Sgt Grit, Thank you for the newsletter, it brings back many memories. Plt 295 MCRDSD 1964, then on to more fun in Tenn. Florida, Calif and across the Great Pond to DaNang RVN. One incident always comes back to me, weekend liberty in Memphis, coming back from a very exciting day of shopping and bar hopping when we ran into a rather bad rain storm. As we drove along the car in front of us blew a rear tire. As we stopped to help we noticed it was a young mother with a very small child. She was really in a panic for she was in a bad neighborhood in a bad storm with a very flat tire. We told her to stay clam and just hand us the trunk key. She finally figured we meant her no harm - opened the trunk to a very flat spare. While two of us jacked the car up the other two ran the tire down to the station about 1 mile away, fixed it, paid for it, installed it and put everything away. She tried to pay us but the answer was a firm NO. Then she was crying "Who ARE You PEOPLE?" Just US Marines on Sat liberty!
Sgt R W PARR 64-68 RVN 66-67-68

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Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am a new Recruit's Mother. I have been reading your newsletter for a little while now preparing myself for my son's boot camp. I see there has been an issue with treatment of recruits at MCRD San Diego and P.I.

My son is on his 3rd day in San Diego. The only way I can respond is:

San Diego D.I., Please do not take it easy on my son! I only ask that you do not kill him. Make that boy hard, make him tough, make him strong, make him a Marine! As a mother I can only want to protect him and in this case that means do not treat him like a child. I'm sure the enemy doesn't care if he's tired. The enemy doesn't care if he wants to walk instead of run. The enemy won't go easy on my child. If you take it easy on my boy the enemy will love you for it. If you hurt his feelings it won't kill him. If you push him beyond his limits and show him that when you think you can go no further there's always a little more deep down inside you can call upon it won't kill him. If you baby him and let him have his way it will surely kill him. Do what you must but make him a Marine. The parents who do not want their children pushed in this way might want to keep their kids home because that is not the person I want behind my boy in the trenches.

C. Taylor
Recruit Mom

My son was deployed for the second time to Iraq, needless to say this time was much harder to get through than the first because I knew more. I was driving home from visiting my Marine's wife and children on the Corps birthday. I pulled into a large rest stop on the Atlantic City Expressway when right in front of me was a big black van with a huge Marine Corps logo on it and outside was 12 Marines in their dress blues talking. I got out of my car which has Marine stickers on it and slowly walked around it looking at the Marines and thinking of my son when the officer came over to me and asked me if I needed something. I said no I was fine I just am enjoying watching the Marines because my son is a Marine in Iraq and I miss him very much. He asked me if I would come over to meet his squad, he gently took my arm and brought me over to the Marines. He called them to attention and introduced me as a mother of a Marine and adding this is what we are doing this all for. At that moment all of the Marines stood and saluted me and lined up in front of me. One by one each one of them came to me stood at attention and saluted me and told me their name and thanked me for the service that my son was doing for our country then they hugged me. Well I have to say I wasn't very hard core during all of this, lots of proud tears ran down my cheeks that day. I will never forget especially one Marine who was last in line and looked to be the youngest he introduced himself to me and told me Ma'am I just came back from Iraq and as you can see I am OK, your son will come back OK you'll see please don't worry. Tears were running down the young Marines face as well as mine. I shall never forget all of those Marines and there kindness to a worried Mom that had a chance meeting of a lifetime.

My son came home to us safe, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor.

Semper Fi
Polly Lambe

"Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one!"
Marcus Aurelius

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I've enjoyed reading your newsletter every time I receive it in my email. I've been reading a lot of letters concerning the treatment of recruits at boot. My son, since the age of 6, has wanted to be a Marine. Not Army, Navy, Air force, or any other military force...simply, the Marines. In the years since, he has never wavered from that decision. Last November ('06), he came to me and asked if I would sign the papers so he could join (he was only 17 at the time). Of course, I said yes. We drove that afternoon to the recruiting center and he became a Poolee until he graduated from high school, this past June. A week later, he was off to Parris Island. I remember one afternoon, while he was still a Poolee, he was wearing his camouflage uniform for an event they had that day. After I picked him up, we stopped at a store and when he got back in the car he was just shaking his head. I asked why the head shake and he said, someone just came up to him and said Thank You. He said, I haven't even done anything yet and I feel that I don't deserve that. I told him that he does, indeed, deserve the thanks...just for making the commitment, if for nothing else. He graduated from PI Sept 7, 2007, receiving a promotion to PFC for highest shooter in his Platoon (yes, I'm extremely proud). On our way home from PI (a 13 hour drive), he began to tell us some stories of his experience at boot camp. I don't want to get into too much detail, but, quite simply, my son apparently said something that was considered disrespectful to a DI and ended up with a boot in his chest. Of course, he laughed about it and said he deserved it, but after a while, I had to ask him to stop telling me stories. All I know is my son is now a man because of his DI's. He said he wouldn't change a thing. He realizes that their job is probably one the hardest in the Corps, making boys/girls into Marines. Needless to say, I am a very proud Marine Mom, and always will be. Let me just say to that mom...not only is this my only son that I had to give up, but he is my only child. Am I afraid, of course I am. But, I trust in God that he will keep him safe and I trust the United States Marine Corps, for they did what they were supposed to do and train these new Marines to do their job and do it well. Well, I could go on and on because of my passion for defending the Corps, but I want to save room for others who write to you! Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Semper Fi
God Bless all those fighting for our freedom - God Speed for a safe return

A Proud Marine Mom
New England

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I'd like to share what happened to my son. He has been a Marine for 3 yrs., & recently was charged with several other plt. members with hazing. This person (and I can't bring myself to call him a Marine) came in to the plt. with a history of belly- aching. The rest of the plt. tried to teach him what he would be up against in Iraq, but he had his family involve a congressman & the charges were brought. The rest of the guys took company punishment, but my son believed the truth would come out & steadfastly said he didn't do anything other than what was done to him in training. He went to CM & served 30 days in the brig & lost a couple of stripes. This person is still in the states because he failed his pee test & my son is proudly serving his 2nd tour in Iraq. His commitment is up next Aug & he will not re-enlist because of all of this. Which Marine would you rather have by your side?

Proud Mother of a PVT.

"Communism abolishes all religion and all morality."
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto


At least four times a year I read Leading Marines Manuel FMF1-0. I've been in Law Enforcement since my discharge in 1968 and I use this Manuel to keep me reminded of my responsibilities and obligations in regards to leadership. I also wanted to share with you and our brothers and sisters in arms something I just read that is very inspiring to me. I wish I had said it, but I didn't.

"My life experience has taught me again and again the value of time I spent in the Corps. The values I learned and live while a Marine, the values of self-reliance, self-discipline, honor, courage as well as physical and mental toughness have enabled me to make a success of my life. Moreover, I would add this bit of perspective; the Maine Corps has won many victories for which it is famous. However, the Corps has won many personal and private victories in the hearts and minds of men and women who have worn the uniform. It has ... imbued the lives of many common Americans with the necessary character traits to master their own lives and to achieve great things. These many personal victories sometimes go unnoticed but they are meaningful of great value, in and of themselves, as well as to this Nation.'

It is this continuity of the spirit, purpose, and tradition these many intangible forces, which are the strengths that support Marines as they go into harm's way. We are what our institution demands that we be; and our institution is what it is because of these foundations; no more and no less."

"Marines lead because of the adaptability, innovation, strength of will, and devotion to our Corps learned from our predecessors. They lead, and win, not because of what they may be as individuals, but rather because of what they are as Marines."

As it get closer to our birthday (and mine) I find my self more patriotic and grateful for our Corps and the honor to serve grows each year. I don't have to many birthdays left to celebrate but I did want to share this with you and 'our' readers and hope that perhaps they can be encouraged and inspired as I am.

Paul Hout

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
Winston Churchill

From: Dill LtCol Jeffrey J (1/7 Bn Co)
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 3:45 PM
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Family, friends, and Fellow Marines, As promised, here is my first "update" from this tour in Iraq. I will try and get one of these out about every month. I hope this finds you all doing well. It has been a very fast moving month and a half as we moved the 1,000+ Marines from 1/7 and literally tons of equipment and material half way around the world through Kuwait and eventually into Iraq. We have inventoried and signed for well over a hundred pieces of rolling stock, thousands of pieces of electronic equipment and computers, joined a few hundred more reinforcements to 1/7 (making us now "Task Force 1/7") and then we put everyone in their new positions, spreading us out over 500 square kilometers. Needless to say, the Marines of the First Team have been busy! Here is the million dollar question I have been asked repeatedly since I have arrived, "How is it compared to the last time you were in Iraq?" Well, I was in Hit, the main city within our AO, last October and daytime operations were limited to tanks and BFVs driving around the outskirts of the city because to venture inside meant a certain attack by an IED, RPG, small arms, or all of the above. Recently, I went on a3 hour dismounted patrol through town in the middle of the afternoon and my biggest worry was having enough candy for all the children that came up to me to say hello and shake my hand. I stopped in stores and talked to the merchants to see how business is doing. They told me business is good and improving everyday. I even went to a few shops to look for a carpet for my office and enjoyed myself as I tried to get the price lowered from "rich" American prices to normal Iraqi prices. I wasn't successful but will keep trying! I stopped in one of the police stations in the city so I could make plans with the Station Chief to remove a number of the cement barriers on the street in order to open traffic back up.

Those barriers were a must before as there was a constant threat of a suicide vehicle ramming into the station in an attempt to kill as many of the police officers as possible. While that threat still exists, the security provided by the police and my Marines has allowed us to take risks in certain areas as we try and balance security needs and normalcy. I spend many hours working with the numerous city counsels and Mayors in my AO to address and solve many issues, problems, and to plan for the future. A year ago, the city councils would not show up to work because if they did, they were killed as they were seen as "agents" of the Americans by AQI. Now, they look forward to my arrival so issues like schools, rubble removal, water treatment plants, sewage repairs, repairs of the electrical grids, infrastructure modernization, and an assortment of other issues can be worked out, prioritized, and assets allocated for them to begin work. I also spend a great deal of time with the major Sheiks in my AO. They are some of the most gracious hosts you have ever met. My Marines and I are treated liked royalty every time we arrive. Delicious lamb, goat, sheep, kabobs, fresh fruits and vegetables are served in amounts we could never finish and we always eat first and get the seats of honor closest to the Sheik. We then adjourn for Chi tea and discuss issues that require my attention such as security, economic stimulation, tribal reconciliation, local government issues, and of course stories of past battles and fights...all embellished but they make great stories anyway. Three brothers in the town of Baghdadi, one of whom who happens to be the Police Chief and is known as the "Lion of Al Anbar", are particularly gracious hosts . They were some of the first to stand up against AQI and to stand with the Marines. They have suffered greatly for choosing to fight AQI and for freedom. The Police Chief, Colonel Shab'an has had no less then 7 direct assassination attempts against him. I was here last year and saw him after one attack against him was nearly successful.

One of his brothers was killed, a brother-in-law was tortured and beheaded, and one of his younger brothers lost his legs in a mortar attack. Yet, he remains committed to a free and independent Iraq. His talks to me about freedom, democracy, and his loyalty to Iraq and justice are inspiring. Colonel Shab'an has become a sort of folk hero to his community and his willingness to standup for their freedom and safety has inspired thousands of Iraqis. His two brothers, one a Sheik and the other a local businessman are also servants to their community. The Sheik is the City Council Chairman and has almost single handedly reorganized the local government from a board of obstructionists to a functioning and effective governing body who work almost non-stop to improve the lives of the people within their area. The other brother is a very successful businessman who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to fix water treatment plants, to pay of the salaries of the police before the national government could or would, and his source network has led to the successful capture of many terrorists and criminals. The nights in their neighborhood are particularly enjoyable as we sit outside to eat and the children in the neighborhood run around, laughing, and sneaking up to listen to me talk or to try and get some more candy from me. They are so proud of the security they have established for their families, their tribe, and the people in their community. I am proud just to be considered their friend. Overall, the folks I have met are good people who want to raise their families, farm their land, and just have the ability to choose their own future for one of the few times in their country's history. Their admiration and appreciation to us and to the American people for the opportunity we have offered them is genuine and heartfelt. While there has been a great deal of progress, there is still much to do. While most of the terrorists have been forced from the population centers, there are still secret cells. We have found and been attacked by a number of IEDs already. We have found a good number of buried caches along the river banks that were planted there for future use against us.

Iraq is far from a peaceful land; there are many political issues above my level that must be worked out. The rifts between the religious sects are as tough a problem to figure out as anything else ever has been...think Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. But the bottom line is this...we are winning the counter-insurgency fight here in Al Anbar. We are winning as a result of the past 5 years of work by thousands of Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers who worked tirelessly to get us where we are today. This didn't happen overnight and we lost many good men and women to achieve it. We have put the enemy on the run and we are not letting the pressure off. We continue to hunt him down and provide him no rest. My Marines, actually your Marines, are patrolling in the cities, in the desert, and on the river to find the enemy and destroy him. And the Marines do not patrol alone. Almost every operation we do has Iraqi Police, Army, or both with the Marines. They are brave, committed to winning, and they try as hard as they canto emulate the Marines they are serving with. At the same time we continue to build our relationships with the local leaders, Sheiks, and most importantly the Iraq people. I am optimistic that if given the time and support of the American people, we can help create a country whose vast natural resources and potential will make it one of the strongest and most powerful nations in the region. Iraq will be our Ally and they will not forget the sacrifices the American people have made on their behalf. I realize and understand that many back home are tired of this conflict and want it to end. I will not provide any argument there but I will offer that" wishing" away this problem is not reality. The Islamic extremists that wish to destroy us are not going away, they cannot be 'talked' to, and they will not negotiate. I have been here three years in a row now and I can see the progress. I can see the improvement in the capabilities and potential in the Iraqi Security Forces, I can see the willingness and desire of civic and local leaders to build a better future for their people, and I can see that most of the civilian population has turned its back on AQI because of their empty promises. I can see hope, a hope that many Iraqis have never known before, and a hope they do not want to loose. Your Marines are doing exceptionally well. They are focused, they are disciplined, and they continue to attack each day with vigor and enthusiasm. I am continually inspired by their courage, dedication, and willingness to sacrifice for others. I am truly blessed for the privilege to lead them.

I would like to thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. It means the world to us to know you are all still behind us and that you want us to successfully complete this mission. Please remember all the 1/7 families and all the families of those serving here in Iraq that have been left behind in your prayers as well. Semper Fidelis and God Bless,JJ LtCol JJ DillCommanding OfficerTF 1/7Hit, Iraq

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Another Day To Serve The Corps

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; If you will not fight when your victory is assured and not too costly; You may come to the moment when you have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse fate; You may have to fight when there is no hope for victory because it is better to perish than live as slaves."

Sir Winston Churchill

Sgt Grit,

I have been reading many of the "concerned letters" from family members who believe that Marine Corps boot camp is too demanding, too tough, too demeaning. The politically (in)correct in Washington DC seem to be pushing for a more sensitive and easy going Marine Corps. What a joke!

I graduated from MCRD (Diego - Platoon 218) on 13 May 1964. The training was a life-changing experience for me as well all the others in my platoon. Not all the recruits who began the training cycle finished with the platoon. Some were not psychologically able to finish. Some were injured and set back, and graduated later with different platoons. Some just couldn't hack it! But those of us who survived and graduated new that we had accomplished something special! Following in the footsteps of my big brother, I too was now a MARINE! I am a Marine and will be until the day I go to help guard the Gates of Heaven - "Once a Marine - Always a Marine"!

Marines are feared by Americas enemies because training turns boys into hard-charging Devil Dogs! The name "Devil Dogs" came after the ferocious fighting by Marines at Belleau Wood in 1918. German soldiers were so impressed with this ferocity that they called the Marines "Teufel Hunden" - Devil Dogs! Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing once stated, "The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle." That's quite a compliment coming from an Army General during WWI!

The training was tough and at times not pleasant. The DIs actually swore at us and used "force" to get our attention. Did this language and "physical force" harm my psych or destroy my "self respect"? NO! It made me stronger and helped to form each of us to earn the title of United States Marine!

Folks, be happy that the DI is turning your son into a tough fighting Marine! Hard, physically challenging training is the key to growth and maturity as a Marine. A "time out card" and "sensitivity training" do not make for a top notch fighting force! I pray that the politically (in)correct politicians will be turned away and sanity will reign again in America.

War is an awful thing, but when bad people and bullies threaten our nation, sometimes the only answer is force! And force needs to be swift and hard - no holds barred - down and dirty.

I hated my DIs during boot camp. I actually thought at times that they were trying to kill me. I was so intent on becoming a Marine that I came up with my life's motto on a warm Sunday evening in March 1964. While "policing the area", I looked out at the surrounding area and said to myself, "They can kill me, but they can't beat me! I will become a United States Marine"!

Looking back 43 years to that day at MCRD, I thank those DIs (S/Sgt J. T. Bridges, Cpl J. L. Stelling and Cpl E. R. Wright) for changing my life and driving me unmercifully to become a Marine!

Thank you, gentlemen!
Semper Fi!

Bob Lonn

"Anyone negotiating with Muslims should be aware of the Islamic principle of taquiya, or the approval of lying to infidels in order to advance the cause of Islam. That principle has been used by Muslims to adopt a peaceful attitude to deceive their non-Muslim neighbors until they gain the strength to subjugate them."

Military Magazine, October 2007

Sgt Grit.

I have been receiving your newsletter for a couple years now, and have had the honor of purchasing a few items from your on- line catalog, and will continue to enjoy the articles and stories presented as well as the unique items offered.

I have been following the articles regarding the treatment of "recruits" at MCRD, many not in favor, however, the majority are pro Marine Boot Camp, and many have been penned, or I should say key stroked by current, former, retired and Marine mothers and fathers.

I entered the Corps out of high school in late 1966. I was under the delayed enlistment program of this time.... I then spent 9 "Glorious" weeks at MCRD San Diego in the spring of 1967, then another 6 fun weeks at Camp Pendleton for ITR and BIS. After which I was sent to the wonderful land of red mud, Okinawa, for jungle staging and then into the Jungles of Vietnam to enjoy the wonders of jungle life for 11 months.

Myself and the rest of my traveling companions with 2/9 were sent to a great spot in Northern Vietnam known as "Khe Sanh" in September of 1967. Here we settled in and enjoyed the beauty of the countryside.

This is one spot that I will never forget, especially the 77 days of fireworks that were provided courtesy of the NVA January and February of 68.

After surviving this little forte', I was spending a little time in the A-Shau Valley when I found the need to add a piece of red hot metal to my body from a 61mm rocket hit, and was sent home, whether I wanted to or not..

My point in all this story-land stuff is simple.......

In the "Old Corps" of the sixties, the DI's laid hands upon us be preceded, or finalized with loud and not so nice burst of profanity.

I can remember being struck so hard in the abdomen my first night in the luxury of Platoon 342's Quonset huts that I was sure my backbone had touched the bulkhead on the opposite side of the hut.

This punishment, all for not being in my rack in what was considered an appropriate time on the count of "ONE!" did not damage me in anyway....nor did it damage any of us that were the on the receiving end of our DI's and PC's long reach.

In fact had it not been for the treatment and actions of GySgt Casto, SSgt Ellis and Sgt E-5 Stoffel, myself as well as many, many of my fellow Marines would not have made it through our time in Vietnam.

I continued on after Vietnam and wangled a spot in OCS Quantico, and from there went on to flight school and flew F-4's for many years.

I retired after doing 30 years in Uncle Sam's Misguided Children at the rank of 0-5 in 1996.

To this day, I remember my DI's names, remember well the first night in boot camp so many years ago.....


Because of the discipline, training and pride that these fine Gentleman instilled in me there in MCRD.

I tried to instill the same in my Marines over the years.

So when I read the words of the few that complain about the "Vulgar" words, and physical abuse that their "Little Johnny" is, or has endured during his time in Boot Camp I have one bit of advice for them.....

When you say your prayers each and every night, DO NOT forget to include the names of the fine Marines that "Abused" him mentally and physically during his time in Boot Camp. It is because of these Marines your "Little Johnny" is the man he is today.

If the US Marine Corps ever changes this policy. If the DI's that mold our kids into the metal that they are at their graduation are ever told to "Stand Down" in regards to the mannerisms with which they so uniquely ply their trade, God help us, everyone!

Thank you for your time.
D. A. Anderson LtCol USMC Ret
Semper Fi!

"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our won Country's Honor, all call upon us for vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions."
George Washington

Dear Sgt. Grit;
I gave up my "membership card" to the human race in the year 1969. I went to the original "Marine Boot Camp Parris Island". My training battalion was "First Battalion" (we called it blood alley). First battalion was located right across the street from the main parade deck and the "Iwo Jima" monument. My platoon no.# was 1068. They had just completed the construction on the brand new barns that they put us in. My SDI was S/Sgt Davidson, which changed later to S/Sgt Jamison and my ADI'S were S/Sgt Johnson and S/Sgt Stot. These men were originally members of "Force Recon Platoon" they wanted to share their expertise and experience to train us so that we could survive the "Shooting Gallery across the Pond". These men really new their sh!t. At that time we only had eight weeks of training.

The reason why I'm telling you all this is that, even back then we had those panty waist pukes who would write home to mommy and say that the DI'S were mistreating them. Back then if that happened there would be a investigation and all training would cease until the investigation was completed.

What these pukes didn't realize that these men were toughening them up mentally so that they wouldn't buckle under when things got hot. These men were the best the Corps. had to offer to train us so that we could come back ALIVE!

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that they now have "Stress Cards" for the recruits, so that when they feel that the DI is stressing them out too much they hand the card to the DI and he is supposed to act accordingly. You know what would've happened if I did that with my DI? What is my Corps. coming too.

These men have to make it hard so that, when you're in a fire fight and your best buddy gets blown away, you don't fall apart, because if that happens not only you but other men will die too.

I wish that I knew where my DI'S were (guaranteed retired and probably passed away), If I could see them I would buy them the biggest steak dinner and we would go out and get blind stinking drunk together.

The lessons that they taught me not only helped me to survive in the Corps., but in civilian life too.

Semper Fi
Sgt. J. G.

Sgt. Grit- I just finished reading my first installment of the news letter. It makes my heart glad to see that there are people out there that still support what this great nation of ours stands for and always has stood for. living in a fairly liberal college town and attending class with kids who think they have it all wired, this forty something former Marine can be a little dismayed at the disrespect that some of these children have for their peers who are, as the bumper sticker says, "In Iraq so they can party at college." I read recently that "The measure of a man is not in the size of his bank account or the type of car he drives or the job that he has but what lays in his heart." To the brothers and sisters that went before me and the brothers and sisters that have come after me I say simply SEMPER FI. Thank you.
Mark F Harper Sgt 1984-91 My Kid Fought In Iraq So Yours Can Party In College Bumper Sticker

My Kid Fought In Iraq So Your's Can Party In College

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding one's self in the ranks of the insane."
Marcus Aurelius

Hey Sgt Grit
I recently ran into a recruiter walking past a little mom an pops store where I live. I was done wit a long work day an in need of some beer as I saw the white cover an dress blue slacks, I promptly shouted OOOH RAHH Brother Semper Fi. He stopped turned an shook my hand. He then turned to the 2 young boys he was talking with an told them to hold on a minute. He then asked me if I was in Corps. I said h$ll yea, he then asked what my M.O.S. was, I quickly stated 2512 fieldwireman. then cross trained as a radio operator (For those that don't know both fields are in communications platoon), He quickly asked if I wish I was still in. I replied, (With the biggest smile on my face H&LL YEA) . Now the two boys that were wit him looked up at me as if I was crazy an I said as calmly as I could, I wish some of these punk thugs that walk the street thinking they are badasses would take the challenge of Marine Corps Boot. Then we would see how big an bad they are. The recruiter looked at the boys that are bout my sons age (20) an said "If this man had stayed in he would be retired right now". The one boy asked me how old I was. I replied 48. He seemed shocked at how young I was though I look old from the stone cold hard Corps training of boot an life lessons in general. The recruiter giggled an shook my hand again stating Semper Fi, I responded as only a Marine can. As I turned to go to my vehicle I heard one of the boys state to the recruiter "He's scary " ... I heard the recruiter say with sternness in his voice, "He's A Marine". Now even though I wear a Marine Corps Ring and have a Eagle Globe an Anchor pin on my vest (the only pin on my vest) this recruiter was trying to see if I was a phony. I was glad to have answered his questions knowing what he was doing and I'm glad to tell you an others just a couple simple ?s from a true Marine and you will spot the phonies

Semper Fidelis To All My Brothers In The Marine Corps, Nothing Like The Brotherhood To Perk Up Your Long Hard Work Day.

Sgt. Grit:
Been meaning to send this for a long time, but just haven't found the right time.

My father was a career Marine, 1948-1968. Sometime during one of his tours as a senior DI at MCRD Camp Pendleton, he found time to "spread pollen" with my mother. Then, after his transfer to "The Stumps", 29 Palms, I was born, just outside the base. Of course, he was out on maneuvers! After he retired, we moved back to North Carolina, just 30 miles from MCAS Cherry Point.

I was in the last cycle of the draft, in 1972, and had already decided that I would enlist in the Marines. When he found out that the recruiter had already written up the contract that would allow me to try for Force Recon, he pulled me aside and asked that I not do that to my mom, as the chances would be that I would be coming back from Vietnam with fewer parts than when I left. I agreed, and instead went into the Air Force.

Still, I feel that growing up as a "boot" has been of the greatest benefit to me throughout my life. People still look at me strangely when I tell them that I spent 18 years in the Corps, and 4 years in the Air Force.

At heart, I will always regret that I didn't join the Marines, but I will always feel that I am, at heart, a Marine that never went through 'formal' boot camp (at home, it was always" It's 0530! Hit the deck! You got 10 minutes before inspection!"); especially on November 10!

Thank you for keeping the faith!

Michael Hall, son of:
SSgt. Tilford O. Hall, USMC (Ret.)

"Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."
-Charlotte Bronte

It is an honor to find that as a Marine Mom I am associated with such a sisterhood of courageous women.

Chatting online with my Marine a few years ago, he announced he would be going to Iraq soon, and he wanted to know my thoughts.

Well, my thoughts were "My Baby!" and he is, being the youngest of four sons.

But what I wrote back to him was not that, but a distillation of the solid stuff of knowing who he is, and in Whom he, and I, have anchored our faith.

"You have had the best possible training that can be given. I love you more than I can say, and would be very sad if anything happened to you. But I know that no matter what happens, you are in God's hands, and I will see you again. I pray He will give you alertness, wisdom, courage, skill, strength and endurance, and humor and compassion to receive from and give encouragement to your brother Marines. God has a plan for you. We may never know how your presence in any given situation may make an important difference. I trust God for everything He has in store for you.

"Oorah" my son wrote back. "That's motivatin'!"

Women throughout the history of the world have seen their men go off to war, their sons, brothers, sweethearts, husbands, friends, and fathers, and endured the waiting, the heartbreak of hearing they won't be coming back, or the joy upon their return. The choice every woman has to make is, Do I love my man enough to support what he is doing with my whole heart, instead of detracting from his job at hand with whining and worries? and again, are the freedoms and principles we have come to hold so dear, and for which our founding fathers fought and died, worth giving the very best we have? as these young American Marines are definitely the cream of America's very best crop. If we are willing to make that valuation in our hearts, thus in some way equating the preciousness of our heritage with the incalculable preciousness of our sons' lives, our identity as Americans becomes infinitely more dear.

Very hard questions. And I may not be qualified to give a glib answer, as my son and his entire battalion came back from Iraq safe and sound. It is possible that my resolve will be further tested in the future, as my Marine has recently signed again for his third enlistment.

Thanks, Sgt. Grit for the chance to connect with other moms and dads and their Marines.

Marian Schwartz
Mom of
S/Sgt Andy USMC
Sister of
S/Sgt DW Kraft USMC

My son deployed with 2nd Radio Battalion in August. I would like to publicly recognize and commend the Maine Troop Greeters for the wonderful gift they give our troops...and their families.

These people greet airplanes at the Bangor, Maine airport at ALL HOURS of the day and night (my son's plane arrived at 2am.) They clap for the troops as they deplane, and shake their hands. They then spend time with them in the terminal, talking and taking photos, until it's time to leave for the sandbox.

The photos are then posted on their web site so we can get one last glimpse of our child or spouse before they leave the comfort of home.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if this group got as much ink and air as all of those protestors?

I can't thank them enough for their service.


"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men."
John Adams

hi i'm a mother of a great Marine who is now deployed and i have good days and bad day but you news letters help. my son is going to be a first time dad in January and won't be here for the event so we are trying to make the best of for his wife and son to be . we all are very proud of the troops and for what they do to protect our country we support them 100%. my son is the youngest of 3 boy's they have always been really close . we get to email him everyday and somedays hear back which makes our day brighter as a mother i can't tell of all my fears and sleepless nights but others mother understand i also as a mother of a Marine i know my son has a duty and he will fulfill it to the fullest. he has always been a Marine he signed up on the enter net at age 14. so when they started calling i said he's 14 you can not have him yet he only 14 but greg that my son was determined he started reading books about Marines and boot camp started lifting weight and running , his Christmas tree in his room was decorated with army men and tanks we all got kinda worried then but it turned out alright . when he finally joined i think it was hard on me to let him take those steps, he said mom i will make it don't worry i'm ready and he was after boot camp, which we all went to, he said that was the hardest thing i have ever do, but i would do it again. he said i'll make Corporal in 2 years and they said it takes almost 3 he did in 2 yrs 4 months so i feel very proud of him. i just really wanted to thank you for all you do for parents like me but i had to brag alittle i think most moms do thank you so much.

lori mitchell proud mom of cpl greg

I completely agree with every Marine Mom in this weeks newsletter. My son graduated boot camp August 24, 2007, and it was truly amazing to see the transformation he took during that 13 weeks. I always respected my son, but not like I do now. I've been told I beam with pride when I talk about my son - and why shouldn't I ? After all - he is - and always will be - a Marine.

Ruthie - a new Marine Mom

"Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.... Plutarch warned, 'The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.' The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing."

Ronald Reagan

Sgt Grit,

As a momma of a recruit at Parris Island as week speak, I agree completely with Momma Dawg (October 4, 2007 post). How do you not support your child's decision to step up, give of themselves for this country? Boot camp is not day camp, it is designed to teach them to survive, with team work and to build self confidence. We gave them the morals to decide between right & wrong. I believe that the DI's will enhance those morals and no doubt make them stronger. We reward out children through out their lives for doing right, but when it comes to a life or death situation I could never teach them the skills it will take to survive (But I know that the Marine Corps will). I expect them to be hard on my son, without that he will not make it through.

I received mixed comments from my so called friends when they found out that we signed the papers for him to join. I still get a lot of smack for that, but I look at it this son is on his way to becoming what he has dreamt of since he was 9 years old. I pray everyday that he reaches that dream and graduates in November as a UNITED STATES MARINE (this will be his reward to wear the uniform proudly). I have known a few Marines over the years and each one although different, still have the same look....PRIDE ! If you don't want your child to become a Marine that's fine, but DO NOT look at us with disapproval for allowing our children to serve this's young men & women like ours which have for many, many years allowed "you" the FREEDOM to express your opinion.

I am proud of my son and I have another son that is in the Navy and am just as proud of him. I was a Navy daughter, wife and now mom, and I am so looking forward to being a Marine Mom too. Whether you agree or not, remember the ones who have given you that right and pray for our Troops and our future Troops and the men that are making them strong. Thanks for letting a future Marine and current Navy Mom speak her piece.

Debbie Van Cleave

I went through Marine Corps boot camp in July 1982 and there was starting to be a change even than, I guess mostly because of the Mothers of America (god bless them) any way we lost two of our first drill instructors because they had hit a Pvt, and let me say these were two outstanding drill instructors and we did have black flags back than, however drilling inside was worse than being out in the heat. The Corps is still putting out outstanding Marines just look at the job those Marines are doing in Iraq and Afghan. I will never forget after we graduated we were able to take our family back to the barracks to see what we had been doing, their were Pvt's at each station, I will never forget walking up to a station and the Pvt snaps to attention and says good morning sir!, I'm like who the h&ll is he talking to, than I realized he was talking to me and that is really when I said to myself hey I am a Marine! as far as the sand being sold on eBay I did not see any being sold that was won from Sgt Grit, I do not agree with this sand being sold on eBay to the highest bidder, but that's another story Semper Fi

L/Cpl GB Hill H Company 3058 3rd Blt Parris Island July-Oct
1982- 1st Blt 2nd Marines Wpns Company 0341 81mm 1982-86

"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
William James

Hey Sarge! Always good to read your newsletter! I served during the Korean War while attached to the 1stMarDiv and later at AirFMFPac, El Toro. As far as the sand of Iwo Jima goes, I guess I am one of the lucky ones. After I retired from private practice (Clinical Psych), I worked as a School Counselor in Rio Rancho, NM. One of my former students, a female Marine Sergeant, visited Iwo and retrieved a small bottle of sand for me and for her Dad, a Viet Nam Marine. I would never think of selling this gift. In reference to the letters concerning people thanking them for service, I have had several experiences like that. I always wear my "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" cover from Sgt. Grit.

Semper Fi!
Lawrence D. Morrell, Ph.D.

Sgt Grit:
I am currently serving as an active duty Army Captain, but did my enlisted time in the Marine Corps and still that time and the Corps very dear to me.

The greatest experience in my life (outside my marriage if my wife reads this) was my graduation from Parris Island. I can still recall every detail of that day. The pride and sense of accomplishment I felt is something that has given me strength in tough times since then. The critical decision making skills and the ability to think on my feet that I learned as an infantryman has aided me greatly throughout my military career.

Outside of all of the ways the Marine Corps made me a better man, the most significant thing that I received from the Marine Corps was my association with other dedicated men whose selfless service always helped to carry me along. The best example that I can use to illustrate this was at my Army commissioning ceremony, my former Company Commander from the Marine Corps (a newly promoted Major then) took both his own time and money to fly to my university to pin my rank on and make me an officer. Also in attendance were my two USMC recruiters who had brought me into the military and gave me the opportunity to be a Marine.

I am still in touch with many of my former comrades from the Corps; from Majors to Sergeants Major to Sergeants, these guys are still great mentors and men to associate with.

God bless the United States, and God Bless the Marine Corps.

P.J. Snyder

"There is no vice... so contemptible; he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual..."
Thomas Jefferson

Lets see being twenty years removed from active duty in our beloved Corps, I usually wear a Marine Corps identifier on a daily basis, from a pin to a jacket. The other day a former "army" person asked me why and my response was as follows. People will adorn themselves with items to which their connection starts and ends with T. V, (e.g. sports teams, bands, so forth) I proudly display my belonging to the finest alumni in the world. Once a MARINE Always a MARINE!

Semper Fi
Joseph Keeter

The Best Thing I Ever Did

The best thing I ever did in my life was to allow The United States Marine Corps teach me how to live it.

I enlisted as a dopey fat kid from The Bronx (11/28/61) I thought the Marine Corps would be an escape from the disastrous path I was on. I knew nothing, had nothing and wanted nothing. I was just like others from my rock and roll generation, headed toward a dead end in the inner city – literally. Some stayed there, some died there in the drugs, slime, crime and grime of NYC. It was a depressing time in a depressing place. The Marine Corps boot camp was not an escape, rather, it was an entrance to waking up, allowing change and finding the ability to stand tall, become humble and yell "YES SIR."

Four years and four months later I returned; I was no longer a boy, I was a man; a changed man. The Corps had defined my life. I was taught things which I never considered; things like, pride, discipline, courage, respect for authority, self respect, love of God, the Corps, Family and Country.

In every facet of my life, whatever I did, whatever I said and wherever I went the pride of being a Marine always emanated from the core of my being. It is a presence we have, like an aura or something but it is intangible and hard to describe yet, other Marines recognize it immediately.

I retired from a 30 year civilian career and did a bunch of other stuff too; but as I said, my service to our country as a Marine was, and is the fondest and most pride-filled time of my life. All the rest of it pales before the Eagle Anchor and Globe.

Thank you Marine Corps, I indeed do love you.
Doherty, JF
61 - 66

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."
Samuel Adams

Sgt. Grit. Permit an old sailor to add a few comments about the recent stateside mistreatment of our military in Oakland, CA. I just finished reading several articles about the arrival of 200 US soldiers and Marines at Oakland's airport terminal aboard a chartered flight. These folks were returning from a combat tour in Iraq.

When they arrived at the tarmac outside the terminal they were refused entrance to the terminal and had to wait in the aircraft. Airport personnel blathered on about them not clearing security, having ammunition, guns, etc., none of which was true. They had cleared customs at New York and surrendered their ammo long before arriving in Oakland. Others said there was no gate for them to deplane. These were all refuted by numerous official sources other than airport personnel.

When I read this article I actually cried because it reminded me of 1965 when I was released from 4 years of active duty in the US Navy. I was serving aboard the oldest aircraft carrier in the US fleet, the USS Essex, CVS-9. I was proud of my service to this great country but because of the Vietnam anti- war protesters around the country we were advised it would be best not to wear our uniforms in public for fear of being assaulted, spit upon, and harassed. We were among the first enlisted shipboard sailors allowed to wear civvies off the ship because of this. I have never forgotten the anger and anguish I felt at the time. I was protecting the country where these anti-military, anti-American idiots were spitting on our servicemen and I was being treated like the enemy.

To all you servicemen and women: Here is one sailor who would like to thank you for your service to this country. The vast majority of loyal Americans support you. May God bless all of you who wear the uniform and may He keep you safe.

Bob Harris
Barnesville, Minnesota
USN 1961-67

"Every a$s loves to hear himself bray."
- Proverb of Unknown Origin

A Different Path
By: Charles A. McGrath IV
Lance Corporal of the Young Marines
Liberty Unit
United States Marine Corps MAG#49
Willow Grove Naval Air Force Joint Reserve Base

I am a Young Marine. Even as I write this, I feel a surge of pride. I am proud of my unit, proud of my instructors, and I am proud of myself. I realize many kids my age can't – or won't – say that about themselves, but I feel no reservations. I am honored to be associated with the United States Marine Corps and with the Marine Corps League. When I entered the Young Marines two years ago, at the age of 11, I wasn't sure what to expect. My only experience – really my only ever exposure – to the Young Marines had been at that year's air show when I'd gotten my face painted in camouflage colors and admired the uniforms that the kids had on. I thought it was a fun club – one where I'd get to wear a uniform and hang out and do cool things. The first meeting was a rude awakening. In a process that all Young Marines have to go through to learn to think as a team, I lost my identity as "I" and became "this recruit". I got a list of all the things I would have to memorize and be able to recite and discuss on demand. I got instruction on my physical appearance, my manners, my demeanor, and my general behavior. I went home and told my parents I was going to quit. They smiled and told me no – that I'd committed myself at least through boot camp (9 months away) and that I would have to stay in until then. I learned. Soon, I began to refer to myself as "this recruit" in my own head. I remembered the Young Marine Obligation and the Young Marine Creed. I began to gain confidence in what I was doing with the Young Marines and I became more of a presence in the unit. I attended the meetings, raised funds during the fundraisers, and marched in my first parade. Soon it was time for boot camp. It was hot, we got filthy, and we were exhausted. I pushed myself harder then than I ever had before. I loved it.

I graduated to become a Private of the Young Marines. I'd earned my uniform and I'd earned the right to call myself "I" again. I'd become a team player. The instructors supported me in my scholastic achievements, in my physical training, and in setting an example for all youth to follow. I learned how to show respect and how to earn respect. Discipline became a part of my everyday ritual. I strove to make sure all of my actions were honorable. I found honor in everyday actions.

I was promoted to the rank of Private First Class. I took on more responsibility with the Young Marines. We went on trips – both educational and fun – and were a presence in the community. We continued to honor our veterans, learning from them and learning through them to make ourselves better people and better Young Marines. I built friendships with my fellow Young Marines and with my instructors. I w