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Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #91

You are aware of all of the comments my bumper stickers have caused both pro and con. I have had some say OOOHRAH, some have given me thumbs up, some have said F you and even my work has said that they were inflammatory. Last time we spoke I said I was thinking of taking the d-mn things off. I have given it a lot of thought and my decision is let them stay . Let me tell you why, one of the comments that I received was from an old guy who was so old that he was having a hard time walking. he came by me in the parking lot of a local store and just smiled and said: "I'll die a marine too." How can I in good conscience take them off? SSgt DJ Huntsinger 68-75

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Message to Sue R.
Mam, as a Marine who has done 2 combat tours myself, one in Somalia and one in Iraq, I can't tell YOU how proud I am of YOU. As I have watched my own mother's face when I left I can't imagine what is going through a mother's mind when she sends her boys to war. It is said that the toughest job in the Corps is a Marines Mom, and I sure believe it. On behalf of every warrior that ever served, I proudly salute YOU and YOUR contributions to your country and the Marine Corps. No matter how much pain and misery we proudly endure, we are still our mother's sons. Semper Fi Mam,

Sgt Grit,
Thanks for this forum. Thanks much for sharing the pictures of our fellow Devil Dogs. These wonderful young American patriots are simply awe inspiring. As a retired Jarhead, and the father-in-law of another, I have never been so proud to have been in the Marine Corps as I am today. Seeing these (kids), with their sense of duty, pride, espirit de corps and dedication, is incredible. When I go down on my knees each night; I will beg God to watch over and protect each and everyone of them. Only In America!
Msgt W.L. (Duke) Smith Ret

Hello again Sgt.,
I have written in before shortly after I arrived in Iraq. I am writing now because my time in Iraq is coming to a close. I had the unique opportunity to be in this country and to participate in the first free elections in this country. It has been a unique experience to say the least since I have been here. I am part of the 1st FSSG tasked with convoy security among other things here. While the security position we provide here is one of the more dangerous jobs, it is also one of the most rewarding jobs we have done. We have all traveled to places that most only dream about and many will not go. This mission has been one of the greatest experiences that I have ever been privileged enough to be a part of. Since I have been here, the overwhelming support that I have received from home has been astounding. My family and wonderful Fiancé, Amber Hannah, have made much of what I do possible. Without the support of the people that we love and care about, and the support of our American nation our mission is pointless. I have personally traveled over 4,000 miles since I have been here, and it is not an easy task. Thank you for the news letter that you provide. Since I have been here, I have read everyone of them and the stories that people provide have also been a great help to me. I hope that this news letter continues for many years, and one day I can write in again to give support to those who will need it.
Cpl Maddox
Lima 4/14
TQ, Iraq

Hello, I wanted to send this along in the hopes that maybe this will make it into the news letter and some of the fine Marines and Vietnam Vets in this story will get this thank you.
Back during the first Gulf war my cousin LCpl. Thomas Robert Tormanen, was killed when the bunker where he was sleeping caved in. It was 3 days after the end of the war and was quite a shock to the entire family. Tommy was a sweet kid. Married with a 2 month old son that he had not yet seen. In shock, I traveled to Milford Michigan Where Tom's family lived. When I got to the funeral home the line was way out past the parking lot and down the block. I got in line and finally got to the Casket. Tommy was so handsome in his Uniform. Still tan from the Kuwaiti sun. His best friend had been only feet from him that night.
He asked permission to accompany Tommy home. There was a Marine at the head of the casket. Stoic and silent. I don't know how he stood there so still while literally hundreds filed by that coffin. He stood as Tommy's wife sat silently by her husband and wept. He stood while the family sang songs of heaven and the Arms of Jesus. He stood and I felt safe. His friend that accompanied him home spent time with the family in the family room. He told stories of things he and Tommy did, told jokes, told of their conversations. Tom's parents listened attentively and hung on every word. It made us feel like we had been there.
The next morning we headed to the funeral at the church. His friend was in his uniform and at the head of the casket today. Stoic, eyes front, perfect, not even seeming to breath. As the service began and the minister (Tommy's uncle) spoke the tears fell and you could hear many in the church weeping. I looked at Tom's friend there at his head.
Silent, and then the lip trembled and silently seemingly not to breath the tears fell. slowly at first then in a stream that I thought would fill the ocean. Such love from his Brother Marine.
The 800 car procession made their way to the cemetery. We were one of the first cars. The funeral home had made red, white, and blue bows for the cars. As we came into the cemetery I noticed a line of 5 soldiers standing off on a hill. As I looked closer I saw they were Vietnam Vets. They saluted and held that salute for all those cars. The ceremony was brief. The Marines flawless in their every move.
I watched. The Vets on the hill did not leave until we did. I felt such love for those men.
After 14 years the tears still flow too easily as I think of those fine Marine Brothers and those Vietnam Vets. I was never able to thank them or tell them what a comfort they were to all of us. I am hoping to thank them now. If you have stood stoically, preformed a memorial service flawlessly, saluted a brother Marine, Or served in war and stood silently in a cemetery on a hill and saluted a fallen hero. Thank you.
I know it is so little, but you have my deepest and most profound thank you. You made a deep grief for me a little easier to bear.

I have been reading the thoughts of Marines and their families since my son graduated from Parris Island in January 2003. I never realized just how much of a change it would be not just for him, but for the whole family. The pride in my young man and in all of the young men and women who take on such a hefty challenge is overwhelming. Having a child or other family member in the Corps really gives a different perspective on the value of freedom and the costs it bears. I can't tell you how much reading some of the letters, from moms especially, have helped me in the last few weeks. My Marine deployed 2/1 for the first time and it has been one of the hardest but proudest times of my life. When I looked at him before he left, I saw no fear, as a matter of fact he was joking about what it would be like over there. The only time I even saw a hint of anything was when I nearly crushed him and drowned him saying goodbye! I, like all other families of brave Marines, fear what could happen, but I try to focus my energies on other things and pray my heart out for his safety. This newsletter has helped me start to adjust to the whole idea by reading what other moms are doing to make it through.
I have taken suggestions from some of the things I've read. I can't watch the news or read the papers and I have already sent letters and packages and he's only been there about a week. I have only heard from him once to say he arrived safely and that will probably be the hardest thing to get used to, less frequent contact. When he was in the states I talked to him at least once a week, often more. I have good friends and family who are very supportive of me and of my son so I am lucky in that respect. I take comfort in words from other Marines and family members; who knows better what it's like. I never understood the whole Marine connection thing until my son became one. My thanks to all who share their thoughts that have helped so much. Who better understands the emotions and pride that come with being a Marine Mom. My thoughts and prayers are with all our Marines and families. God Bless you all.
Marine Mom from Abingdon, MD

Sgt Grit,
A young man of outstanding moral character, fine ethics, and extremely high standards, is in Iraq right now. This young man, Jacob Haulman, who has been my "little brother" for over 8 years now, is in harm's way because he chose to live his lifelong dream and join the Corps. I supported him, wholeheartedly, when he made this decision and I am so proud that he is serving in this capacity. When I entered military service in 1988, it was the Marine Corps that taught me the meaning of discipline, honor, loyalty, and devotion. I tried to help instill those things in Jacob as he went from the early teens to today. He didn't need much help because he was already driven by a strong inner desire to succeed at all his personal goals. The Marine Corps helped him grow up, take charge of his life, make decisions soundly and with courage, and let nothing stop him.
I appreciate all of the letters and notes that I read each time the newsletter arrives, and I wanted everyone else to know how proud Jacob is to be a Marine and how proud I am of the man he has become.
Semper Fi, and goodnight Chesty...wherever you are.
ETW "Gunny"
Puyallup, WA

Just think about it for a minute. 77 v!rgins, divided by 30 days in a month. 5 days PMS + 5 days in, the poor S.O.B. deserves every screaming day for the rest of his friggen life.

Hey Sgt. Grit,
I want to say hi to all my "Frat." bros.,both active and inactive. I come from a proud family of Marine vets.
My great grandfather was one of the first Marines in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. I have a copy of his enlistment papers and his fitness report.
My father served during the Korean war.
My cousin served in Vietnam. I served during the tail end of the Vietnam war and my brother served in the mid-eighties.
I envy all the families who have sons and daughters serving. The pride they feel must be incredible.
I have two sons and a step son. None have a desire to serve although to be fair,my two sons suffer physical problems that would probably prevent them from passing the physical.
I only hope I live long enough to see a grandson , granddaughter or nephew join the Corps.
I yearn to go back to Parris Island and walk across the "grinder" one more time.
Semper Fi.
Sgt. M.Held , 2nd MarDiv 72-76

Sgt Grit:
I'm not sure if this will make the newsletter, but I need all the support I can get. I am firmly set on joining the Marines, but all those around me are against it, except for my mother. My friends tell me I will be killed, my relatives tell me they don't want to lose me, and my father tells me there is no place for women in the military.
That's right; I want to be a female Marine. I don't understand how my male cousin can join up and it's ok, but I want to defend my nation, and it becomes a huge controversy. It has gotten to the point where I don't want to sign up with them knowing and just leave one day so I don't have to hear them. It will break their hearts, but it seems to be the only way I can join. Any stories of female Marines who served in wars and came home safe would be appreciated and comforting.
S. Neff

What's up Sgt.Grunt
I just wanted to say how proud I am of having served in our beloved Corps and starting out in G 2/7 Marines WPNS Plt in the early 80's I made a life time of brothers even though we are hardly ever in contact we still speak once in a while and when I moved on to B 1/3 Wpns Plt in K-Bay I made more brothers not friends because that's what we are and I know of the sacrifice that the parents and wives and girlfriends are making when they lose a Marine in combat because you see I lost my dad in the Nam in 1970 U.S. Army so I hurt every time that I hear of news that I lost another brother especially when that Helo went down a few weeks ago form K-Bay that really hurt I am extremely proud of the Marines who are giving there time for God and country and to the parents who sit home worried sick about there son or daughter in Iraq. My best friends and brother is a Marine first Sgt Pendleton and every time he deploys I worry for him and his troops like a parent because I know what happens when the gentlemen knock on the front door. Our Marine Corps has changed over the tears but we are still the best fighting force in the world. Again thank-you for being Devil dog in the finest since.
Semper Fi
Will Dotson Cpl.
G 2/7 wpns Plt.
B 1/3 Wpns Plt.

I read with great joy how proud all the parents are of their Marine son's and daughter's. I too am very PROUD of my son for becoming a Marine. I take great honor in having bragging rights about what the Marines do for our country and the world. Thank you for sharing this information, it really makes my day to read how proud other are of our soldiers.
Proud Dad of a U.S. Marine (PFC Matthew R. Pallardy)

To the "Very proud mother of a SGT in the Marine Corps." (#89)
I believe your response on this subject was very good until you stated "Offer this Marine the grace to let it go, to understand his frustrations, and instead of writing about that particular mistake..."
Why was it a mistake? Is it possible that he hit the nail on the head? His words, his beliefs, his feelings. You cannot pull one line out of a poem and use it to analyze the authors "feelings." You must listen to the "feelings" expressed in the written word of the entire work.
The Col. USMCR (Ret.), has stated that he is an educated, educator. He should be aware then that "our feelings," are just that; feelings owned by the individual.
GySgt Rosson (AD)

"The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else." --Frederic Bastiat

How about this one for idiocy!
'The United States Needs to Lose'
Metro Times, a Detroit weekly, quotes a new book from World's Laziest Columnist Gwynne Dyer:
"The United States needs to lose the war in Iraq as soon as possible. Even more urgently, the whole world needs the United States to lose the war in Iraq. What is at stake now is the way we run the world for the next generation or more, and really bad things will happen if we get it wrong."
This is a common sentiment of the anti-American, but Dyer deserves some credit for stating it so forthrightly.
Ed Moore

"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times." --George Washington

When I received this quote from a friend of mine via e-mail the first thing that came to my mind was the Iraqi elections. As I thought about it more and more through out my day I realized just what this quote meant to me. This was the first year I was able to vote for our nations president. Even though I voted so that I could be heard I still took it for granted. I watched the Iraqi elections and thought about one of my best friends, LCpl Wise, who is currently in Iraq. I knew that he would possibly be there watching some of these people vote for the first time in their lives. I found it to be odd that I an 18 year old woman just voted for the first time in my life before some who are 70 or 80 or older voted for the first time in their lives. I now think back and extremely glad that I did use my right to vote.
That night when I was laying in bed with this quote still circling around in my head. I thought some more about it as I was laying there. About two and a half weeks before I had voted I had swore in to become a future United States Marine. Never in my life would I have thought that either of these would be huge events. Of course a week before I went to MEPS I never really believed that I would even be thinking about joining the Marines.
So when I read this quote and think about what it means to me. I know that I am putting forth the effort that it talks about. I will make a difference some how, some way during my career as a United States Marine.
Semper Fi
Poolee Hurla
Proud friend of LCpl Wise

"Too many people -- some of them judges -- seem to think that freedom of speech means freedom from consequences for what you have said. If you believe that, try insulting your boss when you go to work tomorrow. Better yet, try insulting your spouse before going to bed tonight." --Thomas Sowell

Those of us that have earned the title "Marine" know that we are forever part of an elite, warrior band of brothers who play, fight and die for one another. A non Marine can not understand us, our way of life and our love of our corps. After 30 years as a Marine I still wish I could be in the sand box with all the warrior Marine. That not being possible, I am doing the next best thing-watching our Marine continue the tradition of honor-duty-corps. They are doing a fantastic job and deserve all the support we can give them. Keep them always in your prayers as well as their loved ones who anxiously await their safe return.
Semper fi
Pete Seagriff, SgtMaj- USMC-Ret

Sgt John: The treatment we received coming back from Vietnam was shameful. Historians say it was because people were frustrated with the government and it's policies. Hard to put that in perspective when you were on the receiving end. I'm not particularly concerned that today's warriors will be treated as we were; I'm worried that it might be worse. I'm afraid that our countrymen are growing tired of hearing about our efforts against terrorism. I'm afraid that they will ignore those who are putting their lives on the line in support of our foreign policy. To try and keep this from happening, I urge all veterans, and the organizations they belong to, to get out and physically greet those returning units and individuals at the airports, reserve units, and active duty bases worldwide. At least they will know that their predecessors appreciate their service and welcome them home. Go that step further and invite them into your Legion or VFW Post, sign em up and get them active. It may be that they will be the only ones welcoming the next generation home. SgtMaj Tom Schlechty, USMC Ret.

Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons." - General Macarthur

Both of my brothers are Marines. Sgt. Vince Cain is over in Iraq as we speak. Our little brother, PFC Aaron Swain, just graduated from San Diego in January. Our fathers were Marines as well. Matter of fact they were lifers. And our Grandparents, both Mom and Pop were also Marines. I couldn't more proud of my family. Even though, I myself am not a Marine, it runs through my blood. Thank-you for the sacrifices and love.
Tiffany Joplin

I am a proud wife of a wonderful husband and even better US Marine. I just attended a very nice dinner at our new duty station in Iwakuni, Japan. The dinner was in appreciation to all the warriors that are here in Iwakuni who have served in OIF or OEF (operation Iraqi freedom or operation enduring freedom). There were fellow Marines there who spoke of the care packages and letters of thanks from people who they didn't even know. It was amazing to see how much they appreciate these small tokens of thanks for all they have done and endured. My husband himself has numerous cards and letters from school children and church members that he may never meet. In our recent move, we went through them and I was reminded how special these items are. Long after my husband is out of the Corps, we will still have these. He will be able to show them to our daughter and possibly our grandchildren of how our whole country came together to support our troops during a time of great change after 9/11. So to all who are out there writing letters and sending care packages, THANK YOU. For you are helping us families by helping our Marines by making their day. Another interesting point was made in tonight's dinner. That heroes may not be recognized by awards or celebrity like status, but for those who he/she has put their own necks out for the good of others, let it be known that someone knows, and they will never forget. I know of one in particular. To LCPL Keith A. Jansen, you are my hero. Too many times have you saved me, and time and again your there when I need you. How you are so good at your job of a Marine, a father, and a husband, we all should strive to be more like you. I love you.
Sarah Jansen

Note: Want to help? See the two pages below.

"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands." --Thomas Jefferson

Who defends those who defend us?
"A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have."
Theodore Roosevelt’s speech to veterans, Springfield, IL, July 4, 1903, raises money and awareness for the defense of soldiers and Marines whose actions in the heat of combat are being second-guessed.

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." --Dwight Eisenhower

No Charges Filed in Iraq Insurgent Death -- CBS
Feb 24, 2005 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Military investigators have decided there is not enough evidence to bring formal charges against a Marine who killed an unarmed Iraqi while his unit searched a Fallujah mosque, CBS reported on Wednesday.
The Marines entered the mosque last fall during an offensive aimed at clearing insurgents from Fallujah. They were seeking the source of insurgent gunfire and found several men wrapped in blankets on the mosque floor.
After what he reported as movement, a Marine fired at one of the men on the floor, killing him.
The incident was captured on videotape and broadcast widely.
"The insurgents, it turned out, were unarmed," CBS reported. "But investigators say the Iraqi the Marine thought he saw moving could have been going for a weapon."
"At the very least, Navy legal experts believe the situation is ambiguous enough that no prosecutor could get a conviction," the network reported.
Any decision on punishment within the Uniform Code of Military Justice was to be made by Marine commanders, CBS said.

The Northwest Navigator
By JO3 Travis Lee Clark
Staff Writer
Friday, January 7, 2005
Military members leaving home from on leave can now spend a little more time with their families before returning to duty in a combat zone.
Thanks to a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security directive. (TSA security directive 1544-01-10w Access To Sterile Concourse For Non-Traveling Individuals), the direct family of service members can now accompany their Sailor, Soldier, Airmen or Marine through security and directly to the gate of their flight, said Krista Cossalter-Sandberg, SeaTac USO executive director.
“It’s nice when the families can do this,” said Cossalter-Sandberg. “They get to see their service member for a few hours longer and that can mean a lot to them before he or she is possibly sent into harms way.”
For non-traveling individuals wanting to get past security, Cossalter-Sandberg said arrangements should be made through the individual airlines and not the airport.
“Family members should call the airlines and see if they require any special documentation before coming to the airport. Once they’ve made arrangements, they should get here about two hours before the flight to be sure they get through security.
Family members should bring a valid photo I.D. to the airport with them and their service member should bring a copy of their orders, said Jennifer Peppin, a TSA spokesman.
“This is a relatively new directive from the TSA and some airline employees may not be familiar with it so I recommend families arrive at the airport early,” said Peppin. “This directive was put in place to benefit America’s military and their families. We understand that a few extra moments with a loved one can mean all the difference before they’re shipped off to hazardous duty.”
© 2004 Sound Publishing, Inc.

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." --Bertrand de Jouvenel

The St Louis, Mo. area will find this interesting.

Dear Sgt Grit,
I wrote around this time last year letting everyone know the situation I had with my son earning his high school credits early and missing his graduation and senior year to be shipped off to boot camp. I had a fight with the school district because first of all they weren’t going to let him walk in his dress blues when we planned on him being home for his graduation and then they had proceeded to tell me when I requested to be handed his diploma at graduation that they found it inappropriate. Well I did receive his diploma after the newspaper got a hold of it, big write up in the paper!!! Anyway I am sending my next son off to boot camp on February 22, 2005. He also completed his requirements and is shipping off early and missing his senior year. I requested that he walk in uniform because he will have completed boot camp by then and be home when his class graduates. The principle of the high school said that they would be honored for him to walk in his dress blues and receive his diploma!!! Anyway I guess they had a real eye opener from last year. I cant believe that both of my sons have chosen to do the same thing and give up so much. I am very proud of them. All of the men and women serving in the corp. God Bless you and your families. God speed proud Marine Mom, Ronda Elko, Nevada

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world." --Thomas Carlyle

I would like to share with all our brothers and sisters that have just earned the Title Marine what I wrote to my Two youngest sons when they earned the right to be called Marine.
They are part of the Best that we as Americans have. That no matter where they are in the world they will never be alone. That there will always be a brother or sister that they can find and be able to talk to or get help from. The Marines take care of their own.
To the mothers and fathers of our young Marines be proud of your Marine, walk a little taller with your head held high and know that the world is a litter safer because of them. And welcome them home with cheers when it is all over.
SGT. Fred Rainer
A1/5 Viet Vet

Dear Sgt. Grit,
We have been subscribers & have appreciated the opportunity to order from your catalog since our son joined the Corps on Sept. 10th, 2001. The newsletter is a great and wonderful thing. We enjoy reading the Quotes of some of the founding father's, fellow parent's and other Marine's who have served our country with honor & dignity. Keep up the good work!
Our son, Cpl. Jeremy Olson, is currently serving with the H.M.L.A. 367th, 3rd M.A.W. in Al Anbar Province, " Korean Village " Iraq. We received an e-mail from him on Saturday Feb. 12th entitled "H&ll Froze Over ". It was snowing very large flakes, had rained and then froze again putting a glaze of ice on their AH-1 SuperCobra's. Was a -10C. Being Marine's are trained to fight, they did in this case with snowballs & for a short time had some fun in a place where that is difficult to find.
As a footnote, our son recently was decorated with, while in a combat situation, the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Award for preventing the loss of two Cobra's( and their pilot's) from in-flight failures due to: detection of main rotor bearing failure( because he knew something didn't sound right) and the next night for detecting & successfully replacing( under blackout conditions) in post startup inspections, a leaking main fuel shutoff valve that was spraying fuel onto the engine firewall & into the transmission bay. He is a " Plane Captain " for Cobra's & Huey's of the 367th.
Thanks for making it possible to honor our son & all Marine's every day as we fly the E.G. & A. below the Color's on our pole from Sgt. Grit. :>) !
Bruce & Linda Olson

I don't know who wrote this, but thought I would share.
America is more than a piece of land, a geographical spot on the globe. It is a set of ideals, a way of life, a people, free because we are brave. Brave not because we are willing to die for our own freedom, but because we have always been willing to die for the freedom and liberty of others, even when we didn’t have to.
Semper Fi,
Christopher Andrews
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (1980-2002)

Hi Sgt. Grit,
I highly encourage all to adopt a Marine in the sandbox as it is called. Gary and I have adopted a young Marine in Afghanistan and I can't tell you how we enjoy going to Wal-Mart and getting stuff for him. In the first box went neat mittens that were made so the end folded back and the fingers were free, (good shooting mittens). He said he used them the night before and they worked great. Warm socks, razors, AA batteries, candy, peanut butter in a plastic squeeze tube, etc. I got a letter back from this Cpl. and he was so grateful. I think he is one who doesn't get much from the US. Of course he shared with his fellow Marines. So now, there are 2 boxes sitting on the kitchen table, ready to go Monday. We went through the whole store looking at things and saying "Think he could use this or would he like this?". From useful things to silly things, if we though he might like it, it went into the basket. We actually gave up the idea of a bigger TV and decided to use that money for postage. If anyone gets a chance to adopt a Marine, do it! You get to help them know they are not forgotten and you can tell them personally you are proud of them. Gary and I did not have a son that could be a Marine but we now have a way to help.
Gary and Margaret Smith

To Cindy Kersey PMM of PFC Chase
Congrats on becoming a Marine Mom! I know all to well the feelings you are having. My Marine son LCPL. Will became a Marine Oct 10, 2003 at PI. He has since been injured in Iraq but is recuperating in San Diego at NMCSD. He was in the fighting in Najaf in the cemetery first part of Aug 2004 and 2 weeks later wounded in a mission in Kufa. It was tough to see him go off to boot but I was sure proud the day he received his Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I couldn't have made it thru this without God, family and the new family I found in my support group of the 11th MEU. What a wonderful group of mothers, fathers, wives, gf's. We have a bond that others do not know. Only someone who has a loved one away can understand the roller coaster you get on when your loved one is deployed. I am so proud to be a Marine Mom! It is a honor. The Corps has been wonderful to me seeing that I got out to SD as soon as Will was stateside. Saw we had housing at the Fisher House which is incredible when you are in such a situation. They saw to our every need. Rest assured. We are not in control of anything! Only God knows, we just have to rest in Him and He will give you peace. He did me! Find a support group thru your son's unit. Like I said friends mean well but unless they have a loved one over there they can't begin to know what you go thru day to day, hour to hour. You have my prayers and my support! God bless our troops. God bless the Corps
Semper Fi
Jayne Woods
PMM LCPL. Will 1/4 Alpha CO. 1st PLT
11th MEU SOC

"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man." --Thomas Jefferson on George Washington

The families of the fallen heroes are upset that they are using our sons names in a propaganda campaign. No one contacted us to ask if this is how we felt or how our sons thought. We want our sons names off of these combat boots.
Many families are planning a protest but we need it brought to the public's attention that we do not feel this way or support this memorial. We have no problem with families who feel like this but no one asked us for permission to use our son's name in such a way. You reach so many people, so as the mother of a fallen Marine, I am asking that you get the word out and help us in any way that you possibly can. We are proud of our son's service and if any one fully understands the cost of this war, it is we, the families who have lost their beloved child in it. NO ONE should speak for us in any way shape or form without clearing it with us first. Thank you. Sincerely,
Danni Wyatt
VPMSM of Lcpl Daniel R Wyatt
KIA Yusufiyah, Iraq, Oct. 12, 2004

Hi Sarge, just a short note to let some of our former night fighter airdales out there that the " MARINE NIGHT FIGHTER ASSOC." is having an annual reunion 5/4/05 to 5/8/05 at the HOLIDAY INN ON THE WATERWAY at Myrtle beach SC. All Marine and Navy personnel that were members of a VMF-( N ) 0r AWS squadron is welcome, anyone interested contact.
Arthur Schwarts
ph. 843-357-2291
Ron Harbison
Ph. 724-352-1029
Semper-FI Rene W. S/SGT. 1948-1953

To Cindy Kersey, Proud Marine Mom of PFC Chase:
I could not agree more with you about Kevin Shea's words, "When the time comes, adapt and improvise, Marine Moms do it naturally." I think all Mom learns to do that to a certain extent but Military Moms go beyond the norm with it. It's the Military Mom that will bake enough cookies for their child's whole group, just because they always taught their child that it was nice to share and not everybody's Mom bakes. It's the Military Mom that will buy their child's favorite things (candy, toothpaste, socks, etc.) and usually a couple of extras just because somebody else might need some too. It's the Military Mom that usually pays more to ship their child something than it actually cost for the item. And the most treasure thing of all, it's the Military Mom that hears the words I Love You and thank you from their child more than most Moms. You will learn to adapt and improvise just as you have done thru boot camp and SOI. You will develope your own rituals and things that makes you feel close to your child even though they are sometimes thousands of miles away. You still worry the same, you still have sleepless nights, and your sense of knowing when something is not quite right where you child is concerns becomes stronger.
Have faith in three things: 1. God, 2. Your Child and 3. Your Child's Training and the Corps.
Amy Hoffmeier
Proud Marine Mom of PFC Daniel L. Gruber

As I was reading the local newspaper about the Iraq Elections, these thoughts kept flooding my mind repeatedly to the point that I couldn't finish reading the article until I wrote them down. After writing them down, I dropped the article off at the newspaper office on my way to the gym that morning. The newspaper subsequently printed the article (once again deleting my closing of "Semper Fi"--why I don't know).
Anyway, here is what I wrote:
"Even if the Iraqi elections may not result in "total success" and be subject to questions from many (especially the Arab world), it will not and cannot die, for the seed has been planted and that cannot be undone! For many of us, there is not death for that which has lived (no matter how long)! God bless our troops and veterans and those who fought for it, for Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
Joe Bissonnette
Tiverton, RI

I saw a headline a few weeks ago that read "What if they are right". It was in response to the Iraqi elections and their lack of disruption and the favorable large turn out. Popular media didn't give it a chance. The correct path is usually not the easiest. I had very few doubts about the paths difficulty or the correctness. It is spring and things are starting to take root and grow in Iraq.
"They" are looking more wright every day.
Peggy Noonan’s book on President Reagan When Character Was King has him telling her one of his favorite stories.
The carrier USS Midway had sent out a launch to pick up some boat people in the South China Sea.
As the launch returned to the carrier, a refugee stood up and yelled to one of the Midway’s crew, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, Freedom Man.”
For the Gipper, that story said it all. People on the other side of the world -- people who know only a few words of our language -- trust our military to be not occupiers but liberators.
After the victory for democracy in Iraq, Reagan’s story seems to perfectly illustrate the way 8 million Iraqi voters now feel about every Marine serving there, every one a “Freedom Man.”
Semper Fidelis
John Connolly
Liberator Bumper Sticker

Hey, Sgt Grit,
I hope Col. Khan gets an opportunity to set some of those feather merchants straight in a public way! My son served with the Col. when he was in 1/2/2 Mardiv at Camp Lejeune[1990-94]. He was known , and revered, as Gengis Khan!.When my son went in I knew he would be not only the best trained, but the best led infantryman. Having had the opportunity to meet many of my son's officers, NCO's, and buddies, I can tell you I have never met a finer group of men.
Youngstown, N.Y.

RE: Robert S. Finnegan, Managing Editor, Southeast Asia News comments
First this guy insults General Mattis, then apparently insults everyone who reads your newsletters. He sure has "a way with words"! It appears that Mr. Finnegan could use some serious "couch time" or, at the least, double up on his meds. Of course, we ought to remember that its one of the reasons his fellow Marines have put their tails on the line -- protecting his right to express himself under the 1st Ammendment. Only in America. I wish I had a subscription to his rag so I could cancel it.
I'm an "Old Breed Marine" who doesn't appreciate this looney tunes supposedly speaking for me.
M.J. Bergart
USMC '56-'58

Hello Sgt Grit,
In regards to Lt Gen. Mattis; everyone learns about some of our great generals in history class and everyone knows their names. MacArthur, Patton and Grant. They had their public image problems but were still great fighting generals. If I remember right President Lincoln once said if Gen. Grant was a whiskey drinker he wanted to know what brand so he could send it to his other generals. Hang in there General, you're in good company and there's a lot of folks who are glad you're out there doing your job. Thank you.
Aunt of a Marine

Sgt. Grit
I purchased some of your SEMPER FI salsa and took it to work with me and between 5 of us we had two thirds of it gone in 6hours the same day I received it.
So the people I work with at KENTUCKY TRUCK PLANT door line we love your SEMPER FI salsa.
Edward Rollins

Lt. Gen Mattis
First of all let me say that I have never served with the Corps in any official capacity however I am the son of a Guadalcanal Veteran from the First Division, M/3/5.
I had the opportunity to meet Gen Mattis at our 1st Division Association Reunion in California a couple of years ago.
The Division has just returned from their first deployment to Iraq and Gen Mattis has explained the assembled group how instead of sailing straight home from Australia to San Diego, the troops has requested and were granted the opportunity to sail north thru "The Slot" within several thousand meters of a battlefield where the Division earned its reputation as an elite fighting force.
With an almost reverent voice, Gen Mattis explained how everyone not on duty was on deck to catch a glimpse of this place called Guadalcanal. My job as a civilian trained me to read people awfully well, and there is one thing on this earth I know for sure, Gen Mattis loves his Marines and would never sacrifice that trust for glory or a few seconds of air time.
So should we hunt down the killers that threaten our way of life? You're darned straight we should and let's finish the job we started and bring everyone back home we can and for the heroes who will go on to stand guard with my Dad, you have the love and admiration of a grateful American family.
Very Respectfully,
John Wills
Vicenza, Italy (soon to be doing my part downrange)
Give 'Em H&ll General Jim!

I felt I had to respond to your disjointed, rude and hateful diatribe attacking General Mattis and Sgt Grit. You ask what Chesty Puller would have thought of Mattis, and if you knew anything about Puller at all, you would know that he would have loved his attitude. Puller was an aggressive war monger. Point him at the enemy, and off he went. Puller spoke very plainly about what he thought too, which did not endear him to the senior leadership in the Corps even back then. General Mattis's leadership capability is not at question here. If the Corps was really worried about what he said, he would have been relieved of his command the next day after that story broke. What his people did in Iraq and Afghanistan proves that he knows what he is doing, and that his people do too. (Obviously you haven't been paying attention the last two years or so.) Further, he is enjoying a very broad base of support and loyalty from his Marines and the public in general, and I agree with what he said. Having been there and seen what happened in Kuwait in the first gulf war, I find nothing particularly repulsive in killing evil people. Since the terrorists (They Are Not Insurgents) currently operating in Iraq are unlawful combatants in the first place, they have lost the rights and protections of the Geneva accords, just as mercenaries have. Further, they are savages, not civilized humans, or they would not behave as they do, when they know they cannot achieve their goal of resubjugating Iraq into an extremist islamofascist state as it was under Saddam.
Now, as to the "prattle" that appears on the newsletter. Pull your head out of your ass, fool. The stuff that appears here comes from Marines and their families for the most part. In attacking it you are attacking them, and they have every bit as much right as you do to post to the newsletter. You are a hateful little worm, and I really doubt you have ever had anything to do with being a Marine, or you would know that the Marine Corps is as good as it ever was, and always gets results when it is asked to do so. They also don't whine as you do. Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, while regrettable, have been totally acceptable. The only casualties that were unnecessary were the ones inflicted when that Air Force moron bombed one of our CP Amtracs in plain sight because he didn't bother to familiarize himself with American armored vehicles.
Either grow up, or p!ss up a rope.
Sgt Grit, my apologies for this rude pr!ck.
Steve Cox
SSgt USMC Ret.

By GYSGT. John Valceanu USMC
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Feb. 20, 2005 -- The tide is turning against anti- coalition fighters in Afghanistan, a senior British general serving there said.
Speaking about the progress of ongoing operations in the central Asian country, British Army Maj. Gen. Peter Gilchrist, deputy commanding general of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, said Feb. 19 that there many indicators the coalition's strategy is working and that anti-coalition forces are losing steam.
Enemy fighters in Afghanistan include members of the al Qaeda terrorist network, the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin -- or HIG -- terrorist group, remnants of the former Taliban regime and other forces.
When he arrived in Afghanistan three months ago, Gilchrist said, he was reading daily incident reports about attacks on coalition forces. Now, the reports tell a different story, mostly describing caches of weapons and ammunition turned in to coalition forces by Afghan citizens.
"The whole thing seems to me anyway to have shifted significantly, which demonstrates to me that the people are on our side. The people are working very much with us, not that they weren't before, but it's gone another stage further," Gilchrist said. "It has subtly changed. Does that mean you've ruined the insurgency? It doesn't. But you've gone an awful long way toward it."
Humanitarian assistance work by the coalition is one reason why Afghans are increasingly supportive of the coalition and why anti-coalition fighters are losing support, Gilchrist said.
An example of this is the support provided to the Afghan government by the coalition in delivering hundreds of tons of food, medicine and supplies to villages cut off from the rest of the country by recent severe snowstorms. The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan has declared a state of emergency in the country following severe snowstorms that created drifts up to 20 feet tall in the mountains and heavy rains that turned roads into impassable mud bogs.
Helping the Afghan people shows them the coalition is trying to help them, Gilchrist said, adding that he was impressed by the way the Afghan government responded to the situation. Afghanistan's central government coordinated efforts between the coalition, international humanitarian relief agencies, the United Nations and other organizations.
"The great thing, the really good bit of news, is that it's been coordinated by the Afghan government and it's been well-organized," Gilchrist said. "Once they realized they had an impending crisis, they've mitigated it. To me, that shows that we're gaining maturity in this government, slowly but certainly."
It is becoming obvious to many insurgents that they will not be successful in their attempts to overthrow the Afghan government, the general said. That is one reason why some anti-coalition fighters may be willing to put down their arms.
"The signs are out there that a resurgence won't probably work," Gilchrist said.
"They can carry on the fighting for a fair bit of time, but their chances of winning anything strategic are getting to be pretty small, if not infinitely small."
Though hardcore extremists may not quit fighting unless they are captured or killed, Gilchrist said he thinks many rank-and-file anti-coalition fighters are prepared to stop fighting and adapt to a peaceful way of life. To help them reintegrate into the new Afghan society, the coalition is working to help the Afghan government create and implement a re-integration program for former anti-coalition fighters.
"There are rumors that there are quite a lot of people who want to come back," Gilchrist said, adding that he believes people will turn themselves in to be reintegrated "once we demonstrate that the people who do come back can come in and not be arrested and interfered with, and go back home and start a normal life."
The reintegration program would allow former fighters to register with government authorities. They would then be placed under the supervision of a local elder or chieftain for a probationary period in their local district. The program does not exonerate those responsible for crimes, Gilchrist pointed out.
"It's not an amnesty. There are no preconditions for this. If they have done a war crime and subsequent investigations come along and find that these guys are guilty of war crimes, they will be tried for them," Gilchrist said. "What we will be doing is helping the Afghanistan government to facilitate their return."

What a pathetic little man. I love how he dumps on the Corps while still identifying himself with it. Interestingly, if you go to the Southeast Asia News Service website, or check out his articles on line, you'll notice that he takes great care to identify himself as a Marine in all his bylines. So let me get this straight, he has only contempt for the Marines and Marine communities such as this, but he can't wait to identify himself as a former Marine to those he panders to. I think Mike Myers said it best in the animated movie Shreck....."I think he's compensating for something." Any guesses just how successful little bobby might have been when he was in the Corps? Bobby......what's with the anger? The rage? Two words, slick - get help. Oh yeah - two more - shut up! Go annoy someone else.
Semper Fi,
Bill Philbin
Major USMC (Ret)

Hey Sgt Grit,
ever since hearing it on New Year's Eve, I've been waiting to get the song "Bumper of my SUV" on cd. Singer Chely Wright has finally released it on her newest cd. Spread the word please, this is the best song I've heard about the Marine Corps since the Marine Corps Hymn. I get Goosebumps every time I hear it. I've learned that the song is based on an actual event that happened to Ms. Wright, and she has a brother who is on active duty in the Corps, so she's a part of our Marine family. So a big Semper Fi to her. Anna Grabill

What would you say?
Apparently General Mattis said something this week that the Washington Press corp considered to be "offensive".
Allow me to put his comments into historical perspective:
Admiral William Halsey - US 7th Fleet.
“Before we are through with them, the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell.”

General Curtis Lemay - Strategic Air Command
"You've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough they stop fighting."

Ulysses S. Grant - General of the Army and President. "I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."

General George S. Patton. "I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the sh!t out of the purple-p!ssing Japanese, before the G*dd*mned MARINES get all the credit!"

And finally, my favorite General says all that needs to be said to the idiots in the press:
General William Tecumseh Sherman
"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over."

And in the best retort ever against the "nattering nabobs" in the press, a full 150 years before the advent of modern "advocacy journalism", he said this:

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all this evening they would be reporting news from Hell before breakfast. "
General Mattis can say whatever the h&ll he wants as loud as he wants as far as I'm concerned. Just keep fighting and keep winning, all the rest is just words.
I Thank God for men like General Mattis. I find his statements mild by comparison to his historical peers and quite understandable in context of which he was speaking. It took me all of 15 minutes to google-yahoo up these comparative quotes and had the press taken the same effort, the shock and revulsion they have expressed might have been somewhat lowered. Had they also bothered to listen to his entire speech , that also might have helped, but hey, there's parties to attend and caviar to be eaten, so I guess they have their priorities.
The only people offended by General Mattis are people that are prejudiced and bigoted against members of the military. I'm not sure I care too much about the opinions of bigots...
Frederick C. Montney III
MSgt, USMC Retired

What Would Chesty Do?
Bumper Sticker

And in the best retort ever against the "nattering nabobs" in the press, a full 150 years before the advent of modern "advocacy journalism", he said this:
"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all this evening they would be reporting news from H&ll before breakfast. "
General Mattis can say whatever the h&ll he wants as loud as he wants as far as I'm concerned. Just keep fighting and keep winning, all the rest is just words.
I Thank God for men like General Mattis. I find his statements mild by comparison to his historical peers and quite understandable in context of which he was speaking. It took me all of 15 minutes to google-yahoo up these comparative quotes and had the press taken the same effort, the shock and revulsion they have expressed might have been somewhat lowered. Had they also bothered to listen to his entire speech , that also might have helped, but hey, there's parties to attend and caviar to be eaten, so I guess they have their priorities.
The only people offended by General Mattis are people that are prejudiced and bigoted against members of the military. I'm not sure I care too much about the opinions of bigots...
Frederick C. Montney III
MSgt, USMC Retired

God Bless America!
Semper fi!
Sgt Grit

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