Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

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

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #95

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" --Samuel Adams

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Just to let you know I am a Vietnam Vet. I was in from March 1972 - 1978 by the time I had finished my MOS school Aug. 1972 they had stopped sending troops into Vietnam. Now I have a son and a daughter in the Corps. My son will be leaving for Iraq in Sept. and my daughter will be graduating U of Illinois this Dec. from the MECIP program and will be promoted from SSgt to Lieutenant by the time of her graduation she will have 8 years of service. I am one of many DOD civilians that have gone over to Iraq in support of our troops. I have been there twice so far and trying to go again. My job was to hang armor on Humvee's, installed ballistic windows & AC; we also did repairs on the Humvee's. I was north of Baghdad I was in country when Saddam was captured, and I was there during the battle of Al Fallujah. during that time of the battle the Air Force kept us awake all night long fling sorties over Fallujah. I was about 40 miles north of Baghdad at Camp Anaconda, Balad and I am proud to have served with all the men and women in our armed forces. I also had my 5 ton truck hit by a mortar just out side my tent. May God bless them all and bring them Home Safe, for they are all Hero's in my book.

Sgt. Gary F Felkins Sr
Rock Island, Illinois

Sgt. Grit:

In your March 31 Newsletter Sgt H. S. Bane, "Marine at Large," wrote about the need for "Counter-Recruiter" to more or less serve as a "truth squad" checking on Marine Corps Recruiters who may not tell their prospects the "full story" of Marine life. Much of what he wrote caused me a lot of concern, particularly this example:

"I'm not implying recruiters lie, but they certainly omit explaining a lot of the hard facts of military life. The military recruiter will answer your questions. But how many kids know, what kind of questions to ask? I know some of you guys, like myself. I could have listened to a hundred counter-recruiters. My mind was made up about joining the Corps, long before my father and I, signed on the dotted line."

Having spent over six years on two tours of recruiting duty (two years in NY/NJ 50-52 and four years in Kentucky 55-60), I couldn't disagree more with his treatise. I feel I can speak for most Recruiters who, like me, may well feel there IS an implication of "lying" inherent in the Sgt's discourse.

I found that the overwhelming majority of the "kids" I spoke to at high school gatherings, in pool halls and in the variety of other "watering holes" they hung out in, knew EXACTLY what questions to ask, and they got STRAIGHT answers! (Of course there is always an exception, but I do not feel that is who the Sgt. is addressing, but rather the majority of recruiters).

While there is no doubt I would not be able to do in today's environment, what I did when I served on recruiting duty, I'm sure I could come up with something equally effective and demonstrative if they ever let this 75-year old have a third tour of recruiting duty. This is typical of how I handled my "talks" at high school assemblies:

Most school officials required all military recruiters to come at the same time to give their "pitch" to their students. (Today you're lucky if they return your phone calls). I always tried to be and usually was the last of the service speakers. I'd wait patiently listening to the Army recruiter offering a wide variety of schools, assignments, etc. My Navy colleagues usually went into great detail about "seeing the world from the deck of a carrier," while the Air Force recruiter, who always had a "waiting list" (wonder why?), talked about those "exciting jets everyone would fly."

When it was my turn I would quietly approach the podium (or desk/table) facing the audience, and place a Marine Green duffle bag atop it. Still not saying a word, not even "good morning or afternoon," I'd reach in and pull out two spit-shined boots and place them on the stand.

Then, piece-by-piece, I'd pull out the parts of a field stripped M1 Garand Rifle, the Marines' main battle rifle during World War Two and Korea. (The M1 also saw service in Vietnam, especially during the early years, until it was replaced by the M14 and the M16), and quickly begin assembling it. Every eye was on the boots, the rifle, and me. (Many of your readers will recall some of the nomenclature of the various M1 assemblies, i.e., the feeding and operation, clip latch, gas cylinder, trigger, and bolt assemblies. And, who can ever forget the stacking swivel and stacking swivel screw?

My rifle then fully assembled, I'd slip on a bayonet just for effect, but would carefully remove it and leave it lying on the table, for obvious safety reasons, as you'll see.

Leaving the shined boots and bayonet prominently displayed on the stand, I would pick up the rifle and walk out into the audience looking for the biggest guy I could find, who almost always was a "jockstrap" be he a football player or wrestler. (I was then all of 5'6" and less than 140 pounds). By now all eyes were staring at me, but even more so at the rifle I was holding, as I'd approach a good-sized student and ask him to "please stand up." Always towering over me, I'd kid him about being a "pretty big guy and probably pretty tough," which often would result in a few chiding remarks from some of his buddies.

Pointing to the boots on the table/podium, I'd ask this "big guy" if he thought he was "man enough to wear those boots and handle this rifle." Before he could even answer I'd toss him the rifle (all except once it was caught). Retrieving the rifle from the still-stunned athlete I'd walk back to the podium and say to the assembled group: "If a few of you want something more exciting than what my fellow recruiters "promised" you and you think YOU can handle this rifle and bayonet, and wear these boots, I'll be in the back of the room at the end of this session."

Needless to say, when the assembly was over, I had the majority of the young men, and oftentimes a few young ladies, crowding around me to hold the rifle, pick up the bayonet and boots, and pass them around. I didn't have to "promise them a rose garden," and their questions centered on topics infantry-related, training, shooting weapons, and becoming Marines. They quickly got the "message" that the Marine Corps was indeed "looking for a few good MEN," even though those "few" were very difficult to come by in those days. (Especially during my time in KY when SSgt. McKeon drowned those recruits in "Ribbon Creek.") But I rarely ever missed my recruiting quota, and was both promoted on one tour and nominated as Recruiter of the Year on the other. I loved recruiting duty, meeting these youngsters, answering their questions, enlisting them, and welcoming them home when they completed boot camp.

So there is no need in the Corps for any so-called "counter-recruiters." Our recruiters today are also doing a phenomenal job in getting the kinds of Marines who know why they want to be one. We don't need any "truth squads" because our Recruiters do not "omit explaining a lot of the hard facts of military life."

Semper Fi,

Gerald F. Merna
Mustang 1stLt USMC (Ret.)
Korea (52-53)
Vietnam (66-67)

Sgt. Grit,
I am writing in to respond to April Cheek's letter in your #94 news letter. I too was crapped upon by my family when I decided to enlist in the corps about midway thru high school. I was 17 when I wanted to join, but at time in 1967 I had to have a parent sign for me. After months of staying with my cause, my mother said she would sign for me. We did not tell my dad until the day I had to go. Boy was he pi##ed at us for going behind his back. I too was the worthless son who could not do anything right. During Boot Camp I received no letters from my parents. (later finding out that my dad forbid my mom to write). After boot camp and ITR at camp Pendleton, I came home on leave for 30 days before I went onto school for my MOS. When my dad saw me in my uniform and how much I had changed he completely turned around 180 degrees. He said he was so proud of me and what I have done. He was so proud that he signed for my younger brother when he wanted to follow my foot steps. So I guess what I am trying to say is stick to your guns and everything will work out for the best. I know that this was before your time, but keep the faith and know that the Marines will take good care of you, because you are going to become part of a family like no other. So stay proud and stick to your guns. May we always pray for our fellow Marines those that are stateside and in harms way. Semper Fi Sgt of Marines 67-74
Jeff S.

I just returned from the graduation ceremony for my best friend's youngest son, Rafael Campos at MCRD San Diego this past Friday April 8, 2005. His father and I met at that same depot back in July of 1976 and quickly became best of friends in a journey that is only getting stronger after 29 years. The memories and pride came back in waves, everything from morning color's outside the commanding general's offices to the band playing, pass and review, and especially when the commander paid tribute to all "former" Marines in attendance. While my wife, daughter, and grandson all thought it boring, this old devil dog once again had "sweat" in his eye's looking out over the grinder at the future of our corps! Thank God for such wonderful young men, willing to go through the toughest training in the world, especially at a time like this where most of them will more than likely end up in that d*mn sand pit! But they love their country, and are willing to submit themselves to protecting it at any cost and for that they are in my prayers, and have my heartfelt appreciation and admiration. For those young gentlemen of Foxtrot Company I say welcome to the family Marines, stay strong and stay proud of God, Country, and Corps!

Semper Fi
Ron Shaw

Sirs, I buy Marine things from your store a lot. For my brother, former Marine, and friends who are in the Corps, and friends whose parents were in the Corps. The brotherhood is there. I am currently a retired(23 years) Special Forces soldier. The brotherhood is there in SF, lord knows I went through Ranger school and the "Q" course with some Marines, great bunch. I teach high school JROTC now, and believe it or not, the majority of my students graduate, and join the Corps, go figure. Just wanted to let you know a lot of them come back, and bring me a Ka-bar, as thanks for teaching them life skills that have helped them. Wow, what can I say? Our younger generation of warriors are stoked, fired up and thoroughly patriotic and loyal, and that's what its all about, right? God Bless ALL of our warriors!!! SFC(R) Gonzo SFODA 714!!!! '77-'00!!!De Oppresso Liber


This is in response to Mr. Charles Harris;

Sir, first of all, I am sincerely sorry for your loss. Second of all, with all due respect, SSgt Patterson was EXACTLY right in what he said. It doesn't sound to me like he was talking about your son at all. If your son was in it for the college money, he wouldn't have chosen a field MOS. You have a great deal to be proud of and a-lot of honor to carry around, there is no need to lash out at a seasoned Marine who was merely stating that we don't want people joining for the wrong reasons. I think he was saying that IF someone wants to join for that reason alone, they're in it for the wrong reason. Your son died with Honor and you should be proud of that. I may not have known your son but I don't think he falls in the category that the SSgt was talking about. On a more hardcore note, we are NEVER "behind the line", we draw the line and stand in front of it. Also, when it comes down to combat, there are no Marine "pencil pushers". And, sir...Marine is spelled with a capital M.

Very Sincerely,
Sgt Hulett / USMC

Just wanted to say:

Welcome Home Marines of 3/5 Kilo Co. I'm so proud of you guys. Unfortunately not everyone got to be there in person, but were certainly there is spirit.

Get Some!
One Proud Marine Sister

I would like to add my 2 cents about joining the Marines for college money. We all joined for different reasons, my father was a Marine, and I wanted to since I was about 10. My mother wanted me to go to college and I did for 2 years and ran out of money. I enlisted for 2 years in 1971, just to fulfill that desire to see if I could make it through boot camp also to honor my father, who died when I was 2. Those 2 years turned into 21. I completed my degree while serving as a Drill Instructor in San Diego in 1979. Whatever the reason we join makes no difference, after graduation from boot camp those reasons are a moot point as we are Marines, our attitudes and character change for the better. Some of us are really poor coming in and college money is very important as a means of bettering ourselves. But think about it, all services offer college money, why join the Marines? There is something inside of us, whatever the reason, that makes us want to be Marines. It seems that when Marines are not immediately fighting someone we fight ourselves, just like most dysfunctional families! But what a tight family, lets find someone else to fight, rather than us! Semper Fi.

Stephen A. Mangiameli Sr.
Master Sergeant of Marines
Son of a Marine
Father of a Marine

Hello, Thought you might be interested in this email I received from my son Tony in Iraq this past Easter morning. I forward him all of my Sgt Newsletters.

Hey gang,

I just thought I'd drop a line for the Truck co 2d plt 1/6 moms. Things are going great. I let the troops sleep until 0700 this morning since it's Easter Sunday. The rest of the day was business as usual. We got to have steak and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight along with the friendly neighborhood skeeters.

Funny thing today and pay attention to this one: One of the Marines happened to just be sitting around. I understand that since I was sooooooo happy to talk to my wife and kids today in Okinawa and even got a box from good ole mom. He asked if I really knew the reason we're out here. It took me less than a second to respond to him. To tell you the truth it made me think a little too. I told him the following:

Marine, we're here for these people out here. We're here for the small children who rise from the rubble of destruction to come out and wave to us while we're driving by. We're here for the wife of the American truck driver who watched TV to find that her husband was beheaded. We're here for our children to make sure they have a bright future and to make darn sure that there isn't another country telling us how to live. I see that there are a lot of things that we take for granted in our lives. We Americans love baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet (I like Jeeps though). Here there are no dads playing ball with their kids. Here there are no drive thru Burger Kings or anything like that. Here is a place where there are a lot of innocent people just barely making ends meet to survive while we go out to movies, malls, zoos, parks, and our children can go to school to gain a education and we as parents feel safe and secure that they will arrive home okay. We don't arm our children on the streets. We don't have to worry about anything compared to these people. No shiny and bright cars here no kids playing basketball......nothing.

As I completed my little speech, I looked up and thanked God for his many blessings upon all of us, my family and my Marines. This Easter morning no bunny came but the sun did rise and we got to breathe air. No matter where we're at, no matter what we're doing, we are being loved by God. As I prepare to start another day off tomorrow I'll go through the same motions of going out the gate to the community, telling myself that if it does happen to be the day, I did what I was meant to do and pray that the Lords will be done. As I slap a magazine into my 9mm pistol and M16A4 rifle I'll still rub the first rounds of each just to reassure that I do know what to do if I have to.

Being here makes me, of course wish I was home but I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad my children have a warm bed to sleep in tonight and they don't have to worry about a thing. As I had to practically beg to be transferred to Truck Co because there was a billet for my MOS for Iraq, I wouldn't have changed a thing. If I knew just how much of a good job not just the Marines but all of the services are doing here and not gotten to come over to do my part I would have retired with a blank spot in my heart. Helping others in need fills me with joy. I'll sleep in a mud puddle so others can sleep well.

My wish is that in June of 2008 when I leave active duty for retirement is that in the past 20 years and of the thousands of Marines I came in contact with they would uphold the same values as I have. I want to leave knowing that the younger Marines are now on the fence line to make sure I can sleep well. I know they will! Why....Because they are Marines!

Semper Fi from Baharia Iraq.
GySgt Tony Shamy
3div Truck Co 2d plt/ attached to 2 div 1/6 motor t
Proud son of Richard & Penny Shamy
Proud husband of Tammy Shamy
Extra proud father of Chris, Austin & Tori Shamy

My Dear Elaine Maurin,

Please do not minimize the contribution your son and you are making by saying or even thinking "... my son is not in the mist of this war ...". I assure you that Okinawa still has more than its fair share of Trotskyites and America haters. They stand watch at the ends of our runways, photographing our aircraft and keeping the bad guys posted concerning troop movements. Thailand has its fair share of paramilitary strong men and fanatics. Even if it appears otherwise, simply being posted overseas, your lad is in the "thick of things" and provides an enormous contribution.

Don't forget to associate yourself with the Blue Star Mothers and be sure to wear your own as well. I know my mother cringed anytime I was out of the United States. The business of war and combat is a dangerous one, but most of us do get to come home. We all knew why we were serving - freedom.

[Thank you Sgt Grit - it is an excellent mitzvoth that you do.]

Semper fi,
RD Lankes
Captain USMC (retired)
1961 - 1981

March 20th myself and Retired M/Sgt Peterson went to 29 Palms California to display a banner from the 1/7 Vietnam Veterans for the returning 1/7 Iraq Veterans, and to welcome them home. The most heartening part of the trip was that our banner was dwarfed by the hundreds of banners that were posted outside the main gate and inside at the assembly area. These were from family, friends, units and others.

As Vietnam veterans we wanted to make sure they know they are appreciated and the display at 29 Palms left no doubt to that account.

Welcome Home and Semper Fi
N. Holmes Alpha 1/7 1067-68

This is in response to April Cheek's email to you. April, you asked for any advice re: your situation. Well, you don't need any - you have your stuff all wired and we'll be delighted, excited and proud to have you on board in the Corps.

Ray Labas
Major, USMC, Ret'd
1948 - 1968

To all,
Make a Vet's day. And I don't just mean an older Vet. I am an 11 year Active Duty SSgt and I paid a visit to an 11 MONTH (yes, Time In Service: eleven months) Combat Wounded Veteran this week. I think I made his week, let alone his day. I had never met this Marine before and may not ever again (deployments you know). If you get the chance, or just make the time, visit the local military hospital and spread some cheer. Don't forget, the Marines and sailors that are being shipped home for wounds received in combat are leaving ALL of their belongings, friends, and "reality" behind. Stop by and give them the encouragement they need. Remind them of what "Esprit de Corps" and "Band of Brothers" means.

Semper Fi
SSgt Paul Brayton

May 12-14, 2005. It's the Super Bowl of Swine. The College of Pig Knowledge. The Granddaddy of Grills. The Largest Pork Barbecue Cooking Contest on the Planet.

The sweetest smelling cloud hovers over Memphis Hickory, pork, tomato, mustard, vinegar, more pork ... Three stuffed days of smoked heaven where contestants eat, sleep, and live pig. All oink wildly, trying to win more than $61,050 in prizes.

Grillmasters and goodtimers will descend on Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis for serious competition that's seriously fun. Even the grills dress up for this party like fire trucks, airplanes, piggy banks, pot bellied stoves; you name it, it's probably here.

More than 90,000 pork lovers from around the globe Australia, Russia, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Estonia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and the United Kingdom gather together to testify about their special sauces, rubs, ribs, and whatnot in Pig-dom.

And, there's the Main Stage, the site of world-class musical entertainment and the Ms. Piggie competition (grown men in snouts and tutus). You'll see funny faces, famous faces, and might end up having your face on one of these special reports on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Southern Living Network, PBS, A&E, TBS, Gourmet Magazine, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living TV, or one of many other media reports.

Semper Fi,

Hi Sgt Grit,
I would like to remind mothers/families of military service men and women that read this great newsletter that there is a wonderful organization that offers support to families as well as to our troops with prayers, letters and packages. It is the Blue Star Mothers. I read with interest the letter from Marge (Lcpl Philips's mom from India Company) about the group she has started and want her and others to know about this national organization that has been around since WWII. We have many chapters all over the country and work tirelessly supporting our troops. Any member of a military family can join . We display the blue star banners in our windows. Unfortunately my Spartanburg Chapter (in SC) has attended many funerals in our area where we as a group present the mother or wife of the fallen hero with a gold star banner which honors the family for their sacrifice. We are there for the much needed support that only those in the same situations can offer. For more information please look at this website and find out how you can become a member of this wonderful organization! May God bless our troops.

Marilyn, (Proud Marine Mom ), Vice President of The Spartanburg Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers

A note to April Cheek, who in Newsletter #94 was in short supply of support for her enlistment.

My father served with A 1/5 in Korea, and was wounded 3 times. He served for 20 years and retired in 1970. My brother and I both served with 2nd MarDiv in Desert Storm, me as an 0311 team leader and my brother a 0331 team leader. The pride runs deep in our homes.

Those who do not support you do not understand. As Sgt. Gilmour said in the same issue as your letter, you will forget all of the things you learned up until boot camp. Irresponsible? Reckless? Immature? Possibly. We all have been at some point. That is one of the best ways to enter boot camp, for the lessons will be learned best. Do not despair, do not quit, do not be deterred by those who don't agree with your decision. You must be true to yourself, and if you do so, the Corps will be true to you. When boot camp is just a recent memory, your family will be impressed, and you will have won their respect. Once you wear the EGA, you will have proven to the world in the toughest manner possible that you are a Marine, and the rest of your life will be downhill. Nothing will ever be as hard as that which you have endured.

Stay the course, April. Let us know how you are doing when you graduate.

Semper Fi,
Robert Clark
Birmingham, Al

Sgt Grit,
I need to get the "word" out about an upcoming benefit motorcycle ride which takes place in SoCal on 14 May 2005 in support of the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund. This event is sponsored by the Brotherhood of Marine Riders. Proceeds benefit fund that alleviates the financial hardship incurred by families in order to be with their US Marine while they recover from their war wounds. All Bikers Welcome. $20 single/$30 couple. Includes: Poker Run, breakfast, BBQ Lunch, live music. 50/50 Raffle, Bike Wash, Free T-Shirt for first 50 riders. Bike Contest (Best Harley/Best Custom). Registration 0900-1100 at Temecula Valley Custom Cycles 28860 Old Town Front St, Suite B-6, Temecula, Ca just a block down from Quaid Harley Davidson. Visit our website at for updated ride info.

To Marge in Colorado,

I read with admiration (and a tear in my eye) what you and the other Moms are doing in the Denver area. You and all Marine Moms ought to be applauded for the support you provide. I am a Viet Nam veteran who, like many other vets, was mistreated, misunderstood, and met with indifference upon my return from overseas. For many years, we got zero recognition for our service. Due to efforts like yours that attitude is changing. While on a recent spring break vacation with my 15 yr. old son (a future Marine), we met a young couple that asked about my service because I was wearing a cap with the EGA emblem. When they found out I had served in Nam, the first words spoken were those of thanks. This has happened to me several times lately - I'm not sure if most people understand how much it means.

One person that understands is my own mother. Every year (35 and counting) since I returned home safely from Viet Nam, my Mom has called me on Veteran's Day to thank me for my service to our great country. All I can say is - THANKS MOM !!

Semper Fi,
Steve Cox
RVN 1969, 3rd MarDiv, Otters

I read your newsletter most every issue. Every issue I laugh and I cry. Thanks for sharing the hopes, thoughts and wishes of those who share a love of the Corps. My dear friend is dealing with PTSD and I am standing at his side to help, support, love and listen since I will never know what that is like first hand. I appreciate all who served and all who will serve. God bless them all and the USA.

Loving daughter of my marine
USMC-Korea 52-54

Dear Sgt Grit,
My name is Stacie Schultz and I am from Waterloo, Wisconsin. My father Paul R. Schultz served in the marines as part of the MP company 1st Marine Division from March of 1968 until September of 1970.

As kids we were raised based on how he was brought about in the Marines, and as we grew older we would sit and listen to my father tell us stories from when he was in the Marines.

However, there is always one story that he tells us over and over again. Every time that we receive and issue of Sgt Grit Marine Specialties, my father tells us the story of how you were part of the 11th marines headquarters and how you were stationed next to or close to his headquarters. That story usually brings up and interesting yet scary story of his. One night when my father went out for a Listing Post one of them men that were in your group thought he saw movement during the LP and opened fire with and M60 machine gun and shot the receiver to my fathers radio that was no farther then a foot from him on the dike. Every time that I hear that and other stories of my fathers from when he was in the marines I think about all of the men and women that serve there country by risking there lives for there people. I am sooo proud of my father for doing what he did to help serve our country!!!

Stacie D. Schultz
waterloo WI

Hi Sgt. Grit,
Just want to say I recently got a bumper sticker from you. "Ain't nothing meaner than a Marine cept his Momma" I've gotten nothing but good statements on it. People really like it. My Marine is still in med hold at SD but doing well. He was wounded Aug 21 04 in Kufa. Fought the first of August in Najaf cemetery. He ended up losing part of his foot but is going to get his "foot" as he calls it April 18th. Then he'll be able to start Pt again in full. He is with the 1/4 . I am so very proud to be a Marine Mom. My car has become the local Marine mobile. The whole 11th MEU did a great job while deployed. I get real upset with people who say we are just in this war cause of oil, Bush is getting even with Saddam, Saddam didn't do anything. Man they are so one sided. I say to them Would you rather it come over here cause that is exactly what would happen. Then they start back peddling. All our troops deserve nothing but total support! Thanks for hearing me out. Semper Fi
Jayne Woods
LCPL W. Stevens

G'day Sgt Grit,

I've been receiving your regular newsletter for some time and read with great interest the many letters you receive from Marines and their friends and families. I'm an aussie from Down Under; have lived in the Pacific Northwest for just over 5 yrs now and on April 29 will be officially sworn in as a new US citizen. It's been a loooong wait. But as a step-dad to a US Marine who gets his first commission in August, I wanted your readers to know that I couldn't be more proud of Sgt Jason Fincher if I were his actual dad. And as an aussie, I'm proud to be from a country that has always fought alongside you guys and whose servicemen who've done so hold their US counterparts as great mates.

If I were of an age to throw my lot in with you all I would do so in a heart beat, But, alas, I have to be resigned to stand at the sideline and cheer you all on as you carry out your duties to your great county (soon to be mine!!). Great stuff!!

I have a desperate desire to help marines and their families celebrate their Corps involvement, and to that end would dearly love to hear from anyone who'd like to contact me at

Dear, dear friends of mine have a son in the Cav serving in Iraq on his second tour as intelligence/interpreter. I stand beside them in our town proudly waving both the American and Australian flag at any occasion, and ours is the best float in the 4th July parade, honoring all who are serving or who have served for this country.

Semper fi, Mates.
Greg Smith

My name is Shannon Johnson. My husband (Cpl. Levi Brandon Johnson) just got back to Hawaii from Fallujah. He is a Cpl. in the 1st. Battalion 3rd Marine BLT. In Iraq he was stationed at Camp Fallujah. He took part in Operation Phantom Fury and Al Fajr in the Province of Al Anbar, Republic of Iraq. Therefore he was in a lot of danger! I just thank God he is able to return unharmed. Our home is in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (where I have been waiting for him for the past year). We have a 15 month old son whom my husband has not seen since he was 4 months old. My husband will be flying home from Hawaii next week. We are so excited to finally get to see him. Much love and thanks to everyone who has and still is supporting our troops.

This is for LCPL.Zygielbaum,and any and all MARINES, serving our country....SEMPER FI!
An ole,Mustanger '62-'84

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I would love to set the scene for the fantastic homecoming for the 2/24th Marines at the Allstate Arena in Chicago on April 9th--first the buses had a great escort of the police department, and a big surprise for our boys just outside of midway airport, the motorcycle group "Leathernecks" which are x-marines and navy guys/gals, jumped into the escort, and from all the stories that I hear, our Marines went crazy and thought it was a great honor. As we all stood in the arena waiting for our guys, the excitement grew, and when they did arrive, all the lights went down in the house and all we could see were the silhouettes of the Marines in the light of the tunnel and if you could stand there and not cry, you would have been the only the time the lights went up, our Marines were standing at attention in front of us, and the sight was something to behold...... I have never been in a place where more people, men and woman and children, felt so comfortable to let all their emotions run freely...those men looked so mature, and so strong, yet so vulnerable and happy to be home...and yet we all had to feel the sadness that we had 12 families that did not get the honor of seeing this homecoming with their Marine..,.I myself spent that time in utter happiness at my sons return, and honest prayer for the other Marines that we lost in Iraq....I was not sure how I would feel about this type of Homecoming, but I have to say that is was fantastic...our son said the feeling of coming up that tunnel was something he could not express. I could not get to my son immediately, so I took that opportunity to hug whatever Marine was close and thank him for his service...they might have thought I was nuts, but maybe later they would understand... I cannot express my gratitude to all these men and all the men/woman that are still serving for what they are doing for our country, and I pray they can all come home to this sort of welcoming, because they all deserve it..this mostly reserve unit had a hard job in a very difficult area of Iraq, and they can use the prayers of all your readers, for an easy transition back to their lives...our son must find his way back into school, and a job and his life that he left and this will all take a little time, but I think that this homecoming has been a good start....I cannot be any prouder.....
Marine Mom

Good Day or whatever it may be where you are.

I am CamiBob, the originator of the Mobil Uniform Delivery service at CP. The Corps saved my life with a blood drive, thx to 1MARDIV, and John Admire, then the boss in 1997 following a near life ending truck crash while heading to 3rd Tracks one June day.

I've got to say that reading this posting, while going thru the PT to support 40 surgeries, since the crash, has helped me keep focused and keep going.

At times when feeling sorry for myself and situation, I reflect on the stories we read here, and all seems to get a bit better.

God Bless you for what you do and provide to the many, who are either former active or retired Marines, or in my case, an honorary Marine.

I have told many Marines along the way, that when all limbs are in casts, a colostomy is better than sliced bread and a cold beer.

Bob Welch
aka camibob

To LCPL Zygielbaum (..."third time might be a charm") I admire your determination and dedication of duty to corps and country. We'll pray for your safe return home, as we do for all of our men who are making sacrifices so that most of us don't have to.
Semper Fi.
EP Gardella, P.I. Class of '57

To April Cheek,

Your letter in Sgt. Grit's news letter touched close to home for me. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in May, 1969. I was feeling a little lost, and with all of the stuff going on in Vietnam, I wanted to go and do my part. Wanting to have a good chance of surviving when I got there, I wanted to enlist in a branch of the service where I could have pride in what I was doing and have the training that would help me survive once I got to the rice paddies. I went to the Marine Corps recruiter and I signed up. I caught h&ll when I got home and broke the news to my parents. My dad was in the Navy during WWII and for a short time was a corpsman before going to OCS and becoming an officer. He had seen the horrors of Marines being killed and wounded in the Pacific islands and both of my parents told me that in the Navy at least I would have a warm bed to sleep in and 3 squares a day. I listened to that crap for about a month as my ship out date got closer. During one heated argument on the subject about me joining the Corps, I had just about all I could take and stood up, got on the phone and called my recruiter and ask if he could ship me out the very next day. I really didn't want to go the next day because it was my 19th birthday, but at 0600 the next morning, I was there. My parents both were there too, saying goodbye, and I could see a little pride in them as I left.

As my graduation day from boot camp drew nearer, I found out that my Mom would be there for my graduation. I see that things are finally changing at home. There was never another word said about my choice to join the Marines, and they supported me and were there for me when I came home from boot camp and ITR, and when I came home for my final leave before being shipped out to Vietnam. Even when I got med-evaced back to the states from Nam, there was never a cross word said about my decision.

Things may change for you too, and I hope they do. If not, you are getting into a new family, and they all will be there to support you while you are in, and after you leave the Corps. If you make it you will always have that family.

Good luck and Semper Fi.
Bob Powell 1st MARDIV/1st ENG BATT. Danang Vietnam 1970

Sgt Grit
Have been going thru some old pics of my family, reading my old mans diary of WW2, and recalling many stories of my days in the USMC since 1936. Not long back I was in a small town in Oregon buying some groceries. The young woman clerk asked when I was in the Marines. I was kind of surprised and asked her why she thought that? Didn't even bat an eye when she said, "You Marines just have a certain way about you..."

D*mn straight we do! My wife and I are looking forward to visiting MCRD San Diego in early May, and if we can figure a way, would like to drive through CJHP once again but I think its gonna take someone to sponsor us through. No matter, I am looking forward to finding one of the several platoon books when I was on the drill field in the 50's that I donated to the MCRD museum so my wife can see the pics. Even now I maintain contact with Marines and NOLOADS who are busy in Iraq. The funny part of that is the NOLOADS are still doing what they got paid a pittance for when they were still active duty.

Jerked me up short at the last ball when I was the oldest Marine there and got to participate in the cake cutting ceremony. Can't help but think of that when I am giving the aikido class at the local University. Sure as h&ll ain't dead yet...
Semper Fi
Sgt Kemp 1439323
BTW my old man was career USMC and I was literally born into it 1936

Semper Fi

Dear Sgt. Grit:

The slander and libel against 'Vietnam Vets' being labeled as "Baby Killers" IS STILL OUT THERE. Watch out Marine Vets, family of Vets, all Vets, and current members of the military and family of current members of the military.

In a recent legal case, the Auditor of State discovered 'abuse' of accounting records of a government office and the destruction of public records by an employee after a long and arduous audit. The employee was terminated. The employee retaliated by filing a law suit against the government office and a government employee that discovered the alleged abuses. The attorney for the plaintiff (the terminated employee) used the following terms: 'The defendant retaliated against the plaintiff (terminated employee) and the defendant (who is being sued) is a " 'highly trained killer', who is 6ft 3 in. and a Former Marine and should be "punished".' And I do mean this attorney used the terms "should be punished."

There will be filing of a formal State Supreme Court disciplinary complaint against this attorney pursuant to the Code of Professional Responsibility involving attorney misconduct, in which that conduct has involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation against that attorney, in order to pursue public reprimand, suspension or disbarment by the State Supreme Court against that attorney . This attorney is hiding behind the legal issue that the plaintiff is protected against any outrageous behavior in the complaint; however, let it be known that this tactic is not legally different than filing a complaint that states: "The defendant was a tall, negro, highly trained killer and should be punished, or the defendant was a tall, Jewish, highly trained killer, and should be punished, or All Marine Vets And Marines Who Are Tall, Are Highly Trained Killer And Should Be Punished." This tactic is used to evoke an emotional response by the Jury that all Vets are 'Killers'.

In the time of war, many of us chose to defend our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This is being used against us, by the unethical, immoral, deceitful attorneys to receive legal fees.

What is Extremely Frustrating is that the reply from some attorneys: " But he is tall, a former Marine, and therefore obviously a 'highly trained killer'. And those attorneys choose Not To Read And Ignore The Entire Audit Report that outlines all the abuses.

So beware Marines, the prejudice, slander, hate, and ridicule by members of the Bar Association is still out there and being used to evoke an emotional response in order to gain legal fees through a form of emotional extortion and fear.

However, these attorneys have forgotten, that the jury will probably have some Vets, spouses of Vets and let us hope some U.S. Marines.

Semper Fi
Honor, Courage & Commitment - Brothers & Sisters

Last year my son was on a MEU headed for Afghanistan. At the first liberty port they pulled into both Sailors and Marines were eager to get out for some fun. They would only be in port for a few hours. My son had to stand duty so was not allowed to go. He called to gripe and I offered what little consolation I could. He called after they pulled out and I asked him if he was feeling better. He said that he was when the Sailors were coming back onboard because they were complaining about what a hole they had pulled into and what a waist of liberty it was. Then he said all his buddies came back just barely on time (Marines on liberty) talking about how cheap the beer was, how nice the barmaids were, and what a great time they had. He said "Stupid squids had me believing I hadn't missed anything." Funny how the measure of a port differs so dramatically between Navy and Marine personnel.

He is currently deployed in Iraq. Please keep him and all Marines in your prayers.

PMM of LCpl Call

Dear Sgt Grit:

It is with a very heavy heart that I inform our Marine Corps family of the death of MGySgt Charles Allen Creswell (ret). He died on Thursday, April 14, 2005 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is survived by his son, Michael Smith and family, as well as all his many members of his Marine family.. As of this writing, funeral arrangements have not been made, but when they are finalized, I will submit another post. If anyone would like more information, they may contact me at or calling directly to 601/292-3909.
Semper Fi - Tania Liles, SSgt (NOAD)

Semper Fi,

Stay true to the cause and remember to act for the best in both dealing with humanity and for the Corps.

M. Scott

Marines, As a Soldier in the Mississippi National Guard. I - and my fellow Soldiers - take our service and training very seriously and are proud of the chance to contribute to the War on Terror. I returned from a year's tour of duty in Iraq this February and it is with extreme pride that I can say I served alongside the finest Marines that this country has! Their traditions of Honor, Courage and Commitment are not the only Values these Marines represented; they also embodied the Army's Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage as was proven time and time again to my Unit and all US Military / Civilians on our base. This high level of professionalism and dedication to seeing mission accomplishment, oftentimes in the face of death, is of the highest standard. I appreciate all that the Marine Corps has, and will in the future, sacrificed for this great Nation and am proud to have served with them. My prayers are with you and your families.

Thank you,
SGT Welborn
HQ, 114th Army Liaison Team
Mississippi Army National Guard

I am a Marine Mom. My son, GySgt William R. Easton, is currently serving in Iraq with HqBn, 2nd MarDiv at the Northern Palace in Ramali (Camp Blue Diamond). He is not a young Marine, Billy is a career Marine, and a father & grandfather. Two weeks after I saw him off, he was injured by shrapnel, but is back to duty. He has already received his purple heart, one medal that he said he really didn't want! The hardest part of this entire incident was that my daughter-in-law was the one that had to call me with the news. She did a great job & is an excellent Marine wife!

Thank you
Mac (Mary Ann) Freeman

In ten short days, less than two weeks from now, my oldest son, Christopher, will leave for Marine Corps Recruit Training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Just two weeks ago he walked across a stage, like millions of other high school students around the country; and with one flip of a tassel and the acceptance of his diploma he satisfied his final requirement for enlistment.

My son's earliest memories were of the Marine Corps. Both his father and I were Marines. His baby book is a collection of military memories; wearing Dad's Marine Corps cover (hat) and combat boots, our "platoon" of three boarding an airplane to Okinawa, Japan where his first words were a mixture of English and Japanese. As he grew and came to understand the importance of his Marine Corps heritage he stood proudly at attention as the flag passed in parades. He celebrated two birthdays each year, his own in February and the Marine Corps' on November 10th.

Christopher's dream was always to become a Marine.

He was a Junior in High School when he enlisted into the delayed entry program on his seventeenth birthday in February of 2003. I was proud of my son, knowing that he would be facing the toughest challenge of his life with the greatest of rewards; the honor of becoming a United States Marine.

One month later "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was launched.

I explained to Christopher that his dream had begun in peacetime. He was too young to remember the days of Desert Storm and the goodbyes said by fathers and mothers to their sons and daughters in his preschool class. His father retired during that time and we relocated to Texas where he grew up around "civilians" who couldn't share the stories of military life, separations and war. His father and I both assured him that we would never be disappointed in him if he decided not to join. But he explained to us that he knew his history, he knew of his father's service in Vietnam and he understood what challenges he was facing. He would honor his oath of enlistment.

And suddenly I was no longer a former Marine but a mother who watched the news and saw the faces of our young men and women in uniform and I wondered aloud, "How does a mother cope knowing that her child is in combat?"

So for the next year I secretly hoped and prayed that Christopher would change his mind but he never did.

Forever is how long I will remember a conversation I had with Christopher the night after his High School graduation. We were sitting together by the pool. The evening was cool and the quiet was a comfort. I thought of other mothers, friends of mine, who were most likely talking to their recent graduates about future plans; summer jobs or "to do" lists needed to prepare for their sons and daughters first year of college.

I turned to Christopher, the most gentle and caring of young men, and asked a question no mother should ever have to ask of her son, "If you go into combat will you be able to take another person's life if it means protecting yourself or your unit?"

And for a heartbeat I was again a Marine. I expected his answer to be filled with words of "Gung Ho" bravado. But just as quickly as that thought came I returned to my role as a mother and held my breath for his response.

He looked down for a moment then he turned towards me and said simply, "I guess we'll find out."

I knew immediately that there would be no follow up question to his answer.

I would have to accept those five words as they were spoken. There was no fear in his voice nor was there any commitment in his straightforward response. But those five simple words spoke volumes to me. They told me that the son his father and I had raised knew the possibilities of what he was facing and that he would serve his country with honor; following the orders of honorable men and women. When called upon to perform his duty he would do it with selfless pride and that when he returned home he believed that he would be welcomed by a grateful and supportive nation. By hearing those five simple words I knew that Christopher would do well and that he would uphold the traditions of the Corps that have been passed down to every Marine over the last 229 years.

It was at that moment, sitting with him on a cool summer night beneath a canopy of stars, that my first born son became a man.

Semper Fi Christopher.
Cindy Yohe

Sgt Grit newsletter, March 31, 2005;
"We can do anything with nothing...........FOREVER !
the way I learned it from some engineers.....along with welding the crack of dawn."

The whole Quote, I believe, is something like this: "We are so used to doing so much with so little, that we can do practically anything with nothing. If it's impossible we need an extra day!" Welding the crack of day may, need two(?). Filler rod that big is hard to find.

MGYSGT G. Lewis, USMC,Retired.

Our Marine is back on US soil after his second 'tour' of duty to Fallujah, Iraq. Our son, Cpl. Peter C. Nicholsen Jr. was deployed with the 2nd Tank B/N, stationed out of Camp LeJeune. It's wonderful having our son back home, and our only wish is for all of our servicemen and woman to come home soon and safe to their families. God Bless the United States of America.

Proud Mom of Cpl. Peter C. Nicholsen Jr.
Kathy Nicholsen

The following is a letter to the Editor I submitted to our local paper on March 20, 2005, they printed it on March 27th:

To All Moms, Recently the news reported that for the past few month the US Military Recruiters have fallen short of their goals, attributing this to what they call the "Mom Factor"; meaning mothers are discouraging their children from enlisting. My response is, "When did mothers become so selfish?" Our son enlisted in the USMC Delayed Entry Program in March 2003. At 19 he is now a USMC Machine Gunner preparing for deployment and as his mom, I couldn't be prouder.

When our son chose the USMC I had my doubts and I knew the risked (but what profession doesn't have risked). However, I knew I could never, discourage him, squelch his dreams or think of myself. This was his first major decision as an adult and my part was to help him make it happen.

When asked, "How do you feel about him being in the Marines?" I reply "I am peace because I know he is doing what he feels called to do." We will never look back with regrets thinking that I held him back from something he really wanted to do.

If mothers have enough influence to reduce the numbers in our military, imagine what they could accomplish if they were fully behind their children's choice to enlist. It would change the world.

Being the mom of a serviceman/woman is a tough job and just like the military itself is not for everyone. Yet, I know there are more moms out there that could handle it, moms that are giving up a wonderful opportunity to ensure Freedom.

If you choose not to allow your child to enlist, at least take the time to thank the mom of a serviceman/woman, because of their child's enlistment, you and your child have a choice and will keep your freedom.

Proud Mother of a Marine (MOM)
Kathy L. Guzzo

I am a Seabee and my Son is a Marine, I have been home from Iraq now 6 months and my son will be going in the next year. I told him to find the Seabees if he needs anything built and to take care of them and they will take care of you. I worked with a lot of Marine and some of them called me dad. so to all of the young marines out there don't make fun the Seabees because one of them may be your dad. That was the saying back in WW 2. I was proud to serve with the marines over there. BC

As you are aware, Hanoi Jane has been on TV three times out here. Due to the fact that I am the only Viet Nam Veteran at my work, I was asked my reaction. I had a hard time telling these younger people about her. One said she had apologized and yet another said it was a long time ago, just let it go.

First and foremost, her being on TV means nothing to me. I have other things to do.........always. Secondly, an apology is due when you do harm to others like: I ACCIDENTALLY hit your car or I am sorry, I didn't see you there. The loss of life, honor, or courage is something you cannot apologize for. I allow myself to deal and associate with people of honor or courage like my son, my wife, Sgt Don Whitton, L/Cpls Gugliotta and Fuller, and Sgt Dick Leyden. By associating with these types, I show my honor and what I cherish. An apology to all means nothing. She should go to a place and say I am so sorry over 56,000 times. This will still not cleanse her soul. Thirdly, yes it was a long time ago. I am alive to remember, some are not so fortunate. To let it go would be a crime in itself. To forget the Bataan Death march, Iwo Jima, Beleau Woods, Hue, and countless others would not only lessen the event but would allow it to possibly happen again. This cannot, should not, and must not ever happen.

I always say God have mercy on their souls...........She has proven to have no soul and you know where people like her will go. I hate to say this but I will not hate her until she dies.............I will hate her until I die.

Thanks for listening/
SSGT D.J.Huntsinger

Ps: It just dawned on me , We earned the title Marine by thoughts, words, and deeds. Hanoi Jane earned her title Traitor by her thoughts, words, and deeds. We both have to live with our decisions. The only difference is that we never have to apologize.

I'll get off the soap box now.

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
--T.S. Eliot

Dear Sgt. Grit: The marines of Bravo Co., 1/5 in Ramadi lost their Commanding Of