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Mother of a Marine Temporary Tattoo
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China Marine Association Sgt Grit has now become the official PX for the China Marines Association. Visit our catalog for a complete list of China Marine Products!

The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.
Gene Hackman

Please put into your address book or trusted senders list.

Sgt Grit in Kansas City

My crew and I will be in Kansas City, Missouri August 3-7, 2005 for the First Marine Division Association Reunion Stop by and see us if you're there!

I received a telephone call from Ralph Petty at the District office of Postal Service with a message that Jim Aren called from Il regarding the article you placed in the newsletter. The gentleman was very apology and assured me that "the Postal Service is honored to post the Flag each and every day there is someone at the Post Office and that he was sending out flag protocol to every Post Office in the Northern California District and this problem will never happen again." Thank each and everyone for helping me show that you don't mess with Marines and their Flag. God, Country and Corps. When I get the letter of apology they said they are going to send, if you give me a land line address I will send you a copy.

Semper Fi and thank all of you
Ann Lang

Sgt Ken "P" Patterson,

Your son wants to drop out of college and serve his country. That is what one might expect from a young patriot. That he would want to serve with honor and pride. What our young warriors sometimes loose track of is that education is the primary weapon of democracy against the disruptive forces of our world. He is doing well in school --- he should continue his education. In this way he is serving his country to his greatest potential. The glory of signing up now and fighting the good fight is vainglorious at best. It is your sons duty to prepare himself for duty to his country to the fullest extent. In this case, it means getting the best education he can acquire. To apply his energy towards fighting the future battle is not as emotionally satisfying as is charging off to war, battle-axe swinging and hormones flowing.

Simply doing one's duty, putting ones nose to the grindstone and preparing to be the best warrior one can be --- is not nearly so flashy or showy. But, it is ones duty, ones honor, and ones pride to do the best thing for ones country, for ones fellow Marines, family, and self.

Stay in school. Learn. Become all that you can be. Semper Fi

Steven Byars, HM1
2nd plt, "E" Co., 2nd Bat., 1st Mar., 1st MarDiv.

Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.
General Omar Bradley

To Kolette, proud mom of Cpl Brian Abell, 3/25 WPNS, well said! Those 3 AM phone calls are a killer, I've started keeping a notepad full of questions near the phone for my Marine son, PFC Cradick, 2/3 WPNS, and yes we've almost adopted radio protocol for those voice delayed calls, you know, you almost need to say 'over' at the end of every sentence. And the bit about the grocery cart full of those exact same things! I thought I was the only one, I feel guilty when I go to the store and I don't buy something for my Marine. My local post office told me recently that I'd won their most frequent FPO AP sender contest! And the stickers on my did you know? When my son deployed from HI, his plane refueled right here in his hometown..of all the places, can you imagine our luck? And my husband and I drove down to the airport around midnight to meet him out on the tarmac...airport security protocols were set aside for the three of us that night...there were Marines all over the tarmac! It was an invasion! I hugged my son, and put my nose behind his ear, against his skin and inhaled as deep as I could. Then he told me he was going to introduce me to his new family. I miss my boy, I worry about him, but I have to say that I don't fear for him, because I know that he's with the best 'brothers' in the world, and every one of them promised me they'd look after my boy. Proud Marine Mom? You betcha!!!!

Deb Cradick

"There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage."
--John Witherspoon

In the Sgt. Grit's Newsletter that I received today there was a message from Kolette, proud mom of Cpl Brian Abell, 3/25 WPNS Co. This message is a take off from the original that was created on MMO.

Although it has spread to other internet sites and support groups "You know you're a Marine Mom when...." started on Marine Moms Online January 6, 2004 when one of our members who has a great sense of humor posted. That member was Shelly,, and the message was #3006 on MMO1.

Shelly's message brought a lot of laughter to MMO as other members joined in by adding to the "You know you're a Marine Mom when..." list. One of our members created a file which is still in the MMO1 files and now has over 500 "You know you are a Marine Mom when..." sayings. The file can be found in the "Fun Stuff" folder in the MMO1 files located at: Although a lot of other Marine family support groups post "You know you are a Marine Mom when..." messages to their forums, Shelly is rarely given credit for being the author of the original.

Marine Moms Online

"If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows not fear, I have never seen a brave man. All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened. The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on." --General George Patton

"National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman." --John Adams

"[T]errorists celebrate the suffering of the innocent. ...[T]errorists murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. ...[T]he aim of the terrorists is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, by exporting terror, by forcing free nations to retreat and withdraw. ... These kinds of people who blow up subways and buses are not people you can negotiate with, or reason with, or appease. In the face of such adversaries there is only one course of action: We will continue to take the fight to the enemy, and we will fight until this enemy is defeated." --President George W. Bush

Sgt Grit,
This is to Sgt Patterson who wrote about his son "throwing away" school to be a Marine. First of all he isn't throwing anything away. He is going to get an education as a Marine with a degree in life that will carry him for the rest of his life. A college education is a wonderful thing, I spent 4 years on active duty, 3 years as a reservist and another year activated and then sent to Iraq in order to attain mine. My education as a Marine has and will continue to benefit me in ways that a piece of paper will never come close to. I promise you that he will value and appreciate a college education even more after he has served. Not to mention he'll be head and shoulders above his peers in the classroom. Here's my advice to you, support him in what he wants to do. He simply wants to do what you and I and others like us have already done, earn the title of United States Marine! Keep up the great work Sgt Grit. Your newsletter and store are awesome!! My wife and I have been subscribers for awhile and we both look forward to reading it every Friday. To all Marines and their loved ones, Semper Fidelis and God Bless!

Still Serving,
Cpl B

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education." --Thomas Jefferson

Dang, SGT Grit, this newsletter surpasses them all, thank you! Especially liked the rebuttal letter regarding the wearing of the uniform at graduation, outstanding! And as for the mom of the returning Marine who got the police escort: Ma'am, YOU call YOUR councilman and tell him that you are just a little upset that these police officers got in trouble for showing respect and patriotism to a returning Marine.

Make sure the police chief and the mayor are aware of YOUR feelings, too! Thanks again, Sgt Grit. Another newsletter, another lesson in American Courage. -- Anson Rohr

Sgt. Grit,

I look forward to each of your Newsletters. I find them very informative and reassuring that there are many others that feel the way I do. I think newsletter # 101 is your best so far and especially like the "You just might be the Parent of a U.S. Marine" by proud Mom, Kolette. I forwarded the newsletter to a retired Army Lt. Col. that is about as proud of my son as I am. He was Army, in Korea and Viet Nam. He was seriously wounded in Korea and had a very special relationship with Marines at the time. He always speaks with great respect for the Marines. Keep the newsletters coming and the great products in your catalog.

Proud Father of MARINE LCpl Kyle, A Co. 1/6 Marines,
Jack Conte, Richmond, KY

Dear Sgt Grit,

My son GySgt Scott Walker just returned safely in April, thanks to God and his Marine training, from his deployment in Iraq. We are blessed that he did his tour without injury. He is a 'Reservist' and had no qualms about 'being inconvenienced' as was that National Guardsman about going active.

He left his wife and 8 yr. old daughter and job to place himself in harms way for all of us knowing that was his job from the day he raised his right hand in 1986. Since then we (his family) all knew he understood much more than we ever could what the Anchor, Globe and Eagle meant and should mean to every American. It is these men and women dedicating their lives to preserving what this country represents for almost 230 years. Their willingness and dedication to put aside their personal lives and families says more for the Marine Corps than anyone can ever express in words.

Scott re-enlisted in Baghdad in January to get to his 20 but I have a feeling it will not end there. His service can never be 'ended' by the Marine code. He is already talking about his probable second deployment not with anger but enthusiasm over getting a chance to go and finish the job. God bless our Marine(s).

A proud father.
James Walker

"It matters little that 'the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists,' to quote a familiar Western mantra. It matters a great deal that most terrorists are Muslims. The sooner Western leaders and Western media begin stating what is obvious to most people, the quicker the real root cause can be dealt with." --Cal Thomas

Hi Sgt. Grit;
Kolette, the Marine Mom who penned 'you just might be a proud Marine parent' really nailed it. I think the only thing she left out was checking the news channels and news websites first thing every morning, the last thing every night and every hour in between. Thank God for my Marine Mom friends who have gone through this with me, and for Kolette for putting it into words for us.

Diana Rall
Proud Mom of Cpl Seth Rall
1st MAW

Marine Dad

If you increase your weekly dose of combat movies.You might be a Marine Dad fresh from Boot Camp Graduation.

If you wish you could be at SOI with your Marine because he gets to have all the fun have graduated from a small game hunter to Marine Dad.

If you wear T-shirts that say "USMC", "Happiness is a belt fed weapon", or "761 Grains of Diplomacy".You are a Marine Dad who already owns a gun and you are happy your Marine is carrying one now.

If your wardrobe is leaning more toward olive green and you have swapped your leather belt for a cami belt.Your wife must love you because you are a Marine Dad.

If you are sporting a crew cut and PFCs salute you.You look just like your son and you are the ultimate Marine Dad.

If you find yourself yelling "Uuh Rah" at any cars you pass which display the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.You need to pay attention to what you are doing and remember that you are a Marine Dad in a motor vehicle.

If you can't wait to digest your next issue of Sgt. Grit.keep your credit card in your wallet because you are a Marine Dad.

If you remind all the Marine families that they need to sign their emails "Semper Fi".you are going beyond the call of duty and have been promoted to DI Marine Dad.

When your Marine calls from deployment and you ask if he has been shot at or if he has shot anyone yet.You need to take a cold shower because you are a Medal of Honor Marine Dad.

If you get green with envy listening to your son describe survival training.You are a Marine Dad who needs to go camping for a few days to get it out of your system.

If you wish you could be deployed to your Marine's assignment so you can protect your should, because you'll be the Marine Dad who will sight in Osama.

Alice Brown - Marine Dad's Wife
2/3 Marines, 3rd Div.,Whiskey Co.

My grandson RCT Krusinski Christopher, join the Marine in 9/04. He finished High School and when to Parris Island S.C. May 30th 2005. He has bring at Boot Camp for 8 week now. He is doing very well. I am so proud of him. He work full time all doing high schooland kelp his grade at A & B. He was also in the R.O.C.T. for 4 years. I ask him why he choose the Marine and his answer was, they were the only ones that could give me a challenge. He wanted the Best. That my man. As I have said I am one Proud Grandma.

Betty Shields-Krusinski
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Open Letter to the governors of Hobbs, New Mexico

Dear Mayor Monty D. Newman and City Manager Dan Dible:

I suspect that you have a real problem in Hobbs. Please, peruse the following letter:

(Refering to AmericanCourage Newsletter #101 letter: Marine Mom in Hobbs, New Mexico)

I suspect that this lady was actually referring to one of your city Commissioners. Please, tell me that your citizens and Commissioners are not really that obtusely insensitive. I can only presume that this will become a problematic election issue for someone.

Freedom is NOT free! It never has been. Marines have been paying the price for over 200 years. You may think it a cliché, but I know my Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan don't take is as such. They know their purpose and as Marines, they will accomplish their missions with dignity and pride.

For someone who had just returned from being in harm's way, gratitude and honors were in order, not the reprimand of a police department's officers for rendering them. Were I in charge, he would have had aerial cover as well. As for your "inconvenienced" citizen, who most probably has never put himself at risk for anyone other than himself, I recommend that he learn the virtue of respect.

President Abraham Lincoln said, "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." I believe the same to be true for your Commissioners, when one of them doesn't gather the cajones to say "no" to an "inconvenienced" citizen, but rather goes forth and does that citizen's evil instead.

Go get me a rope! Hang him high!

Semper fidelis,
RD 'Bob' Lankes
(Mustang) Captain USMC (retired)
1961 - 1981

Dear Mr. Byars,
I learned of this alleged letter the Friday before last, but have not seen it yet. It is my understanding that it appeared in one of Sgt. Grit's newsletters. I checked Sgt. Grit for the article, but was unable to find it. I am trying to find out more information about this to be able to better respond to you and others regarding what appears to be erroneous information. Additionally, Mayor Newman was quite upset when he heard about this (he is very supportive of our military), and has asked me several times if I have been able to determine who was involved in any type of reprimand, if it actually occurred. I assured him that if there was, it was county officials and county deputies, because no one from this department has been reprimanded.

While I am not sure this is the same incident, I was in church on a Saturday evening when we heard numerous sirens. Believing that there was some major incident outside, I excused myself and went out to investigate. What I observed was police cars from both the Hobbs Police Department and Lea County Sheriff's Department, as well as various apparatus from the Hobbs Fire Department all traveling with emergency lights and siren. I contacted the police department dispatch center to determine what was occurring, and was advised we were escorting a returning Hobbs resident who was one of our military veterans who had just returned from the Iraq War. I returned to church, and advised my wife of what it was, and that I wished I would have known, because she and I would have been out there with the units. I was proud that our community would do this for our veterans. My father and his brother and my mother's brother are United States Army Korean War Veterans; an Uncle is a United States Marine Corps Korean War Veteran; another uncle is a United States Marine Corps World War II Veteran; my cousin is a United States Army Vietnam War Veteran; my brother-in-law and I are United States Marine Corps Vietnam Veterans; my younger brother is a United States Navy Middle East Veteran; and our eldest son is a career United States Marine who is currently a Gunnery Sergeant and was in Iraq during the initial invasion, as well as being a veteran of two other armed confrontations.

Please be assured that as a veteran, a relative of many veterans, the proud father of a United States Marine, and the Chief of Police of the City of Hobbs, I would never have disciplined any officer for participating in this event, nor would I have permitted a member of our staff to discipline any officer for participating in this event. Like the Hobbs mother of the United States Marine, my wife and I know the fear and anguish of having a son in Iraq. During the invasion we didn't sleep; neither our daughter-in-law or us had heard from our son from the time he started waiting in Kuwait to cross over until after they made their way into Baghdad. We knew these Marines were hurting for supplies and word from home, but couldn't get anything to them because the mail wasn't going through. Every opportunity we had, we watched the news for the chance to see any sign of him, and to find out what and how he was doing. I finally found out what I put my mother through when I was in Vietnam. And when he returned home, we made sure he had a very large welcome.

I am a firm believer that "Freedom isn't Free", and that we dearly owe these brave young men and women who are willing to fight for our freedom. If you know a veteran of any of our wars, please tell them thank you from my family and I. Also thank them on behalf of the members of the Hobbs Police Department.

As a side note, nine (9) of our police officers (approximately 11% of our sworn staff) have been activated in the past several months. We plan a very large reception for them when they return. Semper Fi, and thank you Mr. Byars for your service to our country in the United States Marine Corps.

Kenneth W. Bohn
Chief of Police
City of Hobbs Police Department
301 North Dalmont
Hobbs, New Mexico 88242
(505) 397-9283 My name is Rohnnie Shaw, I am a Captain and one of the Shift Commanders for the uniformed Police Services Division for the Hobbs Police Department. Let me respond to your message by saying our officers take pride in escorting our soldiers home. Our Department expects, demands and enjoys the opportunity to show support to that soldier as they return. I know of NO instances where an officer with our department has been disciplined for doing their job while escorting soldiers home from duty. Nor, would I allow an officer to be disciplined, or "chewed out" for performing a function which I or my sergeants ordered.

Scheduling conflicts have been addressed with returning soldiers and their families. Such as; delays at airports and the soldiers time of arrival to the city. With these in mind, my sergeants have done an excellent job of trying to adjust manpower and scheduling to accomodate.

Mr. Sheaf, I can assure you that I have checked with my sergeants and no one knows of any discipline or other negative responses with the escorting of a soldier returning home from duty.

If you have communication with the mother of the Marine, please relay this information to her and tell her I would enjoy an opportunity to speak with her it she requested.

Please excuse my delay in responding to your message, but I needed time to check with all of my sergeants. If I can be of any assistance please call.

Captain Rohnnie Shaw
Police Services Division
Hobbs Police Department
A Committment to Excellence

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts."

-- James Madison (essay in the National Gazette, 2 February 1792)

I am truly a proud mom and a US Marine. I am guilty of all of these.
Thank You !
JoAnn Langley, mother of Cpl. John E. Griffin Yuma, Az

What a pleasant surprise! I discovered while looking for a site to purchase a few Marine-related items that seemed non-existent (at least until I came across this one). Some were for me, but two were for my cousin--her son will graduate from MCRD San Diego 29 July and then attend Combat Engineering School at Camp Lejeune. Today I checked my e-mail and I can't begin to tell you how reading the American Courage Newsletter made me feel. As a retired Marine (1964-1986), the father of two former Marines, and mentor of a soon to be Marine, it really stirred my emotions to see the outpouring of support for all these wonderful young men and women who volunteer to serve our nation in such perilous times. I wish there had been some equivalent organ of support during the 60s and 70s. I want to tell "Kolette, proud mom of Cpl Brian ABELL, WpnsCo, 3/25th Marines" that I printed out her letter and gave it to my cousin (she was a nurse in the Air Force way back when); she wept. Captain St. John (Semper Fi), I wholly agree with your sentiments, but I fear you are flogging a dead horse. It appears that "My country, may she always be right; but my country, right or wrong!" is a sentiment that fell out of favor among the politicians (most of whom were in college during Vietnam). Those few in Congress who served in the Armed Forces and are willing to criticize such shameful behavior on the part of our(?) representatives seem to risk greater censure. Oh well, I was stationed in D.C. for three years when Carter was President and even then I thought that politicians, as a whole, had their heads stuck up a dark, stinking hole. The only way this will change is if WE, the people, get out there and vote in someone who shares our beliefs. By the way, did you send a copy of your letter to the members of Congress? If not, perhaps you should; if we're lucky, some of them just may recognize the Leadership Traits. Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this newsletter, and God bless any and everyone who has a family member serving our country.

Semper Fidelis
W. M. Moore
GySgt, USMC(Ret)

To Kelly Coyne fiancé' of LCpl Carlos Martinez II: First of all let me tell you that you are not alone. I also fell in love with a United States Marine back in December 2003. In March 2004 he was told that he would be activated, June we were engaged, and on July 6th he was deployed. The thought of him being away for 8 long months in Iraq terrified me as well. There were many sleepless nights, and days I spent worried about my Marine. My Marine came home in March of 2005 and we were married on April 16th. I wanted to give you a few tips that I learned in surviving a deployment. First, you have to be 110% committed to your Marine in order for your relationship to last through this deployment and any future deployments to come. Send him as many letters as you can....if there is a perfume scent you wear that he likes...spray it on the letters. Have people take lots of pictures of you....they love to get pictures. Also, send them boxes....I'd say once a month....bigger ones on special occasions with DVDs, foods, and anything they want. Whenever he can call you, stop what you are doing and give him your undivided attention. These moments are few and special. When you do talk on the phone....try not to argue or fight. Do not press him to talk about his experiences. There are some things he will not tell you while he is over there....but at the same time remain open minded and receptive to him that if he wants to tell you about what's he's been through.....LET HIM. Comfort him, encourage him, and let him know how proud you are of him. If you have funny things that happen in your day...let him know.....he'll enjoy that. Get a tape recorder and blank tapes. Mail it to him with a recorded message from you. That way he can hear your voice. He can also record one for you so that you can play it whenever you want to. As for you, check with his unit and see if there has been a Key Volunteer established. If they have events...go to them. Being with other ladies and families that are going through the same thing you are will help so very much. Become friends with other women and do things with them. GET INVOLVED! Whenever people ask you if he's deployed and they say "oh we are so sorry." Tell them not be and stand up for him. Pray for him. Pray that God will put a hedge of protection around him, and around his entire company. I know that you'll be planning a wedding and that will keep you will help make the time go by. Involve him in the decisions. Now days you can register online. Show links to the China you like. Let him feel involved. Above all, remember that you are loved by a United States Marine....the most unique man God made. Although they are mean fighting machines on the outside, on the inside they all have huge hearts that just want to know that their families love and are proud of them. I'm sorry this is long, but I hope these tips that I learned can help you and any other ladies going through a deployment. Take heart Kelly, because you'll never be so proud as the day you walk down the aisle to a man in Dress Blues.

I'll be praying for you,
Proud Wife of Cpl Maddox,
Amber Maddox

"The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded." --C. L. De Montesquieu


Women of the Corps

The history of Women Marines and the Women Marines Association

The Castle Rock Historical Society and the Colorado Columbine Chapter of the Women Marines Association present "Women of the Corps" - An unprecedented historical account of women in the Marine Corps and their camaraderie.

August 13, 2005 1:30 P.M.

Castle Rock Museum
420 Elbert
Castle Rock, CO

More information:
Paula Sarlls []

I would like to say thank you for the newsletters I receiver every week. I am 16 years old and soon to be 17. I also attend the Poole functions each week in my city! I have never met such great people while I was there. I have only been doing the Poole functions for about 10 weeks and already half of the people that were there when I first got there had just recently left to boot camp and I wish them luck. I have bought t-shirts from your site even though I'm not a Marine yet, but because I support the Marines while I wait to become one. It disgusted me when I wore a Marine Devil Dog t-shirt and a couple of aunts tried to persuade me not to join and just thought I was senseless. Even though I do not have aunts and uncles to support me I have my mom and dad to support me and that's what matters. I would like to thank you for the newsletters. The stories inspire me and even give me more motivation to become a Marine. Thank you to all Marines, Past Marines, and soon to be Marines for your service and soon to be service to our country.

Thank you
Alex Aldridge Tucson, Arizona

"Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to Thomas Wells, 22 November 1780)

Sgt. Grit:

I am writing in response to the posting from Sgt Ken "P" Patterson, whose son is leaving college to enlist.

Welcome to the club! My son came home during his freshman year in college in the Spring of '04 and said it was time for him to enlist in the Marine Corps. "Why?," I asked. "Your dad and I are paying for your college, you have all kinds of options and opportunities, you don't need to do this."

He said he just wanted to "look into it." I knew that once he walked into a recruiters' office, they weren't going to let him go. I was right.

He graduated from Boot Camp at Parris Island in 12/04. He is a linguist, studying at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

What I've learned is that there are a lot of Marines who followed the same path. They went to college, perhaps because it's what their parents expected, only to drop out and answer to the "higher calling." If it's in their hearts and minds that they want to be a Marine, they can't ignore it.

While I would have preferred he finish college before he went in, I understand he couldn't ignore that little voice inside. I realized he was going to enlist, with or without my support. At the end of the day, I have been transformed into a die-hard, extremely proud, Marine Mom. Going through the last year with him has been an amazing experience.

I am so incredibly proud of my son for having the guts to follow his heart, when it would have been easier to just stay in school. How many people have the courage to do that? I know he would have resented me for the rest of his life if I had not supported this decision.

During Boot Camp I wrote to him every day. We went to Boot and MCT graduation. Now that he's at his MOS school I send care packages, e-mails and letters, and we just got back from spending 4th of July weekend with him. He knows I'm his biggest fan and that means more to him than anything I have done for him in all the rest of his life.

As hard as it is to do, you just need to trust that your son needs to do what HE needs to do and be as supportive as you can. Believe me, I have never known the emotions I have experienced as a Marine Mom. There is absolutely nothing to compare to the pride and the love I have for my son.

Not everyone is "chosen" to be a Marine. Be extremely proud that you raised a son who is worthy.

A Very Proud Marine Mom in Ohio

Dear Sergeant Grit,

I am happy to say I have not missed any of the great articles. You are doing a great job seeing to it that this excellent newsletter gets the greatest coverage possible.

I never was allowed to serve but have great appreciation and gratitude for those who have and those who do.

Our nation is the result of God's great grace and the courage of the men and women that birthed it, maintained it, and brought it safely to this point in our history.

May God bless ALL those who serve in harm's way for our nation's peace and security.

May God bless you for all you do to raise the awareness of the PRECIOUS sacrifice of our armed forces.

Your civilian friend,
Pastor Sam Lee Storkson

We love the newsletters, even finding letters from people we know here and there!!! Our son Derek is a buddy of Kyle from the 2/11th whose mom wrote a letter in the June 30th newsletter. Small world. But protected by Marines BIG on courage and commitment, though.

I am happy to report that our two Marine Lance Corporals returned safely from their 1st Iraq tours a couple of months ago and are in Pendleton and Okinawa respectively at the moment getting R&R and further training under their belts. One was in Ramadi 2/11th HQ Battery, and the other in Fallujah 3rd FSSG supporting the 31st MEU.

Just an aside I needed a little someone to nurture after both the boys deployed last year, so adopted a stray kitten, our family's 9th cat. In honor of his ability to "improvise, adapt and overcome" --- we found him in the dumpster behind a fast food burger stand --- we named him Sempurr Fi-line, 9th MEU [meu, meow, get it??]. He is living up to his name checks the perimeter regularly for enemy rodents, and has been known to take down a few bats as well [calculates their trajectory and catches them in mid-air!].

Thanks again for a great newsletter not to mention the cool stuff from the catalogue. We fly our Sgt. Grit USMC flag at our farm with pride!!!

Proud Mom of LCpl Derek [2/11th] and Dylan [3rd FSSG]Teeters
A.K.A. Cat Mother

I have received all 3 of the newsletters with the new format. Love them all! Today is my son's 21st birthday. He has "celebrated" the last 2, his 19th and 20th in the sandbox. I know this is not uncommon at the moment many young men and women are "celebrating" birthdays in the sandbox. Although we were not together for this birthday either as the USMC just didn't know how emotional some mother's are about their babies turning into men. I just want the world to know how proud I am to say, Do you see that fine Marine that is defending our freedom, that's my son!

Kay Hale ~ PMM of LCpl Hale

To all who read Sgt Grit's newsletter... Aloha from Paradise. My husband and I have been stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay for a year with 3d BN, 3d Marines "America's Battalion". Our unit returned from deployment in support of OEF late June. I have had the pleasure of supporting my husband for the past 12 years of his 16 in the Corps. I officially became a Marine Spouse in 2000, but have always been proud to be associated with the Marine Corps. Being a Marine Spouse is the highest honor I could have ever received in my lifetime. I gave up an outstanding career to be my husband's "cheerleader" and the mother to two beautiful Devil Pups. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the men and women who serve our country, especially those in the United States Marine Corps. They serve with a deep sense of purpose and pride that can never be explained. They don't ask why.....they just do. It comes with the territory of being America's 911 Force. The spouses have an even greater responsibility of maintaining the home front. Many of my friends and peers often ask "how I do it", but when you love unconditionally and you accept the calling to be a Marine Spouse, you fill those shoes with "honor, courage and commitment". This past deployment was the hardest I've experienced since I've met my husband, but it made me a better person. This year two Marine units from Hawaii served in our global war against terrorism and I am proud that my husband was a part of it. Sure it wasn't his first deployment since September 11, 2001 and it probably won't be his last, but I was able to serve the families. When I met my husband 12 years ago, I made a decision to be his teammate.....He takes care of his Marines and I take care of their families. Thank God for the many volunteer opportunities on base and throughout the Marine Corps that allow you to make a difference. I encourage all spouses to get involved through your Key Volunteer Program or L.I.N.K.S. program. It is so rewarding to be able to make a difference in a spouses' experience. Devildogs, keep up the great work and continue to make us proud! Spouses....hang in there and continue to make us proud !
Semper Fi,
Marisol R. Morales
Marine Spouse
Kailua, Hawaoo

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts." --James Madison

SGT Grit,

Every time when I read it, it makes me prouder and prouder of my service in the Marine Corps and I still up hold all of the traditions, discipline, pride, and heritage that goes along with earning the title of Marine. Even though I have been out of the Corps since Jan 98, I still am always there for any Marine, past, present and future. I am currently an Army Officer soon to be medically retired due to extensive injuries that cannot be fully corrected by surgery but I am not bitter because it has been my pleasure to serve the Marines and the Army. My soldiers also respect show me more respect, when they are told by the other soldiers that I am a former Marine and that I served as an 0331 primary MOS and that I served in a RECON unit. They also know that I know what it is like on both sides of the foxhole and it they show this respect by the way they treat me compared to fellow officers and it is such a great honor. Though I never asked for it or demand it they have shown their respect based solely on how I carry myself and remaining upbeat despite circumstances that are beyond your control, like my injuries, characteristics that I learned in the Corps. Keep up the great work and thank you for all that you do for the Marine Corps. Semper Fi.

CPT Erik F. "Stokes" Stoeckle USA
LCPL USMC (Reserves) 94-98
E Co 4th RECON BN, C CO 4th LAR

I like reading your newsletters. My son was just home after serving 7 1/2 months in Afghanistan w/the 3rd Marines. Didn't realize that Afghanistan was just as hot of a hot spot as Iraq. I have him listed with the Presidential Prayer Team w/the adopt our troops. He had an IED explode 4 ft in front of the humvee he was driving. Just so happened he was taking a reporter with MSNBC news out to interview the troops when it went off. I just happened to see him on the MSNBC nightly news with Bryan Williams, with just a short piece interview.

We also have a daughter serving in the USAF. She is in security forces. She told us she was told to be prepared, that they are the first to go to Iraq. My son said he goes to Iraq in March.

Keep up the great work and the encouraging stories.
God Bless You,
Kathleen Jones

Dear Sgt Grit,
Just want to say I love the products. And look forward to the newsletter all the time. I forward it to my husband. Of who served in the Corps in Somalia. Our oldest son is stationed at Miramar Marine Air Base, Ca. He is leaving for deployment in Sept for Iraq. I am proud to say he is a CH-53 Mechanic. And even more proud of The Marine Corps. Thank you for your heart... Semper Fi and all please remember to pray for "our troops" as well as their families. Debbi Mills, CA

Dear Sir,
On 30 May, by invitation of the American Consul General, the Mayor of Halifax, and the Halifax Regional Council, I attended a very special and unique dedication ceremony on Deadman's Island for a monument to 195 Americans who were imprisoned on Melville Island, died, and were interred in unmarked graves on Deadman's Island during the War of 1812. For nearly 200 years, these American Soldiers and Sailors remained forgotten by their country. I was among the very few American civilians invited as I assisted in the saving and preservation of this final resting place of our honored American dead.

The city of Halifax bought the island and turned it into a park to preserve it and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs supplied the large bronze plaque and stone monument to which it will be mounted this summer. Among the honored dead is a single United States Marine, John Wright, 28, of Pennsylvania, who was captured when the U.S.S. Chesapeake was defeated in an engagement off the coast near Boston. Marine Wright succumbed on 14 June 1813 and was interred on Deadman's Island. In addition, 66 of the 195 interred on Deadman's Island were U.S. Army soldiers. The United States Navy was well represented at the ceremonies, but not a single soldier from the United States Army, nor one representative from the United States Marine Corps was present. There is a good reason for this in that there are no Marines or Army personnel stationed in Halifax, and even the Navy personnel in Halifax were not aware of the efforts of private citizens like myself to save and preserve this final resting place of honored American dead. Even the Royal Canadian Legion took up the cause to preserve this hallowed ground, but only the American Legion represented former American Servicemen.

There are on-going projects for the island being spearheaded by Navy Commander Brad Renner and myself, such as the installation of flagpoles so an American Flag can be flown on the site, collection of soil from all 50 States for a special garden, and the accumulation of funds for improvements (sidewalks, drainage, benches and replacement flags) and maintenance, including the re-interment of remains that will inevitably surface.

With Commander Renner, the United States Navy is involved, and I am soliciting help and participation from the West Point Alumni Association and they are sending out the news through their publication. To date, my requests for aid or assistance to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, "Leatherneck" magazine, and at least one other Marine publication have been ignored, to my utter amazement.

If those who serve, or have served with the United States Marine Corps would like to assist in the preservation of the final resting place of one of their own and help provide representation to honor one of their own in future memorial ceremonies, feel free to contact Commander Renner at the e-mail address or postal address provided.


Bruce Towers
101 Scott Road
Prospect, Connecticut 06712

CDR Brad Renner, USN
Group Chief, Aircraft Operations & Government Flight Representative

In response to Karen... My son has wanted to be a Marine since he was 8 years old. So I have had a while to get used to it. My brother was in the Marines and has told my son, as he has gotten older just what the Corps has done for him over the years. He was in for 4 years, from 1976-1980, but is now in the Marine Corps League in Indiana. My brother lost his son a year ago and the MCL was there to help in anyway they could. What a wonderful organization. Anyway, my son decided to go Marine ROTC at the University of Memphis, TN. He did it voluntarily for 2 years, doing everything his instructors asked, paying for his college with a band scholarship. There at 6am and home at 10:30pm. After showing his dedication and grit, the Corps offered him a full scholarship with a stipend each month. This summer he went to OCS and enjoyed it tremendously.... although he would rather not go back. He will graduate in Dec of 2006 and be a 2nd Lt. He had let me have years of getting ready to let go. It has not always been easy at times. I want to keep our 4 kids here, so I cherish each family outing and have come to tears when I think of this being the "last time" for events. My kids laugh at me, but after OCS I think they realize too that Nick will someday, in the near future leave home, but is going to a great future. I am so proud of him joining the Marine Corps. I know it isn't easy thinking of our children going off to war or being in harms way, but they are men and make men decisions, so we must respect that choice. I am proud of my son and I know you are too. Thank you all past and present Marines.

LJ Henley
Memphis, TN

In response to Sgt Ken "P" Patterson's dilemma about his son leaving college to join the Corps let me give you some thoughts from my situation. I left college after one year to join the Corps. A fact I never regretted. After spending my time in "The Nam" I returned and eventually graduated from college. There are no college stickers on my bumper, only Marine Corps stickers. My son made it clear that when he became of age that he was joining the Marine Corps. Even as a gifted student his first choice was to become a Marine. College would be in the future but with a dad and two uncles in the Corps he said that he never considered anything else. He saw the pride and dedication and wanted to be a part of it. Believe me, there is no prouder moment then when your child is called a Marine for the first time. Unfortunately he lost is life in an accident a few months after 911 but I will always have a "My Son is a Marine" sticker in my back window.

Cpl. 'Mad Dog'
Proud Father of a U.S. Marine

Sgt. Grit:

Thanks for the mention given to Lima Company 3/25 in the July 22, 2005 newsletter! Nice to see them in the headline. Those Marines have worked hard and honorably since their arrival in Iraq. My son is a sergeant with the unit, and I am sure that they appreciate acknowledgement of their actions as well as their sacrifices in the service of their country.

Proud father of Sgt. Sam Balla, Lima Company 3/25 USMC.

Sergeant Larry Balla
Grandview Heights Division of Police

Dear Sgt Grit,

So I hear you'll be in Kansas City next month. Well, I hope you can do an old Marine a favor and visit my cousin's restaurant while you're in Kansas City. Not being particularly biased or anything, but Kansas City is known for it's barbeque and my cousin Jack Fiorella owns "Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue". He has 3 restaurants in Kansas City and I'm not kidding when I say it is some of the best barbeque in town. One of his 3 places is located directly behind the Old Union Station train depot where thousands of Marines departed for places unknown all over the world during WWI and WWII. Union Station is right in heart of Downtown KC, probably walking distance from some of the hotels, across the street from Liberty Memorial and close to the 1st Marine Division reunion.

By the way, cousin Jack's uncle, Eugene Fiorella made several of the pacific island hopping campaigns with the Marines during WWII and stormed the beaches at Tarawa and Siapan. Sadly, Uncle Gene passed away about 7 years ago, or you may have stumbled into an old Devil Dog with a few stories to tell. He was my inspiration in joining the Marine Corps back in 1981.

I regret I won't be in Kansas City for the festivities as I have some terrorism classes I will be attending for Homeland Security to protect us here on the home front. I wish I could have hooked up with some of you guys.

Anyways, check out "Fiorella's Jack Stack" if you get a chance. I've listed the address of the downtown location and a link to their website below. Fiorella's is a Kansas City tradition ever since Eugene's brother, Russell opened the Original Smoke Stack Barbecue back in 1957. The best baked bean's in town bar none! (by the way, Jack has been awarded Restaurateur of the Year, more than once and been featured on the Food Network several times)

And spread the word to all the conventioneers while you're there! This Marine will definitely appreciate it. And drop me a line and let me know if you enjoyed the grub. And take Ben Stein with ya, I'm a fan of his!

Semper Fi,
Michael Barkofske
3rd MAW

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbeque is located in the Old Kansas City Freight building directly behind Union Station

101 W. 22nd Street.
Kansas City, MO. 64108

There is a map of the restaurant address on the website (you can see it from the Liberty Memorial)

P.S. Maybe you can forward this to the 1st Marine Division's Association's website so they'll know were to go eat some great food and patronize the family of a few old Marines.

My husband is currently serving with Lima 3/25 in Iraq. And they are all working very hard. He remains in very good spirits despite the exhausting schedule they are keeping them on. I am very proud of him and all the guys over there. He is also the envy of all the other guys because he has a very cool dip can lid with USMC on it that I sent him from Sgt. Grit.

Thanks for your great products and newsletter.
Proud wife of a Marine, Cincinnati, Ohio

Sgt. Grit,

I am writing in reaction to the note "I Lost My Scholarship" from LCpl Brandon Mitalas in your newsletter of 21 July 2005.

As a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, of which the Concordia University system is a part, I was appalled by the behavior of Mr. Birkey ( as described by LCpl Mitalas.

I plan on contacting President Charles Schlimpert of Concordia University-Portland ( as well as the President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Pastor Jerry Kieschnick (, to express my concerns regarding Mr. Birkey's behavior towards LCpl Mitalas.

I would urge your other readers to address their concerns to these gentlemen as well. All e-mail addresses were obtained through the respective organizations web sites or by request of the organizations.

Rick Taylor

Hello Sgt. Grit,
The new format is really great, I was a Sgt. of Marines also 1955 to 1963, MCRD San Diego Plt.148. The habits and qualities we were taught are still with me today also as were alluded to in much of your latest newsletter. Montana has a large number of re-tired and active Marines in it's ranks and most of the Brother Marines I've met really enjoy your pages of wit and wisdom, keep up the great work..thank you and Semper Fi.

Jerry Jones

Dear Sgt Grit,

Since there are 2 "general" Krulaks living, in your Newsletter specify that the Marine who fell off the ladder was the "younger one" who was a CMC. The "older one" is still living in Southern California and is known Corps-wide as "the BRUTE." He was a three star when he retired. It was the younger General (4 stars) KRULAK who was hurt in the fall. Semper Fidelis, C.M.C. JONES, JR.

IN reference to Sgt Patterson's concern about his son becoming a Marine instead of going to college:

St. Patterson, your concern is the proof that you are a good father. Thank God for you and those like you. You raised your son to think for himself and obviously gave him a good example as a Marine. As parents we have to let our children grow up and be WHO THEY ARE. God will bless him and you for his fortitude and pursuit of excellence. He will gain so much from the Corps training-self reliance and self determination, as well as to improvise, adapt, overcome, and prevail. When he comes home, there will still be colleges he can attend if he wishes. AND when he comes home he will be ready to go to college and have the advantages of self-discipline and self-motivation as well as being be focused on what he wants. He will have everything he learned in the Corps to help him through college and all that it encompasses. Here's to your son, and, and those like him-too d*mn few of them. Mother-in-law of a Marine, soon-to-be a civilian, and a police officer. No college necessary.
D. Daggett, Beaufort SC


School will always be there, as will be the Marine Corps. That is his decision. My son made his decision at the age of 27, having a VERY good job in Chicago, and two language credits short of his college BA. There are many schools, and the school of experience is also important and you can find experience everywhere. My son has had two tours, most recent responsible for CAAT Team Blue along the Syrian Border. Two tours. Everyone of his men came home both times, and I attribute part of that to luck (yes, let's be real about this) but also what he was able to teach his men about strategy, reading the landscape and situation and other things that ended up with them spending Christmas with their families each year.

Every kid is different, and they have to answer to their own call, but the more education they walk in with, the greater the asset they are to the Corps. Don't be in a hurry to make a difference. That opportunity will always be there. Sort through what difference you want to make.

And, Sergeant, you cannot throw away education. It is the one, single most valuable thing that anyone ever adds to their life. And there will be many opportunities to add to that, as well as share what they have learned.

I do not know your son, but he is welcome to talk to me -- anyone is -- Marines Always Welcome -- Relatives By Appointment [hmmm seems like a Sgt Grit bumper sticker affixed to my front door] (Dennis Benson at If you want to go into battle, take the best you can bring, and that might take another year or two to get to. Tell your kid that there is an old saying -- youth and enthusiasm will always lose to age and treachery. That's why my son was decking kids in physical practice who were ten years his junior. Tell your son to read the book "War, Politics & Power" by Karl Von Clausewitz. My son went to Iraq in 2003 with that book in his pack. If you understand that book, it helps you lead Marines.

My best to your son, and to you, Sir, for your service.

With great respect and Semper Fi -- Dr. Dennis Benson, proud father of a Marine Sergeant

My son graduated high school with honors in 2001. He received scholarship offers almost daily. He informed me that his concept of citizenship dictated that he serve this country as partial payment for the blessings we all enjoy, but largely take for granted. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with the blessing of his mother and me. On July 19, 2005, Cpl. Gregory W. Harris departed Fort Worth, Texas for H3 Korean Village, Iraq. I hear the daily sewage spewed on network television, designed to demoralize our troops and the citizens of this country. I watch network news anchors commit treason by lending aid and comfort to our enemies. I hear lawyers talk of their sons and daughters at prestigious colleges. I smile quietly and think of my son and his fellow Marines fighting for the freedom enjoyed by the bedwetters and punk college kids. Sometimes I get a bit misty. I have learned that the Corps is not only the Marines, but the families that serve with them. I have received many honors in my career. My proudest honor is to be a part of that family.

Judge Bill Harris
233rd District Court
Fort Worth, Texas
Proud Father of a United States Marine

Sgt. Patterson,
Let him go with your blessing. He's a young man, now. Respect his choice and let him go...pray for his safety and the college will be there when he gets back. If he and others don't go...(my son is a Marine with 3/3)...there may not be life as we know it and the freedom we have to get that college education. My son is getting his education when he ETS' in 2008.

The choice is never easy, but it seems necessary...your son learned by that your parenting was enough to see him through life realistically! As a Marine you know what that means. I tell my son thank you often. He knows I back him all the matter what he does or what happens.

Proud Marine-Mom
D. Ott

Dear Sgt. Grit & Newsletter Readers:

I want to share a story with everyone. I am the very proud Marine Mom of 19-year old Pfc. Samuel Breckenridge. Last week I was in Cleveland for a work conference. I had gone out of the hotel to take a walk and, as I always do, proudly adorned a t-shirt that said "My son is a Marine." When I returned to the hotel a young couple got on the elevator with me. All three of us remained silent on the ride up to the 21st floor. As the doors opened and I stepped off the elevator, the young man said, "Ma'm, please thank your son for us." My eyes immediately teared up and I said, "thank you." It is times like this that make it easier for this Marine Mom.

Suzanne Brown

Sgt. Grit & all ,

I just want to drop a line and say thanks for all the fine quality merchandise that I have received from you over the last couple of years. Your products not only decorate, but also offer a tangible bond between families and our young pups, while they serve their country, overseas. My youngest son has served two tours in Iraq and returned to the states on this past Easter Sunday. He is w/ the 2/5 out of Camp Pendleton. I've never been so proud of anything or anyone in my life. The state of Texas requires registered tags on front and rear of motor vehicles. Since August of ' 01, I have displayed a U.S. Marine tag on the front of my truck, and have never been challenged. I think they understand. Once again, thanks. You offer more than just merchandise.

Rick Barndt Malakoff, Tx

U.S. troops operating along the Iraqi/Syrian border have found that most of the hostiles they encounter and kill are foreigners. Saudi Arabians are the most common, but there are others from as far away as Morocco. The anti-government/terrorist forces are now overwhelmingly non-Iraqi forces. Iraq is being invaded by these hostile foreigners who kill hundreds of Iraqi citizens a month. These foreign invaders speak Arabic and say they come in the name of peace.

"The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations."
-- George Washington

It is impossible to fight a war without heroism. Yet, can you name a single American military hero acclaimed by the media for an act of courage in com