a new member of the Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 5151 in Streamwood, IL and as the chair of the Americanism committee, I have come up with an idea. We are going to hold a drive/fundraiser for MAKE-A-DIFFERENCE DAY to collect items to send to our deployed military in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The fundraiser is to collect funds to defray the cost of shipping.

Our event will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2004 in the parking lot of the VFW Hall at 343 s. Bartlett Road, Streamwood, IL 60107 and the time is 10AM to 3PM.

We will have a band and are looking for military speakers. If anyone knows of someone in high ranks that would be willing to donate time to this event to speak, we feel this would be a great draw.

If anyone would like to contact me regarding this event, they can email me at: SIZZLEC@WOWWAY.COM


In the 23 July 04 edition of "sgtgritnews", some verses from "The Law of the Jungle" were brought to light by a former Marine, J. Woods who questioned the author of those verses. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), was the author of "The Jungle Book" as well as many other books of prose and essays based upon his observations as a newsman in the India, Afghanistan, Africa and the Far East. Mr. Kipling was a realist and a gifted writer. His "Barrack Room Ballads", a collection of gritty prose and poetry about military life is as true today as it was when he wrote it and I would recommend it to any Marine, past or present. Additionally, The "Law of the Jungle" is a wonderful collection of children's (ages 10-14)animal fables that parallel the values we learned as Marines. I'm saving my childhood copy for my grandchildren, who are almost ready for it. Read it yourself.

In the "Law of the Pack" from the Jungle Book, Kipling wrote: "The strength of the Pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is in the Pack" which describes Marines and the Marine Corps perfectly.

Semper Fi,
Jim Underwood
Sgt. 1955-1959

"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights."
--Edmund A. Opitz

God Bless America!!
Sgt Grit

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