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I just wanted to say "Welcome Home From Afghanistan
To America's Battalion, 3rd Bn 3rd Marines!"
Thank You and Semper Fi!

From a Proud Marine Wife : )
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
June 2005

New AmericanCourage Format at 100 Issues

Thank you to our loyal readers who have been with us from the beginning. This is our 100th AmericanCourage newsletter, which was started in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and to honor all those who have given their lives in service to our great Country.

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Happy Independence Day!
Sgt Grit

"We do not admire a man of timid peace." --Theodore Roosevelt

Sgt. Grit,

First, let me start off by telling you I am the proud wife of a Marine who is currently serving in Iraq.

I just wanted to share with you an interesting encounter I had, one that really illustrates the difference between he Mindset of a Marine and...well... pretty much everybody else.

I was with a friend at her daughter's art show at a local elementary school and as we walked the halls looking at all of the wonderful pieces that each of the students created we bumped into one of the art teachers as she was existing her room. She began talking to us about the students' work and how well the all did and as she went on I noticed a picture on the desk behind her. It was a picture of a young man in the middle of a desert (the same desert I recognized from many of my own pictures at home). So I asked her about it. She explained that the man in the picture was her son and that he was in Iraq serving with the Army National Guard and she became very emotional (this was his first time over). I sympathized with her and told her that my husband was currently in Iraq as well. Then she said something that I'll never forget.

She said, "Yeah, but my son's in the Army National Guard, he's not supposed to be over there."

This manor of thinking really blew my mind. You would never hear such a comment come from the mouth of a Marine or his family no matter what he circumstance. My Marine and I got married upon his return from Iraq the first time. We had only 6 months together between deployments and I remember being stopped by one of the Majors on base during the last few weeks before the second deployment. He asked if I was ready to do this again. I'm relatively new to the whole military life style, but none the less my response was "I knew what the job was before I signed up for it, sir. I'll be here when he gets back."

We celebrate our 1st Anniversary Aug. 7th of this year 2 months before hand the unit he serves with is projected to come back home. As much as I would like to have him home on that day, I know that he loves his job and that he is exactly where he's supposed to be.

I would like to say Thank You to all our brothers and sisters serving in our armed forces, with an extra-special Thanks to our Marines who not only know what the job is when they sign up for it, but who willing Live and Breathe Every Moment of it.

God Bless,
Jennifer Heinrichs
Proud wife of Cpl Heinrichs
HMLA 775 Det. A

I just received a recent order from you online store. Included in the order was two "New Item" bumper stickers- "SO MANY TERRORIST, SO LITTLE TIME" and "Some People Just Need Killing, That's Why We Have The Marines. I have always been a fan of your bumper stickers and have proudly displayed them on my pick up truck for years. I liked the two new ones but was a little apprehensive at first...should I or shouldn't I. What would the wife say, or the neighbors? I mean, in this day of 'political correctness', I must admit...the message on these two could be perceived as offensive to some. Well.....I ask myself, "What would an ol Marine do?" So I put them on. My first trip out of the neighborhood was an experience! Horns honking, hands waving, and even a few 'thumbs up'. I don't know what I was ever worried about....after all, this is Texas! 3 out of 4 people are licensed to carry a pistol. Why not show what I really think? Thanks for the great bumper stickers, Sgt. Grit. Carry on!

Semper Fi, J.T. Anderson,
Cpl. USMC, '71-'73 and Proud Father of Sgt. Clay Anderson,
Scout/Sniper, Wpns. Co. 1/5 Marines currently on his 3rd
deployment in Ramadi, Iraq

Dear SGT Grit,
In mid-May I made a return visit to Vietnam, with two of my buddies from the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, John Drillot and Mike Myers. We returned to visit some of the places we'd been 36 years earlier. We had spent the majority of our time in-country in '68 - '69, operating in I Corps in the area a little north of Qui Nhon to the area around Danang. At the time, the 1st Marine Division was responsible for operational control of all of I Corps.

Normally the way it worked was they would send the Marines and U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division into the areas that were the hottest and they'd send us in to patrol the areas they just left. We worked closely with the Marines and much of the time our close air support was provided by Marine Corps aircraft.

For the past 5 or 6 years I wanted to return to Vietnam. I spend a lot of time on the internet and had read many stories about returning G.I.'s and Marines and the positive, cathartic effect seeing the country in peace had on them. During most of this time, John expressed no interest whatsoever in returning. I didn't realize it, but Mike was even less interested.

But last March, John called me up and said, "We're going. Do you want to go? After years of talking about it, there was only one answer I could give, "Yes!"

After years of trying to make sense of the Vietnam War or as the Vietnamese call it, The American War, I guess I was resigned to the fact that the whole thing was a colossal waste of lives, money and materiel. This trip would prove that belief to be totally and completely false.

We started in Saigon, flew to Cam Ranh Bay and drove to Danang, stopping along the way in Nha Trang, Quang Ngai City and Danang. It brought back few bad memories, except seeing the some areas of the country such as the area around the Batangan Peninsula, where we always ran into trouble. The country was even more beautiful than I remembered it and it was nice to see it without a war going on. We saw almost no trace of the American bases and saw no military (even Vietnamese) except for a few at Ho Chi Minh's birthday celebration. There's construction everywhere and the place looked prosperous and the people appeared happy.

I took some toys for the kids we saw along the way and they smiled and cheered us up just like they did during the war. Back then, we rarely saw anybody of military age. The men were either VC or in hiding and the women were kept hidden so nobody would take advantage of them. On this trip we saw all kinds of people of this age group, all smiling, all eager to try out their English. For the most part they all seemed happy to see us. In fact, everywhere we went we saw smiles. Even the middle aged and older people smiled at us. Many came up to us and thanked us for serving in Vietnam. It's funny. More Vietnamese thanked us in nine days than everyone in America has thanked us in more than 36 years. This did not go unnoticed.

On the road to Danang our translator said, "the Communists liberated Vietnam, but the Americans liberated our minds." Communism in Vietnam is toast. Capitalism has taken over the South and is moving North rapidly. The Vietnamese have come to the realization that Communism is not a system that works. I think so many thanked us because they now understand the sacrifices many American made so they can live a better life, a life they are seeing unfold for them now. I was very happy to see this beautiful country and people at peace. But the most profound experience of the entire trip was realizing that we accomplished our mission, that the 58,000 plus Americans who died there and the hundreds of thousands more who suffered physical and psychological wounds did not do it in vain. We can all be assured that we made a difference. We really made a difference.

Carl W. Nord
Specialist 4th Class, Retired

To Larry Paige,
Muster every relative and friend you have and get your butts to MCRD San Diego for you son's graduation. Get ready for the best weekend of your life and take lots of tissue.
Tom Shepherd
Proud Marine Dad

Thanks for the reminder. In difficult times we need to focus on the sacrifices of those who went before. We need to focus on the responsibility we have to maintain the blessings we sometimes take for granted.

Sgt grit
This is me my name is mathew molinder I am deaf.......I never understand why my son, Chad m molinder join marines ...I have also learned awful a lot and I never understand what military is I was angry he and I talked each other he information me a lot he want me to understand he serve his country ...he got a lot promotion and leadership he is so smart guy..he proud so much influence my life become proud of my son and country I learn history more son, Chad will deployed to Iraq this sept 1 and gone for 8 mo son Chad marines corps in san diego.......I am excite this july 20 I fly there to spent with him alone and I know my wife close him more than before he finally mature made our life easy I had a lot faith right now Also my son in law zach r waggoner is air force air traffic control and right now he is in s Korea for an year and my daughter anna mive back t live with us for 13 mo after that she will join with him I learn to support them Proud of dad us marines and Mathew molinder --mmolinder

I just received my Summer 2005 Catalog in today's mail and I was more than eager to look at the new items at affordable prices for anyone's budget. Then I came across "GRIT'S SECRET" I sincerely believe a salute from all veterans should go out to the lovely women in Sgt Grit's catalog! Ladies, I salute you for reminding me that military wives are the most lovely women of America's Armed Forces and women everywhere.
Thank you, Scott "Sgt" Beal, USMC 1982-1991.

Several recent events have left a lasting impression on me-Last night Rebecca & I went to our favorite Indian Restaurant before going to visit a hospitalized friend-Above The restaurant are various Military Recruiting Offices-Off to the side of the parking lot was a "chinning bar" for "pullups"-Standing in 99 degree Dallas Temperatures were long line of 50 potential US Marine Recruits including at least 10 women trying to do the required 50 pull-ups for further consideration-You should have heard them "rooting" each other on to success-It stirred a lot of memories and made me realize that our young people today are no less willing to fight for freedom than their "forefathers"- Then on the nightly news I see where a 23 year old Female Reserve Army Sgt. From Franklin ,Kentucky named Hester along with three of her fellow squad members are awarded the Silver Star for heroism in defending a vital convoy route -I am certain she would much rather be home in Franklin, Kentucky being the manager of the shoe store she had to leave when her Reserve Unit was activated-She is the first female recipient of The Silver Star Since WW2-Kudos To You Sgt. Hester and The Rest Of Your Heroic Squad-We can all rest peacefully at nite because of brave, dedicated young Americans like these-We continue to raise new generations who know how to "win the fight"...God Bless America-R/R

Sgt Grit,

My wife, Debbie, USMC 1989-1993, is currently serving in Iraq as a contractor for the U.S. Marines. Although, no longer active duty, she has been proudly serving side by side with the Marines since 1993 as an Aviation Supply Analyst. Her devotion to the Marine Corps has led to her first deployment in support of MAG-26, ACEMNF, in Al Asad Iraq. I myself am a retired Msgt and I am very proud of her. Although not in a "Combat Zone" she is probably as close or closer than I care to imagine.

This web site was an idea of mine to get photos and letters to her a little more quickly. and is working fairly well, although she can't download the video to watch it because of internet issues over there.

I am proud of her and want everyone to know it.

Semper Fi
Jared M. Wait
MSgt Retired

As a former Marine Corps JROTC Instructor, for 17 years, we had the opportunity to participate in the DEVIL PUPS program, here in Nevada. Nevada was allocated 17 entrants (15 male & 2 female) to participate. We worked in conjunction with the local Marine Corps League Detachments in addition with the other ROTC programs in the local High Schools to screen those wanting to participate. I can't say enough good things about the program and results achieved by the participants, except that those that returned from the camp were highly motivated, team oriented and some of the most outstanding young people from the community. If any parents/friends out there have interest in such a venture for their children, may I suggest that they contact the local Marine Corps League, local High School ROTC programs, local Marine Corps Recruiter for further information. Additionally, some of the Marine Corps League Detachments sponsor the Young Marines program which is for the "not yet High School" age individuals..Both programs are well worth checking out, in your local areas..Semper Fi.

MGySgt R. A. Swank, USMC(Ret.)


First, let me say that I am so very proud of you and your Marine son. The next time you talk to him, please tell him his older, much older, brother thanks him for his service to his country and Corps.

Now, to what you could have said to that "friend" who was against the war, the President and our military. I've tried to argue with this type of person in the past. It won't work. They are to use of being stupid and will always "win" because they have so much experience at being stupid.

What I now do and say, with a big smile, is: "Thank you". This usually confuses them. For those that have the presence of mind to ask me why I am thanking them, I say because it validates my life and the lives of all who have so willing and proudly served this country in the military. Again this will confuse them. So I continue: Because of all that our military in general and the Marine Corps in particular has done for this country over the past couple of hundred years you have the freedom and right to be as stupid as you so choose without the fear of being arrested. I then once again smile and thank them, then just walk away. Believe me they won't get it.

So, MOM, be as proud of your great son as possible. Every day think of him and all his brothers and sisters and say a little prayer.

Semper Fi,
Stu, call sign "Polack"
Major USMC(Ret)

Is America, the country that produced the Declaration of Independence, becoming a nation of dependents? Specifically, are we now a nation of people tethered to government, a society that has abandoned a proud and grand tradition of self-reliance and rugged individualism?" --Rebecca Hagelin

US Marine Families Landing in Kansas City for National Conference

The Few, the Proud, the US Marine Corps families will be gathering in Kansas City this summer for the National Marine Parents' Conference July 29-31. The event will be held at the Hilton Airport Hotel. The "United in Pride" event will bring together Marine families from all areas of the country to educate, encourage and support each other.

Being a United States Marine is hard. Some say that being a parent or spouse of a Marine is harder still. As our Marines endure weeks of the legendary rigors of USMC boot camp, parents endure a different kind of test. When the first days of worry and minimal contact finally give way to extreme pride at graduation, it is but a small breather on the way to the continuing challenges of military service. Whether our Marine is at home, abroad or one of our Fallen Heroes, life in the Corps is very much a family affair.

For those on the home front whose lives are intimately linked to a son, daughter, spouse or friend who is in harm's way, support is priceless. Marine families support each other just as our Marines support their fellow Marines. All Marine families are encouraged to attend this weekend. Last year's attendees represented almost 40 states.

Pattie Cox, of Mequon, Wisconsin, ( whose son is currently serving in the Corps, reflected on last year's conference at the close of the event. "it meant the world to me to be with everyone this weekend. The 'Band of Moms and Dads' in the Corps feels as strong as the 'Band of Brothers' - even though Shakespeare didn't choose to write about us. I know I can rely on any one of you if I need to, even if we barely know each other. As Frank Schaeffer so eloquently reminded us; the kids volunteered, but we were drafted. Coming back to the real world is strange after being in a place where patriotism is not a four-letter word."

Planned activities include a golf outing, tour of Kansas City, welcome reception, a full day of workshops and exhibits, the "United in Pride" banquet and Sunday morning worship service. The banquet keynote speaker will be author and Marine parent Frank Schaeffer. (Keeping Faith, Faith of our Sons, Voices from the Front) Also speaking, Michael Phillips the Wall Street Journal reporter who was imbedded with the 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Unit and author of the best seller The Gift of Valor.

In conjunction with the conference the: Kansas City Cares: Military Outreach Drive will be held Saturday July 30. Items for care packages and quilt squares for fallen military families are requested and can be dropped off at the Hilton Airport Hotel.

For more information, please visit our website at or

e-mail at
Angie Engle-President Marine Parents United
2005 U.S. Marine Parents Conference,"United In Pride"
501(c) (3) charity status

My family and I are sick and tired of hearing about how badly the war in Iraq is going.....Bolderdash....Not what we hear from you guys...and others who have come back...with all the negativity out there....and try to make ordinary citizens think how badly, and what a waste of time and money this war is....My feeling in this regard is simply this:

Do you want fighting in the streets here, or do you want to fight the enemy over there? If It's expensive, isn't it worth keeping school buses here, cafes and stores blown up? Give me a break.

We are so proud of all of you..Went to a great coming home party....100 people there at least a few months ago for a friends son, Kenny del Mazo, who just came back from was quite a celebration..

Everyone just kept saying "Thank You" to him....and I say it to all of you Thank you for Everything you are sacrificing for all of us...we love you and are praying for your safe homecoming.

God Bless all of You
The Schklair Family
Miami, Fl.

Sgt. Grit,

I don't know if you had the opportunity to see the 60 Minutes segment (Sunday night June 26 ) on the Marine unit in Iraq and their daily operations. They are in one of the hottest spots in Iraq. I was so filled with pride when the Commanding Officer said that it would dishonor our fallen comrades if we were to leave without resolution. I just hope and pray we commit whatever power, force needed to make sure that this is a WIN! To those families of those Marines that have fallen I send my deepest condolences and prayers. Semper Fi.

Sgt. D.J.Tasker USMC

Hi Karen,

I have a 20 year old "baby Marine" also. When "certain kinds" of people with "certain kinds" of political persuasions" ask me that question I tell them..."He wanted to be the best of the best, and it's because of him and other Marines that 'you' still have the freedom to make stupid choices and voice your stupid opinions and live in the best country on the planet. When it applies I also ask... "Why DIDN'T 'your' son/daughter join the Marines?" The looks on their faces is priceless.

My son has recently resorted to calling me "Devil Mom". He jokes and says, "What do you get when you cross Army (me) and Navy (his dad)?---A Marine. He's an awesome kid, and I'm seriously proud of him!

PMM (Proud Marine Mom) of LCPL- Joshua Ott 3/3 MAR DIV.

If any of you watch This Week with George Stef every Sunday you might notice when he lists those who were killed in Iraq, the branch of service is not listed. I urge all Marines to contact ABC News and asked that the oversight be corrected. Example: Cpl. John Jones. It should be Cpl. John Jones, USMC. The designation is part of their identity

Frank Real
Public Affairs Office, Detachment 143, MCL, Westfield, MA
U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent's Association
Sgt. of Marines 1956-1959

On this independence day remember how we gained it. It was through the blood, sweat and valor of our mighty military, which started from a humble beginning. England did not just capitulate and King George did not just leave when confronted with our fore-fathers rebellion. It was through military force that he decided that the fight was not worth the cost. We must stay the course and defeat the fanatical Islamists. They seek not just Iraq and Afghanistan, they seek world domination by any means. May God Bless our Marines, past, present, and future.

Gale Owen
USMC 1977-1990

hi sgt grit;as a old marine it still and will always upset me to hear about another marines's nice to know that this marine thought so much of his company gunny.most have made a differences in his life, as a great gunny should due.semper fi

Just another thank you from a PMOM (Proud Mother of a Marine) for: your newsletter, which I faithfully read every Thursday evening and have for several months, even before my son officially joined USMC. your website with a great forum (there can never be enough support for the families of the our servicemen and for the military members themselves) and other information (I specifically went to Marine Help as I have been looking for ways to assist) your wonderful catalog; I have only ordered once, but several items, and look to do more soon (we'll see what we can find at MCRD San Diego next month when I attend my son's best friend's graduation) As a matter of fact, your catalog was part of a nice conversation I had when Travis was attending MOS in Louisville, KY in the early spring. On a Sat. night, he was bored, his cell phone was handy, I had been looking at the catalog, trying to decide what would be appropriate to give him for his MOS graduation, when we started reading the bumper stickers and picking out our favorites- there were so many! He repeated many to his buds in the room; we had a great time. I will remember that very fondly. He is now at 29 Palms and just told me in a couple of weeks he will changing to a different Company which plans to deploy to Iraq in April 2006- 9 months to fret! I never worry until the last minute, but I do plan. I want to send him off with some fun, humorous and possibly needed items (humor at the airport will certainly help.) God's blessings to all the families waiting at home, God watch over those wounded and recovering, and God be with all in harm's way across the globe.
PJ, PMOM, Marysville, WA

To all my fellow Marines it is hard for me to understand what our Marines are going though in this War in Iraq. As a non-war Veteran, I pray every day and wear my dog-tags. I also try to help in anyway I can.

Scott Klund

Three years ago my 17 year old son came home and informed me that we (his father and I) had an appointment at 6:00pm the next day to meet with the Sgt. When I asked why, he said we had to sign papers in order for him to join as a DEP (Delayed Entry Program), he not having turned 18 yet. He explained that he would still have to graduate from high school, but would receive preliminary training and be accountable to the sergeant during that year. Before going to our meeting with Sergeant Edgett, I asked my son, "Tell me again why you want to join the Marine Corps." He responded, "At least once in my life, I want to be the best." He recently returned from his first deployment to Iraq and is currently stationed at Camp Pendleton. Next time you need a response, think about that one.

Proud Marine Mom of LCpl Kyle Cone
1st Mar Div
2/11 Headquarters Battery

To Eric Olsen and all Viet Nam Veterans......

How I wish you all could have been with us in Branson, MO this past week. The town of Branson opened their arms wide to embrace and honor the thousands of Viet Nam vets who attended the Welcome Home celebration! For the very first time many of these vets heard the words "welcome home". So much happened it would be so hard for me to say it all here...and be able to continue to see to type! It was as emotional for me....a veterans wife! I saw him smile, laugh, reflect and at times watched as his eyes "sweat" from all he was feeling. Those who gave all were honored and remembered....and those who are "brothers" of this era talked with and comforted each other. We are so glad that we attended. While what happened when you all returned cannot be changed or undone....this welcome home event did help to heal some of those wounds. I wish you all had been there....But from Branson and me....

WELCOME HOME! With much love.

Connie Beesley

Sgt. Grit:

I am a new mom-in-law of Marine Cpl. Shiloh W.W. Pickett out of Camp LeJeune. Shiloh and my daughter married on March 8, 2005, three days before his deployment to Iraq. In fact, just prior to the wedding, Shiloh was informed that his unit would deploy that quickly.

Proud of my new son-in-law, I have my Marine Corps garden flag on my mailbox, and "my son-in-law is a Marine" bumper sticker on our cars. I would have more Marine emblems, but my husband owns half of our "automotive fleet." His Marine son-in-law bumper sticker is on the back of his workplace's company car!

Since meeting and getting to know my new son-in-law, he told me that many guys overseas don't get much in the way of care packages. I vowed to send Shiloh one package a week overseas. He listed things he wanted and needed, and so far, I have kept up with my promise. Interestingly, too, before we met, I was looking to adopt a soldier. Little did I realize he would be my son-in-law.

However, I want you to know that other people have jumped onto my little care package crusade. I wanted to write to you about these four people.

First is Lori: my new hairdresser. On my second visit: she told me she wanted the money I would pay for a hair cut, now and until Shiloh returns, to go purchase things for Shiloh and his unit. The new care package "kitty" had an initial $20.00 and I had an amazed and grateful heart.

Second is Jon Hodge, a driver for Schneider National based out of Green Bay, WI. A customer of mine at my workplace, Jon recently presented me with a $100 bill. He didn't know of anyone personally serving in Iraq, and wanted to help the brave men and women he so admires, respects and is grateful for. That he trusted me with his money touched my heart.

On Monday, I went on my shopping spree: having fun with things my son-in-law does NOT request! : Magazines that are not automotive, but football, computer, MAD, skiing, fishing, body building. Toothpaste that is not Crest Vanilla: but all sorts of flavors. Sweets which he does not eat; but Tasty Cakes, Little Debbie, oatmeal cookies, but still no chocolate.

Third is Kurt. I stopped in Kensington Tobacconist in Reading PA to supplement my husband's love of cigars, and get some for the Marines. Kurt showed me packets to moisten with distilled water, and told me how to keep the cigars humid in a ziplock bag. He then donated a pack of 25 cigars to go to Shiloh's unit.

Fourth is my niece, Greta, and her workplace of Apria Healthcare in Champaign, IL. For Apria's 10th anniversary, each of the 500 branches across the country are donating something to charity Greta's branch felt that nothing was more important than the support of our troops in Iraq, and have made Shiloh's unit their charity.

My kitchen table is full of things the men: I still need to get those white socks, though! I just am amazed that these people have gone out of their way to help the 1/6 C Company now in Iraq.

If any of the Grit readers are familiar with these places, please thank them. I can only do so in a small way.

Always praying for all our brave,
Diana Gilley
Reading, PA

A Few Good Reasons I have heard so many times since my return home from Iraq that the U.S. didn't have good reasons to invade Iraq. Well I would like to believe that this picture that I took with three Iraqi kids who were trying to sell me this U.S. flag for one American dollar shows that we didn't invade Iraq for "no reason." I am a former reserve Marine who left my wife and two kids to go to Iraq from April to September 2003 so that these three young Iraqi boys will have a safer future.

Look at more Iraq stories.

Corporal Kevin W. Rios
Columbus, Georgia
I served with.......
L Co. 3d Bn 23d 4th Marine Div from Montgomery, Al.
O.I.F. Al Kut and Numiniyah, Iraq 2003

Our fellow Marine brothers that didn't make it back from Vietnam need our help. Every day we need to click on our computer to ''. There are two important websites.... (1) Today's Birthdays on the Wall and (2) Today's Casualties on the Wall. It is very comforting especially for the families that we show our brotherhood for our lost Marines. Unfortunately there are many of our Marines that have no messages on their respective page....It simply reads "No messages have been left for this HERO". My message usually reads: May you rest in God's loving arms forever. Thank you for your time serving our great country & allowing us to breathe free. The good Lord is with your family & friends as they think of you often. May you rest well; you are America's hero.
Semper Fidelis, Cpl. J.T. Bryan,
Headquarters 3dMarDiv & Plt. 3122

The next time, you might want to tell her that he joined the Marines so she could continue to support the party of her choice. You might also suggest that that she might want to pay for your dinner. I'm sorry to say you will get all kinds of responses from people. When my son was in Iraq, I worked with a girl who would catch me checking the news and she would always say the same thing. "He'll be fine." Now my son is home and hers (Army) is "over there". Every time she asks me to pray for him or write or send something, I feel like just saying "Oh, he'll be fine." (right after I punch her out) But I can't because I respect her son for being willing to go. Just smile and ask them "Aren't you glad you have freedom of speech?" and let it go. Life is too short for arguing. Some people will be VERY supportive. Some even asked what I needed for his next care package. You might want to join a group for Marine Moms. (

Sgt Grit, Thank You, Thank You! Haven't read a newsletter yet that didn't touch my heart.

Just another Proud Marine Mom

Dear Sir,
I read a letter from a lady named Karen asking her how to answer someone when asked why their son joined the Marine Corps. I would like to respond to that particular letter if I may.

Madam, you just look them straight in the eye and tell them this ....

" My son joined the United States Marine Corps out of conviction, pride and courage.

He joined for the OPPORTUNITY to serve his nation and fellow man.

He joined in hopes of making a difference in the lives of a people so repressed it cannot be put into words with any hope of you understanding. You could never begin to realize the suffering they have undergone. And please don't insult me by saying you could or pretend that you do.

He enlisted of his own accord in the hopes of making not just America a safer place for us, our children, and our grandchildren; but to help make the entire world a better and safer place for ALL people to live.

My son joined the Marine Corps because in spite of his youth, he was wise enough to realize how extremely dangerous terrorism is to the safety of our nation.

He joined because he is willing to fight and even die if necessary for your security.

He doesn't care if you are Democrat. He doesn't care if you are Republican. He doesn't care if your an Independent! This IS NOT about politics! It is about FREEDOM!

He is fighting for your son! "

I hope this is of some help to you Karen. I hope you now understand. Marines are a very special breed of men and women. They are not your typical person. They do not walk away from their obligation. They are our finest. Be proud. Know that you have brought a MAN into this world.

United States Marines cast a tall shadow, they leave a large footprint. Your son is now a part of the greatest fighting force know to mankind.. He now stands in the ranks of some of the bravest men in all of history. He IS a United States Marine.

ALL of our military forces are outstanding. And I thank all of them for their commitment and their service. But I have a special love of Marines. I hope you do too.

Semper Fidelis,

This is in response to Karen. The next time someone spouts off like that, you can do 2 things. 1. Go into a long speech about defending her rights and how great this country is and that there is a history of young people going off to war since the beginning of time. 2. Let them know where they can get a copy of the Koran, learn their language and get a burka, because they will need to study up on the ways of the terrorists, if we don't have people to defend our way of life.

Semper Fi
God bless our Marines and all branches and let them come home with honor and pride. To my brothers and sisters "GET SOME"
Jim Stokes

I just returned from Branson MO for the welcome home celebration for all Vietnam Vets. It was really spectacular. The entire town had flags everywhere, signs on all businesses Welcoming Us Home. There were numerous activities but two most memorable were the Parade of Veterans for over a mile and a half. I joined up with the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions and it was very emotional. We "marched in cadence" and the crowds really responded, saying we looked the sharpest of all. Had a chance to talk with many but the Marines were dear to my heart since I was a Corpsman. We shared many stories, laughter and tears. It was very overwhelming knowing how many had sacrificed so much. I am not sure if it made the National news but it should have. We had a Concert with many old bands from the past: Credence Clearwater Revival, the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, Tony Orlando, The Fifth Dimension and many more. There were helicopter rides and a display of all the Aircraft flown during Vietnam. There were live delayed telecasts from Iraq, Commanding Generals, President Bush and many other dignitaries. There was a Parachute jump by the 101st Airborne and the last one had the insignia design of the POW/MIA on it. Needless to say it was very uplifting and emotional. The city of Branson and all the citizens went out of their way to make it a special time all of us. Spoke with some Marines coming back from the Middle East and some on their way back. These young warriors would make all proud of their training and dedication. I met two Marines I had not seen since 1966 and we had a great reunion. Too much to express other than to say I was never more proud to be with my brothers in arms once again...Semper Fi. "Doc" Rose (Senior Chief Retired).

"The Fallen Bro."
by Nancy J Porter

War torn faces weary after the fall Upon this broken ground I stand as witness to it all One face in particular I seek is that of a Fallen Bro. I will take you home with me, so that all may see You did not die in vain - You are Alive in memory, their's and mine. We fought Not for Freedom, but for " The Right To Live.." If anyone should say differently- Let them come and lie in your place In this H&ll Hole of A Pit ..They call " Vietnam.." For I am Stronger, Braver and Wiser too - For Having A Friend as You - " A Fallen Bro."
RIP My Friend

More foreign terrorist have entered Iraq as al Qaeda tries to maintain its level of operations, but for the most part this effort is faltering. Al Qaeda is having a much harder time recruiting Iraqis to participate in attacks that might kill their fellow Iraqis. Al Qaeda has become like a cornered beast, mad with rage and snapping at anything within range, including its own people. Al Qaeda has a grim future in Iraq.
Military Magazine

Sgt. Grit,
It is with some trepidation I consider writing on the subject of the young Marine graduating from High School who was not allowed to wear His dress blues in place of the traditional cap and gown. My first reaction was the same as most others.... this is another situation where the politically correct are out to destroy patriotism, the military, and common sense. I was irritated by the lack of sensitivity of the school board and their blindness to the bigger picture. Then I thought a bit more about the occasion and the others involved and formed a different opinion. It occurred to me that the graduation is about a whole class of students each of whom had accomplished unique and difficult things. For some kids the grades to graduate were almost impossible to achieve, but they did it, others were state pole vault champion, or debate champion, or volunteer firemen, or rock musicians, a single mom, or classical violinist. Should each of these kids be allowed to wear their track uniform, or firemen's hat, or play the violin or in some way distinguish themselves as they walked across the stage? If it is permitted for one individual to stand out from the rest, how do we select which one? If we allow some to be different what are we saying about the sacrifice of the others? Do we really want every kid to feel the need to cross the stage in some dramatic manner? When they cross the stage the implication is that they have all reached a point of academic success and all are equal, ready to go forth to what the future holds. Based on the above, I support the decision of the school to treat each student the same. I also salute the young Marine and his accomplishment. It would be fully appropriate for the student body to pick some students to speak for them. It should be the students who decide, and the students they pick might include the Marine, the debate champ or a single mom. The kids know what their fellow students have been through. The Marine should wear his blues under his gown, and discard the gown as soon as the occasion is over, or if he feels covering it dishonors the uniform, he should put it on after the ceremony and wear it with pride at the parties and celebrations that follow.

Fred Ilgenfritz
Proud Marine Dad in Montana

To the new Marine Mom, Karen, asking how to respond:

My son graduated from MCRD on September 10, 2004, and we just celebrated his 1 year anniversary in the Corps. Over time you learn how to respond and make people want to suck back into their lungs their words when they ask you these questions, or they stand on their little soap boxes and say not my kid. Recently I had the opportunity to make a mother suck her words back into her lungs, I was standing in line at the local gas station and listening to this woman making comments about how glad she was that her son had finally moved out and how she was tired of tripping over his stuff. I calmly looked at her and told her that I would give anything to be able to trip over my son's stuff but, I have to wait until October when he's home because he's 12,000 miles away in the middle of Iraq fighting in a war. To say that she shut up would be an understatement. Over time you learn how to answer these questions.

Congratulations and welcome to the family !

Semper Fi,
Amy Hoffmeier
Proud Marine Mom of PFC Daniel L. Gruber
Bravo 1/5 Ramadi, Iraq.

Sgt Grit

I am a young Marine, my two year mark is in a few days, but I still have not made it out of training or been to Iraq.

I was stationed in Northern California for a year and a half at the Defense Language Institute. The area surrounding the base was beautiful and I wouldn't trade my time there for anything, but something bugged the heck out of me while I was there. Marines were disliked. All services were but the local people (in general, not all of them) disliked Marines especially. We did not go out in uniform and for the one exception (the USMC Ball) we did not go out alone.

The locals also hated the war in Iraq. Every weekend there were anti-Bush and anti-war demonstrations. I understand that these people have the right to freedom of speech, but I believe they have gone a little too far. Shortly before I left the demonstrators (including war veterans) started to fly the flag upside down. Not only that, just recently they attached a Nazi flag to ours. My friend who witnessed this said to me and I agreed, Do these people not realize what Hitler and the Nazis did? To liken any American or American force to those monsters is just outrageous. Do these demonstrators realize how Hitler slaughtered and tortured those in the Concentration camps?

I, as I said earlier, understand that these people have freedom of speech. But I cannot understand how they disrespect the flag and compare the US to Nazi Germany?

Just wondering,

LCpl A.L.H

I've ordered many, many times over the years from you folks (my spouse says TOO MANY), but few things have touched my soul as the letters from far and wide that are in the newsletter.

It IS a Marine thing---if you have to ask, you'll never understand.

Many thanks and keep up the good work!

Speed '6'---Craig A Cassen

These two saying seem appropriate on this Independence Day Weekend. Have an outstanding weekend and take at least a few moments to reflect on what it represents, and the costs to create it and maintain it.

For those who fought for it Freedom has a flavor the Protected will never know.

You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

God Bless America!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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