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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 #93

I'm James Bunn, I leave For Parris Island May 23rd. I'm 18 and I too would be proud to serve my country in any way possible, I'm the only poolee in my area that isn't trying to get put behind a desk so that they don't go to war. But if I do go to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or anywhere after Boot camp, I will go With pride, and if I were to not come back, I will die with Pride. Thanks for serving.

James Bunn

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Fellow Marine;
That young was on to something with the comment he made. To many people join the Corps for the wrong reasons. I'm currently in Iraq. This is my 3rd tour in Iraq. This is why I joined to Corps. To take the fight to our nations enemies on their turf and beat them at their own game. Nothing is more satisfying to me. Now I don't speak for every Marine, but the Marines that work for me will agree with me. SO to all those thinking about joining the Corps for College money, Look somewhere else we don't need you.
Fallujah, Iraq

I am the mother of a proud U S Marine who just returned from Iraq. He lost 8 of his buddies on October 30th and 9 were wounded. He would have been with them when the car bomb hit their military vehicle, except they had just dropped him off to make a phone call to me. He still mourns their deaths. He was to lose more of his buddies later when they became involved in the big fight in Fallujah. They did see God's hand of protection many times as the enemy tried to destroy them. One night, an enemy rocket landed where they were sleeping but didn't go off. My son, who became a Sgt on December 1st, 2004, thought on the 91st Psalm often. He is proud to have served his country in the Marine Corp with his fellow Marine buddies. Your newsletter was a source of comfort and encouragement to me while my son served in Iraq. I proudly display my bumper sticker on my car and let everyone know I have a Marine son. I do grieve over the fallen. They are not forgotten. My heart goes out to the families who have lost a son or daughter in the war. There loss is great. Lorena Gay, proud mother of a US Marine

Sgt. Grit,
Just saw a great news article on the local Denver channel this morning and thought I should pass it on.
It seems as though a very proud Marine Mom had a USMC flag flying on her house stolen this past weekend. In full Marine tradition, the local Marine Corps League out of Greeley, CO provided her with a brand new flag to fly on her front porch. The gentleman from the League was asked by reporters why... to which he replied "What else would we have done?"

Amen brothers, everywhere.
G Torres

You asked why anyone would discourage someone offering to serve our country and put their life on the line to defend her. Here is the best answer I can come up with: FEAR and GUILT.

I have two sons who became MARINES and a third who may be able to become one of the "few". My friends asked me how could I let them do that, aren't you afraid for them? Here is what I told my friends: I raised my sons to be independent young men, to go farther in life than I did , to do more than I did, to accomplish more than I did, to see things and go places that I haven't been . To decide for themselves what their life would be. How can I tell them they "can't" do something that means this much to them? How can I not be proud of them? No one in our family had ever been in any branch of the military. We had no experience or stories to learn from. They chose this on their own without any examples. I supported them without understanding what this meant until the day my oldest son graduated from MCRD, San Diego. I tell my friends if they are ever privileged enough to attend one of the graduation weekends they would be changed forever, just as I was. People say that to you because they are afraid and they don't understand. A lot of people my age and older were part of the draft-dodger, hippie, Viet Nam era. They are all living with the shame of not doing the right thing when asked to, or knowing someone who wouldn't. I really believe they feel guilty for not having the courage to do it when it was their turn. They were too afraid then. They are still too afraid to understand what it takes today. They bought the media slant of that time without ever finding out the truth for themselves.

I thank God every day for the young men and women like yourself who have found the courage to go and do something that is extremely difficult, but noble and honorable. Don't let the lack of support and negative comments enter your thoughts. Just continue on the path you have chosen and do your best. I am sorry you have suffered the loss of your father at such a crucial time. Know that you are going to be part of a VERY large family and we will all be here for you. Godspeed on you quest. Let us know how you are doing.

A Marine Mom from Illinois

The tree of Liberty must at times be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Thomas Jefferson

S.Russo USMC '66-'72

Being a Mom of a Marine, I'm appalled at the gall of people stealing car magnets representing our support of our troops. I went to watch my other son play a hockey game and came out to find my "Support our Troops" and "Keep My Son Safe" ribbon magnets were gone yet they left my huge USMC emblem magnet. In mentioning this to my father, he too, had his stolen. I understand this is American and people have the right to be against the war but why take my "Keep My Son Safe" ribbon? Do they not want our troops to come home safely???

Cari Chubka
- Mom of LCpl Gough

Note: Let me be the first to answer that question. No. There are certain elements in our society that do not want our troops to come home safe.
Sgt Grit

Sgt. Grit,
I am writing you about an elderly Marine friend of mine that is in the VA hospital in Dallas. His name is platoon Sgt. Otis "Karl" King. He was captured on Corrigador in 1942 and was a prisoner of war in Japan for 3 years. He has penned a wonderful book called" The Alamo of the Pacific" about his and others experience in Japan while POW's.He is one of our true heroes of world war 2 that is still around, although he is not doing well. I just wanted your readers to know about him, and to realize that veterans like him need to be honored. We at the Tarrant county Marine Corps league have taken up watch at his bedside along with his daughter, to assure that he gets competent care at the VA hospital. Please include Plt. Sgt. King, and all of our vets in your prayers! Freedom has always been expensive, and our older vets deserve our all! Semper Fidelis!
Heslep,J.A. Sgt. USMC 1969-1973

Sgt. Grit,

Good day gentlemen, good news today, one of our three charges has returned safely in California from Iraq. Cpl. Chasse has returned and will be homeward bound shortly. This has been a tough tour for his wife who lost her former fiancé in Afghanistan a couple of years ago. There are many more to return in the next few weeks including our son in law who has a date to meet his new born son which he has yet to see.

It is good to see so may women Marines respond to the newsletter. Keep it up! Our women Marines also help keep our beloved Corps strong and carry that same warrior spirit within them. I can only say we need more of them. If you want to change your life forever, carry within you the self esteem to take you through life with the confidence there is nothing you cannot accomplish Join the Marines. You’ll never regret it and when your past your prime as I am you will know, for even just a short time you made a difference.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
RVN Hotel Co. 70-71

Sgt Grit,
Been reading your letter for a few years now and always go from beginning to end. Thought I would relate a funny incident that happened to me last year. I was on a cruise ship heading to Mexico for some much needed R & R. I just happened to take along my "Give War A Chance" T-shirt recently procured from your company. Every time I had worn the shirt I had expected or maybe hoped some sissy, war protestor would give me some grief and I would have an opportunity to "calmly" explain my thoughts on the matter. Anyway, I was wearing the shirt in the chow line aboard the ship waiting for some noon chow when this guy taps me on the shoulder. I turned around and he says "I just wanted to comment on your shirt". I thought okay, here we go...wonder if they have a brig on this tub and if so will I get the same meals as the passengers? So he grabbed my hand and shook it until I thought my arm would fall off. All the while saying he wished more people thought like me and that we are doing a great job fighting terrorism and then thanked me for my service. I was so shocked, and maybe a little disappointed he wasn't some peacenik, I could barely get the words "Thank You" out of my mouth.

I saw him several more times on the ship and every time we passed within eyesight he would throw me a big smile and one of those civilian "salutes". Needless to say, I am still wearing the shirt and still looking for a crowd of protestors.

Keep up the good work with your site.
Semper Fi
Sgt Barry Venables

Hi Grit,

I'd like to clarify something if it is possible...

Somewhere between the decision to join the Marines and becoming a Marine there is a revelation in your mind: You have given your life to your country.

After that it is irrelevant whether you return from combat or not. If you return alive it is just icing on the cake. You are going to kick as much a$$ as possible/necessary for our country.

Parents should understand this and do their mourning before you go. They should honor their children's choice and not be so selfish as to make them feel bad about going.

This country needs these warriors as much as it needs wise leaders to deploy them carefully.

God help us all!
MSgt Scott McClellan USMC Ret.

Sgt Grit,
I'm a used-to-be line officer in the Navy, & my wife's a Navy nurse, but all three of our sons went Corps. This was their own choice -- not ours -- and strongly supported by both of us. We live in the hills outside Oakland, in northern California, & with Berkeley & San Francisco nearby I often refer to it as "occupied California." Nevertheless, my wife & I had a personal reminder that there are still supporters of the USA, even in this socialist-infested area.

Our two oldest are in Iraq, & the younger was wrapping up job school in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, so my wife & I were dining alone in a small family-owned Italian restaurant. (BTW, they hate the French there.) We usually start any visit with wine & news of their family & ours. The owner/staff have watched our guys from the time they could barely see over the table, so they're always asking about the latest news, have we heard from the guys, etc.

When my wife & I finished our meal -- with a bottle of nice wine (Italian, of course) -- Tony (one of the family) was surprisingly slow about bringing the check. When I got his attention, he told me, "Your check has already been taken care of." It seems another couple had overheard us catching up on news; realized we had three Marine sons, with two deployed; & had paid for our meal.

Unfortunately, they'd already left before we learned this, but I'll be looking for them in order to convey our thanks for a gracious action. Their name is Fenton. I only wish our sons could have been present to be the recipients of their generosity. Our oldest is scheduled back this month, & our middle one by summer.

John Harrold

p.s. The little guy's course is taught jointly to Marines & soldiers. In spite of a tight race, he graduated #1 in the class, beating out the "hoo-ahs" & preserving the honor of the Corps. (His meritorious bump up to LCpl wasn't a bad deal either, & my wife & I got to pin on the new stripes at the graduation.)

Just wanted to say a prayer for God's blessings to all the Marines and their families. May He hold all these warriors in His hands, and give peace to their families. Signed proud father of Sgt. Caleb N. Hooker {soon to pick up his first rocker}, serving in Iraq with CSSD-28.

To Kim Oprins fiancé' of L/Cpl Sean Cloyd stationed at Okinawa, Japan:

Congratulations on your engagement ! The wait will be well worth it ! It will be a love story that you can tell to your grandchildren !

My son, PFC Daniel Gruber is assigned to 1/ 5 out of Camp Pendleton and has been recently deployed to Iraq. When we took him back to airport in Indianapolis we stopped and picked up a young lady, Judi, that has been friends with my son since the time that they were about 3 years old. Over the course of the last 17 years I have watched these two grow up together. I have watched them play together and push each other down. I have watched them fight with each other and I have watched them defend each other. They could go a year and not talk or see each other and pick up just like they had seen each other the day before. Judi wrote to my son while he was in boot camp and if my son did not write back to her soon she let him know. At the gate at the airport Judi gave my son a initial ring that she has had since about age 5 and told him that she would wait for him to come home from Iraq so that he could take her on a proper date and then she kissed him good-bye. I did not know about the promise to wait until the next day (Valentine's Day) when my son called me and asked me to go shopping for him. He asked me to go and buy Judi a promise ring for her to wear while he was away. He said that he felt very strongly about her having it and he didn't want to wait until he came home to give it to her. I am took the ring to Indianapolis the following Saturday morning, called my son so that Judi could talk to him and took pictures of her (and the ring) to send to my son so that he could have them before he deployed. I have a feeling that there will be a question asked when he gets back. And I'm sure it'll be on one knee at the airport when he comes home. The kids often joked about dating and such when they were younger and my son even asked Judi's dad when he was about 12 years old what he would think if he were to marry his daughter some day. When Judi told her parents about the promise and the ring her dad's response was to tell Dan that "he owes me two spotted ponies and 4 six point blankets now." My son had been given her dad's blessing.

Amy Hoffmeier
Mother of Private First Class
Daniel L. Gruber
1/5 MAR Ramadi, Iraq.


I read the newsletter top to bottom when it comes through, great to hear from all the others. I just got the urge to write after reading soon to be recruit Brandon Dunn's note about people looking down on those brave enough to join and defend this country. All I can say is that the values you grew up with, the pride you've spent your whole life building, the love for your country and your willingness to die for what you believe in is well beyond the understanding of a lot of people. The people who look at you like that and those that tisk your decision, simply don't understand. They are the ones who thought 9/11 was "tragic" or "shameful" and that's all. They have no idea that an attack like that woke the giant and we have no choice but to stretch out our arms as far as we can to grab those who would harm our way of life. We cannot stand here, seemingly safe within our borders and wait for the next attack. They may not agree with what we're doing over there but what we do over there is mostly help people. Almost every war the United States has been in, we've dumped millions back into these countries to help them rebuild. What other country would do that? Did bin Laden cut us a check for the WTC and say, oops sorry, I was aiming for that other one? If they kill a US soldier and hang him from a bridge, do you think they'll be any sort of trial by their home country for war crimes? What if we didn't have a long standing history of being the largest military on the planet? What would we subject ourselves to then? How many times do you think we would have been attacked by now? Ask these people to answer these questions, maybe that'll shut them up.

These are probably the same people who call the police every time they hear a noise outside but don't agree with Policemen/women carrying guns. They think that as long as they and there families are safe, everything else is fine. They don't care what it takes to keep us safe. They don't have any family members that have gone to war and they definitely should rethink their choice of words. For months after 9-11, everyone seemed to be on-board the freedom wagon. It shook our minds and drew tears from (I hope) everyone who saw it. THAT, right there, is what they're forgetting. They're forgetting that feeling of unity and brotherhood. Once you're a Marine Brandon, you will never forget unity and brotherhood and you will never let anyone walk away from you without leaving a little bit of that with them. You're making the right choice and welcome to the family. (soon)



"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."
--John Adams

"By the way, when's the next Not In Our Name rally? How about this Saturday? Millions of Nionists can flood into Trafalgar Square to proclaim to folks in Iraq and Lebanon and Egypt and Jordan and Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority that all the changes under way in the region are most certainly Not In Their Name."
--Mark Steyn

Dear Brandon,
First, I’d like to say I’m sorry to hear of your fathers passing. He was obviously a good man, as I can see through you.

In answer to your question, all I can say is- ignorance! Young men like yourself have been answering America’s call to arms for over two centuries now giving their lives so that we may all have the freedom to express ourselves, including the ignorant.

Brandon, I don’t know you. I don’t know where you’re from. But I do know you make me proud of you and all the other young men and women that enlist in the armed forces, especially during a time of war.

You see I’m a veteran Marine myself, 89-93, and am currently a police officer. I deal with America’s youth on a daily basis and sometimes I become discouraged. Your letter reminds me that the young men and women I normally deal with are the minority. You Brandon, and others like you, are what keeps America strong.

Good luck to you in may, and welcome to the family.

Ptl David M. Smith
Red Bank Police Dept.

Sgt. Grit,

Hope things are going good for you. Thank you for writing back I enjoy hearing from fellow Marine brothers. I have meet many Nam vets. I rode to the wall last year .I rode from Phx. to L.A. then to D.C.

And whit the help of some parts that I ordered from you place. ooooooorha. I rode a 90 FXR .Then I rode it to Cherry Point N.C. my son is stationed there .I gave him the bike. He will soon be transferring to Miramar . He will be a crew chief on a KC-130J .

My eldest son Salmineo, who he to is a former Marine .He was an E.O.D. /scout sniper. during samalia/hati. 4 yr. hitch.

My youngest son Jorge makes the 8 Marine in my Family.. He has 15 mos. left of a 8 yr. hitch.

Oh I display all bumper stickers I have ordered from you and wear pins on my vest purchased from you and window stickers to.

Thanks for all you have done to help all your Marine brothers in a way to show us to be proud and not forgotten , the Few the Proud The Marines .

Thank You and to all your personal for a job well done Sgt. Grit.....
always a Marine
cpl. Espindola,Jr.George

Dear Sergeant Grit,
Enjoyed reading everything about Vietnam on your website because it brought back memories of my service there. I was an Air Force Air Cargo Specialist at Tan Son Nhut Airbase in the suburb of Gia Dinh adjacent to the city of Saigon, November '68-November '69. There was death everywhere a hundred times over just outside Tan Son Nhut and even on the airbase itself: Most notable were death by traffic accident, death by pressure-triggered explosive devices in innocuous boxes placed under our aircraft cargo pallets when they'd been left on dunnage for a while, death by the old grenade-on-a-string device hung from a fishhook on the metal screening of US buses, death by the old grenade-wired-on-the-transmission linkage trick (for Jeeps & Trucks), and a slow death from 21 different kinds of Gonorrhea and 4 different kinds of Syphilis, several of both diseases untreatable by Penicillin. It wasn't real combat, but these methods claimed a fair number of us.

However, we saw few Marines there, except those who were on R&R, with one notable exception. There developed a strange odor over near the Cooler Cargo area, which was not under our Inbound Cargo jurisdiction. I went over there and found a body bag with a young Marine PFC in it who was from Puerto Rico, as the tag read. I asked the Staff Sergeant there why he was there and not over at the huge mortuary facility less than a Chinese Mile away. He said he didn't know. I asked why the young Marine was not at least put in the cooler. The SSGT. replied "He might pollute the cooler." "How long has he been here, Sarge?" , I asked. "Three Days," he said. Rather than get into a shouting match or punch that SSGT. in the nose, I went back to my area and reported it to my NCOIC, a WWII former Army combat infantryman in earlier times. He understood the meaning of what I was telling him. I went back to my work and heard him speaking loudly on the phone to someone and lo and behold, a mortuary truck screeched to a halt outside Cooler Cargo within minutes, loaded up the young Marine reverently, and went back the way it had come. The incident still bothers me to this day, although I had put it out of my mind until recent times. I apologize on the part of the 8th Aerial Port Squadron on Tan Son Nhut for what happened in this incident--to you and the Marine Corps: At least a brave young Marine could go home to his family decently.

Peace, James C. Neel, Ex-Buck Sergeant E-3, United States Air Force, Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN, AF16965753.

P.S.I wear my civilian-made cap with its Vietnam colors bar and "Vietnam Veteran--US Air Force" letters proudly every day that I teach as a Substitute Teacher. JN

Sgt. Grit,

AMEN to the new bumper sticker, "Noone Likes To Fight, Someone Has To Know How." And amen to Mrs. Cates saying, "Don't mess with anyone who loves a Marine, is all I have to say." She is so right that we wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends and mother-in-laws will "scrap" in a heartbeat when it comes to our Marines and anyone disrespecting them. Our Marines restrain themselves in those situations much better than we do. Just ask SSgt Huntsinger. His liquor store trip STILL makes me grin! SSgt, keep those bumper stickers on there. Where are we going to get such entertaining stories if you don't?

God bless all of you families who are supporting your Marines and all of you have lost your Marines. You're all remembered daily in my prayers, along with your Marines who are over there giving it h*ll. Let's keep giving it to 'em here in the homeland as well. I refuse to let this be another Vietnam here in my neck of the woods. And it makes me very proud to see all the families who feel the same as I do. Keep up the good fight!

Cindy Crook
Wife, Daughter, Sister

Hi Sgt. Grit,

Just reading through another one of your wonderful newsletters, reminiscing about my time in the Corps. S. Neff, lead your own life and do what you need to do to make your way in this world. If serving your country is what you need, then do it! Joining the USMC was the best thing that ever happened to me! As soon as I turned 18 I joined, I didn't ask anyone what they thought. I wanted to be a part of the best military branch in the US! I still have many friends from my time in the Corps. Last year I visited one of them in Beaufort and went to Parris Island to see my old barracks. I was inspired to dig out the Alphas I wore to boot camp graduation, clean them up, lose 20 pounds so I could wear them and took my fiancé to the local ball so he could learn a little bit more about that part of my life. It was also my 20th anniversary of graduation. Well, we got to talking to other people at work (I am a police officer in a major city) and we rounded up about 100 former Marines (police officers) to go to the Birthday Ball! Many dug out their old uniforms. We had a blast! You just can't get that kind of camaraderie anywhere else!

Shauna W.
Sergeant, 1984-1991

What we need is a few more men like General Mathis who tell it like it is.
Patrick Lyons
Cpl of Marines

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I've been receiving your newsletter since my son, Chris (Cpl. 3/7 Kilo, 99-03) joined the Marines. Many times I laughed, even more I cried but always it has been a source of pride knowing my son was one of "The Few." I found support when he went to boot camp and comfort when he was deployed to Iraq for OIF I. For that you have my deepest gratitude. You and all the Marines who have served, are serving and will serve to preserve and hold safe all that I hold sacred. I know of no other group of people who instantly make you feel part of the family like the Marines, past and present and their families. Even now, almost two years after his EAS, we stay in touch with many of those we were privileged to get to know. For all of that, I will be eternally grateful.

I've never been prompted to write before, but when I received this email from Chris today, I knew it was something I had to share. The following was originally signed by E. William Belz II, Director, Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs and has been forwarded several times. I don't think he would mind us sharing it. The story was sent to Chris by a buddy's dad. Take a deep breath before you read on.... I hope this makes it to the next newsletter.

Thanks Sgt. Grit
Debbie, Proud Mom (Mother of a Marine!)


This is written by a Navy Commander at a port in Kuwait ... No commentary needed, the 3-minute read below says more than a 20-page article could about our warriors and the constitution of our men.

Where do we get such men?


"They are so d*mn young"

I was going to the gym tonight ( really just a huge tent with weights and treadmills), and we had heard that one of the MEUs (Marine Exp Units) that had come out of service in the "triangle" was redeploying (leaving country). We saw their convoy roll in to the Kuwait Naval Base as the desert sun was setting.

I have never seen anything like this. Trucks and humvees that looked like they had just come through a shredder. Their equipment was full of shrapnel blast holes, and missing entire major pieces that you could tell had been blasted by IEDs. These kids looked bad too! I mean, sunken eyes, thin as rails, and that 1000-yd. stare they talk about after direct combat. Made me pretty d*mn embarrassed to be a "rear area warrior".

All people could do was stop in their tracks and stare... and feel like I wanted to bow my head in reverence. A Marine Captain stationed with me, was standing next to me, also headed to the gym. He said, "Part of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 8th Marines, sir. Took the heaviest losses of any single unit up north as part of Task Force Danger, sir."

As the convoy rolled up, all of us watching just slowly crept toward these kids as they dismounted the Hummers and 5-tons. Of course, we were all shiny and clean compared to these warriors. This kids looked like they had just crawled from Iraq. I had my security badge and id around my neck, and started to help them unload some of their duffle bags. A crusty Gunny came up to me and said "sir, you don't have to do that..." I said, "Gunny... yes I do..." They all looked like they were in high school, or younger!! All held themselves sharply and confident, despite the extreme fatigue you could tell they had endured.

"You guys out of the triangle?" I asked. "Yes, sir". 14 months, and twice into the grinder, sir" (both fights for Fallujah).

All I could do was throw my arm around their shoulders and say "thanks Marine, for taking the fight to the bad guys...we love you man".

I looked at these young kids, not one of them complaining or showing signs of anything but focus, and good humor. 'Sir, they got ice cream at the DFAC, sir?" "I haven't had real ice cream since we got here..." They continued to unload... and after I had done my handshakes and shoulder hugs, the Captain and I looked at each other ... They want ice cream, we'll get them ice cream. You see, a squid O-5 and a focused Marine O-3 can get just about anything, even if the mess is closed. Needless to say, we raided the closed DFAC (mess tent), much to the chagrin of one very p!ssed off Mess Sergeant and grabbed boxes of ice cream sandwiches (as many as we could carry), and hustled back to the convoy. I felt like Santa Claus. "Thank you, sir.." again and again from each trooper, as we tossed up the bars to the guys in the trucks. I'm thinkin', "Son, what the h&ll are you thanking me for? I can't thank you enough."

And they are so d*mned young ... I will sleep well, knowing they are watching my back tonight."

Mr. Dunn may I suggest an answer to those who do not understand your willingness to serve your country. Simply say, "Nearly 5000 U.S. citizens have died at the hands of these people. I do not want you to be number 5001."
Semper Fi. Stephen Fox, Cpl 69-72.

"Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another, and in so far as it tends to exist with the freedom of all according to a universal law, it is the one sole original inborn right belonging to every man in virtue of his humanity."
--Immanuel Kant

You can retire your tattered, worn out and frayed American flags without cost to you. Send your flags to the Kitchen Table Gang Trust, 42922 Avenue 12, Madera, CA 93638-8866 and we will dispose of your flags in a proper and dignified manner with full honors and dignity pursuant to the United States Flag Code Section 8K (PL93-344). We have been doing this for he past seven years. Our flag retirement ceremonies are held on Flag Day, June 14th each year and are conducted by an all volunteer U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard led by GySgt. Dan Kelley USMC (Ret.).

Charles Taliaferro

"Freedom is not a gift received from the State or leader, but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all."
--Albert Camus

in reply to ken bougher 2546794 usmc 1969-71.

i too was in 3rd laam bn. yours was the first reference i have heard of 3rd laam.

i was at cherry point 64-65. company Lt was Lt J J Mcderment. remember the guard shack( old truck van body) out behind the motor pool? i was a 35163531. mechanictruck driver. it had a small electric heater but those N C nights were freezing.

i will die a jarhead too. I have N H veteran initial license plates 3laamb, Sgt Grit, durgin, on my 3 pickup trucks and the few on my car. i have twin sons in the service. russel durgin us army 10th mnt. fort drum ny. just back from a year in Iraq. his brother sean durgin stationed at littlerock afb, a hercules c-130 mechanic. also seeing duty in quatar.

just want to say thanks to all the services for their patriotic duty and courage. i too cannot get through a newsletter with a dry eye and i consider myself a pretty tough marine.

lester durgin cpl of marines

I am very proud and happy that my son, LCpl. Justin Alger, 1st MarDiv 2/11 G Battery, has finally returned home to his wife and family from a 7 month tour in Iraq. We are proud of all our military personnel and the difficult job that they are doing, away from their homes and loved ones.

Semper Fi
Dan Alger Sr. Proud Father of a US Marine!!

Dear Sgt. Grit:
I just wanted to send you a little note about the positive things that our troops are doing over in Iraq and to show those b*stards the truth for once. Back a couple of weeks ago, a Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon with the help of some friends from the Utah Natl. Guard performed open heart surgery on a little girl from Iraq.

The surgery took place at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine and the little girl is doing very well and her family couldn't thank the American people enough for their generosity.

By the way it didn't cost her family a dime. So to all those anti-types, read it and weep and God Bless our Troops and George W. Bush!

Tom Ryan
Portland, Maine

A H&lluva Good read made these Ole Duck Eyes sweat. Its HAPPINESS to read this, and to see the respect these fine Young Marines are getting. A major change from when we returned from Nam ..

Duckman / El Pato

Hi, Sgt. Grit!

I would like to thank Ed Moore, Lcpl. Patrick Moore's Dad, for his letter describing his son's 2/24 planned homecoming in Chicago. It makes me almost want to come up from Columbus, Ohio, just to say Thank You to our Marines of 2/24 and experience a grand welcome! I used to live in one of those nice North Shore towns and consider the Chicago area my home. I am wishing them the time of their lives. Well done!

Our Marines, (4th Bn.) 3/24 have been activated this past December and just left for Iraq this February. While homecoming is not yet imminent, I look so much forward to that day. I have been thinking about homecoming before they even left and envisioned a big event for our Marines, Lima Company, the unit out of Columbus. Our other companies are from NY, WV, Cleveland, and Akron.

However, I am told that the only thing our Marines would want to do is turn in their weapons and go home. I do not know what, if anything, our other companies in 3/24 are planning. When the time gets closer, I may just ask that question. For now, I'd really be interested in hearing from others on the subject of homecoming, big event, little event, no event? And how did the Marines feel about it? Surely we have enough readers whose Marine husband or son has an opinion on the matter.

Just a wondering Mom who'd like to have a big event!
Semper Fi!

The French Leader got a coded message from Bush Administration.

It read: S370HSSV-0773H
The French were stumped and sent for the French Information Agency.
The FIA was stumped too, so it went to the Russians.
The Russians couldn't solve it either, so they asked the Germans.
The Germans, having received this same message during W.W.II from the
Americans, suggested turning it upside

... David Ray

Pardon our noise, it's the sound of freedom.
(At the gates of New River Air Station)

In response to the article from Cpl Tom Mahoney 3/17/05 regarding bumper stickers. I work for a local community college also. There is a lot of support for our military there but not enough as it should be. Being the very Proud Marine Mom that I am I have my SUV plastered with support our troops and USMC stickers, plates etc.

One of the items that clearly catch the attention of the college students here is "My son is fighting so yours can party in college". The other catches the faculties thoughts is "If you can read this thank a TEACHER. If you can read this in English thank a MARINE.

I know I am doing my part to get the point across.
Have a great day ~ Semper Fi
Proud Marine Mom, SKJ

Just read lots of remarks about bumper stickers in your newsletter. I have several on the back of my camper shell. I went out one morning to find that apparently someone didn't like my patriotism and put a BB into the glass. Your stickers foiled their plans and kept the safety glass from falling out. I added some clear packing tape to help. Soon I'll have to get a new back window but not before ordering more stickers.
Semper Fi
Homberg, W.R. HM3
1st ANGLICO Sub 1
RVN 66-67

Sgt. Grit;
During my first tour at MCRDep, San Diego (Apr 51-Oct 53), I somehow wound up as a clerk in the Separation Battalion, processing many of the Marines returning from Korea. While most of the DD214s specified "USMC", many more were typed "USMC-SS" and "USMC-SSV".

I was promoted to PFC in September 1949, Corporal in June 1951, Sergeant in March 1953. Eventually, wound up at HQMC, promoted GySgt in 1968, retired January 31, 1970.

I have always been very proud of my service in the Corps, but the Marines of today's Corps are an outstanding "breed apart".

Always Semper Fi.
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (49-70)
Hendersonville, TN

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
--Patrick Henry

On Sept. 3rd at 10:00am there will be a POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held at Seven Circles Heritage Center near Edwards, Illinois. A reading of names listed on the roll from IL. and all bordering States will be read by an individual from each of these States.

Along with other scheduled events there will be a X-POW from W.W. II as a guest speaker. Following the POW/MIA Ceremony on the 3rd & 4th of Sept. the Seven Circles Heritage Center will be having a Gathering of Veterans Friendship POW WOW.

As a MNLOAD and Co-Chairman of this event it would be very nice to see Veterans from all bordering States in attendance.

C. G. Ash
Sgt. U.S.M.C.

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am finishing up packing my suitcase to head out to Camp Pendleton for the homecoming of my son who is returning from the big sandbox. I have so many mixed emotions right now; happiness that he is finally away from the war, excitement that I will be seeing him by week's end, concern about what effects this whole experience has had on him, worry that I won't know what to say or do to make everything alright again. But before I get too involved in the whole homecoming scene, I wanted to write and thank you for the newsletter that comes to my computer each week. Reading the letters from current Marines, family members of Marines, and veteran Marines have helped keep me going through this whole experience. Friends and family mean well when trying to soothe my nerves, or boost my spirits. But, the best thing I could do was to connect with people who have been there or who have walked in my shoes. God bless our Marines. And God bless the USA.

K. Cone
Proud Marine Mom of LCPL Kyle 2/11 Headquarters

Sgt Grit:
The Marine Corps Recruiting Association, Inc. has confirmed the location for our second annual conference and reunion. It will be held in the Dallas, Texas area in 0ctober 2005. A firm date and motel location will be forth coming.

Please contact President Dan JOHNSON, 4112 Driscoll Dr., The Colony, TX 75056-3014 Phone 972 625-0720 or E mail or Jim SIMMONS, Sect/Trea, Rt #1 Box153C, Milo, MO Phone 417 944-2632 or E mail

We are still looking for members that are or has been in the recruiting business. active duty, retired and former Marines. Please check our website at for information on our association.

Semper Fi
Sgt USMC 1955-1964

Sgt. Grunt,

Even though I personally was not in the service, and I tried nearly 25 years ago but due to a hearing loss/problem, I couldn't get through the physical, I am VERY PROUD to say I have a son and daughter-in-law in the Marines. My son, LCPL Dustin Rogers is currently stationed in Twenty-nine Palms with the 2/7 Fox Company, Weapons Platoon and is awaiting his deployment in mid-July. My daughter-in-law, PFC. Rogers, Mindy has just finished her training in Mississippi and has been stationed in San Diego, Camp Pendleton. Yes, not completely together but at least a lot closer.

In either case, I guess by not being able to join myself, I feel somehow a part now that I have two very special people in my lives that are Marines. I couldn't be any more proud of the both of them as I am right now and I know that most families feel this way, but again, I am blessed with having two of them there. You know there are certainly a lot of sacrifices made by these young people but these two have certainly gone a step further by graduating High School together, joining the marines together, leaving on the same day, graduating on the same date (in different states), getting married while home on leave, leaving again the same date(and again different states)and now, nearly a year later, they are back together, at least within a few hours anyway.

I guess it is things like this in our daily lives that we really have to take a hard look at and remember that, we people here at home really do have it made and it's really because of kids like these two.

Anyway, thanks for listening Ken Rogers,very,very proud father of two United States Marines, SEMPER-FI

Hello, I am a Marine Fiancé and I am new to the military life. My Fiancé left for boot camp on September 7, 2004. The morning his recruiter came and picked him up to leave for boot camp was the hardest day of my life, but I knew I had to be strong for him so I sucked it up and wrote letters everyday. I loved receiving the letters from him, it let me know that he was ok and doing good. He graduated on December 3, 2004 and of course that was one of the best days I could have ever had. On family day I was so excited to see him and proud of what he had accomplished, I couldn't help but cry because I was so proud. I am still proud of him, it takes a lot to do what he did and he done it. He is currently in Oklahoma doing his field artillery training. He has got word that if he gets stationed in NC he is going to Iraq in September. I held back as much as I could not to cry when he told me, it hurts so bad to find out information like that, but what can you do except be there and be strong for him. We are probably going to get married before he leaves. His brother is already over there and supposed to be coming home when my fiancé will be going. I never knew the sacrifice's military families made until I got faced with this. I love what he is doing for his country and what all our other service members do for our country. I pray for them every night. I love that he is one of the few, and the proud. I want to say thanks to all our current and retired service members! I am d*mn proud to be an American!

"When great causes are on the move in the world we learn we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
--Winston Churchill

My name is Renee Prince, my son is now a Marine . I am so very proud of him . He just graduated from boot camp . I just want to say that I was so surprised when people would stop to shake my son's hand and thank him . They thank him for helping to defend our country and keeping their kids safe at home . If it were not for guys like my son , joining voluntarily , there would be a draft . The pride in his face when they shake his hand and thank him , means the world to us and him . He'll now go back to California for his Infantry Training . I'll miss him terribly , but , this is the best thing he has ever done in his life . I am a proud mother of a Marine .

Hey "Grit" readers,

One of my Sergeants at the Grandview Heights, Ohio, Police Department has a son, Sgt S.E. Balla, that just arrived in Iraq. His son was activated and deployed with 1st Plt, "L" Co, 3/25, 4th Div. (a grunt unit) based in Columbus, Ohio.

As one might expect dad is worried but still doing his patrol duties every day helping those that are "back home". Well, since this is MY old unit that got activated, and since my Sgt is as good a defender of freedom as those deployed how about saying a little prayer for all those in L 3/25, especially Sgt S.E. Balla? I know I can count on all of you.

R.A. Kiser
Chief of Police
Grandview Heights, Ohio
former Cpl "L", 3/25
Fratres Aeterni

Army, navy and air force recruits would have said they hoped it was over; a Marine recruit is sure to want to go into battle - that's why we joined the Marines.

Keep up the great work and fantastic newsletters.
Semper Fidelis,
Dave (McCarthy, LtCol, USMC, 1 ea.)
(Devil Dog by Day, Lover by Night, Killer by Profession and Drunkard by Choice)

Have you heard about the UAW boss up in Detroit, Ron Gettelfinger, not allowing the local Marine Reservists to use the union parking lot on weekend drills if they drive a foreign car or have any pro-Bush stickers on their vehicles? Apparently he was a little upset that "We support them, why don't they support us?" Shortly thereafter though, Ronnie, who was reported to be a former Marine Reservist himself, had a change of heart and contacted the Marines and said they could use the parking lot when needed. He was told that other arrangements had already been made, so thanks but no thanks. This guy sounds like a public affairs genius. What in the heck was he thinking? I don't care if you drive an American car, a foreign car, or a donkey, if you earned the title of Marine you can park in the best spot in my driveway. Well, except for the donkey. He goes back by the garage.

Keep praying for those in harm's way,
Semper Fi,
Cpl. Mark (Thumper) Austin USMC '83-'89

I enjoyed Aaron's (Old time Limey Airdale's explanation of "TAPS" I prefer the "Civil War" explanation. I'm aware that a lot of history is related to British custom/Lore but I think "TAPS" is ours.
Highest Regard for our British Allies.
Bob Cervino
MSgt. U.S.M.C. (1956-1976 Active Duty; Still a Marine).

U.S. Marine
America's Weapon
Of Mass Destruction

God Bless America!!
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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