Sgt Grit:
As a 50-something, Vietnam-era Marine, I am often asked if the kids of today, particularly our brother Marines, are equal to the challenges faced by the generations that came before them. I have never doubted them, and continue to be astounded at their courage and dedication as they fight their way through another politically-charged, unpopular war. Those who doubt need to read the special issue of Newsweek (April 2, 2007) that features the "Voices of the Fallen."

Last Weekend for Memorial Day 2007 Shirts

Memorial Day Shirts

Wear something this Memorial Day that demands recognition for our Marines who have gone on to guard the Gates of Heaven.

The 2007 Memorial Day T-Shirt or Long Sleeved T-Shirt is available to order only until Sunday April 22 (receive in time for Memorial Day)

While there are many heart-wrenching stories full of letters, emails, and IM's, the final letter in the issue, from Corporal Steven Gill of Round Rock, Texas, to his parents and brother, is one of the most amazing testimonies to faith, courage, and honor I have ever read. Cpl. Gill wrote the letter to be read in the event of his death, and while the entire content deserves to be read by all, I wanted to share with you the final paragraph.

He wrote,

"Well that's about it guys. As for the war, we've fought the good fight and I guess it was my time. If anyone should ask you what happened, you tell 'em that your son didn't die doing what he loved, but did what he thought was right. That America is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and it wasn't going to change. Not on my watch. All I can ask now is that when I get to Heaven the Good Lord will greet me with open arms and say "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Rest easy and be at peace for I will see all of you there in the future."

All of my love
Your Son,

What an amazing testimony of faith, courage, honor, and dedication to duty! We must never forget those who have so unselfishly given their lives in the defense of freedom.

Marty Monnat
Sergeant, USMC

Marine Corps MEMORIAL DAY Sale - 20% off

Auto Items Special

Save on lots of our most popular items - Ribbon Magnets, Shot Glasses, Mugs, Decals, Party Items, Flags... Check them out

Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

You receive both (alternating weeks) what's the difference?

In short...The AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give supporters of the Marine Corps and American patriots a voice.

The Sgt Grit Newsletter is HARD CORPS Marine! If you are interested in topics that delve into Marine Corps history, Corps Stories, Boot Camp and other things that "only a Marine might understand" - then be sure to read the Sgt Grit Newsletter (every other week) - More about the newsletter

The other day a friend of mine said that she was going to send my son, PFC Jon Lindsey now serving in Iraq, a 20th birthday card. She also had a neat idea to ask a teacher friend of hers to have her 2nd grade class send hand drawn pictures to my son for his birthday. I thought this would really make his day a special one; however, when the teacher asked her principal if this was okay, the principal's answer was "NO." She stated that there were so many people against the war, that it wouldn't be a good idea. I'm sorry, but my reaction to this was anger. People don't have to agree with the situation in Iraq, but I do think that they need to support our troops! It is a real shame and I believe that principal should be ashamed of herself for her reaction. I hope that more people don't get this reaction. I couldn't be more proud of my son and of every man and woman that serves this country in any and all branches of service! Thank you for listening to my comments.
Connie Lindsey
Extremely Proud Mom of a U.S. Marine!

About the fifth month into my husband's SSGT D.G. Patterson deployment in Iraq I felt melancholy and naturally somewhat depressed. I was sitting at work, and had an epiphany; I'm going to get a Marine Corps tattoo. H&ll I've been married to the guy for 15 years, plus I LOVE the Corps why not. I wanted it to be symbolic of our relationship and have a connection to him. It's a tiny tattoo, about the size of a silver dollar. My husband has a tattoo of an English bulldog wearing a DI cover. I have the same Bulldog wearing the same cover on my extreme upper extreme inner left thigh over the top are the words SEMPER FI and on the bottom is his name. I jokingly call it my little guard dog. Hurt like nobody's business but SWEET HUH.

Nicole Baptiste-Patterson PROUD MARINE WIFE

Wise men learn more from fools than fools from wise men.
---Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BCE)

Corpsman Special Shirts

Corpsman Shirts

Corpsman Up!
No one is left behind!

This unique shirt reads: Death Cheaters...Corpsman of Marines It's available to order only until April 29!

Check out the Death Cheaters T-Shirt and Death Cheaters Long Sleeved T-Shirt

First Cpl Worthington I would like to say thanks for your service in the Corps and specifically in Iraq.

There are many of us old-timers that would give anything to serve again along side you and our brothers. Next I would like to say I understand your problem at the university. I believe unfortunately, unless you are at one of the academies you will find many if not all professors taking advantage of their position and spreading their garbage to the impressionable minds. Remember that the degree seekers around you will probably hold positions of authority some where in society later on and you may have to deal with them again when their thoughts about the military will be well ingrained.

After leaving Marine active duty as a Cpl in 1986, and while pursuing both my BS and MBA, I realized that I would not be able to change the minds of the Profs.

There is another tactic that can be used, giving classmates an informed opinion is the thing that I did years ago. Armed with information from both sides, maybe your fellow students can come up with an understanding about the military and the world that isn't totally skewed. Remind these students, that what they see in the news isn't giving them the full picture. And surely they have to take what the professor is saying "with a grain of salt", unless this professor has actually been there done that. You on the other hand have been there, and can impart some of this knowledge to others if you desire to talk about it. Just remember not to openly challenge your professors. Like you, I found that they can ruin a GPA when they know you're not on their side. (I'm not saying that is the only thing that ruined mine.) Many times at our study groups, the lab, and library or at the school gym I would give my informed opinion, when asked and sometimes when not asked. And above all Cpl Worthington and any other Marine or serviceman out there pursuing a degree, do not give up seeking higher education because of these lesser men or women.

Definitely do not let them get under your skin. You are better than them. You have earned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor which for many adds to that degree you finally hang on the wall.

Semper Fi
Cpl HLAVA, Darren L.
USMC 1982-86
2nd Radio Bn
Radio Recon Platoon

I love reading Sgt. Grit. I have read many stories concerning Marines and their families. Stories that would shatter a heart of stone. I, myself, only have a simple one. As a child, my son, now a blessed Marine, had a very special heart. What I never realized, it was the heart of a Marine. These hearts are different than others. He grew up never able to gain the respect of his father, no matter how hard he tried. One day, he came up and said he wanted to enlist in the Army. I told him to think about it and let me know in a few days. If he has not changed his mind, we would sit down and discuss it. I would never destroy his dream, if this was what he wanted. He came back a few days later and stated he had changed his mind. Naturally, any Mom would be relieved. Then he stated he wanted to be a Marine. My heart sank. For I knew that only a few were ever called this, and I didn't know if my son had it within him to become one. Little did I know - he already had the heart. I asked him why and he said, "In the Army, they give you everything." I said, " Is that not good?" He simply stated this: "No, I want to EARN everything I get." I say this not to slander any branch of service, merely stating what was said.

Four days after graduating from high school, my son left for PI. Was I proud? There are no words to describe. Unfortunately (I guess) for my son, I had the honor of being able to email his SDI. Throughout boot camp, I was able to know his day. You see, the SDI knew it was not me being able to let go, it was a true interest in the process. The daily routine of a recruit truly interested me. The thought process needed to survive training, etc. At graduation, (snicker) everyone knew "Comer's Mom". Obviously, the SDI mentioned me quite frequently within the squad bay. Let me say: Never, EVER, was my son punished for his mom being in contact with the SDI! We still joke about how not even the Marine Corps can keep me away from him, ha. I told him that if he wanted to know if he would be deployed, just ask me, I will probably know before him. He will laugh as say, "Probably!" To this very day, I am still contact with one of the Marine's very finest, SSgt. Ping. He taught me more than he will ever know. About life and about freedom--- our most precious commodity. So, in closing, it is so very true:

EVERYTHING it takes to be a MARINE happens on the INSIDE ! My son is a 0351 in the 1-9's, stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC. He has yet to be deployed, only time will tell if he ever will be. But for those who have gone, came back, and maybe even traveled again - for those who have given parts of their bodies and minds - I am proud to state, I can now understand why you are the best - you have the heart of a Marine!

Proud Mom of:
PFC Timothy D Comer------US MARINE CORPS!
Know you are loved son! Semper Fi!

4th Annual GriTogether

Saturday, May 12, 2007
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4th GriTogether

Join us for some MARINE QUALITY TIME!
Talk with fellow Marines and enjoy the days activities!
Tattoo Contest - USMC Vehicles - History Displays!
And we have free food!
Gather up the clan and come on down - it's fun for the whole family!

"America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat."
James Madison

I just wanted to say I have read every word thus far on your site. My dad is now almost 78 yrs old, misses the Corps, did 30 yrs. and joined at 17. (he says a Sgt. Major ran the Corps, lol,). my mom stood by him all those years until she passed 10 yrs ago.
God Bless you all,

a Sgt. Major's Daughter ~ and proud of it~ Debby

My husband and I will be leaving the last of April to go to 29 Palms to see my son come back to the USA from Iraq. He is a Cpl in the Marines. This has been the longest and hardest time in my life. I am very proud of him and all military personnel. I won't be completely realized until I hold his face in my hands. Even though he is a Marine, 21 years old, he is still my little boy.
I may look harmelss, but I raised a US Marine I wear a sweatshirt, that I ordered from SGT Grit, that has the Eagle, Global and Anchor on the back with the words MY SON IS A US MARINE. I was in a grocery store, waiting in line, and a gentleman behind me said "Hats off to your son. Tell him THANK YOU." It made me stand a little straighter and my chest swelled up with pride. Every time I wear this sweatshirt or the T-shirt that states I May Look Harmless But I Raised a Marine, I get comments and Thank yous.
Your news letters have helped me through this difficult time. I know God is with my son but at times I fell alone and when I am at the bottom, I receive your newsletters. Thank you for them. Marines have their brotherhood and you can feel it when you are around them. I feel that Marine Moms have a certain motherhood also. You don't have to say a word, just a hug says it all.

Marine Mom from Oklahoma

Sgt Grit—

Many Americans DO Support Our Troops!

On Friday, September 22, 2006, our son Nicholas graduated from Parris Island. Our whole family flew from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to see our young 18-year old man, who enlisted the day he became 17— fulfill a lifelong dream and become a Marine.

We were so impressed and proud of him and all 522 of his brother warriors who graduated with him on that beautiful—sunny and majestic day in South Carolina.

As we left Parris Island and drove to the airport to fly home we all enjoyed hearing his stories and just listening and looking at him in his Marine Corps uniform.

As we walked together through the crowded airport, complete strangers would stop my son and shake his hand while thanking him. Some of them would yell out "Semper Fi Marine" and "Go Get Em Devil Dog"!

When we boarded the Air Tran airline plane—the flight attendant greeted us and I advised her that we had just picked up a new Marine and were bringing back home to Boston for his 10-day break.

Just before the crowded plane was ready to taxi off—the flight attendant called our son up to the front of the plane and announced to everyone who he was and that he was one of our countries newest Marines. She gave him a big hug and the entire planeload of people—complete strangers from all walks of life— gave him a resounding round of applause!

A few minutes later, the flight attendant changed our seating to first class and invited our son into the secured cockpit to meet the pilot. Of course I tried to go along with him but I was politely told the meeting was just for my son and the pilot. Ten minutes later—my son exited the cockpit and sat down next to me. I asked him what had happened and he informed me that the pilot was a Unites States Marine Corps Veteran Tow Gunner and he wanted to personally congratulate him and welcome him to the Marine Corps family.

Needless to say we are thankful to the flight attendant, the pilot, and everyone who applauded and shared their support.

We are fortunate to have a Marine in the fight and grateful that many fellow Americans feel the same way.

God Bless The United States Marine Corps!

Steven G. Xiarhos
28-Year Veteran Police Officer
Proud Father of a Lance Corporal of Marines
Yarmouthport, Massachusetts

"At once the most preposterous and the most dangerous of contemporary beliefs is 'nothing was ever settled by violence.' A cursory reading of history makes it clear that virtually every important development in the history of mankind has been, for good or ill, a product of violence."
Jack Kelly

UNC-Chapel Hill to Host Pro-America Rally with GOE The Gathering of Eagles together with the Conservative Women's Voice of UNC- Chapel Hill is proud to announce a pro-America event!

UNC and GOE will unite and Support our Troops, Support their mission, and Support the United States of America!

This event is NOT a counter-protest. This is our time to make our voices heard! This is our time to speak out, and let the world know that we are PROUD to be Americans, that we are PROUD of our military, that we are PROUD to live in the Land of the Free because of the Brave!

What the GOE along with Rolling Thunder and others did on March 17th was a spectacular beginning. We will show the world that we are here to stay! We will be the Silent Majority NO MORE

WHEN: Saturday, April 28th, 2007
WHERE: Polk Place, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Come join us for live music and speakers, including Iraq war veterans and UNC students. Check back for more details on presenters and musician–coming soon!

Of course, the event is free and open to the public, so if you are in the area or plan to be, feel free to join us! We are still trying to raise money for the event as well. Please consider a contribution to the Gathering of Eagles, or directly to the Conservative Women's Voice of UNC. For GoE contributions, see the sidebar on the right. For CWV contributions, contact Anthony Stevenson via CWV -at- unc -dot- edu.

That's CWV@ unc .edu!

Checks may be sent to Gathering of Eagles, Box 291; Chocowinity, NC 27817. They should be made payable to "GOE" and noted "For UNC Rally."

Directions to UNC-CH can be found here: Information on parking will be here available here soon, so check back for updates.

Polk Place is located off South Road on campus, next to the Wilson Library. An interactive campus map can be found here:

The Eagles Will Soar–Again!

Elyse A. Buongiorno
New Jersey State Coordinator

I, too, am a Marine mom! My son has been deployed less than a month, and I have not heard from him for a week now, as he is out on patrol. Every time they mention a death in Baghdad, I cringe. You see, my son and I talked on the phone EVERYDAY! Sometimes several times a day! My friends cannot even begin to fathom what I am feeling, nor what his 9 year old brother is feeling. The kids at school tell him that his brother is going to get killed over there! My brother, who is also a Marine, tells me to tell Patrick, that his brother is on a business trip, doing his job, etc. He tries to accept that, but has his moments. My son, Chris, (the Marine), never had any patience. Can you imagine my surprise on Family day at MCRD!?! I had to watch him for about 4 hours before I could even hug him. After graduation, he had the Eagle, Globe and Anchor proudly tattooed on his back. A five hour procedure, not a single complaint! I have learned a lot from my Marine and pray to God that he will be able to teach me more when he returns from Iraq. Because of the Marine Corps, my son has become a man, a brother and sister that had not talked to each other for 15 years are speaking again, a mixed up young lady is starting to change her life around and, a 9 year old boy, though filled with fear, wears his Young Marines uniform proudly. He wants to be like his brother when he grows up. So, Semper Fi to all of you loved ones. I thank God each day for my Marine!

Melinda Coons
Colorado Springs, CO

"There is a word for people who put children in a car to be blown up. The word is evil... It's important that we say this out loud and that we render this moral judgment. Because if we fail to understand that our enemy is evil, we have failed to understand what we are fighting."
Newt Gingrich

When I recently received a new passport prior to taking a vacation to Italy, it came with an interesting warning for Americans traveling overseas. I was warned to not advertise that I'm an American. I should avoid displaying the American flag and not to put any patches or tags on my apparel or luggage to show that they belonged to an American citizen. I wasn't aware that I am supposed to be ashamed of being American. I have been told that some American travelers claim German or Swiss citizenship. If I am so afraid of the rest of the people in the world that I will deny my country, I'll stay home. During my first overseas trip in 1965 we made d*mn sure that everyone around us knew who we were and where we were from. The Europeans should be glad that Americans travel there or return all of the bodies buried at Normandy, Italy and France.

James R. Wilder
GySgt USMC (ret)

Sgt. Grit -- I need to inform you that Sgt. Kris Benson (3/7/Weapons) called me two weeks ago and not only is in love, is now engaged. Why are fathers the last people to learn these things? Dad is smiling but I was required to give her the best advice I could. "Go to and subscribe to their newsletter." She is one of your newest subscribers and needs to understand her Marine. Dad is definitely smiling.

You know, our kids in uniform doing the 24/7 thing sometimes forget that their families and friends are doing the same thing. The service that you and your loyal staff provide keep all of us on the same playing field. That is a significant service. You understand that every Marine has each other's Six, as do their Corpsmen (and what great letters they have sent you).

While you provide a valuable service to our veterans and active duty, you are a lifeline to Marine family and friends and other service personnel as well.
Thank you, Sir, for doing and leading this.

I must close with a quote you have used several times, but must not be forgotten.

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank GOD for the United States Marine Corps!" -- Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945.

Well said. There is not a Marine on this planet who will not find a cold beer, a hot meal and a soft bed in this household.

I was in Fayetteville, NC a couple of weeks ago interviewing for a faculty position to design a BA program in national intelligence which will also be taught at Ft. Bragg. There were troops returning from Iraq at the time. My pick-up at the airport was delayed and I witnessed many reunions. The uniforms and insignia may be different from our Marines, but the blood in their veins is not. It is true red, white and blue. Their commitment to this country is the same. And I shared more than one tear with our returning soldiers and their families that day. God Bless all our men and women in uniform and their families.

s/f Dr. Dennis Benson

"Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country." George Washington

2d LAR Charlie Co. Marine Hi this is my son Brian Desatnik on the left. Brian just returned from Iraq after a 7 month deployment with 2d LAR Charlie Co. I am glad to have him back on USA soil.

Proud Marine MOM
Barb Booker

Fifty years ago, this proud Old Marine was stationed aboard MCAS, Cherry Point. My only child was born there at Base Hospital.
Me and the wife and daughter are going back for the Air Show this May.
The show is May 4-6, 2007. Info online at or 1-866-WINGS NC.

"The world is a dangerous place to live----not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it".

That quote has been attributed to Albert Einstein.
Semper Fi brothers, Once a Marine......
Sgt Ashley V. Lilly ' 55-' 59

"If peace is equated simply with the absence of war, it can become abject pacifism that turns the world over to the most ruthless." Henry Kissinger

Many thanks for the newsletter.
Mother of a Marine. (LCpl Alexander Behnke - Iraq) Megan Behnke

Sgt. Grit,

While surfing the net today, I came across the following quote on the web site for veterans of the Army's Delta 2/8, 1st Cavalry Div. Airmobile:

"In Giap's 1985 memoir about the war, he wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. Giap was quoted as saying, 'What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But, we were elated to notice the media were definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. Yes, we were ready to surrender. You had won!'

"Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better."

"The only medal you really want to be awarded is the Longevity Medal."

"Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded."

"If everyone does not come home none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either."

"Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR."

And I say, "Amen."

Old Hippie protestors who think they achieved some kind of great "victory" when the U.S. government pulled us out of 'Nam need to read the above, as should those who are clamoring to quit the fight in Iraq. The efforts and lives of 58,000 brothers and sisters were wasted back then. Let's not make a waste of the over-3000 so far who have died in the current struggle.

Tom Downey,
Once a captain, USMCR,
Always a Marine
1963-'75; Vietnam Dec '66 - Dec '67

USMC Tattoo Attached is my son's tattoo that he got when he graduated from Boot camp on Dec 9th 2005, he received this from a Parlor in San Diego. His duty station is 29 Palms, California but he is now stationed in Iraq with the 2/7 Fox Company 3rd Platoon. He has since then gotten two more tattoos. Proud Mother of a US Marine!


Sgt. Grit,

You may not have heard about the controversy of the Memorial that we want to place in Littleton, Colorado. Some moms seem to feel that a local hero's memorial should not be placed in close proximity of elementary a public park..... because the he is holding a rifle. The Navy SEAL is Danny Dietz, who died in Afghanistan. This is a young man that died protecting the rights of the very people that want to "think" that peace and rights are won without a price. They think the memorial "glorifies" war because of the rifle. They are against guns. I wonder how they would feel if THEIR home was under attack and they had no firearms......When will the American public learn that peace comes at a price.....and, while we, as Americans, want peaceful resolutions....our foreign "friends" have not the same intentions????? When will the American public wake up to the fact that we, as a nation, have many enemies and we HAVE to be on guard 24/7? Will it take another 911? I hope not! As your bumper sticker so poignantly states......"USMC, if you can't stand behind us.....stand in front of us.....PLEASE" I am one of many that supports our military! OOOORAH!
Sharon McManus
Proud Marine Parent of Cpl. Edward, Camp Pendleton, back from two tours in the sandbox..........

"If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage, and so cruel, and hurt you so badly, the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind."

Today is the 3rd year anniversary of one of the most deadliest battles that has occurred in Iraq. I know this because my husband was a Motor T operator that was attached with 2/4 Echo Company out of Camp Pendleton. He lived through April 6-9 in Ramadi, but he has scars that I will never fully and truly understand, and they will never completely heal. He lost many friends, but the friend that hurt him the most was PFC Eric Ayon (4/09/07). The month of April is hard because even though he doesn't say much about it his mood changes and he is so somber and always in thought. It hurts me that I can't do anything, and then I think about the families that no longer have their loved or that their loved ones are severely injured and that breaks my heart. This war has a presence in our home and always will. No one should ever forget or take lightly the sacrifices our service men and women make. We were lucky that he came home, but many do not have that luxury. When people talk lightly about this war, or simply talk about the people who have passed on as a number/statistic it makes me sick! How can people so soon forget why we are there, and simply think about these individuals as numbers. These heroes make a choice to risk their lives for others, they have loved ones who care about them, they have dreams and goals, they are PEOPLE! Not a number! Our thoughts and prayers are not only with Eric's family, but with all those families who have made the ultimate sacrifice... now and always. God Bless....God Speed.... & Semper Fi!

Thank you for your time,
Yadira Johnson

Sgt. Grit,
I'm a civilian who often visits I just wanted to respond to the post left by Cpl Worthington in The American Courage Newsletter. I read it yesterday and as a college student, I sympathize with this Marine. I know how difficult it can be at times to deal with college students and professors, many of whom are extremely biased and care nothing about those freedoms for which our defenders fight, and I would like to personally thank Cpl. Worthington and the rest of the Marines who defend us by risking all they have. I know it sounds sappy, but I do appreciate what you all do and would like to encourage you to keep up the good work. I know this is easier said than done, but please don't let the academic elites get to you. Be proud of who you are and don't be afraid to stand up for what's right. I pray for you all every night before I go to bed. May God bless you, keep you safe, and return you to your loved one. God bless.
Sincerely yours,
Ethan Criss

Just wanted to add my 2 cents.........started out with a reserve motor t outfit from Huntington, NY in 1959........into PI (is there any other MCRD?????) and was a member of Plt 285.......graduating after 12 to ITR and decided there was no point in going back home so I integrated into the regulars......I even had a service number that started with 167!

As for getting "thumped" dirty M1 at the range got me a lesson I remember to this day........I still clean all my weapons IMMEDIATELY after returning from the firing range......if not, I can hear my senior DI, GySgt D. I. Mann telling me, in VERY clear terms, about the need to clean my weapon!

Did some time with HqCo., HqBn, 2ndMarDiv at Lejeune then on to the Marine Aviation Detachment at Naval Air Station, Memphis, TN where I had the good fortune to meet one of THE finest Marines who ever wore the uniform.

The CO was Dean Caswell........a WWII Pacific Theater Ace

let's just say that he and I formed a friendship that has continued for the past 40 years when I convinced him he really needed to give me a chance to turn around a recommendation for discharge. I was successful and I was rewarded with a re-enlistment agreement and an on the spot promotion to PFC.

That agreement took me to Okinawa (HqCo., HqBn and then Special Services at Camp Courtney) in 1963 and then back to MCAS, Cherry Point in '64.

Finally, early '65 and things are getting hot for 'Nam.........had the benefit of knowing what was about to happen thanks to working in the Intel area of 2nd MAW and decided it was time to go.

I regret that decision to this day.

Even a decision to join the Air Force to keep from being a casualty didn't work as I got tagged by a rocket during Tet at Tan Son Nhut in '68!

The point I really want to make is that there is a great deal of truth to the ideal of, "Once a Marine - Always a Marine."

You know the one thing that has stuck with me?

I can hear the sound of my platoon marching to chow at PI in the early morning hours!

You's 0430........there is a light mist coming from the bay in Savannah and you can see it in the street lights as you head for's so quiet you can even hear your own heartbeat.......remember? get formed up, do your facing movements and dig 'em in to get to chow.......DI hollering that he wants to hear those heels........remember?

I am now 65 and this age.......when I have some quiet time such as when you are trying to go to sleep..........I can hear the drum beat sound of the marching feet.

Anyone else have the same memory? Even at San Diego?

Yep........once you put on the's yours.

What does that commercial on tv say?

You don't become a part of becomes a part of you!

Would welcome email from any "old" member of 285 at PI in 1959...

Michael L. Knox
Luckygyrene @ mail.amerion .com
MSgt (USAF).......1965-1985

"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue."
John Witherspoon 1776

Sgt. Grit~
I am writing you again to tell you about this one biased teacher of mine who said that he told me that he supports the troops but not the cause. I told him that "You cannot support our military and then NOT stand behind the things they do. We don't start fights, but we finish them and we won't leave until they're done." I like the song "Have you forgotten?" Because it says

"I hear people saying we don't need this war I say there's some things worth fighting for What about our freedom and this piece of ground? We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down They say we don't realize the mess we're getting in Before you start preaching Let me ask you this my friend"

amen to that. I barely passed that class with a D. Haha oh well. He wont talk to me either.


Again I apologize if your tattoo story has not been included. The response has been overwhelming.

Let the world see your Tat, take a picture of your tattoo and email it to me for my Tattoo page. Send to
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

"Tattoos? I have one. Only one, but it is the one thing in my whole life that is a constant reminder of my status as a real human being, created because of my DI at PI in 1955. "Nuff Sed!"

W.A.Hrachovic-Marine forever!

The above was written by my dad, who passed on January 27th, 2007. His memory of his beloved Corps will live forever in those of us who remember what he learned from his DI in PI, and he passed on to us.

Aaron Hrachovic

I retired in 1995 as a Major.

When I was a 2nd LT in Okinawa (1977), the local craze was getting tattoos removed. In our unit, fewer than ten Marines out of 250 had a tattoo, and they were tiny compared to those of today. It was never a "tradition", so to speak.

Yes, some Marines sported tattoos, but very few were exposed.

The tattooing of today is a cultural issue that began about a decade ago.

The Marines are banning any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, that is, those that are visible in short sleeves or pants.

Both of my sons, former Marines, had tattoos.

I agree with the new Marine Corps policy regarding "sleeve tattoos" on arms and legs, these tattoos ,which in my opinion, detract from the expected military bearing of a Marine. I was in the Corps from 1957 to 1960 and the traditional EGA or Bulldog tattoo was popular, however, most Staff NCOs frowned on even them.
Bob L.

In November 1961 just before joining the Marine Corps I was fortunate enough to have a grizzled tattooed WWI vet (my grandfather) ask me to promise him that before I got a tattoo I would talk to 3 men over 30 who had tattoos and ask if there was ever a time they wish they didn't have one. I did, they did so I didn't.
I retired in November 1982. After 2 tours in Nam, several "vacations" to Oki and Japan, and 4 years in San Diego. I saw many, many tattoo parlors and never felt the need to visit one. Today I'm 62 years old and even though I don't have an EGA on my arm people still recognize me as a Marine by my high & tight, my bearing and my attitude. The only "tattoos" I have are scars earned in my 21 years active duty.

Respectfully submitted
MSGT B.A. Nelson 1893749
RVN 67-68 Mag-16 Ist MAW
70-71 5th Marines Hill 55

Sgt. Grit;
In 1959 I got my tattoo, just a simple USMC well up on my left shoulder so that is was covered by my short sleeves. I knew it was there and that is all that mattered. Now, at age 67 I am having the emblem added to make it complete. It Will STILL Be COVERED By My SLEEVE! The problem today is that too many people think that the tattoo makes them tough, so they model themselves after the sports figures and show their lack of maturity by having their arms, necks and other areas covered by "Tats".
If you need to show the world how "tough" you are by your tats, I don't want you in my Marine Corps. "Tough" comes from the inside.

Jerry Lape
S/Sgt 1957 - 1969

Lady Devil Dog Tat I didn't see too many lady devil dog tats so I thought I would submit mine. I was a USMC postal clerk 1991-1995, it took me awhile but I finally got my Corps tat. I loved the Corps so much I even married a Marine & now have 5 future Marines. OOORAAHHH!

Cpl Cheryl Bales/Burk USMC 0161/1991-1995.

I proudly served my beloved CORPS for 11 years. As with many of my brother MARINES, I have served in many places and have gotten tattoos in allot of them. I can now years later look back and have fond memories of the times, places and most of all my brothers who got tattooed with me. The Marine Corps is built on tradition tattoos are part of that tradition. We are warriors as with warriors of the past we have marking to celebrate victories, memories, we are not GQ models walking down a fashion isle. Trust me when I walk ANYWHERE people ask me about some of my tattoos and the first thing they ask is if I was a Marine. Especially in this time doesn't Headquarters USMC have anything better to do than dictate where a tattoos may be placed.

Carry On,
John J. Novak
Sgt, USMC, 1977-1988


These are the times that will try and test men's souls, The weak and the summer soldier will fall and fail in this time of crisis. The Marines that stand tall and answer the call of their nation will earn no title nor honor for their service other than the title of " Marine " and no commendations other than "well done, Marine, stand at ease".

My time has passed, I have fought my wars, my campaigns are well spent in the mists of history, but never let the flame that drove them be dimmed. We danced the dance, we paid the fiddler and we waltzed the last dance of our era. By doing so, we paved the way for all of our young Marines that have lifted our torch high and carry it forward this day and so it shall be thru the ages.

My son, Michael Dale Campbell (Conover) has served as well for our beloved Corps during Desert Storm One. He has made some errors in his life, but my beloved grand-daughter Alexis shall never be considered one of them, PLUS she can put a worm on a hook all by herself.

See you all at the Grit-A-Roo and then it is beer's up, Marines.

Gunny Conover

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman".
Thomas Paine 23 Dec. 1776

"A number of years ago a President of this country declared that we have a rendezvous with destiny. In a world where terrorism spreads and the innocent die we must fulfill our destiny. If not us, who? If not now, when?"
Ronald Reagan

Oh happy day, my kilt arrived to day and I am delighted! It fits and looks great! I have gotten quite a few compliments on it. I am always sure to tell folks where I got it! Please let the folks there know that this here Marine is very pleased and proud to belong to the Grit Family!

God bless you all,
Mark Lauer (Skivvy Stacker)

Sgt. Grit
Just finished reading Cpl. Joe Doherty's letter about being what we called "a Remington Raider." He has no reason to feel bad he did not serve in combat. Neither did I but for all of the same reasons he did, I enlisted out of high school and left 2 days after graduation. I served from 1953 to 1955. I volunteered for combat but got placed in the 3rd Marine airwing at Opa Locka, Fl. Instead of a rifle I was given catchers equipment and a bat and was TAD to special services playing baseball and football. Their choice, not mine.

I felt badly for years that I did not get into the Korean war but it ended just as we graduated Parris Island. Then old Harry Truman, who called Marines the worlds police force, decided to cut the Corps and did by 130,000 men. I was one of them.

Regardless the Marine Corps installed a pride in me that served me well and still does. When I was in the training academy to become a R. I. state trooper a locker mate asked one day how I was getting through the school; it was tough. I told him easy, if I got through Parris Island I can do anything. Thanks to the USMC I had a good career in law enforcement. My son did 7 years in the Corps.

He has a wonderful extremely high security clearance job with a top notch aviation company. Where do you suppose he learned his trade? He now has a masters degree and has made his old Marine dad proud.

Ernie Ford might have owed his soul to the company store but I owe mine to the United State Marine Corps. You did good too Doherty.

"Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest numbers of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best."
John Adams

Sgt. Grit:

A strange thing just happened to me.

I was eating lunch at home and got a call from one of my former high school colleagues---my next-door neighbor English teacher prior to my retirement last June---to come down to school right away. I asked why and she said, "Because there is a Marine here in dress blues that wants to see you."

I hopped into the car, drove down to school and parked, and went in to see David Haines in blues in the hallway. David and his brother Michael were Peruvian twins, adopted as babies by a local University of Idaho couple and raised here in Moscow, Idaho. I had them both in my junior Advanced Placement U.S. History class four years ago. I was very frustrated with both of them because they were very bright but neither of them had any motivation to excel, and they were bone- lazy and wouldn't get their work done and turned in on time. I talked with their parents on a regular basis and they were very frustrated with the boys, too, and couldn't figure out how to get them turned around.

Fast forward to today, with David standing there in blues, home in Moscow on boot leave from MCRD San Diego. We talked for awhile about boot camp and about his going back for Infantry training at Pendleton, and his being assigned to Shore Party. (He wanted infantry, but scored really high on his tests.)

We were finishing up our conversation in the Commons and I was getting ready to leave, as classes were about to change, and he looked me in the eye and said, "Do you know why I went into the Marine Corps?"

I grinned at him and said, kind of kiddingly, "no, tell me."

He replied, "Because, Sir, you are the person that I have admired most in my life. You served your country proudly. You set high standards and demanded excellence from all of us. You always knew what you stood for, and what was right, and you never compromised."

It got kind of misty out. I encouraged him to think about MESEP or the Academy, because he is that smart.

Yet another thing I have to thank the Corps for.

Semper Fi,

Don Kaag
LTC, Armor, AUS(Ret.)
...And former Sgt. & Cpt.
of Marines

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
C.S. Lewis

You can have your Army Khaki
You can have your Navy Blues
But here is another uniform
I'll introduce to you
This uniform is different
The finest ever seen
The Germans called it Devil Dog
But the man is just a Marine
They make them down in Diego
The land that God forgot
Where the mountains are high
The rivers run dry
And the Sun is blazing hot
Now listen all you pretty girls
Cause here's a tip for you
Get yourself a young Marine
There's nothing he can't do
And when he goes to Heaven
St Peter he will tell
Another Marine reporting sir
I spent my time in H&ll

Author Unknown

Sung frequently by Chisom KIA 4-20-68 USMC
Submitted by: Richard Milne

"The threat from radical Islamic terrorists will not vanish when President Bush leaves office, or if funds for the Iraq war are cut off in 2008."
Victor Davis Hanson

Three guys --- a Canadian farmer, Osama bin Laden, and an American engineer are walking together one day. They come across the proverbial lantern and a Genie pops out of it.

"I will give each of you one wish, which is three wishes total" says the Genie.

The Canadian says, "I am a farmer, my dad was a farmer, and my son will also farm. I want the land to be forever fertile in Canada ."

Pooooof! With a blink of the Genie's eye, the land in Canada was forever made fertile for farming.

Osama bin Laden was amazed, so he said, "I want an impenetrable wall around Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran with all believers of Mohammad inside and all Jews, Americans, and other infidel forever outside our precious state.

Pooooof! Again, with the blink of the Genie's eye, there was a huge wall around those countries..

The American engineer asks, "I am very curious. Please tell me more about this wall".
The Genie explains , "Well, it's 5000 feet high, 500 feet thick and completely surrounds these countries. It's virtually impenetrable. Now what is your wish?"

The American engineer smiles and says, "Fill it with water."



"In Middle Eastern warfare a classic tactic has been to retreat in the face of strength, but to attack when your enemy withdraws or shows signs of weakness."
Ralph Peters

My son Cpl. Scott Renfro 2nd LAR Alpha Co. WPNS just returned from Iraq. The Oprah Winfrey show taped our homecoming on her show and it was shown April 4th. There wasn't a dry eye in the studio. I think it is great that Oprah did a show on Heroes and featured some very deserving Marines and their families. It's time the media showed some good and not all the negative on this war. There is more good going on than the American people realize. I am extremely proud of my son and the 2 deployments he went through. I also have met some very fine young , respectful men that he has been with for the last 4 years. As a Marine mom these young men have become a part of my family. God Bless them all.
Paula Renfro Clyde, Ohio
VPMM of Cpl. Scott Renfro stateside after 2 tours in Iraq

Hi All,

My late father, a Navy WWII Vet and a New York City Firefighter, was my all-time personal hero. All Marines are a close second. I'm as inspired by the letters from this generation serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I was by the stories of those Marines who won the war in the Pacific, and so influenced my own enlistment. I was privileged and honored to be a Grunt during "The Nam", and meeting a whole bunch of real life heroes face- to-face. Of course, no Marine will ever admit to being a hero, but they all are.

Semper Fi,
Joe Doyle
Sergeant USMC 1964-70

"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
George Washington

One day I was thinking about getting another tattoo. Trying to find something to describe who I am; a thought came over me. I wanted to show my pride about being a Marine Devil Pup. I went to my local tattoo artist (the shop's owner is a former Devil Pup Tattoo Marine). I told him I wanted a design made around the globe and anchor. He told me to come back in a few days and he will show me his design. A few days later I was back at the shop. The moment I saw the design, my eyes filled with tears. It was so awesome. After two hours of work, I must say he did a splendid job. I went to the American Legion that night to show my dad ( he is commander of the Legion). He was so proud and gave me a big hug. Now I can't go to the Legion with out showing all the vets. I am so proud of my father and my stepfather. They have served the Corps proudly. It was the least I could do to show I was proud to be a Devil Pup... forever.

Tabatha Platte
Proud Marine Brat and Proud Marine Fiancée to Pvt. Alward

Just a short commit concerning "all Marines have tattoos". Let me mention a few names that prove that wrong and trust me, These Men Were True Marines and They Didn't Need Tattoos To PROVE IT. Archibald Henderson, John A LeJeune, Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, John Glenn, Sgt Maj Olin B. Waters, MSgt James Palmer, SSGT Randy Waters, Sgt Larry Palmer. OK, I could go on and to be perfectly honest I don't care if you have tattoos or not but just remember a tattoo does not nor has it ever made any one a "Marine"
Randy Waters
69 - 75

I would rather have a Marine with tattoo's, trained to kill and fight till death, fighting with me than a "clean cut pretty boy" without tattoo's. Like my DI, Sgt. Pete G. Schutz, told us at Parris Island, Plt. 151 in 1960; "the only thing that matters is who is standing looking down and who is lying on the ground looking up, when the dust settles" I credit Sgt. Schutz with turning me from a 18 year old punk into a Marine. His lessons have stayed with me all these years. I will be 65 this June. By the way, Sgt. Schutz had tattoo's. I have the USMC Bulldog tattoo on my arm. God bless you Sgt. Schutz and THANKS!

Clarence Hargus, L/Cpl.
USMCR 1960 - 1968

"[T]here is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution."
Alexander Hamilton 1788

Sgt. Grit:

I always look forward to your newsletter -- as a new Marine mom, I'm learning a lot from Sgt. Grit's contributors.

My son is a PFC at Camp Lejeune, in the 9th Marine Regiment (1/9) to which Mr. David Crawley referred in your April 12th newsletter.

Until this week, he loved every minute of it -- all the training and hard work, and of course, the camaraderie. Since he was 12 years old he has longed to be a combat Marine. Those words, "combat Marine", drum up a parent's fears, but I knew my son would be proud of his career choice. Our entire family is very proud of him.

This past week, my son was told he must man a desk job because "he is the best man for the job". He is now miserable. There are 2 other men who want that position, but were not as qualified - (all they would have to do is study a bit).

My son did not ask for this; the paperwork was put through without my son's knowledge and he was told it is a done deal.

I understand a Marine does as he is told, though I am confused as to why an officer (lieutenant) would do something like this.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

Thank you,
Confused Marine Mom

India 3/12 This is a picture of some of India 3/12 just returned from Camp Fallujah, Iraq on April 11th as they were greeted by family members at Camp LeJeune. Pictured are Cpl Jimmy Boyle, Sgt Marc Miller and his proud Sister Meghan, and Cpl Jody Grier. A happy day indeed!
Submitted by Sgt Millers Blue Star Mother,
Marilyn Miller, Spartanburg SC