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Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
George Washington

My Third And Last Tour

I have been in our Corps for over 28 years now and have attained the rank of CWO5. I look around after a tour in Beirut, Desert storm, OIF/OEF and I am amazed. I hear some senior folks talk about our young and say what a pathetic group they are. I say that the SNCOs and Officers of the 70s said the same of me! The young Marine in our Corps are cut from the same bolt of cloth that the Marines of WWI and WWII were cut from, the only difference is they understand how to spell. I am ready to deploy on my third and last tour to the AO and am as proud and confident in my Marines as Chesty must have been and I challenge anyone to rebuff my claim,,, many a hero will be uncovered in the next few months. God Bless America and OUR Corps of young warriors.

Semper Fi
Dusty Cooper

Ultimate Destination

We completed boot camp at PI in March of 1943 and were sent to Camp LeJeune. Most of my platoon went to the 4th which was then being formed. I was selected to train as a radio operator. For whatever reason I was sent for additional training in communication and lost track of all my buddies. The 4th, of course, went on to fight on Roi Namur, Saipan and Tinian. It wasn't until late in 1944 that I finally was assigned to the 4th and joined them at our base camp on Maui.

Early in January of 1945 we sailed from Maui for parts unknown that turned out to be Iwo Jima. The size of that convoy was astounding. We stopped at Saipan for final landing exercises and it was only after we left Saipan that we were told of our ultimate destination. Iwo Jima didn't mean a thing to us but it became a part of our very being in days ahead. Those who died, died very violent deaths. Those who were injured were most times literally torn to shreds. For me, as a survivor, it sometimes left a sense of guilt. We were all very scared. We had a job that only Marines can do - and it was done. Memories of Iwo Jima are as vivid today as they were many years ago. They will never go away nor would I want them to as I recall brave acts beyond human ability. Those deeds were accomplished because they were done by Marines and there is no finer man in the world.

It is with great pride that I recall events on Iwo but most times it is also with a sense of almost guilt as I reflect on the fact that I survived. There were so many great men that did not survive or were gravely wounded. I salute each of them and am proud to say that " I am a United States Marine".

Sgt. Jack Watson
1942 - 1946

The Various Meanings of the Marine Corps Coin

I just saw on the web site the new Marine Corps coin, and thought I would share a special moment in which I was able to give a coin to a special person in my life. Although at the time, I didn't realize just how special this person would become in my life. While out of town at a industry seminar, I met what I thought to be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. We were introduced by a common friend. This was a week long seminar and fate just kept putting us in the same places at the same time. While attending a cocktail party that we were both (coincidentally) invited to, another former Marine, began to talk military with me. He was a nice guy--apparently had had a little too much to drink--and at the end of our conversation gave me a challenge coin that had the Vietnam service emblem. I was very proud to have had a combat Vet give me a coin. This was the second such coin I had been given in the last year. I turned to my new friend--the beautiful girl I had been referring to-- and explained the tradition of the challenge coin to her. I noticed that she immediately became melancholy. After a few moments of silence she told me that her brother was in the Marines. I paused and then began to ask questions about him. My inquisitiveness was interrupted when she quietly told me that he was killed. Our eyes met as if there wasn't another person in the room. I told her that I was sorry and again paused in silence. She told me that he never had a chance to serve after boot camp because he was killed while on leave after having just graduated from basic training. This moment immediately became the nucleus of our special bond. A week or so after the seminar, I asked her to dinner. We agreed to meet in the parking lot. When she pulled up in her car, I was astonished at her beauty. She was even more gorgeous than I remembered from the seminar. The moment opening the door, to standing up and straightening up her skirt seemed to happened in one fluid motion. There she was standing in front of me. This woman who had monopolized my mind from the moment I laid eyes on her, was actually standing in front of me and going to have dinner with me. Without hesitation, or honestly before I "chickened out." I reached for her hand, opened it, and placed my coin in the shaking palm, and then closed it up. She immediately knew why I had given my coin to her. She hugged me and cried for a moment. She told me how much it meant to her. I know how much in meant to me to give it to her. I could see when she first told me of her tragedy, this confident, bright woman had a lot of pain over what had happen years before... At dinner that night, I fell in love with her. I was as nervous as a cat. We are regulars at that same restaurant. in fact, one of the bartenders knows us by name. I guess you could say that it is our "Cheers." Receiving a Marine Corps coin can have many, many meanings. This I learned one evening with the person who will one day soon be my wife. To Brenda, whom I will love and will adore for life.

My thoughts to all of our service men and woman serving abroad and state side. God be with the families of those who have fallen.

Sgt. Michael L. Ward
1981 -- 1987

By The Way

I am an Iraqi Freedom Combat Veteran, I served 8 years in the Corps as an MP(5811), since I've gotten out of the Corps, I am constantly finding out how much the Corps leads me in my day to day life. I now work as a Captain at our county jail. There are several other Marines that work here also. One of my Sergeants who has never been in the military constantly pokes at us because all of us have the Eagle, Globe and Anchor stickers on everything we own. Since he's never been in the Corps, he just can't understand why we are so proud. Sometimes, I share a story with my officers about the hardships we faced in Iraq, and I am constantly reminding them that there are still Americans fighting for their freedoms at that very moment. Just after I returned from Iraq, and went back to my job, I had an inmate come to me and complain that the air conditioner was not working properly and that he was uncomfortable and that it was my job to make sure that it was fixed A.S.A.P. I then proceeded to tell him and the other twenty inmates standing around about the Marines over in Iraq in the 120 degree heat who are fighting to protect our freedoms and that they haven't seen an air conditioner since leaving the states and that if they wanted to complain about the air conditioning, food, housing or anything else, that I wasn't the one to complain to. That is the first time in 8 plus years in corrections that I left a room full of inmates speechless. By the way, the air conditioner got fixed 3 weeks later!

Cpl. Rogers


As to stories, here's one for the records. In Vietnam in 1967 and while at Camp JJ Carroll, we were always receiving rocket fire from Dong Ha mountain. As Marines, we were designated as perimeter security for the Army's' 175mm guns. We loved it there...rather quiet although those rockets ruined many a good football game and some rest from the bush. One night while under rocket attack, we all ran for the trenches and bunkers to hold our positions. As a squad leader, it was my job to account for my people and I quickly did so. After ducking a few times, one of my friends and a squad member, a Mr. Fred V. Smith.."Smitty" got out of the trench and ran toward the rear. Someone ask me..what's he running from..knowing Smitty, I knew he was afraid of 'nothing'..I said..I don't know but he'll be back. Sure enough, Fred came back with a case of beer from the Officers' tent that had been hit with shrapnel. He was a Hero that night, to all of us in the trenches, as the rockets continued to rain in on us...of course, the Marine Hymn was sung and chants to our enemy were plentiful. I'll never forget that HERO that night...we talk every weekend now and he's very modest about that night but He Is A Hero Still!

Submitted by:
Chuck Sawyer "C 1/9" '67

Doc Kenneth R. Braun Awarded Navy Cross

If you were serving with the "Flaming I" on March 30, 1967, you will never forget our battle at Getlin's Corner! You will also never forget the fifteen heroes of that day and night who sacrificed their lives for each of us who survived. More heroes survived the battle and were decorated with Bronze Stars and Silver Stars. After many years passed two more were decorated with Silver Stars. Personally, I have always said that every Marine on that hill was a hero. Every man did his duty and followed every order without hesitation but not without fear-for we were all afraid. Facing one's fear and still doing your duty is what I feel sets Marines apart. Facing odds that seemed insurmountable, I witnessed the essence of the United States Marine Corps spirit being carried out by every Marine at Getlin's Corner. Not wanting to let your brother Marine down is a powerful force and overcomes the most deep seated fear. I witnessed that kind of courage by every man in India Company on that hill in 1967.

There were Marines on that hill who displayed leadership and courage above and beyond just doing their job. For those that don't know, I served under Lt. John Bobo as a member of Second Platoon from July 1966 until he was moved to Weapons Platoon at Okinawa in January 1967. When the "advanced party" was designated for our return to Vietnam, Lt. Bobo, Roger Turnquist, and I made up one team and arrived on February 20, 1967 to scout our new TAOR (Tactical Area of Responsibility) all along route 9 from the bridge west of Camp Carroll to Ca Lu south of the Rockpile. I witnessed Lt. Bobo in action numerous times and was always inspired by him. His many acts of bravery did not surprise any of us that knew him! We are very thankful that he was awarded the Medal of Honor and that his family understands that their "big brother" was loved and revered by every Marine fortunate enough to serve under him.

I witnessed our Skipper, Captain Mike Getlin, as he tried in vain to dissuade the 3/9 CO from ordering him to split our company into three separate positions. An order that I'm sure still haunts Lt. Col. Wilson to this day, if he is still alive. Captain Mike Getlin was a good Marine and he followed his orders. He was our commanding officer for just a short period of time, but during that time as one of his squad leaders I observed a real leader of Marines. I appreciated his concerted effort to get to know his men. Some of his superiors may have seen that as getting too close to the troops but I saw it as building trust and confidence in his leadership. Captain Getlin was one of the bravest Marines to wear the uniform. I have always felt his Navy Cross deserved to be the Medal of Honor. His actions inspired all who saw him give his all for his men that night in 1967.

Two more Marines were awarded the Navy Cross on that hill: Top Ray Rogers who I have written about previously, and John (Jack) Loweranitis, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in a one man assault into the teeth of the NVA ground attack. Jack wasn't afraid of anything!

Many years went by, and I always assumed that one other "Flaming I" brother had been decorated for his actions "above and beyond the call of duty" at Getlin's Corner. Doc Ken Braun was an inspiration to every Marine in that battle. I feared his terrible wounds would take his life as he was finally medevaced late that night. Here was a man's man in the body of a nineteen- year-old U.S. Navy Corpsman! Time and time again Doc displayed courage during that battle that inspired every Marine on that hill. Doc never was one to follow orders blindly and all who know him knew that he had a problem with authority--at least as it would apply to liberty while we were on Okinawa! He and Loweranitis, his partner in stretching Top's orders, did manage to find more than one way to leave the base besides the main gate! I mention following orders only because during the battle Doc was told time and again to keep his tail down below the tall grass so the NVA couldn't see him. It made no difference because as soon as the next wounded Marine yelled, "Corpsman up", Doc was up running to treat whoever needed his help. For those who weren't there with us, as you read Doc's citation please try to imagine being on the exposed forward slope of Hill 70. The only cover from mortars, RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), grenades and machine-guns is hastily dug fighting holes no more than six inches deep in very hard rocky ground, known as chert, along with chest-tall elephant grass. Doc was like the "bionic man" treating everyone he could reach.

After Doc was shot alongside Lt. Bobo, I feared that he had been killed. I can't begin to describe how I felt when he crawled up right in front of me as we lay in our final stand clump of brush. His wounds were horrible: his entire upper spine exposed. This Corpsman had appeared to be "Superman" all during the battle: he had received gunshot wounds that would have killed anyone else. Doc never moaned, cried out in pain or made the slightest sound that would have given away our position to the many NVA that were combing the hill in the dark looking for us. He did what he always did; he assumed that this old Jar Head didn't know squat about treating a wound this severe so he started telling me how to treat his wound. I know how excruciating the pain must have been as I pressed those blood- soaked bandages just removed from other KIAs into his back; yet, he never made a sound. His concern even then was treating the other wounded Marines on that hill. What an inspiration Doc was for every Marine!

The forward slope of Hill 70 had many seriously wounded Marines that Doc managed to get to and treat before rushing off to the next call for help. Doc's devotion to every Marine wounded in battle did not just happen at Getlin's Corner. I also witnessed Doc's courage and devotion when we were down south in Antennae Valley. Our platoon was positioned on a hill as a blocking force and had a perfect view of Golf Company 2/9 as they started a sweep of an NVA-held village. A Marine in the middle of a rice paddy was shot through his thigh and unable to move. He was just standing there in the middle of the paddy while the NVA were shooting all around him. No one from his outfit made a move to help him! All of a sudden we see this corpsman running through knee-deep water to rescue the Marine. Rounds are impacting all over that paddy as the NVA were trying to kill them both. Miraculously, Doc made it all the way back to the tree line carrying that wounded Marine. Second Platoon immediately burst out in a loud cheer as the two made it to safety. We did not know at that time that it was our own Doc Ken Braun who rushed out to save his brother Marine. As we watched from our lofty hill, Lt. John Bobo stated, "That man just won himself a medal!" Doc Braun was presented a Bronze Star for his actions that day. It didn't matter to Doc that the wounded Marine wasn't in our company. He was a Marine that needed help, and when Doc saw that no one from his outfit was moving to help him, Doc did what he always did; he saved the Marine's life!

We were blessed to serve in a company with such good men--men who willingly laid down their lives for their brothers! Men like Doc Kenneth Roger Braun who defeated both fear and death at Getlin's Corner serving and saving the Marines he cherished.

Doc called me in 2000. We must have talked on the phone for hours. I was so excited when I found out that he actually was still alive and kicking up in Missoula, Montana. I asked, "Doc, what medal did you end up with at Getlin's Corner?" His response was "Another purple heart just like you." To Doc that was good enough because he felt just like I did: our medal was making it home alive. But that wasn't good enough for those of us that owe our lives to this great American hero. Even though Doc didn't want or expect anything for his actions, I contacted two other Marines on the hill with us and asked them to join with me and write their eyewitness account of Doc's actions-- Joe Lempa from our Second Platoon gun team and John Errera, who was a Fireteam Leader in my squad--and I resubmitted our accounts. I had submitted my original account for all who were decorated when I returned to the company after getting out of the hospital at Marble Mountain. I had just assumed that Doc had been decorated.

General Butch Neal arranged for the presentation of Doc's Navy Cross during the Iwo Jima Memorial parade on June 14, 2005. The crowd was estimated at ten to twenty thousand people! The Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps along with the Marines from Headquarters Marine Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon performed. The crowd cheered when the band played "Corpsman, Up!"-the song now played at all Marine Corps reunions.

Marines and Corpsmen attending the ceremony included Butch Neal, who presented the Navy Cross to Doc Braun; George Navadel, Bob Kelly, Lon Getlin, Dan Pultz, Johnny Prickett, Al (Deadlock Playboy) Barbour, Terry O'Connell, Glen Crosby, Charlie Gallagher, Joe Lempa, Doc Chuck Dockery, Bill Stankowski, John Errera, Mike Bartley, Doc Bob Robb, Frank Gerosa, Bill Brogan, Larry Williams, John Lang, Al Seals, Vaughn Russell and Jack Riley. Also present were special Bobo family members: John's brothers Bill and Pat Bobo and our Skipper Mike Getlin's daughter Jennifer. Accompanying her dad throughout the festivities was one very proud daughter, Kim Braun. Most Marines turned this ceremony into a family affair, bringing along their wives, and many brought their children. Two Marines from Rochester, Minnesota were also in attendance including the Marine, Dave Crawley, responsible for our finding Doc in Montana. Also attending was Doc's best friend from Missoula, former Army Ranger, Fred Graves.

I have attended many ceremonies throughout the years, but I can honestly say that this was the most beautiful ceremony I have ever witnessed. Based upon the comments of all attending, they agree with me! It was indeed a special day for a special corpsman!

I called Doc after we arrived back home just to make sure everything went well for his return home. Doc was still reeling from an experience that few will ever have. After the ceremony and parade were concluded there were scores of people wanting to shake Doc's hand: Navy Admirals, Marine Generals, Navy officers from many foreign countries, including Russians in their bright yellow uniforms. Doc and his daughter Kim were invited to walk out closer to the monument for some official USMC pictures. What occurred next was something Doc Braun will never forget. As he turned to return to the parking lot and the car waiting to take them to the reception awaiting them at the hotel, he saw before him every Marine from Headquarters Company forming an aisle for them to walk through. The Colonel from HQMC took Kim by the arm, as they walked each Marine rendered a perfect salute in admiration and respect for this American hero. When they finally reached the parking lot Doc said he saw an elderly gentleman in his dress blues exit his car and stand at attention. When he got close enough Doc could see that this was a retired Marine General and the General saluted him. Doc said, "Sir it is I who should be saluting you and not you saluting me!" The General said, "Any man that receives the Navy Cross deserves my salute and respect."

In 2000 my goal was clear but not simple. I wanted our corpsman to be recognized as the hero that we all knew him to be. Getting a decoration for my corpsman after 33 years is almost unheard of. The military rule closing recommendations for awards three years after the event ends most attempts. Top Rogers and I had both recommended Doc be decorated in 1967 and those eyewitness accounts had to exist somewhere. Resubmitting a previous recommendation is allowed when there exists enough evidence to prove the original recommendations did occur.

There are some people that I would like to personally thank for everything that they have done in Doc Braun's behalf: To Lon Getlin for his unquenchable desire to find the truth about his brother's actions and of those who were with Mike. George Navadel, who wrote all of the original citations and who guided us in matters of protocol. Joe Lempa and John Errera, who felt as strongly as I that Doc should have been decorated and were willing to resubmit statements. Terry O'Connell for making all the arrangements for our hotel and paying the biggest portion of Doc's reception. And finally General Richard I. (Butch) Neal, who at a time when the Decorations Branch of the Marine Corps was overwhelmed with Iraqi Freedom citations for consideration, made sure Doc's citation didn't get pushed to the bottom of the pile and did receive the attention it deserved.

Doc Braun never solicited anything. We, his brother Marines, wanted this recognition for him as a symbol of our respect, gratitude, and love. Doc, I am so thankful that you were there with us on that fateful day in 1967.

Semper Fidelis
Jack Riley

Another 3 Busses

Dear Sgt Grit,

While in Cleveland last week at the Marine Corps League's 82nd National Convention, we learned that there would be a Memorial Service on Monday evening at Cleveland's I.X. Center for the Marines killed in action from 3/25 the previous week. Mr. Luis Martinez, a former CAP Marine from Vietnam who works in the Mayors office, arranged for 3 busses to come to the hotel for those that wanted to attend the Memorial Service. The response was overwhelming and another 3 busses to accommodate our physically challenged Marines and spouses were brought in. In all, over 350 Marines and their families from the convention attended the service. Our hearts go out to the families of these Marines as we grieve with you. As the busses pulled up to the Exposition Center, one look around the area told us that Marines were everywhere. From League covers, to cammie covers, from Bush hats, to satine covers and yes, even a few old Herringbone covers were visible throughout the crowd. Many members of Rolling Thunder rode in and their bikes were lined up in straight formation which any Marine Drill Instructor would have been proud of. It was as if someone had barked a "Dress Right, Dress" command.

Inside the Expo Center, were veterans from all services proudly standing with their colors .All here in support of the families and the Marines of 3/25. A contingent of the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League assisted by handing out bottles of ice cold water to the crowd. It was truly a sad evening, but the City of Cleveland, her citizens, our Marines, brother Veterans, and their families did an outstanding job in honoring our Marines. On Friday, following the Memorial Service, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael Hagee, visited 3/25's Reserve Center in Brook Park and met with the I & I staff of 3/25 and the families of those Marines killed in action to personally offer his condolences. Our hearts go out to the families of these Marines in this time of grief. Please know that we will be there to support them in their time of need. "We Take Care of Our Own"

Semper Fidelis,
Jim Tuohy

A Well Dressed Lady

I work for a US Govt agency and have three quotes on the outside of my cubicle: The quote from Leonidas, King of the Spartans, from the book "Gates of Fire" that explains why they chose to fight and die for their liberty; the request from Senator Schumer for the Medal of Honor for Cpl Jason Dunham and one that says We Are MARINES Until We Die....At That Time We Become Dead MARINES.

A few days ago a well dressed lady stopped at my area and read the quotes. She then turned to me and said "That is a morbid thing to have up on your wall, isn't it." I said "It's all in the perspective ma'am. That which comes from your heart and your guts. If you understand Leonidas and freedom, then you understand why Marines feel this way." She just shook her head. At that moment one of my co-workers, who had also been an active duty Marine, walked by and said "Ooohraa Marine." I replied in like manner. The lady looked at the two of us and shook her head and walked away. He then winked at me and strode off, back a little straighter and head held a little higher. We share something that few people can comprehend.

One last thing, I went to see the movie The Great Raid the other weekend. Then watched a good show on the History Channel about the Japanese training children and civilians to attack American tanks when the invasion came. If there are any people who question the dropping of the A Bomb on Japan, they need to see those shows. My Dad was with the 79th Div in Europe at the end of the war with Germany and was transferred to the 1st Div and was told they would be going to the Pacific. He said he was never so happy as the day he heard about the bomb. Dad told me that he and a buddy went to a local airfield and found a pilot and hugged him. Dad said the poor guy was a little flustered but then they all went out and downed a few Messer-brews. I guess that's how my Dad became an Ace the day WW II ended.

God I love being a Marine!

Steve Eslin Pvt to 1st Lt
Active 1966-69, 1973-78

It's Hard To Tell

I've been reading the newsletter for years along with purchasing some of your gear ( my wife and daughter never have a problem with Christmases and birthdays). I, like you, served in Vietnam with the 26th Marines and 1st Marines and came home in January of 1971. These young Marines in Iraq are dealing with the same problems we did, it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys but they're doing a good job under the conditions they're facing. Keep up the good work, Sarge, Semper Fi.

Sgt. Rock

Checking Their Gear

Dear Sgt Grit,

I truly enjoy all the patriotic letters of those who write to you.

Now, I find myself sharing a story with you that was truly inspired by my heavenly maker.

Several months ago I was dreaming that I was back in the Corps in the midst of Marines in a helicopter ready for battle. The atmosphere was tense and very motivated to kick ass.

Everyone was checking their gear and weapons as we got closer to the ground.

I heard someone say a lot of sand kicking in the air.

I felt as though that this was going to be it. All about sacrifice to my God, Country and Corps. As the chopper landed, everyone jumped out of the helicopter one by one at a very rapid pace fading into the dust. I tried to get up and jump out but was held back by some powerful force and I started to hear cries of fellow Marines dying in battle. I cried because I could not get to them.

I woke up crying and hearing a still small voice inside of me saying pray for your nation and those who are fighting in the war. This dream I cannot forget and will never forget. This dream was giving to me by my heavenly father who cares for the fighting men and women who are now serving in Iraq and other hot spots.

I wear various caps with many types of logos on it. I get compliments and of course I get sneered looks.

And, the Marine emblem that I have on my vehicle had spit on it which occurred at a college campus where I had attended. Of course I was upset but I had said to myself the pour soul doesn't respect anything and needs help from going to "H&ll"

I am a Native American and I am proud to have served in the Marines.

I would like to say to all of you yahoos out there who complain about everything. Be thankful that you are alive and that you live freely in this country.

Just be Thankful! Grateful!

May God's hand be upon all those who are in the military now and comfort those who lost their loved ones. And, may he give a peace of mind to those who have served. Amen.

N. Hendricks Jr.
Lance Corporal 83-87
9th Comm. Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Ca
Sells, Arizona

Conspicuous Gallantry

Sgt. Grit

You wanted some copy from WWII. In July, I took part in a memorial for a local WWII vet who was in the Second Battalion, twenty eigth Marines, Fifth Marine Division and died on Iwo. Private George Phillips became the ninth Marine from Missouri to receive the Medal of Honor for his action there and on his birthday, July 14, he was remembered at the local Labadie, MO cemetery where he is buried. Members of the Marine Corps League whose detachment carries his name had been to Iwo and brought back a bag of black sand from there which was spread over his grave as part of the ceremony and each who attended was given a small plastic bag of the sand along with the citation which reads as follows:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-eight Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 24 March 1945. Standing the foxhole watch while other members of his squad rested after a night of bitter hand-grenade fighting against infiltrating Japanese troops, Private Phillips was the only member of his unit alerted when an enemy hand grenade was tossed into their midst. Instantly shouted a warning, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stout-hearted and indomitable, Private Phillips willingly yielded his own life that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering spirit of self sacrifice in the face of certain death reflects the highest credit upon himself and upon the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country." (Signed) Harry S. Truman, President of the United States.

This citation is present on the roadside memorial at the cemetery for all to see. The hundred or so who braved the sun and heat of the afternoon of July 14. 2005 were moved by the ceremony and action of George Phillips, a local farm boy 60 years ago.

George D. Weber
US Marine Corps


I look forward to your newsletter ----- as one who married a CPL. USMC in 1952 and spent the first year of marriage at Beaufort -- and look for letters from Marines who served from 1948 - 52 including landings in Korea and frozen Chosin and who might remember a tall (6'4") Marine from Guam, Camp Pendleton, Japan, Korea, with the nickname of "TOWBAR"

A Marine wife and mother
Vera Mater
Fenton MO

Communicator Par Excellence

Sgt. Grit: A WW2 account.
On June 30, 1943, elements of the 9th Defense Battalion-- then attached to the XIVth Army Corps in the "Operation Toenails" assault on the New Georgia group, went ashore under fire on Rendova and adjacent barrier islets. While setting up, on July 2nd, the Japs carried out a devastating air attack which imposed the name "Suicide Point" on our beach-head, causing a great many casualties on our hard-working sidekicks in the 24th SeaBees. We took a beating as well, and some of our gear was put out of commission. They tried it again on Sunday, the glorious Fourth of July, with an air fleet of 16 "Nell" medium bombers, accompanied by dozens of Zeros and preceded a few hours earlier by dive bombers. Our "E" battery of four 90mm's under Capt Bill Tracy (Col. USMC, ret. and still kicking) hit them head on, and with just 88 rounds knocked down 12 bombers. One of our 40's finished off a fighter and, once out of our field of fire, air cover from the 'Canal slaughtered the survivors. They did get off a few bombs, but without the terrible effects of two days earlier.
David Slater, Cpl.
USMC (Communicator par excellence)

Sea Stamps

Semper Fi! I hope I have the correct spot to submit a story. I was on a troop ship headed to Pearl Harbor and I was just laying on my bunk and the Marine next to me was writing a letter. Well, another Marine, a jokester, told the guy that was writing to hurry and write all the letters he wanted because we were coming to a 'Mail Buoy in about three or four hours.

Well this writer starts writing like crazy and he soon has 7 or 8 letters all set to go. Then the jokester says that's great, now all you need id 'Sea Stamps' . ' Where do I get those' says the writer. From the ship captain(navy) who is in his 'sea cabin' say the joker. This guy(writer) gets money out of his seabag and saunters up to the sea cabin and knocks on the captain's door------- the whole ship could hear the captain roar clear to Pearl. The joker had to hide out for several days until the writer calmed down. We all had a good laugh later about this. This story may have been around before , but I saw this one happen. I can still hear that captain yelling 'get the H--- out of here'.

R. Long

Third Annual Yemassee, SC, Marine Train Depot Reunion

This will be the third year for the Annual Marine Train Depot reunion. We are making every effort to make this the biggest and best event to date.

The Reunion is an unparalleled opportunity for Marines that passed through Yemassee to reunite and reminisce. It will also provide past Marines a chance to meet the present Marines on Parris Island. This years reunion Committee will host a luncheon and a program at the Parris Island Lyceum on Friday, October 14, 2005, from 11: AM to 3:00 PM.

Events to attend on Parris Island, October 14, 2005
- Morning Color's 8:00 AM at the HQ building.
- Platoon Graduation at 9:00 AM at the drill field.
- Lunch at 11:00 AM followed by a program at the Lyceum

In Yemassee SC, October 14, 2005
-There will be refreshments from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Hughes
Store located across from the Train Depot in Yemassee.

Local Information
-Drivers license, owners card and insurance information are
required to enter the gate at Parris Island.

-You will need to get your lodging reservations early
-Beaufort Lodge- 843-524-5600
-Best Inn-843-524-3322
-Budget Inn-843-846-0523

-Additional Information about Parris Island, call 843-228-3923

If you plan to attend please call Roy Hughes at 843-589-3385.

Your Loss Is My Loss

My name is William H. Reetz, and I was a member of 3rd. Batt., HQ Co., 25th Regt. 4th Marine Division, during WWII. I am one of the few left of the WWII 4th Marine Division that can claim to have been in the Batt. from it's activation at New River, NC. in March 1943 and ending up being discharged at the end of the war in Oct. 1945. I saw action at Kwajelein, was wounded on D+3 on Saipan and therefore missed Tinian, but made it back in time to D+see all 36 days of action on Iwo Jima.

I wish to extend my personal condolences to the families, friends and fellow Marines in Lima Company, of all 21 of the Lima Co. Marines who died this past week in Iraq.

Veterans like me feel bad about any reported casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I know the feelings of Marine veterans are further saddened when the casualties are Marines. With me personally, it was devastating as I have always felt that even thought I was only a Telephone Linesman in 3-HQ-25, I also was part of 3-L-25. Let me explain....

When I was assigned to the forming 25th Marines it was to the Regimental H&S Co. at New River, NC. A few weeks later I was transferred to 3-Hq-25. It was a Friday in late March 1943. As I dragged my seabag down the Company street, I encountered the Batt. Communication Staff Sgt. who took my transfer papers from me, but told me everyone in the Sgt. Major's Office was on liberty until Monday. He then got me over to a barracks and turned me over to a Corporal in "L" Co., who he told to "bunk" me until Monday, when my transfer could be effected.

On Monday I turned out for "roll call" with everyone else, but the Comm. Sgt. was on furlough, and he had my transfer papers. The "L" Co. Lt. told me he would try and straighten every thing out, which he did not do until the Comm. Sgt. returned from furlough. So, for the next 12 days I joined in all the activities of "L" Co.

Our Batt. Commanding Officer was Lt. Col Justice M. Chambers who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for action on Iwo Jima 2 years later. He is a legendary figure who believed that every man under his command was basically a rifleman. He also felt that his men should be trained to be able to load, handle, assist or fire every weapon the Batt. had in it's arsenal. My 12 days with L Company was spent in learning how to handle and throw a grenade, assist and fire a BAR, assist and fire a 30 and 50 caliber machine gun, assist in the firing of our 60 and 81 mm mortars, handle a pistol and Reising Gun, and in general be able to "jump" in to take anyone's place in case they became a casualty.

I made many good friends with the L Co. Marines that week, and when they straightened out my transfer to HQ Co. I asked the Telephone Communications Sgt. to assign me to the L Co wire crew, pointing out that I knew many of the men and had become accepted by them. He did as I requested.

Our Batt. saw only minor action at Kwajelein, the 23rd and 24th Regts. being assigned to take Roi and Namur, and therefore we suffered only minor casualties.

Being I was wounded along with many in the Batt. Comm section on D+3 Day on Saipan, and evacuated to Aiea Hospital in Hawaii, and then back to our rest base on Maui, I had little info on casualties. When our troops returned from Saipan and Tinian, I was saddened to see how many of my L Co. friends were among the killed, wounded and missing, and it was many. After our actions at Iwo Jima many more of my friends in L Co. didn't make it. I was one of the 125-150 of the original landing party of 900 in the 3rd Batt. to land on Iwo Jima to get on a ship 36 days later for return to Maui.

So, I am experiencing the same feelings of loss, even thought I don't know any of the 21 men who gave their lives in Iraq. I can only hope that the family, friends and fellow Marines know that there are thousands of us "former" Marines who are grieving with them, and support without any conditions, the efforts of our present day Marines to the fullest. We join you in honoring these valiant men and as I said in the subject of this composition ...Your Loss is Our Loss...

Semper Fi and Hoo-Rah,
Bill Reetz

Proudly Served

It is with extreme sadness that I report the loss of another brave Marine.

Philip S. Young, 59, of Dover, DE died Monday, August 22, 2005.

Sgt. Young proudly served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps from July 1966 until his discharge September 1969. As a mortar man in the Vietnam campaign, he earned the following medals - National Defense Service, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbons, Vietnamese Service Medal with 3 stars, Vietnamese Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

In addition to his outstanding service to our country, Phil's dedication to the State of Delaware Fire and Emergency Medical services was beyond measure.

Quick with a smile and a helping hand, Phil didn't speak often of his Vietnam service, many didn't know he was a Marine - but those who knew him well saw the Corps in him. He carried the dignity and pride of being one of the few quietly, Phil /knew/ who he was.

Phil will be sadly missed by all who had the honor of knowing him, working with him and calling him friend.

Phil - until we meet again - guard the Gates well!

A very sad friend,
Katherine Domorod
(Marine Mom of SSgt. Domorod)

Finally Home

SGT. Grit,
Last Saturday, 20 Aug 2005 GySgt. Lane had a community park in East Corning, NY dedicated in his memory and name. There was a presence by friends, his local fire department {which helped spearhead the effort} the community, the state police and the Marine Corp League provided the honor guard and rifle salute. The spirit felt there that day was very sobering, to see the care and understanding in the eyes of even the children was too much for this old jarhead to bear. I felt so proud of my community here, as we toured the park, I saw something that brought both tears and joy at the same time, it seems that in Gunny Lane's misguided youth he defaced a pavilion post in the park with his name, just the name "Shaun" carved in the wood, it seemed as if he was finally home. I swear I could feel his presence standing watch, ensuring the kids remain safe and protected, perhaps even smiling knowing he was so loved. Any Jarheads that come through upstate NY and that would like to visit the park, let me know and I'll escort you to the site to see what a community can do for it's son's.

Semper Fi,
Gunny B

It's Been A Long Time

"Dear Family and Friends:

It's been a long time since I forwarded a copy of this weekly Sgt Grit Newsletter to anyone, including some of you; others have never received it. This is another very select group I am forwarding it to.

Even some members of my immediate family don't or won't really read this, or pass it along as I would hope they would; and that's all right, it's their choice of course. Guess they're just too busy...But read it and see how "busy" some other people are; while we grouse about gas prices for our SUV's, the guys and gals that these letters are from, to, and about are even worse than us--burning up ever more expensive gas--driving those gas-guzzling HUMVEES and TANKS in Iraq and Afghanistan... Don't they know there's a war on?

If you care, and really want to know what's going on in this war first hand, and see up close and personal how it's affecting not only the troops doing all the fighting, losing limbs and dying for us, but also their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends and just plain old family and friends as well, then you owe it to yourself to read it!

If you want to know what they think of the Cindy Sheehan's of this world, you should read it. If you are the least bit interested in what not only today's Military are doing and saying, but those Veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, you should read it. If you don't want to read it, or don't have the time, then just delete it.

But if you should find time to read it, and can read through the entire newsletter without wiping a tear from your eye, I would be astonished, and very disappointed as well. Very! Let me warn you though, not every letter is eloquently written; but every letter is eloquent! You won't get this information anywhere else--not on TV, and who reads newspapers today; and even if you do, only a handful of that media would print a smattering of what is in only one weeks issue of this Newsletter?

And if you do read it, I'm betting most of you (that don't get it now) will subscribe so you can get it every week. The price is right: it's FREE (as in FREEDOM)! And just think how many people YOU can send it to, and I wouldn't even know you subscribed, that is, until you started telling me about all you read this week! And did I mention the Newsletter is habit forming? Remember the old Movie Chapters when you had to come back next week to see what really happened...?

If you don't read it, well, I'll never know that either, and I won't ask you. But you'll know...! And one will all come to you! I hope I'm still around when it does.

If you do read it, you'll learn a lot about MOMs (Mothers of Marines) and Marine Wives. My Marine Wife, who wears her Eagle, Globe and Anchor Marine pin every single day, can't get it quick enough and reads every single word. Then she wants to discuss some of it with me. But then again, she's "only" a Marine Wife, what does she know? Read this particular issue and you'll learn what a Marine Wife not only knows, but what she really is, as so eloquently described in this Newsletter by a former Navy Corpsman who served with the Marines. I only wish I had written that!

Sorry...just feel very strongly about this. Must be an "emotional time" for me, but perhaps it will pass, though as I grow older I seem to get even more emotional, but I won't "bother" you again with this. This is the last one...I promise...

PS There are a lot of acronyms and weird terms used in these letters that will really challenge you; some are easy; some I even know; but there was a new one in this one: "ELS'd"...I wonder what the heck that is. I'll have to ask SgtGrit?

Semper Fi"

So For Anyone Saying

On 12 December 2004 my four year enlistment was up in the Marine Corps, and I couldn't be happier. But as the months slid by I realized how much I missed the men and women that I served beside, those that I could trust with my life. Now with my old unit coming to the end of their third deployment to Iraq (B Co 2d MP Bn) I thank God that none have died. I still talk with them via e-mails and their wives. The time that I spent in the Marines has changed me for the better, and has given me great pride in our nation. Now in college and having to hear both students and teachers complain about the situation in Iraq in Afghanistan fills me with an anger impossible to speak of without swearing and breaking things. Having watched my friends hit by shrapnel and with rounds (luckily no one has died... knock on wood), having to wash the blood and pick up the spent shells out of the vehicles that we were driving on the convoys. President Reagan's quote about Marines is truer now than it ever could be to me.

So for anyone saying that we shouldn't be in Iraq hand them a plane ticket and let them watch the majority of the Iraqi people cheering our passing.

Look at their emaciated bodies and tell them that we haven't done a good deed. It wasn't for the oil it was for these people that we went into Iraq.

I guess it's so easy for the humanitarian groups to yell "free Tibet!" or demand federal money for tsunami relief and decry the deaths of Americans in the middle east.

Sean Ives

After Securing

Recently, a Marine kissed his wife and kids good bye and left for Iraq combat duty. I can recall when we first met after much of the paper work, hard numbers were fixed for the hotel rooms and finally the bus to transport his marines was all secured.

I am talking about Marine GySgt. Mitch O. Martin of Cherry Point MCAW band that we brought to Chicago just this past March at the help of my boss Thomas Shirey of Shirey Cadillac.

When I found out that the Marines did not have the transportation and or housing but had an idea to come to Chicago to proudly take part in the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade as well as the South side Irish parade - we jumped in with both feet to help.

After securing all of the accommodations we were set and so was the MCCC here in Chicago to accept the check donation from Shirey Cadillac.

It was great to hear and see all of the thousands of people to that were touched by the Marines and there kindness while being involved in both parades.

Finally, we wanted to say to all of them now serving as security in Iraq - be careful, be safe and most of come back to us in the spring.

We have plans to help again and we can't do it without you.

Semper Fi Marines

Lieut. Gene Spanos
RPD Ret. Police- Fire Fighter 72-95
Sgt. USMC 66-71
More pictures. Shirey Cadillac of Oaklawn,IL

At One Point

My son Cpl Tyler F. Slabey USMC....C Co., 1st Tank Bn. 29 Palms....left for Iraq in January 2003...they were the tank battalion that went up the east side of the Euphrates...they made it to Baghdad and setup camp in the middle of town...they were surrounded by barbed wire and razor wire in a circle for the men and equipment. Ty had been saving up some goodies from home skittles, candy, cookies etc. They were in the camp for a week... one day a man and his son about 2-3 years old came up to Ty ....Ty talked to the man (Iraqi) and gave him some of his stash.

The man started to cry and couldn't stop thanking him...he and his son was all that was left of his family and they were so hungry.

As the week went on everyday he would give the man food... especially his MRE's because they were so packed with calories one point the man fell to his knees crying....Ty hugged the man and Ty and the tanks left for southern Iraq.

My son does not talk much about the war but once in a while he has something to son is a very humble young man and did not tell the story to get praise. He wanted to let me know about the conditions this man and others lived in. My son's story reduced me to tears and it still does....there are a lot of young men like my son who show acts of kindness to the Iraqi son touched this man and his son's life with absolute kindness. My son is an amazing Son, Marine and human being.



PS: If you preserve a persons life it is as if you saved the world.....

I Served During

Dear Sgt. Grit

I was a Marine from 1990-1994, my first overseas deployment was with UNITAS '91, my MOS was as an 0311 Rifleman, but I also served as my platoon commander's translator and instructor while on the float they took us throughout South America. After I returned to the States I was ordered to Alpha Company 1/6, I EASed with Hotel 2/4 in 1994. I went on a MED-Float in 92-93, though I served during Desert Storm and the fiasco of Somalia. I was never put to the test(combat). I'm 32yrs old, and I'm so f*ckin' proud of our Marines today-my heart swells with pride that they are performing the most difficult missions, and with elan and professionalism.


Former Corporal Felix Erazo Haledon, NJ

"Aw Shucks"

Dear Sgt. Grit:

Several members of our Sgt. Major James F. Moore Detachment along with our wives traveled up to 8th and I last Friday evening to enjoy watching members of the New Corps on parade. That night we all were so proud to be Marines. Our young marines looked so sharp, acted so mannerly, and were so respectful of those who came before them. We were escorted to our seats, ladies were offered arms of Marine Corps officers, and those of us who wore our Sgt. Grit issue covers, were saluted by enlisted and officers alike. I proudly returned the salute from a two star US Marine general that night.

On our two hour trip back to rural Virginia, my wife shared her thoughts of the evening. She said, "I think I am beginning to understand how you feel about being a Marine. I thought it was kind of stupid when you would go out of your way to say hello to a veteran of WWII or Korea and thank them for their service and I couldn't understand the bond that seemed to be present when you both discovered you were Marines or both served in Vietnam. I thought you guys were just a bit nuts. Tonight, I am proud of what you have done; I am proud of you being a Marine; and mostly, I am proud to be a Marines Wife."

Sgt. Grit, please don't pull that old Oklahoma "Aw Shucks" attitude but I think you and your website has done so much for those of us who served long ago and to those who are now in deployed in dangerous places. Although your tour of duty has been long over, you continue to make us all proud. When Mr. Pearly calls us up to Heaven Scenes, I have no doubt there will be a long line to tell you, "Well done Marine." Bless you and may God Bless our Marines and our Nation.

TL Neuman Capt. USMC 1964-1967 Life member American Legion, Marine Corps League, and Veteran's of Foreign Wars.

Very Spartan

I recently ordered some Items from your store for my Dad Hawk Rader's 8/15 (VJ Day, note) birthday, including a couple USMC 1/8 patches to put on ballcaps. (Dad is a WWII combat infantry veteran of D (Weapons)-1-8, then A-1-8 2 DIV, USMC who saw action on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan & Tinian and is still in good health & mentally sharp.) I put the patches I got from you on 2 different color caps & told him to pick the one he liked & send the other to one of his few remaining company buddies from Dog Co. who is not in as good health as Dad, thinking it might cheer the buddy up.

Wow! What a reaction! My old Devil Dog dad, a very Spartan man as old Sgts. are often wont to be, loved it! He called me & said when he forwarded a cap w/the 1/8 patch on it to his buddy he said the buddy called him immediately to thank him. The buddy told Dad he set it on a shelf & just keeps gazing @ the patch, wondering whether one of their old pards from WWII came up with the design in the 2 DIV spearhead.

Boy, you helped me make 2 old Devil Dogs very, very, happy! I suspect Dad will wear the cap w/the 1/8 patch to Tarawa Day ceremonies in November @ Lejeune as he remembers the rest of his buddies from the BN who were lost there.

Thanks again, OooahRah, & Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit Marsha Rader (a "Devil Pup" by birth, born @ Lejeune)

Boot Camp Lines

"I want you to do squat thrusts until Jesus returns to become Commandant of MY beloved Marine Corps"

"Give me pushups until the world has shifted on it's axis"

"I told you on your first day that I was your whole family, I am your new Mother! If you maggots don't start getting your sh!t together, I will be forced to make myself a childless Mother!"

"If the Marine Corps wanted you to have an opinion, the Commandant would issue you an opinion. If you had an opinion & I wanted to hear it, I would beat it out of you!"

"You are maggots, nothing more than amphibious pieces of crap!"

" You are a Communist, sent by Russia to sabotage MY beloved Marine Corps. There is no way that someone as F***ed up as you could NOT be a Communist saboteur!"

"Apologies, excuses and opinions are like assh*les, everybody has one & it generally stinks!"

"No matter what it was you are doing you WILL give one for the Commandant & one for the Corps"

Think Of Our Heroes

So next time we think of our heroes, lets take a moment and thank those heroes who will never get a medal pinned on them, will never have a parade in their honor, but who quietly did their part and so much more. So to all the Marine wives and the wives of FMF Navy Corpsmen and especially my wife I would like to say thank you and job well done. Semper Fi.

(Formerly) HM3 Luis M. De La Cruz 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion (3rd Amtracs) 1st Marine Division

Thank you for thinking of the FMF Wives. Out of my husbands Twenty one years Navy, eight of those were FMF. (Korea in "fifty one and Nam in sixty five and six") Marge

Pickel Meadows

In response to Mike Rice's email about Pickel Meadows, MWTC Bridgeport, CA: My first visit was in the early 50's as a member of a 780 man replacement draft scheduled for Korea.

We were supposed to spend one week in cold weather training, but we were caught in a blizzard that kept us there for almost an additional week. Really a mess! Then our convoy of Greyhound busses headed back to Camp Pendleton after dark. My bus was the last in line and we hit a cow, which caused a 3-4 hour delay before a replacement bus could pick us up.

Now I was just an 18 year old from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., but even with the miserable weather and tons of snow, I fell in love with the High Sierra. As an 0369 infantry unit leader, I returned in 1958 for summer mountain operations school, then again, in '58 for winter mountain ops. In 1961 I attended the SERE school.

Well, by then I had retrained as a Parachute Rigger and began putting MWTC as 1st choice on my fitness report as the base rated 4 parachute riggers as survival experts (part of our job description).

In Nov. '64 I took my birthday off and was sitting around the house watching T.V. when the phone rang. (It was 5PM California time). It was my Sgt. Major, who had the 3rd Marine Wing Sgt. Major on the line, who was talking to the Admin. Sgt. Major back in D.C.

He asked if I "really" wanted to go to Pickel Meadows? Apparently, I was the only Sgt. in the Marine Corps that had this as 1st choice on his fitness report.

Three months later I was on my way with wife and kid in tow.

So began my favorite tour of duty which lasted over 2 years. By accident and good luck I ended up with the top 5 classes in the Survival School, I.e., Communist Indoctrination, Communist Interrogation, POW compound organization, Escape and Evasion.

During my first year there, because of the demands created by our build-up in Vietnam, the Corps closed the Mountain Operations classes and Cold Weather Training leaving only the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school operating.

But the Marine Corps being innovative, we were sent a reinforced