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Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - January 20, 2005

The most dangerous place is between a Marine and his country!
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MSG Afghanistan.

Sgt. Grit,
Good day to you and yours. You mentioned in the last news posting that you wanted more on Afghanistan.

Don't know if this is what you want but here goes. I am currently serving on the Marine Security Guard Program. I came to the program in Dec 02 and have since rotated to bigger and better things. Well in August an opportunity came up that I jumped on. The battalion wanted volunteers to open up the detachment in Kabul, Afghanistan and I jumped on board with a few other motivators. Arrived and hit the ground rolling. While I cant go into job specifics I would like to share a story with you and the readers. There was this Afghan employee at the Embassy who was a janitor.

We all called him "tooth" because he had this one huge front tooth that stuck out past his lips due to beatings suffered from the Taliban. Well I talked to Tooth one day and he kept saying "I love the Marines, Marines are the greatest, I wish I was a Marine, OO-Rah, Semper Fi!" Granted it was all in broken English but I have never met someone who loved the Marines so incredibly much. He was so thankful for us and when I asked him why he explained that he had been imprisoned by the Taliban for 15 years, had watched the Taliban murder his parents, wife, brothers and sisters, and his children. Before his imprisonment he had worked for the Embassy in Kabul. He was released from imprisonment some years before we came back to Kabul, but during those years he returned, along with 61 other Afghani nationals, to his job at the Embassy.

He cleaned the place for the years in which there were no Americans there. To this day he still works at the Embassy, all told 30 plus years. Talk about loyalty and dedication.

On another note, as a grunt who, in my mind, unfortunately missed out on Iraq, I want to thank all service members for your outstanding performance to date. Hopefully I will be there with you as an officer in a few years, if I get selected for the Commissioning Program.

Semper Fidelis Marines,

I Have Never Forgotten

This is the second time I have written to you. After reading some of what my brother and sister MARINES and their PROUD families have sent in I did fall back in memory to a time that this young Sgt. was returning from a very unpopular war. He had landed after many hours in the air and many transfers in an airport in New York, On a cold winters eve only 3 days to Christmas. He wanted to surprise his family, they were not aware that he was coming home so soon. He was met with distain and indifference and rode alone in a airport shuttle to his home base New Haven Ct. After grabbing his gear and attempting to hand the driver a Christmas tip. The driver shook his head and said "Son after all you have done for me, my family and this country, I can't take money from you. Last month I lost my son He was a MARINE just like you, but he never came home." With a tear in his eye he wished me and my family a Merry Christmas, and with a handshake he was off into the night. I have never forgotten that one man's actions and few words that turned a cold dark night into something to remember. People DON'T let the sacrifice of our BEST go unnoticed, respect their privacy BUT don't let them forget that their actions mean a great deal to all of us. They leave at home friends and families to protect our rights. DON'T allow them to come home and try to return to everyday life without a simple Thank You They deserve much more that that.

Ivy League

Sgt Grit-
I can appreciate how any of us can get p!ssed off at those who, using supposed "intellectual superiority" as a crutch, make ill informed pronouncements about those of us who believe that the best chance for peace in the world comes from having fire superiority.

However, it is just plain wrong, and uninformed, to group all the Ivy League schools, and those who were fortunate enough to gain admission to them, into this pack of politically correct dipsh!ts. Sure, many of the schools have eliminated their ROTC programs and do not permit recruiters on their campuses. These are bad decisions which I believe will be reversed eventually. Probably when we are lucky enough the have a popular war.

I can speak for just one of those schools, Dartmouth College, and the many fine Marine Officers who attended there, and volunteered to serve in Viet Nam. To the man, they could have found a way to stay out of the service, but didn't. At lease five of my fraternity brothers served as 0302 platoon leaders with distinction. Dozens more from Dartmouth were in other Marine Corps MOS billets and many more in other services. The same was true in Korea, Iraq and all the wars in between.

For anyone who is interested in becoming informed about the facts, just do a web search on one recent Dartmouth Marine and hero in my book, Nathaniel Fick (0302 Recon platoon commander).

The worst part of this misinformed tirade is that it does such a disservice to the families of those like Lt. Bill Smoyer, KIA Viet Nam. Captain of the Dartmouth hockey team with the whole world in front of him, he VOLUNTEERED to join the Corps and become an infantry platoon leader. It cost him his life. Possibly those who doubt the dedication and service of Ivy League graduates can visit his memorial room under the hockey arena at Dartmouth.

Personally, I hang my Ivy League degrees proudly beside my USMC Officers Sword.

Bob Koury
Former Capt of Marines, 0302
Hue City
Khe Sanh
861 / 881
Dartmouth College 1965

Everly Brothers

I was in their platoon (196) and got to perform in some of their shows. It was a very interesting platoon. The Everly Brothers weren't the only entertainers in 196. Larry Hall (Sandy), Joey Page (drummer), Marshall Lieb (famous music producer) and also was in the group that did Ally Oop Ooop oop. I also became involved with the music industry in Hollywood and years later became C.E.O of Superior Robotics of America..

As a matter of fact when we first formed in the first week of boot camp our platoon was called the "Hollywood Bunch". Everybody thought we were going to be a bunch of sissies; turned out to be just the opposite. The Everly Brothers not only carried their own weight but help carry many of their fellow Marines. Don & Phil were hard chargers and the platoon soon became a very tight- net group. 196 gained the respect of Camp Pendelton.
Thanks for the memories....those were great times
Semper Fi William Paul Bakaleinikoff

Changjin Lake Campaign (Chosin)

By Lee Sang-don
On Dec. 7, the 63rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, U.S. President George W. Bush visited Camp Pendleton in the United States, which is the 1st Marine Division's hometown base. Bush had good reason to visit Camp Pendleton as the marines from there were engaging in heavy fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, the stronghold of radical Islamic militants. The U.S. assault on Fallujah was long overdue because of the U.S. presidential election, and probably because of such lateness, the marines endured many casualties. Bush talked to a large crowd of marines at Camp Pendleton about the war on terror and the valor and sacrifice of the U.S. troops.

Bush then mentioned the Changjin Lake Campaign (or the Chosin Reservoir Campaign as it is commonly known in the U.S.) during the Korean War, a major battle fought by the U.S. marines in the mountainous area near Changjin Lake of the eastern part of North Korea in the cold winter of 1950-51. Bush said that the 1st U.S. Marine Division heroically fought against 10 divisions of Red China's army that had already infiltrated deep into North Korea. Bush animated the marines at Camp Pendleton by saying that the troops in Korea at the time were in the right place to kill many enemy soldiers as they were completely surrounded by them. Most Korean news media overlooked this event, which I think has an important implication for the current Korea-U.S. relationship.

The Changjin Lake Campaign was one of the most notable battles won by the U.S. military. The 1st U.S. Marine Division under the command of Major General Oliver Smith had fought in severe cold weather, successfully repelling the People's Republic of China's 9th Army that had 10-to-1 superiority to the U.S. Marines in manpower. If the U.S. marines couldn't have defeated China's 9th Army, the Red Army might have well pushed the U.S. 8th Army and ROK Army to the southern end of the Korean Peninsula. One can easily imagine how the Korean peninsula's political map could have been shaped after such a major retreat of the Korean and U.S. Army. That means those brave young marines virtually saved Korea from falling into the bloody hands of the communist regime. The Changjin Lake Campaign is also meaningful as a major battle won by the U.S. armed forces fought in severe cold weather.

However, the importance of the Changjin Lake Campaign is not well understood in Korea. Though many Koreans know or at least heard about General MacArthur's brilliant Landing Operation on Inchon in September 1950, a scale-downed version of the Normandy Operation during World War II, not many Koreans remember or have even heard of the Changjin Lake Campaign. The reason may be that the battle was fought between the two foreign armies, American marines and the Red China army, not between the South and North Korean soldiers. Clearly, it is a shame that very few Koreans remember the U.S. marines; heroic campaign during the Korean War.

The Changjin Lake Campaign was never forgotten in the U.S. President Ronald Reagan mentioned the Campaign in his 1981 inauguration address. In 1999, Martin Russ published a best-selling non-fiction novel "Breakout" about the campaign. Then came President Bush's mention at Camp Pendleton. Bush's mention made me feel mixed emotions. Korea dispatched a military unit to Iraq, but it is a non-combat duty force. While the U.S. marines are engaging in a fierce combat mission against radical militants in Fallujah and other places of Iraq, Korea's non-combat soldiers are simply digging in. Of course, I do not argue that the Korean soldiers should engage in combat operations in Iraq. But, I would like to raise the following question. Do Korea's politicians and people know that the U.S. marines who are conducting dangerous combat operations everyday in Iraq belong to the same marine division that saved Korea 50 years ago?

Fortunately, there was an occasion showing the American Marines efforts were not completely forgotten in Korea. In the spring of 2004, Martin Russ' "Breakout" was translated into Korean and published in Seoul. The publication itself was a kind of an epic story. Yim Sang-kyun, an insurance firm manager in Seoul, who went to college in Seoul in the 1970s and served as an army officer, had bought a copy of "Breakout" while on a business trip in the U.S. Yim read the book while he was in hotels and airplanes and was very impressed. Returning back to Seoul, he was disappointed to know that the book had not been translated into Korean. He never had written a book or even an article, but he decided to translate it into Korean as a kind of mission. As he was a busy man at his insurance firm, it took him four years to complete. While he was working on the translation, he once visited the Korean War Memorial Hall in Yongsan. On the wall where the fallen U.S. soldiers names were inscribed, he found those of U.S. marines who did ultimate sacrifice during the Changjin Lake Campaign. For Yim, it was a very touching moment.

I would like to tell the Americans that in Korea there are still people like Yim who do not forget what the American marines did for a small poor country in Asia threatened by the communist aggression a half century ago. God bless the U.S 1st Marine Division!

** Lee Sang-don is a professor of Law at Chung-Ang University.

As An Old WWII Jarhead

As an old WWII jarhead, I'd like just a little of your time and space to comment on the "incident" in Fallujah. Not the shooting itself, because I think most rational people understand that at that particular moment in time, in a combat situation, that Marine made a judgment call, based on his experiences, and shot an "allegedly dead" terrorist. (I refuse to call them insurgents). Mr. Sikes, nor anyone else, can or should play Monday morning quarterback, and try to second guess or micro-analyze what was going through his mind at that moment.

But you see, its the likes of that reporter, and hundreds others, that have caused the American people, and our politicians in particular, to shrink back and say "Oh, My God, that Marine shot and killed a wounded insurgent". And its important that it be a "Marine", because the media loves to paint us with brushes called "loose cannons", "professional killers", etc. That is because they know we are the best at what we do - we destroy property and kill people!

During WWII, and I was only in the Okinawa campaign, we had "pool" reporters (correct me if I am wrong) and some things were not reported out of respect for the Marines, their families, the American public and the military leaders. It seemed we had a pretty good relationship with the "press". I know we did with Ernie Pyle. He was the "rifleman's friend". And then came black and white TV in Korea, and color TV cameras in Vietnam. And I went "postal". We do not need TV cameras in combat. We do not need the visual impact of Humvees being blown to bits. We don't need to see suicide car bombers doing their thing. And it matters not that the dead may be civilians. We don't need to see it. Read about it and let it soak in, take time to digest what you've just read; listen to the evening news on the radio, and draw your own mental picture of what happened when a reporter says "There was a car bombing in Mosul today, killing three people, one of which was a Marine". But NO, we are now fully "embedded" and we get to watch just what the media loves - "If it bleeds, it leads". You see, the left-leaning media hate war. They really do.And in particular, they dislike and distrust the Marine Corps. However, they love the "blood and gore" that comes out of the conflict. Plus, we have an ongoing race for "ratings". I could go on and on, but you recognize that I have disliked the Media for more years than many of you are old. Dave Stutesman says he will never again watch news from NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN. Smart decision, Dave. I gave up on them all a long time ago. Jim Brozovich said it well "Things happen in war that most people will never experience". And I pray that most people will never have to experience war. It is not fun, but someone has to respond to attacks like 9/11, and even though I am over the hill, if I could I would "fall in " right now. Why? Simply because this Marine knew darn well that when he went into combat, he had a much better chance of survival than did his enemy because he was much better trained than his enemy to kill or be killed.

Some Marine "Moms" may cringe at some of what I've said, but I hope and pray they can take heart and a great deal of comfort in the knowledge that when their Marine earned his/her Eagle Globe and Anchor, and earned the title of United State Marine, he/she joined the "the few, the proud" and they are the best of the best. Be proud of them! I went back to MCRD, San Diego, about 6-7 years ago; the first time since 1943. It was a sentimental journey for me. I wanted to see if the parade ground was as "big" as I remembered it. IT WAS! I picked up a tee shirt at the BX. I still have it and wear it. On the front " We don't have an ATTITUDE! And on the back " We are just that GOOD". God Bless You, Marine, wherever you are, and from across the generations, I say to each of you (including Sgt. Grit for all he does) "Semper Fidelis"

James D. Broome, Cpl.

Note: I would like to hear more from WWII Marines.
Sgt Grit

H/2/7 Vietnam Reunion

Marines, Corpsman and their families are invited to the 10th reunion of H/2/7 Vietnam to be held in Alexandria, VA June 10-12 2005. Go to and/or call Skipper Holm at 360.871.3593 for more details.


Below is an email excerpt from a friend of a friend of mine who is in Baghdad. It actually happened but the press does not like to report on sniper successes.

The military has been very busy here lately. Apparently, the Marines teamed up with some Psyop boys. The USMC put together two PLATOONS of snipers, & headed with the speaker boys out to Fallujah. When they got there, nobody in sight.

The speakers would blare, "Why don't you come out & fight. Why do you hide behind your women? Take off your Burkha & come out to meet us. We are ready to fight you." .... Nothing.

Keep speakers blaring. Pretty soon, one guy jumps up & starts coming out. BOOM. Down he goes.

Crank the speakers back up. "That guy wasn't righteous with Allah, or that couldn't have happened. Where are the righteous fighters that Allah will watch out for? Come out & show yourselves." BOOM.

By the end of the night, 42 insurgents had come to the call.

John Wear

Throw Kisses

The Mardi Gras beads I ordered the other day came and what a neat item they are. Now if I could just get someone to ride on the back of my F150 (laden of course with USMC magnets and a window decal declaring I served as a WM) and throw kisses and candy I would be the hit of the parade.
Thanks so much for adding new items all the time.

Mardi Gras Beads

Why Not

If there is truly a shortage of Marines and Soldiers as we continuously hear about, Why Not Ask Us Former Marines who are well into their 50's and retired to do the mundane task's stateside and overseas, so active military can be deployed to fight. SH!T, I'd GO!

At age 55 I bet I can still take the nut's off a mosquito with a BAR from 50 yds.

Think about it. Just ask us!

Semper Fi

She Asked Me Why

Sgt Grit. I have been out of pocket for a while but I'm staying in touch with the war through the news and the papers. I have been reading the news letters as usual and I would like to say, that I have yet to see any war we have been involved in that the enemy actually complied with the Geneva Convention rules, as a matter of fact even in the Hollywood movies the enemy is always portrayed as ruthless. I hope that most of the American Public still remembers that we are at war, and that the war did not stop for the Holidays.

I had a friend of mine call me to tell me that her best friends only son just graduated from PI, in December, he was with the platoon that lost the recruit. She is naturally worried that her son is going to be sent to the war zone soon, I told her the truth that he most likely would be and I thanked her for her sons service. She asked me why the Marines are so proud and why they always think that they can do the job when everyone else can't or just wont.

My answer to her was she needs to ask her son since he just graduated it should still be fresh in his mind. We Marines don't understand the word CAN'T.....................

Anyway I would like to wish all the Marines a good year and god bless you all, T he unit close to my home is shipping out at the end of the month for the third time, please keep all of them and their families in our thoughts.

Semper-Fi Marines.
The Gunny in Miami.

A Box of Grid Squares

Hey Sgt Grit
Greetings to all and may 2005 be one of the best years ever for our Country and our Corps.

Shortly after arriving in Okinawa on or about March, 1973 I was assigned to Co I 3/9. I guess your new buddies feel honor bound to mess with the NFG. Hustle your young a$$ over to supply and bring me a box of grid squares and a can of back blast. The Clint Eastwood movie "Dirty Harry" , as Inspector Harry Callahan , had just been out for a while . My name is Calahan. Well of course they started calling me Dirty Harry. (My Highschool buddies hadn't thought of that). Some wisea$$ even wrote it on my sea bag in black magic marker (still have it). Well who wants to be called dirty anything? My hygiene was impeccable, and although I would have loved to be compared to my hero Clint, I look and am built nothing like him. Long story short the nickname didn't stick, thank God, after the short time "ring leader" rotated back to the states. But "Cal" did. Chuckle....

God bless all our troops and their families everywhere, and may God return you safely home to us.

Semper Fi,
Cpl "Cal" Calahan
USMC 72-74

It Was An Honor

Good morning Sgt. Grit: Just got finished reading my first newsletter from you and must say I enjoyed every word! I was not a Marine, but did serve as a Navy nurse for two tours of duty in Da Nang. I want to say that I loved all those Marines who came through Da Nang's Evac Hospital. They were kids really, but sweet and brave! They helped ME get through some rough times! It was an honor to serve as their nurse. I never had any problems with them, as all were gentlemen (even those Marines who were not my patients. They would go out of their way to treat me with respect and concern!)

I have nothing but full hearted respect for Marines and am proud to say that my oldest son served with the Marines as a Navy "Doc." He was in awe of the Marine's training and loyalty to one another. (He too had to go through Marine training in order to serve with them and couldn't get over the grueling training they all went through!).

In conclusion, if I had to do my military service all over again, place me with the Marines anytime and anywhere!
Kathleen M. Conley.

Squads Right

Sgt.Grit,just read your current News Letter.As always-it is great.A bit of info to Dick Dickerson @ "squads right'"-swagger sticks_etc.Gen Shoup,as Com.of the Corps, reinstated the "squads right" drill and screwed up the whole Corps for a few years.FMF troops continued the LMP drill but Posts and Stations had to learn the ""new"" drill.I know because I left the 2nd MarDiv in '55 and went to Gitmo.The "squad drill" was new and I was assigned to make sure the troops performed the new drill at all training and ceremonies.A real task as I knew nothing of the "squad drill" and no one else on the compound did either.I did learn and I did instruct.Two years later I forget it all when I returned to the FMF.Gen.Shoup did bring in the swagger stick-All officers and SNCO Had to carry the stick when they were off duty and in uniform.The stick was made from rose wood with silver tip and cap for officers and brass tip and cap for SNCO.There were rules on how to carry it.He also made cuff links mandatory for Officers and SNCO.I still have my stick and cuff links.He did a lot of other things that really did nothing to make us Marines better Killers
Semper Fi
MSGT A "Pat" Burris USMC

As Gunny Called Him

Sgt Grit,
This is in reference to a couple of comments made by "Sgt B" in 6 January newsletter:

As one who was intimately familiar with the rice paddies of Vietnam (we once crawled on our bellies through a wet one fertilized with water buffalo manure in order to sneak up on a "ville" for a dawn assault), I want to thank you for your kind remarks about us "Nam Vets".

However, I need to take exception with one thing you said while commenting on the movie, "Heartbreak Ridge". You said, "Come on! Infantry officers are frequently detailed to perform other duties, but no non-grunt officer would ever be placed in command of an infantry unit...('Came over from supply...' Jeeze!)"

That may be true now--I've been out of the Corps since July of '76--but I know of one young am-track second lieutenant who did just that. When Chris Riner (not certain of the spelling) reported for duty with 1stMarDiv in Vietnam in 1966, he was informed that they didn't need any more officers in the am-tracks, so he found himself commanding Lima 3/7's 2nd Platoon (and quite well, as I recall). He left 'Nam about half-way through his tour after receiving three minor purple heart wounds. When Gunny Mayfield questioned him about riding out of country on that third "heart", "Smedley" (as Gunny called him) replied in so many words, "You bet I am. That fourth one might be a real bear!"

And what about those of us with time in the Reserves. When I left active duty during the scale-down of the Corps in '69, I joined the nearest unit, which was in Corpus Christi, TX. The unit consisted of two under-strength recon companies, Charlie and Delta, 4th Recon Bn, led by two majors. Coincidentally, two of us artillery-type captains joined the unit on the same weekend. Within about a year, Jack Fraim was CO of Charlie, and I had Delta. By around '71, the two under-strength recon companies were combined and re-designated as Charlie, 1/23 (grunts). Since Jack was due for promotion to major soon, he became CO, while I was XO and acting 1st Platoon Commander. Soon after, he moved out of the area, and I became CO. I spent six years with the Corpus Christi unit, and was CO for about four of those years.

And the major who succeeded me as CO of Charlie 1/23, Tomas Rodriguez, was an engineer officer.

Incidentally, when 1/23 went to Little Creek Amphib Base in Virginia for its two-week Annual Training Duty in '74, guess who was the active duty Instructor-Inspector for the am-track reserve unit that supported us? Correct. "Smedley"--Chris Riner.

Semper Fi!
Tom Downey
1963-'76 (Vietnam '66-'67)
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.

25MM Japanese Shell

i have a pretty incredible story to tell you. i found your e-mail and site today because i needed info of how to find the family of a marine corps vet, that fought in ww2. this past holiday i received a gift from my wife's very close friend and her husband. i am an avid reader of ww2 history. it fascinates me how ordinary people did unordinary things in a world turned upside down. these everyday men and women saved our world and its people and wanted nothing in return except to go back to their ordinary lives. well back to the story, the gift i got was a 25mm japanese shell found on the island of Guadalcanal. the shell has the u.s. marines engraved on the shell. it was done by one of thomas f guffins runners on the island. you see thomas f guffin, who goes by the name of fred, served on the island in august and september of 1942. he was a 2nd lt. platoon leader and company executive officer. when i received the gift i was so elated, loved it and was going to cherish it as long as possible. just today my wife and i were examining the shell when i noticed something inside it. it turns out there was a piece of paper lodge in the shell. i could not get it out so my wife and her trusty tweezers not to mention her small fingers got it out. were we surprised. the piece of paper it turns out contained the history of the shell written by its original owner. it reads as follows:

Thomas F. Guffin U.S.M.C.-Major Ret. 1950 This Japanese 25mm shell was among many found at an
abandoned gun emplacement on Guadalcanal in August
and September of 1942-WWII. I was a 2nd LT.
Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer.
One of my runners made the design by hand with
a punch and gave me two of them.

when we discovered what we actually had in our hands and the history behind the shell, i felt a very strong urge to find its original owner and return it to him, if he were still alive. it didn't take long to do an online search and find one thomas f guffin in georgia, still alive. after calling directory assistance, i got a phone number and called it. i left a message at the residence in the hope that anyone would return the phone call. well no more than 20 minutes later a betty guffin returned the call and was quite surprised that i was trying to find its original owner. it turns out betty was, through her husband, thomas's cousin but didn't know it at the time. her son, a doctor, was actually doing the families lineage at this time. betty was quite fascinated with the prospect of helping me find this person. little did she know this person was actually very close indeed, but i needed to know who this was quicker than it was happening, so i call directory assistance again and got another number of a different guffin in the area. i called that number and talked to a vivian guffin, bullseye! it was her husband. turns out he goes by the name fred not thomas and that is why betty did not know who it was at first. thomas was her cousin through marriage. i am now returning the object to its rightful owner. thomas may not be with us much longer as he is very ill. as much as this thing of death and destruction that was my gift in actuality will bring a little bit of life back into the guffin household. i am honored to have talk to the guffins and i am honored to return it to one of this countries heroes.
joseph marcus

More Ivy League

Sgt Grit,
I sent in the poem in Question and as I stated in the e-mail posting it was forwarded to me from a reliable source and signed by the author. I did not want the individual who wrote it to get in trouble so I put the x's instead of his name just in case someone high ranking,on active duty, without a sense of humor, read it and wanted to punish the young man for the poem he wrote.

I don't think it was meant as an indictment of the Ivy League education as much as it meant to express that the people who are making up the media and are negatively judging the young Marine in question are a product of the theoretical world. The kind of people you find mainly in Universities and colleges.

You know? The one where everything put on paper works the way it should and people are nice and polite to each other and the police never have to "bash" anyone because they always meekly submit to lawful authority.

I sympathize with the writer of the poem. Both my children are attending university. My daughter is a graduate with her bachelors degree and going for her masters and my son should graduate next year from Hofstra University.

While attending school the professor of my son's computer class felt the urge to use the classroom time, that should have been spent educating him on computer science, to rail against the war in Iraq , criticize the President, and accuse the fine men and women of the military services (especially Marines) of being stupid dupes and basically committing war crimes just for being there. When he had finished my son stood up and proceeded to tell him that his father is a Marine and that he was proud of my service to my country and that he is paying for an education in Computer Science not to hear his professor's personal opinions about the war!

The discussion ended there and my son did not get the grade he expected in the class but as he said "F**k him if he can't take a joke." I'm sorry if you were offended by the reference to Ivy League schools in the poem. Perhaps the Ivy League made you sensitive to remarks that we brother Marines would normally not take offense to?

I just ask you to remember the writer of the poem is a Marine, currently in combat, in Iraq, and as such is probably not too politically correct. But then again who among us Marines can be accused of that?
John Klein
Sgt USMC 78-82

Accomplish The Mission

In May 1967 a 17 year old boy left home on a train bound for MCRD San Diego, and thought that his father was the dumbest man there ever was. In August he returned a 17 year old, MARINE, and was surprised to find out how smart his father had gotten. Now we all know that it wasn't his father that was dumb, but it was that 17 year old boy. And it was the U.S.M.C. that opened the eyes of that dumb little sh$t. And I will always be thankful what they did for me. I was in for not one but two tours from 1967 to 1971 and again from 1973 to 1975. And as I've seen on some tee shirts "I may not be as lean, and I may not be as mean, but I will always be a MARINE." One thing they told me was, you do what ever it takes to accomplish the mission, I have carried this with me in my daily life, at work and at play. I am part of a family, with a million plus brothers and sisters, and every time a class grads from boot camp I gain a few more brothers and sisters. So to all the old salts to my newest brothers and sisters SEMPER FI family live a long and happy life. semper fi
D.E. Lawson Cpl. of MARINES thank you.

Thanksgiving 1956

I never imagined how much I would appreciate a newsletter such as this, but have been looking forward to it for about a year now. The article by Cpl JMS rung my bell and reminded me of an interesting event.

Thanksgiving day, 1956 found me working as the Camp Desk Sgt.,Marine Corps Base, Camp Enjoined, NC. I wasn't supposed to be there, but I was single, new to the unit, and selected at the last minute for the duty. I didn't expect much to happen since it was a holiday and I had the 1200 to 1600 watch.

About 1215 a call came in stating that deer hunters had found a body of a dead Marine. He was located in the White Oak swamp, about half way between CLNC and Cherry Point Air Station. For the next hour things became very busy. I broke away for a moment to go to the head, quickly flushed the toilet inadvertently breaking the handle on the toilet and cut a three inch diagonal gash across my left wrist. The scar reminds me of the day.

I never knew the identity of the Marine, but he was a pilot who parachuted from his plane, and drifted down into the swamp. He was found buried up to his hips, both legs broken. This happened in 1944 and they never found him until this day in 1956.Scraps of harness, buttons and buckles were there as evidence. This part of North Carolina was real wilderness in 1944.

Keep up the good work Grit. Your service is truly appreciated by all of us. Semper Fi!

Joe F. Smith
Capt. USMC,Ret. (1950-1971)

I'm Glad To Know

I recently went to the San Diego Chargers game with about 35 other Marines from my Battalion. There were also Marines from MCRD and Sailors too. We unfurled a flag in the shape of the United States during the National Anthem before kickoff. It was awesome to hear all the cheers from the thousands and thousands of fans there. As my fellow Marines and I wandered around the stadium lost ( we couldn't find our seats) numerous people came up to us and hugged us and shook our hands and thanked us for what we do. We also went to a tailgate party with a retired Marine who fought in Iwo Jima, and his family. It was great to talk to him, although he was well aged and didn't talk much. I'm not in the Marine Corps for people to tell me how proud they are of us, but I'm glad to know we are supported especially during this time. There are so many people out there who have nothing but negative things to say about us, but I don't see them doing anything to help America. I've written before, the Marine with two kids under age 3. I didn't mention I'm only 19 years old, I'll be 20 on Jan 23. I'm glad I decided to do something with my life. To Amelia, who says she gets looks of disgust for joining, don't let that bring you down. You've made a wonderful choice. I joined right out of high school and left to boot camp 4 1/2 months later. I was married and at the time my daughter was 3 1/2 months shy of 2 years. You can imagine what bad things were said about me "leaving my baby". But when she and her new baby sister are older I know they'll be proud of Mommy and proud that I'm making a better life for them. My husband plans on joining soon too, and I'm very supportive of him. For anyone that wants to join, do it. Don't listen to negative remarks, and don't listen to those few service members themselves that tell you how much they hate being in. Nobody forced them to join.

God bless and Semper Fi!!
LCpl Susan R. Rosas
WFTBn CamPen

While Grotesque

The movie "A Few Good Men" was on the other night. I don't care what people think of the movie as a whole, the part that Jack Nicholson played when he lectured Tommy boy Cruise in the court room has to go down in the annals of Marine history as a major highlight.
Semper Fidelis,

A Few Good Men

"You can't handle the truth. Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand at post. Either way, I don't give a d*mn what you think you are entitled to."

Sorriest Meat Heads

As I have been reading these letters from these Marines I keep looking for some of us old older marines. I joined in 7/23/40 and was in the 69th Platoon. We call ourselves the fighting 69th. That was the year the movie The Fighting 69th came out. It was about the Army in World War I. Of course we were Marines and proud to be, but thought the name fit us.

Sgt Mann, Cpl. Smith and Cpl. Comstock were the ones that were making us into Marines. They kept telling us we were the sorriest meat heads they had the misfortune to try to make Marines. (Cpl Comstock was killed in the Pacific) the other two I have never heard or seen anything about.

Cpl R.L. Reneau USMC 289614 7/23/40 to 7/23/49 (also Icelandic Marine & Para Marine 1942 to 1944)

Rock n Roll Song

In Sept of 1966, I was sitting on the company street one Sunday after church call spit polishing my dress shoes. I could hear a radio playing some soft rock n roll song that I really liked at the time. As the chorus sounded, I began to hum. Unbeknownst to me one of our DI's was walking up the company street behind me. Just my luck that this was the "bad" DI. He bellowed, "Wear, what the F*ck are you doing?"

"Sir, the recruit is listening to the radio in the Drill Instructor's house, Sir."

"You piece of maggot puke. So you want to hang around and listen to the music?"

"Sir. Yes, Sir!"

"Get your rifle and report back to my house on the double."

"Sir. Yes, Sir!"

Ten seconds later I am pounding on the hatchway of the DI's Quonset hut.

"Sir, recruit Wear reporting as ordered, Sir."

"Maggot, reach up and grab the top of the door."

"Sir. Yes, Sir."

I face the door and reach up on my tippy toes to grab on to the top of the door. He then has me lift my legs up off the ground and to form a 90 degree angle way from my body with my legs sticking out from the knees down. He then places my rifle on to my outstretched legs.

"There, Wear, you are now hanging around listening to music. Do you like it maggot puke?"

"Sir. Yes, Sir!"

God! I wanted to die. I lasted a few minutes and requested permission to go back to my foot locker and resume spit polishing my dress shoes. I did not hummmm another note until we graduated!!!

Semper Fidelis,
John Wear
Sgt 3rd Tanks
RVN '68-'69 East Coast Drill Instructors Reunion

East Coast Drill Instructors Reunion
Parris Island Chapter will be holding its 18th Annual
reunion from 21-24 April, 2005 at MCRD, Parris Island,
SC. POC: MSgt Vic Ditchkoff at (912) 756-4840 or

Thank You and "Semper Fidelis"
Vic Ditchkoff
Parris Island Chapter, DI Association

Stamped In Your Mind

Just a short note for Mike Holloway, Who will leave for Parris Island this august. Mike, First let me thank you for what you are about to do. It isn't easy to volunteer in a time of strife. And all too many will find excuses to avoid their duty. You made a choice to serve, and you say you have a tinge of anxiety. There is nothing wrong with that. H&ll, if I had to go back to boot camp, I'd be nervous too!. But seriously, you are doing more than just joining the military. You are joining a brotherhood that will last a lifetime. Boot camp will be demanding, you may second guess yourself. You will probably feel like you made the stupidest decision of your life. At least I thought so. But after a short time there, I began to change. I began to realize no matter how hard the training was, I'd make it. In reality, the corps was making me! You will emerge in 3 months a whole new person. You will have a pride in you that only champions feel. You will look sharp, feel sharp, and have the ability to handle situations your college friends would be afraid of. As I look back on my life, I cant remember what I did in July of last year. Nor what I did in July of 2002, or 2001, or 2000 etc. But I can tell you day by day what i did in July of 1979. Your experiences in the corps will be stamped in your mind for eternity while the mundane years of civilian life pass by without significance. Your journey will be unique to you alone, but bound by thousands of brothers who came before you, and will come after. When you graduate, you will be one of us. You will have kin in every town in America. So as you prepare to go, fear not. America needs men like you. ( ps- this goes for our women marines also)
Semper Fi- Sgt G. Mckruit 3rd Marines 79-83

Boot Camp and Beyond

1. The key to success in the Marine Corps is your attitude. Nothing else is as important! With the right attitude, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome.

2. Develop your own self-confidence. Do not defeat yourself before you begin.

3. Set goals that you know are within your capability to achieve then set several more which you may have to really pop your cords to reach, that are perhaps in the stars. It is in striving for something worthwhile that will grow.

4. Those things that hurt us help us. Your body enjoys ease and comfort. But, you must control it, not allowing it to take control of you.

5. Do not take counsel of your fears… they are common to every man. The task at hand is to learn how to control them. The mind has a peculiar way of exaggerating them 10 to 20 times their actual size.

6. Have no dealings with self-pity as it leads only to destruction. You are a man who has put away childish things. You will stand tall because it is expected.

7. Do not volunteer for anything.

8. Salute and sir everyone except the cat.

9. Learn swift and unerring obedience. He who is not fit to obey is not fit to command.

10. Always keep your valuables under lock and key. Every outfit seems to have at least one sticky-fingers.

11. Avoid drugs and cigarettes like the plague.

12. Camp followers have been a part of the military scene for 1000's of years. Their interest is only your money. They breed sickness, disease, death! He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man!

13. Always stay alert on a guard post.

14. Never absent yourself from where you are supposed to be without official permission.

15. Never be late in reporting for duty from liberty or leave. If you find you will be unavoidably late, always call ahead by phone and inform when you will return.

16. Duty-Honor-Country. They are watchwords for our continuing freedoms. Sadly, by many they are now held in contempt or ignored as old fashioned and unworthy of observance. Also sadly, too many of your countrymen believe their only duty is to themselves, that the end all of life is pleasure, comfort, ease, and that the risk and sacrifice for any other reason than oneself is a ridiculous concept.

17. America is really the last hope of the free world. If we fall, assuredly the Darkness will descend.

Lt Col R.M. Taylor (USMCR retired) 1986


An old Sailor and an old Marine were sitting at the VFW arguing about who'd had the tougher career.

"I did 30 years in the Corps," the Marine declared proudly, "and fought in three of my country's wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood-soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. "As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. "Finally, as a gunny sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a firefight, we'd fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we'd charge the enemy with bayonets!"

"Ah," said the Sailor with a dismissive wave of his hand, "lucky B*st*rd, all shore duty, huh?"

Submitted by former L/Cpl William N. Thompson (1989-1992) 2ndBn4thMarDiv

Combat Engineers

HEADLINE: "On Iraqi-Jordanian border, Marine combat engineers fortify U.S. camp"

TURAYBIL, Iraq (Jan. 13, 2005) -- Not far from the Iraqi-Jordanian border, a handful of Marines are providing an extra layer of protection for the small, remote forward operating base here.

After a suicide bomber killed two Marines and injured six others early last month, combat engineers from Combat Service Support Battalion 7 have spent the past three weeks fortifying the camp.

"I never imagined I'd be standing on the Iraqi border getting rained on and freezing," said Lance Cpl. William A. Fishburn, a military truck driver who joined the Marine Corps two years ago to "make a difference in the world."

Read the Story

Always Be A Hero

For those that have not had the pleasure of meeting General Pitman, I can tell you he is the epitome of a Marine.
An Aviator, quite famous in New Orleans, because when a sniper was killing people off of the roof the Howard Johnson's, he, against orders flew his CH-46 through the streets, literally, so that they could smoke the motherf*$ker, and they did.
Needless to say he wasn't reprimanded for disobeying an order, but was honored by the city for his valor.
I met him in 1993 @ the Marine Corps Aviation Association Ball, and attended a personal party in his room, because my now deceased cousin Jerry was a Retired Marine Corps Fighter Pilot, and a personal friend of the General. It was one of the proudest moments of my life to stand next to, personally speak with, and listen to his tales that make your chest with a few medals, swell, as you look @ this legend with so many medals of Heroism. It is humbling...
I wanted those that don't know what then LtCol Pitman did for this city to understand in my eyes, his is and always will be a hero.
Semper Fidelis,

Needless To Say

Sgt Grit:
we all know how intense the training is in boot camp, well I am from Arkansas and after boot camp I flew in on a late flight. when my parents pick me up and we got home it was in the wee hours of the morning, well my baby sister had stayed home in the morning she came in the room and turned on the light so as to see me and wake me up, needless to say I was up and standing at the foot of the bed before she knew what happen, I asked her not to turn on the light again. and she did not .

good luck to all who are serving now.
Harold L Ramer
2531 1978-1982

3 Months Of H&ll

Sgt. Grit,
I'd like to sound off on something that really burns my a**. It's a pet peeve of mine and I'm sure it is to other Marines. That is the way the media and the uneducated, call Marines...soldiers. Is it just me. We didn't go through 3 months of h&ll to earn the title "soldier". We did it to be called a MARINE!. You can bet that anytime I personally hear somebody calling Marines that name I square them away immediately. I think it is our duty to nail these pukes every time they do this. Maybe sooner or later they will get the message. That is all.
John Belaire
USMC 1971 - 1975

To Dispel the BS

Sgt. Grit,
I was hoping I didn't have to be the first Marine to address this horrible incident and by the time you get this, maybe I won't be. I served in the Corps from 1979-1988 and have been in law enforcement since 1989. I presently am a Deputy Sheriff and my information is good. Last weekend L/Cpl Andres Raya left Camp Pendleton for his home in Ceres, CA, murdered Sgt. Howard Stevenson and wounded Officer Sam Ryno, both of Ceres Police Department. Raya used a modified semi-auto Kalashnikov rifle in the crime. To dispel the BS that has been in several news media this week, Raya reportedly was distraught over memories of intense combat and Brother Marines committing suicide in Iraq. His buddies at Camp Pendleton stated he was having nightmares of the fighting in Fallujah. He was in a Motor T unit that returned stateside last September.

Post-incident information from mama Marine Corps confirmed that Raya's unit was never near Fallujah, never saw action, and Raya never fired his weapon at the enemy at any time he was deployed. His war trauma was all fabricated. Stanislaus County crime lab confirmed Raya was under the influence of cocaine at the time of the assault on the officers.

I viewed the video from the security cameras at the scene and read the timeline of the incident. Raya, dressed in a poncho that covered his AK, fired a single round into the ground outside a convenience store. He then ran inside to the clerk, whom he previously knew, said someone had just taken a shot at him, and told the clerk to call 911. Raya stepped outside the front of the store and prepared for the police units to arrive. Officer Ryno and his trainee arrived on scene and, appropriately parked their patrol car out of view of the store. They approached on foot to the corner of an adjoining building to take a quick peek at the side of the convenience store. [I do not have information as to what the clerk told the 911 call-taker, if he was aware of the pending ambush and related that to the call-taker or if he was ignorant of Raya's intentions.] As Officer Ryno looked around the corner of the building, Raya rushed toward him firing his AK, striking Officer Ryno, and wounding him.

Raya continued to fire in the direction of the trainee as he returned to the front of the convenience store to take cover. He waited there for the other responding officers. As Raya stood in front of the store, remaining under cover by an alcove, Sgt. Howard Stevenson arrived on scene from the opposite side of the store. Sergeant Stevenson evidently made voice contact with Raya, because the tape shows Raya's head turning the opposite direction toward Stevenson. Raya crouched low, ran for cover behind a parked vehicle in front of the store, and immediately began firing at Stevenson. Stevenson was wounded badly in the brief firefight and went down. Raya approached him and fired two rounds into the Sergeant's head, killing him.

Raya fled the scene and other units responded code 3 at the report of "shots fired - officers down". A perimeter was set up and Raya was shot to death in an exchange of gunfire with arriving officers as he attempted to flee the scene.

I have close friends who work in Modesto and other nearby departments who initially told me of this incident because they know I am a Marine. I was sickened when I heard it. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen commit crimes, too, but it seems to draw more attention when a Marine is responsible. For starters, let me straighten one thing out. Raya was not a Marine. Raya was a "Norteno" gang banger, a member of the Northern Structure here in California. They do the dirty street work for the prison gang "Nuestra Familia". Trust me when I tell you I have sound knowledge of these people. They are violent and there has been severe tension between them and law enforcement for years, in particular lately with the agencies in Stanislaus County. It's because the officers there are doing their jobs, not because they are picking on poor people. They have found the easiest way to get their people basically trained in weapons is for them to enlist in the Army or Marine Corps. They get their training and then get out to commit crimes that benefit the Structure.

How does a gang banger get into my beloved Corps? I suppose it's easy. Many gang bangers have few tattoos at 18 that give them away or, at least, are not as obvious as a 25 year old who has already been to prison. Maybe there was nothing that sent red flags up in the recruiting stations or at MEPS or in boot camp or in MCT or in his motor T school or in his unit he deployed with. Huh!!?

At a time when we are supporting and praying for our brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have to endure the media calling Raya a Marine. Don't grieve for the passing of a Marine. He was not a Marine, only an imposter, a criminal, and a murderer of policemen. He did not stand for the Red, White, and Blue, nor the Scarlet and Gold. He stood only for his red rag that was probably tossed into his coffin by his homies. Grieve for Sgt. Stevenson who was ambushed and murdered trying to keep our home front safe. Officer Ryno is in critical condition and it is undetermined yet if he will survive his gunshot wounds.

Still a Marine and always will be,
Mike Damigo

Steeler Fans

Dear Sgt. Grit,
My older brother LCpl Joshua VanTassel is one of the biggest Pittsburgh Steeler fans alive. This year he missed seeing our 16-1 steelers as he is currently deployed in Fallujah.

He sent us an e-mail the other day stating they were finally getting satellite t.v., and he could watch the playoff game between Pittsburgh and the New York Jets. After an intense game leading to an overtime field goal win by the Steelers. He sent an e-mail saying that watching the game took more years of his life than serving 14 months in the sandbox had. He is in 2nd platoon, truck co. 4th Marine div. and is currently attached to 3rd batt. 5th Marines. I am very proud of my brother, and I send a big thank you to him and all the Marines serving past, present, and future.
God bless,
One proud Marine brother

Short Rounds