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 #79

"The worst terrorists are the Americans. We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian." "As far as we are concerned, they are all targets". "The American man is our enemy."
-Osama Bin Laden

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LIMITED TIME OFFER! Available only until Friday, September 25, 2004! All orders will be made at that time and shipped approximately 2 weeks later. Select your own shirt color and University of...Afghansitan, Beirut, Chu Lai, Con Thien, Danang, Iraq, Khe Sanh, Haiti, Hue, Inchon, Kuwait, Phu Bai, Quang Tri, Parris Island, or MCRD San Diego.


The following women's watches replace all watches we previously had.

Women's Watch - Two Tone, All Stainless Steel, Bracelet, White Dial

Women's Watch - Silver Dial, Stainless Steel, Bracelet

Women's Watch - Blue Dial, Stainless Steel, Bracelet

Sgt Grits is expanding the business and now is available to offer high quality bulk items. T-shirts, mugs, coins, bumper stickers etc. If you need it we can get it for you with your logo on it. We also have in some cases the ability to attend annual reunions or meetings and set up a PX for your organization, we currently have over 3000 products in our PX and are adding more every day. If you currently have your own PX please consider us as a source to get your PX items made for you. We are committed to providing the best quality items to our Marine for the best prices. Thanks and Semper Fi.

GySgt Michael W. Davis
Marketing Director
Sgt Grit
7100 SW 44th St.
OKC, OK 73179
Phone: (866) 776-2607
Fax: (866) 776-2610

I've been reading your newsletters for quite a while now, and would like to tell a quick story. I'm a nearly seventy year old combat vet, Korea vintage (U. S. N.). My Dad spent 22 years in the U.S. Army, before, during, and after WWII, and saw action in C.B.I. - some of it with Col. Merrill and his Merrill's Mauraders. His father, my grandfather, served as a medical officer, in WWI, aboard hospital ships, bringing home U.S. wounded.

Now, I have a 20 year old son, proudly serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has completed just over two years, earning a meritorious promotion to Corporal of Marines. After being away from home for almost 18 months, he was granted leave, from Aug. 1 to Aug 14. Not long after he had returned to duty, with his artillery unit - 1/12, I was missing him a lot. I have seven children, five boys and two girls, and we are all very close. Feeling kind of sorry for myself, I decided to stop in, for lunch, at one of my favorite spots, a local Quiznos. I always proudly wear a ball cap, with the embroidered inscription "My son is a Marine", and had it on this day. I always order the same thing - tuna, no cheese, no onions, on wheat bread, and am always waited on by the same pretty young teenage girl. Other than ordering, and exchanging pleasant "Have a nice day" greetings, we have never engaged in conversation.

Well, I got my sandwich, came home, and sat down to eat. I was thinking how quiet the house was again, since my youngest son had returned to duty. I had really enjoyed getting my old butt tossed around, as he had shown me some moves he learned in Green Belt MMA Instructor's School. I spent 26 years teaching and competing in martial arts, and, believe me, no one is a match for a trained Marine) Well, anyway, I took my sandwich out of the Quiznos bag, and noticed something written on the outside of the bag. I read the carefully penned words, and, instantly felt such pride that my kid was a Marine! The teenage waitress had written on the bag, with a marker, "Semper Fi". I knew it would be a while before I could eat, due to the sudden lump in my throat
God bless and protect all Marines, everywhere.
Ken Cole, Ph.D. (USN 1952-60)

This is a letter from a proud Grandparent"

In December of 2003 at Christmas my grandson informed me he had pre enlisted in the Marines. When I asked him why he shared he wanted to be a part of a branch of the military that was making a difference.

He has always been an excellent musician playing in the high school band, won an award at a state band competition. Because of this he was offered an MOS in the Marine Band. He declined and ended up in recon.

Today he is in Najaf, his outfit was in a building that was hit. He lost his best friend in combat. Yet the last time we talked I will always remember his comment to me. " Grandpa, there is a job to be done."

His first leave back in the states will be in October. He has informed the family before he can spend time with us he has to go visit the family of his friend who was KIA. I no longer ask the question why he joined the Marines. I now know they have made him even more a grandson his grandmother and I are proud of. Thanks for the bumper sticker that tells everyone we have a grandson in the Marines.

John & Georgia Anderson

I read through some of these letters and one caught my attention about Korea. If you look back to WWII, you'll see that Gen. George Patton was relieved of duty because he wanted to win, Gen. Douglas McArthur was fired because he wanted to win, we were shamed in the Korean conflict because of politics, Vietnam was no different because of politics, now we have Iraq because of politics to finish that wasn't finished the last time we were there. And who is suffering through all of this? The parents and other relatives who lost a loved one because of politics. Need I say more?
Semper-Fi and God Bless our Troops
Jim Nevorski Sgt. U.S.M.C. 1954-1957
P.S. I was 8 years old when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor

Great pics from Afghanistan.

Well, Sgt. Grit, I have to tell you I enjoyed your Newsletter. As I write this I am with my daughter waiting for the return of OUR MARINE, my son-in-law, My daughter's whole reason the breathe, (newly promoted) Sgt. Brandon Bridges, who is now in Iraq. Now, I have to tell you about my trip from California to South Carolina by Automobile. On the road I had encountered a couple of *ssholes who cut me off changing lanes and flipped me the international sign of buggering off. These three guys had then followed me into a gas station somewhere in Oklahoma. As I began to fuel my car one of them came over and asked, "Why do you have that f'ing Proud Marine Mom frame thingy?" Without hesitation I said to him, "I have a son serving in Iraq so people like you can be actively stupid."

He stared at me then walked away. A few minutes went by, as I got coffee, and all the normal road trip tasks. As I had opened my hood check things out, all three of the *ssholes returned to start chiding me again about MY PLATE FRAME-trying to provoke me into some sort of altercation, by saying incredibly untrue and rude words about Marines.

Finally, I had enough. I said, "Hey, you little pansies want to fight? I may be a middle-aged old WAC but I can still kick your weakling little butts!" Well, they just looked shocked and scared. Terrified actually. They ran and got into their car and sped out. I thought well, Dang they REALLY WEAKLING COWARDS AFRAID OF AN OLD WAC! All this exercising is paying off.

What I had failed to notice were several people fueling as well and I had not noticed some new faces behind me in a truck. As they left I turned around to see 1 incredibly big young man with a high and tight cut. He asked if I was okay and I answered in the affirmative.

He said, "I saw your plate frame back in New Mexico and I am proud to be a Marine. Is your Marine a son or a daughter?" My response of course was, "My son-in-law is a Marine on active duty now in Iraq. "I told him that due to health reasons I am going to live with my daughter and son-in-law in South Carolina. I told him what a great bunch of young men and women we have serving today in the military, especially the Marines and inquired as to his current status.

This young man told me he was on leave traveling from coast to coast between duty stations. He volunteered that he had been Iraq, been wounded, showed me his healing scar on the back of his neck from shrapnel, from the Green Zone. He told me of his desire to be back with his fellow Marines in Baghdad and how he feels a little lost without being with his fellow Marines. He said he knew some of them went home when he left, but he was not sure yet how many had died. I told him, what my uncle used to tell me, and I have been telling myself so much in the past few years and my uncles-old Marines-had begun to pass away,"Old Marines don't die sweetie-they just go back to hell and regroup!"

While thanking him for the Knight in Shining Armor, and protecting my rights, and the rights of any future grandchildren, I watched him stand a little more erect as he went back to his truck. We parted as the sun was going down. The lone Marine, with a brave, true and loyal heart that had been tested. and me the old WAC who felt the power of brotherhood (sorry women Marines) who has always protected me. As he moved into the driveway to leave and get back on the interstate, I mouthed to him, as I have too many times to parting Marines, "Semper fi."
DSDaggett, WAC 72-75
RVN 73-75

1st Ordnance Field Maintenance Co. reunion, 10/9/04, Lancaster, PA
for more info contact


What are most kids doing 9 months after graduation? How about college, working, taking it easy, while trying to decide what they are going to do with the rest of their lives.

Some decide on the Armed Forces, some on just goofing off with their friends, living it up, so to speak.

What about becoming a man... A UNITED STATES MARINE.

Just like our own Hometown Hero........ David Tope, of Waynesburg. A 2003 graduate of Sandy Valley High School.

Just 9 months ago David was graduating high school. One week after that he was shipped off to Paris Island for Marine training boot camp, 13 weeks later a young kid emerged a United States Marine.

Heading into this, David wasn't sure he was ready to be the man he has to be, leaving behind family, friends and his fiancée. He is strong willed and this is what he wanted to do since he was 13 yrs old, he wanted to be a Marine, and be one for life. His passion for firearms and explosives, was scary for some of us but he always said "I KNOW WHAT IM DOING".

After getting to come home to spend time with his family for 2 weeks, he was sent off again. Camp Lejeune was the destination this time for his schooling and training. David was then sent to California, for desert training. For what you wonder, how about to be sent to Iraq. Yes, he got his orders, this 19 yr. old, recent graduate of high school got orders to "go fight for our country."

While on patrol, approx. two weeks after he arrived in Iraq, this young man is now fighting for his life because of a bomb exploding. David's injuries were critical, massive chest injuries. The Marine Corps could not give the family any other information until it was available. Two days after the accident his condition was improving, he was finally stable. The very next day this very strong young man was phoning home. To talk to his family, his fiancée letting them know he is alive and doing better, and if it wasn't for his jacket he would have been killed. Only one week after this massive trauma our hometown hero is coming home. Back to the United States. And not coming home alone, with him he is bring 2 metals,.combat field ribbon and THE PURPLE HEART! How can any one imagine... 9 months out of school 19 years old ,,and a story to tell about how he got his purple heart. Not only does he have a purple heart he has a Big heart. And a lot of people who love and care about him.

Our hometown hero is in good spirits and joking around, considering his injuries, and is getting better and stronger every day. All I can say about David is there is nothing that can hold him down, when he has his mind set on something. Every one that knows him knows it's the truth.

Good luck, get well, we love you David,
all your family and friends
by Stephanie Leachman, step-sister

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
--John Adams

The Second Annual America Thanks and Supports Her Troops Rally Hosted by the Veterans of the Vietnam War Post 75 Will be held 2 Oct 2004, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. At the Macungie Memorial Park at Main (Route 100) and Poplar streets in Macungie, PA
Free admission; all proceeds benefit the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO). The event features live entertainment including music, and military and veterans displays. Bring your lawn chairs and flags!
For more info call (484) 695-0929.

This just happened the week of August 23, 2004:
My oldest son, Nathan, who is a sergeant in the Air Force stationed in Kuwait, was prepping a jet to go on a bombing mission over Fallujah just two days ago. Nathan told the pilot, "My baby brother Joel is a Marine in Fallujah. Do your job well!" The pilot replied, "Sergeant, I will do the best job I can; AND, I will protect your brother!!" SALUTE!
J. Craig Wagner

We are looking for a few good men and women in the Princeton, New Jersey area to start a detachment of the Marine Corps League. If interested, please contact Mike Maita at or 732-232-5216. OO-RAH!
Matt Brzycki
(sergeant; 1975-79)

Hello as a former Cpl USMC. and a veteran of Viet Nam I have two incidents I would like to share. One I was grocery shopping in a NW city that is a well known place for aged hippies. On returning to my pickup with my packages, I noticed a ticket on my windshield. On pulling it out from under the windshield wiper. I found on it . Thank you for my freedom. I Still have this saved. I sat down cause of all the dust that had just gotten in my eyes.

Closer in time , a week ago I was in a Major discount store. Wearing a Marine Corps hat. As I checked out I held out my hand for the change, instead the young man took my hand and shook it and said Thank you for your service and my country D#mn dust gets in my eyes at the oddest times
Paul W. Upthegrove
Still proud Cpl of Marines

Sgt Grit,
Another short "Semper Fi" story. Our son, a LCpl (Ordie) stationed at Miramar was home on leave in July and we as proud parents love to go church with him in his dress blues. While taking communion our Pastor and his assistant do their duties by presenting the bread as "the body of Christ" and the wine as "the blood of Christ". As they both made their way around the altar repeating their respective phrases the "old salt" assistant held out the wine to my son and said "Semper Fi", my son softly replied, Oorah, sir, and downed the "blood of Christ". I was in tears by the time they got to me. If ever there was a place for a "Semper Fi", that was it!
Proud Marine Corps Dad
Tom Shepherd

About one year ago I decided to join the Corps and do something with my life. I had always wanted to be a Marine, even since I was a little kid I used to take my toy weapons and make a perimeter around my self and act like a Marine and watch Full Metal Jacket. I was in summer school with a buddy who had just got back from meps, he was telling me all about it. I already knew a lot about the corps and I figured I need to lose some weight to join. So that day when we got out of class we went up to see a recruiter, Sgt. Whittenmeyer and he made a hell of a lasting impression. After briefly talking with them I made up my mind that this is what I want to do I want to earn the title Marine. So I asked him what needed to be done. He told me. I weighed in at 325, and 5'10". I needed to be 190. I was up for the challenge. Nothing was gonna stop me. So that day I started the Atkins diet and worked out. My passion continued to grow as people told me I would never make it, I simply said f*-k-off. I worked my f-*king *ss off, in six months I made weight. It was a difficult less traveled road by most, but it was worth it and I haven't even made it to the island yet. I just want to set a motivating example to the people who need it. On our pool's annual field meet Gunny Kazanski presented me with a coin of commitment and dedication to a purpose, I carry that in my wallet and I will forever. If I had the choice to do it over I don't even need to think about it I would jump at the challenge head first. Also I just want to say f*-k-off to the people who told me I couldn't. I'm shipping out September 13th it's gonna be hard to leave the girl and the family but in the end I know the reward of Marine is going to be worth it. I would appreciate to see this posted on the site, if not, no big deal.
Thank you,
Poolee McKinney

Cpl. Jerry Barwick of G Co, 2nd Btn, 1st Marines, 1st Mar Div has been permanently reassigned to Heaven's duty station. He served in Vietnam 1968-1970. During this time he was twice wounded and was medically discharged Feb 10, 1970.
He will be missed greatly.
LCpl Newton
F Btry 2nd Btn 14th Marines 4th Mar Div

Here is a suggestion for your newsletter. Refer people to

It is a program sponsored by the VFW to provide prepaid phone cards for soldiers, sailors, & Marines (including those hospitalized) to call family & friends back home.
LCPL R. Fischer, '78-'82

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just finished reading you latest newsletter, actually it's the first one I've read all the way through. Guess I'll share my thoughts about the CORPS as well. This is my 1st time e-mailing you so here goes.

To begin w/....why did l join the Air Farce (not a type-o)? My six weeks in basic training was a six week slumber party. Oh we did march and run. Very little of the latter. Although we did learn how to march. Granted it was tough having to get up before the sun and having to sit through those boring classes was soooo draining. LOL! My son graduated from MCRD-SAN DIEGO 5 Dec 2003. Now those 13 weeks were military training as those of you have been there know. Excuse me while I brag just a little about my MARINE. During his 5th week of BC they were on a hump in the hills of Camp Pendleton when he noticed his ankle was hurting but didn't think anything of it. He did eventually go to his SR DI (who was an awesome guy) who at first advised him to put ice on it and guessed it...Motrin. Well, when it continued to hurt he then went to medical where they didn't X-ray it (which was a good thing in the long run) but again said take Motrin. So, he continued on the next 8 wks with an ankle that just wouldn't quit hurting and a thigh muscle that hurt and bronchitis. It also included him doing to Crucible, 60+ miles there. Well, when he came home for his extended leave before going to MCT we went to the ER in out area and had it X-rayed. Guess what...he had a broken ankle, plus the "recruit funk" with the gagging cough and throwing up you cough so hard was still a part of his daily life. But he took it like a MARINE and never complained. When he came home he still didn't have the feeling in his feet completely back and was telling me about the blisters he had had. As a mother it is hard to think that your young son (18) endured all that. But, he did what he had to do to EARN the title UNITED STATES MARINE. He was so terribly homesick and wanted to come home but he kept saying in his letters he wanted to come home a U.S. MARINE. He would do whatever it took to EARN that title. There are those in the MARINE FAMILY and those that are not. Those who are not just cannot understand what it means to carry that title. Think about this: in the basic training of the Army you are called and soldier, in the Air Force you are called an airman, in the Navy a sailor...but in the MARINES you cannot call yourself a MARINE until graduation is over. All the other titles are given, not EARNED. My car is USMC from front to back. My front license plate frame is the SEMPER FIDELIS on top and US MARINE CORPS on bottom, l have the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS sticker across the top of my front windshield, a Proud Parent of a US MARINE sticker on the upper L hand side of my rear windshield, and the rear license plate frame is MARINE MOM - US MARINE CORPS and the USMC car magnet that moves around. I also have the CORPS flag hanging on the front of my house along w/the US flag. I take my 2.5 mos old granddaughter out and sing the USMC theme to her while she stares at the flag and tell her she has to marry a MARINE. My fiance' comes from a MARINE family even though he isn't a MARINE and l had an uncle who was a MARINE (deceased).

When my son was home on leave the last time l made the mistake of introducing him as being "in the MARINES." Wrong!! He promptly corrected me..."Mom, I'm not in the MARINES...I'm a MARINE." So, now l say he's a MARINE!

One thing l wish l could do would be to go through boot camp just to do it. Guess I'm just that kind of person, l like to see if l can accomplish the toughest task. Guess loll never know. Next best thing would be to buy the workout DVD :)

Sorry this is so long but l wanted to share my story. Right now my son is still in training in New River, NC and will finish 17 NOV 2004. He is anxious to get started on his career. l can't express the pride l feel at what my son has accomplished. When he first told us he was going into the MARINES l thought OH NO! And because he was a minor his dad and l had to sign the papers, l'll never forget that day or the day l gave him over to someone else. But oh the pride l felt when l arrived at MCRD for his graduation. Those 2 days will always stand out in my mind.

Anyway, thank you for a place to brag about our MARINES and have others who understand.

PMM of PFC Mac, New River, NC
(home: Greater Cincinnati area)

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Understanding is not enough; we must do. Knowing and understanding in action make for honor. And honor is the heart of wisdom."
--Johann von Goethe

Sgt. Grit,
Just read the e-mail from Carol Blaise in the newsletter. I had the privilege and honor of knowing her husband Don. He was a member of the Southington Memorial Detachment of the Marine Corps League of which I am the Adjutant. I also met her daughter when she came home on leave after graduating from P. I. Sadly this was after Don reported for duty on the streets of Heaven. Don and I both served with the 6th Marines and we both served during the Cuban Crisis in the blockade. But, more then that, we were brother Marines. Carol, you may be living with civilians, but you have two more Marines in your family. All of us at the Detachment remember Don with pride and honor.
Just another Marine

"In some dim beginning, man created the institution of government as a convenience for himself. And, ever since that time, government has been doing its best to become an inconvenience."
--Ronald Reagan

Dear Sgt. Grit and Marine Corps Family,
First I would like to "Thank All for your service to this Great Country of Ours"! I am a Very Proud Parent of a Marine! Today my Son received his Sgt. Chevrons! He is four years in and re-uped for four more! I have a little story I would like to share with all if I may... Being the Proud Parent that I am, my car is decorated in Marine Flag, stickers, ribbons, American Flag, I even have a bobble head bulldog dressed in cami's on my dashboard. It is very plain to see by looking at my car that I am a Mother of a Marine and Proud to be! I was returning to my car the other day at the grocery store and parked next to me was a young woman and she asked is this your car, I replied yes, thinking that something was wrong, at that moment she got out of her car and handed me a note that she was just about to leave on my car... The note read "Thank your Son! God Bless your family & God Bless America! From A grateful citizen" My eyes weld up in tears, I Thanked her for her thoughtfulness and she put her hand on her Heart and said, " no... Thank You"! Today I place my hand on my Heart and Thank You All! God Bless and Thanks for letting me share my Pride!
Dori, Very Proud Marine Mom to Sgt. Chad :)

Perhaps the worst thing about party conventions is the rhetoric. Conventions lend themselves to pandering, as few politicians can resist the temptation to tell a national television audience how well they will run the country if elected. The problem is that government is not supposed to run the country -- we're supposed to be free."
--Ron Paul

Dear Sgt. Grit, Last night I said goodbye to my son for awhile. He deployed to Iraq today. He is PFC (LCPL on Sept 1st) Jordan Beard of the 1 FSSG H/S BN, Comm Co., Camp Pendleton, CA. This is his first deployment (and mine!). I'm very proud of him and I love him more than I can possibly put into words. I know he will do much better than I will! Please keep him and all the others in your thoughts and prayers.
A Proud Marine Mom,
Linda Beard

HM1 Byars
I agree with you entirely! One big at-a-boy on your record. Do not worry about your six, I'll watch that for you.
HMCM USN (retired) Daniel Francis, FMF, ESWS, IDC The best years of my career were with the Marines!
P. S. I have a son in the Marines now and if you think Marines are fanatic try picking on one of Doc's Marines!
End of transmission

Dear Sgt. Grit
I have been reading your news letter for the past few months. They make me even more proud of my son and Country. Our son graduated from high school May 30th and turned 18 just a week prior to that and then he left for San Diego 20 days later. It was the hardest thing that I have been through! But I am so very proud! He could have gone to college on scholarships but no, he already had his mind made up. I have so much respect for the Marines. I was reading a letter from Suzanne Brown. Her son is in San Diego also and graduating on the same date. He sounds like an awesome young man!
And anyone who makes the comparison of their son/daughter going off to college.....they have no idea! There is no comparison! I just wanted to say "Thank you" to all of those Marines and their families
Leslie Baker

Dear Sgt. Grit:
Thank you once again for forwarding my message to Jim Underwood. Jim has responded and was indeed the Marine best buddy I was looking for. After 45 years you can just imagine the happiness we both feel to be "found" & connected again. I can't thank you enough for your help and service to us forever Marines.
Semper Fi!
Tom Schwarz

"Freedom is indivisible -- there is no 's' on the end of it. You can erode freedom, diminish it, but you cannot divide it and choose to keep 'some freedoms' while giving up others."
--Ronald Reagan

To Suzanne Brown, I would like to suggest she read, Keeping Faith by Frank and John Schaeffer. Authors are father and Marine son. I think right up your alley and an enjoyable read for all to love their Marine.

I sure was thinking about 1st Lt. Gerald Merna three bereavement duty stories this week, when that poor father set himself and the Marine van a blaze upon learning of his son's ultimate sacrifice.
Mrs. Doc, the booklady

"Weasel words from mollycoddles will never do when the day demands prophetic clarity from great hearts. Manly men must emerge for this hour of trial."
--Theodore Roosevelt

VMF-211/VMA-211 (WAKE ISLAND AVENGERS) are having a reunion in OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS in October. For details PLEASE contact ...

RICHARD DOWNS (860)745-0144 or BILL BURGETT (913) 341-7083


"There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing -- and sometimes be able to succeed."
--Calvin Coolidge

Indigo Films is proud to announce the premiere of our documentary for THE HISTORY CHANNEL, "The Battle of Tripoli," on Sunday September 19th at 8:00 pm ET / PT.

This is in response to Suzanne Browns Letter from last Newsletter.

My only comment is "Congratulations" to the parents who raised that Soon to be Marine. I see too many "privileged" youth who do not feel that serving this country is "their" responsibility; it is for someone else to do. Apparently you taught him values that made him understand that being part of a free society comes at a price, and it is every able bodied person's duty to lend a hand in that effort. You have done your job well.

He is about to have something that only a select few have. He will have it for the rest of his life, and no one can take it away.

It will serve him in the future as nothing else can, no amount of schooling, training or life experience can match it.

He will call on it often, live it daily, remember if fondly, and proudly. It will guide him the rest of his life. You gave him this opportunity, he is now earning it.

He will be a Marine.
Semper Fi,
Rick (Wile E.) Hessler, PE
Sgt of Marines 72-76
Operation Frequent Wind – RVN 75

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight -- it's the size of the fight in the dog."
--Dwight Eisenhower

I would like to give my thanks to every marine out there for your courage, sacrifice and your genuine love and dedication to our wonderful country! As a marine wife, I can tell you that it is the toughest job in the corps, but without a doubt the most important job I've ever had. We give our marines the love, support and encouragement that they need when they are so far away from home. My husband joined right after Sept.11th and although I was terrified, I've never been more proud. The marine corps has changed our lives in so many ways that I will be forever grateful. He is a better person and a wonderful husband because of the corps, and because of that I strive to be a better person. His manners are incredible and he treats everyone with the utmost respect. He went in to boot camp a boy and came out a man, a man that I am proud to know and be married to. As a proud wife, my car is slathered with USMC stickers and a SEMPER FI vanity plate. There Isn't one day that goes by that I don't get a honk or a salute when I'm driving. And I cant tell you how many people tell me to say "thank you" to my husband, it fills my heart with so much pride. But what really amazes me is when people say "thank you" to me! I use to ask myself "what did I do"? Now I know! As families of marines, as AMERICANS, we are the driving force behind the corps. We are what you are out there fighting so hard for. We are the faces in the pictures that you carry in to battle and it is our safety and the future of this country that you do what you do and that makes you among the most bravest and most respected men and women in this country. Thank you to all of you who sacrifice so much to protect us. My heart goes out to all who have lost a loved one, no one has sacrificed more than you and your families are always in my prayers.
proud USMC wife.

"Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America."
--James Madison

Sgt. Grit,
Thanks for the shipment of great "stuff". I wanted to share a recent experience with my new son-in-law of only a few days. This hard charging Marine was home on leave for 5 days before returning to Camp Pendleton to prepare for deployment to Iraq. He is a reservist and he, along with my neighbor across the street and my son's best friend have all been activated for deployment. They have worked them hard, harder than they worked this old salt before sending me to Vietnam. This fine young man and my daughter decided they would get married while he was home. Last minute call with only 3 weeks to prepare for the blessed event. And what a blessed event it was. With a small group of 33 people, two families merged as one "Marine" family as seamlessly as anything I've ever seen. On his last day home they stopped by the house and my new son-in-law presented me with an NCO sword which mounts on a plaque. On it's face are several engraved plates. The first reads "The ties that bind us, brothers in arms." The others list each of my brothers, who have left to guard heavens gates, along with their ranks, my own name and rank and his. Cpl James W. Brooks reminds me of who I was, and still am in my heart, although time and age have changed the body but not the mind and spirit. He's a good man, which is the best that can be said of a good Marine and we share not only the love of my daughter and her children but the love of our Corps. We pray for his, and all our service men and women's safe return.
Semper Fi,
Tom Gillespie
Hotel Co. RVN 70-71, 2nd Bat. 1st Mar.

"Nothing leads more surely to disaster than that a military plan should be pursued with crippled steps and in a lukewarm spirit in the face of continual nagging within the executive circle. United ought not to mean that a number of gentlemen are willing to sit together on condition either that the evil day of decision is postponed, or that not more than a half-decision should be provisionally adopted. Even in politics such methods are unhealthy. In war they are a crime."
--Winston Churchill

Sgt Grit,
I wanted to share with you an act by some Marines that makes me proud to be a Marine. My wife's sister's fiancée was a young Army 1stLt by the name of Robert Mylarski, who was killed in Vietnam in November of 1968. He was buried in Connecticut and the American flag covering his casket was given to his mother. Recently his mother died and Bobby's sister was cleaning out her mothers house when she came across the flag. His sister had been very young when Bobby had died and she had no real sentimental attachment to the flag so she asked my wife's sister if she someone in our family would like to have it. My wife being part of the Marine Corps family for over twenty years, immediately spoke up saying she would take it. When we received the flag, it was in two plastic garbage bags tied together with twine. Upon inspecting it, it was apparent the flag had been forgotten and neglected.

My wife turned to the people she knew she could depend on, the local Marine Corps recruiters in Huntsville Alabama. She knew the flag would be treated with the respect and reverence this particular flag deserved and she was right on the money. We had thought the flag would have to be destroyed because of the obvious neglect. Every Marine at the station immediately stepped outside, stretched it out and shook it. To the relief of my wife it was no where as bad as it first appeared. The Marines then proceeded to re-fold and replace the spent shells in the flag. We now have this flag in a glass case in our home, where it will remain in remembrance of a fallen soldier, not a Marine but a brother warrior, rightly honored.

John Seaman
GySgt, USMC Ret.

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
--John Adams

As usual. enjoyed all the items presented in the newsletter. Just wanted to pass something along. As Chaplin of the Free State Marine Corps League Detachment in Bowie, Md, I participate in our Department of Maryland's formal program of "Marines Helping Marines". One of our functions is to visit the wounded Iraq and Afghanistan Marines at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, in addition to raising funds to help these Marines and their families.

Although all of the Marines we have visited, and there have been many, are near and dear to our heart, there is one in particular. He is Gunny Sergeant Sarget (yes, that's his name) who suffered a sever head injury when a piece of shrapnel entered his right cheek and exited thru the top left of his skull, resulting in the loss of much of his left brain and skull. As miraculous as it may sound, he does communicated with his wife and others. Perhaps you could mention this in your next newsletter and solicit some email and/or letters of Well Wishes and encouragement to Gunny Sgt. Sargent. I would be more than willing to forward such items to the Gunny at our future visits.

Tony Begenwald, CPL, USMC, Korea War Era
Chaplin, Free State MCL Detachment
3404 Medina Lane
Bowie, MD 20715
301-906-4479 (Cell)

Funny, though only 39, and been in one campaign actively ( Beirut ), Had just been relieved from gaurd duty 30 mins later while in shower all hell breaks loose.

Anyhow, the point is I can recall friends I had when younger and a better relationship then , with them, then I do society now. Can call on them to help resolve a problem for family members that still live there.

Anyhow my point is, once you've been to Parris Island you never return the same, you can focus, sharper imagery recall, and leery of all, as you are taught. It makes you more attentive to surroundings besides adding to confidence and knowledge of knowing what you can accomplish.

My point, and I apologize for rambling, as you know who you served with, and better rapport with fellow service people when met then you do with civilian's. Maybe it's me, but that's my view and take on all of it, in the past 20 years. Semper Fi
William Donohue

Re Sgt. Wallens comment in Newsltr#78:
I have had the same thoughts many times. Khe San and indeed the whole Vietnam fracas ended the same way. We lost so many lives holding our ground, only to be told after winning the battles to pull back and let them have it.Falluja, Ramadi,Najaf and Sadr city are no exceptions. This is what happens when politicians and state dept. flunkies infiltrate the Pentagon/Defense Dept.How sad it is when we allow our legislators to impose their bleeding-heart influence on our military leadership.Our Marines can and will always get the job done, by "advance by fire and maneuver and overwhelming fire superiority", but get the politicos out of the way and let them do what they came there to do.Semper Fi.
Msgt B.R. Smith USMC Retired

Hello all,
Well my son is on his way home from Iraq. I Praise the Lord for all but especially for keeping him safe. My first husband was a Marine, he died a Marine and his memory lives on. Our son is now doing the job his father did and I am so very proud. I earned the privilege to use the Marine Corps Terminology. Being a wife of a Marine was a tough job, but believe me and I know there are plenty out there that will agree with me that the toughest job in the Corps is being a Mom of a Marine. I loved my husband and still do, but the feelings of my first born going through this war and the tough boot camp I know he went through is far more difficult than when his father did it. That is what makes me know that a Marine Mom is the toughest job in the Corps. We all love our Marines and we all will deal with all the heartaches of separation because the PRIDE makes it all worth it. My son had an education he was EMT Certified and was a professional photographer but all the pay in the world was not what he wanted, he said to me on July 17,2003, which was family day at MCRD, mom the pride I feel wearing this uniform is far more important than making money. My eyes teared so bad as I knew I had one of the Few the Proud, A Marine. These tears don't allow me to see my screen very well. I know his father is proud too. I wish I would have been able to see them together in uniform but God had other plans. Well enough bawling... I would like to thank first of all SGT. GRIT for allowing us to have this newsletter to get things out. And second to thank all our military men and women in all branches as they all have their jobs to do, WE (MARINES) Just do it better...SORRY had to say that.. hope it put a smile on your face..GOD BLESS YOU ALL and Lord I pray that you bring our loved ones home safely and grant peace in this world.
Very Proud Marine Mom of LCpl. Gonzales (homeward bound from Iraq) Echo Btry 2/11
Very Proud Former Wife of Cpl. Gonzales (deceased Veteran USMC) Hotel Btry 3/11

my husband and i got to witness an amazing event this past labor day weekend. we had gone to a 'free enterprise day' and one of the speakers was dave roever. well that was a treat, but what he did was very special. he told us stories for a while and then he asked all the viet nam veterans to come down in front of the stage. well there wasn't a dry eye by the time the two hundred or so files down there(we were in the savvis center in st louis-- pretty big place!!)

any way he let us give them a standing ovation for like 8 minutes (probably not enough) and then he had them all come up on the actual stage. then he instructed us to tell them "welcome home" which we did with great gusto i might add. i wanted anyone who hadn't been thanked to read and partake.

these were all business owners too i might add...just don't seem to fit into that stereotype the media would like us to believe..... thank you dave for letting us thank these wonderful warriors. i was born in 1965. couldn't have done it then but sure enjoyed (loudly !!) doing it now.

God Bless our President God Bless our troops and God Bless America (and Sgt Grit for mending souls) the prayer warrior wife.
carry on you excellent warriors!!!!

I am a widow of a Marine that fought in the WW2.He was proud to be a Marine as I was proud of him too. Many days we relived those gloomy days spent fighting so the people back home could be safe. December12,2002 his heart gave out and he went on to his eternal maker but his last days reflected that he had been in the United States Marines and was proud of it . Sadly missed by his friends and especially me because I was happy to be his wife
Berniece Fullenwider.

hey sgt. grit! well i just figured this being the last time i would get to email anything for awhile i would email you. i leave for boot camp in two days and I'm very excited about it. a lot of my friends think im crazy but who cares. i want to earn my right to be called Marine just like so many (yet so few) others have done. your newsletter has encouraged me for the past year that i have been in the DEP, mainly because i love reading/listening to marine corps stories.
so to all you Marines out there:
and im going to bust my butt to earn my Eagle Globe and Anchor!
Geoffrey Dudley, Recruit USMC 2004

You've printed letters from me about the Fallen Marine Program we of the Marine Corps League have before. I received this reply to a condolence card I mail to the family of L/Cpl Joseph L. Nice,19, KIA 8/04/4. This is one of the rewards you get when we Marines tell the families of those Marines who answer their last roll call, we Marines care. It brings joy to my heart when I scan the dozens of web pages other Marine Organization or individuals have on the internet, that support our Marine in the Giant Sand Pit. Don't stop until their home or out of Harms Way. Paul...

Dear Paul R. Renfro, Chaplain, I am so happy the Marines had a chance to have my son for they would not have been so crazy without him, in their unit if he was not there. I am also glad to know that there is support out there, in time of need for family's when they are on the road to recovery. I know that if it wasn't for the Marine Family I would not be able to continue in life as L/Cpl Nice would want me to, so let me thank you for your support and prayers that you have sent my way, signed Marilyn nice and Family
Paul R. Renfro, Chaplain, McLemore Detachment #324, Houston, Texas

"Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them."
Dwight David Eisenhower, 1963

Dear Sgt Grit,
The Elks Lodge my husband belongs to recently hosted a Bar-b-que at a Veterans home not far from us. Since we are also both Veterans, these social gatherings are my favorite Elks Lodge functions.

Like a lot of us, the Veterans want someone to listen to them. They have first hand knowledge of battles & attacks that most people only know about from the movies. I love the stories I hear, but I notice that as time moves on, more & more of them do not speak much or get around too good.

I was standing behind the buffet table & a tall, thin, woman with beautiful pure white hair, came up to the table. She was using a walker, & was showing people two black & white photos of herself in uniform from WW2. She said " I want you to know I can still fit in to those uniforms!". From where I was, I couldn't see the photo, nor could I see her fully decorated walker, or, I wouldn't have asked my question.." what branch of service were you in ?"

She stood straight up, let go of her walker and told us in a loud voice, " I am a MARINE! " As she bent over, grabbing her walker again, & moved away, I saw all the "SEMPER FI" stickers, Flags, Marine Emblems she so proudly had displayed. With tears in my eyes & hardly able to speak, I said, " You certainly ARE!" There's so much pride & dignity there, I was humbled once again. I am one thankful American!
Proud Marine Mother
Barbara Scott

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
George Orwell, 1945

A great email from a Navy doctor preparing to leave Iraq and return to Camp Pendleton, UPI & AP could not have written a better story. Jim

Greetings all from hot, hot, hot Iraq, We are short indeed...although not quite as short as we had originally thought...our flight home has been posted and is showing up 3 days later than planned. The good news is that we leave in the middle of the night and arrive (all admin complete, including turning our weapons into the armory) ! around dinnertime at Pendleton on the same day we leave (11 hrs time difference). The other good news is it appears we've got commercial contract air carriers taking us we don't have to worry about sleeping on the cold steel deck of an Air Force C-17.

So...we turned over authority of the surgical company last week to our replacements, who had a serious trial by fire here in multiple ways, including multiple traumas, surgeries, increased risk to their personal safety, power outages, water outages, and camel spiders in the hospital...all in their first 4 days. But a few days ago, we heard the helicopters coming and knew they were dealing with multiple traumas, several of which were going to the OR...and we sat in our barracks and waited for them to call us if they needed us. They never did. Last week was the ceremony to mark the official end of our role here. Now we just wait.

As the days move very slowly by, just! waiting, I decided that one of the things I should work on for my own closure and therapeutic a list. The list would be a comparison: "Things That Were Good" about Iraq and being deployed with the Marines as one of the providers in a surgical company, and "Things That Were Not Good." Of course, it's quite obvious that this list will be very lopsided. But I thought I would do it anyway, hoping that somehow the trauma, the fear, the grief, the laughter, the pride and the patriotism that have marked this long seven months for me will begin to make sense, through my writing. Interestingly, it sort of turned into a poem. To be expected, I guess.

Most of all it's just therapy, and by now I should be relatively good at that. Hard to do for yourself, though.

So here reverse order of importance...

Things That Were Good

Sunset ov! er the desert...almost always orange Sunrise over the desert...almost always red The childlike excitement of having fresh fruit at dinner after going weeks without it

Being allowed to be the kind of clinician I know I can be, and want to be, with no limits placed and no doubts expressed

But most of all, The United States Marines, our patients... Walking, every day, and having literally every single person who passes by say "Hoorah, Ma'am..." Having them tell us, one after the other, through blinding pain or morphine-induced euphoria..."When can I get out of here? I just want to get back to my unit..." Meeting a young Sergeant, who had lost an eye in an explosion...he asked his surgeon if he could open the other one...when he did, he sat up and looked at the young Marines from his fire team who were being treated for superficial shrapnel wounds in the next room...he smiled, laid back down, and said, "I only have one good eye, Doc! , but I can see that my Marines are OK." And of course, meeting the one who threw himself on a grenade to save the men at his side...who will likely be the first Medal of Honor recipient in over 11 years...

My friends...some of them will be lifelong in a way that is indescribable My patients...some of them had courage unlike anything I've ever experienced before My comrades, Alpha Surgical Company...some of the things witnessed will traumatize them forever, but still they provided outstanding care to these Marines, day in and day out, sometimes for days at a time with no break, for 7 endless months

And last, but not least... Holding the hand of that dying Marine

Things That Were Not Good

Terrifying camel spiders, poisonous scorpions, flapping bats in the darkness, howling, territorial wild dogs, flies that insisted on landing on our faces, giant, looming mosquitoes, invisible sand flies that carry leischmaniasis

132 degrees Wearing long sl! eeves, full pants and combat boots in 132 degrees Random and totally predictable power outages that led to sweating throughout the night Sweating in places I didn't know I could wrists, and ears

The roar of helicopters overhead The resounding thud of exploding artillery in the distance The popping of gunfire... Not knowing if any of the above sounds is a good thing, or bad thing The siren, and the inevitable "big voice" yelling at us to take cover... Not knowing if that siren was on someone's DVD or if the big voice would soon follow

The cracking sound of giant artillery rounds splitting open against rock and dirt The rumble of the ground... The shattering of the windows... Hiding under flak jackets and kevlar helmets, away from the broken windows, waiting to be told we can come to the treat the ones who were not so lucky...

Watching the helicopter with the big red cross on the side landing at our pad Worse...watching Marine helicopters filled with patients landing at our pad...because we usually did not realize they were coming...

Ushering a sobbing Marine Colonel away from the trauma bay while several of his Marines bled and cried out in pain inside Meeting that 21-year-old Marine with three Purple Hearts...and listening to him weep because he felt ashamed of being afraid to go back Telling a room full of stunned Marines in blood-soaked uniforms that their comrade, that they had tried to save, had just died of his wounds Trying, as if in total futility, to do anything I could, to ease the trauma of group after group...that suffered loss after loss, grief after inconsolable grief...

Washing blood off the boots of one of our young nurses while she told me about the one who bled out in the trauma bay...and then the one who she had to tell, when he pleaded for the truth, that his best friend didn't make it... Listening to another of our nurses tell of the Marine who came in talking, telling her his name...about how she pleaded with him not to give up, told him that she was there for him...about how she could see his eyes go dull when he couldn't fight any longer...

And last, but not least...
Holding the hand of that dying Marine

Dear Sgt. Grit and Marine Corps Family, First I would like to "Thank All for your service to this Great Country of Ours"! I am a Very Proud Parent of a Marine! Today my Son received his Sgt. Chevrons! He is four years in and re-upped for four more! I have a little story I would like to share with all if I may... Being the Proud Parent that I am, my car is decorated in Marine Flag, stickers, ribbons, American Flag, I even have a bobble head bulldog dressed in cami's on my dashboard. It is very plain to see by looking at my car that I am a Mother of a Marine and Proud to be! I was returning to my car the other day at the grocery store and parked next to me was a young woman and she asked is this your car, I replied yes, thinking that something was wrong, at that moment she got out of her car and handed me a note that she was just about to leave on my car... The note read "Thank your Son! God Bless your family & God Bless America! >From A grateful citizen" My eyes weld up in tears, I Thanked her for her thoughtfulness and she put her hand on her Heart and said, " no... Thank You"! Today I place my hand on my Heart and Thank You All! God Bless and Thanks for letting me share my Pride!
Dori, Very Proud Marine Mom to Sgt. Chad, Air Wing Support Hawaii

Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Hit

August 28th
I flew into Atlanta yesterday with a very special passenger. As we left the airport, the pilot welcomed Major Hardy, and explained that he was accompanying his fallen cousin, Lt. Matt Stovall, home from Iraq for his trip home to Mississippi. My hands began to shake and my heart was racing with emotion. I was in one of the worst seats on the plane and that had been the only thought on my mind until this announcement.( It was that dreaded seat up against the galley that prevents you from leaning back very far and forces you to sit next to the stewardess in the jump seat!) The next thought that I had was that no one from first class had offered their seat to Major Hardy and I commented on that to the stewardess, who still had tears in her eyes from watching them load Lt. Stovall's casket onto the plane. She agreed and then we talked about having little boys at home and